Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

Keeping Pets Safe in Hot Weather

June 25th, 2015 at 9:06 am by Diane Rich
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Seattle Humane Offers Pet Safety Tips for Fun in the Sun


With temperatures soaring into the 90′s, Seattle Humane reminds pet owners
to keep their furry friends safe from the heat.
Do not leave your pet in your vehicle.

Even at 70 degrees, the interior of a car can rise to 160 degrees in less than five minutes.
Parking in the shade with the windows cracked is also dangerous.

Your pet’s foot pads contain sweat glands that help keep him cool, and the feet are
particularly vulnerable to hot surfaces. Sidewalks, pavement, sand, and especially black
asphalt can reach blistering temperatures in direct sunlight and cause nasty burns on your pet’s feet.

Signs of burned foot pads include:

• Limping or refusing to walk
• Foot pads appearing darker in color than usual
• Raw, red or blistered foot pads
• Licking or chewing on the feet

Take preventative measures and protect your pet’s feet by walking your pet earlier
in the day before the sun heats things up. You can also walk on grassy paths or shady areas.
Water play is refreshing but take steps to keep your pet safe! Tender foot pads softened from
prolonged water exposure can burn more easily. Dog owners should take extra
care to protect dogs’ feet from hot surfaces after water play.

pool photo witth andy
c Diane Rich 2015

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees. Dogs can withstand
a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees for only a very short period of time before
suffering brain damage — or even death.

Remember that if your buddy has a shorter nose, like a Persian cat, a Pug or a Bulldog,
he or she is more susceptible to heatstroke than breeds with longer noses. If you suspect
your pet has become overheated, seek veterinary care immediately.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Reddened gums or tongue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting & diarrhea
  • Lethargy

At home consider your pet’s housing. If they are kept outdoors, make sure they have plenty of
shade and fresh water at all times. If it’s hot out, consider hosing down the dog before work,
at lunch or whenever you can to provide extra cooling.

If you suspect that your pet has suffered from a heat stroke, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Use cool water, not ice water, to cool your pet (very cold water will cause constriction of
the blood vessels and impede cooling). If your animal “appears” cooled, do not assume
everything is fine. Internal organs such as liver, kidneys, brain, etc., are affected by elevated body temperatures and
blood tests and veterinary examination are needed to assess this.

Enjoy the hot weather, but if you are driving, leave your best friend at home
if you can’t take him in with you at every stop!

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

ABOUT Seattle Humane
Founded in 1897 to bring people and pets together, Seattle Humane provides incredible companion animals for adoption 7 days a week, 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.

Your Furry Friend May Fear The 4th

June 9th, 2015 at 8:48 am by Diane Rich
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Safety Tips

c Diane Rich 2015

The Fourth of July is a fun holiday for humans, not so much for our
pets unless the family pooch scores some of the BBQ. Illegal fireworks
set off by a neighbor may a rattle the nerves of both the pet parent
and family dog. Senior dogs who may have had little to no reaction to the
kabooms in the past may be more sensitive to the sound and vibration of fireworks.

A dog’s fearful response to the festivities could include any or all of the following:
refusing food, hiding in a closet or under the bed, or under something,
pacing, shivering and panting.

shiva under my desk 2-12
c Diane Rich 2015
Unfortunately the pets that are forced to live outdoors or kept outdoors when owners leave
the house may try to escape by climbing over fences or digging under a fence to get out. Pets have
been known to chew through drywall or scratch mercilessly at a door or window to seek refuge elsewhere.

