May 11, 2015 - Enjoying the mild spring weather, I was working with all the doors and windows in my house open. So when my dogs, who had free run of the house and backyard, started to bark at something, I looked out the window and saw a stray dog wandering around the front yard. He’s about 50 pounds, some sort of Kelpie/Cattle Dog-mix. I got up and went out the front door, and he ran off down the street. I almost started to look for a leash and treats, but I was busy, on deadline, so I went back to work. Ten minutes later, the barking started again, and there is the dog again.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:45PM Comments (19)
May 4, 2015 - The May 2015 issue of Whole Dog Journal contains two in-depth articles about the venomous snakes in North America that are potentially dangerous or deadly to dogs. The main article discusses the rattlesnake vaccine and antivenom treatments, as well as practical tips for avoiding snakes and emergency first-aid for snake bites. The second article discusses snake-avoidance training methods that do not involve shock collars. Subscribers to the WDJ can check out these articles and more at wholedogjournal.com -- and in the hard copy of the magazine, in their mailboxes now.
Posted by CJ Puotinen at 08:30AM Comments (2)
April 28, 2015 - Sorry if this is the fifth time in the past year that we’ve run a reminder in either the magazine, the blog, or the Facebook page, but here goes: To give your dog the best chance of survival in a car accident, you really have to have him or her in a crate that is solidly fastened into the car, or seat-belted in a proper harness, one that has been independently crash-tested and approved by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS).
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:34AM Comments (21)
April 20, 2015 - My stepson and daughter-in-law have a son, who will be three years old in May. Their whole family moved to my town a year ago, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in my new role as Nana. When my own son was about the same age as my grandson, my mother accomplished the lion’s share of his potty-training over the course of a single weekend, using M&Ms as rewards for “going in the potty.” So I feel a certain amount of responsibility to “pay it forward” to my stepson and his wife, to help in the potty training of their toddler son, who is exasperating everyone with his inconsistent interest in “going in the potty.”
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:52PM Comments (23)
April 14, 2015 - My friends and family members, close and extended, often ask me questions about dogs. What sort of food should we feed our dog? Where is the best place to adopt a dog? What’s the best breed? How do we train her to stop barking? Should I get the rattlesnake vaccine? Oh, and what’s the best food to feed our dog? (I get that last one a lot!) RARELY do my family members and friends listen all the way, or take all of my advice. And I know I’m not alone; I’m sure it’s the same with doctors and lawyers and therapists and car mechanics; people hear what they want to hear and do what they want to do. But when someone I know – a civilian, not a “dog person” – does listen, and take some of my advice, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:19AM Comments (14)
April 7, 2015 - File this under “more preaching to the choir,” because I’m SURE that all WDJ readers clean up after their dogs – right?! I’m just wondering what some dog owners are thinking when they take their dogs for a walk without a bag. And how do you get the anonymous, unseen dog walkers in your community to clean up after their dogs?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:40AM Comments (30)
March 31, 2015 - None of my dogs have ever watched TV. So I was frankly dubious about my sister’s claims that her dogs go crazy every time a certain pizza commercial comes on; she told me that when the dogs hear the pizza commercial music, they come running to the TV, and they leap in the air and whine when the close up shot of the pizza appears, where the single slice is pulled away from the sizzling hot pie and tendrils of cheese are stretched through the air. But why the pizza commercial, I asked? She said they always share pizza with their dogs, and they really like it! Hmm, I said.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:40AM Comments (60)
March 24, 2015 - Did you see this news brief? A shelter in the San Francisco Bay Area is conducting some small studies regarding breed identification and adoption rates. Like many shelters, they are often overrun with dogs of a certain type: Chihuahua-mixes. Wondering whether potential adopters might be biased against Chihuahuas, or might be biased toward a dog who had other desirable breeds “in the mix,” they ran DNA tests on a dozen small dogs in their shelter, and advertised the results with the description of those dogs. And voila! The dogs who were promoted with the DNA test results got adopted more quickly than a control group of 12 other small, brown dogs in the shelter – TWICE as fast, in fact.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:44AM Comments (12)
March 16, 2015 - In the upcoming April issue of Whole Dog Journal, new contributor Cynthia Foley discusses “10 tips for senior dog care” - things that you can do to help your senior stay healthy longer! She quotes a couple of our favorite veterinary sources, who shared some of their favorite “recipes” for a dog’s active longevity.
