viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2011

Wolf Project Kicks Off Winter Research

While Yellowstone wolf research takes place year-round, it's easiest to monitor and study wolves in the wintertime because they leave tracks in the snow, tend to travel in packs during the daytime, and are present at lower elevations. Each winter, Yellowstone Wolf Project staff and volunteers brave frigid temperatures and unpredictable weather on a daily basis to conduct essential research on the park’s wolf packs. Since wolves were reintroduced to the park 16 years ago, the effects of restoration continue to shape the story of Yellowstone. This close monitoring contributes to ongoing research on the impacts of wolves on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It also helps to keep track of the general health, size, and territory needs of the park’s wolf population. The Yellowstone Park Foundation funds much of this important research, accounting for approximately 60% of the Yellowstone Wolf Project’s annual .
Here's a sampling of what's in store for Wolf Project staff over the coming weeks:
Population counts
Each December, Wolf Project staff count the park's wolf population. In December 2010, 97 wolves were counted within Yellowstone’s borders. It is expected, after strong pup survival in the spring of 2011, that the number will be slightly higher this winter. Research Studies
Winter studies of wolf predation take place each year. Wolf Project staff analyze confirmed or possible wolf kills to determine prey species, gender, size, health, and other factors that help us better understand the impact of wolves as keystone predators. Other research includes topics such as population genetics, disease, and observations of wolf, grizzly bear, and bison interactions in Pelican Valley.
One of the reasons Yellowstone’s wolves have contributed so significantly to the world’s total body of knowledge of wolf behavior is the intensive visual monitoring. Thousands of recorded ground and aerial observations each year are used to piece together the stories of the wolves and packs of Yellowstone. Wolves are more visible in the snowy winter landscape, and avid wolf watchers know that winter is a great time to come to Yellowstone and see wolves in the Lamar Valley!
Collar placement takes place in the winter months, when wolves can more easily be tracked and captured, and ends before female wolves retreat to their dens for birthing. VHF and GPS collars are critical to monitoring wolves in Yellowstone’s vast wilderness. Twelve wolves were captured and collared by Wolf Project staff during January and February 2011. Currently, roughly 25% of wolves in Yellowstone are collared.

Winter Safety Tips

With fall upon us and the temperatures dropping, there are many tasks to do before the winter months and holiday season. While this time of year can be great fun for your pet, be sure your winter habits don’t leave them out in the cold. During this chilly, busy season, keep pets healthy and happy by following these important safety tips:

  1. Don’t Leave Them Out in The Cold. Your pet might enjoy the great outdoors, but when temperatures drop they need a comfortable place to stay warm and dry. Besides bathroom breaks and daily exercise, it’s best to keep your pet safe and toasty inside your home.
  2. Bundle Up. Not all dogs were born with lush fur coats that keep off the winter chill. Breeds with very short fur like Chihuahuas, boxers and greyhounds may have a hard time keeping warm, making even brief walks uncomfortable. Consider purchasing a doggie-style sweater or coat to keep your short-haired pooch protected when outside. A good rule of thumb is to feel the tips of your animal’s ears. Like human feet, if they are much colder than normal, your pet may be uncomfortable.
  3. Keep Them Close. Ice, sleet and snow make it more difficult for animals to track a scent and find their way home if they get lost. Make sure your pet always wears an ID tag and has a microchip registered with a national database, so he can be easily returned. If you find a lost or stray pet, please call your local animal control or nearest animal shelter.
  4. Wipe Those Paws. Snow, ice and sleet can become impacted in paws making them painful or even bleed, and furry legs and bellies will often become wet and chilly. When coming in from the great outdoors, be sure to wipe your pet dry. This extra TLC will also ensure salt and other potentially dangerous residue – like anti-freeze – won’t be ingested.
  5. Practice Car Safety. Just like in the summer heat, your car is not a safe place for any animal in cold temperatures. Don’t ever leave them in your car unattended. Your vehicle can become a freezer in the winter, holding in the cold and potentially causing your pet to freeze to death.
  6. Watch Out for Antifreeze.Pets think antifreeze tastes great, but it is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Even a small amount can kill. So be cautious about what your pet may be lapping up from streets and driveways, and be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze or any other harmful chemical, call a veterinarian immediately.
  7. Check Under the Hood. Cats and other small animals may try to find warmth in your car engine during the winter. To avoid hurting your cat or other small animal, make sure to bang on your car’s hood to scare the animal away before starting the engine.
  8. Ensure Holiday Decorations are Secure. Ornaments, tinsel, and other holiday flourishes can look like tantalizing toys to your pets. Secure decorations large and small to ensure your curious critters don’t chew or swallow items that might be dangerous. Decorative holiday treats may be another source of danger. Keep holiday cookies, candy bowls, and other goods well out of reach.
  9. Be Careful With Holiday Plants. Certain plants commonly seen during the holidays can upset a pet’s stomach or worse – make them really sick. Sharp pine needles from Christmas trees can be dangerous if ingested. Poinsettia plants, mistletoe, holly and lilies are harmful or poisonous to dogs and cats and should be kept out of reach.

