Sequoia Humane Society

A No-Kill Shelter Saving Lives Everyday



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Funding Assistance for Pet Emergencies

  • The Pet Fund - Please call 916-443-6007 first, then go to
  • Red Rover - Apply online at
  • Angels 4 Animals - 916-941-9119
  • CareCredit - 1-800-677-0718 between 5-7pm PST or fill out an application online at
  • Animal Emergency Care Fund - call 520-461-4305 you will need a denial letter from CareCredit
  • Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program - [email protected]

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Preparing for the First Thirty Days with your New Pet

The following links explain the considerations and steps to adopting a shelter cat or dog. The articles are by Sara Kent, Director, Shelter Outreach, Petfinder.

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Tips for Involving Children and Positive Reinforcement in Training your Dog by Paige Johnson,

When a family gets a new dog, it is helpful to include children in the training process because you want the dog to obey all family members and become a trusted, loyal companion for everyone. Children who participate in training new dogs also are more likely to take responsibility for caring for the dog and to take pride in having a family pet. If you are looking for ways to make your children and your new dog feels more comfortable around one another, involving children in training activities that include positive rewards is a great place to start. Our 4 tips for involving children and positive reinforcement in training new dogs will help your family establish a loving, trusting relationship with your new pet quickly.

1. Help young children teach the dog his name According to dog trainer and behavior consultant Jonathan P. Klein, even children as young as 20 months old can help train a dog with direct help and coaching from an adult. One of the ways that very young children can get involved in training the new family dog is to aid in teaching the dog his name. Help your child look at the dog and say his name repeatedly. When the dog responds to the child calling his name, allow the child to give him a treat. The dog will learn via a positive reward, and the child will understand how to get the dog to come to him in a safe, effective manner.

2. Prepare your dog for life with Children The safety and well-being of your children and your new dog need to go hand-in-hand. Of course, children will need to be taught that the dog is an animal, and not a stuffed toy that has feelings and can be hurt. And, the dog will need to be trained to react to the children safely. One of the best ways to prepare your dog for life with children is to give him experiences with your children and reward his appropriate behaviors with positive consequences. For example, give your dog hugs and gently pull his ears, tail, and fur while giving him treats or allowing him to lick peanut butter off a bone. Matching treats to touches helps your dog understand that rough attention can be a positive experience, and he soon will welcome the attention of your children.

3. Incorporate training in play One of the most effective ways to involve children in training a new dog with positive reinforcement is to play games. Laura Barger, head of behavior at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter and owner of WoofGang LLC Dog Training, recommends putting treats in a child’s pocket and having him stand in a room in the middle of the house and call the dog. This variation of doggie hide-and-seek strengthens the dog’s recall and gives the child a chance to use positive rewards by giving the dog treats when he finds him and sits on command. Repeat the game with other children or make it more challenging by allowing children to hide behind doors or in drapes. Another game that incorporates training in play is fetch combined with “drop it.” Give your child a ball to throw for the dog to retrieve. When the dog returns the ball, the child should ask him to drop it while revealing a second ball. Ask the child to command the dog to sit and repeat “drop it.” As soon as the dog sits, the child should throw the second ball. Continue the game until the dog learns to drop the first ball.

4. Ensure everyone is on board with your training techniques Consistent training of your new dog is best to help him understand the behavior that you expect of him. That’s why you should explain your training techniques to everyone who comes into contact with your dog. If you hire a dog walker, show her how to reward positive behavior with treats. Encourage her to walk the dog near parks so that your dog can experience interactions with other children and to offer treats as positive rewards for appropriate behavior. You also should consider boarding your new dog with a freelance dog sitter who has children so that your pet can grow accustomed to interacting with other children.

Of course, you need to be sure that you and your children have been training your dog using positive reinforcement before you hire others to work with him. It is not the responsibility of dog walkers or dog boarders to train your dog for you, although they can continue with the training you have begun and maintain consistency while working with your dog.

Children do not need to be left out of training a new dog. Parents can include children in dog training activities and the responsibilities of having a new pet by incorporating them in various training games and exercises. Children who get involved in training dogs often have a closer bond with their pets and enjoy being pet owners, so it’s a great idea to involve them in training their new dog with positive reinforcement that builds trust between them and the animal.

Here are some additonal resources:

Train a dog -

Prepare your dog -

Play games -

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Prevent Urine Marking

Dogs do not urinate or defecate out of spite or jealousy. The unfamiliar scents and sounds of a new home may be stressing and he feels the need to reaffirm his claim on his territory. Likewise, if your dog urinates on your new boyfriend's backpack it does not reflect his opinion of your taste in men. Instead, he has perceived the presence of an "intruder" and is letting the intruder know this territory belongs to him.

