Category Archives: dog behavior

How to Help Your Dog Deal with Fireworks

fireworks anjaBy Laurie Darroch

Although fireworks are festive, exciting and beautiful to us, to a dog they can be frightening and very painful.

Some dogs have no problems dealing with the noise, but other dogs do not handle the situation as well.  Your dog can become destructive, loud or act very frightened when the fireworks begin.

A dog’s ears are much more sensitive than those of their human companions. Fireworks are loud even to people. To a dog the noise level is more elevated and intense. If you have ever seen a human child who is frightened of fireworks or any other extreme noise, imagine what a dog must be experiencing when fireworks are exploding nearby.

To help your dog cope with the agitation fireworks can cause for them, try these methods to alleviate the problem and make them more comfortable.

Company

Companionship during stressful times is good for human and dog alike. There is security in having someone close by.

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Does the Way You Greet Your Dog Affect Their Wellbeing?

By Linda Cole

Two of my dogs, Keikei and Dozer, love to wrestle with each other outside. Both of them enjoy the back and forth, and trying to get them back inside after their morning duty run was frustrating, to say the least. One day I decided to try a new tactic, and when Keikei was at the foot of the stairs, I called her to come, showed her a CANIDAE Pure Heaven treat, and waited for her to bounce up the steps. When she got to the top, I gave her the treat, along with some praise and a mini massage. Treats will definitely get a dog’s attention, but according to a new study, how you greet your dog matters.

The bond we have with other people or our pet doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of earning and building on a trust that grows over time. Our human tendency is to gravitate towards people with a positive attitude who are quick to give us a warm smile. It’s nonthreatening, comforting and indicates friendliness. A simple greeting makes you feel good. When touch is added, the emotional response has a lasting effect. Touch is an important aspect of the bonding process with dogs too. A casual touch from someone who cares is a positive sign of an emotional bond. Like us, dogs are social creatures and how we greet them plays a role in their emotional outlook. Dogs need to feel our touch as much as we need contact from people we care about.

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Why Dogs Really Howl

By Langley Cornwell

Last month I wrote an article on Superstitions about Howling. The article was fun to research; it covers the likely origins of the belief that a howling dog is an omen of death or extreme misfortune. Even though that notion is reinforced in literature and films, of course it’s not the real reason dogs howl. But what is? Why do dogs really howl?

Turns out, there are many reasons dogs howl.

As a Response to Environmental Triggers

Many years ago I lived in New York with a mixed breed dog that looked like a blend of a yellow Labrador retriever and a Samoyed. She was precious and stunningly beautiful. Out of all the dogs I’ve shared my life with, she was the most primitive. There were times when I thought she acted more like a wolf than a domesticated pet, and when she started howling, the primal sound of it would chill me to the bone.

This dog howled in response to environmental triggers, especially to the sounds of sirens. Dog howling is often a response to outside stimuli and the triggers are varied. Many dogs respond to ambulance, fire-engine or police sirens. Some respond to other dogs howling, music, certain instruments, etc. Apparently the pitch of certain sounds awakens an otherwise dormant genetic memory in domesticated dogs. The reasons are unclear, but some experts believe when dogs hear some sounds, they howl to join in and be part of the action.
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Why Don’t Dogs Like Us Messing with Their Feet?

By Linda Cole

All dogs need to have their nails trimmed from time to time, even if they don’t like it. Some breeds also need to have the hair between their toes and paw pads trimmed to give them traction and prevent slipping. My dogs love to shake hands and are used to me handling their feet. Yet the minute nail clippers or scissors appear, it’s obvious this isn’t an activity they agree with. Although, a couple CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats can make the process a bit more acceptable. So why will a dog bug you to shake hands, but then pull his paw away when you hold on to it so you can cut nails or trim hair?

Consider the importance we place on our feet and hands. Feet give us mobility when we want to move around or need to flee from danger. Hands are communication tools – how many of you can talk without using your hands? It’s much easier to take care of ourselves, stay clean, eat, protect ourselves and perform other tasks that would be difficult to do without hands.

To dogs, their feet are every bit as important to their survival. Feet are used to chase down prey, run away from danger, protect themselves, dig holes to flush out prey, find cooler soil in the summer or stay warmer in the winter, bury food to prevent other animals from stealing it and investigate things. Dogs also use their feet to communicate.

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How to Stop Dogs from Guarding Their Food

By Langley Cornwell

Food guarding is a natural behavior in most dogs. In fact, the act of guarding any prized possession is inherent in canines.  Before dogs were domesticated, wild animals that successfully protected their valuable resources were the most likely to survive.

These days, food guarding is inadvertently reinforced in young puppies. Some dog breeders feed their puppies from a single large bowl so at mealtime puppies have to compete with one another for their fair share of the food. The puppy that is able to eat the most food will grow quicker than his littermates. He will also get stronger faster, which means he will get even more of the food, and so on. This seemingly innocent set of circumstances ultimately rewards aggressive behavior in dogs at a young age.

That’s why food guarding is so common in dogs, but what can we do about it?

Food guarding can become a serious issue if you don’t take steps to manage it. For your own safety and the safety of family members and guests, it’s important to teach your dog to remain relaxed while he eats – no matter who’s around or what’s going on. If you have a dog with aggressive food-guarding issues, these steps will help you break his tendency to guard his food.
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Do Pack Instincts Influence Dog Behavior?

By Linda Cole

Humans are a complex species; we have different views on issues, which at times can turn into heated arguments that divide us. We also have the ability to evaluate different situations to make our own choices. Dogs on the other hand, react to situations based on pack instincts that were hardwired into them eons ago during the domestication process. These innate pack instincts guide and influence the behavior of dogs in their everyday lives.

Instinct isn’t knowledge that needs to be learned. It’s an automatic intelligence present at birth in all living species. It’s what guides migrating birds and butterflies on marathon flights in the fall and spring, and it’s how squirrels and other animals know when it’s time to stockpile food for the winter. It’s the survival instinct that ensures continuation of the species.

The variety of jobs canines have been bred to do is based on their natural abilities and pack instincts. A sled dog team is able to function because they work together as a team. Each member knows his place in the group, and follows instructions from their human leader. One reason why our relationship with dogs has been so successful is because we share the importance of the family unit and the social bond that binds members together.

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