Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dog Food Recall – Dogsbutter Peanut Butter For Dogs Recalled

My Saturday column will have to wait.  I got this in my e-mail today and wanted to share:

September 24, 2012 – Sunland, Inc. has announced the voluntary recall of some of its human food products has now been expanded to include a pet food product, Dogsbutter RUC with Flax PB, due to possible contamination with Salmonella.

The event was reported by the FDA in a news release dated September 24, 2012.

Based upon the FDA bulletin, the recall appears to include the 16 ounce jars of Dogsbutter RUC with Flax PB.

The recalled product has a Best-If-Used-By date of between May 1, 2013 and September 24, 2013. This information is stamped on the side of the jar’s label just below the lid.

What Caused the Recall?

According to the FDA bulletin…

The voluntary recall was initiated after learning that between June 11, 2012 and September 2, 2012, twenty-nine people reported Salmonella Bredeney PFGE matching illnesses in approximately 18 states, including Washington, California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland, according to a report issued on September 22, 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to Do?

Consumers are urged to discard the recalled product immediately. They are also invited to contact the company at 866-837-1018 for information on the recall.

In addition, a consumer services representative is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM MT at 575-356-6638.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to

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Recipe Friday – Wonder Cookies (For Cats)

These cookies are great when served in moderation.  Your cat will love them.



  • 1 1/4 cup flour (if your cat has gluten allergies, you can use 1 cup of Rice Flour)
  • 1/3 cup milk (any kind of milk will do, if your cat has allergies to cow’s milk, soy milk, or what have you, substitute another kind of milk)
  • 2 tbs Wheat germ (if your cat has issues with gluten, you can omit this, or use gluten free ground flax seed, same amount)
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs molasses (unsulfured)
  • 1 1/2 tbs catnip
  • 1 egg



1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, first combine all dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Add wet ingredients slowly and make sure the mixture is mixed well.

5. You can do this one of two ways: 1. roll out the mixture into one long sheet and place onto cookie sheet and bake this way.  2. Or you can use a teaspoon and drop the mixture onto the cookie sheet.  Either way will work fine.

6. Bake for at least 20 minutes, or until cooked through.  If you baked these using method #1, you should cut it into small pieces as it is cooling.

7. Let cool and serve to your cat. You may need to break the pieces up into smaller pieces so that they are bite size, which should be easy to do.   Keep the rest in a Ziploc bag for special occasions.


As most people know, cats are carnivores.  They need and require the nutrients (taurine) from meat in order to live a full, active and healthy life.  There are people who have turned into vegetarians for ethical reasons and wish to provide the same diet for their pets.

Cats can get taurine from chemically processed resources when they are vegetarian however, it’s not the same as what they are provided in their natural diet.  With commercial foods contributing to diabetes, heart disease and obesity in our pets these days, it’s no wonder people want to switch to a better, healthier diet, but when a cat is used to having meat as their main resource, are we harming them by giving them a diet made mostly of vegetables?
An important note is that cats who have a natural diet made of mostly meat have a low pH, while cats consuming vegetables tend to have a higher pH, thus leading to issues with diabetes.

It is a very heated topic in the veterinary world, with many vets experiencing sick cats as a result of this style of diet.  While I can understand people wanting to adopt this diet for their cat, I agree with the vet when they said this in the article: “Personally, I believe that when we voluntarily adopt cats into our homes, we are ethically obligated to honor the feline spirit and feed it according to its basic nature. But everyone needs to answer that question from their own heart.”

To read more about this controversial diet, here is the article.

Care For Your Senior Cat

It happens whether we want it to or not – our cats start to grow old and with that, comes the issues of the senior cat.  Some become forgetful, others go blind, and some seem to not be affected outwardly, but end up feeling the effects of age internally with digestive issues, bone and joint issues, or any combination of the above.

What can we, as pet parents, do for our cats?  If your cat is confused, changing in eating or drinking habits, or doing strange vocalizations, it is time to make an appointment and get to the vet, as these can be signs of a cognitive disorder.

As your cat grows older, keeping a regular schedule for them helps for a forgetful cat.  Keeping an environment as stress free as possible, meaning not moving their watering fountain or their food bowl, not introducing a new cat or new animal and allowing your cat to live out their golden years as easy as possible, will make the transition to senior cat life easy.

