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Emaciated stray finds new homeThe dog was alone on a tropical island and in rough shape. She was starved, full of ticks, had a sliced ear, and vultures were following her around. It’s unlikely she would have survived much longer. Her health was terrible and the island she was on would disappear with the seasonal rise of the Amazon River. It was hours away by boat to the nearest human settlement and the island offered little to sustain her. She was rescued by an Irish tourist named David Foster who was on a tour that stopped at that island for lunch. When the dog came running to the people on the boat, they didn’t immediately recognize her as a dog because she was so emaciated. Her eager approach suggests that she was desperately happy to see people, perhaps recognizing that a stroke of luck had come her way.Tags: travelblog
Choices, decisions and compromiseIn Blake Shelton’s “I’ll Name the Dogs” he sings about his desire to make a life with the woman he loves, saying, “You name the babies and I’ll name the dogs.” Dogs receive equal billing with kids in the lyrics of this hit song, and they beat out the children for the song’s title. This makes sense to anyone who truly understands the prominent role of dogs in our lives. It’s a love song, but Shelton proposes something practical—a division of labor for the naming duties. Though most people prefer to work together when naming dogs or babies, splitting the decisions could prevent a lot of conflict. Tags: lifestylelife with dogsblog
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Everyone has tried it at one time or another: attempting to identify a dog’s breed by its physical appearance. With purebred dogs the task can be easy—Dalmatians sport the classic spots, Pomeranians are a distinctive ball of fur. Even breeds with more variable appearances, Australian Shepherds, Greyhounds, Pointers, generally hold true to their breed’s distinctive physical traits. But guessing the ancestry of a mixed-breed dog is a lot harder than it looks.Tags: DNA/Genes
Should we allow dogs to sleep in our beds? Watching dogs sleep —limbs akimbo, eyebrows twitching, paws paddling in a dreamland chase—is one of the joys of living with them. Another is the coziness of sharing our beds with them. Whether for emotional comfort, warmth (you’ve heard the expression “three-dog night,” right?) or because the bed is their go-to spot, many of us sleep with our dogs. Yet, while it makes us happy, we occasionally wonder if it’s something we should actually be doing. One concern relates to old-school ideas about dominance. For many years, we were told that allowing our dogs on the bed with us would interfere with our attempts to dominate them, which was supposedly essential to having a well-trained dog. While shame about sleeping with dogs is far less common than it was a decade or two ago, a lot of us still fear being judged on the nighttime canine company...
A new, inspiring video produced by Mutual Rescue™ prompted us to check in with the innovative initiative we first profiled in 2016. We lauded the debut of their first film short “Eric & Peety” on Valentine’s Day 2016, and we were not alone in our appreciation. The film became a viral sensation with over 100 million views in two years. The newest release from Mutual Rescue tells the story of “Mike & Abbie”—two lost souls who were fortunate to find each other and discover their true passions in life. Abbie’s love of surfing has propelled her to become the most honored canine in the sport’s history. It’s a must-see.Tags: blog
There’s no better tonic to the dog days of summer than a good book. So for your reading pleasure, our editors have compiled a list of this year’s favorites. From fiction to non-fiction to memoir, all these books share a common thread—exploring the life-changing effect dogs can have on us. Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do by Marc Bekoff (University of Chicago Press) Marc Bekoff is both a renowned ethologist and a lifelong observer of and advocate for non-human animals (as he likes to call everyone but us). In his new book, Canine Confidential, he displays his depth of knowledge and involvement on both those fronts, gathering up the latest research from canine cognitive/behavioral fields (as well as his own) and presenting it to us would-be citizen scientists.Tags: bloglists
Earlier today I debated on taking Lucy to the beach knowing she is definitely not a water dog. Being a boxer/lab mix you’d think it’s in her blood... NOPE! She absolutely despises it to the point where yes, I’ve tried dragging her in once until we got to the point of putting the brakes on and leaving paw track lines in the sand. Over the past 4 years I’ve kept occasionally bringing her back and every time it’s been baby steps to where now she will walk along the edge of the water, that was until today. Today was the day we set to rise. I grabbed her prized possession of a slobbered-up tennis ball, hopped in the car, windows rolled down, Salt N Pep on the stereo, heads sticking out the windows feeling like Beyoncé with the wind in our hair, and we headed down to our favorite secret spot. Mission-A-Go.
