Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich


July 8th, 2014 at 2:01 pm by Diane Rich
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Heatstroke is no laughing matter.
c Diane Rich 2014

With temperatures soaring into the 80′s, the Seattle Humane Society 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 particulalry vulnerable to hot surfaces. Sidewalks, pavements, 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.

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:

• Body temperatures of 104-110F degrees
• Excessive panting
• Dark or bright red tongue and gums
• Staggering or stupor
• Seizures
• Bloody diarrhea
• Vomiting

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 the Seattle Humane Society
Seattle Humane Society has been awarded the coveted 4-star rating by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator for the fifth consecutive year! Founded in 1897 to bring people and pets together, Seattle Humane Society 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.

Book Review: Olympic National Park and Vicinity

July 6th, 2014 at 8:27 am by Diane Rich
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Must-Do Hikes for Everyone by Douglas Lorain


I love hiking in the beautiful NW so was happy to respond to a request to review Lorain’s book.
hike rattlesnake ledge chase 4mths fraser
c Diane Rich 2014

Lorain’s book describes the Olympic National Park’s classic destinations and lesser-known jewels in the
39 must-do-hikes.

When I hike with my friends who are all experienced hikers and familiar with the trails we take I usually refer to
one of many hiking books in my library to get an overview on the trail and surrounding area before we head out
for that day’s adventure.    I have enjoyed some amazing hikes in the Olympic National Park area but until
now did not have a guide book for reference so looked forward to Lorain’s book.  If you haven’t explored
this vast national park, Lorain’s book may motivate you to do so.

This easy to read trail guide offers:
1. Ratings and rankings for each trail
2. Distances and approximate hiking times
3. Easy to follow trail notes
4. Map and permit info

If you enjoy bike trails, this book will be a great guide as to where bikes are allowed.  Bikes are strictly forbidden on trails except the Spruce RR trail and only allowed on paved roads.

Limited Options for Dog Lovers
For those of us who prefer to bring our dogs along on our hikes, we share the same dilemma as bikers with limited trail options on the Olympic Peninsula.  Lorain lists 13 trails where pets are allowed and states dogs are prohibited on all the other trails  Dogs are allowed in the surrounding national forests.   Should you decide to try it anyway be advised that some of the trails are rugged and would be unsafe for pets.  For horse enthusiasts, your horses are allowed on nearly all trails on national forest land and a few select routes within the Olympic National Park.

Entrance Fee
As of 2014 the Olympic National Park charges an entrance fee and is currently $15.00 per car and $5 for pedestrians, bikes and motorcycles.  Children under 15 are admitted free.

c Diane Rich 2014

The book is a winner.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC




4th of July Safety Tips For Your Pet

June 28th, 2014 at 10:16 am by Diane Rich
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c Diane Rich 2014

Many years ago I was invited to the Washington coast to enjoy the 4th of July with friends who lived there
year round.  I only had my one Doberman at that time and my friends only had their one Great Dane.
We enjoyed walking the coastline daily.   On the 5th, late morning we were enjoying
our usual walk along the beach, listening to the sound of the waves and watching a few families play on
the beach.  Ocean Shores allows cars on the beach.  All was normal then the wackadoodles
arrived by van.  We noticed this van driving a little close to us and we thought they were going to ask us a
question.  What they were attempting to do is light up fireworks with the intent to throw them at our dogs.
When we saw  what they were doing we did get the dogs out of harms way just in time,  got the license
plate and called 911.  They were caught.

The Fourth of July is a much anticipated, fun holiday for humans but can be a dangerous or
frightening one  for our pets.  Sometimes it is not just the loud noise from the fireworks but
many pets are very sensitive to the vibrations from those fireworks as well.  When your neighbors
decide to light up illegal fireworks close by your home that experience alone can create a lifetime
fear of fireworks for some dogs.

Due to fear and stress your dog may present behaviors such as;  shivering, panting, pacing, seeking
out a hiding  place under a bed or in a closet and refusing food.  Many pets  try to escape the
home or yard and can easily  run into traffic and run for miles trying to find refuge, get disoriented
and get lost which is why the shelters gear up for this holiday.

