Puppy University Program, Partnering Vet Students And Service Dogs In Training, Graduates Its First Class
Graduating college is a huge accomplishment. But for these unlikely puppy university graduates, it means something so much more.
The three pups, named Koda, Esme, and Tucker, are from Saint Francis Service Dogs. They took part in the first-ever Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Puppy University program this past year. .
The program began in 2015 when the college’s Center for Animal Human Relationships (CENTAUR) partnered with Saint Francis Service Dogs – a nonprofit based in Roanoke, Virginia that helps people with disabilities become more self-sufficient and independent with service dogs.
Over the course of year, they spent their weekdays at the veterinary college in a structured program as part of their service dog training. They learned foundational skills like interacting with people and other animals, walking on a leash, and traveling on the bus.
On the weekends, the pups went home with their puppy raisers and learned more socialization and training.
Not only does the program help puppies become service dogs, it also helps the veterinary students learn lessons on the human-animal bond.
So when it came time to finally graduate, the three pups got the full college experience, of course.
They had their very own graduation ceremony – complete with caps and gowns – and received their “diplomas”.
Their training isn’t over, though. They’ll spend nine to twelve months formally training with Saint Francis Service Dogs before going on to help those in need.
We can’t imagine these pups being any less than amazing in their new roles as service dogs. If you’d like to help out Saint Francis Service Dogs, click here.
Blizzard, a huge St. Bernard, took a liking to his little sister right off the bat. Now, the big dog carries his little friend everywhere they go.
Lulu, a Shi Tzu mix, came into the family as a puppy.
She immediately bonded to Blizzard, following him everywhere. She saw him as a source of protection.
Not long after the two met, Lulu began climbing on top of the Saint Bernard to sleep.
Let Me Carry You
Not long after she began sleeping on his back, Lulu got the unexpected bonus of getting a ride – everywhere.
Blizzard walks with Lulu perched on his extra-wide back. She gets a birds-eye view of the world while they walk down the country roads surrounding their home, go sightseeing in the town, take hikes, or simply watch tv together.
Anytime LuLu is separated from Blizzard, she demands to climb back on her big brother’s back.
Why Do Some Dogs Bond So Strongly?
If you live in a multi-dog home, or have tried to encourage your pup to make friends, you know it’s not always a slam-dunk.
Sometimes two dogs just don’t get along, no matter what.
Others act like old friends from the minute they meet.
In the case of Lulu and Blizzard, it was love at first sight. These two share an exceptional bond. With Blizzard allowing her onto his physical space, it shows a great deal of comfort with her.
What causes this close bonding?
Dog behavior expert Cesar Milan teaches a lot about your dog’s ability to read energy. According to him, they read our energy (emotions, chemical signals, etc). This is why some dogs like us more than others.
And, why your dog knows when you’re sad, happy, or angry.
The same seems to be true for dogs.
Have you ever met someone new, or been introduced to someone in a group of people, and you knew immediately that you disliked that person? You have nothing to base your judgement on but “gut feeling.”
Humans are not very in tune with what our gut is telling us. In that situation, we are reading that persons energy, or having a bad chemical reaction to them.
Your dog does this on a much higher level with both people and other dogs.
Don’t Let Your Dog Wander Into Unsafe Territory
One of the worst things that can happen is your dog slips out of your yard and winds up around unfriendly dogs. Make sure you know where they are at all times.
Having trouble getting your dog to come to you when called?
Does your pup think it’s fun to run from you when you’re outside?
Have you had problems with your dog running away when they get off leash?
Not Coming When Called is Dangerous
Two of the first commands that successful trainers teach are “Sit,” and “Come here.”
Sit teaches your dog to be calm and stationary. This can be life saving if there is an emergency.
But, “Come Here” is a truly life-saving command.
Even if your dog is normally well behaved, all it takes is one run away for disaster to strike. If they are prone to bolting when they manage to get out of your fence, or they slip their collar, they can easily run into traffic.
Or, they simple run away.
Passive vs. Standard Disobedience
When your pup refuses to come to you, they are either being
Passive: they won’t come to you, but they don’t really run away. They are preoccupied with something else, or are simply sitting there stubbornly.
