by Walker Parks | on September 20th, 2011 | in Books, Features, Media
Next week, wildlife photographer Art Wolfe releases a compilation of his favorite dog photos from around the world. With and introduction captions and intros by noted dog-book author Jeffrey Masson, Dogs Make Us Human ($30, Bloomsbury) illustrates the universal bond between humans and dogs.
“Our relationship with dogs is the single most important symbiotic relationship between humans and another species on the planet,” writes Masson in his introduction, “the most delightful and in many ways still the most mysterious.”
Wolfe’s photos span the globe. Dogs Make Us Human introduces readers to Kelpies herding sheep in New Zealand, sled dogs pulling sleds in the northern Cascades, and Yorkies in cute outfits. Put it on your coffee table.
by Steven Kotler | on August 1st, 2011 | in Small Furry Blog, Tidbits
Bob Barker spent almost 50 years on television and along the way used his considerable platform and resources to fight on behalf of animals. His alma mater, Drury University, got $2 million to establish a professorship for animal rights and an animal ethics course. In 2010 Barker gave the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society $2 million to fight whaling and $1 million to SHARK to fight pigeon shooting. And, despite being 87 years old, the crusade continues. let Last month he donated another $230,ooo to Chimp Haven in Keithville, La., to create a 200-acre chimp habitat. The initial residents are 5 chimps rescued from a medical experimentation facility in Texas. There’s only one thing to say: thank you Bob, very much appreciated!
by Joy Nicholson | on July 28th, 2011 | in Features, Tidbits
Well…when a dog is using it as a toy! The same goes for a roll of toilet-paper, or a door-knob, or a bottle-top, a Dream-Catcher, a feather-duster, or even an empty Evian bottle. Etc.
About 15 years ago a dear friend of mine was studying Buddhism. He happened to be around when my then foster-dog trotted out of the bathroom, holding a very chewed toilet-scrubber between his happy lips, taunting me with dips and play-bows to ‘come-n-get-it.’ I lunged for it, and my happy foster ran away, scrubber joyfully bobbing as he ran to and fro between closets, kitchen, living-room, laundry-room and bedroom. Of course the scrubber ended up in the bed–on my pillow.
“Gross!” I cried. “That’s just too gross for words! He has toys, why does he want to play with a toilet-scrubber! I mean, DisGusTing!”
My serious Buddhist friend said, with the kind of seriousness only a religious student can pull-off, ” To you, it cleans your waste-receptacle. But to him it’s a wonderfully, marvelously shaped toy. It has the right shape and size to mimic a stick, and truly fun filaments on the edges to gnaw on. Plus you left it on the floor, for him to find and play with. And the interesting thing is that you are BOTH right. But you have different perspectives on it.”
Though I hemmed and hawed and sputtered, ( I mean I bought the thing. I paid money for it as a toilet-scrubber) I couldn’t help but see my friend’s point. “Bought’ and ‘money’ didn’t mean anything to my foster dog, and never will to any dog. ‘Buying and money and general finance’ is a human issue. Shape and size and desirability and access meant everything to my foster. Utility meant and will always mean everything to a dog.
Needless to say, many things are kept high in our house now. Especially with a houseful of fosters. Anything at ground level is scanned for ‘dog fun factors’ ( would a dog want to chew it? Pee on it? Play tug with it? Bury it? If so, up it goes!) We humans at the RdC no longer see a toilet scrubber as ONLY a toilet scrubber, or a tennis shoe as only footwear, or a TV remote as a television-operator. Because to a dog, an object does not have the same meaning. Financial and practical terms, in the human sense, make NO sense to a dog.
Is it chewy, interesting, or potentially fun-making? That’s how a dog sees an object. Even a toilet-scrubber. Even a purse that a trendy human will spend ten thousand dollars to buy. ( Chewy! says the dog! Still smells like Crocodile and Cougar! Yum! I’ll hunt that, yesiree!)
The duality of objects never fails to fascinate me. To me, an empty potato chip bag inspires hideous remorse. ( Did I really eat the whole thing? In ten minutes! Oy Vey! I suck! Again!) To our fosters it inspires a good game of game of tug-o-war. ” Look what I got! This toy that crackles and smells really good! Yay! Catch me if you can!”
by Joy Nicholson | on July 28th, 2011 | in Tidbits
by Joy Nicholson | on July 28th, 2011 | in Tidbits
by Grayson Schaffer | on January 25th, 2011 | in Features, Media
Today, Outside magazine and New Belgium Brewery (Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, etc.) teamed up for the spring launch of Mighty Arrow. Get on over to their page ( http://bit.ly/mighty_arrow) and post your dog pics and videos. They’ll donate a dollar to the Humane Society for everyone who gets involved. Here’s the video Cooper and I made for our contribution.
by Ryan Krogh | on January 21st, 2011 | in Features, Media, Tidbits, Time Wasters
In three weeks, I’m bringing home a new pup—a yellow lab (girl) from Wildrose Kennels, in Oxford, Mississippi. Crates, water bowls, beds, food, insurance: that’s all been a cinch compared to coming up with a good name. Everyone I ask (and trust me, it’s been just about everyone) has a different opinion about what and how I should name my new girl. Considering that I’ll say her name something like 30,000 times over the course of her life, it’s a big decision. And I want it to have some sort of meaning. As a kid growing up in North Dakota, we named pets in one of three ways: after literary or movie characters, after flowers or trees, or after one of the booze bottles we found discarded in my uncle’s defunct chicken coop. (One notable stray was named 99 Bananas.)
