Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Canines take their share of the spotlight
Watching the US Olympic Trials in track and field is filling much of my recreational time this week, but my thoughts are never far from the world of dogs. More and more often, announcers comment on competitors’ dogs, as do the athletes themselves. When discussing that Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix has had a rough year, the broadcast team spoke of two issues. One problem was an injured ankle that leads to pain with every step and the other was the death of her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Chloe. Chloe is well known to fans of Felix, who often tweeted about Chloe. Felix has said that Skyping with Chloe when she traveled to races helped her to settle her mind and to feel in touch with home. The two even appeared in a commercial together.
The importance of dogs also came up in an interview with Brenda Martinez. Martinez was expected to qualify for the Olympics in the 800 m event, but that dream slipped away when she was tripped up by another runner near the end of the race. When asked how she put that disappointment behind her in order to focus on her upcoming 1500 m race, she emphasized the role her dogs played. She said that she and her husband had brought all four of their dogs with them and that being with them made her happy and helped her move on emotionally. She visibly relaxed when she spoke of her dogs despite the high pressure situation she is in.
Few of us face pressure as intense as what these athletes are dealing with this week, but many of us still rely on our dogs for relief from the stresses of life. Do you?
News: Guest Posts
Reason number I’ve-lost-count that dogs are better than pretty much everything else: They’re sniffing out health disasters waiting to happen — and once again proving they are true lifesavers.
Studies out of Cambridge University and the University of Oxford have revealed new findings about a chemical called isoprene. It seems levels of isoprene rise when blood sugar levels fall, and its scent can be detected by dogs on human breath. Which is excellent news for Type 1 diabetics and for parents of children with diabetes.
Diabetics are particularly susceptible to experiencing life-threateningly low levels of blood sugar while they sleep. But Diabetic Alert Dogs, as they’re called, are trained to watch over diabetic kids during the night. If a dog detects the smell of isoprene, she’ll first try to wake the child. If there’s no response, the dog is trained to then go alert the parents.
According to a report in the Endocrinology Advisor, the new role for humans’ best friend is proving incredibly valuable: “Diabetic alert dog owners as a whole have expressed high satisfaction and confidence in their canine guardians.”
So now, in addition to lowering blood pressure and sniffing out certain types of cancer, preventing hypoglycemic episodes can be added to the list of dogs’ health-preserving abilities. Indeed, their noses remain a step ahead of science. Pretty amazing for a species who asks for so little from their human partners.
News: Guest Posts
An ever moving screen, action packed perfect for our video gaming generation, but also very familiar (if you have or have ever had a pet), and completely heart embracing film. This colorful cartoon, laced with a whimsical score, and wonderfully designed backdrops, stars a little brown and white dog named Max (Louis C.K.) who becomes a lost dog along with his new brother/roommate, Duke (Eric Stonestreet), after they accidentally escape from the sight of their NYC dog walker. On their adventure to find home, Max and Duke come across a dark and comical band of abandoned pets of the underground with Snowball the bunny (Kevin Hart) leading the pack. The cast is exceptional including the likes of Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Albert Brooks, and Dana Carvey.
Max and Duke bring forth our pets’ psyche with such delightful humor and adorable innocence. The directing duo, Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud of Despicable Me, and the actors have brilliantly captured and depicted our very own beloved pets, you can’t help but think of them throughout the film.
Secret Life of Pets is a burst of color and flashy imagery in every moment, if you have a headache skip the movie until it subsides. It’ll be an easy score with the kids and adults will have a lot to appreciate too.
Driving home, I couldn’t wait to reunite with my pets. My chocolate Lab, Caleb, was right behind my door as I opened it and my Betta fish, Koufax, swimming around in his tank to greet me. As Max says, “It’s the best part of the day.”
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Real dogs just as funny as movie versions
I was quick to roll my eyes and grumble that the makers of the film “The Secret Life of Pets” went for cheap laughs over more believable depictions of our pets. I had to eat my words, though, when I saw this ad showing dogs acting just like their movie counterparts. Some crazy things that I’ve never see in the real world include a dog turning on the music and then rocking out to it, and a Dachshund taking advantage of electric beaters to get a back massage.
In what way does your dog act like the dogs in the clip?
W San Francisco invites all dogs and their two-legged friends to join the hotel’s first Yappy Hour of the season from 5:30 pm-7 pm on Thursday, July 7. The summer party, taking place at Hunt Lane, an outdoor space adjacent to W San Francisco, will feature specialty cocktails and treats for both dogs and owners, a photo station and more pawsome fun. The signature W pink carpet will be rolled out for all guests, and star-studded pups Little Cooper Bear and Sailor the Doodle, Hula & Bean Sprout, Boe The Bear Coat and Sneakers the Doodle will be in attendance.
