Archive for May, 2011

Honoring Service Dogs on Memorial Day

May 30, 2011
Honoring Service Dogs

Honoring Service Dogs

We found a great article about dogs who serve in the military at WNDU.com.  WNDU is the ABC Channel in South Bend, Indiana.  According to this article, “Currently, according to the Department of Defense, about 2,300 dogs are working as sentries, detecting land mines and bombs and performing search, rescue, and recovery tasks for the U.S. military.”  The article also mentions the German Shepherd dog who helped to track down Osama Bin Laden, about how service animals used to be put down after the war was over, and about how service animals are transferred to police service or to private homes after their service in the military.  Check out this great article at WNDU.com for the full story and enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!

Helpful Information on the Vizsla Dog Breed

May 27, 2011
Vizsla Dog Breed

Vizsla Dog Breed

The Vizsla dog breed is a highly recognizable sporting dog breed.  His short smooth coat is golden rust colored and can be easily distinguished from afar.  His body is lithe but strong standing at about 21 to 24 inches tall and weighing about 45 to 65 pounds.  The Vizsla dog breed has a lean but muscular head, a moderately wide skull, and his muzzle is slightly longer than his skull.  His ears are long, but not overly so, and low-set.  The tail of the Vizsla dog breed is carried near horizontal and is 1/3 docked.  The feet of the Vizsla dog breed are cat-like in that they are round and compact.  His eyes are generally about the same color as his coat and his nose is generally brown.

The Vizsla dog breed was developed in Hungary.  It is believed that his ancestors were various dog breeds collected across Europe by the Magyar hordes who eventually settled in the Hungary about a thousand years ago.  The Magyar who primarily hunted for food developed a versatile hunting dog.  When they settled, they settled the Hungarian plains and still needed a versatile hunting dog for tracking and pointing small prey.

In the 18th century, the Vizsla dog breed was further developed and refined and found favor with barons and warlords.  The Vizsla dog breed declined after World War I, but regained some popularity around the world after World War II when the Hungarians fled Russia.  Many dogs found their way to Austria where most Hungarians settled, but some found their way across Europe and to the United States.  The good hunting qualities and easy temperament of the Vizsla dog breed made him popular enough in the United States that he was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1960.

While the Vizsla dog breed is a great all-purpose gun dog, he is also a great family companion and does very well as an indoor pet.  He can be excitable at times, but is overall very gentle, loving, and playful with every member of the family.  He does well with other dogs and is good with children.  The Vizsla dog breed is generally easy to train and obedient.  He can be stubborn at times and may shut down if training is harsh.  Positive reinforced training is best with this dog breed in order to overcome his mildly willful and sensitive nature.

The Vizsla dog breed needs daily strenuous exercise.  With is playful nature, you can play arduous games of fetch and take him on daily walks, or take him with you on daily jogs.  Grooming requirements of the Vizsla dog breed requires less attention than exercise.  He only needs an occasional brushing to pick out loose hairs.

As with most purebred dog breeds, the Vizsla dog breed is susceptible to a few genetic hereditary health issues.  Hip dysplasia is common with all large dog breeds, the Vizsla being no exception.  The risk of hip dysplasia can be reduced by making sure that both parents have been certified with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).  The Vizsla dog breed is also prone to a neural brain disorder called epilepsy and lymphosarcoma (cancer affecting lymphatic cells).

If you are looking for a good dog and/or a great family dog, the Vizsla dog breed is perfect.  Although he may not be the best guard dog, his relations with your other pets and his gentleness with your small children more than make up for this slight deficiency.  To make a Vizsla dog breed a member of your family, check with shelters, dog rescue groups, or research for a reputable breeder.  A reputable breeder will have both parents OFA certified and the breeder will most likely be a member of the Vizsla Club of America.

Vizsla Dog Breed Figurine

Pet Product Review – PAC1 Leader as the Pull No More Dog Harness

May 21, 2011
Pull No More dog harness

Maya Wearing Her New Pull No More Dog Harness

As www.PetAutoSafety.com, I had a booth at the Mutt ‘n’ Strutt in Lawrence, Kansas this May.  The first chance I had at this pet event, I went and looked around at the other booths.  One booth I visited was for the Pull No More dog harness by Run-Devue.

Since Maya had just given me severe rope burn on both my hands from suddenly pulling in order to greet another dog, I was ready to try something new.  I have tried the gentle leader which has worked on other dogs of mine.  But even though I worked with Maya for weeks before having her wear it during a walk, Maya hates it and won’t walk with it on.  I have tried the choke and the prong collar as well.  The choke collar had no effect.  The prong collar worked but I hated using it.  I have tried other no pull dog harnesses and they worked okay.  But they wore down and I stopped using it after a year.

While the Pull No More dog harness is made from similar material as the other no pull harnesses I have used, the nylon webbing is thicker.  Plus, it is guaranteed for life, even if your dog chews it!  Maya won’t chew hers, but I a purchased this new harness with confidence that it will last.

