By Langley Cornwell
There was a long period in my life when I lived with three dogs – two lab mixes and a German shepherd – and I was single. On top of that, I maintained my household and had a full time job. I don’t think that’s particularly special, it’s just what I did. If you fast forward the movie of my life to the present day, however, you will see a decidedly different picture. I now share my home with two dogs, a cat and a husband. The major difference is that I now have help caring for our pack. In fact, the truth is that I help my husband take care of our pack; an objective observer would probably deem him the primary caregiver for our four-legged friends.
The point is, I’ve had it both ways. I’ve been solely responsible for taking care of multiple dogs and I’ve shared the responsibility with another pack leader. Obviously, it takes more work to care for multiple dogs by yourself, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. During my tenure as the single caregiver, I learned some tricks for maintaining a calm, stable household for myself and my canine companions.
By Laurie Darroch
Using a dog crate has definite benefits for both your dog and you. Initially a crate may seem a little strange or even unkind with its cage like appearance, but they can actually be a useful tool in dog training. Crates can also provide security and a private space where your dog can feel perfectly at ease and comfortable .
Over the course of time, the crate will become just a part of everyday life for your dog. If you keep the crate in a quiet area of the house and leave the door open all the time, it will be a soothing space the dog can retreat to when needed. If you treat it more like a “little room and a comfortable bed,” they may even seek it out on their own when they are tired, stressed or afraid. It can be a safe haven for your dog that they know belongs to them.
By Langley Cornwell
We had a major wake-up call last week. According to our normal routine, we let our dogs out in the backyard right before bedtime so they could do their business before we all tuck in for the night. There was a loud commotion and when we called the dogs back in, our male had blood on his muzzle. I washed him off while my husband went looking for the victim, which turned out to be an unfortunate possum. Needless to say, nobody got to bed on time that night.
I knew Al had a strong prey drive, but I didn’t realize the full extent of his instinct. As responsible pet owners, we began to research the issue and learned that there are five sequential steps to the standard prey drive: the search, the eye stalk, the chase, the grab bite, and the kill bite. Sadly, our pup had quickly escalated through all five steps.
A strong prey drive is a natural instinct for dogs because they are predators and hunters. Even so, not all dog breeds feel each stage of their prey drive with the same power. For example, Beagles naturally have a strong desire to search, Border Collies are known for intense eye stalking, and Greyhounds have a powerful draw to chase. Prey drive is a scent driven instinct, and all dogs primarily experience the world through their noses.
In the book Hands on Dog Training, Gloria Post offers suggestions and training techniques to help distract your dog and help him ignore the stimulus that ignites his prey drive. Additionally, she offers substitutes that fulfill your dog’s need to chase prey. Post asserts that it’s incorrect to discipline your dog when you know he is about to give chase. Instead you should learn ways to redirect his attention.
By Langley Cornwell
A friend of mine has a long-haired Chihuahua mix named Mimi, and the two are inseparable; this dog goes everywhere with her. Most of the time, Mimi is a friendly bundle of personality, happy to greet anybody who wants to say hello. But when another dog is in the vicinity, Mimi goes crazy. She challenges every dog that crosses her path.
I have medium-sized dogs and one of mine acts the same way, so I’m not saying aggressive behavior towards other dogs is a size-specific issue. However, we’ve all heard of fearless small dogs that challenge large-breed dogs with reckless abandon. What causes this type of behavior?
The majority of experts believe this small-dog attitude is a combined result of nurture and nature. In other words, Mimi and other fearless small dogs have learned this behavior through interactions with their humans and the outside world.
People relate to small breed dogs differently than they relate to larger dogs. For example, when my friend walks Mimi and she barks or show dominance towards another dog, the other dog owner may giggle or say something like “that’s cute.” I can guarantee that if the aggressive, barking dog was a larger breed, say a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler, nobody would be smiling.
By Langley Cornwell
Training your dog to follow your commands promptly and accurately can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a very daunting task. It takes loads of patience and love, but it’s worth it. Responding to commands quickly helps strengthen a good relationship between you and your pet because you can take your dog more places and do more with her. Furthermore, this ability helps to keep your pet safer because you can direct her behavior and help keep her out of trouble.
This also means that she can be allowed to have a little more freedom because you can trust that she will obey you promptly when you give her a command. The problem is that sometimes, dogs can be very stubborn and not follow your commands as fast as you would like. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help get your dog to respond quicker to your commands.
When teaching your dog commands, you want to keep it as simple as possible. For example, instead of saying “come here” just say “come.” You should also remember that dogs don’t hear words the way we do, so your body language is very important. If you’re not giving her your full attention and expressing your commands with your body language as well as your words, she won’t give you her full attention.
By Linda Cole
I love reading stories highlighting the exceptional abilities of dogs, especially when it comes to using their extraordinary sense of smell in wildlife conservation. When a dog’s nose is used to aid endangered or threatened apex predators, that helps preserve the natural balance in an ecosystem. Researchers have discovered that the super nose of a two year old Beagle named Elvis can help scientists better understand the polar bear reproductive cycle.
The idea of training a dog to detect if a polar bear is pregnant began with one of the scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), after he read about studies using dogs to sniff out cancer. No one knew if using a canine to detect polar bear pregnancies was possible, but it was worth trying because of the difficulty zoo keepers had confirming it on their own.
Polar bears are listed on the Endangered Species list as threatened because of loss of habitat and climate change. If a bear is suspected of being pregnant, zoo officials begin to prepare for the birthing process whether she’s pregnant or not. They want to do everything they can towards the survival and care of cubs born at their facilities. Males need to be separated from the female, dens need to be prepared with proper bedding, video cameras are set up to monitor what’s going on, and staff and volunteers are needed around the clock. Few cubs are born to polar bears living in zoos, and many cubs born in the wild don’t survive.