Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, October 5, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 7


Mountain View News Saturday, October 5, 2019 


In my on-going pursuit of learning the 
best techniques for humane dog-handling, 
I read books and articles, I view tutorials 
and I try to tune into related programs 
that might enhance my skills. I go through 
phases of learning followed by the 
purposeful application of what I’ve learned 
and I think this system serves me well. Having worked with a wide variety of dogs over the course of 
many years, I’ve come to believe that a little goes a long way when it comes to the humans’ attempt to 
‘control’ the dog.

We two-legged, upright walkers have a tendency to think we know it all, therefore we need to teach our 
pets how to think and behave the way we want them to. I personally tend to maintain the mind set that 
I am the one learning from them, more often than the other way around. There are important lessons 
to be learned on both our parts, but I am very aware of my own need to look, listen and anticipate the 
interesting and enlightening messages the dog has to offer.

I realize that dogs do benefit from the structure and consistent patterns we set forth for them, and 
basic behavioral training is an important aspect of helping a puppy mature into adulthood. But I 
also think it is important to achieve a healthy balance in the relationships we have with our canine 
companions. First and foremost, we humans must give our pets mutual respect and allow them the 
freedom of being themselves. There’s a reason why we call them our best friends, and to miss out on 
what a dog is capable of sharing would be a travesty of opportunity.

One common challenge is the concept of training a dog to walk on leash. Of course, every pet 
owner wants to be able to walk their dog without the stress of excess pulling or over-excitement, and 
fortunately there are some basic tips that can help with teaching a dog to walk obediently on-leash. 
But what about allowing a dog to stop and sniff during a walk? Should that be allowed? Or, does it 
mean you are being a lazy owner, allowing the dog to take charge? There are various schools of thought 
on this issue, and for some trainers the bottom-line question is; “Who’s walking who?” I guess my 
question is; “How important is it to control every moment of the dog’s attention during a walk around 
the block?”

I vacillated from one side of the fence to the other regarding this specific dog-handling technique for 
quite some time, but I now know for sure where I stand. My personal take on allowing the dog to stop 
and have a sniff break during a walk is based on what I’ve learned about the physical characteristics of 
the canine’s olfactory system, along with what I understand about the dog’s way of thinking. First of 
all, I accept that a dog does, indeed, think and that his thoughts do matter.

I won’t go into the specific ‘rules of the road’ I have heard told by the many trainers I‘ve come across over 
the years, because it is such a wide variety of opinion to consider, and because I am not a professional 
trainer myself. I am just a person who spends a lot of time around different dogs on a daily basis, and 
I’ve come to realize that each one is an individual, just as my human friends are. I don’t assume any 
particular behavior or response from one human that I might expect to get from another, and the same 
goes for my four-legged friends. However, there are a few predictable traits I can anticipate from every 
dog I know, not the least of which is the desire to take a sniff break during a walk.

The dogs’ way of “reading” or “seeing” the world is a major factor in considering whether or not 
random sniff breaks should be allowed on leash, and you can be sure that any healthy dog will want 
to pause and enjoy those precious moments. Why? Because their noses work over time, and they are 
viewing the world through their nostrils much in the way we view the world through our eyes. How 
would you feel if you were forced to wear a blind-fold every time you went out for a walk? I imagine 
it would be very frustrating, and I have no doubt that is how a dog feels when he or she is not allowed 
to use their nose to sniff or “view” the world during an on-leash outing.

Inasmuch as we humans want to believe dogs should think and experience the world the same way 
we do, that philosophy could not be further from the truth. In her book, Inside of a Dog (Simon & 
Schuster, 2009), psychologist Alexandra Horowitz shares her wealth of knowledge about why dogs do 
what they do, and what they are likely thinking when they do it. In one chapter she makes the point 
that humans place an immense amount of value on inanimate objects, whereas dogs don’t give them 
a second thought. They don’t assign meaning to, say a chair or a couch unless we’ve been sitting there, 
leaving our personal scent for them to investigate with their overactive olfactory’s when we walk away. 
Then, and only then does that sitting spot become of interest to the dog.

The same goes for a tree or flower you may come across during a walk with your dog. I assure you that 
the dog won‘t think, “What a beautiful tree or flower.” He or she will only choose to pay attention to 
that object if there happened to have been a previous visitor who passed by and sprinkled a urinary 
“calling card” on that spot for the next passing pet to take a whiff of.

There’s a lot more to know about the benefits for a dog being allowed to take a sniff break, but I hope the 
few thoughts I shared in this column might inspire others to pay attention and try to understand why 
their dog behaves the way they do. Understanding their wants and needs can help us give them with a 
fuller, happier life and after all, isn’t that the whole point of having a pet? To enjoy their company and 
give them a good life? Get out with your animals often and explore the outdoors together. Try not to 
obsess on being the boss of your dog, rather work toward achieving a respectful, balanced friendship 
with them. Love and let live!


A beautiful set of all white 
twins—we call them, “The 
Buggsies!” Since their all white 
mother was named June Bug, 
we continued with the cute 
buggy names. The gorgeous 
male is Hopper, all white, while 
Lady Bug, female, is a Hopper look-alike. Lady Bug is so sweet & delicate, sometimes a little shy but 
she does like to play. Sweet Hopper is just simply a loving playful boy, who often likes to give you 
lick kisses. Adopt both & use our “Twofur” offer! Born 5/1/2017. They will come spayed/neutered, 
current on vaccines, and microchipped. See more pictures of them, their videos, and adoption info at, then call 626-676-9505 for a meet & greet.


Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

Pet of the Week

Raven’s not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom! 
Raven came into the shelter as a nursing mom 
with five kittens, and now she’s looking for 
a home of her own. When you visit her, she’ll 
immediately grab your attention with a dulcet 
meow. And she has so many things to tell you. 
She’ll talk your ear off! Sometimes, it’s that she 
wants you to pet her. Other times, she wants 
you to pet her with your eyes! But either way, 
we doubt you’ve seen a cat as gorgeous as her. If 
you’ve been wanting a house panther, Raven’s ready to be yours.

 The adoption fee for cats is $90. All cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped, and 
vaccinated before being adopted. 

 New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCA 
Animal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care 
for your pet.

 View photos of adoptable pets at Adoption hours are 11 a.m. to 
4 p.m. Sunday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters by 
phone calls or email.



Bubba makes a show stopping fashion first impression 
in his orange tuxedo with white bib and spats. That silky 
coat is a pleasure to see and softly stroke. He is a young 
cat who can appear shy at first meeting. But he is a good 
guy and just needs a little extra care to gain his confidence. 
While inside his cubby, Bubba acts quirky, slinky 
and silly but can be lured out with a string, a mouse tail 
or anything snake like. As he gets to know his guest, he 
enjoys coming out into the “catio”, melts into petting 
hands and will snuggle into a lap purring his appreciation 
being brushed. Treats are another path to his heart. 
Bubba is looking for a forever home that will appreciate 
his charm. The adoption fee is $99, which includes neuter 
surgery, microchip, first vaccinations and a free wellness 
check-up at a participating veterinarian. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: