By: Beverly Ulbrich, Guest Writer

Most people have heard that you should mess with a puppy’s food when he’s young to ensure he doesn’t growl at or bite you. But did you know that you need to keep doing this throughout your dog’s life?

You never know when you’ll need to grab something dangerous from your dog’s mouth, or when someone might try to pet your dog while he’s chewing on something. So you need to make sure your dog knows that it’s okay.

Whether it’s vacation, the holidays or work, we hate leaving our dog behind when we travel. Are you nervous dropping him at a kennel or even a dog hotel? Now there’s another option where the dog sitter comes to you – Rover.com.

rover.com home pageRover.com is a nationwide site of 25,000 sitter profiles where you can search and find the perfect fit for you and your dog. Co-founder Greg Gottesman thought of the idea after a bad experience at a high-end kennel where his dog, Ruby Tuesday, was injured. He thought his dog would have been more comfortable in his own environment.

“He and his team pitched the idea for Rover.com at the 2011 Startup Weekend in Seattle and won top prize,” Rover.com CEO Aaron Easterly says.

If you’re worried about having a stranger in your home, rest assured Rover thoroughly checks out its sitters.

Just call it Biggest Loser: Pet Edition. One Bay Area vet clinic is launching a weight-loss contest for your dog or cat, and it’s free!

weight loss challenge
Dr. Kristina Hansson came up with the weight-loss challenge to help overweight patients like the cat pictured here.

Cornerstone Integrative Veterinary Hospital in Marin County was inspired to start this weight-loss challenge due to a startling trend in pet ownership: roughly 50 percent of our furry friends are now overweight, which is leading to a number of health issues.

“Most don’t realize their pets are overweight, they just think they are a bit chubby,” Cornerstone owner Dr. Kristina Hansson says. “But when explained all the problems associated with obesity, they tend to take it very seriously.”

To enter the contest, schedule a free consultation with the office in September, where they will assess your pet and do a weigh-in. All overweight cats and dogs are eligible and the winner will receive a one-year wellness plan valued at over $2,000.

black dogs project It’s time to adopt a new furry family member and you head to the shelter to meet the available dogs. Wide-eyed pups wag their tails furiously while they wait in their crates, hoping for a second look and a forever home. You decide on the perfect dog for your family but feel a little sad for the ones left behind. What if you knew some of those dogs are passed by more often than others, and they tend to be the ones with dark coats?

That’s the sad reality photographer Fred Levy learned about one day at his local Boston-area dog park while chatting up another park-goer. It’s a phenomenon that’s been dubbed Black Dog Syndrome (BDS); black dogs tend to sit in the shelter up to four times longer than their lighter-haired counterparts. It couldn’t be true, he thought.

Thank you to all who came out to support NorCal GSP Rescue at this year’s Woof & Wine at McGrail Vineyards in Livermore. Several thousand dollars were raised to help GSP’s in need around the Bay Area. It was a beautiful setting at McGrail Vineyards; if you’ve never been, you have to check it out! They have a great shaded patio adjacent to the tasting room. GSP event 12More than 100 people came out to support the event and plenty of four-legged friends joined in on the fun, including Yellow Dog!

GSP event 15GSP event 16

yellow dog wearing a thundershirtWe’ve already detailed how the ThunderShirt works but if you’re planning on using the shirt for the first time this 4th of July, make sure you know how you should act when fireworks go off.

Did you know you shouldn’t yell at your dog for barking? ThunderShirt offers some training tips on their website to use with the shirt.

We also consulted The Pooch Coach, trainer Beverly Ulbrich, for tips on dealing with 4th of July noises. Here’s what she suggests: