Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

Protect Your Pets In Freezing Weather

December 5th, 2013 at 1:22 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments
temp gage car 12-13
c Diane Rich 2013
Seattle Humane offers tips to keep pets safe and healthy
hr bar red
With snow and freezing temperatures upon us, it’s time to prepare pets for the winter weather. Seattle Humane offers these tips to keep pets safe when the temperature dips.

Keep Pets Indoors
Pets can get frostbite, too! Never leave your pet outside in freezing temperatures for an extended period of time. On freezing cold days, keep your walks and snow-romps short. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. Research shows that more dogs are lost during winter than any other season. Always make sure your pet is microchipped and wears ID tags.Dress Appropriately
A dog’s coat provides some insulation against the cold, but short-haired dogs need a coat or sweater for additional warmth while outside.Increase Food Supply
Dogs have to work harder to stay warm when exercising outside. Increasing their food supply, particularly protein, will keep them in tip-top shape.

Beware of Seasonal Poisons
Coolant and antifreeze can spill in the garage or on the street and are lethal to dogs and cats. A dog’s paws, legs and stomach should be wiped off when coming in out of the rain, sleet, snow or ice. Make sure to use dog booties to prevent your pet from getting chemicals and street salt on the pads of their feet, which can lead to burns and poisoning if they lick their feet.

Offer Warm Sleeping Spots
Pets belong inside with the rest of the family. Providing a warm place to sleep, off of the floor and away from drafts, will keep dogs and cats feeling comfortable during the cold months.S

Save a Life by Tapping on Your Hood
Outdoor cats will climb under the hoods of cars for warmth, so be safe and bang loudly on the car’s hood before starting the engine to give any sleeping cats a chance to vacate.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

If you suspect that an animal is being neglected or abused, please contact your local animal control agency. For a list of agencies in your area visit our website at seattlehumane.org.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2013 at 4:57 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments



chase nature hike 11-11
c Diane Rich 2013

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Two Minutes to Shine

November 22nd, 2013 at 10:51 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

The National Dog Show by Purina Airs November 28th

I had the wonderful opportunity recently to participate with other bloggers in a pre-broadcast conference call to interview David Frei  and John O’Hurley,  the cohosts of this popular televised dog show.  As most dog enthusiasts know, David Frei is an expert analyst for Westminster and the National Dog Show. He has years of experience breeding and showing dogs and is also an AKC judge.  Of course who doesn’t know J. Peterman of Seinfeld fame.  John O’Hurley has been a cohost with David over the years and brings his wit and humor to the viewers.  These hosts are a great combination.

The National Dog Show in Philadelphia held annually since 1933 has over 2000 dogs entered in this show and includes 190 breeds . There are 3 new AKC breeds for this year’s big event.  The new breeds are; The Chinook in the working category, Rat Terrier in the Terrier category and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno in the Hound group.

Show dogs are primped, pampered and groomed down to their last hair so they can each strut their coiffed stuff for 2 minutes in front of a judge to earn their way to the prize, Best in Show.  The timeline to perform in the ring is quick and seems similar to our Thanksgiving celebration whereas it can take a week to prepare a meal for family and friends and minutes to consume the bounty on Turkey Day.  The dogs and handlers need to bring their A game during their short time in front of a judge.

The National Dog Show airs at noon in all time zones and follows the Macy’s Day parade. The show is one of the oldest benched shows in the United States since 1933.  A benched show is open to the public and participating dogs are on display when not competing in the ring.  It is a wonderful opportunity for people to meet different breeds and talk with the breeders or handlers about the dog.  In some cases the breeder and handler are one in the same.

David Frei commented that the best handler is one who is invisible so the dog shines. He goes on to say the dog should be paying attention to the handler which is something a new dog owner parenting a purebred or mixed breed learns in puppy class.

One of the bloggers asked where the dogs are housed during the show .  David replied that some handlers who live in the area just drive in for the day while handlers from out of town may nest in their own motor home so the dogs can travel and stay in a familiar environment before and between their show times. Other handlers may opt to stay in a pet friendly hotel or a hotel that made special accommodations and will allow entered dogs on site just for this dog show.

Another blogger asked about those oops moments that happen either behind the scenes or on camera and John O’Hurley shared a story about a Great Dane that stopped and squatted in front of him leaving a donation.  John felt it was the dog’s opinion of his performance.

When asked which dogs we should be watching, neither gentleman would give up any breed info.  A perfect tease for us to tune in.  They both said it will be an exciting lineup and is the most exciting group of dogs to date at the National Dog Show.

