Tag: Labrador Retriever

Dog tired!

Going to slip away for a few days.

I am taking a days off.

So will repeat some posts from a year ago.


6 Ways to Tire Out Your Dog Indoors

1396453-largeBy: Lisa Spector December 18, 2016

About Lisa

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and we’re in the midst of rainy season. It never let up today. It’s only the second time in the life of my dogs that I didn’t get them out for a walk. I tried, but they didn’t want to go. Particularly on days like today, it’s important that I find other indoor activities to keep them stimulated and tire them out. Here are a few of my rainy day tricks:

1. Train

Behaviorist, Dr. Ian Dunbar, says that mental activity tires a dog out more than physical exercise. Gina is a high-drive dog. I often joke that the more I exercise her, the better shape she’s in and the more she exercise she needs. Add some agility training to the mix, and she tires out much faster. Did you ever notice how tired you are when you’ve taxed your brain at work all day? It’s the same for dogs. Instead of doing one long training session, best to add in a few minutes of training frequently throughout the day.

impulsecontrol-443x3322. Teach Impulse Control

There is no better place to start teaching impulse control than indoors, where there are less distractions than outdoors. Tonight, I placed strips of sweet potato on Sanchez and Gina’s paws and had them wait for my cue to eat them. Gina is much better at “Look at me,” so that was added to the “leave it” cue. They waited, and waited, and waited… and were rewarded with a yummy sweet potato treat after I released them with “OK.”

sanchez-nose-work-443x3323. Nose work

K9 Nose Work defines this sport as “the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy to learn activity and sport builds confidence and focus in many dogs, and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and physical exercise.”

I enrolled Sanchez in classes a couple of years ago, and now we play “find” games at home. I hide pieces of liver in boxes spread throughout the living room. He searches for the piece of liver and is rewarded with more liver in the box when he finds it. He LOVES this search game.

ginafoodpuzzle-443x2724. Work for food and treats

Instead of just placing down a food bowl, have your dog work for her food or treats. She’ll slow down her intake of dinner and treats while using her mental abilities when you use a food puzzle. Other choices are stuffing soft food, such as a banana and almond butter, in a kong and then freezing it.

5. Tug

Tugging is not a game of war. It is a game of play and is a way to bond with your dog. It’s commonly used to increase drive and focus before agility runs. Tugging is also a great training tool during high distraction environments, an opportunity to reinforce “that’s enough” (meaning “game over, release the toy”), and it’s helped Gina tremendously with dog distraction. Tugging has been a way of teaching her that the best things in life happen in reinforcement zone with me, not with the stranger dog running by. Rain or shine, this is part of our daily routine. But, when we can’t get outside for walks, we do more tugging indoors, as it really tires her out.

6. Retrieve

Even though I have two Labrador Retrievers, Sanchez no longer retrieves. He’s 13 1/2 and he’d prefer to lay on his dog bed and have me bring him his toy. However, I want to engage him when I play a fun game of retrieve with Gina. So, I toss her ball down the stairs. She retrieves it and while she’s running up the stairs to bring me back the ball for the next round, I toss treats to Sanchez down the stairs. He uses his nose to find them. Fun for all! We generally do this nightly, no matter the weather.


Lisa’s description of her Sanchez: “… he’d prefer to lay on his dog bed and have me bring him his toy.” sounds like my kind dog to me! 😉

Best wishes to you all.

Dog for sale – please help!

With grateful thanks to Alanna B. for sending me the details of this tragic case!


New home needed for this wonderful animal.

A guy is driving around the back streets of Bristol, England.

He sees a sign in front of an unkempt terraced house: ‘Talking Dog For Sale‘, so he rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the garden.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

You talk?‘ he asks.

Yep,’ the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says ‘So, what’s your story?

The Lab looks up and says, ‘Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young.. I wanted to help the government, so I told the SAS.   [Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army, Ed.]

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.

I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running…

But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.’

‘Then I got married, had a load of puppies, and now I’m just retired.

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

Ten quid,’ the guy says.

Ten quid? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?

Because he’s a liar. He’s never been out of the garden all his life!’

It's the way I tell 'em!

The sustainable dog.

Looking for sustainability?  Try this!

Sustainable is an overused word these days.  All for the right reasons, of course!  But how often is the word used in the context of relationships?  Of the relationships between the domesticated dog and man?  I suspect rarely.

Take the example of the Japanese Akita dog called Hachi, (Hachikō in Japanese) that I wrote about almost a year ago.

