Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to Teach Your Dog Tricks

By Suzanne Alicie

Dogs are highly intelligent creatures and they love to please their people. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but in fact a dog of any age can learn to do tricks; it’s just a matter of how you go about teaching them. Dogs are similar to children in that they all have different personalities and even different learning styles. Some dogs love to perform and eagerly soak up any new tricks the first few times you teach them, while some may take a little more time and effort. On the other hand, there are also dogs like my Bear – she knows exactly what is expected but seems to think she can make the humans do a few tricks of their own before she will deign to lift a paw!

Repetition is the key to teaching your dog tricks, the same as with training your dog. Essentially sitting, heeling and even walking on a leash are all tricks your dog has learned. When you want to teach them to shake, beg, dance or roll over, it’s just a matter of letting them know what you want them to do, offering them a CANIDAE TidNips treat when they do it successfully, and repeating the action over and over until your dog associates a certain word or gesture with the trick.

Keep in mind that while your dog may have certain qualities of a child it is not a person and it takes time and dedication to both train and teach your dog to do tricks. Yelling or becoming upset with your dog will not help him learn a trick. First you must teach the dog the action of the trick – yes, this means you may have to get down and roll on the floor! Then you have to work on the word or gesture to make him do the trick on command. Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand and are generous with praise.

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Special Achiever Jay Harris Helps Chase Away K9 Cancer

By Linda Cole

Canine cancer is a hard topic for me to write about. It has touched my canine family several times over the years. However, it’s important to shed light on the disease to help dog owners understand how early detection can make a difference in a dog’s survival. Jay Harris, a CANIDAE Special Achiever, is using the sport of dock diving to promote cancer awareness and to raise money for Chase Away K9 Cancer, an organization trying to find a cure for canine cancer. If you’re into dock diving, you’ve heard of Jay Harris and his eight year old yellow Lab, Sir Harley, who is ranked 11th in the world as a Veteran. I had a chance to speak with Jay to find out more about both of his passions.

Chase Away K9 Cancer was founded in 2006 by Cera Reusser after losing her black Lab, Chase, to cancer. Chase was full of life and excelled at dock diving with an Elite Jumper status in Big Air and NW Challenge Championship in 2005 and had a designation of AKC Master. One day, Cera found a lump under Chase’s chin. It was nasal carcinoma. Chase was just shy of her seventh birthday when she died. This grassroots organization raises money for grants to fund cancer research. So far, they’ve raised over $530,000.00 and funded twelve cancer studies with more studies planned for later this year. They also aim to give support, understanding, comfort and guidance to dog owners.

Detecting canine cancer early can make a difference in the prognosis and treatment. Chase Away recommends a nose to tail body check on the 14th of each month. Start at the head and look in their ears, eyes and inside the mouth, checking for tumors. Feel and look over your dog’s entire body, searching for lumps or bumps. Know where to find the dog’s lymph glands and how they feel. If you notice any changes, call your vet. Weight loss should be a red flag.

Jay brings awareness to this disease through his love of dock diving and helps raise money throughout the season for canine cancer. This year, one of Jay’s fundraising events, the 2012 Sir Harley Veterans Tour Chase Away K9 Cancer kicks off the season in honor of his Lab, Sir Harley, who became a Veteran Competitor in DockDogs. Donations will be accepted all year and a check will be presented to Chase Away at the World Championships at Dubuque, Iowa in November. “To date, we are over $3,000 and the jumping season is only getting started.” Money is raised for Chase Away at all regional (club) events. If you attend an event, look for a dog wearing a K9 vest walking around in the crowd and if you are able to help, please donate.

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Are "Pet Moms" Really Mothers?

I have been told that because I have no human children, I am not a Mom. I beg to differ, and my dictionary agrees with me. It mentions maternal affection and protective care; nowhere does it stipulate that this pertains exclusively to human beings. Whether we choose to act with motherly devotion to a cat, dog, horse, rabbit, hamster or human baby, the emotion is the same. Love is universal.

As a caretaker of cats, I have felt all of the emotions that other mothers feel – fear, tenderness, love, heartbreak, joy, anxiety, anger, impatience, exasperation, affection, protectiveness – the list is endless. I have an overwhelming desire to keep my cats safe and free from harm. When they are sick or injured, I fuss over them endlessly. When they are in pain, my heart aches for them. When they are happy and playful, my spirits soar too.

I’m not saying there aren’t major differences between pets and human children. Of course there are. For starters, my cats never buy me a Mother’s Day gift or bring me breakfast in bed. They don’t send me a card or take me out to lunch on my birthday, and they don’t demand that I throw them a party on their own birthday. Heck, they don’t even acknowledge any of the days that humans have designated as special; to them, these days are just like all the others.

Yet when I hold my cats or pet them I never think, “If only you were human, you’d know how much I love you.” They do know. What’s more, the love I give to them is returned to me tenfold. They can’t tell me how they feel with human words, but they tell me by their countenance. They tell me by the way they lie on my chest and nuzzle me with their head when we go to bed at night. They tell me with kitty head butts and gentle licks on my nose. They tell me by the way they curl up in my arms. And I can see it in their eyes, can feel it in their purrs.

