| The Dog Spot

Honoring Service Dogs

Posted on 26 September 2019 by LeslieM

September is National Service Dog Month, which is all about honoring the hardworking dogs that live to assist individuals with varying degrees of disabilities, and who want to achieve as much independence as possible. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the many roles that service dogs play in people’s lives.

This month, once known as National Guide Dog Month, was established in 2008 by Dick Van Patten, an animal advocate, who was “inspired by what he experienced during a life-changing visit to the Guide Dogs of the Desert facility in Palm Springs, CA,” and, as a result, he launched a fundraising drive to benefit guide and service dog training schools throughout the country.

Service dogs can be any breed. Although Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are some of the most commonly seen service dogs, absolutely any dog with the proper temperament, good health and the physical capability to assist with their human’s needs can be a service dog.

There are many distinct varieties of service dogs, including, but not limited to: Allergy alert, Autism assistance, Diabetic alert, emergency medical response, guide dogs, hearing dogs, seizure alert and wheelchair assistance.

In the United States, there is no required gear for service dogs. Vests, harnesses and jackets are commonly seen on working service dogs; but, by law, the dog isn’t required to wear anything in order to work in public. However, there are many reasons why service dogs should wear vests.

The single most important reason is that vests mark the dog so there is less confusion in public. This will help save time and effort in many situations, and will keep the dog ready to help if need be. Wearing a vest is also a way many service dogs distinguish working and playing/relaxing. When a service dog is wearing a vest, they are more alert and ready to take action, if necessary.

Additionally, there is no required documentation, registration, certification or paperwork required in order for a dog to be a service dog. While all of the above may be offered by service dog programs, it is not necessary by law.

There are two questions that may be asked to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

• Is the animal required because of a disability?

• What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), the definition of service animal excludes animals that provide comfort and emotional support, but that are not otherwise trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. Public places remain obligated under both federal and state law to allow service animals to be present.

According to Florida Statute 413.08, “A person who knowingly and willfully misrepresents herself or himself, through conduct or verbal or written notice, as using a service animal and being qualified to use a service animal or as a trainer of a service animal commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”

People with a disability have a right to have their service dog accompany them, but businesses and other places where service dogs are allowed, have a right to not have their operations interrupted by a dog who isn’t properly trained. Service dogs must exhibit excellent manners and behavior in public.

Thank you to all service dogs for your hard-work and dedication!

Jo Jo Harder, is a Boca Raton based author, stylist, producer, pet lifestyle expert, CEO and creator of America’s Top Dog Model Contest. Jo Jo has been at the helm of America’s Top Dog Model ® brand since 2005, and her unique approach to discovering, developing, and managing top dog models has gained international attention. America’s Top Dog Model’s new reality series “How to Get to the Top” season one, can be viewed on YouTube. www.americastopdogmodel.com.

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Celebrate National Dog Day

Posted on 22 August 2019 by LeslieM

Jonathan Swift once said “Every dog must have his day.” National Dog Day stands as one of our favorite canine holidays, so I have made a guide of fun things to do and a list of some of our favorite dog quotes. Our furry family members deserve to be celebrated every day of the year, so let’s take time to appreciate the love and value that dogs bring to our daily lives.

National Dog Day is celebrated Aug. 26 annually and was founded in 2004 by pet & family lifestyle expert and animal advocate Colleen Paige. www.nationaldogday.com.

This special day honors all breeds, pure and mixed and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, either from public shelters, rescues and/or pure breed rescues.

During these steamy dog days of summer, there is still plenty of ways to have fun while staying cool and celebrating this observational holiday. Here are eight ways to celebrate National Dog Day:

Host a National Dog Day party: Invite your friends and their dogs for fun in the backyard or dog park. Create a memorable day full of celebrating, games, food and treats!

Pamper your dog: Spend quality time bonding with your dog. Create an “at home” spa, complete with bath, pet-icure, teeth brushing, massage and plenty of hugs.