Safety Suggestions

  1. The local parade and festivities may be too much for some pets so it is usually best to leave them at home
  2. High temps or high humidity is too hot for most pets so please do NOT leave your poor pet in the car
    while you attend festivities or stop in at a restaurant.
  3. Secure the doggie door while you are away and make sure your
    pet does her business before you leave
  4.  Make sure your pet has plenty of water.
  5. If you must leave your pet outdoors or with access to the outdoors make sure gates are secure. Double check.
  6. The tried and true method leaving the TV on along with fans may help reduce noise from fireworks.
    Secure cords.
  7. Think about confining your pet to one cool room
  8. If the party is at your house make sure the pets cannot access alcohol or food that is
    toxic to pets. Have the pet poison control number handy which is 855 764 7661. For more
    info go to: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com. There is a per incident
    fee of $49.00.  A small price to pay for a 24/7 service and which may help save your pet’s life.
  9. Take two photos of your pet, a close up and a profile to have on hand should your pet escape
    out the door with guests coming and going. You may need to post Lost Pet
    photos. The 5th of July is a busy time at shelters with frightened dogs who successfully escaped
    the home or yard so please be proactive and keep your pet secure and safe at home.
  10. Make sure your pet wears some sort of ID with a current cell number. A pet license if required
    by your municipality will also help reunite a lost pet with the right family.
    Note: I do get concerned about tags catching on a fence or some object so you may want to
    invest in tag holders that not only stop the jiggling noise but may prevent the tags from getting caught
    up on anything.  If you have not registered your pet’s microchip, now is the time to do it.
  11. If you are worried about your pet’s nerves you can talk with your
    Vet about getting a mild sedative. Please ask your Vet for options as some sedatives
    may just keep the dog sedated but has little benefit with re: to the fear. Here is a link
    to a great post about sedatives by Dr. Jason Nicholas/The Preventive Vet
    Should you lean towards alternative methods there are diffusers, anxiety garments,
    flower essences that may also take the edge off your pet’s anxiety.
    Wishing you and your pets a fun and safe holiday.
    Speaking Woof,
    Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



The Dog Who Saved Summer

May 30th, 2015 at 4:33 pm by Diane Rich
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Movie review

Chase enjoyed the movie

A yellow Lab named Zeus was a police dog and then lived with the Bannister family.
Zeus (voice over by Mario Lopez) created a little mayhem at a back yard summer party
at the Bannisters’ and due to the destruction at this important event not to mention
the embarrassment, the family decided he needed to go to obedience school.

George Bannister takes Zeus to an obedience school run by tough guy, Vernon
played by Martin Kove of the original Karate Kid.  You may recall Kove had a Karate
School in that movie and his philosophy for his students was win, at all costs.
Kove spoofed a little of that character for this role as the obedience school instructor
as he wanted his own dog, Apollo a former Marine k-9 to win a competition.
Kove did not want his dog to be out-shined by the other dog students.

The janitor, a delightful character played by James Hong ends up
befriending Zeus when Zeus ran down to the basement to get away from
obedience room. Zeus bonded quickly with the janitor who employs his own
unique training methods to help the crafty k-9 win the competition.

Enter a few amateur burglars (Dean Cain, Patrick Muldoon and Joey Coco Diaz)
who are given light slapstick roles at times plotting to steal a diamond
that for some reason was in the basement of the dog training school.  The diamond
was protected by red sensor beams and these bumbling burglars had to break
through walls and maneuver over the sensors to snag the diamond.

Although Apollo and Zeus were competitors for a trophy during this
intense competition, they join forces to foil the diamond heist.

The Dog who Saved Summer is suitable for the whole family.
For the young dog lovers in your family, this movie will prove

The movie arrives on DVD and On Demand June 2.


Mario Lopez

Dean Cain

Gary Valentine

Elisa Donovan

Patrick Muldoon

Joey “Coco” Diaz

Martin Kove

Francesca Capaldi

Cole Jensen

William Zabka ( Voice)
Disclosure: I was asked to review this movie and the DVD was sent to me for this review.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Product Review: Wiggleless

May 28th, 2015 at 9:29 am by Diane Rich
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The Back Story

The product and directions

Lisa Luckenbach who at one time lived in Kirkland, WA and attended Seattle U., is
the founder and designer of Wiggleless ® a back brace designed specifically for dogs.
Lisa, who now resides in California is a yoga instructor and dog lover, and
was looking for something to ease the persistent back problems of her Doxys,
June and Henry. Lisa’s dogs were diagnosed with IVDD (intervertebral disc disease)

I was contacted to review this product and after I determined that the large size
should work for Chase who is my very patient product model, the Wiggleless ® was
shipped out along with an extension strip to ensure the product would fit a breed with a deep chest. I was impressed by the packaging and learned that the product is made in the U.S.A. in the garment district downtown Los Angeles.

