Calm Before the Storm: The Thundershirt

We have a storm hater on our hands. Catching the weather forecast is not optional in our home: we actually plan around storms, making sure we’re home when the big ones hit. Sola loses her mind when the pressure changes and storms roll in over the mountains from the west. We’ve tried medication (mainly sedatives) with no luck. Our vet has recommended Prozac, but if I could find a less intrusive (and chemical-free) solution it would be ideal.

Enter the Thundershirt. The manufacturer claims that this piece of apparel will calm your dog during inclement weather. For around $40, and with a money back guarantee, this may be the answer many of us have waited for. Does it really work? Read more

Deborah Hoffman: Dog Advocate, CNN Hero Nominee

Houston, Texas — In the scorching summer heat, Deborah Hoffman can be found patrolling a section of Houston, Texas, that she’s dubbed “The Corridor of Cruelty.”

“It’s basically a dumping ground for live and dead animals,” said Hoffman. The corridor — an area more than a mile wide where abused dogs are abandoned — is located in northeast Houston near the Little York exit off U.S. 59 (Eastex Freeway). “One of the saddest cases is when I come across one in a large green Hefty [trash] bag,” said Hoffman. “Some of the dogs that we find in the bags … [have] some serious wounds … most likely from dog fighting.”

Hoffman, 52, started the nonprofit Corridor Rescue, and for nearly two years, she and her team of volunteers have been rescuing dogs from this area and shedding light on the neglect of these animals. In Texas, it is a criminal offense to abandon dogs, according to Assistant District Attorney Belinda Smith. As a result of Hoffman’s efforts, Smith says her office has filed criminal cases against people who have dumped their dogs. “Deborah not only brought the problem to our attention, but she takes it a step further — she tries to find homes for animals that have been dumped,” said Smith. Read more

33 Dogs Rescued from Fighting Ring in Polk County, GA

POLK COUNTY, GA — Police in Polk County arrested four people and rescued 33 dogs that were being trained to fight. They say dog fighting may have been going on at the home in the town of Aragon for years.

A raid at the home on Cashtown Loop Road capped a four month investigation by Norred and Associates, a private firm that helps law enforcement agencies uncover dog fighting operations.

This one was the whole deal according to Norred. They say the dogs were bred, trained and fought on the property. “This was a full blown operation with a fighting pit, treadmills and spring poles,” said Norred investigator Chuck Simmons. Read more

Caged Dog Shot Six Times by Owner on the Mend‎: Abusers Arrested

An Ohio dog warden says a German Shepherd is one tough pup after surviving six gunshots to his head, neck and chest. Witnesses tell police the dog’s owner and another man took turns shooting the dog while he howled in his cage. Lawerence Mick, 57, and Adams Collins, 35 both face charges and potential jail time if convicted. Read more

Wordless Wednesday 75

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From Trash to Treasure

BOAZ, AL – There’s good news concerning a dog that was found in a trash can. Authorities rescued the animal last week at a gas station in Albertville. The outpouring of support for the animal has been tremendous, and shelter officials expect this dachshund to be picked up Saturday.

The dog is now at the Second Chance Animal Shelter and has been since its rescue last Friday. Albertville police say their chief was actually the one who discovered the dog. It was found in a trash can at the car wash of the Chevron station which is located at the intersection of Rose Road and Highway 431. Read more

Ten Dog Friendly Cities of Note

Dog Fancy, the world’s most widely read dog magazine, has named Provincetown, Mass., the winner of the 2010 DogTown USA competition, saluting it as America’s most dog-friendly city.

This year’s contest, sponsored by WAHL® Clipper Corp., named the Top 40 dog-friendly cities across the U.S. in honor of Dog Fancy’s 40th anniversary celebration. The criteria used to select the winning city include plenty of dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, events celebrating dogs and their owners, ample veterinary care, abundant pet supply and other services, and municipal laws that support and protect all pets.

