Wednesday, December 28

Happy 2012 New Year!

As this year comes to a close, I find myself in the middle of the rush to wrap everything up.  This blog is no exception.  Today is my final blog for the year.  But don't worry, January 2nd, 2012 I will have something new and exciting to open the year with.

Today, I will keep it simple, no long reflection or monologue on the ending of this year or the best of this or that, I just want to leave you with a couple of simple messages.  Though, I do have to say, this year has brought me happiness beyond my imagination with my "new" dog coming into my life and has delivered sadness that seemed unreal by loosing not just my "old" dog, but a few friends as well.

Remember your dogs when you are planning your New Year's celebrations.  Many people go to parties or host them.  Just remember to give your dog what they need to, be that a potty break sometime throughout the night or a safe place from all the celebrating.

Finally, training for your dog is necessary.  You don't have to have a trainer, but you do have interact with your dog and lay out clear rules for them to live by.  Most people don't know exactly how to do that and that is where I can help.  Think about your dog, does he have the manners you want him to have?  If not, maybe a training session or two in the new year is the answer.

For those of you that were hoping for a best of list, here it is.  Petside has the 25 top Pet People of 2011.  Enjoy the list.

To train with Bark & Clark, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, December 23

Happy Holidays Friday!

As we all celebrate the Holidays in our own way, I thought it would be good to go into the weekend with a little laugh and smile.  Enjoy and Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanza.

The 12 Dog Days Of Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me-
12 Dalmatians drumming

11 Spaniels sleeping
10 Magnificent mutts
9 Poodles prancing
8 Rottweiler’s ringing
7 Labs a leaping
6 German Shepherds
5 Golden Retrievers
4 Beagles begging
3 Dachshunds dashing 
2 Terriers toasting

and a
Pomeranian in a Pear tree.

Thursday, December 22

Puppies for Christmas!

Each year right after the new year my phone begins to ring a little more, my business has a little boost, all because of the puppies people get for Christmas.  I love the increase in business, especially because I get to work with so many puppies.  But the down side is that not all these people end up keeping their pups.  Many call me half way through the training and say they can't take it, the sleepless nights, the potty training, and the chewing or biting.  So, I wanted to focus my blog today on puppies and what it is to have a puppy.  My goal is to help you make the right decision about whether to get a puppy for yourself or someone else.

We all can agree that puppies are one of the cutest things ever, their eyes, the cute yawns, the clumsy way they walk around, all of it equals a big ball of cute!  But these cute little things have another side, they chew, they bite, they cry and usually don't sleep all through the night.  And on top of all of that, they need to be potty trained.  Assuming, of course we are talking about a 3-4 month old pup.

Many people buy puppies because of their cute looks and some get pups because they want to have the dog their entire life, especially if they are buying it for a child.  No matter what the reason, there are some things you should keep in mind as you make a decision on what age of a puppy to get and where to get them.

Some things you should know about a young pup is that it is similar to bringing home an infant child in the sense that they will wake you up mid-way through the night.  They can not be left in a room unsupervised as they may chew on a cord or get into something that could hurt them, so they should always be with you, in a crate or playpen.  Let's not forget the potty training, they will need to be taught how to potty outside or on a potty pad, remember puppies don't know how to control themselves at a young age.

If you are a person that works all day and you cannot take your pup with you and you cannot afford a dog walker, getting a puppy may not be the best idea.  To achieve successful potty training you need to take your pup out consistently on a schedule for them to learn what to do.  Also, you don't want your pup to get bored, that is where a lot of the destructive and bad behaviors develop. 

If getting a young puppy doesn't fit your life style, you may want to consider getting an older puppy around 7-9 months.  This is a great age to introduce the dog to your life and they will still have that puppy energy, but likely they will be potty trained.  Though you may still have to teach them not to play bite, chew and of course obedience.

No matter what age of puppy you get, remember that getting a dog means your life will change.  There are walks you will have to fit into your schedule, especially first thing in the morning and late at night, which may require you to get up earlier and go to bed later.  Exercise is a key part of any training, if your dog is not getting a proper amount of exercise they may be difficult to train or exhibit a lot of bad behavior due to an excess of energy.

Lastly, when you look for where to get your puppy, my suggestion is to start at the shelters and rescues.  Their are a lot of puppies that get turned in and they need good homes.  If you go through a breeder, just make sure that they are not a puppy mill.  A legitimate breeder will have no issues with you coming to their facilities to look at the puppies and check out their environment.  The facilities should be clean and the dogs should all be in good shape and healthy.

If your gifts for Christmas include a puppy, I hope this blog has helped you decide what age is best for you.  I know for certain, no matter what age you get your pup, they are fun!

For training with Bark & Clark, bark on the link:  BARK!