The first time I walked Maya in the Pull No More dog harness was amazing.  It was the best walk we have ever gone on.  No more bribing her with treats in order to get her to stay by my side.  If she pulled even the slightest, it was enough to make her stop and wait for me.  I did not have my arm jerked or pulled even the slightest.

This Pull No More harness can also be used for regular walking or as a gentle leader.  You can purchase this versatile leash online at http://stores.run-devue.com/-strse-CUSTOM-PAC-cln-PAC-1-LEADER/Categories.bok.  It is the PAC1 Leader and comes in three different nylon thicknesses.  Plus you can choose any color combination you want.  I got the pink and brown one for Maya.

Dogs of the World – Pyrenean Sheepdog Dog Breed

May 18, 2011
Pyrenean Sheepdog Dog Breed

Pyrenean Sheepdog Dog Breed

The Pyrenean Sheepdog, also called the Pyrenees Shepherd, Labrit, and Berger des Pyrenees, is a dog breed of France.  He is a relative of a Spanish dog breed, the Catalan Sheepdog.  The Pyrenean Sheepdog dog breed was bred smaller than his Spanish cousin, making him suitable for herding in the Pyrenees mountain regions.  He is agile, hardy, and built for endurance.

The Pyrenean Sheepdog dog breed comes in two different varieties – longhair and smooth hair.  The smooth hair variety still has long hair, but the hair on his face is short, like that of a collie.  The longhair version (pictured above) has rougher hair and longer hair around his face.

The Pyrenean Sheepdog dog breed is great at herding and driving.  He generally works with the Great Pyrenees who guards the flock against mountain wolves.  The Pyrenean Sheepdog is also a good household companion dog breed.  To read more about the Pyrenean Sheepdog and other dog breeds of the world, check out “The New Encyclopedia of the Dog” by Bruce Fogle.  This book can be purchased at our Amazon.com affiliate store, the Dog Lover’s Book Store.

New Harry and Lola Children’s Book

May 15, 2011

Harry and Lola at the Sisters Rodeo (Harry and Lola series of children's books)

Remember when we posted about Harry and Lola?  We posted about two children’s books at http://www.harryandlola.org/.  Those books were titled a Home for Harry and Lola and Harry and Lola with Smoki the Magical Cat, both written by and illustrated by Jean Nave.  The new book is titled Harry and Lola at the Sisters Rodeo.

When Harry and Lola visit the rodeo, they meet a Border Collie, a bull, a calf, rodeo clowns, and horses.  It’s a great educational story with wonderful illustrations.  Your child will love it!  You can read this book for free at http://www.harryandlola.org/ or you can purchase the e-book for $.99 on our Amazon.com affiliate site, the Dog Lover’s Book Store.  The benefit for purchasing this book online is that the proceeds go to help the Aberdeen Scottish Terriers Rescue.

Super Hilarious Talking Dog Video

May 12, 2011

Information on the Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

May 9, 2011
Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

You may have seen a Belgian Malinois dog breed and not realized it.  He is somewhat similar to a German Shepherd which is what we expect to see when we see a police dog.  However, since the Belgian Malinois is becoming more popular as a police dog, it is possible that the police dog you saw was a Belgian Malinois.  As a police officer, my dad had a Belgian Malinois name Carlos.  Carlos was used more as a drug sniffing dog but the Belgian Malinois does well in other police dog activities such as search and rescue or catching and holding dangerous suspects.

The Belgian Malinois dog breed has a few distictive similarities which confuse him with the German Shepherd.  His coat color is almost the same and his ears are pointed and erect.  But he is more similar to the Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Groenendael (Belgian Sheepdog).  Unlike the German Shepherd, these Belgian breeds are more elegant and lighter boned.  Their muzzles and heads are more chiseled.  Their feet are defined as cat-footed.  And their backs are straight as compared to the sloping backs of the German Shepherd.  All three of the Belgian Sheepdog breeds were developed in Malines, Belgium.  They are similar to each other in body style and temperament.  The differences between the three are the Belgian Tervuren has longer hair and the Belgian Groenendael has longer hair and is black.

The Belgian Malinois dog breed has a straight short coat which needs weekly brushing when shedding.  His coat is rich fawn to mahogany tipped in black with a black mask over his face and ears.  The Belgian Malinois dog breed stands about 22 to 26 inches tall and weighs about 60 to 65 pounds.  He has a flat skull, almond-shaped eyes, and erect triangular ears.

The Belgian Malinois dog breed a very intense high energy dog.  He is intelligent, courageous, and makes a good watchdog.  These traits makes him great for sheep herding and for being a police dog.  The Belgian Malinois can also be very playful.  But as a working dog, he is serious about his work.  As a family dog, the Belgian Malinois is good with other pets and will do well with children if raised with them.  He will need lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation.

