Category Archives: Snap-Bits

Should Dogs Make New Year’s Resolutions?

By Keikei Cole, canine guest blogger

Humans make lists for everything. There’s the grocery list, to-do list, bucket list, Christmas wish list, and the granddaddy of all lists – New Year’s resolutions.

The Boss and her friend were talking about their New Year’s resolutions the other day. I rolled my eyes as I munched on a CANIDAE Snap-Bits treat. As I helped myself to another one, I thought about what would be on my list. Even a dog can bark out resolutions!

Let me think. What could a sweet, innocent, quiet and obedient doggy resolve to do? I suppose I could try harder to control my herding instincts, but it’s so much fun. Do you have any idea how challenging it is to herd cats and humans? My favorite part is the stare down, and the racing around; oh, and the barking – I really love the barking part. I keep practicing my moves, just in case the Boss finds some sheep to rescue, and to stay in shape. I’ll have to think about this one some more.

I know I’m not supposed to bark at night when I’m outside ’cause it might wake up the entire neighborhood, anyway that’s what the Boss keeps saying. But darn it…when a cat or possum or deer is traipsing through MY yard – it’s my duty to send out the alarm. It would go against the “Doggy Code” (an ancient pact canines have followed for centuries) to allow any critters to pass by without me giving them a piece of my mind and letting them know I mean business. So if the Boss thinks I’m going to make a resolution to go against the Code, she’s bonkers.

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Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease

By Langley Cornwell

One of the ways we are similar to dogs is the construction and function of our vertebral column, otherwise known as our backbone or spinal column. Human and canine backbones are made up of vertebrae that are separated by spongy disks which have a jelly-like core. These jelly-like disks cushion the individual vertebrae and make it possible for our backs to bend, twist and flex with ease. This cushioning also makes it possible for us to distribute and carry the load of our weight comfortably while we go about our days.

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a disorder where these jelly-like disks located between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (usually referred to as a herniated or slipped disk). When that happens, they push into the spinal cord space and press on the nerves that run through the spinal cord. This condition can cause back pain, nerve damage and even paralysis.

I learned more than I wanted to know about intervertebral disc disease in dogs a while back. At the time, I lived with my two lab mix dogs and a roommate that had a cocker spaniel. This cocker was a high-energy, yippy dog that demanded a lot of attention.

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Training Games for Shy Dogs

My shy pup Frosty

By Langley Cornwell

Even though I’ve had all types of dogs come in and out of my life, this is the first time I’ve ever had a shy, fearful dog. Because I like to write about what I know (or need to know), I’ve spent hours researching, studying and writing about shy, fearful dogs. In doing so, it’s been interesting to note how many shy dogs are out there, and how many compassionate humans are searching for ways to make their shy dog’s life easier and richer.  

In How to Train a Fearful or Insecure Dog, I wrote about our shy pup Frosty, and shared what’s been working for us. We’ve made good progress, but we still have a long road ahead of us. So now we’re learning a few training games.

One of the biggest problems Frosty has is interacting with other people. With a lot of patience and the help of some awesome dog-people, she’s finally learned good doggie social skills. She greets other dogs correctly and does fine in any canine-to-canine situation. But when it comes to dealing with strangers, look out! She either cowers and shakes or she cops a lunging posture, hackles raised, and starts to bark aggressively. My husband thinks she likes dogs but doesn’t like people. I think we can help her with that. asserts that teaching your dog how to communicate with people is a vital milestone in their journey towards becoming a healthy, well-adjusted dog – so that’s where we’re focusing our attention. They outline two training games that are particularly helpful when working with a shy dog.

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How to Choose a Healthy Pet Treat

By Julia Williams

When I give my kitties their nightly snack of TidNips treats, I feel like the best Cat Mom in the world. It’s not because they love these treats (well, of course they do!) or that they all prance around the kitchen doing the feline version of Dancing with the Stars (it’s quite the lavish production!). It’s not because their exuberant meows and purrs let me know they think these things are the best invention since catnip. It’s because I know I’m giving them a treat that not only tastes good to them and makes them unabashedly happy, but they’re healthy for them too. June Cleaver would approve of TidNips, I’m sure of it!

As we all know, our pets –though most are highly intelligent creatures capable of doing amazing things – can’t as yet read nutrition labels. I wouldn’t put it past them to learn how to do that one day, but right now their only criteria for food and treats is that they taste good. Smart humans that we are, we know there are lots of things that taste good but aren’t necessarily good for us. Sure, sometimes we eat them anyway simply because we like the taste. And while I suppose you could do that with pet treats too, there is no reason to – because good, healthy treats exist, and your pet will love them just as much as any treat that has icky ingredients they shouldn’t be eating.

If a responsible pet owner goes to the trouble of feeding a high quality food because they want their four-legged friend to be in good health, why wouldn’t their standards be just as high for their pet’s treats? One reason is that while many pet owners will take the time to carefully research a particular brand of pet food before deciding to buy it, they don’t always do the same thing for treats. Pet treats are sometimes viewed as the potato chip or candy equivalent, i.e. a “treat” so it doesn’t have to be healthy. Personally, I view treats as an important part of a healthy diet, and I wouldn’t buy my cats “junk” treats even if they meowed for them by name.

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How to Help Your Dog Overcome a Fear of Water

By Ruthie Bently

Why are some dogs afraid of water? I have read that some breeds are predisposed to a fear of water, but I don’t agree with that. If a dog is afraid of water, many experts feel it is because they had a bad experience when they were younger. Another reason a dog may be afraid of water is because they don’t know what it is. Water comes in several forms and is found in many places and situations.

