Dogs And Their Human-Like Behaviors

Picture of a man fishing with dog in foreground

It’s likely no surprise to dog owners, but growing research suggests that man’s best friend often acts more human than canine.

Dogs can read facial expressions, communicate jealousy, display empathy, and even watch TV, studies have shown.

They’ve picked up these people-like traits during their evolution from wolves to domesticated pets, which occurred between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago, experts say.

In particular, “paying attention to us, getting along with us, [and] tolerating us” has led to particular characteristics that often mirror ours, says Laurie Santos, director of the Yale Comparative Cognition Laboratory.

Here are a few of the latest studies showing the human side of our canine companions.

Eavesdropping Dogs

Social eavesdropping—or people-watching—is central to human social interactions, since it allows us to figure out who’s nice and who’s mean.

According to a study published in August in the journal Animal Behaviour, our dogs listen in too.

In a new study, scientists tested 54 dogs that each watched their owners struggle to retrieve a roll of tape from a container.

The dogs were divided into three groups: helper, non-helper, and control.

In the helper group, the owner requested help from another person, who held the container.

In the non-helper group, the owner asked for help from a person, who then turned their back without helping.

In the control group, the additional person turned his or her back without being asked for help. In all experiments, a third, “neutral” person sat in the room.

After the first round of experiments, the neutral person and the helper or non-helper both offered treats to the dog.

In the non-helper group, canines most frequently favored the neutral person’s treat, shunning the non-helper.

However, in the helper group, the dogs did not favor either the helper or the neutral person over the other.

Scientists have previously observed similar results in human infants and tufted capuchin monkeys.

So are dogs taking sides by ignoring the people who are mean to their owners? Only future research will tell.

Made You Look

Gaze following is instinctual for many animals—including humans, chimps, goats, dolphins, and even the red-footed tortoise—because it alerts animals to everything from immediate threats to “a particularly tasty berry bush,” says Lisa Wallis, a doctoral student at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna, Austria.

Dogs were previously thought to follow human gazes only when food or toys were involved.

Now, a new study suggests dogs also follow human gazes into blank space—but only if they’re untrained.

“We know they should be able to do it,” says Wallis, leader of the research published in August in the journal Animal Behaviour, but training was the “missing piece of the puzzle.”

In recent experiments, Wallis and her colleagues recruited 145 pet border collies with a range of training levels and ages.

The researchers wanted to see if age, habituation, or training influenced the dog’s tendency to follow a human’s gaze.

Wallis then observed the dogs’ reactions as she gazed toward a door. Surprisingly, only the untrained border collies followed her gaze—the trained animals ignored it.

That may be because trained dogs learn to focus on a person’s face, and not where the person is looking.

When Wallis and colleagues spent just five minutes teaching the untrained dogs to look at her face, they began ignoring the instinct to follow her gaze.

Even more surprising is that the untrained dogs often glanced back and forth between her and the door, baffled at what she was looking at.

The behavior, only seen before in humans and chimps, is called “check backs” or “double looking,” she said.

“It’s a lesson for us all that we should always examine whether training has an effect in these types of studies,” says Wallis.

Next Steps in Dog Research

In humans, aging hastens declines in short-term memory and logical reasoning skills, making it more difficult to learn new tasks.

Previous research has found similar declines in dogs, but long-term memory is a little-known aspect of dog biology.

That’s why Wallis and colleagues are studying how dogs both young and old memorize tasks, and whether the animals can remember them months later.

The results are still in the works, but Wallis expects to discover that it’s tough—but not impossible—to teach old dogs new tricks.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150720-dogs-animals-science-pets-evolution-intelligence/
You and your best friend don’t have to live with pain!

Our product covers dogs of all ages and breeds, which encounter joint problems with age, need some post-op help to regain mobility or highly active dogs suffering from joint inflammation and pain after a hard day on the job or the trail. FidoActive Advanced Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs supports joint health for dogs to get your four-legged friend back on their paws again. Get Fido active again the simple, safe way and treat your dog to a long & active life! Shop now and enjoy 10% off: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Glucosamine-Joint-Supplement-Dogs/dp/B00V3C2BJ2

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Adopting A Senior Pet

old dog you're never too old to love or be loved

If you’re thinking about adding a new member to your animal family, now is the time.

