Things about dogs you were (maybe) afraid to ask

The following are questions I’ve secretly asked myself about my own dogs.  I found the answers through internet research.  Here I provide a short answer, and I have provided links where I found the best information should you want further knowledge.

 

Do dogs have boogers?

My dog has a very long snout so I figured that was the reason I never saw boogers coming out of his nose.  In fact, it is rare to see dogs with anything hanging out of their nose unless they are sick.  Mucus in a dog can be caused by an infection, allergies and injuries.  If your dog has mucus running out of his nose you should bring him to the vet.  This is not the same as little bit of watery discharge, which is normal.

http://www.pawster.com/dogs-boogers/

 

Do dogs dream and have nightmares?

Dogs go through similar sleep stages as humans.  Within 20 minutes of falling asleep a dog will often start to twitch, quiver, paw-swim, and even growl.  What do they dream about?  They often relive the activities they experience during the day.  That is, a dog will dream about chasing a ball, or barking at the mailman, or taking a walk with his pal.  I assume that a working sheep dog will occasionally dream about a flock of sheep.  (I don’t know if he will count them.)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201010/do-dogs-dream

 

 

How often should I trim my dog’s claws?

I was in hospital and afterwards convalescing over several weeks.  When I finally felt well enough to get down to the living-room, I noticed that when my dogs walked across the laminate floor their claws made a clicking noise, a sound that can drive me to distraction.  As soon as I was feeling up to it, I got out the clippers and trimmed their claws.  It’s winter and my dogs don’t get a chance to “file” their claws down on pavement or gravel or rocky surfaces so their claws were quite long.

Some vets recommend you clip a dog’s claws weekly to get him accustomed to the procedure.  I find that if I have the luxury of doing it weekly, I rarely need to use the clipper, I just use a file made special for dog claws.

So when should you clip your dog’s claws?  When he needs it.  Check weekly and try to clip them at least monthly.  Pay special attention to the dew claw which can curl back into the dog’s paw.

 

http://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-often-should-you-cut-your-dogs-nails

 

 

Can a dog outsmart me?

I always thought I’d love to have a border collie.  It seems that they are more than well represented at obedience trials and show trials.  However, I have spoken to a number of border collie owners and  some have actually told me that they would never own another one.  When I asked why, they said, “Because he outsmarts me.”  And I thought, “Oh come on.”

But research proves it.  If you don’t stimulate your smart dog’s brain, he will outsmart you. And that means that he will likely do so in destructive ways like collaborating with the cat to get food off the cupboard—this happened to me with a Labrador Retriever.  Just check these dog shaming pictures.  I think you will see that smart dogs are well represented.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=dog+shaming+hall+of+fame&qpvt=dog+shaming+hall+of+fame&qpvt=dog+shaming+hall+of+fame&qpvt=dog+shaming+hall+of+fame&FORM=IGRE

 

This is my dog’s shaming picture.

resized control my licker
Shaming Photo

 

 

And the following site will give you a list of the most intelligent dogs.

 

https://www.caninejournal.com/most-intelligent-dogs/

 

 

Should I get a breed dog or a mutt?

I have had both and can tell you that either can be a great pet.  People who get a breed dog may want to enter it in breed competitions.  But there are other reasons to get a dog with a pedigree.

You should get a breed dog if you want a certain height or strength or personality.  For instance, if you are looking for a dog that loves winter and might haul your child in a sleigh, you will probably be looking at a Husky or even a St. Barnard.

But keep in mind that there are never any guarantees.  I like Shelties because they are not high enough to reach the table (and steal food)  or strong enough to overwhelm me on a walk, but they are a hardy enough to go hiking– which happens to be my favourite pastime.  However, I had one Sheltie that was such a slow walker I had to wait up for him all the time on open trails.  This same dog would run through the woods when I took him hiking on trails through forests.  So, much to my disappointment, I ended up leaving him at home when I went for a hike.  To be fair, I also had a mutt who would take off when he was hiking and then “sneak” back.  He looked exactly like a coyote so this was quite an annoying habit.  Seeing a coyote-like animal coming at you at a slow, determined pace through the trees can make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.

