Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What It Means?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
I really got hooked on all these "What It Means", lets pick couple of them and learn to understand our doggie friends better.

A Dog's Growl & What It Means

Growls can stand alone or be used to modify barking sounds to add a degree of threat. Below are 5 different ways a dog may grow and what the dog means by that growl:

1. Soft, low-pitched growling:
"Beware!" "Back off!" This is used as a threat and usually causes the listener to move away, giving the dog more space.

2. Low-pitched growl-bark:
This is a clear growl that leads to a bark. It means "I'm upset and I'm ready to fight!" This is a clear warning that pressing the dog will lead to aggression.

3. Higher midrange-pitched growl-bark:
"I'm worried [or frightened], but I will defend myself." This is the threat of a less-confident animal who will, however, most likely fight back if pushed.

4. Undulating growl:
This is a growl that goes from low midrange to high midrange with a kind of a semi-bark often added as the pitch rises. It means "I'm terrified. If you come at me, I may fight or I may run." This is the fearful-aggressive sound of a very unsure dog.

5. Noisy growl, with teeth hidden from view:
"This is a good game!" "I'm having fun!" It is usually part of the play sequence and may be tucked in between a series of stutter-barks. It usually indicates intense concentration, as in a tug-of-war or play-acting aggression.

Dog's Mouth Gestures & What They Mean

1. Mouth relaxed and slightly open, tongue may be slightly visible or even slightly draped over the lower teeth:
This is the dog equivalent of the human smile. It means "I am happy and relaxed."

2. Yawn:
While it is usually interpreted by humans as meaning fatigue or boredom, it is actually a stress-related signal, best interpreted as "I am tense or anxious."

3. Lips curled to expose some teeth, mouth still mostly closed:
"You are annoying me!" This is the first sign of menace or threat.

4. Lips curled up to show major teeth, some wrinkling of the area above the nose, mouth partly open:
"If you do something that I might interpret as a threat, I may bite." This is the next stage of threat but may also indicate fearfulness. Pressing a dog at this stage may lead to an aggressive attack.

5. Lips curled up to expose not only all of the teeth but also the gums above the front teeth, visible wrinkles above the nose:
"Back off!" This is the full threat display that indicates a dog is ready to release a violent attack. If you are ever confronted with this display, you should not turn and run: the level of arousal is so high that your movement will probably produce a pursuit-and-attack response. Instead, cast your gaze slightly down (a slightly submissive eye position), open your mouth a bit (a bit of a counter-threat), and back off slowly.

Your Dog's Ear Movements & What They Mean

All positions of a dog's ears should be gauged relative to the way the dog normally carries his ears when he is relaxed. Dogs with severely cropped or very long ears will be harder to read.

1. Ears erect or slightly forward:
"What is that?" This is a sign of attention in response to a sound or when studying a new situation. Accompanied by a slightly tilted head and a relaxed or slightly open mouth, the meaning changes to "This is really interesting" or "I do not understand that" and is associated with observation of an event. However, when accompanied with bared teeth and wrinkled nose, it is an offensive threat by a confident dog.

2. Ears pulled back flat against the head:
"I am scared" or "I am protecting myself against a possible attack." This is usually associated with a challenge of some sort.

3. Ears pulled slightly back:
On a prick-eared dog such as a German Shepherd, the ears take on a slightly splayed, sideways spread in this position. It means "I do not like this" and "I am ready to fight or run." This is the look of suspicion and may show both aggression and ambivalence.

Okie, have shared quite a lot. Just can't stop digging all these interesting "What It Means".
Hope you enjoy them.

Seeya tomorrow, keep on "woofing". :o)

Dog Psychology

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More Dog Tail Stories!

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Today, I have more dog tail stories to tell..........

How Dogs Use Their Tails As Signals & Gestures: Part 2

Tail position is an important indicator of social standing and mental state of a dog.

There will be some variations, of course, depending upon the natural tail position of the dog:
A West Highland white terrier will carry its carrot-shaped tail higher than a golden retriever its flowing, feathery tail, and a greyhound's relaxed tail position is lower yet.

Almost horizontal, pointing away from the dog but not stiff:
This is a sign of attention. It roughly translates as "Something interesting may be happening here."

Straight out horizontally, pointing away from the dog:
This is part of an initial challenge when meeting a stranger or an intruder. It roughly translates as "Let's establish who's boss here."

Tail up, between the horizontal and vertical position:
This is the sign of a dominant dog, or one who is asserting dominance, and translates as "I'm boss here."

Tail up and slightly curved over the back:
"I'm top dog," this says. It is the expression of a confident, dominant dog who feels in control.

Tail held lower than the horizontal but still some distance from the legs:
"I'm relaxed." "All is well."

Tail down, near hind legs:
This changes its meaning with the posture of the dog. If the legs are still straight and the tail slightly brushes back and forth, it means "I'm not feeling well" or "I'm a bit depressed." If the legs are slightly bent inward, giving a slight downward slope to the back it means "I'm feeling a bit insecure," especially in an unknown setting or situation.

Tail tucked between the legs:
"I'm frightened!" or "Don't hurt me!" This is especially common in the presence of a dominant dog or person, when it can also mean, "I accept my lowly role in the pack, and I'm not trying to challenge you.

Bristling hair down the tail:
The bristle in the dog's tail is a sign of aggression. It may modify any tail position. Thus, with the straight out it means "I'm ready to fight if you are!" and with the tail slightly up or over the back it means "I'm not afraid of you and will fight to prove 'm boss."

Crick or sharp bend in the tail when held high:
This is more characteristic of the dogs that look like wolves, such as the German shepherds, and means much the same as the tail bristling. It is the precursor to possible aggression.

Broad tail wag:
"I like you." This is often shown during play, when one dog seems to be attacking the other, pouncing, growling, and barking. The wagging tail serves as reassurance that this is all in fun. It also means "I'm pleased" in many contexts.

Slow tail wag, with tail at half-mast:
During dog training, I interpret this as "I'm trying to understand you. I want to know what you mean, but I just can't quite figure it out." When the dog finally solves the problem, the speed and size of the tail wags will usually markedly increase.

Never know that Dog's tail movement and gesture can signal so much message, right?

Hope that you have learnt something new and interesting today.

Till we 'woof' again, pay more attention to your dog's tail.


Dog Psychology

Monday, May 29, 2006

Every Dog's Tail Tells A Story.... Check It Out!

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Today, I am going to touch on an very interesting topic.

How Dogs Use Their Tails As Signals & Gestures

In addition to barking, dogs also use their bodies to communicate about social and emotional matters. A dog's tail, eyes, ears, and mouth all speak to us, and whole body postures add further information, serving to modify the message given.

Tail wagging can come about simply as a sign of excitement, the degree of which is indicated by the vigor or speed of the wag. In judging excitement, you should attend to the speed of wagging independent of the size of the actual movement. A sporting dog with a full, flowing tail might seem to move it much more than a terrier moves its carrot-shaped tail (where a furious wag may seem like nothing more than a tremor). Yet in both cases, high-speed movements simply mean "I'm excited." The relative size of any single dog's tail wag does convey other information, however.

Tail wagging is a completely social gesture. In some ways, it serves the same functions as a human smile. Humans seem to reserve most of their smiles for when somebody is around to see them or when they are thinking about somebody or something special. For dogs, the tail wag seems to have the same properties. A dog will wag its tail for a person or another dog. It may wag its tail for a cat, a horse, or a mouse. But when a dog is by itself, it will not wag its tail to anything it perceives as lifeless.

A dog will wag its tail to express its gratitude to you as you put its food bowl down, but should the dog walk into the room and find the bowl full, it will approach and eat the food just as happily, but with no tail wagging other than, perhaps, a slight excitement tremor. This is one indication that tail wagging is meant as communication or language. In the same way we don't talk to walls, dogs do not wag their tails to things that are not apparently alive and socially responsive.

For most breeds of dog, the tail will tend to lighten toward the tip, and on many breeds there is a characteristic white tip to the tail. It is also quite visible in jackals, foxes, wild dogs, and dingoes. Some evolutionary biologists have suggested that the purpose of this light area is to make tail signals more visible. For some wolves, the tail is marked with a dark tip, which, of course, can serve much the same function of making it easier to see the tail position and motion.

