May 20, 2013
Many moons ago away from home at a summer evening party, we received a panicked call from our baby sitter that our English Setter had bitten our toddler on the face. (It ended well.)
Roughly half of all children are at some point bitten by a dog, since they don't read the danger signals. Misconceptions abound when it comes to doggy body language even among adults.
This graphic How Not to Greet a Dog shows common body language mistakes people make around dogs, as well as showing the "correct" way to greet an animal.
For more on this fascinating subject, check out How to Greet a Dog and What to Avoid by veterinarian/animal behaviorist Sophia A Yin.
May 1, 2013
Do you believe that dogs are striving for dominance? That training them is a power struggle? Some experts take a different approach, one being dog trainer and Animal Planet TV star Victoria Stilwell in Train Your Dog Positively: Understand Your Dog and Solve Common Behavior Problems Including Separation Anxiety, Excessive Barking, Aggression, Housetraining, Leash Pulling, and More!.
Rather than focusing on punishment-based methods, she goes with positive reinforcement. This book helps owners actually change the way their dog thinks, feels, and learns, using her time-tested and scientifically-backed brand of positive reinforcement training solutions. Create a bond with your dog based on mutual trust, respect and love!
April 1, 2013
You probably think you know your dog pretty well, but do you REALLY know your dog? Improve your relationship through understanding while contributing to canine research at the same time.
You can discover your dog's true nature--whether Maverick, Einstein, Socialite or Charmer--by playing the interactive games over at Dognition founded by Dr. Brian Hare, author of The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think
The results of the games will be calculated to reveal your dog's individual Dognition Profile and will support new research to benefit all dogs. Find out what motivates your dog!
January 8, 2013
We often wonder what is the best and most compassionate manner in which to communicate with our pets. And how do they communicate with each other?
Biology professor and Animal Language Institute director Con Slobodchikoff has been studying the social behavior and language of animals for 40 years, with a focus on the prairie dog. Those of us who love dogs and cats should find his discoveries enlightening.
He shares his observations on animal communication and language in his recent book Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals, covering a wide range of mammals, including dogs, bats, apes, monkeys, hippos, hyenas, foxes, deer, lizards, bees and the prairie dogs.
November 9, 2012
Is your cat or dog depressed? Many of us find our mood gets darker as the sunlight dims, but our pets may also suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Vets treat SAD in pets with Prozac or other related drugs.
Max Marvin, a 21-year-old entrepreneur, sought a natural treatment and has designed the Sol Box. This is a light therapy box geared to help pets receive adequate amounts of light to help balance their mood and their sleep-regulating hormones.
Pets generally gravitate on their own toward the light. The minimum effective dose is about 30 to 45 minutes exposure.
Sol Box should be available mid-November at Sol Box | Pawsitive Lighting retailing at $199. If that's a bit steep, there are plenty of affordable options along the same lines at Light Therapy | Amazon.
October 24, 2012
Dogs certainly can learn and understand some words, though they naturally communicate with us through body language. Our dogs are watching us closely and taking their behavior cues from our actions and facial expressions.
We often unwittingly reinforce "bad behavior". Martin Deeley elaborates in Showing Pack Leadership in Dog Training | Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan:
Training is not just a formal five, 10 or 15 minutes of your day. It is all the time - your dog learns from everything you do.
You shout at your spouse or the kids and guess what? He picks up on that energy and may think it is directed at him. You feel irritable and under the weather? He knows it.
If you make a mistake with your dog, he will remember the body language and repercussions. Of course, the opposite is true too.
It is important when we are with a dog to realize that they are always learning. They are watching our movements, listening to our sounds and, I am certain, ''scenting'' our emotions.
Sometimes we may even take our feelings out on our dog. He did not create the feeling but we have to vent somehow and he happened to make a small mistake.
Therefore when you are feeling a little under the weather or are getting a little frustrated - put your dog somewhere he cannot get into trouble and will not be the recipient of your mood.
Or, if he is the one that can calm you, sit nicely with him, breathe deeply, and let each of you find calmness together.
