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It’s Your Turn, Again

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. Last week, the conversation ranged far and wide. We touched on serious topics, such as attachment issues related to fostering dogs and combating animal abuse, and learned what Bark readers and staff are doing for fun with their dogs, including Treibball and Nosework. Why not join the conversation?

 

This week we’ll be selecting one participant at random to receive a one-year subscription (or one-year extension) to Bark, so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.

 

For newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST. 

 

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Submitted by Lisa Wogan | April 20 2011 |

At the end of the open thread last week, Laurelin suggested creating dog parks on the zipcar model as a way to avoid some of the problems readers have described with off-leash dogs in on-leash areas and congestion problems with public parks. Since her post went up after we signed off, I wanted to repost part of it here to see what you think about the idea.

"As a city dweller, I have foregone a car and instead use ZipCar - anyone familiar with them? A carshare service that, for a $50 fee a year provides you with a magnetized card that allows you access to a full service car parked in the city at a time you register (registration can be online or by phone). The fee and an $8 hourly charge makes sure the cars are clean, maintained, insured and full of gas. Is it just me, or could this process be applied to dog parks? I have no business savvy and have no idea how to bring this up other than this excellent thread full of talented dog-minded folk. Imagine, urban areas with modest designated park areas, accessed by a card-controlled door. Annual and hourly fees go to providing clean-up services for the area. Registrants provide dog vacc and/or license info rather than drivers license, and scheduling of use of park can be done online or by phone ... I feel like, as someone with a dog who cannot handle a park but loves a romp, I would love and use this service were it available. Any thoughts?"

Submitted by Daniela Lopez | April 20 2011 |

I've also thought about this same thing several times. I actually was thinking about it this morning on my way to work! Since, I live in an apartment, I would love to have something like this available to my pups.

We do have local dog parks but one of my dogs is reactive to other dogs and the other has grown a little grumpy with age.

I'd love to have a place to reserve so I could trot around with my dogs off leash in a safe and secure place!

Submitted by Veronica | April 20 2011 |

How do I get my 4 year old Schnauzer to stop barking at people/dogs/squirrels, etc while we are driving in the car? He will be quiet and then start barking and it startles me. It's also VERY LOUD. Thanks!

Submitted by Jennifer B | April 20 2011 |

I wish I knew! I have a beagle that does the same thing!

Submitted by Cally Florence | April 20 2011 |

Start training him in a parked car!

Bring lots of treats and a clicker if he's clicker trained (if not - google "stuff the dog, clicker"). When he sees a distraction of lower value (e.g. a person walking by), immediately distract him with a happy voice and lots of treats. As he eats the treats, praise, praise, praise! Continue this exercise until he begins to associate outside distractions with treats...so he'll start to look to YOU instead of barking at whatever is outside. Eventually you can move onto more stimulating distractions, like other dogs or squirrels outside. Make sure not to yell or get excited when your dog does, it'll only increase the barking and arousal.

Luckily, Beagles and Schnauzers are usually very good motivated. If you use a lot of treats, just balance it out by feeding less kibble. Good luck! :)

(And make sure your dog is properly restrained in the vehicle at all times for everyone's safety!)

Submitted by Veronica | April 20 2011 |

Thanks so much! Makes tons of sense!

Submitted by Marie at The Bark | April 20 2011 |

Hi Veronica. Dogs barking in the car is very distracting, therefore dangerous. Your best and safest bet is to start crating your pup in the car. A vari-kennel type crate works best.

If your car is too small for a crate or if your pup doesn't crate well, you can carve out car training time: sit with puppy in the parked car along with a big bag of high value treats. Every time puppy sees something she will bark at, throw a treat her way. Soon, she will associate the things outside with getting a treat, so she will begin looking at you when a cat crosses the street or a person walks by.

But, again, the crate is truly the best option.

Submitted by Karen London | April 20 2011 |

Teaching your dog to associate the outside distractions with great treats, as other people have mentioned, is a great idea. You can expand on this methods by teaching your dog to look at you in response to seeing those outside distractions. In other words, the people (or dogs or squirrels) walking by become the cue that means he should turn his attention to you, and then he can be reinforced with treats. Squeaking a squeaky toy can also divert many dogs from barking at distractions. And this is only safely done while parked rather than while driving, although it's possible to have a second person work the dog while you drive and still stay safe. And as has been mentioned, the crate is a key safety item as well.