Hm.... that's all for today, shall share somemore at the next posting.

Till we 'woof' again, wag your tail........... I meant you dog's tail. :o)


Dog Psychology

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Interesting Comparison Study With Wolves and Poodles

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
As promised, gonna share a very interesting study with you today.

Interesting Comparison Study With Wolves and Poodles

Some instinctive social behaviors of the wolf may be left unexpressed in the dog simply because the opportunity never arises for them to be expressed in a new social setting. But even when dogs range freely in wild or semi-wild circumstances, they show distinct divergences from their wild ancestors. As part of his behavioral study of the wolf, Erik Zimen raised a pack of poodles and a pack of wolves under quite similar conditions. While the wolves ran free inside an enclosure, the poodles had free run of the rest of the property.

Zimen and his colleagues recorded 362 specific behaviors displayed by wolves, everything from yawning and stretching to howling and tail wagging. The poodles displayed 64 percent of those behaviors with little or no change. About 13 percent of wolf behaviors had vanished altogether, and 23 percent persisted but in markedly modified form. Zimen found that in performing many of these modified behaviors, the poodles lacked a seriousness of purpose; compared to the wolves, the poodles were more playful or simply inept. As Raymond Coppinger observed with his village dogs, Zimen's poodles were incapable of hunting large prey. The poodles readily chased things, but their choice of "prey" was indiscriminate - birds, leaves, bicyclists - and it was clearly a game, an end in itself, very much as with young wolves at play.

The most striking differences seen in the poodles was in their expressive behavior or rather, lack thereof. Wolves exhibit a rich array of facial expressions, ear movements, tail positions, and body postures. In poodles many of these expressions were greatly simplified, and many were absent altogether. The lip curling, snarling, and baring of teeth displayed routinely by wolves in defensive and aggressive situations was considerably muted and simplified in poodles. In part, this is simply because poodles are generally less fearful and less aggressive and tend not to mind invasions of personal space as much as wolves do: they just have less of an impulse to act annoyed. Starting as early as four weeks, wolf cubs begin to sleep apart from one another more and more often. By the time the cubs are four to six months old, they are like adult wolves, and almost never make contact with another wolf when sleeping.

The poodles, however, continued to frequently lie together through the age of eight months or older, and even as full-grown adults did so about a third of the time, and even in hot weather when there was no conceivable reason for huddling to preserve body heat. Dogs are, in other words, simply more pacific and easygoing by nature.

Studies of poodle-wolf hybrids suggest that there may be more than one behavioral component to dogs' milder dispositions. When Zimen recrossed poodle-wolves ("puwos") together, these second-generation hybrids came in a mixed assortment of behavioral types. Some were timid about approaching humans but were very affectionate when they did; others were tame and not disposed to flee from novelties but were emotionally aloof. Zimen suggests that a reduction in the flight instinct and a greater capacity for socialization and bonding may be separately inherited traits, though both are necessary for wolves to become dogs.

Hm.... how do you find the study?

Ok, till we 'woof' again, have a woofy day. :o)


Dog Psychology

Saturday, May 27, 2006

How "Wolf-Behavior" Has Slowly Disappeared Within Dogs?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Do you find certain breed like the Husky looks like wolf? But actually, Husky are very tame, they are one of my favorite breeds.

And today topic is ....................

How “Wolf-Behavior” Has Slowly Disappeared Within Dogs

Studies of free-ranging dogs have documented the ways in which wolf behavior has been attenuated or extinguished over the course of evolution. In cities and villages, dogs that wander freely generally do not form packs, and while each dog has an identifiable home range that he sticks to, these ranges overlap almost completely with those of other dogs.

Free-ranging dogs do engage in wolf-like urine marking throughout their range, but they show almost no inclination to defend their territory against intruders. Even when feral dogs do form into packs, as they do sometimes in rural areas or in and around garbage dumps, these do not behave like wolf packs. Feral dog packs will sometimes more actively defend a
territory and kill dogs that intrude, but they lack many of the more developed cooperative behaviors of wolves, such as care of the young by all adult members of the group. Reproductive behavior is also much looser, or at least certainly much more variable.

Ray Coppinger, a researcher, observed a huge range of sexual behavior among village and feral dogs around the world. At one extreme, male New Guinea singing dogs are fiercely competitive, but in a very non-wolf-like way; they behave more like the males of species that occupy and defend individual territories, and the mere sight of another male provokes attack. At the other extreme, and perhaps much more typical of dogs, were the village dogs he encountered in Venezuela who "were observed to line up and breed a female sequentially, with little aggression between them."

There is certainly no simple explanation for all of these behavioral differences between wolf and dog. Changes in neurotransmitter and hormonal levels, disruptions of the juvenile stages of development in which behaviors are molded, and the persistence of juvenile traits into adulthood are all factors in the transformation. The overall picture that emerges is that dogs are less confrontational and fearful, and while they retain a capacity for asserting dominance (as well as for acquiescing in subordination), their social interactions lack the urgency or insistence that one sees in wolf society. There is simply less at stake.

The social pressure cooker of the wolf pack has been replaced with a tepid cauldron. Dogs have no need and no inclination for the packed and charged social world of their ancestors. That essentially all male dogs mark their home range with raised-leg urinations (as do the relatively unsocial male coyotes), that no male or female dog is inhibited from breeding by other dogs, and that most free-ranging dogs do not form coherent packs suggests that dog society has fragmented from a group of fiefdoms to a rather more democratic polity.

This is a very interesting but complex topic, hope you have learnt something useful.
I am going to touch on some interesting Comparison Study With Wolves and Poodles tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Till we "woof" again, ciao.


Dog Psychology

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why Dogs Stick Their Heads Out Of Car Windows? Nope, Its Not What You Think!

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
I have a very interesting sharing with you today.
Read on.............

Dogs & Open Car Windows

Experts estimate that dogs can catch a whiff of something that's one million times less concentrated than what humans can detect. With so much sniff power, it's hardly surprising that they stick their heads out car windows. They could care less about the scenery. What they're after are smells. If you're driving through town at 30 miles an hour and your dog has his nose out the window, he knows where the bakery is, where the butcher shop is, which street leads to the local McDonald's, and maybe even what the mayor had for breakfast.

Dogs assume a characteristic expression when they put their faces into the wind: Their upper
lips curl, their noses wrinkle, their eyes partly close, and their ears fold back. It looks as though they're experiencing a moment of ecstasy (which they probably are) but mainly they're concentrating. It's as though they're closing down all the rest of their senses to focus on this one.

There's a world of fascinating scents outside the car. This dog loves to hang her head out the window and sample every one of them. All dogs, from huge Great Danes to tiny terriers, have extraordinarily acute senses of smell. Their scenting ability is enhanced when they are moving quickly, which is one reason that they take advantage of open car windows.

Smells are so important to dogs that they have two separate systems for detecting them. One is the nose system. It consists of a huge amount of tissue called olfactory epithelium, which is loaded with scent receptors. This area takes up about 1/2 square inch in humans, but up to 20 square inches in some dog breeds. As air moves over the tissue, odor molecules settle in millions of scent receptors. The more air flow there is, the more scents dogs detect. A Dog's sense of smell is enhanced when they're moving quickly. In the evolutionary scheme of things, this probably made them better hunters because they could load up on scents while chasing prey.

Dogs have a second smelling system that's headquartered in their mouths. Near the upper
incisors is a tiny duct that leads to a specialized gland called Jacobson's organ. It's designed to capture and interpret the most primitive types of smells. Dogs depend on it to identify other
dogs, choose a mate, and smell prey. When dogs scrunch up their faces in the wind, it looks like they're catching flies, but what they're really doing is catching scents.

Interesting huh? So pay attention to your dog next time when you drive him/her out.

Till we 'woof' again, SNIFF..........

Dog Psychology

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some Dogs Are Farsighted, Some Are Shortsighted, How About Yours?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Today, I am going to share something very interesting --- does you doggie friend need a pair of glassess?

