Gallery of working dogs

A collection of photos of my favorite working dogs, the beasts and guardians of the dog world. The working breeds are often quite intimidating on first glance, and then once you get to know them, they’re just overgrown cuddle monsters. My father grew up with dobermans and has always adored them. In the back of my mind, sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind having one myself…

(Click on the image to be taken to its source.)

Anatolian shepherd

Anatolian shepherd puppy

Bernese mountain dog

BernerBernese mountain dog puppy

Doberman pinscher

Doberman pinscher

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees puppies






Review: The Canine Good Citizen

The Canine Good Citizen, by Jack and Wendy Volhard

After reading Bad Dog, I felt certain that I’d want to put my future dog through the paces of earning his or her Canine Good Citizen certification. The author of Bad Dog, Martin Kihn, mentions attending a workshop by the authors of this book, Jack and Wendy Volhard. Kihn emphasizes how helpful they were in getting his out-of-control Bernese mountain dog to her CGC certification and so I thought I’d read it in my spare time.

It’s a very slim volume and would be most helpful to those who were actually in the process of training for the CGC test. The book walks you through the 10 tests that the CGC evaluates and provides step-by-step instructions on how to train your dog to perform each task.

The Volhards create a helpful “Canine Personality Profile” for owners. This profile is supposed to help you evaluate your dog’s dominant drives and then use that information to tailor your training regimen. I think it’s an interesting idea and I think I’d probably at least try it once I get a dog of my own.

This book is kind of outdated in some of its training recommendations (recommends aggressive jerks on the leash, for example), but I figure I may reference it again if and when I decide to train my dog to earn his or her CGC certification.

Have you trained your dog to pass the CGC test? Do you have any advice about that test in particular? Do you think it’s worthwhile?

Pup links!

Boston terrier and her flower child. Source: Femke Leemans

Dog-related links from around the Web this week…

Woof vs. Meow: What Our Furry Pals Reveal about Us. A fun and well-designed infographic about the differences between cat and dog owners. According to this survey, dog people are more likely to be extroverts, physically active, use an iPhone, enjoy Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom, and be conservative. Pretty fascinating. (Laughing Squid) A new beta pet supplies site, the successor to, launched this past week. Check it out: Fast and free shipping available. (

Treating Skin Disease at Home. A helpful overview of home remedies for your dog’s various skin problems. (Dog Lover’s Digest)

Mugs and Plates and Scrummy Little Things. A collection of simplistic and cute domestic goods from BBB Potters. (Under the Blanket)

Berner Puppy. There is almost nothing as purely adorable as a Bernese mountain dog puppy. (Shirley Bittner)

New Arctic Fox Pups Arrive at Aquarium of the Pacific. Just because. Everyone needs an extra dose of adorable in their day. (Zoo Borns)

The Dogs of Ratafia. Fun, modern, and colorful paintings of dogs by Carol Ratafia. (Under the Blanket)

Review: Bad Dog: A Love Story

Bad Dog: A Love Story, by Martin Kihn

I’m skeptical, as you know, about dog-centric memoirs. They’re almost always too sappy. Thankfully, this new book by writer Martin Kihn doesn’t allow itself to become saccharine. Rather, it’s the tough and motivating story of the author’s struggle with alcoholism, a failing marriage, and one very big and very bad dog.

The book chronicles a dark time in Kihn’s life. He can’t stop drinking. His dog–a Bernese mountain dog named Hola–attacked his wife. His wife moved out. He joins a support group, only to find out later that his sponsor had been lying to him about being clean the whole time.

To prove to his wife that he and Hola can get their lives together, Kihn decides to train Hola to pass the Canine Good Citizen test. This is an AKC-sponsored obedience test that is the foundation for dogs who want to go on to therapy work and more advanced obedience. Its tenets, however, were designed to show that “ordinary” dogs can exist politely in society. Hola doesn’t seem to know what this means. At all.

I breezed through the book–the style is light and very informal–but enjoyed following Kihn through his introduction to the bizarre world of obedience junkies. It is a strange world filled with big women in fanny packs, but Kihn learns to navigate it successfully–and Hola is finally awarded her CGC certification in the end. You’re proud of her–but mostly you’re proud of Kihn. The success is his and you finish the book wishing him and Hola a long and happy life together.