Safety Tips
1. Should you choose to attend a fireworks display leave the pets at home. Daytime parades
can  prove to be over-stimulating and scary for some dogs so leave your pet at home.  Temps
can be too hot for dogs even in the shade. Hot asphalt can burn sensitive pads

2.Dog thefts are on the rise and the bad guys count on holidays when people are not at home
to make an attempt to grab your dog if the dog is left outdoors.  Make sure your dog is indoors
and your home secure

3.   If your dog has access to a doggie door think about securing the door to keep pet inside.

4.  If you are entertaining you may want to contain your pet as the dog may bolt out an open door,
jump or climb a fence to escape, dig under a fence, chew through drywall trying to get out of the
house and even jump through screens and even windows to escape. If you don’t have AC then
an open  window is important but be careful if the dog has access to that window.

5. Keep a radio or TV on to help drown out the noise. If a fan can be placed in a safe location,
the fan  can also help dissipate the noise. Just be sure the dog cannot chew the cord or
knock over the fan.

6. If you are entertaining, be sure people keep alcoholic drinks away from the pet. Alcohol is
poison to pets.  Ask your guests to refrain from sharing people food with the family dog.

7. Your pet’s collar should include a license if required by your municipality and an ID tag with
updated phone info. Consider  microchipping your pet,  just remember to register the chip with the
appropriate company.

8. Take 2 photos of your pet. A close up of the face and a profile photo should your dog escape and
you need to post fliers for a lost dog in your neighborhood.  Include a reward. Contact your local
shelter, animal control and neighborhood Vets immediately should your dog run away from home.

9. Do not leave your pet in your car while attending festivities. It will be too warm and not
a safe feeling for any animal.  Easy for a pet to be stolen out of your car.

10. If your pet gets distressed every Fourth of July you may want to talk with your Vet about
dispensing a mild sedative. If this is your course of action, then make sure your pet is confined
in a low lit room, with a blanket, radio and/or fan on to help ease the tension. Some people
swear by having their pet wear body hugging canine couture for these situations.
Alternative methods to help calm a pet could include using aromatherapies or possibly
rescue remedy which should begin before the actual holiday begins.

If you were too late this year to help your pet cope with the 4th,  prepare for next year by contacting an
experienced behavior expert who may be  able to offer strategies to help desensitize your pet to the noise
and activity surrounding this holiday.

Wishing you a safe and fun holiday experience.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


June 27th, 2014 at 9:40 am by Diane Rich
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Bellevue shelter expands Pet Project program to serve low-income cancer patients and their pets

hr bar red
Seattle Humane Society is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pet Project, which provides food and primary veterinary care to more than 200 pets belonging to people disabled by HIV/AIDS. The program matches clients with volunteers who deliver monthly pet food and supplies, and holds bi-monthly veterinary clinics so that pets can get annual exams, vaccinations, flea medicines and dental cleanings.  The goal is to keep people and pets together when the comfort of a pet is needed most. All services and supplies are donated or purchased with donated funds.“This is a fantastic service – for people like me, it puts our minds at ease, because we don’t have the exorbitant funds for vet fees,” said Russell, a client since 1995 who relies on the program to care for his beloved dog, Delores. “Having a pet brings me companionship…and Delores helps me get outside of myself. I have to take her out, walk her, and feed her, and she brings socialization to my life. I’d be lost without her, even though she has me wrapped around her paw.”

During Seattle Humane’s annual fundraiser in May, Tuxes & Tails, animal lovers came together to raise more than $570,000 for the shelter’s community outreach programs serving clients like Russell, who depend on the Pet Project program and Pet Food Bank. The funds will also allow the shelter to expand its services to include low-income cancer patients being treated at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“It’s been our mission to give people and their pets the chance they deserve to stay together,” said Seattle Humane CEO David Loewe. “Now, thanks to the generous support of our donors who have helped to fund this program, we can ensure they will not be forced to give up their pets when they need them most.”

