September 2016

The Cues Our Dogs Learn All By Themselves

Subscribers Only — Great job to all of you amateur and professional dog trainers! Developing these skills in our dogs takes – first and foremost – an owner who is interacting with her dog and paying attention to what the dog “says” in the conversation. That’s the very foundation of a good relationship between two individuals of any species! The following are some of my favorite submissions from among the hundreds that Whole Dog Journal subscribers sent in – including one selected at random to win one of my books! We had to make a random selection; there were too many great submissions to choose “the best” one!   More...

A New Great Dog Treat Bag

Subscribers Only — The Ollydog Treat Bag Pro is a dog treat bag, or bait bag, that is big enough to hold enough treats for more than one dog on a long hike, making it ideal for both professional trainers or people walking with several dogs. And yet, it’s not as unwieldy or as heavy as the next-deepest bag we reviewed (Doggone Good’s Rapid Rewards Pouch). The magnet that closes this main pouch is strong enough to prevent the treats from bouncing out of the bag, even if you run while wearing it – or to prevent a naughty dog from sticking his nose into the bag, helping himself to treats – but is not so strong as to necessitate the use of two hands in order to get to the treats.   More...

Why We Don’t Recommend Electric Fences (Shock Collars)

Invisible fence companies, other shock-collar companies, and trainers who use shock tools, have done a very good job of convincing many dog owners that these tools are effective and harmless, using deceptive terms such as “stimulate,” “tickle,” “e-touch,” and “electronic” to disguise the true nature of the shock. Incredibly, some even claim that they are using positive reinforcement when they use shock.   More...

Why (and How) Dogs Escape Fences

Subscribers Only — The risks for a free-roaming dog are legion, including, but not limited to: getting hit by a car, shot by an irate neighbor or a police officer protecting public safety, attacking or being attacked by other animals, being picked up by animal control, or simply vanishing, never to be seen again. Yet some dogs seem hell-bent on escaping – doing everything they can think of to get over, under, around, or through their humans’ containment strategies. What do you do when you have a dog who is dedicated to escaping his yard?   More...

"The Dog is Throwing Up!": Your Guide to All Things Dog Vomit

When dogs feel nauseated and are about to throw up, they often drool, lick their lips, swallow excessively, and stand head down looking worried. Many dogs look for or turn to their owners when they’re about to vomit, which can signal alert caregivers to move their pets to a better location! In time you might be able to train your dog to throw up where it does the least damage.   More...

Is Our Dogs' Behavior Genetic?

We can prioritize giving dogs as solid a genetic background as possible. Temperament should be the highest priority in breeding, closely followed by physical health. Animals with questionable temperaments should not be allowed to pass on behavioral problems, either through their genes, through stress hormones in the uterus, or through modeling fearful behavior to their puppies in early life. Temperament is more important than preserving stellar conformation or spectacular performance; in fact, in breeds with small gene pools, bringing in genetic diversity from outside the breed is preferable to breeding dogs with questionable temperaments.   More...

Retained Testicles Can Be Dangerous for Dogs

Subscribers Only — How does it happen that testicular descent fails to occur in some cases? As the canine fetus develops, the testicles are formed in the abdomen, near the kidneys. Usually, as the puppy grows – initially, in utero, and then, after his birth – his testicles are gradually pulled from the abdomen, through the inguinal canal (a passageway through the abdominal wall), and into the scrotum by the gubernaculum, a ligamentous cord connecting the testes to the scrotum.   More...

Inside SuperZoo 2016

For three days, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (well, 3 p.m. on the third day; the show closed early on the last day), I walked up and down the aisles, stopping briefly at booths that had products that I thought WDJ readers might be interested in: food, of course, but also gear for the training, health maintenance, and comfort of our beloved dogs. I picked up catalogs and fliers that described new products, I had ever-so-brief conversations with the company representatives in about a quarter of the booths I visited . . . and in the final minutes of the show, I discovered (to my dismay) that there were still aisles I hadn’t explored.   More...