Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

10 Safety Tips For Your Pet This Halloween

October 26th, 2015 at 9:32 am by Diane Rich
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Have Fun and Stay Safe

Oscar dennys halloween 10-15
Halloween is a favorite holiday for many humans and
many pet parents include the family pet in the festivities.

You can start to train your dog now to
acclimate to those things that go bump in the night.
You can teach your dog(s) to wait at the door,  or go to their
place when the doorbell rings. If training is just not on
your “to do” list then prevention should be.


Bolting out the Door
Does your dog have a tendency to bolt out the door?
If so, then before trick or treaters come by your home
consider confining the dog away from a potential

Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag should s/he
decide to bolt from your home. You may also want to
have recent pictures of your dog on hand just in case you
need to post missing dog fliers around your area.

You may also consider outfitting your dog with a reflective
collar or one that lights up so if s/he does bolt. S/he may
be more visible to trick or treaters or drivers.

howloween Harley chase hat vest 10-10

Dog Costumes
Millions of dollars are spent each year dressing up the family
pet be it for social media or to accompany the kids trick or
treating.  You may consider letting your canine endure
a dress rehearsal before taking him or her to the streets.
Make sure the costume will not encumber the pet, tripping
him up or impacting vision. Some pets may get too
warm wearing a costume.

Is Your Dog Bombproof at Night?
When I was a little girl, I used to take my Miniature Schnauzer on
my Halloween adventures but during that decade
neighbors knew each other and neighborhood
adventures were safer than today.  Keep in mind some pets may not react
well to other trick or treaters

thief david bandana cropped

Masked Strangers at Your Door
If your dog will over-react to costumed strangers
or anyone coming to your door, confinement
away from an open door is the way to go. Keep in
mind those little human faces your dog knows
may be hidden behind a mask or costume.

Will your dog be contained in your back yard while
you are at a party or go with your kids treat or treating?
The dog may escalate from a normal barking alert to
frenzied barking due to the onslaught of people coming
to your door or just walking down the street.

Back Yard Escape
If your dog is kept outdoors, you want to make sure
gate latches are secure to prevent an escape.
A secure lock for your gate may prevent strangers from
gaining access to your pets.

Dog Theft
As people are busy answering the door, accompanying
children on Halloween rounds or attending adult parties
this is an opportune time for your pets to mysteriously
disappear. Make sure strangers do not have access
to your beloved companion.

halloween chase candy 2013

Yummy Candy
Kids are not the only species that love candy.
Your 4 legged opportunist may find chocolate delights
irresistible. Keep all candy out of the dog’s

Wishing you a fun, safe, happy Halloween
Diane Rich
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

The 2016 Event Promises to be “Bigger and Better”


 New York, NY – The Westminster Kennel Club and American Kennel Club (AKC®) present Meet & Compete, featuring the 3rd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and AKC Meet the Breeds®, brought to you by Purina® Pro Plan®. This exciting joint event takes place on Saturday, February 13th at Piers 92 and 94 in New York City, and gives dog lovers the unique opportunity to meet and play with hundreds of adorable dogs at AKC Meet the Breeds® while learning about responsible dog ownership, as well as see the nation’s top canine competitors race against the clock at the 3rd Annual Masters Agility Championship.

“We’re excited to be partnering again with the Westminster Kennel Club to bring the public Meet & Compete,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. “We will have a fantastic variety of breeds at AKC Meet the Breeds® for attendees to meet and learn about straight from the experts.”

“We are combining and expanding two exciting events for Westminster Week 2016, and the dog-loving public is the winner,” said Seán W McCarthy, President of the Westminster Kennel Club. “We have more space for AKC Meet the Breeds® and more access for all to the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster. We are pleased once again to be partnering with the AKC to make it happen.”

The 2016 event marks the seventh AKC Meet the Breeds® and the second year the event joins the thrilling Westminster Week roster. This year, one daytime event ticket will grant event-goers access to both AKC Meet the Breeds® and the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster. The venue expansion will be enhanced by the addition of a newly-constructed interior staircase that will connect Piers 92 and Pier 94 for all events of Westminster Week. Attendees will have more room to interact with over 150 breeds in elaborately decorated booths that depict fun elements from the breed’s history and talk to experts about each dog, as well as see the exciting Agility competition taking place in Pier 94.

