Category Archives: canidae

5 Strange Behaviors of Dogs

strange behave aineBy Linda Cole

Dogs see the world from their own unique perspective and do things based on instinct. To canines, it’s perfectly natural to search the trash for an interesting tidbit, or chase the neighborhood cat that dares to enter their domain. Dogs instinctively know it’s wise to circle before lying down even though their bed is inside away from biting insects. Some of the things dogs do seem odd to us, though. Here are five strange behaviors of dogs and why they do them.

Kicks Leg When Scratched

Your dog is relaxing on his back and you scratch what you think is a “sweet spot” on his belly. He immediately responds by kicking his leg in the air. Some dogs react when their lower chest or upper area of the back leg is scratched. You didn’t really find a sweet spot, but you did hit a nerve and his rapid kicks are involuntary. It’s the same reaction we have when the doctor taps our knee with a rubber mallet to check our reflex. In fact, a vet may check a dog’s scratch reflex to determine if the dog is dealing with a neurological concern.

You can tell if your dog enjoys being scratched by watching his body language. If he’s relaxed and lying on his back with his tongue dangling from his opened mouth, he’s probably OK with it. But if his legs are stiff, his mouth is closed, his ears are flattened and he shows signs of wanting to move – he is likely saying “stop doing that.” Think about it this way – if your doctor kept hitting your knee over and over with his hammer to activate your reflex, would you enjoy it?

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Hide and Sleep: Funny Places to Find a Cat

hide and sleep wylieBy Julia Williams

Last week as I was engaging in my favorite stress reducing time waster (aka Facebook), I happened upon the funniest video of a cat trying to squeeze into a small, empty fish bowl. The cat tried for several minutes to get into that bowl, and I couldn’t stop watching. I was sure he was too big to fit in there, but it was entertaining to watch him try. Lo and behold, he got in! I can only imagine his owner’s face the first time they walked in and saw their cat in a tiny fish bowl.

The video reminded me of all the times I’ve found one of my cats in a funny place. I wish I could say I took a photo every time it happened to me. Alas, I have not. Nor have I saved any of the hilarious photos I’ve come across over the years. Luckily, whenever I want to laugh at the antics of cats, it’s easy to find videos and photos online. I am thankful that others are not so lax at capturing those impromptu silly things cats do.

hide and sleep belleMy all-time favorite funny place I found my cat was in a large turkey roasting pan. It was a few days before Thanksgiving, and I’d gotten the roaster out of storage and set it on top of the dryer. When I walked into the laundry room and saw Annabelle curled up in there, fast asleep, I could not stop laughing! I also got a kick out of finding her hanging out with my collection of stuffed wolves. Likewise, seeing Rocky chilling out on top of my espresso maker is always good for a chuckle.

Like the ubiquitous box, it seems that vases, fruit bowls, baskets, suitcases and strange containers of all sizes are also cat magnets. Kittens have even been known to curl up in tiny teacups! I have the cutest photo of Annabelle at about 8 weeks old, fast asleep in my slipper. My cat Mickey likes to dig most of the dish towels out of the kitchen drawer and sleep in there; that always cracks me up.

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How to Correct Frustration, Demand and Boredom Barking

barking lianneBy Linda Cole

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Some breeds, like hounds and herding dogs, were bred to vocalize when prey is sighted or when working with livestock. Barking is one way that canines communicate, but we don’t always understand what they are trying to say. Frustration barking, demand barking and boredom barking are three common issues that dog owners face. I’ll offer solutions for those barking problems in this post, and I’ll cover four additional types of barking problems in a follow-up post.

Frustration Barking

Any kind of barrier (window, fence, baby gate, etc.) that keeps a dog confined and restricts his movement can be extremely frustrating for some canines. In their eyes, not being able to chase a rabbit they see through the confines of a dog pen or a window isn’t right. Frustration barking is an excited, insistent bark. A stressed-out dog, or one confused about what you want him to do, can also bark to vocalize his frustration.

How to correct – Changing your dog’s behavior takes time, lots of patience, committed dedication, and plenty of his favorite CANIDAE treats. Yelling won’t stop barking and only increases the excitement of his voice. You have to physically get up and go to your dog, unless he’s a champ at coming when called – especially when distracted. If he understands the “watch me” or “look at me” commands, use a treat to get his attention. Once he’s distracted, engage him in some playtime to give the source of his frustration time to pass by.

