Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Saturday, April 26th, 2014
Bring your pet to the Seattle Pet Expo on Saturday!
Time: 10AM to 6PM
Where: Indoors at Seattle Center
Discount Vaccinations, Pet Costume & Talent Contest, Awesome Animal Demonstrations, Mega Adoption Area, Great Pet Products, Free Nail Trims, Tons of Entertainment, & So Much More!
Meet Shorty & Hercules! Shorty Rossi, the “Pit Boss” is the official spokesperson for Amazing Pet
Expos! Meet him and his sidekick, Hercules, at our event!
Here is a link that lists all the activities. Fun for the whole family.
By Kim Norman and Illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi
c Diane Rich 2014
“Blue puddles, dew puddles, thick as turtle stew puddles. Percy the Pug loves puddles of all sorts
but every one he finds is lacking.
Percy the Pug searched high and low to find that perfect puddle and one day he spotted a mama
pig and her babies enjoying the best puddle he had ever seen. Mama pig was not so happy to share
the family puddle with Percy until one day after a big storm one of the piglets went missing.
You will have to read the book to learn who saved the day and his just reward.
Norman’s book is a must have to read with or to children as a bed time story or for your daycare provider to read to children at nap time. I also would recommend this book to be included at pet therapy programs where children read to dogs.
c Diane Rich 2014
Sterling Children’s Books, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. www.sterlingpublishing.com
Written by Paris Permenter and John Bigley
I received an email request to review an advance copy of The Healthy Hound Cookbook and once I read the overview was interested.
Years ago when a pet parent cooked for the family dog the rest of the pet owning population thought that person was nuts. Many dog owners and main-stream Veterinarians still feel that way. The Vet’s concern of course is if the dog is getting a balanced diet.
In the 1980′s when I had my training business in Los Angeles, a client who had become a great friend invited me over for dinner. We had just opened a bottle of wine and I was helping prepare some appetizers for other guests coming for dinner. My friend began cooking and I thought she was preparing something for the human guests but it was for her two Dobermans. This was long before it was in vogue to “spoil” one’s dog in this manner so my friend was definitely ahead of her time. Yes, at that time I thought she was nuts and like most other dog owners in the 80′s thought kibble was more than sufficient. I fed my German Shepherd a well known brand of dry food that I would not touch for free these days.
Enter the age of options and ongoing ad campaigns financed by the deep pockets of pet food companies that use marketing buzz words such as, “natural” and ”real” meat on their packaging to tease the almighty credit card out of the consumer’s pocket. Over the past few years many pet food companies have added grain free food, single protein foods and a variety of proteins such as rabbit, venison, buffalo or duck to their product line. And, some companies have taken it a step further to capture the raw food market and include frozen raw food as well.
The dog owning public has become more informed as to what they feed their beloved pet and want the dog food industry to step up to the dinner bowl and offer top quality pet food. The increase of pet food recalls has created a distrust for the industry by many consumers so cooking for the family dog is less likely to be met with as many eye rolls as in the past.
So, if you are fed up with hoping the commercial dog food you are currently feeding your dog is totally safe and nutritious, I introduce you to The Healthy Hound Cookbook with over 125 easy, healthy recipes for homemade dog food. Paris Permenter and John Bigley, founders of dogtipper.com decided to share their knowledge with pet owners with their new book coming out in April. All their natural recipes include grain-free, Paleo and raw meals. These authors have written over 2500 magazine articles for a variety of publications such as the Huffington Post and USA Today.
The author’s recipes suggest real meat, fresh fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, apple and banana and vegetables from asparagus to zucchini. Permenter and Bigley have come up with fun names for their recipes such as Paleo Pooch Treats, Growling Granola Bars and one recipe they call Fido’s Flautas which is made with black beans. Huh? Beans and dogs are not what I would ever think to put together.
c Diane Rich 2014
Their recipe for a spinach omelet is listed under their breakfast category and is so super easy to make
anyone with a skillet can create this dish.
Unfortunately, the pet food industry or the human food industry for that matter is not obliged to totally inform the consumer what really is included in the bag or can of food. These multi-billion dollar industries are allowed to get away with listing as these authors write, “unpronounceable ingredients” and in general questionable sourcing, or sneak in other little ingredients to either add color and taste. Nutrients obliterated by the cooking process are usually added back in to the product. Many nutrients listed on packaging may not as potent when consumed due to processing and storage as one would hope.
