Category Archives: Behavior

Does Your Dog Speak English

Dog poodle isolated on white backgroundDoes Your Dog Speak English?

We are smart, sometimes too smart for our fur. Not to mention smart enough to make you think that yes, your dog does speak English. Seriously, we don’t have a clue.

During the first several months of my life I thought my name was No. That’s because Mom and Dad were constantly saying no to me, so I just thought that was my name. Kind of funny when you ready my early posts and realize just how many name changes I went through during that first year.

So, if you want to communicate with us on a serious note, you are going to have to learn sign language. We actually communicate through body language. Now, don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you are going to have to sniff, well you know what and yes – we can learn some verbal commands, but it is best to train us by showing us what you are saying.

It’s simple really. Want us to sit? Then simply put us in the sit position on the floor and give us the “sit” command and the hand sign you have decided to use for the word sit.  A word of warning here…if you are not agile or flexible, by all means don’t attempt sitting down on the floor yourself for us to see how to do it. That has been done and believe me there are limits to our ability to help out in a situation like that (not that I would know that first paw or anything.) We can’t call a tow truck and we can’t dial 911 or the neighbor. We can’t even bark the command to Siri or Cortana. If we offered you a helping paw, you would flip us right over you head and out the window while trying to get up. What we can do, is snuggle up along side you and keep you company until someone comes home or to visit. Of course by then the puddle(s) on the floor would most likely be considerable and don’t even think about trying to blame it on “the dog”.

Plan ahead and figure out some hand signals the down, stand, stay and come commands. Position us and then show us what you want with the hand signals. Most of us are quick and easy learners. In fact we are usually excited to learn something new. We certainly want to learn if it makes you happy and you show it by your excitement or praise.

Just think about it for a minute. How exciting to you think it is to sniff grass and walk the same yard four or five times a day, day after day? Believe me, not exciting stuff. That is why we get in so much trouble around the house or out in the yard when we are really bored. Want to see a dog owner get really excited and look up from their phone or iPad? All you have to do is find something disgusting in the yard, put one shoulder downward and act like you are going to roll your ears in whatever it is. Let me tell you, there is nothing as sharp as the peripheral vision of a dog parent.

Some dog parents are treat based trainers. Thank goodness I was born into one of those families. Others are pat-on-the-head and praise trainers. Truthfully, dogs react evenly to both kinds of praise, so there is no right or wrong. However, the wider I see my backside getting and the more remarks Mom makes about my cute little jiggle walk the small the treats get. I could make a few comments about her walk, but I’m not totally brain dead at the moment. For now I will just go with the really baby Milk Bones, turkey bites or chewies and keep my bark to myself.

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Canine Body Language – What Dog’s Are Saying

dog with blinking eyesOkay, admit it – you want to know what we are thinking and saying to you by our canine body language. Well trust me, we have a lot to say.

Now  most of you already know I have issues about my tail, or should I say lack of one. We think it was a litter mix up thing, Maltese & Poodle or just Poodle, who can tell the difference when your are part of two litters born the same day, at the same time and in the middle of an F4 tornado. I will be telling you more about that day in my upcoming book, Siri’s Spring ~ Sir Titan’s Summer.

Back to tails. Most people will look to see if our tails are wagging before making a move toward us, especially with their hand out.  Granted, a wagging tail is often a great indicator of a dog’s mood – but not always. In fact, tail wagging has a lot of different meanings besides happiness. We can show you lots of different moods and emotions with our tails.

A fast wagging tail, lowered, with our head down means we are being submissive and ready to play, especially if you are eye to eye with us. We recognize you as the leader of the pack in our household and understand that you rule (well most of the time). Don’t worry, that won’t last for long before we try to regain control, so enjoy it while we are giving it to you.

When our tails are up, wagging is big broad wags (right – like anybody could tell that was happening on this dog) and our mouths are open with our tongues are lolling a bit means we are extremely relaxed, happy and ready to for some serious petting. In other words, its time for one of those never ending belly-rubs, especially if we are on our back with all fours in the air.

When we are confused about a situation, we will wag our tails slowly. We may also just stand there and yawn a couple of time. Believe me, we are not yawning because we are sleepy or tired. We are thinking. You see it is like this, if we yawn, it immediately sets your mind to thinking about how tired or sleepy we must be. That in turn gives us extra time to think about the situation we may be in and what to do about it.