Active: They won’t come to you, and they run in the opposite direction.
Active disobedience can be viewed as play to your dog. Watch how they interact with other pups. They often chase each other, taking turns with who’s the leader and who’s the pursuer.
If your dog won’t come to you and looks scared or apprehensive, chances are you are the problem.
Have you punished them after they’ve come toward you in the past? Dogs make quick associations. One bad experience can make them fearful of similar future interactions.
Re-train your dog to associate coming to you with positive emotions: petting, belly rubs, praise, and treats.
Your dog may run from you because they think it’s fun. But, anytime they move in the opposite direction you risk them being hit by a car, running away and becoming lost, or experiencing a problem with another dog or person.
Do not run after your dog yelling and making a general ruckus. This is viewed as energetic play.
Instead, run in the opposite direction. Laugh loudly. Once your a few few away, drop to the ground and roll around.
Basically, imitate a dog.
Because they’re curious and want to play, most dogs will come running over to check you out.
If They’re Heading Toward Danger
If you dog is heading for the street or towards source of danger, skip yelling “come here” and opt for “SIT” or “Stop.” Repeat it rapidly if needed. You are trying to break your dog’s concentration and get them to stop long enough to keep them safe.
When you sit down to dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or even when you think about food), do you have a set or two of doggie eyes fixed on you?
Does your dog stare at you intently at certain times of day?
Do they give you a look that says, Hey, I need something, why are you not getting it for me?
Why Your Dog Stares at You
Hoping that your pup is staring at you lovingly? Contemplating how great you are for giving them so many delicious treats?
Unfortunately, dogs don’t think this way. They’re holding your gaze because it leads to a reward.
When does your dog start staring?
Is it a little before dinner time? Were you caught up in a book, TV show or finishing up some work and you noticed your pooch giving you the eye?
They were communicating that it’s time to eat.
If they do this while you’re eating, they are communicating (begging) for some of what’s on your plate. You may notice that in these situations, your dog is amazingly skilled at looking extra sad. Dogs know which looks get them the most food. Ears forward, softened eyes, head slightly down? You can’t resist… and they know it!
Walks, Play Time, and Rides
Staring isn’t always about food.
You dog can communicate other needs with a prolonged look. They may be telling you that it’s time to:
For some shelter dogs, their second chance at life never comes. They spend days, weeks, months in a shelter without anyone choosing them or giving them a chance to be loved. But luckily for one shelter dog, that wasn’t the case.
Every good story should have a hero and this story has a sweet but shy dog called Benny as our hero. He had no idea what his future was going to be or how long he would be in the shelter for.
Unfortunately for Benny, the shelter he was in was Carson Animal Care Center, which is a high-kill shelter in Gardena, California. This mean’t that Benny was literally between a wonderful life and possibly being put down if someone didn’t save him. Well someone did.
Earlier this month, Benny was rescued and adopted by a loving family. Well Benny shows us all what that mean’t to him. This is a fantastic reaction.
This is why rescuing a shelter dog is wonderful. It is a great thing to do for both you and the dog. We have discussed it before and while we can articulate much through our words, we can articulate much more through adoption videos like this.
Pit Bulls Waiting To Be Adopted Get Tiny Cottage Sanctuaries
Go to any local shelter and there’s likely at least one Pit Bull waiting to be adopted. It can take many weeks, even months to place a Bully in the right home. That’s why Luvable Dog Rescue in Eugene, Oregon has taken it upon themselves to make light of a few lucky bully’s living arrangements.
At $10,000 – $20,000 a pop, the rescue has built six tiny cottages that mimic the look, feel, and style of a modern cottage home…albeit a bit smaller. They’re built with two fully loaded individual “bedrooms” to house two dogs.
Equipped with dog beds, televisions, art work, music, even heating and air-conditioning, these cottages are no joking matter.
Form And Function (And Fun!)
As you can see in the photos, these cottages aren’t just stylish buildings that replace drab kennels. The cottages are genuine replicas of a home, which provides a homelike, peaceful environment for the Pit Bulls to partake in activities that prevent depression and boredom (two traits common among the breed).
