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Archive for May, 2012

Summer, Your Dog and the Heat

May 30, 2012

Dog care in preparation for summer

The summer grows near and the heat is already here. So, now it’s time for people to get outside and work in their gardens, carry on with outdoor projects, and even fit in a regular workout. But with the increasing heat, we’re left wondering how to stay cool while enjoying the summer air.

For our dogs, the summer heat can be a little more extreme. We can take off an extra layer of clothes when it gets too hot, but our dogs are usually stuck with the same coat all year around. On top of that, the body heat for a dog is naturally higher and they can’t sweat to cool down like we do! As your dog’s owner and protector, it’s up to you to ensure their health this summer.

For starters, don’t’ take your dog out on hot pavement, which can be an astounding twenty degrees hotter than the air. The heat from asphalt can blister paws very quickly. Even a single trip outside just to potty can leave your dog with singed paws. A grass litter box on the patio or even inside can prevent mid-day treks across hot pavement.

Exercising outdoors

Staying fit is fun for the both of you, but also keep in mind that your dog’s body isn’t the same as yours. Before starting your workout, it can take some careful planning so that you can safely stay cool. First of all, choose a place that will provide shade from the heat. Parks with thick tree lines will be best for insulating the ground from excess heat. Staying hydrated is important for the both of you. Remember that because dogs can’t sweat like people do, they will instead salivate and pant in order to cool their bodies. This naturally demands water to help carry out the process. Carry cool, not frozen, water with you. A bottle will work, but there are collapsible bowls that are easy enough to stash while you’re working out. Also, keep in mind that a healthy diet provides energy, allowing the body to perform daily tasks properly. Feeding your dog a healthy diet will make a difference on how susceptible their body is to the heat.

Shave, not just a haircut

What about the controversial technique of simply shaving your dog? Many owners firmly believe it works, while others have their doubts. In this scenario, it often depends on circumstance, environment, and breed to come to the best decision. It can be good and it can be bad. Consider some of the results that fellow dog owners have encountered.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is that the dog’s fur becomes very thin, revealing their sensitive skin. This means they can easily get sunburned. Unlike people whose skins normally develop melanin to help guard against the sun’s effects, dogs rely on their fur to protect their skin.

A positive side is that shaving eliminates an extra layer of fur that can keep heat in, rather than out, since it can accumulate dirt and debris. The extra fur and dirt in it can act as a barrier, keeping natural body heat in.

To counter this effect, double-coated dogs like corgis naturally have a short, thin fur designed to help keep them cool during the summer heat. This is one of the reasons that double-coated breeds seem to shed at extraordinary levels, especially during the summer months. It is recommended that you not shave these certain breeds of dog because the multi-coats work to protect their skin and keep heat out, rather than in.

Protect your dog’s sensitive spots

What about sunscreen for dogs? Dogs are just as susceptible to sunburns as people, especially if you’ve recently had them shaved. But, sunscreen for a human isn’t the same for a dog. You should never use any ointments or creams designed for a person on your dog, especially lotions and sunscreen. The chemical content can not only irritate skin, but can be toxic if your dog consumes it (licking their nose or belly).

Applications should be made to sun-sensitive areas such as tips of ears, nose, belly, and groin areas where fur is naturally thinner and skin is more sensitive. The belly is important, especially if you notice that your dog tends to enjoy sunbathing belly-up by the window.

This summer, keep the heat away from your dog and your dog out of the heat. It’s still good to get out and enjoy the summer activities, but you need to be ready to keep your dog cool so they can enjoy a happy and healthy summer with you.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – A Dog Show, Go Izzy!

May 28, 2012

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

We packed up early this morning, the old man and I. He packs a lunch for the both of us, so I know we are spending the day abroad. That usually means we’re not just going to the dog park, we’re out for a real adventure.

Just like I predicted, we weren’t headed for the park. Instead, we took a completely different route through houses and fences far beyond those which I’ve ever laid eyes or nose to. I peek up from my seat in the back, seeing all the new and unfamiliar yards and their trees that desperately need some attention. I even detect the smell of letters that need addressing and a few cats that might need chasing.

But, we don’t stop for any of these things. Instead, the old man is determined on one destination, which turns out to be far more entertaining than anything I’ve ever seen before (though, there was that strawberry cake that Debbie left last week which had my strictest attention). We stopped in a busy lot that was buzzing with other automobiles and people. While these items littered the area, it was the dogs that had my attention. They were everywhere! Some were furry, some fluffy, some big, and others small. Some even looked a little familiar…

Then I noticed that I wasn’t the only dog I knew here- Izzy had decided to come as well. Debbie was following quickly behind my old friend, who looked a little different today.

