How to Use a Dog Park Like an Intelligent Person

As a service to the dog-owning public, I have devised this list of general dog park rules that all people should adhere to.

I said I would post this on Friday, and then I didn’t. I will not make blog promises anymore.

background image, “at the dog park” by michael jurogue johnson.


Is Crating Cruel?

I work 8 hours a day in an office. I get to walk down halls and use the loo, but the walls are the color of a dead man’s flesh and there is no window in my department. At the end of the day I feel the way I did when I accidentally stayed up ’til 3am watching TV reruns in my college dorm.

Is that how my crated dog feels? She has a big wire crate that I put in view of two windows during the day so she can get some sunshine on her paws. But if I can barely tolerate my semi-mobile daytime office cage, how can she bear her much more cramped one?

From time to time I hear people say that leaving a dog in a crate while you are at work full time is unfair to the dog. I guess I get where they’re coming from (see opening paragraph), but I also think they’re delusional.

I asked my dog’s trainer if I am a terrible owner. The trainer put it to me in a logical way. When I am gone, my dog jumps on counters and chews expensive, inedible things. Besides the fact that she could harm herself, there’s the more likely issue that she will develop bad habits. Forty hours a week is more time than any dog needs to irreversibly fall in love with swallowing sofa cushions. Bad habits are just middle men. Use the crate, and you cut them out and can skip straight to teaching your dog good habits.

Day in, day out crate dwelling might not make my one year old dog happy now, but in the 10-15 year picture of her life, it’s fine.She has proven that she can’t be left outside the wire grid (hello, new carpet! hello, new blinds! goodbye, shattered, mirror! goodbye, grandmother’s jewelry!), but dogs tend to grow out of the destruction phase. Maybe next year, we can ditch the crate. Until then, here’s to not forming bad habits.

image, todd selby.

Dogs in Need of Space

Which is true?

A.) Friendly Dog + Friendly Dog = Good Thing

B.) Friendly Dog + Friendly Dog = Bad Thing

Both. Both are true. It depends on the dogs, and sometimes just on the  day.

I am elated a very thoughtful dog walker is making a push to get dog owners to redefine their boundaries. DINOS walk among us, in every city, of every breed, just about on every street. DINOS are dogs in need of space. Look at this picture. Pin it. Share it. Print it.

DINOS really are everywhere, so why are they such an overlooked group of dogs? I am tempted to suggest that as our society receives more and more education about dog socialization (a good thing!), it also gets saturated by the idea without the benefit of context (a bad thing!). I don’t think people in the ’50s were as crazed about dogs meeting other dogs as people are today.

Socialization is wonderful, duh. But unless people do the research themselves, they don’t get a lot of follow up, e.g., how to socialize a fearful or aggressive pup, and also, how not to socialize your dog.

And so Notes From A Dog Walker is filling a niche for us. You do not socialize your dog by letting it run up to strangers and/or their dogs all willy-nilly. Or if your dog is the one that can’t handle strange dogs in its face, it’s A-OK to ask other dog owners to respect your space and leave you the eff alone.

One more link for good measure, because you need to read about DINOS and their nemeses, MDIFs.

image 1, unknown. tell me if you know. image 2, photo lab pet photography.

I’d Buy Ham & Honeysuckle

An open invitation to all manufacturers and/or ambitious Etsy bakers:
Please make this a reality. I think dogs everywhere should be able to eat nutritious treats that make them poop flowers.*


Flavor suggestions: Ham and Honeysuckle, Blueberry and Bluebonnet, Sweet Potato and Sweet Pea, Daisy and Duck.

*Do not think you can get away with this if you live in an apartment complex. You still have to clean up after your dog so your neighbors don’t ruin their shoes in the 1am darkness. Thx.