Wednesday, December 21

Doggie Flu Vaccinations

This time of year doesn't just bring good cheer and celebration of the holidays, it also brings us that nasty illness known as the flu!  I think every human I know has at some point or another been struck with the flu virus and now either vaccinates themselves against it or risks it without the vaccine.  But what about our pooches?  Well, many of you may be surprised to know that they can be infected by the flu virus as well.  First, let's be clear, it is a different virus, humans cannot spread our flu to our dogs.  But they can get the K-9 flu and they do have vaccines for it.  The question is, do you need to vaccinate your dog for this too?

Well, Dogster had a great blog about this very thing this morning with great information that can help you determine if this is something you should be discussing with your vet.

Well as many of you probably know, dogs can get the flu – just not the flu viruses we suffer from, fortunately. The canine influenza virus (CIV) is a relatively new problem, with the first reported case in 2003, and is reported to be extremely contagious. The CDC website says scientists think the virus jumped species, from horses to dogs, and has adapted well. Yikes! Fortunately it is not contagious from dogs to people.
Here’s what (an info website created by the makers of a dog flu vaccine, but with much the same info as everyone else) has to say about the contagion factor:
“Just like human flu is among humans, canine influenza is highly contagious among dogs. In fact, unless a dog has already had the illness and recovered, virtually every dog exposed to the virus will become infected. This is because the virus is relatively new…and dogs have no natural immunity to it…
“CIV can pass from dog to dog through virus particles in the air (eg, through coughing or sneezing) or by coming into physical contact with other dogs (touching noses). It can also be picked up if a dog touches or plays with objects that were touched by infected dogs (for example, food bowls, toys). Humans can even transfer the virus between dogs. For example, they may spread the virus if they touch an infected dog, or even touch a toy or doorknob that the dog has contacted, and then touch another dog before washing their hands.”
I don’t know many dogs who contact doorknobs (do some dogs have opposable thumbs these days?), but the other stuff is pretty commonplace. Canine flu is usually pretty mild, but some dogs can become very ill from it. About 20 percent of dogs with CIV get pneumonia and a high fever. Eight percent go on to further complications.
How do you know if your dog has the flu? He can’t exactly reach for the Kleenex and tell you he doesn’t feel like going for a run. Sometimes the signs are subtle, so here are some things to look out for:
• Mild, low-grade fever (103°F)
• Lethargy (tiredness)
• Loss of appetite
• Cough, which may be dry or may bring up sputum
• Runny nose with clear secretions at first, but may later change to a thick and yellow and/or pink-tinged color
The symptoms are quite similar to ours. If you think your dog has the flu, call your vet. And don’t take your dog to places where other dogs could be exposed to it.
But this brings us to the question: Does your dog need to be vaccinated against dog flu? It’s something to discuss with your veterinarian, of course. I know a lot of you feel we already overvaccinate our dogs, and some of you will want to go out and protect your dog immediately. Here’s what I’m generally finding about vaccine recommendations. This version comes from
“Not every dog needs to be protected against the flu. Dogs that are housed in close contact with one another are at the highest risk. So if your dog is boarded, goes to a professional groomer, or attends doggy day care or dog shows, vaccination might be in his best interest. Infections are also frequently diagnosed in dogs that have spent time in shelters or pet stores. Interestingly, going to dog parks does not seem to increase the risk of canine flu infection.”
(The last line is hopeful for those of us who take our dogs to parks other dogs frequent, but it doesn’t jibe with the extreme contagion reported in most CIV literature I’ve read. I’m not in a position to interpret the conflicting information, so your trusted vet is probably the place to go for answers.)

I hope this information was helpful to you, it certainly was for me.  I will be discussing with my vet if this vaccination is right for my dog, I hope you will all do the same.  I am lucky to have a vet that will give me a truthful answer about vaccines, meds and tests for my dog.  I know she will only recommend what is best for Neville, not what is best for her pocketbook.

If any of you should need a vet referral, give me a BARK!

Tuesday, December 20

The Treats, Bones, and Rich Foods of the Holidays

We have talked a bit about safety for your dogs and cats during the holidays, but I thought I would dedicate this blog to all the treats, bones, and rich foods your dog and maybe cat will be exposed to over the holidays.  I know my dog has already received so many doggie bakery treats, bones and other treats that I don't know how he will ever eat them all.  Most have been stored away right now and he is getting a little at a time. 

Beyond, the gifts your dog (or cat) may be given, there is the food we will be making.  I am not one to say that dog food and human food is all that different.  The important thing is to understand what food is normal for your dog and what is not.  For instance, my dog is use to getting cooked chicken, turkey or steak and his kibble is a fish formula, but he is not use to raw meats.  So for me to give him a bunch of raw meat as I am preparing our holiday meal is asking for an upset stomach.

