July 2014

How Your Dog Can Help with Physical Therapy

Subscribers Only — Over the course of 20 years, the physical-rehabilitation department of various healthcare facilities became my second home as I groaned, stretched, and struggled my way through physical-therapy sessions following the gradual deterioration and the amputation of my lower legs (due to vascular disease). I was highly motivated to get my body working efficiently again, and I knew the sessions were necessary for physical improvement, but I found the endless repetitive exercises boring to do. Why couldn’t physical therapy be more fun and interesting?   More...

Canine Bladder Infections

Subscribers Only — If you’ve lived your life with dogs, chances are you’ve cared for one with a bladder infection. The normal urinary bladder is sterile, meaning devoid of bacteria. Infection occurs when bacteria find their way into the bladder and set up housekeeping. Bacterial cystitis (medical-speak for a bladder infection) is a common diagnosis in the canine world. The term urinary tract infection (UTI) is often used synonymously with bacterial cystitis. Technically speaking, a UTI can mean infection anywhere within the urinary tract, and is not specific to the bladder.   More...

When to See a Vet, As Well As a Trainer

Subscribers Only — According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, between five to seven million companion animals enter animal shelters in the United States every year, and three to four million are euthanized. Of the dogs entering shelters, about 60 percent are euthanized. Some lose their lives due to old age, illness, or injury, others as a result of shelter crowding, but behavioral problems are most frequently cited as the major cause of relinquishment or euthanasia.   More...

Talking Turkey: Can Tryptophan Calm Your Anxious, Aggressive, or Overactive Dog?

Subscribers Only — I grew up with a storybook grandmother, “Nana” to my sister and me. Nana was a great cook and regularly expressed her love through sumptuous meals and comfort foods. Her home was definitely the place to be on all food-oriented holidays, including the ultimate all-American food holiday, Thanksgiving. Like many Americans on this day, my family gorged on all that Nana placed on her overloaded dining-room table – mashed potatoes, stuffing, butternut squash, warm rolls, salads, corn casserole, and, of course, the mandatory roasted turkey. Following this annual feast, my sister and I would fall into food-induced stupors, sleeping off our over-indulgence for several hours before rousting ourselves to eat one more piece of pie.   More...

Take Your Water-Loving Dog Dock Diving!

Summer! It’s the perfect time for dock diving. In this canine sport (also known as dock jumping), the participating dog jumps off an elevated diving platform into a portable pool and the dog with the longest jump is deemed the winner. I think dock diving is possibly the best canine sport for spectator enjoyment. And, if you decide to compete, you can easily redline the FUN meter! Besides the joy of hanging out with my dog by a cool body of water, the one thing I love about the sport is that with just a few dog and handler skills, any person and any breed of dog and size of dog can participate.   More...

Five Things To Do If Your Dog Snaps at a Guest

If you’ve never had to deal with that alarming moment when your beloved dog snaps at a guest in your home, you are fortunate. I hope you never do. But just in case, it’s good to know that, first, you’re not alone – lots of dogs have snapped at guests in their homes (or worse!). Second, it’s not the end of the world; it doesn’t mean you need to euthanize your dog and it doesn’t mean your dog will inevitably maul someone. It is, however, an important heads-up for you. How you handle the situation can often determine if your dog’s aggression toward visitors escalates or diminishes. So if it happens, here’s what you need to do:   More...

Yes Power

Subscribers Only — One of my biggest pet peeves with most dog owners and parents? When the authority figure (owner or parent) more or less constantly says, “No!” (as in, “Don’t do that!”) – and only rarely says, “Yes!” (as in “I like what you’re doing! Keep it up!”). It’s no fun to be around, it’s discouraging to dogs and children alike. Worse, it doesn’t offer the recipients of the message any information about what they should be doing to make their owners or parents proud and happy (or at the very least, happier).   More...