Extension strip and directions

From Lisa’s website:

Innovative design helps curtail injury without restricting activity. WiggleLess® is
designed to help stabilize the spine and prevent injury in dogs without restricting their
activity. When used as directed, the vet recommended and fully patented wrap aids in
supporting the back, curtails twisting and relieves stress.   Adjustable and easy to use,
the brace comes in seven sizes based on a dog’s specific girth and back measurements.

The product features:

  • Durable, Lightweight, Breathable Construction
  • Built-in Boning For Firm Support
  • Metal “O” Ring For Leash Attachment
  • Adjustable, Easy To Use
  • Each Size Has Its Own Pattern And Specifications
  • Double Mesh For Stability And Durability
  • Refined Cuts Under Front Legs And Around Torso For Unisex Fit
  • Size Medium And Large Come In Regular And Long Sizes
  • Additional Boning On Medium And Large Sizes

The Doberman, Greyhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and other dogs with a large chest and tuck up behind the rib cage may be problematic to fit. I found that to be the case with Chase.

Included with the product are directions to be used as a guide to properly fit the garment on the dog.  Lisa designed this product to be very user friendly with regard to putting it on a dog.

She chose to use high quality Velcro to secure the brace in place and high quality material for the brace itself.  The Velcro on this product offers some of the strongest gripping power I have seen to date on a dog product.  When you need to either manipulate the brace for proper fit or take the garment off the dog, the velcro will make a loud ripping sound that may make some dogs nervous.  It is unavoidable as the motion needed to take off the garment via the velcro will be like ripping off a band-aid.  The dog may need to be slowly acclimated to the sound of that velcro.

The other challenge some customers may experience, which can be comical is that the Velcro is a magnet and will grab your clothing and also grab on to the brace itself. The velcro is also a magnet for just about anything else so Lisa sent velcro covers which are additional strips of velcro to cover the exposed velcro on the garment.

After putting the brace on my model, Chase I had some questions for Lisa and
requested a phone interview. Lisa graciously made herself available for the phone call and was happy to answer my questions.

My first question was about a loop of material with an attached O-ring that no
matter how I maneuvered the brace fell off to Chase’s side.  You can see the O-ring
on the red striping in the photo above. When I asked Lisa about that extra material and O-ring she mentioned it could be snipped off.   I suggested to Lisa that she might want to add these tips to her instructions.

She also mentioned that with smaller dogs, that O-ring fits between the shoulder blades and the handler can attach the leash via the clasp to that ring.  This can be viewed on Lisa’s website.  I wondered if a leash was attached to this O-ring if the material would be strong enough to hold a dog that pulled on the leash.

The Shiba Inu, my canine version of Vanna White, points to the O-ring

Lisa also stated in her handout and on the phone that a dart can easily be made in
the fabric to create a more snug fit and that dart would require someone putting in a few stitches. If you do not have a sewing machine this would necessitate taking the product to a seamstress or your dry cleaner to remedy this issue.  Due to Chase’s deep chest and tuck up, a dart would definitely need to be made for a proper fit..

Keep in mind some dogs do not like any clothing wrapped snuggly around their body so slowly acclimating a dog to this garment using treats or toys can help make the association a positive one. Chase is used to back packs and coats but was hesitant to move around while wearing this back brace.

The brace is made with breathable fabric but I would recommend an owner be cognizant of the weather and hot temps as the brace may be uncomfortable if the dog gets too warm.  I did not ask Lisa about the product once it gets wet so if you live in a rainy climate, you may want to take the brace off for outdoor potty breaks.

If you dog will stand still, the product is easy to put on, if not you may need to
recruit a buddy to calmly restrain the dog.

This innovative product may help offer the support your dog needs while
recovering from a back injury or as an aid for a medical condition.  I would
recommend consulting with your Veterinarian before use.

WiggleLess® back support for dogs sells for $64.95-$139.95 depending on size.

