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A Pet Dog or Cat, Which Is For Me? Learn The Positives and Negatives.

Pet dogs or pet cats, both of these animals are popular pet choices available for us to choose from, but which pet is right for you? Cats and dogs are pretty much polar opposites of each other, from the personalities they carry, to the mannerisms they outwardly display, and if you want to identify what pet is right for you, then we need to learn more information about these amazing animals.

I’ve lived with dogs and cats for a long time, helping to raise them from a young age and eventually into full grown adults, so I understand the pros and cons each one of them holds. For your benefit, I’m going to list those positives and negatives from my personal experience, which will hopefully allow you to answer the question: “Is a dog or cat the right pet for me?”

Behavior – How Loving Are These Two?

Pros for Dogs: Dogs always appear to be happy, no matter what the circumstance. As long as you bought a puppy at a young age and gave them plenty of love as they grew up, then the dog’s attitude should be a fun and loving one, and that’s exactly what owners want. Dogs are loving, loyal, and are simply entertaining to just be around. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible for dogs to feel another emotion besides joy! Well, they also feel guilt when they do something wrong, but besides that, dogs are constantly brimming with positivity and it is absolutely infectious at times. Imagine a tiresome day at work, coming home and plopping down on the couch, and then being greeted by your happy animal companion who wants nothing more than to cheer you up. Aw, how nice of them!

Cons for Dogs: However, dogs sometimes can get too needy for your attention. Maybe after that long day of work, you instead want to go home and rest without any interruption, but a dog may still attempt to smother you for a pat on the back. Dogs also have the tendency to get jealous over other pets who are being given any form of attention, and may exact revenge if you don’t provide the same amount of love towards them. I had a Poodle that would pee in undesirable locations knowing it was bad, but did it anyways because she got angry or jealous. That was one bad dog. Not all dogs have such an obnoxious characteristic, however.

Pros for Cats: Unlike dogs, cats have more than one emotion! They are also far more independent and conservative. Cats will always have a fondness for their owners, but they choose to show it only when they are in the mood. A cat might wake up after a brief rest, and spontaneously think: “Well, I feel like getting some attention now,” and they’ll walk over to you and start rubbing up against your legs while purring. That’s when you know the cat is in a good mood, when they sound like miniature car motors.

Then there are other times when you will try to pet them, and the cat will just be like: “Yeah, whatever, thanks I guess.” Or the cat is in an extremely lazy mood and will refuse to respond to anything you do. Nobody ever knows how a cat will react, their behavior is random. You kinda have to “earn” their respect and attention, but hey, nothings wrong with that. Plus, cats won’t always be a bother when you’re busy.

Cons for Cats: The problem with a cat’s attitude is that it’s inconsistent, or arbitrary. There are occasions when you just want a friendly pet to come lay down on top of your lap or next to you, and cats will certainly do that, just not whenever you want. What I’m trying to articulate here is cats are not as loyal or willing to comply as easily as dogs.

Here’s an example: Once a dog learns his name, he’ll respond without hesitation when you call him. A cat, however, even when he hears you calling, will choose to either listen or completely ignore you. The cat will even raise it’s head towards you, acknowledging that he’s heard your call, and then close his eyes and go right back to sleep. How rude! Cats will listen every now and then; it’s just if they are in the mood.

Conclusion: The personality is a preference thing. People like loyal and loving pets, but they also enjoy pets who show can show some restraint.

Messiness – How Clean Or Messy Are Dogs and Cats?

Pros for Dogs: Uh, well, you know, um… Okay dogs are not really the cleanest animals around. The good thing is you can potty train them, and training them to go to the bathroom outside is both convenient and a whole lot less smelly for your home. That’s really all I have to say for the positive side. Dogs will take care of themselves most often, but you will probably need to give a bath from time to time to help keep them clean.

Cons for Dogs: First off, if you haven’t potty trained your dog yet, you should! Otherwise, the dog will pee or poop wherever they please, and that’s just gross. On top of that immense problem, dogs are known to chew on wires, shoes, or anything else accessible on the ground. Wires that have been chewed through will render whatever appliance it was powering to be fully useless. Depending on what the appliance was, it may need to be replaced, and means spending money. The same goes for the shoes.

