Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rosie and I enjoyed delicious dog-friendly cookies from Petco today and gave our humans extra kisses!

Give your dog a little extra love on this special day!  Remember, however, that candy and cookies made for human consumption should not be eaten by dogs.  It can give us stomach aches, contribute to obesity, and later lead to life-threatening pancreatitis.

Have a tail-wagging Valentine’s Day!

Dogs of Hollywood

Dogs are often seen on screen today playing leading roles, and we are usually not surprised when we see a movie starring one.  Some dog had to spearhead the starring of dogs in major parts, however, and below are a few of the very first trailblazers.


Jean the Scotch collie was indeed a trailblazer, being the first dog to have a main role in films.  Owned by Laurence Trimble, she knew various tricks and was a natural when it came to acting.  Jean acted in silent films and was a popular movie star.  Unfortunately, only two films starring Jean survive.  Jean died in 1916 at the age of 14.


Etzel von Oeringen was a German Shepherd dog owned by R. Niedhart in Germany.  His owner unable to afford the dog, Etzel would later travel to the US to be sold.  There, film director Laurence Trimble saw Etzel at a dog show and thought he would make a good actor.  Renaming the dog Strongheart, the dog went on to act in four films.  When Strongheart was acting on a set in 1929, he accidentally got burned by a studio light.  A tumor formed, and sadly Strongheart died the same year.

Rin Tin Tin

During WWI, Corporal Lee Duncan was at a French village when he came upon a bombed-out dog kennel.  He rescued the only alive residents, a German Shepherd dog with her litter of puppies.  He gave all but two puppies away, naming them Rin Tin Tin and Nanette.  Duncan brought the dogs back to the US.  Later, Nanette died.  Duncan tried to enter Rin Tin Tin in dog shows, but the dog was aggressive.  One day, a man filmed Rin Tin Tin while he was performing a high jump, and Duncan suddenly knew that his dog would make a wonderful actor.  Rin Tin Tin worked his way up Hollywood, first performing small roles.  A 1923 film, however, cast him as a star.  Finally, Rin Tin Tin was a popular actor and played the main part in many more films.  Rin Tin Tin and Nanette II had many puppies, some of whom would go on to a career in acting.  Other pups were trained as service dogs for disabled children.  Rin Tin Tin died in 1932.


Though many people refer to the actor of the famous dog Lassie as “her,” the dog who filled the role was actually a “him”!  Pal’s parents were show-quality dogs, but he fell short of show standards.  At first, Pal barked nonstop and chased motorcycles and was given away to a friend by Rudd Weatherwax.  Hearing that MGM was thinking about making the film Lassie Come Home, however, Weatherwax bought Pal back for ten dollars.  The Rough Collie was a hit in the film and afterwards acted in Son of Lassie, Courage of Lassie, Hills of Home, The Sun Comes Up, Challenge to Lassie, and The Painted Hills.  Pal later went on to act in a television series.  Amazingly enough, Pal actually saved three men in real life who were stranded in a boat from a sure death by barking in their direction so his owner could steer towards them.  Pal died at the age of 18 in 1958.

Dogs and Small Pets

When I was younger, my humans had a pet rabbit they dubbed Peter.  We never grew to really like each other; we ignored each other for the most part and were never left alone unsupervised, so no problems arose.  Sometimes, having a dog and other small pets poses no problem.  Other times, however, troubles arise.  Here are some quick tips to keep your pets safe!

  • Number one is NEVER LEAVE THEM UNSUPERVISED!  Even dogs who are typically friendly with little critters can get irritated and lash out.  All dogs have a bit of hunter in them, and we love to chase moving objects.
  • Don’t force your dog to be with your small pet.  Some canines never like other pets no matter how long they are together.  If your dog is scared or feels protective, there is all the more chance he will bite your small pet and hurt him.
  • If your other animal lives in a cage, make sure the door/lid stays closed, the door to that room is always shut, and that there is no possible way for either of your pets to get inside or outside.
  • Don’t feed your dog and smaller pet treats at the same time.  You dog might try to steal your other animal’s food – or visa versa – and a fight could ensue.
  • If you have a pet snake, I don’t suggest that you ever let it out of its cage when your dog is present!  Snakes are naturally protective when others enter their personal space – especially animals that could pose threats – , and your dog is naturally protective of things that could hurt you, his owner.

Dogs of the White House

Since history has once again been made at the presidential inauguration, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few previous dogs who lived at the White House.


Given to Franklin D. Roosevelt by a cousin, Murray the Outlaw of Falahill (Fala for short), a Scottish Terrier, went with his human to the White House.  Fala was fed personally by the President and often went on trips with him.  When his human died, Fala was present at the funeral.  Fala died at the age of twelve.  His statue can be seen at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Appropriately named, Liberty, a Golden Retriever,  was given to President Gerald Ford by his daughter.  Liberty had a litter of puppies at the White House, and the Fords kept one and named her Misty.  Liberty died in 1984.


Rex was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel belonging to President Ronald Reagan.  Their previous dog, Lucky, had become too big and lively for the White House, so he went to live at the Reagans’ ranch.  Rex was calmer, though he still liked to pull Nancy Reagan around when on leash.  Rex died at the age of thirteen.


Millie, an English Springer Spaniel, was the pet of George H. W. Bush.  Millie wrote her own book called Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush, and even has a dog park in Houston, Texas named after her.  She died in 1997 of pneumonia at the age of twelve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Sissy, Rosie, and Kitty

P.S. Here is a video of Rosie sniffing around with Lacy today.  I wasn’t able to go see Lacy because of how nervous I get when I travel in the car, but Rosie had a blast annoying poor Lacy Mae.


Rosie Goes to the Vet

“But I don’t want to go to the vet!”

Rosie’s right eye has been red and pussy recently, so the humans took her to the vet today.  It turns out that she somehow poked through 2-3 layers of the cornea!  Now, she gets eye drops every four hours and another kind of drops twice a day as it heals.  It’s going to be very hard putting them in with her activeness!  rosie-at-vet-lets-gorosie-at-vet-lets-get-weighed

It was quite a challenge weighing Rosie, but when they did she weighed 50 pounds!  She is very heavy!



“No more eye drops!”


While the humans were talking, Rosie got very tired and tried to nap.  Silly pup!

All done!

Tips for Your Leash-Pulling Hound

sissy sniffing water
I am very excited here, pulling on the leash to smell something

Being a Toy Poodle, I am quite dainty.  I only pull on the leash when I am very, very excited, but, other than that, I walk politely at heel.  Rosie, on the other hand, is awful about walking on a leash!  She twists and turns, snapping at the restricting leash, and throws a fit when it comes to putting on her halter.  With a lot of training (and hot dogs!), however, she has gotten somewhat better.  Sometimes she will walk politely at heel, though most of the time she is lunging forward.  My humans hope that by the time she turns one year old she will be able to walk politely on leash.

Leash pulling is a common problem with dogs.  If you could only imagine the many smells our noses pick up you would understand better.  Dogs can smell about 40 times better than humans according to this article, which is truly amazing.  So, dogs feel like they have a lot to explore when going on walks, making them pull and tug at the leash in eagerness.  This can be a problem, however, when your dog pulls you over, outweighs you, or is making your arm ache from the constant pull.  Even with little dogs, it is very nice if they will follow you at a polite heel.  How can you accomplish this?

Have a new Puppy?  Fix the Problem Before it Happens!

rosie's first walk 8 wks
Rosie on her first walk

When you snap a leash on a puppy’s collar, he has no idea what you’re doing and is apt to panic or try to play.  Naturally, you distract your pup by praising him or giving out treats, but there is something else about leash training that you should be aware of as the owner of a new puppy.  Never, never, never allow your baby to pull!  Yes, right now he is small and cute, eager to go, but he will soon get bigger, and fixing the problem now is always easier than trying to do so when he is an adult.  My humans let Rosie tug and pull at the leash when she was only eight weeks, but now they are sorry because her strong pull is nearly enough to rip your arm out of its socket!  When your puppy pulls, stop in your tracks and wait for the leash to slacken.  When it does, continue walking as you praise your pup, perhaps even rewarding him with a small treat.  If you are consistent, your puppy won’t drag you around when he is fully grown.

