Saturday, December 28, 2013

10 tips for picking a dog that is right for you

Here is some information that will help you to find just the right dog for your life style

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Before you get a dog, read this

Cindy Bruckart  |  Mon, 04/02/2012 - 11:34
A picture and the subsequent conversation on Facebook has compelled me to write this blog post.  The conversation is about a picture making the internet rounds.  It is a picture of four dead dogs lying on the floor of a shelter truck.  At the top right of the picture are the words, "If you breed or buy, you are responsible for this."
I cannot express how offended I feel about this message.  I also feel embarrassed because not long ago I was on the "Don't breed or buy while shelter animals die," bandwagon.  Why?  Because it's easy to blame breeders and non-shelter-adopting dog owners for the problem of pet homelessness and euthanasia.  It's easy to imagine that pet homelessness would be solved if there were simply more homes for pets.  It isn't true, but it's easy.  Just as easy as it to pretend that human homelessness is about not having a home.
The victim in this kind of campaign is the innocent, perhaps ignorant, average person who loves dogs.  The person who has done nothing wrong but is suddenly saddled with the challenge of solving a problem that they didn't cause, don't understand and really cannot fix.
The relinquishment of pets has several causes, but none of them are a mystery.  First and foremost is the failure of dog owners to educate themselves BEFORE they get a puppy (ring any bells?).  If potential dog owners would do this one thing it would literally wipe out all of the other causes of pet homelessness as we know it and save thousands of lives.  It is seriously, truly, honestly that simple.
If this happened the puppy mills would go out of business quickly because the now savvy, educated market would no longer be interested in their product.  If this happened veterinarians who suggested keeping puppies at home until they are 16 weeks of age would go out of business for giving out-dated advice.  If this happened even those dogs who might become homeless would be quickly snatched up because they would be house trained, well-mannered, friendly and have good bite inhibition.  If this happened dog trainers would be busier than they’ve ever been conducting puppy classes and teaching students how to participate in all the sports and activities they wanted to do with their friendly, well-behaved dogs.
But this isn’t happening.  So those of us working in rescue are faced with a constant barrage of untrained, ill-mannered and sometimes downright dangerous dogs who are unwanted and unadoptable.  We know they didn’t start out this way and we know they didn’t have to end this way.  On a daily basis we are faced with punishing the innocent dog with death while the guilty parties who created this mess walk away.  We can’t help but think that someone, besides this dog, must pay.
We think, and rightly so, that it is unfair that this dog was created only to be destroyed by no fault of his own.  We blame the breeder.  It’s not a wrongful placing of blame.  That is until we stretch it out to include all breeders.  We lump them all together.  The professional breeder, the backyard breeder, the accidental breeder, the puppy mills and the pet stores that sell their wares.  Once that group is rounded up we can put all the people who buy from them in one category, too.  All the same, all to blame.
With each newly relinquished, returned or euthanized dog our anger and resentment grows.  We start to resent dog owners in general and tell ourselves that this whole problem exists because people are just stupid.  They don’t know what they’re doing.  They don’t care.  They cannot be trusted.  They are not like us. It is us against them, except that they are the only ones who can save us.  Now there's a recipe for resentment.
And this is when our rescue minds really bend the wrong way.  Faced with yet another dog who will probably die due to circumstances beyond his control we decide to twist, mangle and distort reality.  We decide that since we can’t see a way to educate the public, we will find a way to throw their mistakes back at them.  The dog is the victim here, so we advocate for him.  The more damaged he is, the harder we fight for him.  We sugar-coat his behavioral problems and minimize the danger.  We prey on the emotions of the public, sell them a bill of goods and convince ourselves that if anything bad happens it is because people are so stupid.  After all, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners, right?
So here we are.  We’re angry, hurt, helpless and have resorted to less than honest tactics in order to save every dog we can.  We hate the public for causing this mess and we’re posting pictures of dead dogs on Facebook to let them know just how angry we are.
