Monday, September 23, 2013
We humans have a tendency to present our species as being the most sophisticated, smartest and superior. But when it comes down to it, there are many things animals can do a lot better than we can.
1. Gripping Ability
If you've ever played tug-of-war with your dog, you know how strong his grip is. The average bite force of a dog is 320 pounds per square inch. Humans have an average bite force of 120 psi. The Mastiff has the highest bite force at 552.
A dog running at full stride is beauty in motion. It's almost as if they are racing the wind. The fastest human, Usain Bolt, holds the running record at 28 mph, and has an average running speed of 23 mph. But his speed isn't even close to the fastest dog, the Greyhound, with an average speed of 40 mph and a top running speed of 45 mph. When you add endurance, humans would be gasping for breath long before most canines stopped.
Friday, September 20, 2013
People who like cats with a wild look are naturally drawn to the Chausie, an exotic feline with Jungle Cat ancestry. With their long legs, long, lean body and statuesque appearance, Chausie cats are exquisitely beautiful creatures.
However, the Chausie (pronounced chow-see) is not for everyone. This unusual cat breed requires an experienced owner who can meet the demands of a very active, assertive and athletic feline that needs a lot of interactive play and attention.
This high energy feline is rarely idle; they prefer physical and mental stimulation to lazy catnaps on your lap. The Chausie is sociable, affectionate, good natured and intelligent. They have a very curious nature and can be fearless, so keeping them indoors at all times is essential. The Chausie is highly trainable and can be taught to fetch. Their exceptionally playful demeanor lasts well into adulthood.
Despite their wild ancestry, Chausies can develop deep bonds with their owner and do not like to be left home alone for long hours. Their movements are very “cougar-like” and they are excellent jumpers with the ability to reach high places with ease (such as the tops of doors).
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I didn't really understand what impulse control was until our dog Keikei came to live with us. She was an adorable and happy 8 week old puppy who quickly adjusted to us and the other dogs. But as she grew, she became overly excited to go outside. By the time she was 4 months old, her excitement escalated to a point of no return, and she was easily agitated. She was the perfect example of a dog that needed to learn impulse control.
In our world, impulse control is delayed gratification, resisting an impulse for immediate satisfaction of a desire or temptation. Instead of spending your entire paycheck on an expensive vacation package, you spread the cost out over time to lessen the financial impact on your wallet. Your budget for this month is tight, so you skip the Friday nights out so you can pay the bills. We learn as children that no matter how much we might want something right now, whether it's a new toy, going to a concert or staying overnight with a friend – immediate desires or wants don't always happen. So (hopefully) we learn early on the need for impulse control.
Controlling a puppy's impulse isn't difficult because of their smaller size, and most pups can be picked up to stop an unwanted reaction to something they want. If your terrier puppy finds a chipmunk hole in your prized flower bed, you can pick him up to stop him from digging, and then figure out how to humanely relocate the chipmunk without ruining your flowers. But depending on a pup's age, not all puppies can be picked up to control an impulse. That's one reason why it's important to start puppy training as soon as you bring him home. Unfortunately, as a pup grows up, he becomes more independent and if you didn't teach him at a young age how to control his impulses, his unwanted behavior will remind you of the importance of dog training. A dog that obeys basic commands is easier to control, and that is one way you can keep him safe.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Hollywood Dog Training School, currently owned and operated by Richard Karl, was once a hotel and training ground for the Hollywood elite. The fancy four pawed “actors and actresses” were brought in to learn to hit their acting cues. The Hollywood superstars also brought their canines to set up house in their own little personal hotel of sorts. The rich and famous regularly lavished their canines with a visit to the hottest spot in the doggie world at that time. Carl Spitz, the owner and trainer at this Hollywood hotspot, knew how to make dogs feel like a million dollars.
Carl Spitz, Sr. was the original owner and brains behind the initial Hollywood Dog Training School. Originally from Germany, Spitz got his start working with dogs for movie roles. He learned about dog training from the man that many consider the greatest dog trainer of all time...Colonel Konrad Most. Clearly he learned his lessons well, because he went on to be among the greatest in his own right.