“Looks like you got a fur-cut!” I remarked while we inspected one another as is always proper procedure.

“Yep, just getting prepared for the show.” Izzy remarks in an oddly proper manner. “My old lady says I shine like a star and that this is a great opportunity to show my stuff.”

“Cool! Is it a race? Are you going to chase the ball? See who can run the fastest?” I asked, thinking maybe I could compete as well.

“I don’t know, but we’ve been practicing an obstacle course lately.” Izzy shook his head, “It’s mostly just jumping over stuff and even learning how to translate their barks into words, like when they want us to sit and stay. They always sound so funny when they make those silly noises.”

With that, we were headed for the building. And so was everyone else. There had to have been at least…well I don’t know how many, but there were a lot of people. We don’t have fingers to count on, but I know there were more of them than I had bones in the back yard.

Inside, Debbie and Izzy were separated from the crowd, but I had little time to think about that. There were so many different smells and dogs here to meet and greet. I offered a few greetings, and even saw a few tails I might like to chase. But, we were set for a particular destination- a view above the arena. Below the crowd, there were dogs and their companions waiting to play on a grassy field of obstacles.

We sat together, I on the old man’s lap so I could see the field clearly. Because I have such little patience, I was lucky it didn’t take long for them to start the fun and games. I wanted to play, but the old man held me firmly, scratching just behind and below my ears, where it is hypnotically therapeutic to my karma (I’d fall asleep if there wasn’t so much going on around me).

A few unknown dogs race through the obstacles and perform a few tricks with their companions. I recognized a couple of them from earlier, but didn’t know their names. But, I gave a bark out to them anyway. Then, when Izzy appeared for his turn, I had to let him know I was here for him. I barked and howled my support, and even gave an effort to get away so I could get down there and help him out, but the old man wouldn’t let me go. Izzy did well though, racing through the course faster as I barked my support.

I know that races sometimes depend on the length of your legs and the years you’ve been around. Often, catching the ball might depend on who can jump the highest. There are even times when the smartest figure out how to get the treat first. But, all I know is that if the rules are to be a good dog, then all of us win that one.


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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Seat Belts for Dogs?

May 25, 2012

Every time you get into your car, the first thing you do is buckle up. It’s not only the law; it’s also for your safety. And while seatbelts are specially designed to help keep us comfortable and safe, they don’t seem to readily configure to your dog’s body. And so, dogs don’t usually buckle up. Instead, they might just sit in the back seat, or hang out the window and let the wind blow in their faces, and in some cases, they might even sit on your lap.

The problem with this is that a loose dog can move around in the vehicle and do whatever they want. They might see something exciting and rush to the window, possibly blocking your view. They might get down on the floorboards or interfere with your steering, and they can even become a projectile if you get hit, turn, or stop too fast. A loose dog isn’t safe for either of you.


Having a dog distract you while you’re driving is perhaps one of the most dangerous scenarios and can even cause accidents. While your dog is loose in the vehicle, it can be irresistible to take a second to pet them, give them a treat, or divert your eyes just to check on what they’re doing at the moment (hopefully not chewing on the seat). Though you may not notice it, turning your attention away, especially your eyes often makes your brain tell your body, and thus your will, to move in that direction, resulting in merging into another lane or onto the road’s shoulder.

Not a place for a lap dog

For many dog lovers, having your dog enjoy the comfort and closeness of sitting on your lap seems like the caring thing to do. But sitting on your lap is one of the biggest concerns for road safety. Smaller dogs may seem cute and comfortable relaxing there, but it can become physically distracting, and even dangerous if you’re in an accident. Though smaller dogs don’t seem like they’d interfere with steering or even the operation of the vehicle, there’s no way to be absolutely sure that they won’t do something radically different, like jumping on the steering wheel or climbing down towards the throttle or brake pedal.

In an accident, a dog on your lap could be seriously injured and hurt you as well. Many new vehicles utilize airbags, which are sensitive to impact. Even if you’re in a small accident, the airbag could deploy and seriously injure both of you.

A moving dog

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of an unbuckled dog is that they can become a danger to others in an accident. Just like a person, a dog would continue to move at the same speed of the vehicle in an accident scenario. In a sudden stop from as little as 35 mph, anything unsecured could be thrown from a vehicle, causing injury to anyone in the path. Because there’s no telling when or where an accident might happen, it’s best to never take a chance with you or anyone else’s safety.

