Friday, June 28, 2013

Fun Places for Cat Lovers to Visit

Sign outside Hello Kitty theme park
By Julia Williams

This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me even slightly: I have a “cat-themed” bucket list. What might that be, you ask? Well, it’s a detailed list of all the cat-themed places I want to visit before my demise. Lest you think that would be a really short list, I assure you it isn’t. There are, in fact, so many fabulous feline-inspired things to see worldwide, that I would need to live (at least) several hundred years to cross them all off.

The wildly popular cat-obsessed blog, Catsparella, only contributed to my longing by featuring some purrfect pussycat travel destinations in a series of great posts called Around the World in 80 Cats. Every day for months I salivated worse than Pavlov’s Dog, and sulked that my pink leopard suitcase and I wouldn’t be heading to the airport any time soon. Here are just a few of the feline-themed destinations on my bucket list:

Hello Kitty boat ride
Hello Kitty Theme Park: Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo

It takes a special kind of bravery for a middle-aged woman to admit that she (still) likes Hello Kitty. But I do. And despite the fact that the target audience for Sanrio Puroland is 3-6 year olds, I would go there in a heartbeat, and I would have a wonderful time. Never mind that the reviews on Trip Advisor range from “Every Hello Kitty fan’s dream come true” to “A complete waste of time and money.” Besides, Wikipedia claims that “the park has become one of Japan's most popular attractions.” So there! The park is run by the Sanrio company, creators of Hello Kitty, and features live musicals, restaurants, attractions, parades, fireworks and rides, including an “It’s a Small World” type boat ride. For diehard Kitty fans, the extensive gift shop offerings alone would be worth the trip.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ready for Dating – Single Brown Dog Seeks “Alicia Keeshond”

By Bruin, canine guest blogger

Thanks to CANIDAE natural pet food, I'm well on my way to achieving my weight loss goal.  I still have at least 10 more pounds to lose until I do justice to my speedo, but I have been thinking about entering the dating scene.  Since I'm currently unemployed, not attending classes, don't spend much time in religious facilities (rules, rules, rules, everybody has their rules) and don't like hanging out at bars, I thought perhaps on-line dating might be the answer.

I'm really not interested in the stud service sites since I have a three-date rule (see what I mean about everybody having rules – I guess I'm just as guilty).  Since I haven't been successful in finding a suitable site, I was thinking I might have to start one on my own.

Although I'm over 21 (in dog years), theoretically I should be able to do as I please.  My mom and dad tell me that as long as I live in their house I have to follow their rules (ack, there it is again – rules).  I think their concern is that I'll open myself up to meeting all kinds of bitches.

Right now I spend most of my free time lying by the pool and working on my tan. Since I have no lions to hunt, just the occasional kitty cat, I do enjoy the excitement (NOT!) of bird watching.  The kitty cats actually have the audacity to use "my place" as their litter box.  Believe me, my dad is not a happy camper when it's clean-up time.

Speaking of those annoying little rascals, I was thinking of naming my dating site, the CAT'S' MEOW.  I'm a little concerned about the name, because I wouldn't want to attract the wrong types.  While we're on the subject of type, I want you to know that I have very simple tastes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Some Popular Dog Breeds Got Their Name

Cocker Spaniel
By Linda Cole

Deciding on the perfect name for a new puppy or dog isn't always easy to do. You want to pick one that fits his personality and is easy to learn. Now imagine coming up with a name for a new dog breed. The history of dog breeds is an interesting story. The history behind naming some of our popular dog breeds is also an intriguing tale.

Cocker Spaniel

Spaniels date back to the 14th century; they evolved over the years with some working on land and others working as water retrievers. These dogs were highly prized by English hunters for their outstanding ability to flush out and retrieve a large, short legged and bulky wading bird called a woodcock. This nocturnal bird spends most of the day hiding in dense cover. People started calling the dog “cocker,” and the name caught on.