Think about adopting a sweet, older dog instead of a rambunctious puppy or an adorable older cat instead of a curious kitten.

There are many pros to going to your local shelter and picking out a senior pet.

Exactly how old is a SENIOR pet?

Defining a pet as a senior pet varies a bit, but small dogs and cats are often categorized as ‘senior’ around the age of 7 years old.

Larger breeds are often categorized as senior a bit younger, around 6 years old.

These dogs and cats still make amazing pets, despite their age!

They’re still happy, sweet, lovable animals that need a good a home. In fact, senior pets are a great choice for many reasons.

REASONS TO ADOPT A SENIOR PET

Adopting an older pet may actually save its life.

People are always drawn to the cute, small puppies and kittens and it’s easy to overlook older dogs and cats.

If a shelter gets overcrowded, older animals are often the first to be euthanize.

Adopting that older dog or cat would mean you’re not only providing them a forever home, but you will also be saving them from being put down.

Older pets are calmer.

An adult dog has grown out of the “puppy state of mind.” The world isn’t their chew toy and they aren’t quite as energetic.

An adult cat won’t be getting into every single nook and cranny and aren’t likely to push the nice vase that your mom gave you off the shelf while staring at you like nothing happened.

Older pets tend to have the basics down.

Older dogs are normally potty trained, sometimes know simple commands such as “sit” or “lay down,” and often already walk well on a leash.

Older cats are normally quite familiar with litter boxes and aren’t typically into chewing electrical cords or attacking your feet any time you walk by.

Adopting an older pet means you can save a lot of time and effort it takes to train a puppy or a kitten the basic household rules.

You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Age doesn’t define an animal’s intelligence. Older dogs and cats have better attention spans than puppies and kittens which means you can begin teaching them what you want to teach them right away.

Of course, it varies depending on the animal, but older shelter pets are sometimes attention deprived and often eager to please you.

Senior pets are more appreciative.
It’s fitting that adopt a senior pet month is November, the month when we’re all thinking about the up-coming holidays and thinking of the things we’re grateful for.

Human adults have learned to be more appreciative than young children and pets are no different. Older pets are more appreciative than younger ones.

Bonding with a senior pet is a beautiful experience because it’s often a bond that forms very quickly.

When you adopt a senior pet, you can be the hero that gave them a home when no one else would.

Older pets really do seem to understand that they’ve been rescued and they are all the more thankful for it.

So if you’re adopting a new pet, consider adopting an older pet. They make great cuddle buddies, loyal companions, and grateful friends. You’re never too old to love or be loved.

http://petsblogs.com/2015/11/november-is-adopt-a-senior-pet-month/

You and your best friend don’t have to live with pain!

Our product covers dogs of all ages and breeds, which encounter joint problems with age, need some post-op help to regain mobility or highly active dogs suffering from joint inflammation and pain after a hard day on the job or the trail. FidoActive Advanced Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs supports joint health for dogs to get your four-legged friend back on their paws again. Get Fido active again the simple, safe way and treat your dog to a long & active life! Shop now and enjoy 10% off: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Glucosamine-Joint-Supplement-Dogs/dp/B00V3C2BJ2

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Running With Dogs

Yorkshire terrier

I hear this excuse, add or decrease acreage, all of the time.

I am always thrilled when I hear that dogs have acreage to run!

After all I am a country girl and not a city girl (currently stuck in the city, sadly).

But the truth is 90% of dogs don’t “use” it.

If They Do

And, if they do use it they don’t use it appropriately!

Ironically, today, amidst two of these excuses, I also had an owner who was complaining that their  1 year old dog was running off the property and visiting the neighbors and neighborhood dogs anytime she was given the opportunity.

Now that she has been doing this for over a year, they are wanting to know how to stop her.

