Brown spots appearing

I have a beautiful 12 year old black and white dalmation. She recently delevoped a large fat lump that has turned the surrounding fur reddish brown. Should I be concerened? I know that dals ofer  grow fat lumps, but I've never heard of it changing the color of the fur. It is in armpit of her front leg. 

Do Dalmatians Have Special Training Requirements?

Dalmatians are notoriously headstrong and stubborn, while also being sensitive and highly intelligent.  While all of these are admirable traits and part of what makes Dalmatians so special, the combination of these traits can make training a Dalmatian a bit more challenging than say, a lab.

First and foremost, most Dalmatians will not respond as well to coercion, so using a choke chain or other form of discipline is not likely to give you the results you are looking for.

One of the most effective ways of training a Dalmatian is using positive reinforcement through treats and clicker training.  Clicker training gives the dog an audio cue that they are doing something correctly.  This “click” is followed up with a treat, so the dog learns that by doing the correct action he will hear a sound and get a treat.  This is a very effective and widely popular method for training most dogs.

You can buy special training treats at any store that carries pet supplies.  These treats are small and designed to be just enough to reward a dog, without being a big calorie load.  Usually the size of your pinky fingernail, you can carry a handful of these in your pocket to reward your dog throughout the day.

So, to answer the question, Dalmatians don’t necessarily need special training, but they do need training that takes their unique personalities into account and focuses on positive reinforcement instead of correction or discipline.  When you train your dog with positive reinforcement, you will instill a joy of learning and eagerness to please in him, making your relationship that much closer.

Not Just Black and White

Dalmations come in a variety of colors!

Dalmatians are not just black and white, as many would think.  In fact, you will find Dalmatians in quite a few different colors.  According to the AKC, only white with black spots or white with liver spots are recognized colors, but there are several other color variations that occasionally pop up.

The recessive “e” gene is responsible for lemon coloring on Dalmatians, and dogs with this color will have black or liver nose and eye rims.

Orange coloring in Dalmatians is quite similar to liver, but is distinctly orange colored – not brown.

The blue color in any dog will look more like gray, but is called blue.  Blue Dalmatians have blue spots and are a result of the “d” and “B” genes.  These are very uncommon.

Tri-color Dalmatians are either black/tan/white or liver/tan/white and are caused by the A(t) gene.

Brindle is a patterning of stripes and shows up in tri-color Dalmatians.

Unlike a tri-color, mosaic Dalmatians will have just one spot of a different color, such as liver or lemon on a dog that is otherwise spotted black.

Two-tone spots
Some Dalmatians have spots that contain two colors, such as light colors in the center and transitioning to darker colors at the outer edge of the spots.

So next time you see a strangely colored Dalmatian, he is probably one of these beautiful and unique color variations.  While these cannot be bred or shown, different color strains sure do make for some unique dogs.

Keeping That Sparkling White Sparkling Clean

"No guarantees on how long it will last, though!"

The contrast of black and white are a big part of what makes Dalmatians so special.  Despite our best efforts, that sparkling white coat will often come into contact with not so sparkling substances, especially if you live in the country.  Nothing ruins a dog’s gleaming coat quicker than a fresh pile of cow manure, and I can say this with authority after washing many white dogs on the farm growing up.

When your spotted pooch runs afoul of something, well, foul, there are a couple of different methods for restoring the pearl to his pearly white coat.

A stiff brush can often get the bulk of dirt swept away without the hassle of a full bath.  Unless your dog has very sensitive skin, a standard household scrub brush is well suited to the task.  If, after brushing, your dog’s coat is still dull, shake a generous portion of baking soda onto his fur and rub it in with your hands.  Once the baking soda is evenly distributed, vigorously brush your dog again.  The baking soda should do a good job of removing any leftover dirt.

When brushing and baking soda are not enough, the best option is a bath.  If it is cold outside, you can put your dog in the bathtub, but in the summertime, he would probably enjoy a hosing off outside with a garden hose.  There is no need to spend lots of money buying special dog shampoo.  You can get the same results with tear-free kid shampoo for a whole lot less money.  Just wet your dog down, apply a generous amount of soap by squirting it in several spots across his body, and then give him a good scrubbing with your hands.  Be sure to rinse all of the soap out and dry him as thoroughly as possible so he does not get chilled.  In the case of really stubborn, greasy stains, use Dawn dish soap instead.

Between brushing, baking soda and a bath, you can be sure your beloved Dalmatian’s coat will return to its beautiful, gleaming white shine.  No guarantees on how long it will last, though!

Fireworks Claim another Canine Victim

"When a dog completely loses its mind to terror, you shouldn’t pretend nothing is wrong."

