Friday, June 26, 2009

Exercise With Your Dog

Do you exercise with your dog?

You are probably thinking..........
Yes, I take my dog for a walk and we exercise together.

But here is a video that will put a smile on your face.

I've seen dogs "exercise" and I've seen owners "exercise" ... but I've never seen anything like this. Take a few minutes to watch the Exercise Dog.

I hope you like it, too.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pack Leader Basics

A dog’s mother begins training puppies from birth. She makes them wait for food; she controls when they play and how far they travel. Adult dogs need these same rules, boundaries, and limitations from you, their pack leader.

According to Cesar Millan the dog whisperer:

A pack leader does not project emotional or nervous energy, so neither should you. In the wild, the pack leader uses calm-assertive energy to influence how the dog interacts with his surroundings. She enforces these laws in a quiet way, as is the case when a mother picks up a puppy by the scruff of the neck if he strays outside the den.

Ownership of territory is very important. Dogs in the wild claim space by first asserting themselves in a calm and confident way, and then communicating this ownership through clear body language signals and eye contact. A dog who understands that you, as the pack leader, own the space in which he lives will respect your asserted authority.

Waiting is another way that pack leaders assert their position – puppies wait to eat, and adult dogs wait until the pack leader wants them to travel. Waiting is a form of psychological work for the dog. Domestication means dogs don’t need to hunt for food, but they can still work for it.

Establish your position as pack leader by asking your dog to work. Take him on a walk before you feed him. And just as you don’t give affection unless your dog is in a calm-submissive state, don’t give food until your dog acts calm and submissive. Exercise will help the dog, especially a high-energy one, to achieve this state.

In all of these ways, the pack leader in nature sets rules, boundaries, and limitations for her pack, and in doing so, nurtures her dog’s healthy state of mind.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dogs and Squeaky Toys

Dogs just love toys that squeak. Some dogs will go crazy for their squeaky toys until they actually chew them up and pull out the squeaker. After the toy no longer squeaks - they no longer want to play with it. This is common.

So why do dogs like toys that squeak?

The theory goes back to nature. When dogs hunted for prey, they would hunt and kill. Their prey would squeak or make noises, which allowed the dogs to find their prey. This was part of their natural hunting instinct. Once caught, the prey makes noises as they proceed with the kill, which can be very satisfying to a hungry dog.

A squeaky toy can give a dog the same type of satisfaction.

In addition, toys gives dogs interaction that stimulates their mind, keeps them busy and satisfies their chewing instinct.

If you give your dogs squeaky toys, it is important that the toys are durable. Ingestion of toy parts, including the squeaker, can cause life-threatening situations if dogs ingest them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mastering the Walk

Have you seen Cesar Millan walk with several dogs?

Cesar says, "The dogs see me as their pack leader. This is why they follow me wherever I go."

Here are some pointers from Cesar Millan:

Position matters. Walking in front allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk.

Use a short leash. This allows you to have more control. Attaching the leash to the very top of the neck can help you more easily communicate, guide, and correct your dog. Always keep your dog's safety in mind when giving corrections.

Set aside time. Dogs, like humans, are diurnal, so taking walks in the morning is ideal. I recommend setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour. The specific needs of each dog differ.

Define exploration time. After your dog has maintained the proper state of mind, reward him by allowing him to relieve himself and sniff around. Then you need to decide when reward time is over. It should always be less than the time spent focused on the walk.

Don't punch out. When you get home, don't stop leading. Have your dog wait patiently while you put away his leash or take off your shoes.

Share food and water. By providing a meal after the walk, you have allowed your dog to "work" for food and water.

So, are you the pack leader, too?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Boredom in Dogs

Many behavior problems in dogs are caused by boredom.

The behavior problems can vary from being destructive, chewing on things, excessive barking, licking on legs or paws, and more.

Can you prevent dog boredom? Yes, you can! Here are some tips:

1. Look at your schedule. If you are gone for more than 9 or 10 hours - that is a long boring day for your dog. Consider doggie daycare. How about a pet sitter or dog walker that comes to your home to look after, walk or play with your dog.

2. Consider what toys your dog likes best and make sure you have them. Not just one - more than one. It is natural for dogs to get bored with one toy.

3. Rotate toys. After you notice your dog is not playing as much with a toy - take it - hide it and introduce something new. Rotate several toys.

4. Give your dog something to do and do it together. A game such as playing fetch with your dog can be rewarding for both you and your dog.

