October 2015

4 Ways to Be a Better Dog Owner

While it may be difficult for us to imagine or remember, many people aren’t comfortable around dogs. For those people, behaviors that dog lovers find charming might be seen as an assault! Even among dog lovers, opinions vary widely when it comes to the behaviors that we find acceptable from our own and other people’s dogs.   More...

What is “Proper Socialization”—and How Do You Make Sure Your Puppy Gets It?

Subscribers Only — In 2008, the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior (AVSAB) released a statement affirming that puppy socialization is a critically important tool in the development of a behaviorally normal dog. The organization also confirmed that the risk of a puppy contracting a serious or fatal disease during proper socialization efforts is far less than the risk of a dog later being given up or euthanized due to behavior problems that developed as a result of a lack of socialization. This is an absolutely critical accomplishment for your dog.   More...

How to Prevent Your Dog From Developing Periodontal Disease and Cracked Teeth

Over the millennia that humans and dogs have kept company, we’ve evolved plenty of myths about our four-footed friends—most of them flat wrong. Consider, for instance, the belief that feeding a dog raw meat will make him vicious. (Vicious, no. Longer lived, maybe.) Or, that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. (Sure you can, especially with a clicker.) And, of course, there’s this chestnut, always a dubious comfort after you’ve been munched on by a strange canine: A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.   More...

Inventive Alternatives to a Dog Bowl

Subscribers Only — Like us, our dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation. As a trainer, I see many clients who focus on physical exercise, but don’t always consider the benefits of mental stimulation—what I call brain-work. One easy way to add in a bit of brain-work is to get rid of your dog’s food bowl and replace it with other fun feeding options. I’m always so excited to share with my clients how fun and effective it can be to ditch the dish! Yes, that’s right: Throw that traditional food bowl into the trash and get going with creative feeding.   More...

Why All Dog Diets Should Meet AAFCO Nutrient Guidelines

The long-term goal of this column is to teach interested dog owners how to formulate safe and wholesome “complete and balanced” home-prepared diets for their dogs. We will eventually cover raw and cooked diets, diets that use raw bone as a calcium source, and diets that use other sources of calcium, as well as diets that contain grain and diets that are grain-free. The one thing that all of these diets will have in common is that they will all be “complete and balanced” as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).   More...

Debunking the Dog's "Guilty Look" Myth

I just talked to a potential client who is interested in bringing his 7-month-old Golden Doodle to train with us at AutumnGold. His dog, Penny, has the usual young dog issues - jumping up, a bit of nipping during play, still the occasional slip in house training, etc. Penny also raids the kitchen garbage bin, removing and shredding food wrappers, napkins, and any other paper goodies that she can find. The owner tells me that he is particularly upset about this last behavior because he is certain that Penny “knows she has done wrong”. He knows this because . . . wait for it . . . “Penny always looks guilty when he confronts her after the dreaded act."   More...

Help With Door-Crazy Dogs

Subscribers Only — In my capacity as a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, I sometimes need to delve deeper into the creativity well to help a client solve a particularly difficult behaviour problem. This is actually an element of my work that I love. I enjoy puzzles and brainstorming and engineering custom-made training plans.   More...

Letters From Readers: October 2015

I just finished reading your pet insurance article in the September 2015 issue and have to agree how important pet insurance is to have. We just lost our precious little Beagle, Rascal, to meningeal encephalitis at 101/2 years old – a horrible thing to see your pet go through. We were willing to do everything we could to save him. Rascal started “circling” and we went to our vet, who sent us to a neurologist at a veterinary specialty and emergency clinic that is out of town. We paid more than $4,800 there, for the neurologist, MRIs, blood work, spinal tap, and overnight care. We went home with a bag of medicines and low hopes of saving him.   More...

Extended Ed

See the photo? That’s the house where my office is located. I use two rooms downstairs, and my husband and I usually rent the bedrooms upstairs to students at a local trade school. Only, recently, we’ve had some family members—and more recently, a family friend and her two dogs—in crisis and in need of a dog-friendly place to live. So, the owner of that dog on the roof—see the dog on the roof?—needed a place to stay, and not just any place, when you have a dog like that.   More...