Archives for Miscellaneous (dogs) category

Pet safe garden/lawn

 In the previous entry titled “People food for thought part XV; Herb and spices“, I wrote that our stumpy Corgi “Palette” is on fresh food diet, a.k.a. raw food diet, and since the diet switch from processed food diet, I started paying more attention to overall health issues such as over-vaccination, monthly flea/tick treatment etc and I also started paying more attention to the use of toxic household cleaners, and wrote some pet safe household cleaner ideas.

If you live with furry furriends, household cleaners are not the only thing to think about.

Pet safe garden/lawn..

 How do you care your lawn/yard/flower and vegetable garden? Do you use something to keep the bugs at bay? Do you recognize what plant,what kind of gardening materials are toxic to our furry furriends? That is another thing to think about.

 Many of you would notice that, especially at early morning around spring time, our furry furriends seem to enjoy munching on salad bar in the yard.

 They love to glaze grasses, and they love to roll on things in the yard and if you have been using some sort of pesticide to keep your lawn bug free, your furry furriends maybe ingesting the pesticide little by little. Is it okay for them? I personally prefer not to use such harsh chemicals in the yard and expose our furry furriends to those pesticide.

 We do not use pesticide for our lawn and, if our stumpy little dog “Palette” wanted to roll on things or if she wanted to munch on her organic salad bar, we let her do that to her heart content since we know there is nothing harmful is used for our lawn, I can let her without worry.

 I know that some people use food grade Diatomaceous Earth (not the kind to use for pool),which you can get at the garden center, to combat with flea/tick. The idea is that the DE (short for diatomaceous earth) can dehydrate those flea/tick and protect your pets from them.

 Food grade DE is pet safe and,it is not toxic when/if they lick them. In fact, food grade DE can be used to worm dogs as well. 

 Some people use food grade DE in their yard as well, but I have heard that some people think that treating the yard with DE might actually dehydrate the good bugs such as earthworms and might not be good idea. I think it might be true.

 Others treat yard with beneficial namatode to combat with garden bugs,flea etc..

 I see that many people use mulch when gardening. Do you use mulch for your garden? If you do, what kinds of mulch do you use?

 Some people might not notice, but there is a kind of mulch our furry furriends are toxic to. It is called “Cocoa Mulch”.

 What is cocoa mulch?

 As you might be able to guess what it is made from, cocoa mulch is basically a cocoa bean shells.

 According to nationalcocoashell website, shell of the cacao beans come off during the roasting process and, they are separated from the actual cocoa beans.Then,those shells are sold as mulch for gardeners.

 Since cocoa shell used as mulch can retain moisture longer,smell better, and great insulator during harsh seasons for plants especially during winter, many gardeners use the cocoa shell as mulch.

 However, as you know from our previous entry titled “Chocolate,Caffeine and Cacao“, chocolate is toxic to our furry furriends because they contains the chemicals dogs cannot process in the body. It contains “methylxanthine alkaloids ” in the form of theobromine and caffeinea.

 Cocoa bean shells also contains the theorbromine,and caffeine and, if you live with furry furriends, you should consider what kinds of mulch you would be using for your garden and, how you protect them from such toxic materials in the garden.

 Dogs have great sense of smell,and cocoa beans are quite aromatic and smell good items to your furry furriends and, very tempting for them not to munch on those.

 As side note, if you grow tomatoes, plants,leaves, unripe green tomatoes are toxic to dogs and those are some other things to consider.

 It is always good to research what plants are toxic, what plants are safe for your furry furriends when you do gardening.
Yard vs Digging problems..

 When we talk about lawn, often times, I hear someone having trouble keeping their dogs from digging their precious flower garden.

 If you think about it from their point of view,digging in the yard, making huge holes to sniff or bury is natural behavior of dogs. It just not something we human would be appreciated it if they dug in beautiful flower
garden or vegetable garden.

 To protect your flower/vegetable from being dug by your furry furriends, one thing you can do is to offer the place where they can dig to their heart content.

 You can make digging space by putting sand in the wooden box,preferably in the shady place to protect them from hot sun during the summer. It is more fun if you got jackpot treats hidden in the sand box and let them go find it. Every time you find them digging the place they are allowed to dig,you can praise them and they would learn to dig the designated area,not your flower/vegetable garden.

 Lawn vs Urine spots..

 Another things pops out now and then on the talk of lawn is urine spot talk.

 In the previous entry titled “Why we find vigorous grassy grass around dogs’ pee area in our lawn“, I wrote that dogs’ pee contains “Nitrogen”,and nitrogen is actually good for Lawn. However, nitrogen in the pee is so concentrated,and dogs repeatedly pee on the same spot,potty area’s lawn  gets burned.

 I also wrote that Iowa state University turf grass expert “Nick” suggest that you spray the water right after dogs pee on the lawn to dilute the nitrogen in the dogs’ pee. He suggests to let your dog pee on different spots rather than one particular spot.

 I have come across a few products that are sold for urine spot treatment such as rock that you would put in the dog’s water bowl and supposedly,it would change the dog’s urine nitrogen level, and the other is tablet that ingredient list goes dried brewer’s yeast,DL-Methionine,natural flavoring,magnesium stearate,yucca schidigera extract etc.

 I think that we human tend to look for the quick solution whether it was for dog’s weight loss or training issue or other issue like this. Personally, I prefer not to give anything to change things manually to solve our human problems.

 If you have urine spot problems in your lawn, as Iowa state university turf grass expert “nick” suggests,  water your lawn right away,and let your dogs do their potty on different spots.

 Also, it is also good ideas to choose kind of grasses you plant for your lawn. One type of grass you can do is clover.

 We recently sprinkled clover seed in our yard and, it has been a month or so,and our lawn is greener than before. Initially, we have implemented the idea to add clover to our lawn to reduce the frequency of mowing,but it sure makes our lawn much greener,and I like them.

 According to website Clover has several points good for your lawn.

1. stays green all summer

2. free of weeds

3. does not require being fertilized due clover is nitrogen fixer

4. pest free

5. attract beneficial insects

6. soft footing

7. less frequency to be mowed

8. does not suffer from dog’s urine spots

9. can grow well in wide variety of soil

 You can read more on clover lawn at hubpage here.

 When we were researching about clover, we picked white clover over red clover because white clover grows less tall compared to the red kind.

 When you have more natural ways to combat with dogs’ urine spot via clover lawn or watering the spots etc, why would you give something to change things manually via rock/supplement in your dog’s water/food?

 Clover seed is inexpensive,and clover lawn has so many benefit of doing so.

 We like the clover lawn so far, and you may enjoy it too.

 Pet safe, tough on urine spots.. and,I enjoy watching our dog roll on the clover lawn with big grin on her face with her tongue hanging out.

 I am not sure that if clover lawn would take her favorite type of grasses out from our yard but we will see.

 If you prefer the grass over clover, you can choose tougher grass with dog’s urine such as ryegrass.

 Enjoy pet safe lawn/garden!


Jun 23, 2011 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Have fun with your dogs; Agility

 When you have fun with your dogs, what games/sports do you play?

When Palette and I have fun together, we play all kinds of fun games.

One thing we play a lot is “Find it” game after training time-Palette is supposed to sniff the treats,stay still where she cannot see where I hid the treats and,with “Go find it!” release call, she goes sniff out the yummy with nose up in the air, nose on the ground.

After a while, I have leveled it up to “Find the toy” game- Palette is supposed to sniff the toy,stay still where she cannot see where I hid the toy and,with “Go find it!” release call, she goes sniff out the toy I hid and then, she has to get it and bring it back to me. By doing so, she is eligible for the exchange with jackpot treats.

You can see her playing “Find it” game in previous entry titled “Find it” game here .

Another game we play a lot is fetch ball and Frisbee. When she sees balls,Frisbee, she gets so talkative and I can see her little nub/butt moving left and right and it is always fun to play with her.

You can see her playing ball/Frisbee in the previous entry titled “Playing game of Fetch ball/Frisbee” here.

A couple of years ago, I got Palette “weave pole” for her birthday so that we can have fun at home. It is one of the obstacle in the sports called “Agility”.

Agility is a canine sports that dogs goes through all kinds of obstacles with direction of handlers such as tunnels, A shaped obstacle called “A frame”, dog walk,weave pole, jumping bars,teeter etc..and compete the time to finish the course, and how precisely completed the each obstacles.

It is very exciting to watch team work of one handler and one dog and also exciting to see performance of the dog going through the obstacles.

According to Wikipedia website, the dog sports “Agility” was born in England 1970’s and first agility  performance documented is at “Cruft Dog Show” in 1978 and agility was performed to entertain the crowd between the classes.

You can read more on history of dog agility at wikipedia website here .

I think Agility is great sports for both human and dogs.

For dogs, they can have outlet for pent up energy plus it is fun for them. Most of all, this canine sports has running,climbing,jumping etc so, they can have physical exercise and mental exercise both through fun sports.

For us,human, it is fun playing Agility sports with dogs and we can make our bond stronger through the sports and, since this sports seem to involve some level of handling/training skill to teach what they are suppose to do with the obstacles,what obstacles to clear next etc, it will be good also to re-enforce the obedience skills.

I remember my puppy class training trainer in the past used one last session for similar to agility sports but just a couple of easy one and let the dogs experienced stuff like tunnels with closed end;which dogs cannot see through the other end since it is not like tunnel with open end like tube style. And I remember she was talking about it could build dogs’ confidence level through the sports too.

You can see list of obstacles and description at wikipedia website here .

I am still a beginner knowledge level, and not familiar with detailed rules,levels and all that. Palette and I are having fun playing weave pole at home but someday, we would like to attend agility class or some sort and we would like to have outside the house too.

So, I got Palette weave pole for her birthday a couple of years ago, and our weave pole has 6 straight up poles,some space apart in between one pole to the other and Palette weave through the pole.

Before teaching the weave pole itself, I was teaching her to weave through my legs as one of her tricks in her training time, so I thought it will be easy for her to understand what the obstacle “weave pole” is.

When I got the weave pole tool, it came with guides,which you can stick it to pole and dogs can follow through to the end. So, I set up the guide with weave pole, but just about 4 poles,not all. Then let Palette sit next to me and lured her with treats and let her walk along the guides.

I have repeated it over and over and gradually made it to 6 poles with guides and repeated over and over again and gradually I have took one guide at a time when I think she understands the pole without the guide and as final goal;no guides and weave through.

She loved weave pole and she weave through with tongue hanging out looking up to me and it is fun. She cannot weave through as fast as dogs in competition can but that is ok. We are playing it for fun.

She loves weave pole so much that she sometimes weave through,walking speed and turn around and weave back to the starting point.

Got caught playing weave pole myself…

Mom said “stay”, and disappeared for a second and backed with yummy!


What the Agility course is like?

Below are some of the youtube videos I have come across.

AKC National Agility Championship

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video.

Sometimes, things does not go as it planned…

Agility bloopers-World Championship Basel 2006

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video.

Sometimes, dogs can loose handler in sight..

Where is mom?

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video.

Along side the dog agility sports, since 2 years ago, cat agility is also performed.

You can watch the “Cat Agility” video at youtube here .

