Sunday, May 20, 2012

Police Respond to Vicious Dog in Baltimore City

Here at Mk9, we receive a lot of emails and messages about Pit Bull and Pit Bull type dogs. News reports and stories from all over. From both sides of the spectrum as well. The good, and the bad. When we find the ones we believe will do good to help further the education of the general public, we "Share" them with hopes that people will be influenced, and motivated to see Pit Bulls and their owners for what they are, and not what the Media would make them out to be.

Today, we received a rather interesting story from a gentleman in Baltimore. It was a story about a Vicious Dog call, and the Police Officer who answered it. The interesting part is, the gentleman who sent the story IS that Officer who answered the call. So here is the account, from the source;


I'm a Police Officer in Baltimore City. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, and I am a fan of your organization and Pit Bulls. Today I received a call while on duty about a vicious dog chasing kids. When I came on the scene, I noticed people yelling out their windows at the dog. I followed the dog into an ally to see how it was acting. Going on my own approach, being a dog lover, I got out of my car and called the "vicious dog" over to me. The dog came over with it's tail between it's legs and panting. I grabbed my water bottle and the dog sat down next to me and began licking my pants. I started giving the dog water. I brought the dog over and waited for the pound to show up. My partner was not a fan of dogs and was startled by my approach. I suggested to him that this dog cannot be put down, and should be taken to a shelter. We took it upon ourselves to take the dog to the shelter, and transported it in the back seat in the back of our patrol car. Then I decided that I wanted to keep the dog, and spoke to the shelter about the steps to take to adopt it. The dog was originally kept outside and was filthy, and now it just might have a new home. I know you like positive pictures so I have attached a few. Have a great day and keep up the good work!

Officer Dan Waskiewicz
Baltimore City Police

When we heard this story we could not help but SMILE, and maybe do a tail shake or two! :)

Then we got to thinking more about it. How awesome is this story! Not only does it have a happy ending to it, but there are also some major applause points:

Instead of assuming the dog to be vicious and shoot it dead, (as we see so many times before) he analyzes the situation, and sees a nervous dog that needs help.

Instead of letting animal control pick up the dog, and let it disappear, or be put down, he personally takes it to a shelter, IN HIS CRUISER!!!

Finally, he offers the pup a new forever home!

So we at Mk9 would like to say Thank You! Officer Dan, for taking the time to be patient and give a dog a chance. And step outside the stereo types and see this for what is was. A loose dog who was nervous, and needed someone to help. Not someone to yell at him and assume him to be dangerous.

Here is "Bo" with his new family. A perfect picture of a perfect ending or an amazing new beginning. 

Photo by Dan Waskiewicz

CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME UPDATE!!  We'll keep it a secret until you click the link ;)

And this :D


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dog Parks

We feel that dog parks are typically a poor idea for any dogs as a general rule (this doesn't mean we would ever condemn you for using them though!). As someone who has studied animal behaviors and displays for my entire life, i cringe when i watch dogs at dog parks. So many owners not paying attention to the slightest body posturing, bullying, humping, pooping, etc. Certain breeds are just more prone to being dominant to other dogs as well as low dog tolerance and flat out dog aggression. You can have a dog never exhibit an ounce of dog dominance or aggression....until the day another dog grabs ahold of it at the local dog park. It can also just be learned from the other dogs and the 'pack' environment dog parks usually create.

The most obvious reason, to me, for them being a less than amazing idea is how easy it is for larger dogs (of any breed or any background) to injure a smaller breed of dog, or a puppy (even in easy play). Most people say "these things happen" and "don't worry", but then you receive a vet bill totaling thousands of dollars, or a law suit, or the dog warden's visit. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a society where we can take people at their word. We also live in a society where, if you own a pitbull (or any of the other BSL-[breed specific legislation] targeted breeds), you are automatically expected to go above and beyond the precautions of the average dog owner. Is this a fair obstacle we must hurdle? Of course not, but it's simply the way things are in the world of BSL.

Another much more common reason, is the laziness of other dog owners. If someone cannot watch their own dog's behavior, do you think they're going to be cleaning up after their dog? Not likely. The list of diseases transmitted via the simple sniff or step into a pile of waste is scary. You have no way of knowing for certain if these dogs in question have had all vaccines. Some dog parks want proof of certain vaccinations these days, and that is an awesome approach, but not fool-proof. This whole area is the one that I find most scary, as well as most unappealing, and just gross.

A third point to touch on is just setting your dog up for failure. I have known many dogs who never react after a first altercation or attack from another dog.I have also known dogs who have been completely ruined after an early serious altercation in their lives. It can have an adverse reaction in a dog's life, and can always make a dog anticipate the worst. This can in turn, CREATE fights that are stated by your own dog now thanks to that first ever highly negative reaction.

Every breed of dog has a specific genetic makeup. Each breed has certain temperament traits that have defined them for centuries. However, the genetic gene pool for "pit bulls" (american staffordshire terriers, staffordshire bull terriers, american pit bull terriers, and every single mix thereof) has been so watered down by unscrupulous breeding with no care to standard, that it has created dogs who lull you into a false sense of security with their behaviors towards canine friends. It has also made people who have adopted pit bull mixes for 10-20 years feel as if every single pit bull will be just like those 2 or 3 dogs they got lucky with. That is just that though.....a lucky streak on their part.

After being a life long akita owner, and adopting my first pit bull 7 years ago already, I once established that I would never be a dog park frequenter. At first this was an idea that really upset me, until I actually visited my first dog park. All I had to do was sit there and simply watch everyone else for a few hours. It was enough to provide a panic attack and make me feel blessed to have never been a regular at one. ;)

Things like doggie play dates with a small group of familiar dogs, or even only one other dog, are amazing alternatives to dog parks. Then you and someone you trust can handle every issue and situation that could arise. You can easily stop dogs when needed or break up any scuffles. You can also feel safe knowing no diseases will be transmitted if it's someone you have known for quite some time and feel totally confident in trusting. The keyword to me for doggie play dates, is TRUST. Make sure this is with someone you can trust, or an environment you can easily control if you need to be the one in charge.

Another fantastic option is a run/jog or a hike with canine friends and their owners, where all dogs are leashed. This enables positive interactions as well as the highest level of control. Dogs can easily focus on the other scents and sights in these ventures too, and not focus so seriously on another dog. See our Pit Bull PowWow outings.

The last thing I want to finish with is this: It will not kill your dog to never make doggie friends outside his or her house. Pit bulls and many breeds similar to them in temperament care about one thing above all else....YOU and interacting with you. All of the dog parks, play dates, and canine travels in the world cannot hold a candle to the joy little Fido gets from hanging out with you. So get outside and interactive with him/her, take in this gorgeous late spring weather, and most importantly bring a leash to guarantee the safety of pooches around you (especially your own pooch)!

Written by: Nikki Stixx

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Time to store the food bowls. . .

We are putting those bad boy bowls up on a shelf, out of reach. . .

Well, there will be no more "free" meals for our pups.  Dogs in general like to search for their food, they love to work and the mind stimulation is great for a healthy dog. Our normal routine in the mk9 home is to ask our dogs to sit or down before they receive their meals, but we are stepping up the game a bit. Now they will have to work for their entire meal, in a fun tasty way.

What we are about to show you works well for people on the run and don't have a lot of time to do training until their dogs entire meal is finished. This also works well for dogs that are racer eaters (gobble their food in 2 bites), dogs that like to dump their dishes or dogs that get board with their food (picky eaters).

"We can treat boredom using constructive discontent (hunger) to expend energy, and stimulate intelligent problem solving, resulting in pets that are physically healthy, smarter, and more emotionally fulfilled." - Dr Tripp

What you will need is:

-Large (or) x large size Kong Ball (black), Kong Wobbler or a feeding puzzle that your dog really loves.
The reason for these choices instead of your dogs average food bowl, is there is CHALLENGE involved.

-Next you will need your dogs food that you normally feed.

-For Kong Balls we like to add a bit of Peanut butter (optional) to the top to hold in the dog food.

Food puzzles for your pups will vary in difficulty when getting the food out, pick something that best suits your dogs personality. For example: if your pup is a bit over weight or very clever at getting the food out you may want a harder food puzzle like Canine Genius. If your pup is on the thinner side or gets easily frustrated we recommend starting with an easy puzzle or kong ball. If you like to add a bit more variety to their meal time hide the feeding puzzles around your home.

- If you have more then one dog in your home, make sure all dogs are separated during feeding time. We wouldn't want to set our fur kids up for failure by placing a high value item in the middle of two or more driven dogs. So, put your pups in their own crates or designate a specific room for each.

-Do you feed your dog canned/wet food?
If you do, freeze the food in the puzzles or place the feeding puzzle in a x large bowl which makes it more difficult to get the food and keeps the room cleaner. ;)

Here is a list of some of our favorite feeding puzzles.

If anyone would like to donate any of the below feeders to the mk9 rescue dogs we would be grateful.  
Email for address or more details. Thanks all ;)

"Having a job to do, a challenge, a problem to solve that is within your abilities to do is what keeps us alive, aware and engaged in our lives and the same is true for our canine companions." - Dr. Marty Becker