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Dogopedia

 
Does Man's Best Friend Have Feelings?

Written by Emily White | December 25th, 2017

A dog’s loyalty and companionship are unique and can’t be duplicated elsewhere. You hold them, play and bond with them as well as rely on them so much. They have such major roles in the so called human world. There are dogs for guiding, therapy, war, herding, searching and rescuing, acting, detecting, tracking and hunting and the most common best friends.

They love unconditionally, and their innocence just gives warm fuzzy feelings when you interact with them. No matter the breed, this is definitely man’s best friend. All you need is time and patience so as to train your dog. This raises the common question; do they have feelings? Do they love or is their behavior a result of classical conditioning with treats and punishments?

What Emotions are expressed?

Science has backed up the fact that dogs do have more complex feelings than human beings. Their emotions are not similar to human ones, they are unique in their own different way. Any dog owner would tell you that his/ her dog has feelings. There are times when your dog is angry- evident when growling, happy- the wagging of the tail, sad and shameful- whimpering and the tail hanging low and lastly excited- tail wagging, tongue hanging out and a sudden burst of energy.

These emotions are proof that we share some cognitive functions with dogs, this explains why the bond between human beings and dogs is very close. Several researchers have trained dogs to sit still during an MRI so as to answer the age-old question on canine emotions.

 

In the year 2013, researchers trained 12 dogs to have an MRI scan done as different signals were introduced. It was noticed that the caudate nucleus was stimulated when the dogs could smell or see their owners enter the room. This part of the brain is associated with the anticipation of things that you like. This shows that dogs do get excited when they see their owners. It is proof that they have an attachment and love towards them.

They also experience jealousy when not treated equally as their counterparts. This was seen in a study carried out by Friedrike Range in Austria. She had a group of dogs that already knew the ‘paw’ command and adhered to it with or without a treat.  She then gave some dogs treats for following the commands, it was noticed that the dogs who did not get any treat immediately stopped following the command. They were resisting. The dogs knew that they were not being treated fairly yet they were doing the exact same thing.

Dogs even suffer from grief. A loss of a family member; whether man or canine will cause your pooch to lose his/her appetite, sleep too much or a little or get depressed. You relate a lot with your canine friends. You don’t need to speak one language; each species has its own way of expressing itself. The love is irreplaceable. So, the next time you want to hang out with your pet, try read the mood and know how to treat him/her.

 
Why I Am A Crazy Dog Lady

Written by Johanna Lekhammar | December 6th, 2017

This is an open letter straight from my heart. Some may feel resentment toward this, I don't know - it seems to be unsuitable to compare children with dogs. To be honest, I have never understood why?

 

I've a master's degree in psychology, hence learning and development have been deeply rooted within me before I even became a dog owner. We share the psychology of learning with many creatures on earth such as rewards, punishments, classic conditioning, operant conditioning, etc., the same mechanisms control us.

 

My twin sister is an elementary school teacher. She and I often end up in discussions about the process of learning, "nurturing,” and other phenomenon and every time we find out how similar one thinks about children and dogs. It has also been the same development among both categories. Back in the days, one used different tools such as being "firm" and "disciplined;" the dog/child should obey without questioning and often authority and dominance were being used. If the dog/child didn't obey, physical and mental abuse were being used. Years later, many people spoke up and research was developed, which show that it was not consistent with empathy - children/dogs reactions from these treatments had a very negative effect. According to the research combined with these reactions from communities, one shows that the learning process involving punishment does not only hurt the child/dog and the relationship between the teacher and the child/dog, but also that it's very inefficient if the purpose is to have long-lasting results.

 

After research being made, there have been kickbacks where one believes in having the right to choose one's own nurturing style with one’s children and now one feels controlled by not being able to say no to one’s dog. It has contributed to a discussion that involves set guidelines and rules for children/dogs in order to feel well. Usually, the ones who complains about the guidelines and rules are the ones who use authority with one’s child or dog.

