Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Resolution with Your Dog

Many people go into the New Year with resolutions for what they will accomplish, but most of us lose sight of these goals as the complications of life gets in the way.

The wonderful thing about having a dog in your life is that you can't forget him. If you do, he's there letting you know. Hey, it's time for a walk! Hey, it's dinnertime! If you find a way to tie your resolution to your dog, it may help you accomplish more in the New Year.

Want to lose weight? Make a commitment to take your dog on more walks. Want to find a new hobby? Learn a new dog sport. Want to spend more time with your family? Take weekly trips to a local dog park together. Want to find ways to help people? Sign up your balanced dog to be a therapy dog.

Find creative ways to combine your dog with your new year's resolution, and your dog will be right there reminding you to own up to your commitment!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ultimate Fashion Statement for Dogs

Now you can dress up your dog with Earrings!

If pet owners wanted to dress their dogs up with some sparkly earrings, they don't necessarily have to commit to something as extreme as piercing the dogs' ears. I found a really a crazy new product from Bow Wow Bling called Earring Bling. That's right, these are doggy earrings! These earrings glue on to the dog's ears with a non-toxic glue that is perfectly safe for dogs.

Talk about the ultimate fashion statement.

So how do you put Earring Bling on your dog’s ears? It’s easy. A tube of Bling It On! glue quickly applies these earrings to your dog’s ears, safely and securely. This non-toxic, non-latex glue has been used by theatre make-up artists for years because it is safe to use directly on the skin, it’s quick-drying and it’s very easy to remove. It’s also safe for your dog’s skin and fur. The glue dries quickly, turning clear as it dries. It will shampoo out, or remove it with baby oil. Otherwise, the earrings will come off naturally in 2 to 3 weeks.

Check out Earring Bling.

It’s no big deal if your dog happens to lose one because you also get 4 spare earrings (1 in every color). And your dog can wear these cool earrings over and over again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tips for a Pet-Safe New Year

Fireworks and noisemakers; confetti and champagne – these are the makings of a successful New Year's bash, and potential hazards for your four-legged family member.

Have a pet-safe New Year Celebration:

Make sure the party favors are pet-safe. If your dog decided to chow down on some confetti, it can cause problems in her digestive track. It is best to forgo confetti altogether if your pup likes to munch on everything and anything, but paper-based confetti is generally safer than plastic or metallic-based varieties.

Don't share the champagne with your dog. And be sure to clean up any glasses that are within your dog's reach. Every year, hundreds of dogs die from alcohol poisoning. Sharing that bubbly beverage with your dog isn't cute, it's dangerous. If you're not sure if your dog has ingested alcohol, knowing the signs can help you realize there is a problem: vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, and tremors.

Prepare for your dog's reaction to fireworks and noisemakers. The best plan is prevention. If you're not sure how your dog will react, make sure he is in a safe area and wearing proper id. If you already know your dog has a problem, the best plan is to work on desensitizing your dog throughout the year to the loud noises that may startle him. But if you haven't already done that, there are many other ways to help him cope with the stress on December 31st.

Give your dog a quiet place to retreat from the party. If you're going to have people over to the wee hours of the morning, be aware that it's not just the kids that will get cranky because they stayed up past their bedtimes. Dogs that are not used to the late night schedule or the comings and goings of so many strangers can become stressed. Make sure your dog has an area away from the festivities to escape it all if need be.

Keep emergency contact information handy! During any party where your dog might slip into the trash can unnoticed, it's a good idea to keep contact information for a 24-hour clinic handy, as well as the number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center National Hotline: 888-426-4435.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Do Dogs Experience Holiday Stress?

The holidays put a lot of stress on everyone involved, some of it good and some of it bad. Our pets have to withstand any number of unusual circumstances that are novel each year because they don't have the chance to get used to them. Do dogs experience stress? YES!

These are just a few of the situations dogs have to deal with:

A constant stream of company. Friendly dogs may go through a paroxysm of joy because they have an ever-changing audience to applaud and adore them. However, shy or fearful dogs will see their once safe haven overrun with strangers.

Lousy eating habits. One of the side benefits to all that company is the chance to sneak some snacks, either from the floor or from a surreptitious hand under the table. This usually isn't healthy. Or in the hectic days that lie ahead, your dog's feeding schedule may get disorganized. Either way, her nutritional balance may get thrown off track. She won't know when to expect her next meal. Also, these extra snacks can cause gastrointestinal disturbances such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Less exercise. How much exercise have YOU been doing since the holiday season began? At least you have to huff stuff up and down stairs, in and out of cars, not to mention hike all those miles in malls and supermarkets. Your dog has come to expect and enjoy a certain level of activity. Depriving him of exercise is stressful. (Think about how you feel about it.)

Foreign objects. Your dog isn't going to understand just what the heck this tall green thing, sitting in the middle of the living room, is meant to do. Is it a toy? Food? Furniture to climb? Lacking your aesthetic tastes, your dog just doesn't appreciate seasonal d├ęcor. Then there are the objects under it, as well as the other things around the house that mark the holiday season. Worse even, dogs are often discouraged from exploring.

Frequent scolding. Many dogs like being where the action is – which is you struggling to carry bags of gifts or groceries into the house. Some dogs don't understand your frequent scolding or cursing, not necessarily at them but at the fact that you had to drop the bag containing three dozen eggs. Your emotions can add to the stress level.

Kenneling. The other side of traveling during the holidays is putting dogs into a kennel. For a dog, a good kennel should be like vacation, with a lot of activities to keep him occupied (although he's still going to miss you like mad). However, some dogs are very stressed at the kennel. It is a different environment, different routine, different smells, different people and he'd generally prefer his normal little routine with you.

Tips to Help Minimize Dog Holiday Stress

So what can you do to ease the burden? Three words: routine, routine, routine. Keeping as close as you can to your pet's normal schedule is the best antidote to holiday stress. Stay consistent with feeding times and amounts, and be on guard against illegal snacks.

Maintain his exercise, walking schedule and playtime. A tired pet is a happy pet. This advice, by the way, goes for people too. Exercise is a great stress reliever. If time is precious, combine your exercise with your pet's by setting aside a specific amount of time each day – 20 minutes for instance – for you both to play and work up a little healthy sweat. Staying in shape improves attitude and behavior in pets and people.

Getting your pet used to crowds in the home also helps. Bring your friends or family over to get your pet used to it, and reward him if he behaves correctly.

It is important to reserve a room for your pet to retreat to, equipped with his favorite toys, a bowl full of fresh water, some food perhaps, and clothing or blankets with your scent on it. This gives your pet a safe comfortable place to which he can retreat from the madness.

As for Christmas trees and holiday decorations, there are a lot of hazards your pet faces – it's important to know what to look for and how to secure your home.

Traveling during the holidays is stressful whether you bring a pet or not. Dogs usually travel better because they are by nature in love with car rides. Pre-planning is an absolute must, whether by car or by airline.

If you decide to put your pet in a kennel, don't try to find one at the last minute. Research the facilities in your area and ask around. A kennel should see to your pet's emotional needs as well as to his physical requirements. Be prepared to ask many questions when you visit a kennel in person.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Dog for A Christmas Gift?

The bond between humans and dogs is a beautiful thing, and watching it develop can be almost as satisfying as forging it yourself. So it’s not surprising that dogs are such a popular gift idea.

The person who gives a dog as a gift gets a front row seat to watch those first wonderful moments. But think about the scene in which you present your loved one with their furry gift, and look at it from the other side: the excitement of the holidays can produce a frenzied, almost manic atmosphere, and excited energy like that can be an unhealthy way to begin a new canine relationship.

As Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer, says dogs need structure and leadership, and shrill cries and cheers from a new pack leader in training don’t fit the bill. He believes that those first key moments should be met with a calm, assertive energy so that puppy can get acclimated to the new family hierarchy – affection should be saved until the dog’s fresh energy has been burned off and he is ready for sleep. Cesar feels that sometimes it is even a good idea to hold that affection until several days into your new relationship; as much as a week is recommended.

Another speed bump along the road to a responsible pet ownership is making sure that you choose a dog that fits with the energy of the person who will be receiving it and with the rest of the family as well. Following through on this may mean involving the gift recipient in the selection process. For this kind of gift, a carefully wrapped IOU can be given in place of the animal itself, to let the person know that their gift is coming (many shelters offer packaged gift certificates for exactly that purpose!) Their face may not be covered with puppy kisses after the big reveal, but you can be sure there will be a broad smile in it for you!

Remember: dogs can make wonderful gifts, but unlike sweaters or socks, they aren’t as easily returnable if the fit isn’t just right. The new owner must be ready to make a commitment for the animal's entire lifetime and be prepared to accept the responsibilities that come with their new family member. The relationship between human and dog must be approached with care and respect – only then will you have a gift truly worth giving!

Tips for Introductions to Canine Relatives

Will your holiday gathering with friends and family include dogs?

If you are visiting family and friends, I hope you are able to bring your dog along for the reunion. He or she will appreciate the warmth and joy that radiates from the gathering.

Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer, has some tips for introducing your dog to its canine relatives.

If there are other dogs in the household, be sure to take the time to introduce them properly, even if you are exhausted from travel. Cesar suggests that before the meet-up, you drain both dogs' energy with a nice walk around the block. Then you can meet up – be sure they are not face to face – and continue on together. Remember to remain calm and assertive. If you are nervous or tense about the meet up, your dog will pick up on that and worry too!

Enjoy the holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Only In Washington!

Ebony and I were on the Chehalis Western Trail this morning. It was one of those gray, drizzly, Washington days.

McKai was styling....attired in his yellow slicker staying dry. I noticed his raincoat had a hood. My guess is that dogs probably will not put up with the hood option.

Dave and McKai

We passed a woman who raved about what a beautiful day for a walk. I chucked. She must be a native for who else would call a drizzly, gray day beautiful? My beautiful day is no rain and a bonus if the sun shines.

Not only is the Chehalis Western Trail a lovely place to walk your dog, but also provides entertainment for those of us who enjoy meeting other unique travelers and their pets.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Save Money on Dog Toys

Dogs love to play, but after a while they often become bored with a toy. So how do you keep your dog interested in his toys?

Many behaviorists and veterinarians recommend that you have several toys for your dog that you regularly "rotate" to keep the fun "fresh" for your dog. When your dog gets "bored" with one toy, hide it away and replace it with another toy that your dog has not seen in a while. Let him play with the "new' toy like crazy until he becomes bored with it. Then, hide that toy and reintroduce another one that you've kept hidden away.

Keep the toys rotating and it will keep the toys "new" and interesting.

How does your dog like to play? Some dogs like to cuddle, some like to chew, and some like to fetch. Many dogs enjoy mixing it up a little for variety. Figure out how your dog prefers to play and buy toys that are made for that type of play activity.

What's most important is that you choose toys that are safe - toys that your dog won't tear apart and swallow. If your dog is a hard-core destructive chewer, there is probably no safe toy that will withstand his teeth. But for most dogs, good quality durable toys do the trick.

I think it's important to stimulate your dog with several different types of toys, including toys that encourage your dog to "think". (They call these toys "intellectual toys".)

Giving your dog different types of toys for all the different ways he plays will keep him stimulated. That's important because the dog will be happier and have less behavioral problems.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does Dog Hair Cause Allergies?

True or false - Dog hair in your home can cause allergies.

While the answer to this question may seem like an obvious "truth," research shows that it's not necessarily the hair that causes allergic reactions.

Dog hair is not an allergen. Dogs secrete fluids and shed dander that contains the allergens. Dander is the microscopic particles of your dog's skin, fur and hair. These particles stick to walls, clothing and other surfaces. They collect each day and stay actively suspended in the air for periods of time, sometimes for several months. For those with sensitive immune systems, the result is often an allergic reaction with sneezing, stuffy nose and inflamed eyes.

Despite some of us having to deal with these symptoms, most dog lovers don't plan on parting with their canine friends anytime soon. And besides, it still wouldn't prevent us from coming into contact with pet dander. Do you know that studies have found cat and dog allergens present in 99.9% of homes including homes that have never had pets? Amazing!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dog Hair Similar to Magnets

Why is dog hair similar to magnets? Because it sticks to virtually everything!

As our dogs shed, it seems as if their loose hairs gently float off their bodies and magnetize to just about anything around them. It seems like our dog's hair sticks to even more objects than a magnet can!

Magnets do us some good when they bond, but dog hairs do not! They end up in the most inconvenient places - on your clothes, the carpet, the furniture... I've even had some magnetize to my dinner someway, somehow!

The truth is, just like our own hair, our dog's hair has a magnetic force. You know that old trick when you rub a balloon on your head and your hair pulls towards the balloon? Well your dog's hair reacts the same way with objects around your house.

Here's what happens:

Your dog's hair naturally has a positive magnetic charge. As dogs move around the house, they come into contact with a variety of objects that have a negative magnetic charge like wood, metals, polyester, saran wrap, scotch tape, vinyl and more. The instant your dog's positively charged loose hairs come into contact with these objects that have a negative charge ... PRESTO! Magnetism happens and the result is dog hair EVERYWHERE!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Many Dogs Does It Take
To Change a Light Bulb?

Have you heard this one?

I could not resist passing it along......

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?

BORDER COLLIE: Just one. And then I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

DACHSHUND: You know I can't reach that stupid lamp!


LAB: Oh, me, me!!!! Pleeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I?

TIBETAN TERRIER:Let the Border Collie do it. You can feed me while he's busy!

JACK RUSSELL TERRIER: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.

POODLE: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

GERMAN SHEPHERD: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark , checked to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

COCKER SPANIEL: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

DOBERMAN: While it's dark, I'm going to sleep on the couch.

BOXER: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark......

CHIHUAHUA: Yo quiero Taco Bulb.

IRISH WOLFHOUND: Can somebody else do it? I've got this hangover....

POINTER: I see it, there it is, there it is, right there....

GREYHOUND: It isn't moving. Who cares?

YORKSHIRE TERRIER: I'm over qualified, have the boxer do it!

AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle..

OLD ENGLISH SHEEP DOG: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb?

HOUND DOG: ZZZZZZzzzzz.z.z.z..z..z..z...z

SCHNAUZER: Bark bark bark. Mom, the lightbulb is out...bark bark bark bark...MOM! I said the lightbulb is out! Bark bark bark bark bark...MOM!!! WHAT PART OF THAT DIDN'T YOU HEAR? I MEAN HELLO????

SHIH TZU - Who me change a light bulb? We are royal decedents and we have staff to do that for us.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dogs; The Hidden Consumer

Some dog owners have parties for their pets. Many give their dogs gifts for Christmas and for their birthdays. And, even for just being "good" in between holidays.

When some dog lovers give birthday or holiday presents to friends and relatives, they give their own gifts as well as gifts "from" their dog. You'd be surprised how many dogs "shop"! (I believe they may be a substantial percentage of the hidden consumer.) I have received many a birthday or holiday gift from Buddy, Lexi and Fido!

Do you sign your dog's name to cards?

Does your dog buy Gifts?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Puppy Lullaby

I have sung my babies to sleep, have you?

Here is a gentleman who sings puppies to sleep.

Very cute!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Baking for Your Dog

Holiday time! Are you planning what you will be cooking and baking for family and friends? If so, here are great recipes for your pooch too!

