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Sandra Kruczek

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Dog’s Eye View: Environment matters

We are in the middle of teaching a Canine Life and Social Skills class in Craig, a well thought out program administered under the guidance of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. The goal is enhancing the continuing education of our pet dogs and their owners.

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Dog’s Eye View: What does that behavior look like?

Owner often say, “He looks guilty,” or, “She’s rude,” or perhaps, “He’s quirky.” But if I asked five different people what each of these words means to them, I’d probably get five different answers.

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Dog's Eye View: When you have a new hammer …

You’ve probably heard this old saying that ends with, “… everything looks like a nail.” It occurred to me that this applies to some commonly used cues/commands we use with our dogs.

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Dog’s Eye View: Training a process, not an event

My newly adopted 2-year-old terrier mix, Lawrence, is not a trained dog in the fullest sense. He meets people easily wagging his whole body.

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Dog's Eye View: First night in family dog class

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a student in a group dog training class, but since the loss of our bull terrier, Stuart, and the adoption of our 2-year-old terrier mix, Lawrence, I’ve been riding a whirlwind of lessons and learning with lots of interesting and mixed emotions.

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Dog’s Eye View: The way we were

While attending a seminar on canine behavior during the weekend, I was reminded of the long journey of growth in the world of dog behavior and training I have taken through many years’ time. Things have changed.

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Dog's Eye View: ‘Getting To Know You’

If you don’t know this sweet song or the musical from which it came, “The King and I,” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, do yourself a favor and check it out. The lyrics are, in my mind, a perfect description of how a new friendship might be formed.

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Dog’s Eye View: All the right reasons

We just started a new series of puppy classes. The best thing for me is to meet these bright and hopeful families who are seeking knowledge to set their life on a course of establishing a great relationship with a new family member.

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Dog’s Eye View: But baby, it's cold outside.

These past several days, with large accumulations of snow and lowering temperatures, brought to mind my checklist for winter pet care.

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Many gifts: A tribute to a great dog

I lost my bull terrier, Stuart, Dec. 2. He had been sick for a while, and the curse of cancer finally overcame his body but not his spirit.

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Dog's Eye View: The eyes have it

One of the first behaviors we teach in dog training class is the “name game.”

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Dog’s Eye View: Best blind dates ever

We hear so many sad tales about dogs that find their way to a shelter and, conversely, so many good results, as well.

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Dog’s Eye View: It’s Halloween for dogs

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Halloween might be experienced through my dog Stuart’s eyes. It probably seems pretty weird for dogs to hear the voice and scent of their owners coming from an unrecognizable costume. Another side of this holiday experience is the fun of putting costumes on our dogs.

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Dog’s Eye View: Halloween through my dog’s eyes

Well, it’s upon us. This may be a most confusing night for dogs. It’s Halloween. I can only imagine what is going through my dog, Stuart’s, mind.

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Dog's Eye View: Kennel up for safety

I know many dogs ride loose in cars. I hope that, after reading this article, pet owners will give serious thought to obtaining a kennel crate to be used in the car for their dog.

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Dog’s Eye View: Bounce back from bumps in the road

You can hardly invest too much in your relationship with your dog. When a rough patch comes along — and it surely will — a small withdrawal from the relationship account will have little effect on your long-term bond.

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Dog’s Eye View: Bars and graphs

Without frequent reinforcement of the behavior you want, once strong behaviors tend to break down. Little things creep into your dog’s stellar performance.

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Dog’s Eye View: Is anybody out there?

Have you wondered why some dogs bark intermittently, day or night, in your neighbor’s yard? Are you that neighbor? Have you thought that there could be a connection between the dog’s type or breed; his age, energy level or temperament; or the environment the he is in?

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Dog's Eye View: From apes to canines, it’s all about empowerment

An animal’s ability to thrive in captivity (and in our homes) is greatly improved when they’ve been empowered to initiate activity.

