Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

Spokesdog’s Product Revew: Bionic ® Urban Stick

September 22nd, 2014 at 3:38 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Chew and Fetch Toy

c Diane Rich 2014

I am always on the hunt for dog toys that can stand up to Chase, my personal power chewer and a toy
I feel comfortable to recommend to my clients for their power chewers.  One of my favorite vendors
always has a booth at the Sammamish Kennel Club dog show in Redmond, WA  and I look forward to
seeing the products they choose to carry.  This year I was introduced to a toy that the vendor thought
would stand up to my dog’s PSI (pounds per square inch) of power chomping.

This product can be used as a tug or chew toy and the open ends can be stuffed with cheese or peanut
butter.  No worries about the ick factor from forgotten food stuffs as it is dishwasher safe when it is time
to sanitize the toy.  The Urban Stick can be used as a fetch toy and was made to float.

I purchased the Bionic® Urban Stick, extra large made for dogs 60-90 lbs. On the front
of the packaging the company states is it designed for indestructibility. Guaranteed.  On the back of the
packaging the company states “while this product is extremely durable, no toy is indestructible in
all cases.  Supervise your pet’s use of this toy and remove if any damage becomes visible.”

The x-tra large    c Diane Rich 2014

For those dog parents who want to know where a toy was made, this product is manufactured in China.
The toy offers a splinter free design with no sharp edges.  “Bionic Rubber® does not contain any harmful
phthalates, hormones, lead, cadmium, mercury, bispehnoal A, asbestos or latex and is made from
100% recyclable material. It is engineered and made by a proprietary process, invented to meet the
high energy play patterns of pets.”

The Bionic® Urban Stick comes in sizes from small at 9 inches to extra large at 13 inches and
ranges in price from $9.99 to $24.99.  Here is the company website with a store locator for purchase

Should your dog destroy the toy, the company will replace it free of charge, one time
within the first 30 days with proof of purchase.  I will not be holding them to their guarantee
as Chase unfortunately managed to chew off pieces within the first hour. But, he seemed to love
every minute of it and was clearly disappointed that I took it away from him along with all
the pieces on the floor.
Chase chewed off these pieces within the first hour
c Diane Rich 2014

Bottom Line
I regretfully cannot recommend this toy should you parent a power chewer.  The toy could be
quite  appropriate  for a young pup as it comes in various shapes;  http://www.bionicplay.com/baby-products.html.   Supervision is recommended and checking the toy frequently for damage such as in the
photo above. If your dog loves to fetch and is not interested in chewing the toy, then this would be
a good toy to try.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Spokesdog’s Book Review: ASK ANNA: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn

September 20th, 2014 at 7:56 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

By Anna Koontz, author and Dean Koontz, editor
Chase and Oscar c Diane Rich 2014

The answer was an immediate yes when I was asked to review this book as I am a HUGE fan
of Dean Koontz and have read most of his books.  Dean Koontz is one of the world’s
biggest selling authors with 14 number one New York Times hardcover best-selling novels.

I would like to introduce my readers to Anna Koontz. The newest (four legged) talent from the Koontz
family who has followed in her dog-daddy’s footsteps with her first advice book for
canines with plans to become the advice columnist for the canine world.  Dean Koontz writes,
“we have complied for you this book of Anna’s golden advice to other canines, with the hope
that it will help you understand your dogs better and will encourage you to stop being a ninny of
an owner, if in fact you are one.”

Dogs ask Anna questions and her canine-ess answers each question with just the right touch of
smart-ass.  My kind of dog!  Hey, Anna, Chase wanted me to let you know that if you ever wanted
to collaborate he would be honored.  He thinks you are quite pretty, oh and smart.

100% of what the author receives from the sale of this book will be donated to Canine
Companions for Independence, the nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for people
with disabilities.   From reading through this delightful book it appears Anna was a released
dog from CCI as she is a self professed birdaholic and due to that condition flunked out of the program.
However she did pass the bunny test.  She now is a beloved member of the Koontz family.

Beautiful photographs from cover to cover.
Publisher:  Center Street/Hachette Book Group (October 7, 2014)

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Spokesdog’s Book Review: Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me

September 18th, 2014 at 11:18 am by Diane Rich
  • Comments

By Cynthia L. Copeland

c Diane Rich 2014

Copeland is the author of more than 25 books and knocked it out of the dog park with this
  The beautiful photos of man and woman’s best friend paired with a collection of life
lessons are sure to resonate with the reader’s heart.

