Friday, March 29, 2013

PURRfect Movies and TV Shows for Cats

By Rocky Williams, feline guest blogger

When a certain couch potato canine wrote recently of his preferred TV shows, I was naturally curious why he left out the ones we kitties enjoy. Well, more miffed really, because everyone knows cats do not like to be left out of anything. Ever! But my Warden said “Rocky, don’t get your fluffy tail in a twist. You can make your own list any time you feel like it.” Yes, but that involves work, something we cats avoid like the plague.

Ah well…I really needed a list of the movies and TV shows cats would dig, because I’m feeling all sloth-like lately, and what better way to be lazy than to watch TV all day? (They don’t call it the Boob Tube for nothing!) So I put paws to keyboard and came up with some cat-approved programs. When I ran out of my own ideas, I plagiarized other cats,  I mean, I asked my cat friends on Facebook for suggestions, and they were happy to share.

So kitties, send your Warden out for a big bag of those catabulous FELIDAE TidNips treats to munch on while you watch these shows, and you’ll be all set.

Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell is a show every feline needs to watch. Just be sure to watch with your Warden, because I guarantee you that anything naughty YOU have ever done will pale in comparison to the Demon Katz on this show. Technically, these bad kitties are just misunderstood, and once they have their stupid hoomin trained, it all ends well. In any event, your Warden is bound to appreciate your angelic self after watching this show.

I like to watch The Little Mermaid movie, but for some reason it always makes me hungry. I think it’s because I can’t stop fantasizing about how many great seafood meals her ginormous tail would make. There would be enough stinky fishy goodness for every cat in town!

Finding Nemo is another obvious choice for seafood loving kitties. Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie, The Birds, is also highly entertaining.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3 Important Things to Know about Labrador Retrievers

By Linda Cole

Labrador Retrievers have claimed the top spot on the American Kennel Club's list of most popular dogs for the last 22 years. They are also among the most intelligent breeds, coming in at number seven. If you're looking for a great family pet that gets along well with other dogs and cats, the Lab is a good choice. However, there are three important things to know about sharing your home with a Lab.

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)

Labs love to play and run. Some become so wrapped up in what they're doing they don't slow down, even when they get tired. They can become so exhausted that they collapse. Overly excited or stressed out dogs are also at risk of collapsing. This is an inherited genetic disorder common in Labs with signs beginning to show up between the ages of five months to three years. Both sexes and all coat colors can be affected, but it seems to be more prominent in black Labs bred for field trials.

EIC was first detected in the 1990s, but this condition is on the rise and showing up in dogs that are otherwise perfectly healthy and fit for rigorous exercise. Collapse can happen within 5 to 20 minutes after beginning strenuous activities. High temperatures and humidity also play a role.

Symptoms can be mild to severe, and EIC can be life-threatening. Symptoms include: an unsteady/rocking gait, weak back legs, dragging the back legs, falling over while running, inability to move his head or legs after exercising, an abnormal movement of the feet while walking or running, front legs are stiff after collapsing, and high body temperature. Most dogs remain alert during a collapse and don't experience any pain. Some dogs, however, may show confusion and appear disoriented. Recovery time is five to twenty-five minutes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Do My Dog’s Eyes Glow in the Dark?

By Tamara McRill

Ever spot a pair of demonically glowing green or red eyes in the dark, only to realize they belong to your cute and cuddly dog? What really gets to me is when I’m the one outside and I see the floating bright orbs peering out my window. You know, it’s that split second where you’re torn between wanting to turn and run or bust in to save your pets from...whatever “It” is.

But of course, “It” is your dog’s (or even cat’s) eyes glowing in the dark. It turns out there is even a very scientific – and reassuring – reason their eyes shine so eerily in the darkness.

Tapetum Lucidum

No, that’s not the starting phrase of an exorcism, although it is Latin. It means “bright tapestry.” The words are also the scientific term for the light-reflecting surface between a dog’s optic nerve and retina.

The tapetum lucidum is what makes dog’s eyes react to light exposure differently than human eyes, essentially reflecting the light back through their eyes like a mirror. The rods and cones make use of the multiplied light to see better in the dark. Dogs and other animals with the structure, like cats and deer, can use very low levels of light to see.

Different Colors

In addition to superior night vision, this reflected light is also what produces eyeshine in dogs…that surreal colored glow that comes out in their eyes at night. What I find fascinating is that not every dog’s eyeshine is the same color.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Popular Pet Names

By Langley Cornwell

The names people give their pets fascinate me. Not just the names, but the reason behind the names. For instance, our all white dog is named Frosty and I believe the name is self-explanatory. My husband named our second dog Big Al because we like Alabama football (Roll Tide) and their elephant mascot is named Big Al. Not wildly original, but that’s the back story.

The list of popular pet names was recently updated and the top spot for dogs and cats was Bella, undoubtedly because of Twilight. On one list, Bella was the 3rd most popular name for birds and exotic pets. Another pet name that ranks high on the list is Max. Names like Max and Lucy are often used in children’s picture books, and kids help name the family pet so that stands to reason – Max is the hero’s name in Where the Wild Things Are. Live Science reports that humanlike names like Charlie or Lucy are popular for dogs, while unisex names like Shadow and Smokey, describing physical traits like color, currently rank high for cats.

These reports are all very interesting, but I decided to tap into my bevy of creative friends. I asked a simple question: what is your pet's name and why?

Literary characters, musicians, and television or movie characters 

Starr’s boys named their dog Marley after Bob Marley, and Juniper named her attention-loving cat Ziggy Stardust because she’s a David Bowie fan. One of Cathy’s dogs carries the name Ozzy because her daughter was a big Ozzy Osbourne fan. She has another rescue dog with beautiful deep eyes that she fell in love with immediately so she named him Rudy, after Rudolph Valentino.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blind Sled Dog Continues to Run with the Team

By Linda Cole

Animals are such amazing creatures, and we can learn a lot from their attitude about a disability. Life continues, regardless of what happened to cause a disability. I grew up with someone who had a debilitating disability, and I've also dealt with a dog that was deaf and blind. I learned from my mom and my dog that the best way to live with a disability is to simply keep on living the best you can. So when I run across stories that exemplify courage and determination, in disabled humans or dogs, they catch my attention. Gonzo, an eight year old Alaskan Husky, is blind but he continues to run with his team pulling a dog sled, with a little help from his brother, Poncho.

What sled dog wouldn't love to have the entire New Hampshire North country as their playground? Sled dogs are born to run, and pulling a sled isn't work to them, it's play. So what do you do with a sled dog that develops a disability? In the case of Gonzo, when it was discovered he was losing his sight, his vet recommended hooking him up to a sled and continuing to run him.

Gonzo's life changed three years ago when kennel manager Ben Morehouse noticed the dog tripping over his food bowl. After a variety of failed treatments, everyone realized the dog would soon be blind, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. But Gonzo is a sled dog, and he couldn't wait to get back on the trail with his team. He wasn't going to let a little thing like no sight stop him from enjoying life.

He may be blind, but Gonzo knows when the team is being hooked up, and he isn't about to be left behind. His desire to run is just as strong as it was when he could see. Gonzo and Poncho are harnessed side by side toward the back of the eight dog team. At first, Poncho wasn't aware there was anything wrong with his brother, and treated him just like normal. When Gonzo began to lean on him when they came to turns, it bothered him at first and he'd get grumpy with his brother. But it wasn't long before he realized Gonzo needed his help, and figured out he was leaning on him to get a feel of how fast they were running and where the turns were at.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pet Adoption Tales Contest – Win Free Pet Food!

By Julia Williams

Now that I have Facebook, Twitter and countless pet bloggers to “keep me company” in my home office, not a day goes by that I don’t read at least one adoption tale. In the last few years I have read so many wonderful adoption tales, and they all warm my heart. Sometimes we search for a certain pet and find them, and other times they just seem to fall into our lap. I wrote about that last year in Do We Find Our Pets, or Do They Find Us? It’s all good either way, right? No matter how or why these precious animals find their forever family, it’s just such a special thing.

