New Meal On Wheels Program for Pets Benefits Seniors and Dogs

Without this Meal on Wheels program some seniors citizens choose between feeding themselves or feeding their dogs

There’s no reason to go into the benefits of having a dog here—to anyone reading this, that would be an extreme case of preaching to the choir. The importance of canine companionship for seniors cannot be overemphasized, nor can the joy dogs bring if those seniors do not have all the social outlets that they once did.

That is why it’s particularly distressing to know that many elderly people are foregoing some of their own food to feed their dogs because of a lack of options. It shouldn’t be that way, and thanks to a new local program from Meals on Wheels, it no longer will be that way for many people living in Columbus, Ohio.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Overweight Danes are more likely to have overweight dogs

A new study reports that the incidence of dogs is larger among owners than among normal weight owners. Part of the explanation lies in whether treats are used as training programs or”hygge-snacks”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

Read

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Play Is Important For Dogs

I read a recent
article in The Atlantic
about
some scientists who taught rats to play hide-and-seek as part of a larger study
about the neuroscience of play. I’m riveted by animal behavior, I’m a huge fan
of play, and I find neuroscience interesting, so an article like this can send
me straight down a rabbit hole of further reading, investigation, and thinking
while gazing out the window.

The abstract of the
study,
which was originally published in the magazine Science, concludes, “The elaborate cognitive capacities for
hide-and-seek in rats suggest that this game might be evolutionarily old.”

… the game is ON! “We’re watching you!”

Animal behavior experts have long speculated about the
purpose of play; it is thought to be a sort of behavioral practice time, when
predator species practice stalking and hunting prey, and prey species practice
escape tactics (such as running and dodging) and rudimentary self-defense
behaviors such as kicking or biting. And of course, all species tend to engage
in playful social behaviors, such as social grooming. The play of humans
incorporates all of these things!

All mammals play the most when they are young, and most
species spend less and less time playing as they mature. Interestingly, humans
and dogs are two species who retain a greater than average interest in play
well into their senior years, though the “games” may change greatly over time.
This is why good dog trainers frequently recommend using play as a reinforcer
for a dog’s behavior that the owner likes or wants more of. Mutually enjoyable
play also helps strengthen the bond between dogs and their humans, and keeps
them engaged and motivated to pay attention to and work with us.

Hard to get them in one frame. Woody is faster…

Interestingly, hide-and-seek is a favorite game of many humans and their dogs, me and mine included. Both my dignified senior dog, Otto, and my always goofy, playful four-year-old Woody will leap to their feet and stare at me if I signal the start of a game by just looking at them and then pantomiming an exaggerated sneaking out of the room: Oh, it’s on! they seem to say. They know to wait for me to whistle before starting their search, without me having to tell them to “stay.” I never taught them this, but if they come and find me before I’m actually hidden, I just tell them, “Aw, you wrecked it!” and resume doing whatever it was that I was doing before I initiated the game. So they learned that if they wait for the whistle, I’m both more difficult to find and I almost always let out that inadvertent squeal of joy and surprise that humans almost can’t help but make when they are discovered hiding by their intensely seeking dogs. And then we all celebrate with laughter and a little bit of roughhousing.

…but Otto is far more observant of clues, like the sound of the camera’s motor drive.
The party starts when they reach me. Good dogs!

Mutually enjoyable play is so reinforcing for most dogs, that I would hazard a guess that people who play with their dogs would rate their dogs’ behavior – or at the very least, the strength of their relationship – more highly than people who don’t play with their dogs. Shoot, if I were a scientist with time and money to spare, I’d try to find a way to test this hypothesis. Instead, I’ll just ask you guys: Do you play with your dogs? How and why?

The post Why Play Is Important For Dogs appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Training Tips: Hand Targeting

Hand targeting is an easy and useful behavior to teach for so many reasons. It’s also a great foundation exercise for dogs of all ages. 

Hand targeting can be used for:

  • Helping a puppy or a nervous dog become more comfortable with hands reaching towards him
  • Building a pup’s confidence around people 
  • Redirecting behavior
  • Helping him to become comfortable with objects that might be scary  (like brushes, tools used at the vet, nail clippers,  etc.)
  • Teaching a recall
  • Low stress handling and cooperative care
  • Teaching more advanced behaviors
  • Modifying behaviors

To learn how to teach a hand target take a look at this video I created with my puppy Journey:

How to Teach Hand Targeting

And this one on targeting an item:

Bonus Video: Targeting Items

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Obesity Link Between Weight of Dogs and Owners

The researchers studied adult dogs recruited animal clinics across Zealand and Denmark’s capital region. Of those pets recruited, 20 percent were either heavy or obese. The dogs were at least two years old, rather than suffering from chronic ailments.
Additionally, the analysis finds that 29% of those male dogs from the research were heavy/obese versus only 10% of the intact men that are reproductively.

A study from the University of Copenhagen reports that the incidence of dogs that are overweight is bigger among owners than among regular weight owners. Part of the explanation lies in whether treats can be used as snacks or training tools. It’s the first research on obesity in Denmark.