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!

Managing Your Dog’s Weight

dog-with-scae

Have you noticed a little extra pudge on your dog lately? Or maybe you’ve started to notice them losing weight. Our furry friends can’t manage their weight on their own, they need our help to provide them with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Here we will discuss how to help manage your dog’s weight and keep them happy and healthy!

 

When we are looking to lose a few extra pounds, most people will start going for an extra walk, talking the stairs when possible, basically just increasing how many calories we are burning throughout our day. The same goes for your pup! You can’t just tell Spot to drop and give me 10 push ups! You have to get moving with them! Small changes added to your daily routine can go a long way. Increase your walks together by 10 minutes. Add in an extra game of fetch or Frisbee. The added bonus to helping our dog’s get more exercise is we often get healthier along with them!

 

Not only do we need to look at how much calories our canine companions are using throughout the day, we also need to consider what calories they are putting into their bodies. And when I say ‘they’, I actually mean ‘we’; often times the owner is the culprit to providing too many treats or table scraps which can add to your dog’s waistline. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, the first thing to do is eliminate table scraps. If you want to continue giving your dog treats, give up any unhealthy treats and instead use your dog’s kibble! This helps you give him smaller portioned treats and assuming you have a high quality kibble for your dog, it will provide him with much better nutrition than those cheddar bacon treats! Alternatively, you can also use ‘raw’ treats such as washed and peeled carrot pieces.

 

It’s important to not only discuss when your dog is looking a little too roly poly, but also to take notice if your dog has started losing weight. If you notice dramatic weight loss in your dog over a short amount of time, make sure to book him in for an appointment with your regular vet for a check-up. If his weight loss is accompanied by any other symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite, increased thirst, you should take him to the vet immediately to ensure there isn’t a more serious health problem. When you notice weight loss in your dog, try to think of reasons why, did his food change? Has he been out exercising more? Always try to use your best judgement if his weight loss makes sense, or if it requires a vet visit. Weight loss in dogs under 8 months generally is not normal and should be addressed with a vet immediately.

 

Just like us humans, dogs like to have lazy days too (especially certain breeds). Too many of those lazy days combined with too many yummy snacks can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and potentially lead to health problems down the road. To keep your pup at his best, ensure that he is eating proper portions of high quality food. Combine that with adequate exercise every day and your dog will be healthy for years to come!

Choosing the Right Groomer

Red Toy Poodle puppy sits on a white background

 

Bought your first pup and looking for a new groomer to maintain their stylish looks? Or maybe you’ve been to other groomers already and are not completely satisfied? We’ve put together a few tips to help you find the right groomer for you and your four-legged friends!

 

Look Around!          Did you notice that gorgeous looking poodle walking down the street? Or maybe that handsome Bichon Frise? Next time you see a well-groomed dog at the dog park, ask the owner where they go! A great looking groom is free advertisement for a groomer and shows you their skill level. Try to keep an eye out for dogs similar looking to your dog to get a better idea of how the groomer will be with your particular dog. Every groomer will have some breeds they are better at. Just because your groomer can do a great groom on a cocker spaniel, doesn’t mean they will do a great groom on your miniature schnauzer.

 

Ask Questions!       When you are entrusting someone to maintain your pet’s lovely coat, it’s normal to be a little anxious for your first few grooms. So prepare a list of all your questions ahead of time and ask the groomer before your first groom. Find out how familiar they are with grooming your particular dog’s breed, how many years they’ve been grooming for, their full list of services, etc. Think of as many questions as you can to really get to know your groomer and what type of service you will be provided with.

 

Check Certifications!         You always want to be sure that your groomer is properly certified for all the services that they offer. Many groomers are self-taught and/ or self-employed, but they are still encouraged to become certified as a groomer/ pet stylist in Canada. As well, they should be certified for several other services if they offer them, such as treating fleas and ticks. Beware if your groomer offers any services that require anesthesia such as teeth scaling (different from teeth cleaning which is typically done with dog toothpaste and toothbrush). These procedures should be left to your veterinarian for the health and safety of your dog. Complications can arise with these more invasive services/ procedures and you want to be sure there is a team of trained staff to be there for your pet as well as the proper medical equipment found in a vet’s office.

 

Whether you want a new ‘do’ for your new Bouvier, or trying to find a calm groomer for your senior coton du tulear; these tips are sure to help you and your dog find the most compatible groomer for you!

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!

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: Chihuahua

chihuahua

We’ve discussed lots of giant dog breeds in our ‘breeds of the week’, but this week we will be looking at a tiny little dog, the Chihuahua! Popularized in the 90’s as a mascot for a fast food chain, this tiny dog has a very big personality!

 

This breed was developed in Mexico in the mid 1800’s. They were named after the ‘Chihuahua’ state in Mexico. They are thought to originate from an ancient small breed in Mexico call the ‘Techichi’. It was common to find ancient remains of Chihuahua-looking dogs in old Mexican ruins. The Toltec people of Mexico created the Techichi and believed that their faithful companions would follow them to the afterlife and so this ancient civilization would have their Techichi buried with them when they would pass away.

 

The Chihuahua started to become popular in America in the mid 1900’s as this was the time when more people were settling down in cities and less people were working on farmland. The Chihuahua wasn’t very popular earlier than this, due to their very small size, they aren’t a working dog breed. Dogs were generally owned to work alongside farmers, guarding livestock, pulling carts, etc. When more of the population started residing in cities, they were now becoming more interested in owning a dog for companionship, but keeping in mind they need to be small as they’d be living in smaller places.

 

The Chihuahua can come in almost any colour or hair type you can think of! You can get a Chihuahua that’s blonde, black, white, short haired, long haired, you name it! Only if your Chihuahua is long haired will it require hair clipping. Every Chihuahua will need brushing about once every two weeks. They do not shed as much as many other types of dog breeds, but they still do shed! They will require basic grooming like bathing, nail clipping, etc. Generally speaking, the short haired Chihuahua is one of the more low maintenance dog breeds in terms of grooming needs.

Chihuahuas can be very sensitive dogs and will quickly respond to how their owner is feeling and acting. If the owner is calm and confident, the Chihuahua will often be a sweet and gentle dog. Unfortunately, if the dog is spoiled or coddled too much, this can create the dog to feel anxious or fearful and will often result in barking or nipping. For instance, the Chihuahua is the breed you often see being carried around in a purse and being reassured or coddled when barking or acting fearful around strangers. Dogs need their owner’s guidance and corrections to learn what behaviour is not okay and what behaviour is. For this reason, it is very important to socialize your Chihuahua and not accidentally reward or coddle them if they are barking or trying to nip at strangers.

 

Chihuahuas can be wonderful companions that are faithful to their owners, and when properly socialized, sweet and well-mannered little dogs. With their small size, they are perfect pets for small living spaces such as apartments. If you are interested in a popular pint sized pup, look no farther than the wonderful Chihuahua!

Brain Games for your Dog

smart-dog

We all love hanging out with our four legged companions; Whether it be going for a nice long walk or strengthening your bond during playtime! While fetch and tug of war can be some fun games we often play with our dogs, but did you know you could be playing some great games that get your dog thinking? We’ve listed a couple of games to play with your dog that will help keep them mentally stimulated and satisfied!

 

Hide and Seek

For this game you will need two people. One person instructs the dog to sit and stay, while the other person goes to hide. Once that person is fully hidden, you can then instruct the dog to go find that person. To make this game easier for the dog to understand at first, it is best to use people that they are bonding with as they will quickly recognise their scent and track them down. To make the game even easier if your dog doesn’t quite get it initially, the person hidden can make a few quiet noises to alert the dog that there is someone to find. This game uses your dogs scent tracking and they get an incredible sense of satisfaction and confidence once they find that person! Make sure to make a big deal when your dog finds the hidden person and give them tons of praise!

 

The Shell Game

 

A well-known game amongst humans, the shell game consists of a ball or some other item hidden under one of three (or more) shells. One person moves around the shells and then the other person has to guess which shell the item is under. It is best to start off very easy for your dog to understand the game. Start off by having your dog sit and stay. Then place a treat under one cup or shell. Instruct your dog to come and he will naturally want to go to the cup he just saw you put a treat under. Slowly, you can increase the amount of cups used. You want your dog to gain confidence in these games, so make sure to not make it too difficult too fast. If 5 cups is too hard for him and he often doesn’t get the correct answer, then reduce it back down to 4 or 3 cups. This game has your dog using his problem solving skills, and just like with most brain games, he will get a big confidence boost when he chooses the correct shell.

 

If you are looking to not only strengthen your bond with your dog, but also help him strengthen his brain power, then you and your dog will definitely benefit by incorporating these fun brain games into your regular routine!