Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Naughty Kitty Chronicles

The Naughty Kitty

By Rocky Williams

That evil Warden of mine says when she looks in the dictionary under “Naughty Kitty” there is a photo of me. She also wants me to believe that under “Angel” there is a photo of Annabelle. Gag. Excuse me while I hack up a hairball and leave it where the Warden is sure to find it…with her bare feet!

I will admit that I probably am the naughtiest kitty on the planet. But I’ll bet you I have a lot more fun than my goody two shoes sister; wait, wouldn’t that be goody four-paws? Anyhoo, Annabelle is a good kitty and I am a naughty kitty. I DO know the difference, but I choose to be naughty because like I said, it makes life so much more interesting! What’s the point of being a feline if you can’t have a little fun?

Just in case there was any doubt as to what constitutes a good kitty versus a naughty kitty, I’ve put together a little primer.

The Good Kitty Versus the Naughty Kitty

A good kitty (Annabelle) doesn’t pay a lick of attention when the human is eating her food. A naughty kitty (me) gets their fluffy self in her face and tries to snag food from her plate right in front of her. My signature move is called the “grab and go” and I’m successful 9 times out of 10 because my paw is quicker than the hand.

A good kitty comes when called. A naughty kitty answers to none…unless there’s food involved, then we “pretend” to be obedient so we’ll get a snack. The Warden’s favorite trick to get a naughty kitty to come is to shake the tub of FELIDAE crunchies. Works like a charm!

A good kitty leaves all the pens, keys, note pads, remotes, and other miscellaneous stuff on the coffee table, right where the human put it. A naughty kitty pushes them all to the floor, then bats them around until they get lost under the furniture.

A good kitty barfs on the easy-to-clean linoleum or tile floor. A naughty kitty chooses to do the deed on the carpet or the human’s important work papers. Extra credit if your furball ruins some prized possession that “just happens” to be in the way.

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

Dealing with a Neighbor’s Noisy Dog

By Langley Cornwell

Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where a nearby dog barks incessantly? Where relaxing chores like watering your garden or refilling your hummingbird feeder is interrupted by aggressive snarling, growling and barking? Where the neighbor’s dog rushes the fence when you walk by and you’re sure he would attack if there wasn’t a barrier? If you have, you know what a nuisance it is. But what would you do about it?

I posed the question to my friends and fellow animal lovers. The answers were thoughtful, helpful and sometimes silly but offer a variety of ways to deal with the problem. Here are some of the responses:

Diane at CANIDAE said: “I have problems with this all the time. My solution usually involves squirting water over the fence when the dog is barking. If I’m lucky I actually get the dog wet. Usually this stops the barking. Of course I try to make sure the owner isn’t home at the time I do this. LOL! After a while, the dog gets conditioned to stop barking when he hears me open the patio slider and only needs a “reminder” once in a while. Of course, this isn’t the best way to deal with the barking and it doesn’t work with small dogs because they are a smaller target.”

Many people report success with distractions including squirting water (like Diane), sounding an air horn or rattling a tin can full of pennies when the dog barks.

Another friend of mine, Charles, lives beside a barking dog. He says: “Our next door neighbor’s dogs bark a lot, but they are not aggressive. Because the neighbors are very nice people, we just tolerate it.”

Caren offers this response: “Depends on what kind of fence it is. If it is a chain link fence, I’d build my own privacy fence to run alongside it – so I wouldn’t have to see the dog every day.”

Read More »

The True Story of Rin Tin Tin

By Linda Cole

Rin Tin Tin is probably the most recognized and famous German Shepherd dog of all time. In the 112 year history of the breed, his bloodline is the oldest continuous line and has remained relatively unchanged over the years. Had it not been for a corporal in the United States Army during WW I, Rin Tin Tin most likely would have perished in France.

Rin Tin Tin was just five days old when he and his four siblings were found in a bombed out dog kennel outside of Lorraine, France. It was September 15, 1918; Corporal Lee Duncan and his battalion were walking through the area when he noticed the damaged dog kennel and convinced the others they should check it out. They found five pups and their mom alive in the kennel. They had survived an aerial bomb drop. Duncan picked a male and female from the litter. The three other pups and mom, Betty, were taken back to camp by the other soldiers, but sadly none of them survived.

Duncan named his pups Rin Tin Tin and Nannette after small French puppets called Rintintin and Nenette that were given to the soldiers by French children for good luck. Corporal Duncan was impressed with how the German war dogs performed, so he started working with Rin Tin Tin and Nannette to train them to perform just like the dogs he had seen. The German Kennel Master in charge of the kennel where the dogs were found had been captured by the Americans. Duncan went to visit him in the prison camp so he could learn more about the German Shepherd breed and Betty and her pups.

After the war, Duncan made arrangements to have his pups sail home with him aboard a ship on a 15 day trip to New York. During the voyage, Nanette came down with distemper. By the time the ship sailed into New York harbor, she was very sick and died before he could get her proper care. Duncan went on to his home in Los Angeles with Rin Tin Tin, the only survivor from the bombed out kennel.

1928 movie ad

Rin Tin Tin began his movie career in 1922. While at an unsanctioned Shepherd Dog Club of America show, he wowed the crowd with his ability to jump a fence 11 feet 9 inches. A man named Charles Jones paid Duncan $350 to shoot Rin Tin Tin in action with a new moving picture camera and afterwards, Duncan decided to pursue a movie career for his dog. Duncan knew his dog was talented. Convincing Hollywood, however, turned out to be challenging.

Read More »

How to Succeed at Treat Training with Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

Have you been trying to positively reinforce good behavior in your dog by treat training, but it just isn’t working? The problem could be in your technique. Simply giving your pet a bit of food without these best practices could be just a waste of both your time. I know, because I’ve been there and had to refine my technique.

