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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Biking with Your Dog this Fall Has Never Been Easier or More Enjoyable!

Bicycling is an excellent activity for physical exercise and a wonderful way to enjoy your environment. By including your dog in this activity, you can engage your pup physically and mentally as well as sharing in the beauty of your local community. In order to prepare safely, we encourage you to check out the below tips and advice for a healthy riding experience for everyone involved, both two and four-legged.




Getting Your Dog Ready for Exercise

If your dog actually has the energy and stamina to trot along side of you as you bike, great! This is a perfect way to get exercise. But even if your dog appears to be in the best of health, you should have your veterinarian check your dog over before starting a new exercise routine like jogging -- which is essentially what this is. You will want to be sure that your dog doesn’t have any underlying conditions that could be worsened by strenuous exercise. Also, if your dog is overweight, jogging is usually not the best way to begin a new routine; it needs to be built up to with a regular walking routine first.

Once your dog has been cleared for exercise, you can buy the necessary gear. Essentials include a non-tangling lead; a body harness (attaching the lead to only a neck collar could be dangerous; attach the lead to a fitted body harness instead); a brightly colored reflective vest for your dog (you may also apply reflective tape to your dog’s vest); blinking lights for your dog and bike (you can get a collar that has lights embedded in it, or use an attachable tag sized light); a small first aid kit for little nicks that can occur; an extra lead for detaching your dog from the bike to do other things; and water bottles for you and your dog.

Extras that can make the ride more enjoyable are dog booties -- hiking grade to protect your dog’s feet from jagged objects and from slippery or hot (or cold) concrete; a bike lead “baton” that can be attached to the body of the bike to hold the lead -- and the dog -- away from the bike’s wheels (as opposed to holding the lead up by the handlebars); reflective rain gear or cold weather cover-ups for inclement weather; and a dog backpack so your dog can carry her own water bottle and treats.

Getting Used to Riding

If your dog has never been around your bike before, start off by walking the bike along with the dog -- you on one side and your dog on the other -- just to get her acquainted with being attached to the bike. If possible, try to use paths that are soft, like grassy or dirt paths.

As you do these practice “runs,” begin using the commands you will be using for biking, such as for slowing down, making turns, stopping, or for bringing your dog’s attention back to you when she is distracted by something. Try (as best as possible) to choose words that are specific to you and your dog so that she is not confused by hearing other people use the words. Over time she will become accustomed to these new commands and will be able to anticipate your actions.

Don't expect your dog to be able to run for long distances in the beginning. Just like us, dogs need some time to acclimate to an exercise routine. Start off by riding at a walking speed on an easy path for a short distance. As she gets used to this over a week or two, build up to a trotting speed after a ten minute warm-up walk. Observe your dog at all times and stop immediately if she appears tired, is panting heavily, drooling excessively, or loses coordination (this may be signs of hyperthermia). If she seems to be slowing down, stop and allow her to rest and have a drink.

Remember, this isn't a race. Pedal at a pace that will allow your dog to keep up easily. Watch your dog closely. Any distraction (another dog, animal, or person) that causes your dog to pull away can cause both of you to take a tumble.
During the ride and when you take breaks, remember to give your dog lots of praise for being a good biking partner.

[source: adapted from petmd.com

Warm Wags,
Misti

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We've Got Your Guide to a Happy & Safe 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to You and Your Side Kicks!



With the July 4th holiday around the corner, fireworks are the biggest concern for all pet owners. Almost all humans with canines in the U.S. declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs. This year, we can help you make this holiday more relaxing for you and most importantly, your favorite Side Kick, with just a few simple steps that you can do in the comfort of your own home!

Here are a few easy ways to help your dog relax & stay safe:

Create A Dog Zen Space

Start with your dog's favorite place that would ideally be an interior room. Next, collect a few supplies to stock: Favorite toy, bed and treat, aromatherapy spray and perhaps music to drown out the loud fireworks. For rooms with windows, be sure to closing the curtains or blinds. Ensure that you set your dog up for success by surrounding them with items that they enjoy as distractions such as a puzzle toy, Kong with a special treat, plenty of water, a calming collar and/or natural aid supplement and soft bedding and/or a crate if they prefer their house. If your dog enjoys wearing a Thundershirt™ for comfort and stress relief, be sure you have practiced wearing it in advance.

Soothe Their Ears


Music therapy is a popular tool for humans and animals alike! With the explosive sound of firecrackers, do not be afraid to consider adding some rock'n'roll to your dog's repertoire of classical and other soothing tunes. Just be sure that leading up to the holiday, your dog has been exposed to some louder types of music so that this does not add to their stress level. This is often a great trick to not only drowning out the blasting pops of firecrackers, but can also relax their human counterpart so that they feel more calm too.

Calm Their Senses


Make your own aromatherapy spray with a few simple ingredients. When you craft this at home, you will be able to find the right balance of ingredients to ensure the potency is just right for you and your dog! Perhaps the best part is that when you have made this once, it is easy to replenish and make again for other occasions. Aromatherapy sprays containing essential oils known for inducing relaxation can be used in your dog's favorite place by spraying in the air and even a few inches away from the walls if possible. A few drops of essential oils with water in a spray bottle is an inexpensive way to naturally entice your dog to relax. Shelters often use this around their buildings to help comfort dogs. This is an easy craft that anyone can do to create a wonderful smelling sanctuary for your dog!




Small Batch of Canine-Friendly Relaxing Aromatherapy Spray

  • 12 oz. spray bottle
  • 10 oz. purified water
  • 10-12 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 1-2 drops of vanilla [baking variety]
Mix together and spray outdoors to test preferred potency. Spray in a safe room where your pup will reside in the air or a few inches from the walls. Enjoy and relax!

Do not spray directly on your dog. While these ingredients are all-natural, it does not mean the pet will not have an allergic reaction following contact.



Have a safe, happy and relaxing 4th of July!

Warm Wags,
Misti :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Love Cute Dog Toys? Love DIY? Join Us for our TV Taping of DIY Dog Toys!

FYI Guy Taping in Springfield :: Join Us!

If you love dogs, cute dog toys, DIY projects [especially easy ones!], you will not want to miss our TV Taping on the FYI Guy's locally-produced, nationally-syndicated taping of DIY Dog Toys!

Misti will be a featured guest on FYI Guy this Tuesday, May 6th to share practical, easy, inexpensive and fun ways to make toys for your own dogs at home using everyday objects. How great is that?!?

She will be sharing this with the FIY Guy, Jeremy Rabe, and his live studio audience of dog-lovers because there are so many items that can be reused in your home and loved by your dog. Just like their human counterparts, dogs also enjoy exploring new activities and learning how to interact with toys, especially ones that provide extended mental interaction.

{You} Can Be in the Studio Audience!

When?
Reserve Your Place!
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Arrive by 5:45 p.m. to check-in
Taping lasts from 6-8 p.m.

This is a must-attend for:
Dog lovers
Dog owners
Thrifty shoppers
Clever people
Animal lovers
DIY Fans
Newbies to DIY
Families with dogs
Families with pets [we love those kitties too]
....and everyone else looking for a fun project that will up-cycle [think recycle + new function in your home], save money and create a safe activity for your pet!

Who is the FYI Guy?



FYI GUY is your one stop shop for everything arts and crafts, creative design, home d├ęcor, and so much more! FYI GUY Jeremy Rabe is a design and craft expert who loves to bring you all the best tips, tricks and trends that won’t break the bank. FYI GUY is a nationally syndicated series, bringing you great ideas every week, direct from his workshop. And don’t forget, keep it Fast, Easy and FUN!

Warm Wags,
Misti Fry

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful. Cover Dog!

Holiday Pictures That Are Magazine-Worthy Are Just A Few Training Sessions Away!

Believe or not, your dog can look like a Celebri-Dog with just a few essential behaviors in place!


As with any new territory, practice makes perfect and with a few simple steps learned, you can make this a comfortably learned behavior and a stress-free experience for you too!


{Work It, Work It. . .}



Why "Stay" Is So Important
When we teach a dog to stay in obedience class, it can be a serious exercise. Sometimes dogs find "stay" to be stressful especially if they are punished for getting up so we do not recommend anything other than positive reinforcement. This pays dividends later when you hope to "extend the stay" to encourage patience, which, of course, entitles your dog to a reward during the learning phase.

