Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Mischief: April 30 2012

The park that Elka and I visit the most often also boasts some tennis courts.

Elka finds this fascinating, of course, to see an object of her acute interest to be used in such a different manner from the one to which she is accustomed. It's especially amusing for me when summer is in full swing, as there are apparently group tennis lessons for children, so not only are there lots of tennis balls, but also lots of kids, some of whom are using comically large tennis balls, at least until they get the hang of it, I guess.

So, at the park, Elka stared like a creeper at a Japanese couple, who (to my relief) seemed amused by her, not intimidated or upset. In hindsight, it might have been cute if I had her "bow". Or maybe it would not have been and it's good I didn't. The world may never know. We also sometimes see a pair of Indian ladies who are literally swathed in white cloth and always walking. While they never want to pet Elka or actually interact with her, we've seen them enough that they smile and gesture hello, and this last time, one of them blew Elka a kiss and said hello to her too.

But, international relations aside, that wasn't the little bit of mischief. Or perhaps shenanigans? It was innocuous, certainly, just a bit of fun!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Uggie, inaugural Golden Collar winner, lands a book deal

You remember the kerfluffle over the Golden Collar awards, with Martin Scorsese writing an impassioned letter about Blackie the Doberman? And how Uggie the Jack Russel Terrier from The Artist won anyway, which makes me think the whole thing was rigged to begin with?

(Okay, maybe not, but I can't help but feel that despite the Blackie write-in, she still wasn't given fair consideration. Call me paranoid, but that's what I think.)

Well, Uggie has apparently landed himself a book deal. That's right. Uggie's memoir is slated to come out this October. I mean, somebody else is writing the book for him, as "acting" abilities aside, he is in fact still a dog. I'm not sure he even knows as many words as Elka, but I still wouldn't rely upon her to write a book. Heck, I don't even let her blog.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Wedding for Dogs?

I'm not sure what's going on in California.

Scruffy Rubin and Snickers Carter tied the knot, in an event to the tune of $5000. The bride wore a couture dress, Snickers had a tux and in lieu of gifts, the couple asked that donations be made to The Orphan Pet Oasis Humane Society of the Desert in Palm Springs (What an acronym that must be: OPOHSDPS. It might even be a key of Solomon.)

Oh yeah. And Scruffy and Snickers are little dogs.

Photo by Wade Byars for the Desert Sun

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vicktory Dogs: 5 years later

April 25 was the five  year anniversary for the rescue of 51 dogs from Bad Rap kennels, the property in Virginia owned by Michael Vick. Considering the man in question is already back playing football, I'd guess a lot of people find his debt to society paid.

About a year ago, on April 24, I reviewed Jim Gorant's book The Lost Dogs. Frankly, the case still makes me feel ill. That Vick has another multimillion dollar contract makes me ill. That he doesn't seem to be sorry for what he does, but rather sorry that he got caught...well, enough about him.

Because so many of those dogs have been successful. They're therapy dogs. They have their Canine Good Citizen titles. They're in happy homes, with families who love them. Apparently they're referred to by some as Vicktory Dogs, and I like it. It shows what can be accomplished with care and consideration.

As I've said before,  I can't in good conscience speak out against breed prejudices that target the Doberman without giving pit bull prejudice the time of day. Dogs are dogs. These dogs are pit bulls, these dogs were bred for fighting, these dogs were raised in horrible isolated conditions where the people they  interacted with were not kind. Today, these dogs are successful in home settings. These dogs interact with other dogs. Dogs are individuals. These dogs were individually given a chance, and I'm very glad, because it sets the precedent.

You can read more about them on and also on the Bad Rap web page, here:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Doberman: Size Matters

A lot of advertisements for Dobermans list their puppies and dogs as "oversized", "king Dobermans", "superior size" and even "warlock". These things are meant as selling points, suggesting that bigger is better, suggesting a certain quality comes along with such things. A lot of people buy into the notion of having a "big scary Doberman" as more intimidating, stronger, etc.

There is a breed standard for a reason, though. The making of the breed took years, and size was certainly a consideration when it came to the Doberman's athletic and working ability.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Liebster Blog!

Oh boy, are we in trouble.

Well, I'm in trouble. It isn't Elka's fault.

You see, waaaaay back on January 9, Pennypup from Dobermann Daze was so kind as to give us the Liebster Blog award. I'm wondering if she's regretting it at this point! I don't recall what it was I was doing in January that was sooooo important that made me forget to acknowledge this, and pass it on.

But wait, it gets better. Or worse.

So then, on March 5, Katherine at Life With Arie gave it to us as well!

I thanked both lovely bloggers in the comments on their entries, and in March, I even said "Gee, somebody gave me this, I haven't gotten to it" and still didn't get to it! Geeze, they're going to take my stripes or something. I really am sorry, fellow dog bloggers (which we may or may not want to shorten to "dloggers", but I'm not sure it'll catch on). I do appreciate you! So, with no further delay:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Slight changes!

