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Canine separation anxiety is not an issue that you should take lightly. A dog that doesn’t feel comfortable and safe when left alone in the house can show destructive behavior. You’ll be coming to a house that’s in complete disarray as if a tornado passed right through the living room. Neighbors will complain about the incessant barking of your dog while you are away. There can be stinky accidents everywhere, leading to an emergency cleanup instead of resting from work. Pieces of furniture can be disemboweled and upholstery shredded to bits.

These are all manifestations of a dog that feels so stressed out every time it is left home alone. Don’t worry as we’ve got a few tips and tricks on how you can help your canine friend feel less stressed whenever it’s all by itself at home.

Train Your Dog

Training a dog to remain calm whenever you go outside the house can be a very tricky endeavor. In general, pet owners should train any new dog or puppy that arrives in their home. This is to avert any unnecessary behavioral problems such as canine separation anxiety. Given that the dog is already in your home, you can still train it to remain calm and relaxed when you’re away.

It is understandable that the dog will feel very unsafe and vulnerable every time it doesn’t see you. Dogs have the natural tendency to look up to their pack leaders for protection. You are this pack leader and they expect you to keep them safe. Unfortunately, the moment you step outside the house, they no longer have this sense of security. Hence, they feel very stressed.

It takes time to train a dog to learn to stay calm when it’s all alone in the house. The best way to go about it is by starting with very brief periods of dog alone time. For instance, leave the dog home alone for about 5 minutes. Pretend that you are going to work. Instead, walk around the block and then return home. If the dog is able to stay calm within this period of your absence, you can increase the amount of time to 10 minutes. It’s important to gradually increase the length of time that the dog is home alone.

Establish a Safe Zone

In their natural environment, wild dogs often have a place that they consider as a safe haven. It’s their refuge, a place where they feel most secure. That is why it is also important to train your dog to love its pet crate.

For some dog owners, putting the dog in a crate is like putting someone important in their lives behind bars. What they fail to realize is that dogs feel a lot safer if they stay in a confined space. The pet crate serves as their den in pretty much the same way as their wolf-like ancestors used caves to hide from larger predators. Crate training is important if you want your dog to feel safe and calm. This can also address its separation anxiety.

If you are averse to the use of pet crates, there is another solution. Many pet parents today use dog doors or dog gates. These are devices that look like a fence with a gate already attached. Dog owners can install these devices in hallways, pathways, and doorways. For pet parents with a two-story home, the dog gate is often installed at the top of the stairs if they want the dog to stay on the second floor. Others may place it at the bottom of the stairs if the dog is to stay on the ground floor.

There are also dog enclosures that are similar to a child’s playpen. These look like large cages that do not have a cover.

In choosing the area to be your dog’s sanctuary, it should be in a location where it is quiet and comfortable. Keep in mind that the idea of a safe haven for dogs is to help them feel more secure.

Exercise Your Dog before Leaving the House

One possible reason why dogs can cause so much destruction in the house whenever it’s left alone is that it has pent-up energy. This is very true in the case of highly-active dog breeds or those that were bred to work. Whenever they are alone in the home, they don’t have anyone to play with. There’s no one that can toss the ball for them or give them something to do. As such, the dog will try to use its energy to entertain itself and keep it busy.

This is one of the reasons why it is always a good idea to walk your dog before you leave the house for work. Large and highly-active hounds need at least 45 minutes of vigorous walking to help it spend its energy. For smaller dogs, a 30-minute walk is often enough to spend its energy. Walking our canine friends helps them feel more relaxed. Sure, they may feel tired afterwards, but this is good news for the owner. The pet will no longer have the energy to engage in other activities once you’re already away.

Stay Calm

Some dog owners fail to recognize the uncanny ability of dogs to perceive human emotions and mood. They have this remarkable organ in their noses that allow our canine friends to detect unseen signals in the air. Hence, they know if their owners are anxious, worried, or stressed out, too. It’s important to remember that the dog sees you as its pack leader. It wants you to be strong for the pack. If it senses that you are unsure, worried, or anxious, then the dog starts to worry, too.

The key to helping your dog stay calm when left alone in the house is for you to leave in a calm manner. Most pet parents often treat their dogs as kids. They pet them and hug them as owners bid them farewell for the day. Skip this part and walk through the front door without ever saying goodbye to your dog. It may seem cruel at first, but you are teaching your dog that this is a normal part of its existence.

Ignore your dog for about 5 minutes before you head out through the door. This can help convey to the dog that you’re not anxious or worried about leaving. Hence, it shouldn’t feel anxious, too.

Provide a More Comforting Dog Entertainment

A dog that is alone in the home will feel bored as the day goes by. There is no one to play with. It doesn’t have anyone to see it perform tricks. No one will give it treats or praise. And when it wants to play with its favorite dog toys, it cannot do so because they’re all stored in a safe place.

This is where modern canine technologies come in. One of the most popular devices any pet parent can have today is dog cameras. For the most basic setup, these devices connect to the internet to allow pet parents to see their dogs in the home. The gadget comes with a high-definition camera complete with zoom and night vision capabilities.

More advanced pet camera systems come integrated with two-way communications technology. Some can have a large screen so that the dog will also see its owner. This works well with a two-way audio platform. Owners can speak on their mobile devices so that their dogs will hear their voice through the gadget in the house. The dog can also bark at the device which sends a notification on the owner’s mobile device. The owner can then “converse” with his or her dog.

There are also units that come with food and treat dispensers. Some are programmable so that the dog will enjoy its meal at a predetermined time. The dispensing of treats can also be either programmed or manually activated. The latter is perfect for interacting with the dog.

Pet parents also find leaving dog toys effective in making dogs feel less stressed when home alone. Indestructible dog chew toys can help keep canine boredom at bay. Interactive dog puzzle toys can also help stimulate the animal’s cognitive skills while keeping it focused on the task.

