After hanging out with David Love and his pit bull, Kitty — during which time my dog waited in the car — I owed Ace some fun, so I stopped at a smokehouse outside Brookings to pick up something to eat, then looked for a scenic place to eat it.
I toted my lunch — smoked salmon, a hunk of cheddar cheese and a bowl of clam chowder — to the beach and found a weathered and washed up tree trunk that was big enough to seat us both.
Smoked salmon is my new favorite thing. It may even be better than cigarettes.
I nibbled and sipped my soup, tossing hunks of cheese and pieces of salmon, including all the skin, to Ace. The ocean roared. A cool westerly wind made my food wrappers, and Ace’s ears, flutter. The sandy beach sprawled before us, empty except for pieces of wood washed grey. The sun, finally, was out.
Between the lulling surf, the warming sun and the full belly, I decided a few horizontal minutes might be nice — and the log was big enough to oblige. I stretched out atop it. Ace sat at the other end. And I fell asleep, just for 15 minutes or so. When I woke up, Ace was still sitting at the end of the log, staring out at the ocean.
Sometimes, I can’t tell whether Ace likes a place or not. If there are loud noises, big crowds, strange sights, he gets a little jumpy. But this one seemed to suit him just fine.
He seemed, almost, to be thinking — about what I have no idea, maybe when are we going to get home, how much longer do I have to spend in this car, what has become of my life. As we near the six-month mark on our road trip, I’m thinking more and more that, exciting as all these new sights and scents have been, he wants some familar surroundings, a routine.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if he’s enjoying himself as we cross America — does he give a whit, for instance, about the kind of scenic beauty that Oregon’s coast showed us? Does he care so much about where he is, or only who he is with, and when that person might come through with some dinner?
I don’t know. But there, on that beach, at that moment, he seemed perfectly content.
I was too, and could have easily fallen back asleep on my log bed. Instead we got up and walked a ways and played chase and danced at the edge of the surf, eluding the incoming waves. He darted around and took in mouthfuls of sand, as he does when he’s at the beach.
We stopped in the first town, Crescent City, and spent the night in a room with the most badly stained carpet I’ve ever seen. Ace sniffs out every new room, but he spent even more time on this one — going from spot to spot for a good 15 minutes.
Then he jumped up on the bed with me.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, beach, brookings, chrissey state park, coast, coastal, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, logs, noise, ocean, oregon, pets, photography, quiet, rest, road trip, rocks, shore, sleep, smoked salmon, surf, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, waves
Owners of dogs that make “excessive noise ” could face fines of up to $250 a day under an ordinance approved yesterday by a Chicago City Council committee.
Excessive noise is defined in the proposed ordinance as “repeated or habitual barking, whining, crying, howling (and) whimpering,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The law would apply to any animal, but the article doesn’t make clear whether that includes humans.
“It’s not an anti-dog thing,” said Alderman Patrick O’Connor, who co-sponsored the measure . “It’s not preventing dogs from being dogs. It just means that if you let your dog bark all day everyday, disturbing peace for people in the area, there’s a possibility now that police can do something.”
Under the law, the noise would have to occur continually for at least 10 minutes or intermittently for “a significant portion of the night.” It also would have to be louder than the average conversation at a distance of 100 feet or more. Complaints about a dog from three residents, from different addresses, could also trigger enforcement, leading to fines of $50 to $250.
O’Connor noted the two dogs who live at his home “could be the poster children for this ordinance — two small, little yappy dogs, but if I leave them out for hours on end, I’m an irresponsible dog owner.”
The ordinance still needs approval from the full City Council.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alderman, barking, barks, chicago, city council, complaints, crying, dogs, excessive, fines, howling, loud, noise, ordinance, patrick o'connor, proposal, proposed, whimpering, whining
With the thunder and lightning seeming to be nearly a daily occurence this week, here are some tips on helping your dog weather the storms.
Dogs’ fear of thunder can be a result of different factors. Some dogs may be genetically disposed to the problem, while others may have learned to be afraid of storms. Some may react mildly to them, some severely. Some — as with my dog Ace and fireworks — don’t develop the fear until they are 4 or 5 years old. As a result there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment, but here’s a look at some of them remedies being touted on the marketplace.
For starters, good old fashion cotton stuffed in the ears helps some, but make sure you don’t stuff it in so tightly and deeply it becomes stuck.
Some veterinarians suggest trying to desensitize the dog to thunder by playing a tape or CD with storm sounds, turning it on for a few seconds at a time, then increasing the increments, until the dog becomes conditioned to it.
