Much as it pains our humans, we dogs don’t live and die on your every whim. That’s why we’ll refuse to ‘come’ when asked to leave the dog park (our 30-minute respite from domestic incarceration), or refuse to ‘stay’ when neighborhood squirrels invade our turf. According to Cesar Millan, a key step in getting us to do your bidding is training us to look at you. “If you can get your dog to focus on you instead of everything else going on around him, it will be easier to communicate with him and teach him other commands — not to mention getting him to ignore that taunting squirrel, far-off bark, or daily visit from the mailman. In addition, that look is also helping to build your relationship with your dog.” To make that happen, he suggests the following approach: Choose a word or phrase to focus your dog. Sit or stand near your dog and hold a treat close to your eyes. Say your attention word and, when the dog looks at you, reward him with the treat. Later on, you should add in a hand signal to accompany the word. Once your dog get the hang of it, begin phasing out the treats but not the affection for completing the task. Like with many things, practice is the key to mastery but don’t tire your dog and never punish him for failing. 

You have my attention, now where’s my treat?

A few weeks back, we wrote about knowing when it’s time to say ‘goodbye’. In his recent newsletter, Cesar offers a practical guide to assessing your dog’s quality of life and how it might impact the decision to euthanize or not. Among the categories to consider are Hurt, Hunger, Hydration Hygiene, Happiness and Mobility. If your best friend scores very low in most or all of them, then it might be time to say goodbye. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

Connie & ‘Ava’

Our friend and rescue volunteer Connie Kruse recently contacted us about Ava, a 6-year old stray pit bull mix from the Santa Barbara County (CA) shelter who she’s trying to place. Ava was a stray recently suffered a stoke, but managed to bounce back nearly all the way. She still needs medication to control her condition but she’s otherwise in good health. This pretty 90-lb. girl is playful and loving with people and
potty-trained. They are looking for a foster or an adopter  who can love and care for her. If you are interested or know anyone who is, please contact STACY SILVA ( or call Connie Kruse at 805-878-8017. And please share this with your contacts. You stepped up big-time for Rex last year (3 tries before he found his forever home). Now we need to save Ava. It takes a village to save a dog!

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