Meet Maggie

Happy Maggie

Yup, Redstart Farm has a new member of the family. Maggie, a 15-month old female Border Collie from Idaho, has stolen the hearts of us all, Willie especially. He is gobsmacked. In love. Head over heels. Watching the two of them play has become one of my greatest joys in life. Those of you who have been following the farm for awhile know that finding the right dog for Willie hasn't been easy. He started life as a puppy pathologically afraid of unfamiliar dogs. He grew into an adolescent torn between fear and the desire to control everything, the kind of dog I call an "alpha wanna be." He has always loved to play with dogs who also loved to run together outside, but became tense and a tad crazy if they came into the house. Remember Jack Nicholson's face in the movie The Shining? Read More

If I Only Had a Tail…

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This is the time of year that I regret not having a tail. If I had one, I could curl it around my nose as did Nellie and Polly this morning, the thermometer descending toward single digits. Better yet, I could use it to wag from the shoulders back, like Willie does when Jim comes home. Or perhaps I could toss it up into the air, stiff and straight, and leave a committee meeting in a huff, my tail rising up like a standard held high in medieval England. I'm not sure where that image comes from, given that I've never left a committee meeting in a huff in my life. But then, it doesn't mean I haven't wanted to, and if I did, wouldn't a raised tail make it that much more effective? The fact is, tails are amazing things. Just look at all the functions that tails provide: BALANCE (see Willie Read More

Great Books for Gifting

Aschau Street

Books, books, books: Surely one of the greatest inventions of humankind. I love to give books as gifts, and last night I found myself pondering what books to give to which person for the holidays. That, of course, led to thoughts about great books to send the dog lovers that I know, and that led me to you, good reader, who is so often an excellent source of wonderful things to read. I'd love to hear your ideas about great books to pass along to dear friends. While pondering "great books about dogs," I thought it might be instructive to look at what others had to say; not just about new books but about dog books written over the ages. Here are some of the lists I found: First off, a dear friend sent me this link, from Mother Nature Network: Six Books Every Dog Owner Should Read. Of Read More

USDA Internet Sale Regulations

shae portrait

Mea culpa. Awhile back I hastily posted a Here Here! on Facebook about the new USDA regulations targeting internet sales of dogs. The regulations narrow the definition of "retail pet stores" in order to regulate the sales of animals sold "sight unseen," an increasingly common situation given the vast reach of the internet, and the increase in the number of puppies purchased by buyers who have no idea how they were raised. The responses to my FB post came in fast and furious and can be summarized by the following examples: "Oh, Trisha, it makes me so sad that you think that is what they have done. Please educate yourself further. This is not a step forward for the reputable breeding community." "Yes and by doing so, they are requiring everyone with 4 intact females to raise their Read More

Serious Dog Fighting: Questions to Ask if Considering “What Next?”

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Recently I had a discussion with good friends and colleagues about how to handle difficult cases in which two dogs have engaged in extremely serious fights in the home. We found ourselves sorting through what factors need to be considered if re-homing is on the table. This is a common problem brought to behaviorists; I must have seen hundreds of clients who had dogs who did not get along. At all. I don't mean dogs who had minor tiffs, or dogs who were occasionally possessive-aggressive ("My couch! My human!), but dogs who had truly serious issues and were making life at home less than relaxing, if not downright dangerous. Sometimes they had serious, injurious fights, sometimes one dog lived in obvious terror of the other, even though actual fights were rare or non existent, and sometimes Read More