While some people prefer their dogs to be protective and guard their home and family, most of us would like our family pets to be social and people friendly. It can be a hassle and even frightening to worry about what your dog may do when someone comes to visit. It’s easier to socialize younger dogs, but even older dogs with consistent training and stability can learn to be social.
The key to socializing your dog is of course to have the dog in social situations. When dealing with a puppy, it’s important to introduce them to many people and other dogs. Visit the dog park, have doggie play dates and let your dog get comfortable in crowds. If you have an older dog that isn’t socialized very well, make sure that you take precautions before you take him into a social setting. You may want to muzzle your dog so he isn’t able to bite anyone or any other dog, and introduce him socially a little bit at a time.
Talking to your dog, soothing him and easing him into social activities with people and dogs will go a long way toward calming the dog and making the social aspect easier for him to accept. If you’re nervous and anxious about all the ways that introducing your dog socially could go wrong, your dog will pick up on that too. Maintain a calm demeanor and let your dog know that it is okay.
If your dog cowers or behaves as if he’s frightened of other dogs or people, let him get used to them from a distance before approaching. Dogs are curious and once they’ve become accustomed to different smells they will want to check out the other dogs and people around them; let your dog socialize on his own terms.
“There’s an app for that” is a catchy phrase. In fact, the slogan plays an important role in Apple Computer’s promotion of their iPhone. The tagline has become so popular it’s now become a part of our culture, making its way into general conversations and even into pop music.
So it stands to reason that, when it comes to being a responsible pet owner, well… there’s an app for that.
There are apps to assist you in locating dog parks, finding pet-friendly hotels and comparing dog walkers and pet sitters. There are apps for tracking your pet’s health, practicing various training methods, illustrating grooming techniques and reminding you of feeding times or medication requirements. There are even apps that help you select the most nutritious and specific foods for your pets; foods like CANIDAE and FELIDAE.
There is a website called Mashable Tech that lists the most popular apps for pet owners. There are also helpful apps listed on Yappler. I’ve tried some of these apps, but not all. Here’s a rundown of some current recommendations.
Apps to keep your pet healthy and strong
Cat Doctor: Expert veterinarian advice for your cat, right at your fingertips. Cat Doctor is organized into critical topics so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. There’s also an informative video hosted by a cat-specific veterinarian with over 30 years of experience.
Pet First Aid: An app that keeps all of your pet’s important medical records in one place. It also provides illustrations and videos of what to do in case of a medical emergency. The cool thing about this app is you can reach the information when you’re offline so if you get into trouble while hiking the back roads with your four-legged pal, you can access advice immediately.
Pet Vet Records: Here’s a way to track your pet’s health and share their medical records and files with your vet. This app is good for someone who moves frequently, because you can easily transfer your pet’s health information from one vet to another.
My first dog, Jack, was an American Eskimo. When he started to get older, I adopted an American Eskimo puppy named Kirby. My mom had an American Eskimo named Heidi. When our dogs were together and we took them outside to do their business, we always enjoyed a ritual they all engaged in. They would spread out and Jack would circle one way, Kirby circled the other way and Heidi matched one of them. They always started to circle at the same time, circled for about a minute and then stopped at the exact same time to do what they needed to do. It was like watching a choreographed dance routine. They also circled before lying down.
Circling is a common practice most dogs do at one time or another. Going around and around before doing their business is one example; however, not all dogs do this. A curious or concerned dog will circle an area to check for the scent of another dog. A dog’s nose is always on guard for scents he needs to pay attention to. Few dogs can resist checking out another dog’s calling card.
No one knows for sure why dogs circle, but scientists believe it’s a hard wired behavior that goes back to before we domesticated dogs. In the wild, there are no doggie beds with soft cushions. Wild dogs had to make their bed wherever they could find a suitable location, and sometimes it was in grassy/weedy areas. Most likely, circling is an instinctive behavior, and a dog circles to flatten the area where he intends to bed down to make it more comfortable.
Another behavior dogs do prior to circling or while in the process of going around and around is to stop every now and then and scratch at the floor or carpet. A couple of my dogs really get into pawing at the carpet, and at times they act like they’re trying to dig through the floor. This is another instinctive behavior used to scrape away rocks, twigs, pebbles and other debris from a resting site. Scraping or digging at the ground was also a way to even it out, making the bed more comfortable. Even dogs in the wild appreciate a comfortable place to sleep. In colder climates when dogs had to deal with snow and wind, digging down into the snow and circling to pack it down made for a warmer bed. Digging a small impression in the ground to reach cooler dirt made a cooler bed in the summer.
