Seeing some doggie dance moves it finds inappropriate, the Kennel Club in the UK is cracking down, outlawing some “extreme” and “unnatural” steps it says could injure dogs.
Effective next year, certain moves, though they haven’t been outlined yet, will be banned when it comes to dancing dogs – a pursuit that has become increasingly popular since Pudsey (above) appeared on and won “Britain’s Got Talent.”
“Heelwork to music,” as it’s called has been regulated by the Kennel Club since 2002. There are about 90 affiliated clubs that offer dog dancing events.
The Telegraph reports that the rule changes are in response to the rising number of people and dogs taking part in the activity after 16-year-old Ashleigh Butler and her dog wowed the judges on “Britain’s Got Talent.” There has been a 20 per cent increase in the activity since then, and the club is worried that, amid stiffer competition, too much might be demanded of performing dogs.
The Kennel Club has taken steps to ban moves that could injure dogs, as well as treatment it considers ”degrading” to the dogs, such as putting them in fancy costumes for performances. (Fancy costumes can still be worn by their human dance partners, though).
While no list of accepted and banned moves has been released yet, those that reportedly concern the Kennel Club include the “wheelbarrow,” where the dog’s hind legs are held by the owner as it walks; the “footstand,” where the dog stands on the raised feet of the handler while the human lies on the ground; walking on front paws; walking on hind legs for more than 10 seconds; and “shoulder jumps,” in which a dog leaps from the owner’s shoulders.
“We know that the more people we get into the sport, the more they are going to have to look to other types of moves in order to make an impact,” said Caroline Kisko, the club’s secretary. “We are trying to pre-empt that. The priority is the dog’s safety.”
Most dog shows feature two categories — “heelwork”, which is more structured, and “freestyle,” which involves more innovative tricks. The dances are scored on content, accuracy and musical interpretation.
The new regulations will formally take effect next year, when judges will disqualify any pair whose routine is deemed extreme, unnatural or degrading. Until then, the Kennel Club has asked competitors to observe them “in spirit … with immediate effect.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, ashleigh, ashleigh butler, britain's got talent, costumes, dancing, dancing dogs, dangerous, degrading, demeaning, dog, dogs, extreme, heelwork, injuries, kennel club, moves, performances, pets, pudsey, rules, tricks, uk, unnatural
An Ohio woman who hoped to get her dog on Ellen’s show has been ordered to remove a billboard, not far from the studio where the show is taped, that pictures her golden retriever in a blond wig and DeGeneresque attire.
The billboard read, “Ellen, Denali the Dog Wants to Meet You.”
Madalyn Ruggiero, a freelance photographer, had rented the billboard for six weeks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“She says she likes dogs, so I thought she’d love my dog,” explained Ruggiero, who dresses her golden retriever in funny costumes and sells the images as greeting cards.
Instead of an invitation to be on the show, Ruggerio received word from a billboard company lawyer that the sign, after it was up for five days, had to be taken down — apparently as a result of complaints from DeGeneres’ staff.
“Our CBS Outdoor Attorney has advised that we take down the Denali The Dog bulletin ASAP due to the fact that the clothes the dog is wearing in the copy and the use of the name Ellen appears that they are trying to trade on the public image of Ellen DeGeneres,” wrote Tim Fox, director of governmental affairs for CBS Outdoor.
Fox noted the billboard campaign was stopped “at the demand of the representatives of Ms. DeGeneres and her show.”
A publicist for DeGeneres’ show said she was unaware of the billboard controversy.
The disputed ad has been taken down from the billboard, at Cahuenga Boulevard West and Broadlawn Drive, and replaced with a public service message for the Marine Corps.
Ruggiero, 37, of Maumee, Ohio, said dressing the dog as Ellen was the suggestion of the billboard salesman. She was originally going to use a photo of her dog in Elvis attire.
CBS Outdoor says it will attempt to give Ruggiero at least a partial refund for the billboard ad, for which she paid $6,000.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advertising, animals, cbs, costumes, dogs, ellen, ellen degeneres, los angeles, madalyn ruggiero, outdoor, pets, publicity, show, sign, television, tv
It’s “National Dress Up Your Pet Day.”
And — with apologies to any advertisers or potential advertisers we might offend, to the founder of the day, and to dog dresser-uppers everywhere — we hate it.
We abide it, when it’s just done once in a while; when it’s done for purposes of warmth with dogs of the tiny, short coated, shivering variety; and, to some extent, on Halloween.
But overall, we’re every bit as tired of it as most of the dogs who get dressed up probably are.
For all those who will respond saying how much their dogs love being dressed up, I’d submit that it’s the attention, not the attire, that they are appreciating. (Though I will admit Ace does seem to love it when I change his bandana — generally when it gets crusty and/or stinky, or about every three months.)
