Posts By Leah Bertagnolli

A Border Collie named Gable was studied to determine whether his word association was due to the shape, size or texture of objects. Photo courtesy of University of Lincoln.

Shape, Words and Your Dogs

Researchers, led by Emile van der Zee, Ph.D.,of the University of Lincoln School of Psychology in Lincoln, England, have learned that dogs do not associate words to objects in the same way that people do. Van der Zee, a cognitive psychology specialist, and his colleagues studied a single Border Collie named Gable, coming to the… read more

In flyball, as in many dog sports, owners must restrain their dogs to keep them from taking off too soon. Here a dog is released to take his jumps, grab his ball and return. Photo courtesy of Leerie Jenkins.

My Favorite Things: Performance Event Videos

One of the great parts of my job is writing about the amazing dogs and people who compete in agility, flyball, lure coursing, dock jumping and other performance events. As an added bonus, I often come across videos of these trials and competitions. Some videos are professionally done. Others almost look professional. And still others… read more

PetPaint is a nontoxic, wash-out spray you can use to “costume” your dog for Halloween, parties or other special occasions. Photo courtesy of PetPaint.

My Favorite Things: Cool, Fun Stuff for Dogs and Their Owners

I spent a couple of days recently at one of the biggest pet products trade shows in the United States – SuperZoo – and I saw a few things that I’d love to have for my little Maxie. I think you might like some of them in your canine household too. One of the great… read more


Dam’s Lack of Milk Is Rare, but Likely Genetic

It’s a good thing that agalactia, the lack of milk in a dam, is a “really uncommon” condition in healthy dogs because “sadly, there’s not very much information about it,” says Margret L. Casal, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia. “There’s a lot more information… read more

Pint poses while his team practices in the background.

Look! There’s a Dog on the Football Field!

What’s a dog – a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever to be specific – doing on the sidelines of a college football game? That’s what you might be asking yourself if you’re at a University of California, Davis, football game in the fall. Watch until the kickoff, and you’ll soon find out. He’s retrieving, of course…. read more


Three-Pawed Pup Paves New Path

The instant Pirelli was born, the staff at the Canine Assistants “farm” in Alpharetta, Ga., knew he was destined for a special job. He would not be a service dog or a therapy dog or a seizure-response dog like the other eight puppies in his litter. The staff knew immediately that the demands of those… read more


Peak Performance – Chris Zink Wrote the Book on It

M. Christine Zink, perhaps best known for her books “Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete” and “The Agility Advantage,” grew up at a time – at least in Canada – when little girls might think of becoming veterinarians, but knew they weren’t going to be. The veterinary profession and veterinary colleges were for men, not women…. read more


Freestylers Do It to Music

Put on a CD, teach your dog some moves, add a little costuming, and what do you get? Musical canine freestyle. And according to devotees, it’s simply the most fun you can have with your dog. Susan Brogan, Nancy vonKoehnen and Una Valanski have been dancing with dogs, as it’s often called, for many years…. read more

Some Dogs Without Heart Murmurs Aren’t Safe to Breed

Veterinary cardiologist Janet Olson, D.V.M., DACVIM,, is on a mission to keep heart defects out of your breeding lines. Why? Because she knows that listening to your dog’s heart at a dog show heart clinic doesn’t provide enough information for her to tell you, “Sure, go ahead and breed this one.” She also knows that… read more

Detection Dog Finds New Line of Work in NYC

Mik, a narcotics detection dog in New York, has a very different job from other dogs with his same training. He keeps recovering addicts honest and accountable. How, you might ask? By examining their luggage when they arrive at The Core Company’s Loft 107, a post-rehab, sober-living facility, and by helping families of possible users… read more

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