Thursday, December 12

A Special Goodbye to a Special Doggie Friend

In October I got the news that my dear friend Bailey had come to the end of his journey with his human companion.  News I knew one day I would hear, but certainly not ready for.  I have shed so many tears, both of joy and absolute sorrow.  Bailey was one of a kind.  But now that I have had a couple of months to process it, I wanted to pay tribute here to my amazing friend.

When I first meant Bailey, I was walking dogs as a part of my business and his owner was looking for a twice a day walk for his Pit Mix.  I had no idea what to expect when I first went to meet him.  We had a good 45 minutes together as his owner secured his apartment, got keys, etc.  Bailey and I walked the neighborhood and got to know each other.  Within that 45 minutes I got to know a dog that was amazingly sweet, loving and had a personality that was unforgettable.

Over the time I walked him, seeing him everyday twice a day, I got to know him quite well and he really got to know me.  So much so that at a time I had some sorrowful things happening, Bailey would great me with a gentle lick to my face and would push his head to my chest for a hug.  One of the many things that made him truly amazing.

He was somewhat of a celebrity around our walking route, so many people knew Bailey and always had to say hello.  I don't think there was a life he touched that didn't benefit from knowing him.  Myself and my dog included. 

I knew Bailey before I got Neville.  So when I was introducing Neville to Downtown, I often walked them together so Bailey could help Neville not be so scared.  I titled Bailey as Neville's Grandpa because that is the relationship that developed.  Bailey was the kind and wise old soul that showed Neville the way.  A beautiful thing to watch.

So I have tons of memories of Bailey.  How easy he was to take care of while his owner was out of town, even taking a pill with no problems, long talks in the park when he couldn't walk that far, endless hugs, snuggles, kisses and licks, watching his butt waddle up and down the stairs and my all time favorite was his tail wag.  Bailey could hear my voice, see me from a far or just smell me through the door and his tail would wag so hard his whole body would move.

Bailey, my friend, I love you endlessly.  You will be missed so much and your legend will continue to live on both in image on my website and in our memories for how amazing you were.  You truly were one of a kind and certainly a dog, a friend and a companion that will be so very missed.  Rest in peace.

Monday, November 18

Holiday Stroll Pooch Parade

The Holidays are just around the corner, what better time than now to celebrate your doggie?  Grab your pooch and lets stroll through the streets of Downtown, learn while having fun, and chill on a patio and socialize with other like-minded dog owners!

It brings me great pleasure to announce Bark & Clark's upcoming Pooch Parade! 

Please join us for the Holiday Stroll Pooch Parade on December 16th @ 7:30pm.
The evening will start with me, Certified Trainer, Tamara Clark, hosting a Holiday themed stroll through the streets of the Historical Core.  We will start our special evening with our pups by stopping in at Pussy & Pooch's Pawbar for a festive bite to eat.  Then the fun and learning will begin as we make our way through the bustling streets, spreading our holiday cheer.  After the work is done and the pups are tired, it is time to reward the humans with drinks and bites to eat of our own on a dog-friendly patio of a local favorite eatery.

Besides the obvious fun you will have, this is a great chance to learn about how to handle your dog downtown and in general with other dogs and humans.  The Holiday Stroll Pooch Parade workshop's primary focus will be on celebrating the relationship between you and your dog.  Secondary focus will be on the dogs socialization with congested city sidewalks (including dog on dog interactions), leash control, and focusing on you while dealing with distractions.  As well, we will have our usual education on the approved potty places and how to get your dog to go there. 
The benefit of working your dog in this environment is it helps reinforce their basic obedience and uses those skills to increase their focus on you - not all the distractions. We'll also work  on manners specific to the city, such as sitting at all intersections before crossing; sitting for introductions and the proper way to greet other dogs. 

We teach uptown manners for Downtown dogs! This class is so fun, it's more like an outing... So let's take a stroll through the city and focus on doggy's ability to deal with the public, the lively city and all the other pooches out and about.

I am so looking forward to this Pooch Parade, I hope I will see you all there and if you can't be there, I hope you will help spread the word!  

Be sure to RSVP by December 9th because space is limited.  The cost is $40/dog.

To sign up for this Pooch Parade, give us a bark:  BARK!

Saturday, November 2

Puppy Drop In Class

Are you looking for a safe way to socialize your puppy?  Do you need a little help with training here and there, but can't do a 5-week class?  Looking for a way to entertain your pup for an hour on Sunday's?

I have your answer!

Puppy Drop In Class Starting TOMORROW @ 12:30pm at the DTLA Vets location (333 S Spring).

Puppy Drop In class is $20/session and you  choose as many or as little sessions you want to join.  It will be happening every Sunday at the DTLA Vets location.  It is your chance to socialize your pup with other pups by having supervised play sessions, ask training questions from Certified Trainer Tamara Clark, and work on recall and walking and whatever else comes up in class.  It is a good hour of play and learning for your pup.