The lessons the author includes in this quick read can also serve as a friendly reminder that
although we may train the family dog to do tricks and tell us when they need to go out
to potty, if we really observe the family dog as to how they greet each day they can teach
us what is really important in life.  Granted they do not have a mortgage, bills, work
and other responsibilities but at the end of the day these lessons may help keep their
human a little bit more centered.

Copeland quotes Dr. Seuss, Maya Angelou, Steve Jobs and many others including a wonderful quote
attributed to George Eliot that rings true, “it’s never too late to be what you might have been.”  Enough said.

We are all so crazy busy that I highly recommend you turn off all gadgets and disconnect from
the world,
 pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, a glass of wine or favorite beverage, snuggle
with your dog and read this book.

Cynthia  Copeland’s book will warm one’s heart and hopefully motivate the reader
 paws, take a breath and review priorities of what is really important in life as all life
goes by way too fast.
   This book will make an excellent gift to any dog lover.

Copeland’s work has been featured on Good Morning America and selected for Oprah’s “O List.”
Workman Publishing $12.95

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Does Your Dog Trust You?

September 14th, 2014 at 5:59 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Karma & I WEBSITE trainer
c Diane Rich 2014
One would like to think yes, of course he does.  Then you think about the question and wonder how to tell if your dog actually does trust you.

Blind Trust
A pup will usually blindly trust a human who provides food, warmth and love. That trust can change based on the dog’s perception of its people and environment.  You may observe the family dog looking at you a little suspiciously, maybe even cowering upon your approach or tries to run from you escaping under or behind furniture. Trust can be undermined when humans behave in a threatening manner or demand and expect behavior that is unrealistic for the dog’s skill level or experience.  An example could be calling the dog, the dog does not respond quickly enough and when she finally does come over the human yells at or physically corrects the dog.  Another example could if be the dog has an accident in the house and the owner grabs the dog and sticks the dog’s face in the pee or poo yelling at the dog or possibly smacking it.  After these scenarios, kiss the trust goodbye.

Is The Temperament Evaluation Correct?
A dog may be evaluated as shy, standoffish or unaffectionate when it possibly just does not trust a family member. If a dog has been abused or isolated the dog may present one or more behaviors under the umbrella of distrust until someone chooses to take the time to prove to the dog they can be trusted.  Just because a dog performs tricks and obedience for a treat does not mean the dog totally trusts a family member.

One of the many great gifts dogs bring to our lives due to thousands of years of living with humans is their ability and in most cases desire to trust us, forgive us and give us chances to get it right. Once trust is earned and maintained,  a dog will reward his or her person with what pet parents crave from the furry family member, unconditional love

Since The Beginning 
I had a radio show about pets on Seattle’s KVI  and my sign off was; “connect with your pet in a positive way by earning their trust and respect.”  This is just one training philosophy I practice and have felt  important to teach my clients since I began working with dogs and their people over 25 years ago.  A dog’s trust for any family member doesn’t come with the sales receipt or a dog treat.

c Diane Rich 2014

10 Interactions That Can Undermine A Dog’s Trust In A Family Member
1.  Teasing the dog

2.  Inconsistency such as allowing canine behaviors some of the time then correcting the dog for those same behaviors at other times

3. Tricking the dog by throwing a cookie into the crate then closing that door or trying to leave the house and throwing a cookie into a hallway or room, backing out of the house for a quick exit so the dog doesn’t bolt out the door

4.  Pulling your leashed dog over to strangers or other dogs to “say hi.” Or holding the dog so that strangers can pet the dog

5. Playing rough with the dog and then reprimanding it for responding in like kind

6. Misunderstanding canine communication and correcting a dog for trying to let you know it is scared
or concerned around some stimuli

7. Misunderstanding dog behavior believing all behaviors stem from the dog trying to dominant a family member
then implementing physical punishment or screaming at the dog to prove you are the boss

8.  Taking a young dog, nervous dog, anti-social dog to a dog park or day- care to “socialize” it

9. Trying to make the dog return all the love you provide to fulfill your emotional void

10. Expecting more from the family dog than it is either trained to do or ready to do

Trust is powerful and a must to build the foundation for the human-canine relationship.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


August 28th, 2014 at 3:34 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

“Cruelty to animals is a serious and abhorrent crime and is not tolerated in our community.”

hr bar red
The Seattle Humane Society has issued a response to the elevator surveillance video which displays Centerplate CEO Desmond Hague kicking and aggressively pulling his dog.
“The Seattle Humane Society is gravely concerned about the welfare of Desmond Hague’s dog. Kicking a pet in the stomach and yanking it off the ground by a leash is animal cruelty, and we support the prosecution of animal abuse cases whenever and wherever they occur,” said David Loewe, CEO of the Seattle Humane Society. “From the behavior captured on video, it is clear that Hague is unsuited to raise a pet. Our furry companions are part of our family, part of our daily lives and deserve both respect and love. Cruelty to animals is a serious and abhorrent crime and is not tolerated in our community.”