Labrador Retriever

Newfoundland is the land of the Labrador Retriever, not Labrador. Fishermen around the Canadian province used a small water dog that was bred with Newfoundland dogs to produce a first-class swimmer called the St. John's Water Dog, the ancestor of the Labrador. The breed had webbed feet and was used to retrieve fishermen's nets from the icy waters and bring them back to shore. In the early 1800s, the Earl of Malmesbury saw one of the dogs in action and imported it to England. He trained his dogs to retrieve ducks and called them “Labrador dogs.” Even though the Earl was confused about which province his dogs came from, the name stuck as the dog became more popular.

Cairn Terrier
Cairn Terrier

This little dog was developed on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. Farmers wanted a small, feisty dog with lots of courage, determination, intelligence and the ability to go to ground when necessary after prey. The Cairn Terrier was bred to hunt badger, otter, fox, rabbit and other vermin. They were especially good at digging prey out from under cairns, which are mounds of man-made piles of stone used in the Scottish Highlands as grave site memorials and boundary markers. People started calling the dogs Cairn, and that's where the breed name came from.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Should I Adopt Two Adult Cats at the Same Time?

By Langley Cornwell

My mother-in-law recently decided to add a heartbeat or two to her solitary life. We went to the animal shelter with her because she wanted our advice and moral support. I’m amazed that my husband and I didn’t come home with another four-legged family member, but that’s beside the point.

She set out to adopt an adult cat because she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep up with a kitten or adolescent cat’s high energy level. What’s more, we know that adult cats are harder to place and, as a rule, we try to help the animals like that.

When we entered the shelter, we told the staff what we were there for. They offered helpful advice on various adoptable cats that fit her criteria. After a brief conversation, we walked the aisles, surveying the available cats and watching my mother-in-law’s reactions. It was during this time that the shelter manager approached us and started in with her targeted and compassionate sales pitch. Mind you, this is the same shelter that has – thankfully - talked my husband and me into many pets that we didn’t intend to bring home. They’re good, very good!

We all know that adults and especially children gravitate towards the kittens and puppies in a shelter. Let’s face it, older animals just don’t radiate the same cuteness that the snuggly little kittens and puppies do, so adult animals often get ignored. Even so, there are real and measurable benefits to adding an adult pet (or two) to your family.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Role Carbs Played in the Evolution of Dogs

By Linda Cole

Scientists are still trying to unravel the mystery behind how wolves evolved into dogs. It happened so long ago, the only evidence scientists have to work with is in archaeological research into how humans evolved and fossilized teeth and bones of early canines. Researchers have a basic understanding of the approximate time when humans and wolves began to interact. New discoveries are occasionally found which adds another piece to the evolution puzzle; hopefully one day we’ll have a complete picture of how dogs became man's best friend.

The scientific community is still debating whether wolves approached humans first or if it was the other way around. A partnership between man and domesticated wolves would have been a beneficial relationship; wolves could help bring down larger game with enough meat to share between humans and animals. With no refrigeration or knowledge of how to preserve meat, leftover kills wouldn't have stayed fresh for long. Women were gatherers, collecting edible berries, roots, nuts, green plants and smaller animals. A tamed wolf would have given them protection as they searched for food.

The more likely scenario that led to domestication, however, was a mutual relationship of “you leave me alone and I won't bother you” agreement between man and animal. With an advancing Ice Age, humans were forced to turn to other sources of food. Larger plant-eating animals began to die off as cooler temperatures caused their food source to become scarcer. Early humans were nomads following Mammoth and other large game because it didn't make sense to carry a kill long distances. When their main meal, the Mammoth, became harder to find, humans were forced to turn to other sources of food. They gave up their nomad life about 10,000 years ago, settled down in small villages, and turned to agriculture for a food supply.

