Tips to Help Your Cat & Dog Get Along

Pet parents totally understand the phrase “Fighting like cats & dogs” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s a quick guide to teaching your pets how to co-exist.

1. Prepare your home

Create a safe space for your cat by putting a baby gate on the door to his favorite room. This will allow him to get away from the dog if he needs a break. Put your cat’s litterbox in that room and feed your cat in a place out of the dog’s reach. Give your cat some tall furniture so he can watch the dog from above.

2. Consider each animal’s age

A puppy may be a better choice for a cat household. The size difference is less pronounced than with an adult dog, and the puppy will quickly learn the cat’s boundaries and limits: There’s nothing like a claws-out swat on the nose to tell a dog “enough is enough!”

3. Know the dog’s background

If you adopt your dog from a shelter (and I highly suggest that you do), be as sure as possible that the dog is familiar with cats and will interact safely with them.


4. Know your cat’s background, too

If your cat has been socialized to understand and live with dogs, you’ll be much more likely to succeed as a “bi-petual” household. On the other hand, if your cat was attacked or otherwise traumatized by dogs, you may want to avoid bringing one into your household.

5. Keep in mind that some dog breeds (and breed crosses) work better than others

When a cat feels threatened, his natural instinct is to flee, and if the dog’s natural instinct is to chase, the results can be tragic. Some breeds are more likely to chase than others — sight hounds and terriers, for example.

6. Exercise the dog before introducing her to your cat

Take the dog on a nice, long walk or engage her in an energetic game of chase-and-retrieve before you bring her home. If the dog has used up all of her extra energy, the odds are better that she won’t freak your cat out with her enthusiastic greetings.


7. Keep the dog on a leash when she meets the cat

It’s crucial to restrain the dog when you introduce her to the cat. Interspecies meetings can be tense because of differences in body language. A wagging tail can mean “nice to meet you, let’s play” in dog language, but the same “wagging” tail means something very different to a cat. Dog play gestures can also be intimidating to a cat.

8. Train your dog

As soon as possible, teach the dog to respond instantly to safety commands like “come,” “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “drop it.” And, of course, the more training you give your dog, the happier she — and you — will be.

9. Watch for signs of strife

If your cat is always hiding when you’re home or if the dog is becoming aggressive with your cat or other people and pets, get help from a dog trainer or a behaviorist.


Yes, you can have a harmonious home. It takes some work, for sure, but it’s well worth the effort if you’ve dreamed of getting a dog brother or sister for your cat.

Have you introduced a dog to your cats? Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments.

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Sports for Dogs

Some dogs enjoy being couch potatoes and love bugs more than anything in the world.  But, there are other dogs that seem to have a calling in life.  They can have hidden talents, or not so hidden talents.  Does your dog get a kick out of playing frisbee?  Does he live for diving and retrieving things in the water?  Is he great at jumping over objects or catching a ball on the fly?  Or maybe your dog can dance like Fred Astaire?

There are numerous sports and activities for dogs with special talents or simply for dogs and their owners who enjoying doing things together.

Agility is the fastest growing dog sport in North America with thousands of dogs and owners competing each year.  The sport calls for the dog, with on-course supervision by the handler, to complete an obstacle course.  The course is usually comprised of such obstacles as a teeter-totter, weave poles, jumps, a tunnel, and other objects.  The dog with the fastest time wins.  Penalties in handling the objects add time faults to the score.  Agility is a fast-paced, exciting sport that continues to grow in popularity.  There are several organizations that offer agility competitions from the American Kennel Club, which caters to purebred dogs, to the United States Dog Agility Association and the North American Dog Agility Council, in which mixed breed dogs are welcome to compete.

Flyball is another very popular sport for dogs and their owners.  Flyball pits relay teams of dogs racing against each other.  The dog streaks down a short course over small hurdles toward a box, touches the box and makes a ball pop out, grabs the ball and then races back toward his teammates so the next dog can set out on the course.  Fastest team wins.  The sport is fast, exciting and lots of fun for all of the dogs and team members.  In North America the sport is overseen by the North American Flyball Association (NAFA).  There are flyball teams found virtually everywhere these days or it’s easy enough to start your own group with some friends.

Canine Freestyle is what many of us call dog dancing.  It is basically a choreographed performance of dog and owner with music.  It’s also known as heelwork to music and this is how the training is often done for this sport.  If you can teach your dog to heel and follow basic commands then you can teach him the moves required to dance to music.  Canine Freestyle is often presented as a demonstration but the World Canine Freestyle Organization also holds events for judging so dogs can receive titles.  The Musical Dog Sports Association holds workshops and demonstrations, as does the Canine Freestyle Federation.  Canine Freestyle can be a beautiful event to watch as the dog and human move together in choreographed steps to carefully chosen music.

Schutzhund is German for “protection dog” and it refers to the training which develops and evaluates the canine traits that are important for that work.  There are three parts to Schutzhund:  obedience work, tracking and protection work such as that used by police dogs.  Schutzhund as a sport demonstrates a dog’s intelligence and utility.  Schutzhund was originally developed to test German Shepherds but it is now applied to other breeds which seek to do the same kind of protection work.  Many people enjoy training their own dog in Schutzhund.  It allows them to improve their own training abilities and to bond more closely with their dog.  Schutzhund is mentally and physically challenging for both dog and owner.  It also provides owners with the chance to form friendships with other people training in Schutzhund.  In the United States most Schutzhund training is affiliated with the United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USA) or the German Shepherd Dog Club of American-Working Dog Association.

o you enjoy watching Purina’s Incredible Dog Challenge?  Have you seen the big diving dogs?  The name of the sport where the Labrador Retrievers go leaping into the pool is actually called Dock Jumping.  You don’t have to have a Labrador Retriever to compete.  Any water-loving dog can take the leap.  This “big splash” is lots of fun for dogs that love the water.  Don’t feel bad if your dog can’t leap 20 feet after a training dummy.  It’s all for fun and small dogs can splash, too.  There are a number of local and regional clubs for the sport but there doesn’t seem to be a national governing body at this time.

If your dog loves to play Frisbee there is a sport for catching the flying disc.  Disc Dog is fun and exciting for both dogs and spectators.  Dogs have the fun of chasing and catching the disc and on-lookers can oooh and aaah over the spectacular catches.  Mixed breeds and purebreds can both play.  There are competitive trials for Disc Dog.  They can span everything from accuracy and distance to freestyle and team trials.  Several organizations hold tournaments in the United States including the Canine Frisbee Disc World Championship, Skyhoundz, the UFO World Cup Final, and the US Disc Dog Nationals.

Earthdog trials are a lot of fun for Terrier breeds and other dogs that love to “go to ground.”  If you have a breed that was originally bred to hunt rats or other vermin then he probably loves to dig and hunt in the earth.  If he’s born to rat then you may want t
o check out Earthdog events for him.  Earthdog events usually use tunnels that have been dug underground and which are supported by wooden sides.  They have exits dug at the ends so the dog can be brought out when he finishes the course.  The tunnels are laid with the scent of the dog’s natural prey (such as a rat) and the dog is turned loose to go in the tunnel and navigate his way around.  (The prey is not in any danger during the test.)  If your dog has natural earthdog instincts he will probably find these tests very fulfilling since they let him do what he was originally bred to do.  AKC Earthdog trials offer titles for purebred dogs just as other AKC events do.

If you have a dog of a herding breed, such as a Border Collie or a Sheltie, then you may want to try them out in herding competitions.  Herding dogs often have a natural instinct to herd and round up sheep, ducks, chickens, or anything else they can move around.  If you’ve noticed this tendency in your dog then your dog may enjoy a herding trial.  There are events ranging from basic instinct tests to advanced herding work.  Events are offered by the American Kennel Club and by several breed organizations which seek to preserve herding instincts in working herding dogs.