While we’re at it, we’re tired, too, of all these “national days” being proclaimed — at least those that aren’t for a good cause, but are instead marketing gimmicks.
It’s got to stop somewhere. What’s next? National Clone Your Dog Day?
And one more note of concern: If we keep humanizing dogs, through dressing them up and such, might the day come that they get so like us that they start proclaiming “national days?”
National Rawhide Chew Day, National Pet Your Dog All Day Long Day, National Don’t Forget the Belly Day, National Double Up The Dinner Serving Day, National Dig A Hole Day, National Fetch And Then Fetch Some More And Perhaps A Little More Fetch Day.
It could get totally out of control.
I’m pretty sure President Obama didn’t declare Jan. 14 “National Dress Up Your Pet Day,” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an act of Congress. Instead, it seems National Dress Up Your Pet Day was founded in 2009 by Colleen Paige, a “celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist,” who has proclaimed several dog-related national days (though I don’t begin to understand what gives her the authority to proclaim days).
It is sponsored by the Animal Miracle Network “as a fun way to celebrate our beloved pets and to support the pet fashion community.”
“It’s important to remember though,” notes Paige, “that it’s not … a day to disrespect our pets with uncomfortable, vulgar and/or seasonally inappropriate costumes for the sake of a laugh or photo shoot.”
“Have fun with your pets by dressing them in cute outfits and safe costumes – but keep your pet’s comfort level in mind when involving him/her in this fun novelty day. Make sure that your pet can see and hear properly and that they aren’t wearing something that might overheat them or incorporate any parts that they may chew off and swallow.”
Dogs are too smart to fall for “National Dress Up Your Pet Day,” but at least some of us humans seem to buy into it.
Here’s a snippet from a recent article that appeared on Petstyle.com:
“With the big day just around the corner, now is the time to coordinate some fabulous outfits so your pet can celebrate in style! This is your chance to make Fido fit for the runway. But remember, there is more involved than just pulling your pet’s favorite frock out of her wardrobe. As a pet owner, there are a few things to consider as you prepare for the main event …
“Think about your pet’s personality. Your regal Doberman will not appreciate being dressed in a pink sweater with maribou trim. He is more likely to appreciate a fashionable camo fleece or a suitable biker hat … Then again, your Bichon Frise might love the pink sweater. Or put some prep in your pet with this yuppie puppy attire …
“If rain is expected in your location, opt for a totally ‘in’ rain coat and possibly even a matching set of boots. After all, being hip doesn’t mean being impractical. And you don’t want your pet to catch a cold as he shows off his fabulous fashion sense.”
Geesh. We’ve made this point before, unpopular as it may be with a large segment of dog people. If a dog requires protection from the elements, fine. If once a year, on Halloween, you want to decorate your dog, safely and comfortably, fine.
But if dressing your dog, merely for decoration’s sake, is a daily, or even weekly diversion, if you’re constantly putting him or her in outfits, if you have more than, say, two dozen of them, perhaps you might want to consider a doll instead.
Even on National Dress Up Your Dog Day, which, come to think of it, might be a good time to change Ace’s bandana.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal miracle network, animals, anthropomorphic, bandana, behavior, clothing, colleen paige, costumes, days, decorating, decoration, dog, dogs, dress, dress up, fashion, gimmicks, halloween, human, humanizing, marketing, national days, national dress up your pet day, outfits, owners, pet fashion, pets, proclaimed, proclamation
In response to yesterday’s post — the one that questioned whether dogs really enjoy the way we outfit them for Halloween, and whether all the money we spend doing that might be put to better use — a reader sent along a couple of links to YouTube videos.
The video above features a Boston terrier who has been equipped with a pig nose.
Perhaps I would be anthropomorphizing to assume that he’s humiliated by it all — getting humiliated being a human condition. Boston terriers are, after all, masters of the what-the-hell-is-going-on-here look, even when nothing is going on.
But my best guess is neither the pig-nosed dog, nor the Chihuahua clad in an army tank (below) is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
If anthropomorphization is bad, what about porcinepomorphization? And weaponpomorphization?
Posted by jwoestendiek November 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, anthropomorphic, anthropomorphism, boston terrier, chihuahua, costumes, discomfort, dogs, dogs in costume, halloween, halloween costumes, humiliation, pets, pig nose, tank, videos
I am not strictly opposed to dressing dogs up for Halloween.
But I wonder whether we’ve gone overboard. I question how much dogs enjoy it, and why and how, with the economy we have, Americans were willing and able to fork over an estimated $310 million to decorate their dogs for the holiday.