With the introduction of grains, the human digestive system began to evolve to better digest carbs, and scientific evidence shows the wolf's digestive system also evolved at the same time and for the same reason. Modern dog has 10 genes that aid in digesting starches and breaking down fats. Scientists found changes in three of the genes, which is what makes it possible for dogs to split starches and absorb sugars. Today's wolves can't process starchy food, and that's one thing that sets them apart from modern dogs. This discovery, however, has nothing to do with when dogs became our best friend.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why Does My Cat “Go” Outside the Litter Box?

By Julia Williams

I saw a funny cartoon on Facebook recently, where a cat had made a little Zen Garden out of his litter box. A woman commented that her cat had started pooping next to the litter box and they were going to find it a new home. Dozens of angry retorts from cat lovers followed, and while some of the comments were a bit harsh, I think their wrath was justified. Had the woman said she’d tried everything to figure out why the cat was doing this, and asked for help, it would have been a different story.

Unfortunately, there are people who, instead of trying to change this common but undesirable behavior, just dump the cat at the shelter. That doesn’t solve anything, and innocent animals suffer needlessly. It’s absolutely not the cat’s fault that it starts going outside the litter box. There is always a reason, and a responsible pet owner has a duty to figure it out and find a solution. Anything else is just unacceptable. Sometimes it’s not easy, but no one ever said life would be without challenges.

There are five main reasons a cat might start “doing his business” outside the litter box. Let’s take a look at them.

A Medical Problem

Many medical issues – including diabetes, cystitis, bladder stones and urethral blockage – can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, and some can be life threatening. Therefore, it’s imperative to take your cat to the vet to rule out a medical problem first, before considering other reasons for the litter box aversion.

Type of Litter

Back in 1947, when Edward Lowe “accidentally” invented the first commercially packaged kitty litter, pet owners weren’t faced with a gazillion choices like they are today. How do we choose one? It depends somewhat on your personal preferences, but in the end it’s really about which one your cat likes and will use. If you love the natural kitty litters made from corn or wheat but your cat doesn’t, guess who has the final say? If you think scented litter smells nice, but your cat (whose sense of smell is infinitely greater than your own) prefers unscented, then unscented is what you’ll have to use. Some litter has a rough texture, and your cat might prefer a finer, sandy feel.

If your cat doesn’t like your choice of litter for any reason, she’s going to let you know with inappropriate elimination – and you will never convince them to accept a litter they find objectionable. You may have to try many different brands and types to discover which one is the holy grail of kitty litters in your cat’s eyes, but once you do, stick with it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Red Light, Green Light

By Linda Cole

Training is an essential part of a dog's education. Teaching basic commands helps you control your pet and keep him safe. Teaching your dog isn't difficult if you are committed, remain patient and stay consistent. Plus, if you make it into a game, it's more fun all the way around. Dogs and kids love to play games, and by teaching both of them how to play Red Light, Green Light, you're showing them how to behave around each other.

One major lesson children can learn from playing the Red Light, Green Light game is how to react to a dog that may be chasing them or jumping up on them during play. It doesn't take long for a dog to become so excited during play that he ends up nipping at the kids when they're running around or jumping up on them, all the while barking his love of the game he's playing. Unfortunately, that's when it's time to slow the play down before someone gets hurt. The dog isn't being bad; he's just gotten too hyper to continue playing. Another good lesson for kids to learn is what to do when they meet an unfamiliar dog. By playing this game, kids are able to see firsthand how stopping and standing still can make a difference.

Before starting a game of Red light, Green light, your dog should know how to sit on command. But if he still needs to work on that, you can always practice with him during the game. Put a nice supply of CANIDAE dog treats in your pocket and be ready to reward him for sitting during the “freeze frame” part of the game.

