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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Summer School Gone to the Dogs
Learn new skills in the coming months

Next month, my puppy, Remy, and I are headed up to Susan Garrett's Say Yes! Dog Training for two camps, Advances in Dog Training and Critical Elements for Sport and Life (formerly know as Puppy Camp). I can't wait to spend four full days dedicated to honing my dog training skills and working with Remy.

This summer, use some of your vacation days to learn more about dog-related topics, sharpen your training skills, meet fellow pet lovers, and spend quality time with your furry crew. There are many upcoming opportunities to develop existing skills and learn new ones.

Activities For You and Your Pup

Dog Scouts Camp in St. Helen, Mich. - June 20-25 and July 11-16
Earn Dog Scout badges while introducing your pup to agility, dock diving, hiking, clicker training, freestyle and boating, just to name a few of the activities. There's even a class to teach your dog how to paint! Proceeds from the camp support the Dog Scouts of America's educational and charitable endeavors.

Splash for Joy in Trumbull, Conn. - July 1-3
If your dog loves water, they'll love this weekend dedicated to watersports. Your pups' confidence and focus will increase as they learn various skills and games. Plus you'll both get a great workout!

Canine Country Camp at Glen Highland Farm in Morris, N.Y. - July 16-21
Enjoy 175 acres of trails, meadows and swimming, while partaking in a multitude of activities including agility, tracking, water sports, herding, flyball and treibball. When the dogs are napping, you can attend lectures on animal communication, Tellington touch and canine massage. Proceeds from the camp benefit the work of Glen Highland Farm and Sweet Border Collie Rescue.

K9 Nose Work Training Camp in Poyntelle, Penn. - September 2-6
Learn more about this new sport at a 3.5 day sleepover camp taught by the K9 Nose Work founders. Dogs of all levels are welcome and will be introduced to box work, odor, and exterior and vehicle searches.

Activities For You

Taking Action for Animals Conference in Wash, D.C. - July 15-18
Discuss ideas and solutions to creating a better world for animals at this annual conference. Topics include protecting puppy mill dogs, building advocacy campaigns, addressing legal issues and developing grassroots campaigns. The conference also includes a Student Summit on Sunday for teens and young adults.

Chicken Camp in Sequim, Wash. - various dates
Sharpen your clicker skills by training a chicken at one of these camps, the brainchild of legendary animal trainers, Bob and Marian Bailey. The chicken's fast speed and low tolerance for bad training will challenge you to improve your coordination and timing.

Are you planning on attending any dog-related camps or workshops this summer? If you're stuck at home, Julia Kamysz Lane will be blogging about online canine courses in the coming weeks.

News: Guest Posts
What’s your Best Bet for Summer Dog Fun?
Be a part of our summer guide, and win a Dog Is My Co-Pilot bumper sticker

It may be hard for some of us in colder, wetter parts of the country to really believe that summer is coming. But as sure as a treat follows ­ a click!, the clouds will part, the temperatures will rise, and school breaks will commence. Before we know it, our dogs will be waiting at the front door with a Frisbee in their mouths, bags packed with treats and fresh water, wagging their tails, the eager smiles on their faces asking: “What fun have you planned for me?” We don’t want to disappoint.

  So, what’s your idea of a perfect summer adventure with your pup. Do you have a favorite urban stroll that ends at a canine ice cream truck? A mountain hike with boundable meadows and splashable streams? How about a dive-ready waterhole or smooth, sandy beach? Do you join your buddy at a dog camp or bring her along to seriously pup-friendly festivals or farmer’s markets? Have you've discovered a divine dog-loving  cafe or al fresco yappy hour?   And because we're all about positive reinforcement, we plan to reward your great ideas. If your suggestion is included in our summer magazine guide, we will give you full credit (as long as we know how to contact you), plus you'll receive a Dog Is My Co-Pilot bumper sticker, so you can trick out your dogmobile for future travels. Be sure to tell us the name and location of your special place.   Help us make this the best summer ever for all Bark pups!
News: Guest Posts
Interesting Dog-Lovers Stop by Bark’s Open Thread
Like our first goodie bag winner

Last week, we launched Off Leash, our first-ever open thread. We weren’t sure what to expect when we decided to create a space for real-time conversations with no rules (other than common courtesy), so we were thrilled when so many of you showed up to speak your mind. Your helpful advice, informed opinions, experiences and passion remind us why we do the work we do. So we’re making it a regular Wednesday feature, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., PST.

