30 September 2008

Save 10% on Halloween Costumes & Accessories at Modern Tails

We at Dog Clothes Horse don't really know where September went, but as long as there are tricks and treats in our future, we don't really care! If you're looking for some Halloween ideas for your little creature of the night, stop by Modern Tails for a great selection of costumes and accessories.

Enter the coupon code CREEPYCUTE at checkout to receive 10% off all Halloween costumes and accessories at Modern Tails, good until October 12th, 2008. Limit one coupon per customer per order; cannot be combined with any other specials, discounts, or coupons. Not redeemable for cash or gift cards, nor is it valid toward previous purchases.

What are you and your dog going to be for Halloween?

29 September 2008

'Black Dog Barkapalooza' Aims to Boost Adoptions of Black Dogs

Big and strong with a face radiating pure joy, Julian sweeps his tail back and forth in a fast, smooth arc, like a windshield wiper in a gully washer. But Julian, as happy a dog as you're likely to see, faces life with a couple of huge impediments. He's big. He's black. And that means he's likely to wait far longer to be adopted than a smaller, light-colored dog. In the world of animal rescue, they call this phenomenon Black Dog Syndrome.

For Julian, home for now is a dusty property at the edge of a gravel road in Celina, Texas, home base for Animal Guardians of America and its leader, Annette Lambert. "We have a lot of great dogs out here," says Lambert, "and a preponderance are black dogs, because they're so difficult to adopt out. But black doggies need homes, too."

To that end, Animal Guardians will hold a "Black Dog Barkapalooza" this Saturday at the PetSmart at 12100 Inwood Road, just north of Forest Lane in Dallas. But they realize that even with specific events and education, they face a challenge. Blame the economy, and a movement toward smaller dogs. But don't discount the black dog factor.

Black dogs are much more difficult to photograph – their eyes blend in with the color of their fur, so it's difficult for someone looking for a dog on the Internet to feel a connection, said volunteer Steve Hurst, who with wife Vicki fosters dogs that need homes.

Then there are perceptions. Big, black dogs remind many people of guard dogs. And if there's a menacing dog in a film, chances are it's black – like The Grim in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. English folklore is filled with tales of big black dogs haunting the moors and prowling graveyards.

"It's a stereotype," said Jonnie England, a longtime leader in pet rescue. Still, rescuers realize that adoption events are the best hope the dark dogs have.

Natalie and Bob Blankenship of Dallas foster two black dogs for Animal Guardians – a husky-shepherd mix named Josie, and a three-legged Belgian shepherd-chow mix named Clifford. "I think any dog, black or not, is going to get more attention when people are one-on-one with them," Mrs. Blankenship said. "That's when their personality shines. And Clifford is just a ham."

Animal Guardians have more than 40 black dogs in their care. And hopefully, Barkapalooza is when Clifford, Julian, and the others finally get new families to love them. For event details, please visit [Source: Animalguardians.com]

[Source: Dallas News]

26 September 2008

Science Journal in Doghouse

As weighty reads go, it doesn't get much more serious than presidential candidates in conversation with the world's leading scientific journal. And the latest issue of international science journal Nature has a front cover of suitable gravitas, evenly split between statesmanlike images of the US presidential contenders.

Pity no one told the advertising department. In an eerie mirror image, the magazine's back cover features two Labrador pups, one black, one golden, in uncannily similar poses to Barack Obama and his rival John McCain.

The journal swears they were not being deliberately cheeky. "We didn't know until the issue landed on our desks," Nature pleads. "It just goes to show that editorial and advertising aren't working in cahoots."

[Source: Times Online UK]

25 September 2008

'Supernanny' Meets 'Dog Whisperer'

Naughty dogs of America beware - the makers of "Supernanny" want to throw you a bone. "It's Me or the Dog" is a new reality show in development for an unspecified network. Producers are currently casting the pilot, seeking confused canines and their owners to participate in a doggy boot camp. Interested parties can call (877) 44-DOGGY.

The show will be based on the production company's UK format, which sics dog-dominatrix Victoria Stilwell (the snarky British judge from "Greatest American Dog", pictured above) on doggy delinquents near and far. It is believed that Stilwell will star on the US version, too, but officials at production company Ricochet did not return calls yesterday.

TV shows that claim an ability to change bad behavior, dogs and children are a hot commodity these days. While Ricochet's biggest claim to fame so far is "Supernanny" the bad dog shows are becoming increasingly popular. Currently, National Geographic Channel's "Dog Whisperer" with Cesar Millan is the most popular.

