August 2017

Support Group

Thanks very much for the many compassionate messages of support and sympathy for the tragic loss of Tito and my former foster dog, Ruby. Many readers commented on the post I wrote on the Whole Dog Journal blog page about the incidents that led to the dogs’ deaths (one as a result of injuries, and one by euthanasia) – and many readers told their own heartbreaking stories dog-aggressive dogs that they loved and tried to rehabilitate.   More...

The "Art" of Euthanasia

In more than 30 years as a veterinarian, I have heard of a number of accounts similar to Jill Breitner's pet euthanasia horror stories. In my career, though, I have dedicated my practice to using only low-stress techniques, especially at the end of life. This is the art of euthanasia.   More...

Pet Euthanasia Gone Wrong

When the vet injected the drug into the muscle of Yogi’s hind leg, my cat screamed the loudest meow I’ve ever heard and, with a power he hadn’t displayed in years, thrust himself backward almost off the end of the table. The vet said, “You can let him go.” What?! I heard the words but my protective instinct kicked in; I was not going to let my frail friend crash to the floor! I was able to prevent him from falling off the table, but then he launched himself forward and upward out of my arms, flailing toward the wall. The vet and the tech stepped away from Yogi, as I flew to the other side of the table, catching him mid-air so he wouldn’t crash into the wall. They then excused themselves and left the room!   More...

Euthanizing an Old Dog: How it Works and What to Expect

The final kindness we can do for beloved pets who are suffering from disease or painful effects of advanced age is to relieve and shorten their misery. Euthanasia should be painless and peaceful, giving a caregiver a last, loving embrace with her dog (or cat), and a memory of ending the pet’s life in a quiet, dignified, fear-free, trauma-free manner. Many of us are at our most vulnerable at this time, wracked with sadness and distracted with deep concern for our companions – and, unfortunately, this may cause us to fail to ensure that the end we want for our pets resembles our hopeful vision of a peaceful end in any way.   More...

Fulfill Your Dog's Ancestral Calling with Job-Specific Activities

Subscribers Only — Sports and activities that involve thinking and problem solving, such as tracking, scent work, competitive obedience and rally obedience, are great to try with many of the working breeds. Of course, many of the working breeds are used in the specific activities for which they were developed, such as water rescue (Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs), drafting and carting (Saint Bernards, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers), and sled pulling (Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes).   More...

Install an “Off Switch” on Playtime

Herding dog trainers commonly use “That’ll do” as a “off switch” cue – and the expression was popularized by the movie “Babe.” (Remember? It’s when the talented swine was told: “That’ll do, Pig!”) You can, of course, use whatever cue you want. But stick with it! Trust me, you will find it well worth the time and effort it takes to teach your persistent dog that enough is enough when you say it is.   More...

Stop Your Dog's Demanding Behavior

Subscribers Only — A dog’s demand behavior is her effort to communicate her wants and needs to you. Her demand behaviors increase in intensity because she is frustrated when she doesn’t get what she wants. Imagine how frustrating it would be to keep asking for something and have someone deliberately ignore your requests. No wonder she gets frustrated! When you think about it, it is a true marvel of our unique relationship with the canine species that they are able to communicate so effectively with us, and we with them.   More...

Super Durable Dog Balls for Fetching and Beyond

The balls that rose to the top of our review are ones that survived months of playing by fairly aggressive chewers without much more than cosmetic damage – and that the dogs themselves returned to play with again and again. There were a few balls included in our review that the dogs almost never selected to play with; for some reason, they were less engaging than the others.   More...