New Year's Resolutions for Responsible Pet Owners

By Tamara L. Waters

Every year, folks ring in the New Year with a few resolutions – those good intentions they have for the coming year. As a responsible pet owner, you can make resolutions for the New Year and plan to make your pet's life better. Here are a few resolutions that you might want to make for the sake of your pets.

I resolve to play with my pet more often. While your dog or cat might love special treats, more than anything they probably love playing with you. Resolve to set aside time each day just to play. Whether it's a rousing game of fetch or some fun with a ball of yarn, your pet will enjoy playtime with you.

I resolve to learn from my pet. There is so much we can learn from our pets. They can teach us valuable lessons about living well and loving every part of our lives. RPO Blog Editor Julia Williams has a great article about lessons learned from cats.

I resolve to slow down. Just as we learn so much from our pets, we all need to learn the importance of slowing down. We hurry through our days and ultimately our lives, rushing to get through the day and on to the next. Slowing down to follow the examples set by our pets is a great way to live life – savoring each moment.

I resolve to feed my pet well. Because we love our pets, feeding them good, nutritious food – like CANIDAE and FELIDAE is one way we can show them how much we care.

I resolve to exercise my pet regularly. We always have good intentions, but helping your pet exercise regularly is a great resolution. If you've found yourself short on time and unable to keep up with regular walks and exercise, start the New Year right with a resolution to make it a priority in the coming year.

I resolve to show my pet love and affection often. Just as we get busy rushing to and fro, to work, school and activities, sometimes we can get caught up and forget to show our pet how much we care. Make the effort to take the time. A little love and affection goes a long way, so resolve to make time for belly scratches, back rubs and ear scratches.

I resolve to get regular veterinary care for my pet. With the coming New Year, make a resolution to plan for regular checkups for your pet. Make a plan to put aside money to help with the financial burden of veterinary care, but try to make it a priority, for your pet's sake.

Making New Year resolutions is a great start and is easy, but keeping them is the hard part. Write down your resolutions and keep them handy somewhere – on a bulletin board or even your fridge. Keep them posted somewhere that you can see them often so they will stay fresh in your mind.

The important thing is trying to keep the resolutions. Not only will you have the personal satisfaction of keeping your resolutions, but you can feel gratified that you are doing the best you can for your pet. Your pet will enjoy what you are able to do for him, and you can be proud that you are working hard to be the best responsible pet owner you can be.

Photo by Claudio Matsuoka

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

What's new?

New species discovered in 2010

From invisible squids to bald parrots to deep-sea fish with teeth on their tongues, picks the best of of 2010's newly discovered animals.

This image provided by NOAA shows a deep-sea chimaera. Chimaeras are most closely related to sharks, although their evolutionary lineage branched off from sharks nearly 400m years ago, and they have remained an isolated group ever since.

Happy New Year!

Happiest wishes and woofs to you all for a happy, healthy, prosperous and wonderful new year!

HAPPY 2011!!!!!

Video: Playful Polar Bears

via: Neatorama

What is a Conformation Dog Show?

By Linda Cole

If you want to see a good representation of purebred dogs looking their best, a dog show is the best place to go. A conformation dog show is considered to be a beauty contest, but there's a lot more to it than that. The dogs are well trained, and each one is an ambassador representing their breed.

The recent showing of the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving and Westminster Dog Show are good examples of conformation shows. These are benched shows, which means people attending are allowed to mingle with the dogs backstage and talk to dog experts who can answer their questions. Both shows are nationally televised, but conformation dog shows take place across the country all year.

Most conformation dog shows in the United States are sponsored by the American Kennel Club. Any show outside the U.S. may be run according to the standard set forth in the country where the show is held, or it can be run according to the standard provided by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale, an international federation of kennel clubs established in 1911.) The FCI sanctions the World Dog Show which is shown every year in a different host country.

What we see when watching a conformation dog show are well groomed dogs on their best behavior, but what a judge sees are dogs exemplifying the best in each of their breed standard. The dog shows we watch on TV feature top dogs who have earned the right to represent their breed by winning competitions throughout the year. Each dog is a champion who has met AKC requirements confirming them as a dog who is one of the best examples of their breed.

There are two types of conformation dog shows: all breed and specialty. Specialty shows have only one breed or one group of dogs (sporting, working, non-working, toy, hound, terrier or herding groups). All breed is just what it says; you will see dogs from each of the AKC registered breeds.

The American Kennel Club was established in 1884. Its main goal was recording and publishing a comprehensive book describing the breed standard for each breed registered with the AKC. This is also when dogs being shown were first required to be registered prior to showing. The purpose of “The Complete Dog Book” was to give judges guidelines for determining the best dog according to how well they met the standard for that breed. This book is still the guide used by a dog show judge to base their decisions according to how they interpret what the standards are for the breed they are judging.

Dog show judges look at the dog's appearance, body structure, shape of the head and eyes, proper bite, how the dog moves (his gait) and if the dog is able to perform the task he/she was bred to do. When the judge views each dog from the side, they are looking at how the dog stacks (a dog's stance that shows off particular attributes of the breed). The familiar stance we see from a German Shepherd in the ring is the expected stack for that breed. When a dog meets conformation, this means they conform to the ideal breed standard. A judge's decision is based on what the perfect dog looks like according to the breed standard.

A conformation dog show may be thought of as a beauty contest, but its purpose is to show off breeding stock. Dedicated breeders are passionate about and take great pride in the purebred dogs they raise. Because of the work responsible breeders do, dogs produce healthy litters that will carry on the best of their breed standard for years to come. Since conformation shows are meant to show off breeding stock, altered dogs are disqualified from competition.

Competing in dog shows is an expensive hobby, but it's not just for the wealthy. Dog lovers from all income levels participate. You won't get rich winning Best in Show, but you will spend quality time with your dog, make new friends along the way and know your dog is as close to perfect as they can be. At a dog show, you’ll be surrounded by a family of dog lovers who are happy to help you along the way and are passionate about their chosen breed.

Every February, I watch the Westminster Dog Show. I look at my dogs sleeping beside me on the couch or at my feet and think how great they are. I've had the honor of sharing my home with purebred and mixed breed dogs and as far as I'm concerned, all of them are “Best in Show” in my house.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, be sure to check out Ruthie Bently's article, What Happens at a Dog Show.

Photo by Ed Schipul

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Lord of the Ants

A fascinating man - Ed Wilson is the ant man.

Over six decades at Harvard University he has discovered more about ants than anyone else in history. He has thrown into relief for the general public just how important ants are—how they represent 25% or more of the insect biomass on the planet, how collectively they weigh more than all the humans in the world, how they assist humans by aerating the soil, suturing wounds, or, as in South Africa, harvesting the rooibos seeds for farm workers to collect. And how ancient they are: in 1966 Wilson and his colleagues identified an ant in a shard of amber that was 80m years old. Ants emerged along with flowering plants 130m years ago. By contrast, the genus Homo diverged 2m years ago, has existed as Homo sapiens for a fraction of that time, with a civilization of 20,000 years or so.

