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Dogs: The Pawsitive Force that Connects Us All

I’m headed back to L.A. on a cross-country flight after presenting a seminar in New Jersey. It was great fun, and featured two other speakers as well, one of whom was Dog Star Daily’s own “International Roving Reporter,” Roger Abrantes. The audience was mostly made up of trainers, but also included shelter and rescue workers, petsitters, a few owners, and a veterinarian. We all had one thing in common—a love of dogs and a desire to help them.

 

Mommy is Sick

My dogs have been watching me closely for two days now. I think they’re waiting. They’re being patient and sweet and waiting. In the past forty eight hours, all five of my dogs have chosen to lie at my feet, or by the fire or on the loveseat where humans never sit. None of them have so much as hinted at a request to sit next to me on the couch.

 

Beach Dogdom I

As I write this I am listening to the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean crash onto a rocky beach. Palm leaves are rustling in the Plumeria-scented air and occasionally monkeys swing by high in the thorny trees.

I am in lush and lovely Costa Rica, and while I am thoroughly enjoying the tropical climate, gorgeous flora and fauna, laidback atmosphere, and as much plantains, beans, rice, and guacamole as I can eat (heaven!) – I am still slightly unsettled.

I feel off-kilter and unmoored. Something is missing. I am dog-less.

 

Kids and Dogs: Parental Guidance Required

My first puppy was a memorable and life-shaping experience. Although my parents never admitted it, I suspect they finally caved in to my pleas for a puppy, when the neighbors down the street called to let them know I was spending an inordinate amount of time sitting next to their beagle, on top of his dog house. I thought he looked lonely and sad, too young to realize that beagles look this way most of the time. His name was Blaze, and I thought he was the most handsome dog I had ever seen.

 

Saving Ollie - Part 3 in a series about a shelter dog with severe beahvior problems

Click to read Part 1
Ollie’s aggression posed a threat to the volunteers and staff at the Animal Adoption Foundation’s shelter facility. They accepted that risk in hopes of improving Ollie’s aggressive behavior, however, and the gamble paid off. Next they had to consider the risks of having a dog like Ollie in their adoption program.

Placing an aggressive dog involves risks to the adopting family, the general public, the dog, and the shelter. The dog might bite someone in his new family. He might bite a stranger. If his behavior declines and the adopters return him to the shelter, it may be harder to improve his behavior the second time. It can also hurt the shelter’s reputation, and (although I’ve never heard of a case) possibly even expose the organization to legal liability.

 
Old Dog

The Final Walk —by Dog Star Daily’s international roving reporter Roger Abrantes

My walk home from the pier is one of life’s small pleasures. It’s normally a 20 minute stroll, but it can often take up to an e hour or sometimes even two, as I have to stop and chat with everybody on the way, from merchants to people I know by sight, or even complete strangers. This is the Thai way and the way of my village in Southern Thailand where everybody smiles and talks to you.

 

How to Rule Your Dog's World

There seem to be a lot of dog owners out there who are worried about being pushed around by their dogs. Clients come to me all the time asking for reassurance that they are not somehow being drawn into total control by their canine companion.

Here’s how I determine who is in charge. If you were trapped in your house with your dog, and the only thing to eat was a can of beef stew, who would open the can? Whoever opens the can is in charge. (If you're thinking your dog would simply eat you instead of waiting for beef stew, you have a bigger issue than we're talking about here!)

 

Tails of Devotion

I just bought my fifth copy of a book called Tails of Devotion. Why, you may ask, do I need five copies of the same book? Do I keep losing it? Am I daft? No and no.

 

Gimme A Break!

Okay, so we all know that the average dog is overweight and under-exercised. This is a fact that just can’t be disputed. We also know that many a behavior problem could be resolved by providing more exercise, mental stimulation and training.

However, in my own practice, I often come across dogs who have been swung all the way to the other side of the pendulum. They get lots of exercise, attend classes, go to daycare, frequent the dog park, go everywhere with their owners and participate in at least one sport. I call them the over-achievers.

 

Puppy Prodigies

I am blown away. I have just come from visiting a web site that showed videos of very young puppies being trained. You’re probably thinking “young” means four months old, maybe even three. But nooo! These puppies started their training at the age of 20 days. For those of you just waking up and not wanting to do the math, that’s just under three weeks!

 

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