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Fun Indoor Dog Games

Friday, January 24th, 2014

You’re a great pet parent. Your pup eats only the healthiest of dog foods, and follows the perfect exercise regimen for his age and energy level. Unfortunately, winter or bad weather any time of year can throw a wrench into your morning jogs or afternoon walk routine. Have you ever spent a snow day stuck indoors with an un-exercised energetic dog? As the “fur mom” of a 1-year-old adopted Boxer mix, I can personally tell you that it’s a bit like spending an afternoon with a sugared-up toddler! I love my pup so much, but when we’re snowed in and he can’t get his daily exercise, he will get into anything and everything, run in circles around my living room, and won’t stop whining. Fortunately for me, and other pet parents of higher energy dogs, you can give your dog a full physical and mental workout indoors with just a few commands and toys. Here are three games you can play indoors with your dog, no matter what Mother Nature is doing outside. As with any physical activity, both you and your dog should start out slowly with the intensity and duration of any exercise, and build up your strength and stamina slowly over time.


Playing search with your dog is a great way to exercise physically and mentally. As your dog becomes more adept at finding, you can increase the difficulty of the game by using harder hiding spots.

  1. Name one of your dog’s toys. For this exercise, we’ll call his bunny toy Bunny.
  2. Ask your dog to sit and stay. Let him sniff Bunny. Tell him, “This is Bunny”. Walk away a few paces and drop Bunny at your feet. Call your dog and tell him to “Find Bunny.”
  3. When your dog runs over and “finds” Bunny, give him a treat and praise.
  4. As your dog gets more comfortable finding Bunny, hide the toy out of sight in other rooms in increasingly difficult hiding spots.

Search games can take many forms. You can hide treats around the house for your dog to find. Or train his nose with a modified version of the shell game with kitchen pots.


The Statue Game

A great way to burn off excess energy and focus on training is the statue game. The goal of the game is to get your dog wound up and then having her respond immediately to a sit and stay command. So they need to have a good understanding of the sit and stay command first, before trying this game. This teaches her valuable listening skills for situations when she is overly excited.

  1. Start dancing or jumping around with your dog to get his or her energy up.
  2. Freeze in place and tell your dog to sit and stay.
  3. Hold the freeze and give a treat and praise.
  4. Repeat!

Any kind of game you play that will get your dog excited and then immediately require her to calm down and perform some of her commands or tricks will be beneficial to you both.


Stair Sprints

When your afternoon visit to the dog park isn’t an option, either because the weather is too bad or because you had to spend more time at the pet wash than you anticipated, you can try this tiring game. Ideally you’ll use a second human to help, but you can get a workout yourself going up and down the stairs too!

  1. Position one person at the top of a flight of stairs and one at the bottom, each with a stash of treats.
  2. Take turns calling your dog to the top and the bottom of the stairs.
  3. When your dog gets to you, give a treat.
  4. Immediately have your partner call him back to them.

This game will also work in a hallway if you don’t have stairs. Depending on how energetic your dog is this might be a very short game. Don’t forget to build up their endurance over days and weeks, just like if you were starting a new exercise program! Even if your dog is used to going on long walks or jogging with you, stairs work different muscles.


When to Stop

As pet owners we need to make it very clear when the game is over, especially when it involves behavior that would be unsafe in other situations. Imagine your dog sprinting on the stairs every time you went upstairs. Keep your playtime voice and mannerisms more playful. When the games are over, stand up straight use a calm tone and say “over” or “done.” It also helps to redirect your dog to his or her water and a special treat like a peanut butter filled toy that will help them transition to a more calm state.



The Continuing Adventures of Bob

Friday, January 17th, 2014


  The Christmas tree was taken down on January 6th. I do not think that

Bob was very pleased with that. I did find a couple more bulbs on the

floor behind the tree. Even with Bob batting the ornaments off of the

tree and around the house there was only one broken and I did that.  The

artificial tree shed just as much as a real tree, so I decided to take

it to the dump. After all it was about twelve years old. Christmas 2014

will bring on new adventures for Bob because there will be a real tree

in the house.