Read more: Ants and Us, Published on More Intelligent Life
or watch NOVA: Lord of the Ants on YouTube

“Therapet” Henry Opens Minds and Heals Hearts

By Julia Williams

Today I would like to introduce you to Henry, an extraordinary and inspiring “celebri-cat” who was recently named the ASPCA Cat of the Year for 2010. Henry is a three-legged cat who opens people’s eyes and minds, as well as their hearts. He received this special award because of his transformational work teaching tolerance, resiliency and courage, as well as for his healing work with disabled children, wounded veterans and their families, Hurricane Katrina survivors and Haitian earthquake amputees.

Some might say that Henry’s incredible journey from unassuming stray to remarkable healer was accidental, but I really don’t think it was. I don’t necessarily believe in the saying, “everything has a purpose,” but Henry’s life story seems guided by more than chance.

The stray tabby kitten was discovered at Cathy Conheim’s California home one day, with a severe leg injury. Cathy, despite being a devoted “dog person” who actually disliked cats, not only rushed Henry to her vet, but chose amputation over euthanasia. This conscious choice to save Henry’s life and take him into her home was just the start of the amazing events yet to unfold.

Henry adapted quickly to his new life with just three legs, which inspired Conheim to send an email to 20 friends describing his triumphant tale of survival and courage in the face of adversity. As often happens in this internet age, the email was forwarded by countless thousands of people around the world who were moved by Henry’s story.

Conheim realized then that Henry’s purpose was to be a “therapet” who could impart healing through storytelling. The plucky three-legged cat could serve as inspiration for humans struggling to come to terms with their own disability or tragic life circumstances, and he could also help others understand and feel compassion for the disabled. You see, Henry had found his way into the home of two healers – a psychotherapist and a doctor – and they believed he was destined to join the family profession.

“He's here to teach us how to deal with our misfortunes. All of us have problems, but Henry says you can't be defined by them. You're defined by your response to your problems. He is a hopeful symbol of beating the odds,” said Conheim.”

Indeed he is. With Henry as her inspiration, Conheim wrote two books, Henry’s World, a Three-Legged Cat’s View of Human Absurdity and What’s the Matter with Henry? The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat, both of which were published to raise money for less fortunate animals. Henry has his own website,, through which he serves as a “therapet” responding to more than 33,000 letters to date.

“Humans talk from their heart when they talk to a pet, which is why Henry has had such an impact,” said Conheim. “What's fascinating to me as a therapist is what I can accomplish through Henry that I can't do in my office, because he has the voice of a child and the innocence of an animal,” she explained.

A national nonprofit, First Book, distributed What's the Matter with Henry? to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and to children of military families dealing with deployment-related emotional and physical trauma. More recently, it was translated into Creole to help Haitian earthquake victims and amputees.

Conheim wrote a third book, What About Me? I'm Here Too!, to address the emotional issues experienced by healthy siblings of chronically ill children, who often feel invisible and ignored. Told through the voice of Henry’s “sibling,” Dolly the dog, it helps children learn how to develop resilience and express their feelings.

According to Conheim, Henry's evolving mission is “to raise money for animals in need, while also teaching humans to turn obstacles into opportunities, bullies into buddies and to create an emotional vocabulary for health.” One of Henry’s many goals as a therapet is to start a national conversation around healing and the difficult issues of life’s disappointments.

Despite being a bona fide celebri-cat, six-year-old Henry enjoys normal feline activities like bird-watching from his indoor perch, stalking sunbeams and having his belly rubbed and ears scratched. If you’d like to learn more about Henry and his important healing work, or to order books, dolls and cards, visit his website,

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Cute or not? baby Francois' Langur


30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup....Oops! Instead of a round up today, I'm going to tell you about a book, 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog, The Loved Dog Method, by Tamar Geller.

I won this book through a random drawing on That Mutt blog. Thanks Linday and Ace!

The Loved Dog Method is a method of fun and positive reinforcement, "using pleasure instead of pain, domination and fear to obtain good manners." While this may be common sense to many of you, there are also chapters on specific problem behaviors. If you and your dog are experiencing any of these, it is nice to have Geller's insight and experience to help you out.

I was particularly interested in growling. Kelly is always friendly with people, but she has been known to growl at other dogs. Geller suggests first determining what your dog's growling means. It may be aggression or anger, but she also might be afraid, nervous or excited. Kelly growls when loose dogs approach her on our walks (this happens a lot!) I suspect Kelly is afraid of the loose dog. In this instance, Geller says to calmly remove your dog from the situation. This is not always easy on a walk, because the dogs tend to follow.

Geller advises that when we encounter a loose dog, I should try to remove Kelly from the situation. Then I should reward her with a desirable treat. Kelly should soon perceive encountering other dogs as pleasurable and not fearsome. I only hope the other dogs don't follow, vying for liver treats too!

All in all, I think there are many things Kelly and I can learn from this book. I like the positive tone of the book, and the encouragement to understand your dog. After all, we all want to be understood.


An 8-month-old German shepherd named Rebel somehow squeezed his head through a hole in an 18-inch block wall at his Desert Hot Springs home Monday.

Then he got stuck.

Rebel may have been chasing another animal or was just curious about the hole, said Sgt. James Huffman of Riverside County Animal Services. The dog cried and whimpered until a friend of the owner heard him and called authorities. The dog’s owner wasn’t home at the time.

County Animal Services officers arrived about 12:30 p.m. and determined that the dog was not in serious danger. Huffman said they concluded that if the dog was able to get his head into the hole, they would be able to pull him out without damaging the wall, but their main concern was not to hurt Rebel while getting him out.

An officer got on either side of the wall, tucked in the dog’s ears and nudged him back and forth for about 30 minutes before getting him out safely.



This bald, grey-skinned creature was shot and killed in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, after it emerged from woodland into the garden of a home.

The animal, which has large ears, whiskers and a long tail, has sparked intense debate on the internet, with some claiming it is one of the mythical chupacabras.


... I don't know, it kind of looks like a hairless raccoon. What do you think?

Pets That Have Called the White House Home

By Suzanne Alicie

Each time a new family descends upon the White House, it seems that another pet gets thrust into the spotlight. From George Washington’s menagerie of horses, hounds and a parrot to the current Portuguese Water Dog “Bo” that is owned by the Obama’s, there have been all sorts of presidential pets through the years. Some have lived up to their station and some have had a bit of “sibling rivalry” going on. The Obama family has had to learn about being responsible pet owners with their new puppy, since they haven’t owned a dog before.

The first year I was old enough to vote for the President was the first time I really became aware of presidential pets. I’m not a political person, so I had never really made an effort to learn much about our presidents or government except what I was required to learn in school. I was very surprised to see that after President Clinton’s election, their family cat “Socks” got quite a bit of press coverage. There were even tabloid reports of Socks not getting along with “Buddy,” the chocolate lab who was also part of the Clinton clan.

Over the years, there have been many different breeds of dogs and cats that have called the White House home. A few other types of animals have also held the prestigious title of Presidential Pet.

The Kennedys had a virtual pet zoo going on with several dogs, a cat, canary, parakeets, ponies, hamsters, horses and a rabbit. The Coolidge family had a similar group of pets that included many dogs and cats but also a donkey, bobcat, lion cubs, wallaby and a bear. Many of these animals were presented to the Coolidge’s as gifts from dignitaries visiting from other countries.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt let the White House go to the dogs with his crew that included a German Shepherd, Scotch Terrier, Llewellyn Setter, English Sheepdog, Great Dane, Mastiff and Scottish Terrier. In 1913, William Taft had the last cow to reside at the White House; her name was “Pauline Wayne.” But the next President, Woodrow Wilson, didn’t do away with farm animal pets completely; he owned a sheep named “Old Ike” who grazed on the White House lawn.

