October 2020
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postheadericon Why do dogs bark & what can be done about it

Why do dogs bark & what can be done about it? Part 2

So, now we have arrived at the other big reason dogs bark…exercise (or lack thereof). Let’s be honest, most of us do not give our dogs enough exercise, let alone mental stimulation (boredom anyone?) If you are not walking your dog at least an hour a day, at least six days a week, you are not even going to touch their energy level! And as we stated in an earlier post, we have jobs, spouses, kids, dinner and of course the boob tube to contend with, so what do we do? 

Besides us walking our own dogs, which we should all be doing anyway since it’s good for us as well, we can use doggy day care or professional dog walkers! If you own a dog and cannot afford the 10-20 bucks a day for doggy day care or professional dog walker and if you don’t have the time to exercise the dog because of the hecticness of your life, I really need to ask the question “should you own a dog?” I know that is a cruel question, but it is not fair to relegate a social animal such as a dog to solitary confinement 18-20 hours a day! This is a question you and your family must answer on your own, but unfortunately not everyone should own a dog.

Sorry… off my soapbox and back to doggy day care.  Facilities such as this will not only give your dog exercise, but will allow the dog to, well, be a dog! I am a big believer in the fact if dogs are not allowed to interact with their own kind (outside of the pack they have at home) they forget how to speak dog.  Doggy day cares are a great way to keep them proficient at their native tongue, while properly socializing them. It also allows dogs to spend some quality time away from Mom and Dad, realizing that being away from the family is not a bad thing, but is actually fun! It can actually help prevent, and even help in some cases of separation anxiety! This being said, doggy day care will not be a good fit for every dog, and any reputable facility will tell you if you have an anti-social dog. Dogs, like people, have different personalities, just like some people don’t like being around other people, some dogs don’t like being around other dogs. (See later post on how to choose a good doggie day care/boarding facility!)

Now you are ready to experience a worn out dog. One of the first things I teach in my classes is “A tired dog is a good dog!” This alone, with some dogs, will have a marked difference on all sorts of problem behaviors, including barking. If not, you can at least work with the dog since their attention will be more focused because of the exercise and socialization from the doggy day care facility or the exercise from other sources. Think of it this way, we have a first grade class who does not get recess, and is given 2 pounds of chocolate to eat and Mt Dew to drink! Do you want to even try to teach them arithmetic? But say we have kids who get physical exercise with 2 recesses a day, socialization with Gym class and a healthy lunch, now how about arithmetic?  I’m pretty sure I would choose the second group of kids! 

So the next step is to get started with some cues/commands (now that we have the edge off with exercise) that can help you get barking, and even some other problem behaviors more under control.  Think about it this way…our kids have had recess & now it’s time to learn our ABC’s.

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Before we picked up our new Goldendoodle puppy, I had not gotten ready at all. The only thing I had accomplished was buying a crate that was too large, set the pickup time with the breeder, and driven out. On my trip home the Goldendoodle pup had pottied in his crate, gotten it on his fur , and I could tell he had roundworms.

Fortunately, I got the dog in to get seen by the local vet by calling in a favor, because I had not even set up an appointment. After having the Goldendoodle pup washed up, dewormed, and gotten him a few basic vaccinations, I took him back home to our kids. They were ecstatic!

After bringing him home, I thought about some problems. We did not have a place for the Goldendoodle pup to sleep, he was beginning to gnaw on all sorts of things, and he did not even have a name yet. Even worse, he tried to escape every time he could.

After a couple of weeks, life with the Goldendoodle was not going very well. The puppy had chewed up all types of things in the home, was swallowing underwear left on the floor, the housebreaking was going badly, and the obedience training that I was conducting was not enough, because I was away at work all day. If the children had been older, either my spouse or I could have been able to get the training accomplished, but we did not have the ability. With a heavy heart, even though we were sure training him ourselves was the better way to go, we sent the Goldendoodle to a two week training regimen.

We missed him when he was gonen for two weeks. The kids kept asking when he was coming home, and my youngest even cried because she missed him so much. Bringing home the Goldendoodle had obviously been the right choice.

He returned like a new dog! No more chewing on stuff he was not supposed to, and no running away. He did still swallow a few more sets of underwear, though. We still had to work on the potty training, but with some effective odor removers we were able to get that completed also.The training was certainly required. If I had had a little more time, or could not afford the boarding school, I would certainly have purchased a quality obedience training program and gotten it done myself.