FAQs on their purpose and problems, and some practical adviceWhat are dog greetings? Greetings between dogs allow people to assess their own ability to handle stress, but that is of course not their primary purpose. Greetings serve a lot of functions in social species, from reducing uncertainty, fear and arousal to gathering information. They can be used to signal status and to increase tolerance for being in close proximity to one another, and may also be important in conflict resolution and reconciliation. Dogs, as we know, are intensely social creatures, and while it’s not possible to say what canine greetings are actually for—they have not been studied enough —it’s likely that they serve more than a single purpose.Tags: behaviortips
Is he communicating that desire on purpose?Despite our close relationship, communication between dogs and people has serious limitations. We can only communicate with each other in a very weak approximation of the full depth of either of our languages. Despite our attempts at clarity, there is so much lost in the translation, and it’s not even always obvious whether an action is meant to be communicative. I do believe that love and friendship can be expressed and understood quite well, but less important details can be more confusing to members of both species.Tags: behaviorlife with dogsblog
On the late afternoon of July 3rd, 2016, my husband and I and our Golden Retriever, Apollo, were driving back from a day of kayaking. Apollo, exhausted from swimming and fetching sticks, rested his muzzle on my lap. When we were about 20 minutes from home, we got a call from our 18-year-old son, who told us that our house was on fire. As we got closer, we saw billowing brown smoke. We parked as close as we could, given that multiple fire trucks were blocking all the nearby streets. In wet clothes and sandals, leashed dog in hand, we stood with the crowd, watching the flames engulf our home of 19 years. Our neighbors across the street invited us to stay with them for a couple of days, but— since Apollo didn’t get along with their cat—he was taken in by the parents of one of my son’s friends, who said their dog Cooper would be happy to host. As I passed them his leash, I realized that Apollo no longer had dog food, or even a food bowl.Tags: literatureessays
Much remains to learn about using this treatmentEven for people who don’t consider dogs a panacea for all the world’s ills, there is good reason to suspect that dogs could be helpful for kids with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD may suffer from physiological factors related to abnormalities in the catecholamine system, especially dopamine receptors and transporters as well as genes that are necessary to convert it to norepinephrine. The result is decreased motivation and reduced emotions, which can lead to inattention and disinterest in social interactions as well as in the learning process. Tags: work of dogsblogresearch
Working with Elaine Ostrander, a canine genomicist at the National Human Genome Research Institute, postdoc student Jaemin Kim has identified genes that seem to predispose some dogs to become canine Michael Jordans. His study, which compared the DNA of 10 sporting breeds (Pointers, Setters, Retrievers) with nine terrier breeds, found that 59 genes linked to traits including blood flow, heart rate, muscle strength and even pain perception were more common in the sporting-breed dogs. Looking for differences in those 59 genes, Kim went on to examine the DNA of breeds (mostly herding dogs) who excel at agility … basically, canine point guards (think basketball great Steph Curry). Only one—ROBO1, which affects a dog’s ability to learn— proved to be significant. At least when it comes to agility, Kim said, a mental attribute may matter more than physical makeup.Tags: dogpatchtipsnews
The tail tells all. Does joyful wagging increase blood flow and stimulate hair growth? Sounds perfectly plausible to us as we’ve watched our dog Bishop’s skinny, bare corkscrew become a fluffy joystick. The power of love has transformed his terrier tail from the rodent-y one he sported when he adopted us three years ago; we had never seen such a ratty tail before, except on a rat. Someone had dumped this darling at a local rescue after sharing his life for two years. The excuses: house training regressed, picky eater, nasty toy guarder, poorly socialized. His foster mom’s big terrier-loving heart was then apprehensive when she took him in, but this is what she found: a smart, sociable guy; an energetic team player with her four failed fosters; a courteous sharer of toys; kind to her cats; no accidents beyond the first day’s nervous marking; devoted and affectionate to his temporary guardians.Tags: literatureessays