Harnesses come in little variety, but have their innovative ideas that make buckling up easier and more comfortable for your dog.

• Kurgo’s Trufit Smart Harness: This harness has padded straps for added comfort and latches into the vehicle’s standard seatbelt system.
• Kurgo’s other product, the Auto Zipline, can be turned into a seatbelt by attaching the zipline to any two stationary points in the vehicle.
• American Tourister also has their own safety harness, using padded mesh to keep your dog comfortable and safe.
• Top Paw’s harness features an auxiliary tether, for added safety and stability.
• Pet Buckle is another maker that appeals with a fully padded cross harness.

Some manufactures use harnesses that aren’t padded, and might do their job, but won’t be as comfortable for your dog, which means they may not like being in it. But the great thing about a seatbelt harness is that they can double as a leash harness, so when you get to the park, you can just unbuckle and start having fun.

So the next time you get ready to go down to the park or over to a friend’s house for a doggy date, make sure that everyone buckles up. With a comfortable harness that fits properly, your pup can buckle up just like the rest of the family and stay just as safe. And remember, the best way to stay safe is to prevent any accidents from happening by buckling your pup up!

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Scared of The Thunder

May 23, 2012

It’s raining outside, and the sound of the heavy drops begins creating a commotion inside your home. Then the sound of thunder sends your dog ducking for cover under the bed. The truth is, dogs don’t really understand what’s going on outside. It would be tough to sit them down in front of the weather channel where a meteorologist can explain what’s going on right now. Instead, some dogs might think it’s a stranger trying to invade their home, while others have no idea what’s going on as they try to get away from the noise and commotion. Regardless of how your dog acts, when they’re reacting to thunder and lightning, it can be a little disconcerting to any loving owner. No one likes to see their dog dealing with the fear of the unknown, and by letting them know that they aren’t alone, we can help our four-legged friends cope with their worries.

Sometimes dogs are scared of thunder and lightning, but other sounds can have the same effect. Have you ever noticed that your pup may also be scared of fireworks when other loud sounds don’t seem to bother them? Like people, fear is sometimes developed for a good reason. Your dog may have encountered something that hurt them physically or mentally. When you adopt a rescued dog, you don’t always know what their history might be. Fear may be a developed problem, often making the issue that much harder to address.

Working with your dog during the storm

Your best place to start is by giving them a safe place to hide. Crates and other comfortable places should be available to them, even if that comfortable place is under the covers with you. Don’t get frustrated or angry at them because they won’t listen. Instead, go to them if you have to retrieve them. You’ll only make the situation worse if you get mad at them for being scared of something they don’t quite understand. But remember, no place is completely safe when thunder is an audible sound that travels through the air.

What you have to do is compete for attention. Try utilizing white noise, such as fans and other background sounds. Music played extra loud is an excellent play for interference, or you can even turn the volume up on the television while the two of you cuddle up on the couch. By tuning your dog’s ears to what’s going on inside the house, you take their mind off what’s going on outside.

You can go a little further by making the situation as positive as possible. Play with your dog, even if it’s just throwing the ball around or giving them a chew toy to gnaw on for a while. Give them a treat for being good while you practice a few tricks. Of course, treats come in all sorts and sizes, so don’t limit the fun to just one form of treat.

Practice makes perfect

Desensitizing by familiarization is one of the best ongoing therapies for breaking your dog’s fear of thunder. Recordings of thunderstorms or even waterfalls can be utilized to create background noise that your dog can practice with. By playing these types of recordings while you play with or treat your dog, they begin to familiarize the sound as something that’s actually good. And next time, instead of being scared, they’ll come running up to you wanting to play or get their treat.

Regularly play recordings of thunder or similar noises when you spend time with your dog, but if you’re leaving, don’t let the recording stay on. Their attention isn’t on you or the fun experience anymore, and they may associate the noise with you leaving them, causing more harm than good. For the best benefits, only use recordings to build a positive atmosphere.

Dogs are incredibly smart and they can learn just about anything we are willing to teach them. And, basic tricks aren’t the only thing your dog pays attention to when you give instruction. They watch how we act, sit, and even treat others around us. Whatever we do, our dogs watch and learn, even if it’s only a piece or fragment of what is going on around them. The best thing we can do is set a good example by not being scared ourselves, and being there to comfort them when they need the attention. Don’t let your dog deal with their fears on their own, because they surely wouldn’t let you take your fears on all by yourself.

