WO Design Review, Dog Collars and Dog Toys

WO Design Review, Dog Collars and Dog Toys

What if you bought your dog a new toy or collar AND helped feed orphans at the same time?

WO Design sells products for pets and people to help fund nutritional aid for widows and orphans in Ethiopia. (The WO in its name stands for widows and orphans.)

For each dog collar or dog toy purchased, WO Design provides two homecooked meals for widows and orphans in Ethiopia.

This post is sponsored by WO Design.

Use code thatmutt2017 for 20% off your entire order with WO Design (expires Friday March 31). Click here.

WO Design review—dog collar and disc toy

WO Design review - dog collars and dog toys

My thoughts on WO Design:

My dog Baxter got to try out a WO Design collar and the WO Design disc toy.

The WO|Collar is a brightly coloured, adjustable, fabric dog collar with a plastic buckle. It comes in sizes small, medium and large. The collar is brightly coloured, in blue, green, cranberry, black and yellow—the colours of the Ethiopian flag. It is made by Pride Bites.

WO Design dog collar

I love the bright colours on this collar. The first day Baxter was wearing it, we went hiking at a local park and a woman remarked right away on his beautiful collar.

I will say that we are using this more as a fashion collar than a functional one. I’m a bit hesitant about the strength of the plastic buckle, so we’re sticking with our regular martingale collar for our walks and tie out.

WO Design dog disc toy

The WO|Disc is a throw and tug toy. It is soft, flexible and light rubber—and completely recyclable. It is 8 inches in diameter and comes in four colours: blue, green, cranberry or yellow.

The disc is a fun variation on our usual sticks and rope. It doesn’t sail quite as far as a Frisbee, but it’s light and easy to throw.

I like that the soft rubber is gentle for Baxter’s mouth.

We didn’t put it to the test with a vigorous game of tug, but WO promises that it’s durable and “designed for active dogs.”

What is the cost of WO|Collar and WO|Disc?

Use code thatmutt2017 for 20% off your order from WO Design. ORDER HERE.

The WO|Collar costs $19.99, and the WO|Disc is $16.

For each product purchased, WO Design provides at least two homecooked meals for widows and orphans in Ethiopia.

What’s unique about WO Design?

The charitable aspect of WO’s business is a unique feature of their company.

The company’s commitment to the cause of women and orphans in Ethiopia is obvious through their website and their packaging—and even the colours of the WO|Collar.

Pros of WO Design:

  • Buying from WO Design means you’re part of helping women and orphans in Ethiopia.
  • The WO|Collar is colourful and stylish.
  • The collar can easily be adjusted to fit your dog’s neck.
  • The spoke design of the WO|Disc makes it easy for you to throw and for your dog to carry. It’s also easy to grab.
  • The bright colours of the WO|Disc mean it’s easy to spot if it gets left on the lawn—or tossed to the middle of the lake (it floats).

WO Design review - dog disc toy

Cons:

  • I question the sturdiness of the plastic buckle on the collar. If you have a large dog who likes to pull, the WO|Collar may not be the best choice for you.
  • The collar is fabric, which means it may absorb odors and dirt more easily.
  • When laying flat on the ground, the WO|Disc was a bit hard for Baxter to pick up—similar to a Frisbee.

Would I buy the WO|Collar or WO|Disc?

I like the company’s mission, but these two products are not a fit for my particular dog. My concerns about the sturdiness of the collar mean I’ll be sticking with my martingale. As for the disc, I don’t have a high-energy, playful dog. When he does want to play, Baxter is happiest chasing a stick.

Would I recommend WO Design to others?

I am happy to recommend WO Design. Their mission is commendable, and buying their products is a good way to support this cause. The WO|Collar would be a fit for smaller dogs or dogs that don’t pull—or if you’re looking for a colourful, stylish collar.

For dogs that enjoy Frisbees, the WO|Disc could be a good alternative toy to try.

WO Design coupon code

WO Design created a unique coupon code for readers of That Mutt. Use code thatmutt2017 for 20% off your order with WO Design. Click here.

*Code expires Sat. March 31.

WO Design review - dog collars and dog toys

Would you like a new collar or toy for your dog?

Let us know if you have any questions about the products. We’ll get them answered for you!

Is It Cruel to Crate an Adult Dog?

I’m a fan of using a kennel/crate for puppies.

A crate helps with potty training, teaching manners, keeping the puppy safe and giving the owner a break.

But what about crating an adult dog?

Is it cruel to crate an adult dog?

No, it’s not cruel.

In general, it’s completely fine if you want to leave your well-behaved adult dog in a crate when you’re not home.

But of course, it depends on the dog.

I can understand why using a crate is helpful for some adult dogs:

1. Some dogs appreciate the crate routine when they’re home alone. It’s what they’re used to. It helps them feel calm and secure. They become anxious without the crate.

2. Some dogs will always get into things on occasion such as the trash, food on the counter or whatever it might be. Crating the dog removes those opportunities.

3. Some dogs bark out the windows or scratch at the doors and windows on occasion. Crating them removes those opportunities.

Is it cruel to crate an adult dog?

4. The majority of dogs sleep the whole time their owners are gone anyway. It’s simply not a big deal to crate them.

5. If you have multiple dogs, sometimes it’s safer to crate one or both dogs while you’re away to prevent fights or other mischief.

6. Some people have enough stress in their day with work or kids or whatever. Crating the dog removes the added stress of worrying about what the dog might be doing. Totally worth it.

7. Finally, most dogs don’t really mind their crates if they’ve been crate trained. They’re dogs. They adapt to whatever we decide for them.

I prefer to leave my dogs loose … once they’ve earned it

I view the crate as a tool to help a dog earn future freedom.

I have a 10-year-old Lab mix named Ace and an 11-month old weimaraner named Remy. You can probably guess that Ace is left loose and Remy is crated when they’re home alone.

I used a kennel with Ace until he was about 18 months old. The kennel helped him learn the proper routine of relaxing when home alone vs. getting into things.

Ideally, I’ll be able to leave Remy loose at some point too, but we’re nowhere near that point yet! In the meantime, I do not feel one bit guilty about using a crate for him.

How to make the crate more enjoyable

Kong toys

To help make the crate more enjoyable for Remy, I often give him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or other treats when he’s in his crate. If I’m going to be gone awhile, I make two of these and freeze them beforehand so they last longer.

Plenty of exercise beforehand

I also make sure he gets a lot of exercise, play, interaction and training every day. If he’s going to be left alone for several hours, then I make sure to exercise him before I leave and again when I get home.

What do you think?

Do you crate your adult dog?

Remy the weimaraner in his kennel

*This post contains affiliate links.

Related posts:

How to stop a dog from peeing in her crate

Dog kennel training

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Gentle Leader vs. Prong Collar vs. Easy Walk Harness

There’s no training collar that works best for every dog, and that’s what I’m getting at with this post.

Heck, there’s not even a collar that works best for one dog in all situations!

Walking my dog downtown while carrying a coffee and shopping bags is way different than walking him in a quiet nature preserve, for example.

So in this post, I’m explaining what I like and don’t like about the three tools I’ve used while walking my 13-month-old weimaraner pup Remy:

Gentle Leader vs prong collar vs Easy Walk harness

Prong collar vs. Easy Walk harness

Which one is best?

In case you haven’t figured it out, no tool is perfect.

Truth is, my puppy pulls no matter what and it’s a work in progress, always.

Limiting a dog’s pulling takes time. It’s really about patience, training, consistency and finding whatever tool helps you MANGAGE your dog while keeping everyone safe.

I can only tell you which collars are best for my particular dogs.

So which collar is best for Remy?

I actually like the Gentle Leader best for the largest variety of dogs (I’m a dog walker and rescue volunteer).

That being said, the Gentle Leader is the worst of the three tools for Remy. For him, it’s a tie between the prong collar and the Easy Walk harness. I haven’t decided which is best so I rotate between them depending on what we’re doing. See below.

The Gentle Leader

I love the Gentle Leader but it does not work well for my dog Remy.

The Gentle Leader fits over the dog’s muzzle (similar to a horse halter). When the dog pulls, the collar is designed to gently pull the dog’s muzzle and head to the side.

IMG_20160621_142202_904-compressor

Gentle LeaderThe Gentle Leader works so well for a lot of dogs and it’s my top recommendation. I’ve used it on probably 100 dogs by now.

