Thursday, July 31, 2014

Get the right dog door size

Choosing dog door size is both easier and more difficult than it seems. Easier, because there are great sizing charts, and more difficult, because the right size is often counterintuitive. That is, the right size often looks too small.

The PlexiDor shouldn't be mounted
flush with the floor.
The PlexiDor dog door comes in sizes from small to extra large, and can accommodate everything from the tiniest Chihuahua to Irish Wolfhounds.

A common error is thinking the door must be as tall as the pet is. For many breeds this would give huge holes in the wall or door. A dog door the size of a Great Dane would be so heavy to open the dogs couldn't get out, and it would be so big that keeping weather outside would be an impossible challenge.

Most dogs bow their head and lift their legs when they go through. This means that the door can be much shorter than the dog.

Naturally, the door has to be wide enough to let the pet through, and tall enough to fit the pet's torso, but it doesn't have to be as tall as the pet.

The image top right shows a correctly installed dog door. Note that it isn't installed flush with the floor, and that it looks pretty small compared to the dog.

Many have smaller and bigger pets together. The panels on the PlexiDor swing so easily that smaller pets can open the larger doors without problems. However, you might have to go up one size, because the door needs to be installed low enough for the smaller pets to open, but high enough for the larger pets to go through without crouching. Click here to download a size chart with recommended dog weights and door measurements!

If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact customer service. They will help you find the best door for your needs.




~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tips for finding a pet-friendly rental


It can be difficult to find a pet-friendly rental, especially with larger dogs, but it's not impossible. Here are some tips that might help.

Start looking ahead of time


Depending on where you live, the rules and timing for moving will vary. In parts of the world everything happens with a three month delay - everyone must give a three-month notice before leaving a rental - and in other parts of the world people look to move the next day.

Either way, planning ahead will help you. You might have to call many landlords before you find the right one that will welcome your pets. Be polite and persistent, and ask about pet policies.

Look at private rentals


Many apartment complexes have centrally mandated policies the on-site crew can't disregard no matter how much they want to. It might be easier to find an individual homeowner that will accept your pets. Check online listings and in newspaper, and tell your friends on social media that you're looking. In this day and age word of mouth is more powerful than ever.

Be prepared with your dog's papers


Some landlords want proof of vaccinations and regular vet visits. Any certifications and other documentation such as obedience classes, therapy dog classes, contests wins, or a Canine Good Citizen certification can also help sway potential landlords in your favor. References can also help, like a letter of reference from your current landlord.

Introduce your dog


When you go look at a rental you might get an opportunity to show pictures of your cute and well-groomed pets. If you feel a rapport with the landlord but they still seem on the fence about your pets, ask if you can introduce him or her to your furry friends in your home. That can be a good opportunity both to show how well behaved your pets are and how well you've taken care of your current home.

Get approval in writing


Once you get permission from your new landlord or property manager, make sure to get it in writing. Many make a pet addendum to the contract. Many rentals require a one-time pet fee and/or a small charge in addition to the rent every month. Make sure you know what's required before you move in.

Don't give up


It can be difficult to find a rental, but it's not impossible. Your pets are worth the extra effort. Many give their pets up to shelters because they have a hard time finding somewhere to live that will accept the dogs, but this is never a good solution. If you can't find a place on your own, ask for help. The local humane society might know of pet-friendly rentals. You can also ask your county government, they often have lists, or might know where you can turn with questions. Many real estate companies have rentals, and manage rentals for their clients. Give them a call. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Six really fast dog breeds

Most dogs run around 20 mph.
Dogs are incredible runners and odds are your dog outruns you - even if it's a short-legged couch potato. Most dogs can run at speeds around 20 mph. In comparison, the fastest human in the world is considered to be Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. In a 100 meter dash, he averages 23.7 mph. The average human slouches around at a running pace of 6-12 mph.

The fastest in the dog world are really fast. Here are six of the fastest dog breeds in the world:The Greyhound is generally considered the fastest dog, and they can reach speeds up to 45 mph over short distances. They’re sometimes called the “45-mph couch potato.” Between the speed bursts, they like to lounge on a comfortable sofa. 