Many people in the United States enjoy hunting with their dogs and the dogs enjoy it, too.  Sporting dogs have been bred for at least 1000 years to hunt birds, while sighthounds such as Greyhounds have been used to hunt rabbits, small game and, in some cases, wolves, for over 4000 years.  Scenthounds like Bloodhounds and their smaller cousins Foxhounds and Beagles have been used to hunt rabbits and small game for hundreds of years.  The Bloodhound goes back to the time of the Roman Empire.  With so much inborn instinct dogs like Pointers, Setters, Greyhounds and Beagles love to have a chance to do what they were bred to do.  If you have any interest in hunting you may wish to give your dog a chance to see what the real thing is like.  The American Kennel Club and other field organizations offer various events for hunting dogs.  The AKC has hunt tests which test a dog instinct (this leads to the Junior Hunter title), as well as offering Master Hunter and Senior Hunter titles.  The Amateur Field Trial clubs of America also offers titles for hunting dogs.

The AKC also offers similar events and titles for lure coursing.  The American Sighthound Field Association also offers events and titles.  Lure coursing simulates hunting conditions for the sighthound breeds, usually by using a plastic lure on a fishing line for the dogs to chase.  Coursing in field events is more like actual hunting since the dogs are allowed to chase real prey.

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All About Pugs

The Pug, one of the top twenty most popular dog breeds in the United States, is an ancient breed of Chinese origin.  They date back to at least 400 B.C. when they were prized by Chinese emperors of the Shang dynasty.  At that time they were known as “Lo-Chiang-Sze,” “Lion Dog” or “Foo” (“Fu”) because of their resemblance to the Chinese guardian lions called Foo, which were considered guardian spirits.  They share this term with the Pekinese which was also called the Foo Dog.

From these earliest times the Pug’s sole function was to live in luxury as a companion dog.  Because of the breed’s popularity they spread to Tibet where they were kept by monks in monasteries, and then to Japan and later to Europe.

It wasn’t until the 16th and 17th centuries that Dutch merchants brought the first Pugs back to Holland. The little dogs quickly became the official dog of the ruling House of Orange which later came to rule in Great Britain.

History reports that in 1572 the Prince of Orange’s life was saved from an assassin because of the barking of his Pug.  William of Orange, who became William III of England and his wife Queen Mary II of England took a Pug with them when they left the Netherlands for England in 1688.

Pugs became popular throughout Europe in the 17th century.  They appeared in paintings by Goya and were dressed in clothing and rode with the coachman in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.

In France the Empress Josephine enjoyed the company of Pugs.  She used her Pug, named Fortune, to carry secret messages in his collar to her husband Napoleon Bonaparte when she was temporarily imprisoned.

The English painter William Hogarth owned several Pugs and was devoted to them.  He painted his self-portrait with his Pug named Trump in 1745.

Pugs were called “Mopshond” (“to grumble” in Dutch) in Holland and “Carlin” in France, but they picked up the name “Pug” in England.  The name probably comes from their facial expression which resembles the marmoset monkeys that were popular pets in the early 18th century.  The monkeys were also known as “Pugs.”

Pugs reached new heights of popularity with the dog lover Queen Victoria on the throne.  Queen Victoria bred Pugs herself   Her involvement with the breed, and with dogs in general, helped found the Kennel Club in Britain in 1873.  Queen Victoria preferred fawn and apricot Pugs while another early fancier, Lady Brassey, brought black Pugs back from China in 1886, making them highly sought after.

The Pug was brought to the United States in the 19th century and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, making it one of the earliest breeds recognized by the AKC.  The Pug enjoyed great popularity only to dwindle in numbers by the turn of the century.  Dedicated breeders kept the breed alive and gradually interest in the breed returned.

The Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931.  At the current time the Pug is enjoying a renewed growth in popularity.

Only one Pug has won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show:  Dhandys Favorite Woochuck in 1981.  At the World Dog Show in 2004 the Best In Show winner was the Pug Double D Cinoblu’s Masterpiece.

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Do you need a professional handler to show your dog?

Hiring A Professional Handler to Show Your Dog?

The American Kennel Club offers about 15,000 dog events each year in the United States. Approximately half of those events are conformation events, or the kind of dog shows that you see televised, such as the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. All “intact” AKC-registered purebred dogs are eligible to be shown at these AKC-sanctioned dog shows. (Intact means that the dog is not spayed or neutered). Dog shows evaluate dogs for potential breeding purposes so it would defeat the purposes of the dog show to have the dogs spayed or neutered.)

There are AKC member kennel clubs throughout the country which put together dog shows. Chances are that there is a show near you once or twice a year. If you have an AKC-registered purebred dog and you are interested in showing your dog at dog shows, do you need a professional handler to show it for you? That all depends. There are some good reasons to use a professional handler but it is by no means a requirement. Many owners do show their own dogs and win, but it takes a lot of hard work and practice. Reasons to use a professional handler:

1. You would like to have your dog evaluated by an objective observer. AKC registration guarantees you that your dog is a purebred but it does not guarantee you that your dog is “show quality.”

Not every dog born is capable of being a Best in Show winner or even of becoming a show champion. A professional handler who is familiar with your breed can look at your dog and evaluate his conformation. He or she can tell you if you would be wasting your money by trying to show this particular dog. Most handlers are honest enough to tell you the truth. They are not lacking for clients and they don’t want to handle dogs that will make them look bad in the show ring. If you do have a dog that they think they can win with, they will tell you that, too. If they don’t see show ring potential in your dog they may have connections with other breeders who have litters with show potential puppies.

2. If you do have a good dog you may not have the grooming skills necessary to make him look his best. This can be particularly true if you have a longhaired breed or a breed that requires specialized grooming, such as a Poodle.

A good handler can take a good dog and make him look great.

3. You may be new to showing and still learning. A good handler can be very instructive and you can learn from him or her as they show your dog. Or, you can ask for some private lessons from a handler, either with handling or with grooming.

4. You may be a good enough handler to show your dog in small shows or to put points on them to finish their championship but your dog is better than you are. If you have a great dog you may want to use a handler to help your dog go as far as he can go. You can use a handler to show your dog at big shows, where the competition is especially tough. You can earn the small wins but with a handler your dog could have a shot at Group wins or even Best in Show. Of course, there are plenty of owners who develop their skills and compete against professional handlers. You can attend handling classes offered by local kennel clubs or, as mentioned, you can pay for lessons from a professional handler or ask for handling tips from other exhibitors. There are also some good books and videos available about handling, as well as some good seminars offered by former handlers. The key to success is to pay attention to even the smallest detail of your dog’s appearance and to practice everything you will do in the ring until you can do everything smoothly. It’s an adage that good handlers do not draw attention to themselves. Everything they do puts the focus on the dog and accentuates his good qualities. Remember that whether your dog wins or loses, whether a handler thinks he’s show material or not, he is still the same wonderful dog he always was.

Shows are only a small part of your life or your dog’s life. If you decide that shows aren’t for you there are many other fun things that you and your dog can do together.

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What You Should Know About Cancer

Cancer is one of the most frightening and difficult illnesses for pets and their owners to handle.  As with humans, cancer in dogs comes in many forms and can appear in many parts of the body.  With dogs living much longer now than they once did, there is more opportunity for cancers to develop in later years.  Decisive early treatment can often save your dog’s life.  There are also many new treatments available today that can help your dog recover from cancer.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has published the following ten common signs of cancer in small animals:

1    Abnormal swellings that persist or continue growing
2    Sores that won’t heal
3    Weight loss
4    Loss of appetite
5    Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
6    Offensive odor
7    Difficulty eating or swallowing
8    Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
9    Persistent lameness or stiffness
10    Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these signs you should take your dog to your veterinarian to see what is causing the problem.  With cancer it is vitally important to catch the disease early.  The earlier you identify the problem, the better your chances of stopping it.  It’s much easier to remove a tumor while it is still small and perhaps benign than after it has become large and invasive.  The sooner you identify a problem the more options you are likely to have for your dog. You may even be able to rule out cancer as a possible cause of the problem.

Cancer takes many different forms and the cancers go by different names depending on what part of the body is involved.

Hemangiosarcomas: Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive cancer that can occur anywhere in the body.  It is primarily seen in the spleen, liver, heart and skin.  The skin form of the disease usually has a better prognosis.  Early, aggressive treatment can help your dog live longer but the cancer is metastatic (it spreads).  Total remission is rare.  Treatment usually consists of surgery and chemotherapy.

Lymphoma:  This is a common cancer affecting the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and other organs.  It can be aggressive and it usually leads to death if left untreated.  Chemotherapy has been very effective in treating lymphoma.  Lymphoma mostly affects dogs that are middle aged and older.

Mammary Cancer:  Most common in unspayed female dogs between 5 and 10 years old.  Mammary tumors can usually be easily treated by removal of the affected mammary gland if detected early.

Mast Cell Tumors:  Mast cell tumors occur frequently on the skin and in other body tissues.  They contain histamine and other immune system enzymes.  They can be found anywhere on your dog’s body and can come in different shapes and sizes.  The histamine in the tumors can make some dogs ill.  Your dog may vomit or have blood in his stool.  Mast cell tumors are usually treated by surgical removal.  If you suspect that your dog has a mast cell tumor you should have your vet examine it.  Some mast cell tumors can be serious.

Osteosarcoma:  Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer.  Most malignant bone cancers are osteosarcomas.  They are more common in large breeds of dogs, especially male dogs.  It is thought that the rapid growth of large dogs puts them at greater risk for osteosarcoma.  Osteosarcoma most often develops on the lower legs.  There is often metastasis to the lung.  Treatment usually involves amputation and chemotherapy.

Testicular Tumors:  Testicular tumors occur in male dogs which have not been castrated.  This particular kind of cancer can be prevented by castration.

Cancer is a devastating disease.  If you suspect that your dog may have some form of cancer don’t waste any time.  Take him to the vet immediately.  Early and aggressive treatment can often stop the disease in its tracks.  Remember that cancer is not a death sentence but it does have to be taken seriously.

If you and your dog are coping with cancer or going through treatments one of the most important things you can do is to take advantage of any system of support that is available to you.  There are support groups for dog patients and their owners which can help you deal with some of the emotional strain.  There are numerous online communities with people who have been through cancer with their dogs.  There are even some groups around who can help raise funds for cancer treatment.  Reach out to people and let them help you and your dog through this difficult time.

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Tips About Invisible Fences

Just about all dog owners have to consider the issue of containment for their dogs.  Allowing a dog to run loose is a sure way to invite trouble.  Your dog could be killed, injured, picked up by animal control, or cause damage or harm to property or other animals or people.  That makes it imperative for every dog owner to find a good way to keep their dog safely contained at home.

One way to keep your dog at home is by using an invisible fence.  If you’re not familiar with how an invisible fence works, a wire is buried along with perimeter of the property you wish to use for your dog.  A transmitter is installed in a quiet location near the boundaries.  This transmitter emits a radio signal along the wire.  When your dog wears a special lightweight collar, the collar emits a gives a warning signal when the dog gets too close to the boundaries.  If the dog ignores the warning signal and tries to cross the boundaries of the invisible fence line, then the collar puts out a slight shock, similar to what you would receive if you your feet across carpeting and touched a metal doorknob.  The feeling isn’t enough to hurt the dog but it does get his attention.  Dogs are trained for 2-3 weeks so that they learn where the invisible fence boundaries are with the use of flags in the yard.

There are many positive things about using invisible fences.  They work very well for keeping most dogs, of all breeds, contained in their yard.  Dogs are trained to respect the boundaries and the warning signal, so once they learn where the boundaries are they don’t usually try to leave the yard.  By contrast, some dogs contained inside fences don’t really respect the fence.  They may keep trying to find ways to get out.

Invisible fences also work for multiple dogs as long as each dog is wearing the special collar. You can also use an invisible fence to contain cats.  You can even take your invisible fence with you if you decide to move.  You simply take the transmitter and dog’s collar with you and have new wire installed at the new location.

Invisible fencing claims an extremely high success rate when it comes to containing pets — as high as 99.5 percent.

