Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Safety Tips Before, During, And After Your Christmas Celebration
Tis another season full of anticipation, smiles, angst, online shopping, in store adventures, travel and long to do lists.
Whether you are hosting parties at your home, attending parties, traveling or celebrating in a quieter manner I encourage you to keep your pet’s safety in mind.
- Prepare and train your dog now to prevent him from bolting out of the front door if you are expecting guests. A good stay or wait command is critical to teach before the craziness begins. If you opt out of training then it is safer to just confine your dog behind a gate or in a crate temporarily while guests arrive and leave.
c Diane Rich 2013
- The day before and day of your party exercise your dog to tire her out especially if she will exiled away from all the activities. If you can score a dog walker this late in the game to help you out, great.
- Make sure your guests, especially children are educated on how you want your dog handled. Children under the age of 8 should always be supervised around the family dog even if the relationship has worked out well in the past. No dog should be expected to ”tolerate” inappropriate interactions from anyone and may need to be protected from overzealous dog lovers
c Diane Rich 2013
- When it is meal time for the family dog find a quiet location so the dog can enjoy dinner in peace.
- Should you wish to discourage your dog begging at the table or eating food that may create a tummy upset remind your guests not to give your dog any table scraps and not to feed your dog from the table. Fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal problems. Cooked bones are a no no and may require an emergency Vet visit if your dog scores a bone
- If you believe your dog may look at your Christmas tree as one of his gifts beckoning to him to lift his leg and relieve himself on it you may want to create a barrier so the tree, gifts and ornaments are inaccessible. Beyond destruction or marking, some dogs have been known to pull a tree over
- Cords used for holiday lighting may draw your pup’s attention so be sure the cords are taped down or inaccessible to your inquisitive canine chewer.
- If the festivities seem to be making your dog nervous, your dog may need to be relocated to another part of the house away from the party and guests hopefully will respect that area and leave the dog alone. A crate can be a safe escape for a young dog.
c Diane Rich 2013
- Everyone loves a puppy. Keep in mind your pup like a human baby has limits. You need to not only set boundaries but manage all interactions especially rough housing and guests wanting to constantly pick the pup up.
c Diane Rich 2013
- Keep plants out of reach
- Alcohol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisons, onions, garlic, coffee beans and dark chocolate can be life threatening to dogs if consumed.
c Diane Rich 2013
- Keep your local emergency Vet’s number handy
- Make sure your dog’s collar includes an ID tag in case they bolt out the front door or if outside an open gate.
- If you want to share some cooked unseasoned turkey or meat with your dog a few small pieces should not hurt your dog. A dog allowed to overindulge could get quite sick. Best to stick with the dog’s regular diet
- Remember to include your dog on your Christmas shopping list. Should you choose to give your dog a plush, squeaky type toy supervise the activity so the squeaker or stuffing are not swallowed.
- If your dog gets cranky with people around her food bowl inform your guests to steer clear of the dog when she is eating or feed her in another room away from children or adults.
- If the temperature in your zip code is too cold for you it is too cold for most dogs. Your dog should be able enjoy your warm home rather than enduring cold, outdoor conditions.
- Allowing children to chase or harass the dog is ill advised. Although everyone is busy enjoying holiday festivities this may be a good time to teach children how to pet and respect the family dog
- Your guests who may have excused your dog’s enthusiastic greeting of jumping on them may not be so thrilled if wet or muddy paws make contact with holiday clothing
- Wrappers and ribbons anxiously ripped off presents need to be discarded so your dog or cat isn’t tempted to chew or swallow packaging.
Wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas.
c Diane Rich 2013
The National Dog Show by Purina Airs November 28th
I had the wonderful opportunity recently to participate with other bloggers in a pre-broadcast conference call to interview David Frei and John O’Hurley, the cohosts of this popular televised dog show. As most dog enthusiasts know, David Frei is an expert analyst for Westminster and the National Dog Show. He has years of experience breeding and showing dogs and is also an AKC judge. Of course who doesn’t know J. Peterman of Seinfeld fame. John O’Hurley has been a cohost with David over the years and brings his wit and humor to the viewers. These hosts are a great combination.
The National Dog Show in Philadelphia held annually since 1933 has over 2000 dogs entered in this show and includes 190 breeds . There are 3 new AKC breeds for this year’s big event. The new breeds are; The Chinook in the working category, Rat Terrier in the Terrier category and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno in the Hound group.
Show dogs are primped, pampered and groomed down to their last hair so they can each strut their coiffed stuff for 2 minutes in front of a judge to earn their way to the prize, Best in Show. The timeline to perform in the ring is quick and seems similar to our Thanksgiving celebration whereas it can take a week to prepare a meal for family and friends and minutes to consume the bounty on Turkey Day. The dogs and handlers need to bring their A game during their short time in front of a judge.
The National Dog Show airs at noon in all time zones and follows the Macy’s Day parade. The show is one of the oldest benched shows in the United States since 1933. A benched show is open to the public and participating dogs are on display when not competing in the ring. It is a wonderful opportunity for people to meet different breeds and talk with the breeders or handlers about the dog. In some cases the breeder and handler are one in the same.