While our presidents’ lives are filled with travel, diplomacy, stress and procedure, it is nice to picture them relaxing with their families and their pets. Being a pet lover is something that is universal. Whether you are a president or a working class fellow, whether you own pedigreed show dogs or loveable mutts, and whether you are a self proclaimed “pet person” or someone who grudgingly “lets” a cat live with you and sleep on your feet, you are part of a huge crowd of people who enjoy having pets around.

When President Johnson was holed up in seclusion during his impeachment, he even left flour out at night for a family of mice that played in his room. Over the years there have been very few presidential families that didn’t have any pets at all. However, it has become more common in recent years for there to be just one or two presidential pets. 

The Presidential Pet Museum is located in Presidential Park in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was founded in 1999 as a means of preserving information and items related to the Presidential Pets. Both the Museum and its website are filled with interesting facts and trivia about the many pets that have called the White House home over the years.

Top photo: “Bo” plays in the snow
Bottom photo: “Barney” holds a press briefing

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Pet Franchise Report

Ever think of opening your own pet related franchise? The Pet Industry Franchise Report gives you some interesting information in regards to the type of franchises that are available. Good resource for those pet entrepreneurs.

At What Age Should You Begin Puppy Training?

By Linda Cole

It's easy to put off starting a training program for a new pup until after he's older. An eight week old puppy may still be a "baby," but he’s already learned a lot from his mom and siblings. His education needs to continue in his new home as soon as he gets there. Therefore, the best age to begin puppy training is the minute you get him home.

Puppies adjust quickly to new surroundings. Of course, he'll have a period of missing his siblings and mom. You can carry the scent of his old life with you to his new home by taking a baby blanket or towel with you when you pick him up. Rub it on his mom and siblings and let them play on it. When you arrive home, place it where you want him to sleep so he has familiar smells around him. Helping him get through his first few nights will be your first training session.

Create a den-like area in a crate and put the blanket or towel inside. With familiar smells to snuggle into, he'll feel more secure until new scents become familiar. To reassure him and let him know he's not alone, put the crate in your bedroom. It may be a rough couple of nights, but as he begins to feel comfortable in his surroundings, the whimpering will end.

The only difference between a well-trained puppy and one who isn't, is a commitment to begin a puppy training program as soon as you bring him home. His siblings have already taught him about bite inhibition. His mom taught him to listen to authority, and he's beginning to learn about social status in the family. The people who raised him taught him how to socialize with humans, and he learned about his surroundings by exploring. He's ready and eager to learn whatever you are willing to teach him.

Puppy training begins with housebreaking, which is usually the only training some owners are concerned with until the pup is older. Getting into the habit of the puppy learning and you teaching from day one helps the bonding process and lets him know who is in charge. There is a hierarchy among dogs where someone is in charge. When no one steps forward, some dogs feel it's their job to take the lead role. Establishing yourself as his leader while he's still a puppy lets him be just a puppy that looks to you to guide him. He's eager to please and learn.

Bonding is essential in any relationship, human or pet. That's how you earn trust and respect. Puppy training and playing go hand in hand when forming a bond. You can take the opportunity during play to also teach your puppy how you expect him to behave. To keep your puppy from developing bad habits that can turn into behavioral problems later on, housebreaking, biting and chewing all need to be dealt with in the early stages. A dominant pup that shows early signs of aggression can be dealt with through proper training that lets him know his behavior is not acceptable.

Puppy training means you are working with your pup every day and learning who he is as an individual dog. He has a unique personality and you are learning how he might react in different situations. Working with him helps you recognize behavioral issues that may start to show as he grows older, and you can correct them before they become a problem. Catching bad behavior while a dog is still young is much easier to correct. Teaching him it's not okay to bite can save your fingers or toes and stop an excited puppy from hurting someone in the family.

All puppies should be taught basic commands. They should come when called and understand what “NO” means. Training sessions should be short, because a pup doesn't have a long attention span. Make it fun so he thinks it's a game. Puppies are just like adult dogs. They want to please their human and can learn just as well as an adult. Knowing what you mean when you command him to sit, stay, drop it and come are all basic commands that could save his life one day. Positive reinforcement techniques that allow the puppy to succeed helps give him confidence and he grows up with good feelings about himself and you.

Training a puppy requires patience and commitment. Puppy training is important and you might as well begin now because he's learning every day. Make sure he's learning what you want him to learn, and enjoy the eight stages of puppyhood.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Pawcircle for a human?

I just wanted to write and ask for your thoughts, prayers and good wishes today. I am having surgery (total hysterectomy) and I will be in the hospital for about 3 days. The doctors will take good care of family will take good care of Kelly...and then Kelly will take good care of me when I come home.

I have my blogs scheduled, so I'll still have blogs here for you to read, so please stop by. But I won't be able to visit you all for a little while. I look forward to catching up with you all again soon. And Happy New Year!

Why Do Dogs DESTROY Their Squeaky Toys?

Some dogs are very destructive with their toys. Even dogs that are generally pretty good can be VERY destructive sometimes.

This can be a very annoying behavior if you are the dog owner buying the toys they destroy. What is equally annoying is that many dogs quit playing with their toys after they get the squeaker out or the toys quit squeaking.

Why do dogs do this?

One theory goes back to nature. When dogs hunted for prey, they would hunt and kill. Their prey would squeak or make noises.

This was part of their natural hunting instinct. Once caught, the prey made noises as the dog proceeded with the kill, which can be very satisfying to a hungry dog. When the prey was dead - the squeaking stopped. A squeaky toy can give a dog the same type of satisfaction.

-From the

Season's Greetings From CANIDAE!

Our warmest thoughts and best wishes to you and your families for a wonderful holiday season, and a very Happy New Year from all of us at CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Co. and the pet blogging team at the Responsible Pet Ownership blog.

Julia, Linda, Ruthie, Suzanne and Tamara

CANIDAE Customer Service and Support Team
Pictured Left to Right: Jason, Johnny, Kristine, “Hailey,” Julie, Jamie, Sarah, “Tinker,” Diane, “Breezie,” Lois and Ken

Tips on Choosing Winter Accessories for Your Dog

By Tamara L. Waters

You might be thinking it's a simple thing to choose which winter accessories your dog needs to be warm and cozy in cold weather, but there are a few things to consider.

Winter Coats and Boots

There are winter accessories that would be good choices for your dog based upon his time spent outside. When going out for a walk, the snow and salt on sidewalks, roadways and yards can hurt your pooch's paws (or at least make them very uncomfortable) so buying him some boots would be a good choice. You can choose disposable boots or reusable ones.

It is usually recommended that short-haired dogs wear some type of coat or covering on super cold winter days. Long-haired dogs have extra hair to help keep them warm, but the slick coated, short-haired dogs can benefit from a little help.

There are a number of style choices for doggy coats. You can choose snowsuits that cover part of the legs, or actual “coats” that wrap around the body and keep the underside of the dog warm. There are also coats that simply go over the dog's back to keep his back and sides warm. If the winter weather in your area is not extreme, a simple coat that just covers your dog’s back may be sufficient. On the other hand, if your area gets bombarded with nasty winter weather, choose a snowsuit or dog coat that is heavier and covers the underbelly. Some retailers offer dog coats that have a built-in harness, which makes it easier for daily walks or a winter trip to the vet or groomer.

