Wolf wolf! Five wolf-like behaviours our dogs display every day

Most of us know that wolves and dogs evolved along a similar timeline, and whilst wolves and dogs diverged from their common ancestor millennia back in the history of their evolution, the wild and noble wolf and your rather more domesticated pet dog still have a huge amount in common.

Wolf

How wolves and wild dogs behave in the wild also has a number of marked similarities, and day-to-day life in a wolf pack or a dog pack often looks very much the same in terms of the behaviour of the various members of each pack, and the type of traits and behaviours that they display.

Whilst your sofa-loving Great Dane or comical pet pug might seem about as far removed as can be from their wolf relatives whilst still maintaining a loose genetic connection, there are a number of behaviours that pet dogs display every single day that are replicated by wolves in the wild.

In this article we will share five wolf-like behaviours that our dogs display every day, to help you to better understand your own dog and their evolutionary traits. Read on to learn more.

Prey drive

Prey drive refers to the instinctive urge that some animals have to identify, target and chase down other animals as a potential source of food, and their ability to successfully finish a chase and make a kill.

For animals that rely on hunting for live food to get all or some of the food that they need to survive, the prey drive is strong, innate and hard to curb, as it is an innate evolutionary trait that is hardwired into the species in question to enhance their chances of survival.

Both wolves and dogs are hunter-scavengers, and so, have strong prey drives. Virtually any dog will pursue what they see as prey if it is right in front of them and they have not been successfully trained not to – and conditioning a dog to completely ignore their own prey drive is very difficult to achieve effectively.

However, dogs can be trained not to pursue prey, or to return when called in the middle of a chase, which is one way in which dogs and wolves differ!

Socialisation

Both wolves and dogs are naturally highly social species, which will actively seek out the company of their own kind and form cooperative units with them. This is not only because both wolves and dogs love company, but because socialising and forming cooperatives with others helps to increase the chances of survival of every member of the pack.

A lone wolf or dog in the wild has a much lower chance of survival than a pack working together to defend their territory, find food and stay safe, and dogs and wolves that were prepared to work with others were those most likely to survive in the wild.

Today’s pet dogs actively seek companionship and playmates in the dog park just as wolves like to have company too, but dogs are much more inclusive in terms of their friend groups, whilst wolves tend to stick to broadly related pack structures and tend to be defensive against potential new members.

Participation in pack hierarchies

In order to form a cooperative or collective of wolves or dogs to increase the group’s overall chances of survival, each member of the collective needs to be prepared to work within the rules and accepted behaviours of the group, and know their role and its limitations.

Not every dog or wolf can be the alpha or pack leader, and whilst TV shows and films would often have us believe that wild wolf and dog packs see regular challengers for the alpha position and a continual stream of fights and power struggles, this is quite uncommon in reality.

When an alpha gets old or unwell enough to be able to effectively lead and protect the pack, a challenger or younger member may step up in their place – but infighting amongst the pack on a day-to-day basis only weakens the pack and compromises its chances of survival, and pack survival relies upon cooperation.

Even in the dog park, all of the different dogs that play and engage together form themselves into loose and transient pack structures, with obvious ringleaders, slowcoaches, those that aren’t the fastest but can play the longest, and those that bring something else to the table that benefits the group as a whole.

Canine socialisation isn’t just about being part of a pack and having dog friends – it is also about a willingness to work within the pack hierarchy, and follow the rules of its membership.

Territorial and guarding behaviours

Wolves and wild dogs tend to stick to set territories, which they rarely stray from as long as food is available and that they proactively defend against threats.

Dogs do this as well, and usually see their home and often, garden, pathway and even the street outside as part of their territory too, and most dogs display marked territorial behaviours.

This might be as simple as barking in alert if someone approaches the home, or as complex as a dog that will actively patrol the fences and limitations of their garden to serve as a deterrent to others.

Dogs will also often defend the other dogs and people that they love from perceived threats, sometimes being hugely protective over smaller or weaker members of the family.

Resource gathering

Lots of dogs display a range of resource gathering and guarding behaviours, such as digging holes to bury toys in, hiding bones or food for later, and eating as much food is available even well past the point of fullness when the opportunity arises.

These types of behaviours are a reflection of the evolution of both dogs and wolves to take full advantage of all of the resources that are available to them at the time, in preparation for potentially leaner times to come.

Wolves and wild dog packs often bring downed prey back to the fold to share of to feed young, and both wild species also tend to eat as much as possible at every opportunity in case food is harder to find tomorrow. Dogs do this too, even though most of our domestic dogs have never gone hungry in their lives, and never will – because this is hardwired into their brains as a result of their evolutionary survival.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes) 

‘Who’s a pretty boy then’: Teaching your pet bird to repeat nice things

Birds make great pets especially if they can be taught to say a few words although just because a feathered friend can repeat something they’ve learned should not be a reason to share a home with one.

Talking Bird

With this said, birds are very entertaining characters when they start to speak or sing, although they can be the cause of a bit of embarrassment if they’ve been taught a few “naughty” things to say which are best avoided.

First rule of sharing a home with a bird that likes to repeat things they hear, is to be extremely careful what you say around them or you may find that one day, your lovely feathered companion repeats a few choice words which leaves you red faced. A lot of birds are fast learners, which is particularly true of African Greys to name but one of the more exotic birds which have become popular pets.

However, firm favourites among the feathered fraternity are budgies and with good reason because they are a real joy to have around. When it comes to being talkative, these little characters like nothing better than to chatter away to themselves and their owners!

