The Bark
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Seven Summer Tips for You and Your Dog.
Seven ways to carpe the summer diem.

Sure, you could sit around inside with your dog, sweating and complaining about the heat. But why do that when there are so many ways to take advantage of the season’s longer days and warmer weather?

  • Make your dog a warm-weather flop spot. Look for a shady area in your yard, dig a shallow pit sized to fit your pup, line it with a thin layer of concrete and before the concrete dries, poke holes in it for drainage. Once the concrete has set, fill the pit with playground sand, dampen it and let the fun begin.

  • Plan a toxin-free and dog-friendly landscape. No snail bait, no cocoa mulch, no lethal plants (check out the ASPCA site for a list of ones to avoid), no chemical fertilizers, no fungicides, no herbicides, no pesticides. Ideal landscaping/hardscaping material doesn’t get too hot, is easy on the paws and— in a perfect world—doesn’t track into the house on fuzzy feet; pea gravel and pavers fill the bill.

  • Have some good, wet fun—summer’s prime time for water play. A caveat, however: keep an eye on your dog for signs of hyponatremia, aka water intoxication, which can come on fast and is life-threatening. Bone up on the symptoms and make sure your dog takes breaks.

  • Experiment with a new way to cruise. Rent a dog-friendly camper trailer or houseboat and see the world from a whole new perspective. Some camper rental companies will handle delivery, setup and hauling away; do an online search for a company in your preferred vacation spot. For on-the-water accommodations, check out Houseboating.org.

  • Take in a drive-in. Remember the al fresco movie experience of yesteryear? Some communities revive this lovely summer tradition, and some even allow you to skip the car and loll on a blanket under the stars. Search for summer + drive-in and see what comes up in your area.

  • Sign up for summer school and learn new skills or master old ones. Training, agility, herding and freestyle are all on the agenda. Then, there are dog camps—the summer camps of your childhood, but way better. For maximum relaxation, match the activity type and level to your and your dog’s temperaments.

  • Mark your calendar with “dog days” concerts and sporting events. Special offerings tend to pop up this time of the year, perfect for enjoyment with the pooch.

  • We know we don’t have to tell you this, but while you’re having fun with the pup, keep safety in mind. Stay out of the sun during the warmest hours, have plenty of water available, dab sunscreen on both yourself and your dog (yes, there are sunscreens for dogs), take lots of well-shaded rest breaks and never, never, never leave your dog in the car. If you’re out walking, listen to what your dog’s telling you; let him rest if he wants to and don’t coax him to go faster. Finally, do your best to avoid areas with foxtails, those sticky, diabolical grass awns (seeds) that burrow into fur and skin and, once well in, don’t come out without surgery. If these wild grasses show up in your yard—which they’re prone to do—pull them out while they’re still green.

    News: Editors
    Watch Human-Chain Rescue Dog

    Amongst the tragic and brutal news of recent days, it is heartening to see acts of kindness and bravery. Helping animals in need sometimes brings out the best in people, whether it is a Sikh man in India using his turban to save a drowning dog or this group of passers-by who worked together to form a human chain to rescue a dog in distress in Kazakhstan. Small events, big hearts—happy endings.

    Magazine: 2015-2017
    Issue 86: Summer 2016

    You will enjoy what we have in store for you in this summer issue. If, like me, you relish digging into the newest trove of fascinating dog books for your summertime reading, don’t miss our special book section, which highlights our best picks, along with excerpts from some of them. You’ll also see a new feature we call Bark Talks (something like TED talks), which zoom in on our favorite subject with Frans de Waal—just what is behind that unique bond we have with our dogs.

    This issue’s cover dog—a coconut-coveting Lab named Bono—is a rising Brazilian wave-riding star. Coconuts, we’re told, are a favorite find among Copacabana canines, and Bono’s no exception. We visit an extremely dog-friendly town in Patagonia, Julie Hecht gives us a run-down on the latest research into dogs’ fondness for following our lead, and we catch up on evolutionary news, including a project that’s wrangling disparate hypothesizers into a joint effort that might result in a date for domestication all can agree on.

    Plus, you will meet an amazing woman who is the winner of Bark’s Shelter hero contest, pros and cons (mostly) on e-fencing, airport therapy dogs, and Karen London probes if our dogs make us more appealing (let’s hope she’s right). From a young person’s perspective, we learn how lessons gleaned in the conformation ring included this rule, “always stand by your dog—after all, your dog will always stand by you.” We catch up with Cat Warren as she trains her new scent-detection dog. Our endpiece, by Mat Zucker, takes a humorous look at the nature/nurture question, probing the differences between boy and girl pups. Hope you enjoy it all.