David Frei talked about his pet therapy group, Angel on a Leash which is a 501 3c and is a national therapy organization. He and his personal dogs visit kids at the Ronald McDonald House and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  David was asked what makes a good therapy dog and being involved with therapy service, I agreed with his answer.  He said therapy dogs are born not made.

John O’Hurley made a wonderful comment that the Best in Show is not really the dog that wins in the ring but the real Best in Show is the dog that is sitting next to you on the couch.   To this statement I am sure we all agree.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Tune In to The Doctors TV Show Thursday, Nov 21st

November 20th, 2013 at 10:07 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

How to Assess your Pet’s Health

I received an email about a topic on the show, The Doctors that will air tomorrow and wanted to give my readers a heads up about this segment.  If you cannot watch or record the program you can access it via  http://tinyurl.com/drsvideo

A Veterinarian demonstrates on Dr. Travis Stork’s very relaxed dog how to check a dog’s pulse, how to check for lumps and bumps and shows the viewer a few other easy to do at home exams on your pet.  I viewed the segment and thought the information was easy to understand and something every pet owner can do at home.

At home health checks should be done weekly on your pet and if you see or feel anything that seems unusual or wasn’t there the previous week it is time to see your Veterinarian.  Home health checks are not suggested to be done to avoid paying for an office visit which is why many pet owners delay making an appointment, but to compliment the expertise your Veterinarian who contributes to the overall health of your beloved pet. If your pet will not a willing participant for these home health checks contact your local trainer to teach the dog in a positive way how to relax and enjoy the at home exam and also educate you how to relax giving one.
Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
About The Doctors THE DOCTORS is an Emmy® Award-winning daily,  nationally syndicated series airing in over 200 markets.  Featuring Travis Stork, M.D., Andrew P. Ordon, M.D., F.A.C.S., James M. Sears, M.D., and  recurring co-hosts Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Jennifer Berman, M.D., Rachael Ross,  M.D., PhD. and Ian K. Smith, M.D., THE DOCTORS offers viewers a reliable source of fascinating health and wellness advice. Taped in front of an audience in  Hollywood, The Doctors is produced by Stage 29 Productions and distributed by  CBS Television Distribution. Jay McGraw, Carla Pennington, Patricia Ciano, Jeff Hudson and Dr. Phil McGraw are executive producers. CBS Television Distribution  is the preeminent company in worldwide television syndication. For additional  information on THE DOCTORS, now in its sixth season, please visit www.thedoctorstv.com.

Spokesdog’s Book Review; Beautiful Old Dogs

November 13th, 2013 at 11:50 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

A Loving Tribute to our Senior Best Friends

Edited by David Tabatsky Photographs by Garry Gross

c photo Diane Rich 2013

When I was asked to review this book there was something about the title that made me anxious to get to it.  The title is short, sweet, simple and says it all.

Have you noticed some grey hair on your dog’s muzzle?  Does it seem your dog is growing more lumps on a monthly basis?  Have you noticed your dog is napping more?  There is no way for humans or animals to beat the aging process although humans trying to fake out the mirror may pay for a little nip or tuck here and there.  Dogs seem to take aging in stride as they are not consumed with our vanity.

And it is said that old friends are the best.  I absolutely agree.   It is comforting to know someone’s history and they yours as the information and knowledge is out there.  Good friends accept, tolerate and love the other person in spite of their warts. Dogs love us whether we are young or in our golden years and sharing a dog’s gifts to their last breath is a privilege.

Many people want a wiggly, happy go lucky, uneducated puppy to mold into the perfect dog.  So if a dog lover decides to adopt a dog and visits the local shelter or rescue many of the wonderful, sweet middle aged or senior dogs are overlooked.  Some older dogs when out of the sterile environment of a shelter may surprise you with energy and a light your love will put back into their eyes.

It is easy math to calculate the years a senior dog may have left and some people cannot bear the thought of only sharing a short time with this new addition.  On the other hand, people may fail to realize that an older dog that is housetrained and enjoys a walk and a nap can be a joy and may not be as high maintenance as a young, needy dog.  Many young dogs find their way to a shelter as they are too much for a busy family.

After Gary Gross retired from the world of fashion photography which included photographing many celebrities, he became a dog trainer in New York and combined his passion of training dogs with his passion of photography.  He gravitated toward older and senior dogs.  Gary died in 2010.

