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Misty Pines Gazette

January 2017
Volume XIV: Issue 1

Happy New Year 2017

Upcoming Events for:











CGC/TDI Prep Class

Toy Breed


Treadmill 101

CGC/TDI Prep Class

Treadmill 102

Starter Orientation


Scent Work 101



While exercise is beneficial to dogs’ physical well-being, it also has excellent psychological effects both calming and mood stabilizing.

101 Class - Saturday, January 14th | 11:15 - 12:00 PM
Learn how to teach your dog the treadmill to help keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

102 Class - Saturday, January 21st | 11:15 - 12:00 PM
More advanced commands, programs and regimens. Recommended for those that took 101 Class and for those dogs that already use a treadmill but would like their dog to perform better.

Click here for more information about canine treadmill exercise.

Scent Work

Every dog is equipped with an amazing tool: their nose! Olfaction, the act or process of smelling, is a dog’s primary special sense. Dogs have more than 220 million olfactory receptors in their nose, while humans have only 5 million! This is a class to give pet dogs and their owners a fun way to learn and apply scent detection skills. Teaching dogs to use their nose to identify a target odor offers many benefits. This is a highly recommended working game for families to apply to their family pets for mental and physical energy release during searches. This introductory class will also help you get started for fun competition in the sport of K-9 Nose Work NACSW.

101 - Saturday, January 28th, 11:15 - 12:00 PM
102 - Saturday, February 11th, 11:15 - 12:00 PM

Registration online, by phone or e-mail required to attend class.

DownStay Cafe

For the past 13 years the 17th Street Cafe (now The South Side BBQ Company) has been partnering with Misty Pines in our endeavors to raise money for great causes while providing a high quality dog-friendly dining experience for our clients. Throughout the event all the dogs are asked to Down-Stay by their owners and they remain there for most of the event. This unique location and distraction rich environment puts classroom training to the test and the dogs rose to the challenge. This year we had 14 well-behaved dogs that shared our afternoon with us.

We were happy to bring Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team back as this year’s beneficiary.

The PAART team is passionate about saving animals. Whether it be by land or by air the team is on constant standby, ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice. Over the last few years their missions have varied in both size and scope. Every mission has unique circumstances and challenges. From large land rescues, to spur of the moment air missions, to humanitarian missions, the team is ready and willing to go to any lengths to leave "No Dog Left Behind".

For the second year we were treated to a BBQ dinner cooked up by Pat Joyce and his staff at the South Side BBQ Company. We enjoyed ribs, a pulled chicken ‘sammie,’ cole slaw and mac n’ cheese. After everyone had arrived Jeff gave an introduction and recognized James Fair, an injured veteran and past beneficiary of the DownStay Cafe event. Lynda Manko, Community Outreach Coordinator of P.A.A.R.T. shared a video and a heartfelt message of gratitude and brought us up-to-date on the current rescues going on at P.A.A.R.T.

Lunch was served and when everyone had their fill the auction began. We were joined again this year by Sherry Alling as guest auctioneer. The auction was a blast as usual and helped raise $3,639! P.A.A.R.T. has a $50,000 matching gift on the table again this year so our $3,639 will be matched making a donation of $7,278!

We would like to thank all of those who came to the lunch, those that donated baskets, those that bid on auction items, those that gave donations and all of those involved in making the dinner a success. Thank you to P.A.A.R.T. for making a difference in the lives of so many dogs and people. Remember, though they are primarily saving dogs, they are making the families who receive these rescues more complete as well.

Next year the DownStay Café is scheduled for Saturday, December 9th from 12:00 till 3:00pm. If you haven’t had a chance to join us in previous years, please plan to attend this coming year and be a part of supporting great causes and celebrating the bonds we share with our magnificent canine friends.