I discovered that Bob does have a purrer. If there is a gear before drive and after

neutral that is what it is in. He was sitting on the bed with me and I had the TV

volume kind of low when I thought that I heard a familiar sound. I turned the TV off

and sat very still. YES! I could hear him purr.

Bob still watches television. I thought that he would get over it because my other

cat watched TV until he figured out that there was nothing coming out of the other

side of it during chase scenes. Bob just sits and observes. He does not attempt to

chase the cars or running people. His head just moves back and forth, not even

tilting his head. Bob also changes positions from directly in front of the TV to the

love seat (with his head on the arm) and to his scratch post. He really enjoys the

National Geographic Channel and Animal Planet, but he also watches movies and other

shows that I watch; i.e. both NCIS shows, Elementary and others.

            Bob came out to accept Will’s company. Will and I were ecstatic.

 I never know what to expect from Bob. This is scary because he reminds me of

myself. Yes, he came out for Will, but now he hides from him. For a while he

enjoyed being brushed; now he fights and runs from the brush. There were times that

he would allow me to pick him up and lay him on my lap for petting, now he runs

from that. I am not sure that Bob is a male, except for the visible hardware.

Bob loves and enjoys his playtime. He loves furry things and things with feathers,

but things with feathers do not stay feathery very long. He definitely gets his

exercise taking off like a jet plane running, jutting, jumping, zigging and zagging

through my little house over and under beds and every other obstacle in the way. One

thing that I have learned about his playtime is to let him rest before trying to pet


Bob gets away with quite a bit more than Precious did. I guess it is that second

child syndrome. I just ignore him and let him go for it. It is fun watching and

listening to him banging into stuff as he has his fun throwing his toys up in the

air to catch and chasing after imaginary things (at least I think they are

imaginary). I guess I have hopes that he will tire himself out and settle down. I

suppose that it will be another couple of years for that to happen.

Since before Christmas Bob has had occasional dry heaves. I started treating him for

fur balls. The mineral oil has improved his output (to put it nicely), but then he

started heaving again. For the first time he actually heaved up something, so I took

it in and the vet said that it looked like he had gotten hold of a palmetto bug.

So….I just need to keep an eye on him; which is tiring because the other eye gets

frustrated from doing all of the work of looking out for me. Bob will be visiting

the vet, shortly, for shots and at that time will inquire again about the heaving


Bob enjoys sitting on the window sills and looking out. My neighbor almost got a

peak of him, but she walked up too close to the window and he scampered away, so she

only got to see Bob’s hind parts. I laughed when I saw that because it made me think

of the Old Testament scripture in the book of Exodus 33:23 (King James Version): And

I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not

be seen. Geez! I do not know why that came across my mind, but it still makes me


Bob ventured out onto the patio once. He took a few steps and scampered back into

the house. I have some minor screen repairing to do and a plant to remove before I

can allow him to venture out.

Well, Bob and I are still learning a lot about each other and will continue to do so

for some time. Actually, as I observe Bob I am learning a lot about myself.

Sometimes God shows his sense of humor in what or who he uses to reveal our

imperfections through. A CAT!? Wow! Well…if the Lord can speak through an ass to

Balaam (Numbers 22:28-30) He can use a cat to open my eyes and ears to what

I seem to not hear or see in His word.

Oh my! I was waiting to release this until after I could give you a report on Bob’s

vet visit. Wow! This morning Bob loved on me and wanted to be pet. He leaned against

me and rubbed my legs. I gave him treats and pet him but when Bob caught the hint

that I was going to pick him up the battle was on and I have the wounds to prove it.

I chased him and he ran trying to hide in visible sight from window sill to behind

the TV to behind and under the dinner table. This was the time that my house seemed

larger than what it is, even after closing all the doors. I was finally able to

catch him between the vertical blinds at the glass doors. The battle raged on. When

Bob saw that I was going to place him in the pet carrier….Geez! What a fight. Then,

ta da! I finally got him in the carrier and closed it. It seemed like an hour had

passed, but victory came within fifteen minutes. I think that when I walked in to

the vets office they were wondering which one of us was there for treatment. We will

definitely have to work on this, but there is plenty of time.