Pay attention to how the coat fastens. You will want to choose a coat with fasteners that are easy for you to handle and manipulate. For example, plastic snap fasteners would not be the best choice if you have arthritis or strength issues. Instead, look for accessories that use a hook and loop closure. For more tips on choosing dog coats, read Linda Cole’s article, The Best Winter Clothes for Dogs.

Beds and Blankets

My parents' Jack Russell Terrier has a favorite blanket and pillow for the cold days and nights of winter. He started out by “stealing” a favorite winter blanket from my mother. In order to keep her own blanket for herself, she found him a pillow and blanket of his own. Some retailers offer pillows that include heating coils (similar to an electric blanket) to provide warmth in the winter. This is a good option, but if your dog is like my parents' dog, he will never want to leave the warm pillow!

Insulated Dog House

If your dog spends any time outdoors during the winter, you might want to invest in an insulated dog house. Check at local farm stores for the best deals and offerings. Farm customers usually have outside pets, and I have found that my local farm store has the best selection of tough and rugged accessories for dogs that spend time outside. An insulated dog house will help keep your dog warm during the winter and provide shelter on those snowy nights. Read Caring for Outside Pets in Cold Weather for some tips on doghouses and other ways to help pets stay warm in the winter.

Browse Accessories

Your best bet for choosing winter accessories for your dog is to make a trip to a local pet store to actually look at and handle items. While I am a big fan of online shopping, sometimes you need to actually see and touch an item before buying it. Being a responsible pet owner means choosing wisely for your dog – you can bet he will enjoy this cold season better when he is warm and cozy with his new winter accessories!

Read more by Tamara L. Waters

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Peggy & Kelly

Caring Means Not Sharing

By DogAge Staff

This season, share your holiday mood with your dog, but not your dinner.

Protect your dog from possible stomach upset by keeping festive but unfamiliar foods out of his or her bowl. Fatty poultry skin or meat shavings, spicy snacks, and rich desserts all can cause digestive discomfort in dogs, and turkey bones present a dangerous choking hazard. Treat your dog to extra praise and playtime instead

Earn a Dog's Trust with Positive Reinforcement

By Linda Cole

Dogs can be as difficult to figure out as humans are, but if we followed the same rule with our dogs as we do with people, we would treat them like we want to be treated. Dogs respond much better to positive reinforcement than they do to force. Training a dog with trust, respect and positive feelings is also much easier for the average dog owner. We should do no harm while interacting with our dogs. We often create unintended behavior by either not training our dogs or by not treating them with respect and understanding. Trust and respect goes two ways, and positive reinforcement will earn both. Gaining a dog's trust should be as important to us as that of another person.

Most dogs respond to us in the same manner we treat them. Affection, attention, understanding and patience are just as necessary when interacting with dogs as it is with children. We don't automatically get a child’s or dog's trust or respect just because we're bigger than they are. Both have to be earned, and positive reinforcement is the path to that goal.

I've been working with my ten month old Border Collie, Keikei. She was beginning to show food and leash aggression issues, and is still way too excited when we get ready to go outside, but she's a work in progress and doing a good job. Training her has been fun, even with her specific behavior problems, because she is willing and eager to learn. Using positive reinforcement to deal with her aggression and excitement issues has been more effective and faster than resorting to force. She's such a good girl and when I look in her eyes, I see a dog that wants to learn. By giving her the respect she deserves, I've gained her trust and respect, and she is happy to do what I ask.

Dogs should have only positive thoughts in their mind about us. I want my dogs to be happy to see me and be excited to learn what I'm trying to teach them. It doesn't matter if it takes a day, a month or longer to teach a dog something. The important thing is spending time with them in a positive way to reinforce your bond and keep their trust by being fair, consistent and patient at all times. Training a dog can be trying at times, but well worth the effort when you have your dog's trust and respect as his leader because he chooses to follow.

I don't believe in bad dogs or bad dog breeds. I do believe unacceptable dog behavior needs to be corrected before it becomes out of control, and changing their behavior is accomplished better by using positive reinforcement. Dogs are smart and they are capable of learning behavior from each other and their owner. Instead of forcing a dog to bend to your will, you teach a dog to do something because of mutual trust and respect. Dogs learn what we teach them, even when we don't realize we're teaching.

Dogs are just as imperfect as we are. Mistakes happen and at times, they can forget what we taught them. It's up to us as responsible dog owners to help our dogs maintain a positive frame of mind even when they need correction. If you have your dog's trust and respect, they know when you're disappointed or upset with them. The important thing about a dog's trust is that they know you will be fair and forgive them. Positive interaction with your pet is positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement isn't just about training and giving rewards. It's talking to them, petting them, snuggling with them, grooming and going for walks; this keeps the bond healthy and strong. When you love someone, you protect them, defend them, do what they ask and have trust and respect in their judgment. That's also how a dog sees you when you teach them using positive reinforcement, and why a dog is willing to follow.

Positive reinforcement makes a dog feel good about himself in the same way positive feedback gives us a good feeling. Treating him with respect earns his. Like us, dogs are social beings who enjoy the company of those who make them feel accepted and good. We have a positive image in our mind of people who have our respect, and that's how we want our dogs to see us. A dog's trust and respect goes hand-in-hand with positive reinforcement, and that's why it works.

Ruthie Bently’s article, Training Dogs with Kindness, relates a lesson she learned from her dog Nimber, and how she came to realize that respect and kindness will always get better results than bullying.

Photo by Beth Loft

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Video: Dogsledding

Doesn't this look like fun?

Fun Indoor Activities for Your Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

Sometimes it is just too cold to be playing outside with your dog, but Fido still needs exercise and entertainment. So what do you do with your dog when you’re confined inside? Anyone who loves dogs knows that there are many ways to interact with your dog indoors, but to actually get some exercise and expend some of his canine energy may require a little more than having him lie on your cold toes to keep them warm. Well, maybe that is just me; my favorite thing about winter is a warm dog to cuddle with! For the rest of the time, here are some indoor activities you and your dog can enjoy together.

Indoor Fetch

A tennis ball or a chew toy can be used in a fun game of indoor fetch with your dog. If you don’t have a lot of room, don’t worry – you aren’t going to actually be throwing the toy. It may take a few times for your dog to understand the game, but once they catch on they’ll be just as eager to play indoors as they are outside. Call your dog and show him the tennis ball or chew toy, then either roll it across the floor or hide it behind you. Your dog will be excited to either chase it across the floor or bound around you to try to get it from you.

Tug of War

Knotted ropes are a great deal of fun for indoor play with your dog, and all you really need is a small area that isn’t cluttered or surrounded with breakables. This helps your dog work off some energy and build up some strength as well as letting him interact with you and have your attention. 


Okay, so training may not sound like a fun time for your dog, or for you. But when your dog is cooped up inside, the one-on-one interaction will keep him from getting bored and adopting a bad habit. Work on a new trick or challenge your dog with some indoor agility training. Try an indoor obstacle course or create a musical canine freestyle routine, and be sure to have plenty of CANIDAE Snap Bits™ treats on hand to reward your pooch for their hard work. There are plenty of training activities you can have fun with when you are indoors with your dog.

