Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect: Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

 

Breed of the Week: Pharaoh Hound

pharaoh hound

Native to the island of Malta, our featured breed this week is the graceful hunter, the Pharaoh Hound. This hard working dog may not be right for apartment living, but they certainly make excellent companions to the hunters of Malta.

 

There are no records showing when this breed was developed. It is thought that the Pharaoh hound is so ancient that they existed before humans started writing. Many people believe the Pharaoh hound is related to the Podenco Canario and the Ibizan Hound. The Pharaoh hound was introduced to America in the late 1960’s, but the breed is still quite rare in North America today. Although rare to most of the world, the Pharaoh hound is the official breed of Malta and an important part to the citizen’s daily lives. Even today, Pharaoh hounds are used as guard dogs in Malta as well as for hunting (specifically rabbit). The Maltese people call the Pharaoh dog ‘Kelb tal-Fenek’ meaning ‘Rabbit dog’. Not only are they used most often for hunting rabbits, they have a slight resemblance to rabbits with their big tall ears.

 

Grooming for the Pharaoh hound is extremely minimal. You won’t have to take him in for any haircuts and with their short hair you don’t need to worry about brushing out any knots or tangles. Pharaoh hounds are not big shedders at all, in fact, some allergy sufferers who normally react to dog hair, have reported having no reaction when around the Pharaoh hound. The only things you’ll need to take care of are making sure their ears and teeth stay clean and nails trimmed.

 

Pharaoh hounds are recommended for more experienced dog owners, and do well when they are used for specific job such as hunting. They need to have enough space to run and get out their energy. Don’t expect your Pharaoh hound to be satisfied with one game of Frisbee every day. They are extremely intelligent dogs that were built to be hard workers. Not only do you need to fulfill their needs for mental and physical stimulation, you also need to come up with ways for them to feel accomplished. Pharaoh hounds gain satisfaction when they catch the rabbit after a hunt as they have completed their task, and telling them to go fetch a tennis ball with no reason why, will not keep them happy. If you aren’t interested in having your Pharaoh hound go hunting, another job you can give them is search and rescue. Find a toy that they like and they recognize the smell of, and teach them the game of search and rescue. Give them lots of rewards when they find the object, and make sure to keep it challenging, change up the toy/ object, hide it farther and farther each time, etc. This will help keep your Pharaoh hound from becoming bored and unhappy.

 

The Pharaoh hound can be a wonderful companion with the right owner, but can easily become bored, destructive, and unruly with the wrong one. They require an owner who has lots experience with more primitive-type dog breeds as well as someone who has the proper time to dedicate to this high energy dog every day. With lots of consistent training, exercise, and fulfilling mental stimulation, the Pharaoh hound can be a loyal and sweet dog who is a pleasure to be around!

Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect!: Part 1

dog with pregnant woman

Most of us have heard of dogs and their ‘supernatural’ seeming abilities to detect changes in nature, the planet, even human bodies! We’ve put together short list of some fascinating things our canine companions have been known to detect.

 

Earth’s Magnetic Field      Do you ever wonder why your dog spins around so much just before he does his business. Researchers have shown that when dogs spin around as they do before going to the bathroom, is actually them just aligning themselves facing either North or South (meaning they are able to detect our magnetic field!). But don’t leave your compass at home just yet; Dogs will only do this when the Earth’s magnetic field is calm.

 

Cancer           Did you know Cancer has a smell? In its later stages, scientists have confirmed that there is in fact, a detectable smell. If that isn’t crazy enough, dogs can detect that smell way before we can. Some dogs are able to detect certain types of cancer even in its early stages, just by their remarkable sense of smell. There have been many reports around the world of dogs ‘catching’ the cancer early on in their owners, leading to early detection and intervention; and saving many lives!

 

Pregnancy    When a woman becomes pregnant, her body goes through a lot of changes. One of the first changes being hormones. Dogs are able to sniff out the different chemical composition in our bodies when our hormones change. The way your dog reacts to the change is completely unique to them. They may become a little bit more distant, or a little more protective of you. Even though they recognise that you smell different, it is still widely believed that they don’t know why. They don’t comprehend that you are growing a human inside your belly. So when baby finally comes home and meets your dog, your dog probably isn’t thinking “Hey! You must’ve been what my owner was carrying for 9 months!???.

 

It is truly remarkable what our pets can detect. They can see, feel, hear and smell things that we are completely unaware of at times. With so many fascinating things that our dogs can perceive, it’s no wonder we had to make two lists! Check back next week for our Part 2 of amazing things dogs can detect!

Breed of the Week: Papillon

papillon

This week we are looking at one of the oldest spaniel breeds, the Papillon. Also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, this dog is most recognised by its fluffy ears that resemble butterfly wings. A friendly and energetic dog, the Papillon is a great companion in a tiny package.

 

The Papillon is one of the oldest known breeds in the world. This breed dates back to the 15th Century! Their exact origin is still unknown to this date, but suspected to likely be Belgium, France or Spain. As depicted in many old paintings, we have come to find that many famous historic figures loved this little spaniel. Marie Antoinette was known to carry her little Papillon around with her quite often. The breed originally had droopy ears, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Papillon breeders started breeding for erect ears. During this time that the erect ears became more popular, any Papillon’s that did not have erect ears came to be known as the Phalene (meaning night moth). Interestingly enough, even through years of breeding for either erect or drooped ears, when a Papillon gives birth, you can have pups with erect ears and ones with drooped ears within that same litter!

 

If you are looking for a dog that won’t leave fur all over your house, then do not get a Papillon. These guys shed a lot and need to be brushed at least every other day. If you want to maintain the classic Papillon haircut then you will be going to the groomer about once a month. If you are okay with him not looking absolutely perfect or if you prefer the puppy cut (short hair all over) then only need to visit the groomer about every 4 months. Be very gentle when you are brushing the Papillon as they do have a lot of fur, but it’s not thick. The Papillon doesn’t have a double coat like some other breeds, so be sure to have a soft touch when brushing to not accidentally hurt or scratch the dog’s skin.

 

The Papillion is a sweet and friendly little dog. When properly socialized, they are often very friendly with dogs, cats and new people. These little guys are high energy and very intelligent (imagine a tiny border collie). They need to have adequate physical and mental stimulation every day to not bored and get into trouble. Papillons are very light-footed and fast, meaning they can be great escape artists. It’s important to work on your Papillon’s recall early on (as well as teach them to stay within your property when off leash) to ensure that when you open the front door, they don’t run out.

 

When owning a toy breed such as the Papillon, safety is a big concern. Even a short fall down some stairs or accidentally stepping on your dog if he’s quietly running by your feet, can seriously injury their tiny bodies. So be sure to look around your house and ‘tiny dog proof’ it to make sure they aren’t at risk of getting hurt or getting stuck somewhere.

 

The Papillon can be a fantastic companion to an active owner. They do great in apartments and don’t take up much space! With that in mind, they will need time outside to run around daily and get out all of their energy. Be prepared for trips to the groomer and maintaining your dog’s coat in between grooms. The Papillon is a wonderful and happy little dog that can be a lot of joy to the right owner!

Breed of the Week: Clumber Spaniel

clumber-spaniel

Our featured breed this week is the wonderful Clumber Spaniel. A dog known for going at their own pace, many would be surprised to learn their history and great scent detection. This dog is a lovely family companion with their laid back attitude, but can definitely get their spurts of energy too! Let’s take a closer look at this interesting breed.

 

The Clumber Spaniel was developed in the late 18th century. Hunters bred the Clumber Spaniel from other already existing breeds such as the Basset hound and the Alpine Spaniel. With their ancestors being the basset hound, it is no wonder they have great scent detection and were used for hunting mostly birds. The owners of Clumber Spaniels were typically people of nobility, who enjoyed hunting for sport rather than a necessity. The Clumber Spaniel is thought to be a very English dog breed as they were even named after Clumber park in Nottinghamshire, England.

 

A day in the life of a Clumber Spaniel is generally very easy going and relaxed. They like to take their time on walks, make sure they investigate every new scent thoroughly. You won’t often find a Clumber Spaniel running around like a Border Collie (although they do get spurts of energy just like any dog). The Clumber spaniel is thought to be the gentle giant of the spaniels. They are quite sturdy with the female typically weighing 55lbs and the male at about 70lbs. Clumber spaniels typically get along well with other dogs and cats too if socialized early. Because of their hunting instincts they may not do well with small animals such as guinea pigs or parrots. The Clumber spaniel adapts well to apartment living and typically only require 2-3 walks a day.

 

The Clumber Spaniel may not be the best match for a first time dog owner. Although they are naturally very loving and gentle, they can be quite stubborn and difficult to train. Most Clumber Spaniels are food motivated so it may help your training sessions if you have a pocket full of treats! They do require some grooming to keep them looking their best. Once or twice a month to the grooming to get hair trimming, as well as regular bathing, brushing and nail clipping. You may find the Clumber Spaniel needs more bathing than other breeds as they love to get dirty. Especially if they catch a good scent, they will run through dirt, mud, anything to pursue that scent!

 

Families looking for a low key dog that loves to curl up on the couch would do well with a Clumber Spaniel. They are such loving dogs (even though they can sometimes be a little stubborn!). But beware when on your walk or letting your Clumber Spaniel off leash as they tend to forget the rest of the world when they’re on a good scent!

Dog Breed Classifications: Part 2

dog-line-up-2

Continuing from last week, here is our second instalment of the 7 dog breed classifications! We’ve already discussed Hounds, Herding dogs and Toy Dogs. Today we will be going over the remaining 4 classifications, Terriers, Working dogs, Non-sporting and Sporting dog breeds.

 

Terriers: Some well-known dog breeds belonging to the terrier group are the miniature schnauzer, jack Russell terrier and the largest breed of the terrier group, the Airedale. When you think of a terrier breed, usually what comes to mind is a little, energetic go-getter kind of dog. They often have big personalities and are quite confident. Terriers were bred to hunt vermin and they had to be very persistent to catch their tiny prey. Families interested in bringing a terrier into their home would do well to socialize them early with other dogs to ensure they don’t get too ‘bossy’ as they can sometimes become bullies at the dog park with their high level of confidence and persistence.

 

Working: Examples of dogs from the working dog group are the Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog and the Boxer. Working dogs like the Alaskan Malamute were used to pull sleds. Even in extreme cold weather and thick snow, these dogs had to have a lot of stamina and strength. These dogs were bred to be working all day long, and then they love to have a nice relaxing time at home after a long day of work. If you are considering buying or adopting a working dog breed, be sure to provide them with enough space and time to get out all of their energy. They will need lots of physical and mental stimulation to simulate the long days of work that they were bred for.

 

 

Non-Sporting: Some adorable examples of non-sporting dog breeds are the French Bulldog, Coton de Tulear, and the Lhasa Apso. Unlike the working dog group, the non-sporting group was bred for no other reason than to be our wonderful and cute companions. These dogs were not bred with a specific purpose such as hunting or guarding life stock. These dogs are typically smaller so they are suitable for apartment living, although there are some large breed non-sporting dogs too such as the Chow Chow. Families looking for a dog who is specifically bred to be a great companion, would do well to get a dog from the non-sporting group. Activity level greatly varies amongst the breeds within the non-sporting group.

 

Sporting: In the Sporting dog group we have dog breeds such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, German shorthaired Pointer and the Golden Retriever. Dogs in the sporting dog group are typically quite active and intelligent. They have excellent hunting instincts and doing very well in competitions. Sporting dogs are very similar to dog breeds in the working dog group as they need to be with an owner with an active lifestyle. Sporting dogs make excellent companions and as long as they are properly exercised, they will quite happily cuddly up with the family on the couch.

 

We had a lot of fun discussing the different dog breed classifications and we hope you enjoyed it just as much as we did!

Breed of the Week: Boxer

Boxer dog

Meet our sweet and lovable breed of the week, the Boxer! An active breed that loves spending time with their family. It’s easy to fall in love with this charming breed, read on to discover their wonderful attributes!

 

Developed in Germany in the late 1800’s, the Boxer is considered part of the ‘Molosser’ group which all bulldog breeds also belong to. His ancestors are the English bulldog, and an old mastiff-type breed that does not exist anymore, called ‘Bullenbeisser’. The Boxer was originally bred for hunting large animals such as deer and wild boar. They were trained to take down the animals and hold them until their hunting master could get to the animal.  Boxers were bred with the intent to make the perfect hunting companion. The strength and determination of a bulldog, combined with the stamina and size of the Bullenbeisser (small mastiff-type dog). Everything about the Boxer breed was very intentional, even their colouring. The brindle colouring of many Boxers was specifically created by breeders to help them camouflage when on the hunt.

 

The Boxer completely suits their name as anyone who has watched a Boxer play, knows how much they like to ‘stand up’ and use their front paws (and they look like they’re boxing!). Which makes sense considering the large prey they were bred to hunt, it was natural for them to go on their hind legs so they could reach the neck of their prey. As this action of jumping up is so natural for these dogs, one of the most valuable things you can teach your boxer is to not jump up on people. Once taught, this breed will often require management on their manners; meaning even when they’re an adult, you may still need to do training sessions once in a while on how to properly greet a stranger and not jump.

