Breed of the Week: Yorkshire Terrier

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Meet our cute and fluffy, happy-go-lucky breed featured this week, the Yorkshire Terrier! More commonly known as a ‘Yorkie’, this little dog has a lot of personality and love to show the world.

 

Originating in Northern England, in a little county known as Yorkshire. In the 19th century there became a need for a very small dog that could fit into tight places to hunt rodents. To create such a breed, it involved breeding the Scottish terrier with the Waterside Terrier. The Waterside Terrier back then was a dog weighing about 10-12lbs (not to be confused with the Airedale Terrier which is sometimes also referred to as Waterside Terrier). Over many years, several other dog breeds were added to the bloodline such as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Clydesdale Terrier until we eventually ended up with the wonderful Yorkie that we know and love today.

 

As with most terriers, the Yorkie can at times be a bit stubborn when it comes to training. Once they realize you have something they want (like a delicious treat!) they are usually pretty easy to win over. The personality of a Yorkie can vary and has a lot to do with their upbringing and early socialization. Some Yorkies are very outgoing, these are usually the ones running around in the mud, barking at his doggy friends while playing, and zooming across the yard with his tiny little legs. On the opposite side, some Yorkies can be quite reserved and prefer the richer things in life like having all of his meals warmed up for him, lounging on the chaise, and being carried around in a purse or fashionable dog bag.

 

Each personality type will come with its own delightful quirks, but also challenges. The more outgoing dog should have a heavy training focus on polite manners when playing with other dogs as they can sometimes become too ‘bossy’. The more reserved Yorkie personality should have a heavy focus on socialization with strangers as these dogs often have a more sheltered lifestyle where they don’t meet many new people. When they aren’t practising meeting people nicely on a regular basis, they can sometimes forget their manners.

 

The Yorkshire Terrier does require a lot of grooming maintenance, but lucky for you there isn’t too much to groom on their little bodies! They will need regular grooming appointments for hair trims as well as to be brushed daily. If you have a long-haired Yorkie (also known as ‘silk coat’), you will need to comb the hair once or twice every day to prevent knots and tangles. If your Yorkie is very active and likes to play outside a lot, it may be wise to keep his hair short to reduce the amount of tangles and dirt he gets in his fur. With short-haired Yorkies (soft coat), they only need to be brushed once every week or so.

 

The always stylish Yorkshire Terrier suits many different owners. With their small size, they easily adapt to small space living. They generally get along well with other pets, but need a lot of socialization early in life if they are to be living in close quarters with small animals such as rats and hamsters. With their cute little faces and constantly upbeat attitude, they can make a fantastic addition to almost any family!

Ways Your Dog Says ‘I Love You’

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It’s pretty easy to see when humans are showing their love or affection for one another, kissing, hugging, hand-holding, etc. But do you know all the little ways your dog tells you he loves you? You may be surprised to learn some of the almost unnoticeable ways your dog is saying ‘I love you’.

 

Yawning (When You Yawn)

When humans yawn from seeing another human yawn we often think ‘yawns are contagious’; but really, it is a sign of sympathy. When you are more attached to the person who is yawning, you are more likely to also feel the urge to yawn as you are unconsciously showing sympathy for the person. Crazy thing is, dogs do the same thing! Recent studies have shown that the more bonded the dog is to the person who is yawning, the more likely they are to yawning. Of course, we also know that yawning in dogs can also be a sign of anxiety or anticipation, so be sure to analyze the situation if your dog is nervous, excited to go somewhere, or just taking the time to say ‘I love you’!

 

Wiggling Their Eyebrows

 

According to the Behavioural Processes Journal, a Japanese Study revealed that dogs are likely to wiggle or raise their eyebrows when they are reunited with someone they like! In the study, dogs were observed when exposed to various toys, strangers and their owner. The results showed that there was unpredictable movement towards the toys and strangers, but consistently dogs would move their left eyebrow in some way whenever they saw their owner! When studied further and discovered that dogs often have the same reaction to other dogs that they know well, this tells us that dogs moving their left eyebrow definitely has a correlation to the relationship they feel they have with the person or dog.

Wanting to Sleep Near You

Whether sleeping on your bed or in his own dog bed near your bed, dogs want to sleep near someone they feel close to and trust. In dog world, sleep is a very vulnerable state, this is why most wild dogs or wolves will sleep in a pack as there is safety in numbers. But you will rarely find a dog sleeping near someone they don’t trust. In their eyes, the safest place to sleep is with you because you are their protector, and they love you for it! It’s a huge compliment when a dog trusts you enough to sleep close to you and definitely shows their love.

 

These are only some of the ways our furry companions tell us they love us. And every dog is different, so your dog may have even more cute ways that he says he loves you that we haven’t discovered yet!