Frequently, once I get used to the look of something, that's the way it stays. So, not that I thought I was a L33T Pro blog designer once I did my very first layout....I just like staying in a comfortable rut. "Good enough" is sometimes the way things stay.

I even changed my Twitter icon. It used to just be a cut-down version of the original blog header

I changed it to a newer picture (though still one taken in my kitchen!)

If you really dig this picture, it's also available as a button on The Elka Almanac Zazzle store!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Flower Power Fundraiser update

Six days left to make a purchase for the Doberman Assistance Network Flower Power Fundraiser.

As of yesterday (April 20), the total was at $612, our of a goal of $1000. That's pretty close! April 27 is the cutoff for purchases, and really, I think that making the goal is possible!

The Doberman Assistance Network's mission statement is as follows:

The Doberman Assistance Network (DAN) mission is to help provide a second chance to Dobermans in urgent need of rescue.  DANs services include, but are not limited to, pulling, vetting, transporting, fostering and placing rescued Dobermans into an approved, reputable rescue group. 

Quoted from

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rocking the Fanny Pack

Well, I finally did it. I bought a treat training pouch. That's what we in the dog world call it, anyway.

To the rest of the world, it's totally a fanny pack.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is My Doberman Smarter Than Your Honor Student?

I confess, I have one of those magnets on my car. They have them for a variety of breeds, which doesn't seem fair, but that's the way it goes. It reads "My Doberman is smarter than your honor student!" and has a head shot of a red Doberman on it. I couldn't not get it, really.

In Why a Doberman? and Why a Doberman? Redux, I talk about how very smart Dobermans are supposed to be, and how smart I think Elka is. I know it must sound like "mommy pride"; we've all encountered the parent who regaled you with tales of their tot's deeds of derring-do until you could have cheerfully stabbed them, or at least shouted. Part of the reason I started this blog was so I could be dog-proud on the Internet instead of alienating friends, family, and coworkers, who are stuck with me and so I'd prefer they not want to stab me.

I do try to keep it in check, but it is hard not to brag sometimes. But nobody likes a showoff, right?

So, what am I talking about when I talk about canine intelligence? And Doberman intelligence?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: Soldier Dogs, by Maria Goodavage

I anticipated the publication of Soldier Dogs for a long time. Not only am I a working dog nerd (which yes, extends to military working dogs) but I also read daily, and Maria Goodavage is the news editor there. When I didn't win Dogster's giveaway for the book, I ordered it through the library to check out and looked forward to its arrival. I'm leaning towards buying it; I really did quite like it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Mischief April 16 2012

This one is an interesting bit of mischief.

Lately, Elka will not "go lay down". Or she will, but she'll come right back. Or she'll pace about like she's looking for the perfect spot, and then give up, imagining you've changed your mind about what you told her to do. You'll excuse me if I feel this is frustrating.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog the Change, April 15, 2012

Well, I daresay my Blog the Change platform is the same as it was back in January.  Train your dog! Your life, and hers, will be better.

I don't know a lot of dog owners, at least not to talk to at length. I try to "spread the gospel" anyway, as it were. One library patron got a puppy a few months back, and lately has come in describing how the puppy is chewing everything up. Oh, we've dealt with that, haven't we? I recommended feeding her only out of Kongs, which would contain her regular meals but mixed with a bit of yogurt and freezing, to use up that mental energy. Apparently the puppy does well in other realms, with sitting nicely for her meals, and retrieving. 

One of my friends, when visiting somebody else, taught the dog in that household "touch". Another friend's dog knows "roll over", which Elka does not, by the by. Any time Elka is on her back, it is on her own terms, and it's typically on a couch and on an object of her vigorous affection.

"Touch" and "roll over" might seem like silly tricks. "Touch", however, can lead to other things, like closing doors or cabinets, or send aways in agility and other dog sports."Roll over" might be pure fun, but you all know that I think trick training is valuable in and of itself. When you do trick training, you're still spending time with your dog and bonding, and working together. When Elka and I trick train, it's also typically when I bust the clicker out, and she's overjoyed to see that happens. The clicker means treats, and Elka loves treats. She also kind of likes getting something right, which is nice. 

Elka's "drop it" is still quite nice. She had a piece of candy in her mouth that somebody had let fall on the floor, unnoticed (a Sour Patch Kid). My fiance said "drop it", and she did immediately. I'm so very proud of that in her.

