Human Focus

Fitness Together

I confess: I have a hard time fitting in enough exercise for myself and my dog. Nothing earth-shattering about this admission; I think not getting enough exercise is a universal condition. Even though my dog and I walk daily, life and age just keep creeping up, making it harder and harder for me to stay fit. And, my high-energy herding dog seems to always need just a little more in the way of activity than I have time and energy to provide.

Beware of Dangerous Dog Laws

Anyone who has ever been bitten (or owned a dog who has been bitten) by a dog, or owned a dog who bit someone (human or canine) – or even just had a good look into a dog’s mouth! – understands that dogs have the potential to harm others. The vast majority of dogs are not dangerous. But, because of the minority who are, there are hundreds of laws, varying state by state and community by community, that attempt to define what dangerous dogs are, and address the consequences of a “dangerous dog” designation to the dogs’ owners and the dogs themselves.

Karen Pryor: Positive Training Icon

In 1985, upon publication of Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training, written by the now-famous proponent of canine clicker training, Karen Pryor, some people were confused. Was it actually a dog training book? Because it talked an awful lot about changing the behavior of humans!

Going Big

It’s incumbent on owners to make sure their large and giant breed dogs are especially well-trained, well-behaved, and well-socialized.

Dog Care When You’re Down

No one likes to think about having major surgery. The thought of being temporarily disabled is scary enough, but when you factor in caring for your dog or dogs by yourself afterward, the fears multiply. Don’t worry! The following tips will help you navigate your recovery with ease while taking care of your canine companions. (The tips can easily be applied to caring for other pets as well.)

Giving To Animal Charities

It’s that time of year again: making a list and checking it twice. Many of us include animal-related charities on our gift list. But how do you choose which ones to support? There is no shortage of good causes. Here are some guidelines for how to evaluate an organization as a potential recipient of your hard-earned dollars.

What a Waste!

The animal shelter where I often volunteer is less than a mile from a big box super store. Both are located in a low-income town in a low-income county – a rural area in northeastern California (i.e., not one of the parts of the state that you’ve heard about). Donations to the shelter are welcome, much-needed, and scarce. So, when the shelter gets a call, as it does occasionally, from a manager at that big-box store, saying that he has some dented cans of cat food or ripped bags of dog food or kitty litter that he’d like to donate to the shelter, an animal control officer is immediately dispatched to go pick up that donation, with gratitude. These donations tend to be small, but regular, and they definitely help the shelter feed and care for more animals than it would be able to otherwise.

Safe Boating with Pets

Special considerations should be taken when boating with your dog. The importance of life jackets for pets recently made headlines when a 5-year-old Pomeranian fell from his family’s boat on the Chicago River near Lake Michigan, and was missing for nearly 24 hours before turning up safe on land. For owners with dogs who love to swim, getting the dog safely back aboard the boat can be a challenge. Many owners underestimate the height difference between the surface of the water and the edge of the boat, and struggle to haul their water-logged dogs in from the water. That experience was exactly what motivated Jim Perkins of Waterdog Adventure Gear to invent his patented Wag Boarding Steps.

How to Photograph Your Dog Like A Pro!

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to our beloved canine companions, we can never have too many memories preserved in perpetuity. Like people, dogs have unique personalities. Learning to capture your dog’s attitude, spirit and charm can make the difference between a so-so photo and a memory you just have to blow up and frame. The following tips will help you take your best shot. When you want jaw-dropping photos, it never hurts to let the true professionals work their magic by scheduling a professional photo shoot for your pet.

Camera-Phone Portraits of Your Pup? There’s an App for That!

Most smart phones now feature cameras that shoot in 6-megapixels or higher, providing photos with good resolution and detail. The large screens make it easy to compose a shot without holding the camera directly up to your face, which makes some dogs shy away. (My Whippet seems to hate when I point a traditional camera at her; it’s something we’re working on. I joke that she thinks it will steal her soul.)

Excerpts From P&G Pet Care’s Animal Studies Policy

We fully support the internationally accepted principles: replacement of animal studies with non-animal alternatives, reduction in the numbers of animals involved in studies, and the refinement of methods to enhance animal welfare. We involve animals only if there is no valid non-animal option. We do not fund studies that require the loss of life of cats or dogs. We only conduct dog and cat studies that are the veterinary equivalent of nutritional or medical studies acceptable on people, including: urine, feces, blood and immune cell analysis, allergy tests, and skin and muscle biopsies.

What Sort of Pet Food “Research” Are We Talking About?

Pet food companies that are the size of Hill’s Pet Nutrition (a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive Company) and Iams and Eukanuba (both owned by Procter & Gamble Pet Care) can afford to conduct a variety of research and development studies, as well as conduct their own feeding trials to meet regulatory requirements for nutritional adequacy. The following are the types of studies that large pet food companies typically conduct.

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