Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Tips for Safer Hiking or Snowshoeing this Spring
Recently snowshoers out for a day in our beautiful mountains within a couple miles of each other off of I 90 outside of Seattle experienced the terrifying effects of an avalanche. Based on the latest news report, one person hiking alone with her dog did not make it out alive. My condolences to the friends and family of the person who didn’t survive.
I love hiking all year round and was introduced to snowshoeing about 10 years ago and loved it. The two areas that recently made the news were two areas we frequented. If you have followed my blogs over the years you know I don’t hike without dogs. During winter and spring months there was a group of us who would snowshoe along with 4-6 dogs.
As a skier I learned the dangers of an avalanche but it never hurts to be reminded about Mother Nature. What is important to keep in mind is that even experienced people can get caught in an avalanche or a tree well. So, although it is nice to lean on those who do have that experience, every person needs to be watchful and prepared when enjoying the back country. Bringing dogs along ramps up the safety protocol as off leash dogs that venture off can trigger an avalanche on unstable snow, a cornice or get themselves in trouble falling into in a tree well.
A tree well is a hole that forms around the base of a tree and sometimes this hole is hidden from view until it is too late. The hole may not look steep but many skiers and winter hikers get stuck and can’t get out without help.
Here are a few tips before you go:
1. Check the avalanche and weather forecast of your destination. Snow or rainfall within 24 hours of your hike is something to take seriously. Two great sites to check on local conditions are: www.avalanche.org and www.weather.gov.
2. Changes of temperature can also contribute to unstable snow conditions
3. Be able to identify slide areas and slope angle. The rule of thumb is if the terrain looks steep enough for a slide, it probably is so don’t be afraid to turn back if you are unsure
4. If there has been recent slide activity there may be more
5. Look for signs of unstable snow
6. Carry proper equipment such as a shovel, a transceiver and some suggest a probe
7. Bring essentials in your backpack
8. Never snowshoe alone
9. Tell friends or family where you are going and when you plan to be back
10. Stay alert, learn or remind yourself what to do in case of an avalanche before heading out
Update: 4-14-13 One hiker still missing. SAR (search and rescue) has been out daily looking for this man but had to limit their search time due to conditions. This man is an experienced hiker so hopeful he can help himself until rescue can locate him.
Angel on a Leash and Westminster Kennel Club Spokesperson, David Frei, to host BlogPaws awards ceremonyApril 12th, 2013 at 12:18 pm by Diane Rich
BlogPaws Announces Celebrity Emcee of Annual Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference
Frederick, CO – April 12, 2013 – BlogPaws today announced that Angel On A Leash and Westminster Kennel Club Spokesperson David Frei will be the celebrity emcee for the 2013 Nose-to-Nose Social Media and Pet Blogger Awards. The event will take place on Saturday, May 18 during the 5th annual BlogPaws Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference in Tyson’s Corner, VA.
Frei is the public spokesperson for the Westminster Kennel Club and has been the television voice of Westminster since 1990. With Westminster, David helped create Angel On A Leash, a charitable activity dedicated to creating and administering a therapy dog program at the NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Angel On A Leash later became an independent charity with David as founder and president, and the program has expanded into a number of additional facilities across the country. The success of the program provided the inspiration for his book of the same name.
Frei is well-known to millions of television viewers as the longtime co-host of USA Network’s annual telecast of the popular Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which airs every February. Frei has also been the co-host of The National Dog Show presented by Purina, a telecast seen by nearly 20 million viewers every year on Thanksgiving Day.
“We are incredibly excited to have David Frei emcee our awards as the BlogPaws conference continues to grow each year,” BlogPaws co-founder, Yvonne DiVita said. “BlogPaws is a pet-welcoming three-day conference that brings pet parents and enthusiasts together with each other, with the brands they buy and with experts that give actionable advice.”