 

As an added incentive, we’ll also be selecting one participant at random each week to win a Bark goodie bag. (When you comment be sure to include your email address, so we can contact you if you’re selected. We don’t publish it.) It’s our chance to learn a little more about our Bark readers—and share their stories with you.   Our debut open thread winner was Laurelin Sitterly of Providence, R.I. When we contacted her, we learned she is the proud adopter of a one-and-a-half year old Beagle/Dachshund mix named Sadie. Laurelin has worked at the Rhode Island SPCA for the past five years as an educator and the manager of the exotics department. In her “spare time,” she has fostered a variety of animals who needed extra help prior to adoption, including Sadie, who had been relinquished five times, starting at the age of five months.
“Sadie first came to our shelter social and easygoing, but by her final surrender was anxious and highly fearful, which is what prompted us to take her home,” Laurelin wrote to us. “We have worked around the clock to combat her severe separation anxiety and grab bag of situational phobias, and have made excellent progress in the last five months. Through training, behavioral modification, environmental management and medication, she can now be left safely alone during the day and enjoys frequent play-time with her canine neighbor/best friend (we still have plenty of work to go in other areas, but she's worth it). After all of that work, we buckled and decided to make her the first permanent dog in our household.”   Laurelin has been reading Bark for many years—longer than she has been working at the shelter and certainly longer than she has had a dog. “Many of the writers, behaviorists, tools and techniques that I have discovered in your publication have been instrumental in improving Sadie’s life with us,” she writes. “I have recommended your magazine to adopters, we receive a subscription at the shelter and, when a photo of one of our shelter dogs was selected for print in your Smilers section, we donated the subscription to his adopter.”   Laurelin is typical of the experienced, humane, animal-loving folks you’ll meet on the open thread, we hope to see you there.

 

News: Guest Posts
Did You Miss Reveille This Week?
Canine mascots rule NCAA basketball this year

We were so focused on the all-dog men’s final in NCAA basketball (UConn Huskies versus Butler Bulldogs), we overlooked a canine presence in the women’s final on Tuesday night. The 2011 Women’s Champion Texas A&M University Aggies are represented by a seemingly counterintuitive canine mascot, a Rough Collie named Reveille.

The tradition dates back to 1931, when a group of A&M cadets accidentally hit a small black and white stray. They brought her back to school to care for her. The next morning, when a bugler performed the morning wakeup call of “Reveille,” she started barking and earned her name. She recovered from her injuries, and the next season she became the school mascot, leading the band onto the field for its half-time performance during football games. She served for more than a decade, and after her death in 1944, was given a formal military funeral on the gridiron, according to Texas A&M’s website.

The most current Reveille is Reveille VIII, and she was officially introduced on August 30, 2008. She is revered. Cadets are expected to address her as “Miss Rev, m’am.” If she is in class and barks while the professor is teaching, the class is to be immediately dismissed, also according to A&M tradition.

A love of dogs seems to run deep for the team. Here’s how the coach, Gary Blair, framed the victory, according to The New York Times: “He talked about how much this championship meant to his family, to the families of his assistant coaches, to the pets of another assistant who has no family but does have dogs.” I wish I read that sort of thing all the time.

Go Aggies! Go Reveille!

News: Guest Posts
Cancel Gym Membership and Get a Dog!
Research shows that dog owners lead more active lifestyles.

I'll admit it: If it wasn't for my four dogs, I’d likely live a sedentary hermit life and dine exclusively on PBJ sandwiches. Thanks to my pack, I spend at least 10 hours a week out and about in an effort to keep us all conditioned. I also pay more attention to what I eat as I've learned more about how my dogs' diets affect their performance in canine sports.

  Studies now show that dog owners tend to get more exercise compared to someone sans canine. This must explain why I even started taking a Doga class with my mix, Ginger Peach. Traditional yoga seemed vaguely interesting but I didn't invest in a yoga mat and find out how to pronounce "namaste" until I found out I could bring my dog to class, too.   What's funny is that I know humans need exercise, too, but when I didn't have dogs, that wasn't enough to motivate me to get out there and run around the neighborhood. Why is it that we'll do things with our dogs that we wouldn’t do without them? Would you be as active if you didn’t have a dog?
News: Guest Posts
Conference Examines the Paradox of Purebred Breeding
First-ever meeting this April in Washington D.C.

Ever since the BBC documentary "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" tore the lid off the practice of breeding show dogs in Great Britain, breeders, handlers, dog lovers and more have been forced to answer the question: What's the cost of perfection? In April, the Purebred Paradox conference will offer a high-profile exploration of issues that can no longer be ignored.

 

What can be done to enhance the health and well-being of purebred dogs? What are the welfare and ethical issues arising from selective breeding practices? These are the urgent questions at the heart of the inaugural conference of the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy. On April, 28-29 at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, leading ethologists, veterinarians, animal welfare activists and more will consider what the attempt to create “perfect” dogs has wrought from scientific, historic, cultural and policy perspectives.

     

 

News: Guest Posts
Amazing Agility Pig
Louie lobbies for spot on canine team

Louie the pot-bellied pig was special when he would race to the agility field to watch her dogs train. His own aptitude for the sport became clear when she attempted to teach a dog to run through a tunnel and Louis zipped through it instead. Now nine months old, he is campaigning for a spot on the canine display team, which competes at the prestigious Crufts dog show. Do you think a pig should be allowed to compete in agility competitions?

 

 

News: Guest Posts
Our Dogs Make Poets of Us
Declare your love in rhyme, and maybe win a prize

I’ve been really enjoying the sweet odes des chiens on our Facebook page. In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, Bark has been greasing the wheels of heartfelt expression by inviting readers to convey your love for your dogs in verse on our Facebook page. The results so far convince me that our dogs make poets of us.

 

Here are two early entries that capture the spirit of the thing.

 

From Lisa Litz-Neavear: For Rocky and Sweetie: Roses are red
Violets are blue.
Having one dog's so great
That now we have two!   And from Tammy Robertson: Roses are red
Violets are blue
Tanner came into my life
Now we're stuck like glue.   Of course, I know contest prizes for Bark favorites (such as a Sweet Heart Collar Art from Beantown Handmade, a Doodle Dog Tote from Crypton or Valentine's cards from RiverDog Prints) isn’t the reason readers are posting comments in an A-B-C-B rhyming scheme, it’s just that you can’t pass up a chance to declare your devotion to your canine pals.   Sample the entries and create your own on our Facebook page through February 14 at 11:59 p.m. PST—maybe you'll win a prize or simply enjoy the warm glow of telling a loved one what they mean to you.

 

News: Guest Posts
Super Bowl Alternatives
Walk your dog, swoon over puppies

I live in Seattle, and walked my dogs during the first quarter of the Seattle Seahawks v. Chicago Bears NFL playoff game a couple weeks ago. I was thrilled with the traffic-free streets of my neighborhood. Many of the blocks around my house don’t have sidewalks, so normally Lulu, Renzo and I have to share the road with too-fast cars. Other than snow days, which paralyze this city, a football playoff game is just about the best street-clearing mechanism around.

  So, I totally get the idea behind the Subaru Game Day Dog Walk Event—essentially, roll yourself off the couch and walk your dog during the Super Bowl, Sunday, Feb. 6. Of course, I know Bark readers walk their dogs every day, and many of us do this two or three times a day, but wouldn’t it be fun to flood into car-free roads with our dogs at the same time lots of other folks with dogs flood into the streets. For a few hours, we could turn our neighborhoods into flash-mob meetings of the dog lover’s club.   Why stop there? Maybe this day can inspire us to walk other dogs, especially those of us who don’t have a dog in our life at this time (sigh). The Game Day Dog Walk Event could be a catalyst for starting a regular practice of volunteering as a dog walker for a shelter or rescue organization, or maybe just helping to walk the dogs of a neighbor who is sick, overworked, or taking care of a new baby.   Of course, I say all this knowing I will need to be home to check in on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl VII, yes VII, which, it turns out Subaru is also sponsoring. (They’re everywhere!)

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Greetings While Skiing
Dogs make our outing more fun

A few days ago, we received the first really good snowfall of the season in Flagstaff, Ariz., and for my family, that means skiing. Since the downhill slopes are not yet open, we headed out on cross-country skis to enjoy the morning. Before the plows come, it’s good skiing in our neighborhood, starting right at our front door.

  As we skied, we saw other hearty souls who love the snow and wanted to play in it. That means that fellow outdoorsy people smiled and shouted out greetings, and that many dogs came over to say hello. Our friends Denali, Ruby, Aspen, Annie, and many more ran up to us, pouncing in the snow and wagging their tails. There’s a certain sort of enthusiasm that only dogs can express about snow, especially early on in the season when there’s the excitement of its novelty.   I so enjoyed the friendliness of the neighborhood canines, perhaps because they convey, far better than any of the people, their feelings of joy about the snow that was making all of us so happy. In fact, it made me think that one of the best ways to explain dogs to an alien would be to say that they are “happiness multipliers.”   How do dogs add to your winter delight?

 

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