Callie Golden Retriever: “Hey, That’s My Crate You’re Messing With!”

October 15th, 2013

Callie Golden Retriever, even though she’s over 6 1/2 years old, still uses her training crates as a “special place” — a “home at home.”  She’s never locked in; totally free to come an go.  It’s mostly a place for her to keep a few toys and deposit a pair of dirty socks, if she finds some lying around the house.  But she also sleeps in the crate for a few hours every night.   There’s one crate at home and one at Lake Arrowhead, and she seems to treasure both equally.

The other day, I got a rare look inside Callie’s emotions.  Barbara and I were cleaning up our bedroom at Lake Arrowhead to prepare for a carpet cleaner to come in and steam-clean the carpets.  We weren’t quite sure what to do with Callie’s crate, but, after some deliberation, we decided to lift it up and put it on top of our bed — so it wouldn’t be in the way of the carpet-cleaners.

Well, Callie freaked out — in a cute way.  First she did a deep “bow”  (a stress-reducer).  Then she jumped up in the air and spun around in a circle.  After that, she ran to me, stood up on her hind legs, and put her front paws on my shoulders — looking for a big hug.  She was obviously puzzled that we had lifted her crate, and she seemed to be looking for reassurance that everything was OK.

It was really a very special, revealing moment.  Dogs don’t always express their feelings, but Callie sure let us know that her crate is her special place and she wasn’t too thrilled to have us messing with it.

Callie and Bandit Enjoy a Visit

July 17th, 2013


Callie Golden Retriever is an amazingly social dog — probably more social than any other dog I’ve had.  She has lots of people friends and doggie friends, and she just loves to make new friends.   She isn’t indiscriminate in picking her friends.  She has a strong sense for which people and dogs will work for her.  For example, she generally avoids poodles, who don’t seem to care too much about Golden Retrievers.  But a Golden Retriever puppy that looks like Callie?  Perfect!  Bandit is about six months old and very calm for a puppy.  She and Callie had a wonderful visit at the Lake Arrowhead Village.  Which, by the way, is a great place to socialize dogs.  Bandit’s mom brings her to the village several times a week, just so Bandit can meet other dogs.  How smart is that?  Good #dogbonding and good doggie socializing.  Don’t forget the #dogbonding conversation on Twitter!


Mary Collister of “” on the “My Doggie Says…” Show

June 15th, 2013

Mary Collister, the founder of, is passionate about helping rescue organizations and providing dog toys that will enrich the lives of dogs.  A portion of every purchase goes to support one of seventy five rescue organizations, and the number of supported rescue groups is growing rapidly.  In this interview on the “My Doggie Says…” show, Mary describes the very creative web site and some of the ways that dog toys can add joy to a dog’s life.  Mary also talks about her work with rescue groups and the challenges of getting a new business up and running.

Don’t miss this podcast:


Wings of Rescue

April 24th, 2013

My friend, Frank Singer, is a serious pilot.  For years, he’s flown doctors into villages in Mexico where medical assistance was needed.  The other day, he told me about his new project — flying rescue dogs to no-kill shelters; in this case, in Phoenix.  Last week, Frank had sixty canine passengers on his flight.

For information about the program, click here:  Wings of Rescue

Here are some photos from Frank’s flight:


























































How Smart Are Dogs — Really?

March 22nd, 2013

One of the themes of the “My Doggie Says…” show has been “the intelligence of dogs.”  One guest, for example, was Stanley Coren, author of “The Intelligence of Dogs.”  But I’ve always found these conversations a little unsettling. Here’s the interview with Stanley.


The scientists keep saying, “Dogs really aren’t very smart.”  I wonder, though, if they are applying the right measures.  Obviously, dogs can’t take an IQ test — which deals with language.  But they sure do some clever things.  I have a difficult time believing that Callie Golden Retriever has the same intelligence level (whatever that means) as a two-year-old child.

Well, Brian Hare and Dognition to the rescue.  For the past two weeks, Barbara and I have been spending a few minutes every evening running Callie through a battery of tests developed my Dognition.  Here’s how Dognition describes the tests:

“You begin the Dognition Experience by playing a series of science-based games that will reveal your dog’s unique abilities. This knowledge is the first step in creating an even stronger connection with your dog — a connection that can help you be the best owner you can be for your furry friend.”

So far, we haven’t received any results on Callie’s testing, but the games have been fun, and we’re looking forward to seeing the first results.  Stay tuned!

David Frei, Co-Host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, on the “My Doggie Says…” Show

February 13th, 2013

Here is David Frei, co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, on the “My Doggie Says… Show.”


Glynis McCants on the “My Doggie Says…” Show

January 30th, 2013


















Hero Dog Awards 2012

November 20th, 2012

The 2012, Hero Dog Awards were presented on November 8, 2012, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Los Angeles.  This is always a very inspirational program.

Here’s a summary from

Here’s a three-minute audio clip from the “Dog Appreciation Lessons” CD, in which Michael Hingson describes that fateful day in New York City, on September 11, 2011.


Here’s my interview from last year with Michael Hingson, whose dog, Roselle, won the 2011, Hero Dog Award for leading Michael and some other people out of the World Trade Center on September 11,k 2001:



Why Do Dogs Sniff Before and After Peeing?

November 16th, 2012

When I wrote “My Doggie Says… Messages from Jamie,” I was curious about why Jamie did so much sniffing before peeing.  Was she looking for something?  Was she looking for the absence of something?  Well, there are several on-line articles that answer this question.  Mostly, they are sniffing for other dogs’ “marks,” so they can “mark over them.”  That is, so they can claim the territory for themselves.

This probably explains why Jamie would also sniff her way all the way to the end of someone’s yard before peeing.  Presumably, because there were no other marks to “mark over.”

Here is one set of answers.

A related question is, “Why do dogs sniff their own urine?”  I’ve always wondering if they were doing some kind of medical “self-diagnosis,” or something like that.  Well, maybe not far off.  Here’s an article titled, “Why Does My Dog Smell Its Urine.”

Was My Dog Really Smart Enough to Figure that Out?

November 9th, 2012

If you read this blog, you know that Callie and I have a daily soccer match — at her invitation.  It’s a ritual we’ve followed since Callie was eight weeks old.  So for over five years, we’ve been doing our daily soccer game.  I kick the ball in the air, and Callie “bonks” it off her nose.

You also know that we have our little ups and downs.  Some days, Callie really gets into the game, and other days, she just stares blankly as the ball whistles over her head.  I’m never quite sure what to expect.

You also know that I think dogs are really smart — much smarter than even our scientists give them credit for.  They read our body language better than we read theirs —  most of the time.

You also know that I have all kinds of little tricks for getting Callie into the game.  Sometimes it takes us a while to get started, so I have to encourage her and try to persuade her to start the game.  She’s always enthusiastic when we run outside, but sometimes it takes a few dozen kicks on my part before Callie gets going.

Well, last night, at soccer time, it was raining fairly hard.  My first reaction was to skip soccer for the day.  But Callie kept begging me to play.  Finally, I gave in and opened the door to the back yard.  But I said to Callie, “Look, it’s raining pretty hard; the yard is getting muddy; so we need to get started right away and just play for about five minutes.”

Imagine my surprise when Callie followed my instructions to a tee.  She “bonked” the first kick and worked her golden retriever butt off for five minutes.  Then we did our ceremonial “high five” and got inside out of the rain.

Unbelievable.  What was she responding to?  Was it what I said (really, out loud)?  Did she pick up on my body language somehow?  Whatever it was, it was the first time she’s ever jumped right into the game and then stayed with it for five minutes without interruption.

We were both a little wet when we finished, but it was worth it.