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Dog’s Eye View: Wait for the answer

Parents and teachers have done a wonderful job teaching children to ask permission to pet a strange dog, but I think that, with many children, the request has been confused with having been given permission to proceed.

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Dog’s Eye View: Dogs along the highway

A recent lengthy road trip with my husband and our bull terrier, Stuart, offered me some unexpected and refreshing interactions with people and their dogs. I wasn’t thinking in advance of this trip that I might experience some sweet and bittersweet contacts, but that’s what happened.

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Dog's Eye View: He's just being stubborn

Think about the times you may have called your dog to come, and he hesitated. He may have stood still and looked at you, and you thought he was being stubborn. My question is, “How did you teach your dog to do that?”

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Dog’s Eye View: Flash, boom — It’s that time of year

You may have a dog that suffers from thunderstorm phobia or know someone whose dog does. This is a very upsetting problem for owners and dogs and can cause serious injury to some dogs. Following is information veterinarians, researchers, behavior professionals and lay people have found that may be of help.

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Dog’s Eye View: Command versus cue

To me, the word “command” carries the intention of a demand to receive one’s due or have the power to dominate, among other things. The word “cue” is a signal or prompt to begin a specific action.

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Dog’s Eye View: Management comes first

Something that always comes up when dog owners ask for help with any kind of unwanted behavior is the question of who has to change the most — their dog or themselves?

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Dog's Eye View: Consistency, clarity count

I had asked some visiting nieces to tell me about their dog, Buddy. They all agreed they loved him very much but that he was stubborn and not too smart.

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Dog’s Eye View: To whom are you speaking?

It might be surprising to you many dogs have never been taught what it means when you say their name. We use so many different word sounds and clapping sounds in addition to what their “official” name is, it’s a wonder they really know their name at all.

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Dog' Eye View: More feedback

In my experience, a wrong response is usually based on lack of understanding or lack of practice with positive and timely feedback.

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Dog’s Eye View: Feedback an important part of training

In family dog class and puppy class, one of the first things we teach is the importance of giving plenty of feedback to our canine buddies in the form of tasty treats delivered immediately after a behavior such as “sit” is accomplished.

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Dog’s Eye View: Best friends — loss and grief

The stages of grief are very distinct, regardless of whether it’s the loss of a person, a pet or possibly a catastrophic business loss.

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Dog's Eye View: One step at a time

We humans are pretty good at visualizing the end of a sequence when we want to accomplish a task. If we're knitting a sweater, we picture the end product. If we're building a house, we can see what it will look like when we're done. I think we tend to think our dogs can do this, as well.

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Dog's Eye View: 'Sirius' puppy training

I read a fascinating article in the Feb. 12 issue of the Craig Daily Press written by Professor Jimmy Westlake, who teaches astronomy and physics at Colorado Mountain College, Alpine Campus. The article is titled, “Behold the Dog Star.” Of course, the “dog” part of the title caught my attention, but there’s more to it than that.

Dog's Eye View: Hands off!

Head Start Puppy Training class is underway, and we have some very nice youngsters attending, but this class has typical “mouthy” puppies. I don’t mean they are rude or talk back. They greet everyone with mouth open and teeth engaged.

Dog's Eye View: Cabin fever

It was “them” kittens that started it; my dog, Stuart, helped to finish it.

Dog's Eye View: Search for perfection

Lately, it seems, we’re hearing a lot of people saying they want their dog to be perfect, which can mean different things to different people, but I find myself cringing a bit when I hear it.

Dog's Eye View: In the eye of the beholder

Have you ever stopped to really think about the many roles your pet plays in your life? What things does she do that you’ve not seen other animals do? What spot does she fill that no other one can fill? Have you grown personally as a result of being the steward of her life?

Dog's Eye View: Lots of good reading out there

I had originally thought to write this article about the new and myriad dog toys on the market now. However, Christmas always makes me feel like wrapping up in a quilt near the wood stove and reading a book.

Dog's Eye View: The dog trainer's song

For some reason, the catchy melody and easy-to-remember words of this song have stayed with me since early childhood, when I watched television on our bulky black-and-white TV. Maybe the words just made sense to me. The song is titled “Accentuate The Positive,” and here are the words to the first verse: “Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

Dog's Eye View: A once in a lifetime dog

Having a “once in a lifetime” doesn’t mean that no work is involved or that no effort has to be put forth.

Dog's Eye View: Ding, dong — trick-or-treat!

Trick-or-treat on Halloween, that very special night full of ghouls and goodies, follows the behavioral principles of the science of consequences. What does this have to do with dogs? Everything.

Dog's Eye View: Training, learning never end

I am in the process of recertifying for my Certified Professional Dog Trainer/Knowledge Assessed credentials. It occurred to me it might be of interest to know what it means to earn this certification as well as what it takes to maintain it.

Dog's Eye View: The danger of making assumptions

Making assumptions with regard to canine behavior can be a dangerous proposition.

Dog's Eye View: A promise and a pink evening sky

We finished the last (sixth) lesson of our Head Start Puppy Training Class in Craig a few days ago. It was so warm and still outside that we decided to set up class on a basketball court at Colorado Northwest Community College’s Bell Tower Building. The building sits on a hill overlooking Craig and the Yampa River.

Dog's Eye View: Don't stop — training never ends

Don’t stop training your dog. I believe the very act of getting too comfortable with the level of training you have put in on your dog is responsible for many an unhappy dog/human relationship.

Dog's Eye View: Sink or swim

A beautiful relationship is foremost when we’re working with our pet dogs, and relationship is about give and take and learning to listen to and speak the other’s language.

Dog's Eye View: Time to say 'goodbye'

My husband Ron and I had our last day with Beretta, our 14-year-old whippet. It was several weeks ago. My husband had been nursing Beretta along through waning health for a couple of years. Finally, Beretta stopped eating and could not easily walk or stand. It was time.

Dog's Eye View: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'

The very uniqueness and adaptability of our beloved canines allows for a myriad of interesting relationships. It’s important to look at the whole picture when evaluating what we might think is “good or bad” behavior.

Dog's Eye View: I can hear you!

In training animals, raising one's voice can do more harm than good.

Dog's Eye View: From apes to canines, it's all about control

Pets need to feel empowered in order to thrive.

Dog's Eye View: The other side of the story

Awareness and a leash can prevent an unpleasant encounter while walking your "friendly dog."

Dog's Eye View: Distracted training yields disjointed results

Distracted training methods lead to disjointed training results.

Dog's Eye View: Socialization: Everybody knows about that, Part 2

We left off in Part 1 with a general overview of experiences that puppies have during the first 12 weeks of life. Within this period of time, there are important sub-plots.

Dog's Eye View: Taking the unplanned path

You see them all around town — people are out with their dogs, running, biking and visiting with friends. Your heart aches. You can’t take your dog out because he barks and lunges at other dogs and might start a fight. He’s your dog and you wish he was like those other dogs that get along. You can’t just give him up.

Dog's Eye View: Socialization: Everybody knows about that, Part 1

I’m so glad that dog owners are thinking about the importance of socializing their new puppy or adult dog. Here’s some specific information about socialization.

Dog's Eye View: Reasons to be thankful

I was thinking of the ways that dogs are giving us reasons to be thankful for the part they play in enriching our very existence. Doing research on this topic made me realize that I would have to write a book, so I’m touching on a few areas and leave some stories for future articles.

Dog's Eye View: A rescuer’s heart

Another side of a lost dog finding his way home is our behavior. That’s right. Here’s some things that we as a community of dog-loving people can sometimes do that interferes with returning a dog to his family.

Dog's Eye View: The crow in the cartoon

In the Oct. 5 issue of the Denver Post’s cartoon section, I found a little gem that spoke eloquently to one premise of understanding dog behavior; the importance of looking at the environment surrounding a specific behavior.

