This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why do dogs like to lick our faces?

— by Roger Abrantes
Dogs like to lick our faces, a behavior that is disturbing for many dog owners and particularly non dog owners. Yet, this behavior is a demonstration of friendliness, an attempt at pacifying us and themselves, a hand (though not literally) reaching for peace. It’s a compliment a dog gives you, “I like you, you can be my friend.”

The behavior originates probably in the neonatal and juvenile periods. Pups lick everything as a way of gathering information about their world. Licking our faces may give our dogs much more information about who we are and how we feel than we probably can imagine.
Pups also like to lick one another, a behavior which seems to make both donor and recipient relax because it is a pleasant and undemanding activity. Grooming and self-grooming also include licking and are again undemanding and bonding practices.
Canine mothers lick their pups, a way not only to keep them clean, but also to stimulate physiological processes as urinating, defecating and maybe even digestion.
When the pups become a bit older and begin eating solid food, it is common for them to lick the lips of the adults, a behavior which should elicit their regurgitation of recently intaken food, a good source of nutrition for the youngsters. Even though not as common as when our dogs were closer to their wild ancestors, this regurgitation behavior is still widespread among our canis lupus familiaris if we give them the opportunity to live a relatively normal dog life.
Pacifying behavior is, in general, behavior that originally performs essential functions related to survival and well-being, and that in latter stages assumes these same functions, though in different areas and with different outcomes: licking produced food regurgitation, licking produces friendly behavior.
Next time a dog licks your face, don’t be too alarmed or disgusted. Just close your eyes, yawn, and turn your head away. This shows in dog language that you accept its offer of friendship.
By the way, don’t be too afraid either of the bacteria you may be given when your dog licks you—they are not much worse than those we get from kissing one another—and we’re not going to stop kissing, are we?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Winter is a coming - Tips for keeping your dog's paws safe in the snow

Cold Weather Tips:

In the winter many homeowners and businesses use rock salt and chemical de-icers to clear the ice and snow from sidewalks. These products can irritate your dog's paws. Many dogs will quickly start whining, biting or lifting their paws after just a few steps. If this occurs to your dog while out on a walk gently rub the bottom of his paw to remove the salt. When you return home inspect the paws, making sure to check between the pads and examine the foot for cracks. To help prevent ice balls in between the pads, trim the hair around your dog's paw pads. Also check for snow that can cling to longhaired dogs. There are many pet safe, veterinarian approved nontoxic balms and ointments that protect dogs' paws from ice balls and stinging available at most pet stores.  Dog booties may also be beneficial if you walk your dog in heavily salted areas. If you are a homeowner there are also a number of pet safe salt products that melt the ice without causing irritation to your dog’s paws. After battling the elements don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Pour yourself a large glass of cabernet and count the days until Spring!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thoughts on training

Thought for today -

If you want a well-trained dog, it is important to view every interaction with him as an opportunity to incorporate some aspect of training !

Why pay a dog trainer to train your dog if you are not going to follow up with daily practice? It always amazes me that so many people think that they need not participate in the training process to have a well trained dog.  Do they not ‘get’ that in and of itself, training means nothing to a dog. Therefore if it is not reinforced daily and consistently,  a dog will just as soon forget about it and behave in a manner that, in the dog’s mind, works best for what he wants and needs.  Like-wise, training doesn’t exist in a bubble, by which I mean it must be incorporated into the day-to-day business of living.  If you practice for short periods each day but fail to incorporate the training by utilizing it through practical application as you go about your daily routine, your dog will never generalize the training skills learned outside the practice sessions.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Only the beginning...

Too often this is the case. Learn when to start eliminating the treats so that your dog is obeying your commands, not for food, but simply because YOU SAY SO. Call Ain't Misbehavin' to discuss your training needs. Our goal is to teach you how to make your misbehaving dog a well mannered pet!