Dog Behavior

Do You Sleep with Your Dog?

Sad-1930479_1920Some dog owners may not admit it, but in the privacy of their own homes, they allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them. That means your dog is spending lots of time in your bedroom -- and that could cause some interesting challenges.

The folks at Slumber Yard have put together a handy guide to "Pet Safety for the Bedroom." It includes pros vs. cons for sleeping with your pet, tips to make sleeping with your pet safe and comfortable, and a very helpful list of seven specific suggestions for how to pet-proof your bedroom.

You'll find the free guide here: https://myslumberyard.com/blog/pet-safety-for-the-bedroom/

Image by Renato Laky from Pixabay


Should You Adopt a Second Dog?

Dogs-189015_1920If you've owned your dog for awhile, you undoubtedly have developed a special bond. One reason your dog naturally bonds with you is because dogs are pack animals. Dogs are generally happier as part of a pack whether it's human or canine, but most dogs seem to welcome a canine companion. So the question is: Should you adopt a second dog?

Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, the veterinarian who heads the well-regarded Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, believes that "dogs in general are happier with other dogs. It's hard on social creatures not to live with their co-species members." Still, getting a second dog should not be a hasty decision. “A dog might enjoy another dog initially,” she says. "But the two dogs may not display their full range of behaviors in that situation, and they have to make a quick decision based on initial impressions. We’re layering our own best judgment over that to create what is essentially an arranged marriage that may or may not work to best advantage.”

The Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has some excellent, authoritative suggestions for how to add a second dog to your household in an informative article, "Would Your Dog be Happier with a Second Dog?" Read it here: https://www.tuftsyourdog.com/dogownership/would-your-dog-be-happier-with-a-second-dog/

Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay


7 Tips on Canine Body Language from the ASPCA

This information is provided as a public service from the ASPCA.

Erda-estremera-JBrbzg5N7Go-unsplashDogs communicate with one another and with us using their own elegant, non-verbal language. These seven tips focus on seven important aspects of a dog’s body: eyes, ears, mouth, tail, sweat and overall body posture/movement. Staff and volunteers can use this information to interpret what an animal is feeling.

Eyes

When looking at dog's eyes, pay attention to the white part of the eye (the sclera), and consider the focus and intensity of the dog's gaze. When a dog is feeling tense, his eyes may appear rounder than normal, or they may show a lot of white around the outside (sometimes known as a "whale eye".) 

Dilated pupils can also be a sign of fear or arousal—these can make the eyes look "glassy," indicating that a dog is feeling threatened, stressed or frightened.

A relaxed dog will often squint, so that his eyes become almond-shaped with no white showing at all.

Mouth

A relaxed dog will likely have his mouth open and may be panting, with no facial or mouth tension. The corners of his mouth may be turned upward slightly.

A fearful or tense dog will generally keep his mouth closed, and may pull his lips back at the corners (also known as a "long lip".) He may also be panting rapidly. A panting dog who suddenly closes his mouth in response to something in the environment may also be indicating increased stress. Drooling when no food is present can also be a sign of extreme fear or stress.

A dog displaying a physical warning may wrinkle the top of his muzzle, often next pulling his lips up vertically to display his front teeth. This is called an "offensive pucker." The muzzle is wrinkled and the corner of the mouth is short and forms a C-shape. This warning often comes with a tense forehead, hard eyes. The dog may also growl—all very clear warnings to anyone approaching.

Some dogs display a "submissive grin" or "smile". This is also a gesture where a dog shows his front teeth, but a smiling dog is doing just that. He usually shows a lowered head, wagging tail, flattened ears, a soft body posture, and soft, squinty eyes along with those teeth. Teeth don't always mean aggression—it is important to consider the whole body and the context to understand what a dog is saying.

Yawning and lip licking may be an early sign of stress, particularly when accompanied by a tight mouth and often a whining sound.

Ears

Dogs have a wide variety of ear types. Although it may be easier for us to see ear position in dogs with erect ears, even floppy-eared dogs like Basset hounds can move the base of their ears forward and back to show different emotions—just look at the direction of the base of the ear. When a dog is relaxed, his ears may be slightly back or out to the sides. As a dog becomes more aroused, the ears will move forward, pointing toward a subject of interest. When their ears are most forward their foreheads often wrinkle.