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

About the Seattle Humane Society
Seattle Humane Society has been awarded the coveted 4-star rating by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator for the fifth consecutive year! Founded in 1897 to bring people and pets together, Seattle Humane Society 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.
13212 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue, WA 98005 | Main: (425) 641-0080 | Fax: (425) 747-2985 | seattlehumane.org

Summer Solstice Adopt-A-Thon at Seattle Humane

June 18th, 2014 at 5:10 pm by Diane Rich
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tricks chase bow deck 6-13
c Diane Rich 2014
Enjoy extended hours and up to 50% off all pet adoptions on June 21
hr bar red
Celebrate the longest day of the year with pet adoption discounts and special extended hours! Seattle Humane will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for a Summer Solstice Adopt-A-Thon on Saturday, June 21st. Arrive early and get first pick at hundreds of adoptable animals and adoption discounts on the longest day of the year. We’re offering 50% off all pets from 11 a.m .to 5 p.m. and 25% off all pets from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.Every pet in Seattle Humane’s care has been vaccinated, microchipped, health-checked, and spayed/neutered. Most adoptions include 30 days of pre-paid health insurance, a collar and identification tag, and a certificate for an examination by a King County veterinarian. To learn more and view adoptable pets visit seattlehumane.org. SummerSolstice2014_FB.jpgSpeaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


About the Seattle Humane Society
Seattle Humane Society has been awarded the coveted 4-star rating by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator for the fifth consecutive year! Founded in 1897 to bring people and pets together, Seattle Humane Society 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.

Trainer Hopping

June 16th, 2014 at 7:55 pm by Diane Rich
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Finding the Right Fit

c Diane Rich 6-14

Some dog owners who have an interest in dog training and the time to continue with their training
past one class may trainer hop just to learn different methodologies of general dog
training.  However, some dog owners who parent dogs that present specific problems past
the usual puppy behaviors or have adult dogs that are not responding to cookie cutter
training techniques may have no option but to trainer hop to achieve desired results.

Then there are those other owners who are unsatisfied with trainer #1  for personal reasons so hop
along to  trainer #2.  The owner does not see  #2 as the right fit either so now that dog owner
moves on to #3. Trainer #3 now joins the ranks of the two previous trainers and is history and the
hopping continues.   I have found myself to be trainer #3,  #4 or  even #5.  If this is the case, I sometimes
wonder if the client just got unlucky with their previous choices of dog trainers, had unrealistic
expectations of the process or just didn’t connect with that trainer. For whatever reason, the match-up
did not work out.

One pet parent may do very well with one particular trainer be it in a group structure
or 1:1 and another owner may find that same trainer not to their liking.  An owner may initially like a
trainer then change their mind along the way and just did not retain that good connection.
I have been in this business long enough and am sure I have been hopped over also and that is
perfectly fine,  and that decision may be the best decision for all involved.   The bottom line is
that the dog gets trained and everyone is happy.
c Diane Rich 2014
The following are just a few direct quotes from clients as to why they trainer hop:

1.  “The trainer was nice but my dog and I did not learn that much”

2.  “The trainer talked too much during the session”

3.  ”I did not get enough personal attention in the class”

4.  ”I did not like the way the trainer handled my dog”

5.  “The trainer was condescending to me” or “the trainer was rude to me”

6.  “The trainer was great with dogs but not with people”

7.   “The trainer would only use clicker training and I did not like that method”

8.  “The class was too chaotic”

9.  ”The trainer allowed aggressive dogs in class and that made me nervous”

10.  “I found the sessions boring”

Hopefully you will find a professional trainer that meets or exceeds your criteria.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Book Review: Life’s A Bark, What Dogs Teach Us About Live And Love

June 6th, 2014 at 3:41 pm by Diane Rich
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By Larry Kay

c Diane Rich 2014

The author writes, “ There’s a lot we can learn about life and love from our canine friends.”
I could not agree more.  Throughout this delightful book Kay captures the essence of our beloved
dogs reminding dog lovers that we should be more like our canine friends and just enjoy life.

