Canine Corner is for “everything dog.” It covers anything and everything dog-related, from the light-hearted and funny to the serious and sentimental issues. Read all kinds of information about dogs in general, see some really cute and really funny dog pictures, or be entertained by funny dog stories! Canine Corner will also cover recent news items about dogs and dog welfare issues.

Archive for the ‘Canine Corner’ Category

The Company of Animals’ Anxiety Wrap® for Dogs Calms, Corrects Problem Behavior

Posted on July 1st, 2015

Panting, barking, licking, jumping….These are all relatively normal dog behaviors, right? But when they’re displayed in excess or accompanied by whining, pacing, destructive chewing/scratching or aggressive outbursts, they are generally indicative of a larger problem: dog anxiety. Super sensitive or ‘reactive’ pets may demonstrate similar anxiety-related behavior during times of separation, travel, fireworks or thunderstorms.Anxiety Wrap logo

For example, Jiminy Cricket, my almost 2-year-old Golden Retriever has issues from his (horrid) humble past with anxiety, jumping up, and whining. He also
greatly fears any type of yelling, or angered, raised voices – particularly if cursing is involved. (We experienced his reaction to this when a neighbor’s lawncare team got into a wicked fight one day recently…).  We tried the Anxiety Wrap® on Cricky for about a two-week period each time we left the house to go out (Crick also prefers to not be alone…Ever.)

I gotta’ tell ya’ – the Anxiety Wrap® worked like a charm!

We simply put the coat-like wrap on him about a half-hour before we left* and he was totally fine. He didn’t whine and linger at the door and follow us around from room to room (he knows the ‘you’re leaving’ routine); he didn’t give us a sad face; and his bottom jaw didn’t start chattering like it often does when he’s nervous, over-anxiAnxiety-Wrap-Dog-4-249x300ous or too excited. The difference the Anxiety Wrap® made, in just a two-week period, is simply amazing.

The Anxiety Wrap® uses acupressure and gentle, constant, maintained pressure to relieve stress and end fear in dogs. It activates key pressure points where dogs harbor stress, including in the neck, chest area, shoulders, midsection and hind quarters. The wrap offers an acupressure-like experience that’s continuous and helps relieve or even resolve the pooch’s stress. Hence, it also curbs the resulting behaviors that stem from that fear/stress, like anxiety, hyperactivity, insecurity and shyness.

Designed to be lightweight and breathable, the Wrap’s custom made fabric features a four-way stretch that provides a snug fit that’s as unique as the dog wearing it. It was easy for Cricket to flex around and move though he was getting a hugging sensation from it. (Personally, I know he loved it!)

The Anxiety Wrap® has a proven track record of success and helps increase a dog’s self-confidence, focus, animal-to-animal and animal-to-human socialization, bonding ability, relaxation and balance. It’s also used to treat: firework/thunderstorm fear, separation anxiety, constant barking, unwanted jumping, whining, nervousness, fear biting and destructive chewing.

*In most cases, it’s recommended that while the pet is wearing the Wrap, the parent should refrain from interacting since over-stimulating the pet can decrease the effectiveness of the wrap or override the acupressure.

About The Company of Animals

Founded by pet behaviorist Dr. Roger Mugford, The Company of Animals is celebrating 35 years as a leading provider of innovative training products designed to achieve a positive relationship between pets and their parents. The Company of Animals designs and manufactures a wide range of acclaimed products, including the original HALTI®, the Pet Corrector™ and the CLIX™ training range. The latest additions to the famed family of enrichment products are the GREEN feeders for dogs and cats, the Anxiety Wrap®, and the new HALTI OPTIFIT.

 

*All opinions herein are those of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with The Company of Animals and the Administrator, and the Administrator received a trial product. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

Max, the Tale of a Heroic Military Working Dog, Will Warm Hearts, Touch Souls

Posted on June 22nd, 2015

Canine. Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

 

“Max” the movie is not just a movie.

It’s a touching story offering life lessons about hope, love, faith, courage, trust, togetherness and more all in the face of tragedy. It’s about that omnipresent human animal bond and the astonishingly powerful strength of it.