Breed of the Week: Gordon Setter

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Our super loveable featured breed this week is the calm and graceful Gordon Setter. These gorgeous dogs are part of the setter family (alongside the Irish setter and English setter). They are large, alert dogs ready to take on any task, but also have a silly side!

 

Black and tan setter-type dogs are recorded in Scotland as far back as the 16th century and it is widely believe that these were the ancestors to the Gordon Setter we know today. The breed became more popular in the late 17th century and were mostly kept and bred at the Gordon Castle near River Sprey. The breeder of these dogs had the goal in mind of a sturdy hunting dog, able to do accurate ‘air-scenting’ for game birds. Although these dogs were not the fastest hunting companions, they were amazingly accurate (would not give many false ‘alerts’ to the hunter) and had great stamina to continue hunting through the day with very little rest.

 

With their amazing stamina and scent work abilities, it’s no wonder the Gordon Setter Breed can often be found competing in field trials. As their ancestors would generally work with only one hunter all the time, this has translated to the breed being a bit standoffish with strangers today. As well, the Gordon Setter needs a lot of socialization with other dogs and animals. The Gordon Setter get jealous very easily so it is important for them to learn how to nicely share toys and affection with other dogs. The Gordon Setter has a lot of love to give and can also be prone to separation anxiety so be sure to find ways to keep him busy and active all day, and to practise entering and leaving the home calmly to not promote separation anxiety.

 

The Gordon Setter is a very intelligent dog and once they have bonded to an owner, they are very trainable. But if the Gordon Setter doesn’t know the person well who is giving commands, he is likely to just ignore them. They take loyalty very seriously! The Gordon Setter can get along great with kids when they have been socialized and the kids are respectful, homes with very young children are not suitable for Gordon Setters as these dogs have a tendency to jump on people and be a bit rambunctious. Gordon Setters generally prefer to be the only dog in the home as they can sometimes get jealous of their owner giving affection to anything that isn’t them!

 

The Gordon Setter has a black and tan coat that is naturally long and feathery. This breed can also (very rarely) come in other colour variations such as red or buff, but these colour variations are not ineligible for showing (although they still make wonderful family pets!). Their fine hair should be brushed and combed 2-3 times a week to keep out tangles. The hair on the feet should be trimmed once every couple of months, depending on your personal preference. Many groomers recommend you bathe a Gordon Setter once every 2 weeks. As bathing too often can easily dry out the skin, you may decide to bathe less frequently, or use a very sensitive shampoo formulated for frequent dog bathing.

 

These loving companion dogs are still to this day dominating field trials and out alongside their owners on the hunt. Although a bit standoffish with strangers and new dogs, they are truly one of the most loyal dogs you will find.

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 2

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This week we are continuing our look at some of the healthiest dog breeds. So far, we’ve looked at the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie and Havanese. All of these dog breeds have relatively low health concerns and a higher than average lifespan. Today we are looking at three more fantastic and healthier than average dog breeds!

 

German Pinscher

The courageous and proud German Pinscher is one of the healthiest dog breeds. Considering they are on the larger side, it’s a delightful surprise to find out this breed actually has a very low risk of hip dysplasia (a common problem for many large breed dogs). They have an average lifespan of 14 years old and the only health concern that is a common problem for this breed are cataracts which (depending on the exact cause) can be detected early and treated or managed. This is a pretty active breed so to ensure they get to a healthy 14 years old or more, be sure to give them a proper nutrient-rich diet and plenty of exercise.

 

Miniature Schnauzer

This wonderful breed puts the confidence and hardiness of a big dog into a little fluffy package. An intelligent and energetic breed, the miniature schnauzer definitely makes our list for the top healthiest dog breeds. The have a very high average lifespan of about 13-15 years old, and not uncommon to live even longer! With proper care and health management, these dogs often live their entire lives without any major health problems. As with many dogs, one problem to watch out for is hip dysplasia. With proper care and preventing measures, this problem is usually not an issue for the dog. Discuss the best ways to prevent hip dysplasia with your vet as he may give specific recommendations for your dog, but the most effective way is to keep your dog active with daily walks, runs, swims, etc. But avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on your dogs joints such as jumping or going up and down lots of stairs.

English Springer Spaniel

If you are an outdoorsy person, you’d definitely get along great with the last healthiest dog breed on our list. The bold and energetic English Springer Spaniel has an expected lifespan of 10-14 years. They love running outside all day with their family, and all that exercise and fresh air definitely helps to maintain their excellent health. This breed is prone to a few health problems that should be tested for and treated by a vet to ensure a healthy pup! Some health concerns for the English Springer Spaniel are retinal dysplasia, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (which can eventually lead to blindness). Although there is no cure for progressive retinal atrophy, after consulting with your vet, you may be able to give your dog antioxidant supplements to reduce the severity and slow down the rate of degeneration in the retina.

