Paula Brown, Animal Behaviorist and Author of “Fur Shui” on the “My Doggie Says…” Show

July 11th, 2012
  Paula Brown, animal behaviorist, has written a delightful book titled "Fur Shui."  As you might guess, the book adapts the concepts of Feng Shui to our furry friends.  The book offers many insightful ideas about why our pets choose to be in certain parts of the house, or of a room.  It gave me some wonderful ideas as to why Callie decides to put herself in certain places at certain times.  One special treasure in the book is a simple map that shows how the spatial relationships and colors in a home, or room, can relate to life attitudes such as "helpful people," "creativity and children," "relationship," and five others. This is very fun and thoughtful reading.  It can also be a guide to decorating your home or room with colors that enhance the important attitudes. Here's Paula on the "My Doggie Says..." show:  

Video of Callie Dock Jumping and Retrieving Her Water Frisbee

June 22nd, 2012
Like Jamie, Callie Golden Retriever loves dock jumping and swimming at Lake Arrowhead.  She has her own routine, which is great, because it keeps her safe from boat traffic on the lake.  First, she runs to the end of the boat dock.  Sometimes, she waits for someone to throw her Frisbee in the lake, but sometimes she just jumps in, knowing that the Firsbee will soon follow. Once the Frisbee is in the water, she swims to it, retrieves it, and swims to shore.  Fortunately, she has some very convenient stone steps for climbing out of the water and back to the dock.  She shakes off all that water -- on anyone who's close -- picks up the Frisbee, and heads out for another lap.   She would keep dock jumping and swimming all day, if we let her. It's a great #dogbonding activity, because getting it all set up involves some real teamwork. Here's what it looks like:

What is #dogbonding?

May 31st, 2012
Some of my Twitter and F/B followers have seen a few conversations about #dogbonding.  What is #dogbonding?  What does it mean? A lot of the authors and dog trainers I have interviewed on the "My Doggie Says..." show share a view that I have about dog ownership and dog training.  Specifically, that the real joy of "owning" a dog is in building a very close, warm, communicative, and interactive relationship with it.  I put "owning" in parentheses, because the whole idea of "owning" a dog is actually the antithesis of #dogbonding.  The ideal dog-human relationship is not one of "ownership."  It's one of "intimate relationship." #dogbonding is very different from some traditional dog training, in which the emphasis is on "obedience."  Again, there's more to being in a great relationship with a dog than compelling it to obey your commands.  This is where #dogbonding and some of the popular TV dog trainers depart. One premise of many of the popularized TV dog trainers is that we need to be in an "alpha" relationship with our "best friend."  Many studies have shown that this is not true, and many leading edge dog trainers are putting more emphasis on "positive training" and on creating a positive relationship with your pet. An essential ingredient of any relationship is "communication."  The point of the book, "My Doggie Says... Messages from Jamie," is that it is possible to develop your skills at "interpreting" your pet's behavioral messages.  Does your dog ever do something you don't quite understand?  I call these "scratch-your-head" moments.  You scratch your head and try to figure out, "Why did my dog do that?  What is it trying to tell me?"  Through a collection of eighty-five color photographs, "My Doggie Says..." gives examples of behaviors, what they meant in the case of Jamie, and how I was able -- with some detective work -- to "decode" Jamie's messages. Join us on Twitter at @mydoggiesays and contribute to the #dogbonding conversation.  What does it mean to you?

Participate in a Live Podcast with Animal Communicator and Professional Psychic, Lori Spagna

May 17th, 2012
On Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the “My Doggie Says...” show will record a live podcast with animal communicator, professional psychic, intuitive energy healer, and behavior expert Lori Spagna. Lori will discuss how animals are teaching us. She will also do live readings with guests who participate in the show. To learn more about Lori and her great work, visit www.lorispagna.com, www.efilsgodSpirit.com or www.efilsgod.com. The “My Doggie Says...” show is a lighthearted show about dogs -- dog relationships, dog communication, dog training and generally “dog appreciation.” Host Fred Haney interviews experts on all subjects “dog.” To listen to past shows, check out the "podcast" tab on this blog, or look for “mydoggiesays” on the iTunes podcast store. To join the program, send an email to Lori Spagna at Info@efilsgod.com or to Fred Haney at fred@mydoggiesays.com. You will receive the dial-in instructions and access code by return email.

A Dog’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Five Ways to Figure Out What Your Dog Is Telling You

May 10th, 2012
Does your dog ever do something that leaves you scratching your head and wondering, “Why did he (or she) do that?” If so, you’re not alone. Dogs tell us important things all the time, but sometimes we don’t “get the message.” Dogs communicate in different ways and at different levels. Sometimes they “talk” with their tails, or their ears, or their posture. Sometimes they “talk” by barking, or yelping, or whining. Sometimes they use subtle signals that were used in wolf packs to “keep the peace.” These messages can include licking their own lips or yawning. But dogs frequently communicate with their behavior. A dog’s actions speak louder than words. The trick is to figure out what the actions means. It can be obvious. For example, when your dog sits and begs while you’re eating a piece of steak, there’s no mystery in the message. But many messages are much more subtle than that. Here are some ways you can try to “break the code” and understand what your dog is telling you. Click Here to Read the Rest of this Article

Should Your Child Have a Dog?