Dogs & Myopia (nearsightedness)

Optical measurements of dogs' eyes have found a surprising incidence of myopia in some breeds. A study of about two hundred dogs by a veterinarian named Christopher J. Murphy and his colleagues found the average canine refractive error to be pretty close to normal (within a quarter of a diopter of perfect, an amount that would not provoke any person to get glasses).

Several breeds of sporting dogs, such as Chesapeake Bay retrievers, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, cocker spaniels, and springer spaniels, were on average a bit farsighted. But two-thirds of Rottweiler and half of German shepherds and miniature schnauzers in this study were significantly myopic, by more than 1.5 diopters. The myopic Rottweilers were close to 3 diopters nearsighted on average. Generally, people who have more than about 0.75 diopters of nearsightedness will complain of noticeable impairment and find they need to wear glasses or contact lenses to function in everyday life.

The animals in this study population were all pets. Interestingly, when Murphy and his coworkers looked at a second population of German shepherds - animals kenneled at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California - they found that the guide dogs had average normal vision, with fewer than a third showing even as much as 0.5 diopters of nearsightedness. The guide dog program did not specifically test dogs' vision in selecting animals, but they did flunk out any dogs that failed to perform well in training, which suggests that myopia results in a real impairment in getting the job done. The average farsightedness of sporting dog breeds suggests that there has likewise been selection at work in these breeds - that good distance vision has a demonstrable effect on making a good working dog.

The researchers noted a tendency for severe nearsightedness to run in families, which suggests a strongly inherited component. In breeds that are not expected to perform anything more demanding than lying on the carpet, walking on a leash, and finding their supper bowl, there has no doubt been little selection for good vision, which has allowed myopia to sneak into the gene pool.

There are distinct breed differences in peripheral vision and overall field of view as well. Human eyes look straight ahead, giving us just about a 180-degree field of view, but with a lot of overlap between left and right eyes. Animals can see in true 3-D vision only when they use both eyes together, and the overlap in the human visual field thus maximizes the region in which we can perceive depth by using this binocular vision. The eyes of dogs are turned a bit to the side, which allows them to see a bit to the rear, with a wider overall field of vision.

Do you find today sharing very interesting? Hope you enjoy it.
So till we 'woof' again, take care of your eyesight and your dog's.


Dog Psychology

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What Is The Relationship Between Dog And Wolf?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Its really a good feeling to share with you again after the break.
And today topic is ......

Connecting Your Dog's Habits To Its Ancestors

There are some things a dog cannot help doing. If he is going to bite someone, he needs to look at his target, and he needs to bare his teeth. If he is going to defend himself, he has to tuck his ears back and his tail down and turn aside. In the dark unrecorded mists of wolf history, wolves that had the wits to notice these things had an edge over their more obtuse pack-mates. Being on the lookout for the fangs or the intent stare of a more powerful member of the pack was a way to avoid unnecessary physical injury from a wolf one had no intention of challenging anyway; being on the lookout for the cringe or the averted gaze of a weaker member was a way to avoid the unnecessary trouble and danger of fighting with a wolf who was prepared to give way without a fight anyway.

Once wolves were on the lookout for unintentionally dropped hints, it became possible to start dropping them intentionally. A wolf that can accurately read a fang or a stare as a threat can avoid a fight and a wolf that can show a fang or fix a stare can then express a threat without a fight. This evolutionary feedback loop between receivers and senders is what was almost surely behind the development and rituals of the visual signals that wolves, and now dogs, use.

Most of these signals are directly related to the very serious wolf business of dominance and submission within the pack. Dominance and threatening signals include baring the teeth, pricking the ears, and staring. Submissive and nonthreatening signals include laying the ears back, averting the gaze, approaching obliquely rather than head on, tucking the tail tightly under the belly, and (the ultimate gesture of passive surrender to superior force) rolling over and lying belly-up. Over sufficiently long time, these signals become ritualized. Every time a wolf lifts his lips and shows his fangs, he is not literally about to bite; rather this is a symbol of threatening intentions, and, at this point in the evolutionary history of the wolf, read as such by other wolves. Wolves are predisposed to read it that way because of the indisputable fact of evolutionary history that fangs really do bite. Wolves became in turn disposed to use a show of fangs as a threatening gesture precisely because wolves were predisposed to react to fangs as a threat.

Just about all vertebrate animals long ago acquired an innate appreciation of another biological fact that is frequently exploited in visual communication: big things out there are more dangerous than small things. Thus threatening or dominance-asserting wolves try to literally look big. They stand erect, sometimes astride the animal they are attempting to impress, they raise their tails, they stiffen their hackles.

Submissive or fearful dogs try to look small by crouching low, sometimes even dragging themselves along the ground. It is important to realize that this does not mean that the big- looking wolf is conscious of how big he looks, nor that any other wolf is fooled into thinking he really is big. Again, these are rituals. But they ultimately derive from the fact that wolves have been wired to react in ways that make these rituals effective.

Interesting topic? Hope you enjoy it.

Till we 'woof' again, take good care of yourself and your doggie friends.


Dog Psychology

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Are Female Dogs Smarter Than Male Dogs?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
I am back............ :o)
Away for more than 4 days, really missed sharing with you all things about Dogs.

Okie, lets resume our sharing today.

Canine Intelligence

There are many theories about the intelligence of the dog. The majority of dog owners know that their dogs are very bright: these owners can tell any number of stories that demonstrate the animal's high intelligence. In addition to the clever ways in which dogs outwit their owners, canine intelligence shines when dogs are asked to perform the tasks for which they were bred.

For instance, the Border Collie is exceptionally quick to learn how to herd a flock of sheep, and only risk appearing stupid when you ask him to scent out a bird.
The bird dog who finds the bird naturally, without training, is labeled extremely intelligent. Yet this same genius will look dumb, and probably get trampled, if allowed to mingle with a flock of sheep.

Motivation is a big part of intelligence. One dog owner scheduled an appointment to have her dog evaluated after a discussion with her friend. The dog owner and her friend were convinced that the dog had a learning disability because the friend's Labrador Retriever could open doors with his nose and paw, whereas the other dog would just sit in front of the door and wait for someone to open it. The idea never occurred to this person that the dog didn't want to go through the door all that badly or that he was smart enough to wait for her to open it instead of expending energy.

Another client who owned and trained Border Collies labeled one of her dogs retarded because the dog did not appear to grasp the concept of retrieving as quickly as her other Border Collies. Once the training method was adapted for the dog's particular temperament, which was different from that of the typical Border Collie, she learned and enjoyed retrieving. This same dog would display aggression toward other dogs by growling and curling her lips to show her teeth. The trainers thought the owner was quite effective and consistent in correcting the lip curl until one of the trainers observed that when this "retarded" dog approached another canine, she quietly curled only one side of her mouth, the side the owner could not see.

Frequently, people believe that females are smarter than males. However, there is no evidence to date to support the theory of a significant difference in intelligence between the sexes. Those who claim there is a difference may be tainted by their prejudice toward or preference for one sex or the other. Intelligence is more apt to vary individually rather than by the sex of the animal.

That's all for today folks, we shall 'talk' more tomorrow.


Dog Psychology

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Do You Want To Know About Dog's Body Language?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Today, I would like to touch on Dog's body language.

Body Language: Your Dog's Movements & What They Mean

Dogs use their bodies and paws to express a variety of different things. Below are some examples and what they mean.

Dog crouches with front legs extended, rear up, and head near the ground:
This is the classic play-bow and means simply "I want to play!"

Stiff-legged, upright posture or slow, stiff-legged movement forward:
"I am in charge around here!" and "I challenge you." A dominant dog will use this posture to indicate assertion of authority and a willingness to fight for it.

Body slightly sloped forward, feet braced:
"I accept your challenge and am ready to fight!"

Dog rolls on side or exposes underside:
"Let us not argue" or "I am not a threat to you" or "I accept that you are in charge here." This is a submissive response to avert conflict. Many dogs adopt this posture in a fairly relaxed and contented manner when they are around their pack leader. When your dog rolls on his back for a belly rub, he is actually accepting you as leader of the pack.

Dog places head on another dog's shoulder or places paw on the back of another dog:
"I want you to know who is the boss around here." These gestures are commonly used by dominant dogs, pack leaders, and dogs that have aspirations of becoming a pack leader.

This shows up in dog-human interactions as the dog taking the handler's hand in his mouth or, while walking, taking the lead in the mouth. Mouthing can be a serious sign of dominance challenging and shows that the dog does not accept the human as pack leader.

Dog places paw on master's knee:
"Look, I am here" or "Pay attention to me." This attention-seeking signal has many variations. They include pawing the air in front of their master or sliding the head under the master's hand.

Hair bristles on back and shoulders:
This is a sign of anticipated aggression. A ridge of hair bristling down the back is a sign that says "Do not push me, I am angry!" When the bristling extends to the shoulders it means "I have had it with you" and is a sign of an imminent attack.

Dog sits with one front paw slightly raised:
This is another sign of stress but is combined with insecurity. It means "I am anxious, uneasy and concerned."

Dog rolls on his back and rubs it on the ground:
This is sometimes preceded by nose rubbing where the dog pushes his face, and possibly his chest against the ground in a rubbing motion or rubs the face with a forepaw, from eyes to nose. They often follow feeding or occur as the dog's owner begins to prepare food. However they also can occur following or in anticipation of other pleasant activities.

Scraping the ground and ripping the turf with the paws:
This is usually after the dog has defecated but may occur at other times. Dogs have glands on the bottom of their feet that provide each with a unique scent. What a dog is saying here is " I was here and I am leaving my calling card!"

Isn't it fun to know what your doggie friends are trying to tell you.

Hey, I'll be away for the next four days, so I would not be writing till next week.
Till then, have great fun with your doggie friends.


Dog Psychology

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Are You Stink? No? But Your Dog Says So!

Dog Psychology

Hi all,

Today's topic is-

Amazing Power Of A Dog's Sense Of Smell

The canine nose has something like twenty times as many primary receptor cells as the human nose. How all of this works to detect odors is one of the great scientific wonders of the world. Studies in a number of species have found that different regions of the mucous lining within the nose have different chemical properties, more readily absorbing chemicals of one particular molecular shape or another, or preferentially absorbing in one region chemicals that are more water soluble and in another chemicals that are more fat soluble.

The ability of the nose to make precise chemical distinctions is truly extraordinary. Some pairs of chemicals that exist in nature are identical in every way - they are made up of exactly the same elements, joined together in exactly the same three-dimensional sequence - except that one is the three-dimensional mirror image of the other. Yet such "stereoisomers" frequently have a dramatically different odor, indicating that the nose can sort them out by their complex shape alone. The molecule carvone, for example, has the odor of caraway in one of its stereoisomers, the odor of oil of spearmint in its mirror-image form.

Measurements of the acuity of the dog's nose suggest that the dog is many times more sensitive than man to the presence of minute quantities of odor molecules wafting in the air, but the data are all over the map. This is probably in part because the threshold for detecting different chemicals no doubt varies dramatically according to the particular chemical involved. Some comparative studies have found that dogs can detect certain organic chemicals at concentrations a hundred times less than people are able to; for other compounds the dog's edge may be a factor of a million or more. In police and security work, dogs can detect the odor from natural gas leaks, concealed narcotics, explosives, and currency, all at levels well below the threshold at which humans are aware of the odor.

In controlled studies dogs could detect human scent on a glass slide that had been lightly fingerprinted and then left outdoors for as much as two weeks, or indoors for as much as a month; they could pick which of six identical steel tubes had been held in the hands of a person for no more than five seconds; they could distinguish between T-shirts worn by two identical twins who ate different foods, or by two nonidentical twins who lived in exactly the same environment and ate exactly the same foods.

More than such a remarkable sensitivity to trace odors, it is the ability to pick out particular odors of interest from a welter of competing smells and to match and distinguish them that is the dog's most impressive olfactory feat. This ability is surely a reflection of the dog's superior olfactory computing powers, for it requires not just smelling but analyzing. Dogs have no innate interest in the smell of people, narcotics, or hundred-dollar bills; but if trained repeatedly to focus on certain categories of smells, they can perform mind-boggling feats of cross-matching.

Hey, thanks, a number of you wrote in to compliment the last posting, I shall share more interesting finding about the psychology or behavor of our doggie friends.

Till the next posting, have fun with more indepth understanding of your doggie friends.


Dog Psychology

Monday, May 15, 2006

Want To Know Dog Psychology?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
Guess you have enough all the posting about health care for older dogs, today I would like a new topic. That is Dog Psychology.

10 Dog Barking Moments & What Your Dog Is Trying To Say

1. Continuous rapid barking, midrange pitch:
"Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!" Continuous barking but a bit slower and pitched lower: "The intruder [or danger] is very close. Get ready to defend yourself!"

2. Barking in rapid strings of three or four with pauses in between, midrange pitch:
"I suspect that there may be a problem or an intruder near our territory. I think that the leader of the pack should look into it."

3. Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance:
"Is there anybody there? I'm lonely and need companionship." This is most often the response to confinement or being left alone for long periods of time.

4. One or two sharp short barks, midrange pitch:
"Hello there!" This is the most typical greeting sound.

5. Single sharp short bark, lower midrange pitch:
"Stop that!" This is often given by a mother dog when disciplining her puppies but may also indicate annoyance in any dog, such as when disturbed from sleep or if hair is pulled during grooming and so forth.

6. Single sharp short bark, higher midrange:
"What's this?" or "Huh?" This is a startled or surprised sound. If it is repeated two or three times its meaning changes to "Come look at this!" alerting the pack to a novel event. This same type of bark, but not quite as short and
sharp, is used to mean "Come here!" Many dogs will use this kind of bark at the door to indicate that they want to go out. Lowering the pitch to a relaxed midrange means "Terrific!" or some other similar expletive, such as "Oh, great!" My cairn terrier, for example, who loves to jump, will give this single bark of joy when sent over the high jump. Other dogs give this same bark when given their food dish.

7. Single yelp or very short high-pitched bark:
"Ouch!" This is in response to a sudden, unexpected pain.

8. Series of yelps:
"I'm hurting!" "I'm really scared" This is in response to severe fear and pain.

9. Stutter-bark, midrange pitch: If a dog's bark were spelled "ruff," the stutter-bark would be spelled "ar-ruff." It means "Let's play!" and is used to initiate playing behavior.

10. Rising bark: This is a bit hard to describe, although once you've heard it, it is unmistakable. It is usually a series of barks, each of which starts in the middle range but rises sharply in pitch - almost a bark-yelp, though not quite that high. It is a play bark, used during rough-and- tumble games, that shows excitement and translates as "This is fun!"

Shall continue with more tomorrow.


Dog Psychology

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What's Up? Your Dog Is NOT Answering Your Call!

Health Care for Older Dogs

Hi all,
Has you dog been ignoring your call?
Hm.... don't be upset, it might be.......

Is Your Dog Loosing His Hearing?

One sign of your dog aging which can be very upsetting if you don't fully appreciate what is truly happening, is an increasing inattentiveness and apparent loss of obedience training. When you call to him, your dog seems to be ignoring you, or else he responds so slowly that you tempted to punish him for disobedience. Nothing of the sort should be done!

Your older dog is, more likely than not, developing a gradual hearing loss. Both the loudness and the range of sounds are being reduced and account for what seems to be inattentiveness. These same changes, plus slight alterations in the nerve pathways leading to, through, and from the brain, account for his noticeably slower response once he does finally pay attention to you. To punish him, or to subject him to obedience retraining, would be a cruel thing which could easily break his spirit and build a wall of distrust and fear between the two of you.

It is quite easy to conduct an objective test of Duke's hearing yourself. Be sure the room is quiet and there are no distracting sounds, lights, or physical vibrations. While he is resting quietly but awake, stand about five feet behind him, being sure he cannot see you. Loudly clap your hands together as you watch his head and ears. If his ears perk up and he turns to see where the sound is coming from, he can still hear quite well. If there is little or no response, there is hearing impairment to some degree. You should then try the same test a bit closer, again being sure that he neither sees you nor feels the vibrations or air currents created by the movement of your hands.

