Editorial

Raised Right

About half of the litter of nine puppies that I have been fostering for my local shelter got altered and adopted this week; the...

Signs of Progress

I got a little whiny in one of my blog posts recently. I was feeling a little depressed by my latest foster project: a mixed-breed mama and her nine teeny puppies. They were surrendered to my local shelter in sad shape: thin, infected with coccidia, and infested with fleas. The mom knows absolutely not one cue, not even sit

Sorry, It’s Personal

One of our newest contributing authors is a veterinarian who practiced emergency medicine for more than nine years. She's been the impetus for our recent rash of articles about various ways to prevent canine health emergencies, and how to behave if you, despite your best efforts, end up dealing with one anyway. (Speaking of rashes – perhaps I should ask Dr. Ashe to write about that?)

Isolation Distress in Dogs All Too Common

I know I've hit a spot that's going to be sensitive for some of WDJ's readers when my copy editor sends an article back to me covered with personal comments mixed in with the grammatical and typographical corrections she's supposed to be making. But in the case of trainer Nancy Tucker's article in this issue, even as she was writing it, the author herself expressed concerns that the piece might be upsetting for some people to read.

Biddable Dogs or Trainable Dogs?

I had an interesting conversation with a trainer friend the other day. She had gone to meet a breeder she had never met before, as a potential buyer of a puppy from a future litter. She told me about a little glitch in their conversation that she couldn't stop thinking about.

Greetings, Friends

When we are out in public, I am pretty confident in Woody's ability to pass as a well-trained, well-behaved dog. But when I was driving with him toward meeting a dog trainer whom I respect but have never met, I found myself feeling anxious. I should probably warn her about Woody's predilection for walking through people's legs, I thought; it's a tad alarming when he dives between someone's thighs, even though he's always wagging his whole body when he does this. Short people and kids sometimes get lifted off the ground for a moment; it's his special way of saying hi!

Dog Food: Marketing or Substance?

The latest trend in pet food has to do with ingredient provenance. Over the past year, a number of the companies who make some of the most expensive foods on our approved foods" lists are making strong claims about their ingredients. It's not enough to promote "All ingredients from North America

Quiet Time

We have been living in the historic downtown of this Gold Rush-era town for the past 11 years. There have been some wonderful benefits of living in an old neighborhood in a cute, old small town. I could go out my front gate with my dogs and walk four blocks to a paved trail alongside the Feather River, which flows right through town. The historic center of Oroville is a bit like a ghost town at night; there are no businesses, not even bars, that stay open past 10 p.m., so on hot summer nights, the dogs could safely walk with me off-leash downtown. When I'm on deadline and don't have time to take Woody out for a miles-long hike to wear him down, I often walk him at night to a grassy area that surrounds some government buildings downtown (two blocks from my house!), to play fetch with a glow-in-the-dark ball.

Train Without Pain

The problem is, many dog owners have little understanding of animal behavior or training, poor animal behavior-observation skills, and bad timing. When you put a tool that works by causing pain in their hands, the result is often poor. Those who consistently hurt sensitive dogs or inadvertently punish dogs when they are doing the right thing are likely to produce dogs who resent and/or fear their handlers and/or walking on leash. Handlers who are uncomfortable with or not strong enough to hurt their dogs with these tools almost always end up with dogs who continue to display deplorable behavior on leash – those dogs who just pull right through the discomfort of a tight, choking or pinching collar – but who are also now stressed and anxious about this continual discomfort.

Switch Your Dog’s Food Up

I almost never feed my dogs the same food from bag to bag or can to can. I switch foods constantly, rotating among brands, varieties within brands, and forms of food (wet, dry, frozen, dehydrated, home-prepared). All the foods I feed are good ones, I tell my friends and acquaintances; I would never feed just one!

Panacea or Poison?

Many people use the phrase holistic healthcare" when they

Sure to Help

I had an epiphany when my adolescent Lab/pit-mix, Woody, swallowed a small tennis ball (after 6 on a Friday night, no less): Such an exuberant, athletic, and spontaneous dog needs insurance. And Otto, my scruffy heart-dog does, too. He's a big dog and closing in on 10 years old, an age that prompts concerns about things like cancer.

Latest Blog

Finding the Perfect Dogs for Friends

My young adult son lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his girlfriend, a couple of roommates, and his all-black Black and...