Saturday, December 20, 2008

Biden in Trouble Over Puppy, Breeder

It's old news that Biden received a German Shepherd puppy as a gift from his wife, then adopted a 2nd shelter dog to appease animal rights activists angry over his initial choice to purchase a dog from a breeder. But now, thanks to ongoing media scrutiny, we know that the breeder from which the puppy was purchased has been recently written up for violations of animal law.  Read the full story here, then come back to the dog blog and let us know what you think. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Marley & Me Bound to Raise Some Questions about Dog Training (or lack thereof)

On Christmas Day, the film version of the popular book “Marley & Me” will be released nationwide. While the film promises to faithfully capture the sweet spirit and message of the book, its subject—Marley, a wildly out-of-control-but-lovable yellow Labrador retriever—will raise questions (and some hackles) about what the dog’s owners could have done to better understand their pet and to correct his many behavioral problems.

“Labs are intelligent dogs and need to be kept busy,” said James, dog behavioral therapist, Bark Busters USA. “They are eager to please and catch on quickly to training that is communicated clearly and consistently.”

That training needs to start with ground rules established and maintained from the moment the dog (or puppy) enters your home. When a dog—any dog—is guided by your strong leadership and setting of firm boundaries, both man and dog will enjoy an infinitely more rewarding relationship.

Dogs do only whatever they can get away with. It is up to the owner to educate the dog about the rules of the pack, which requires a commitment to consistent leadership from the owner. For example, remember that your fluffy 10-pound new puppy who loves to jump up on you will one day be an 85-pound adult dog whose jumping is no longer cute and, indeed, can cause harm to you or others. Don’t allow such behaviors to begin, and correct any unwanted behaviors right away.

Labs are a popular breed because they love to be with people, including children. They are typically playful and good-natured. Because Lab puppies are very bouncy and boisterous, they may not be ideal for households with very small children, the elderly or infirm. Labs are best for families with active lifestyles who can allow the dog to have regular outlets for his seemingly boundless energy.

“Labs, like many breeds, are prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to behavior issues. A bored, lonely Lab with nothing interesting to do,” added Michelle, dog behavioral therapist, Bark Busters USA. “he will quickly find ways to vent his pent-up energy by barking, chewing and destroying anything he encounters in your house or yard.”

Had the Grogan family who owned Marley sought training from a qualified dog behavioral therapist to help them understand and act on these human-canine fundamentals, their lives together would have been less eventful and far more peaceful.

One example of how training could have helped both family and pet is related to how Marley reacted to thunderstorms, a common fear among canines. Many dogs “learn” to cower at thunder because their owners console them when they hear a loud noise. While it is understandable that you would want to coddle your frightened pet, this does not help the dog if you are not with him when a thunderstorm (or fireworks or a noisy trash collector) comes along. If your dog is frightened by loud noises, don’t make it an “event.” Simply guide your furry friend to a place where it is safe and quiet, ideally his crate. You could also cover the crate with a blanket to soften the impact of the loud noises. The dog will quickly learn to seek shelter there whenever he feels scared. If your dog exhibits extreme fear from thunderstorms, talk to your vet about more ways to help the dog feel calmer.

The following are some tips to help you manage your active Labrador retriever or any high-energy dog:

• Provide toys that can handle heavy chewing. Labs are generally food motivated, so use treat-giving puzzle toys to keep him mentally stimulated.
• Get into the habit of providing daily training sessions of 15 minutes or so. Remember, dogs tire far more quickly from mental stimulation than from physical activities.
• Crate training is strongly recommended for Labs. Not only does a crate help with housebreaking, it also helps to create boundaries for your pet, keeping both your dog and your house safe.
• Anticipate your dog’s possible naughty behavior. Put baby locks on cupboard doors, put away trash cans, separate your dog from a small child with food. (The dog may snatch the food not out of aggression but simply because the temptation is just too great.)
• Use Bitter Apple spray, or other taste deterrents, on objects you don’t want your pooch to chew.

To fetch a Bark Busters trainer in our area, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit, where dog owners can complete a Dog Behavioral Quiz to rate their dogs' behavior.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This little book is the first in a series called "The Adventures of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund." The subtitle of the book is "Sammy's Last Week in Charleston". In it, Sammy agrees to take a new job, in a new city, only to find out he has to move in one week. The book goes through the days of the week while Sammy tries to say his goodbyes and pack in as much fun as he can. By the end of the week, Sammy begins to get a little sad. Then after some thought he realizes, he may be moving on to new things but he will always have great friends and he can always call the wonderful city of Charleston "Home."

Local author Jonathan Miller is having a book signing party. See details below. Partial proceeds go to a good cause, so strap on your pretty heels, tie on that Charlestonian bow-tie and and support Sammy the Wonder Dachshund.

Hibernian Hall
Wednesday, December 17th
7:00 PM—11:00 PM

Books will be there for sell, along with 12 x 18 prints of the artwork from the book. We are also having a silent auction for the original artwork from the book, the auction will end around 9:15 PM. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the Teachers' Supply Closet Organization, which helps Lowcountry teachers get the materials they need to educate students.

There will be plenty of wine and beer at the party along with food provided by Oak Steakhouse!

For more info contact the author at :

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dog takes not only one bullet to protect his family from an intruder, but three! And what do you know, he's a pit bull. Click here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Apparently you dog CAN get jealous. It's not just anthropomorphism! Read the full story by clicking here.
Got some time on your hands? Make your dog their own iphone controlled dog treat dispenser.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Video Game Promotes Animal Rescue & Adoption

Interactive video and online game publisher Legacy Interactive has created Pet Pals: New Leash on Life, a computer simulation game that takes place inside an animal rescue center where the player assumes the role of a veterinarian in diagnosing, treating, caring for and even adopting virtual pets. Proceeds support The Humane Society of the United States.

Pet Pals: New Leash on Life is the latest title in Legacy’s award winning Pet Pals series. The goal is to nurse all of the admitted animals back to health using realistic medical tools and ultimately adopt them into forever homes. Players prepare their animals for adoption by training, grooming, petting and playing with them until they are ready for their future homes. When a pet has been successfully treated and placed in the right home, players get a promotion with more responsibilities and more difficult cases to handle.

“This is a great educational tool in helping to understand the daily responsibilities of animal rescue and the importance of adoption,” states Stephanie Shain, director of outreach, companion animals for The Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society of the United States works tirelessly to ensure a better world for animals across the globe. The HSUS runs spay/neuter and adoption programs, works to end the cruel practice of puppy mills, supports animal shelters, fights cruelty and cares for the animal victims of disasters and other emergencies.

“We are so excited to provide support for the invaluable programs of The Humane Society of the United States,” said Ariella Lehrer, president and CEO, Legacy Interactive. “We hope that by purchasing Pet Pals: New Leash on Life, players will get the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a veterinarian, have fun, and at the same time feel good about supporting a great animal protection organization.”
Pet Pals: New Leash on Life is available for PC download at and is rated E for Everyone, ages 8+.