Same thing for those treats and bones I was speaking about earlier.  A lot of the bakery treats he has never had before, so instead of letting him gorge himself, I will give him a little at a time to make sure his stomach can handle it.

The best rule is to monitor how many treats your dog is getting and watch how their stomach reacts.  Also, for bones, if they are bones your dog has never had, just let them chew on it a little at a time so you can check how it will effect them.  You don't want the bone or treats to have a bad reaction and end up with a huge mess to clean up or worse a very sick dog.

I know there are some dogs out there that could eat the treats and the wrapper they come in and be fine, but to be cautious is never a bad thing.  So take the treat giving slow and remind all your guests (especially the children) that there is a limit to what your dog's stomach can take.  They may not know it at the time, but your dog will thank you for it.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16

Holiday Fun Friday!

To put us all in the holiday mood, I wanted to share with you this cute video.  I think it is a pretty accurate viewpoint of what a dog might feel about Santa!  Enjoy and let the spirit of little Dexter put you in a good mood!

Happy Holidays and don't forget to do something fun with your dog this weekend!

Thursday, December 15

Holiday Safety Tips For Dogs- 2

Yesterday we focused on safety for your dog (and cat) regarding decorations, plants and sweets.  Today I want to focus on the entertaining aspect of the holidays. 

This is the time of year to see friends and family and maybe even host a few parties.  This is very exciting for us as humans, but how does your dog feel about it? Here are some simple tips to help you have a great time and your dog too.

1.  If your dog is shy or fearful, crate your dog in another room as guests arrive.  Once everyone is present, put your dog on a "house line" or a light weight leash that is attached to both you and your dog and walk him through the party.  If he is still too nervous, simply allow him to stay in another room away from the the people and go visit every so often.

2.  Make sure your guests understand what they can and cannot feed your dog.  Many people want to share their food with the dog and often do not know that some foods can hurt them.  Also, if they are feeding them at the dinner table, they may be creating a begging habit you would rather not have.  Some guests may bring a present for your dog in the form or treats or a bone, be sure it is something your dog has had before, otherwise only give him a little bit at a time to see how it reacts with his stomach.

3.  As you go out and your dog is home alone, make sure you are not leaving for longer than they can handle.  For example, if your dog is use to staying in their crate or inside the house for a maximum of 6 hours, try not to exceed that time or you may be coming home to an accident.

4.  When you leave, be sure your presents are kept out of reach from your dog and sometimes your cat, you wouldn't want them all to be opened when you come home.

5.  Jumping up is a horrible behavior, especially around this time of year.  As people come into your home, you don't want your dog to jump up on them and get them dirty or knock the present or party dish out of their hand.  If your dog jumps on your guests, put your dog on their leash when you open the door and have them in a sit position.  If this is still too much for your dog, you can also have them in a separate room until all guests have arrived.

6.  If other dogs are coming for a visit, make sure all bones and toys are put up to start so there will be no possession issues.  If this is the first time for the dogs to meet, go to the street and allow them to greet outside the house, you could also walk around the block, then go into the house all together.  This will help ensure a peaceful greeting.

7.  Children can be fun or frightening to a dog.  If your dog is not the biggest fan of children, take the introductions slow and make sure the children are supervised at all times.  Also, give clear rules on how they should interact with your dog.  You want both your dog and the children to be safe and have fun... a dog bite will be fun for no one.

Entertaining should be fun, not just for us, but for our pets too.  Make sure whatever your plans are, you keep your pet's safety in mind.

Happy Holidays!

Need advice on how to curb a behavior?  Give me a Bark!

Wednesday, December 14

Holiday Safety Tips For Dogs

With the holidays right around the corner, there is no doubt that you all have your decorations up and are starting to entertain or go to a lot of winter/holiday activities.  This is a fun and busy time of year for us, but this can be a dangerous time for your dog (and cat). 

Below I have a some safety tips for you to follow for your dog and a few for your cat too.

1.  Tree- Many people put up a Christmas tree some real, some artificial.  In any case, they have a smell associated with them that dogs and cats love.  When you bring in your tree, make sure you allow your dog and cat to sniff it and get use to it.  This is the time if they start to chew on it, climb on it or display any other type of unwanted behavior, you can correct them (squirt with a water bottle or a simple "no") to let them know that is not appropriate.  But be sure to praise them as they are just sniffing and enjoying the smells.

2.  Ornaments-  In most homes, ornaments are not just for the tree.  So no matter where you have them, make sure you have the ornaments high enough your dog will not knock them off or your cat will not play with them until they fall off.  Broken glass in paws is not a good situation.  You also can make sure that any ornaments at a lower level are not glass, just to be safe.

