My Turn to Ask Advice (Website related)

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We're working on a new website, and anyone who has been there knows that it's like building a house: the number of decisions needing to be made becomes ridiculous after awhile. That's the bad news, but here's the good news: I have the luxury of your feedback to help us make one of the decisions. Here's the question: What do we call the new section of the website that is a compendium of things I've written or taped that are available by the click of a mouse? It will include my Bark articles, blog posts and videos, all organize by topic. At the bottom of the 'page', if it's relevant, we'll include links to books, booklets and DVDs available for sale from the shopping cart. We are all excited about having this new part of the website available, but would love your thoughts on what to Read More

Balance

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Balance is a term used by sheep dog handlers, but I find myself thinking of its value in so many other contexts related to dogs. In sheep herding, "balance" refers to a dog's ability to place itself exactly where he or she needs to be to take control of the sheep without frightening them. It refers to two things really. One is the distance between the dog and the sheep. Too far away? -- no control, no pressure. Too close? -- forces the sheep to run away in a panic, or to turn and fight. Just right? Exactly at the point at which the sheep will turn and move away from the dog without panicking. The other aspect of balance is side to side, left to right. For example, does the dog stop at exactly the right place on an outrun to move the sheep directly toward you once he begins to walk Read More

Why I farm

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Last  Saturday my teenage ewe, Butterfinger, had her first lamb. I found her in the barn pen, licking off a slippery package of skin-covered bones covered with tiny whorls of wool and placental slime. Even though she was a first-time mom, she was a good one. She attended to her lamb just as she should, licking off the sack and clearing her head and nose first, nickering to her repeatedly, and standing patiently during the lamb's first wobbly attempts to find the faucet. After I had seen that things were going well and the lamb looked hardy and healthy, I dipped the umbilical cord in iodine, and my guests and I left them alone and walked up the old farm road to visit the rest of the flock grazing in the breeze at the top of the hill. When we came down the lamb seemed a bit weak; she'd Read More

New DVD on Animal Assisted Therapy!

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We just released a DVD of the seminar I did in Naples, Florida on Animal Assisted Therapy and Activities, "Lending a Helping Paw." I'm excited about it, because it gives me the opportunity to help individuals and organizations who want to help others. It is an example of an activity we can do with our dogs that is a triple win (for us, our dogs, and people who need some oxytocin and/or physical therapy). Because of that, old social worker that I am, it's near and dear to my heart. Speaking of hearts, and what fills ours with happiness, the question arises about how effective AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and AAA (Animal Assisted Activities) really are. I remember a conference put on by the Delta Society many, many years ago that included a controversial study. It showed that, in this Read More