All about barking

Barking – we love it and we hate it. We love the feeling when our dog lets us know there’s someone at the door, and we love the feeling we get when we see our dogs running and playing while belting out the latest pop tune via assorted woofs. However, most of us do not like unwanted barking, and it can be a major source of stress and concern for those living with their dogs in close quarters.

Barking is your dog’s way of communicating. While most of us feel we have a handle on what our dogs are telling us, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher. One of my dogs barks when she’s happy, when she sees a squirrel or when she’s playing. One of my dogs barks only when the others start the chorus, and dog number three is an alarm barker. If he barks, I always go to check out the situation. He never cries wolf.

How do we decide when enough is enough? Perhaps it depends on the circumstance, or perhaps it depends on our mood. Sometimes we allow our dogs to bark at the door because it doesn’t bother us at that moment, and sometimes we lash out at them for the
same behaviour.

Many clients say they don’t mind a few barks, but then they want their dog to stop. The problem is that if you don’t stop your dog after the allotted number of barks, your dog will have no idea how to follow the plan. You need to decide on the number of barks, then interrupt the dog after he’s reached that number. I think this plan would be next to impossible for most people.


Consistency is the key to curbing the barking. Make a plan and stick to it. If your dog continues to bark outside, bring him inside immediately. While that sounds like a cop-out, it will stop the action and show the dog that barking will not be tolerated. For some dogs, having to come in will be enough and they’ll soon learn that if they bark, the outdoor fun will stop.

For others, barking outside means they want to come back in. Those dogs need guidance. You need to spend time tiring such a dog out before using the backyard as a place for him to spend time. Give him a favourite stuffed chew toy that’s reserved for outdoors (make sure it’s safe) to help him understand that outside is a good place to chill. Let him in before he kicks up a fuss, which initially may be just a couple of minutes.

Once you’ve convinced him that barking will not open the door, but quietly waiting will have you coming out to give him some attention, you can slowly increase the time he must wait. Of course, the backyard shouldn’t be used as a babysitter or exercise arena. Your dog should be part of the family, which includes time inside with you, and brisk walks or park time daily.


Alarm barking at the door can be one of the most annoying traits, and is one that many of our clients have high up on their list of things to work on with their dogs. You may think that a sharp “No” will stop your dog from racing to the door to greet your guests, but that might not be the best long-term plan. With enough of an aversive, anyone can stop a dog from doing something in the moment.

The problem is that once the behaviour starts to escalate – and it will – the aversive will need to escalate and will often erupt into a yelling match, interspersed with barking. This is no fun for anyone, and will not work.

Instead, mark out a reinforcement zone in your home. This can be a mat fairly close to the door, or a landing area in your hallway.