As noted in The Village Voice:
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $6.68 billion on Halloween this year. Included in that sum is an astounding $310 million spent on costumes for people’s pets. Give Americans credit: We can suffer through a recession, gross economic turmoil, a foreclosure epidemic, and a tepid stock market, but we sure as shit aren’t skimping on the dog costumes.
What if, even just for one year, we declared a moratorium on doggie costumes and instead used that $310 million to make America, or the world, a better place for dogs — used it on dog parks, or spaying and neutering, or emergency veterinary treatment, or furthering adoptions, or more humane alternatives to the gas chambers many animal control departments are still using for euthanasia?
“Halloween is my favorite holiday because it makes me infinitely happy to see dogs in costumes,” Nikki Moustaki writes on her blog, MUTTerings. “It’s the time of year when passionate dog owners let their dogs’ inner ballerina, bumblebee, or princess shine.”
Nikki’s infinite happiness aside — and on top of the hazards some costumes can pose – there’s something to be said for letting a dog be a dog, even on Halloween, as opposed to ballerina or bumblebee.
Much as it makes us smile, chuckle and go awwwwww, Humans should not get their kicks at the expense of a dog’s suffering, or even discomfort.
I’m sure most responsible pet owners are careful, ensuring that what they’re dressing their dog in/as is a safe costume that won’t constrict their pet’s breathing, or contain little pieces that can be chewed off or choked on.
But the increasing trendiness of dog costuming ensures that there will be an increasing number of pet owners who aren’t thinking things through.
And physical hazards aside, there’s also the stress factor. Some dogs may relish the attention, and happily tolerate a costume, but many only get stressed out when festooned with an elaborate get-up.
Ironically, one of the biggest promoters of costuming dogs — after the companies that sell costumes, and the websites that thrive on presenting pictures of dogs as something other than dogs — are local shelters and humane societies.
Rare is the fundraising event that doesn’t feature a doggie costume contest, which is understandable, given they are such crowd pleasers.
I’m not a total party pooper. Putting a dog who doesn’t stress out about it in a simple and safe costume, for a short while — long enough to get your laughs, snap your pictures and post them on Facebook — is fine.
But leaving them in it for hours, leaving them in it unattended, leaving them in it when they are clearly upset about it? That’s where it all enters the arena of, maybe not animal cruelty, but animal disrespect.
The hazards of Halloween, for dogs, go beyond the costuming. It, like the 4th of July, is a prime times for dogs to get loose and run away. In Rochester, N.Y., police fatally shot a Rottweiler who was scaring trick-or-treaters.
And then there are the treats. Chocolate, as we all should know by now, can be toxic to dogs, and xylitol — an ingredient found in gum and other treats — can sicken and kill them as well.
Other than all that, Happy Halloween!
Posted by jwoestendiek November 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 310 million, animal welfare, animals, chocolate, comfort, contests, costume, costumes, discomfort, dog, dog blogs, dogs, dressing, fad, halloween, happy halloween, hazards, humane societies, killed, letting dogs be dogs, moratorium, pets, police, popularity, rottweiler, run away, safety, shelters, shot, spending, stress, trending, trick or treat, xylitol
This year’s tips on how to ensure your pet has a safe Halloween are brought to you by PETA — the scariest animal welfare group of all.
And while some of them are a little over the top for us — such as handing out only vegan candy (Brocolli Bursts, anyone?) — they mostly make sense as, we’ll admit, PETA often does.
Keep your cats inside. For cats — especially black cats — the days leading up to Halloween can be dangerous. Pranksters often go on the prowl for roaming kitties. In fact, many animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the entire month of October.
Keep your dogs indoors too. Some kids think that letting dogs out of their yards, or otherwise harassing them on Halloween is a great trick. Dogs can also get spooked by the noise and all the strangely dressed people.
Put animals in a secure room. Cats and dogs might try to sneak out when the front door’s constantly being opened. It’s best to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion.
Don’t take dogs trick-or-treating. Dogs can easily become frightened by the endless stream of laughing and screaming children and run off.
Keep candy out of reach of animals. All candy can cause animals to become sick, and chocolate can be poisonous to dogs. Give them a pet treat instead, and make sure children understand that, too.
Be careful with candles and other decorations. Jack-o’-lanterns lit up by candles can burn animals (and children) or start fires if tipped over. The ink that is used in some brightly colored decorations, such as orange streamers and paper pumpkins, is toxic to animals, and swallowed balloons or party favors can block an animal’s digestive tract.
Remember that animals aren’t party props. Many animals become upset if they are forced into clothing, and many pet owners sometimes take the concept too far. Costumes that are kept in place with tight rubber bands can cut off circulation.
