It’s true that dogs like Australian Shepherds, a breed commonly referred to as “high drive” and thought of as “needing to work,” enjoy hard exercise. But while I believe that every dog benefits from having a job, I think less work is better for these especially smart, active, and sensitive individuals, particularly in their first three years. In my opinion, it’s far more valuable to teach dogs like this to settle themselves, instead of trying to physically exhaust them. And forget about employing the “forced settle” method – an oxymoron that leaves the dog no choice in the matter and often exacerbates the dog’s so-called hyperactivity.
Those of us who struggle with allergies of any type can thank our immune system for its tendency to over-react to certain perfectly harmless things in the environment. In the case of an allergic reaction to dogs, the body is reacting to harmless proteins in the dog’s urine, saliva, or dander.
It’s hard to say which is worse: running your hand over your dog and brushing against an attached tick, or seeing a tick skitter across your dog’s face. Either way, the unwelcome arachnid must go. What should you do?
It’s an inescapable fact that quality pet foods cost money – and the highest quality dry dog foods cost a lot of money. As much as we may want to buy “the best” food for our dogs, most of us have a budget – unique to each of us, based on our financial status, the size and number of dogs we own, and perhaps even our relationship with our dogs – to which we will respond, “No, forget it; that’s too much.” So how much does a good dog food cost, and how do we find the happy medium between nourishing ingredients and an affordable price tag?
Dog body language can be quite difficult to read, so it’s important to consider the context when interpreting behavior. Not only do you need to consider the environment (for example, dogs will pant when they’re hot, but also when they’re stressed), you also need to look at all of the body parts together. Although many people attempt to correlate each type of movement with a specific emotion, the easier approach is simply to compare the overall pictures of a distressed dog to a happy dog.
Dogs sometimes don’t do what we ask them to do. Annoyed, we might repeat a cue several times – louder and a little more sternly each time – usually with very little effect. “Fido, come here. Fido. Come. FIDO. I said here! COME! I mean it!” We all do it. I once heard someone threaten to count to three – or else! (It didn’t work.) Often, the dog is then labeled as “stubborn.” It’s easy to think that’s the reason he “won’t listen.” I get it. It does kind of look like your dog is blowing you off.
Traditionally, dog trainers have spent little or no energy considering a dog’s emotions when training or changing behavior; indeed, trainers or owners who did talk about emotions were often ridiculed and accused of anthropomorphizing. But when emotions are driving behavior, a dog cannot simply choose to stop doing the behavior without ramifications. The reality is that animals (including people) are quite often not rational actors. If that sounds counterintuitive to you and you believe that behavior is largely chosen rather than the result of emotional experiences, perhaps a few examples will help you understand.
A healthy microbiome destroys harmful pathogens, including disease-causing viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. As a result, the microbiome is the immune system’s first line of defense. Differences in microbiomes help explain why some dogs exposed to diseases like parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, canine flu, heartworm, or kennel cough get sick while others remain symptom-free.
Dog parks are lifesavers for the owners of dogs who need extra exercise and outdoor stimulation in order to be able to relax and behave well at home. But well-enforced dog park etiquette is a rare thing, so what happens when badly behaved dogs at dog parks start influencing your dog? Taking your dog to the dog park for the first time should warrant caution; even securely fenced parks hold risks simply because they involve lots of strange, unleashed dogs. How do you know if you should try your local dog park? Just as with so many other dog training and behavior questions, it depends!
There are many different ways of feeding dogs – commercially prepared dry, wet, semi-moist, freeze-dried, and frozen options, as well as home-prepared diets that are cooked or raw, including both BARF (bones and raw food) and prey-model methods. Because feeding can evoke a strong emotional response in the human who fills the food bowl – in our world, food is love, after all – our reflexive response is often to assume that the way we currently feed is the best way.
The most successful dog parks have rules – and people who enforce them. Registration and numbered armbands make it easier to identify rule-breakers, which helps with enforcement. Here are some suggested rules for dog parks, which you should feel free to share with your community.
What is digestibility and why does it matter? Digestibility reflects a food’s ability to deliver essential nutrients to the dog who eats it. This ultimately affects not only defecation quantity and quality (how much your dog poops and how the poop looks and smells), and a dog’s propensity for flatulence (no explanation needed), but more importantly, a dog’s long-term health and wellness. The graphic on this page summarizes how digestibility is measured using feeding trials with dogs.
When it comes to our own needs, we’re pretty boring shoppers. But send us into a good independent pet supply store, and we might not come out for an hour – with a store employee helping us carry stuff we just had to try out. Hunting for unique, attractive, fun, and/or useful dog gear is so much more satisfying than shopping for anything else! We found many of the following items at pet product trade shows, and the rest in our favorite pet supply stores. We hope you enjoy them as much as our dogs have been!
Lotus is another company we love. They make only a few foods, but with ingredients they source close to the cannery they built and operate themselves. They invited us to come and watch them make canned food and allowed us to take as many photos as we liked, of anything we saw. We love transparency!
What type of collar should your dog wear? It depends on your dog, your personal taste, and your training goals, philosophies, and needs. But from our force-free perspective, there are some types of collars we wholeheartedly endorse, some we support with caution, and some that we regard as unnecessary and risky.