Another option is a Calming Cap, which causes many dogs to relax and be far less reactive.

Submitted by Jennifer B | April 20 2011 |

Hi there! I asked a question related to this last week but I really need some guidance here. My neighbors dog attacked me yesterday. She didn't bite me, but as soon as I walked out the door to go to work she rushed me barking and snarling right on my porch. I walked by her to walk to my vehichle and she came up behind me doing the same snarling and barking. His daughter was home from college (I suspect he was out of town) and she called the dog but the dog wouldn't listen. I got into my truck and burst into tears. I love dogs. I don't normally have this problem with them. Most dogs like me. I don't know what to do. I don't want to be afraid to walk out my front door and I don't want this dog near the kids when they visit. How do I maintain a relationship with my neighbor but tell him he's got to keep his dog locked up? We have three of our own and one is usually jumping the fence to play in the yard with his. My neighbor is a well respected member of the community and a volunteer fire fighter. He's been here his whole life. I moved in nine years ago. Any ideas?

Submitted by Jess | April 20 2011 |

Check your local ordinances. Even if your city doesn't have a specific leash law, most do state that an owner MUST have their dog under verbal control (at least) and the dog is "at large" when it leaves the owner's yard. Gently remind him of this, and if a gentle reminder doesn't cut it, call the police to report the incident. Responsible dog ownership is key.

Submitted by Cally Florence | April 20 2011 |

Even for the most passionate dog lover - dog attacks are scary!!

If I were you, I would approach your neighbor in a polite way and describe what happens. It's important he knows what went on too- imagine if that happened to a kid. The outcome could have been much worse for everyone, so I think the owners should be made aware of the situation. Hopefully, he will understand that his dog needs one-on-one training (sounds like territorial aggression to me!). No one has a perfect dog and many of us need to consult a behaviorist for help.

Hope everything works out!

Submitted by Allie | April 20 2011 |

It is IMPERATIVE that dog owners behave responsibly. Your neighbor could end up with a huge medical bill and a euthanized dog if s/he does not keep the dog safe. I would mention the incident nicely in passing, but after that, I would call the dog warden if the dog is loose. That is a disaster waiting to happen.
As the guardian of a dog who is not people friendly, I can tell you it is not you, it is the dog, and I take my job of keeping Shelby safe very seriously.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 20 2011 |

If it was me, I would definitely have a talk with the gardian of that dog. Being clear and non accusatory and requesting his help on this might get a better response than threats or warning.
But in the meantime, I would make sure to have extremely appealing treats on me at all time (liver? cheese? hotdog bits? bacon?)when I get out of the house and start throwing them as soon as dog is in sight...who knows, it might distract him, reduce the stress of the situation.

Submitted by Allie | April 20 2011 |

I used to throw day-old doughnuts at the neighbors' dog who would periodically come after me.

Submitted by Karen London | April 20 2011 |

Scary! And being scared is a healthy reaction that happens to all dog lovers. I've been working with aggressive dogs for a dozen years, and if I stopped being afraid and having the proper startle response (I'm blessed with a good one!), I'd get hurt. I love, love, love dogs, but I'm not crazy about feeling frightened of them.

I agree that the first step is to talk with your neighbor. I think you can even start with something like, "I love dogs, and yours is incredibly beautiful and my dog loves to play with her, but I need to let you know that she really scared me recently." If you can let him know that you love dogs and that you see great qualities in his, hopefully he'll be less defensive and you can have a productive conversation about restraining his dog.

And I agree that keeping treats on you may be useful for distracting this dog. Squeakers are also an option that changes some dogs' mood. Another possibility is to say something that will make the dog happy and relaxed and so cut short the snarling. Best choices for most dogs are , "Where's your ball?", "Wanna go for a walk?" and "Here's your dinner." Many dogs have been conditioned by years of repetition to go all soft, happy, and waggy when they hear these phrases, and that can stop a tense situation. (And yes, you'll feel silly doing this--we all do.)

I urge extreme caution with kids--perhaps even calling your neighbor prior to the kids being outside to make sure the dog is not on the loose.

Warm thoughts to you!

Submitted by Jennifer B | April 20 2011 |

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for all your gracious advice! I am going to speak with him. Karen, the opening you've given me should work perfectly with this man. I'm not good at confrontation but this should help a lot. Letting him know when the kids will be over too, is a great idea. I'm going to look for opportunities when she is outside so I can do the treat and toy bit. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'd like to be friends with this dog, and I know she was neglected in her previous life, so maybe I'll be able to help her while I'm trying to help me.
THANK YOU ALL!

