June 2016

Postpartum Depression and Its Effect on the Dog

Subscribers Only — As a trainer and behavior consultant, I am always ready to provide all sorts of helpful information and internet links on the subject of bringing home a new baby to meet the dog. But I can honestly say that I never considered the emotional and hormonal component of the new mom and how it would affect her relationship with her pets.   More...

Become a Dog Sport Champion - At Home!

Video-based performance opportunities offer a variety of benefits. They are ideal for dogs (and their handlers!) who enjoy training, but for whom demonstrating their knowledge in unfamiliar settings is difficult. For some dogs, becoming “ring ready” is about learning to ignore myriad distractions in favor of the performance task at hand. For other dogs, the biggest challenge to ring readiness is tolerating unfamiliar people, places, and other dogs – working through emotional issues such as fear or aggression.   More...

Doggy Inside Jokes: The Unconventional Cues Our Dogs Learn

Subscribers Only — We all teach our dogs commonly used cues such as “Sit,” “Down,” and “Come,” and most of us probably use them every day. I am betting that, in addition to those common cues, we each have some cues that are unique to our relationships with our own dogs – cues that are never taught in your basic “good manners” classes.   More...

Bloating in Dogs Treatable with Gastropexy

Symptoms of bloat, which is incredibly painful for the dog, include pacing and restlessness; a distended abdomen; turning to look at or bite at the flank area; rapid, shallow breathing; retching without actually vomiting up any food, and excessive drooling. Bloat is a two-part disorder, telegraphed by its formal name: gastric dilatation and volvulus. The first part, gastric dilatation, refers to an expansion of the stomach due to the presence of gas and/or food. The second part, volvulus, is the fatal blow: The distended stomach begins to twist, cutting off the blood supply and causing its tissue to die off.   More...

Complete and Balanced Dog Food

Every aspect of an AAFCO feeding trial is meant to ensure that a food is capable of maintaining a population of a minimum number of dogs for a minimum period of time (26 weeks for a “maintenance” claim; 23 weeks for a “growth” claim). At a minimum, products that pass a feeding trial have at least demonstrated that they are palatable and digestible – its nutrients are adequately bioavailable – enough to keep a dog alive and well for the period of feeding trial.   More...

Miscellaneous Facts about Nature's Variety

1. Nature’s Variety had revenue in 2015 of $126.7 million. 2. The company has two production facilities in Lincoln and three warehouse facilities, including frozen. In 2008, Catterton, an international private equity firm, invested in Nature’s Variety and CEO Reed Howlett came on board. In 2009, the company headquarters was moved from Nebraska to St. Louis, though manufacturing and warehouse operations remain in Lincoln. …   More...

Nature’s Variety Dog Food Review

Subscribers Only — Nature’s Variety was founded on the principle that dogs (and cats) should be given a variety of dietary options, both in terms of ingredients (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, etc.) and in the very form of food they are given (kibble, canned, etc.). While many companies offer a dry and a canned form of their products, Nature's Variety is ahead of the curve in adding frozen raw diets to its offerings. To ensure that consumers were well educated about these unique products and the concept of “rotational feeding” – very new at the time – Nature’s Variety products were sold only in independent pet supply stores when they were introduced to the retail market in 2002. Nature’s Variety offers two distinctly different lines of food: Instinct and Prairie. True to the promise of “variety” present in the company’s name, each line offers several forms of food – which may include kibble, canned, raw frozen, dehydrated raw, and/or treats – that are all formulated in accordance with the precepts of that line.   More...

Got a Sneaky Dog Stealing Food?

Like many other expert food thieves, Chip is quite careful in his pilfering decisions. He will steal only when we are not in the room or when we are being inattentive. The parsimonious (simplest) explanation of this is a behavioristic one: Chip learned early in life that he was more likely to be successful at taking forbidden tidbits when a human was not in the room, and more likely to be unsuccessful if someone was present and attentive to him. In other words, like many dogs who excel at food thievery, Chip learned what works!   More...

Adopting Two Dogs at Once: Twice as Nice?

As you may know, because for months I’ve talked about almost nothing else, I’ve been on a puppy-fostering jag since November. My shelter has a hard time with keeping large litters of puppies clean, warm, dry, and healthy, particularly in the winter; I guess that’s true for many if not most shelters. So I’ve been taking on one litter after another, starting with my first-ever foster-fail pup Woody, who was one of nine puppies; then a litter of six Chihuahua/terrier-mixes, all boys; another litter of nine cattle dog/pit-mixes, all adorably freckled; and I’m at the tail end (no pun intended) of a litter of seven German Shepherd/hound/who-knows-what-mixes. Playing with and caring for the pups has been fun, challenging, messy, expensive, and interesting! But here is the latest thing I’ve been fascinated with: the people who come to adopt a puppy – and end up walking out, or at least trying to walk out, with two.   More...