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Words to Live By

Where do you find your inspiration? This month’s cover photographer Ellen Shershow finds hers mostly in dogs, she says, and that’s probably true for many Bay Woof readers.

Wiley leads me to be more attuned to the here and now. When she’s curled up by my desk, she conveys calm sereneness. When she sploots, she seems goofy, gangly, and silly, which makes me smile and feel happy.

We are still getting to know each other. And while I’ve had a few dogs, I still make many mistakes with her, particularly with consistency and timing. That’s why I hang on every word our awesome training contributors offer every month.

In this issue, Kelly Gorman Dunbar explains in The Monthly Woof, “Show and Tell,” that the best way to communicate with our canines is not with words or verbalization, but with demonstrable actions. Sure, they get context, tones, and cues, but too often we’re telling them “no” to stop an undesired behavior without giving them direction on what to do right and instead. She also dispels two misconceptions: that dogs “know better” and they are being intentionally “bad.” They’re just being dogs.

One of the most important concepts for a dog  to learn is the recall. Adhering to the notion of “come” can save your dog’s life, preventing her from running in front of an oncoming car or stopping her from an encounter with wild animals like skunks or coyotes. In Good Dog!, “Tips for Spot-on Recall,” Stacy Braslau-Schneck talks about this basic obedience goal. The main takeaway is that your pup needs to understand what she should do when this request is made and why it behooves her to do so. Braslau-Schneck breaks the tips down into easy to understand steps.

In cat news, it’s part two of Berkeley Humane’s Best In Show — Stories Beyond the Shelter. Bay Woof saved all the cat tales for this issue in “Cat Tales From Berkeley Humane.” And if you want to enrich your cat’s life, see what Aaron Feldman of CatScapes has to say about indoor shelving for cats in Kitty Corner, “Cats Love 3-D Indoor Playgrounds at Home.” The Berkeleyite is launching a fundraising effort to get his customizable, handsome shelves on the market and makes a good case for how something so simple can make a marked improvement in your feline’s life.