Max Movie PosterMax the MWD (military working dog) is not simply a Belgian Malinois trained to sniff bombs. He is a confidante. A best friend. A champion of bravery and leadership for America’s marines…

“When people connect with an animal there’s a primal bond that often goes beyond what we experience with other people,” says Boaz Yakin, the co-writer/director/executive producer of “Max.” That was the initial inspiration for the movie, which follows the journey of an MWD whose U.S. Marine handler loses his life in Afghanistan. Traumatized by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (yes, our dogs can get that, too), the dog is adopted by the family the Marine, Kyle Wincott, left behind.

Yakin, a self-proclaimed dog-lover attests, “I wanted to tell a story that was emotional and heightened, while still keeping it rooted in reality.” He turned to longtime friend Sheldon Lettich, who co-wrote the screenplay. “Sheldon is a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran and brought in the idea of using MWD’s. These dogs risk their lives, or have their lives put at risk, going far ahead of their units in order to literally smell out danger,” he adds.

That instinct was reinforced when Yakin and Lettich watched one of the many viral videos of MWDs lying mournfully beside their handler’s casket at their funerals, loyal to the end and beyond. Such videos have touched a deep chord in millions of viewers around the world. Lettich shares, “When we saw the video of the MWD grieving over his partner, we knew that was the core of our canine hero.”

The decision to make Max a Belgian Malinois, instead of a more familiar breed such as a German Shepherd, was informed by the fact that the Malinois has

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros.

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros.

become the breed of choice to serve as MWDs for military forces and law enforcement agencies across the US and throughout the world. Leaner than a Shepherd, the highly focused dogs, when trained, can smell drugs and bombs and find bodies. They can be deadly and are also trusted to guard the White House and the President. Driven to hunt and capture prey, the Malinois has a 270-degree field of vision and the force of its bite equals 1,400 pounds per square inch. It can run 30 miles per hour and withstand the heat of the desert.

But what happens when a MWD is unable to work anymore due to injuries, stress or trauma, which can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Thanks to Robby’s Law, which went into effect in 2000, MWDs are no longer simply euthanized. They can be adopted by their handlers or other former handlers.

The pair also found that some MWDs have been adopted by the civilian families of dog handlers who had been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. That interested Lettich, who has owned several Belgian Malinois, and knows from personal experience that the breed is highly energetic, intelligent, and extremely task-oriented. “It’s like a human coming back, it’s an adjustment. We wanted to follow a fictional dog home stateside after his handler’s death and see where that took the dog—and the family,” he explains.

Producers Karen Rosenfelt and Ken Blancato were intrigued by the idea of a retired military search dog and the family who takes him in, and how the unlikely strangers interact to get past their loss. Rosenfelt comments, “After reading the screenplay, we knew it was a film that we wanted to produce. It’s an adventure story with a strong familial underpinning that is very moving.”

MaxLife after the U.S. Marine Corps is an adjustment for the elite, trained canine, but in Max’s case, it is particularly difficult. The trauma he faced in Afghanistan has not only left Max with PTSD, but the mystery of what happened to Max and Kyle the day Kyle died inadvertently entangles Justin and his friends in a dangerous situation that escalates quickly, and tests Max and Justin’s fragile new relationship.

Here’s an in-depth look at Max. Even better, here’s a featurette about hero military dogs!

“The military aside, people connect with dogs so strongly,” says Yakin. “We often are able to relate to animals, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with animals, in a way that we don’t with people.”

He continues, “Max became a metaphor for loss and for getting this family to understand and deal with that loss. And to discover what they need to do in order to reconnect with each other.”

For more information, check out #MaxtheHero on Twitter and Facebook or head over to www.Max-themovie.com.

*All opinions herein are those of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with Warner Brothers Entertainment, and the Administrator was compensated with trial product/movie tickets. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

 

Why First-Time Dog Owners Shouldn’t Use the “Whatever Works” Dog Training Method

Posted on June 9th, 2015

How many times have you seen new pet owners buying or adopting a new four-legged family member, and never dedicating time to train the poor pooch, thinking that the dog will learn things on her own? Likewise, other types of dog owners will opt for training a dog in their own way, using the “whatever works” method of dog training. But is this approach that much better?

Put five dog trainers in a room and ask them how to deal with a dog’s behavioral problem and you’ll likely get five different answers. But this does not mean that four are wrong and one is right. Like most things, there are a variety of ways to approach dog training, and different methods work for different people — and different dogs.

As a professional trainer, my job is to figure out what will work for you and your dog. The difference between making this decision yourself versus having a professional make it is that the professional dog trainer is actually reading your dog’s behavior, hence determining the best course of action, and he/she is doing so basing it on that specific canine. If you’re training your dog (or any dog) on your own, it’s imperative that you understand some dog training basics in order to choose the most appropriate and most effective training method for your dog.

“Whatever works” dog training approach does not work for a puppy

Beth with a puppy, training.

Beth with a puppy, training.

Despite varying opinions in the industry, almost every dog trainer will tell you that positive reinforcement is the only way to train a young canine. That being said, many dog owners are not aware of positive reinforcement training, and there are two popular “whatever works” approaches used among many first-time pet parents.

First and most popular option – fear. It’s very likely that a new owner can indeed scare their puppy into doing what they want her to do at first, but the owner will end up creating a world of anxiety and distrust which never works long-term. Negative reinforcement has been proven as something that rarely works. In addition, a dog owner who uses scare tactics on his pet risks decreasing the dog’s ability to learn new things and increasing the dog’s anxiety. This tactic also can cause confusion, induce aggressive responses, and perhaps cause physical injuries.

On the flip side, a dog owner can simply shower their puppy with love and affection, and never set rules or boundaries. This, too, comes with its own set of problems; dogs that live without structure and routine develop all sorts of other behavioral issues down the road. All too often I work with clients who let their sweet little puppy get away with anything and everything. The puppy then becomes an 80 lb. dog so out of control that the owners have no idea what to do.

How you begin training your dog matters a lot. When training your puppy, you need to use tried and proven techniques. Reward your puppy for doing the right thing to build good behavior, confidence and trust. Dogs want to please their owners, and your praise means the world to them. If you want to have a confident, well-adjusted, trusting dog, you must begin your relationship on the right foot.

“Whatever works” approach will not fix an adolescent dog, either

When puppies get to around seven to nine months old, they begin to test their owners, much like teenagers do with parents. You can use a variety of methods to get results, but you must understand the long-term impact each of those methods will have on your dog, and on your relationship with him.

It’s true, you can probably put a shock collar on your dog and scare him into submission, but what works in the short term does not necessarily yield the desired long-term results. I worked with a client recently who had put a shock collar on her dog to stop him from pulling her toward other dogs. Just two months later, I observed that the dog had developed a fear of other dogs and displayed this in the form of aggression.

This is a classic example of how you can use an approach and achieve short-term results, only to discover that you have caused long-term damage to your Fido’s mental state, and now you’ll have to spend a lot more time and money to fix any behavioral problems that come out of this. You can still choose a strictly positive reinforcement technique, or you can introduce some collar corrections for bad behavior. The effectiveness of each of these depends on the temperament and mental state of your dog.

Beth rewards good puppy training behavior.

Beth rewards good puppy training behavior.

Fully mature dogs definitely do not respond well to “whatever works” dog training methods

This “whatever works” approach will not do any good if a pet owner has a fully mature dog either. Let’s take the example of a dog that is showing aggression. You could put a shock collar on the dog and stop the issue. You could also muzzle the dog so they are unable to do anything. Or, you could simply avoid other dogs altogether.

While all those things might work in the short term, they do not address or solve the issue, and ultimately they may cause more severe behavioral problems. If you are experiencing a serious issue such as aggression, you must start educating yourself on proper dog training methods and start applying them as soon as possible before the problem becomes a disaster. Alternatively, a skilled and experienced trainer can help you find the correct way to handle your pooch, or at least set you off on the right food.

In the end, know that if you are an inexperienced dog handler, or if you are new to this type of problem of dogs misbehaving, just picking a method that works for the wrong reasons will only lead to bigger issues.

Dog training is about reading and understanding your canines and the behaviors they display. There are lots of different ways to train your dog, many of which will work (at least short-term), but not every method is suited to every dog.

Think carefully before deciding to use harsh training methods. Immediate results may lead to bigger long-term issues if you take the “whatever works” approach. Scaring a dog into submission may yield short-term results, but in the long term will cause fear and anxiety in your dog. Continual repetition of poorly chosen techniques will cause psychological damage. Finally, ignoring the problem is also not an option, and will leave you with a constantly misbehaving dog.