The agility competition takes place all day (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) in Pier 94, with the finals being televised live on FOX Sports 1 from 8-10 p.m. ET.  AKC Meet the Breeds®  will take place in Piers 92 & 94 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

In addition to the Westminster Kennel Club and American Kennel Club present Meet & Compete on Saturday, February 13th, Westminster Week events include the iconic 140th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday and Tuesday, February 15-16 and the brand new Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster on Monday, February 15. All events are presented by Purina® Pro Plan®, which is dedicated to helping dogs of all activity levels excel through performance nutrition and expert resources.

To purchase tickets for Meet & Compete and find additional information about the event, visit www.westminsterkennelclub.org.

About AKC Meet the Breeds – From Akitas to Xoloitzcuintlis and everything in between, AKC Meet the Breeds is brought to you by exclusive pet care sponsor Purina Pro Plan. The seventh annual event gives dog lovers the unique opportunity to meet and play with more than 100 different breeds in booths individually decorated to depict each breed’s country of origin, historical purpose/function, and attributes as a family pet, all while learning about responsible dog ownership and which breeds may be right for them.  Event sponsors include PetPartners, AKCSM Visa® Card, Motel 6, and Ameriprise. For more information, visit www.akc.org/meetthebreeds.

About The Westminster Kennel Club – Established in 1877, The Westminster Kennel Club (www.westminsterkennelclub.org) is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.

Its world-famous benched dog show is America’s second-longest continuously-held sporting event in America, behind only the Kentucky Derby.

About Purina Pro Plan – Eight of the last eight Westminster Best In Show Winners were fueled by Purina Pro Plan. Our goal is to give your dog the nutrition to be his absolute best, helping him to be energetic and resilient, and maintain an ideal body condition, healthy skin and a stunning coat. Our wide range of dry and wet foods, snacks and supplement bars are sold exclusively at pet specialty retailers. For more information, visit www.proplan.com or follow @ProPlan on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine or Google+.

The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog.  For more information, visit www.akc.org.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



September 29th, 2015 at 4:23 pm by Diane Rich
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Fees waived on all pets Oct. 2-4 at Adoption Blitz!
hr bar red
 Convio Seattle Humane’s annual Adoption Blitz means hundreds of families can adopt a dog, cat, puppy, kitten, rabbit or other furry critter without the typical adoption fee. Fees are waived for all pets in the care of Seattle Humane in Bellevue for three days only, Friday, October 2nd through Sunday, October 4th.”Our mission at Seattle Humane is to make owning a companion pet accessible to all King County-area residents,” says Shelter Director Lauren Hilaman. “Although our usual fees are low, Adoption Blitz helps us reach even more wonderful animal lovers who want to open their hearts and homes to an animal that needs a family.”Each year, hundreds of pets are adopted during Adoption Blitz. Adoption Manager Nicolette Voigt points out that Seattle Humane’s Adoption Advisors carefully vet each adopter by conducting one-on-one interviews and reviewing questionnaires. “The animals are always our first priority and we want to make sure each one of them is going to a loving family that can care well for them. We pride ourselves on our ability to make successful matches,” continues Voigt.

All dogs and cats ar e vaccinated, microchipped, health-checked and spay/neutered. Dogs are temperament-tested and most dog adoptions come with a six-week obedience training course. All dogs and cats 13 years of age and under will receive one month of free pet insurance.  Potential adopters can preview adoptable animals at seattlehumane.org and download a  pre-adoption questionnaire. Seattle Humane is located at 13212 SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue (near the junction of I-90 and I-405), and is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sun.

**Please note that collars, leashes and pet carriers are not provided. You can bring your own or purchase these items at Seattle Humane, with proceeds benefiting the animals in our care.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC




September 16th, 2015 at 2:38 pm by Diane Rich
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– Join Animal Planet on September 19 for Free Pet Adoption Event –

WHO: Animal Planet, Seattle Humane, the ASPCA®, Xfinity & adoptable animals

WHAT: The ROAD TO PUPPY BOWL is an all-star adoption event to help animals of all size, shape and breed find their forever homes! Those hoping to add a playful pup or a furry feline can join Animal Planet at Xfinity’s Redmond store for a fun-filled event with photo ops, giveaways and overly adorable animals. The best part, Animal Planet and the ASPCA have teamed up to cover all adoption fees on Saturday, September 19.