When it comes to animal welfare, your voice is needed! If you suspect that an animal is being neglected or abused, please contact your local animal control agency. Animal control agencies are the only organizations empowered to investigate and enforce animal cruelty or abuse cases. Information provided to your local animal control agency is confidential. A list of local animal control agencies can be found on our website at seattlehumane.org/services/emergencies/cruelty.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Recall Notice from Pedigree

August 27th, 2014 at 6:46 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Voluntary Recall

At PEDIGREE®, we care about all dogs and their safety and well-being is extremely important to us, and to our mission – to make a Better World for Pets. For that reason, we have initiated a voluntary recall of 22 bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food due to the possible presence of a foreign material. The affected bags were sold in Dollar General stores in four states and, while the small metal fragments are not embedded in the food itself, it may present a risk of injury if consumed. We are working with Dollar General to ensure that the recalled product is no longer sold and is removed from inventory.

At Mars Petcare, we take our responsibility to pets and their owners seriously. We sincerely apologize for this situation and encourage you to reach out to us at 1-800-305-5206 from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CST if you have questions.

Only 15 pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at 12 Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana with the production code shown below are included in this voluntary recall.

Each product will have the lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. No other PEDIGREE® products are affected, including any other variety of dry dog food, wet dog food or dog treats.



Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Sammamish Kennel Club

August 24th, 2014 at 12:32 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Marymoore Park

Took a run out to Redmond this morning to catch some of the fun at this all breed dog show.  It was a smaller
venue than in years past but still a lovely event.  You can still make it out there as it ends at 6p.m. today.
c Diane Rich 2014

The dogs were gorgeous, the sun was shining in the beautiful NW, Marymoore Park is an amazing place and my favorite vendor was there so bought Chase a new, hopefully indestructable toy.
c Diane Rich 2014
I will be reviewing this toy on a future blog. Stay tuned.

I love watching obedience.  c Diane Rich 2014

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

The Future Looks Bright For The Next Generation Of Veterinarians

August 18th, 2014 at 5:29 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

WSU College of Veterinary Medicine Partners with Seattle Humane Society

Crystal, Andrew and Jennie at the Seattle Humane Society
c Diane Rich 2014

Meet Crystal Sunlight, Andrew Rocco from Washington State University and Jennie Kuyper from Iowa State who are 4th  year Vet students at the SHS in Bellevue, WA. www.seattlehumane.org.

I was invited to interview these students who are part of a new program between
Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue, WA and WSU in Pullman.  This collaboration
between the two agencies began in May of 2013 with 2 students and
provides an enhancement to the education of the Vet students.

Information gathered from the Seattle Humane website; ”SHS shelters more than 6000
pets per year and performs more spay and neuter surgeries than any other agency in the region.”
And, from the WSU website;  “The WSU College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the nation’s
top veterinary schools with scientists studying animal and human disease.  WSU also has
one of the best-equipped veterinary teaching hospitals in the country.”  http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/
One statement on their site captured my attention and it read, ”a Veterinarian is more than a profession.”  Based on speaking with these students I can see this philosophy to be true.

The beautiful state of Washington is home to a pet loving population with big hearts and
strong community support for animals in need.  The Seattle Humane Society benefits by
that support and continues to expand its services.  This partnership between SHS and WSU provides a learning experience for students in a real world environment helping shelter animals and is a win win win for the college, SHS and for the community.

Dr. Brad Crauer on the right with 4th year student Andrew assisting
c Diane Rich 2014

During their elective two- week rotation at the SHS Bellevue campus, the students
work closely under the mentorship and supervision of SHS’s Veterinarians.  They
will have the opportunity to hone their skills participating in spay and neuter surgeries,
routine exams, vaccinations and other procedures as part of their clinical training.

Brad Crauer, DVM was the chief medical officer during this interview.  I requested the
opportunity to observe a procedure and was given permission to observe Dr. Crauer finishing
up a spay while student Andrew was front and center learning the fine art of this final step of a spay.
Sparing my squeamish readers a description of the specifics of that fine art of closing the incision
suffice it to say Dr. Crauer is a master.  The Vets and now the students get plenty of practice
doing spays and neuters at Seattle Humane.

Dr. Crauer’s last day at SHS was the day of this interview and after many years serving
SHS he resigned.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him after interviewing the students.
The new chief medical officer is Merriss Waters, DVM.

