Tag Archives: Border Collie

7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Poodle


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Poodles are poufy and proud, and they’re #6 on our list of most popular dog breeds. The popular show dogs are known for their intelligence, grace and of course, their beautiful curly coats. We bet you don’t know it all when it comes to this breed, though. Here are 7 facts you need to know about the Poodle!

1. They’ve got beauty and brains.

Poodles are not only lovely to look at; they’re also highly intelligent. They’re the second-smartest dogs in the world according to the AKC, just under the Border Collie.

2. They’re a good choice for people with allergies.
Because their curly coats resemble hair more than fur, Poodles are considered virtually hypoallergenic, odorless and tend to be a good choice for those with allergies to shedding dogs. However, like human hair, their fur grows continuously and needs to be managed accordingly.

3. They come in three sizes.

The poodle is the only dog that comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. However, they are all the same breed. Standard poodles weigh 40-70 pounds, miniature poodles 15-17 pounds, and toy poodles a miniscule 6-9 pounds.

4. There’s a reason for those bulbous hairdos.

Your first image of a Poodle is most likely the meticulously groomed pooch with perfectly shaped spheres of fluff. Turns out there’s a specific use for what’s known as the “Poodle clip.” Relevant to its history as a water retriever, the Poodle’s fancy haircut is meant to strategically protect its joints and vital organs in cold water. Interesting, huh?

5. They’re globally coveted dogs.
While the breed originated in Germany, many think of Poodles as a French breed because of the widespread popularity Toy Poodles have achieved, starting in France under the rule of King Louis XVI. They even hold the title as the official dog of France! Poodles continue to receive worldwide allure; recently, toy brown poodles have become the current pet trend in Asia.

6. They’re athletic.

Despite their reputation as prim and proper dogs, Poodles love to get down and dirty. They’re great swimmers, and were originally bred to hunt water fowl. Along with their strong, springy legs, they also have plenty of energy to do the tricks you’ll see them perform at dog shows.

7. They were the pet of many famous celebrities.
Poodles are a favorite among both past and present celebrities, the list of which includes famous figures like Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Streisand, Jackie Kennedy, Debbie Reynolds, Walt Disney and Rihanna. Perhaps the biggest celebrity Poodle enthusiast in history was King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley, who gifted the popular pooches to the special ladies in his life.

Westminster Insight

At the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, a Minature Poodle named “Danfour Avalon As If” took the winning spot in the Non-Sporting Group.

Do you have a Poodle? Comment below and share what you love about Poodles!

Getting to Know Guide Dogs


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Guide dogs, also known as seeing eye dogs, are special pooches that help the blind navigate their world. Guide Dogs of America provides blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs free of charge in North America. Now that deserves a “round of a-paws.” Let’s get to know more about these paw-some pups and how they perform heroic acts every day.

History
The first school for training service animals, including seeing eye dogs, was established in Germany during World War I to assist veterans blinded in war. Outside of Germany, interest in service dogs did not become widespread until the mid-1900’s. The first guide dogs were German Shepherds, appropriately coming from the service dog school’s country of origin. In 1929, Nashville resident Morris Frank succeeded in convincing Americans to grant people with service animals access to public transportation, hotels and other open public areas. By Federal law, blind people with service dogs are now allowed to go anywhere the general public is allowed, including restaurants, hospitals, stores, airplanes and taxis.

Breeds
The dog breeds used in guide dog service are chosen for their easy trainability and sound temperaments. The most common breeds selected as guide dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, but other breeds have also been known to be good choices, such as Labradoodles, Standard Poodles, Collies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Havanese and Vizslas.

Training
Many guide dogs are trained from birth for the special task of aiding the visually impaired. Dogs who start training at birth take about 18 months to complete their program (DGP for Pets). Just like all domesticated dogs, guide dogs must first learn housetraining and basic obedience before receiving additional guide dog training. After about one year, the guide dog meets her partner and they train together for two weeks.

