Category Archives: dog

AKC Recognizes Three New Dog Breeds

By Ruthie Bently

The American Kennel Club recently added three new dog breeds to its roster of recognized dog breeds, which brings the number of recognized breeds to 164. They are the Boykin Spaniel, the Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound. The Bluetick and the Redbone Coonhounds will join the Hound Group and the Boykin Spaniel will join the Sporting Group. All three breeds will be able to compete at conformation shows in their respective groups and are eligible for full registration in the AKC.

The Boykin Spaniel was developed in South Carolina where it is the official state dog. Mr. L. Whitaker Boykin is responsible for developing the breed in the early 1900s for hunting wild turkeys after he found that the dog had a natural talent for it. Boykin was introduced to the original dog that was the forerunner of the breed by his hunting partner Alexander White. White found the dog wandering near his church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, took him home and named him Dumpy. After spending considerable time with Dumpy and feeling that he would make a good hunting dog, White introduced him to Boykin who undertook his formal hunting training. Nowadays this breed is primarily used for hunting ducks and other waterfowl. The Boykin Spaniel has an energetic, cheerful personality and is a medium-sized breed. Because they have the stamina to do a full day’s worth of work, they do well with a family that is active. They love human companionship and do well with other dogs and children. Their coat is a chocolate brown color.

The Bluetick Coonhound, like most coonhounds, is so named because of its coat color, which is dark blue in color and has a mottled or ticking pattern. It is thought that the Bluetick is descended from the English Foxhound and French Staghound as well as the English Coonhound, a fast working dog that excels at following fresh game trails. In 1945, the Bluetick breeders broke away to create a dog that was a slower worker and able to follow older scent trails. They were very proud of this larger, slower, determined hound and maintained the hunting style that the breed is famous for today. Active sporting families prize the Bluetick for their determination, steadiness for staying on a very intricate track, endurance and working ability. They have the typical coonhound “bawling” bark and are skilled in trailing and treeing raccoons and other small animals. The mascot for the University of Tennessee is a Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey.

The last dog of this new group to be recognized by the AKC is the Redbone Coonhound. This breed is descended from red foxhounds brought from Scotland by immigrants in the late 1700s and also imported from Ireland before the start of the Civil War. Redbones are known for their bright red coat, which is how they got their name. Like the Bluetick they are known for their instinctive ability to tree game and are versatile enough to have been used to hunt game from the size of raccoons to cougars. They are good at swimming and hunting over varied terrains and are able to maintain their agility and speed while doing so. The Redbone lives for pleasing their owner and is trainable in a household situation as well as being an even-tempered dog. The author Wilson Rawls featured a Redbone Coonhound in his book Where the Red Fern Grows.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Good Books for Dog Owners

By Ruthie Bently

Are you looking for the perfect book for yourself or a relative that owns a dog or a new puppy? With so many choices available these days, how do you find the right one? I have always loved reading and as a buyer of pet products I’ve reviewed many books in my career. When the books went on sale I was usually one of the first in line to add a new book to my personal library.

There is a plethora of dog books available, but in my opinion several stand out from the pack. One great resource for any dog owner is the AKC’s Complete Dog Book, which is now in its twentieth edition. It’s a wonderful book for anyone considering a purebred dog. This comprehensive book covers the 153 AKC recognized breeds at the time of its January 2006 publication. It lists the standards for each breed along with pictures and histories. You get information on how to choose the right dog, as well as nutrition, training, grooming and how to join a dog club. It also lists all the AKC sports available to owners and their dogs. It even discusses how to be a responsible breeder and the Canine Good Citizen® program.

If you’ve already decided on a breed and need a good puppy training book, read The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete. The Monks have written several books on dog training, as that is their chosen vocation. This 274-page hardcover book has more than 80 photographs, and discusses how to deal with common puppy issues like paper training, jumping up, chewing and communication. It covers a puppy’s stages of development, and teaches you how to train your puppy with compassion and common sense. The follow-up book, How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, builds on the foundation of the first book.

How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, by Clarice Rutherford and David H. Neil, is a wonderful book for raising a puppy whether they are newborns or a year old. This book is often suggested to new puppy owners by their breeder. It discusses the development of a puppy’s mind and body, and offers suggestions for shaping them into a well behaved, well adjusted dog. It also covers health care and positive methods for training and socializing your puppy.

Richard Wolters wrote several books on dog training, and Family Dog is another winner. This book makes it easy to train a dog, and will work for any age or breed. He discusses the idea that a puppy is ready to train when they are exactly forty-nine days old. You can train a dog in sixteen weeks by using his simple time tested method, which includes teaching basic commands, housebreaking and even tricks. The book doesn’t stop at training though; it discusses how to pick the right dog, first aid and medical information, grooming tips, how to talk to your dog, and why play and relaxation are important.

Another of my personal favorites is Wendy Nan Rees’ Dog Lover’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Living a Rich Life with Your Dog. You can read it front to back or open it to any page and will find wonderful information for a lifetime of dog owning, whether you have a puppy or an adult dog. It includes a wealth of information on basic dog ownership, including the supplies and training equipment you may need. It also discusses traveling with your pet, health information, selecting your vet, basic grooming and first aid. It gives you tips on cleaning, organizing and housekeeping for your dog, and explains how to bond and build a better relationship with your dog. There are recipes for deodorizers, cleaners, and even gifts for your human friends with “doggy” children. You can create your own dog placemats or photo album, as well as a dog-friendly pantry. There is even a “Dog Zodiac,” which tells you what your dog may be like; Skye is a Leo and her horoscope is right on target.

All of these are good books for dog owners. Whichever one you choose, you cannot go wrong!

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Dressing Your Dog on a Budget

By Ruthie Bently

Everyone has been hit by the bad economy and I have come up with a wonderful way to help dress your dog, without having to spend a lot of money. This will work whether you are looking for a t-shirt, sweater or winter coat for your own dog.

My boyfriend was recently laid off and money has been tight lately. However, we have always been thrifty. Most of our household heat comes from a wood stove, we grow our own vegetables and raise chickens for their eggs, go to garage and yard sales during warmer weather, and when making trips into town we try to carpool with other family members. Although our winter wardrobes have been taken care of and the cats have longer hair coats so don’t need any outdoor clothing, my American Staffordshire Terrier, Skye, is different.

Skye is on medication, and one of the side effects is a hair coat that is thinner and shorter than normal. While her hair does get longer when it gets colder, it isn’t what it could be. Skye will forgive me for saying this, but she is a wimp when it comes to cold. At night she will burrow under the blankets so that only her nose is sticking out, and she stays that way all night long. The problem for me is my dear little wimp loves to go for rides with me, no matter what the weather. I don’t take her when it is too cold, but she has to see the vet every six months for tests. Since the vet is an hour away, I have to be able to take her with me during cold weather, and she needs to be warm enough.

I stumbled on the solution to dressing my dog on a budget when I was in a little resale shop this summer. While going through the clothing racks I found a child’s sweatshirt and wondered if it might fit Skye. The sleeves looked a bit long, but the chest was wide and it had a hood, which was a plus because it would keep the wind out of her short ears.

Measuring your dog for clothes should be done while they are standing. For the length, you should measure from the base of their neck to the base of their tail. It helps to also measure the dog’s leg from the shoulder to the wrist (carpal). Use the leg measurement for the sleeve length so your dog won’t be tripping over the sleeves. I also measure the width between Skye’s legs which helps determine the chest size I need, as she is a deep-chested dog.

The main difference between clothes made for us and those made for dogs is that human clothes sometimes fit your dog better if they are put on backwards. For example, a t-shirt with a picture on the front gets worn so the picture is on the dog’s back. Jackets get put on and zipped up the dog’s back. If your dog is a bit touchy about trying on or wearing clothes, use a treat such as the CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ to help get them dressed.

Some resale shops do not take returns especially if the item is on sale. Make sure you take a tape measure and your measurements along with you, as most shops will not let you bring the dog in. Don’t limit yourself to resale shops, however; also check yard sales and your local recycling center if they take clothing. Also, many thrift stores have a “discount day” when their prices are lower.

I went when their prices were 50% off and got Skye several sweatshirts, t-shirts and a jacket for under $5.00. You can use the same measurements for buying costumes or holiday clothing for your dog. Remember that anything you purchase should fit comfortably on your dog. It can be snug but not binding or your dog may have trouble maneuvering and not want to wear it. Make sure that when it is on your dog they have enough room to urinate or defecate or you will be washing frequently.

You can use child sized booties for your dog’s feet if it isn’t wet outside, just purchase two matching sets. I haven’t had too much luck finding good boots, as a child’s boot weighs so much more than a dog’s boot. Skye even has her own brand name jacket that I found at a thrift store for $2.00; it is pink and purple, and has a zip-out polar fleece lining. I put it on her and zip it up the back and unless it is extremely cold here, she goes for a ride.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Breed Profile: Basenji (Congo Dog)

By Ruthie Bently

The Basenji is a small hunting dog native to Africa (also known as the Congo dog). The African natives used it for driving game into nets and for pointing, as well as retrieving wounded game. It was also used to warn about dangerous animals in the forest and as a guide. These traits helped the dog in the field as they were frequently out of the hunter’s sight. Their silence, adaptability and courage, as well as their speed and power, were prized as an asset in a productive hunt.