WHEN: Saturday, September 19 from 12 NOON – 4 PM

WHERE: Xfinity Redmond: 8900 161st Ave NE, Ste 125, Redmond, WA 98052

WHY: Each February, the most anticipated sporting event featuring the cutest – and adoptable – players arrives on Animal Planet. PUPPY BOWL has led to hundreds of adoptions over the past 11 years and is a key leader in Animal Planet’s ongoing mission to highlight the importance of animal adoption and responsible pet ownership. Now, the network is bringing the joy and goodwill of the big game to communities across the country on the ROAD TO THE PUPPY BOWL.

*Fees have been waived thanks to grant funding from Animal Planet administered by the ASPCA. Waived adoption fees are on a first-come, first-served basis. Free giveaways while supplies last.

About Animal Planet

Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world’s only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. Animal Planet consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 94 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access to the animal kingdom; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service, and merchandising extensions.

About Seattle Humane

Founded in 1897, Seattle Humane proudly promotes the human-animal bond by saving and serving pets in need. We provide adoption services 7 days a week, plus pet workshops and training, a pet food bank, a low-fee spay/neuter surgery program, humane teen club, a visiting pets program and more. Seattle Humane is located in Bellevue, at 13212 SE Eastgate Way. For directions and more information, visit www.seattlehumane.org or call (425) 641-0080.

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Record Breaking Animals Steal The Show In Guinness World Records 2016 Edition

September 9th, 2015 at 7:13 pm by Diane Rich
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A sprinting tortoise, a coordinated canine, and a set of barnyard dynamos have made their way into the new Guinness World Records book, Guinness World Records 2016 edition!

Key highlights from this year’s edition includes:

Fastest tortoise
The Greatest speed achieved by a tortoise is 0.92 feet/second and was achieved by “Bertie” at Adventure Valley, Brasside, Durham, UK on July 9, 2014, breaking a record which had stood since 1977!. Twice as fast as previous record holder “Charlie,” at his current speed, Bertie could clock 100 meters in 6 minutes. His pacey moves were brought to owners Marco and Janine Calzini’s attention, when visitors to Adventure Valley often noted that he was much faster than your average tortoise. Since setting the new speed benchmark, Marco says, “Bertie now lives in a luxury enclosure with his girlfriend Shelly and his Guinness World Records certificate proudly displayed on the wall. To be in the book is a dream come true, a massive achievement!” Whilst Usain Bolt enjoys tucking into chicken nuggets before a big race, Bertie just needs his favorite snack – strawberries.

Most balls caught by a dog with the paws in one minute
The Most balls caught by a dog with the paws in one minute is 14 and was achieved by 9-year-old Purin and her owner Makoto Kumagai (both Japan) in Sakura, Chiba, Japan, on March 22, 2015. Purin, who has broken her own previous record of 11 to make it into this years’ book, is a multi-talented pooch – the beagle from Tokyo can also skateboard, walk on two legs, rope skipping and has many other impressive skills. Makoto has owned Purin since she was born. “Purin is calm, happy and always eager to play,” says Makato. “She’s scared when around larger dogs, but since she lives with a cat, is more comfortable with animals her own size.”

Largest horn spread on a steer (living)
The hotly contested Widest horn spread on a steer category caused a stir at Guinness World Records HQ this year. ‘Big Red 907′ (pictured) had claimed the crown and was all set for a starring role when news of ‘Lazy J’s Bluegrass,’ a speckled steer from Greenleaf, Kansas, USA broke just days before the GWR 2016 edition went to print. Lazy J’s horns measure 1.9 inches longer than Big Red’s, at a whopping 9 feet 9.8 inches (that’s as wide as five washing machines!) – earning him the title and a shared spot in the record books. Images of Lazy J can be downloaded via the links in this release.