 

It is always a good idea to research breeds before considering a new dog, and one of the biggest concerns when looking at a breed are the health concerns and average lifespan. As you can see with the dog breeds we’ve discussed, the most important consideration to keeping your dog healthy is to provide proper nutrition, exercise, and of course, love!

Benefits of Daily Walks with your Dog

dog holding leash

We all know how important it is for our dog’s physical and mental well-being to get their daily walks, but did you know the wonderful benefits that we receive from those walks? Here are some of our favourite added benefits to going for a nice walk with your pooch!

 

Quality Bonding Time

Dogs enjoy walking and exploring new areas with their ‘pack’ or family as this is one of the ways they bond. Even when visiting places they’ve been to just a few days ago, they will still be able to sniff around and get their daily news of what’s been going on and who’s been walking by. To get the most out of your bonding time with your dog, make sure you are fully involved with the walk and paying attention to your dog (not texting a friend or checking emails). To make it more interactive, try asking your dog to sit before crossing any roads, or make a game of it and have him ‘give paw’ when you see a red car drive by. These little interactions will help translate to your dog that you are excited to be involved in this walk with him.

 

Better Training Sessions

If you’ve worked with or seen a dog trainer in action, then you’ve probably seen that a tired dog is much easier to train than a restless one. Many dog trainers will ask for the dog to come to the session after his walk, or include a long walk at the beginning of the training session to let out any excess energy. The walk will also help your dog breathe in that fresh air and release similar endorphins in their brains that humans get when walking, resulting in a calmer dog.

 

Weight Loss Motivation

Waking up to a dog pulling blankets off of you, ready for their walk, can be great motivation to get up off your tush and get moving! If you are looking for a weight loss buddy, dogs can be a great motivator. Once you get into the habit of an hour long daily walk with your dog, it will get easier and easier for your body to get through that hour. And as the weight comes off and it gets easier to move, you can start taking your dog for hikes or bike rides! This will not only help keep your waistline in check, but also prevent your dog from becoming lazy and overweight.

 

It not only benefits your dog to go for a daily walk, it also benefits us humans! Take your pooch out for a walk today and you’ll both reap the wonderful benefits!

Breed of the Week: Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

wirehaired pointing griffon

Looking for a loveable and smart companion dog? Look no further than the amazing Wirehaired Pointing Griffon! They are true family dogs with a gentle spirit, and when it’s time for a family hike, they are right there with you. This dog can certainly keep up with the best of them, but unlike some other high energy dogs, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon enjoys a lazy day too!

 

Although some may debate that the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed dates back to the mid 1500’s, the Pointing Griffon that we know and love today actually was developed in the late 1800’s. Similar dogs were around in the Netherlands at that time, creating the confusing on how old this breed really is. The breed was created by an avid hunter and sportsman to have a companion type dog that could work as a gun dog as well as have good speed, stamina and accuracy in retrieving game from the water. This explains why the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is such a well-rounded dog and up for anything!

 

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has a rough, wiry double-coat. This coat helps protect them from all kinds of weather and makes them very sturdy dogs. Their coat also adds to their famous scruffy look. The Pointing Griffon sheds year round as well as going through 2-3 heavier shedding cycles a year (depending on the dog). They require regular brushing, about 2 times a week. They will also need to visit the groomer for hair clipping every 6-8 weeks or so (depending on your personal preference for the dog’s hair length). The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is not a suitable dog for pristine homes with white carpets. The Pointing Griffon loves to play and get dirty, if there is a mud puddle outside, you bet your Pointing Griffon has already been in it! These dogs are famous for their eagerness to run through bush and thick forests, resulting in dirt, grass and burrs always in their fur.

 

This breed is fantastic for families. They thrive on doing daily activities with their humans. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a very trainable dog that is eager to please his owners. This makes them a suitable dog for novice dog owners, as long as their exercise needs are met. They do enjoy cuddling on the couch from time to time, but too many lazy days will make an unhappy dog. Look to invest at least 2 hours a day of exercise with your Pointing Griffon.

 

The wonderful Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is the epitome of a well-rounded dog. Perfect for families and easy to train, it’s no wonder this dog has such a great reputation. This dog is happiest when he gets to spend the day being involved in his owner’s life. As long as you don’t mind a bit of a dirty dog from time to time, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a lovely companion dog.

Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect: Part 2

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Dogs can make fantastic pets, but did you know your dog might not just be a cute face, he could also be detecting things you weren’t even aware of! A lot of dogs can detect changes in the earth as well as in the human body, simply with their great sense of smell! You’d be surprised to learn all the things your dog might be detecting without you even realizing it! Continuing from last week’s ‘Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect; Part 1’, here is the rest of our list of fascinating things dogs can detect!

