Do Animals Have Emotion? - Laurelwood Vets

Most pet owners answer the question “Do animals have emotions?” with an emphatic “Yes, of course!” To those of us who live closely with animals, that answer seems so self-evident that we might be tempted to shrug off the question, but it’s important to remember that many people do not feel as we do.

Scientific research into animal emotions is important, not just because it increases our understanding of the inner lives of animals, but also because it serves an important reminder that we are responsible for both the physical and mental well-being of the animals under our care.

Three studies were recently published looking at jealousy in dogs, optimism in rats, and empathy in pigs:

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5 Ways to Stop Puppy Chewing
By Dr. Kristy Conn

Inappropriate chewing is a fairly common problem in young dogs and stems from the fact that puppies use their mouths as a means of exploring the world around them. Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies but becomes undesirable behavior when it is directed towards inappropriate objects such as your shoes, furniture, or even your hands and feet. If inappropriate chewing is not corrected then it can lead to wide scale destruction of personal property, medical problems and erosion of the human-animal bond.

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teach-dog-new-tricksWe all love to teach our dogs tricks. Some are frivolous like “play dead” and some are important, like going potty only when outdoors. But there are other tricks to teach our furry friends that could save their lives. Whether it’s to keep Fido from being hit by a car or getting into a fight, these 12 tricks are intended as building blocks, steps toward an obedient and therefore safe dog. Not every trick will be necessary for your particular pooch and you might have your own customized tricks created to keep your dog safe — after all our dogs are individuals and our relationships with them are multi-layered. But these top 12 tricks are a great place to start picking and choosing what is needed to create a safety net of good behavior for you and your dog. Read more

Halloween is approaching and our deadline for our second annual Halloween Costume contest is coming up! We wanted to share the following article about how to get your pooch to wear his costume long enough to get a good photo or even for some trick-or-treating fun.

clowndog

So you have ordered a trendy costume for your pooch. You excitedly put it on him and stand back to marvel at his overriding cuteness- only to watch him suddenly start pulling the clothes off and ripping it apart as he dashes everywhere in near panic.

Well, we can’t blame you for feeling upset. Our dogs have become so integrated in our families that we have humanized them; treating them like one of our own children. We share our beds with them, they relax on the couch and watch TV with us, we even take them out to dinner! But because wearing costumes is not something that Fido is accustomed to, don’t be surprised if your pooch seems uncomfortable at the first try.

Teaching your Dog to Wear Clothes

The key to training your pooch to wear a costume is treating him for positive behavior while he wears the new outfit. Dogs normally dislike the constrained feeling that wearing of costumes causes. That’s why to help him enjoy wearing outfits, try the following:

· Start early. Because dogs are more likely to be tolerant with clothes if exposed early, try teaching your pooch while he’s little that wearing clothes is just a part of life. Now, if your dog missed this early training when he was still a puppy, you can still train him by getting him accustomed to moving around your house with some clothes on. You can also try ordering that costume ahead of time.

· Create positive association. Teach Fido to link pleasant experiences with the costume prior to wearing it by showing the outfit and rewarding him even just for looking at it. Once he starts sniffing the clothes, mark it as your cue to giving him treats and praises. After that, try putting the costume on for a couple of minutes. Reward him for staying calm by giving your pooch lots of treats and praises.

· Continue on slowly. If all goes well, try increasing the time that Fido wears the costume for about five minutes. In the next few days or weeks, slowly increase the time that your pooch wears the costume until you successfully work up the two to three hours needed for the party or trick-or-treating. Just don’t forget to reward him each time he shows desired behavior. This way, your dog will gradually realize that wearing clothes means food and fun.

Eventually, with patience and positive reinforcement, your dog will not only tolerate wearing trendy costumes, but may actually delight in it.

Above article from https://www.dogingtonpost.com/how-train-your-dog-wear-costume/

Now that you’ve read these great tips you can start working with your dog on wearing their costume and entering them into our Halloween Costume Contet. Stop in the week of Halloween and get your pet’s photos taken or upload your photo to our website’s home page at www.laurelwoodvets.com.

 

cat sitting next to small green ball
Most people believe that cats can’t be trained because cats don’t seem to respond to many of the methods used to train dogs. But cats do respond to training! In fact one of the first scientific studies highlighting the importance of reinforcement in animal behavior was done with cats.

The first step to training your cat is to understand him. Cats aren’t as social as dogs. Dogs have been bred specifically to work together with people, whereas the primary reason cats were domesticated was to kill vermin on their own. So they’re independent, and they aren’t as naturally inclined to work for praise and attention as dogs are. They’re also not as easy to motivate. You have to use really special treats that your cat finds irresistible. Training a cat requires some creativity and patience.

Training your cat has important benefits. You’re stimulating his body and his mind, which helps keep him healthy. And spending time together means you’re strengthening the bond you share. In addition to teaching fun tricks like wave and fetch, you can also teach him a range of useful behaviors like sit, stay and to come when called. You could even teach your cat to pee in the toilet and flush afterwards!

