A blog about dog behavior and training...and all other things dog!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make Some More Dog Snacks at Home.

Lucy from the Honest Kitchen shows how to make some delicious, healthy dog snacks in this U-tube video series. Ingredients include Honest Kitchen formulated diets.

I found this on Dog Time Blog Network.

Woman gets jail time for trying to free her dog from the pound...

Found this story from the Associated Press. You can check it out by clicking the title of this post. I think it bears more looking into, so I'm going to do just that. If you see something else about this, please let me know where.
She says her dog (yes, a pit bull,) was unfairly classified as a vicious animal and she was afraid it would be killed. She attempted to break into the animal shelter to try and free him. Really, who wouldn't try to save their dog from being euthanized?

I would love to know the whole story.

HELP!! Calling all readers...
Please help me find more information about this story.
I'd love to know how the dog was "unfairly classified."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Court Rules: Vet Liability is Limited in Pet Loss Malpractic Suit.

Currently in the news, there's a story about an Irvine veterinarian who was sued for alleged negligence, causing the death of a dog after surgery in 2004. You can read the full story and judge for yourself whether or not you believe there was a case against this vet; I myself haven't actually drawn a final conclusion, due to the scantiness of the information contained in the San Fransisco Chronical. BUT, regardless of what the full details of this case are, a state appeals court has ruled to uphold the position that pets are considered to be property, and as such, does not allow an owner to seek compensation for the "sentimental or emotional value," associated with the loss of a pet.

The San Fransisco Chronical reports that the Fourth District Court of Appeal acknowledged that "the love and loyalty a dog provides creates a strong emotional bond between the owner and his or her dog."

But the court noted that a parent whose child is killed by medical negligence can't sue the doctor for emotional distress or loss of the child's companionship. By the same token, California law allows a pet owner, in some cases, to seek compensation for loss of the animal's "unique economic value" but not for its "sentimental or emotional value," the court said.

Should a veterinarian's liability be limited in court after their malpractice causes the death or injury of a beloved pet? Emotionally speaking, my first answer is NO! It's probably the same for most pet owners. Loosing a pet is devastating enough, but to loose one unnecessarily would probably cause most people to go looking for vengeance on the responsible party. I can understand this and would probably feel the same way if I were faced with such a situation.
PLUS, I can't help but feel offended by the court's view of pets in general...I'm thinking:

"The court considers my special, dearly loved and cherished pets to be nothing more than personal property?"

"What about the relationship?...the the unique and loving bond I share with my pets?!"

"This is an outrage! A TRAVESTY!!"



It's important that we understand the potential implications of unlimited malpractice liability as it relates to the cost of health care for our pets. We certainly know how much it's impacted our own health care system. It's become virtually impossible to live in the U.S. without health insurance...yet the cost of such insurance has sky rocketed to the point of being almost unreachable to many Americans. The reasons for this are varied and debatable, but what's not in question is how much the astronomically high payouts of some malpractice suits have impacted the cost of health care. This situation is largely limited to human health care only...for now. But take a moment to consider how that would change if there were to be very high payouts in malpractice suits brought against veterinarians.

I believe that you would see the cost of veterinary care increase significantly. As a result of this you would see more and more people being put into the position of having to limit the care that they were able to provide for their pets; quite possibly making it necessary for many more to opt for euthanasia as a way of dealing with pet illness. I'm not talking about catastrophic illness either. If the cost of vet care were to increase dramatically, dealing with common pet health issues would likely become out of reach for many people. Does this really seem like an improvement? I don't think so.

In my area, veterinary care has already become almost out of reach financially for many people. I don't want to find myself in the position where I'm forced to carry insurance for my pets, or else risk loosing them to what could end up being a problem too costly for me to manage. Especially if that insurance were to rise to an even higher price, due to the impact of ballooning malpractice suits. I would hate to see the rising cost of veterinary care reach a point where only wealthy people could afford to love, and properly take care of their pets.

Like it or not, the limit on liability in veterinary medicine is actually a blessing for most people and their pets. You can argue all you want based on how this makes you feel, but take a moment to think about the real impact that unlimited liability have in our pet's lives. Would seeking revenge against a vet that you believed wronged you be worth the sacrifice of so many others? It's temping to say yes in the heat of the moment, but for me the answer is no.

Perhaps it's enough that we know our pets are more than mere property. That we recognize the unique and loving bond that we share them. That we realize that money will never bring our pets back once they're gone and that what's truely important is our ability to give them the best possible care that we can, while they're with us.

