Have you ever seen a fat bird? No, probably not. But fat cats and dogs are, unfortunately, not an uncommon sight. I have to admit that my dogs are not on the thin side. I try to cut back on their regular meals but then the treats are slipped in here and there and now the veterinarian is giving me the evil eye. “He had lost weight,” he says, “What happened?” Well…
One reason is that we tend to equate feeding with love. “Good doggy,” I say and offer up a tasty morsel. Of course, if they are in the car with me, I have to reward them for being so well-behaved. (There’s a bag of treats in the glove compartment.) And I always keep a pocket full of treats in case I need to call them back to me in a hurry. I snap the clicker a couple of times, and they come running for their treat. Such good dogs. Then if I want to put them in their “special room” while we eat or sit with our human visitors, they need a treat for enticement. And so it goes.
Thank goodness they like to run after the ball or I just don’t know what they would look like.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it’s bath time, head for the hills.
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.)
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.
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”.
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.)
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.)
You’re having trouble getting up in the morning. It takes a person about 12 weeks to turn repeated action into a habit. It takes a dog about four days, especially if there’s something in it for the dog. I took my dog for a walk two mornings in a row. Now he expects a walk every morning. I don’t always wake up to my clock, but the persistent thumping of my dog against my bed will inevitably get me up. (The only other animal I would recommend is a rooster.)
You need reminding to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. The beeping noise the manufacture installed to warn you of a low battery will send your dog into painful hurling. You will have no peace until you change those batteries.
You need a butler. The minute someone knocks at the door your dog will be there to greet your visitor.
You want your favorite chair kept warm while you’re gone. There is nothing Fido likes better than to occupy your chair during your absence.
You have a wood burning appliance and you need lots of kindling. Some dogs are absolute masters at finding every loose stick in any area, even in a field where a tree has not grown in twenty years.
You need a water dowser. Any Labrador owner will tell you that if there’s water within half a mile, their dog will find it.
You want to hone your baseball skills. Just accidentally drop your piece of chicken and see which one of you — you or your dog – catch it midair.
You want one sided conversations. Dogs are the best listeners. Some may even tilt their head to ask questions.
You need an excuse for not doing your homework. It stills a good one. My dog ate my blog. Oops.
Someone needs to watch the cat while you’re away. On the other hand, I had a dog and a cat who collaborated during my absence to get a frozen chicken out of the sink.