Can Dogs Recognize Kind-Hearted and Generous People?

By Linda Cole

In the canine world, communication is through yips, growls, barks, and an expert ability to decipher body language. You may not realize your dog watches what you do during social interactions with other people, but just by observing how we treat each other, our canine friends can identify people who might be helpful. A recent study found that dogs can recognize someone who is kind-hearted and generous.

Generosity comes from a Latin word “generosus” which means “of noble birth.” The definition of generosity evolved in the 1600s to mean “a nobility of spirit” which was still associated with people born into the upper class, but it was used to define admirable qualities for an individual person rather than their family history. Generosity eventually evolved sometime in the 1700s to define someone who willingly gives their time, money and possessions to others. Today, we view someone who shows generosity to others as being kind-hearted and helpful – a quality dogs can also understand and recognize.

Social eavesdropping is something we all engage in. It might be a conversation heard between two people standing behind you in a line, or an intentional act of listening to a private conversation. People watching is also a form of eavesdropping. We use our people watching skills to make a judgment call, such as deciding which person in a group would be more helpful and friendly.

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Overcoming Ailurophobia (Fear of Cats)

By Julia Williams

Your first thought when reading that title might well have been “A fear of WHAT?” After all, cats are cute, cuddly, and basically harmless, right? How could anyone be afraid of a small furry creature like a cat?

Now…Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) – oh heck yes! Just this morning, a spider-like ball of fuzz leapt out of my kitchen cupboard and I just about had a heart attack. Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), Acrophobia (fear of heights) and even Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) also make perfect sense to me.

Ailurophobia (fear of cats), however, is another story. Yet for those who suffer from it, the fear of cats is every bit as intense and real as any other phobia. Ailurophobia may not make a Top Ten Phobias list, but it’s actually fairly common.

Phobias are defined as a persistent, extreme and irrational fear of something. Phobias are considered a type of anxiety disorder; exposure to a feared object, activity or situation can cause sweating, shaking, heart palpitations, loss of breath, dry mouth, incoherence and panic attacks.

Ailurophobia then, is an intense feeling of fear at the sight of a cat, whether that’s in person, on TV or in a photo. In extreme cases, just thinking about a cat – or even a kitten – can cause a reaction. A person with Feline Phobia might understand intellectually that the tiny, purring ball of fur poses no real danger, but they react to the stimuli nonetheless.

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How to Get the Most Out of Dog Walks

By Langley Cornwell

Springtime is right around the corner, and the weather will be ideal for spending more time outside walking with your dog. You wouldn’t think walking a dog could be overly complicated. You just strap on a leash and head out the door, right? Well, not exactly. If you want the walk to be safe and relaxing for you and satisfying for your dog, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

Bring the Necessities

If you’re going for a walk in warm weather or if you’re planning to be outside for a while, bring along a bottle filled with enough water for you and your dog to drink.

Also, bring along some high value dog treats like CANIDAE Bakery Snacks. Dog walks are a great time to brush up on your dog’s obedience skills; stop at random times to practice basic sits, downs and stays. If you’re working on new tricks, being outside is a good time to practice them because of the additional distractions. What’s more, the added fun of working on skills (and getting treats!) will further reinforce for your dog how enjoyable walks can be.

Don’t forget some type of poop bags. It’s a good idea to bring extras, just in case.

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How the St. Bernard Became a Search and Rescue Dog

By Linda Cole

The St. Bernard is a gentle giant today, but in the early years these dogs were smaller and much less refined as a breed. Monks living and working in the Alps were the first to discover the extraordinary ability of the St. Bernard in locating lost travelers passing through the mountains. The breed began as a hospice dog, but became a top notch search and rescue dog because of their unique talents. “Barry of the Great St. Bernard” is a 1977 Disney movie based on the real Barry, who is the most famous St. Bernard of all time.

Located between Switzerland and Italy, the Great Saint Bernard Pass is a 49 mile route used by travelers for centuries to cross over the Western Alps. At 8,000 feet above sea level, there’s only a few months out of the year when it’s snow free. An Augustine monk, St. Bernard de Menthon, established a hospice and monastery in the mountains around 1050, to provide shelter and food to travelers using the snowy pass.

It’s believed the first dogs, used as guard dogs as well as pets, were brought to the monastery between 1660 and 1670. The first St. Bernard dogs were smaller than the breed is today, with a shorter coat and longer tail. In the mid 1700s, guides were sent out to find people needing help to make their way to the monastery. Wide-chested dogs went ahead of them to plow out a path, making it easier for travelers to follow.

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Do Dogs Respond to Music?

By Laurie Darroch

When you put on a CD or turn on the radio, you may notice that your dog responds to the sound of the music, but they may be responding more to each individual piece than one style of music.

Every dog is an individual, much like every human. Depending on the dog, they may respond differently to different kinds of music. Many people choose to leave the radio on for their dog while they are away from home, and pick what they think will be soothing for their dog. Even within particular types of music though, the styles and sounds can be very different. Classical music, for example, can range from soothing and calming to bold and brassy loud. It isn’t so much the style or genre of music, but the tones of individual pieces that may affect how your dog reacts to the sounds she is hearing.

Music that has short, repetitive notes is more stimulating than music with drawn out notes, which is more likely to be calming. The tempo or speed may also affect your dog. Music that is close to their breathing rate or heartbeat is more calming. Music that is more frenetic is more likely to stimulate them. The volume matters too.

If you want to play soothing music for your dog, try recording your own compilation of calming musical pieces, not just a random radio station that might play music with a wide range of tempo, volume and style. Observe how your dog reacts to it.

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Can We Unintentionally Hurt Our Dog’s Spirit?

By Linda Cole

Most dog owners view their pets as important and valued members of their family, and we’d never do something intentionally that would hurt our dog’s spirit. We may not always understand why dogs behave in certain ways, but dogs don’t understand some of the things we do either. How we interact with a dog matters, and sometimes our actions can unintentionally hurt his spirit.

Taking away food or toys to establish leadership

Food aggression and guarding toys can be a problem that may result in an aggressive reaction towards you, another person or pet. Addressing bad behavior by taking away his CANIDAE food or toys while your dog is still eating or playing won’t change his behavior, and can actually make it worse. He doesn’t have any idea why you “stole” his supper or toy. If it’s repeated on a regular basis, from your dog’s point of view he has a good reason why he needs to be on guard. It doesn’t establish you as the leader, and you risk losing your dog’s trust. To him you’re being disrespectful.

There’s no reason why he should object to you being near his food or toys if he sees you as his leader. You have to earn his respect through training, commitment, patience and positive reinforcement. Teaching your dog what you will and won’t allow gives him boundaries. You can unintentionally cause frustration and stress if you constantly remove his food or toys just to show him you can. If your dog shows unwanted behavior you don’t know how to correct, talk to your vet or a certified animal behaviorist. Resource guarding can be corrected without stressing out your pet.

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