Human Focus

Finding a Reliable Dog Walker

This past summer, my niece, who was home on college break, picked up a job walking her neighbor's dog. After a few outings, she contacted me because this fairly large dog she was walking had some behavioral issues and she wanted some suggestions on how to work with him. My advice to her was that this wasn't a job for a novice dog walker; after some discussion she agreed but wanted to pass along some recommendations for other walkers to the owner. Knowing this dog had special needs and not knowing anyone in the dog's area myself to recommend, I turned to my colleague Veronica Boutelle to get the inside scoop on finding a dog walker.

Professional Dog Training Titles

Not to be outdone by the veterinary profession (See Alphabet Soup

How Dogs Interpret Your Body Language

People who work successfully with dogs either have good instincts about how to interact with them, or they learn quickly. There is a real art to using body language to help a dog feel at ease with your presence. The most competent professionals make training look almost effortless, because all the messages they convey to their canine pupils are calm, clear, and consistent – and that means both the cues and rewards they use consciously, and the posture and movements they use without thinking.

Highlights from “Do As I Do” Dog Videos

Claudia Fugazza’s “Do As I Do” DVD (available from Tawzer Dog Videos, eight hours, $99,, 208-639-1321) does an excellent job of explaining her training program, and includes numerous clips of dogs learning the method at a seminar. Fugazza suggests that there are several benefits to be gained from implementing the training.

Finding The Best Animal Shelters

Adopting a homeless dog should be a joyful process, and the beginning of a rewarding relationship. I highly recommend it. But there are pitfalls. (You knew there were going to be pitfalls, didn’t you?) Not every animal rescuer, rescue group, or shelter that is well-intentioned can back up good intentions with self-discipline, genuine animal expertise, and the organizational and people skills necessary to do a good job of placements and follow-up.

A Field Guide to Ethical Breeders

look for puppies from accomplished parents.üBuy a puppy from someone who brings her up in such a way that you wish every puppy could be raised that way. Australian Cattle Dog puppies bred by Ingrid Rosenquist.üWe tried to simulate the classic puppymill puppy portrait - the kind with cute props and a pup that looks like it's never been handled before and is stunned by the process. But we couldn't get this shelter puppy to look that shellshocked!üA home visit to see the puppies (or to meet the parents before the puppies are born) is a must. Puppies should be living in a house

Dog Rehoming: When Is It the Right Decision?

the harder she will be to rehome. Dogs who are very old

Artificial Needs: Service-Dog Imposters Abound

An immaculately groomed Australian Shepherd sitting at his owner’s feet in an airplane’s bulkhead row. A yappy Malti-Poo in a shopping-cart seat at Target. A furiously wagging Lab-mix in line at the bank. If all three of these fictional Fidos were wearing vests that read “Service Dog,” you wouldn’t give them a second thought. Or would you?

Dog Games To Play if You Are Physically Impaired

How to exercise yourself at the same time you exercise your dog was the subject of Fitness Together" in the April 2013 issue of WDJ. But there are many reasons the human half of the equation may not be up for much physical exercise

How to be a “Dog Person”

If you are involved in dogs outside the four walls of your home – competing in performance events like agility or obedience, helping out with a rescue group, going to your local dog park – then, inescapably, you are involved with dog people. And no matter what the context, or how altruistic the goal, any time more than two people gather in the name of something they are passionate about, there are politics – and drama, mama.

A Look into One States’s Dangerous Dog Laws

California has a well-written, fair and comprehensive dangerous dog law. Some of most notable provisions are below (with my comments added)

Book Review: Training Your Diabetic Alert Dog

Training Your Diabetic Alert Dog is a clear, easy-to-read resource for anyone training a dog to alert to changes in blood glucose levels. It offers some general information, such as what it is like to live with a service dog, advice on choosing the right dog, and how to find a qualified trainer. The majority of the book, however, gives step-by-step training protocols with just the right amount of information. It was hard to put the book down; I found it very compelling. I wanted to know: How do you train for alerts? How does a dog learn to recognize the scent? What does the dog need to learn to be able to do night alerts or car alerts?

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The older we get, the more we need a backup plan for our dogs, in the event of our deaths.