Coyote hunting in snow

All the other dogs I’ve had were perfect companions, stayed by my side, and never wandered off.

Here is a breed finder that may help you decide if you want a certain pedigree.

http://www.vetstreet.com/breed-finder

The Queen’s Dog of Choice

Female Welsh corgi dog

It is hard to imagine this little dog herding cattle, but that is exactly what he was bred to do.  In reality, his shortness gives him an advantage because it allows him to avoid cow hooves.  He nips at the cattle’s heels and then quickly gets out of the way with great agility.

There are two breeds, the Cardigan, which has a larger head, and the Pembroke.   Cardigans have long tails while the Pembroke has a docked tail.

The dog originated in Wales.   This breed has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

Although we more often see pictures of the tan coloured Corgi, it also comes in other colours including black and white and merle.    The dog stands between 10 to 12 inches at shoulder height.

The Corgi has a nice personality.   It likes children and makes a great family dog.  However, it may not always be tolerant of other dogs.  This little dog has lots of energy and loves to play ball, and takes well to agility and obedience training.   Its short fur means he does not need special grooming like my shelties require.  And this is the Queen’s dog of choice.

 

Okay…so it’s the perfect little dog.  Not quite.  It is known to be a barker and to be stubborn.  It also likes to eat (who doesn’t) and may easily become obese if not checked.  It can weigh up to 30 pounds.  Anything more than that may mean a diet adjustment.

10 Rules for Dogs

  1. Never give up. If your owner (master, mommy/daddy) doesn’t get that you want to go out the first time you bring the leash, try and try again.  And if he (or she) still ignores you, begin dancing around like a bee providing GPS directions for the hive.  This will show him that it’s “high time” for a trip to the outside washroom.  Remember you know the right “time”.  You’re a watch dog.
  2. If another dog goes near your dish, growl (practise this with the family cat). However, if a dog urinates on your owner’s leg, pretend you didn’t see a thing.
  3.  If you have had a disagreement with a dog bigger than you, hide behind your owner when you see that dog coming. If, like Bean, you actually nipped the dog because he stood over you and pretended to be in love, hide behind your bigger brother who will be hiding behind your owner.
  4. If you actually had a fight with another dog (about your size), and nothing got settled during that dispute, insist on trying to get at that other dog every time you see him walking with his owner. Being the responsible dog owner, your owner will move off the walking trail into the brambles and thickets and will have to spend an hour getting burrs out of your fur.  The other dog owner will have insisted on bringing you and your enemy as close together as possible.  This other dog owner will smile and say “Nice evening isn’t it?” as he passes on the trail with his dog growling (uttering insults) at you. This will make you even more committed to getting at that s.o.b. the next time.
  5. When it’s bath time, head for the hills.
  6. When it’s grooming time, hide behind the Mugho pine that grew huge due to neglect. Ignore your owner when he says, “You could be more cooperative; groomers cost money you know.”  Definitely turn the other cheek if he says, “Come here you little so and so.  Who do you think buys your food?” He really doesn’t mean to lay on the guilt.  He has just lost it because he trampled his wife’s prized tea rose.  (Don’t forget to act fearful yourself when he catches it from the wife.  It’s called moral support and shows how you really are man’s best friend.  Tuck your tail between your legs and start to skulk away.  That’ll make her wonder who did what.  (It’s kind of like providing your owner with an alibi.)
  7. When it’s time to go to the veterinarian, refuse to get in the car. At all other times, insist that you’re part of the family and should not be left behind.  If they don’t get this, bark and jump in the door as they are existing the house.  If they still don’t get it, howl the whole time they’re away.  Make sure the neighbours hear.
  8. When you finally get to the off-leash dog park, get in with the most disobedient dog there. Forget all your training.  When your owner says “Come”, pretend you heard the word “Run”.
  9. When you have gas, insist on sleeping on her side of the bedroom. That’ll teach her to disallow dogs on the bed.  Rules, rules, rules.  Who needs them?  Also, never let on that pop actually takes you up on the bed when she’s away on business trips.  (It would make her feel that any warm body will do.)
  10. Oh yeh, and when she is away on those business trips, always tilt your head in that cute way so pop insists she talks to you over the phone even if all her co-workers are listening.  Do the same when he calls to say he’s at a union meeting or having a beer with the guys from work.  (This will show her that you aren’t playing favourites.)