It is common knowledge that any time you interact with your dog it’s enjoyable for you and for the dog, but it can be emotionally and physically beneficial for both of you as well. Using your imagination and finding creative ways to interact with your dog will make those cold cooped up days go by much faster. I look at winter about the same way the children in the Cat in the Hat book looked at a rainy day. I can sit around and stare out the window and wish for sunshine, or I can have a lot of fun inside while I wait for spring.

There is still plenty of cuddle time and lots of lazy evenings with a dog lying on my feet or 50 pounds of furry love planting herself in my lap for a belly rub. But I can tell when my dog has had enough lying around and wants to play, and I indulge her with these and other indoor activities. Summer will be here soon enough, and then I can spend an afternoon outdoors tossing a ball for my dog and wishing for my nice air conditioned home. But as a responsible pet owner, I know that in any season it’s important to do what is best for my dog, whether in the heat or cold.

Photo by Michal Osmenda

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Video: How To Wrap A Cat For Christmas

via MetaFilter

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday pet roundup! Kelly and I hope all your holidays are wonderful!

* Aww, check out this story from An Oregon pit bull saved a blind cocker spaniel from freezing to death. This story will warm your heart.

* From Mashable, 10 Crazy Gadgets for cats and dogs. I love the tennis ball flinger and bacon flavored bubbles blower!

*These pugs need your help. Eli needs an operation so he can walk, and Maxine needs a home for the holidays! Check out Homeward Bound Pug Rescue.

* From the UC Daily News, 10 reasons to use a pet stroller. I hope that people with pet strollers still let their dog get out, walk, and sniff around. Kelly loves to sniff! Maybe these are good if your dog can only walk a short distance, and you want to keep walking farther. Then you can let your dog take a ride for a while, then maybe get out again when she is ready.

* I'd love to hear from you today! How are you and your pet celebrating Christmas? Keeping away the stress? Keeping warm? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

K9 Nose Work – a Fun New Sport for Fido!

By Julia Williams

First there was surfing. Then there was Musical Canine Freestyle. The latest sport that really makes me wish I had a dog is K9 Nose Work. I love my cats dearly, but as anyone with kitties knows, there are limits to the fun things you can do with them. The only sport I know of for cats is Feline Agility, and my skittish kitties would not do well in that arena. But if you’re a dog owner, you really ought to look into the relatively new sport of K9 Nose Work.

What is K9 Nose Work?

All dogs have an incredible sense of smell, said to be a thousand times more sensitive than a humans. Whereas we have a mere 5 million olfactory receptors, a dog has more than 220 million, which makes them a natural for scent work.

The exciting sport of K9 Nose Work evolved from the important scent work that detection dogs and professional handlers do, e.g., searching for explosives, drugs and cadavers, tracking, and search and rescue operations. Three Southern California dog trainers started K9 Nose Work (also called fun nose work) to give everyday dog owners a chance to let their canine friends put their impressive sniffers to use while having a good time. K9 Nose Work was designed to develop a dog’s natural scenting ability by utilizing their curiosity, desire to hunt and fondness for toys, food and exercise.

K9 Nose Work is a terrific training activity that helps a dog gain confidence and allows them use their mind and muscles in addition to that amazing sense of smell. Unlike some dog sports, there is very little equipment to buy, and it’s portable since your dog’s nose goes everywhere he does!

The beginner level of K9 Nose Work training encourages dogs to find their toy in a box, and they’re rewarded with the toy, lavish praise and dog treats. Once they master this activity, the toy is hidden in a box among other empty boxes. Training then progresses to locating a hidden scent in more and more difficult locations. These Nose Work “target odors” are made by placing a tiny amount of essential oil (birch, anise or clove) on a cotton swab.

Once the dog finds the target odor, he’s supposed to alert his owner/handler, similar to the way professional detection dogs are trained to do. Some dogs bark, others paw at the container and some sit down and stare at their handler to alert. K9 Nose Work could be considered a “team sport,” because it involves closely observing the dog and knowing him well enough to discern when he's actually found the odor as opposed to a false alert.

Who Can Participate in K9 Nose Work?

Perhaps the greatest thing about this new dog sport is that all breeds, sizes and ages can participate. All dogs have a powerful sense of smell, after all, and can be trained to put it to good use. It isn’t just the typical “detection” breeds who excel at K9 Nose work either – “mutts” compete against German Shepherds, Beagles and Bloodhounds, and it’s anyone’s game to win. Success comes more from consistent training and good handler/dog communication than bloodlines. 

K9 Nose Work is ideal for those who prefer a less physically demanding sport that isn’t populated by overly excited dogs and handlers. Since speed or agility isn’t required, it’s a great low impact sport for older dogs too. Although K9 Nose Work training classes are usually done in groups, only one dog is worked at a time. Consequently, it’s suitable for shy or reactive dogs that might not fare well in a sport involving close proximity to lots of other dogs.

How to Find a K9 Nose Work Instructor

The National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) is the only official sanctioning and organizing body for the sport of K9 Nose Work. The NACSW established guidelines for instructor certification, to ensure that standards of excellence are met when teaching the sport to handler/dog teams. Certified nose work instructors may use the acronym CNWI after their name to indicate they’ve achieved the requirements. A current listing of certified nose work instructors is available on their website.

Getting Started in K9 Nose Work

Currently, K9 Nose Work classes and NACSW-sanctioned trials are only offered in a handful of states, including California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. However, this exciting new dog sport is becoming more popular by the day and additional locations are planned for 2011. You and your dog can also begin to do nose work on your own.

Jill Marie O Brien, one of the founders of K9 Nose Work and a Certified Nose Work instructor, has written several informative articles on the sport, among them, a good guide for beginners with tips on what is needed to get started and the best way to introduce dogs to a more formal nose work routine. I also found another great guide on getting started in K9 Nose Work here.

Doesn’t K9 Nose Work sound like a fun sport? I’m really intrigued by it. All I need now…is a dog!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

What Pets Teach Us about Life

By Linda Cole

For years my family and friends have teased me about my love for animals of all kinds. They've accused me of caring more about animals than I do for most people. My pets have seen me at my worst and my best, and have always been there when I needed a friend. The bond we have with pets is unique, and we know what the benefits of owning a pet are for us and children who grow up with a pet in the home. The bond we share with a pet opens our eyes and allows us to learn from them things about ourselves and life. It's been said, “The eyes are a window into the soul” and if you take the time to really gaze into your pet's eyes, you can see more than you think and learn things about yourself. What pets teach us about life isn't found in books; it's found in simple pleasures and the basic needs for life.

Pets have no concept of wealth or power, and are content to live in the moment. If you pay attention to them, they teach us lessons every day. What happened yesterday or an hour ago is forgotten and tomorrow's possibilities are wide open. If the sun isn't shining, it's OK because dancing in the rain can be just as much fun. I've learned the simple things – the freebies of life – are what make it worthwhile. Hiking with your best canine friend by your side, or sitting by a campfire under a star-filled sky away from the noise of the world helps to put things in order. Pets teach us to enjoy the little wonders in life, and that it's worthwhile to look under a bush once in awhile.