Permenter and Bigley’s recipes include Oatmeal Turkey Dog Biscuits to Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Ice Cream using only real, whole ingredients like chicken, beef, potatoes and carrots. Using the author’s recipes, you are in control of the freshness and healthy ingredients your pet will eat.
As noted in the book, the suggested recipes for treats or meals are not intended to treat or diagnose health conditions or should be used in lieu of your Vet’s advice. This very informative book with healthy recipes for the family pet is offered as a guide to supplement the advice of a trained medical professional.
Yes, I sometimes cook for my dog and when I do, I buy meat from my butcher, fish from specific markets and include seasonal produce from my local farmer’s market or buy frozen fruits or vegetables at my local grocer after looking where it is sourced. Why not give home cooking a try? I recommend using The Healthy Hound Cookbook as your guide.
5 Tips to Stimulate your Dog’s Brain
Did you know you can tire your dog out by teaching and reviewing new behaviors? Dogs benefit by mental stimulation and can learn new tricks well into their senior years. There is no need to cap your dog’s vocabulary by only teaching the basics and ending your dog’s education with sit, down, come, stay, and cookie.
How Many Words Does Your Dog Know?
Dr. Stanley Coren published a book in 1995, The Intelligence of Dogs and based on studies stated that a dog has the ability to learn about 165 words in its lifetime. Should an owner choose to put in the extra time, Coren goes on to say that the dog may be able to learn up to 250 words.
Chaser, a Border Collie was taught by Dr. John Pilley, author of Chaser: Unlocking The Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words to understand the identity of specific objects and when asked by Pilley to fetch that particular object, did so and astounded everyone. Although Coren listed the Border Collie as the smartest of all breeds, I do not believe you need to parent a B.C. to create a genius canine.
Teach One New Word a Week
If you expand your dog’s hard drive with words that are associated with objects or actions you can create not only a thinking dog, but a happier dog and one that will be less inclined to become creative presenting unacceptable behaviors due to boredom. A friendly reminder when teaching new behaviors is to be clear and patient and make the learning process a positive one for your canine brainiac. Seek out professional training help if needed.
The Pros and One Con of Puzzle Type Toys
Puzzle toys that dispense food once the dog learns how the object works have been created to help alleviate a dog’s boredom when family members tackle their own busy schedules.
1. These puzzle toys may help take the dog’s mind off the owner’s absence
2. The toy may motivate the dog learn to use its nose
3. By trial and error the dog may learn to problem solve to get or find the treat.
The only con in my opinion, is that these toys do nothing to create a human-animal bond which feeds off doing things with your dog not just for your dog. So, my recommendation is to include problem solving type games your dog can enjoy solo in addition to interactive games you create by teaching your dog new behaviors.
Tips to Stimulate your Dog’s Brain and Enhance your Bond
Beyond the basics are a variety of tricks you can teach your dog. The most popular tricks are; high 5,
perch, on your side or some call it play dead, bow, roll over, sit pretty. There are books and
Youtube videos available as a guide to help you teach your dog all kinds of new behaviors.
2. Expose the Nose
Continue to expose your dog’s nose to new places. The familiar walking route around the block is fine but exploring new real estate is stimulating for your dog
c Diane Rich 2014 You can continue to train your dog while on hikes to advance the dog’s response to you around nature’s distractions. Sit, stay and come responses at home or in a classroom around familiar dogs is a good start but responses do not usually generalize well when adding distractions outside of those environments
3. Explore Your Local Parks and Engage in Meet and Greets
If getting to a local trail or finding unique real estate is not convenient, and your dog loves kids, go to a park where there are children playing. If your dog is calm and you get the parent’s permission, introduce your dog to the child. Control the interaction, have the dog sit or down so both the child and dog can relax and have a good experience.
c Diane Rich 2014 You can use words or cue such as, say hi to give your dog permission for the meet and greet
4. Find it Game
Teach your dog the name of an object and have your dog find that object. If your dog knows how to fetch and will bring an item back to you, this new object can become the item for this game. Once she masters finding one object, teach her the name of another one and so on. The game advances to become one that makes your dog think to find the particular object of your choosing. This game is super fun for both pet parent and dog.
c Diane Rich 2014
You can also teach your brainiac to find or get an object, hold the object and drop or give the object in your hand. Three different behaviors and three different words or cues to add to the dog’s growing vocabulary. In this example I had trained Chase to do the above but also go to a room I selected with the toy I selected so is practicing 4 behaviors. 1. find the specific toy 2. goughnut chew toy is the item which he is to bring to a particular room in my home, in this case I used 3. family room and he was asked to 4.hold it until I got it from him. So, in total for this one exercise were 4 words. Each behavior with its specific cue was initially broken down and trained separately and understood before I sequenced the behaviors.
