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We Like: The Bark Magazine
We like The Bark a lot! When the economy took a nosedive, one of the money-saving things I did was let a bunch of our magazine subscriptions run out, but not The Bark. This is a magazine I often read cover-to-cover and not just because it’s about dogs.
Bark is a progressive magazine with outstanding columnists like Patricia McConnell, PhD who has written on topics like: how to tell the difference between playing and fighting, fearful dogs, pain as a cause of behavior problems. It also includes excellent contributing editors like Sophia Yin, DVM, MS. who has written about: nutrigenomics–the study of how nutrition affects gene expression, summer health tips, pollutants and dogs
Contributors are top-drawer. The photography and illustrations are always engaging. This isn’t a fluff magazine, but it is a fun magazine. In addition to outstanding articles on training and health by people who actually know what they’re writing about, there are great pieces on art, law, history, crafts, science, fiction, you name it. Bark also has actual, critical book reviews, which I especially appreciate.
Bark is great about promoting adoption without beating you over the head. Their “coverdogs” are both purebred & mixed breed. They even had a tripod dog on their cover. (see top image) Articles look at issues facing purebred dogs as well as issues facing strays, animal shelters, & animal rescue workers. Bark rocks!
(Note: I am in no way connected with The Bark magazine.)
We Like: Garden Tip—A Digging Pit For Your Dog
It’s warmed up enough here in the Pacific NW that I can work in the garden and I was reminded how much Saffron loves her digging pit. Rather than fight her urge to dig, I redirected her to a dedicated space for digging. She’s happy and I’m happy!
Several years ago, in a moment of insanity, I agreed to be part of a garden tour. So all Summer and Fall we worked on the yard. I planted hundreds of bulbs, divided perennials, moved plants around like you move furniture, and prepped raised beds for vegetables. Then Winter came and we waited for Spring to see how it looked.
Next, we adopted our dog Saffron who didn’t know that a flower bed was different from a lawn or that the great smelling compost & manure on the veggie beds wasn’t for her to snack on or that all that yard wasn’t for her to dig a bunch of nice holes in. We had months to go before the garden tour and I needed to keep things looking nice, so I had a lot of incentive to quickly teach Saffron what she could and couldn’t do. To top it off, Saffron had a lot off fear issues and was overly submissive, so repeatedly scolding her was out of the question and who wants to spend all their time saying “No!” to their dog anyway.
I think dogs need to be dogs and it’s asking a lot to expect them to act like they’re not. Dogs like to dig and Saffron was making it pretty clear that she liked to dig too and make burrows or nests in our lawn for herself. Given that she spent her puppyhood alone as a stray on a Reservation, I’m sure she dug burrows to keep herself warm and to feel protected. I didn’t want to take that away from her, but I could get her to dig in a suitable place that didn’t wreck the yard.
I’d read about giving your dog a specific area where it’s okay for her to dig, which sounded like a great idea. It’s kind of like a sand box for dogs. Here’s what I did for digging pit success:
- I picked an unobtrusive corner of our yard that got sun in the morning and shade in the late afternoon.
- As I prepared the area, I called Saffron over and told her in a happy voice how cool this was going to be so she’d get interested and excited. I kept repeating the words “digging” & “dig” so she would learn them and associate them with her pit.
- I put in a simple border made from garden edging from Home Depot to define the space. Dogs are very visual and if you teach them, they can understand borders and barriers.
- Saffron is about the size of a large Border Collie and her pit is about 3 x 4ft. and 2.5ft deep. I would make it 4 x 4ft. if I had more room.
- Then I started digging in the “pit” with a shovel to loosen the dirt.
- I decided to add some sand to the existing dirt so she wouldn’t get terribly dirty from soil sticking to her paws and fur.
- Next, while Saffron was watching, I buried some new cheap toys, a rawhide chew, and a large treat like a Greenie that sand wouldn’t stick to.
- Lastly, I pointed to the pit and said “Get it! Dig!” and praised her for getting in. She was so timid she needed some encouragement from me, so I dug with a hand trowel and cheered her on. She got it and had a blast.
Anytime I caught Saffron digging in an inappropriate place, I redirected her to her digging pit. And more importantly, anytime I saw her in the pit—even if she was just lying down—I praised her. I reinforced digging in the pit every few days by digging in it with a shovel and burying things while she watched. She started learning that good things happened when she was in her pit.
Saffron totally gets her digging pit now. She digs in it when she’s playing with us because she’s excited, she digs in it when she needs to release stress like after a walk in strong, scary wind, she digs in it and roots around when she smells something interesting, and she digs lovely, cool nests to lie in and take it easy while we’re doing yard work. Every now and then, I bury something interesting in her pit for her to find just to keep her interested. She still occasionally digs in places I don’t want her to, but very rarely. And if she does, I just remind her of her digging pit. Yea!
DIY: Pet Bed Round-Up
Fall is in the air here in the Pacific NW. It’s getting chilly and our cats & dog are finding snugly places to sleep. I may need to make a couple more small beds to keep the peace amongst the cats. Here’s the collection of posts on DIY pet beds.
A favorite spot for Sage is the bed I made from an old sweater. Here’s a great tutorial on how to upcycle an old sweater into a pet bed and you can check out how I made my version of the sweater bed.
Vintage suitcases make cute & clever pet beds. This post has a bunch of tutorials and examples of these fun beds.
I would consider learning to knit just so I could make some of these beds. You can knit & felt wonderful pet beds using the two great tutorials here.
If you crochet, check out this pattern for crocheting & felting a nifty bed.
You don’t have to be an expert in sewing to make this cute & easy nest bed.
Some cats & dogs like to burrow more in their beds and this tutorial on making a hooded pet bed is perfect.
A hammock for your small pet might be the best thing. Here’s a post on how to make a hammock that can be free-standing or placed on a furnace to keep our pet good and toasty.
And if you need to get your pet off a cold floor, or if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and need to keep your pets cool, this post shows how to make an elevated bed out of PVC pipe like Kuranda beds.
Friday Fun: Hucklebutt Homecomings
I love a good hucklebutt! These Bull Terriers put on a good show.
Desmond comes home from a walk.