Drop In Class starts tomorrow, hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 23

New Puppy Obedience Class in DTLA!

Are you kicking yourself that you didn't join the Puppy Obedience Class?  Well, here is your chance, we have a new class starting on NOVEMBER 5TH!  Sign up today!

This class is appropriate for all puppies up to 7 months of age and that have had their first two rounds of DAPP vaccines.  You will learn all the basics to set your pup up for a lifetime of success.

The commands we cover are sit, down, stay, recall (come when called),  and leave it.  We address all the basic issues of raising a puppy in the city like potty training, safety, how to play with people and other dogs, where to potty, how to walk on a leash and so much more.  

Each class will begin with a play session to help socialize your pup with other dogs and by the end of the 5 weeks you will have learned how to keep their attention on you and not all the distractions.

Sign up today, class starts on November 5th @ 7:30pm at the DTLA Vets office.  Only a limited number are permitted, so be sure to register by contacting me.  Just give us a bark!

Wednesday, October 2

Chronic Animal Abuser Meets Her Final End

I read the story below on Dogster and it made me think a lot about the mind of a hoarder/animal abuser.  Let's not sugar coat this, an animal hoarder is an abuser.  This is not about intention, this is about what consequences your actions are causing.  Here is the story, let's see what consequences were involved for this individual that has been chronically hoarding and abusing dogs for 25 years:

Warning: This one is not for the faint of heart.
A woman who was missing is now believed dead, possibly eaten by the "dozens of hybrid wolf-dogs" she kept in her backyard, according to NBC News. Authorities found a human skull and a jawbone on Patricia Ritz's property in Kentucky -- and as many as 50 dogs -- when they visited after neighbors reported not having seen her for days. 
The dog were hungry. Investigators believe Ritz died of an illness and the dogs consumed her remains to survive. 
"I think it was just one lady that really wanted to save them all," Tracey Ward, a county animal control official, told NBC News. "When you don't spay and neuter, they're going to breed. It's not going to be just one or two puppies ― it's going to be seven, nine, 12."
Fifty may seem like a lot of dogs, but to Ritz, it was nothing. She had a history of keeping far too many dogs to properly care for, with a string of animal cruelty charges and convictions extending back 25 years. 
In 1986, she ran into trouble with at least 50 dogs, and received a year's probation. Other convictions came in 1997, when she had 120 dogs, and in 2002, when she had 38 dogs. 
NBC reports that according to the Adopt-a-Husky rescue, in 1999, 159 of 184 dogs found on Ritz's property were euthanized, and 34 more were euthanized in 2003. 
Of the 50 dogs found this time around, many are puppies, and others are "extremely pregnant." Some were in cages and many were running free. Most were thin and hungry, while a few were dead.
"After the sadness, there was relief," Mary Beth Kolb of Adopt-a-Husky told WFIE. "There absolutely was relief that this will never happen again."
Animal control is still recovering the dogs and getting them the vet care they need. They're also looking for volunteers in the hope of getting the dogs to an animal sanctuary, according to WFIE.
Death is nothing to celebrate, no matter how much we may disagree with the actions of the person.  But I completely understand the comment above about being relieved at the news of this woman's death.

This is a case that I find very interesting and I think we get to understand the mind of this type of abuser.  Hoarders are unique abusers because they believe they are helping the animals.  That they are providing some sort of care and correct environment that no one else can provide.  Unfortunately for the animals, this is never the case.  The person is mentally ill and has no understanding of the hole they have dug themselves into.  Nor do they understand the poor condition of their animals.

The most unfortunate part is that a majority of these animals cannot be rehabilitated for one reason or the other.  Where at one time they had the chance for a new life, once in this hoarder environment for an extended amount of time, that chance is gone.   There are animals that defy the odds and make it through and are wonderful.  I have had the amazing experience to train some of these extraordinary dogs.  But that is the point, they are extraordinary, not the norm.

No matter the breed, all dogs, all animals deserve to have a second chance at life when the first one was ruined for them.  The story above makes me so sad for all these dogs that this one woman destroyed.  Now there are 50+ others whose fate is unknown, some of which are puppies.

If you see abuse of any sort, hoarding, hitting, starving, mistreatment in any way, please report this.  I don't care if this is family, friends, neighbors or a stranger on the street.  Animals can't speak, it is our job as humans to be their voice.

Thursday, September 5

Puppy Classes to Start In DTLA!

Bark & Clark has teamed up with the amazing DTLA Vets to bring you a 5 week session of Puppy Obedience Class!  This has been the most requested class from my clients, but up until now, my choices of locations just never worked out.  That has all changed.

As of September 24th, Bark & Clark will be offering a 5 week session of Puppy Obedience Group Training at the DTLA Vets office (333 S Spring St, L.A., CA 90013)!  You can't get more clean and safe than that!

