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Tag: trained

You can teach a mold dog new tricks

Oreo-Laughing-715332Among all the things dogs’ noses are sniffing out to make the world a better and safer place — drugs, explosives, missing children, fleeing felons, diseases, bedbugs, pirated cds, sewage leaks, cell phones in prisons — here’s one I hadn’t heard of:

Mold.

A Princeton, New Jersey, company is using canines to detect potentially lethal mold in homes, offices and classrooms.

1-800-GOT-MOLD?  calls itself America’s leading mold inspection company, and claims to be the nation’s first franchise operation to recruit man’s best friend to pinpoint the location of hidden mold in buildings, preventing potential health dangers, which include fatigue, headaches, respiratory problems, and even cancer.

Mold Dogs (and the term has been trademarked) can locate the source of hidden mold growth, even in its early stages.

The company’s founder, Jason Earle, realized that  traditional mold-detection involved a lot of guesswork. While air sampling is commonly used to detect household molds, it often fails to locate the precise source of the problem.

 Mold Dogs save time and money and allow the company to avoid unnecessary invasive procedures, according to Earle, who suffered from mold-related health complications as a child.

Earle’s dog Oreo is the first mold detection dog in the northeast and one of the first nationwide, he says.

(Photo: Oreo, courtesy of 1-800-GOT-MOLD? )

Follow the bouncing celebrity guard dog

floydYou might want to have your pencils and celebrity scorecards handy for this one:

“West Wing” actress NiCole Robinson is defending the reputation of her dog Floyd, a German shepherd who was accused of attacking a woman on a private jet, back when he belonged to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

Lopez and Anthony purchased Floyd for $39,000 in 2005 from a South Carolina breeder and trainer of security dogs.

In 2006, a flight attendant named Lisa Wilson claimed Floyd attacked her on a private jet, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn.1024-jennifer-lopez8marcanthony

Not too long after that, Lopez and Anthony returned to the dog to the breeder. Whether they got a refund, I do not know.

In 2007, Robinson and her husband, political consultant Craig Snyder, bought Floyd from the same  K-9 security outfit in South Carolina, after a robbery scare in their Manhattan apartment. They paid $35,000 for him.

Upon reading that, in connection with the Lopez lawsuit, an animal behavior expert had branded Floyd a menace, Robinson apparently felt the need to speak out.

nrobinson“He’s the biggest, sweetest baby,” Robinson, who played Margaret Hooper on The West Wing,  told the New York Daily News. “I will go to court to defend Floyd’s honor.”

While Floyd growls when strangers approach family members, Robinson’s husband said the dog — whose full name is Floyd vom Meierhof — allows the couple’s 4-year-old daughter to ride on his back. “He’s under very strict rules of engagement,” Snyder said.

“You can get security dogs for half or one-third the price, but to me those dogs would pose a risk to my family,” he said. “Cheaper dogs are not trained to distinguish between a real threat and a kid who pulls their tail. The dog is 100% peace of mind.”

Robinson and Snyder were informed of Floyd’s past – including the alleged incident on the plane – when they made the purchase.

To the Rescue: Found Dogs with a Mission

rescue_dogs_7

 
Rescued dogs — and the courageous work many of them go on to do — are the theme of “To the Rescue: Found Dogs with a Mission,” a new book written by  animal adoption activist Elise Lufkin.

Lufkin, who also wrote ”Found Dogs: Tales of Strays Who Landed on Their Feet “ and “Second Chances” has put together a series of stories about rescued dogs who have gone on to visit hospitals, prisons and nursing homes, guide the blind and deaf, and detect narcotics and bombs.

While her previous books look at how dog owners have been rewarded by the dogs they rescue, this one focuses on owners of rescued dogs who have trained and certified their dogs for special work that has an impact on the lives of many more humans.

Lufkin, as with her two previous books, is donating all profits to shelters and other animal-related organizations.

The poignant photographs in the book are the work of Diana Walker, a contract photographer for Time magazine since 1979.

The dog in the photo above is Marlee, who has a partially amputated right foreleg and was discovered by a group of veterinary students at a local pound.

Veterinarian Karen Lanz explains in the book what happened next:

“…If left at the shelter, the dog would surely have been euthanized … Marlee’s sweet, gentle nature made me realize immediately that she would make a wonderful therapy dog. After a little fine-tuning at local obedience classes, we were ready … Soon my brother-in-law, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, suggested that Marlee’s status as an amputee could make her a welcome addition to the therapy dogs visiting at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“I contacted People Animals Love (PAL) and was fortunate enough to join their groups on visits to Walter Reed. Marlee was well received at the hospital, and I think she was a source of inspiration for some of the brave veterans who are returning from the Iraq war with missing limbs and other disabilities. Guys in wheelchairs marked “Purple Heart Combat Wounded” would say to this little dog, ‘I know what you’re going through’ … I will always be grateful to the students who saw potential in a badly injured dog and rescued her. Marlee has been a joy every day.”

The book is full of similar stories, and even more can be found on the book’s website.

(Learn more about the latest dog books at ohmidog’s book page, Good Dog Reads.)

Lufkin will hold a book signing Thursday, Nov. 12 at Halcyon House Antiques, 11219 Greenspring Ave. in Lutherville,  from 5-7 pm. Admission is $50 and includes a copy of the book. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Maryland SPCA. For more information, contact Halycon House or the Maryland SPCA.

Here’s to old dogs (and new tricks)

Dog, given second chance, takes first place

mekoHere’s a sweet story out of Owosso, Michigan about a somewhat anti-social  stray dog who, given a second chance, became a prize winner.

Heather Good and her son Dylan Davalt found the Chihuahua-terrier mix in April 2008 in the woods south of Owosso, the Argus-Press reports. He was avoiding humans, and had bit one man who tried to approach him. After three weeks of coaxing, and a lot of treats, the dog consented to come home with them.

There, the dog, named Meko, proved to be a bit of a terror.

Meko didn’t get along with Dylan’s other dog, Sassy, and, for the first six months, had to be kept on a muzzle when guests came to visit.

Some people advised Dylan and Good to put down the dog because of his aggressive behavior, including Good’s father, John.

Meko and Dylan’s grandfather “weren’t buddies,” Dylan said.

But the family worked hard to train Meko, teaching him the basics, and working on his aggression. Meko and Sassy were taken to obedience training, and, for socialization, to a 4-H Club training program called “Hush Puppies.”

A year after taking him home, Dylan decided to enter Meko in a dog show at the Curwood Festival, where he dazzled the crowd and took first place honors.

“I didn’t figure that dog would amount to anything but a vicious mix breed,” said Grandpa Good. “He has made a complete turnaround.”

“My thing about Meko is that every dog deserves a chance,” his daughter said.

Obama dog 4: Sweet Sydney in Maryland

OK, so we said there would just be three Obama dog recommendations.

But then we heard about this girl, currently lodged just up the road from the White House in Prince Georges County, Maryland.

Sydney is a 7-month old Ladradoodle who’s keepers say she is both beautiful and well-behaved, great with kids, cats and other dogs, housetrained, and already a skilled doggie door user.

She’s also crate trained, leash trained, knows her basic commands, has been spayed and has all her shots, according to Tamela Terry, president of the SPCA/Humane Society in Prince Georges County.

Sydney was surrendered by her former owners because they couldn’t take care of her any longer. She’s reportedly great in the car — she sits like a princess and gazes out the window.

“Sydney is a wonderful, easy-going dog and whoever adopts her will be lucky, lucky, lucky,” Terry wrote. “This beautiful girl could be the best thing to happen to the Obamas all year!”

Ten minutes later Hootchinoo Bill and Kink did not pity Shallow at all; it was the object, without modifying the rest of the Laboratory.