For more tips, visit Cesar Millan
October 23, 2012
If you need to lighten up a bit, and are a crazy cat person, pick up a copy of this off-beat How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal which is written, drawn, and coded by Matthew Inman. The book description says it best:
If your cat is kneading you, that's not a sign of affection. Your cat is actually checking your internal organs for weakness. If your cat brings you a dead animal, this isn't a gift. It's a warning. How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You is a hilarious, brilliant offering of cat comics, facts, and instructional guides from the creative wonderland at TheOatmeal.com
Sense of humor required.
October 22, 2012
Members of our family here at Super Cool Pets have recently faced the hands-down toughest decision confronting any of us who live with pets. The death of a pet can hurt as much as the death of a relative.
As well we know, nothing but time and acceptance can dull the pain. This insightful article Love, Guilt & Putting Dogs Down |The Other End of the Leash by gifted animal trainer and behaviorist Patricia McConnell, Ph.D may help in the meantime. She deals with the ubiquitous guilt factor among other issues.
And for those who live with more than one pet, "siblings" can respond in numerous different ways to the loss. These pets may be grieving, and we don't always know how best to comfort them without words. Dr. McConnell provides a few tips here in Helping a Dog Through a Loss |The Other End of the Leash.
For books and manuals by Dr. McConnell, click here.
October 5, 2012
We all know the benefits of sharing our lives with pets; sadly we often outlive them.
One of our Golden Retriever twin girls suffers from severe and debilitating arthritis. For over a year we have tinkered with palliative (pain meds) and curative treatments.
And we are not alone--we are one family among thousands living with older pets in pain, obsessively assessing the quality of their lives, while learning that the very pain medications that relieve their suffering can and do gravely impact the quantity of their lives.
If this strikes a chord in your life, you may want to check out this Behavioral Signs of Persistent Pain chart. Then get out the tissues and read the insightful Deciding When a Pet Has Suffered Enough | New York Times Sunday Review by bioethicist Jessica Pierce. She is also the author of The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives which "asks--and answers--the toughest questions pet owners face".
September 24, 2012
Anyone who lives with a dog they love can relate to this funny and poignant My dog: the paradox, a series of cartoons dedicated to its creator's dog Rambo. See the enlarged version over at The Oatmeal.
Get the 18" x 24" poster at The Oatmeal Shop.
September 13, 2012
Laughter is the best medicine. So if you need a pick-me-up, pick up a copy of I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano, the author of the family comic strip Sally Forth that appears in almost 800 newspapers world-wide.
This is a funny and delightful collection of tongue-in-cheek poetry written by cats, explaining their behavior to clueless humans. Good gift idea for the cat lover!
August 30, 2012
Are outdoor cats cold-blooded murderers or threats to the environment? This blog post Outdoor Cats and the Environment | Daily Vet | petMD discusses cat outdoor behavior as revealed by the cat camera (see Eye View Camera to determine whether or not cats are a hazard to themselves and other wildlife as they roam the countryside.
If you are leery of allowing your cats outside for safety reasons, but do want them to get some fresh air and sunshine, try an outdoor cat enclosure.
August 24, 2012
We share our SCP headquarters with an over-anxious Golden Retriever. It's awful hard to comfort her without the luxury of speech. She just doesn't understand that we won't let thunder hurt her. This Terry Covered Duck Hot Water Bottle is the perfect companion for any time your pet needs warmth and comforting.
Just the thing for new puppies and kittens, road trips, boarding at the kennel, or even a visit to that scary vet's office. For added comfort, place a T-shirt or any item with your scent on it inside the pouch too. Works for children of all ages, too!
July 27, 2012
In the fantastic Disney movie 101 Dalmatians the dogs actually brought the couple together. Roger Radcliffe's enterprising dalmatian Pongo decided to find a wife for Roger and a mate for himself and arranged a meeting in the park with a woman named Anita and her female dalmatian, Perdita.
If you are single and have issues with your social life, your dog's breed may be a factor. The pet social network Klooff surveyed 1,000 people to find out the top 5 breeds that make single men and women more desirable to date. Check out the gallery at Dog breeds that will get you a date (or not) | Boston.com to find out which breeds can help (and hurt) you on the dating scene.