Monthly Archives: March 2014

Today is K-9 Veteran’s Day

By Julia Williams

“They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered.”

Did you know that March 13th is K9 Veteran’s Day in many cities and states across the U.S.? It’s true. A movement was started by Joe White, a former military dog handler, to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our canine heroes. The quote above is their motto.

During Joe’s time in Vietnam, he saw canine heroes perform many vital tasks that no human could. He witnessed firsthand just how valuable these dogs were to our troops and how much they contributed to keeping our soldiers safe.

Many of these courageous canines lost their lives to protect and serve, but their only place of remembrance, until now, was in the hearts of the soldiers. Joe’s home state of Florida was the first to proclaim March 13th as K9 Veteran’s Day.

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What Makes a Polite Dog?

Langley's polite dogs

Langley’s polite dogs

By Langley Cornwell

With all the talk about breed specific legislation and blanket statements about which dog breeds have a propensity for being dangerous, it’s especially important for people to train their dogs to be polite. My personal opinion is that a dog’s ability to get along with other dogs and other people rests largely in the hands of the human. Sure, certain dog breeds were bred for specific traits so it’s still in their DNA, but I believe with a solid training plan and loads of patience, discipline and high-quality treats like CANIDAE Pure Heaven biscuits, a dog can be taught to get along well in society. As such, it’s important for the responsible pet owner to teach their dogs to make good decisions and behave in a socially acceptable manner. Here are a few of the basics, to get you started.

Be Firm and Consistent

Start out with plenty of rules, because it’s easier to ease up than it is to tighten up. In other words, it takes much more effort to teach a dog to “un-learn” a behavior that’s already ingrained. As an example, if you’re not sure whether you’re going to let your pet onto the sofa, then start out teaching him that the sofa is off-limits. If you eventually decide that you want to snuggle while you’re watching television, then you may choose to allow your pooch onto the furniture – but only when he’s invited. See, if you would have started out by letting him sit on the sofa, then you would be stuck because it would be difficult to train him to stay off once he’s gotten used to getting on the furniture anytime he wants to.

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How Dogs Can Help Treat Depression

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs can be more than just a loving family member. They contribute in many ways just by being a part of the household. They can even be of special service or be a therapy dog to people who have medical issues or certain limitations in function. One of the conditions they can help their human companions with is depression.

Love

Dogs give unconditional love while asking for very little in return. Their love is uncomplicated and adds no stress on that level to an already depressed person who has very little of themselves to give. A dog can also sense that their human family member is in a less than functional emotional or physical condition, and be concerned and protective. If relationships with family members or friends are strained and causing more anxiety for the person dealing with depression, the simple love of a dog can be soothing to overtaxed nerves and feelings.

Motivation

Depression often causes lessened physical activity and no motivation to do things. The smallest physical task often becomes overwhelming. It is hard to even get up and move around a little when a person is battling depression. Having a dog to care for and love may be one way to find just enough motivation to move around the house to feed, play with and care for the dog.

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The Meaning of a Dog’s Bark

By Linda Cole

Dogs are like us in that some enjoy “talking” as much as some people do. A dog’s way of communicating is usually a bit louder than ours, though. Most pet owners who pay attention to their pet can understand what their dog’s bark means. What’s interesting about a barking or growling dog is they can change the pitch and tone of their voice to communicate to us and other dogs what they are trying to say, and what their intentions are.

What Pitch Means

Our tone of voice is understood by dogs. They can tell by the pitch in our voice whether we are pleased or displeased with them. The supposed guilty look dogs have is a myth and is a reaction to the harsh tone of voice we use when they misbehave and we’re upset with them.

Dogs also use pitch to communicate when they feel threatened or indicate they aren’t a threat. Growling is done in a low pitch and says “I’m scared or angry and could become aggressive.” It says the dog needs space and wants the other dog or person to back off and stay away. It’s a way for a dog to suggest he may be larger than he really is, or for larger dogs to communicate their bigger size to another animal.

A whine or whimper is a high pitched sound that says “I’m not a threat and have no intention of being aggressive. I’m harmless and need help or would like to come closer.” It makes the whimpering dog sound non-threatening regardless of his actual size.

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Tips for Bathing a Large Dog

By Laurie Darroch

A larger dog can be more difficult to bath than a small dog that you can simply pick up to put in the water. If a large dog is resistant to bathing, it can be quite the ordeal convincing him that he needs a bath. Dealing with bathing can turn into a unpleasant task if they aren’t cooperating. Make bathing an enjoyable experience for both you and your big dog with these tips.

Be Prepared

Set everything out ahead of time that you will need to give your dog a bath. That way, you won’t be darting out to get the things in the middle of bathing and wrestling a resistant dog. Put the shampoo and towels in easy reach. A dog can have an allergic reaction to shampoo made for humans, so be sure to use a shampoo specifically made for dogs.

Choose an Appropriate Bathing Area

A walk-in shower, regular bathtub or large portable bathing tub that can be used indoors or out, work well for a large dog.  In warm weather, an outside bath might be the best option. If it is very hot, a nice cool dip in a bathing tub or quick scrubbing with a garden hose will help the dog stay cool in the heat. It is more difficult to contain a squirming dog outdoors though.

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Tips for Keeping your Cat’s Brain Active

By Langley Cornwell

I met a cat in her early twenties last week. I couldn’t believe it. Even more impressive, Buttercup looked healthy and was completely aware of what was going on. She had that curious feline gleam in her eye; it was apparent that Buttercup was still mentally sharp.

Thanks to modern veterinarian care, cats have a longer lifespan than they used to.  In fact, more and more cats are reaching the ages of middle teens all the way through to the early twenties, like Buttercup. When I look into our eight-year-old cat’s eyes, my heart melts. Like most responsible pet owners, we would do anything to keep this little guy healthy and happy, and hope that we have at least ten more good years with him.

But there’s more to it than just keeping your pet physically well. Older cats run the risk of developing feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD) — the feline equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease — if their brains aren’t stimulated enough. The best advice is to start at a young age; it’s essential to keep your cat’s brain active and sharp well before feline cognitive dysfunction has a chance to take hold. The best thing you can do is begin training your cat’s brain early. Studies show that you can slow the advancement of mental deterioration by ensuring your feline friend is physically active and mentally stimulated throughout her life, starting in kittenhood.

With this in mind, here are a few easy tips for keeping your cat’s brain mentally sharp well into her twilight years.

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