The Belgian Malinois dog breed is easy to train, although he can be a bit domineering.  Reward-based training is better for this dog breed than negative reinforced training.  Most Belgian Malinois police dogs are trained using a special toy as a reward.  The toy can be anything so long as the dog loves to play with it but what makes it special is that this toy is only given as a reward for a job well done.  He is not allowed to have it at any other time.

If you are considering a Belgian Malinois dog breed for a pet, be prepared to provide lots of exercise and training.  Without proper exercise or mental stimulation, the Belgian Malinois is likely to develop behavior problems such as digging, barking, fence jumping, and/or chewing.  Be sure to get your Belgian Malinois from a responsible dog breeder.  A responsible dog breeder will most likely be a member of the American Belgian Malinois Club and the parents of the pups will be OFA Certified.  OFA is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and they test dogs for hip and elbow dysplasia (a common problem in large breed dogs like the Belgian Malinois).

Read more about the Belgian Malinois dog breed and get cool Belgian Malinois dog breed stuff at our Amazon.com a-store – The Belgian Malinois Dog Breed Store.

Responsible Dog Breeders Good – Backyard Breeders and Puppy Mills Bad

May 6, 2011

With our serious overpopulation of dogs, you might be tempted to say that all dog breeding should stop.  It should be against the law or it should be highly regulated.  While I agree that dog breeding should be regulated and permitted only to responsible dog breeders, I don’t believe we should prohibit responsible dog breeders from breeding dogs.  Here is why:

You are always going to have people who want purebred dogs.  Sure, they could adopt a purebred dog.  But if breeding dogs is outlawed where will those dogs come from?  Most likely they will come from people who are breaking the law and breeding dogs anyway.  Any dogs they don’t sell on the black market will be killed or left to die.  Those left to die might find their way at shelter.  So basically, outlawing dog breeding will not stop people from breeding dogs.  It will only stop the responsible dog breeders who take the time and spend the money to produce quality dogs.  All that will be left are inbred dogs with increasingly severe breed specific health issues.

If we want to help against the overpopulation of dogs, we need to focus on stopping the backyard breeders and puppy mills.  The law may not be enough to help so we have to get the word out about responsible dog breeders.  We need to encourage people who want to buy a purebred dog that buying from a responsible dog breeders is the best way to go.  If people stop buying from backyard breeders and puppy mills, then their business will no longer be lucrative and they will have no incentive to keep breeding.

I for one will never buy a dog.  I will always adopt.  But that is me and my choice.  I sincerely hope you make that same choice too, but if you want to buy a dog, remember to buy one from a responsible dog breeder.

Here is a great post about responsible dog breeders versus backyard breeders and puppy mills – http://wisconsinwatchdog.blogspot.com/2011/04/mythbusters-if-dog-breeders-stopped.html.

Saying Goodbye to Killer the Lhasa Apso (My Parent’s Dog)

May 3, 2011

Killer the Dog Wearing a Sweater and Boots

Killer the Lhasa Apso refused to be potty trained.  Little “presents” and wet spots were found hidden at least once a week.  Killer liked to bark.  Sometimes he barked for no reason at all – especially in his last year when it was suspected that he had dementia.  Killer was known to growl at times when he was protecting his territory; whether it be his favorite toy or a comfortable spot on the bed.  And Killer was a pain in the butt when my parents took him camping or to the beach.

Killer certainly had his fair share of issues.  But he was loved and he loved in return.  He was spoiled rotten by my stepmom – seldom yelled at or punished in any way.  But in return, he greeted her at the door with adoring enthusiasm and kept her lap warm.  At times, my dad seemed to tolerate Killer with only a grudging reluctance.  But despite Killer’s shortcomings as a “real dog” (as my dad might say), it was never surprising to see a smile on my dad’s face from Killer’s antics.  Killer greeted him with the same adoration and often found his way onto dad’s lap (sometimes because dad put him there).

At about age eleven, Killers health began to decline.  One health issue after another presented itself.  There were skin issues, weak joints, increased incontinence, deafness, and possibly dementia.  Each came gradually or sporadically but none were overly serious.  But at age thirteen, things got much worse.  Diarrhea and other symptoms presented themselves and the vet determined that Killer’s kidneys were failing.  Killer was in pain and miserable.  Treatment wasn’t guaranteed and would likely make him more miserable in the process.  It was a difficult moment for my parents.  They wanted so desperately to hang on but in their hearts they knew it was time to say goodbye.

That was about a month ago.  With me being in Kansas and my parents in Texas, I was not particularly close to Killer.  But I know my parents loved him dearly.  As troublesome as Killer could be at times, he was family.  I could hear their love for him whenever they talked about him – whether it was about his good qualities or bad.  There is no doubt that Killer gave my parents joy.  And there is no doubt that Killer will be sorely missed.  Thank you, Killer, for being a part of my parent’s lives and giving them your love.  I know you have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and enjoying a romp in the grass or playing with your favorite squeaky toy.


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