 

Boxers are one of the most family friendly breeds you will find. They love to spend every minute of the day with you. When properly socialized, they get along amazingly with kids, but be sure to watch them around very young kids as the boxer’s boisterous energy may knock young children over! They are very active dogs and will need to be with an owner who has an active lifestyle to match. They are able to adapt to apartment living if they have sufficient time running around and getting out their energy.

 

If you want a dog that doesn’t require regular trips to the groomer, the boxer might be your next dog! They don’t require any hair clipping, but they do shed and require regular brushing at home, along with bathing, nail clipping, etc. Also be sure to inspect and wipe out their facial wrinkles as needed to ensure they stay clean and don’t get infected or irritated.

 

The wonderful Boxer can make a great companion to an active individual or family. Be sure to teach them early on not to jump on people, and continue to maintain those manners throughout their lives. If you think you can handle the energy of these playful wonderful dogs, then consider bringing a Boxer into your life!

Dog Breed Classifications: Part 1

dog-line-up

Ever wonder why some dogs have never ending energy while others are more inclined to lay on the couch all day? Well part of the reason is what the dog’s ancestors were bred for! Today we will look at 3 of the 7 different classifications of dogs that will give us more insight into their personalities and why they act the way they do!

 

Hounds: The hound group includes dog breeds such as beagles, Norwegian elkhounds and basset hounds. These dogs typically have more scent receptors than breeds in other groups which tells you why they are known to always be on a scent. If you are interested in bringing a hound into your family, be aware that it may be more difficult to have reliable recall as they will often be distracted by a good scent. As well as they will typically ‘bay’ instead of bark, which some people prefer but it is not for everyone. So it helps to have a fondness for that baying sound!

 

Herding: Some of the dog breeds belonging to the herding group are the Border collie, Australian cattle dog and the Collie. You will often notice right away when a herding-type dog is playing at the dog park as their favourite way to play is chasing other dogs, mimicking their herding nature. Owners of herding dogs would be wise to ensure their dogs learn early on how to play nicely as they can sometimes be prone to nipping other dog’s ankles as this is the way their ancestors would herd livestock.  Herding dogs are generally very high energy and very intelligent so they are best suited to a family with an active lifestyle. They love to be challenged to learning new things and do great in agility competitions.

 

Toy Group: Examples of breeds from the toy group are the Chihuahua, maltese and Pekingese. These dogs were bred with the intent to have a small compact dog suitable to apartment and city living (as well as to be very cute!). These dogs do typically have that high-pitch bark so it would be wise to teach them early on to be quiet on command. You will often find toy dogs with not so great manners (of course this does not go for all toy dogs!) because their cuteness will generally let them get away with whatever trouble they get into. It is very important for owners of a dog from the toy group to look past that adorable face and ensure they are keeping up with their manners (not barking, jumping up on people, nipping, etc.).

 

Now that we’ve had a look at 3 of the 7 types of dog classifications, be sure to check in next week for the remaining 4!

Breed of the Week: Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is a beautiful large breed dog with a lot of great characteristics. If you love the ‘up for anything’ attitude of terriers, and prefer a larger dog, the Airedale might be perfect for you!

Airedales were originally bred to be a sporting dog, hunting rats and otters for their masters. Because of their incredibility stamina and determination, they were later used as working dogs in World War I. They were trained since birth to assist the soldiers in military tasks such as carrying & delivering messages and locating any injured men.

Today’s Airedale Terriers are still being used as sporting and hunting dogs. Anything from agility competitions to helping retrieve birds for their hunting masters.

When considering adding a Airedale to your family, it is important to keep in mind that they are very intelligent and confident. They need a job to focus on and love to work alongside their owners (and have the stamina to be working all day!). Some say the Airedale can be difficult or stubborn when it comes to training. For this reason, it is extremely important to have patience and stay consistent when training this breed. As an intelligent breed, they will often wonder ‘what’s in it for me?’ when being asked to perform a task (such as ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’).

The Airedale is a hypo-allergenic breed, so someone with allergies is more likely to be able to tolerate being around this dog (although allergy symptoms may not completely disappear). Although they don’t typically shed very much, they do require regular brushing to keep tangles out of their coat, as well as hair trimming once every couple of months.

Airedale Terriers are naturally very protective of their family. For this reason, it is imperative that these dogs are well socialized at an early age with strangers and other dogs.
Airedale Terriers are wonderful dogs that simply love life. They are intelligent, high energy, courageous dogs that will do anything it takes to finish their task at hand. This would be a great dog for someone with a very active lifestyle. And as hard-working as they are known to be, you will still find these dogs to be sweet-natured and lovable. A great companion to an active family.