Teaching a feathered friend to say nice things

Budgies are very good at repeating lots of things which includes quite a few phrases. With a little patience and time you can teach these little birds to say all sorts of things, but it’s far better by far to start off with simpler things like “hello” or “hiya”. As they get more confident and really find their voice, you can progress to more complicated things for them to repeat always remembering that a nice tasty treat goes a long way when teaching a bird to talk.

Teach your pet to ask for a treat

Because our feathered friends learn things so quickly, using treats to teach them to repeat things you say helps speed up the process. Teaching them to ask for a favourite treat is a great way of starting their “speech” training and it makes it more fun both for you and your feathered friend.

Most birds really appreciate a really tasty treat which includes things like the following:

• Grapes

• Apples

• Bananas

Every time you give your bird a piece of apple, you need to say the word “apple” to them and pretty soon they will start to repeat what they hear before you give them their treat. Your pet will then ask you to give them a favourite goodie whatever it happens to be. You’ll soon discover which treat they like best because it will be the one they ask for the most or the word they find easiest to say!

Most birds love to take a sand bath and you can even teach them to ask you when they feel the need to clean their feathers. When the weather is hot, birds like to get themselves wet too which is a great time to teach them to say things like “get wet” so you know when they’d like to take the plunge. Birds are highly intelligent creatures and some species boast incredibly long life spans which means over time they can learn to repeat all sorts of things which includes many sound effects like the following:

• Mobile phone rings

• Car alarms

• Telephones

• Doorbells

• Sounds they hear on the television or radio

Tips on teaching birds to repeat things

It’s really important to pronounce words very clearly remembering there are certain consonants that birds just can’t say because unlike humans, our feathered friends don’t have lips! With this said, it’s often what makes them more endearing especially when they attempt to repeat words that start with “b” or “m” . However, there are other sounds to avoid when teaching birds to repeat things which include the following:

• Words with hissing sounds – birds find this sort of noise quite threatening

• Words that contain any “shh” sound in them – again this is one sound that often frightens them

With this said, there are certain phrases which you think might be fun to teach your bird, but further down the line you wished you hadn’t because it gets to sound a little too dated.

Although it can be funny to teach a bird to repeat a few swear words, there are times when they might say things at inappropriate times which is something you need to bear in mind if there are children around. Birds with “potty” mouths are fine in some situations but maybe not in the home.

Conclusion

Sharing a home with a feathered friend can be very entertaining especially if they learn to repeat certain fun but not rude phrases. Birds are highly intelligent characters and they are very quick to learn new things, it’s what makes training them such an enjoyable process even though it may take a bit of time.

However, you need to be careful what you say around pet birds because they might just repeat something you wish they hadn’t heard because it’s too embarrassing!

The Top 10 smartest talking birds in the world

Talking birds have always fascinated humans and people have spent a lot of time training and breeding birds to hone their ability to imitate the human.

Some of these birds are highly intelligent and can also build a vocabulary, contextualise words and imitate emotions. Some species of birds can be very easily trained while some require persistent effort. Here is a list of some of the smartest talking birds.

1. African Grey Parrot

This large bird is found in the forests of West and Central Africa and has acquired fame as one of the smartest talking birds in the world. Talking about the appearance, it has a grey coat on most of its body. However, the eyes are pale yellow and the beak is coloured black.

The parrot species is 33 cms in length and weighs approximately 450g. It can live up to 50 years in captivity. They have a large wingspan of about 50 centimetres and are grey in colour with slight dark and light variations in the plumage. Males and females look almost the same.

These birds have developed the ability to mimic the sounds of different animals to fool and scare away predators but they are very quick to imitate human voices.

They can be trained easily and get very attached to owners. It is also one of the most beautiful parrots in the world.

2. Budgerigar

This bird is native to Australia and is a very popular pet around the world for its ability to imitate human voices. It is very intelligent and can repeat whole sentences. In fact, this bird holds the world record for having the largest vocabulary in the animal kingdom as it can remember more than 1700 words. However, in order to be trained to repeat words, it has to be kept alone since it will not follow the owner if it has another bird to live with. Being kept along causes significant distress to the bird and may lead to a shorter lifespan. Budgies are one of the most popular pet birds in the US and UK. Budgies used to grind their beaks when they are feeling relaxed and happy.

3. Yellow Naped Amazon

Parrots from the Amazon family generally are excellent at imitating human speech and are popularly kept as pets despite the physical and psychological harm this inflicts on the birds. These birds can be trained very easily and can repeat words, sentences and even songs from an early age. However, they bond only with one human and their ability to ‘talk’ depends on the bond they share with their owner. In the wild, the ability to mimic sounds gives these birds the ability to scare away predators by mimicking the sounds of larger animals. Talking about the appearance, It has a green forehead and a yellow band across the back of its neck. The parrot species is popular for their playful personalities and talking ability.

4. Eclectus Parrot

This bird is native to the rain-forests of New Guinea and is very colourful. Both the sexes of this species look so different that they were considered separate species for a long time. The male has green plumage and a yellow-orange beak while the female has red and purple feathers with a black beak. They are popular pets all around the world because of their ability to mimic words, pleasant sounds and songs they hear repeatedly around them. They also have a very melodious call that they use to attract their mate. Talking about the appearance, the central tail feathers are green in colour, however, the outer being blue. The colour of the bill is orange and black at the bottom. Their population in the wild is rapidly declining because of the illegal pet trade.

