Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions for Cats

By Rocky Williams, Feline Guest Blogger

Lately I have been hearing my hoomin, aka the Warden, talk a lot about something called resolutions. From what I gather, these are things that people resolve to change or improve about themselves in the New Year. Now, being a cat I generally think I am purrfect as is, and need not change a thing. However, just for fun I decided to make some resolutions of my own. Who knows, it might even inspire other cats who feel they need to improve upon purrfection!

According to just about everybody you could ask, the most popular New Year’s Resolution is some version of the “eat right, exercise more” mandate. But that one is just not necessary for me because I already eat great, thanks to the Warden. If there’s one thing she knows well, it’s how to tell which cat food is the good kind, and if she’s sold on FELIDAE that’s all I need to know. However, I suppose I could use a little more exercise to keep my handsome mancat body in tippy top shape. But just a little, mind you. I don’t want to become so muscular that every ladycat in town is meowing at my door for a date. I don’t have the stamina for that!

Speaking of food though, there are umpteen resolutions I could attempt. Such as, I resolve not to wolf down my own portions at lightning speed in order to “help” Mickey and Annabelle finish theirs. This will inevitably free up a lot of the Warden’s time, since she has to stand guard until those two painstakingly slow eaters empty their bowls. Talk about torture!

I could also resolve not to steal food from the Warden’s plate when she’s trying to eat it herself. Generally speaking, the paw is faster than the hand, which gives new meaning to the term “grab-and-go.” I always come away with something, but it’s not always something I want to eat. Case in point: the “mustard incident.” In a kind of slow-motion horror movie, the Warden watched as I mulled over what to do with a paw covered in mustard, until I finally decided to just put it down on the couch. That will teach her to eat in the living room!

I could resolve not to eat the Warden’s bread in the middle of the night, but it’s not really necessary since she started using the microwave oven as a bread drawer. Foiled again, at least until I figure out how to open that thing! I could resolve not to dig in the garbage, but this one is also not necessary since the Warden installed baby-proof latches on the cabinet door where the can is kept. Oh, I know! I will resolve not to scare the Warden by trying to get the cabinet door open, which makes a nice loud bang-bang-bang noise in the middle of the night.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When Should You Rush Your Pet to the Vet?

By Linda Cole

It's not always easy trying to determine if a pet's injury or condition needs a vet's attention. If it's after hours, you don't want to waste your vet's time with a minor problem that can wait until the office is open, but you also don't want to not call just in case your pet needs professional help now. Emergencies happen and most vet clinics have numbers where they can be reached after hours and on holidays. Every pet owner should have that number written down and kept in a convenient place. Not all injuries or conditions require rushing your pet to the vet; however, there are warning signs and symptoms that can help you decide if it's a true emergency.

Minor injuries and some medical conditions can be taken care at home, but many pet owners haven't the foggiest idea what to do. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's why we have a trusted vet. Nevertheless, as responsible pet owners we should have a general idea of how to care for minor problems at home. An emergency trip to the vet is more expensive than an office call. One of the best ways to know if you need to call your vet is to know your cat or dog well. If your pet isn't acting like themselves, that's cause for concern and warrants a watchful eye from you.

Understanding how the weather can affect a pet is important because when it's hot outside, pets may not have their normal appetite. As long as they are drinking plenty of fresh water, skipping a meal now and then or not eating as much isn't a problem. But if they refuse to eat after missing one or two meals, that is a reason to be concerned. Hyperthermia (too hot) and hypothermia (too cold) are weather related conditions that can turn into an emergency.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lifestyles of 5 Rich and Famous Shelter Dogs

By Langley Cornwell

Bradley Cooper with Charlotte
How does this sound… one day you’re sitting in a cold, damp shelter eyeballing everybody that walks by. Wondering with each passing visitor if the next one will be ‘your’ person, the one to take you home and give you a place to feel warm and secure. Days pass slowly. Then one fine day, someone spends extra time in front of your cage. You are escorted into a ‘get acquainted room’ with that person and notice they smell really good. It’s nice the way they scratch behind your ears and call you ‘buddy’. After a short time, you’re escorted into a long black car and whisked away with the guy who smelled so good. Next thing you know, you’re eating a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE and sleeping in a deluxe bed. Suddenly, you find yourself in the lap of luxury!