When you take on a pet, you’re taking on more responsibility to care for and train the animal for your own benefit, and for the benefit of the society you live within. Motivating your dog through positive reinforcement and praise helps build a strong bond, and yields long-term results.

The information in this article appears thanks to Beth Jeffery of Top Dog Tips. Beth is a dedicated dog trainer and amazing animal behaviorist with 15 years of experience.

 

References (please request specific article links by emailing thoughtsfurpaws@gmail.com):

Polsky RH (1994). Electronic shock collars–are they worth the risks? Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 30 (5), 463-468.

Brammeier et al. (2006) Good trainers: How to identify one and why this is important to your practice of veterinary medicine. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 1, 47-52.

Mendl, M., (1999). Performing under pressure: stress and cognitive function. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 65, 221-244.

Barkworthies® Dog Treats Rebrands; Uses Only Shelter Dogs in New Packaging & Ads

Posted on May 29th, 2015

“Naturally Healthy, Naturally Happy”

Earlier this spring, the charitable and canine-loving dog treat brand, Barkworthies® launched a rebranding effort.  So why am I telling you this now? Because this wasn’t your typical pet care company rebrand.

Behind the extensive, exhausting work it takes to unveil a fresh consumer-facing face is, well…quite a few fresh faces… Faces of shelter dogs, that is.

Yep, you read that right. Barkworthies® decided it relevant and apropos to portray the plight of the shelter dog by using several of them who were recently placed into forever homes. Cool, huh? The new packaging and advertising features these shelter dogs exclusively.

“Barkworthies® is an innovative brand… with a big heart,” Bill Chilian, marketing vice president, told me. The updated look of the packagingbarkworthies_logo_NEW is meant to reflect this big heart while also helping the brand and its individual products better speak and relate to pet-lovers. Chilian believes that choosing a healthy and delicious dog treat should be rewarding for the human, just as it is when the dog receives it.

And how can it be any more rewarding knowing that your dog treat purchase is helping the plight of homeless/shelter pups?

Key executives at Barkworthies®, who took feedback from customers and retailers into consideration before the rebranding, not only wanted to lead by example (which IMHO is both commendable and laudable in today’s corporate world) but also wanted to re-conceptualize the brand because they wanted to draw awareness to the plain old lovability of rescues: “…they are just as handsome and loveable as any other pet,” one executive said.

But the best part about this whole rebranding? It’s permanent. So forever and ever more, shelter dogs will be helped by this brand – in a bigger way than you’ve read about thus far…

Jackson the Rescue Dog, Now a Barkworthies Model

Jackson the Rescue Dog, Now a Barkworthies Model

The last little detail I’ll leave you with is that this summer – soon – Barkworthies® will be unveiling it’s very own shelter program. Details are hush-hush, but I can tell you that you’ll hear the full stories of some of the current pets being used on packaging. For example Jackson, the primary model, recently found his forever family! You’ll get to hear all about this gentle giant!

Why Barkworthies® Rebranded

  • Feedback from customers and retailers
  • Improved consistency for better product recognition
  • To better represent our customers and reflect the bond between parents and their pets

Benefits of the Rebranding

  • More product information in an easier to understand format
  • Color-coded protein call-outs (example: chicken, beef, etc.)
  • Unified image for improved recognition on-shelf and online

Incorporating Animal Rescue

  • Every dog featured in the new packaging and ads are shelter dogs
  • A full campaign involving support to animal rescues will be launched later in 2015

New Website Features

  • Updated retailer listings
  • More in-depth product information
  • Refined filtering capabilities for easier sorting and searching

For more information, visit www.Barkworthies.com. You can also find this pet-loving dog treat company on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

 

How Dogs Express Affection; Your Dog’s Love Languages

Posted on May 28th, 2015

Show your dog you love him by learning how he shows affection and the best ways to show yours.

We love our dogs, and when we gaze into their eyes we could swear the feeling is mutual. But is a dog really capable of such emotions?

The truth is dogs express and interpret affection differently than us humans (lick much?). So, it’s important to understand these differences and how to demonstrate love in a language your dog will comprehend.

Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five very specific love languages for humans in his book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.” These are as follows: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Here, the goal is to discover your significant other’s or even your child’s love language (how he/she most understands/receives love from other people) so you can show them you love them in the best way possible.