Order online at www.wiggleless.com.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Book Review; A Tail of Hope’s Faith

May 23rd, 2015 at 1:48 pm by Diane Rich
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Book Written By Diane Weinmann

c Diane Rich 2015

Animal communicator and healer Diane Weinmann helps pet owners see that death does not have
to be the end of what was a loving, earthly relationship. Diane has been an animal communicator for
13 years and has been an energy healer for 10 years.

Conventional medicine and traditional healing protocol can save a pet’s life and may provide
some relief from pain and discomfort. But, when these methods reach a limit many people in
desperation reach out to practitioners who may be able to provide alternative options to help an ailing
beloved family pet. The author believes that communication with pets in the physical world and pets
who have passed is possible and in Diane’s world her ability to communicate with animals is just another day.

Weinmann’s story about Hope takes the reader on a heartfelt journey of a pet parent’s love
for the family dog and what that dog communicated to Diane.  Most dog lovers who choose
to believe this communication exists can easily see themselves in this story, as we would do anything
to make sure our pet is happy, healthy and supported even through the tough times.

A Tail of Hope’s Faith is a true story and an enjoyable read. For those people who straddle
the fence with regard to science vs. theory with regard to the ability for humans to communicate with
animals through their spirit and thought process, this book may give the reader some insight on seeing
or at least feeling the light.

Diane is a Reiki master and educates the reader about Reiki energy healing, Bach Flower essences,
tuning forks, aromatherapy and healing with color.  Diane writes that Bach Flower essences are
recommended as a therapy to address the emotional state of a pet’s mind.

I am contacted frequently to review books covering this topic and have had all my dogs
read by animal communicators. Unfortunately, the readings from those particular practitioners were
inaccurate which made me question the communicator’s abilities. That being said I do believe that some
communicators have a special gift that defies science, and it seemed I was not been able to find them.

When the PR agent contacted me to review this book my response was I would do the review
but after a reading to help me authenticate the author.  I was hopeful this experience would
shed a positive light on the profession as my BS meter started to tingle due to what I had
encountered.  Diane does not do in personal readings of a pet.  She requests that a pet parent
email photos, a close up, along with a list of questions a pet parent would like answered. Diane
uses telepathy to read or communicate with the pet. I wanted to give this communicator a chance
to connect with Chase.

Diane Weinmann graciously agreed to a reading and I emailed the requested photos of Chase
sans specific questions. I understand the request for questions but did not email questions as
I felt that information would be a tip off to and I wanted to hear what Diane had to say
without any prompting.

I had never met nor knew of Diane but immediately felt comfortable with her during our phone
conversation and liked her immediately. It wasn’t just what she was telling me about Chase,
there was just something about her. She told me about Chase’s shakras, especially his root shakra,
vital organs, his emotions, how he felt about himself and how he felt about me and our relationship
and how he felt about his home.  I am not going to comment on the accuracy of the reading or any
insight the reading offered but did find it thoroughly enjoyable.

For the woo woo in you this heartfelt story will touch your soul.  If you are interested in
learning about alternative approaches to healing outside of or in addition to traditional
medicine this book may be a good start.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



May 15th, 2015 at 7:04 am by Diane Rich
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c Diane Rich 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2015 – Every year more than 4.5 million Americans, more than half of them children, are bitten by dogs.  As part of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 17-23, 2015)  American Humane Association, the nation’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting the welfare of animals and children, encourages adults to teach children how to avoid dog bites and learn the importance of pet owner responsibility.

“For thousands of years, dogs have been our best friends, providing love, comfort and protection,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “In turn, we must be their best friends and protect all those around us – ourselves, our children, and our dogs – from the dangers and consequences of dog bites through good prevention strategies.”

“The majority of emergency room treatments for dog bites involve children,” says Dr. Kwane Stewart, chief veterinary officer at American Humane Association. “Studies have also shown that the greatest percentage of dog-bite fatalities occurred among children and unsupervised newborns.”

blog children dogs
 Diane Rich 2015

Dogs can bite for many reasons, including improper care and/or a lack of socialization.  All dogs, even well trained gentle dogs, are capable of biting however when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Thus, even when a bite is superficial or classified as “provoked,” dogs may be abandoned or euthanized.
Therefore, it’s vitally important to keep both children and dogs safe by preventing dog bites wherever possible.

