fly stare

What is a “Hard Eye” in a Dog? (And What Should You Do When You See One?)

Little Nell, a fox-faced Border Collie, came to visit the farm over twenty-five years ago, when I was just getting started as a behaviorist. A sweetheart of a dog, she melted when petted and came when I called, eyes shining, radiating joy and exuberance. However, one day she didn't respond when I called her. Her face was buried in the tall grass by the driveway and I could hear her snuffling at something under her nose. As I got closer, she turned her head toward me, and... I froze. I didn't even know why at the time, it seemed to happen automatically, and too fast to consciously evaluate. And then I realized  that Nell's eyes had gone "hard," a look that people had been telling me about, Read More

flower id last

Upcoming Talks. Wheeeee!

Many of you know I've been holed up working on my memoir every morning for the last millennium, and thus haven't done a lot of speaking. (Okay, maybe it's not been that long.) The good news is that I am making progress on the book (actually, a "mutual memoir" about me and Willie). I finished a manuscript last December, and sent it out for review. Lots of insightful comments by some great writers and editors led to re-write that now keeps me busy from 8 am to noon. I'm about half done with that, having started again in June after finishing teaching at the university in late May. Cross your paws that this new version, once done sometime in late fall or early winter, will only need some tweaks. Read More

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The Movie Max & Concerns about Breed Popularity

As you may know, a movie about a military dog, Max, is getting a lot of attention. I just read a summary of the plot, which convinced me that I'll be better off watching bad TV at home while rubbing my dogs' bellies than going to see it. It might be a great movie, who knows, (although the reviews are not stellar), but in it Max the Malinois is brought back from Afghanistan after watching his handler be shot and killed by another American soldier, later is chained and abandoned alone in a backyard, then severely injured fighting off two "bad guy" dogs. Next, he is accused of seriously biting a person, taken away by animal control to a pound, from which he escapes, and then... Enough. Sorry, I Read More