Whatever you do, spend time with your dog. Don't leave him alone too long.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dogs are Dogs.....not Humans

Cesar Millan says it best when it comes to not humanizing your dog.

Here are his tips:

Find a canine solution. Often, the solution we would use for a human is totally wrong for solving a dog’s issues. For example, when a human sees a scared or nervous dog, s/he will first offer comfort and consolation. This would never happen in the animal world and can make the problem worse instead of better, because it reinforces unstable behavior.

Speak the animal language. When dogs come into our homes, they meet emotional energy for the first time. We shower them with affection and babble at them in high-pitched baby-talk, so they see us as excited energy. This is why many dogs don’t listen to their human caretakers. Their mothers never acted this way; where did that calm-assertive leadership go?

Treat your dog like a dog. We often develop a different agenda for our dogs. We want to make puppies our babies. From day one, many humans forget to fulfill and understand their dog's needs and instead project their own needs and desires on the animal.

Be the pack leader! In the absence of a clear leader, a dog, even a submissive one, will seek to fill what they see as the vacant leadership role. The dog will ignore the owner, act out, and can lead to serious behavior issues.

Imagine if your significant other mistook your needs for the needs of a chimpanzee; where would that leave you? Confused and disoriented. It’s the same for dogs. But their confusion and disorientation manifest in bad behavior such as tearing up the couch or incessant barking. If we don’t fulfill them as a species, our dogs won’t live a balanced, centered life.

Understanding and projecting a pack leader’s calm-assertive energy will create a positive and lasting connection with your dog.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dogs Running With Objects

My dog Ebony loves to play with large sticks since she was a puppy. Then, the sticks were bigger than she was. Long, big sticks remain a favorite play toy for her.

As a Mother, I am always nervous about kids running with objects. I recall the "Don't run with scissors" from my childhood. Suckers sticking out of children's mouth are the worst. Children move from one interesting thing to another so quickly they forget about the sucker they are enjoying.

Which brings me to Ebony's antics. At times she grabs the end of her big stick and starts running extremely fast. It is rather humorous, but I worry that she will bump the stick into something and, ouch!

Here she is at Tolmie State Park racing around the beach having a GREAT time with a large stick in her mouth.

SCARY! Thankfully no emergency run to the Vet.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Bailey the Fishing Dog

Today my friend and I with our dogs explored Tolmie State Park.

Tolmie State Park is a 105-acre marine day-use park with 1,800 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound. This forested park is on Nisqually Beach, a few miles from Olympia, Washington. The park offers a variety of beachside activities, an underwater park built by scuba divers, and hiking trails.

The park is named for Dr. William Frazer Tolmie (1812-1866) who spent 16 years with the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Nisqually as a physician, surgeon, botonist and fur trader.

While we sat on the beach and took in the beautiful sights, Bailey was out fishing....

Bailey spent a great deal of time looking down into the water searching.
Shelley believes her dog is fishing.
The fishing was poor today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Basic Gourmet Dog Treat

Looking for an easy to make

and good tasting dog treat.

Ebony rates them four paws.

Basic Gourmet Dog Treat


3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup water or broth (chicken or beef broth {avoid bouillon with onion})


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix together all ingredients.
3. Gently roll out to ¼ inch thickness.
4. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutter.
5. Bake 30 – 40 minutes
6. Allow to cool and store in a tightly sealed container.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Clever Dog

This morning as I was skating along the Chehalis Western Train with my dog, I learned how clever dogs can be.

Each morning I pass a group of three people with their three dogs none of which are on a leash. I find that people on the trail seem to be very respectful of others when their dog is not on a leash.

My dog, Ebony, is intimidated by any dog larger that herself; fifty pounds. She use to like all dogs until the day she was attacked by a large dog. That changed her dog preference. All three dogs on the trail were a bit bigger than Ebony and running the gauntlet has been a challenge for her. Appearing scared with her tail between her legs, she tries to creep by them and relies on her speed to remove herself from the pack.

As I approached the group this morning, I noticed Ebony was not at my side or following behind me. Then, I saw this black streak running the horse trail in the woods which parallels the trail. She dropped back on to the trail ahead of the group of people and dogs.

Amazing.....what a clever dog to figure this out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tips From Cesar Millan

I enjoy watching Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, interact with dogs. Have you watched him?

The more you learn about dog psychology, the better you will be able to connect with your canine companion. Here are some basic tips from Cesar Millan:

Dogs are not humans. Before they receive love and affection, they need exercise, clear direction, and leadership. Giving them love alone does not create balance in their lives. 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.

