Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Story of Chips the War Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

How many real life dogs can you think of who lived an adventurous and heroic life and then had a Disney movie made about them? Well, now you know of one: Chips, the War Dog! This is also the title of the 1990 Disney movie.

Chips is known as the most decorated war dog from World War II. A private citizen named Edward Wren was Chip’s owner until he donated the German Shepherd/Collie/Siberian Husky mix to the military for duty. In 1942, Chips attended the War Dog Training center in Virginia to become a sentry dog.

Once his training was complete, Chips traveled the world. He went with his handler Pvt. John P. Rowell and the 3rd Infantry Division to North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. In 1943, Chips and his handler were trapped on a beach in Sicily by an Italian machine gun team. Rather than simply survive, Chips broke free from his handler and jumped into the enemy’s “pillbox” (a type of barricade) to attack the gunners. The four men were forced to leave their station and surrender to U.S. troops. Later that same day, Chips helped take 10 Italians prisoner.

Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart medals, but they were revoked due to an Army policy that prevented awarding official commendations to animals. In recognition of his sacrifice, bravery and loyalty to his unit, the 3rd Infantry Division unofficially awarded Chips with a Theater Ribbon with an Arrowhead for an assault landing, and Battle Stars for each of his 8 campaigns as their fellow soldier. His fellow soldiers realized what the Army did not – that a dog is not just equipment!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Skidboot, the World's Smartest Dog

By Linda Cole

Skidboot became famous as the World's Smartest Dog because of his amazing tricks. However, this is not the story of Skidboot and his wonderful bag of tricks. This is a story about mutual respect, understanding and love that transformed a bored and out-of-control dog into the World's Smartest Dog.

I spoke with Skidboot's owner, David Hartwig, and found a heartwarming story about unconditional love shared by a man and his dog. We like to think we train our dogs, but dogs can also teach us a little bit about ourselves and life.

David resides in Quinlan, Texas and lives the modest life of a farrier (a specialist in hoof care who trims, balances and shoes horse). It's hard work and takes a steady hand and a gentle, calm demeanor around the horses. On Christmas Eve in 1992, David was working on his friend's horses when he noticed a litter of pups in the barn. “I didn't think you liked dogs,” David said to his friend. “I don't. This stray female blue heeler came over here on Thanksgiving and started dropping puppies all over the yard. So I just picked them up and put them in the barn.” David hadn't gotten his wife a Christmas present yet and decided a puppy would be perfect, so he picked one out and headed home.

Sometimes things happen in life we can't always explain – a gut feeling that causes you to change your mind. David was half way home when he had second thoughts about the pup he had chosen. He turned around and went back to the barn. That's when he picked out a pup standing by himself away from the other ones. At the time, David had no idea how that puppy was going to change his life.

Skidboot's mom was a Blue Heeler, but the breed of his father was unknown. He was named after a protective boot horses wear on their hind legs to protect the area above and behind the hoof during activities like barrel racing. Skidboot was a natural at working on the ranch with David. “He did his job. He did it perfect and I didn't have to teach him.”

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Teal Cat Project

By Julia Williams

As a cat lover, I have my fair share of kitty figurines on display in my home and garden. Mine are adorable or I wouldn’t keep them. However, there have been times I’ve spied one in a thrift shop and thought, What were they thinking when they made this ugly thing? It never occurred to me that the tacky ceramic figurines I saw could actually be transformed into a cool-looking cat, and that they could then be sold to kitty lovers like me to help cat rescue groups all across the United States. Thankfully, someone else did have the ability to envision a way to not only give those outdated tchotchkes a much needed makeover, but to use the funds raised to support various cat charities in America. That someone is Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who founded The Teal Cat Project a few years ago.

The Teal Cat Project takes vintage ceramic kitty statues, paints them a beautiful teal color and gives each “newly born” cat a numbered tag for authenticity. The kitties are then ready for adoption by cat lovers, who scoop them up so fast that each “litter” (between 100 to 150 cats) is sold out in just a few days! The teal cats come in three sizes and sell for $25 to $35. The Teal Cat Project also recently started selling T-shirts.

The Teal Cat Project is a win-win for cat lovers and cat rescue groups alike. Cat lovers get a unique collectible, and cat rescue groups get help with their Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs aimed at controlling feral cat population growth. Each Teal Cat campaign supports a different TNR group in a new city, so the money raised can help feral kitties all across America.  The Teal Cat Project is also planning to branch out to other animals (think bunny and doggie tchotchkes!) who will each have their own special color and cause.

I caught up with The Teal Cat Project’s founder recently, to learn a little more about this unique charity. (If you want to get one of the kitties from the next litter, follow them on Facebook!).

How and why did you decide on the color teal for the cat makeovers?