To reduce the number of injuries to people and the risk of relinquishment of dogs that bite, American Humane Association offers the following suggestions:

For Children:

  • Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.
  • Never approach an injured animal – find an adult who can get the help s/he needs
  • Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies.
  • Don’t poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.

For Dog Owners:

c Diane Rich 2015

  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet.
  • Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both your child and your dog.
  • Teach your children to treat the dog with respect and not to engage in rough or aggressive play.
  • Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
  • Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened.
  • Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and to provide mental stimulation.
  • Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
  • Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain your dog’s health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
  • Be alert, if someone approaches you and your dog – caution them to wait before petting the dog, give your pet time to be comfortable with a stranger.

American Humane Association also offers a free online booklet available for families with children called “Pet Meets Baby,” providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet – or a new pet into a home with a child:  http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/programs/humane-education/pet-meets-baby.html.

Consider these statistics and tips provided by National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition members:

The American Veterinary Medical Association says that after children, senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims. During National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, the AVMA highlights the most recent findings in the veterinary behavior field, introduces new educational programs for pet owners of all ages and joins with its coalition partners in urging public to respect and better understand a dog’s behavior and urge dog owner’s to provide a safe, happy environment for both people and dogs.

  • In 2013, State Farm paid nearly $115 million as a result of 3,500 dog-related injury claims. Over the past five years, the insurer has paid $528 million for claims resulting from accidents involving a dog.
  • Prevent The Bite did a survey of 710 children on 12 key things to do and not to do in various situations with dogs. Not a single child answered all twelve correctly.  Here are the top five results:
  1. If a dog is chasing you, should you try to run away?  Just 53% knew the answer was No.
  2. Are there only certain breeds (or types) of dogs that bite?  Only 47% knew the answer was No.
  3. Does an angry dog ever wag his tail?  33% knew the correct answer was Yes.
  4. Is a dog that is afraid as dangerous as an angry dog?  Only 27% knew the answer was Yes.
  5. Do dogs like to be kissed and hugged?  A dangerously low number, only 24%, were correct - NO!
  • The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2014, costing in excess of $530 million.
  • According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons there was a 6 percent increase in reconstructive procedures to repair injuries from dog bites over the past year. American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery President Gregory R. D. Evans, MD, FACS says, “Prevention of these serious injuries is an important responsibility of dog owners as well as parents. Injuries to the face and hands can be disfiguring or disabling and require prompt, expert medical attention.”
  • The U.S. Postal Service reports that 5,767 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2014 – up from 5,581 in 2013. Children, the elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says if you’re threatened by a dog, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still until the dog leaves or back away slowly. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands. If a dog bites your child, clean small wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention for larger wounds. Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination recordsSpeaking 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.



Book Review: Strays

May 2nd, 2015 at 6:22 am by Diane Rich
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By Jennifer Caloyeras


Each secret strike of the hammer had someone’s name on it and each cathartic strike
was meant to heal a wound in the heart of the main character, Iris Moody.   The hammer
was directed at the drywall in her closet where Iris tried to hide her angst and pain from the world.
Iris was angry with many people including her father so one of the strikes from
that hammer had her father’s name on it.

The author takes the reader through Iris’s back-story that included the loss of a mother, a workaholic
father, Iris getting dumped by her boyfriend, and her problems in school. Her anger continued to grow
throughout high school and when a teacher discovered Iris’s journal with a note that was mistaken
as a threat aimed at Iris’s English teacher Iris’s life changed forever.

Due to the nature of the threat Iris was not only in trouble with school authorities but
the law as well. Iris, at 16 years of age was sentenced to community service that summer at a dog
facility called Ruff Rehabilitation. Helping animals is intriguing to dog lovers but not to
Iris as she had a fear of dogs.

The tie in to the overall story goes back to Iris’s mother who at some point in her life
was attacked by a Pit Bull. After the incident the mother developed a fear of dogs that
was passed down to Iris. The scar on her mother’s body from the bite wound was a constant
reminder to Iris to be fearful of dogs. My initial reaction was that it was too bad the Pit Bull
was used as a breed of choice for the story line.