Start by tossing treats into that area randomly. It won’t be long before you notice your dog starting to head into that area on his own, waiting for something fabulous to happen. Once he is doing this on his own, you can name it “place.” Start to use the term when he is in his place, and toss the treat. Progress to sending him there from different areas inside your home, still tossing a small treat.

Progress to having someone ring the bell or knock on the door. As soon as you hear the bell, tell your dog to go to his place. You may have to show him a couple of times initially, as the bell will be the ultimate distraction for him.

Once he gets the idea, the bell (or knock) will start to become the signal for him, and you will find you may not even have to call out “Place,” as he will already be there, waiting.

You can start to delay tossing the treat to increase the amount of time he has to stay in his place. This will help him understand that if he waits there long enough, something tasty should come his way. Over time, start to wean off the treats by random reinforcement, but to keep this behaviour strong, toss the occasional cookie (a few times a month) into the reinforcement zone.


Barking for attention is another big annoyance. The best way to eradicate this is to not pay attention to your dog when he is insistent. Turn your back and let him bark away. It won’t take long for him to figure out that barking won’t work. You do have to make sure you acknowledge him when he’s not barking, so be prepared to give him lots of love and pats when he’s quiet and not soliciting your attention. This can be difficult, as he may bark more before he gets the idea that this is not working for him. His insistence will become trying, but hang in there. Telling him to be quiet is giving him attention and you will be playing a losing game. If you ignore him, very soon you will see him lying nicely at your feet, not being
a pest.

Remember to let your dog enjoy a bit of barking when he’s out playing with a couple of his friends, as long as he doesn’t go overboard. Hearing a dog bark out of sheer joy will bring a smile to your face, and it reminds us why we love our dogs.

Yellowstone Association E-Newsletter December 2011

Earthquake Swarm, Wildlife Counts, and Decline in Whitebark Pine Infestation Detailed in Annual Report on Yellowstone's Ecological Health

In 2010, Yellowstone National Park experienced more than 3,200 earthquakes, the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem reached 602, and 7 percent of Yellowstone's 281,700 acres of whitebark pine were infested with beetles, down from 15 percent in 2009, according to the 2011 Yellowstone National Park Natural Resource Vital Signs report, released by the Yellowstone Center for Resources last month. The report details influences in and outside the park that affect its overall ecological and environmental stability.

The report outlines the current and historical status of 25 Yellowstone vital signs. They fall into four categories: ecosystem drivers, such as climate, fire, and geothermal activity; environmental quality, including air and water quality; native species, including bald eagles, wolves, grizzlies, bison, elk, western cutthroat and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and amphibians; and stressors, including nonnative plants and animals, disease, park visitation, and land use.
The report noted that the 2010 growing season was 118 days, up from an average of 88 days from 1985 to 1996; half the park's bison population approached park boundaries during last winter's heavy snow, with 800 being fenced and hundreds more allowed outside the park until spring; the northern range elk count was 4,635 in early 2011, the lowest since the 1960s, attributed to wolf and bear predation and possible drought-related effects; the park wolf population dropped to 97 but numbers increased beyond the park; reproduction of westslope cutthroat trout was documented in High Lake; and the invasive lake trout population in Yellowstone Lake likely has increased faster than the fish are being removed, though new efforts continue to change that.

The Yellowstone Center for Resources will re-examine these signs, and include cultural resource indicators, in the next year.

Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association: Training tomorrow’s heroes

Nose to the snow, tail to the sky, trainee avalanche rescue dog ‘Orbit’ zigzags across the training ground, searching for the scent of his hidden handler, Whistler Blackcomb ski patroller Corey Brealey.
Suddenly the Collie/Greyhound cross stiffens as he catches a faint whiff of ‘Dad’ on the wind. Instructor Jay Pugh recognizes his reaction and begins moving up-wind, steering Orbit toward the smell’s source.
Seconds later Orbit is digging wildly at one of 10 snow caves set up at Fernie Alpine Resort for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association’s winter training camp. He disappears inside, then reappears in a cloud of snow and fur as Brealey rewards him with ‘the loony drill’ – the game that motivates every avalanche rescue dog exercise, practice or real.
The loony drill is the game of tug that your dog dreams of – frantic, noisy and exciting, it is always performed with an old sweater or scarf, showing the dog that the fastest way to their favourite game is to seek out human scent.
Brealey gives one end of a sweater to Orbit and spends the next 20 seconds running around with the dog, whooping and praising him as they energetically fling the rag around. Orbit finally gets the rag and struts around, proud of his find.

The Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) is a volunteer-led charity founded in 1978 in Whistler, B.C., and now has 35 certified dog and handler teams in ski resorts and mountain guiding operations across Western Canada.

A dog takes less than 30 minutes to search a one-hectare avalanche area – chances of survival drop to 30 per cent after 35 minutes and a team of people would take four hours to cover the same area.

If you ski at Fernie, Whistler, Revelstoke, Banff or Jasper, among others, a CARDA team is usually available to respond within minutes of an avalanche alert, greatly increasing the odds of survival. Importantly for ski resorts, a dog’s success does not rely on the victim wearing an avalanche beacon.

CARDA teams also work with backcountry ski operations and join RCMP-led searches.

Only one live rescue has ever been made in Canada, by a CARDA team at Fernie Alpine Resort in 2000, but the teams are often used to recover victims’ bodies.


A CARDA dog’s career begins at a spring course, when puppies aged eight months to two years are assessed for search instinct and training potential. Labrador and Golden Retrievers are common, as well as German Shepherds, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers and crossbreeds that include a hunting breed.
“In the end, it all comes down to a pretty simple question,” says Pugh. The evaluators ask themselves, “Do I want this dog searching for me?”
The handler’s background is equally important – they must have avalanche rescue qualifications and work or volunteer in the mountain industry before being accepted for training.
Over the summer, the trainee handlers introduce their dogs to basic search games with a human-scented rag, and the loony drill as a reward. The formal training begins the following January at CARDA’s annual winter training course.
At the 2011 course in Fernie Alpine Resort, B.C., seven rookie teams spent the week working toward ‘in-training’ status – Blackcomb ski patroller Corey Brealey, with Orbit; Nick Smith (also a Blackcomb ski patroller) with his Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever ‘Bidgee’; Canadian Avalanche Centre forecaster and ski guide Ilya Storm with his Toller ‘Skeena’; Revelstoke ski patroller Troy Leahey with his Labrador Retriever ‘Penny’; Ron Smeele and his German Shepherd ‘Paco’; Bree Korabanik of Castle Mountain Resort in Alberta and German Shepherd ‘Aurora; and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort patroller Adam Sheriff with ‘Brooke,’ a German Shepherd.

The teams are introduced to searches with the ‘master runaway’ exercise. The dog watches its handler run away and hide in a snow cave, then is rewarded with the loony drill for a successful find.

The dogs progress to finding strangers in open caves, then in sealed caves and eventually to finding buried backpacks that smell of human scent. These tasks are gradually made more difficult by increasing the time between the quarry running away and the dog’s release. Eventually, the dog is brought in to search without ever seeing the quarry.

At every stage, handlers and spectators are encouraged to cheer loudly when the dog finds its quarry. “We have to act like the rest of the wolf pack saying ‘Great job,’” Pugh tells the group. “When you watch a wolf pack howling on National Geographic, you see their tail come up and their ears prick up with pride. We need to appeal to that primal instinct in
our dogs.”

Common obstacles to the training are a low search drive or being easily distracted by the surroundings. “A few years ago we had a Labrador Retriever that, instead of digging through the snow cave, just took a running jump at it until it collapsed,” says Pugh. “That had to stop.”

During training the dogs also experience a helicopter load and ride, and learn to ride beside their handler on a ski lift and skidoo. The team also needs to learn how to ski together without the dog getting cut by the ski edges – usually the handler skies in a snowplow position with the dog running between his legs.