(And How Best to Improve Them)The pet-food world was rocked in 2007 by a recall that was unprecedented in both its scope and its consequences. A true wake-up moment, it dramatically revealed how common it was for manufacturers to put profit ahead of safety. Susan Thixton, who founded that year, was among those galvanized into action. Today, her site—which is 100 percent consumer-supported—is one of the pet food world’s best-known and most reliable advocacy resources. So, when we decided it was time for an update on the current state of pet food labeling, she was our first-choice source. Here’s her take on the topic. As consumers and pet owners, we base our food-buying decisions on label information, but those labels can be both confusing and deceiving.Tags: wellnessfood & nutrition
He enhanced an already incredible experienceThis past weekend, my family and some friends were camping at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in an area with only a few other people around. The one trio of people we met had a dog with them, and he was a delight. They walked by our campsite when we were playing cards in the shade. Meatball, a friendly Boston Terrier, wandered over to us, and his people called, “Meatball!” to encourage him to return to them. All of us in the card game immediately called out greetings of welcome to Meatball and he popped over to visit with us instead. (The one person in our group who was napping at the time was very puzzled that we were all suddenly saying, “Meatball!” in ridiculously cheery voices.) Tags: life with dogstravelblog
My wife and daughter had gone to the shelter looking for a quiet little dog. While there, they learned that soccer players with Sky Blue FC, a New Jersey–based professional women’s soccer team, were looking for a home for a stray they had fostered throughout the season. These weren’t just any players, however—they were stars: National Women’s Soccer League veterans Sarah Killion, Taylor Lytle and Nikki Stanton; World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O’Hara; and Australian National Team standout forward Sam Kerr. Brooklyn had had a rough first two years—she’d likely been used as a bait dog, if the scars on her head were any indication—but once the players took her in, she was loved five times over. Now, with the season ending and the players scattering, they had two weeks to find Brooklyn a permanent home or it was back to the shelter for her.Tags: my dog
Dog-to-dog tipsSo you’re new in the house and you need a few pointers. First thing, the woman does the food and the petting. The man does the walking and the playing. Get that straight.   If you want a tummy rub or a neck scratch, first you’ve got to get her attention but you don’t want to do it the wrong way.  The best way is to lie in your bed, chin on the fluffy part, then look up… make your eyes real big… and stare at the woman. Stare her right in the face.  Don’t stop. Just stare. Pretty soon she’ll look back. If she looks away, give a tiny whimper. She’ll glance over at you. If she looks away again, give another whimper and when she gives in, keep your head down but wag your tail and smile.  If she chuckles, you’ve got it made. If she doesn’t chuckle, repeat. Once she laughs, you can pounce on her and she’ll giggle hard and pet you like crazy. Humans like to feel loved. That’s what they pay you for.  Tags: fiction
Dogs comfort and try to help tooDogs are thought to be very aware of people’s emotions, but if a pup’s owner was really upset, would he actually go out of his way to offer help and comfort? Some not only will, a new study found, they’ll overcome obstacles to do it. In a paper called Timmy’s in the well: Empathy and prosocial helping in dogs, just published in the journal Learning & Behavior, researchers showed that dogs with strong bonds to their owners hurried to pushed through a door when they heard their person crying. The name of the paper is an homage to Lassie, the canine superhero of 1950s TV.Tags: behaviorlife with dogsnewsresearch
Dog forces emergency landing of planeDogs in crates have the tendency to break free at the darnedest times, whether they are true escape artists or their crate was not properly secured. My clients have shared some excellent examples: It happened to one client when a new neighbor who is terrified of dogs stopped by to say hello. Another was in the middle of a tie-dye party with a dozen seven-year old children. A third was making a quick trip to the grocery store for more icing to finish the cake that was sitting on the counter. (Her dog apparently thought it was delicious.) Tags: travelblog