To remedy this problem, you can buy cord covers to cover any vulnerable cords laying around. Make sure the covers are hard enough to prevent any chewing. As for the shoes, put them away in a closet somewhere. Also, consider having a few chew toys available for your dog to satisfy their chomping urges; it’ll save you money in the end.

Pros for Cats: Cats, to match their independent behavior, clean themselves many times. It’s part of a cat’s daily routine. They even have tongues that have a sandpaper like texture to help clean and groom their hair. Due to a cat’s frequent cleaning, they rarely need to be bathed, which is great. I mean, have you tried bathing a cat before? It’s a nightmarish experience for sure.

Most cats are already potty trained, all you have to do is have a few litter boxes scattered throughout the house, the rest can be left up to them. How convenient is that? You can even let a cat outside and they’ll take care of business, even burying it after they’ve finished. Cats are very clean animals.

Cons for Cats: Until they throw up a nasty hairball, that is. A major downside for cats is the perpetual vomiting. Some cats do it more often than others, but at some point, the cat is going to get a hairball from their constant cleaning, and you will have to clean it up! It’s kinda gross, but you’ll get used to it eventually.

Additionally, it’s important to spay or neuter a cat as soon as possible. It’ll prevent them from spraying your home with urine. Seriously, the earlier the better. You don’t want a cat to develop a spraying habit, it’s the worst.

And of course, cats have the tendency to claw furniture! There are scratching posts one can buy to discourage this type of behavior. Placing the posts next to the piece of furniture is most effective.

Conclusion: Cats are cleaner than dogs, but have the potential to be messier, especially if they are not spayed at the right time. But self-cleaning and instinctive potty training are two very convenient hygienic qualities to have in a pet.

Fun – Are Dogs or Cats More Fun To Play With?

Pros For Dogs: Because of a dog’s willingness to listen, to put it simply: it allows you to do more fun activities with them, and that can be way more fun for certain people. You can teach a dog new tricks, like sitting, rolling over and playing dead; all of which are entertaining for you and your family to see. Dogs also love to go for walks in the parks for some healthy exercise, or play an exciting game of fetch. Undoubtedly, dogs are very amusing animals and most of the fun comes from the owner interacting with their pet, unlike cats. I’ll explain below.

Cons For Dogs: Fun stems from an energetic and friendly attitude, which is precisely where dogs excel. If you are looking for a fun pet then, dogs will rarely disappoint. No real cons come to mind in this department.

Pros for Cats: Cats, despite their supposed sophisticated demeanor, are captivated by the simplest of things. If you’ve raised a kitten before, the first thing that stands out is their ability to entertain themselves with absolutely anything. It’s a cat’s self-entertainment that is so enthralling and fun to watch.

My cats will attack innocent rugs, rolling themselves up inside and clawing at the furry mat as if it were alive. They’ll also chase their own tails around in circles until they get dizzy, in which case they’ll stop for a few seconds, and do it all over again! Cats will stalk bugs in the house, hiding behind cover and methodically pacing themselves towards the unsuspecting insect, then they crouch down, shake their behinds back and forth until finally ending with a vicious pounce. It’s hilarious to see, and you would be surprised at how effective cats are at eliminating bugs.

If you want to participate in on the fun and interact with a cat, you can. All you need is a single piece of string. Seriously, cats cannot resist the opportunity to play with a piece of string. Even if you were to wake a cat up in the middle of the night, and they see a string wiggling vigorously in front of them, they’ll instantly become wide awake and start playing around with it.

Cons for Cats: While cats will amuse themselves with simple things, you’ll have a hard time getting them to learn any tricks. Or going for walks. Or playing with things that are not strings or string equivalents. Oh well!

Conclusion: Two different styles of fun are at work here. Dogs are more willing to learn and play with their owner, and that’s fun. Cats on the other-hand, are more willing to amuse themselves, which is fun for the owner to watch.

Cost – How Much Will These Pet Dogs and Cats Cost Me?

Dogs: The average cost of a dog varies and is usually dependent on their size. Bigger dogs such as German Shepherds will require more food to eat, while smaller puppies like a Maltipoo need much less. The more food you buy, the costlier it becomes. Other dog expenses might include flea medications, chewing toys, cord covers to protect electrical wiring, and a new shiny pair of shoes if they get chewed up! If your dog is not potty trained for the outdoors, pee pads can cost money as well.