Submitted by Steve | April 20 2011 |

Does ANYONE have a dog that does not like to go for a ride in the car? For a few months after adopting Humphrey, he seemed nervous about getting in the car, but after a few rides (which were NOT to the veterinarian, every time) he warmed up to it and is another canine cruiser. Every dog I've ever had has just loved to "go for a ride".

Submitted by Jess | April 20 2011 |

I know quite a few greyhounds who do not like to ride in the car. Our female whines literally the whole time the car is in motion, and a friend's greyhound either pees or gets sick every time he's in the car. I think, like humans, it really depends on the dog.

Submitted by Laurelin( | April 20 2011 |

One of my first fosters had been on a transport from a Southern shelter up to New England as a pup, and was severely phobic of cars (10' away, laying drown, shaking, drooling, eye rolling). It was SLOW process with a lot of treats, but we primarily used CCD techniques, and got her used to cars being near, parked ... then running ... then opening a door ... stepping in and through and out again.... you get the idea. Rides were kept super short, as mentioned above, but pretty frequent. She progressed to 2 ten min. excursions to my workplace per day, and when she was adopted, she would willingly get in to the car with her new family (didn't quite like it yet, but did it willingly and with trust). They continued the work, having special car treats and car toys, and had a safe, secure 'nest' (crates work, too) for her to be in. She did NOT like to be near windows. There are also CDs of calming classical music designed for dogs, and even for driving with dogs! In my experience, there are more dogs with car phobias or issues than many suspect. Best of luck!

Submitted by Kara | April 20 2011 |

Yes, I do. Mind, she was thrown from a moving vehicle at about 4 months of age by a cruel human, so I can't blame her! she has full-on panic attacks in the car - shaking, drooling, vomiting, occasional explosive diarrhea, and/or then completely shuts down. She won't even go within 15 ft. of any parked car. Fortunately we are on a farm and don't go into town often. I bought a Thundershirt and am going to try this in conjunction with counter conditioning and desensitization.

Submitted by Karen London | April 20 2011 |

There are many dogs who dislike car rides. Most have a good reason for this response. Some get carsick, while others may have had a traumatic experience such as being thrown forward as a result of a sudden stop, which is why I'm a fan of crating dogs while in the car or using seat belts designed for dogs. A few dogs try to stand and are perpetually off balance and they seem to find this aversive.

Thundershirts, Calming Caps, counterconditioning and desensitization are all helpful with many dogs.

Another way to handle this problem is to teach the dog that the ride ALWAYS leads home, which is comforting to many dogs. You start by driving your car a hundred meters down the road without your dog. Then, go get your dog, put him or her in the car, and drive the few seconds back home. Do this repeatedly, and as the dog gets more comfortable, expand the distance along a loop that approaches your house from the opposite direction. Lots of repetitions at this combined with going further away help many dogs. Eventually, you work backwards so that you drive your dog away from home starting close to your house in a loop all the way back passing the place where you started the process and then home.

Submitted by Amy B | April 20 2011 |

Yes, I've had a few foster dogs who hate the care. The would howl & cry the whole time we were in the car (on the way to therapy or on the way home from the humane society or to the new home). Miserable experiences...for us & them. I would stick my fingers into their crates to try to calm them (not a very safe thing, driving with one hand), but it's the best you can do sometimes.

Submitted by Sandy | April 20 2011 |

Three requests/points of discussion:

1. Bayou is a beautiful cover dog!! My husband and I could not find the word Catahoula anywhere in the issue, though. How about a full article on Catahoulas, their history, the types of Catahoulas, value as family pets and ranch dogs? (From a former Catahoula foster mom.) :)

2. If and when a piece on The State Dog of Louisiana is run, how about one on The State Dog of Texas, the Blue Lacy?

3. My Border Collie/Pointer mix had a partial crutiate (sp?) ligament tear. We chose to not do surgery, but took the laser treatment instead and it's working wonders! I've done lots of research on this matter. Pro sports leagues use it, many mainstream medical doctors are using it. Why is it not accepted in conventional veterinary medicine?

THANKS!