April 30th, 2012
Should your child have a dog? Dog-human relationships can be very special, but nothing surpasses the dog-bond that can occur between a child and a dog. Research  has shown that petting a dog increases levels of oxytocin in both the human and the dog. Oxytocin is the hormone that helps bond a nursing mother to her baby. It has a calming effect, which can contribute to the bond between a person and a dog. This effect may be one reason that it can be invaluable for a child with Down syndrome to have a dog. John Barczak, a fifteen year old boy with Down syndrome, has a five-year old rescue Maltese dog named Alex. In this article, dog trainer Sarah Rothberger says, “There’s also something very tactile about dogs for people with disabilities. It improves the way people feel. It de-stresses them.” (Click here to read the full article at www.mysuburbanlife.com.) Just the idea of trying to understand dog communication had a very life-changing effect on an autistic child who studied the photographs in “My Doggie Says...” The student’s teacher, in an elementary school in Cleveland, Ohio, used the book to get her normally non-communicative student to begin to relate to Jamie’s “messsages.” The teacher felt that the experience had a profound positive effect on the student. I also see this “de-stressing” effect when my granddaughter Lauren visits with Callie Golden Retriever. Lauren loves to snuggle with Callie and to pretend she is Callie’s vet. Actually, Lauren, age seven, has declared that she wants to be a vet when she grows up. This positive feeling toward dogs probably started with Lauren’s relationship with Jamie Golden Retriever, heroine of “My Doggie Says... Messages from Jamie.” Here’s a photo of Lauren, at age two years, “experimenting” with Jamie. On a recent trip to the east coast, I got to watch grandnephew Ferris interact with his new golden labrador retriever, Cooper. You can see from this photo how Cooper has tapped into Ferris’s positive reactions to touching Cooper. In this photo, you can feel the “de-stressing” of Ferris and Cooper’s relationship at work. (Ferris has no shortage of energy.) One lesson I have learned is that children do not always have good instincts about how to deal with a dog. Granddaughter Amelia, two years old at the time, was very afraid of Callie’s exuberant displays of affection. When Callie approached Amelia, Amelia would turn and run, which, of course made matters worse with Callie. With a few hours of help from a professional dog trainer, we solved this problem. Amelia just had to learn to “stand up” to Callie. Once she learned to ignore Callie’s aggressive behavior, Amelia and Callie settled into a playful and loving relationship. With a little special effort and dog training, you can help a child experience the joys of having a strong dog-bond with “man’s best friend.”

Black Lab Exhibits #dogbonding In Its Purest Form

April 17th, 2012
The conversation about #dogbonding got a poster child last week in the form of a now-famous black lab that refused to leave the side of it's yellow lab partner whom had been struck by a car.  You've probably heard the story by now, but if you haven't seen the video, it's very touching to see the depth of the black lab's bond to its friend. Sometimes it seems like #dogbonding is easier for dogs than it is for people.  It's a natural state for a dog; we humans just need to get out of the way!

A Lesson You Can Learn from your Dog

March 21st, 2012
Here's one of life's important lessons that you can learn from your dog:  How to appreciate little things. This is one of my favorite sound bytes from the "My Doggie Says..." show.  In it, Dean Koontz, the famous author, describes how, at one time in his life, his Golden Retriever, Trixie, helped him see the world in a completely different and wondrous way.  In Dean's words, Trixie "made the familiar fresh again."  She helped him see "great beauty in mundane scenes."  He goes on to say, "Trixie reawakened in me an awareness of the mystery that's woven into the warp and weft of everything we perceive..." I really love this clip (2:28).  It's one of the best examples of the spiritual connection that can exist between a human and a dog.  A great example of a lesson you can learn from a dog.  

How to Train Your Dog To Respond Properly When Someone Knocks at the Door

March 12th, 2012
How do you train your dog to respond to a knock on the door or a ringing doorbell? This has been a difficult issue with Callie Golden Retriever. I think a knock at the door presents her with a doggie dilemma: Who's there? Is it a friend or a foe? Callie is as people-social as any dog I've been around. So I'm sure she thinks one of her friends might be at the door. On the other hand, she's very protective, so she has to be concerned about strangers coming to the door. My approach to this dog training challenge has been to train Callie to "sit" when someone comes to the door. Sometimes the excitement of the moment overtakes her training, but she's doing pretty well. I am often impressed, though, at how clever professional dog trainers can be at solving these kinds of dog behavior problems. In this article, Lisa Moore talks about an interesting approach. She trains her dogs to go to a special place when she commands them to. And she is constantly knocking on the door to "desensitize" her dogs to the sound. Seems like a good way to train your dog so it doesn't cause problems when someone comes to the door.

Holistic Medicine for Dogs: A Podcast Interview with Dr. Deva Khalse, Author of “Natural Dog”

March 9th, 2012

Dr. Deva Khalsa

Dr. Deva Khalsa has an extensive background in holistic medicine for dogs -- and lots of fascinating success stories. In this podcast, she talks about the special qualities of dogs and how, if we let them, they can help us appreciate some of the wondrous little things on our planet. She has lots of examples of amazing successes in treating dogs with the use of natural remedies. In one especially fascinating segment (#3), she talks about the discovery of double-helix water, and she tells a story about a dog whose malignant melanoma disappeared in about two weeks after taking it. Click here to learn more from Dr. Khalsa's web site www.doctordeva.com.