Do you recall what I said earlier in this writing “I am not sure that Bob is a male,

except for the hardware?” When I mentioned this statement and Bob’s mood swings to

Dr. Mordaunt he took a step back and came to the conclusion that with the mood

swings, past reported personality disposition, and other physical abnormalities that

Bob has, Bob is a hermaphrodite. Dr. Mordaunt stated that in his practice of forty

years he has only come across three dogs with this diagnosis. This is his first cat.

Oh how unique!

Bob was given a physical and shots and weighed in at a whopping nine pounds (which

is good). After arriving home I opened the carrier and Bob sauntered out like

nothing happened. He is out and about occasionally going into hiding, but I think

that he is just resting up from the events of the day.

We shall see what tomorrow holds. Right now I am glad that we got through today.

Happy meows to you until we chat again.

Find the Right Vet

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

BulldogStethescopeOne of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet parent is finding a quality health care provider for your furry friend. Selecting the right veterinarian is a personal decision, but you’ll want to choose a practice that offers the highest available standard of care.

When Should I Look for a Vet?

Guardians seek out new vets for a variety of reasons, including a recent adoption or move, concerns about a current vet’s quality of care or treatment for a pet’s specific health problem.

How Do I Find a Vet?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) evaluates veterinary practices on the quality of their facilities, staff, equipment and patient care. Search the organization’s website at www.healthypet.comfor a list of accredited vets in your area.

It’s also a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends, family and trusted neighbors—especially those who take a keen interest in their dogs’ health and well-being.

How Do I Decide Which Vet is Right for My Dog?

Here are some things to consider when selecting a vet:

  • Arrange for a first appointment without your dog to speak with a veterinarian and get an overall feel of the facilities.
  • During your appointment, look around and consider whether the space is clean, modern and well-organized.
  • Inquire about the number of vets on staff. In many practices, vets may share responsibility for patients and cover for each other during vacations or other absences.
  • Do you have good rapport with the vet? Effective communication is essential to any health care relationship.
  • Ask questions! Don’t be shy; most vets appreciate it when their clients take an interest in their pets’ care.

What Questions Should I Ask When I’m Selecting a Vet?

Although your questions may vary depending on the reason for your visit, you can use the following list as a guide:

  • Is the practice AAHA-accredited?
  • How are overnight patients monitored?
  • What sort of equipment does the practice use?
  • Does the vet refer patients to specialists?
  • How are patients evaluated before anesthesia and surgery?
  • Does the practice have licensed veterinary technicians on staff?
  • What is the protocol for pain management?

What If I Have Problems with My Vet? Can I Switch?

Don’t worry about leaving your current vet if you have concerns about the quality of care. Most veterinary practices, like all businesses, expect clients to come and go. Before you leave, remember to ask for a complete copy of your dog’s health records to be mailed or faxed to you or your new vet.

From: Vet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health
By Louise Murray, DVM

ADOPT a new loving furry family member this Holiday Season!

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The Holiday Season is upon us, the number one gift on most Holiday wish lists for children are a new puppy or kitten to love. This year consider giving the greatest gift of all by adopting a homeless shelter pet. Throughout the entire month of December, Miami Dade Animal Services, as well as The Humane Society of Greater Miami, will be offering reduced adoption fees. More information can be found on the flyer below. Remember: Connect. Adopt. Love.


7 Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Should NEVER Eat

Thursday, November 28th, 2013


Turkey 1

Cooked bones are a serious no-no, besides being a choking hazard, they can splinter and cause injuries to your dogs internal organs. If Fido does have no problems ingesting them, it could create an intestinal blockage with very serious consequences. Cooked meat is also bad, as it is often covered in marinades, spices, oils and fats that are detrimental to your pet’s health.


turkey 2

Mushrooms can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided. They can cause damage to multiple internal organs and the central nervous system. While not all species of mushrooms are toxic, it’s probably best to keep this little guys away from Fluffy.


turkey 3

Nutmeg is a hidden evil. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are good for your dogs in moderation – but remember they must be plain! We often forget we’ve added a little nutmeg and think we’ve made a Thanksgiving treat that’s safe for our pups to have. However, nutmeg can damage your dog’s central nervous system and cause seizures. So make sure this spice is nowhere near your dogs!


turkey 4

Onions are toxic to dogs and can cause anemia. They are equally as dangerous cooked as they are raw – so this is a good item to make sure is kept far away from your pup.


turkey 5

We’ve mentioned on our site before that raw bread dough will expand in your dog’s stomach and possibly cause bloat. Remember, too, that it will release alcohols that may also create problems in addition to the bloating.


turkey 6

Sage is another common Thanksgiving herb, but it contains essential oils that might actually cause some stomach upset for your pooch. It can also cause central nervous system depression. Better to steer clear than take any chances.


turkey 7

High-fat foods are not only unhealthy for you, they’re bad for your pets too. Fat trimmings are a common table scrap that pets might be given, but they can lead to very serious conditions such as pancreatitis.

turkey 8

Dog Walking 101

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

pugonleashHey you, new pooch parent—yeah, you with the cute puppy who can’t stop pulling! Want some tricks to keep Trixie on task? Or perhaps you’re already an old pro but want to make your outdoor excursions more fun for both you and your dog.  Follow our insider tips and your pooch will be eager to get going as soon as you pick up the leash!

It’s the Leash You Can Do

What’s the best type of leash? “Use whatever you feel most comfortable holding,” recommends the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT.

  • Flexi-leads are best reserved for walks in the park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further away from her pet parent. They are NOT a good idea if you’re walking in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs, as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s leg or another dog.
  • Many people think chain leashes look nice, but they are much heavier than nylon or leather, and they can be very hard on the hands. Even so, they sometimes work well for dogs who like to tug or bite the leash. “Metal doesn’t feel nearly as nice in a dog’s mouth,” explains Collins.
  • Leather leashes are a good option because they are easiest on the hands.
  • Nylon leashes can cut into hands or give a pet parent “leash burn” if a dog pulls a lot or unexpectedly lunges forward. But they come in many stylish colors and designs, and they hold up well after repeated exposure to rain and snow.

Pull Over, Rover!

Constant pulling on the leash makes walks stressful for both of you. “It’s a common problem that can happen for a number of reasons,” says Collins.

  • If your dog darts after local wildlife, it may help to walk him when critters are less likely to be out and about; avoid dawn and dusk. You can also check out our article Dogs Who Are Reactive on Leash.
  • Try using a head halter to walk a dog who’s excitable on leash. “They provide power steering for dog parents!” says Collins. “The Gentle Leader® by Premier® Pet Products is my personal favorite.”

Stay Off the Grass (and Out of the Flower Beds!)

Our experts at the ASPCA Poison Control Center want you to keep your walks toxin-free:

  • During the warmer months, it’s important to keep your pet safe from toxic lawn and garden products. Insecticides and certain types of mulch can cause problems for our furry friends—during neighborhood strolls, please be sure to keep your pooch off the lawns of others.
  • Even though popular spring bulb plants like tulips and daffodils add much to our landscape, they can cause significant stomach problems for our furry friends. If your pooch likes to stop and smell—or nibble—the flowers, please keep him on a short leash during your walks.

So Nice to Meet You!

It’s great that your friendly pooch loves meeting people during walks—but not so great that she jumps up on them. “The basic idea is to teach your dog how to sit on cue and then require her to sit to interact with people,” says Collins. “No sitting, no greeting. But if she sits, she gets to enjoy the reward of greeting her friends.” It doesn’t hurt to reward the dog with a treat—or ask the person whom she’s greeting to offer a treat.

Three Things To Bring

  • If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog—especially if it’s warm outside.
  • Don’t forget the goodies! Walks are great training opportunities. Bring Fido’s fave treats along, and practice tricks and obedience while you’re out in the world. “This will solidify your dog’s skills and convince him that going on walks is fantastic fun!” says Collins.
  • Don’t get caught without extra poop bags, particularly if you’re going on a long walk.  (P.S. This is a great way to recycle all those plastic grocery bags!)

Watch for Creepy Crawlies

Depending on the time of the year and the area of the country you live in, sneaky critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions and bees can be a serious concern for pet and parent alike. If you’re walking in a densely wooded area, take extra care to keep an eye out for hidden dangers.

To Be Free or Not to Be Free—That Is the Question

Taking a walk to a dog park or other fenced-in area that’s safe for canines to romp freely? Make sure your dog is prepared for off-leash play. “Your dog must know how to come when called,” says Collins, “so the most important thing to do is teach a really reliable recall.”

Take It Up a Notch

Here are some suggestions for making walks more fun for your dog:

  • Mix it up! Try taking your dog to new places. He’ll love experiencing the new sights, smells and sounds at a novel location.
  • Choose fabulous destinations. If possible, walk to fun places, like friends’ houses or the dog park.
  • Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you somewhere.

What’s Bugging You?

Walking in humid, mosquito-friendly areas? Spray yourself, not your pooch! Even though it’s tempting to share insect repellent with your pooch, it can be a grave mistake. Insect repellent should never be applied to dogs, who can suffer neurological problems from the toxic ingredient, DEET. Instead, ask your veterinarian for a suitable, pet-specific alternative.

Big Dogs, Small dogs

Monday, October 7th, 2013

BigLittleDogs“He chose the dog, but i chose the name,” the woman explained. Their dog was an especially petite Boston Terrier, but his name – Titan – was one  more typically bestowed on a larger dog. I’d seen this type of incongruity before, and though it’s sometimes just for the sake of being ironic, often it’s about conflict. Couples who disagree about whether to add a large dog or small dog to their family compromise by choosing a dog of one size and name that’s usually given to a dog of another size. I’ve also met Pixie the Newfoundland, Tank the Bichon Frise, Bitsy the Bouvier and Goliath the Pug.

People often have strong opinions about what size dog best suits them. Some people prefer small dogs because they’re more likely to be welcome everywhere, especially when traveling, while others gravitate to large dogs because they associate them with fun and friendliness, as well as kids and families. Size based biases are also common, and sad to say, I’ve heard a number of derogatory terms for both small and large dogs. And anyone with big dogs knows that people sometimes fear them even when their behavior is exemplary and a small dog is present whose behavior is not. One Bark reader implored me, “Don’t forget to cover that big dog stigma!”

Many people have asked the question, “How is the experience of having a large dog different than that of having a small dog?” Part of the answer may come from evaluating whether big and small dogs really are different in ways that extend beyond size, particularly in their behavior. Another piece of the puzzle involves determining if people’s behavior toward and expectations of dogs varies based on the dog’s size.

A Sizable Spectrum

One of the marvels of domestic dogs is the astounding range of sizes they come in, which is determined by a very small number of genes. (In comparison, roughly 200 gene regions affect height i humans.) A dog’s size has practical consequences – just ask anyone with a Great Dane suffering from diarrhea, an experience that’s not quite the same for a person with a similarly afflicted Maltese. Likewise, dealing with a seven pound Affenpinscher who prefers not to get into the car may require nothing more than matter-of-factly picking her up and putting her inside. The situation is far more challenging when a 185 pound Saint Bernard’s involved. Big dogs can be more expensive in every way, from the cost of food, professional grooming and medication to toys, leashes, collars and food bowls.

People with little dogs who don’t want then to help themselves to food simply avoid picnicking on the floor and are careful not to leave chairs where they can be used as stepping stones to the table or counter. People with large dogs often find that no place lower than the top of the refrigerator is safe or truly off limits. With a large dog, the accidental consumption of dangerous foods, such as chocolate, is far less likely to lead to lead to serious consequences than for a smaller dog because it takes much more for the dose to be toxic to a larger dog. Similarly, the few extra treats that lead to weight gain in smaller dogs may be no big deal for a large dog. Finally, helping a large dog with mobility issues can be physically demanding for the caregiver.

