How to Pick the Perfect Dog For Your Family

Who can resist that squishy pug face? Or those stubby little doxie legs? How about those piercing blue Huskie eyes?

When choosing a dog for your family, there is so much more to consider than looks. Choosing your dog based solely on looks could spell a sad ending for the pup, who will likely end up in the shelter if you choose a dog ill-suited for your lifestyle. We’re outlining the top four things to consider before choosing your new furry friend.

1. Research Breed Characteristics

Dachshund mix puppy

Puppy searching can be fun but make sure you know your breed’s behavioral characteristics to avoid frustration down the road.

While not set in stone, breed characteristics are a guideline for what behavior you can expect from your new pup. You want to make sure your family can meet the dog’s exercise and attention needs.

“You should understand the key characteristics of the breed, but you should also make sure the dog’s energy level matches yours,” California dog trainer and founder of The Pooch Coach, Beverly Ulbrich, says.

2. Added Expenses From Breed Stereotypes 

Although you might be looking for a protective dog, keep in mind your homeowners’ insurance could go up based on the breed you choose. Breeds that are considered aggressive by some could cause a spike in your rates.  These breeds typically include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Bull Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • German Shepherds

Some landlords may outright ban certain breeds or charge an additional deposit. If you can demonstrate your dog is well-trained—with AKC Good Canine Certification, for example—you might be able to convince the insurance company or a landlord with liability concerns that your dog is safe.

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Battle Over Adoption Rights to Retired Military Working Dogs

canine vets
They’re the unsung heroes of war—military working dogs (MWDs) who serve alongside our troops, sniffing out explosives and standing watch to protect their handler and their units.
MWDs will often serve multiple tours of duty, usually with different handlers. But what happens when the dogs are retired from the military? Popular opinion is the dogs should stay with their handlers, but that doesn’t always happen.
Robby’s Law
Sadly, MWDs were largely put down when they were through with their military service prior to the November 2000 enactment of Robby’s Law. Robby’s Law mandated all suitable MWDs be made available for adoption by “law-enforcement agencies, former handlers of these dogs, and other persons capable of caring for these dogs.” The order has since been amended with priority now going first to former handlers, followed by other persons capable of humanely caring for the animal, and law enforcement agencies.
Adoption priority hasn’t always been carried out in that order. The New York Post investigated several soldiers’ stories of being dodged or redirected when trying to adopt their MWDs upon the dog’s retirement.
Adoption Controversy
MWDs trained by K2 Solutions were adopted out at events when their government contract ended in February 2014. The dogs were adopted primarily by law enforcement personnel and civilians—but not by their handlers. This stems not from a lack of handlers wanting to adopt their MWDs but seemingly from a defiance of policy dictated by Robby’s Law.

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Can the ThunderShirt Cure Your Dog’s 4th of July Anxiety?

Does your dog howl or hide when 4th of July fireworks go off? Does he cower when thunderstorms hit? Does he dread the car and even have accidents on car rides? Can he not stand when you leave his side and destroy things while you’re gone?

yellow dog wearing a thundershirtIf you answered yes to any of these questions, the ThunderShirt might be for you.

If you’ve never heard of the ThunderShirt, it is often compared to swaddling a baby—it applies gentle, comforting pressure in key spots, thereby calming your dog’s nerves. It is a low-cost, drug-free option for pet owners with an anxious dog or cat.

The company says it works for more than 80% of pets—based on customer reviews—for issues ranging from separation anxiety to people shyness to problem barking. The company even offers a money-back guarantee if it does not work for you.

But did it work for us? We took a trial run to see if the ThunderShirt might work for you this 4th of July.

Our trial run

dogs in car

Yellow Dog was nervous in the car prior to ThunderShirt, unlike his brother Sundown.

We adopted Yellow Dog at five months old and he was a skittish dog from the start. He pooped in the car within a minute of driving away from his foster home. He’s never been relaxed on car rides; he never lies down and sleeps like Sundown but instead sits and stares at us the entire drive, even on long road trips. He is also sensitive to loud noises—like fireworks or strong thunderstorms.

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Resource Guarding; Why Dogs Protect Their Stuff

By: Beverly Ulbrich, Guest Writer

Most people have heard that you should mess with a puppy’s food when he’s young to ensure he doesn’t growl at or bite you. But did you know that you need to keep doing this throughout your dog’s life?

Yellow Dog chewing on a bully stick

You should be able to grab a bone from your dog’s mouth without him growling or otherwise reacting to you taking it away.

You never know when you’ll need to grab something dangerous from your dog’s mouth, or when someone might try to pet your dog while he’s chewing on something. So you need to make sure your dog knows that it’s okay.

Make sure your dog doesn’t react in any of the following situations:

  • Put your hand in his food bowl and take the bowl away while he’s eating
  • Pet him while he’s eating food
  • Pet him when he’s chewing on a bone or other chew toy
  • Take away anything he’s chewing on or playing with
  • Once you’re assured he’s safe, ask other household members or friends to do the same actions

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Woof & Wine a Success!

Thank you to all who came out to support NorCal GSP Rescue at this year’s Woof & Wine at McGrail Vineyards in Livermore. Several thousand dollars were raised to help GSP’s in need around the Bay Area. It was a beautiful setting at McGrail Vineyards; if you’ve never been, you have to check it out! They have a great shaded patio adjacent to the tasting room. GSP event 12More than 100 people came out to support the event and plenty of four-legged friends joined in on the fun, including Yellow Dog!

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The Yellow Dog Project Gives Dogs Their Space

By: Kyle McKay, Guest Writer

Everyone is unique. We each have our own likes, dislikes, personality and comfort zone.

Dogs also have these character traits but sometimes, it’s hard to remember that when meeting a dog for the first time.

dog showing fear

Sometimes dogs get spooked and need space from humans and/or other dogs. Usually a tail tuck or a dog hiding behind its owner are clues the dog needs space.

Some canine companions are incredibly friendly. They’ll run to you with a furiously wagging tail, practically begging you to pet them and play with them. This scenario is often a default expectation among most people when encountering an unfamiliar dog in public.

But it’s important to know this is not always the case. And even if your dog is friendly, that doesn’t mean every dog the two of your encounter will be, too.

Just like humans, some dogs need a little more space than what people expect. A dog may be a bit skittish and leery around new animals or people. But how do you know when this is the case?

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Maddie’s Days a Roaring Success; More Than 15,000 Animals Adopted

More than 15,000 dogs and cats found forever homes this weekend during Maddie’s Days, the nation’s largest free pet adoption event. The Bay Area accounted for nearly 5,000 of those adoptions.

More than 200 shelters and rescues nationwide participated in the fifth annual Maddie’s Days, including 90 groups in the Bay Area.

Maddie’s Fund donates anywhere from $500 to $2000 per dog or cat adopted during Maddie’s Days. That money will be used by the participating shelters and rescues to save animals with special needs that might otherwise be euthanized.

Maddie’s Fund had earmarked $10 million for this year’s event with the goal of adopting out 10,000 animals. Surpassing that goal by about 5,000 pets means they will donate even more money.

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Free Pet Adoption this Weekend During Maddie’s Days

If you’re thinking about adding a furry family member to your pack anytime soon, this weekend is the time to do it!

female pit bulls maddie's days

Adoptable dogs pose for prospective parents at Maddie’s Days last year.

Adoption fees will be waived at participating rescue groups or shelters in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Francisco and Santa Clara County for two days, Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.

This is all thanks to Maddie’s Fund, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of companion animals. They give a rescue or shelter from $500 to $2000 per dog or cat adopted during Maddie’s Days, the nation’s largest free adoption event. Those funds allow for the care and rehabilitation of pets who might otherwise be euthanized.

Maddie’s Fund has set a goal of 10,000 adoptions during this year’s Maddie’s Days.

PrintIf you are interested in adopting a pet for free this weekend, 90 shelters and rescues in four Bay Area counties are participating in the event.

maddie's fund picA special event called “Rescue Row” will be held in San Francisco on Alabama Street, between 15th and 16th Streets. The event will feature food trucks, a beer garden, music and of course, adoptions! The San Francisco SPCA, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Northern California Family Dog Rescue and San Francisco Animal Care and Control, among others, will all be on hand with adoptable dogs and cats.

If you would like to learn more, visit the Maddie’s Days or Maddie’s Fund websites.

Dog Walkers Rally Against New Restrictions

Bay Area dog walkers gathered at Fort Mason Wednesday afternoon to protest the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s proposal to immediately reduce the number of dogs commercial dog-walkers can take to popular parks in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties.

The GGNRA wants to implement an interim rule reducing commercial dog-walker groups to six, rather than eight, dogs at parks like Fort Funston, Crissy Field, Ocean Beach, Stinson Beach and others. This rule is part of the controversial 1500-page Dog Management Plan, which is currently undergoing a government-mandated review process.

Dog walkers say reducing the number of dogs they can take will hurt their business, resulting in higher rates for customers. The other option would be frequenting city parks instead of national parks.

That’s exactly what San Francisco City Supevisors are afraid of. They are against the Dog Management Plan because they say it doesn’t adequately address the overflow at city parks which will result from restricting access to the national parks and will be a drain on city resources.

See the rally and the full details in this KRON 4 report:

 

Follow all the latest updates on the GGNRA proposal with the Save Off Leash group’s website and Facebook page.

 

 

Rescue Me: Pug Rescue of Sacramento

We at Yellow Dog Blog are huge fans of legitimate, hard-working rescue groups. After all, a Bay Area rescue saved Yellow Dog and Sundown!

But it is heartbreaking to know not all dogs are so lucky. In fact, roughly 9,000 innocent animals are put to sleep every day across the U.S. simply because there aren’t enough people willing or able to adopt. So we’ve launched a new series on YDB highlighting rescue groups in California, the Rescue Me series.

We start with Pug Rescue of Sacramento, or PROS. PROS was founded in the early 1990s when Sacramento breeder Marianne Herzberg-Stanley found many pugs in need of homes. PROS was incorporated as a non-profit in 1996 and since then, they’ve rescued thousands of pugs, taking in more than 100 dogs a year.

Pug dogs jumping up

Two pugs greet a visitor at a PROS adoption event at Pet Food Express in Benicia.

PROS President Jan Grover has been working with the organization for 12 years, including three as president. She says the pug breed is special.

“Pugs are very oriented towards people,” Grover says. “They especially enjoy being around their own breed. At pug events, it’s like meeting a long-lost cousin.”

Dedicated volunteer and Dublin resident Elena Temples got involved with PROS more than ten years ago when she took her first pug puppy to Pug Sunday at Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek.

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