[Source: New York Post]

Celebrate National Dog Week (9/24 - 9/30)

Did you know the last week of September (9/24 - 9/30) is National Dog Week? Captain Will Judy started this holiday in 1928. She was the publisher and editor of Dog World magazine. The basic purpose of this week is to promote anything pro-dog. Here’s how to do it:

1) Donate to charity. Do it by volunteering time at your local ASPCA or buying items from groups who raise money for dog shelters like Lulu and Lolly.

2) Host a dog party. Invite all of your neighbors over and let your dogs play in the back yard. Offer snacks and drinks. Then, set aside time for your guests to explain why his or her dog is special.

3) Lobby for a bill. Write your senator about one in your area. Get started with The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. It limit’s the use of antibiotics on livestock to therapeutic purposes.

4) Rescue a lost dog. Make sure he’s from a shelter and really needs a home. Then, give him all of your love.

5) Patronize a business. Petco along with other dog businesses need your support in order to survive these hard economic times. So keep their doors open by purchasing items from them. Make sure they remain profitable.

6) Play with your dog. Set aside some one-on-one time just for him. Make it a quiet celebration between the two of you.

These are just a few ideas of how to celebrate National Dog Week. Keep them in mind and help promote this holiday.

[Source: The Examiner]

24 September 2008

Dogs Catch Human Yawns

Spying someone yawning often makes us yawn. Now, a new study shows your canine buddy can catch yawns from you, too. The results suggest domestic dogs have the capacity for a fundamental form of empathy, the researchers say.

The phenomenon, called contagious yawning, has previously been found only in humans and other primates such as chimpanzees and is thought to relate to our ability to empathize with others.

Researcher Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni first tested the phenomenon in his dog, a Labrador. Immediately upon yawning himself, Joly-Mascheroni's dog immediately yawned. And sure enough, tests on friends' pups showed similar results.

For the study, the furry cast included a wide range of dog breeds from a Greyhound to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to a Dalmatian. In total 29 dogs went through two testing scenarios each lasting five minutes, one in which a human (not the owner) called the dog over and while keeping eye contact with the dog he or she would act out yawns that included the vocal portions.

In the non-yawning scenario, the human went through similar motions, except he or she didn't yawn vocally and instead just opened and closed their mouths.

During the yawn sessions, 21 dogs (or 72 percent of them) yawned, while no dogs yawned during the non-yawning scenario. That's compared with 45 percent to 65 percent found from past studies in humans and 33 percent found for chimpanzees.

In addition to yawning, the dogs showed similar reactions to human yawns. "In the yawning condition, we found the dogs reacted pretty much in the same way," Joly-Mascheroni said. "They all acknowledged the yawn in some way either by dropping their ears or turning their heads away."

[Source: Livescience.com]

Halloween Tips for Your Pet

Given that Halloween is overtaking Christmas as the holiday-you’re-most-likely-to-be-sick-of-by-the-time-it-actually-arrives, you’ll want to have some chatter stats ready for those weekend costume parties.

* If you decide to dress your pet, make sure the costume doesn’t restrain it in any way and that your pet’s vision is not impaired, says Fucini Productions, which represents Pet Supplies “Plus.”

* Watch for choking hazards or pieces of the costume that might get caught on a fence or bush as you walk.

* Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag.

* If you need to walk the dog Halloween night, go before trick-or-treaters are out. Some of their costumes might disturb your pet.

* Don’t offer chocolate, which can be poisonous to your pet, or anything other than pet-safe treats.

* And when it comes to costuming, don’t force the issue. If Rover doesn’t want to be a pirate, Rover shouldn’t be a pirate. He’s probably better off at home, anyway, not having to deal with oncoming ghosties.

* If you have a black cat, keep it inside. This is not an urban legend; black cats are more likely to “fall victim to malicious pranks,” as Fucini puts it, this time of year.

[Source: Inside NoVA.com]

23 September 2008

Dog Toy Sales Help Predict Election in New Zealand

New Zealand Petfood company Masterpet has launched its own election campaign, in a bid to predict which party leader is going to be "dog tucker" come November 8. The company has created rubber chew toys in the likeness of candidates Helen Clark and John Key for the campaign.

Masterpet will monitor sales of the toys, holding their own mini-election to see which toy is most preferred by pet owners. The sales results will be posted online as 'political polls' on the political blog kiwiblog.co.nz. Masterpet North Island sales manager Peter Couchman urged people to get in quick, saying that like politicians, the toy's shelf life might be limited.