Isa Chandra Moskowitz: I just liked the color and it felt like something that would look great in homes. As it turns out, teal is also the color of National Feral Cat Day, so it worked out well.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tips for Walking a Shy or Fearful Dog

By Langley Cornwell

Most of us have met or at least seen a shy, fearful dog at some point. Maybe a neighbor has one, perhaps you’ve seen one in a shelter, or you may be like me and share your life with one. You’ll know a dog is shy and fearful because he will look at you out of the corner of his eyes, never making full eye contact. He may act as if he wants to greet you, but stooping down to say hello elicits raised hackles and growls or barks. If he does allow you to get close enough to pat him, even if you take it slowly he will likely flinch and step out of range.

When we rescued our dog, she was painfully shy. She wouldn’t even stand up on 4 legs; she did the belly crawl with her head hung low. Still, she reached in and grabbed my heart. There were other, equally needy pups that needed a home at that time; well-mannered dogs that seemed happy even in the face of horrific conditions. I would have taken them all if possible but I had to pick one. I knew the little white dog that tried to be invisible would take a lot of work but I couldn’t imagine going home without her. And so the work began.

Our dog came to live with us when she was approximately 10-months old. Dog experts seem to agree that nervousness and fearfulness develops as young dogs mature, and that the problem often stems from improper socialization during their prime puppyhood socialization window.

Puppy Socialization Window

The American Kennel Club (AKC) website outlines critical periods in a puppy’s development, which they call “socialization windows.” Almost all of a puppy’s personality is shaped during his first year of life, and the first 12 weeks are the most important. The AKC website cites the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) when reporting that sociability outweighs fear in a puppy’s early stage, making this “the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences.” It is during this time that a puppy first learns to enjoy the company of people, to act properly around other dogs, and to experience a range of circumstances and situations without fear.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What is Happy Tail Syndrome in Dogs?

By Linda Cole

You know when your dog is happy by the way he excitedly wags his tail. For some dogs, all you have to do to get their tails whipping back and forth is to look at them. My dogs wag their tail a mile a minute when I talk to them and when we're playing. A dog's tail is one way they communicate with us. You wouldn't think a happy, excited tail could be a problem for your dog, but it can. A medical condition called Happy Tail syndrome can cause serious injury to your dog's tail.

What is Happy Tail Syndrome?

When a dog is excited and wags his tail rapidly, like most dogs are prone to do when happy, they can injure their tail knocking it against a hard surface like a table leg or wall. Happy tail syndrome is also known as kennel tail, splitting tail and bleeding tail. A dog can whack his tail hard enough on a hard surface that it causes a small cut or split on the tip of his tail. The cut tends to bleed a lot and as he continues to wag his tail, blood is splattered around the area.

It may not sound like a serious condition, but because it's on the tip of his tail, it doesn't heal fast, it can be hard to stop the bleeding, and it can be recurring if the dog wags his tail against a hard surface. Infection is a concern; antibiotics should be given to help prevent infection, and pain medication may need to be prescribed. In a worst case scenario, a portion of the tail may be amputated.

Treatment can be difficult because the tail needs to be bandaged to protect it from further damage, and it's hard to keep a tail bandaged. You should consult a vet for proper instructions on how to wrap a dog's tail and determine if he needs any medications. It's important to keep the injury clean. Never use duct tape to wrap your dog's tail. The material doesn't stretch, and no air can move through it. You want a breathable, flexible type of bandage that protects the tip of the tail. Because infection can occur, the bandage needs to be changed every day and the wound inspected.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Should You Wake Your Dog from a Dream?

By Tamara McRill

Those mournful wails and yips let loose by our sleeping dogs tug on our heartstrings so hard that it can be impossible to resist waking our dreaming pets. The same goes for when their four legs get to moving and we wonder if they are happily bounding after squirrels or if something big and scary might be chasing them. Even the heavy-duty doggie snoring sometimes sounds like it can't be a good thing. But should we wake our dogs up from a dream?

The hardline answer is: Probably not. Dogs dream and sleep much like humans, with similar REM patterns. Although most dogs sleep 14 to 16 hours a day, they still need some of the deep, uninterrupted sleep we do. So, if you have a dog that seems to dream a lot, constantly waking your pup may be unhealthy for him.

But...what if you just can't help yourself?

No Touching

The aforementioned mournful wailing and heartstrings being tugged upon pretty much guarantee that we're going to awaken our pet anyway. At least I do—even though I know better—when my Wuppy sounds so sad and lonesome that tears spring to my eyes and I just want to hug his crying away. Which is exactly what not to do, at least not until your dog is fully awake.