WSU has approximately 99 students in their 4th year and out of those students who fill out a
request application for this new program at SHS,  fifty are selected via a lottery process.  The
pilot program began in 2013 with only 2 students and currently there are 3 students per rotation
participating in the program.

The program is set up on 2 week rotations year round.  The students come to the Bellevue campus
and begin their rotation on a Tuesday and work through that Saturday.  The students get Sunday
and Monday off then complete their rotation the following week.

The program is currently funded by donations and money is being raised to create an
endowment for future students.  More about the fundraising efforts for this program
on another blog.

Christina Cotterill, the Assistant Director of Development and External Relations invited
me to join the students for lunch and have the opportunity to interview them.

I agree with WSU’s philosophy that the practice of Veterinary medicine is more
than an animal business, it is also a people business so I wanted to know from these students if
there is a course that focuses on the dynamics of dealing with the pet owner.  Jennie, from Iowa
State Veterinary College responded enthusiastically to this question and told me how important it
will be to her to connect with the client and not just focus on treating the patient which in Veterinary
practice is the animal.  Jennie went on to tell me about an elective course geared towards teaching
students how to work with the pet owner.  Jennie continued to explain that this course sets up
role playing opportunities to hone the skills of the Vet student to help them deal
with the variety of personalities they will encounter with clients along with the emotions
people may present when in the exam room.

We talked about various topics and all the students honestly and openly answered my questions
from why they chose to get into veterinary medicine, to electives,  to student loans to continuing their education to specialize in the variety of interesting fields that will require additional schooling past their 4 years.  No takers on specializing at this point due to time and the expense.

College is not inexpensive so this brought me to my next question about tuition. Andrew and Crystal mentioned that tuition to attend the Veterinary College at WSU is about  $24,000 per year for
in- state students and double that for out of state students.  Jennie said tuition at Iowa state is $42,000 per year.

Think of that tuition and those student loans the next time you wince when you get a bill at your Vet if your Vet is just starting out and keep in mind the practice of Veterinary medicine is not usually a 9-5 job.  I will keep this in mind also the next time I get my Vet’s bill.  These students informed me that salaries for Veterinarians range from approximately $30,000 a year in rural areas to $65,000 a year during the first year.  Salaries do vary city to city and clinic to clinic.

I ended the interview asking each student if they had decided where they wanted to practice after graduation.  Two of the three students were still undecided.

I enjoyed talking with Krystal, Andrew , Jennie and Dr. Crauer and thank them for
their time.  I wish them all the best of luck.  I wanted to thank Christina for reaching out to me to do this interview and for responding to additional questions I had about the program.

This partnership between SHS and WSU is a winner.  If these three students
represent the future of Veterinary medicine, I feel confident our pets are in good hands.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Walk For The Animals

August 15th, 2014 at 6:12 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments
Raise Life-Saving Funds For Shelter Pets At Seattle Humane Society
hr bar red
Register today for Walk for the Animals at University Village’s FidoFEST, and start fundraising for thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and critters in Seattle Humane Society’s care. The Walk is Oct. 5 at U Village, but the race towards our fundraising goal starts today — prizes for top fundraisers! Use your personal fundraising page to reach out to friends and family and raise life-saving donations for pets in need in our community. The Walk for the Animals at U Village FidoFEST is presented by Safeway and supported by Carter Subaru and Susan Mallery.Join more than 1,000 animal lovers for a day of dog-friendly fun including a 2-mile walk, pet adoptions, wine tastings, live music, and more! The Walk will take place in a NEW location this year – along the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entire day benefits the animals at Seattle Humane. Learn more at seattlehumane.org/walk.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available:

Read our sponsorship packet, email events@seattlehumane.org, or call 425-373-5388.



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.

Denny’s Pet World 40th Anniversary Sale

August 4th, 2014 at 5:37 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

Pet Event

Duke is licking his lips for the upcoming sale on pet food at Denny’s Pet World.
c Diane Rich 2014

When: Sat. Aug. 9th  from 9a.m.-8p.m
Sun. Aug. 10th from 10a.m. -6p.m.

Location:  12534 120th Ave
Kirkland, WA
Totem Lake Upper Mall next to Big 5

This storewide sale includes freshwater fish at 50% off, saltwater fish at 30% off and aquariums at cost.
denny's fish room

50% off on all food 
Buy one bag at regular price and get second bag at half price.
Buy one case at regular price and buy a second case at half price.
Vendors representing many of the popular dog and cat foods will be on site to answer your questions.

Come by my table and say Hi.  I would love to meet your dog.
c Diane Rich 2014

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.