January 2017

Time Flies

It used to drive me crazy when my parents used to say it, but, gee, time is going by faster than ever – and it never ever goes faster than when I’m gathering information for a dog food review (our annual examination of dry dog food will appear in next month’s issue). So many products to examine, from so many companies! And this on top of ordering, fitting, sending back, re-ordering, re-fitting, and photographing a dozen front-clip harnesses for an upcoming review of those. Product reviews are the most time-consuming thing I do!   More...

Letters from Readers: January 2017

Thank you for your article on prison dog training programs (“Jail House Dogs,” May 2016). I love the concept of rehabilitating dogs and people simultaneously. I was a bit surprised and disappointed that the article did not include any information as to where or how someone could adopt a dog from one of these programs, though. Your readers seem like great candidates for doing so and the programs themselves mentioned the difficulty of placing dogs as quickly as they would like.   More...

Shaping Your Dog's Behavior

Subscribers Only — Like many trainers who use and teach dog-friendly training, I’m a huge fan of the technique called “shaping.” In a nutshell, shaping requires clearly defining the end behavior that you want your dog to learn, and starting the training process by identifying the smallest, easiest criteria that you will mark (with a discrete signal, usually the “click!” of a clicker) and immediately reward (usually with a small, delicious food treat). The rest of the process involves systematically adding criteria – or levels of difficulty – to the behaviors your dog offers (in order to elicit your click and treat). The goal is to gradually encourage your dog to make his way toward the end behavior – your goal behavior.   More...

Disabled Dogs Products

Subscribers Only — If your dog has arthritis or is recovering from an injury or has a condition that restricts her range of motion, a variety of assistance devices ranging from simple to sophisticated can help her live a more comfortable, active life. Steps and ramps are affordable, portable aids for dogs who need help getting onto or off of furniture or into and out of vehicles. For dogs with neck or spine injuries or osteoarthritis, elevated food and water bowls may help reduce pain (or anxiety about pain) from reaching down to eat or drink from low bowls.   More...

Raw Honey for Dogs

Feed your dog raw honey rather than processed honey so that your dog receives all the nutritional benefits it has to offer. Raw honey is known to improve allergies in dogs, soothe kennel cough, help dogs' digestive systems and more! Raw honey is strained to remove debris, but that’s it. It’s otherwise as natural as you can get. Shop at the farmer’s market or do an Internet search for local beekeepers. Processed honey, on the other hand, is manufactured with heat, which thins it and destroys many of its beneficial attributes.   More...

Teach Your Dog to Fetch By Training Your Dog to Love Retrieval

Whether you’re interested in an informal fetch or a formal retrieve, your task will be easier if you encourage rather than discourage retrieve-related behaviors early in your relationship with your dog. When he has something in his mouth, praise him; tell him he’s a good dog! If it’s something he’s allowed to have, you can sometimes praise him and let him be, and other times, you can say “Trade!” and trade him a treat for the item. Or, trade him a treat for the item, and then give him the item back again. That’s quite a reward!   More...

Best Dog Gear of the Year: 2016

Subscribers Only — According to that book that everyone has been talking about for over a year (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up), we’re all supposed to get rid of stuff that doesn’t bring us joy. You may have been working on that, or not. That’s your business. Our business is telling you about stuff that will bring you and your dog joy! Or, at the very least, keep him safer and more comfortable. That’s something to be joyous about, in our book!   More...

The Many Causes of Kennel Cough

Subscribers Only — Dogs with the uncomplicated form of kennel cough tend to be otherwise healthy and continue to eat, drink, and play. Their lungs will usually sound normal, but some may experience lethargy and have a slight fever like my young pup. Others may experience nasal discharge and sneezing; still others exhibit only a persistent cough – sometimes dry and hacking, or soft and wet. Excitement, exercise, and changes in temperature or humidity can induce coughing, as can gentle pressure on the trachea, such as from a collar.   More...