Saturday, October 29, 2011

My First Giveaway! The Puppy Diaries, by Jill Abramson, book on CD

I'm having my first giveaway. Are you excited? I am!

See, I've been reviewing books and things because well, I read books and use things. I figured putting the information out there would be useful and entertaining to people. Well, I reviewed the book copy of The Puppy Diaries by Jill Abramson the other day, and then got a very nice email from Esther at Macmillan audio, asking if I wanted to do a giveaway of the audio version!  I said, essentially, "Yes, of course!"

So, how do you enter?  Comment below about one of my blog posts that you've read.

 This is my first giveaway, so I'm keeping it simple. Depending on the number of entries, I'll write 'em on pieces of paper and Elka will pick. If it's more than I want to write (or more than I think will feasibly make sense for that kind of stunt), then I'll use to keep it fair. The contest will run from today (Saturday, October 29) 'til 11:59 on Tuesday evening (October 31).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Command Clinic: Drop it

I've put off this particular command clinic because, thinking back, I couldn't actually remember how I taught Elka "drop it". It's a cue that she certainly knows, and obeys, as I mentioned in this post, when she dropped the remains of a turkey sandwich she'd found in the park. If I was already eating a turkey sandwich and told to spit it out, I don't know that I would. So, good Elka, really!

So, "drop it" is important. It can keep your socks hole-free, keep a game of tug civil and controlled, protect your fingers while playing fetch, and keep your dog from consuming hazardous things like rocks and bottle caps and the like.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: The Puppy Diaries, by Jill Abramson

Around the same time I got Elka, the New York Times had a near-weekly column called "The Puppy Diaries", about raising a Golden Retriever puppy named Scout. At the time, I didn't have this blog, a mistake I'm kicking myself for now. Near-weekly guaranteed comment (and thus perhaps traffic) on the New York Times? Say it ain't so!

But anyway, the book of the columns, with some things removed and some holes filled in, has been published.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Make a Doberman Mean

I seem to be a landing pad for the title question, "how to make a Doberman mean?", so I thought I'd give a few pointers.

First, you do your best to select a breeder who you think cares about the breed. You pick a breeder who health tests, who lets you see the puppies, who lets you see the sire and dam, and who provides you with a pedigree.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In the News: Return to Sender?

I read this article first on October 12, and put off blogging about it. I really hoped that I would see a followup article somewhere, but so far, that has not been the case.

The basics: a German Shepherd, imported to Washington state by a broker was bought by a man in Long Island (flown to LaGuardia). The buyer had the dog, Emmi, for only a couple of days before he realized he could not control her. So he sent her back. The seller said the buyer broke contract, and left the dog overnight in kennel before going to retrieve her.

(picture that accompanied NY Times article. Not sure if it's Emmi.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

How Noisy is Your Walk?

I've mentioned before the number of barking dogs that Elka and I pass on the way to our customary park. That's a pretty transient noise, though, nothing we worry much about anymore. Elka can and will consistently ignore the barking in the favor of performing various cues.

Once to the park, though, it's really very quiet. Occasionally there's a single bark to be heard, or kids playing in the pool or on the playground, but other than that, it's rather nature-y. Which is very nice, truth be told. Relaxing for me, few distractions for Elka, and we go home happy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Blog: October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Today, we have a guest blog by Emily, from Doodling Dogs! October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, but I got Elka from a breeder, and felt inadequate trying to discuss adoptions. Emily happily took the helm to talk about adopting her lovely Leila!

The American Humane Association has dedicated the month of October to Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.  There are an estimated 6-8 million dogs and cats entering shelters each year with 3-4 million being euthanized.  The purpose of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is to increase the number of dogs adopted from shelters each month and to bring awareness to the many pro’s of adopting from a shelter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lie to Me

I've been watching the show Lie to Me recently, on Netflix. It's definitely worth a view, if you get a change, and it's yet another wonderful show that has been cancelled.

It's interesting in that literally any story can be told there. There are mysteries and murders and all sorts of things. And then it got me thinking; humans lie to one another, but do animals?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Review: Reaching the Animal Mind, by Karen Pryor

It took me a long time to read a Karen Pryor book (though not as long as it did to read a Temple Grandin book, geeze). I'm glad that I finally did, and that I read her most recent book, Reaching the Animal Mind. It's a longer book than her perennial classic, Don't Shoot the Dog, but includes, I feel, more information, and more valuable information.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Silly Saturday

This has nothing to do with Dobermans. It's just a picture that makes me laugh and laugh every time I see it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cesar is not King

As you may  have noticed, I'm something of a book nerd.

As you also may have noticed, I prefer non-coercive dog training. I do not like slip leads, I do not like physical corrections. I do not like them, Sam I am, and I don't feel that most dogs learn well through them.