Cats: Cat expenses include dry food, flea medications, litter boxes plus litter (unless you let the cat outside all the time), and possibly hairball medication if they struggle getting a hairball up. Cats most often than not don’t have trouble with hairballs because dry foods have a specific ingredient to help lubricate the hair. Also, don’t forget scratching posts for the cats to scratch, the posts cost substantially less than the furniture!

Conclusion: Both cats and dogs require money to take care of, is anyone surprised? Dogs may cost more if you get a bigger breed.

There you go! Those are the positives and negatives for owning a pet dog or cat. They each come with their own unique set of problems, but if you are able to look past them and pick a pet that has a personality that closely matches your own, I think it’s a decision you won’t regret making.

You could also just get both. Dogs and cats living together… what a crazy thought, but it’s possible. I do it!

 

Planning on having a vacation with your family? Do you want to have a hassle free option for you to set up your travel plans and choose the best travel destinations around the world? No worries. The easiest and the most convenient way to book your ticket and help you with your travel itinerary are through the internet. You can find so many websites about travel guides and tours that would certainly help you with your trip.

You can find online travel agencies that can be helpful in giving you information about great destinations around the world without going to any travel agency office or talk to a travel agent. These online travel agencies will surely give you all the comforts to set up your destination plans in front of your laptop or PC. When you choose your online travel destination, you have to remember to find the best deal that allows you to choose your own destination and at the same time gives you all the comfort and convenience.

The benefits and advantage of online travel agencies is having low cost and convenience. Online travel agencies is also available at any time, as long as you go online, you have all the time for bookings that you need to complete. With all these online agencies, you have all the option to choose the best deal and the right budget for you. It also gives the comfort in the country of destination; you are provided with the transfer to your hotel and agencies are the one taking care of any problems you might encounter.

Also, the advantage of choosing online agencies is your control on your decision without influences or pressure from travel agents. If you visit a travel agency office, many travel agents have the same tone like a salesman; remember that most of these people are working under a commission program. So basically, you might be pressured by their sales pitch and book a trip without checking other good options and much less affordable.

Usually one of the concerns for online travel agencies is the security of paying large amounts of money online. Online security is a major issue for any online business, so it is very important to make sure and choose a travel agency online with a good reputation by checking customer reviews and feedback. Not all agencies can be relied on because some of them might disappear with your money. There are so many scams over the internet nowadays, so b very careful. It is better to be safe than sorry.

So overall, make sure to choose the legitimate and quality online travel agencies to avoid scams. Always seek some tips and assistance if you’re not sure about the online travel agency. Most importantly plan your trip carefully to avoid any hassles or problems. Good luck and enjoy your vacation.

Scrabble is a popular family game for all ages, this article looks at the benefits of scrabble for kids and adults alike.

Scrabble was invented by Alfred Mosher Butts back in nineteen forty-eight, and since then it’s been a favorite game for generations of families. Not only is Scrabble a great educational tool to build word ability and comprehension, but it aids in lateral thinking and vocabulary enhancement.

Scrabble has surpassed several other competing word games in popularity over the years, and has found a new life in online word game such as Words with Friends for entirely new generations of people. With the advent of the internet, a whole range of additional tutorial, tip, and tricks have found their way into common availability. There are several experts who devote their time to producing a scrabble dictionary, word lists or cheat hints to develop players from beginners into advanced gamers who can compete in tournaments and online competitions.

The health benefits for children are numerous, from developing an excellent vocabulary to the ability to critically weigh different strategies. It’s a great skill to teach a child to think beyond the immediate gratification of creating a word now, versus holding your letters in order to play a longer and higher scoring word later. In addition to these benefits, the ability to patiently see a game through to the end is an invaluable asset which will help a child in life in general.

The mental concentration required to puzzle through different word options in Scrabble also puts the brain into a meditative state much like taking a class of yoga or meditating. Taking this time to deliberately relax and engage in some mental exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Although this is great for general relaxation in the evening, one recommendation that has been made is that you should not play scrabble too soon before retiring for the night, as it’ll leave your brain in a ‘puzzle’ state for an hour or two and make it more difficult to sleep. Scrabble is a very analytical game which is similar to solving a Sudoku puzzle or playing a pen and paper game such as hangman. Gradually absorbing the rules, and knowing when to consult the Scrabble dictionary builds confidence and vocabulary.