Some worry about big dogs around children, but i must confess that I worry when we dog-sit a friend’s six pound Pomeranian. My kids are gentle with him and do a good job of being kind and respectful, but I’m still worried that they’ll collide with him and cause an injury completely by accident, no matter how actively I’m supervising. With bigger dogs, that isn’t as much of a concern.

Many people point out the advantages of small dogs in urban environments:it’s easier to rent an apartment (weight limits favor them); tight living spaces may be easier to share; and getting small dogs into and out of an apartment building, especially wile you’re house training them, is far less if a challenge. Yet traits that can be troublesome fr urban living – high exercise needs, sound sensitivity, a tendency to bark excessively – have nothing to do with size. Some dogs are beautifully suited to life in the city, and others are not.

So, are behavioral differences size-based? For the most part, the answer is a resounding “No!” Dogs of all sizes love to play chase, fetch, go on walks, run off leash, meet new people, romp with their best dog buddies, participate in training sessions and eat tasty treats. By the same token, dogs of all sizes are vulnerable to sound sensitivity, exhibit separation anxiety and aggression, jump on people inappropriately, bark to excess, shew on shoes, dig in the garden, or have accidents on the floor. They all wag their tails (if they have them!) in joy.

And yet, there are clearly differences between individual dogs, based perhaps on age, gender or the environment in which the dog lives or was raised. While the similarities in dogs of different sizes are far greater than the differences, can we deny those differences? Should we?

 Science Steps In

A 2010 research study (Arhant, et al.) examined the connection between size and behavior in great detail, addressing these questions: How does guardian behavior toward dogs of unequal sizes influence their dogs’ behavior? How do expectations of dogs based on their size differ? Do people treat large and small dogs differently? In the study, “small” and “large” were defined by weight; dogs less than 20 kg (44 pounds) were categorized as small and those equal to or more than that, as large.

The study’s most important over all finding? There are significant differences in behavior between large and small dogs and between guardians of large and small dogs. The researchers reported that a range of interactions between people and their dogs are related to the size of the dog.

Small dogs were reported to be less obedient, slightly more often aggressive or excitable, and more anxious and fearful. People with small dogs also reported a lower level of consistency on their interactions and enforcement of rules than did those with larger pups.

Much has been made of the practice of treating small dogs like babies, though it’s hardly surprising that it occurs. Babyish features affect human caretaking behavior; we’re evolutionarily hardwired to find big eyes, small size and proportionally large heads endearing. Psychologists call this the “Aww phenomenon.” If babies weren’t so cute, parents could be less likely to survive.

Dogs seem to elicit his same “aww” response in humans, especially small dogs, and even more so, breeds with pronounced juvenile features such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Pugs, Japanese Chins and Boston Terriers. Since babies affect our hormones, raising the levels of oxytocin – nicknamed “the love hormone” – it stands to reason that adorable dogs do, too.

Socialization, Training and Other Interactions

Socialization is a key factor when it comes to dog behavior. Typically, large dogs have more opportunities for socialization than small ones. When small dogs are carried around rather than moving around on their own four paws, they have fewer interactions with people and other dogs, which can limit their ability to cope with them. Also, small dogs are often picked up or otherwise physically manipulated, which may result in more negative experiences with humans.

Many say that their small dogs are “people” dogs and don’t like other dogs; lots of people with big dogs say the same thing. Size notwithstanding, positive experiences with other dogs during puppyhood are the best way for a dog to develop good manners. Absent enough of those experiences, dogs of all sizes face social challenges.

Well-trained dogs are always a joy, but training is another way in which interactions between people and dogs differ based on size. Two research studies found that small dogs do not receive as much formal training as large dogs. Also, people play fetch more often and do more tugging and nose work with big dogs than with small ones, and are more likely to take them running or biking. Arhant’s study concludes that differences in people’s behavior may account for the higher rates of disobedience in small dogs.