Being around dogs and cats my entire life has taught me how important it is to take a deep breath before shouting words in anger. Pets teach us how to forgive and overlook little imperfections we have a tendency to magnify. They don't hold grudges, they don't criticize or belittle, they tell no secrets, they don't judge others and they accept us for who we are – always!

My pets have taught me that responsible pet owners who truly love their pets are special souls. If we find a stray hair in our food, it's alright. A final brush before walking into work will remove most of the pet hair. We don't think about the bit of hair on a chair until after a guest sits down. We don't think twice about tossing a pet's toy off the couch after sitting on it or walking the dog when it's freezing so he can do his business. It's all part of sharing your home with a dog or cat.

Pets teach us it's not important to worry about things in life we can't change. They take it all in stride, which is a lesson worth learning and we can benefit from their innocent curiosity about everyday encounters and surprises.

I love to watch my dogs when they're outside. Their eyes steadily move from a bee on a flower to a bug crawling through the grass to a bird flying over the trees. Noses twitch from side to side as they catch a scent carried in the wind. Ears prick up and rotate back and forth until they get the perfect position for listening to a far away sound. Life shouldn't always be lived in the fast lane. Pets teach us to slow down and listen to nature's song and marvel in the beauty of all life around us, if you take the time to watch and learn.

People can have unflattering attitudes about others and misinterpret words or actions. Our pets teach us to overlook misinterpretations and find the good in others because that's what they see in us. Unconditional love shouldn't be just a pet thing. Living with pets helped me understand just how much I love all animals. I probably do prefer the company of a pet over that of a lot of people I know, because I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not just to make someone else happy. Life is about choices, understanding, learning and giving. My pets are who I am, and I can't imagine ever being without one.

You can tell what's in a person's heart when you watch them with their pet. The responsible pet owner shares a bond that can't be broken, and you can see it in their eyes and that of their pets. Our pets appreciate the little things in life, and they teach us it's OK to roll in the grass. We just need to take the time to watch and learn from their wisdom about life.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Mooooo, baaaaa we need YOU for Christmas!

This gift is so special, so heartwarming and so utterly unique that it can’t be found in any store. Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Farm Animal holiday sponsorships enable you to give the gift of life this holiday season by sponsoring a Farm Sanctuary animal in your name, or warming the hearts of your loved ones with gift adoptions. With each adoption, you and/or your gift recipients will receive a unique and memorable sponsorship package that includes a personalized adoption certificate and a beautiful color photo. You will experience the joy of knowing that you have made a difference for a farm animal.

As a sponsor, you become an essential part of your adopted animal’s life by helping provide the food, bedding, medicine, and individualized care animals need to live peacefully at our shelters. The rescued animals at Farm Sanctuary are finally safe from harm, but they rely on sponsorship support for their care each day. Your holiday sponsorship is a chance to create happy endings for animals in need and bring them comfort and joy. And when you look at the faces of the animals available for adoption, does anyone really need another sweater?

Order gift adoptions for loved ones or sign up now to become an adoptive parent yourself!

Great Christmas Gifts for Your Favorite Feline Fan

By Tamara L. Waters

Christmas,  Christmas time is here, time for joy and time for cheer. . . chipmunks may sing about what they want for Christmas, but what do cat lovers want? Is there a song for that? Probably not, so instead, here are a few ideas for your favorite feline fancier. Give them something that appeals to their love of cats and you're sure to make them purr (sorry, bad pun).

Cat Pattern Blankets - Buy or make fleecy blankets that have a kitty pattern on them. Your kitty lovin' friend will enjoy a snuggly blanket with pictures of their favorite animal scattered all over it – great for a chilly winter evening!

Coffee Table Books - Pictures of cute kitties are always a hit. How about a collection of pics? Check your local bookstore or an online retailer like Amazon for a coffee table book filled with pictures of cool kitties.

Kitty Calendars - Cats might rule over your household, but they're not the greatest when it comes to keeping track of what day it is. Get your favorite cat lover a kitty calendar to help them stay on track in light of their cat's lack of date keeping.

Stuffed Kitty Cats - How about some whimsy for that kitty collector? Stuffed animals are not just for the kids; grown up cat lovers can enjoy them too. A cute stuffed kitty cat will put a smile on your friend's face and add a touch of fun to their decor.

Jewelry - Because I am an animal lover, my kids know it's always appropriate to give me fun and funky pet jewelry. Take a browse through a novelty jewelry store in your local mall for some cute cat-inspired jewelry. At my local mall, I have found necklaces with kitten charms, earrings, hair accessories, watches and more.

Tree Ornaments - While most of us with cats presiding over the household know that the cat spends time in the Christmas tree, give a Christmas tree ornament for those times when kitty is occupied elsewhere. After all, what is a Christmas tree without a cat? Better yet, if you can snag a picture of your friend's kitty cat, look for a ready-made ornament that will hold their kitty's picture. You can bet your friend will love it!

Christmas Decorations - Deck the halls with cats and clawies. . .okay that's lame but it's a great idea! How about a fun set of cat-themed Christmas decorations?

Framed Art or Statues - Does your friend like art? Look around for cat statues for the home or garden, or framed artwork featuring cats.

White Elephant Gifts - This is probably my favorite cat loving gift idea. Browse through your local thrift stores for anything cat-related and fill a box or a gift bag full of gently used items. Small knick knacks, decorations, pillows, clothing and more can be a fun and unique Christmas gift for your friend.

Kitty Socks - This is a perfect gift for me or any sock-loving friend who also loves cats. Funky socks with cats are a must have for any cat lover. My favorite cat socks have a puffy kitty face on the top of the foot and they're adorable – they keep the tootsies warm and they're cute too.

Take a look at what is available in local stores and browse through some websites for fun cat gifts. Check out websites like or for more great ideas.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

Human Food that's Deadly for Pets

By Linda Cole

If you want a pet to pay attention to you, make yourself something to eat. Some pet owners don't think twice about tossing their dog or cat a bite of human food, but giving them the wrong food can be deadly for them. With Christmas and New Year's comes extra food sitting around for pets to discover when no one's watching.

As responsible pet owners, I’m sure most of you know that some human food can be extremely dangerous for your pets. However, it's always worth putting out a reminder when holiday plans and family gatherings can take our attention away from our pets. This list is by no means a complete list of human food pets shouldn't eat. Keep your pet safe by making sure they don't have access to food sitting out that's meant for company, and make sure guests don't toss your begging pet a “treat.”

Grapes and raisins are healthy snacks for us, and many homes have fruit bowls set out over the holidays for family and guests. Raisins are in cookies, fresh salads and in other recipes. Grapes and raisins are not a healthy food for pets, however, and just a few can cause their kidneys to fail. It's not known why pets can't handle these foods, but what scientists do know is that grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin that can cause pets to become hyperactive and vomit. These symptoms are early signs that can indicate your pet needs immediate vet care.

Candy, commercial desserts and cookies containing Xylitol, a natural sweetener used in these products, can increase a pet's insulin causing their blood sugar to drop. If left untreated, liver failure is possible within two days.

Yeast dough. Inside a pet's stomach, raw yeast dough will continue to rise because of the heat and moisture. It ferments in their gastrointestinal tract and causes their abdomen to swell. As the yeast rises, it turns into alcohol which can then cause a pet to suffer from alcohol poisoning.

Turkey skin, fat trimmings and cooked bones should be avoided completely. Fat trimmings and turkey skin should never be given to pets raw or cooked because the fat can cause pancreatitis. Bloody stools, vomit, diarrhea or dehydration are symptoms to watch out for. Cooked bones can splinter easily as pets chew on them and lacerate the digestive system or get caught in their throat or mouth.

Raw eggs can destroy an essential B vitamin called thiamine. An absence of vitamin B can cause neurological problems and skin conditions. Raw eggs can also contain salmonella and e-coli that can cause severe health concerns for pets.

Chocolate toxicity increases over the holidays. The treats and desserts that give us comfort and joy can cause an abnormal heart rate in pets. Too much chocolate can give them tremors and seizures. How much chocolate is too much? It depends on the size of your pet, their health and age, and if it's dark or white chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the deadlier it is for pets. Read Chocolate Toxicity in Pets for more information.

Nutmeg and salt. Nutmeg causes seizures and tremors, and can cause pets to hallucinate. How and why it does is still a mystery. A pet that has gotten into a bag of potato chips or pretzels can be at risk for sodium ion poisoning, and it can be fatal.

Macadamia nuts and walnuts can cause bladder stones because they are high in phosphorous. These innocent nuts can also cause muscle tremors, increased heart rate and paralysis or weakness in a pet's hindquarters.

Alcohol poisoning in pets is common and increases over the holidays with more drinks sitting around for them to find. Depending on the size of the pet, even a small amount can be deadly for them. Giving a pet a drink of any alcoholic beverage is not funny or cute. It's dangerous and can put a pet into a coma and cause death. For more information, read Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs.

People who say their pet was fine after eating chocolate or a few grapes, and continue to feed them foods that pets shouldn’t eat, are playing Russian roulette with their pet's health. So much of our food contains hidden ingredients we don't think about. Read labels carefully before sharing anything with your pet. Your best bet is to feed them their regular CANIDAE or FELIDAE food before holiday gatherings, and keep a watchful eye on them during the festivities. Also, please remember to keep pets out of the trash can. Moldy food and coffee grounds are also human foods pets shouldn't eat and once they're in the trash, we forget about them. Emergency phone numbers should include your veterinarian and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 1-888-426-4435.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Christmas Toys for Good Pups and Pooches

Today I have a guest post, especially of interest to all my readers in the UK, but I think we all can get some ideas of fun Christmas toys for your pets that you can find online, or in stores near you.

Treat your Dog this Christmas-- 2010 Doggy Products
by Jessica Hodkinson on behalf of GJW Titmuss pet supplies and dog food.

Have a look at this fun guide and pets, get pestering your parents for doggy products that scream fun. There's a lot more than just dog food out there!
(All images courtesy of GJW Titmuss Pets)

Good Boy Christmas stockings
Christmas stockings are filled with a variety of scrumptious treats that our canine friends adore.

Doggy Do Little piggy toy. Your dog will have lots of fun with this toy. What an excuse to make lots of noise with its squeaky belly!

Laughing Christmas Tree
Soft plus toy provides your dog with lots of fun, and also will make you smile with its contagious

Babble Ball
This crazy babble ball gives off a variety of sounds when touched, and is sure to keep most dogs entertained (and slightly confused!)

If you are cooking a holiday turkey, your dog will sit and drool over the smell. How about going along with the theme and giving your dog a turkey of its own?

CANIDAE Special Achiever: Bryce Mann’s Gun Dogs

By Suzanne Alicie

I recently had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Bryce Mann, another of the CANIDAE Special Achievers. The Special Achievers are an elite group of pets and pet owners sponsored by CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company.

When your earliest memory of childhood is sitting between your brother’s feet on the floor of a cotton picker while your brother hunted and being lowered to the ground to go fetch the pheasants, what do you suppose you’d want to be when you grew up? One thing is for sure: you wouldn’t want to “be” the gun dog sent to fetch the prize.

Bryce Mann’s experience “being” the hunting dog for his brother and a lifetime of hunting and being around hunting dogs has led him to his current profession. How many of us can say that we love our jobs, that our work is fun and that it is almost like playing? Bryce Mann can say all that. His profession as a trainer and handler of gun dogs is something he has been working toward since he was small.

Bryce Mann offers guided hunts, dog training and the opportunity to see and be involved in gun dog competition. Bryce has written articles on various topics for Gun Dog Magazine, Pointing Dog Journal, and Gundogs Unlimited online magazine. He has also done interviews and articles for Western Outdoor News and Outdoor California magazine and for TV (Bird Dogs Forever), radio & newspapers. However, Bryce says he prefers presentations and speaking engagements to writing assignments. Bryce Mann’s Gun Dogs are sponsored by many well known companies in the world of hunting and dogs, including Tri-Tronics, Happy Jack and Hi-Viz Sights.

Bryce is the best kind of pet owner – he is a responsible pet owner who will go to any length to ensure that his dogs and the dogs he trains are healthy, happy and energetic. He works with each dog personally and understands the many personality traits dogs have that make them ideal for being gun dogs, which enables him to individualize the training to get the best out of each dog.

Bryce is also involved in providing specialized training for mobility impaired hunters and dog owners, and is the President of the California Wheelin’ Sportsman. He participates in guided hunts with hunters in wheelchairs and benefit hunts as well. This year is the 11th year for the Persons Dependent upon a Wheelchair Pheasant Hunt. It’s a benefit hunt where wounded hunters and veterans, trained dogs, handlers and enthusiastic hunters in adapted wheelchairs hit the great outdoors to hunt together.

While Bryce’s gun dogs are working dogs, they also are his pets. There are four German shorthairs that live in the home with Bryce. His dog Reno is not just a gun dog; she is also a breast cancer survivor and a service dog for mobility assistance, as well as his pet for 12 years. His dogs are treated like family members, and are usually found wherever Bryce is, whether that is indoors or out.

Some hunters feel that gun dogs or hunting dogs should be kept in a kennel unless they are hunting, but Bryce does not agree. His dogs and the dogs he trains are not just there to perform on command, they are pets and they are loved. Many times when in the puppy stage the dogs are hyper and a little out of control just as you would expect. Bryce says he has a two year old dog that is “wound up like an 8-day clock,” who spends a great deal of time outside until he calms down and mellows a bit.

The innate intelligence and exceptional natural ability of the breeds used as gun dogs makes them ideal for training and competing. Training begins at 3-4 months for basic obedience, hunting training and competition training. 

Bryce Mann raises birds for training and trains dogs on private grounds; he also keeps a small rotation of dogs for training because he feels that the dogs he trains deserve as much time as possible and that won’t occur with several dogs training at the same time. One-on-one attention, socialization and well rounded training make for a solidly trained gun dog.

Bryce is part of the CANIDAE Special Achievers team, and feeds his dogs the CANIDAE All Life Stages grain free formula. Bryce had run into a problem several years ago with one of his dogs who would go off his feed when traveling, and the veterinarian told Bryce to supplement his dog food with proteins such as potatoes and eggs. So when they traveled Bryce had to cook food to feed to his dog. Once he found the CANIDAE grain free food he never looked back. The grain free formula is ideal for his hard working and very active dogs.