Picture day: Spend the day taking photos of your dog and post on social media, or hire a professional pet photographer for a fun photo shoot.

Go swimming: Head for the beach or your pool. Dogs love to splash around in the water and to fetch toys. Before you let your dog jump into that lake to cool off this summer, pay heed! Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, is a microscopic bacteria found in freshwater ponds, lakes and streams. Not all types of algae are poisonous, but some types of blue-green algae produce toxins that are dangerous to dogs. You can’t tell simply by looking at them whether or not they are dangerous, so it is best not to run the risk of allowing your dog to come into contact with water where the algae may be present.

Outdoor fun: If you and your dog enjoy the outdoors, there are lots of options. In the morning hours before it gets too hot, go for a walk, hike or jog. Off the leash parks are also fun, especially when you bring along a canine buddy. Remember to bring plenty of water, treats and pick-up bags.

Volunteer: There are many volunteer opportunities if your dog is friendly and well-behaved. A growing number of libraries and schools invite canine volunteers to help children improve their reading skills. You and your dog can also visit people at nursing homes and hospitals. Keep in mind that most organizations will typically screen you and your dog before you start your volunteer work.

Teach your dog a new trick: Don’t believe the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Learning new tricks will keep your dog’s mind sharp, and it’s something you can do to celebrate together.

Adopt a dog from a local shelter: If you are considering adding a new pup to your family, head over to your local shelter and see what they have to offer. What better way to celebrate National Dog Day than by giving a forever home to a dog in need?

Here is a list of some our favorite dog quotes that put the love we have for our dogs into words:

A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings

Everything I know I learned from dogs.” – Nora Roberts

Dogs’ lives are too short — their only fault, really.” – Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras

Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Shultz

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner

Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” – Thom Jones

The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this Earth will ever be.” – Konrad Lorenz

Jo Jo Harder, is a Boca Raton based author, stylist, producer, pet lifestyle expert, CEO and creator of America’s Top Dog Model Contest. Jo Jo has been at the helm of America’s Top Dog Model ® brand since 2005, and her unique approach to discovering, developing, and managing top dog models has gained international attention. America’s Top Dog Model’s new weekly reality series “How to Get to the Top” is currently showing on YouTube through Sept. 4. www.americastopdogmodel.com.

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Top tips for traveling with your dog

Posted on 01 August 2019 by LeslieM

Moto Girl is off on a cross-county road trip making special appearances as America’s Top Dog Model 2019.

Travel season is here and families will be taking road trips to exciting destinations across the country. Dog friendly vacations make a fun time for the entire family, and traveling with pets is easier than ever. But bringing pets along for the ride, takes some advance planning and attention to detail while on the trip. Here are my top tips for an enjoyable road trip with your dog.

Make sure your dog is fully acclimated to and has a positive association with car travel and adventure. This can be accomplished by taking your dog on short car trips and errands around town. You may also want to take them to the park and other areas where they will be introduced to different environments as well as be around new dogs and people. End these trips with playtime, praise and a reward for good behavior in the car.

Prepare for the trip by making a folder with your packing lists, hotels, restaurants, activities and all the fun things you can do with your dog.

Pet’s Packing List

Food/treats

Medication

Water

Water and food bowls

Bedding and towels

Car seat cover

Vaccination records

Flea and tick prevention

Favorite toys

Car harness/carrier

Leash + extension

Pet first aid kit

Pick up bags

Medical

Is your pet healthy and able to travel? Visit your veterinarian for a check-up.

If all is well, get them up-to-date on vaccines.

Get copies of paperwork with proof of vaccines and medical care.

If your dog requires medication, bring enough for the trip plus a few days extra for the unexpected.

Identification

Make sure your dog is micro chipped and has a collar with identification attached.

Bring photos of your dog with contact information on the back, kept in your purse or wallet.

Car Trip

Map out pet friendly stops with the help of GoPetFriendly.com.