The rules of the game are simple and easy for both kids and dogs to learn, but most kids probably already know how to play. Everyone starts out walking or running around the yard. A judge, which should be you to start with, suddenly shouts out “red light.” Everyone stops and freezes in position and the dog should sit down. To help him learn what you want him to do, run or walk with him on leash. As soon as you call out red light, stop and have him sit. Reward him with a treat immediately when he complies. Don't let him move until you yell “green light.” That's the signal to release everyone and the game continues.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Photographing Dogs and Cats– Which is Easier?

By Langley Cornwell

As you might imagine, I am one of those people who takes crazy amounts of pictures of our dogs and our cat. Now that so many cell phones have decent cameras, it’s easy to capture those precious moments.

What got me thinking about this was an article I read in Catster. The writer volunteers as a photographer at her local animal shelter. In the article, she chronicles her change of mind – at first she preferred photographing dogs but eventually came to enjoy cat photography more. With dogs, she liked the camaraderie and thought her photos were better with natural lighting and nice outdoor backgrounds. When she ventured into the cat room to take pictures, there was too much commotion. She couldn’t get a cat to sit still long enough to snap a good shot. And, when she got lucky and captured one of the elusive creatures on camera, the backgrounds were cluttered with litter boxes, cages, supplies, and maybe a few bags of CANIDAE Life Stages cat food, all lit by severe fluorescent lighting.

Then one day the shelter manager hung up a donated blanket and two heat lamps in an effort to spiff up the cat photos. The photographer mentally rolled her eyes, thinking there was no way a cat would sit in front of that thing long enough to have her picture taken. She was wrong. In fact, she now believes that cats intuitively know what she is trying to do and pose for the camera.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Long is Your Pet’s Memory Span?

By Linda Cole

Some people assume that dogs and cats aren't capable of retaining memory over the years. Most people believe both species can only remember for a few minutes, at most. However, experts say that how long a dog or cat's memory span is depends on whether you're talking about short-term memory or long-term memory – associative memory or real memory.

Associative memory is when a dog or cat remembers by associating a specific activity with what they see, smell or hear, and whether they have a positive or negative memory of it. For example, my dogs associate the sounds my computer makes when it's shutting down with going outside one last time at night. But if I mute the computer's volume so they can't hear the beeps, they have no idea why I'm getting up from my chair. Pets pay close attention to every little thing we do, and their associative memory kicks in when something triggers it. Yet when there's nothing to associate an action to, their real memory kicks in and they don't remember what happens next.

Associative memory is the reason why you can't punish a dog, left alone, for tearing up a pillow or getting in the trash. By the time you get home, he has no idea why you're yelling at him, but will associate your reaction with unfair discipline, and will remember it. When a pet associates something negative with an activity, it can be hard to change their behavior. If you only take your pet in the car when it's time to visit the vet, he may associate being in the car with something unpleasant. If your cat has a negative experience in a specific room, she may be reluctant to go back. So it's important for your pet to experience positive things in the car or the room, like going somewhere enjoyable or having fun playing in that “scary” room. However, you need to tread carefully to make sure you don't reinforce a negative association your pet will remember.

Cats aren't as excitable as dogs. They have to maintain their “coolness” after all. Felines do associate sights, sounds and smells, though. If they didn't, the electric can opener would never be successful at training a cat to come running when “it” calls out. A cat's memory is thought to be at least 200 times better than a dog's. But as any cat owner knows, felines are more selective, and remember what they think is useful to them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Understanding Dog Show Terms

By Suzanne Alicie

Many dog lovers enjoy watching dog shows. We get to see the “top dogs” of each breed, but a lot of us may find ourselves wondering exactly how the judges choose the winners. There are many terms and standards that “show dog” owners are aware of and work to achieve. Let’s take a look at a few of these and what they mean, so the next time you watch a dog show you’ll understand more about the process and have more insight into the final results.

Breed Standard

The breed standard includes several areas of the dog’s appearance which are dictated by the AKC for show dogs. This means that dogs of a specific breed which are the wrong color, have any irregularities or are too large or small for the breed standard won’t be competing. The dogs which have shown that they fit the breed standard will be further evaluated to find the best example of the breed in the show.


