Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
This Weekend Camp Served Children with Autism
Camp Korey hosts family weekends during the off-season and offers support and recreation for those affected by childhood medical conditions which includes not just the individual child, but the entire family. During family weekends campers, siblings, parents and caregivers have the opportunity to bond with other families and take a break. As with all programs at Camp Korey, family camp is 100% free of charge for all participants.
It is always a heartfelt experience to visit with the kids at Camp Korey during summer camp and other events. I wanted to share with my readers some of the love between the kids and our amazing therapy pets. Some of our therapy teams have been visiting the kids at Camp Korey since the very beginning or close to it and a few teams are brand new additions to our pack this season. Not all of our teams were able to make it this weekend.
Receive 50% the adoption fee for any pet April 25-30 at Seattle Humane
| National Adopt-A-Shelter-Pet Day is April 30th but we’re celebrating all week long with 50% off the adoption fee for any pet in our care! Visit Seattle Humane April 25-30th and welcome a loving shelter pet into your heart and home for half off the normal fee.
The Seattle Humane Society has adoptable pets in all shapes and sizes and strives to match every person with the furry friend who is the best fit for their family. All dogs and cats are vaccinated, microchipped, health-checked and spay/neutered. Dogs are temperament-tested and most dog adoptions come with a six-week obedience training course. All dogs and cats 13 years of age and under will receive one month of free pet insurance.
See a selection of adoptable animals at seattlehumane.org and visit even more in person at 13212 SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue (near the junction of I-90 and I-405). Seattle Humane is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sun.-Wed.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
13212 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue, WA 98005 | Main: (425) 641-0080 | Fax: (425) 747-2985 | seattlehumane.org
An Updated DNA Test for Dogs Can Help Tell the Tail
Mars Veterinary, a division of MARS® Incorporated states that “about half the dog population in the U.S. is mixed breed.” This statistic rings true to me just based on my clientele, many of whom have jumped on the trendy mixed breed train over the past 5 plus years. I believe the biggest contributors to the trend are the puppy mills and back-yard breeders churning out more and more crosses to meet the mixed breed demand post Labradoodle creation and sensation. All toll, the growing numbers make me think the mixed breed population will be well over 50% of the dog population very soon.
Mars Veterinary created Wisdom Panel™Insights, a do-it-yourself doggie test kit that a dog owner can use at home to begin the process of unlocking the mystery of their mixed breed’s ancestry. The test kit contains the swab the owner uses to swipe the inside dog’s cheek to collect a sample. This means the dog must accept your hands in his or her mouth to obtain that sample. This process for some owners may be a two person operation.
In the recent past, if an owner wanted to determine the ancestry of the family dog, it would necessitate a trip to the Vet who would take a blood sample from the dog to send to a lab for results. The majority of friends or clients who out of curiosity wanted to learn more about their mixed breed dog’s ancestry from that DNA blood test were a bit perplexed with the results. When I looked at some of their results, I too, raised an eyebrow.
The Wisdom Panel™ Insights fact sheet states they can determine the ancestry of a mixed breed dog by testing for 200 breeds and varieties, the largest database on the market.
I had the pleasure this week to speak to Harrison Forbes, a dog trainer out of Nashville, Tennessee who is the spokesperson for this product and has been traveling coast to coast on what is called the “Swab-a Thon” tour. Harrison and the Wisdom Panel™ team believe that the DNA information can help prospective owners of shelter dogs make informed choices when adopting a mixed breed dog. The DNA information may provide insights into the general characteristics of the dog and if the dog is young can help determine the size the dog may be as an adult.
I asked Harrison and the marketing agent, who was also on the line during the interview if the shelter pays for the kit to enhance the adoption process and was told that the prospective adopter would foot the bill for the product.
Harrison will be at the Amazing Pet Expo in Seattle on April 26th. The Wisdom Panel™ team partners up with a pre-selected shelter prior to coming to a particular city for their coast to coast tour and Harrison is on board to answer questions about this product.
You are welcome to bring your dog to the Amazing Pet Expo at the Seattle Center and have your dog tested at their booth or purchase a kit from a rep at the booth and perform the test yourself at home. The cost for the swab at the event is $30.00. If you purchase the kit at the event the cost is $50 and if you purchase the kit from the website the cost is $80.00. The kit includes the swab and a postage paid envelope for the sample to be sent to the laboratory in Oregon for processing. Harrison told me the results are emailed to the consumer and can be downloaded via a PDF file within 3 weeks of the lab receiving the sample.
Harrison believes that once an owner learns the ancestry of the dog, a training program can be tailored to the dog’s innate characteristics. Forbes went on to say that understanding the dog’s breed and breed mixes can also help an owner be proactive as to what health conditions are indigenous to a specific breed. The Wisdom Panel team state that the results of their test can also help the dog owner tailor a nutrition and exercise program for the dog.
I asked Harrison about the accuracy of the test and he said they guarantee 90-93% accuracy. However, when looking at the information on the Wisdom Panel Insights fact sheet it states “the accuracy is dependent on the quality and high levels of variations of the DNA collected by an owner from their dog so they are unable to provide a definite accuracy percentage at this time.” I asked Harrison how far back the DNA test would go and he responded 2 to 3 generations.
I could have easily talked dogs with Harrison beyond the topic for this interview and am happy I was asked to speak with him about this new DNA test.
I find any information about dogs from genetics to behavioral science and canine health to nutrition fascinating. In the case of determining ancestry, I question if the results of a DNA test would truly make a difference for an owner considering the purchase or adoption of a mixed breed dog as most owners believe what they are told by the breeder who created the mixed breed or the opinion or guess of shelter staff or a Vet. With regard to the ancestry determining training protocol, the majority of owners opt for a training class where there is more of a cookie cutter approach to training so not sure the results of a DNA test would help that owner take a different training approach should behaviors be presented by the dog that would affirm the results of the test. I would hope so, but have found that dog owners generally implement training techniques based on what a particular trainer suggests in their group class.
For $80.00, if you are interested in learning more about your dog’s ancestry you may want to purchase this kit for the fun of it and if the results provide valuable information for you to be proactive for the dog’s health and well being, then go for it.
Due to the my natural curiosity of all things dog, if I had a mixed breed, I would most likely buy this kit to test my dog’s DNA, but due to the skeptic in me would probably test again within the year under an alias to compare those results. Should you choose to do this doggie DNA test I would love to hear from you after you get the results.
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.