Archives for Sept. 9, 2013

Dogs Eat Everything – How to Keep Them Safe

Dogs Eat Everything – How to Keep Them Safe

Canines of all ages are notorious for eating the oddest things. From leftovers in the garbage to rocks in the yard, some dogs will consume anything. While their self-induced supplementary diets can make for interesting story sharing, the actual act can pose a risk (life-threatening sometimes) and can cost you a lot of money in emergency vet fees.

Sometimes the weird things dogs eat can be avoided. Sometimes they can’t. I’ll be honest, my dogs have eaten some things that aren’t so good for them, and sometimes that was my fault and others times it just happened.

Hoss, my English bulldog, once ate a pair of my shoes. That was my fault, as I left them on the floor where they would become the subject of his inquisitive puppy nature. The corner of the wall he ate, however, was (I’m convinced) simply because it was in front of him when he woke up. The television remote was left on the couch where he could find it. Likewise, he was left alone in the car with the Labrador’s frozen training ducks. These are just a couple of examples of things one of my dogs has eaten.

If you noticed a pattern ...

Defining Responsible Dog Ownership

Defining Responsible Dog Ownership

In recognition of the AKC’s Responsible Dog Ownership Days, I thought I’d reflect on what it means to be a responsible dog owner, as it’s a very subjective topic.

Some people believe simply providing food, water and shelter is the only responsibility of owning a dog. I’d say that’s the bottom line, lowest common denominator of responsible dog ownership. Below are some thoughts on what it means to responsibly care for, train and breed dogs. Which do you think are most important?

The Basics: As said, providing your dog with quality diet, water and shelter from heat/cold/precipitation are the bare minimums of responsibility. I’d add sufficient exercise and interaction to that list as well.

Socialization: Raising a puppy that has had proper socialization during the first 12 weeks of age will make a difference in its character and psychological stability for the rest of its life. Safely introducing your puppy and allowing it to meet and interact with other dogs teaches it how to behave around other dogs, and what the proper protocols and canine rituals are. Failure to socialize your dog can handicap it; creating a fearful or aggressive dog that will have difficulty interacting with other ...

Breed of the Week: American Staffordshire Terrier

Breed of the Week: American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire terrier (or Amstaff) has an interesting history that relates closely to the bulldog – in fact, the Amstaff more closely resembles the original bulldog than does today’s version of that breed.

In the 1800s the bulldog was taller and more athletic than today’s squat, smash-faced companion breed. It was used for bear and bull-baiting, where the dog would fight those animals prior to their being slaughtered for market. As the sport of baiting fell out of favor in the 1880s, the bulldog nearly went extinct. Aficionados of the breed revived it, breeding for the extremes of character and appearance in the breed that we see today.

The Amstaff split from the bulldog before the fall of the baiting practice and the selective breeding process for extremes was undertaken. At some point, probably in the early to mid-1800s, the bulldog was crossed with a terrier of some sort, which added even more tenacity to the willful bulldog. The Amstaff began to appear in the United States as early as the 1870s, and was used in both America and England, where it originated, to fight in pits with rats, as well as other dogs. In England the bulldog/terrier ...