The Saluki is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds, dating back at least to 7,000 BC, and over long distances it is faster than the Greyhound. Salukis have been clocked at 43 mph, and the really impressive feat is that they can keep running at that pace. Salukis have padded feet, which helps them withstand the impact of long-distance running. 

Whippets have been called “The Poor Man’s Racehorse” and the breed originally stems from a mix of Italian Greyhounds, Greyhounds, and terriers. These dogs are small but swift and can run 200 yards in less than 12 seconds. 

Border Collies are normally associated with their smarts and workaholic can-do attitude, but they are also designed to move at great speed. They’re able to make quick decisions, turn on a pinhead, and keep control even through sharp turns. The breed is very popular for agility, flyball, and disc competitions, and these four-legged race cars keep a pace around 30 mph. Combine that with stamina - herding Border Collies easily run 50 miles every day - and you have a breed difficult to beat.

If the Border Collies and Salukis are long-distance winners, few breeds beat the Vizsla when it comes to distances around a mile. They number isn't officially clocked, but many breeders say they've timed their dogs around 40 mph. They are agile and able to make sharp turns, and they swim almost as well as they run. The Vizsla is a Hungarian hunting breed.

The Alaskan Husky is another breed that doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of speed, but these marathon runners were originally bred to deliver supplies and goods to remote, frozen areas. Under those circumstances, both speed and endurance is a must. A single Alaskan Husky can run around 28 mph. In teams, they can pull heavy sleighs for hours at an average speed of 10 mph.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Borzoi

Borzoi image from akc.org
The Borzoi is a Russian breed originally created to hunt on the open plains of Russia, and were used in hunting parties with more than 100 dogs. This is an old breed with the first written breed standard dating back to 1650.

The Russian aristocracy have bred the Borzoi for hundreds of years, and there are records trailing back to the 13th century where long hounds are mentioned. The first Borzoi in America arrived from England in 1889, and in 1903, Joseph B. Thomas made three trips to Russia to import dogs to establish the breed here.

Back in the day, the Borzoi was often used for hunting wolves. Today they're popular for lure coursing and as pets. They are very fast - can run up 40 mph - and make fantastic pet as they are intelligent, gentle, and independent.

A Borzoi requires daily exercise, and it is important to remember the breed's strong hunting instinct. If something moves, the dog will give chase. They are quite big - males measure at least 28 inches at the shoulder and often weigh over 100 lbs - but they are also graceful and can move in narrow spaces without knocking things over.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sunshine story: Dog turns homeless man's life around

John Dolan lived on the streets of London and didn't think his life would ever change. That is, until Staffordshire bull terrier George came into his life. A homeless woman traded a beer can for the dog and gave the puppy to John who started drawing George. It didn't take long until people passing on the street bought his sketches. 

Today, his drawings sell for almost $7,000. He is writing a book about George, and he is working on a set of sketches of rock stars with their dogs.

John and George are inseparable, and sell their drawings in a gallery in London. They also have a show coming up in Los Angeles.

While the couple are well able to afford lodging after their success, John still prefers to draw outside, and he wants to capture George's personality in everything he does.

Image from today.com
~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's in that dog?

You might have heard about DNA tests for dogs. If your furry friend has a pedigree it's not an issue, but it might be a fun thing to do for anyone who has adopted a dog without papers. Breed doesn't matter when you love your pooch, but he or she might be so great it makes you curious what's in there. Enter, the doggie DNA test.

How does it work?

If you're the curious kind and want to test, a canine DNA test starts with ordering a kit that helps you take a cheek-swab from your dog. The sample goes to a research company where it is analyzed. Genetic differences between breeds are pretty well mapped and your dog's DNA can be compared to a database with samples from different breeds. The answer generally comes back in a couple of weeks.

How accurate is it?

The accuracy of the test depends on the mix of breeds in your dog - if there's at least one purebred parent or grandparent, the analysis will be fairly accurate. That said, some purebreds are difficult to analyze too. Some young breeds are closely related with little difference in DNA, and some breeds are derived from another, making them nearly impossible to distinguish.

Many DNA reports give an analysis of the dog along with the breed report. This can be explaining unique behaviors, and an in-depth look at wellness needs.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are cats really attracted to persons with allergy?