Stacking is how the dog stands naturally and when placed in position. This is something that the handler or trainer will teach the dog. Stacking helps the judges see all areas of the dog’s structure to evaluate against the breed standard and to allow the judges to feel the dogs bone structure and muscles. The breed standard stacking position differs from breed to breed. While evaluating the stack, you may hear judges and announcers talk about angulations, soundness and pedigree.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Coping When Your Pet Is Sick

By Julia Williams

I was originally going to title this post, How the Internet Makes Being a Pet Parent Better. I changed my mind when I realized that it wasn’t really “the internet” that I meant, but the people a pet owner can meet there through various online avenues. For me, those avenues are primarily a pet blog and Facebook. There are many others that one might choose as their favorite “virtual water cooler,” but in the end it’s the interactions we have with other pet owners and the friendships we form that matter more than where we choose to gather.

Some people, including me, have a hard time remembering what life was like B.I., or Before Internet. My virtual water cooler visits are an integral part of my day. It’s how I stay connected to others while enjoying the solitude and freedom of a work-from-home career. Yet it’s become so much more than that to me, and I only realized just how much more when my beloved cat, Annabelle, recently fell gravely ill.

I was cycling through all of the “downer” emotions that besiege us when our fur kids are sick: anxiety, fear, sadness, dread, helplessness. Mostly, I was just very worried about Annabelle and terrified that I would lose her. I do have people in my “real life” who understand the turmoil that having a sick pet creates, but only a precious few. I really needed an army, because I was trying to be strong, for Annabelle…and I was failing miserably.

I found my army on Facebook, where my friends’ list includes many good-hearted souls who love their pet as deeply as I do. I also participate in a Facebook group that’s comprised of crazy-about-cats people like me. One thing I especially love about Facebook is that no matter what you might need from others – support, opinions, answers to questions, knowledge that only comes from personal experience – you can post a status and get what you need immediately. It’s like a real-time lifeline, a metaphorical tow rope thrown to a drowning man.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Teaching Pet Safety Rules to Kids

By Langley Cornwell

The dogs we share our lives with now have never been around young children. The one time that my sister-in-law brought her grandchild to our home, our dogs cowered in the corner of our bedroom during their entire visit.

If we are out taking a walk with our dogs and a young child runs towards us, we step between the child and the dog and divert the kid’s attention. We’re just not sure what would happen. Since we aren’t around kids often, we have not properly socialized our dogs in that area, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones.

In order to avoid any potential issues, why not err on the side of caution? If you are a parent of young children, it’s important to teach them sound pet safety rules.

If your child is approached by a strange dog

In these circumstances, it’s important to teach your kid to:

• Stand tall and firm, like a tree.
• Keep her hands down at her sides.
• Stare straight ahead. Don’t look at the dog. If your child looks into the dog’s eyes, the dog may interpret that as an invitation to fight.
• Stay still, never try to run away. Dogs have a prey drive and love to chase moving objects, even children.
• Keep quiet. Calling for help or screaming out of fear may scare the dog.
• When the dog loses interest, back away slowly, one step at a time.

If your child follows these steps, most dogs will simply take a few curious sniffs and then turn away. Still, it’s important to let your child know what to do if she is ever attacked by a dog. If the unthinkable happens and a dog attacks, your child must curl up in a tight ball and cover her face with her hands.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Canidae Large Breed Dog Food – It's a Big Deal!

The sponsor of this blog, Canidae Natural Pet Foods, announced its new Large Breed formulas for adults and puppies just last month. They report that the response from both large breed pet owners and retailers across the country has been tremendous. In fact, Frank Hon, the company's Vice President of Global Sales (and large breed dog owner) said, "It may be the most successful new formula we have ever launched!"

What is all the fuss about? Well, there are several things that make Canidae's new large breed formulas different from anything else out there – features that really hit home for large breed dog owners. Let's take a look.