In New Zealand, a fireworks celebration sparked multiple dog deaths as the poor panicked pooches fled headlong into the night.  A Dalmatian cross dog managed to clear a 6-foot fence and rush out into traffic.  His injuries were too severe to fix, and he died from chest injuries after a local veterinary team worked for over an hour to save his life.

Another dog was found later on the side of a road.  He too had escaped after the fireworks scared him, and he was paralyzed after being hit by a car during his escape.These sad tales are becoming more common it seems.  To dogs, the loud explosions caused by fireworks can be among the most terrifying sounds they ever hear, causing some to succumb to utter panic and do things you wouldn’t normally expect a dog to do, such as jumping a 6-foot fence.

In this story, the veterinarian suggests going about business as usual and not treating the dogs any differently during a fireworks celebration because it reinforces the nervous reactions.  Doing nothing obviously didn’t help those two dogs, and I think the vet has it wrong in this case.  When a dog jumps up on you each time you pet it, you should stop petting it.  When a dog completely loses its mind to terror, you shouldn’t pretend nothing is wrong.  You wouldn’t ignore your child in such an extreme state of fear.

Perhaps the best solution is to be a comforting presence for your dog, and show them that you will be there to protect them in their time of need.  Sedatives may also be a good idea in the case of severely nervous dogs.  What we shouldn’t do in cases like this is nothing.  It could mean the life of our beloved friend.


Torture in the Name of Research?

Being of a somewhat sensitive nature, I generally avoid reading about stories like this, but once I got sucked in I couldn’t stop reading until I was downright livid.  I have never been a fan of using animals for research.   For the most part, I think animals are of a higher moral capacity than their human counterparts, and this story of Queenie the Dalmatian mix is just another testament to the truth in that way of thinking.

Queenie was placed in an animal shelter that carries a contract with R & R Research, a company who has been the recipient of complaints for USDA regulation violations.  The contract allows R & R Research to take unwanted animals for research in exchange for disposing of animal carcasses for the shelter.R & R Research sold Queenie to a doctor doing cardiovascular research.  As a result of these painful experiments, Queenie was injured when a device that was implanted in her body broke, requiring her to be put to sleep.

Using animals for research is bad enough and completely intolerable, but at least animals bred for that purpose know no other way of life.  What of Queenie, and other dogs like her, who ended up in shelters and were sent to be used in research?  Can you imagine the absolute depth of misery they must experience?  Not only are they locked up in cages, they are used in painful experiments, treated as machines, and doomed to never know the loving touch of a human again.

At least for Queenie, the story is over.  She no longer has to suffer at the hands of sadists posing as researchers.  Hopefully soon we will find a way to stop this torture and rely on research methods that don’t involve innocent participants.

On behalf of people with consciences everywhere, I am so sorry, Queenie.

New Dalmatian for WV Fire Department

Remember when every cartoon featuring a fire department had a Dalmatian riding along in the truck as they sped to save someone from a burning building (or, ironically, a cat from a tree)? West Virginia has a new Dalmatian named Pierce on their team now. You can learn more about Pierce and his funny habits here.

Man Hangs Dalmatian From Tree

Stories like these are the ones that make us cringe, wondering if we are, indeed, beasts, as Joyce Carol Oates once wrote. How sentient and intelligent can we be if we actually harm other beings so disgustingly and heartlessly?

A 49-year-old man in Florida was caught hanging a Dalmatian and a Doberman Pincher from a tree. It sounds like something right out of the pages of a horror novel, perhaps, or a sadistic movie about serial killers; but it’s true, and Jorge Guzman-Zubiaur, who is accused of the crime, only took the dogs down from the tree after his neighbors expressed their outrage over the act and called the police.

It wasn’t soon enough, however, as the Doberman died. Guzman-Zubiaur is being charged with two counts of animal cruelty for stringing the dogs up so tightly and cruelly that when they attempted to move, they hung from the tree.

When a neighbor’s son spotted the scene, she called the police. She even went a step further and blocked the perpetrator’s way with her own car when he tried to flee the scene, and now is planning to adopt the Dalmatian who survived.

As heartening as this courageous neighbor’s actions were, would it also not be wonderful if we could all live like this—not just when we see animal cruelty, but when we see an injustice or sadistic act of any kind?

Concerned Parent of a male GSD

About 5 months ago my boyfriend and I adopted a 2 1/2 year old male GSD. I take him for walks that are about 1-1.5 mile long each day, and he loves it. The other day it was our first really nice day of spring so i decided to take Cujo to the public park for a long walk. The trail is about 3 miles long and that day it was reaching 85 degrees. The whole environment was very over stimulating for him, with all the people and dogs there he just wanted to play and was very hyper. So basically he pulls me around the 3 mile trail. Now its 2 days later and he is having difficulties with his back hips. He is not weeping and hes fine when i palpate his back hips but he is moving much slower then normal. Do you think hes just sore from the other day or do you think something is seriously wrong??