Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Who can resist puppies? Oh so cute! Cuddly! As a dog-savvy person, you’ve probably been successful at raising a pup. But, as they say, it takes a village.

When my friend Beth in Utah asked me if I had reading and other material that would help her choose and raise a young dog, I was all over it. Wow, do I have resources! I love my favorite, dog-eared pet behavior and training books–numbering over 200! Then there are the my favorite DVDs, blogs, articles, handbooks, and and and… But what to choose for this situation, without overwhelming a neophyte?

I have my ideas, but I’d love to hear yours, so I can give her the best information possible.

Here’s the deal: Beth and her husband have never had dogs before; only cats. They aren’t sure what kind of pup they should get for their lifestyle; they just knows they’d like a young, two-to-four month old that would grow to “medium-sized, one who loves being a laid-back companion, one who likes hiking, but doesn’t need too much fast-paced exercise stuff.” Beth’s husband works 12-hour shifts, often at night, while she herself works at home. And, she wants a rescue, especially since she lives right by Best Friends Animal Society. They’re open to positive, reward-based training.

If someone asked you to recommend your favorite resources for those parameters, what would they be? I’d love to hear what I need to add to my library, too!

For all you dog lovers out there who know a cat lover, or if you ARE a cat-lover, today’s guest post is from one of my favorite pet article writers–Elissa Wolfson, author of 101 Cool Games for Cool Cats! I’ve gotten this book for many pet guardians who needed fresh, innovative ideas for playing with their animals! Elissa’s articles have won awards at the Cat Writer’s Association’s 2006, 2007, and 2009 conferences. Elissa lives in Ithaca, NY with her two cats, Stretch and Fuzzy, her husband Steve Kress, and daughter Liliana. –Hilary

Author Elissa Wolfson and Stretch

The act of playing is hard-wired into both dogs and cats alike. But these days, with pet owners working long hours, teenagers away at college, and kids off at soccer practice or the mall, many pets are left to their own devices for extended periods of time.  Pet behaviorists describe dogs or cats left alone in the house all day as “latchkey pets.”

What happens when animals can’t satisfy their innate need to play? Veterinarian Ilana Reisner says, “We don’t really have a way to measure depression in animals. But we do know that they sometimes behave in depressed ways.” Such behaviors may include lethargy, lack of grooming, excessive sleeping, loss or gain of appetite and weight, aggression, and destructive behavior.

The latter may be the beginning of a downward spiral, where a displeased human caretaker becomes even less likely to play with his or her pet, and the pet becomes even more bored and destructive as a result. Once the pet-caretaker bond begins to dissolve, the outcome is not likely to be a happy one.

Contrast this to a caretaker who provides “preventative stimulation”—an enriched environment and quality playtime each day. Can this be you? If you are willing, the rewards are great. Enlivening your pet’s life will result in a contented, healthier, and better behaved pet—and lower veterinary bills for you. Playing with your pet also provides exercise opportunities that keep your pet’s weight under control, and helps develop muscle tone, agility, and stamina. And regular play helps guard against your pet’s most dangerous enemy: boredom. As an additional perk, you get exercise too! But perhaps the greatest reward is the deep bond that will develop between you and your pet, and the enjoyment you’ll find in each others’ company.

So, if you suspect your pet may currently be lonely or under-stimulated, start putting a little zip into his or her life. Hide food treats around the house. Take your dog on a different route for a walk. Consider adopting another cat or dog for them to speak “pet” with. And be sure to spend some high-quality play time together every day. This will goes a long way toward providing our sensitive, intelligent companions with the stimulation and variety they need to be physically and mentally healthy. And where behavior problems already exist, enriching your pet’s environment is an important part of the solution.

Caring for your pet is good. But having an amazing interactive relationship is so much better. An abundance of affection, grooming, and daily play sessions will perk up your furry pals. They in turn will be there to cheer you up when you need it!


