Monthly Archives: May 2014

Are Small Breed Dogs Less Obedient?

By Langley Cornwell

One of the things I rally against is breed generalizations. Having shared my life with many different types of dogs, I have experienced first-hand how uniquely individual each animal is. That said, I also understand the nature versus nurture debate, and believe the truth is a combination of both.

Andrea Arden, Animal Planet expert and author of several books on animal behavior and training, notes that during the last 150 years the number of pure-bred dogs in the world has tripled. When you add mixed breed dogs into the mix, you can see how the range of dog behavior and physical characteristics within Canis lupus familiaris would be so diverse. I am of the opinion that if you want to know a dog, you should evaluate his behavioral tendencies and personality, and leave blanket generalizations on the doorstep.

Because of all that, I was surprised to learn of a recent study from the University of Sydney that reported a connection between a dog’s size and his obedience level. The study, based on 8,000 dogs and their human companions’ accounts of the pet’s conduct, concluded that smaller dogs have worse, less obedient behavior than larger breed dogs.

What did they mean by “worse, less obedient behavior?

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What Happened to the Native Dogs of North America?

By Linda Cole

It’s only been within the last 40 years that one of North America’s native dogs was found living in the wild in South Carolina and Georgia. According to DNA evidence released last year, the Carolina Dog is a descendant from the first dogs that lived with humans on the North American continent.

Domesticated dogs crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America with the first humans in several migration waves 10,000 to 14,000 years ago. At least one was with Native American Indian ancestors and one was with Inuit ancestors. Some of these early native dog breeds have survived and are still here.

The pre-Columbia era is the history of North America before European people arrived on the continent, and relates to Native Americans who are the original people to settle in the Americas. After crossing the land bridge into Alaska from Asia and Siberia, early humans spread out into Alaska and North and South America where they lived for centuries isolated from European influences. The dogs they brought with them were breeds developed by these early inhabitants. This is important because it indicates dogs were domesticated in Asia and Siberia much earlier than scientists originally thought.

Human and canine inhabitants of the Americas remained isolated from the rest of the world until the 11th century when the Vikings established a settlement in Greenland. Europeans began to arrive in North and South America in the 1500s. Unfortunately, they brought with them small pox and other diseases unknown to the native population, and many people and dogs died. Native dogs that survived were believed to have interbred with canines brought from Europe. As a result, it was assumed that today’s dogs would have little of their ancient past left in their DNA. However, it turns out this assumption was wrong.

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Should My Dog Sleep in My Bed?

By Laurie Darroch

There are pros and cons to having your dog sleep in the same bed that you do. In the end it is a personal choice, but here are some things to consider.

Temperament

How a dog behaves in your bed is a definite issue, especially if your dog is a restless sleeper and you are too. If you have a dog who moves around on the bed during the night, vies for the best spots, or gets into positions that cause your sleep to be disrupted, it might be better to have a designated sleeping area other than your bed for your dog.

A dog bed, crate or other comfortable spot nearby will work and still allow both you and your dog the security of knowing you are in close proximity to each other. Dogs like to be near their humans, but they can be trained to adapt to a sleeping area that works for both of you. You need to be consistent if you want your dog to sleep in a specific area.

Size

Depending on the size of your bed and your dog, your bed may not be the right place for both of you to get a good rest. If you have a puppy, consider their eventual full grown size before you get into the habit of allowing your dog to sleep with you. That cute little cuddly ball of fluff that snuggles softly against you may grow into a big leggy dog that takes a lot of room on your bed, more than is comfortable for you.

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What Is My Dog’s Wagging Tail Saying?

By Linda Cole

Understanding a dog’s body language can sometimes be like trying to learn a foreign language. Obvious signs are easy to recognize, and knowing your pet as an individual helps you understand how he might react in different situations. Reading a dog’s body language can also give you insight into how an unfamiliar canine might react. The tail is an important communication tool that reveals his emotions. How he wags his tail matters, and scientists have found a subtle clue in a dog’s tail wag that tells you if he’s feeling anxious or happy.

Dogs use their tail much the same way we use a smile when greeting someone. It’s a polite way of expressing acknowledgment. A smile, however, doesn’t always mean you’re happy to see someone. Subtle changes in our smile can show trustworthiness, cover up embarrassment or negative feelings or hide a lie. Humans can flash fake smiles too, but canines don’t hide their feelings. What you see is what you get when it comes to their mood. Dogs give an honest response to a situation, to other animals and to us.

Most dog owners know just by looking at their dog’s tail if he’s feeling happy, confident, upset or unwell. You aren’t going to be fooled by a fake tail wag. Dogs use the wag like we use a smile – as a social signal. The difference is that humans will sometimes smile when they’re alone (in response to a good movie, book or memory, etc.) but tail wags are reserved for us, other animals or something that piques their curiosity, such as you standing there with a bag of CANIDAE treats in your hand.

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How to Read Your Cat’s Mind

By Rocky Williams, feline guest blogger

Hi CANIDAE furiends! The Warden said I should be doing something productive – like writing a blog post for you – instead of catnapping all day and playing with my vast collection of furry mice all night. Say what? Just so you know, I actually think catnapping is very serious business when you’re a feline. However, I agreed to put my paws to the keyboard because the topic she suggested was How to Read Your Cat’s Mind and frankly, I’m pretty sure I am the Best Mancat for the job. I wrote the book on that. No wait. Technically I didn’t…but I could have!!

You see, reading your cat’s mind is really not that difficult, once you master the basics. It’s all about observing our behavior and our body language; what we do will tell you exactly what is on our devious feline minds. Every time! Let’s get started, shall we?

● When your cat jumps on the bed and licks your face in the wee hours of the morning, he’s not showing affection. He’s also not saying you are dirty and need a bath. No, this face-wetting behavior can mean only one thing: he thinks it’s high time you got up and dished out his breakfast of CANIDAE (that’s like a Breakfast of Champions for a cat!).

● When your cat jumps on the bed and proceeds to use your stomach as a trampoline – launching his lithe feline form across the bed, down to the floor and back to the other side, repeatedly – he’s not saying that he’s got pent up energy and wants to play. This behavior says the exact same thing as the face licking: get up and feed me NOW!!

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Superstitions about Howling Dogs

By Langley Cornwell

Admit it, the melancholy sound of a howling dog sends chills up your spine, doesn’t it? If you’re not the superstitious type, then you may blame Hollywood for this association. We’ve all seen movies where the howling of a dog foreshadows something ominous, but do you know where the roots of this concept come from?

The idea that dogs are in tune with the supernatural has been around a long time, and is believed by many cultures. One of the most common superstitions is that a howling dog is an omen of death or extreme misfortune. It’s impossible to trace this concept back to a single source, but here are a few of the more widely accepted origins:

Nordic Countries

Norse legend links this belief to Freyja, the goddess of magic, love, fertility, war and death. The story goes like this – when Freyja is playing the part of the goddess of death, she rides her chariot on the crest of a storm. This fanciful chariot is pulled by two enormous cats. And since felines are considered canines’ accepted enemies, the belief is that when dogs sense the approach of Freyja they begin to howl at the goddess and her magical oversized cats.

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