In the pet blogging world, the day we decide to adopt an animal is called their “Gotcha Day.” This day is celebrated with much fanfare on the pet blogs, as it should be. A big deal is made of a pet’s Gotcha Day because it’s a life changing day… for both the pet and their new family. This momentous day deserves a pawty!

I must confess, though, that I don’t actually know the exact day I adopted my three cats. Mickey’s Gotcha Day was more than 13 long years ago, and back then I didn’t even know about such things. I do remember every detail of how he came to be in my family, but the exact day? Not so much.

Rocky and Annabelle were rescue babies, and when I took them in I only intended to help them get well and then find them a forever family. I have no idea what day I suddenly realized these two beautiful souls were right where they were meant to be.

It doesn’t really matter to me, though, whether I know their exact Gotcha Day or not. What matters most is that I have three sweet furry friends to share my life and home. Adopting them was the right choice. It always is; at least, that has been my experience.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Teach Your Cat to Come on Command

By Linda Cole

Because cats are perceived as independent or aloof, many people don't try to teach their cat to come when called. I'm sure from the cat's point of view, she justifies her refusal to come on command with “Does the Queen come to your beckoned call? I don't think so! Now, where's my supper?” However, teaching your cat to come on command is easier than you think, and doesn't require an electric can opener. Think about it this way: if the can opener can train your cat to come, then you should be able to as well!

Like most cat owners, I've experienced the frustration of searching for a wayward cat hiding somewhere in the house. As far as the cat is concerned, if she isn't hungry, there's absolutely no reason to leave a perfectly good hiding place just because someone is calling her name. However, it's just as important to teach a cat to come as it is for dogs. Emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye. Knowing your cat will come when you call her makes life easier and safer when you don't have to hunt for her in or around the home. Not only can it save your cat’s life, it's nice knowing she'll come running just because you called her.

Cats are quite capable of learning commands, but teaching a feline can be frustrating and it can take some time. So stay calm, committed, patient and consistent. The first thing you need to do is decide what word you’ll use when you call your cat. The next thing is to stock up on your cat’s absolute favorite treat – the one she just can't resist. For my cats, that’s FELIDAE TidNips™ treats. Whatever you use as a reward, it has to be something she enjoys eating more than anything else – the one treat that gets her attention no matter what she’s doing. That's your cat’s motivation to learn.

Call your cat's name followed by the word you picked as your “come” command. Make sure everyone in the home uses the same command each time and rewards your cat with the preferred treat. Begin training in the room you usually feed your cat. If it's in the kitchen and she comes running when you use the electric can opener, run it to get her attention or shake her treat bag, if that's a sound she responds to.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Solutions for Pet Lovers with Allergies

By Langley Cornwell

My dad has extreme cat allergies, so we were never able to have a cat when I was growing up. As a young adult, one of my best friends had a cat. When I was at her house for more than an hour, my eyes would get red, swollen and itchy. Then my throat would start to feel scratchy. After one or two times, I came to the conclusion that I had cat allergies like my dad. From then on, if I was going to hang with anybody that had a cat, it had to be somewhere other than their house.

Fast forward to the time my husband and I decided to extend our family by taking in a dog that was in dire circumstances. Probably because of my limited exposure to cats, I’ve always been what’s known as a dog person. On the other hand, my husband has always been a cat person; in fact, Julia included him in this article: Real Men Do Love Cats! 7 ‘Cat Guys’ Tell All. Being a dog person, it was fixed in my mind that we were just going to rescue this one specific dog. At the time, my husband was in complete agreement.

At the shelter, we met the sad pup and were preparing to bring her home when one of the shelter workers ran up to us and shoved a ball of fur into my husband’s hands. Obviously this was a wily woman who was great at her job because she pegged us as suckers almost immediately. My husband looked up at me (don’t tell him I’m sharing this part) with tears in his eyes and said “He looks like Rudy.” He loved all the cats in his life but as a young boy he had a particularly strong bond with a cat named Rudy. What was I going to do?

You know the rest of the story. That little ball of fur came home with us too, and now I’m completely under his command. He gets the best of everything including FELIDAE cat food.

At first, however, I was concerned about my allergies. According to Unleashed Magazine, approximately 15% of the population is estimated to be allergic to cats and/or dogs. The statistics go on to reveal that about one third of the people who are allergic to cats are currently living with at least one cat in their household. I love it; only one in five people avoid cats because of allergies. What they do instead is try to minimize the symptoms.    

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Traveling with Your Dog

By Lisa Mason

Traveling with your dog is different from traveling with cats. If you have an upcoming trip and you want to take your dog along for the ride, there are a few things you should know first and that you should prepare for. Let’s explore this topic for a bit to help you prepare.

Should You Bring Him or Leave Him?

One of the first questions to ask yourself when traveling with your dog is if you should even bring him along or not. To find your answer, consider where you are going and for how long, what method of travel you will take, if your dog has traveled before and if he likes traveling.

If you consider leaving him instead, how will he be cared for in your absence? Do you have a dog sitter you can trust or will you be using a kennel service? Have you researched the kennel and the conditions your dog will be in?

If you plan on taking your dog, will your destination be dog friendly? If your dog has traveled before, how did he react? Are you prepared to handle any behavior issues that may arise while traveling to unfamiliar territory with your dog?

Driving with Your Dog

If you and your dog both like traveling by car, a road trip can be an excellent way to spend time together. Try to plan your route ahead of time with dog-friendly stops along the way (hotels that allow pets, dog parks, dog-friendly rest stops, etc.) and be sure to pack the car with your dog’s safety and comfort in mind as well.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Five Dog Approved Relaxing Activities

By Linda Cole

During waking hours, most dogs go a mile a minute. There's guarding the home, or at least barking just to let their owner know they're on the job. Then it's off to make sure squirrels, outside cats or other critters are properly reprimanded if they step foot in the wrong yard. All of that takes time and energy, and sometimes it's nice to just relax and enjoy some dog approved activities with their favorite human. That’s the one thing dogs enjoy more than anything else!

Being involved with your pet helps to strengthen your bond and build trust. What's great about dogs is you don't have to spend a lot of time doing an activity with them. They don't ask much from us, and spending some extra time puts them on top of the world.

A Slow Walk

Many dog owners walk their dog on a daily basis, but not necessarily as a way to relax. Since I have a dog enclosure where my dogs can hang out, do their business and enjoy the day, our walks are mainly a way I can give them some mental stimulation. Dogs get tired of the same old thing day in and day out. They like a set routine, but they also enjoy an impromptu outing now and then.

A slow walk around the neighborhood or on a trail is a good way to relax. Let your dog sniff around under the bushes, while you enjoy the fresh air and everything nature has to offer. After all, if you're too busy to stop and smell the flowers once in awhile, it really is time to slow your world down a bit. There's something about being on a slow walk with your dog that helps both of you relax from the rigors of the day. Take your time, and if you find a bench where you can sit, enjoy some quiet time with just you and your dog.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Letter to My Cat

By Julia Williams

Recently while browsing on Amazon I came across an interesting book titled A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends. It’s essentially a collection of heartfelt letters that pet owners, including some celebrities, have written to their best canine buddy. The personal letters celebrate the human/canine relationship, speak of the deep love and devotion they have for their pet and reveal raw honest emotions as they discuss a beloved dog that’s gone to the Bridge.

Intrigued, I discovered a website of the same name where people can write their own letter to their dog and post it for others to read. The dog-focused book and website have become so popular with pet owners that a follow-up book is coming soon. Naturally, it’s titled A Letter to My Cat, and there will be a sister website as well.

I loved the concept, so I decided to write my own letter to my “heart cat” Annabelle and share it with you, my dear friends and readers of the CANIDAE RPO blog. It was a lot of fun writing this letter to my darling cat that I love so much. I encourage you to write your own letter to your dog or cat, and share it here if you so desire.

My Dearest Annabelle,

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly ten years since I first saw your tiny little self in that flea-ridden place, desperately in need of rescue. I swooped you up and out of there immediately. You weren’t more than a month old, and so I became your “mother” to give you the loving care you badly needed.

I intended to find you a family once you were well, and old enough. Looking back, it seems silly I didn’t realize at once that you’d already found your forever home. But I’m so grateful that I kept you, because you are simply the best, most loving friend anyone could ever have.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Animal Actor Higgins, of Petticoat Junction and Benji Fame

By Langley Cornwell

One of the most beloved and well known animal actors during the 1960s and 1970s was a scruffy little shelter dog named Higgins. This pup played all sorts of roles, but is probably best known as the dog on the Petticoat Junction TV show and as the title role in the movie Benji. As a kid, I was crazy about every show and movie that had a prominent animal actor, but the movie Benji was a particular favorite. I’m certain this movie was a contributing factor in establishing my lifelong passion for animals.

Higgins was discovered by Frank Inn, a Hollywood animal trainer and true animal lover. Inn was known to visit animal shelters and take home all the healthy pets because he couldn’t stand for them to be euthanized. He kept and trained the ones that he thought had potential as an animal actor and he found loving homes for the rest. There was a time when Inn and his assistants had over 1,000 animals in their care.  

It was during one of Inn’s shelter sweeps at the Burbank Animal Shelter when he found a special little tan-and-black mixed breed puppy. Inn believed this little pup was a combination of Border Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and Schnauzer. With Frank Inn’s incredible talent as a dog trainer and this puppy’s natural abilities, the dog went on to become what some people consider the best animal actor of our times.

Higgins first major national role was of the dog (creatively called Dog or sometimes called Boy, as in “Here, Boy”) in Petticoat Junction. Higgins appeared in 163 episodes from 1964 to 1970, and even though he was un-credited in this role, it introduced him to millions of fans. During that time, he also made guest appearances on Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies. Even though he was from Burbank, California, Higgins must have had a southern accent.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How You Train a Small Dog Makes a Difference

By Linda Cole

When it comes to dog training, the size of the dog does matter! It can mean the difference between being successful or falling flat on your face when trying to teach your small dog commands. In a way, it's easier to train larger dogs because owners of small dogs often treat a smaller pet differently than they would a bigger dog.

Many small dogs belong to the terrier group. This is a group of feisty, high prey drive dogs with lots of energy. They are smart and not afraid to let their feelings be known. Small dogs can be manipulative if they get a chance, and can have an attitude the size of a Great Dane. It's tempting to let a little dog get away with things most owners wouldn't accept from a larger canine. His actions may not hold the same weight as a misbehaving larger dog, but a small dog can still be disruptive. If your small dog jumps up on someone to greet them, many will think that's cute, but if a Saint Bernard leaps up, your guest could be lying on their back with a drooling dog standing over them. Not as cool to some, but could be cute depending on your guest's sense of humor.

Dogs can understand if they are being treated differently than others around them, and it's important to treat small dogs just like you would a larger one. Training is about teaching your dog how you want him to act, but it's also a good way for you to learn who your dog is as an individual. Small dogs can be stubborn. We can accidentally teach little dogs the wrong way to act if they are rewarded for their misdeeds or bad manners.

Part of our job is to instill confidence and trust in our pets. Treating a dog with respect, regardless of size, is one way of establishing yourself as their leader, and says you can be trusted. Don't give any treats or attention until your dog has all four feet on the ground.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are You a Helicopter Pet Parent?

By Tamara McRill

Do you hesitate to let your dog or cat do anything outside or even inside of the home without your supervision? Or maybe you're quick to give them extra tips and hints during training or games. You've probably at least heard the phrase “helicopter parent,” but have you ever stopped to consider that you may be a helicopter pet owner?

Hovering Isn't All Bad

If you constantly hover over your pet and manage every aspect of their lives, as well as try to solve all of their problems, you just might be a helicopter pet parent. I've given this some serious consideration and have to admit that, to some extent, I am. As our dog Cody gets older, I notice we do way more for him, whether he needs us to or not, and monitor everything he does that much closer.

Now this type of parenting has bad connotations, but helicopter pet parenting isn't necessarily all bad. Like with most things, it depends on how far you take it. Although it does seem easier to take it too far with our pets than with children, since our fur babies are constantly in our care.

As long as we realize our pets deserve to make their own choices at times and need to be self reliant to a certain extent, a little hovering won't hurt them. It's when the hovering turns to smothering that there can be a problem. Are you wondering if you may be a helicopter pet parent? Take this short quiz to find out!

Helicopter Pet Parent Quiz

1. When your dog or cat drops a toy just out of their reach, you
A. May not even notice, if you're not watching at the moment.
B. Glance to see if it's near breakables or has fallen behind the couch.
C. Jump up and go get it for them.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How a Unique Shelter is Helping Dogs

By Linda Cole

Most animal shelters are run by kind and responsible people who love the pets they care for in their facilities. Their main goal is finding the perfect owner for the pets. Without these caring individuals, dogs and cats would have no place to live while they wait for their forever home. However, some shelters are thinking outside the box to give pets a better environment to wait in.

Adopt-A-Dog animal shelter in Armonk, NY is manned by an army of dedicated and committed volunteers who help insure each pet living at the shelter receives all the love and attention they need. The animal shelter, sanctuary and rescue began in 1981, and sits on two acres of land. This shelter is unique in how it's run, and proudly touts a 95 percent success rate in adoptions with practices that include educating potential pet owners about responsible pet ownership, how to properly care for pets, and making a lifetime commitment to adopted pets.

The shelter is run more like a sanctuary. Volunteers walk the dogs, take them for car rides, take them swimming, and play ball and other games with them in the exercise yard. During office hours, cats and dogs are allowed to wander in the office area where they get to spend time with the staff, sack out on a bed or watch TV. The office is in a house and has two people who live there, so someone is always available to tend to the needs of the pets. In order to give all of the dogs in the shelter access to the home, they are rotated on a daily basis.

The adoption process is taken slowly at the shelter. Their goal is to make sure a pet is a good match for someone's lifestyle. Multiple home visits are made when there are children or other pets in a home. The first step for any shelter is to find someone to adopt a pet; making sure the pet remains in the home and isn't returned to the shelter can be a harder task to accomplish. This is where Adopt-A-Dog stands out from other shelters by using a program they incorporated to educate potential adopters, and taking time to make sure a pet fits into a potential owner's lifestyle.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Dalai Lama’s Cat: Book Review and Giveaway!

By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers? Well, wonder no more! In The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel by David Michie, a sassy Himalayan gives us a cat’s eye view of life in the inner sanctum of His Holiness’s household. True to feline nature, the curious cat soaks up the teachings that take place when visitors – everyone from Hollywood celebrities and self help gurus to philanthropists and royalty – seek an audience with the Dalai Lama. To be sure, life is never dull when you’re the Dalai Lama’s cat!

The Buddhist wisdom is artfully interwoven with entertaining tales of a cat just being a cat…getting into mischief, making the most of every opportunity, and purring her way into the hearts of all who meet her. One would expect no less of any feline, let alone one who spends every morning curled up with the Dalai Lama while he meditates.

The Dalai Lama’s cat, a.k.a. Mousie-Tung, The Snow Lion of Jokhang, His Holiness’s Cat (HHC), The Bodhicatva, and “The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived,” is so charming, funny, wise and witty that it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t love her. She even shares her most embarrassing moments for the sake of giving us a good laugh, which is something most dignified felines wouldn’t dream of doing! But the Dalai Lama’s cat is no ordinary feline, and she never lets us forget.

She makes no apologies for eavesdropping on the conversations between the Dalai Lama and his guests, and she puts a uniquely feline spin on the basic Buddhist principles she overhears. Through the Dalai Lama’s cat we learn about concepts such as karma, mindfulness, enlightenment, compassion, and the meaning of life.

The mark of any good novel, at least for me, is that it captures my attention on page one and compels me to keep turning pages despite other distractions and obligations. I read this book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. And when I finished, I found myself wanting more. You really can’t ask for more from a good book, can you?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is My Dog Dumb?

By Langley Cornwell

Of course I’m not asking that question about my dogs; they are perfect. (Ha!). There is a certain dog I’m acquainted with, however, that doesn’t seem to be progressing as quickly as other dogs in a training class we, um, somebody I know is in. This person tells me that her dog is not motivated by treats or affection and is all but impossible to train.

