November 2013

Pet Circkles.

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as
human rights. That is the way of a
whole human being." ~ Abe Lincoln.

Video: Alex the Gray Parrot passed away a few years ago, but this video is always fun to watch and absolutely confirms that animals have far more intelligence and ability to communicate than we have ever given them credit for. This video proves that they are capable of responses to questions that goes well beyond a simple trained response. Alex was 31 years old when he passed away, but he was considered the smartest parrot that ever lived. He gave science an insight into the ability and minds of our fellow animal creatures that has not been paralleled in other scientific research because parrots are able to speak our language where other animal species are not.


Science Finally Proves Animals Have Feelings Too.
And Disproves Another Age-Old Misconception.

By Redstone Promotional Communications /

The Alex the Gray Parrot video above shows just how intelligent animals can be, even parrots which have a brain the size of a walnut. Now Science has finally proven what most animal lovers have known for centuries: that animals experience human-like feelings and emotions. Neuroscientist Gregory Berns of Emory University is using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on canines to try and ascertain what their capacity for emotion and human characteristics is. His conclusion? Dogs are people, too.

Pet owners know from just being around their companions that they experience attachment to us, joy at seeing us, they feel love and happiness at being treated well and pain and sadness at not being treated well. They get depressed or suffer separation anxiety at being alone. I used to have a dog that would sit and pout with his back to me and ignore me if he didn't get his way, and a horse that would hang his head if I verbally disciplined him and would say he was sorry for doing something wrong by burying his head in my stomach after I scolded him. I also had a ferret that became so depressed after her best friend ferret (they went everywhere together) passed away that she moped around for days and wouldn't eat. I thought I was going to lose her until I realized what was going on and started to give her special attention and played with her a lot more and then she snapped out of it. However, she never seemed to quite be herself after she lost her buddy.

Of course, this brings to the forefront a serious controversy that has plagued our moral values for years: medical research facilities that test on (torture) animals all for the sake of science and product safety. Medical research is a huge industry and if news gets out that we are torturing fellow creatures that have the capacity to feel pain and emotion just as we do, that puts some serious fear into the medical and cosmetic industry.

According to Berns:

“The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.”

sad fuzzy dogBerns also explains that contagious yawning, something we humans are prone to, is also contagious from pet owners to their dogs.

"A striking similarity was discovered in the caudate nucleus –– a key brain region thought to control positive reactions and preferences. Unlike other cerebral activity, that of the caudate appears to be a reliable indicator of the actions associated with it. In other words, we can infer discrete cognitive functions from it."

“Many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions,” Berns explained.

Putting emotions aside, this recent research has proven another age old scientific theory wrong that we have been told for years, and that's that dogs (and all animals) only see in black and white. Berns has proven dogs do see in color. However, even before his enlightened discovery, horse people were starting to question whether horses can actually see color since a story came out that one particular horse was spooked by a blue barrel but not by a red barrel, and no matter where that barrel was placed, he seemed to know it by it's color. My sister swears one of her horses spooks at blue butterflies and only blue butterflies. But then, horses are crazy anyway.


Animals Respond to Tone and Action More Than Words.

By Redstone Promotional Communications /

Knowing the information in the above article on animals feelings can go a long way to helping you to train any companion animal. Have you ever noticed that you can talk to an animal in a kind, gentle voice and call them a bunch of mean names and belittle them but they will wag their tale and respond as though you are being nice to them. The opposite is also true in that you can say nice things to them in an angry voice and they will respond by cowering or skulking, lowering their heads and eyes like they are being scolded. Animals pick up on the tone of our voice and our body language far more than our language: which they don't understand much at all. They can learn certain key words or short phrases, like "treat" or "go for a walk?" but even if you say those words in an aggressive, angry tone, they will respond by acting like you are yelling at them. This is because, by nature, animals communicate with each other by actions, not words, so of course, this is the mode of communication they are most familiar with.

When training your pet, knowing the above information can make training much easier and effective, while avoiding some of the frustrations pet owners experience when trying to train a pet. Let's take training your new puppy for example. The better dog trainers who breed their own puppies have noted that the mother dog will discipline her pups by biting them on the nose when they exhibit unacceptable behavior. This training technique can be very effective in training puppies who have such a short attention span. Some people can't bring themselves to use this training technique because they consider it gross, but when all else fails, it usually works. Immediately after your puppy or dog does something that is unacceptable, tell him "no" in a stern voice and bite the top of his nose on the bony part where there isn't much padding or fatty cushion. You don't have to bite it hard, just enough so the dog or puppy feels your teeth.

Horses nip at each other to establish ranking within the herd and dominance. In instances where you are working with a particularly dominant, stubborn horse, just giving them a action like you are going to bite them, letting them see your teeth, can be enough to break them of a stubborn bad habit in which nothing else is working; such as a horse that is nipping at you. Some horse trainers pinch a horse to mimic what a bite would feel like coming from another , horse.
Horses also learn a great deal from their herd members and their dam by mimicking their actions. I once trained a horse to run a freestyle ground course by showing him how to do it and then he copied my actions. Dogs can often do the same thing. They will learn much quicker by showing them than telling them.

Ferrets will nip and hiss at each other to warn another clan member to stay away. Although many animals will also nip at each other when playing, the intent is made very clear by THEIR tone. Just like the understand the tone of your voice, they understand the difference between play biting and fighting by the tone, expression and attitude of their opponent. Humans can use animal communication patterns to greatly benefit their communications with their pets.

