Friday, 31 May 2013

When Road Trip Season Starts...

Road-trip season is fast approaching – and whether you’re planning a day trip or a week-long journey of fun and exploration, there is one member of your family (aside from yourself, that is) that you will need to take care in packing for. 
Packing for you pooch can be a little overwhelming, especially if this is your first fur-family outing.  Bear has his very own puppy suitcase (although he still doesn't enjoy seeing things being packed away and WILL try to unpack as I pack) and a checklist to go with it.

Here are some of the things that I make sure to include on Bear’s suitcase checklist – it guarantees hassle-free packing and reduces the risk of forgetting something important at home.

Up-to-date documentation of all inoculations
International permits (if traveling across borders)
The phone number and emergency numbers of your veterinarian and local animal hospital (you should also have the number for an emergency clinic in the area you will be – just in case)
Collapsible travelling cage (unless going by plane – then you’ll need an approved shipping crate)
Food (enough to last 3 or 4 days more than your planned trip)
Treats (biscuits, etc)
Bowls for food and water
Flat-buckled collar and I.D. tag with your pooch’s name,  your address and phone number on it (you may want to consider tattooing or micro-chipping)
Leak-proof bottles of cold water with ice cubes in them
Poop bags (or a steady supply of plastic bags)
Leash or lead (I always take an extra leash with me – again, just in case)
A chew toy (or 2....or 3...)

Brush and regular grooming supplies
Dry shampoo
Sweater or rain coat in case of a change in the weather
Your pet’s favourite toys or playthings
Harness or pooch-friendly seat belt attachment (when traveling by car)
Window grills (when traveling by car).

Keep your tails wagging
(and enjoy your trip!)
Bear’s P4ws

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Rainy Day...

Some pooches love the rain....

...others just yawn and sleep through it

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Scientists prove you really can tell what your dog is feeling by looking at its face

A study has shown that people are able to precisely identify a range of emotions in dogs from changes in their facial expressions.
The research showed that volunteers could correctly spot when a dog was happy, sad, angry, surprised or scared, when shown only a picture of the animal’s face, suggesting that humans are naturally attuned to detecting how animals are feeling.

Dr Tina Bloom, a psychologist who led the research, said: “There is no doubt that humans have the ability to recognize emotional states in other humans and accurately read other humans’ facial expressions. We have shown that humans are also able to accurately – if not perfectly – identify at least one dog’s facial expressions.

“Although humans often think of themselves as disconnected or even isolated from nature, our study suggests that there are patterns that connect, and one of these is in the form of emotional communication.”
The study, published in the journal Behavioral Processes, used photographs of a police dog named Mal, a five-year-old Belgian shepherd dog, as it experienced different emotions. To trigger a happy reaction, researchers praised Mal. The result was the dog looking straight at the camera with ears up and tongue out.
They then reprimanded the dog to produce a “sad” reaction, causing the animal to pull a mournful expression with eyes cast down.
Surprise, generated using a jack-in-the box, caused the dog to wrinkle the top of its head into something akin to a frown. Medicine that Mal did not like was produced to stimulate disgust – flattened ears – and nail trimmers, which Mal also disliked, were brandished to create fear, causing the ears to prick up and the whites of the eyes to show.
For anger, a researcher pretended to be a criminal. Mal’s teeth were bared in the beginnings of a snarl.
The resulting photographs were shown to 50 volunteers, who were split into two groups according to their experience of dogs.

By far the easiest emotion they recognised was happiness, with 88 per cent of the volunteers correctly identifying it. Anger was identified by 70 per cent of participants.
About 45 per cent of volunteers spotted when Mal was frightened, while 37 per cent could identify the relatively subtle emotion of sadness.

The canine expressions that were hardest for humans to identify were surprise and disgust, with only 20 per cent of the volunteers recognizing surprise and just 13 per cent recognizing disgust.
The study by Dr Bloom and Prof Harris Friedman, both from Walden University, in Minneapolis, found that people with minimal experience of dogs were better at identifying canine disgust and anger, perhaps because dog owners convinced themselves that their dog was not aggressive and so the associated facial expression was just playing.
The researchers believe the ability of inexperienced volunteers to sometimes be better judges of emotions may be because reading dogs’ faces comes naturally, rather than being a learned skill.
Dr Bloom said she hoped further research might determine whether this apparent natural empathy with canines was something we shared with all mammals, or could be explained by humans and dogs evolving side-by-side for the past 100,000 years.

As a dog lover — who was “very confident” in her ability to read the faces of her two Dobermans and two Rhodesian ridge-backs — she admitted such unproven theories were emotionally appealing.
She added: “If I adopted a cat, or a snake or a turtle, I don’t think it would be as emotionally attached to me and watching my face as much as a dog would. There is something different and special about a dog — I’m not sure what it is, but it’s there.”
Beverley Cuddy, the editor of Dogs Today, said dog lovers would feel vindicated by the research. “I am not at all surprised that science has finally accepted what we knew all along — dog and owner communicate perfectly well without words.”