So I went to my most reliable sources – my animal-crazed friends – for feedback about how their dogs stacked up on the intelligence meter.

Heather said her family tried and tried to get their dog, Toby, to roll over on command, but he would just roll over onto his back. She says it was frustrating trying to get him to roll completely over. Finally, thinking he just wasn't going to “get it,” they started rubbing his belly every time he “rolled over” onto his back.

According to Unleash Magazine, Heather’s dog isn’t dumb; her anecdote is an example of “profitable misbehavior.” Dogs do what works for them. For instance, if jumping on you makes you speak to, touch, or even look at your dog, he’s getting a payoff. Jumping on you is getting him the attention he wants. In cases like this, even if you are scolding your dog or pushing him off of you, he’s still getting what he wants: attention. This response can make dogs seem unwilling or unable to learn, but the issue is with the human who is unwittingly reinforcing undesired behavior.

Another reason people may think their dog is dumb is because he does not respond to them, perhaps due to lack of early human interaction. If I was to take a guess, I would say this is the core issue with our dog er, my friend’s dog because the dog spent his first year and a half in the shelter system and likely did not get enough time with humans. If a dog doesn’t experience enough human interaction during his formative years, he hasn’t learned that humans are relevant and that our words and actions should matter to him.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Was a Dog Honored as Cat of the Year?

By Linda Cole

Mozart, one of my cats, loves Dozer, a foster dog we've been caring for. Mozart follows Dozer around, giving him love bites, rubbing against him and standing on his hind legs to give him hugs. It's not uncommon for animals to form close bonds with different species. In 1998, a dog named Ginny was honored as “Cat of the Year” by the Westchester Feline Club, sponsor of the annual Westchester Cat Show, because of an extraordinary desire she had to rescue stray cats in desperate need of help.

Ginny and her three pups were discovered locked inside the closet of an abandoned apartment. She and her pups were taken to a shelter, but when vets saw her, they were afraid she was too far gone to be saved. They concluded it would be kinder to put her down. But something made them change their mind, and they decided she should be given a chance to recover, and did what they could to help her. Ginny did recover, and she and her pups were put up for adoption.

Philip Gonzalez had been wrestling with depression after he was injured on the job while working as a steamfitter in Manhattan. His right arm had been severely injured in the accident and he could barely use it. A determined neighbor told Gonzalez he should adopt a dog from the local shelter. He finally gave in and agreed. As they looked over the dogs at the shelter, a purebred Doberman caught Gonzalez's eye. But instead of pulling the Doberman out for Gonzalez to take out for a walk, a shelter employee handed him a leash attached to Ginny, a two year old Siberian Husky/Schnauzer mix, and invited him to walk her first.

Gonzalez wasn't happy; he wanted the Doberman, not some scruffy looking mixed breed, but he did what the worker asked. He tried to hurry Ginny along so he could get back to the Doberman. Now, you can call it fate or something else, but Ginny wasn't going to be rushed. She sat down in front of Gonzalez and refused to move. Sometimes it's the dog that picks us. As he stood looking down into her eyes, something tugged at his heart and he forgot about the Doberman. He walked out of the shelter with Ginny. Gonzalez didn't know at the time how that little dog would change his life, and the lives of countless homeless cats.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tips for Living with a Dog that Misses Someone

By Eliza Wynn

Have you ever wondered whether your dog misses someone who used to be a big part of his day-to-day life? Humans aren't the only species with the ability to bond – or to miss those with whom they've bonded. Pets have feelings, and they definitely miss beloved pack members when they're apart. The good news is that there are ways you can help ease the loneliness and stress your dog feels when a loved one isn't around.

Spending time with your dog is always important, but it's even more so when he misses someone. In addition to simply keeping him company while you go about your day, be sure to set aside some special time for your canine friend. He'll appreciate playtime, walks, training games and just hanging out together. Make sure he has a job to do, and don't forget to talk to him. Even if you're convinced he doesn't understand a word you say, the positive attention and the sound of your voice will be more than welcome.