Eliminating these common treat training mistakes from your routine will help you get your dog sitting pretty.

1. Sub-Par Treats

Dogs may have a reputation for eating any and everything, but any old treat may not be enough to motivate them to pay attention. My three dogs each have treats they just don’t like. Dusty won’t take anything that isn’t meaty. Although most treats for training purposes should ideally come from your pet’s daily food allowance, make sure what you are using as a lure or reward is actually a dog treat your pet desires. Otherwise there is no incentive for them to complete a desired action.

2. You Don’t Mix It Up Enough

That’s not to say you should be giving your dog his favorite snacks every time—you shouldn’t. It’s best to try and alternate treats so your pet isn’t sure when her favorite will appear. My dogs love to be rewarded with CANIDAE Snap Biscuits, but I use a variety of treats so they stay focused on the task and don’t get bored. In addition to the Snap Biscuits, CANIDAE also offers Snap-Bits and TidNips in three different flavors, so I have a lot of great options!

3. Lack of Praise

Every time you reward your pet with a treat, you should also positively reinforce the reward with genuine praise. This does double-duty by further establishing that they are doing good and placing a higher value on your praise, as it will be associated with a food reward. Soon enough, you’ll be able to sometimes substitute praise as a reward, instead of a treat.

Read More »

Most Popular Dog Breeds by States

By Linda Cole

Many people who love dogs have one or two specific breeds they favor over other breeds. I’ve always loved the Siberian Husky and felt blessed to be owned by two of them at one time. My other preference would be a German Shepherd or Border Collie. I have a mixed Collie/Shepherd and a mixed Lab/Border Collie; both are rescued dogs, as are my other dogs, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I’ve never been concerned with adopting a dog based on the popularity of a breed, especially when it comes to a dog that needs a home. The dog owners I know also aren’t concerned if their dog is on a “most popular dog breeds” list, but it’s still fun to read the various lists that come out every year. It’s interesting how the different breeds vary from state to state when it comes to which dog breed people prefer.

When you think of Siberian Huskies, you automatically associate that breed with Alaska. If it hadn’t been for dogs like the Husky and other sled dog breeds, the wilderness of Alaska might not have ever been settled. Without the sled dogs to deliver supplies and goods to the people living in remote villages, surviving in a frozen wilderness would have been more difficult. If it hadn’t been for the courage of the Siberian Husky, the town of Nome, Alaska may not have survived a diphtheria epidemic. In Denali National Park, sled dogs are used to patrol the vast areas of the park and help protect wildlife and the land. So it might be a bit of a surprise to know that the most popular dog breed in Alaska is the Labrador Retriever! The Siberian Husky comes in at number four.

The AKC has listed the Labrador Retriever as one of the most popular dog breeds in the country. The Lab has topped the most popular list for a long time, and that holds true for 42 states. In the states where the Lab didn’t rank first, the breed is still in the top three, except in Nevada where it falls to number four.

The Yorkshire Terrier and the German Shepherd are ranked in the top five in 37 states, and the cute little Chihuahua is among the top three favorite dog breeds in 34 states. Rhode Island dog lovers are partial to the American Pit Bull Terrier where the breed sits in the number one spot, and 28 states rank the Pit Bull in the top three.

Read More »

Animals as Best Friends and Healers

By Julia Williams

If you believe what you read on the internet (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t) the reference to dog as “man’s best friend” originated in an 1821 poem in The New-York Literary Journal. Regardless of where it came from, the saying has been quoted by countless dog lovers since. Of course, cat lovers say felines are just as worthy of the title. But why designate one or the other as humankind’s “best” friend? Dogs and cats each have their merits. And what about horses…or any other pet for that matter. Given the proven healing power of pets and all the many wonderful things they offer us, I think every animal deserves the title of best friend.

Anyone who’s ever shared a close bond with a pet has undoubtedly witnessed their natural healing abilities firsthand. Be it physical, mental or emotional healing, our pets can greatly improve our lives. There have been many reports in recent years of these remarkable healing pets — among them, dogs who can smell cancer before any medical diagnosis has been made; dogs who can alert their owners to seizures before they happen; horses who help handicapped riders develop balance, strength and confidence.

Cats and dogs are frequently used as “therapy animals” for seniors in nursing homes because they provide love and attention to those who might be feeling lonely, sad or forgotten. I know from experience that Purr Therapy can be very healing. Many prisons have dog training programs, which gives the inmates a sense of purpose and helps them deal with the depression, anxiety and tension caused by incarceration. Some prisons even have “cat care” programs to help the inmates learn to be compassionate towards all living things. It’s clear these prison programs provide a healing experience for the inmates.

The Many Health Benefits of Pets

These natural healers with wagging tails and furry coats enhance our lives in so many ways. The peaceful purring of a cat or the friendly nuzzle from a dog can calm our frazzled nerves. Stroking their soft fur is therapeutic for both body and soul; it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, while helping us to open our hearts to love. Walking the dog and playing games with our pet provides beneficial exercise for our bodies; it also lifts our spirits and provides a respite from the stress and strain of life.

Pets can improve the quality of our life and positively influence us in so many ways. They inspire optimistic thoughts in those who are disheartened, and gently remind us how important it is to nurture not only ourselves, but others. In his book, The Healing Power of Pets, Dr. Marty Becker writes “Our beloved pets are life vitamins fortifying us against invisible threats: like seat belts cradling against life’s crashes; like alarm systems giving us a sense of security. Taken together, the healing power of pets is powerful medicine indeed.”

Read More »