Urine-marking is not house soiling House soiling is when your dog empties his bladder or his bowels inside the house. There are a few reasons he may do this.

  • He is not housebroken.
  • He has a medical issue.
  • He is terrified and has lost control of his bladder and/or bowels.

Urine-marking, on the other hand, is a territorial behavior. Your dog feels the need to assert his dominance or ease his anxiety by laying out his boundaries. He does this by depositing small amounts of urine on anything he feels belongs to him—the furniture, the walls, your socks, etc. Urine-marking is most often associated with male dogs, but females may do it, too. Leg-lifting is the primary way of marking, but even if your pet does not lift his leg, he may still be marking. The amount of urine is small and is found primarily on vertical surfaces, but dogs do sometimes mark on horizontal surfaces.

Reasons for urine-marking

  • Your dog is not spayed or neutered. Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to marking than neutered ones.
  • There is a new pet in the household.
  • Another pet in your home is not spayed or neutered. Even spayed or neutered animals may mark in response to other intact animals in the home.
  • Your dog has conflicts with other animals in your home. When there is instability in the pack dynamics, a dog may feel a need to establish his place by marking his territory.
  • There is someone new in the house; your dog puts his scent on that person’s belongings as a way of proclaiming that the house is his.
  • There are new objects in the environment (a shopping bag, a visitor's purse) that have unfamiliar smells or another animal's scent.
  • Your dog has contact with other animals outside your home. If your pet sees another animal through a door or window, he may feel a need to mark his territory.

How to Prevent It You mark your stuff by putting your name on it; your dog marks his with urine.

We've covered why dogs mark territory, now here's how to prevent urine-marking behaviors before they happen in your house.

Before doing anything else, take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for the urine-marking behavior. If he gets a clean bill of health, use the following tips to make sure he doesn't start marking his territory. Spay (or neuter) first Spay or neuter your dog as soon as possible. The longer a dog goes before neutering, the more difficult it will be to train him not to mark in the house. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether. But if he has been marking for a long time, a pattern may already be established. Because it has become a learned behavior, spaying or neutering alone will not solve the problem. Use techniques for housetraining an adult dog to modify your dog's marking behavior.

More tips

  • Clean soiled areas thoroughly with a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate urine odor.
  • Make previously soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive. If this is not possible, try to change the significance of those areas to your pet. Feed, treat, and play with your pet in the areas where he marks.
  • Keep objects likely to cause marking out of reach. Items such as guests' belongings and new purchases should be placed in a closet or cabinet.
  • Resolve conflicts between animals in your home. If you have added a new cat or new dog to your family, follow our tip sheets to help them live in harmony.
  • Restrict your dog's access to doors and windows so he cannot observe animals outside. If this is not possible, discourage the presence of other animals near your house.
  • Make friends. If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home (such as a roommate or spouse), have the new resident make friends with your pet by feeding, grooming, and playing with your pet.
  • Watch your dog when he is indoors for signs that he is thinking about urinating. When he begins to urinate, interrupt him with a loud noise and take him outside. If he urinates outside, praise him and give him a treat.
  • When you're unable to watch him, confine your dog (a crate or small room where he has never marked).
  • Have your dog obey at least one command (such as "sit") before you give him dinner, put on his leash to go for a walk, or throw him a toy.
  • If your dog is marking out of anxiety, talk to your vet about medicating him with a short course of anti-anxiety medication. This will calm him down and make behavior modification more effective.
  • Consult an animal behaviorist for help with resolving the marking issues.

What not to do not punish your pet after the fact.

Punishment administered even a minute after the event is ineffective because your pet will not understand why he is being punished. If you come home and find that your dog has urinated on all kinds of things, just clean up the mess. Do not take him over to the spots and yell and rub his nose in them. He will not associate the punishment with something he may have done hours ago, leading to confusion and possibly fear.

-From The Humane Society of the United States

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Socializing Outdoor Kittens

When you come across outdoor kittens, you may feel the need to immediately pick them up and bring them home but that might not be the best thing for the kittens or for you.

Some kittens may need intervention if they are not doing well. Early weaning of kittens that appear to be doing well may lead to increased mortality or failure to thrive.

If it is safe they should remain with their mother until then to learn proper behavior and socialization.

Before you move forward, consider -- Do you have the time it takes to socialize kittens?