DownStay Cafe 2015

The Joy of Misty Pines

On Saturday, December 17th we unveiled the new "Joy of Misty Pines" book which is a collection of photographs from photographer, MaryBeth Aiello. The foreword and tribute to passed dogs this year was eloquently written by MaryBeth's husband Bob Aiello, a published author. The book features photos from daycare, boarding, training classes, grooming, the dog park and more. These beautiful photos show some of the people and dogs that give Misty Pines its joy. Jeff gave a nice speech about the culture of Misty Pines and the value of our clients, who become part of our Misty Pines family. Jeff presented his daughter, Aimee Kollinger, Vice-President of Misty Pines, with the first book, which was fitting as she and her daughter, Winona, and her dog, Cochise, are featured on the front cover. MaryBeth was present and signed books throughout the afternoon while those in attendance enjoyed wine and snacks.

Jeff, Aimee and all the staff at Misty Pines would like to thank all of our clients who have supported us throughout the years. Misty Pines could not be who we are today without your support.

If you have not had the pleasure of browsing through either of the books please have a seat by the fireplace and take a stroll through Misty Pines history. The Joy Of Misty Pines is available for sale in our office.

Price Changes for 2017

    Dog training class prices will change beginning January 1, 2017 as follows:
  • Regular weekly classes will be $18.
  • Agility and CGC/TDI Prep Classes will be $20.
  • Nuisance Behaviors Class and other specialty classes will be $25.
  • Class passes will be $180

Schedule Changes for 2017

8:00 am | Agility, CGC/TDI or Nuisance Behaviors depending on day of month.
9:15 am | Puppy Pre-School
9:15 am | Puppy Class
10:15 am | Puppy Class
11:15 am | Specialty Classes (Subjects will change frequently)
12:15 pm | Maintenance Plus Class (Previously the Level III Class)
1:15 pm | Level I Class
2:15 pm | Level II Class
3:15 pm | Level I Class
5:45 pm | Toy Breed Class

All overly reactive dogs to people or other dogs should make an appointment for Behavior Consultations then, once approved, are invited to attend Tuesday 6:30pm Multi-Level Grow-less Class.

During the Specialty Class time we will have subjects such as Toy Breed, Scent Work, Clicker Training, Retrieving, Recall, and more. Some of these classes will be advanced in nature and therefore will have minimum requirements that must be met before the handler/dog will be permitted to come into class. Each class' description will outline any requirements needed for class.

Specialty Classes MUST be registered for in advance. Certain classes will be have limited spaces available and once they are taken up no more entries will be permitted. Some classes will require multi-week commitments. There will be no refund given if a student is not able to make all sessions in a multi-session class.

Specialty Classes for January and February are listed below. Requirements for each class will be posted on the Specialty Classes page soon. Be sure to read upcoming emails for the most up-to-date information.

    January - February
1/7 | Toy Breed
1/14 | Treadmill 101
1/21 | Treadmill 102
1/28 | Scent Work 101
2/4 | Toy Breed
2/11 | Scent Work 102
2/18 | Clicker Training Class 101
2/25 | Clicker Training Class 102

Conformation Classes

Sundays March 5th, 12, 19th and 26th.

10:00 – 11:00 AM | Beginner Handling 101
11:00 – 12:00 PM | Open Handling 102

Beginner Handling 101 is offered to all dogs whose owners want to learn handling skills. In a fun, relaxed environment, we will discuss show terminology, ring etiquette and what to expect at dog shows. Students will learn how to stack and gait their dog as well as basic patterns. No prior experience is required, and novice handlers are highly encouraged to attend. All dogs over 4 months of age are welcome to attend.

Open Handling 102 is your standard competition handling class and is open to purebred dogs whose owners wish to build their dog's skill in the ring and practice for upcoming shows. Owners should have a basic understanding of handling as this class focuses on practice and preparation for the show ring. Purebreds over 4 months of age are welcome to attend.

Registration online, by phone or e-mail required to attend class.

January Specials

40% Off Crates

Give your dog a time and place for him. Scruffy needs a den, a place of his own, a place to relax and get away from it all. While your puppy will make his own use of a crate to recharge his batteries, you will use it as well: to housebreak your puppy, to prevent him from chewing your things, to settle and keep him safe and out of trouble.

Read the article below to learn the reasons for and benefits of training your dog to use a crate.

