Monthly Archives: June 2010

Choosing the Best Leash and Collar for Your Dog


By Suzanne Alicie

Just as there are many different sizes and types of dogs, the same is true for leashes and collars. Choosing a leash and collar combination that is right for your dog’s size and strength is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

There is no definite right choice and no definite right style of leash and collar, because each dog requires different features. But the number one feature of safety for your dog is universal, and should always be the first factor when shopping for a leash and collar.

Leashes

There are retractable leashes in many different strength levels; there are braided leashes, leather leashes, and nylon leashes. Leases come in all colors, thicknesses and lengths to make sure that when you walk your dog he is secure. When purchasing a leash it is important to look at the weight suggestion on the tag. You certainly don’t want to walk your German Shepherd on a leash made for a Poodle.

The type of fastener is also important when choosing a leash. You want a fastener that is easy to clip on and off, but not one that is easily triggered into the open position by rubbing against a collar. Your comfort also comes to mind when choosing a leash. Some have handles that are simply a loop made out of the leash material; others have a leather handle that is secured with rivets. For security, a one piece is always your best bet, and many times for comfort as well.

Collars

You can find rhinestone collars, spiked collars, chain collars and many other styles. You will also find collars made of leather, nylon, and braided fabric. The main things to look for when choosing a collar are whether it will fit your dog’s neck well, without choking, and whether it is strong enough to hold your dog. Dog collars are sized from extra small to extra large based upon the neck and head measurement of the dog.

A secure fastener that won’t come loose is also important when selecting a collar. So keep these important factors in mind and don’t just buy a collar because it is cute. Some of the other features to look for in a collar are the location and position of the leash clip ring, a tag hook, and padding between the leash and the dog’s neck. Read this article for more information on choosing the right dog collar.

Harnesses

Large and small dogs alike are often outfitted with harnesses instead of traditional collars. These also come in all colors and sizes. The benefit of harnesses is that they give the pet owner more control of the dog while walking, and because they don’t pull tight around a dog’s neck, which is a choking hazard.

No matter what style or color of collar and leash you choose for your pet, their safety is the main point of importance. Therefore a good fitting collar, secure fasteners and clips, and a strength that is appropriate for your dog’s weight are definite requirements when shopping for these products for your dog.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How Smart is Your Dog?


By Linda Cole

We like to think our dogs are the smartest and cutest dogs around. Some breeds are more intelligent than other breeds, but they aren’t necessarily good with children or even other pets in the home. Responsible pet owners choose a dog based not on intelligence but how well they fit with their specific lifestyle and living quarters. Still, if you’ve ever wondered how smart your dog really is, reading on for a few ways to test his intelligence.

There are three types of intelligence in dogs: adoptive (problem solving), obedience (how well they learn commands) and instinctive intelligence (inherited or genetic behavior). IQ tests to determine a dog’s intelligence are used to measure their adoptive intelligence. All dogs can learn basic commands, although some may learn slower than others. A motivated dog is eager to learn, and a persistent dog is also a good sign of intelligence.

If your dog doesn’t perform well for all of the following tests, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not smart. He may need better motivation, or a rest. Make sure to have his favorite CANIDAE dog treats on hand.

The towel test. Have your dog sit in front of you and carefully place a towel over his head. Count how many seconds it takes for him to remove the towel. The faster he gets it off, the more points he gets. Score 3 points for less than 15 seconds, 2 points for 15-30 seconds and 1 point for 30 seconds or more.

Hidden treat test. How smart is your dog? Can he find a treat hidden under a can? Take three cans and place his favorite treat under one while he’s watching. Turn him around a few times and then let him find the treat. If he picks the right can the first time, he gets 3 points, two tries gets 2 points and 1 point for getting it on the third try.

Find your favorite spot test. Take your dog out of the room and rearrange the furniture. Score him by how long it takes for him to find his favorite spot. He gets 3 points if he goes right to his spot, 2 points if he has to look around for more than 30 seconds and 1 point if he just picks any spot.

Let’s go for a walk test. Pick a time you don’t usually go for a walk. With your dog watching, do what you usually do when getting ready to go for a walk. If he responds immediately when you pick up his leash and gets excited, give him 3 points, if you had to walk to the door before he gets the clue, give him 2 points, and if he doesn’t respond, 1 point.

Chair puzzle test. This one is designed to see how smart your dog is at problem solving by making him work to get a treat. Place a treat under a chair or table that sits low enough that he will have to use his paws to get the treat. If he gets the treat out in a minute or less, he gets 3 points, if he has to use his paw and his nose, only 2 points, and if you have to get it out for him, 1 point.

