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PetSmart - Dog

Behavior

September 13, 2014

PetScoop: How Climate Change is Predicted to Affect North American Birds

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More than half of the approximately 650 bird species in North America could be severely affected by climate change, scientists from the National Audubon Society predicted in a disturbing study cited in Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says | NYTimes.com.

Ecosystems and food chains are being threatened and some species of birds could decline or even disappear. Populations may be forced to relocate and deal with unfamiliar predators. This article links to an interactive graphic.

On the bright side, Dr. Langham said, his report shows that many species will continue in their current abundance and, mostly, their current locations: American robins, red-tailed hawks, western scrub jays, western meadowlarks, northern cardinals and northern mockingbirds.

And at least one species, popular among poets and jilted lovers, is expected to flourish as warming takes its course, Dr. Langham said. "You want to know what climate change sounds like?" he asked. "It's the sound of a mourning dove -- their climate potential is going to increase."

Other species may or may not be able to adapt.

Learn more about our wild birds at National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region and National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region.

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September 10, 2014

PetScoop -- Dogs Prefer Hugs and Food Over Praise

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Here at SCP HQ we talk to the staff canines all the time, telling them how wonderful they are. Rarely does our conversation get a response back or even a tail thump on the floor. But that's ok because they still are awesome company.

So we are not at all surprised by the conclusions of a University of Florida study Shut up and pet me! Dogs prefer petting to vocal praise | Seriously, Science? | DiscoverMagazine.com that dogs prefer petting and food to compliments. Who knew??

It's probably no surprise that dogs like to be petted. But do they prefer petting over other types of attention? Here, two scientists from the University of Florida tested whether dogs would prefer to be petted or given vocal praise, and whether it mattered if the petting/praise came from an owner or a stranger. Turns out that dogs love pets, regardless of who is doing the petting, and they never seem to get tired of being petted. Interestingly, a previous study by the same authors found that dogs do like one thing even more than petting: food.

So the prescription for happiness in the pet household: hug your best buddies frequently and sprinkle liberally with treats!

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September 8, 2014

Adaptil Spray to Help Calm Your Jittery Pet

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With the kids back in school, many of our pets are finding themselves home alone and nervous about it. Busy holidays, visiting the vet, or new babies can rattle their nerves, along with scary noises like thunder and fireworks. Puppies are often homesick and wary of their new surroundings.

To help calm your pet Adaptil Spray by DAP can be applied directly to your pet's bedding, inside crates, indoor kennels, and in your car. Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural comforting pheromone released by a mother dog to reassure her puppies.

Be sure to apply Adaptil Spray away from your dog, particularly inside the carrier or crate. Never spray directly spray on your pet or near his/her face.

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July 30, 2014

Hot New Pet Book -- A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

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It is generally thought that dogs are descended from domesticated Grey Wolves many moons ago. So it stands to reason that those of us who love our dogs also tend to take a fancy to wolves, albeit from a distance.

But not always so distant! This new A Wolf Called Romeo by author and photographer Nick Jans is the true story of a six-year friendship between a wild, but sociable black wolf and the community of people and dogs of Juneau, Alaska.

The author had lived in Alaska for nearly thirty years when a friendly encounter with a black wolf while walking his lab at twilight changes his and many other lives in this modern suburb on the edge of Alaskan wilderness.

More at A Wolf Called Romeo.

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July 15, 2014

Hot New Pet Book Release -- Animal Madness by Laurel Braitman

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We all are expected to put on a happy face here in America, but the reality is that life is fraught with suffering. Suffering and fear thereof can lead to depression, anxiety and mental illness.

If you live with an animal and are an observant sort, you likely know that non-humans suffer mentally as well as physically. Laurel Braitman noticed this in her anxiety-prone Bernese Mountain Dog. Extensive subsequent research brought her to the conclusion that animals can lose their minds just like we humans.

That's the premise of her Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves -- that nonhuman animals can suffer from mental illnesses that mirror those that humans endure. And they can recover, just like we can.

Fascinating stuff at Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves.

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February 13, 2014

Hot New Pet Book Release -- Decoding Your Dog by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

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Our dogs are excellent communicators. Trouble is, we don't speak their language and they don't speak ours. So it is up to their doggy family to figure out what they are trying to tell us, and one way is to educate ourselves. A new release Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones is a first-time publication for the public by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

As suggested by the subtitle, the book should help us provide our sometimes mystifying dogs with the loving guidance and direction they need to fulfill their needs and avoid unwanted (by us) behavior. Certainly there are differences of opinion on dog training techniques and theories of dog behavior. This is one more book to add to your library in the eternal quest to understand and love our pets.

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December 31, 2013

A Dog's Purpose -- Everyone Who Lives with a Pet Should Read This Book

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Read this. Whether you have lived with dogs your whole life, are about to get a puppy, or are considering co-habitation with a dog, A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron is required reading, or listening, as the case may be. It will change you forever. In a good way.

To quote, if we may, from the beautiful review by John C. McDonnell:

In a word? Magnificent. OK, two words. Brilliant. Actually three. Soul. Bruce Cameron has brought forth a magnificent, touching piece of a soul's journey through life in search of purpose and meaning. At times hilarious and yet other times heart breaking, Bruce brilliantly weaves a story of a dog and its quest that is told with such heart and humanity that anyone who has ever had a dog (or any pet, for that matter) feels that this truly is how they see us and the world in which they live.

The humor is real and effortless. You will find yourself laughing out loud. You will also cry. Real tears born out of your life's memories of pets past and the essential intertwining of souls that exists in no other relationship.

After reading this book, you will never look at your dog, or any other pet, the same way again.

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May 31, 2013

How to NOT Show Love to Your Pets -- Are We Doing It Wrong?

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Conventional wisdom is that our pets love to be cuddled as we gaze adoringly into their eyes, stuffing them full of leftovers from our dinner table. Right? Isn't that what we learned to do from day one? Maybe not so much, according to 5 Ways You Didn't Realize You're Making Your Pet Hate You | Cracked.com.

The article cites the popular children's book, Smooch Your Pooch by Teddy Slater and Arthur Howard, which describes to young children how to show love to a favorite four-legged friend. It's all wrong. Hugging, staring, food-sharing, supporting PETA and even shopping at brick-and-mortar retail pet stores might not always be the best idea.

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May 20, 2013

How Not to Greet a Dog -- And Possibily Avoid a Bite

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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.

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May 1, 2013

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- Train Your Dog Positively by Victoria Stilwell

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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!

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April 1, 2013

Dognition -- Discover Your Dog's True Nature

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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!

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January 8, 2013

Hot New Pet Book -- Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals

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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.

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November 9, 2012

Sol Box Light Therapy for Dogs and Cats -- Treats Pet SAD

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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.

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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.

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October 24, 2012

Every Step You Take, Every Move You Make, Your Dog is Watching You

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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

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