December 9, 2008

PetScoop -- Dogs Have A Sense of Fairness


When you are distributing presents to your pets Christmas morning, keep in mind that dogs have a sense of fairness. According to a recent study:

The dogs sat side-by-side with an experimenter in front of them. In front of the experimenter was a divided food bowl with pieces of sausage on one side and brown bread on the other.

The dogs were asked to shake hands and each could see what reward the other received.

When one dog got a reward and the other didn't, the unrewarded animal stopped playing.

When both got a reward all was well.

News, but not really news. We have kind of noticed this already. Read article.

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September 21, 2008

Are Your Pets Bored? CDs and DVDs to Entertain Your Pets

Are you pets bored, just hanging around the house? Do they get separation anxiety when you leave? Just put on these CD's and DVD's to entertain your pets:

Just Chillin': Music for Pet Stress and Separation has over 2 hours of music created specifically to help reduce the stress and separation anxiety suffered by your dog or cat when you leave home. Patented blend of soothing original instrumental music with nature sounds.

Music Birds Love is a remix by Bradley Joseph, a former keyboardist for Yanni, from his previous albums.

Dog-On Television: Television for Dogs is a DVD that loops footage of dogs playing and barking. Sure to entertain!

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The Purrfect DVD is a DVD that loops all-day footage of birds, squirrels, fish and bugs. It comes with an alternate track of audio for the human's listening pleasure.

Promotion: Save $5 when you spend $25 and pay with Bill Me LaterĀ®. Offer valid Sept 1, 2008 - Sept 30, 2008. Offer limited to items sold by Amazon.com. Subject to credit approval. One per customer. Enter code BMLSAVES at checkout.

via Pets Houston Chronicle

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September 2, 2008

How to Choose Cat Toys - Enrich the Life of Your Indoor Cat

All animals are individuals with their own personalities and preferences. One way to choose toys your cat will enjoy is to identify their prey preference. In the wild, cats hunt, stalk and pounce on insects, birds, mice and other small animals to survive. It follows that they will enjoy toys they can hunt, stalk and pounce as though they were prey.

So, to find toys you cat will love, you must think like the cat you love.

If your cat seems to enjoy feathers and/or objects in the air, choose toys resembling birds. If your cat prefers furry toys and/or toys moving on the ground, choose objects resembling mice. If your cat likes tiny objects with lots of movement, choose toys resembling bugs.

Some toys to try:

Toys that squeak, chirp, jitter, swing or vibrate such as Breakaway Toys Catnip-Treated Mice

For the cat who chases insects, try the Da Bird Insect Wand Cat Toy

Balls encourage cats to "chase and capture": Rattle Rollers Bat 'n Bobble Toy

Items around the house that will be fun for your kitty are crumpled up paper balls, the plastic rings off of milk jugs, the center rolls from toilet paper, cotton-tipped swabs, paper towels. Just stay away from things your cat will choke on. You can even stuff old cotton socks with cotton balls and a little catnip, then tie a knot in the end.

via Indoor Cat Initiative

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July 10, 2008

Pet Scoop -- 7/10/08


The New York Times Magazine 7/13/08 has an article Pill Popping Pets about psychiatric intervention in pets and the practice of prescribing medications designed for humans to animals.

...scientists in an expanding field known as behavioral pharmacology say that the combination of new drug therapies and progressive training techniques can solve problems that in the past almost always resulted in euthanasia. The supposed effectiveness of psychiatric medicines in treating mood and behavior issues is prompting new questions in the centuries-old debate over what, exactly, separates mankind from the beasts. If the strict Cartesian view were true -- that animals are essentially flesh-and-blood automatons, lacking anything resembling human emotion, memory and consciousness -- then why do animals develop mental illnesses that eerily resemble human ones and that respond to the same medications? What can behavioral pharmacology teach us about animal minds and, ultimately, our own?

If animal behavior and psychology interests you, this is a fascinating article, one to read carefully and at your leisure.

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June 25, 2008

Simon's Cat in "Cat Man Do -- Remind You of Anyone?

Cat lovers will relate to this:

Simon's Cat

[via Modern Cat]

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June 24, 2008

Noise Phobias -- Are Your Pets Afraid?


As thunder booms and fireworks explode, MSNBC brings up a subject on many pet owners' minds these days. From The sound of fear: Noise phobias torment dogs:

Up to 20 percent of dogs of all ages and breeds suffer from noise phobias so severe that their people seek professional help for them, writes veterinary behaviorist Bonnie Beaver in her book Canine Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians. (Cats can also develop fears of certain noises, but they usually just run and hide rather than engaging in destructive behavior.) Thunder and fireworks are the most common causes of noise phobias, but dogs can develop a fear of any sound: the rustling of a garbage bag, the beep of a microwave oven or the whir of a ceiling fan.

