Blog Archives

Food Aggression In Dogs

Many dogs have had to deal with “hoarding” their food or having to protect their food so that they have something to eat at the end of the day.  Depending on whether your dog was in an abusive situation, your dog could have had to eat with several, or hundreds of other dogs.  Breaking your dog of this habit should happen immediately so that the problem does not fester and possibly become worse.

Food aggression usually means your dog growls when he/she is fed, they can snap and snarl, or even bite.  Some will have major issues and may even try to chase or attack someone if they come near their food bowl.

In order to rule out anything physical with your dog, it is a good idea to take your dog to the vet to rule that out.  Also, if possible, you may want to hire a professional trainer that can help you work with your dog to alleviate this issue.

Working with your dog to stop this behavior will take time, patience and help from ALL family members.  Each family member must be involved so that your dog associates the family with good experiences and it helps them to establish their place in the “pack.”

If you need more information or some tips or tricks on how to work with a dog that has food aggression, here is an article to help you on your way.

 

Are You A Cat Magnet?

There’s always one – the one person we know who all the cats gravitate towards.  The one where even the most picky of kitties will walk up to them and allow them to pet or nuzzle them.  We call those Cat Magnets.

These people seem to have some sort of agreement with the cat population, that they can meet and greet and become friends with any cat.

There are ways to become your own Cat Magnet.  It takes time and patience and learning what cats prefer.

Most cats prefer space, cats are territorial and don’t like strangers and even people they know, invading their space.  Crouch on one side of the room and let the cat come to you.

You can wiggle a finger on the floor for the cat to inspect, or rub your fingers together, something to get their attention so that they may decide to come your way.

To learn more on how to make yourself a Cat Magnet, this article explains it more in depth. (It took a while to load, but it was worth the time to read).

 

 

Why Dogs Sniff Eachother

When I was younger, I always wondered why dogs did this kind of behavior to not only each other, but around humans and other animals.

While we might find it rather…rude, it is a necessary and instinctual behavior dogs perform daily.

Isis will tolerate Sasha doing this for a very short time, and then she will boop Sasha on the nose when she gets sick of her sniffing. At no time does Isis ever use claws or get really angry at Sasha for doing this.

To find out more about this behavior and more reasons why dogs do this, there is an article from Psychology Today that explains it.  It is well worth a read, even if you already understand this behavior.  Lots of interesting information.

 

Dog Training – A to Z

I found this great website which is literally dog training from a to z.  All types of behavior issues, tricks, health, anything you want to know, it is explained very simply on this website.

On the mainpage, there is a link at the bottom to receive a free e-book about dog training.  If you have an e-reader, or an e-reader program on your computer, you can download it and use it as a reference guide…perfect!

I hope this is helpful for people out there in need of training his/her dog.

 

Separation Anxiety – A Deeper Look

Many dogs may exhibit signs of this disorder, but there are also many breeds where some of the behaviors are just common to that breed.  To ensure that what your dog has really is separation anxiety, one should take their dog to the vet to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

There is an amazing post on a forum I sometimes visit, that maps out what it is, signs and symptoms and what you can to do help treat the behavior.  I suggest reading through the vast amount of material and links provided on that post.  It has helped me work with Sasha in many ways.  She may not have full blown separation anxiety, but she certainly comes close.

Hopefully this information will help someone out there whose dog may be suffering.

Teaching Your Dog NOT To Jump

I’m sure we’ve all been there before – our wonderful little doggies are so excited to see us (or any company that comes over), they will jump up on you and scratch at your leg, beg for attention and jump some more.

This is undesired behavior and needs to be nipped in the bud.  There are several methods to stop this from occurring every time you come home or company pops over for a visit.

Method #1 Ignore 

If your dog is in front of you and they are getting ready to jump, the moment their feet leave the floor, turn your back on them.  Dogs crave attention and crave positive attention and when you are not paying attention to them, they start to figure out that if they do the bad behavior, they won’t get any praise or attention from you.

If the dog continues and starts to paw or scratch at your legs, or runs around in front of you to try to jump again, turn your back on them again.

Keep on doing this until the dog decides he/she is going to do a more desired behavior such as sitting.  Once the dog sits or does another desired behavior, praise them emphatically.

If this causes the dog to jump up and down, repeat turning your back on them until they resume the desired behavior and then praise them again.

Repeat until the dog is doing the behavior that you desire.

 

Method #2 Stop

Not my favorite choice, but it will work for some I suppose.

As your dog is jumping up, hold out your open hand palm facing down and push down on their face/nose and say “DOWN” as you gently push them to the floor/ground.  Dog’s noses are sensitive and will not like the pressure you put on it and if you are consistent and do it every time the dog jumps, it should be successful.

 

Method #3 Sit

Make sure your dog knows the “sit” command.  Whenever your dog goes to jump on you, tell him/her to sit.

If they continue to jump, turn your back on them and ignore them.

If the dog sits down, turn around and praise them highly.  If they start to jump again, repeat saying “sit” and if that does not work, turn your back, until they understand they will not get praise or attention until they sit.

 

Method #4 Leash

Not a favorite method of mine, but it will work for some, I suppose.

Take your dog outside, leashed.

If your dog starts to jump up on you, in a firm voice say “NO” (but not too harshly, the dog will wonder why you are so angry so quickly).

With your dog facing you, put the leash on the ground and step on it, so that the next time the dog jumps, he will only get a few inches off the ground.

If the dog does not jump, make sure to treat them and praise them.

 

As always it is very important to be patient with your dog and not to harm them or hurt them.  Give as much positive attention to them when they do something right.  Have some of their favorite treats handy to moderately treat them when they do something good.

 

Some Strange Cat Behavior – Decoded

Cats can do some strange and silly things.  I know Isis will do crazy things daily and I often wonder, what’s up with that?

So I poked around Google and found some answers to the strange, crazy and sometimes cute things that cats do, I am sharing the information with you so that the mystery will be decoded!

The other day I was feeling under the weather and Isis came and sat on my chest and started kneading my shirt and then settled down and started to suckle on my shirt while kneading and purring.  This is not abnormal and it means that your cat is totally happy and loves you!  Sometimes she will start to drool as well and from reading this article, all that is part of her happiness.

Some people say a cat will suckle on your shirt because they have been weaned from their mother too quickly.  Others say they suckle because they go back to being a kitten while they are kneading and think of you as their mother.  I prefer to agree with the second explanation.

Sometimes Isis will talk to me and use a sound like this. (this is not Isis, just a video I found on youtube).  It’s called trilling and from what most articles say, this means that your cat is happy and communicating with you.  It can also be the result of a cat trying to communicate with their kittens, making sure that they keep close to them.

If you get birds outside your window, sometimes you will hear a strange sound like a clicking.  This is your cat chirping at the birds and it is a natural response to seeing something they prey upon naturally.

Does your cat ever come up to you and try to meow but nothing comes out?  This is usually called a silent meow, and this can mean a few things.  Most times it is one of the ultimate expressions of love and the highest form of a cat to say “please”.  Take it as a compliment if your cat does this to you!

Many times Isis will be on the other side of the room and she will look at me and her eyes close and open slowly and softly.  This is another sign of great affection and comfort with the person they are communicating.  If you want to communicate back, mimic the behavior, you may get into a soft, affectionate blinking eye match with your cat that can last a while.  It’s also a way of giving your cat kisses.  It is explained more in this article.

As you can see, there are many ways our cats communicate with us on a daily basis.  There are many more ways cats communicate, but these are the most common.

Observe your cat and learn to communicate with them and you’ll have a buddy for life!

What Does My Dog or Cat’s Tail Movement Mean?

I was over at a friend’s house the other day and she was telling me that her cat bites her sometimes.  I asked her what the cat’s tail was doing at the time and she said nothing.  So I asked her to show me what’s going on when the cat ends up biting her.

She called the cat over and was petting the cat, then the cat’s tail was swishing on the floor and abruptly stopped, but the BASE of the tail PUFFED UP and then the cat bit her.

I told her the cat was over stimulated from being pet (yes cats can get over stimulated from the petting, their nerve endings get too sensitive).  I said when she sees the cat’s tail start to swish, stop petting for a while and let the cat come to her for more attention.  Another option, don’t pet the cat’s full body, just stick to scratching and petting the face gently, and stick close to their scent glands like their cheeks.  Most cats like to spread their scent on their owners.

She said it all made sense and that she was glad her cat wasn’t ill or anything.

The thing is, it’s difficult to determine at times what is making a cat angry.  Their tail tells the tale (haha) of what they are thinking and feeling.

Conversely, if a dog is happy, they wag their tail and are looking for attention and petting and loving from their people.  They want to play, are not overstimulated and are happy.  With a cat, it’s usually the reverse and best to back off from petting them.

A tail position can signal I’m happy, follow me, I want attention, leave me alone, I’m stalking something, or I’m just relaxed and calm and look at me.

How does one determine was is going on?  Well, as always I have links to great articles that can help you determine whether a cat or dog wants something or if they are just happy and want to be left alone.

Remember, all animals are different, so what might be right in these articles, may not be the way for your cat or dog.  If you think your pet has serious behavioral issues, contact your vet or a certified, licensed animal behaviorist.  I know many animals that do have issues beyond just wanting to be left alone and often an animal behaviorist can solve those issues WITH you and help teach you redirection so the pet doesn’t feel trapped or stressed.

What does my cat’s tail mean?

What does my dog’s tail mean?

I hope these links help to make things easier and to learn more about communication with your pet!