Most everyone knows the dog Toto from the movie The Wizard of Oz. Toto was actually Carl’s family dog and was trained under his watchful eye. Toto’s real name was Terry, and the dog became one of Spitz’s most famous clients. Starring alongside Judy Garland, that cute little canine actor was so much fun to watch. Although he was one of Spitz’s most popular clients, he was far from the only one.
Back when Spitz first started the school in 1927, the Hollywood elite would bring him their dogs to be pampered and trained. The accommodations were right out of a Hollywood fantasy, with extravagant playgrounds and beautiful views. The dogs would also have private baths and dryers, and custom menu items made by special cooks. How many dogs do you know that are bathed in porcelain bathtubs? Spitz made sure they had the best of everything for his visitors.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Uh-oh. Little Bootsie went out the doggie door, and you had no idea someone had left the gate open. Now you can't find her. If someone else does, will that person be able to find you?
As a loving and responsible pet owner, you want your pet to be safe at all times. In the event that your pet gets loose and starts roaming the streets, getting her back home is essential. Home escapes aren't the only potential dangers, though; pets can also find themselves alone and vulnerable after accidents and natural disasters. Pets with microchips are much more likely than those without them to be reunited with their owners. This means that if your dog or cat doesn't have a registered microchip, you're taking a huge risk.
In early August, a Pomeranian named Koda was reunited with his family in Arkansas after somehow making his way to a shelter in California. Shortly before that, Wobbles the Shih Tzu went home after being missing for about a year. Not to be outdone, a Massachusetts cat named Charlie was recently found 25 miles from home after just 1 day. What do these pets have in common? They all experienced the joy of a happy reunion simply because they had registered microchips.
Monday, September 16, 2013
It may not seem that important, but how you pet a dog does matter… to the dog. Because canines are individuals, the “sweet spot” one dog enjoys may be an area you need to avoid with another, especially if you don't know the dog. It's important to teach children how to touch a dog to keep interactions between them safe and pleasant. Petting seems like a simple concept, but there are some things to keep in mind.
Wait for an invitation
Our first impulse is to reach down to pet a friendly looking dog, but in his eyes that's not a proper greeting. How you greet a dog matters. Ignore him while he takes a few minutes to check you out, and remember to ask the dog's owner for permission to pet him. If the dog doesn't appear interested in you or is holding back and hiding behind his owner, he may not be in the mood to have someone he doesn't know petting him. He'll let you know when he's ready for you to scratch his head.
Our own pets are comfortable with us because of the trust and bond we've built. We can pet them in ways they wouldn't allow someone else to do, and are much more likely to accept things from us they wouldn't from someone they aren't familiar with. Never try to pet an unfamiliar dog who is trying to move away from you, is cornered, eating or lying down.
Friday, September 13, 2013
If you love to take your dog along when you travel or just get out for a day of fun, there’s no shortage of Fido-friendly places you can go. Here are some ideas to consider.
Dog Days Baseball Games
Yes, you can take your four-legged BFF with you to the ball park, on specific dog-allowed days. This year, 18 major league baseball teams hosted Dog Days (some stadiums call them Bark in the Parks), with many holding multiple events. This dog-friendly event began in 1996 when the White Sox offered the first Dog Day which was a huge success. Some even have festivities such as parades, competitions, dog-related vendors and fundraisers for animal charities. Each stadium has its own requirements for vaccinations, weight limits and such, so be sure to visit their website or call before you go to get all the details.
National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.
This historical site in the heart of our nation’s capital includes a host of iconic monuments including the Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt Memorials as well as the World War II, Korean War Veteran’s and Vietnam Veteran’s Memorials. The National Mall also includes Constitution Gardens, Washington Monument, Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site and Park, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, and a clock tower built in 1899. According to the National Park Service, dogs are permitted up to the monuments except in indoor or covered areas. In-between monument viewing, there are lots of places to walk, picnic, sight-see, enjoy the views and play a game of Frisbee with your dog.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
In the past, I’ve only shared my home with dogs – and those dogs had little to no interaction with cats. On those unfortunate occasions when they did interact with cats, it usually turned out poorly for me. It would invariably happen when I was walking both dogs at once and a cat would saunter across our path, glancing slyly at us with a gleam in its eye. My big dogs would take off on cue, lunging on the leashes like sled dogs, and it would take every ounce of my might not to do a face plant right on the pavement.