5. Indian Ring Parakeet

The Indian parakeet is commonly found across South Asia and is also a popular pet in this region. It can learn and repeat about 200 to 250 words and also sing tunes from songs. Different species of the Indian parakeet have different capacity to repeat words and it also depends on the interaction with the owner and how well the bird id trained. This bird is often used in circuses and road shows because it can easily be made to ‘talk’. It is additionally known as Indian ring-necked parakeets and can grow up to 40 cm in length including tail figures. They love to be in large groups up to thousands.

6. Monk Parakeet

This bright green and grey coloured bird are found in Europe, North America and South America and usually lives in groups. It is one of the smartest talking birds and is also a popular pet in Europe and America. Depending on how well the owner trains the bird, it can learn to imitate many words. If it is properly rewarded during training and words are repeatedly said, it can also understand the context and emotions in which words are said. This talking bird also imitates other sounds it hears repeatedly.The only parrot species that builds a stick nest rather than using a hole in a tree. They are mostly seen in the subtropical parts of Argentina and surrounding countries in South America.

7. Hill Mynah

Like the Indian Ring Parakeet, the Hill Mynah is also found fairly commonly across South East Asia and is very adept at imitating sounds. Despite this ability, it is not very popular as a pet and is generally found in the wild. More than human voices, it imitates calls of other birds and sounds of different animals. Some species of Mynah are better at imitating human voices than others and if trained well can also mimic the exact tone and pace of human speech. The common Mynah has a dark-brown plumage along with black head, throat and upper breast. It has a yellow beak, feet and skin around the eye.

8. Cockatoo

This distinctive looking parrot is found in Southeast Asia and Australia and is easily recognisable by the distinctive shape of its beak. Some species of Cockatoo are better at mimicking human voices than others while some are better at imitating sounds and calls of different animals. The rose-breasted cockatoo, yellow-crested cockatoo and Long-billed cockatoo are popular pets because of their long lifespan and ability to ‘talk’. They can live up to 60 years or longer depending upon the species. The oldest known cockatoo named Major Mitchell’s cockatoo residing in at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago lived for 83 years old (1933-2016). Training these birds can be a bit difficult as words have to be persistently repeated in the same tone and pace in order to get the birds to copy them. It also helps if they are rewarded after successfully imitating the given words.

9. Yellow Crowned Amazon

This colourful bird is found in the rain-forests of South and Central America and is recognised by the distinctive yellow spot on its crest. Some birds of this species can talk very well while some never do and this depends on a number of factors. The frequency of interaction with humans, a company of other birds, whether it lives in the wild and how well it can be trained are some of the decisive factors. Talking about the appearance, Yellow-Crowned Amazon is generally green in colour with yellow-green on the underparts. They have a dark black edges feathers and a bright red on the edge of its wing and speculum. They have a long lifespan of over 60 years so the trainers have to be committed and patient while handling this bird.

10. Blue Fronted Amazon

This talking bird too is native to South America and is known for the stark yellow face with blue spots near the eyes and beak. It is a popular pet in North America and Europe and can we very well trained to imitate the human voice. One of the smartest talking birds loves to eat Fruit, vegetables and cooked or soaked pulses and good quality seed mixture. It usually bonds only with one human and quality time needs to be spent with this bird to successfully get it to talk. Apart from this ability, the call of this bird is also very melodious.

Would you want to have a bird as a pet? It is always a good idea to check how long the bird lives to determine if you are ready to make such a long-term commitment. Some of these talking birds are illegally transported across the world by smuggling them out of the wild. Also be sure to check where your bird comes from and what kind of care it requires. Keeping a bird can be a truly fulfilling experience if done right.

(Article source: Various) 

“I used to be scared of dogs”: Interview with Courtney Hope

The Bold & the Beautiful’s Courtney Hope used to be scared of dogs until a rescue changed her life.

Courtney Hope

We love finding out about people and their dogs. There’s always an interesting story to be shared and journey to be followed.

This month we catch up with Courtney Hope, who is perhaps best known for playing the iconic Sally Spectra on the hit daytime US soap, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’. But if you’re a fan of gaming, you might also recognise her as the voice who brought ‘Beth Wilder’ from the hit Xbox One video game and subsequent sci-fi TV show ‘Quantum Break’ to life.

Courtney invited us into her home to introduce us to her ‘pup pack’ and told us which of her dogs is most like the TV, film and gaming characters she’s played over the years.

The interview with Courtney Hope

Hi Courtney! Thanks so much for your time today.

Hi! Thank you so much.

We know you own three dogs, Stevie, Bella and Bentley, so taking it chronologically, who came first?

Stevie was first. She was my first dog, ever.

How did you come to own her?

I adopted her from a shelter when she was three months old (she’s now 10) and she’s a Cocker Spaniel/Terrier mix.

She’s so sassy, independent, loving and smart, and my whole world! She’s definitely an explorative people’s dog. I take her everywhere with me!

A few months after Stevie, I adopted Addison and she quickly became my dad and brother’s best friend! I moved out of my parents’ house three years later and couldn’t take her because she needed a yard.

She is a Shepherd/Husky/American Bulldog mix and couldn’t live in an apartment because she is so active and hyper, so she became my brother and dad’s dog. She’s 9 now and we see her every week, she’s still a part of our family pup pack. Her and our youngest Bentley are inseparable. She’s at our house right now actually!

We love the fact Addison got involved in your shoot for us as well. Who’s next in your pack and what’s their story?

Bella is the next youngest and she just turned four. She is a Bernedoodle and a big teddy bear! She was Chad’s before I met him and now she’s both of our baby girl!

She is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. I love her so much. She’s so devoted to us it’s incredible, she loves to cuddle!