The BlogPaws Pet Blogging & Social Media Conference is the largest event of its kind for pet bloggers and social media enthusiasts to network with industry leaders and brands and learn new ways to optimize and monetize their social media channels. New to the 2013 Conference are custom-designed tracks, including 101 (Beginners), 201 (Intermediate), and PRO (Advanced). There will also be exclusive tracks for those interested in animal rescue and advocacy, understanding copyright and the legal responsibilities around social media, and pet lifestyle.
For program details and an up-to-date list of speakers, visit http://blogpawsconference.com.
BlogPaws Media Contact: Carol Bryant, 570-540-3341, email@example.com
Pet360 Media Contact: Kelly Lange, 610-234-4114, firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 2009 by three dedicated pet lovers and bloggers, BlogPaws is the go-to resource for pet bloggers and social media enthusiasts looking to build their online presence, enhance their social networks and support animal shelters and rescues around the world. The BlogPaws community also serves to connect pet bloggers and social media enthusiasts with brands eager to connect with the vocal and dynamic pet parent via social media. BlogPaws is part of the Pet360 Media Network. For more information, visit www.blogpaws.com.
By Nick Trout
When I was contacted to review this book by best selling author, Nick Trout I wasn’t sure what to expect as I was unfamiliar with this author. Nick is a Veterinary surgeon in real life and this particular novel is about a Veterinarian.
A review by Debbie Macomber on the book’s cover states it is a book you won’t want to end. I read the book in 2 days. Also on the cover is a wonderful photo of a young Bulldog, a breed I adore.
I received the book and thought, ok another book about dogs. Well, that wasn’t the case. It is a book about relationships. Nick takes the reader through the main character’s residual anger and frustration from his past and beautifully uses a variety of situations throughout the book to depict how disappointment, anger and frustration can weigh heavily on one’s emotions and life choices even into adulthood.
The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs is about perception of the truth, learning the truth, accepting that truth and letting go. It is about forgiveness. It is about life’s lessons written with compassion and humor.
How do dogs come in to the picture? As I mentioned the main character Dr. Cyrus Mills is a Vet, more specifically a Veterinary Pathologist. Like most scientists the work is usually done alone or with very few personal interactions. Some people choose a profession that doesn’t require a lot of human interaction. Choosing a profession such as this one that limits the development of friendships in the workplace could be due to shyness, a disinterest or discomfort in small talk with people. Choosing a loner lifestyle could also be due to feeling let down by people in general or could go back to childhood experiences and feeling let down by one’s family.
Frieda Fuzzypaws, a beautiful Golden Retriever was Doc Mill’s first case in his new practice. It was foreign to this doctor to be with a live animal since his former job was working on dead ones. He had an ethical decision to make on this case with Frieda which was the catalyst that stirred up emotions Dr. Mills carefully kept locked away.
Truth is an interesting concept and if clouded layers can be peeled away the truth can take on a whole new meaning. This metamorphosis can unlock a heart kept in check and free it up to feel rather than thinking one’s way through life so a person can reap the benefits of healthy relationships. Sometimes it takes a village like it did in, The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
What Breeders Don’t Tell You And Trainers Don’t Teach
By Melissa Berryman
c Diane Rich 2013 Chase loves to read in bed
Don’t buy this book unless you are able to take a subjective look at your contributions that affect your dog’s behavior. No, this isn’t an owner bashing book, it is a book that is an easy read and covers how to take a more active role in dog training. Melissa offers a training method of positive and negative feedback that she states can dramatically improve any owner’s level of control.
Before I began my training career over 20 years ago, dog training was not something that people wrapped their brains around. There were no reality shows, no internet that offered YouTube training tutorials and trainers weren’t available on every block like a Starbucks. There were very few professional trainers available.
Trainers at that time promoted military type training methods and domination of a dog was normal SOP (standard operating procedure) to make the dog comply. Then a little TV show called 60 minutes featured Barbara Woodhouse, an unknown trainer in the U.S. but quite famous in the U.K.. The interview put Barbara on the map in the U.S. and the subject of dog training peaked the interest of dog owners.
