Monday, March 30, 2009

When Rover goes "out" where does he go?

This comes from the "What will they think of next" department...

The new Pet's Eye View Camera is now on the market. After reading about it in the newspaper, I found it on a site called Nerd 7 for $39.95:

This is a camera that attaches to your dog or cat's collar and takes a digital picture at intervals you pre-set.

Now you'll know for sure... is it really your dog who knocks over the neighbor's trash can every night? Does he or she meet up with a buddy and cruise the neighborhood?

Or maybe you want to know what your dog or cat does when you aren't home... Sleeping on the bed against all rules perhaps? Opening the fridge for a look around? Cruising the counter-tops?

Depending upon the quality of the images, I can see lots of other uses for this one. How about for downhill skiers, or mountain climbers - taking in the view from various vantage points? Or how about for fishermen... just turn it on when you're about to reel in a big one.

I don't even want to think about the "evidence" that could be gathered if you wore this as a necklace when you attend an office party...

If you buy one, write me and tell me how the photos turn out... I'd love to know!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dogs - Creatures of habit

My dogs! Sometimes they're just goofy...

Last night my husband sat down to eat and as usual said "It's hot in here" and pulled the slider open a few inches so the cold air from outside would blow in on him.

After dinner, also as usual, I fed the dogs, but forgot to go close the slider. While I was cleaning up the kitchen I noticed the door open further and knew that Ralph, the big dog in the family, had gone on outside. That's fine, he does that.

It really was a little warm in the house, so I left the door open and sat down to listen to the end of whatever news show my husband was watching. In a few minutes Susie came and asked to go out. I told her the door was open, and to go ahead and go.

She just stood there. Then she pawed at me again to go let her out. I sighed and said "Susie, the door is open. Go." Nope, she couldn't do that. So I got up and went to the open door and said "See - it's open. Go out."

Nope... wrong door. She went to the other door and stood there waiting. Of course, I opened the correct door and let her and Pepper both out. When Ralph was ready, he came back in the slider, and Susie and Pepper stood at the other door and barked for me to let them in.

Apparently, it really matters which door you use.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dog obedience: Stop the jumping!

Does your dog jump all over visitors? Does he even jump all over you when you first get home? Does he fail to quit jumping when you give the command to stop?

Every dog is a different personality, but here are some tips that might work for you:

First, you and any guests must learn to ignore the dog when you walk in the house. No eye contact, no petting or talking to the dog. This is to dispel the idea that someone coming in is an exciting event.

Once the dog learns to calm down, you can go back to greeting him - but quietly.

When the dog does jump on you, instead of moving backward, move forward, into the dog. He'll not only lose his balance, but he'll get the message in "dog talk" that this is your space and he is to move out of it. You can give the command for down, but don't give him any other attention.

If this happens in the same place in the house repeatedly, keep a can of pebbles or pennies nearby and shake it at him. Dogs don't like that sound and will retreat.

While you're teaching the dog not to jump for attention, you need to also teach him that he will get positive attention by sitting quietly. Your dog wants attention from you - and if the only way he can get it is by being a pest, he'll be a pest.

So, when the dog is sitting quietly, tell him he's good, give him a pet, or even a treat. If he comes to sit quietly beside you when you're visiting with a guest, take a second to acknowledge his presence and give him some petting while you talk.

Try hard to remember not to just say "Good Dog." Praise the behavior itself using the words you use for commands. For instance, say "Good sit", "good off," "good down," & "good stay."

He knows he's a good dog - but he needs to know what he did that was so good!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dog trails in the snow...

Today was beautiful - with the sun shining on a couple of inches of new snow. And the dogs loved it.

The old snow is rock hard below, so they can run like the wind over it, stopping now and then to bury their noses in the snow and toss it in the air. And I get a kick out of looking at their tracks and seeing how each dog makes his or her own loop out into the meadow and back again.

When they fly out of the house they all tumble over the hill together, but at the bottom, they fan out, with Ralph heading toward the creek, Pepper taking the middle path, and Suzie making her loop off to the West.