"Early data in our reverse poll (the "dog tucker" poll) suggests a preference for Helen Clark. But this is one poll she may not want to be ahead in!”

[Source: Stuff.co.nz]

22 September 2008

Weiner Dogs Race at Denver's Oktoberfest

Dozens of dachshunds brought short legs, long ears and high hopes to Denver's Oktoberfest on Sunday to participate in a weiner dog race, the first "Long Dog Derby." Pooches with names like "Daisy the destroyer," "Lightning Lilly," "Black Pearl" and "Frank the Tank," sometimes dashed, and occasionally wandered in dazed confusion, across a fenced race track.

Daisy May, a 6-month-old brown dachshund with a sharp snout and gentle eyes, sped through her paces, in the "Little Links" event for puppies under one year. The dog had never raced before, but she wasn't thrown off by the crowd and hoopla, said Daisy May's owner, Loreli Walker, 29, a Denver nurse. "They have such personality," she said of the breed. "They think they are pretty big dogs when they're not."

More than 60 dogs were signed up for the races in six categories, including "hot dog carts" for handicapped dachshunds. The event was part of Oktoberfest on Larimer Street, an annual festival that has welcomed the fall season in Denver since 1969. Proceeds from the $15 dog-race registration fee went to Colorado dachshund Rescue.

Two people accompanied each racer, one to release the dog at the starting line and one to encourage and catch the animal at the finish line.

The event included a costume contest, won by "Oscar Mayer Weiner," a 6-year-old miniature long-haired dachshund, who was dressed as a skunk. "He has been wearing it for Halloween for the last two or three years; he doesn't object, he is a good sport," said Tracy Alvarez, 46, Oscar's owner.

Steve Ballas, owner of Steve's Snappin' Dogs, a hot dog stand that was a race sponsor, said the event was so successful that next year it will be a stand-alone event. "We had no idea how many weiner dogs there are in Denver," he added.

[Source: The Denver Post]

19 September 2008

City Uses DNA to Fight Dog Poop

An Israeli city is using DNA analysis of dog droppings to reward and punish pet owners. Under a six-month trial program launched this week, the city of Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv, is asking dog owners to take their animal to a municipal veterinarian, who then swabs its mouth and collects DNA. The city will use the DNA database it is building to match faeces to a registered dog and identify its owner.

Owners who scoop up their dogs' droppings and place them in specially marked bins on Petah Tikva's streets will be eligible for rewards of pet food coupons and dog toys. But droppings found underfoot in the street and matched through the DNA database to a registered pet could earn its owner a municipal fine.

"My goal is to get the residents involved, and tell them that together, we can make our environment clean," said Tika Bar-On, the city's chief veterinarian who came up with the idea for the DNA experiment. Bar-On said the DNA database could also help veterinarians research genetic diseases in dogs, investigate canine pedigree and identify stray animals, replacing the need for electronic chip identification. "The sky is the limit on how far we can take this," she said.

So far, Bar-On said, residents have "reacted positively to the program and are cooperating because they want their neighborhood to be clean". She said Petah Tikva would consider making it mandatory for pet owners to provide DNA samples from their dogs if the trial program is successful.

[Source: Reuters UK]

18 September 2008

Dinner Dance Gets Barrington Hills Pug on Alpo Cans

Alpo's hungry new face is a Barrington Hills pug selected for his habit of spinning like a top whenever he attacks his food dish. Thanks to his frenzied chowdowns, Ike earned the right to appear on 2.5 million cans of dog food.

As part of his reward, Ike will soon be whisked off to Los Angeles to hobnob with other celebrity dogs, including Bruiser from the "Legally Blonde" movies and Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

"We're pretty excited," said Mary Beth Holsteen, 51, who entered her 18-pound pug into Alpo's nationwide video competition. Asked to show why their dog was a "meat maniac," it was no contest.

Holsteen and her husband, Frank, knew Ike's daily pre-dinner routine would make him a heavyweight contender. They filmed the dog spinning around and around — as he does every day at meal time — before diving head first into his bowl. Click here to see the video.

He eats with such gusto that his hind legs actually go airborne. Impressed with his antics — and appetite — the judges chose Ike from about 200 contestants. The 4-year-old pug spent his puppyhood barking at mail carriers and attending suburban Little League games.

Local pug enthusiasts were thrilled by his selection. "It will probably have a good effect, especially if it's a good picture," said Lisa Farrell, president of Midwest Pug Rescue, which works to help find new homes for abandoned pugs.

As a prize, the Holsteens get a hometown party and $10,000. Ike gets a year's supply of the dog food.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

17 September 2008

Running of the Wieners

The nation's largest Oktoberfest celebration, Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, invites dachshunds from around the country to compete for the title of most authentically German "wiener dog" of this year's celebration.

The second annual John Morrell Running of the Wieners will kick off Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati on Friday, September 19, with competitions to be held at noon on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati.

The John Morrell Running of the Wieners races are free and open to any dachshund in America. Each dog will be provided its competition "race gear" hot dog bun costume, and will race 100 feet to its owner. Winners of each heat will advance to the finals. The grand champion dachshund will be crowned the most "authentically German" mascot of Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, the nation's largest Oktoberfest, second only to the original in Munich, Germany. The winner will also receive a gift basket filled with dog treats and treats for his or her owner.

"Last year's first Running of the Wieners was the surprise hit of the Oktoberfest weekend," said Karen Michelsen, vice president of marketing for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. "We challenge our neighboring cities to enter their best dachshund to compete for this coveted title!"

Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati showcases the rich German heritage of Southwestern Ohio, as well as tasty samples of German-style music, food and beer. First held in 1976, the event has grown to be America's largest Oktoberfest with more than one half million people attending each year.

The 33rd annual Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, presented by Sam Adams and John Morrell, will be held Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21 along six blocks of Fifth Street in Downtown Zinzinnati. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com. For more information or to register your dachshund in advance, contact Brian Eagan at (513) 579-3100.

[Source: Wall Street Journal Market Watch]

16 September 2008

It's a Dog's Life at Work

It may sound a bit barking, but there’s no need to leave your dog behind when you set off for the office, writes Belinda Smith. Every morning, Dougie Irvine goes for an hour's run before he prepares for work and sets off on a half-hour walk to his Edinburgh city centre office. Once there, tired from his exertions, the trill as Windows is launched on the PC is his cue to take to his bed, lie on his back, stick his feet in the air and doze off for the rest of the day.

Fortunately, Dougie, a nine-year-old terrier cross, has no important matters to attend to. It is his owner, Jane Irvine, the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman and chairman of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, who has to deal with the business of the day.

Dougie is one of those fortunate dogs across Britain who are not left behind when their owners go to work, but go with them. It is something that The Blue Cross animal welfare charity is keen to promote when it holds its 13th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day next Wednesday. Its aim is to encourage dog owners to spend more time with their pets by taking them to work every day and to experience the benefits of the practice - to themselves and those around them.

For Dougie it means company all day long. He has his own bed and a water bowl in Jane's office. "I have a dog gate, too, so he can't wander around all over the place," she says. And as far as the reactions of her colleagues and those people who visit the office are concerned, it works well. She is always careful to check that no one is allergic to dogs, though - if someone does have an allergy or a dislike of dogs, she uses another meeting room.

Also, as with the presence of dogs in other workplaces, it's a great stress-buster. "I'm dealing with complaints all the time, which is stressful, so it just eases that," says Jane. A survey carried out by The Blue Cross showed more than 90 per cent of employers who allowed dogs in the workplace noticed a positive change in the working environment. One in two found that there was a decrease in absenteeism, 67 per cent said it improved staff morale and 56 per cent discovered that work relations improved.

Yet, in spite of all the obvious benefits of having animals in the workplace, Britain lags behind the US in making it a common practice. Some large companies, such as Google, embrace the idea, but in the main it is only small firms and animal-related businesses that permit it. In the US, one in five employers allows dogs at work and there is even a website for job-seekers (simplyhired.com) that lists employers who encourage it. In Taiwan nearly half of all employers are pet-friendly.

[Source: Telegraph.co.uk]

15 September 2008

No Mutts At This Dog Show

More than 800 dogs took their chance in front of the judges during the annual St. Clair Kennel Club dog show Sunday. The American Kennel Club accredited competition has been held at Goodells County Park for the past eight years, said Kristie Stocker, show chairwoman. "We want a lot of great quality dogs and for people to have a good time," said the Chesterfield Township resident.

Exhibitors came from throughout the state and country to compete Saturday and Sunday. Christa Tolkien brought her 15-month-old Maltese Satin to the show from Minnesota. Saturday, she was named best female in breed. Getting a top prize isn't easy. Tolkien spends over an hour each morning preparing Satin for the show ring. "It's just keeping her coat up and brushing her," she said. Other than the wet weather, Tolkien said her first time coming to the show was great.

Along with toy breeds, hounds, non-sporting, sporting, terriers and working dogs were judged on their confirmation and obedience. Doris Ingles of Kimball Township prepared her four Norwegian Elkhounds for the ring Sunday morning. Ingles started competing with her dogs in 1990 after becoming hooked on the breed. "I like their personality, they're very outgoing, they're devoted to their people, they're very smart -- sometimes too smart," she said laughing as she put Dinor Butterfly Kisses in a crate.

Elizabeth and William Bills traveled from Bay City to show their curly-coated retriever, Gladrags Intruder, also known as Rudy. "We love (showing), and you meet a lot of different and nice people," Elizabeth Bills said. Their dog's exuberance for the ring also adds to their excitement, she said. "When you put her leash on and start her over to the ring she drags us to the ring if she can," Elizabeth Bills said.

[Source: The Times Herald]

12 September 2008

Dogs Trained for Hearing Impaired

China's first center for training hearing dogs for deaf people will be set up at Beijing Union University with financial support from Samsung, an official partner of the 2008 Paralympics, a spokesman for the firm said Thursday on the sidelines of the Games.

Park Keun-hee, president of Samsung China, said the company will donate 1.4 million yuan ($200,000) to establish the facility at the university, where more than 300 students with hearing problems are following courses in higher education.

He did not say when the center would open. The center will, however, be one of only a handful in existence around the world. Similar facilities exist in the US, the UK, Japan and South Korea, Park said. The center in South Korea was set up in 1993, and since then has trained 650 "assistant dogs" for a variety of people including the blind, the deaf and police officers, he said.

"Staff at the Samsung Assistant Dog Service Training Base in South Korea have a lot of experience in training dogs, and we hope to bring that knowledge to China to provide long-term support for deaf people here," Park said. The dogs, many of which are former strays, are provided free of charge. Samsung will provide financial support for the center's first three years of operation, he said.

Hearing dogs are trained to distinguish between different types of sounds, such as a telephone ringing, a knock at the door or a fire alarm. They then "touch" a specific part of their owner's body to indicate the particular sound. The Beijing center will train four dogs per year in the beginning, with the number growing over time, Park said.

Although China has more than 20 million people with hearing problems, there are just three hearing dogs working in the country, two of which were provided by Samsung in 2006 to two students at Beijing Union University. Dong Shan, one of the dogs' owners, said: "I've had my dog for over two years now, and it has become my close friend. "It has made my life much easier."

China's third hearing dog, also donated by Samsung, was presented Thursday to Qi Daxin, a deaf man living in Beijing. "Getting this dog in my 50s is great," the 53-year-old said using sign language. "It will help me to become more integrated in society."

[Source: China Daily]

11 September 2008

Hollywood's (Unlikely) Hot Dog: the English Bulldog

Hollywood's dog o' the moment is an unexpected breed, one that has famous owners ranging from Samantha Ronson to Adam Sandler to John Legend. That dog is the English bulldog, he of the blunt nose and invisible neck and solid legs. To a lesser extent, stars also have fallen in love with the French bulldog, but really, right now, it's all about the English.

Sound exciting? You too can have one of these trendy canines, which come complete with frequent breathing problems and the occasional snoring habit. And all for the A-list price tag of...about $1,000 to $2,000! That is the average price of a purebred bulldog pup. For that sum, you can get the whole package: the adorable squashface, the bat ears (in the case of a French bulldog) and the chocolate brown eyes. The eyes! That will melt your sooouuul!

SamRo's English bulldog is named Cadillac. Legend has one called Puddy. And Adam Sandler has had three: the late Meatball and Matzoball, and a newer English bulldog named Babu. (You can see photos and video of the dogs on Sandler's official site.)

"Some English bulldogs are very energetic," L.A. Dogworks president Andrew Rosenthal tells me. "Others are kind of laid-back. French bulldogs are out of their minds. When we have a bunch of them in our dog park, they all hang out together. I call them the French mafia. But the English are more like dopey troublemakers."

[Source: E! Online]

Dinner With Your Dog

The Paradise Pet club opened in Shanghai earlier this year, reports Shanghai Daily. The menu features meals for dogs and also drinks and snacks for their owners. It was intended just for dogs but pet owners have also been bringing along cats, hamsters and other animals.

One customer, Chen Shijuan, said: "My pets can make friends and enjoy food particularly made for them here." Critics have branded the restaurant as "unhygienic" for encouraging humans and animals to eat at the same table. Gu Zhenhua, director of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration Bureau, said: "There is no law forbidding pets from eating with their owners. "But I don't think it's appropriate for pets and their owners to eat at the same table in public."