I am thankful that she is still alive.  Running in neighborhoods where there are cars and other dogs that don’t necessarily like dogs is severely hazardous to a dog’s health and can end it.

The problem now is that not only is this a habit this is a FUN, FUN, FUN, FUN habit!

I can barely think of a way to be “more fun” than doing whatever you want, playing with whomever you want, and meeting new people when you are a social dog.

If you have ideas please let me know and I will pass them on to the owners of this dog.

The problem is they have already lost the war.

And, they never bothered to show up for the battles.

My Point

A dog that runs and entertains him or herself, usually isn’t a good thing!

Because dogs don’t just run laps…

They don’t come up with some kind of strenuous exercise program and then set their alarm each morning.

I mean, I think they would if they could.

If any of us are athletes; dogs are!

But they aren’t capable of that kind of cognitive thought!

You Have a Whole Continent

I mean, after all, you have a whole continent (depending on where you live) to run on; but do you?

I am sure some of you are runners.

But, I am also sure most of you are not.

And, if you are the chances are high that you take your dog with you if he is young and able bodied.  And, chances are higher that these dogs that go for long runs are also less destructive because their needs are being met.

You don’t have to live in the city to run.

You don’t have to live in the county to run.

You just step out of your front door and let the magic happen.

Heck we even have magical things called “treadmills” so that we could run no matter how cold, hot, rainy, slick or snowy it is!

I used to run and it is addicting if you stick with it long enough.

But it is not easy!

I Know it Sounds Condescending

I don’t mean it that way.

But I do need people to know that just because the dog has a 1,000 acres or a huge yard; doesn’t mean he is out providing himself with the exercise he needs.

Just like you aren’t out running the continent or island you have available to you!

You Have to Work Together

You have to work together to provide your dog with exercise.

That doesn’t mean you need to take up marathon running; unless you want to!

You can simply throw a ball in your yard for 20 minutes or more while you make him perform obedience commands (therefore stimulating his mind and body!).

My high drive dogs are exhausted after 30 minutes of ball and obedience.

I also occasionally hook them to my trike to exercise them so that we both get some exercise.

It is not difficult.

You can sit in a chair and do the bulk of the work; or you could choose to get involved for your own health.

But know that your dog NEEDS both physical and mental stimulation and he isn’t providing himself with either in a positive way!

http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/100-acres-run/

You and your best friend don’t have to live with pain!

Our product covers dogs of all ages and breeds, which encounter joint problems with age, need some post-op help to regain mobility or highly active dogs suffering from joint inflammation and pain after a hard day on the job or the trail. FidoActive Advanced Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs supports joint health for dogs to get your four-legged friend back on their paws again. Get Fido active again the simple, safe way and treat your dog to a long & active life! Shop now and enjoy 10% off: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Glucosamine-Joint-Supplement-Dogs/dp/B00V3C2BJ2

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Do-It-Yourself Dog Grooming

When household expenses need to be scaled back, salon visits are often one of the first things to go.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a head full of hair or a body covered in fur.

Before my husband and I bought our first home, I was in the habit of paying oodles of money to maintain my mane of blonde highlights, but after we became homeowners and added a second cat and a dog to our family, my hair costs kept moving further down the budget spreadsheet.

As a new roof, some vet visits, and pricey pet food bumped my hair right out of Excel, I eventually I just stole my husband’s hair clippers and decided to take a DIY approach to my own hair.

As a result my Lab mix GhostBuster has been on the grooming table more recently than I’ve been in a stylists chair, but according to his groomer Jenn Shaw, owner of Tall Tails Grooming in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, dogs can also benefit from a bit of DIY hairdressing.

“Even as a professional groomer I don’t necessarily discourage people from cutting their pet’s hair at home,” explains Shaw.

“I definitely encourage regular maintenance between grooms.”

As a Lab mix, GhostBuster’s beautiful double coat requires brushing, not haircuts, but for dogs who need frequent trims, the at-home haircut can be good for both the animal and the bank account.

“Some people’s financial situations don’t allow for professional grooms and it’s more important for the dog to be comfortable than to look professionally polished,” says Shaw, who stresses that owners need to educate themselves on appropriate grooming techniques and tools beforehand.

