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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Author Archive: Matthew Margolis

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Benji and the Bickersons

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Benji, a 1-year-old German shepherd pup. Rarely do I meet a dog I don’t like, but shepherds hold a special place in my heart. We have two in the family right now. The German shepherd is smart, sensitive and strong, equal parts soldier and sidekick, as comfortable in […]

Uncle Matty doing Saturday radio show on KFBK

SACRAMENTO — Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis announced Friday he will be hosting a new radio talk show every Saturday from 1-2 p.m. on KFBK. “Pet Talk with Uncle Matty” debuts this Saturday, March 22. “Pet Talk with Uncle Matty” is a forum devoted to the frank and lively discussion of pets, wildlife and the environment. […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Dogs chase, fences protect

You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my head. I’m just off a call with a woman who’s having some trouble with her 3-year-old Labrador. Her family resides on 7 beautiful acres, and their dog chases birds and squirrels with the joyful zeal we would expect from a Lab. She wants him to respect the […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: A man walks into a dog park…

Two men were fighting at a bar. One of them threw a shrimp cocktail and yelled, “And that’s just for starters!” That’s a joke — but it’s only a hairsbreadth away from describing the real-life events that played out at an Auburn dog park earlier this year. On Jan. 25, Officer James Dalton responded to […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Dog talk

“The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.” George Bernard Shaw said that, and I can’t help but wonder whether he was referring to his dog. Dogs can’t converse with us, but they speak canine just fine. They talk, howl, whine and chat. They yip […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Rescue to the Westminster!

A number of wagalicious moments came out of the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show earlier this month — and many were impure. Impure as in “All-American.” Impure as in “mixed-breed.” Impure as in “mutt.” This year, mutts mingled with purebreds for the Westminster Masters Agility Championship. It was the first time the famed […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Diary of a breeder, Part II

Last week, we highlighted the focused attention a responsible breeder brings to the first five weeks of a dog’s life. But the work doesn’t stop at week five, and the benefits of perseverance last a lifetime. Cardigan Welsh Corgi breeders Steve and Kelly Porter believe that “from the moment puppies enter the world, they begin […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Meet the Frenchie

Olympians aren’t the only ones setting and breaking records. Let’s hear it for the Lab. On Jan. 31, the American Kennel Club announced that for the 23rd year in a row, the Labrador retriever has been elected “most popular dog breed” in the United States, shattering the old record. OK, maybe shattering isn’t the word. […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Diary of a breeder, Part I

There is no one right way to go about finding your dog. This week, let’s shine a light on the work of responsible dog breeders and the impact it has on the dogs they bring into the world. Steve and Kelly Porter of Aldergate breed Corgis. This is their philosophy, in their words, and it […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: He’s all bark

Barking is as natural as breathing. Triggered by a state of excitement, barking is a dog’s means of communicating anger, loneliness, fear, playfulness or a need for something. Excessive barking is barking’s obnoxious cousin. It’s an exaggeration of natural canine behavior that can only be eliminated by either giving in to the dog’s demand or […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Get resolved

Self-improvement is all the rage, especially at this time of the year: the beginning. Happy New Year! Because the desire for self-improvement is so strong among us, at the start of each new year, about half of us resolve to do better in some way. We list our resolutions and declare them aloud to whoever […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Home alone

Inadvertently overlooked during his family’s chaotic departure for an overseas trip, 8-year-old Kevin McCallister finds himself “Home Alone.” Realizing his predicament, he does what any kid his age would do. He orders a pizza and jumps on the bed. Prematurely independent, he does all right by himself — until something goes wrong. And doesn’t something […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Party animal

For some, New Year’s Eve is a quiet affair: a night in with a little nosh, some cuddling on the couch and a sip of something sparkling at the magic hour. For everyone else, New Year’s Eve is a party — a big one. The question, party people, is: Should your dog get an invite? […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: The Hollywood man-child and your dog’s maturation

Let’s play a game. I’m thinking of a movie in which grown men act like little boys. Can you guess the movie? What? You’re overwhelmed by the possibilities? “Old School,” “Failure To Launch,” “Stepbrothers,” “Anchorman,” “The Hangover,” “Grown Ups,” “Grown Ups 2″ or just about any other Adam Sandler vehicle. If you’ve seen any one […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: How much does it cost to raise a dog?

