Friday, May 23, 2014

There have been so many stories of dogs biting children who share the same home. Most times the parents had no idea why their loving dog attacked a child "for no reason". But dogs almost never attack with-out a reason. This article could help save lives and keep everyone healthy and happy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Let's start off our new website links and resources section with a whimsical and fascinating look at how dogs poop. No we are not talking the mechanics of the canine body, but rather how and why it is that your dog turns in circles before he or she finally decides which direction is best to "do their business"! Turns out, it's much more complicated than we thought! Click on the link to read this amazing story!

Dogs poop in alignment with Earth's magnetic field

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blog will return in December 2013

Hello fellow dog lovers!!

  As much as it pains us, we have to suspend the Blog until December 1st, 2013. Just too many upcoming deadlines to deal with, and unless we can put 100% focus into this blog, well, it's just not right.

  So hang on for a couple of months, and we will back as soon as we can!

  Thanks so much for all your understanding and patience!!

 Kelly & Ross Levy
The Mindful Dog


Monday, October 7, 2013


 No other canine character/actor has had a stronger impact on the American dog culture than Lassie.  She represented the quintessential relationship between a boy and his dog while at the same time serving as a symbolic representation of loyalty, honesty and true companionship. She was as important and emblematic to American culture as apple pie, Babe Ruth and the 57 Chevy.  Everyone wanted their own Lassie; that dog who could rescue Timmy from the well, find her way home from 2,000 miles away, battered and bruised, and fall into the arms of her loving family.  But who is this stunning Lass really?  Does her breed stand up to the mythology?  Why don't you see more of them nowadays?

HISTORY:  The Lassie (or Rough) Collie we know of today was not the original look of the breed.  The Rough Collie originated in the 1800's,  a product of crossing a larger type of collie used and bred for herding from Scotland, with a smaller sheepdog from Wales.  The Scottish "collie-type" was large, strong, quite aggressive and used to herd highland sheep.  The "collie-type" from Wales was small and nimble, much more domesticated and friendly and used for herding goats.  This cross of the Scottish and Welsh Collies was later bred with the Borzoi (the Russian Wolfhound) to produce that beautiful "noble head" Rough Collie we see today, with their signature long, pronounced nose.  (The Borzoi addition to the breed was honestly used to improve the look of the breed because they were quite popular with royalty, including Queen Victoria).

Eric Knight
Albert Payson Terhune
INTERESTING INFO:   Where to start. This breed is so incredibly interesting, what we discovered quite frankly blew our minds!  But here goes; The collie is arguably the most domesticated of all herding breeds.  They were not only used to herd and guard livestock, but were also excellent family dogs with an affinity towards children,  even being used as babysitters.  Can you imagine an animal with the tenacity to herd and guard livestock also being so gentle that their owners trusted the dog in the home alone with children?!  Impressive to say the least. Speaking of impressive, the earlier larger version of this breed could travel up to 100 miles A DAY on their four legs alone! (Is this starting to sound like any familiar "fictional" canine character to you?)  If that isn't impressive enough the Collie has an UNCANNY sense of direction.  One could intelligently argue that if this dog were lost or stolen and ended up thousands of miles away from home, they could indeed find their way back. What we are left with then, is an animal with an incredible devotion and loyalty to family who also is able to travel 100 miles a day and has an uncanny sense of direction.. In other words, the Mythology of Lassie is true indeed. Eric Knight, the Author of "Lassie Come Home", the 1940 book that started it all, knew a little something about this breed. We assumed research on this author would reveal a man who thought the breed beautiful, and that simple admiration would be what inspired him to create Lassie.  But it turns out this man could "walk the walk" as he was a professional Collie breeder.  Knight's work on a fictional Collie was, in fact, preceded by the writings of Albert Payson Terhune,  who introduced the world to the Collie via a series of short stories called "Lad Stories",  based upon his own dog named Lad.  He eventually turned the stories into the 1919 novel "Lad: A Dog".  Terhune not only raised Collies but owned the most famous and prestigious Collie breeding facility in America, the Sunnybank Kennels, whose lines still exist in today's Rough Collies. Both Terhune and Knight's firsthand experience with this extraordinary breed gave them the true insight and knowledge to create the Lassie and Lad characters. Dog's whose exploits, it turns out, are not so far-fetched after all.  

