Sunday, October 30, 2011

State's Official Dog

An Oregon sheep rancher successfully lobbied state legislators to introduce a bill to designate the Border Collie as the state's official dog. It was introduced last winter and if passes, it will be signed into law.

Dogs have long played a part in our daily lives, and some have played a part in history. Wanting to honor the Border Collies' role in Oregon's agricultural history, the breed may soon become Oregon's Official Dog.

Several states have honored canines by designated them as the official state dog.

Maryland was first in the state dog tradition in 1964 by naming its native breed, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, their official state dog. More recently, the Alaskan Malamute, the largest and oldest of the Arctic breeds, got its designation after an Anchorage kindergartner inspired a group of kids to lobby Alaska's state legislature. In 2009, the rare Chinook became the state dog of New Hampshire after a successful campaign started by a dog-loving science teacher and some enthusiastic students who got a civics lesson, too.

The honored breed often has a longstanding relationship with state residents and represents a part of the state's history. For example, Chinooks were bred by sled-dog driver and explorer Arthur Walden in the early 1900's.

Nine other breeds have been declared official state dogs:

The Catahoula Leopard Dog (Louisiana, 1979) is bred to handle cattle and hogs and has a reputation for size and strength. American settlers in the South developed this spotted breed.

The Boston Terrier (Massachusetts, 1979), bred from crossing Bulldogs and English terriers, was developed after the Civil War in Boston as a strong, smart fighting dog.

The Plott Hound (North Carolina, 1989) gets its name from the German immigrant who settled in North Carolina in 1750 with five Hanoverian Hounds. Plott bred dogs for hunting boar and bear.

The Great Dane (Pennsylvania, 1965) developed in Germany as a hunting and guard dog was widely used as a working dog during Pennsylvania's frontier days.

The Boykin Spaniel (South Carolina, 1985) is a hard-working bird dog which began with a stray dog who had a knack for retrieving waterfowl.

The Blue Lacy (Texas, 2005) was thought to have resulted from a cross between a coyote and a Greyhound, and was developed in Texas in the mid-1800s.

President George Washington bred the American Foxhound (Virginia, 1966) in the 1700s. Today, the breed participates in competitive field trails and fox hunting.

The American Water Spaniel (Wisconsin, 1985), bred to retrieve from boats, was developed in the Great Lakes region of the United States in the mid 1800s.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Endangered Species Helped by Dogs

Dogs are using their powerful sense of smell to help in the fight to save endangered species.

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama began using specially trained dogs a couple of years ago to sniff out scat (feces) left behind by black bears, weasels, skunks, and other wild creatures. Alabama is home to 117 endangered species.

Todd Steury, and assistant professor of wildlife ecology and founder of EcoDog, originally used the dogs to find out where certain carnivores were living in order to better protect those areas.

He believes that habitat loss is one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss today. He says that dogs are ideal for this type of work because more traditional tools that use bait might skew results by luring animals into an area they would not normally go.

Scat provides researchers with a wealth of information such as population size, fertility, diet, and stress levels.

Currently 11 Labrador Retrievers are part of the program and were all trained at the university's Canine Detection and Research Institute, one of the largest dog detection training programs outside of the federal government.

Training takes about eight weeks for the first scent,then about 10 minutes for additional odors.

The dogs can be "rented" for field studies in other states, and recently worked on finding invasive pythons deep in the Florida Everglades and right whale feces floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Advocate" Button

Heartbreak, helplessness, and despair is what many animal lovers feel when they see a lonely pet at the animal shelter.

Ashley Owen Hill and Chris Hoar are on a mission to find stray dogs and cats forever homes. Together they founded Pet Pardons, a Facebook app that allows users to create online profiles for adoptable pets who are on death row or in no-kill shelters, and encourage adoption by clicking the "Advocate" button, which posts pet updates to their own wall.

The app helps shelter pets across the country gain exposure and offers a simple way for online animal lovers to connect and encourage adoption. Some users are willing to provide transportation from state to state, allowing people to adopt pets from hundreds of miles away.

The simple "Advocate" button is and easy way for users to spread the word and save the lives of thousands of shelter pets across the country. Over 3,000 pets have been placed thanks to the app.

Pet Pardons' ultimate goal is to end all euthanasia in American shelters by January 1, 2015!

To learn more, visit or check out the Pet Pardons page at

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watercolor "Pet of the Week"

Graphic designer, Matt Tames helps homeless pets by creating pet portraits weekly and posting them on the Internet.

Since February of 2010, he has created a watercolor "Pet of the Week" to help bring attention to the problem of unwanted pets and to try to find a home for each of his subjects.

He believes that if he captured a picture of the animal looking happy or having a good time, that maybe people would be more inclined to adopt an animal in need.

He e-mails local animal shelters or searches on for a dog, and sometimes a cat, to paint and posts it on his website.

Matt donates 20 percent of each 8" by 10" print to an animal charity and links to the animal's profile online. Some of the dogs have been adopted!