3.  Lights- I love putting up lights, so if you are like me your lights are not just on the tree, but also around the windows and other places in the home.  These pretty lights with their string cord can be quite enticing for curious dogs and most certainly for cats.  Do your best to keep your dog and cat away from any cords, but again, allow them to sniff and investigate what these things are as you hang them, getting the curiosity out and taking away that "new" feeling.  If you should see your dog or cat nibbling a cord, make a loud noise or squirt them with a water bottle.  If the problem continues you can try the Bitter Apple spray or paste.

4.  Candles-  Whether it is a Menorah that is being lit or a seasonal candle, be sure it is located above the nose of your dog.  Cats can jump on everything, so try to also locate flames somewhere they will not be able to jump.  Singed whiskers or noses are not a pleasant experience and can create a deep fear of flames.

5.  Baking- This time of year activates the sweet tooth in most of us!  It is not just buying cookies, fudge, candies and pies, it is also making them!  This can be the most dangerous for your dog.  Remember that baking chocolate is the most dangerous to dogs, macadamia nuts are not good for your dog, raw eggs can be a toxin and grapes and raisins are toxic for them as well.  So, no licking of mixing bowls or sampling of the product.  If your dog does get into your treats, call your vet immediately.

6.  Plants-  Poinsettias are toxic to dogs and cats, as are Christmas Cactus'.  Put these plants up high and in a place both your dog and cat cannot get to.  If they should ingest some of these plants contact your vet immediately.

This is a basic list to get you started.  I know keeping our furry kids safe is always at the top of our wish list.  I hope this list helps you have a fun and safe holiday.  Stay tuned for more safety tips to come.

For a list of toxic food and plants, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, December 13

For The Love Of Cats!

I know this is suppose to be a dog and Downtown blog, but I have to talk about my cat today.  Growing up, I was always more of a dog person, we had cats that lived in the barn, but not house cats.  I always played with them and loved them, but it is different when they don't live in the house with you.  It wasn't until later when my sister had a cat of her own when she had her first apartment did I really start to love cats.  Then I moved into an apartment with my best friend in L.A. and he had a cat that changed everything.  When she passed, we both started to desire a cat of our own.  So that is when I found my sweet cat, Cowboy. 

He was 16lbs, 8 years old and the shelter all but gave him to me.  They were so excited someone wanted an older cat.  He had two more weeks before they were going to euthanize him.  I felt like the luckiest lady in L.A. and I am pretty sure he felt lucky as well.

Cowboy was the name he had at the shelter and it fit him so I never changed it.  I have no idea about his past, the people that turned him in had only had him 6 months.  What I could clearly see is that he was missing several claws and teeth and the teeth he did have were in pretty bad shape.  One eye looked like it was winking and had fluid draining from it and he was sneezing a lot.

I took him to a vet and they gave him a clean bill of health for the most part.  A cold, an eye ulcer and a suggested teeth cleaning and I was suppose to be set.  Well, I didn't do the teeth cleaning right away, but everything else seemed good.  A year later I tried to get his teeth cleaned but they refused due to the condition of some of his teeth.  I then ended up taking him to an emergency room for a tooth falling out and they wanted to extract all of them.

Fast forward to present time, I took Cowboy to my new fantastic vet, Dr. O'Dwyer and learned some very interesting things.  Dr. O'Dwyer recommended two (rather than all) of his teeth be extracted, she told me he may have a form of feline herpes which is why he seems to have cold after cold after cold.  Also, his eye could be an ulcer or part of the herpes.  I got the right medicine and then scheduled his surgery.

Last Wednesday he had three teeth extracted, two canines and one other that they found was very bad once inside his mouth.  I was amazed at how fast the procedure was and how well he did.  By the time we got home that evening, he was ready to eat and was jumping around like normal.  Now, almost a week later, you would never know that this even happened.  He is like a new cat!

I hate to think about how uncomfortable he must have been all this time, he is obviously very happy now.  I can't thank Dr. O'Dwyer enough for her and her staff and how good they were to my Cowboy.  I was so worried something would happen while he was under or he just wouldn't wake up.  It felt like a million pounds was lifted off my chest once I got the call he was fine. 

I didn't know it was possible for him to have this extra spunk!  As I look at how he and my dog are now running and playing with each other, I am happy to see what looks to me to be a new cat.  He is still my sweet guy, but with a little more sass!

Friday, December 9

Neville's Notes: Christmas List

Hi everyone, it is me, Neville and I have taken over the blog for mommy.  I thought I would help all of your K-9 kids out.  If you are anything like my mommy and daddy, you are going to need some help on what to get your four-legged children for the up coming holiday.  I guess we celebrate Christmas in my house.  Mommy keeps talking about a tree that we are going to get and she and daddy put up lights and other stuff that is green and red all around the house.  I've never had a "Christmas" before, so I don't know what this is, but she keeps telling me I get presents.  Well, if I get presents, I want them to be what I like, so I made a list.