This same concept can be applied to your relationship with your dog. Here’s how:

Words of Affirmation: You’ve seen little FiFi perk up and wag her tail when you say, “Good girl!” Dogs may not actually understand the words you’re saying, but they understand your tone when you’re saying them. Words of affirmation (i.e. I love you. You’re so smart. You’re such a good doggy!) can have a profound effect on your dog. Harsh words and tones can also have a profound impact – a deeply negative one – on your relationship with your dog. So be mindful of using

Image Courtesy www.123rf.com.

Image Courtesy www.123rf.com.

your words for good and not evil.

Acts of Service: Every time you wash your dog, clean out her kennel or feed her, you are performing an act of service. Doing these things confirms that you are the Alpha (or pack leader) and therefore the main caretaker. This essentially puts your dog at ease because he/she doesn’t have to take on the Alpha role and trusts your companionship.

Receiving Gifts: Buying a chew toy or treats for your dog certainly shows affection. Some dogs love this more than others! Just remember to offer these things at the right time.  Choose a time when you’ve got his undivided attention and when he’s not “misbehaving.”  After all, we wouldn’t want to send a mixed message by offering such gifts at a time when your dog is acting up. This may inadvertently reinforce undesirable behaviors.

Quality Time: Spending time with your dog says love in a way nothing else can. When you’re gone, Rover misses you and CAN’T WAIT for you to get home! Watching a movie with him on your lap or at your feet counts as QT, but there are better ways to spend quality time together: long walks, a romp at the park with a ball or a Frisbee, or better yet, some old fashion one-on-one time in your living room.  One-on-one time does not have to be long, it can be brief. This is a great time to tune out the rest of the world and simply be there with your dog; attentive and present, for however long you have.

Physical Touch: Most dogs love physical touch. A belly rub, a scratch behind the ears, a simple loving touch – do these things and your dog will be wagging his tail in appreciation. Keep in mind, some dogs can become anxious or defensive if you approach them too quickly, while others may actually become uncomfortable and stressed if you gaze directly into their eyes. Pay attention to your dog’s body language, learn his or her cues so that your message of love can be received loud and clear!

How Dogs Express Affection To You!

Dogs love their masters and are excited to show it. There are many ways dogs reveal their affection for you. Here are five ways your dog might be speaking to you in his language of love:

Wagging tails – This is a sure-fire sign that your dog is excited and ready to welcome you.

Soft whining, whimpering or barking – This should sound sweet, and if combined with a wagging tail, means your dog really wants your attention. It’s as close as dogs can get to expressing themselves with words. It’s their version of words of affirmation!

Licking – Pet owners take a strong stand on this one usually, some love it and others think it’s disgusting. If you’re one who allows your dog to lick you on the face or elsewhere, then you’re allowing your dog to reveal affection in one of the best ways he/she knows how. Licking is a way of grooming and is instinctive for them. Think of it as an act of service.

Bringing you things – If a dog brings you a toy or something, it means he/she is wanting to spend some quality time playing and sharing with you!

Being by your side – Simply being there, enjoying your company. Patiently waiting for your attention, your direction, or perhaps dinner. Dogs have this one mastered. Yep, man’s best friend!

So what can you do to show your beloved canine just how special he/she is to you? Express love and affection in a language your pup can understand. There’s nothing greater than reciprocated unconditional love!

dr boyd

Dr. Boyd

About the Author: Dr. John Boyd, DVM, CEO and Founder of Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resorts and Veterinary Centers. Dr. John Boyd is considered a leader in the emerging veterinary hospitality industry and intends to take his successful model of “whole-istic” pet care nationwide. Dr. Boyd attended the University of Southern California as an undergraduate before earning his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of California-Davis in 1986. Dr. Boyd has been an active member within numerous veterinary associations at the local, state and national levels.

About Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort: Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort & Veterinary Center is a one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive veterinary, grooming, daycare, training and boarding facility with locations in Irvine and San Diego. Enthusiastically referred to as the “Mayo Clinic of animal care,” “the Super Nanny of dog sitters,” “the Emily Post of animal etiquette,” and “the Biltmore of pet boarding,” Dr. Boyd’s is dramatically shifting the paradigm of traditional stereotypes from bare-bones clinics and fenced kennels to state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor spaces infused with sounds, scents and scenes of the natural world. For more information about Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort, visit www.drboyds.com.