Dog's Eye View: Hot dogs and angels — it's Halloween for dogs

Last year, I wrote about how Halloween might be experienced through my dog Stuart’s eyes. It probably seems pretty weird to a dog to hear the voice and scent of their owner but to have them be totally unrecognizable in costume. Another side of this holiday experience is the fun of putting costumes on our dogs.

Dog's Eye View: Pets, passion and purpose

We all (and that includes you) lost a shining star in the world of animal behavior on Sept. 29. Dr. Sophia Yin's star fell way too soon from the galaxy made up of so many other dedicated and knowledgeable veterinarians, animal behaviorists, consultants and trainers.

Dog's Eye View: I once was lost, but now I’m found

In a previous article (“Identity theft”), I wrote about different types of identification that would be helpful if your dog was lost. One summer, about 35 years ago, I lost my Irish terrier, Finn. My husband and I were out of town. Throughout a period of three days, Finn was spotted by friends whom he knew, but he kept running.

Dog's Eye View: Live long and vegetate?

The saying, “A tired dog is a well-behaved dog,” addresses an important aspect of daily exercise. But it seems we are only appreciating a small part of the capability of our dog’s brains. Dogs are ready and able to interact with us in so many ways. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

Dog's Eye View: A latte and a bully good time

It’s summer, so it’s time to sit at an outside cafe with friends. This, of course, means with your wonderful doggie companion, as well. This always has been a goal and a special pleasure to share with my bull terrier, Stuart.

Dog's Eye View: 'Why does my dog do that?'

We all seem to fancy certain breed types for specific reasons that speak to us emotionally and visually. We also love our mixed breed dogs for the characteristics we see in them that endear them to us.

Dog's Eye View: The worst kept secret

There are many ways that this can happen. Some folks think that catching their new puppy or adopted dog in the act of making a mistake and “spanking” him is the way to teach him what the rules are. He might think about what he just did if your timing was immediately after the accident. Or, if you’re late in spanking him, you may have disciplined him for something totally unrelated.

Dog's Eye View: K9 CPR and first aid

Would you think that a credit card could be a useful first aid tool? Did you know that choking is the No. 1 trauma killer in dogs? Do you know what the normal temperature of your dog is? These are just a few of the topics covered in the K9 CPR and first aid program that was presented by Paramedic Eric “Odie” Roth at the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs on May 17.

Dog's Eye View: Flash, boom! It's that time of year

You may have a dog that suffers from thunderstorm phobia or may know someone whose dog does. This is a very upsetting problem for owners and dogs and can be the cause of serious injury to some dogs. Here are some actions that veterinarians, researchers, behavior professionals and laypeople have found that may help.

Dog's Eye View: 'Our dog doesn’t like me'

I occasionally run across the sad scenario of one family member standing to the side watching the others engage and teach the family dog. They sometimes say to me, “Our dog doesn’t like me.”

Dog's Eye View: The payoff

When asked why he robbed banks, a notorious bank robber was often quoted as saying, “because that’s where the money is.” I happened to think of this while watching our neighbor’s cat walk up and down our driveway bordered by large rocks, hunting for field mice. He has come back every day with great hunting success. This location has become a big payoff place for him. It’s kind of his “mouse bank."

Dog's Eye View: Relevancy — What makes training work for you and your dog

I was at a dog obedience training seminar about thirty years ago that was presented by Milo Pearsall, an American Kennel Club obedience trial judge who also was a well known trainer and author.

Dog's Eye View: Foreign exchange student

Have you ever considered hosting a foreign exchange student in your home for a year? If so, you kindly thought about what he or she would need to feel welcome and at ease the moment they walked through your door. I believe that bringing a dog into our home is very much the same situation. Here are some things I think are essential to help your new companion get a great start.