Here, it's important to take a step back and reflect. Reflect about the terms and the accustomed patterns. Where are the facts and where are the opinions and values? The one thing one needs to think about is the norms. Within the world of dogs, I personally experience a lot of norms of how things should be. If one suggests another thought, people raise an eyebrow. Why? It is because it threatens what one is doing and has always been doing. One needs to remember that the dog is not only in this world to entertain us. Dogs are intelligent creatures with their own minds, needs, and freedom. Even though the dog is breed to cooperate with us human beings, it doesn't mean that they still don't have left their own wild heritage of hunt, reproduction, and flock etc. If we would have dogs who would ONLY cooperate with human beings and always accustom us, there would never be any issues with chasing deer, fights with other dogs, and resource guarding, dig in the grounds, barking, escape to find a mate, etc.

 

One protects oneself by saying that "dogs need a leader to adopt better into this world." In fact, it is probably true. BUT, looking at oneself as a leader, one takes the freedom to cross that line. Here, one needs intelligence and critical thinking. The reason why I'm mentioning intelligence is not to treat others condescendingly, but rather because lower intelligence decreases the ability to use a wider perspective when thinking and not only think in black and white terms. It's all about shades, put things into a perspective, weigh different outcomes, and having the ability to imagine consequences with actions. To think that all dogs follow the same principles is like thinking that all people need the same treatment. I imagine that dogs are just as human beings.

In order to tie it all together, some dogs will easier follow when there are rules and guidelines whereas others will question it, just like kids, adults, and other creatures on earth. I would never use physical abuse toward my dog nor would I do to a child. The only situation I would consider being violent toward my dog, other dogs, children, other animals, or human beings, would be in emergency situations. I agree with what the Hikus breeder says: "A touch should always be positive." For nurturing purposes, I'd never use physical abuse toward my dogs. If one needs to do that, then it's already too late, it's better to use preventive methods. Why should one not use physical abuse toward one's dog for bad behavior? My thoughts are: all physical abuse will remain like scars both for humans and dogs. Remember the teacher who took a sharp grip on your arm and yelled at you? Was that for love? You may have had obey her, but did you like her after her actions? Did you trust her? Would you rely on her in emergency situations if there were other kind people in the environment?

 

Not to distinguish human beings, children, dogs, and other animals, I've noticed that this phenomena, have awaken lots of emotions in people like it's obvious that human beings are worth the most and that children are on top of the list. Pets are always lower on the list. To be honest, I can understand that other people feel this way, but it doesn't mean that I feel the same way! My dogs are my family! I believe that the way I love my dogs is difficult for others to understand just as it is for me to understand the feeling of loving a child. People are different and often I get this comment from other parents: "You don't have any kids, so you don't understand." I totally get that as I don't have a child on my own, I WON'T understand how it is to have a child, but a person who has never loved a dog so much that one’s heart hurts will never be able to understand it either. There's a reason why I'm almost 35 and still not yet have any children. I'm not saying that pet parents feel the exact same way as parents of children. What pet parents feel is something specific and unique.

 

You can call me a crazy dog lady, because that is just what I am! I would take my own life to save my dogs, just the thought of something would happen to them makes me cry. I don't think I would ever get over it if something tragically would happen to them in young age, old age, or at any time for that matter. As parents to children, one will hopefully pass away before ones child and never have to experience the loss of a child. For pet parents, that's not the case. We are facing extremely brutal and painful separations from our beloved family members. It makes me cry just the thought of it. If you've ever had a pet that you feel so much love for, think twice before making a statement.

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City Dogs

Written by Emily White | November 15th, 2017

Dogs are considered man's best friend and with good reason. Owning a dog one can drastically transform your life for the better. According to research, they help increase one's mood, they help one get into more physical activities, they are an incredible source of affection just to name a few. Maybe you are aware of the benefits and are thinking of owning one. Or maybe, you already have a pet dog, but are thinking of relocating to the urban city. Owning a dog in the urban city is different from owning a dog in the suburban areas.  Certain environments call for certain rules of behavior and etiquette for your dog. There are certain tips and factors that pet parents should consider to make life easier for their dogs in a big city. Let us take a look.