However, Liu Xiaomei, the general manager of the club, said: "Public health is certainly a big concern for us. "We disinfect our dishes three times everyday. And all the members are asked to provide a health certificate for their pets before entering the club."

[Source: My Top Dogs]

10 September 2008

'Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer' Interactive Game Announced

Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer uses interactive games to teach Cesar Millan's methodology and help owners understand how their dogs' minds work. The player is confronted with 40 different common dog issues and, using Cesar Millan's guidance, learns how to deal with each of them.

Best known as the charismatic host of "Dog Whisperer" on the National Geographic Channel since 2004, Cesar Millan has spent over 20 years working as a dog behavior expert and developing the "Power of the Pack," a unique methodology for fixing dogs' behavioral problems.

"Ubisoft's creative team has worked in close collaboration with Cesar Millan to create a game that successfully delivers his unique approach to dog behavior rehabilitation," said Christian Salomon, vice president of worldwide licensing at Ubisoft. "The player takes the role of Cesar Millan's apprentice and learns all about dog psychology through imaginative and entertaining gameplay."

"Ubisoft's team has done an amazing job turning the 'Power of the Pack' methodology into an interactive experience," said Cesar Millan. "The game is easy to play and offers many fun ways to learn rehabilitation techniques that can be applied to dogs in the real world."

Designed for the NDS and PC, Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer is scheduled for release in fall 2008.

[Source: WorthPlaying.com]

Dogs & Cats as Best Friends

Humankind's two best friends don't always fight like cats and dogs, a new study shows. When living under the same roof, the alleged antagonists often get along swimmingly, in fact — especially if they're introduced at a young age.

Neta-li Feuerstein and her graduate advisor, Joseph Terkel of Tel Aviv University, surveyed 170 Israeli households with both a cat and a dog as pets. Two-thirds of the households reported an amicable relationship between the species. Indifference prevailed in a quarter, and less than a tenth reported fighting.

Interspecies harmony was most likely if the cat was adopted before the dog and if the animals were introduced when the cat was younger than six months and the dog younger than a year. What's more, Feuerstein and Terkel found that the animals learned to understand each other's body language — even those signals that convey opposite meanings for the two species. When a dog averts its head, for example, it normally expresses submission; but a cat's averted head can signal aggression. From video recordings of cat–dog interactions in forty-five of the households, Feuerstein and Terkel found that four times out of five, each animal reacted to its companion's behavior according to the other's native code.

[Source: Live Science]

09 September 2008

Dog Inherits $14 Million

The pet dog of billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley has been bequeathed $14.6 million in the will of the woman dubbed the "Queen of Mean". Trouble, a tiny Maltese terrier, received the enormous trust fund after Helmsley, who died at the age of 87, cut two of her grandchildren out of her $US4 billion fortune. The trust fund was created to care for the beloved dog, who once starred in advertisements for the Helmsley Hotels.

The luxury hotel queen even stipulated Trouble be buried beside her and her husband Harry in a five-star mausoleum that will be maintained with a $3 million perpetual-care trust. Helmsley also set aside billions for charity and loved ones in a will made public yesterday in Manhattan Surrogate's Court. But the dog received the lion's share of the fortune. The next largest sum - $10 million - was left to Helmsley's brother Alvin Rosenthal.

The will meticulously detailed how Helmsley and Trouble were to spend the afterlife - in an ornate mausoleum she ordered be "acid washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year". Trouble will be cared for by Mr Rosenthal until she dies. Then, she will join her loving mistress, who in her later years rarely appeared in public without Trouble at her side.

"I direct that when my dog, Trouble, dies, her remains shall be buried next to my remains in the Helmsley Mausoleum," the billionairess stipulated in her will. While Trouble gained a huge bonanza, two of Helmsley's grandchildren were left out of the mountain of money accumulated by the woman Forbes magazine lastyear ranked as the world's 369th richest person.

"I have not made any provisions in this will for my grandson Craig Panzirer or my granddaughter Meegan Panzirer for reasons which are known to them," she wrote. The two outcasts are among the four children born to Helmsley's only son, Jay Panzirer, who died in 1982. The others, David and Walter Panzirer, will get $5 million each - but only if they play by their grandmother's strict rules.

Helmsley said neither would get a cent unless they visited their father's grave once a year, "preferably on the anniversary of my said son's death". To make sure her grandsons meet their annual requirement, Helmsley ordered a guest book be installed inside the family mausoleum at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York. Helmsley also left $100,000 to her chauffeur Nicholas Celea.