First, the Canidae Large Breed dry formula for adults and Large Breed dry formula for puppies both feature delicious duck meal. What's so special about that? Duck has higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids compared to chicken alone. (Chicken is the primary protein in most other large breed formulas on the market.) These high levels of Omega 3 play an important role in reducing inflammation within the body, including within the joints. Good joint health is very important when it comes to these large breeds.

These formulas also contain yummy lentils! Lentils are a great non-grain source of carbs which help satisfy the big appetites of large breeds who sometimes want to eat too much. Lentils are so satisfying because they are low-glycemic, releasing energy into your dog's body more slowly than some other ingredients. This "slower release" helps to satiate big appetites and provide healthy all-day energy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Power of a Dog's Bond

By Linda Cole

Late one night while outside with my three dogs, the sudden presence of a coyote startled us all; my dogs quickly gathered around me. I thought it was because they were scared, but they were ready to protect me. When a dog gives us their trust, the bond we share will never be broken by the pet. The following four dogs illustrate the importance of loyalty, love and a bond that can't be broken.


When Mari gave birth to three Shiba Inu puppies the morning of October 23, 2004, she had no idea that by the end of the day, she'd be fighting to save her puppies and a human member of her family. That fateful day, a devastating earthquake rocked Japan. The village Mari's family lived in was hit the hardest and most of the homes collapsed, including the one Mari was in with her pups. Violent tremors, and a leash restraining her, separated Mari from her pups. She struggled to free herself, but the leash wouldn't budge. As more tremors came, Mari gave a last desperate pull and broke free. She quickly moved her pups to a safe place before racing back into the demolished home.

The grandfather had been in his room upstairs when the quake hit. Mari found him trapped under a dresser. As the old man slowly regained consciousness, she licked his face to let him know she was there. Mari ran back and forth checking on her pups and the grandfather, her paws cut and bleeding from walking over broken glass and porcelain. The grandfather eventually found the strength to push the dresser off and with Mari's help, got out of the collapsed home.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Musings from Bark Twain, AKA a Big Dog Named Bruin

By Bruin, canine guest blogger

Dear Fans:

For those of you who are not already aware, for the last 2½ months I have been on a diet.  My parents and my weight loss warden, Dr. Brooks, keep telling me I should not think of it as a diet but rather as a healthier way of eating.  I think they forget sometimes that though I display an inordinate amount of brain cells, I am, after all a dog and find that concept disconcerting and unreasonable.

I do remember vaguely back in the day when my family would ask if I’d like a “treat” and then turn around and give me a dog bone.  I felt like Hannibal Lector since only he would want to eat the bones of other dogs.  (Please don’t tell Mom and Dad because I’m not allowed to watch those kinds of things but when they leave the room, I “accidentally” roll over on the remote and change the channel.)

Dr. Brooks also suggested that I keep a food diary because little items seem to add up so quickly calorie-wise.  You’d think with all the examinations he’s given me, he would have noticed I don’t have any thumbs but thank goodness, at least I do have access to a computer.  My having to “watch my weight” bothers my Mom and Dad so much more than me because like so many others, they equate love with food. When I go in periodically to get weighed, they always hold their breath and advise me to only stand on one paw.

My much older (counting in dog years) two-legged siblings are actually quite jealous and insist they were never regarded with the same devotion afforded me.  They must think that cooking for me daily and serving my water chilled is not an entitlement.  The nerve of them to count the number of times I go to the vet and compare it to the number of times they were taken to the pediatrician! Not for publication is also the fact that my Mom carries around pictures of me and none of her children/grandchildren.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Cat for Mayor? In Harmony, California it’s Possible!

By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service

There is a tiny town located on the California Coast off Highway 1 just south of Cambria, steeped in history and now little more than a bump in the road, but packed with charm and artistic flair. What once was a thriving dairy community in the early 1900s is now a bohemian artist community boasting a population of 18, which probably includes the local wildlife and a town cat. This is where the story gets interesting, as how many towns can boast they elected a cat for Mayor?

