Category Archives: Laurie Darroch

Beyond the Bark: Decoding Dog Communication

chatterbox bergesonBy Laurie Darroch

Although dogs are known for their bark as an obvious way to communicate, they have a myriad of other ways they “talk” to us. Dogs share their feelings and needs in their own unique ways. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box to interpret their meanings.

This poem, written from the dog’s point of view, shares the many different ways dogs communicate with the people in their lives.

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Five Funny Things Dogs Do to “Help Out”

dogs help herb neufeldBy Laurie Darroch

If you look at the world from a dog’s point of view, their antics begin to make more sense. Dogs are loyal to levels that are often amazing. They are also anxious to be involved and helpful. So, try to be more flexible and open minded in your thinking when you try to figure out their behavior.  According to them, they are just trying to help.

Clean Up

Dogs are great little vacuum cleaners. They are always eager to clean up any bit of spilled food and will sit right under your feet during meal time to vacuum up any dropped bits. They particularly love outdoor eating at a picnic or barbecue. They help keep the ants away by getting to the spilled food first.

Dogs love babies in high chairs who toss food around. That makes them feel extra helpful providing both a child care and clean up service simultaneously. If you spill something with liquid, sauce or cream, dogs are instant mops, lapping up the spill before you even have a chance to clean it up. They often provide this bonus service with a wagging tail.

Often forward thinkers, very eager dogs will quietly walk under the table and put their head on your lap or feet, to catch the food before it reaches the ground. If you happen to put your hand down with something in it and that bit of food falls directly into their mouth, that is even better.

When you are all done eating, they will happily lick off any dirty plates they can reach when you are busy doing something else. They just think you forgot to finish cleaning up, and are happy to chip in and cut down on your work.

Your dog will gladly help you clean out the open bag of CANIDAE Pure Heaven Biscuits you mistakenly left sitting on the coffee table. They want to prevent it from falling on the floor and making a mess that you will have to clean up later.

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Baily, the Baja Horse Ranch Dog

Baily 3By Laurie Darroch

Baily the Baja Horse Ranch Dog was born in a home in Brentwood, California, a suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a far cry from her current residence on a growing desert horse ranch near the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

When my friend Lynn adopted Baily as a small puppy, it was obvious this Australian Shepherd/Queensland Heeler mix was a different kind of dog, meant for a very special active life. She was meant to be a working dog. Beginning at six weeks old, her owner began training the energetic dog.

Baily is not a dog who likes solitude. She needs to be with her people and her animals. From the beginning she went to work with her human companions and was rarely left alone. The high energy and highly intelligent dog needs something to do to keep all that energy focused in a productive, healthy way.

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When Should You Start Training a Puppy?

puppy train michael gilBy Laurie Darroch

The moment you bring home that adorable ball of fluff, you are committed to a lifetime of supervision and “parenting” this new family member. Puppies are like human toddlers in many ways. They get into everything, explore the world around them, and are full of boundless energy. Training is an ongoing process, and it is best to start early and quickly before bad habits take hold.

The sweet, gentle gnawing at your finger and on your belongings may not be as appealing when the puppy grows up. A tiny puppy jumping up on you may feel like nothing, but when that little dog becomes big and is jumping on visitors or knocking things out of your hand in his exuberance, it is not so pleasant.

In the early weeks, a puppy will spend a lot of time sleeping. They play hard and fall asleep quickly, often on the spot. As they grow, they need less sleep and have plenty of energy that needs to be vented in acceptable ways.

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Tips for Choosing Between a Small and Large Breed Dog

unused by austin kirk 2By Laurie Darroch

Breed and personality are very important things to consider when adopting a dog, but even the most perfect choice may turn out to be problematic if the dog is the wrong size for your living situation. Here are some tips to help you decide between a large breed dog and a small one.

Home Size and Location

A large dog can live in a small place, but their temperament may be a determining factor in whether or not that will work for you. Some dogs are very high energy, and the confinement of a small home or apartment may find you tripping over each other and quickly losing patience.

If you don’t have a fenced yard where your dog can run freely, you will have to go on multiple walks every day. If you’re not willing to take a big dog out daily for a good exercise period, a large breed may not be the choice for you. A dog walker or exerciser might be an option, if your budget can accommodate the expense.

A small dog can find more running and playing space inside than a large breed can. A big dog also requires more space for sleeping arrangements, crate size, and just general moving around space in your home.

If you are located near parks, beaches, dog exercise areas or good walking places, this may help you determine what size of dog you want to get.

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Beach Play Ideas for Dogs

beach steve stearnsBy Laurie Darroch

With all the open space, the beach is the perfect place to take your dog for an invigorating outing to get fresh air and exercise. Even in cooler months, the non-water activities at the beach can be a great way to burn off excess dog energy and provide refreshing outdoor play time. If you have kids in your home, this is a fun outing for the whole family and good bonding time with your dog.

During hot weather, pick cooler times of the day to go for a beach outing with your dog. Early mornings or evenings are best on excessively hot days. That’s when the sand is more tolerable for paws to walk on. Going at off times also makes it easier to play on the beach with fewer people there.

Some beaches allow dogs to roam freely. Others require all dogs to be on a leash. You can adapt any of the following activities for play on or off the leash. For play that involves running, if you are not physically able to run yourself, with the use of an extra-long lead instead of a standard shorter leash, your dog can still run and play.

Bring toys that are heavy enough to throw, even if the beach is windy. Include toys that can float if your dog goes in the water to play.

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