Friday, May 31, 2013

What Brings Your Pet Joy?

By Julia Williams

One of the things I find most interesting about human beings is our uniqueness. We each have a distinct set of things we like, and things we don’t like. No matter how many humans you compared side by side, you’d never find two whose preferences matched. It’s the same with our pets. While some people think animals are a less complicated species than humans, in terms of their preferences each pet is unlike any other. However, without the ability to speak our language, pets generally have a harder time making those preferences known. They have to rely on body language and their own “animal speak” to get their point across. They also need an owner who is tuned in and takes the time to discover what floats their boat.

Understanding what brings your pet joy and then doing what you can to provide that for them is a wonderful way to deepen your bond. We humans appreciate it when others make a point of knowing what we love and what we don’t, so why should it be any different for our pets? It’s really not, but because of the language barrier we typically don’t learn all of our pet’s likes and dislikes as quickly as we do with humans. It can take many months, sometimes even years, of observation and trial-and-error to figure out what makes them tick. The reward – a beautiful, close-knit relationship – is well worth it, though.

Discovering what your pet loves is important, but what is also crucial is making sure that others know these things, too. When I wrote Have You Made Arrangements for Your Pet, I neglected to mention this, but I should have. It’s an essential arrangement for every family with pets but especially those who are single. I was reminded of this while reading Gwen Cooper’s novel, Love Saves the Day. The cat protagonist lived with a single woman who passed away. Even though the cat’s new family was the woman’s daughter, she was thrust into a home where they knew nothing about what she loved and what she didn’t. Many pets are surrendered to shelters without this critical information as well.

Change is hard enough for any pet. Imagine suddenly being in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers, unable to tell them that the food they offered wasn’t appealing to your palate, or that you wanted a lighter touch of the brush when they groomed you, or that what you really wanted someone to do, more than anything, was scratch your belly. It would be frustrating, to say the least. A pet’s quality of life would surely be diminished if they weren’t being provided with what they love most.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Patsy Ann, the "Official Greeter" of Juneau, Alaska

By Linda Cole

The mystery of how and why dogs do certain things has never been solved, and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. It's a conundrum that constantly reminds us of the amazing abilities of dogs. Such is the case with Patsy Ann, a white Bull Terrier who left her home and family behind to become the “Official Greeter” of Juneau, Alaska, welcoming ships as they docked. What impressed the townspeople was that even though Patsy Ann was born deaf, she was able to “hear” the whistles of ships preparing to dock before they were even in sight. She was the most famous dog west of the Mississippi during the 1930s.

Patsy Ann was born on October 12, 1929 in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Keyser, a Juneau dentist, purchased the pup for his twin daughters, and Patsy Ann traveled by ship to her new home in Alaska. Once there, however, things didn't go well in her new home and she was given to another family in Juneau. But Patsy Ann had a mind of her own and wasn't the “settling down with one family” type of dog. She regularly escaped to make her rounds around town and visit human friends. A friendly soul adored by everyone, Patsy Ann had become Juneau's dog.

How Patsy Ann knew a ship was coming has remained a mystery. Maybe she felt vibrations from the whistle in the air or smelled the smoke coming from the smokestacks on the steamships. As soon as the first whistles were heard, no matter where Patsy Ann was in town, she eagerly trotted to the pier before the ship was even in sight. She even knew which of the seven docks the ship was making its way to!

A story the locals loved to tell was the time the newspaper misprinted the dock for an incoming ship, which sent everyone to the wrong dock to wait. As Patsy Ann made her way to the wharf, she saw the crowd gathering at the published dock. She stared at them for a moment before moving on to the correct dock and sat down to wait. Every now and then, she'd glance at the people and then turn her head back towards the channel. When the crowd realized the ship was heading for the dock Patsy Ann was at, they began to wander over to join her.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why Does My Cat Play Rough?

By Langley Cornwell

Our cat is a great hunter as well as an affectionate family man. As an avid animal lover, it’s hard to appreciate it when he proudly presents a wounded or dead “gift” to me and then waits expectantly for my approval. I do my best, and also make sure that he has a loud ringing bell on his collar – just to level the playing field.

Many times when we are lounging on the sofa and our sweet cat is resting on my lap, I’ll mindlessly start stroking between his ears. Sometimes he purrs so loudly and contently that I can’t hear the television. We are both enjoying relaxation time. Then, without warning he’ll suddenly swat at me or quickly twist and nip at my hand. I always know he doesn’t mean to hurt me but I’m still perplexed by his actions. I mean, if we are both completely kicked back, why would he want to change the mood so abruptly?

Apparently there is a direct correlation between high prey instincts and rough play. Cats that have a very high play-prey instinct can get excited quickly and will sometimes gently attack your hands, fingers, feet, legs, etc.

Kittens and adolescent cats often engage in energetic, rough play; feline play consists of mock aggression which helps young cats hone their physical coordination and their social skills. Cats have a good time stalking, chasing, scratching, pouncing and biting one another.

As I suspected, when cats with a high play-prey instinct get overexcited during petting time and start to nibble at your fingers and hands, the cat is not being aggressive. In fact, some people refer to these nibbles and nips as love bites.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let’s Have a Birthday “Pawty” for Fido!

By Lisa Mason

Most pet parents are as proud of their four-legged kids as other parents are of their human offspring. Why shouldn’t a dog owner throw their little fur bundle of joy a huge birthday bash, complete with all of the finery that other birthday boys and girls get? There is no reason, and the idea of a dog’s birthday party is starting to become quite popular.

Your dog’s birthday “pawty” can be as small or as elaborate as you would like. If the birthday party is to be a small affair of just family members, it can be accomplished quite easily. Remember that your canine birthday boy or girl can’t eat a traditional birthday cake with all of that sugary frosting. You can easily find recipes online to make your pup a special cake, and there are also bakeries that specialize in dog-safe baked goods.

Wait to offer the birthday cake until after your dog has eaten her regular food. If you can convince your family, spread a blanket on the floor and have everyone sit in a circle. You will have no trouble getting your birthday dog to crowd into the center. You can sing Happy Birthday and then let each family member hand feed your dog a piece of his birthday cake. Your dog will be thrilled with all of the attention!

Inviting Guests

If you plan to invite guests to the birthday celebration, some dog bakeries have a party planner on staff that can handle the entire affair for you, but it may be out of your budget. You can still throw a wonderful birthday “pawty” for your dog and all his canine friends without breaking your budget.

It’s a sure bet that you have pictures of the dog on your computer. Use a photo to make simple invitations and send them to all of his canine pals. Don’t forget to mention whether or not you will be accepting gifts. It is a good idea to either say, “No gift is necessary” or “If you’d like to bring a gift, Fido prefers CANIDAE food and treats.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

Five Reasons Why Your Dog Ignores You

By Linda Cole

There's no getting around it, some dogs are quite good at ignoring their owner! It's frustrating when you try to get your dog's attention and he keeps on doing whatever it is he's doing. Here are five reasons why your dog might not be paying attention to you:

Lack of Proper Training

How we train a dog matters, and can make a difference in how they respond to us. If you don't take the time to teach your dog how you want him to behave, you can't expect him to know what you want. Yelling, kicking, hitting or any unfair punishment won't teach a dog how you want him to behave. As responsible pet owners, it's also our job to make sure we put valuable or important things up out of a dog's reach, and provide a safe and secure area in the home where he can wait when we're away from home.

Poor Timing During Training

Most dogs respond to treat training and praise during training sessions. Poor timing (when the reward is late) can mean the difference between a dog learning a command or not getting it. My dogs love CANIDAE TidNips™ treats, especially Keikei. As soon as she sees the treats, she's ready for her lessons. To be effective when giving a treat reward or praise, it has to be given immediately after compliance by the dog. You only have a window of about 3 seconds where your dog can associate the treat with the command. If the dog misses the connection between the two, he won't understand what you want him to learn. If you are teaching your dog to sit, the second his behind hits the floor, give him his reward. When you call him to come, as soon as he's in front of you, give him his reward.

Not Understanding Body Language 

Dogs learn not only from our verbal words, but also from watching our face and body language for cues. A dog's knowledge of body language is so refined, they understand what we want by signals we give with our body and tone of voice. If you have an understanding of the body language of dogs and are aware of the signals you are giving your dog, it can help get your point across. It's possible you are being ignored because your pet doesn't understand what you are asking him to do.

For example, if your dog continues to jump up on you and isn't listening to your down command, turn your side to him. Fold your arms so he can't touch your hands, don't look at him and don't speak to him. If he follows you as you move away from him, turn your back to him. If he continues, calmly walk away from him. He knows what that means. Your body language tells him everything he needs to know. Work on his training, but don't neglect your body language to help him learn.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review – Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper

By Julia Williams

The best novels not only keep us engaged from beginning to end but create such memorable characters that we think of them long after the last page has been turned. Good writers have the ability to “paint” a masterpiece with their words, to describe people, places and events in a way that makes us feel like we’re right there in the scene. We feel what the characters feel; we rejoice when things go well, and cry when they don’t. We wish the story would never end, because it’s hard to bid farewell to people who have become as real as those in our own lives.

Gwen Cooper’s new novel, Love Saves the Day, achieves all of this and then some. With a sassy brown tabby as its primary narrator, the book is certain to appeal to cat lovers. However, it has so much more to offer – with universal themes of love, loss, healing, family and relationships – that I honestly can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t be touched by this hauntingly beautiful tale.

Gwen and Homer
Cooper is a wonderful writer who has a true gift. Her memoir titled Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, became a New York Times Bestseller, and it’s highly likely that Love Saves the Day will be equally popular.

Love Saves the Day Synopsis

Prudence is a very cool cat with a great purrsonality. Love Saves the Day allows us to see life through the eyes of a cat – one who is sweet, sassy, wise, witty, clever, loving and funny. Her unique feline perspective is artfully captured by Cooper, who obviously understands cats (and knows them as well as any human can!). To wit: “All cats are born knowing that there’s no point in paying attention to unreasonable rules made by humans,” says Prudence.

The story, set in New York City, begins with Prudence describing her home and her Most Important Person, Sarah. Prudence was just five weeks old when Sarah rescued her from a deserted construction site. Now three, she and Sarah have forged a beautiful bond. Prudence has Sarah fully trained in the feline courtesies and customs, and life is good.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Highest Paid Animal Actors

Rin Tin Tin in the 1929 film Frozen River

By Langley Cornwell

Animals don't really care about money, but nevertheless, when it comes to animal actors, they do indeed get paid. Some animal actors receive a hefty fee for their performances, and that pay would make any human drool. Who are the highest paid animal actors? Check these out.

Rin Tin Tin the Dog 

This beloved pooch starred in 26 films for Warner Brothers and commanded a cool $6,000 each week. In today's money, that would equal $78,000 per week! With that income, he could feed himself and thousands of his friends a healthy diet of CANIDAE dog food. Rin Tin Tin earned Warner Brothers so much money, in fact, that he was responsible for bringing the studio back from the brink of bankruptcy in 1930. Rin Tin Tin was a German shepherd dog that was rescued from a battlefield during World War I by an American soldier named Lee Duncan. Duncan trained "Rinty," his pet name for his dog. Rin Tin Tin became a beloved movie icon and was rumored to have received the most votes for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929, but the Academy would only give the award to a human. The original Rin Tin Tin died in 1932. (Read more about this famous animal actor in The True Story of Rin Tin Tin).

Keiko the Whale

This killer whale made a killing financially, thanks to his depiction of Willy in the Free Willy films. He earned a grand total of over $36 million for his role! Eventually, Keiko gained his own freedom in 2002, as he was returned to the open ocean. Sadly, Keiko died in 2003 in Norway from a bout with pneumonia, but his work lives on after his passing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Do Dogs Show Their Love?

By Linda Cole

Dogs show us affection in many different ways. Most pet owners recognize their own pet's love in his body language, and some dogs have unique ways of showing us how important we are to them. One way my Border Collie mix, Keikei, shows her affection is by holding her paw up so we can “hold hands.” There are, however, some common ways dogs show their love.

Doggy Kisses

Some canines give kisses more readily than others, and licking is a common way for them to show their love. Your dog may lick your legs, feet, hands, arms or face. If you have a dog that shows affection by licking your hands, make sure to wash them before preparing or eating food. Don't allow your pet to lick open wounds you may have. A doggy kiss is fine, but his tongue can transmit bacteria to your hands or an open sore.

The Pied Piper Effect

One sure sign of love is wanting to keep you in sight at all times. Sure, your dog may follow you to the kitchen just in case there's something in it for him, but he's more likely following you because he cares. Dogs have an innate protective nature when it comes to pack members, and to our canine friends we are a member of their pack. His natural desire is to follow you and wherever you lead – he will follow. But tagging along because he wants to be near you can also be a sign of separation anxiety. If you notice increased levels of stress before you leave and when he's home alone, talk to your vet for advice on how to help ease his anxiety. A checkup can rule out any medical issues that could be causing him stress.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Pongo Fund Saves Lives and Keeps Families Together

CANIDAE partnered with The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank 3½ years ago to help feed the hungry pets in Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas. They helped its founder, Larry Chusid, stock the shelves by donating a massive amount of their premium quality dog food and cat food.

Although that initial shipment of pet food is long gone, CANIDAE continues to support this worthwhile charity because they know it is saving many animals’ lives. Since opening their doors in November 2009, The Pongo Fund has served millions of quality meals and more importantly, has enabled countless dogs and cats to remain in their home with the people they love.

We wanted to share this touching note from The Pongo Fund with our readers. It’s just one example of many, of how this pet food bank is making a difference in the lives of animals and families, but it’s a beautiful thing.


A 14 year-old Boston Terrier. A 12 year-old Lab. A 7 year-old Pit Bull. And two kitties. What do they all have in common? They all belong to a family that has endured a run of incredibly bad luck. Desperate and heartbroken, they called the shelter to find out about giving their animals up. What did the shelter say?

Call The Pongo Fund.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Most Talkative Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

My Redbone Coonhound always had something to say, and always got the last word, especially when I made her move out of my chair. Rosie let me know she was giving up her spot in protest and filing a complaint to whoever would listen. She even let me know when she felt it was time for her CANIDAE dog treats. She'd bring me her treat can, drop it in my lap and then sit down, giving me a few respectful woofs in case I missed her hint. I miss those conversations I had with her over the years. Some dog breeds are quiet, but some are quite vocal and don't have a problem letting you know what's on their mind.

You would think the most vocal dog breeds would be easy to list, but they aren't. Dogs have been bred to do specific jobs that require them to speak out so their owner knows where they are. The challenge with listing the most vocal breeds is that there are a lot of talkative canines. Some are yappers, some just love to bark, and some aren't shy in telling you what they think.

Small to Medium Scent Hounds

Beagles, American Foxhounds, Dachshunds and other small to medium sized scent hounds were bred to find a trail, and follow their nose wherever it may lead. The pack mentality is strong in hounds, and they use their voice to stay in contact with each other. Small hounds work in groups to find prey and chase them down. The familiar baying of a hound is also a good way for hunters following behind to locate where their dogs are. These dogs have a high prey drive and should never be let off leash unless they are in a secured fenced-in area.

Large Scent Hounds

Coonhounds, Bloodhounds and Redbone hounds, like their smaller counterparts, hunt by scent. However, unlike the smaller hounds who hunt in groups, the larger dogs are better at tracking in pairs or by themselves. They use their voice primarily to let their human find them. These dogs are more methodical in their approach to locating whatever their nose is following, and are even more independent than the smaller version of hounds.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing Your Dog to a Cat

By Suzanne Alicie

Some people are “cat people” while others are “dog people,” but what about those who love both? It’s always been a common belief that dogs and cats do not get along. In fact, many dogs and cats can be great friends. Ideally, puppies and kittens are introduced when young and grow up together. However, if that isn’t the situation and you want to introduce your dog to a cat in the hopes of adding a feline presence to your home, there are certain steps to take.

The first thing to understand is that both dogs and cats are territorial, and a dog that lives in your home will see the cat as an intruder. If the cat runs, then it is prey; this could get really messy if you don’t take precautions and introduce both animals slowly.  Keep in mind that the cat is not only meeting a larger, louder animal with teeth and claws who doesn’t want her there, but she is also being introduced into a new place and will be nervous and skittish.

To assist you with this introduction and prevent injury to the dog, cat and people, there are a few things you’ll need to have. The first is a secure cat carrier, preferably with holes too small for the cat to get a paw out. You will also need a harness, leash and muzzle for your dog as well as a second person to help with the introductions. Don’t forget to have some CANIDAE TidNips™ treats on hand. Reward the animals throughout the process for their good behavior and be sure to praise them both. Your voice will be calming and help both animals deal with the introduction.

Place the cat in the carrier and harness your dog before attaching the muzzle. Keep in mind you are dealing with nature: dogs bite, cats scratch…so do as much as possible to prevent any injury to either animal.

Once both animals are situated, choose an area to place the cat carrier and slowly allow your dog to sniff and inspect the carrier. Scent is very important to dogs, so introducing the scent of the cat to your dog first is a good idea. The cat may hiss and puff up its fur. This is a defensive measure, and by having the cat inside the carrier you’re saving your dog’s nose from those dangerous claws.  Allow both animals to smell and get used to one another. When your dog settles down and is willing to lie down or wander away from the carrier and when the cat stops hissing, that is an indicator they are accustomed to the scent and presence of one another.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Smoky – The Tiniest War Dog of WW II

By Linda Cole

Smoky was a stray Yorkshire Terrier who found herself lost in the jungles of New Guinea during WW II. This bright eyed, brave little Yorkie would go down in military history as a “champion mascot of the Southwest Pacific,” war hero and therapy dog. Smoky garnered so much positive attention that she is credited with giving new life to her breed, which was on the brink of obscurity, and making the Yorkshire Terrier one of the most popular breeds today.

An American soldier found the scruffy looking Terrier in 1944 in an abandoned foxhole deep in the jungle. How she got there was anyone's guess. The soldier wasn't a dog lover, but he rescued Smoky and gave her to a sergeant who worked in the motor pool. The sergeant needed cash to get back into a poker game, so he sold the cold, wet and half starved little dog to Corporal Bill Wynne for $6.44.

Wynne and Smoky bonded almost immediately, and for the next two years she rode in Wynne's backpack around the South Pacific, and spent the rest of the war going on combat flights with him. Wynne was attached to the 5th Air Force, 26th Photo Recon Squadron. Smoky wasn't an official war dog, and didn't have access to a proper diet or medical care. She slept with Wynne in his tent, and shared his rations. She was a hardy little dog, however, and despite her living conditions she never got sick or injured.

Smoky was so small – no more than four pounds, and seven inches tall – she could fit inside Wynne's helmet. He didn't know it at the time, but her small size is how she would earn her war dog reputation. American troops landed at an airfield in February 1945. Afraid the Japanese were planning a counter attack, Wynne's recon unit needed to set up communications with headquarters to call for reinforcements, if they were needed. The problem was that cables had to be strung underneath the runway without tearing it up. Digging up the runway would mean 40 war planes would have to be moved, exposing them to enemy fire. It would take 3 days to accomplish their task.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Say Cheese! Your Dog’s Smile Could Win FREE CANIDAE!

Does your dog’s beautiful smile melt your heart? Does your pooch grin wide enough to eat a banana sideways? And do they like to eat paw-licking-good dog food? Well then, fetch your camera and get ready to capture those dazzling doggie smiles!

Why? So you can enter your fabulous photo(s) in our new contest for a chance to win some FREE dog food! Is that BOL (bark-out-loud) awesome, or what?

The Grand Prize Winner will receive 6 months of premium quality CANIDAE pet food and a chance to be featured on the CANIDAE website or Facebook page!  Ten runners-up receive a 5lb bag of their dog’s favorite CANIDAE Life Stages formula.

Could Your Dog Be the Next CANIDAE Star?

Wanted: Dogs with winning smiles, happy expressions or gloriously goofy grins. Must be willing to work for pet food. Amateurs encouraged to apply.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Strong Willed and Loyal Giant Schnauzer

By Linda Cole

The Schnauzer comes in three sizes: miniature, standard and giant. They may look alike, but each size is a distinct breed. The Standard Schnauzer is the oldest of the three Schnauzer breeds, and the Giant Schnauzer is the youngest. The one thing to keep in mind with any breed is that they were developed because of man's need for a partner to help perform a job or task. In other words, a new breed was created because of the occupations of man. The Giant Schnauzer was developed to be a drover dog for cattlemen.

In the early years, the breed was known as the Wirehaired Pinscher, but that changed in 1879 when a dog named Schnauzer won first place in a dog show held in Hanover, Germany. People began referring to the breed as Schnauzer because of the dog's bearded muzzle (German translation for muzzle is schnauze) and because of Schnauzer's win at the dog show. In their native country of Germany, the Giant Schnauzer is known as Riesenschnauzer, which means “the giant.” This breed, however, is not one of the giant dog breeds; it's simply the largest of the three Schnauzer sizes.

The breed originated in two neighboring agricultural areas of Germany: Wurttemberg and Bavaria. Shepherds were impressed with the Standard Schnauzer for the dog's sheep herding abilities, but the standard was too small for working with cattle. At the time, there were no railroads. A larger, more powerful version of the standard was needed by cattlemen as a livestock guardian and drover dog. Giant Schnauzers were also used as draft dogs to pull produce carts to market and then guard them. The Standard Schnauzer, which is the foundation stock for the two other sizes, was most likely crossed with the Great Dane, Bouvier des Flanders, rough coated sheepdogs, black poodle and wolf spitz to create the Giant Schnauzer.

The Giant Schnauzer became common as a guard dog around stockyards, butchers and breweries. Because of their strength, drive and courage, the Giant Schnauzer was used as a messenger dog in WW I and remains popular in Germany as a livestock guardian, all around farm dog, guard dog, military and police dog. On the American Kennel Club’s 2011 most popular dog breeds list, the Miniature Schnauzer is #12, the Standard is #91 and the Giant is #95.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Cat’s Mother's Day Letter to “Mom”

By Rocky Williams, feline guest blogger

Dear Mom,

I’ve heard people talking about a special day that was created to honor all Moms. What a great idea! But Momma, I’ve also heard that many human beans don’t think you should be honored on Mother’s Day because you “only” have cats which means “you’re not a real Mom.” Rubbish, I say!

When you rescued me and took me home, I was just a wee lad who fit into the palm of your hand. I don’t remember my other mother, but I do remember the loving care I got from you. Without your “mothering,” I daresay I wouldn’t have survived. You nurtured me and helped me grow into the beautiful cat I am today.

You’ve been my only mother for ten years, and you would never abandon me. Ever. And I know you’d move heaven and earth to make sure I am healthy and happy, for all of my life. Momma, isn’t that the heart and soul of what it means to be a mother?

There are so many things I love and appreciate about you, Momma. For starters, I love that you will sit on half a chair (or less) so as not to disturb me. Some beans would chase their kitty off the chair in order to sit in comfort, but that’s not how you roll! You let your legs fall asleep if I’m curled up on them, and you let me stay on your lap long after you really, really want – or need – to get up. (Sometimes I laugh when I see you frantically racing to your litterbox because, not wanting to disturb me, you’ve waited too long).

Momma, I know I am a lot naughtier than most felines, but I love that you never say “Why can’t you be like other cats?” You accept that being mischievous is who I am, and you don’t try to change me. It’s like that fable of the scorpion who convinces the frog to carry him across the river, promising not to sting him because then they’d both drown. But midway across, the scorpion does sting the frog, who cries “Why’d you sting me?” and the scorpion says “It’s my nature.” You know I can’t help being naughty any more than that scorpion could help stinging the frog, and it doesn’t make you love me any less.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Is a Smiling Dog Showing Aggression?

By Linda Cole

One of my dogs, a Terrier mix named Sophie, was a smiler. She would curl up one side of her lip and wiggle all over, grinning if we asked her to do something she didn't really want to do or when we talked to her in our “You're such a good girl” voice. I called it her “Elvis” smile because that's what it reminded me of. It was so cute and always made me laugh. If she was in trouble, which was rare, I quickly forgave her transgression. As it turned out, Sophie knew exactly what she was doing, and it worked. A smiling dog might be showing aggression, but not always. Sometimes, a smile is just a smile; it’s a way some dogs convey they are not a threat.

When it comes to understanding a dog's body language, everyone recognizes that a snarl with teeth bared means to back off and leave that dog alone. When Sophie smiled, she was showing deference to us with a submissive grin. The difference between a snarl and a submissive grin is broadcast loud and clear in a dog’s body language.

When a dog submits, he lowers his body closer to the ground, and may cower. His tail is tucked to one side, but never between his legs like with a fearful dog. His ears are held out, resembling airplane wings. He holds his front paws up, avoids eye contact, might roll over on his back, and may urinate to signal his compliance to you or another dog. When a submissive grin is added, you see excited body movements and squinting eyes. An aggressive dog isn't going to roll over and expose his belly to someone or another dog he views as a rival. Everything about his body language says he's on alert and ready to fight, if necessary. A growl usually accompanies his snarl, but not always.

There's a difference between a dog submitting and one showing fear. A submitting dog isn't a threat, but a scared dog could attack out of fear. One clue is the position of his tail and ears. The submitting dog pulls his tail to the side, and holds his ears out to the side. The fearful dog tucks his tail between his legs and he has “whale eyes,” meaning you can see the whites of his eyes, and his ears will be pulled back against his head. His overall body language says he's scared. All he wants is to be left alone. Never turn your back on a fearful or aggressive dog. Watch them without making direct eye contact.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Frank Inn, Hollywood Animal Trainer Extraordinaire

By Langley Cornwell

This guy is such an inspiration to me! I’d love to have a chat with him, but since he died in 2002 at the age of 86, I’ll have to settle for reading and writing about him. To catch you up, here are a few facts about Frank Inn:

He was a pioneering animal trainer who turned shelter pets into movie stars.

The animals that Frank Inn trained won 40 PATSY Awards, which is the animal kingdom's equivalent of the Oscar. Three of the animals he trained won the award multiple times.

This legendary animal trainer was the first inductee into the International Association of Canine Professionals' Hall of Fame.

One of the most recognized 4-legged movie stars that Inn created was Higgins, of Petticoat Junction and Benji fame. Other animals he trained included:

• Francis the Talking Mule

• Orangey the Cat (Rhubarb in Rhubarb, and Cat in Breakfast at Tiffany's

• Bernadette the Dog (Cleopatra on Jackie Cooper's TV series The People's Choice

• Arnold Ziffel, the pig on Green Acres 

• All of Elly Mae Clampett's animals on The Beverly Hillbillies

• The chimpanzees that starred in the children's TV show Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp

Frank Inn was known to visit animal shelters and take home healthy pets to keep them from being euthanized. There was a time when Inn and his assistants had over 1,000 animals in their care. The feeding bills alone came to more than $400 per day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is Your Dog’s Collar on Securely?

By Tamara McRill

Putting on a dog collar should be an easy task, right? Pick one that fits your dog’s unique personality, slip it around his neck (not too tight), fasten, give your woofer an affectionate head rub and you’re good to go. At least that’s what I always thought, but it turns out there’s more that goes into making sure your dog’s collar is on nice and secure.

I found this out the hard and heart-stopping way, with my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy. We were all geared up to take a walk in our new neighborhood, which is super exciting when you’re a dog that loves the adventure of new locations. When Wuppy and I set off, he bounced right out of his collar!

See, Wuppy has a generous waddle – the loose skin around a dog’s neck – which, combined with his bouncy behavior makes keeping him in his dog collar a little tricky. Luckily for me, our older dog, Cody, was also in the yard with Mike. So Wuppy bolted straight to the two objects of his hero worship.

Go By Feel, Not Sight

The first thing I learned when I started researching how to properly make sure my dog’s collar was secure was that I was doing it wrong. No shocker there – he did escape. I was looking at Wuppy’s collar to see if it looked like it was loose enough, when I should have been feeling it.

A good rule of thumb for flat collars, which are the most common, is to make sure you can get two fingers underneath it. You simply slide your fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck. If there is more space than that, try tightening it up a notch until it is tight enough to comfortably allow your fingers underneath. If you can’t get two fingers under the collar, then loosen it up because you could be accidentally hurting your dog’s throat.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Terrier Dog Breeds: Big Attitudes in Small Bodies

Airedale Terrier
By Linda Cole

The terrier group of dog breeds is an interesting mix of canines, bred to do a variety of jobs from hunting prey to keeping rats at bay. They are feisty, energetic and small enough to fit into any home. This is a group with a variety of distinct personalities, but all have a “big attitude in a small body.” Digging is common in terriers because they were bred to go underground after their prey. Terra is the Latin word for “earth,” and terriers are certainly “earth dogs.” The American Kennel Club recognizes 29 different terrier breeds. Here is brief information on nine of them:

The Airedale Terrier holds the “King of Terriers” crown; they are the largest and most robust of the group. The Airedale is considered an all purpose dog, and was used during wartime as a guard dog, to run messages, control rodents, and as a hunting dog. Hypoallergenic; they stand 22-24 inches and weigh 40-64 pounds.

The Australian Terrier was the first breed recognized in 1868 as native to Australia. His job was to work alongside his owner in the Australian Outback to keep vermin and snakes in check. He was also a watchdog, and helped with livestock. Hypoallergenic; they stand 9-11 inches and weigh 12-16 pounds.

Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier could easily be mistaken for a lamb because of his woolly, curly coat. The breed was developed in a mining shire in Northumberland, England, and that's where its name comes from. The miners used the Bedlington to control vermin, and because they had excellent speed and endurance, miners also raced them. Hypoallergenic; they stand 15-18 inches and weigh 17-23 pounds.

The Border Terrier can get into most any size hole, and can race across different types of terrain after his main prey, the fox. The Border was bred as a working dog and protector of his owner's livestock. In the old days living on a farm, this little dog had to be a good hunter because he had to hunt down his own supper. Hypoallergenic; they stand 11-16 inches and weigh 11-16 pounds.

Friday, May 3, 2013

5 Ways I Want to Be More Like My Cats

By Julia Williams

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see my cats basking in a sun puddle and think, “Why can’t I be a cat for just one day?” I would get caught up on my sleep, that’s for sure. I’d have zero stress because I would not stir all day long, except to follow that warm sun puddle when it moves. I wouldn’t worry about where my next meal is coming from or if it's going to taste good. Everything I could possibly need would be provided for me by my human servant. Which means, of course, that I wouldn’t have a care in the world…unless you count making sure the servant got out of bed when I said it was time for breakfast and not when the clock said.

Yes, my cats have a great life. And I admit … I am jealous! I want to experience catdom for myself because frankly, I don’t think my kitties appreciate just how good they have it! Being human, I know they have it good, and I want some of what they’re having. It seems only fair. But alas, all I can do is dream.

