Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stop Begging!

Is your dog notorious for begging? Those big eyes or whine that tug at your heartstrings.

Dog owners usually respond to begging in one of two ways: getting angry or annoyed with their dog, or giving in. Neither of these is a helpful approach to begging.

Even if your dog is not begging for food, giving in can have negative consequences. Each time you turn your attention to him when he whines, you are actually teaching him that whining and begging is an effective way to get your attention. This will encourage him to keep doing it.

So how can you get your dog to stop begging? Here are three simple but effective tips:

1. Eat together. No, I do not mean setting a place at the table for your dog; I mean scheduling meals so that you and your dog are eating at the same time. If you give your dog his own food while you are eating, he will be less likely to beg for your food because he will be too busy with his own. This will also put him on a feeding schedule, which is better for your dog in general.

2. Give him something else to do. Along the same lines as tip #1, if you give your dog a favorite toy during the times that he is most likely to beg, it will keep him occupied and distracted. This also rewards him for leaving you alone during mealtimes.

3. Tire him out before dinner. Sometimes dogs beg because they are bored. Too much energy and no way to use it can lead to all sorts of annoying habits in dogs. You can cut down or even eliminate begging with some exercise. Simply take your dog out for a long walk or a brisk run before you sit down to eat, and he will be resting during the meal.

If your dog's begging is less about food and more about attention, he could actually be suffering from a mild case of separation anxiety. In addition to the toys and exercise mentioned above, you can use naturally-produced compounds to relax your dog. D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) products mimic the calming natural chemicals secreted by nursing mother dogs, sending a signal of comfort and safety to her puppies. When your dog senses these pheromones he feels comforted and safe, and thus is less likely to display signs of stress such as begging.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Collars For A Cause

Beautiful beaded and embroidered dog collars are created by Guatemalans not only to promote economic stability, but also to relieve the suffering of street dogs and cats in the highlands of Guatemala.

The collars are made by Mayan craftspeople who benefit by selling their work to Pana Paws whose purpose is to meet the needs of homeless dogs and cats. Their vision is to provide not only a stable source of income to families in Guatemala, but also to help fund an animal program designed to treat the medical needs of the animals, so balance and harmony can exist as the culture and economy of Guatemala continues to develop. They also donate a percentage of the retail sales to Hope for the Animals. Through its integrated programs, Hope for the Animals is raising awareness, reducing overpopulation, addressing public health issues related to overpopulation, and relieving the suffering of animals.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Bond Museum

Currently an online entity, the National Museum of Animals & Society addresses all aspects of the human-animal bond which dogs have played a major role.

Why such a museum? Carolyn Merino Mullin, founder and executive director of the museum explains that in virtually every facet of society’s development, animals have played a significant role. "The National Museum of Animals & Society (NMAS) is dedicated to exploring this shared experience, a cultural narrative that has remained largely unexamined and untold and one that continues to unravel at a rapid pace."

Read more....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stress or Hyperactivity?

Do you ever suspect that your dog is a bit too hyper?

Dogs can become hyperactive when they are over-stimulated by sounds, smells, and sights. If you have been exposing your dog to lots of new situations or experiences, he might be a bit overwhelmed by them.

If this is the case, you can help him by giving him a break. Find a place in your home where you can bring your dog to calm down. This should not be seen as a punishment. Instead, it is a quiet, stimulus-free area where your dog can relax and unwind. If your dog is crate-trained, even better! Crates are the perfect environment for this. Make the experience a pleasant and inviting one so he wants to go on his own. Reward him for going to the calm area, and give him attention when (and ONLY when) he behaves in a calm manner.

Some dogs are hyper by nature. They cannot help it, it is just part of who they are. If your dog is so full of energy that he is becoming destructive, give him a human-approved way to burn off all that extra enthusiasm. Take him for walks or on runs where he can release this energy in the form of exercise. Taking him to a dog park where he can run freely with other dogs. By the time you get back home he will be calmer and more relaxed.

Along the same lines, some dogs become hyperactive when they are not getting enough mental stimulation. A bored dog will look for things to do, and what they find might not be your first choice of entertainment.