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | April 20 2011 |

I wrote a general story on state dogs for Bark back in 2009 (http://thebark.com/content/top-dogs) but as far as I know we haven't done a story on Catahoulas or Blue Lacys, in particular. We don't tend to write specific breed stories, but that doesn't mean we don't love them and take advantage of every chance to celebrate the unique qualities of all dogs.

I'm checking on your question about laser treatments with one of our frequent veterinarian writers.

Submitted by Allie | April 20 2011 |

Our rescue needs more foster homes (who's doesn't? I know...)! Does anyone have brilliant ideas for recruiting foster homes?

Submitted by Cally Florence | April 20 2011 |

Very good question and I'm interested in hearing what other people have to say too.

One of the biggest problems is that people don't know how to foster! They might not know the steps to become a foster parents, what it entails or even that the program exists. Most people don't realize how important being a foster parent can be and dogs it can help!

First, I suggest your group make the steps to becoming a foster parent very clear. Have a Facebook page (very important these days),updated website, and print-application that outlines everything they need to know.

Make sure to promote the idea and try to reach people you normally wouldn't. This can include retired couples and students, two groups of people often looked over. University students in particular can be good, they often have free time, miss their pets back home, and are willing to learn new, positive training methods, etc. Plus students are active, flexible and have lots of friends!

Promote your fostering programs at meet-n-greets, petstores, flyers, and grocery stores ... basically all over town.

Also ask former fosters to tell their success stories and compile an online photo album or in-print book that potential foster-parents can flip through.

Educating the public that foster programs need their help is the biggest hurdle. Once you've made all the steps clear and easy for them to follow, you will hopefully recruit more people and aid more dogs! :)

...Can't wait to hear some other peoples ideas!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 20 2011 |

I definitely agree: people just don't know about fostering and don't even think about doing it. Be visible, talk about, write about it, post about it.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 20 2011 |

I, YI, YI. Fostering. Where do I start.

Keep my name anonymous. We fostered for 6 yrs.

Fostering is a wonderful thing that you need to have passion for. It was something we took very seriously, still do, and were very good at.

We know dachshunds and therefore only fostered dachshunds. I can't place another dog, in good faith, not knowing the health issues they are prone too, temperament, characteristics, other issues etc. That's an important thing to me, to educate the adopter on the breed (which is something we weren't done when we got our first dog...live & learn and become a better person).

Don't take on more than you can handle. You have to know your limits. Sometimes that changes. If your limit is 2 fosters that might change if you have 1 foster with medical issues. Or if you can't take dogs w/special needs (deaf, blind, "down"-paralyzed dogs-common to dachsies), or puppies.

You need to be prepared with supplies like crates, x-pens, leashes, collars, bowls, beds, etc. You need to know what the rescue pays for and what they don't (flea/tick med, heartworm med) and how you're being reimbursed for vet costs.

You need to be prepared for calls from shelters, owner surrenders, and vet clinics about dogs that need homes. Do you have a place to put them? Your house or will you have foster homes that you 'manage'? Make sure the proper paperwork is filled out, get vet records, see pictures (if you're a breed rescue), and know that owners are not always truthful. What one person thinks is housetrained might not be housetrained to a person who knows dogs (oh they only have occasional accidents, etc).

If you're managing a foster home you need to keep these things in mind as well. How many dogs can they handle. If the foster dog doesn't get along with their dogs, if there are problems, etc, etc the dog is coming back to your house.

Get your dogs into good homes. Go with your gut. Have a good application, check all the references. When you talk to the vet don't just take "great client" as an answer, get dates, do they do dentals if needed, heartworm meds, ask questions. You are chosing this dogs home! Do a homevisit. I don't care if your rescue doesn't have a rep in the area, call or email another resuce (find one on petfinder) and ask them to do one. Verify what's on the app, meet everyone in the family, take a dog with you and see if how they interact. Sometimes it's interesting what you find out.

Some rescues push too many dogs on their foster homes and people get burned out. Some rescues require fences on all their dogs or will only adopt within a certain mile radius. I love when people are willing to drive to pick up a dog...that shows commitment! Not all dogs need fences...some dogs do. Foster parents know their dogs best. Some dogs need dog buddies while some need to be an only dog.

So...back to how to get more foster homes. Well, do you want foster homes for the sake of having foster homes or good foster homes. I know you want good foster homes. I thought I had a great one, everything anyone could ask for, and then it was a disaster. We kept our dogs as long as possible, forever if need be I always said, because we were looking for the best home. And they are welcome back anytime if anything ever happens. Medical issues is what made us back off.