Here are my top 10 items on my wish list, my tail is already wagging thinking about the presents I will open on Christmas Day.

10. New Crate Mat or Bed.  Mine is okay, but I really need a new one, an orthopedic one would be best! I spend a lot of time hanging out in my crate, I need to be comfy. They are on sale now almost everywhere, but I did hear mommy say PetSmart had a good deal.

 9.  Squeaky Toy.  I have a lot of these already, but I can't resist a new squeaky... I love that sound.  I'm sure there are sales somewhere, but that is the best part about squeaky toys... you can find them anywhere.  Plush or rubber, either is fine with me.

 8.  Flexi Leash. (Mommy helped me with this one) This is for when we go hiking or to the park and I can have more freedom to roam without having to use the long line.  I know she will get me purple.

 7.  Interactive Puzzle.  I've only heard about doggie puzzles and I am a great problem solver so I hope I get a puzzle to figure out with mommy and daddy.  Mom said she found a lot here.

 6.  Soft Crate.  It is a big wish, but I ruined my last soft crate and I really miss it.  Again, lots of good deals out there online and in the major stores.   But you can also look on places like eBay and craigslist.

 5.  New Bed!  I want a big pillow to lay on.  Right now when I am hanging out with mommy and daddy, I lay on one of their pillows from the couch, I want my own big pillow.  Pussy & Pooch have some fun ones, and there are good sales at Petco and Petsmart.

 4.  BONES!  The more the better.  My favorites are at Pussy & Pooch, Bully sticks, marrow bones and the pig hooves.  YUM!

3.  Pawbar Meal.  My paws are crossed that mommy will take me to Pussy & Pooch and buy me a Pawbar Meal.  They always have something that has the best ingredients and tastes SO good.

 2.  Fancy Collar.  I love new collars.  Pussy & Pooch once again has the one I want.  It is really fancy and has purple rhinestones on it.  Perfect for when I need to dress up for mommy's special events.

 1.  Jacket.  I have a jacket that is warm and keeps me dry, but it is too big.  Pussy & Pooch has the perfect purple jacket and every time we go in I drag mommy over to it.  I hope I get it, it looks so warm and I love wearing clothes!

Well, that is my top 10.  I wish I could say they are in order, but I want it all!  I hope it has helped you think of the perfect gift for your own pooch.  I know whatever I get, I will love because it is from my mommy and daddy.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8

Chicken Jerky Treats

As we are doing our holiday shopping for all the dogs in our lives, I thought I would post another warning about Chicken Jerky Treats.  As I know you all heard just before Thanksgiving the FDA put out a warning about any Chicken Jerky Treats made in China.  They are making dogs sick and the cause is unknown.  There is no specific brand, the only common link is the product is being manufactured in China.

Below is a letter from a specialist that was treating a dog with an unknown illness.  It was suspected that the Chicken is what caused this illness.

In a phone discussion with the owners . . . they reported that their other small breed dogs at home were showing similar clinical signs . . . [at the time the Poodle was discharged from the hospital, the] owners brought with them the chicken jerky treats that they had been feeding prior to onset of [the Poodle's] illness.
The treats are manufactured in China and are supposed to be made up of 100% chicken breast. Last year, I saw a number of small breed dogs that ate similar treats (though a different brand), that presented with the same clinical signs of vomiting and prolonged [refusal to eat] after the vomiting resolved . . . A number of veterinarians at other hospitals had seen similar cases as well, presumed to have resulted from ingestion of a variety of brands of chicken jerky treats manufactured in China.
Investigation of the products was not successful in identifying the offending substance and, unfortunately, removal of theses products from the market was not made mandatory.
It is a shame that no formal recall could be issued.  I hate to think that the treats we are feeding our dogs could cause this much harm.  The best thing for you to do is to pay attention to where your treats are manufactured.  It is always clearly marked on the back of the packaging.  Please do not just take the store clerk's word for it, look for yourself.  A friend was in a store just after this warning was put out and mentioned to the store worker that she was surprised to see some chicken jerky treats still on the shelf as they are manufactured in China.  The store worker argued they were not, it was not until my friend grabbed the bag and showed the worker that she then stood corrected.  She admitted she was surprised because of the brand she assumed they were manufactured somewhere else.

For more information on this warning, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, December 6

I Hate Balls Campaign!

Katherine Heigl has been helping pets through her Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, but now she is taking on the task in a new way.  Specifically speaking out about the spaying and neutering of your pets.

There is a new campaign that she is the spokes woman for, I Hate Balls!  I found the video to be pretty humorous.  If you are easily offended by testicle humor, this video may not be for you.  But otherwise, I hope you watch and more importantly get involved.  There are way too many in tact pets out there, getting your pet spayed or neutered is the responsible things to do.

Friday, December 2

National Mutt Day!

With all the power outages and trees that have fallen due to high winds, let's take a break from that bad news to celebrate something great...National Mutt Day!  That's right, today is the day to celebrate all the mutts in your life... or the ones to come.

For the next 24 hours I hope you hug every mutt you see and have the opportunity to visit with some of the mutts still in shelters or rescues.  If you are in the market, today is perfect day to adopt a lovable mutt!

Here is a quick video about Mutt Day.

To learn more about Mutt Day, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, December 1

Cesar Millan To Be Given An Award

North Shore Animal League is a well known and well respected rescue that does great work for the animals they rescue.  I certainly am a fan of the work they do.  But, when I read they are honoring Cesar Millan at their annual DogCatemy Rescue Awards Dinner on Thursday, December 8th, I have to admit I am a little put off by it.

Before I can judge, I do have to be fair to the Animal League, Cesar Millan has been a supporter of theirs for a while and lends his celebrity status to promote their cause as well as supports them in a financial capacity.  Here is what was said about the award and what they are honoring:

The Animal League will bestow the inaugural "Cesar Millan Award for Excellence in Mutt-i-grees Education" to Cesar Millan, internationally renowned dog rehabilitation expert and star of Nat Geo WILD's 'The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan'.  The award recognizes the impact Cesar Millan is having in the humane field and honours him for his many contributions, including the founding of the Millan Foundation.   This Foundation funds the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, a collaboration between North Shore Animal League America and Yale University's School of the 21st Century, promoting the development of calm, confident and caring children who can make a difference in the lives of people and animals.
"Cesar Millan has truly set himself apart as a leader and adoption advocate," said John Stevenson, President of North Shore Animal League America.  He added, "His generosity and financial support, as well as his commitment and extensive involvement in the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum are raising the standard for humane education.  Cesar's dedication is evident in contributing to new trends and lessons for people and pets to ensure a happy, loving life together."
Again, to be fair to the Animal League, I see why they would honor Millan.  I just don't think he has a very humane way of training.  However, I can't deny that he has spread the message of adoption to the mass public.  But this is where I get a little uncomfortable.  Cesar Millan spreads a lot of messages to the mass public.  Not everyone should adopt.  Not everyone should take their dog to a dog park.  Not all dogs should be alpha rolled.  My biggest problem is that he presents his style of training (which is heavily edited on his show) as something anyone can do.  But the fact is, if your dog is not socialized and you have no idea what you are doing, taking your dog to a dog park is likely to result is a disaster, not a productive training session.

No matter how I feel about Mr. Millan, the fact that his name has helped a rescue be a little more successful is something to celebrate.  I am happy that such a great rescue has the opportunity to shine a little brighter, no matter what star it is getting the light from.

What do you think?  Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

To give me a bark, bark on the link:  Bark!

For the whole story, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, November 30

What's Up Downtown December!

What's Up Downtown DECEMBER!  Wow, we are really here and there is A LOT going on downtown.

There are the FREE Grand Performances for the Holidays and Pershing Square for the Holidays, which includes concerts, skate and sing-a-longs, a winter festival and many other holiday specific events.

If you are the mood for a true winter activity, you can ice skate in the middle of the city at Pershing Square's Downtown on Ice Rink or head over to all the lights of L.A. Live's Holiday Ice

All throughout the month the city has special events happening everywhere, starting this weekend.  You can kick off December by seeing your pick of tree lighting ceremonies, on December 1st both the Millennium Biltmore Hotel and Chinatown are holding their ceremonies and on December 2nd L.A. Live will have theirs.  If you are looking for a movie to put you into the holiday spirit, Miracle on 34th Street will be playing at the Million Dollar Theatre on December 4th.  As the month moves on you can catch sing-a-longs, children events, readings and special tours to name a few of the events you can find.

Lastly, as you are out and about doing your shopping or just enjoying the holiday spirit in the city, don't forget to try one of the new places to downtown to grab a drink or a bite to eat.  Here are a few I am excited to try: Crepe X-Press (529 W. 6th St.), Monty Bar (1222 W. 7th St.), and Semi Sweet Bakery (105 E. 6th St.).

Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy our beautiful city.

Find your perfect event, bark on the link to view the calendar:  Bark!

Monday, November 28

Miracle Sky or Just Beautiful Light?

I thought since we have officially moved into the Christmas holiday time with everything from the store displays to the holiday stories and movies on T.V., it would be appropriate to share this amazing story from Dogster.  Decide for yourself if this is a miracle sky that happened right in front of this photographer or just a beautiful interplay between light and the camera lens.