Dogs show us how much we can learn – they live in the moment. Try it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Common Dog Behavior Explained

Communication begins with understanding. If you want to build a better relationship with your dog, you can start by working to understand the meaning and causes behind some of her most common behaviors.

Cesar Millan explains the basics well:

Panting - Because dogs sweat through the pads on their feet, most of their body heat is expelled through their mouth when they pant. It's their primary means of regulating body temperature.

Barking - In nature, dogs bark to raise an alarm at the first signs of possible danger or to herald a new arrival. Barking is an important means of canine communication.

Digging - Digging is an instinctual activity, written deep in a dog's DNA. It is especially strong in terrier breeds. Dogs in natural packs will dig to hide food or to uncover food such as small rodents. A den dug in the cool earth can also provide shelter from the heat.

Jumping up - Though it may seem like play behavior, or an enthusiastic greeting, jumping up is a sign that your dog is attempting to assert her dominance over you. By encouraging jumping up with affection, you are reinforcing the behavior.

Separation anxiety - Dogs live and travel in packs, so it's natural for them to feel anxious when they are separated from their pack-mates. Try taking your dog on a nice, long walk before leaving her alone in the house. Leaving her in resting mode can calm her anxiety.

Once you understand these behaviors, you'll be better equipped to recognize when your pack's needs are not being met! When your dog's needs go unfulfilled, unwanted behaviors begin to emerge. Consider: are you giving Exercise, Discipline, then Affection?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cancer Sniffing Dogs - Part 2

Not only do dogs enrich the lives of their humans; they may also be trying to save our lives without us even realizing it! Dogs are detecting cancer; some are trained to do so, and others instinctively know something is not quite right.

Just because your dog is intently sniffing you does not mean you should run with alarm to your doctor. A dog's nose is 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than that of a human. A dog also has a larger portion of brain and nervous system devoted to the olfactory sense. Thus, a dog's interpretation of his surroundings is greatly affected by the information obtained from his nose. Sniffing you is telling your dog where you've been, who you met, what you ate, how you're feeling, etc.

However, if your dog seems consistently and considerably concerned about your body - beyond sniffing you to learn about your day – you may want to consider taking it seriously. He may be telling you something. Dogs can even smell cancer on your breath, particularly breast and lung cancer.

So, what are dog's detecting when they smell cancer? They smell a metabolic waste that is excreted by cancer cells, but not normal cells. It seems that some dogs naturally find this chemical to be a concern, or, at the least, interesting. Dogs can detect these chemical traces in the range of parts per trillion, making them able to smell cancer even during the early stages!

Dogs are currently being trained to detect cancer, similarly to how a dog is trained to detect drugs or bombs. A treat-based reward system is used, along with samples from healthy and cancer patients. The dog is rewarded when he sniffs the cancer sample. Eventually the dog learns to alert to the cancer sample by lying down or sitting when he comes upon it. Cancer-detecting dogs are often trained and capable in a matter of a couple weeks.

Studies around the world are proving that dogs can be extremely accurate in smelling and identifying cancer. This could be a huge benefit in the early detection of cancer, possibly saving countless lives. Researchers hope to incorporate dogs and their talented noses (literally the best odor detectors known to man) into physical exams in doctor's offices, alerting doctors to possible cancer concerns.

Think of all the things our best friend does for us – provide therapy, guide the blind, protect and serve those in law enforcement and the military, search for our missing loved ones, alert us to bombs, guard our homes, detect our cancer... provide unconditional love. Such an incredible creature.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cancer Sniffing Dogs - Part 1

When you consider that a dog's sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 more sensitive than ours, it may not sound so surprising that dogs can smell cancer. Dog's natural scent abilities make them great candidates for detecting different scents, including cancer.

I found a great video that shows dogs in the UK that can sniff out and find cancer. This video is only a few minutes long but definitely worth your time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

In nature, dogs are almost never away from their pack. It is our job to help make this unnatural situation less stressful.

This is what Cesar Millan recommends:

Before you leave, go for a walk. Start the day by providing vigorous exercise. Then reward your dog's calm-submissive energy with food and water. Some dogs may need to rest before eating, but all dogs can benefit from hydration. The idea is to leave your dog in quiet, resting mode while you are away.

No touch, no talk, no eye contact. Don't make a big deal when you leave for the day or when you return. This way, you are communicating to your dog that the time apart is no big deal. It's just business as usual! Depending on the severity of the case, you may need to practice the rule for five minutes or up to an hour before you leave and when you get back.