Tail

When observing a dog's tail, there are two things to consider: the position of the base of the tail, and how the tail is moving.

A relaxed dog holds his tail in a neutral position, extending out from the spine, or maybe below spine level. As the dog becomes more excited or aroused, his tail usually rises above spine level.

The tail movement may be a loose wag from side to side or sweeping circular motion. As the dog becomes more excited or aroused, his tail usually rises above spine level. He may also move his tail side to side in short, rapid movements as he becomes more excited.

A fearful dog will tuck his tail between his rear legs. The tail may also be held rigid against the belly, or wag stiffly.

Hair

Much like your own “goosebumps,” the hair can raise along a dog’s back when he is upset or aroused. This is also known as piloerection or “raised hackles” and can occur across the shoulders, down the spine, and above the tail.  Hackles don’t always mean aggression is imminent, but they are an indicator that the dog is excited or upset about something.

A frightened or stressed dog may also shed more than usual. 

Sweat

Dogs pant to cool themselves, but panting can also be a sign of stress, particularly rapid panting accompanied by a tight mouth with stress wrinkles around it.

Dogs also have the ability to sweat through their paws. You may notice a dog leaving wet footprints on the floor if he is particularly upset.

Overall Body Posture and Body Movement

When initiating play, dogs often start with a play bow and generally follow up with exaggerated facial and body movements. A playful dog's body movement will be loose and wiggly, with lots of movement and brief pauses during play.

A dog who seems stiff, moves slowly, or who keeps moving away may not be interested in social interaction with this playful dog.

Looking away, sniffing, scratching, lying down, or other avoidance behaviors may also indicate that the play session is over.

A fearful dog may lean away, lean back, tremble, crouch, lower his body or head, or roll onto his side or back. Often, his eyes will often be fully open with large pupils, his forehead will be wrinkled, and his tail will be lowered or tucked.

An extremely fearful dog may freeze completely or frantically try to escape, and he may urinate or defecate when approached.

A dog displaying aggressive body language will look large, standing with his head raised above his shoulders. His body will be tense, with weight either centered or over all four feet or leaning slightly forward onto the front legs.

A dog displaying aggressive behavior may also have a wrinkled muzzle, a short lip, and a hard eye.

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash


Free Guide to At-Home Dog Training

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If you've been spending lots of time at home with your dog, why not put it to good use with some training?

Training your dog—whether it's a puppy or you want to teach an old dog new tricks—can be a rewarding experience for both you and your dog. Training not only keeps dogs safer in unpredictable situations, it’s also an excellent way to strengthen your bond and deepen your relationship. 

However, it can be hard to know where to begin, so the folks at Rover have put together a "Dog Training 101 guide" authored by certified professional dog trainers. Throughout this guide, you’ll find tips and information focused on positive reinforcement. This training philosophy aims to help your dog associate wanted behaviors with good things like treats and attention.

The comprehensive guide includes six chapter and is available here: https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-training-101/


Therapy Dogs and Autism

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The federal government's Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, in 2020, about 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a set of conditions with symptoms such as repetitive behaviors, challenges in communication and social skills, sleep disorders and sensory sensitivities.

There are varying degrees of autism, and while there is no cure, there are many therapies, tools and interventions that may be helpful. One option families explore is bringing an autism therapy dog into their family. A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort in a therapeutic context. Outside of medical settings or an institutional environment, a therapy dog is an option for people with autism because they can help encourage social interaction as well as being calming.

DogDigz offers a helpful, comprehensive guide to the use of therapy dogs for children. It includes:

  • an explanation of the differences between therapy, companion and service dogs
  • types of dogs for specific circumstances
  • how a therapy dog can help a child with autism
  • organizations that can help

Get this free guide here: https://dogdigz.com/therapy-dog-autism/

Image: DogDigz.com


5 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Get Through COVID-19

Jumpstory-download20200713-171305Guest Post by Lynell McCready

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning people that dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is stressful. It’s important to take steps to help manage potentially overwhelming emotions and anxiety. 

During this trying time, families have suffered an economic burden; they have had to shelter in place and practice social distancing. All of these factors contribute to anxiety. It’s crucial to find a way to ease stress and to find enjoyment. If you are a pet owner, you know that your dog or cat plays an active role in relieving your anxiety. Consider five ways your pet can help you through the COVID19 pandemic. 

1. A Pet is Good for Your Mental Health

There is a reason thousands of families welcome dogs and cats into their hearts each year. A pet makes a great companion if you are stuck at home and cut off from friends and family. Your dog is a friendly ear when you need someone to talk to or a great distraction when you feel the stress mounting. 

Often pets can pick up cues for how someone they love is feeling, too, so if you are sad or lonely, your dog will be there to provide comfort and may even make you laugh. 

2. Pets Give You Purpose

When you are stuck at home, it can be a struggle to find a reason to get up out of bed. A dog that needs exercise or grooming provides purpose. It’s not just about you. There is someone special in your life that needs your help, and that is motivating. 

Having a dog means you must stick to a schedule, get out of the house several times a day, and do some cleanup. He is the gift that keeps on giving by letting you know that there are still things you must do even if you are sheltering in place. 

3.  Dogs Keep You Moving

Staying home puts you at risk of becoming inactive. Lack of physical exercise can encourage chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. People who live sedentary lives have a higher risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and dementia. 

The pandemic may mean that you can’t go to the gym, play tennis or even golf. The things that kept you active in the past are out of your reach right now, except for maybe one. The need to walk the dog doesn’t change because there is a virus out there. 

Having a dog can be a source of activity. You can take her with you for a run or go to the park and play. It’s a chance to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. 

4. Take a Break

For many, the pandemic means working at home. It’s easy to get caught up in your work and forget to take a break. You don’t have colleagues to get a cup of coffee with or to remind you it’s time to quit for the day. 

Your office buddy is now the four-legged variety that nuzzles your leg when it’s time to get up from the desk. She is there to let you know it’s been several hours since you took her outside. Your dog keeps you on schedule when being on the clock means staying at home in quarantine.  

5. Add a Little Sweetness to Your Life

Between watching the news reports and interacting on social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity. Add that to the fact that you are stuck at home either by yourself or with your family, and it’s easy to feel like there is little joy in life right now. 

A dog is nothing but joy. That unconditional love and lasting sweetness will remind you that there are good things in life. This situation is temporary, so focusing on the negative does more harm than good.

When you feel that negative energy taking over, sit on the couch, and have a cuddle. Maybe it’s time to grab the leash and take a walk or do some training. Your dog is ready anytime you are, so make the most of his positive nature and let it help you fend off the negative. 

When the pandemic is over, you will look back on your time with your pet and develop a new appreciation for what a dog or cat brings to your life.

Lynell McCready has had pets all her life, and each one has taught her something different about not only herself but how she wishes to view the world. But it wasn’t until a job in the late nineties that took her away from her animals did she realize the impact that we have on our animals’ lives. For the last 15 years, she’s been a pet-sitter, offering and assuring people who do have to leave their pets that they will be well-loved and taken care of while they are away.

Image: Jumpstory


Pandemic Causes New Emphasis on Dogs and Homeowners Insurance

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One good thing that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic is animal rescue shelters have seen a spike in dog adoptions. In a happy turn of events, “foster fails” account for many of these adoptions — when pets who were to be temporarily fostered are bonded with and become a long-term member of the family. 

People are finding themselves spending more time at home with their dogs — all day, every day. However, one thing these pet owners may not have considered is: What happens when they return to work, and their dog is suddenly left alone at home for extended periods of time? People’s social lives will also return to normal, meaning their dog will suddenly be exposed to house guests and visitors for the first time. How will their dog behave in these new situations?

You may think your dog is predictable, but how sure are you they will be on their best behavior when they are confronted with new people, places and situations? Dogs are not always as predictable as people may think. If your dog happens to bite someone or damage another person’s property, do you know whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the damage?

Here's an informative guide for dog owners about dog behavior and homeowners insurance: https://www.coverage.com/insurance/home/new-pet-owners-guide/

Here's additional information about whether pets are covered by homeowners insurance:
 https://www.thezebra.com/homeowners-insurance/coverage/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-pets/

Image: Coverage.com 


Your Dog... Home Alone

This information is provided as a public service and reproduced from https://avltoday.6amcity.com/helping-dogs-adjust-home-alone-asheville/?

By Brook Bolen for AVL TODAY

Home-office-5091293_1920As we get further along into Phase 2 of the Governor’s three-phase plan to reopen the state, more of us will be venturing outside the home more frequently, and many of us will be returning to the office. How can we best help our dogs avoid the “Back to Work” blues and prepare for added solo time?

I spoke with Pia Silvani, a pet behavioral specialist — also the Interim Director of the Asheville Humane Society’s Behavioral Department — to find out what pet parents can do to make the transition as painless as possible. Here’s what Pia suggests doing ASAP:

  • Stop taking your pets with you everywhere (even if that’s just inside your house). “If they’re clingy, and they follow you around from room to room, close the door and leave them alone,” she says. “If they’ve been sleeping in the bed with you throughout quarantine, put them back in their dog bed.”

  • Leave your furkids alone for a few hours each day. Now that we can leave home again, step outside and run some errands. “Little spurts of time away will help them get used to you leaving again,” Pia notes.

  • Stick with a routine. If you’ve been going on lots of walks in quarantine, keep them up, but get up early in the morning so you can fit them in. “It’s very important to make sure your pet gets adequate exercise,” says Pia. Similarly, if you keep music or the TV on during the day, be sure to leave it on for your pooch while you’re gone.

  • Start waking up earlier. If you’ve been sleeping in and lounging in bed, start getting up earlier so your dog gets used to it, too.

  • If you work remotely, then implement some distance at home. Start by shutting the door to the room where you’re working. Even seemingly small changes like this can help your pet acclimate to spending less time with you. 

  • Bring your dog along to the office if you can. Let your pooch join you for half a day and then take them home. 

  • Extend your lunch hour to run errands or other things you might do after work. That way, you can go directly home to see the one(s) who’ve been waiting for you all day long.

  • Talk to your neighbor and see if they can check in on your dog during the day (alternately, hire a pet sitter/walker). These folks can let your dog out to relieve themself and give a few belly rubs. 

  • Keep in touch with your veterinarian. If your dog shows signs of anxiety, there are lots of natural products to help pets feel more calm + comfortable, Pia says. In the event they need something stronger, your vet can prescribe the appropriate medication.

Image: Pixabay.com


Will a Mask Freak Out Your Dog?

Face-5017365_1920Wearing a mask in public may become the new normal -- but have you considered what your dog may think of it?

Here's what the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) has to say about masks:

Many dogs get freaked out by people wearing something on their face. If your dog is nervous or reactive, help them cope with the sudden increase in "scary" people (including you!):

- Use positive reinforcement to show them that masks mean good things

- Wear your own mask for short periods indoors, let your dog see you put it on and take it off

- Keep your distance from strangers. You should be doing this anyway, but try to stay far enough away that your dog doesn't react.

Help them cope, like they're helping you cope!

For more, check out the IAABC's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/iaabcorg/posts/10159754816014126

Image: Pixabay.com


Participate in a "Dog Choices" Study

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Would you like to take advantage of being home and spending lots of time with your dog -- while contributing to dog research? Then participate in a "dog choices" study by the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York.

Designed to understand dog choice-making, this study is a game you play with your dog, wherein you offer him or her 7 choices each day for 7 days. It uses materials, food, and spaces in and around your home: all the choices can be incorporated in an ordinary day with your dog and it should take less than 30 minutes per day.

If you are interested, you must complete an online form, as well as a spreadsheet, by Wednesday, May 20. Start by filling out the form linked here.


How to Train Your Dog to Treasure Hunt for Truffles

Guest Post by Thomas Quarry

3370261961_d84b2498c9_cDescription: When you and your dog go on a treasure hunt to find natures gold, a.k.a. Truffles, they’re not going to find anything unless they have had adequate training. We explain how to train your puppy or dog to find truffles outside.

What can be more fun than you and your dog deciphering proverbial treasure hunt clues to reach truffle success? Truffle hunting is the ultimate treasure hunt where each piece of fungus can earn you a hefty sum of money. It’s unlike finding common mushrooms in your local woods -- these organisms are elusive and other truffle treasure hunters find it extremely difficult to locate these bad boys of the woods.

Truffles are notoriously difficult to acquire, especially because they live underground and you can’t find them in the same place twice. They survived by forming a relationship between tree root networks and plates have been used to hunt them for years. Truffle hunters have recently been switching from pigs to dogs because pigs are prone to eat the truffles, gobbling up potential hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods in one go! We suggest that one of the best treasure hunt ideas you can have is to train a dog instead. At least they’re not going to eat the prize like if they were on a prey treasure hunt.

Setting Tasks for Your Dog

You can train any dog to find nature’s treasure hunt clues, but the best dogs are those that love sniffing out the soil. Before you start, get your hands on some good quality truffle oil that is not synthetic and thus has the real stuff in it. Most truffle oil that you find in the shops isn’t actually made from truffles and the scent is artificially produced. It can help and can be used in training situations, but oil made from truffles or better yet shards of truffles make for a more realistic scent.

Make sure that you’ve got a number of treats armed at the ready. You will need to reward your dog for any good action that they complete. You will also want to get some cotton balls soaked with truffle oil which you can use in the training scenarios. We’re going to look at two of the most common methods and find out how you can apply them in the hunt game. It’s a game that’s worth winning as the prize is lucrative.

The “Puppy” Method

Step 1
Get your dog familiar with the scent of truffles by applying some oil to the puppy’s mother’s teats so they can familiarize themselves with it from a young age.

Step 2
When the dog gets older and can start to walk around constantly, soak a cotton ball with some truffle oil. You can then play fetch with your dog so they start to associate fetching for things that smell like truffles.

Step 3
Repeat steps until your puppy can bring the ball back to you without coaxing.

Step 4
You can begin to hide the soaked ball and reward your dog when they have found it.

Step 5
Repeat step four but hide the ball in difficult-to-reach places. You can try burying it in the soil to emulate natural truffle hunting conditions.

Step 6
After consecutive repetitions, go out into the forest where truffles might be and try to find some.

The “Find” Method

Step 1
Introduce the truffle to your dog so that they can familiarize themselves with the scent. If you can’t get a real truffle, then soak cotton balls in truffle oil instead. Introduce these cotton balls to them throughout your training.

Step 2
When the balls are introduced to your dog, ingrain the keyword “find” into their minds as they sniff around.

Step 3
Bury some truffle-infused balls to emulate real-life conditions. This is one of the best things the secret treasure hunter can do. You can then see if your dog will find the balls out in the field.

Step 4
Once the dog has successfully located the balls, reward them with a treat.

Step 5
Repeat, repeat and then repeat again. Repetition is key to your dog becoming a truffle master.

Treasure Hunt Truffles Today

Hopefully, now you know how to organize a treasure hunt with your best friend by your side. The truffle hunt can be one of the most exciting pastimes and it will be thoroughly rewarding when you find some of these wonderful fungi buried in the dirt. It isn’t easy to train your dog up properly but stick with it and you will reap the rewards in the long run. All the best!

What dog breeds do you think make the best truffle treasure hunters? Tell us in the comments section below.

Editor's Note: In case you don't think you can find truffles in the U.S., think again! Read this article on CNN and you'll be surprised.

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Thomas Quarry loves a good treasure hunt, even at his age. Just because you reach the age of 50, doesn’t mean you need to stop going out and looking for treasure! Everybody can do it and Thomas loves to write about the subject. His passion for finding lost treasure has led him to explore the correlation between data, new technology, and the finding of lost treasure and cities. When he’s not writing articles, he’s always mucking around with antique cars in his garage. A pet hobby he has is restoring them.

Image: Flickr.com


The Difference Between American and European Dogs

People-4070864_1920Dogs are dogs, right? Well, yes -- but their owners are different, and the differences are very obvious when you compare American and European dogs. So obvious, in fact, that Certified Trick Dog Instructor Sassafras Lowrey wrote all about it for The New York Times. Here are some of her observations.

  • When she visited England, France, Germany and the Netherlands, she noticed something quite different from America -- "dogs were everywhere: restaurants and buses and performance venues and countless other places. ...In Europe dogs tend to be welcome in most public spaces and they are calm, relaxed and quiet there. In the United States, however, pet dogs aren’t welcome in most public spaces, and often struggle in the public places where they are allowed."
  • Lowrey spoke to professional dog trainer Kama Brown, who observed that in Europe, “a person walking with a dog is not seen as an invitation to socialize. Whereas in America, moving across the street to avoid another owner and dog, or not allowing dogs to interact who are passing each other on a walk, can be seen as antisocial.”
  • Even the way we train dogs is different, writes Lowrey: "For example, shock collars, sometimes called e-collars or electronic collars, are banned in the United Kingdom, but they are legal in the United States."

All things for American dog owners to think about!

Image: Pixabay.com


Best Dog Breeds for Apartments

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In recent years, affordable housing has become a serious issue in the Asheville area. Homes are becoming increasingly out of reach for first-time buyers and the middle class in general. Apartment living is a legitimate alternative, and there are a considerable number of apartment buildings and complexes being developed and opened around Asheville. For the dog lover, however, the dilemma is not just finding a reasonably priced apartment, but securing a place to live that accepts dogs. Thankfully, more and more apartment developers are creating pet-friendly properties; still, breed and size restrictions are fairly common.

This article from TurboTenant is interesting because it identifies the dog traits best suited to apartment living, as well as 12 breeds that do well in apartments. Since many local dog owners adopt from shelters and rescues, keep in mind that, depending on the  your dog's mixed breed makeup, she may have some of the traits associated with particular breeds but not all of them. Check out the article here: https://www.turbotenant.com/blog/best-apartment-dogs/


Free Resource: "Fear Free Happy Homes"

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 4.21.32 PMHere's a free resource every dog owner should know about: It's called "Fear Free Happy Homes," a website that focuses on keeping pets happy and safe in their homes. It contains some great information, including videos and articles, and you can sign up for free to gain access to information and pet product discounts. Articles on the website's blog include:

Check out this cool resource at: https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/


Dogs and Sleep

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 10.16.53 AM"Let sleeping dogs lie" is a familiar proverb that actually means not interfering in a situation because you could make it worse. However, in the context of "dogs and sleep," it seems to be just as appropriate. Dogs sleep a lot -- on average as much as fourteen hours per day, according to sleep experts at Tuck -- so it pays to just, well, let them lie.

Tuck discusses other fascinating facts about dogs and sleep in a helpful article that includes information about dog vs. human sleep cycles, dog sleeping positions and things you can do to help your dog get better sleep.

The article on sleep is just one in a series of "pet sleep resources" provided by Tuck. You'll find them here: https://www.tuck.com/pet-sleep-resources/


New: Dog Training Classes Begin This Month

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Does your canine need a coach?
Now, Asheville Humane Society offers 6-week training courses for your current or newly-adopted pet! AHS is partnering with Pia Silvani, a canine behavior specialist and trainer, to offer weekly classes for your four-legged friend, including Kindergarten Puppy and Canine Manners. Both courses are open to the public.

Kindergarten Puppy will help your 8- to 16-week-old pup with proper socialization, bite inhibition, house training, manners and more. The class meets for 1 hour a week for 6 weeks and is limited to 10 puppies. The first class will be held on Sunday, January 26 at 2 PM (Asheville Humane's Adoption Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane).

Canine Manners will use reward-based training methods to help you bridge the communication gap when teaching your dog basic manners. This 1-hour class (for dogs over the age of 16 weeks) is limited to 8 dogs and will meet once a week for 6 weeks.  The first two Canine Manners classes will be held on Saturday, January 25 at 10 AM or 11:15 AM (Asheville Humane's new Community Center, 1425 Patton Avenue). 

If you sign up for one of these six-week courses, you will receive $15 off by using coupon code "HOLIDAYK9". (Discount is only valid until these three courses sell out.) 

Purchase tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/asheville-humane-society-28683564225

Pia Silvani is an internationally-recognized dog trainer with over 30 years of experience. Previously, Pia was VP of Training and Behavior at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center where she developed numerous courses focused on positive, reward-based techniques. She also served as the Director of Behavioral Rehabilitation at the ASPCA where she led programs to educate shelter professionals in effective behavior rehabilitation techniques, as well as specialized socialization, enrichment, and shelter protocols.

Image: Asheville Humane Society


Do Dogs Get Jealous?

Guest Post by Clara Lou

Leisure-1551708_1920Have you ever tried to pet another dog when you’re playing with your pooch? Your buddy will try to come between you and the other dog to whom you now gave attention. Initially, your buddy will try to push you or the other dog away, but your dog might also end up whining, biting, and attacking you or the other dog.

This kind of behavior suggests that dogs really get jealous when they are not the center of attention. But a more important question is whether the jealousy in dogs is the same as the jealousy we humans feel. Let’s find out.

Understanding Jealousy in Dogs

I believed that the jealousy in dogs is no different than it is in humans until I met a sled dog racer in Canada. He was making his Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies ready for a ride. They all looked cute, and when I maneuvered to pet them the sled dog rider warned me, “You pet one dog and you have to pet them all.” Further, he said, “They get jealous of each other if any one of them gets more of love, affection, food, or anything. They turn into green-eyed monsters.”

This incident made me look deeper into dogs’ jealous behavior.

What I Found

I am going to discuss two different experiments that helps us understand this behavior better. Friederike Range, of the University of Vienna, did an experiment to study jealousy . Two dogs were given the same task to perform, but one gets rewarded while the other does not. Both the dogs were taught a simple trick of ‘shaking hands’. A dog would extend her paw and put it into the person’s hand.

For the experiment, both the dogs with their respective persons in front of them were seated side by side and were instructed to perform handshakes. But only one dog received the treat as a reward -- the other didn’t. You would think the unrewarded dog would react to this unfair distribution of rewards by performing the same tasks and wouldn’t follow his master’s instructions. This is exactly what happened. The unrewarded dog stopped obeying his master’s command and also showed stress signs when his partner dog kept receiving treats.

Many people would believe that this is not jealousy exactly. It might well be the case that the dog who did not get the treats stopped obeying his master simply due to the fact that all unrewarded training tricks and commands tend to disappear because of the learning process which theorists call “extinction.” Very simply, a dog would not perform the task if he won’t get any rewards in return. Do you also think the same? But wait, you might want to read further.

To ensure that the interaction was important rather than the case of frustration and jealousy, a similar experiment was conducted. But this time it was a little bit different. This time the same task was performed on the two dogs with their respective masters in a separate room. Also, they were not being rewarded at all for obeying their master’s instruction of shaking hands.

Under this circumstance, both the dogs did not only present their paws for a longer time but also didn’t show any signs of frustration or annoyance. So, definitely, the motive to perform the trick was not to get a reward. It was jealousy that the other partner was getting rewards for the same task he was doing.

One More Experiment to Understand This Behavior Further

When human beings are involved in different social settings and situations, every aspect of the reward is closely considered to determine the jealousy. Dogs, however, do not see the situation under the same microscope. This can be understood from a similar experiment to the one previously discussed.

Now, again, two dogs sit side by side in front of their respective owners. Both the dogs are instructed to perform a “shake hand” task. This time, both the dogs get treats as rewards but the difference here is one dog gets a very desirable treat, a piece of chicken, and the other one gets a comparatively less desirable treat, a piece of bread.

The outcome was surprising. The response from both the dogs was not affected by the unfair share of rewards, unlike what a human might have done if he were in the place of dogs. Dogs are sensitive to fairness (whether they are being rewarded or not), but not to the equity (the quality of rewards).

The Bottom Line

It can be said that dogs get jealous when they think you have been unfair to them; whether it’s food, love, affection, attention, or anything. Other animals like primates also respond to primary and secondary emotions, but dogs only respond to secondary emotions. If you have any questions or want to share what you feel, please comment. Long may the canines live!

Clara Lou is a co-founder and the marketing head at PetLovesBest. She happens to be an active animal activist in her town who has done a few notable works for the welfare of animals, especially pets. She loves to enjoy writing about pets and animals.

Image: Pixabay.com