The Smooth Collie

IMPORTANT BREED INFORMATION:  Other than herding and flock guardian, the Collie can also be trained for search and rescue, therapy dogs, agility, guide dogs for the blind and as a watchdog.  It is important to note that they are big barkers. This would probably discourage people from entering  your home. But if they persisted, the Collie would either do little or perhaps want to be friends. (Especially if the person is a child!)  The Collie is available in the long-haired "Rough" version or the short-haired "Smooth" version.  In our research we could find no personality differences.  Other than the coat, they are considered variations of the same breed through the AKC and UKC.  

HEALTH:  They have a lifespan of 14-16 years, which is quite impressive and optimistic considering the size of this breed (between 50-75 pounds).  They are not prone to cancer like so many other breeds are, but they do have certain ailments.  CEA (Collie eye anomaly) is common.  It is caused by improper development of the eye and can lead to blindness. Canine cyclic neutropenia is a cyclic blood disorder that is fatal to puppies.  DNA testing can conclude whether a collie pup is infected.  Hip dysplasia is quite common as well. It is important to note Rough Collies may carry a mutant MdrI gene that results in a sensitivity to Invermectin and related drugs.  Invermectin is common in heartworm prevention medication.  Giving this drug to a collie with the mutant gene can result in neurological impairment and even death.  Collies are also prone to epilepsy, bloat, allergies and hypothyroidism. 

PERSONAL OBSERVATION:  We have had the pleasure of working with four Rough Collies during the last 14 years.  Never have we seen any aggression toward people or any animal.  We also agree with the references used for this blog which indicate that they are a herding breed so highly domesticated as to result in a dog much more outgoing and friendly dog than many other herding breeds.  Our pack loves Collies and would always welcomed even those who were not part of their pack to join in the play while we were at the dog park.  Our pack showed reservations over many dogs and certain breeds, but the Collie was never one of them. (and we think our pack has an outstanding judge of character!)  They definitely do bark a lot.  But interestingly enough, the barks from this breed never bothered us, as the resonance of their voice doesn't seem as piercing as many other breeds (like our Goldens!).   

IS THIS BREED RIGHT FOR YOU?  If we didn't have three Goldens, we'd be looking into getting a Collie.  It seems when Lassie went off the air the passion for the breed diminished, which is a shame.  We also believe many are scared off by the grooming necessary to keep that beautiful coat in tact.  They definitely require a strong commitment to regular brushing.  But if this is the only reason discouraging you, think about the Smooth Collie, which has a short coat and requires much less grooming time.  If you live in an apartment, the barking could be an issue.  But if temperment is your main concern, as far as we are concerned, the Rough Collie is a slam dunk, a home run, and is still as All American as apple pie, baseball and hot dogs!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog and found it informative and interesting.  We would love  to hear your comments and share any stories pertaining to sharing a part of your life with this amazing breed!

Monday, September 23, 2013


There is so much information out there on dogs it's dizzying.  And that's good!  There really can never be too much knowledge about any subject.  But is the information all true?  Like everything in life, new discoveries are constantly being made and when that happens, many times, it means certain information we thought was once true has become dated and, quite frankly, inaccurate.  So that's where we come in. This week we're going to give you a few topics that were once considered to be a fact, and some that have become just plain misconceptions.

IF MY DOG HAS A WET NOSE THAT MEANS HE/SHE IS HEALTHY:  This is one of the most popular myths out there and it's been around forever!  We grew up hearing our grandparents and parents teach us this "myth" and we then passed it on to everyone we knew who had a dog.  Here's the REAL reason dogs have wet noses, all of which have nothing to do with their health status:

1.  They lick their noses alot.  Most dogs have pretty large (yet beautiful!) noses.  When they eat, their noses get dirty.  They lick them to clean them off.  Dogs also lick their noses to keep them cool in hot temperatures.
2.  They pick up moisture from smelling wet grass, plants, etc.
3.  Wet canine noses are perfectly designed for tracking. When a dog's nose is wet scent molecules stick to it, making it much easier for a dog to track prey and do search and rescue work. That is why the breeds with the highest developed sniffers are used in tracking.