Down to the Nitty Gritty
When we take pictures of our dogs we expect a few things:
1.  The dog has to stay at a distance from us
2.  We point a camera at them, which could be a new item and new experience
3.  We expect them to look cute, which means comfortable and friendly on camera

During this entire process, we have the dog do something that is somewhat unnatural for them -- stay at a distance away from us and do things among exciting distractions.  It takes practice to get a dog to follow cues at a distance away from us especially when we train them to do the behaviors right next to us.

Since cameras can be intimidating perhaps because of their reflective lens, which can really look like a giant staring eyeball, dogs tend to look away or avoid the camera.

Ultimately, we have them do something that makes them a little stressed and then we point a big shiny eye at them just before we expect them to look cute. This makes it hard to get a cute picture of the dog and even the people involved.

In order to overcome a dog's adversity to the camera lens and to achieve overall comfort, we need to train with our end goal in mind.

1. Work "stay" in a happy relaxed way, with distractions or other people near your dog -- like you would pose them for a pic.  Make funny noises and then reward them for staying.

2. Help them become acclimated to the camera so they have a happy response to the "giant eye" that stares at them .  Hold the camera near them and do fun stuff to get their mind off it it. Back away and act a little serious like you do when you are trying to concentrate on getting a good photo, then give them a treat.

3.  Teach them to tilt their head or smile on cue so they can do it right when you need it.  Pair this with staying a distance away from you.

After all is a "wrap" and their picture is perfect, take solace in the fact that you helped them gain the confidence to take the first steps and pose like a Celebri-Dog on Day 1!

Warm Wags,
Misti :)

A Winter Weather Advisory

Misti's Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe.
Cold Noses and Pupsicle Paws Are Uncool

{Please follow these guidelines to protect all of your animals when the temperature drops, ice forms, snow falls, etc.}



Cold Weather Tips

Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or stolen, or be injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to fatal infectious diseases, including rabies.
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes choose to sleep under the hoods of cars, where it is warmer. Then, when the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed in the fan belt. To prevent this, bang loudly on the hood of your car and wait a few seconds before starting the engine, to give a cat a chance to escape.

Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and easily become lost. They may panic in a snowstorm and run away. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season.

Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when she comes in out of the rain, snow or ice. Check her sensitive paw pads, which may bleed from snow or ice encrusted in them. Also, salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could hurt your dog if she ingests them while licking her paws.

If you own a short-haired breed, consider getting a warm coat or sweater for your dog. Look for one with a high collar or turtleneck that covers your dog from the base of her tail on top and to the belly underneath. While this may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many dogs.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your companion animal could freeze to death.

If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only long enough to relieve himself.

Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to house train during the winter. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he appears to be sensitive to the weather.

If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy.

Antifreeze, even in very tiny doses, is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental poisonings, more and more people are using animal-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than the traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you suspect your animal has ingested poison.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter. Leave the coat in a longer style, which provides more warmth. Remember that such a style will require more frequent brushing due to dry winter air and static electricity. When you bathe your dog, make sure she is completely dry before you take her out for a walk.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep far away from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a dog or cat bed or basket with a warm blanket or pillow in it.

Your furry friends will thank you with extra cuddles and love!

Warm Wags,
Misti :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Buring Breed Myths Through Education & Awareness:: American Pit Bull

The American Pit Bull Terrier, the Dangerous Dog Du Jour

With October being Pit Bull Awareness Month, it is timely to discuss this popular and yet very controversial canine breed, why certain traits were cultivated early on and how their public view is today. “Pit Bull.” There is no other breed of dog—or arguably, any other animal at all—whose mere mention can elicit such strong opinions. Try a word-associate game with your friends: Ask them what they think of when you say “Pit Bull.” Chances are that by the numbers, their responses will be more negative than positive. And it’s no wonder: No other type of dog is as widely banned from housing, legislated against, or incorrectly vilified by the media. This link illustrates while dog incidents are always tragic, had this been another breed such as a golden retriever or border collie, there would have not been nearly the same media buzz.



