I was watching a program on TV awhile back about birds. At one point I noticed several of my cats sitting in front of the TV watching intently. Other than a rare quick glance at the cats, my dogs didn’t pay any attention to the program we were watching. Cats have a tendency to watch TV more than dogs, because it’s easier for them to view what’s on the screen.
We can thank a handful of inventors for coming up with the idea for television, but the person credited with sending the first successful transmission on September 7, 1927 goes to Philo Farnsworth. He was a 14 year old high school student when he began to dream about the concept of TV while living on a farm that had no electricity. Ironically, after his invention became commonplace, Farnsworth wouldn’t let his children watch TV because he believed the programming was too dumbed down.
Radio waves fly through the air at the speed of light as patterns of unseen electricity and magnetism. When you turn on your television, a series of tiny dots of light called pixels flash on the screen in a specific pattern according to the video signal received. The patterns are seen by our eyes and transmitted to the brain where the tiny dots are organized into an image we recognize. We see movement because the image on the TV screen is refreshed hundreds of times a second, giving the illusion of movement. We don’t notice it because it’s faster than our eyes can see.
We all have little habits that can be annoying. Those closest to us may or may not point them out, and often we aren’t even aware of things we do that irritate others. Some of our imperfect human habits can even annoy our dogs. Of course, our canine friends overlook most of our little imperfections, although they would appreciate it if we could see things from their point of view.
Don’t tell me what you want – show me
Talking to your dog is important, and it can help make him smarter when you teach him names of family members, other pets, toys, shapes and common objects around the house. The sound of your voice makes him happy, and your tone of voice helps him understand commands, praise and when you’re unhappy with him. However, verbal communication will never replace body language, from a dog’s point of view.
So often, our words don’t match our body language and we end up sending confusing instructions. A good example is asking your dog to stay while leaning towards him with your hand held up like a school crossing guard stopping cars. Your body language is indicating you want your dog to come, not stay. Talk less during training sessions and use your body language to send signals your dog understands much better. You might be surprised to discover how easy it is to communicate with your dog without talking to him.
Dogs are complicated individuals with their own unique and sometimes puzzling behaviors. Why dogs do the things they do is something all pet owners ponder from time to time. Thankfully, we have Google to help – they put together the top ten most searched questions about dogs in 2014.
10. Why do dogs bury bones? This behavior is called hoarding or caching, and goes back to early ancestors of dogs. Stashing food protects it from other animals that want to steal it. Uneaten prey and bones were hidden in a cache near the den. Burying the leftovers helped preserve a kill because it was cooler underground and hidden from flies and other insects. When prey was scarce, dogs could go back to their cache for something to eat. Most dogs today have plenty to eat, but the instinct to bury food is a hardwired behavior, which is why you may find stashes of CANIDAE kibble hidden around your home.
9. How to introduce dogs? Each dog is an individual, and knowing what he likes and dislikes, how he plays, what his energy level is, and how well he was socialized with other animals are all pluses when you decide to add a second dog to your home. Introducing a new dog to one already in your home should be done calmly, slowly and with patience. Pay careful attention to the body language of both dogs and never leave them unsupervised until they are comfortable and calm with each other.
One challenge many dog owners have is trying to keep their inquisitive canine out of the trash can. Cats will also poke around in a wastebasket searching for something fun to play with or eat – and then blame it on the dog. Finding trash scattered all over the floor is not something you want to see as soon as you get home. However, there’s a right and wrong way to deal with the issue and prevent your pet from digging through the trash.
Perfecting the art of dumpster diving is most likely how both dogs and cats became domesticated. Of course, back then the dumpster was nothing more than piles of trash outside a village where canines and felines had no problem scavenging for food. The aroma of trash isn’t pleasant to us, but all of the intriguing smells can certainly capture the attention of animals searching for a meal.
Trash cans contain a wide variety of smells our pets find enticing. Chicken bones, meat scraps, meat wrappers and soiled paper towels provide a mixture of scents few pets can resist. If you have a separate bin for recyclables, it too has smells that draw pets to it. However, when a dog or cat digs through the trash to find something fun to play with or eat, it can put them at risk of developing serious health issues. Pets that find tin cans or lids to lick can end up with a cut tongue or gums and worse if they manage to ingest part of the can or eat plastic they found in recyclables. Garbage cans may also contain bits of string, dental floss, people food that’s toxic to pets and old or unused medications.
Growing older begins the minute we are born, and how we deal with the aging process depends on our perception of age, which is just a number. Eventually, though, the time comes when we begrudgingly admit we aren’t as young as we used to be. Like us, our pets can experience vision and hearing impairments. Changes in vision can be a normal part of aging for our dogs and cats, but could also be an early sign of something more serious. It’s important to understand what you see when gazing into your older pet’s eyes. There are two reasons why their eyes can look cloudy.
Also called lenticular sclerosis or lenticular nuclear sclerosis, this is a normal part of the aging process. Tissue fibers are constantly forming on the lens during a dog or cat’s lifetime, but as they age these fibers push toward the center of the lens and become more concentrated. They form layers around the center of the lens sort of like the layers of an onion, and are transparent when dogs and cats are younger. The lens also loses moisture as pets grow older. Because the cells get denser as pets age, the lenses are less transparent and takes on a hazy blueish look.
In the summer of 2013, an 18 month old Shepherd mix named Butler found himself in a Charlotte, NC shelter. When representatives from The Weather Channel (TWC) and the American Humane Association (AHA) visited the shelter, Butler had no way of knowing that this encounter would change his life and set him on a path to become a canine hero as The Weather Channel’s official therapy dog.
Natural disasters happen and your best defense is to have a plan, an emergency kit for your family and pets, and safe shelter for all. Recently, I talked with Butler’s owner/trainer/handler, Dr. Amy McCullough from the AHA, to learn more about the importance of therapy dogs in helping victims of natural disasters.
For the past few years, the AHA and TWC have provided tips for pet owners on disaster preparedness and related content online. In late 2013 they joined forces on a new initiative to help communities before and after a storm with lifesaving information, along with reaching out to help storm victims recover and heal. Butler’s role will be to provide animal-assisted therapy to those who need a comforting paw.
Amy was a member of the team that was searching shelters nationwide for just the right dog. “In addition to viewers submitting photos and videos of potential candidates online, I visited four shelters in four states in four days, meeting over 100 dogs. Butler was the second dog I met, and I knew he was the one.” The right dog needed to be at least a year old, in good health, able to get along well with other dogs, remain calm and enjoy meeting new people. “When I met Butler, he was playing with his friends in the shelter, but kept coming up to me seeking attention and affection,” Amy said. She adopted Butler, her third therapy dog, on January 22, 2014.
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.