Understanding Your Dog’s Bark

Dogs have been best friends to humans for many years, and when I say many I mean thousands. In 2015 Smithsonianmag.com posted an article which stated that, “instead of pinning domestication at about 11,000 to 16,000 years, new genetic evidence suggestions they may have split from wolves 27,000 to 40,000 years ago”. Even though they have been domesticated for so long, there are still things that dogs will do, because they are animals. Barking is an example of one of those things. Some dogs bark incessantly, and well, it can be annoying. There is the possibility that those dogs are not trained well, but in some cases, it is just the breed of dog. I found this article from Reader’s Digest on breeds that bark the most. There are other reason for barking too, fear, anxiety, loneliness, attention seeking, and protection to name a few.


We can’t and should not just punish a dog for barking. There are several things you can do to help prevent the problem, provided you know the issue is occurring, before your neighbors complain. I found the following helpful tips on the Stanislaus County Animal Services website:


-Increase your dog’s aerobic activity, such as walking and playing fetch.

-Providing your do with toys while alone to keep them occupied.


-Leaving a radio or TV on.


-Keeping your dog away from traffic and other distractions.


-Install a doggie door so it can go in and out.


-And if your dog is a night barker, give them a late-night meal, to help make it drowsy, allowing it to sleep more during the night.


While we don’t want our dogs to stop barking all together, we do want them barking for the right reasons. Here is an article on the one and only Ceasar Millan, The Dog Whisperer’s, website to help train your dog on barking for the right reasons. Bottom line, you need to make sure you are the leader of the pack with your dog. That has been the common thread with everything I have read. Speak to your dog calmly, and appreciate the protection your dog is providing for you.

Let’s Get Planting

Today is “Plant a Flower Day”!  The weather is spectacular.  Spring in the Central Valley of California begs for planting.  My dog, Melky, loves the outdoors so we oblige with some gardening.  Some things we’re considering this season:

Rhodendron/Azaleas – they’re hearty, colorful and there are literally hundreds of varieties, colors and types.  We’re looking at the small leaf, deep colors in a shady spot in the garden.  Plus, we’ll be able to snip the flowers and float them in a wide bowl on the patio this summer.  Gorgeous! rhodendron

Culinary herbs– What’s better than grabbing some fresh basil from the garden for that marinara or cilantro for my favorite salsa?  A sprig of mint for the julep that 80 degree weather dictates.  But I digress.  Spring is a great time of year to plant a nice culinary herb garden in the yard.  And we don’t have to worry about Melky getting anything but a nose full of delicious smelling herbs.  What’s on our list to plant?  Basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, mint, dill, chives.  Just a couple of things to note:  Herbs don’t mind heat, so Spring is a great time to plant.  Once the temperatures get over 85-90 degrees, herbs need to have morning sun and then shade.  We’re considering an area under one of our big trees that faces the sun in the morning and has shade in the afternoon.  culinary herbs

Fertilizer – We’ve had a nice wet winter, but after years of drought our yard definitely needs some fertilizer.  Considering Melky, our dog, we want to be more than careful about what we use.  Composting is a great way to get some healthy nitrogen into the ground.  But our compost pile isn’t very big.  We’ll probably be alright for the garden short to fertilize the rest of the yard.  So we’re considering a fertilizer with a seaweed base for the lawn.


In Honor of Bird Day, Hunting Dogs

Most of you have probably figured out by now that we love dogs around the Walker residence, and can really appreciate working dogs of all kinds. Since it’s “bird day” we thought we’d take a look at hunting dogs. Honoring these dogs also gives us a chance to trot out one of the coolest photos we have “The Cummings English Setters” taken in Porterville, CA in 1924.


This article in “Wide Open Spaces” gives us the Top 10 Best Hunting Dog Breeds, of course Labs top the list, but you may be a bit surprised by a few of the ones that made the list!


Here’s a recommend for a movie you may never have seen about bird hunting; “Savannah” starring James Caviezel, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jaimie Alexander, Hal Holbrook, and Sam Shepard.  While the movie didn’t review very well, the setting, costumes, and gear are authentically done. Caviezel does a great job at the role of “Ward Allen” a real-life Southern gentleman in the time after the Civil War, oh and it’s about duck hunting with lots of dogs and ducks.

Fruitcake and Your Pup

Today is officially fruitcake day!! As you eat your delicious cake, try and keep it to yourself, as your favorite four legged buddy should not eat it. If you are wondering why, well, not only the alcohol contained in these dense cakes can cause a problem, but if it doesn’t the raisins, currants and yeast most definitely will.

Raisins and currants can be highly toxic to your dog’s kidney. Certain breeds are more sensitive than others and since scientists have yet to figure out which toxin is the culprit, it’s best to beware. Dogs that are affected can end up with potentially fatal acute renal (kidney) failure. If you would like to read more on how fruitcake is hazardous to  your dogs health, click here.