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THE ROCKY ADVENTURE – The Mirror and the Puppy

May 21, 2012

Awakened from the dreams of sunny fields and the cool wind in my face, I was slightly irritated. It was sometime in the afternoon, and the last thing I remember was searching for a spot to bathe in the sun. The curtains had been drawn over my usual spot, so I had to find another. That led me into the spare bedroom which the old man seems to have forgotten. It was a place that possessed a bland and colorless smell. Some old furniture cluttered around a simple bed is where I found a spot of sun peeking through the window.

But now the sun has moved, revealing something…or someone else in the room. I could see the shape, but there was no scent or sound to prove it was there. Behind it, the sun was shining through another window, making the room even brighter. My entire atmosphere seemed to have changed while I was sleeping!

I leapt up and barked an alert to let it know I was there. As I moved, it jumped up and stared me down. When I moved to try to circle around it, it moved with me. Relentlessly, the apparition seemed to copy my every move. I didn’t dare take my eyes off the creature. Smaller than I, the beast was much further away than I first thought. It was almost as if it was down a hallway.

I hopped down from the bed barking and yipping in an attempt to warn the old man that there was another creature in the house. I fled the room in search of the old man, hoping that he would be able to help figure out the mysterious creature.

Upon exiting the room, I glanced back to see if anyone was following. But, I was alone, just as my nose confirmed. Good, maybe it’ll stay hidden until I get the old man in here. My nails clicked down the hallway with radical speed which put my heart’s own pace to the test.

I leapt up on the bed and started telling the old man about the creature. Of course, I was slightly hysterical, so it probably sounded a little like this: “mufff, awooof awahhha!” Once I gained some composure, it came out clear enough that the old man should have understood. But, he just scooted me away from his face (my breath wasn’t that bad) and proceeded to finish his nap.

This was no time for a nap. It was time to catch the intruder! He would have none of my nuzzling and cold nose treatment and used his pillow to create a barrier between the two of us. Normally, it would put a stop to the playful games, but this wasn’t a game to me. I was serious and would have to prove it to him. I leapt over the pillow and onto his chest, in order to proceed with licking. This always gets him up, and this was no exception.

Though disoriented, the old man managed to grab his extra leg to help him stand. I leapt down and told him to follow me for I knew the way. Slow with his slumber’s aftereffects, I managed to run back and forth between the two rooms before he reached the destination. But, when we entered, we were alone. I looked around, then at him. He just stared at me, irritation seeming to grow in his expression.

I had to show him the foreigner, if only to prove that I wasn’t crying wolf. I circled the room, searching for scent and sound, but there was no sight of the creature. Then it occurred to me that it was probably enjoying the bed that I had left unprotected. Maybe that was what it had wanted the whole time, and was simply waiting for me to leave.

I jumped up and looked around. And behold, there it was, staring right back at me from its hallway. I called to the old man to come see too. He reluctantly approached, and there also appeared another apparition along with the first one. This one was far larger than the first and looked astoundingly similar to…

The overhead light flickered on, and I saw the old man had doubled. He stood here next to me, but also stood at a distance right next to the other creature. I leapt down from the bed, confused at first. I closed in on the hallway, noticing that the creature was also closing in on me. As we reached each other, I pressed my nose against the reflection. I guess even I don’t recognize myself from time to time.


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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Strange Facts about Why Dog’s Lick

May 18, 2012

No matter what breed of dog you may have, they all seem to share that pink bologna tongue that finds its way onto just about anything, including your face. Dogs are renowned for their habit of licking, which is usually cute, but can get irritating from time to time.

This may be because we don’t always understand why our dogs lick. When they lick your hands or your face, it may just be them giving you a kiss, but it might also be that you have some leftover fried chicken flavor residue on your hands too! Dogs can lick for just about any reason, and in order to find out why, we have to put ourselves in their paws.

The psychology of licking

Curiosity is possibly the primary reason that a dog licks. Dogs don’t have the best eyesight, and so rely primarily on their other four senses- which include taste. Dogs normally give light licks to new things and people, if only to examine them more thoroughly. New shoes in the closet, a bag of groceries on the table, or maybe even new people all raise your dog’s curiosity. And we all know our dogs are always first on the scene to investigate curious things. A few licks, combined with sniffing is nothing to worry about, it’s just your dog playing the part of the great Sherlock Holmes.

