Category Archives: canidae

The Bearded Collie, a Hard Working Herding Breed

beardie arild andersonBy Linda Cole

The Bearded Collie is a medium sized sheep herder and cattle drover well known for his clownish and enthusiastic attitude. This athletic, affectionate and happy dog gets his name from hair flowing down from his chin to form a beard.

The origin of the word Collie is Scottish and used to describe the various sheep herding dogs like the Bearded Collie, Border Collie, Smooth Collie and Rough Collie. (Lassie was a typical Rough Collie). It’s possible the word was derived from “coaley” which was used in Scotland to refer to their black sheep, although it may have come from the Gaelic word Colly which means useful.

The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, originated in Scotland sometime in the 1600s, possibly earlier. Like other working breeds used by shepherds and farmers, there are few records to trace the early years of the Bearded Collie. One common belief is that in 1514 a Polish merchant arrived in Scotland to trade grain. He had what is believed to have been Polish Lowland Sheepdogs with him and traded them for two sheep. The farmer who made the trade bred the Polish dogs with local Scottish herding dogs.

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Funny Cat Videos That Will Make You Meow Out Loud

By Julia Williams

It’s no secret that watching cat videos on the internet is a favorite pastime for many. Remember, this entertaining time waster is so popular nowadays that hordes of feline fanatics flock to internet cat video screenings across the U.S. to watch the videos together, on a big screen (cat attire optional). But thankfully, you don’t need vacation days or travel plans to watch funny cat videos from home on your own computer.

Since Facebook is a virtual water cooler for work-at-home people like me, I see my fair share of funny cat videos. OK, more than my fair share. There are worse ways to take a “comic relief” break from work, right? Plus, laughter is good for the soul. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Here are some of my favorite, recently viewed YouTube videos of cats doing funny things. Enjoy!

Cat plays peek a boo

Cat imitates boxers on TV

This kitten just wants to play – why does he get the cold shoulder?

A compilation of epic jumping fails

Cat drinks from water cooler (this could get expensive)

Cats versus the mirror, vacuum cleaner, an aquarium, their own tail, a lizard and more

A game of one potato, two potato gone wrong

Three cats watch tennis on TV

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Why Do Dogs Have Slits on Each Side of Their Nose?

dog nose kathleenBy Linda Cole

My dogs know before I put them outside if there is an animal near their dog pen, even in the winter with the windows down. By the time they get outside, they’ve already pinpointed the area where a cat, possum or other small animal is. A dog’s nose is amazing. Everything about a dog’s nose is designed to give him a sort of “super power” when it comes to smelling. Even the slits on each side of their nose have a specific function.

Every time a dog breathes, he pulls in smells. The canine sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours. James Walker, former director of the Florida State University Sensory Research Institute, came up with a good visual to explain the difference between our sense of smell compared to a dog. “If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well,” he said.

Another way to grasp the power of a dog’s nose is to imagine two million barrels of apples sitting in a warehouse. A dog could walk in and detect the one rotten apple hiding among all the others. Once a dog has been trained to detect a specific scent, such as drugs, bedbugs, cancer or low blood sugar, he can find it regardless of other scents around him. One reason why canines can isolate a scent is due to the slits on each side of their nose.

Compared to our ability to distinguish between 4,000-10,000 different smells, dogs can process 30,000-100,000 scents. Because they use scent more than the other senses to navigate through their world, the amount of brain power devoted to their sense of smell is 40 times greater than ours. As a dog inhales, the air is separated and splits into two different paths. One path takes about 12% of air to the back of the nose for scent analysis, and the rest passes through that area and goes to the lungs.

dog nose marcoThe air that stays at the back of the nose is filtered through a maze of ruffle-like bony structures called turbinates that sift out odor molecules according to their chemical makeup. Olfactory receptors in the tissue of the turbinates then recognize an odor based on their shape, and send impulses to the brain to process.

The slits on each side of the nose give dogs the ability to have a constant stream of air that can span many respiratory cycles. When we inhale and exhale, the air goes out the same way it came in and any odors that entered are forced out along with the air. In dogs, exhaled air goes out through the slits and the swirling motion of air helps new odors enter the nose. This makes it possible for a dog searching for smells to have a steady stream of air coming in for up to 40 seconds, and maybe even longer.

The slits also allow dogs to wiggle each nostril independently, and give them the ability to know which nostril a smell entered. This is how a dog can pinpoint where a smell is coming from, and why a canine searching for smells on the ground will weave back and forth as he follows a trail.

