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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Believe It Or Not

The "experts" tell us that dogs don't see color, have no emotions and don't really think or reason, that they only act instinctively or by repeated learned behavior.

I think the "experts" are full of it!!

On what do I base my statement? On a lifetime of living with, interacting with and observing dogs.

Let's take these statements one at a time. First color.

I have always heard that dogs are color blind or see in shade of gray. Why then do some dogs have preferences for certain colors?

At Christmas we put dog toys in a toy box and let them all choose their own toy. 99% of the time Monty chose a pink toy. This was his favorite, Pink Pig Bunny, but he also had a pink ball, a pink octopus and a pink teddy bear. Was that just coincidence? I don't think so.

I've also heard from the "experts" that dogs can't see the picture on the television screen, that their eyes don't process it the way ours do.

When Bentley was a pup we had a movie on the tv that we had seen before, so we turned the sound off and left the picture on. In the movie the bad guy had three Doberman dogs that guarded his house. Every time the dogs came on the screen, Bentley would start barking. Why? If he couldn't see the dogs, why did he only bark when they were in the picture?

Noah barks at dogs on the television and Tsar loves to watch dancing. He parks himself in front of the television and stares at it as long as anyone is dancing.

"Experts" tell us that dogs can't really think or reason. Their actions are all learned from repetition.

I believe dogs think, reason and have a sense of humor. My dogs enjoy playing jokes. Bentley used to stand in our kitchen window and when he saw a dog walking down the street he would bark, then race upstairs to the bay window where he could watch the dog's confused reaction to hearing a bark and not seeing another dog. He had a similar joke he played on people who were standing at the mailbox. He would sneak up behind them, give one loud bark, then race for home. When the startled person turned and looked around, all they saw was Bentley lying on his porch looking angelic.

On my other blog, I related the story about the frog that pooped on our stairs and this week my pack set me up with this stuffy sitting in a puddle of water. They think this is funny stuff. Their humor is on the level of a pre-schooler, but it's still humor.

As for the "expert's" opinions on emotions, I disagree with that one, too.

We've all witnessed a dog's grieving for a lost companion. It can be heartbreaking. We've seen dogs adopt baby animals of other species that needed love and protection. And yes, dogs do laugh.

When my dogs do something they think is silly or something that makes me look silly, they laugh. Here is Pylon laughing over something she found humorous.

Sky laughs at his sisters when he thinks he's played a trick on them.

Even Tsar, who is generally pretty serious, can laugh when he puts one over on Fudge.

So, what do you think? Are the "experts" right? Are dogs just little machines with no emotions or preferences or reasoning abilities, or do they think and joke and laugh and like one color better than another? What are your experiences?

If you have pictures of your dog laughing, e-mail them to me and I'll post them to show the "experts". Does your dog play jokes on you or a companion? Tell us about them. And does your dog have a favorite color? What is it? And you cat people, let us know what your cat does to amuse itself at your expense.

Maybe the "experts" need to try living with a dog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good Dog !

Is your dog a good member of the family, a good neighbor and a good member of society in general? The American Kennel Club has a wonderful program that will show everyone that your dog is all of the above. It's call the Canine Good Citizen program and it's open to all dogs regardless of age, size or breed. Your dog can be a registered pedigreed member of a known breed or he can be a mixture of many breeds whose parents are unknown. It doesn't matter.

The program is meant to recognize dogs that have good manners at home and in the community.
There is a test that consists of ten parts.

The program is the first step for those planning to go on to become therapy partners and is often used as a first step toward other activities such as Rally, Obedience and Agility.

Test # 1: Accepting a friendly stranger.
The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness and must must not try to go to the evaluator.

Test #2: Sitting Politely For Petting.
This demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while out with it's handler.

Test #3: Appearance and Grooming
This demonstrates that the dog will permit someone to groom or examine it.

Test #4: Walking On A Loose Lead
Demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog.

Test #5: Walking Though A Crowd
This demonstrates that the dog can move politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

Test #6: Sit and Down on Command and Staying in Place
This demonstrates that the dog will respond to the handler's commands.

Test #7: Coming When Called
Demonstrates that the dog will come when called.