Noel Nibbles

2 tablespoons honey
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together honey, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add water, applesauce and egg and stir, mixing well. Add nuts. Spoon into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a rack and store in sealed container. Makes 16 muffins.

Festive Holiday Cookies

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups water
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine applesauce, egg, peanut butter, vanilla and water. Mix well. Add flours, corn meal, oats and peanuts and mix well to form a dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until thoroughly mixed together. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on rack. Makes 30 cookies.

New Year Delights

2 tablespoons honey
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup dried apple chips
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together honey, water, applesauce, vanilla and egg. Add flour, apple chips, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix thoroughly, scraping sides and bottom of bowl to be sure no dry mixture is left. Spoon into greased muffin pans so that each cup is three-quarters full and bake for approximately 1 hour until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container. Makes 12 muffins.

Sounds good enough for humans!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Friends at First Sight

They really don’t have much in common. One forages for fruit; the other, if given half a chance, will drink from the toilet. One can walk upright; the other is strictly four-on-the-floor. One’s natural element is in the treetops of Borneo’s forests; the other looks his good ol’ best riding in the back of a pickup truck.

Yet, when Suryia the orangutan met Roscoe the blue tick coonhound, it was interspecies love at first sight.

The two weren’t even aware of each other’s existence until two years ago. Suryia was living in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.). And Roscoe? No one’s exactly sure where he was before he made his first appearance.

The duo met when Dr. Bhagavan Antle, the institute’s director, was riding Bubbles the elephant through the woods for a cooling wallow in the river, with Suryia in tow. “Out of the woods comes this skinny little hound dog,” says Dr. Antle. “He runs up to us. He’s fearless. Normally dogs don’t like the elephants, and they don’t like orangutans. And Suryia doesn’t have a particular affinity for dogs. But he jumps off the elephant. They jump into each other’s arms—and they act like they’re long-lost brothers.”

Watch them on YouTube

Monday, December 7, 2009

Puppy Tips

Happy and confident adult dogs don't just "happen". They are the product of good decisions and correct treatment of the puppy from birth right up until the juvenile period (around 6 months of age). This is a time when primary social relationships and emotional attachments develop between dogs and people, and between dogs and other dogs.

How to raise a good puppy has been discussed almost ad nauseam by numerous authorities, though the message has still not penetrated to all new puppy owners. In essence, for training a new puppy, new owners need to concentrate on being patient and considerate while using primarily positive reinforcement with, if necessary, negative punishment (withholding benefits) as a consequence for any deliberate, unacceptable behavior. But even informed owners sometimes fail to appreciate the absolute no-no's of puppy raising.


Don't Expect Your Pup To Understand Sentences. It's okay to babble along to your pup as you care for it, just don't expect it to understand anything you're saying. It will only understand the tone of your address. Dogs can learn a number of word cues ("commands") - even hundreds of them - but they are just that, word cues. A pup can and should be taught at least a few words of human language. In English, "Sit!" and "Dinner!" are a couple that might be useful on occasion. But if you tell the dog, "Sit in your Dinner", the meaning is lost. Dogs do not have a language center in their brains like humans do, and they cannot fathom syntax. Use one-word commands when communicating. Say the word clearly. Say it only once. And say it with importance. Reward the desired response immediately. Do not use the pup's name when addressing it (unless the pup is at a distance). Do not repeat commands. Dogs hear even better than we do. Their "deafness" is usually not attributable to poor hearing. It is selective - they choose not to obey. Remember that if a dog does not respond to a verbal cue it should not be punished. The opposite of reward is not punishment - it is no reward.

Don't Allow Young Children (Under 6 Years Old) To Interact With Your Pup Unsupervised. It comes as a surprise to many people to learn that children and puppies, though both cute, cannot be trusted alone together. Bad things can happen. Children are naturally curious. Often a child will do "something bad" to the pup by way of experimentation. If accidents are to be avoided, complete supervision is necessary. It's not usually the dog that starts the trouble, it's the child. If you can child-proof your dog, there should be no cause for concern.

Do Not Feed It Human Food: Do Not Feed It From The Table. Puppy food is best for pups. Adding an assortment of human foods in who-knows-what quantities will not only detract from the optimal (proprietary) food but will encourage fussiness. Also, if the human food is fed from the table, you will wind up with a dog that mooches around the table at mealtimes, always begging for food. Start out the way you intend to continue. Set limits and be firm about them. Make sure that you feed your pup a good quality food. This is essential to his good health.

Do Not Expect Love And Attention To Substitute For Good Puppy Parenting. Young pups are so adorable that it is very tempting to always give them all of the love and attention you possible can. But it is also important to set limits of acceptable behavior. This is especially important as they go through the canine equivalent of "the terrible twos" at about 4-5 months of age. Bad behavior, like excessive or hard nipping, should be punished by immediate withdrawal of attention (following sharp exclamation of a word like "Ouch" or "No-bite"). This is how puppies communicate their likes and dislikes to each other. Spare the "Ouch" and spoil the dog!

DO NOT SUPPLY ALL THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE FOR FREE. One simple rule is to make the pup work for food and treats. "What's work?" you ask. It's having the pup "Sit" or "Down" in order to receive food and treats. This will make sure that the pup always views you as its true (resource rich) provider and, therefore, leader. Problems of owner-directed aggression downstream can be all but completely addressed by this simple measure. Don't give everything away. Insist on good puppy manners: Manners maketh the pup.

DO NOT EVER GET ANGRY WITH YOUR PUP. Work hard to remind yourself, whatever happens, that this is a baby you are dealing with. If you lose your cool, you will act incorrectly, your puppy will think you have gone crazy, and you will lose its respect and trust. Be a good puppy parent. Think cool.

Following these simple rules of what NOT to do can help create the dog of your dreams as opposed to a canine nightmare. The basics are the same as in child raising. Be fun, be fair, but be firm (the 3 F's) and set limits. Children are happier when their parents are obviously at the helm, and so are dogs. Dogs need strong leaders if they are to be model canine citizens.

The moral of this story is, "As you reap, so shall you sow." Pay attention at the beginning and the rewards will be unimaginable.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sleep Behavior of Dogs

There's no doubt about it: dogs sure know how to sleep. The amount of time spent napping varies from dog to dog and depends on the dog's age and personality. Counting little naps and longer snoozes, most dogs sleep about fourteen hours a day.

Nobody is sure why dogs sleep so much. The amount of sleep that an animal needs depends upon its species. Horses and cows may sleep only three or four hours daily, because they require long hours of grazing to supply their bodies with sufficient food. Bats and opossums may sleep closer to 20 hours.

The various breeds of dogs also seem to have different sleep requirements. Some very large breeds of dogs, like Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, and mastiffs, often spend a great deal of their lives sleeping – perhaps up to sixteen or even eighteen hours a day.

For this reason they were often referred to as "mat dogs," because they could always be found lying in front of the fireplace, much like a giant, furry hearth mat.

Dogs sleep more than us, but they wake more frequently than we do. How much and when they sleep depends on the level of activity in their environment. A dog living as a pet in the home is likely to sleep more than a dog that works for a living, like a search and rescue dog or a dog working on a farm. Dogs are lucky – they are able to adjust their sleep pattern so that they can be awake when there is something to do, and asleep the rest of the time.

Of course, today's modern indoor dog sometimes sleeps out of boredom. You can help your pet by providing plenty of stimulation during the day – this can be in the form of toys, a companion, or plenty of walks and playtime with you. If he has enough to do during the day, he may stay awake when the sun is up and sleep at night when you do.

Sleep Patterns

Dogs have the same sleep patterns as humans. When your dog first goes to sleep, he enters the slow wave or quiet phase of sleep. He lies still and is oblivious to his surroundings. His breathing slows, his blood pressure and body temperature drop, and his heart rate decreases.