When we are excited, we wag our tails very fast. If our hips move along with our tails we are really excited and we are expecting a treat. Of course, when it comes to excitement, being overly cute and knowing how to play you for everything you are worth (gee, wonder who would do such a thing?) we may even add jumping around in circles to the mix. So of course, that means that great little “doggie” voice you have saying how cute we are, lots of petting on the head, a treat and for good measure, a loving pick up and hug.

Now, if only we could figure out what you were saying with your body language. I’ve got the one hand on the hip and finger pointed towards the door as meaning “outside, like it or not.” A scrunched up nose usually means we may be a bit wiffy (your fault – you are the one that feeds us.) Oh, and a hand waving toward you means that your last dog lost their hearing and now we have to learn sign language (okay, I’ll give you this one – it never hurts to start young so we will understand you when we are older.)

 

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Keeping Your Dog Calm During Thunder Storms

stormfromt-sized-for-postKeeping Your Dog Calm During thunder storms can be more stressful for you than your than your dog. It takes time (and several storms) to figure out what works the best. Being born during one of the worse thunder storm and a F4 tornado, has made me kind of an expert on the matter. Thunder no matter how far away sends fear through my veins.

I have my own theory of survival when it comes to thunder storms. One clap of thunder or one flash of lightening, I am movin’ full speed ahead to find a lap to sit my behind down in and a chest to flatten out against, so I can hear a heartbeat.  On that horrific day in 2012 my Momma Doggie told my sisters and me, that if we could hear and/or feel a heart beat, we would always be safe and secure. Oh, and just so you will know, a wind-up alarm clock under a blanket does not count as a heart beat. Continue reading

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Dog Skin Conditions-Let The Itch Begin

seriously - I'm real - 199-181Dog Skin Conditions  – Let The Itch Begin, yep, that is about all I can say about it right now.

On Monday it was 60 degrees where I live. Yesterday it was in the upper 70’s and I played outside with Princess and Coco for hours.  It was total enjoyment. Last night when I went out for my midnight-run, it was in the low 30’s and snow flakes were a-fly-in!

Now I’m not the smartest paw on these four legs, but I do know chaos when I experience it, and trust me, the weather is in total chaos right now. There are only four words to describe it – let the itch begin!

Doggie skin conditions can be pawblematic to diagnose and even more pawblematic to resolve. Finding the cause of our constant itching is crucial because it is irritating us (and most likely you) to no end. How would you like to wake up a pawzillion times a night scratching? Okay, I’ll admit it, if your dog sleeps with you like I do with Mom and Dad, when we itch and scratch at night you most likely wake from the pounding on the bed. Sorry, when you’ve got an itch, you gotta scratch it. Just ask your pooch and they will tell you –  that’s the truth.

Skin conditions in dogs can range from small hot spots to their entire coat falling out and their skin turning black. Continue reading

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How Dog Safe Is Your Office II

busted book photoHow Dog Safe Is Your Office II. Busted! Oh geez, she found my expert chewing toothy work this morning. So much for a peaceful weekend. To make matters worse, the three books I inflicted my special talent on were something Mom calls out of print vintage books. At least now I know what that horrible taste was when I was chewing on them. Glue and book binding materials. Believe me, not a great combination when it comes taste.

So, my question is simple, who would put out of print books on the bottom shelf of anything? If you want to keep your treasures safe, that means paying attention to things that your puppy or dog can reach, especially on the floor level.

Now what is she doing? She already cleaned up my paper mess. It looks like she is spraying something on the books and notebooks. Curiosity has the best of me, so I just gotta go and look. “It’s okay Titan, give it a lick and see how you like it.”  Really, after the snit pitched over the books and now she is saying give it a try. It’s gotta be a trick of some kind.

Water!!!! I need water now! What is that horrible taste? Where is that container, I gotta see what that was she was spraying on everything at eye level. Bitter Apple? Now that is just down right cruel – it tastes horrible. So much for the library bottom shelves for entertainment.

A Few weeks Later and A Few Inches Taller

Now we are talking. I’ve grow several inches and let me tell you, my line of vision is providing a whole new perspective on what I can get into. It is amazing what I can reach when I stand on my hind paws, stretch really hard and stretch out one of my front paws. Bingo, I just scored a pair of glasses laying on Mom’s desk. Oh, there is a remote control, that should be good for some entertainment and chewing. There is a stack of magazines on the corner of one desk, I wonder how long it will take me to get those down? I’m not the smartest pup on the block, but I’m going to go on record and say Mom and Dad have greatly under estimated my abilities.

Hm, what is this, a black handle of some kind dangling over the edge of the desk. One good yank should do it. Look out…incoming, tons of stuff incoming to the floor. Oh wow, this is a huge score, Mom’s handbag. All kinds of things in here. Yea, I found a Milkbone* and a mint. Darn it’s in a wrapper and my paws are not working. Time to resort to my baby teeth. That should do it.