She has such an expressive face, doesn’t she? That leaves Bentley as the youngest, how did he come into your life?

Bentley just turned one. He’s a Pug/Terrier mix and a hysterical handful! Chad and I wanted to rescue a dog together, so we went to the shelter for weeks and found this sweetheart and fell in love! He’s the only boy dog and so different than the rest of the pack, but by far the most sensitive and affectionate, which we didn’t think was possible given how loving our other pups are.

Has your family always owned dogs?

I actually never liked dogs growing up because I had a terrible experience when one chased me when I was around eight. My parents never had dogs either, so they were never around me, ever. They always scared me and I never understood why people liked them. I always had cats, but I was so allergic to them and couldn’t get too close.

How did your love of dogs come about?

When we moved to California we brought our cat out with us and unfortunately she went missing after a few years living here. We went to the shelter for weeks and weeks looking for her but to no avail. The last day that we went (two months into looking), I was so heartbroken that I decided to take a stroll and ended up in the dog section. I walked past the kennel that Stevie was in and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw her face. She just got me. So I decided I wanted to adopt her. My family was so confused, but I cried so hard because I knew I needed her. I went through a bidding war at the shelter for her, but was determined to win out and thank God I did. She changed my whole life and my families perspective on dogs. And now look at us all! (laughs)

You’ve been playing Sally Spectra on ‘The Bold & the Beautiful’, the great-niece of the original Sally Spectra played by Dalene Conley, for some time now. Looking back, what’s been the best – or most terrifying – thing about taking over the iconic name on the show?

The fact that it is such an iconic role and I have the privilege of playing it is beyond rewarding to me. I wanted to do it justice with my interpretation and blend a little of her traits with my own ideas. It’s been such an incredible role to play!

Separately, our readers might recognise you from the gaming world too. You’ve just brought to life the character Jesse Faden in the video game ‘CONTROL’ and you’ve been the voice behind other memorable characters over the years. Tell us about the character you play in ‘CONTROL’.

It’s a third person, action adventure, paranormal thriller game and I play Jesse Faden, a strong and curious girl with a past full of questions and secrets. She’s so much fun to play and the world is beyond cool and weird! I can’t wait to have everyone play.

What’s the best thing about recording for games compared to filming for TV shows or films? Does it give you more freedom?

It’s actually more difficult because I don’t have much of anything to react off of. My imagination is working full force to create everything because sometimes I don’t have anyone else shooting with me. I enjoy it so much though, it’s really made me a stronger actor!

Of the characters you’ve played over the years, which most resembles each of your dogs’ personalities and why?

I’d say Jesse Faden is most like Stevie!

I did a TV movie last year called ‘A Friend’s Obsession’ where I played this spunky girl names Brooke and I’d say Bentley is a lot like her! Addie is a lot like Cassi who I played in a film called ‘Displacement’ – very dramatic and athletic!

Bella is a bit more difficult because she’s very overly sweet, a bit skittish and very shy when she doesn’t know you and I haven’t played many roles like that. Maybe one day!

And what about you, which of your characters most channels you?

They all have a bit of me in them. That’s how I relate to them and make it something I research and understand. I’d say Sally is probably the most like me, but not completely.

She’s got drive, spunk, she’s outspoken and loyal. She’s definitely more self-deprecating and doubtful than I am though. I am not much that way, I try to always stay positive.

You’re originally from Texas so we’re wondering what life is like for a dog in Texas versus Los Angeles, your current home. Are there many differences?

It’s become more even. Dogs were always welcomed in Texas that I noticed. People love dogs in their trucks and running free in the field. But Los Angeles has become saturated with dog friendly spots, which I love.

Moving onto some of our more playful and quick-fire questions…so, all in the name of fun and based on personalities alone, which breeds of dog come to mind when you think of these dog loving soap stars and why:

Denise Richards (plays Shauna Fulton in ‘The Bold & the Beautiful’) – Pomeranian! She’s so stunning and well put together, but she’s strong and spunky!

Chad Duell (plays Michael Corinthos in ‘General Hospital’) – A Beagle! He’s very curious and loyal, even-tempered and determined. He’s got lots of wit, but he loves to chill and relax too!

Patrika Darbo (played Shirley Spectra on ‘The Bold & the Beautiful’) – Shih Tzu! She’s so lively and affectionate, very clever and outgoing. I have always thought that.

And what about you, what breed of dog would you be and why?

I’m torn between a Beagle and a Cocker Spaniel, I’d lean more towards Cocker Spaniel though. I am very loving and affectionate towards those I love. I love tasks and obstacles to overcome. I’m very expressive, love to talk and can be excitable. (laughs)

What’s your current favourite:

Way to Spend Your Downtime – Hanging with my family and pups. Working out, hiking or having game nights with friends.

TV Show – I’d say ‘Friends’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Roswell’ and ‘The Bold Type’.

Book – Definitely ‘The Power Of Now’, ‘The Mastery of Love’ and ‘Blood Lily’.

Movie – I’m very into documentaries at the moment.

What are your dogs’ current favourite:

Places to Visit – The dog park and the dog beach. And my parents’ house!

Games to Play – Fetch or ‘go find it’ with treats or fake lizards.

Activity to Interrupt – At home when I’m dancing or working out, or stretching sessions. I’ve learned to dance with them, stretch under them and workout around them! I find it endearing, it gets them wanting to play and that makes me happy!

Finish the following sentence: my dogs are…

My happy place, my saving grace, my safe haven and my teachers.

What one life lesson do you think we should learn from dogs?