No matter how loyal, well-trained and loving your pet is, awakening them by contact can get you snarled at or even bit. Remember that you are bringing your dog back from a dream state, where the dream is reality. One of our other dogs, Dusty, is a sweetheart, but it is extremely hard for him to assess his surroundings quickly if he is startled awake. He needs a minute to go from growling to his normal happy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Does Your Dog Really Need Sunglasses?

By Linda Cole

It's not difficult to find a dog wearing sunglasses these days. You can find these cool pups at the beach or just walking around town. I have to admit, they look pretty cute with their shades on. My dog Keikei seems to enjoy wearing her sunglasses. But are sunglasses something dogs need to wear to protect their eyes, or is it just a fashion statement by the dog's owner?

I've never been one to let my dogs ride in a car with their head hanging out the window or in the bed of a truck. We may think dogs are tough, but their eyes can be injured just as easily as ours if a bug or debris hits them in their eye. If you've ever had a bug or small rock hit your arm or hand while driving down the road, you know how it feels to you. Doggie sunglasses can give dogs protection from flying debris when they are riding in a car or outside, especially on a windy day.

The glare of the sun is another consideration. The sun's ultraviolet rays can damage a dog’s eyes, and if your pooch spends a lot of time outside, sunglasses can help give him protection from the sun. Even in the winter, the glare of the sun off of the snow can cause snow blindness in dogs and humans. You wear shades when enjoying an afternoon boating on the lake or just sitting on the beach. Sunglasses give good protection from blowing sand and small debris, and reduce sun glare off of the water. Shades help prevent their eyes from getting dry from too much wind, and help to keep sea spray out of their eyes as well.

Even hiking can pose a danger to dogs running through thick brush and encountering low hanging branches. Some chronic eye diseases and conditions, like Dry Eye or cataracts, can make being outside painful for dogs with eye problems. Pink eye can cause a dog’s eyes to be sensitive to the sun. Proper sunglasses reduce the glare of the sun and allow dogs with eye problems the opportunity to enjoy outside activities with their family.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Are Dog Training Reality Shows Helpful or Hurtful?

By Julia Williams

Given the popularity of “reality TV” programs and the large number of pet owners in the world, it’s not really surprising that dog training reality shows exist. First there was the Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan. Then came Victoria Stillwell’s It’s Me or the Dog, aka “Supernanny for dogs.” More recently, CBS began airing episodes of Dogs in the City with Justin Silver.

I've watched that show, but since I just have cats it was purely for entertainment purposes rather than learning about dog training or getting tips to solve a dog behavior problem. From that perspective, it’s amusing to watch; however, I’m aware that many dog owners and dog trainers have major issues with the methods and scenarios portrayed on the show, and I think they have valid concerns.

I do believe it’s possible for a dog owner to glean some helpful information from Dogs in the City or any other dog training reality show, and in that respect these shows could be helpful. Still, they might just as easily be detrimental…to the dog as well as their family.

The main concerns I have with owners taking tips from a dog training reality show are 1) unrealistic expectations, 2) the “one size fits all” misconception and 3) unsafe training techniques. I’ll cover each of those briefly.

Unrealistic Expectations

Most people understand that reality shows are scripted just like every other TV program. Scenarios are meticulously planned, executed and edited until there is little, if any, resemblance to real life. No network would ever take the chance that “good TV” just magically happened while the cameras rolled, and dog training reality shows are no exception.

Nevertheless, some people mistakenly believe that a behavior problem presented on the show can actually be resolved as quickly and easily as they make it seem. People buy into the show’s concept that you can make a few minor adjustments and voila, your misbehaving dog becomes an angel and everyone lives happily ever after. Sadly, that’s not going to happen in real life, because good dog training takes patience, consistency, commitment, practice and time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Think You Know Why Cats Purr? Maybe Not!

By Linda Cole

The sound of a cat purring on your lap makes you feel like everything is right with the world. One of my cats, Figaro, loves to sit on my shoulder. Actually, he loves to drape himself over my shoulder and hang on with his claws so he won't fall off! Of course he starts purring as soon as he's settled, and how can you evict a contented kitty from your shoulder?

Scientists have been looking into how and why wild and domestic cats purr, and what they’ve discovered is rather interesting. If you're a cat owner, you most likely have figured out that your cat purrs when she's happy, scared, sick or injured. Cats purr even at the end of life which could be anxiety or a state of euphoria. A mother cat purrs while giving birth and when she's nursing her kittens; it's one way she bonds with her kittens and assures them she's not far away. Kittens begin to purr at 2 days old and hum to their mom so she knows they're alright.

When cats are stressed, purring is a way they comfort and reassure themselves that everything is OK – sort of like when we whistle or talk to ourselves as we walk down a dark street alone at night. Purrs are one way to let other cats know they are submissive and not wanting to cause trouble. Older cats use a purr to communicate that they're friendly and want to come closer when meeting other cats.

