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Tag: riding

Sheepdog sets a canine scooter record

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Guinness World Records has proclaimed Norman, a three-year-old French sheepdog, the fastest dog on a scooter.

Then again, there aren’t too many other dogs riding around on scooters.

normanNorman set the record in Marietta, Georgia, on July 12 and received his certificate from Guinness World Records while appearing on the Today Show over the weekend.

Norman’s owner, Karen Cobb, told Today Show anchors that the dog is a quick learner.

“He picked things up really quickly,” she said. Norman balances himself on the scooter with his two front paws on the handle and a back paw on the scooter, then uses his other hind paw to push himself forward.

He first showed an affinity for the scooter as a pup. “He loved it. He wouldn’t get off,” Cobb said.

His record-setting ride was part of a charity event that benefited Road Trip Home, an organization that saves animals from high-kill shelters. According to Guinness World Records, he traveled 100 feet in just over 20 seconds.

He has also appeared on Cartoon Network and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Norman has also mastered the skateboard and can ride a bike with training wheels.

(Photo: Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

Dear Isaac, Please do not ride the dog

We’re not real big on stating the obvious, but there are times it needs to be stated, especially when it comes to children and dogs.

Case in point:  today’s “Dear Abby” column, in which a reader relates how a 9-year-old visitor to his home climbed aboard his Labrador retriever, possibly causing her permanent injuries.

“Isaac,” the visiting child, who apparently had little experience with canines, was playing with Layla, the retriever, when the homeowner heard him say, “Look, I’m riding your dog!”

“I immediately intervened, but I was too late,” the letter writer said. “A day or so later, Layla was unable to descend our stairway and was clearly in pain. She has been on pain medication for three weeks and is growing progressively worse. The next step is to get X-rays and/or an MRI to see if she has a spinal injury, and then determine her treatment. It’s possible the damage is irreversible.”

The letter writer wasn’t seeking veterinary advice, but wondering how to tell Isaac and his parents about the harm he caused, and keep him from doing it again, without placing “undue guilt on a 9-year-old boy.”

Abby responded to “Heartbroken in New York” this way:

“Children are not mind-readers. If you don’t tell them when they make a mistake, they won’t realize they have made one. Contact Isaac’s parents and explain what happened. If your dog needs treatment, they should be responsible for whatever damage their son did.”

I — though  nobody asked — would add only two things to that. First, that any guilt Isaac might feel on learning what he had done isn’t exactly “undue.” Second, that when your dog is meeting someone new — especially a child — you should be in the room, watching and, if necessary, teaching. It’s very easy for a dog owner to assume everyone knows how to behave around dogs, but it’s also very wrong.

Riding a dog, no matter how big he or she is, no matter what the Internet might tell you — and the photo above is just  one example of some incredibly irresponsible online “expertise” — should simply never be done. Period.

(Photo: Taken from wikiHow.com’s article on “how to ride a dog”)

(Postscript: The day after this article appeared on ohmidog!, the wikiHow article on “how to ride a dog” was taken down.) 

 

Is new Chevrolet ad pawlitically incorrect?

Remember the old Chevrolet commercial — baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?

Well, decades later, the car company has, for the sake of selling motor vehicles, gotten around to acknowledging another piece of Americana — the dog; specifically, the dog in the pickup truck; more specifically, the dog in a Chevrolet pickup.

And that, they will find out as the new ad airs, if they haven’t yet, is some tricky ground.

It’s one of those topics that raises the hackles of animal welfare activists, some of whom who say under no conditions should a dog be riding in the bed of a pickup , some of whom say it’s acceptable if the dog is crated or restrained, all of whom say riding in the cab would be preferable.

And they are right. For safety’s sake, it probably would be.

Last week, in “Travels with Ace,” the continuing saga of the trip Ace and I are taking across America, we showed you Jake, a golden retriever in Oregon still sporting injuries he received when he tumbled out the back of a moving pickup. We did so without casting judgments or getting preachy, because our road trip is not about how dogs should live in America, only about how they do live in America.

In much of rural America, dogs are still dogs. They roam their property, and perhaps that of other’s, at their will. They chase and sometimes kill wildlife. Some even live, gasp, outside. And they ride in the back of pickups, which virtually all animal welfare organizations will tell you is a bad idea.

The Chevy ad, to its credit, doesn’t show any dogs in the beds of moving pickups, but, even so, I’m predicting it will lead to some lively debate if it airs widely.

On YouTube, it has already started — through Internet comments, gracious and civil as  always.