Dog's Eye View: 'I bought a trained dog'

Buying or adopting a “trained” dog in the hopes that all of the work is done for you is a nice idea. My experience sometimes tells a different story.

Dog's Eye View: Show me the money!

Years ago, while my husband and I were visiting friends, something happened. Our friends were avid coin collectors and had amassed quite a large collection. They were showing us some of the rarer and more interesting coins and left them on a table when we went out for dinner. Upon returning, we found the coins scattered across the living room floor. Many were missing. Yes, the more valuable ones were among the missing.

Dog's Eye View: How clever is your dog?

This is the story of a horse called “Clever Hans" that took place in the early 1900s. Hans was owned by a retired mathematics instructor named Wilhelm von Osten. He lived in Berlin and was in his 60s at the time of this scenario.

Dog's Eye View: Hope for a 'bad dog'

A few weeks ago, I met three young men from the United Kingdown who were bicycling around the world. Yes, you read that correctly, around the world. They were sitting outside of McDonalds working on their bikes after eating “double orders” of food. I was fascinated by their journey and asked them many questions.

Dog's Eye View: What's behind door No. 2?

After a life enriched with outside activities and basking in the sun all summer long, our dogs can start feeling all pent up and bored, too.

Dog's Eye View: Christmas traditions in a dog and cat household

I’ll bet every dog- and cat-owning family has their special Christmas traditions. Our family did, and much of it revolved around sparing the beautiful heirloom ornaments on the tree, not to mention the tree itself.

Dog’s Eye View: Unchain my heart

We’ve all seen dogs tied up in front of stores and restaurants downtown. They are tethered, and their owners are not there to intervene on their behalf.

Dog’s Eye View: Reinforcing good behavior

You’ve worked hard to teach your dog to greet people nicely at the door. No more paws on shoulders. No more shredded clothes. He’s sitting politely and waiting to be petted. Now, that job is over. Or is it?

Dog’s Eye View: Halloween from my dog’s perspective

Well, it’s upon us. Halloween might be a most confusing night for dogs. I can only imagine what is going through my dog Stuart’s mind.

A Dog’s Eye View: Consistency, clarity count in dog training

I had asked some visiting nieces to tell me about their dog, Buddy. They all agreed they loved him very much but said he was stubborn and not too smart. They said he didn’t respond very quickly to a couple of cues, namely “come” and “sit.”

Dog's Eye View: No play pressure

Did you ever think about how much pressure a dog-loving society might be putting on the average dog owner? There seem to be specific expectations placed on dog owners that relate to dog social skills and play.

Dog’s Eye View: Love without knowledge

My friend often calls me with questions about problem behavior. For a long time, we seemed to play tug of war between the love she feels for the dogs and dealing with the behavior with which she was struggling.

Dog’s Eye View: You’re the advocate and coach

I was in the park helping a new puppy owner get started on the path to raising the dog of her dreams when two families with children approached and asked if they could pet her puppy. Hooray for parents who are teaching their children to ask permission before petting a dog.

A Dog’s Eye View: Animals as individuals

In my lifetime, I’ve seen the world of dog and horse training evolve from one-size-fits-all, punishment-based training to a gentler science-based approach to learning and behavior.

A Dog’s Eye View: When it comes to grief, everyone’s different

I’m always deeply and profoundly touched by the powerful connections people have with their dogs. After a dog dies, it's hard to know whether to get a new dog right away. The truth is, there’s not one right answer.

A Dog’s Eye View: Learning algebra at a Broncos game

For dogs as well as humans, it’s difficult to learn new skills in a new or distracting environment. I often ask, “Can you imagine trying to learn algebra while attending a Broncos game?”

A Dog’s Eye View: Adopted by Martians

Have you ever considered what it might feel like to be taken to a place where no one speaks your language or understands your culture yet expects you to conduct yourself by an unspoken set of rules? I often ask this of new pet owners.

A Dog's Eye View: Over-the-top chewing

“Here I am, over 60 and raising my first puppy.”

