Thursday, September 29, 2011

My dog Lulu

When I hosted a book club meeting a few months ago, my dog Lulu stayed upstairs in her crate. As guests arrived, they asked if she could join the group but I politely declined. Lulu can get overly excited around guests; a house full of people toting plates of cheese and other goodies could lead to doggie-induced chaos. I convinced myself that everyone was better off with Lulu upstairs.
It prevented me from having to pull her off someone’s lap, and it saved guests from pretending they enjoyed being licked by a 48-pound dog. As we ate and discussed our book, Lulu provided her own mournful rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” It was annoying, but I stood my ground.
After interviewing and observing quite a few dog trainers, I realize we should have practiced proper behavior around houseguests. Dog trainers Michael Upshur and Deandre Weaver offer a few tips to keep your dog in line around other people or pets.
“People don’t realize it but that leash sends a signal,” he says. “When you are tense and tighten the leash, you tell the dog something is wrong.” Weaver, an anti-dogfighting advocate with the Humane Society of the United States, also reminds pet owners to stay focused during walks. “Just try to be more aware [of surroundings] than your dog is,” he says. “Keep the attention on you, and divert attention from the other dog or cat.
1. Focus on the positive. Upshur tells clients to pick a phrase such as “good dog,” and use it often. “When someone reaches to pet your dog, say ‘good dog,’” he says. “That puts the dog in a relaxed mood.” Our body language also affects a dog’s behavior. Resist the urge to automatically pull the leash when strangers approach. This subtle movement puts the dog on alert, says Upshur, a police officer and dog trainer with Dogma Dog Care in Smyrna, Ga.
It takes training, and patience.” If you see a cat, squirrel or other potential distraction that may trigger negative behavior, Upshur suggest offering a command such as “sit” and petting the dog. This helps calm anxious pets.
2. Take the high road during walks. Every dog behaves differently around other dogs. “If my dog doesn’t know the dog, I don’t walk directly up on another dog or person,” Weaver says. “Pass each other [at a safe distance] and see how the dogs react.”
3. Maintain a short leash when stopping. If you stop to greet someone during a walk, Weaver suggests maintaining a short leash — about a foot or so — limiting your dog’s ability to jump. He also notes that dogs jump on people out of excitement. “Give them no attention when they jump; turn your back, walk away and try again. It’s really a process.”
4. Allow strangers to pet with care. When someone asks to pet your dog during a walk, Weaver says allow the dog to smell the person’s hand first. Then allow them to pet the dog’s side or back, avoiding its head or mouth.
5. Practice makes perfect. Find a pet-loving friend and practice proper behavior around houseguests. “Let your dog approach the person and smell their hand,” Upshur says.
“Then tell the person to lift their knee and turn as soon as the dog tries to jump.” It also helps to turn your back to the dog and fold your arms across your chest, ignoring the dog until it sits or calms down. “Your dog has to learn the boundaries of your house,” Weaver says. “Otherwise it will be hard to keep her under control when someone comes into her house because that’s her couch.”
6. Introduce four-legged guests slowly. If you are introducing a puppy to your older dog, Upshur says things should go smoothly. But it’s important to remain calm when adult dogs pay a visit. “A calm owner sends a signal that it’s okay for another dog to be in the house,” he says. “Let them sniff each other, but watch the hairs on their back
. If hairs on the neck and butt go up, pull the dogs away,” he warns. “If one dog goes down into what we call the praying position, he’s trying to tell the other dog, ‘I’m friendly; all I want to do is play.’” If your dog is a bit willful like my pooch Lulu, Upshur suggests keeping it on a leash during visits.
“Let the other dog roam because he isn’t getting into trouble,” Upshur says. “That will rub off on your dog, and it will understand, ‘I must be in trouble because I’m on a leash.’” Allow your dog to approach, sniff and move away, then repeat this process until both dogs are calm enough to mingle.
Weaver also recommends the “place” command, particularly when guests arrive. “Once you teach them, ‘Go to your place,’ call them to that spot when company comes.” He notes that Lulu’s howls of protest are all part of the process. “If you don’t stand your ground and deal with it, you won’t stop it,” he warns.
7. Every dog needs a place. Upshur and Weaver are firm believers in giving dogs a designated place in the house. It may be in a quiet corner or a favorite spot on the couch. Every time you give the “place” command, your dog should go to that spot and remain there until you allow it to leave. Reinforce that behavior by praising the dog for following commands.“Saying ‘good dog’ does a lot,” Upshur says. “If your dog gets tense for any reason, say ‘good dog’ and pet it.”
8. A little bribery never hurts. Weaver is not afraid to bribe a pet. Take the time to learn your pet’s favorite food, toy or treat and use it to your advantage. “What is your dog going to work for?” he asks. “A lot of dogs will work for a tennis ball or chew toy. Once you make it interesting to them, you can get their attention.” If you notice a cat during your daily walk, move away from the distraction and then pull out your dog’s favorite item. “As you walk, the dog will walk and try to get it,” he says.
“Once you get a certain distance away from the distraction, give her the toy or treat. Do sit command and say, ‘good girl.’” He adds that it’s important to stretch out the rewards program. “Once they do the right thing a third time, then you give them the treat,” he says. “If you give a treat every time, they will only behave for food.” This approach gives the dog an incentive to work for treats.
9. Set boundaries for foster pets. Opening your home to a foster dog can help your pooch stay young at heart, and strengthen social skills, particularly if it’s an older pet. “They know the rules of the house; they are the alpha dog,” Upshur says. “A new dog will get used to the other dog and will try to establish dominance.” To ease the transition, he suggests moving slowly with initial introductions. Not surprisingly, he says that pets adjust better to dogs of the opposite sex.
During the first two days, keep the foster dog crated and allow your dog to sniff the foster pooch in its crate. “Over time, your dog will understand, ‘This dog belongs here now; his scent is here,’” Upshur says. Also, use a leash during free time with the foster pooch as it learns house rules and boundaries.
10. Practice consistency. Whether you are partial to “no” or “psst!,” Cesar Millan-style, use the same command every time you address your dog. That means avoiding shorthand such as “down,” when you typically say “lay down.” A little bit of consistency can help even an older dog like my Lulu learn some cool new tricks.