Some people may remember Barbara’s signature high pitched “walkeeeees.” Barbara did not care about political correctness and editing her words when working with owners. The world had not yet given birth to the thought police where every word was judged harshly if it affected someone’s ego. People seemed to have thicker skins then and didn’t blame the world for all things gone awry. Barbara’s book was called, No Bad Dogs.
So, after I was contacted to help promote this book by Melissa Berryman and read the book, it reminded me in part of Woodhouse. Melissa doesn’t take any prisoners. What intrigued me was Melissa’s background. She is a former animal control officer and through that experience and wanting to help dogs and owners became a dog trainer.
As an A.C. officer she certainly had her share of emotional and dangerous situations. Her approach of “people training” is near and dear to my heart and has been part of my business model since day one. I believe as does Melissa in problem prevention and helping owners understand a dog from the dog’s perspective. I concur with her approach of educating owners to communicate with the family dog, rather than as is stated on the back of the book, “barking commands” at the poor dog and expecting the dog to respond.
Melissa discusses liability issues of owning a dog that may behave aggressively. She also discusses how people are challenged by learning their role in their dog’s behavior and tries to motivate people to be part of the solution.
As a trainer who works with all levels of dog aggression and a long list of behavioral issues on a weekly basis, I have experienced the same level of “head in the sand” resistance from people requesting help but not wanting to take a different parenting path to address the total problem. Most owners look at behavior as a dog problem. Unfortunately TV training gives people the impression there is a magical quick fix that will guarantee long term reliability. Melissa’s book addresses the reality of dog ownership.
Melissa talks about dog trainers. She mentions the skill set of trainers and the ability to teach clients about behavior and how that approach is different than just training a dog to sit or down in puppy class.
The author also states that “owners believe they are experts because they have owned several dogs.”
The author makes another comment about socialization classes stating owners who wish to socialize their dogs by taking them to puppy class believe the pup will be socialized forever.” And I agree that nothing could be further from the truth. I have written about this topic in my blogs as I see countless dogs that go into daycare with good social skills and come out bullies and reactive to other dogs. Melissa states “unfortunately many caretakers begin their businesses short on experience.” I agree based on what I see in my practice.
She also addresses something I work with, hear about and observe on a weekly basis also when she discusses pet sitters, dog walkers and day care providers. These individuals may have a love or passion for dogs and may even take and pass a written test by a national pet sitting company but that doesn’t mean they have the skill to manage dogs. They learn on your dog.
Melissa’s book tells the truth as stated on her cover. Many trainers these days coddle owners as they don’t want to lose business or scare someone away with the truth. On the other hand, many trainers are way too serious and do not have the ability to make the learning process fun for both dog and human.
If a dog owner can leave their ego on the nightstand they should get something from this book. Owners who have only experienced clicker training and similar approaches may take offense at Melissa’s technical training method. Melissa still believes in a choke collar and leash corrections. If you trained dogs over 15 years, you primarily used a choke collar and administered leash corrections. It has been years since I used a choke collar on a dog in my training programs and don’t find it necessary, but I do understand where she is coming from.
Melissa discusses the marketing buzz words, “positive training” that are used to pull in clients. I have also addressed this in my blogs and agree. She addresses how many trainers use the trendy words, “positive” but still use leash corrections. Positive is subjective. Then there are some trainers who believe that positive means you don’t tell the dog no or correct the dog for inappropriate behavior.
Keep in mind Melissa’s experience is from the perspective of animal control dealing with abandoned and abused animals and trying to help owners prevent a tragedy or personal liability should a dog bite someone.
I have a library full of training and behavior books. I also have a short stack of newer books sent to me for review. Most books are predominately another “me too.” I still have Barbara Woodhouse’s book and will put Melissa’s next to it on my bookshelf.