The Basenji has a short coat. They are known as a barkless dog, but depending on their mood will crow, howl or growl and when they are excited they “yodel.” They are a member of the AKC’s hound group; they hunt by using both scent and sight and were recognized in 1944. The first Basenjis were given to ancient Pharaohs of Egypt as gifts, and a Basenji-like dog has been seen on wall drawings and in Egyptian tombs dated to five thousand years ago.

The Basenji breed has some habits more reminiscent of a cat than a dog, as they are fastidious and can spend hours cleaning themselves. They have also been seen sitting on the back of furniture to look out a window. They lack a “doggy” odor and are a low shedding dog, which endears them to their fans.

Basenjis were taken to Britain in 1895 but contracted distemper and died. In 1937 they were taken to Britain again, as well as the United States. The pair imported into the US was able to have a litter of puppies, but all except one male died from distemper. A female was imported to Boston, MA in 1941; she was bred with the surviving male and their litter lived. In subsequent years more Basenji dogs were imported from Britain and Canada, which helped further the breed in the United States.

Basenjis usually live between ten and thirteen years although one lived to the age of twenty-two. The weight for a male dog is between 22 and 26 pounds (10 to 12 kg) and their height is between 16 and 17 inches (41 to 43 cm). Females should weigh between 20 to 25 pounds (9 to 11 kg) and their height should be between 15 and 16 inches (38 to 41 cm).

The Basenji is known as an independent, curious, alert, energetic and affectionate breed that loves to play. There are cautions about having them in a household with non-canine pets, but they do well in multiple Basenji households. They need to be socialized from an early age, are very intelligent with a desire to please, and are fairly easy to train. They do well with children and will form a strong bond with their owner though will be naturally reserved and aloof with strangers.

When introducing a Basenji to new people you should let the dog make the first overtures and approach them head on and not from behind. They need exercise daily to release pent up energy and do not easily tire when playing. They are chewers and should be provided with lots of options so as not to chew inappropriate items around the house.

They are known as climbers and are not averse to scaling a chain link fence. When curious, a Basenji will often stand on their hind legs, and they’re known to be able to jump over six feet straight up. Basenjis are very smart and need an owner who knows how to be the “alpha” dog, or they can become unruly and demanding. If they are exercised enough, a Basenji can be kept in an apartment or in a house with a small yard and would do well with a long daily jaunt.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Best Dogs for Apartment Living

By Ruthie Bently

I have been in the retail pet industry for over twenty-five years now, and have seen many different dog breeds living with their owners in apartments. I have also seen many lists of dogs that are “suitable” for apartment living, and they included sizes from toys to giants. Then I realized one simple fact (at least for me); the best dog is the one that is right for you! In other words, if you love a dog, then you will do what you can to make it work. I lived with my first American Staffordshire Terrier in a small home with a postage stamp sized yard.

Whatever kind of dog you choose, there are a few things you should consider if you live in an apartment. Are dogs allowed in your building? Is there a limit to the size or weight of dog you can have? Do you need to put down a deposit? Do you need to supply references to the building owner? If you live in an apartment, are you willing to take the dog out at 3:00 AM to go potty? I actually had clients that lived with three Great Danes in a third floor walk up and they were very happy, but that isn’t for everyone. You should consider the dog’s daily exercise needs and energy level. How will they interact with others (pets, people and kids) in a small space? What is their temperament like? Are they hard to groom, and how trainable are they? What is their excitability level? Are they a barker and will they go off like a firecracker if they hear a noise in the hall?

Everything I have read agrees that any dog in an apartment needs exercise every day. This can help curtail boredom and the problem of having an over exuberant dog racing around the apartment when you get home. You don’t need a yard to own a dog, but the dog still needs daily exercise. A bored dog can do a lot of damage to your belongings and the apartment. There are several alternatives to a yard, including dog parks, public parks, hiking paths and dog walkers or exercisers. You could join a flyball or Disc Dog team and practice every day.

So which dog breeds are the best for apartment living? Small to medium breeds usually do better, as they need less exercise and may be less rambunctious. Some of the smaller breeds that may work for you are: Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Bulldog (French or English), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Cockapoo, Corgi, Dachshund, English Toy Spaniel, Italian Greyhound, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher, Papillion, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Poodle (Miniature, Toy, or Standard), Pug, Shih Tzu, Schnauzer, Poodle, and Terriers such as Australian, Boston, Bull, Manchester, Scottish, West Highland White and Yorkshire.