In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at theUniversity of Tokyo took in Hachikō as a pet. During his owner’s life Hachikō saw him out from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return on the usual train one evening. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting. Hachikō was loyal and every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk.

Hachikō 1925

“…. every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk” Truly a sustainable relationship.

Now to something closer to home; literally.

The Payson Roundup is our local newspaper. Last Tuesday’s edition had the following story which Tom Brossart, Editor, has kindly given me written permission to reproduce here on Learning from Dogs.  Thank you, Tom.

Best friends help save man’s life

Both Logger and Harold Green are a little gray around the muzzle, but they have lots of good days ahead after Logger helped save Green’s life back on July 1.Photo by Andy Towle

By Teresa McQuerrey

August 30, 2011

Logger is Harold Green’s best friend. Logger isn’t a flannel-wearing, tattooed burly woodsman; he is a sweet-tempered chocolate Labrador retriever. And this best friend saved Green’s life.

Green makes his home up in Happy Jack. Recently he and Logger drove into the woods and went for a walk, and then Green had a heart attack. He didn’t have a history of heart disease, but all of a sudden his chest became tight. He collapsed and on his way to the ground, he hit a fallen log and wound up hitting his forehead and nose, tearing his bottom lip away from his gums, cutting his chin and breaking a rib.

“Right before I had the heart attack I had a page there was a fire, and that’s the last thing I remember,” he said. Green is an emergency medical technician with the Blue Ridge Fire Department.

He said the next thing he remembers was waking up and trying to call 911. “There was so much blood in my eyes I couldn’t see at first, but Logger licked the blood away.”

Green was conscious long enough to dial 911 and try to explain where he was. He heard the sirens go past him and with that information; the emergency responders had a place to start looking for him.

At that point, Logger left Green’s side to go to the rescue personnel.

“From what they told me, he was like Lassie. He came running to them, barking, and started running back to me, stopped and made sure they were following,” Green said.

The first person on the scene with him was a law enforcement officer with the Forest Service. Green said he told him his nose was bleeding so much he thought it was broken.

Next to arrive was a deputy sheriff. Green said he later learned the guy was off duty, but came to help anyway.

The Blue Ridge ambulance crew arrived next.

“Logger did the same with all of them as he had with the first one on the scene. They told me, without Logger’s help they would have had to search for me a lot longer.”

Green said when they first reached him his heart rate was in the mid-40s and he had no blood pressure. The rescue team stabilized him and carried him out to the ambulance to take him to the fire station where a helicopter could land.

“They said Logger tried to get into the ambulance with me,” Green said.

He said he has little or no memory of everything that took place, when he woke up he was in the hospital in Flagstaff.

Logger couldn’t ride in the ambulance with Green and couldn’t come see him in the hospital, but since he has been out, the dog has not been more than three feet from him for three weeks.

“It is really humbling to have so many friends there to help you out,” Green said.

The people who came to his rescue were all friends and, just like Logger, they did what best friends do, except it was something they do every day, for friends and strangers alike.

Logger has been part of Green’s family for seven years, joining it when he was just a puppy.

Green is the son of longtime Rim Country Realtor Bea Baxter, who has been in the community for around 40 years.

So dear, lovely Logger also demonstrated the same, deep sustainability of relationship that Hachikō did back in 1925.  There is so much that we can learn from dogs.  Think about sustainability, as it relates to the relationship between dogs and man.  It goes back at least 30,000 years.  It’s an unimaginable length of time.

In this context, sustainability is an underused word!

The Power of the Dog

An incredible moving account of man’s special relationship with the dog.

(Reproduced in full with the very kind written permission of the author, Laban T. where it was first published on UK Commentators.)

The Power of the Dog

Ross’s dog is gravely ill.

 I suppose if you don’t have a dog it is hard to understand why anyone would be so upset (that isn’t an insult or a judgement just a statement of fact) and if you do there isn’t much need to explain.

 As so often he’s spot-on. I remember in my teens a girlfriend walking through the door one Saturday morning and bursting into floods of tears – and it wasn’t the state of my room.

What’s the matter ?

They’ve taken her to the vet to be put down!” – ‘her’ being the companion of her childhood, a thousand walks and a hundred days out in the country with parents. But I didn’t think like that at the time – I was properly sympathetic and held her till my shoulders were soaked in tears – but it was only a dog, a nice enough dog, but still a dog. At this distance memory fails, but I probably assumed it was just a girl thing, what with being more emotionally open and all that.

