Do Our Pets Smile?

Pavlov might have called that happy look on your dog’s face a collection of conditioned reflexes, but now science is catching up with what animal lovers have always known.

According to Professor Nicholas Dodman, head of animal behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine and a regular on Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 and Cats 101, until recently, scientists have generally underestimated the emotional range of animals. He says that today it is widely understood by scientists that mammals do experience primary emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, and happiness and even some secondary emotions like jealously and embarrassment-and they communicate them. Dodman says that dogs even have a sense of humor and laugh with a kind of huffing sound. He describes a study that examines how playing recordings of this laughing sound actually calms shelter dogs.

It’s an expression that disarms possible aggression, much like the human smile.” Cats have naturally bowed mouths, so Dodman says its tricky to pinpoint an actual smile, but they are emotionally sensitive, trainable, and affectionate. Among many other pets, Dodman has enjoyed sharing his home with rats, which he says are “very affectionate and intelligent.” Dodman, points out that your pet might not understand the exact details of your hard day, but you probably sense it is empathetic enough to curl up and listen.

Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado and author of The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Increasing our Compassion Footprint, agrees. “People are often keener observers of animal behavior than they give themselves credit for,” says the leading expert on animal emotions. Bekoff says that scientific research, for the most part, eventually confirms what animal lovers intuit and observe. Part of the lag is due to “studying animals in a box” as Dodman calls it. Dodman, who is giving a series of lectures on dog and cat behavior in November, explains that our advances in understanding the richness and depth of animal’s lives is enhanced by researchers such as Jane Goodall who live with animals in their natural environments.

Bekoff points out that it makes biological and evolutionary sense for animals to experience a range of emotions and be able to show them, just as it does for humans. In a paper published by researchers from the University of Washington on rats, laughter, and joy, the authors describe how young rats vocalize when being tickled. The scientists explain that this laughter is bonding and “may have evolutionary relations to the joyfulness of human childhood laughter commonly accompanying social play.” Bekoff says our emotions might not be exactly analogous to those of animals, but neither are all humans’ emotions the same. “The way two siblings experience the death of a parent might not be exactly the same, but they are both experiencing grief.”

We believe our pets do smile and laugh. Does your pet? Let us know what you think.

 

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Dog Harnesses Can Be A Safe And Effective Training Method

Whether you need a large dog harness for your working dog, or maybe something flashy for a show dog, there are many good choices. Your pet harness should be bought with it’s designed use and your dog’s breeding in mind. All dogs collars and dogs harnesses are meant to be tools, you have to discover the one that is right for your animal and its temperament. Then commit the right allotment of effort required for training your pet . But for lots of dogs, a harness can be a safe and effective training accessory.

Using a harness for walking strong energetic dogs may seem hard to do but some modern harnesses feature elementary but clever techniques such as the front-attachment rings. When a dog pulls, it creates a small tightening or pressure around the chest and near the front legs. These mild but odd feelings stop when the dog stops pulling or lunging. Most dogs promptly associate pulling with uncomfortable sensations. When using this kind of harness, practice, in addition to positive reinforcement, is the key. If your aim is to train a large dog that pulls and lunges on a leash, seek out a training harness with a martingale-type closure that tightens when pulling and loosens up when the pulling ends and the leash relaxes.

If your dog likes to swim, or you live in a rainy, humid climate, you’ll want a more durable nylon harness. For a well-mannered dog that doesn’t get wet very often, leather is an elegant , wear resistant choice. A reflective harness and leash combination might be right if you and your dog are out after dark. After choosing your harness the harness training, like all training, requires repetition and patience. Most owners that try harness training experience very good results.

For the gentle dog that only needs a walking harness, style might be your main consideration and there are lots of designer and fancy made harnesses to choose from. Well made dog harnesses are made from leather or nylon, with each material having many years of use . Some other features to consider are: padding, spikes, buckles, Velcro, front leash attachments or top of the shoulder leash rings.

When doing your research on a dog harness, make sure to take into consideration ALL the features you may require. Don’t forget, just by choosing a harness, you’re taking a step in the right direction that will be protecting your dog’s health and well being.

When searching for a dog car harness you can shop where the pro trainers shop. All the pet harnesses here are top quality.

Ways For Keeping Your Cats Or Dogs Comfortable During Winter

When the cold weather really kicks in, we all worry that our outdoor pets will be okay. There are a few things you can do to make sure they make it through the winter happy and healthy. A heated bowl which is controlled by a thermostat will ensure that your dog’s water never freezes.

If our feet are cold in the house what do we do? Put on slippers or socks obviously, what can our poor dogs do though? Absolutely nothing, so we have to do it for them. A kennel raised above the ground is a good idea, alternatively give them something to sleep on that is elevated above the cold floor.

Dressing up a dog is a well debated issue between dog owners. Even those who look down on it appreciate that jackets, sweaters and the like are necessary items and not fashion statements.

Generally speaking, dog clothes come in 5 sizes, so it’s highly likely that there will be some to fit your dog. They are easy to care for too and can go in your washing machine.