Are cats allowed at my destination?

If you are planning to travel with your cat, first ask yourself these questions: Are cats allowed at my destination? If so, will my cat adjust to conforming to regulations concerning pets and really be happy away from home? Cats tend to be creatures of habit and it is important that your cat can adapt to change.
The pets who travel best are those who have been trained to ride in a car. If you would like to include your cat in your travel plans, accustom it to riding in the car. Ideally this training begins in kittenhood and it should be a happy experience for the kitten. Dont make the kittens first car ride a trip to the veterinarian.
Begin by allowing the kitten to sit in the car to become familiar with the surroundings. Then take it for a short drive each day, even if it is only around the block.
If your cat seems unable to adjust to travel, you may decide that you and your cat will be happier if it stays home. Search out a responsible sitter or a boarding facility. If you choose to board your cat, make reservations well in advance of the trip, particularly during summer months and around major holidays.
The policy regarding cats varies with motels and hotels. Contact the reservations department in advance of your trip to determine if your cat will be welcome. Do not leave a cat unattended in a room. If a maid were to enter, the cat could become frightened and might run from the room. If, for any reason, you must leave the cat alone in the room for a short period of time, place it in its carrier or post a do not disturb sign on the door. If your cat is not in a carrier or in a secure location at your travel destination, keeping it on a leash is recommended.
When you travel with a cat, a change in its environment and routine may be a jolt to its feeling of security. Your love and understanding are needed to reassure your cat and to help it become a good travel companion.
Preparing for the Trip: If you plan to take your cat with you, be certain its vaccination shots are up-to-date. Your veterinarian will also issue health and rabies certificates which may be needed if you fly and will certainly be needed if you cross international borders. Carrying these certificate with you is a good idea. If you should have to board your cat during the trip, the kennel may require proof of immunization.
Your cat will also need its grooming equipment and its regular grooming schedule should be maintained. This is particularly true for longhaired cats to avoid tangled and matted hair which can lead to skin infections.
Do not feed your cat for at least three hours before leaving on a trip. Feed it shortly after arriving at your destination unless the trip is a long one. In that case, provide a snack and water during the trip. If the cats usual diet is not available at your destination, take a supply with you so no digestive upsets will be caused by a sudden diet change.
If your cat is accustomed to wearing a collar (a stretch collar designed for cats) be certain an identification tag is attached to the collar. The ID tag should give the cats name, your name, home address and telephone number including the area code, and, if possible, your vacation address and telephone number.
Take pictures of your cat and write a description of your cat, including its height, weight, color, and any distinguishing marks to take with you. If your cat should become lost, these identification aids could make the difference in finding it.
Traveling By Air With Your Cat: If you are traveling by air with your cat, ask about what health certificates are needed. They vary with airline and your destination. There are usually two basic options for air travel. Some airlines allow cats to travel (generally for a fee) with their owners if a carry-on carrier fits under the passenger seat. The other option is to rent or purchase a flight crate which meets airline regulations and the cat is transported in the crate in the baggage compartment.
Because some airlines have limited space to accommodate pets, always make reservation well in advance.
On the day of the flight bring a cushion or blanket to put on the crate floor. Check to see if the water cup is attached to the crate door. The cup should be deep and not too full of water to avoid spilling. On a short flight, you may wish to detach the cup and store it with your luggage and provide water for drinking at the end of the flight.
To reduce the risk of air travel for your cat, try to avoid peak travel periods when delays and stopovers are longer. Traveling in extreme cold or hot weather could be dangerous if your cat must wait very long before loading and unloading. Plan the trip with as few stops and transfers as possible.
Pets in transit tend to sleep the hours away, but during stops and transfers they may become frightened. Airport facilities vary and, as a result, pets may be left in the sun or rain without adequate protection or inadequate food or water during long waits between flights. At the end of your trip, pick up your cat promptly.
Plane travel is the fastest way to reach your destination, but some risk is involved for kittens, older cats or cats with health problems. If you have doubts, consult your veterinarian.
International Travel: If you are planning on international travel or relocation or a trip to Hawaii, keep in mind that certain countries require a quarantine at the owner’s expense.
When you return, a quarantine office at customs will check documents and inspect your pet. The official may require confinement of any pet you have purchased abroad. Normally this is in your home rather than in official quarantine. Pets purchased abroad all require proof of immunization, certificates of good health, and payment of import duty.
Traveling By Car With Your Cat: If you are traveling by car, a carrier is a must. It should be strong, well-ventilated and one the cat cannot escape from.
Before traveling, place the carrier where the cat can become acquainted with it. Placing a favorite toy or blanket in the carrier may help accustom the cat to the carrier. Take the cat for several rides around town in the carrier before attempting a longer trip.
While you are driving, always keep the cat confined in the carrier.
This ensures safe, comfortable driving for you and your cat. Place a soft mat or cushion on the carrier floor. During hot weather never put the carrier on the sunny side of the car where it will become overheated.
One of the greatest dangers to a cat is leaving it in a closed car, even for a few minutes during hot weather. Cars heat quickly and leaving windows open a few inches does not always provide sufficient circulating air to keep you cat cool and comfortable. Insufficient air can lead to heat stress, suffocation and death.
If it is necessary to leave your cat in the car for a short period of time, choose a shaded area. Leave the windows open as far as safely possible to provide air circulation.
Keep the cat in the carrier. Check the car frequently and never leave your cat for an extended time. Motion sickness may be a problem with your cat. If this occurs and if taking your cat with you is essential, discuss preventive measures with your veterinarian.
If the drive is eight hours or longer, give the cat an opportunity to use a litter pan every three or four hours. If the cat is inclined to have accidents along the way, put newspapers on the bottom of the carrier and sprinkle cat litter on them. The newspaper and soiled litter can be removed as needed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pets want to tell you