Products and Lot Codes
To Your Rescue
Last week I was invited to take a personal tour of AHA’s Red Star Rescue Rig that was on display in Seattle as part of their tour to introduce people to AHA and the services they provide. Unfortunately, my training schedule did not allow time for this visit. If this 82 foot Rig comes to your community I would highly recommend a tour as it sounds amazing. I was also asked if I would like to do an interview.
I was a little hesitant at first to agree to an interview or do a write up on another animal charity. I have been involved with a variety of animal related non profits over the years. Some animal non-profits hit it out of the park in all areas and others not so much. I have been both impressed and disappointed by board members, staff and treatment of volunteers. I have been both impressed and angry as to allocation of funding with inflated salaries that lure in a warm and credentialed body who may not be suitable for the task. Before donating to an animal non-profit it is critical to research how much of the funds are driven to advertising and marketing vs. the animals in need. Again, some non-profits are run with such professionalism they are rarely short of volunteers. I research each non profit’s charity ratings which is easy for the larger non profits but less so for the mid range and smaller animal non profits. The smaller non profits are not always that transparent as to how they allocate donations. There are non profits with underlying conflicts of interest and staff that don’t seem to play nicely in the sandbox with others. So, do your homework.
Many non profits boast a mission statement that stir one’s emotions about animals or children to get people to write a check. . So, before I agreed to this interview I wanted to do some homework on this multi-faceted organization and was intrigued by what I read and wanted to learn more.
A phone interview was set up with Robin Ganzart PhD, the President and CEO of AHA and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Robin. Robin is quite passionate, energetic and incredibly informative about AHA.
From their website; “The mission of American Humane Association is to ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals, and to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both.” When I read the organization was founded in 1877, I thought it was a typo. It was not a typo, this non- profit has been around a long time.
I was impressed with the variety of services AHA offers such as:
- The Red Star Animal Emergency Services™ program, which still stands nearly a century later as an international model for helping animals in times of crisis. AHA protects countless animals each year, whether from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, or the human cruelty of dog fighting, horse abandonment, abuse and neglect.
RED STAR EMERGENCY SERVICES
The Red Star ™ Animal Emergency Services team is always prepared to assist communities in need at a moment’s notice. Since 1916, the Red Star ™ team has been helping animal victims of disasters both natural and manmade. Having evolved since World War I, the team is now equipped with over 200 specially-trained staff and volunteers ready to deploy across the country, an 82-foot Rescue Rig with a full Command Center, a fleet of response boats and vehicles and extensive rescue supplies. In just the past five years, these heroic teams have rescued and cared for some 70,000 animals! When they are not helping animals affected by disaster, they are training communities to be better prepared for disasters through our nationally-renowned Red Star Training program, which has trained over 2,600 people in less than three years!
RED STAR ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY
As I am very involved with therapy service this program peaked my interest.
American Humane Association’s animal-assisted therapy programs have:
- Improved the lives of 60,000 children, including at summer camps for children of military families.
- Made more than 500,000 visits in 15 states across the country.
In the TV and movie industry many animals have been injured or killed made to perform for our entertainment. Procedures and safety protocol needed to be put in place to ensure their safety. AHA created specific criteria for animal actors.
HUMANE HOLLYWOOD™ Certifying Safety Our “No Animals Were Harmed®” certification program monitored the treatment of 100,000 animal actors on more than 2,000 film and entertainment productions around the globe with a 99.98 percent safety rate. Animal actors, and their human counterparts, are grateful for the protections afforded by the only officially sanctioned animal welfare program in the entertainment industry.
Farm Animals Treatment of farm animals bred for slaughter or used to provide eggs has been abominable over the years. Undercover videos are tough to watch and it was unconscionable what has been allowed and in some cases still is allowed on factory farms.
Robin told me AHA has individuals, including Veterinarians who not only check on these farms but do unannounced visits to ensure the farms they certify continue to meet their standards and that substandard care doesn’t slip under the radar. This industry’s lobby is big and has and is still quite protected from scrutiny and humane regulations so hopefully AHA’s efforts continue to make a difference.