Kay reminds us that:
1. Dogs live in the moment
2. Dogs don’t judge themselves
3. Dogs don’t beat themselves up for imperfection
4. Dogs open their heart fully to humans they trust
5. Dogs raised in a positive environment seem to have a spark.

The author notes how dogs present unbridled joy over a stick, the earth and greeting
their person. So, to tap into just letting it all go Kay makes suggestions throughout the
book as to how we can keep the human spark alive since many people choose to control
their emotions and not know or forgot how to kick up their heels once in awhile.
For those people who tend to be too tightly wrapped, Kay suggests they dance naked
around the house. My initial thought was who hasn’t done that?   Although, I am hopeful
if someone does decide to do a naked happy dance they save the public from the view and
close the shutters or blinds before throwing caution to the wind.

I found this book to be a fast, enjoyable read that may just remind you to rediscover the
simple things in life.   Life’s a Bark would make a great gift.

Disclaimer:  I was asked to review the book and have received no compensation for my review.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Camp Korey’s Family Day A HUGE Success

June 1st, 2014 at 3:15 pm by Diane Rich
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The Magic of Camp

ck 2014 family day kiki lewis firetruck 6-14
c Diane Rich 2014

Around 400 people enjoyed the sun, the fun, the food, seeing old friends and meeting new ones at Camp Korey’s
Family Day today.

On our way back to the car we stopped to get a tour of the fire truck that firefighters bring to camp
every season to hose off  all who opt in for the food fight.  This delightful and messy activity is a
hit every summer and a sight to see.  Jack Lewis  was just finishing up my tour when they all got
beeped for an emergency.  Within minutes of that call they closed up the truck and were off. Very impressive.

Summer camp begins this month and we are all excited to get back to camp to be with the kids.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Book Review: Sergeant Stubby

June 1st, 2014 at 8:41 am by Diane Rich
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How A Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation

By Ann Bausum

c Diane Rich 2014

If you like history and dogs then this is a book you will thoroughly enjoy by award winning author Ann Bausum.   Bausum  introduces us to a soldier, Private J. Robert “Bob” Conroy who befriends a stray dog, a little stump-tailed terrier mutt at a military training camp on Yale University Campus.  It was not love at first sight for Conroy but Stubby won him over and they became best friends, inseparable friends.

Stubby’s  heartwarming  story begins in 1917 when America is about to enter the war.  The 102nd infantry division was called into action and Conroy would not leave Stubby behind so this little dog became a stowaway aboard a troop transport ship bound for Europe.  Of course Stubby was soon discovered and won over not only the hearts of the entire infantry but also the commanding officer.

On the battlefield, Stubby was a source of comfort in the trenches and to the wounded and even captured a German soldier.  He helped soldiers cope with stress on and off the battlefield by offering comfort to those soldiers suffering from  PTSD which during WWI was called “shell shock.”    He could easily be the Father of all therapy dogs.

In addition to offering his heart and love to the soldiers, he was on the front lines. He would alert to the scent of gas and had his own gas mask.  Stubby also pointed medics toward wounded allies on the battlefield.   On February 5, 1918 while with his soldiers who were defending battle lines along the Chemin des Dames highway, Stubby was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the battle of Seicheprey.  He survived.

Stubby proudly wore  a military coat specially made for him that included well deserved victory medals.  This fearless, devoted dog became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment Yankee Division in WWI and the most famous dog of WWI.  He was the first dog to be given rank the U.S. Armed Forces.

Bausum captures the humanity of war and the bond that can be forged between dog and soldier, even in the most horrific conditions. His talents continued after the war and he continued on as the Yankee Division’s beloved mascot and became a star of the vaudeville stage.  After his death, he was stuffed and now resides in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

I highly recommend this book.  You will not be disappointed.  Thank you to all in the armed forces, both human and canine who bravely serve our country.

About the Author: Ann Bausum has written 9 National Geographic books for young readers which include 6 works of social justice, 2 presidential history reference books and a photobiography.  She has won numerous awards including a Sibert Honor Award from the American Library Association.