We like to ascribe all sorts of emotions to our dogs, but, truth be told, they are much simpler than humans. They’re motivated by the basics: food, activity and companionship. That said, a dog’s behavior around his owners does have meaning. From the desire to protect you to an intuition about your health and happiness, read on to discover what your dog would tell you if he could speak.
“I want to protect you.”
You may think your dog
belongs to you, but you belong to your dog, as well. That means he is going to claim you and protect you. "When he's sitting on your foot, it's an ownership thing. If his [bottom] is on you, he's marking your foot," says Jennifer Brent, animal advocate and external relations manager for the L.A.-based non profit animal welfare advocacy group Found Animals. "It's not just that he wants to be close to you, he's saying, 'This is mine; now it smells like me, don't go near it.'
He does this for three main reasons: to feel secure about his place in your life, to warn other dogs that you are spoken for and because he wants to protect you.” To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. "There's a line of thinking that the dog is your scout. He sees himself as a member of the pack, and he wants to make sure everything is cool before you get there," Brent says. Photo: Thinkstock
“I can sense when you’re in a bad mood.”
Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, your dog will pick up on how you feel—and feel it, too. "It goes without saying, when you're stressed, they're more stressed; when you're happier, they're happy. They match up moods with you better than a spouse or a partner," says Marty Becker, DVM, pet expert at "They sit there and study you.” This relationship works the other way, too: If you want to make your pooch relax, you know just where to scratch; if you want to be more playful, you know how to pet him. "You can, like a gas pedal, change that dynamic with your dog," Dr. Becker says. Photo: Matthew Williams-Ellis/Thinkstock
“I need more exercise!”
If she's eliminating on the floor, chewing the furniture or running circles around the coffee table, your dog is probably trying to tell you she needs more activity in her life. "That's where we see a lot of behavioral issues with dogs in households," Brent says. This is particularly true for active breeds, such as herding or hunting dogs. "The Dalmatian was trained to be a hunting dog. You can't take an animal that's used to running eight miles a day, put it in an apartment, and expect it to be OK.
If your dog's destroying stuff, he's saying, 'I'm bored, you need to give me something to do.'" While exercise is important—dogs should receive 45 to 60 minutes of physical exercise and 15 minutes of behavioral training per day—Dr. Becker says you can also play mental games to keep your pooch entertained. Make her play search-and-seek games for her food or even use food puzzles that she has to solve before her meal is dispensed. Photo: Shutterstock
“I'm scared you won't come back.”
While most dogs are going to bark for a few minutes when you leave the house—just to let you know you're forgetting someone—some dogs have a much more serious reaction. "If you watch a video of a dog with separation anxiety
, it'll tear your heart out. It's like the kid lost at the mall without his parents," Dr. Becker says. "They freak out. They think you're not coming back. They often attack the area where you leave; they'll tear up the doorframe, they're destructive. If you come home and they’ve had diarrhea or [are excessively] panting, their cortisol levels are high, and you have to take action." Dr. Becker recommends speaking with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant. To help assuage the trauma associated with your departure, you can try these training intervals: Put your coat on, grab your keys and go stand outside for 30 seconds. Come back in, and then go out for one minute, then five, and build from there. It’s also helpful to give your dog a treat before you leave, or feed him using an interactive food puzzle to keep him distracted. Photo: Shutterstock
“I can tell when you’re not feeling well.”
It’s a hard phenomenon to explain, but many dogs seem to be able to detect illness in their owners. And new evidence has found that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including cancer, as well as seizures related to epilepsy. "We know that there's a chemical marker that a few dogs are detecting, just like they can detect bed bugs, mold, peanuts, drugs and explosives," Dr. Becker says. "They can smell the ketones on a diabetic's breath when their sugar is low. For epileptics [about to have a seizure], they can alert their owner so they can get out of harm's way."
Some canines are even more naturally empathetic to humans. Often, these dogs become therapy dogs, providing affection to those in need, while also sensing—and being able to react to—health problems. "Some people just need a dog to lay still with them; others need a reason to get out of the bed. It's the weirdest thing how therapy dogs know when to [move] close or far away," says Dr. Becker. Photo: Shutterstock
“Pay attention when I’m not myself.”
It's important to pay attention to your pooch’s behavior because if something seems amiss, he’s probably not feeling well. "You want to catch things in the earliest period to prevent unnecessary pain or worse," says Dr. Becker. "I call it 'Dog-ter Mom,' because 80% of caregivers for pets are women. You just need to pay attention to your intuition." That means noticing behavior that's out of the norm: he's not as playful as usual, he’s acting aggressively, he has trouble getting up or isn’t eating properly. "You want to pay particular attention to eating habits,” Dr. Becker says. “Food is their currency. If he isn't eating enough or is eating too much, if he's drinking more water or needs to eliminate more, or if you have a dog that's losing weight, then something's wrong.” Photo: Adam Wasilewski/Thinkstock
“I need a routine, but with a little variety.”
They say that a dog's mental capacity is that of a toddler; and just like a toddler, dogs thrive on routine. "Knowing what to expect is really, really important, otherwise they don't know how to react," Brent says. A general routine is best, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at the same time each day. In fact, varying the time will actually help in the long run, says Dr. Becker. Otherwise, your dog will start running the show.
“You don't want them to force how the clock works,” he says. If they do, it’s likely that your dog will “insist on his 5 a.m. feeding on a Sunday, when you want to sleep until 8 a.m. Vary it up. If you control their food, you control them—in a good way." Photo: Thinkstock
“Be clear when I’m doing something wrong.”
Correcting your dog is important—and how you do it is key. Avoid explaining your dog’s behavior to him, or using a calm voice. Take a firm (not mean) tone and be direct. "Dogs respond to tone. If you say, 'No!' while a bad action is happening, you're going to get a much better response than if you say it in a gentle voice or wait to say it afterwards," Brent says. To ensure results, it has to be said in the moment of action, and in the same way every time.
“If you want to train your dog to be calm when he sees another dog, you can't wait until that dog has passed to give him a treat for being good. You can't wait until you get home,” Brent says. “That says putting down the leash means a treat, instead of the action [you're trying to reinforce]." Photo: Shutterstock
“I'm not a human.”
There’s no doubt your dog is part of the family—but that doesn’t mean she should be treated like a person. "Thinking your dog has the motivation of a person is the number one problem I see," says Gina Spadafori, pet columnist and executive editor of the
Whether your dog eliminates in the house or chews up the remote, the cause has nothing to do with revenge. "It's not an emotional or rational response. It’s either a lack of training, illness or a stress reaction that can be triggered by a change in the house," Spadafori says. So if your dog is acting out, start by trying to find the root cause. Is she sick, improperly trained or has there been a recent change in routine? Once you locate the cause, understanding and correcting her behavior will be much easier.

