Friday, September 28, 2012
As a writer, nothing makes me happier than finding out that the words I’ve penned have made a difference. Whether it’s an article that helped a pet owner, or ad copy that effectively communicates a product's attributes, I am always thrilled when my contribution has a positive impact. I think every person who loves what they do feels the same, and so does every company who loves their product.
CANIDAE is no different. This family-owned company was founded out of love for pets and the desire to provide the finest natural nutrition for them. Every heartfelt testimonial CANIDAE receives from a customer is another affirmation that what they’re doing is working. I’m sure it makes them proud, as it should.
I wanted to share one such testimonial and a follow-up with you today. It’s about two beautiful dogs who will be CANIDAE customers for life. Why? Because the food made a difference in the dogs’ lives. And like I said, that’s what it’s all about.
The Original Testimonial
“We love our boxers like family. Tuckerman came to us from a breeder in March 2008. He was very thin, and was a picky eater. Getting him to eat on a regular schedule and put on some needed weight was a challenge. We searched in vain for a food that both met our expectations for nutrition and quality ingredients, and that Tuck would enjoy. We found that food in CANIDAE ALS.
About 8 months later we rescued Layla, who was also quite thin. Her previous owners advised us that she was not a big eater and was picky. A bag of the food they were feeding came with her. No wonder she wasn’t a big eater – a cursory glance at the ingredient list and quick sniff test, and that junk food was trashed. She went on CANIDAE immediately and it turns out Miss Layla is a total foodie! In fact, it was a challenge to keep her from stealing Tuck’s breakfast and dinner daily.
That was 3 years ago, and to this day they both finish their meals in record time and are always looking for more. Moreover, both dogs are at ideal weights for their breed, have beautiful coats, sparkly eyes, and bright white teeth. CANIDAE has transformed skinny, picky puppies into robust, nourished and thriving athletes. Thank you CANIDAE!” - Josey, Darrin, Tuckerman and Layla
Thursday, September 27, 2012
One of my favorite childhood memories involves me standing on a makeshift stage, hairbrush “microphone” in hand, singing full voice – with our little Terrier mutt harmonizing. Well, it sounded like harmony. That dog could sing! Every time I took the stage, she assumed her position right there beside me, ready to entertain the imaginary masses. She was my best friend, duet partner and constant companion.
My current four-legged love, an American Bulldog mix, is not a vocalist; she never sings and doesn’t bark much. If I were to put on a singing performance now I’d probably get a lot of head cocks, but I’m certain I wouldn’t hear any harmonies. (Confession: I just tested my theory. I was right, no sing-a-long. It’s a good thing I work from home!)
According to Modern Dog Magazine, scientific analyses reveal that dogs like to “sing” and they do have a sense of pitch. In fact, recordings of wolves show that each one will change his tone when others join in. It seems that none of the wolves want to end up on the same note as any other in the choir, as if they are actually trying to harmonize. That’s why a dog howling along with a recording or singing along with a group of human singers is instantly noticeable. The canine is deliberately “singing” in a different register than the other voices, and he seems to enjoy the discordant sound he is creating.
There’s no official breed standard for singing, but Huskies seem to take the unofficial prize. I suspect it’s because Mishka is such a YouTube sensation. Generally speaking, most hounds have a trademark howl that may sound musical. You can kill hours (speaking from experience) laughing at singing dogs of all types on YouTube. Oh, if only YouTube was around when my Terrier and I were in our prime… but I digress.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
When I was in high school, my family had a Siamese cat. She had a beautiful light colored coat with chocolate brown markings on her face, tail and legs. As she aged, however, her coat began to darken up. Three of my cats are black, but I've noticed one has a reddish tint starting to show up in his coat. If you have a cat with a darker coat, and have noticed a change in the color, there are reasons why the coat color may be changing.
My cats love to lie in the sun. Since they're all inside cats, I find some stretched out in warm puddles of sunlight entering through a window. As a sun puddle ebbs across the floor, the cats move with it. I can usually find a cat lying in an opened window enjoying an afternoon sunbathing as they spy on the neighbors. Jabbers is my biggest cat and always makes sure he gets a window spot, but his black coat has gotten a red tint to it from lying in the sun. Cats with dark coat colors who spend too much time in the sun can start to get a bleached out look from too much exposure to the sun. The darker colored coats of outside cats who spend a lot of their time in the sun can also have their coats fade in time due to sun exposure.
The coat color of oriental breeds like the Himalayan and Siamese are determined by temperature. More precisely, the temperature of their skin. Himalayan kittens begin life with an almost creamy colored coat. Siamese kittens are born white. As they begin to grow, color changes begin to take place in their coats and the points begin to emerge. Because the neck and body of the cat is warmer, their coat stays a lighter color and the tail, legs, face and ears turn darker because those areas of the skin are cooler. Air temperature can also play a role in coat color and their points can darken or become lighter depending on the season. A change in coat color can also indicate that your Siamese or Himalayan cat is sick and has a higher than normal temperature.
The Aging Process
Just like us, our precious kitties can begin to get gray hairs mixed in with their coat as they age. It's harder for us to see hairs losing their pigmentation on lighter colored cats, but you may notice a change in their coat color the older they get. One of my cats, Scooter, had just turned twenty a few months before she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She had a striking gray coat that faded into white on her chest and stomach. Bits of gray around her mouth began to whiten the older she got. It's a reminder to never take for granted the unconditional love we get from our pets and to give them an extra hug at night, in the morning and any other chance you get.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Dogs are often thought of as meat lovers, but some love to munch on vegetables. Take my dog Cody, for instance. He is crazy about broccoli! It doesn’t matter if it is fresh or cooked, he loves to munch on the green florets. My chocolate Labrador, Wuppy, will eat any veggie you throw at him. The problem is, just like other foods, not all vegetables are healthy or even safe for dogs to eat.
Onions and garlic are two of the most common vegetables that are poisonous to dogs – in all forms. Even the powders can have an adverse effect on your pet’s health. These vegetables destroy red blood cells in dogs, which can lead to anemia.
Although avocado is technically a fruit, it is often thought to be a veggie, so I thought I would include it here. Avocado fruit, leaves and bark all contain persin, and large amounts are toxic to dogs. So no sharing the guacamole with Fido!
While there are many table foods deadly for pets, sometimes we forget that what is growing outdoors may also be unsafe, even if it’s growing in our own gardens. Obviously you will want to keep your dog away from any of the previously mentioned foods, but did you know that the leaves and stems of garden potato plants could also make your pet sick?
Cooked potatoes are safe for dogs and are a common ingredient in many premium pet foods, such as CANIDAE. It’s the green parts that dogs have trouble with, including leaves and stems. These contain toxic alkaloids such as solanine. When eaten in enough quantities, the potato greens can trigger a gamut of illnesses in your pet, ranging from excessive drooling to central nervous system suppression.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Many people rely on service dogs to help them get through their day. Therapy dogs bring a smile to sick children in hospitals or an older person living in a nursing home. Our amazingly talented canine friends can assist people with disabilities, detect medical issues and make it possible for people with disabilities to live a normal life as best they can. Service dogs are in a class all their own. What are some of the different jobs service dogs do?
There's a difference between therapy pets and service dogs. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as one that has been trained to give assistance or perform a specific task to aid a person with either a mental or physical disability. A service dog is a working dog. The correct definition of a therapy pet is an animal that has been trained to give comfort and affection to people in nursing homes, hospitals, schools and retirement facilities, and to help disaster victims deal with stress. The therapy pet usually belongs to the person handling him/her.
A disabled person assisted by a service dog has access to businesses because the person's rights are protected under the ADA. Therapy dogs are not under the protection of the ADA and their access can be limited or restricted. It's important to point out, the ADA protects the rights of the disabled person, and not the rights of the dog.
Mobility assistance dogs help people who have physical impairments. These dogs are trained to help open/close doors, push buttons, and retrieve objects for their owner. They can give assistance to people who need help with balance and to walk. Larger dogs can be trained to pull a wheelchair with a specially made harness to prevent the dog from being harmed or injured.
Walker dogs are in the same category as mobility assistance dogs. They provide help for people who are recovering from a physical injury and need help walking. If a dog's owner falls or loses their balance, the dog is trained to be a brace the person can lean against or use as a “crutch” to get back up. Walker dogs are important for people with Parkinson's disease; they assist them with walking and helping them keep their balance.
Friday, September 21, 2012
As responsible adults, we make all sorts of “arrangements” throughout our lives. We make arrangements for our children, our elderly parents, our finances and our assets. Some people obtain life insurance and designate godparents for their children, to ensure their family is taken care of should the unthinkable happen. Even so, many people do not make arrangements for their pets. Until last year, I was one of them. It wasn’t because I didn’t love my cats. On the contrary – they are “like children” to me in many ways. It also wasn’t because I didn’t take their health and welfare seriously. So why didn’t I ever discuss with anyone what I’d want for my babies if something happened to me?
Good question. I think I was somewhat in denial. It’s not that I believed I would live forever or that nothing could ever happen to me. I understand that life is unpredictable, and you just never know. Still, sometimes I think people – myself included – sweep these thoughts away because we want to believe that all will be well. Usually it is. But what would happen “if.” We don’t really like to think of that, yet we must.
This was brought home to me during a conversation with a friend about how I’d feel if something happened to my heart cat, Annabelle. My friend asked me which situation would be worse – me losing Belle or she losing me. I’d never really thought about it before, but there’s no question that Belle would be deeply affected. She and I have as close a bond as any human/pet possibly can. “Devastated” or “heartbroken” are likely not words cats comprehend, but Belle would certainly be sad.
Straight away, I made arrangements for my three cats, with people I loved and trusted. As a single person, it was imperative that I arrange for my cat’s care should there come a time when I wouldn’t be able to. I could never leave it up to chance. I could never just live my life “hoping” that my cats would be taken in by family and if that wasn't possible, that they would make sure my cats had wonderful, loving homes with people who cherished them.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
It doesn’t seem fair that a cat breed has prettier hair than I do, but that’s the case with the beautiful LaPerm. These gorgeous cats’ coats are curly; the curls can be loose and wavy or ringlet-style, ranging from tight Shirley Temple type ringlets to extended corkscrew curls. Their coats can be any color and coat pattern, it’s the curls that make it a LaPerm. In fact, the name LaPerm means rippled or wavy.
History of the LaPerm Cat
This cat breed hasn’t been recognized for long; in 1982 the breed actually started as a mutation of a robust, healthy barn cat. The Cat Fanciers’ Association relates the story of a farmer in Oregon whose land, located near the ancient fishing and hunting grounds of the Wishram Indians, was peppered with barn cats. One of the cats had a litter of six kittens, and one was born without a hair on her body—she was completely bald. Even though she was hairless, the kitten had big, wide-spaced ears and classic tabby-type patterns marked on her skin. At around eight weeks old, the kitten’s coat started to come in curly. And when she reached three to four months of age she had a full coat of soft, curly hair. The farmer named her “Curly.”
Once the farm owner was made aware of how unusual these cats were, she wanted to learn more about breeding. She started confining the cats and studying their offspring. She determined that the curly gene was dominant and was carried by both the male and female cats. The farmer-turned-breeder entered one of her beautiful, curly-coated cats in a cat show and got a huge reaction; she was overwhelmed with the amount of interest and excitement the cat generated. It was that farm lady in Oregon who established the breed and gave the cats the name of LaPerm.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
When couples get to the point where it's time to meet the parents, it can be a bit stressful if you don't know how the folks will receive your new partner. That can be a piece of cake compared to the first meeting between your significant other and your pet!
Even with a dog or cat, that first impression is important and makes a big difference to both your pet and partner. From a pet's point of view, there are polite and respectful greetings and rude ones. A pet can easily get freaked out if someone invades their space without asking for permission first. We don't appreciate someone we just met moving too fast, and pets share that view. Take it slow so your pet and partner can start off on the right foot from the beginning.
Scent is one way dogs and cats explore and understand their world. Before you were serious about your partner, you were bringing their scent into your home. When you are getting ready for the first meeting between your dog and new mate, begin by introducing their smell into your home. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to bring home a T-shirt or small towel with their scent on it. Have your pet sniff the fabric and leave it lying around where they can find it. Reward your pet with their favorite CANIDAE treat and give praise. You want your pet to have an enjoyable association with the other person's smell, and when he finally meets your boyfriend/girlfriend, he will recognize their scent in a positive way.
When your partner greets your dog for the first time, it's best if you can do it somewhere outside the home. Meet at a quiet park, in the front yard of your home, or on a favorite hiking trail. Have your partner stand sideways and let your dog walk up and smell them. Don't give him direct eye contact, don't talk to him, and don't force a meeting. Allow him space to approach the person when he's ready. Stay relaxed and calm.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Video chatting isn't just a great way for us humans to stay in contact—it can also keep our dogs in touch with those they love. I have one dog, Cody, who always gets face time with the camera when someone he knows comes up on chat. Okay, to be honest, sometimes people come up on chat just to say hi to him. (Like a lot of animal lovers, I've made peace with the fact that my pets are more popular than I am.)
Cody doesn't make much noise when his friends (mostly my nephews) video chat with him, but his crazy-happy tail thumping shows how excited he is.
Checking in on Vacation
Like a lot of responsible pet owners, we always have a pet sitter stay at our house when we go on vacation. Given how stressful not seeing us for a week is on our three dogs, I wish I would have thought of checking in via video a long time ago. Video chatting can work both ways when it comes to separation anxiety during vacations. Not only does your pet get visual affirmation that they will see you again, but you also get to actually see how well they are being taken care of.
Keeping Tabs on Loved Ones
From going to college to divorce to moving and more, there are many reasons dogs get separated from people they are used to interacting with daily. With video chatting, dogs don’t have to wait months or even years to see them again. Don’t forget closely bonded animals that get torn apart for some reason or another – say your roommate and her cat move across country. They may appreciate seeing each other on the computer, as opposed to never having any type of contact with each other ever again.
Monday, September 17, 2012
CANIDAE has been a huge supporter of The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank since 2009, when their initial donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food helped this very important charity open their doors. Larry Chusid founded The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank to help people feed their beloved pets, so the animals can remain with the family instead of being surrendered to a shelter. Although many who receive the lifesaving pet food from The Pongo Fund never imagined they’d ever be unable to feed their pet without help, it can and does happen to all walks of life.
To date, The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has provided meals for over 50,000 hungry animals throughout Oregon & Southwest Washington. Now it's our turn to give back to Larry and The Pongo Fund, and I'm asking for your help.
The Pongo Fund is entered in the Chase Community Giving contest for a share of $5 million in grants to the winning charities. A win for The Pongo Fund would come at a very good time, because the charity was recently forced out of their building after it was severely damaged by rain and slated for demolition. The pet food bank has located a new home, but will now have to pay rent and restock the warehouse.
CANIDAE will continue to lend a hand with donations of their premium pet food and treats, but it takes more than one company to keep Larry's lifesaving work going. Winning $50,000 would go a long way in helping The Pongo Fund get back on their feet so they can continue to feed pets in need.
Friday, September 14, 2012
“Train a cat? Ha ha! Very funny. That’s a joke, right?” No, it isn’t. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to train a cat to do tricks. You really can teach your cat to sit, shake, give you a high five, fetch on command and any other trick you want. But (and this is a BIG but)… it won’t be easy. Then again, if it was too easy the thrill of victory wouldn’t be half as sweet!
If you want to teach your cat to do tricks, you need a wealth of four things: patience, determination, time and cat treats. Anyone who is familiar with the independent nature of cats knows why training them requires lots of the first three things. Unlike our canine friends, cats really have no innate desire to please anyone except themselves. As for the cat treats, there’s simply no greater motivator for felines than food. Praise? Cats have no use for praise, and although most do enjoy a good brushing or petting, it’s just not enough to inspire them to do your bidding.
So before you begin to train a cat, it’s wise to stock up on some tasty cat treats. You really can’t go wrong with FELIDAE TidNips™. These soft cat treats are made with real chicken meat and supplemented with Vitamin E, an antioxidant, and Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. More importantly, they are delicious! (No, I haven’t eaten any myself, but the reaction I get from my three cats at treat time is all I need to know).
Another important aspect of cat training is that you have to coax them to do what you want, such as “sit” or “shake.” When they do, say the command loudly and clearly, and immediately give them their food reward. You can also praise them lavishly and pet them, although as I said before, this is not nearly as effective as the cat treat.
If you don’t succeed after a few days (and you probably won’t), don’t get discouraged. Remember the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Simply keep trying. Trust me…training a cat to do tricks can be done!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
By Langley Cornwell
Stacey Mae is a beloved therapy dog in Canon City, Colorado. With over 19,000 Facebook fans, this Greater Swiss Mountain Dog’s good deeds span the globe. Some of us at the CANIDAE Responsible Pet Ownership Blog wanted to know more about this four-legged angel.
I had the opportunity to interview Stacey Mae. With a motto like Never Give Up, Never Back Down, Never Lose Faith, you get a sense of the dog and her guardian’s character. Throughout the process, however, I was only granted access to Stacey Mae herself. Apparently her guardian wants all of the credit and acclaim to go to Stacey Mae. Maybe that’s another peek behind the curtain?
What made your family get involved in canine nursing home therapy?
My family had another Greater Swiss Mountain dog named Gracie who visited nursing homes for several years. They wanted to do something nice for the elderly and knew that people in nursing homes really like dogs. Gracie was mellow and loved people, so my family thought it would be a good fit. Unfortunately, the nursing home where Gracie visited closed down. When that happened, my family stopped going. Then Gracie crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2008.
Once Gracie passed away, my family thought I would do a good job visiting homes since I am so relaxed. I don’t lick, and just like to spend time with people. I’m fine if people want to pet me and if they don't, I’ll just lay down near them to keep them company in their final days, months or years.
How old were you when you started?
Just a little over a year old.
What do you most like about being a therapy dog?
The people; I’ve met wonderful people at the nursing home, and I can tell I’m helping. Even though it is hard to say goodbye, knowing I helped make their time better is worth it.
Then you wanted to do more?
Yes. After about 2 years of simply visiting the elderly, we wanted to do something more. So in October of 2010 we launched the Teddy Bear Project.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Most dog breeds originated in other countries and migrated to the United States with immigrants. The most popular dog in the United States is the Labrador Retriever, a breed that hails north of our border in Canada. However, we do have our own “Made in America” breeds. Here are just a few of the dog breeds that hail from the U.S.
Redbone Coonhound – Billy Coleman's two dogs in the classic tale “Where the Red Fern Grows” were Redbone Coonhounds. The Redbone is a scenthound, and his job is to tree raccoons and mountain lions. In the late 1700s, immigrants from Scotland brought their red foxhounds with them when they came to America. Some of the more serious breeders of the time set out to create a red hound with a “hotter” nose than the coonhounds they had been using. The Redbone hails from Tennessee and Georgia. AKC officially recognized the Redbone Coonhound in 2009.
Boston Terrier – In the early days, the Boston Terrier was a cross of the now extinct English White Terrier and the English Bulldog. The breed has its origins in Boston, Massachusetts. Sometime around 1865, coachmen who worked for wealthy Bostonians started to interbreed dogs owned by their employers. A dog named Hooper's Judge was bred to a smaller female and a male pup from her litter was bred to a smaller female. Finally, one of her pups was bred with French Bulldogs, creating the foundation for Boston Terriers. These little dogs were bred to be companion dogs. AKC officially recognized the Boston Terrier in 1893.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Who hasn’t known a dog that has struggled with going for what they want as soon as they see it? From snatching food to chasing squirrels and bounding out the door, to jumping on their favorite people, the wonderfully curious and energetic nature of dogs can lead to all sorts of impulses. These urges need to be kept in check for their own safety as well as the safety of other people and pets. As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to help our dogs with impulse control. Here are five simple tips to help work towards better impulse control:
Even the most well-behaved pets have that one thing that really messes with their control. For one of our dogs, Dusty, it’s mail. He has the clichéd need to get at the mail carrier, and knows that those envelopes and packages are delivered by his two-legged nemesis. Since we recognize that this is an impulse trigger for him, we can take steps to avoid getting him riled up in the first place and work with him on not eating our bills.
By noticing when your dog acts up, you can do the same. If you don’t instantly notice a pattern, you can try keeping a behavior diary. Note what your pet did, where, the time of day and if any other pets or people were present.
Monday, September 10, 2012
When I was a kid, a friend of my parents had a Chihuahua that would snarl and try to bite us if we got too close to her owner or her toys. One time when we were visiting, the dog bit me because I had gotten too close to a toy she had hidden under a bush outside. Possessive behavior in dogs can easily turn into aggression if it's not corrected.
A possessive dog is trying to control and dominate people and other pets in the home by claiming things like his toys, sleeping area, food bowl, and even his owner. He sees threats all around him and it makes him uncomfortable, so he reacts in an aggressive way. The possessive dog is always on high alert and refuses to give up what he thinks is his and won't back down.
Possessive behavior says your dog believes you can't and won't protect him, so he has to do it himself. He's confused, stressed out and insecure from always being on guard. Small dogs that display possessive behavior are often laughed at by their owners who think their dog's aggression is cute, but it's not. He's a very stressed out and extremely unhappy little dog.
The best way to keep your dog from developing a possessive behavior is to establish yourself as his leader from day one. Your interactions with your dog tell him where he stands in your pack, and you need to be the one holding the top spot. You don't become the leader by trying to dominate a dog, you prove yourself as a fair, compassionate and understanding leader, and earn it. Most behavior problems can be avoided when the dog is allowed to be just a dog while you make all of the decisions and show him you will protect all members of your pack, including him.
Food aggression and guarding the food bowl
You are the one who controls the food, not him. Food aggression is a serious behavior that needs to be dealt with immediately. Growling at you, the kids or other pets that come too close to his bowl is food aggression. Instead of putting your dog's full bowl on the floor, have him sit in front of you and keep his food up away from him. Hand feed him his meals for three or four days.
Friday, September 7, 2012
There are a lot of famous movie lines that, when you hear them, you instantly know the film and the character who uttered the line. Sometimes, famous movie lines even make their way into pop culture and are repeated in various scenarios. Who among us hasn’t jokingly yelled “Yo, Adrian!” or “Stella!”
Several years back, the American Film Institute polled 1,500 film artists, critics and historians to create a list of the top 100 movie quotes in American films. Can you guess which famous movie quote was deemed the most memorable of all time? It was Clark Gable’s infamous “Frankly my dear…” line in Gone with the Wind.
What does all that have to do with pets, you ask? One day I was bored, and I decided to “remake” some of the famous movies lines, pretending they were spoken by cats and dogs instead. Then I thought, why not make a little quiz for you, just for fun? See if you can guess which films these “new and improved” movie quotes were taken from. (Answers are below).
A. “You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a cat show champion. I could've been somebody, instead of a lowly housecat, which is what I am.”
B. “Round up the usual chew toys.”
C. “Love means never having to say you’re out of CANIDAE dog food.”
D. “Why don’t you come up sometime and brush my fur.”
E. “Show me the catnip!”
F. “May the cat food breath be with you.”
G. “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some TidNips treats and a nice saucer of milk.”
H. “Get your stinking mitts off me, you damned dirty human.”
I. “I'm napping here! I'm napping here!”
J. “You can't handle the dog bones!”
K. “Of all the catnip joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
L. “I love the smell of doggie breath in the morning.”
M. “Open the cupboard door, HUMAN.”
N. “There’s no place like the couch. Unless it’s your bed. Or your chair.”
O. “I'm gonna make him a cat toy he can't refuse.”
P. “What we’ve got here is a failure to feed me on time.”
Q. “We'll always have cat food breath.”
R. “After all, tomorrow is another opportunity to get more dog treats!”
S. “Go ahead, make my breakfast. And my dinner, too.”
T. “You barkin’ at me?”
U. “Cat toys? We ain’t got no cat toys! We don’t need no cat toys! I don’t have to show you any stinking cat toys!”
V. “I see dead mice.”
W. “Nobody puts Kitty in a corner.”
X. “Fasten your doggie door. It's going to be a bumpy night.”
Y. “Keep your cat fur close, but your Furminator closer.”
Z. “As God is my witness, I'll never have another hairball again.”
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Because we have a shy and fearful dog, I’ve researched, read and written about the topic a lot in the past four years. Until Frosty came into our lives, all my pets had been friendly, well-socialized and approachable. At first, I thought her fearful reaction to people and places was a result of an especially rough start in life, and that we could “love” her back to “normal.” Those of you with a shy pet can back me up on this – that’s not how it works. Our dog needed help and we weren’t equipped with the right tools or knowledge. It was time to get to work.
As with a lot of animal behavioral issues, opinions regarding how to help fearful dogs vary. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know what works for us with our dog. Additionally, I’ve met compassionate people with insecure dogs at training classes and dog parks, and had the opportunity to share stories. Feedback from my CANIDAE RPO blog articles How to Train a Fearful or Insecure Dog, Training Games for Shy Dogs and Tips for Walking a Shy or Fearful Dog has been positive, but since writing those articles I’ve gotten comments and emails from people with even more questions.
We’ve read some excellent books in our effort to learn more about working with Frosty. And the more we understand about fear-based behavior, the better we’re able to effectively help our dog. This list isn’t exhaustive, but here are a handful of books I recommend to anyone who becomes a guardian to an anxious, shy or fearful pup.
Scaredy Dog by Ali Brown: This is the first book I’ve read by Ali Brown, but it won’t be my last. Scaredy Dog helped me understand more about Frosty’s fear-based behavior. Brown’s technique is no-force, easy to understand, and based on developing a working relationship with your pet, which is how I work best. What I love about this book is that once you see progress being made, you get a feeling of empowerment. Frosty and I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel like this book helped me get a handle on an overwhelming situation and start making noticeable headway towards a well-behaved, balanced dog. We’ll get there!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
When it comes to finding animal stars among the masses, Hollywood producers and animal trainers know talent when they see it. They understand the value of a good pet, and search the shelters to find the next pet star waiting to be discovered. Broadway producers also scour animal shelters when searching for the perfect pet to cast in a Broadway show. Just what kind of pets can you find in shelters? Some of the most talented, well behaved and smartest pets around.