Sourced by  The Telegraph 

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Difference Between Dog Fighting & Play Fighting

Watching dogs play is quite an easy task, but distinguishing playing from fighting can be a whole different story. Problem is, during play dogs often use postures and vocalizations that resemble those taking place during a fight. So how do you know if Good Dog Charles is suddenly turning into Cujo? For a start, stop reading that book or newspaper at the doggie park; start reading your dog's body language instead.

Doggie Metasignals

A good way to tell if your dog's has a desire for peaceful interaction is by looking for specific metasignals. These are signals dogs send to each other to communicate a desire to play and that whatever happens next is not to be taken seriously. In the human world, this is similar to smiling or using a certain tone of voice to tell a friend you're just kidding. The play bow is an example of a fancy metasignal denoting that all ensuing growls, snaps and pounces that follow are not signs of an impending war, explains dog trainer Jolanta Benal.

Doggie Role Reversals

When dogs play, you will notice how the dogs engage in frequent role reversal. One moment Rover is chasing and playfully nipping, the next he is pinned to the ground by the other dog. Being on the top and then on the bottom, chasing and then being chased, are signs of balanced play, according to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Play should also be bouncy, and you should see wiggly bodies, open relaxed mouths and happy back-and-forth play.

Doggie Self-Handicapping

Just as a dad would wrestle lightly and carefully with a child, a dog during play will avoid playing as hard as he can. During doggie play, dogs will inhibit their bite, run slower than usual and make lighter body slams than they actually can. In healthy play, the stronger, faster individual will inhibit his speed and strength to match that of his playmate, explains certified applied animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell.

Doggie Cut-Off Signals

Not all dogs want to mingle or are in the " just wanna have fun" state of mind. It's not unusual to see a dog eliciting a dog to play and the other dog walking away and giving out "cut-off" or "leave me alone" signals. Sometimes bold dogs with rough-and-tumble play styles may try to bully more reserved dogs, according to Animal Humane Society. In this case, the more timid dog may keep his ears flattened and his body low, and he may engage in frequent lip-licking. Ignoring such cut-off signals may allow things to escalate into a real fight.

Doggie Trouble Signs

So when is play getting out of hand, and when should you intervene? Generally, excessive mounting, following a dog incessantly, non-stop running, staring, showing teeth, pinning a dog to the ground and standing stiffly over him, full-speed body slams, placing the head repeatedly on a dog's back or neck and general bullying behaviors should be red flags that will require your intervention, according to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Doggie Play Gone Bad

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to watching your dogs play. Learn how to read doggie body language and recognize the first signs of stress. If you notice a play session is going south and needs your intervention, don't panic. Screaming at your dog will only escalate the tension and make things worse. It's a good idea to always play it safe and keep some anti-fight supplies always handy. A blanket to toss over the dogs or a noise-making item to distract them, such as a metal can filled with pennies or a small air horn purchased from a marine supply store, may serve the purpose, according to the Pet Professional Guild.



Thursday, 23 May 2013

We've Been Away....But We're Back Now!!

Dear Bear's P4ws readers,

You may (or may not) have noticed that there has been a recent....stoppage of posts from this blog...NEVER FEAR!  We have not disappeared, we simply got a little caught up in life outside of the blog for a little while.

Things, however, have cleared up nicely, and both Bear and I are happy to be back.  Expect a real blog post/update soon.


Keep your tails wagging
Bear's Paws

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Good-Ole' Water-Bottle Dog Toy - Ideal for Indoor Play and Hot Summer Days

Recycle in a whole new way with bottled water. 

We've also seen those toys hangging from the pet-store display walls.  Empty stuffed animals that can be stuffed with water bottles.  The bottle makes a wonderful crunching sound when squashed and if the bottle become overly squished it can be easily removed and replaced.  It's also an ideal toy for dogs who love to rip the stuffing out of their toys because there is no stuffing to worry about. 
But why spend a ton of money on a manufactured water-bottle toy when you can make one yourself?  All you really need to do is raid your recycling bin.
Combine an old sock and an empty water bottle to recreate this toy. Place your empty plastic water bottle inside an old sock. Knot the sock and watch the fun.
Poke holes in the water bottle and remove the cap. Then, fill it with small or crushed dog treats. It works like the well-known Kong, allowing the dog to pester the bottle until small pieces of treats come out of the opening. If she destroys the bottle and gets the snacks, take the plastic before she can eat it and use a new bottle tomorrow.
On hot days fill the water bottle half way with water and lay it on its side in the freezer. Your dog has a solid chewing toy that will cool him in the hot weather, but it isn't too hard for his teeth.
Bear's favorite version of this toy is the ice-filled one.  He will run through the house with his bottle toy dangling in his mouth for hours - and will usually fall asleep while sucking on it (the big baby).  

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws

Monday, 6 May 2013

DOG FOOD ALERT: Great Life Withholds Specific Buffalo Recipe Dog Foods

Great Life Performance Pet Products has notified its distributors to request they withhold certain products from sale to consumers.
According to the company, the action is being taken because some packages are “not reaching full expiration date” as suggested by the presence of an unexplained odor.
The affected dog food products include:
Great Life Grain Free Buffalo Dr. E’s Grain Free Buffalo
In its letter, Great Life assures distributors recent lab tests have found their Grain Free Buffalo products “free of Salmonella, E. coli, toxins, micro-toxins, etc.”.

Our Opinion
Although Great Life is investigating the cause of the problem, it’s important to note the company has not yet technically classified its action “a recall”.
However, it’s always possible some of the affected product may have already made its way to end users.
Since the company has not yet determined the actual cause of the odor, we feel compelled to make consumers aware of the situation and suggest they monitor the developing story closely.

What to Do?
You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.
Or go to
(Originally reported by Dog Food Advisor)

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws

Friday, 3 May 2013

Having Fun with Your Dog

“A tired dog is a good dog.” While you’ve probably heard the saying many times, there’s a lot of truth to that simple phrase. Bored dogs will often try to entertain themselves—whether that means chewing your shoes, barking at what seem like imaginary sounds, digging up your flower garden, or chasing their own tails.
Playtime can solve many behavior problems and help you strengthen the bond with your dog at the same time. Walks—preferably twice a day for at least half an hour each—are a great way to help your dog (and you) burn some calories but playing together adds a whole additional layer of activity. Just as children learn and develop through play, our pets need the stimulation, both mental and physical, that play can provide to develop their full potential.
Spring is an excellent time to get out and have fun with your four-legged friend. After a winter of often abbreviated outdoor activity, the warmer weather calls for outdoor action. Here’s a look at inexpensive and fun ways to get out and celebrate the warm weather with your dog:

Play fetch.
Not every dog loves the game of fetch from the start; some require some time to learn why it’s fun to repeatedly chase an object you toss. Be aware of the type of object your dog enjoys fetching, a tennis ball, a toy, or a flying disc. Reward your dog when he returns the toy with lots of praise or treats, and he’ll learn to love this game. Eventually, you can graduate to longer throws (try a tennis racquet if you need help) or uphill fetch games to help your dog get more exercise.

Play hide and seek.
Dogs enjoy a good game of hide and seek, and it’s a great way to help exercise your dog’s problem solving abilities at the same time. Start with your dog in a sit- (or down-) stay then hide in a fairly easy-to-find place. Be sure to have some great rewards with you, like super treats or a favorite toy, so you can praise your dog when he finds you. As your dog gets better at this game, you can graduate to more difficult-to-find locations that require your dog to rely on scent to locate you.

Create your own dog park with friends.
Do you and a couple of neighbors have fenced yards and dogs that enjoy each other’s company? Arrange a play date every week for your dogs to enjoy some fun play time. It will save you a drive to the dog park, save some gas money, and help socialize Fido and you at the same time.

Freestyle fun.
OK, you’re no Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers but you can get out and enjoy some freestyle dance fun with Fido. Turn up some tunes and dance with your dog. With a search for “canine freestyle” on YouTube, you’ll find many videos of competitive freestyle competitions for some ideas…or just improvise. Whatever you try, your dog will never laugh at your dance steps.

Get nosy.
Help your dog develop his instinctive scenting abilities by training him to track. Using a harness and a long leash, you can teach your dog the “track” command, starting with an easy-to-find scented object (try a dirty t-shirt) in clear sight; after the “track” command, when your dog walks up to the item, give him lots of praise and reward him. Eventually, you can progress to hiding the item out of sight. Help your dog by laying a scent trail by dragging the item to the location. This exercise can be fun for your dog and fascinating for you as you learn to appreciate your dog’s amazing sense of smell.

Try some agility fun.
You don’t have to have a full agility course to teach your dog to enjoy agility exercises; one apparatus such as a tunnel or a bar jump can mean many afternoons of fun. As your dog progresses, you can add additional agility equipment or consider joining an agility club for even more challenges.

Get sporting.
Whether your sport is rollerblading, scootering, or biking, your dog can join the fun. It can be as simple or involved as you choose, with your dog running alongside you or taking part using special equipment. 

Whatever your idea of outdoor fun, your dog will be happy to join. The increased activity can prevent behavioral problems and help you and your dog celebrate spring together.

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws