Bichon Frise

This cheerful and companionable powder puff hails from the Mediterranean area; bichons traveled widely as companions for sailors, minstrels, and circus groups. Beginning in the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, they found favor with one royal European family after another, from Spain to Italy to France (King Henry III of France reputedly carried his bichon in a basket hanging from his neck). Bichons are the star performers of the dog world. Consummate entertainers, they love attention and can play and clown around for hours. The well-socialized bichon is friendly, resilient, and quick to learn. This, combined with a sturdy build, makes him an equally great buddy whether traveling or lounging at home. Despite his classification as a nonsporting dog, the bichon is a terrific little athlete that, with training, can excel at agility, K9 Nose Work, and Rally obedience. To give a Bichon Frise a home, search online for

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Water Rescue

Water rescue is the umbrella term for the lifesaving feats of dogs like Newfoundlands and Portuguese Water Dogs (PWDs). Newfies are legendary in this area, crowding the history books with acts of courage in aid of humans. PWDs were primarily bred to work alongside fishermen retrieving nets and even herding schools of fish, but have in modern times also been highly successful partners in lifesaving teams at beaches and watersports destinations. Both breeds are strong working dogs with extraordinary lung capacity and swim-stroke propulsion, webbed feet, muscled tails that act as rudders, and waterproof coats that protect them in icy water. A healthy, fully trained Newfie can swim over two miles and can keep a drowning victim afloat for more than an hour. He can bring a lifeline or rescue tube to a victim or tow an inflatable rescue boat with 10 people to shore. Where a human lifeguard must

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Tripods Don’t Stop

A common reaction when people see a three-legged dog is sympathy. (“Poor thing…”) Another is admiration. (“What a brave pooch!”) Both are entirely understandable. For humans, amputation can involve complex psychological and emotional issues. For dogs? Less so. Dogs have no notion of body image, no mental image of what they are supposed to look like. What they care about falls into two major categories: One, whether they are in pain. Two, whether they can do things they love: go for walks, play with toys, eat yummy food, get belly rubs, snuggle on the couch, etc. Nature is kind to animals in this way. A pain-free, well-fed dog with a loving home doesn’t give a hoot that her daily walk happens in the characteristic tripod hop instead of a lope. Amputee dogs, often called tripods, generally lose a limb either as a result of an accident or as a means

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Motivating Your Dog

  Does your dog’s response to cues seem lackluster? You may not have found the right motivation. Like humans, dogs work harder with strong motivation. Here’s how to turbocharge your dog’s drive—whether to come when called or break her agility speed record.   Find What Drives Your Dog We are all motivated to action by different things. Maybe it’s that afternoon caffè latte we promise ourselves if we finish the report, or the massage we feel we earned after a month of gym visits. But the wrong reward would leave us cold. If you wanted chocolate, would you toil for a carrot? What does your dog most want? If in doubt, parade different treats past your dog to see what really gets her attention. Most dogs go nuts for meaty, greasy, and smelly. A few dogs prefer bread-based items. Some dogs, particularly working breeds like Border Collies and some terriers,

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Size Matters

Your Chihuahua may love Boxers and your Rottie mix may adore Dachshunds. But when little and big play together, keep close watch. Big dogs can unintentionally harm small dogs—and on the rare occasions when friendly play escalates into a scuffle, the smaller dog is at risk for serious injury or death. If you let your dog play with very differently sized dogs, supervise vigilantly. No chasing. Don’t allow chase or wrestle games between a very large and a very small dog. If you see this happening, call your dog away with a treat. At the park, seek out areas with more dogs his own size. Why is this important? Dogs love to chase things—balls, cats, sticks, Frisbees, and other dogs. They get this love from their wolf ancestry, along with the instincts to stalk, and grab and shake small prey animals. But wolves are all about the same size and

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The Best of Dog Times

The Best of Dog Times It’s human nature to get sentimental about the past. When we imagine dogs’ lives 100 years ago, what likely comes to mind are idyllic scenes of working dogs herding sheep on green pastures or bouncing alongside horse-drawn fire engines (thank you, Disney). We forget—or never learned about—the popularity of dog fighting, the widespread animal cruelty of the 19th century, or the out-of-control stray problem that saw thousands of dogs rounded up and killed in inhumane ways. Today, fewer dogs do the jobs they were bred for, but they enjoy endless advantages never afforded their forebears. Take, for example, medical advances in veterinary science over the last 20 years. Not only are there more and better treatments available, canine pain management options such as acupuncture, massage, TTouch, and swim therapy mean that dogs with injuries, arthritis, or in post-op recovery suffer much less. Then there’s the

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How To Have A Dog Your Neighbors Are Jealous Of

Do you dream of having a dog that your neighbor says ‘wow, what a good dog’ or ‘I wish my dog could do that’.  Dog owners who are eager to train the perfect puppy or therapy dog set their sites on obtaining their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Certification.  The CGC is a recognized title from the American Kennel Club (AKC) stating that your dog is well trained, groomed, in good health, and that you are a responsible pet owner.  The CGC is a prerequisite to a dogs Therapy Dog Certification. Why do the extra training?   Does it really matter?  Training takes time and consistency.  Meeting with a group weekly can help you problem solve and also allows you to see you are not alone in some of the pitfalls you might be having with your dog. Many students like to have accountability to continue their dogs training. Joining a class and working towards

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Cavities in Dogs

Teeth are important. Both when it comes to functioning well on a daily basis and for long-term health, dental hygiene is as crucial to dogs as it is to humans. Yet many dogs show signs of tooth decay by the age of four. Good mouth care can’t start too early and when it comes to preventing cavities, that means feeding your dog a healthy diet, providing tooth-strengthening chew toys and treats, and brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. Also check your dog’s mouth for lesions, loose teeth, or inflamed gums weekly. If your dog is prone to plaque or tartar—and chew toys aren’t alleviating the problem sufficiently—ask your veterinarian for advice on preventing buildup. Finally, be sure to get a tooth brushing kit made for dogs as human toothpaste can irritate a dog’s stomach. Then look up brushing techniques online to ensure this ritual becomes an enjoyable one for both of

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Family Activity Ideas

The kid-and-dog combo can be a winner, but often presents a number of challenges—for example keeping everyone happily occupied at the same time. One way to pull that off is to arrange games and activities that kids and dogs can enjoy together. Here are some ideas to get the fun started: Make a play date. Get together with other parents and their kids, two- and four-legged. Depending on the age and temperament of both kids and dogs, this could mean interspecies play or an opportunity for kids to play while dogs romp with each other. Team up with fellow parents to share supervisory duties. Go on an outdoor adventure. Both dogs and kids are natural explorers, so why not arrange an expedition? A hike on a nature trail or through a city park can be equally fun if you pretend to be intrepid explorers. Find and study plants, insects, or

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