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.