I wanted to include some information about the foreword writer, David E. Sharpe.   He struggles with PTS and with the help of a rescued Pit bull pup named Cheyenne, veteran David Sharpe founded Companions for Heroes, which provides companion dogs rescued from shelters to military personnel, veterans and first responders recovering from physical and psychological challenges.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Getting to the Bottom of Poop

May 27th, 2014 at 4:11 pm by Diane Rich
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 Is It Too Soft, Is It Too Hard, or Is It Just Right?
c Diane Rich 2014

A couple months ago while researching a specific canine disease I stumbled across an incredibly informative website on my topic of interest and decided to click through some of the links. One of the links led me to a Vet Clinic’s website that featured a fecal scoring system from Nestle’ Purina that I wanted to share with my readers for reference.

fecal chart
Image referenced from; http://www.foothillpethospital.com/pet_info-fecalscoring.html

Dr. Oz
Dr. Oz broke the ice years ago on his popular TV show discussing the hush hush topic of human poop and went into detail as to what human poo should look like.  Dr. Oz recommended that each member of his audience, along with all his viewers play detective when looking into the toilet bowl at their own poop and based on the information and references from that show can do a layman’s health check.  America’s Doctor told his audience that poop offers valuable information with regard to the health of a human and in the case of my blog, canine poop can offer some clues as to the health of the family dog.

A Picture is Worth- Well, You Know the rest
Should you enter into a discussion about your dog’s poo with your Vet,  your description of it may be different than what the Vet is visualizing.  So, before one of my recent Vet visits with Chase I had printed out the chart to bring with me so I could point to the photos depicting his poo. Different day-different poo so several of the reference photos were spot on.

Look at It
Those pet parents who must walk the family dog daily for potty time are more apt to notice any changes in the dog’s stool than owners with dogs that poop in the back yard.  Dog poop deposited in the back yard may go unattended for days, or longer so a pet parent may not notice if there is a problem.

Top Ten Poop Pointers
1. Color
Note the color of your dog’s poop. The poop should be a chocolate brown.  The food your dog consumes which includes treats and digestible chews can affect the color of your dog’s poo.  If your dog destroys toys you may note pieces of the toy or other consumed objects in the stool.

2. Shape and Consistency
When you scoop or bag up the dog’s poo note if it seems rock hard. It will be obvious if it is runny. Poop should be shaped like a log, not segmented in small pieces. It should be firm but not hard.

3. Size Matters
The quantity of poop should be consistent with the size of the dog and amount the dog eats.  Volume of stool is something to note be it too little or too much.

4. Poke Around
Ok, this one is not motivating to do. Find a stick or some disposable object for this task. If you see what appears as mucous, or pieces of some substance, or what appears to be little grains of rice or wiggly things which could indicate parasites always a good idea to take a stool sample to the Vet.

5. Stinky Poop
Commercial diets and raw diets produce a variance in odor.  Foul odor can be caused from the diet, an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract or a medical condition.

6. Fecal test
If you note something is off with your dog’s poo, you may want to have your Vet run fecal test on your dog to check for worms and parasites, especially if your dog frequents dog parks or daycare.  In addition, if you note the stool has some red streaking in it,  is tarry looking or resembles numbers 4-7 on the fecal chart take your dog to the Vet.

7. Problem Poopers
If your pet is straining when she tries to poop or can’t seem to get into a comfy position to poo or goes for days without pooping take your dog to the Vet. Constipation is not healthy and could be symptomatic of the wrong diet, a dehydrated dog or could be due to a blockage or obstruction so a Vet visit is your best bet.

8. Be Proactive
Bottom line is don’t be shy and check your dog’s poo frequently.

9. Leftovers
A good rule of thumb is after you scoop the poop there should not be any residue on the ground.

10. What is Normal?
All dogs have loose stool on occasion although some dogs seem to have it more than others.  With the advice of your Vet as to your dog’s normal you can monitor the consistency, color and quantity for any deviation.

I would recommend that all Vets have this chart available as a visual reference for clients.

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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