Longest fur on a rabbit
The Longest fur on a rabbit is 14.37 inches and belongs to 2-year-old English Angora rabbit Franchesca from Morgan Hill, California, USA, as measured on August 17, 2014. That is more than double the length of a Subway sandwich! Owner Dr. Betty Chu (USA) is an expert on the English Agora, which is often mistaken for a Pekingese dog and needs a great deal of grooming and care. A multiple ‘Best in Show’ winner, Franchesca gets plenty of attention from onlookers. Common questions Chu hears when people see Franchesca are, “‘Is there really a rabbit inside?’ and ‘How do you make it so fluffy?’ Franchesca is now a mother to four beautiful bunnies that look just like her when she was young.

“Pet records are some of the most popular Guinness World Records titles and readers can’t wait to see all the jaw-dropping new animal exploits year after year,” says Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday. “The 2016 edition features an impressive mix of talented household pets and barnyard behemoths from around the world. One of my favorites from this year’s batch is our new fastest tortoise, Bertie. As with all of our records, loads of research, scouting and verification goes into finding these amazing animals and we’re delighted to share them with our readers.”

A must-have for knowledge seekers and thrill seekers alike, as well as aspiring record breakers of all ages, the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2016 Edition features thousands of new records! With educational features focusing on the Internet, sport stacking, human anatomy and more, as well as the most up to date records from the world of YouTube, apps, Frozen, Star Wars and Lego, kids and parents alike will love this fascinating new edition.

By using the book’s content to solve brain-teasing clues at www.guinnessworldrecords.com/bonus, readers also gain exclusive access to never before seen video and imagery of the record holders whom appear in the 2016 edition. Plus, they’ll be taken on a unique behind-the-scenes tour of Guinness World Records.

Check out additional animal achievements and more in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2016 edition, available now for the suggested retail price of $28.95 wherever books are sold.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Book Review: Nice Nosing You

September 8th, 2015 at 8:29 am by Diane Rich
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For the Love of Life, Dogs and Photography,  By Elke Vogelsang

book review nicw nosing you astro chase bed 9-15

Nice Nosing You, could not have sent to me for review at a better time.
I love taking photos of dogs and nature and just upgraded from my point and shoot
to a professional camera.   Capturing a moment in time is more than
pressing the shutter button as beautifully depicted in Elke Volgelsang’s
heartfelt book about love and about dogs.

Not only did I enjoy the photos in her book, Nice Nosing You, I was held
captive by her back-story as well. Elke’s love of her rescue dogs and deep
love of her husband took this love of photography to a new level.
I could feel the emotional journey of her work and think the reader will also.

Vogelsang’s photos of dogs includes thoughtful quotes, stories about
the dogs and technical tips to improve the novice photographer’s skills.
The author notes she takes photos of what she loves and what interests her
and calls photography an addiction.  I share that same addiction when
choreographing dogs for a still shot or capturing candid moments but
feel I am light years away from producing the end result a professional
like Elke can achieve.

I enjoyed this author’s book from cover to cover and you will too.

Nice Nosing You, published by Hardie Grant,  2015, can be purchased
through Amazon for $17.49.

About the author:  Elke Vogelsang lives in Germany and is an award
winning people and pet photographer. Elke’s mother was a photog
enthusiast so this author caught the bug early on. Serious photography
began for Elke as therapy to cope with her husband’s
serious illness and through this process turned photography into her life’s work.
Her photos have been featured worldwide in numerous publications.

Nice Nosing You, is the author’s first book and I am hopeful there will be more.

Speaking Woof,

Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



August 27th, 2015 at 8:42 am by Diane Rich
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On Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Technology to be Unveiled to Help Reunite Lost Pets and Owners Following Disasters


American Humane Association and The Weather Channel team up with mobiPET™,
to launch first-ever mobile service to send out digital photo “AMBER Alerts” for pets

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest weather-related disasters in American history made landfall in Louisiana, wreaking havoc, taking more than 1,800 lives, and stranding more than 250,000 pets. American Humane Association’s Red Star Rescue team was there on the ground in the days after the storm, rescuing pets and reuniting them with their owners – making families whole again.

