Dog Research

The Good News About Exercise and Your Dog

ID-100104460Many dog owners recognize that simply walking their dogs can keep them and their dogs healthier. However, it may surprise you to learn that a significant percentage of dog owners do not walk or exercise their dogs.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, "as many as 40 percent of dog owners in the United States and elsewhere rarely if ever walk their dogs." In searching for reasons why people didn't walk their dogs, researchers came up with one intriguing conclusion: "Interestingly, one of the prime determinants of regular dog walks was affection. People who reported feeling close to their pet generally walked it more often than those who reported a looser bond."

A research study suggests that people are less likely to walk smaller dogs (typically weighing less than thirty pounds), older dogs, and overweight dogs. Contrary to popular belief, all of these dogs need exercise, as long as a veterinarian approves. Dr. Carri Westgarth, a researcher in England, tells the Times that taking a dog on a walk is not just good exercise, it is also stimulating for the dog's senses and reinforces the canine-human bond.

“People who walk their dogs often say they do it for the dog,” said Westgarth. “But there is also an element of what we get out of it in terms of enjoyment, which is the big motivator.”

So get out there and walk your dog... you'll both be better off for it!

Image: Vlado, Freedigitalphotos.net


Does Your Dog Connect with You on an Emotional Level?

AngelinaLitvin-unsplash.comPeople who have owned dogs for a long time are likely to share a very special bond with those pets. Many dog owners may even believe that dogs read and react to their emotional state. Now an emerging field of science called "emotional contagion" -- the spread of emotions between animals and people -- is helping to confirm that dogs really can connect with their owners on an emotional level.

A recent article in The New York Times, "The Empathetic Dog," shares the story of Benjamin Stepp, an Iraq war veteran whose service dog, Arleigh, senses Stepp's emotional distress and takes action to calm him. According to the article, "The dog senses when his agitation and anxiety begin rising, and sends him signals to begin the controlled breathing and other exercises that help to calm him down." This is just one of countless examples of ways in which dogs help humans by understanding their emotional state.

Some of the research being done on the emotional connection between animals and humans is fascinating. For example, one study cited in the story exposed dogs and humans to a baby crying, a baby babbling, and radio static. The babbling baby and radio static did not elicit much of a reaction from either humans or dogs. "But the sound of a baby crying produced a drastic response. Cortisol levels spiked in both people and dogs," according to the article.

So that deep emotional connection you think you have with your best furry friend? It could be very real!

Image: Angelina Litvin, Unsplash

 


What Do You Really Know About Dog Food?

ID-100114357The number of dog food brands and options is overwhelming, and food for dogs has become big business for the pet industry. To keep ahead of the brand "pack," Reviews.com did extensive research into dog food to come up with a very selective list of the best dog food brands. The Reviews.com team invested over 1,400 hours into research, which included surveying experts and dog owners and reviewing the ingredients of more than 100 brands.

The results of this study are both troubling and informative. You will learn quite a bit about what is and isn't in dog foods, and you're also likely to discover that some of what you think about certain brands may not be correct.

The Reviews.com study covers what to look for and what to avoid in dog foods, pros and cons regarding types of dog food, the best dog food formulas, and the best dog food products. There is also some helpful information about dog food recalls.

Check out the complete study here: http://www.reviews.com/dog-food/

Image: Twobee, freedigitalphotos.net


Guide to Dog Ownership Costs

ID-100329003When it comes to owning a dog, you certainly can't put a price on the love and companionship a dog brings to your family. But just as with a human family member, there are costs involved in owning a pet.

TheSimpleDollar.com has put together a helpful, comprehensive and current guide to pet ownership costs. The guide covers the lifetime costs of a pet, including acquisition, medical, grooming, food, equipment, and training costs. The guide also discusses specific costs related to owning a dog, such as most and least expensive dog breeds, typical costs for health-related items including vaccines, flea treatments, and heartworm preventative, emergency medical care, pet insurance, tips for reducing the cost of pet ownership, and more.

Included with the guide is a handy free cost calculator so you can estimate dog ownership costs yourself.

Check out the guide here: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/pet-cost-calculator/

Image: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net


New Book Focuses on Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.25.24 PMWhether the wind blows, the ground shakes, the flames rise or snow and water fall from the skies, you must be prepared for your pet’s sake!” says Denise Fleck aka The Pet Safety Crusader™. “Disasters aren’t always on a regional scale. Power could go out on just your street or in only your building.  A tree could fall on your roof or a water pipe could break in your home alone.  Even without your neighbors being affected, your household of two-legged, four-legged, feathered, finned or scaled family members could be in distress.”

In her just released 9th book, “The Pet Safety Crusader’s My Pet & Me Guide to Disaster PAWparedness,” Fleck, who has personally instructed more than 12,000 humans in animal life-saving skills and millions more on national TV segments, lays out the steps your pets need you to know to be READY, REACT and then RECOVER.  “Training, supplies, a positive mental attitude and a plan can make all the difference,” she says.  In addition to preparedness tips for humans and their animal companions, the author provides templates for your family's emergency plan, what to have on hand and skills to possess, suggestions for specific disasters ranging from earthquakes, hurricanes and chemical disasters to tsunamis, power outages and civil unrest. The book concludes with a comprehensive manual covering basic first-aid – should the worst happen – for those who walk on two-legs, four paws or hooves, fly, swim or crawl.

Order the book below:


Free "Pet Friendly" Presentation, Hendersonville, April 29

ID-100280356On Saturday, April 29 from 4 to 6 PM, certified dog behaviorist Kim Brophey will give a free talk entitled "Pet Friendly: We All Deserve to Have a Ball!" at Sanctuary Brewing, 147 1st Ave. East, Hendersonville, NC. It is sponsored by Asheville Humane Society in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States and GoPetFriendly.com.

Kim is the owner of Dog Door Behavior Center in downtown Asheville and will be discussing what “pet friendly” means for the Asheville area. GoPetFriendly.com is a leading pet travel resource that has partnered with HSUS and Shelter Pet Project for a 10-month, pet-friendly tour across the country to raise awareness about adoption and other animal related issues. Asheville has been chosen as one of the stops!

Asheville Humane Society and Blue Ridge Humane Society will be there with dogs available for adoption!

Image: Holohololand, Freedigitalphotos.net


New Study Shows Dogs Help People Improve Their Interactions

ID-100104783Dog lovers rejoice! Recent research conducted at Central Michigan University compared groups of people working together on tasks. Some small groups worked without a dog present, while other groups had the companionship of a dog. The result: The groups with a dog worked more cooperatively and seemed to trust group members more than the groups with no dog in the room.

Researcher Steve Colarelli reports, "When people work in teams, the presence of a dog seems to act as a social lubricant. Dogs seem to be beneficial to the social interactions of teams."

Colarelli adds, “In a situation where people are working together for a long period of time, and how well the team gets along—do they speak together, have rapport, act cooperatively, help one another—could influence the outcome of the team, then I suspect a dog would have a positive impact.”

Read more about this study from the perspective of Jill Suttie, writing for the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley: 
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_dogs_help_people_get_along_better?

Image: Vlado, freedigitalphotos.net


Dogs and Behavior Problems

ID-100436728We all love our dogs, but every once in a while, they exhibit a behavior that we find undesirable. Before you attempt to correct the behavior, it might be wise to understand its cause.

PetPlace.com provides an excellent "Guide to Behavior Problems in Dogs" that lists many of the most common dog behavior problems, including inappropriate elimination, urine marking, digging, separation anxiety, aggression, chewing, and biting. The guide is set up so that it briefly describes each behavior. Then you can click on the behavior and get a lot more details about the problem.

All of the material is written by veterinarians or other dog behavior specialists. It is easy to read and features specific suggestions and guidance for how to address each behavior problem.

You'll find a link to the primary article here: 
http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/behavior-training/behavior-problems/guide-to-behavior-problems-in-dogs

Image: Patrisyu, Freedigitalphotos.net


Free Talk: "Puppy 101," Hendersonville, Feb. 25

ID-100226591On Saturday, February 25 from 1 to 2:30 PM, Sanctuary Brewing in Hendersonville will host "Puppy 101" from This free talk with an Asheville Humane Society dog behaviorist is going to focus on the stages that puppies go through, how their brains and behavior are developing, and what we can do to help them become a well-socialized adult dog!

The talk will also cover some common socialization misconceptions and helpful training techniques to make the adolescent months more bearable. Puppies are welcome, but if you decide to bring your puppy, please be sure they are up to date on vaccines and de-wormings. If several puppies of similar ages are present, a puppy social will be held! 

Sanctuary Brewing is located at 147 First Avenue East in Hendersonville, NC. For additional details, call 828-595-9956 or email info@sanctuarybrewco.com. 

Image: Vudhikrai, freedigitalphotos.net


Test Your Dog Knowledge with this Fun Dog Quiz

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The Pet Community
is a social network for pet owners. You can create a profile for your dog and upload photos and videos to share with other pet lovers.

The Pet Community also created a dog quiz comprised of 10 questions to test your dog knowledge. It's fun, it won't take long, and you'll find out right away whether you answered the multiple choice questions correctly.

You can find the dog quiz here:

https://www.thepetcommunity.com/dog-quiz/

 

Image: www.thepetcommunity.com

 


There's a Right and Wrong Way to Pick Up Your Dog

ID-10044405You may not think much about it, but before you scoop up your dog the next time, you might want to read this article on Vetstreet by veterinarian Jessica Vogelsang. She says dogs' limbs "are more delicate than you think," and lifting a dog by its front limbs (a common no-no performed by children) can be quite dangerous. Another common error: scruffing an adult dog. While scruffing the neck can work with adult cats, it is uncomfortable and sometimes painful for adult dogs.

Dogs cannot verbalize when they are uncomfortable or in pain, so it is up to their human owner to be sensitive to canine signals. Watch for a dog's signals when you pick up your dog, and be sure to pick up your dog the right way.

Vogelsang offers helpful tips for the right way to pick up your dog, distinguishing between small (under 25 pounds) and medium (25 to 40 pounds) size dogs. She believes large dogs really need two people to pick them up.

Read Vogelsang's entire article on Vetstreet here: http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/5-things-your-dog-wishes-you-knew-about-picking-him-up

Image: Ambro, Freedigitalphotos.net


Technology and Dog Training: NC State's "Smart Harness"

NCState harnessThe future of dog training may be just as smart as your smartphone.

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a "smart harness" with a customized suite of technologies that allows a computer to train a dog autonomously, with the computer effectively responding to the dog based on the dog’s body language.

“Our approach can be used to train dogs efficiently and effectively,” says David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. “We use sensors in custom dog harnesses to monitor a dog’s posture, and the computer reinforces the correct behavior quickly and with near-perfect consistency.”

“Because the technology integrates fundamental principles of animal learning into a computational system, we are confident it can be applied to a wide range of canine behaviors,” says Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-author of the paper. “For example, it could be used to more quickly train service dogs. Ultimately, we think the technology will be used in conjunction with human-directed training.”

The dog harness fits comfortably onto the dog and is equipped with a variety of technologies that can monitor the dog’s posture and body language. Each harness also incorporates a computer the size of a deck of cards that transmits the sensor data wirelessly.

No word on if and when the smart harness may be commercially available. For more information, visit: https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/05/dog-training-tech-2016/

Image: NC State University


Dog Talk in Asheville: "Uniting the Human and Canine Worlds," July 23

ID-100104460On Saturday, July 23 from 9 AM to 12 PM, the first U.S certified behavior consultants of internationally renowned dog behaviorist Turid Rugaas will present "Bridging the Gap: Uniting the Human and Canine Worlds."

Topics of the talk include the human-dog relationship, walking gear that works, healthy eating that works, and "Fetch: The Movie." 10 percent of the proceeds from this talk will benefit Blue Ridge Humane Society.

The talk is sponsored by and will be held at Lenoir-Rhyne University's Asheville location, 36 Montford Avenue, Asheville. Registration is $35 online or at the door.

To register online, go to: https://squareup.com/store/angels-paws-academy, or contact:
Joanne Ometz, Joanne@mindfulnessfordogs.com, 828-275-2487

Image: Vlado, freedigitalphotos.net


Dog Talk: "Uniting the Human and Canine Worlds," Asheville, July 23

ID-100104460On Saturday, July 23 from 9 AM to 12 PM, the first U.S certified behavior consultants of internationally renowned dog behaviorist Turid Rugaas will present "Bridging the Gap: Uniting the Human and Canine Worlds."

Topics of the talk include the human-dog relationship, walking gear that works, healthy eating that works, and "Fetch: The Movie." 10 percent of the proceeds from this talk will benefit Blue Ridge Humane Society.

The talk is sponsored by and will be held at Lenoir-Rhyne University's Asheville location, 36 Montford Avenue, Asheville. Registration is $25 before July 10, or $35 after July 10 and at the door.

To register online, go to: https://squareup.com/store/angels-paws-academy, or contact:
Joanne Ometz, Joanne@mindfulnessfordogs.com, 828-275-2487

Image: Vlado, freedigitalphotos.net


Managing the Expenses of Dog Ownership

AngelinaLitvin-unsplash.comMost readers of Carolina Mountain Dog probably treat their beloved dog as a family member. Just like other family members, though, taking care of a dog means being responsible for things like food, shelter, and medical care.

How much do you really spend on dog ownership? MoneyGeek.com offers "The Budget-Friendly Guide to Caring for Your Pet," a free handy online guide to the real costs of pet ownership. It includes information to help people determine whether they can afford a pet with their current finances, the typical one-time and yearly costs of owning an animal, how to save money on pet care, and a variety of other resources on finding the perfect pet for a household. Such topics as "Thirteen Steps for Saving on Pet Expenses," "How Dog Expenses Vary by Breed," and "An Emergency Plan for Your Pet" will undoubtedly be helpful to every dog owner.

You can find the guide here: https://www.moneygeek.com/living/resources/pet-expenses/

Image: Angelina Litvin, unsplash.com


Dog Bite Prevention Week: May 15 - 21

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.49.42 PM
This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and it's a good time to make sure you and your family are practicing safety when it comes to your dog and others. Believe it or not, more than 4,500,000 people in the United States are bitten by dogs in a year.

We are providing an interesting, informative infographic about dog bites and dog bite prevention, courtesy of UltimateHomeLife.com

You can see it here: http://ultimatehomelife.com/dog-bite-prevention-week-2016-may-15-may-21/

 


When Does Your Dog Become a "Senior"?

Kate-unsplash.comA dog's lifespan is obviously much shorter than a human's. According to PetPlace.com, about 13 percent of large breed dogs live past 10 years of age, while 38 percent of small breed dogs live past 10 years of age.

Technically, your dog becomes a senior when it has lived about three-quarters of its expected life. PetPlace provides a handy chart that shows you the anticipated lifespan and senior years for numerous breeds. For example, a beagle is expected to live 14 to 15 years, so its senior years would begin at around 10-1/2 to 11 years. A Labrador Retriever has a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years, so its senior years would begin in the 7-1/2 to 10 year range.

If your dog is a mixed breed, you can use the chart as a rough guideline based on the breed you think is most dominant in your dog.

PetPlace also notes that dogs generally move from being puppies to adulthood at the one year mark, although toy and small breeds mature faster than large breeds.

Image: Kate, www.unsplash.com


Warmer, Wetter Weather Equals More Pet Pests

ID-10032366Have you been noticing more fleas on your dog lately? You are not alone. As climate patterns change and lead to warmer, wetter weather, fleas, ticks, and mosquitos (which can lead to heartworm in dogs) are on the increase.

Writing for Care2, Becky Striepe notes, "Fleas aren’t the only pests on the rise. Tick and mosquito populations are also exploding right now. It turns out that climate change is creating an ideal habitat for pests, and that’s bad news for your pets." She says responsible dog owners need to think about using flea and tick preventatives year round, not just during warmer months. She also suggests keeping dogs on a monthly heartworm prevention regimen. Ticks require special attention, writes Becky: "Fleas and mosquitoes bite and move on, but ticks stick around on your pet’s skin, which is why you should check your dog or cat for ticks, especially if she’s been outside for an extended period. The faster you spot and remove the tick, the better your chance of preventing it from transmitting a disease."

She has several suggestions for fighting against pet pests, including: "Get rid of standing water in your yard and you get rid of potential pest breeding grounds. ... If you have carpet, vacuum regularly to keep fleas from breeding in the fibers."

Helpful information! Read Becky Striepe's entire article here.

Image: Anankkml, www.freedigitalphotos.net


Your Dog's Body Language May Surprise You

ID-100233930You may think you know what your dog is telling you by watching his body language -- but some signals may surprise you, according to veterinarian behaviorist Dr. Wailani Sung. Writing for Vetstreet, Sung discusses such common behaviors as tail wagging, noting that "tail wagging is not necessarily a sign of friendliness. In dogs, a wagging tail is an indication that the dog is willing to interact, but that interaction can be either aggressive or friendly. In order to determine what the dog is 'saying,' you need to look at the rest of the dog’s body posture to figure out if he is approachable or not."

Raised hackles are another sign that can be misinterpreted. Sung writes, "Hackles being raised in a dog (veterinarians call this 'piloerection') is not always an indication that the dog is about to attack another dog. Dogs often raise their hackles when they are being wary and cautious but not always before they attack. A dog may approach another dog slowly with his hackles raised, then greet the other dog with a play bow!"

Sung addresses other animal body language that may surprise you. Read the entire article in Vetstreet.

Image: Tiverylucky, freedigitalphotos.net


Find Out What Your Dog Really Costs

ID-10055328It's no secret that a dog, or any pet for that matter, comes with certain costs. Obvious costs include food and veterinary care. But others associated with dog ownership, such as flea treatments, treats, collars, and leashes can mount up.

Now there's a handy place to find out about estimated dog-related costs, including typical costs for: adopting, bark collars, boarding, cancer treatment, crates, daycare, grooming, surgery, vaccinations, and more. The information is quite comprehensive. Most entries include a full description, average costs that are validated by outside sources, what is included in the cost as well as extra costs, factors that influence price, questions to ask, and ways to save money.

Just go to http://www.howmuchisit.org/dog-costs/ and check out many of the typical costs of dog ownership.

Image: Stuart Miles, www.freedigitalphotos.net