Dogs that you spend time with aren't bored. Dogs that you train don't tend to get cast aside and end up in shelters. Rescue, maybe, because sometimes home situations occur that are unavoidable. I think it was in Playtraining Your Dog that Patricia Gail Burnham said something about how people will sell their conformation champions, but asking somebody to sell their titled Utility Dog? No way, José. Granted, there's also a degree of training that goes into conformation dogs, and I don't know that owners give them up that easily either, but every owner is different, and competitors may be in it for different things, to be sure.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Liberty's Attachment

Many of you have commented on Elka's snazzy new collar, and thanks very  much. I'll try to do a post just about the collar, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to take pictures that show it off!  The collar is from, a site that people on Doberman Talk have collars from all the time, it seems. Gorgeous work, and very reasonably priced. It never fails to shock me how much one can be charged for a dog collar!

Another Ella's Lead purchase, though, was Liberty's Attachment. It's a simple enough thing, but I never thought of it until I saw it on the site.

 You see, there's always a possibility of a collar failing (though I fail to see how this one will!) or a harness failing, and you don't want to be left holding a leash but no dog. So, you attach the attachment (I know, right?) to the collar, and to the leash. You attach the leash to the harness. And then you're good to go, mind at ease. They also have Oscar's Attachment, which is utility rope instead of leather.

Of course, before EzyDog sent me one, I didn't have a harness for Elka either. But now I do, and we're very happy with it!

Don't worry, I adjusted the harness after I took the picture, so that it would be straight again. Elka doesn't seem to notice at all, whether the harness is straight or crooked. It doesn't seem to rub her at all either, which is nice.

Friday, April 13, 2012

At Ease, Sgt. Rex

Well, I'm about a week behind with the news, but I figured the information was still valuable to those of you following at home.

Sgt. Rex is home with Megan Leavey now! Last Friday, Good Good Friday (as the Philosopher Mouse called it!), Corporal Leavey went and picked him up.

“I’m so happy,” Leavey said on Wednesday, Rex’s first full day living in Rockland County. “I was nervous at first that maybe he wouldn’t recognize me, but it was like no time has passed.”

Awesome. And by all accounts, Sgt. Rex is settling in just fine. So, do you think that they call him Rex, or Sarge, or what?

Stories like this are why I support the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. I hope you do too, and write to your representatives.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rosie, puppy mill survivor, home seeker

This is Rosie.

Rosie is currently in Quebec, at Hopeful Hearts dog rescue. She was a dog seized from Paws "R" Us kennel, a Humane Society International operation that removed 500 dogs from a property and shut the business down. For good, I hope. Rosie apparently is positive for Von Willebrand's Disease, which essentially means that her blood does not clot as it ought to. Many Dobermans are carriers of Von Willebrand's, meaning they have the gene (which there is a proven test for, by the way), but are not affected by it. Being affected requires both copies of the gene, and complicates things like whelping (I would assume) and surgeries. Rosie there has been spayed, so one might assume that Hopeful Hearts took measures necessary to make sure that this was a safe procedure for her, probably by having banked blood available for Rosie in case she bled too much.

According to the Hopeful Hearts description, Rosie is a friendly and playful girl, and "Nosey Rosie" is apparently her nickname. A nosey Doberman, imagine a thing like that! She must be thrilled to finally be out of her puppy mill crate and out in the world, seeing and smelling all those things that she may not have even heard previously. The adoption fee for Rosie is $150 (I assume Canadian dollars, as that's where she is, but I'm not entirely sure) and if you're interested in adopting her, the email contact is .

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another Not So Tasty Tuesday: April 10

From the Diamond Pet Foods website:
Diamond Pet Foods is voluntarily recalling Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond manufactured products are affected.  

I do applaud the Diamond Pet Foods company for taking the initiative to have a voluntary recall (unlike Waggin' Train and other chicken jerky companies, which have not).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

One Year Blogoversary!

Funny to think that it's been a year already!

And yet, here we are. I thought it would be fun to kind of do a "year in review" roundup (though different from the New Year's  post!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Doberman: Color

Elka is a black and rust Doberman.

shocking, right?

You  may or may not know, the Doberman breed comes in four "acceptable" colors: black and rust, red and rust, blue and rust, and fawn and rust. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America has a page, and chart, on Color Inheritance, if you're interested. I remember drawing those squares back in seventh grade science class! In short, though, Black is the dominant color. Red is the other primary color (for lack of a better word. Black is dominant over red, however).  Blue is a dilution of the Black Dobermans, and Fawn is a dilution of the Red (sometimes referred to as "brown", depending on who you talk to).

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Mischief April 2 2012

This Monday's mischief was not done by me, or Elka, or anybody in our house, in fact.

This Monday's mischief maker is Nylabone.

That's right. Nylabone has made a rubber stick. That they're charging $8.97 for (at Wal Mart, anyway). I understand that dogs may suffer injuries chewing on real live wooden sticks that they find in the dangerous Outside. And I would buy a delightful rubber stick, were it not nine freaking dollars.