Bobbie the Wonderdog

 

Also known as Silverton Bobbie, this Scotch Collie-English Shepherd mix gained worldwide fame in 1923 when he walked from Indiana to Oregon— a journey of 2551 miles—to reunite with his owner, six months after getting lost in the Hoosier State while on a family road trip. In 1924, a silent film, The Call of the West was made about Bobbie; the pup played himself.

Dewclaws

Dogs are a digitigrade species: they walk on their digits. Paws have four digits that make contact with the ground, but sometimes their is an inside digit higher up that doesn’t connect with the ground. That is a dewclaw. Most dogs have dewclaws on their front paws only, it’s rare to have a rare dewclaw. There are a few breeds where a rear dewclaw is a breed standard, such as the Great Pyrnees or Briard. What is/was the purpose of a dewclaw?

The Great Pyrenees was bred to be a guard livestock and the ground they walked on was rough and uneven. The dewclaw on the rear feet functioned to give the dogs greater stability. (This is much the same purpose of front dewclaws.) Since most dogs aren’t used for herding, hunting or guarding anymore, essentially the dewclaw (rear or front) is now a non functional extra “appendage,” that is expendable, which they often are.

Many breeders will often have dewclaws removed between 3 to 5 days of age. At this age, the dewclaw is so loose, it’s easy for a veterinarian to remove.

If your dog’s breeder didn’t remove the dewclaw, you can make the decision. Consider where your dog will be spending much of his time and how much the dewclaw is “in the way.” Any dewclaw that is loose regardless of your dog’s lifestyle, should be removed by your veterinarian immediately. A loose dewclaw can get caught on anything and will cause your dog tremendous pain.

The easiest (and most preferred time by veterinarians) time to remove dewclaws are during your dog’s spay/neuter procedure as your dog will be under general anesthesia anyway. This anesthesia doesn’t carry the same risks as other types and the older a dog is, the more risks are associated with using any kind of anesthesia.

If you choose to keep your dog’s dewclaw (especially in the front) because it’s held so close to your dog’s skin, you will need to pay as much attention to it as you do to his normal claws. Since dewclaws don’t make contact with the ground, they don’t have a chance to get worn down like regular claws. These dewclaws will grow in a “curlier” fashion and can grow into your dog’s skin and, if not trimmed, can cause your dog pain. Once a dewclaw curls in that much, trimming it is extremely difficult; so trim dewclaws often.

If you have any questions about your dog’s dewclaws, consult your vet. Between the two of you, you’ll be able to make a completely informed decision about what’s the best course of action to take for both you and your dog.

Do Dogs Experience Guilt?

This is an argument that has long raged on. Owners say, of course a dog feels guilty — look at him! but experts disagree –vehemently; your dog is simply reacting to you.

Dogs experience many emotions (it’s a proven fact), all the major ones like love, happiness and fear. Secondary emotions like pride, jealousy or guilt — not so much. The reason, experts claim, is these secondary emotions require a level of self-awareness that dogs just don’t have.

Many experts have performed many tests to determine whether dogs experience guilt. The tests usually go like this: An owner leaves the room after telling the dog not to eat a treat. While gone, the tester gives the dog a treat. The owner comes back into the room. The tester will say either that the dog ate the treat or didn’t and may not necessarily correspond to whether the dog actually ate it. Nevertheless, the dogs most exhibit “guilty” looks when the owner scolds them, but not necessarily when the owner was told they ate it when they really didn’t. Therefore, experts conclude that the guilty look is merely a response to the owner (and the owner’s tones and behavior) than to committing a forbidden act itself. Experts feel the guilty look really means, “Don’t punish me for whatever you think I did.”

Why do dogs act guilty if they don’t feel it? It’s a learned association. When you get mad, your dog learns very quickly that if he tucks his tail in and lowers his head, you’ll stop yelling or stop being/sounding/acting angry. (For the rest of us not involved in the situation, when you see a dog looking guilty, you just want to hug him and say “aww.” Look cute and he’ll soon be loved again.)

An Iowa Miniature Schnauzer Proves the Power of Love

This week, Sissy, a miniature schnauzer in Iowa proved just how strong the bonds of love are.

Her human mom Nancy had to go into a Cedar Rapids hospital for some medical treatment and Sissy was missing her. She made the four hour journey to the hospital and walked right in the double doors of the lobby. How Sissy had known how to get there or where she even was is a complete mystery. When Nancy was dropped off at the hospital, Sissy wasn’t in the car. Sissy had never run away before.  The closest possible explanation could be that Nancy works next to the hospital.

What an amazing story! Click the link below for more information and videos.

Iowa dog walks to hospital to find owner.

Expensive Breeds of Dogs and Cats

BENGAL

These cats are a cross between domestic cats and the Asian leopard cat (a small wildcat). Bengals have been around for about 100 years. Kittens can cost thousands of dollars.

TIBETAN MASTIFF

This large dog came from the mountains of central Asia where they share their lives with nomadic tribes. They were used for protection.

LOWCHEN (German for “little lion”)

Lowchens are one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. Originally from Europe, they were bred for the lords and ladies 400 years ago. A Lowchen puppy will set you back a few thousand dollars.

KHAO MANEE

Originated in Thailand. Khao Manees are pure white and usually have two different colored eyes. They didn’t receive any export “papers” from Thailand until 1999.

CANADIAN ESKIMO

These hard workers pull the sleds of Canada’s Inuit population in the Arctic. Eskimo dogs have extremely thick coats to survive those brutal winter temperatures. When the Inuits turned more to snowmobiles during the 1950s and 60s, Eskimo dogs were nearly eliminated. In the 1970s, the Eskimo Dog Research Foundation bought, bred and saved the last remaining dogs.

SAVANNAH

Savannahs are hybrids of domestic cats and servals (a small African wildcat). They were first bred in the mid-1980s and have quickly become a popular pet choice. You can have one too — if you shell out at least $5,000!

EGYPTIAN PHARAOH HOUND

Egyptian Pharaoh Hounds were used as companions for Maltan hunters. They are strong, athletic and independent and rarely found outside of Malta. If you really want an Egyptian Pharaoh Hound, you’re going to be paying at least five grand.

Dog People vs. Cat People

While prowling around the internet, I came across some factoids about the personalities and lifestyles of dog people versus cat people. (I don’t know how scientific any of these “facts” are, but they’re usually always interesting.)

Studies show that our preference is dependent on the animals we were raised with and factors like our age and living space. Families with young children are more apt to have a dog. Older adults and singles are more inclined to cats. If you live in the suburbs, you probably have a dog. If you live in an apartment, you’ll tend to have a small dog or a cat.

Dog people are said to be more extroverted, laidback and conscientious. Cat people are creative, adventurous and prone to suffer from anxiety. Both dog and cat people are equally likely to have graduated from post-secondary education, while cat people are slightly more likely to have completed graduate studies.

Both dog and cat people talk to animals (not just their own!), have an affinity for nature, are more optimist and tend to dislike animal-print clothing.

Dog people seem to gravitate more to rural areas (it is always good to give your dog plenty of open space to exercise), while cat people prefer urban areas.

Dog people have no qualms about calling in professional reinforcements if they find abandoned kittens while cat people are more prone to open their homes, hearts and eventually wallets for those same kittens.

Dog people are more likely to have a song as their ringtone. Cat people maintain the same group of contacts in their phones as well as in a physical address book.

Dog people are more likely to have kids. Cat people prefer to take care of a friend’s kids rather than to take care of their friend’s dogs.

Dog people are more likely to laugh at slapstick humor and impressions while cat people find ironic humor and puns to be more humorous.

Dog people have a better impression of zoos and prefer jam bands, reggae and psychedelic rock music. Cat people are more active on Twitter and are fans of new wave, classic rock or electronic music.

What do you think? Does this sound like you?

More cats versus dogs:

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Many dogs realize that when you pick up your car keys or put on your coat that they are about to become lonely for a while. Yes, many dogs suffer from the same separation anxiety that affects your toddler. How do you help your dog so that you’re not constantly coming home to the above scene (and without locking him away in a crate all day)?

You need to link the cues of your departure to a good outcome for your dog. Try this exercise: Pick up your keys and praise (or treat) him. Pick up your keys, go to the door and praise him. Pick up your keys, go through the door, come right back inside and praise him. Pick up keys, go outside, wait a few seconds, come back inside and praise him. Pick up keys, go outside, wait a few minutes, come back in and praise dog. If at any time your dog shows sign of anxiety, stop and make sure not to reward him and go back a step. Your dog will learn to associate your leaving with something pleasant (the praise or treats) instead of with loneliness. The result should be no more anxiety when you leave.

Dogs rely heavily on scents. You can also try leaving a scented article of clothing (scented with your natural scent, not perfume) in the room with you while you’re gone.

If, at any time, your dog ruins anything (or has an indoor accident) while you’re away, never punish him. It will only make his anxiety worse. Dogs aren’t able to remember their bad behavior and connect it to your anger. He will only internalize that sometimes when you come home you’re happy to see him and other times you aren’t. Dogs thrive on consistency. They need to know you’re always happy to see them when you come home, the same way he is. If he turns destructive, go back and repeat the conditioning process again.

After a few weeks of trying these methods, if your dog doesn’t become less anxious, you may need to consult a behaviorist.