After about ten minutes, your dog enters the rapid eye movement (REM) or active stage of sleep. He rolls his eyes under his closed lids, he may bark or whine, or may jerk his legs. During this stage, the brain activity is similar to that seen during the dreaming sleep of humans, and is evidence that dogs have dreams.

Incidentally, adult dogs spend about 10 to 12 percent of their sleeping time in REM sleep. Puppies spend a much greater proportion of their sleep time in this type of sleep, no doubt compacting huge quantities of newly acquired data.

Where Dogs Sleep

You may think your dog will sleep anywhere, but some dogs are very particular about where they sleep. In the wild, dogs sleep in dens, and your dog may seek out a sheltered place in your home, such as under a bed or in a closet. You may notice your dog circling or pawing at his sleeping place before he settles. This is to make a comfortable, den-like depression in which to sleep (even though it doesn't have much impact on a short pile rug).

You can make a comfortable bed for your dog or choose from the variety of plush beds at your pet store. Some people love snuggling up to their dogs at night and there is no question dogs love sharing their owners' bed. Advocates of this method say it strengthens the human-canine bond – not to mention the comfort and warmth your dog can provide for you. However, some animal behaviorists say this can upset the sometimes precarious hierarchy, because the dog may get delusions of grandeur. In other words, he may think he is higher on your household's social scale than some other members of the family. Four-on-the-floor may be the order of the day for some of these characters.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dog Names

How do you name your dog?

Everyone has struggled with it. What do you name your new dog? How do you find the "perfect" name?

Maybe you've got a new puppy or perhaps you've adopted a stray - you've got to call the dog something. "Hey dog." Just doesn't seem fitting. So now the struggle begins. What do you name your dog?

What's in a name? Everything - if you are naming your dog. The name you choose says as much about you as it does about your dog. Picking a name is a difficult but important job. You will be calling your dog many times each day and you will want a name that works for both you and your dog.

Some people believe that names can affect the way people behave and how they feel about themselves. Puritans believed this and gave their children names like Felicity and Obedience in hope that the children would live up to their names. But could the same thing be true of dogs? Would you feel as comfortable petting a dog named Killer or Psycho as you would petting Waggles or Molly? Choosing the name for your dog is an important decision, but along with showing off your originality, perhaps you should try to capture the essence of your dog, too.

In the past we tended to name our dogs based on some physical or personality trait, like Spot or Rover. However, today we think of dogs as real family members, and the latest trend is to give dogs human names, names that we would give our children.

But not every dog is given a human name. The list also contains some tried-and-true oldies that are still popular, like Lady, Buster, Patches and Pepper. And these names give you an idea of the dog, either his personality or appearance.

Dog names arise from many popular categories. For example, movies and television have inspired such names as Beethoven, Radar, Scully, and Rocky, while the arts have given us Beowulf, Bronte, Plato, Elvis and Mozart. Chanel and Calvin materialized from the fashion world, and geographically speaking, Dakota, Sydney and Paris are also on the map.

But let's not forget about the dog's personality. Names that reflect the very nature of your pet may be the way to go. After all, we probably have a pretty good picture of a dog that's called Mayhem, Frisky, Adipose, Morpheus or Couch Potato.

So how do you go about naming your dog?

You might want to observe your new pet for a few days and see if the personality suggests a name. But, for a start, keep the following tips in mind:

The general sound and rhythm of the name is important. You will say it and your dog will hear it over and over again. If the name is too long or too difficult to say, your pup will become confused or lose interest by the time you get to the fourth syllable.

Choose a name that your pet will easily recognize. Some experts say the ideal name is two syllables ending with a vowel sound, like Sami or Lassie.

Avoid names that sound too much like standard commands. For example, when you call Snowy or Joe, your dog might only hear "No."

Pick a name that will be just as appropriate once your pet is full-grown. A pup named Damage or Havoc may eventually grow up to be a quiet, stately dog.

Pick a name that you will be proud to call. Shadow or Molly might be less embarrassing than Ooga Booga or HeyYou.

Once you have named your dog, be sure to use it often so he will learn it quickly. But remember, you want your dog to like his name. Try to use it only when you are playing with him, petting him, hugging him or trying to get his attention. Don't use it when you are angry or reprimanding him. If you raise your voice every time you use his name, he won't come when you call.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tough Dog Toy

I just purchased a Go Dog™ Lamb with Chew Guard™ Technology.

I could not wait until Christmas to give it to Ebony!

Check this out:

4 squeakers — 1 in each foot
Cawing mechanism in his tummy
Soft & cuddly but STRONG
Made to withstand chewing

He’s made with Chew Guard™ Technology, for extra tough protection against your dog’s teeth. Heavy-duty thread, double seaming and a super-tough liner will keep even tough chewers from tearing this toy apart. (It can withstand extremely high bite pressure and a pulling strength of up to 30 kg.)

This cute little lamb makes fun, engaging noises that will make your dog eager to play with him. He has a cawing sound mechanism in his tummy and 4 fun squeakers — one in each foot.

His baby-soft fleece feels soft and cuddly ... but inside, this little lamb is as tough as they get!

This is one TOUGH little lamb!

The Lamb is still in one piece and Ebony loves it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dog Magic

Being around a dog is magical.

Not only is being a companion to a dog good for the dog – it can do wonders for the human as well!

A dog needs daily exercise, and that helps us to get up, get out of the house, and experience simplicity.

Dogs help you to appreciate the world around you. They smell the ground so intensely. They look at the trees as though they are seeing them for the first time. It helps us to remember the wonders that we take for granted.

So if you're stressed or anxious, it goes away for that moment when it's just you and the dog. Dogs perform magic. In an instant, they can help you feel calm. They just come in and make it happen without a word.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dog Spa

Today both Ebony, my dog, and I had a new experience.

We went to the Dog Spa also known as K9 Clubhouse in Olympia, Washington.

A very helpful staff assisted us with the self-bathing procedure. First, she put a collar around Ebony's neck which would connect to a hook on the wall at the front of the bathtub. Ebony was guided up the two stairs into the tub which was a few feet off the ground; no need to bend over to bathe her like a bathtub at home. And, she could not run away because she was tethered to the wall. The Spa provides shampoo, gentle face soap which does not sting eyes, ear cleaning solution plus cotton balls, and towels. You can even wear a water poof apron to keep you dry. WOW!

This was the easiest bathing experience I have ever had with any dog. I was able to bathe her with both hands and do a through job. I also took advantage of her being tethered and gave her a good brushing with the furminator when she was dry. We left a great deal of black hair behind. They even provide hair dryers if your dog will tolerate this. I did not even try.

Ebony was not as excited about the Spa as I was, but she did appear to enjoy the treats afterwards.

Friday, November 27, 2009

How Smart Is Your Dog?

The other day my friend and I were talking. She pointed to a neighbor's dog - a very happy Golden Retriever - and said, "That dog is dumb as a box of rocks."

Well, I don't think Golden Retrievers are dumb at all. I think they are generally happy dogs and they can at times have "selective hearing". I actually love Goldens. They are one of my favorite breeds. And they can be very smart.

Some dogs are smarter than others (just like people)!

A pet writer, Heather Stern, said, "Studies have shown that the average dog possesses the intelligence of a 3-year-old child."

That is interesting. That level of intellect corresponds to an ability to learn basic commands, to express themselves (not always clearly), and to interpret some emotions of those around them.

Some breeds certainly display character traits much more advanced than this. Herding breeds for example appear to understand and function in complex thinking patterns. It's clear that many dogs understand certain words, for example recognizing toys on command. Perhaps talking to your dog isn't quite as crazy as it sounds.