That very thing happened to these lucky dogs when their paths crossed with these celebrities.      

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper may be People magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Man Alive because of his blue eyes and his mischievous grin, but he’s tops on my list because of his love of rescue animals. In a 2009 interview, Cooper was more interested in talking about his shelter dogs than promoting his upcoming movie. At the time, Samson and Charlotte were his cherished companions. Samson was around fourteen years old and Charlotte was 6 or 7. Cooper talked about falling in love with each of them immediately, and referred to the dogs as his kids. Since then, Samson has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge but Charlotte is still right by his side, living the high life and even accompanying him onto movie sets. When it comes to women, one of the most important characteristics Cooper looks for is a love of animals. He claims that for a girl to stand a chance, she’s got to like his dogs. He staunchly declares that he and his dogs are a package deal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Got an Extra Minute or Two? Train Your Dog!

By Linda Cole

We miss so many opportunities to work with our dogs. Relaxing in the backyard or on the deck after work, waiting for supper to finish cooking, watching TV, waiting for your turn to take your morning shower or any other times where we have a few extra moments. Training a dog is important, but there's no rule that says you have to make a big production out of it, and there's no law that says you have to spend a certain amount of time doing it. Dogs are smart and more than capable of learning most commands quickly. One minute at a time is all it takes.

Dog training is all about reinforcing a desired behavior. Once most dogs have learned the basic commands, it's just like riding a bike, so to speak. I have to giggle here, because as I'm writing this, I'm listening to a dog training minute happening in the kitchen while supper is being cooked. We're working with our dog Keikei to teach her a new command – turn around. If your dog is like Keikei and wants to be with you wherever you are, the opportunity to work on their training is always there. Take advantage of it.

Dogs end up in shelters because of behavior problems their owner couldn't or wouldn't deal with. It's no secret that the best way to ensure you have a well mannered and happy dog is by taking the time to teach him how you want him to act. Training your dog is also one way you can help keep him safe. Teaching your dog doesn't require hours and hours of time, but it does require three important rules to follow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meet the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance

By Langley Cornwell

Established in August of 2009, the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance – started by Karen and Eric Belfi – is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that spans the United States and Canada. Run entirely by volunteers, the organization’s mission is to aid blind and visually impaired dogs. Their work includes rescuing blind dogs from shelters, assisting blind dog owners, and educating the public about these wonderful canines and the joy of caring for one.

The Belfi’s interest in visually impaired dogs began when they were searching for a companion for their Siberian husky. As they combed the Internet for an available orphan, the dog that captured their hearts was blind (appropriately named Ray Charles). As a responsible pet owner, Karen Belfi located an online discussion group dedicated to blind dog care and advocacy; she wanted to learn about a visually impaired dog’s special requirements. The group assured Karen that a blind dog’s needs aren’t much different than the needs of a ‘regular dog,’ so a match was made.    

Karen and Eric remained active in the Internet discussion forum. They watched as the list of visually compromised adoptable dogs increased. Sadly, the list grew so large that otherwise healthy dogs were not finding homes in time, and were being euthanized. Unable to stand by and watch this trend, they joined forces with a few others in the discussion group and formed the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Luckiest Cats

My Silly Annabelle
By Julia Williams

My good friend Kevin has been volunteering for his local animal shelter for many years. Kevin, aka meowmeowmans, writes about the homeless cats on his wonderful blog, Animal Shelter Volunteer Life. He tells of the lucky cats who find their forever homes, and he also features the many sweet souls still waiting to be adopted. I love to read the adoption stories, because I know just how much the lives of the animal and their new family will change for the better. I celebrate each of these adoptions, sometimes silently with a smile but very often with a “wahoo!” or a “yay!” In stark contrast, the stories of those not yet chosen make me melancholic. No animal should have to know abandonment and homelessness, yet far too many do.