Posted at 10:51AM Comments (13)
March 9, 2015 - Last weekend, I was in the San Francisco Bay Area for a quick overnight trip, taking care of some family business. I didn’t have time on this trip to hang out with my son; we were both very busy and so we only had time to have breakfast together. He suggested we meet at a breakfast spot that has tables outdoors; it was a lovely morning and he wanted to bring his dog, Cole, as he wasn’t going to have much time to spend with Cole later in the day. I got to the restaurant first and selected a table that is in the middle of the sunny sidewalk in front of the restaurant. A few minutes later, my son parked across the street. I watched him and his dog stroll calmly across the street, but I didn’t call out to either of them; I wanted to see how long it would take Cole to recognize me. I was the one who pulled him out of my local shelter a year and a half ago, and he’s spent lots of time at my house when my son has been traveling with his sports team.
Posted at 12:59PM Comments (7)
March 3, 2015 - My son was lucky enough to land his first job out of college working for a company that allows employees to bring their dogs to work. The company has about 140 employees, and my son tells me that on any given day, about a dozen or so dogs can be found around the office.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:00AM Comments (33)
February 24, 2015 - One of my friends has a dog, Lena, who recently tore her ACL. She’s on as much crate rest as my friend can manage. Ordinarily, Lena is a highly active dog, and keeping her quiet while her knee heals is quite a chore. Lena had surgery on her OTHER knee a few years ago, and my friend has been told that Lena’s hips are highly dysplastic, so my friend has invested a lot in finding ways to keep Lean busy while keeping her inactive. She owns lots of food-puzzles and tons of toys and Lena eats only out of Kong toys . . . anything to keep her occupied and prevent her from tearing the house apart.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:32AM Comments (15)
February 13, 2015 - I just found the ideal dog park. It’s in Grass Valley, California, in a gorgeous public park called Condon Park. It’s large, and set in a forested setting, with tall pines overhead, and the footing is thick with pine needles. It has two separate areas, with a smaller section (but still quite good-sized) reserved for “small and shy” dogs. I love that the folks who set it up did not specify small dogs only. What do you do when you have a dog who needs to really run and romp and get tired, but isn’t reliable off-leash yet . . . who could benefit from some socializing, but isn’t yet ready to be accosted by large, high-energy buddies? There are multiple entrances, each with a double-gated “airlock.” But the park planners have improved on the norm by including signs that encourage people to use one of the other entrances if there is a crowd by the first one they approach. And there is also signage that instructs people to remove their dogs’ leashes in the airlock area before turning them loose in the large area (which prevents owners from getting caught in the middle of a rambunctious group of dogs who are trying to greet the incoming dog, and prevents the dog whose leash is not yet released from being hindered from running or defending himself from the onslaught of even fun-loving, well-meaning playmates).
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:23AM Comments (8)
February 10, 2015 - A friend posted today on her FB page that someone in her neighborhood association had bragged on the neighborhood’s online discussion page that they were able to “get a doctor’s note” claiming that their dog was a “therapy dog,” in order to avoid having to pay a pet deposit for an apartment they were about to rent. I hope and trust that my friend excoriated the person and the tactic. It really seems to me that our society is quickly reaching the tipping point on this “emotional support animal” (ESA) thing. No one seems to know what the laws are concerning legitimate service dogs – and everyone seems to think that “emotional support dogs” are afforded the same rights as service dogs (they are NOT). The laws were succinctly described in a terrific article in the New Yorker magazine (October 20, 2014 issue):
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:20AM Comments (19)
February 3, 2015 - I often scroll through posts on the Facebook page of a rescue group that I very occasionally have the opportunity to help. It’s a large group, national in scope, and there are dozens of postings to the page daily. Some are from experienced dog owners, with decades of breed rescue under their belts (and dozens if not hundreds of canine lives saved), and others are from first-time dog owners.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:24AM Comments (2)