In addition to these benefits, it’s a great social outlet for older people who club together to play Scrabble. A lot of friendships have been forged by people who have met while playing Scrabble, be it in a home for the elderly or a youth group for teenagers. Taking the time to share some competitive play with another person is a wonderful ice breaker, and by carefully looking at the type of words a person makes you can determine their interests and viewpoints on the world. If you get really good you can enter tournaments, and extend your competition beyond just playing each other into the realm of expert play.

If you’re having trouble with your scrabble game, be sure to check online resources which can enhance your abilities with easy to remember word lists, articles and scrabble cheats to help you get a quick advantage over your opponent.

If you’ve never heard of Collembola, you’re not alone. Until recent years, it was thought that these soil borne creatures were essentially harmless. Even doctors vehemently denied that springtails were likely to infest human hair and skin. Folks who suffered from chronic itching, biting and crawling sensations were often considered delusional, but that mindset is slowly changing. Mounting evidence suggests that these micro-tiny pests can be surprisingly invasive.

Thanks to the tenacity of folks like Dr. Frans Janssens and his colleague, Dr. Kenneth A. Christiansen, the scientific community is beginning to recognize that springtails can pose a very real threat to human comfort when present in large numbers. The two researchers collected scores of reports from homeowners, doctors, and pest control operators in several countries, including many regions of The United States. Within the gray areas between casual testimony, scientific observation and concrete medical documentation, a startling picture emerged. Collembola are everywhere, and it’s not impossible for them to latch onto humans and animals.

As inhabitants of fertile soil, springtails are likely to be found just about anywhere. The more you water the lawn and apply fertilizer, the happier they’ll be. They are considered the most abundant arthropods on earth. Since prehistoric times, they have survived frigid winters and very hot summers, but their numbers decrease exponentially under dry conditions.

Pet owners are particularly vulnerable to collembola infestation. Dogs and cats who trample through moist soil or wet grass can pick up springtails and transport them into the home; however, it’s not likely that springtails will stay attached to pets like fleas unless an animal’s immune system is compromised (for example, if there’s a fungal infection of the skin.) Springtails are easily transferred between humans and animals. Close contact isn’t necessary. These acrobatic creatures can jump three to four feet. You may not always notice them catapulting through the air. They can be smaller than the head of a pin.

If the thought of a few springtails in the house makes you paranoid, relax. Their ability to divide and conquer will largely depend upon environmental factors. Do you enjoy growing potted plants indoors? Does your basement tend to flood after a good rain? Can you smell mold behind the bathroom wall? Are you still waiting on a plumber to fix that leaky pipe under the kitchen sink? Who was president the last time you cleaned your air ducts? A moist, moldy environment is like Disneyland to a springtail.

Getting rid of an advanced collembola infestation can be difficult because springtails aren’t classified as insects. They are defined as hexapods, primitive ancestors to modern day bugs. According to organic scientist David Glassel, chemical pesticides have no effect on the hexapod. Only natural insecticides will do the trick, and the best remedy is cedar oil.

Step By Step Guide to Eliminate Collembola Infestation:

1.) Treat yourself and your pets with a topical cedar oil insecticide approved for use with humans and animals. Avoid cosmetic or aroma therapy grade cedar oil. It’s not purified, and it usually comes from certain forms of cypress trees. Cedar oil that is formulated for home protection will kill ALL TYPES of parasites on contact, including springtails, lice and all forms of mites. If you’re tempted to use an over the counter kit designed for lice control, don’t bother. It won’t work, it’s not enough to cover large areas, and it’s just plain not good for you. Such products contain Lindane, a chemical banned for use with animals by the Environmental Protection Agency.

2.) Spray couches, beds and carpets with a fine cedar oil mist. A proper household formula will be very light and pure. In other words, it won’t stain fabric.

3.) Use a cedar oil fog machine to penetrate unseen cracks and crevices in the home. Normally, fog machines are considered optional, but advanced springtail infestations require aggressive measures. If you believe your infestation is severe, or if you’ve actually SEEN large groups of springtails moving over floors and walls, don’t mess around.

4.) Use the fog machine to treat air ducts or hire a professional air duct cleaning company. Many people are shocked to discover they have mold in their air ducts. It is not uncommon for mold to develop in your heating and cooling system from the condensation of your air conditioner. Springtails feed upon mold and thrive in moist conditions. Mold can also aggravate asthma and allergies. Air duct treatment addresses all of these difficulties.