She says the tools I use on my own hair wouldn’t work on any dog’s coat.

“Clippers used for human hair don’t have the power or speed to cut through pet hair and can actually pull the skin into the blade causing nicks and cuts,” she says.

“Human clippers usually only have one length of blade which can often be too short on pets and cause razor burn.

Also, the heat of these blades must be closely monitored or it can literally burn their skin.”

Shaw says that if you plan on clipping at home, it’s imperative to invest in a decent pair of pet clippers.

This can mean an initial investment of more than $100.

“You get what you pay for, so spending more on clippers will mean that they run cooler and more effectively, actually working properly and painlessly for your pet’s hair,” she explains.

Owners also need to take extra care and caution in areas where the dog’s skin is thinner.

These areas include the underside of the neck, face, eyes, ear edges and flaps, armpits, belly, sanitary areas, toes and tendons on legs.

When cutting or brushing the hair in these areas, there is a higher risk of bruising or cutting your pet as the thin skin pulls up quickly from the body when the fur is handled, making it easy to catch with grooming tools.

“A small nick on this thin skin can turn into a bigger problem since it can be prone to tearing like tissue paper, especially if using scissors instead of clippers.”

Shaw recommends supplementing DIY grooms with professional quick services for the face, feet and sanitary areas to avoid the risk of cutting those sensitive areas.

She says some professional groomers do offer these trims as walk-in services.

I’m thankful that GhostBuster’s coat isn’t the kind that needs shaving — I have enough trouble clipping my own head!

http://www.dogster.com/dog-grooming/dog-grooming-at-home-diy-tips-haircut

You and your best friend don’t have to live with pain!

Our product covers dogs of all ages and breeds, which encounter joint problems with age, need some post-op help to regain mobility or highly active dogs suffering from joint inflammation and pain after a hard day on the job or the trail. FidoActive Advanced Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs supports joint health for dogs to get your four-legged friend back on their paws again. Get Fido active again the simple, safe way and treat your dog to a long & active life! Shop now and enjoy 10% off: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Glucosamine-Joint-Supplement-Dogs/dp/B00V3C2BJ2

FidoActive Joint Supplement For Dogs

 

 

 

How Well Do You Know Your Dog?

They may not use words, but dogs say a lot more than we realize with their body language.

My first dog, Mercy, was a border collie mix whose body could convey an epic narrative—especially when she was in the dog park communicating at once with dozens of her kind.

I soon began to wonder just what they were all saying. Their gestures were obviously dense with meaning.

At times, a nearly invisible movement by another dog would change Mercy’s course dramatically:

She would bend into a play bow, or stiffen in alarm, or look away as if hoping that the dog enthusiastically eyeing her would suddenly forget she existed. Often he would.

Watching those intricately choreographed ballets of intention in the park, I realized that to each other, dogs speak loud and clear.

Humans, by contrast, have real trouble deciphering their language.

Though dogs have been our best friends for tens of thousands of years, they still read us far more skillfully than we read them.

We tend to think that dogs have relatively little to say because they don’t speak our language, but we are too focused on speech:

Witness the tourist hoping to be understood by repeating a request ever more slowly and loudly, or the dog being scolded “Come here!” as he runs merrily away.

Dogs are constantly asking us to listen, just not with our ears.

The language of dogs is primarily visual, enacted with their bodies. They speak with the direction of their gaze, the tilt of their tails, the distance they keep and the arc of their movement.

Canine language is rich for the same reason ours is: We are both social, cooperative species.

Remaining ignorant of our companions’ modes of expression is not only a frustrating limit on our mutual sympathy.

It is also dangerous for us and for them. Some 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, many of them children (for those 4 and under, most of the bites are to the face and neck).

Dogs are generally quite adept at telegraphing warnings, so it’s our job to learn to read them better.

This is also in their interest, since “behavior problems”—often the result of misunderstood canine expressions—are a leading reason that owners have to surrender or euthanize their dogs.

