Category Archives: Langley Cornwell

What it Means When a Dog Has “That Guilty Look”

guilty iconoclast resizedBy Langley Cornwell

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.

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Can Dogs get Hypertension?

Hypertension Scott Feldstein OKBy Langley Cornwell

Hypertension in dogs is similar to hypertension in people, but there are differences worth noting. Generally speaking, hypertension is an increase in blood pressure established over a period. The signs of hypertension in dogs are as silent as they are in humans. For many years, veterinarians did not check the blood pressure of dogs due to the lack of equipment to measure the pressure. Is your dog at risk?

The two types of high blood pressure

Primary hypertension is consistently high blood pressure readings with no obvious underlining health cause. Some breeds are more susceptible to primary hypertension, leading to the thought that there is a genetic component to the disease. According to the Canine Heath Foundation, “Dachshunds, Poodles, and certain terrier breeds have an increased risk.” Dogs usually present high reading between 2 and 14 years of age.

Secondary hypertension in dogs is more common, with about 80% of hypertension-affected dogs falling into this category. Many times, there is an underlying disease contributing to the incidence of hypertension in dogs. In fact, diabetes, kidney problems, hormone and thyroid problems may all be factors. The health of the dog becomes dependent on treating the underlying disease as well as treating the hypertension.

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What is Fly-Snapping Syndrome?

Langley's dog fly snapBy Langley Cornwell

I wanted to write this article because one of our pups has developed a new tic. At first we thought it was just another oddity specific to him, but when I researched the characteristics of his new tic, I discovered it was a real syndrome: Fly-Snapping Syndrome.

There are times when we are all relaxing in the family room and suddenly Big Al will repeatedly snap at the air as if a swarm of insects are flying around his head. He seems to focus his eyes on the area right in front of his face, and move his head around as if he’s looking at flies, even though nothing is there. Then he’ll often become fixated on staring at his front legs, as if he expects to find something crawling on them. He may start licking his front legs, and then go back to staring into space and snapping at imaginary flies. Our dog’s episodes of snapping at invisible insects can be infrequent, or can occur repeatedly throughout the day.

What are Compulsive Behaviors?

Fly-Snapping (also called fly-biting) is one of many compulsive behaviors that dogs commonly display. Other compulsive behaviors include tail chasing, spinning, pacing, toy fixation, shadow or light chasing, repeated licking, chewing or scratching, flank sucking, excessive water drinking and nonstop barking. Some dogs display compulsive behaviors over and over to the point where the behaviors interfere with their normal lives.

Compulsive canine behaviors include any repetitive actions that dogs perform unprompted. Normal dogs may engage in similar activities, but they usually do so in response to specific triggers and not compulsively.

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Tips to Curb Puppy Biting and Aggression

puppy biting airbeagleBy Langley Cornwell

Puppies are curious. Much like infants, they spend a lot of time and energy  investigating the world around them via their mouths. When they are small, it’s fairly easy to dodge the needle-sharp teeth. Some people even think it’s cute when a puppy gets all mouthy. It may be cute in puppies but make no mistake about it; you need to stop these early signs of aggression before that innocent little puppy grows into an adult dog, or you will regret it.

This mouthy behavior starts early. In the litter, puppies bite in a playful way to establish hierarchy. They snap and nip each other to test their strength and assert their dominance. When they are weaned from their mother and separated from their litter mates, it’s natural for puppies to take this behavior with them. So when you’re cuddling and cooing over the newest member of your household, beware – you may get a sharp nip on the tip of your nose.

While the biting may seem harmless, it can escalate into real aggression as the puppy becomes bolder. That’s why it’s necessary to teach your dog to curb this behavior early on. Here are some tips and tricks that will help.

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How to Choose the Right Collar and Lead for Your Dog

collar maja dumatBy Langley Cornwell

Using the right dog collar and lead is important. It’s a tool you probably utilize every day when you take your pup out of the house; it’s required by law in most areas. And if your dogs are anything like mine, it’s the one thing (besides their CANIDAE dog food!) they have the biggest reaction to. When I pull out their leashes, it’s on. The house is filled with doggie happiness.