Size Chart

Choosing the right sized kennel for your pet is crucial to making crate training a positive experience. Kennels come in all sizes, from small to giant, to accommodate most dog breeds. So, what's all the fuss about kennel sizes? Well, imagine your pet trying to stand up, turn around or sit down in a kennel that's too small for him. The best way to select the perfect kennel size for your pup is to measure him from the top of his head to the floor, then from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail. The height of the kennel should be 3-4 inches taller and longer than your pet so there's ample space to fully stand up, easily turn around and comfortably lie all the way down! Too small and your pet will be uncomfortable; too large and your pet might attempt to use the bathroom in his space.

Kennels & Crates 101

Learn how to properly train your pet to comfortably enjoy his kennel or crate. Have you always been unsure about how a kennel or crate is used or even what size is right for your pet? This educational video first teaches you how to size your pet and then how to acclimate your dog properly to a kennel environment. It then touches on a wide variety of everyday uses such as behavioral training, denning, travel and even house training. Most dogs have a strong natural denning instinct and they will feel more secure and content with a special place to call their own.

Visit Misty Pines and speak with our staff about purchasing the perfect size kennel for your dog. For questions about acclimating your dog to a kennel and best practices for usage, ask to speak with one of our trainers.

Product Spotlight


Exercise and feed your dog with the fully adjustable, wobbling Bob-A-Lot. Prolong release interactive food dispensing devices help keep pets mentally engaged in an activity they enjoy. They help foster natural hunting and foraging behaviors, and help prevent destructive boredom behaviors. This item can be used with treats, or with portions from your dog's regular meal to turn mealtime into playtime.

    Key Benefits
  • Holds variety of treats & kibble - easy-to-fill, easy-to clean dual chambers allow you to fill with treats or kibble.
  • Easily customize difficulty Level - adjust opening to control release of treats. Bobs and tilts on weighted, anti-slip base.
  • Provides hours of mentally stimulating, challenging play - puzzle releases treats as your dog paws, nudges and chases.
  • Can be used with treats, or with portions from your dog's regular meal to turn mealtime into playtime.
  • Helps foster natural hunting and foraging behaviors, and help prevent destructive boredom behaviors.

Misty Pines has small and large size Bob-A-Lots available for purchase. Get one today and provide the mental stimulation your dog craves!


CGC/TDI/Service Dog/Public Access Prep Class

Saturday, January 7th @ 8:00 AM

Toy Breed Class

Saturday, January 7th @ 11:15 AM


Saturday, January 14th @ 8:00 AM

Treadmill 101

Saturday, January 14th @ 11:15 AM

CGC/TDI/Service Dog/Public Access Prep Class

Saturday, January 21st @ 8:00 AM

Treadmill 102

Saturday, January 21st @ 11:15 AM


Saturday, January 28th @ 8:00 AM

Scent Work 101

Saturday, January 28th @ 11:15 AM


CGC/TDI/Service Dog/Public Access Prep Class

Saturday, February 4th @ 8:00 AM

Toy Breed Class

Saturday, February 4th @ 11:15 AM


Friday, February 10th Tests begin @ 5:30 PM


Saturday, February 11th @ 8:00 AM

Scent Work 102

Saturday, February 11th @ 11:15 AM

CGC/TDI/Service Dog/Public Access Prep Class

Saturday, February 18th @ 8:00 AM

Clicker 101

Saturday, February 18th @ 11:15 AM


Saturday, February 25th @ 8:00 AM

Clicker 102

Saturday, February 25th @ 11:15 AM

Weight Control For Optimal Health

By Dr. Jean Dodds

Pet Obesity: A National Epidemic

In 2012, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 52.5% of dogs are overweight or obese. Also in 2012, Banfield Pet Hospital demonstrated a link between pet obesity and illness. The report analyzed data from > 2 million dogs, finding:

  • 42% of diabetic, 40% of arthritic, and 61% of hypothyroid dogs are overweight.
  • > 40% of dogs with high blood pressure are overweight.
  • Overweight dogs are at increased risk for numerous diseases and live an average 2 years less than those of ideal weight.
    Obesity is an Increased Risk for:
  • Cardiorespiratory diseases, airway obstruction in brachycephalic breeds, and laryngeal paralysis.
  • Endocrine disorders, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) and hypothyroidism.
  • Functional alterations, like decreased respiratory capacity, exercise intolerance, heat intolerance/stroke and decreased immune functions.
  • Metabolic abnormalities, like hyperlipidemia and dyslipidemia.
  • Neoplasia, including transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.
  • Orthopedic disorders, like osteoarthritis, anterior cruciate ligament rupture and intervertebral disk disease.
  • Urogenital system conditions, including transitional cell carcinoma of bladder.