[Source: The Daily Telegraph]

08 September 2008

Sports Your Dog Will Love

You can't teach a dog new tricks - or can you? You can certainly teach dogs to play any number of new and exciting sports that are great fun for you as well as your dog. In some cases you may need special accessories or a particular venue. But if you are handy and creative, you can train at home too. It's not all about competition, some keen sports stars never take part in organized events, but many dogs recognize that they are competing and really enjoy it - especially when they win! Here are some of the most popular canine sports.

Agility: Agility is the most popular of the modern sports for dogs. The discipline first appeared at Cruft's in 1977, with a small hurdle race for dogs. The dogs seemed to like it and the sport became (literally) a runaway success. Dog agility is a sport in which a dog moves through an obstacle course with the guidance of his handler. Dogs run off leash, so the handler's only controls are voice and body language, requiring exceptional obedience training of the animal. In competition, both accuracy and speed are important.

Flyball: Dogs just love flyball - and it's a great sport to watch as well as play! Flyball is a race involving two teams of four dogs. The dogs spring over a series of jumps (usually four), run to a box, activate a catapult machine with their forepaws, catch the ball that flies out and race back to the start. To do its best the dog has to not just clear the hurdles, but keep a smooth approach and landing to clear the maximum distance in a minimum of time. The turn at the box can mean the difference between winning and losing, so a lot of effort goes into teaching the dog to do it well.

Obedience: A more relaxed sport, Obedience nevertheless requires extremely high levels of concentration and motivation from both dogs and their owners. The sport involves elementary disciplines such as 'Sit', 'Down', or 'Heel' and retrieving. But it progresses to cover tests of character, like controlling dogs at a distance.

Flying Disc: Flying Disc is another of the dog sports that catches the eye, although you'll probably know it better as playing Frisbee in the park! Competitively the catch and retrieve event is the backbone of the sport. It consists of a timed round where teams of one dog and one thrower, attempt to make as many successful throws/catches as possible before time runs out - rounds usually last one minute. Teams score more points for longer throw/catch combinations, so watch out for some serious party tricks!

Heelwork to Music: Popularly known as 'Dog Dancing', this fascinating activity has recently developed and expanded very rapidly. Speed and punctuality aren´t important, but cooperation and co-ordination between dog and owner are vital to success. The dog and his owner make one team and dance according to the music.

[Source: PURINA]

05 September 2008

A Dog's Amazingly Large Vocabulary

Be careful what you say around your dog. It might understand more than you think. A border collie named Rico recognizes the names of about 200 objects, say researchers in Germany. The dog also appears to learn words for new objects as easily as a 3-year-old child would. Its word-learning skill is as good as that of a parrot or chimpanzee.

Rico knows the meaning of a surprisingly large number of words. In one experiment, the researchers took all 200 items that Rico is supposed to know and divided them randomly into 20 sets of 10 objects each. The dog waited with one of his owners in one room, while an experimenter put a set of 10 objects into another room. Then, the owner told the dog to fetch one of the items. The dog had to go to the other room and bring the object back.

In four trials, Rico got 37 out of 40 commands right. Because the dog couldn't see anyone to get visual clues about what to bring back, the scientists concluded that he must understand the meanings of certain words.

In another experiment, the scientists took one toy that Rico had never seen before and put it in a room with seven toys whose names he already knew. The dog's owner then told him to fetch the object, using a word Rico had never heard.

In 7 out of 10 trials, Rico picked the right object, suggesting that he figured out the answer by process of elimination. A month later, he remembered half of the new names, which further impressed the researchers.

Rico is probably smarter than the average dog, the scientists say. For one thing, he's a border collie, a breed known for its mental abilities. In addition, the 9-year-old dog has been trained to retrieve toys by their names since he was 9 months old.

It's hard to know if all dogs understand at least some of the words we say. Even if they do, they can't talk back. Still, it wouldn't hurt to sweet-talk your pup every now and then. You might just get a big, wet kiss in return!

[Source: Science News]

03 September 2008

Great Danes & Chihuahuas Most Destructive Dogs

The average Great Dane cost its owners £669.64 over its lifetime in stained carpets, ripped sofas and chewed cables, while chihuahuas notch up an impressive £638.41-worth of damage.

Mastiffs came third, costing their owners £585.71 over a lifetime while Basset Hounds were found to cause £564.13 of damage on average. Finishing off the top five is the Whippet, which will leave a trail of destruction totalling £518.75. Other dogs with wrecking tendencies include English Setters, Bulldogs, Dachshunds and Boxers.

Among horror stories that emerged in the study was one about a Great Dane who thought the patio doors he was hurtling towards were open and knocked them straight out of the wall. Another owner told how his Border Collie's wagging tail knocked over a large glass of red wine onto a cream carpet, two days after it had been laid at a cost of £3,000.

The destructive scale was compiled by esure pet insurance following interviews with 3,000 dog owners. But its findings have left chihuahua up in arms.

"It's down to the owners, not the dogs," said Wendy Thorogood, 44, from Brighton. "You have got to let them know who's boss and what you say goes."

Sylvia Brady, 64, a chihuahua breeder from Sailsworth in Lancashire, said she would place hers well down the list. "Alright they can be quite feisty little things and they sometimes chew things and scratch wallpaper, but what dog doesn't?" she said.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure pet insurance, said a dog's destructive tendencies comes down to boredom. "To help minimise your dog's destructive behaviour, remember to house train them from a very early age, maintain their health with regular vet check-ups, and give them plenty of exercise," he said.

How much damage has your dog wrought on your home?

[Source: Telegraph.co.uk]

Let Your Dog Guide You To Love

Getting out with your dog can lead to more than just a healthier lifestyle and a better bond with your pet -- it can lead to love. "I wanted to have social opportunities with my dog," said Angie Gwiazdon, owner of K9-Connection, a Minneapolis-based canine networking program. Gwiazdon created a program that allows dog lovers and dogs to meet like-minded people, share some food and get to know one another in a no-pressure, fun atmosphere.

Where To Meet Dog Lovers
Wood offers a bit of advice to men seeking women who love dogs. "Shelters are full of kind women who volunteer their time. It's paradise for a single man," she said. You can also meet like-minded people at the dog park, doggie day care or simply around your own neighborhood.

Let Your Dog Lead The Way
Your dog can help you meet someone if you take a daily walk and see someone on a similar excursion. "Start moving in the direction of the other person," said Gwiazdon. Your dog will then be able to lead you the rest of the way to the individual. Dogs are very good at picking up subtle changes in your path. "Compliment the dog, not the owner," said Gwiazdon. That canine compliment can get the ball rolling for some human interaction. It helps avoid the awkwardness that can sometimes follow a compliment between two unacquainted people. Once you've started an exchange, people often open up. As you chat, it becomes easier to let someone know that you're not only interested in the dog but seeking to learn more about the owner as well. You may even cull a phone number out of the exchange.

Your Dog As 'Date Bait'
While a pooch may be great for pickups, some dog breeds scare people, no matter what the disposition of the individual dog. "If you have a big, scary-looking dog, have your dog wear a bandana," said Wood. "Or have them carry a toy on your walk; it can soften their appearance." Other dogs are often considered irritating by people. However, you can prove them wrong. "A well-behaved dog, no matter the size, cannot irritate an individual," said Wood. "Training is essential."

[Source: WNBC]

02 September 2008

Do Dogs Have Cleaner Mouths?

Pet lovers can't get enough affection from their pooches. And if licking is loving, they get a lot of loving. But is it really safe to kiss a dog, considering where they often put their mouths?

"Their saliva is much cleaner and if you have a cut or anything, if they lick it -- it's healing," one woman told "20/20" while being interviewed in New York City.

To find out just who has a cleaner mouth, we asked veterinarian and fellow dog lover Marty Becker, author of "Chicken Soup for the Dog Owner's Soul," to offer his opinion. "They raid the garbage can. You know, we give each other a peck on the cheek when we say hello, they give each other a peck on the rear end," said Becker. "All you got to do is look, watch, smell and you'll realize that that is not true."

He thinks the myth that a dog's mouth is clean stems from their practice of licking their wounds. "And they'll be licking that wound and you'll notice that the wound heals very fast - what that tongue does is it gets rid of the dead tissue," said Becker. He compares that tongue lashing to the work of a surgeon who cleans out a wound, and said the licking also stimulates circulation.

If you want to give your pooch a kiss, it may be safer than kissing another human. Becker says many of the bacteria in the mouth of a dog are species specific, so it won't harm its owner. "So a staph or a strep for a human is not transmissible to a dog, if you were to kiss it, and vice versa," said Becker.

Bottom line - you're more likely to get a serious illness from kissing a person than kissing a dog. But since dogs do transmit some germs, Becker has some advice: "Keep the vaccines current. Good external parasite control, good internal parasite control. You're going to be good to go." And then, he says you can kiss them all you want.

"They love us unconditionally, they make us laugh," said Becker. "If we're going to give them a little kiss to thank them for that, then that's good by me."

[Source: ABC News]