Blogs by Steve Duno

February 16, 2015 by Steve Duno
treatless dog

In a fit of boredom yesterday I watched a bevy of sheep herding videos, most starring that most fascinating of breeds, the Border Collie. Some involved seasoned dogs, while others showed pups and green dogs just learning their trade. The herder/trainers used white PVC pipe crooks, as well as whistles and their voice. Most used a circular pen, which, sans corners, helped keep the sheep moving.

And that’s it. No treat motivation at all: just audible direction and praise, and the

December 5, 2014 by Steve Duno

The great crusade: to rescue every noble cur in the world, to march on dog shelters like wild knights and claim abandoned mutts who, while they wait, recall sad times and good faces, and stare through chain link at others like them; dogs who have forgotten who they are, and who are literally willing to take on new names if it means a warm spot in a good home with love and fairness. Dogs with infamy in their blood: blood of the fighter, the herder, the protector, the hunter. Tiny dogs, and

October 14, 2014 by Steve Duno
Treat Less Dog

Dogs love food. They wormed their way into our campsites long ago because of it. Neolithic garbage dumps, remnants of a gutted deer, uneaten yak bones- these things drew wolves in, and at some point, an enterprising hominid figured out that regular feeding of these wild Canids could lead to a domestication of sorts, or at least a loose partnership. The Canids got regular food in exchange for guard duty. Puppies were taken from dens, and the long history between us began.


August 26, 2014 by Steve Duno
easy fix

I work with a dog-aggressive Goldendoodle (yes, you read that right) named Zoe. She’s unpredictably tough on new dogs, especially those who look like her, or on those who just seem easy to pick on. It’s not an easy case; she’s covetous of possessions, and will fire up over food issues as well. But sometimes she’s unpredictable, and will simply tear into a dog, because it’s showing fear, or because it’s behaving erratically. If she is off-leash at the beach, she will often run a dog down and

July 1, 2014 by Steve Duno

If you want a child, have one, or adopt one. Just don’t make one out of your dog.

The need for humans to nurture is eons old. It’s natural, and good. It’s not even limited to humans: all parenting mammals show an innate drive to nurture, cherish, and protect their young. It’s preservation of the species, clear and simple- an effective way to ensure survival, and pass along the genes of successful animals.

But what of dogs? Should we cherish them in the same way we do a human

May 20, 2014 by Steve Duno
Olf flavio

Every now and then I’ll read about an ancient nursing home patient who wanders off in the middle of the night in his underwear, only to end up two hundred miles away at a bus depot or cattle auction. No money, touch of dementia, his wonky gait like a rubber duck in a wave pool. How he got there nobody knows, but get there he did. Maybe no one saw him, or maybe, like a garden snail, he moved too carefully to ever be noticed. Or, perhaps everyone just turned away from the nutty, stinky old man

April 25, 2014 by Steve Duno
dog and raven

I watched a NOVA special the other night about the intelligence capabilities of dogs versus birds. One segment pitted a raven against a brace of poodles in a race to open a puzzle box, in which had been placed a treat appropriate to the animal. The box consisted of several Lucite boxes, one inside another, that could be removed and opened by manipulation of hinged doors. The researcher would have needed to put a crisp hundred dollar bill in it for me to have opened it in under a minute.

March 21, 2014 by Steve Duno
Old dogs

I’ve had pretty good luck getting big dogs to live sixteen or more years. My old super dog Lou lived to be sixteen, despite his Rottweiler/Shepherd genes telling him otherwise. From the time I found him running feral in 1989 in the Mendocino pot fields, to the last day of his life here in Seattle in 2005, he barely ever called in sick. Apart from cancer surgery at thirteen and degenerative myelopathy late in life, he’d been as hardy as a brick. I’d fed him a quality lamb-and-rice kibble,

February 7, 2014 by Steve Duno
CUlpability and a roast chicken

No dog/human relationship can work unless both parties take responsibility for their behavior.  For instance, excuse a dog for a bad behavior it knows is bad, and you’ve lost the game, and damaged the relationship.  Of course, it must be a behavior that happens in the present, with you there to witness, and not one that occurred hours before.  Dogs live in the present, after all, and don’t understand being reprimanded for an act that’s hours old. 

People too, need to be culpable for

December 21, 2013 by Steve Duno
Duno and Flavio

Your dog needs to get around more.

When we get a puppy, we take her from her mom and littermates, or from her fellow shelter puppy pals.  And her dad?  Who knows where that rake is.

Your new pup goes from a warm, sociable, somewhat busy environment filled with friends and milk and licks and nips and wrestling, into a nice home with you and maybe a few other humans, and perhaps another pet or two.  In comparison, it’s quiet, and rather lacking in doggish spectacle.  But



Dog of the Week!