Human Obesity = Pet Obesity

A parallel exists between the spike in obesity in people and companion animals. This relates to their similar environmental and lifestyle changes. Calorie restriction lengthens lifespan by increasing the dietary activators of proteins that regulate metabolism and lifespan, such as resveratrol and other polyphenols (green and black tea, grape seed extract).

Chronic Inflammation and Weight Gain

Acute inflammation serves a purpose, whereas chronic inflammation leads to a variety of diseases. Thus, we need to screen overweight pets for possible underlying health conditions that could be at fault. Since inflammation generates obesity, a key step in achieving weight loss is to feed fat-fighting anti-inflammatory foods, while removing pro-inflammatory foods. Remember that food intolerances/sensitivities can lead to weight gain as they cause inflammation.

The Body Condition Score (BCS)

All pet caregivers should regularly examine their dogs every 2-4 weeks.

  • Observe the dog from the side and above.
  • Palpate shoulder blades, spine, ribs, hips and belly to feel the amount of overlying fat.
  • BCS is based on either a 5-point or 9-point scale; the middle number (3 out of 5 or 5 out of 9) reflects optimal body condition (15-25% body fat).
  • Lower numbers reflect degrees of “under-condition”; higher numbers reflect degrees of “over-condition”.
  • A score of 5 of 5 or 9 of 9 indicates > 35% body fat, which means an obese dog.

Signs of Obesity

Obvious signs of being overweight are: large body relative to the legs; excess fat around neck and underside of belly; round appearance, especially when viewed from above; decreased activity level; difficulty rising or climbing stairs; and excessive panting during activity.

Functional Foods to Reduce Fat

  • Fat-fighting functional foods include high quality, bioavailable and novel proteins; virgin coconut oil; omega-3 fatty acids from fish or plant-based oils; L-carnitine; white kidney bean extract, and the antiangiogenic foods that starve cancer cells (e.g. apples, artichokes, berries but not strawberries, cherries, ginseng, kale, parsley, medicinal mushrooms, pumpkin, and turmeric).
  • Commercial weight-loss foods are less than ideal. They typically contain unhealthy carbohydrates, pro-inflammatory ingredients and insufficient high quality animal protein.
  • Opt instead for fresh, wholesome foods to promote healthy gene expression, maintain lean body mass, and optimum health.
  • Shedding extra pounds will reduce weight-related inflammation, and avoid chronic disease.

Spaying/Neutering & Obesity

A recent study found that after gonadectomy dogs are more likely to become overweight in the next 2 years, as compared with sexually intact dogs. But, no difference was seen between males and females, and the increased risk was not influenced by the dog’s age at the time.

Feeding for Weight Loss

Weight loss of 3-5% of body weight per month is safe.

Feed 100% of the Resting Energy Requirements (RER) = daily amount of kcals the body needs to perform resting and basic metabolic functions.

Formula to calculate RER in animals weighing 2-45 kg (5-99 pounds):
Step 1: Determine ideal weight in kilograms (kg)
Step 2: Determine RER based on this ideal weight

RER (kcal/day) = 30 x (ideal body weight in kg) + 70.

Once at ideal weight, the amount to feed to maintain that weight = Maintenance Energy Requirement (MER).

