Category Archives: Langley Cornwell

Three Common Grooming Mistakes Dog Owners Make

grooming mapleBy Langley Cornwell

We live on the coast of South Carolina. If you are familiar with this area, you may have become acquainted with pluff mud (aka plough mud), a slippery, oozy, brownish, grayish, viscous sucking mud. This slimy mud, which is abundant around our tidal flats and salt marshes, has an accompanying aroma that is like nothing I’ve ever smelled before. I’m not sure I can accurately describe the smell in words but I can tell you this, it’s nearly impossible to wash out of dog fur. The mud itself takes a firm hand and lots of elbow grease to remove, but that smell has a lingering quality that you almost have to get used to. I often say our dogs smell like a combination of popcorn and pluff mud.

Our dogs get into pluff mud a lot. One of our favorite places to let them run is deep in a small island not far from our house. Of course the island is rife with the stuff and our dogs love to romp through it. Not to digress too far off topic, but you have to be careful around pluff mud because you can sink into it and get stuck. So can dogs. Just saying.

Every time we take the pups for off-leash playtime, we know we’re going to have a long, intense grooming session afterwards. Fortunately, they are used to the routine and understand that “if you want to play, you’ve got to pay” so they stand by patiently as we soap them up and wash them down.

If you are a new dog owner or your dog has recently discovered the joys of pluff mud (or skunk chasing or stink rolling, etc.), here are three grooming mistakes to avoid.

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestShare

The Best Halloween Costumes for Pets

By Langley Cornwell

Which one are you – a pet owner who dresses up the family dog or cat for Halloween, or a pet owner who thinks it’s a silly practice? Most people fall into one category or the other, without a lot of gray space in between. Even if you’re in the “it’s silly” camp, you have to admit that sometimes Halloween costumes for pets are funny, sometimes they’re clever and sometimes they’re downright brilliant.

Let’s Pretend

It’s popular to dress up your dog or cat as another animal. There are some precious pandas, penguins, pigs, bumblebees and sharks out there. Another standby is a lion mane costume for a cat. This Halloween costume is especially effective if the cat is an oversized orange tabby. I recently saw a plush lion’s mane on a Golden Retriever which was also cute, especially considering the dog’s loving, wistful stare (very un-lion like).

I always thought my Samoyed mix looked like a polar bear, and apparently I’m not alone. A local animal shelter recently held a Halloween costume fundraiser and the winner was a white, fluffy dog dressed like a polar bear.

There are spider costumes for every size dog. The best I’ve seen is a black Pug with black spider legs, but there was a German Shepherd dressed like a big spider with a hairy spider body and hairy spider legs. Horrifyingly cute!

Read More »

How to Talk to Your Dog

talk to dog madabandonBy Langley Cornwell

True confession time: we sing to our pets. My husband would vehemently deny that statement but it’s true, and I can prove it. In fact, we have three pets – two dogs and a cat – and we have a song for each one of them. What’s more, they all know which pet we’re singing to at any given time. Sure, each one’s song has his or her name in it, but even if we hum their specific tune, the appropriate animal responds. It’s fun for us and I think they like it, but I’m not sure.

What I am sure about is this: the way we talk (or sing) to our dog is important. It’s not just what we say but the manner in which we say it. Tone and pitch are critical in forging a strong bond and establishing good communication between you and your pet.

When talking to your dog, if you institute three different and specific tones—one for commands, one for corrections and one for praise—it will improve the flow of understanding between the two of you.

Here are some tips for how to talk to your dog:
Read More »

Best Pet Memes on the Internet

Meme_1-1By Langley Cornwell

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is looking at pet memes on various social media platforms. Inevitably, when I see a clever meme I think about how funny pets are and how creative some people can be. So I thought, let’s turn this guilty pleasure/time-wasting vortex into an article. That way, at least for today, I won’t feel bad about indulging.

Let’s begin with a definition.

Meme: The word is a derivation of the Greek word mimem which means “to imitate” or “imitated thing.” It was coined by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist from the UK, as a way to describe cultural ideas and phenomena that reproduce and spread. The creation and proliferation of memes is enhanced by the internet, and the ease in which you can share them.

With the advent of cellphone cameras, taking photos of your pets has never been easier. Most people I know have a photo roll full of adorable pet pictures. To create a meme, you just place a border around a cute or funny photo, write a caption and post it to a social media site.

Read More »

When Couples Differ on Pet Training Techniques

dog training couples andreaBy Langley Cornwell

When two people who live together decide to add a four-legged family member to the mix, the household dynamics can change dramatically. The main thing that complicates the domestic flow is that the new family member speaks a different language from everyone else in the home. The family oftentimes expects this new member to fit in seamlessly, to be obedient, to know when and where to sit, where he’s supposed eat his CANIDAE dog food and other things. They expect him to immediately understand how to behave in his new set of circumstances without being properly trained.

Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything (cough, cough) but I’ve heard that some couples have different philosophies on how to interact with this new family member. They have a different set of ideas when it comes to training techniques and methods of establishing household rules and boundaries.

Any dog will be anxious when he first arrives in his new home, and he desperately wants to please his new family. Of course he won’t know how to communicate with these strangers at first, but if the people start out giving him muddled or conflicting instructions, his anxiety will be exacerbated. Differing approaches will confuse the dog and disrupt the progress or even derail any chance he has of learning how to cohabitate with his new family harmoniously.

Read More »

How to Help Hunting Dog Breeds Enjoy Life without Hunting

hunting morrell revBy Langley Cornwell

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), in 2013, the five most popular dog breeds in the USA were Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Beagles and Bulldogs. The 2014 list has not been released yet, but it’s clear that hunting dogs were among the most popular breed last year, and they have been for many years.

Although I can’t support this supposition with data, I’d bet a majority of those hunting dogs are not used for hunting. Having shared my life with two retrievers in the past, it’s easy to understand why this breed ranks so high (usually number one or two) in popularity. They are wonderful family dogs; friendly, attractive and charming. In fact, one of the reasons hunting dogs make such good family pets is that they are genetically disposed to enjoy doing things with their people. They love any and all activities that involve human-canine bonding time. Even so, the fact remains that retrievers, hound dogs, spaniels and other dogs that belong to the sporting group are hard-wired to hunt.

The question is: can hunting dogs be happy with a life that does not involve hunting?

Of course I think the answer is yes. My retrievers were happy and healthy and lived long, comfortable lives. Dog behaviorists and experts say the same thing, that sporting dogs can absolutely be happy and fulfilled in a life that doesn’t involve actual hunting. Here’s how.
Read More »