Members of the cat family Felidae, like the Puma, Cheetah, Mountain Lion, Bobcat and Eurasian Lynx will purr, as well. However, big cats like the Lion, Tiger, Snow Leopard and Jaguar belong to a subfamily of cats called Patherinae and can't purr. Lions can produce a sound similar to purring, but it's not true purring.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Puppy Party Palooza: Bringing Dogs and People Together

By Julia Williams

If you were a homeless puppy or an adult dog living in Northern California this summer, your chances of finding that furever home you deserved were pretty darn good, thanks to the Puppy Party Palooza.

Puppy WHAT? Puppy Party Palooza is an interactive adoption fair run by the CANIDAE-sponsored Special Achievers Team of Rocket and Ashley Hoskins, with help from the K-9 Comets, their talented team of Frisbee Dog Stars who wowed the crowd and inspired them to take home their own furry four-legged athlete.

Puppy Party Palooza takes place every year at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California. This hands-on, fun-filled learning exhibit and entertainment extravaganza was designed with one thing in mind: to bring people and adoptable dogs together. And as we all know, when a homeless dog finds his family, it’s a huge win-win for both!

At Puppy Party Palooza, potential adopters could learn all they needed to know about dogs and view demonstrations on dog grooming and health care. They could check out the popular “Pup-E-Harmony” to help match their family with the perfect dog. Puppy Party Palooza also offered training tips and a space where fairgoers could play games with the dogs.

Every dog adopted at Puppy Party Palooza was sent home with a CANIDAE goodie bag that included can lids, coupons, a Frisbee, TidNips treats, armbands, and of course a free 5lb. bag of CANIDAE dog food to get them started on the right nutrition track with their new family.

Congrats to all the families who found a new four-legged friend at Puppy Party Palooza this year!

May they all live happily ever after.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Keep Your Dog Safe at Summer Cookouts

By Langley Cornwell

Summer is here and the time for cookouts has begun.  For those of us who have dogs, this can mean attempting to keep the dog safe while still enjoying your company.  As a last resort, you can keep Fido in the house but where’s the fun in that?  You want your dog to be a part of the party, so you need to know how to keep your dog safe at summer cookouts. You might be surprised by how many things out there can be a danger to your pooch but with these tips, you can keep him safe and happy while enjoying a summer cookout with friends and family.

People Food – Make sure all of your guests know that you do not want your dog to have people food.  A wholesome, quality dog food like CANIDAE has all the nutrients your dog will ever need; there’s no need to supplement with table scraps. Additionally, beware of bones such as chicken and pork bones. They can splinter and cause severe intestinal damage.  The barbeque sauce can be too spicy for a dog’s stomach too, so just keep all people food away from the pets.

The Grill – Make sure the grill is always being watched by someone so the dog does not go near it.  The smell of cooking meat can be too much of a temptation for your furry friend and they could attempt to get into the grill.  This can cause severe burns which can be torment to your dog.  It is so easy to avoid this by having a human manning the barbeque at all times or to have the dog inside when there is no one to monitor the grill.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Tribute to Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog

By Linda Cole

When you gaze into the eyes of a dog, there's a goodness and honesty no human can match. Dogs are just so unpretentious, and walk beside us for as long as they can. Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog lived the last six years of her life in a wheelchair. She crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on June, 21, 2012 from Chronic Heart Disease, but this isn't about the end – it's about the amazing life of a little dog who never gave up. I spoke recently with Frankie's mom, Barbara Techel, to learn more about the little Dachshund who stole the hearts of thousands of people she met. You see, Francesca was a therapy dog who used her disability and spirit to teach others, including Barb, about life and why it's important to savor every moment we have on earth, and never give up.

Barb's life was changed in 2006 on Easter Sunday while she and her husband, John, vacationed in Florida. Frankie had been left in a local kennel back home in Wisconsin. She had jumped up on her food container and fell. She had hurt her back and couldn't walk. Frankie was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).

Frankie was given only a 10 to 30 percent chance of walking again after surgery. “When I got the call, I was pretty devastated. I had lost my chocolate lab nine months before to bone cancer, and when I got the call, I really thought I was going to lose Frankie. I thought she was going to die and I wasn't going to see her again.”

After surgery, Frankie was paralyzed. “I couldn't picture taking care of a handicapped dog. She had incontinence issues also because of the paralysis and that was something I had to learn how to take care of. But I would have done this for a lifetime. We had the most intense, incredible bond I've ever had with a dog. My mom helped me see I had to give Frankie a chance, I had to at least try.”