Experiences like these made me marvel at dogs that got along with cats. I thought that “those dogs” were rare and wondrous, that their humans must have worked long and hard to get them comfortable with “the opposite” species. At that time, in my mind dogs and cats were like day and night or black and white – they were opposites. Then I met my husband, a Real Man Who Loves Cats. When we decided it was time to add to our family, we went to the shelter and came back with a dog and a cat.
Our dog and cat have formed a tight interspecies bond; they are good friends. With appropriate socialization, most dogs and cats can live together harmoniously. Some breeds seem to be more accepting of feline friends than others, however. Here are five dog breeds that are recognized as being cat-friendly:
Golden and Labrador Retrievers
Big, happy and athletic, retrievers love everybody. Known for their devoted and obedient nature, retrievers are easy to socialize with other dogs and with cats. Many households that have retrievers also have cats, proving that size doesn’t matter.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I'm one of “those” people who can sit and watch my cats for hours, observing what they do, how they move, how their whiskers quiver when watching a bird and other interesting things about them. Cats have a unique way of drinking that has actual science behind it. If you've ever watched closely as your cat drinks, you can see how they defy gravity every time they take a drink.
In 1940, a documentary called Quicker 'n a Wink was shot using stroboscopic photography that slowed down movements which were too fast for us to see with the naked eye. Some of the subjects of the slow motion film were a cat drinking, the beating wings of a hovering hummingbird, and the point of impact on a football by a kicker. The film was a huge success, and it won an Academy Award in 1941. For many people, seeing for the first time how a cat drinks was fascinating. When a cat laps up a liquid, she curls her tongue backwards to form a “J”, but she doesn't just lap it up, she lets physics do the work for her.
A biophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge wanted to find out how his cat drank, and with the help of colleagues decided to film cats drinking with a high speed camera to answer the mystery of how cats drink. You can watch a slow motion video here.
The process of drinking begins when the cat gently touches the tip of her tongue along the surface of a liquid without breaking it. As she lifts her tongue, liquid sticks to the tip and is drawn upward in a column. The tongue is lifted in a rapid motion, and the stream of liquid grows because of inertia. When she pulls her tongue into her mouth, the column thins out as gravity begins to pull it back down, and she quickly traps the water in her mouth. She swallows every three to 17 laps. Each lap contains about a tenth of a milliliter.
The process is fast, and in order for her to get a good drink, she has to defy the forces of gravity and inertia, and lap faster than gravity can pull the liquid back down into her bowl. Timing is crucial, because a column of water is at its thickest and longest point just before gravity begins to pull it back down. If the mouth is closed too soon, she misses part of the water; if she closes her mouth too late, she will lose the entire column. The balancing act is to grab the column at the optimal time for the fullest and most satisfying gulp.
One of the co-authors of the study, a mathematician at Princeton University named Jeffrey Aristoff, said “This suggests that cats are smarter than many people think, at least when it comes to hydrodynamics.” Needless to say, we cat owners already know that our feline friends are smarter than non-cat people give them credit for. Now we can add their use of physics to drink to the list of their natural abilities.
Little by little, scientists are discovering that animals have innate skills that help them survive. Perhaps the one thing we can learn from the science of how cats drink is the meticulous method cats use to keep their whiskers and chin dry. This is very unlike dogs, who lap away at a bowl of water with no concern to how much is running down their chin. Leonardo da Vinci said “The smallest feline is a masterpiece,” and apparently a very good student of physics as well!
Top photo by macinate
Middle photo by Dave Dugdale
Bottom photo by Tambako the Jaguar
Read more articles by Linda Cole
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Who doesn’t love a rollicking good time that ends with a huge doggie smile – all to benefit a good cause? As dog lovers, we are often a part of charitable canine organizations or wish we could help raise funds for specific doggy needs. Yet it can be hard to come up with fun ways to get people to participate.