Go around a barrier. Using cardboard, make a barrier five feet wide and taller than your dog when he’s standing on two legs. Cut an opening in the middle of the cardboard going from the top to the bottom, but only large enough for your dog to see through. Toss a treat on the other side of the barrier. If your dog walks around the barrier in 30 seconds or less, 3 points, 30 seconds to a minute scores 2 points and if he tries to get through the hole in the middle or doesn’t respond, 1 point.

Scoring:

16 points or more – your dog is a genius
13 to 16 points – above average
9 to 12 points – average
5 to 8 points – below average

IQ tests only measure how smart your dog is at problem solving. The above tests are standard IQ tests you can make into a game while testing your dog. Don’t try doing all of them at the same time if he doesn’t seem interested in the game you want to play. To truly measure your dog’s intelligence, take his entire learning ability into consideration. Some dogs respond to commands better than others , and some have superior instinctive intelligence.

Regardless of how the score turns out, you know your dog best – and his loyalty and love can’t be measured by a few tests. How smart is your dog? With the right kind of motivation and patience, he just might surprise you.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank: A True Success Story


By Julia Williams

Last November I told you about a wonderful Portland charity called The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank. In seven short months, what started as one man’s heartfelt desire to help two homeless men feed their starving canine companions, has blossomed into Oregon’s largest charitable pet food resource. Thanks to the Pongo Fund and CANIDAE, more than 500,000 premium quality meals have now been scarfed up by hungry pets in Oregon and southwest Washington. That, my friends, is a lot of fortunate dogs and cats who not only have full bellies but are able to remain with a loving family instead of being given up due to dire financial circumstances.

I recently spoke with Larry Chusid, The Pongo Fund Founder and Executive Director, to ask him how things have been going. Larry said “The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank is only open two days a month for three hours. In other words, we’ve been open to the public for the equivalent of 42 hours. That’s it…42 hours. We know that we provide food for thousands of families with pets that are at risk of being abandoned or surrendered because their families cannot afford to feed them. But how do we really measure success after only 42 hours?”

Well, I’ll tell you how. You measure success by the hundreds of people who, rain or shine, come to stand in line for their pet food every two weeks. You measure success by their radiant smiles when they receive the pet food, because you can see how much it uplifts their spirits to be able to feed their beloved dog or cat. You measure success by realizing that, because of your pet food bank, more than 50,000 premium quality meals are being provided to family pets each and every month.

You measure success by the unprecedented accord the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has been able to establish and maintain with a long list of major human services agencies and charities – organizations that have direct contact every day with people who need help feeding their pets. You measure success with your recent donation of seven tons of pet food to the Oregon Food Bank for statewide redistribution, which means that you’ve now extended your reach far past the Portland city limits.

You measure success with the knowledge that The Pongo Fund has already achieved two of their primary goals: 1) using premium quality food as a lifeline to keep family pets from being abandoned or surrendered because their families cannot afford to keep them fed; and 2) reducing shelter populations without using euthanasia or other fatal methods. And you measure success by each human life that’s saved because now they can use their money and food stamps to feed themselves instead of giving their own meager provisions to their pets.

So you see, it’s really not that hard to measure success, is it? Of course, all of these things only scratch the surface of the impact the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has on people and their animal companions. It’s not just the people and pets of Oregon who are being helped either. As word spreads, the Pongo Fund has begun receiving pleas for help from as far away as Florida, from people concerned about their Oregon friends and relatives in dire need of pet food. Knowing that help is at hand enables those who live far away to feel less helpless, and gives them peace of mind.

CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods is a vital part of The Pongo Fund’s mission to keep family pets from starving or being surrendered to a shelter because their families cannot afford to feed them. Their initial donation of $125,000 worth of pet food was the lucky break this humble nonprofit needed to turn a dream into reality.

But why did a California-based company decide to support an organization in Oregon? For one thing, the Pongo Fund’s founder has unmistakable passion for his humanitarian mission, and it’s this unbridled passion that creates incredible momentum for the organization to grow and succeed. CANIDAE wholeheartedly believed in the Pongo Fund’s vision from the start, and they believe in it even more now. The company continues to provide donations of their premium quality pet food, and recently expanded to include a $20,000 shipment of Snap-Biscuit® dog treats. “What would dinner be without dessert!” quipped Chusid.

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has achieved some truly remarkable things in seven months. But mark my words – this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the best is yet to come. To quote a hit song from the 80s, “the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Why Do Dogs Love Riding in Cars?


By Ruthie Bently

Most dogs love riding in cars, unless they have been traumatized at an early age. When you brought your dog home for the first time, did they ride in your car? Even if your dog was delivered to you in another vehicle, your dog has an instinctual understanding that allows them to see your car as an extension of the pack’s space, as well as its importance to the pack.

Have you ever parked next to a vehicle with a dog in it that went absolutely nuts for seemingly no reason? Has your own dog ever protected your car after you left them in it? Any dog left in a vehicle is capable of acting this way because they see the family car as a movable den. They feel safe in it just as they do at home. Dogs like having a job to do, and they’ll watch over the vehicle you have left them in charge of. It is instinct that makes a dog guard the vehicle they are in. You’re the alpha member of the pack, and as a lesser member some dogs feel the need to defend your vehicle to the best of their ability.

Skye loves to sit and watch the scenery passing by the truck window. I’m amazed that she doesn’t get dizzy at times trying to see everything at once. She never gets bored, and is always interested in what she is watching. On long road trips she has been known to lie down for a bit, but then she will hear or smell something and she is up like a jack-in-the-box to see what she might be missing. Have you ever looked back as you are entering a store to see what your dog is doing in your vehicle? I have, and Skye’s gaze is often glued to me as I enter the store. What makes this more interesting is that when I exit the store, it isn’t long before she catches my scent and stands up, and her body begins to wag as I return to my truck.

Dogs also love riding in cars because of all the odors that come in through the vents and the windows that are cracked. Cow manure laid on a newly plowed field; the llamas, sheep and goats in a field we pass by, newly mown grass in the road ditches. Maybe it is the French fries at the local McDonald’s my dog smells as we drive by. Whatever it is, her nose is glued to the dashboard vents.

As a responsible pet owner, I don’t take Skye with me when the temperatures are too warm or cold for her. We’ve already had temperatures here that could cause her to have heat stroke if I left her in the car. Even on a cloudy day, if the temperature is warm enough (with or without humidity) a car can heat to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes, and cracking the window won’t help your pet.

You should make sure your dog is restrained in your vehicle. I used a short lead attached to Skye’s collar and tethered to the truck. Doggy seat belts and harnesses are available and while giving your dog freedom, will keep them safe. Don’t allow your dog to hang their head out the window, because flying bugs and debris from vehicles around you can injure them. For more information on how to protect your dog in the car, see my article Vehicle Safety and Your Dog.

If your dog suffers from motion sickness, don’t feed or water them before you travel. They won’t suffer from not eating and are less apt to disgorge their meal on your car seats. Discuss using a medication for motion sickness with your vet or homeopath, but be sure to test it at home before you travel. Traveling with your dog can be a wonderful experience; it opens your eyes to a different point of view.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Cute Things Pets Do


By Linda Cole

There’s just no getting around it – pets are so darn cute, even when they’ve done something they shouldn’t have. They’re as bad as kids when they give us that adorable little grin with eyes that say, “I’m sorry.” You can’t help but laugh when you think about all the cute things pets do.

It’s been said that you can laugh with a cat, but never let them know you’re laughing at them. They hate being laughed at, but when you find a cat hanging upside down on the screen door staring at you with a frazzled look, it’s cute.

A cat is the perfect clown, and they do the funniest things. A cat can sleep anywhere, and it’s not uncommon to find one curled up in the bathroom sink or in a box. Apparently, the smaller the box, the more comfortable it is for sleeping. Talk about being packed in like a sardine! I’ve found cats curled up in a skillet on the stove, in small bowls, draped over a dog, hugging each other while sleeping, and in every odd position or place a cat can get themselves into.

It’s unfortunate we can’t set the cat like we can an alarm clock. Who needs that irritating buzzing contraption when you have a cat who gets hungry around dawn and isn’t shy about sitting on your face to get you up. It may not seem like a cute thing at the time, but since we’re wrapped around their paw, we get out of bed and follow them to the kitchen. It was almost time to get up anyway. I had a cat who would turn my alarm clock off when it buzzed. Try explaining that one to your boss when you’re late for work. Another cat loved to sit on the stove and turn on the timer.

The facial expressions of our pets are priceless. Such as, the look that says “You really don’t expect me to eat that?” when the food isn’t to their liking. My dogs don’t like going out in the rain, so I have to go outside and encourage them to join me. One day, I turned around to see them sitting just inside the door, looking at me like I didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain. They looked at me and then looked at each other, and I’m sure I heard one say, “Are you crazy? You do know it’s raining, right?”

