Blogs by Steve Duno

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,

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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

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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

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November 18, 2013 by Steve Duno
Thanksgiving dog

• For the chance to blog here.
• For my 16 year-old dog Flavio still being able to walk, eat, and smile.
• For my 7 year-old dog Rico, who’s birthday is today (though he is a beef-brained, bumbling pin ball who would jump into a furnace if I threw a cookie in there).
• For having the chance over the last 22 years to save thousands of troubled dogs from the grim reaper.
• For having the good luck to publish 18 books over the past 18 years, and for the people who

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October 18, 2013 by Steve Duno
Power of Emotion

Passion is everything.

That’s what I tell clients when they ask me what they can do to be better dog trainers, and better mentors to their dogs.  Then of course I have to explain.

As per a recent study done by neuroscientist Gregory Berns at Emory College, it has been shown through MRI tests that dogs have emotion capabilities and responses nearly identical to humans.  Duh.  We, of course, have known this all along from experience, but it is nice to have the clinical

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September 10, 2013 by Steve Duno
rescue ethics

I’ve commented before on how I’ve noticed the quality of shelter dogs degrading, while the competence of new owners seems to be doing the same.  These anecdotal observations are impossible to quantify, to be sure- but as a behaviorist with over twenty years of experience, I sense them nonetheless.

With regard to the “quality” of dogs available, let me explain.  In the past, shelter dogs who needed training generally were good natured animals with poor obedience, lack of focus, and

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July 23, 2013 by Steve Duno
free dog

One of the biggest mistakes dog people make is to give a new dog too much independence, too soon.  Whether a puppy or adult dog, one of the most important techniques in getting a new pet to fit in nicely is to start with a regimented routine, then gradually, over a period of months, reward him with more and more privilege, and freedom.  A puppy, for instance, has very little understanding of decorum, housetraining, manners, etc.  If left to his own devices, he would surely live his life like

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June 22, 2013 by Steve Duno

I watched a fat pug chug down the street the other day, her owner in tow.  Snorting, tap-dancing, greeting everyone- just rolling down the street like a beach ball, barely able to contain her joy at being alive.  As wide as she was high, the porky little bliss box pulled, spun, and clowned her way down the street, then turned the corner and was gone. 

Some dogs are hilarious, not just in the way they look, but in the way they act.  Born comedians who don’t even know they’re funny. 

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May 22, 2013 by Steve Duno

We human beings are a strange lot.  We try to save endangered species by protecting their habitats, and doing all we can to encourage their propagation.  Yet at the same time, to help save dogs, we do all we can to restrict their habitats, and prevent them from propagating. 

Anyone who spends even a bit of time online, checking out local or national pet rescue shelters, knows how many desperate dogs are looking for homes.  Not so much puppies, who usually find homes quickly, but

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April 8, 2013 by Steve Duno

What it would look like if we could see the way dogs smell?  Would it be like a Scottish moor, hazed and thick, with ghosts and temptation?  Would it look like a map of the land, the boundaries defined by ancient treaty- an ambling, acrid line of scent separating what is yours from what is mine?  Would it be good to know what the neighbors down the street are having for dinner, or merely a nagging temptation?

And what of sight?  A less colorful world for sure, but what meat eater

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