We will be meeting for 1 - 1.5 hours each Tuesday night  @ 7:30pm for 5 weeks.  During this time I will be instructing you and your pups on a variety of common puppy problems.  For $150 per pup, this is what you will get:
  • Socialization: with other dogs, people, and the world; 
  • The Basics: sit, down, stay, leave it, recall and walking on the leash; 
  • Potty Training: where to go, how to get them to go, crating; 
  • Puppy Play: proper play with your pup, curbing mouthing or play biting tendencies, chewing; 
  • Manners in the City: how to greet other dogs & people, how to get your pup not to be scared of the city; 
  • And a whole lot more!

This class will also include a play session for your pups at the beginning of every class to work on their socialization and to teach them proper interaction.
This class is a great way to start off your relationship with your dog.  My training style is all about having control over your dog, but also having a dynamic relationship that will be based on love and mutual respect and the best way to get there is to start from day one.

Join us for Puppy Obedience Class!  The class is most appropriate for pups up to 7 months old.

Space is limited, so sign up today!

Tuesday, September 3

The Way to Make a Trainer's Day!

A week ago my day was off to a less than perfect start, bad traffic, lack of sleep, and generally not in a great mood.  Before heading into an appointment, I stopped and checked my email.  I am so glad I did.  I found in my inbox an update on one of my favorite clients (both human and dog) that not only made my day, but my whole week (maybe longer, we will see). 

I have been working with these clients since the beginning of this year and considering the severity of the human and dog aggression this dog had, that isn't very long.  But they were superstars and did what even I didn't think was possible. 

The dog, this beautiful black lab, had fear based aggression toward humans and dogs, as well, due to his fear he was pulling awfully and was not a pleasure to take new places.  Additionally, due to his breed, everyone thought he would be friendly, which proved to be very trying for his owner.

When we first started working together, my expectations were low.  Especially since during the 2nd training he still was offering to bite me.  But then something changed by the 3rd session.  The training started to kick in and he let go.  For his owner, she felt empowered.

We continued to work week after week, seeing steady progress in our behavior modification.  Then the dog came into a group class and did fantastic.  Then came multiple Pooch Parades.  Each time I saw him, the progress was astounding.

I have not worked privately with the pair for months now.  All communication is through email and phone or at my Pooch Parades.  I had just seen them at my last Pooch Parade and the dog was amazing!  Things I was certain he would react to he did not.  I didn't think I could be more proud... I was wrong.

A week ago this client wrote me an update email on her dog, the email's subject was Success!  She explained that her sister and baby niece came to visit.  She thought about putting her dog in boarding, but something told her to try.  So she introduced her dog to her sister and niece.  It took about an hour for him to calm down and accept her sister, but he loved her niece from the moment they meant!  She also explained that they took him everywhere and he was a perfect gentlemen.  She included pictures of her amazing dog and niece, side by side.  This all brought tears to my eyes!

To think that a dog that couldn't accept a strangers touch or accept a stranger in his home was able after just an hour to be responsive and calm.  A dog that was frightened of children and new areas, now able to play and enjoy a baby and go all over L.A. site seeing!  To say I am proud does not do it justice.  I am so happy for these two because they worked so hard.  Not just the human, not just the dog... together they worked as a team.

I said at the beginning of my blog that they were two of my favorite clients and they are, but what makes them two of my favorites is their dedication to this process and the phenomenal relationship they have.

I didn't use names or pictures in this blog, but you know who you are!  Thank you!

Monday, August 19

Service Puppies Stolen In Highland Park!

The last place you expect your dogs or puppies to be in danger is at the vets office.  But in Highland Park this past week, that was where the crime was committed.  I am sure the thieves were counting on the fact that people are more relaxed at the vets office and do things like put their pups in the car then return to the office to pay.  Especially when there are 6 rambunctious puppies!  Though this story has a somewhat happy ending, I hope it makes us all a little more vigilant and cautious, no where is safe, especially from puppy thieves!  The full story from Dogster is below as well as how you can help find the last two puppies.
Last week, a hearing-impaired woman breeding service dogs for the disabled was in the parking lot Highland Park animal hospital. She had just put her six American Bulldog puppies in the car -- the offspring of her own service dog Kyliee -- and she ran back in to pay her bill. That's when two men snuck up to the car and made off with the dogs. 
"All kinds of horrible thoughts kept coming to my mind," Ryan Fingerle told "They are innocent and helpless little beings." A security cam caught the men stealing the dogs in the parking lot, but they are still at large. 
(Security footage of the men stealing the pups.)
Fingerle contacted the authorities and tried to comfort her service dog Kyliee, who "moped" around the house looking for her pups.
"Of course, grief was the first thing I felt, overwhelming grief," Fingerle said. "Without their mother's milk, they have very little immunity and cannot fight off any illness or injuries."
Fortunately, Kyliee was back on mothering duty soon enough. On Aug. 10, Fingerle got a call that three of the six pups had been found -- someone had seen an unidentified person throwing them over a fence. They turned out to be Zorro, Xena, and Red Shadow.
"When I first got the call, I was terrified that the puppies would not be the right ones. I was so afraid of getting my hopes up," she said. "But when I saw them, I just ran forward crying and blubbering, and just wanted to hold them and never let go."
Then, a few days later, a skinny Hercules, with his ribs showing, turned up in a cardboard box in Huntington Park.
“I’m so happy to have them back,” Fingerle told KTLA. “I just want to say thank you, thank you, everyone, for your help.”
The last two dogs, Trident and Davy Jones, are still missing. Police ask that anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 323-344-5757. Those who wished to remain anonymous were asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
"Thank you to the community for their help in recovering the four puppies," Fingerle said.
"Kyliee, the mother of the puppies, is very happy and is now in a calm state of mind."