We learn lessons when we're ready to understand them. Sometimes, it's our dogs who teach us about ourselves and life. “We live in a town of about 900 people. For my whole life, I worried about what people thought about me and the choices I made, and I was painfully shy for a good part of my life. I remember being so scared to take Frankie out in public in her wheelchair. I was afraid people were going to judge me, that they were going to say it was cruel or mean. I remember watching Frankie, just so happy and rolling around in her little wheels, and it was like her telling me I didn't need to worry about what others thought of me, and to stand tall and be who I am. From that day forward, my confidence grew by leaps and bounds and I don't worry anymore about what people think of me.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side – The Bengal Breed

By Deborah Barnes

It is no wonder the Bengal cat has taken the top spot as the number one most popular breed by TICA (The International Cat Association) for two years in a row. This miniature inspired leopard with its glossy coat and spotted fur is nothing less than stunning, and there is nothing ordinary about this breed whose claim to fame is a walk on the wild side.

It is for that very reason, that this cat also sparks some controversy and is not recognized as a registered breed with the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association).  They consider this domesticated hybrid that descends from the Asian Leopard Cat to be “wild” (therefore with an unpredictable temperament) and that is why they don't accept the breed or allow it to be shown at CFA sanctioned shows.

The first Bengal was created in California in 1963 by an unplanned mating between a female Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic shorthair male. Fascinated with the concept, Jean Mill, the originator of the Bengal as we know it today, began a planned breeding program in 1980 to create a cat that looked like the Asian Leopard Cat, but had a domestic’s temperament. Leopard cats were originally bred to domestic shorthairs, Ocicats, Egyptian Maus, Abyssinian and Burmese, until the Bengal’s unique appearance of today was achieved.

The Bengal is a sleek and powerful cat with an athletic frame and a gait like its ancestors in the jungle – they prowl low to the ground with a fluidity of motion like a big cat in pursuit of prey. Despite that, because these remarkable creatures are a domesticated breed, they are actually very friendly and make a personable companion. They are amazing athletes, jumping two to three times higher than your typical cat, and are extremely intelligent, active, lively, graceful, strong, agile, curious and vocal.

A Bengal comes in a variety of colors and patterns, each one equally as beautiful as the next. The shape of the head, ears, eyes, nose, neck, torso, tail, legs, feet, texture, color, pattern and contrast are typically what distinguishes a pet quality cat versus show or breeding quality. Accepted colors are brown tabby, seal lynx point, seal sepia tabby and seal mink tabby. The spots can be a splendid palette of blacks, rusts and cinnamons, and some Bengals possess a recessive “glitter gene” that gives the rosette pattern on the fur an iridescent glow, as if covered with warm frost. There are also silver and snow Bengal’s that have markings in whites, grays and blacks, or marbled Bengal’s in a unique scroll pattern that can be found in leopard or snow leopard colors.

Bengals are classified in a range of generational types, from F1 to F4, with F1 cats being the closest to their wild ancestry, and F4 being the closest to the domestic. This changes the price and personality of the cat significantly and F1 cats should not be purchased without serious consideration, as they require informed owners who are equipped to take care of them and their special needs. They can be very difficult to socialize and tame, and do not always bond with a person as hoped or expected.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Common Dog Behavior Myths Debunked

By Linda Cole

When it comes to dog behavior, myths are misleading and downright hurtful to the dog. We train dogs to help establish a bond and teach acceptable behavior. However, if you believe behavior myths and follow them, you can harm your dog and jeopardize your relationship with him. Most dog owners have heard all kinds of common dog myths, and some people still believe them. Here are seven myths that relate specifically to dog behavior.

Dog Behavior Myth #1: Dogs know when they've done something wrong and that's why they have a ‘guilty’ look.

The truth is, dogs don't equate things they do with wrongdoing or guilt. The so-called guilty look we see is just a reaction by the dog to your body language and tone of voice. When you walk into the kitchen and find the trash spread out on the floor, your dog isn't hiding in the corner because of what he did. He's hiding there because he knows how you'll react and is showing you submission in an attempt to please you and relieve your tension.

Dog Behavior Myth #2: My dog is trying to take charge when he won't listen to me.

If you don't teach a dog how to behave, he won't listen to you for the simple reason that he doesn't understand what you want. Even a stubborn dog will follow, as long as you lead and teach. You have to motivate a dog just like a teacher needs to motivate their students. ‘Come’ is one of the harder basic commands for dogs to learn because there is no motivation to come. Calling him usually means playtime is over or he's in trouble. Never punish a dog for coming to you. Calling him to come and then punishing him when he does is the best way to teach him not to come when called.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Should You Let Your Dog On the Furniture?

By Tamara McRill

I'll be the first to admit we spend an inordinate amount of time vacuuming, shampooing, and unearthing socks and other 'finds' from the furniture we share with our three dogs. For us, the extra cuddle time is worth the extra time spent cleaning. But should our pets – lovable as they are – really be allowed on the furniture?