 Do you do any canine sports with your dogs?



Oct 03, 2010 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Keeping your dogs cool during summer – Updated on April 25th,2010

 ** Updated area in red. I have added some more pictures,too.

These days,it has been so hot and soon,you would recognize your dogs start panting hard even just going for potty break in the yard.

 If you have read previous entry titled  “Do dogs sweat?” already,you would know that dogs don’t sweat like humans do.

 Dogs have furs on body, and if they walk in hot summer days,it is kind of like you are walking with heavy winter coat.

 In addition to that, they cannot sweat like human to get body temperature control. All they can do to keep temperature control is to pant but their tongue does not have sweat grands and,it is not really like sweating. They can sweat from paw pads,but not much they can do to control their body temperature,and not  as good as humans do.

 Here are some ideas you can help them keep cool during the summer season.

** Choose the cooler time for walking.Avoid going for walk when it is hot.

 If your dogs start panting a lot. Find a shady area near you and rest a little.

** After walk or play outside at cooler time,you can give them frozen yogurt cheese or cool down treats ,which you can find the recipes in the series titled “Palette’s treat diary” under Dog Diet Category.

 You can find the frozen yogurt cheese recipe in the previous entry titled “Pill pockets“.

Frozen yogurt cheese treats

When we back home from walk, I give Palette one frozen yogurt cheese cube or homemade frozen yogurt treats as cool down treats.I also give one frozen Yogurt cheese cube after bathing.

 Or, if you had time to make them, you can also make frozen treats with mashed/pureed vegetable and fruits with or without yogurt mixed in. Below is the frozen pumpkin treat.

 Pumpkin is steamed over goat broth (simply water with one goat rib bone), mashed, put into ice cube tray to freeze. I had pumpkin I could share with Palette.

Frozen goat broth flavored pumpkin treats

** Provide cool place.

 I got her canine cooler bed. It is k9 version of water bed if you will.

 Unlike water bed for human, the bed itself is not wavy at all. You pour gallons of water in the bed and water inside the bed keeps at room temperature.

 Room temperature water is still cooler than dog’s body temperature,and it helps them to cool down faster and better.

 I actually tried 2 version of cool bed. One I used to have looked ok.It had texture on surface, not smooth surface like the one I have now.The cool bed’s edge was sawed and had about less than half inch spare all around. It lasted a couple of months, and started leaking from one side.

 When I prepare the bed, after gallons of water was poured into cool bed, I put it on large towel, place the cool bed, and covered it with large over-sized pillow cover. I do not know why it did not last long.

 The one I have for Palette; the one you see in the pictures below is called ” Canine cooler” and bed edge is sealed very well and not sawed. Long side edge has about 1 inch spare and short side edge has about half inch spare, and I have been keeping it for at least 2 years, 3 years but no water leaking accident and, I am very happy about it.

 The green cover you find in the picture over the Canine cooler bed is actually the one sold for cool bed, called “Cool cover fitted sheet”. The sheet is much bigger than Canine cooler bed Palette has, but I can tucked it under the bed and size is not much of a problem.

 The bed itself has very smooth texture so,if you did not use sheet over the bed, you can wipe it clean, but I prefer using cool bed cover because I can toss the bed cover into washing machine. I have 2 sheets so that I can put the new one over while other one is being washed. You can wash it as much as you like so, surface is always being clean.

 So, what is the Canine cooler bed look like under the sheet?? Take a look at a picture below.

Canine cooler bed that Palette adores.

To be able to see what it is like on the other side of the bed, I folded over a bit.

 You see the red cap? You will open up the cap and pour the water in and knead the bed very good to get all air out from the bed. I usually place blanket or large towel under the bed. I once placed soft knit blanket under the cool bed but, one day, her name tag got caught with the blanket, and since then,I no longer use the soft knit blanket under the cool bed.

After cool cover fitted sheet is placed over Canine cooler bed..


Palette resting on cool bed after walk..

 After Palette takes a short nap on her cool bed, and touch her tummy,I feel my hands cool.

 It is a  good tool for any dogs because the bed contacts with larger area of dog body and it helps them cool down much faster. It is better than letting them wear wet bandanna,which cool down just around neck rather than whole body.

 I know there is cooling vest on the market but, you need to choose the right size for your dogs, and it just wrap around neck to tummy area. So,I personally prefer the cool bed which size is not much of a problem plus whole body can touch the cold area,and Palette can enjoy the cool bed any position she likes..

 I spot her resting on cool bed a lot. Sometimes,she rests like superman style;both legs kicked out,sometimes,just one leg kick out. Especially summer time, she is hugging to this cool bed and,nap on this bed. This is one of her favorite items.

 One thing you may want to teach your dog for this canine cooler bed is to chew treats on other bed. Sometimes, Palette brings her Antler bottom and try gnaw it while she is resting on her cool bed. I let her gnaw on it IF chew was on blanket or on towel not on bed because it could make weak spot by letting them use while chewing stuff on cool bed over and over again.

Since Antler bottom is on the blanket,I let her gnaw on it..

Palette grabbed her Moo! Odor free 6″ bully sticks ..and brought it to her bed she can chew on..


Making sure nothing is left out. Sniff,sniff,sniff…

Now,Palette is tired…she is heading to….

Canine cooler bed….

 Another thing to remember is to keep their nail short. You can read more on how I got Palette getting used to nail trimming in the previous entry titledBonding with your dogs while grooming: brushing teeth,clipping nail, brushing “.

 My favorite nail clipper is Miller’s with Orange handle. It clips nail nicely and feel good in hands.

 But, I prefer Dremel to trim her nails now. Palette does much better with Dremel and it makes smooth edge on her nail. This is not the dremel made specifically for dogs. One other way is to make doggy nail file and let them trim their nail on their own.