Meanwhile, a dog-loving person who knows nothing about any of this walks into the shelter…what now?
How about some honesty?  Here’s what I want the dog owning public to know.
If you are at the shelter to drop off your untrained, ill-mannered, people biting, dog aggressive dog because you can’t or don’t want to deal with him anymore, I want you to know that you are responsible for what your dog is now and everything that happens to him from here on out.  I am saying that as a matter of fact, not as an accusation.
Ignorance does not relieve you of responsibility.  We do not hold people unaccountable if they shake a baby simply because they claim they didn’t know it would cause damage or death.  It is your responsibility to know these things.   
At some point we have to stop allowing people off the hook for not knowing that keeping their puppy inside for four months could cause serious behavioral problems.  Dog owners who are surprised that their dog grew bigger and failed to train himself must be held accountable for not preparing themselves.  
If you're going to get a dog it is your responsibility to know how to care for it and to call on professionals when you need help. If you find that you didn't prepare properly and therefore things are turning out badly, you shouldn't be allowed to dump your mistakes on the community, shrug your shoulders and say, "Well, I didn't know."  
If you are at the shelter looking to adopt a dog, I want you to know that you are not responsible for the fearful, reactive, hard to deal with but heartbreaking dog who is up for adoption. If that dog ends up being euthanized it is not on your hands.  Nor is it on the hands of the shelter that euthanized it.  It is the original owner, whoever they acquired the dog from that is responsible for where that dog is now.  
If you adopt an aggressive, fearful or otherwise damaged dog without understanding what that means for your future as a dog owner, you have been duped by the rescue/shelter because you walked in there uneducated and not knowing what you wanted.  No different than what happens every day on used car lots. Buyer beware and be educated!  Many people have a mechanic look over a car before they buy it.  More people should have a trainer look over dog before they adopt it.
Speaking of which, let’s not leave the training profession out of all of this.  We are also guilty of placing blame on the average pet dog owners.  We complain about their lack of education without remembering that it is our job to educate them.  We concern ourselves more with dog friendliness than with people friendliness while lamenting the fact that owners don’t seek us out.
If you are a trainer who is so focused on animals that you haven't bothered to develop fantastic communication skills with people, because after all you don't really like people that much anyway and you believe that dogs are suffering because people are just stupid and don't want to learn, then you have a hand in all this.  
EVERY person who comes to a trainer is an opportunity to save dogs' lives.  The macho jerk who thinks it's stupid to give the dog a treat for peeing outside is your opportunity to make a difference.   He is going to tell all of his macho jerk friends about it.  The woman who is taking advice from both you and the neighborhood pseudo-trainer is an opportunity to make a difference.  Show them both why your information is better.  
And every person you see or talk to who either has a puppy or knows someone who has a puppy is literally a dying body in front of you waiting for CPR.  If you don't know how to use your charm, wit and expertise to chat up those people and make them want to listen to you then you have more dog trainer training to do!  The dog training profession is absolutely, positively a people business.
And when we see propaganda like the picture that started this thread, we have an obligation to every one of those dogs who have died to speak up and tell the truth.  It was hard for me.  Not here, but elsewhere.  I felt like a bitch stirring up trouble.  But you know what?  Tomorrow I go back to work at the shelter and dogs will be dropped off by uneducated owners, dogs will die, dogs will be adopted, dogs will be assessed, and dogs will be trained.  The people who landed those dogs in a shelter will not feel responsible, while the people who didn't will cry.  
Am I angry?  You bet.  Do I think the anger is justified?  Absolutely.  But if we want solutions we have to channel that anger and attack the problem where it will make a difference.  I love it when a great dog finds a great home, but I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that an adoption, or even a thousand adoptions, is going to stop dogs from dying.  Puppy classes will.  Educating kids will.  Educating the puppy buying market will.  Pictures of dead dogs won’t.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Meet Jose the dog walker