Ralph enjoys staying out the longest - I suppose because he's the one with a thick coat of hair to keep him warm on days like this. When I took this picture it was a roaring 14 degrees out there. Pepper and Suzie had already made their way back into the house.

The weather report says next week will be in the 50's - so this snow will turn to mush and the mud will return to the driveway. Then dog washing season begins, with everyone having at least their legs and tummies washed before they're allowed in to the living room and their favorite spots on couch and chairs.

I'm not fond of mud season - but it does mean Spring is on the way!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Belgian Malinois

When I wrote about the sentry dogs at the Boise prison, I said one of the primary breeds used was the Belgian Malinois. I'd heard of the breed, but knew nothing about them, so decided to look them up.

I learned that this was a dog originally bred for herding, but is now known best as a police dog. It's popularity as such surpasses even the German Shepherd.

The temperament is described as intense. A high-energy dog, it needs plenty of mental stimulation and physical exercise. The book described this dog as aloof with strangers and sometimes aggressive toward other dogs and animals. It's protective of both its home and family.

From a distance, I think it could be mistaken for a German Shepherd, with the same body build, coloring, and head carriage. However, the photographs in my book make it appear rather unattractive - with eyes too small and close set.

These dogs would definitely be intimidating to an intruder, as they stand approximately 24" tall.

If you, or someone you know, has one of these dogs, I'd love to hear more about it from your point of view - and I'll bet everyone else would too.

If you enjoy reading about the dog breeds, you might like a copy of the book I use: "The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds" by Colie. To make it easy, I found the link from - where you always save over the Amazon price!

Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds

Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds

More than 150 breeds are profiled, arranged in the general groups as specified by the AKC: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Information on each breed's history, vulnerability to specific health problems, and more is included, as is a color photo of each dog.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mean & dangerous dogs have a place, too...

Mean and dangerous dogs are usually euthanized - but in Boise, Idaho, they're given a job.

In fact, they hold important positions at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. Dogs have being doing sentry duty there for two decades, and in that time, no inmate has escaped.

Most of the dogs are German Shepherds, Rottweilers, or Belgian Malinois - a few are Boxers or Pit Bulls. In other words, they're big enough and strong enough to do serious damage to anyone foolish enough to invade their territory.

The entire prison is surrounded by an alley formed by two chain link and razor-wire fences, and inside those fences, 36 dogs share patrol duty. Each dog works for 2 days and then is given a day of play and rest in an indoor kennel. While they are aggressive toward any strangers, and protect their territory with snarls and barred fangs, they do bond with their regular trainers and handlers.

As fewer and fewer prisons across the nation take advantage of these "low tech security devices," dog handlers in Boise fear that with increased funding, the dogs may cease to be used. Prison officials say they do not want to see that day. The dogs are not only a cost savings, but are far more reliable than any human or mechanical device.

Their finely tuned senses of hearing and smell mean they can zoom in on someone approaching their fence even in the darkest night or the thickest fog - and unlike electronic devices, they don't fail when the power goes out.

Trainers will tell you that a dog is happiest when he has work to do - and this group certainly has work to do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Operation Blankets of Love

Just got a note from Eileen at Operation Blankets of Love - it may take a while before their website is back up again, so she told me to go ahead and post her phone number - just in case someone might want to know more about the program.

So here it is: Call Eileen at 818-402-6586. She'll be glad to tell you how to set up a similar program in your town. She'll also be glad to hear from you if you're in her neighborhood - she's always up for another blanket drive, an instructional visit with school classes, or a new collection spot.

This maddening experience should be a wake-up call for all of us. If we build and maintain our own websites we should be backing up all the files - not just in our own computers, but somewhere else too.

And, if we hire someone to build and maintain our sites, we should make darned sure that they're doing backup. I don't know if OBOL's web host went belly-up or if there was a temporary glitch that erased the files - but since her "web guy" hadn't made back up files, they'll have to start over from scratch.

This is just no fun - plus it's a huge drain on both time and money.

So... back up your files. Do it today.

Here's to no more homeless pets,