So, I see people recommending Mr. Millan's books. I see his ads. I see them retweeting videos from his web site. I see them talking about episodes from his show. And really, I'm sad that he gets that much time from people; that much face time, air time, text time, whatever. I'm kind of sad that I'm addressing it here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In the News Addendum

I posted, on Saturday, about a Doberman puppy saving a drowning man. At the time, the article I'd read didn't have the puppy's name, nor did it have a picture of the heroic bloke.

Now, though, I have more! According to this article, the Doberman puppy's name is Wilson. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a picture of him with his owner, Richard Absalom:

Good work to both of them! Mr. Absalom is a volunteer life saver anyway, and it looks like his lovely Doberman pup  is now as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tennis Balls: (dark horse) Contestant Number 13

I've come to realize that I've pretty much exhausted my available tennis ball variety.  I don't go out of town much, and don't much want to pay shipping that's 1. beyond what a single tennis ball is worth to me and 2. for something that Elka is inevitably going to destroy. There's waste, and then there's exorbitant waste, and we don't want that.

So,  I branched out a tiny bit.

This is the Everpet brand, same as Contestant Number 8, but while I so far haven't been able to find a regular sized EverPet tennis ball (they've only got itty bitt ones at Dollar General, and the Tennis Bones), this time they had a big one!

Wordless Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's the Time of the Season

It's only October 10, but the leaves are all changing. The hills are slowly going red and yellow, instead of their summertime green.  It gets cold at night (and we've already had at least one frost), but it's still warm during the day, for the most part, and Elka and I have been getting our pre-winter park walking in still.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In the news: Doberman puppy saves drowning man

I'm already sold on the Doberman breed, I know. I don't need any convincing that they're truly remarkable dogs, fantastic companions, and exceedingly smart.  So, I was intrigued but unsurprised when I saw a Yahoo! news story about a Doberman puppy saving a man's life.

Elka, not the hero puppy, at around the same age but probably older.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Take Responsibility

Dogs, like kids, don't know what you don't teach them.

Imagine this: You're in a public place (say, a library) and there's a kid running around, climbing on things, and yelling or screaming. The caretake is either not in sight, or following the child around at a much slower pace, occasionally saying things like "Billy, no, come here, you can't do that here, Billy, come on. You're in so much trouble, mister, we're going to have a talk."

Now imagine a dog doing it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Free advice Thursday

All my advice here is free.  All of my advice in person is free, too (at least 'til I can call myself a canine professional).  Sometimes I just can't help giving advice, really, but there are times I keep my mouth shut (if you can believe it), for various reasons. Sometimes it's safer for Elka and I to just move on, sometimes I recognize the person from about town and know that they won't listen to any advice I have to give, and sometimes I'm in the car driving by, and think it's super sketchy to pull over and leap from a vehicle to hand out free dog-handling advice (I'd need a cape and a mask for that).  So. I'm  unbottling all of that advice that I kept to myself, and sharing it here with you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Help Stop Puppy Mills!

For those of you who are stateside, there's a petition on the White House website to stop puppy mills.

To prevent the suffering of dogs and puppies in puppy mills, will the President act to close the current regulatory loophole and require large-scale, commercial breeders who sell puppies online and directly to the public to be covered by USDA’s Animal Welfare Act regulations, including minimum standards for humane care and treatment? This will help to protect consumers from unknowingly buying sick puppies from inhumane facilities and help to eliminate the horrible conditions in large-scale puppy mills. 

You need to create an account to sign the petition, but it is literally your name, an email address, and your zip code. They then send you an email to "complete your account", and you click that link to go back to the web site, where you can then sign the petition.

The petition apparently runs 'til October 23, and the goal was 5,000 people, but the current total is 11,033 signatures. Double the hoped-for response? That seems promising.

So, sign the petition today, and perhaps it will make a difference.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We Won a Dogster Holiday Coat Contest!

Exciting news here at the Elka Almanac; we won a holiday dog coat from!

It's purple, not Elka's favorite color (or Jim's, for that matter), but it's fleecy and it fits her and it seems to get instantly warm!   Considering how cold it got over the weekend, and how it's in the high 40's this evening, I popped Elka into the coat to take a few pictures to share with you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My 7 Links

Thanks to Dawn, who writes afFurmation, for nominating me on this!

The purpose of the 7 links is:

THE GOALTo unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.
THE RULES1)     Blogger is nominated to take part
2)     Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

I feel excited and honored to have been nominated for this; I only just started my blog in April, and there are many older blogs out there that, perhaps, haven't gotten this kind of nomination. It's been a short road, and can feel like a long one!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Review: The Thinking Dog, by Gail Tamases Fisher

I try not to do review posts back to back, but I couldn't wait any longer to talk about this book!

The Thinking Dog, by Gail Tamases Fisher, is a book that I wish somebody had handed me when I first got Elka. Technically, it's a book about switching to clicker training with your dog, after having used traditional methods.  In actuality, it's that book, but also just fine as a starter manual.