To learn more please visit their website : http://www.americanhumane.org/
This post is from Petsmart’s website.
Proctor and Gamble has issued a voluntary market withdrawal of Iams Shakeables Turkey and Lamb Dog Treats with certain “Impacted Lot Numbers” listed below. These treats are being voluntarily withdrawn due to potential for mold growth. No other products are affected. Proctor and Gamble has not received any reports of human or pet illnesses.
|Product Description||Impacted Lot Number|
|Iams Shakeables Turkey, 6oz||419715A 419715A 419715A 419715A 419715A 419715A 419715A 419715A 419715A|
|Iams Shakeables Lamb, 6oz||419715A|
To find the lot code on your can, look at the first 4 numbers of the second line on the bottom of the can as they identify the affected lots.
Please stop feeding these products and bring any remaining Iams Shakeables Turkey and Lamb Dog Treats affected by the voluntary withdrawal and return Please stop feeding these products and bring any remaining Iams Shakeables Turkey and Lamb Dog Treats affected by the voluntary withdrawal to your closest PetSmart store for a full refund. If you have questions about this voluntary withdrawal, please call Proctor and Gamble (Iams) at 1-877-894-4458.
Meet the Lagotto Romagnolo
This cute, rare dog is a working breed with a very talented nose. The Lagatto dates back to Roman times and was used as a hunting dog and water retriever. This breed is better known for finding truffles and the only breed recognized for this purpose. A truffle is a prized type of subterranean tuber mushroom.
This smart, active, family dog can live in an apartment or condo if exercised every single day. Should you have a home with a fenced yard just know this digger may happily rearrange your flowerbeds.
Should you decide to parent the Lagotta then bring you’re A-game as they are brainiacs. This dog will pick up new behaviors quickly and beg for more to learn. They are social dogs and as with all pups best to acclimate them early to other dogs and life outside the home. The Lagotto is known to be great with children but as they are a small sized dog, older children, not toddlers would make a better match.
This breed sheds little to no hair and weighs in between 24 and 35 pounds and is between 14 to 19 inches at the shoulder.
This breed would best be suited for an active family and would excel at agility and nosework. If organized dog sports aren’t your thing you can create your own agility obstacles in your yard or inside the home and can also work on “find it” or tracking games. Swimming is also something most Lagatto’s like.
The dense, waterproof coat is curly and does need grooming. There are conflicting opinions as to how to groom this breed. Be careful of matting and be sure to have the hairs in the ear canals gently plucked out. Also, make sure their vision isn’t blocked which can happen if you allow the the hair to grow over their eyes.
The breed is healthy and long lived. There may be hip dysplasia in the lines so talk with your breeder as to any testing that has been done on breeding pairs. The breed is also prone to cerebral anomaly or benign juvenile epilepsy.
The cuteness starts in puppyhood and seems to stay forever with this beautiful breed.
Does your Dog Present any or all of these Behaviors?
Does your dog constantly paw you for attention?
Do you find it an aerobic activity to leash up your dog for a walk?
Does your dog lose its concentration and can’t settle when you show her a treat?
Does your dog become out of control crazy excited to greet you when you come home?
Does your dog pace, pant, jump up on you or counters when you are preparing his meal?
Does your dog try to bolt out of the car or your home when you try to open a door?
Does your dog act a bit insane as you enter the parking lot to the dog park?
Does your daycare provider take you aside to let you know your dog is too much for the other dogs in the group and needs training or cannot come back?