Here is how to make your own nail file. It is easy and dogs love to trim their nail on their own because it is fun for them:)

** Provide cold water.

 I usually keep her water bottle in the fridge.So,her water is always cold. Some people may freeze water in tapper wear and feed it outside for fun.

 Palette does not do good on getting too much of cold stuff. So,her frozen treats or anything cold is limited in the amount or size. And,I don’t put ice cube in cold water to make it cooler even more because it would  cause Palette problem.

 She drinks cold water, and she can get frozen small size meal or treat but if she were fed big hunk of meal straight out from fridge or freezer,you would expect her to vomit in 6-8 hours,everything she had and also gets diarrhea. It is not fun for her and for me and,I always make sure her meal is at room temperature and give her cold stuff in small size and amount. I wonder if dogs don’t get brain freeze like human when they get too cold drink.

**  I don’t do this because Palette is not water dog, but you can provide kids’ pool for them to play with their floatable toys.

 After dogs play in the pool,make sure you will dry your dog thoroughly.

 When outside is too hot to go for walk,you don’t have to give up all the fun activity you could have done outside.

 Inside the house is kept cool,and you can play inside the house in various way with your dogs.You do not have to make them being a couch potato all hot days.

 Here is something you can do inside. These can be not only fun for you but also good to make your bond with your dog stronger.

<1> Find it game. Very fun game.Fun for kids too.

You can watch how Palette plays Find it game here.

<2>Fetch ball or Frisbee. You can do this inside too.

Good 15 minutes play make them want to have deep sleep later.You can watch how Palette plays Fetch ball here.


 It is not necessary be physical exercise but rather,mental exercise and  it still is fun for them. Yummy treats and fun schooling time. What could be better! We have indoor Agility weave pole and, we like to play a lot with it.

 She loves it and now she can weave through without guides.She loves it so much that she turns around and weave walk back to the starting point. I am sure she will get disqualified if it were competition,but you can tell how much she loves weave pole.

 After such an exciting day with you with all those activities,I am sure your dogs would sleep deep and dream about fun things they did with you. You can see how satisfied Palette is.

 For those who wonder,yes,she IS sleeping. Sometimes,she sleeps with her eyes open.It is scary to find her sleep like this especially with smile. By the way,the bed you can see in this picture is ortho bed.It is called “micro suede orthopedic pillow bed”. This pillow bed has egg crate foam in the bed and it is gentle for joint.

 She is not Arthritis but,I use it for her.This pillow bed is reversible and you can pick which side you want your dog to lay on.Cover is removable and machine-washable. She likes pillow bed and bolster bed because she can put her head on just like she put her head on our thigh.

 Sometimes, she sleeps upside down like on this picture.She really likes this bed that she never comes out right away even if I open up the crate door to out to stretch. She snuggles in there a little more and finally,comes out to stretch and start her day.

 Lastly,please do not leave your dogs inside the car. Temperature in the car can go up very quickly and dangerous.

 How do you keep your dogs cool during summer time?

 Do you have any other ways you do for your dogs?

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Apr 25, 2010 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Why do dogs love to chase cars, bicycles, joggers..

 Dogs love to chase moving objects such as ball,Frisbee, lizard, squirrels etc And some dogs love to chase  joggers, bicycle, cars… something that might put them into dangerous situation.

What can you do about them?

 Our dog is, as you already know, Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Palette is herding breed who loves to herd toys and treats.

She used to nip my heel as puppy.

Herding and nipping are not problems anymore, but she loves chasing ball, Frisbee, lizard, squirrels.. She showed interests in chasing after cars,bicycles as puppy a little but not much interests in chasing cars, bicycles etc now.

 We go for walk daily, and since she was a puppy, I called her to grassy area (side of the road ) and stay still every time we saw a car.

Then, I gave her bits of treats every time we walked to side and stay still and car passed by.

For 4 years, we had been doing this and, she does pretty good when she sees the cars.

Letting her recognize the presence of the cars and stay still on side of the car is something that does good for her safety and, to me, it is important to let her understand that she should not jump out in front of the cars and important training aspect,but for her, it can be fun game.

Every time car passes by, she looks up to me with smile as if she were proud herself for her “stay still on side” game. Sometimes, she notice the car before I notice and she pulls me to side. When that happen,I give her extra petting and praise.

 Another thing I taught her was  “wait” command.

Wait for door open,wait for step out from door, wait to dig in to her meal .. Teaching her to wait for entrance door open, and step out from door without dashing out was also one of the important things I taught her that involve cars and her safety.

 Here is how I taught her.

 Very first thing I taught her was “sit” and, I let her sit before everything she loves.

Sit to get leash connected to her collar for walk ( Later, I taught her “turn around ” command and she sits facing out to get her leash connected to her collar.Now, she sits facing out without me telling her to do so. ), sit quiet before I throw balls or Frisbee or maybe play tug, sit before brushed, sit before being pet, sit before meal, sit before door open etc..

 Then, I let her sit in front of the door, slowly opened door. If she starts standing up, I said “Try again”, and just closed door and  slowly open door again.

By repeating this over and over,she got ideas that as long as her butt is on the floor,door open wide. And after being able to let her stays sit till door widely opened, I stepped out from entrance, and let her learn to step out without dashing out.

 As for joggers, bicycles etc, I called her name, grabbed her attention and let her focus on me, not moving object and she got nice click of clicker and bits of treats.

Once she became reliable and she turned her face on me whenever I called her, I randomly gave her treats or praise and eventually treats were faded away and she ignored joggers (she was not so much interests in chasing them,but rather, she did not like to be passed by them).