However, it’s not so good for Remy.

Remy closes his mouth (avoids panting), puts his head low and to the side and pulls HARD against it the entire walk. This causes the fabric to rub under his eyes, making the skin raw and his eyes bug out. It hurts him. And after a half-hour he’s nearly having a heat stroke from not panting.

When we pass people, he paws at his muzzle frantically and stands on his hind legs causing people to stop and other dogs to react.

It frustrates and embarrasses me, and Remy is also frustrated.

So, not a good fit.

I keep trying it hoping it will get better, but it’s usually pretty frustrating.

The prong collar

A prong collar is a chain collar with flat “prongs” around it that put gentle pressure on the dog’s neck when he pulls. The prong collar is limited in how far it can tighten. (It’s a martingale collar.)

prong collar vs. Easy Walk harness

People really tend to panic when I even mention the word prong collar, leaving my blog in a huff. (So, please don’t do that.)

So I have to ask, do people think prong collars are “spiked” or sharp on the ends? Because they’re FLAT.

I switched Remy to the prong collar when he was 5 months old, so we’ve been using it on and off for about 8 months.

It’s like night and day.

He’s so much happier with it and he no longer “bucks” or paws at his face. I have the most control over him than any other tool, and it’s important to have control over a boisterous, adolescent weimaraner. He’s only going to get larger and stronger.

But the prong collar is not perfect.

Remy still pulls while wearing it, and I don’t like that there’s almost constant pressure on his neck.

So that’s why I tried the Easy Walk harness …

Easy Walk no-pull harness

The Easy Walk harness is a nylon harness that limits the effects of a dog’s pulling because the leash clips to the chest and tightens the harness around the dog’s chest and shoulders when he pulls. It gently pulls him to the side and makes pulling uncomfortable.

I bought a large, so Remy’s was still a little loose on him in these pictures, but not for long!

Easy walk harness vs prong collar

The Easy Walk harness seems to work pretty well for Remy. I like that it takes all the pressure off his neck. (Although, it does rub his skin raw under his arms. Sigh.)

Easy Walk no-pull harnessHe still pulls while wearing it (of course), but it does make our walks more enjoyable and he seems happier too. The Easy Walk harness is more effective with Remy than I expected. There’s a reason you see so many people using them. They work!

My main problem with the harness is it still allows Remy the freedom to jump on people. He’s able to really LAUNCH HIMSELF at people while wearing it. Like, it seems to help him get AIR! Have you ever seen anything like it? Ha!

The prong collar works better for controlling him when he tries to jump.

Because of this, I tend to use the prong collar when I’m walking both my dogs together by myself because it gives me more control. On my longer strolls and hikes with Remy by himself, I tend to use the harness.

Let’s face it, the harness also give me a chance to sort of “check out” from training while still keeping my dog fairly controlled as long as no people are around. This is something we all need at times, adding to the popularity of this harness.

So what’s the verdict?

Well, I use the Gentle Leader for my Lab mix Ace. It works the best for him.

For Remy, I rotate between the prong collar and the Easy Walk harness AND the Gentle Leader. They all work … sort of.

There is no tool that works best for every dog in every situation!

I use three tools every day between my two dogs.

For quick potty breaks in our apartment, the prong collar works best for Remy because I can keep him under control around other dogs. I can stop him from jumping and wiggling around.

For longer walks around the neighborhood or hiking, the Easy Walk harness is best because if Remy’s going to be pulling it takes the pressure of his neck.

And for the walks where I take both dogs by myself, I prefer to have Remy on the prong collar.

It is challenging to wrangle two large dogs, pick up poop, carry the poop bags and maneuver around other residents.

It’s the worst when I’m obviously picking up poop and someone barges over with her dogs. “CAN WE SAY HI!”

Um … hi? No?

But still, I need to be able to control my dogs even if other people are being idiots. So, prong collar it is at times. Please don’t hate me.

No collar is perfect. No dog is perfect. I’m certainly not perfect!

What tool do you currently use the most for walking your dog?

Do you have any comments to add about any of these collars?

Let me know in the comments!

How Far Can I Walk My Puppy at 8 Weeks? 12 Weeks? 4 Months?

How far can I walk my puppy?

A slow 20-minute “stroll” once or twice a day is a good rule of thumb for most puppies. Read on for my longer answer.

There’s a lot of fear right now about walking a puppy or young dog too far and potentially damaging the pup’s developing joints. While it’s good to be cautious, this is too often taken to the extreme.

Before you read on, you should know that I have been a professional dog runner since 2008 and I train for marathons. My general approach to dog training is a tired dog is a good dog.

I lean towards exercising all dogs (including puppies and seniors) as much as I can within reason. I tend to exercise dogs in general more than the average person would be comfortable doing.

Why it’s good to be cautious when walking a puppy

The reason it’s good to be cautious when exercising a puppy is because a puppy’s growth plates don’t close until they are around 12 months old (it varies quite a bit, depending on breed), and some vets say puppies that experience heavier exercise are more likely to develop joint issues at some point.

It’s good to lean on the side of caution and not overdo it with a puppy’s exercise.

However, it’s also important to consider:

1. Puppies that get out for walks are getting socialized.

2. Slow, steady walking helps build strong muscles.

3. Sitting in a kennel/crate all day is not healthy for a pup’s developing joints either!

4. Puppies that get more exercise are generally better behaved & easier to train.

5. Many of the young dogs in shelters are there for behavioral problems related to poor socialization and too much energy.

6. Genetics and other factors like early spaying/neutering play a strong role in a dog’s likelihood of developing joint issues.

How far can I walk my puppy at 8 weeks

How much exercise is too much and what kind of exercise is safe?

The math equation: Multiply 5 by your pup’s age in months

I’m sure by now you’ve come across “the math equation” about multiplying your puppy’s age in months by 5 to get some magic number. So, 10 minutes of walking for an 8-week old puppy. 15 minutes for a 12-week-old puppy, etc.

There’s no way I’m following that!

I have a weimaraner puppy, and this dog would be at the humane society by now if I had to follow that equation.

How far can I walk my puppy? Each puppy is unique!

I am comfortable walking my puppy Remy for about 35 minutes at least once a day. Ideally twice. (And let’s just say he’s not at all tired after this.)

In addition to that, Remy should ideally be getting the opportunity to run and play at his own pace off leash for 20 minutes or so each day.

I’ve talked with my puppy’s vet and my puppy’s breeder and this is what works for us. It doesn’t mean it’s right for your puppy. I’ve received some unkind emails warning me I’m doing everything wrong. 🙁

Weimaraner puppy Remy with his tennis ball

My puppy is bred for endurance!

Remy’s parents and grandparents are working, competitive bird dogs.

There’s no way I could live with a working weimaraner if I could only walk him 20 minutes a day.

For me, keeping Remy’s walks to 35 minutes or so (around 1.6 miles for us) is my way of limiting his exercise.

Despite what some people think, I am actually worried about my puppy’s joints and that’s why I limit his exercise to 35-minute walks or so.

I don’t run with my puppy, and I don’t encourage him to jump on or off obstacles.

How far should you walk your puppy?

A slow, 20-minute stroll should be safe for most puppies 8 weeks or older. By that I mean you’re letting the puppy set the pace. You’re stopping and letting him sniff, etc.

Beyond that, I would discuss it with your puppy’s vet and with your puppy’s breeder (if you have a breeder pup). They are the experts and can give you the best advice. It also doesn’t hurt to talk with more than one vet as veterinarians don’t seem to have a clear consensus on this issue. No one really knows.

What it comes down to is you know your puppy better than anyone else.

I personally lean on the side of providing as much exercise as possible, within reason. But as with everything else in the dog world we all have to make our own decisions.

Me and my puppy Remy walking on the beach

Other factors to consider:

1. Puppy shots. If your puppy is not fully vaccinated, he has a greater risk of catching parvo or other diseases on walks. Another post all together.

2. Breed. Some breeds are more prone to joint issues than others.

3. Genetics. Genetics are a factor for predicting whether or not a pup will develop hip dysplasia/elbow dysplasia. Other factors include weight, overall health, diet, etc.

4. Early spay/neuter. It’s common practice for shelters and rescues to spay and neuter puppies at 8 weeks old. Pups that are spayed or neutered that young are much more likely to tear their ACLs down the road and develop all sorts of health problems. For this reason, Remy will not be neutered until he is closer to a year old.