Check out the Goldendoodle pictures on our site about Goldendoodle Dogs.

postheadericon Silverfish (lepisma saccharina) are slender, fast running, wingless insects that are approximately a centimetre and a half to two centimetres in length

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) are slender, fast running, wingless insects that are approximately a centimetre and a half to two centimetres in length. They are metallic silvery-blue in colour with antennae at the front of their bodies and three long bristle-like tails protruding from their rear end. Their fish-like darting movements and their colour gave rise to their name. These insects are very ancient creatures having been around for over 300 million years and are found throughout the entire world but are especially associated with human habitats.

How do silverfish breed?

The male silverfish lays his spermatophore (basically a capsule containing his spermatozoa) which is then taken up by the female for fertilisation, who of course will then produce fertilised eggs. The female silverfish will lay her eggs in small cracks and crevices in places that are damp and warm. The eggs will hatch usually between two weeks to two months later depending on the conditions prevalent at the time. When the young silverfish emerge, they will look just like smaller versions of the adults and will reach maturity in about six months.

Where do silverfish like to live?

They favour moist, humid places so can be found in and around shower rooms, bathrooms, toilets, kitchens, damp floors, cupboards (particularly under the sink), sinks, windows, old pipes and skirting boards. Sometimes they can become trapped in the bath or the sink as they slide down whilst foraging for food and are unable to climb back up the slippery surfaces. You can suspect the presence of silverfish in your home if you find yellowy stains on paper or material, evidence of scales or excrement, or if books and wallpaper look notched or damaged at the ends. They don’t like the light and are nocturnal by nature so will usually been seen scuttling around the floors, pipes and skirting boards at night, which is also when they like to feed.

What do silverfish eat?

Silverfish like to feed on just about anything and are particularly attracted to starch and polysaccharides. They will eat away at adhesive bindings or anything containing glue substances, photographs, cotton and other material and fibres, wallpaper, wallpaper paste, books and papers, detergent residues, shampoo, shaving foam and other toiletries containing cellulose, dried and powdered foods, cereals, leather, and have even been known to feed on dead insects at times.

How do silverfish get in the house?

They can quite easily be transferred into the house inside cardboard boxes, old books or papers, or on any starched fabrics as well as other materials.

How do I get rid of silverfish?

Silverfish are not harmful to humans but they are considered a nuisance pest, particularly if they are present in large numbers. You can treat existing infestations of silverfish yourself quite easily with a residual insecticide making sure that you apply it to window frames, skirting boards, cupboards and shelves under the sinks, floors around the toilet and bath, pipes, cracks and crevices and anywhere else that you suspect they may be lurking. You could also try airing rooms regularly to prevent a build up of moisture and treating any damp areas as silverfish cannot survive in dry conditions. Another option is to remove or at least restrict their food supply by clearing up old books and newspapers that are lying around, making sure that any detergents or residues from shampoos and other toiletries are thoroughly rinsed away and that all containers are properly sealed. However, removing their food supply as the only means of prevention is not effective as silverfish are able to survive for many months without any food at all.

postheadericon Do you know that pet sitters offer an option that often works out as the best solution for rover’s care while you are away from home

Do you know that Pet sitters offer an option that often works out as the best solution for Rover’s care while you are away from home?

The simple truth is your dog does not like to be left alone anymore than you like leaving him! Be it a day, a week or "heavens" even longer. What will make his life a lot less stressful on these occasions, and give you peace of mind, is the presence of a pet sitter who can play with him, walk him, feed him and generally make him happy.

And who doesn’t want to come home to a happy dog snoring peacefully because his needs have been met. Not to mention, a house that isn’t torn up because Rover got bored and lonely.

On another note, not all dogs enjoy going on trips. Oh, I know they may appear enthusiastic and eager at the outset, but this behavior can turn into restless anxiety as a car ride becomes a journey into unfamiliar territory. And Rover may wish you’d left him at home where he feels safe.

While it’s nice if you have a friend or neighbor who will pop in on your dog while you are away, if there is any kind of emergency, you’ll pat yourself on the back for having hired a qualified pet sitter to take charge.

Another comforting part about hiring pet sitters is that you won’t have to break the mold and confuse your dog’s day-to-day routine. Things will stay pretty much the same, including his food and the time of day he is used to eating. You know, the important stuff!

A dog sitter visits on a regular schedule to feed and walk your dog. Or, if you wish, can actually stay in your home to make it look occupied when you are gone for extended periods. Some caretakers also offer pricing options that include taking care of a few chores as well. It’s your choice.

So what are the top reasons, dog owners consider pet sitters?

One of the most obvious reasons, is that you like to take road trips and Rover has a problem with motion sickness. He also finds boarding facilities stressful places to hang out while you are gone.

But let’s suppose…

  • You have a busy job with irregular hours
  • You don’t like to leave your dog alone even for short periods because he is old, or not in the best of health
  • Your dog is a homebody
  • Your health is frail and you need a regular dog walker
  • You like the idea of combining pet sitting with house sitting, which some services offer

Do any of those circumstances resonate with you?

Where to Find Pet Sitters, House Sitters, Dog Walkers & More: Many "independent" pet sitters can be found through your vet’s referral. As part of your review process, you’ll definitely want to check their references and also find out if they have taken the extra step of acquiring a professional certification.

Another route is through agencies where sitters have registered and listed their qualifications, availability, location, experience, references, and pricing. This can all be done in a very confidential manner.

Some agencies also offer a complete range of complimentary services including nannies, elder care, house sitters and dog walkers. This might be attractive to you if you have an elderly relative living with you who also needs some help while you’re gone.

So, next time your dog needs a caretaker for whatever reason, don’t overlook the convenient option of pet sitters. Once you have a few pre-screened individuals, you could try one of them out for just a short term hire to see how your dog enjoys the experience.

postheadericon The cats that we know today have a long history dating back millions of years

The cats that we know today have a long history dating back millions of years. Paleontologists discovered evidence of a cat with a retractable claw, Miacis, who lived about 50 million years ago. Most scientists believe that the descendants of Miacis and other prehistoric cats divided into three separate groups nearly a million years ago; the big cats (lions and tigers), the cheetahs, and the small cats (ocelots, bobcats and lynxes).

Cats come in many shapes and sizes, but the fur coat found on each feline is a big part of how they are classified. They usually fall somewhere in the categories of long-haired, short-haired, or “hairless”. Long-haired breeds include Persian, Himalayan, Maine coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and Ragdoll. Short-haired breeds include American Shorthair, American Wirehair, Siamese, Burmese, Korat and Singapore. “Hairless” cats, such as Sphinx, merely appear to be hairless. The breed actually does have a thin layer of hair covering its body.

Cats first started living with people approximately 6,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian farmers domesticated the African wildcats, Felis hybica, a natural hunter, to keep grain storage areas rodent free. Egyptians worshipped Bast, or Bastet, the cat goddess of fertility, happiness and the moon. Impressed with the cat’s natural beauty, Egyptian artists painted and sculpted them, making them cultural icons.

Although ancient Egyptians are known for their love of cats, they are not the only people who worshipped them. In Thailand, Siamese cats were sacred temple cats. In Japan, thse animals kept Buddhist temples free of mice. In Norwegian mythology, Freya (the goddess of fertility) rode in a chariot pulled by two white cats. Cats made their way to China in 5,000 BCE and to India in 100 BCE.

Throughout history, sailors and other explorers helped spread cats across the world. They realized that keeping them abroad their ships was a good way to rid their living quarters of mice. In time, it was considered lucky to keep cats on board.

When cats came to Europe in 900 BCE, they crossbred with native cat found in the British Isles, Felis silvestris. By the middle Ages, however, cats fell out of favor with most of Europe. The Catholic Church connected them and those who loved them with paganism, devil worship, and witchcraft. Superstitious people believed that cats (especially black cats) had diabolical powers. They were feared because of their nocturnal hunting habits, their ability to see in the dark and their “glowing” eyes.

In 1484, Pope Innocent empowered the Inquisition to burn all cats and cat lovers. As a result of the drastic drop in the cat population, the number of rodents increased. Millions of rats carrying fleas infected with bubonic plague spread the Black Death across Europe. When the persecution of cats ended, they began hunting rats again, and Europeans saw the advantage of having these natural hunters keep their towns’ rodent free.

In Victorian times, they were once again warmly welcomed into the home and were seen as loving companions’ pets. Victorian cats impressed artists, writers, scientists, and philosophers of the day. Queen Victoria loved cats, and because of this. Their good reputation was reaffirmed; there it remains to this day.