Some dogs never get the whole fetch thing. Other dogs love puzzles. In fact, some dogs aren't happy unless they have something to do (e.g. something to herd or fetch) or something to figure out. That is one reason there has been a big trend toward toys that are puzzles.

Wondering if this is similar to the older generation keeping their minds active with crossword puzzles and other games?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is Your Dog an Obedience School
"Drop Out"?

Is your dog an obedience school "drop out"? If not, congratulations! You've done a great job. But if your dog has failed to learn his lessons ... you are not alone.

I know lots of dogs that are obedience school flunkies, so to speak. I say this in a fun way, but if your dog is untrained or poorly trained, you know that there's nothing fun about it.

Some dog owners don't want a dog that is trained. But it is fun to have a dog that is well behaved, or one who will do tricks. If you are one of those people who would like to have this kind of dog, it is never too late to teach a dog new tricks.

The best way to teach or train a dog is to use positive reinforcement. Give praise or treats when the dog does what you want.

How do you do that?

After a "correct" response, immediately reward your dog. This should be done within one to two seconds of the command. If you wait too long to give the reward, your dog may not understand the connection between his good behavior and the treat.

For motivation and rewards, treats and praise work great.

Another great motivator is praise. A pat on the head or some cheerful words can be very effective motivators for many dogs.

Many pet stores have weekly training sessions for dogs and puppies. This can be a great way for your dog to start learning new "tricks".

But don't worry even if your dog is an obedience school drop out. All dogs are loveable! But remember - it is never too late.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recipes for Doggie Turkey Treats‏

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving Holiday!

And as you know, it is the season for turkey ... lots of turkey. So much turkey that most of us get tired of white meat, dark meat and everything in between.

So what do you do with all those leftovers?

Got a great idea for you. Don't throw it out. Whip up a tasty nutritious doggie snack with turkey and other great ingredients. It's simple to make, tasty, healthy ... and your dog will love it.

Lazy Turkey Loaf (for dogs)

Makes 6 servings
2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup cooked vegetables
1 teaspoon garlic powder*
1 egg
1/2 cup quick-cook barley
1 cup quick-cook oats
4 ounces canned no-fat gravy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl combine turkey, vegetables, garlic powder, egg, barley and oats. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into a greased loaf pan and pat down meat mixture until level. Spread gravy on top of loaf and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool and cut into six even slices.

Jerky Turkey Dog Treats


1 lb. raw ground turkey (or chicken)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh herbs such as thyme or parsley (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
2.Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree the mixture.
3.Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (it makes clean-up easier) and pour the mixture into it.
4.Spread evenly.
5.Bake two hours with the oven door slightly ajar to allow the moisture to escape.
6.Remove from oven and using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into small, individual-sized portions.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seasonal Dangerous People Foods

This list is a resource to help keep your dog safe this holiday season, but be aware that it is not exhaustive. Many other human foods can be harmful to your dog, and depending on your dog's particular medical background, any deviation from his regular diet can cause serious health issues. Consult your veterinarian for guidelines specific to your pet.

If you suspect that your dog may have ingested one of these foods or another harmful substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center National Hotline: 888-426-4435

Alcoholic beverages
Caffeinated tea
Chocolate (all forms)
Cigarettes and other nicotine products
Coffee (all forms)
Fatty foods
Macadamia nuts
Moldy or spoiled foods
Onions, onion powder
Pain relievers
Raisins and grapes
Yeast dough

Products sweetened with xylitol (such as chewing gum, breath mints, and even some "sugar free" baked goods)

Turkey Skin – High fat foods, such as turkey skin, can be hazardous to your dog. Since the skin is hard to digest, it can lead to pancreatitis. If you still want to share your bird, give your dog a small piece of white meat.

Turkey Bones – Cooked poultry bones are brittle and splinter easily. If ingested, they can lodge in the esophagus or cause stomach or intestinal irritation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Giving Thanks to Your Canine Companion

During these tough economic times, it can be easy to get hung up on what we don't have, rather than focusing on what we do have. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take a step back and really appreciate our loved ones—including our canine companions!

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to think about all the ways your dog has helped you and what they’ve taught you about love, loyalty, and honesty. Let your dog know how thankful you are to have him in your life by taking a nice, long walk outside and enjoying Mother Nature together. This time spent living in the moment will be appreciated more than any fancy toy or expensive treat.

I wish you and your canine companion a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with the love and warmth of family—and lots of good food!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Insight for Dog Lovers

The more you learn about dog psychology, the better you will be able to connect with your canine companion!

Dogs are not humans. Before they receive love and affection, they need exercise, clear direction, and leadership, according to Cesar Millan, the dog whisper. Giving them love alone doesn't create balance in their lives. You must be a pack leader!

Rehabilitating a dog is not about "fixing" it. It's about you, the owner, creating the intention for what you want, not what you’re feeling. Dogs pick up on feelings of fear, doubt, or worry – and they will move to fill them by attempting to become dominant.

Practice unwavering leadership every day, especially on your walk. The energy you're projecting internally is the message you're sending to your dog.

Dedicate at least 45 minutes of time to the dog’s walk in the morning. Let the dog know you have a consistent pattern that you expect it to follow. Utilize your dog's energy in a positive manner.

Don't expect more from your dog(s) than your own children. Dogs need discipline, too. Give them rules, boundaries, and limitations as well as love.

Avoid nurturing your dog's fears or unstable mind. Imagine a successful scenario and hold it in your mind when dealing with your dog.

You are the source of your dog’s energy. You are the role model.

Challenge the dog's mind - dogs want to know what to do with their lives. Let the dog work for your affection. Once in a calm-submissive state, your love will intensify those qualities in your dog.

Dogs need"on" and "off" time. Engage them fully in structured times together; then they can relax and avoid impatient or destructive behaviors.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Save Your Shoes!

5 Steps to Save Your Shoes from Your Chewing Canine

You walk into your bedroom to find your dog chewing up your favorite pair of shoes. What do you do, and how do you stop it from happening again? Here are 5 steps to reclaiming your shoes, your socks, your sofa, and any other household object your dog enjoys destroying.

Remain calm. Unleashing your anger on your dog won't accomplish anything. In fact, it can further unbalance your dog - and move him to seek another object to chew to calm down!

Correct your dog. Do not try to grab the object away or take the dog away from the object. Instead, you can use a light touch correction on the neck or hindquarters to get your dog's attention away from the object.

Redirect the behavior. If the correction didn't get your dog to drop the object, find something else that will, such as the scent of a treat or another toy.

Claim the object. Use your energy and body language to communicate to your dog that the object is yours. It can be helpful to imagine an invisible boundary around you and the object.

Find safe chew toys. Many dogs use chewing as a way to calm themselves. Puppies who are teething chew to relieve pain. Provide an object that they can safely chew, such as a chew toy or a bully stick.

If your dog chews up objects while you are away from home, this may be a symptom of separation anxiety.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where Do Pets Come From?

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

Adam said, "Lord when I was in the garden, you walked with me every day. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me."

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail. And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, " No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. And Adam was comforted and God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved but perhaps too well."

And the Lord said, "No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration."

And God created Cat to be a companion to Adam. And Cat would not obey Adam. And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was reminded that he was not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility.

And God was pleased.

And Adam was greatly improved.

And Dog was happy.

And the cat didn't give a hoot one way or the other.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and I can't think of a better way to honor a dog's life than to give it a balanced and loving home in its twilight years.

Some of the benefits of adopting a senior dog: they have a much calmer energy, require less strenuous exercise and less often, and are most often already housebroken. They can also be invaluable tools for attempting to balance other dogs in your home. Nothing beats a senior dog when it comes to showing younger dogs how it's done!

