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Behavior

Noise-Phobic Dogs

As unlikely as it sounds, one of the most effective treatments for thunderstorm phobias may be an over-the-counter hormone used by humans to prevent insomnia. Melatonin, produced by the pineal gland, sets the body’s internal clock in response to exposure to light. The body creates melatonin only in total darkness, for the pineal gland stops production when any part of the body, even the back of the leg, is exposed to light. In people, melatonin has been shown to calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, relieve panic disorders, prevent migraine headaches, facilitate deep sleep, and, according to some researchers, help slow the effects of aging.

Hannah’s Change of Heart

Hannah was a normal, healthy Labrador Retriever puppy: happy, boisterous, playful, and always willing to eat. Hannah’s owner, Connecticut resident Anne Hassett, bought Hannah when the pup was seven weeks old. Hassett trained, socialized, and loved the golden pup. A field-line Labrador, Hannah hunted on the weekends and enjoyed the comfy life of a companion Lab weekdays. Hannah was well known in hunting circles for her steady, easy-going temperament, the coveted hallmark of the Labrador breed. Hassett considered breeding her, and had the dog examined and tested for genetic diseases.

Telepathic Communication With Your Dog

Have you ever looked up suddenly and seen your dog staring at you intensely, longingly – a look that grows no less pleading when you offer treats, a walk, or a scratch behind the ears? Or perhaps you’ve seen your dog leap up at some seemingly nonexistent noise, sniffing and whining for no reason you can imagine. Have you wished that you could know what your animal wants, understand what he’s thinking? Or have you ever wondered, when your dog mysteriously disappears at bath time, if he knows what you’re thinking?

Born Bad?

A reader wonders whether her aggressive dog could have been saved.

Does Your Dog Eat Poop?

Help! My dog has the most disgusting habit: eating feces! She’ll eat her own, that of other dogs, cat poop, you name it. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t take her off leash at the park; she spend her whole time trying to find some to eat, and scarfing it down greedily when she sees me running to stop her. What is UP with this?

When Your Well-Trained Dog Turns Aggressive – Act Fast!

I first met Lucy at my local monthly “My Dog Can Do That” competition in January of 1998, at the SPCA in Monterey, California. She was easy to spot – a merle Great Dane with lovely natural ears, who literally towered above the competition. Lucy was attentive, responsive, performed even the most advanced MDCDT behaviors with ease, and consistently placed in the ribbons. It surprised me, then, when a few months later I heard Lucy had started threatening humans, and her aggression was escalating. This was not appropriate behavior for any dog, but particularly disturbing in one of Lucy’s size, with her potential for causing serious harm.

Trying To Ease Your Dog’s Stress

Stress. Everyone knows what it feels like. Tight shoulders. Headache. Insomnia. Upset stomach. Everyone knows what can trigger it. Rush hour traffic. Deadlines. An insensitive boss. A toddler having a day of tantrums, unexpected bills, or taxes. We also know that too much stress can actually make us ill. Ulcers and high blood pressure are prime examples. A recent study noted that 19 percent of employees who call in sick on any particular day do so because they simply felt they needed a day off.

Latest Blog

Adventures in dog fostering, chapter #7642

I have a new little foster dog staying with me. The manager of my shelter called me last week and wanted to...

“Something moved in the grass, I’m telling you!” ...

Two of these dogs don’t much care for the tractor-mower. One of them is riveted. I’ll bet you can guess which dog wouldn’t stop following me today. ...

Dogs don’t drive! (Except when parked. Why is the driver’s seat so popular with dogs?) ...

Smart foster girl earned off-leash privileges in three days (and got grass-stains on her forehead from somersaulting in the deepgrassrunningjoy) ...

Foster/assess project: So far, 100% adorable. ...

My sister and her three little dogs. Yes, she is one of those women who always carries a purse, and takes hikes in a colorful skirt. And yes, her dogs adore her and even off-leash, rarely get more than a few feet aeay from her. Otto stayed with them while I was on vacation and while happy to see me again, wasn’t THRILLED to ser me again, if you know what I mean. Thank you, Pam and family, for taking good care of him for me. ...

Today’s new friends. You may have guessed I am not at home. ...

Made a new friend today. Very personable. ...

This little service dog may be overweight, arthritic, and off-leash... but I watched him walk with his Vietnam veteran owner through a crowd and never get more than 10 inches from his side. #damngooddog #thankyoubothforyourservice ...

Incredulous that no one else wants to swim at dusk in winter ...

Soaking up the sun ...

Doesn’t matter if it’s freezing or raining, he’s gonna wade ...

My friend Leonora is fostering these two young ladies. About four months old. Apparently dumped in her neighborhood. Will be available for adoption from the Northwest SPCA in a week or two. Shepherd? Maybe a little mastiff or some thing big in there? Sweet, smart, Already well mannered from just 10 days with a dog-savvy foster provider. ...

Their ears tell the tale: rain. ...

Tiny Sampson’s turn at slow-mo. #superdog ...

#nofilter The light here at this time of year is just unreal. And when this dog dies I’m going to be awfully tempted to have him stuffed. Not really. But isn’t he handsome? ...

When he fetches in tall grass he always starts with these adorable fox hops. I mimed throwing something just to catch this footage. Forgive me, Woody, it’s too cute! ...