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Lifelong Learning for You and Your Dog

“Why are you taking an agility class? Isn’t Otto agile enough?” That’s my husband’s question. Otto is plenty agile; I am much less so. But that’s not why Otto and I are taking an agility class.

Celebrate life!

I attended a unique canine-related event yesterday, and while I was initially reluctant to go, I’m really glad I did. An acquaintance, not someone I know well, was holding a “celebration of life” for her Boxer, Dempsey, who has terminal cancer. She knows it’s just a matter of time before she has to put her very special dog to sleep.

Risk of Salmonella: What Worries Me is Not What Worries Them

I took a quick look at a list of animal-related products that were recalled in the past year due to Salmonella contamination. (I happened to be looking at the one on the website for the American Veterinary Medical Association (avma.org); its list is based on information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration”s Center for Veterinary Medicine (fda.gov/cvm)).

Shelter Sadness

I spent a half day at my local shelter recently, working with a half-dozen large, adolescent dogs who have been languishing there for two or more months. Not one of these dogs knew the cue “sit” but they were friendly and healthy and in need of homes.

A Must-Read for Pet Owners: Speaking for Spot

I recommended this book to Whole Dog Journal’s readers more than a year ago. I’m recommending it again, for anyone who missed it the first time. The subtitle of the book is “Be the Advocate your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life.” You see, Dr. Kay, a highly trained veterinarian and specialist in veterinary internal medicine, feels that owners are the most important member of their pets’ healthcare team – the team captain, as it were.

Vacuum of a Pet Owner’s Dreams

So, two days before my birthday, a large box, addressed to me (not The Whole Dog Journal) is delivered to my front door. It’s been sent from an “expediting” company; there is no return address or name of the person who sent it to me. It’s a vacuum – actually, it’s THE vacuum, the one that’s been lurking on my internet searches and Amazon.com wish list: The Dyson Animal DC 23.

When Too Many Is Too Much: A Hoarder in My Neighborhood

My neighbor’s house was condemned this week, declared a public health threat. Unbeknownst to the rest of us, she’d been hoarding animals. It made no sense. How could none of us know? How could it happen “here” in our bucolic neighborhood—a rural, picturesque area with large upscale homes surrounded by pastureland and horse farms?

Forcing a Dog to Deal With His Fear is a Big Mistake

A problem behavior might tempt some owners into using force. But that’s a zero sum solution. I think I’ve mentioned before that my dog, Otto, is nervous about slippery floors. That’s why I don’t bother bringing him into pet supply stores, a little field trip that many other owners enjoy with their dogs.

Learning how to teach a puppy class has taught me this: Learning can be...

I’ve been trying something new lately (teaching a single puppy kindergarten class, under the supervision of a much more experienced trainer) and one night, I felt like I did a poor job. I was beating myself up about it afterward, when my trainer friend, very mildly agreed with my self-assessment. If I was a dog, in terms of a “correction,” it was maybe equivalent of a squinty expression or a soft word in a disappointed tone from the handler – most dogs wouldn’t even notice it!

Was Your Dog Sprayed by a Skunk? Here’s How To Get That Smell Out!

Skunks, skunks, skunks! Half a dozen of my friends have reported skunk/dog encounters in the past WEEK! These usually happen late at night, when the dog goes out for his last potty of the night before bedtime . . . and suddenly the whole family is wide, wide awake and facing an odoriferous emergency. What to do?

What I Did When a Friend’s Dog Jumped on Me

There are times I don’t want a dog to jump on me – my dog, or anybody’s! And it brings up an awkward thing: what is the proper etiquette about being around a friend’s dog who is naughty?

How Dog Fostering Can Break Your Heart!

Knowing that I’m in and out of my local shelter, a friend of my husband asked me to keep my eyes peeled for a “cute little dog for a cute little girl” – his five-year-old daughter. I spotted a great candidate, and brought her home to foster her until I could evaluate whether she would be appropriate for a family with young children.

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