You will have to commit to caring for them one-on-one for at least a couple of hours each day, for a period of a few weeks to a month or longer. If the kittens are neonatal, they will require even more specialized care, including round-the clock bottle-feeding.

Socializing and caring for kittens is a time-consuming process which requires devotion, patience, and attention. The decision to bring kittens into your home should not be taken lightly.

This information is from Alley Cat Allies.

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Separation Anxiety

This article at Paws Chicago describes what separation anxiety is and isn't.

Here we will discuss how to discourage clinginess, which is the main precursor to separation anxiety, and how to encourage your dog to be calm when you are not present.

1. Monitor your dog’s behavior and note down when he is at his most clingy.  It may be that the problem is worse just before you leave for work, just after you get home or only in the presence of other dogs.

2. Expose your dog to separation anxiety triggers.  For example, if he is clingiest before you leave the house, put on your coat and grab your keys, but don’t leave.  This behavior shows the dog that those triggers aren’t necessarily a precursor to periods of separation.

3. Ignore the dog when he is being clingy.  Make being at your side boring and non-stimulating.  If you’ve previously responded to needy, attention-seeking behavior with attention or fuss, you may have accidentally trained your dog to become clingy.  By ignoring the dog, you show him that his clinginess doesn’t get a positive outcome.

4. Reward your dog for voluntarily separating himself.  Leave distractions such as toys and treats around the house and wait for your dog to spot them.  This tells the dog that his environment is most stimulating when he leaves your side.

Encouraging Isolation

1. Leave the crate door open and place a treat and some toys inside.  Allow him to investigate at his own pace and make the crate a place where he wants to be.

2. Praise the dog verbally once inside the crate.  Leave the door open and allow him to exit the crate when he wishes.

3. Repeat exposure to the crate.  Once your dog is comfortable in the crate and has built a positive association with it, close the door for five minutes, but don’t leave.

4. Shut the door in the crate or room for five minutes every day of the week.  Each time you shut your dog in, move further away from the crate, but remain in sight.

5. Shut the dog in the crate and leave the area.  Return after five minutes and allow your dog out, but don’t be overly fussy.  This demonstrates that periods of isolation are normal and they always end up with him being reconnected with you.

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Discouraging Mouthiness

Of course it's best to start teaching your puppy right away that using their teeth on human is not acceptable. And you can find solid information on how to do that by following the ASPCA link in the last sentence!

But an older dog may also exhibit excessive mouthiness, in which case you'll need to manage their behavior, and with a little persistence you'll be able to curb that behavior over time.

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Encourage Less Barking

You say your dog never barks? Yet the neighbors complain that he does? The neighbors are probably right. Why do dogs bark and what can you do about it if your dog is annoying the neighbors?

There are lots of reasons why dogs bark. The four most common are:

  • To alert us that there is an intruder. Most of us want our dogs to bark when there is something important to bark about – but not at every little movement in the yard next door… or at a flock of birds high overhead.
  • To communicate to the owner that he would like something done NOW! When a dog wants to door opened, he barks his request to you. When he wants your attention, he barks to get it. Get the idea?
  • When spooked or uncomfortable, or warning an intruder that they have been noticed, dogs bark to say “I’m dangerous! Don’t come any closer!”
  • To express loneliness, frustration and boredom. This is the most common source of barking dog complaints.

Dogs do not bark out of spite or to punish us! Therefore punishing a dog for barking does little good – in fact, it may worsen the problem. In order to control your dog’s barking you need to have a good idea of what is causing the problem. With time, and application of a few basic training principles, most barking problems can be solved.

In this article, we’ll look at solutions to the most common causes of dog barking: loneliness, frustration and boredom. If you find out that your dog begins to bark or howl as soon as you leave the house, and continues off and on throughout the day or night, he is probably lonely, frustrated and bored. Dogs are social creatures, so if they are left out in the yard alone all day or night, they are likely to be lonely, anxious, destructive and noisy. Solving this problem not only makes you and your neighbors happier – it makes your dog happier too!