    FEATURES Shelter Heroes The people and practices making a difference.   What’s the Point? Studies focus on dogs’ ability to follow our gestures. By Julie Hecht   Summer Reads Best picks from The Bark bookshelves   Day One of the Search [Dog Gone] A Golden goes missing during mountain hike and the family reaches out for help. By Pauls Toutonghi   The Dog Who Hated Surprises [Pets on the Couch] A vet behaviorist gets to the root cause of a fear-aggressive behavior. By Nicholas H. Dodman, BVMS, DACVB   What’s in a Breed? [Pit Bull] Scrutinizing the science behind a misunderstood and complicated behavior. By Bronwen Dickey   Shelter Dogs [Underdogs] A woman at a turning point, on the verge of ignoring the unwritten no-dogs-for-kids ban in the service-dog industry. By Melissa Fay Greene   Battle Scarred Wounded Warrior Dogs by sculptor James Mellick celebrate America’s canine heroes. By Susan Tasaki   Game On! Training a scent-detection dog. By Cat Warren   Origin Story State of the debate on canine domestication and the descent of dogs. By Jane Brackman, PhD   Dog Days Are Forever Rules for dog-handling … and life. By Erin Tack   Endpiece: The Nature/Nurture Question  By Mat Zucker     It’s a Dog’s Life   CRAFTS: Alexandra Thurston’s personalized porcelain plates.    DISPATCH from Patagonia: The dogs of El Calafante. By Johnny Runnette   SPORTS: On Board Man and dog ride the waves together. By Marcia Triunfol    DOGS AT WORK: Stress BustersAirport therapy dogs turn down the volume for harried travelers. By Rebecca Wallick   WELLNESS: Canine Disease Forecast, 2016A review of what’s trending in the veterinary world. By Heather Loenser, DVM   TRAVEL: Pound Puppy Hikes Exploring Utah’s red rock country with shelter dogs. By Rebecca Wallick   BARK TALKS: Frans de Waal, renowned ethologist, talks about animal behavior and his new book.   TRAINING: Faux Fences The debate on electronic barriers continues. By Tracy Krulik   BEHAVIOR: Animal Attraction Does your dog make you more appealing? By Karen B. London, PhD   MASTERWORK: Henri Rousseau, le peintre primitif   REVIEWS Underdogs, Dog Merchants, What Is a Dog?, Pit Bull, Heal   Q&A with Arlene Weintraub, author of Heal With Bev Thompson   BARK TALKS: Kim Kavin, author of The Dog Merchants With Claudia Kawczynska   DOGPATCH Dog Parks Rule What’s in a Hug?; LA’s Dog Café States promote their dog-friendliness. Good Kids: Making a difference Heads-Up—It’s Summer Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds; Shakespeare Quotes; Jim Harrison Smiling Dogs: Always Irresistible  What’s New: Round-up of new product picks.   Poetry S. Siporin, Brian Beatty, Tom Greening  
    Culture: DogPatch
    Sketchbook: Stephanie Birdsong
    Babe is one of my beloved dogs and yes, sometimes she can’t see very well through her shaggy mop. But I’ll tell you a little secret: she’s not very good at catch whether her hair is trimmed or not. I can’t say what issues the folks on the right have.

    I began doing sketchbooks in a little 3.5 x 5 inch journal about six years ago. I was already doing to-do lists to keep track of all my nutty daily tasks, and I decided to try to do a painting next to my lists every day if possible. As an art director, turned illustrator, turned art director, I missed painting and knew I’d need to get back in the habit by doing it regularly. I would often start painting with no idea what it was going to be. Buster & Babe, my adopted dogs/children are always by my side in the studio, and are featured often in my drawings and task lists. Buster’s a Jack Russell/Dachshund mix and Babe’s a Wheaton Terrier mix. I enjoy drawing dogs, especially Fox Terriers, Poodles, Bulldogs, and the occasional German Wire-haired Griffon.

    News: Contests
    Mother's Day Photo Contest
    Celebrate and Share

    Share your photos of moms & dogs and enter to win a Bark Gift Box. We invite you to share family photos featuring dogs with us. Photos could be of your own mom or even yourself as a dog mom. Bark gift box includes a subscription to the Bark, a book, bumpersticker, a toy, and a treat. Enter by Tues May 10th, 11:59pm. Must submit photo and caption to Bark on facebook, twitter or in the comments below. Prize offer eligible to US residents only but international people are welcome to share their photos too.

    Contest ends Tuesday, May 10th 2016, 11:59pm Prize Value: $120.00

    Contest is over folks, but you're welcome to continue to share your photos below.

    Our winner, Rae, shows her photo of her mom and dog Scout. Photo caption:  "Mom isn't much of a dog person (she was badly frightened when young) so this [picture] w/ my Scout was a treat!"

    Culture: Reviews
    Book Review: Zen and the Art of Dog Walking

    A quie t and moving ref lect ion on t he transformative relationship we have with our dogs. A walk around a country lake/ holds our attention/an abandoned pup is found by a young son/a family grows/ adventures begin/walking/reflections. Bo and his man/so much to discover. A delightful “cathartic” experience with photos that draw the reader in, inspiring our thoughts too. This is a special book that dog lovers will appreciate.

    Culture: Reviews
    Two Dogs and a Parrot

    This small volume of “lessons” and ref lections is written by a Benedictine nun who loves and appreciates animals. In it, she illuminates the signif icance that dogs and other pets have had in her life. Each chapter begins with a story of what an animal did to inspire qualities such as acceptance, purpose, enjoyment, empathy and diversity (plus many others). Each vignette is followed by a consideration of the importance those qualities should have in our lives. Not surprisingly, the book is constructed much like a sermon, but one that’s offered with a very tender, and at times humorous, tone.

    In her introduction, she relates how “spiritually profound” she finds the question of “what it means to be entrusted with nature, to live with a pet.” She also notes that there are two creation stories in Genesis. The more widely known suggests that humans were assigned “dominion” over other living creatures and nature. The other, she points out, tells us that animals were brought to Adam to be named; her take on this may differ from what many others have interpreted as having “power over them.”

    The second creation story is actually older than the first, and Chittister construes it more generously—she feels that to name “is an act of relationship, not dominance.” She also makes the important point that if we look at a creation story as a relationship tale, it “inserts us into the animal world and animals into ours—with everything that implies about interdependence.” The book goes on to illustrate this perfectly. You don’t need to be spiritually inclined to find significance in it and to take inspiration from it.

    Culture: Reviews
    Book Review: Killing Trail

    Foiling drug trafficking in Colorado’s high country keeps Deputy Mattie Lou Cobb and Robo, her K9 partner, on the run. But when Robo alerts to another, more ominous, scent—the remains of a teenage girl— the stakes get higher. The tightly plotted puzzle, which also involves a local vet, his daughter and a town’s dark secrets, scrolls out from there. Mizushima not only has a deft touch with dialogue, she’s also done her homework on the training and handling of law-enforcement dogs. This debut novel, with its bright, dedicated human and canine protagonists, is a promising first entry in what we hope becomes a series.

    News: Editors
    Something to Bark About
    An Encore Performance by Crypton and William Wegman
    New additions to the William Wegman Pet Collection by Crypton—throvers—blankets featuring the artist’s drawings; Wegman and Flo (right).

    Randy Rubin, co-founder of Crypton, launched the company’s first line of pet products back in 2004 in an inspired collaboration with artist William Wegman. A dozen years later, Rubin and Wegman are at it again with a brand new line of canine home products by Crypton. 

    Renowned for his whimsical photographic portraits of Weimaraners, Mr. Wegman is also famous for his work in a variety of media—photography, video, painting and as an author. For decades, while Wegman was creating art in New York, Crypton was at work in the heartland, revolutionizing commercial fabric with the introduction of a patented process that produces a virtually indestructible, stain and odor-resistant material appropriately named Crypton Super Fabric. They’ve also launched soft, luscious Crypton Home Fabric, using a new performance technology especially for residential interiors, offered by major furniture and home fabric brands in stores and showrooms from coast to coast.


    Wegman provides the art and Crypton supplies the science with their permanent stain resistance properties—ensuring neither microbes or odors penetrate these dog beds. Crypton founder Randy Rubin (right).


    The creative collaboration between the textile innovator and the downtown visual artist has proven hugely successful, with a visual style that is once recognizable and inspired. Combining the ultimate in function and aesthetics, the resulting beds, pillows and throws (christened Throvers) are elegant, bold and sturdy...fulfilling the must-have checklist for stylish dog lovers. The line is offered exclusively at crypton.com. 

    Culture: Reviews
    Book Review: Sire and Damn

    We always welcome a new work from Susan Conant, one of the founding “dams” (along with Carol Lea Benjamin) of the dog mystery subgenre. A lover of all dogs, but with a special fondness for Malamutes, Conant has written another intriguing tale full of dogs, wit and keen insights into the foibles and follies of human behavior. Holly Winter’s good friend is getting married, and amid the hubbub and multitudes of visiting relatives, the bride’s dog is stolen. Not only that, a burglar is killed and a service dog might be next on the hit list. But as always, Holly and her fearless Rowdy not only solve the crime, they also prevent another from happening.