So what are dogs trying to tell us?

It’s all in the ears, tail and body.

The baseline posture of a relaxed dog includes having ears up and tail down.

In an alert, often transitional, posture, the tail is held straight behind, the ears go forward, and the entire carriage raises.

A fearful or anxious dog tucks his tail, lowers his body and pulls back the corners of his mouth.

If his hackles (the hairs along the back of his neck) are raised and his nose wrinkled, he is saying he just might bite if pressed further.

Similarly, the dog whose tail is stiff and wagging slowly (not all wagging denotes pleasure), with ears forward and carriage following suit, may be announcing imminent attack.

If he freezes, pupils dilated and staring hard, he is to be taken at his word: Watch out.

Some dogs growl before biting and some don’t; the canine body speaks louder than the voice.

That is why dogs whose tails are docked or ears cropped lose some of their linguistic fluency.

And it’s why some of our grooming choices, such as the poodle’s topknot, cause trouble when they are misread by other dogs as heightened carriage.

They’re sorry, in many different ways.

For the same reason that Eskimos purportedly have 50 different words for snow, dogs have a vast repertoire of gestures for appeasement and propitiation.

The Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas has identified some 30 “calming signals”—movements offered to deflect trouble (which may also relieve stress in both giver and receiver).

Supremely subtle, sometimes so quick we don’t notice them, these appeasing signals include a flick of the tongue; turning the head or gaze away; suddenly sniffing the ground or sitting; yawning; shaking off; or approaching on a curve.

Please skip the hugs.

For a dog, what comes naturally to us primates when we overflow with affection feels like a threat.

The desire to hug is one of the hardest reflexes for us to overcome, but reaching across a dog’s neck is an act of intimidation. He may tolerate it, but he doesn’t like it.

Like many dog owners, I do it anyway, but I’m always watchful:

My current dog, Nelly, flashes her tongue to her nose or looks away during a hug, subtle but unequivocal responses to what she views as aggression.

When strangers bend over dogs or reach out to pat their heads, or when children latch on to their necks—or stare into their eyes, another threatening gesture—many dogs will react with a volley of appeasements.

If these go unheeded, they may feel forced to defend themselves. This is often why small children get bites to their faces, conveniently presented at muzzle level.

Viral Internet photos to the contrary, it is not cute when toddlers lie on top on dogs or pull their ears; it is a lit fuse.

That’s not a guilty look.

The jury is still out on whether dogs experience guilt or shame, but chances are that “the look” popularly ascribed to a dog who has done something wrong is actually fear or anxiety prompted by the expectation of anger from the owner.

Things commonly punished by us—“stealing” food, urinating on the rug—are hardly immoral to a creature whose values are so different from ours.

The furrowed brow, half-moon eyes, slinky posture and lowered head of the canine “wrongdoer” are not an apology; they are signs of stress or requests to desist.

They love you too.

My dog, and probably yours, has a special way of greeting those she loves: I call it helicopter-tail. (Nelly’s earsplitting screams of joy are peculiar to her.)

Other signs of happiness are unmistakable and easier to read by humans than many of dogs’ other communications:

A“rocking-horse” run, as vertical as it is forward; the greeting stretch (followed by “pretty please” front paws on your leg); the C-shaped body bend—the better to maneuver a butt for that all-pleasing scratch—and the smile.

Yes, dogs do smile. No translation needed.

—Ms. Pierson is the author, most recently, of “The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn” (W.W. Norton).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/what-is-your-dog-telling-you-1431098919

You and your best friend don’t have to live with pain!

Our product covers dogs of all ages and breeds, which encounter joint problems with age, need some post-op help to regain mobility or highly active dogs suffering from joint inflammation and pain after a hard day on the job or the trail. FidoActive Advanced Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs supports joint health for dogs to get your four-legged friend back on their paws again. Get Fido active again the simple, safe way and treat your dog to a long & active life! Shop now and enjoy 10% off: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Glucosamine-Joint-Supplement-Dogs/dp/B00V3C2BJ2

FidoActive Joint Supplement For Dogs