Here are 5 ways I want to be more like my cats:

1. Embrace every opportunity, even those that turn out differently than expected. 

Cats go with the flow, and they don’t get upset when things don’t happen the way they thought they would. They just adapt. Take Mickey, for example: he loves Cheetos, so I’ll share one with him occasionally. One day I left an open bag of Jalapeno Cheddar Cheetos on the couch while I went to get something from the kitchen. Now, if you’ve ever had those, you know they have quite a “kick.” He didn’t know; he stole one out of the bag, and ate the whole thing! Sure, it wasn’t the mild, cheesy Cheeto he was expecting, but Mickey didn’t let a little Jalapeno spice keep him from enjoying his stolen snack. (He did, however, drink a lot of water afterwards!).

2. Enjoy the simple things life offers.

Cats have a unique ability to find joy in everything, no matter how mundane it might seem. If it moves, chase it. That feather’s not a real bird? No problem! If a paper bag magically appears on the floor, turn it into a mancat cave/tactile toy. A cardboard box or a wicker basket is an open invitation for a nap. Pens become projectiles, magazines become chew toys, and every little thing lying around becomes something fun to play with.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Meet the 2013 PAWS Petchitecture Dog Idols

By Linda Cole

PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) is a San Francisco based non-profit organization dedicated to giving support and aid to seniors and people with disabling illnesses that make it difficult for them to feed and care for their pets. The PAWS-sponsored Petchitecture is an annual fundraiser to benefit PAWS clients and their pets. Last year's event brought in $225,000. Jason Izmirian and Michael Jennings, pet parents to the 2013 Petchitecture Dog Idols, Carmela and Chloe, had the winning bid of $7,800 on a prize package donated by CANIDAE for the auction. Part of the prize includes being featured on CANIDAE marketing materials. I spoke with Jason to find out more about the “girls” and his determination to win the CANIDAE prize package.

“We thought a prize package that would showcase just how adorable our Ladies are made sense to us. We are fans of all natural, USA made food for animals and the CANIDAE prize package was a no brainer from our perspective. We also love PAWS and what they do for the San Francisco community.” Jason and Michael are San Francisco residents; Jason leads the Talent division of a software startup company and Michael runs Global Information Technology for a business networking company.

Their dogs, Carmela and Chloe, are Tweenie Dachshunds, a size in between miniature and standard. Carmela (dapple) and Chloe (black and tan) are also sisters. When Jason first saw them at a Denver breeder’s they were three months old, racing around and playing with each other. Jason explained, “Initially, we were only going to adopt one, but when I heard there were two available, I figured if we were going to clean up poop for one pup, we might as well clean up poop for two.”

About five years ago, Carmela became a special needs dog when a Lake Tahoe vacation turned into a scary and frantic trip home for emergency surgery after Carmela jumped off a chair and ruptured a disc in her back. Not knowing what to expect or how it would affect her future, Jason and Michael did everything possible to help her through rehabilitation. Jason was in between jobs and concentrated on Carmela's needs. For six months he chauffeured her to water treadmill therapy and an acupuncturist, and worked with a therapist on her motor skills. “Our hope was she wasn't going to need wheels to help her get around, so we are grateful her determination and ours got her to where she is today. She walks a little like a ‘drunken sailor,’ but she gets around,” said Jason.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do You Live in a Cat-Friendly City?

By Langley Cornwell

I know, I know. Not many of us actually travel with our cats. Still, we read so much about dog-friendly cities, restaurants and parks, etc., that I thought it was time to study up on cat-friendly cities. And besides, I’m not really writing about cat-friendly cities to visit with your feline friend; I’m writing about cities that have a high-quality level of veterinary care and have strong local, cat-friendly laws and regulations.

Because as omnipresent as dogs may be, my cat never misses an opportunity to remind me that cats rule the world. If sheer numbers were the deciding factor, then my cat would be right: in America, cats outnumber dogs by over 10 million. That’s nearly 89 million cats sharing our homes and hearts in the United States.

The CATalyst Council is a newly-formed coalition that is singly focused on feline issues. In fact, their vision and mission, as stated on their website, is to ensure all cats are valued and cared for as pets. They go on to say: This will be accomplished by raising the level of care and welfare of cats, supported by the highest quality veterinary care, preventative medicine and cat specific products. That’s a noble and cat-approved undertaking.

This council is made up of academics, nonprofits, doctors from the veterinary community, and industry and animal welfare organizations. In an effort to shine a light on cat healthcare and establish a higher level of standardized feline care nationwide, the CATalyst Council assembled a list of cat-friendly cities.

Dan Kramer, senior marketing manager of industry relations for Pfizer Animal Health and chair of the CATalyst Council says “Cats really are America’s number one companion. Our goal is to recognize and celebrate why cats are such popular companions. We applaud the efforts of these major metropolitan areas for providing a wealth of resources for cats and their owners along with their earned accolade of being one of America’s Top Cat-Friendly Cities.”

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