If you have a small breed dog and you need someone to take him or her out for a walk, Jose is your guy.  Jose will walk dogs up to 40 lbs. He has an assistant that goes with him.
EXTREMELY REASONABLE RATES.  Call Suzanne at 707-463-3212

If  Jose isn't available or you need someone to look after or walk your larger dogs I recommend
Nancy Sprizo 707-3408 or 707-391-2834

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Free e-book downloads

Contact me if you would like a free download of these very helpful e-books.  You can also go to

Is Rattlesnake training right for your dog?

Rattlesnakes and dogs
(Yes, I know this isn't a rattlesnake. I just wanted to get your attention.)

By Sallie Palmer – Certified Dog Trainer
Once again we are approaching rattlesnake season. The peak hot months of June through September are the most dangerous. I am often asked for advice by dog owners as to how they should protect their dogs from rattle snake bites. Although I have some suggestions, I must admit that all of them have pros and cons that must be weighed. I have listed various options and will leave it up to owners to determine which course of action is the most appropriate for their life style and dog.

Electronic (shock) collar training
This method is conducted by taking your dog to a rattlesnake clinic that is offered seasonally. The cost is usually $25.00-$95.00 for approximately 20 minutes of training. Using an electronic collar that is placed on the dog, the dog is taken away from the owner usually by a stranger. The dog is introduced to various rattlesnakes that have been rendered harmless. As soon as the dog shows any interest in the snake, he is given a high jolt of electricity which we hope he thinks was caused by the snake.
Although this method is great in theory, it does not work well on a lot of dogs. I have discovered over the years that it has a high rate of failure.
In the past, I have had clients take their dogs through this training. Unfortunately, I have had owners report some disturbing results. Several dogs were bitten by or encountered snakes and didn’t back off. One dog was found playing with a snake the very next day after the training, another dog was found curled on his dog bed with a rattle snake nearby. He did not move away from the snake.
Dogs are situational learners. This means that they learn behaviors under certain situations. So even though a dog may learn to avoid all snakes in the training area, it doesn’t mean he will transfer that training to another location.
A dog training acquaintance, who lives in rattle snake country, told me how she had a rattle snake wrangler come to her home. Knowing that dogs are situational learners, she set up the training on her property. Unfortunately this didn’t prevent two of her prize competition Labradors from being bit in the back yard where the training took place. This happened less than two months after the initial training.
Chances are that if you have a dog that does not have a high predator drive or is cautious, he will naturally avoid rattle snakes. However, if you have a high predator drive dog or a curious one, this training may not be effective at all. It is my opinion that the electronic collar training often sells a false sense of security to many owners.
Emotional Impact training
This is a method that was used before electronic collars were readily available. This method isn’t foolproof but it does have some potential benefits. It is free other than obtaining a snake. However, it is time consuming and should be repeated often.

This is how it works. The owner has the dog on leash (or off leash if the dog is well trained). The owner approaches any snake, it does not have to be a rattle snake. As soon as the owner is near the snake, s/he gives an academy awards winning performance of freaking out and running away from the snake. The more freaked out the better. The dog is rewarded and praised for leaving the area with the owner. This is repeated several times in areas where snakes would potentially be found. After repeatedly running away from snakes and freaking out, it is not uncommon for a dog to start to alert, back away and avoid snakes. I remember one yellow lab that barked and backed away from a piece of garden hose. Another dog stopped dead in his tracks and barked at a stick that was lying on a lawn.
Again, this will probably not work on all dogs, especially those with high predator drives but it won’t hurt to try.
Traditional Training
A dog can be trained to alert to the presence of a snake similar to how we train dogs to alert to any smell or object such as drugs. This is similar to teaching a dog a trick. This takes training experience and persistence but can be highly effective.
Rattle Snake Vaccinations
The Rattle Snake Vaccination is another option to consider. This is a two part vaccination given a month apart. The cost of the vaccination is approximately $21.00. The cost of rattlesnake bite treatment is approximately $1,100.00 – 1,200.00.
Dr. Kevin Raymond of Yokako Veterinarian Clinic in Ukiah recommends this for those dogs that are at high risk. Potentially dogs that are highly likely to encounter rattlesnakes. He does point out that there is approximately a 10% chance that the vaccine can cause an unfortunate abscess at the site of injection. Once Again, this isn’t the perfect option. Survival from a rattle snake bite depends on a number of factors. The amount of venom delivered, baby snakes are more potent then larger snakes, where the bite is delivered, age and health of the dog.

For more information concerning the vaccination and treatment for rattlesnake bites, go to This is a great website for a variety of veterinarian topics.
Dogs that I consider at high risk are the ones on hiking trails, live in areas where rattle snakes are plenty or have a high predator drive. If your dog will chase lizards, they will most likely go after a snake. Terriers come to mind.
In any event, if your dog is unlucky enough to be bitten by a rattle snake, even if he has had the vaccinations, it is vitally important that you seek veterinarian care immediately. Most dogs are bitten on their face and paws. I would prefer to be safe than sorry.
As I stated, there is not one particular method of safeguarding against rattlesnakes other that keeping your dog away from where they live. That simply isn’t realistic for those of us who live in rattlesnake areas. We can only make informed decisions and hope that luck is on our side.