5.) Purchase the highest quality furnace filters available at your local store. Filters designed for allergen and dust mite removal are best. Change filters frequently.

6.) Hunt for places where moisture accumulates. Patch leaky roofs and pipes. Seal cracks around basement windows. Pay special attention to bathroom walls and cabinets under sinks.

7.) Remove household plants, especially decorative trees sitting in large potted containers filled with soil. Remember that springtails can be transported directly into your home via bags of potted soil.

8.) Take aggressive measures to control animal populations on your property. Double bag garbage, and don’t leave open trash barrels sitting around. Animal foods that are stored outdoors should be kept in airtight containers. Use traps or repellents to control rodents, raccoons and squirrel populations. Resist the urge to pet stray dogs and cats. Report any sightings of feral cats to your local animal control center.

9.) Beware of ultra rich potting soil and wooden landscaping materials. Based on calls placed to our pest control operation from all over the country, springtail populations are often introduced to the home when truckloads of new mulch or soil have been dumped on properties that previously had minimal landscaping. (Mulch traps moisture and promotes the growth of mold.) Seal any cracks around basement windows before distributing natural landscaping materials around the perimeter of the home. If you’re worried about collembolla populations outdoors, there are super strength cedar oil concentrates designed to repel mosquitoes and kill insect populations in the grass and soil. Pet breeders, horse keepers, and livestock farmers use cedar oil concentrates to control all types of parasites in barns, pens and pastures. A generous treatment early in the spring or summer will do a lot to destroy eggs and control multiple insect populations before they explode. Veterinarian bills are EXPENSIVE. Destroy parasites before they destroy you!

10.) Last but not least, avoid chemical pesticides. In February of 2011, USA Today ran an article titled “Exposure to Pesticides in Womb Linked to Learning Disabilities.” The study focused on peremethrin, a chemical commonly used to battle household pests. As disturbing as this sounds, the topic is nothing new. Scores of scientific studies have linked chemical pesticides to neurological disorders, breast cancer and birth defects in children living near farms where chemicals are sprayed. In a nationally televised ABC World News investigation, spot drop flea and tick medicines were found to cause 44,000 severe reactions in a single year, including multiple deaths.

In the current age we live in, technology has become an important component. Every day there is some new gadget or software that makes lives easier and improves on the technology and software that already exists. Making lives easier is not, however, the only role technology plays in our lives.

Technology is playing an increasing role in education. As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process.

Technology used in the classroom helps students adsorb the material. For example, since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture.

Software can be used to supplement class curriculum. The programs provide study questions, activities, and even tests and quizzes for a class that can help students continue learning outside the classroom.

Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computers to create presentations and use the Internet to research topics for papers and essays.

Students also learn to use the technology available to them in computer and tech classes. This ensures that after graduation they will be able to use the technology in a work setting, which may put them ahead of someone who didn’t have access to a particular technology or software in their own school setting.

As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like these. When something new and “better” is revealed, the “older” technology becomes more affordable, allowing it to be used in educational settings, even when schools are on a tight budget.

Technology has also advanced to help children even before they’ve started school. Educational video games and systems for young children helps them prepare for school and in some cases get a head start on their education.

There are people who may say children are “spoiled” by technology. Instead of being able to add a long column of numbers in their heads, for example, they turn to a calculator. Regardless of these arguments, technology is an important part of today’s society. By incorporating it into the classroom, students will be better equipped to transition from the classroom to the work place.

The marketing approach techniques are countless. There are many ways to approach the potential customer. There are two marketing approaches that are very interesting, due to their specific techniques. They are viral marketing and direct marketing.

The Viral Marketing is a marketing technique that is using the social networks, both online and offline, for transmitting the message or advertisement, through self replicating viral process. This process resembles to spreading computer viruses or biological viruses.

Almost anything can be the subject of viral marketing effect: information, web link, video clip, e-Books, etc.

Methods of viral marketing expansion can be:

Word of mouth – simple communication between people who knows each other.

Social Media such as Facebook are the perfect examples of viral media. The number of people who are using these services is huge. The members of these social media environments are connected very well, since every user has many contacts. Finally, method of sharing idea or message is very simple, through different sharing techniques.

“Invite Your Friend” calls from different e-services. These messages that provokes the actions are moving significant part of population who wants to share the message, but they are not willing to invest effort.

Advantage of viral marketing is that it takes very little or no investment. The viral marketing system is powered by the will of transmitters to pass the message further. The power of exponential growth is tremendous. If every person is distributing the information to 5 people and further, this gives are 3.125 informed people after 5 levels from original message transfer. The viral marketing experts know this formula very well, therefore, the viral marketing is part of marketing techniques portfolio.

Disadvantage is that viral marketing is not reliable as a standard method of information transfer, since it is not likely that every idea will be transferred at the same rate. Simply, the outcome of the viral marketing campaign is unpredictable, since the power of campaign depends of many parameters.

Also “viral competition” dictates the effectiveness of viral campaign. If two similar campaign are present at the same period to the similar audience, it is likely that the social group will transfer the message that seems more interesting at the moment.

There is no secret formula for guarantied success of Viral Marketing campaign, but good ideas, with tone of humor, anticipation and value adding elements can help the viral marketing campaign to succeed.

On the other hand, Direct Marketing is a sales method where advertisers approach potential customers directly with advertisement, products or services. The most usual methods of direct marketing are telephone sales, solicited or unsolicited emails, catalogs, leaflets, brochures, direct visits etc.

There are two main differences that distinguish it from other types of marketing. The first characteristic of direct marketing is that the message is transferred directly to consumers, without use of intermediate communication media and mass media campaign. The second characteristic is “call to action” principle of communication to the consumers.

Direct marketing is attractive to many companies since the campaign results can be measured directly. For example, if a marketer sends out 5,000 messages by mail and 250 respond to the promotion, the company easily calculates that campaign gave 5% response rate.

On the other hand, the measurement of other media ( TV, Radio ) must often be indirect, since there is no measurable calculation of message recipients. Measurement of results is a key element of every activity.

Direct marketing is practiced by businesses of all sizes – from the smallest start-up company to the multinational corporations. The decision of using of direct marketing approach is not related to the size of the company. If the niche of targeted population is too small, the direct marketing may pay off more than large scale advertising campaign.

The Direct Marketing and Viral Marketing have completely different approach. The power of both marketing approaches can be leveraged, depending on the situation. Every person is the potential shopper, it only takes a little to trigger the shopping mechanism.

 

You may be wondering if the title of real estate consultant is a meaningful one, and if it indicates anything different from the same old licensed real estate brokers with a vested interest in the fate of a property. While it is true that anyone can call himself or herself a consultant, the term is not meaningless window dressing. For those who take their real estate consulting business seriously, it represents a different model, a different approach to real estate practice.

The first and most important difference is objectivity. Whereas a real estate broker typically is paid contingent on an outcome-in other words, they receive a commission-a real estate consultant is paid solely for their expertise. They have no stake in the outcome. Salespeople are paid only for getting a result-a sale. Real estate consultants are paid for their expert advice only, and by design have no stake in achieving a particular outcome to a particular transaction. This gives them the capacity to be more objective and inherently more trustworthy than a traditional real estate salesperson. Think about it-even the most honest salesperson will unconsciously try to steer you toward a sale. After all, that’s where their pay comes from-from selling! The consultant is paid the way other professional advisors or service professionals like CPAs are, with a retainer regardless of outcome.

Consulting can involve a variety of skills and areas of expertise. You can hire a consultant for legal advice, market research, or to locate possible properties to invest in, among other things. Since they are paid as much for their time if they advise you that there are no properties in an area worth investing in as if they advise you of dozens of viable properties, they have no stake in anything except giving you the best advice possible. After all, their future business depends on word-of-mouth endorsements from investors like you.

If you are looking for properties to invest in, a real estate consultant can tip you off to developer closeouts and bulk opportunities, equity partnerships, joint ventures, and possibly even some very unique and profitable turnkey investment opportunities. The consultant is selling information and expertise, and therefore can provide you with a layer of insulation between you and the people selling the properties. They can work out a lot of the details and business prospects of a property before you have to talk to a salesperson. Once you face the salesperson, you can approach the negotiation fully armed with an array of appropriate information, and thus avoid being bamboozled and negotiate from a position of strength.

If, on the other hand, you are selling properties, especially if you have a lot of properties to sell, a real estate consultant can help you create a strategy to sell the units before you get involved with actual salespeople, which can have many advantages. For example, you can sell a lot of properties in a relatively short time without creating the appearance of a bulk sale by having a real estate consultant distribute the properties among several different sellers.