Maybe, in this circumstance, the law just makes sense.

Do you have a different opinion? Maybe you agree? Or perhaps you've thought of other ways that this change might impact our pets. Please share your thoughts...
And please cast your vote in our opinion poll.
You can find it in the right side bar.

Check it out: An Article about Dog Agility

I've published a new article about dog agility on my sister blog site: Los Angeles Dog Doodles. This is the first of several articles about dog agility, it's pluses and minuses, and the "where's," "what's" and "how's" of it all. Over the ensuing weeks, many aspects of the sport will be covered, from introduction to agility, to tips for competing. Information will be geared towards both, agility just for fun as well as, competitive agility. I'll also provide information and links to valuable sources regarding equipment, and agility trainers.

Check it out if you've ever wondered about this cool dog sport.

Stop by frequently to take a look, and also feel free to leave comments about your own dog agility experiences.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reddy makes a splash! (Adventures in Swimming part 2)

Back to the great adventures of swimming dogs…
So now that I’d finished with Buffet and he was towel dried and handed off to his “Mom," it was time to swim his brother, Reddy. I looked down at him, watched him dance around nervously, heard his excited and somewhat anxious whining, and thought, “am I “ready” for Reddy?” I don’t mind telling you, that I was pooped. Not only had I swum other dogs earlier that day, but Buffet had proven to be a real workout. I was now sporting several scratches and a few bruises from his wilder moments and I didn’t relish the idea of collecting more. I’d always considered Reddy the more energetic of the two, and he looked charged up and “loaded for bear” at this point.

Reddy is a beautiful red dog with a large white collar, amber eyes and freckles on is face. He‘s a bit larger than Buffet and outweighs him by a few pounds. A sweet, athletic dog with tons of power and energy, he tends to take the lead when the two of them are together and can be a very pushy boy when the spirit moves him. Now normally I’m quite taken with this lovely creature with his confidence and strength, but after going several rounds with his water-ninja brother, I wasn’t looking forward to taking on an even larger “competitor” for the next round. As I said earlier, even dogs that learn to love the water can be real handfuls the first time you take them into the pool.

My dog Willow was still in the pool when I started. I’d left her in there while I dried off Reddy’s brother and did the exchange. She’s normally very quiet and calm when she’s in the pool, but she’d caught some of the excitement of her two sons and was whining and anxiously watching us as I brought Reddy into the room. He’d been pretty excited when I had his brother in the pool and now his energy seemed to be building from that of a mild rainstorm to the beginnings of a full blown hurricane.

I walked him up onto the ramp and watched his eyes go from normal to dinner plate size. I thought that I’d better just get him in the water before he started to really lose it, so I lifted him up and over the water and carried him to the swim step. I set him down and waited for the inevitable moment of explosive panic that I believed was coming. Reddy simply froze. I mean not a single movement...his body as still and stiff as a chiseled statue. I know this dog really, really well: after all, I was there when he was born, but I was a little shaken by the stillness of his body and the size of his eyes. If you don’t know dogs, you might think, “Oh good, he’s going to cooperate!” but when a dog freezes and gets that very intense look in his eyes, you’ve really got to be cautious about what might happen next.

Meanwhile, his human “ mom” Dana, was chattering and laughing and having the time of her life. She was safely out of reach, watching from an open observation window at the other end of the pool. She had no idea that we were probably seeing the “calm before the storm," and that I was most likely going to get a little beat up very soon. She was watching her “boys” have this wonderful new experience, and smiling and cracking jokes, and enjoying every minute of it.
Honestly, even though she’s one of my very best friends, I might have thrown a rock at her head if I'd had one handy.............maybe just a small one. (Sorry Dana ;-)

Willow was adding to the atmosphere, by whining excitedly as she stood on another swim step opposite Reddy. To shut her up, I called her out into the water and watched Reddy watch her as she calmly made laps around the pool. He was still doing his best impression of a marble work of art, and stood completely stiff and still, watching her through gigantic eyes. I spoke softly and calmly to him, and waited for him to shift his attention my way; he appeared to not even know I was there.

I knew he would enter the water and go ballistic, probably scratching off half my skin before I could even get him back to the swim step. I anticipated his attempts to climb up my body and made a mental note to prioritize saving the features on my face over all else. Before I lost my nerve, I thought I’d better just go for it. I told Willow to go stay on a step and gently applied pressure to bring Reddy out into the water toward me…as I slowly pulled him forward he gave me the surprise of my life...he just swam. In perfect form, and without any wasted effort, he looked to me like he might have been channeling Michael Phelps. He simply swam around the pool, with all the grace and calm dignity of his own Aussie mom Willow.