Adopting a senior dog is a noble decision in another important way, too. In many shelters and rescues across the country, senior dogs are the first to be euthanized. Between an adorable, young puppy and a seasoned old veteran, the decision is almost always made in favor of cute faces and tiny, tumbling bodies. Most people don't want to deal with the extra care and commitment that comes with adopting an older dog, despite the many advantages. So by adopting a senior dog, you may be saving a life. That's no small accomplishment!

Once you've brought home your senior dog, there are some very important things you can do in order to ensure that you provide the love and the care that he or she deserves. For starters, find the absolute best veterinarian in your area - someone that you trust implicitly - and establish a good relationship with them. Older dogs should receive medical checkups more often than younger dogs; ideally about once every six months. Be sensitive to your dog's abilities when it comes to exercise. Senior dogs should remain active, but not all of them will be able to keep up with a rigorous routine like younger dogs. Adapt the walk to your dog's abilities.

In many countries of the world, families care a great deal for their senior members. They are valued for the contributions they made in their youth, and respected and loved at a time when they need it most. I believe it should be just the same with dogs as it is for people. By adopting a senior dog and giving it calm assertive leadership, care, and affection, you are doing a wonderful service and spreading good karma at the same time.

And your reward? Unconditional love and companionship.

Everybody wins!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do Dogs Really Fall in Love?

True Love, Yes or No?

"We don't know," says Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a professor in the department of small animal medicine and surgery in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. "I cannot prove it isn't so, but I cannot prove that it is. We cannot evaluate animal emotions."

"You have to call it a bonding thing," says Dr. Patricia O'Handley, a veterinarian with the small animal clinic at Michigan State University. Pets introduced to other pets at critical stages of socialization will form a bond with the other animal: dogs with dogs, cats with cats or dogs with cats. Dogs, who are social animals by nature, bond more easily than cats because of their predisposition to live in packs. "It's companionship, or dependency, rather than an emotional attraction that lies at the root of these pairings," says Dr. O'Handley.

Not so fast, Dr. O'Handley. "I'm tempted to say (pets) can fall in love," says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinic at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine and a consulting vet. "Close relationships between dogs and dogs or dogs and cats are possible, but films like Lady and the Tramp and Air Bud are contrivances of the media."

Friendship Is the Key

The "love" Dodman sees between pets is less the hearts-and-flowers stuff of Valentine's Day than the other stages of love that humans also experience: a mother's love for her offspring or the love of a friend, for instance. "The Greeks, I believe, had seven different words for love - the love for your children, love for your parents, love for a partner, and so on - while we are saddled with just the one word - love - to describe all of these relationships," says Dr. Dodman, who suspects the Greeks would have had a word for the love relationships between pets.

"Romantic love is a stretch of the imagination for dogs and cats, but can they be friends with each other? Yes," says Dodman. "It's well known that dogs grieve when separated from a preferred companion, experiencing sleep disturbances, loss of appetite and general despondency," adds Dodman, who writes about unusually needy animals in the book The Dog Who Loved Too Much (Bantam).

Cats and Dogs Are Promiscuous

Unlike some species that mate for life, cats and dogs breed promiscuously.

As for puppy love, the infatuation experienced by giddy boys and girls in middle school, who wants to put their pooch through that? It's tough enough watching your kids get dumped. Imagine the heartbreak. What then? Probably a letter saying, "Dear Rover, it's over."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is Your Dog Licking or Kissing?

Is your dog kissing you when he slurps your face like a lollipop? Although we may never know, there are several possible explanations for this behavior, not all of which are mutually exclusive. The motivation for face licking appears to vary for different dogs and different circumstances.


Dogs lick for a number of reasons, some of which are purely biological:

Bitches lick their newborn pups to arouse them from their postpartum daze. In this situation, licking serves to remove clingy membranes from the pup, freeing him up to move and stimulating him to breathe.

Once the birthing and clean-up processes are over, the mom dog's licking her pups stimulates them to eliminate both urine and feces. It is a couple of weeks before pups will eliminate spontaneously.

Licking also serves another more romantic role in the sense that it is a comfort behavior that assists with pups' bonding to their mom and spurs on their mental development.

From about six weeks of age, some pups lick their mom's lips when they want her to regurgitate food for them. They lick; she vomits; they eat it. This behavior is a vestige of their wild ancestry and was designed to ensure that they profited from the spoils of the hunt.

Licking can also be a signal of submission and so is part of dog's body language communication system.

Pups and adults lick and groom themselves. It is part of normal survival-oriented behavior. Licking their own lips, limbs, and trunk removes traces of the last meal that would otherwise begin to decompose and smell. Quite apart from the hygienic aspects of this behavior, it also serves to keep dogs relatively odor free and thus olfactorily invisible to their prey. Domestic dogs retain these instincts even though they are not vital today.


Dogs, like people, engage in a number of "displacement behaviors" when nervous or stressed, and many of these behaviors involve self-grooming. You only have to glance to the side the next time you are stuck at a red light. The driver next to you will likely be stroking his hair, looking in the mirror, or trying to pick something out from between his teeth.

Dogs do not experience the stop-go conflict of the traffic lights but they do have their own share of dilemmas. Take going to the vet's office, for example. More anxious patients begin nervously licking their own lips as they enter the clinic. They may even lick or nibble their feet or flank.

There is no doubt that some dogs lick as a gesture of appeasement and goodwill. They may lick their own lips or may lick a person to whom they wish to signal deference. If the recipient of the licking interprets this behavior as "make-up kisses," that's just fine. Perhaps the behavior is analogous to some forms of human kissing and thus their interpretation may be close to the truth.

However, not all dogs seem penitent when they slurp the faces of people they meet. For some dogs, it seems that they engage in face licking because they can get away with it and because it gets a rise out of the person. When licking is performed for such a reason, it may be component of the "center stage," attention-demanding behavior of dominant dogs. No lick! is a good command to have working for these guys.


Some sensitive dogs in stressful environments compulsively groom themselves to the point of self-injury. Licking of this type leads to acral lick dermatitis (a.k.a. lick granuloma). Compulsive licking by dogs is not always self-directed. Some dogs take to licking floors, walls, or furniture. Whatever the outward expression of compulsive licking, the mechanics underlying the disorder are the same. In treatment of this condition, first the underlying anxiety must be addressed though, in some cases, it is also necessary to employ anti-compulsive medication to help break the cycle.

Lovey Dovey?

I am not sure dogs express their sometimes quite profound feelings for their owners by licking or "kissing." Perhaps some dogs are so awed by their owners that they feel the need to signal their ongoing deference by face licking. Call it love, if you will.

One other thing we should always bear in mind is that any behavior can be enhanced learning. Psychologist BF Skinner immortalized the concept that reward increases the likelihood of a response. So it is with licking. If a dog licks his owner's face – perhaps as a vestige of maternal lip licking, perhaps out of anxiety, or just because his owner's face tastes salty – and his behavior is greeted with attention, hugs and (human) kisses, he will likely repeat the behavior in future. In such cases the dog learns just how to push he owners buttons and the owner becomes analogous to a vending machine.

So while face licking may not represent true romantic love, it nevertheless can sometimes be interpreted as some token of a dog's affection or respect ... and that's nothing to sniff at.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do You Love Your Pet Too Much?

It's Saturday night and your friends call you to go out. Perhaps they want to check out a local live band, or drop by a party someone is having. But, frankly, you'd rather just stay home and play with your dog.

Your friends say you love that dog too much. Could they be right? In other words, is it possible that you love your pet too much?

The answer: It is possible to form unhealthy attachments to animals, but the attachment must become pretty extreme. In the brief example cited above, the answer is probably no. A lot of people would rather forego a night in a smoky, noisy bar for a quiet evening home with doggie, who would certainly enjoy the company.