Money matters. Even the closest of human-canine bonds are impacted by an empty bank account, an unpaid mortgage or a lost job. So the decision to bring a dog into your life isn’t just emotional; it’s also financial. That said, entire lives surely have been wasted on the interminable attempt to plan for everything. Unhand […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Passing on useless advice

Oscar Wilde wrote, “The only good thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.” Good advice, bad advice, utterly useless advice — people love to pass it on. In working with people and their dogs, I hear all kinds of “surefire” strategies for shaping canine […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Sit, Pilgrim

Back in 1620, when the Mayflower docked at the New World, its passengers included 102 bold pilgrims from Plymouth — and two plucky pooches. The canine adventurers — one a mastiff, the other an English springer spaniel — belonged to 25-year-old John Goodman of England, whose life they are credited with saving on at least […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: A trend that needs to end

In Shakespeare’s day, something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Nowadays, something’s rotten in the United States. That something in two words: disposable animals. One of the saddest aspects of our citizenry is this sticky notion that animals are disposable. One of the ways that plays out is in the ongoing practice of dumping […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: I see dog people

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way. — Martin Luther King Jr. Every single day, the well-being of people and animals comes under […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Howl-oween happenings

Halloween traditionally belongs to humans. But more and more humans don’t want to exclude their pups from what often remains a favorite holiday long past the age of trick-or-treating. These days, Halloween is less “hallow,” more “howl.” Participants in last year’s Halloween Dog Parade and Costume Contest at the Tompkins Square dog run in NYC […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: The breaking point

No one and nothing is immune from a breaking point. Chemical substances have breaking points. Physical objects have breaking points. Men and women have breaking points. And dogs are no exception. A breaking point is defined as: 1. the point at which something or someone gives way under strain. 2. the moment of crisis in […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Baby talk

Our 4-and-a-half-year-old miniature bull terrier, Baby, is the most loving and affectionate dog on the planet, but she will hunt and attack her brother at home. She came to live with us last fall from a family leaving the country. She wasn’t well cared for. She was undernourished and kept behind a couch in an […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Low-down dirty pet-flippers

According to the Bible, the love of money is the root of all evil. According to Mark Twain, the lack of money is the root of all evil. For love or lack, people concoct some low-down dirty schemes in the name of the blessed dollar. One of the latest involves flipping pets. With not the slightest […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Don’t dress your wolf in Grandma’s clothing

There seems to be some general confusion about what constitutes aggression. What are the signs? What does dog aggression look like? I spoke with a woman who said her dog is angry. How do you know he’s angry, I asked. “He growls and barks at other people and dogs,” she said. “Sounds aggressive to me.” […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Hot cars are death traps for dogs

If only every dog-in-a-hot-car story ended like this one. Last week, former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer became a hero all over again. But this time, it’s animal lovers and not football fans who are cheering. On his way into a store in Norman, Okla., Switzer spotted a Rottweiler puppy sitting alone in a hot […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Fences and leashes save lives

For many of the same reasons you wouldn’t let your 3-year-old toddle off to daycare alone, it’s also not a good idea to let your pooch roam the streets off-leash. Cars, dognappers, Animal Control … Unless you live on a large plat in Montana, your pup will undoubtedly benefit from a leash or a fence […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Your dog’s personality

“When Good Dogs Do Bad Things” is the title of a book on dogs that I co-authored with Mordecai Siegal. Chapter three is titled, “Your Dog’s Personality.” That’s right, your dog’s personality is weighty enough to warrant an entire chapter in a book. When we discuss a dog’s personality, it’s important to note the difference […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Bringing home happy

This summer I did something I hadn’t done in 20 years. And this something reminds me every day how much easier it is to give advice than it is to apply it. I got a puppy. He’s a German shepherd. His name is Happy. Happy came from a breeder I know in North Carolina. My […]