Knowing your cat and their habits is essential, if they start to deviate in a strange manner that doesn’t seem right to you, call your vet and discuss what your next steps should be.

It is never easy when having a senior pet, especially when the time comes to say goodbye to our friend and family member.

For more information on caring for your senior cat, this article explains more.

I know I have a previous post on senior care, but this is an important subject which needs several posts.

Dog Treat Recall – Bully Sticks Sold At Target

I was away for the weekend and would have posted this sooner, but I wanted to share it now, hopefully it will help anyone who hasn’t heard about it yet:

September 21, 2012 – Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO is voluntarily recalling its Boots and Barkley American Beef Bully Sticks product because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The event was reported by the FDA in a news release dated September 21, 2012.

According to the FDA bulletin:

Salmonella can sicken animals that eat these products and humans are at risk for salmonella poisoning from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the pet products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these symptoms after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

According to the bulletin, the affected American Beef Bully Sticks were distributed nationwide through Target retail stores from April through September 2012.

What Products Are Being Recalled?

The product is sold in a clear plastic bag containing six bully sticks each and are marked with bar code number 647263899189.

The manufacturer is recalling all lot numbers because the following lot codes tested positive through analysis by the State of Colorado Department of Agriculture:


No illnesses have been reported to date in animals or humans in connection with this problem.

What to Do?

Consumers are urged to return the recalled product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Those with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at 1-800-218-4417 Monday thru Friday from 7am to 5pm MDT.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to

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Canine Juvenile Orthopedic Diseases

My new columns for Saturday’s postings are not ready just yet, so I figured I would share another great article sent to me by Sasha’s vet:

Puppies are happy and full of energy, running, wrestling, and playing so much that we often wish we had that much energy! But when that puppy is not happy, when it is lethargic and limping, then a visit to the veterinarian is in order.  There are several orthopedic diseases that affect young dogs.

Osteochondrosis (OCD) is one of the more common juvenile orthopedic disorders.  This is a problem that has an unknown cause but results in a disturbance of an area of cartilage and the underlying bone.  This may cause limping, or it may progress to the point where the puppy is non weight bearing if the chip of cartilage and bone breaks off and starts floating around in the joint.  Shoulders are the most commonly affected joint  (75% of cases), but it can also affect the elbow, knee, or hock.  This is a disease of large breed, older puppies.  Males are twice as likely to be affected than females.  Surgery is usually required.

Panosteitis is another common orthopedic disorder of puppies.  This also has an unknown cause, but here the problem is edema inside of the long bones where the bone marrow lies.  A hallmark of this disease is called shifting leg lameness, because different legs can be affected at different times.  The puppy may be limping on the right front leg this month, then two months later be limping on the left rear leg.  Older, large breed puppies are affected, but here males are four times more likely to be affected than females.  Treatment is pain control and anti-inflammatory medications.  The good news is there are no long term adverse effects of this disease, and eventually the disease just disappears.

Legg-Perthes disease is another orthopedic disease of older puppies, but this time small breeds are more likely to be affected, and females and males are equally affected.  For an unknown reason, there is a disruption of blood flow to the head of the femur (thigh bone) which causes the death of some bone cells.  When x-rays are taken, this bone in the hip looks like it is dissolving.  These bony changes cause pain, and the treatment is a very successful surgery called a femoral head ostectomy (FHO).  This removes the whole femoral head and the dog creates a false hip joint.

Elbow dysplasia is becoming more common.  This is a syndrome of large breed, older puppies. There are actually a number of problems that can occur in the elbow, and any one or a combination can lead to the arthritis that we call elbow dysplasia.  OCD as we discussed before can occur in the elbow.  Ununited anconeal process (UAP) and fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP) are other developmental problems.  All these disorders require surgery or a debilitating arthritis is likely to occur.

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) is a very rare disease of large breed puppies, usually two to eight months of age.  The puppy will be lethargic, painful, and may have a fever.  The ends of the affected long bones will have a characteristic pattern on an x-ray.  These puppies may recover fully, may recover but with some deformities, or may die from the disease.

There are a number of other, less frequently seen, diseases that can cause limping in puppies: Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, meningitis, and immune- mediated polyarthritis.  But undoubtedly, the most common cause of lameness in puppies is, of course, trauma, as puppies can be wild and crazy!


Recipe Friday – Doggie Meal In A Pinch

With the colder weather and snow just around the corner, if you ever get caught without dog food at home, this might be good in a pinch, just don’t feed this as a regular diet to your dog:


1 pound ground hamburger (or any other ground meat that your dog will like)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup peas
1/3 cup beans (any will do.  I usually use kidney or pinto beans)
1 apple slice, chopped


1. Cook rice, meat and veggies, the apple can be raw.

2. Combine all ingredients, mix well in a large bowl.

3. Top with the sliced apple as kind of a garnish.

4. Serve to your dog and save leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.

What Your Dog Wants

This is another article  Sasha’s vet shared with me that I thought I would pass on.  I have spent several hours on the website that the article came from.  Some very interesting reads:

We love our dogs. To show it, we write magazines and books about them, buy them designer collars and clothes, and feed them diets more nutritious than what we ourselves ate in college. Our dogs go on vacation with us, visit doggie daycares, get massages, go on dates. They get birthday presents, and haircuts more expensive than our own. Some even get their own trust funds. Yes, we definitely love them.

But what do they really want?

Besides steak and bottomless cookie jars and slow cats and bellies full of grass, they probably have a much more doggish list of things that truly make them happy, secure, and fulfilled. But what exactly would those be?

They can’t actually make a list, so we’ll need to do it for them as best we can. It’s a wish list based not upon what makes us happy, but upon what they need as canines living in a human world. Let’s take them one at a time:

Good Health
This one’s a no-brainer; every dog deserves to be kept in top physical condition. You can start by feeding her the best quality food you can, in the right amounts, with special focus on her age, energy levels, and potential allergic reactions. Deciding on the right food can be made easier by the second key factor in maintaining your dog’s health—namely, your veterinarian. In addition to giving vaccinations, your veterinarian will keep tabs on your pet’s overall health, recommend food options, and diagnose potential issues such as allergies, joint problems, disease, and even behavioural problems. Accordingly, be sure to take your dog into the vet at least once a year.

The other key ingredient in maintaining your dog’s good health is exercise. Sedentary dogs gain weight, which in turn affects joint health, and can incite early-onset diabetes. A lack of exercise also creates boredom and pent-up stress, leading to a host of behaviour issues. Avoid this by walking your dog, playing fetch with her, taking her to the dog park—whatever the two of you enjoy doing together.

With the minds of two-year-old humans and the physical prowess of Olympic athletes, dogs need direction from us, their elders, to learn focus, control, and etiquette. Without it, they can become insecure holy terrors, without muse or cause. Whether you call it leadership, mentoring, management, or guidance, it’s essential to Fido’s happiness.

A dog who knows the rules will be more at ease than one forced to run the show for lack of human guidance. Truth is, though they aren’t capable of running things in our world, we often put dogs in that position by forgetting that, like kids, they crave boundaries. To that end, be sure to train Fido from day one. Teach rules, manners, and consequences; be consistent, build routine, and praise to the hilt when he minds. The reward will be a sentient, well-behaved, cheerful pet with calm focus, instead of an unreliable and reactive pain in the neck.

The Right Kind of Socialization
Dogs need to interact to feel fulfilled, and to learn basic social mores. But their sociability is not unlimited; in fact, most dogs are somewhat tribal in nature, preferring to mingle with those they know, or with those who pose no discernible threat. It’s why so many reasonably social dogs don’t fare well in big doggie daycares, or at busy dog parks. Dropped into a seemingly chaotic situation filled with strange dogs and people, many dogs can short circuit, stress out, or even act aggressively.

Isolating a dog is just as detrimental. Keeping Molly at home 24/7, without exposure to other persons or pets, can create an antisocial misfit who, when confronted by a visitor to the home or a strange dog on the street, might erupt in fearful fury. This scenario occurs often; we lead busy lives, and sometimes fall into routines that don’t allow for getting the dog out often enough. And when a dog begins to become antisocial, her owner often tends to cloister her away even more, in an attempt to avoid the conflict. This compounds the problem.

Try to get your dog out on a regular basis. Take her for a daily walk, and a weekly trip in the car. Visit the dog park on days that aren’t too chaotic. Trade dogs with a good friend once a week. Don’t force your dog to socialize, but allow her a significant amount of contact with friendly, focused dogs, and with people who understand how to interact calmly and confidently. Always praise and reward for civil interaction. Avoid subjecting your dog to frenetic children, or to unpredictable, chaotic environments. Take into consideration your dog’s personality, too; if she is a gregarious, happy girl capable of mixing it up, then have at it. But if she is a worry wart, consider limiting social time to those few friends she feels comfortable with.

Dogs need to problem solve, investigate and evaluate, and apply their senses, brains, and muscles to some end, to feel that they have purpose. Without these things, they overflow with energy and desire, and eventually burst like a bubble, in the form of misbehaviour. To avoid this, enrich Fido’s life by providing him with stimulating toys, environments, events, and conditions. When he’s left alone, supply him with safe chew toys, and perhaps a treat-stuffed rubber ball. Hide small treats about the home for him to find. Leave the radio on a talk radio station.

To test your dog’s problem solving skills, place an uncooked chicken egg in his dish and watch what happens (limit this to a cleanable area). Leave a scent trail for him to follow by sprinkling a tiny line of allspice or bouillon powder, leading to a hidden treat or toy. Or, simply leave a few pigeon feathers about. Whatever might get your dog

While with your dog, enrich his day by trick training or vocabulary building. Teach him to retrieve specific objects, or play flyball. Attend an agility class. Any experience that inspires him to think, act, and focus will enrich his life, and make for a smarter, better-behaved pet.

Dogs need to feel part of a cohesive, functional team, one with a territory, a mission, a character. Whatever you call it—pack, family, team, or gang—it’s a part of their mindset, and you need to honour it.

As team manager, you should evoke a sense of solidarity, or team spirit. Do so the way a dog would: protect and care for her, participate in group activities with her and other dogs, exude confidence and control, and be a good muse. Dogs who see their owners happily interacting with others will model that behaviour and attitude. If you have multiple dogs, take them all (and other humans, too) out for a group walk of the neighbourhood, to induce that sense of tribal pride. Or, just get down on the floor with them and have a frolicking romp of it.

Earned Praise
If you praise a dog for a behaviour, he will logically repeat the behaviour. But if you randomly give gratis praise, the dog ends up training you instead. For instance, if your dog shoves his head into your lap and you pet him, he’s basically training you to pet him. This role reversal can become problematic, and contribute to increasingly pushy behaviour.

Instead, give your dog what his pragmatic mind prefers: the opportunity to earn praise. Make him sit for a treat instead of just giving it to him. Have him come to you for a pet on the head. This quid pro quo attitude will condition him to respond faster and with more zeal.

Also, avoid consoling your dog during times of fear, as consolation is interpreted by the dog as praise. If he gets scared of thunder and you comfort him, he will interpret this as reward for the behaviour, reinforcing the fearful conduct. That’s how dogs think.

Calmness and Consistency
Your dog doesn’t want you to be an emotional roller coaster. If you are enervated and joyous one day and morose and grumpy the next, you’ll confuse and worry her. She would rather you be a master of calm, as this projects normalcy and safety. So, avoid both ends of the emotional spectrum; no over-the-top, frenetic, schmaltzy outbursts, or gloomy, oppressive, threatening attitudes. Be what your dog needs, a calm, cool inspiration. Also, try to be consistent regarding not only attitude, but consequence; if one day you yell at her for jumping up, but the next praise her for it, you’ll drive her batty. Sticking to the rules and being consistent is what she wants.

By all means, give your dogs gobs of love and attention. But remember that they are problem-solving team players who need more than affection and cookies to prosper. By mentoring them and attending to their dog wants, you’ll get a happier, better behaved dog in return. And you’ll learn a thing or two in the process.


This article came from the website

10 Dog Exercises For Your Dog and You!

This is another article Sasha’s vet sent to me that I thought would be a great share!

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Garcia, DVM

Sure, dog is man’s best friend — but our furry companions are more like us than you may realize. Case in point: To maximize dog health, it’s critical for Fido to get regular exercise.

Keeping your pet healthy has a lot to do with good nutrition, but just like people, dogs are becoming more and more sedentary these days. Consider this: You can help promote good dog health by getting your pet up and moving.