Of course, when it comes to potty training, it's impossible to show your pet how to do that yourself, but it is possible to show them where you want them to go. For example, if you have a puppy that poops on the floor, show it to them before you clean it up, tell them "no" in a stern voice, scoop up the poop and put it outside where you want them to go. Make sure the pup sees you do this and is paying attention. Repeating this a few times can reinforce that you don't consider poo in the house acceptable and that the poo goes outside, not inside. Doing this in conjunction with taking your pet out for frequent potty breaks when you think they might have to go and then giving them a high amount of praise and treats when they do relieve themselves outside usually is enough to potty train most pups. Potty training is almost effortless if you have an adult dog around that will show the younger dog that relieving themselves is done outside, and not inside, because they learn the quickest by example from their pack leaders. Which means, if you establish yourself as their pack leader, you will have very little trouble training them, and doing this is done in their language, not ours: by leading by example and action, not words.


Cat Training Techniques:


© 2013 Redstone Promotional Communications / All rights reserved to images and articles.

FDA Pet Product Recalls for 2013.

Pets who look like their owners:

Find more pet articles in our Archives and pet home remedies are in The Hangout. But you must be a member to access those pages.

Bad Breath, Tartar Buildup.

A few things that can cause bad breath in your pet are stomach issues, health issues and a diet that is not effective in keeping their teeth clean. One detrimental aspect of modern, convenient canned foods is that they contribute to tartar buildup on your pet's teeth which leads to decay and bad breath. Many elderly dogs develop bad breath if their health is poor.

If your dog is healthy overall, their breath should not be any more offensive than normal. The best way to keep your pet's teeth healthy is to feed them what they need to do it themselves. While some pet owners pay for routine dental care for their pets, and in some cases, it may be necessary, often you can stave off the extra expense by giving our pet a diet that will allow them to maintain their teeth naturally.

Raw (uncooked) bones will keep their teeth clean and free from tartar buildup naturally and very effectively. After all, they do not have regular teeth cleanings in the wild. The bones must be uncooked, because cooked bones will splinter. Try to only give them bones that don't contain sharp edges, as they could cause mouth sores, and give them bones that are more pliable than brittle, such as rib bones. Many natural dog breeders give their dogs turkey or chicken necks, which are an excellent source of calcium and minerals, and are small, rounded and very easy to digest. Raw chicken necks are good for cats to clean their teeth on and are about the only bones you can buy that are small enough for them.
Dogs and cats should be given raw bones on average of 2-3 times a week to keep their teeth clean.

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DOG BREEDS: Characteristics and Concerns.

(We will get to cat breeds later.)

Australian Cattle Dog / Heeler.

In the 19th century, New South Wales cattle farmer Thomas Hall crossed the dogs used by drovers in his parents' home county, Northumberland, with dingoes he had tamed. The resulting dogs were developed into two modern breeds, the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, short-coated dog that occurs in two main color forms. It has either brown or black hair distributed fairly evenly through a white coat, which gives the appearance of a "red" or "blue" dog. It has been nicknamed a "Red Heeler" or "Blue Heeler" on the basis of this coloring and its practice of moving reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels.
As with dogs from other working breeds, the Australian Cattle Dog has a high level of energy, a quick intelligence, and an independent streak. It responds well to structured training, particularly if it is interesting and challenging. It was originally bred to herd by biting, and is known to nip running children. It forms a strong attachment to its owners, and can be protective of them and their possessions. It is easy to groom and maintain, requiring little more than brushing during the shedding period.

While an Australian Cattle Dog generally works silently, it will bark in alarm or to attract attention. It has a distinctive intense, high-pitched bark. Barking can be a sign of boredom or frustration, although research has shown that pet dogs increase their vocalization when raised in a noisy environment. It responds well to familiar dogs, but when multiple dogs are present, establishing a pecking order can trigger aggression. It is not a breed that lives in a pack with other dogs.

ACDs are quick to respond to the emotions of their owners, and may defend them without waiting for a command. The Australian Cattle Dog's protective nature and tendency to nip at heels can be dangerous as the dog grows into an adult if unwanted behaviors are left unchecked.
Its attitude to strangers makes it an excellent guard dog when trained for this task, and it can be socialized to become accustomed to a variety of people from an early age as a family pet. It is good with older, considerate children, but will herd people by nipping at their heels, particularly younger children who run and squeal. The bond that this breed can create with its owner is strong and will leave the dog feeling protective towards the owner, typically resulting in the dog never being too far from the owner's side.

Size: The female Australian Cattle Dog measures approximately 17–19 inches at the withers, and the male measures about 18–20 inches at the withers. The dog should be longer than tall. An Australian Cattle Dog in good condition weighs around 44–62 lbs.

Life Expectancy: A robust breed with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. Some maintain their sight, hearing and even their teeth until their final days.

Health Concerns: The Australian Cattle Dog carries recessive piebald alleles that produce white in the coat and skin and are linked to congenital hereditary deafness, though it is possible that there is a multi-gene cause for deafness in a dog with the piebald pigment genes. Around 2.4% of Cattle Dogs in one study were found to be deaf in both ears and 14.5% were deaf in at least one ear.
Hereditary polio encephalomyelopathy of the Australian Cattle Dog is a very rare condition caused by an inherited biochemical defect. Dogs identified with the condition were completely paralyzed within their first year.

Looking for an Australian Cattle Dog? Use our Petfinder tool below and search for an adoptable dog that needs a home in your area now.

To view breeds we've already written about, view our Dog Breeds on The Hangout. (Must be a Circkles member to view The Hangout.)



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