Stopping your dog from anticipating.

I could have titled this – When your dog gets too smart for his own good.

 

You are training your dog and you notice that he has already moved on to the next trick. Or, you ask him to do something and he does every other trick he knows. Or, he does the last trick he finally learned no matter what command you give him.

 

  1. Cross your arms. Don’t look at dog. This will usually calm the dog down.

 

  1. If at first you thought this behavior was cute, you probably gave the dog positive reinforcement even if you didn’t realize you were doing so: a smile, a laugh, telling him/her it was cute. (I am so guilty of this. Sinatra always learns the tricks first so when Mr. Beans learned Scoot (going through my legs backwards) before Sinatra, I was so thrilled that I overdid the praise. Now he wants to Scoot all the time.) So, be mindful that you aren’t giving positive reinforcement unless the dog does the trick you want.

 

  1. Work on one or two commands only per session. Make sure the dog does only those commands. (This is boring, right? I hear you.)

 

  1. Ask for only one command at once. I am also guilty of this. Sit and Down seem to go so well together, but I can see how saying them one after the other could make the dog do them one after the other all the time. So mix it up.

 

  1. Watch your hand signals. Dogs really cue in on hand signals. I realized how close my hand signals for Scoot and Spin and Go Through were so I changed them up a bit.

 

  1. If the dog does something you don’t want, absolutely no treat. It might be cute that the dog gets your slippers, but if you didn’t ask for them, don’t treat out of guilt.

 

  1. Slow down. Here’s another one I’m guilty of. Once the dog knows a trick, I am anxious to move on. Sinatra is an especially fast learner so I have to give Mr. Beans time to catch up. This means putting Sinatra in a sit position and leaving him there to “watch”. He doesn’t like it, but I do reward him for staying put, so he does it.

 

  1. Dogs are show offs. Sinatra finally learned “You’re under arrest.” He is so impressed with himself that he wants to show off his new trick all the time. I ask him to “Go Around” and he does his new trick. He learned “Go Around” a long time ago so he doesn’t find it a challenge anymore. He’d much rather do his new trick. Again, no positive reinforcement.

 

Here’s a story that will illustrate just how much a command can get into a dog’s head. My husband and I were visiting my mother-in-law. She was buzzing around – as mothers often do when their children visit—and my husband wanted her to sit down and just enjoy our visit. So he said, “Ma, sit down.” And didn’t our dog sit down obediently.

Another example:

We used to clap whenever the dog caught the ball off the wall without having to chase it down. In other words, she was catching it right off the bounce on the wall. One summer we were traveling with her across the country and we stopped at a free outdoor Jazz Festival. Every time the audience clapped, she thought it was for her and she was looking around very perplexed. So, choose your praise signal carefully.

 

TEN EASIEST TRICKS TO TEACH A DOG ACCORDING TO FRANK & BEANS

I could have called this post New Years Resolutions for Your Dog.  Here goes.

I can teach Sinatra just about anything but Mr. Beans is another matter.  So based on what Mr. Beans has learned so far,  here are the ten easiest tricks for your dog to learn.