 Dogs do things that were rewarded or things worked for them. With behavior like this that might put them into dangerous situation especially, better not to encourage them to chase cars etc.

 When we go for walk, when closer to home and turn to straight road, I race with Palette. She runs very fast and occasionally, slow down after checking up on me. She hangs her tongue out and with biggest smile on her face, she races with me and enjoy running with me.

At home,she gets to play ball, find it game, Frisbee… I think it is important to give your dogs opportunity to use their instincts in play with you or activities they do.

 And, maybe teaching them good reliable recall ” come” can also be a life saver.

 To teach ” come”, simply run to opposite direction from your dogs. Dogs naturally love to chase. They would most likely chase after you. So, when they come to you, give them nice treats and big praise.

IF just you running away from your dog was not enough to encourage them to chase after you, maybe you can squeak toys and let them get excited for the toys before you taking off, and finally run away from  your dogs squeaking your dogs favorite toys. When they come to you, give them good praise.

 When “come” command is under practice, never call your dogs to tell them negative things. Always call them when something good is coming. When they know that their name is called by you, always good thing happens, they sure would come trot to you in a second.

 Also, have you had experience that your dogs stole family member’s socks and run away from you?

When dogs got something that should not be in their mouth, never try chase after them.It becomes fun game for them. Just ignore, and since stealing thing did not get your attention,they would get bored and abandon the items.

 Some website suggests to use electric shock collars or water balloon or water spray bottle to stop the chasing behavior, or any unwanted behavior for human for that matter, but I do not agree with those method.

By using electric collars or water spray, it maybe quick to stop whatever behaviors that were under way. Dogs stop doing things just because something bad happens.

Dogs stop doing things from fear. It is possible that those fear created by such tools could effect bond with your dogs or maybe create another behavior problems. Would that be worth it?

 I am not a dog trainer, but dog training is not quick work. You need to commit yourself, and be consistent, be patient, and be calm. Achieving the training goal can take long. You need to understand your dogs and review yourself too.

 When there are ways to teach them what to do positively, why need to take aversive method to achieve the goal? Also, we need to understand many of the behavior problems can be natural dog behaviors: barking,chewing,digging, chasing etc etc.

We are the one that need to help them adapt to our life style.

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Nov 08, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Why dogs chase their tails?

 Dogs are very interesting animals with quirks, and big personality. When you look at your dogs, I would imagine you would have a couple of ” Why does he/she do that?” questions.

 Why do dogs put biggest smiles on their face when they roll on stinky things ? Why do dogs adore cat poop? Why dogs twitch their legs,eyes,ears while sleeping,are they dreaming? Why dogs take time to find their perfect spot for potty and do circling dance? Why dogs lick human?  Why dogs nose are wet? List goes on.

 My some of “Why” questions that remain for our own dog “Palette” are ..

1. When I cook food for family, usually Palette is resting on her bed or playing in other room. Strange thing is that, when food is ready to serve in a min or two, she quits whatever she was doing and lie down like sphinx right behind my legs,staring at pots and pans as if she KNOWS it’s almost done and ready to be served. How she knows that when I am not pulling out any plates to serve on?

2. When we pick up telephone, Palette perks up if she were resting on bed,and dash towards her squeaky toys and start squeaking. When we off from phone, she stops squeaking. I have no idea why she does that.I do not remember handing out toys when I am on the phone before, and question remains. She maybe wants to be included in our conversation on the phone?

 Now,have you ever wondered “why dogs chase their own tail? “

 Palette is Pembroke Welsh Corgi and she has no tail like German shepherd, for example. So, she has nothing to chase for long time, but I have seen dogs chase their own tail for some time without slowing down the speed.

 Palette can spin on command and when she spins,she spins pretty fast and she probably can spin faster and more number of spins than I can.

 According to petplace website, there are some theories.

1. Environmental stress

ex: crated too long, not enough socialization, not enough ways to out pent-up energy

2. Anxiety,lack of stimulus

 From helium website, theories are as followings

1. Tail chasing was formally form of play but,it became habit of behavior

2. dogs chase their tail to entertain themselves because they are bored

3. flea bite near rear area

4. dogs do tail chasing because when they did,human laughed (gave attentions) and dogs felt their behavior was rewarded and continue tail chasing

 So, what can you do to help curb the behavior??

 According to petplace website, you can try some of the followings to curb the behavior

1. Increase exercise

2. Increase opportunity for dogs to do dog specific behavior such as chasing, catching

ex; fly ball, Frisbee, fetch ball, agility

According to helium website, you can try some of the followings to curb the behavior

1. Never let your dogs feel rewarded. That means, no laughing, no praising, no nothing.

2. Ignore the behavior and leave the room.

Dogs would think that tail chasing causes you to leave and get no attention from you

3. Give dogs mental exercise

Interactive toys, do “find it” game etc..

4.Increase exercise to let out pent-up energy

5. check rear area to make sure no tick or flea is not at presence.

The Helium site mentions about bitter apple spray for stopping tail chasing but,I personally feel it is not good idea. If we must interrupt tail chewing behavior, I would feel more comfortable giving dog soft Elizabeth collar such as Comfy cone, rather than applying anything topical on the dogs’ skin to avoid them biting or chewing it

6. Consult behaviorist/vet

 I see both website suggests exercise to curb the behavior.

 No matter what breed of dogs you have,exercise (mental or physical) is a must. Exercise is not just to curb unwanted behavior. Dogs can learn many things during exercise too such as “nice walk” or “greeting with other dogs or people on walk” etc for walking, “give” for fetch play etc and they can spend quality time with you and your bond with them get stronger, and ultimately, it is fun for both of you. And good for both of your health.

