Spring is here and so is shedding season! Suddenly, every carpet in the house is woven with dog hair. Otto has what can be best described as a “combination coat” (I just made that up). Much of his outer coat is made up of long, stiff, straight hair – resembling that from a German Shepherd, or maybe a Labrador – that seems to wriggle into the carpet pattern itself. My vacuum is helpless in the face of this hair. Admittedly, it’s not a great vacuum, so cleaning the few carpets we have has turned into aerobic exercise. Quite some time ago, Black & Decker sent me a new DustBuster (handheld power vacuum) to try. This one is the “Retriever Pet Series Cyclonic Action,” and it plugs in; it’s powerful, unlike wimpy cordless models I’ve owned in my past. Used with its “turbo brush” (spinning rubber bristles) attachment, it’s fantastic at getting pet hair off our couch. But with an approximately three-inch intake, it’s not useful for cleaning entire carpets. My sister Pam has been telling me I absolutely have to get the same vacuum she recently bought: A Dyson “Animal.” She has three small white dogs and swears that she had enough hair to make another, larger dog out of the stuff that the new vacuum cleaned up on its inaugural tour through her house. “I had forgotten what a dark color my couches actually were!” she reported, incredulous. “And my rugs are beautiful!”
Thinking of getting a new dog? Chances are you're inundated with well-intentioned advice from every friend, family member, and canine professional you know about where to go and who to avoid in your quest to find your next canine pal. You may also feel the added burden of finding the right dog - one who will be as close to perfect as caninely possible. It's an awesome challenge. Many years ago, I was living on my own for the first time, and missed having a dog in my life. I went on a Collie search, and soon answered an ad in the paper for Marty's Pride, a tri-color Rough Collie whose owner had gone off to college. Marty was near canine-perfect: the first dog I showed in AKC obedience competition (he earned his Companion Dog title in three trials with scores of 194.5, 196, and 197), and the first dog I ever owned who died of old age. He was also the last dog I deliberately went looking to adopt. Since then my selections have been much more serendipitous. My husband and I tend to adopt the dogs who find us, or we trip over them at the shelter and bring them home. I realize that we're the exception, not the rule. Most people make more deliberate decisions than we do about the kind of dog they want, and where to find him - or her. Those decisions, although deliberate, are not always wise. I'm constantly amazed by the number of clients in my behavior consultation practice who thought they were making well-educated, well-researched decisions about the acquisition of their new four-legged family member, and ended up with something vastly different from what they expected. So how do you make an educated, responsible decision about selecting your next dog?
Say the words animal shelter" to 10 different people and you're likely to get 10 different reactions - from a warm
Imagine a world where no dog is ever euthanized for being homeless. Where there are more homes than dogs, and lists of potential adopters are maintained at every possible dog-adoption-source, with families and individuals anxiously awaiting the next available canine. Where every dog is treasured, and the thought of rehoming" one of these wonderful
I have had a number of dogs over the years, but Otto is actually the very first dog that I’ve gotten as a co-owner. A former boyfriend paid the $40 or $50 that a Bodega, California, sheep rancher wanted for my heart/soul dog, Rupert, way back in 1989, but the puppy was a birthday present for me; Rupe was always my dog. He stuck close by my side through the breakup of that relationship and the next few, too. When Brian (the man who later became my husband) came on the scene, he and Rupert formed a bond, but still, Rupe was mine. Later, a summer of dog-sitting my sister Sue’s long-haired Chihuahua, Mokie, turned into a several-year stay. Mokie has since gone on to live with my sister Pam, who won’t ever give him up; Brian was more than happy when I did so. He tolerated Mokie, but never fully embraced the idea of a yappy little house-dog, no matter how smart and cute. So, while Brian and I have shared a home since 1996, we have never truly shared full ownership of a dog, like we do now. I selected Otto from a shelter, but Brian was the one who gave the signal that it was time for us to get a dog. When Brian and I got married, I kept my own last name, but Brian wanted to be sure that Otto took his surname, and even made sure the dog’s full name (“Otto Maddock”) was engraved on his ID tag. And Brian has been a real champ about sharing dog-care duties with me.
So, we have a new dog! I’m soooo happy! And while it’s been really time-consuming to properly integrate a new dog into our household, it’s also been incredibly rewarding, interesting . . . and inspiring! Inspiring to have a fresh opportunity to experience many of the things we talk about in WDJ – with a sense of urgency and immediacy I haven’t had for quite some time! Just in our first few days I was thinking hard about things like potty training, how to deal with dogs who are not food-motivated, finding a good vet, vaccination, parasite control (fleas, ticks, heartworm), introducing dogs to cats, barking, leash manners, the best food, itchy skin, digging (as you’ll see on page 18), no-slip collars, dogs who are uncomfortable indoors, quiet clickers, and much more.
You've adopted a new adult dog into your family. Congratulations! As you search for information to help you help your new furry family member adjust to this difficult transition in his life (change is hard!), you may discover that there are lots of resources for new puppy owners, but for new adult-dog owners, not so much. Where do you begin? We've compiled a list of suggestions to help make life with your new dog easier for all concerned. His first few weeks with you set the tone for your lifelong relationship. If you follow these time-tested protocols, you're more likely to experience smooth sailing - or at least smoother sailing - with your recycled Rover, who may arrive at your door with some baggage from his prior life experiences. We hope you've made wise plans and decisions before your new canine pal sets paws through your door for the first time. But even if he's already camped out on your sofa, it's not too late to play catch-up with many of the suggestions that follow.
The nine-year-old Golden Retriever was a mess. Her nails were so long, they curved around and made walking difficult, her coat was filthy, and her ears were so badly infected that her veterinarian recommended surgery. Now she was being given up for adoption. Would anyone want her? The odds were against it, but herefs a holistic makeover story in which an old dog gets a new name, a new look, a new home, and an exciting new life. It also serves as a model for an ideal adoption and rehabilitation of an older dog.
If your dog is reactive to other dogs but you are thinking about getting another dog anyway, read the following for both a sober warning as well as cautious encouragement. It’s a wonderful case of a seriously dog-reactive dog improving enough to be able to live with another dog – but it took tons of the kinds of work described by Pat Miller in the previous article to get there, and the dog’s training and mangement is ongoing.
Adopting a new dog is exciting, wonderful, and a happy time. But bringing a new dog home is also an uncertain time. What will your dog be like? Will he be a good match for your family? Will he be everything you hoped for? Bringing a new dog into the home can also, quite frankly, be a rather shocking time for you and your family. Suddenly your life will be compounded by the energy and needs of the new family member. Everyone will go through an adjustment – dogs and people alike. What can you do to ensure that you and your new dog will settle into a long happy life together?
If you’re like most dog lovers, sooner or later you’ll find yourself rescuing a stray dog. If she’s lucky, the dog will be wearing a tag with current owner information, and all you will have to do is make a quick phone call so the owners can come retrieve her. All too often, however, there are no tags, and you must decide what to do with the foundling. You have several options...
Many animal lovers in this country are aware of an epidemic that’s affecting our companion dogs and cats. There’s no easy cure; at best we can apply palliative measures. The epidemic? Rampant homelessness. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year – and fully half of them are euthanized because they run out of time or are not considered adoptable.