Make a simple bullet list of requirements. And warn people...
*YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE
*YOU WILL WANT TO KEEP THIS DOG
but if you can't give this dog away please don't foster. Because then you're taking up one more foster spot for a dog that needs it. When you adopt out a dog you're saving 2 lives...the one you adopted out & the one you're taking into foster space.

Yes, we've probably all failed fostering 101, but it's so important to prepare people.

Not all people who might be intersted in fostering will be in a Petsmart, they might not have a dog...think about it, maybe they lost their dog, or the kids moved out & took the dog with, whatever. Try grocery stores like the Girl Scouts do, or Banks. Approach them, people won't approach you, they think rescues always want money (which...we do, lol). Often times people with kids think it's a great idea to foster, but think about how busy their lives are, school, sports, possibly their own dogs, so sometimes just because the kids want it isn't a good idea.

Ok, that was babbling. :) I miss it, I do. But our dogs are getting older, more medical issues (plus family medical issues), and for now we need to care for them, we committed to them first. Oh we'll be back at it again though. Once a rescuer, always a rescuer.

Submitted by Claudia Kawczynska | April 20 2011 |

I think that it is important to underscore the importance of fostering dogs and how this can affect adoption rates! So much better for a dog to be in a loving home, learning how to adjust to life away their previous home, living with a new family (even if it is temporary)—calms them, makes them less stressful, easier to train and therefore a better candidate for a permanent adoption. I think if people knew how important this is, they might be more likely to take in a foster. I understand that this is a huge commitment, but it is oh so rewarding as well. Plus most dogs love meeting new playmates.

Submitted by Molly's Mom | April 20 2011 |

We live in a quaint little town in PA. I have a wirehair Dox named Molly, a mixed breed cat named DooFuss, and a local celebrity named Arthur that moved in over the Winter until the weather warms enough for him to attend public events again. Everyday I walk Molls up the hill to the old cemetery, and every chance Doofuss gets, he follows along. Then Arthur joined the parade. Some days his buddy Ernie joins. And when the neighbor babysits their dogs join. Biggest parade we've had is six critters at once. It's a hoot. Everybody listens well and watches for traffic. Except Arthur because he owns the street. And the neighbors like to watch us go by. Thank goodness for a small town with courteous drivers that smile and wait patiently.

Submitted by Marlene | April 20 2011 |

I would love to be able to do that!! I live in a neighborhood where people actually cross the street to flee when my two boxers, 1 pug and I walk quietly on the leash....

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | April 20 2011 |

What a great story. We'd love to see a photo. If you get a chance to snap your crew, send us a shot at webeditor@thebark.com.

Submitted by Molly's Mom | April 20 2011 |

Thank so much ! Will do !

Submitted by Amy B | April 20 2011 |

HA!!! I'm surprised Molly doesn't "own the street", seeing as she is a dox, they think they own everything, it's their nature. Yes, someone should get a video of you sometime. Sounds so cute...and peaceful.

Submitted by Adventureweiner | April 20 2011 |

The more doxies the better :) Photos would be great!

I organize a monthly walk in Seattle around a beautiful lake path and we usually have about 30 doxies show up. It's so funny to hear people whisper how cute and funny it is when they go by. If any doxie owners in Seattle would like to join in the fun you can find our club - The Adventureweiner Club of Seattle - at http://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/adventureweiner-club/

Submitted by Marlene | April 20 2011 |

Help!! My senior pug popped an eye during a scrap. It was horrible to see, it got huge and wouldn't go back in. First surgery, the eye was sewn shut until swelling goes down. It's been 3 weeks, half the stitches removed, but the eye (now blind and unresponsive)is still too big for the eyelid to completely close. Any similar experiences, advise??

Submitted by Allie | April 20 2011 |

Has your vet recommended removal? We have had several foster dogs who needed to have an eye removed due to traumatic injury and they were none the worse for the wear. There are artificial tears for an irritated eye, but sometimes it is just better to remove the irritating part completely.
Is he on any anti-inflammatory meds?

Submitted by Marlene | April 20 2011 |

Yes, we've been on prednisone for 2 full weeks and now slowly getting off it. There was talk of removal but I hoped we could avoid a second surgery...should I just go for it?