Now, just in time for the tenth anniversary of that historic disaster, American Humane Association, which has saved and sheltered millions of animals over the past 100 years (http://bit.ly/1hi2Ygg), is teaming up with The Weather Channel and mobiPET™ (www.mobipet.me) to unveil a new, high-tech, visual “AMBER Alert” for missing pets that not only will help reunite lost pets with their owners, but will help raise funds to help animals in need all across the country.

Basic Service Free
MobiPET is the first mobile image and information service designed to increase the chances that families will find their lost dogs or cats. Pet owners can register via computer or mobile device, but must use a smartphone or text-enabled cellphone to submit a lost pet alert. Owners simply upload their pet’s image and contact information at www.mobipet.me to register each pet and receive the web app for their phone. If the dog or cat runs off pet owners can text the word “LOST” to mypet@agm.tw. Smartphone owners can either text or open the web app and click on “Lost a Pet.” The basic registration is free and mobiPET will donate 10 percent of all premium service subscriptions to American Humane Association when pet parents include “AHA” on the referral line. Basic subscribers’ lost pet alert will trigger an immediate email blast to their vet and all registered pet owners and pet finders in a two-mile radius. Premium service subscribers’ paid lifetime alert will reach animal shelters and control centers within a 30-mile radius and will protect their pet while traveling. They will also receive a flyer to print, post on social media or email.

Butler the Weather Channel Therapy Dog Enlists to Show How Easy Signing Up Is
To show how easy signing up is and encourage pet owners to take advantage of this service, Butler the Weather Channel Therapy Dog, who travels the country bringing hope and healing to communities hurt by natural disasters, is becoming an early adopter and will become one of the first dogs to enlist in the program. On average it takes three minutes to enroll – minutes that can make a significant difference when faced with a disaster.

Help for Pet Owners in Disaster Areas Where Red Star Deploys
American Humane Association’s century-old Red Star® Rescue program, which comes to the aid of lost, missing and homeless pets following hurricanes, tornadoes and floods has enlisted mobiPET to help find and reunite owners with their pets following weather-related or other disasters. Any pet owner who loses a pet in a disaster area to which Red Star deploys and who owns a smartphone or text-enabled cellphone can go to the websites of mobiPET (http://mobipet.me/?ref=AHA), The Weather Channel’s Connect with Weather site (www.connectwithweather.com/our-partners), or American Humane Association (www.americanhumane.org) and upload their missing pet’s photo from the owner’s computer or cell phone.

Generally, non-registered owners whose pet becomes lost can access the service for a $50.00 emergency registration fee, but during a Red Star deployment, mobiPet is waiving the fee for those within the disaster area.

10 Million Pets Lost Each Year
In addition to disasters, this new service will also help find pets who are lost.
Some 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in this country every year and the mobiPET partnership aims to increase the number of happy endings to these traumatic episodes.

“Whether it’s as low tech as adding a phone number to a pet tag or high tech as storing your best friends’ pictures in a digital database, it is important to do anything you can to help prevent the heartbreak of losing a pet forever before the animal goes missing,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “While the vast majority of pets are found and returned, significant numbers of dogs and cats are taken to shelters where reunion rates are low because contact information is out of date or completely missing.”

“Microchips are only good when the animal is found, the chip scanned, and if owners’ information is current. We saw the chance for mobile technology to lead by addressing the ‘lost’ part of the process,” according to Dave Ropes, co-founder and Chief Pet-Finder of Bluffton, SC-based mobiPet, adding, “mobiPET helps owners, pets, animal shelters and rescue groups. Our goal is to donate 15% of our revenues annually to American Humane Association and to local shelters who help promote pet/owner registrations.”

“During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, far too many owners were unable to find and be reunited with their beloved pets,” said Ganzert. “This is tragic for the animals as well as the owners, and puts additional physical and emotional strain on shelters and volunteers. We encourage advance preparedness for all pet owners, including updating vet records and signing up for mobiPET before there’s a weather emergency.”

Pet owners in the U.S. are encouraged to visit www.mobiPet.me, www.AmericanHumane.org or www.connectwithweather.com/our-partners to learn more about the Red Star® Rescue program partnership, register their dog or cat and help support the American Humane Association’s efforts to help animals in need.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

About Red Star® Rescue
American Humane Association’s Red Star program was created in 1916 at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War specifically to rescue war horses on the battlefields of World War I Europe. Since then, Red Star has been rescuing animals of every kind and have been involved in virtually every major disaster relief effort from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes, the Japanese and Haitian earthquakes, and Superstorm Sandy. Over just the past ten years Red Star teams have saved, helped and sheltered more than 80,000 animals.