Sometimes it seems as if cats are glued to people trying to avoid them. If a person is allergic to cats, kitty will be all over them, ignoring the humans trying to lure it away. Are cats attracted to people not wanting them around, or is it just imagination?

It's not imagination; many cats play it safe and gravitate towards people who aren't trying to get their attention. Gestures and calls can seem like pressure, or even come across as threatening. The person not wanting attention seems like a safer choice.

Cats do other things that can seem peculiar, like sit in boxes, or drink out of glasses instead of their water bowl.

While these behaviors appear illogical to humans, there's an explanation for everything. When it comes to the water, cats in the wild avoid drinking from a water source close to their dead prey. It's survival instinct; the water can be contaminated.

This instinct remains, and cats choose water far away from their store-bought food to make sure it won't make them sick. Try putting the water bowl in another corner than the food.

The cardboard boxes also have a natural explanation. In the wild, cats are territorial and like to claim a location as theirs. They also like to be in enclosed spaced, because it's safe.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five gigantic dog breeds

Many large dogs are very gentle and friendly. Sure, they require lots of space and eat massive amounts of food, but they also give a lot of love. And the food problem can be dealt with by entering the PlexiDor 2014 dog food contest - 1,000 lbs of food should last for a while even for the biggest of dogs. If you want a dog door for your very large friend, we can settle that too - the extra large PlexiDor dog door is constructed to keep up with dogs up to 220 lbs, and can take the impact of a big and powerful doggie running through at full speed.

Here is a list of five of the world's largest dog breeds.


The Great Dane

Most people have heard of the Great Dane, and they are easy to recognize. The world's tallest dog is currently a Great Dane, and besides being big, the dogs are known to be friendly, strong, and elegant. They get along well with other types of pets, people, and other dogs.

The Great Dane has roots in ancient history. The earliest known drawings that resemble the breed have been dated to around 3,000 BC, and the oldest written mention to 1,121 BC.


The Irish Wolfhound

These friendly giants would hold the title of world's tallest dog if one took the average of the breeds - often around 35 inches. When standing on the back legs, many Irish Wolfhounds reach 7 feet!

This breed is known to be patient, intelligent, and reliable. They love people in general, and do well with children. Many Irish Wolfhounds thrive in the city, but they need a lot of exercise.


The English Mastiff

This is the heaviest breed on the planet, and the dogs can weigh up to 250 lbs. The English Mastiff is considered England's oldest breed.

English Mastiffs are known for being on the lazy side and need to be activated to make sure they get the exercise they need to stay healthy. They're devoted to their family, good with children, and accept other dogs.


The Scottish Deerhound

These dogs look like a rough-coated greyhound, and are about the friendliest thing you can find on four legs. They are gentle, loving, and eager to please.

It's important to know that a Scottish Deerhound requires lots of exercise and gets bored easily - if they have too little to do they might take upon themselves to reorganize the home or redesign furniture. These projects aren't always to humans' liking... The problem can be alleviated by keeping two. They love to have company of another Deerhound.


The Leonberger

The Leonberger gets its name from the coat resembling a lion's mane. These are the coolest dogs you can imagine and little fazes them. Young Leonbergers can be very energetic and don't settle down until around the age of three.

They're surprisingly agile for their size, and require lots of exercise to stay happy and healthy.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is an old hunting breed that resembles a large, rough-coated greyhound. Through the ages, the breed has also been known as Scotch Greyhound, Rough Greyhound, and Highland Deerhound. The name Scottish Deerhound settled some time in the 16th century, and has stuck with it since.

These are the best dogs for hunting deer, and the dogs have been highly valued through history; no one with a rank lower than an Earl was allowed to have one. The policy nearly rendered the breed extinct.

Scottish Deerhounds are large dogs - often 32 inches or more - with strong hunting instinct. The urge to hunt makes them likely to chase anything that runs past them, and they are often used for lure coursing and similar activities.

They are generally quiet indoors, extremely friendly, and gentle. They are eager to please and rarely get into trouble - once they're adult. Young Deerhounds tend to get bored easily and can get quite destructive if left to their own devices. They don't mean any harm - they're just bored and want to see what's inside the cupboard or under the sofa...

Deerhounds need quite a bit of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They also do very well in pairs, and having two dogs can alleviate some of the problems with boredom and excessive energy in young dogs.

When it comes to the coat, the Deerhound is easy to care for. An occasional brushing and a bath will do the trick.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, July 18, 2014

New pet health monitor

Pet Pace looks like a collar, but is a health monitor that can keep track of a pet's vital signs, alert the owner, and even inform the vet if anything is wrong.

The collar collects information and sends it to a base unit, which is attached to the Internet. A database compares collar information with pet data against norms and information specific for the breed. All this comes together on a website, where the pet owner can see temperature, respiration, pulse rate, and more.

If any condition is developing, the collar will send an alert to the owner, and inform the veterinarian. The collar knows if the dog is eating, drinking, standing, sitting, or lying down - and can even tell if the pet is lying on the left or right side.

Pets are really good at hiding problems, and vets estimate up to 30 percent of pets suffer a serious medical condition without their owners being aware.


video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wally the Rat Terrier gets home-made wheelchair from store employees

Dogs might not be our whole world, but they sure make life worth living, and Wally is not an exception. Fox news reports that when Wally's vet told Rebecca Pierce her dog was paralyzed, she also felt crippled. The vet believes Wally has a herniated disc in his spine, leaving him unable to use his hind legs.

Wally himself was probably less upset over this than the humans were; he waddled forward through pulling himself forward with his front legs, dragging the back along. Pierce hoped the condition wouldn't be permanent, but needed a temporary solution to help her best friend.

Youtube provided videos of people making their own doggie wheelchairs, and Pierce decided to try. She brought Wally along to Home Depot to look for parts. While she might have expected getting help to find the parts she needed, she did not expect store employees spending hours on building the perfect wheelchair.

To make it even better, the store covered the costs, reasoning it was an easy fix for them that really helped Pierce and Wally.

Today, Wally speeds around in his new ride, and sees a chiropractor for treatments. He is regaining strength in his hind legs, and until he can walk on his own again, he has his own wheels.



~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Secondhand smoke can cause cancer in your pets

Everyone knows smoking is bad, but it's not an easy habit to kick. Today, most people know that secondhand smoke can be dangerous too, and hopefully people don't smoke around their children anymore. Many still forget about their pets. If you are a smoker, consider going outside when you light up, so you don't subject your beloved pets to dangerous substances.

No one has measured how many pets in the USA die from secondhand smoke each year, but vets can tell from lab tests and office visits that inhaling secondhand smoke causes various cancers, inflammations, and allergic reactions in pets.

Colorado State University and Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts have researched the connection between cancer in pets and secondhand smoke. Breathing in smoke can cause lung and nasal cancer in dogs, lymphoma in cats, and respiratory illnesses in both cats and dogs.

Cats are more susceptible than dogs. A cat subjected to repeated smoke exposure has double the risk of getting cancer than a cat from a smoke-free home. The risk increases quickly; if a cat lives with a smoker for five years or more, the risk of lymphoma quadruples. Lymphoma is one of the leading causes of death in cats.

Dogs are not safe either; cancer kills more dogs than any other disease.

Symptoms of cancer include problems eating or breathing, coughing, weight loss, drooling, vomiting, nasal discharge, sneezing, and bleeding.

Many smokers turn to e-cigarettes, and that can be a great alternative, but be mindful how you store the cigarettes, fluids, and similar. The shape and plastic in the e-cigarette can be tempting for many dogs, and some dogs have been known to take nicotine cartridges out of the trash. Nicotine is a strong poison and very dangerous for cats and dogs.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New type of police dog finds computer storage

Image from providencejournal.com
Police dogs are hard working four-legged officers who do everything from find missing people to detain suspects. Lately, a new type of police dog has joined the ranks. These dogs are trained to sniff out computer components, and can find hidden flash drives and other storage devices.

Flash drives and memory cards are so small that criminals can hide them in places impossible for a human to find. Many hide them in ceiling tiles, radios, or similar. And, they can contain all forms of evidence necessary to arrest and convict a criminal.

Rhode Island is the second state in the USA to have a police dog trained to find technological gadgets. His name is Thoreau, and he is a golden Labrador with 22 weeks special training. He has already proven his worth through finding a flash drive hidden four layers deep in a tin box inside a metal cabinet - a discovery that helped officers secure an arrest warrant.

Thoreau trains every day, and gets food in exchange for his hard work. His original training comes from a Connecticut program that currently trains more than 60 dogs in various types of detection work.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Image from akc.org
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a Swiss breed belonging to the Swiss Mountain Dogs. It is also known as the Entlebucher Sennenhund, or Entlebucher Cattle Dog, and the name comes from the Entlebuch Valley

The three other breeds in the group of Swiss Mountain Dogs are the Appenzeller Sennenhund, Bernese Mountain Dog, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The Entlebucher is the smallest breed in the group, and is medium-sized, strong, and compact. Up until 1926 the Appenzell and Entlebuch cattle dogs were regarded the same breed, but ever since then they have been promoted as separate.

These dogs were historically used to move cows between pastures, but they have also been used for other larger animals, like horses. They're known for being intelligent, loyal, fast, and agile. A typical Entlebucher Mountain Dog is protective of the family and very devoted, energetic, active, and needs something to do. These dogs need a lot of exercise.

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are strong for their size and do well in most sports. They are willing and enthusiastic partners for anything from jogging to agility.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dog breeds good with children

Bulldogs are generally great with kids.
Yesterday, we wrote about interactions between dogs and children, and making sure everyone stays safe. Dogs are individuals, just like people, but some breeds are known for being generally better with kids than others. Here are some of the top kid-friendly breeds. 

The Beagle is a sturdy breed, filled with energy and will to play. Beagles are known for being cheerful, smart, and friendly. They generally get along with everyone and everything. Though, they might think it's fun to chase other pets.

Bulldogs are docile, friendly, and loyal. They make calm friends who love to cuddle in front of the TV, or watch their human play video games. Most Bulldogs are great with children, and get along well with other dogs and other pets.

Bull Terriers aren't all that common in the USA, but they often top the lists of child friendly dogs. They were bred to be companions and combine the best features of Bulldogs and Terriers. They become very attached to their families, and are sturdy, patient, friendly, and loving. A Bull Terrier needs a fair amount of exercise and loves to play.

Golden Retrievers are loyal, patient, smart, confident, and kind. They have an even temper and are neither timid nor aggressive. They too require ample exercise, and most Golden Retrievers love to play ball.

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dogs in many countries, including the USA. They're often used as service dogs and police dogs, and their trustworthy nature makes them great with children. A typical Labrador is playful, loving, protective, and reliable.

Newfoundlands are the largest breed on the list. These gentle giants are sometimes called "Nature's Babysitters" and are known for being kind and patient. They become very protective towards children and might feel it's their duty to follow the kids everywhere.

Poodles are amongst the smartest breeds, often competing with Border Collies for the top position on intelligence lists. They are also gentle, good-natured, and patient, and make wonderful companions for children. To make it better, they come in three sizes and shed very little.

The Vizsla might not be a dog breed you hear of every day, but they are great dogs for active families with older children. A typical Vizsla is energetic, obedient, loyal, gentle, and smart. They form close bonds with the family and love to go for adventures.

Do you have experience with one of these breeds and children? Did we forget someone on the list?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Children and dogs, tips to keep interaction safe

Children and dogs can be the best thing that ever happened, or an absolute disaster. Kids are impulsive and don't always know when they're being too rough, and they don't know how to read a dog's body language. It is important to supervise interaction between dogs and kids, and adults need to know what the dog is saying.

Every year children are bit by dogs, possibly scarred for life, and good family dogs lose their lives. These situations can be prevented, and it's not hard. When the family says, "It came out of the blue," or "We saw no signals," the adults probably missed the dog's cues.

Here are some tips to keep interaction between children and dogs safe.

Naturally, don't let your children run up to a dog they don't know. If you meet a dog, ask the owner's permission, and ask if it's okay to pet.

Many children approach dogs from above and try to pet the face or top of the head. A dog can interpret this as a threat, especially if he or she doesn't know the child.

The best way to get to know a dog is to crouch down and turn away just a bit. In doggy-language, this is polite and non-threatening, and invites to come over and say hi. It's hard to contain a child's enthusiasm over meeting a dog and probably not realistic to think a small child will crouch down and turn their back, but teach them to pet the side of the dog instead of going for the face. Gently, of course.