I am a huge fan of this popular and very addictive team sport. Good instructors will teach you how to motivate your dog and most importantly will teach you the art of communicating with the dog before and while running the course.
c Diane Rich 2014 Your dog can learn names of all the obstacles along with other cues to make it through the course
May your relationship and your dog’s hard drive continue to grow.
I was looking forward to reading an advanced copy of Nick Trout’s newest book, Dog Gone Back Soon. This is Trout’s second book about Dr. Cyrus Mills. The debut novel, The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs introduced this endearing character to readers.
Dr. Cyrus Mills unenthusiastically inherited his father’s failing Veterinary practice at a clinic called Bedside Manor located in Eden Falls, Vermont. Dr. Mills is a fish out of water as he is a pathologist and supremely more comfortable behind the scenes analyzing dead animals and only communicating with other Vets. Taking over his father’s practice means not only treating the live animal but the author infuses Mill’s worst nightmare throughout the book which is communicating with the pet owning public straight on, not the reclusive Mill’s strong suit.
In Dog Gone Back Soon, Cyrus continues to evolve learning how to manage and resurrect a Vet clinic but is now saddled with Guy Dorkin, the office manager of a national chain called Healthy Paws who is coming after him and his clinic like a rabid dog. Dorkin vows to put Mills out of business.
Mill’s style of compassionate Veterinary care is unique to the money hungry Dorkin who pads the bill of unsuspecting clients and commissioned Vets at Healthy Paws. Mill’s garners a variety of new friendships around town, one being a grateful computer geek who is the one who finds out that Dorkin’s paws are mired in a variety of unethical business practices at the rival clinic.
As a pathologist Dr. Cyrus Mills has the innate drive and motivation to get to the bottom of a living patient’s (the pet) condition or disease rather than just throwing a pill at the symptom. One challenge Mills faces is that his heart and compassion for diagnostics were not improving the bottom line of his clinic as he did much of his work for free or nearly free.
Trout weaves drama, humor, love, personal and professional growth and new-found friendships throughout this book. The dog lover will connect with Mill’s conflict about an orphaned dog named Stash.
I not only thoroughly enjoyed Trout’s heartwarming and entertaining story but didn’t want it to end. I look forward to more stories about Dr. Cyrus Mills and Bedside Manor.
Nick Trout is a staff surgeon at the prestigious Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. He lives with his wife and labradoodle in Massachusetts. Dog Gone Back Soon hits the shelves
on April 8, 2014.
The Seattle Kennel Club
I look forward to this dog show every year and today’s events did not disappoint. If you missed
it today at the CenturyLink Event Center, no worries you have tomorrow, March 9th. This is a wonderful
family event and one of the best opportunities of the year to meet a number of dog breeds and
talk with breeders and owners about your favorite canine.
Meet the Breed
c Diane Rich 2014
Get up close and personal at the meet the breed ring where you can talk with the owner who may also be the dog’s breeder to get great information about the dog. These Basenjis were wonderful ambassadors for the breed.
Smart phones were on the ready everywhere and amateurs along with professional photographers had one goal in mind; capture candid and staged moments throughout the show.
The Seattle Kennel Club hosts a variety of activities and demonstrations all drawing big crowds. There is is something for everyone.
Boeing K-9 Program
c Diane Rich 2014
This dog searched through a variety of bags and detected explosive chemicals or compounds in this particular bag and alerted the handler by sitting. Boeing’s program provides talented dogs with superior noses and strong drive trained in explosive detection work. This program was established to provide security in the aftermath of 9/11. These working dogs have important jobs but when not at work are a part of the handler’s family. Their reward for finding explosives is a tennis ball.
The Seattle Police Department Canine Unit is another crowd favorite. Mark Wong, a k9 officer has entertained and educated the public at the Seattle Kennel Club for a number of years. He is here with his police dog, Ziva demonstrating how they catch the “bad guy.” The female officer, TJ San Miguel plays the “bad girl.” Mark stresses the fact the dog has a job to do but when off duty Ziva is a family dog. Ziva made the news recently capturing a real “bad guy” over Christmas 2013.
The main floor is only a part of the show. Go upstairs and you will find breed groups and rescue organizations where you can mingle with an assortment of dogs and continue your education at any of the booths.
Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue
This sweet Chihuahua is a 3 year old neutered male looking for a forever home. I spoke with the foster mom who said he is housetrained, micro-chipped, vaccinated, crate trained and people friendly.