local dog services

Dog Services in Ukiah
Country Animal Care Services            707-463-4427
City of Ukiah Animal Control               707-463-6262
Best in Show                                                          463-8400
Blue Ribbon                                                           485-8454
Ukiah Vet Hosp.                                                     462-4711
In Home Care
Nanny Nancy (her home or yours)                       515-8837
Casey’s K-9 Services                                             272-6776
Doggie Day Care
Dirty Dog Day Care                                               463-8800
Dog Walkers
Mayacama Industries                                           468-8824
Nanny Nancy                                                         513-5738
Casey’s K-9 Services                                             272-6776
Dog Socialization
Casey’s K-9 Services                                             272-6776
Nancy Skelly (puppy/young dogs)                       513-5738
Sunday morning dog walks (free)                       621-3647
Best in Show                                                          463-8400
Blue Ribbon                                                           485-8454
Dirty Dog                                                                463-8800
Lucky Dog                                                              468-8811
Town & Country                                            462-4466
Dog Training
Sallie Palmer (Well Mannered Mutts)                 621-3647
Nancy Skelly                                                          513-5738
Dirty Dog Day Care                                               463-8800
Town & Country                                            462-4466
Casey’s K-9 Services                                             272-6776
Blue Ribbon Pets                                                  485-8454

Colleen has years of experience. our dog will roam around free with other dogs and there is 24 hour supervision. Kings Kastle is conveniently located off Hwy 101 in Winsor,  It is a snap for pick up and drop off if you are travelling in that direction. Her specialty is social rehabilitation.

BEST IN SHOW in Ukiah. 707-463-8400. Located near the fairgrounds this is a traditional boarding facility with an exercise pen. Teri Vagt is excellent at what she does. She also boards cats (my cats stayed there and seemed very happy) and is an excellent groomer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cesar Millan

It Isn’t Always About the Dog

Recently, I was at the Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles to sign my new book, “Cesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog.” If you’ve ever been to The Grove, you know that it feels like walking into Disneyland or a fantasy version of a European village.. I suppose this is intentional, to make people calm and happy while they shop. That’s why it made something that happened that evening all the more memorable.

While I was taking questions from the people who had come to see me, a sudden, very powerful and very real moment intruded. One of the women in the audience broke down and started sobbing. I wasn’t sure what was happening as one of my human pack consoled her. Then, the woman finally said, “I just realized the problem isn’t my dog. It’s me.”

You’ve probably heard me say many times that I rehabilitate dogs and I train people, but it is amazing sometimes how long it takes for this simple truth to click with people. If you aren’t providing calm, assertive leadership then your dog will not follow you. I relearned this first hand when I was going through depression, and my pack abandoned me because I was not leading them.

One of the big reasons people wind up having problems with their dogs is that they started out with an incompatible dog. But in order to find the right match, you have to look at yourself and your pack first.

The first thing to ask: Is your family ready for a dog? If you have children, are they old enough to understand that a dog is not a toy? Will someone be home all the time, or is everyone off at work or school the whole day? Are all the adult members of the family in agreement about getting a dog? Is anyone allergic?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to examine your living space. Can you have dogs where you live, and are there any breed restrictions? Are you in a small apartment or a big house with a yard? Are there any rooms that would be off limits? If so, do you know how you would enforce the rules?

Next, and most important, you need to look at your household’s energy level. Is your family very active or are you all couch potatoes? Early risers or night owls? Finally, are there any emotional issues going on? Any family tension can upset a calm assertive balance, and a dog will pick up on such things. If the emotional energy is not right, then now is not the time to bring a new dog into the situation.

Finally, you need to examine your finances and determine whether you can afford a dog. Remember, you’re making a long-term commitment than can last ten or fifteen years, or longer. And you have to remember not only the regular, day-to-day expenses (such as food, toys, treats, grooming, and supplies), but the long term and unexpected costs — veterinary care, possible emergencies and, eventually, end of life issues.

Once you’ve considered all of these things, then it’s time to start looking for the dog that is compatible with you and your pack. Far too often, people have this idea that they’ll fall in love with the first dog they see at the shelter (and vice versa), then bring that dog home and everything will be wonderful and perfect.

That is the fantasy Disneyland version, and there’s a reason that people only visit Disneyland or The Grove. They’re nice places, but you can’t live there. Any relationship with a dog needs to be grounded in reality. That’s the “Honesty” part in “Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty.” Before you start looking for a dog — or when you start looking at the causes of your dog’s problems — you have to look at yourself first.