    To calculate MER, use daily activity energy requirements
  • Weight loss 1.0 x RER
  • Neutered adult, normal activity 1.6 x RER
  • Intact adult normal activity 1.8 x RER
  • Light work or play 2.0 x RER
  • Moderate work or play 3.0 x RER
  • Heavy work or play (e.g., agility dog) 4 to 8 x RER
  • Pregnant dog (first 42 days) 1.8 x RER
  • Pregnant dog (last 21 days) 3.0 x RER
  • Lactating dam 4 to 8 x RER
  • Puppy, weaning to 4 months 3.0 x RER
  • Puppy, 4 months to adult size 2.0 x RER
  • Geriatric dog 1.4 x RER

Dogs are more individualized than people for determining the daily MER. Many factors affect MER, including breed, age, health status, lifestyle and even thickness of coat.

Special Considerations for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs are naturally at the opposite end of the activity spectrum from puppies. Like adults, senior dogs are in a maintenance phase; however, they are generally less active and have slower metabolisms. To avoid excess weight gain, their energy intake should be adjusted to match their activity level. While each senior dog is unique, a dog’s energy needs generally decline as he ages. Dogs older than 8 years consume about 18% fewer calories than dogs under 6 years of the same breed type.

Functional foods for senior dogs

Older dogs have a decreased ability to fight disease, creating the potential for health problems ranging from infections to cancer. For example, genetic differences have been identified that determine which geriatric dogs will get kidney disease and which ones will remain healthy.

In addition to the fat -fighting functional foods listed above, recommended foods for seniors are: bananas; beans; beets; fish (low mercury, sardines); pomegranates; raw honey (not pasteurized; and yogurt (from goat or sheep’s milk).

* Excerpted from: Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health. W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana R. Laverdure, 2015; DogWise, Wenatchee, WA. 315 pp.

We carry Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul Weight Management food with only 301kcal/cup to help get your dog to the proper weight. Once at the ideal weight; speak with our staff to help you find the correct food to help your dog maintain a healthy weight for their lifestyle. As stated above, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will extend their lives and provide a higher quality of life as well.

To help burn calories your dog may require more exercise. If that is the case but you're unable to provide more exercise for your dog, bring your dog to Misty Pines for Daycare and your dog can play with other dogs and be active while you're at work. We have activities such as treadmill and running agility obstacles that will help keep your dog fit and trim.

"But it's cold outside right now. Isn't your daycare all outside?"

Yes, our Daycare is outside but we have heated, indoor kennel space available as well. If your dog is short coated or just doesn't like the cold we can let him play for a while and give frequent breaks to come in and warm up. Some dogs, such as huskies and newfies love to lay outside in the cold. This is their time of year! Remember; Daycare is "Care for the Day" and we do have indoor activities.

We also have Treadmill 101 and 102 classes on Saturdays, January 14th and 21st, respectively. While exercise is beneficial to dogs’ physical well-being, it also has excellent psychological effects both calming and mood stabilizing.

101 Class - Learn how to teach your dog the treadmill to help keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

102 Class - More advanced commands, programs and regimens. Recommended for those that took 101 Class and for those whose dogs can already use a treadmill but would like their dog to perform better.

Click here for more information about the benefits of canine treadmill training.

Registration online, by phone or e-mail required to attend class.

Stick to the resolutions this year, let Misty Pines help you get your dog healthy and keep him healthy.

Crate Training: Your Dog's Need for a Special Place

Give your dog a time and place for him. Scruffy needs a den, a place of his own, a place to relax and get away from it all. While your puppy will make his own use of a crate to recharge his batteries, you will use it as well: to housebreak your puppy, to prevent him from chewing your things, to settle and keep him safe and out of trouble.

Canis lupus (the wolf) fulfills his need for a safe place with a den. It is canine instinct that drives wolves to make a den. Canis familiaris (the domestic dog) has this same need for a safe place and you can provide it for him in the form of a crate. A crate is your puppy’s cozy, private get-away room. It is his safe place.

Some people think, “How cruel! I can’t put my baby in prison!” That is fine, but consider that many dogs lose their lives every year because they are never reliably housebroken, or they damage wooden baseboards, doors and trim or they chew and soil upholstery. These problem situations (and many other differences of opinion between you and Scruffy) can be resolved by using a crate appropriately. Crate training is a natural solution. Compare crating Scruffy to a human going to the bedroom to relax and sleep.

