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#29 I’m Not Naughty…Just Busy!

 

“Dogs are great. Bad dogs, if you can really call them that, are perhaps the greatest of them all.”  – John Grogan

Dalmatian puppy chewing a shoe in front of a white background

Are our pups really bad?

As a teacher for over 22 yrs, I could ask this same question about some of the students I’ve had over the years as well as my own children. However, those that I’ve woken up thinking about during the night, worrying about countless things, have been some of the most endearing that I’ve had the privilege to know and work with.

In many cases, the most challenging cases can be the most rewarding.  The same goes for our furry family members.  The journey that owners experience with their pups is unique, special, and often times challenging (at least in the beginning).  It’s a lot of work for both the human owner and their pup/s as the expectations are mutual.

Naughty dog

We spoke a little about those breeds with a ‘high prey drive’, meaning they are essentially driven by the instinct to hunt and as a result, are very high energy.  In turn, they usually end up demonstrating what owners consider ‘BAD’ and frustrating behavior.

 

FUN FACT:  (Something to think about when your pup is running around) For both speed and flexibility, your dog’s shoulder blades are not tightly connected to the rest of the skeletal system.

Portrait of Vizla dog running across a meadow.

As owners, we must remember that many times, our furry family member’s high energy is instinctual and out of need, not to make us miserable.

Here are a few tips to remedy some of those high energy behaviors…

1.***Play frisbee and fetch daily.

2.***Play scent games – you can  inexpensively purchase high scent treats that can be hidden which stimulates the natural instinct of your pup using their acute sense of smell.  This activity can be done indoors and out which allows for flexibility.

FUN FACT:  Aside from your pup having an acute sense of smell, they have nose prints that are as unique as human finger prints – they cannot be replicated.  Their nose prints could be used to identify them, though these types of records are not typically practiced.

3.***Take long walks when you can.  We spoke about how to incorporate your pup into your ‘healthy’ New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year.  This will benefit the both of you, physically and mentally.

Again, our furry family members are not ‘BAD’, maybe challenging, but simply driven by instincts that need to be accommodated by their human owners. A learning experience for all.

Border Collie breed dog for a walk on a summer sunny day

“The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog.” – Bridget Willoughby

After all, your pup is part of your family!

 

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#28 Can’t We All Just Get Along???

Golden retriever puppy lying next to British Shorthair kitten sitting, isolated on white

 

“No animal I know of can consistently be more of a friend and companion than a dog” – Stanley Leinwall

 

We’ve been talking about our love for our pups and their love for us in return.  This got Courtney and I talking about how our pups interact with not only other furry friends, but other species.

I have a cat named Charles and my 100 lb. Golden Retriever, Smalls.  Charles was 6 when we got Smalls and deemed himself as the baby.  Most of you who have introduced a new puppy to an older cat probably know where I’m going with this.  Not a good introduction.  I attributed it to Smalls being a curious puppy and Charles just being a grouchy older cat whose world had just been turned upside down.  This was of course partially true, but there is certainly more to it.

Golden Retrievers are deemed as one of the most adaptable breeds in regards to co-existence with other species, though there are many additional breeds that ‘go with the flow’ when introduced to a new family member.  And, I’m not just talking cats, but other dogs, birds, guinea pigs, farm animals, even reptiles (I actually have two desert tortoises as well).

Golden retriever puppy lying with a Parakeet perched on its head next to British Shorthair

There are two major factors in positively uniting these ‘new roommates’.

  1. Know your pup’s personality traits (are they anxious, easy going, uptight, aggressive?)
  2. Know your pup’s prey drive – catching prey is a natural instinct for our furry family members and some dogs are bred to herd, chase or retrieve small animals.

FUN FACT:  There are some dog breeds (in the high prey drive category) that are actually bred to have ‘soft mouths’ so that they can retrieve without applying hard pressure with their mouths.

Again, know your dog’s breed and the personality/characteristics that come with it.  If your dog is a herding dog, other smaller species such as cats, rabbits, etc. may not like being told where they should be all of the time via herding.

If you own a pup whose breed likes chasing small species, i.e. rodents, probably not a good idea to invest in a guinea pig or bird.

Group of pets sitting in front of white background

In any case, make sure to have a ‘safe space’ that your new family member can retreat to if necessary.

Back to Charles and Smalls.  They aren’t friends, but over time, they have learned how to tolerate one another.  Charles is 9 yrs old  and Smalls is 3 now, which I think helps.  Probably, the most telling factor is that Charles knows he’s in charge.

 

“Cat’s motto: No matter what you’ve done wrong, always try to make it look like the dog did it” – Unknown

persian cat

After all, your pup is part of your family!