The story becomes a little predictable at this point, as the dog assigned to Iris at the Rehab facility
was a Pit. Not just any Pit Bull of course, but a 3-legged Pit, with the usual scars from fighting.
The dog’s name was Roman and Iris’s worst nightmare begins. The author compares the back-story of
abuse this one Pit Bull endured before being rescued from dog fighting and learning to trust again
and the roller coaster of emotional challenges Iris faced throughout her 16 years of life. Iris was
struggling with her past as well and needed to learn to trust humans and trust herself.

As this part of the story unfolds, the reader can see the human-animal bond grow and enjoy Iris’s growth
and turning points as well.

This is a well-written story and a very enjoyable read.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

About the author: Jennifer Caloyeras holds an M.A. in English literature from Cal State Los Angeles and an M.F.A. in
creative writing through the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the young adult novel Urban Falcon,
and her short stories have appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Booth and Storm Cellar. She is the dog
columnist for the Los Feliz Ledger and lives in Los Angeles.

Ashland Creek Press is a boutique publisher, based in Ashland, Oregon, whose mission is to publish a range of
books that foster an appreciation for worlds outside our own, for nature and the animal kingdom, and for the ways
in which we all connect. For more information about Ashland Creek Press, visit www.AshlandCreekPress.com.




March 31st, 2015 at 11:34 am by Diane Rich
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Accidents happen – sometimes pets get injured, eat the wrong foods, get bitten, cut, or even have seizures.  But, there are ways you can help on the way to the vet. As Dr. Doug Aspros, Former President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says, “You can’t be over-prepared. Do your thinking and planning when you’re calm – you’ll make better decisions when the emergency happens.”

So here are a few life-saving tips from the AVMA to help stabilize your pet:

  • If you think your pet has a broken bone, gently lay him or her on a flat surface, or use a blanket as a sling to gently transport your pet on the way to the veterinarian.
  • With cuts, press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound and press on it until the bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe and on the legs, apply a tourniquet (using a rubber band and gauze) between the wound and the body to slow down the blood flow and get your animal to the vet ASAP.
  • For burns, flush immediately with lots of water. If the burn is more severe quickly apply an ice compress.
  • If your pet has been exposed to a toxin, check the label for immediate instructions such as washing its skin with soap and water, or flushing eyes with water.
  • If your pet is having seizures, keep them away from any objects, blanket your pet to keep them warm and call your vet or an emergency vet clinic.
  • For choking, if your pet can still breathe, get them to the vet immediately. Look in their mouth with a flashlight and quickly try to get the object out with a tweezer. If that doesn’t work, place both hands on the side of his or her ribcage and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3 to 4 times while getting to the vet.

What your Pet First Aid Kit should include for home or travel:

  • VetWrap (or a similar bandaging product that clings to itself and molds nicely)
  • A nylon leash, muzzle, pet carrier (depending on animal size) and a pillow case for a cat that might need to be restrained; a small flashlight can also be quite useful

For more life-saving tips from the American Veterinarian Medical Association, log onto www.avma.org/

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Celebrate True Puppy Love with NATIONAL PUPPY DAY!

March 10th, 2015 at 1:13 pm by Diane Rich
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c Diane Rich 2015

The month of March brings spring, warm weather and most important, National Puppy Day! This holiday is celebrated on March 23rd and is fast approaching. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has provided some special care- giving tips for puppies. Like human newborns, puppies need special care. AVMA Veterinarian, Mitsie Vargas, always says, “Treat your pets like three year olds— they are energetic and will try to get into everything.”

There is no denying puppies are adorable, but parenting a new puppy is no walk in the park. The AVMA offers some advice for taking the best possible care of your furry best friend.