Recently, Kevin posted about the kitties not yet chosen, and said he hoped they could find a home before Christmas. We know the reality is that most will not, and yet we can’t stop hoping that some will go from unlucky to lucky, if not before Christmas then at least sometime in the New Year. When faced with a reality that is less than ideal, hope is what keeps us going; it keeps us doing what we can do in the moment until a better time.

My version of a Christmas miracle would be loving homes for every homeless pet, nutritious food for every hungry pet, and love for every animal who is alone and lonely. I shudder to think what would’ve happened to my precious cats Rocky and Annabelle if I hadn’t been asked to water someone’s plants, only to discover two tiny kittens badly in need of rescue. If they had somehow managed to survive – which isn’t likely considering they were very ill and no one was caring for them – they wouldn’t have a better life than the one they have now, with me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Be Your Dog's Leader

By Linda Cole

Taking charge of a dog can be intimidating for some owners. If you start off on the wrong foot and the dog gets the upper hand, that's when behavior problems begin to show up, which can lead to an unhappy dog and owner. It's important for you to be your dog's leader no matter what breed or size your dog is. Picking the right dog for your lifestyle is important, but equally important is picking a dog you can and will manage.

I had a neighbor who had a Rottweiler he walked every day – or rather, the dog would drag him down the street. He was a muscular fellow, but he couldn't control his dog because he wasn't in command. She was a well socialized dog, but didn't listen to her owner. He never established himself as the leader of his pack. Most dog owners are responsible and caring, and want to do what's best for their dogs, until it comes to taking the lead role.

Behavior problems in dogs can be quickly turned around if you are their leader. Dogs are social animals and expect us to lead them. In their mind, there has to be a leader and if their human doesn't do it, they will step up and take it. Not because they want the job, but because it's a role that must be filled. As far as they are concerned, someone has to set the rules, make the decisions and maintain the peace in the dog's social order. Dogs understand and recognize the qualities of a strong leader and when you're in charge, it's easier to correct bad behavior.

How to take the lead role

Establish your role by teaching your dog what you expect from him. Body language is something all dogs understand. They are experts at reading other dogs, other animals and us by how we move, our expressions and our tone of voice. They know if we're happy or displeased with them by our body language and voice. There's no need to hit, kick or yell at a dog to get your message across. Positive reinforcement gains his trust and proves to him you are worthy of being his leader.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Win Six Free Months of EQUIDAE Horse Feed!

CANIDAE is best known for its premium quality food for dogs and cats, but what many don’t know is that they also have a line of horse feed called EQUIDAE. Now, I know that most of our readers have dogs or cats (and some of you have both!)... but if you happen to have a horse, read on, because you could win six free months of EQUIDAE feed for them!

EQUIDAE Photo Contest

Are you proud of your horse? Do you take first prize when it comes to giving your Equine friend everything it needs to be healthy? Now is your chance to show off how beautiful your horse is!

First, take a photo of your horse and then submit it on the EQUIDAE Facebook Photo Contest page. Entries may be color or black-and-white digital images, and less than 5 megabytes in size. You can even submit more than one horse if you'd like. Then you and everyone else can vote for your favorite entries until February 1, 2012.

From those photos that receive the most votes, CANIDAE will pick a final winner. Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, visual appeal, and effectiveness in conveying the unique character of the horse.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Safety Tips for Responsible Pet Owners

By Langley Cornwell

It is cold today, bundle-up-tight cold. I just got back from the grocery store and have not completely thawed out. While I was in the grocery parking lot, the only available space was beside a car with a small dog locked inside. As I stood between the cars planning my next move, an elderly woman approached. I started a friendly chat with her and subtly mentioned the dangers of leaving a small dog alone in a car during the cold winter months. I gently explained how a car can function much like a refrigerator, trapping the cold air inside and harmfully lowering the dog’s body temperature. She seemed grateful for the conversation, and went on to tell me how much she loved her ‘Sassy’ and would do anything for that dog.

Those circumstances compel me to write about a topic that has been well-covered but may serve as an important refresher this time of year. Here are a few important tips to help protect your cats and dogs during the winter months:

Be careful with chemicals. Many people use chemical products to melt the sleet, snow and ice from their sidewalks and driveways. If you live in an area where these types of products are needed, look for pet safe options. Of course, the salt or chemicals your neighbor and the local highway department uses may not be safe for pets. These potentially toxic products can cause a host of problems including chemical burns to your dog or cat’s pads, tongue and throat. Additionally, salt, antifreeze and other chemicals can cause a variety of illnesses when ingested.