So next time your dog's nose is dry, there's no need to rush him to the vet.  It's only dry because there  is no need at that moment for it to be wet!

IF MY DOG PULLS ON THE LEASH TO GO AHEAD OF ME THAT MEANS THE DOG IS DOMINATING ME AND MUST HEEL AT MY SIDE:  This one is, quite frankly, pathetic. It's pathetic because some supposed "experts" actually still believe it.  And we've got some news for you:  if two dog walkers have information to present to show this is not true and some of those "experts" don't....  well THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT EXPERTS.  (And neither are we.  But at least we don't pretend that we are.)  OK so down to business.  If your dog isn't trying to dominate you then why do they pull you down the street and insist on walking in front of you?   Because dogs as a species were not bred to walk next to you unless they are a companion breed and because they have four legs and are able to cover a lot of distance a lot faster than we can.  That's it in a nutshell.   Now for a little broader explanation in terms of breed specifics on this.

Herding dogs:  These breeds were bred to NOT walk beside the shepherd.  If they did, however would they herd sheep, cattle, etc?  So walking in front of you is their proper place.

Sporting Dogs:  This includes retrievers, spaniels (other than cavaliers), pointers and the Viszla.  How could these dogs assist the hunter in pointing toward the fowl, flushing out the fowl, and retrieving the fowl if they are standing next to them?

Terriers:  These tenacious little buggers are too busy finding fox and rodents to even think about heeling, and rightly so!

Hounds: These expert trackers could never lead the hunter to any prey, or do any search and rescue work, standing next to a human.

Sled Dogs:  If you have a Husky, Malamute or a Samoyed who doesn't want to pull you down the street, get them to the vet immediately!  There is no other group that is more "entitled" to pulling you ,due to the fact they were specifically bred to pull a sled and/or freight.

Please note we are not encouraging your dogs to drag you down the street. What you ideally want is a dog walking in front of you in a relaxed pace, preferably not pulling.  But keep in mind they will pull when they spot a cat or squirrel and/or pick up the scent of something great.  And they're not wrong for doing this.

DOGS HUMPING MEANS THEY'RE AGGRESSIVE OR...  WELL YOU KNOW! (begins with an h, ends in a y, with orn in between):

Dogs hump for many reasons:

Dominance:  One dog decides to claim a higher Pack-status over the other dog so he (and sometimes she) will hump to do this.

To Play:  Let's face it, if a dog wants to get another dog's attention to say "Hey I'm here lets play!", there is no more effective way than a little good old humping to get the point across!

Control:  You will sometimes see a canine pack leader do this to a lower-status pack member acting erratically. Humping the lower-status dog literally stops them in their tracks and helps to calm them down.

Procreate:  Now for the obvious.  An unneutered  male who finds a female "in season" may, of course, want to start a family with her because that's what they're supposed to do.  

ANY TIME A DOG SHOWS THEIR TEETH THEY ARE BEING AGGRESSIVE:  This is true in many cases.  Dogs will "flash/bear" their teeth to show they are serious about something and when that flashing is accompanied by a low growl, erect tail, pricked ears, and forward body posture you should stay away from this dog.  But there is another reason for showing their teeth and this is called a "submissive grin".  Sadly, before behaviorists and vets knew the difference between the two reasons for showing teeth, many dogs were euthanized for this grin.  It's so very easy to tell when it is a submissive grin:  the ears are back in submission, the body posture is focused more on the hind legs than the front and the back half of their body is wagging in excitement.  So body language is key here in telling the difference.  We once had a dog named Savannah in our pack.  Savannah was a certified therapy dog with not even an ounce of aggression in her angelic being.  Every time we would go to pick up Savannah for daycare she always greeted us with that wonderful submissive grin and wagging body.  It really is such a dear term of endearment!

A WAGGING TAIL ALWAYS MEANS THE DOG IF FRIENDLY:  Okay everyone, this one is extremely important as it may mean the difference of your dog having a friendly encounter or ending up in the vets office!  Many of you who have taken your dog further than your yard (vet office, leash walk,, off lead dog park), have had at least one encounter that went like this;  A dog comes up to your dog wagging their tail. You assumed the dog was friendly (because of their wagging tail). Suddenly the dog lunges aggressively at your dog. What is going on here?  Like the showing of teeth illustrated above, there are two main reasons dogs wag their tail and again, body language is key.

1.  The obvious first reason is that the dog is friendly. The tail will wag back and forth and might even wag in circles accompanied by a part of the body wagging.  The mouth is relaxed and the ears are not forward.  This is a happy, excited dog.  The worse this one might do is jump on you or your dog with excitement.
2.  The other wagging is called "flagging" and this is indeed a red flag.  The ears of the dog will be forward.  The body will be stiff, except the tail.  Expert behaviorist Patricia McConnell (whose readings we cannot recommend highly enough), calls this a "phony grin".  It's used to lure a dog closer for an aggressive encounter.  It's also used to spread the pheromones emitted from their anus,  letting the other dog know this he or she is "big man on campus, king of the jungle" and just an overall bad ass and/or bully.  Far too many dogs have been injured by this myth.  We saw this repeatedly back in our dog park days.  Luckily, we knew the difference and were able to avoid our dogs becoming a victim.  But so many others said "the dog's tail was wagging.  He/she looked friendly!" as they were in tears, carrying their dog to the car for a fast trip to the vet.

IF A DOG SMELLS A PERSONS CROTCH/BEHIND THEY'RE A PERVERT!!:  It's Thanksgiving.  In walk Uncle Fred and Aunt Mildred. Spot immediately runs up and shoves his nose in their crotch, or does a  close encounter with their behind.  Humiliation and embarrassment ensues.  You scold Spot and quickly fix Fred and Mildred the strongest drink possible after locking Spot in the bedroom. Why does Spot plot such embarrassing moments for you?  What have you possibly done to piss him off so?!  Remember most dogs strongest sense organ is the nose.  Sniffing the pheromones of  dogs and humans is the quickest way to find out who they are,  and what their intentions may be.  That's why dogs sniff each others behinds (males sniff behinds more and females sniff mouths more).   Yes it will always be embarrassing, but at least now you can put everyone's mind (including your own!) at ease knowing that Spot is not a perv!  And if Spot is a very friendly dog, gives a human a sniff and reacts negatively.  Guess what?  You probably don't want to be hangin with that individual.

So that wraps things up for this week.  We hope you have enjoyed it and found it informative and useful.  We always love to hear your comments which can of course be your own experiences regarding any topic we cover.  See you in two weeks!

Monday, September 9, 2013


The Great Dane. It is impossible not to turn your head and watch this immense beauty pass by, be you a dog lover or not.  The sheer size (100-200 pounds) and power of the Great Dane makes it impossible not to be stared at. (Especially if you see one riding in a Mini Cooper with their head sticking out the sunroof, ears flapping in the wind, as we were lucky enough to see once and laugh hysterically at!)  The Great Dane has earned themselves the right to be called one of the most beloved breeds in America, thanks to a comic strip called Marmaduke, space age Jetson's dog Astro,  of course, Scooby Doo.  All three depict this breed as a fun-loving, goofy giant.  But just how did this breed evolve? Was this giant bred to just be a goof ball (which undoubtedly they are), or is there a little something more to this majestic animal than meets the eye?

HISTORY: Not that this breed is particularly ancient or anything- BUT dogs "resembling" the Great Dane have been seen on Egyptian monuments dating back to 3,000 BC!  Similar looking dogs have also been depicted on rune stones in Scandinavia, on ancient coins in Denmark, on Greek money dating back to 36 BC and the University of Copenhagen Zoological  Museum has at least seven skeletons of very large hunting dogs dating from 5th Century BC through to the year 1000 AD!  And if that's not enough to get your head spinning, giant dogs sounding an awful lot like the Dane were depicted in Chinese literature dating back to 1121 BC.  Okay enough history, now how they became the breed we see today.

ORIGIN:  In 407 AD The Asiatic people (called the "Alans") invaded German Gaul, part of Italy and Spain, bringing with them powerful mastiff-like dogs.  Theses dogs were used to hunt and physically bring down bear and wild boar. They were believed to have been mostly a cross of Wolfhounds (particularly the Irish Wolfhound) and the old English Mastiffs.  The Alans later added the Greyhound to this breed, creating the Great Dane we know of today. We think it is important to note the Alans were a nomad tribe.  Nomads had no home base to speak of,  constantly traveling as a means of survival.  The Alans were warriors that relied on their Danes to hunt and guard their tribes.  Because they were not in castles, but the wilderness, there became much more of an "inter-dependence" between man and canine. Nomad tribes are notorious for developing a closer relationship with their dogs than many other people. It is our theory that the amount of time Danes spent around human species so early on in their development, combined with a shared existence with one another in a very primal and dangerous environment, could have imprinted more "human type personality-traits" on these nomadic-companion dogs. Perhaps that is why we see more of these traits (such as an increased sense of humor and higher sensitivity levels we see in todays Great Danes)  than is displayed in, say, herding breeds like Border Collies, who have historically that spent much time as solo working herders independent of their companion/human  shepherds.

INTERESTING INFO:  The Great Dane became widely spread throughout Europe between the 16th-18th century and countries such as Denmark, England and Germany all like to take credit for the Dane's increased popularity and refined breeding.  Not only were they used in these countries as powerful hunters, but also as guard dogs. Unlike other canine guardians such as their breed-stock Mastiffs,  Danes were not kept outside to guard the royal grounds  but rather in their lord's bed chambers to guard their companions  from assassins (we believe this also contributed to human personality being a stronger influence in the Dane).  What we also find incredibly interesting is that the  three breeds used to create the original Great Danes were hunters possessing powerful prey drives, yet todays Great Danes possess not only a goofy personality, but they can also be around other animals without displaying hunting traits that could cause serious harm.  For example, Irish Wolfhounds are the largest  breed  in the world, and the most powerful of the sighthounds.  Their extraordinary eyesight makes it possible to spot prey from long distances, lock in on their movement and run fast to  intercept the prey (original prey being Wolves). The English Mastiff is not only a powerful giant, but a fearless guardian and war dog.  The Greyhound is an extraordinary sighthound and the second fastest animal in the world (able to run 39 miles per hour).   When you put those three breeds together, combining speed, hunting ability, superb eyesight and fearless guarding ability, you have todays Great Dane.  And yet, this breed, which has been called  the "comedians of the canine world", can easily be around screaming children (running here there and everywhere), as well as small animals!  It's information like this that continues to impress and blow our minds,  and strengthens our belief on how much our human personality has influenced the psychological development of this extraordinary breed. 

PERSONAL OBSERVATION   Being at a dog park for a decade afforded us an extraordinary  opportunity to observe numerous breeds in an uncontrolled, quite primal, environment.  Observing the Dane there, we witnessed the prey drive the majority of them seem to possess.  Please note we are not speaking of witnessing attacks by Danes! What we did see was an innate and immense amount of speed and power  used to chase other dogs. When combined with their size, these instinctual traits of speed/power had a tendency to put other dogs into a  mode of total submission due to fear called "shut down".  These poor dogs just had no idea on how to react to such huge, fast dogs chasing them! And the Danes who DID the chasing seemed to be confused as to how "fun" (in their eyes), could cause other dogs to be so afraid.   The result was confusion among both "chaser" and "chasee". That is why the majority of Danes have never worked out with our pack. What is most important to understand is that it's not the breed's fault and it's not the owners fault (as long as the breed has had proper socialization).  It is simply the nature of the breed.  Only the exceptions of Bison and Estella have ever worked out with our pack.  If we traced these two's lineage, combined with their excellent early socialization, we would probably have our answer as to why they are the exceptions.

HEALTH PROBLEMS:  The wonderful  Great Dane is subject to health problems that comes along with the territory of being a giant breed.  Hip dysplasia, heart disease and bloat are common,  as are mast cell tumors.  Most unfortunately what also goes along with being a giant breed is a shorter lifespan.  The average is approximately eight years, but many do live up to 12.  (We believe this has a lot to do with the wonderful goofiness which seems to prevent them from taking life too seriously. This can   diminish stress considerably in the breed.) It is also important that owners of the breed understand the species they have committed themselves too, and dedicate themselves to the proper upkeep of the breed.

IS THIS THE RIGHT BREED FOR YOU?:  Many people find themselves scared off of owning a Great Dane due to their size and strength. And it is true they are enormous and strong.  But if you frequent the gym and are ready for a commitment to this wonderful goofball, it could easily be one of the most rewarding and entertaining experiences of a lifetime!  They can live in an apartment as  long as they are taken out for long walks (running/jogging them is not necessary nor recommended until they have physically developed).  They do love a yard though!  And, as they are an excellent guard dog, they thrive on having that open space to strut their stuff.  But what they clearly thrive on the most is close human contact. This is NOT a breed to be kept alone and isolated outside.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog and we would love to hear from you regarding input (or really anything you feel like contributing!)

Monday, August 26, 2013


We've been covering some heavy duty subjects that are indeed informative but not necessarily pleasant.  So this week, we thought we would "take a walk on the lighter side" and present to you something not only illuminating, but a bit more fun as well!

Dogs may never send a rocket to the moon, but what they instinctively know versus what we require "outside information" for is quite remarkable.  Here's a look at a few of the things that occur naturally in the wonderful world of dogs that we, as humans, could learn a lot from!

SUNBATHING:  Dogs instinctively know they need the sun.  Not only for warmth, but also for their RDA  of Vitamin D (sunshine is THE best and most natural source of vitamin D).  We humans have abused our time in the sun, and pay for it with sunburns and skin cancer.  But dogs know that a little vitamin D goes a long way!  Ever wonder why your dog goes out and lies in the sun on a hot day only to come in a few minutes later panting???  You think "why would  you do such a thing, now you're hot!"  But  note the AMOUNT of time they spend in the sun. They're not out for hours, they're out for probably 10-20 minutes,  which is exactly the right amount of time for them (and for us) to get the proper amount of Vitamin D.  We need sunscreen because we spend hours in the sun. Dogs don't because they know when to come in!

NAUSEA:  If we feel like we may throw up, we go strait to the medicine cabinet and grab our pepto bismol or pepsid or maybe some ginger ale.  ANYTHING to prevent throwing up.  Guess what a dog does?  They find  the most bitter patch of grass, ingest a huge chunk of it and vomit as a way  to speed up the healing process in their system.  Now we're not encouraging any humans to go chomping grass next time a little nausea crops up, but we are encouraging you to let your dog eat that grass and throw up whatever is upsetting their system. They definitely know best in this case.  It's important to note there are actually two different types of grass and each poses a different function.  The first are short, fat blades which are the bitter grass dogs eat when they don't feel well.  The second is what we call "spring grass".  It's the long slender blades of grass that taste sweet to dogs and give them a healthy dose of chlorophyll.   

NAPPING:  Dogs know when they're tired, and napping is a part of their daily regimen.  Napping has been proven to improve overall health not only for those in the animal kingdom, but also for us in the the human kingdom. Now in all fairness how many of us have time each day for a little midday shuteye?  Not many.  However, how about the weekend, or when we have days off, or even when we take a vacation?  Our species has a tendency to be obsessed with filling every moment doing something, or reading something, or watching something and that's not exactly healthy.  Once again the logic of a dog's world is much simpler and smarter here:  I'm tired so I'm going to take a break and take a nap.