But, as we see the licking issue becoming more frequent, or even a little weird, there are those times when they frequently lick something already familiar to them. Did you know that licking items such as the carpet or flooring is normally your dog saying that they’re bored and want to get out and play? Many times, this particular situation is noticed if you’re sitting on the couch, watching the television or staring into your computer while you work. Your dog might huff and puff, or even whine a little before lying down and commencing with licking. Basically, they lick out of boredom and to gain attention, because any attention is better than no attention. When they lick the carpet or furniture, owners normally direct their attention to their dogs to tell them to stop. Instead of just giving them a little attention though, take them for an extra walk, or throw the ball around for a while to relieve their boredom.

Licking the floor can sometimes mean that your dogs are hungry or even simply sampling some spilled leftovers that you missed. They may even be searching for water sources when dehydrated, which can result in licking a freshly mopped floor, table tops, and even your skin. Be sure you’re feeding them enough quality food and providing frequent access to water to satisfy their dietary needs.

In more extreme cases, constant licking can develop into an anxiety related problem, similar to an obsessive compulsive disorder. Because the process of licking has a calming effect on dogs, it is their natural way to relax emotionally. Unfortunately, when they lick carpeting, flooring, and other foreign objects, they can accumulate debris, hair, and even toxins that can cause blockages or poison a dog.

Habits of necessity

While dogs lick for attention and inspection, they may also be licking out of necessity. Dog owners everywhere have at some point noticed their pup licking his genitals, which would seem odd or inappropriate to us. But did you know that the dog’s genitourinary tract needs to be regularly licked to keep it functioning properly? If they didn’t lick their genitals and surrounding area, they may become susceptible to infections and other conditions.

A litter of puppies has been born, and we know that mothers lick their pups to keep them clean. But did you know that the process of licking actually helps to stimulate circulation and body functions in the puppies? A newborn puppy’s body isn’t fully functioning until after they are born, and that’s where the mother plays her part.

What about a dog licking their wounds? This is perhaps the most noticeable licking issue because it will appear suddenly. Stickers, thorns, or even scrapes on their paws can leave your dog relentlessly spending all their time licking the affected area. But did you know that a dog’s mouth is not sterile, as often thought. Though it isn’t sterile, the saliva does possess antibacterial properties which when combined with their soft tongue helps cleanse a wound by loosening debris and dirt that may be lodged in the area. Dog’s aren’t dog-tors, and will feel compelled to care for a wound out of instinct.

There is always the very lovable fact that they may be demonstrating submissiveness or trying to communicate with you. Dogs don’t speak our language, and oftentimes feel compelled to simply prove that you are loved, which is great when you’re feeling a little down. Dogs know these things and are always there to lift up your spirits with a few licks of a pink bologna tongue.


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High Adventure with Your Pooch

May 16, 2012

Adventures are best when they’re shared, and who better to share them with than your ever faithful companion? There are so many things you can do, but you are always left with the concern: “Can my dog come too?” This is often one of the most difficult questions that pet owners have to constantly ask themselves. And the answer commonly leaves us looking for a different activity for both us and our dogs to enjoy.

Starting with the highest adventure, parasailing and paragliding can put the wind and fresh air in your faces as you soar high above the ocean or other types of landscapes. Lately, both activities have allowed both us and our pets to get into the air. While no company in the United States is readily equipped or insured, to take your pooch up in the air, many individuals have concurred that their pups also enjoy the feeling of the wind in their faces. After all, they do enjoy sticking their heads out of windows and enjoying the cool breeze. Places like San Francisco and Hawaii have become a hotspot for owners and their dogs to be able to take to the air and enjoy the sights and experiences. Because paragliding and parasailing can be performed from boats and in the right conditions, possibly many other environments, it is possible to find places where you and your dog can enjoy this type of adventure together.

Currently, there is no specifically manufactured harness available, but the practice has incorporated the use of sturdy units that support the dog’s chest, and then attaching them directly to your harness while they sit on your lap, much like the British pet lover Jimmy Rimsk has done in this instance: Custom harnesses have been constructed, and YouTube is littered with videos of dogs and their owners soaring the skies. As the trend catches on, we hope to see professional paragliding companies joining in on the adventure.