Add markers for possible restaurants, attractions, landmarks and shops. Also, research highly rated emergency veterinarian offices in or near cities you will be driving through.

Plan to make frequent short stops to exercise, provide water and give your dog appropriate bathroom breaks.

Learn your dog’s stress signals and make sure to take a break when needed.

Practice good etiquette while out and about.

Make sure your pet is restrained for safety via a booster seat, carrier or harness.

Do not leave your dog in the car at any time.

Lodging & Food

Make a list of pet friendly accommodations along your route.

Bringfido.com helps you search for dog-friendly lodging, and it’s available as a mobile app so you can easily find hotels.

Bring your dog’s own bedding.

Check hotels pet rules and places to walk pets for potty breaks and exercise.

Eat out at dog friendly restaurants.

Bring containers with your dog’s food.

Activities

Enjoy your time together in your new surroundings. After a long day on the road, your dog will likely want to be close to what’s familiar and, if you’re in a new location, the most familiar thing for them will be you. Be prepared to spend the majority of time outdoors. Here are some fun things to do:

Picnic at a dog park

Relax on a pet friendly beach

Take a dog friendly hike

Go kayaking

Attend an outdoor music concert

Visit a state park (Check state parks pet regulations).

Jo Jo Harder, is an author, stylist, producer, and pet lifestyle expert, as well as CEO and creator of America’s Top Dog Model contest. Jo Jo has been at the helm of America’s Top Dog Model ® brand since 2005, and her unique approach to discovering, developing and managing top dog models has gained international attention. America’s Top Dog Model’s new reality series “How to Get to the Top” will launch on YouTube in August. www.americastopdogmodel.com.

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Get back to nature with your precious pet

Posted on 05 July 2019 by LeslieM

Nevada, America’s Top Dog Model 2019 contest finalist, celebrating nature on South Beach. Photo by Terry St. Angelo.

By Jo Jo Harder

Earth Day happened back on April 22. But every day should be a day to celebrate nature and the beauty of the world. Here are six fun ways to taking care of your four-legged family member while being sustainable and celebrating the Earth.

1. Off to the Park

Summertime is calling. Get outdoors and explore nature with your dog. Many celebrations take place in parks, where you can be close to nature. But before you head out, check to make sure the event is dog friendly. As with any fun outing, bring plenty of water, healthy treats (in reusable containers) and biodegradable pick-up bags.

2. Prepare a Healthy Meal

Dogs are a lot like people when it comes to nutrition. Prepare healthy meals for your dog by avoiding dog food with low-grade animal by-products and preservatives. For a better understanding of canine nutrition and other dog food questions, check out PetMD.com.

3. Groom Green

Create an at home spa for your dog. Grooming provides an opportunity to spend quality time pampering and bonding. Choose earth friendly pet shampoos, conditioners and other grooming products that do not contain phosphates, sulfates, and other chemicals that can be harmful to pets and to the planet.

4. Reuse

Give new life to gently used pet toys, beds, old blankets and towels by donating them to a local shelter or rescue group. There’s a saying: one dog’s trash is another dog’s treasure!

5. Plant

Plant dog-friendly flowers and other plants. Not only is it good for the environment, but gardening can also be relaxing. A dog-friendly garden can also be a wonderfully stimulating space for your pup. If you don’t have a backyard, consider container gardening on your deck.

6. Adopt

If you’re thinking of adding a new pup to the family, giving a home to a dog in need is earth-friendly and heart-friendly, too.

Jo Jo Harder, is an author, stylist, producer and pet lifestyle expert, as well as CEO and creator of America’s Top Dog Model contest. Jo Jo has been at the helm of America’s Top Dog Model ® brand since 2005, and her unique approach to discovering, developing and managing top dog models has gained international attention. America’s Top Dog Model’s new reality series “How to Get to the Top” will launch on YouTube in August. www.americastopdogmodel.com.

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