But if the relationship with your pet excludes meaningful relationships with human beings, then there may be a problem. "People can have unhealthy relationships when they lose objectivity," explains counselor Marty Tousley, RN, MS, CS.

"But it depends on the individual situation."

Tousley notes that human-animal bonds are unhealthy when we expect our pets to take the place of people. While our bonds with pets are beautiful and fulfilling, they should not supplant our desire to be with people.

In an article she authored, Tousley uses the example of a woman who has gone through unsuccessful relationships with men, perhaps a failed marriage or two. "A woman may find it safer, easier and more emotionally fulfilling to focus her relationship with a pet, who is never demanding or critical, and would never leave her feeling rejected or abandoned. In effect, she would be using her pet to mask her own fears of intimacy and commitment with men," writes Tousley.

She offers six points a therapist would consider:

How much you allow your pet to interfere with daily life.

Whether your pet has seriously affected important relationships (spouse, close friends or relatives). This is different from merely wanting to date someone who likes your dog, where you want to find someone who shares interests and priorities.

If you relate to your pet to the exclusion of relationships with family and friends.

Whether you regularly turn down invitations when your pet is not included.

If you spend most of your time thinking about your pet, to the exclusion of other matters (such as your own health).

If you believe you cannot live without your pet.

This last point is very important because most of us will outlive our companion animals. A person who is co-dependent on his or her pet may suffer debilitating depression when the pet dies.

What About the Pet?

Smothering your pet with healthy love really isn't a problem – just ask your pet. But it could be unhealthy in other ways or just downright confusing at times. Your pet may conclude that he or she is the alpha – the leader – by your behavior. This can lead to future behavior problems with the two of you jockeying for the leadership role.

Or they may become so attached to you that they eventually suffer separation anxiety. This is a behavioral disorder that often originates with the pet, but can be made worse by your actions. When you're home, your dog follows you around and insists on staying as close to you as possible.

Although this may seem cute, worse things may follow. When you leave, your dog may urinate on the carpet, howl or destroy property – not out of spite but out of frustration. An animal behaviorist may be need to be consulted in these cases.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Does Your Dog Really Love You?

In the English language, we have just one word to describe the different types of love. The ancient Greeks were a bit smarter in this respect; they used different words to describe the love for a spouse, a sibling, a parent or a friend.

You have to wonder which word they used to describe the love between pets and people. We know how we feel towards our pets, but do they experience the same emotions toward us? Or is the bond simply a mixture of instinct, dependence and social role?

In short, do our pets really "love" us, as we understand it? In a word, the answer is yes, according to clinical evidence. Food does play a large role in feelings of affection between pet and owner. But dog does not live by biscuit alone! The mere presence and/or touch of a preferred person has been shown to reduce the heart rate of these animals – a sign of bonding.

Puppy Love

Like people, dogs don't simply like or love someone just because they are there. The personality of the pet and the person makes a large difference. A dominant or independent dog, for instance, is less likely to become enamored with a submissive owner. But he may become attached to someone who is a strong leader. This same person may terrify a dog that has endured hard times. A dog like this is more likely to adore a comparatively gentle owner.

In his book, Dogs Don't Lie About Love, Jeffrey Masson wrote about his relationship with three rescued dogs. Presuming that These dogs were needy, and he is a kind person, the title makes sense. These dogs very likely wear their adoring hearts on their sleeves, so to speak. In Nicholas Dodman's book, The Dog Who Loved Too Much, he wrote about a needy, hyper-attached dog with separation anxiety. It was the dog's owner who came up with the title to describe her dog's apparent, total devotion and intolerance of separation.

Some dogs do become hopelessly devoted to their owners, greeting them so exuberantly that the owner has no doubt he or she is the center of the dog's universe. But this kind of love is fawning, pathetic and, in a way, self-serving to the dog. It is certainly not a healthy sort of love.

At the other end is a very dominant, confident and independent dog. These dogs may border on indifference, and their feelings are along the lines of tolerance than attachment. They tolerate the owners simply because they are fed.

What is far better is the love in which a dog has learned to trust and respect his owner without abject humility, fear or desperate need to be around all the time. The image this brings to mind is that of a mature Labrador or golden retriever, walking beside his beloved owners, perhaps on the beach. Such dogs have enough confidence to run off and play in the ocean, but enjoy returning to the social group that is the family. This can be described as a healthy love.

Of course, there are those special bonds we have all heard about – when an owner dies, but his or her dog waits patiently for their return. Such was the case of Greyfriars Bobby, an Edinburg dog who sat by his master's grave for many years, until his death, waiting for his master's return. If that is not love, I don't know what is.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

World's Record
Dog with Most Tennis Balls in Mouth‏

It is interesting to look at world records, not just to see who set it but to see what the actual record is for.

I would have never have thought someone would actually create this record - The Most Tennis Balls a Dog Can Get in His Mouth!

Do you know the answer? Here it is...

Most Tennis Balls in Mouth - The world record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog at one time is five. Augie, a golden retriever (OF COURSE!) owned by the Miller family in Dallas, Texas, USA, successfully gathered and held all five regulation-sized tennis balls on July 6, 2003.

Wow! That is amazing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Funny Videos of
Dogs in Halloween Costumes

I could not resist sharing these funny videos of dogs in Halloween costumes.

Ghost Dogs

Halloween Trick

Halloween Costumes?

Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creative Dog Halloween Costumes

Pet owners can be very creative when it comes to dog Halloween costumes.

Here are some I came across. Hope you enjoy!

My favorite is Bat Man Dog :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meet the World's Oldest Dog;
145 Years Old

A new World's Oldest Dog has been named by Guinness World Records and it's Otto, a dachshund-terrier mixed dog who lives in England. Otto is 20 years and 8 months old. His owner, Lynn Jones of Shrewsbury, England has had Otto since he was six weeks old.

Though nearly 21 with a touch of arthritis, Otto "doesn't really like walkies any more," Lynn remarks. "He gets about ten yards down the road then looks back over his shoulder as if to say 'I want to go home.' [But] he can still jump all over people when they come round."

What is Otto's secret to longevity? Lynn says,"Plenty of love, plenty of good food and regular check-ups at the vets."

Meet Otto

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Teacup" Pets

"Teacup" Dogs (also known as Toy Dogs) have gotten quite popular in the past few years.

Not only have they become well-liked pets, they also seem to have become fashionable sidekicks. These miniature dogs are in high demand, and typically they are even more expensive than full-sized dogs.

People have gone "Teacup" crazy ... to the point where "Teacup" pets are spreading to other animal species. Teacup Pigs are the latest craze spreading worldwide.

Like Toy Dogs, Toy Pigs (also called Micro Pigs) are much smaller than full-grown pigs - they weigh only about 9 ounces when they are born - and at an average cost of $1,100, they are more expensive than full-grown pigs.

There's been lots of controversy around Teacup Pets primarily because their teeny, tiny size is outside of the norm. Some people believe their small size makes them cute and cuddly, while others believe it's because they're sick, premature, starved or over bred.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dog Fur Clothes

I came across a very interesting article this week that talked about a growing trend among dog owners ... wearing clothing made from their dog's fur! I was astonished to see just how many dog owners have had sweaters and coats spun like lamb's wool from their dogs!

The trend is called Canine Couture. Two women in Germany and England have made a business out of using fur and hair from very posh pets to create equally posh sweaters, scarves, gloves, coats, hats and wraps for their owners!

It turns out that dog fur has been used in clothing for quite some time now, often times without people even knowing it. In fact, an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States a few years ago revealed that some of the biggest names in fashion sold garments made of dog fur over the Internet and mislabeled it as "faux" or from another species. This furry fashion trend has been, without a doubt, a very controversial issue - particularly among animal activists. In fact, a new fur labeling law was introduced into Congress because of it.