About mobiPET™
mobiPET™ was cofounded in 2012 by Aram Kovach, CEO of Mobius International and David Ropes, a former senior marketing executive and Vietnam veteran. mobiPET sends out an immediate photo alert for your missing pet. mobiPET offers a free basic subscription service along with two premium offerings for your pet(s). mobiPET works across all cell phones with a text plan and all carriers. Based in Bluffton, SC, mobiPET’s corporate mission is to reunite as many lost pets with their owners as possible and to donate 15% of the company’s annual revenues to non-profit animal rescue and shelter organizations. mobiPET has been in test market in the Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC area since October 2013, as well as The Villages community in Florida since June 2015.

Seattle Humane’s Walk for the Animals

August 19th, 2015 at 3:22 pm by Diane Rich
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What’s Your Inspiration to Walk?


When you Walk for the Animals you’re helping pets like Chaz, a 4-month-old kitty who needed extra time in foster care to help him grow.

Chaz was born with Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia, a condition that results in walking and balance problems. While in foster care, Chaz received the time and medical attention he needed to grow before becoming available for adoption. Thanks to caring supporters like you, we are able to continue the growth of our foster care program and help more special pets just like Chaz. See him now in his very own video!

Whether you’re walking on behalf of foster pets like Chaz or your own furry friends, find your inspiration and register to Walk today. The early bird discount is extended through Sept. 1 so REGISTER NOW for $5 off with code TailWaggin15.

A special thank you to our presenting sponsor, The Safeway Foundation.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


“Seniors for Seniors” at Seattle Humane

August 17th, 2015 at 5:41 pm by Diane Rich
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No Adoption Fee for Senior Cats, and $50 off for Senior Dogs

August 21st-23rd

In honor of National Senior Citizens Day, Seattle Humane is offering people 60 years and older discounts on senior pet adoptions, Friday, August 21 through Sunday, August 23. “Seniors for Seniors” features no adoption fee for cats 7 years and up, and $50 off adoption fees for dogs 7 and older.

From no more puppy teething to already house-trained to a fondness for cat naps, there are many reasons why senior pets make the best companions. Read 10 reasons why adopting a senior dog or cat is the quickest way to integrate a loving new companion into your home.

View available pets online at seattlehumane.org or come visit them in person. We’re located in Bellevue at 13212 SE Eastgate Way near the junction of I-90 and I-405. Seattle Humane is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun.-Wed. All Seattle Humane pets are spayed/neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

ABOUT Seattle Humane
Founded in 1897, Seattle Humane proudly promotes the human-animal bond by saving and serving pets in need. We provide adoption services 7 days a week, plus pet workshops and training, a pet food bank, a low-fee spay/neuter surgery program, humane teen club, a visiting pets program and more. Seattle Humane is located in Bellevue, at 13212 SE Eastgate Way. For directions and more information, visit ww

Product Review; Thundershirt

August 13th, 2015 at 1:57 pm by Diane Rich
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Does Your Dog Need a Hug

Does your dog suffer from anxiety or phobias caused by thunder or fireworks and a loving hug
from you just won’t do? Then you may want to consider a unique garment called the
Thundershirt that may hug away your pet’s fear.


It all started with the Thundershirt’s founder, Phil Blizzard whose dog Dosi, like
many dogs was frightened by fireworks and thunderstorms. Phil went down the usual
path of reaching out to his Vet who suggested medication. Phil was not so keen
on medicating his dog so continued his search for help and and spoke with trainers who
offered behavioral modification techniques such as CC (counter conditioning) and
desensitization exercises. Excellent suggestions but time consuming. A friend of Phil’s
recommended putting a t-shirt on Dosi to be used as a snug wrap. Phil used duct tape to snug
the t-shirt up. The goal was to swaddle the dog like swaddling and infant, a technique used
to help the infant feel secure. It seemed to work for Phil’s dog and the Thundershirt was developed.