Public Transportation

This is one factor that you cannot avoid in the city. Unless you own a car of course. However, public transportation is often the best way to go, as it helps conserve fuel and save time.

Fido needs to know the proper etiquette to follow while traveling on public transport. Barking and causing a disturbance is not allowed. Instead, they are required to lie down between your feet the entire time.

Dog training involves different facets, and one of them is proper etiquette in relation to public transport can prove difficult. Keep training you dog until it sticks and makes a habit out of it. Do not be afraid to use a few dog treats for incentives as well.

When Fido Needs To Relieve Himself

The major factor that most people consider, is how the dog will relieve itself. Especially if all they are surrounded by are buildings and concrete streets. One should train the dog to relieve itself on the curb of the street or the sidewalk.

Of course, it will be hard as you're starting out. However, if you ensure that the dog is pulled to the curb every time it needs to relieve itself, it will get the idea. Taking your dog to parks or grassy areas is also a great idea. Your dog can relieve himself, and still have fun running around in an open field.

Never forget to scoop up the poop after. Leaving it there is considered illegal in some states, very rude and very unsanitary.

House Training

Living in the urban city may mean that you do not have access to a backyard. Meaning, that there's not much room for Fido to play and run around in. This is an important element for fido, especially when it comes to maintaining good health.

Take your city dog out for walks regularly; that is, several times a day. If you are otherwise unavailable, you can hire dog walking services. This ensures that they get a chance to relieve themselves, enjoy the fresh air and open spaces in the park. Moreover, Fido may get a chance to interact with other dogs.

When it comes to the house, ensure that you designate a proper place for your city dog. An area where the dog can identify as his/her own.

 
 
The Top Pet-Friendly Cities in America

Written by Emily White | October 31st, 2017

Dogs are often considered man's best friend, and rightly so. They tend to stick with us through the hard times, and the good. And hence, earn themselves other great titles such as Helper and protector.

Our relationship with them is mutual, bringing about a strong bond that can hardly be broken. We tend to need them as much as they need us. However, our fondness for dogs, extend to cats and other animal pets as well.

According to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, there are approximately 89 million dogs owned as pets in the United States. Additionally, there are at least 94 million cats in the United States.

This begs the question, how many homes own pets in the United States? In the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, they continue to state that at least 85 million households owned at least one pet. It's safe to say that we love pets, and we even consider them as part of our family.

Despite the above staggering statistics, not every American citizen feels the same way towards pets. There are areas that seem to be less pet-friendly as compared to others. Hence, we have come up with a comprehensive list of the top cities in America that are pet- friendly. Let us take a look, shall we?

Alburquerque, New Mexico

It is nearly impossible to run out of outdoor activities for you and your dog in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Albuquerque is dotted with numerous dog parks, pet- friendly lodging, and restaurants, even pet- friendly transportation. If that is not enough, they hold countless Animal Welfare Events on an annual basis.

The weather is also very pet-friendly, as it only rains 60 days out of the entire year. That leaves plenty of days for you and your dog to take walks, jog and visit parks. Hence, creating more opportunities for you and your dog to bond, as well as stay active and healthy.

San Diego, California

San Diego's level of dog friendliness is really impressive, even when compared to ABQ. A vast majority of restaurants and hotels are pet-friendly, offering even their special cuisine. When it comes to activities for your dog, the list is endless. You can visit dog parks such as Mission Bay Dog Park, or go enjoy a fun-filled activity at dog-friendly beaches such as Fiesta Island Off-Leash Dog Park. And as all pet lovers know, health is paramount. It's easy to find a veterinary near you if you live in San Diego, or looking to move there.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona, was ranked as the number one most pet- friendly city by WalletHub. Of course, their statistic also included financial considerations as well. The cost and upkeep of owning a pet are determined by the city that you reside in.

Not only are most of the policies in Scottsdale pet- friendly, but the general atmosphere as well. The hotels and restaurants that serve cuisine that your pet can enjoy, to people that simply adore pets.

