Rainer goes “on trial” with adopter on Sunday

What?
Terrible photo, but it makes me laugh. Rainer always has to know what’s happening.

The dogs were brave about the fireworks during Independence Day last night. How did everyone else’s pups fare?

Like Athena from Pitlandia, Pyrrha is scared of a lot of things, but fireworks and thunderstorms don’t bother her. Rainer, thankfully, isn’t phobic about storms, but he is considerably more anxious about them. We’ve had almost daily thunderstorms here lately, and while they are happening, Rainer tries to affix his body to mine. I can’t leave his sight without him needing to press himself up against me. It’s pretty sweet (except when you’re trying to make dinner, go to the bathroom, get dressed, etc.). The dogs were in their crates with treats while we attended a fireworks display last night overlooking the city, and we came back to happy pups and no signs of distress. So that was nice.

As I’ve mentioned, the happy news is that Rainer goes on trial with his potential adopter this Sunday. The adopter has two weeks to decide if they want to keep him before the adoption is finalized, so we are very hopeful that our sweet, shy little buddy has found his forever home! Will keep you posted.

Hope everyone has peaceful weekends ahead!

Pup links!

Mmm, cherry blossoms. Click for source.

Dog-related links from around the web this past week:

Friendship. Does your dog know that you love her? A thoughtful post on our relationships with our dogs. (Denise Fenzi)

Dog Scribbles. Fun, quirky doodles of dogs from one of my favorite bloggers/artists. (Ulicam)

Things I Can’t Live Without #6: Rolled Leather Collar. Do any of you use a rolled leather collar? I’ve never heard of the notion that regular, flat collars can damage the guard hairs/fur around the neck, but now I’m curious… (Batmanimal)

Thunder, Fireworks, and Noise, Oh My! An adult dog who has developed a thunderstorm phobia… How do you help them? Certainly caught my attention, because while Pyrrha isn’t bothered by storms or fireworks now, I wonder if she could be in the future? (Reactive Champion)

Focus: Riley and Lexi. Britt Croft is doing a series of photos on her two yellow labs, Riley and Lexi. I love these shoots and how often these dogs participate in mirroring behavior! They are hard to tell apart! (The Daily Dog Tag)

“Keen-see.” The sweet relationship between a toddler and her very tolerant bulldog, Kingsley. (Rockstar Diaries)

Foundation Fun. I don’t really know what these dogs are doing, but they are having so much FUN! I love it. (The Elite Forces of Fuzzy Destruction)

Catch O’ The Day. That is one BRAVE dog. I cannot believe he just plucked that awful-looking, gnarly fish out of the water. I am so impressed. And his expression looks like, “Eh, no big deal. I do this all the time.” (Wootube)

Bliss Paws Collapsible Travel Bowl. I like the look of these travel bowls (although I wonder how big they are?). I’m not overly thrilled with the ones we bought Pyrrha, as they’re crushable cloth and not nearly as waterproof as they advertised. Do you use a travel bowl that you like? (Dog Milk)

How to Make Car Rides with Dogs a Breeze. Helpful tips on car travel with dogs, which will be useful to me this weekend! (Go Pet Friendly)

Truckin’. More honest, helpful advice on taking a long road trip with one’s two beautiful, active Aussies. (Raising Ivy)

As you might have divined from those last three links, Pyrrha and I are taking our first road trip together tomorrow! We are driving the 5 hours together to my parents’ house, so I can help my sister with her wedding plans. Thankfully, Pyr rides very well in the car, but we’ve never taken her in the car for longer than 45 minutes, so this will certainly be an experience! I’m bringing lots of water and soothing music for both of us. Stories to come!

Review: The Dog Whisperer

The Dog Whisperer, by Paul Owens

No, it’s not Cesar Millan. This is Paul Owens, who called himself “The Dog Whisperer” five years before Millan’s show appeared on the National Geographic Channel. Liz (Bo‘s mom) lent me this book and said that she’d read it before she brought Bo home.

Paul Owens wants to be the yogi for your dog training. He’s a positive reinforcement trainer who believes very strongly in Eastern principles of breathing, meditation, and holistic health treatments. I thought it was certainly an interesting approach to dog training. Aside from his breathing exercises, though, Owens doesn’t offer a lot of new information in the way of positive training. I agreed with most of what he said, but I think I’d be more inclined to rely on Pat Miller‘s straightforward and helpful training guide for my own dog.

One thing that Owens does talk a lot about is that you should never speak soothingly to or try to comfort a frightened dog. A lot of dog training books tell you this. But is it actually true? Can trying to comfort your frightened dog actually reinforce her fear? Patricia McConnell, my all-things-dog hero, wrote an insightful article on her blog, “You Can’t Reinforce Fear: Dogs and Thunderstorms,” about this very issue. I tend to trust McConnell’s word on this one. She has a Ph.D. and is an applied animal behaviorist and she has the science to back up her experience. Even though Owens is also qualified, I’m inclined to listen to McConnell on this one. I highly recommend her article and its follow-up companion on the issue to anyone who’s received this advice before.

I did enjoy Owens’ section on what we feed our dogs. Dog food is something I’ve been doing a considerable amount of research about. It’s not something that I know about and I was astounded at how complex the dog food industry can be. There are a lot of different opinions floating around about what to feed our dogs, but the general consensus is that most brands of widely available dog food are absolutely terrible. I’ve really enjoyed the content on this extremely helpful website, Dog Food Advisor. I’ve already been researching the different types of kibble that I’d feed my dog and it’s been an extremely helpful place to start.

I’m curious to hear from you on this one. How did you decide what kind of food to feed your dog? Did you ever make any changes? Since I don’t know if I’d try a raw diet right away, is there a particular brand that you would recommend?