Please, Please, if you have any idea about this, come forward and give the information.  For all of you living in the Highland Park/ Huntington Park area, keep your eyes peeled for two pups that look like the ones above.  They are young and need to be returned to their mom.

Monday, August 12

San Diego Airport Gives Fido A Bathroom!

As an increasing number of people fly with their pets, it is important that they have a place to relieve themselves.  Now, many airports have pet relief areas, but so far they are outside and most require you to go back through security.  San Diego has come up with a solution for that, they now have a doggie potty indoors with the Men, Women and Family bathrooms.  The full story from Dogster is below.

San Diego might have trouble electing an appropriate person to be mayor, but the city scores high marks in giving traveling dogs a nice place to conduct business. San Diego airport has the nation's first fully enclosed indoor dog bathroom, according to U-T San Diego
Located in Terminal 2 West between Gates 46 and 47, the 75-square-foot "Pet Relief" airport comfort station is a wonder. It includes fake grass, two deodorizers, a hand-washing station, and complimentary baggies. It also has a fire hydrant, giving dogs a place to aim. Just as important: Maintenance workers clean it twice a day. 
"It's with our other restrooms, men's, women's, family, and animals," airport spokeswoman Katie Jones told the Los Angeles Times
The facility opened in April as part of the of the airport's $1 billion expansion of Terminal 2 and has flown under the radar until the story took hold last week. 
"I've received calls from NPR, Reddit, Huffington Post," said Jones. "A national game show made it a question. We've really gotten a lot of attention, and it's been very positive." 
Interestingly, the airport already has four other pet relief areas, but these are all outdoors, outside of the security areas. The new one is notable for being inside security, so you don't have to deal with the line again. It's also notable because the fire hydrant is just too much. 
Jones told the Times that the pet restroom fulfills a Department of Transportation requirement for airports to provide an area for service animals to relieve themselves. The San Diego airport opened it to all dogs, however. 
Other airports do have indoor pet relief areas, but this one appears to be the only one that's fully enclosed, just like a regular bathroom.

Wednesday, August 7

Sweet Purple Haze Pooch Parade Fun!

First and foremost, thank you to all the participants, vendors and helpers that made the Sweet Purple Haze Pooch Parade a huge success!  I really had a blast on Monday night leading this pooch parade.

We had a great turnout with a wonderful variety of dogs.  All the dogs were at a little different level in training as far as what commands they knew or were generalized with.  Also, we had a few with fear or aggression issues in different stages of management.  But all that being said, the dogs did wonderfully and had SO many distractions to deal with.  Not just the distractions I planned, but all the ones DTLA threw at us too.

The night started with a visit to Pussy & Pooch for a little treat/meal for the dogs.  Pussy & Pooch hit the ball out of the park once again.  Our meals had little splashes of purple and all the dogs thought they were yummy!  For the dogs that were a little too stimulated to eat, the fantastic staff treated us like royalty by feverishly packing up all of our meals in to-go boxes and allowing to get in and out on time.  Thank you Pussy & Pooch!!

From there we moved through the streets of DTLA.  We went up Spring Street and down Main.  Along the way we encountered many people, dogs and even had a fire truck pass by.   But those were just the distractions of the city.  I made the dogs practice their stays through bubbles being blown at them, pom-pom's being shook around them and their owners being crazy!  And they all did great. 

At the end, every dog got to show their purple strut as they walked the line in front of all the participants.  This was a favored moment for me.  As each dog and owner strutted down the middle of our line, every other participant cheers and rooted for the dog and shook their pom-pom's.  The feeling of community and pure enjoyment was certainly in the air.

After all that work, we sat down on the beautiful and dog friendly patio of Artisan House for some fantastic pizza, salad and wine!  The dogs relaxed and the humans chatted.  What a great night!


If you would like to join in on the next pooch parade, give us a bark!

Monday, August 5

The Power of Working Your Dog

With each training I do, I try to impress one major point of my training philosophy on my clients and that is the power of working your dog.  Having a life where they work for everything and nothing is free.  I see it time and time again how this one little tweak in how you interact with your dog can allow you to have a leg up on many other bad or annoying behaviors.