The guide dog recipient is just as responsible in training as the dog. It is the responsibility of the visually impaired person to use his or her senses to judge whether or not it is safe to cross the street, for example, but the guide dog may refute the action if she deems it hazardous. The dog’s intentional refusal of a command is called “intelligent disobedience.”

Meeting a Working Guide Dog Team

If you encounter a visually impaired person with a guide dog, you should treat this person as you would any other stranger on the street and respect boundaries. Do not pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking for the owner’s permission first. While they may be irresistibly cute, guide dogs are at work and should not be distracted. After all, the owner depends on his or her guide dog to be vigilant of dangers.

Guide dogs are special service dogs that have helped aid the blind for decades. Their ability to learn techniques above and beyond basic training techniques in order to devotedly assist their partner is truly remarkable. We never cease to be amazed at what dogs can do in our everyday lives.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Golden Retriever


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Golden Retrievers always rank high among the most popular breeds in the United States, and they’re #3 on PuppySpot’s list. These loyal, sociable dogs are excellent with children and families, and excel at obedience training and therapy work. They’re eager-to-please companions that can adapt to many environments, from apartments to larger living spaces. Here are 9 facts you need to know about Golden Retrievers!

1. They’re talented.
Not only do they make great family pets, but Goldens are also helpful to greater society. They’re used as hunters, guide dogs, search-and-rescue dogs and more. Their great trainability and keen sense of smell makes them useful for many jobs.

2. They love to swim.
Golden Retrievers give meaning to the term “doggy paddle.” These dogs have a knack for swimming in their blood; they even have water-repellent coats! They’ll joyfully take a dip in the pool or the ocean with you (sometimes without being asked).

3. They’re all over TV and cinema.
The camera loves Goldens, and is it any wonder why? Their friendly smiles and lovable character are irresistible to viewers everywhere. You might recognize the breed from the Disney movie franchise “Air Bud” or from Comet in the TV series “Full House.” This breed is a favorite in television and movies, and we’re not complaining!

4. They’re considered the fourth smartest dog breed.

According to the AKC, Golden Retrievers are the fourth smartest dogs behind the Border Collie, Poodle and German Shepherd. That must be why they’re so good at many different jobs!

5. They belonged to presidents.
US presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan both had Golden Retrievers as pets while serving in the White House. The name of Ford’s Golden was Liberty, and Reagan’s was Victory.

6. They come in three recognized colors.
When it comes to Golden Retrievers, there’s not just one version of “golden.” The three standard colors of this breed are gold, light golden, and dark golden.

7. They’re calm and cool.
Despite their size and strength, Goldens are not particularly loud. They don’t bark much, except for if a stranger comes to the door. Most of the time, this majestic breed is quiet and well-behaved.

8. They get along with others.
Cat, dog, goldfish—doesn’t matter, a Golden can get along with just about anyone. They’re also very gentle around small children, though supervision is still needed because Goldens can get overexcited and accidentally knock over a child.

9. They set the bar for obedience.
Goldens excel in tests of obedience. In fact, they were the first three consecutive winners of AKC’s Obedience trials starting in 1977. These champs are truly outstanding dogs.

Westminster Insight
A Golden Retriver named “Tamarack And Blueprint’s Defying Gravity” placed in third among the Sporting Group at the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

What do you love about your Golden Retriever? Comment below!

13 Dog Breeds Perfect for Hiking


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If you own a dog, you already know how helpful dogs can be in keeping you fit and active. Hiking is one such popular physical activity to do with your dog, but there are some factors to consider before going on that next trek with your pup. For example, most dogs don’t have the endurance to hike for more than about 3-5 hours, and not all dogs can tolerate all climates. In addition, dogs under the age of one may not be sturdy enough for strenuous exercise. Likewise, dogs in their old age may have a harder time keeping up. The following is a breed-specific list of dogs best suited for hiking.