Codes of Conduct

It’s hard to make the case that a dog’s size has no bearing on what we consider acceptable, or what we allow them to do. Though many guardians have the same rules for dogs of any size, the code of conduct for large and small dogs is often different.

For example, small dogs are more likely to be allowed in our beds and on our laps. Practical considerations area t work here. Having a 25-pound dog jump or sit on you is one thing, but having a 100 pound  dog do it is another. Others encourage little dogs to jump on people and get on the furniture, but rarely invite big dogs to do so. Jumping up isn’t the only thing that’s treated differently. The behavior that is considered a nuisance in a small dog may be deemed antisocial in a large dog. Even aggression and other serious behavioral issues are more likely to be tolerated in small dogs.

As evidence that some people with small dogs don’t take undesirable behavior seriously, consider this story: an eight-pound Chichuahua escaped from his home, but someone and was declared a dangerous dog. When a representative from animal control came, the dog’s people apparently thought it was a joke. One of them was reported to have said “I broke out laughing. I said, ‘Look at the dog, do you see the dog going after you?’ The guy kind of got upset when I started laughing at him.”

For years, I have specialized in cases involving aggressive dogs, and to be honest, the size of the dogs sometimes makes a difference in how I feel about the threat they represent. I once had a very aggressive Dachshund in  my office, followed by a Chesapeake Bay Retriever with similar issues. During both appointments, I employed all the cautions necessary in this line of work. Still, throughout the appointment with Chessie, I was aware of being afraid, while with the Doxie – though I knew I was at risk of being bitten if I made a mistake – I just didn’t feel the same anxiety. Both dogs were equally aggressive, but the size factor affected my fear response.

I’m not alone in reacting differently to aggressive dogs based on their size. Large dogs are more likely to be euthanized for aggression, though another study found that the average “biter” tended to be a smaller dog. It’s possible that greater tolerance for this behavior in small dogs allows genetic tendencies toward it to persist.

In some ways, there are correlations between size and breed characteristics. Many small dogs are terriers and earth-dogs, types that have been deliberately developed to be tenacious and curious as well as to dig and explore. If dogs re bred for those characteristics, such behavior will have far more to do with genetic influences on behavior than with size.

Also related to breeding, Arhant, et al. found that small dogs were more likely than large dogs to come from pet stores, which generally acquire their “stock” from puppy mills. When you consider that puppy mills are notorious for environmental deprivation and risky breeding practices, it is perhaps no surprise that small dogs are burdened with more problematic behavior.

What dogs do – their behavior! – is what makes them good company, great friends and essential members of our family, and very little of that has anything to do with size. When dog people swap stories, they are not about the size of the dog but about the experiences we have in common – the joy, the angst, the training, the vet emergencies, the photos, the occasional chewed shoe, the games, the walks, the friendship, the fun and the love. It’s always a big love, no matter what size the dog.

By, Karen B.London PhD ( Bark Magazine)

Lost Pet Prevention/Recovery Checklist

Friday, September 27th, 2013

lost dogPrevention/Recovery checklist

Don’t kid yourself that your well-adjusted pup would never bolt. There are always extreme circumstances-such as fires or intruders-that could prove you wrong. Seriously improve your dog’s odds by taking these proactive steps.

Always collar and tag and microchip your dog. A chip alone isn’t enough. Dogs found without collars can be “adopted” by strangers who assume they’re strays.

If your dog is shy or skittish, add a tag with “I’m afraid, not abused” to her collar. Strangers may assume a cowering dog has been mistreated and deliberately not return her.

Travel Safely. Use a non-slip collar (such as a Martingale) to prevent your surprised or frightened dog from slipping free. In the car, crate your dog so she doesn’t escape if there’s an accident.

Have current photos of your pet. If your dog looks different before and after grooming, have shots of each. See if your vet will attach a photo to your dog’s file in the event she escapes during a house fire or flood in which your personal records are destroyed.

Be prepared. Create large, neon pet posters and keep them at hand to reduce delays if your dog disappears.

Have proof of ownership. There’s no guarantee that the person who finds your dog will give her back. A microchip is the best proof of ownership.