What’s this black leather book? Oh, now I remember,  her Filofax*. This is where she has her life on file. With a flip of the cover I found credit cards to munch on and in another section there are funny looking green and white pieces of paper. Oh my, do they smell good. There are so many scents on them and a couple look brand new. The ring section offers lots of paper pages to chew on.

Now what is this, another black bag with a zipper. I think I may have met my match on this one. After pawing it a bit, it won’t budge. It smells like makeup. I’ll pass, guys don’t wear makeup.

All this human stuff is interesting, but what has really got my attention is all those cords. Gee, there are just so many to choose from. Even though Mom and Dad did a great job of tying them up when I first arrived, now I can reach them and those fancy plastic ties they used. I’ll have to be sneaky about it, but I’m sure I will get around to them soon.

Oh no, snit alert! It seems we do not have Internet service again. Last week it was because of the storms. I can’t imagine what it could be this week. Mom’s talking to AT&T. This might be a good time to just sit back and look really innocent. Phew, so far so good, they have gone through a zillion check lists and everything is working just fine, except the Internet part. Oh no, one more thing to check, the cord between the modem and the computer. What tooth marks? Oh, those tooth marks. Thank goodness, there was an extra cord in the closet.

mailing tubesIt’s time for some serious cord control measures. The lady from AT&T suggested using mailing tubes to string the cords through. Considering my fetish for all things paper and cardboard, I don’t think that is going to be a great option.

cord coversMom found two perfect answers on Amazon, Wiremold C110 White Cordmate Kit and AVF UA180W-A Premium Cable Management (6 Feet Roll Up).

I guess by now you get the idea that keeping ahead of your fur child is going to be an ongoing process. When you get frustrated, stop for a few minutes and remember the unconditional love we give you and know we will outgrow this phase at about age two.

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How dog safe is your home office?

NPW-week-logoIt’s National Entrepreneurship Week, or in my world, National Pawpreneurship Week. How dog safe is your home office? So this today’s post and tomorrows post is going to focus on keeping your home office safe for your fur-children to be in.

I have to say, I have loved my two years in of being a working doggie and best of all – my office. Yes, of course, it started out as Mom’s office, then it became my condo/crate bedroom (for five months) and now it is officially my office and play room. Nothing like moving in and taking over.

Taking over this space didn’t come without some major Titan-inflicted destruction and consequences. If I could find it, it was mine. The first few days went well enough, I was truly too little and scared to find or mess with anything. Mom and dad spent those days crawling around (now there is a word picture for you) looking for everything they could find to put up or at least hide with silk planters, too large for me to navigate. Score one for the home team – Mom and Dad. Trust me, it would be a short lived victory.

imagesOkay, so the really interesting things were out of reach – for now. It was time to move on to the things they didn’t think about. Let me think for a moment…oh right, my first major project was Mom’s Andy Warhol shoe rug. It had this really great black braiding along the edges. Just perfect for sinking my baby paws and teeth into. The fact that it was black definitely played to my advantage, my toothy work did not show up right away. But like all things puppy, that got boring. It was time to move on to bigger and better things. Continue reading

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Working Dogs: Does Your Dog Need A Job?

editor at work

Working Dogs: Does Your Dog Need A Job? I’m not sure how and when exactly I ended up working, but I think it was three or four days into my first week in this household. Unfortunately, my room is also mom’s office, so I guess I came by it naturally. Mom realized just how cute I was and that started it. First the website, then a short-lived Newsletter (I put my paws down and said enough,) and finally my book, Siri’s Summer. It’s taken a lot longer to write my book then we originally thought. After all, I can only think so fast. Thank goodness mom got busy with other things, so I had time to think about what I wanted to say.

We have worked on it this week and hopefully it will be complete by the first of next week. Mom says we will be marketing it using the plan in her friends, Dr. Jeanette Cate’s new marketing book. I sniffed through it earlier this week and all I can say is, it looks like a lot of work for these four little paws to do.

When mom had the retail store, my predecessor Happy went to work every day. Cousin Coco used to come to work every day with his mom, so he and Happy would play in between greeting customers. Continue reading

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Should Dogs Sleep In A Masters Bed

good morningShould dogs sleep in a Masters bed?  My vote is a resounding and paw smacking YES! Of course there are two schools of though on this subject. Let’s explore both.

