Dog Research

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

Kim is the owner of Dog Door Behavior Center in downtown Asheville and will be discussing what “pet friendly” means for the Asheville area. 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,

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:

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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. 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:

Image: Patrisyu,

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 

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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:




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:

Image: Ambro,

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:

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:, or contact:
Joanne Ometz,, 828-275-2487

Image: Vlado,

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:, or contact:
Joanne Ometz,, 828-275-2487

Image: Vlado,

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? 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:

Image: Angelina Litvin,

Dog Bite Prevention Week: May 15 - 21

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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

You can see it here:


When Does Your Dog Become a "Senior"?

Kate-unsplash.comA dog's lifespan is obviously much shorter than a human's. According to, 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,

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.

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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.

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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 and check out many of the typical costs of dog ownership.

Image: Stuart Miles,

Best-selling Author Speaks in Asheville, Feb. 17

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 11.54.58 AMCarl Safina, PBS host and best-selling author of the book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, will speak in Asheville on Wednesday, February 17 at 6 PM. The event, starting at 5:30 PM for snacks and followed by Safina's talk, will be held at the Lenoir-Rhyne University/Asheville Chamber of Commerce building at 36 Montford Avenue.

Safina's book will be available that evening, as well as at Malaprop's Bookstore, and the author will do a book signing following his talk. This is a ticketed event ($20) and tickets should be purchased in advance. You can purchase tickets here.

If you cannot attend, learn more about Beyond Words and consider purchasing the book directly from Amazon below.

Pet Weight Translator Shows Dog-Human Comparison

Scale-300x224Obesity is a nagging problem -- not just in humans, but in dogs, too.

Vets concerned about the growing pet obesity epidemic want people to know that a 12 pound Yorkie is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds and a 14 pound cat is equivalent to a 237 pound man. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has created an online pet weight translator and tables of the most common breeds that compare those extra pounds on our pets in terms we can all relate to.

APOP Founder and President Dr. Ernie Ward remarks on why the group created these tools. “As a veterinarian I’m always looking for ways to demonstrate how serious even a few extra pounds on a pet can be. These tables and calculations put pet weights in human terms, making it easier to understand."

Ward hopes to educate pet lovers about the dangers of pet obesity and poor nutrition. “Over half the nation’s dogs and cats are now overweight, making obesity the leading health threat of our pets. Largely preventable diseases such as arthritis and diabetes are being seen in record numbers costing pets their life and owners millions in medical bills. The reality is most of these cases could be avoided simply by preventing weight gain and shedding excess pounds.” One of the key barriers to pet weight loss is an owner’s denial of the problem which Ward calls the ‘fat gap.’ 

So what can pet owners do to fight excess weight in their pets? According to Ward, “The single most valuable tool a pet owner has in the fight against obesity is a measuring cup. Most pet owners don’t measure how much they’re feeding and even fewer know how much they should be feeding.”

Start by understanding your dog's weight in human terms using the Pet Weight Translator. You'll find it here:



Dogs in the White House

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.54.05 PMSeeing as 2016 is the year of a presidential election, Carolina Mountain Dog thought it would be interesting to reflect on the fact that dogs, not just Presidents and First Ladies, have occupied the White House for longer than you might imagine.

According to the Presidential Pet Museum (yes, there is one!), dogs first appeared at the White House during President George Washington's tenure (1789 - 1797). Washington kept twelve hounds and five French hounds at various times. The next president after Washington, President John Adams (1797-1801) and his wife Abigail owned two mixed-breed dogs. Maria Monroe, wife of President James Monroe (1817-1825), owned a spaniel. Next came John Tyler's term (1841 - 1845), during which two wolfhounds and an Italian greyhound were White House occupants.

Plenty of other dogs graced the White House; you can find more about them at the Presidential Pet Museum's website. And just for fun, see if you can match up some of our more recent presidential dogs with their owners.

Here is a list of some presidents:

1. John F. Kennedy
2. Lyndon Johnson
3. Gerald Ford
4. George H. W. Bush
5. Bill Clinton
6. Barack Obama

Here are their dogs, but not in the correct order:

a. Buddy, chocolate lab
b. Millie, English springer spaniel
c. Him and Her, beagles
d. Charlie, Welsh terrier
e. Bo, Portugese water dog
f. Liberty, golden retriever

Find the correct answers here.

Five Reasons Dogs are Good for Your Health

Guest Post by Ron Burg, Buckhead Paws

ID-100162393There are few things that can compare to the unconditional love of a dog, but there are more reasons to love your dog than you probably thought. You might have noticed that you feel better around your dog. That’s because owning a dog can have a positive impact on both your mood and health. They are more than just a cute face and a cuddle buddy; dogs can have positive health benefits for you. Here are just 5 of the health reasons you should own a dog:

1. Playing with a dog lowers your blood pressure.

While your dog is not a substitute for a balanced diet or exercise, there are studies that show that dogs can lower your blood pressure. One reason for this is that dogs tend to force us into adopting a healthier lifestyle. They also help manage our stress levels, which can help decrease your blood pressure.

2. Having a dog helps manage your stress.

Playing with your dog can be a great form of stress management. Being around your dog lowers your body’s production of cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone. It also increases the production of serotonin, which affects your mood and social behavior. The combination of the two contributes to less stress, better overall health, and a greater sense of well-being.

3. Playing with a dog can improve bone strength.

Not only does going outside and playing with your dog increase bone strength because of your increased activity, but it is also is a source of vitamin D. Vitamin D, which comes from the sun, helps your bones stay strong. Going outside is also a good way to get some fresh air.

4. Having a dog is good for your heart.

Obviously, walking and playing with your dog is a good form of exercise. Exercise is known to increase your cardiovascular function, but more than just making your heart stronger, there is also evidence that owning a dog can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart attack survivors and people with abnormal heart rhythms who own dogs live longer than those who don’t have dogs. This is probably linked to the increased physical activity and the better psychological state of dog owners.

5. Playing with a dog can decrease your anxiety.

When your dog comes up to you and wants to cuddle, or demands your attention, they are helping you cope with anxiety. That is because they are a distraction, and they refocus your attention away from your anxiety. This is why dogs are a great treatment option for those who suffer from anxiety. In addition to refocusing your attention, the loyalty and love from a dog has been shown to make owners feel better about themselves and make them feel more confident, lowering their anxiety.

Ron Burg writes for Buckhead Paws. Buckhead Paws are the professionals when it comes to pet sitting. Operating for Atlanta and the surrounding area, Buckhead Paws offer quality pet care, as they are Pet-Tech certified. Leaving out of town can be stressful, especially if you have no one to look after your pets while you’re away. Buckhead Paws can help relieve the stress. Visit Buckhead Paws online at

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