STRETCHING:  Studies have proven stretching for us humans is AS IMPORTANT as exercise.   But how many of us stretch upon rising? Or periodically throughout the day, even though it may only take a few minutes?  Dogs always stretch and do it through a full range of motion from head to tail. The yoga world learned a lesson or two long ago by observing dogs stretching. After all, they don't call it "downward dog" for nothing!  Also note that dogs do that wonderful "head to tail" body shake.  Ever wonder why?  There are a few reasons for this but the main reason is a complete spinal chiropractic adjustment. We think if we tried to imitate that one, we'd need a chiropractor!  But dogs, well they just know and have known long before chiropractors or yoga came into play.

MEDITATION:  You've put up with the blog this long but now you have serious doubts. You think to yourself  "Fido cannot possibly don the spandex, sit cross-legged on a comfy mat  and go 'ommmmmmm.'" You are absolutely right!  But isn't meditation is more about being in, and enjoying the present moment?  Welcome to the wonderful world of dogs where living in the present moment is the ONLY way they live!!

Our golden retriever Babe is an expert meditator.  Every morning, for at least two hours, he goes out to the back lawn and lies there watching his squirrel and bird friends.  He doesn't bark, he doesn't run back and forth, he just observes the activity of the world around him, content to just "sit still and be in the present moment"' We don't know about you, but if someone instructed us to go sit and watch squirrels and birds  or just generally watch the world go by for two hours at a time, we'd go bonkers!  We haven't "trained ourselves" to think that way and if we do decide to meditate,  we usually require a class or an instructional DVD to TEACH us how to be in the present moment and just enjoy breathing!  Just one more example of a dogs instincts being a little more advanced than ours.

We could  go on and on because let's face it, the more we all learn about the world of dogs, the more  extraordinary it and they become.  So we are going to cover one last topic  and this one is our personal  favorite:

NEVER LETTING THE KID IN THEM DIE:   In all fairness to our human species, dogs at their height of emotional maturity are teenagers A grown dog's personality is essentially that of a juvenile wolf.   But we can still learn from their extraordinary example of always  retaining a hearty amount of goofiness.  This is one area  where many of us have spent hard earned dollars to LEARN how to "lighten up" and have more fun.  A veterinarian we knew some time ago referred to something he called "frapping":  "Frequent Random Acts of Playfulness".  It's when a dog simply runs in large circles, or runs from room-to-room, or just runs back and forth with no apparent reason, but just for the joy of doing it. We heard this term 21 years ago, and yet it still sticks in our mind every time we  see that wonderful random act of playing we all are privileged enough to witness in our four-legged friends.  And what's so wonderful about such goofiness is how contagious it can be. There are many times we ourselves are immersed in our day, being a bit too serious about life,  when out of the corner of our eyes, one of our wonderful pups comes flying through the house with running like there's  no tomorrow. Literally,  they are having the time of their lives for no apparent reason other than just to have fun.  WOW!  Could we ask for a better life than that?  What a lesson and what wonderful teachers they all are.

Dogs don't have the responsibilities we have (thank goodness!).  There are completely dependent upon us for comfort, food, and health and well-being, making their life considerably less stressful than ours.   But we don't think it would hurt any of us to take a break to not only to be with them and enjoy them, but also to observe and learn from them. We can honestly say in the past 14 plus years that we have been lucky enough to do this "job", we have learned  more from observation than we have ever learned from a course, DVD and/or book about the world  of canines.  Not that supplemental learning isn't essential but it ain't the whole deal!  So next time you're behind a car that has a bumper sticker saying "my dog is smarter than your honor student.........", don't laugh or shake your head, but give it a thought or two.

We hope you enjoyed this blog as much as we did bringing it to you and of course, we welcome your comments because without all of you, we're just kind of writing for ourselves and our imaginary friends. And if you do find these blogs interesting and informative, please don't hesitate to share it with your friends.  Our mission is to help as many people and their dogs as possible, and you sharing this information will advance the cause considerably. Incidentally, the blog will now be every other week  instead of weekly.  We  feel bad about this, but unfortunately we do not have as much free time as our furry friends do!  Thanks  as always for tuning in!