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The Lovable Beagle Will Steal Your Heart

By Linda Cole

I have a Beagle/Terrier mix named Alex. Since she is a mixed breed, she shows characteristics from both breeds, but it’s her Beagle side that’s more dominant. She has a stubborn streak a mile wide, would do a triple back flip for a TidNips treat, loves to bark just for the sheer joy of barking, and she’s very affectionate, especially when she wants something.

The Beagle is one of the most loving dogs you can bring into your family. They want to be with you wherever you are and enjoy sitting as close to you as they can get so they can cuddle. However, they are also an active dog that loves to play and run. This breed is sociable, easy to get along with and willing to do what is asked of them, if the price is right. Beagles can be stubborn, but are easily enticed with food. What gets a Beagle’s attention is their CANIDAE food and treats, because eating is one of their favorite activities!

The breed dates back to the 1500′s where the English elite took packs of Beagles on hunts to find rabbit, pheasant, quail and fox. Their distinctive baying directed hunters following behind a pack of dogs. They are still used today in hunting, but not as much as they once were. The Beagle’s nose is second only to the Bloodhound, and some people argue their nose is more sophisticated than the Bloodhound’s. The Beagle can pick up a scent on the ground and find their prey faster than any other dog breed. They are so smart they can tell the difference between scents, and remember them the next time they run across them. That ability is what makes the Beagle perfect at detecting termites and rooting out illegal fruits and vegetables people try to smuggle past customs. They are even being used to sniff out bed bugs.

Because of their smaller size, the Beagle makes an excellent search and rescue dog that can go into areas larger breeds can’t get into. Law enforcement agencies have discovered this little dog has a knack for finding people who have wandered off a trail or gotten lost in remote areas. Because they are smaller, the Beagle is easier to transport to search areas and carry across rough terrain if it’s necessary.

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Human Pacemakers Help Extend Pets’ Lives

By Langley Cornwell

My mother recently got a pacemaker. She was experiencing shortness of breath and unusual fatigue but chalked it up to the normal aging process. When she started fainting, though, we knew we needed to get serious about seeking a solution.

The doctors determined she was suffering from arrhythmia, which means her heart was not able to pump enough blood through her body. They admitted her to the hospital and the doctors tried to treat her heart condition with medications, but nothing seemed to work. After 12 days of trying, the docs finally believed they couldn’t get her issues sorted out with meds and decided to put in the pacemaker.

Until that time, I didn’t know much about pacemakers – but when your mom is getting one, you learn a lot. The hospital staff was helpful and patient. They explained that a pacemaker is a small electrical device that’s surgically inserted in the chest or abdomen to help regulate abnormal heart rhythms. Her pacemaker not only controls her heart rhythms but also transmits back to a monitoring system where my mom’s cardiologist can see how her heart is doing at any given time. It’s fascinating, and this little device has helped my mother resume a fairly normal lifestyle.     

Cats receiving human pacemakers

So when I read an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel about how the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine is putting human pacemakers in animals, I was intrigued. Apparently, a cat named Junco was experiencing symptoms similar to my mother’s. The cat went through a series of fainting spells and her vets couldn’t figure out why. Junco’s human parent said it really scared her when Junco would meow in a weird, eerie way, her eyes would get a strange look and then she’d fall down in a cold faint. She’d stay unconscious for about 10 seconds.

As a cat parent, I can imagine how excruciating those 10 seconds would be. Once the vet suspected Junco was experiencing heart problems, the cat was referred to a board-certified veterinary cardiologist at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. The cardiologist found Junco to be a perfect candidate to receive a pacemaker, and the surgery was performed.

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Dog Friendly Vacation Spots

By Suzanne Alicie

Summer is fast approaching. We all like to take family vacations, but when it comes to our furry friends the choices may seem limited. If you feel that a family vacation should include your canine family as well, you’re likely searching for dog friendly vacation spots. Luckily, there are plenty of these to choose from, and they make great vacations for the entire family! While you could board your dog or skip vacation because it seems like a hassle to plan a vacay with your dog, once you check out the possibilities you’ll see that it’s not so difficult to find dog friendly vacation activities.  Yes, there is some preparation and specific packing to do… but wouldn’t you rather have your dog on vacation with you? For some of us it’s not a question; it’s not a family vacation without the whole family – dogs included!

The Great Outdoors

If your dog is happy on a leash, there are many state and national parks across the country that allow and even welcome dogs. You can go hiking, swimming, kayaking and more with your four legged family member. Camping eliminates the need to worry about finding a pet friendly hotel too! Note: Some parks have pet limits, so be sure to check the rules before you plan your vacation.

Festivals and Events

You may be surprised at just how many dog friendly events and festivals are held across the country. From the Bark in the Park events to the Dog Bowl and pet expos, you’ll find many instances where dogs and humans alike can gather and have a great time! Check online and in the cities you’d like to visit to find out when dog friendly festivals and events will be held so that you can plan your vacation to include them. These events are lots of fun, and you might even snag some goodies for your pooch, like CANIDAE TidNips treats!

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