The Dog Blog


Give and Take


Hippotherapy - Boy + Service Dog + Tolerant Horse = Good Times

Today’s outing with Bubbles involved a new species of animal — for Sam and for Bubbles! We decided to try an evaluative session on horseback to see if Sam could benefit from equine therapy. Many researchers have noted that often, when autistic children are first introduced to hippotherapy, the new environment may prompt crying, screaming, tantrums, and avoidance behaviors such as flopping down and becoming limp. For our Sam, there's also risk of flight.

Group stay, Muttamorphosis Dog Training.

Does your dog have the Sex Factor?

Some of you may have read my previous blogs on the challenges of owning an un-castrated teen dog.  After much frustration at the beginning of February, & following advice from two training friends who both own un-castrated males, I’ve been working with Border Collie Guinness & his urges for over a month now.  Nicked-named the ‘sex factor’ by one colleague, this is a great phrase to describe behaviours which often intensify during a testosterone surge, usually experienced by entire male dogs between the age of 7-15 months.  ‘It’s a bit like your 14 year old locking himself in his bedroom with a dirty magazine’, she explained.  The canine equivalent where Guinness was concerned included frantic leg cocking & urine marking, intensive sniffing, licking & salivating over other dog’s wee & leg humping.

Roxy rests with benefit of Har-Vest

Rescue - Who rescues who?

A little more than a year into my relationship with 'rescue dog' Tommy the Wizard, the shih tzu I reluctantly took in and then fell in love with and fully adopted, I find myself once again fostering a dog who arrived with issues, uncertainly and no formal training. Roxy is a nearly 5 year old puggle (a cross between a pug and a beagle) whose owners found me agreeing to take custody of her for the express purpose of finding her a new and wonderful forever home during a narrow window of opportunity. How did they do it? First success -- I answered the phone and listened to the story.


Aggression and Emotions

Often one of the most common reasons why animals show aggression is due to fear, however there can be other reasons too such as frustration. Dogs do not show aggression because they are trying to be naughty or stubborn, they often have very good reasons. If your dog is showing aggression ask yourself why s/he maybe doing this in terms of emotions such as anxiety, fear, frustration, panic, play... Don't think in terms of labels such as naughty or dominant. Dogs that often growl when people try to remove bones or walk towards them when they are eating do so because they do not feel comfortable


Advocacy Overdrive – BSL in New Zealand - The Godzone is a Canine Warzone.

Breed Discrimination is a problem dog owners and dogs themselves face all over the world. As I have detailed in a blog about Australia and the recent call for “dangerous dog laws” in Victoria and else where in Australia, the problem is not simply a US issue.

New Zealand is also practicing dog breed discriminatory laws. They have been in place for almost 10 years. Now due to recent media frenzy over dog bite incidents the attitude towards dogs of a certain type are becoming increasingly hostile.

As with all lethal or fatal dog bite incidents there is a human behavior criteria that is always present. These factors cannot be discounted or over looked. Though as in the US, some media in New Zealand are not doing their journalisitc home work.

In New Zealand, just as in other parts of the world you will find the same sensationalistic journalism accompanied by opinions and feelings about dogs by people that have little or no legitimate education about canines.


Give Them What They Need

Everyone has a different definition of what constitutes a "good dog."  For trainers, it may mean a dog that can take home an OTCH, or a "bomb-proof" dog that can be used in behavioral consults with reactive dogs.  For an agility devotee, it would be a structurally sound dog that has the drive to compete.  Some people think a 300 yard stay and a bomb-proof recall makes a good dog.  For a hunter, the ability to work off leash in the fields and woods amidst extreme distractions constitutes a good dog.  Others think good dogs are those that will let children climb on and ride around on a dog with nary a calming signal.  Whether you want your dog to be a therapy dog, enjoy living happily in a home with many children, a multi-dog or multi-animal household, or whether you have competitive goals, whether you are a trainer or a devoted pet owner, we all get to define what a "good dog" is, and therefore, what level of investment we want to make in training a dog


Tommy The Wizard - A Rescue Gone Right

Time can be measured in many ways. the blink of an eye, seconds, moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades, lifetimes, centuries, millennium and yada yada yada. The benefit of such measure is often comparative -- to reflect on how things are the same, how things are different. Then getting subjective -- how things are better, or how things are worse. Living and working hands on with dogs full time for over the past 12 years has engendered a greater awareness of the value of living in the moment -- it is a testament to the power of the animals I share my life with how many perfect moments there are in life, even amid stress, sorrow, sadness, loss and pain. Yet at the same time, a wise man once told me (okay, so it was my father!), if you can look back at a year ago and say that today things are better or at least no worse, then you are doing well. Forward ho. Or something like that. So it is as an anniversary arrives I step back to become reflective.


Advocacy Overdrive: A teachable moment in our midst

The corresponding video to this blog is on You Tube

In January of 2012 actor Nick Santino committed suicide after he euthanized his dog Rocco amid pressure from his condo board and harassment from his neighbors.

The NY Post reported that a Veterinarian had issued a warning that Rocco was “becoming aggressive” this has now been proven to be false.

Nick had Rocco euthanized at the ASPCA not at his regular vet. In NY State any pet owner can have his pet euthanized without too many obstacles.

By all accounts from people that knew Nick and Rocco, they all said Rocco was a sound, friendly dog and Nick was a great dog owner.

This film is not documenting any aspects surrounding this tragic event that deal with Mr. Santino’s personal life or the assumptions that have been made about his state of affairs.

We sincerely extend our condolences to his family and friends.


Rufo's Legacy For Shelter Dogs

Today I saw a lovely video that brought tears of joy to my eyes. It was about the story of Rufo, a shelter dog that spent six years waiting for a new home. The video is sweet and full of hope, however, even though Rufo has a happy ending, his story is both quite sad and unusual.

While I understand why the shelter and all of Rufo’s friends and supporters really wanted to celebrate his triumph, I also fear that Rufo’s story may send the wrong message. I fear more shelters will try to keep dogs languishing or suffering for too long because “they might be the next Rufo”. I fear that people



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