Are Military Dogs “Equipment” or “Members”?

swing 5-12

Here's a political issue I'm happy to discuss on the blog: The classification and treatment of dogs in the American Military. Dog lovers may or may not support the use of dogs in the military, but I can't imagine anyone not in support of working dogs being treated well after their service is over. We, in this country anyway, have all heard the horror stories of dogs in Viet Nam being abandoned or shot, and that just can't happen anymore. Ever. I know that things have improved, but pure and simply, not enough.  A big part of the problem is that dogs are now categorized as "equipment" rather than the living, sentient beings that they are. This makes it difficult not only to transport dogs back home after their service, but almost impossible to release money to fund veterinary care for Read More

Preventing Dog Bites

Peony Tree 5-12

A million years ago, my first Border Collie Drift lept up and nipped a man's nose at the Wisconsin State Fair. Even though the man was clearly not injured, with virtually not even a red spot on his nose, I was shook up and appalled. He was furious. "Your dog attacked me!" Well, he did. Just because the man wasn't injured didn't mean he didn't feel attacked. And it didn't mean that I didn't feel horrible. Drift and I were about to perform in front of huge crowd by doing a sheep herding demo, and found ourselves jammed into a crowd against the building wall. The gentlemen in question charged up to Drift, grabbed his face in his hands, and yes, you guessed it, bent down to kiss Drift on the nose. It was the same exact context in which newscaster Kyle Dyer was bitten by a Dogo a few months Read More

Rabbits are like Dogs, but Not

poppy back lit

So much to learn, so little time! I recently did a guest appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio and didn't do a very good job answering a question about a rabbit who pottied on the couch instead of its litter box. Thanks to an alert listener and member of the Wisconsin House Rabbit Society, I've learned a lot since. And I have to admit I find it fascinating. You all know I'm an animal behavior addict, whether it's dogs or donkeys or doodle bugs, and I even had rabbits for a time, so I'm gratified to learn more about them. I'm not proud of my own efforts at rabbit husbandry. It was a very, very long time ago, before I knew much at all about animals and animal behavior, and the rabbits lived outside in a cage in a building. Granted, it was warm and safe, but one of the most important things Read More

Lure & Clicker Training to teach Sit – Advantages & Disadvantages

New Sheep 5 2012

It makes me so happy to say that Tootsie is doing great. Right now she's sleeping in her crate beside my desk. The door is open, but she loves it there. The only places she likes as well are 1) being in bed with me, 2) being on the couch or 3) being by herself in the crate in the back of the car. She likes it so well in the car crate that I am actually having to train to leave it. I'm assuming this is baggage from her puppy mill days and that she feels most secure and comfortable in a small, confined space. She's progressed so well in so many ways: I'm especially taken with her flipping around mid-air when outside after I call her to come, ears flying like a furry dumbo, her open, happy mouth taking up half of her tiny little Cavalier head. As I mentioned in an earlier post, now that Read More