The same blindness afflicted me with regard to the effect of children, although I think I wasn’t alone in this. Our single lives were so endlessly fascinating, what friends were doing, who was with whom, the places to go, the people, the parties, that we looked on people who’d got children slightly pityingly, as if they’d been afflicted with a crippling disease (and it IS crippling to a wild social life, although I know a few exceptional people and couples who have just carried on – I’m just not exceptional) which not only curtailed their social life but made them talk about children an awful lot – as if that topic was of any interest at all compared to the important things.

You live and learn. Hopefully. Now I feel more that becoming a parent is gaining access to the secret heart of life and the long chain of familial links down the generations. Not that it doesn’t have its many, many drawbacks. Susan and I looked at each other one day after #2 had arrived and said “whatever did we do with all that time we had?”.

I digress. So I finally learned about why parents are interested in kids, but still didn’t get the dog thing. Our neighbours were childless but treated their dogs like their children – they slept upstairs and their doings were part of our everyday chats. Most odd, we thought.

Dog lovers …

I’d taken my firstborn up to visit his grandpa, and grandpa and I were out walking with grandpa’s dog and the pushchair plus baby. I loved that new dad bit, with bonny boy getting cooed over by all and sundry … the checkout queue turning into a little love fest … and he WAS a beautiful baby – he’s 21 now and six foot.

Lady approaching on the pavement, breaks into happy smile :

Oh, what a beautiful …

(Dad smiles modestly… he’s getting used to this …)


(Smile vanishes instantly)

Then our youngest went off to Big School, and it left a bit of a gap in Susan’s life. Suddenly there were no babies to care for – and she likes caring for things. One day she went off and returned with this chap (and promptly had him snipped, to my horror). Apparently Labradors were very even tempered, good with children and an all round ideal first dog for a family with no dog-owning history on either side, at least since our great-grandparents were on the farm. What’s impressive is that AFAIK, apparently all dogs are descended from domesticated wolves. Just shows what breeding will do.

The dog.

The kids were thrilled, promised to walk him etc., etc., – didn’t last and soon Mum and Dad were doing most of the walks. But the exercise is great – he and we usually get about three miles a day in – it’s good for an ageing chap with a desk job. I’ve learned most of the footpaths and circular routes round the house.

Labradors seem to eat anything – three week old bird carcases, stones, deer poo, sheep poo, horse poo – and they roll in fox poo, which is not a nice smell and means an hour shampooing him in the garden (then a shower and complete change of clothes). On the good side they love apples, blackberries, plums, the farmer’s turnips – healthy eaters.

He once found a rotting, rank dead rabbit inside a plastic bag, scoffed it, then sat in his crate in the kitchen and disgorged the lot some hours later. Not a nice clean-up job – the smell at close quarters was truly evil.

They’re meant to have more acid in their stomachs than humans to enable digestion of bad food – but ours pushes that way beyond the limits. The Muslims are right enough when they consider dogs unclean. They’re filthy, dirty creatures.

But they have a way of wrapping themselves round the heart. Always pleased to have human company, playful, cheery.  All the family quickly grew to love him – even grandma, very much a non-dog person, has a soft spot.

October last year, grandma is round for Sunday tea/dinner, I’m just out in the garden using the last of the light at ten to six.

Can he stay out here with you? “


The call for tea. I call him – he’s not anywhere in the garden. Round the house – no sign.

Has he come in?”


He’s not in the garden

Poor grandma. She was left alone in the house while everyone emptied into the darkening garden, calling, then after a quick conference and grabbing of mobiles, two cars head slowly in opposite directions, and the boys are in the local wood with torches. Daughter and I take the car across rough farm tracks, along the routes of his favourite walks, stopping, scanning the gloomy fields, calling him, on again, repeat.

Forty minutes later it’s pitch black and the cars are back. The boys have been right through the woods to the fields on the other side, which we’ve also scanned from the cars as best we could, then back again. Up and down the village – again – half expecting to see a limp form in the headlights. Not a sight or sound.

Tea at seven in almost total silence. The only thing I can compare it with was the first family Christmas without my grandmother.

Eight o’clock. He’s been gone two hours. We’ve been out in the garden and around the house again. Nothing. The feeling that he’s gone for good starts to solidify.

Nine o’clock. My daughter’s standing at the back door, calling his name. Nothing. I feel she’s wasting her time, but in solidarity I go to the side door to call. Open it – he’s standing on the step.

God knows where he’d been. One moment of tremendous pleasure – calling my daughter into the kitchen, without telling her who was there, then watching the ecstatic reunion – the boys hearing the noise and tumbling in, happy uproar. “For he was lost, and is found“.

Once again Mr Kipling has the words :

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?