Be neighborly. Introduce yourself and your dog to the neighbors; this makes it more likely they will let you know if they see your dog running loose. If your dog frequently roams, barks or annoys them, they may not be so quick to alert you to a sighting.

Secure your property. Make sure fences are high enough to keep in jumpers and deep enough to foil diggers, and keep an eye out for potential launching pads, such as lawn furniture.

Train your dog not to bolt through open gates and doors. Work through behavioral issues such as digging or not coming when called.

Collect and store scent DNA. Should you need to hire a pet-detection dog, a distinct scent sample from your missing pet is essential, especially if you have more than one animal in your home (ideally, you’ll never need it.) Wearing sterile gloves, wipe a gauze pad over your dog’s back, belly and mouth. Store in a zip-type bag in the freezer.  A few plucked hairs (including the root) and nail clippings stored in another bag can be useful in the unfortunate event remains are found. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis can test the DNA and tell you it’s from your pet.

How to cut cat’s nails

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

CatClawsAmericanImagesInc600How to cut cat’s nails

Nail Trimming 101

Make manicures enjoyable and easy for both you and your cat.

Does your kitty disappear when the clippers come out? Do you have to wrap her in a towel to give her a manicure? According to our behavior experts, calm, enjoyable nail-trimming sessions are not only possible—that’s how they should always be! Check out the following tips for getting kitty to relax while you trim, turning nail-clipping sessions into enjoyable together time.

Setting the Mood

Ideally you should introduce your cat to nail clipping when she’s a kitten. Choose a chair in a quiet room where you can comfortably sit your cat on your lap. Get her when she’s relaxed and even sleepy, like in her groggy, after-meal state. Take care that she isn’t able to spy any birds, wild animals or action outside nearby windows—and make sure no other pets are around.

Make Friends with the Paw

Gently take one of your cat’s paws between your fingers and massage for no longer than the count of three. If your cat pulls her paw away, don’t squeeze or pinch, just follow her gesture, keeping in gentle contact. When she’s still again, give her pad a little press so that the nail extends out, then release her paw and immediately give her a treat. Do this every other day on a different toe until you’ve gotten to know all ten.

Get Acquainted with the Clipper

Your cat should be at ease with the sound of the clippers before you attempt to trim her nails. Sit her on your lap, put a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the clippers and hold them near your cat. (If she sniffs the clippers, set a treat on top of them for her to eat.) Next, while massaging one of your cat’s toes, gently press her toe pad. When the nail extends, clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding your cat’s paw gently. Now release her toe and quickly give her a treat.

Never Cut to the Quick

The pink part of a cat’s nail, called the quick, is where the nerves and blood vessels are. Do NOT cut this sensitive area. Snip only the white part of the claw. It’s better to be cautious and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting this area. If you do accidentally cut the quick, any bleeding can be stopped with a styptic powder or stick. It’s a good idea to keep it nearby while you trim.

Time to Clip

With your cat in your lap facing away from you, take one of her toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends. Check to see how much of a trim her nails need and notice where the quick begins. Now trim only the sharp tip of one nail, release your cat’s toe and quickly give her a treat. If your cat didn’t notice, clip another nail, but don’t trim more than two claws in one sitting until your cat is comfortable. Be sure to reward her with a special treat afterward. Please note, you may want to do just one paw at a time for the first couple of sessions.

Clipping Schedule

A nail-trimming every ten days to two weeks is a nice routine to settle into. If your cat refuses to let you clip her claws, ask your vet or a groomer for help.

What Not to Do

  • If your cat resists, don’t raise your voice or punish her.
  • Never attempt a clipping when your cat is agitated or you’re upset. And don’t rush—you may cut into the quick.
  • Don’t try to trim all of your cat’s claws at one time.
  • Do NOT declaw. This surgery involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes and is highly discouraged by the ASPCA. Instead, trim regularly, provide your cat with appropriate scratching posts and ask your veterinarian about soft plastic covers for your cat’s claws.

Source: ASPCA

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