If possible, train your pet to wear booties. If protective footwear is not an option, there are paw wax products available to help keep your dog safe on winter outings. Review these winter paw-care tips and always clean your pet’s chest, stomach, legs and feet with warm water when he comes in out of the ice, sleet or snow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Trim a Dog's Toenails

By Linda Cole

Dogs aren't always cooperative when it's time to trim their toenails. I’ve had dogs that sat patiently while I trimmed away; however, most of my dogs look at me as if I'm going to take their nails off all the way up to their elbow. It's not a chore most dogs or owners enjoy, but it is an important grooming necessity. Trimming a dog's nails isn't really that bad, and you can do it without losing a finger in the process.

Teach your dog it's OK for you to touch his feet. The best age to get your dog used to having his feet touched is when he's a puppy, but don't despair if you missed that part of your pup's education. You can still teach an older dog to accept having his feet touched by using the same method you use with a puppy. Pick up a paw and hold it in your hand. Massage in between the toes and gently pull on the nails so your dog can become accustomed to the feeling. Teach him to shake hands to help him learn that paw holding is OK. I've always played with my dogs feet when they're snuggled next to me so they get used to having their feet messed with.

I like to use scissor nail clippers made for dogs, which have a stop on the back to prevent you from getting too much of the nail at one time. It looks like a short blunt-headed pair of scissors. Another nail trimmer works like a guillotine, but this trimmer makes it harder to see the nail you're trying to cut. I have also used the dremel-like tool made for dogs. It works well, but it's slow and you still need to be careful not to take the nail down too far because it can cut into the quick. Some dogs don't like the whirling sound it makes. Experiment to see which nail trimming tool is more comfortable for you to use, because that's the one that will work best for you.

Put your dog in a position that’s comfortable for him and don't restrain him. If you scare him or make nail trimming too unpleasant, he won't be cooperative. Have some CANIDAE TidNips treats on hand to reward him for good behavior. Be gentle but firm, and take your time. Don't try to trim the nail in one cut. Take a little off at a time until it's at the desired length, and be careful not to cut into the quick. The pink color of the quick is easy to see on dogs with white nails, but dark colored nails are impossible to see through. It's better to leave the nail a tad longer if you can't see where the quick is. Don't forget to trim the dew claws.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh, the Funny Things People Do for Their Pets!

By Julia Williams

Much has been written, here and elsewhere, about the funny things pets do. It stands to reason, since they always seem to be doing things that make us laugh. However, I haven’t seen much about the funny things people do for their pets. I have thought about it though, mostly because I wondered if I was alone in my quirkiness. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who does things for their pet that others – particularly the non-pet crowd – would find funny, odd, silly and/or kooky. How do I know this? I queried a group of my pet loving friends, and a few were even brave enough to tell me about some of the funny things they do for their pets! I’ll share their confessions with you, but first, some of mine:

When Annabelle is asleep on my computer chair, rather than move her I will sit on the very edge. No, it’s not the least bit comfortable sitting on an inch of chair, but Princess Annabelle doesn’t seem to notice my discomfort as she snoozes away. And if there’s a sleeping cat on my lap, I won’t move them for anything. If I should happen to become ravenously hungry or need to use the bathroom, woe is me…but the sleeping cat remains undisturbed until they decide to wake up.

Speaking of sleeping, with three cats occupying their favorite spots on my bed at night, I often find myself in Cirque Du Soleil-worthy contortionist positions because, well, they sleep where they want to sleep even if that leaves little room for me! If I need to get up in the night, I slide up slowly, inching my way toward the headboard until I can get up without disturbing the cat. That’s normal, right?

