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.
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.
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 »
Life gets busy and can sometimes be overwhelming. There is so much going on in our world, in our neighborhoods and in our households that it’s easy to get caught up in things. Let’s face it – sometimes it takes all of our focus just to get from one task to the next. Even so, your dog is counting on you to be a responsible pet owner.
It’s important to remember that your dog does not understand all of your time restrictions and commitments. He doesn’t understand that you need to work, grocery shop, exercise, socialize, attend classes, cook meals, fold laundry, clean the house, etc. He just knows that he loves you. He also knows, on some level, that he needs mental and physical stimulation as well as quality play time in order to be a happy, well-adjusted pooch. He needs to socialize with you and bond with you. It’s easy to forget this in our chaotic lives but the fact is, our pets need some of our time.
This article is getting back to basics; it’s a friendly reminder of what sharing your life with a dog should look like.
Most dogs only live 10 to 15 years, and it will go by fast. So no matter how hectic things get, carve out a bit of quality time for your dog every day. Ideally, the time of day would be similar from one day to the next, so your dog could joyfully anticipate this special time. That’s ideal but not necessary. What is necessary is that you have one-on-one time, just the two of you, and that your dog gets your undivided attention during that time.
Another consideration under the heading of “time” is this: try not to leave your dog alone for extended periods of time. These days, many dogs are at home alone during their person’s entire work day. Often they’re lonely and bored. This is a tough issue to solve, but try to make some arrangements so your dog does not languish the day away just waiting for your arrival.
Just like people, dogs need to mix things up sometimes; they like to visit new places and have new experiences. Even if they seem shy and frightened, ease your pup into new situations so he will learn to be more trusting and confident.
Additionally, dogs like to learn new tricks, especially if it means spending more time with you. Your dog will do anything to make you happy, so learning new things and then getting praise and perhaps a tasty CANIDAE grain free treat is your dog’s idea of heaven.
Dogs do not understand our words unless they are taught. They try to do what we want them to, but it’s up to us to learn how to communicate with them. I once lived with a female German shepherd who was (and probably still is) the smartest dog I’ve ever shared my life with. I used to say I didn’t need to train her because she would do anything I asked her to, if she understood my wishes. This dog was amazing and she taught me that it’s all about communication. Be patient with your dog, and learn to communicate with him/her.
Likewise, don’t get mad when your dog does something wrong. If you catch him in the act, communicate your wishes and then move on. Otherwise, take a deep breath, clean it up, and let it go.
Make sure your dog always has plenty of clean, fresh water and feed him a nutritious diet of premium dog food like CANIDAE. It’s up to you to keep his toenails clipped, his teeth healthy, his ears clean and his fur brushed (see, I told you this article was back to basics). Don’t leave a dog outside in scorching heat or frigid cold. Pay attention to his behavior and seek veterinary care if he begins to act unusual.
When you bring a new dog into your life, you make a lifetime commitment. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how basic, yet important, our responsibilities are.
A fire breaks out in your kitchen and quickly becomes larger than your fire extinguisher can handle. Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and the blare of smoke detectors. You need to get your family out fast – including your pets.
No one is ever fully prepared for the reality of a house fire, but those who are best prepared have an evacuation plan, a go-bag with important documents, and a meeting place for everyone in the house, including pets. These suggestions could help save your pet in case of a house fire.
Proper Pet Identification
Make sure all of your pets are wearing collars and/or have microchips. The sound of a fire alarm is scary and may send a skittish pet into hiding, as will the smell of smoke. Your pet may accidentally end up outside the house, or may bolt out of your grasp in the chaos. Identification will make it easier for him to be returned home if he’s found.
Having a pet identification sticker on your front window is important because it will alert the fire department that there are pets inside the house, if they don’t come out of the house with you. Write the number and type of pet (dogs, cats, etc.) on the sticker.
Leashes and Carriers
Have your leashes and carriers in easy-to-find locations. For most dogs, the leashes should be kept in common areas or near doors so you can quickly attach them before you leave the house.
Your cat carrier should be kept in a safe place, but preferably one that gives the cat constant access rather than anxiety. Many cats fear their carriers and will panic, bolt and become defensive when it comes into sight. Cats that have access to their carriers all the time are less likely to panic when you try to put them inside. If your cat is the anxious type, you may want to leave some heavy gloves near your carrier to protect you from the bites and scratches of a panicked pet.
The Family Plan: Identifying Hiding Spots
What type of plan do you have for the members of your household? It’s a good idea to have someone designated to grab the go-bag, someone responsible for making sure the kids are out of bed, and someone designated to locate the pets and usher them to safety. If there is chaos, will that person know where to look?
Pay attention to the places your pets hide when they’re scared – especially during storms. Many animals have a place where they feel safe. Your dogs and cats are likely to go to those same places, many of which – especially in the case of cats – are small and confined.
With dogs, you may try to train them for emergencies. The Emma Zen Foundation, for example, offers dog safety games you can use to teach your dog how to react in an emergency. You can train him to respond to specific commands or even a smoke detector. Training your dog to go to a specific spot will give you a great starting point when it comes to locating him in a true emergency.
If you for some reason can’t locate your pet, leave a door open when you exit the house. Your pet may run outside by himself.
Have an Emergency Kit on Hand
You should have an emergency kit for both your family and for your pets. In the pet emergency kit, include a few days’ worth of premium quality CANIDAE pet food, bottled water, copies of vaccination records, a first aid kit, an extra leash, and photographs of your pets. Some experts recommend having pictures of your pets alone in case you need to make “missing” flyers later, but also pictures of your pets with your family in case collars and tags are lost and you need a way of proving ownership.
Where Will You Go?
Finally, where will you go once you are out of the house? There will be quite a bit of chaos outside, especially after the police and fire department arrive on the scene. Do you have a pet-friendly neighbor or nearby family member who can take your pets, preferably indoors? Your pets will need a safe, quiet place where they can be kept calm throughout the ordeal.
Over 500,000 pet deaths occur each year during house fires. Taking a few precautionary measures and having a plan in place will help prevent your pet from adding to that number.
Most people who share their lives with dogs know what I mean when I say “that guilty look.” It’s the look your pet takes on when you come home to a tipped over kitchen garbage can, with the inedible remains of last night’s dinner scattered all over the floor.
When you arrive, your dog will likely greet you at the door with his head hanging low, his ears pinned back, and his eyes wide open, looking up at you. His tail may be low and wagging slowly or tucked under his behind. He may even be crouching slightly. This posture is different from his usual enthusiastic, jovial greeting that involves slobbery kisses from him and CANIDAE Pure Heaven Biscuits from you. You know, just by looking at your dog, that he feels guilty for digging through the trash, even though you know you should have wrapped up those chicken bones before throwing them into the garbage can.
Well, here’s a news flash: “that guilty look” is not what you think it is. In fact, your dog does not know he’s done anything wrong, especially if you didn’t catch him in the act, so as far as he’s concerned he doesn’t have anything to feel guilty about. And it’s time to clear up another common assumption people mistakenly make about dog behavior: dogs never do anything bad to “get back” at their owner. Your dog did not dig through the garbage because he was mad at you for leaving him at home.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.