April 2015

Be Prepared for Bee Stings

Subscribers Only — Late one summer, my sister and I were walking our dogs along a groomed trail in a state park. It was the same path we had taken the day before on our vacation camping trip, but it was such a relaxing, warm afternoon that we thought we’d enjoy it again. We had stopped to take in the scenery and watch her Labrador play in the water. My Papillon was eagerly exploring whatever was within the reach of his leash. Then, without warning, my Pap began leaping up in the air and shrieking. It was horrifying! I reached for him as he continued to jump, screeching and clearly terrified. I thought he was having a neurologic fit.   More...

Patrol Your Property For Wasps

Subscribers Only — The insects we encountered on our walk were likely yellowjacket wasps, as they are the most likely to build ground nests. It would explain why we didn’t find any stingers on our dogs. Yellowjackets, bumblebees, paper wasps, and hornets can all sting multiple times without hurting themselves. A honey-bee stinger, however, remains in the victim’s skin, tearing out of the bee’s body when it flies away, and causing its death a short time later.   More...

Train to "Find It!" to Replace Bad Behaviors

Subscribers Only — Find It is the very first behavior every dog should learn, in my opinion. It’s versatile, easy to teach, easy to do, easy to maintain, and can be used under all kinds of circumstances in all kinds of places. It’s not on the list of traditional basic obedience skills like Sit, Down, Stay, and Come, yet we can probably get more mileage out of Find It than any other behavior.   More...

Unsticking Myths About Dogs

Subscribers Only — So-called “sticky” ideas are concepts that grab our imaginations, pass quickly from one person to the next, and are easily remembered – but they aren’t necessarily true. Advertising executives constantly search for sticky ideas to use in product-marketing campaigns in order to hook customers and increase product recognition and sales. When the idea is good and true, stickiness is a wonderful thing. When the concept is false, stickiness can be very destructive.   More...

10 Ways to Make Your Old Dog Comfortable

Sometimes we don’t want to admit our dog is aging. We ignore the graying muzzle and scoff at the idea of a “senior dog food.” After all, we’re both still running and playing and having fun . . . who’s old? But the truth of the matter is that the best thing we can do for our dogs and for ourselves is look aging right in the face. We need to become highly tuned to the subtle changes in our dog’s behavior and receptive to ways to improve his life – and ours.   More...

That All-Important Wellness Visit

While we know you don’t want to hear it, your senior dog needs a twice-yearly veterinary well-visit. “There are many health issues that can be treated if detected early,” Dr. Taylor says. Yes, vet visits are expensive and have the potential to get even more costly. But early detection is the most cost efficient and safest for your dog. If money is a concern, discuss financial matters with your veterinarian at the start. Most veterinarians will work with you.   More...

How to Prevent Injury to Your Exuberantly Active Dog

Subscribers Only — If you’ve ever had little two-leggers in your life, you know that they are issued along with new lenses for the frames of your formerly rose-colored glasses; once you are responsible for a child’s very survival, every object in her environment is assessed through safety lenses for its ability to inflict harm, from the vertigo-inducing monkey bars at the playground to the toxic stew of cleaning products under your kitchen sink.   More...

High Pressure Processing in Raw Dog Food

Were you aware that, according to Federal law, it’s okay for a certain percentage of the chicken you buy in the supermarket to contain some Salmonella bacteria? The legally acceptable amount depends on the kind of chicken we’re talking about; if we’re talking about whole raw broiler chickens, up to 9.8 percent could be infected, but if we’re considering raw chicken parts, the number is even higher. In fact, up to 15.4 percent of the raw chicken parts may contain that pathogenic bacteria, without setting off any sort of recall or hysteria. In contrast, even a single positive test for Salmonella in raw dog food triggers a recall and headlines and a certain amount of hysteria among dog owners. What gives?   More...

Striving to Stay Positive (in Dog Training)

Did you know there are still “Nazis” fighting a war? Supposedly, the war is in the dog world, and it’s being fought for the hearts and minds of dog owners over training methods. Apparently, the Nazis – they are scornfully referred to as “Pozzie Nazis” – are on one side, and people who call themselves “balanced” – but who are derided as “brute force trainers” – are on the other. Well, folks, call us Switzerland, because we just won’t fight. Give peace a chance, shall we?   More...