The issues I deal with range from very simple puppy training to complex aggression or fear cases.  No matter what the real issue is, the first thing that has to happen is to get the control out of your dog's paws!  When you control every aspect of your dogs life, they will stop trying to control everything.

Most of the time when I go into a home where the dog is "out of control", it is really a matter of the owner having no control rather than the dog being out of control.  Simple things like making your dog work for their food.  That could be bite by bite or a simple routine they do before the bowl goes in front of them.  Either way, they work for it, the food is not offered for free or just left on the floor for them to graze whenever they like.

Walking is another hot point.  You as the owner should decide where to turn, where to walk, when to stop and sniff and how fast or slow the pace.  Allowing your dog to stop and sniff every tree, post and trash can and set the pace and go where ever they like is not a structured walk.  Also, allowing your dog to rush up and meet every dog is a bad habit to set.  Every walk should be controlled by you, the only thing your dog should decide is when to go to the bathroom, but even then, you will decide where.

Greeting dogs is a privilege, not a right for a dog.  Also, not every dog needs or wants to meet every other dog.  Be careful!  If a dog is barking and lunging and they are a stranger to your dog, move on it will not be a good meeting.  If your dog is a very friendly, maybe overly friendly dog, teach them how to say hello politely, don't just allow them to rush into the face of another dog or jump all over them.  Remember, part of being an owner to a dog is teaching them right from wrong, including manners.

By applying the simple principle of working for everything, you will see a difference in how your dog reacts to you and their environment.  But this has to be a life choice, you cannot do this for a few weeks or months and expect the changes you would if this is your dog's life.  They want to work, so let them and get ready for a happier dog and a happier home.

Wednesday, July 31

Are You and Your Dog Being Rude?

I was so happy this morning when I found a blog forwarded to me by a friend that expressed exactly how I feel about dogs not having social manners.  This is what I preach!  I believe fully (as you readers know) that dogs rushing into another dogs face is absolutely rude, not just on the dog's behalf, but the owner's too.  I see rude behavior on the streets of DTLA all day and night long between dogs and dog owners.  The puppies that haven't learned manners yet, I give a pass to, but otherwise it drives me mad!  This is the sort of thing is why I created the Pooch Parade, to teach manners to dogs... and hopefully the owners.  As my clients well know, this is a strong point in any of my trainings.

Below is the blog post from Dog Snobs.  Enjoy!

Your dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you.

“He was just being friendly!”
Those five words may seem benign, but they actually constitute one of  most rage-inducing phrases a dog owner can hear.
We’ve all been there.  A dog charges up to your dog, gets right in their face, invades their personal bubble, and pesters them until your own dog gets sick of the shenanigans and either avoids the offending dog or snaps at them to tell them to back off.  Both behaviors result in the other dog’s owner proclaiming that your dog is a jerk for not allowing their “friendly” dog to molest yours.  Actually asshats, it’s your dog that needs a lesson in manners, or more precisely, you do.
That’s right, your dog isn’t just being friendly, he’s being an asshole.  Here are just a few signs that your dog is a jerk.
1.  Your dog routinely lifts other dogs feet off the ground when trying to sniff their derrieres.

2.  Your dog starts all greetings by jumping on the head of strange dogs.

3.  Your dog goes right to another dog’s face and proceeds to either incessantly lick them or tries to lean over the other dog.

4. Your dog humps strange dogs within seconds of greeting.

Mind you, we understand that dogs are being dogs.   That Lab who rushes your dog is just being a Lab (sweet, but socially inept and completely unaware of the rules and regulations as dictated by the herder overlords), but as a dog owner it is YOUR responsibility to manage these interactions and understand what is “rude” in dog language and not allow your dog to be a repeat canine offender.   It’s not a coincidence that many dogs take issue with the bouncier, “in your face” breed of dogs. Imagine if you were on a walk and a stranger came running up to you full speed and took a flying leap into your arms and proceeded to lick and nuzzle you as you tried to get away (For the record, BusyBee, who seems to be a freak magnet has not yet had this happen…knock on wood).  Not cool, right?  So why would you let your dog do the same?
My Cattle Dog probably hates your dog.  It’s nothing personal (It probably is) but while she doesn’t want to kill your dog, she would rather your dog not be …alive anymore.
I have spent literally years dealing with her gangbanger tendencies. She’s not perfect (Despite what she thinks), but she is so much better than what she was that I am basically on a minimal management plan. That being said, if pressed I will explain that she is in fact dog aggressive (It’s more like pissily selective with unfamiliar dogs, but the shades of gray are hard to explain) and please don’t let your dog get in her face. I am not however above admitting that I can and will use those tendencies to teach object lessons to idiots. My bad owner confessional being, I’ve let her go cobra on dogs we know, because their owners are being dicks. Out and about however, I do my best to minimize her potential for mayhem. I’m not being ‘rude’ when I physically block your dog. I’m sure your dog is lovely but our experiences say otherwise so if I’m putting myself between my dogs and you, that’s not an invitation to get closer. Really, back the hell up. I’m trying to get away from you and your dog in questionable control. I’m protecting your dogs as much as my own.
Also as a note, dog aggressive dogs under control and with responsible management have just as much right to be out and about as the friendly neighborhood pal. Muzzles are frequently a responsible compromise, and proceeding to lecture on why the ‘vicious’ dog shouldn’t be out is frankly ridiculous and narrow minded. I don’t like being accosted by strangers and neither do my dogs. Respect the bubble.
…and the Bubbles
Mr. T is exceedingly patient as a general rule.  He’s one of the best puppy-raisers around.  He tends to be ok with excessive sniffing, face-licking, and general tomfoolery from most dogs. But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his limits. If a large dog persists on bouncing all up in his business like Tigger on crack, he’s not going to be happy.  And nor am I.
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is… calm the fuck down.
People who understand dog body language have often commented on how appropriately and judiciously Mr. T doles out corrections.  Generally I try not to let dogs act inappropriately toward him and will step in if I think a dog is going too far and the owner is obtuse.  People with “friendly” dogs**, however, tend to think that anything less than complete tolerance on his behalf  is a sign of aggressiveness and that I’m being rude by not allowing their dog to torment mine.  Heaven forbid someone correct their sweet snookums who was only trying to show affection by clinging on to Mr. T’s  head like those tacky Garfield car suction plushes.
Except the window is Mr. T’s head
**Pro Tip–if your “friendly” dog is routinely in the middle of melees and draws the ire of most dogs it encounters, it’s probably (past) time to rethink how you are letting your dog interact with others.

I was raised by a border collie, and my first dog that was really mine to train was an Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix, so even though my current Poodles aren’t easily offended by rude dogs- I am.
My dogs are also kept in this bubble.
So even though my poodles are going to tolerate your ass-y dog flinging himself into their face… I won’t. I’m going to step in and move your dog away. I don’t really appreciate being called a bitch for doing this, so I would appreciate if you could keep your comments about me under your breath, just like I keep my comments about you under mine.

This is a straight forward point of view that I absolutely agree with.  If it evokes the same sort of passion from you, I would love to hear about it, give me a bark!

Monday, July 29

Are Dogs Really Black and White Color Blind?

For quite some time the belief has been that dogs only see Black, White and shades of grey.  As a trainer I see many dogs and through working with toys, containers with treats and even the bag I carry with the treats in it, it would appear that dogs do see colors.  But who am I to argue with science?  At least that is what I thought until now.  Dogster posted last week a new study saying dogs do see color!  The full story is below.
Are you part of the rather large segment of the population who once heard and have steadfastly maintained the belief that dogs see only in black and white and shades of boring gray? 
You shouldn't have done that. Of course dogs see color.
At least that's what a new study is showing us, according to Dogs, like most mammals, have only two color receptors (or "cones") to humans' three, but that doesn't mean they can see only gray. The article states that dogs' sight is limited on the level of humans with what's known as red-green color-blindness. 
"Whereas a human with full color vision sees red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet along the spectrum of visible light, a dog sees grayish brown, dark yellow, light yellow, grayish yellow, light blue and dark blue, respectively," reads the article. 
In visual form, that looks like this: 
The way a human sees color. 
The way a dog sees color.
Researchers have long suspected that dogs rely more on brightness than color to discriminate between objects, but Russian researchers, in a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, dispute that. 
In the study, the team used light and dark colored paper in a variety of colors, along with boxes containing raw meat. The dogs began to associate the boxes of raw meat with specific colors rather than just the lightness or the darkness of the color. 
The bolster the findings, the researchers put the dogs through 10 trials a day for nine days. 
To the dog, this is not just a horrible jacket, but a horrible YELLOW jacket. Dog in jacket by Shutterstock. 
"After 10 tests, all the dogs went for the color-based choice more than 70 percent of the time, and six out of the eight dogs went for it 90 or 100 percent of the time. Clearly, they’d memorized the color associated with the raw meat, not whether it was dark or light," reads the story. 
The only drawbacks to the study are the small sample size -- just eight dogs -- and the fact that all the dogs were mixed breeds. But the findings seem pretty solid. If they hold up, it could change some aspects of dog training, as some trainers often avoid color and rely on brightness as a cue. 
And it could change the way you dress your dog. It might not be the rain slicker he hates, but rather its horrid yellow-green color.

I look forward to see how this will shape the dog training world and the dog community in general.  I certainly plan on playing with colors with my own dog, perhaps some of my clients too.

Wednesday, July 24

Ft. Bragg California

Last week I was actually able to slip away for a little vacation with one of my sister's, her husband and little 6 year old for a relaxing 4 day stay in Ft. Bragg, CA.  It was truly beautiful and the most surprising part, very dog friendly!  I was little bummed with every dog I passed that my Neville wasn't with me.  But next time, that will be different.

If you are looking for a relaxing get away with your dog, this is the place to go.  Both Ft. Bragg and Mendocino (the neighboring town) are dog friendly.  They are sleepy little beach towns with cute stores selling everything from fine leather to gems to toy stores.  The restaurants are just as cute and have some diversity.

The main attraction are of course the beaches!  The place to go to relax, play and just enjoy the view.  Each beach offers something a little different, but the one thing they all had in common was the amazing scenery.

Northern California coast is absolutely breath-taking, but I did want the sun to peak out from behind the clouds just a little more.  But the break from the heat was very nice!

Next time I go, my dog will be with me.  The beaches were welcoming to our four-legged friends, as were the towns, but the restaurants not so much.  We rented a house that was open to dogs, but I don't know about the hotels.

If you are looking for one last place to vacation before the summer is up, I highly recommend Ft. Bragg for some relaxation!  Bring your dog or not, either way you will see beautiful sites, be refreshed by the ocean air and be relaxed by the laid back attitude.

Monday, July 22

Traveling With Your Pets

Summer is in full swing and vacations are under way.  I know not all vacations are appropriate for your pets, but if they are it is always fun to have the whole family there.  But traveling with your pets can pose some challenges if you are not prepared.  Below is the Top 6 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet.

Top 6 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet
Keep Your Dog Safe and Healthy on the Road
If you can't bear to leave your pet at home during your summer trip, you're not alone. The Travel Industry Association of America estimates that 30 million people take their dog along on road trips and plane rides every year.
Is your pet a good candidate? First, consider his personality. Shy or nervous pets might be more comfortable at home. But if your pet's adventurous, go ahead and schedule a talk with your veterinarian. She'll confirm that your pet's shots are up to date, offer travel tips and give you any preventive medication you might need (for mosquitoes or ticks, for instance.)
Once you have the go-ahead, you can keep your four-legged friend safe in unfamiliar territory with these top six travel tips from Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
  1. Make sure your pet's wearing identification at all times in case she becomes separated or lost. Verify that your pet's ID tag is up-to-date, durable, legible and includes your cell phone number.
  2. Pack a recent photo of your pet along with current vaccination records. If your pet becomes lost, the photo will make your search easier.
  3. Pack enough food to safeguard against travel delays.
  4. Book a pet-friendly hotel. VPI estimates that there are 25,000 great choices across the United States.
  5. Choose early morning or late evening flights to avoid temperature extremes that could affect your pet.
  6. Find a veterinary hospital near your destination in advance. Get the phone number, hours and driving distance. If your pet has a medical emergency you'll know exactly where to go.

These are 6 simple tips that can make your travel experience with your pet much safer and more enjoyable.

Wednesday, July 10

Sweet Puple Haze Pooch Parade!

Summer is here and it is time to enjoy the sweet night air!  Grab your pooch and lets stroll through the streets of Downtown, learn while having fun, and chill on a patio and socialize with other like-minded dog owners!

It brings me great pleasure to announce Bark & Clark's upcoming Pooch Parade! 

Please join us for the Sweet Purple Haze Pooch Parade on August 5th @ 7:30pm.
The evening will start with me, Certified Trainer, Tamara Clark, hosting a Summer time strut through our home neighborhood of the Historical Core.  We will start our date night with our doggie by stopping in at Pussy & Pooch's Pawbar for a delicious bite to eat.  Then the fun and learning will begin as we make our way through the bustling streets, spreading our Sweet Purple Haze.  After the work is done and the pups are tired, it is time to reward the humans with drinks and bites to eat of our own on the dog-friendly patio of the Artisan House!  

Besides the obvious fun you will have, this is a great chance to learn about how to handle your dog downtown and in general with other dogs and humans.  The Sweet Purple Haze Pooch Parade workshop's focus will be on you dogs socialization with congested city sidewalks (including dog on dog interactions), leash control, and focusing on you while dealing with distractions.  As well, we will have our usual education on the approved potty places and how to get your dog to go there. 
The benefit of working your dog in this environment is it helps reinforce their basic obedience and uses those skills to increase their focus on you - not all the distractions. We'll also work  on manners specific to the city, such as sitting at all intersections before crossing; sitting for introductions and the proper way to greet other dogs. 

We teach uptown manners for Downtown dogs! This class is so fun, it's more like an outing... So let's take a stroll through the city and focus on doggy's ability to deal with the public, the lively city and all the other pooches out and about.

I am so looking forward to this Pooch Parade, I hope I will see you all there and if you can't be there, I hope you will help spread the word!  

Be sure to RSVP by July 30th because space is limited.  The cost is $40/dog.

To sign up for this Pooch Parade, give us a bark:  Bark!