Why Dogs May Go Crazy or Cannot Concentrate
Dogs often misbehave because they were not taught self-control. Dogs often misbehave because behaviors once viewed as cute and reinforced with attention have morphed into obnoxious, pushy or even dangerous behaviors. Dogs often misbehave because owners opted out of teaching the dog what to do, not just what not to do. Dogs often misbehave because owners do not believe in setting up and reinforcing structure, house rules or public manners. Dogs often misbehave if owners feel that an overly excited dog is a happy dog Dogs often misbehave if owners feel that dialing back the excitement will in some way crush the dog’s spirit
Some dogs are anxious and out of control due to training methods, confusion, over indulgence and lack of proper exercise. I have found many dogs that attend daycare or frequent dog parks still lack self control as their brain is not engaged. They are affected by the adrenalin rush and overstimulation of the environment. Many owners use these environments to let the dog blow off steam and many dogs use other dogs as targets during this process.
Have you ever noticed at a dog park or daycare a dog that is acting crazy and is uncontrollably excited around all the other dogs? Do you notice this out of control dog is either avoided by other dogs, ganged up on by other dogs, mounted by other dogs even aggressed at by other dogs?
Normal Puppy Behavior
Some owners get sucked into the cuteness of a puppy and silly behavior not realizing that pup doesn’t miss a trick of what behavior is allowed or reinforced. Pups lack self control which is one reason many adult dogs don’t want to be near them. Pups are constantly in other dog’s faces which can easily get that puppy into trouble and need human guidance to keep out of trouble.
Some pet parents find the crazies cute. Some owners like a dog to act overly excited for a car ride, walk, a treat, a greeting or see nothing wrong with the dog exploding out of the car to gain access to the dog park.
Opting out of Parenting
Some pet parents struggle with a dog that can’t control itself when the meal is being prepared and are continually yelling “off” at the dog for jumping at the counter during this prep time. I see people at dog parks allow their dog to pester or annoy other dogs and opt out of stepping up to address inappropriate behavior or are advised by fellow dog lovers that the dogs should be able to always work it out. Some pet parents do not believe in structure for a young dog or even short term confinement at home outside of bedtime.
Many pet parents still believe or maybe hope the pup will gain self control on its own as it matures. When inappropriate behaviors are not managed those behaviors may escalate into other behavioral challenges as that dog matures
Examples of Trained Self Control
Ever watch multiple dogs herding sheep? A skilled handler can have one dog working the sheep while the other dog may be cued for a down stay. Ever see or train a dog to balance a cookie on its muzzle and wait for a cue to quickly snap up that cookie? Ever see a hunter work with their well trained retriever at a sporting dog event? That dog waits for the handler to give the cue to retrieve the dummy. Training your dog to calmly wait for a meal and give a cue to eat. Training your dog to fetch and having that dog wait, you throw the object and you cue to dog to get it. Training your dog to wait to get out of a car not just for self control but safety.
All these behaviors need to be taught and understood by the dog so you can set your dog up for success.
Teaching your dog self control should not be a tease. It should be a fun, controlled and positive game and started when the dog is young. If you missed the puppy timeline you absolutely can teach self control exercises to an older dog.
I love teaching the “Stay” Command. Stay is a wonderful behavior for self control and should be reinforced throughout the dog’s life. When teaching this powerful behavior, keep sessions short and advance the stay from a solid foundation. Expectations need to be in line with the dog’s age, education and capabilities.
The “stay” is not punishment, and dogs can be taught to stand, sit or down stay.
1. Teach your dog to calmly sit or stand stay for the leash to be attached to the collar
2. Don’t make your dog nuts to go “bye bye in the car”, get a treat, fetch a ball or eat a meal
3. Teach the dog to stay or wait before exiting your car
4. Not easy, but try not to always reward the dog’s demands for attention by giving attention.
5. Teach the puppy or new dog to accept a crate or exercise pen for short duration throughout the day, not just overnight or when you leave the house
Some pet parents who are into dog sports may not realize a dog can be amped for the sport but still learn self control exercises outside of those activities.
If you find yourself getting frustrated with an out of control dog or find that you are nagging your dog into behaviors, hire a professional to help fine tune the communication and skills. You will find teaching self control can work miracles for behavior problems. A calm dog is a happy dog.