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#27 I Love You Soooooo Much!

Romantic couple in love walking dogs in nature and smiling

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog” – M.K. Clinton

 

Yesterday we spoke about how our pups are a good judge of character and why we as owners, should listen to and observe their responses to people they come in contact with.

This lead me to wonder if our pups really do genuinely love us – it seems as though it is unconditional.

There have been many scientific studies done on this subject.  As owners of our furry family members, we know how we feel about our pups and the majority of us couldn’t imagine our lives without them.

Scientists have discovered that our pups actually do have legitimate feelings of love for us.

 

Border Collie puppy looking into a top hat

FUN FACT: Scientists have used neuro-imaging scans to better determine the extent of our furry family members’ love for us.  Because dogs’ sense of smell is so keen, there are particular odors they pick up on that actually correlate with social behaviors.  When dogs were presented with their owner’s smell, the ‘reward center’ of the brain was activated, more so than any other odors they were presented with.

What does this mean?

Dogs do depend on us to take care of them and to be their voice, however, this study is one of many that demonstrates that our furry family members not only love us back, but perceive us as family.

You may wonder if your pup knows that you love them.  Well, the answer is yes. Our furry family members are one of the only species that is able to read signals of human behavior (our emotions, tone of voice, and our love for them).

Dogs are of course domesticated and have spent centuries alongside humans.  When a pup and their human owner bond, they transmit neurological chemicals that strengthen their love for each other.

Happy young woman with her dog in the summer

FUN FACT:  Dr. Brian Hare, a scientist and author has found that dogs actually have the same neurological effect on most of their owners as human babies do.  When an owner interacts with their pup by playing, petting, cuddling, etc., both the owner and dog’s oxytocin levels go up.  While women produce more of this hormone overall, men do as well.

Bottom line, your pup knows that you love and protect them and they do the same in return – genuinely.

Family with dog in the bed

After all, your pup is part of your family!

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#26 Trust Me, I Know Best!

hand holding dog paw, relationship and love concept

 

Courtney and I were discussing character judgment this weekend as we have had a few interactions with people that have been somewhat questionable.  The experience of launching this company has been both challenging and rewarding.  With that, comes opening ourselves up to the public which has been a great experience overall (we always love meeting new people, hearing about what they enjoy, their ideas, and how we can improve).

So my point of this introduction is that Courtney and I determined that we need to listen to the opinions of our pups more often.  It is typical of Courtney and I to give people the benefit of the doubt. Our pups usually don’t give people the benefit of the doubt and we as humans, need to listen to that.

Dogs are man (and women’s) best friend.  There are many popular expressions out there that essentially make the overall statement, ‘If your dog doesn’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either’.  There are countless stories of our furry family members warning their human owners about the danger of interacting with another human being that does not have good intentions.  Unfortunately, as I said earlier, it is typically human nature to give others the benefit of the doubt, whether or not we feel uncomfortable.

Dogs on the other hand, are incredibly intuitive, to the point that some say they have a sixth sense.  This goes back to them being ancestors of wolves which has lead them to have heightened senses, especially  hearing and smell.

SAY WHAT?!

Macro ear of a jack russell dog

FUN FACT: Dogs have of course evolved from wolves.  It’s no wonder that our pups have the keen ability to hear because their ancestors (the wolves) can hear 6-10 miles away.

 

THAT SMELL!!!

Dog smelling flower

 

FUN FACT: Dogs’ ability to smell is another amazing trait that they have been able to maintain through evolution.

  • A dog’s sense of smell can be between 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a human.  To give you an example, a dog has the capability of detecting a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water (equivalent to the size of 2 Olympic swimming pools).
  • Dogs have 300 million receptors in their noses compared to human’s 6 million and dogs’ smelling part of the brain is bigger than their human owners, approximately 40 times greater.
  • Dogs’ nostrils have separate openings which allows them to breath in and out at the same time.  Their nostrils operate independently of one another which allows them to smell from different directions.

So why all the talk about our pups’ senses?

Well, ultimately this is how they are able to judge humans.  People are imprinted in our pup’s minds the same way that they are imprinted in our minds.  If we as humans see someone that looks like someone who has slighted us in the past, we may react differently or with more caution.  The same goes for our furry family members, though with their keen sense of hearing and smell, they take it a step further.

The lesson here is to allow your pup to ‘smell the roses or not’ so to speak, and you as the owner, should listen to and observe your dog around new people.

With their keen senses, our pups are connected to nature and seem to know things before they even happen.  They have often been considered heroes, saving people without any thought of their own safety.  If your pup determines that someone is untrustworthy or unsafe, they are probably right in most cases.

young couple with a dog at the beach

After all, your pup is part of your family!