Monday, September 26, 2011

National Homeless Animal Day

August 11, 2011 is “National Homeless Animal Day,” a day dedicated to raise awareness of the many animals (mainly dogs and cats) who do not have homes.
A great many animals born in this country never have a home, and wind up being destroyed out of sheer overpopulation of the area shelters. Many others are abandoned by people who are unable or unwilling to take care of them.
Thankfully, there are a couple of very good ways we as individuals can help the situation, and this is the time of year to become aware:
This is the obvious answer to “How can I help?”. If you have perhaps lost a pet recently and are ready to adopt again, there is not a better time of year to do so.
Seemingly in anticipation of August 11, animal shelters around the country are already holding “pet adoption days” and “adopt-a-thons” to help generate interest.
(Philadelphia’s SPCA offered free pet adoptions the weekend of July 16-17; Phoenix will reduce adoption fees this weekend, July 30, at their “Empty the Shelter Adopt-a-Thon.”) Check with your local pet rescue clinic or animal shelter for similar promotions, or check one of the national pet location agencies such as or
Unless you breed animals (and if you do, you should be doing so humanely and by correct standards), consider having your pet spayed or neutered.
At this point, one of the best ways to prevent animal homelessness is to reduce overpopulation. Be responsible for your pet, and prevent unwanted breeding, so more animals don’t wind up in the shelters. If you don’t spay or neuter your pet, be certain you can provide a good home for any births that occur as a result.
Our pets are a gift, and we need to help raise awareness of the plight of these animals. Do your part, not just in honor of August 11, but all year long.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ferrets in clothes

If you are thinking of covering the chest as well, measure the broadest part of the chest including the stomach. To measure your ferret's length, size him up from the base of the neck up to the tail. These basic measurements are what you need to create ferrets clothes that will look cute and cuddly on your pet.
Many people nowadays are aware of clothing their pets. Dogs, cats and ferrets dress up in clothes for walks or outings or even when at home.
 Ferrets in particular, deserve pampering. You can buy special ferrets clothes at stores or online. Better still, you could stitch clothes at home with little effort.
Before you start, keep in mind that you are creating the dress for a furry animal with bouncy movements. Take care that the dress does not stop free movements of the ferret or otherwise he may start wrestling with it.
Try to be creative and stitch clothes that fit him well and look pleasing. You can work wonders with a small piece of attractive cloth and tailoring tools like needle, thread and a little creativity and some imagination.
Equipped with these simple tools, and powered by your creativity and imagination, you can make an attractive dress for your cute pet.
You need to start with measuring the dimension of the clothes you are going to stitch. Take care to keep the opening for the neck loose so that at least two of your fingers can move freely in it. Measure the size for the neck clearly around the base leaving it loose enough to let the neck have free movement. Now you are done with the neck measurement.
These animals attract fleas and other insects that can irritate them. So it is important to have a few change of clothes. You need to keep the ferret clean with his clothes on. Wash these clothes and spray repellants on them to avoid contracting irritants for the pets.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lovely Cats

I have two cats of my own and they certainly do make sure that they get what they want. I have noticed that they use different calls for different reasons.
This is for all you cat owners out there! As cat owners, we all know that cats have a vocabulary all their own and they are good at getting their points across.
How many of us have given in to the pleas of a hungry cat demanding to be fed? Or how many of us are greeted with a meow from our kitty pal when we get home? Have you noticed how different those calls are?
The Yeow
Yeow means ‘Get off my property!’ Or if it is a shrieked Yeow it mean ‘OUCH!’ In both instances, the cat is under stress.
Cats have a vast vocabulary that extends far beyond these sounds. Once we understand what each sound means, we are in a better position to understand our cats and also to communicate back to them.
The Soft Little Mew
This is my favorite sound. It is just so cute! One of my cats uses this sound to ask a question very nicely. He will bring a toy over to me and set it down right next to me and sit and just give a little ‘mew’. It is the cutest thing! Who could resist such a nice and polite request? So I end up tossing the toy a few times.
The Loud MEOW
The loud MEOW when accompanied with a direct stare is a demand. Usually it is around mealtime when they are hungry and they want to be fed NOW!
The Meow-Purr
This sound is characteristic of Maine Coons and is a sound they make when they are feeling good. They are essentially saying, ‘Hey, I like you too.” It is a meow followed by a purr. It sounds like meowprr. One of my cats is a Maine Coon mix and when I first heard him, I thought something was wrong with his voice and then I thought he just has a raspy voice. But then I did some research and found that the sound is made by all Maine Coons.

Your bills and your pet?

Do you really want to have to decide between your bills and your pet? Definitely not.
When you’re serious about getting quality pet insurance, there’s really only one place to go that matters — the Internet. Indeed, the rise of the Internet has definitely led to a lot more pet insurance options than in the past.
Remember that not all pet insurance policies are created equal. So while it’s smart to filter out policies that aren’t in your price range, it’s even smarter to make sure that you are getting the exact services that you want covered. For example, what’s the point of a cheap plan if you cannot take your pet to an urgent care center to get fast treatment? An animal hospital will treat your pet, but you will have to make financial arrangements that could really become crippling.
The old way of doing things was to get the pet insurance directly through your veterinary clinic of choice, which often meant paying a higher premium for the privilege of taking your pet to that clinic — or another one in a very small network that would actually take that coverage. This proved to be a very ineffective and inefficient process that left pet owners frustrated. Surely there’s a better way?
Thankfully, there really is. You can actually go and get pet insurance online. This also makes it easy to comparison shop = pet insurance comparison doesn’t have to be hard at all. Here’s what you need to do.
The better choice is to make sure that you’re being as strategic as possible when it comes to getting pet insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be in a situation where you have to make a lot of hard decisions. And no one ever wants to have to make those types of decisions if they don’t have to.
Another thing that you will want to make sure of is that you have a way of getting in touch with the insurance plan provider if you have any extra questions. Given the proliferation of Internet-based pet insurance companies, customer service can be a hit or miss type of operation. The last thing that you want to have happen is that you think something is covered when it’s not, or have questions that need to be answered and there’s no one to answer them.
Overall, now is the time to get pet insurance — it really doesn’t have to be difficult to give your pet the quality health care they deserve!

