BLACK DOGS MATTER

It’s called Black Dog Syndrome or Big Black Dog Syndrome (BDS or BBDS). It’s a problem that every animal shelter and dog rescue in the world understands all to well.

This phenomenon could be due to a number of things. Geographic location, fear of certain breed types or the fact that large black dogs are thought to be dangerous because they are portrayed that way in films and on television.

dobermanBIG BLACK DOGS — THE PROBLEM

Did you know that black dogs, especially large breed dogs, such as Labs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Chows, Newfoundlands, and even mixed breeds are usually the last ones to be adopted from shelters or rescue groups? Black dogs are often euthanized at a higher rate than other coat colors.

Here are some other reasons given for why black-coated dogs don’t get adopted as easily.

  • They don’t show or photograph well in a kennel setting.
  • It isn’t easy to distinguish their features.
  • If they have any gray or white hairs on their face, they often appear older than they are.
  • They often don’t look as cute as lighter coated dogs.

As to location, In European and British folklore black dogs often appear as evil forces and death. Writers like Sir Walter Scott and Arthur Conan Doyle perpetuated this superstition by using spectral hounds, usually black and fearsome, in their stories and poems.

Some people believe the superstition that suggests that “black is evil” like the symbolism of Scar vs. Mufasa in “The Lion King.” In a 2011 study by the ASPCA, appearance was the most frequently cited reason for adopters of both puppies (29 percent) and adult dogs (26 percent).

Thisneka-belly issue has been gaining media attention since the mid-2000s. Tamara Delaney, an early activist against black dog syndrome, developed a website called Black Pearl Dogs in 2004 specifically to address the issue, both by educating the public about its existing, as well as showcasing individual dogs available for adoption.

As one who as adopted a black dog, I’d suggest that they are just a sweet, and just a loving as any other color of dog. She was a great companion and a great teacher. She was loved by everyone she met (animal and human) and when the chance arises again I’ll be the first one to adopt another Big Black Dog …

A Best Friend’s Devotion

I recently ran across this quote and wanted to share it.

I can’t think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog — completely exhausted after a hard day in the field — limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I’m sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee, and closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that kind of friend.” — Gene Hill

Walking Your Dog Could Be Hazardous!

Yes, you read it correctly. I said: walking your dog COULD be Hazardous.

No I have not changed my position on taking your dog for regular walks. I just want to make you aware of a few hazards that you may come across while you are out on a walk.

I was recently sitting on my front porch (with Patchs) enjoying a nice quiet evening at home. While relaxing, I noticed that a lady was walking her dog down the other side of my street. She was walking her dog, listening to her MP3 player and appeared to be texting someone on her phone all at the same time. (Distracted  Walking)

The city had recently repaired a water main leak in the yard across from me and the yard had a 6′ x 10′ area of fresh dirt where it had been back-filled after the repair. Needless to say, she found it. With luck, she was not hurt.

I can’t count the amount of time that I have had near misses while walking. The biggest problems are pot holes in the street, cracks in side walks; stray or loose dogs, and even a stray car or two. I’ve even encountered wild critters. But last night I had one of my CLOSEST calls yet.

It was about 10pm. Patchs and I were walking in a quiet neighborhood on a route we walk about 4 times per week. There aren’t very many street lights on this street, but Patchs alerted on sometime crossing the street about 30 yards ahead. I strained to see it, but it looked like a raccoon or a big cat. It crossed right to left in front of us and then stopped at the curb. It then moved back into the street in front of us.

By this time we were about 20 feet away so I could see it’s outline much better. All at once the critter turned its back to us and I saw it raise it’s tail. Without hesitation, I jurked the leash and made a 180 degree course change. I ran as fast I could (dog in tow) and avoided being sprayed by a skunk.

Had I NOT been paying attention we would both be taking tomato juice baths today.  So please … leave all of the “stuff” behind when you walk your dog. Turn off, gear down, unplug and enjoy a nice relaxing walk with your dog. It may even save you a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office.

Stop That … Come Down Here and Play with Me!

It never ceases to amaze me how infinitely patient a dog can be … and how psychotically impatience they can become when they are ignored!

These passed few days (Saturday and Sunday) I decided I needed to take some time off and get away from work, the phone and everything I spend all my time doing to try to get ahead. So I declared the weekend a “mental heath” weekend. And after the extra pressures of the past few weeks I felt it was much needed so didn’t become a “clock-tower sniper” or something.

Saturday I made breakfast and then I just “bummed” around the house. In the late morning and into the afternoon I working in the yard and played fetch and frisbee with the dog. We spent several hours walking the neighborhood too. While Patchs sniffed around catching up on all of her “pee-mail” messages that other neighbor dogs left in the grass and on the telephone poles, I took the time to say hello and “chit-chat” with my neighbors who were also taking advantage of the nice weather.