Many theorize that it’s the static electricity and changes in barometric pressure that disturbs some dogs, which explains why they might get upset before the storm actually starts, or why they might head for the bathtub.
The “Storm Defender” — one of the solutions featured in the video above — is a product that claims to keep your dog from becoming anxious and destructive during a storm by putting him in a cape made of metallic fabric. It’s makers say it disperses the static electricity that builds up before a storm and may make a dog feel unsettled.
Other versions of canine ”thunderwear” are available, ranging from earmuffs and head halters to swaddling attire that can help calm stressed-out dogs.
Other remedies include medication, such as anti-anxiety drugs — the canine versions of Xanax of Prozac — that are becoming increasingly prescribed by veterinarians. Some suggest the herbal form of Valium, valerian, or dog appeasing pheromones.
Beyond that, the advice is much the same as it is for the Fourth of July – turn on the television, stay home, play music, let the dog stay close, but don’t coddle , and above all, don’t scold.
For even more tips and background, check out this Associated Press story.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: barometric pressure, care, cotton, desensitize, disturbed, dogs, drugs, electricity, fear, health, loud, medication, noise, remedies, safety, solutions, static, storm defender, storms, thunder, thunderwear, tips, treatment, upset
So, if there’s no deep meaning behind barks (not that we buy that study), how do you explain this?
Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy is coming out with a new “Bowlingual” gadget that can translate dog barks into the human language, AFP reports.
The new model analyzes six emotions, including joy, sadness and frustration, and speaks phrases such as “Play with me!” — an improvement on the original which just showed them on a screen.
The original version of the toy, which has a handset and a microphone attached to a dog collar, won the Ig Nobel Prize in 2002. The awards, a parody of the Nobel Prizes, celebrate achievements that make people laugh and think.
The new Bowlingual Voice, priced at about $212, will be launched in Japan next month, Yamada said.
Initially, it will be only available in Japanese. The original non-speaking version is also available in English and Korean.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bark, barking, barks, bowlingual, dog, dogs, gadget, human, language, meaning, noise, sounds, studies, takara tomy, toy, translate, translating, words
With the Fourth of July approaching, it’s time once again for a few reminders, most of which we all already know, but, as they say, better safe than sorry.
First off, make sure your dog is wearing identification tags — even if you’re both planning a quiet evening at home.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) has issued a reminder that even animals not inclined to roam may uncharacteristically do so amid the bangs and booms. Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving a surge of “Independence Day” dogs — so make sure your’s is carrying the information needed to get him or her back to you.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 4th, akc, american kennel club, dog, dogs, fear, fireworks, fourth, health, july, loud, noise, safe, safety, scare, startle, tips
The city Friday submitted plans that include broadcasting the sound of barking dogs for use if and when it is ordered to stop harbor seals from congregating at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool beach, where their numbers have raised health concerns and precluded children’s play.
A lawsuit against the city claims the seals’ presence violates the terms of the 1913 trust that established the beach as a safe wading area for children. Attorneys representing the plaintiff filed a motion last week asking that the seals be immediately dispersed. The lawsuit was filed not against the seals, or Mother Nature, but against the city.
If the order comes, according to the La Jolla Light, the city would use loudspeakers to broadcast the sound of barking dogs to attempt to disperse the seals. Other steps outlined include having employees or contractors harass the seals from afar, possibly spraying water at them.
The plan, at an estimated cost of $688,934, would require personnel to walk the beach from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week for a year, .
(Note to the city of San Diego: Ace and I hereby volunteer for that contract; for half that price, we’d even be willing to camp there at night. Ace would bark at seals and act intimidating, while I would patrol the shore, saying, “Move along now, seals, nothing to see here.”)
The plan submitted to the court also includes steps to protect the public, noting that dispersing the seals “has a high potential to create an environment requiring a police response.” It includes facilitating traffic flow, monitoring demonstrations, keeping the peace and responding to calls. Animal welfare activists have spoken out against evicting the seals.
For a closer look at the plan, you can find it on a council member’s website.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activists, animal welfare, bark, beach, california, case, childrens pool, court, disperse, environment, filed, harass, harbor seals, la jolla, lawsuit, loudspeaker, nature, noise, plan, san diego, seals, wildlife
The debate raging here on ohmidog! – and in the rest of the world, too — just had a little more fuel thrown on it: A new British study says dominance-based dog training techniques such as those espoused by Cesar Millan are a waste of time and may make dogs more aggressive.
Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, after studying dogs for six months, conclude that, contrary to popular belief, dogs are not trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack” and aren’t motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order.
One of the scientists behind the study, Dr. Rachel Casey, in an interview with ABC News, said the blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people or other dogs is “frankly ridiculous.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, behavior, behaviorists, british, cesar millan, critical, criticizes, debate, disagreement, dog, dog training, dog whisperer, dogs, dominance, leader, mentality, methods, noise, owners, pack, pinning, rewards, ridiculous, study, techniques, trainers, training
(Behave! is a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written for ohmidog! by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To see all of the columns, click on the Behave! tab on the rightside rail.)
While dogs bring lots of wonderful things to our lives, they can also bring muddy paws, dog breath and, sometimes, enough noise to drive you ,or worse yet your neighbors, crazy.
Incessantly barking dogs can, and have, led to full-fledged war between neighbors. But as with much bad behavior — not just canine — the key to stopping it is understanding why it’s taking place.
First, let’s debunk some myths: Barking is not the dog version of conversation. Dogs don’t communicate that way, they use body language for most of their “discussion” with us, and with other animals. Dogs don’t have a barked vocabulary. Nor do dogs speak English, so you can’t reason with your dog to be quiet.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alert, bark, barked, barking, behave!, behavior, boredom, canine, communication, dog, dogs, ignore, loud, neighbor, neighbors, noise, nuisance, over-stimulation, reward, rewards, separation anxiety, silence, startle, training, types, under stimulation
The service, which will start this month, is similar to one in nearby Chandler — Solve-It!, which opened in 2007. About one of every four cases it handles is about barking dogs.
According to the Arizona Republic, officials expect dog barking conflicts to increase amid the bad economy, as more people lose their jobs and stay home, exposing them to daytime dog barking.
They say most of the problems are caused by pet owners who leave their dogs outside when they are away and don’t realize that their bored or anxious animal is barking its head off.
The Republic article tells the story of Chris and Kara Horrocks of northwest Phoenix who spent more more than $1,000 defending their Labrador, Macchiato, from a neighbor’s complaint last year. As part of a plea agreement, they installed a gate that kept the dog away from the neighbor’s property line, pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor and paid part of a $300 fine.
The Horrocks were among 75 dog owners prosecuted in Phoenix last year, a number that city officials hope to reduce with the new mediation program.
“Dogs are members of peoples’ families, and they take it personally when someone complains. But the other side just wants the barking to stop,” said Wendy Hollingshead of Solve-It, which has mediated more than 150 dog barking cases.
Some of the most creative solutions have come when the people who have complained understand why their neighbor’s dog was barking, she added. In two of her cases, the annoyed residents now visit and console the lonely canines.
(Photo from stopthebarking.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arizona, bark, barking, barking dogs, chandler, complaints, disputes, dogs, mediation, mediators, neighbors, news, noise, phoenix
New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July always see a surge in lost animals, many of whom run off because they are so stressed by the noise. (Some say the smell of fireworks — their noses, like their ears, being far more sensitve than ours – bothers dogs as well.)
Some last-minute tips:
- Unless your dog has been gradually desensitized to the point that he can handle fireworks — and maybe even if he has — it’s best to leave him at home. Don’t take him to fireworks displays, or even outside during periods of peak boomage.
- Make sure — right now — that your dog is wearing his collar, and that his ID tags are on it.
- Find a quiet, secure place for him to hang out indoors. If your dog has a crate, make sure he has access to it, and to some toys that can occupy his attention. Close the curtains, turn up the radio or TV.
- Don’t leave your dog outside – even in a fenced yard. Fireworks could stress him out to the point that he might leap over or tunnel under what he normally wouldn’t. Remember that, even inside, the noise may lead to uncharacteristic behavior.
- Don’t leave your dog alone in a car, especially tonight.
- If you’re going out, make sure there’s nothing he can get into, tear up, or hurt himself on.
- If you’re staying home, fight the temptation to cuddle your frightened dog for the duration, as it only reinforces wimpy behavior. It’s OK to pet him, but it’s better to distract him with a physical activity than to spend hours cooing poor baby to him on your lap.
- Don’t scold him for his nervous reaction, as that will only confuse him. It helps if you act unbothered by the noise.
OK, now you can revel.
(Image courtesy of North Shore Animal League)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 31st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: calm, collar, dogs, fireworks, fourth of july, health, id, loud, new year's eve, noise, precautions, quiet, safety, secure, tips