He listened to me when I told him to change directions and followed my hand around the pool when I told him to “target.” He calmly got back onto the step when I asked him to. I’m telling you, this dog was a STAR!

He did try to swim over Willow the first few times she got into the water with him, but when she finally issued a warning growl, he got the message and stopped crowding her. I was astounded by his naturalness and ease in the water and impressed at how willingly he listened to me and took direction. I know he had never even seen a body of water like this before, and he’d certainly never had an opportunity to swim. I’d never before had a dog take so effortlessly to the pool and I’ve not seen one since. Apparently when he’d stood frozen on the swim step watching his mom, it was intense concentration that he was immersed in, not paralyzing fear.

Reddy and Buffet come to swim regularly at the clinic now and both seem to really love it. Buffet has gotten much better at swimming although he still has a little bit of anxiety that makes him a bit of a loose canon in the water. He surprised me by jumping in off the swim step one day just as I was turning toward him and smacked me right in the eye. Sometimes he swims beautifully, but he can also get to slapping wildly at the water on occasion. We introduced the tennis ball to him recently and that‘s made a difference. He retrieves out of the water with the same intensity and determination that he does on dry land and that’s helped him to maintain a steadier forward motion.

Reddy is still Reddy. He still swims today as he did from day one…calmly, with great strength and confidence. He makes a good case for reincarnation, because as you watch him glide calmly through the water, you could swear he lived his last life as a sea otter.

Next up…cool pool safety tips!

Got anything to say? Feel free to comment...or just choose one or more of the reaction boxes! Also, please weigh in on my survey regarding "canine disarming."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adventures in Swimming: Taking a dog into the water for the first time.

Summertime is upon us and with it comes scorching heat and swimming pool fun. Our dogs are affected by the heat and some will also choose to cool down by taking a “dip” in the pool; still others will choose to remain on dry land, out of fear or dislike of the water. If your dog wants to go into the pool, is there a way to help them be safe? If they don’t like the pool is there a way to help them through their seeming aversion to water? The answer is yes to both questions. In this and future subsequent blog entries, I will talk a bit about dogs and pools. You see I don’t have a pool, but I have some experience swimming with dogs as I work part time doing just that at an animal rehab center.

Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise and it’s wonderful for developing lean muscle…all you have to do is check out a swimmer’s body to see that. It’s can also be great exercise when you’ve got limited range of motion, or are recovering from certain injuries or surgeries, because of it’s moderate resistance and low impact. It works as well for dogs as it does for people and at the clinic that I work at we commonly swim dogs who have arthritis, soft tissue injuries, or are recovering from surgery. We also swim dogs for recreational purposes.

One of the dogs that I work with is a senior citizen named Chloe. She doesn’t like to talk about her age, but suffice it to say that she is most definitely in her teens. She’s an adorable doxie mix with sore elbows and arthritic joints, but you wouldn’t know it to watch her in the pool. Chloe is a lovely strong swimmer who shocked the heck out of me the first time I worked with her. I was expecting the limited stamina of a senior citizen, but she’s a retired agility dog who’s “dog mom” Karen has worked hard to keep her in shape. She walks her regularly and has brought her in to use the underwater treadmill in addition to her swim time. Chloe swims like a little champion (Karen says she gets Sardines on “swim day” for inspiration) and loves a rousing game of catch during her recovery breaks between sets (I get to be the pitcher.) I just love this little old lady and I will be devoting future blog time to telling you more about her and why.

I also work with a very handsome dog by the name of Jackson. He’s only a young man, but he has the distinguished chin whiskers of a more mature gentleman due to his Airedale Terrier lineage. Jackson came to swim for the first time with a bit of a weight problem and some very sore hips: he has canine hip dysplasia on both sides. He was thought to be a prime candidate for hip surgery and his loving “dog mom” Mary was prepared to do that and anything else necessary to help her wonderful boy live a comfortable, happy life. She started bringing him to swim regularly: to ease his soreness, increase his mobility, to help him build muscle, and she’s also worked diligently (and successfully) to reduce his waist size. I’m pleased to tell you that these things have made a huge difference. After speaking with the surgeon about scheduling his procedure, Mary excitedly told me that the doctor felt he was doing so well as to not need the surgery right now, and at this point he’s not expected to need surgery any time in the near future either. I’ll be blogging soon in more detail about this lovable dog and his journey to better health, as it’s a terrific and uplifting story.