Test #8: Reaction to Another Dog
This demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs.

Test #9: Reaction to Distraction
This demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. These could be dropping a crutch or cane, a jogger running by, a wheel chair etc.

Test #10: Supervised Separation
This demonstrates that the dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and maintain good manners.

All tests are done on leash and you, the handler, can talk to your dog and offer encouragement throughout the tests.

If you and your dog pass all ten tests you'll receive a certificate and your dog will be able to use the initials CGC after his name. It tells everyone that he is a canine good citizen and a welcome member of society.

To learn more about the CGC program and full details about each step of the tests, go to the AKC web site. You and your dog working together can show everyone what good citizens you are. There are also comparable programs available in other countries.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dog Scouts

Sissy and I have been looking for the right activity for her since I had to accept earlier this year that she will NEVER be trustworthy off-lead. She's a great dog with a willingness to please... as long as nothing catches her eye or her nose to distract her. Her inner hunter is too strong. (She's the one standing up, watching the deer in the yard.)
She loved obedience class, and she basically trained Gretchen (all but chopped off in the bottom of the photo) for me, but I've been keeping my eyes open for something that would be just right for Sissy. Agility? No way, because around here, too many of the rallies are out of doors, meaning my girl would wild and free.
Gretchen thinks she'd like to be a therapy dog, once she gets a bit older and overcomes her desire to kiss everyone, but Sissy just has too much exuberance for that. Gretchen could also be a candidate for agility, because she is highly trustworthy off leash, unless she's following her big sister on a grand adventure.
Ever heard of Dog Scouts? Of course, there's not a chapter/troop in our area, but I think Sissy would like to learn, one merit badge here, another there, to be a better doggy citizen. I'm positive Gretchen would like to be more helpful, but this is about finding something for Sissy!
I'm hoping some of you have heard of Dog Scouts, or maybe even have one. Better yet, has anyone started a local chapter?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Addition

One of the things we want to do at Dogs-N-More is to welcome any new additions. Here is our first.

This is Spark. Isn't she adorable? She has very unusual coloring for a Pomeranian and what about those eyes?

Emily and her family at Dreameyce welcomed this little lady into their family last week and I'll bet she's keeping them all on their toes. The name seems to fit very well.

Welcome, Spark, we all look forward to watching you grow up and hearing all about your puppy adventures.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Hello All This is Robert the gray one who is not a dog.

Sue missed two steps today and sprained her ankle (left) and knee (right).

There are fourteen steps between her and the computer. I don't expect her to be posting for a couple of day at least.

I am sure she will go stir crazy in a short time of separation from her Apple.

Have a better day Robert

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Safety

Most of us know the safety rules for caring for our pets, but it doesn't hurt to review them,
especially in the summer when so many dangers are present.

First and most important, NEVER leave an animal in a closed vehicle in hot weather. The temperatures in a closed car can climb very quickly and the animal's body can't cool itself fast enough to keep up. Even leaving the motor and air conditioning running is dangerous. While you're enjoying a cool lunch, the engine can quit and the animal will die in minutes.

Be sure your pet has plenty of fresh drinking water. Dogs have been known to overturn their bowls and spill the contents. Be sure to check frequently to make sure there is clean, cool water available.

A handy item for dogs that have to be outside during the hottest times of the day or for dogs that work outside is one of the bandanas that cool. They are specially treated and when soaked in cool water, they stay cool when tied around the pet's neck. There are also dog blankets and dog beds that stay cool after being soaked or filled with water. These are especially good for dogs with flat faces who have trouble breathing in hot weather.

Some dogs with light colored hair or hairless types of dogs, or even dogs with short haircuts can get sunburned. This is also a problem with dogs who have light colored noses or stand up ears. If you're taking Fido to the beach on your vacation, but Fido is normally an indoor dog from a northern area, you might want to consider a doggy sunscreen. A little on the ears and nose can prevent a lot of pain and some nasty vet bills.