Here is a list of dog benefit ideas that you can whip out the next time your favorite shelter, pet charity or dog in need deserves a little organized help. Each of these has activities that are dog-themed and/or allows dogs to participate. Otherwise, how could we call them wag-worthy?
Dog Walks/5k Run Events
Many cities across the country have these events, and a 5k walk or run might work in your town, too. One way to raise money through this event is to get your participants to take pledges for distance increments or if they finish the race. You could even have a box for people to donate needed items. One way to spice up this event is to have runners come in costume – and their dogs, too! You can either pick a theme or let it be anything goes.
Make sure you train your dog for the event, just like you wouldn't go run a marathon without being an experienced runner. Although dogs may seem ready-made to tackle a long run, they can also get hurt or become ill if they don’t build up their endurance. Also, be sure you train by actually running with your dog, so they are used to your rhythm.
Mini Pet Fairs
What better way to spark up a fun atmosphere of charitable giving than with a fair? You can have games for the dogs, like “find the stuffed animal” or agility contests. Have supporting companies set up booths as vendors. Pet fairs can also feature adoptions.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Holy Mackerel! Correction, I should say yummy duck and salmon. I was going through my daily lessons the other day, not paying close attention to my regular tiny meal (aka my treat) the boss had in her hand. When I heard “Good Girl,” I knew my treat was on its way to my mouth. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a different taste. I noticed a hint of duck as I crunched away. No way! I figured it was my imagination left over from my duck hunting dream. Come to find out, it was one of CANIDAE's new grain free Pure Heaven dog treats.
I have no idea how the boss finds these great tasting treats, but she does a good job picking out some fine “motivators.” That's what I call those tiny meals she rewards me with when I do something good. Sometimes I get some just because she loves me! Cool, huh? Anyway, she smiled while I smacked my way through one treat, and then gave me a different one. She said one biscuit was called Pure Heaven Duck and Chickpea, and the other one was Pure Heaven Salmon and Sweet Potato. Is a chickpea related to a duck? Oh wait... I bet that's what little ducks are called?
Later, I had the boss out for her walk and we ran into my canine buddies Gunner and Eva. The humans were yakking away when all of a sudden the boss pulls out some of MY new CANIDAE treats. Well, I sat immediately. Gunner and Eva took one sniff of the offered treat, and did the same thing. Gunner's mom was surprised that he snarfed his, because he’s pretty picky about the treats he eats. Later that evening, Gunner sent me a message via doggy grapevine, and said he absolutely loved that treat! So, these new grain free treats must be exceptionally good if Gunner likes them.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Dogs and cats love to hide, don’t they? They hide under our rugs, blankets and bedspreads. They hide behind the curtains and underneath the bed with just their tail sticking out. They like to hide outdoors, too… in the grass, in a pile of leaves or next to a tree.
Some pets “hide in plain sight” by lying on a same-color rug or tile. You might find your pet hiding behind the couch, with just their nose peeking around. Cats are especially fond of hiding in the Christmas tree, and some hide inside a birdhouse hoping to catch a snack. Small dogs can hide in a pile of toys (like ET did).
The point is, hiding pets are funny, and they present us with lots of great photo ops. Most pet owners I know take a ton of photos, so I thought this hiding theme would make for a fun contest. (Truth be told, I “stole” the idea from my favorite cartoon kitty, Simon’s Cat. But you know what they say – there’s no such thing as a totally original idea!).
“Pets Hiding” Photo Contest
Categories and Prizes
Best Dog “Hiding” Spot: 1 (one) 15-pound bag of CANIDAE grain free dog food (Pure Elements, Pure Sea, Pure Sky or Pure Land)
Cutest Cat “Hiding” Spot: 1 (one) 15-pound bag of CANIDAE grain free cat food (Pure Elements or Pure Sea)
Funniest Hiding Spot: 1 (one) 15-pound bag of CANIDAE Pure grain free dog food or cat food (winner’s choice).