Assuming he does respond adequately, you may try again with not so loud a clap or by snapping your fingers, progressively decreasing the volume of the sounds. One caution; do not do these tests in rapid succession, as louder sounds may temporarily diminish response to succeeding quieter ones. Allow at least fifteen to thirty seconds to elapse between each decreased degree of sound.

By means of such testing, you can establish the approximate level of your dog's hearing ability as well as monitor it periodically to detect any further hearing deficiency. Keep in mind, however, that there can be a considerable variation in his ability to hear spoken sounds of differing pitch. Therefore his response may be quite different, depending on whether the speaker is a woman or man, child or adult.

So, do not be upset with you older dog but be understanding and shower him/her with even more love. He/she will appreciate it.


Health Care for Older Dogs

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What Must You Learn to Watch Your Dog Pee and Poo?

Health Care for Older Dogs

Hi all,
As promised, today we shall dicuss about how to tell whether our older dog is sick.

How To Determine If Your Older Dog Is Sick

You and your dog have been together for many years and have shared many good and bad times. When you were a child, you could tell your parents if something hurt or was not well with you. Even as a baby you could at least cry to indicate that something was wrong. However, our beloved pets cannot do either. Besides, a dog's pain threshold seems to be considerably higher than that of humans, and they will not whimper or cry until the discomfort is quite severe. It is therefore necessary for you to know what is normal for your dog, any changes will be quickly detected. One good way to do this is to develop the following habits of observation.

1. On first greeting your dog in the morning, stop what you are doing, and watch him for about one full minute, allowing him to move about as he wishes.

2. During the morning and evening outdoor activity, observe him for at least ten seconds as he moves up or down stairs, on and off a curbing, porch, etc. Let him walk a short distance ahead of you and watch his body movements for ten seconds.

3. Once a day observe the first twenty seconds of eating a meal, a full twenty seconds during sleep, a complete urination, and a complete bowel movement.

Many subtle variations from your dog's normal patterns will be noticed by doing this, even though you are not looking for anything specific. In addition, unconsciously noticed changes will register on your brain and, during the giving of the medical history at your veterinarian's clinic, they will come into your conscious memory. If gross abnormalities are seen, resist the urge to get upset and excited. Try to objectively watch those abnormalities, so you will be able to describe accurately what has occurred.

This observation pattern should become a habit. Though it will take practice at first, it will eventually occupy only a total of four to six minutes spread out over your waking day. Most symptoms of illness are vague, general, or nonspecific. A single symptom, by itself, is often meaningless, at best, and misleading at worst. There are so-called pathognomonic symptoms which supposedly, in and of themselves, indicate a specific illness or disease. While such symptoms do exist, they are few and far between.

Ok, lets make it a habit to observe how our dogs walk, run, eat, sleep and do his/her business.

Till we 'woof' again, take good care of yourself and your doggie friends.


Health Care for Older Dogs

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hey, Your Dog Can Also Get Bald!

Health Care for Older Dogs

Hi all,
Here are 2 very important health issues concerning older dogs.

Health Concerns Commonly Found In Older Dogs: Part 3

A chronic slow loss of hair, due to ill health, is sometimes found in older dogs. Feed a diet of raw foods: meats, vegetables, and fruits. Give brewers' yeast, kelp, and desiccated liver. Add raw corn, olive, peanut, or safflower oil to the food for unsaturated fatty acids. Chopped dandelion leaves (high in copper) may be added to the food. Balding areas can be bathed daily with an infusion of rosemary leaves, marigold flowers, or daffodil leaves. Castor and eucalyptus oil can also be massaged into the balding areas.

Breast Tumors:
Often occur in unspayed female dogs. Tumors are very often caused by hormonal imbalances and changes, together with a general state of toxemia and ill health. The breast tumor can be linked with an estrogen factor. Tumors on any part of the body are the body's attempt to localize and isolate some disease condition. "Tumor" means swelling, and tumors are benign or malignant by classification. In reality, a tumor is often benign in certain of its areas and malignant in others. Biopsies can aggravate the malignant portion of tumors, sometimes causing their rapid spreading.

By cutting out the tumor or tumors, one is only removing the local indications of the disease. Nothing is being done about the cause. In many cases the cause has not even been sought for or recognized. Therapies that will decrease or dry up a tumor can also serve to prevent them. Nonorthodox treatments have been used to stop the spread, even though they did not significantly reduce the size of the tumor. It is the spread of a malignancy that kills, more often than the size of the tumor itself. Removing the toxic or poisonous quality is all-important in treating a tumor, malignant or otherwise. A diet rich in live, raw foods, will serve to supply vital enzymes to the body. Enzyme therapy may be indicated along with raw foods.

A theory on cancer that seems most valid among nutritional circles is that cancer is partly caused by faulty protein metabolization. By changing to a raw, live-food diet, you will give the blood a chance to clarify itself. A clean blood stream means a healthy body. A diseased, choked-up blood stream can breed nothing but disease. Herbal therapies include blue violet leaves, red clover, goldenseal, garlic, and turnip used both internally and as a poultice; goose grass as a poultice; burdock, dandelion root, slippery elm, comfrey, blue flag, and poke root as a poultice and as tea.

We shall talk about how could we tell whether your doggie friend is sick.

Till then, please take good care of yourself and your doggie friend.


Health Care for Older Dogs

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Arthritis Strikes Not Only Old Folks But Also Old Dogs!

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Today, we shall talk about two very common health concerns with older dog.

Health Concerns Commonly Found In Older Dogs: Part 2

Arthritis has become a common ailment in dogs, especially the older dog. Several factors contribute to this condition, including an all-cooked-food diet, lack of exercise, poor absorption of minerals, and lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It occurs as an inflammation in bones and joints. The onset is gradual and the owner notices the dog having increased difficulty in walking, getting up, lying down, running, and moving in general.

Putting an arthritic dog on distilled water exclusively will help to leach out some of the mineral deposits that have settled in the joints. Your dog also needs a live-food diet. You may use a good-quality dry kibble as a base, but along with it give your dog plenty of sprouts, grated raw vegetables, garlic, and raw fruits, all of which are alkalizing to the body. Meats and grains are acid-forming for the most part, and an arthritic dog already has too much acid in his diet. Any meat should be raw to slightly braised. Give chopped comfrey and parsley leaves in with the food.

Keep the dog in a warm, dry place, and try to give him some moderate exercise in sunlight. You can feed rosemary leaves daily as an infusion (steep them in water).The inflamed areas can be massaged with four tablespoonful of raw, unrefined olive oil, one tablespoonful of linseed oil, and ½ teaspoon of eucalyptus oil. Nutrients that may be beneficial in treating arthritis are vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and F; calcium, iodine, lecithin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and protein.

Bad Breath:
Bad breath is often caused by a constipated digestive system, locking in putrefying toxic wastes. This comes from having too much dead, refined food and not enough raw, live food or fiber (roughage) in the diet. A sluggish system will give back the stench of indigestion, all the way back up to the mouth again.

A dog can be constipated even if he has a daily bowel movement. In fact, only a few dogs are not constipated throughout their lifetime, although this is rarely evident to their owners. Infusions of rosemary leaves and flowers, lemon juice and water, apple juice, raw honey, and a short fast (several days) will all serve to sweeten up the intestines. Regular fasting, one day a week, on distilled water and raw honey, will help to rest the digestive organs on a regular basis, giving them a chance to catch up on their contents. Use lots of raw fruits and vegetables in the diet, give yogurt to reinstate the friendly bacterial flora, and feed only raw or slightly braised meat.

We shall continue part 3 tomorrow.


Aging Dog

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Want To Know What Are The Common Health Concerns For Older Dogs?

Health Care for Older Dogs

Hi all,
From all the questions I received, there are quite a fair bit of them are health care concern for older dogs which I did not really answer them in the 7 parts of the Q&A.
I shall start answering them from today.

Health Concerns Commonly Found In Older Dogs: Part 1

Abrasions are often caused by scratching and biting skin surfaces that itch. Herbal treatments include an infusion of blackberry leaves, rosemary leaves, or elder flowers and leaves to which a little witch hazel has been added. Apply topically to abrasions. It is recommended that no greasy preparations be used because they will retain moisture on the skin surfaces and retard healing.