One can also leave behind old clothing like a shirt or pants. These items still have your scent on them. Putting these in your dog’s pet crate or its safe haven can help increase the dog’s level of comfort. It can “sense” that you are still there.

Dogs today can also feel less bored and less anxious by giving them something more worthwhile to watch. Some companies are offering TV shows and videos that are designed specifically for dogs. In addition to dog-friendly channels, there are also companies that provide audiobooks. Dog owners can play these products for their pets to listen to when they’re home alone.

Managing separation anxiety in dogs requires a basic understanding of why dogs may feel very anxious every time they’re left alone in the house. Pet owners who understand this can then pick the right course of action to make being home alone less stressful for their dogs.

Sources:
  1. How to Keep Your Dog Happy When He's Home Alone - PetMD
  2. 10 Fun Games for Kids and Dogs - HowStuffWorks
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Aging is all about change. Whether it is in the physical characteristics of the organism or in some other aspects of its being, there are changes that occur with age. Take for instance Fido. A puppy can start as a rambunctious little Napoleon. It can also grow into a well-behaved, all-purpose working dog for your family. And as it reaches its golden years, you can expect its temperament to mimic that of elderly humans – mellow. Some can also become forgetful and experience anxiety that’s reminiscent of their younger years. If you have a dog that is entering its golden years, here are some behaviors that you can expect.

Increased Vocalization

One of the things that might seem odd for an aging dog is an increasing tendency to bark. While it is true that many senior dogs will do just fine lying on their comfortable doggie bed all day long, there are also those that tend to bark in a very annoying way.

In many cases, the senior dog may already be suffering from cognitive dysfunction, leading to disorientation. It could bark at the slightest noise coming from the backyard. In some instances, there might not be anything worthy of barking at. However, the dog feels the need to bark because of cognitive impairment. Sometimes, declining visual acuity can also make a dog bark a lot more. All it sees are hazy images. Barking is its way of announcing its presence to whomever or whatever owns these “hazy” images.

Increased barking tendencies in older dogs can also be a sign of discomfort or pain. When humans are in pain, we cry. Some of us will also shout. Dogs cannot do that. The only thing that they can do is bark, whine, or let out a lingering howl. It’s also possible that the senior dog is already suffering from hearing impairment.

Increased Spatial Disorientation or Confusion

Two other signs of cognitive decline in dogs are spatial disorientation and confusion. In some cases, the dog gets lost, though the location is quite familiar. For example, the dog no longer knows how to go to the backyard or the garden. Pet parents can find the elder hound walking in circles trying to figure out what to do next.

The dog can also have difficulty navigating over or around obstacles. If you put a chair in the dog’s path, there is a chance that it may stop right there and then. The dog no longer knows that it can maneuver around the chair. The same is true when in the outdoors. You can stumble upon a fallen tree branch and the dog already whines.

All of these things can happen because of the diminishing function of the dog’s brain. Its cognition is no longer working as efficiently as it once did. Sensory deficits like reduced visual acuity and hearing can also complicate spatial disorientation.

Increased Inability to Get Quality Sleep

Because the brain of older dogs is no longer functioning as well as it used to, senior canines can have difficulty maintaining a good night’s sleep. Some tend to overreact to even the slightest noise. This can have an impact on the quality of the hound’s sleep. In turn, the loss of sleep begets other health problems that worsen other existing problems.

Frequent waking up at night among elderly dogs can also be due to a problem in their kidneys. With aging comes the inability to hold off urination. Urinary incontinence is very common among older canines. This affects the quality of sleep.

The same is true for senior pets that may have bowel incontinence. They may already have lost their ability to control their bowel movements. When they are sleeping, they may feel the urge to defecate all of a sudden. Again, this affects their sleep patterns.

Changes in the Dog’s Social Behavior

Senior dogs can also begin showing changes in their social behavior. There are two possible scenarios here. One is that the dog may be less interested in social activities while the other is the opposite.

Some elderly dogs no longer appreciate petting or greeting people. These furry friends may find social interactions to be less appealing. They might not go near another dog or show interest in people that they used to find very interesting. Some of these dogs show aversion to petting because of the pain that they are experiencing. Most will have arthritis and petting them can only exacerbate the condition.

On the other hand, there are also senior dogs that can show increased attention-seeking behavior. These canines show excessive dependence and clinginess to their human owners. They are like shadows that follow their owners wherever they are. While it is difficult to ascertain why some canines behave this way, it could be because of a sense of vulnerability. The older dog is no longer capable of keeping its integrity. Hence, it has to secure it from its human master.

Increased Anxiety

There are many reasons why dogs can get very anxious. As they reach their golden years, this anxiety only seems to grow worse. For the most part, increased irritability and sensitivity are the hallmarks of anxiety in elderly dogs. They become over-reactive to mundane events and ordinary objects. They may find a playful puppy as being too rambunctious for their own good.

Separation anxiety is also common among senior dogs. They may show increased salivation, panting, and pacing whenever their owners are preparing to go to work. These dogs can get depressed as their masters prepare to leave.

Senior dogs may also refuse to eat if left alone. This can lead to nutritional problems that can further worsen any existing medical condition. There are also those dogs that become destructive the moment their owners step outside the house. They can bark, chew on furniture, and urinate in areas where they shouldn’t.

Increased Soiling in Areas Where the Dog Shouldn’t

There is always the possibility of behavioral problems as the cause of increased soiling inside the house. Senior dogs that are very anxious can urinate or defecate in areas where they shouldn’t. This is often the case in dogs that have severe separation anxiety.

However, anxiety is not the only reason why your elderly dog may be turning your house into its personal potty. Reduced mobility can also cause this behavior change. Dogs with hip dysplasia and other arthritic conditions will find it very difficult to move. Instead of heading for its potty in the backyard, your living room will have to suffice.