1. Bernese Mountain Dogbernese-hiking-thumbnail

Big, strong and well-behaved, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes a
great candidate for a hiking buddy—after all, the word “mountain” is in her name! Bernese can carry about 10 times their body weight, meaning she’ll have no problem carrying some supplies on her back if necessary. Because of her thick, furry coat, she loves to hike in colder weather. On the flip side, be cautious taking her out to hike in the warmer seasons. Overall, this easygoing and athletic dog will love hiking alongside you, and acting courteous to strangers along the way.

2. Vizslavizsla-hiking-thumbnail
Since this active dog already requires a lot of exercise, the Vizsla is a great companion to take with you out on the trails. The Hungarian-bred hunter is intelligent and has the stamina to go on long, steep hikes. She’ll come along with you on a hot or temperate day, but make sure to bundle her up when the weather gets breezy.

3. Siberian Huskyhusky-hiking-thumbnail

The friendly and energetic Husky may be a handful to train, but you’ll have a ball with her as your hiking partner. Bred as sled dogs, Huskies are strong, intelligent dogs who can withstand freezing temperatures while carrying heavy cargo. Her furry double-coat won’t serve her well in extreme heat, but she’s fine to spend time outdoors with you in most climates.


4. Australian Shepherdaustralian-hiking

The Aussie is a hard worker at heart and will love to join you for a day of hiking and adventure. She has the strength to hike on even bumpy and uneven terrain, and has plenty of energy to keep going without getting tired. Despite her long coat, she can withstand most temperatures as long as they are not extreme.


5. Labrador Retrieverlabrador-hiking

America’s favorite dog breed is also a hiking favorite for a number of reasons. For one, her easy trainability gives her the right temperament to join you on the trail without acting out. The Lab is also strong, and won’t mind carrying up to 10 pounds of gear. She has the mind of an explorer and will be comfortable in most climates.

6. Portuguese Water Dogportuguese-hiking-thumbnail
Here’s a good dog for those hikes ending in a waterfall or stream. The dog of choice of the Obama family is a perfect pal on land or water. Her waterproof coat and webbed feet make her a great swimmer, so she’ll join you for a refreshing dip in the water after a long, tiring trek.

7. German Shorthaired Pointergerman-shorthaired-hiking-thumbnail
Similar to Labs, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a loving companion with enduring stamina. Just watch out—because of her natural high prey drive, this dog might try to bolt from your grip at the sight of a bird, squirrel, rabbit or other small creature. This dog also tends to be very protective of her owner, making her a vigilant watch dog on the trail.

8. Alaskan Malamutealaskan-malamute-hiking-thumnail
This Siberian Husky lookalike is larger and considered even stronger than her other sled-pulling relative. She’ll brave the toughest, snowiest terrains and coldest temperatures. She’s sturdy, independent and a true athlete. This dog is made for the wild and will have you panting by the end of your hike.

9. Rhodesian Ridgebackrhodesian-hiking-thumbnail
Bred to be a lion hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is nothing short of mighty. Her apt ability to protect her loved ones from danger makes her a prime companion for exploring the great outdoors. Her paws are tough enough to plow through any terrain, and her sleek, short coat shields her from the heat. This dog needs plenty of exercise and would surely love to accompany you on a nice, long hike.

10. Jack Russell Terrierjack-russel-hiking-thumbnail
Who says all hiking dogs have to be big and beastly? This little pup packs a lot of energy into a small body, and won’t get tired after a long trek through the woods or up a cliff. The playful Jack Russell will run for ages and makes a good watchdog, barking at anyone that comes his way. You won’t have to worry about this little one keeping up!

11. Weimaranerweimaraner-hiking-thumbnail
This dog will have no problem covering long distances with you; in fact, she’ll get a little antsy if she doesn’t get enough exercise! A good watchdog, the majestic gray Weimaraner is intelligent and loves to run and play. Satisfy her demanding exercise needs by taking her on a long hike!