Abscesses are the body's attempt to throw off through the skin toxins from impure blood. Blood that is excessively toxic is choked and is unable to carry away the waste matter of cell metabolism through its normal channels. Thus white blood cells surround disease-producing bacteria and toxic waste and carry them out of the body through the skin in the form of pus. If your dog is bothered by many abscesses at one time, or by frequent growths, he should be fasted for several days on distilled water and raw honey (to keep up his energy): two to four teaspoonful a day, depending on the size of the dog.

As the dog begins to eliminate more toxins, give him several garlic cloves daily with his food. Garlic will help him to detoxify even more. Hot fomentations (packs) of blackberry leaves or elderberry, may be put on the abscesses. You can also use chopped-up garlic or onion or both, heated in several ounces of castor oil. Heat it in a pan of water till it is comfortably hot, and then apply as hot packs. Nutrients that may be helpful in treating abscesses are vitamins A, C, and E, and B complex, red clover, cayenne pepper, goldenseal, and grated carrots or potatoes.

Anemia is basically a lack of hemoglobin and oxygen in the blood. It is often caused by faulty diet, lack of exposure to sunlight, and a constipation of the entire system, including the lower bowel. The dog may become weak and faint, losing energy and stamina. His eyes may show excessive brightness in the white portion. Internal parasites may weaken a dog, causing severe anemia. Anemia can be caused by too little blood or too few red cells. If you check your dog's gums, they will be whiter than normal, upon pressure, and slow to return to a pink color.

Your dog may lack sufficient iron in his diet; toxins produced by many diseases can cause an anemic condition. To boost the iron in his diet, you can give him desiccated liver and brewers' yeast, in with his food. You can also give berries or fruits of the black variety including blackberry, bilberry, elderberry, or grapes. Honey is also good, as well as eggs, kelp, and parsley. Other nutrients that may be helpful in cases of anemia are vitamins C, E, and the B complex, protein, and copper and iron. Chemical iron aggravates anemia and cause constipation.

That's all for today folks.
I shall continue with more info at my next post.


Health Care for Older Dogs

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Should You Allow Your Dog To Kiss You?

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Ok, this is the final past of the Q&A.

Q & A: Part 7

Which breeds tend to have the greatest incidence of pyorrhea (bone degeneration), leading to loss of teeth?
The two breeds with the most frequent incidence of periodontal disease are the Dachshunds and Schnauzers. The host resistance factor seems to be lower in these breeds.

How septic is a dog's mouth?
Since bacteria do not break through the body's protective barrier, namely the skin, we needn't worry about having a dog lick us and our subsequently contracting a disease. However, from the point of aesthetics, dogs do sniff every conceivable pile or puddle of excrement deposited in the streets by other dogs, so many people may deem it ill-advised to allow a dog to lick them on the mouth. This choice is entirely personal. The people who sleep with their dogs usually allow all manner of familiarity, including kissing.

What are ear hematomas and what causes them?
Usually a hematoma is precipitated by irritation of some sort within the ear or upon the ear flap. The dog tries to ease the annoyance by shaking his head, frequently hitting his ears against solid objects and rupturing the veins of the ears. This causes internal bleeding, which collects in a swelling beneath the skin until the blood clots. Hematomas can reabsorb, but the dog winds up with a cauliflower ear. The surgery performed for ear hematomas is cosmetic, not crucial to the dog's health.

How does one dog react to the death of another dog in the family?
This can be very personally traumatic for a dog. Just as some dogs will refuse to eat, and subsequently will starve to death, after the death of their master, the emotional affinity can be exceedingly strong between one family pet and another.

Should a new puppy be introduced into a family with the older dog?
This is advised against this for several reasons. The older dog may bully the younger pup, causing permanent damage to the pup's personality. Also, the older dog may feel forced to compete, resenting strongly the presence of this newcomer. An older dog, in resentment, may try to hurt, or even kill, the new puppy, causing a tragedy that you can well live without. Sometimes the older dog gets a more acute awareness of his age and debilities, causing him undue stress and unhappiness.

On the plus side, some older dogs have been known to become rejuvenated by a new canine family member. A sedate older dog can sometimes act as a calming influence upon a young boisterous puppy. Chewing and barking problems are sometimes lessened when anxiety is diminished through companionship. But, here again, it is just as possible for a new dog to pick up bad habits from an older dog, as it is likely that he will pick up the good habits. We advise that you do both yourself and your dog a service by not introducing a new puppy into the family until such time as your present devoted companion has died.

Phew, this is th final part of the Q&A, I sincerely hope that all of you have learnt something from this Q&A session. Thank you very much for all the questions.

Ok, now I need to scratch my head to think about what should we talk about at my next posting.

Till then, please take care of yourself and your DOG.


Aging Dog

Monday, May 08, 2006

Do Older Dogs Lose Their Teeth As Do Humans?

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Here is the part 6 of the Q&A on older dogs.

Q & A: Part 6

Do older dogs lose their teeth as do humans?
Yes, but for slightly different reasons. Excessive tartar builds up. This creates a bacterial climate whereby destructive agents invade the gum and bone surfaces, causing damage or destruction to both, and eventual tooth loss in some dogs. Machines such as the cavitron have been used with some success in removing excess tartar from a dog's teeth. Once the dog has bitten down on a piece of food, the outer surfaces are not utilized very much so most of the tartar forms on the outside of the teeth. The inner surfaces are being stimulated more by the action of chewing and therefore remain cleaner.

Why do dogs live such a relatively short life span?
Every type of animal has a predetermined life span and we cannot deduce any logical or medical rationales for the relatively short life span of dogs. However, all dogs will reach their maximum longevity if kept in good health. A proper diet will increase your dog's lifespan.

Why do small dogs live relatively longer than the larger breeds?
It probably has something to do with the metabolic rate. The greatest difference occurs within the very large breeds, such as the St. Bernards, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds. Their average life span might be eight or nine years, as opposed to a tiny Poodle or Chihuahua that can seemingly live on forever, becoming senior citizens of eighteen or nineteen years old.

What is the most humane way of ending a dog's life?
Euthanasia, as performed by an overdose of anesthesia, is the most painless way of ending a dog's life. He simply goes to sleep, in a matter of seconds, and feels no pain or apprehension. Phenobarbital is the anesthesia used. Some facilities use suffocation, which means putting the dog in an evacuation chamber and extracting the air, a method most often employed where cost dictates mass disposal. This procedure, of course, is much less humane and to be avoided wherever possible. Carbon monoxide is also used, and could be considered a second alternative to the phenobarbital.

How often should the older dog be bathed?
The older dog, as well as any age dog, should be bathed whenever he is dirty, and as often as he needs it, in a wild, natural, herbal shampoo from a health food store.

Do older dogs need special vitamins?
An older dog should be on a good multivitamin, mineral, trace mineral, intestinal flora, and enzyme preparation, because he does not absorb nutrients as well from the intestinal tract.

Ok, that's all for today.
Keep your question coming, I shall select those good one and anwser them to the final part of this Q&A session.

Till then, take care of yourself and your doggie friend.


Aging Dog

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How Should You Look After Your Older Dog?

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Here are somemore tips on taking care of your older dogs.

Q & A: Part 5

Is the surgical risk greater in the older dog?
Usually yes, again depending upon the status of the heart and the kidneys. All of this should be thoroughly checked out before the older dog is anesthetized. The anesthesia provides a greater risk than the surgery. If the dog is competently evaluated before surgery, there should only be a one-percent risk factor of anesthetic death.

During the time when sodium pentobarbital was more widely used for anesthesia, many dogs never woke up because of a condition called acidosis. Over-dosing caused excess absorption of the pentobarbital into the body. Just when you would think the dog was nicely asleep, his fat began to release it, thereby effecting an overdose in the dog. When sodium pentobarbital is in the blood stream, there is no control or reversal. Today, with gas anesthesia, risk is almost zero because of the greater control the vet has.