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Why Puppies Steal Things, and How to Get Them to Stop

By Langley Cornwell

Puppies love to be the center of attention and will do anything they can to engage you in consistent interaction. Some of the things they do are charming and endearing, and other things can be downright exasperating. It’s a good thing they are so darn cute! And their breath…don’t get me started on puppy breath.

Why Puppies Steal Things

Oh, sorry, back to the subject at hand. So, why do puppies steal things? You guessed it: to get your attention. That, and to lure you into playing with them. Puppies are naturally naughty – in a playful way. They like to get something of yours and sneak it away when you aren’t looking in the hopes that you’ll chase them around and try to get it from them. This little game is big fun for a puppy.

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Tips on Caring for and Training a Blind Dog

ffac151f-0247-4040-ba24-a9af9c1ac28cBy Laurie Darroch

Blind dogs may find ways to adapt to being partially or fully blind on their own, but might also need help adjusting in a world where visual cues are one way of communicating and getting around. A blind dog can present a special challenge in training and daily living, but you can make life easier for them by using some tips to help them adjust and cope.

Alternative Senses Cues

Because a blind dog cannot respond to hand signals and other visual cues, focusing on the functional senses they do have and using those productively when training the dog is key. Using a consistent sound in training will let them know precisely what they need to do. Try using a clicker or rattle to guide, and some healthy, natural CANIDAE dog treats as a reward when they achieve each step in their training and to help them cope daily even after they have learned. Like any other dog, it may take some practice to help them understand and learn. Be patient.

Blind dogs can be taught to use sense of smell as a guide, but it’s a good idea to use that in a very specific way. Anything with a smell leaves trails of scent, and blind dogs do not have the added benefit of vision to sort out the mixed cues. If you use a scented cue, place the object at the spot or target you want the dog to focus on. Don’t move it around or toss it since the scent travels around in the air as well, which can confuse your dog.

Blind dogs can also use touch, smell and feeling with their muzzles, paws and bodies to determine where they are and what is around them. As they are learning to cope with blindness, you can help by guiding them to specific places and using a guide word for each thing, such as bed, food, step up or down.

In the beginning, think like you were blind too and learning to cope. Put yourself in their position and walk the house with the dog to see what they may need help with.  Cover dangerous or sharp parts of furniture. Use a child gate on steps to keep them from falling down them. As they learn to cope without vision, they will map the house with their senses until they learn and are comfortable enough with their surroundings to get around easily. If you change things around in your home, guide the dog around to learn the new placement of things so they don’t get confused or injured.

Simplify Verbal Commandscebed1f7-d2f1-4ac4-91ca-cc81838b1c7a

Keep your commands and guide words simple, so the dog knows precisely what they need to do or not do and where they need to go or not go. Establish a specific command word that lets them know they are in danger and immediately stops them from an accident or injury.

Consistency

Be consistent when you are guiding or training a blind dog. The consistency will give them a sense of security and help lessen any possible confusion. Repetition and consistency in training gives the dog structured guidelines. Once they associate certain sounds, verbal cues and smells with specific needs or requests, they will easily find their way around daily activities and your home. Be sure to include all family members or housemates in the training and learning the various commands and cues.

If you want to try a little experiment to give you an idea of how the world seems to a blind dog, turn off all the lights at night time and walk around the house in the dark. You will quickly learn what obstacles your dog may need help with to overcome.

Blind dogs can lead very normal lives. The added training you do as a responsible pet owner will make life more pleasant and easier for both of you. Love is blind!

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

How the Domestication of Dogs Changed Civilization

civilization shenandoahBy Linda Cole

For centuries, dogs have been used by humans to do a variety of jobs. Before the invention of gunpowder and firearms, canines were instrumental in helping hunters put food on the table and protect their family. However, the greatest and most significant impact of dog domestication was how it changed human civilization.

History is an intriguing and complicated mixture of stories passed down from generation to generation, and documented accounts preserved in paintings, sculptures, ancient writings and cave drawings. Archaeological discoveries add important information about events that took place thousands of years ago to help scientists unfold the why, where, when and how.

When we use the word “theory” it means an idea or hunch about something. In the scientific community, theory is how researchers interpret facts. During the very early years, our closest now-extinct human relative, Neanderthals, and modern humans (Homo sapiens) co-existed for a time in Europe and Asia after humans migrated from Africa into Neanderthal territory. Both used fire and tools, and were expert hunters, but Neanderthals became extinct while humans flourished. The general consensus as to why Neanderthals died out is believed to be climate change which caused changes in the environment that Neanderthals couldn’t adapt to.

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