A large orange tabby striped Maine Coon cat named Freddy Cheenie Alfredo, Freddy for short, was a much loved and cherished town mascot. He lived his entire “nine lives” in Harmony, passing at a ripe old age of 22 years. Freddy loved to greet visitors to Harmony and could always be found lounging in a patch of sun in the gardens or in a shop window. Shoppers could buy a T-shirt or other Harmony souvenirs with his likeness.

The story goes that because of his celebrity status, Freddy decided to run for Mayor of Harmony (though this is a bit unclear). He ran unopposed in the election and won in a landslide victory. Freddy served as Mayor until his passing in 1995. His final napping site can be found behind the old creamery building where the local residents lovingly maintain a touching memorial in his honor.

However, in typical Harmony artistic fashion, a new, absolutely gorgeous black and white female kitty named Gatacita has taken over the role of “mascot cat” for Harmony. She has oodles of charm and purrsonality, and takes her role seriously as the official greeter to the fair town of Harmony. While this kitty likes to nap in the gardens Freddy was so fond of, she will also follow you from shop to shop and sit with you at your table while you rest or picnic.

With not a shy bone in her svelte feline body, Gatacita is extremely photogenic and loves having her photo taken. Gatacita wasn’t born in Harmony like Freddy was, but she was adopted by the entire town when her first owner passed away and she had nowhere else to go. She is much loved by the residents and visitors alike, and rumor has it she is planning to run for Mayor of Harmony in the next election, following in the pawsteps of the famous Freddy!

On your next road trip up or down the coast of California, stop by the unique town of Harmony and visit with Gatacita.  Dogs are welcome in Harmony too, but a hand-lettered sign reminds guests that dogs must be leashed. Cats on the other hand, may run free!

Read more articles by Diane Matsuura

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to Find the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

By Linda Cole

Finding the right dog isn't always easy. There are nearly 500 dog breeds recognized by kennel clubs throughout the world. With so many choices, purebred and mixed, how do you find the right dog for your lifestyle? Basically, it's a combination of common sense, doing your homework on breeds, and understanding that some dogs can be harder to handle.

Purebred or Mixed?

You want to feel comfortable around your dog. The first thing to consider is why you want a dog. Secondly, do you want a purebred or a mixed breed? If cost is a consideration, visit your local shelter or rescue groups for purebreds and mixed breeds, or contact breed specific rescues for purebred dogs. Buying from a responsible breeder is more expensive, but you will learn about your pup's history and health, see his parents, and have someone happy to answer all of your questions. They will have questions for you, as well.

Energy Level

Do you want a dog that watches you toss a ball and then gives you a look that says, “You're the one who threw it over there. I'm not going to get it,” one who is eager and ready for a five mile run, or something in between? Regardless of size or breed, all dogs need some daily exercise and some need more than others. How much exercise are you willing to give your dog each day? A bored dog can be destructive if he isn't given an outlet to get rid of pent up energy. A daily walk adds stimulation to your dog's mind. We would get bored doing the same thing every day, and so do dogs that never get outside their enclosed area.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Reduce Unnecessary Dog Barking

By Langley Cornwell

We just moved into a new home. As is always the case, the move was filled with highlights and lowlights; for us and for our pets. The dogs seem to have made the adjustment the quickest, with one exception: they bark a lot. I guess they are reacting to the smells and noises they are not accustomed to, but it is seriously driving me crazy. I can only imagine what our neighbors think of “the new kids on the block!”

Because I work from home, it’s fairly easy for me to get up and let them come inside so the neighbors (and I) can enjoy some peace and quiet. But one of the reasons we moved to this house in the first place was so the dogs could have a proper back yard to hang around in. I needed help, so I went on a quest to learn how to reduce my dogs’ unnecessary barking. The problem, however, is that there are so many different recommendations for how to handle this specific situation, and some of them sound downright inhumane.