David Frei commented that the best handler is one who is invisible so the dog shines. He goes on to say the dog should be paying attention to the handler which is something a new dog owner parenting a purebred or mixed breed learns in puppy class.
One of the bloggers asked where the dogs are housed during the show . David replied that some handlers who live in the area just drive in for the day while handlers from out of town may nest in their own motor home so the dogs can travel and stay in a familiar environment before and between their show times. Other handlers may opt to stay in a pet friendly hotel or a hotel that made special accommodations and will allow entered dogs on site just for this dog show.
Another blogger asked about those oops moments that happen either behind the scenes or on camera and John O’Hurley shared a story about a Great Dane that stopped and squatted in front of him leaving a donation. John felt it was the dog’s opinion of his performance.
When asked which dogs we should be watching, neither gentleman would give up any breed info. A perfect tease for us to tune in. They both said it will be an exciting lineup and is the most exciting group of dogs to date at the National Dog Show.
David Frei talked about his pet therapy group, Angel on a Leash which is a 501 3c and is a national therapy organization. He and his personal dogs visit kids at the Ronald McDonald House and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. David was asked what makes a good therapy dog and being involved with therapy service, I agreed with his answer. He said therapy dogs are born not made.
John O’Hurley made a wonderful comment that the Best in Show is not really the dog that wins in the ring but the real Best in Show is the dog that is sitting next to you on the couch. To this statement I am sure we all agree.
How to Assess your Pet’s Health
I received an email about a topic on the show, The Doctors that will air tomorrow and wanted to give my readers a heads up about this segment. If you cannot watch or record the program you can access it via http://tinyurl.com/drsvideo
A Veterinarian demonstrates on Dr. Travis Stork’s very relaxed dog how to check a dog’s pulse, how to check for lumps and bumps and shows the viewer a few other easy to do at home exams on your pet. I viewed the segment and thought the information was easy to understand and something every pet owner can do at home.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
A Loving Tribute to our Senior Best Friends
Edited by David Tabatsky Photographs by Garry Gross
When I was asked to review this book there was something about the title that made me anxious to get to it. The title is short, sweet, simple and says it all.
Have you noticed some grey hair on your dog’s muzzle? Does it seem your dog is growing more lumps on a monthly basis? Have you noticed your dog is napping more? There is no way for humans or animals to beat the aging process although humans trying to fake out the mirror may pay for a little nip or tuck here and there. Dogs seem to take aging in stride as they are not consumed with our vanity.
And it is said that old friends are the best. I absolutely agree. It is comforting to know someone’s history and they yours as the information and knowledge is out there. Good friends accept, tolerate and love the other person in spite of their warts. Dogs love us whether we are young or in our golden years and sharing a dog’s gifts to their last breath is a privilege.
Many people want a wiggly, happy go lucky, uneducated puppy to mold into the perfect dog. So if a dog lover decides to adopt a dog and visits the local shelter or rescue many of the wonderful, sweet middle aged or senior dogs are overlooked. Some older dogs when out of the sterile environment of a shelter may surprise you with energy and a light your love will put back into their eyes.
It is easy math to calculate the years a senior dog may have left and some people cannot bear the thought of only sharing a short time with this new addition. On the other hand, people may fail to realize that an older dog that is housetrained and enjoys a walk and a nap can be a joy and may not be as high maintenance as a young, needy dog. Many young dogs find their way to a shelter as they are too much for a busy family.
After Gary Gross retired from the world of fashion photography which included photographing many celebrities, he became a dog trainer in New York and combined his passion of training dogs with his passion of photography. He gravitated toward older and senior dogs. Gary died in 2010.
This book is a compilation of 44 color photographs that without words seem to connect the reader to the soul and beauty of these senior canines. Writers such as Dean Koontz (I have read most of his books), Doris Day, Marlo Thomas and others contributed humorous and uplifting articles that accompany the photos.
The author, David Tabatsky is a writer, teacher and performing artist in the New York area. David collected Grosse’s photographs, essays and short pieces to create this book. What a tribute to a talented, dog loving photographer.
This book was a delight to read and the photographs will warm your heart.
There may be a rescue in your area that only takes in senior dogs and could be worth a look.
Kirkland Art Center
Date: Saturday, November 9, 2013 (All day) to Saturday, January 11, 2014 (All day)
Reception date: Friday, November 8, 2013 – 6:00pm
Hours open: Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 6pm Saturdays: 11am – 5pm Closed Sundays and Mondays
Gallery Curator: Donna Lindeman Porter
The Kirkland Arts Center Gallery is going to the dogs- literally! In an exhibition dedicated to the other community members of our town, artists explore the relationship with human’s best friend, as well as the political, social, and sometimes comical undertones of “going to the dogs”.
Join us at the Opening Reception on November 8th, 6 – 8:30pm to view work from over 40 artists, enjoy food and drinks, and meet some special guests in the Seattle Humane Society’s MaxMobile!
Donna Lindeman Porter
Joe Max Emminger
John A. Brickey
Myron E. Lewis
Randy Clark (aka Fish Boy)
Grey (or gray if you please) IS the new black!!
Are you ready for a mature relationship? Adopt a senior pet at Seattle Humane Society and find out for yourself why senior pets are the best! All month long, adoption fees are waived on cats 7 years and older (normally $25), and dogs 7 years and older are $50.At some shelters, dogs and cats over the age of three are not considered “adoptable,” but at the Seattle Humane Society, we know that older pets make amazing companions.
Top 5 Reasons to Adopt a Mature Pet:
1. MELLOW PERSONALITY You know exactly who you are adopting because his or her personality is formed Plus, these great dogs and cats tend to have just the right level of playfulness for busy families.
2. ALREADY HOUSE-TRAINED Most mature pets have already learned many of life’s lessons –including potty lessons!
3. MAKE THEMSELVES AT HOME Older companion animals seem to acclimate more quickly to new settings.
4. HAVE A LOT OF LOVE TO GIVE Many of our adopters say that senior dogs and cats really seem to appreciate it when they are adopted and bond to their new family more readily than younger ones.
5. YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG (OR CAT) NEW TRICKS! With older pets, you don’t have to spend time teaching them all the basics – they already know them! Instead, have fun teaching them new tricks!
Visit the Seattle Humane Society at 13212 SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue to meet your perfect pet today or see our adoptable pets online at seattlehumane.org.
Written By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
From the back of the book, “ Devoted fills your heart with 38 true life tales that prove the strongest bonds are measured not by words but by tail wags, barks and nose nuzzles.”
There seems to be an increase in the number of books about our beloved pets that document true tales or shall we say wagging tails about what our amazing dogs bring into our lives. Many dog parents prefer their pet over being around people which may be why books about dogs have grown in popularity.
I initially thought this was just another dog book that would offer sweet, warm and fuzzy stories. After reading it I found it to be much more. The author shares stories of dogs who are rescued and who rescue in return.
Each story includes a beautiful photo of just the dog and or the dog with their person. The author includes the dog’s name and state where the dog and family reside and overview on the breed. Walsh gives a back story on each dog in such a way that the reader cannot help feeling compassion and of course a connection. Throughout the book the author offers general fun facts about dogs which may come from National Geographic’s library.
Walsh’s heartwarming stories about the human animal bond include a variety of breeds including rescued Pit Bulls, mixed breeds, a Great Dane, Goldens and a Westie. The author tells of a rescued Doberman used as bait forced to be a sparing dog for fighting dogs. To ensure the safety of the fighting dogs the low-lifes filed down the Dobermans teeth. He was lucky to make his way to a loving, forever home. There are a variety of breeds featured throughout the book.
This book is a quick, enjoyable, read and I recommend that you hold the book in one hand and pet your dog with the other. On the back cover the author asks “who’s taking care of whom?” What do you think?
The beautiful photo on the cover of a chocolate Lab was by David du Chemin
Devoted is published by the National Geographic Society a scientific and educational nonprofit I respect.
Written by Marilynn R. Glasser
Dog lovers in Seattle are lucky as there are quite a number of designated off leash dog parks in our area. Some parks are fenced and some parks offer more of an open concept for dogs that are trained to a level they won’t run off. Some of our parks are small and some boast acres of romping room. What I have noticed over the past 10 years is that some residential developers have set aside some real estate and fenced off an area for the resident’s own dog park. Sweet.
Glasser’s book zeros in on critical issues dog lovers in any community interested in creating a dog park should review and consider. The author helps the reader navigate the stages of park development, helps identify essential and optional components of a dog park, waste management, fencing and funding. The author offers tips on signage which should post rules, etiquette, safety concerns. She also includes information on landscaping and even a how to with regard to the grand opening. She doesn’t stop there as she offers suggestions for ongoing evaluation to ensure things continue on a positive path.
What may be helpful to those dog lovers who either don’t have a community dog park or have to travel too far to enjoy one and want a dog park in their community, are Glasser’s tips in one of the chapters she titled, Making the Case. NIMBY (not in my ack yard) can be just one obstacle from neighbors bordering a potential park site. Their concerns include parking overflow, barking, the smell and of course safety concerns should dogs not be controlled by owners upon entering or leaving the park. Your city council and park board will either be your ali or won’t get on board due to concerns about money, maintenance, safety and limited time to dedicate to this cause.
It all starts with the concept and then recruiting dedicated volunteers to stay energized and motivated as it can be a long road. I can relate to this book as I was personally involved over 10 years ago with a small group of dog parents looking to create a dog park in our city. After a few years of “making our case” to the city who at that time were not interested, this little group lost their motivation. A couple years later, another group emerged with new energy. We took our case, several times, to the parks department and city council with facts, figures, a plan for stewardship. This park like many newer dog parks around the country would be funded through private donations. The park finally came to fruition.
If you are a dog lover and your community does not yet have a dog park, this is an excellent, well written book I believe you will find helpful.