Category Archives: dog behavior

Decoding a Dog’s Sense of Smell

dog decode smell padBy Langley Cornwell

Dogs and humans share three senses—hearing, smelling and seeing—but we rely on them in different ways, or rather, with different levels of dependence. For the majority of humans, hearing is their primary sense followed by seeing and lastly, smelling. There are some humans who are more visually focused and take in and process visual information before auditory information but as a general rule, the order of sensory dependence is hearing, seeing and then smelling.

A dog, on the other hand, primarily relies on his sense of smell. For our canine friends, the order of sensory dependence is smelling, seeing and then hearing. Amazingly, our dogs receive and understand as much information via smelling as we do via sight!

A dog’s reliance on the nose starts at a young age. When puppies are born, their eyes are closed and their ears are stopped up. Even so, they are born with heat sensors in their noses which help them locate their mother in order to nurse. These heat sensors fade with time, and fully adult dogs no longer have this ability.

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How Do Dogs Sense Approaching Storms?

dog storms ttarasiukBy Langley Cornwell

Where I live, we have short thunderstorms almost every afternoon in the summer. I used to like these storms because they cooled things down a bit, but one of our dogs has recently become a master weatherman, sensing approaching storms long before we see evidence. Unfortunately for him, he dislikes the thunder. And because he senses its approach, his misery is long-lasting. For his sake, I wish he wasn’t so keen to oncoming inclement weather. I also began to wonder, how in the world does he know in advance when a storm is rolling in anyway?

We provide our dogs with love, companionship and shelter, and feed them healthy food like CANIDAE. We spend lots of time with them but even so, sometimes dogs do things that make us wonder. Some dogs dig the carpet before lying down, some herd children, and some even terrorize mailmen. But dogs also do amazing things like saving their humans from fires, protecting their homes and predicting the weather.

While you can’t ask your dog how bad a storm is going to be, if you get to know your pup you will be able to tell when a storm is coming, just by observing their behavior. Dogs know when it’s time to batten down the hatches, and will often herd the family to where they can keep an eye on you while they pace agitatedly. How do dogs know a storm is approaching long before the clouds appear, the rain falls and the thunder rolls?

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What Human Job Would Your Dog Do?

By Linda Cole

Every dog has their own unique personality, preferences and abilities. Not all “water dogs” enjoy swimming, and not all Border Collies can herd sheep. I was observing my dog, Shelby, recently while she intensely watched my cat, who was a little too close to her food bowl. Shelby isn’t aggressive with my cats, nor does she guard her bowl. It’s a game she enjoys playing and the cats play along by giving her their best defiant stare of superiority. It made me laugh which got Shelby’s attention, and as she pawed my leg I thought about human jobs she and my other dogs might be good at.

dog jobs keikeiKeikei

This Border Collie mix adores the spotlight and thinks the world revolves around her. She is as sharp as a howling north wind in January, quickly learns new commands, and can be bossy at times. During play, her eyes are bright as she leaps around with excited barks like a cheerleader leading a chant. Nothing gets past her – sounds, people walking by, other animals or the occasional appearance of something only she can see.

A good human job for Keikei would be a CIA agent, because she has her nose poked in everything going on around the neighborhood. However, it wouldn’t be long before her covert spying was uncovered because she would never be able to avoid detection. She just can’t resist using her voice, and would end up spilling all of the secrets she knew. Foiled in her first human job, she would definitely shine as a celebrity strutting along a red carpet lined with adoring fans snapping her picture.

dog jobs MaxMax

My black Lab may be a water dog breed, but actually getting into water or exercising isn’t something Max has on his bucket list. He’s getting up there in age and prefers lounging around all day – and it’s obvious he hasn’t missed any of his CANIDAE meals.

Max makes up for his lack of ambition with an adorable willingness to get along, and has an “every day is a vacation” attitude. There’s no question his human job would be as a head of state. No real duties to attend to, except greeting dignitaries at state dinners.

dog jobs ShelbyShelby

My German Shepherd mix is a hand shaker and manipulator. She’s not a bit shy about flinging out her paw for attention. If I ignore her, she moves in closer and stares at me with pleading eyes. If that fails, her next move is to swipe her tongue up my leg or across my arm. Failure to achieve attention is not an option and her next move is to sit down right in front of me, paw my leg and whine quietly.

Shelby can pander as good as any politician looking for votes. Come to think about it, I can see her making a run for public office. She can work a crowd, and loves shaking hands and kissing strangers.

dog jogs DozerDozer

This Terrier mix investigates every inch of the dog pen every time he goes outside. If he finds a scent that draws his interest to a hole going underground, dirt begins to fly – which apparently causes him to lose his ability to hear.

Dozer would make a good archaeologist based on his dogged determination to dig out whatever is hiding beneath him. Although he has been known to dig at a chipmunk entrance and miss the critter climbing out of another hole behind him. He would still be good at pest control since he seems to be able to chase small critters out of the yard, one way or the other.

dog jobs rileyRiley

This Chihuahua/Terrier mix has a skeptical sideways glare she gives me when I laugh at her, which happens a lot. She’s the smallest canine in the house, but thinks she’s the biggest, and has no problem trying to intimidate her siblings – who all ignore her attempts to boss them around. I can see her sitting on the high bench in a court of law as a judge, barking to keep everyone in line. Come to think about it, she would also be the jury.

Another human job that would suit her would be an exercise guru. The one problem with that job, however, is she only has one move: rolling over on her back, kicking her back legs into the hair and then wiggling her butt back and forth while squealing with delight. I don’t know how well that move would work on molding a six-pack ab, but it certainly would bring a smile to anyone watching.

Photos by Linda Cole

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Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

dogs sleep siniBy Laurie Darroch

It may seem like your dog is sleeping too much, but their lifestyle, amount of exercise, and what breed they are may affect the amount of sleep they need. Even the age of the dog impacts the amount of sleep they require.

Age and Size

Puppies sleep excessively. They run around using every bit of energy and then suddenly crash and sleep, almost mid step at times. It is very much like dealing with a human child who has bursts of exuberant energy and plays hard until they drop from exhaustion. Conversely, older dogs sleep more than younger ones. As dogs age, they slow down. The size of your dog can be a factor as well. Larger dogs tend to sleep more than smaller dogs.

Changes

Dogs react to the people and environment around them. If they lose a companion, it may affect their behavior or mood. That can be true whether it’s a human or another dog companion. They are very loyal and like their routines. Losing a being they love can make them depressed.

If you move to a new house, are in a stressful living situation, or become part of a new family, it takes time for your dog to adjust, the same way it does for you. This may show itself in increased amounts of time spent sleeping. Be patient and help them to adjust.

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How to Teach Your Dog Not to Rush Out the Door

By Linda Cole

For some dogs, an opened door is an invitation to rush through before it closes. But for us, it’s frightening to watch our beloved pet bolt across the yard and disappear out of sight, or head towards a road with a car bearing down on them. Cheyenne, my Siberian Husky, looked for any chance to escape through the front door, and I developed a technique to use when someone rang the doorbell. Cracking the door open so I could block it with my body, I stood on one leg and used the other one to keep her away. She just wanted to go for a run, but there are other reasons why dogs fly out an opened door. Fortunately, I found a better technique than the one-legged dance to teach my dog not to rush through the door.

Why dogs try to escape out the front door

Dogs are individuals, and some are more adventurous and independent than others. Working breeds, terriers, scenthounds and sighthounds were bred to do their jobs away from their human, and are likely to bolt out a door to run down an interesting scent or chase an animal they see. Some dogs may be focused on finding a mate. If that’s the case, spaying or neutering your pet may help reduce a desire to wander. A fearful dog may see an opened door as a way to escape what he fears. Homes with multiple dogs might charge the open door as a competition to see who can get outside first, and some dogs enjoy the “game” of their owner frantically chasing them down the street.

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Do Dogs and Cats Have Taste Buds?

taste micoloBy Linda Cole

When considering what a dog is willing to woof down, you can’t help but wonder if they actually taste what they eat. It doesn’t seem to matter to a dog whether it’s their favorite CANIDAE meal, a bug or an ice cube. My dogs will eat everything with gusto as if it had been prepared by a top chef. My cats hunt flies, spiders and other small creatures, and occasionally an overlooked dust bunny. The senses of dogs and cats are far superior to ours, but do they have taste buds, and can they really taste what they eat?

Taste buds play an ingenious role in human and animal survival and are designed to help keep us alive. Without the ability to distinguish between certain tastes it would be difficult to know which foods are safe to eat and which ones to avoid. Something that tastes bad usually means it could be harmful to swallow, and a good taste would be an indication it is safe to consume. All vertebrates have taste buds on their tongues, but how many a species has depends on which tastes they need to be able to detect to stay safe. Humans have about 10,000 taste buds, whereas dogs only have around 1,700 and cats have approximately 470. Because herbivores, like cows for example, dine on a large variety of plants, more taste buds are needed to help them tell if a plant is toxic or beneficial for them to eat.

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