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Tag: bark

Give us the goods on your veterinarian

veterinarian symbolWe want to know about the veterinarian of your dreams – whether you’ve found him or her, or not.

For an article in an upcoming issue of The Bark on how we choose a veterinarian, we’d like to know what – in your eyes — are the most important factors.

If you’ve found the perfect vet, just what is it that makes him or her perfect? If you’re still seeking that person, just what exactly is it you’re looking for?

As our dogs become more and more like family members, the choice of vet is a decision humans probably take more seriously than they did 50 years ago. Time was one’s choice of veterinarian was based in large part on proximity.

We’re guessing that has changed. Now we seek opinions from friends, question fellow denizens of the dog park, turn to online reviews, and perhaps even make some in-office visits, all in our quest for the perfect vet.

But what makes the perfect vet?

Is it where he or she went to school? Is it a friendly staff, reasonable rates? Is it how quickly you can make an appointment or how long you spend in the waiting room? Is it bedside manner, how much empathy, or compassion a vet exudes? Is it how clearly that vet can communicate? Whether they honor your pet insurance? Is it how the vet connects with you, how the vet connects with your dog, or both?

We want to know what is (or was) the single most important factor in your choice of veterinarian, and how you found the one (if you have) that you can’t imagine ever leaving.

Tell us about the veterinarian of your dreams by leaving a comment, preferably with your name attached, on The Bark’s blog, or here on ohmidog!

(John Woestendiek, who produces the ohmidog! website, is a frequent contributor to The Bark. His story on finding the ideal veterinarian will appear in an upcoming issue.)

Roadside Encounters: Tugg

Name: Tugg

Breed: Lhasa Apso

Age: 16 months

Encountered: At Volunteer Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Backstory: “Joyful, dignified, mischievous and aloof.” That’s how the American Kennel Club describes the personality of the Lhasa Apso. The personality of Tugg — while he looks pretty dignified at left – may be completely different, for all I know.

I only spent a couple of minutes with him — most of that taking photographs, which he didn’t seem to mind at all — before his human, Amanda, took off.

The breed originated hundreds of years ago in the remote Himalayan Mountains, and served mainly to guard the homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monasteries. Those were near the sacred city of Lhasa.

That explains the Lhasa, but what about the Apso? According to 5stardog.com, there are two theories.

One is that it comes from rapso, the Tibetan word for goat. Supposedly, the breed’s coat resembled that of the goats kept by Tibetan herders. Another is that because of the breed’s role guarding sacred places, ancient Tibetans referred to it as apso seng kye, which translates into “bark lion sentinel dog.”

I don’t know which, if either, is right.

The message I got from Tugg — whose face, to me, even without the setting sun dappling it, reflected both wisdom and inscrutability – was that he’d prefer the mystery to remain.

Arizona town ponders debarking the dog park

dog silencerOn its website, the city of Chandler, Arizona — perhaps best known for its annual ostrich festival – refers to its four dog parks as “bark parks.”

Cute, huh?

What’s slightly less cute is that the city was, in light of complaints, on the verge of installing high frequency devices at one of them — Shawnee Bark Park  – that would send out painful and irritating signals if any dog barked while in its confines.

That’s right: “Welcome to the Bark Park, no barking allowed.”

Dog parks are where dogs socialize. Barking is how dogs communicate. To zap any dog that barks runs counter to the very purpose of dog parks — places where dogs can be dogs.

To try to end barking at a dog park is just dopey. It makes about as much sense as the city of Chandler saying, “Be sure to also visit our lovely municipal pools (no swimming is permitted) and golf courses (golfing is strictly prohibited).

Nevertheless, Chandler was poised to become the first city in the nation to discourage dog barking in a public dog park with the installation of high-frequency-sound devices that only canines can hear, the Arizona Republic reports.

But now, just as complaints about barking led the city to purchase four Dog Silencer Pros, complaints about the devices being inhumane, especially when applied to large groups of dogs, are keeping them from being used.

The city is reviewing its plan after complaints from the Arizona Humane Society, dog owners and others who say the devices, for one thing, would result in all dogs being punished for the act of one. The devices are triggered by barking within 75 feet, and send a high frequency signal out 300 feet.