PETA goes on to suggest using only cruelty-free make-up for your costume, and passing out vegan candy, or, in lieu of candy — and here’s where they really lose us – stickers with information on tooth decay.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black cats, candles, candy, cats, chocolate, costumes, dangers, dogs, halloween, indoors, inside, keep pets safe, lost, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, pets, pranksters, safety, tips, warnings
It’s time for DogFest, the Baltimore Humane Society’s annual day-long celebration of dogs.
It’s this Saturday, Oct. 15 (with a rain date of Oct. 22) at the Baltimore Humane Society, 1601 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown.
Gates open at 9 a.m., and activities continue until 6 p.m., with a full schedule of games, contests and events, and plenty of vendors, prizes, experts, food and adoptable pets
The entrance fee is $10, and parking is free.
As usual, the Humane Society requests no retractable leashes.
Keep reading for the full schedule. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek October 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptions, agility, animals, baltimore, baltimore humane society, big, canine, canine agility, contests, costumes, dancing dogs, dog, dogfest, dogs, events, experts, fundraiser, games, kissing dogs, lookalikes, mutts, pets, shelter, singing dogs, small, tricks, vendors
The San Diego Padres may be in the basement of the National League West, but they set a record this week.
Guinness World Record officials were at PETCO Park’s annual “Dog Days of Summer” event to pronounce it official: The 337 costume-clad dogs is now the record for most dogs in a pet costume parade.
The annual infield costume parade was lead by Tillman, the world famous skateboarding dog. The record setting took place during the Wednesday, before the Padres played the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It has been an amazing record attempt and I’m happy to say it was successful,” said Freddie Hoff, adjudicator for Guinness World Records. “The 337 dogs in the costume parade was way above the set amount and on behalf of Guinness World Records, I’d like to say congratulations.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: costume parade, costumes, dog days of summer, event, guinness, guinness world records, major legue baseball, most dogs, parade, petco, petco park, record, records, san diego, san diego padres. petco park, tillman, world, world record
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
Is Norberto Fernandez exploiting his dog? Maybe. Is he abusing her? No — at least that’s the opinion of an ASPCA investigator who looked into the treatment of Coffee, a pit bull who poses for donations outside New York stadiums during baseball games.
Animal welfare officials have examined the dog often seen panhandling outside Mets and Yankees games and say she bears “no signs of abuse or neglect,” NBC News reported.
The dog, typically dressed in baseball jerseys and often seen wearing a Groucho Marx disguise, or with a pipe in her mouth, was examined Wednesday by the ASPCA.
“It was determined that she bore no signs of abuse or neglect,” the ASPCA said in a statement. “The ASPCA will continue to monitor this situation and be prepared to take action, in the event that any New York State animal cruelty laws are being violated.”
The owner, Norberto Fernandez, of Queens, spoke told NBC New York on Tuesday that he is a professional dog trainer who rescued Coffee from the streets and taught it to pose and hold a pipe in its mouth. He said they make about $75 with each appearance.
“All I do is train dogs and people are starting to hate on me — they’re surprised of all the tricks my dog can do,” Fernandez said.
Some animal lovers have claimed Coffee works without water or rest, and that her behavior is controlled through use of a shock collar — all allegations Fernandez denied. An ASPCA veterinarian found no evidence of a shock collar on Wednesday.
Concerns about the dog’s situation prompted the creation of a Facebook page, “Stop Abusing Coffee.”
Judging from the comments there, not everybody is satisfied with the ASPCA’s investigation, in which Coffee was visited at her home, rather than during one of her appearances at the ballparks.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, apsca, ballpark, baseball, campaign, coffee, complaints, concerns, costumes, disguises, dog, dogs, facebook, investigation, mets, new york, norberto fernandez, panhandling, performing, pipe, pit bull, stadiums citi field, stop abusing coffee, tricks, yankee stadium, yankees
That’s how the American Visionary Art Museum is billing its annual “Pets on Parade” event at 10 a.m. this 4th of July Sunday (with registration starting at 9:30 a.m.).
Participants are invited to dress their pet and compete for trophies that will include Best Costume, Most Patriotic Pet and Most Visionary Pet. Honors will also be given for best pet tricks and owner and pet look-alikes.
Pets of all kinds (on leashes) are welcome and the event is free.
The museum promises plenty of shade and water.
With temperatures in the mid-90s predicted, lightweight costumes — such as this Elvis outfit Frankie wore a few years back – might be a good idea. And, cute as your dog might be in his get-up, removing the costume after the competition and allowing him a dip in the baby pools might also advisable.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 4th of July, american visionary art museum, animals, art, avam, awards, baltimore, contest, costumes, dog, dogs, events, heat, july 4, museum, pets, pets on parade, trophies, visionary