Ten years ago, the Doberman was billed as one of the most dangerous breeds across our headlines.  They are strong, fierce and have been bred over the years to provide protection and even surveillance.  Their sharp intelligence may also have contributed to the public's uneasy perception of Dobermans.  Many unsuspecting breeds of dog actually have a higher incident rate of bites than Dobes and surprisingly, those breeds are from the small and toy categories.  What should you learn from this? Any dog has the propensity to react in an unfriendly way if it has not be socialized using positive and appropriate methods.
 
Help Your Dog Learn How to be a Good Member of Society
 
Do you have a pit bull? A large dog? A dog with teeth?? Simply put, a dog with teeth, can bite.  Dogs that have responsible owners and have learned how to behave with humans and other animals are less likely to behave in a negative manner throughout their life.  Well-socialized puppies usually develop into safer, more relaxed and enjoyable pet dogs. This is because they’re more comfortable in a wider variety of situations than poorly socialized dogs, so they’re less likely to behave fearfully or aggressively when faced with something new. Poorly socialized dogs are much more likely to react with fear or aggression to unfamiliar people, dogs and experiences. Dogs who are relaxed about honking horns, cats, cyclists, veterinary examinations, crowds and long stairwells are easier and safer to live with than dogs who find these situations threatening. Well-socialized dogs also live much more relaxed, peaceful and happy lives than dogs who are constantly stressed out by their environment.

 
For more information, check out the following links:

As always, please contact me with any questions you may have!
Warm Wags,
Misti :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Yellow Dog Project

Would Your Dog Wear Yellow?

Festival season is upon us and the most prominent image in my mind is the blending of large groups of people and more specifically, lots of dogs and people.  Given the impossibility to conjure a protective bubble around your dog if he/she needs a little bit more room to "breathe", there is a new way to communicate this expectation and it is picking up steam.  Grassroot efforts like the one I share below is a bright spot on the horizon of human and canine relationship building.   I think this is a wonderful, safe way to help build confidence in our dogs.
 
The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for owners of dogs that need space. It hopes to educate the public and dog owners to identify dogs needing space, promote appropriate contact of dogs and assist dog parents to identify their dog as needing space.

Yellow Dogs are dogs who need space - they are not necessarily aggressive dogs but more often are dogs who have issues of fear; pain from recent surgery; are a rescue or shelter dog who has not yet had sufficient training or mastered obedience; are in training for work or service; are in service; or other reasons specific to the dog. Here’s a list of what a yellow dog is NOT.

{courtesy of The Yellow Dog Project}

The Yellow Dog Project seeks to educate appropriate ways to approach or make contact with a dog with permission of a dog owner only, whether or not a dog is a “yellow dog”. They also seek to promote the use of yellow ribbons to identify yellow dogs needing extra space.

As a not for profit organization, all of the monies raised/donated are used to buy more material for ribbons, t-shirts for representatives, and posters for display.

The Yellow Dog Project encourages people to find their local positive reinforcement trainer and look for programs to help their pets. From Grisha Stewarts “Behaviour Adjustment Training” to fearfuldogs.com; Victoria Stillwell to Karen Pryor; Ian Dunbar to Dr. Sophia Yin; and beyond - The Yellow Dog Project encourages all forms of positive training to help yellow dogs.

Warm Wags,
Misti Fry :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

To Retract or Not To Retract, That Is The Question

To Retract or Not To Retract, That Is The Question

With so many more sophisticated ways these days to safely harness your dogs, it's hard to not become confused among the myriad varieties!

For a multitude of reasons including: popularity, aesthetics and modernity, retractable leashes continue to grace pet supply store shelves by the hundreds!  Today, you can find ones in every color, shape, cord length, brand, size and complexity for just about any dog or pet.  Does this mean you should use one?  Maybe.  Maybe not.



Quick Overview of Retractable Leashes
Before using a retractable leash, make certain you’ve got one that’s strong enough to handle your dog. Dogs that have a tendency to bolt or take off running after perceived prey should never be restrained with a retractable leash. Aside from those dangers, there are other things to keep in mind when using one of these popular leashes.