On March 23rd (and beyond) take some time and consider:

  • FIRST CHECKUP: Make sure your puppy is up-to-date on their vaccinations. Puppies should be vaccinated starting at six weeks of age.
  • TRACKING (JUST IN CASE): It’s the perfect time to treat your puppy to a new tag, or simply make sure their current tag is up-to-date. It’s always extremely important to make sure your dog tag has your current information, you know… just in case they manage to out run you.
  • HOUSEHOLD HARM: Make sure all poisonous food and chemicals are out of reach. Keep the chocolate, onions, avocados, and many more, away from your canine pal. These foods are toxic for your pet.
  • PUPPY BLUES: Learn what signs of illness are common in the first few months of a puppy’s life, as they are more susceptible to ailments.
  • POTTY TRAINING: Establish a bathroom routine. Puppies need housebreaking and a routine established in their early months of age. Setting a schedule will ensure fewer problems with accidents down the road. Be sure to reward them when they make it outside for the bathroom.
  • EXCESS ENERGY: Take your puppy outside and play for a few extra minutes. As long as the temperature keeps rising, there’s no harm in staying out and playing for longer. This keeps your puppy happy and healthy.

Most pet owners typically strive to make sure their pets are healthy, but National Puppy Day offers them the chance to do a little extra! For more information on how to keep your pet safe and healthy, visit The American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA.org.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



Meet the Boerboel

March 5th, 2015 at 5:17 pm by Diane Rich
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A Breed Recently Accepted into the American Kennel Club

 boerboel pup 3-15  IMG_2731

The Boerboel, pronounced, Bore-bull had been entered in dogs shows in the Miscellaneous group.
As of January 2015 the breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club and since acceptance
competes in the Working group.  I am somewhat familiar with this breed as I have trained a few of them.

The origin of the Boerboel is unknown but in researching the history of the breed noted this dog can be
traced back to ancient times where it was used for hunting, protection and war.  A Mastiff type dog was
brought to South Africa in the 1600’s for protection and various breeds were used to enhance
the look, courage and capabilities of this dog.  Boerboel literally translates into “Farmer’s Dog”
or “Farmer’s Mastiff” and became known as the South African Boerboel.


There will be 5 Boerbels entered in the Seattle Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show
at CenturyLink Field Event Center March 6th and 7th.. Ring time will be 8:00 Saturday
and 9:00 a.m. Sunday. There will be an opportunity to meet a Boerboel in the
Meet the Breed ring and talk with a breeder.

Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Boerboel breeder, Teri Herrera of Bandera Boerboels
who has been breeding Boerboels since 2007.  I had planned on only doing a phone interview
with Teri but as I listened to her was so impressed with her dedication to the breed and how she
prepares all the pups in a litter for the new family I was compelled to interview her in person.   I am glad I did.

There are breeders and then there are great breeders.  I have been fortunate to meet and work with
many great breeders during my 30-year training career to whom I give my utmost respect.
Teri, like other breeders on my list is the epitome of what I define as a truly responsible breeder.
Responsible breeders care about breed standard and work to improve the breed, do health testing on
breeding dogs and equally important carefully screen potential buyers which,  sometimes means
saying no to buyer. Rejecting an interested buyer is not intended to be mean but part of the
process to make sure the breed and family are a proper fit.


Good breeders like Teri also take their dedication with new litters to another level by tirelessly
investing their time working with each and every pup from the time they are born to the time they
leave the nest. This attention to detail includes thoughtful handling from birth and includes
opportunities for sensory development with each puppy.  Teri also introduces her pups to livestock
on her farm that include chickens, cows, horses and cats. The pups also meet people as well,
who come to visit her farm. Teri told me she clips the pup’s toenails within 2 hours of birth and
gets each pup used to being held and touched. Teri also told me she has her litters temperament
tested by an independent third party.

I asked Teri what would make for an optimum owner for the Boerboal and she told me straight away and
I agreed that this is not the right dog for a first time dog owner unless they are willing to commit
to long-term training and lifetime socialization.

Danyelle Harp and Valerie Durak Photography

Teri’s definition of socialization matches mine and believes the term socialization is not just about
dog play with other dogs, but suggests taking the pup to a variety of appropriate locations so the
pup experiences life outside the home and classroom. Teri recommends early training and puppy classes.
Teri did caution that although the pups can be very sweet, there usually is a radical change when they
reach adolescence so she recommends that the training process continue past this stage.