Choosing the right products are confusing, though. I remember a time when there weren’t so many options. Basic collars and leashes were the only things on the market, and the only choices you had were color and pattern. Times have changed and now there are so many options it can be overwhelming. Even more confusing—everyone has a strong opinion about what is “best.” With all the options and opinions out there, how do you decide?

Like most things, it depends on your purpose and your dog. Here are a few useful options on the market today.

Basic Collar and Leash

The basic collar fits comfortably around your dog’s neck and either buckles or snaps together. The basic leash is usually flat, 6-feet long and made of woven cotton or nylon. Regardless of the type of dog collar and lead you use on a daily basis, it’s good to have a basic set on hand. The basic leash is useful because of its versatility. Aside from the ability to walk your dog with it, in an emergency situation you can make a slip lead or a muzzle out of it.

This combination is best for calm, easygoing dogs without obedience problems. The basic collar and leash are not helpful for training purposes, so if that’s what you need, keep reading.

Snap-around Collar or Slip Lead

For dogs that require a few corrections along the walk, many experts recommend either a snap-around collar or a slip lead. These tools work great if your dog is easily distracted by joggers, bicyclers, squirrels, other dogs, etc., because the collar allows for quick corrections.

The snap-around collar can be fitted for your particular dog, while a slip lead is generic. Used correctly, a snap-around collar should fit high on your dog’s neck, just below her ears. It should be snug but not tight. On the other hand, slip leads are easy to put on and can be used for any size dog. Try both options and see which one you and your dog respond the best to.

With either a snap-around collar or slip lead, you must be cautious. These options should only be used for training purposes and not as your dog’s regular collar or lead.

collar kimberly gauthierHarness and Flat Lead

A harness and flat lead are the best option for brachycephalic dogs: Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and other breeds with pushed-in faces. They are also recommended for dog breeds that are likely to have throat or trachea problems like Pomeranians, and dogs with long, slender necks, like Greyhounds.

A standard harness that rubs between a dog’s front legs can stimulate her instinct to pull, which is good if you want your dog to pull you while you skate or ride your bike. If that’s not your goal, then look for a harness with a non-pull design which goes high around her chest and behind her front legs (instead of between her legs).

These are just some of the hundreds of the collar and lead options available today. You may have to try a few different types before you settle on what works best. In all cases, the leash and collar are important communication vehicles between you and your four-legged friend, and should be used with love and respect. For safety’s sake, when you are not training your dog make sure she has on a standard collar with ID tags attached.

What about you? Please tell us what’s your favorite dog collar and leash, and why?

Top photo by Maja Dumat
Bottom photo by Kimberly Gauthier

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Three Unusual Cat Breeds

By Langley Cornwell

One of the biggest time drains I’m faced with on a daily basis is the trap of looking at cat photos on social media sites. Not surprisingly, most of my connections are animal lovers. They post loads of pictures of their cats being precious and, no matter how many deadlines I have looming, I cannot turn away. It’s like the Siren Song. And yes, I’ll admit it; I’m just as guilty as my friends. If I didn’t exercise some restraint, I’d post multiple pictures of our kitty all throughout the day. I just want everybody to see how darn cute he is when he’s lying on a pile of laundry or hiding in a box or opening a drawer or smoking a catnip cigar or snuggling with our dogs or… oh, sorry. I get carried away.

So, the other day I was sucked into the cat-viewing vortex when I came upon a friend’s photo of a cat she was fostering. This little guy is the weirdest looking cat I’ve ever seen. We tried to identify what breed combination he is but came up short. During this exercise I did learn that there are less than a hundred cat breeds in existence, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association only recognizes 40 breeds officially. Of those 40 different breeds, most of them look fairly similar.

There are a handful of cat breeds, however, that don’t look like other cats. Through genetic mutations and selective breeding, some of these cats have turned out rather odd-looking. Here are three of the most unusual.

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