Use Tasty Treats

The first step is to find a treat that your cat goes crazy for. Fresh chicken diced in tiny cubes, bits of tuna, meat-flavored baby food, and commercial cat treats are all good choices. Once you’ve identified treats your cat likes, follow the basic steps of positive reinforcement training (reward-based training) to teach him the behavior you want. Suppose you’d like your cat to sit and stay on a stool while you prepare his dinner. You’ll first need to start with teaching him to sit when you ask him to:

  1. First, make sure you have your cat’s attention. Hold the tasty treat in your fingers right at your cat’s nose. When your cat begins to sniff the treat, slowly move it in an arc from his nose up just over his head between his ears. (Don’t raise it straight up, or you’ll be teaching your cat to stand on his rear legs rather than sit!) Many cats will follow this arc motion with their eyes and nose, and as their chin raises up and back, their butt will go down.
  2. Second, the instant your cat’s bottom hits the floor, praise him and offer him the treat. If his rear doesn’t go all the way down on the first try, give him the treat anyway. Over several repetitions of practice, give him a treat each time his rear gets slightly closer, until he’s gets into a complete sit with his rear all the way on the floor.

Cats don’t see things well that are still and close-up, so if your cat has difficulty taking the treat from your fingers, try offering it to him in your flat palm or tossing it on the floor. He’ll see the movement when you toss it and know where the treat is.

Use a Clicker

A clicker can make training easier and faster. If you don’t have a clicker, you can use a pen that makes a clicking sound. The instant your cat does the correct behavior, click and then offer a treat. The click lets your cat know the instant he does the right thing, so it helps him catch on faster. Just make sure you click at the exact moment he does the behavior you want, and then give him a treat. Cats learn through repetition, just like we do, so you’ll need to practice a few times in a row. Keep your training sessions short though—just a few minutes at a time. Most cats get bored if you try to drill the same thing over and over.

No Punishment!

While training your cat, keep in mind that cats respond very poorly to punishment! Rather than learning what behavior not to do, a punished cat usually just learns to run away. Depending on your cat’s temperament, punishment can frighten your cat to the point where he may hide from you and your family members. Punishment creates stress, and stress is one of the most common causes for problem behaviors in cats, including eliminating outside of the litter box and compulsive grooming. Stress also compromises the immune system, making your cat more vulnerable to disease, including feline idiopathic cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).

It’s much easier to train your cat when you reward behaviors you want and offer him more attractive alternatives for behaviors you don’t want. Persuasion, not punishment, is the key to training your cat. If you patiently practice and reward your cat with treats, you’ll soon have a cat who’s sitting on cue and purring contentedly.

Finding Help and More Information

If you’d like to learn how to train your cat, or if your cat has a behavior problem you’d like to resolve, don’t hesitate to seek help from a qualified behaviorist. To learn more about locating the right expert for you and your cat, please see our article, Finding Professional Help. Many Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs or ACAABs) offer telephone consultations, in-home private consultations and training sessions, and some Certified Professional Dog Trainers also offer group classes for kitten socialization and basic training.

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/training-your-cat

Dogs are very expressive animals. They communicate when they’re feeling happy, sad, nervous, fearful and angry, and they use their faces and bodies to convey much of this information. Dog body language is an elaborate and sophisticated system of nonverbal communication that, fortunately, we can learn to recognize and interpret. Once you learn how to “read” a dog’s postures and signals, you’ll better understand his feelings and motivations and be better able to predict what he’s likely to do. These skills will enable you to interact with dogs with greater enjoyment and safety.

It helps to first learn about the various components that make up dog body language. Dogs use facial expressions, ear set, tail carriage and overall demeanor to signal their intentions and feelings to others. Breaking their body language down into components is helpful at first for building your observation and interpretation skills. Your goal, however, is to be able to observe the entire dog and the situation or context he’s in, in order to accurately determine what he’s trying to say. It’s not possible to understand your dog’s feelings and intentions by looking at just one aspect of his body language.

Dog Faces

Even though dogs’ faces and heads come in many shapes and sizes, your dog’s basic facial expressions can tell you a great deal about how he’s feeling.

The Eyes

Your dog can, within limits, vary the shape and size of his eyes or the direction and intensity of his gaze. When your dog is relaxed and happy, his eyes will be their normal shape. Some dogs have round eyes, while others are more almond-shaped. Eyes that appear larger than normal usually indicate that a dog is feeling threatened in some way. He may be stressed by something or he may be frightened. An aggressive dog is also likely to have eyes that look larger than normal. If your dog’s eyes seem smaller than they usually are, this can also mean he’s feeling frightened or stressed. Dogs who are in pain or not feeling well often look as though they’re squinting their eyes. Dogs who submissively grin (see below) may also squint their eyes.

The direction of your dog’s gaze can also be telling. Dogs rarely look directly into each other’s eyes because this is considered threatening behavior. Yet most dogs learn that it’s okay, even pleasant, to look directly at people. A dog who looks at you with a relaxed facial expression is being friendly and hoping that you’ll notice him. A dog who looks directly at you, actually staring at you with a tense facial expression, is another matter indeed. A direct stare is much more likely to be a threat, and if you’re in close proximity to such a dog, it’s wise to slowly look away. Looking away is what dogs do when they don’t want to appear threatening. A dog who averts his gaze when you look at him is signalling that he’s submissive. It can also indicate that he’s worried about interacting with you. Maybe he’s been scared of people in the past, and so he isn’t very confident about dealing with people now.

If your dog doesn’t look directly at you, but instead looks out of the corners of his eyes so that you see a good deal of the whites of his eyes (the sclera), he might be leading up to an aggressive outburst. Known as “whale eye” this is often seen when a dog is guarding a chew bone, toy or favorite spot. It’s different than the eye of a dog who, for instance, is resting with his head and opens his eyes to give you a sideways glance. In this case, he won’t appear rigid or tense, and you won’t see much of the whites of his eyes.

The Mouth

Dogs do a lot more with their mouths than just eat and drink. Even though they can’t use their mouths to talk, the way they position their lips, jaws and teeth speaks volumes. When your dog is relaxed and happy, he’s likely to have his mouth closed or slightly opened. If his mouth is open, he may be panting—this is how dogs cool their bodies. You might see his teeth because his mouth is slightly opened.

A dog who’s frightened or feeling submissive probably has his mouth closed. His lips might be pulled back slightly at the corners. He might flick his tongue in and out, or he might lick if he’s interacting with a person or another animal. When he’s feeling uptight, he might yawn in an exaggerated fashion.

Some dogs show a “submissive grin” when they’re feeling extremely submissive. They pull their lips up vertically and display their front teeth (canines and incisors). This signal is almost always accompanied by an overall submissive body posture, such as a lowered head, yelping or whining, and squinty eyes. Only some dogs “grin” this way. People sometimes mistakenly think a dog is being aggressive when, in fact, he’s grinning submissively and trying to communicate the exact opposite of aggression.

A dog who’s signalling his intention to act aggressively will often retract his lips to expose his teeth. He may pull his lips up vertically to display his front teeth while also wrinkling the top of his muzzle. This is typical of a dog who’s warning you not to come any closer.


A dog may draw his lips back horizontally so that his lips are really tight at the commissure (the corners of the mouth). With this expression, you’re more likely to see both his front and back teeth (premolars and molars). This posture is often indicative of a dog who’s feeling afraid. However, once a dog is ready to bite, he usually pulls his lips up AND back so that his mouth is open and his teeth are exposed.

Dogs can display an “aggressive pucker.” They move their lips forward over their teeth and exhale air so that their lips look puffy and large. You can sometimes even hear them breathing heavily. This display is often accompanied by a wrinkled forehead. A dog who looks like this is saying, “Don’t come any closer.”

Dog Ears

Dogs have a wide variety of ear types. The size and shape of your dog’s ears will dictate how well he can use them to communicate. Some are dropped (like a beagle’s), some are pricked (like a German shepherd’s) or semi-pricked (like a Shetland sheepdog’s), and some hang long (like a Bassett hound’s). Some dogs’ ears are cropped so that some or all of the earflap is removed (like a Doberman pinscher’s or Great Dane’s). The ASPCA does not condone ear cropping and encourages breeders and dog parents to leave dogs with their natural ears. In most cases, ear cropping is surgery done purely for cosmetic reasons and causes dogs unnecessary pain and discomfort.

When your dog is relaxed and comfortable, he’ll hold his ears naturally. When he’s alert, he’ll raise them higher on his head and he’ll direct them toward whatever’s holding his interest. Your dog will also raise his ears up and forward when he’s feeling aggressive. If your dog has his ears pulled back slightly, he’s signalling his intention to be friendly. If his ears are completely flattened or stuck out to the sides of his head, he’s signalling that he’s frightened or feeling submissive.

Dog Tails

People often assume that a dog with a wagging tail is a friendly dog, but this is far from the truth. Dogs wag their tails for numerous reasons, including when they’re feeling aggressive. And a dog who isn’t wagging his tail can still be friendly. A dog’s ability to use his tail to express how he feels is limited by the type of tail he has. Most dogs have a “natural” tail that hangs down to somewhere near the hock (the joint between the lower thigh and the pastern on the rear leg). Others, such as the pug, have tails that curl up and over their backs. A few breeds, like the greyhound and whippet, have a tail that naturally tucks slightly between their rear legs. And some breeds have naturally short bobtails or have tails that were surgically docked. (For example, Australian shepherd puppies may be born with natural bobtails, and the Doberman pinscher is a breed that often has the tail surgically docked.) Because it’s a painful procedure done only for cosmetic reasons, the ASPCA does not condone tail docking.

When your dog is relaxed, he’ll hold his tail in its natural position. If he’s feeling happy, he may wag it gently from side to side. If he’s really happy, like when he greets you after being apart from you, his tail will wag more forcefully from side to side or might even move in a circular pattern. If your dog feels nervous or submissive, he’ll hold his tail lower and might even tuck it between his rear legs. He may still wag it from side to side, often at a more rapid pace than if he’s relaxed. If he’s really scared or feeling extremely submissive, he’ll hold his tail tucked up tight against his belly.

When your dog is alert or aroused about something, he’ll probably hold his tail higher than normal. He’ll hold it stiff, without any movement. If he’s standing his ground or threatening someone (a person or another animal), he may “flag” his tail, which means he holds it stiff and high and moves it rigidly back and forth. It might look like he’s wagging his tail, but everything else about his body tells you that he’s not feeling friendly at the moment.

Dog Hair

Although dogs don’t communicate much with it, you can discern some things from a dog’s hair. First, a scared or stressed dog is likely to shed more than normal. It’s as though the scared dog is blowing his coat, and it suddenly comes out in buckets! You may have seen this if your dog gets nervous during visits to your veterinarian. After the examination, you, the vet and the table are covered with your dog’s hair.

Dogs may also stick up their hair to communicate how they are, which is called “piloerection,” or more colloquially, “raising the hackles.” Although dogs’ hair is most often raised over the withers (the area where the tops of a dog’s shoulder blades meet), dogs can raise their hair all along their spine. Dogs raise their hair when they’re aroused about something. It’s comparable to a person having goose bumps. Raised hackles can mean that a dog is afraid, angry, insecure, unsure, nervous or wildly excited about something.

Overall Body Posture

Dogs also use their bodies to communicate their intentions. In general, dogs either try to look normal, smaller or larger. If your dog’s feeling happy and contented, he’ll look normal—relaxed muscles and weight evenly balanced on all four feet. Similarly, when he’s playful, he’ll look normal. He may be bouncing around or running wildly with exaggerated movements, but his facial expression and his muscles will be relaxed and nothing about his body will look unnatural.

This is quite different from the overall appearance of a scared dog. When your dog is scared, he’ll be hunched as though trying to look small. He might lower his body or even cower on the ground. His head will be held low as well. If he’s frightened by something or someone, he’ll recoil away from it. For instance, if your dog is scared on an examination table, he’ll pull away from the veterinarian and lean into you. If your dog is uncertain but curious about something, he might approach it tentatively, with his weight centered over his rear legs so that he can retreat quickly if he needs to.

A submissive dog looks very similar to a frightened dog because he makes himself look small to convey that he’s not a threat. If your dog is submissive, he’ll lower his body or even cower on the ground. His head might be raised, though, if he’s greeting a person or another animal.

An assertive (dominant), alert or aroused dog tries to make himself look large. His muscles will be tense. He’ll stand erect, sometimes even on his tiptoes, with his neck and head raised above his shoulders. His weight will either be centered over all four feet or he’ll be leaning slightly forward on his front legs.

An angry, aggressive dog also makes himself appear larger than life to be as intimidating as possible. If your dog is aggressive, he’ll look very similar to an assertive, alert or aroused dog, but his posture will be accompanied by aggressive threats. Typically, his weight will be centered over his front legs so that he can lunge or charge forward rapidly.

Putting It All Together—The Whole Dog

The messages dogs communicate with their body language can be subtle, but with careful attention, most people can learn to recognize and interpret the most important meanings. It’s crucial to know when your dog’s happy, when he’s playful, when he’s worried or scared, when he’s feeling uncertain or insecure about something or someone, and when he’s feeling upset and potentially angry. As long as you can recognize these messages, you can interact with him confidently and safely, and you can protect him when he needs protection.

Happy, Contented

When your dog is happy, he has relaxed body language. His muscles are relaxed, his tail and ears are held in their natural positions, and he looks neither large nor small for his physique. He might wag his tail from side to side or in a circular motion. His facial expression is neutral or he appears happy—the muscles in his face are relaxed, his mouth is closed or slightly opened, and he might be panting with a regular tempo. The corners of his mouth (called the commissure) might be turned upwards slightly, as though he’s smiling.

Alert

When your dog is alert, he looks intense and focused. He stands upright with his weight centered on all fours, his ears are up and forward, and his head and neck are erect. He holds his tail either in its natural position or vertically, possibly even over his back. His tail is rigid and immobile. His gaze is directed toward whatever he‘s detected. His mouth is typically closed. He might growl or bark. The hair on his shoulders or back may or may not be raised.

Excited

When your dog is excited, he looks as intense as he does when he’s alert, but he might also adopt a playful demeanor. His body is ready for action. He looks natural in size, but his weight might be centered over his rear legs as he prepares to move. His ears are up and his tail is held high, and it may or may not wag. He looks at the individual or object that’s the source of his excitement. Excited dogs often hold their mouths open, and they might bark.

 

Aroused

When your dog is aroused, you might have a hard time distinguishing it from when he’s alert or excited. The only time it’s useful to know the difference is when the arousal pushes him closer to feeling frightened or aggressive. An aroused dog almost always has his hackles up. However, just about everything else about his body language depends on whether he’s feeling scared, uncertain or angry. His body may look normal-sized or larger, his ears might be flattened to the side or held forward, and his tail might be held low, in a normal position or high. He may or may not be looking directly at an individual or object. Sometimes there’s nothing in the environment that’s obvious to us, but a dog can be aroused by a sound that we can’t hear or an odor that we can’t smell.

Playful

It’s fairly easy to detect when your dog’s feeling playful. His body movements are jerky and bouncy. He might bounce around in exaggerated twists, turns and leaps. He might dodge around you, paw at you and then take off running to invite a chase. Or he might just jump on you and start mouthing. Dogs enjoy a variety of play styles, including chase games (in which the dog is either the chaser or the chasee), rough-and-tumble (wrestling or tackle) games, and games of “keep-away” with an object, like a toy or stick. Almost all play is interspersed with the characteristic “play bow” that’s common across all dogs. When your dog play bows, he bounces into position with his forelegs on the ground and his hind legs extended so that his rear sticks up. This signal is extremely important because so much of dog play consists of aggressive behaviors and dominant postures. The play bow tells a dog’s playmate, “Anything that comes after this is play, so please don’t take it seriously.” Some dogs also show a “play face,” a happy facial expression characterized by a partially open mouth that almost looks as though the dog is smiling. A playful dog might also growl or make high-pitched barks.

Fearful, Scared

When your dog is scared, he does his best to look small. Often, his body looks hunched, with his tail held low or tucked between his rear legs and his ears flattened back on his skull. He might cower close to the ground. If escape is possible, he might lean so that his center of gravity is over his rear legs to permit a hasty retreat, or lean to the side so that he can recoil. He might look directly at the source of his fear or he might look away. The muscles of his body and face are tense and rigid. He might yawn in an exaggerated way.

Dominant

During interaction with a person or another dog, dogs sometimes convey a confident, assertive attitude that’s often called “dominant.” If your dog is feeling dominant, he stands tall, sometimes on his tiptoes, and tries to look large. He arches his neck. He appears tense, like a coiled spring. His weight is squarely on all four feet or he’s leaning forward slightly. His ears are up and oriented forward. His tail is high and rigid, sometimes flagging or quivering at the end. His hair may or may not be standing up on his shoulders or along his back. He usually makes direct eye contact with the other individual. He might growl, but his mouth will typically be closed.

Submissive

If your dog is feeling submissive while he interacts with a person or another dog, he tries to convey the message that he’s the underling, that he’s not a threat and that aggression is unnecessary. During active submission, he makes his body look small by hunching over and getting low to the ground. He holds his tail low or tucked, sometimes rapidly wagging it back and forth. He flattens his ears or holds them off to the sides of his head. He keeps his neck low to the ground, but he turns his muzzle up toward the other individual. He might nuzzle, lick or flick his tongue. He averts his gaze so as not to look directly at the other individual. Some dogs, particularly puppies, urinate. (Please see our article, Submissive Urination, for information about how to resolve this problem.)

Your dog might switch from active submission to a more passive position, in which he lies down and rolls over on his back to display his inguinal area (his genitalia). During passive submission, your dog might lie still, or he might paw at the other individual. He looks away. He might whine. Some dogs, particularly puppies, urinate in this position.

Fearfully Aggressive

If your dog is fearfully aggressive he won’t look any different than when he’s fearful, except that he might show his teeth and growl. Some fearful dogs never escalate to aggression, but others will if they feel there’s no escape. A fearful dog isn’t likely to bite a person or other animal unless all avenues for escape are blocked and he feels trapped. When this happens, he continues to cower but, at the same time, shows his teeth and might growl or snarl. If he snaps or bites, it’s usually lightening quick, and then he retreats as far away from the threat as possible. Some dogs wait until the person or animal who frightens them begins to retreat, and then they dart out to nip them from behind.

Offensively Aggressive

If your dog feels anger and confidence at the same time, you might see offensively aggressive body language. He’s on the attack, and he may or may not stop if the person or animal he’s focused on stays away or retreats. He does his best to look large and intimidating by holding his head high, his ears up and forward, and his tail raised and rigid. He might flag his tail. His hackles might be up. He positions himself over his forelegs so that he’s ready to lunge or charge forward. He stares directly at the person or animal. He shows his teeth by wrinkling his muzzle and retracting his lips vertically to display his front teeth. He growls, snarls or barks in a low, threatening tone.

Defensively Aggressive

Most dogs give plenty of warning before reacting aggressively, but you need to know what to look for to recognize the signs. If your dog is feeling defensively aggressive, he’d rather not get into an altercation if he doesn’t have to. He’d rather the person or animal he’s afraid of just back off and leave him alone. But at the same time, he’s ready to stand up for himself. Because he’s feeling both fear and anger, he often adopts a combination of fearful and offensive postures. Typically, he looks large, his ears are up and forward, and his tail is held high and rigid. He centers his weight squarely on all fours, over his forelegs or over his rear legs, depending on the situation. Usually it depends on how close he is to the threat and whether his intention is to stand his ground, charge forward or retreat. Typically, he draws his lips back to display his teeth, and he may or may not wrinkle his muzzle. Usually he growls, snarls or barks, although his bark might be high-pitched. Often, his hackles are up. People sometimes refer to a defensively aggressive dog as adopting “a good offense as the best defense.” Dogs like this are sometimes bluffing in that they really would not fight if push came to shove—they would likely retreat. But other dogs will make the first strike, depending on the balance of confidence and fear they’re feeling.

Most pets are not thrilled when it comes to 4th of July and fireworks. We wanted to share an article from The Oregon Humane Society and how to help keep your pets safe and secure during this coming holiday.

Keep Pets Safe and Secure this Fourth of July

The Oregon Humane Society wants every pet owner to enjoy the holiday while keeping their pet(s) safe and secure.

Independence Day is not a time of celebration for our pets. The fireworks that we humans find so thrilling can drive pets, especially dogs, into a state of utter panic.

The explosions (even miles away) of fireworks, the high-pitched swoosh of rockets climbing into the sky, the flashes of light—these can all be overwhelming sensory assaults.

If your pet is terrified of fireworks, you probably know the signs: s/he cowers, trembles in fear, or hides and appears disoriented. Some pets become so frightened they take drastic action. They can crash through a screen door, jump out of a window, or leap over a fence.

Many Pets go Missing During July 4th Celebrations

Every year, Portland animal shelters have their hands full dealing with lost dogs that bolted on July 4th, cats that have run off, and anxious owners looking for them. Sadly, some lost pets are never recovered.

There are ways to make July 4th safer and less stressful for pets. Keep your pet indoors as much as possible on July 4th—and for a few days before and after, if your pet is extremely phobic of fireworks. If you find a stray animal, please keep them with you until your local animal shelter is open and ready to receive it.

 Ways to Ensure Your Pet Won’t Run Off

The Oregon Humane Society urges pet owners to follow the suggestions below to ensure their pets will not run off.

  1. Make sure all pets, even indoor-only cats, are wearing a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. A microchip is also a good idea. Terrified animals will become confused and disoriented. They may end up miles from home or deep under a neighbor’s porch. The simple precaution of an ID tag will safe a lot of time, anguish, and energy.
  2. Fireworks are on sale now–that means that people may begin shooting them off early. Walk dogs early in the early evening, well before nightfall, to prevent undue stress from noisy fireworks.
  3. During neighborhood firework displays, keep all pets inside. Dogs and cats who are agitated should be put into a bathroom or other room with no windows, with the door secure. Remember: screen doors will not stop a charging dog.
  4. Please do not take a dog to a large commercial firework display. This only increases the chances of him/her becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.
  5. In extreme cases, check with your veterinarian about tranquilizers for your pet.

 If Your Pet Becomes Lost

  1. Immediately check with your local animal control agency first.
  2. Put up flyers around the area with a photo and detailed description of the missing pet.
  3. The Craigslist website offers free lost and found pet postings.
  4. Check around the neighborhood carefully. Lost cats have been found days later, hiding under a bush in front of their owners’ homes. For dogs, expand the search area further than expected, as a precaution.
  5. This page contains detailed information on what to do if you lose or find a pet, including links to county control agencies and tips for finding your missing pet.

Donate to Help Pets in Need

Make a difference in the lives of animals. The pets at OHS rely entirely on your donations for food, shelter, and medical care. Though it’s easy to make a donation on your state tax form, you can also make an online donation if you prefer.

Original Article https://www.oregonhumane.org/news/stories/4thofJulyPetSafety.asp#.U7FrMvldWSp

 

 

  • A dog’s bark may be worse than his bite, but most of us would rather not find out one way or the other.

Growling, baring teeth, snarling, snapping, and biting are all aggressive behaviors. Although these messages are among the handful of communication tools available to dogs, they’re generally unacceptable to humans.

Because aggression is so complex, and because the potential consequences are so serious, we recommend that you get professional in-home help from an animal behavior specialist if your dog is displaying aggressive behavior.

Types of aggression

Fear-motivated aggression is a defensive reaction and occurs when a dog believes he is in danger of being harmed. Remember that it’s your dog’s perception of the situation, not your actual intent, which determines your dog’s response. For example, you may raise your arm to throw a ball, but your dog may bite you because he believes he’s protecting himself from being hit. A dog may also be fearfully aggressive when approached by other dogs.

Protective, territorial, and possessive aggression are all very similar, and involve the defense of valuable resources. Territorial aggression is usually associated with defense of property, and that “territory” may extend well past the boundaries of your yard. For example, if you regularly walk your dog around the neighborhood and allow him to urine-mark, he may think his territory includes the entire block. Protective aggression usually refers to aggression directed toward people or animals whom a dog perceives as threats to his family, or pack. Dogs become possessively aggressive when defending their food, toys, or other valued objects, including items as peculiar as tissues stolen from the trash.

Redirected aggression is a relatively common type of aggression but one that is often misunderstood by pet owners. If a dog is somehow provoked by a person or animal he is unable to attack, he may redirect this aggression onto someone else. For example, two family dogs may become excited, and bark and growl in response to another dog passing through the front yard; or two dogs confined behind a fence may turn and attack each other because they can’t attack an intruder. Predation is usually considered to be a unique kind of aggressive behavior because it’s motivated by the intent to obtain food, and not primarily by the intent to harm or intimidate.

Individual variation

The likelihood of a dog to show aggressive behavior in any particular situation varies markedly from dog to dog. Some dogs tend to respond aggressively with very little stimulation. Others may be subjected to all kinds of threatening stimuli and events and yet never attempt to bite.

The difference in the threshold prompting aggressive behavior is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. If this threshold is low, a dog will be more likely to bite. Raising the threshold makes a dog less likely to respond aggressively. This threshold can be raised using behavior modification techniques, but the potential for change is influenced by a dog’s gender, age, breed, general temperament, and the way in which the behavior modification techniques are chosen and implemented.

Because working with aggressive dogs can be potentially dangerous, behavior modification techniques should only be attempted by, or under the guidance of, an experienced animal behavior professional who understands animal learning theory and behavior.

What you can do

  1. First, check with your veterinarian to rule out medical causes for the aggressive behavior.
  2. Seek professional advice. An aggression problem will not go away by itself. Working with aggression problems requires in-home help from an animal behavior specialist.
  3. Take precautions. Your first priority is to keep people and other animals safe. Supervise, confine, and/or restrict your dog’s activities until you can obtain professional guidance. You are liable for your dog’s behavior. If you must take your dog out in public, consider a cage-type muzzle as a temporary precaution, and remember that some dogs are clever enough to get a muzzle off.
  4. Avoid exposing your dog to situations where he is more likely to show aggression. You may need to keep him confined to a safe room and limit his contact with people.
  5. If your dog is possessive of toys or treats, or territorial in certain locations, prevent access and you’ll prevent the problem. In an emergency, bribe him with something better than what he has. For example, if he steals your shoe, trade him the shoe for a piece of chicken.
  6. Spay or neuter your dog. Intact dogs are more likely to display dominance, territorial, and protective aggressive behavior.

What not to do

Punishment won’t help and, in fact, will often make the problem worse. If the aggression is motivated by fear, punishment will make your dog more fearful, and therefore more aggressive. Attempting to punish or dominate a dominantly aggressive dog may actually lead him to escalate his behavior to retain his dominant position. This is likely to result in a bite or a severe attack. Punishing territorial, possessive, or protective aggression is likely to elicit additional defensive aggression.”

Original article https://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/aggression.html#.U16V-qhX-uY

Small dog with red collar with paw on person's legIt seems like the most natural thing in the world—our pets need food, water, medical care and lots of love. But dogs and cats have other needs, too. Our furry friends need ample physical exercise and mental stimulation to lead truly full and happy lives.

“They need jobs,” says Kristen Collins, CPDT, ASPCA Animal Trainer. Dogs and cats need to stay busy and engaged, but unfortunately most pets are unemployed—daily they sit at home, chronically bored and waiting for their humans to return from work. And as we all know, an idle pet can quickly turn into a naughty pet when restlessness becomes overwhelming.

“With nothing to do, dogs and cats are forced to find ways to entertain themselves,” explains Kristen.  “Their activities of choice often include behaviors we find problematic, like excessive barking or meowing, gnawing on shoes, raiding the garbage, eating houseplants and scratching furniture.”

To prevent behavior and health problems, Kristen recommends the following physical and mental workouts—both when you’re there to join the fun and when your pet is home alone.

  1. Move it! Healthy adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a day. Jogging, swimming and playing at the dog park are all great ways to burn excess energy.
  2. Engage in structured games, like fetch and tug-of-war—they’re not only great exercise but also teach your pet impulse control and strengthen the bond between you.
  3. Keep your dog occupied when he’s home alone by giving him a food-stuffed puzzle toy, like the Kong, or some tasty chew toys.
  4. Like their canine counterparts, cats also need plenty of aerobic exercise. Get kitty fit with rousing play sessions, such as chase and fetch with furry toys, small balls or toy mice.
  5. Encourage your cat’s favorite home alone activities, including bird watching, exploring paper bags or boxes, watching cat videos or spending time in secure outdoor enclosures.
  6. Teach your cat new tricks! Felines are quick studies and can learn practical skills like coming when called, sitting up, rolling over and even using the toilet!

Kristen adds: “The bottom line is that you’re responsible for enriching your pet’s life. Providing opportunities to exercise your cat or dog’s mind and body will keep her healthy and happy—and enhance your relationship, too.”

For more information about enriching your pet’s life, please check out expert advice from our Virtual Pet Behaviorist.

Original Article: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/furry-friends-need-fun-too-how-keep-your-pet-happy-and-active

When making the first introduction, it is best done in steps. The last thing you want to do is frighten your puppy to the point that he is reluctant or unwilling to get into his grate. Ideally, you want your puppy to get into the crate at your command. But why?

Benefits of Crate Training

There are a lot of good reasons for crate training. For one, it is an essential part of housebreaking. Puppies will not usually soil their bed. Therefore, if the crate is set up as a resting space, the puppy will wait until he leaves the crate to do his business. This will put you in control of where and when your puppy relieves himself.

You will find that the crate is also useful for sequestering the dog when you have company over, car travel, and for making sure that the puppy is safe at night — i.e., not eating thing left within reach, tearing at furniture, or soiling on the floors. Think of the crate as a little cave in which your puppy can feel safe and secure, and he will respond positively to it.

Making Crate Training a Pleasant Experience

To avoid making crate training a traumatic experience for the puppy, make sure that he feels at ease throughout the entire process. You can do this by placing an old shirt or blanket on the bottom of the crate so that he is comfortable.

A puppy must never be locked up and left alone if it is his first time inside the crate. This can be a very traumatic experience for your puppy and will only make it more difficult for you the next time you try and get him to go inside the crate and behave.

Instead, tempt the puppy to enter the crate by placing some kibble inside. Be generous with your praises, as he enters the crate to eat the kibble. If he does not make a move to enter the crate, pick him up and slowly put him inside with the door left open. Reassure your puppy by petting him if he seems agitated and frightened. Once the puppy is inside the crate for a few moments, call him to come out of the crate to join you. Praise him with simple words and pats when he comes to you.

After practicing going in and out of the crate willingly several times, once the puppy appears to be at ease inside the crate and does not show any signs of fright, then you can close the door slowly. Keep it closed for one minute, as long as he remains calm all throughout. After that, open the door and invite him out while generously praising him.

What if He Whines?

Once you have passed the initial hurdle of familiarizing your puppy with the crate, you will want to get him comfortable to going into the crate and staying there quietly. Similar to before, the best trick for getting a puppy to go inside a crate willingly is to tempt him with food. Fill a bowl with a small amount of puppy food while you let him watch. Let him sniff the food and then slowly place the bowl of food inside the crate.

Once the puppy is inside, slowly close the door (so as not to startle the puppy) and allow him to eat. He will likely finish his food inside and only begin to whine or bark after he is done with his meal. When he starts to bark and whine, tap the door of the crate and say “No” in a strong, commanding (but not loud) voice. With repetition, this will make him stop crying and eventually train him not to whine when he is placed inside his crate.

You will gradually increase the time the puppy stays inside the crate. If he whines, wait for him to quiet down — or five minutes, whichever is first — before you open the door to let him out. Praise him when he comes out, and take him outside to relieve himself immediately. Repeat this a few times a day.

After some time, your puppy will begin to feel at ease inside his crate and may even go to his crate on his own. This is the time to lengthen his stay inside, although you must keep in mind that there is also a limit to the maximum number of hours that your puppy can spend inside his crate before becoming uncomfortable.

A puppy should not be made to spend almost an entire day in his crate, nor is it right to imprison a puppy inside his crate for long periods of time. He must be given breaks to walk and play around.

The purpose of a crate is so that the puppy/dog can be tucked inside overnight when you are sleeping and cannot supervise him, when you need to travel, and when you need him to be sequestered from visitors or children. It can also be a very useful tool in housetraining. You can keep him inside his crate until the scheduled outside time — when you can take him out to relieve himself – and in so doing, the puppy learns how to control his body functions as an internal schedule is being set, so that he becomes accustomed to the times when he will be going outdoors. This method works well because it is a dog’s natural inclination not to soil in his own bedding. He will learn not to eliminate until he is let out of his crate, and later, at the scheduled time.

Original Article found https://www.petmd.com/dog/puppycenter/potty-training/evr_dg_crate_training_for_puppies

Image: Jim Winstead / via Flickr