Dogs Pets

GCH CH Elias Mes Yeux Vigilants RN is a breathtaking example of his breed.
The handsome Beauceron — from a 400-year-old breed that became almost extinct serving as messenger dogs in Europe during two world wars — regularly wows judges, though he's only 2 years old.
Indeed, he's an AKC Grand Champion (the first male Beauceron to receive that title), and just last month he received an Award of Excellence at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach (which will be televised Jan. 23 on ABC).
But all that strutting of his stuff in the show ring keeps him busy for just a fraction of a year. The rest of the time, hour after hour, day after day, Elias, as he is known, is a hardworking gluten-detection service dog.
He accompanies his owner, Hollie Scott, 22, whose celiac disease is so severe that she's ill for weeks if she eats something that has merely been sliced by a knife used previously to carve something with minimal gluten content.
The big dog is a familiar presence around the University of Missouri campus, where Scott is a first-year student in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Elias accompanies her on social outings, to any of the rare eateries she dares frequent, and anyplace else she ventures.
Although he's nearly a 100-pounder — at the extreme end of the breed standard — Elias "curls up in an amazingly small ball" in lecture halls, on buses and trains, and on planes, Scott says.
The dog spent weeks in Slovenia completing gluten-detection training late last year (he and Scott returned at the very end of November, then rested a couple of days before heading out for the Long Beach competition), and now he can detect and warn her away from anything containing gluten, hot or cold, in all its many manifestations.
Teaching a dog to be alert to the scent of gluten is much more complicated than most scent-detection training, because gluten comes in so many forms. A type of protein commonly found in wheat, rye and barley, gluten is widely used in products other than the obvious — cereals, breads and pizza — after being processed in various ways.
Gluten, in fact, can be used as a filler, binder or thickener, hidden in all manner of food, including, for example, soy sauce, many salad dressings and even some toothpaste.
Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease about two years ago after having spent much of her high school years "in and out of hospitals." She's now acutely vigilant about checking labels and trying to avoid cross-contaminations.
"You can't drop your guard for even a minute," says Scott, who likens an attack to "a really extremely bad case of stomach flu" from which her body doesn't recover fully for nearly three weeks. But even hyper-vigilance isn't a 100% guarantee.
"I was never a picky eater," says Scott, but the celiac disease "brings a whole new level of stress" to the very notion of mealtime, and the extra layer of protection Elias provides is "comforting."
When it's time for him to do the sniff test for Scott, she places a cover with holes over the item, and Elias does his thing. She practices with him every day with known gluten-containing foods to augment the products she hopes are gluten-free so he doesn't lose his edge. When there's gluten, Elias tries to pull it away from her; if it's safe, he simply looks away.
Elias is a hard worker, but he has many outlets for doggie joy. Scott's study group includes some dog owners, so he gets to hang out with other animals. "His favorite is a little Havanese puppy," says Scott. There are also regular trips to the dog park, and, when it's not too cold, visits to the swimming hole.
He'll continue on the show circuit, too. His next competition: the Westminster Dog Show in New York City next month.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Smallest Dog

"Even the tiniest Poodle or Chihuahua is still a wolf at heart"- Dorothy Hinshaw
Small dogs are often associated with socialites or fashionistas, who like to carry them around in their purses. The epitome of style, they sit fancily on their owner's laps and yap incessantly. But people forget that a dog, big or small, is still a dog, and how it behaves depends on the owner's attitude and its training. Tiny dogs are just as loving and loyal as a regular sized dog, and are extremely popular with kids and adults alike. Their tiny stature, in some cases, have set records for being the smallest in length or height.
Smallest Dog Ever
The smallest dogs to break records are usually of the Chihuahua or Yorkshire terrier breed. Tiny dog record setters are:
Big Boss, a Yorkie, was 4.7 inches tall and was the smallest dog (height) in 2002.
Danka, a Chihuahua was the 2007 Guinness world record holder, with 5.4 inches in height and 7.4 inches length.
Another contender, Ducky, a Chihuahua from Massachusetts, replaced Danka, being 4.9 inches in height and weighing 1.3 pounds!
The current smallest dog in the world in terms of height is Boo Boo, a 4 inches high, 24 ounce Chihuahua, who eats out of a tea spoon. She's small enough to sit in a woman's shoe.
Heaven Sent Brandy is another Chihuahua, who is the world's smallest dog in terms of length. She measures 6 inches in total.
Sylvia, a Yorkie from England, was the smallest living dog in history. She measured 3.5 inches in height and 2.4 inches in length, and weighed 0.11 kg.
Small Dog Breeds
Below are the top four tiny dog breeds and a brief description.
What a chihuahua lacks in size, he makes up in intellect. Alert and quick with a yappy bark, the chihuahua is territorial and needs patience and kind handling. It requires minimal grooming and little exercise.
They are famous "purse dogs". At 6 to 10 inches tall, weighing no more than 6 pounds, it is known as the smallest dog breed. They make excellent watchdogs and are fearless, so they need a firm hand on the leash. They love to challenge dogs twice their size!
Yorkshire Terrier
No 3 on the American Kennel Club's most popular dogs in the U.S. list, the Yorkshire terrier is a sociable, toy dog breed that is alert and lively and devoted to its owner. Standard height is 8 to 9 inches, weight is around 4 to 7 pounds. It is extremely vocal and must be trained to stop yapping.
The breed is prized for being highly intelligent and easily trainable. An ideal companion, Yorkies love human company and their long luxurious coats need little grooming. They require moderate exercise because of their highly energetic nature and excel at dog sports.
Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu means "lion dog" in Chinese and this breed was a royal court dog in 7th century China. This small dog has a distinctive arrogant walk and style, with its nose in the air and tail curved over its back, almost as if to say "im the best"! However it is a companion dog, with good bonding skills and extremely loving.
An excellent watchdog, good with kids of all ages, the Shih Tzu is an indoor dog and needs minimal exercising. Even though his long, flowing coat needs grooming, it is a low shedder and stands 8 to 11 inches tall, weighing 9 to 16 pounds. It is ranked 10th on the AKC's most popular dogs list.
Toy Poodle
Fancy, sophisticated, with an oo-lala attitude, the poodle is actually a sensitive, energetic and loving dog, who loves the entire family. A poodle is extremely perceptive of human emotions and moods, and has a distinctive personality of its own. He is great at agility and games, has loads of stamina and needs a good exercise regime.
Toy poodles stand 10 inches or below, with ideal weight between 7 to 9 pounds. Poodles need brushing and clipping regularly. Properly clipped and coiffed, the poodle is a stylish small dog breed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pet Astrology

