January 2018

Suggested Dog Park Rules

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.   More...

Best Dog Gear of the Year: 2017

Subscribers Only — When it comes to our own needs, were 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!   More...

The Emotional Lives of Dogs

Subscribers Only — Traditionally, dog trainers have spent little or no energy considering a dogs 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.   More...

The Best Pet Steps for Senior Dogs

Older dogs tend to develop mobility issues, whether from arthritis or injury. Many aging dogs will experience increased difficulty getting on and off furniture, in and out of cars, or up and down steps. Quality pet stairs come in many styles and prices. A small stepping stool designed for pets could be just what your senior dog needs to continue living comfortably!   More...

Dog Food Digestibility Levels Matter

Subscribers Only — What is digestibility and why does it matter? Digestibility reflects a foods 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 dogs propensity for flatulence (no explanation needed), but more importantly, a dogs long-term health and wellness. The graphic on this page summarizes how digestibility is measured using feeding trials with dogs.   More...

The Pros and Cons of Dog Parks

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!   More...

Quiet Time

We have been living in the historic downtown of this Gold Rush-era town for the past 11 years. There have been some wonderful benefits of living in an old neighborhood in a cute, old small town. I could go out my front gate with my dogs and walk four blocks to a paved trail alongside the Feather River, which flows right through town. The historic center of Oroville is a bit like a ghost town at night; there are no businesses, not even bars, that stay open past 10 p.m., so on hot summer nights, the dogs could safely walk with me off-leash downtown. When Im on deadline and dont have time to take Woody out for a miles-long hike to wear him down, I often walk him at night to a grassy area that surrounds some government buildings downtown (two blocks from my house!), to play fetch with a glow-in-the-dark ball.   More...