Safe Off Leash?

tootsie runs around corner 1-13

Last weekend Jim, Willie, Tootsie and I stayed in a lovely log cabin owned by friends in the woods in eastern Wisconsin. I mention that because for the first time in her nine years of life, Tootsie got to run off leash in an unfenced area off the farm. Wooo Hooo! Some people might not understand what a huge step that was for a little puppy mill dog, but I'm guessing that many of you get it completely. I was over the moon with happiness that I could unsnap the lead, and trust that she would stop when told, come when called, and as importantly, get to sniff and explore with more freedom than she's ever had in her nine years of life. The decision I made got me thinking about the issue in general: When IS it safe to let a dog off leash? What do you need to know to evaluate the risk and Read More

Dog Laws Around the World

apples 2011

One of the most enjoyable parts of doing seminars around the world is talking to people from a variety of countries about their countries' and culture's attitude  and regulations regarding dogs. A group of us got to talking in Edinburgh about the dog-related laws of their own countries, and what a range of regulations we found. In Sweden dogs are allowed off leash in many areas, but must be "under control." (Very sensible!) I was told when I was in Sweden that keeping a dog in a crate was illegal--any Swedes want to confirm or deny? Sweden has very strict animal welfare laws that also apply to domestic pets. For example, all indoor animals must be able to see out a "sunny window." This is especially interesting to me, given that I've advised many a client to keep their dogs AWAY from Read More

DVDs 25% Off!

Willie hobbles Vert

Not very subtle, hey?  Apologies, but I was convinced by some well-motivated smooth talkers that some of you really would want to know that all my DVDs are 25% off until next Monday. So there, I did it, the woman who would flunk out of marketing class on the first day. Whew. Okay, now to the really important stuff.... It's all about getting ready to go on a long trip right now, from seminar prep (just getting all my movies on a thumb drive is not small task!) to training new farm sitters to writing out instructions to, oh yeah, cleaning out the frig. [Ack, is that a new life form covering the yogurt?] If you're in the same boat, check out the comments to a blog I wrote on preparing for a big trip without your dog. I hope my comments are helpful, but I'd also advise you to check out the Read More

We Made It!

beg of milford

Hardest thing I've ever done (voluntarily!), and the most rewarding. Here's just a few photos from our adventures on the Milford Track, South Island, New Zealand. Our group had a total of 15 people, only 6 of us from the US, all good and true friends. Here we are on Day 1, after a 2.5 hour bus ride, an hour long boat ride and a short mile hike to the first lodge: Matt, Becket, Jim, me, Kelly and Meg. After the photo we went on a 2 hour hike with a great guide to learn about the flora and fauna. It was fascinating (and our only walk without backpacks, what a joy!) We walked 10 miles the next day, Day 2. They call it the "Easy Day." We called it stunningly beautiful, and not always such easy walking, up and down hills, over some very tricky rocky areas. Day 3: When they call it Read More

Leaving on a Trip — without the dogs

sunrise 11-2010

A reader asked if I'd go through what I do to prepare for a trip when I can't take my dogs along. I thought it was a good question for all of us, and a lead in to what could be a fruitful discussion. After all, leaving one's dog(s) is hard, and the only way I can do it myself without being a wreck is to have a system in which I feel like I've covered as many bases as I can. Here are some of my tips, I'd love to hear yours: 1. Put a big-lettered note by the phone that says YOU ARE HERE and give the address and phone number of your home. House sitters rarely can spit out your address in a crisis, and that's when they need it the most. 2. Also by the phone, leave EMERGENCY phone numbers for your usual vet (who you've called to approve any charges in advance) and if need be, an Emergency Read More