  1. Sit –  This is one every dog seems to be able to learn.  Once when I was at my mother in law, I told her “Sit down and I will do the dishes”.  All my dogs automatically sat down.
  2. Down  –  my dog Captain would lie down whenever he had a chance.  He didn’t have to be told!
  3. Paw  – I’m almost hesistant to show that one because one of my dogs was so pesky with that command that I almost had to “unteach” him.
  4. Go around.  Just lead the dog with a treat around you.  In no time he will know this one.
  5. Go through.  Lead the dog through your legs once or twice and he’ll catch on soon enough.
  6. Beg.  This one is easy to teach because you can lead the dog by the nose to a “beg” position.
  7. Roll.  I never thought I could teach this one to Bean but I just gave him a little shove to push him over a couple of times and wham he caught on.
  8. Come – a very important one for the dog to learn.  First he has to sit and stay…but they sure love to come for the treat.
  9. Scoot (go through your legs backwards).  Beans knows this way better than Sinatra and I call him my best Scooter.  He really loves doing this trick.
  10. Bark.  Easiest trick in the book.

Have fun folks.

Golden Retriever

I have always found this dog to be super attractive.  Unfortunately, its size has kept me from actually getting one as I feel it is prudent to get only as much dog as you can handle.

This breed was bred for hunting waterfowl.  It takes 8 to 12 months to train the dog for this work.  In addition, this breed is excellent in obedience, agility, tracking (rescue operations) and as a therapy dog.

As its name implies, this dog is a golden color with shades ranging from light to quite dark.

Height is 20 to 24 inches.  Weight goes from 55 to 80 pounds.

Some retrievers are super affectionate while others are independent.  It is best to respect the dog’s character and not try to mold it to something it is not.  So, even if your friend’s retriever has exactly the qualities you want, your retriever may come out quite a bit different.  Generally though, they make good pets as well as working companions.  Like any working dog, they will need exercise.

Life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.  This breed is prone to hip problems, heart problems as well as eye problems, but then every dog has its day, folks.  The breed I have is supposedly prone to hip problems also and yet none of my 5 shelties  has had hip problems.

Easy to groom.  Sheds no more than most dogs even with that beautiful coat.

The Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever

Karelian Bear Dog

Here in Northern Ontario, Canada people love blueberries and we have them in abundance. Sinatra and Mr. Bean even enjoy them. I had one dog who would sit right in the patch and munch away.

Unfortunately, this year a late frost killed off the blueberry flowers so that in August, when both people and bears go blueberry picking, the crop was very small. The bears were extremely hungry as blueberries are one of their main food choices.  As a result, the bears came into the city in large enough numbers that someone saw one nearly every day.  Sadly,  our Natural Resource Department has been short staffed for close to 10 years and they have reneged their responsibility for the bears. It fell to the local police to kill a number of bears just to keep people safe. This is a choice they made only when the bears seriously endangered people by displaying aggressive behavior like ripping up doors to get into a house.
What does this have to do with dogs? During the time this was all going on with bears digging into garbage right in people’s yard — tearing apart steel garbage containers to get at the bags —someone called the radio station and suggested we bring in some Karelian Bear Dogs to deal with the problem.
A dog willing to chase a bear?  Never heard of it.  After some research here is the lowdown on this formidable dog.

 

Bear on deck – not my deck thank goodness
K.B. Dog chases bear
K.B. Dog chases bear

 

 

 

STATISTICS BLACK BEAR KARELIAN BEAR DOG
Ursus americanus Canis lupus familiaris
Height 2-1/2 to 3 feet 21-24 inches
Weight 90 to 600 lbs 44.1 to 50.7 lbs
Colouring Black with some brown Black and white
Personality Solitary animals, though you will see a mother with her cub(s) as we did. The mother abandons cubs when they are 2 years old. Very social with humans but not other dogs, prone to separation anxiety.
Population Widespread distribution and large population due to admirable ability to adapt.

Smart enough to hibernate in winter.

Originated in Finland where it is highly regarded for its quick reflexes and fearlessness.

 

Looks for home with fireplace to past the winter. (kidding)