I previously wrote an article on famous TV and movie pets adopted from shelters and trained for their specific roles. Many of the most recognized and loved pets on TV or in the movies did time in a shelter. Some of these famous pets were just hours away from being put down when they were discovered. I think it's safe to say that the performance a Black Mouth Cur named Spike gave us in “Old Yeller” made us all a little teary eyed. Spike was found in a California animal shelter. Morris the orange Tabby was found in a shelter in the nick of time, and became famous as the finicky feline in TV commercials. Higgins, the lovable and talented mutt that starred on “Petticoat Junction” and known as “Dog” from 1963-1970, went on to delight children in one of his other famous roles as Benji. He was found at a shelter in Burbank, California.
A two year old Terrier mix named Sunny is one of Broadway's newest stars. She will be playing the role of Sandy in a remake of the musical “Annie,” due to open later this fall. Sunny was rescued from a Houston, Texas kill shelter and was on their list to be put down when her picture was spotted online by animal trainer William Berloni. He prefers searching for animal talent in shelters because, “The most talented animals are right there under your nose. The message is: Animals in shelters are not damaged, just unfortunate,” Berloni said to the Associated Press in a July 2012 interview. He continued “I always say anybody could have gone into a shelter and adopted any one of the animals that I've turned into Broadway stars the day before I did. And they would have been great dogs in someone's home.”
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Does your dog whine? Do you, like many pet owners, assume that whining means something is bothering your dog? Or does your dog whine at specific times when you know there is nothing wrong? Many of us have wondered why dogs whine and how to stop inappropriate whining. To put it simply, whining is a form of vocal communication for your dog. Whether he whines when he’s excited or anxious, or as part of a “conversation” with you, (don’t scoff – you know you talk to your dog!) whining serves a purpose. However, you can work with your dog to eliminate the whining when he simply wants attention or when he’s feeling anxious.
Let’s look at some of the times and reasons why dogs whine.
Appeasement - Some dogs whine and take a submissive posture when interacting with other dogs and with people. This is an age old pack trait, and can be changed by helping your dog gain some confidence and dominance. Take your dog to an agility or obedience class with reward based training. The more you interact with your dog, the more confidence he will gain and the less you will see appeasement behaviors. Avoid verbally intimidating the dog, and as always never physically punish your dog; these behaviors will make the dog more timid and prone to appeasement.
Greeting - Whining during greeting you at the door or meeting up with another dog is often a form of excitement and expression for your dog. While this is perfectly natural, if it bothers you, then you can work to train your dog not to whine. Teaching your dog to sit or hand target when greeting people is one way to help keep him calm and possibly eliminate the whining. Keep in mind that most whining is involuntary and your dog isn’t going to understand if you say “Quiet.” Your dog will learn what you teach, so take the time to teach other behaviors to replace the whining greeting and the dog will be focused on being mannerly instead.
Monday, September 3, 2012
I have always had a love affair with the Siberian Husky. This dog breed is what made living in Alaska possible for the brave souls who chose to live in a harsh, but beautiful, land. One day I was walking my female Husky, Cheyenne. A lady approaching us moved off the sidewalk and said as we walked by that my dog looked mean. It surprised me and I asked her why she said that. “Those eyes look mean.” After she moved on, I looked at Cheyenne. I saw a friendly face with beautiful icy blue eyes filled with playfulness and a dash of mischief. Siberian Huskies were bred to run and it's the one thing they love to do, but they are also gentle and good natured, with the right owner.
Siberian Huskies (Sibes) are native to Siberia where they were used for centuries by the Chukchi Tribe to pull sleds, herd reindeer, and as watch dogs. Because of their quick speed, fur traders brought them from Siberia to Alaska to run in arctic races. It was the 1925 diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska that helped to make the breed popular. Huskies are hard working sled dogs with an amazing endurance to run for an entire day or longer, if necessary, with only short rest periods. They are an intelligent breed and can make smart decisions when needed.
A Siberian Husky is born to run and requires daily exercise to keep his mind and spirit sharp. No matter how well trained you think your dog is, never let a Husky off leash. This is a dog with a strong prey drive and he won't hesitate to chase after a rabbit, cat or other small animal. Once loose, a Husky will only return when he's ready to, as long as he doesn't get lost.