This book is a compilation of 44 color photographs that without words seem to connect the reader to the soul and beauty of these senior canines.  Writers such as Dean Koontz (I have read most of his books), Doris Day, Marlo Thomas and others contributed humorous and uplifting articles that accompany the photos.

The author, David Tabatsky is a writer, teacher and performing artist in the New York area.  David collected Grosse’s photographs, essays and short pieces to create this book.  What a tribute to a talented, dog loving photographer.

This book was a delight to read and the photographs will warm your heart.

There may be a rescue in your area that only takes in senior dogs and could be worth a look.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Gone to the Dogs

November 7th, 2013 at 8:35 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Kirkland Art Center

 Date:  Saturday, November 9, 2013 (All day) to Saturday, January 11, 2014 (All day)

Reception date:  Friday, November 8, 2013 – 6:00pm

Hours open:  Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 6pm Saturdays: 11am – 5pm Closed Sundays and Mondays

Gallery Curator:  Donna Lindeman Porter

The Kirkland Arts Center Gallery is going to the dogs- literally! In an exhibition dedicated to the other community members of our town, artists explore the relationship with human’s best friend, as well as the political, social, and sometimes comical undertones of “going to the dogs”.

Join us at the Opening Reception on November 8th, 6 – 8:30pm to view work from over 40 artists, enjoy food and drinks, and meet some special guests in the Seattle Humane Society’s MaxMobile!
Featured Artists:

Adrienne Sherman
Barry Moser
Betz Bernhard
Bob Neir
Carla Dimitriou
Carol Dillon
Carol Ross
Casey McGlynn
Charlie Spitzack
Cheryll Leo-Gwin
Don Maghee
Donna Lindeman Porter
Dorothy Bonneau
E. D’Ete
Ed Fotheringham
Francis Barlow
Gaylen Hanson
Jennifer Gavlin
Jody Wilson
Joe Max Emminger
Joey Chiarello
John A. Brickey
John Lysak
Julie Austin
Karen Kosoglad
Kelly Lyles
Kiyoshi Saito
Larry Calkins
Lorri Falterman
Lynn DiNino
Meg Murch
Mia Park
Michael Rainwater
Myron E. Lewis
Nikolai Sazhin
Patti Warashina
Peter Pere
Rachel Denny
Randy Clark (aka Fish Boy)
Regnor Reinholdtsen
Renatta Simpson
Renée Sintenis
Sheryl Sirotnik
Terry Turrell
Thomas Hubbard
Wuon-Gean Ho

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



Adopt a Senior Pet Month at Seattle Humane Society

November 4th, 2013 at 6:20 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Grey (or gray if you please) IS the new black!!

c Diane Rich 2013

Are you ready for a mature relationship? Adopt a senior pet at Seattle Humane Society and find out for yourself why senior pets are the best! All month long, adoption fees are waived on cats 7 years and older (normally $25), and dogs 7 years and older are $50.At some shelters, dogs and cats over the age of three are not considered “adoptable,” but at the Seattle Humane Society, we know that older pets make amazing companions.

Top 5 Reasons to Adopt a Mature Pet:

1. MELLOW PERSONALITY You know exactly who you are adopting because his or her personality is formed Plus, these great dogs and cats tend to have just the right level of playfulness for busy families.

2. ALREADY HOUSE-TRAINED Most mature pets have already learned many of life’s lessons –including potty lessons!

3. MAKE THEMSELVES AT HOME Older companion animals seem to acclimate more quickly to new settings.

4. HAVE A LOT OF LOVE TO GIVE Many of our adopters say that senior dogs and cats really seem to appreciate it when they are adopted and bond to their new family more readily than younger ones.

5. YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG (OR CAT) NEW TRICKS! With older pets, you don’t have to spend time teaching them all the basics – they already know them! Instead, have fun teaching them new tricks!

Visit the Seattle Humane Society at 13212 SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue to meet your perfect pet today or see our adoptable pets online at seattlehumane.org.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Book Review; Devoted

November 4th, 2013 at 8:39 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Written By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

c Diane Rich 2013

From the back of the book, “ Devoted fills your heart with 38 true life tales that prove the strongest bonds are measured not by words but by tail wags, barks and nose nuzzles.”

There seems to be an increase in the number of books about our beloved pets that document true tales or shall we say wagging tails about what our amazing dogs bring into our lives.   Many dog parents prefer their pet over being around people which may be why books about dogs have grown in popularity.

I initially thought this was just another dog book that would offer sweet, warm and fuzzy stories.   After reading it I found it to be much more. The author shares stories of dogs who are rescued and who rescue in return.