Part of Teri’s screening process includes filling out an application.  If an interested buyer lives in a
rental home she requires verification from the landlord that they will accept the breed knowing the size
this dog will reach when fully mature.  Teri also requires the new owner’s property be fully fenced.

The Boerboel is not a dog that should be warehoused outdoors as the isolation will create a dog that
will usually become overly aggressive and challenging to manage.  This is a breed devoted to the family
and therefore needs to be a part of the family.  The breed needs exercise and benefits by a fun
game of fetch and daily long walks.

 Diane Rich 2015

This impressive and powerful Boerboel is a determined, willful dog with the mass and strength to
follow through with its intention.  The males can weigh up to 200 pounds.  Don’t let the size fool
you, this dog is agile and can move. As an aside, the Boerboel’s tail is docked however they
can be entered in dog shows with a natural tail.

Teri also mentioned that the Boerboal is easy to train, wants to learn, is super smart
and quite affectionate to the owners. As a trainer I find that many dogs bred to guard can actually be quite
sensitive so although an owner must learn how to be the dog’s fair leader, in my opinion
hard-core, old-school training techniques should be avoided. However, an owner must
step up to the plate and stay at that plate for the life of the dog.

Dogs bred to guard, like the Boerboel tend to be suspicious or wary of strangers so the responsible
owner must properly introduce friends or others coming to the home and property to this dog.
The BoerBoel’s innate hard-wiring to guard the home and family should not be taken lightly.

As with many dogs, not just protective breeds, proper introduction to other dogs is critical early in
the pup’s development and should not just end after one round of puppy classes.  This dog’s socialization
opportunities need to be reinforced for a lifetime and not just with other Boerboels, but also with a variety
of breeds outside of a classroom environment.  I would be cautious of large daycare businesses and
recommend an owner pick and choose good, adult role models for the pup and the maturing and
adult Boerboel. Teri mentioned and I agreed this breed is not a good candidate for dog parks.

Teri did tell me that the Boarboel is not a dog that can be rehomed easily should someone need to
give it up. The breed bonds so strongly to the owner or family some never adjust well to a new home.
As the breed’s longevity can be over 10 years, keep that in mind when considering the Boerboel.

I asked Teri how many BB’s are registered in the U.S. and she stated approximately 500-600 and
between15 or 20 are registered in Washington state.

Should you be interested in learning more about the breed go to Teri’s website; www.banderaboerboels.com,
www.americanboerboelclub.com or SABBA the South African Boerboel Breeders Association.
@  http://www.sabt.co.za. This club’s mission statement is:
“The improvement of the Boerboel’s visible qualities, SABBA’s breed standard will always
be the only norm whereby the visible qualities of the Boerboel will be established and measured.”

Teri told me that SABBA requires a strict 72-point checklist where the dog must meet 75% of the criteria
on that list to be bred.  SABBA will register a Boerboel only after it has been appraised on individual merit,
and not pedigree.  SABBA’s recommended age for appraisal is 18 months, but the Association accepts
dogs of 12 months for appraisal. If a Boerboel does not meet the minimal point requirements
then it does not have enough of the Boerboel traits necessary to make it a good candidate for breeding
and any offspring will be ineligible for registration.   Two to three appraisers (one must have senior status)
will assess a dog brought into the ‘ring’ for appraisal.  SABBA hosts appraisal days in South Africa, as
well as in the USA and Europe throughout the year.

The puppy owner must find an experienced trainer who is neither threatened by the breed
or due to breed uses harsh training techniques.   Teri and I discussed the fact that guard dogs,
and she claims especially Boerboels, tend to be quite intuitive to their owner’s mood and behavior.
The dog may act or react based on its perception of what an owner needs.  The breed will do best with a
confident family and not do as well in a household that tends to be on the chaotic side.

I asked Teri, why the Boerboal and her reply, “I can tell you that I have had dogs all my life
including Poodles and Sporting breeds but never had a breed like this.
They are a loyal, affectionate, protective dog”

I absolutely enjoyed my interview with Teri and meeting her gorgeous dogs. All the dogs featured
in this blog are Bandera Boerboels

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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