Top-10 Resolutions for Pets for 2010

More than resolutions, this might be better described as a Top-10 wish list of my hopes and dreams for pets for 2010:
(May you and your entire family enjoy a healthy and safe New Year!)

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  • Great article. I like your #1, however, I would like to point out that you don't have to do clicker training to be humane. The "all positive" trend (and it is a trend) does not work out for most dogs because it is not balanced. Even Ian Dunbar, who I also respect, says that sometimes dogs do need to be corrected. There are 4 quadrants to operant conditioning, and you cannot ignore 2 just because you don't like them and want to be PC, it's a good thing gone "too far". I also dislike that "certain tv trainer" and his archaic methods and dominance labels, but Victoria Stilwell is not the best, either. Her techniques involve ignoring and avoiding certain behavior issues that will escalate, and many pet owners will give up on their dogs due to that type of training. A dog in one episode was chewing on his leash, he had no respect for this basic training tool, her solution... take the leash off! What kind of solution is that? She does use startling noises (claping, uh-uhs) and intimidating body posture, which only work the first few times you do them, and she doesn't train dogs properly. I would like to see her handle a real behavior issue, not just the fluff she does on the show like potty training and mild little issues. A head harness is not necessary if/when you teach "heel" the first basic obedience any dog should learn, they do not learn on her show-- Dog training has lost it's standards, where are the concrete results.

    There should be a middle ground of balance-- either they're stuffing dogs full of bribe treats, or they're alpha-rolling and poking, why? I have yet to see a tv show dog trainer who I admire, or who has a good handle on training dogs. What I see is very little skill, mixed results, and heavily edited shows.

    I disagree with your opinion of pet insurance, what I advocate is having money set aside. The business of insurance is to deny, deny, deny, right? The smartest thing you can do is keep your money YOURS. Have a little savings account for your pet, you put $100 in a month, or whatever amount works out, and you have a few thousand set aside case of emergency, such as an injury, surgery, etc. This way, by the time your dog is 1 year old, you have $1,000 set aside growing, should you ever need it. I have been lucky that I own 4 dogs and haven't had a vet bill other than routine yearly things (exams, blood tests, occasional meds). I even found a vet in the suburbs that only charges $180 for a spay surgery, and nowadays most people aren't doing the yearly vax boosters.

    Love the rest of your list!

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