If a dog is turning its head away, pulling its ears back, licking, or yawning, there's a good chance it's uncomfortable. 

When you see these signs, it's time to leave the dog alone.

Sometimes news on TV report stories like, "A five-year old was bit when hugging the neighbor's dog."

Never let a child hug a dog.

Hugs aren't natural to dogs, and they don't interpret it as a sign of affection. A dog can be trained to accept and like hugs, but it doesn't come naturally.

Did we forget some safety tips? Do you have stories about children and dogs you want to share?

~ Maria Sadowski ~


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Black dog syndrome

Have you heard of Black Dog Syndrome? It means that black cats and dogs wait longer in shelters before they're adopted, and more black pets are euthanized every year than pets with other colors. Petfinder.com made a survey and found that most pets are listed for 12.5 weeks on the website, but black pets spend four times as long in the listings.

A big part of the prejudice against black pets is unconscious and come from sayings that black cats bring bad luck, and that black dogs would be scarier or more vicious than dogs of other colors. This is naturally rubbish, but the image is enforced by everything from Harry Potter books to silhouettes on "Beware of Dog" signs.

Besides prejudice, black dogs and cats have a harder time being seen than their lighter friends. Most shelter photos are taken by volunteers, and even if the person is a good photographer it's hard to catch expressions on a black pet's face. Add stress and time-constraints, and the images tend to show a black figure with a huge tongue. This doesn't exactly help when people are "window-shopping" websites before visiting the shelter.

And, once potential adopters make it to the shelter, black cats and dogs disappear in the shadows in crates and kennels.

Owners of black pets can help. Show your love and demonstrate how great your pet is. Also, tell people about black dog syndrome. Once someone is aware of the unconscious bias, they're generally able to move past it and see black dogs and cats as the wonderful individuals they are.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Low-shedding dog breeds

Portuguese Water Dog, image from free-picture.net
Dogs shed. It's a fact of life, and many dog lovers couldn't care less about dog hair under the sofa or paw prints on the floor. Others need or want to keep their home tidy, and knowing how much a breed sheds beforehand can be of great help. There are a number of dog breeds that shed very little. For instance...

The Bichon Frise requires grooming to keep the coat healthy and free from mats, but they shed so little you'll barely notice. To make things even better, they're hardy and cheerful dogs that love to be active and play. While no breeds are truly hypoallergenic, many people allergic to dogs can do well with a Bichon Frise.

Smooth or wire-haired Dachshunds also shed very little. They have a convenient size and are generally playful and lovable. All dogs should be supervised when interacting with children, but a Dachshund generally does very well with kids.

The Portuguese Water Dog is known for being active, athletic, and loyal. They make great companions for active families that can fulfill their need for exercise. The Portuguese Water Dog has a waterproof coat that can be curly or wavy.

Poodles often battle Border Collies for the top position on lists with intelligent breeds. Poodles are great companions, make wonderful service dogs, and shed next to nothing.

Border Terriers are great little dogs that are affectionate and easy to train. They are active and need regular exercise, and they love to do things with the family.

Standard Schnauzers don't shed regularly, but they need their body coats stripped twice a year. This means that all loose and dead hairs are plucked out. They are social, affectionate, and generally great with children, but can be quite stubborn and might not be an easy breed for a new dog owner.

The Yorkshire Terrier is another light shedder. These dogs adapt easily to new environments, they're energetic, curious, and generally sport large personalities. The Yorkshire Terrier is a large dog in a small package.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Bull Terrier

Photo from akc.org 
The Bull Terrier is an extremely popular dog in Spain, Australia, and its country of origin: Great Britain. The breed has never reached the same spread through the United States. These dogs are often described as clowns on four legs, or as a three-year old in a dog suit.

The breed comes from crosses between Bulldogs and various Terriers during the 1800s. The crosses gave dogs with the courage and determination of a Bulldog, and the agility and energy of a Terrier. During the 1800s, the demand for pets and show dogs increased, and James Hinks from Birmingham developed a refined version of the crosses. The Bull Terrier as we know it today has been in existence since around 1860.

An average Bull Terrier hates being alone. They were bred to be companions, and they become very attached to their owners and family. Their muscular appearance and shape of the head make many non-doglovers fear them, but the average Bull Terrier is exceedingly friendly.