Today I’m going to just tell you about Buffet and Reddy: two eleven month old Australian Shepherd boys who come to swim recreationally, for exercise and fun. They belong to a good friend of mine and they hold a special place in my heart because they're the sons of my own wonderful dog, Willow. They haven’t been swimming long, but as you can see from the photographs, they have learned to love their “swim day.” In fact, they love it so much that their soft hearted “dog mom” is seriously considering buying a pool for their own back yard.

The first time that I put them into the pool, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Their mother, Willow loves the water and has been swimming in a pool and at the lake for several years, but you never know how a dog is going to react when they first get into the water. Because they were her pups, I chose to bring Willow into the pool with us the first time I introduced them to the water.

I began with Buffet, a very pretty black and white dog, who’s a real character to begin with. He's named after the performer, Jimmy Buffet, but he tends to run toward the party side rather than the laid back side of his namesake. Buffet does most things in a state of “hyper drive,” with a distinct…shall we say…lack of concern for anything that happens to be in his way. I was worried (okay, I’ll admit it, maybe even a little scared) at the prospect of being pummeled by this over excited creature as he worked through his anxiety at being put into the WATER!!!!! The first time you take any dog into the pool they can get pretty wild, at best slapping at the water madly, sending spray flying around like it’s coming out of an open blender set to high speed. At worst, they can panic completely, trying to get to the highest ground they can find (which usually means the top of your head) flailing about and trying to climb up your body. I always wear some type of protective clothing when I take a dog into the water…a long sleeve shirt with shorts at the very least, and usually a 2 ml “shortie” surf suit if I’m swimming a large dog for the first time. The neoprene of a wetsuit won’t stop an excited dog from bruising you, but it can certainly save you from losing 2 or 3 layers of skin!

So on this day, I put Willow into the pool and then carried Buffet over and set him onto the first step. As I expected, his first reaction was one of excitement and anxiety, and he began to make high pitched exited barks and look for a way out. His eyes were round and buggy and he pawed at me frantically and even tried to jump into my arms. I calmly defended myself as best I could, as I waited for him to simmer down; Willow stood on the step opposite Buffet, a worried look in her eyes. I’m not sure who she was worried about, me or her puppy, as it seemed that I was the one most imperiled at this point. After several minutes of him batting at me like some kind of crazy kung fu fighter and me trying to steady him, I realized that if I didn’t go ahead and put him in and get him swimming, he might just punch my lights out. I gently pulled forward on his harness (a “no pull” harness with the ring in the front of the chest works great) and brought him out into the water so he would have to swim. Predictably, he slapped and churned at the water like some mad whirling dervish, so I put my hand under his belly to help bring him horizontal in the water and pulled him steadily forward with the harness to get him swimming forward instead where he was trying to go, which looked like up. I brought him around in one small circle in the water (carefully dodging his attempts to climb out of the water and up onto me,) and brought him back to the swim step. I helped him find his footing, and then moved out of reach, keeping a firm hold on the leash attached to his harness. Then I called his Aussie Mom (Willow) into the water and let him watch her swim calmly around the pool. Buffet stood on the sidelines, watching her carefully and making high pitched, squeaky dog noises.

Now let me just say, I do sometimes use a life jacket with dogs the first time that I take them into the water. It can be especially helpful for dogs who are elderly, or have some type of physical deficit, or that are especially dense (that’s of muscle, not of mind.) But with a young healthy dog of normal body type, I find that the easiest way to work with them is to help them to 1) figure out how to stay horizontal in the water (that’s with forward motion.) and 2) understand where the step is, so they can stop swimming when they want or need to. Buffet simply needed to learn about these two things to become more comfortable. I simply needed to survive his excitement until he did.

Willow was a great help of course. Having a dog that he knew and trusted model a calm demeanor while swimming was helpful and gave him a bit more confidence. I tried to keep her out of the water when he was actually swimming, because as soon as she got too near to him he tried to climb up onto her back…and I did want to take my dog home alive and in one piece at the end of this. I continued to bring him back into the water for short swims around the pool. I monitored his temperature (you can check the ear leather and/or the muzzle to see if they’re getting too warm; if they feel hot, it’s time for a rest break.) Dogs heat up very quickly when they’re that excited, so I kept his sets very short and just worked to help him to feel comfortable on the step in between swims. At some point I decided to give him a dose of homeopathic remedy formulated to ease stress and anxiety. Throughout it all, I remained calm, patient and reassuring, and eventually he began to feel a bit more comfortable. I ended our pool session after a particularly good set, when I believed he was feeling the most confident. The whole session took about 30 minutes from beginning to end.