Say goodbye long before you leave. Having trouble practicing "no touch, no talk, no eye contact"? Take a moment to share affection and tell your dog that you will miss him way before you actually leave. Keep in mind that this display is for you - not your dog! Your dog won't have his feelings hurt if you didn't say goodbye.

Stay calm and assertive! When you are ready to go to work, leave those guilty, nervous, and concerned feelings behind. Instead, let your dog know that everything is going to be okay by projecting the confident energy of a pack leader.

Start out small. Leave your dog alone for five minutes. Then, extend the time to twenty minutes; then an hour. Continue to increase the time you spend away until you can leave for a full eight hours with no problem!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dog Odors

Has your dog ever had an "accident" on the carpet, sofa or bedding that you couldn't get rid of?

Here's what happens. You clean the spot, assuming the problem is solved. But then - days, weeks or months later - the disgusting urine smell mysteriously returns ... and this time, it's even stronger than before!

This is what I learned today:

Urine odors resurface for two reasons:

1. There is a component to urine that cleaning can't remove. No matter what you do, these deposits don't go away.

2. At certain times, "something" in your home reactivates these deposits, and the urine smell comes back. That "something" is humidity.

Humidity increases the sensitivity of odor sensors. So the more humid your house is, the stronger the odors become.

Indoor humidity levels increase during the summer. Everyday activities like cooking, showering and drying clothes also cause humidity. And when indoor humidity levels rise, they reactivate the latent urine deposits and odor returns.

Here is the interesting scientific part:

Urine is made up of three different parts. Many cleaning products remove the first component - the sticky liquid content. Some can even remove the second component - the stain-causing pigmentation. But nothing removes the third component - the uric acid crystals or "urine salts" that cause odor.

When you clean or treat the spot, it may seem like the urine is gone because the stain and odor disappear. But the urine salts are still there.

In their dry state, urine salts have no odor. But when it gets damp or humid, moisture reactivates the crystals and urine odor comes back - with a vengeance.

Interesting, huh?!

This video makes you want to buy the product..........

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dogs Bark to Communicate

Dogs bark as a form of communication. If your dog barks, there is a reason why. It may be simply a response to a stimulus, like a jogger running by the house—or it may be your dog's way of asking for help.

Does your dog bark continuously?

Would you say your dog barks excessively?

This is your dog’s way of sending you a distress signal. If your are experiencing ongoing, excessive barking from your dog, Cesar Millan would say that your dog's needs as an animal are not being met.

Cesar asks.....Is his world anchored by a pack leader who projects calm-assertive energy? Are you walking with him every day, which exercises his body and his mind? Is he living a balanced life?

If nuisance barking is a problem, consider these issues to find a solution. It’s the best way to show real love for your dog.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Warm or Cold Nose Myth

True or False: Dogs are sick when their noses are warm.

False; this is a common held myth.

The temperature of a dogs nose does not indicate health or illness. It also does not indicate if they have a fever. There is an "old wives tale" that cold wet noses indicate good health and that warm or dry noses indicate a fever or illness. The only accurate method to access a dog's temperature is to take it with a thermometer. Normal dog temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Does Your Dog Jump on Guests?

How can you tell if your dog is the pack leader? It’s simple: if she jumps on you when you arrive home, she is the pack leader. If she jumps on your guests, she is making sure that these new arrivals also know she is in charge. What can you do to stop this unwanted behavior?

According to Cesar Millan:

•Establish yourself as pack leader. When a dog doesn’t have a clear pack leader, she tries to fill the vacant role, usually to disastrous results (for the owner and for the dog!) The pack leader leads by projecting a calm-assertive energy.

•Don’t shower your dog with affection when you walk through the door. This kind of attention is wonderful for a human child, but not for a dog. Remember dogs are animals, and the kindest thing you can do is to treat your dog like a dog and communicate in a way he’ll understand.

•Correct bad behavior. The dog’s mom, the ultimate pack leader, would never tolerate inappropriate activity. If she sees something she doesn’t like, she stops it by moving the puppy out of the way in a calm-assertive manner. The puppy learns an important boundary from the lesson, and her firm and unambiguous leadership balances the puppy’s submissive role in the pack.

•When your guests arrive, ask your dog to sit patiently. Your dog will follow your commands when he respects you as his pack leader. Remember, the animal pack leader doesn’t negotiate to get what he or she wants.

•You can’t be a leader only some of the time. Leadership is forever; inconsistency triggers confusion and anxiety in a dog. Animal pack leaders never waver from their leadership role, and neither should you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dog Memory

Question: Which animal has a better memory a cat or a dog?

Quick, make your guess..........

A study was conducted at the University of Michigan in which it was found that cats have better memories than dogs. In the study a dog's memory of how to solve a problem could last up to 5 minutes, while a cat's could last up to 16 hours.

Wouldn't you have liked to see this demonstration?!?!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to Calm a Hyperactive Dog

Frequently, I hear from customers that they have a hyperactive dog.

As I was surfing the internet, I found some sound advice from Cesar Millan regarding five ways to calm a hyperactive dog.

Ignore the behavior! Dogs seek attention from you. By paying them that attention during hyperactive outbursts, you’re reinforcing the very behavior that you’re trying to eliminate. The next time your dog is jumping or nipping at you in an overexcited way, give it a try – no touch, no talk, no eye contact – and see how you fare. You might be surprised how quickly the dog settles down.

Give your dog a job! Having a task to focus on can help tremendously. Hyperactivity can come from psychological needs as easily as it can from physical needs. By giving your dog a job to do, you are removing him from his state of hyperactivity and redirecting his energy elsewhere. The task should have a clear beginning and end, and should never be considered a replacement for physical exercise.

Go for a walk! If your dog has a lot of built-up energy, a really vigorous walk is another excellent way to redirect it where YOU want it to go. Once you’ve burned that extra energy away, your dog should be pleasantly exhausted and too tuckered out to jump and nip. Without that frustration, he’ll find it much easier to relax.

Check your own energy! Your dog is your mirror. Any energy you project, he will reflect back. Are you in a calm assertive state of mind? Are you projecting a confident energy? Are you stressing out over an argument, or burdened with the worries of the work week? Nervous or anxious moods can translate into nervous or anxious body language or tones of voice, and can affect the energy of your dog.

Try out aromatherapy! Don’t forget that dogs experience the world primarily by scent! Just as the smell of lavender is said to relax human beings, a soothing smell can also have a very calming effect on your pet. Talk to your vet or consult a holistic professional to find out what smells may work for your dog and which dispersal methods are the safest for him.

Friday, June 5, 2009

World's Longest Dog Ears

What breed of dog do you think holds the Guinness World Record for longest ears?

Do you know the two functions of the ears?

Answer to the first question will be found by watching this video of the dog with the world's longest ears.

And the second question:

The two main functions of the ear are to detect sound and allow for hearing, and to maintain balance.

How did you score?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bone Popsicles

Do you have chew-happy dogs?

To make them happy and keep their teeth nice and clean, get beef soup bones from the butcher and roast them for about 20 minutes on a foil-lined sheet pan in a 350 degree oven. It kills bacteria on the outside and renders off a lot of the fat.

After cooling entirely, freeze them in zip-lock bags and dole them out when you have to leave your dog alone. They end up licked-clean.

Another idea is to get a long hollow bone and put peanut butter inside. Freeze it. Your dog will be busy for hours!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shelter Dogs

I came across this poem by Angel Wells in Martinsburg, West Virgina.

Angel said, "All of my dogs are shelter dogs, but I wrote this poem about one of them in particular. He is my chihuahua/papillon mix that has become my therapy dog. He is very special to me and I couldn't live without him. Fate brought us together, and I think if other people would take the time to look in their local shelter, they might find their soul mate as well."

A Shelter Dogs Poem

Once upon a time, you see,
There was this little pup
For reasons unbeknownst to me,
His family gave him up

Maybe it was chewing
Everything that he could find
Maybe they were busy and
Just didn't have the time

They took him to the shelter
And they just left him there
Outside, alone, in the cage
Shivering and scared

Even though they knew inside
If he went through those doors
He may never have the chance
To find a home like yours

He sat there crying silently
Wondering what he did
That was so bad that they just
Had to leave him like they did

However fate was smiling
On that little pup that day
Because a lady saw him
And she whisked him right away

He got a second chance at life
That others may have not
And now he's in a loving home
With everything he wants

Every day he gets that love
That he was looking for
And silently is thankful for when
She walked through that door

Others may not have this chance
So open up your heart
And adopt a shelter dog to take
And give a brand new start

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dog and Deer Playmates

This video came across my radar today.

I believe this little dog was attempting to chase off the deer.
But the deer decided she wanted to play.

Take a few minutes to catch these two at play!