They are fun-loving, playful, goofy, and sweet. If you like to play, this is a perfect breed. This is also one of the best breeds with children.

When it comes to care, Bull Terriers require exercise and do very well in active families. Their coat is glossy and short, and requires little grooming.

Like all dogs, the Bull Terrier needs training and socialization. They can be stubborn, but they learn easily, and do very well in obedience competitions, agility, and dog shows. Bull Terriers have little to no guard instinct, and they don't bark often. If you hear a Bull Terrier bark, pay attention; they generally don't do that without a good reason.

The most famous Bull Terrier in the USA is probably Bullseye, the official mascot of the Target Corporation.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Today, the PlexiDor office is closed, and we hope you enjoy the holiday as much as we do.

This is a holiday big on fireworks, and while you're celebrating, keep your pets in mind. They don't associate the noise and bright flashes with something fun and happy; most pets are terrified of fireworks.

This is the day of the year when the most pets are lost all around the country. Even normally calm cats and dogs can panic and run in an attempt to reach safety.

Keep your pets inside, even if they're used to being outside. Don't underestimate a frightened pet's ability to flee; they can suddenly scale high fences, or bolt through a small opening in a door or a window.

Make sure they have ID-badges on their collars, and that they're microchipped. Naturally, don't leave them in the car. If you go to see a fireworks display, leave them at home.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dog of the Month: Keeshond

The Keeshond is a medium-sized Dutch dog characterized by a lion-like ruff. It is a member of the spitz family of dogs and usually weighs between 30 and 40 lbs.

These dogs are generally playful with quick reflexes and strong jumping ability. They are also quick to learn and eager to please. This combination makes them excellent agility and obedience dogs.

The Keeshond gets along well with children, and they like to be close to their humans whenever possible. While not aggressive to visitors, they generally announce newcomers loudly, and they have been used as watch dogs through Europe.

They are often used as comfort dogs, and at least one Keeshond was at Ground Zero on 9/11 to help comfort rescue workers.


~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy dogs that rescue humans

Most people have seen the sad TV commercials with cats and dogs peeking out through cages. The imagery tug on human heartstrings. Their pleading eyes set to sad music draw tears and bad conscience. 

Do the commercials lead to adoptions? Maybe.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the commercials were turned the other way around? If they showed happy dogs and cats playing, and humans enjoying time with their furry friends? Would that inspire adoptions?

A recent campaign in Melbourne, Australia, put the theory to the test. Their project shows sad humans working all day in drab environments. In come the dogs, offering fun walks in the park.

There were posters around the city, and flyers handed out.

The campaign was called the Human Walking Program, and resulted in a 100 percent adoption rate. Maybe we should try this in the US too?


~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Barry, the legendary rescue dog

Image from Barry Museum
Barry was a St Bernard who died 200 years ago, but remains the most famous rescue dog in the world. He is a legend, surrounded by countless stories, and an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Bern tells his story.

Barry was born in 1800 and lived at the famous hospice on the St. Bernard Pass. He was a legend even during his life time, and myths declare that he saved at least 40 people from certain death in the snow and bitter cold.

The hospice has been run since the 11th century, and sits 2,500 meters above sea level. The St. Bernard Pass was dangerous at the best of times and during the course of 200 years the dogs - along with the Augustine monks living at the hospice - saved over 2,000 people.

Today's search and rescue dogs are quite different from the dogs in Barry's time. The main role for these dogs was to find the way back home, regardless of weather. The thick blizzards would get a human lost within minutes.

Barry was clearly seen as an important dog even during his lifetime, because he spent his last years in retirement in Bern, and was preserved after his death. He can actually be seen at the exhibition about his life, and he serves an important task even this long after his death. Thanks to Barry, visitors can see how St Bernards used to look, and can see the difference from the breed today. If you want to learn more about that, visit the St Bernard page on PlexiDors.com.

Barry has also given name to a foundation in Switzerland called "Fondation Barry du Grand Saint Bernard." They are a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving St Bernard dogs, and keeping them at their point of origin on the Great St Bernard Pass. Their website is well worth a visit!

~ Maria Sadowski ~