101 Cool Games for Cool Cats! makes a perfect holiday gift! Special $12 holiday rates (includes postage) for Fang Shui Canines fans! Contact Elissa ASAP to ensure delivery by Christmas. Visit Elissa’s website for ordering information.


This post is part of the #reverb10 project that provides daily topics throughout December to help us reflect on the past year and sets intentions for the year ahead.

Today’s topic: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

This year has been busy. In a good way, but also in an overwhelming way. Although I appreciate so many eclectic and creative things, the one thing that I most appreciate is time to myself. Reading. OK, mostly reading books about dogs and their behavior (one can never learn enough).

Read any good books lately?

My dog Frisbee and I read together. (Luna, well, she gets too bored–prefers squirrel watching and anything other than relaxing!).

Friz and I started our reading routine almost a decade ago, when he passed his Animal Assisted Therapy test at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Two of our assignments were helping children read books at our local library, and working at a bi-lingual educational center, where Frisbee assisted children in learning English. We picked up a rhythm. Kids read, he listened. He looked at pictures. He snoozed. He snored. But he was there, always a calming presence.

Frisbee and I so appreciate well-written, informative, entertaining, and conversational books on any pet topic. In this photo, he’s surrounded by just a few of his several hundred favorites:

And, to help solve his sister Luna’s health issues (and to make sure I’m taking good enough care of him), Frisbee just ordered The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood, by Nadine M. Rosin.

Others in our top 100 are listed within this Bark Out Loud transcript:  “Read All About It: Favorite Dog Books”.

Expressing gratitude to the authors I appreciate means that I purchase their books; writing is a tough, underpaid, and often under-appreciated, profession. The information, talent, and entertainment they provide helped me further my dog training/pet health knowledge more than they will ever know!

OK, another post for #reverb10, which encourages one to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next.

Today’s prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Ya know, this year was not about parties for me. Sure, I’ve been to some exciting, eclectic, and fun events: My favorite god-daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in Los Angeles and her much-lauded bowling party afterwards, those energizing Ignite Boulder nights, that enthralling Nichole Wilde seminar on fearful dogs, the Colorado Dog Trainers Network K9 Nose Work and Rally-O demos, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley celebrations, Blog Paws West, local poetry jams, First Friday art nights, seeing the well-known Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass working the audience at the Paramount Theater, the Gipsy Kings at the magical Red Rocks, dinner parties, coffees with new and old friends, Katie Goodman‘s hysterical comedy show at the Boulder Theater, and of course, those Treibball meetups.

But I can’t pick that one memorable moment from that list. Not one. I prefer small gatherings with friends. And personally, if I’m not with my dogs, I think about them. I miss them. Silly? Maybe. But so what. I like their company almost more than anything. Of course, I do the usual reading, DVD-watching, and mischief-making in my own home. My favorite party place. Frisbee and Luna give me comfort just knowing they’re around.

Day 2 of the #reverb10 challenge.

Today’s prompt:

“What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?”

What does “writing” mean in this context? I do write–via social networking, doggy lesson plans, emails, notes, blogs, and even handwritten snail mail. Is there “real” writing vs. writing that isn’t considered valid? I’m not a “creative” or “open the vein” writer by any means. I’ve been a journalist, technical writer, grant writer, book editor, and whatever else paid my bills. I still write for pet publications. I love writing about dog behavior. But I never was able to create prose, poetry, or write a decent haiku.

My joy of writing comes through reading thought-provoking authors. It’s such a joy to grok beautiful words on a page, wandering about in a fictional or personal theme, through interesting twists and turns.

To be honest, the most personal writing I do is through Facebook and Twitter, and am starting to through blogging. Most all of my professional peers have blogs. They write daily on interesting topics, many of which I slap my head and say “Wish I’d thought of that!” I admire them. I aspire to be half as good as they are.

Right now, I’m a Dog Blog Superfan, as  dog friend Roxanne Hawn so humorously described in a recent Champion of My Heart blog.

So, the answer is: nothing cuts into my writing time, except for reading, and I sure don’t want to eliminate that!

What about you?

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