Orlando, Florida

Apart from the stunning views Orlando has to offer, it is also an extremely pet- friendly environment. Admittedly, it's great to have the freedom to walk into a restaurant with your pup or cat without any reservations or problems. However, Orlando has a high population of pets, as well as pet lovers.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is basically a hub of activity for pets and pet owners. You do not have to leave your dog at home when you go shopping in Austin. Your dog can tag along on all your shopping trips. This way, shopping can be more fun, and that adds to the list of fun activities for the dog.

Let us not forget the pet-friendly pubs, restaurants, and hotels in Austin. If your dog does not like being indoors all the time, no problem. Take them to one of your lake adventures, and soak in the sun together.

Las Vegas, Nevada

According to WalletHub, Las Vegas ranks 10th when it comes to a pet- friendly environment. This was in terms of financial feasibility and affordability. However, according to a study done by Smart asset, it ranks second.

This is not only due to the pet- friendly hotels, restaurants, and pubs but also due to the weather. Las Vegas only experiences 15 days of rain annually, making it great for pet owners.

Chicago, Illinois

When it comes to looking for pet- friendly areas, most often look for pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and so forth. As much as these aspects are important, so is walk-ability. According to Smart Asset, Chicago ranks well on the walk-ability rate.

New York, New York

New York is also considered as a great city for pet lovers. The outdoor spaces that provide countless activities or dogs and other pets are contributory factors to this. However, when it comes to veterinary services, it tends to lean on the expensive side.

Denver, Colorado

This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the city of Denver. Denver ranks second, according to Smart Asset when it comes to a pet-friendly environment. It holds one of the highest numbers of dog- friendly shopping centers, restaurants, and hotels.

Sacramento, California

It's wide and green, great for your pet to run around and have fun. The endless stretch of green land, allows it to hold an endless number of parks in Sacramento. You can hardly run out of things to do with your loyal best friend.

Extended Family

Written by Carl Frisk | September 12th, 2017

  I live on a sail boat and tend to travel frequently so having a dog as a pet would not really be fair. I believe in being responsible to the needs of our furry friends. So wisdom prevails over my personal wants. But that hasn't prevented me from some excellent and very satisfying relationships with my friends bundles of love. I include many of them in my long list of extended family. And as in all aspects of life the love you get is greater than the love you give.

As an example: 

 

  May 2016 I nearly died in a hiking accident on Mt. Pilchuck, WA. to this day September 2017 I am still recovering from that accident. My friend Trish invited me over for dinner a couple of months ago. It was around the time I was becoming mobile enough to get out of the boat and start visiting friends and family under my own power. I remember being just as excited to visit Trish as her two pups Belle and Chewy! I didn't expect what happened though. 

  I walked up to her home on crutches, about three blocks, and rang the door bell. Immediately I heard the excited yips and yaps from both little critters. I suddenly realized how much I missed them. She opened the door and said hi and ran to the kitchen. Both of them went silent. They recognized me, but not the crutches. They circled me as I entered the house and made my way over to the couch. Both of them had a quizzical look on their faces as if to say "What happened?". I slowly sat down on the couch, tired and in some pain. 

Chewy and Belle

Trish with her pups

Carl with Chewy and Belle

  Chewy ran off to get mama. Belle jumped up on the couch on my left side next to me, examining me fully with concerned eyes.. Then she gingerly put a paw on my left leg.. My good leg. I rubbed my right leg softly and my tummy where the pain was and she ... Well she GOT IT! Slowly she climbed onto my lap avoiding the pain spots. She never does anything slowly being a little bundle of cute loving energy that she is. But this time she moved with precision. She settled in on my lap and slowly, softly put her paw on my right leg. 

 She gave me comfort and she gave me love. Chewy showed up by this time and he jumped up on the other side of the couch near my right leg. He put his chin on my leg and joined his sister in taking care of me. Needless to say I forgot about my pain!  This is family, loving and caring unconditionally. Helping in the best way possible in good and bad times. This is what life is about. Thank you my extended family, Trish, Chewy and Belle! 

  Love, peace and family. Happy trails and be safe out there!