I forego vacuuming not because the carpet doesn’t need it, but because the loud noise of the “suck monster” scares the bejeebies out of my cats. I open cans of soup outside on the porch, but this is mostly for my benefit. I feel guilty when my cats come running at the sound of the can opener, because I know it’s not their FELIDAE and – persistent meowing notwithstanding – I have absolutely nothing for them. Of course, cats have supersonic hearing, so when I come inside with soup in hand I usually discover them waiting in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Get Your Dog's Attention

By Linda Cole

No matter how well behaved a dog is, there are times when you just can't get their attention no matter what you do. However, sometimes it's important to get and hold your dog's attention if you need to distract him from another dog or person. Some dogs are more stubborn than others and will ignore their owner because they don't see them as the leader. Getting a dog's attention can help you prevent a dog fight or stop your dog from running out into traffic. In order to train a dog, you need to be able to get their attention.

My dog Keikei was given to me when she was 8 weeks old. She has always been a strong willed, independent and extremely smart dog who loves to learn. As she grew, it was obvious she thought she ran the household and I found myself with a young dog that was developing food aggression, leash aggression and other behavior issues that needed to be corrected. I wanted her to look at me so I could distract her attention from the other dogs to me when she felt unsure while I was working on her training. In the wrong hands, Keikei would have most likely found herself in a shelter because of her aggressive tendencies. She's an excellent dog and quickly learned to pay attention to me with or without treats. That's the goal you're shooting for, because you may not always have a treat or toy when you need your dog to pay attention to you.

Most dogs have something they really like. It could be their favorite CANIDAE dog treat, a special toy, lots of praise, or all three. Once you've discovered what they respond to, getting their attention isn't difficult to do. Keikei loves treats and praise. When dogs understand there's something in it for them, you'd be amazed how quickly they learn what you want to teach them. However, please keep in mind that when dealing with a dog with aggression issues of any kind, if you are uncomfortable or unsure how to work with them, it's best to find a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist to help you with your dog's aggression. It can be corrected.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, 2.5 Million Meals Later

By Julia Williams

Years ago, a kind-hearted pet lover had a dream. Where some might hope to strike it rich or “make it big,” Larry Chusid’s dream was more altruistic – he wanted to help the needy feed their pets. He wanted to make a difference in their lives by helping them keep the animals they dearly loved.

In November of 2009, Larry’s dream became a reality when The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in Portland, Oregon. I’ve written about it here before, because were it not for CANIDAE and their initial $125,000 donation of pet food, Larry might still be in dreaming mode. But he isn’t, and it warms my heart to know that many, many people and their pets have benefitted because one man dared to dream, and a caring company generously gave what was needed to get this pet food bank going.

As often happens in life, seemingly chance events are life-changing moments. So it was with Larry when he met some CANIDAE folks at a pet-product trade show. The decision CANIDAE made to support The Pongo Fund has greatly impacted not only Larry’s life, but countless thousands of people and pets in their time of need. Now, just two years later, The Pongo Fund partners with more than 100 emergency food agencies, shelters and rescues in Oregon and SW Washington. By providing pet food to anyone with an honest need, Pongo succeeds in both reducing shelter populations and keeping people and their pets together.

I recently caught up with Larry to ask how things have been going.

Me: How many pounds of pet food have been distributed since opening day? 

Larry: We focus on individual quality meals, because each meal is a lifeline. In total we’ve provided more than 2,500,000 quality meals for approximately 42,000 animals belonging to nearly 19,000 families.

CANIDAE has been our primary partner since Day One. We could not do what we do without their consistent generosity and support. Our relationship goes well beyond simply donating food. They are our partner in the fight against hunger.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 10 Pedigreed Cat Breeds

By Langley Cornwell

The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the largest global registry of pedigreed cat breeds, recognizes 42 different breeds. Out of the 42, some breeds seem to make the ‘most popular’ list year after year. Here is a list of pedigreed cat breeds that often top the charts. 


Have you ever seen a photograph of a fluffy, white, longhaired cat lounging in the background of a fancy reading room or formal living room? If so, the cat was probably a Persian. One of the most popular cat breeds, Persians are gorgeous – and photogenic. They have circular, open faces and wide, round, expressive eyes.  Known to be gentle, sweet felines, Persians need to feel secure and comfortable. They are playful and enjoy attention but are not demanding cats. Persians make wonderful pets.