To enjoy the little things in life.

My dogs get excited about the smallest things and it’s so important to have things to look forward to. Also, Stevie sunbathes outside first thing every morning and always has, and now Bentley does too.

It’s opened my eyes to appreciate nature’s wonders that we sometimes take for granted. Stop, just breathe and take in the beauty of the day.

And finally, if Stevie, Bentley, Bella and Addison could speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask them?

I’d want to know what each of their favourite things to do was so I could make sure to do it every day with them.

What do you think they’d say?

I think Stevie would say car rides and exploring. Bentley would say playing and Bella would say cuddling and Addison would say running.

But most importantly, I’d love to know what they each sound like! Chad and I always try to pretend we know what their voices would be like so I’d like to see how they truly sound!

Many thanks, Courtney!

(Article source: K9 Magazine) 

Canine communication: How dogs invite other dogs to play

Dogs are at their hearts pack animals, and the canine species as a whole is a very social one. Dogs actively enjoy and benefit from the company of other dogs, and unless a dog has never really spent time around others or has had a bad experience with strange dogs, they will proactively look for playmates and other dogs to spend time with.

Dogs Playing

Providing opportunities for your dog to socialise with others is something that all dog owners need to do, and half an hour every day playing with a mixed group in a dog park is the highlight of many dog’s lives.

We rarely need to encourage social dogs to play or approach others, and in fact, too much human intervention into play and canine communication can actually hamper, rather than help dogs to get on. Dogs have a wide and diverse range of communication cues that they use with each other in dog-speak, and which occur rather differently to how dogs communicate with people in their place.

If you’ve ever wondered how your dog and another dog began to get friendly in the first place or how dogs find others that want to play with them, you’ve probably already seen this happen in practice plenty of times already without really knowing what was going on.

A dog that is playful and looking for a buddy or a partner in crime to join a game will be proactive about finding one, and in doing so, they will display a range of behaviours and actions to another dog or dogs to get their message across.

In this article we will share some of the ways in which your dog might be inviting another dog to play – and once you know them, you’ll be able to spot them in future. Read on to learn more.

An indirect approach

Well socialised dogs understand the importance of displaying good manners when meeting others, and directly approaching another dog head on with a direct gaze is considered to be the height of poor canine manners, or even a threat. When a dog wants to approach another one and does so appropriately, they will take the long way round, approaching from the side, avoiding staring, and reading and responding to the other dog’s reactions. Your dog will put themselves in sight and range of the other dog to get their attention, and then their behaviour will depend on the other dog’s response.

Approach and retreat

Approaching another dog then backing off, or retreating when the other dog is paying attention is one of the clearest canine communication signals that indicate that a dog is trying to tempt another dog to play. They’re triggering the other dog’s interest and saying “come with me,” and another dog that is themselves willing to play can then choose to follow, or make a counter-invitation in their turn.

Eye contact and engagement with body language

Direct eye contact between dogs is often seen as a challenge or threat, but dogs can still make eye contact and use their gaze and direction to indicate that something is interesting them without turning it into a thousand-yard stare.

If your dog is paying attention to another dog or watching them play, they’ll be focusing in that direction, and if they want to join in but not make a direct approach, they will observe the play, look engaged, and display positive, happy body language like a relaxed but interested stance and a wagging tail.

Bowing

Bowing – dropping the front legs to the ground – is a common part of canine play, which serves as both the opener to a game, and an indication of good spirits. Bowing is polite play signal that lets the other dog know that the first dog wants to play and isn’t going to be pushy or dominant, and may be willing to let the other dog be the boss, or play a role-reversal game in which the other dog is given the opportunity to be in charge.

Pawing and mouthing

If your dog is confident with others and the dog they want to play with is receptive to an approach and engaged with them, your dog might instigate a game by pawing at the other dog, or even mouthing at their head and ears.

This will of course annoy a dog that is not interested in playing, in which case a well socialised dog will read their cues to back off, but for another dog that does want to play, this can prompt them into a game.

Tempting with a toy

Finally, taking a toy for your dog along to the dog park isn’t always a good idea if your dog is very possessive about their resources and doesn’t want to share them, but for dogs that are happy to share their toys with others, they might use these toys as an invitation to play.

Much as the kid who brings the football to the park has guaranteed themselves a place on the team as a result of this, your dog might use a ball, Frisbee or stick as bait to tempt another dog to come and play, or to try to take the toy from them!

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes) 

Chomping canines: 6 things dogs like to chew that are bad for them

Chewing is a natural canine behaviour, and one that can be very rewarding for dogs. When puppies are young and growing in their adult teeth, they actively need to chew to help the new teeth to break through the gums properly, and to ease the pain and pressure of teething.

Chew

Even adult dogs retain a strong urge to chew things, and this can help to keep their teeth clean and healthy, allow an outlet for their natural urges, and keep dogs entertained quietly while you’re out or doing other things.

However, you should choose appropriate dog-safe chew toys for your pet that are the right shape and size for your dog, and specially designed for the purpose, as such products are intended to stand up to the rigours of a chewing dog without causing them any harm.

Dogs, on the other hand, will chew all sorts of things if left to their own devices, as many of us are all too aware of – and this can be expensive and frustrating if your dog targets your child’s toys or your favourite shoes.

However, chewing inappropriate things can also cause harm to your dog, and compromise their health and wellness – and there are several things you should always stop your dog from chewing for this very reason.

Read on to find out about six things that dogs often like to chew, but that can be bad for them and so, should not be permitted.