Comfort aside, the tiny dog houses are also built for function. Liesl Wilhardt, the founder and executive director of Luvable Dog Rescue, spent years raising funds for the project and researching a logical design.
‘“There are basic guidelines to creating a space for animals that is functional and easy to clean but also pleasant for the animal to live in,”’ she told This Dog’s Life.
In Case A Tiny Cottage Wasn’t Enough…
Settled on 55 acres, Luvable Dog Rescue has more than enough space for the dogs to run, play, hike, and exercise. Each dog gets a 45-minute walk per day, sometimes two!
When they’re not tending to their homes, that is…No cars, no sidewalks, no leashes…55 acres for a dog to run free is every dog lover’s/dog’s dream.
These Three Huskies Are The Cutest Escape Artists You’ll Ever See
Siberian Huskies are known for their striking multicolored eyes, signature facial markings, and unique “voice”. Something else Huskies are famous for? Their escape abilities.
Often called the “Houdini” of dogs, Siberian Huskies can escape from nearly anywhere and everywhere. No matter how secure the fence, gate, or crate is, Huskies have an innate ability to open them.
Three Huskies from Iowa are no different.
Gracie, Kona, and Crimson live with Callie Gansen in Dubuque, Iowa. The siblings are three peas in a pod and just happen to be the world’s cutest escape artists.
One day, Gensen wanted to share their escape tactics with the world. She decided to film the three of them escaping, which she says they do daily.
Gansen decided to share the video to a Facebook group dedicated to Huskies. Then, she uploaded it on YouTube.
The video begins with all three of them behind a seemingly secure gate. Gracie then takes a few steps back, jumps high in the air, and completely clears the fence.
“I usually have to put a fence on top of the fence that’s shown in the video to keep that one from jumping it,” Gensen said.
With Gracie free, it was Crimson and Kona’s turn. Rather than exert effort to jump the gate, Crimson decided to use a more tactful approach. He uses his nose and teeth to loosen the lock on the gate door. Mere seconds later, he manages to open it. Kona promptly follows.
Once Crimson reaches Gansen on the couch, he gives a signature Husky “growl” as if to say, “I told you I’d get out.”
The 50 Greatest Dog names. That is a big statement. We have used research form our friends at BarkPost to see what they listed as the classic 50 dog names. They did some research and these are the sure fire names that are always in the top dog name lists. So here you have it:
The 50 greatest dog names:
Does your dog’s name appear in the all-time Top 50?
Have you ever seen a dog with a white tint to their eyes? If you’re wondering what it may be from, it could be cataracts. A potentially life-threatening disease, cataracts should be treated as soon as symptoms appear. Read on to help understand and treat them in dogs.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a largely inherited disease and are more frequent in purebred dogs. They are defined as the clouding of the lens of the eye. They can progress slowly or quickly, causing blindness in a few days or a few weeks.
A cataract isn’t a film over the eye, it’s a change to the inside of the clear sack that contains the lens. A minor clouding or fogging that doesn’t interfere with vision is known as an incipient cataract. Immature cataracts tend to cloud the larger portion of the lens and can result in blurred vision.
When the entire lens clouds up and complete vision is lost over time, it’s known as a mature cataract. As it progresses even further, the pupil will turn a bluish to even white color. A cataract doesn’t always mean blindness, though.
How They Develop
Cataracts can develop at any age. The Cocker Spaniel, Siberian Husky, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, and Golden Retriever are all more prone to the disease. Diabetes can also cause them. Nearly 75% off dogs with diabetes will become blind from cataracts within a year. In fact, they can develop overnight in dogs with diabetes – one night they go to bed with normal eyes and the next morning they wake up with white eyes!
If this happens, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Cataracts can also be caused by the toxicity from drugs such as heartworm preventatives, vaccines, and flea and tick medicine. Underlying eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, or uveitis can also cause this disease. Eye trauma can also lead to cataracts. Lastly, senior dogs can develop this disease due to aging but they are mostly slow to develop and don’t cause serious eyesight issues.
