News and Announcements

Dog with a Job – What Shall I Wear Today?

By Abbeyrose | 04/14/2013
Katie in her working gear, waiting for me to say 'Go.'

Katie in her working gear, waiting for me to say ‘Go.’

I always have Katie on a leash while working. This is for her safety. Most of the time she wears both a harness and a collar. Just like people, she has different gear for working in different weather conditions – a life jacket, boots, sweaters, blaze orange vest, backpack, etc. To Katie, there is no difference in working and playing. I continually use the same gear, commands, and rewards for both play and work. This keeps working fun. We always have to be ready for impromptu work too, this means not always having the right gear with us, but following the same commands.  

Dog with a Job – The jobs we do or is that doo?

By Abbeyrose | 03/31/2013

Coyote scat – mostly hair and bones — can tell us what the animal was eating

Looking for poop, or scat, is a common practice in the wildlife field. Scat tells us information about the health of the animal, what they are eating, and any parasitic activities going on. Dogs are very useful in finding scat and some are trained just for that purpose. Katie is trained to find coyote scat and urine sites in the areas that we are working. Finding different scat piles in the same area also tells me where the coyotes are traveling, hunting, and where their home range boundaries are. We also watch for the coyotes themselves. Katie alerts me when she sees a coyote by pointing.

Currently we are trying to find coyotes to observe family behaviors. In order to find the coyotes, we look for the scat and urine sites and any signs of coyote activity. This is mapped out and over time, I can see where the coyotes are living and estimate the areas that I am most likely to observe coyotes. Then it is sit and wait. Katie’s role in finding the coyotes is crucial. Without her canine abilities to find scent and scat, observing the coyotes would be extremely difficult.

Dog with a Job – Good Morning World!

By Abbeyrose | 03/22/2013

Katie’s day starts out just like every other house dog. She gets out of bed, leaving the bone she slept with there, stretches, and heads to the water dish. After drinking, she checks to see if the food fairy left anything in her food dish, then she comes back into the bedroom to see if I am out of bed. This is her normal morning routine.  We go outside so she can do her business and check the yard for nightly intruders (rabbits) then back inside for breakfast. On the days that I have computer work to do, she takes her place on the couch and sleeps away the morning. However, on days that we go out to work, she has to be in the working frame of mind from the moment we leave the backdoor till we arrive back home. As with any type of dog training, the basics need to be positively reinforced all the time.

Katie decides to take the day off!

There are days when she just isn’t in the mood to work and wants to stay home. She’ll refuse to get into the vehicle and sits by the backdoor.  There have been days where she will go back to bed while I am getting ready and refuse to leave the bedroom. I always make sure she isn’t hurting or sick, then I coax her out with a tennis ball and promises of fun, including the jeep ride. Katie loves jeep rides! During the summer months when I have the windows out of the jeep, there isn’t a day that she doesn’t want to work. If I put snowshoes in the jeep during the winter months, she is right there too. Its mainly the cold, rainy days that she wants to stay home.

Dog with a Job – Communication – Katie Style

By Abbeyrose | 03/11/2013

Katie finds a coyote scent post, or a common marking place (with urine or musk). All coyotes that pass this log will mark it to say they were there

Katie’s first official job was mountain lion patrol. The job came naturally to Katie and she didn’t need any training – all she had to do was alert those of us in the field if the mountain lion was near. The mountain lion that we were worried about was targeting people in the local community and we didn’t want to be the next victims. We never saw that cat during the job, but Katie did alert us to the presence of a bobcat. After mountain lion patrol, we worked together on a variety of jobs. I took note of how Katie responded to different stimuli. When a deer was near she acted differently than when a coyote was near – she postured her body differently. Her ears are in a slightly different place for each and she wags her tail in a distinctive way for each. These signs help me determine what we are dealing with and what I want her to do for me. In 2008, we started working exclusively with coyotes and have been working with them since. In this picture she is looking for coyote scat, scent posts, trails, and den sites.

Katie also serves as an educational dog during dog training classes. Her main job here is to be a calm, well behaved dog while we are around dogs that may not be. She also helps by demonstrating basic commands and as a ‘tool’ for humans practicing a training method so they can learn how to instruct their own dog.


Dog with a Job – Welcome to the Dog with a Job Blog

By Abbeyrose | 03/11/2013

Hi! Let me introduce you to the Working Dog Blog: all about a working dog that is not a service dog. Dogs have been helping humans work for hundreds of years. We all know what a service dog is: a dog that helps a human companion with a physical or mental disability. Typically people think of working dogs (excluding service dogs from now on) as cattle/sheep herders, police dogs, drug sniffing dogs, bed bug sniffers, etc.  But there are many other fields in which dogs work. Some of these fields include therapy dogs, wildlife dogs, show dogs, hunting dogs, and education dogs. Katie works in two fields: both in the wildlife field and in education/training field.

Katie letting me know a deer is approaching from the left.

Katie is a English Spring Spaniel that came to live with me as a rescued dog. Her background before me wasn’t good. She was afraid of everything, afraid of men, very skinny, afraid of being left alone, and full of so much energy! When she came home with me, we immediately started basic training and socialization and began slowly working on her fears. Weekly trips to the local park were a fun time to learn. Katie learned how to swim, socialize with all different dog breeds, and learned how to do a dog agility course (minus the tunnels). Then we moved. Katie still had all this energy and we lost an important outlet. So, I started taking her to work with me when I could. There she got even more socialization. During breaks I did obedience work with her. I noticed she had a good ability to find things for me. I capitalized on that and praised her for finding things for me, such as poop piles, doves, prairie chickens, deer, or wildlife trails.

Follow our blog to learn the types of jobs Katie does and how she was trained to do them.

Welcome to the Healthy Dog Blog!

By Abbeyrose | 03/11/2013

Welcome to the Healthy Dog Blog, devoted to helping our dogs reach their highest potentials and live healthier, happier, longer lives!  Three principles support this objective and will be explored in more depth in our future posts: good parentage, following the four basic rearing guidelines outlined below, and the use of holistic modalities.

Parentage, meaning the dog’s parents or ancestors, is at the core of our dog’s health. However parentage does not provide a rigid blueprint for the future. The effects of parentage can be modified or strengthened by applying the four rearing guidelines and by the use of holistic modalities. These rearing guidelines are:

  • Nutrition – Feed a high-quality, whole-foods, species appropriate diet
  • Vaccines –  Administer only essential vaccines on a reasonable schedule
  • Toxins  – Minimize exposure to toxins
  • Joyful living – Engage your dog, both mentally and physically, in activities that enrich his life

The final principle is the use of holistic modalities when appropriate. Compared with conventional allopathic medicine, holistic modalities often offer a safer and gentler approach to supporting, strengthening, and healing our dogs.

Thank you for visiting the Healthy Dog Blog! Please return often to review new posts. You may also want to sign-up for email notification of our latest tips and information.

How to Raise a Healthier, Happier, Longer-Lived Dog

HDB March diagram

arf Manifesto

By Abbeyrose | 02/27/2013

We are a community passionate about pets, health, you. Convinced that eating right, playing right, living right leads to a, healthier, happier, longer life. Committed to using holistic strategies to support, strengthen, heal. Researching, educating, learning, updating so that you and your pet can reach your highest potentials. Supporting, guiding, encouraging you to make the best choices. Why? Because we can all do better together.

The Newborn Puppy Who Wouldn’t Breathe

By Abbeyrose | 02/27/2013

Newborn puppy photosm

Ava and littermates

Welsh terrier Ava successfully delivered 3 puppies -one boy and two girls. Each puppy immediately began breathing upon removal from the birth sack. Things didn’t go as smoothly with puppy number 4. Despite using all the usual techniques to stimulate him, puppy number 4 would not breathe. We then used a fingernail to vigorously stimulate the acupuncture point known as GV 26. Stimulation was accomplished with a firm, deep, pecking motion. The puppy, later named Justin, gasped immediately and took his first breath. He continued to breathe normally and grew into a healthy, happy adult.

Governor Vessel 26 (GV 26) is also called Jen Chung, Ren Zhong (meaning Man’s Middle), or Shui Gou. In man, GV 26 is located on the center line one-third the distance between the nose and upper lip. In the dog and cat, it is located at the point where the skin of the nose meets the vertical groove above the upper lip. Stimulation of this point may also be useful in resuscitating adult dogs with cardiorespiratory collapse. (Case study provided by Mary Duafala


Case Study – From Mad Max to Mellow Max

By Abbeyrose | 02/27/2013

Mellow Max Photosm

Mellow Max

Max was a normal, healthy welsh terrier puppy, but as he approached 1 year of age his behavior become increasingly unpredictable, with bouts of aggression toward people and dogs. Max had extensive obedience training and was neutered, but his behavior continued to deteriorate. Traditional veterinary evaluation did not detect any medical issues. His thyroid levels were tested and reviewed by Dr. Jean Dodds ( who found them to be normal. By age 4 the situation was untenable. The well known animal nutritionist Wendy Volhard ( was consulted. She suggested Max be transitioned from his commercial kibble diet to her homemade raw diet recipe (at that time her NDF and NDF2 products were not available – visit for more info) and given supplemental B-vitamins. She also cautioned against additional vaccine administration. Within one month of making the dietary changes, Max’s behavior began to improve. Within six months the change was dramatic. He was no longer aggressive toward people and less aggressive toward other dogs.

Several years later, on advice of our veterinarian, Max was taken off the Volhard diet for about 20 days. The aggressive behavior returned and Max was placed back on the Volhard diet. Mad Max changed back to Mellow Max and continued to do well on the Volhard diet, living until he was almost 16 years old. (Case study provided by Mary Duafala


Pukka’s Promise

By Abbeyrose | 02/27/2013

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs by Ted Kerasote outlines the results of his research on what makes for a happy, healthy, long-lived dog. Ted is also author of the best-selling Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog.  In Pukka’s Promise Ted addresses the question “Why do dogs die so young.’  He reports that there is no one answer. Instead, there are many factors that come into play. Among them are nutrition, exposure to environmental pollutants, over vaccination, and breeding practices that do not consider longevity. He also addresses animal shelters and spay/neuter practices. The good news is, armed with the information in Ted’s book, dog owners can make choices that improve the odds their dog will live a healthier, longer life.

Available online here.pup