Teams spend the next 12 months practising their search drills, before taking the validation test – 40 minutes in which to search a 100-x-100-metre area for four scented backpacks buried 75 centimetres deep in the snow. Passing the test means they can join RCMP-led searches and operate as a rescue team at their place
of work.

CARDA dogs often work most of their life, and can make good companions at home while also being disciplined workers.

“A CARDA dog needs to be somewhere between a pet and a police dog,” says Pugh, “Life is not as regimented as that of a police dog, but much more structured than that of a pet. Sometimes people contact us and say they want to train to keep their pets amused. This is life and death – we don’t do this because it is something fun for the dogs.”


CARDA’s training techniques can be used to exercise both your dog’s mind and scent-search skills.

Hide from your dog while out on a walk and praise him vigorously when he finds you.

Command your dog to stay, then hide a soft toy in the house, or bury it in snow. At first hide it within view, then make it a little harder each time. Play with him and the toy as a reward when he finds it.

When playing tug, never pull your dog’s head up and down – only side to side or back and forward to prevent neck injuries.


Avalanche rescue dogs have scented items buried up to 10 metres deep in snow, although most avalanche victims are recovered from a depth of two to three metres.

A dog has around 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have only five million. These receptors allow the dog to smell scent particles that rise from the buried person through tiny gaps in the snow, spreading outwards as they reach the surface in what is known as a “scent cone.” The scent cone is also affected by the wind, so handlers note the wind direction so they can guide their dog up-wind toward the source.

CARDA instructor Jay Pugh teaches handlers what their dog is ‘seeing’ by comparing scent to campfire smoke. He says: “It has the same physical characteristics and is almost identical in the way wind and other factors affect it. In the dog’s brain they see the scent cloud as we would the smoke from a campfire. The ‘cone’ is the way the scent cloud spreads out from the source. When you see a fire, take note of how the smoke is drifting from it and imagine that it’s a live human body putting out scent. Our job as handlers is to work our dogs into these clouds.”

This article is dedicated to Sheilah Sweatman, a search and rescue volunteer from Nelson, B.C., who was volunteering at the 2011 CARDA training course. Sheilah, 29, died in July 2011 while searching a river for a missing person, the first B.C. search and rescue volunteer to be killed in service. Sheilah had just been accepted for CARDA handler training with her German Shepherd puppy ‘Freyja.’

By Rebecca Edwards



ESTEFANIA PAZOS LEIS (Colegiado Nº 1301)

Idiomas; Español, Ingles, Gallego
Medicina General. Medicina Interna -Ciruía
Asistencia a domicilio.
Comportamiento Animal; -Obediencia básica y avanzada
-Problemas de comportamiento

The Importance of Life Stage Feeding

One of the most important breakthroughs in canine nutrition came when veterinary nutritionists recognized the different nutritional needs that dogs have as they mature. This may seem fairly self-evident now, but dog owners and veterinarians used to have more of "a dog is a dog is a dog" mentality when it came to feeding our canine friends. What are a dog’s life stages, and what foods are available to meet them?
The first life stage is puppy. Puppy foods have higher levels of protein, fat, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and chloride, in comparison to adult foods, to support a young dog’s rapid growth and development. Once a puppy has reached about 80 percent of its adult size, its growth rate slows and it can be switched to an adult food. Most veterinarians recommend that puppies eat puppy food until they are around twelve months of age, but talk to your vet to determine what is best in your dog’s individual situation.
Large breed dogs are at high risk for developmental orthopedic diseases (e।g., hip dysplasia), and feeding a food that maintains a relatively slow and steady growth rate can help prevent these potentially devastating conditions. In comparison to "regular" puppy formulations, large breed puppy foods have a lower energy content, slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorous, and a very carefully balanced calcium:phosphorous ratio to maintain a healthy rate of growth. Don’t worry; dogs fed a large breed puppy food when they are growing still end up at their expected size, it just takes them a little longer to get there.
Adult foods are the appropriate choice for most adult dogs. This is where the MyBowl tool can be extremely useful in determining whether or not a particular product provides the balanced nutrition needed to keep dogs that are in the prime of their life healthy and happy (the percentages presented on MyBowl are only applicable to healthy, adult dogs). Exceptions to the adult foods for adult dogs rule do exist, however. If your dog is pregnant or nursing or has other lifestyle or health conditions that change his or her nutritional needs, consult with your veterinarian.
There is no hard and fast rule as to when to make the switch to a "mature adult" food, but many veterinarians recommend that small dogs make the change at eight years of age, medium-sized dogs at around seven years, large breeds at six years, and giant breeds at about five years of age। The differences between an adult and senior food within the same product line are oftentimes not very great. They may contain lower levels of fat to help prevent obesity, increased levels of anti-oxidants, or moderate levels of protein aimed at maintaining muscle mass while not overworking the kidneys.
Feeding a diet that is appropriate for a dog’s life stage, that is made from superior ingredients, and that provides balanced nutrition can go a long way towards keeping him strong and healthy।
Dr. Jennifer Coates

