How Dogs Walk Their Humans

dog walk takashiBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs love going for a walk with their human companions. Who is really walking who, though? We often delude ourselves into thinking we are in charge. It may be more a case of how dogs walk their humans than vice versa. No matter how well trained your dog is or how well they follow your lead, in the end they still get their way, whether by reward or the basic fact that they are on a walk with their human companion. The next time you head out for a walk, think about it from your dog’s point of view.

Anticipation

Say the word “walk” and chances are your dog has learned to associate that particular word with the very fun activity of going exploring outside. Their ears lift, their tail wags and they may jump around in anticipation, barely able to sit still long enough to get the leash put on. Their excitement inevitably makes you smile and be happy to go with them. See – they just rewarded you. Now who is training who, you say? “Very good!”

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5 Reasons Dogs Should Wear a Life Vest for Water Activities

dog lifejacket jenBy Linda Cole

Not all canines can swim, even some that are considered to be “water dogs.” Some breeds aren’t suited for swimming, and dogs with health issues, puppies and older canines can be put at risk. Boaters are required by law to provide a life vest for each person on board. A pet life vest is equally important if you take your dog with you on a boat or spend an afternoon swimming and playing at the beach or pool.

Boating is a fun summertime activity as long as everyone on board stays safe, including pets. Swimming can also pose a danger to dogs if the body of water has strong currents, like rivers or the ocean. Life vests can save lives. Here are five good reasons why your dog should wear a life vest when enjoying water activities.

Swimming Ability

Dog breeds bred to work in water have water resistant coats, webbed feet, and a tail that works like a rudder. Even though these breeds are comfortable in water and considered strong swimmers, they can still run into trouble in some circumstances, especially if they become fatigued. Dogs that have a large chest and small hindquarters are top heavy and not strong swimmers. Bulldogs, Boxers and Dachshunds have a hard time trying to stay afloat and are more apt to sink like a rock. Dogs with pushed-in noses and short-legged breeds tire easily.

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Decoding a Dog’s Sense of Smell

dog decode smell padBy Langley Cornwell

Dogs and humans share three senses—hearing, smelling and seeing—but we rely on them in different ways, or rather, with different levels of dependence. For the majority of humans, hearing is their primary sense followed by seeing and lastly, smelling. There are some humans who are more visually focused and take in and process visual information before auditory information but as a general rule, the order of sensory dependence is hearing, seeing and then smelling.

A dog, on the other hand, primarily relies on his sense of smell. For our canine friends, the order of sensory dependence is smelling, seeing and then hearing. Amazingly, our dogs receive and understand as much information via smelling as we do via sight!

A dog’s reliance on the nose starts at a young age. When puppies are born, their eyes are closed and their ears are stopped up. Even so, they are born with heat sensors in their noses which help them locate their mother in order to nurse. These heat sensors fade with time, and fully adult dogs no longer have this ability.

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Should You Let Your Dog Drink From Lakes or Rivers?

dog drinks michelleBy Linda Cole

Dogs are notorious for eating some disgusting things at times, which gives a false impression they must have a cast iron stomach. So it’s easy for dog owners to assume that a natural water source like a pond, river, stream or lake is safe for Fido to drink out of. However, there can be some nasty things lurking in the water that can harm your dog and put you at risk of developing a disease, as well. As responsible pet owners, we must beware of bacteria, parasites and chemicals that could be lurking in outdoor water sources.

There’s a reason we need to boil water taken from a natural water source before drinking it, and it’s the same reason pet owners shouldn’t allow their dog or cat to drink from ponds, streams, rivers or other water sources. Different bacteria species like E. coli and Leptospirosis, which are zoonotic diseases, can live in water and may pose a health risk to pets, along with other types of bacteria and infection-causing parasites like Giardia. Very young or very old dogs, and canines with depressed immune systems are at greater risk of developing medical concerns. Also keep in mind that boiling water won’t remove any chemicals present in it.

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How to Get Your Cat to Be More Affectionate

cat affectionate maggieBy Julia Williams

Contrary to what those tired old stereotypes say (cats are aloof; cats want to be left alone; cats don’t bond with people, etc.), many felines are total love bugs. Many cats crave affection from humans and will return the love. However, because every cat is an individual, some will naturally be more affectionate than others. It depends on several factors. Some things simply can’t be changed, such as inborn personality traits and the way they were treated in the past by other humans before you. Luckily, a third factor – the things you do with and for your cat – can absolutely change the level of affection you get from them. It may take time, patience, understanding and determination, but improvements can be made. Here are some things you can do to develop a stronger bond with your cat and encourage them to be more affectionate.

Meet Their Basic Needs

This has to be the very first thing, because when you meet your cat’s needs they are happy. And a happy cat will naturally feel more affectionate toward the humans who are meeting her needs. See how it’s all one big circle? So make sure the litterbox is scooped daily and provide several types of scratching posts, an assortment of cat toys, access to fresh clean water, and a high quality food in the flavors your cat finds palatable.

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Iconic Dogs Found in Literature

iconic dogs grandpafootsoldierBy Langley Cornwell

During this time of year, it’s so hot where I live that if I’m not working in my home office, chances are good that I’m tucked into a nook somewhere with a fan blowing in my face and a book glued to my hands. My summer reading list has revealed some memorable protagonists, and not all of them are of the two-legged variety. In fact, some of my favorite characters, not surprisingly, happen to be four-legged.

That’s right, in some books dogs play an essential role in the plot progression. Sometimes the entire story centers on the canine, while in other stories he is merely doing what he does best, being a faithful companion and loyal sidekick to his human. Here are a few of my favorite dogs found in literature.

Buck

With a list like this, you almost have to start with Buck from Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. This canine was a principal character in this classic 1903 book. Buck was living a leisurely life as a domesticated dog during the Klondike Gold Rush period when, being a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix, he was stolen and forced to work as a sled dog. This heroic one-time-pet begins to transform into a more primal, animalistic creature in order to survive at the hands of cruel humans and conditions.

Finally, Buck is rescued by John Thornton and the two forge an incredibly close relationship. Buck gets the chance to repay the debt by rescuing Thornton from a frozen river. But in the end, Buck’s beloved human is killed and he returns to his primal nature by answering the call of the wild. I fell in love with Buck the first time I read his name, and have loved him ever since. As you can probably tell, this book had a profound effect on me as a child.

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