Harnesses Aren’t Always Good Ideas

I use a harness because a leash attached to my collar makes me cough, and so does Rosie.  Lately, however, my humans have been only using her collar.  Why is this?leash halter

A lot of breeds have ancestors who were bred to pull sleds or carts, which required them to wear a harness.  Naturally, they were encouraged to pull as hard as they could to carry their load.  So, when you put your dog in a harness, this might be telling him to pull (especially with husky breeds).  For a lot of dogs, harnesses aren’t a good idea.  Evaluate how much your dog pulls with a harness on versus having the leash only snapped to his collar.  Some dogs pull no matter how you leash them, while others will really start tugging once you put a harness on them.

 Teach Leash Walking all Over Again

If your dog already pulls, you need to start teaching him how to walk on a leash all over again.rosie grad class walking  Chop up a hot dog, leash your pooch, and hold the treat right at your dog’s nose.  Curl some of your fingers around the hot dog so your dog can just nibble at it, and start to walk around the house/yard.  Your dog might refuse at first, but hold the treat a little ways away from his nose so that he has to walk.  Talk to your dog in a happy voice while doing this, saying things such as “Good dog, Fido!  Let’s walk… There you go!  Good boy!”  Once your dog is willing following you as you let him nibble at the hot dog, hold it above his nose, take a few steps, let him nibble at the treat, take a few steps, let him nibble at the treat, etc.  After that step, start holding the treat in your fist where your heart is, so your dog can’t jump up and get it.  Then, walk around the room/yard before giving him a taste of hot dog.  Don’t forget to talk to your dog in that encouraging voice!  After that, take a walk down the street.  Have a baggy of hot dogs in your pocket and get one out, showing your dog you possess a yummy treat.  Then, hold it in a fist at your heart and start walking.  Talk to your dog, telling him how good he is, and, if he gets distracted, bring the hot dog down for him to nibble.  If you can take quite a few steps without a tug, let your dog nibble on the hot dog.  After your dog masters a single street, you can take him to the park, then a hiking trail, then Petsmart, etc.  This way, he will become very good at not pulling in any situation.  Once your dog is very good at walking without pulling, you can fade the treats by sometimes holding a hot dog in your fist and sometimes not.  Don’t take away the treat right away or your dog will start pulling again.

The Problem With Retractable Leashes

You often see a dogs trailing far ahead of their owners on 25 foot retractable leashes, going wherever they want, as their distracted owners play on their phones.  Not only do retractable leashes encourage leash pulling, they can also be very dangerous!  I believe that these leashes should only be used in low populated areas, like a country setting, if at all.  How can these leashes be dangerous, though?  Don’t they provide your dog with some freedom while you’re still in control?

leash retractableRetractable leashes, as you probably know, can be pulled out 15-30 feet by your dog and “locked” in place by you, the owner, with a press of a button.  While this might sound convenient and good for your dog, it poses several threats to your’s, your dog’s, and others’ safety.  Imagine walking your dog on the sidewalk when he suddenly decides that there is an interesting smell on the street that he should investigate.  Just as your dog ventures out into the street and you are preparing to reel him in (which is not very easy with a retractable leash), a car comes rolling down the street, the driver not seeing your dog, and an accident occurs.  Retractable leashes don’t give you the control that a six foot lead does, letting your dog wander into danger or perhaps getting others into it.  A dog who wraps around peoples’ legs in a populated area can be a very painful situation, as the slick leash can slash burning cuts on your legs, arms, and hands.  Also, you should be aware that accidents have happened because of dogs being on retractable leashes.  If one of your fingers get tangled in the cord, it can be cut right off!  Or, if you try to reel your dog in, you could seriously hurt his wind pipe.  A few more reasons to avoid these leashes are that the cord could snap, the leash could malfunction, you could accidentally drop the leash and send your dog running off, believing that a scary something is chasing him (even though it’s only the clunky retractable leash), and your dog could get into a dog fight from 30 feet away or bite someone because you weren’t there to prevent it.  Saying that your dog is friendly isn’t an excuse.  If another dog is growling or lunging at your dog, it is only natural for him to try to protect himself since you aren’t around to do so.  As you can see, a retractable leash is not safe for others, yourself, or your dog and is best avoided.