What You Need to Watch Out For
Prickling leash burns. Retractable leashes, especially the thin string variety, can very easily cause leash burns. This could happen when you let your pooch race past you with the retractable line zipped up across your bare skin. Unwarranted injuries, however, can be prevented if you try the flat, tape style retractable leash.
Entanglement or strangulation. Not only can retractable leashes burn us, they can also get twisted around a dog’s neck or legs. Worse, if your pooch panics and jerks the moment they get hog-tied; it could cause the leash to pull even tighter. Although you can loosen the cords that have wrapped around his neck, the situation could quickly become life-threatening.
Fatal accidents. There are times when our dogs dart away all of a sudden, and with a retractable leash on him, your dog might dart even farther, faster. Nevertheless, it’s the reeling that’s a serious issue here. It is possible that Fido may spot a squirrel or anything interesting across the street, and suddenly take off after it. If you’re not alert enough, his abrupt behavior and an un-sturdy retractable leash could put him smack on the road, right in front of a speeding car.



The Potential Risks of Using A Passive Leash
The leash drops. Because these leashes rarely have a wrist strap and are sometimes heavy and bulky, dropping them is a regular occurrence. What’s worse, if you drop the handle, the lack of tension can send the heavy handle hurdling toward your dog. Not only could the heavy leash handle smack your dog in the head, if your dog is spooked by the leash handle zipping deafeningly toward him, he may take off running.
The cord is grabbed. If you grab the cord/tape while it is being pulled from the handle, you might suffer from immediate injury like cuts and burns.
The cord wraps around you. Poor handling can also cause the cord/tape to twist around you or someone else’s fingers resulting in deep wounds, or worse, amputation.
The collar breaks or comes off your dog. The moment this occurs, the leash could retract at top speed while the other end of the line whips around at the same full momentum leading to serious injuries to face, teeth, and eyes.

What kinds of things do I need to consider when I use a retractable leash?

I cringe when I see pulling dogs on flexi-leash at busy places. It is a credit to the dog that more accidents don't occur....
  1. When going to crowded places with your dog it is important to have a dog that will respond to your cues when things are very distracting. If they pull hard on a leash and drag you wherever they want to go, bark and lunge at dogs or people then some training and proofing is needed before going to a festival or event. In this instance I would recommend using a regular 6-foot leash not a retractable leash.
  2. The dog must walk well and respond to your cues on a short leash before using a flexi-leash.
  3. It is helpful to teach your dog to "go around" so they don't wrap around cars, mailboxes, people etc..

Do you use a retractable leash?  If so, please share your experience with them!

Warm Wags,
Misti :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Dog's Daily To-Do

What is Your Dog Doing Today?



Back to school gets every schedule suited up for a year of success! Routines are reinforced, lists grow longer and schedules are a must-have.  What does this mean for your dog's schedule?

Do potty trips need to be by appointment-only?

Oh, please, no!

Are Summer play sessions a thing of the past?

Say it ain't so!
Adhering to a daily routine is largely the personal lifestyle choice of the owner. Rather than create a strict schedule with my own dogs, I opt for a more flexible one when it comes to food, exercise and training.
Of course, a flexible lifestyle doesn't work for every human or pet - and some animals may be dependent upon medication or feeding schedules that are recommended by their veterinarians.
Strict Schedules & Their Implications
Typically, owners who follow strict routines often have to plan their entire lives around their pets. Not only is this an impractical and unnecessary burden, but it also allows the dog to run the household. Instead, he needs to understand that he has to work toward receiving rewards throughout the day.
Dogs who are on strict schedules will also wake up their owners sharply at 7 A.M. — despite the fact that it's the weekend, since canines have yet to tap into what it means to have a day off. This can turn the dog into an annoyance for an owner, as well as cause undue stress for a pet who's confused as to why the normal routine isn't in place.
Heavily ingrained routines can also lead to separation anxiety. A dog will often read his owner's subtle cues, so if the owner is gone for a set amount of time each day, the dog will react with anxiety directly before his owner leaves, while he's gone and just before the dog expects his owner to return. In fact, one way to help a dog deal with separation anxiety is to mix up his routine, so he can't anticipate when an owner is about to leave or how long he'll be away.
Change Things Up for Everyone's Benefit - Dogs & Their People
Although routines may not be advisable for most dogs, a pet should have some structure throughout the day to make sure that all of his needs are met daily.
For starters, every dog should have a daily exercise routine.  A dog should also be fed a certain pre-measured amount throughout the day, but the timing depends on a veterinarian’s recommendations.
By mixing up rewards, such as small meals and variable walks throughout the day, you'll establish your leadership role and help your dog to understand that every moment of the day is the right time to pay attention and respond to his human companion. 
Overall, schedules are healthy measures for dogs and humans so that we can both prepare, expect and look forward to all that we have to do.  Ultimately, learning to be flexible proves to be just as valuable in life so that we can be prepared to adapt when necessary.