“All dog owners know of a few local shops or restaurants that allow dogs, but it is remarkable to have an entire town where virtually every establishment opens its doors to dogs – even the bank,” says Ernie Slone, Dog Fancy editor. “Where else can you take your dog along for a whale-watching or sunset cruise, walk miles of off-leash scenic beaches year-round and enjoy one of the nation’s finest dog parks? Provincetown nearly swept our major awards this year, with its Pilgrim Bark Park finishing at No. 2 in our national ratings of dog parks.”

Rounding out the top 10 cities are:

  • Carmel, Calif.
  • Madison, Wis.
  • Benicia, Calif.
  • Fort Bragg, Calif.
  • Lincoln City, Ore.
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Salem, Ore.

Slone will travel to Provincetown to present the city with this top honor.

For the complete story on DogTown USA and to see which cities made the list, pick up the September issue of Dog Fancy, on newsstands July 27, 2010.

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Are the Dog Whisperer’s methods safe?

The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, has built a media empire on his ability to tame and train the most incorrigible of canines. Millions watch his show on National Geographic each week to see the charismatic star teach hapless owners to cure barking, jumping, aggression and fear in dogs.

But could his forceful methods be ineffective, even dangerous? Some think so. There is a growing backlash against Mr. Millan from dog-behaviour experts and dog owners who fear that he could bring punitive training back in vogue, despite long-established evidence that positive, reward-based training works.

“It was a surprise to a lot of dog trainers to suddenly see this very old-style training, and to find that it caught on so quickly,” said Stanley Coren, psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and author of several books about dogs, including How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind and The Intelligence of Dogs.

There’s no denying that Mr. Millan and his techniques make great television. Every episode of The Dog Whisperer features Mr. Millan swooping into the home of someone with a misbehaving dog, camera crews in tow. He certainly seems to have a magic touch – a few firm “tsch!” sounds and leash tugs from Mr. Millan and the former devil-dogs trot placidly to his side, gazing angelically at their stunned owners. The real entertainment value of the show is watching Mr. Millan teach those owners how to become, in his words, “pack leader,” dominant over their own dogs.

“I rehabilitate dogs,” Mr. Millan says in the voice-over before every show. “I train humans.”

A Honk for Help

Having read far too many sad stories about dogs suffering in hot vehicles this summer, it was hard not to smile at this find. This Pennsylvania dog decided to take matters into his own paws when accidentally locked in a hot car. Something tells me Max would make a great spokesman for summer PSA’s. Read more

Captured: Dog and Pig on the Run

Life on the farm couldn’t be more different for these friends but this odd couple are the closest of pals. Like a scene from Babe, the pair were spotted running in tandem along Milky Lane, Whittlesea, Australia about 3:45pm Friday.

And yesterday, the duo were returned to their relieved owners, police said. Whittlesea Police Station Leading Senior Constable Mick Hall said the pair had obviously come from the one home.

“They act like a pair of pork chops when you try to separate them,” he said. “They were lying all cuddled up together on the front lawn waiting for their owners.”

Police believe the dog is a Golden Retriever or Labrador, aged about 18 months old. Its porky mate is white and also believed to be fairly young.

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Indiana Family Saved by Pit Bull

They’re calling it a “phenomenal act of heroism by a dog.” And that “dog” happens to be a pit bull.

While it seems pit bulls get a bad rep at times, one is being credited for saving the lives of his Bristol family members Thursday night. “It started here on the back porch, they said, underneath it. We have no idea how the fire started.”

When the fire began, Kemper Hunter, his girlfriend Sarah Laughlin and their three month old baby, Shelby, were asleep. They woke up to their pit bull “Thor” jumping persistently on the bed. Kemper Hunter says, “We kept pushing him away like, ‘Yeah, we’ll take you outside in a little bit. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. We’re asleep.’ We kept pushing him away and then I pushed him one time to turn around and he hit me in the face with both paws and he nipped at me and I sat up, you know, my dogs never done that.” Read more

Species Wars: Dog vs. Tortoise

Careful, this one flies by. ;)

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