Monthly Archives: May 2017

  1. Keep Your Dog On A Leash

    The other day, Foamy went out for a walk. It was a lovely day, so we took our time at the park. Foamy enjoyed the sights and smells. He kept tugging on the leash in excitement, wanting to go explore, go chase some birds, or go “say hello” to other people and dogs, but I called him and tugged on the leash to bring him back to my side.

    Things were going well on the walk. Many of the people we’d pass would stop and complement Foamy and ask to pet him, and Foamy just ate up the attention and would give kisses in return.

    But then, it happened. Foamy paused to “answer nature’s call” and as I did my duty as a good pet parent and stopped to clean up after him, the leash slipped from my hand. Before I could do anything, Foamy took off running.

    I took off after him, calling his name franticly, but by the time I managed to catch up to him, he had chased a poodle and sent it running and had stopped to sniff and kiss a 2-year-old baby. Needless to say, the owner of the poodle and the baby’s mother weren’t too happy with me and I apologized profusely in embarrassment. Then I led Foamy away, scolding him as we made our way from the park. He hung his tail and head in shame as we walked, knowing from the tone of my voice that I was not happy with him.

    When you take your dog out, it’s best to keep it on a leash, especially if it’s a larger dog. Foamy, for example, is a Samoyed, which is a somewhat big dog. Larger dogs that run around loose can scare people, since people won’t know if the dog is friendly or not, and without the dog being held on a leash by the owner, there is no control to the dog, so the dog could do anything and that can frighten others. Foamy is generally a friendly dog, but he also gets easily excited about things, and because he’s a bigger dog, if he runs around loose it can frighten other people because they can’t tell what he’ll do.

    Many people can train their dogs to be off-leash, and while that can be nice for the owner and can work for many dogs, there’s still the possibility that, no matter how well-trained the dog might be, it could run off suddenly and not listen to the owner when they call the dog to return, and that can lead to many problems. Most parks will require a dog to be on a leash in order to use the park, as a safety precaution, because the leash offers a measure of control over the dog. A leashed dog can be held back from chasing after people, other dogs, and wildlife. A leashed dog can be held back from attacking. It also offers safety for the dog, since the dog can be kept from running out into traffic.

    So for the safety of your dog and the safety and peace of mind of those around him, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash when you take him out.

    Read more »
  2. Share Is A Good Habit

    Foamy was enjoying his kibble but he lifted his head from his bowl when he saw the cat come into the kitchen.

    “Hey, cat!” Foamy said.

    The cat sat down in the middle of the floor and eyed the dog warily. “What, dog?”

    Foamy stepped back from his bowl. “Are you hungry? Come try some of this. It’s really good!”

    The cat narrowed his eyes. “Seriously?”

    “Sure! Help yourself! I don’t mind!”

    The cat walked over slowly and sniffed the bowl, then looked at Foamy. “Really, dog? You’re really going to share your food?”

    Foamy wagged his tail “Sure!”

    The cat cocked his head and studied Foamy. “You’re weird. You know that? I don’t know any other dogs that would share their food. They’re usually rather protective of it. But…thanks.”

    The cat nibbled a few pieces of Foamy’s kibble then wandered off. Foamy panted happily as he watched the cat, then went back to eating.

    That’s how I usually imagine the conversation between my dog and cat goes when I see them together in the kitchen. Foamy is such a sweet dog, willing to share his food with anyone, including the cat. Even when I come near his dish, he’ll look up at me as if to say, “Hey there! You want some? Help yourself!”

    Not all dogs are so considerate and giving, however.

    Most dogs usually have some level of protectiveness when it comes to their food and other possessions. Food aggression, also known as food guarding or resource guarding, is fairly common among dogs.

    There are levels of resource guarding, from minor to severe. It can range from something small, like just running off with something coveted or growling at someone who’s approaching, to full-on aggression, including chasing someone away or biting. What a dog considers valuable can vary, and many will guard food. Some dogs will guard only from certain people, others will guard from everyone.

    Most pet owners don’t like this behavior, especially when it’s directed at humans, and serious, severe food aggression can often prevent a dog from being considered adoptable. Often, food guarding doesn’t need to be treated, especially when it’s only minor, and pet owners just take reasonable precautions, such as: leaving the dog alone while it’s eating, or giving it plenty of food so it doesn’t feel like it needs to guard; feeding dogs in separate rooms or in crates; or not attempting to take items from the dog. Such precautions will work ok in homes without children, but when children are involved, the guarding behavior needs to be addressed for the child’s safety, since they won’t recognize the dog’s behavior as dangerous.

    You can find tips on how to correct guarding behavior online. They will help when the behavior is only minor to moderate. But if your dog has a more severe case of food aggression, you will want to consult a professional, such as your vet or a professional behaviorist or dog trainer.

    I’m so very lucky to have a dog like Foamy who happily shares with others.

    Read more »