Sticks and branches

Dogs will often pick up twigs, sticks and even branches in some cases for more ambitious or larger dogs, particularly if you’ve forgotten to bring along their favourite ball or Frisbee on their walks.

Whilst dogs have been picking up sticks to chew and play with for more or less as long as they’ve been domesticated, twigs and sticks can be dangerous for your dog, and you shouldn’t let them chew them.

Twigs and sticks often have sharp ends, and they can develop jagged edges and splinters when your dog chews them, risking injuries or swallowing sharp pieces that can cause internal damage too.

Additionally, the bark of some tree species can be toxic to dogs, so always discourage them from picking up sticks and provide alternatives instead.

Cooked bones

Raw bones of the right type and size can make for a very rewarding dog treat, whether you choose your bones from the butcher’s counter or purchase a pre-packed specially prepared or treated bone for the purpose.

However, you shouldn’t give your dog cooked bones from meals you’ve prepared at home, because the cooking process makes the bones drier and brittler, and more apt to splinter and split in just the same way that twigs and sticks can.

The exception to this is bones that are specially cooked for dogs and marked accordingly, as these are heat treated in such a way as to kill any bacteria or parasites without increasing the chances of the bone becoming fragile or splintering when chewed.

Fillings and stuffing from toys

If your dog likes to rip up their toys, make sure that you only give them toys designed for dogs and that don’t have a loose or soft filling that might be toxic or dangerous.

Some dogs that are very destructive with their toys will chew and eat the stuffing, squeakers or filling, which can cause a wide range of problems and that may necessitate surgery to resolve. If you have children, keep their own toys well away from your dog too!

Painted or treated wood

We’ve already mentioned the fact that twigs and sticks aren’t suitable for dogs, but you should also ensure that your pooch doesn’t chew other types of wood too, particularly those that have been painted, varnished, creosoted, or otherwise treated.

Things like chair legs, wooden off-cuts and fencing panels sometimes become targets for canine chewing, and if you’ve ever sawn a piece of wood up, you will know how rough and jagged wood can be once cut or marked – and your dog’s teeth can have the same effect, producing dangerously sharp areas and splinters.

Additionally, paint, wood treatment agents and other similar products are often toxic to dogs in their own right, so steer well clear!

Stones or rocks

If your dog can’t find a toy and they love to have something to carry around or chew, they may take to picking up stones or rocks instead.

This makes little sense to us as people, but a reasonable number of dogs have quite the budding pet rock collection going on in their favourite hiding places!

However, stones and rocks can be jagged and sharp, and even smooth ones can pose a choking or swallowing hazard for your dog. Chewing on a stone or rock will wear down your dog’s teeth, and can also chip or damage them too.

Strings, laces and ribbons

Some dogs are serial shoe destroyers, and the sight of the dog making off with a much-loved trainer is a common start to the morning for many of us.

Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to play with or make off with your shoes anyway because they’re not appropriate and also, costly to replace – but shoelaces, and even things like ribbons and string can all be quite appealing to mischievous dogs!

Don’t let your dog chew anything containing a string, lace or ribbon, or any of these items on their own, as they pose a choking hazard, and if swallowed, can cause internal complications too.

By providing your dog with a range of dog-safe, appropriate chew toys, you should be able to curb their interest in other things – and protect your dog’s health in the process.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes) 

Dog Ozzie eats £160 and lands owners with £130 vet’s bill

Labradoodle Ozzie found himself in the dog house after wolfing down £160 in bank notes and landing his owners with a £130 vet’s bill to remove the chewed up money from his belly.

Ozzie

BBC News reports that owners Judith and Neil Wright believe they can reclaim just £80 from the Bank of England.

The bank reimburses damaged money if at least half a bank note can be produced.

“He has been known to eat other items before but never money,” said Mrs Wright, 64, from Llandudno.

The Wrights returned home from a shopping trip to find the torn up bank notes scattered all over the kitchen and hallway after the money had been posted through the letterbox in an envelope.

Ozzie was taken to the town’s Murphy & Co Veterinary Practice where his stomach was emptied of the cash, a plastic money bag and a circular money clip.

A spokesman said they had never seen a dog eat money before.

The Wrights have vowed to fit a cage to their letterbox to prevent any further problems. “Thankfully he has made a full recovery,” said Mr Wright, 66.

(Story source: BBC News) 

Why are dogs so obsessed with human underwear?

I mean, some dogs really are obsessed with it, aren’t they?

Underwear Dog

Take Maggie-May for example. She’s a 22 month old Shih Tzu and recently she gave her owners a shock after swallowing a size 12 sock, which her owners discovered missing after she was spotted playing with the laundry.

Maggie-May’s owner, Jessica Tolley, said: “We were at home when Maggie-May was chewing and playing with a sock, when all of a sudden, she bolted off the chair and started making a funny noise.

“I realised there was a good chance she had swallowed it but my partner Ross and I could hardly believe it and we got up and started trying to find it. “Although Maggie-May seemed fine, the sock was nowhere to be seen after we searched high and low, so we took her to the vets. “All the way there, she was acting as if there was nothing wrong and I was convinced there was no way a dog her size could swallow a sock so big.”

Luckily, vet Naomi Roberts at the Beech House Veterinary Centre in Warrington were able to retrieve the sock and Maggie-May was no worse off but rather seemed to enjoy the adventurous day out!

Jessica, who has recently had her first baby Alannah, added: “On the way home from the vets, Maggie-May was sat in the car like she’d been out for an adventure.

“We are now very careful not to let her have socks any more but she is automatically drawn to the washing basket and always goes to get one out so we have to be very vigilant. “I never thought she would be able to swallow one so big.”

“But she must’ve sucked and chewed it so much that it slid easily down her throat. “I have just had my first baby so I’m going to have to be extra careful she doesn’t get her paws on any little socks.”

(Story source: Dog Magazine) 

Paul O’Grady vows to help homeless pets and their owners, joining Streetvet team

Well known animal lover Paul O’Grady has pledged his support to a social enterprise helping animals living on the streets after taking to the streets of London with StreetVet for the ITV show ‘For The Love Of Dogs’.

Paul

Dog Magazine reports that StreetVet was established in 2017 by vets Jade Statt and Sam Joseph and is a growing initiative now made up of more than 300 vets and nurses caring for pets across nine cities in the UK.

After joining their volunteers one evening to see how the organisation helps homeless pets, dog lover Paul, 63, wanted to do more to help and has become an ambassador for StreetVet.

Speaking about the decision and work he saw firsthand, Paul said, “When we were filming ‘For the Love of Dogs’ we went out on the streets with StreetVet to see firsthand what they do for the homeless and their pets. “I was really impressed with the dedication of the team and want to support them to enable them to reach even more homeless people around the country.”

StreetVet provides free veterinary care for homeless pet owners. They recognised that pets – mostly dogs – living on the streets needed access to treatment and began giving health checks, worming and flea treatment and vaccinations and surgical treatment when required.

It resonated with their profession and soon they had hundreds of volunteers going out with backpacks in their own time. As well as 450 dogs, they’ve treated 15 cats.

Co-founder Jade Statt, 39, said she was thrilled to have Paul’s support: “We were hoping to find someone who understands the bond between an owner and their dog and that person is Paul.

“To our homeless owners, their dog is their lifeline. Paul is known for his love of dogs and he completely grasps this relationship. “Paul is warm and compassionate and can relate to people from all walks of life and cares deeply about human and animal welfare. “That’s what StreetVet is about. We are humbled he’s agreed to work with us as an ambassador to make people aware of the homeless crisis and the struggles of our clients and their dogs.”

StreetVet relies on donations, volunteers and industry support to provide vital supplies and equipment, and help patients. They have been nominated for the Animal Friends 100k Charity Giveaway and are awaiting confirmation of their charity status.

Jade said, “This is an incredible opportunity for StreetVet to be awarded enough funds to expand into more cities and help more animals. “We’re faced with an increasing homeless population and we do all we can on limited resources, but this funding really would enable us to do so much more.”

(Story source: Dog Magazine)

‘What a good boy!’ lifesaving labrador awarded animal OBE

A Medical Detection Dog from Kent, who is trained to detect changes in blood sugar levels for his diabetic owner, has been honoured for his outstanding devotion to his owner, receiving the PDSA Order of Merit – the animal equivalent of the OBE – at a special ceremony.

Obe

Dog Magazine reports that during his seven-year career, the eight-year-old Labrador named Pal alerted his owner, Claire Pearson, to over 12,000 separate blood-sugar changes. If not caught in time, these could have killed her. His interventions have prevented countless NHS emergency call-outs and resulted in fewer hospital admissions for Claire.

Reacting to her canine companion’s award, Claire said, “I am beyond proud of my amazing furry boy for what he has done for me and my family. He gave my sons their childhood back and gave me a whole new lease of life.”

Pal’s story

Claire Pearson has lived with Type 1 Brittle Diabetes since birth. But her life, and her family’s lives, changed dramatically when she fell seriously ill with end-stage renal failure in 2003. This meant she needed a pancreas and kidney transplant, and faced dialysis three times a week.

Claire was rendered unable to tell when she was hypoglycaemic (hypo), which meant that her young children would often return home from primary school to find her collapsed. Her health diagnosis plunged her into severe depression and she was later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – a sideeffect of being told she had a life-limiting condition. She was left with little confidence and unable to leave the house on her own.

The cycle of depression and hypo-induced comas continued for six years. Her two sons became young carers by default and the family’s plight became increasingly desperate. In the depths of despair, Claire saw an advert for Medical Detection Dogs and applied for assistance. In 2012, Claire was introduced to 16-month-old Labrador, Pal, and their remarkable relationship began.

On the very first night in his new home, Pal alerted Claire to a hypo as she slept – nudging her face and ribs with his nose and licking her. He does this by smelling the chemical changes in Claire’s breath. His ability to do this has stopped Claire from falling into hypo-induced comas on countless occasions.

Discussing Pal’s abilities, Claire said: “He is trained to fetch my blood sugar monitor, glucose, insulin and will even bring me my phone if I need it. If I’m too ill to help myself, Pal will fetch someone or push our panic button at home, which alerts the emergency services.”

In addition, Pal has accompanied Claire to all her dialysis sessions for five years, helping to keep her calm and happy as she undergoes treatment.

“Having Pal gave me the confidence to leave the house again,” explained Claire. “I started joining local fundraising activities and even giving talks about how wonderful Pal is and how he’s helped me reclaim my life. It was truly life-changing and I can never repay him for giving me peace of mind, knowing that my boys wouldn’t face coming home from school to find me dangerously ill.”

In November 2018, Claire received a life-changing kidney and pancreas transplant. The transplant meant that Claire is no longer a diabetic, but Pal has continued to look after Claire – alerting her to changes in her blood sugar which could indicate early-stage organ rejection.

Claire explains: “Since the transplant, on two occasions Pal has alerted me and when I’ve called the hospital, they have asked me to head straight in. Both times it turned out that my body was starting to act against my new pancreas, so Pal continues to save me to this day! “I hope he will be able to retire soon. He is certainly slowing down now that he doesn’t need to watch me so closely and is enjoying lots more naps and sleepy cuddles than he did before my transplant.”

(Story source: Dog Magazine)

Plants & pets: Spring gardening advice for you and your pets

It’s the start of the growing season, an exciting time for gardeners. Our advice will help you start growing now to make sure you don’t miss out on the joys of spring.

pets and plants

The change of the seasons is an exciting time; a time when we can get stuck into the nitty-gritty of garden maintenance and start planning for the coming summer. However, those plans more often than not ignore the needs of our pets. Our dogs and cats are as fond of the garden as we are, so it makes sense to devote some time to ensuring their is nothing in there that could do them harm. Here’s our list of things to do in the garden over the coming weeks, plus a few ideas on creating a pet friendly space.

• Now is the time to start sowing seeds. You’ll need fresh compost, seed trays, modules, fleece and netting.

• Once you’ve got these you can then start to think about the food your garden can provide you with – sow peas, plant potatoes in the ground or in planters, plant out onion sets and asparagus and if you have a greenhouse sow strawberry seeds.

• If you have any bare soil, sow green manures on it to ensure that the soil gets the nutrients it needs. Try mustard, phacelia or tares. Dig in overwintered green manures.

• Apply compost or manure to overwintered crops. Mulch fruit.

• Get soil ready by warming it under fleece, plastic sheets or cloches. It should be warm enough to sow seeds once the grass starts growing.

• Rake the lawn to remove moss and weeds and service the mower ready for grass growth. Fork muddy patches to improve drainage, feed and re-seed as necessary.

• Hoe to keep weeds down, on dry days. Collect the weeds to prevent re-rooting.

• Tidy the garden, removing dead plants and so on.

• It is also important that you’ve completed all winter pruning before any buds start to burst. Don’t prune spring plants until they finish flowering.

• Now is the time to be vigilant for pests multiplying as the weather warms up, so deal with them straight away before they can breed.

• If you haven’t already got one, now is the time to either invest in or build yourself a compost bin. You can visit Home Composting.org.uk to find out how you can build your own compost bin or buy one from The Organic Gardening Catalogue at The Organic Catalogue.com.

Your garden and pets

Digging

It is instinctive for dogs to dig, however, it is not behaviour that most gardeners want to encourage and it can cause health concerns, if stones and gravel get caught in paws. Keeping your dog fed and stimulated with other activities is one of the best ways of stop him from digging. You can distract them with toys, a ball, or a small morsel of food. Basic obedience training will keep your dog away from fragile plants and fertilised earth, which is particularly attractive to dogs.

Animals that eat plants, compost or manure must be dissuaded since they are at risk of getting a taste for it and transmitting disease.

Repellents

An easy trick to keep your dog away from fresh garden beds is to sprinkle forbidden areas with specific pet/garden repellents that come in granule or spray form. Read instructions carefully before using any garden chemical at all. Even so called “natural” products can be dangerous to some animals. To deter cats, oil of citronella should do the trick as they hate the smell of citrus. Coleus Canina, also known as the scaredy-cat plant, is very effective to repel cats and dogs. It is available from most garden centres. Another option is commercial products from your local pet shop.

Litter Box

To avoid brown patches on your lawn, create an outdoor litter box for both cats and dogs. To integrate it into the garden and offer your pet some privacy you can also surround the litter tray with plants. Make sure that the plants are safe by checking the list of poisonous plants for animals at the Kennel Club.

Ten common poisonous plants for dogs

1. Autumn Crocus

The Autumn Crocus can cause an intense burning sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, liver and kidney damage, and even heart arrhythmia. Although the entire plant is considered toxic to dogs, the toxicity is highest in the bulbs of the plant.

2. Azalea

Ingestion of just a few leaves of Azaleas can cause oral irritation with subsequent vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. In severe cases, ingestion can cause a drop in blood pressure, coma, and even death.

3. Daffodil

Although the entire plant is considered poisonous to dogs, it is the Daffodil bulb that is the most toxic. Ingestion of any portion of a Daffodil can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, arrhythmias, convulsions, and a serious drop in blood pressure.

4. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia, also known as Dumb Cane, is a common houseplant that can cause oral irritation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing in dogs. It can also create a burning sensation of the lips, tongue, and mouth.

5. Tulip

Although the entire plant of a tulip is considered toxic, it is the bulb that is the most poisonous to dogs. Ingestion can cause significant oral irritation, excessive drooling and nausea.

6. Kalanchoe

Also known as the Mother-In-Law plant, the Kalanchoe is a common house plant with small dense flowers. When ingested it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. In rare cases, heart arrhythmias can occur from a poisoning.

7. Sago Palm

The Sago Palm is an extremely poisonous plant to dogs when ingested, causing bloody vomiting and diarrhoea, bleeding disorders, liver failure and death.

8. Oleander

Oleander is a popular ornamental flowering shrub commonly found in the southern United States and California. Its cardiac glycosides, similar to digoxin, are very toxic to dogs and can cause fatal heart abnormalities, muscle tremors, incoordination, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

9. Cyclamen

Also known as Sowbread, the Cyclamen is a common household flowering plant with poisonous properties (i.e., terpenoids) to dogs. It can cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, heart abnormalities, seizures and death.

10. Amaryllis

Especially popular around Easter, the lovely Amaryllis is also poisonous to dogs. Its toxins can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, and tremors in dogs.

(Article source: Various)