Keep Austin Dog Friendly

Through Responsible Dog Ownership.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Off Leash Nature Trail at Mary Moore Searight Park Fundraising Event

The brand new Off Leash Nature Trail at Mary Moore Searight Park off Slaughter Lane will open soon. The Friends of Mary Moore Searight Park and Austin Parks Foundation have been working on this project for the past two years. The project is almost complete, but the group is in need of some funding to complete the final stages by the end of the year. In order to accomplish this, they are holding a fund raising event at the end of the month.
The fund raising festivities is this Saturday October 30th from 12 to 5 at the Mary Moore Searight Park Pavilion; 907 W. Slaughter Lane .  There will be a costume contest, silent auction, photo booth, and lots of pet related vendors.

Support the park by joining it, getting the word out, and donating to the cause.   

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Not to Socialize Your Dog

If you were a parent of a human toddler, would you take your child to a group of older kids that beat him or her up while you stood idly by?  After expressing fear, would you let the older kids beat your child up again? Would you then reward your child for showing fear?  That's essentially what I saw this past weekend.

An off-leash boxer was romping around the area at a dog-friendly event.  A young woman had a pyrenees mix puppy on a leash that looked to be about four to six months old.   The off-leash boxer attacked the puppy on three separate occasions, leaving the puppy yelping and screaming for 30 seconds.  The owner never protected the puppy from the boxer nor did the owner walk the puppy away from the boxer.  On two occasions, she walked the puppy up to the offending boxer.  At the end of the event, the puppy refused to follow the owner and cowered everywhere it went.  She stopped, petted the dog, and coddled it when showed fear.  This is a dog that is going to develop severe behavioral issues in the future.  The other owner praised his boxer as well.

The owner essentially put the puppy in a situation where it would be attacked, and then instead of teaching it to be confident through leadership, she coddled it.  I politely warned the woman that she was teaching her dog to be fearful, but she wouldn't have any of it.  She insisted that her cowering puppy was outgoing.  Unfortunately, it is difficult for many people to view their beloved pet(s)' behavior in an objective manner, and it was very obvious that the puppy no longer trusted her judgment. In my opinion, the owners of both dogs handled the situation improperly.  Both dogs were praised for undesirable behaviors. 
I have articles on how to socialize, but this one is how to NOT socialize.  Socializing isn't just spending time in the presence of others, socializing means having positive social interactions and learning how to interact.  Here's some basics on socializing your dog. 
  • DON'T just let your dog play freely with other dogs.  Dogs are dogs.  They will fight on occasion.  They will pick up bad behaviors.  DON'T think that your dog won't come home with only germs from the dog park. They'll probably also bring home some unwanted behaviors due to social learning.  DO supervise your dog during play.
  • DON'T assume that other dogs are friendly.  Like people, some dogs are just big mean jerks that want to pick fights.  DO know the other dogs before you let yours play or get beat up.
  • DON'T think that all dogs have to get along.   DON'T walk your dog up to an aggressive dog.   If another dog is being a big meanie, just walk your dog away.  DO avoid fights.
  • DON'T coddle your dog. Coddling your dog (babying/praising/petting when your dog exhibits fear or anxiety) only encourages those behaviors.  DO ignore fear and anxiety, and DO reward confident and active behavior.
  • DON'T assume that other dog owners are watching their dogs.  Other owners probably aren't watching their own dogs.  Most of the time, they are socializing amongst themselves.  DO watch your dog and other dogs

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dogtoberfest Austin - Oct.23

Dogtoberfest benefits eight Austin area rescue groups.   Check out the fun events going on, and take some fun pictures too!

Date: Saturday, Oct. 23rd.
Time: 11- 4 pm
Location: The Domain, Austin,TX

KXAN presents the Dogtoberfest Canine Costume Contest

KXAN's Jim Spencer will emcee this year's Canine Costume Contest.  Categories include:   
  • Wackiest                                                                
  • Best Owner/Dog duo
  • Best Group (2 or more dogs)                          
  • Favorite Movie Character
Prizes will be awarded for each category as well as one for Best in Show.  It's free to enter!
This is a photo of Jim with Gwen, one of his beloved Miniature Schnauzers.
The photo was taken by our favorite photographer, Nicole Mlakar-Livingston.

Dog Portraits

The Neiman Marcus photo booth is back again this year.  For a $5 donation, we will capture your 4-legged family members photo in front of a custom back drop.
Additionally Nicole Mlakar-Livingston will be photographing the day's happenings as she roams througout The Domain.  After the event, we'll post a link to her website where you can view the photos and order them from her directly.  Nicole has come to be known as one of Austin's premier photographers. 

Silent Auction

Throughout the day, items from Domain vendors as well as many truly "Austin" businesses will be available for bidding at our annual Silent Auction.  The Silent Auction is the main fundraiser for Dogtoberfest, so please visit often & bid bid bid!

Demonstration Station Schedule:

11 - 11:30   Fit Dog Austin
11:30 - 12   McCormicks & Schmicks
12 - 12:30   Texas Hearing & Service Dogs
12:30 - 1     Canine Sports Rehabilitation and Conditioning
1 - 1:30        Fit Dog Austin
1:30 - 2        Flemings Cooking Demonstration - Making jerky for your best friend
2 - 3             APD K-9 Unit
3 - 3:30       Wiener Dog Races
3:30            KXAN Canine Costume Contest

Canine Sports Rehab and Conditioning

Austin's own Sandra Hudson will speak about the benefits of post-operative rehabilitation, as well as non-surgical treatments available for your best friend. 

Weiner Dog Races

You've heard about them, and maybe even seen them.  This will be your chance to be part of the first annual Weiner Dog Races at Dogtoberfest.  Central Texas Dachsund Rescue will organize & put on the races.  Stop by the CTDR booth starting at 10 am to register.  Slots will be limited, so don't wait!!!