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Thoughty Thursday: Fences & Good Neighbors

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Scottish Deerhound in kennel

Please fence me in!

We’re building a fence. Actually, we HAVE a fence, but it’s pipe-and-rail designed for horses. Looks great, but it won’t keep the Magical-Dawg inside. In fact, he could vault the fence if he wanted—shhhhh, don’t tell him! Right now it’s not a problem because the roses (you remember them?) have run rampant in the back yard and engulfed a goodly portion of the fence. But since we’re redesigning the back rose garden (pronounced FLAME THROWER! aka BULLDOZER aka I-DON’T-WANNA-PRUNE-NO-MORE!), it’s time to make a secure, happy place for Magical-Dawg. He’s tired of having to come inside every time weenie humans can’t take the heat/bugs/stickers/whatever.

National Dog Bite Awareness Week blog has me thinking about safety for my fur-kids. Yes, “awareness” protects the four-legged family members just as much as it does the humans. Take a look/listen at today’s Ask Amy about a dog chasing–and scaring–neighbor kids, YIKES! That’s an accidental bite just waiting to happen, and we all know the dog will pay the higher price for even a bandaid-worthy nip.

Actually, the thorny garden with all its weed-icity reminds me of my other writerly projects I’ve shoved on the back burner. I have two more backlist books to format and get kindle-ized (cat and dog care encyclopedias, no less!) and the necessary editing/weeding feels daunting. My co-author and I just completed our play–a musical–and today tossed that baby to a couple of folks for vetting. That felt like opening the back door to Magical-Dawg to go play with coyotes–scary scary scary! Oh, and the fiction WIP now in 3rd revision has miles of weeds to wack before handing off to my editor for her flame-thrower treatment. Do you ever have writing projects you’d like to build a fence around to keep safe from critical eyes?

I can squeeeeze through

Puppies especially WILL consider barriers to be a challenge . . .

Meanwhile, the new site gives me my daily SQUEEEEE! where I just wrote about easy tips about doggy fence options. Do you have a safe fenced space for your dog–or your cat? How does your pet handle strangers? Magical-Dawg decided early on that he’d protect house/yard/his-people from strangers, whether we want him to or not! Probably the coyotes should watch out if he ever did escape our soon-to-be-installed-upgraded-rose-unencumbered-fence. Meanwhile we practice socialization continually. Or maybe it’s an act–Magic now thinks the drive-through bank tellers and dry cleaners and Starbucks are AWESOME treat-dispensers designed just for his benefit.

Seren-kitty is even less forgiving of strangers and doesn’t let her 7-pounds-of-bluff stop her. She marches right up to visitors, hurls cat-curses, and tells ’em to get the hell-outta-HER-house! IMO the “bite awareness” should apply to kitties, too. Fang-icity ain’t fun, no matter if it comes with hisses or howls.

Have you ever been bitten by a dog or cat–your own or a strangers’ pet? What happened? Be honest…were you at fault? Or was the pet a victim of irresponsible or clueless owners–or an innocent kiddo wanting to hug/kiss Fluffy and getting nailed?  All you savvy pet people out there, how do you protect your pets–and people–from each other? The PETiQuette book has lots of tips for recognizing and avoiding dog and cat aggression, but let’s get some free advice going in the comments section. What else would you suggest to the Aussie owners in this Ask Amy video?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

6 responses »

  1. I’ve been bitten and scratched by dogs, cats, lizards, assorted rodents, birds and other animals. Some painful, none serious. Some of it was accidental, some personality and a lot of it was me missing or ignoring the signs.

    There’s always a sign if you’re watching for it.

    • When I first started working as a vet tech I got bitten a few times–these were always in the context of being handled/treated by strangers in a scary environment. Over the years I’ve become MUCH better about both recognizing signalment, and handling/managing cats and dogs.

  2. Linda Rehkopf

    In 30+ years of owning dogs, my husband was bitten and in a separate incident, one of my dogs was bitten. Both offenders had been tethered, and decided enough was enough. They snapped, then snapped.
    People, please don’t tether!

  3. My cat attacked my guy once, but he was protecting me (from a big, huge hug that caused me to squeal, but Shady didn’t know that). I’ve never been bitten, and I can’t help but think it’s ALMOST always the human’s fault when a pet bites…my best friend was just attacked by a dog on her way out of a client visit (she’s a traveling speech pathologist). THAT was unprevoked. I can still blame the humans though…what did they do, or how did they raise that dog to cause it to latch on to someone’s hamstring? My friend is ‘ok’ – she’s just not going back to that house!

    • Hi Tiffany,
      So Shady is an attack/protection kitty? *s* There was a story in Cat Fancy magazine years ago about a shy cat who always hid from strangers–but attacked a would-be rapist and protected her owner. They later identified the man by the cat’s claw embedded in his face!

      So sorry your best friend got nailed. I don’t have the particulars of what happened but…doorways are very often high-arousal locations for dogs. It could have been set off by her perfume, by previous eye contact with the dog, by the owner’s attitude, all sorts of things that we humans wouldn’t necessarily recognize. And I wouldn’t go back to that house, either!


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