Submitted by Allie | April 20 2011 |

You'll have to have that conversation with your vet. It will depend a lot on how much discomfort your dog is in with the un-closing eye, and how your vet thinks he would fare with another surgery. They don't miss the eye though. Certainly not when they cannot see with it anyway.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 20 2011 |

The vet in question mentionned that eye removal is a very delicate and bloody operation that must be done by an eye specialist. It not only scares me but I can only imagine the cost.

Submitted by Lisa | April 20 2011 |

I cannot speak to the cost as fees differ. However, I had a dog lose his eye to cancer. At first we weren't certain, so we treated conservatively. I can tell you if you think their eye is the LEAST bit uncomfortable, it is far more than you realize. When the eye is removed they are IMMEDIATELY better. He couldn't have cared less about the missing eye! Felt great, and it was very cosmetic once the hair regrew. My dog's eye was removed by a board-certified veterinary surgeon, not a board certified veterinary eye specialist. This protrusion of the eye is common in Pugs.

Submitted by Amy B | April 20 2011 |

I assume you're seeing a specialist? And, what about a second opinion?

We go to Eye Care for Animals and we love our doctor there. In fact, we go Monday for a check-up (yearly for a blind dog, sounds funny doesn't it?) and for my 13 yr old who is developing nuclear sclerosis (sp?). Even took my 7 yr old there last year because he squints in the sun and wind...checked out ok. Dr. Colins is great.

Submitted by Joanne | April 20 2011 |

I just subscribed yesterday to The Bark magazine. I can hardly ewait to start getting it. I had gotten some issues at Barnes and Noble in the past. Chloe has her dog training class tonight. We are halfway through classes now. We've been working on loose leash training and doing commands with distractions present. That's what she needs most right now. She knows about 13 commands that I taught her before she started classes. She's a fast learner and seems to enjoy learning. I hope I can get her AKC CGC certified and then at some point onto her Therapy Dog certification. Wish us luck! I really look forward to posting on here every Wednesday and reading all the other posts. Have a great day everyone!

Submitted by Karen London | April 20 2011 |

I'm delighted that you are so enthusiastic about the magazine, about your training classes and goals, about the open thread and, most of all, about your dog!

Submitted by Kat | April 20 2011 |

Good luck with your continued training and goals. I partner with a therapy dog. It takes a special kind of dog to handle it but when you have that kind of partner it's a very rewarding experience.

Submitted by Amy B | April 20 2011 |

You will love the magazine. I 1st saw it in a vet clinic and pulled the postcard out and have been a subscriber ever since (some years I get it as a gift), some years I pay myself. A few months I got extra magazines---my sister had subscribed for me and then I entered a contest and must have clicked 'subscribe', so I fixed that with Bark and shared the magazines with my friends...mailed the magazines to them, they love it too.

Submitted by Cally Florence | April 20 2011 |

It's spring time here ...and very RAINY! That means a lot more time inside for the dogs than outside.

Anyone care to share their rainy-day dog activities? :)

I am always looking for new ideas to keep them stimulated and thinking. Sometimes I hide treats around the house or make homemade kong toys (only safe ones of course). I also do a lot more trick-training on rainy days since it takes little space.

I would love to hear more ideas to keep our dogs happily occupied!

Submitted by Claudia Kawczynska | April 20 2011 |

Love April but definitely makes a challenge for keeping entertained during its rainy days. Have you tried an indoor game of "hide and seek" yet? Or set up an indoor agility course—see our article http://www.thebark.com/content/agility-training-exercises-your-dog-can-d... about how to do that.

Submitted by Laurelin | April 20 2011 |

Our dog LOVES to target. So ... we find new things around for her to learn and target. We started with the hand, then stick. Each target exercise turns in to 'Find the ...' which can be helpful! We've even targeted the cat, and if we ever wonder what trouble she's in to, the answer is a moment away ...' find the kitty!' (always safe, of course).

Submitted by Annie Elliott | April 20 2011 |

This morning I was walking with my dogs with a heavy, heavy heart. Our dear cat, Oz, had been killed by a fox, we suspect. during the night. I needed to clear my head & get a in a good in the company of my understanding dog companions.

The guilt I felt, having let him go outside in an area which we share with coyote's, fox and the occasional mountain lion was unbearable.

Ginny, Trooper and I were walking when an animal control officer stopped us to say thanks for using a leash near the road. "your a great pet owner" she said. My eyes welled with thoughts of Oz, but as Ginny and Trooper looked at me with eyes filled with trust and love...I could not help but think that the universe was trying to tell me something.

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