Most Creative Hiding Spot: 1 (one) 15-pound bag of CANIDAE Pure grain free dog food or cat food (winner’s choice).
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Whether you are introducing a new cat into a multiple cat household or you’re bringing your first kitty home from the shelter, you’ll have to help the new family member get acclimated to the litter box.
All change is stressful for cats, and going into a new home can be a nerve-racking experience. Some cats require a longer adjustment period than others, so it’s important to do what you can to help your feline friend feel safe and secure. Even if it seems like your cat is one of the fast learners, the key factor in helping him get used to his new home and his new litter box is to move slowly.
Teaching a cat where to eliminate is much different than the rigors of house training a dog. With cats, instinct is on your side; cats naturally like to relieve themselves in the sand or dirt. Therefore, when you introduce your cat to a litter box, with a bit of encouragement he'll happily go there instead of making a grand mess in your house.
At the beginning, it’s a good idea to restrict your new cat to a single room— but only for a short time. The transition will be easier on him if you have plenty of food and water, a bed, some toys, a scratching post and a litter box in “his” new room. Put your cat’s food, water, bed and toys at one end of the room, and the litter box at the other end of the room. Since cats appreciate privacy, he will be more inclined to use the box since it’s in a low-traffic area and away from his eating and resting area.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The Dachshund may not look feisty, but this short-legged dog is a badger's worse enemy. This breed was created to hunt – a job they are extremely good at – and is the only AKC recognized breed that was developed to hunt above and below ground.
The Dachshund is the smallest member of the Hound Group, even though he was bred to go to ground after his prey, like a terrier. In 1874, the Dachshund was recorded as a German Badger Hound in the English stud book, which started a somewhat heated debate – is the Dachshund a hound or a terrier? A breed expert was quoted in 1906 as saying, “That it is used occasionally as a hound in the sense that it follows rabbits and hares by scent as does a beagle, does not alter the fact that it is essentially a dog that goes to earth and is therefore a terrier.”
Dog historian Edward Ash also got in on the debate in 1927 saying, “A Dachshund is, in fact, a terrier with very crooked legs, but possessing in a very great degree both the appearance and fine nose of the beagle.” Needless to say, this breed has fine qualities of both the hound and terrier!
The Dachshund was created in Germany in the early 1600s, but illustrations of dogs with short legs and elongated bodies hunting badgers have been found dating back to the 1400s, and writings from the 1500s mention the “earth dog,” “dachsel,” and “badger creeper.” In Germany, this breed is known as the Badger Dog, and the Teckel. The German word for badger is “dachs,” and “hund” means dog.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
For most pet owners, our dogs are a part of the family. We do everything we can to provide them with a happy, healthy life and a secure area to play outside, but there are people out there who steal animals. They take dogs right from their yards if they are left unattended. Or if a dog gets out of his yard, instead of attempting to find the owner they simply keep the dog.
Some pet thefts are for nefarious reasons while some people take pets to “adopt” them, and others will sell pets to make money. No matter what the reason, it is heartbreaking for you and your family. While there is no absolute guarantee besides never letting your dog out of your sight, there are a few things you can do to help prevent pet theft.
Secure Your Yard
The first thing is to make sure your yard or play area is secure, where your dog cannot get out and where people are not tempted to go in. While it may look unsightly, a bit of barbed wire across the top of your fence can be a good deterrent. A tilted ledge can keep people from being able to reach in and grab your dog’s collar or climb in to take your dog. A locking gate is also important, as well as a “no trespassing” sign. Believe it or not, thieves feel that if it’s not posted they are free to wander in as they please.
No matter how secure the area may seem to be, always check on your dog frequently while he’s playing outside. Never go away for the day leaving your dog in the yard; put him inside where he will be safe from thieves and from any outside dangers while you aren’t there to keep an eye on him. If you go to a dog park, keep your dog on a leash to avoid giving thieves an opportunity to make off with him when he goes to fetch a ball. Keep unleashed play restricted to your yard.