Oh, Please!: SNIF Tag

I’m starting a new category called Oh, Please! for what, I think, are ridiculous pet things.  The SNIF Tag has the honor of being the first ill-conceived product to be discussed.

This tag costs $299, plus $10 per month.  You put it on your dog’s collar and it will sense when other dogs also have the SNIF tag, then you can go home, look for the owner’s profile, and, I suppose, send them an email.  It’s being marketed as a social networking aid to help you get to know other dogs’ owners.  But, I’ve heard of another great way to meet the owners of dogs you and your dog encounter that is pretty much free.  It’s called, saying Hello.  Un-hunh.

The SNIF tag also says it will let you know your dog’s “activity level” when you’re gone during the day.  It does this using an accelerometer, which is kind of a step up from a pedometer.  I suggest setting up a webcam to see what your pup is up to.  That way, you can actually see how your dog is accelerating through your house.

There is no GPS with this tag, which seems like an obvious thing to have, especially if they’re charging that much and expect you to keep paying a monthly fee.

So, $299 plus $10/month for the SNIF Tag?  Oh, please!

Obamas Intend To Adopt A Rescue Dog

President-Elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle promised their daughters that when the election was over they would get a dog and it looks like they plan to adopt a rescue dog. Yea!

They were favoring a Goldendoodle, but several animal welfare groups urged the Obamas to adopt a dog rather than get a dog from a breeder.  The future First Family could still get a Goldendoodle through a breed rescue group.  A poll on DailKos shows people think the Obamas should get a mutt—it’s winning with 43% of the vote. You can vote too.

How do you think you housetrain a dog in the White House???

We Like: Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide

caninebodylanguage.jpgSaffron, our dog, and I had a great walk yesterday down by the Puget Sound.  She got lots of smiles and comments from people and it got me thinking about why.

So, I started paying closer attention to her body language and realized she was absolutely broadcasting joy.  Her ears were forward, her face was relaxed, her mouth was open, but relaxed, her eyes were soft and not glassy, and her tail was up and relaxed.  Clearly people could tell she was having fun.  But, it’s not always clear what our dogs are telling us with body language.

We’re two very different species—canine and simian.  Here’s a book that can help you bridge that divide.  Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language Of The Domestic Dog, by Brenda Aloff is an amazing resource. (DogWise published the book and is a great source for harder to come by books on dogs. They might not be the cheapest, but supporting them enables them to provide a thoughtful and thorough selection of excellent books and other items.)

I recommend Canine Body Language to anyone who shares their life with a dog. Unlike other books I’ve seen, this one uses tons great photographs to illustrate dogs’ body language. It does a very thorough job with 370 pages of photos and straight forward text to clarify dogs’ sometimes very subtle body language. It’s very readable and clear.

Even if you feel you’re well versed in canine body language, I think you’ll learn a lot from the book. And for the average person, Canine Body Language, will open a whole world of understanding of what your dog communicates on a daily basis. The book has made trips to the dog park fascinating and educational to see real time examples of canine communication. And it’s allowed me to be closer in tune with what Saffron is thinking and feeling. I have found it invaluable:

  • in avoiding altercations between dogs
  • in distinguishing play behavior from aggressive behavior
  • in understanding when Saffron is too stressed
  • in deciding whether dogs we encounter on walks are likely to be leash aggressive or, on the flip side, likely to be afraid of Saffron
  • in recognizing rude behavior from other dogs so I can let Saffron warn them in dog language

Examples of the great photos and clear descritptions:

First Soup Kitchen Opens For Dogs

The German animal welfare organization, Tiertafel Deutschland, has opened the world’s first soup kitchen for dogs in Berlin. The soup kitchen called Animal Board provides one free meal a day to the dogs of the homeless and unemployed.

Tiertafel Deutschland also has a number of pet food banks established around Germany to provide food, treats, and toys.  I know some people might argue that if you can’t afford pets, you shouldn’t have them.  However, pets are just as much a part of the family for people struggling financially.  They provide companionship, someone to care for, security, and as the woman in the video below says, the joy pets bring is “therapy” for many.