The article recommends Dog Appeasing Pheromone "D.A.P." products, designed to emit comforting and familiar scents to canines, and the Storm Defender Cape, a close-fitting wrap with a metallic lining that reduces a dog's sensitivity to the static charge buildup that occurs before a thunderstorm."

Super Cool Pets recommends Melatonin, Music & Rescue Remedy, having had some measure of success with those.

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June 20, 2008

Pooch IQ Kit -- Maybe Your Dog IS Smarter than Most People You Know


If you think your dog is pretty darn smart, or know someone else who does, you can find out for sure with this Fun Pooch IQ Kit dog toys. After all, they have figured out how to live pretty well without going to work every day!

* Find out your dog's IQ score
* Includes 5 dog toys, 2 props, and a testing booklet!
* Finally prove you have the smartest dog!
* Your pooch can play with the toys for years to come
* Get your whole family involved
* Gift idea

Fun Pooch IQ Kit dog toys


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Product site.

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June 17, 2008

Panic Mouse Undercover Mouse Cat Toy-- Plus 6 Tips for Choosing Your Cat's Toys

Not sure what to buy your cat? Below is a toy that appeals to your cat's hunting instincts.


Panic Mouse Undercover Mouse
is so lifelike it convinces your cat there's a live mouse in the house. The stealthy movements of the mouse will stimulate your cat's hunter/predator instinct to secure the catch and provide hours of fun.


The toy moves silently--randomly speeding up, then slowing down, reversing direction under a durable nylon cover. The kit Includes:

  • One Undercover Mouse electronic cat toy
  • One ripstop nylon skirt
  • One mouse wand

Why is the Panic Mouse Undercover Mouse such a popular cat toy? Here are some tips for choosing cat toys:

  • Appeal to the hunting instinct "Cats like to track things, so they love any toy that brings out their hunting instinct," says Michele Levan, creator of the award-winning Moody Pet Fling-ama-String Motorized Cat Toyicon toy.
  • Hold your cat's interest "It's good for indoor cats especially to have something besides food to interest them," says Tina Cheng, DVM, of the Animal Clinic of Encino in Encino, Calif. "Cats are attracted to motion -- they will always love anything that bounces around and simulates the movement of a live insect or mouse," she says.
  • Safety first "A toy shouldn't have any little eyes or a nose that a cat could pull off and choke on," says Maria Sabatine, owner of Pets Naturally, a pet store in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
  • Don't make it too frustrating
  • Intrigue fat and lazy cats " A toy that intrigues a cat enough to stalk it, pounce on it or toss it in the air is a worthwhile investment, especially if your kitty is overweight. Cat Dancer Cat Toy, described as a "cat action toy," features a small piece of cardboard the size of a large insect. It dangles from a wire and so fascinates cats that they'll stand on their hind feet to swipe at it.
  • Make it fun for people A cat toy should give you hours of fun watching your cat play with it.

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May 16, 2008

How Do Dogs Signal They Want to Play?

How can you tell when a dog, especially one you don't know, is "just playing" or is in fight mode? This is often one reason children become afraid of dogs. They misunderstand play signals for hostility.

The answer is in the "play-bow", according to Marc Bekoff, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Colorado.

Marc Bekoff: That's when one animal crouches on their forelimbs and puts their hind end up and wags their tail and sometimes barks. If two dogs are playing, and one bites the other dog really hard, what we discovered is that we would see a play-bow after the bite, as if the other dog said, "I'm sorry I bit you, let's play."

Want to understand your dog better? Read The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan's short posts on Understanding common dog behaviors, and Typical puppy misbehaviors Part 1and Part II.

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April 29, 2008

Does Your Pet Need a Job?


If you live with, or know of, a dog with "behavior problems", the real problem may be lack of sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. Most dogs were genetically bred to perform a specific job for their human companions, which, like many jobs in our 21st century, is gone and ain't coming back.

Who says? MSNBC, in City dogs get to know their inner herder--"It's almost as if the dog needs a job. And when they discover, 'This is what my job is supposed to be,' then everything falls into place." For many dogs, that job is herding:

The American Kennel Club says new herding clubs are popping up across the country, although it does not track exact numbers. Nearly 200 clubs held herding trials last year. More than 10,000 dogs competed, a roughly 10 percent increase over 2006.

Owners describe the practice as an antidote to tighter leash laws and disappearing dog-friendly spaces in U.S. cities. They talk of their dogs' first time in the arena with the pride and amazement usually reserved for describing a child's first day at kindergarten. Many also acknowledge that herding was a last resort.

The article goes on to discuss owner mismatch:

Experts say the dog-owner mismatch is common. People spend too little time researching a breed's temperament and habits before choosing their family's new addition. A fluffy Saint Bernard, for example, is a working breed that may protect your kids -- against the letter carrier. Then you've got a lawsuit.

Read article.

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