Warm Wags,
Misti :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Building Your Dog's Vocabulary

Canine Language and Object Association




I love this topic!  This is [one of the many places] where the magic of your hard work and relationship building with your dog will pay off in a big way!

While most dogs learn and establish a vocabulary comparable to that of a human toddler, they are so intelligent that their comprehension and language skills can expand and grow exponentially with your nurturing and effort.  Consider this excellent example of how a little bit of time invested can really foster a strong bond with your dog.


* * * *


A
Border collie named Chaser has gone far beyond "sit," "stay," and "roll over." Working with her owner, a psychologist, and his colleagues at Wofford University in South Carolina, the dog has learned the names of more than 1,000 objects, far surpassing the lexicon of the average pooch and setting a new doggy-vocabulary record. (See Chaser at work.) Here, a brief guide to Chaser and her astounding way with words:
How smart is Chaser?
The dog knows the names of 1,022 objects — mostly toys like distinct balls, stuffed animals, and Frisbees — and can fetch them on command. She understands the principle of exclusion, grabbing a toy she has never seen before when asked for an object she doesn't know. She also understands the subcategories that the objects fall into, such as "balls" and "Frisbees." The dog was tested over a period of three years, and in 838 tests she never scored below 90 percent correct, according to the Wofford researchers' report. The authors of the study, says U.S. News,  "admitted that she remembered the names of each of her 1,022 toys better than they could."

How was she taught?
Her owner, Wofford psychologist John W. Pilley, got Chaser as a puppy from a breeder and began training her for four to five hours each day. He would show her an item, repeat its name as many as 40 times, then hide it and ask her to fetch it, continuing to repeat the item's name as she searched for it. In this manner, he taught her the names of one or two new objects each day. On a monthly basis, Pilley would review and reinforce previous lessons. "Unlike human children, she seems to love her drills and tests and is always asking for more," says Nicholas Wade in The New York Times. The dog continues to seek out lessons. "She still demands four to five hours a day," Pilley says. "I'm 82, and I have to go to bed to get away from her."
Are other dogs as smart as Chaser?
Border collies are an exceptionally smart breed of dog, but it's unclear whether Chaser is "an Einstein of the species." Her achievements might simply be within the range of what bright dogs, or at least bright Border collies, can do. Pilley believes the latter, saying that other Border collies "could be pretty close to where Chaser is" with the right training. A German dog named Rico, also a Border collie and the previous dog-vocabulary record holder, was taught to recognize some 200 objects in 2004, an experiment that inspired Pilley to train Chaser. Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, an animal-behavior expert at Barnard College, says "it is not necessarily Chaser or Rico who is exceptional; it is the attention that is lavished on them."
How does Chaser's intelligence compare with that of a human?
"Chaser's abilities place her at an intelligence level equivalent to a 3-year-old human child," says Joanna Zelman in The Huffington Post. On average, children learn 10 new words a day, and know some 60,000 words by the time they graduate from high school. "Chaser learned words more slowly but faced a harder task: Each sound was new and she had nothing to relate it to," says Wade. By contrast, children acquire words in a context — knife, fork, spoon, for example — which makes remembering them easier.
* * * *
Impressive?!?  Yes!
Can this be your dog?  Yes!

Enjoy this cool August and keep having fun with your Side Kick!
Warm Wags,
Misti :)