Dog talk with Uncle matty: Getting fit is fun with a furry companion

During the season of beach bods and six-pack abs, it’s hard to remember that fitness isn’t just about looks. It’s about health — and not just physical health. Fitness is also about mental acuity, good behavior and an all-around feeling of happiness. This is true for humans, and it’s true for dogs. No doubt you’ve […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Warm weather pests

Summer brings outdoor fun, and animals love nature and warm weather. But the season isn’t without its headaches — namely, pests that can affect your pet’s health, both short term and long term. A number of emails recently have inquired about dogs that still eat their normal fare but experience weight loss. That could be […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Up in the air

For search-and-rescue dogs, saving lives is all in a day’s work. But these furry heroes don’t all work the same. Nose to the ground. Nose in the air. Not to oversimplify things, but up or down, it’s all in the position of the nose. Trackers, or tracking dogs, put their nose to the ground and […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: If it looks like a dog…

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.” That’s writer Douglas Adams’ version, anyway. The point is, things usually are what they seem. The key […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Let’s hear it for the toys

If you’ve walked the aisles of an animal shelter anytime in the past decade, I’m sure you noticed a breed that tends to dominate in terms of numbers. Hint: They fit in the palm of your hand, have eyes like watery walnuts and look like they’re about to bust out with, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Babies and dogs: Unedited

In comic strips, country songs and Disney films, dogs and babies go together like Batman and Robin. In real time, where potential danger and acts of instinct and nature can’t be edited out, dogs and babies require constant supervision and should never be left alone in a room together. In September 2009, in Jacksonville, N.C., […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: The yard’s the thing

If our dogs could speak words to be understood by the likes of man, they might wake with the sun, stretch and, as padded paw hits grassy earth, reflect as Thoreau did in “Walden,” “I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.” The yard. […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Sleeping with a three-headed rattlesnake

H.L. Mencken said, “The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.” The following letter from a reader demonstrates that it is certainly the chief occupation of those who champion the companionship of a particular canine at any cost. We recently got […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: It’s not always a picnic, buster

President Obama, like him or not, takes education seriously. And there’s little mystery surrounding how that came to be. According to the president, “Five days a week (my mother) came into my room at four in the morning, force-fed me breakfast and proceeded to teach me my English lessons for three hours before I left […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Finally free: Vick and his dogs

Michael Vick wrote a book. It’s called “Finally Free.” I haven’t read it, but I can only assume the title is self-referential and not a nod to the dogs who escaped — dead or alive — the hell that was his Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation. In 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Confessions of a dog abuser

What do the following comments have in common? “I’ve given her tongue lashings that would wake the dead and ostracized her to the point of feeling guilty like an abusive jailer.” “I’ve bitten her on the neck and stared her straight in the eyes.” “I use a pronged training collar, which makes a world of […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: The thrill of the chase

From where the dog sits, there’s not much that beats the thrill of the chase. It’s in their blood — the prey drive, the chase instinct. It’s an urge once based on survival, one passed on from the dog’s early brethren: the wolf. But times have changed. For the African spotted dog, also known as […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Knowing aggression

I got another one of those phone calls the other day. I pick up, and the guy on the other end tells me he has a 2-year-old dog who is “sometimes” aggressive. I tell him he has a “sometimes” problem. But the problem with a sometimes problem is that it’s easy to forget you have […]

Dog talk with Uncle matty: Dogs and seniors

“I bought my mom a Yorkie for her birthday.” “Yorkie, huh? Cute breed. How old is your mom?” “She’s 92.” And so began the story that, all told, included four trips to the hospital in five months for Mom, as she repeatedly tripped over, tangled with and stepped on her rambunctious gift. Happy birthday! The […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Crate expectations

 Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind; large ones weaken it. — Leonardo da Vinci A man as famous for his curiosity as he is for his art, Leonardo da Vinci was the quintessential Renaissance man — painter, sculptor, mathematician, musician, architect, botanist, geologist, inventor … dog trainer? While little evidence exists to support the […]

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