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.

Wednesday, July 3

4th of July Safety!

Happy 4th of July!  This is such a fun holiday for us humans, drinks, food, gathering and lots of fireworks.  Our fun can be a dog's worst nightmare, especially the fireworks.  So below are a few safety tips to help you get through tomorrow.

First and foremost, don't forget about your dog!  Whatever your plans, make sure you are thinking of what is best for your dog!

Start the day with a big walk or an early morning hike to get some of that energy out.  Be sure to get their later walk in before the fireworks start.

To keep you & your pooch in good standing during gatherings, make sure they are not being set up for disaster and keep the food out of their reach.  If they are nervous around people, you may want to provide them their own private spot for the party and be sure to relieve them with walks and visits.

If your dog is at home during the fireworks and they are sensitive to the noise, make sure they are in the inner-most part of your home and if they have a crate, they are in it.  This will help cut down on the noise and make them feel safe.

If your dog is with you at a party and will not tolerate fireworks, make sure to bring their crate and see to it that they are in an inner room at your party host's house.  However, if your dog doesn't mind fireworks, just ensure they are on a leash as you enjoy the show together.

There are some dogs that go out of their skin with fear during fireworks, for this you should consult your veterinarian for a sedation prescription or seek an herbal alternative.

I wish you all a safe and fun 4th of July! 

Monday, July 1

More Dog Goodness in DTLA

 In the next two weeks 2 very exciting things are happening for the DTLA dog residents (and their people too).  

Today is an exciting day for the residents of DTLA!  The DTLA Vets have their grand opening this afternoon starting at 4pm and I could not be more excited!  We have needed, wanted and begged for a vet clinic in DTLA and today our wishes and wants are answered.  Dr. Eve Flores and Dr. Leia Castaneda open the doors to DTLA Vets located at 333 S. Spring Street.  
This renovated space has been turned into a state of the art vet clinic.  I can't wait for everyone to walk into the beautiful space and see what they have done!  Not only will you love it, your pets will too.  But the best part of this new clinic is not the office, it is the two amazingly talented veterinarians that run and operate this business.  We are so lucky to have them joining our community! 

Next Wednesday (7/10) another great event for DTLA dog owning residents makes it's annual appearance, the 7th annual Downtown Dog Day Afternoon!  This fun dog event takes place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at 555 W Temple St.

This is an afternoon for the dogs of DTLA.  All of the pet vendors in DTLA (myself included) set up fantastic booths in the courtyard of the Cathedral handing out treats, goodie bags and advice to all the dogs of DTLA.

We do ask that only the socialized pups come out for this event, if they do not like other dogs or people, they won't have fun at this event.

I hope to see you at both events!