Nowadays, many people travel frequently for both business and pleasure. Others move out, sometimes temporarily while attending college, but often permanently. Pets that have bonded closely with them can get lonely, anxious or even depressed. Fortunately, being apart doesn't always have to mean complete separation; technology provides several options to bridge the gap. For example, webcams and smartphones enable users to see each other even when they're miles apart. If your dog misses someone who's away, try setting up a video chat. If that's not possible, even a simple phone call in which he can hear his friend's voice will reassure him.

Sadly, some separations are permanent. If your dog misses someone who has passed away, he will mourn the loss. Try offering an item of clothing with his loved one's scent. Sleeping with this item should provide comfort while your dog adjusts to life without his friend. Some dogs find themselves in a new home due to the death of their owner. When this occurs, it's a very confusing and sad time for the dog. In addition to grieving, he has to adjust to a new environment, schedule and rules. To help with this adjustment, try to maintain his original meal and walk schedule at first if you know it; you can gradually make any major changes necessary.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The 10 Most Popular Small Breed Dogs

Bichon Frise puppy

By Linda Cole

Small dogs may come in small packages, but many have a confident and tenacious attitude. These dogs don't think of themselves as “small,” and some of the jobs they were bred to do required a dog with attitude. A small dog is defined as a breed under 22 pounds, and dog owners have made 10 the most popular.

Bichon Frise

No dog is completely hypoallergenic, but the Bichon Frise is a good choice for people with allergies. A smart, independent, courageous, affectionate, confident and playful cotton ball of a dog, the Bichon Frise weighs 7-16 pounds and has a life span of 12-16 years or longer. With an easy, sensitive and happy personality, this is a good family dog that gets along well with other pets.

Boston Terrier

The largest of this group, the Boston Terrier is an American made breed that weighs 10-25 pounds. This easy going, muscular, compact and well mannered canine is often referred to as the “American gentleman.” The Boston Terrier is smart, good with the entire family, easy to train and sensitive to our tone of voice. This breed is susceptible to heatstroke because of their pushed in nose, but can live 15 years or longer.


The smallest breed at 2-6 pounds, this dog definitely thinks he's a “big dog.” Intelligent, graceful, loyal, lovable, brave, adventurous, agile and strong willed, the Chihuahua makes a good family pet as long as he understands you are his leader. They can be short tempered with children and wary around strangers. This alert breed is a good watchdog, and can be extremely protective of his home and family. Many Chihuahuas are fond of cats, and can live up to 15 years or longer.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Venus the Chimera Cat Meows about Fame, Photoshop & Family

By Julia Williams

The first time most people see a photo of Venus, they usually think it’s a photoshop fake or that her owners dyed her face. It’s hard not to, since this kitty seemingly has two very different faces, perfectly split down the middle of her nose. A visit to her Facebook page is enough to convince all but the most skeptical humans that Venus is indeed a real cat.

But why is her face like that? Venus might be a chimera, a rare condition where two genetically distinct embryos merge in the womb. It’s also possible her unique face is just a coincidental placement of a normal tortoiseshell pattern. DNA testing is the only way to know for sure, but Venus doesn’t really care and neither do her 104,000+ Facebook fans who enjoy this cute kitty’s wit and humor. I chatted with Venus recently so we could all learn a little more about this now famous split-faced feline.

Julia: If you had $1 for every time someone said your face was photoshopped, how rich would you be, and what would you do with all the money?
Venus: I would probably have a half million dollars and I would definitely donate to animal aid after I got a few little luxuries for myself, like one of those fancy automatic litter boxes, a couple new cat condos, a lifetime supply of cat treats and cool toys...oh, and maybe a posh new carrier for trips to the vet.

What do you think about all the hubbub over your face?
I guess I'm not surprised because I do look so different than most other cats.

You were born a stray, but luckily found a wonderful forever home. What does your human family love most about you, and what do you love about them?
My human family loves that I'm so snuggly like a baby. I'm timid and shy around strangers, but when it's just us I'm always laying on someone's lap purring up a storm. What I love most about them is that they love me for all of me, not just because of how I look...AND they let me get away with things most kitties can't do. We don't have many rules.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...