Each story includes a beautiful photo of just the dog and or the dog with their person.  The author includes the dog’s name and state where the dog and family reside and overview on the breed.  Walsh gives a back story on each dog in such a way that the reader cannot help feeling compassion and of course a connection.  Throughout the book the author offers general fun facts about dogs which may come from National Geographic’s library.

Walsh’s heartwarming stories about the human animal bond include a variety of breeds including rescued Pit Bulls, mixed breeds, a Great Dane, Goldens and a Westie.  The author tells of a rescued Doberman used as bait forced to be a sparing dog  for fighting dogs. To ensure the safety of the fighting dogs the low-lifes filed down the Dobermans teeth.  He was lucky to make his way to a loving, forever home.  There are a variety of breeds featured throughout the book.

This book is a quick, enjoyable, read and I recommend that you hold the book in one hand and pet your dog with the other. On the back cover the author asks “who’s taking care of whom?”    What do you think?

The beautiful photo on the cover of a chocolate Lab was by David du Chemin

Devoted is published by the National Geographic Society a scientific and educational nonprofit I respect.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Book Review; Dog Park Design, Development and Operation

November 2nd, 2013 at 7:47 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Written by Marilynn R. Glasser

c Diane Rich 2013

Dog lovers in Seattle are lucky as there are quite a number of designated off leash dog parks in our area.  Some parks are fenced and some parks offer more of an open concept for dogs that are trained to a level they won’t run off.  Some of our parks are small and some boast acres of romping room.  What I have noticed over the past 10 years is that some residential developers have set aside some real estate and fenced off an area for the resident’s own dog park. Sweet.

Glasser’s book zeros in on critical issues dog lovers in any community interested in creating a dog park should review and consider.   The author helps the reader navigate the stages of park development, helps identify essential and optional components of a dog park, waste management, fencing and funding. The author offers tips on signage which should post rules, etiquette, safety concerns.   She also includes information on landscaping and even a how to with regard to the grand opening.  She doesn’t stop there as she offers suggestions for ongoing evaluation to ensure things continue on a positive path.

c Diane Rich 2013    This particular park’s signage lists great dog park rules including a no smoking sign

What may be helpful to those dog lovers who either don’t have a community dog park or have to travel too far to enjoy one and want a dog park in their community,  are Glasser’s tips in one of the chapters she titled,  Making the Case.   NIMBY (not in my ack yard) can be just one obstacle from neighbors bordering a potential park site.  Their concerns include parking overflow, barking, the smell and of course safety concerns should dogs not be controlled by owners upon entering or leaving the park.   Your city council and park board will either be your ali or won’t get on board due to concerns about money, maintenance, safety and limited time to dedicate to this cause.

dog park medina 2 dog max rule
c Diane Rich 2013   This particular dog park’s signage states maximum number of dogs per handler to address the dog walkers who bring multiple dogs to parks.

It all starts with the concept and then recruiting dedicated volunteers to stay energized and motivated as it can be a long road.   I can relate to this book as I was personally involved over 10 years ago with a small group of dog parents looking to create a dog park in our city.  After a few years of “making our case” to the city who at that time were not interested, this little group lost their motivation.   A couple years later, another group emerged with new energy.  We took our case, several times, to the parks department and city council with facts, figures, a plan for stewardship.  This park like many newer dog parks around the country would be funded through private donations.    The park finally came to fruition.

If you are a dog lover and your community does not yet have a dog park, this is an excellent,  well written book I believe you will find helpful.

You can purchase a paperback copy of the book on www.amazon.com  and on the publisher’s website, HumanKinetics.com.   Ebook and Kindle version are also available

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

FDA Warns Pet Owners to Stay Away from Jerky Treats

October 29th, 2013 at 3:34 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

jerky treat 10-13
Photo is not being used in any way to implicate that this particular product has contributed to the current health related issues pets are experiencing with jerky treats.  Read below some information pertaining to labels that read “made in USA.”

Jerky treats are being blamed for almost 600 animal deaths and thousands of pet illnesses nationwide.

According to the FDA, since 2007 what seems to be the common link with the animal deaths and illness is that the majority of the animals consumed jerky treats mostly imported from China.  However the problem remains a mystery.

The FDA is investigating chicken, sweet potato, dried fruit and duck jerky treats produced out of China. Most of the cases have been dogs of all breeds and sizes along with 10 cats that have been affected by something they ate.  The animals that get sick have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal and kidney problems.  About 135 cases of Fanconi syndrome, a specific kind of kidney disease has been reported however all these reported cases have not been specifically linked back to jerky treats.