Achieving an extra bit of altitude might take you in a different direction. Have you ever considered exploring the mountains on a llama trek? How about your dog accompanying you on a llama trekking adventure? Unfortunately, the industry avoids allowing pets into their facilities, based on the fact that dogs and llamas don’t seem to get along very well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience an adventure that takes you into the great outdoors. Maybe your dog would like to go kayaking with their owners down a river. This is actually growing in popularity, not just because of the adventure, but because it can also help train your dog effectively. The Canine Center for Training and Behavior is a unique school for owners and their dogs that incorporate the bonding process and the role it plays in healthy relationship development. Located in Austin Texas, this facility is dedicated to providing a natural and adventurous environment for dogs and their owners to share and develop. Amongst trail hikes and Yoga, the Kayaking experience seems to excel beyond the average experiences that dogs are used to.

For those unfamiliar with kayaking, it is a small vessel, normally seated with no more than two individuals. With the use of a paddle, you can control the direction of the kayak as it shifts and shakes with the current of the river. For your dog, this is an experience that helps them learn the art of balance and agility as they shift their weights to compensate for a change in direction. A recommended addition to the kayak is a shower or yoga mat for your dog to stand on, so they will have extra traction during the adventure. The cool water and adrenalin rush you get is extraordinary, and when combined with the companionship of your dog, it is possibly one of the most memorable moments you will experience with your dog.

Remember that adventures come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re sailing with the wind or with the river, the real adventure is that you get to share it with your dog. The world is full of adventure, and it only gets better when you can share it with your favorite companion. Whether it’s high up in the sky, or navigating the adventurous currents of the river, you can share an awesome experience with your pooch.

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May 14, 2012

After some time of relaxing and enjoying an evening without my collar, it was time to get dressed. You might think I’d struggle at least a little bit, but I never do. I know I’m supposed to wear it because it lets everybody know where I belong. And wherever I go, there I am- with my faithful companion.

Unfortunately, that leaves me with a great concern about my new neighbor, Buck. It seems to me that if any dog needed to enjoy the company of a good companion, it would be him. So, that leaves me with only one choice- it’s time to come up with a plan.

Though I’ve been renowned for my creative abilities in the past, this would not necessarily be considered one of those moments. As soon as my collar was back on, I rushed to the back door and bound out into the yard. Of course, the brick was in the way, stopping me from reentering Buck’s yard, but that didn’t stop me from sticking my snout through the broken boards at the bottom.

“Buck! Hey, what are you doing?” I called out trying to be as friendly as possible. I’ve been alone before, and it’s one of the worst feelings that any dog can experience. I could see him in the shadows of his dog house, still lying there in his melancholy atmosphere.

That’s when the old man surprised me from behind. He scooped me back up and sternly told me not to be doing that. But, then he noticed Buck. He stared for a moment before calling to the somber fellow. Buck’s ears did make an effort to perk up as he emerged from his dark lair. After a few steps, his leashing became taut and he could move no more. There wasn’t even enough room for him to wander around his own yard!

The old man’s expression saddened at the sight and he let out a sigh as we made our way back inside. He set me down on the carpet and made his way towards the front door. I tried to go with him, but he told me to stay, so I did. I listened as his footsteps traveled down the walkway and towards the neighbor’s house. Seeing the opportunity to once again talk with my new friend, I rushed through the doggy door.

At the fence, I spotted Buck still standing at the end of his leash. I called out to him again, asking him how he was doing. But, he didn’t answer. Instead, he dropped back down to the ground and heaved a sigh.

That’s when I heard the voices. The old man and a stranger were talking about something that I couldn’t quite make out. A few moments later, their heads appeared over the fence line to my left. I could see the old man pointing into Buck’s yard and talking about “fleas” and “house.” The other man, much younger than my companion, simply shrugged and said something about “not enough time.” They talked a little more before the old man gave up, seemingly frustrated.

I made my way back inside to see what the old man was up to. But, he didn’t come in, at least not right away. Both he and Christy returned to surprise me with a little entertainment for the evening. We greeted each other. I wagged my tail while she patted my head. Then we all three went to the back yard to say hello to Buck.

I was far too short to peek over the fence, so I just used the cracks to see. Buck was up again, this time offering a slight wag of the tail to the appearance of a larger audience. All three of us talked to our new friend for a few minutes. Then, Buck’s owner emerged from his own home. He walked over to us and talked with Christy and the old man. After they’d spoken to each other in their language–a thing I’ve never imagined myself mastering, the other fellow released Buck from his leash and led him over to us.

I remember how excited Christy looked that day. She loves friends, especially ones with four legs, so I know Buck’s going to be happy now. And he is. I guess all it takes is friendly wag of the tail and the smile of a companion to really make the day memorable.