 

Thunderstorms       Most of us are very familiar to being woken up in the middle of the night to our dogs acting anxious, and then an hour later, there’s a thunderstorm! Could there be any correlation? Are our dog’s psychic? Well, no, your dog might not be psychic, but he can definitely smell that thunderstorm or rain on its way! Have you ever stepped outside the day after a storm and thought, ‘wow, it really smells like rain today’? Now think about your dog’s incredible sense of smell, if humans can smell the rain, you better believe our furry friends pick up on that scent way before we do. Typically they start to notice the different smell in the atmosphere 30-60 min before it even starts to pour!

 

Diabetes                   We’ve had service dogs around for years and they have provided their owners with independence and confidence. One of the amazing things service dogs can be trained to detect are changes in blood sugar levels within the human body. This being extremely useful for individuals who are diabetic. When blood sugar levels drop dramatically, our bodies produce chemical changes that dogs can pick up on when they sniff our breath and skin. This can give diabetic individuals peace of mind when they are out and about. Blood sugar levels can drop drastically in the body and sometimes the individual won’t notice until it’s a serious emergency. Trained service dogs help these individuals by alerting them so the owner can have more time to get their insulin. These types of service dogs are best suited to individuals who have unpredictable and dramatic changes in the blood sugar levels.

 

Anxiety         At some point we’ve all heard the old saying ‘dogs can smell fear’. While this is in fact accurate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog will then become aggressive. Most dogs will actually recognise an individual who is fearful of them, and often avoid them. But can dogs really smell fear or are they just looking at our facial cues? The answer is, both! Dogs (especially ones we’ve bonded to) are very good readers of our facial expressions and that definitely plays a part in them recognising our fear/ anxiety. But dogs actually do rely on their noses in this situation too! When we start feeling anxious, our bodies pump blood faster, we release adrenaline, start sweating and releasing pheromones that dogs pick up on.

 

We’ve discussed some amazing things that dogs can detect. Some owners may find their dog can sense even more things than we’ve listed here! It is truly remarkable how our furry friends can sniff out and sense oncoming rain and the earth’s magnetic field. We are lucky to have them in our lives!

 

What Your Dog’s Tail is Telling You

Image result for dog wagging tail

It can sometimes be difficult to know what your dog is trying to tell you, if only someone would invent a dog to human interpreter! Don’t worry, even though we don’t have an app invented to interpret dog barks yet, your dog is communicating with you all the time with their body language. You can see how your dog is feeling just by looking at his mouth, eyes, paws, and especially his tail! The many ways your dog wags his tail are not by accident, read on to learn what your dog’s tail is telling you!

The Tense Tail:
A tense tail is one that is often held in a very prominent ‘C’ curve. It is not wavering, but instead perfectly still and looks very stiff. The ‘stiffer’ the dog’s tail will often mean the more tense the dog is.
Often you will see this tail behaviour occur when a dog has something of high interest in his surroundings such as a squirrel running up a tree or watching another dog play. Depending on the situation your dog is reacting to, a stiff tail can mean he is very interested to investigate something, or he is possibly anxious of something approaching. For example if a dog is nervous of strangers and he notices a stranger approaching him, you may see his tail stiffen, communicating with you that he is uneasy about the current situation. Approach a dog that has a tense tail with caution as they are in a very reactive state and may become aggressive if haven’t calmed down properly first.
The Scared or Anxious Tail:
If your dog has his tail curled under his body, it will usually mean that he is in a very anxious or scared state. The more tightly curled under his body the tail is will tell you the degree of his anxiety (very curled under means very anxious). A tucked under tail generally means your dog is not having a good time. Find what could possibly be affecting your dog in this way and help your dog overcome the situation. If he is simply scared of something he hasn’t seen before, enlist the help of a dog trainer/ behaviorist to help your dog overcome his fear and change it into a positive association.
The Happy-Go-Lucky Tail:
One of the best tail movements to see is the happy-go-lucky tail. When your dog is happy or excited he will have a proud upright tail that is wagging back and forth or sometimes in a windmill motion. This movement most often means that your dog is happy and/or in a playful mood. It is common to see a big wagging tail when you come home from a long day, or when jumping in a car to go to the dog park!
The tail can be a huge giveaway to what your dog is telling you. But keep in mind that to get the best understanding of what your dog is trying to tell you, look at their entire body to see if they are tense, anxious, happy or excited. Also take into account their surroundings and situation so you are able to get a full understanding of how your dog is feeling. Bettering the communication between you and your dog will strengthen your bond and help your dog feel they are being heard and acknowledged.