Dr. Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University is known for
showing that pressure can be used to reduce tension and anxiety in autistic children as it
seemed to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Anxiety wrap garments like the ThunderShirt
was developed to copy that swaddling technique to provide comfort for dogs experiencing phobias
and anxiety as well and said to also to calm the dog’s nervous system.

It has been suggested by Dr. Ian Dunbar who tested another wrap-type garment
created to address thunder phobia that further testing is needed from the scientific
community to prove any real benefit from these garments.

The company’s website and promo material state the Thundershirt is a proven solution for
many types of canine or feline anxieties such as fireworks, thunderstorms, separation anxiety, and
excitability at the door with no training required. The company statement of no training required
captured the attention of many pet parents and this product became quite popular.

Some dog owners like Phil who do not want to just throw a pill at the problem jump on
the anxiety wrap couture wagon as an option to help the family pet cope with specific
phobias. An anxiety wrap does not cure the various diagnosed anxiety conditions
for which it is used but may, in some cases offer the pet some relief from a particular anxiety.

Some dogs present such severe anxiety due to thunderstorms or fireworks they can endanger
themselves if not contained in a room or crate but that containment can exacerbate the anxiety.
Heartbreaking for any loving pet parent watching the family pet exhibit even a mild
meltdown due to any phobia.

The testimonials on the company website lean towards owners observing a positive
change in the dog’s reaction to stimuli that once triggered anxious behavior. There are many
other consumers who do not observe any reduction in their pet’s anxiety level.

When a company rep reached out to me to review this garment my
response was that Chase, my Doberman has zero fear of anything that comes to mind
and has never presented any anxiety before or during storms or during fireworks.
He does present some excitability and arousal around specific stimuli so I thought I
would set him up see if it worked in these situations. Unfortunately, I did not observe
any reduction of arousal.

I did note however that the first couple times I put the Thundershirt on him, he
chose not to move a muscle. He just stood there until I encouraged him to move around.
He is used to snug fitting coats during winter hikes so I did not think there would have
been any issue. His comfort level improved but the snug garment seemed to be problematic for him.

The material used for the Thundershirt is stretchy and the manufacturer
states breathable. I would exercise caution leaving the garment on the pet for too long in warm weather.
Velcro is used to attach and snug up the flaps to the garment. It is important that the wrap
is snug but not too tight and it is important the dog is measured properly before purchase
so the fit is spot on. For deep chested breeds like Dobermans, the fit is not easy
to snug up properly.

As a behavior specialist, I am a strong believer in working with an owner to  set up
behavior modification techniques to help a dog learn to cope and possibly move past
a fear or phobia.  I also know, like others in my profession who help owners with behavioral modification
strategies that the process implementing CC and desensitization techniques takes time
and patience and unfortunately will not offer the owner immediate desired results so the
average pet owner’s motivation wanes.  A behavior expert may also suggest alternative remedies
to contribute to the dog’s overall well-being.

In conclusion, I spoke with clients, friends , Vets and retail employees who have either used
this garment or recommended its use and I received mixed reviews as to its success.
About 50% observed little to no positive effect but with 50% stating it has proven
beneficial to some degree it is certainly worth a try. Some clients told me they
also gave their dog herbal remedies along with using the garment.

Sizes from xxsmall to xxlarge range from $39.95-$44.95 via the company website. The Thundershirt
is also available on Amazon and at many retail pet stores.

I would be interested in hearing of your experiences using the Thundershirt.
Please feel free to email me at the address below.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

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About Diane Rich

I have been training dogs and their people for over 25 years. I work with pups from 7 weeks old to senior plus dogs and offer basic obedience to advanced off leash training both privately and group classes. Other services include behavior consultations to help both ends of the leash with everything from aggression, puppy/dog manners and public manners to separation anxiety. As a "real world" dog trainer, I take training out of the classroom or home when both the pet and family are ready, and take training to the street. I also offer pet therapy training classes preparing both the handler and dog for their therapy test and future service as a therapy team. I also coordinate several pet therapy programs in the Seattle area. My complete bio, description of services, class dates and on line class registration is listed on my website at www.spokesdog.com.

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