While the concept of pet astrology may seem odd to many people, there are many people who believe that the date of birth of your pet, related to astrological signs of the planets, the sun, and the stars, have a significant impact on the basic behavior and mood of their pets. There are particular character behaviors that are associated with each zodiac sign for pets. These include all of the following:
Aries: Aries pets are known to be very active and also hypersensitive to the environment around them.
Taurus: Taurus pets seem to have a passive nature normally, but if they are ever caught in a fight where they need to defend themselves or family members, they will not give up a fight.
Gemini: Gemini pets tend to be extremely intelligent, so they are usually very easy to train. But their intelligence also means that they can require a lot of attention, and always need to be in the company of their owners.
Cancer: Cancer pets are extremely sensitive. Because of this, when they get attached to a person, they are loyal to that person for life.
Leo: Leo pets tend to be very independent and almost always end up leading the pack. These pets will be more difficult to train, as they won’t want you to take the role of leader. Be persistent, and the Leo pet will eventually succumb.
Virgo: Virgo pets have a multitude of wonderful characteristics and behaviors that make them perfect human companions.
Libra: Libra pets tend to be extremely easygoing. This means they will make fantastic family pets for families that aren’t very active. Unfortunately this also means that Libra pets are typically somewhat lazy and eventually get overweight without being forced to exercise.
Scorpio: Scorpio pets are extremely possessive of their owners. While this typically makes for an extremely loyal pet, it can also become a problem if the pet believes their owner is being attacked and they aren’t. They can be overprotective at times.
Sagittarius: Sagittarius pets make great pets because they are both fun loving and very intelligent. However, their energy level can be difficult for families that aren’t used to active pets.
Capricorn: Capricorn pets tend to remain very young at heart, and remain very playful even into their old age.
Aquarius: Aquarius pets are extremely intelligent, but for some reason that intelligence can come across as a level of stubbornness that makes them appear ill-tempered and sometimes difficult to handle.
Pisces: Pisces pets are very introverted and extremely gentle. However, their sensitivity means that they can easily sense the moods of their owners. This pet is perfect for people who are naturally calm, but not so good for people who can be very emotional.
The family section of features a great section on pet astrology that lets you select your pets sign from a drop down list in order to get a detailed description of the personality of your pet, how to manage their personality and traits, and how to care for them while taking into account the natural inclinations that are a part of their personality because of their astrological sign.
When you fully educate yourself regarding your pet’s zodiac sign, it may be something that makes you very proud of your pet. You may wish to commemorate your pet and his or her zodiac sign through a painted pet portrait utilizing an astrology theme that integrates the pet’s zodiac sign.
This website also features fun quizzes, such as “What kind of dog would you be?” or “Are you a cat or dog person?” Additionally, you can find a “pet grid”, which rates several personality traits including “affectionate”, “energetic”, “friendly”, and “loyal” on a scale of 1 to 3 for each zodiac sign.
This grid helps you to determine which traits your particular pet is likely to have. There is also a chart that helps you to determine what sign your pet is based on their birth date.
Express Your Pet’s Sign With a Portrait
Pet astrology can provide a great deal of insight into the behaviors of your pet, but it also brings great pride in knowing how your pet fits into the cosmological universe. Feature your cat in a beautiful painted portrait that incorporates the zodiac, and you have an astrological masterpiece that will last a lifetime.
Pet portraits are very popular and sweeping the country. Nikky Hughes, of Los Angeles, offers amazing pet portraits that utilize unique backgrounds and themes. She is always happy to do portraits on request, and a pet’s zodiac sign would easily fit into the creative and witty existing portfolio of pet portraits that are displayed at her website.
Nikky was classically trained at the Mission Renaissance art school, and she focuses on capturing not only the beauty, but the unique character of each animal.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cats hate water

There are so many questions that responsible pet parents have to answer when caring for their pet. They have to consider which pet food to use, which toys to purchase, and most importantly, which flea preventive medication to invest in. There are so many choices on the market that it can be completely baffling to pet parents.
When selecting the flea preventive to use, the pet parent must know which medication will work best for the pet. Once all thoughts are considered, many pet parents opt for Advantage flea products.
Some pets are very challenging to bathe. Cats hate water, so any flea preventive that involves a bath is usually completely out of the question. Cats will respond violently to any situation they object to.
They bite and scratch to prove a point. Rather than deal with that, most cat owners will select a product that doesn't place them in harms way, like Advantage flea products.
There are other pets that are incredibly difficult to medicate. They will spit out pills, they will eat around hidden pills, and they will fight pills being force fed to them. Any flea preventive that involves taking pills would be out of the realm of possibility for such pets. In that situation, it is much simpler to provide a flea preventive like Advantage flea products to take care of that problem.
Advantage flea has the benefit of only needing to be administered once a month. A monthly dosage will keep the pet protected all month long. And the best part about using Advantage flea products is that they aren't given orally.
There are no pills to force feed the pet or try to hide in treats. Advantage flea doesn't involve water, so there is no messy bath to give, no chance that the pet owner will be as wet as the pet at the end of the procedure. Instead, Advantage flea is administered topically. The tube containing the flea medication is simply squeezed in between the shoulder blades of the pet. That is it.
The biggest challenge is trying to remember not to pet the animal while the flea meds are freshly administered. The natural oils in the pet's coat will help ensure that the pet is covered.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Training dog