 So,what theories above do you think is most “make sense” theories to you??  Do you have any other thoughts on this?

 What are your dogs’ quirk? Anything they do that makes you think why they do what they do?

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Oct 29, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Eye glasses for dogs

 In Previous entries titled ” How well dogs can see” ,”How dogs see colors” I wrote about dogs can see wide range of view than human, but what dogs can see has limitation to distinguish one color to the other.

Dogs can’t see red, orange, or green; those colors for them,look like yellow or blue. And,if you throw orange tennis ball to green lawn, dogs see yellow ball with yellow lawn.

They pick up the motion very well,better than human,and they can chase after object (ball) without loosing the ball in sight.

Now, dogs like human ages and as they grow, eye sight changes. Human can wear eye glasses or contact lenses to see things better. What can you do for dogs with bad eyesight?

I have never seen dogs wearing corrective eyesight eye glasses, or never heard of dogs wearing contact lenses for dogs. I know there is doggle (dog goggle) to protect their eye from flying debris when they ride in trucks or cars with their owners. I have read that the doggles are used for military dogs,search and rescue dogs as well to protect their eyes.

Amazing thing about this is that the doggle is 100% UV protection,anti fog lenses,shatterproof. And now,you can buy just lenses with different colors and put it into goggle base. I was amazed by what doggle can provide.

According to article by Dr Marty Becker at abc news,goggle is more than fashion and eye protection for car ride. It says special vet can perform retinoscopy,which  is similar to what normally done for kids who are too young to read the eye chart.

Then, they can prescribe the eye glasses for dogs. Doggle company makes dog eye glasses to order with prescription from ophthalmologist at cost of less than $100.

Also, they make black shade glasses for blind dogs who are sensitive to light and it can protect eyes from bumping into things. To read full story,please click here.

Also,you can read more on prescription eye glasses for dogs at following site as well.

** Read at wpxi site.Please click here.

** Read at Fort worth under dog site.Please click here.

Bellow is video clip “dog with goggle”. If you are a blog subscriber, please click here to watch video.


Palette does not have doggle,but I would imagine if I got one and get her to wear, she would paw at the doggle.She loves anything goes around her neck but not so much for other areas.

One question came to my mind. If a dog wear doggle, do they see as well as they can without doggle? I would imagine range of view will be narrower.

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Sep 23, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Tell me how you feel Part II

 In previous entry titled Tell me how you feel;Canine body language test, I wrote about dogs do not use just vocalization as way of communication,and they use their whole body to communicate with you: facial expressions, vocal tone, position of ears and tail, body postures etc.

 As you know, dog’s do not have words to use to express their emotion,and for them, body language,vocal tones becomes such an important tool to communicate with you.Sometimes,people’s friendly manner can be unwelcome manner for dogs,and people get snapped at or growled at.

 If you read the word “growling”, you may imagine growling equal to bad behavior of dogs,but it does not necessary be bad aggressive behavior, and you need to look around to see what make them growl at you. There should always be a reason behind it.

 Situations examples comes to my mind are ..

1> kids play dog’s ears,tails,paws,sometimes step on paws…

If dogs were not getting used to be touched on those sensitive parts, snapping at kids or growling could be the only mean for them to tell kids to stop. From early time, getting them used to be touched around such sensitive area can help the situations.

This is one of the tips I got from our vet. She said to touch the paw,praise, give treats,repeat them over over until comfortable enough. Then,if it were readily be accepted,touch and hold a bit longer,praise,give treats.

It goes the same for touching around muzzle too. Touching paws helps us to do calm nail clipping and touching around muzzle also helps doing calm teeth cleaning time.

Even if you had nothing you really need to look at inside the mouth or hold paws,repeating touching those parts helps them be calm when you really need to touch those area.

2>when brushing,dogs that are not getting used to the sensation of grooming tool may snap at you

You can always let them sniff at tool first, and give praise,and treats. After that, one stroke of brush or maybe just a touch them with tool and praise and treats. After that, one stroke of brushing,next some more brushing etc and kept the number of being stroke higher.

When she came to our house,she was puppy and she did not like the tool to touch her at all. So,I went through all these baby steps and now,I show Furminator or other grooming tool and she comes trot to me with big grin,position herself to be brushed very good.

She gets tongue hanging out,pant sometimes with big big grin on her face. Even though she likes to be brushed,I still let her sniff at whatever tool I use even when I do clipping her nail.I take time and start session when she is ready not when I am ready.

<3> when kids that dog doesn’t know try to hug dogs,or try to pet the head of the dog..

Dogs feel uncomfortable when being hugged especially by someone they don’t know. Dogs feel threatened when people try to pet on their head. If someone tower over the dog AND try to pet on their head,it will be even more scary or feel threatened by these body language for them and,as a result,growling or snapping at them.

Hugging or petting are affectionate gestures of people but,unfortunately,dogs do not perceive them same as you.

<4>when people try to take something they are chewing on or maybe something in their mouth which they stole such as socks

When dogs think things they have will be taken away, they probably freeze the body posture and start growling a little. If you actually try to take things away with force,you probably would get more louder growling plus nipping.

My puppy training trainer told us to practice “trade” or “drop it” or “give” from early on. If dogs knew this command, you would not get growling or nipping when you want to take something away from them which  possibly be dangerous items for them.

Before enrolling into puppy training class, I did not know better and this fuzzy little stumpy dog “Palette” back then saw  a penny dropped from our pants. She chased the penny coin and hold in the mouth.

We were so worried it could choke her if she ate it and we were trying so hard to get the penny out from Palette’s mouth.

She of course growled at us because she knows the precious penny will be taken away. So, she came to conclusion: swallowed it.