Rx for Barking:

  • Bring your dog into the house when you are home, at least for a good portion of the time.
  • Also put him outside from time to time while you are at home, so he doesn’t feel isolated as soon as he is left out.
  • If he is very demanding of your attention when he is inside, make a habit of not petting him every time he seeks attention. Ignore him and he will eventually relax. This takes patience.
  • Desensitize your dog to your absence. Put him outside or leave the house for just a minute or so, then return and go about your business – all without saying anything to the dog. Do this over and over until the dog gets used to it. Then increase the time you are gone in increments of ten to fifteen minutes. It is important that you do not pet or croon to the dog, since that will only increase his anxiety.
  • Show the dog that good things can happen when you are gone by giving him a long lasting treat or toy. A Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese will keep him happily occupied for a long time. Give the treat to him five minutes before you leave. When you return, pick up and put away the treat. Only let the dog have this particular treat or toy when you are gone.
  • Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. Playing in the yard alone is not good enough. Dogs need outside stimulation. Two long walks with your per day are adequate. Better yet, play high-intensity games with your dog – like ball-fetch, Frisbee, hide & seek, etc. – to tire him out before long absences.
  • Dogs are highly social and don’t cope well with prolonged isolation. Consider hiring a dog-walker at lunchtime if you work all day.

Dogs are time-intensive pets. There is no quick fix to boredom barking but with time and patience the problem can be solved by meeting your dog’s basic needs for stimulation, exercise and companionship. Do this and you will not only solve his barking problem and restore good relations with your neighbors – you will have a true and loving friend!

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Reducing Fear of the Vet

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, PA. His website is He is the co-author of Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound.

AJ Debiasse, a technician in Stroudsburg, PA, contributed to this article.

A new concept has emerged in veterinary medicine over the past few years: Fear Free™ veterinary visits. Introduced by Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” this concept applies to veterinary hospitals, but you can use some of the concepts to reduce fear in your dog yourself.

Let's face it: nobody truly loves going to go to the doctor. Our dogs are no exception. The trip to your veterinarian is often stressful, for both you and your dog. Stress can cause severe health problems, mask signs of pain or sensitivity, skew diagnostic tests, weaken the immune system and cause diarrhea. Luckily, there are now simple things you can do to make your dog’s visits to the veterinarian less stressful.

For the rest of the story please go to the Pet Health Network

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Cat and Dog Vaccines

Here, we cover some basic information on common vaccines for cats and dogs.

Cat Vaccines
Sequoia Humane Society administers Rabies (if 6 months or older) and FVRCP vaccines to its cats.
  • FVRCP: The standard cat vaccine, also called “the feline distemper vaccine”, given to cats and kittens throughout their lives as part of a preventative health program and considered, along with the Rabies vaccine, as a Core (very important) vaccine.
  • FVR - Feline Rhinotracheitis virus: A viral infectious respiratory disease caused by feline herpesvirus type 1. This virus is an extremely common cause of respiratory disease and often results in chronic, often life-long, infection with intermittent recurrences causing respiratory and sometimes eye disease. It is spread easily through airborne respiratory secretions and direct contact with a carrier cat or contaminated objects. Unvaccinated cats are most susceptible as well as the very young and the very old.
  • C - Calicivirus: A common viral infectious respiratory disease, can also cause mouth sores resulting in severe oral pain. Spread by direct contact with an infected cat or by contact with contaminated objects. The virus is very resistant to disinfectants and persists in the environment. Unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated cats of all ages are at risk.
  • P - Panleukopenia: A severe, highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease of the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system and the nervous system. The disease is named for the characteristic severe decrease in white blood cells, the body’s defense against disease. The virus is very persistent in the environment. This virus spreads by direct contact with infected cats or by contact with viral particles in the environment. Unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated cats of all ages are at risk.
Dog Vaccine:
Sequoia Humane Society administers DA2PP, Bordetella, and Rabies vaccines to its dogs.
  • DA2PP: A combination vaccine for your dog that protects against four primary canine diseases -- distemper, adenovirus-2, parainfluenza and parvovirus.
  • Distemper: Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral illness similar to the measles in humans. Your dog can contract the virus through direct contact with an infected animal or through indirect contact such as with bedding or food bowls used by infected animals or wildlife feces. Symptoms include a high fever, weakness, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. As the disease progresses, it attacks the nervous system and may cause seizures and paralysis. In certain strains of distemper, hardening of the foot pads may occur. The severity of the disease depends on the strain and the age of the dog. For adult dogs, the mortality rate is less than 50 percent. For puppies, however, the mortality rate is as high as 80 percent.
  • Adenovirus-2 and Parainfluenza: Adenovirus-2 and parainfluenza are two different viruses that can play roles in kennel cough. So can the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Symptoms include loud coughs, runny noses and mucus discharge, wheezing and decreased appetite. No treatment is available for the viral infections. Antibiotics and cough suppressants treat secondary bacterial infections and treat symptoms.
  • Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a fast-acting virus with a high mortality rate. The virus can survive in the environment for up to a year, so just a simple walk around the block is enough for your dog to contract the virus when he stops to sniff where another dog may have been. Symptoms begin with a loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. A strong, distinctive odor is present; the stool may contain mucus or blood. Puppies are more commonly affected and are at higher risk of mortality, though parvovirus can affect dogs of any age. There is no cure, but early treatment with intravenous fluids increases the chance of survival. With most cases, the survival rate is 70 percent.
  • Bordetella: Kennel cough, the common name given to infectious canine tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. As the name suggests, it is typified by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. This disease is found throughout the world and is known to infect a high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime. It is also sometimes referred to as bordetellosis. Young puppies often suffer the most severe complications that can result from this disease since they have immature immune systems. Also at increased risk are older dogs, who may have decreased immune capabilities, pregnant bitches, who also have lowered immunity, and dogs with preexisting respiratory diseases.