The world-class W San Francisco is pet-friendly hotel and welcomes dogs and cats to the property through its P.A.W. (“PETS ARE WELCOME”) program. The hotel enhances animals’ stay with dog-walking and grooming services. At check-in, guests receive pet toys, pet treats, a W Hotels pet tag, clean-up bags, details about pet services available through the Concierge team and items available through Whatever/ Whenever® service. Pet stays also include a custom W Hotels pet bed, food and water bowl with floor mat, a pet-in-room door sign, an in-room dining dog menu featuring 8 oz. pan roasted natural beef and grilled natural beef patty, and a special treat at turndown.
To RSVP for W San Francisco’s Yappy Hour, please email firstname.lastname@example.orgWHEN: Thursday, July 7, 5:30 pm-7 pm WHERE: Hunt Lane at W San Francisco 181 3rd Street San Francisco, CA 94103 COST: Cocktails: $13-15, Complimentary hors-d’oeuvres
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
When Malachi was first captured and brought to Dogwood Animal Rescue Project, he was a feral wolfdog who had been living wild and on his own for some time. He was terrified of people but he bonded tightly and immediately with our rescued Great Dane, Tyra. Tyra was frail and struggling with Wobblers Disease and other health problems but Malachi adored her.
Tyra was incredibly helpful in being a stable role model for Malachi’s interactions with people. Although he’s still somewhat feral, he’s made a lot of improvement and would come inside the house, lie near us and even greet us, just to be near her. As Tyra’s health worsened she fell often and Malachi would always rush to be with her and hover around her frantically as she waited for me to help her up. While the other dogs loved Tyra, they never seemed to notice her struggles. Malachi however was so distressed by her falls that he would get as close as he could, lick and kiss her mouth, curve his body around her and all but pat her back. At 120 pounds it was always a challenge to get Tyra up and as soon as she was on her feet again, Malachi would bound around her in delight, so happy to see his great love out of distress.
Tyra continued to decline and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for Malachi to lose her. He had lots of other dog friends in the other permanent canine residents as well as endless fosters and visitors and he played with them by the hour but Tyra had his heart. Finally the day came where we couldn’t keep her comfortable any longer and my own heart was breaking as the vet came to the house to help us say good-bye.
The other dogs were out of the room as Tyra slipped away gently in my arms with my tears bathing her sweet face. She was in her favorite bed in the living room and a cat purred quietly on my lap as I sat with her for a few moments after the vet left. Finally I got up and let the other dogs in. In the past my dogs have shown a variety of reactions to the body of one of their companions ranging from intense fascination to little interest. But those dogs were more tightly bonded to me and Malachi was bonded to Tyra. She was his everything.
I was surprised to see the other dogs bounce into the room happily and carefree as ever. They literally leapt over Tyra’s body as they raced to grab their favorite toys or the most comfy spot on the couch. Malachi who is so hyper-sensitive to every mood and nuance of behavior didn’t seem to notice a thing. After a few minutes of play he went over and lay in the bed next to Tyra but he seemed relaxed and happy. He flopped over near her and even wormed his way a bit closer. In the past she would have corrected him for getting in her space and he acted as if he were getting away with something when she didn’t. A few minutes later he was fast asleep next to her.
The dogs weren’t present when I buried Tyra and a couple of days went by where all seemed normal. I was thrilled that Malachi seemed to be coping so well. A few nights later Malachi refused to come back inside after the last potty break at bedtime. That’s not unusual as he occasionally prefers to sleep outside instead of in the bedroom with us. But the next morning when I let the other dogs out he wasn’t on the back porch waiting to greet them. Our property has a spacious fenced area so I assumed he was just distracted by something. As I went into the kitchen to make my coffee I glanced out the window. To my surprise, Malachi was in another of our yards, frantic and upset, running the fence. In my sleepy state I had trouble processing what I was seeing. How did he get in there? Had I left a gate open? I walked out to the gate and let him back into the regular dog yard. There was a huge hole under the fence where he had dug under, but why? As I walked back to the house I glanced over at Tyra’s grave. To my horror, the dirt was pulled away and I could see a flash of black fur. I turned away, sick to my stomach. The shock of seeing my girl’s body again was so painful that I felt nauseous. I had buried her tightly wrapped in a sheet, lay flowers on top and covered her thoroughly.
After a moment or two I pulled myself together and walked over to the grave. Tyra’s body itself was undisturbed but the sheet had been ripped away until her shiny black coat was visible. In the soft dirt next to her was the imprint of Malachi’s body where he had lay next to her. I stood there for a long time with the tears slipping down my face and a lump in my throat. I was so saddened and touched by Malachi’s devotion to her. It must have taken half the night to dig a hole big enough for his 100 pound body to fit through and then another to reach his love.
