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Staying on the Trail

Usually, I can count on my dog, Otto, being one of the best-behaved and best-trained dogs in the pack when I go out for off-leash hikes with friends and their dogs. When we hike solo, I keep the walk lively by frequently asking him to do “trail agility” – jumping over logs, jumping up on boulders, and even running through culverts. I also frequently ask him to perform spontaneous recalls; he can expect to be asked to do one at any moment, and he enjoys the game. His recalls are impeccable. All of this solo training really pays off when we walk with friends and their dogs are all over the place.

Super Bowl Ads Staring Canine Actors

Last week on our Facebook page we posted links for Volkswagen’s two Super Bowl commercials featuring talented canine actors. Dogs are almost always popular in Super Bowl ads – but there are potential hazards to the advertiser if the dogs or their depictions are not handled with sensitivity. Last night, shoe makers Skechers premiered a commercial that featured Greyhound racing – not something most dog lovers want to see, even if it includes a comical and darling French Bulldog wearing tiny Skechers who wins the race, moonwalking across the finish line. Comedy or not, media reports say Skechers is taking heat about the racing Greyhounds.

What Do You Do With Jealous Pets?

A year ago, the only pets in my house were Otto and my ancient cat, Shadow; she passed away last summer, in the middle of an invasion of new pets. A niece’s dog, a Chihuahua we call Tito has come to live with us indefinitely, and we kept the last two kittens of a litter we rescued from abandonment by a former neighbor. So, now there are two adolescent cats and two dogs fighting for petting and lap time.

Rain Dogs

I can’t complain in any way about the rain. We’ve had a freakishly dry winter so far; the last rain we had, until just a few days ago, was around Thanksgiving. But it’s pouring now and has been, on and off for a few days. Which impacts the dogs’ daily plans and our exercise schedules. My dogs are used to spending anywhere from two to five or so hours outside during the day (ever since Tito the Chihuahua moved in with us, and Tito sleeps indoors, Otto has decided that sleeping indoors every night is for him, too). They patrol for stray cats and UPS drivers, they investigate all alarms sounded by the neighbor dogs and our three hens, they keep a sharp eye peeled for their friend Max, who walks by with his owners once or twice a day and visits through the fence, they doze in the sun (if there is any), and they accompany my husband on his travels from our back door to the door to his office, about 40 feet away.

1,100 Pounds of Premium Dog Food Donated to Northwest SPCA

Thanks to the companies who sent samples for WDJ’s annual dry dog food review. Since 1998, the Whole Dog Journal has published a review of dry dog food in its February issue. This timing causes some difficulties, as I need to receive samples and literature about pet food companies and their products during the holiday season in order to complete the review in time to be printed in the February issue. Lots of company employees take annual vacations at this time, and they or their replacements are difficult to reach.

Novartis Suspends Production of Interceptor and Sentinel

It seems like every time I turn around these days, I hear about another drug shortage (more on that topic in an upcoming WDJ article). This time, it's Novartis Animal Health announcing in late December that it has suspended production of Interceptor, Sentinel, and other drugs while its manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Nebraska, undergoes voluntary" improvements. Numerous human and animal over-the-counter drugs are manufactured at this plant. According to reports

It’s Always Tick Season Somewhere…

And it’s peak tick season where I live right now. The ticks are so bad in some of the areas where I typically walk Otto and Tito (formerly Peanut) that I just have to avoid those trails for a few months. Otherwise, even with the dogs wearing a fresh application of Advantix and me spending a feverish hour when we get home going over them with a fine-toothed comb (literally – I use a flea comb), I end up finding one or two latched onto Otto, engorged with blood. It’s always Otto, too; Tito is small and his coat is short; I can find even the tiny deer ticks on him easily. But Otto is large and his coat is thick and wiry; the ticks can hide from even my flea comb rather easily.

Photos and Updates are the Best Part of an Online Community

You can ask the powers-that-be at our publishing headquarters: I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to posting on Facebook and writing blog posts. But one thing keeps me coming back to check the blog and the WDJ Facebook page: I really enjoy seeing posts that show or describe the progress that our readers have made with their dogs.

Rabies is Still a Deadly Threat

Headline news over the weekend: South Caroline woman contracts rabies; first human case in that state in 50 years. This comes on the heels of hearing news from East Coast animal shelters that they’ve been seeing cases of rabies in cats. All in all, pretty alarming news. Today and in the U.S., most people take it for granted that rabies is a distant, old-timey threat, sort of like smallpox. But rabies has not been eradicated – far from it. It’s still common in wildlife, and a threat to any unvaccinated mammal who comes into contact with an infected species.

Holiday Wishes

If you could have ONE holiday wish granted that would benefit your dog or dogs, what would it be? If you could have ONE holiday wish granted that would benefit all dogs, what would that be? I’ll go first: For my dog Otto, I’d wish that an agility club, fully outfitted with obstacles and populated by fun dog people, started in my town.

Make a Gift of Your Dog-Friendly Recommendations

What if all of my dog-loving friends and relatives sent each other a “gift” of a list of beloved and trusted dog professionals with whom they’ve had personal experience? If someone sent me such a list, you can bet I’d post it on the wall near my computer, just in case I needed a referral for a good emergency clinic, rehabilitation practitioner, acupuncturist, nutrition expert, cardiologist – whatever! My friends contain a wealth of information; why not mine them for that information before I even need it (like now)?

A Dilemma – An Appointment vs. A Roadside Puppy Seller

On Saturday afternoon, I was driving to meet a friend for a hike with our dogs. (She has two and so do I). I was running a few minutes late. I was on the busiest thoroughfare in town when I saw a truck parked on a wide pullout on the other side of the street with a large hand-painted sign on the side: “Golden Retriever puppies for sale, with a phone number.” There were several large dog crates in the back of the truck and I could see (as I slowed as much as I could without getting rear-ended) that there were at least a half a dozen pups in the crates.

Latest Blog

Dogs in Restaurants: Yay! Or Nay?

I’m generally a fan of places or experiences that dog owners can enjoy with their well behaved dogs—but not so much when it’s with other people’s unruly, reactive, or loud dogs. Couple any of that with owners who make no effort to limit their dogs’ intrusion into other people’s space or hampering wait-staff, and any progress that has been made to include dogs goes out the window.