By Linda Cole
When we accept the role of caring for a pet, we have the responsibility of providing for their needs. Many pet owners view their dog or cat as a valued member of their family, lovingly referring to them as their furry kids. I’m sure pets have no concept of what “family” or “parent” means, but in their eyes, our role is one of provider, protector and educator, which are the chief duties of a parent, even in the animal world.
As responsible pet owners, most of us worry about our pets when they’re home alone. We buy winter coats and boots to keep our dogs warm, provide pets with their own beds, give them toys and puzzle games, make sure they have a high quality food like CANIDAE, and include them in family activities. We share a bond – an emotional bond similar to that of parent and child.
Lisa Horn and a team of researchers conducted a study at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, to see how dogs reacted to their owners. According to the study, the way dogs interact with their owners is much the same as children interacting with their parents. Canines have done an amazing job of adapting to us over the centuries, and from a dog’s point of view, we are social partners, replacing other animals of their own species. If you’ve always felt your bond with your dog is special, you’re right. Dogs have a deep connection with owners they share a bond with, similar to the connection parents have with their young children.
By Linda Cole
Before you can begin to train your dog, you need the right kind of motivation. Some dogs love food more than anything else, some enjoy being stroked/petted, and some will learn a command to play a game of fetch or tug of war. All dogs love to receive praise for doing a good job. But is one reward better than the others when it comes to the best way to motivate your dog?
Over the last several years, I’ve had opportunities to talk with many people who work extensively with dogs. Among them: an officer from the Denver Police Department who works with canines trained to detect explosives; a dock diving dog owner who uses the sport to raise awareness for K9 cancer; and another dog owner who trains his dogs for Schutzhund competitions. Each person emphasized the importance of knowing your dog as an individual to find out what motivates him to learn. Most dogs need more motivation than just praise, and some dogs look forward to playing as a reward after training sessions.
There is a debate among dog trainers concerning the use of treats versus praising as a reward. Some believe giving treats is a form of bribery, and once you start rewarding with food it means if you don’t have a treat the dog will stop obeying commands. On the other end of the debate are trainers who say just petting and praising a dog isn’t as effective of a reward for the majority of dogs.
By Linda Cole
I’ve rescued quite a few dogs and cats over the years, most of them wandering strays that were lost or abandoned. Some were healthy despite their life on the streets, and some were a little rough around the edges. A handful had been abused in one way or another. The one thing all of them had in common was their ability to leave the past behind and move on with their life. Humans may be the smarter species, but it’s the animal world that has an unbiased ability to forgive.
Most of us learn at an early age that life isn’t exactly fair. We experience setbacks, have missteps, broken promises or shattered relationships that can cause us to lose faith in other people. Things happen, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t control everything that occurs in life. When we feel vulnerable, our tendency is to focus on what made us feel bad, find someone else to blame or hold a grudge. Forgiving a wrong can be hard to do sometimes.
Our pets on the other hand, have the ability to forgive us if we make mistakes when dealing with them. Of course it’s not the same type of forgiveness we give to another person, but dogs and cats don’t hesitate to give us the benefit of the doubt when a human mistreats them or unfairly punishes them. Animals don’t translate the failings and mistreatment given by one human to mean all humans are abusive or unfair. We get a pass if we lose our temper and yell, as long as it’s not on a regular basis. No matter what kind of treatment a dog or cat experiences, they don’t hang on to the past, hold a grudge or complain. What happened in the past is not relevant for creatures that live in the present. However, gaining their trust may be harder to do if their trust was violated.
By Langley Cornwell
When we first introduced our most recent dog into the family (consisting of two humans, one resident dog and one cat), we noticed that he growled a good bit. At the time, he was trying to get his bearings and learning how to assimilate into our routines so we weren’t necessarily worried about the growling. Even so, it was disconcerting. Because I wanted to reach a state of harmony as quickly as possible, my first instinct was to correct his behavior. That would have been the wrong thing to do. It’s important to understand why your dog is growling rather than immediately try to hush him.
Why do dog’s growl?
Dogs are expressive animals, which is one of the things we love about them. They communicate when they are happy or sad; they communicate when they are nervous, fearful or angry. We mostly understand what a dog is communicating by observing his face, ears and body posture. When a dog growls, however, the reason can be ambiguous to us. Why is he growling? Is he going to attack someone or something?
A dog growls in order to communicate, and as responsible pet owners it’s important for us to try and understand what prompted the growling. Generally, a growl indicates that your dog is unhappy, uncomfortable or afraid. He may be reacting to a perceived threat, or he may simply be playing. In fact, growling is divided into three escalating categories: play-based growls, fear-based growls and growls of warning before aggressive or defensive action is taken.
By Linda Cole
Dogs are as imperfect as we are, and there will be times when your pet engages in behavior you don’t like. Our canine friends do their best to understand what we want, but sometimes they fall short of our expectations. However, it’s not your dog’s fault if he doesn’t understand what you want and appears confused by your reaction to his behavior. Because we are dealing with a non-human species, it’s easy to make mistakes which can stress out our dogs.
Forgetting that your dog is a dog
It’s not uncommon for a possum, raccoon or cat to get inside my dog pen, especially at night. My dogs scour the perimeter of the pen searching for the critter that left the scent trail. Every now and then the trespassing critter is still in the pen. I usually check it before I let the dogs out, but recently a possum slipped in unnoticed. Thankfully it played dead, confusing the dogs, and I was able to get them back inside. After the possum left, it took forever for the dogs to settle down and do their business. The only thing they wanted to do was search for that critter. That was normal behavior as far as they were concerned.
Dogs chase things, dig, bark, mark and chew. One common way that humans stress out a dog is to punish him for following a natural instinct. Instead, make sure he has proper chew toys; designate a spot in your yard where he can dig; help your dog learn to control excessive barking by teaching him to be quiet on command. Keep your pet on leash to control his prey drive, and if he picks up an interesting scent, be patient while he investigates.
By Langley Cornwell
What do you do if you’re peacefully walking your dog on a leash and an off-leash dog rushes up to you? How does your dog behave in this situation? I’ll be honest here – our dogs are not good under these circumstances, and it happens far too often. What’s worse, as the approaching dog races towards us, their owner invariably shouts, “don’t worry, he’s friendly!”
See, it takes our dogs a while to warm up to another dog. So no matter how “friendly” the approaching dog is, ours may not appreciate the greeting. Even worse, our dogs may not act friendly towards the unleashed dog.
When a dog is leashed, having an off-leash dog rush into his personal space uninvited is stressful. And the stress is compounded by the fact that he is restricted by a leash and can’t avoid the interaction – whether it’s friendly or not. As a responsible pet owner, you must be able to handle this socially-unequal situation for your dog. Be prepared to evaluate the situation quickly and employ one or more of these tactics:
When the dog running towards you displays positive body language, sometimes the solution is as simple as tossing a few CANIDAE TidNips treats on the ground. Even if the approaching dog doesn’t go straight for the treats, the motion and sound should catch his attention. When he stops to investigate, he’ll realize there are treats on the ground and devote his attention to consuming the TidNips instead of rushing you and your dog.