That would seem to mean every time  a barking dog receives an irritating  jolt to his ears for barking, 10 or 15 other non-barking ones could recieve one as well — and have no idea why.

Kimberly Searles, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society, noted the Dog Silencer “does have the potential to negatively affect dogs who are not barking, in that it can make them not want to go to the dog park if doing so is going to hurt their ears.”

The city bought four of the devices from the Medford, Ore.-based Good Life LLC for $360 after a local committee was unable to come up with a solution to noise complaints from neighbors of the park.

A Good Life spokesman told the Republic that his company has had no feedback from users about negative effects on non-barking dogs. Chandler was the first client to buy them for use in a dog park, the spokesman said.

(Photo: The Dog Silencer Pro from Good Life)

Reconsidering my stance on debarking

Up until now, I’ve been pretty much against debarking — a surgical procedure whose proponents like to call it “bark softening.”

But this video makes me realize that, possibly, in some cases, it may be justified.

Law & Order theme triggers howls

Why some dogs react the way they do to certain songs and sounds would probably make for an interesting scientific study.

Until then, we have YouTube, where a mounting number of videos, it has been noted, show dogs howling along with — or in objection to — the theme from “Law & Order.”

It’s not the first time multiple dog owners have noticed certain songs seem to cause their pets to vocalize, and captured the result on video. Remember all those videos of dogs singing along with Gwen Stefani’s ”Sweet Escape?”

Just as only some dogs howl at sirens, some howl at Gwen Stefani and, for reasons just as mysterious, at the Law & Order theme. Whether they are expressing discomfort or joining the chorus, we don’t really know.

In any event, for an impressive array of dogs howling at “Law & Order,” check out the compilation video above, or visit nastynets.com.

Dorito dog zapper ad cost $200 to make

Our favorite Super Bowl ad? This one, of course.

And that was even before we found out it only cost $200 to make.

Joshua Svoboda and Nick Dimondi, both in their 20′s, made the ad, called “Underdog,” with an untrained dog. They didn’t know it would even air Sunday night on CBS, according to the Associated Press.

It was one of four ads aired by Doritos maker Frito-Lay, all of which were created by fans, who were competing for $5 million in prize money if the ads ranked highly in commercial roundups.

The ad came in second in USA Today’s annual Super Bowl Ad Meter, which ranks ads based on a viewer panel’s response, winning the two ad-makers $600,000. The two, from Cary, N.C., said they planned to use the money to pursue film careers.

They said they wanted to make an ad with a dog because they felt those ads are more popular with consumers.

New York Times looks at debarking

What do some Westminster show dogs have in common with some drug dealers’ attack dogs?

They’ve been debarked.

The surgical procedure, which critics label outdated and inhumane, has been around for decades, but continues to fall out of favor, especially among younger veterinarians and animal-rights advocates, the New York Times reported this week.

There are no reliable figures on how many dogs have had their vocal cords cut, but veterinarians and other animal experts say that dogs with no bark can  be found in private homes, on the show-dog circuit, and even on the turf of drug dealers, who are said to prefer their attack dogs silent.

David Frei, the longtime co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, acknowledged that some show dogs have  the operation. “There is no question we have some debarked dogs among our entries,” he said.

Many veterinarians refuse to do the surgery on ethical grounds, and some states have banned it, except for therapeutic reasons, including New Jersey. Similar legislation is pending in Massachusetts.

In the surgery, vets anesthetize the dog before cutting its vocal cords, either through the mouth or through an incision in the larynx. Dogs generally recover quickly, veterinarians say, and while they usually can still make sounds, their barks become muffled and raspy.

But Dr. Gary W. Ellison, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, said the procedure can lead to complications, such as excess scar tissue building up in the throat of dogs, making it difficult to breathe.

Ellison said the procedure is no longer taught at the University of Florida’s veterinary school.

Banfield, the Pet Hospital, with more than 750 veterinary practices across the country, formally banned the surgery last summer.

“Debarking is not a medically necessary procedure,” said Jeffrey S. Klausner, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer. “We think it’s not humane to the dogs to put them through the surgery and the pain. We just do not think that it should be performed.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that the surgery only be done “after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.”