Category Archives: dog behavior

How to Stop Dogs from Licking Their Wounds

dog wound Ewen RobertsBy Langley Cornwell

Some people believe an old wives tale that it’s okay for a dog to lick his wound because his saliva has antibacterial abilities. Because of this, they let their pet tend to their own cut or puncture and then wonder why the wound is getting worse instead of better. It is true that a canine’s saliva has trace amounts of antibacterial properties, but not enough to heal a wound. In fact, incessant licking will impede the natural healing process and even further damage a pet’s wound.

The reason a dog licks his wound in the first place is because it temporarily blocks the pain receptors. It’s like when you bonk your head and then rub it. At first the rubbing makes the localized pain—where you hit your head—feel better. That’s what licking does.

The act of licking wounds traces back to domesticated dog’s ancestors. Wild and feral dogs licked their wounds to clean out any debris. Additionally, as mentioned, dog saliva does have a slight antibacterial benefit. But wild dogs were so busy avoiding predators and feeding the pack that they weren’t able to lick their wound endlessly. Domesticated dogs, on the other hand, have plenty of time on their hands (paws?). If left to their own devices, they could spend all day licking and fussing over a wound. Thus starts a cycle; licking makes the wound worse so the dog licks more, which makes the wound worse, which prompts more licking. You get the point.

Because of this unhelpful and perhaps harmful cycle, it’s important to block your dog’s access to his wound. Here are a few suggestions.
Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

Why are Some Dogs Afraid of Thunder and Lightning?

thunderstorm edd princeBy Linda Cole

When I was a kid, we had a Manchester Terrier who would race to the front door and bark during severe thunderstorms. She’d bark and race over to us and then back to the door as if she thought someone was knocking. Distant thunder didn’t bother her, but loud and close thunder did. Our two other dogs would sleep right through a thunderstorm. Why does thunder and lightning scare some dogs and not others?

Lightning is formed when ice and water particles inside a cloud are compressed by warm air currents. Friction from the quickly moving currents causes electrical charges to form within the cloud. Negative charges build up at the bottom of the cloud and positive ones go to the top. When there’s a large buildup of negative charge, a feeler is sent towards the ground where it meets up with a positive streamer reaching up from the ground and causes a lightning strike. The negative charge descends rapidly, heating the air surrounding it to around 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit and creating a shock wave – thunder.

A low pressure is when the atmospheric (barometric) pressure is lower than the surrounding area. Lows produce snow, rain, wind, humidity, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes. A change in barometric pressure can bother some dogs more than others, especially arthritic pets that can experience more pain and stiffness in their joints during storms. Lightning is a natural source of nitrogen oxides, and dogs that are sensitive to storms may be able to smell these odors from the atmosphere as well as the ozone.

Read More »

How Dogs Express Their Feelings and Needs

dogs express meredithBy Laurie Darroch

Although dogs do not speak the way humans do, they have no problem expressing their feelings and needs in other ways. Their emotions are simpler than those of their human companions. Understanding them is a matter of paying attention, training and getting to know your dog in order to comprehend what they are trying to tell us with any particular action or behavior.

Much of a dog’s behavior is based on instinct and not necessarily feeling in the way we think of it as humans. Ask anyone who loves a dog though, and they can tell you instances of their dog exhibiting what seems like almost human behavior and definite emotion, but it is different than ours. Dogs are very good communicators when we take the time to understand what they are saying to us in their own way.

Body Language

Body language is a more subtle way of communicating, but everything from the position of your dog’s ears, what they are doing with their tail, their body stance, or their eyes can relay feeling and need depending on what they are doing.

A frightened dog or one who has done something they know is wrong may tuck their tail between their legs in submission. An angry dog might put his ears back and exhibit an in-your-face offensive stance. A relaxed, happy, secure or submissive dog may roll on his back exposing his belly to you. A hungry dog might pace back and forth, or anxiously stand or sit near their bowl. Eye contact or lack of it can be a challenge or sign of submission or respect. A dog’s body language communicates a great deal of what they are feeling.
Read More »

Body Language and Behavior Signs That Show Fear in Dogs

fear WonderBy Laurie Darroch

Since dogs cannot communicate the way humans do, they let us know how they are feeling through body language and their own style of vocalizations. If you learn the cues your dog gives, behavior during situations they see as fearful or threatening may be more easily understood and dealt with.

Barking or Whimpering

Excessive barking or constant whimpering is one way a dog shows fear. What may be misconstrued as the dog misbehaving may merely be an expression of fear at the appearance of a stranger, being in new surroundings, experiencing pain or an injury, or the presence of something new and unknown in their territory. If you help your dog understand that whatever is upsetting them is something you can assist them with, your dog will calm down. Barking and whimpering are not just signs of a dog being territorial, angry or even excited and happy. They may be feeling fearful, and looking to you for reassurance and a solution.

Running Around or Pacing

If you have ever felt anxious about something in your own life, and pacing or walking around seemed to help release some of the tension caused by that fear, that is how a dog feels too. Dogs worry in their own way when they are scared or unsure of a situation. When your dog won’t sit still or paces nervously, pay attention. They may be telling you they are frightened about something. Working together, you can help your four legged companion through the situation.

Read More »

How to Stop Your Pet from Chewing on Power Cords

chew power cordBy Langley Cornwell

Lately, my social media feed has been dotted with people complaining about their pets chewing on power cords. I didn’t pay much attention at first because this, fortunately, isn’t a problem in my household. But the more I saw mention of it, the more concerned I became.

One of our dogs was a terrible chewer at first. If we left anything on the ground or at eye level, no matter what it was, she would tear it up if we weren’t careful. I can’t bear to think of all the mauled shoes, books, eyeglasses and baseball caps we threw away. But somehow, through it all, she never turned her attention to the tangle of electrical cords in my office.

Any type of inappropriate chewing is a problem, but when your pet latches onto a power cord, things get serious. Sure, fixing a damaged electrical cord is an expensive proposition; of course you don’t want to have to rewire that lamp or purchase a new power cord for your computer. But more importantly, you don’t want to have to take your dog to the veterinarian, or worse. Chewing on a power cord could cause your pet serious injury or even electrocution.

Taking it back to the source, I asked for firsthand advice from my animal-loving online friends. Their tips for stopping a pet from chewing on power cords fell into several general categories.
Read More »

Why Does My Dog Eat His Food Away From the Bowl?

dog eat djunBy Langley Cornwell

Do you have a pet who takes a mouthful of food and walks away, drops it on the floor and then eats small bits of it away from the bowl, possibly even in a corner? This is more common in dogs but cats may also do it, and this pet behavior leaves many owners scratching their heads.

This article will help you understand why some pets eat their food away from the bowl.

Pack Mentality

Many animal experts agree that pack mentality is one reason why dogs will go to their dinner dish, remove tasty morsels of the CANIDAE food and take it someplace else in the home or yard to eat it. Some dogs will just go a short distance away from their dishes and others will go far away or even to a hiding spot such as behind the couch or under the table to eat their food.

The biggest reason for this behavior is instinct. Dogs have this natural pack mentality and depending on factors such as breed, training and family line, some dogs have this instinct more strongly than others. If you’ve ever watched wolves on a nature show, you might be familiar with the feeding frenzy that is wild animals eating.

You probably don’t see your pampered little pooch in the same way, but some of that instinct may be lingering. Your dog is saying, “This is mine. Don’t take it” when he moves that food away.

Read More »