In addition, a crate-trained dog is a better traveler than a dog that is not cratetrained because he has his home away from home, his crate. A crate-trained dog can be at ease away from his owner because he has his safe place, his crate. Crate-trained dogs are often all-around easier to train because crate training enables you to limit your dog’s territory, thus reinforcing the fact that you are in a higher position in the family pack than he is because you have free run of the house. A properly crated trained dog creates a much calmer dog and generally a better all around dog in life.

Owners should be careful permitting their dogs to sleep in bed with them. Dogs should only be allowed in bed when invited and should leave the bed immediately when asked to do so. The owner should control this resource. This often creates dominance, and forms ambiguous relationships between canines and humans. When some dogs are permitted to sleep on human beds or even furniture, this act elevates them socially and ranks them higher in the human/dog pack relationship. This may lead to potential behavior problems in our dogs. Dogs give humans tremendous therapeutic value in our lives, especially by loving and petting them; however we need to be careful how our dogs perceive our terms of love and affection. They could be defining our loving actions as being very weak and servile in the pack relationship. A dog in bed often creates animosities amongst other dogs in the family. This creation of our dog’s attitudes in regard to the pack relationship is what leads and influences quite often, dominance aggression problems. The ideal place for our dogs to sleep is on their own dog beds on the floor and intermittently throughout their lives in their crate. This sleeping arrangement helps form a clear, defined optimal relationship. Like our human children, it is OK to snuggle with them and comfort them when they are young, however we do not permit them to do so as they become older because it may lead to potential behavior problems, as so with our dogs.

Selecting a Crate

Your puppy’s crate should be large enough for him to stand, turn around and lay down in comfortably. Sizing is important. Be sure to take into consideration the expected adult size of your puppy’s breed. You may need to buy a crate divider for the early months of your puppy’s training. Housebreaking with a crate works on the principle that the puppy will not soil his den. A crate that is too large could provide plenty of space for your puppy to relieve himself on one end and sleep comfortably on the other end.

There are many good crate manufacturers, but there are just two basic types: molded plastic and wire. Each type has its advantages. The molded plastic crate has advantages for fulfilling the “denning instinct” because it is more secure. In addition, if you see airline travel in Scruffy’s future, molded plastic is required by most airlines. The advantage of a wire crate is that it can be folded for storage and it allows for better airflow. A wire crate can be covered to increase your dog’s feeling of security, and decrease visual stimulation.

Crate Training Your Dog or Puppy

You and your dog or puppy will have a better experience with the crate if you keep these tips in mind:

  1. Make sure the children understand that the crate is for dogs only. Your pup or dog needs to know that the crate is a safe place he can go to relax.
  2. Start crating your new dog or puppy before he has a chance to get started with mischievous behaviors.
  3. Your puppy or adult dog’s main living area should be the house. Not the cellar or garage! Your bedroom would be the best place for the crate in the beginning. When the pup sleeps through the night, you could move the crate to another place in the house. Get down on the floor before placing a crate to make sure the crate is not in direct sunlight (during any time of the day) or in a drafty area.
  4. Encourage Scruffy to investigate the crate by placing his toys or a treat inside. Use a verbal command such as Crate or Kennel, and give him a treat for entering the crate. Have several lessons on crating during the first few hours that you have Scruffy. Do not close the crate door until Scruffy enters the crate willingly and is relaxed while inside.
  5. When Scruffy is comfortable, close and latch the door and leave the room for one minute. Return, and praise and release Scruffy from the crate. Repeat the process for gradually longer and longer periods of time. Remember that training during the day will eliminate training at night when you would rather be sleeping!
  6. Your dog may whimper and complain when he is first crated. Never let a dog or puppy out when he is whining or barking. This will only make the problems worse because he will learn that you let him out when he protests. You will be reinforcing the protesting behavior. Most dogs and puppies that are not released when they bark or whine accept the crate in a short time.
  7. If needed, occupy your dog during the first few minutes in the crate, when dogs tend to protest most, with a heavy rubber toy, a bone or some other indestructible item for chewing.
  8. Even if things do not go smoothly at first, do not give up and give in! You are doing Scruffy a favor by keeping him safe while you are not around to supervise. Avoid the common mistake of novice puppy owners by giving Scruffy too much freedom too soon.