When his dogs are retired or not working in tournaments or guided hunts they are able to have the other CANIDAE ALS product because they don’t require as much protein and can even gain weight if fed the high energy food. Bryce also approves of the CANIDAE heritage of being made in the USA and their commitment to providing natural and beneficial foods for pets. Ironically, Diane from CANIDAE had approached Bryce several years ago about being a sponsored pet owner, after seeing him at a presentation. He turned her down at the time, but happily has seen the error in his judgment and is now proud to be a CANIDAE Special Achiever.

To learn more about Bryce Mann’s Gun Dogs or to arrange a guided tour or training for your dog, visit Bryce’s website. While there, take the time to watch the video from the Wheelchair Pheasant Hunt; it’s informative, touching and amazing. To learn more about the challenging competitions that his dogs participate in which are a celebration of the hunting heritage and a sport which has something for everyone in the family, visit the North American Gun Dog Association.

The men and women who work with gun dogs are dedicated to their pets, to the spirit of competition and often spend more time with their dogs than with their families. Bryce’s dogs go with him to presentations and showcases at places like Bass Pro Shops, and are friendly, energetic and they love photo ops!

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Solutions for Pet Hair on Furniture, Carpet & Clothes

By Julia Williams

We love our pets dearly, but having their hair all over the house? Not so much. Yet, unless your chosen breed is a hairless variety, pet hair in the home is unavoidable. Upholstery, carpeting and clothing are pet hair magnets. Minutes after I vacuum, I see more tufts of fur on my carpet…mocking me.

Once, a delivery driver briefly sat on my chair, and when he turned to leave I saw that his backside was wearing half a cat. I didn’t say anything because really, what could I say? “Wait! Let me brush off your butt.” I don’t think so. Pet hair in the home is a nuisance, but there are things you can do to minimize it.

Solutions for Pet Hair on Furniture

Rubber pet grooming gloves have little “nubs” on them designed to loosen fur while you massage your pet, but they work great for removing pet hair on your furniture too! Rubber gloves with raised grippers work too – the textured surface provides traction which helps to “grab” the pet hair when you make short scraping strokes over your furniture. A dampened sponge or microfiber cloth rubbed in one direction can help to ball up the pet hair so that collecting it is easier. 

Pet hair “sticky rollers” are handheld brushes with perforated sheets of sticky paper. You roll the device over furniture (or clothes) and the pet hair sticks to the disposable sticky sheet. If you have more than one pet, or a pet that sheds a lot, these are marginally useful and rather expensive, because you will go through a lot of sticky sheets quickly.

A fabric lint brush is more cost effective than the sticky roller and better for the environment too – there’s nothing to throw away and it lasts virtually forever! Sweep it over your furniture in one direction and the pet hair is collected on the brush. To clean the pet hair off, simply brush in the opposite direction.

A roll of clear packaging tape (the wider the better) is a good investment for a pet owner. I cut several strips about 6-8” long and hang them from the edge of my coffee table. I wrap one strip around my hand (or just leave it long) and go over my furniture. When that strip is full of pet hair I discard it and grab the next one.

Washable throws won’t remove pet hair from your furniture, but if you can train your pet to sleep on them instead of wherever they please, it will keep the majority of their hair in one place. I have one on the back of my couch where my cats like to bird watch, and another on the end of my bed. Cleaning them is easy – I shake them off outside to remove loose hairs, and toss them in the washer.

Solutions for Pet Hair on Clothing

Sticky rollers, lint brushes and tape all do a reasonable job of “de-furring” your clothes. I wouldn’t recommend using them on expensive fabrics like silk or cashmere, obviously, but they’re fine for your basic cotton or wool garments. I keep my lint brush handy and always give my clothes a quick sweep right before I walk out the door.

You can also put an item of clothing in the dryer on fluff for 5-10 minutes. The lint filter removes some of the pet hair, but you might still have to use tape or a lint brush. Keeping your clothes picked up can help minimize the pet hair on them. Finally, don’t fold clean clothes on the bed or other surface where your pet is allowed.

Solutions for Pet Hair on Carpets

Vacuuming will pick up some of the pet hair on your carpet, but sometimes it won’t come up no matter how vigorously you vacuum. However, there are “pet” vacuums for sale now – some are marketed specifically as “pet hair removal vacuums,” while others tout “pet hair” attachments designed to lift the hair up. I’ve not upgraded my vacuum yet, but this could be a worthwhile investment. If you decide to buy a pet hair vacuum, be sure to research them thoroughly, as reviews are mixed.

You may think I’m nuts, but my favorite way to remove pet hair from my carpet is to run my lint brush over it. I have one brush that is for “carpets only.” Multi-tasker that I am, sometimes I brush my carpet while I’m talking on the phone. Rubber brooms are said to work for removing pet hair from carpet, though I’ve not tried one. The rubber bristles create friction which scrapes the pet hair into clumps that you can either vacuum up or pick up by hand.

The last way to deal with the problem of pet hair is simple – acceptance. I learned long ago that it wasn’t worth my time to obsess over cat hair in my home. I saw a great quote that was, I think, a joking response to people coming into your home and complaining about pet hair. “If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.” 

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Beagle in a Bug

Look what I saw in the car ahead of me as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot!

A beagle in a leopard print coat!

Although never like to see dogs left unattended in cars, I must add that it wasn't too cold that day, and the doggy was wearing its nice winter coat. I kept my eyes open, and the owner appeared quickly. I just hope that they properly buckled her up before they drove off.

A Place for Spunky

Spunky and his new owner
Sometimes the most important thing we do for a patient is providing them with an opportunity to say goodbye to a pet. But when this doesn't work out, the next best thing we can do is make sure the pet has a good home, a forever home. Our story this month comes from Hospice of Midland in Texas. Pet Peace of Mind Coordinator, Susie Mauldin, tells the story of Spunky as it unfolds:

"We are working on a pet need today. A woman in our in-patient unit has a 12 year old Yorkie named Spunky that is currently being boarded at a veterinarian's office. I am trying to arrange a visit for Spunky so his owner can say goodbye to him and then place him in foster care. We are waiting to hear from the patient or her friend about the visit and we have a volunteer on standby to pick Spunky up and take him to her."

"I am picking up Spunky in the morning. Unfortunately, the owner died before we heard back from them about a visit. We are going to have him bathed and groomed after boarding and make sure he is up to date on everything he needs. We are checking on a potential home."

"Volunteer Sharon Wetz and I took Spunky to the funeral home visitation for his owner this morning. The family was so glad to see him and the caregiver for the patient cried. We are still working on potential homes for him."

"Spunky is on his way to his new home with Hospice of Midland volunteer Debra Motley. She delivers and reads email letters from a family member to a patient in a nursing home here in Midland. Well, Debra saw me showing Spunky off to our board members after a meeting and stopped dead in her tracks. I swear it was love at first sight. So, we came back to my office so she could spend time with him and we think he fell for her, too. So, we bundled up his belongings and she took him home. That's a win, win, don't you think?"

Can you imagine what a difficult situation this would be for a 12 year old dog? Spunky had been in a cage for some time, well cared for, but separated from his owner and all that he knew of home. He could have easily wound up in a shelter, abandoned by a grieving family. Instead, Spunky's visit to the funeral home brought them comfort and reminded them of the patient and her love for him. Thanks to the diligent care of Hospice of Midland, Spunky has been cared for in a way that would comfort any owner. He has a new home, with someone who loves him and has made the commitment to care for him.