Do dogs get arthritis as they get older?
Some do. Larger dogs are more prone to arthritis because of hip dysplasia, and because of the proclivity to hip dysplasia, they also get arthritis in the hip joints. But dogs don't have to be old to get arthritis. Small dogs are less prone to arthritis, regardless of their age. The general correlation does not preclude the existence of one condition without the other; however, the two usually do go together.

Do older dogs need more sleep?
They probably rest more, but this indicates a lessening of physical activity rather than excessive sleeping.

Do older dogs eat less?
Growing dogs eat twice as much as those no longer growing, but, once they attain adulthood, they generally stabilize their eating habits. However, a sick dog, no matter what his age, will generally stop eating altogether. Older dogs will tend to eat less.

Can an older dog be hurt by using a metal choke chain to train him, or even just to walk him?
Metal chain collars are prefectly safe as long as the dog is in good physical condition. Nylon choke collars provide an alternative.

How often do dogs get heart attacks?
Dogs don't get heart attacks as they manifest themselves in humans. If a dog gets a heart block, related to an arterial obstruction, he can drop dead but it wouldn't be a heart attack. However, dogs do get strokes, which would indicate an obstruction leading to the brain. Heart attack is not a veterinary term.

What is the most common cause of death in dogs?
Cars kill more dogs than all other causes combined, more than all diseases. Irresponsible dog owners are the real killers, the cars are merely the means of execution. Among diseases, kidney and heart diseases take equal toll, and cancer is a more common cause of death nowadays than heretofore. Let us repeat here what was stated earlier. There must be respect for community leash laws. Dogs should not walk themselves. Always take your dog for his walks, whether to answer a call of nature or just for a stroll, on the leash. We, the dog owners, have that responsibility to our pets; their safety and longevity depend on us.

Ok, we shall continue tomorrow. See ya.

Aging Dog

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More More On Common Concerns Found In Your Older Doggie Friends!

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Lets continue.......

Q & A: Part 4

How old should a bitch be when weaning her last litter?
In general, a female should not be more than five years old when weaning her last litter, nor younger than the second heat, which means between one and two years old. She should also be bred only every other heat, which means a total of three or four litters throughout a female's lifetime.

How old should a male dog be before he should be prevented from copulating?
Dogs generally have a self-checking mechanism, which means that they would not ordinarily pursue sex beyond their abilities and fortitude. If they did attempt copulation beyond their physical stamina, they would simply pass out. As dogs get older, they have a lower sperm count, so for selective breeding purposes you are better off using a younger dog with not only fine conformation but stable temperament as well.

Do female dogs experience a change of life?
Not that we are aware of. Female dogs can remain fertile until they die. We know of a cocker spaniel who had puppies at the age of fourteen. For the most part females simply stop coming into heat, or come into heat less often, without any menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, etc.

What is the oldest a dog can live?
We have heard of dogs living to eighteen years. In general, these cases occur among the smaller breeds.

How does a dog's hearing or sight change as he gets older?
It generally gets worse. Barring any medical problems, it is not uncommon to see normal longevity of nine to fifteen years in a dog that has become deaf. The older dog will lose his hearing gradually, so that his owner is often not aware of it until the dog is deaf or almost deaf. Dogs very rarely become blind, but many will experience a clouding of the lens as they get older. A dog's sight is comprised of rods but no cones, so they don't see color - only shades of black, white, and gray.

Do older dogs tend to get fat?
Dogs in general tend to be overfed. They are being killed with kindness through frequent snacking. However, older dogs, like people, will tend to loose muscle tone. Overfeeding and lack of exercise will cause any age dog to become overweight.

How common is the problem of gastric torsion?

It seems to occur primarily in big dogs. The condition usually is precipitated by a heavy, fatty meal, eaten hastily, followed closely 'by a lot of water then by exercise. The stomach is contracting, trying to digest food and building up fermentation momentum until, in the big chested dog, the stomach literally flips over, twists, and closes off the openings at both ends. It can be remedied only by immediate surgery to unflip the stomach and sew it to the stomach wall if necessary. If not caught in time, the dog goes into shock and dies.

That's all folks for today.


Aging Dog

Friday, May 05, 2006

Some More Health Care Concerns for Older Dogs

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Lets continue with the Health Care for older dogs.

Q & A: Part 3

Can older dogs develop cataracts?
Yes, but cataracts can also be seen in younger dogs.

Do mixed breeds live longer than pure breeds?
Researchers have not found that the longevity differs greatly between mixed and purebred dogs.

Are there any kinds of parasites that would particularly affect older dogs?
If an older dog gets hookworms, it might affect him more. In general, it all depends upon the dog's state of well-being.

Are organ transplants performed in older dogs?
These operations are performed experimentally. But practically, the cost would be prohibitive, not to mention the problem of availability of organs.

Do older dogs shed more?
No, they may even shed less. But they may develop more seborrhea.

What dog diseases are communicable to humans?
Ringworm, rabies, sarcoptic mange, ticks, can all be communicated to humans. Incidentally, ringworm is a fungus disease of the skin and, as such, it is a misnomer. In the case of sarcoptic mange, when you kill it on the dog, the human symptoms will disappear.

Does an aging dog become senile?
In general, no, unless there are other circumstances involved, such as a brain tumor.

Do dogs utilize their full capacity of intelligence?
We know, and most people are amazed to discover, that a dog has a tremendous capacity for learning, regardless of age. This potential is seldom tapped by most dog owners.

Are there special food considerations for diabetic dogs?
Yes. In general, you should not be using the semi-moist packaged foods for a diabetic dog, because of the sugar they contain that moderate in whole grains, and high in high biological-value dairy products.

Can you tell a dog's age by the condition of its-teeth?
No. Some two-year-old dogs could chew on rocks and have teeth that look like the dog is fifteen. Others retain the shape and color through very advanced years.

Is there any age beyond which you should not purchase a dog?
You should try to find out why the dog is being sold at an advanced age. If he is aggressive, you likely will have a problem. But if you are satisfied that the reasons are valid as to why the dog is being given up, then, beyond the fact that you will have a shorter life together, the love that passes between you will be just as strong and meaningful as if it had been a complete life span.

Surely our older doggie friends need more care for their health, we shall continue with more at my next posting.


Aging Dog

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More On Common Concerns Found In Your Older Doggie Friends!

Aging Dog

Hi all,
Lets continue with:-

Q & A: Part 2

What can be done for a very old dog with severe dysplasia problems?

First, the condition would have to be evaluated through X-rays. The symptoms may be due to a neurological problem and not a bone problem. If surgery is indicated, and the dog is checked out as a good surgical risk, operating can prove very helpful in alleviating the pain. Excellent results have also been obtained using vitamin C therapy.

What is the incidence of cancer in dogs?
Cancer incidence is low as compared with humans. Even when there exists a lipoma, a benign fatty tumor, or breast tumors that are diagnosed as malignant, these do not precipitate a spreading malignancy or death. Occasionally dogs will have a liver or spleen tumor that spreads to the lungs. Such dogs can bleed to death because the tumors bleed, or the malignancy can cause sufficient damage to the liver to cause death. Fibrosis of the heart and kidneys, which means a loss of elasticity in those organs, is far and away the most common disease-induced cause of death. Cancer affects more cats than dogs, but the reasons for this are somewhat obscure. Much can be done to control and prevent cancer in dogs.

Is the older dog more affected by heat prostration?
Yes, an older dog's thermostat does not work as well, so he will be more affected by extremes of heat and cold. If a dog has a bad heart or bad kidneys, he will be more affected than the healthier dog. However, if you were to put a two-year-old dog and an eleven-year- old, both in good physical condition, into a sun-baked car, they will both suffer with equal severity and trauma.

Is it advantageous for an older dog to wear protective clothing of any kind?
Wearing apparel we would define as being generally superfluous. However, there are some good reasons for wearing clothing on certain occasions.

Are older dogs subject to high blood pressure?
If a dog has a bad heart, he usually has low blood pressure because he is hampered by an inefficient pump and poor circulation. This is why a dog with heart problems often also has kidney problems. You must maintain adequate pressure and blood supply to organs in order to maximize kidney efficiency.