When we finally got home, we hung out on the front porch, had a nice cool drink and kicked back for awhile.

Sunday, it was more of the same …

But have you ever noticed … when you spend that extra time with your dog, he /she seams to feel that you should do it ALL of the time?

I ask this because, as I got back into “work mode” again this morning I got a look from my dog that seamed to say, HEY, STOP THAT … Come Down Here and Play with Me! Let’s go for another one of those walks!

Well, I love my dog, so I got down on the floor and played for a few minutes. And that seams to have made her happy. For a few minutes anyway!!!

Happy Monday everyone! Hang in there! Friday is just a few days away … 😉

The Warm Weather Is Back … It Can Kill Your DOG!

The weather here in the Midwest has been real nice all winter. Very little snow this season combined with warmer than normal temperatures have helped to deliver spring about 5 weeks early.

Some forecasters have been saying that the early warm-up may be a sign that we are headed for a hotter than normal summer.

The summer sun can raise the  temperatures inside a car very quickly. Without ventilation it only takes 3-5 minutes to turn the inside of you car into an oven. Temperatures can rise 20-50 degrees in just a few minutes. That can Kill Your Dog.

I know that it’s early in the season, but we have already had a few days in the low 80’s, so I want to remind you to keep your pet’s safety in mind when you travel with them this spring and summer. NEVER leave your dog in the car. If you must leave them in the car for a few moments, park your car in the shade and be sure that you open all of the windows to provide proper ventilation. When doing so be sure that they can’t jump out the windows. That’s not safe either.

While it’s important to socialize and expose your dog to the world, it’s always better to leave your dog at home in the air conditioning when temperatures go up this summer.

Is Your Dog a Loaded Gun?

No, I’m not asking you if your dog is a killer! But if you aren’t COMPLETELY sure your dog is safe in any and all of the situations you put it in, you need to realize it and make sure you protect yourself and others from a potentially dangerous situation. And I’m not just talking about Dobermans, Pit bulls, German Shepherds and Rottweilers! I’m talking about ANY dog because all dogs can (and will) bite if they are put in a stressful situation that they are not prepared for.

In the best case scenario, all dogs should be widely socialized. They should be exposed to the same wide variety of experiences that we as humans are. A well socialized dog is happy and confident and can deal with anything it encounters without reacting adversely. That’s not to say that they won’t react … after all, when you hear a sudden load noise you may jump and become “startled” but you don’t hit someone or run away and hide! Right?

Being able to completely trust your dog is not something that happens overnight. It comes with time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. Depending on the dog, it’s surroundings, it’s past, and the baggage it bring into your life it can take months and even years to completely trust a dog.

Dogs coming out of a shelter experience often bring baggage like shyness or fear. Some even need basic training like house training and basic obedience.

Puppies are experiencing EVERYTHING for the first time, so they need time to learn and mature before they can be completely trusted.

All dogs must learn to trust you before they will ever become trustworthy. They need to know that no harm will come to it.Working with them on a daily basis is the best way to build trust. If you’ve read much of my stuff you’ll remember that I call it “bonding”.  Once you have bonded with your dog it will trust you.

Working with your dog will open the lines of communication and you will be able to tell your dog the things you want it to know. Training and working with your dog is a life-long project. Just like children, they need daily guidance and learning never stops.

Like any student, your dog must be tested. In the dog world it is called “proofing”. A dog is not 100% trustworthy until it is tested and passes the test in “real world” situations. Just because your dog will stay seated in your kitchen when you open the door, doesn’t mean it can be trusted on the street when a bunch of little kids come running toward him screaming at the top of their lungs!

As a dog owner you are responsible for everything your dog does. You must know how it reacts to every situation. If you don’t you are walking a loaded gun. If you are walking a loaded gun you MUST keep it away from a situation that could make it “go off” …

As a “loaded gun” dog owner, you need to be aware of your dog’s changing moods and attitudes. Body language is the fastest and best way to do this. If your dog becomes tense, frightened or confused when you cross paths with a new dog or a person in the neighborhood you need to know it and you must be able to calm your dog or remove it from the situation before something happens.

Anything can set of a “loaded gun” dog. Some dogs react adversely to someone who moves quickly. Standing over them while trying to pat them on the head can also get you bit. Still other may try to protect themselves if someone tries to grab their tail or touch their paws. I’ve even seen a dog turn and bite someone that is standing behind them.

My suggestion is to do everything you can to get your dog used to every situation this life has to offer. Take them everywhere you can and spend as much time as you can with your family and friends and their dogs.

Personally, My goal with any new dog I get or work with is to have the dog meet one new person and one new dog every day for one year. It must work because I have never owned a dog with social issues and the ones that started with them, didn’t have them for very long!