Some Tools to Help

Often, when you complain about leash pulling to your vet, he/she will suggest that you buy someleash halti sort of tool, like the Head Halti.  The Head Halti resembles a horse’s headcollar and gives you full control of your dog’s head.  This way there is no running up in front of you or pulling.  My humans have seen a couple of Labradors in these walking politely at heel with their happy owners, so, though they have never used one, they think it might work.  The only thing is that many people mistake the head halters for muzzles, which causes them to avoid your dog.  If this is a problem for you, this might not be a good buy.  Also, this doesn’t fix leash-pulling for all dogs.  If you ever catch yourself without the Head Halti, you might find that your dog still pulls, so I personally prefer training your dog as it it requires no special harnesses or collars.  Another item is the Chia’s Choice Best Front Range Dog Harness.  It supposedly stops leash pulling because the ring where you snap the leash is at the front of your dog, at his chest.  This makes sense to me because, when your dog pulls, he will be turned right around.  Also, it has been made for ultimate comfort and durability, making it ideal for hikes and other outdoor activities.  Here’s a warning, though: these tools do not work for all dogs!  Some dogs are terrified of the Head Halti and totally freak out, and some dogs pull no matter what kind of special harness you put on them.  You just have to try it out and see what best suits your furry companion.

New Trick Page!

Ever wished that your dog would just leave something alone when you commanded him?  Well, with the help of the new page Leave it, you teach him to do just that!  Not only is this trick useful for day to day life, it can also be very impressive when you command your dog to leave a treat balanced on his snout!class 3 rosie does't want cheerios

See the new Leave it Page!

Training: Setting Your Dog up for Success

chewing shoesIt is always better to prevent mistakes than to let them occur.  For example, rather than leaving your favorite shoes in the middle of the floor to tempt your dog, you put them out of his reach.  Have you ever thought of implementing this into dog training?

Prevention, not Correction

fearful dog
You don’t want your dog to obey you out of fear

In training, your dog responds best to that happy, exciting voice.  If you shout out commands like threats or growls, your dog will quickly shut down and not obey you – or, if he does, do so out of fear, not wanting to please you because he loves you.  The best relationship to have with your dog is one of love, not fear.  Yes, you do have to occasionally correct your dog – see an article on Proper Correction for Dogs here – but your shouldn’t be constantly pointing out the bad things he does.  No, Fido, bad dog!  You can’t chew on my shoes.  No, Fido, don’t chew on that either.  Stop it, Fido!!  Okay, you’re going in your cage…  Obviously, it would have been better if the owner showed Fido what he can chew on, handing him a toy or bone and encouraging him to play.  The same goes for training your dog.  Don’t correct your dog.  If you’re irritated with a certain trick, take a break by playing with your dog or rubbing his belly (studies show that petting a dog can help lower your heart rate!).  It is always best to prevent such irritations and fails.  Here’s a quick example:

class 3 rosie layingWhen my humans train Rosie, they have to catch her in her “calm moods.”  For instance, right after a nap or before bed at night are perfect times, as she is a little tired and not wanting to rip about the house and play.  Rosie will do a long stay and wait if she is tuckered out.  My humans set Rosie up for success in training with no option of failure.  Therefore, there is no such thing as breaking a stay for her or not sitting when she’s told.  There is no correction, just prevention.  Sometimes, Rosie does break her stays or waits, but my humans don’t say a word of correction and try it again.  You will soon get the hang of it, won’t you, Rosie?

Labrador_femelle_chocolatSee what times are best to train your dog and do it then.  Some dogs focus best the minute they are out of bed, while others like calm evening times.  There might even be a particular room that your dog is most comfortable in because it is quiet and much easier to listen to you.  Also, it is always a good idea to train your dog before a meal, as he won’t be full and uninterested in your treats.  Sometimes, my humans train Rosie with her own lunch, and she doesn’t even know it!