A dog growing up in a kennel situation, going outside to go potty in a cement run covered from the weather will have no experience with wet grass on their paws or feeling snow or raindrops on their skin. It makes sense that a dog in that situation would not have any experience with water and may not understand it. I think instinct may have to do with the initial fear of water some dogs have. If a dog is wary of something they don’t understand and keeps their distance, it is less apt to harm them.

Wolves are not afraid of water and they have to hunt to feed their families whether it is raining or snowing. They cover long distances and depending on the season have to cross water, ice and snow to get from one place to another. Our domestic dogs haven’t had to live outdoors for hundreds of years and are no longer as in tune to the changes in weather that their wild counterparts are. Don’t get me wrong, dogs do feel the barometric pressure change when a storm is moving in. However, most are inside where the temperature is constant and they don’t feel the cold or heat of the day; and they don’t sit watching the weather outside change.

How do you get your dog used to water? You can train your dog to be accepting of water gradually, using understanding, patience, praise and dog treats as bait (if you need them). It may take several tries if they have gotten scared by water in the past. Try not to become frustrated if it doesn’t happen the way you want the first time you try it. If your dog is afraid of rain, take their favorite toy outside and play a game with them while it is raining. You can use this method when it is snowing too; just make sure you can see the toy in the snow. Praise them and offer a treat when they bring the toy back. If they have a problem with dewy grass, take them for a walk in the early morning or invite one of their dog friends over for an early morning play session while the grass is still wet. They will be interested in playing and forget about the wet grass.

Maybe your dog is fearful of taking a bath because they fell in the bathtub when they were young, went under and got a mouth full of water. Try getting them used to shallow water using a kiddie pool with a piece of non-skid shelf liner in the bottom so they won’t fall. Fill it with a few inches of water, get in and coax them in with you using a treat. Gently apply water to them and show them it isn’t as scary as they think. If you have a small dog, use a dishpan filled with warm water instead.

If your dog is afraid of water in general, try taking them to a lake with a beach or a gentle sloping bank that allows them to walk in on their own. Plan your trip on a day when the wind is calm, so there will be less wave action that may make them nervous. Attach a six foot lead to their collar and use praise and a treat to coax them into the water. If they don’t want to enter the water don’t force the issue. Return another day and repeat the exercise.

Skye is one of those dogs that isn’t entirely sure about water. She’s not afraid of a bath, though she is glad when it is over. She doesn’t like rain but she loves playing in the snow and has to be cajoled to come back inside. I had to teach Skye about the water in her kiddie pool but she goes charging into the river when we take a walk there. She wasn’t always so accepting of water, but over time she discovered that it isn’t the demon she thought it was. By understand your dog and using patience, praise and treats, you can help a dog who is fearful of water, learn to enjoy getting wet.

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.

Is Your Dog Right or Left Footed?

By Ruthie Bently

I never considered that my dog might favor one foot over the other until I noticed it firsthand. Just as humans have a dominant hand and are either right or left-handed, so do our pets. Dogs have a dominant foot, either right or left. I first became interested one day watching Skye climb the attic stairs; she always began (led) with her left foot. This made me wonder if she favored one foot over the other, so I watched her and found out that she did. When we are outside playing and I toss her ball, she goes racing up to it and hits it with her left foot first to get it to spin. When she is investigating something in the yard and wants to turn it over, she uses her left foot.

That made me curious as to how many other dogs are right or left-pawed, what the percentage of right over left might be, and if there were there any ambidextrous dogs. According to one report I read from 2001, dogs are about 80% right footed and 20% left footed. According to a study conducted by psychologists of Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, female dogs are right-footed and males are left-footed until they are spayed or neutered. Then the report says the differences disappear and it further suggests that hormones play a part in whether a dog is right or left-footed. That theory goes out the window with Skye. She is spayed and she is definitely a left-footed dog.

Using one paw in favor of the other is called lateralization, and until recently most scientists thought our animals were ambidextrous. Now they are finding that we are not the only species on the planet to favor one hand (or paw) over the other. It is believed that favoring one foot over the other improves an animal’s chances to find a mate, forage for food or escape predators. Do our left-footed companions suffer from the same stigmas as left-handed people used to? Not according to the faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. They say left-pawed dogs are favored for training as guide and police dogs.

So how do you discover if your dog is right or left-pawed? Here is a test to help you find out. You need a tube and several dog treats. The tube can be made of either cardboard or plastic; I used the tube from a roll of gift wrap. It should be wide enough for your dog to reach into with their paw but not their head. I tried this test and used CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ which worked great. Put the treat in the end of the tube and hold the tube out to your dog, making sure they can see the treat. Encourage them to get the treat. Do this test three times with three treats. If your dog is afraid of the tube, try setting the treat about six inches in from the edge of a piece of furniture within your pet’s reach, and watch what happens. Which paw does your pet use to reach for the treat?

If your dog uses their right paw most of the time, they are probably right-footed. If your dog uses their left paw most of the time, they are left-footed. If they don’t seem to have a preference and use both paws to reach the treat, they are probably ambidextrous. I am sure there will be more research into this subject in the future. It is also thought that the research done so far will further dog training and the appropriate age to train a dog (as it refers to being right or left-footed), as well as improving the bond between people and their dogs.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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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.