12. Border Collieborder-collie-hiking-thumbnail
The Border Collie is everything you want in a hiking pal: highly intelligent, energetic and eager to please. She loves a challenge and lives to perform tasks, whether fetching your knapsack or following directions to a destination. She loves being outdoors with plenty of space to stretch her long legs.

13. Doberman Pinscherdoberman-hiking-thumbnail
This fierce-looking dog is a loyal and obedient hiking companion with plenty of strength for those tough climbs. She’s easier to train than the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and her attentive nature as a fearless guard dog can provide you with protection when walking alone. Take her on hikes with you to give her a healthy way of expending her abundant energy.

A Spotlight on Service Dogs


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A service dog is a dog trained specifically to assist people with disabilities such as visual impairment, hearing loss, mobility impairment, mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or health conditions such as diabetes.

It may not be that surprising to many dog lovers that on top of the all the amazing benefits the average pet dog provides, certain dogs have the capability to provide life-changing services for owners in need. More than just pets, service dogs are technically “working dogs.” To honor these incredible animals, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about service dogs, including which breeds are most suitable for service training, the process for a dog to become certified, and how you can get involved in service animal organizations.

Common Service Breeds
service-thumbnailThe breeds that tend to take well to service-based training are German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies. Yet, there are also other breeds that are best for specific disabilities. For instance, smaller breeds such as Setters and Shiba Inus are often used for seizure assistance. In general, small breeds are better suited for conditions that require medical alerts; but for mobility or balance issues, larger, stronger breeds are necessary.

Physical Assessment
The first step in evaluating whether a dog is a good candidate for service, is to schedule a nose-to-tail examination by a licensed veterinarian. If a dog has a condition like arthritis for example, he would not be considered a good candidate as the condition could inhibit him from performing his duties and add unnecessary strain to his body. Service dogs should all be neutered or spayed so they are not in heat while working. Age is also a factor as dogs should be at least 6 months old and past the puppy stage.

Personality Evaluation
Disposition and temperament are crucial factors in determining whether a dog is capable of becoming an effective service dog. A neutral personality that isn’t too active or too passive is the easiest personality type to train for service duties. A dog who is pretty even-tempered, rather than aggressive or overly submissive, is likely to be a great fit.

Sourcing A Reputable Trainer
Training a service animal requires a lot of expertise, patience and of course a tailored program customized to the illness or condition the dog is being trained to assist. While there is no required certification in the United States, the service dog training community has created self-regulated, minimum standards of which all trainers should meet. While anyone can learn to train their pet, it’s highly recommended to seek out a professional when it comes to service-based training. A professional trainer will put in the time (often hundreds of hours over 6 months to a year) and focus on “proofing,” which is the art of tuning out distractions and always being on command.

Public Testing
Intermittently throughout and certainly towards the end of the service-training program, professional trainers will take the soon-to-be service dogs into public environments and essentially test the dogs’ skills. Often equipped with a video camera, the trainers will test the dogs’ public conduct, including expectations such as only urinating and defecating on command, curbed excitement, no display of aggression and reduced hyperactivity.

Graduation and Registration
Once a dog successfully completes a service-dog training course, it’s the responsibility of the owner or trainer to register the dog with a reputable service organization such as the United States Service Dog Registry. Because service dogs are self-regulated in the U.S., it’s imperative that owners are diligent in completing the paperwork and registering their animal. A public record of a dog’s service training is helpful for any situation where the dog may be questioned or as evidence in the case of any sort of altercation. Remember, the dog just graduated an intensive program; it’s the least us humans can do!

Finding a Human Match In Need
Similar to trainer resources, there are plenty of places to find people in need of service animals. Remember, public accommodations for service dogs are only made if they’re accompanying a disabled individual.

Whether you have a dog you’re interested in training and donating to become a service animal, or you or someone you know is in need of a service dog, we hope you’ve found this information helpful. It truly is incredible that in addition to providing unconditional love, dogs can provide humans life-saving care.