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Blog: JoAnna Lou
Pet Photos with Santa
Many dogs are uncomfortable with the holiday picture frenzy
I don't have children, but I consider my dogs to be my furry kids in everything from choosing the best daycare to researching safe toys. When the holidays come around, they each have a stocking hanging over the fireplace and Christmas themed collars. And for years, I took my canine crew to the pet store to get their photo taken with Santa. The holiday ritual has become so popular that I noticed...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Teaching Dogs to Drive
New Zealand SPCA takes on the ultimate training challenge
Animal trainer, Mark Vette, set out to train the impossible, all in the name of creating positive buzz for the SPCA in South Auckland. Mark decided to showcase how intelligent shelter pets are by teaching dogs to drive a car. The pups were chosen from a short list of candidates at the shelter. After seeing how each dog responded to targeting objects through clicker training, Mark chose Monty, a...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Canine Nutcracker
Group raises money for therapy work through their holiday performance
If you love the popular holiday classic The Nutcracker, you have to check out the canine version being performed by 29 dogs in the Chicago-area. And these pups don’t just perform for fun, they're all volunteer therapy dogs that use the show to raise money for their work with the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe. The Nutcracker features Gracie the Sheltie as the Sugar plum Fairy, Bailey the Shih Tzu as...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Lab Mix Included in Restraining Order
Panzer becomes the first dog to be protected under a new law in Mass.
This summer Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a new law that allows pets to be included in domestic violence restraining orders and it's already been put to good use.   Just before Thanksgiving, a Labrador mix named Panzer became the first animal in Massachusetts to win protection since the new legislation passed. A Marshfield, Mass. woman filed the restraining order against her...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Taking Cues From Humans
Dogs look to us for guidance in times of uncertainty
My new rescue, Scuttle, is the bubbliest, most energetic puppy I've ever met--until something startles her. Then she freezes or runs into the corner and hides. I've never had a dog that was quite as fearful as she is, so I was often caught off guard when she reacted to something I wasn't expecting. I think I probably froze and then went into overcompensation mode, trying to feed her treats to...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dogs Teaching Chemistry
Two talented pups make learning science fun
Chemistry was one of my worst subjects in school, but maybe if my teachers were dogs, I would've paid attention in class! Lauren Girard has been training her pets to do cool tricks ever since she got her Border Collie, Paige, five years ago. Her pups are so fun to watch that Lauren's sister shows her junior high school students videos of the dogs performing as a reward for good behavior. This...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
When Breed Bans Complicate
Dog loving baseball player is traded to an area with breed specific legislation
Breed specific legislation is unfair to the dogs who are automatically categorized as dangerous, but it's also unfair to the families who share their home with these banned breeds. Bully lovers have to worry about where to live and even where to vacation. The rich and famous are no exception. Last year, when MLB pitcher Mark Buehrle signed with the Florida Marlins, he chose to move to Broward...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Influencing Pit Bull Perceptions
Study finds that photos can influence how personality is perceived
It’s no secret that Pit Bulls are cast in a negative light, causing them to be passed over time and time again at the animal shelter.  Now with the popularity of online adoption web sites, like Petfinder, a good picture can make all the difference in whether a dog gets adopted or not.  I’ve seen great ways of boosting a pet’s chances, from using professional photographers (many who generously...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Blind Dog Paints for Charity
A Dachshund looses her eyesight but continues to create artwork
When Seattle artist, DeeDee Murray, taught her dog Hallie to paint, she had no idea that the activity would become so important to the both of them. Ten years after adopting Hallie, the tiny pup unexpectedly went blind in a matter of days. DeeDee then found out that Hallie had Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), an autoimmune disease that attacks the retina. Hallie was...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
The Importance of Eating Breakfast
Study finds dogs perform better after a full belly
At my training club, we always tell people to come with a hungry pup. particularly those in our beginner classes who haven’t developed a solid working relationship yet. The thinking is that a dog on an empty stomach will be more motivated to stay focused for a reward. But it turns out that the opposite may be true. It's well known that humans perform better after we eat breakfast. So two...

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