At the bottom of the canine throat is a second structure found in cats and other mammals: the Jacobson’s organ, which is used to pick up pheromones. The smells it detects are sent to a part of the brain that’s devoted to only analyzing the pheromone molecules it picks up. It lets dogs smell and taste the scent. If you’ve ever seen your dog sniffing with his mouth open in a sort of grin, he’s having a Flehman Reaction and catching a whiff of a female in heat or sniffing urine left by another dog.

dog nose ann-dabneyOnce a dog has learned a scent, he can remember it for a long time. Certain dog breeds like the Bloodhound and Basset Hound have some added features that increase their scenting ability. Their long ears help sweep up smells from the ground, and loose skin around the chin traps scents.

The slits in a dog’s nose enhance their sniffing ability so they can follow prey, locate someone lost in the woods or buried under snow, and root out their CANIDAE treats no matter where you hide them. When you see your dog with his wiggling nose in the wind, you can bet he’s savoring every bit of information that’s riding in the breeze. That’s a pretty remarkable feat when you think about it!

Top photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin
Middle photo by Marco
Bottom photo by ann-dabney

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What is Fly-Snapping Syndrome?

Langley's dog fly snapBy Langley Cornwell

I wanted to write this article because one of our pups has developed a new tic. At first we thought it was just another oddity specific to him, but when I researched the characteristics of his new tic, I discovered it was a real syndrome: Fly-Snapping Syndrome.

There are times when we are all relaxing in the family room and suddenly Big Al will repeatedly snap at the air as if a swarm of insects are flying around his head. He seems to focus his eyes on the area right in front of his face, and move his head around as if he’s looking at flies, even though nothing is there. Then he’ll often become fixated on staring at his front legs, as if he expects to find something crawling on them. He may start licking his front legs, and then go back to staring into space and snapping at imaginary flies. Our dog’s episodes of snapping at invisible insects can be infrequent, or can occur repeatedly throughout the day.

What are Compulsive Behaviors?

Fly-Snapping (also called fly-biting) is one of many compulsive behaviors that dogs commonly display. Other compulsive behaviors include tail chasing, spinning, pacing, toy fixation, shadow or light chasing, repeated licking, chewing or scratching, flank sucking, excessive water drinking and nonstop barking. Some dogs display compulsive behaviors over and over to the point where the behaviors interfere with their normal lives.

Compulsive canine behaviors include any repetitive actions that dogs perform unprompted. Normal dogs may engage in similar activities, but they usually do so in response to specific triggers and not compulsively.

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Can You Leave Your Cat Home Alone for the Weekend?

cat home alone KymberlyBy Linda Cole

Every summer, I “cat sit” for a friend who enjoys dashing off for weekend getaways. Each time she asks me to watch her kitties, she ends by saying, “I know they would be alright, but I feel better knowing someone is checking in on them.” Cats may be solitary creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t miss you when you’re gone. Having someone watch your cats when you go away can give you peace of mind – in more ways than one.

As a lifelong cat owner, I’ve learned to never assume a cat can’t find a way to get herself into a situation she sometimes can’t get out of on her own. I had a cat pull the hose off my dryer, climb through it to the vent on the side of the house, and get stuck. I found her hanging upside down when I got home from work. She was fine, but it scared the daylights out of me.

One of my neutered male cats backed up to an electrical socket and sprayed into it which gave him a shock and produced a steady plume of smoke from the socket. I was assured by the firemen who inspected the socket that everything was alright. However, I was right in calling them because my cat could have started a fire. We can’t control or foresee issues that might arise, and leaving your cat home alone for more than a day could turn out to be a bad decision.

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Tips for Choosing Between a Small and Large Breed Dog

unused by austin kirk 2By Laurie Darroch

Breed and personality are very important things to consider when adopting a dog, but even the most perfect choice may turn out to be problematic if the dog is the wrong size for your living situation. Here are some tips to help you decide between a large breed dog and a small one.

Home Size and Location

A large dog can live in a small place, but their temperament may be a determining factor in whether or not that will work for you. Some dogs are very high energy, and the confinement of a small home or apartment may find you tripping over each other and quickly losing patience.

If you don’t have a fenced yard where your dog can run freely, you will have to go on multiple walks every day. If you’re not willing to take a big dog out daily for a good exercise period, a large breed may not be the choice for you. A dog walker or exerciser might be an option, if your budget can accommodate the expense.

A small dog can find more running and playing space inside than a large breed can. A big dog also requires more space for sleeping arrangements, crate size, and just general moving around space in your home.

If you are located near parks, beaches, dog exercise areas or good walking places, this may help you determine what size of dog you want to get.

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