Category Archives: dog behavior

How to Keep Your Pet Out of the Trash

By Linda Cole

One challenge many dog owners have is trying to keep their inquisitive canine out of the trash can. Cats will also poke around in a wastebasket searching for something fun to play with or eat – and then blame it on the dog. Finding trash scattered all over the floor is not something you want to see as soon as you get home. However, there’s a right and wrong way to deal with the issue and prevent your pet from digging through the trash.

Perfecting the art of dumpster diving is most likely how both dogs and cats became domesticated. Of course, back then the dumpster was nothing more than piles of trash outside a village where canines and felines had no problem scavenging for food. The aroma of trash isn’t pleasant to us, but all of the intriguing smells can certainly capture the attention of animals searching for a meal.

Trash cans contain a wide variety of smells our pets find enticing. Chicken bones, meat scraps, meat wrappers and soiled paper towels provide a mixture of scents few pets can resist. If you have a separate bin for recyclables, it too has smells that draw pets to it. However, when a dog or cat digs through the trash to find something fun to play with or eat, it can put them at risk of developing serious health issues. Pets that find tin cans or lids to lick can end up with a cut tongue or gums and worse if they manage to ingest part of the can or eat plastic they found in recyclables. Garbage cans may also contain bits of string, dental floss, people food that’s toxic to pets and old or unused medications.

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A Research Center Devoted to Learning about Dogs

By Linda Cole

The Clever Dog Lab is a research center in Vienna, Austria that’s been around for about six years. It’s one of a handful of centers around the world studying dogs to see how they think and why they behave in certain ways. The researchers’ main goals are to learn more about canine personality, how dogs view their world, how they compare to other species when performing a variety of cognitive tests, and how they problem solve.

For years, canines were thought of as animals with limited intelligence, understanding and emotions. Fortunately, a flurry of research conducted on our four legged friends in recent years paints a much different picture. Researchers are getting into the minds and hearts of dogs, and discovering the importance of our relationship with canines.

More than 600 volunteer dogs are used for the research at the Clever Dog Lab. The dogs are a variety of ages and breeds, both mixed and purebreds. Dog owners lend their pets to the research team that is trying to answer questions concerning our canine friends. Scientists believe that learning how dogs think and why they behave in certain ways can help them learn more about our own behaviors and our brains.

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Do We Train Our Dogs, or Do They Train Us?

By Laurie Darroch

We train our dogs to help them fit in, to learn acceptable ways of behavior within our parameters, to make living with each other a smoother existence together, and simply because that is what a responsible pet owner does. You are teaching them new survival skills that fit in the human environment. Like a child, if a dog knows what it can or cannot do, it learns to act within those boundaries, but sometimes what they do makes us wonder who is actually doing the training!

A dog will test the boundaries they are given, which is a normal part of the learning process. It doesn’t stop once they are trained to an acceptable level either. It is an ongoing process at every stage of your dog’s life.

We start out with very clear goals in mind when we are training our dogs, but often find ourselves bending the rules in order to fit their individual personalities or specific needs. We don’t always do it consciously either. We see a cute or endearing behavior that isn’t quite what we wanted them to do – for instance, coming up on the couch to cuddle against you after you had decided that climbing up on the furniture was an absolute “no no” in your house. Pretty soon that becomes an altered acceptable behavior that your dog has basically manipulated you into allowing.

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Is Your Dog an Optimist or a Pessimist?

By Linda Cole

Anyone who has spent quality time with a dog understands how complicated canines can be. Like us, dogs view the world from their own individual perspective. An interesting new study has found that dogs see things in an optimistic or pessimistic way, and how your dog behaves could be because he sees his dish of CANIDAE as “half full” or “half empty.”

How we interpret events in our lives is based on our world view. We are idealists, realists, optimists or pessimists, and how we react to different situations depends on our mental attitude. An optimistic person sees the glass as half full and has faith that any given situation will have the best possible outcome. A pessimist sees the glass as half empty and doesn’t have confidence that a positive outcome will occur.

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How to Help a Dog Deal with Pain

By Laurie Darroch

When a dog is experiencing pain, whether from an obvious illness or injury, or something you can’t see or figure out, they will let you know in a number of possible ways. Because they cannot talk and explain what is going on, you are left to puzzle it out and determine how to help relieve their pain, whatever its source.

You may notice altered behavior such as withdrawal, refusal to play or even eat, or the opposite – excessive clinginess and following you everywhere in the house. You may see your dog crying or whimpering. You may notice that they are moving differently or favoring the part of the body with the injury or pain. It’s always a good idea take your dog to the vet to make sure it is nothing serious and something for which they need specific medication or professional treatment.

Here are some tips for helping your dog deal with their pain.

Comfort

Comforting your dog helps to soothe pain levels and reduce the anxiety and stress caused by pain that isn’t understood. You dog reacts to your stress as well. If they are in pain, try to stay calm. Your dog will sense your mood and react accordingly. If you are calmer handling your dog’s pain, they will feel more secure and at ease. Your dog trusts you.

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Does My Dog Need a Canine Companion?

dog companions siniBy Langley Cornwell

We’ve been conditioned to believe that dogs are pack animals, but do domestic dogs really need canine friends? I’ll admit it – I was the type who believed the answer was a resounding yes. My firm stance on this was partly influenced by the “dogs are pack animals” theory and partly by the fact that all of my pups have thrived when there was a second dog in the house. The dogs I’ve shared my life with have all been family-oriented, and I felt like we were a big, happy pack.

My commitment to this belief was challenged by a friend who rescued a dog named Mia. The relationship between Lisa and Mia made me wonder if my long-held beliefs about having a second dog might be a combined result of 1) blindly accepting the pack animal theory and 2) attempting to assuage my guilt.

The Pack Animal Theory

Because dogs derived from wolves, and wolves live and hunt in packs, most people believe that dogs are hard wired to want canine companionship. I always thought the social structure of wolves included allegiance and reliance on one another within a pack, so it stood to reason that domestic canines would yearn for the same type of species-to-species bonding.

Researchers at Washington State University at Pullman shed more light on the subject, however. Traci Cipponeri and Paul Verrell studied the intricate relationships within wolf packs and likened their interactions to that of people who work within the same corporation. They noted that wolves not related to one another form what could be called an “uneasy alliance” because they have both shared and conflicting goals. They work cooperatively to obtain food and shelter, but they compete with one another for dominance.

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