A Dog's Eye View: Flash, boom! It’s that time of year

You may have a dog that suffers from thunderstormphobia or know someone whose dog does. This is a very upsetting problem for owners and dogs, and it can be the cause of serious injury to some of our favorite canines.

A Dog's Eye View: The culture of eye contact

In the United States and some European countries, using soft direct eye contact is considered to be a sign of attentiveness, honesty, confidence and respect for what the other person is saying.

A Dog's Eye View: Change: 1 thing we can count on

A young woman stopped me in the grocery store inquiring about training her “crazy” dog. Now, I don’t train dogs in the grocery store, but I did try to dispel a common misconception about how we perceive dog behavior problems.

A Dog's Eye View: Learning the consequences

Dogs are so good at reading our body language and are quick to learn the consequences of their actions. It’s how they survive. Labels such as “stubborn” can get in the way of understanding the real problem. Dogs know what works for them from past experience.

A Dog's Eye View: Stuart knows what to do

Giving a reinforcing food treat to your dog when he does what you have asked is one way of giving immediate feedback that he can understand.

A Dog's Eye View: Life with Stuart Little

People tend to think that a dog trainer’s dog is perfect. Dog owners who see trainers walking their dogs around town might think, “I wish my dog would be well-behaved like that one.” The reality is that many of us have dogs that are challenging, but trainers have the skills and take the time to train them. Over-the-top dogs require a lot of supervision, management and constant and consistent training. My 6-year-old English bull terrier, Stuart, is such a dog.

A Dog's Eye View: A telltail sign

We’ve all heard it said, “A wagging tail means a friendly dog.” It’s risky to live by this statement because there’s more to the story.

A Dog's Eye View: Understanding your dogs' body language

The topic of hugging dogs comes up so often and has such important repercussions that it’s worth addressing again and again.

A Dog's Eye View: Times have changed

When I trained my first dog not to pull while on a leash in the 1950s, the only equipment we used was a choke chain and a six-foot leash. We now have so many choices of equipment that is effective and gentler on our dogs and us.

A Dog's Eye View: Bouncing back from a bumpy road

A friend recently shared a concern with me about her high-energy puppy. She said she was worried that she might “slip up” and the pup would learn something she didn’t want her to learn.

A Dog's Eye View: Head halters and harnesses — times have changed

Thankfully, our equipment and methods for teaching dogs have changed dramatically since then. We now have so many more choices of equipment that are effective and gentler on our dogs and us.

A Dog's Eye View: My dog is friendly

Well-meaning but misinformed dog owners who let their dogs run loose may call out, “Oh, don’t worry. He’s friendly!” We hear it every day.

A Dog's Eye View: Who let the dogs out?

Dogs are all the same species, but their temperament, emotional makeup and attachment can be as different as with any two human beings.

A Dog's Eye View: Teach old dogs new tricks

We rarely tap into the fullness of a dog’s mental capacity during his or her lifetime. And, as with humans, it’s beneficial to start learning early and continue perfecting new skills throughout life.

A Dog's Eye View: What did you say?

As humans, our bodies can betray attempts to mask our intent. For dogs, body language is their primary form of communication.

A Dog's Eye View: Is anybody out there?

Have you wondered why some dogs bark day and night in your neighbor’s yard? Have you thought there could be a connection between the breed, age or temperament of the dog as well as his environment?

A Dog's Eye View: A walk in the park

Freedom alone can create an out-of-control dog. He may be headed for the animal shelter if he doesn’t get help. His freedom needs to be balanced with some rules and leadership.

A Dog's Eye View: Keep your dog entertained

Young? Athletic? Home alone? Bored? No, this isn’t a young adult looking for a date. It may be your dog.

Sandra Kruczek: Whose dog is it, anyway?

Frequently we ask new pet owners why they got a dog. They often tell us that the new dog is “for the kids” or “to keep my other dog company.”


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