Treating Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC)

Cats are diagnosed with FIC when they have one or m ore of the typical symptoms of lower urinary tract disease (e।g., urinating outside of the litter box, straining to urinate, painful urination, producing only small amounts of sometimes discolored urine, and/or frequent attempts to urinate) and other potential causes have been ruled out. Fifty-five to sixty percent of cats with the aforementioned symptoms are eventually diagnosed with FIC.

One of the biggest difficulties in treating FIC is that we don’t really know what causes it; risk factors like stress and obesity seem to play a role. Other possibilities include viral infections, immune dysfunction, a deficient glycosaminoglycan layer protecting the inside of the bladder, or an abnormally permeable bladder wall. You’ll notice that the following treatment recommendations are all aimed at one or more of these potential causes.

Stress Relief and Environmental Enrichment

Research has shown that cats with FIC tend to have a neurohormone imbalance, making them especially sensitive to environmental stress. So while all cats benefit from environmental enrichment, it is an essential part of treating cats with FIC. Indoor cats are primarily stressed by boredom, so play with your cat, regularly rotate the toys that are available, routinely buy or make new toys, keep several different types of scratching posts available, and place a comfy perch near a window (even better if it is screened and you can safely open it). Cats also don’t like surprises, so try to keep your cat’s routine as predictable as possible.
If you have multiple cats and their interactions are stressful, consider separating them, or at least have individual feeding stations and lots of hiding places and covered escape routes available.

Litter Boxes

Dirty litter boxes are another common source of stress, so keep them scrupulously clean. Open boxes don’t smell as bad and are less cramped than those that are covered, and you should have multiple boxes (at least one more than the number of cats in the house) to spread the waste around and prevent conflicts around elimination sites.

Dietary Changes and Water Consumption

Eating canned food can help cats with FIC. We think that the reason this works is because the primary ingredient in canned food is water, so feeding canned food is a simple and effective way to increase a cat’s water consumption. Cats that are well-hydrated produce dilute urine, which is less irritating and "washes away" inflammation from the bladder wall. Dilute urine is also beneficial if your cat has been diagnosed with urinary crystals or stones, so talk with your veterinarian to determine if an over-the-counter or prescription cat food is best for your cat.

Glycosaminoglycan Supplements

Glycosaminoglycans are primarily used to treat osteoarthritis, but they may be helpful in some cases of FIC as well. Research hasn’t really supported this claim yet, but these injectable or oral products are very safe, so there is not much risk in giving them a try.
An ideal treatment protocol would completely eliminate a cat’s symptoms for the rest of her life — and this may occur in some cases — but if you and your veterinarian come up with a plan that is not too difficult to follow, and dramatically reduces the intensity and frequency of flare-ups, you’ve made major strides in improving your cat’s quality of life। Hopefully, future research will come up with both a cause and a cure for the frustrating condition that is FIC.
Dr. Jennifer Coates