This trick is great fun for most dogs, but it can be a little scary for some pups to show their belly. Go slow, and if your dog isn’t having fun, you can always try something else.
Step One: Get your dog to lie down.
Step Two: With a treat in one hand and a clicker (if you so choose) in your other, lure the dog on his side by moving the treat behind his head. Your dog should turn his head and shift his body position; when he does, click and give him the treat.
Step Three: Go a little further each time, until your dog is on his side. Click, treat, and continue luring him onto his back, giving treats often. If your dog gets tired, don’t be afraid to give him a break.
Step Four: Once your pup is on his back, he might roll to the other side on his own! If he does, click and treat it, release him, and keep going.
Step Five: When he is reliably rolling all the way over with your lure, start going through the same procedure without a treat in your hand, but still click and reward once he completes the behavior.
Step Six: Add in your verbal cue while very gradually fading your lure. After a few sessions, your pup will now roll over on cue without the hand signal!
Have a blast teaching your dog this entertaining trick!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Otterhound,the Bloodhound

The Otterhound is a dog that originated in Great Britain and once upon a time he was used to hunt down otter, obviously that is where he got his name from. They think that there are many breeds that were used in the making of the Otterhound breed, among them, the Bloodhound.
This breed was first registered with the AKC all the way back in 1910 but the age of the breed and the service that he has done for man does not seem to help much these days…you know how on the TV you constantly hear about these endangered animals and endangered species, well, the Otterhound is one of the most endangered breeds of dog on the planet; they say that there are fewer Otterhounds then there are Giant Pandas.
Only 51 of these animals were registered in the year 2006, they say that they are doing everything to save them but it sometimes makes you wonder because their numbers are dwindling.
The Otterhound is a happy dog that has a mind of his own and is considered very independent, yet at the same time affectionate and loving to his family. He loves to run and play and because of that ,when considering on getting an Otterhound, make sure you have enough space for him to be able to run around and get exercise, and just basically have enough space for a dog like him to be comfortable.
This is a dog that loves to be involved with everything that the family is doing, so including him in family activities is essential to building a good relationship. These are dogs that have a past in hunting otter and that means that they love to swim, they can be very determined and set when they have made up their minds about something, which includes following a scent. They are hound dogs at heart, so a nice sturdy fence is a must for the times when the dog is out in the yard.
The Otterhound is a dog that has a thick, long and shaggy coat which is rough to the touch. The most common colors are black and tan or liver and tan but there have been tri-colored, grizzle and red. This is a dog that has an innocent and loving expression on his face, which is only enhanced by the floppy fringe. An interesting thing is that he has webbed feet. The Otterhound can reach a height of 28 inches at the shoulder and reach a weight of 60-115 pounds, not a small dog by anyone’s standard.
The Otterhound has a very loud bark (he's big so he obviously has a big mouth) and he will be reserved with strangers.However, there have been Otterhounds that were exactly the opposite, so I guess it is up to the dog. If you are the kind of person that likes to have a very clean house all the time, then do not bother to get one of these dogs because they are rather messy.
Training can be difficult at times because of the stubbornness of the breed, when he has made up his mind that he will not do something then it will not be done. Because of this, the Otterhound does best with those that have experience in dog training.
This big dog gets along well with children and other animals if he has been socialized early on. However, do not trust him with small animals because remember that this is a hunting dog that will follow his instincts. If you are looking for a puppy find yourself a breeder and then prepare yourself for a long wait…this is an endangered breed of dog and that means that puppies are very hard to come by.
When you first see an Otterhound, you may think that the coat looks very high maintenance. Well, you would be wrong, this is a breed that does not need so much extra grooming as many would think, although when grooming his coat set yourself in to do a good thorough job. The coat needs to be brushed about twice a week and every few months you might want to get the coat clipped to keep the dog looking his best.
Regularly check the dog’s ears for infection and keep them as dry and clean as possible, because the dirtier and damper the ear, the higher is the risk of an infection starting.
Also keep his beard clean because it is one thing that tends to get dirty a lot just because of the location. This dog is a medium shedder and is not recommended for those that suffer from allergies.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Furry Frenzies vs zhu-zhu pets

There are various similarities along with variations between the Furry Frenzies and also the zhu-zhu pets. Within the question of the Furry Frenzies vs. Zhu-zhu pets, the Furry Frenzies are always visiting emerge tops as a result of of varied reasons. For one, there is a large choice to settle on from.
Whether or not you purchase from the web or from the local store, you're very going to be spoilt for choice.
The Furry Frenzies are user friendly as a result of your kid simply has to press a button to purpose them during a certain direction and when they hit the wall, point them in the proper direction again.
All furry frenzy pets are pre-programmed with internal appears like giggles and coos that create taking part in terribly exciting.
However the variations do not only stop there as a result of the Furry Frenzies also are sold at a more competitive worth than the zhu-zhu pets.
Additionally, the zhu-zhu pets also are lacking in at least 3 characters that are added into the category of the Furry Frenzies and they embody the kitten, the puppy and therefore the chipmunk.
Initially the zhu-zhu pets were considered the simplest thing that ever happened within the toy and pet market but apparently they need currently been outdone by the Furry Frenzies.
Little question that this can be as a results of having the Furry Frenzies in many colors, characters and additional features that build playing fun and satisfying for the children.
As they scatter, jump and bump all over the play room, they provide your child with the simplest and most satisfying entertainment that the interactive toy market has ever produced.
The pets are readily available in the market and you may not have to seem far for them. Once your kid has outgrown his, you'll be able to simply sell it off as an used item. Within the Furry Frenzies vs. Zhu-Zhu pets' showdown, the Furry Frenzies take the crown.
JT has been writing articles online for nearly two years now. Not solely does this author concentrate on shopping, health, and home improvement, you'll conjointly check out his latest website on furry frenzies toys, which reviews and lists the essential fur real pets in stock.