Be sure to check out Matt's website.

Here is a photo of my dog, Ebony.
This is a watercolor version done in PhotoShop.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


This video is entertaining as the dog entertains itself.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cancer Treatment Grants

Here is a fabulous company that provides grants for cancer treatment.

Zuke's, the maker of natural pet treats located in Durango, Colorado, pledges a percentage of its profits to The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund which offers grants to owners of pets with cancer who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment. The criteria include the pet's prognosis and the owner's financial need.

The company was named after a chocolate Labrador Retriever belonging to the company founder and CEO Patrick Meiering, who co-founded the fund in 2007 with his brother, Christopher.

In 2010 they donated $40,000. So far, grants have gone to more than 70 families of dogs and cats with cancer.

This is wonderful! Thank you Zuke's.

More information here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Costume Time?

Dressing your dog for Halloween can be fun for you, but it could be stressful for your dog unless you spend a little time getting your dog use to wearing a costume.

Suggestions for teaching your dog to wear a costume.

If your dog has never worn anything but a collar and leash, start the costume experience with a simple bandanna knotted around her neck. Put it on and praise her verbally and with treats.

Add a "cape" by tucking one end of a scarf or towel under her collar.

Next step is to slip a T-shirt over her head and gently place her front legs through the armholes. Tie a knot in the bottom hem of the T-shirt, so it does not trip her.

Each time you put a new garment on your dog, encourage her, with treats, to follow you around so she gets used to the feel of the costume.

Put each new item of clothing on her for just a few minutes, then take it off. Soon She will be happy wearing her duds for longer periods of time. Any time she seems to be getting uncomfortable, take the costume off and let her relax.

When choosing costumes for your dog, keep safety and comfort in mind. Avoid anything that might hinder vision, hearing, or movement. Choose costumes that are fairly easy to put on and take off, with no dangling accessories she might swallow if she chews on them. If the costume extends out to the sides at all, making your dog wider than normal, walk her around furniture and other obstacles to get used to her new size.

Never leave your dog unattended when she is wearing a costume. She might decide to chew her way out of it or get it caught on something and panic.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Secrets of a Happy Dog

What is it that makes a dog a truly happy dog?


Secret # 1

Happiness is getting a move on. Just like people, dogs feel great when they are in good shape.

Secret # 2

Happiness is preventing health problems. Dog's cannot tell you when they do not feel well, so be preventative about health issues.

Secret # 3

Happiness is mental stimulation. Give your dog plenty of opportunities to meet new people and dogs. Let your dog solve puzzles. Take your dog out in nature to sniff.

Secret # 4

Happiness is the right foods in the right amounts. Choose a well-known dog food, and do not overfeed your dog with too many treats or snacks between meals.

Secret # 5

All you need is love. Most dogs love to be petted; at least five minutes a day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Howl-O-Ween Treats

I came across an article on how to throw a Halloween paw-ty for dogs and a recipe for treats.

I will save you the details of planning the paw-ty. Instead, you can just use your imagination. Although the suggestion to schedule the party for a day or two before Halloween so as not to be disturbed by trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell during the paw-ty was a great idea. The treats sound yummy for both humans and dogs, so I thought I would share.

Tricking Treats

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (real pumpkin, not pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla
1 egg
4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup oats


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, mix water, pumpkin, vanilla, and egg thoroughly.
3. Combine flour, pecans, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a separate bowl, stirring well.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, making sure no dry mixture is left.
5. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup completely.
6. Sprinkle the top of each muffing with oats and bake for one hour and 15 minutes.
7. Cool completely and store in a sealed container for up to one week.

Makes 14 bewitching treats

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Gift of Life

Just like humans, dogs can become blood donors.

Veterinarians can give a blood transfusion to dogs to improve their health or to save their lives.

If you have been looking for a way to help the canine community, enrolling your dog in a blood donation program is one way.

What canine blood donations entails:

Blood donor candidates need a physical exam, blood work, and screening for several conditions. Blood type is also tested, to screen for potential incompatibility. Once your dog enters a blood donor program, these tests are often performed twice yearly, and typically at no cost to you.

Blood banks have specific requirements for a dog to donate. Once dogs qualify, they are enrolled in the donation program. When they come in, they receive a physical exam and a blood test to check their red blood cell count. The actual blood donation only takes a few minutes. Then comes the and treats! A dog can typically donated every two months, although this can vary with a dog's specific blood type and breed.

Enrolling in a canine blood donation program is a win-win situation. You and your dog receive some nice benefits, plus the satisfaction of knowing your dog will help save many lives over the years. One single donation can typically save the lives of four dogs!

Ask your veterinarian for information about the closest blood donation program.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Children as Dog Walkers

Older children and teens can be the perfect solution to friends or neighbors in need of a dog walker. But like many areas of development, readiness to take on such a task varies greatly by the child.