It took me a good bit of research before I settled on a tactic. I think Modern Dog Magazine is a reputable source, so I’m trying the method recommended by guest contributor Stanley Coren, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of many books about dogs, including Pawprints of History and How to Speak Dog. Coren starts by telling you what not to do quell unnecessary dog barking (even though it is sometimes tempting). He says not to yell “stop barking” or “no” or anything similar when your dog tunes up. Apparently when you shout, your dog interprets your sharp voice as a bark, as if you are joining the canine chorus. The dog will assume you condone his actions and may even ramp up the volume.

Coren explains that wild canine adults do not bark much because silence is necessary when hunting; noises may alert potential prey to the pack’s whereabouts and scare the evening’s dinner away. Pups and adolescents in the wild have not yet learned the necessity of quiet hunting and may bark at inappropriate times. When adolescents accompany their elders on a hunt and sound off unnecessarily, a dominant wolf will place his mouth over the pup’s muzzle, firmly but without actually biting, and issue a soft growl that can only be heard nearby. The young canine understands this signal and gets quiet quickly.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Millionaires Prefer Dogs to Cats; Should They Reconsider?

By Tamara McRill

As it turns out, the pet most likely to be shedding fur in the lap of luxury may not fit very well on a human lap at all. A recent survey done by the Spectrem Group shows that millionaires overwhelmingly pick dogs as their pet of choice: 58% own dogs, while only 37% are cat owners.

That's a big difference in pet ownership from the rest of the country. Humane Society statistics show that 39 percent of U.S. households own dogs, while 33 percent own cats. But those households actually own more cats total than dogs: 8.2 million more cats, to be exact. This is because feline households are more likely to have two cats, while canine households are more likely to have only one dog.

So why do millionaires prefer dogs over cats? Are they missing out on something the rest of the country gets about cats?

Looking for Love and Loyalty

One of the theories floating around is that millionaires might prefer the unconditional love and loyalty dogs give them. A love that is unattached to their ginormous bank balance. That is something you'll certainly get in spades from most dogs.

But here's a secret most cat owners could tell these millionaires: cats love deeply and faithfully too. Now I don't know if it takes longer for a cat to become deeply attached to its human, since I have always been a very hands-on pet owner. I do know, from having many cats in my youth, that kitties can love just as fiercely as dogs. Maybe it does come down to having the time to play and bond.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Dog's Bucket List

By Keikei Cole, canine guest blogger

It's rough being a dog. We have to guard the home, keep the mailman and deliverymen on their toes, herd cats and pick up garbage. We wash windows, dig holes in the garden, exercise our hoomans, and try to keep them under control at all times. It's a hard job, but we do the best we can. On our down time, my furry siblings and I like to work on our bucket lists. Oh yes, we have lots of things we want to do, too! Here is my bucket list.

1. Visit the factory where they make all of those yummy CANIDAE TidNips™ and Snap-Bits™ dog treats. I'd like be the chief “taste inspector” to make sure each package is up to the company's strict standard of quality and freshness.

2. Learn how to herd sheep. The word around the water bowl is that sheep are easier to manage than a bunch of cats. When I learn how to do that intimidating “Border Collie stare,” felines will have new respect for me!

3. Be the lead dog on a sled dog team with no particular place to go.

4. Go on a real scavenger hunt and roll in everything I find. It would be fun to set up a hunt in some exotic location to experience the local flavors I can't find in my area.

5. Take my human on a cross country trip to find all of the dog friendly motels and wide open spaces where I can run as far as I want. Within reason, anyway – I wouldn't want to lose my human or my ride home.

6. Have a heart-to-heart talk with the mailman and delivery guy, to explain that when I bark, snarl or chase them, it's not personal, I'm just doing my job.

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