How do you know when a dog is bored? They frequently fidget or seem restless. They might pace, pant, or drool. If you have a bored dog, try incorporating more games into their daily routine and adding interactive puzzle toys. This will give you a well-behaved dog and give him something to occupy his mind and body.

Your dog might also be extra-hyper because of anxiety. Sometimes stressed dogs can show behaviors that are borderline obsessive, such as repeating the same task over and over. You might also notice that your dog has chewed bald spots in their fur or has begun destroying household items. What seems like restlessness could be your dog's way of externalizing his or her anxiety.

To reduce your dog's stress levels, you first have to find the cause of the stress. Really think about what could be making your dog anxious. Have you had any recent changes in your life as a new family member, a new apartment or house, or even just moving furniture around? Seemingly small changes can upset your dog greatly.

Once you have identified the stressor, the next step is to help your dog adjust to it. Spend time with your dog, give them lots of love, and be patient - some changes take time.

Another thing that you can do to help your dog relax faster is using one of those dog pheromones (natural, calming compounds) that releases the scent into the air. These are the same types of compounds released by mother dogs around their puppies, and they really have a comforting effect on dogs. A great, easy way to soothe a hyper dog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Voted Number One Dog Video for 2011

The readers at Pet Place voted for their favorite video for 2011 and this one came in number one.

What do you think? Pretty funny, right!?

River and Trout are two fun loving Labrador Retriever brothers and alpine enthusiasts. They like to spend winter weekends at Sugarbush In Warren Vermont playing in the woods and body snurfing or body sledding/belly whopping in the snow.

Friday, June 15, 2012

No Squeak

When it comes to toys that dogs really enjoy, squeaky toys are right up there at the top of the list. That's great for the dog... but not so great if you are the one who has to listen to all the noise.

Well, here is the perfect solution.

If your dog loves squeaky toys and you want him to be happy - but you do not want to listen to all the noise - check out the new line of Hear Doggy!™ toys. Their new ultrasonic squeaker technology transmits the sound at a frequency only your dog can hear. So he can still enjoy the squeaking, while you enjoy the silence.

If your dog enjoys "flat" toys with no stuffing, he will love the Hear Doggy! Flat Deer toy. Their Large Blowfish toy is perfect for larger breeds while smaller dogs and puppies will love the Hear Doggy! Blue Whale.

This new ultrasonic squeaker technology will give you a welcome reprieve from the noise of regular squeaky toys, while your dog enjoys all the squeaky fun his heart desires. It really is a win-win situation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dog Food Ingredients

There are so many different options available for all different kinds of dogs that choosing the right food can be an intimidating task. How do you even begin?

Dog food packaging contains ingredient lists just like human food does. What you see on that label is the key to knowing whether a food is appropriate for your dog. Let's get educated about some common ingredients so you can know what is preferable and what is not so good.

One quick note: the higher up on a list an ingredient is, the more it makes up that food. Most of your dog’s food will be composed of the first few ingredients on the list. This is important to keep in mind if you see any of the below undesirable ingredients.

The number one ingredient to avoid is something labeled “by-products” or “by-product meals.” These are ingredients created from waste parts in the butchering process. These parts contain no muscle tissue, and are classified as unfit for human consumption. Meat by-products are things like lungs, spleen, liver, stomach, and even bone. If a dog food lists any kind of by-product as one of the first ingredients, avoid it. Instead, look for dog food that lists actual meat as an ingredient. Do not confuse an ingredient like plain “chicken meal” for chicken by-product meal.

Anything artificial is best to avoid as well. Many dog foods use artificial colors and flavors. These synthetic additives are unnecessary, since color has little importance for your dog and there are many natural ways to improve flavor. Some artificial dyes, such as FD&C Red #40, can even impact you; they can be so strong that if vomited, they can stain carpets and fabrics.

Dog foods also often contain fillers; that is, parts with little to no nutritional value that are added to food to increase volume or weight. Almost all dog food is sold by weight, so bulking up food with inexpensive ingredients can save companies money. The issue is that your dog gets absolutely nothing from these ingredients, and in most cases their body ca not even break them down. Common fillers include soybean meal and flour, as well as wheat middlings, wheat gluten, and corn meal gluten.

