Chica is a happy border collie who lives on a farm in Clay County, Indiana.
Her favorite pastime is playing fetch with her owners Martha and Buddy Knox.
That wouldn’t be news — WTHI-TV notes — were it not for this: She does it without any eyes.
They were surgically removed when she was a pup.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: amazing, animals, ball, border collie, chica, disabilities, dog, dog without eyes, dogs, eyes, farm, fetch, knox, no eyes, pets, video
I’ve long been averse to most forms of exercise — especially those requiring repetitive motions, sustained cardiopulmonary effort, or lifting weighty items.
These days, walking the dog is about the only form I get.
It’s not that I’m devoid of energy, it’s just that I can’t think of hardly anything worth actually running for, or even walking quickly.
Suggest to me that I go to a gym or jog, and I will give you a “yeah, right” look. It’s not going to happen — at least not until I make an overly ambitious New Year’s resolution I can’t keep.
And yet, when a bouncing tennis ball comes my way, I’m off in mindless, tongue-wagging pursuit.
It’s a phenomenon I tried to figure out last week, when my son visited and we played — as we always do — some tennis.
The mere suggestion of doing so seemed to get me all excited.
I’m wondering if, possibly, it has anything to do with being immersed in dogs for the past four years — if, between dog blog and dog book and dog roommate, I’m starting to behave as one, or even more as one, or at least picking up a few of their traits, including getting overly excited about tennis balls.
Something sparks inside, and I get a little more spring in my increasingly springless step.
My tail doesn’t wag. I don’t jump up and down, or salivate. That would be innapropriate for a man of 59. But clearly the glowing green orb gets me worked up. There’s just something about a tennis ball — preferably one not drenched in spittle — that gets my juices flowing enough to get off my rear end.
It could be the fact that it’s a game, rather than exercise — that it’s faster-paced and has more thrills than golf or bowling, or other pasttimes practiced by somewhat sedentary men with bigger balls and smaller balls.
These days, the only time I play tennis is when my son visits, and maybe that is part of its allure — that it’s something he and I enjoy doing together, that it’s a tradition.
On our three tennis outings last week, I noticed my legs weren’t following my mind’s commands as smoothly or immediately as they once did. A couple of times they totally ignored them, like Ace sometimes does, with a look that seems to say, ”What makes you think you’re the boss?”
As a result of my disobedient legs, I was defeated.
Even then, though, and despite any sore muscles, I was ready to play the next day. Why?
Is it because my body, deep down, wants to exercise? Is it the joy of making that rare, perfectly placed shot? Or is it the fuzzy green ball itself that triggers something in me, as it does with dogs.
I wonder: Does an old dog’s old tennis ball remind him of his youth — does it make him remember the days when he could snag it while it was still bouncing, as opposed to after it rolled to a stop?
Do I see tennis as way to try and stay, or pretend to be, young? Do I see it as a way to bond with my son? Or am I just becoming more like a dog the more I ponder and write about the species, often to the exclusion of other healthy, sociable, normal activities.
I wonder if continued dog immersion will lead to more changes in me.
Will I start feeling the need to broadcast my urine throughout the neighborhood, sleep 16 hours a day, or stick my nose down chipmunk holes? And, if so, might other things suddenly become worth chasing?
Probably not; that would be … Hold on … Is that the UPS truck I hear?
The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab in New York City is looking for some playful dogs, and their playful humans.
The lab at Barnard College, run by Alexandra Horowitz , author of Inside of a Dog,” is investigating the different ways people and dogs play together and the behaviors they use.
Whether you and your dog wrestle, engage in tug of war, play fetch, or Scrabble (one of these days I will win), the lab wants to see the two of you in action, and invites you to submit a video.
It’s cataloging all the ways, traditional and non, that people play with their dogs. Project: Play with Your Dog is open to anyone, in any country, and short video submissions — under 60 seconds — are welcome.
To participate, make a video and upload it to the study website. You’ll also be asked to complete a short survey. Those taking part can add a picture to the project’s Wall of Contributors.
Julie Hecht, the canine behavioral researcher who manages the lab, describes it as an opportunity for dog lovers around the world to get involved in scientific research into dog behavior.
“While dog-dog play has been studied extensively, dog-person play, which takes on a different form and appears to have different rules, has not attracted nearly as much scholarly attention,” Hecht noted in a guest blog for Scientific American.
Hecht, who’s also a science writer, adjunct professor in the Anthrozoology Masters Program at Canisius College, and blogger, says play behaviors arise early in a dog’s life. From three weeks onward, puppies show behaviors like wrestling, rolling over, biting, rearing and reciprocal chase.
For dogs, play appears to help them learn social skills such as bite inhibition, and other behaviors they will use the rest of their lives.
Play often incorporates behaviors also found in aggressive interactions, but dogs seem to have found a way to let other dogs know that it is play time, not fight time — the hiney-raised play stance for instance.
“Dog-dog play is more similar to an episode of the Three Stooges than you might have imagined,” Hecht says.
Dog-human play might have some similarities, and some differences — and the lab plans to try and figure that, among other things, out.
Tugging games between dog and human, for instance, seem to be more about keeping the interaction with a human going rather than gaining possession of the object being tugged — at least to the dog.
To learn more about the study, and get details on how to join, visit www.DogHumanPlay.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, barnard, behavior, biting, chase, cognition, dog, dog cognition lab, dog human play, dog-dog, dog-human, dogs, fetch, horowitz, humans, julie hecht, owners, pets, play, play stance, play with your dog, playing, poject, research, run, sought, study, submissions, tug, video, videos
While many players chase them
Sharapova, Nadal, et al …
None, I think, are as enthralled
As dog with tennis ball
(Sometimes, the poet within wins. To read all his verse, click on the logo to the left.)
Harried New York subway riders can now stop and play some fetch — throwing digital tennis balls to digital dogs at a digital dog park on the wall of a vacant storefront at the Columbus Circle subway station.
The storefront beneath 57th St. and Eighth Ave. has been transformed into a virtual dog park — with dogs included.
It’s like a Nintendo Wii game, the New York Daily News reports, with a screen that’s 64-feet long and 6-feet high.
It’s all part of a Beneful dog food advertising campaign — but one commuters are finding to their liking.
“This is awesome,” said Zeinabou Banks, 38, as her two pre-schoolers tossed tennis balls that two digital dogs retrieved. “It’s ingenious.”
Daily News columnist Pete Donohue described it as:
“… a perfect and unexpected antidote to all the dismal sights in the subway: a woman panhandler sitting on the floor at Grand Central with an infant cradled in her arms; a madman in filthy rags looking like he escaped from a leper colony; a middle-aged man in a suit keeling over and dying of a heart attack on the dirty floor of a crowded No. 4 train; a teen-age mom with a neck tattoo cursing out a crying toddler for acting like a toddler.”
“In the Columbus Circle passageway,” he noted, “the sun shines, birds chirp and the wind rustles the green grass.”
The interactive advertisement is only the second of its kind in the subway system, but more are expected to be showing up underground.
(Photo: Andrew Savulich / New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, advertising, animals, balls, beneful, columbus circle, digital, dog food, dog park, dogs, fetch, interactive, marketing, mta, new york, new york city, pets, riders, subway, subway riders, tennis balls, throw, virtual, wii
The days of dogs bringing in the newspaper might be numbered — for reasons that have nothing at all to do with dogs — but until then there are those, like Nariz, who are eager to deliver.
Nariz, whose name comes from the Spanish word for nose, belongs to Deb and Roger Pyle, who get their local newspaper delivered to their home in Astoria, Oregon. Every afternoon, Nariz sticks her nose into the Pyles’ newspaper box, pulls out The Daily Astorian and delivers it to her waiting owners in exchange for a cookie, reports — who else — The Daily Astorian.
“We didn’t train her. She just likes to do stuff for us,” Deb Pyle explained.
The Pyles’ adopted the dog from the Clatsop County Animal Shelter when she was 10 months old.
“There was one day when she was acting like she wanted a job so I walked her out to the paper and put it in her mouth and then we walked back to the house together,” Deb Pyle said. Next, Roger Pyle taught Nariz how to put her head in the newspaper box and remove the paper herself.
After that, Nariz expanded into mail delivery. “The mailman has learned that he can hand it over to her and she’ll bring it to us,” Deb Pyle said.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, box, communications, daily astorian, deb pyle, deliver, dog, dogs, fetch, internet, journalism, mailbox, media, nariz, news, newspaper, newspaper box, newspapers, ohmidog!, online, oregon, pets, retrieve, roger pyle
There’s fetch, and then there’s FETCH!
Check out the size of the log the dog in this video is bringing to shore at a dog-friendly beach in Vancouver.
To learn more about the dog parks of Vancouver (there are 32 of them) visit … well, Vancouver.
And even if you can’t, check out the city’s dog park website.
Vancouver, both on the Internet and in real life, seems to be doing it right.
In case you missed it, Glenn Close gave viewers of the Oprah Winfrey show an inside look last week at Puppies Behind Bars, and that organization’s latest initiative — providing service dogs for wounded veterans.
Under the new program — “Dog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who’ve Served Us” — prison inmates train and raise puppies to become service and therapy dogs for wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“It’s totally a win-win situation,” said Close “On one hand, the inmates … are given a chance to give back to society and learn invaluable skills that will prove vital if they ever re-enter life outside prison. On the other, wounded soldiers are given a chance to rebuild their shattered lives — to be released from the prison of their wounds. What unites both inmate and soldier is the love, loyalty and talent of a Puppies Behind Bars dog…”
FetchDog, a Portland-based pet supply company Close helped start and writes a blog for, is helping support the program by donating $1 from the sale of each of its new “Chewy Shoe” dog toys. Vibram Pet Products, which manufactures the toy, will also donate a dollar of each sale to the cause, according to a press release.
The toy is available for purchase at FetchDog.com.
Puppies Behind Bars was founded in 1997 to raise guide dogs for the blind. Since then it has worked with prison inmates to train explosive detection dogs and dogs to assist the disabled and autistic.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghanistan, chewy shoe, dog, fetch, fetchdog.com, glenn close, irag, oprah winfrey, prison, programs, puppies behind bars, rehabilitation, service dogs, therapy dogs, train, training, veterans, war
But between busy schedules, foul weather and the recent rise in leash law fears here in Baltimore, wearing your dog out with a good romp can be difficult.
My spring schedule involves farmers markets, trips to see family and friends, graduations, cook outs, baseball games, and weekend journeys – all of which starts to eat into my time to exercise my border collie.
It has been made much worse lately by the monsoon season we have been experiencing — great for the crops, terrible for dog owners.
The soon-to-be-corrected hike in leash law fines to $1,000 really cut into the number of people taking their dogs to Baltimore parks, too, with many who once let their dog play off leash, turning instead to settling for a quick on-leash walk.
It’s harder to raise a dog in the city, harder yet when the weather doesn’t cooperate. A dog owner in an urban area has no choice. Assuming you don’t have a pricey doggie treadmill, you, like the proverbial mailperson, have no choice but to be out there – rain, sleet or snow. And even if you do have a yard, you still have to deal with snow covered fur, wet dog smells, and muddy paws. This April, soggy as it was, reminded me how important it is to have a variety of ways to exercise your dog in your own home.
So, I thought I would share a few:
1) Spend a couple minutes a day training your dog. If you have taken an obedience class or even watched Victoria Stilwell, you have some basic idea of how to teach sit. Running through a couple minutes a day with your dog on behaviors they already know, or things you want them to learn, will keep them out of trouble.
2) Play ball in the house. This is only an option if you aren’t an antique collector, and it won’t work for large dogs unless you live in a warehouse. But roll a ball across the room to your dog. Let him/her bring it back. Repeat. Keep repeating until one of you grows bored.
3) Present new or new-again toys. If your dog has toys that have fallen out of rotation, or that are no longer fun, take them away. Wash them, and hide them in a closet. When you have a rainy boring day, or a 10th rainy boring day, you might be surprised how excited your dog becomes for any kind of distraction. Other ways to make toys fun, even if they weren’t before, include burying the toys in kibble for a day to get it smelling like food, and inserting replacement squeakers because, as we all know, it’s all about the squeak.
4) Take a class. This is great in the dead of winter and in the sweltering days of summer. Sign up for an obedience class. The spaces are climate controlled and you will be amazed how tired your dog is after an hour of using their brain. It also helps you have options for training sessions in the house.
5) Mental Puzzles are another great option. You could buy a commercially available dog puzzle, such as the ones here. You could serve dinner in a food dispensing Kong. Even dumping kibble on the kitchen floor, putting it in a stuffed animal that has already been gutted, or turning dinner into a game of fetch will buy you some exercise credits.
6) Set up a play date. If you have friends with dogs that get along with your dog, set up a play date. Move the fragile stuff out of the room, and let them play. Better yet, find a friend with a garage and get a couple dogs together. Even an hour of romping and wrestling will wear your dog out. Some of the daycares and training spaces in Baltimore are available for rent in 15 minute increments during off times. We rent out our training space for play dates or practice sessions any day of the week.
The key to surviving rough weather with a pet that requires exercise is to find ways to entertain them. If none of the above seem to be enough, I can recommend a great place to buy rain boots.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ball, behave!, behavior, busy, challenges, city, class, day care, devices, dog, dogs, exercise, fetch, food, house, indoor, indoors, inside, kong, leash law, mental, new again, obedience, old toys, play date, puzzles, sit, squeakers, stay, time, tired, toys, training, training centers, treats, tricks, urban, weather
Rushing to his side, Larsen reached into his dog’s mouth. Nick bit down, severing Larsen’s fingertip.
What happened next is why we like Robert Larsen, 72, of Lincoln, Neb. – even though we don’t know him.
The ball was still lodged in the dog’s throat when he arrived at Omaha Animal Medical Group. Vets removed the ball and revived the dog, and Larsen was taken to Methodist Hospital, then transferred to the Nebraska Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Larsen was visiting a family member’s home in Omaha when the accident took place.
Part of Larsen’s index finger was found in his coat pocket, where it apparently had fallen off when he reached for his keys to rush Nick to the vet. Because doctors couldn’t guarantee the operation would be successful, he opted not to have the fingertip reattached.
“The finger was secondary,” Larsen told WOWT-Channel 6 News. “The dog was priority.”
Experts don’t recommend sticking your hand into your dog’s mouth if he’s choking, advising instead a Heimlich maneuver or blows to the dog’s back.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airway, animals, ball, bite, bitten, choke, choking, dog, fetch, finger, fingertip, gag, heimlich, hospital, lodged, mouth, nebraska, omaha, pets, priorities, priority, robert larsen, severed, vet, veterinarian