On the day before he was killed by an IED in Iraq, Justin Rollins found a litter of puppies living with their mom in a portable toilet in Iraq. He and others in his Army squad were smitten, and spent time holding and snuggling with the pups. Someone took several photos of Rollins with a couple of the pups. He couldn’t wait to send them to his fiancee back in New Hampshire. He told her she was going to love the photos. He didn’t tell her what the subject matter was, so it would be a surprise.
But before she could look at the email, terrible news came. Rollins had been killed by an IED. At the funeral two weeks later, top brass asked Rollins’ grieving parents if they could do anything for them. They had one wish: To get one of the pups their son had held, a pup that had made him so happy just the day before he died. It was a tall order, and by a miracle (and a lot of lobbying by congressmen and others with clout), it happened. Hero made it back to New Hampshire, where she lives a heavenly life with his parents.
Mom Rhonda says the dog sometimes looks at her in such a way that she wonders if her son’s spirit is somehow in the dog. She has always had a deep connection with her son. In an ABC story, she says that at 6:30 a.m. on the day he was killed, she was getting ready for work and she felt a big jolt go through her. She worried it had something to do with Justin. It turns out that he died at pretty much that moment in Iraq.
ABC News was recently at the Rollins’ parents’ home taping part of the story of Justin and Hero. During the session, video cameras captured footage of a beam of sunshine enveloping Hero. It’s the kind of sunshine some people call a “miracle sky.”
The moment was not lost on ABC News’ Kimberly Launier, who was holding one of the cameras:
“All of a sudden, the clouds broke and a light began to solidify in a beam directly down on Hero — a kind of vertical halo. As this dramatic ray of light was shining on Hero she turned to look at me, and it was all I could do to hold the camera steady and not drop it in astonishment.
“It was an unforgettable moment, and made me wonder if in fact Justin was in there. Then the light vanished.”
The moment didn’t surprise Justin’s parents. “I truly, truly believe I’ll see him again,” said dad Skip, “because he sent us a sign so many times that, that he’s OK things that are too astronomical to not believe.”

Wednesday, November 23

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Dogs - The Food

Last year I published a safety guide for Thanksgiving that Dogster put out.  I am publishing that again this year to remind you of the dangers within our food.  Even if you know them all by heart, your friend or relative may not and end up feeding your pooch something harmful.  Below is a guide to help you and your pooch have a safe Thanksgiving.
This is a wonderful time of year for us humans and it can be for our four-legged friends as well.  But it also can be scary and in some cases dangerous.  I know this is a holiday for sharing and being thankful, but we shouldn't share everything with our dogs (bark for a list of items for your dog to avoid).  Dogster has put out a great list of tips to help us out for the holiday and I really found it to be useful.  I also have a few of my own tips that I didn't see on there, so I will list those at the end.

Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your Dog

It's easy to want to give your dog a big fat bowl of turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you think she might enjoy. But that's a bad idea. Overindulging in fatty foods can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. A few strips of turkey on a dog's normal food is fine, but don't overdo it, no matter how she may plead with her "I'm STARVING" eyes. Keep in mind that turkey skin can wreak havoc with a dog's digestive system, so make sure she gets skinless, boneless turkey.

Stuff Your Dog's Kong, Not Your Dog

Here's a great way to keep your dog busy and happy during your meal. Put a bit of your dog's regular food in a Kong, and then stuff a little boneless turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy - just a tad, mind you - in the Kong. It's not much food, but it will keep him occupied for a long time.

Make no Bones About It

Cooked turkey bones can be a danger to your dog. They're sharp, and potentially very dangerous. You may not know a dog has a turkey bone lodged in your dog's digestive system for days. Don't leave plates with bones lying around. Ditto for the turkey carcass. Hungry dogs have been known to run off with the remains of a carved turkey. It can happen in the blink of an eye. You notice the turkey is gone. You notice the dog is gone. With luck, you find their hiding place before anything happens. Put plates in an unreachable area if you can't dispose of everything properly right away.

Know this Sage Wisdom

Sage and some other herbs have essential oils that can cause tummy upset and central nervous system depression if a dog eats them in large quantities. Most dogs aren't going to nosh on a fistful of sage, but keep herbs out of reach just in case.

Don't Cry Over Onions

Onions are toxic to dogs. They can lead to a dangerous form of anemia that may not be detected for days. Make sure your dog stays away from the pearly whites, and yellows, and reds.

Don't Give Her the Raw Deal

Unless your dog is already on a raw diet, we wouldn't recommend plopping a piece of raw turkey in her bowl (the change from her regular food might cause an upset stomach). But more importantly, keep your pup away from the uncooked dough for bread or rolls. What helps make dough rise? Heat. If a dog eats raw dough, what's it like for the dough in the dog's stomach? Warm. The dough rises in the dog's stomach, and if the dog has eaten enough, the swollen dough can cause pain, vomiting, and bloating -- conditions that can send you to the doggy ER on Thanksgiving.

I hope these tips have helped!  Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't forget to do something fun with your dogs.