Try to get a dog food that little to no sweeteners or sugar as well. Excess sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to health problems like obesity and diabetes. The sugar on the ingredients list can appear in a number of different ways including cane sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

On the other hand there are some ingredients that it is good to have in your dog’s food. Look for dog foods that name natural ingredients and boast no preservatives or by-products. Fruit such as apples, blueberries, carrots, and cranberries all have benefits for your dog - and they add a more natural flavor and sweetness than many other additives. Certain vegetables and tubers are great for your dog too, such as sweet potato, yucca, and spinach.

Some more ingredients that are good to have in dog food include:

* DHA - an Omega-3 fatty acid that boosts the development of your dog’s brain

* Flaxseed - promotes a healthy digestive system

* Kelp - provides fiber and iodine

* Probiotics - strengthen the digestive system and provide natural antibiotics to boost your dog’s immune system

When you go out to find the perfect dog food, keep this list in mind.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dog and Owner Look-A-Likes

Have you noticed how dogs and their owners can look alike?

Someone put together this short video with some great photos of dog and owner look-a-likes. Check it out.....

Friday, June 8, 2012

How Smart Are Dogs?

Recently on PBS NOVA science NOW asked the question,
“How smart are dogs?”

We all know that dogs are smart. They learn to follow commands, perform tasks, and work at jobs.

Research tells us that the average dog can understand about 150 words. Their intelligence level is estimated at around the same level as a three-year-old child. Some breeds are considered generally smarter than others, and Border collies are thought to be among the smartest. We know that some of these dogs understand hundreds of words. But the dog on this show - a Border collie named Chaser - showed us that dogs could be even more intelligent than we believed. Chaser has about a thousand toys, and her owner claims that she can identify each one by name. Chaser knows more than a thousand words!

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the well-known scientist and astrophysicist who hosts this PBS show. He decided to put that theory to the test with an experiment of his own. He asked Chaser to find several of her toys by name, and she got it right every time. Then he decided to see if Chaser could take it one step further. He wanted to see if she could identify a toy that she had never seen before, with a name that she had never heard before, by using the process of elimination.

Dr. Tyson had brought a new toy with him that he named "Darwin". He put Darwin among some of Chaser's toys to see if the dog could pick out. At first, Chaser seemed confused when he asked her to "find Darwin". She had never seen the toy before and did not know the name, but finally she picked out the right toy!

Experiments like this make us realize that dogs are indeed very smart. Just like humans, dogs need to use their brains to keep them sharp. It is not enough to keep their bodies healthy - they need to exercise their minds as well. A challenging situation that tests your dog's problem solving skills is both interesting and fun, and it is also a good way to help keep them mentally engaged. Without these satisfying tests of intellect, boredom will soon set in. A bored dog can soon lose interest in play or even become destructive or lethargic.

Keep your dog mentally stimulated with games and interactive toys.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Unusual Cleaning Tips

Although vinegar remains the most versatile and green of cleaning solutions, here are several ideas for doggie hair and odors.

Throw a few feet of cheap nylon netting in the dryer with your clothes and bedding. It grabs all of the pet hair. Shake it out and reuse.

A great way to recycle dog hair is composting.

When your dog pulls the stuffing out of her toy, do not throw it away. Put it out in the yard for nesting material for birds and small animals.

Add a few drops of organic essential oil (lavender, peppermint, vanilla) to a cotton ball and suck it up with the vacuum. The cotton ball will give the carpet and room a nice, soothing smell with each vacuum.

Wear rubber glove and run your hands over the furniture. Pet fur comes right up. Or, wet your hands and rub them along the furniture. Continue re-wetting your hands as they dry and removing the accumulated fur.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

From Shelter to Circus Performer

Luciano Anastasini comes from a long line of circus performers going back to his great-great-great-great grandparents. When his fall from 50 feet ended his career as acrobat his thoughts turned to those in a somewhat similar desperate situation; shelter dogs. He now trains rescue dogs to perform in circus acts. He approaches the dogs with compassion and ingenuity. The dogs show him what they want to do and he figures out a way to let them do it.