Consider these issues before you decide if your child is ready for being a dog walker:

1. Is your child dependable, or will you be reminding him or her to visit the dog?

2. Does your child have control when walking your own dog, and will he or she pick up waste and avoid off-limit areas?

3. Will your child uphold his or her commitment, even if it means going out in the rain or declining a social opportunity?

4. Does your child remember details like locking doors, checking windows, and latching the fence?

5. Is your child patient with all canine personalities, from rambunctious puppies to slow moving seniors?

Once you feel your child is read, dog walking can be a great way for him or her to develop an early sense of responsibility and make some extra money in the process.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Barking Violates Nuisance Laws

How do you know if your dog is disturbing neighbors?

Although your dog may be on your property, if her barking disturbs others in your general vicinity, you may be in violation of either a general nuisance, noise, or a specific dog disturbance ordinance.

If a neighbor complains about your dog barking, an animal control officer may issue a warning. Fines may be imposed for repeat violations.

The conflict arises when neighbors' definitions of "loud or persistent" vary.An owner may think his dog's occasional barking is tolerable, or even beneficial as a warning, but a neighbor may contend the continued noise disturbs his comfort or sleep.

Typically, a reasonableness standard is applied. Some municipalities attempt to define "persistent." Tulsa, Oklahoma, defines barking repetitively for over 10 minutes as a nuisance.

What is the standard where you live?

Have you thought about a No-Bark Collar?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Breed Standard

Each dog breed in dog registries and associations such as the American Kennel Club, has a standard; a set of guidelines written to ensure that the dogs conform to specific attributes. Each breed standard is different, but all share some similar characteristics:

1. Appearance Every breed standard addresses the outward qualities of the dog, and includes factors such as general appearance; size, proportion, and substance; head (including eye and nose color); neck, topline, and body; forequarters; hindquarters; coat; and color.

2. Gait This describes how the dog should move.

3. Temperament Qualities like behavior, adaptability, trainability, intelligence, playfulness, and energy level differ from breed to breed.

4. Disqualifications It is important to know what a breed should not look and act like. Disqualifications could include rare color or coat, or wrong ear size or shape.

Why is a breed standard important?

Along with helping to ensure that breeds maintain a consistent look and personality, the standard also ensures the dogs maintain the functions for which they were originally bred.

For example, according to the AKC, Rottweilers were originally bred to herd cattle in the field. With selective breeding, their protective, courageous natures are still prevalent in their temperament even today.

For more information about breed standards, and to see listings of the standards of your favorite breeds, visit the AKC website.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Sounds like a fire-safety demonstration.

Yet this is a fun and easy trick to teach your dog.

When you cue your dog to lie down, it will stop moving forward which makes this trick really only two parts: the drop (lie down) and the roll (roll over).

Drop: Teach this by luring from a Sit to a Down with a treat. Put the treat close to your dog's nose, then lower it slowly to just in front of its front toes. That hand motion becomes a silent cue for Down. Reward your dog with praise and a treat. When your dog drops quickly three times in a row, lured by treats, stop using treats and just lower your empty hand (open palm toward the floor). As soon as your dog lies down, drop a treat from your other hand.

Roll: With your dog lying down, put a treat close to her nose, then move it slowly past her shoulder and toward her hip. Reward with the treat. Do that again, but as she bends her neck, following the teat, move it a little farther so she rolls onto her other side, with her body curved. Reward. Repeat, then move the treat toward her spine, keeping the curve, so she rolls onto her back. Reward. Repeat, but move the treat in a half circle near her head so she rolls all the way over. Reward. When your dog confidently follows the treat lure, keep the treat hidden in your other hand and gesture with your empty hand (same movement as when luring) to signal to roll.

Stop, Drop, and Roll: When your dog can both lie down and roll over, put them together. Signal Down, the Roll. Reward after your dog rolls over. Gradually increase the speed of drop-and roll until your dog can do the sequence smoothly.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Dogs love to sniff the ground.

The American Kennel Club tracking allows your dog to indulge this passion as it follows a specific human scent trail complete with turns and "lost" articles to find. It also provides your dog with unparalleled freedom for in tracking the dog becomes the leader and you have to listen and trust the dog.

You do not just hold the leash while your dog tracks. You must learn how to handle the line, how much tension to put on the line, how to read the dog's body language, how to know when the dog is off the track, and how to encourage the dog back on the track.

The length of the track varies per the competition level, as does the number of turns, and general difficulty. The tracks may cross fields, near ponds, into wooded areas, and eventually over man made surfaces.

Tracking develops an incredible bond between owner and dog, due in part to the trust the handler must place in the dog's ability to follow something humans can neither see, hear, smell, nor feel.

Training involves using food and toys to direct and reward your dog's natural scenting ability. When approached in this positive manner, most dogs love tracking.

There are tracking clubs and obedience clubs with members who track. You can also contact judges to see if they do training, or they can refer you to someone in the area. Books and videos help, but do not replace the assistance of another tracker.

To track down mover information, check this out.