Here are a couple of examples. I've used Ice on Ice which is also a conditioner and detangler. Both these products are available at

At Yvonne's blog she has written about the importance of using life jackets on your dogs if you're going boating. Not all dogs are good swimmers and some can barely swim at
all. Don't let a fun afternoon on the boat turn into a disaster if Fluffy falls overboard. A life jacket can keep your dog afloat until you can get to her and they have handles on the back to help lift her back on board.

Dogs, as we know, love to eat. Some will eat things that aren't good for them, and some will eat things that can be deadly. We all know that chocolate can be toxic for dogs.

Most of us know that grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts can also be toxic for some dogs.

Did you know that any products sweetened with xylitol can be extremely deadly to dogs? This is often used in chewing gum. One stick can kill a dog. If you have dogs like mine that like to go thru your purse or the purses of you guests, be sure that you protect them from finding chewing gum that kills.

Other foods to be careful with are alcoholic beverages, avocado, coffee, onions and yeast dough.
If you suspect your dog may have been poisoned contact your vet or call one of the poison control centers.

There are plants that bloom in the summer that can also be deadly if eaten by the family dog. For a list of poisonous plants check either the ASPCA or Dogpack.
Who would ever suspect the dainty little Lily-Of -The-Valley of being poisonous? It is. It's a good idea to check the list before you plant your flower garden in the spring. If your dogs are like mine they take quite an interest in whatever is growing in the garden.

One thing to watch for in all seasons is anti-freeze. Make sure your car isn't leaking it and watch in areas where you walk your dog that other cars haven't leaked it on the ground. It tastes sweet to dogs and cats and they like the taste. Only a very little bit can kill an animal quickly. The best way to prevent the problem is to keep our eyes open.

Be sure you have a first aid kit stocked and easily accessible. On another post we'll go thru the items that should be in your kit. Memorize your vet's phone number and keep an emergency vet's number on the fridge.

By taking a few easy precautions you and your pet can enjoy a safe and happy summer together.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Favorite Things

I've been trying to get photos of my girls with their favorite toys, but the weather - and the dogs - haven't been cooperating. Before I get to that though, I do want to thank you for the harness input. I'm returning the unused Gentle Walker I'd purchased for Gretchen (a 12 lb. Jack Russell) in lieu of a padded, vest-style harness. Sissy (the 47 lb. basset) might get a new harness style too, because she just isn't built for the Gentle Walker; properly fitted, it still slides down her chest too easily.

My girls are toy-fickle. They have a different favorite every few minutes, or so it seems. Here, they're choosing between the two plush squeakies they were sent for my birthday. (Yes, you read that correctly.) My dearly departed male basset was VERY picky about his "babies" (plushies), but the girls like anything that's soft and squeaks, again... for a few minutes anyway. These are the toys most likely to get shoved under a sofa for a few weeks, until someone suddenly craves it long enough to find it, play with it, and hide it again.
They will sometimes pull the stuffing out of an old plushie, Gretchen more often than Sissy. While my former terrier would intentionally dig for the stuffing and then spread it around the house, the girls seem to only "attack" when a seam gives or the toy otherwise begins to fall apart. Of course, Sissy is my resident cardboard lover, who would be just as happy with the box as a toy.

Bones of all sorts are always a favorite. Perhaps they are Gretchen's TRUE favorite, because she can't go to bed without a hard to find Fido bone (like a Nylabone?). (Please note: that's not a vendor I have used. The Knight has been ordering them off of eBay...) No, Nylabones won't do, except in dire emergencies; they're too hard, it seems. She wants something to grind and shred as she tires her terrier self enough to sleep.

Balls are faithful standbys too. Gretchen's most favorite is a little rubber thing I must find again. It's non-descript, but it squeaks, and she likes it far better than the small "footed ball" Sue shared below, even better than those little squeaky "tennis" balls. All of the Planet Dog balls are treasured in our house too. Well, and outside. You can see from the photo that this ball has ventured out into the yard, clearly.

In fact, all of those Planet Dog Orbee toys have been thoroughly tested at our house and receive whatever the maxium number of paws two dogs and two humans can give. This was the first toy Gretchen decided was hers, all hers. She keeps it stashed under the sofa where I sit most often, because Sissy can't fit her snout under there.
It's nice to know my dogs aren't the only picky, spoiled pups out there!
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