“Cute video, but I wish Chevy wouldn’t advocate the dogs in the back unless in a crate. Since I have seen a dog fly out of the back of a truck on a busy highway, I am traumatized for life. It should be illegal and is some places for your dog to ride loose in the bed of your truck unless you are on your own dirt road on your property with no other cars around and are willing to pay the vet bill if your dog falls out…”

“If I thought for a second my dog would ever jump out, he wouldn’t ride back there. And he doesn’t on the interstate. But on going into town, on rural country roads, and on my ranch, he will always ride in the back and he wouldn’ t have it any other way. MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS FAG…”

“Greatest commercial! Too bad liberal know it all’s have created laws against dogs riding in truck beds! Apparently (like most libs) they know what’s best for us, and will make laws accordingly. My dog will ride in the back forever though, they can suck his hairy nuts…”

Besides reflecting how crass anonymous internet banter can get — how Internet commenting has replaced the punching bag as man’s default mode of venting hostilities — the discourse shows the cultural divide that exists in this country, one that’s not so much conservative versus liberal as it is rural America versus the rest.

It’s a generalization, but many denizens of rural America don’t want the rest of America making rules that govern their access to firearms, or how they raise their dogs — from whether they spay and neuter to letting them ride in the back of pickups.

There’s something to be said for letting a dog being a dog — as opposed to spending life on a leash or in a handbag – but is putting Rover in the back of a pickup letting a dog be a dog? In my view, it’s courting disaster.

Yet, while many experts also advise that dogs in cars be crated or restrained, Ace is traveling acoss the country unrestrained in the back of my Jeep.

Maybe that’s why I don’t come down harder on dogs in pickups; maybe it’s a degree of respect for rural ways; or maybe it’s because the surest way to make people become more entrenched in a bad habit is to tell them they can’t do it anymore.

Roadside Encounters: Jake

Name: Jake

Breed: Golden retriever

Age: 2

Encountered: Sitting in the back of a pickup truck, outside the Paradise Cafe in Port Orford, Oregon.

Backstory: We spotted Jake, patiently waiting in the rain for his master, when we pulled in for some breakfast at the Paradise Cafe. I snapped a quick picture and went inside, taking a seat at the counter — as it turned out, right next to Jake’s owner.

It was a homey little eatery, where regulars have their own coffee cups, lined up on a shelf, and, rather than numerous individual conversations, there’s just one big one, between staff and customers, from table to table. Someone at the counter might say something, and then someone three tables away would chime in. It’s a small town thing.

Jake’s a fine dog, his owner told me while finishing off his breakfast — and not as old as he looks. He had to have his face shaved so he could be stitched up a few weeks ago after he fell out the back of the moving truck.

Despite that, Jake still rides in the back of the truck.

His owner told me that he named Jake after the dog in the song, “Feed Jake,” by the Pirates of the Mississippi.

“It’s a cool song, it’s got bums and hookers and everything,” he said.

I had only a vague recollection of the song, so I looked it up on YouTube:

That’s how he rides

I don’t need to tell you it’s hot — pretty much everywhere — but I did want to show you how Ace, as a result of that, has changed his riding style.

On particularly hot days, which has been every day as we passed through Oklahoma and Texas, he has taken to moving up closer to the front of the car and resting his head and paws on the front seat console, so that he might absorb a little more coolness from the air conditioner vents.

This also puts his head just inches from the dual cup holders. That way, when I am mostly finished with my Big Gulp, extra large iced coffee or other mega-beverage, I can easily hand feed him ice cubes while I drive. He likes this very much.

The heat has been, far and away, the biggest challenge on our road trip — which enters its third month today.

Month two of our travels — aimed at finding interesting dog stories, seeing America, and exploring the relationship between America and dog (all on a shoestring budget) — saw us spend a little more money than month one.

Though trying to live on roughly the same amount we were paying for rent and utilities at our ex-home in Baltimore — about $1,100 — we  spent about $1,300 on food, gas and lodging, even with our ten days of free housing in Santa Fe, in exchange for petsitting duties.

That means we need to do a whole lot more freeloading as we head off on the next leg.

We will soon be making our getaway from Texas — where both of the ohmidogmobile’s door magnets were stolen, one in Dallas, on in Huntsville. We plan a quick revisit to Houston before heading on to Mississippi, then spending some time in North Carolina.

After that, we’ll head north, pop in on Baltimore, check the mail, pay some bills, and venture into New England before heading west again, on a more northerly route.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)

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