This is also true for dogs with bowel and bladder issues. As dogs age, the integrity of the sphincters of the anus and the urethra may no longer be functioning very well. This means the dog cannot hold back the passing of its stool or the spraying of urine anymore. It is also possible that the dog has brain cancer or other serious organ dysfunction that is causing the urinary and bowel incontinence.

Increased Fear and Phobias

A senior hound will have reduced sensory abilities. It may not be able to see things very well. That’s why it can bump into objects. It may not also recognize the people that it used to play with. When you combine this with their problems in mobility, it makes it very difficult for senior dogs to navigate around simple obstacles. Senior hounds also have hearing difficulties. Everything sounds muffled to them.

These situations are very frightening to a dog. That is why you may see your elderly dog cowering in fear. Your hound becomes frustrated at its growing inability to do the things it used to do with great efficiency. Loud noises, strangers, and new and unfamiliar objects are some of the things that an elderly dog can become terrified by.

Increased Destructiveness

There are two possible explanations as to why some senior dogs tend to become more destructive than they ever were. First, it can be due to cognitive impairment. Disorientation and confusion can bring about distortions in the dog’s ability to perceive its environment. It may perceive a piece of cloth as its natural enemy, thus, shredding it to bits. Some dogs may eat inedible objects like pencils. They can lick at almost anything they can touch with their tongue. Elderly canines may dig and scratch as if their owners did not train them not to do so.

The other reason is related to the presence of a medical condition. Pain syndromes can cause severe anxiety in dogs that the only thing they can do is to vent their frustration on something else. They can bite and chew cherished objects as a means of alleviating the pain. It is also possible that the dog may show unprovoked aggression, which is a different form of destructiveness altogether.

Aging can bring about different changes in a dog’s behavior. These can be due to a decline in its cognitive abilities or related to the presence of a medical problem. As pet parents of geriatric canines, it’s our responsibility to bring our dogs to the vet to help rule out the possibility of organic causes to these behavioral changes.

Sources:
  1. How Your Dog’s Behavior Changes with Age - Cuteness
  2. Behavior Changes in Aging Dogs - Pets WebMD
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There are so many videos online showing a dog begging for food. They look adorable and would make you believe that they are almost human. Not everyone finds this amusing, however. There are pet parents who may find this canine behavior very annoying. Imagine having dinner and your dog is pawing on your legs to give you a morsel of what you’re having. Enjoying snacks while watching TV with your dog sporting its sad, doleful look can also take your concentration off the screen. If you have this kind of dog and you want to put a stop to its annoying begging behavior, there are some things you can do.

Stop Encouraging or Rewarding the Behavior

It is very difficult to resist the pleading gaze and the soft whine of a dog constantly begging for food. There are some breeds that have a natural sad look on their face. When combined with other “gentle” behaviors, it is not easy to refrain from tossing a slice or two of your food. The problem with this, of course, is that you are encouraging the behavior. Giving in to your dog’s pleading gaze even once can already solidify the unnecessary begging. This can make it very challenging to put a stop to such behavior.

There are no foolproof ways to rein in your natural tendency to share whatever you have with your dog. One way you can somehow control yourself is by thinking about the impact of such a behavior on your dog’s health. If you give your pet table scraps or any human food item, there’s the chance that it will grow obese. Canine obesity can lead to other health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and issues in mobility. Think of the expenses that you will incur should your dog develop any of these health conditions. This should be enough motivation for you not to give in to your dog’s begging.

Teach Your Dog to Stay in its Place

One very effective way to address the issue of your dog constantly begging for food is to teach it to stay in its place. For this to work, you’ll need a treat and a clicker to mark the desired behavior. Find a place where you want the dog to “stay” whenever you don’t want it disturbing anybody else. It can be its doggie bed, pet crate, or a simple yet comfortable mat.

Start by asking the dog to go in the “down” position. Say “place” and extend your hand as if you’re stopping vehicles on a busy intersection. Count 1 to 3, activate the clicker, and give its yummy treat. If you don’t have a clicker, then a verbal cue will suffice. After counting to 3 and your dog stayed in its place, say “yes” and give its treat. Do this a few times, then gradually increase your distance from the dog’s place. Remember the sequence: “down”, “place”, step backwards, click or say “yes”, and reward.

If the dog stands up before you get to the “yes” or clicker marker, resist the temptation to yell at it. Don’t click and don’t give its reward. This is enough to deliver the message to your dog.

Whenever you’re having a meal, you can always say “place” and your dog will go to its place. If it fails to stay in its place during your meal, take your dog out of the room for a minute or two. When you return, command it to go to its “place” again.

Keep Your Pet Busy with Other Things

Another effective way to stop a dog begging for food is to give it something more interesting to do. This works by diverting its attention from the food on your table to something that is more interesting or, at least, equally appealing. For many pet parents, using special dog puzzle toys helps. The KONG Classic dog toy is perfect for such a task. There are other dog toys that have the same function, of course.

These toys can accomplish at least two things. First, they can keep your dog’s mind off the food that you are enjoying at the moment. Since its focus is on the toy, then it will no longer have to display that pleading gaze. The trick here is to use a treat that the dog considers to be more delicious than what you have. Also, the design of these toys does not grant the hound easy access to the food. What this means is that it will be very busy trying to get the food out of the dog toy.

Second, such gadgets can foster your pet’s natural chewing tendencies. What you are providing your pet is a very satisfying experience. You may already be done with your meal, but your dog may still be enjoying itself with the toy.

Coincide Your Dog’s Mealtime with Yours

There is another method that pet parents use to teach their dogs to stop begging for food. They synchronize doggie mealtimes with their own. What they do is they prepare their pet’s food before they set the table for a meal. Before starting on their meal, they place the bowl of dog food on the floor. There’s a tendency for the dog to ignore its food and instead beg you to give some from your plate. Ignore this. You’re having your meal and your dog should also have his.

Pick up the dog food bowl once you’re done with your meal. If you notice the dog didn’t touch its meal, never mind. Observe this procedure again during your next meal. Sooner or later your canine friend will realize that it should eat its own meal whenever you sit down to enjoy your own food. Otherwise, you will pick up its food bowl and leave it going hungry. It may be a cruel way to teach your pet, but it does work.

Stopping your dog from begging for food can be quite challenging if you do not show discipline yourself. The most important thing to remember here is to never reward or encourage a behavior you don’t want to see in your dog.

Sources:
  1. How to Stop Your Dog from Begging at the Table - Pets WebMD
  2. Dog-Feeding Tips - HowStuffWorks
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Many newbie dog owners get a small or toy breed of dog because they are so cute and loveable. They also have this notion that these small dogs do not need training and socialization at all. This is one of the biggest mistakes any pet parent can make. Not training the small hound can lead to undesirable behaviors. They can be very yappy and nippy. They’ll bark incessantly at the slightest noise from outside the door. Small dogs like Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers can act like four-legged Napoleons. For these dogs, they have what vets and animal psychologists call as the Small Dog Syndrome.

Understanding the Small Dog Syndrome

Small Dog Syndrome describes a collection of canine behaviors that are considered as undesirable. These SDS behaviors can include:

  • Overly excitable behavior
  • Growling at other dogs or at other people
  • Jumping up on their owners or other people as well as other dogs
  • Frequent or constant barking
  • Not listening to commands
  • Demanding attention, whether it’s for treats or affection
  • Nipping, lunging, or snapping at others that the dog perceives as threats
  • Reluctance to move off pieces of furniture like beds and sofas
  • Avoiding larger dogs

Dog psychologists refer to Small Dog Syndrome as the canine equivalent of the Napoleon Complex among humans. The classic description of such a phenomenon is the presence of overly-domineering or aggressive social behavior. Many believe that this behavior is compensatory in nature. Because Napoleon has a rather short stature, he makes up for it by seeking power through conquest.

In like manner, the Small Dog Syndrome is seen by many animal behaviorists as the dog’s way of overcompensating for its “small size”. Unfortunately, there’s no way of telling whether a small dog that has SDS realizes that it’s “small” or not. Does it think that it is small so that it feels the need to overcompensate for its size?

Since the Napoleon Complex operates within the domain of psychiatry, it’s difficult to establish a small dog’s state of mental health. If the Napoleon Complex is not a plausible explanation for Small Dog Syndrome, then what can help explain such behavior in dogs?

The answer may lie in the Spoiled Child Syndrome. This constitutes behaviors that arise from being overindulged by the parents of children. There is this tendency of owners of small dogs to look at their pets as human babies. They treat them as if they were hapless little kids.

For example, a large dog like a Golden Retriever may not have any issues getting on and off the bed. A Chihuahua may not have the ability to do so, unless its owner picks it up and places it on the bed. The only way the small dog can achieve this is by getting the attention of its owner. It barks loud and long until its human master picks it up.

Unfortunately, doing so teaches the Chihuahua two things: it’s okay to get on the bed and it’s alright to bark. Over time, it learns this behavior as a means of getting what it wants. You may choose to ignore it next time, but the dog will only bark louder and longer. It knows that you will still give it the attention it demands.

Managing Small Dog Syndrome

Since SDS is more related to having a spoiled brat than a four-legged Napoleon, it is quite easy to deal with it. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be its Leader

One of the reasons why your dog may have SDS is because it doesn’t see you as its leader. You may think that you are the leader, but your actions say otherwise. When the dog barks and its owner picks it up, it is the command of the dog that gets accomplished. As such, it’s often wise to start behaving like a leader of your dog. We’re not saying that you should be an authoritarian figure. What we’re saying is for you to stop looking at your small dog as a child.

  • Retrain Your Dog

Many of the dogs that have SDS were never trained. This is because they are very easy to manage when they misbehave. For example, their owners can pick them up and hold them in their arms if ever they become naughty. Sadly, this only reinforces the dog’s attention-seeking behavior. Hence, you need to start retraining your dog. Depending on the age of the canine, it may take a while before you can see any considerable improvements in its behavior. The point here is for you to exhibit firmness, consistency, and patience. Always utilize positive reinforcement techniques as these work best.

  • Observe Consistency in the House

Set the ground rules for interacting with the dog in your house. Explain to every household member what these rules mean. For instance, if one of your rules is no dogs on the couch, then everyone else will have to observe this. No one in your household should ever let the dog get on and stay on the couch. The same is true with other behaviors like picking up the dog when it is barking. If one of your family members picks up the dog whenever it barks, then this only confuses your pet.

  • It’s Not Too Late to Socialize

If your pet looks anxious whenever it is around other dogs or larger hounds, then you should always make it a point to socialize it with other dogs. A trip to the dog park several times a week should help build the confidence in your pet. It is crucial to realize that this will take time. Again, patience is a fundamental requirement whenever teaching a dog something.

  • Enlist Professional Help

Retraining dogs with severe Small Dog Syndrome can be very tricky. In such cases, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer. This will help break the bad habits that you may have allowed to develop up to this point.

Small Dog Syndrome is a collection of canine behaviors that can be the result of poor pet parenting. Dealing with such behavioral problems requires retraining, consistency, socialization, and assuming the role of the dog’s leader.

Sources:
  1. Small Dog Syndrome, Holiday Barn
  2. What to Do About Small Dog Syndrome, That Little Dog
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Dogs have been around for millennia. Records show that the very first dogs that man domesticated lived some 14,000 to 36,000 years ago. These figures remain debatable, of course. But it doesn’t hide the fact that hunter-gatherers were the first humans to tame wolf-like animals to become part of their existence. Some of these dogs live to this very day. Canine organizations call many of these dogs as basal breeds, having genetics that bear close semblance to their original strains. There are also records of dogs unearthed during explorations of ancient human settlements. If you’re curious about the dog breeds that are the oldest in the world, we’re giving you 10.

Afghan Hound

There’s no mistaking the Afghan Hound with its fine and silky coat. There are anecdotal reports saying this dog has been around since 6,000 BC. This makes the dog one of the world’s oldest breeds. It is also one of the planet’s most aristocratic dogs. It exudes cool elegance that commands respect. It will never follow its human master around the home. Instead, it will laze around or stay in its favorite corner all day long.

But don’t mistake the Afghan Hound’s aloofness with laziness. This dog is a prized courser. It can course a gazelle high up in the rugged terrains of Afghanistan. If not a gazelle that it has its sights on, the Afghan Hound can course hare. It is well-known for its athleticism and speed. Today, however, some of these beautiful ancient breeds can be found in therapy centers, canine rally courses, and in the homes of the affluent.

Saluki

If you look at the Saluki, you’ll mistake it for the Afghan Hound. Their only difference is that the Afghan Hound has a beautiful, almost-enviable silky coat. The Saluki comes with short coat, but with very distinct feathered ears and tail. Like its Afghan brother, the Saluki is a sighthound, relying on its vision to hunt.

Sumerian wall carvings depicted Salukis as dogs with erect and pointed ears. These wall carvings date as far back as 6000 to 7000 BC. Like all hunters, the Saluki has a reserved demeanor around strangers. It is also a very independent breed and quite difficult to train. This is another aspect of this dog that it shares with its Afghan brethren. Nevertheless, the Saluki is an ancient dog that loves to hunt. It also doesn’t mind a more laid-back lifestyle.

Basenji

From the jungles of the Congo in Central Africa, the Basenji is another ancient dog breed. The earliest records of Basenji-like dogs are from Twelfth Dynasty models and drawings that date back to 2050 BC to 1652 BC. These dogs were prized hunters of small game like rabbits and pheasants, among others.

Like the first two breeds in this list, the Basenji is a sighthound. It is, however, smaller. There is one characteristic that is quite unique to this dog. Instead of eliciting the usual “bark”, it yodels. Come to think of it, the Congo is not an Alpine environment that’s perfect for yodeling. However, the Basenji does it so well that it earned for itself the nickname of “barkless dog”.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is one of the most unique dogs you’ll ever see in the world. It comes with a Teddy Bear coat that makes it a huggable hound. However, don’t expect this dog to love being hugged. It also features a lion’s scowl, a great characteristic to dissuade potential troublemakers. Its tongue is also unique in that it comes with a bluish black hue. There is another thing you should never forget about the Chow. It is a great all-purpose hound.

This Chinese-bred dog is fully capable of pulling carts, herding livestock, and guarding the home. It is also a reliable hunting partner. There are two theories as to its origins. One is that it has a Chinese ancestry that dates as far back as 2 millennia ago. And then there is the theory that this dog originated from the Arctic regions of Asia some 3,000 years ago. Whichever theory you would like to believe, the Chow Chow remains one of the world’s oldest dog breeds.

Akita Inu

It is not clear when the Akita Inu first appeared in Japan. What people know is that it is a very ancient breed. Verbal and written Japanese history put the Akita to as far back as 8000 BC. This puts it as the oldest breed in our list.

What makes the Akita Inu so endearing both to its native people and to the rest of the world is its unmatched loyalty. The story of Hachiko is testament to the dog’s unquestionable loyalty. But if you think this is the only trait that is remarkable in this Japanese national treasure, you’re wrong. It is an independent breed and one that is intelligent, too. It takes patience and skill to train an Akita. But once you’ve earned its trust, this is one dog that will never say goodbye to you.

Chinese Shar Pei

The Shar Pei is another ancient breed that’s known for its blue-black tongue like the Chow Chow. It also comes with deep wrinkles that make it look like a mastiff. The Shar Pei is a very stocky breed. Like the Akita, the Shar Pei is also very loyal to its human family and is suspicious of strangers. It has a very independent streak. It is not suitable for those who don’t know how to train such a breed.

Shar Peis have their origins in the Chinese province of Guangdong. Fans of the breed say the dog may have existed as early as 206 BC. The ancient Chinese bred Shar Peis to help them in the hunt for wild boar. Its loose skin helped it to fend off aggressive maneuvers by wild boars.

Samoyed

The Samoyed looks like a giant Japanese Spitz. It can stand up to 22 inches at the shoulder and can live up to 13 years. Like the Japanese Spitz, the Samoyed only comes in white. It is a herding dog bred by the Samoyedic inhabitants of Siberia. As these people kept reindeers, Samoyeds helped them in their herding chores.

It is possible that the Samoyed may have been around since 1000 BC. This breed of dog is well-known for its happy expression and friendly disposition. It has the friendliness of a Golden Retriever, making it ideal playmates for children. While they make poor guard dogs, Samoyeds make excellent watch dogs.

Alaskan Malamute

It may not be as fast as the Siberian Husky, but the Alaskan Malamute can haul heavy cargo with relative ease. This dog is well-known for its strength and endurance. It thrives in the harsh winter of the Alaskan wilderness and the Arctic regions.

The Malemiut Inupiaq people bred the dog some 1,000 years ago. It shares a genetic relationship with the smaller and faster Siberian Husky. While its work ethic is unquestionable, its love of people is something that is more admirable. There are stories of Malamutes serving as warmers for human children. Their dense double coat serves as an insulator against the freezing temperatures of the Alaskan wilderness. Young children would cuddle close to the Malamute and the dog would oblige. It keeps these children warm as if they were its own children.

Pekingese

One look at the Peke and you’ll know this is no ordinary lap dog. In fact, it is a favorite among Chinese Emperors and their members of the royal court. They’ve been around since 2000 BC and very little about this dog has changed. It remains affable and affectionate. However, do take note that it doesn’t like very young children as they can get rowdy. As such, Pekes prefer older children who know how to respect the dog’s dignity.

The Pekingese has a self-esteem that is bigger than its size. Some individuals look at it as ill-tempered, selfish, and spoiled. What they don’t realize is that it has a very vigilant nature. This makes the Peke a worthy watchdog to have in the home.

Lhasa Apso

Don’t be fooled by the demure looks of the Lhasa Apso. This ancient breed may have the dignified look of a Tibetan monk or a Chinese Emperor, but its mischievous streak is second only to that of Loki. Like the Pekingese, the Lhasa Apso has a very suspicious nature. They are very curious and will study a person first before deciding whether to accept him or not. This is something that is already ingrained into its genes. After all, this is the primary purpose of the Lhasa Apso.

Tibetan Buddhist monks bred the first Lhasa Apso some 2,000 years ago. However, there are also unverifiable reports that say the dogs have been around much earlier – as early as 800 BC. Whatever the case, the Lhasa Apso is one of the world’s oldest breeds of dogs.

Very little has changed since these dogs were first bred several millennia ago. To this very day, these breeds of dog remain true to their ancestors’ remarkable heritage.

Sources:
  1. Seven of the Most Ancient Dog Breeds - Wide Open Pets
  2. Breeds by Year Recognized - AKC
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Grooming your pet dog is an essential skill that all pet parents need to master or at least learn the basics. While it is easy to just bring them to a professional groomer, sometimes all you need is the right tool for the job. And one of them is Wahl’s Deluxe U-Clip Pet Clipper that not only gives you the ability to groom your pet like a pro, but also gives you the chance to build your confidence in taking good care of your pet’s coat.

Wahl isn’t new in the pet grooming industry. As a matter of fact, they’re considered one of the pioneers when it comes to hair clippers for pets. With this in mind, you’ll feel more confident about the quality of the construction and the soundness of the design of the U-Clip.

Grooming can make most dogs really anxious, especially with a very noisy clipper. That’s one of the beauties of the U-Clip. It comes with a very powerful motor to cut and clip pet hair regardless of thickness without producing any of the anxiety-provoking noise that can spook many dogs. It may come with a remarkable 7200 strokes per minute, but it never generates enough heat to make your dog squirm with discomfort.

The 30-15-10 blade that already comes with the U-Clip can be easily adjusted to make quick work of any grooming chore. There are 7 pieces of heavy-duty plastic guide combs, too, allowing you to trim hair regardless of density. For finer touches, there’s a stainless scissor plus a finishing comb to give your pet the stylish look it deserves. There are cleaning accessories, too, to maintain the functionality of the U-Clip.

Save yourself a trip to the dog groomer by grooming your dog yourself. With the U-Clip, this is now made ridiculously easy.

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Dogs have excellent associative memory. They can also dream about the most important person in their lives. They can grow anxious or scared when faced with something unfamiliar. Dogs can also show aggression when another dog encroaches on its territory. They may cry or let out a soft whimper. But there’s one question that science has not provided a definitive answer yet. Do our canine friends feel guilt? Here is everything you need to know.

The “Guilty” Look in Dogs

There’s a reason why many dog owners believe that their pets feel guilt. There are some signs or behaviors in dogs that are more frequent in certain situations than others. For example, when a dog owner “scolds” his pet, such canine behaviors emerge. These can include the following:

  • Tucking of the dog’s tail
  • Flattening of the ears
  • Assuming a cowering posture
  • Increased licking of the dog owner
  • Yawning
  • More visible white of the dog’s eyes

These signs are often interpreted by pet parents as a sign of dog guilt. However, these signs are also evident when a dog is stressed or is fearful. This can make the establishment of “dog guilt” more difficult. People may read it as “guilt” when in fact it is nothing more than a sign of canine “stress”.

Do They Feel Guilt or Is it Just Us?

There is reason to believe that the canine body language often interpreted as “guilt” is more a case of anthropomorphism. This is the tendency of man to attribute human behavior or characteristics to an animal. In other words, we read these signs in the same manner as we read the body language of a person. We ascribe our own behavior to our pets.

This brings us to the question, do dogs feel guilt?

They may or they may not. Nobody knows. Despite science’s best efforts, determining whether a dog feels guilty or not remains debatable. This is because the concept of “guilt” is so complex that there are certain factors that are difficult to quantify.

For starters, guilt is always taken in the context of cause and effect. You did something and now you feel remorse. This occurs within a particular timeframe. The effect here is the feeling of guilt. So something must have caused you to feel the guilt.

The other problem is that dogs don’t talk in a manner that we can understand. When they tuck their tail between their rear legs, it is our brain telling us that they are fearful, anxious, or in this case, “guilty”. They don’t verbalize their true feelings.

There is also the issue of a dog’s memory span. Dogs have good associative memory. However, this only works if the “consequence” occurred immediately after the “action”. When it comes to short-term memory, dogs don’t do well either. Some dogs can have short-term memory for as short as 5 minutes. Some may have 10 minutes, tops. Associating the “deed” with the “consequence” can, thus, be difficult.

Then you have to consider the dog’s ability to discern right from wrong. We have to acknowledge the fact that “guilt” is almost always related to the concept of right and wrong. Here’s the tricky part. Dogs know it is wrong to do something because they don’t receive a treat afterwards or they don’t get their owner’s loving attention. It’s a consequence. But it doesn’t point to the “moral value” of the deed.

As such, when your dog looks “guilty”, it’s only our brains telling them that they feel guilt. For all we know, the behavior that we see in dogs is the animal’s attempt to appease its owner. It is not “guilt” over its actions, per se.

There is literature supporting this assumption, of course. In the journal Behavioral Processes, Barnard College professor Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, described the “guilty” look in dogs as not a sign of canine guilt. The paper posits that the behaviors we see as “dog guilt” are nothing more than a dog’s response to the action of the dog’s owner. These actions can include scolding, yelling, pointing, and other very stressful actions. The study further says that these dog behaviors do not point to the animal’s appreciation or understanding of a misdeed.

In other words, when you yell at or scold your dog, it behaves like any other animal under stress. It cowers and it tucks its tail between its legs. Do not scold it and you will never see these behaviors.

Of course, there are detractors to the findings of the study. But the point remains – determining the existence of “guilt” in dogs is difficult. They may feel guilt or they may not.

Dogs May Not Feel Guilt, But They Know If You’re Upset

While we’re not sure if dogs can feel “guilt” or not, there’s one thing we are certain of - dogs know if their human masters are upset with them. They do not know what is making you upset. That’s for sure.

Dogs have special receptors in their noses that allow them to pick up “messages” in the air. We look at these as pheromones. When you’re upset, your body is sending out these very faint chemical signals in the air. Your dog picks up these signals using the Jacobson’s organ. This is the very same organ that dogs use to communicate with other dogs, whether for social purposes or for sexual aims.

Dogs can also read your body language. The sudden change in the pitch of your voice tells them that you’re angry. Coupling this with your 100% attention or focus on the dog conveys the message that you are not pleased.

Given that dogs are very social animals, they don’t like you to feel this way towards them. What do they do? They will try to appease you. They cower and flatten their ears. Dogs will also lick your hand, your feet, or any other body part that they can reach. Dogs do these things to ask you not to be upset with them.

It is difficult to establish with absolute certainty whether dogs do feel guilt or not. What is certain is that the “guilty” behaviors we see in dogs occur right after our “punitive” action.

Sources:
  1. Dog Myths Debunked: Do Dogs Know When They’ve Done Something Naughty? - AKC
  2. Dogs and Guilt: We Simply Don't Know - Psychology Today
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Playing a game of ball fetch with dogs can be a great form of exercise while also facilitating the growing bond between you and your dog. Unfortunately, if the weather isn’t cooperating you will have to move the play activities indoors. Instead of using an ordinary ball, you’ll have a much safer playtime using the Chuckit! Indoor Ball Dog Toy. It’s a plush ball that retains the full enjoyment of doggie ball play without causing damage to your home furniture.

Unlike conventional balls that can break glasses, ceramics, and other fragile items, the Chuckit! Indoor Ball is designed with only the plushest materials in a lightweight design. This helps provide for a much safer ball to throw, bounce, and roll inside your house without worrying whether one of your precious breakable items will get damaged.

Constructed for chenille textured fabric in bright blue and orange colors, this dog ball toy is very easy for hounds to pick up and won’t get easily shredded, too. The choice of colors is understandable as these are highly visible for the dog. Your pet won’t have any issues looking for the Chuckit! as its color scheme makes it super-easy to spot.

This indoor ball dog toy is best played using a Chuckit! indoor ball launcher so you don’t have to bend anymore to pick the ball up. You don’t even have to hold it especially when it’s already soaked with your pet’s saliva. You can be sitting comfortably on your couch and still easily pick and throw the ball for your pet to fetch. Of course, if you don’t have the launcher, it’s perfectly okay, too.

Chuckit! has been known for creating fun, interactive, and safe pet toys over the years. The Indoor Ball Dog Toy is not different; simply following in this tradition.

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Food is a powerful motivator among animals. That’s why it is always used in the initial phases of training dogs. We have to emphasize “initial” because you don’t want your dog to think of the food or treat as a bribe. This is one of the most common mistakes of novice pet owners who are training their dogs using treats. The key to the effective use of treats and other yummy doggie snacks in canine training is knowing when to and when not to use them. What you would want to happen is for your dog to follow your commands without having to resort to treats all the time. Here are some tips on how you can train your dog using treats.

Choose the Right Treat

People call treats as such because it is something that you don’t get very often. This is the same thing with dog treats. They should be something special. These are food items that Fido doesn’t get to eat very often. As such, if you use the same kibbles that it eats day in and day out, then there’s a strong chance it might not work. This is because the dog will see it as an ordinary food, not as a special treat.

This is where food selection comes in. There are commercially-available doggie snacks that you can use for such a purpose. However, be very careful since you also need to observe the 10-percent rule when it comes to treating. At least 90 percent of a dog’s calorie requirements should always come from its high-quality dog food. Hence, any food outside its regular meal should comprise not more than 10 percent of its calorie needs.

It is for this reason that you have to choose smaller treats. This will help limit your dog’s calorie intake from treating. Otherwise, you will also need to adjust its meal portions.

Try Using Different Treats

Commercially-available treats are always a good option. However, there’s a chance that your dog may not like it since these may look and taste like their usual food. As such, you may want to try other healthy snacks that dogs can eat.

You can use slices of cooked chicken or beef. Make sure not to add any spice or salt to these food items when you cook them. Baby carrots are always a great option for doggie treating. Other good alternatives are slices of cooked salmon, cooked turkey and pork, low-fat cheese, and blueberries. Pineapple bits, watermelons, blackberries, green peas, and apples are also good choice. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, coconut meat, strawberries, and bananas will always be great additions to your arsenal of doggie snacks.

Keep the Treats Out of Your Dog’s Sight

One of the most common mistakes that novice dog owners make when training dogs is that they don’t keep the treats out of their dog’s sight. This can teach the dog to only react or listen to your command if it knows that you have a treat with you. If the dog sees the special food, it is telling your dog that the treat is imminent. So it pays attention.

This is equivalent to bribing. This occurs because you are enticing them to perform the desired behavior using the treat. It is also almost similar to luring your dog. Luring is using the treat to make your dog do something. While there are certain dog tricks that utilize treats as a lure, these are never considered as rewards.

You don’t want to either bribe or lure your dog using treats. When you use treats as bribe or lure, you’re teaching your dog to perform only because there is food involved. What your canine friend needs to learn is to respond to your command and not because there’s a treat waiting for it.

What you want is for your dog to pay attention and perform the behavior without seeing the treat. It is for this reason that pet parents should conceal the treats. A pouch will come in handy. You can also use your pocket for such a purpose. However, it is critical that your dog doesn’t see you getting the treat from these locations. Otherwise, it may know the coming of a snack the moment you put your hands in your pocket or in the pouch.

Make sure to reward your dog only when it has completed the action or behavior that you desire. A reward has an element of surprise to it.

Timing is Crucial

Treating is an essential component of positive reinforcement. It is a reward for accomplishing what the pet parent wants the dog to perform. Hence, timing is crucial. When rewarding your dog, it should come as soon as the dog accomplishes the desired action. For instance, if you’re teaching your dog to “sit”, then the reward should come as soon as the dog’s bottom hits the floor. If you reward your dog when it is already standing up, you’re rewarding the dog for standing up.

Some dog tricks require several actions. For example, teaching your dog to roll over requires at least two steps. First, it must learn to go from a standing position to a “down” position. From this position, you can then entice it to roll over by using the treat. At each step, you need to reward your dog. From a standing position, reward your dog the moment it is already in the down position. As it accomplishes the roll, then reward your dog again.

Timing is critical when it comes to rewarding dogs in training. The dog should always associate the reward to the recently-accomplished action. This is why they call it positive reinforcement because you are reinforcing the desired behavior with a reward. You may not get it the first time. With constant practice, you will be able to execute the correct timing of the reward.

Always Incorporate Other “Rewards”

Not all dogs find food to be rewarding, since they already can get this every day. As such, you can always incorporate other forms of rewards such as a favorite dog toy or a lavish praise. Dogs love being petted by their human owners. For many dogs, this is more meaningful than having a tasty treat in their mouths. Some dogs love the attention that their human companions give them. This alone is enough motivation for them to do well in their training.

These rewards can be very useful in the long run. Remember that the goal of dog training is for your pet to follow your commands. Treats are very helpful in the initial stages of training. However, as your dog learns to master the behavior, you should resort to treating less often. That is why incorporating other rewards together with treats can help prepare your pet to execute the command without the treat.

Phase Out the Lure

It is inadvertent that some dog tricks will require luring your dog with a treat. A classic example of this is when teaching your pet to roll over. In order for your dog to execute this, you need to lure it by showing and moving a treat over its head. The natural reaction of the dog is to follow the treat. This is the lure. Once the dog is able to complete the roll, then you can give its reward.

Phasing out the lure is important so that it doesn’t turn into a bribe. To do this, use the treat only a few times to lure it to accomplish what you want. In the succeeding training sessions, you can still move your hands in the same manner. However, there is no more treat in your hand. Instead, use a verbal cue to mark the behavior. Once marked, give the dog its treat from your other hand or from your treat pouch.

Gradually Phase Out the Treat

Like the lure, you will have to phase out the treat sooner or later. The point here is that you don’t want your dog to perform the trick only because it knows it will have a yummy delicacy afterwards. This is where incorporating other rewards can be very useful.

For best results, use treats in the initial phases of the training only. After a few sessions, incorporate other forms of rewards like a toy or lavish praise. After a couple more sessions, you can reduce the amount of treats that you use and give more of the other life rewards. As you progress with the training, give treats once in a while.

Remove Distractions during Training

If this is your first time training a dog, then it is important to perform the training in a quiet environment. It should be free of any distractions such as other people or other animals. If your house is near a busy street, it is often advisable to train your dog at certain times of the day when there is less vehicular traffic. The noise of honking and buzzing cars can distract your dog’s focus.

Treats are a great tool to train your dog. However, these are not the only rewards you can give to your pet. At the end of the day, what matters is whether your dog obeys your command or not.

Sources:
  1. How to Use Dog Treats Correctly in Dog Training - Labrador Training HQ
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Training Your Dog with Treats and Praise - Better Homes & Gardens
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PetSafe has been making Drinkwell Pet Fountains for many years, delivering fresh and safe water for all pets to drink. However, as durable as these pet fountains are, their filter requires replacement from time to time. Pet Standard’s Premium Charcoal Filters offer pet parents a reliable solution to easily replace their Drinkwell Pet Fountain filters.

Compatible with a variety of Drinkwell variants like the Original, Everflow, Platinum, Big Dog, Zen, Mini, Multi-Tier, and Outdoor Dog, the Pet Standard charcoal filters can be easily inserted into the filter mechanism of these PetSafe products. Depending on the type of Drinkwell one has, the placement of the filter should always be in a position where the charcoal filter is located on the side where water will come out.

Each filter comes with 6 compartments that allow for the more even distribution of charcoal, lengthening its filtration ability by up to 4 weeks. However, if one has a multi-pet household sharing a single pet fountain, then this 4-week life span can be significantly shortened to about 2 weeks. The same 6-compartment design also helps reduce the tendency of charcoal to settle into the mesh of the filter which could result into clogging and, thus, reduce the mechanism’s ability to filter.

There is a duo-density pad integrated into each filter as well. It functions to capture larger debris like pet hair and other particles so that the filter itself will not clog. The charcoal used in the Pet Standard is guaranteed to eliminate bad taste as well as nasty odors that usually result from stagnant water or contaminated water.

Giving your pet water to drink is often not enough. It should also be safe, clean, and fresh. Pet Standard Charcoal Filters help guarantee your pet has access to fresh-tasting, odor-free, safe water that it can easily drink.

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