A bird in the bush.
A wrinkle of wind.
The shadow of flight.
I couldn’t care less.
A bird in the bush.
A wrinkle of wind.
The shadow of flight.
I couldn’t care less.
When communicating with our dogs, it’s not just what we say. It’s how we say it and more importantly, what we do. They observe our visual and verbal cues and both cues need to be sending the same message. We become more aware of the signals we send to our dogs and how they perceive them. We can cut down the number of everyday frustrations and communicate more clearly to our dogs.
Does your dog ever give you a blank stare when you ask them to follow a simple cue such as “sit”? Do you want your dog to play with you, and you do everything to get their attention. Do they don’t seem to get it. There are fascinating studies about how best to communicate with our dogs and why cues and signals. How they are given can enhance how our dogs to understand us.
Let’s start with how dogs might interpret signals to play with us. In a paper, Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans?” lead researcher Nicola Rooney, University of Bristol in the UK, wanted to know what play signals are the most successful.
So they filmed 21 dog/owner pairs playing—or at least, attempting to play. In what could surely have been billed as a comedy. Owners patted the floor, barked, bowed, shuffled their feet, slapped their thighs, crawled on all fours. Anything to get their dogs to romp with them.
The researchers videotaped the sessions and meticulously catalogued, recorded and identified common actions used by owners to solicit play. They then tested to see which signals actually worked.
Bowing in a human version of a dog play-bow, as well as lunging while verbally encouraging the dog, usually elicited play.
Other gestures like:
That just earned blank looks. And surprisingly, patting the floor and clapping were less than 50 percent successful. What’s more, while barking at, kissing or picking up the little pooches probably brought on laughs from the researchers. Most dogs failed to find these actions amusing.
“I thought humans were suppose to be smart and the alpha.”
As interesting as these findings were, the real message—one that stayed with me—was what came next. Upon analyzing the data, the researchers found that some actions tended to instigate play while others resulted in silent stares. The frequency with which the owners used the signals was unrelated to their success. In other words, owners tended to use unsuccessful gestures even after they were demonstrated not to work. And there I had it, scientific proof: Dogs are smarter than humans!
Well, at least in some ways dogs top human because dogs are champions at trial-and-error learning. They have all day to try things out and see what works.
“Please pay attention to me.”
For instance, want to play fetch when your people aren’t interested? Grab a tennis ball and drop it at your human’s feet. Then bark until they finally pick it up and toss it. Getting the silent treatment? Bark longer and louder—you’ll eventually get a response. Or, choose the right time, like when your human’s on the phone. That’s when they’ll do anything to get you to shut up.
While dogs are masters of this style of learning, we humans are hindered by our much-vaunted cognitive abilities. Armed with the wonderful capacity to observe and imitate, we copy the behaviors we see, whether they work or not. Clouded by our preconceptions of the techniques we’re supposed to use, we forget to stop and evaluate whether our actions or methods actually work.
This might seem like fun and games when it’s just us dancing around trying to get our dogs to play. At worst, when our pooch refuses to romp, we attribute it to them not being in the mood. But when it comes to something more important (like coming when called or sitting on command) a dog’s failure to perform can result in them being labeled “stubborn” or “stupid”. Because what else could it be?
Well, according to a series of research studies by Daniel Mills (veterinarian and researcher in Behavioral Studies and Animal Welfare at the UK’s University of Lincoln). With play signals, much poor performance could be attributed to dogs’ inability to decipher our signals. It turns out that even if our dog responds to our commands some of the time, they may not know what they mean as well as we think they do.
According to Mills, a number of factors determine how well our dogs perceive the message we intend to give. One is whether the signal is verbal or visual. We humans are used to communicating by talking. Mills’ research indicates that this may not be the best mode of communication with dogs. In an experiment to test which signal type takes precedence, Mills and his colleagues trained dogs to respond to a verbal right and left cue as well as a visual pointing cue for the same behaviors. To guard against bias that could be created by the order of teaching, half of the dogs were initially trained using verbal cues and the other half, using visual cues.
Then they tested the dogs by placing a treat-holding container on either side of the subject. One box on the right and one on the left. When they gave the “left” cue, the dog got the food reward if they ran to the box on the left. If they ran to the wrong box, they received no reward. Once dogs consistently responded correctly to verbal and visual cues alone, the cues were given together, with a twist. The researchers gave a verbal signal for one direction and a visual signal for the other to see which one the dogs would follow.
For anyone whose dog competes seriously in agility, the results were a no-brainer. The dogs consistently followed the visual pointing cue and ignored the verbal cue. This dynamic plays out on every agility course. A dog will usually go where the handler’s body is pointing rather than where the handler might be verbally trying to send them.
This bias toward the visual as opposed to the verbal can pose problems for dogs even in everyday life. Mills says, “This simple example emphasizes that when training dogs, we have to realize that dogs may be reading signals we’re not aware of”. So when your voice tells the dog to do one thing but your body tells them to another, they’re not being stubborn. They may just be reading a different message than the one you think you’re sending.
“I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell me. Am I supposed to be doing something?”
Even when we’re purposefully sending visual commands to our dogs, such as in the obedience trial ring or field trials or other long-distance work, there’s more to the signal than we might think. Says Mills, “In a similar study, we looked at the dog’s response to different visual right-and-left cues. We compared eye movement and head movement to the right or left with pointing right or left, but keeping the eyes and head looking forward”. Using six dogs, they found that dogs found the hidden food source faster when the two signals were presented together. Which, Mills says, suggests that “Dogs are taking in the whole picture of what’s going on”. That is, they don’t look at our hands or our head, they look at our entire body. As a result, if all signals are not consistent, dog can become confused.
Do these studies mean we should scrap verbal commands altogether and focus on the visual signals? Obviously, dogs can learn verbal commands, because we use them all the time and some dogs respond correctly on a regular basis. But perhaps even those who respond don’t know the cues as well as we think. Mills and his colleagues performed a series of studies to test this, too. First, they tested slight variations in the commands to see if dogs recognized them as the same words. They taught dogs to stand and stay. Then, from five feet away, the trainer gave either a “come” command or a “sit” command.
“Are you speaking proper English?”
Once the dogs were reliable about responding correctly, the researchers changed the command words slightly. In place of “sit,” they used “chit,” “sat” and “sik,” and in place of “come,” they used “tum,” “keem” and “kufe”. The results? In general, dogs did not respond as well to the similar-sounding words. Taken from another viewpoint, they were able to recognize that the similar-sounding words were not the same as the commands they had learned. This sounds like no big deal. But, Mills says, “From a practical point of view, due to slight differences in how handlers pronounce words, obedient response to one handler’s commands won’t necessarily transfer to another unless the phonemic characteristics are mimicked.”
You might think you could get around this by tape-recording the command and just playing it back. Mills found that dogs don’t respond to tape-recordings as though they were a real-time human voice. In yet another experiment, a “come” or “sit” command was given in one of four conditions:
Mills reports, “Dogs made many more errors when the tape recorder was used.”
Such errors could be attributed to the dogs distinguishing a difference between the tape-recorded and live voice command. Another hypothesis is that dogs also rely on lip movement or some other indication that the human is speaking to them. In fact, in a fifth variation, the handler uttered the “come” or “sit” cue while looking away from the dogs. They again made many errors, indicating that orientation of the handler is important.
By now, it should be clear: Be aware of visual signals, as they may override the verbal commands. Make sure all of your signals mean the same thing. Your message may look more like a dubbed version of Godzilla than a clear-cut cue. When you do use verbal cues, make sure everyone says them exactly the same way. Also you can train your dog that slight variations mean the same thing. And if you plan on your dog responding correctly to your verbal commands when you’re out of sight or facing away, you’ll have to specifically train them to do so.
And that’s not the end of it. Turns out that the emotional content of your message is important too. Mills’ group trained dogs to reliably come or sit when a handler was standing five feet away behind a screen. Then they tested to see how dogs responded to different emotional contents. The commands were uttered in a neutral tone; a happy tone, with the inflection ascending; an angry version, with the tone descending; and a gloomy version, in which the handler sighed first. Dogs responded more predictably when the tone was positive. When the command was said in an angry or gloomy manner, there was more variation in their responses.
So what’s the take-home message? The one your pooch is dying for you to learn? Here it is: Perhaps when your dog gives you a blank stare after you utter a command you think they know, they have a good reason. Because when communicating with our pets, it’s not just what we say. It’s how we say it and whether our visual and verbal cues are sending the same message. We become more aware of the signals we send to our dogs and how they perceive them. We can cut down the number of everyday frustrations and open clearer lines of communication with our four-legged friends.
If you are cooped up indoors right now, you might be looking for ways to keep your dog engaged! May we suggest some brain games using your dog’s paws?
Here is a super easy one to help you discover if your dog is right pawed or left pawed:
Did your dog touch the toy with their right paw more frequently, or their left? Or was it about even … meaning they are ambi-dexterous?
Studies have shown that ambidextrous dogs are great problem solvers, while dogs who show a paw preference (whether left or right) are explorers who love new experiences.
By asking our dogs to use their paws, we also ask them to use their brains. Dogs use all parts of their brain all the time, but some areas get recruited more depending on what they needs are and this is reflected in their behaviors.
I like to play the game “Which Hand” is the treat in. She has to choose which hand is holding the treat. At first, I would just hurry and put the treat in a hand and hold it out to her to choose. I made her figure out that I wanted her to use her paws. She would instantly smell and choose the correct hand with her left paw. Then I later put the treat behind my back and switched the treat around so both hands smelled of the treat. She usually smells both hands and you can see the wheels in her brain trying to choose which hand. She still usually gets it correct always using her left paw!
Dog bites can be scary and painful, and can cause major damage. No one in their right mind wants to be bitten! But as a canine behavior specialist who also observes human behavior, I’ve seen people who, unfortunately, seem to be in pursuit of that goal. And so, if you’re in the market for sporting some impressive teeth marks, allow me to share with you a few strategies that might well result in a bite.
A growl is a dog’s early warning system. It broadcasts, Stay back. If you push me, violence may follow! I would much rather be around a dog who growls to share his feelings of discomfort than one who has been punished for growling. The latter are often the ones who bite without warning. At the moment a dog growls, the wisest course of action is to stop what you’re doing, whether advancing toward or reaching toward the dog, trying to brush, clip nails, or whatever. Diffuse the situation until everyone is calmer. Then, if it’s your own dog, address the underlying issue with the help of a professional if needed.
Okay, before you say it, yes, you may be able to do those things with your own dog. Perhaps your dog even enjoys them. But there are many who will not appreciate either of those things, and may bite to convey their distress. Hugging signifies affection to humans, but to dogs, it’s a form of restraint. Ask any vet tech how much dogs love being restrained. It’s true that there are some dogs who are fine with being hugged, but many more simply tolerate it; and some won’t. When being hugged, a dog may show subtle stress signals such as lip licking, turning away of the head and or gaze, or yawning. If those signals are not heeded, the dog may proceed to growling or even biting without warning.
As far as kissing a dog on top of the head, I have known of more than a few children and even some adults who have been bitten in the face for doing it. Dogs are naturally nervous about things descending from overhead. No doubt you’ve seen dogs who actually cringe when someone reaches to pet them with a palm down over the head. Approach dogs by petting the chest or other safe area first, and even better, let them approach you. As far as kissing, only put your face close enough to kiss a dog you know very, very well.
Creating a resource guarding issue really isn’t that difficult. Here’s an example that involves my very favorite food; pizza. Imagine that I’m enjoying my personal slice of cheese heaven. You approach and take it from me. Hmm. I’m not very happy about that! You proceed to do this often when I have a slice of pizza in my possession. Very quickly, I learn that you approaching me means I am going to lose the thing that is so valuable to me. So, the next time I saw you coming, I might say, “Hands off the cheese, please!” If you kept moving toward me, I’d say it again in a stronger tone. If you still didn’t back off, things might get ugly! You get the point. Getting back to your dog, giving him a super tasty bone or other chew item and then trying to prove you’re in charge by taking it away is a great way to create a resource guarding issue where there might never have been one. And going back to point one, continuing to push it when he warns you is also a great way to get bitten.
Ooh. This one really gets my hackles up! Yes, you’re most likely bigger and stronger than your dog. That doesn’t give you the right to treat them roughly. Violence begets violence, and if you’re doling out harsh physical corrections or trying to “dominate” your dog in a way that frightens them, you really can’t blame them for using the tools at their disposal—their teeth—to defend themselves. And why use force anyway? Love, respect, and cooperation foster trust and get much better results. Trainers of exotic animals work with huge, strong animals who could injure or even kill a human. Have you ever seen someone jerk a dolphin around on a choke chain, or try to wrestle a bear into submission? I didn’t think so. Again, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I’ve worked with bad dog temperaments for many years and all my body parts are still intact. I certainly wasn’t trying to show them who was boss. It was a matter of cooperation, not coercion. Treat your dog with respect and they’ll do the same.
Dog zoomies are periods of frantic activity in which a dog runs around in circles, and seems to be unaware of their surrounds. Zoomies are more common in puppies, but can happen in dogs of any age. They do it without noticing what’s going on around them, what they break, or who they knock over in the process.
When the zoomies happens indoors, it can leave the rest of the family in quite a state. But is this behavior dangerous, beyond the risk to your furniture and ankles? Why do dogs run in circles?
And what can you do to stop them getting so out of control?
Let’s find out what causes the dog zoomies, why dogs do it. Also how you can reduce or manage your dog when they run around like crazy.
If so, you’re probably watching a case of the zoomies dog in action
The word ‘zoomies’ really does sum up this crazy behavior very well.
A dog with the zoomies isn’t just clumsy or restless. The behavior is quite distinctive, as is the posture of the dog.
It’s almost a squatting kind of run. Difficult to describe, but you’ll recognize it once you’ve seen it.
You may also see play bows interspersed with the running.
Another feature is the sudden way that they start. A dog with this case will break into a flat out gallop from a standing start.
Sometimes right in the middle of your living room!
There is often very little warning!
People often use the word “crazy” to describe the zoomies dogs do.
The dog will be oblivious to any damage, often crashing into tables and knocking chairs flying.
If they are outdoors in your yard, they will often race in a big circle at break neck speed, leaning right over to turn as tight as they can.
And perhaps stopping on occasion to spin around and set off in the opposite direction.
They may well not hear your pleas to “Stop” or “Look Out”.
The zoomies don’t last long. But they can leave a trail of destruction behind them. And for a new dog owner, they can be quite shocking.
Let’s discover what the scientists say.
Of course, biologists have come up with another name, so you’ll also hear zoomies referred to as ‘frapping’
Frapping dog is not an expletive (though you might feel inclined to use one)!
Frap is an abbreviation:
F = frenetic
R = random
A = activity
P = period
And it’s a pretty self explanatory one.
So why do dogs run in circles like this?
We don’t know exactly why some dogs are prone to frapping and other dogs aren’t.
We do know that the frapping dogs do are more common during time periods when a dog is full of energy. In other words They haven’t been exercised for a while, or has been shut in the house for a few hours. Sometimes you’ll see a play-bow before the frapping start!
Some dogs never get the zoomies, no matter how full of energy they are, and others get them frequently. So that isn’t the only explanation.
Some dogs may have a particular trigger or triggers. Such as after grooming, a game or a bath. Though if this is your dog’s only trigger, this may not be a true case of the zoomies.
If your dog races around after their bath, they might not have the zoomies. They may just be expressing their delight at the bath being over.
Other dogs will zoom around with their head on the ground and their butt in the air after a bath, as they try to rub themselves dry on your carpets.
Again, it isn’t quite the same as the frapping, which involves that distinctive posture I describe above.
And a dog that is just drying themselves will be more responsive to you than a dog frapping.
So how can you tell if your dog is about to get the zoomies? Is it possible to recognize the signs?
Zoomies are most common in dogs that are puppies or quite young, that haven’t had much exercise in the last few hours, and that are starting to get a bit excited, or playful.
Play bows can be a sign.
If your dog has had the zoomies in the past and starts to play bow indoors, there is a good chance you are about to see a case of the zoomies.
While dog frapping is not in anyway linked with aggression, occasionally a young dog will start nipping during frapping behavior.
If your dog is nipping or biting during an attack of frapping, you need to change the way you manage them.
Avoid physically handling them and stop any game you might have been playing. They need to have a chance to calm down.
If you can open a door and let the dog outside to burn up some energy in your yard, then do so.
Dog zoomies are not intrinsically harmful. They won’t give your dog a seizure or take them into some kind of permanent emotional melt down.
Despite the clumsiness of dogs that get the zoomies, they don’t usually hurt themselves in any significant way, especially outdoors.
The zoomies is also not usually a sign that they are sick.
If your dog has had the puppy zoomies on a regular basis since they joined your family, this is just ‘normal for them’. It’s how they let off their extra energy. You don’t need to worry. Except about your good china!
However, if a previously very calm dog suddenly starts to run in circles on a regular basis, consider having a chat with your vet. Especially if nothing has altered in the family routine that could have caused them to have some extra energy to let off.
This change in behaviour could possibly be a sign of another problem.
As we’ve seen above, zooming dogs are not usually a danger to themselves. But do be extra careful if you have a dog at higher than usual risk of injury.
If your zoomie-prone dog has had stitches for any reason, for example, you might want to avoid any known triggers for their zoomies.
And to consider how to safely give them enough exercise, to reduce their pent up energy.
Dogs with the zoomies don’t usually crash into each other.
But if you have a second dog in the house who is frail, elderly, injured or sick, you may want to protect them from a zoomie-inclined companion.
For example, escort them to safety when the zoomies begin!
And equally, a dog with the zoomies could knock down a toddler or an elderly or unsteady adult. This isn’t common, but it is something for owners of high energy dogs to be aware of.
Don’t be tempted to chase your dog when they get the zoomies, indoor or out. Chasing them is likely to excite them even further.
Move them outdoors if at all possible
You can have a lot of success with simply opening the back door and waving the dog outside the instant the zoomies begin. (As long as you have a fenced-in yard or you know they won’t get away.)
If the zoomies dogs are a big problem for you, think about what might have triggered them so that you can work on preventing or reducing them in the future.
Because dog zoomies is normal behavior you don’t need to do anything. You can help your dog learn to express this behavior in your yard, rather than around your coffee table.
But, you may find that offering your dog more ways to dispel their energy helps to reduce frapping episodes, or even stop them from doing it altogether
Exercise will help to prevent the zoomies. Dogs won’t normally zoom when they are physically tired.
Mental stimulation helps too. Dogs may be more prone to the zoomies when they are bored. A couple of training sessions each day will help to exercise your dog’s mind
Most dogs are more likely to have the zoomies when they are already in a playful of excited state. So learning how to calm a puppy or an older dog will help you.
A dog with the zoomies is not going mad. Nor are they bad or dangerous.
Apart from the risk of tripping over something or smashing up the furniture, the zoomies isn’t harmful for dogs.
Frapping or zoomies is a normal dog behavior but if it’s causing you a problem, there are steps you can take to reduce it. Increases in exercise and training are the most effective solutions.
Dogs can be taught that zooming is only appropriate outdoors. And if you are alert to your dog’s triggers, you can anticipate most cases of the dog zoomies and move them into your yard.
Little pug Frankie would always get excited when playing and would tuck his little butt and start running at full speed up and down the hallway. I could never get a picture because he was always a blur! After his episode of zoomies, he would then blow all his snot out his nose!
When Chloe was younger, she would get the zoomies and go flying up and down our stairs! I do not recommend having your dog do this because Chloe tore both her CCL joints (knee joints like ACL in people). That was an expensive surgery!
Now she just does zoomies outside (usually after a poo! LOL) and when we are getting ready for a walk.
Oh, is the dog biscuit jar empty again? Then it’s time to replenish them. But who says that you always have to buy more dog treats? You can also easily make them yourself! I’ll show you how it’s done and present you with 3 super easy dog treats recipes.
Making dog treats yourself has one major advantage above all: you always know what’s in the dog biscuits. Unfortunately, many industrially produced dog treats contain dyes and preservatives. Flavor enhancers, sugar, and artificial flavors are also not uncommon. With your homemade dog treats, you know 100% what is inside – and you can take into account the individual needs, demands, preferences, and, if applicable, allergies of your four-legged friend.
Since your DIY dog treats are mostly based on a few natural ingredients, they are particularly healthy, natural, and easy to digest. In addition, making dog treats yourself is often much cheaper than buying ready-made dog treats, because the ingredients do not cost much.
When it comes to baking your own dog treats, there are almost no limits to your imagination. As in all other areas of dog nutrition, you should avoid prohibited, unhealthy and poisonous foods for dogs in your DIY biscuits. These include chocolate, alcohol, cocoa, grapes and sugar. Otherwise, you can use just about any food that your dog likes and benefits his health. The diverse selection of foods gives you unlimited recipe options. It is important that you can puree the food into a dough and bake it.
The most popular ingredients that keep appearing in many recipes are:
A big advantage of homemade dog treats is that they do not contain any preservatives. However, this also means that they do not last as long as industrially manufactured products. As a rule, the dog treats are plastered off relatively quickly – that’s how it should be!
Nevertheless, you can turn a few adjusting screws to ensure the longest possible durability.
In general, the drier the homemade dog biscuits are, the longer they last. Moist dog treats can unfortunately mold quickly – you should definitely avoid that! To dry out your homemade dog treats as well as possible, you can do the following:
As a rule of thumb, homemade dog treats can be kept for around 3 to 4 weeks on average. The shelf life is extended by several weeks in the refrigerator as long as no moisture penetrates. They can be stored frozen for several months.
The good thing about our delicious DIY dog biscuits is that you don’t need a lot of ingredients or fancy kitchen utensils for them. The easiest way to implement the recipes is with a food processor or a strong one. Alternatively, you can use a hand blender or even a simple whisk to prepare the dough for your DIY dog treats. In addition, cookie cutters and a rolling pin will make your work easier. If you don’t have them at hand, the cookies can also be shaped easily by hand.
Which recipe is “right” for you? Below we present our 3 favorite recipes for homemade dog biscuits. If one or the other recipe doesn’t quite suit you and your dog, we want to motivate you to try it out. There are many recipe ideas on the internet, but only you know your dog’s preferences and needs.
Therefore: Just get started, try out our recipes, and vary them from time to time. Look what supplies you still have at home and then simply test your baking skills!
Preparation time (including baking time):approx. 35 min
How to make it:
Mix all the ingredients together (ideally with a hand blender) and shape the dough into small balls. Place the cheese balls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and press them into small thalers with a tablespoon. Bake the DIY dog biscuits at 180°C top and bottom heat for about 25 minutes and then let them air dry for one night.
Baking dog treats yourself is fun, healthy, does not cost a lot, and is easier than you think! Over time, you will learn which ingredients work best for you and your four-legged friend, and you can make them happy with tasty DIY biscuits.
Since you alone determine the size, ingredients and taste of your homemade dog biscuits, you can bake delicious chews as well as small training bites that your dog can tolerate well. The DIY dog biscuits are also suitable as a great gift idea for other dog owners – ideal for Christmas, for a birthday or just for in between. Great fun for all dog lovers!
Dogs do so much all day long. Sometimes their actions are worth all the appreciation, and other times, they need to learn their lessons. Although dogs are extremely innocent, but sometimes they mess up too. Yes, you heard it right dogs mess up as well. We’re all prone to making mistakes, and so are dogs. They’re not completely angelic creatures they have an evil side too. Dog owner people share how their dogs go about with their shenanigans.
From the moment they wake up, they get involved in their everyday shenanigans. They’re quite an explorer by nature and love to explore everything possible. Whether it’s a cupboard or a cushion, they feel an urge to know what’s inside. They also love to taste what their dog owner is cooking or eating, so they’ll shamelessly have a bite of the food.
What really cracks us up is that they don’t feel guilty about anything they do. They are usually never sorry for their actions. The internet is a completely different world, and dog owner people over there are always following a trend or completing a challenge. Recently, the Facebook group “Dogspotting Society” started a new challenge called ” Guilty dog challenge”. Dog owner members of this group took part in the challenge and posted photos of their guilty dogs. These dogs are extremely funny with their guilty but not sorry reactions. Here are 30 photos of guilty dogs that you shouldn’t be missing. Scroll down and check them out.
Dogs love to spend all their time with owners. Not only that, they also love to engage in all the activities their owners are engaged in. They would follow their human from room to room and try their best to help them with anything they are doing. Dogs are funny creatures, and their actions say it all. Now that everyone is quarantined, dogs get to spend a lot more time with their owners. They do all sorts of absurd stuff and don’t even feel guilty for it.