Persians consistently top the list of popular cat breeds. For people who are interested in the attributes of Persian cats but don’t have the time to groom that long, luscious hair, the Exotic is a perfect choice. Exotics are bred to meet the Persian standard in every way except for their fur; the Exotic’s coat is dense, plush and short. Otherwise, their personality and temperament are much like the loveable Persians.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Special Achiever: Russ Fox and His Schutzhund Dog Artus

By Linda Cole

The word Schutzhund is German and means “protection dog.” Schutzhund is a very demanding canine sport for working dogs, to test their physical and mental abilities in a competition that measures tracking, obedience and protection. Although any dog breed can compete, the sport was developed for the German Shepherd as a way of showing off the dog's intelligence, willingness to work, endurance, body structure, tracking ability, courage and ability to follow commands. It's a sport that tests the dog and his handler. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Russ Fox and his dog Artus who qualified for a spot on this year's Team Canada and recently returned from the World Championships held in Kiev, Ukraine. I had a chance to talk with him about this exciting sport.

Russ and Artus live in Ontario, Canada. Russ is the K9 trainer for a large municipal police service outside of Toronto. He works with 12 service dogs which has helped him develop as a handler and trainer for his own sporting dogs. “Every dog is different in how he/she reacts to training. Where some dogs react well to food or toys in training, others will work for genuine praise from its handler.”

Russ was drawn to the sport of Schutzhund because of the precision needed in training a dog in all aspects of the sport in tracking, obedience and protection, and he wanted to learn how to develop that in his working dogs. “When selecting a sport dog, we look for many qualities, similar to selecting a police dog. We evaluate the dog’s various drives – food, toy, fight and play – all of these and more helps us train the dog to excel in the sport. We want a well-balanced dog that is a confident social animal with high drives and heart to do the work.”

Russ prefers to feed Artus CANIDAE All Life Stages formula dog food. “Schutzhund is a very demanding sport on the dogs both physically and mentally. Like any athlete, nutrition plays a critical role for these dogs to succeed. With CANIDAE, I know my dog is getting quality nutrition so that I will get the best performance from him. All Life Stages has met the demands that Artus goes through during training. I have also used the pureSEA Salmon formula for another sport dog, and she is doing extremely well on it.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Heroic Cats

By Julia Williams

A few weeks ago, I watched the Hero Dog Awards on television. It was fun to see some of the dogs I know through Facebook get honored for their heroic acts. It was also great to learn about other hero dogs I wasn’t aware of. This got me thinking – what about heroic felines? Why isn’t there a Hero Cat Awards show? Now, I know some of you probably think the term Hero Cat is an oxymoron. In truth, cats generally aren’t the first species that comes to mind when we think of pets that perform heroic deeds, save lives or put themselves in danger to help someone. Most cats have a “Me First” mentality, and some even have a “Me Only” mindset…or at least it seems that way when they want something. Ha! I did a little digging, however, and discovered a few cats that deserve to be lauded for their heroism.


This house cat from North Carolina is now known as the “Hero Cat of Maggie Valley” and was featured on both the Animal Planet network and TLC’s Must Love Cats show. Leroy is credited with helping his owner, Bryan Hickman, save the lives of several neighbors from a devastating fire. Leroy’s incessant loud meowing woke Bryan up early one morning. Bryan went downstairs to let the cat out the front door, but Leroy ran to the back door instead and pawed at it. When Bryan opened the door he saw huge flames billowing from the townhouse next door, and ran to awaken the occupants. The building was destroyed, but no one was injured thanks to Leroy!


The book Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort tells the story of a cat named KittyBaby who lived with Nancy Strand in a cabin in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. After bears started passing through her neighborhood, KittyBaby took on the role of protector, said Nancy. “One night as I prepared to go outside, KittyBaby firmly pushed me away from the door. He pressed hard against my leg, redirecting me to another area. The next morning I discovered that a marauding bear had ransacked our garbage can. On numerous other occasions, when KittyBaby sensed a bear nearby, he would stand between me and the cat flap on the door and growl as if he were a big dog!”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Socialize Puppies and Adult Dogs

By Linda Cole

All puppies need to be socialized, and if you've adopted a dog from a shelter or bought an older dog, you may need to spend time socializing him, too. Sometimes a dog gets into a fight with another dog at a dog park or at a friend's house, and it leaves him wary of other dogs. A new person or pet in the home can cause a dog to need socializing again also. It's important to make sure your dog or puppy is well socialized with people, new things in his environment, and other pets in the home.