If you spot some clouding in your dog’s eyes, take your pup to the veterinarian immediately. From there, they might recommend a visit to a veterinary ophthalmologist. If the cataracts aren’t major, they will be monitored and rechecked often. Anti-inflammatory eye drops may also be prescribed.
If the cataracts are major, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is more effective if it is done sooner rather than later as mature ones are harder to treat. Surgery is usually successful and most dogs have near-perfect vision post-surgery.
One way to prevent cataracts is to prevent diabetes. You can prevent diabetes by keeping your dog at a healthy weight. Since diabetes almost always end in this disease and involves surgery, the best way to prevent them is to prevent diabetes!
There are many other holistic approaches to preventing cataracts like not over-vaccinating your pet, feeding a high quality diet, and adding supplements to their food.
When you think of cute dog breeds, you probably don’t think of hairless dogs. But we’re here to change your mind. Hairless dog breeds are often overlooked for those with thick, full coats – but these furless pups are just as cute as their furry counterparts. Here are five hairless dog breeds you didn’t know existed – or needed.
Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)
This dog breed may be one of the toughest to pronounce (its “show-low-eats-queent-lee”), but they are an interesting one. Xolo (or “show-low”) for short, the Mexican Hairless Dog is native to Mexico and descended from a few breeds of Old World dogs. They existed in Mexico for more than 3,000 years.
This breed was considered sacred by the Aztecs. They believed Xolo’s helped their masters souls safely pass through the underworld. Aztec legend has it that the god Xolotl made this breed from a small sliver from the Bone of Life – where all mankind came from. Xolotl provided this gift with instructions to guard mankind and provide safety from the dangers of Mictlan, world of Death. Some people in Mexico still believe this to be true! (www.featuredcreature.com).
Today, the Xolo is a loving, intelligent breed with protective qualities.
Despite its name, the Chinese Crested did not come from China. They are actually descendants of Africa or Mexico, but were reduced in size by the Chinese. The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: the Powderpuff and the Hairless. The Powderpuff is the hairier of the two, but the amount of fur can vary on both breeds. They were bred to be companions and the Chinese believe this breed had healing powers.
This is a breed unlike any other dog in that they hardly have any desire to go outside and play. They will lie with you for hours and have an innate ability to know what you’re thinking. Chinese Cresteds are a social breed and will bond quickly. They are, however, weary of strangers.
Argentine Pila Dog
Dating back to more than 3,000 years, the Argentine Pila Dog is native to Argentina. During the Spanish colonial times and into the 20th century, this breed was popular among the aboriginal middle class as well as peasant families. It was during that time they were given the name, which is the colloquial Spanish term for “naked” or “hairless”.
Their warm skin acted as bed warmers for the older crowd, especially those suffering from rheumatism. Pila’s were also highly regarded as watchdogs. Though they are rare today, breeders are trying to reestablish the breed.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
This unique-looking breed dates back to pre-Incan times. Pottery from that area shows the Peruvian Inca Orchid in full detail. The Spanish conquest of Peru actually almost caused this breed to become extinct. Thankfully they survived thanks to some rural citizens believing this hairless pup had mystical powers.
The Peruvian Inca Orchid can be either completely hairless or have a small patch of hair on the top of their head. They are known to be affectionate, loyal, playful, and charming.
American Hairless Terrier
Deriving from the Rat Terrier, the American Hairless Terrier is quite a rare breed. The breeds history starts with Feists, mixed breed terriers brought from Europe to North America around the 18th century. From there, the Rat Terrier was born by breeding Feists with Italian Greyhounds, Beagles, and Miniature Pinschers. One litter of Rat Terriers produced a completely hairless pup, later named Josephine. She was the first known American Hairless Terrier.
This breed is known for their intelligence, playful nature, and alertness. They are affectionate and good with children, too. American Hairless Terriers are protective of their families and can will actually break into a sweat if scared or hot.
If you’re looking to add a new member to your family, don’t count out the hairless ones! Not only are they uniquely cute, they also make wonderful companions. Just be ready for some confused stares while out on the town.