OK, enough from me! I’d like to hear your take on all of this.

What is your approach to exercising a puppy? How do you find the right balance?

Sign up to receive That Mutt’s training tips & more in my (almost) daily newsletter:

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Are Rawhides Bad For Dogs And Puppies?

Note: Are rawhides bad for dogs? Do your own research, of course. What I give my dog should not determine what you give yours. 

I used to give my dog rawhides of all kinds – those white, knotted rawhides, rawhide chips and those little rawhide sticks.

Ace would chew them all, and he never had any issues.

Rawhides are processed animal skins (typically beef or pork, sometimes buffalo). Obviously they’re not “raw.”

A few years ago I started hearing from other dog owners that rawhides are bad for dogs.

The warnings I received just for mentioning the word rawhide were:

1. Dogs can’t digest rawhides “at all.”

2. Rawhides are made with chemicals.

3. Rawhides are a choking hazard.

4. They “will” cause an intestinal blockage.

So without doing my own research, I stopped buying rawhides for Ace.

To be honest, something even worse happened.

I stopped buying chews for my dog all together because I was afraid everything would harm him! It seems everything comes with a warning these days. Fear is a big marketing tool.

When I do buy chews for Ace today, my list includes:

Obviously no chew or bone is 100 percent safe.

But are rawhides bad for dogs and puppies?

Are rawhides bad for dogs
Since we recently got a second dog, I wanted to re-visit rawhides and make up my own mind.

I decided I’m comfortable adding the right types of rawhides to the mix for both my dogs in moderation.

Rawhides are not the greatest thing in the world, and there are slight risks to feeding rawhides as there are risks to giving any other type of chew or bone.

So let’s re-visit those “warnings” I mentioned and see if there’s any truth to them.

1. Dogs can’t digest rawhides. True or false?

False.

Millions of dogs consume and digest rawhides with no issues. They eat small pieces at a time.

The potential problems occur when a dog swallows large chunks, “knots” or soft, unraveled strips of rawhide. In rare cases, dogs are unable to digest or pass these large chunks.

Safety tip: Choose rawhides that are large for your dog and take them away when they become soft or small enough to swallow.

2. Rawhides are made with chemicals. True or false?

True, some more than others.

There are a lot of articles out there on how rawhides are made. It’s not pretty.

Rawhides are a by-product of the leather industry, so you can only imagine the kinds of chemicals used for preserving and cleaning the hides as they are made and shipped in various areas of the world. Here’s a pretty fair article from the Whole Dog Journal on how rawhides are made.

You can also find rawhides that are made right here in the United States from start to finish and with fewer chemicals.

Brands I trust include:

Tasman’s Natural Pet

Wholesome Hide

Wholesome HIde rawhides

Click here to order Wholesome Hide on Amazon

Safety tip: Don’t buy just any brand. Don’t trust labels that say “all natural” or “made in USA.” Instead, do a lot of research on how the exact product is made start to finish. Ask questions if you can’t find the information. Brands that care will be happy to answer your questions in details.

3. Rawhides are a choking hazard. True or false?

True, although rare.

Any type of chew or bone for dogs can be a choking hazard.

Rawhides have a bad rap because:

A. They get really “gummy” as they soften so it’s easy for a dog to swallow a long strip of rawhide.

B. Some dogs gulp or swallow the knotted ends or large chunks of rawhide. Ace does this!

C. Some people give their dogs rawhides that are too small to begin with.

Safety tips: Choose large rawhides. Avoid rawhides with knotted ends. Take the rawhide away once it gets soft and “gummy.” Take the rawhide away once it is small enough for your dog to swallow. Supervise.

4. Rawhides could cause an intestinal blockage. True or false?

True, although rare.

You will hear stories about dogs that needed surgery to remove a rawhide, but how many millions of dogs chew rawhides with no issues? For me, it’s about knowing your dog, supervising and taking the rawhide away before your dog has a chance to gulp large chunks.

Other types of bones and chews such as antlers or raw beef bones can also cause an intestinal blockage.

Additional concerns with rawhides:

1. A lot of dogs seem to have beef allergies and most rawhides are made with beef. If that’s the case, I recommend rawhide made from buffalo hide.