The Dog’s Sense of Smell

Courtesy of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities


Olfaction, the act or process of smelling, is a dog’s primary special sense. A dog’s sense of smell is said to be a thousand times more sensitive than that of humans. In fact, a dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have only 5 million. Because of this keen sense of smell, dogs are able to locate everything from forensic cadaver material to disaster survivors as demonstrated during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.


A dog’s nose consists of a pair of nostrils (nares) for inhaling air and odors and a nasal cavity. The olfactory receptor cells in a dog’s nose extend throughout the entire layer of specialized olfactory epithelium found on the ethmo-turbinate bones of the nasal cavity. The olfactory portion of the nasal mucous membrane contains a rich supply of olfactory nerves that ultimately connect with the highly developed olfactory lobe in the dog’s brain.

Dogs possess an additional olfactory chamber called the vomeronasal organ that also contains olfactory epithelium. The vomeronasal organ, known as Jacobson’s organ, consists of a pair of elongated, fluid-filled sacs that open into either the mouth or the nose. It is located above the roof of the mouth and behind the upper incisors.

Interestingly, the olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity are anatomically distinct from those in the vomeronasal organ. Each receptor neuron (nerve cell) in the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity has a dendrite that ends in a knob with several thin cilia covered by mucus. Receptor neurons in the vomeronasal organ typically lack cilia but have microvilli on the cell surface.


A dog’s nose is normally cool and moist. The moisture secreted by mucous glands in the nasal cavity captures and dissolves molecules in the air and brings them into contact with the specialized olfactory epithelium inside the nose.

Dogs use sniffing to maximize detection of odors. The sniff is actually a disruption of the normal breathing pattern. Sniffing is accomplished through a series of rapid, short inhalations and exhalations. A bony subethmoidal shelf, which is found below the ethmo-turbinate bones of the nasal cavity, forces inhaled air into the olfactory epithelium. Washing out of the region upon exhalation does not occur due to the nasal pocket created by the bony subethmoidal shelf. The nasal pocket permits the odor molecules that are unrecognizable in a single sniff to accumulate and interact with olfactory receptors. Odor molecules in the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity are absorbed into the mucous layer and diffuse to the cilia of receptor neurons. This interaction generates nerve impulses that are transmitted by the olfactory nerves to the dog’s brain, which has a well-developed olfactory lobe. This allows the dog to recognize a scent and follow a trail.

Olfactory receptor cells in the vomeronasal organ also send impulses to the region of the hypothalamus associated with sexual and social behaviors. This organ is believed to be important in the detection of pheromones (body scents). This theory could account for the dog’s ability to identify and recognize other animals and people.


Today, people use a dog’s keen sense of smell in many ways. Federal, state, and local government agencies employ specially trained dogs in search and rescue missions and in the detection of narcotics and contraband agriculture products. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has national dog-handler teams that respond to disasters worldwide. State and local law enforcement agencies in the United States (U.S.) have canine units trained to detect drugs and search for lost individuals, homicide victims, and forensic cadaver materials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has more than 800 canine teams that work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to combat terrorist threats, stop the flow of illegal narcotics, and detect unreported currency, concealed humans, or smuggled agriculture products. Its Canine Enforcement Program (CEP) uses a variety of dogs including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and many mixed breeds.

The CEP uses beagles to detect agriculture contraband. The passively trained Beagle Brigade dogs detect prohibited fruits, plants, and meats in baggage and vehicles of international travelers as they go through Federal Inspection Service areas. Beagle Brigade teams work at several major border-crossing stations in the United States as well as many international airports that are ports of entry into this country.

Medical tests have shown that specially trained dogs are capable of detecting certain types of tumors in humans.

Not many family dogs will be used for bomb detection, competition or tracking work, but every family dog can learn to play Hide N Seek and find objects hidden around the house. These games can be used to help provide mental stimulation for your dog and provide a job to keep him active.

If you are interested in learning how to start your dog on scent work, register for our Scent Work 101 class on January 28th and Scent Work 102 class on February 11th. Each dog and handler team will learn the basics of teaching odor detection and how to apply those principles to life situations and fun games for the family.

Original pdf document available here.

Therapy Dog Visits

Locations To Visit

Once your dog has passed their Therapy Dog International certification, it's time for the fun to begin. Read below for a list of places that are always looking for registered therapy dogs to brighten the day of the patients and residents:

Interroom Hospice
Contact: Barbara Hammil - 412-371-3726.

Washinton-Greene Alternative Residential Services
Contact: Valerie Loughman - 724-228-7716.

Community Options
Contact: Jessica Kubas - 412-431-7079.

Heritage Hospice
Contact: Erica Kinkade - 724-334-6600.

Contact: Bethanne Petrylak - 570-579-8700.

Contact: Tina - 412-477-0901.

Cranberry Township Library
Dog reading program. Looking for 3-4 dogs, the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Contact: Annemarie Lamperski.

Baden Memorial Library
Dog reading program. Need volunteer for 2 Thursdays per month from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
and 1 Saturday per month for 1 1/2 hours.
Contact: Kathleen Wagner

Gateway Hospice
Contact: Sr. Linda Larkman OSB, Volunteer Coordinator - 412-737-0969

West Haven Manor
Contact: Karen Zimmerman, Coordinator of Volunteer Services - 724-727-3451

North Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center
Contact: Teri A. Slimick - 724-935-3781

McGuire Memorial
Contact: Susan Matlock - 724-843-3400

Excela Health Home Care and Hospice (Westmoreland County)
Contact: Joan Roth, Volunteer Coordinator - 724-689-1653

Family Hospice Palliative Care
Contact: Pam Tomczak - 412-572-8803

Western Pa. Humane Society coordinates visits to multiple locations in the community with volunteers who have Certified Therapy Dogs.
Contact: Joy Kealey.

Odyssey Health Care
Cliff Mine Rd., Pittsburgh
Contact: Barbara Coulter - 1-800-861-8584

Condordia of Franklin Park
Contact: Carol Kosela - 724-935-1075 ext. 103

VA Hospitals in Pittsburgh
Activities Director - 412-688-6000 ext. 3682

Country Meadows (South Hills)
Activities Director - 412-257-4566

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Volunteer Coordinator - 412-690-6508

Animal Friends coordinates a Pet Assisted Therapy program that visits multiple locations.
To join their therapy group or request visits contact Ann Cadman - 412-847-7031.

Allegheny General Hospital
Jennifer Kopar - 412-359-3067

Tail Waggin Tutors at Baden Library
Laura Bain - 724-869-3960

Heartland Hospice
Barb Kralik, Volunteer Coordinator - 412-919-5617

Caring Hospice Services
Brittany Bailey, Volunteer Coordinator - 412-563-3300

Concordia of Wexford
Michelle Moon - 724-935-1266

Passavant Memorial Homes and Subsidiaries
Colleen Perry, Social Services Coordinator - 412-820-1015 ext. 521

Services & Teams

If you would like to have Therapy Dogs visit your facility, please contact one of the following Therapy Dog Teams or contact Misty Pines to have your facility listed in the above section so that our teams may contact you. Click the link below for teams that are interested in visiting those in need of therapeutic visits from their furry friends:

Pets With Heart, Pet Therapy
Sister Sharon Costello: 724-869-6545

Western Pa. Humane Society coordinates visits to multiple locations in the community with volunteers who have Certified Therapy Dogs.
Contact: Joy Kealey.

Animal Friends coordinates a Pet Assisted Therapy program that visits multiple locations.
To join their therapy group or request visits contact Ann Cadman - (412) 847-7031.

"The golden gift is this: Intimately connected with his own emotions, the dog cannot lie. What he feels, he expresses. What he shows in his body posture is true, without guile, completely and utterly honest. Distanced from our own feelings, bound by our fears, we treasure and are amazed by this quality of complete truth in our dogs."

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