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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources

Tips for dealing with dogs, municipal workers


Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
The Starter Flock Program sponsored by the Nebraska Sheep and Goat Association is designed to get up to five new producers started in the sheep or goat business. Opportunities include small flocks selling produce in local farmers markets to large herds or flocks that can fit in the commercial industry.
For sheep and goats, $400 will be given towards the recipient for the purchase of four females. In three years, the recipient will return to the association fair market value of two lambs weighing 120 pounds or two kids weighing 75 pounds. Mentors will also be provided for those in the program. For more information or to apply by Sept. 30, contact Charlene Hawkins, Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers at 402-967-3012.
Craft and hobby entrepreneurs in Nebraska will soon be showing their creations at weekend craft and hobby shows. The majority of the items shown are made by local crafters working from their homes. Anita Hall, UNL extension educator, is coordinating educational opportunities for this growing segment of entrepreneurs. The initial task is to develop an email listserve to receive educational emails related to the business of marketing and selling crafts and hobbies. If you are a self-employed Nebraskan involved in the craft and hobby business and would like to be a part of this listserve, please email your contact information to: Anita Hall at Please be assured that this listserve is for educational use only by UNL Extension and will not be shared.

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Tips for dealing with dogs, municipal workers

Dog bites. Nobody likes them. It's bad for the person bitten, for the dog owner, and ultimately the dog itself. Most dog owners are responsible, take care of their pets and treat their dog as part of the family. But other owners don't care about their dogs, feeling the dog is there to keep everyone out of their yard. Some owners also have a hard time feeding and providing fresh water for their dogs, much less being concerned with preventing confrontations with a stranger. In the interest of public safety, here are a few tips for dog owners.
First, understand most dogs think in terms of a pecking order. The canine brain places everyone in the family into an order, from the lowest to the highest. In many households, the dog is dominated by family members and considers itself in the lowest position, where the dog belongs. If the dog is not in that position, it will be dangerous to those family members below the dog in the pecking order. When someone asks a non-dominant family member to "put the dog away," the stranger has placed both of them in a dangerous spot. Since the dog does not consider the family member to be in charge, it will react to both the member and the stranger.
Sometimes the family member says, "That's not my dog," or "It's my father's," or "It's my boyfriend's." Such people are saying they cannot handle the dog, or ensure anyone's safety. In these situations, the family member should expect to be asked "Company policy requires the dog be confined before I'm allowed to enter the yard; would you get someone who can put the dog away so that I can deliver your service?" This plainly states the issue and gives the family member an alternative to produce a safe situation.
Second, prevent the problem from happening. Securely confine or relocate your dog during scheduled customer service visits and when it's time for utility workers to read your meter. If the customer service visitor is outside, keep your dog securely confined inside. If the visitor is inside, keep your dog securely confined outside or locked in a separate room. Contact your local utilities or check your monthly bills for usual dates when meters are read. On those days, leave gates unlocked and keep your dogs or other pets securely confined in another section of the property or in the house. Dogs are more likely to attack in the presence of the owner or other family member than at any other time ­­ with dog bites rising 85 percent when the owner is present. The dog is now protecting you, not just your grass. Be extra vigilant as the stranger leaves. Most dog attacks occur then because retreating is seen by the dog as a sign of fear. But there are also dogs which attack from a neighbor's yard, and even packs of dogs.
Third, take care of your pet. Collar your dog, so you have the means to quickly restrain your dog in any emergency. Train your dog to obey simple commands like "sit," "stay," "no" and "come." Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs in any situation. Be sure all pet vaccinations and inoculations for rabies and parasites are up to date. If you get a new dog, contact your local utility to let them know and watch your dog vigilantly for the first few months to see how it reacts.
Lastly, post an easily seen sign that states "Dog Is Present." In our litigious society, a "Beware of Dog" sign on your fence or house makes it easy for a lawyer to sue the owner, since it could be an admission of guilt and the owner is advertising the dog is aggressive and knows the dog will bite. Remember dogs react differently to everyone, letting one person into the yard but not allowing the next.
Increasingly, there are breeds which do not adhere to a hierarchy; this is where specific breeds like pit bulls are having problems. These dogs were bred through generations to kill other animals, so there is no hierarchical ritual when two pits meet, they just fight. Other dogs, like Labs and German shepherds, adhere to the hierarchy but if they are bred to a pit bull, the puppies have a 50-50 chance of being predatory and not animal social. Because of this, modern mixed breeds are becoming more unpredictable.

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