As to a list of larger dogs suitable for apartment living, I hesitate to suggest too many (other than the Greyhound, which is a great couch potato). Here are some larger size dogs that, with the proper amount of daily exercise, might do okay in an apartment: Akita, Chow Chow, Collie, Boxer, Bullmastiff or Mastiff, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, Shar Pei and Springer Spaniel.

Regardless of size, dog breeds with higher energy levels should be considered carefully. If not properly exercised and well-trained, these dogs can be unpredictable and can do unbelievable damage in a short amount of time. Smaller breeds can sometimes be trained to a litter box or pheromone scented papers, which can be helpful late at night. Some breeds are more prone to barking or making mischief than others. My best advice to you is to research breed characteristics before you adopt a dog. These are only my guidelines and you should pick the dog that is best for you and your lifestyle. You might also wish to check your local shelter to see if anyone has recently given up a dog that lived in an apartment. This way you not only get a dog used to living in an apartment, you are also saving a life.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Right Way to Discipline a Dog

By Ruthie Bently

I grew up with several dogs and got to see training methods first hand. I have seen both well trained and unruly dogs and have found that the old maxim is true: “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” As I get older, my life experiences have taught me that this is true and I have been applying it to my training methods.

Growing up, if a dog had an “accident” in the house they got their nose rubbed in it. In my mind all this resulted in was a dirty nose which had to be cleaned. One of my favorite memories (though probably not for my grandfather) happened on a Sunday morning. Grandpa was reading his paper in the living room, with it spread on the floor in front of the couch. Grandma’s dog Peggy came in, walked right over to the newspaper, and relieved herself. Grandpa started blustering for Grandma to come get her “damn” dog. Grandma picked up Peggy and dutifully carried her outside, praising her the whole time. You see, Peggy had been trained to go on newspaper and though hers was in the kitchen, she probably thought Grandpa’s paper was for her.

Growing up, if a dog chewed something “off limits” they got hit on the butt with it. I remember watching the floor near a dog being hit with the damaged item and the dog cringing. When my dog Katie’s playmate passed, she grieved and took to chewing shoes. I put them behind a closed closet door on a high shelf, and she still got to them. This taught me to take responsibility for my own actions around the house, yard and anywhere else Katie would be. Things she could reach had to be moved out of reach or it was my fault that she got them. This means if you leave your cell phone, glasses or TV remote where your dog can reach them, you have to take responsibility for your dog being able to get to them – and believe me dogs can be very inventive.

When your dog does something wrong they should be disciplined, but while they may know you are angry at them, they may not know why. Catching them in the “naughty” act is easier to discipline because if it is after the fact, they won’t understand what you are mad about. If your dog chews something inappropriate, take it away from them. Tell them “NO” in a strong voice and hand them something that is OK to chew. Using praise to get them to chew their own toy or taking them outside for a game of “catch the chewy” will help.

If you have been away and the dog had an accident in the house, you may have been gone too long. While Skye is housebroken, she does have accidents from time to time. I take any solids outside to her “potty” spot and leave them. If the stain is liquid, I mop it up, carry the paper towels outside and put them in the composter after showing Skye where she is supposed to go.

Several articles I’ve read on discipline agree that you need to take responsibility for your actions, and your dog will react to body language you project when you are angry. An angry scowl, raised voice or hands on your hips is a dead giveaway. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to smile and make nice when the dog has just done something naughty. However, beating, yelling and shouting will only make your dog more fearful of you. It also makes them less likely to come the next time they hear your angry voice. Try to keep your voice quiet and project a sense of calm when calling your dog after a misdeed, and then discipline them.

One of my clients came home one day to find that their Border Collie had torn the fringe off an antique rug in the living room. They liked the rug there and didn’t want to ban the dog from the living room. They respected their dog enough to try and figure out why it was suddenly acting out. We did some research and found that the dog had herded sheep and the rug was made of wool. The dog, trying to herd the “perceived sheep” was nipping the fringe off the rug, much as it would nip the heels of the sheep to get them to move. The rug got repaired and moved to another room.

Respecting your dog is an important aspect of proper discipline. When I trained my first dog, I added several training books to my library. Now almost thirty later I’m reading about a newer concept that makes more sense to me: respect. I’m not trying to humanize my dog but she is a sentient creature and when I treat her with respect, I get better results than if I treat her like a “dumb animal.” This means not overtraining Skye, and making sure there is a balance between training, working time and playtime. I’ve found this to be a happy medium and though we still have issues sometimes, Skye personally likes the “honey” method.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.