The cutest cat expression is the grimacing face of a cat trying to determine what they’re smelling. The best expression is the “I meant to do that” look. Yeah, like I’m supposed to believe you meant to fall off the couch while you were asleep. That’s worth some giggles for sure.

Since I have both cats and dogs, a lot of the cute things they do come from them interacting with each other. One of my cats loves stalking sleeping dogs. He slowly sneaks up on one, wiggles his backside, calculates his leap and springs on the dog’s tail. The dog’s look is always the same: “Isn’t it time we found that cat a home?”

One of the cutest things pets do is when they’ve done something wrong, especially if the wrongdoer is a dog. I came home from work one afternoon to a living room floor covered in pillow stuffing that was couch pillows when I left for work in the morning. The two pillow shredders were found hiding away from the scene of the crime. The look on their faces was so cute, I couldn’t help but laugh as I pictured flying feathers and happy dogs having the time of their lives playing tug of war with the pillows.

I had a cat who always followed me into the bathroom. He would sit and watch, and I guess he was learning. One day I went into the bathroom and there he was, perched on the toilet doing his business. I was pleased he had potty trained himself, but it wasn’t nearly as cute when I had to wait for my turn. At least he didn’t take the newspaper in with him.

Puppies tripping on their over-sized feet, kittens timing a jump that comes up just a wee bit short, cats sticking their head out between the curtains, and dogs eating a peanut butter sandwich are some of the cute things pets do that are good for a laugh or two. The next time you’re feeling blue, watch your pet and I bet it won’t be long before they bring a smile to your face. And just in case you missed it, here’s another article on the funny things cats do.

What are some of the cute things your pets do?

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Train Your Dog with Invisible Fencing


By Suzanne Alicie

Invisible fencing is a method of containing your pet that, while it may seem quick and easy, actually requires quite a bit of training in order to make your pet understand. Essentially the fencing is laid underground and your pet will wear a transmitter collar. As your pet nears the fencing area the collar will beep; this is your pet’s signal to turn back. If your pet continues he will approach the fencing and receive (typically) a shock. Another method some company’s use is to spray citronella in the dog’s face. Either of these methods are a repellent to the dog, and he will want to avoid them. However, it is up to you as a responsible pet owner to work with your pet and teach him what the beeping and the fencing response means. Otherwise you may have a very confused dog who continually tries to bolt over or cross the fencing area.

Before attempting to train your dog with an invisible fencing system, it is essential that he knows the basic commands. It’s also important to keep in mind that the fence training is not something which can be fully accomplished in a few short weeks. Dogs continue to learn what is expected of them as they grow and encounter new situations.

To begin training your dog to understand invisible fencing, you must first mark the boundaries. Use flags or cones to outline the path of the invisible fencing. Place your dog on the leash with the fencing de-activated and walk him around the perimeter. Allow him to smell and become accustomed to these additions to his yard.

After the first few trips around the yard, activate the fencing and allow him to only go to where the warning beep sounds. Continue this daily for about a week. Next, place your dog on the leash or a run and affix it so that he can’t go past the beep trigger area. Allow him to wander and roam within this area only. Continue this practice for a few days.

Lengthen the leash so that your dog can reach just past the perimeter of the fencing. As he wanders the yard, and you see him approaching the warning beep area call him back. Be sure to praise him and reward him for his effort. If he continues after you call him he will either be shocked or sprayed. At that time, walk him around the perimeter allowing him to recognize the warning beeps and if necessary get sprayed or shocked as he examines the perimeter. This will help reinforce the boundaries and teach your dog the consequences if he attempts to leave the boundaries.

Each day, remove a few of the perimeter markings and continue to let your dog explore while leashed until he knows the boundaries. It takes approximately 6 weeks for a dog to learn the boundaries and be allowed to play in the yard while off the leash.

As a responsible pet owner, it is important that you never leave your unleashed dog unattended in an invisibly fenced yard. Some dogs are smarter than you think, and will realize that if they get over the perimeter the shock will stop. A black lab owned by a neighbor of mine had it figured out that if he could just get past the fencing he was in the clear. It was dangerous for the dog, but also amusing to watch him race across the yard, jump the boundary with a little yelp and then run down the street. Despite the owner’s expense, and the training, that dog was simply destined to spend his outdoor time on the leash. Another neighbor has a dog that no matter what will not cross the warning beep. As soon as he hears it he high tails it back toward the house.

Invisible fencing is not right for every dog. Each dog is different, and each person must make the right choice for his pet. Evaluating the pros and cons of invisible fencing is an important part of making this decision.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.