So what do you think? Do you see it as a harmless fashion trend where owners just want to look like their dogs, or is it unethical? Would you wear clothing made from your dog's fur?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why do Dogs Chew?

Is your dog a chewing bandit, chomping you out of house and home? When your shoes, furniture and clothing are all fair game for his teeth, it can be highly frustrating.

Dogs explore the world through their mouths - new objects, new places & new tastes.

Chewing also helps them relieve teething pains, tension and stress. There are also some instances where chewing could be a sign of mental or physical health issues including:

1. Boredom - chewing because there's nothing else to do
2. Poor nutrition - chewing on things to get lacking nutrients
3. Separation anxiety/feeling alone - chewing for comfort
4. Gum or tooth problems - continuously chewing on hard objects

In other instances chewing is quite normal. Dogs who chew significantly more than others are what many call Aggressive Chewers. What makes a dog an aggressive chewer? Here are some guidelines:

1. Destroys an appropriately-sized rawhide in less than an hour
2. Shreds the typical vinyl toy in minutes
3. Toys quickly turn into piles of frayed and tangled threads
4. You feel you'll never get your money's worth out of a toy before it's time to throw it away

Establishing good chewing habits is truly our responsibility as pet owners. Aggressive Chewers will continue to chew inappropriate things until you teach them right from wrong.

Be selective in what you give your dog to chew - start out by only giving your dog proper chew toys. Giving your dog an old shoe to chew teaches him that all shoes are made for chewing.

Dog owners of Aggressive Chewers need the toughest dog toys on the market. Tough toys allow them to exercise their natural chewing instincts and train them on what to chew and not to chew. With an Aggressive Chewer, chances are no dog toy will last forever, but they can still benefit from a tough toy that lasts longer than most.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Dogs Think About Halloween

If dogs could talk this is what they hate about Halloween........

"That darn doorbell rings and rings. My owners answer it and then it rings again. I get excited, I bark and they yell at me. I don't get it."

Scary Costumes
"Ugly, evil-looking things come to the door, and for some strange reason my owners smile and give them things. I don't know what they get, but I'm sure it's tasty. The whole ritual is scary and just plain weird. Why do they do that? If I did something like that they would haul me off to the "funny farm"."

Screaming Kids
"As if the noise and the costumes aren't bad enough, there are all those screaming kids to contend with. Screaming children chanting little rhymes that only a mother could love. Like I said, I just don't get it."

No Treats for Me
"On top of it all, there is an abundance of candy going from hand to hand ... chocolate, candy bars and goodies that make a real dog drool. But I don't get any. None. Stingy people."

They Ignore ME
"There I am - barking and doing my dog thing - but no one pays any attention to me. I try to join in on the fun but they keep telling me to go away. With all these new people here at this Halloween party, a dog has lots of important sniffing to do. I need to get to know these people to make sure they are safe for my family to be around."

Weird Music and Sounds
"People play the most ridiculous music - it makes me want to howl."

Jack-O-Lanterns and Candles
"There are weird shadows on the walls and an eerie ambiance of ghostliness ... it would not surprise me if Casper came flying out of the wall and said "boo"!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween Costumes for Dogs

With Halloween just around the corner, many dog owners are gearing up to dress themselves, their children, their homes and their dogs in Halloween attire. Holidays are always fun - especially Halloween - and we like including our pets in the fun festivities because they truly are part of our family.

But do our dogs really enjoy wearing those funny Halloween costumes? Well, this can all depend on so many things, including their temperament and the type of costume you choose.

Check out this dog in costume!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New England

I just returned from "peeping"* in New England.

In the middle of my adventure on the East Coast, I received a dream where my dog, Ebony, lavished me with affection. A woman on a bike had the leash around Ebony and they were obviously out for a run/ride. She said to me, "We didn't know you would be back so soon."

It was an interesting snippet of a dream and felt so real. Was I time traveling? Or was it a communication from my dog that she misses me? She was sending her love.

Enjoy the fall colors......

* "peeping" is a New Englander's term for driving around looking at the beautiful fall color of leaves.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tips on Training

Dog training is pretty straightforward, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It requires some practice ... and if you're new to training, some good advice.

Kids (and adults) learn best when the learning is fun or enjoyable, and when they receive something in return. The same is true for dogs.

Using treats as a training reward will make your dog willing and eager to learn. But it isn't enough just to reward a dog. You need to reward him at just the right moment using a treat that he loves .

Timing of the reward is extremely important. After a correct response, immediately reward your dog with a tasty treat within one second of the command. If you wait longer than a second to give the treat, your dog may not make the connection between his behavior and the reward.

For example, when teaching your dog to "sit", here is how and when you reward your dog:

• Find a quiet indoor environment with few distractions.

• Start by using a small piece of food to lure your dog's nose to point upward (toward the treat) and move the treat backwards over his head so that he naturally lowers his haunches to a sitting position.

• Don't hold the treat too high or he may jump up for it.

• Be prepared: As soon as he sits, give him the treat food.

• Repeat the exercise, adding the word "sit," so the dog can learn quickly what you expect of him.

• Rather than forcing his body into position, allow him to discover what is required on his own.

• Once this exercise has been learned, move the training outdoors. Start in the quietness of your yard, then gradually move to more distracting places like the park.

• As your dog proves he has learned the meaning of the word "sit," taper off his rewards so that he only gets a treat every third or fourth time he sits.

• By rewarding your dog unpredictably - but always continuing to offer rewards at times - you can best maintain his interest in the exercise.

I hope this gives you some great tips on training.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pet Poison Help

It was just recently brought to our attention a source for immediate help in case your pet might come into contact with poison.

Pet Poison Helpline™ is a 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet. They have the ability to help every pet, with all types of poisonings, 24 hours a day.

Pet Poison Helpline is staffed with trained veterinary health experts. All of the medical professionals have received extensive education in the area of veterinary toxicology. Pharmacologists and board-certified veterinarians in internal medicine, emergency and critical care, and toxicology are available around the clock, as are herpetologists when needed. This multi-disciplinary approach to case management allows them to offer the highest level of assistance to you and your pet or patient.

In order to provide this critical service, please be advised that there is a $35 per incident fee, payable by credit card. This fee covers the initial consultation as well as all follow up calls associated with the management of the case.

To find out more, visit the website at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pet First Aid Kit

Create your own doggy first aid kit.

Many minor injuries can be self-treated with proper knowledge and equipment. These supplies can be used to help in a pinch until you can get to a veterinarian.

Here is what Animal Medical Center in New York recommends for your kit:

Tweezers: For splinter or foreign object removal

Nail trimmer: Ask your local pet supply store for the style of trimmer right for your pet.

Scissors: Handy for hair clumps and foreign object tangles. Take special care not to cut the skin – this can be accidentally done.

Betadine Sponges: For cleaning of cuts and wounds, to be used with an antibacterial cleanser

Sterile Vaseline for eyes: If you're bathing your pet, this will prevent soap and water from getting in their eyes

Saline Solution: Regular human contact lens saline solution can be used to flush out dirt, sand, or other irritant - just gently squeeze the contents directly into the eye.

Peroxide: To only be used to induce vomiting when Animal Poison Control says to do so. You should call Animal Poison Control when your dog or cat has consumed something from the "no" list. Not to be used for cleaning wounds.

Triple antibiotic ointment: To place directly on a cut

Sterile telpha pads (no stick): Sticky bandages and fur don't mix. Wrap the wound with the nonadherent pads before placing on the bandage.


Remember, proper immediate first-aid is only the first step in the treatment of a dog injury or emergency. While your intervention may prevent serious harm, you must always seek veterinary care as soon as possible to assure the best outcome for your companion.