Invisible fencing can even be used indoors to keep pets from going into certain areas of someone’s home.

There are, however, concerns about using invisible fences.  Some people don’t like the idea of using a collar that emits a shock to the dog, even for training purposes, and even if it’s very mild and brief.

One of the biggest criticisms of the invisible fence is the fact that it keeps an owner’s animals inside the fence but it does nothing to keep stray animals or people out of your yard.  Your dog could be kept at home but your neighbor’s dog could come and go freely into and out of your yard, which could upset your dog.

Although most dogs trained to stay inside an invisible fence do obey it and remain inside, there are always exceptions.  Some dogs may be hard to train and insist on going through the boundary line.  If the transmitter or collar stops working your dog might be tempted to go for a run.

Many veterinarians and dog professionals recommend invisible fences to dog owners.  Ultimately it’s up to a dog owner to decide whether or not they feel comfortable trusting their dog’s safety to an invisible fence.

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How To Find a Good Veterinarian

Good veterinarians are hard to come by.  It’s getting harder to find the country vet who knows all about you and your dog and can tell you all of the local gossip.  Vets who offered discounts for multiple pets and client loyalty are disappearing.  In his place we have vets with more sophisticated equipment but often less time for you and your dog.  He or she may see lots of clients every day and be part of a large practice.  You may not see the same vet each time you go to the offices.

How can you find a good veterinarian these days?  Here are a few tips.

1.  Ask around.  Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a good vet.  If you have friends with pets ask them who they use and whether they like them or not.  Ask them about their experiences with the vet.  Have they been satisfied or are they looking for a new vet?  How is the vet with their dog?  (Or cat or whatever!)  You can learn a lot just by talking to a friend.

2.  Make a list of some of the things that are important to you in a vet.  Do you need a vet who specializes?  Probably not, unless you are a breeder or you have a dog with a particular health problem, but if you do need a specialist, start looking.  They can be hard to find.  Do you need a vet who will write prescriptions for you so you can buy heartworm medication online?  This can be a bone of contention with some vets so you may have to try several vets before you find one who is willing to do this for you.  It’s certainly worth pursuing because heartworm medication usually costs twice as much at the vet’s office.  Do you need a vet who handles his own emergencies?  This is becoming rare.  You may have to look far and wide for a vet like this.  Most vets now send their emergency cases to a vet emergency clinic at nights and on the weekends.

Decide what is most important to you and look for a vet who can meet your needs.

3.  Call vet offices near you and talk to the receptionists.  Better yet, go by and meet them in person.  Discuss billing arrangements.  Veterinary care can be very expensive, especially if your dog has a serious problem that requires surgery and post-op care.  What is the vet’s policy about payment?  Does he or she require you to pay upfront?  Can you make payments?  Will they turn your dog away if you can’t pay for the entire procedure ahead of time? These are important considerations and it’s best to know how your vet handles these matters before your dog is in a life or death situation.

4.  Does the vet take pet health insurance?  Some vets do take health insurance for pets now.  If so, which ones?

5.  Find out the days and office hours for the vets near you.  Do they fit your schedule?  Some vets are closed on Saturdays or may only be open half a day.  They may not stay open late through the week.  Will you be able to work with their schedule?  You can have the greatest vet in the world just down the street from you but if you have to work when they’re open it won’t do your dog any good.

6.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a listing of state veterinary medical associations.  You can find veterinarians who are listed with these state medical associations here: .  This is an excellent place to look for accredited vets in your area.

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Do Dogs Have Feelings?

People have been wondering if dogs have emotions for thousands of years.  Philosophers have debated the subject, lining up on different sides.  Most of us who have dogs agree that dogs have feelings.

Aristotle believed that animals were without reason but believed that they did have “sensations” — they could feel if you cut them or hurt them.  But as far as having human-type emotions?  No.  Likewise Plato and St. Augustine believed that animals did not have human-type emotions.  You should be aware that in classical times what we call the emotions today were not very highly thought of.  Passions were considered suspect in people.  To give in to one’s emotions was a bad thing.  Therefore, for a person to display emotions was undesirable.  Being emotional was a bad thing.  It certainly wasn’t something that philosophers would want humans to have in common with animals.  Animals were held in generally low esteem.  They were beasts.

In classical times the dog was considered noble, loyal and faithful but he was still a dog — an animal.  There was not the least effort to endow him with human qualities such as emotions.  Instead, dogs were admired for their achievements as dogs:  how well they guarded the house; how well they hunted; how well they tended flocks of sheep, etc.

The utmost praise for a dog among classical writers comes from, perhaps, Homer, who describes Odysseus’s old dog Argus who would not die for 20 years until he saw his master safely return home.  He was the only one who recognized Odysseus, an old man and in disguise, when he finally returned from the Trojan War.  The old dog saw his master, let out a whimper, wagged his tail and died on the spot.  He was considered a great dog.

The philosopher Descartes denied that animals had feelings, but then he was hard-pressed to prove that he himself existed.  John Locke argued that animals do have feelings.  Rousseau argued that animals are sentient beings, so therefore would have feelings.  Bentham seemed to argue that animals can suffer, so they must have feelings.  Schopenhauer believed that animals had feelings.

Do our dogs have feelings?  Dogs have not changed from Aristotle or Homer’s time yet our ideas about emotions and feelings have.  Today we honor feelings more and we look to find them in our dogs.  We are pleased when we believe we see evidence that our dogs love us.  Perhaps we encourage our dogs to show more emotions.  We may raise dogs to be more affectionate with us.  Dogs today seem to show happiness, sadness, affection and many other feelings that humans have.  A mother seems to care for her pups in the same way that human mothers care for their children.

But are they the same feelings that people feel?  We may have no way of knowing if they are the same feelings.  They are the dog version of these feelings.  We don’t know if a dog’s feelings are as complex or as rich as a human’s feelings.  We don’t know if their feelings are as intense, or more intense or less.

Do they have emotions?  The answer seems to be a definite yes.  But whether those feelings are the same as the feelings that a human has may be unknowable.

So what does this mean for those of us who live with and interact with dogs? The good news is that you can feel free to dress your dog in that silly costume for a party. He will not feel shame, regardless of how ridiculous he looks. He will also not feel pride at taking home the top prize in a dog show or an obedience competition. But your dog can indisputably feel love for you and derive contentment from your company, and that’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it?
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10 Things You Should Know About Your New Puppy

Just about everybody loves a puppy.  What’s not to love?  Okay, maybe there are a few things — like accidents in the house, chewing your things, nipping…

Here are a few things that you should know about your new puppy:

1.  When you bring your new puppy home he doesn’t know very much.  He’s spent most of the first weeks of his life living with his mother and siblings, who are dogs.  That means he knows some basic dog things, like how to whimper and bark to get attention.  He knows how to poop on papers.  His breeder may have taught him a few things but there wasn’t time to teach him very much.  Your puppy is pretty much a blank slate.  It’s up to you to teach him everything he needs to know.

2.  Your puppy is a little animal, not a small person in a furry suit.  He has animal instincts and will always react as an animal when he doesn’t know what to do.  That means that your puppy can bite and scratch and hurt somebody if he’s not supervised and trained.  He needs training while he’s young so that he doesn’t grow up to be a badly-behaved dog.

3.  Puppies need socialization.  Socialization is the process of introducing your puppy to the big, wide world and everything in it.  Your puppy needs to go places, see new things and meet people.  He should learn that new things and new people are good.  Socialization teaches a puppy to be confident and helps him later in life.  Puppies that are well-socialized tend not to develop behavior problems later on.

4.  You should begin training your puppy early.  You can train a dog throughout his life but it’s always easier and advisable to start training a puppy when he’s young.  Teach your puppy good manners and some basic obedience skills like Sit and Come.  You can take him to Puppy Preschool or Puppy Kindergarten classes where he can learn some simple obedience and enjoy some socialization at the same time.