Monday, July 8

Hawthorne Police Dog Shooting

For the past week or so, this has been a very hot topic that has evoked a lot of emotion from everyone!  Hawthorne police shot a 2 year old Rottweiler named Max right after arresting the dog's owner.  The video of this event has gone viral.  I have many feelings about this incident that range from absolute rage to complete sadness.   What it all boils down to for me is that it is very clear that these officers have little to no training when it comes to dealing with dogs.  Further, if you shoot to kill, I would hope that you would just kill the animal, don't let it flop around in the street writhing in pain. That was the cruelest part of this entire video.

Now, there is a lot to be said for the parent or owner of the dog.  His loss is tremendous and no matter what he did, his dog didn't deserve to die, especially not in this way.  He was in a place he shouldn't have been and he obviously was getting involved in something he shouldn't, fine.  He then put his dog in the car, but the windows were rolled down.  I don't know of too many dogs that would stay in a car as their owners are in distress.   When I watched the video, I just wanted to hit rewind and have him roll up his windows, maybe this whole thing could have been avoided.  But hindsight is 20/20.

What I take most issue with is the manner in which Max was killed.  I understand that the officer is saying that the dog was a threat to his life and therefore he had to kill the dog.  But I do not understand the pain and suffering.  If a dog comes at you and you shoot to kill, why so many shots and why did the dog not die immediately, why was the dog left in such intense pain and agony for the last moments of his life?  It makes no sense at all.   The fact is, that situation didn't have to have a gun involved at all, there was another way to handle it indeed.  But that would require the LAPD or Hawthorne PD to be EDUCATED in this manner.  They should be able to read what it meant by him lunging forward and recoiling, the uncertainty in his movements and patterns.  This was not a viscous dog, this was a young dog that thought the officers were hurting his owner, so with his owner in distress, Max went to help or protect his owner.  The dog was doing what he thought he had to.  Something that most dogs I know would do for their owners.

(Max posters being held by anti-violence protesters)

I've watched this video once and that was one too many.  It makes my heart hurt watching it.

There is an update to this story, Dogster published it this morning.  Below is that article with links to the original video and the Anonymous threat that the Hawthorne Police have received.
Last week, we told you about the horrific police shooting of a Rottweiler named Max in front of his owner, an act that was captured on video. Public outrage over the incident, which was immediate, has not slowed. However, many people are crossing the line with death threats against the officers. On Wednesday, four days after the shooting on Wednesday, the department pulled the three officers who appeared in the video from street duty. 
Hawthorne, California, police Lt. Scott Swain said the decision stemmed from a "an inundation of threats over the telephone, on Facebook, and in emails," according to the Daily Breeze

The video of the incident has gone viral, and public outrage continues to grow. You can watch the video here. We don't recommend doing so. It's graphic and hard to watch. 
"I understand that people have been affected by this video. Anyone would be," Swain said. "The police officers involved are affected by this incident and having to kill a dog. I don't understand how it translates into an eye for an eye. 'We are going to kill you and your family because of this incident.' Like in my case. I wasn't even working that night." 
"There's been death threats," he said. "You'd like to believe that maybe some of the people are just venting, but then you've got to be realistic -- there are crazy people out there." 
Anonymous, the computer hacking activist group, has also jumped into the fray, vowing to target the Hawthorne Police Department, according to the Daily Breeze. In a video posted to YouTube Wednesday, a person in a Guy Fawkes mask (commonly used by members), reads from a statement saying that the shooting is "unacceptable" and vows retaliation. 
"Police of Hawthorne you must know that you are our primary target," the person says in a digitally altered voice. "This matter will not remain unresolved."
On Monday, the Hawthorne Police Department website went down and remained down all week (as of Friday it was still down). Earlier it was reported that the site simply went down because of people going to the site to complain about the incident. Now, a source disputes that version of events.
"We are not sure who is responsible, but there was a DDOS, or distributed denial of service, attack," a police source told the Daily Breeze on the condition of anonymity. "The city website has been down since Monday. The city is working with the Web host to get the site back up."
Anonymous didn't take credit, but denial-of-service attacks are often used by the group. 
Watch the video from Anonymous (but use caution, as the end contains unedited footage of the extremely graphic shooting):
Reaction to the shooting has also come in the form of online petitions, which have sprung up at (at last check, more than 88,000 signatures), (more than 77,000 signatures) and (more than 95,000 signatures). The petitions seek to get the officer or officers involved in the shooting fired and charged with animal cruelty. 
The Hawthorne Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation of the officers' actions.
We know tempers are running hot on this, but death threats have no place in seeking justice for Max.
This may be the end of the story for now, but this is not over.  These types of situations are not over.  There will be more.  This only stops with education.  Police have to be trained on the best way to deal with K-9's, not just to point and shoot.  R.I.P. Max, I am so sorry your young life was cut short and you had to die in such a horrific manner.