Health supplements taken in conjunction with the winter clothes will keep their joints supple and warm. Drafts along floors and under doors can even affect your indoor dog. There are lighter fleeces and sweaters designed for this kind of use. Even in winter weather your dog needs its exercise, and you can even get dog goggles to protect their eyes from the elements.

Don’t forget about your cat in the winter months either. They have a lot less body fat than dogs and get cold very quickly. There are some great beds for cats that are like a cave which will keep them warm in all temperatures.

Carpets keep a room warm, but if you have laminate or wooden flooring your pet will feel the cold when they are lying down through the day. A rug will keep them warmer, or even better, a heated pet mat. Both dogs and cats will enjoy sleeping on these through the day, especially if they are used to lying beside your bed at night on a carpet. You Can Ensure That Your Beloved Dogs And Cats Can Maintain Their Warmth

The worst thing that you can possibly do is leave your pet outside so that it’s exposed to the elements. Frostbite is nasty at any time, but can be extremely painful for dogs. It’s attacks their tail, feet and ears so make sure they have good shelter.

If you have a cat, see the ways that a  Petsafe cat door might be a great idea as well.

How To Get Rid Of Fleas On Your Cat

Fleas are a problem for cat owners all year round but spring is when they’re at their worst. It is important to treat fleas as they can pass-on disease and in some cases course an allergic reaction.

It has been estimated that the average household contains in the region of 20,000 flea eggs at any one time, which will develop into adult fleas in a matter of weeks! Fleas increase numbers so readily, that just 200 fleas will become ten thousand in a matter of six months.

To stop a flea problem becoming an infestation you need to treat your cat and it’s surrounding area. So what treatments are available to you?

Off the shelf flea treatments:

The main types of treatment available for the treatment of your cat, spot-on remedies, collars, ‘electric shock’ combs, sprays and tablets. The type of remedy you use will largely depend on your cat:

One of the easiest methods to use are flea collars. They’ll be able to protect your cat for up to four weeks. Even so, some owners are uncomfortable having collars on cats.

Spot-on drops are a very effective treatment, protecting your cat from fleas for up to 5 weeks. Some brands offer two types, one for cats or one for dogs, so make sure you get the right one, as a cat can be overdosed using the dog formula.

Electronic combs is a flea comb that emits a mild electric shock, enough to kill the fleas it comes in contact with, but that is harmless to your pet. The benefit here is that no chemicals are involved, but you will need to be thorough with the comb and it can miss the eggs, so you’ll have to keep repeating the process for it to be effective. There is also a slight buzzing noise when it “zaps” a flea that may put off some cats.

Flea sprays are a relatively inexpensive way to treat fleas, but cats need to be over three months of age and be pretty tolerant of the ‘hissing’ noise. Your cat will also need to be placid enough to sit still while you make sure the job is done thoroughly.

Oral Tablets will kill all the fleas on your pet, but it can be difficult to get your cat to swallow a pill unless your well practiced!

More Dog Training Tips

Now is the perfect time to train your dog. A dog of any age can be trained no matter what the kind of behavior you are looking for from your pet. The longer you put off training, the harder it will become for your pet to adapt to that learned behavior. Most people try their hand at training their dog on their own, some seek out a professional dog trainer in their area in order help guide them and reach the results they are looking for.

Finding a dog trainer can be an extensive search depending on what types of problems you want to avoid with your pet. No matter the behavior problem training will help. Potty training, eliminating aggressive behavior, barking or just leash training can all be helped by the use of a professional dog trainer.

No matter if this is your first pet, or one of many, each dog is different and no personality is the same and may require additional help from an outside source. Seeking out a dog trainer is not an admission of being an inadequate owner, but rather an owner that is serious about having a well-behaved dog that is desirable to be around. Working with a trainer will keep you on coarse.

When using the services of a local dog trainer you too can become informed about the benefits of having a structured regime for your pet. Not only will your pet become well behaved, but also it will be a joy to have around and spend more time with at home, out in public or with other dogs. There is less anxiety for both owner and pet when a dog knows its boundaries and limitations of what is expected on a daily basis.

Potty training your pet can happen in a variety of ways depending on how you wish to approach it personally. Often the more time you spend one-on-one with your pet for potty training, the easier it will be for both of you and the desired results will come faster.

The more training you put into your dog the more enjoyment you will get out of it. Using the skills from a local dog trainer can help the process so that you do not become easily frustrated with your new dog before they are fully trained.

There are so many different ways to train your dog you may want to experiment. Some professional dog trainer programs use a clicker in order to get an animal to generate a desired behavior. You may find that this type of training works well for your pet and you can continue the use of a clicker as time goes on to help train them in different areas as well. The only way to see if this type of dog training will work for your pet is to try it for yourself.

There are no rules about what training will work best for you and your pet. There are lots of resources available to you. The benefits of training are that there are many different methods used by local dog trainers, and you are free to choose which ones will work for you and your pet.