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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Dog Behavior Modification Takes Consistency

May 11, 2012

Everyone wants their dogs to behave. They take the time to train them and teach them the basics, like potty training. But there is a step beyond training. This is called behavior modification and it is the basis on which training is best developed.

Behavior modification is an extremely valuable tool that helps both dogs and their owners, providing a platform in which a dog can easily learn and develop future skills. The only problem is that behavior modification demands consistency, or else it will become counterproductive to the process. If you begin teaching using an outside source such as a trainer and then take them home and contradict or neglect what they’ve learned, your dog won’t be able to learn properly.

Continuing the behavior modification process

The first and most effective lesson you can learn is the act of teaching your dog how to learn. This process is simple, but provides the basis by which all other training is done. From here, it is your job, regardless of whether you have a trainer or not, to constantly solidify your dog’s teachings. Always start by isolating them from distraction. If they receive outside communication, even if another person is trying to help, it can confuse your dog and distract him from the lesson. Your own house is ideal for this, since the outdoors can produce numerous sounds and scents, and a new environment can be confusing and more interesting all on its own.

An ongoing experience

Even though you may be using an outside professional trainer, it is imperative that you continue the work that is being done. Like a student coming home from school, there is always homework that needs to be done and discipline that is required. Spend time affirming what they’ve been taught. Remember that young puppies can easily get bored or frustrated, so you may consider including games in the learning process.

Rewards are something should be given when they are deserved. This is one of the biggest problems in contradicting the learning process. Owners are renowned for giving their dogs treats, like rawhide or toys, without reason. While it may seem that a dog would definitely deserve it (they are the epitome of affection), it is definitely a contradiction to the behavioral training process. Rather than simply giving your dog a treat, have them give you full attention prior to giving it. Don’t be fooled by their supposed attention when they may likely have their attention targeted towards the treat. Have them “see” you first. You can confirm this by offering a variable command (change it every time so they don’t get used to one). When they succeed, give them the treat.

Behavior is forever

The reason these techniques must be practiced consistently is because dogs are renowned for developing habits. If you tell your dog to “sit” every time, they will always sit when you speak. This is a habit you’ve trained into them. While repetition is essential to mastery, you must include variables into the education process.

It is recommended that a quality training experience last no longer than fifteen minutes at a time. These increments should be scattered periodically throughout the day. During these training periods, incorporate a different task to learn each time or your dog may develop a habit out of the command.

This process helps to develop a dependency on you, rather than simply a reaction. This is the process of teaching to learn. While it may seem simple, it is the basic structure that helps your dog develop behavior modification in a positive light.

Training your dog to perform tasks is slightly different from behavioral training. When your dog develops the right behavior, training is as simple as instruction. This is where behavior modification plays an essential role in dog development. While classes and personal instruction can help, it is vital that you continue teaching your dog how to act and learn.

In order for your dog to succeed, you must be willing to teach and your dog must be willing to learn. This is a fact shared between every teacher and student. Behavior modification helps your dog learn how to learn for the rest of their life. But it takes the persistence and dedication of a good teacher to remain consistent during the process.

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7 Plants that can Harm Your Pet

May 9, 2012

by Isabell Davila

Your pet is vomiting, seems lethargic, and has tremors. Most likely, your pet has been poisoned. Of course, seeking immediate veterinary care is the first step. However, in the aftermath of the situation, you might reconsider the plants you have growing in your yard or potted in the windowsills of your home. Many popular, beautiful plants that we keep around our homes are poisonous to dogs and cats. Our animals may have an uncanny sixth sense for some things, but they can’t always know what they shouldn’t eat. It’s up to us to decide whether it’s worth the risk of letting potentially lethal plants grow in areas accessible to our pets.


Lilies are toxic to all your pets — dogs, cats, and horses alike. But outdoor cats may be the most prone to nibble on lilies, and even the smallest amount is poisonous. The toxin in lilies is soluble in water and deadly, although it isn’t known exactly what causes it to be poisonous. Consuming a tiny bit can cause kidney failure, as well as gastrointestinal and nervous system complications. What’s worse, every single part of the plant, including the pollen, is poisonous. Thus, if a cat or dog gets the pollen on their coat and then licks themselves, they will ingest the toxin. If your pet is left untreated for more than 18 hours after consuming parts of the lily plant, the mortality rate is 100%, so immediate veterinary care is essential. There is no antidote, but vets can monitor the gastrointestinal tract and keep your pet hydrated, and immediate treatment is usually successful.