The correct, but vague, answer is: it depends. Not very helpful, right? Fortunately, there are some specific considerations and tips you can think through before deciding whether your pet should be allowed on the couch or bed.

Washing Away Health Concerns

There are some valid concerns with the healthiness of letting your furry friend up on your furniture. Dogs can transmit some diseases to humans, such as parasite or fungal infections. A lot of these risks can be minimized by being a responsible pet owner and making sure your pet has regular checkups and vaccinations from the vet.

Keep germs and other nasties dogs tend to drag in from the outdoors at bay by gently wiping their paws when they come indoors. Regular coat checks and bathing your dog will also help keep their fur free of anything you don't want transferred to your furniture.

If someone in your home is allergic to dogs, keeping cushions and bedding clean might not be enough to allow the furniture to be safe for that person to sit on. In this case, you may want to keep your pet off of any furniture they might use.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Importance of a Pet’s Bond

By Linda Cole

I wrote an article awhile back on how pets find their way back home. Some pet owners claim their dogs and cats are psychic, and there have been a number of studies and experiments using mazes to see if pets can connect with us telepathically. There was an interesting study done in the early 1950s by parapsychologist Dr. Karlis Osis, who experimented with his cats in a maze. There is one researcher, however, who believes the bond we share with our pets may go much deeper than we realize, and it's our bond that may make it possible for some lost pets to find their way back home. Bonding is what binds us together, and understanding a pet's love just might make you see them in a whole new light. We should never take for granted the importance of a pet's bond.

Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author who has an interesting theory on the connection some pets have with their owners. He believes pets have the ability to connect with their owners telepathically, and conducted experiments to prove it. Sheldrake filmed pets waiting at home for their owner to return. Pet owners assume their pet knows when they are close to home because they can recognize the sound of their owner's vehicle, but not all pet owners have a car. Some people use public transportation. To eliminate the possibility of a pet recognizing the familiar sound of a car engine, Sheldrake asked pet owners to think about going home at random times and then travel there by taxi. In each instance, the moment the owner thought about heading home, that was when the pet moved to a window or door to wait for their owner to return. Sheldrake believes this proves the telepathic connection our pets have with us.

He also says morphic fields exists in all mammals and links groups of social animals, including us, together at the cellular level; pets may actually bond with their owner at the very core of who we are. According to Sheldrake, a pet that has formed a strong bond with their owner feels a physical link. When that link is broken, there's a disruption in the rhythm the pet feels, which may be one of the ways some pets are able to find their owner over long distances. When they go in search of someone they love, they begin to feel more in balance as they close the distance between the person or another animal they are looking for.

I find this theory interesting – I want to believe that it's possible to have such a deep and strong bond with our pets. We know how important building a bond is, but the importance of it should not be taken for granted. Why is it pets have the ability to give us unconditional love and give it willingly, without question? We have to earn their trust, and once we have it a pet never asks for anything more. They accept us as is, and will forever honor their end of the unsigned contract we make with them.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Living with a Deaf Dog

By Langley Cornwell

When we rescued an all-white dog, we had no idea that white dogs are prone to certain health issues that other dogs are not troubled with. One problem these dogs face is the potential of being born deaf. The shelter told us to be on alert, but we didn’t understand what a dog’s color had to do with whether he could hear or not.

According to the WebMD website, researchers have not been able to determine the specific causes of congenital deafness but they can explain why it’s more common in dogs with white or mostly white heads.

Why white dogs in particular?

WebMD’s source, George M. Strain (a leading veterinary researcher on the causes of deafness in dogs and a professor of neuroscience at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine) explains why congenital deafness is more common in white dogs: "The lack of pigment on the head causes the pigment cells in the inner ear to fail to develop, or they may be lacking entirely. The lack of pigment cells causes the death of the nerve cells that need to develop for hearing to occur."

Are certain dogs at risk of being born deaf?

Due to lack of pigment, there are a number of dog breeds with a fairly high likelihood of being born deaf. Dalmatians are at most risk; 30% of Dalmatian puppies are born deaf in one or both ears. Other dog breeds with high incidents of congenital deafness include Jack Russell terriers, Catahoula Leopard dogs, Bull terriers, English setters, Whippets and Australian cattle dogs.

What causes deafness in dogs that aren’t born that way?

Some dogs are born with full hearing but go deaf at some point. Chronic ear infections, especially if left untreated, are a major culprit of this. So is drug toxicity, injury or overexposure to loud noises. In fact, many hunting dogs go deaf later in life due to guns being fired too close to their heads. And some dogs go deaf simply from old age.

How can you tell if a dog is deaf?