Should an owner take his own dog's temperature?
No! In consideration of safety factors such as thermometer breakage and absorbing the thermometer up into the rectum, as well as not being able to diagnose the symptoms concurrent to the temperature (which at 101° to 102° is normal in a dog), you should not to take your own dog's temperature, but to call the vet without delay if you suspect illness.

Shall continue with more tips at my next post.

See ya.

Aging Dog

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What You Know About Older Dogs!

Aging Dog

Hi all,
I have received quite a number of questions since posting of articles about aged dog a few days back. I have compiled these questions and tried answering them to my best knowledge.

For the next few postings, I shall share with my dear readers the Q&A.

Lets get going....

Q & A: Part 1

Is there any special training equipment that should be used for the older dog?
No. A chain collar and six-foot web leash are applicable for all training sessions with a normal healthy dog, regardless of age.

Why don't dogs get cavities except in rare instances?
It is speculated that the enamel surface of the dog's teeth is harder and more impenetrable to pathogenisis than that of humans. Another factor could be that the dog is presumed to not to have amylase in the saliva as humans do; so while human starch-digestion begins in the mouth, the dog's starch-digestion starts further down the intestinal tract. Some research has since discovered salivary enzymes.

Do dogs have to go out for walks more often as they get older?
Yes, but for different reasons. If we are dealing with a normal, healthy dog, he can get along on the frequency he is used to. However, if you have an older dog that is beginning to show arthritis problems, it is a good idea to get him moving more often during the day. The older dog can also tend to get lazy, and circulation is improved with moderate walks.

Is a dog's bladder weaker at eight or nine years old?
Most of the time, what is interpreted as a weak bladder is actually a bladder infection or an ensuing kidney problem. Bladder infections can be common, regardless of age, and kidney disease is very pronounced in the older dog. Two of the most common problems in the older dog are bad heart and bad kidneys.

If the older dog begins to urinate in the house for apparently no reason, after being housebroken for many years, would you assume this to be a medical problem rather than spite-work?
Yes, most definitely. You must first eliminate any medical problems before you chastise your dog for disobedience. Medically speaking, if he is urinating in the house, this is most likely a bladder problem. If he is drinking more water and also urinating in the house, it could more likely be a kidney problem.

Is exercise bad for the older dog?
No. Exercise is very good for a dog unless there are definite contraindications, such as heart problems. All exercise should be within reason. Jumping hurdles is exercise that the older dog should not be asked to do, but walking provides healthful exercise for all dogs of any age.

Do older dogs need a different diet?
Yes. They should have less total protein but a higher quality protein. Different age dogs do require different diets. Young dogs need a high concentration of protein, middle-aged dogs can thrive on the protein that exists in the average good-quality dog food, and older dogs need lesser amounts of higher-quality protein. Excess protein produces more nitrogenous wastes, which means more work for the kidneys. Dogs with kidney problems could be put on prescription dog food, or small amounts of high-quality protein, such as in eggs, yogurt, tofu, ricotta, farmer cheese, cottage cheese, and hard mild cheeses, together with a lot of raw, grated vegetables. Kidney problems require low protein. Heart problems require low salt. Very often the two maladies go hand in hand.

Lets take a break here and continue with the rest in my next posting.


Aged Dog

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What's The Physical Changes We Can Expect As Our Dog Gets Older?

Aging Dog

Hi all,
We shall continue with what to expect when our doggie friends age.

What's The Physical Changes We Can Expect As Our Dog Gets Older

Your dog's body takes a beating throughout his life. Muscles are pulled, joints stressed, and organs scarred by infection. Cell structure breaks down, decreasing the efficacy of organs and tissues. All of these traumas cause abnormal cell development, which in turn create tumors and arthritic conditions. On the outside, he can appear as healthy and active as any younger dog, but inside his organs are not functioning as efficiently as when he was younger.

For example, if the kidneys begin to deteriorate, they can continue to function with only 40 percent of the tubules (the part of the kidney that breaks down nutrients from urea) working. Your aging dog will continue feeling fine and behaving normally. However, this can take a quick turn for the worse if a kidney disease continues to deteriorate. This can happen slowly or what seems like overnight. Until this happens, the only difference in your dog will be his need to urinate more often. Otherwise, there is no sign of a problem. As he ages, you need to ensure his complete health by adjusting his diet, exercise, and by keeping a close watch on his behavior. In fact, you'll notice many problems first through behavioral changes before his body shows the outward signs.

Changes in appetite, a lack of desire to move about, or overall grouchiness are usually symptoms of a deeper problem. Your dog's muscles will remain strong, provided he exercises. The more he does as a youngster, the more he can do as an oldster. You must keep in mind, however, that he cannot tell you he doesn't want to go those extra miles with you. All he wants is to be with you and please you, regardless of how he feels. His muscles may still be strong at this point, but his internal workings are no longer operating in prime condition.

Your dog can still remain physically healthy with a little less exercise - maybe two or three miles instead of five or maybe you can do the run on softer ground instead of hard concrete. The musculoskeletal system will usually exhibit arthritic changes as he turns into a senior dog. Arthritis is formed through changes in the joint bones, a reduction of cartilage, and a thickening of the synovial fluid between the joints.

Often, inflammation can cause more irritation and lameness. Not only will the arthritic changes cause pain in the joints, but they will also cause atrophy in the muscles because your dog will not want to move around. The muscles begin to get loose and hang off the bones. This is most obvious along the spine, chest, and hind legs.

As the muscles atrophy, the skin will appear looser or baggy. Overall, your dog becomes a different dog as his senior years take over. He moves more slowly, picks at his meals, and may bump into things that he can't see. However, the biggest change will be in his behavior. As he ages, he may not only slow down, he will also become less excitable in general. He will still greet you with a wagging tail, but not jump on you or perform aerial leaps when you come home. When going out, he'll walk to the door and wait patiently as you search for his leash - no more racing in circles, barking excitedly, and jumping about.

So, be understanding when our doggie friend gets older and his/her health goes down hill, what they need most at this stage is more Tender Loving Care.

Aging Dog

Monday, May 01, 2006

What Happens When Your Dog Ages?

Aging Dog

Hi all,
For this new week, I would like to talk about something very important and yet a lot of people overlook it. That is problems faced by your doggie as well as the master when the your doggies grows old.

Changes In Your Aging Dog

Aging dogs are less adaptable to, and more adversely affected by, stress and change. Yet so many dog owners do not take this into consideration when making plans involving their older dog.
For example, for years you and your dog enjoyed those races through the woods or around the playground. You may still enjoy it now, but your older dog possibly finds it difficult to keep up with you.

What used to be lots of fun may now make him a bit grouchy and force him to breathe abnormally hard. You have just redecorated the house, and what used to be your dog's favorite spot to relax in, is now occupied by a piece of furniture.
Your dog becomes restless, temperamental, may even urinate or defecate in the house or right on that piece of furniture, and you cannot understand why.

It is not necessary to baby or spoil a dog just because he is aging. In fact, this should be carefully avoided, as it is a trap into which many dog owners readily fall. You should encourage your older dog to take part in family life as always, but you must be alert to avoid undue stresses or unnecessary changes.

That piece of new furniture does not have to stand on the exact spot where he has snoozed for more than ten years. In his mind that spot is his personal territory. Even in his youth such a loss would have been upsetting, but he would soon find another acceptable location. The older dog finds it more difficult to adjust and can develop undesirable behavior as a result.

A dog is both a dependent and an independent animal in his relationship with you. In youth he will follow your every footstep even to the point of getting underfoot. His greatest joy is to be with you everywhere, and there are few times he wants to be by himself.

As he gets older, however, this will often change, and he may seek solitude much more of the time. He loves you still but, depending on his physical state, he just prefers to be by himself. He will play with you and be your companion, but do not expect necessarily the same kind of response you got from him when he was a lot younger.

Take care not to "kill him with kindness" by offering what you consider tasty morsels of human food such as cake, ice cream, bacon, or liver pate. Such sudden changes in diet can produce serious stomach and intestinal upset, resulting in profuse vomiting or diarrhea. It may also encourage your dog to refuse his normal food and hold out for the "goodies” which in time can cause severe nutritional imbalance.

I shall share more about aging dog at my next posting.

See ya.

Aging Dog