Socializing a Puppy

Just like kids, a puppy's early life can set the stage for how he behaves and his ability to accept new things in his life. The first 8 - 20 weeks are extremely important for your pup's development, and that's the best age to begin socializing a puppy. It's up to his owner to make sure he's exposed to new things on a regular basis so he has an opportunity to learn what's expected from him and how to act when confronted with something new.

He needs to be exposed to people, other pets in the home, other dogs and new places, sounds, sights and smells. He needs to experience things he'll have to deal with in his life. And he needs to be able to learn in a positive way so he's not apprehensive when something new comes his way later on in his life. Because a puppy hasn't received all of his vaccinations yet, check with your vet for advice on when you can expose your pup to other dogs and people outside the home. Your pup is also capable of learning basic commands at an early age, which helps him learn who's in charge.

Introduce your pup to new people and situations during this period. You will want him to meet men, women, older people, children and other pets. Expose him to people riding bikes, skateboards, men with beards, people in uniforms, and women/men with short and long hair. Dogs do notice the differences in people, and the more your pup has a chance to meet different people, the more confident and calm he'll be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Training an Older Dog

By Langley Cornwell

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! You can also teach them new behaviors. While the approach is different than training a puppy, an adult dog is entirely capable of learning.

If you’re wondering why you would need to train an adult dog, consider these scenarios:

• You’ve recently adopted an older dog from an animal shelter or rescue facility and – while sweet – the dog doesn’t know basic commands.

• You want to teach your longtime companion new activities to keep him active; activities like agility, hunting, or obedience trials.

• Your dog has developed a few bad habits or is getting petulant and snippy.

• You recently retired and plan to start traveling with your dog.

There is a solution to all of these situations as long as you stay patient and approach the task knowledgeably.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meet Disc Dog Champ Kirby McIlveen

By Julia Williams

It is my pleasure to introduce you to 17-year-old Kirby McIlveen, a CANIDAE Special Achiever. Kirby and her talented team of canine athletes compete in Disc Dog competitions across the United States. They not only compete, they excel, as evidenced by the many impressive records they hold. With her dog Torch, a McNab, Kirby became the first female and youngest ever at 17 years old to win the 2011 Skyhoundz World Championships!

CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Kirby and her dogs through its Special Achievers program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and Kirby and her “Disc Dogs” are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence. Kirby’s five dogs all eat CANIDAE food, naturally, and their good health and ability to excel at their sport helps promote the many benefits of a premium quality holistic pet food.

How old were you when you began competing in Disc Dog?

I started training and competing in disc dog competitions when I was 12 years old. When I was 13, I started freestyle with my Border Collie, Sketch.

How did you get started? What inspired you to try the sport?

I initially had a Shih Tzu, Lucky, who liked to play agility. I wanted to get another dog for agility, and decided to get a Border Collie. Sketch came into my life when I was 10 years old. He had a lot of energy, as most Border Collies do, so we needed another activity for him. We joined a disc dog class at an agility school. From there, we found out about the Disc Dog world and competitions.

How many dogs do you compete with?
I compete with five dogs, all powered by CANIDAE. Sketch, Flash, and Torch compete at a top level, while Blitz and Spirit are still “in training.”

Sketch - 7 year old Border Collie; Flash - 4 year old McNab; Torch - 1.5 year old McNab; Blitz - 4 year old Border Collie; Spirit - 1.5 year old Terrier Mix

Monday, December 5, 2011

Six Small Dogs with Big Jobs

By Linda Cole

Small dogs aren't usually the ones who take on herding jobs, and they generally aren't considered good search and rescue dogs. However, small dogs are proving they have the tenacity and ability to take on big jobs. There's even one small dog who has the right stuff for searching out and finding ghosts.