Next it was time for Reddy…

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Check the L.A. TIMES: there's more detail about the Canine Dental "Disarming" story.

So my friend Laura sent me the link to another story about the "canine disarming" of that dog. This time it's written by the owner of the dog. It's got more detail than the first story. You can read it by clicking on the title line of this post. You can also read what my friend Laura has to say about it in her Los Angeles Dog Blog: http://www.petdogtrainer.com/blog/
She outlines many of the inherent problems with the woman's methodology quite well.

Anyway, in it the woman gives details of the many different things she tried to resolve this problem. She went to group classes at PetSmart (not the place for solving as severe a problem as she claims to have.) She also tells of the ONE trainer that she consulted (besides CM of course) and of the MANY books and videos that she read. One has to assume that she got most of her "training" ideas from the books and videos since she only actually mentions the one trainer. From this story, it sounds like that one trainer didn't work out too well, so she just went about working on this problem on her own.

To me, this would be a little like going to ONE doctor for a serious medical condition and then upon discovering that he hadn't helped you, grabbing a "surgical procedure for dummies" book and operating on yourself. It makes no sense. Actually, the 'kitchen sink" approach that she applied to this problem could be part of the reason she was so unsuccessful!

She also mentions that she has an invisible fence...that right there raises a HUGE red flag! It's hard to believe that any qualified professional would not immediately see how that could be exacerbating the problem. I'm actually too cranky from reading the story to go into any coherent explanation as to why invisible fences can contribute to aggression issues. Go to Laura's blog: she does a good job of explaining it in her post.

What most disturbs me about this story right now is how it could influence people who are looking for a "quick fix" to an aggression problem. It paints this procedure out to be such an easy and reasonable answer, without ever examining it's harmful repercussions to the dog. The question of whether or not it will make the dog's behavior worse is never even asked. Is it humane? Is it fair? Will it actually do more harm than good to the dog, doesn't seem to matter. That it's easy, and that it requires nothing further from the owner is all that seems to be important. I'm sorry for this little dog, to be sure. But I'm worried about more pets being put through to ridiculous and unnecessary procedure after this story is circulated.

this story makes me angry enough to BITE!

Feel free to "react," using the check boxes under comments...
and as always, your comments and opinions are welcomed.

And please cast your vote on our survey.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dental Procedure for Dog's Behavioral Problems? It's called "canine disarming."

Big day in dog news it seems. Imagine my surprise when I learned this new term “canine dental disarming” from the LA Times today. Whaaa…? Yes, you read that right, apparently the owner of an American Eskimo dog has decided that the only way to keep her dog from biting is to “reduce and blunt the incisors, lessening the bite effect.”

This just offends me in so many ways...

First of all, they were quick to point out that she was forced to do this despite trying many suggestions from experts to help her with her dog…she even worked with the great Cesar Millan (insert big impressed sigh of course…) ….uhhh...well...except…..the techniques that CM uses for aggression are actually more likely to INCREASE aggression, not decrease it. Yep, that’s right folks, it’s the truth…no, not just my humble opinion….read what the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has to say about him: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/

you'll probably end up here: http://www.4pawsu.com/dogpsychology.htm

And the plain truth of it is that I could site many, many, MANY outstanding authorities in the animal behavior world with degrees and scientific data and studies and all that stuff, who would all tell you that what he does can significantly increase the likelihood of aggression (among other damaging effects.) So, it’s possible…now I just said possible mind you, that “Ceasar’s Way” has had something to do with why this problem is so out of hand.

But I don’t really want to make this all about that hack (oops! did I say...I mean write that out loud?) I really wanted to just point out that management might be a better, and dare I say more humane, and maybe even more sane way of dealing with this problem. I mean really, she’s putting her dog under the knife for a behavior issue. One that probably stems from the dog's insecurity and fear anyway and one that will most likely get worse now that she’s putting him through this trauma. Plus, now he can just practice, practice, practice that behavior because “Hey! He can’t hurt anybody right?!”

...Ummm…yeah but, have you ever heard the term, “practice makes perfect?”

I’m sure she loves her dog, and I’m sure she believes she's doing the right thing, but let me just say, “what the fu**?!!” (that’s, what the fuss, of course.) I mean if the problem was that bad, I wish she'd explored some managment options...and perhaps gotten the help of a qualified Veterinary Behaviorist?