2. Some owners report rawhides give their dogs upset stomachs due to contamination. This is why it’s so important to research exactly where the rawhide is coming from.

Are rawhides bad for dogs and puppies

No dog bone, toy or chew is 100 percent safe.

Every type of chew out there has likely caused a dog – sometime, somewhere – to choke, get sick or have an intestinal blockage or need emergency surgery.

If you have a favorite “go to” chew for your dog, it’s probably considered “dangerous” by some other dog owner somewhere.

Examples:

  • Antlers are very strong and some dogs could break their teeth over time.
  • Raw beef bones can break or get lodged in a dog’s intestines.
  • Cooked bones you can buy for dogs at pet stores or grocery stores can splinter and cause internal damage.

But dogs should chew SOMETHING!

  • chewing keeps their jaws, teeth and gums healthy
  • it’s something fun for them to do & a stress reliever
  • if we don’t provide them chews, they’ll find something

If you decide to feed rawhides, here are my tips:

1. Know your dog.

All dogs are different, and you know your dog’s chewing style best.

2. Choose the brand wisely.

Research and ask questions! Know exactly how the rawhide was made from start to finish. Find out where the cattle were raised, what tanneries the hides were sent to and in what country. Avoid products that were shipped to or from tanneries in China. Avoid the bleached white rawhides. Ask what chemicals were used for cleaning the hides. Finally, read the ingredients. If you can’t find these details, don’t buy the product.

3. Choose a larger size & supervise!

Throw the rawhide away once it’s small enough or soft enough to swallow.

So those are my thoughts. Let me know yours in the comments!

I plan to give my puppy and my adult dog an occasional rawhide in the future. I’m nervous about all types of chews, but rawhides are one of the options I’m more comfortable with. Like I said, not all rawhides are the same. It’s about finding the best option for your unique pup.

If you’ve fed your dogs rawhides for the last 30 years with no issues, there’s probably no reason to change. If rawhides make you nervous, there are plenty of other options available.

Do you give your dog rawhides? What else do you give your dog for chewing?

*This post contains affiliate links.

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What kinds of chews are best for puppies?

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Why Didn’t You Rescue A Dog?

Why didn’t you rescue?

I didn’t “rescue” because I wanted to get the right dog for my family. After months of research we found the right dog for us through a local breeder.

This has nothing to do with choosing to “buy” vs. “rescue.”

It is about finding the right dog for us and meeting our side of the deal by providing that dog with the best home we can.

Adopting a dog is a wonderful way to go. That’s why I have three “hand me down” pets already.

There are likely dozens of “rescue” dogs out there that could have been a good fit for us at this time. Our puppy will also be a good fit, and in our case it’s the right choice.

It’s simply about finding the right dog. That is it.

Yet, of course, it’s complicated.

We spent years researching all options, meeting different rescued Lab and shepherd mixes, discussing buying a malinois from an old friend & client, emailing breeders.

Nothing felt right. I could not commit to any of these other dogs. I’m not sure why.

I kept coming back to these weims.

Why didn't you rescue

Some decisions just feel right, and this is one of them.

“I was hoping you would rescue,” one woman wrote on my blog.

She meant it from the heart, out of her great love for dogs. She meant no harm.

I’ll be honest, these kinds of comments bother me.

That someone would turn such an important, personal decision into a black-and-white moral issue. That her decision should also be my decision.

It’s right up there with:

“When are you having kids?” (Who said I was?)

And, “Why didn’t you take your husband’s name?” (Why didn’t he take mine?)

But I can either whine about the rescue question or I can show people about choosing and raising a dog responsibly.

Here’s a post on why I personally appreciate our breeder: CLICK HERE.

I love my three hand-me-down pets. I don’t call them rescues, but they are all adopted. I’m so thankful and lucky their three lives crossed with mine at the correct times. Beamer, Scout and Ace are so perfect for me in their own ways. They are loved.

Our little puppy will be “perfect” and loved very much as well.

This is why I don’t ask a dog lover why she didn’t rescue.

I say, “Hi, what a nice dog.”

Related posts:

Reasons to buy a dog vs. rescue a dog

Why my pets are not rescued animals

Why I don’t use the phrase Adopt Don’t Shop

Why didn't you rescue a dog?

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