I’ve already stated that I am a creature that likes comfort. When I was a puppy I spent my first night in mom and dad’s bed. The next morning I woke up at 6 AM. Huge mistake, those two are not morning people!

Next thing I knew, I was the proud owner of a create-condo. It had all the comforts a young pup could ask for. Fluffy and soft blankets, a pillow, my stuff animals and even an alarm clock hidden under all the soft stuff. It was supposed to mimic my birth mom’s heartbeat. It didn’t really do that, but I pretended it did so Mom and Dad would not get upset.

From day one I put up a fight when it came time to go to bed. Once I settled in it wasn’t too bad, but I still barked and cried for 30-minutes or so to get my point across. Of course, Dad wasn’t happy about that because Mom cried right along with me every night. I knew I had her in my of my paw-pad, I just could not get Dad there. In fact it took me five long months to accomplish that. Continue reading

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why do dogs go in circles before they lay down

ST-circles-post-photoWhy do dogs go in circles before they lay down? Every night mom asks the same question.  One would think that after a few Elvis-inspired upper lip smirks and teeth showing she would get the hint not to ask anymore. Oh, no – things don’t go that easy around here.

When my cousin Coco comes over for a few overnights, she asks him the same question. Then there are the nights that my big sister Princess gets to sleep in…well you get the drift – question, question and, yet another question.

I do it five times (two for good measure), Coco does it three times and Princess does it a pawzillion times (she’s a Golden Retriever, need I say more?)

Since I am the really cute, adorable one, I do it as a matter of comfort. I understand from my elders that back in the day they had to go in circles (usually three times by-the-way) in order to mat down the grass, sticks and leaves for comfort. I’m all about comfort, as you can see by the pawonderful fuzzy blanket that my Aunt Judy sent for Christmas.

Princess tells me that her ancestors circled to claim the area as their territory before settling in for the night. She also said the circling behavior sent a message to other dogs so they would not cross into the circle during the night, like she would ever know – talk about snoring.

Coco say’s “a Poodle’s ancestors originally did it so they could rid the area of any snakes or biting creatures before they settled down for the night. He may act like a big dog but I knew he was a wimp at heart.

Mon said that during her research on the subject she found a couple of additional theories. One said that the circling allowed dogs to make sure there were no predators or intruders nearby. Another suggested that while circling they could test the wind to find any potential intruders and lay down facing that direction, allowing them to remain alert while sleeping.

One of my dad’s favorite subjects is the Earth’s magnetic field (huge eye roll and yawn from mom on this subject.)  So imagine his (and moms) surprise when Yahoo News featured a post by Chris Nichols asking why dogs circle. “Turns out it’s because they’re trying to align with the Earth’s magnetic field”, according to a report by researchers in the Czech Republic and Germany and published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.

So while I circle for the night, you can ask your dog the same question. Let me know what the answer is – there seems to be several to choose from.

 

 

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On My Way To A Summer Writing Camp

I am so excited. Mom signed us up for Summer Camp, a Summer Writing Camp by Debra Marrs. It starts tomorrow night and I am ready to jump in with all four paws on the ground running. Gotta do something productive, after all mom has posted my publication schedule for the rest of 2012 and let me tell you, I am one busy little puppy.

What’s even more exciting is that you can join us – wouldn’t that be fun? I promise not to misbehave – really I do. For additional information visit http://yourwritelife/camp. Okay, I will tell them. Mom said to tell you that is the regular link to register, not an affiliate link.

Debra says if you take 5 simple actions a week for the next two months, you will transform your creative writing life. Sounds good to me. She will be offering us ongoing support, new and informative instructional materials, weekly deadlines (that are doable, no matter how busy you are) and most of all inspiration. Debra will be our accountability partner and our mentor.

I was looking over the lesson plans last night (while chewing on the corners – sorry mom) and I was impressed that she starts with a “Getting Started Week”. Wow, even though I am a really young pup, I know that is really important. How do you think I learned how to chew so perfectly?

I’m looking forward to the Virtual Writing Days she has scheduled.  She holds space for us to really focus on what we are writing. We meet virtually as a group via call-in ever 90-minutes for updates, check-in and commitment for the next 90 minutes (I may have a small issue with the 90 minute segments, I will most likely need a grass break every 60-minutes).

Even if you can’t do any of the Summer Camp calls live, they will be recorded so you can pick them up and listen to them in the Summer Writing Camp website classroom when you have time.

I gotta go pack my book bag for tomorrow night with some SmartBones® to chew on quietly (so I don’t disturb anyone else), my pens and papers and carve out a space of my own on mom’s desk.

I hope to hear you on the calls!

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