Anything but...well, you know...

You can read more about this story in the L.A.Times.

Click on the title for this post, it will take you right to it.

Okay, hit me with your best shot...I know I've piss off some "Millanites" here. Let's hear what you have to say. Agree? Disagree? Doesn't matter really, cuz I'm open to anything (without profanity) that you have to say. After all, you know what they say about opinions...........................: everybody has one. Comments please. And please cast your vote on our survey.

Healthy Homemade Dog Treats for Training ...or just indulging your pet.

As a dog trainer, I’m always looking for new and “irresistible” dog treats for motivating my four-legged clients. As a “Dog Mom,” I’m always looking for healthy snacks to pass out to my little furry kids. And as someone who likes cooking and baking, I’m frequently experimenting in the kitchen, trying to find new ways to fulfill my needs as a trainer and dog mom. To that end, I’ve developed a recipe for “Doggie Liver Brownies” that my dogs and my client dogs really love. There are all kinds of liver brownie recipes out there, but I played around with ingredients until I developed one that passed the discriminating taste test of the dogs (and cat) in my world, and that I knew would be healthy for them as well.

Although I know we’re in the nasty heat of the summer and very few people want to turn on their ovens right now, I decided to share this recipe with you. You don’t need to have the oven on for too long, and your pets are guaranteed to love, Love, LOVE!!! these treats.
“Bone” appetit!

1 ½ lb Organic Chicken Livers (I use Rosie organic Chicken liver)
1 c. whole wheat flower
½ c. oat bran
1 ½ c rice flour
1 ½ tsp Garlic Powder (omit if you are feeding cats)
2 organic eggs w/eggshells (make sure they are clean & organic)
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp organic Kelp and/or Dulse powder (optional, but very healthful)

Note: when possible use all organic ingredients, but the really important ones are the ones I specify in the recipe. You can also substitute other types of flour or grain products if your dog has a specific grain allergy.

Chop up liver and put into blender. Add eggs w/shells, pumpkin and olive oil. (Blend well to insure the eggshells are well processed -- they're a great natural source of calcium.)

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in blended ingredients from the blender and mix well. Pour into greased 9 inch square pan. Bake in 325 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Brownies are ready to come out of the oven when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. You could also use a jelly roll pan (high sided cookie sheet) but check earlier and more frequently to ensure brownies don’t burn.
Cool slightly, then cut into brownie squares. Refrigerate portions that will be used with 2 days and wrap the rest tightly for freezing.

Now go out and train your dog!
...or just share some treats with him for being so sweet and lovable.

Comments? Suggestions? Share your healthy snack ideas...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is your new baby safe with your dog?

The latest headline to catch my eye was the story about the family dog in Kentucky who snatched a newborn, premie baby from it’s crib and dragged it outside onto the owners ¾ acre property. The parents realized what had happened and managed to get the child back before he was killed, but he did suffer some pretty serious and potentially life-threatening injuries on this, his forth day of life. I will provide links for anyone who hasn’t read the story, because I don’t wish to rehash the details here.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32027117/ns/us_news-life/ or

When I first read this story, I was inclined to sit down and write about introducing a new baby to your home. I will still do this, but not right now. There are so many things already written about introducing new baby to Fido…on the internet, in books, and certainly most dog trainers are knowledgeable about the types of things that should be done to keep dog and baby safe. I know that I as well as several of my dog training friends have dispensed this information, both in paid sessions and also freely to relatives, friends and acquaintances. Sometimes people listen and follow through with what they are told; these people rarely experience problems with their dogs. The perplexing thing is the amount of people who don’t listen, or don’t seek out any kind of advice, believing that the situation will simply work itself out. This possibly stems from the myth that dogs and children are a natural combination. Or maybe it’s that they just can’t bring themselves to believe that their sweet dog could do anything inappropriate. Whatever the reason, it's a mistake to skip the steps necessary to help your dog ready for the addition of a new baby in the house.

The truth is, you never know how your dog is going to react to a new infant being brought into your home. Babies are loud, they smell strange, they tend to be the total focus of everybody and they cause lots of change and a huge uproar in the status quo. This isn’t me baby-bashing; I’m looking at this from the perspective of a dog. Some dogs handle the addition of a baby seemingly without a care, but ALL are dramatically impacted by the addition of a newborn. They can become frightened, unpredictable, over-protective, depressed, and even seemingly jealous of the new addition. ANYONE with ANY DOG, should think about working with their dog prior to a new baby coming into the house; NOBODY, with ANY DOG should ever assume they know what their dog’s reaction to a new baby will be. It’s impossible for anyone to be 100% sure of how their dogs is going to respond to such a new and unfamiliar situation even if they have had the dog for years and have seen them around other children. Babies can be a little like bringing home an alien, to your dog.

If you or somebody you know is going to be bringing a new baby home in the near future, please take the time to educate yourself on the things you can do to help your dog deal with this change. The best thing to do is to have a qualified dog trainer come in and help you with tips on preparing your dog for the new arrival.
If you choose not to consult a trainer, then you can go to the ASPCA website for helpful tips on introducing a new baby to your dog: http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/152/Preparing-Your-Dog-for-a-New-Baby.aspx
You owe it to your dog...and your baby!

Don't make assumptions about your dog's ability to cope with this new and exciting event. Learn about the steps you can take to help your dog to accept the changes and then follow through with what you learn. And remember, no matter how much you've done to train him, and no matter how much you trust your pet, dogs and children should never be left together without supervision.

Visit my website to read an upcoming article about dogs and children.

I'd love to hear your opinions, ideas, stories or comments about the Kentucky story or related situations. Please feel free to "weigh in" on this "weighty" issue!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's this? Looks like a "pets only" airline has emerged! For pet friendly travel, check out Pet Airways.

I saw on the KTLA website that a new pet friendly airline is schedule to launch today. It's called "Pet Airways" and it's going to be catering to the furred and feathered set. I guess they only take cats and dogs right now, but have plans to expand to other pet species in the future. Pets are flown in the main cabin instead of the cargo hold. But before you start getting visions of dogs and cats lounging around the cabin on upholstered seats, you should know that the airway says it will provide a pet carrier if you do not have one; all pets are kenneled to provide safety of course. According to their website, pets are monitored by trained staff, who will also provide "potty" breaks. Although there are no owners permitted on board, there are several nice services offered and you can even track your best friend's progress.

It's an interesting idea to be sure. Wonderful in fact, if you have need to send your pet someplace that you're not going. Trouble is, I'm having a hard time figuring out where I might send my pet all by his or her lonesome. Now maybe the problem is that my pets and I just don't live a jet-setting lifestyle, but as I sit here writing, I can only think of a handful of times that I've known of other people to put their pets on a plane without going with them.

I do know of breeders who send animals out of state, and of people who have bought pets from out of state or even out of the country. Usually, in these situations, cost is a factor and I don't know how competitive this new airline can be. Also, can they offer enough flights to enough destinations to attract a majority of the market? I'm no financial genius, but I know that these are the issues that they'll be facing in order to "get this thing off the ground." The thing of it is, even if they are priced to attract that type of travel, I don't know that those situations will constitute enough traffic to make this idea "fly." (arghhh...sorry about that...) Anyway, I'd love to see them tackle the "pets traveling with their owners" issue, with a new and creative attitude, because I do know of many people who would welcome that. To be sure, pet air travel could use an general overhaul.

Anyway, only time will tell I guess, if this great idea will actually be sustainable. I hope it is, because in those instances when people do have to fly their pets, it can be a real nail-biter of an experience.

For the complete "scoop" you can check out the Pet Airways website by clicking on the TITLE at the TOP of this post, or you can visit the KTLA website where I first saw this information and see their link up to a video about this story at:

Maybe I'm wrong about how often people fly their dogs and cats. I'd love to get your input and hear about situations where you've shipped your pet someplace, or know of somebody else who has. Please feel free to leave your comments about this story.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cool site dedicated to green pet ideas! Check out "Raise a Green Dog."

isn't this cool? So many people (including me) are looking for ways to go green these days, and now I see there's a site that's dedicated to green products for dog and pet care.
Wow! This site has information about books, grooming products, clean up options, and even healthy, organic diets. It's got some people products too, but it's mostly geared towards "greening" up your dogs.

I'm off to take a closer look, but I'd love to hear your suggestions about "green" pet care!

To check out the "Raise a Green Dog" site, just click on the entry title.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Whole Foods in Pasadena to host a free Dog Food Making class.

Over the last several years there's been a trend toward making dog food at home. With people recognizing the impact of whole, fresh food on their own heath; and with all the information that's come into the public domain about the sometimes questionable things that are in processed dog food; more and more folks are opting to take control over what their pets are eating every day. Some people choose to feed a raw diet (myself included,) while others feel more comfortable cooking the food they feed to their dogs. Whichever you choose, making your pet's food at home gives you control over the quality of ingredients that goes into your best friend's food.

