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Blog: Karen B. London
Facial Recognition by Dogs
They respond to photos of familiar faces
You know your dog knows who you are, right? That enthusiastic greeting when you come home is proof positive that he recognizes you. But what clues him in to your identity—the sound of your footsteps, your voice, your unique smell, that palpable charm? That may all be possible, but recent evidence suggests that dogs can actually recognize faces. The ability to recognize faces is important for...
Blog: Karen B. London
Dogs Can Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field
It influences their orientation during elimination
A new study called Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field published in the Journal Frontiers in Zoology has demonstrated that dogs can sense and respond to magnetic fields. It is the first time that this has been shown in this species. Researchers found a measurable change in behavior based on the conditions of the magnetic field. Specifically, they found that under...
Blog: Karen B. London
Teaching Dogs to “Back Up”
It’s more than just a cute trick
Years ago I taught my dog Bugsy to “back up” with the intention of adding it to his trick repertoire. It means just what it sounds like—to move away by taking steps backwards. My dog already knew how to crawl, wave, high-five, spin, shake, rollover, bow, and sit pretty, but I was searching for something new to teach him. I remembered seeing horses do this on cue and finding it adorable. I decided...
Blog: Karen B. London
New Year’s Resolutions for Dog’s Sake
Dog-related plans for 2014
Years ago, my sister’s New Year’s resolution was to give up New Year’s resolutions, and she was one of the few people who stuck to her plan. (Success rates are generally less than 10%.) Her secret was resolving to do something that she wanted to do anyway. If your resolutions for 2014 are dog-related, make success more likely by choosing to focus on one or a few things that are of real interest...
Blog: Karen B. London
AniMeals on Wheels
Helping vulnerable people feed their dogs
Low income means tough choices. Should I buy medications or heat my home? Do I pay my rent or buy shoes? Who gets to eat—me or my pets? It’s this last question that inspired volunteers with Meals on Wheels to add pet food to deliveries for seniors and disabled individuals who are at risk of hunger. People who were taking food to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities noticed that...
Blog: Karen B. London
Dog Rescued From Icy River
Her own qualities helped her survive
A few days ago, Crosby the Golden Retriever was rescued from the Charles River by officers in the Wellesley Police Department. Crosby had fallen through the ice and was unable to return to shore. The ice was too thick for her to break through and swim for safety. It was too thin to support her weight and allow her to walk to shore, even if she had been able to climb onto the ice from the water....
Blog: Karen B. London
Holidays mean visiting dogs
Let the adventures begin
Lucy and Baxter, a pair of Border Collie mixes, will not be traveling across the country with their guardians over the holidays. Instead, they traveled across town to stay with us, starting two days ago. As I write this, they are lying on the floor—one under the table and one next to me—and I am enjoying their peaceful company. (Earlier in the day, I was enjoying their energetic playfulness, but...
Blog: Karen B. London
DOGLOVE
Canine vanity plates
People tend to express what matters most to them on their license plates, so for many people, the choice is obvious—identify yourself as a dog lover to anyone who sees your car. It costs extra to have a personalized license plate, but it’s clear that for many of us, it’s worth the extra expense to be able to proclaim a love for dogs to the world. With so few letters to work with, it’s pretty...
Blog: Karen B. London
Favorite Dog Age
Personal preferences vary
I’m not proud to admit it, but once when we were fostering a puppy, frustration and lack of sleep led me to moan to my husband, “Whose bright idea was it to say yes to having a puppy in the house?” (The answer, obviously, was me.) The puppy who led me to complain was a four-month old field bred English Springer Spaniel who was active by any standards and who didn’t like to eliminate on leash, but...
Blog: Karen B. London
The Any-Pace Running Partner
Another way in which dogs are perfect
For most runners, finding training partners is a challenge because of many factors:  social compatibility, scheduling issues, trail versus street preferences, tendency to be competitive. Additionally, and perhaps most limiting, they must run at close to the same pace. Enter the dog, and voilà, problem solved! Dogs have the ability to run at a wide variety of paces. As long as they are healthy...

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