Watch Tip: Protect Pets in a Drought

Posted on August 28th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

wwtips_a2If you live in a drought-stricken region, step up your efforts to protect your pets from hungry and thirsty wildlife. Desperate wild predators, birds of prey, reptiles, and some dangerous arachnids will approach yards and neighborhoods that offer scents of water or food. Secure your kennels, buildings, yards, and crawl spaces to protect your pets and avoid providing new homes to pests.

In a drought, protect your pets from hungry, thirsty snakes, birds of prey, coyotes, insects

Drought drives wildlife and insects into populated areas in the fierce fight for survival; it’s a well-known fact. Now more than ever, you must be vigilant and proactive to protect your family. Protect your homestead and all lives depending on you, especially your helpless children and pets. Here are the basics: Read the rest of this entry »

Andy Nibley is the Director of the new documentary, Madonna of the Mills, running August 24th on HBO.  Author, Sunbear Squad Board Member and Editor Emeritus of Dogster’s own For Love of Dog Blog caught up with Andy for this interview.


Andy: The idea behind the film was really to show a couple of things. One, that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Laura is an office manager for a dentist on Staten Island and yet she, on weekends on her own nickel, rents vans and drives down to Amish country and picks up somewhere between 35 and 50 of these puppy mill dogs who have spent their entire lives in cages the size of dishwashers. They’ve never been petted. They’ve never been walked. They’ve never been bathed and she’s saved over 2000 dogs and she’s done that all on her own.  So that was one thing.

The other was what happens when you spare a life? So I follow four of the dogs that get saved and you see them rehabilitated from the point where they couldn’t walk because they’ve spent their lives in cages. There’s a nice story about an autistic boy and a golden retriever and one about a childless couple who end up with a cocker spaniel. It really shows these dogs can make wonderful pets if they’re adopted.

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Watch Tip: Animal Sexual Abuse

Posted on August 21st, 2011 by Anna Nirva


Learn to identify the signs of sexual assault or abuse toward animals. Yes, the topic is highly repugnant but it is necessary that animal lovers be aware of bestiality (sex crimes) against animals. Watch for signs and smells of infection, abrasions, fur loss, fur matting, blood, and/or semen around the animal’s rear end. Abusers will attack either or both male and female dogs and cats, even very young animals, sometimes using objects in addition to a penis.

This important topic is considered taboo, so stop reading here if you are squeamish.

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Madonna of the Mills — Catch this documentary on HBO!!!

Posted on August 19th, 2011 by admin

Set aside the evening of August 24th for the HBO unveiling of the insightful documentary “Madonna of the Mills.” This is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of revealing both aspects — the rescuers and those who run the mills. Director Andy Nibley and his team have crafted a film that needs to be seen by every American.

You’ll remember the enchanting determination of Laura, the woman who, with her family and friends, has rescued over 2000 dogs from the living hell of puppy mills. You won’t be able to look at the misleading pictures of seemingly gentle Amish country folk without remembering the ugly truth of the torture of puppy mills behind the barn doors. Of course, you’ll remember the dogs who Laura and her friends help escape. But what I hope stays with you and I know will stay with me is the casual craven disregard for the animals that is so ubiquitous among the puppy millers and their defenders.

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Watch Tip: Learn Dog Body Language

Posted on August 13th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip Logo Watch Tip for the week of Aug. 14

Learn how to read dog body language to make better decisions when interacting with dogs in daily life. Your dog’s eyes, mouth, lips, ears, hair, tail, posture and vocalizations all offer important clues to your dog’s emotional state, and they work together to provide a complete picture. Be a knowledgeable observer of dog behavior. This line of study is extremely interesting and rewarding to dog lovers and is guaranteed to enrich life with your dog. Start today!

Imagine knowing how to react to these situations safely…

  • You are walking through a busy city neighborhood and a large unfamiliar collarless dog bounces up to you.
  • You visit a neighbor’s home and their crouching dog growls at you in the foyer.
  • Your dog trots up to an unfamiliar dog in the dog park and that dog stares at your dog, one paw raised.

Did you know that a wagging tail does not automatically mean friendliness? That yawning does not mean the dog is sleepy? That raised hackles does not always indicate aggression? Much of the common wisdom we hear about dogs is simply untrue. Dog language is complex; they are a very social species with evolved communication skills. Study dog body language using the publications listed below. Observe dogs and their owners at vet clinics, events, training classes, and try to predict what will happen next. Exchange thoughts of your observances with others; the storytelling will entertain you both for hours!

Get a start online:
View Jean Donaldson’s video series on dog body language. (Click on “All” to see the list of 7.)
Read the ASPCA’s article on canine body language.
Read Best Friend’s Sherry Woodward’s article on Dog Body Language.

Patricia B. McConnell has published the book “For The Love of A Dog; Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend.” This is a must-read for students of dog body language. You’ll enjoy the photos comparing dog expressions with similar human expressions. Her book “The Other End of the Leash” is another treasure.

“The Whole Dog Journal” Vol. 14 No. 8 features an article by Pat Miller, “Listening By Looking.”  An abbreviated version is available online but the complete article is packed with photos. Get a copy or better yet a subscription. This is a publication that no serious dog lover should be without.

You might have heard about “being the pack leader” as a strategy to gain obedience from your dog. Be aware that the dominance model of dog behavior (based on the social hierarchies of wolves) has been called into question. Dogs are very different from wolves. Read more here: Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animal from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.