There are people who are opposed to this idea, believing that it's not possible for the average person to develop a complete diet for their companion animals. I disagree. While it would be a mistake to simply throw food at your dog without knowing anything about his nutritional needs, there are several good books on the market to help people develop a nutritionally sound diet for their pets. Classes and seminars are also now springing up around Southern California that are geared toward helping people make smart choices about their pet's diet; there are some that also teach about the concept and "how tos" of a home prepared diet. I will post announcements of any upcoming classes that I become aware of and there's a list of books to read on dog food, home prepared diets, and raw feeding in the "Books I Read" section of my profile. This information can also be found on the Ain't Misbehavin' K9 website: http://www.aintmisbehavink9.com/

Here's something cool that my friend found in the Whole Foods news letter and then brought to my attention:
Whole Foods Arroyo in Pasadena is hosting it's first Dog Food Making Class. This ought to be a good place to start for those of you who are interested in formulating a home cooked diet for your dog. I'm sure the focus will be on fresh, natural and healthy ingredients. Who knows, they may even talk about making healthy dog treats!

This FREE class is being taught on Wednesday, July 15th
between the hours of 6:30pm-8pm

According to the information on their website, they're requesting that you RSVP To sparr.marketing@wholefoods.com, or sign up at the Customer Service desk.
at the Whole Food Arroyo store:
465 South Arroyo Parkway Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone 626.204.2266

To obtain more details about this class, please visit the Whole Foods calendar website by clicking on the title of this blog entry, or going to: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/arroyo/storecalendar.php

I welcome feedback and opinions about the topic of a home prepared diet. Please feel free to write to me about your experiences and questions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


NEWS from Friends of Hermon Dog Park & Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council


Friends of Hermon Dog Park, Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, Sponsor Eastside Festival for Fourth Year.

Hermon (Los Angeles) – July 2009 —

If it's mid-summer . . . that long, lazy, "dog days" period of the year, then it’s time again for the "Dog Days of Summer" pet adoption festival at Hermon Dog Park, where "friends don’t let furry friends go home alone."

On Saturday, July 18, 2009, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the Northeast Los Angeles community of Hermon, Sycamore-shaded Hermon Park will be the site of this year’s "Dog Days of Summer" FREE pet-centric event. "Dog Days" features fun for the whole family, with booths showcasing pet services and suppliers, demonstrations and activities, and adoptable pets from all over the city and county.

The fourth annual occurrence of the eastside's most unique pet adoption event — first celebrated as the "Yappy Bark Day" anniversary of the 2005 opening of the dog park in Hermon – this year's "Dog Days" event will again feature new and returning animal rescue organizations, including the City of Los Angeles Animal Services, Los Angeles County Animal Care, and the Pasadena Humane Society. Each rescue organization will bring its most eager, adoptable animal companions — dogs, cats, rabbits, and other "surprise" adoptables — all of them ready to steal hearts.

In addition to the organizer — Friends of Hermon Dog Park — top-level sponsors this year again include the area’s city-certified Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council (which represents the Hermon community and four other nearby Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods to City government), in cooperation with District 14 Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

Animal service providers will once again include sitters, groomers, and trainers, and back for thrilling, heartwarming return engagements, dog agility demos ("Look, there she goes. . . WHOOSH!") and the ever-popular "Puppy Parties" that help train energetic and eager young pups to the free and friendly world of off-leash dog parks ("OH, they’re SOOOO cute when they’re little!"). In addition, L.A. AnimalServices will offer on-site microchipping to help owners locate lost pets. For "Dog Days of Summer," the price of this service has been reduced to a special low cost of only $25.

Brought to you by Friends of Hermon Dog Park, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit support organization for the first and only off-leash facility in Northeast Los Angeles, the 2009 "Dog Days of Summer" will again be held around the dog park area with some overflow events taking place in the main portion of Hermon Park. Enter at the south end of Hermon Park, 0ff Via Marisol (5568 Via Marisol, L.A. 90042) between Monterey Road and the Arroyo Seco Parkway/110 Freeway.

The Friends of Hermon Dog Park was created to support the dog park and promote its use. The volunteer group was established in 2006 by members of the original Hermon Dog Park Formation Committee organized in 2003, along with local animal and community activists from around the Arroyo Seco area. FHDP now boasts membership in the hundreds from throughout the Los Angeles area.

Additional information for this event will be available at http://www.hermondogpark.com/ and on participant Websites.