Sunday, May 2, 2021


 There are so many things that our dogs know about us and then again there are so many things that we do not know about them. Really, there are times that I believe that they are so much more intelligent than most humans. Let's take for example a few questions such as why do dogs chase their tails? 

One must admit that it is quite amusing to watch. Occasional tail-chasing that is not causing injury is definitely not something to worry about. It could be an indication that they may need more activity or brain games. For the most part, I am sure that it is just their silly antics to entertain us. 

If on the other hand, they are causing injury to themselves, then by all means get them to the vet. If it is related to stress, such as being left alone for a while or a family member missing from the picture then it could be a form of self-soothing.

In the case of our two goldendoodles, it is simply their goofiness. Our youngest one will be lying on her bed nearby while we are having a meal and all of a sudden notice her tail. She will go round and round to try to catch it for a moment or two. Then go back down just to look at us, as if to say, "Did that entertain you?" The other doodle backs his rear end up to us for a back scratch when we are sitting down. If I play with his long tail, he becomes quite interested in it and will start chasing it. Always coming back for more back scratching. 

I am not thinking that they need to go to the Doggie Shrink for being goof-balls.

The next frequently asked question is why do dogs seem to love squeaky toys? You may find this one hard to believe of your loveable little pooch but it goes back long ago when their ancestors were predators. There is instant gratification from gnawing on that squeaker. They feel rewarded when that little squeak comes out, as if they caught their prey. An instinct to hunt and capture is strong.

The main thing is to supervise squeaky toy play. If your dog can tear up a plush squeaky toy and remove the plastic squeaker, then he is not alone. Once the noise stops, the hunt is over. As a responsible dog owner, I definitely do not ever want to have our dogs rushed to the Doggie ER to remove part of a squeaker that one of them swallowed. Again, it is a fun part of play for our dogs to catch the squeaking toy and then one tries to take it away from the other one. Taunting each other with the squeak that the toy makes. 

If you find that your dog does not enjoy the squeaky noise then just be thankful that you will have a more peaceful home. Find your fur-baby the kind of toy that does interest him.

Have you ever watched your dog turning in circles before settling down to sleep? We all, even as humans, have our little routines to get comfortable. It can be turning around in circles or sometimes scratching at his pillow like he is digging for treasure or even nuzzling his head into the side of the cushion. It is an instinctive trait inherited from their ancestors - wolves. As the story goes (all researched based) this circling is geared towards survival. He can turn around in the circle over and over to check out how safe he will be in that position from his predators or other threats like snakes or critters, rocks and branches just so that he may get a good night's rest. Even though our dogs have memory foam beds, they still have this instinct within them. He is just making himself comfortable.

Have you ever seen your dog rolling around in the grass? The simple answer is because it just might feel good and satisfy an itch. Dogs interact with their environment when they are outside or inside through smell and touch. If they find something that feels good they may choose to roll over and over. It does mean that your dog is relaxed, playful and happy. Dogs like to get another dog's attention by rolling over on his back for play time. 

If they choose to roll around in something stinky just know that this is normal too. It could be the instinct to hide their own scents to make them better hunters. Or it could be their way to communicate with other dogs, as if to say, "Smell me!" We may think it stinky but to them it is their best perfume. It is a way to tell other dogs that he rules the roost and is in charge. 

Luckily for us, our dogs don't tend to go rolling around in stinky stuff. Our older doodle does love to find mud puddles and just get covered in the mud. Maybe it is his way of having a 'Mud Spa Day?' I just know that it is not much fun in trying to get all of the mud off of those curls.

The last question that pet owners ask is how do you stop a dog from barking? There are some reasons why your dog may bark excessively and there are some training tips to help curb the yapping.

Barking is one of the ways that dogs communicate with their immediate environment. Most of the time dogs bark out of fear, boredom, loneliness, or to seek your attention. They may also bark to defend their territory or as a form of greeting or play.

We had a dog that rarely barked. Then we added another dog and does she like to bark? And at times it is upsetting to our older one and then he starts to howl. Compulsive barking is such an annoyance and as owners of one, we have tried many things. The one thing that does not work is yelling over the barking for her to stop. This just reinforces the barking because now she thinks it is a competition or game. Dogs do not process that their owner is not okay with barking by yelling at them. 

First thing is to find out why she is barking. Is it fear, pain, excitement/play, boredom, a need for attention, a warning or guarding, or communication with other dogs. For our little yapper we know she feels the need to let us know that the mailman or delivery person is at our home and when it is someone she knows it is a greeting of hello. It also is a time for play when one of the neighbor's cats come strutting by or the local squirrels sway their bushy tail at the dogs or mercy me - the mallards or geese take aim at waddling through the front yard.

The most important thing is to be patient and consistent with your effort to stop the yapping. This means talking to your dog in a firm and calm voice. I starting holding my finger to my lips and making the "SHHHH" sound and calming saying, "No bark!" If I catch her before she gets herself all riled up, she will make eye contact with me and come to sit by me for a treat for being a good girl. This really does work. However, I believe that she knows if she barks, I will make the motions and sounds of no bark and she will get a treat. The trick is to never reward or pay attention to her when she does bark. Wait until she is quiet to reward her with any treat, praise, food or attention. She works well with hand motions so maybe in a few more months, either she will outgrow it and know that it is not good to be barking. 

Davis and Maggie Mae on their best behavior!

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