Episode 820 – Dogs Should Not Have to Do Sit

Why are people so focused on teaching their dogs cues like sit and stay? Do we ever stop to think about what these cues mean from the dog’s point of view and why ‘sit’ in particular could be uncomfortable for them? Victoria explores our fascination with obedience training and gives her views on the direction dog training needs to go in the future.

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Memorable TV Moments Featuring Dogs

Right about now, you’ve probably watched every show on your list of lists—best thrillers, top 10 crime procedurals, the freshest rom-coms—and are considering working your way through documentaries … WWII battles anyone?

Well, for your viewing pleasure, we’ve put together a list of our favorite television shows with a canine theme, all available via streaming. We’ve focused on dramas and comedies, omitting the popular realm of reality programming (if that’s your cup of tea, you’ll find several animal-rescue and veterinarian-focused shows).

In no particular order, here are our memorable TV dog moments:

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Q&A with Susie Green, author of Dogs in Art

A new book delves into centuries of art showcasing our first and oldest friends.
Edvard Munch Self-portrait in Bergen, 1916 (left); Head of a Dog, 1942 (right) Oil on canvas (Bergen) and wood panel (Dog)
Dogs in Art is a refreshing primer on a subject old as time, as evidenced by Egyptian and pre-Columbian artifacts highlighted by author Susie Green in this seminal work. A handsome, well-researched book, it strikes the perfect balance between an academic thesis and a popular art history tour.

In her new book, Susie Green takes the reader on an artistic tour across time, from ancient Rome through the Renaissance and into the 21st century. A thoughtful writer, she shares insights into the many ways dogs have been depicted in art through the ages, and how those depictions have mirrored the evolution of human cultures and societies. A number of exquisite works rarely seen in print are included, as are numerous sly revelations. With this tome, she has achieved that rare feat of personalizing a much-studied field, and deserves our congratulations. Recently, The Bark spoke to Susie Green about the making of Dogs in Art.

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Why cats have more lives than dogs when it comes to snakebite

Cats are twice as likely to survive a venomous snakebite than dogs, and the reasons behind this strange phenomenon have just been revealed. The research team compared the effects of snake venoms on the blood clotting agents in dogs and cats, hoping to help save the lives of our furry friends.

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Forget About Stress & Anxiety

POSITIONING THEMSELVES FOR REINFORCEMENT First off, sorry. The title was designed to get your attention. We cannot forget about stress and anxiety but rather than focus on those conditions we assume a dog is experiencing, let’s get down to the business of behavior. It has been important that people have been encouraged to […]

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Ilsa

DOG ON BED

I prayed for God to tell me, to send me a sign,
and He did, when I knelt next to you
to gently pet your head and pray over you
after I hung up the phone with the vet.
You looked at me with your jet-black eyes, reassured me
you were ready, and
I was making the right decision.

I didn’t wear mascara or eyeliner.
I knew my face would be a mess of black streaks if I did.

I came home feeling empty and numb,
my heart split in two, eyes swollen, face streaked with tears,
a knot in the deep pit of my stomach,
an aching in my chest.

I placed your tags on the kitchen windowsill,
picked up your bowl of water and empty dish
and left them both in the sink.
I couldn’t bear to wash them right away.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters

There may have been a time when schools only needed to be charged with teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. But as society changes schools become responsible for instruction that either used to be provided at home, or represents a new field of study. When I was in high school we had a choice of […]

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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What You Need to Know About Yellow Dogs and DINOS


I grew up around horses. In the horse world, if you tie a red ribbon in your horse’s tail, everyone knows that means your horse kicks – so you don’t walk behind that horse, or ride your own horse too close to that horse’s back end. If you do, and you get kicked, it’s your own fault. So, everyone stays away from the rear end of a horse with a red ribbon in her tail. There is an active effort in the dog world to do something similar with the color yellow to protect dogs who need others to respect a space bubble around them as well as educate people about appropriate interactions with dogs in public in general (DINOS – Dog In Need Of Space). 

A Yellow Dog or DINOS may be aggressive, but is not necessarily so. He may be fearful and/or reactive, and needs people or other dogs not to get too close. He may be in pain – recovering from recent surgery, or arthritic, and again, needs dogs and humans not to pester him. He may just be too friendly and his human doesn’t want to constantly have to deal with him jumping up on people. He may be in training, and needs to focus on his tasks-at-hand rather than being intruded upon; a service dog, perhaps, or a dog just in the early stages of his good manners training. Perhaps he’s simply the canine companion of a human who wants to keep distance between herself and her dog, and others. 

The Yellow Dog Project is a not-for-profit organization promoting the concept of “yellow means caution” for dogs, and they have representatives around the world, in North and South America, parts of Africa, Asia, Russia, Australia, and numerous European countries. They utilize volunteers globally to help educate dog owners and others, and offer Yellow Dog volunteer opportunities, resources and products on their website and Facebook page.

DINOS was launched in 2012 by founder, professional dog walker and Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator, Jessica Dolce. As a dog walker, she faced regular encounters with humans who allowed their dogs to inappropriately approach the dogs she was professionally responsible for, many of whom didn’t appreciate other dogs in their faces. She calls these people MDIFs, because they often approach with a big smile on their faces while proclaiming enthusiastically, “It’s okay, My Dog Is Friendly.” Fed up with these encounters, she started a project to educate both dog owners and non-dog owners about better ways to interact with dogs in the real world. Her website offers a wide variety of resources both for those who have DINOS as well as those who want to help educate the rest of the world about how to interact appropriately with dogs in public. You can find DINOS information and resources on their website and Facebook page.

It is certainly no fun for a dog owner (or dog walker, or dog trainer) to constantly have to ward off unsolicited approaches, and it’s even worse when your dog does have reactive or aggressive behaviors. I would love to see yellow vests, scarves and ribbons become as well-known a “stay away” signal in the dog world as a red ribbon in a horse’s tail is in the horse world. Whether you purchase and utilize dog-space education products for your own Yellow Dog/DINOS, sign up to volunteer for the Yellow Dog Project, or share educational products in your community, (you can find the Yellow Dog poster online, free download, print, make copies and post them around your neighborhood), you can help these groups help make the world a safer and happier place for dogs and the people who love them.

Read Next: Aggression Unpacked, May 2019

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