Category Archives: dog behavior

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.


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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How to Help Dogs Overcome Gender Fears

gender fears tonyBy Langley Cornwell

When you share your life with a dog and there are no other humans living in your house, your pet may become so accustomed to interacting with your gender that she develops a fear of the opposite sex. Not the sex opposite from her, but the sex opposite from you! This can become a serious issue. Since your dog has limited opportunities to interact with the other gender on a regular basis, they are strange and unusual to her. She may react badly towards them.

I’ve seen it from both sides. My cousin lives alone with his German shepherd mix, Leon. These two are inseparable; the dog goes everywhere with him. People often talk about the special bond my cousin and Leon have, and it is a beautiful thing to see. The other side of the coin, however, is that the dog is not friendly towards women. It’s so bad that he will snarl and show his teeth when a woman is anywhere near. He behaves differently towards men.

A neighbor friend and her roommate live with a tiny Chihuahua named Brutus. The two women and Brutus take long walks every afternoon. Whenever my husband and I happen upon them, Brutus allows me to pat him but he won’t let my husband within a 10 foot radius. The women say Brutus acts that way towards all men.

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How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

bark workerbBy Linda Cole

Like us, dogs use their voice to convey intentions and express how they are feeling. Barking is as natural to canines as talking is to us, and expecting a dog to never use his voice is an unreasonable expectation. However, that doesn’t mean you should allow him to bark nonstop. Never punish a dog for barking, and don’t yell at him because that will only escalate the barking. There are more effective ways to get your dog to stop barking excessively.

The first thing you need to do is understand why your dog is barking. A few weeks ago, I covered how to correct frustration, demand, and boredom barking. This article deals with correcting four more types of problem barking: alarm, excitement, territorial, and anxiety barking.

Alarm Barking

Sometimes what a dog perceives as danger isn’t, but to him it is a serious threat and his “Timmy’s in trouble” bark is meant to get your attention. Your dog thinks something isn’t right so he’s alerting you, his leader, to come investigate. Most of the time there’s nothing to be concerned about, but you need to go see why your dog is barking because he could be alerting you to a brewing problem, like smoke coming from the kitchen or someone prowling around outside.

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