I remember I was poking her poop with a stick to see if the penny were coming out from other end, and was very worried.

Lesson learned,try not to take thing away with fight. Palette did not choke with it and it seemed ok,but the fact Palette now knows the command “drop it”,”give”,”trade” is big help when I want to take thing away from her.

She can now be happy to leave big hunk of meat behind OR anything  she was chewing on to trade with something smaller.

I started off with her boring toy exchange with small treats and I gave it back,and asked her to “trade” and I gave her treat when she dropped the item.

I repeated them over and over and made sure I give item back. I then step up to trading ball with treats for play fetch game, then, her chew treats to trade,then real food to trade.

The treats I trade with is usually something I do not give her all the time,so it adds more value to the treats and,it seems working great for Palette and I.

I also have special treats I use only when clipping  nail, and since she does not get the special treats on other occasion, she is very happy to do the nail.

These are situations I could think of when dogs growl as warning  sign.

If you had growling from your dog,try look around situation and, evaluate how you can communicate better with them. Often times,simple gesture or behavior can be misunderstood by dogs.

If you were to take something away from them,don’t try taking thing out by pulling back hard.It just make situation worse.Just be calm, offer special treats for trade,teach them “trade” command.

And, sometimes, Palette growls when we play game with her,she sometimes do play bow posture to me and growl. It is not an aggressive behavior I think.

She just telling me that she is having fun playing with me. She is very talkative and she groan when I rub her tummy and come closer and closer to me and change position so that she gets better rubbing on the spot she likes.

Next time when you got growl from your dog,be calm and listen to what they say.


Aug 29, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Music effects on dogs

 Now and then,I browse around youtube and watch interesting video clips.

 Yesterday, I came across a Doberman dog singing along Pink Floyd music,and one with Afghan dog singing along harmonica.

Palette looked at me as if to say “Let me see”. So,I put her on my laps so that she can watch the videos with me.

Interesting thing happened. With doberman video clip,Palette tilted her head,ears forward,stared at the screen.

With Afghan dog singing,she put her head onto her paws and sighed. This got me thinking if dogs have taste in music just like us.

Every Christmas, our family and Palette travel by car for 12 hours to visit my mother-in-law. It is a long trip,and when she was 2 years old, Palette kept barking whole trip.

Music playing in the car?? Heavy metal or radio station music.

When Palette was 1 year old,it was not a problem because she slept most of the time whole way to my mother-in-law house.

3rd year (last December),we played Irish Celtic music during the trip,and it made a lot of difference in her barking.

She was more quiet,and calm. And if I pretended I was sleeping, and checked her out with my one eye open, she was sleeping in her crate next to me.

As you already know,I have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and I wonder if it was because of Welsh heritage in her.

I know there are CDs that has calming music for dogs, but have you ever wonder if there are any science behind it? Have you ever wonder how it came out? Here is how it came out.

Professor Susan Wagner at Ohio state veterinary college studied  on music and dogs. She tried to help dogs that suffer from anxiety with music. What she tested were reactions against type of music: Pop,Rocks,Heavy Metal,Classical music, and talk radio.

Her result was like this. Pop music,and talk radio had not much reaction from dogs.However, when she played Heavy Metal or Rock, it made them anxious. With classical music,the dogs showed favor.

Interesting thing she states is that music waves through listening music make your brain wave speed up or slow down depending on type of music.

For dogs,kennels,shelters,place like these become stressful places for them,so she tested the psychoacoustically arranged music CD at the place to find out what reaction dogs show.

150 dogs attended the testing. And, 20% of the dogs fell asleep,and 70% of the dogs calmed down. (to read full story of this study, please click here)

So,that is how the calming CD for dogs came out.

In summary, from my experience of looking at how Palette reacts to music differently, the study result sounds right.

Doberman dog singing caught her attention more and heavy metal music played in the music made her bark whole way 12 hours in a car.

Afghan dog sing along harmonica made her sigh and Celtic music played in the car made her calm and sleepy. I first thought that she maybe showing “Boring” sigh towards Afghan dog singing to harmonica but,sigh was probably indication of her calming.

When I pet our dog with fast pace, she sometimes pant and make funny noise,tongue hanging out. When I pet her slow pace,she tend to yawn big and gives me a sigh.

If your dogs were barker in the car,you can play classical music or calming music CD arranged for dogs.

I have not bought this CD so,I cannot tell you what it was like for her, but it is interesting thing to try and see if it makes any difference in your dog’s behavior during anxious,stressful time for them.

You can see selection of calming music for dogs CD here.

What is your dog’s favorite music?

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May 26, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Interactive toys for dogs

 What kinds of toys do you think your dogs enjoy a lot? Do you have any particular personal rules when you buy for your dogs?

  When I buy toys for Palette, I like something durable and interactive. If it were squeaky toy,I like fleece toys.

Fleece material pick up your scent very good and, dogs seem to enjoy squeaking the toys and carrying around the house.”Palette” has some fleece toys.She likes fleece squeaky bear toy.

Also, she has this all time favorite plush toy that is chubby and big. It is a chubby rabbit squeaky toy and,believe it or not,I got it with one dollar on clearance sale at our local grocery store. I should have gotten it more.

This rabbit toy has long ears,and she likes to hold onto the ear and shake and run with it.

 I have plenty of dog toys in her toy box. I don’t put them all out,and rather,I put a couple of them out for her to play with and rotate them.

That way,she sees the toys as if new to her and get more excited to play with it.

 I myself like interactive dog toys a lot for her to play with.

Reason why is because it gives the dog to THINK to solve the problems,and it is good mental stimulation.

 When Palette was on kibble diet,she ate her food from buster cube.

Buster cube is the plastic cube you put treats or kibble inside and,you can control how much of food coming out at one time.

If you set the hole larger,your dog gets more stuff with one good roll. Palette was really frustrated when she could not figure out what to do with it knowing something inside.

First thing she tried was pawing at it. Next thing she did was tried to bite the edge. So,I gave her a hint. I rolled the buster cube on the floor and one treat came out and,now she figure out what made the treat coming out from the cube so,she nosing it around with great concentration.

 Now,her diet has changed to raw diet and,I rarely use the buster cube,but I use empty cereal box instead of buster cube itself and let her try to think how to get to the treats inside the cereal box.

It is my version of instant buster cube You can make it yourself and see how your dogs do with it.

I do not recommend to use corrugated box because it is thick material and probably not good to their teeth.

 Other than this instant buster cube thing, I like letting her play with Cagey cube.

Cagey cube is another interactive toy. It comes with 4 different kinds  of shapes of squeaky toys inside the soft cage.

Square,Round,Triangle,and nubby shaped squeaker. You will place them into the soft cage and dog tries getting the toys out. You can see how she plays here with clip below. This costs about 8 dollars,and size is about 8 inches for cage.

Palette and Cagey Cube toy

  One more interactive toy (if you can call it) I like is an Egg.

A whole raw egg. Below,you can find one more clip I took how Palette deals with a whole egg.

In this video, Palette is trying to figure out how to crack an egg to eat. This video is from second try.

Usually,she gets Egg in the dog bowl. So,on her first time to see an
Egg,she was not sure what to do with it. She maybe could smell the Egg she loves but,unsure of how to eat the slippery rolling Egg.

I was curious how she solves the problem.

 On her first try,I ended up showing her egg can get a crack if you drop it onto floor with firm grip. You can see here that she is trying it;hold the Egg tight in her mouth,drop it onto floor.

It is one of her menu items but,it can be fed as interactive toy in our house. She licks the egg a lot,which makes the Egg very slippery on her feeding mat (shower curtain).

One time, in the video,I had to point out to let her know where the Egg went.

Also,you can notice she is bringing Egg back onto this feeding mat if the Egg was about to roll out from the mat.

She knows,food need to stay on this mat. And,did you notice that she was licking the feeding mat for one minutes after she ate the Egg all?? She likes Eggs that much.

I sometimes gives her boiled egg too this way. She likes boiled egg too.

Palette and an Egg

  I like the fact that interactive toys make your dog to think by themselves and solve the problems.
I like giving Palette the time to think what she is supposed to do in training as well.
I don’t like to force her into position / behavior that I want i  the training time.
Good example being, I do not like to push her lower back to make her sit when I teach her to sit. I rather like to teach her to sit without any physical touch.

 Her 4th birth day is coming up in short time, and I am not sure what I like to give her yet.

Maybe, another interactive toy ? I know I am interested in doggy puzzle thing made by Finish lady “Nina Ottosson”. I am not sure yet.I maybe able to give her nice special meal…

 What toys do you like best for your dog?
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May 14, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Why dogs lick human

 Here is my age old question regarding dog behavior.

Why dogs seem to like licking human?

 Our dog “Palette” is not an obsessive licker but, she licks.

Her day goes like this: spend hours with us till bed time by just hanging out with us or play ball/Frisbee,daily walk etc and then,she goes to bed.

She usually sleeps on her back,but she sometimes sleeps like this. This crate is I-crate and,we love it.

It is very spacious for her,and for us, easy to carry.It is collapsible and easy to fit in your car trunk without using much space. And,you can place crate cover and make it look like more den-like.

We spot her using this crate more comfortably and sometimes,we spot her still in her crate sleeping on her back even though we opened the crate door hours ago..

 Anyway,whatever reason is,she sometimes abandon such space in the crate and, lay against corner of the crate like this.

Face skin is all bunched up against crate bars, and for me,it looks uncomfortable way to sleep. But for her,it seems not be,because we find her sleeping like this more than one occasion.

 So,her day start from crawling out from this crate with big stretch, and going around me and licks my feet a bit and settle begging for massage.

She never fail this routine. I get a lick or two of her licking my feet everyday. So,what is so special about licking the human feet?

 According to, the moment puppies come to this world,nursing mom lick them to stimulate them to breathe.

After that,nursing mom lick the puppies to stimulate doing potty themselves.

 So, licking is part of bonding behaviors. (To read more from,please click here.)

 If you have seen how wolves nurse their litters,nanny wolves chew up the food for litters,and they lick the nanny’s mouth.Then,nanny vomits the food for litters.

 Then,some say it is a signal of submission/respect.

 Some say dogs lick because they taste salt.

 Dog behavior is also by learning/reinforced.

If your dogs lick you endlessly,you may not want to rewarding the behavior,by petting them.

 If you don’t mind being kissed by your furry friends once or two, you can teach them to kiss you on cue..

If you like them to kiss on your palm,you can target the kiss on to that position.

 This is very easy. Put a dab of peanut butter on your cheek.

Dog would naturally go sniff the area and possibly lick the peanut butter.

The moment your dog lick your cheek, mark the behavior with clicker and give them a treat.

If you like to be kissed on your palm,you can put a dab of peanut butter onto your palm,and right  when they lick your peanut butter off from your palm,mark the behavior with clicker and give them a treat.

Later,you give cue word and eventually,dog will kiss you without peanut butter on your cheek.Palette kisses my cheek with cue  world ” kiss”.

 Now you can wow your family by showing off this cool trick with your furry friends

 What are your theories on dog licking human??

May 10, 2009 | 1 | Miscellaneous (dogs)