Sago Palm

Sago palms are also known as cycads, and are very popular plants both standalone and potted. They also contain cycasin, a deadly toxin that causes liver failure. The toxin can be found in the seeds, fruit, and base of the plant and a dog can die by merely eating one seed from the plant. Within just a few hours, your dog will be vomiting, have diarrhea, and seem out of sorts. One-third of all dogs that consume parts of the sago palm die once the symptoms begin to show, even if given aggressive treatment. It takes about 24 hours for lab work to indicate abnormalities, so it can be tricky to diagnose, but you should always inform your vet of whether or not your yard has sago palms or if your pet likes to chew or dig up plants.


Both the azalea’s leaves and flowers are toxic to animals. The toxicity varies depending on how much of the plant is consumed paired with the animal’s weight. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has deduced the symptoms of poisoning to be vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, hypotension, and coma. If not treated, this could be followed by death. The cardiac glycosides and grayanotoxins found in azaleas are compounds that affect sodium channels on cell membranes. Treatment for azalea poisoning is the same treatment you would conduct for any poisoning: giving the animal something to help it vomit, giving it activated charcoal, and doing anything in your power to get the remaining azalea bits out of their system is the best way to handle it. Recovery may be lengthy because there are no complications during the time that the animal is expelling the Azalea, such as cardiac arrhythmias and aspiration pneumonia. Unfortunately, many dogs or cats can become addicted to the toxin in azaleas, which could easily become fatal. Removing this plant entirely from the areas that your pet is allowed to go may be necessary.


Daffodils are in the lily family, which explains why they are so toxic. All parts of the plant are poisonous, including the bulbs, leaves, and flowers. Moreover, if your dog consumes just one bulb, the consequences can be fatal. Even the water that the daffodil plant stands in, if ingested, can cause poisoning. A lethal dose for dogs is fifteen grams of this plant. Easter time is peak season for toxicity due to daffodil consumption, as spring brings on this seasonal flower. Even in humans, contact with parts of the flower can cause dermatitis. Humans have also mistaken the bulbs on daffodils for onion bulbs in the past, causing poisoning upon ingestion.


The begonia plant’s juices and sap contain microscopic poisonous, needle-shaped crystals. All species of begonia are toxic to pets. If the animal consumes it, he will develop the common signs of poisoning, including drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting. However, treatment is typically not necessary unless an inordinate amount of its poisonous parts has been consumed, as this plant is one of the more mild poisonous plants. The tubers are the most toxic component of the plant. The toxicity of a begonia comes from its insoluble oxalates, which come from oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is one of the strongest acids found in nature. Although the rootstock, tubers, and roots are poisonous, the flowers of the begonia are edible and are still used in some cultures for their tart flavor. They may be used to treat fevers and syphilis, or in cleaning weapons.


Hemlock is highly poisonous to both people and animals. A biennial herb, Hemlock is in the parsnip family and is found typically in less tended to areas including roadsides, railroad tracks, ditches, and waste areas. The volatile alkaloids, conicine and gamma-conicine, are what give Hemlock its toxicity. An animal that has consumed Hemlock will become sick in stages — first, they will be anxious and uncoordinated, second, they become depressed, cold, and bloated. When lethal, Hemlock usually kills the pet with respiratory failure, between five to ten hours after symptoms become present. However, some pets may recover after feeling ill for several days. Hemlock thrives mostly in the spring, which is also when animals may find it to taste the most appealing. Drying out the Hemlock may lower the toxicity slightly, but not entirely eliminate it. If your pet consumes Hemlock and shows the signs of poisoning mentioned above, veterinary care should be sought. A fatal dose for a sheep is around half a pound, meaning a dog’s lethal dose could be less and a cat’s lethal dose even smaller.


Buttercups may be easy on the eyes, but not so good on the digestive systems of your pets. Buttercups have an acrid taste that most pets will avoid, but if your pet is just curious enough to chew on your plants or will eat anything without a care, keeping buttercups at bay might be your best option. If a pet has been poisoned by buttercups, they may drool, get blisters, undergo abdominal pain, and get diarrhea. The toxin within it, protoanemonin, is not very stable. Thus, if it is dried, the toxicity is significantly lower. If your yard has become overrun with buttercups and you’re trying to eradicate them, make sure to remove all parts of the flower, including the runners and roots. Buttercup can sprout from nodes along the stem and root fragments, so if you aren’t thorough when you get rid of them, they may pop right back up.

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