But now when I mention that I’m getting a dog, people give me nothing but different answers and conflicting advice: name it a human name (“it’s original because it’s a human name”), a southern name (“because she’s from the south”), a southwest name, (“you live in Santa Fe, after all”). The only way to settle it, I’ve decided, is by a handy poll, below. I’ve included my childhood methods and offers that may work. And I’ve offered some names that I like, too. But the question remains: what’s the best method for naming your new dog.
by Grayson Schaffer | on September 27th, 2010 | in Features, Media, Small Furry Blog
So you think you’ve got big dog problems? Check out the small dog problems Steven Kotler, author of A Small Furry Prayer, which hits bookshelves this month, deals with on a daily basis. Kotler, who also wrote West of Jesus, and his wife, fellow author Joy Nicholson, moved from Los Angeles to Chimayo, New Mexico, a few years back to start Rancho de Chihuahua (www.ranchodechihuahua.org) as a sanctuary for small dogs. Amazingly, they’ve managed to preserve both their sanity and their relationship. The book is a sidelong look at the world of dog rescue as told by a novice—Kotler—who fell into animal activism by falling in love with an activist. If you’ve ever thought the world dog rescuers live in is probably a kooky place, Kotler and the bazaar culture of northern New Mexico don’t disappoint. When you put 30 chihuahuas and their L.A.-transplant rescuers in the black-tar heroin capital of America, crazy things are bound to happen. When I asked Kotler whether all of the stories—from the coyote that wanted to play with his pack to the altruistic lesbian dogs—he responded: Not only are these stories all true, but there are a dozen others that are even crazier. I didn’t include those because nobody would have believed them.
Read an excerpt of the book in Outside’s October issue and then buy it
by Grayson Schaffer | on August 12th, 2010 | in Features, Media
We’re headed to Vail August 21 &22 for our next Adventure- and Gun-Dog Seminar, based out of the Tivoli Lodge. Sponsors are undwriting most of the costs for this event, so it’s only 25 bucks. Round up your doggies and get to Vail! Call Cathy Stewart at (662) 234-5788 to sign up.
by Grayson Schaffer | on June 7th, 2010 | in Features, Media
Mike and I spent the weekend doing Adventure Dog demonstrations at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. Here’s the daily round-up of the games, courtesy of Serac Adventure Films. —Grayson
by Grayson Schaffer | on March 23rd, 2010 | in Features, Time Wasters
Not exactly a training tip for this week, but we had a lot of fun figuring out how to strap a camera onto Cooper without having it bounce around.
by Grayson Schaffer | on December 2nd, 2009 | in Features, Media, Time Wasters
This one’s a chain of the first half of a retrieve, a drop it, and a go lie down. Getting him to reliably hit the bin with the can is the only thing that takes some time. To shape that behavior, I used a clicker, put the bin next to him, and clicked any time the can touched the bin. Then click for the can actually landing in the bin. Once he had that skill down, it was just a matter of adding the retrieve and the down to either end.
by Chance Googling | on November 13th, 2009 | in Books, Media, Web Sites
by Chance Googling | on November 3rd, 2009 | in Media, Web Sites
Reporters never get tired of this storyline and people never tire of arguing over it. Are pit bulls the problem or are their owners? Animal Planet launches a new series called Pit Bulls & Parolees. Newsweek reports.
by Sue Barns | on October 30th, 2009 | in Features, Media, Time Wasters
Links to some of my favorite clicker training videos and people:
by Grayson Schaffer | on October 20th, 2009 | in Features, Media
Danger and I spent last week with Allison Otto and the Serac Adventure Film School making a movie about Danger’s attempts to become a tracking dog. Here’s Allison’s excellent movie. Please share it with your friends.
by Chance Googling | on October 7th, 2009 | in Media, Time Wasters
The Wall Street Journal reported today that Bo Obama left the Pres a little present in the aisle on Air Force One. Enjoy.
by Chance Googling | on September 1st, 2009 | in Time Wasters
Her name was Chanel. She was 21, or 147 in dog years. AP story, here.
by Walker Parks | on August 28th, 2009 | in Tidbits
Among the gifts left behind by the late senator is Bo Obama, the Whitehouse dog. Here he is in the Oval Office.
by Grayson Schaffer | on August 25th, 2009 | in Web Sites
Mike and the gang at Wildrose have launched a new program to take what they’ve learned training hunting dogs with positive reinforcement and applying it to adventure dogs for all of the sports we love. In the coming months, we’ll be showing you how to heel your dog with a bike, steady him in a canoe, and stay calmly on the bank while you fish. We hope you’ll follow along and continue to send us your training questions and discoveries. The new Adventure Dog Certification page is here.
by Chance Googling | on August 24th, 2009 | in Media, Tidbits
A new study out from MIT suggests that brain cells can only learn from success and not failure. This might help to explain why dogs are capable of learning complex problem-solving from positive reinforcement drills, but not through avoidance.
by Grayson Schaffer | on August 17th, 2009 | in Tidbits
Ran into this gentleman while getting dog food the other day. His name is Leyton Cougar, and he frequents the same tailor as Crocodile Dundee, Snake Pliskin, and, no doubt, other men who share a “special bond with animals.”
Some things I noticed from this encounter: 1) You still ask, “Is that a wolf?” even though your primal instincts are saying, Dude, that’s a wolf. 2) Yes, they really do grin. 3) They stare right through you with those yellow eyes.
His wolf sanctuary is west of Grants, New Mexico.
by Grayson Schaffer | on July 10th, 2009 | in Tidbits
Two cool updates to share. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been shooting our post pictures with an iPhone. Now the obvious next step: mobile uploads. In the coming weeks Danger will cutting his teeth with the talented and capable search dogs of Los Alamos, New Mexico’s Mountain Canine Corps. Follow along with us.