Pet lemurs

For all those animal lovers who want to have distinguished types of pets, who wouldn't like to have pet lemurs. Having lemurs as pets wouldn't sound something uncommon to anyone who has seen these cute, cuddly creatures. Now, what is this article all about. Well, as any of us, who has watched the movie Madagascar knows that lemurs are found only in Madagascar. Definitely, going all the way to Madagascar, for getting a lemur as a pet is not going to be a cheap affair. So the best way to get a lemur is finding out a pet shop that breed lemurs. Anyway, before going into these details, let me provide you with some interesting facts about lemurs.
Lemurs Facts
Lemur is a Latin word, which means ghost. The name was given to these animals because of them being nocturnal creatures.
Lemurs like humans belong to the primates group. However, they are classified into the group of prosimians, the oldest primate group, even before the monkeys.
One interesting fact is that lemurs actually traveled to Madagascar on rafts and wood in the ocean to get away from their predators in Africa.
In Madagascar, several new species of lemurs originated, some of them could even be active during the day.
The worst part is that about half the lemurs that are born every year die.
Lemurs stay in groups of 7 to 10 and live in trees and bushes. Their main food consists of leaves and fruits, but they also eat insects and little animals.
The largest lemur that has been discovered till date weighs just 15 pounds.
Now for the last but the most important among the lemurs facts. Lemurs have been declared to fall into the list of endangered species. The reason for them to fall into the class of endangered species, is undoubtedly, yet again, men. Until humans reached the Madagascar, there was no natural predator of the lemurs.
Lemurs as Pets
Now, let's get back to the topic of having lemurs as pets. Since, lemurs already fall in the class of endangered species, so you must have already understood that getting a lemur from its native island, will definitely be something illegal. Besides, the United States government has some strict laws against importing of foreign animals. These laws are there to prevent the occurrence of any foreign disease or epidemic. So, the only way that remains open to you is that you need to search for a pet shop on the Internet, that breeds lemurs. If you happen to find one, take into consideration that you choose a male lemur. Lemurs fall in the class of those primates, where the male is more submissive than the female. A male lemur can hence, be trained more easily as compared to a female lemur. Another point that you need to take into consideration is that you should verify that the lemur was born and bred in captivity.
Another important point that needs to be taken into consideration are the different species of lemurs to choose from. There are about 30 species of lemurs. Many species of lemurs are already in the list of extinct animals. Some researchers who have studied lemurs also say that there was one species of lemurs that was as large as a gorilla. Lemurs are basically classified according to their weight. The smallest one is the tiny pygmy mouse lemur and the largest as mentioned in the lemurs facts is the Indri lemur, which weighs 15 pounds. Let us take a look at the two most interesting types of lemurs that you can have as pets.
Mouse Lemurs as Pets
Mouse lemurs weigh something around 4.7 to 5.7 inches in length. There are different varieties of mouse lemurs too, like the pygmy mouse lemur, the gray mouse lemur etc. Each of them have different physical traits. However, some of the aspects continue to be the same. They have soft fur, long hind legs, long tails, large eyes and a dorsal strips down the back.
Ring Tailed Lemurs as Pets
Ring tailed lemurs are larger than the mouse lemurs. Their front legs are shorter than the back legs and hence, they always stick up their butts in the air. Ring tailed lemurs, unlike the other lemur varieties spend some considerable amount of time on the ground. An adult ring tailed lemur can reach up to a length of 15 to 18 inches and weigh 5 to 8 pounds.
One important aspect that you need to understand before you take a lemur as a pet is that it's not meant to be a pet animal. Undoubtedly you can tame them, but then, once you have taken a lemur as a pet at a very young age then there are chances, that with increasing age, the lemur may simply take you for granted and get more aggressive. It may be a good idea to take lemurs as pets, but breeding lemurs may not definitely be the right thing that you want to do. Rather, it's preferable that you get the lemur neutered at a young age, so that on maturity it does not get unnecessarily aggressive and hard to manage.
So, this was all the information that I could provide to you about lemurs. What's more important is not taking in a lemur as a pet, but rather taking into consideration that this first generation of primates is in the class of endangered animals. Any animal or nature lover would not like to see these creatures falling into the class of extinct species. A lemur's natural habitat is its best home.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

beautiful love forever

Wedding cakes should illustrate the theme of marriage. Like all weddings share the common theme of love and romance, which can serve the wedding cake perfect for almost any wedding ceremony and reception.
These cupcakes can bring the issue of the heart with simple decorations are added to the cupcake. Brides may also consider the intelligent use of flowers on the cake, to create a heart issue.
These cakes can be very well separated separately or as a cake of cohesion conceal the space between the cakes with flowers, ribbons and other embellishments. Another option would be to create a display of heart-shaped cakes multiple formats plural marriage.
Brides who want a more traditional looking cake you want, you can decorate your cake with my heart. This can be accomplished with a heart shaped hat, pipe icing on the cake in the shape of heart or the use of cake decorating techniques from others. Some brides prefer the cupcakes.
Countless colors can be used to bind the other cake for wedding theme. Different tips can make this subject as well as many different positions and bases.they cake can contain many hearts, the hearts of some, or even a single heart. Heart theme wedding cakes can be large or small cakes and even cakes.
A large pie could easily be decorated with a big heart made of roses. Some bakers are trained in the use of sugar can create beautiful ornaments, glass type completely out of sugar that could be used on the cake.
Creating a heart with a theme has endless possibilities. that can be frozen or covered with traditional fondant. that may have piping, painting and floral decorations.
Available in a variety of styles and options. One option is to create a cake in the heart. could be designed in a beautiful cake top with many levels to create a column of heart shaped cake bigger. Another option would be to show more heart cupcakes on a pedestal strange on several levels.
The idea is simple wedding cakes in the gallery below for married couples looking for wedding cakes solution at a low price, but still look beautiful wedding cake.
With a simple design, has a special message the wedding cake in a commitment to knit a beautiful love forever.