Holly Newstead and her husband John founded the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund in the mid 1990s after they adopted a young, deaf Dalmatian. If you question your dog’s hearing, the Newsteads recommend these home tests:

Stand still so your dog can’t see your movement or feel the vibrations of your walk. Make a loud noise behind him and see if he reacts. Try making this same noise when your dog is sleeping and notice if he reacts or not.

When conducting these experiments, use different sounds to test for different ranges of hearing. For example, blow a whistle to test your dog’s high range of hearing, clap your hands to test his mid-range, and beat a drum or the bottom of a plastic bucket to test his low range. According to the Newsteads, many dogs that seem completely deaf still have limited hearing in one or both ears.

Also notice if your dog begins to ignore commands that he’s usually on top of, or if sounds he used to acknowledge no longer elicit a reaction (i.e., the sound of his CANIDAE food being poured into his bowl). These are indications that he may be losing his hearing. For a conclusive answer, there are hearing tests that can be performed by your veterinarian.

Do deaf dogs require special training?

People who live with deaf dogs say they are as easy to train as any other dog. The only difference is that you use voice commands for hearing dogs and you use hand signals for deaf dogs.

With deaf dogs, it’s imperative to be consistent with your hand signals, whatever they are. Before beginning any training process, determine what signal will indicate what command. Use signals that you and your family understand and feel comfortable with so the dog always knows what he is being asked to do.

Additional considerations

It’s a good idea to condition a deaf dog to wake up in a calm manner; when startled awake he may respond poorly. One easy trick is to wake him up at random times and give him a dog treat every time. The dog will quickly associate being awakened with a positive experience. You can also bump the bed he’s sleeping in or stomp your feet near his dog bed so the vibrations wake him up.

It goes without saying, but a deaf dog can’t hear. Therefore, they can’t hear danger approaching like cars or other animals. For this reason, it’s important to always keep deaf dogs on a leash or in a fenced yard. It’s also advisable to add the word ‘DEAF’ to your dog’s tag, along with your current contact information.

Our dog can hear fine. Still, if she happens to lose her hearing I’m not concerned. With knowledge and love, she will thrive.

Photo by Sean Davis

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

Friday, July 6, 2012

An Itchy Kitty Gets a New Lease on Life & Fabulous Fur

By Guido the Italian Kitty

Catzowey! I’m itching to tell you about my itches that have gone arrivederci and bye bye too, and you must believes it cuz itza for sure my fur is more meowvalous and shiny than ever in all a cat’s 9 lives. And it’s not cuz I went to the deeziner fur salon and had a makeover! But I would purr to let you in on a giganticat secret.

For the first 4 years of my catzowey life, I was itching. Yep, just itching and scratching and biting my handsome man-cat fur like gnawing on myself. It was not so comfy having to live like this and strike a pose on the catwalk at the same time! My photo shoots were done around not showing my itchy tummy cuz I itched so much that I ate all of my EyeTailYun tummy fur right off of my bod. And like that’s not a furry worry, then I started on taking all the furs off of my famous legs. CATZOWEY! When I looked into the mirror, I didn't see my EyeTailYun buffed self but instead saw what I thought was a long lost scraggly relative! Catzowey, it was me looking half naked from biting off my handsome fur coat.

Oh sure, I visited abundacat dreaded V E T persons – more than I want to remember and they all said “he needs allergy tests.”  Then most of them said I was probably having an environmental reaction! Holy Cannoli – like I’m allergic to my sofa?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Does Your Dog Reflect Your Personality?

By Linda Cole

We know it's important to make sure to pick the right dog for our lifestyle. The other thing that goes along with lifestyle is our own personality. A new study shows more dog owners are picking dogs that reflect their own personality, which does indicate people are choosing dogs that fit their lifestyle. It's possible this study could be developed into a kind of questionnaire that could help dog owners make that all important decision and ensure they have picked the right dog for them. But just how accurate is the research?

I'm always a bit dubious when it comes to research that claims to answer how dog owners pick their dogs. Maybe some people do fall into a specific category based on their preference in dog breeds, but maybe not. According to a study done by researchers at Bath Spa University and presented at the 2012 British Psychological Society's yearly conference in London, they concluded dog owners pick out their dogs subconsciously, based on the dog owner's personality.

Scientists had 1,000 purebred dog owners fill out an online questionnaire and asked them about their own personality traits and which dog breed they owned. According to the researchers, the answers showed a link between personality and the dog breed they decided to bring into their homes. Researchers measured the results of the questionnaire by using the ‘Big Five’ personality traits in humans and dividing dog breeds into seven categories: gun dogs, pastoral breeds (dog breeds used to guard or herd livestock), hounds, terriers, toy breeds, working breeds and utility breeds (breeds that don't fit into one of the other groups, like the bulldog, Boston terrier, Chow Chow or Shar Pei).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pets and the Fourth of July

By Julia Williams

The 4th of July is such a fun holiday for humans, but it's one of the most stressful days of the year for our dogs and cats. The loud noises and flashes of light from fireworks can be really frightening for them. According to Petfinder, more pets go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.