 

A lot of people are enchanted by the idea of owning a pet fox. They’re charming, intelligent animals, and there is a lot of appeal in having a “special” animal that not many people have. While foxes can make decent pets for someone with the time and resources to care for them, a lot of people make the mistake of buying a pet fox thinking it is going to be just like a dog.

1. Foxes Are Difficult to Train

Dogs are born with a very strong pack mentality. A dog sees you as its alpha, and is hard-wired to want to obey the leader. They live to please you. A fox, however, lives to please itself. While they are very intelligent, the core motivation of a fox is different than that of a dog. The dog wants to please you and make you happy, the fox wants the treat.

2. Foxes Stink

Foxes have a very strong odor. While a dog can take a few weeks without a bath to work up a powerful stink, foxes smell skunky 24/7. This strong, musky odor can be lessened somewhat by having the fox neutered, but it cannot be eliminated entirely.

3. Foxes Are Shy

Many people picture a fox as an awesome pet that they can show off to their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the reality almost always falls far short of this. While foxes often become very attached and affectionate with their families, they remain impossibly shy around visitors and strangers.

4. Foxes Have Special Needs

Foxes have special dietary and exercise requirements outside that of a dog. They are extremely energetic, and require loads of exercise every day. A large, carefully-built outdoor enclosure is a must. Which brings me to my next point…

5. Foxes Are Escape Artists

Foxes are much more proficient at getting out of enclosures than even the most determined dog. They can leap six feet in the air, climb up fences, and even cling upside down to climb along a chain link ceiling for short distances. Any enclosure that is meant to keep foxes must not only be large, but impossible to dig out of and have a full roof.

6. Foxes Are Destructive

Many people buy a fox under the mistaken impression that it can be kept as an indoor pet, and left with free run of the house while they are away at work. Nothing could be farther from the truth, particularly with the larger species like red foxes. They will steal and hide anything small enough for them to carry, and shred just about everything they can get their teeth in to. It is nearly impossible to break even the best-trained fox of these behaviors. A dog can be taught not to chew things, a fox can only be taught not to chew things while you’re watching. While a fox is loose in the house, it requires constant supervision.

In conclusion, foxes can make fascinating pets for people who are prepared to care for them. If you are interested in a pet fox, go into it with your eyes wide open, do your research, and understand that caring for a fox is not like caring for a dog.

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

Using an assistant agreement is vital when hiring a real estate assistant. It should describe the working relationship between you and the assistant. The first thing you should consider is whether he or she is an employee or working as an independent contractor. If you choose to have an employee you have to deduct taxes, social security and unemployment insurance from their pay. This involves a lot of record keeping on your part plus the added expenses you incur by having an employee…

So after consideration most agents that hire assistants choose the independent contractor status. You do not have to do any of the withholding. You just have to provide a 1099 form. There is no salary only a commission or fee as payment or services rendered payment. This fee will also be deductible on your taxes as an expense.. It would be wise to check with your accountant to see how to handle the payment schedule.

You should hire an assistant that has an active real estate license because if they don’t have one it will limit them to doing only what an unlicensed person can do. This will make a very big difference because there are many tasks that need a licensed agent to perform. Some of the requirements you should consider when interviewing an assistant would be having computer skills in programs such as Microsoft word, excel or comparable programs. If they don’t have a laptop computer you may have to provide one. Although it’s an expense the investment will prove well worth it.

Let’s talk about what else an agreement should do.

  • Define the work hours
  • Define commission or payment services
  • Explain what duties you expect from an assistant
  • Assist with showings
  • Assist with market value reports
  • Go on market value report appointments with you
  • Set Appointments
  • Do open houses
  • Record keeping
  • Mailings
  • Hand out flyers
  • Place signs for open houses
  • Make phone calls on your behalf
  • Prospecting for new business
  • Review the daily updates on the MLS
  • Preview new listings
  • Meet all of your clients and customers
  • A team player attitude

You must determine a payment schedule of how much, when and how often the assistant should expect payment. Your business growth should have a direct effect on commission increases for the assistant. A confidentially clause is important to have in your agreement. The assistant must know that what goes on between both of you stays confidential. Having this all on paper will set the guidelines. Your assistant will know their job description and their duties.. A real estate assistant agreement should protect both parties.