I blocked access to the grave itself and made it so he could lay nearby but the next day when I was at work he ripped the back porch steps off and tunneled under the house toward the grave. He spend days under there and rarely came out. Eventually he stopped trying to get to Tyra but he grew more and more skittish and depressed as the days passed. Grieving is an important process and we wanted to honor his pain while helping him cope but it was hard as he didn’t allow us to comfort him. We brought his favorite dog friends to play each day and for a while he would seem joyful and carefree but afterwards he would go into a depression again.
We tried medication and herbal remedies to help him but didn’t see much improvement. People suggested getting him a puppy but we have endless puppies. We are a rescue and it’s rare that we don’t have puppies here to play with along with half a dozen or more dogs in need. Malachi loves other dogs but just as we cannot just replace a loved one, neither can Malachi. He has lots of playmates but Tyra was more of a mother figure, leader and teacher all in one and Malachi worshipped her like no other.
As time goes on Malachi seems to be happier again although like the rest of us it’s up and down. At times Malachi seeks attention and cuddles close as I massage him from his face all the way down to his tail and other times I can’t get anywhere near, let alone touch him. A friend reminds me to be more like Tyra in my interaction with him. Tyra wouldn’t have felt sorry for him, or herself. Tyra would have led him firmly and gently guided him through the pain. I’m hopeful that, with time, I will be able to take a role similar to Tyra’s in Malachi’s life.
News: Guest Posts
Having a pet that enjoys spending time in the garden requires a two-pronged security strategy: on the one hand, the garden needs protecting from the pet, but your pet will also need to be protected from the garden. Some plants and fertilizers, for example, can be poisonous – with the latter, it’s best to check the label, but also to cross-reference the contents online. In general, organic fertilizers such as manure, compost, or seaweed are safer, non-toxic options. See this nifty infographic for more dog proofing garden tips.
News: Guest Posts
With so many dogs terrified of fireworks, 4th of July can be a frightening time for pups everywhere. In fact, July 5th is often the busiest day of the year at animal shelters, as pets run off from home in fear, found lost and confused the next day.
We’ve created this handy infographic to help owners keep their dogs safe during 4th of July fireworks (these tips apply to New Years fireworks and any other situations involving fireworks as well).
Share this infographic to spread the word and keep canines safe this 4th!
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Suspicion surrounds a company who euthanized highly trained working pups in Kuwait.
Earlier this month, 24 bomb-sniffing civilian working dogs (CWDs) were euthanized by Eastern Securities, an American-owned company that provides explosives detection services in Kuwait. No one knows exactly why these highly trained pups were killed. Some say they were sick, while others say it was done because of a cancelled contract, or even out of revenge.
A former employee believes it was a result of Kuwait National Petroleum Company terminating their contract with Eastern Securities, which was being paid about $9.900 per month for each dog to detect explosives at oil drilling sites. Allegedly the contract was cancelled because the dogs failed to pass explosives detection tests. Another former employee believes that the dog's abilities declined over time because they weren't cared for properly.
Eastern Securities claims this is all the result of a conspiracy against them, but at least one U.S. based bomb-sniffing dog company stopped doing business with Eastern States years ago because they were "so terrible."
Esmail Al Misri, a local lawyer and animal activist, has another theory. She believes that the dogs were killed to punish 29 handlers who filed complaints with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor because they hadn't received a paycheck from Eastern Securities since April. Esmail has asked local police to investigate the killings and press criminal charges. She's also concerned about the 90 bomb-sniffing dogs that are still at Eastern Securities.
Amy Swope, one of the former employees, has started a petition asking for the U.S. Embassy to step in and save these pups. She believes that signing the petition, getting media attention, and putting pressure on our government and the Kuwaiti government is the best way to get results.
No matter what the reason, dogs aren't tools you can just throw away when they're no longer useful. These animals gave their lives to serving people, and it is up to us to protect them.
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
What has your dog broken into?
Some dogs would make excellent cat burglars. They seem to be able to break into anything. Secure trash can? Not so secure actually. Treats high up on top of the fridge? Not high enough to be out of reach. Storage bin that you can’t open without tools? Some dogs have all the tools they need inside their heads and mouths.
There are dogs capable of climbing to seemingly inaccessible spots, and dogs who can have a snack whenever they want just by opening up their dog proof food canister. Here is a video of one methodical dog patiently working out how to pull the top off a container of food.
Don’t even get me started about the dogs who actually open the fridge! If it weren’t for YouTube, I would have no idea that this is so common. Over the years, I’ve had a few clients tell me about dogs who do this, but if you look at videos online, you can find tons of examples. This collection of fridge-opening dogs features individuals using paws, noses and mouths to get inside and help themselves to the treasures within.
Dogs who can break into supposedly secure places to get what they want are probably quite happy and find many aspects of their world exceedingly convenient. What has your dog broken into that was supposed to be off limits to dogs?
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