5.  Your puppy will most likely chew on things so you should try to “puppy proof” your house as much as possible.  Put away your shoes and other things that he can reach.  When your puppy chews on things take them away.  If you catch your puppy in the act of chewing on something he’s not supposed to chew on, you can correct him (no physical punishments).  Otherwise, if you don’t catch him, you should let it go.  There is no point in correcting a puppy or dog for something that has already happened. Your puppy or dog won’t know why they’re being corrected.

6.  Puppies may nip, bite too hard when playing or simply get too raucous.  When they do, you should stop playing with them and ignore them.  If they continue, you should call a time-out.  Time-outs work with puppies just as they do with children.  If your puppy nips you, you should yelp and let him know it hurts.  If he even touches his teeth to your skin, yelp and don’t play with him.  If you stop playing with him whenever he tries to nip he will stop nipping.

7.  If you have children teach them that they can’t mistreat a puppy.  Tell them not to stare at a puppy or otherwise make the puppy uncomfortable.  They puppy may lunge at them.  And, if they run away screaming from a puppy, the puppy will chase them.  Not all kids are happy about that fact.  Children under six should be supervised when they play with puppies.

8.  Puppies may whine and bark and whimper for attention.  Sometimes you will have to ignore them, especially if you want to get any sleep.

9.  Do make sure that your puppy gets all of his vaccinations on schedule.  See that he takes heartworm preventive and flea medication if he needs it in your area.  Your puppy’s health and well-being depend on proper veterinary care.  You should also make sure that you are feeding him a good dog food with meat protein sources.

10.  Puppies are adorable and they will make you do whatever they want.

Please make sure your puppy has a dog tag immediately.  We recommend the soft Twigo tag .

Those are a few things you should know about puppies.  Have fun with your puppy and may he (or she) grow up to be a wonderful dog.

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How To Get Your Dog To Sleep In His Own Bed in Five Easy Steps

Do you find yourself waking up at night with a furry creature breathing in your face? Or scratching?  You’re not alone, many pet owners let their dogs sleep with them only to find that the dog takes over and they can’t sleep. While this is cute, it’s not healthy. Dogs bring a lot of junk with them into your bed, including dirt and bacteria that they happily roll around in. And they sleep on your pillow and scratch themselves all over your bed! That’s not only yucky, it’s also unhealthy for you.

And it’s not good for your dog. Dogs that sleep with their owners often have more separation anxiety, which leads to behavioral problems. In general, they also become more dominant than dogs that sleep on their own.

What to do? How do you get your dog to sleep somewhere else? We have a five step program that works, but takes a lot of patience and persistence. And time.

1. Don’t let your dog sleep with you in the first place! If you can do this, you’re done. Get your doggie a nice bed and have your dog sleep in it. The bed can be in your room. We will be offering a fine selection of doggie beds at Keep Doggie Safe very soon.

If your dog is already sleeping with you, then here’s how to fix the problem.

1. Get your dog a nice bed (see step one above). See? It’s the same step as above, but takes longer, since your dog is already used to sleeping with you.

2. Put the bed right next to your bed, at least for now. This is a gradual program, as your dog is not going to be happy sleeping somewhere else.

3. When you get ready to go to bed, put your dog on a leash and walk him to the new bed. Encourage him to sleep there. Say “bed” and give him a treat and praise for lying in it. Repeat. This is not an easy process. Your dog will not like this, but if you are persistent, he will eventually give in. Make sure there is no way for your dog to jump back on your bed. Remove any stairs. If your dog is big enough to jump on the bed, say no, and gently push him off. Repeat.

4. After about a week, remove the leash, and slowly stop giving your dog treats, But keep praising him every night. Also, slowly move the bed away from your bed to another location in your house. Make sure it’s a location that your dog can easily sleep in. You don’t want to have your dog sleep in the kitchen where his food is located. That’s too stimulating.

5. If you do this well, after about two weeks, your dog will sleep where his bed is, not where you are. And after two weeks of struggles, you will finally get a good night’s sleep in your clean bed!

Remember to regularly wash your dog’s bed, so he has a good place to sleep too!

Thanks for reading!



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