Doggy Exercises For Your Pet — and You

Follow these healthy pet guidelines:

  1. Teach a dog new tricks. Even the simple act of teaching a dog basic tricks can be great dog exercise, says Cori Gross DVM, a VPI Pet Insurance field veterinarian near Seattle. “Basic obedience training is exercise for your dog’s body, as well as his mind. Teach him to come when called, sit, and stay. Then you can graduate to more complicated tasks such as greeting visitors without jumping.”
  2. Take your dog for a swim. Jean Hofve, DVM, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and current president of the Rocky Mountain Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, says that swimming is great for dogs, especially if they have arthritis. “If you don’t have a suitable lake nearby, canine rehabilitation centers are popping up all over,” she points out. A good way to get your dog into the water is to train her to chase a ball.
  3. Play hide and seek. Hiding a treat or a toy in a closet, under a bowl, or in a different room will keep your dog’s brain engaged as he plays, says Dr. Hofve. You can also try a dog toy called a Kong, which dispenses treats if your dog rolls it in the right direction.
  4. Give this ball a spin. Hofve also recommends Boomer Ball, a soccer-style, colorful ball that many dogs enjoy rolling around and playing with.
  5. Look for agility challenges. In many communities, you can enter your dog in agility challenges that can keep them fit and working at their best. “In agility training, dogs run through obstacle courses and compete for the best time and fewest faults,” says Susan Nelson, DVM, an assistant professor of clinical sciences at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  6. Try other dog sports. Agility challenges aren’t your only option for getting a dog involved in sports. “Depending on your dog’s temperament and breed, you may want to consider a range of other options, such as simple obedience training, Flyball, Earthdog, tracking, herding, lure coursing, musical freestyle, or any of the other dog ‘sports’ available,” says Hofve.

One of the best things to do for your dog’s health is to choose exercises that are healthy for you, too. Here are workouts that dogs and owners can do together:

  1. Walk it out. When it comes to exercises for you and your dog, the tried-and-true approach is hard to beat, says Hofve. “Walking, of course, is one of the very best exercises for both you and your dog,” she says. “If you have a very active dog, hiking is a bit more challenging.”
  2. Play fetch. You can’t go wrong with a good game of fetch, adds Hofve. “Fetching games such as Frisbee and ball-throwing will at least get you out in the fresh air and will be tremendous fun for your dog,” she says. “If you don’t have a good pitching arm, try a product known as Chuckit! to throw the ball.”
  3. Run with caution. Running or jogging is great for many dogs, but it’s best to approach both options with caution. Advises Hofve, “Make sure your dog is fit enough for the faster pace. Also, run early or late during hot weather, and always bring water and a collapsible bowl for your dog.”
  4. Do downward-facing dog — together. Yoga with your dog? Believe it or not, there really is such a thing. It’s called Doga, and there are classes and a DVD available to guide you through it.

Making time for exercise with your dog can be fun — and it will enhance both of your fitness levels.

Dogs and Human Emotions

Here is an article that my vet shared with me that I thought I would pass along:

In a study put out by Friederike Range and colleagues at the University of Vienna in Austria and Paul Morris at the University of Portsmouth, they suggest dogs have a complex range of simple unpleasant emotions such as jealousy and pride, giving them a sense of fairness that has never been discovered before.

 One should never mix their own emotions into a scientific study. Humans would love to believe their little balls of fur are also human, however they are not and never will be. It is studies like this one which can be very damaging, as they may make owners confuse dominance with emotion. Yes, the other dogs had a reaction when another dog got the food, when the new baby arrived, or when they were ignored, but the “WHY” is the question.

While dogs do possess emotions, they are not as complex as a human’s.  Dogs do, however, feel the emotions coming from humans. They feel our emotions as energy radiating from our bodies. The dog knows if you are sad, nervous, stressed, happy, calm, strong-minded, confident, passive, anxious, hyper, meek, etc. However, what we all need to understand is, a dog does not read negative energy coming from a human in the true meaning of the emotion. The dog simply reads negative energy as weakness and reacts accordingly. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in their pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined and rules are set. Because a dog communicates displeasure with growling and eventually biting, all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog; the humans must be the ones making the decisions, not the dogs. That is the only way your relationship with your dog can be a complete success.

Let’s look at the “why.” There can be many reasons for each of the following issues.