Here are just a few tips to help keep your pet safe as you and your family celebrate the holiday.

* Don't take your dog to the fireworks display. They're noisy, crowded and can create anxiety and aggression in even the most normally easygoing canine.  

* Keep pets on their normal diet to avoid any stomach upsets. I know it's hard to resist the adorable begging face of a dog drooling over your barbecue fare, but do it for their sake. If you want to give them a treat, some CANIDAE TidNips are a healthy choice that won't spoil their dinner. Give your dog his treats with a loving pat on the head, and he may even forget all about that hot dog! Well, maybe not, but you won't have to deal with the after effects of a sick dog. 

* Make sure your pets stay indoors in a secure location, such as a spare bedroom. For pets that are extremely frightened of fireworks noise, playing some soothing music at a low volume might help to calm them.

* Keep windows and doors closed to prevent your pet from running away if they become frightened by the fireworks  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Should You Take a (Non-Service) Dog to a Wedding?

By Tamara McRill

Naturally, we would like to have our canine companions present at all of life's major events, but does this include weddings? With two exceptions, there isn't an easy answer, whether you're the bride and groom or a guest. If you're thoughtful and ask questions the answer shouldn't be too hard to come up with.

Here are some questions to ask and issues to think over before bringing your dog to a wedding:

Ask the Bride and Groom

This is your first stop on your way to seeing if your dog can be your plus one. It also happens to be the easiest way to find out if your dog would be welcome at the nuptials. If the bride or groom say no, then that's your answer. Don't try to pressure them otherwise—it's their special day.

Does the Venue Allow Dogs?

The second easiest way to discover if your non-service animal can attend the ceremony or reception is to ask if the venue allows animals. Most inside facilities—and some outdoor ones—don't allow pets on the premises. So even if the bride gives you the green light, make sure to check. She'll have enough on her plate with the planning.

Check the Guests

Is anyone on the guest list allergic or afraid of dogs? If so, then it might be best to leave your dog at home or in the hotel room. You don't want to not ask and have the groom's sister bring things to a halt by having an allergy induced asthma attack or some other scenario. Again, the spotlight should be on the couple and not any distress inadvertently caused by your pet.

Friendly and Trained?

Has your dog been taught to sit quietly among a group of strangers? Don't guess or risk it with a dog that has never been in that kind of situation. Even if your dog is well-behaved, they may still be affected by all the excitement and get antsy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

‘Conservation Dogs’ Help to Save an Endangered Species

By Linda Cole

Dogs have been bred for centuries to do specific jobs. Some breeds have a variety of jobs they excel at. The Anatolian Shepherd was bred to do one thing and do it well – guard his flock. Because of his dedication, bravery and size, this breed is being used in Africa as a conservation dog to help save the fastest cat on the planet, the endangered cheetah, from extinction. The cheetah is built for speed and can easily reach a top speed of 70 mph..

The Anatolian Shepherd is a very imposing canine; males stand 28-30 inches and weigh 100-150 pounds, and females stand 26-28 inches and weigh 90-130 pounds. This dog is very powerful, and bred for endurance and speed. The true origin of the breed is unknown, but it's believed they are a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff and were brought to Turkey 6,000 years ago by migrating shepherds crossing over the Himalayas from Central Asia. They were first used as war dogs and in hunting, but later bred to be guardians for flocks and families.

Because the dog is the same size and color as his flock, he blends in with the livestock which gives him an advantage over a predator that might think a flock is left unguarded. This dog is extremely loyal, very intelligent, has remarkable speed that can match that of a wolf, and will fiercely protect property, people or other animals he considers to be his. He is well equipped to take on wolves, lions, jackals, bears, mountain lions, and other predators. The Anatolian Shepherd will stand his ground and never back down when it comes to protecting whatever he is in charge of.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund began a program in 1994 in Namibia, Africa to educate farmers on how they could protect their livestock and preserve the endangered cat that had turned to their livestock for prey. In the 1980s, a severe drought hit Namibia and as the cheetah's natural prey died out, the cat was forced to turn to the farmers' livestock which was the only other food source available. The Conservation Fund set up the Livestock Guarding Dog Program and proved that cheetahs and farmers could live together in peace. The program has been a huge success. When the puppies are 14 to 16 weeks old, they are put into a flock they will be guarding and live with the livestock so they can form a bond. Because the dogs are territorial and protective, they will guard their flock with their life.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...