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Potty Training

Potty training your puppy is all about positivity, consistency, and patience. It's an absolutely essential part of any dog's life, and a great chance to show your puppy how nice you can be.

The simplest strategy is: Give your puppy lots of chances succeed, and praise them when they do. That's it!

For more details and loads of excellent advice, check out Where’s the Potty? How to House Train Your Puppy

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Protective, Jealous, and Possessive Behaviors

It’s not always easy to determine if your dog is acting out because he’s trying to protect you or is a jealous or possessive dog. Sometimes it could be all three, but there is a difference between the behaviors. Just because a dog is jealous doesn’t necessarily mean he’s possessive or protective.

The jealous dog sees other people or pets as a rival for your attention and love. He tries to force himself in between you and someone else or another pet. He may challenge a spouse when they try to snuggle next to you on the couch or in bed. A jealous dog may attack another pet that gets too close to you. He’ll try to push another pet away so he can get your attention. He’s afraid of losing your love and attention.

Possessive toy behavior can be as non-threatening as a dog's avoidance when you try to take his toy away or it can be as serious as growling and snapping when you approach him. In either case, your dog is trying to send you a message that “this is mine, go get your own”. A possessive dog is trying to dominate and control. He may claim his toys, food bowl, sleeping area or owner as his own. He may growl at you if you approach his food bowl, whether it’s empty or full. The possessive dog sees a threat, but unlike a protective dog doing his job, possessive behavior keeps a dog on high alert and he won’t back down, even though there’s no real threat.

When a dog is showing possessive behavior he growls, snaps, whines or attacks another pet or person, he’s telling you he feels insecure, confused, and has a lack of confidence. He’s always on guard and stressed out. And when people tease a stressed out, insecure dog, he uses aggression to protect himself because in his mind, his owner isn’t protecting him. He’s afraid someone or another dog will take something he cherishes.

Jealous or possessive behavior can be changed once you know why your dog is acting a certain way. Both behaviors can turn into aggression if they’re not addressed and corrected. Change is not in a dog’s vocabulary and they prefer nothing changes in their lives. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works, so we need to understand that a move to a new home, a new baby, a new roommate or new pets in a dog’s life may affect him.

A protective dog is showing a natural behavior when he reacts in an aggressive way if he feels you’re in danger. Some dog breeds were specifically bred to guard their family and home. Don’t interpret a dog being protective as jealous or possessive. He focuses in on another dog, person or situation that requires his full attention. When he determines there’s no threat, he relaxes and backs down from alert mode. Protecting his pack is one of his main duties.

Aggression is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. Anytime your dog is showing aggression, have your vet check him out to make sure there’s no medical issue bothering him. You may need the help of an animal behaviorist to deal with a possessive dog’s aggression.

If you need to change an unwanted behavior, only reward your dog for acting in a way you expect him to act. When your dog tries to come between you and another person, simply ignore his behavior. If you’re sitting on the couch when he’s trying to get between you, stand up. Don’t say anything, don’t touch him, and don’t look at him – just stand up. Affection is something you give to your dog on your terms, not his. By ignoring his behavior, you’re teaching him his behavior is not acceptable and he won’t get your attention until he’s calm with all four feet on the floor. Using your body language is the best way to teach him because dogs are experts at reading even our body language. It’s important to keep your dog socialized with new people, other dogs and cats, and give him an opportunity to experience new things. Make sure he has plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep his body and mind healthy.

It’s important to be your dog’s leader and maintain a daily routine. The routine you establish with him gives your dog a sense of security when he knows what to expect throughout the day, e.g., when he will eat, go outside for potty breaks, walks and playtime. However, a spontaneous walk or playtime is always welcomed, and grabbing some treats for a training session helps him learn what you expect from him, teaches him good manners, and helps you keep him under control.

By Linda Cole

Other resources:

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