The New Baby

Why does a dog sometimes begin to act differently when a baby comes? This happens for varying reasons, depending on how badly the owners misinterpret their dog’s actions. The dog may claim the baby, the dog may be confused about his place and he may sense energy from the owners that he never felt before that confuses him. The baby is a new pack member and the owners’ emotions change. The dog senses this and there are varying things that can affect his reactions: emotional, nervous or stressed parents, sensing jealousy from a human sibling, not accepting the baby into the pack, thinking he is higher up in the pack, not sure where his new place is in the pack, or owners sending the wrong or mixed signals to the dog. Things are different and the dog needs to be secure in his pack and see himself as lower than the baby. He needs to know the new rules regarding the baby from the minute the baby comes home. Problems can and will arise when the owners fail to communicate the dog’s place among the new member. If humans become emotionally upset when the dog goes near the baby or near items which smell like the baby instead of calmly but firmly claiming space around the baby/items, communicating that the baby as alpha over the dog, the dog is going to react in ways he has never done before. This is not the same as human jealousy; it is a reaction to a new pack member and the wrong signals coming from the humans within the pack.

Other Dogs

Another claim of the study suggests that dogs hate to see their owners being affectionate to other dogs. In reality, dogs do not possess the emotions of “hate” or “jealousy”; this is the dog showing his dominance. The dog owns the human and does not want the other dog near their property. He may not want to allow another pack member in. One of the two dogs may sense instability in the other dog, or unstable emotions coming from the humans around them, which can cause a fight between the dogs. An imbalance in the other dog or humans around them will cause them to react, but not hate. A submissive dog with stable beings around him will share in the excitement of another dog, calmly say hello by smelling, or ignore the other dog altogether.


The study also suggests dogs are able to interpret fairness, as when one dog decides things are “not fair” and reacts by refusing to obey or getting emotionally upset. Dogs were asked to perform a trick and the dog’s enthusiasm was lowered when they saw other dogs being rewarded with food but receiving nothing for themselves. Some of the dogs even turned their heads, refusing to look at the human or other dog. So why is this?

A dog that is doing a trick without food and notices someone else doing the trick using food with another dog in sight or smell range is suddenly distracted. He wants to eat the food too and he loses interest in the trick. It’s a distraction and a learned behavior that he could be getting food for his action. It is also very possible the person doing the experiment sent off a different emotion (energy) to the dog during different parts of the experiment. The dog would sense this and react accordingly.

The dogs that turned away, refusing to look were not upset nor were they trying to get even in any way. They were, in fact, submitting to the other dog and/or humans. They were communicating their respect, as the leader eats first, and the others wait until the leader is finished. Eye contact is a challenge. Therefore, a dog who turns his head refusing to make eye contact with you is telling you he is allowing you to be his leader. This misinterpretation of the dog’s reaction is actually a very common and damaging one. When humans see their dogs turn away from them, refusing eye contact, the humans attach their own emotions to it and think the dog is upset or mad. They go over to the dog in attempt to “make up,” offering sympathy and affection. The dog suddenly feels this human is weak and instinctually believes he needs to be stronger in order to “save the pack.” He becomes alpha whether he wants the job or not because, in his mind, the pack needs a strong leader in order to survive.

Geting even for being ignored

It was also suggested that dogs that were ignored gave their paws much less often, doing so in only 13 out of 30 trials, and some showed more stress, such as licking or scratching themselves.

Now for the why—and this one seems a bit silly. Do we humans think the dogs enjoyed giving their paw over and over again? They do it for the reward of food or praise. No reward and the dog will not be motivated. But he’s not mad or jealous and he is not upset because things are unfair. Sure the dog wants the other dog’s food, but he’s not having a jealous fit. He’s reacting. Give praise and he reacts to get more praise. Show food and he wants to eat it. He’s just not as interested in the guy without the food. As far as the stress…if I were a dog I would be stressed too if I was with humans who were sending confusing vibes my way.

 This study is actually really sad and damaging to dogs that come into contact with people who may believe what it says. We are not doing our fellow canine animals a favor by attaching our human emotions to them, confusing dominance and submission with human emotion. If we as humans do not take the time to learn a dog’s instincts we will continue to see more and more unwanted dogs in shelters.

The number one cause of death for dogs today is euthanasia. A dog’s temperament is a direct reflection of his owner’s ability to understand him and give him what he instinctually needs. There are no bad dogs. Don’t let your dog down!

Written by Sharon Maguire © Dog Breed Info Center ® All Rights Reserved