Contract SPDR if you are interested.
Here is the link for more information about the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show
The Right Stuff
I get emails and calls weekly from people who want to learn about therapy service as they believe
their dog would make an ideal therapy dog. I love these calls as therapy service is near and dear to my
heart so I am more than happy to guide the caller towards their goal.
c Diane Rich 2014
Some pets are better suited to visit residents in a long term care or retirement facility, some pets may do well visiting patients in a hospital environment or at a facility that serves people battling a specific disease. Some teams are well suited for programs geared towards children. Years ago there were not as many choices as there are today so if you pass your therapy test, you are sure to find a program that speaks to you and is a great match for your team’s talent.
Does Your Canine Have the Right Stuff
I believe a good therapy dog is born, not made. It is not enough the dog loves the family, friends of the
family and familiar people living in the neighborhood. And, it is not enough the dog just tolerates
the love and attention from strangers. This well trained and social dog must adore strangers and enjoy
that adoration and close contact in a calm manner.
Point to Ponder if you are interested in this amazing volunteer opportunity
1. The dog, actually the team which is defined as handler and pet must pass a standardized test given by an evaluator representing a therapy organization. Once the team passes the test, the handler then must register with that organization.
2. The dog must perform basic obedience skills on leash which include; walk on a loose leash
sit, stay, down and come. All test exercises must be performed without using a treat.
There are other exercises the team must perform that helps the evaluator observe general behavior
of the dog and handling skills of the owner in specific circumstances that simulate situations that may be
experienced during an actual therapy visit. Most of the organizations list all these required
exercises online for your review.
3. The various therapy organizations usually list their approved collars or harnesses on their website.
If your dog wears a pinch collar which is not an approved collar for any of the therapy organizations
it is best to retrain your dog on an approved collar or harness before taking your test.
4. The dog cannot show any sign of aggression or reactivity towards dogs, adults or children
5. The dog must not over-react to noises.
6. Some of the people the dog visits may be in a wheelchair use a walker or cane or have an
unsteady gait. The dog must be calm and relaxed around any type of medical equipment.
There are some dogs that will not walk on a slippery floor and if this is the case, your
dog may have some challenges in certain facilities or at schools.
c Diane Rich 2014
7. The handler must be proactive to ensure the visits are safe for the pet and people s/he visits
8. The dog must have a solid “leave it’ so they can pass by a food cart or medical cart. The dog
will need to ignore a patient’s stuffed teddy bear, a plate of uneaten food or used Kleenex within reach.
9. The dog should not lick, jump on or lunge at people or be overwhelmed if surrounded
by many people wanting to love him or her
Do You Have the Right Stuff
The dog is only half of the team as the handler plays a critical part in the success of that team
and the success of each visit. Therapy service is not an activity where a handler spectates
and lets it all happen.
1. That handler must be a proactive member of that team at all times and be an advocate for the pet
2. If you are intimidated or uncomfortable talking with strangers or talking with someone who is sick,
then this may be something to work on as it is important to help create a nice meet and greet with your
dog and the interested stranger.
One of the major therapy organizations approves species other than dogs. So, if your cat, llama
or mini horse has the right stuff you will absolutely put smiles on the faces of anyone you visit.
c Diane Rich 2014
I would encourage you to do some research on therapy service. It is an addictive activity that
will make your heart smile and your dog’s tail wag. Please feel free to contact me if you
have questions or want more information on therapy service.
I was invited to join in a conference call to interview Cesar Millan about his new TV show, Cesar 911. In the Dog Whisperer it was the owner who contacted Cesar for help but for this new TV show the call could come from a neighbor, family member, relative or coworker for emergency help with a problem pooch. After a whistleblower contacts Cesar the viewer can only imagine that the intervention with the dog’s owner may not be met with open arms.
Cesar first begins the process by interviewing the whistleblower to get the details. The next step is working with what hopefully will be a cooperative owner who may be in denial about the problem or has just given up on finding a solution. Millan will work with the community to help rehabilitate the dog and their family.
During our phone interview Cesar stated, “this show is more about training the human than the dog.” Cesar believes it is the “actions of the humans that create the problems.” In one case Cesar told us that it was the victim of a dog bite who called him for help.
Cesar 911 debuts March 7th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT in the U.S. on the National Geographic channel.
The show is produced by ITV Studios America in association with Leepson Bounds Entertainment. Millan, David Leepson and Jordan Roberts serve as executive producers. Each episode will include two stories within a community.
Take a sneak peek at the trailer provided by Nat Geo Wild