Jack is a Cairn terrier and a personal trainer. With his owner and certified personal trainer, Dawn Celapino, owner of Leash Your Fitness in San Diego, CA, Jack is helping other dog owners and their dogs get into a healthy lifestyle through exercise. Dawn's unique exercise class teaches clients to use their dogs as their exercise partner. She started her business after she discovered Jack was the perfect workout partner and it was a good a way to spend more time with him. Dawn has developed a fun exercise program that helps dog owners stay in shape and allows even the most hyper dogs a good way of using up excess energy. She encourages her clients to bring their dogs, even ones with behavior problems, and has enlisted the help of dog trainers who help owners with their dogs. Agility and obedience training are incorporated into the class.

Bevy, a Corgi, is owned by Scott Wiley from Musselshell, Montana. When she was born, her mom didn't have enough milk to feed Bevy and her siblings so they had to be bottle fed. Bevy, the runt of the litter, only weighs around 22 pounds, but she has the desire and heart of any good herding dog. Corgis were bred to herd, and Scott depends on Bevy and his three other Corgis to help him round up and manage 300 herd of cattle.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Homer, the “Blind Wonder Cat”

By Julia Williams

When a tiny homeless kitten was just a wee lad of three weeks, he developed a terrible eye infection. His eyes were surgically removed to save his life, but that was not the biggest obstacle the brave little kitty would face. Finding a forever home for a blind kitten is a daunting task, and his fate seemed all but sealed. Luckily, he met a kind woman named Gwen who knew at once that she loved this plucky little ball of fur despite his handicap. She took him home and named him Homer.

That decision proved to be life-changing for Homer and for Gwen, as this spirited kitty who didn’t know he was different has taught Gwen many things. Among them, that “love isn’t something you see with your eyes.” Gwen wrote a book about her life-changing decision to adopt the little blind kitten no one wanted, and Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat became a national bestseller. It’s a wonderful book that would make a great Christmas gift for a cat lover, and Gwen gives 10% of her royalties to charities that serve blind cats. Homer graciously agreed to an interview so our readers could get to know a little more about him. You can also follow Homer on Facebook!

JW: Why does your Mom call you a Wonder Cat?
Homer: Because of how amazing I am! ;-p  Seriously though, nobody ever expected a blind cat like me to be able to do much.  So the fact that I can do everything any other cat can do— and even some things they can't—makes mom say that I'm a real wonder!

What are some of the challenges you face not being able to see?
It takes me a little longer to learn my way around new rooms (although once I learn where everything is, I never forget!), and if my mom leaves something like a pair of shoes lying around, I usually trip over them.  Mom says I force her to be neat, which is a good thing!  I used to be more startled by loud noises if I didn't know where they were coming from, but my mom always made me feel very safe and secure.  Loud noises haven't scared me much since I was a kitten.

If you could have your sight for just one day, what would you most like to see?
I'd most like to see the faces of everyone in my family.  I know what they look like in my head, but not what they really look like.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hypothermia and Your Pet: What are the Signs?

By Linda Cole

Winter is just around the corner and as temperatures begin to fall, so does the danger of pets developing hypothermia. It doesn't have to be freezing for us or our pets to become too cold. If you have an outside cat or a dog that enjoys winter sports or just playing outside in the snow, you should know what the signs of hypothermia are and how to treat it.

A good friend of mine recently told me a story about a kitten she had. “My tiny kitten accidentally fell into the toilet while I was sleeping and couldn't get out. I walked in and found her lying in the bowl with her head out of the water. She was shivering and unresponsive. Not having a clue what to do, I rushed her to the emergency vet, where they told me she was hypothermic. She was totally fine in a few hours, but man was I scared.”

Hypothermia can be a serious, life threatening condition. Knowing what the signs are can save your pet's life. We usually associate hypothermia with winter time and cold temperatures, but as my friend's story shows, it can happen inside the house as well.

What causes hypothermia? The core temperature of the body falls below its normal temperature. Pets that get too cold can experience a mild (90 – 99 degrees F), moderate (82 – 90 degrees F) or severe (less than 82 degrees F) drop in temperature. A dog's normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5, and a cat's normal temperature is 100.4 to 102.5.

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