It’s a given that all of the dogs and cats CANIDAE sponsors are talented; after all, they’re called Special Achievers for a reason. However, a 7-year old Pyrenean Shepherd named Rally is so good at freestyle flying disc that he (with his owner/handler Angela Ewtushik) recently got to show off his mad skills on Canada’s Got Talent, and made it to the Semi-Finals!
CANIDAE Sales Manager Caroline Pettersen said, “Although Angela and Rally didn’t win a place in the finals, they won a place in the hearts of Canadians. Angela and Rally went on a journey that most of us just dream about. We are very proud of Angela for being as brave as she was and putting herself out there the way she did. With an original desire to show people how to have fun with their dog…I believe she certainly made that impact on many.”
Indeed she did. In her CGT blog, Angela wrote “Eight months ago Rally and I waited in a hallway in the Rogers Centre for our turn to showcase our talent. I never thought that hallway would lead to several appearances on national TV and a huge fan base of Rally supporters from across Canada. This hit me minutes before the show. As the cameras were taping the audience, I gasped at the number of ‘Rally’ signs and the people cheering for him, many of whom I didn’t know. I had to turn away to find a makeup person to wipe my tears!”
I caught up with Angela recently to ask her more about this fun experience.
How did your act come to be? I was looking for an outlet for Rally’s energy. I saw some videos of canine freestyle disc and thought it would be something fun to try!
I already had a young dog when I bought my home. Jack was a fun loving American Eskimo. Shortly after moving in I adopted Puff, a fuzzy yellow kitten. Jack was just shy of his first birthday so he and Puff grew up together and became inseparable. I didn’t understand how closely they had bonded until 17 years later when I lost Puff to natural causes. I found Jack lying beside him in the morning acting as if he was trying to get him to wake up. Jack and I grieved Puff’s passing and Jack never really got over the loss of his friend.
Yes…pets can develop a close bond with one another.
Some people think humans are the only species with the capacity to love and bond closely with others. They argue that pets have no emotions and are therefore unable to care about each other or even their owner. However, there are plenty of documented stories about pets developing strong friendships and bonding with each other and even with wild animals.
In Japan, a farmer was shocked when his cat came home with a baby mouse in her mouth. Now that in itself isn’t odd, but it’s what the cat did with the mouse that is. Instead of attacking her prey, the cat befriended the mouse. They shared food, they played together, and the cat protected her little friend from dogs.
Two tabby cat siblings, Jesse and Jack, were separated when their family decided to move from their home in the southern part of Australia to a new home in the northern part of the country. Before the family could move, however, Jack disappeared. After several months the family feared the worst, and went ahead with their moving plans, taking Jesse with them. Losing Jack was hard on the entire family, including Jesse, as she and Jack had been inseparable. Shortly after moving, Jesse disappeared from her new home and the family once again grieved the loss of another pet. They were surprised to learn fifteen months later that Jesse had arrived back at her old home in the south. She had traveled 1,900 miles across the Australian Outback. In the meantime, Jack had returned home. When Jesse left her new home and headed south on her long and dangerous journey, it wasn’t her old home she was seeking, it was her brother Jack. Their bond was closer with each other than it was with their human family. Jesse and Jack are now happy as can be living in their original home in the south.
Okay, I’ll come right out and admit it – my cat sleeps right on top of me. When I fall asleep on my back, he falls asleep on my stomach. If I roll over, he rolls with me and sleeps against my back or my front, depending on which way he flops when I roll.
My husband (relegated to the far other side of the bed) laughingly asks how it feels to have the equivalent of a watermelon balancing on me while I sleep. It’s true; our cat is a big guy. It took me a while to get used to our sleeping arrangements but he is so cuddly and loving that I persevered.
There’s one thing he does during our highly choreographed slumber, however, that I cannot get used to. There are times when he’ll wake up and start kneading on my back, and then he starts purring loud enough to wake the neighbors. This kneading or ‘making biscuits’ is a deal breaker. Once he begins, there is no way I can fall back to sleep. After a while, the kneading and purring starts to feel like water torture, especially if you’re starving for sleep.
Kneading is a common feline trait. Much like grooming after a meal or curling up in a tight ball for a nap, kneading is just one of those things that cats do. And while the act of kneading is the same—pushing their paws in and out while switching from the left to the right paw—cats knead in different ways. Some cats keep their claws retracted the whole time while other cats extend their claws on the push motion and retract them on the pull-back motion. Thankfully, my cat keeps his claws retracted the entire time so there’s no pain involved but still…could you sleep during a kneading and purring session?
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.