Kandal Harr, a Veterinary clinical pathologist has been tracking the problem.  Harr says the specific compound responsible for the illness continues to elude experts and that the intoxicant is something unusual in North America.

Most of us remember the nationwide recall of food made by Menu foods due to tainted Melamine from plastic packaging.  1950 cats died and 2200 dogs died due mostly to kidney failure.  This recall included some of the biggest names in pet food

Although no specific brands are being implicated in this most recent illness there have been several voluntary recalls from the following brands;  Nestle Purina PetCare Co, Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch,  Milo’s Kitchen, Costco, Publix

The FDA has sent an open letter to Veterinarians to track and send detailed info about any animals sickened by jerky treats.  The FDA is requesting the Vets send urine samples and results of blood tests for analysis to their agency.

Tips: 1. Do not feed jerky to your pet 2. Read ingredients of commercially made products and check where product is made. However, even if the label states, Made in the U.S. A. be mindful that pet food companies are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.

Some signs of illness listed below can be symptomatic of other illnesses or disease.

The following tips are what Vets suggest you look for with regard to poisoning due to jerky treats :

1.Verify the color of your dog’s gums
A dog’s gums should resemble the dog’s skin and appear pink, black, or spotted. Discolored gums can indicate serious illness. Check your dog’s gums by lifting the upper lip and pressing above a canine tooth      with your thumb. Release your thumb then watch for a color change where you pressed. The gum color should change from white to pink within two seconds.

2. Observe your dog’s balance
If your dog is staggering, disoriented, or dizzy, these signs might indicate dog poisoning symptoms. Do not rely on a cold, warm, or wet dog nose to recognize poisoning in dogs.

3. Examine your dog’s bodily functions to check for irregularities
Signs that your dog has ingested something poisonous include persistent vomiting or watery, loose, yellow, green or black stools. Stools should be firm and brown while urine should be yellow or clear.

4. Listen to your dog’s lungs for signs of respiratory distress
Shallow breathing, heavy panting, or a light, persistent cough could indicate pain.

5. Take your dog’s temperature with a thermometer designed for animals
Taking the temperature is the best way to recognize poisoning in dogs.  An ideal temperature for dogs is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 Celsius).  If you are not comfy with taking your dog’s temp or the dog doesn’t take kindly to this procedure, ask someone to hold the dog’s head while you place and hold the thermometer.

6. Watch for signs of sudden appetite loss
 If your dog stops eating suddenly, it could be a sign of toxic substance ingestion or as stated above other health related problems. It could also be a sign if your dog swallowed an object that could not be passed.  Call your vet if your dog displays a lack of appetite for more than 24 hours.

7. Check your home and yard for potential dog poisons
These potential poisons include rodent bait, anti-freeze, dead animals, mushrooms, or yard chemicals. Keep an eye out for upturned boxes, damaged prescription bottles, spilled liquids, or disturbed household chemicals.

If  you suspect your dog ingested a poisonous product, check the back label of the packaging for warning disclaimers. Most products with toxic ingredients will list a company telephone number that customers can call for ways to recognize poisoning in dogs.

If you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. There may be a fee so have a credit card handy.

8. Write down your dog’s symptoms in detail
Note when the symptoms started, their frequency, severity and any actions you are taking to alleviate them.

9. Call your veterinarian
Describe the symptoms and possible causes of the accidental poisoning. Ask if the symptoms warrant an immediate visit to the clinic. And if symptoms persist despite your veterinarian’s initial assessment, take your dog to a clinic immediately.

10. Locate your nearest 24 hour emergency facility
Many adverse health conditions occur after hours or on weekends when your Vet clinic is closed.  You may want to just do a drive by at some point so you know how long it takes to get there.

Wishing any pet well that fell victim to this latest pet food related issue

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Write your own blog

Do you have something to say? Are you passionate about a particular topic and can write regularly and coherently? We'd love to talk with you. Contact us today about blogging on this site.

Blog Search
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.

*About Community Blogs

Community blogs are written by volunteers. They are members of our community but not employees of this site or newspaper. They have applied or were invited to blog here but their words are their own and are not edited by the editor or staff of this site, and have agreed to abide by our Terms of Use. The authors are solely responsible for their content. If you have concerns about something you read on a community blog, please contact the author directly or email us.

Would you like to have your own blog on our site? Contact us today.