Monthly Archives: September 2012

Made in America Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Most dog breeds originated in other countries and migrated to the United States with immigrants. The most popular dog in the United States is the Labrador Retriever, a breed that hails north of our border in Canada. However, we do have our own “Made in America” breeds. Here are just a few of the dog breeds that hail from the U.S.

Redbone Coonhound – Billy Coleman’s two dogs in the classic tale “Where the Red Fern Grows” were Redbone Coonhounds. The Redbone is a scenthound, and his job is to tree raccoons and mountain lions. In the late 1700s, immigrants from Scotland brought their red foxhounds with them when they came to America. Some of the more serious breeders of the time set out to create a red hound with a “hotter” nose than the coonhounds they had been using. The Redbone hails from Tennessee and Georgia. AKC officially recognized the Redbone Coonhound in 2009.

Boston Terrier – In the early days, the Boston Terrier was a cross of the now extinct English White Terrier and the English Bulldog. The breed has its origins in Boston, Massachusetts. Sometime around 1865, coachmen who worked for wealthy Bostonians started to interbreed dogs owned by their employers. A dog named Hooper’s Judge was bred to a smaller female and a male pup from her litter was bred to a smaller female. Finally, one of her pups was bred with French Bulldogs, creating the foundation for Boston Terriers. These little dogs were bred to be companion dogs. AKC officially recognized the Boston Terrier in 1893.

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Helping Your Dog with Impulse Control

By Tamara McRill

Who hasn’t known a dog that has struggled with going for what they want as soon as they see it? From snatching food to chasing squirrels and bounding out the door, to jumping on their favorite people, the wonderfully curious and energetic nature of dogs can lead to all sorts of impulses. These urges need to be kept in check for their own safety as well as the safety of other people and pets. As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to help our dogs with impulse control. Here are five simple tips to help work towards better impulse control:

Recognize Triggers

Even the most well-behaved pets have that one thing that really messes with their control. For one of our dogs, Dusty, it’s mail. He has the clichéd need to get at the mail carrier, and knows that those envelopes and packages are delivered by his two-legged nemesis. Since we recognize that this is an impulse trigger for him, we can take steps to avoid getting him riled up in the first place and work with him on not eating our bills.

By noticing when your dog acts up, you can do the same. If you don’t instantly notice a pattern, you can try keeping a behavior diary. Note what your pet did, where, the time of day and if any other pets or people were present.

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How to Change a Possessive Dog’s Behavior

By Linda Cole

When I was a kid, a friend of my parents had a Chihuahua that would snarl and try to bite us if we got too close to her owner or her toys. One time when we were visiting, the dog bit me because I had gotten too close to a toy she had hidden under a bush outside. Possessive behavior in dogs can easily turn into aggression if it’s not corrected.

A possessive dog is trying to control and dominate people and other pets in the home by claiming things like his toys, sleeping area, food bowl, and even his owner. He sees threats all around him and it makes him uncomfortable, so he reacts in an aggressive way. The possessive dog is always on high alert and refuses to give up what he thinks is his and won’t back down.

Possessive behavior says your dog believes you can’t and won’t protect him, so he has to do it himself. He’s confused, stressed out and insecure from always being on guard. Small dogs that display possessive behavior are often laughed at by their owners who think their dog’s aggression is cute, but it’s not. He’s a very stressed out and extremely unhappy little dog.

The best way to keep your dog from developing a possessive behavior is to establish yourself as his leader from day one. Your interactions with your dog tell him where he stands in your pack, and you need to be the one holding the top spot. You don’t become the leader by trying to dominate a dog, you prove yourself as a fair, compassionate and understanding leader, and earn it. Most behavior problems can be avoided when the dog is allowed to be just a dog while you make all of the decisions and show him you will protect all members of your pack, including him.

Food aggression and guarding the food bowl

You are the one who controls the food, not him. Food aggression is a serious behavior that needs to be dealt with immediately. Growling at you, the kids or other pets that come too close to his bowl is food aggression. Instead of putting your dog’s full bowl on the floor, have him sit in front of you and keep his food up away from him. Hand feed him his meals for three or four days.

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Famous Movie Lines By Cats and Dogs

By Julia Williams

There are a lot of famous movie lines that, when you hear them, you instantly know the film and the character who uttered the line. Sometimes, famous movie lines even make their way into pop culture and are repeated in various scenarios. Who among us hasn’t jokingly yelled “Yo, Adrian!” or “Stella!”

Several years back, the American Film Institute polled 1,500 film artists, critics and historians to create a list of the top 100 movie quotes in American films. Can you guess which famous movie quote was deemed the most memorable of all time? It was Clark Gable’s infamous “Frankly my dear…” line in Gone with the Wind.

What does all that have to do with pets, you ask? One day I was bored, and I decided to “remake” some of the famous movies lines, pretending they were spoken by cats and dogs instead. Then I thought, why not make a little quiz for you, just for fun? See if you can guess which films these “new and improved” movie quotes were taken from. (Answers are below).

A. “You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a cat show champion. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a lowly housecat, which is what I am.”
B. “Round up the usual chew toys.”
C. “Love means never having to say you’re out of CANIDAE dog food.”
D. “Why don’t you come up sometime and brush my fur.”
E. “Show me the catnip!”
F. “May the cat food breath be with you.”
G. “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some TidNips treats and a nice saucer of milk.”
H. “Get your stinking mitts off me, you damned dirty human.”
I. “I’m napping here! I’m napping here!”
J. “You can’t handle the dog bones!”
K. “Of all the catnip joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
L. “I love the smell of doggie breath in the morning.”
M. “Open the cupboard door, HUMAN.”
N. “There’s no place like the couch. Unless it’s your bed. Or your chair.”
O. “I’m gonna make him a cat toy he can’t refuse.”
P. “What we’ve got here is a failure to feed me on time.”
Q. “We’ll always have cat food breath.”
R. “After all, tomorrow is another opportunity to get more dog treats!”
S. “Go ahead, make my breakfast. And my dinner, too.”
T. “You barkin’ at me?”
U. “Cat toys? We ain’t got no cat toys! We don’t need no cat toys! I don’t have to show you any stinking cat toys!”
V. “I see dead mice.”
W. “Nobody puts Kitty in a corner.”
X. “Fasten your doggie door. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Y. “Keep your cat fur close, but your Furminator closer.”
Z. “As God is my witness, I’ll never have another hairball again.”

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Books on Working with Shy, Fearful Dogs

By Langley Cornwell

Because we have a shy and fearful dog, I’ve researched, read and written about the topic a lot in the past four years. Until Frosty came into our lives, all my pets had been friendly, well-socialized and approachable. At first, I thought her fearful reaction to people and places was a result of an especially rough start in life, and that we could “love” her back to “normal.” Those of you with a shy pet can back me up on this – that’s not how it works. Our dog needed help and we weren’t equipped with the right tools or knowledge. It was time to get to work.

As with a lot of animal behavioral issues, opinions regarding how to help fearful dogs vary. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know what works for us with our dog. Additionally, I’ve met compassionate people with insecure dogs at training classes and dog parks, and had the opportunity to share stories. Feedback from my CANIDAE RPO blog articles How to Train a Fearful or Insecure Dog, Training Games for Shy Dogs and Tips for Walking a Shy or Fearful Dog has been positive, but since writing those articles I’ve gotten comments and emails from people with even more questions.

We’ve read some excellent books in our effort to learn more about working with Frosty. And the more we understand about fear-based behavior, the better we’re able to effectively help our dog. This list isn’t exhaustive, but here are a handful of books I recommend to anyone who becomes a guardian to an anxious, shy or fearful pup.

Scaredy Dog by Ali Brown: This is the first book I’ve read by Ali Brown, but it won’t be my last. Scaredy Dog helped me understand more about Frosty’s fear-based behavior. Brown’s technique is no-force, easy to understand, and based on developing a working relationship with your pet, which is how I work best. What I love about this book is that once you see progress being made, you get a feeling of empowerment. Frosty and I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel like this book helped me get a handle on an overwhelming situation and start making noticeable headway towards a well-behaved, balanced dog. We’ll get there!

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Animal Trainers Know the Value of Shelter Pets; Do You?

By Linda Cole

When it comes to finding animal stars among the masses, Hollywood producers and animal trainers know talent when they see it. They understand the value of a good pet, and search the shelters to find the next pet star waiting to be discovered. Broadway producers also scour animal shelters when searching for the perfect pet to cast in a Broadway show. Just what kind of pets can you find in shelters? Some of the most talented, well behaved and smartest pets around.

I previously wrote an article on famous TV and movie pets adopted from shelters and trained for their specific roles. Many of the most recognized and loved pets on TV or in the movies did time in a shelter. Some of these famous pets were just hours away from being put down when they were discovered. I think it’s safe to say that the performance a Black Mouth Cur named Spike gave us in “Old Yeller” made us all a little teary eyed. Spike was found in a California animal shelter. Morris the orange Tabby was found in a shelter in the nick of time, and became famous as the finicky feline in TV commercials. Higgins, the lovable and talented mutt that starred on “Petticoat Junction” and known as “Dog” from 1963-1970, went on to delight children in one of his other famous roles as Benji. He was found at a shelter in Burbank, California.

A two year old Terrier mix named Sunny is one of Broadway’s newest stars. She will be playing the role of Sandy in a remake of the musical “Annie,” due to open later this fall. Sunny was rescued from a Houston, Texas kill shelter and was on their list to be put down when her picture was spotted online by animal trainer William Berloni. He prefers searching for animal talent in shelters because, “The most talented animals are right there under your nose. The message is: Animals in shelters are not damaged, just unfortunate,” Berloni said to the Associated Press in a July 2012 interview. He continued “I always say anybody could have gone into a shelter and adopted any one of the animals that I’ve turned into Broadway stars the day before I did. And they would have been great dogs in someone’s home.”

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