Tuesday, November 22

Thanksgiving Safety for Dogs

With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away, I wanted to post some safety tips for your dogs.  Today I want to focus just on the people aspect of the day.  You may have people coming over to your home, you may be going to someone elses home with your dog or just on your own, leaving your dog at home.

Let's start with people coming to your home.  Depending on the temperament of your dog, you may want to crate your dog as people arrive, then let your pooch out to roam and explore and get use to all the new people in your home on their own.  If you have a shy or fearful dog, you will most certainly want to do this and instruct all the people to just let the dog approach them, not chase after your dog for a pat on the head.  As well intentioned as that can be, your dog will just be scared. 

If your dog is a jumper, you may want to crate him or just put on his leash and get him to sit as people enter the home.  You wouldn't want your dogs paws to ruin your guests clothes or end up in the pumpkin pie!

Taking your dog to someone elses home can be nice, since your best friend will get to join in the day with you.  But it can also be tricky.  You should first make sure the home you are visiting is okay with your dog coming into it and likewise, you should make sure it is okay with your dog to go there.  For example, will there be children there, other dogs, lots of people?  If all of these things are okay with your dog, have a fun day.  But if these are scary things for your dog, you may want to rethink bringing your pooch along or bring their crate or bed so they have something to comfort them.  Also, having their own space will allow them to go somewhere to stay out of trouble.

Lastly, if you are leaving your dog at home all day, pay attention to the time.  Though your dog may be fine for 8 hours, don't push it.  Try to get home to let them out in a reasonable amount of time.  It will help to do a big walk before you leave or if you have time, do a hike in the morning.  Even a walk with some fetch time will be good.  Just try to get some energy out before you ask them to stay home all day.

No matter what you do, be safe and have fun.

Thursday, November 17

Off Leash Dogs

Yesterday as I was walking my dog through the 2nd street park, which is the lawn behind the police station, I saw yet another horrific moment take place, a little dog darted into the street and was inches away from being hit.  Thankfully, another park goer taking her dogs home was right there to scream at the car and they stopped just in time.  The owner of the dog was too busy looking at his phone and only looked up when he heard the screams.  Such a lucky dog!

This is a growing problem at this park. The neighborhood residents have converted this lawn, with only a side walk and some plants separating it from the street, to a off leash dog park.  It started with only a couple of dogs off leash playing ball while the rest of us walked our dogs around on leash to potty them.  Slowly more and more people allowed their dogs off leash, no matter if they have an appropriate recall or not.

I am not even going to go into the problems of it being a dog park like environment, that is for a different blog, what I want to focus on is how unsafe it is to have your dog off leash when they shouldn't be.

Let me be clear, the people that have their dogs off leash and can call their dogs back to them and no matter what the dog will turn and come to them AND they are watching and interacting with them, I have no issues with those dog owners.  They are in control of their dog, they are watching them, interacting with them, in my opinion these are the people that CAN have their dogs off leash.

My problem is with the people that have no control over their dog, I have a bigger problem with the people that have no control over their dog and they disengage from their dog by reading or texting.

Yesterday marks the 15th time I've seen a dog run into the street and somehow someway not be hit.  Not every time was the owner not paying attention, but I would say over half of the 15 times, this was the case.  How is this good for your dog?  Why is it necessary to have your dog off leash when their is no way to keep them safe?

I understand wanting to give your dog freedom, but go to a place that is fenced in.  The Los Angeles State Park is only a few miles away and completely fenced in.  Or if you can't do that, just attach a 50 foot long leash or even longer.  Is giving your dog freedom worth their life?  For me it is not.

What do you think?

To give me your opinion, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, November 16

Another Pooch Parade Success!

Last night was the Fall For Your Dog Pooch Parade and we had a great turn out!  I don't want to brag, but I think this was the best one yet.  We ended up with 8 dogs, 5 were puppies, which made it that much more fun. 

We had blast going through the streets of Downtown's South Park District and around L.A. Live.  The dogs were so excited by the lights and busy energy, it really challenged their owners to get their focus back on them.

The owners were really put to the test with some of the exercises I made them do, but we all had a good time doing them and their dogs behaved perfectly.  All the pooches played along and may have even been making fun of how silly their human counterparts looked!

After the dancing and prancing it was time for some serious rewarding!  I passed out the beautiful gift bags from Pussy & Pooch that everyone loved.  The treats of course were enjoyed right away by the dogs, the discount cards and samples their owners saved for later.

By the end, we were all ready to sit down at Big Wangs for some human treats and refreshments.  While we enjoyed our rewards the dogs entertained themselves hanging out under the table.  Many took a nap for the first few minutes but were then up and ready to mingle.

All in all, it was a good night with a lot of good dogs and people.  My favorite part was being able to sit down at the end and hear all the great conversations and enjoy the company of fantastic clients and their pooches!