Birds? What Is A Cat To Do?

By / 17th June, 2017 / Caturday w/ Romeo / No Comments

Summer always presents the same age-old question to all domesticated felines: birds. What does one do with birds? Enchanting songs, yet so tasty. Their music is unmatchable in beauty, but when one lands, the urge to pounce is so overwhelming. This question obviously leaves cats with two answers: just leave the birds alone and enjoy their carols, or follow you instincts and pounce.

Being a more classy, sophisticated cat, I lean more towards the former. As I spend the majority of my days inside the Catnasium, I do not come across the opportunity to pounce on many birds often. When the opportunity does arise, I suppress my instincts. Mainly because if I scared all the birds away, I could not listen to them as I rule over the Animal Den.

My thoughts towards birds are one more example of me not being an ordinary cat. Normality is beneath me. Now I must go. The Animal Den has been busy during these first few weeks of summer, and I cannot leave anything unsupervised for long.

6 More Useful Dog Training Tips

By / 1st June, 2017 / Dog Training / No Comments

1. He’s a dog, not a human. It’s their “doggyness,” not what we think of as their similarity to humans, that makes them so lovable. Dogs don’t think like humans. They do not plot acts of revenge; they are just trying to do what makes them feel happy or safe.

2. Dogs do the things that we reinforce. Those behaviors you don’t like? We usually have ourselves to thank. Owners inadvertently reinforce all kinds of undesirable things, from excessive barking at the doorbell to counter surfing. Keep leaving food within reach on the counter, and your dog will learn that it’s worth his while to check.

3. Learn to be quick with treats and praise. If the treat comes more than a few seconds after your pup has done what you’ve asked, he has no idea what he did to earn it, or you may inadvertently reward the wrong behavior. He’s happy to take it, but you failed to reward what you were teaching.

4. Always be happy when your dog comes to you, whether you called him or not. A common owner complaint is that the dog does not come when called. Never punish your dog when he comes to you, no matter what he did before. Call him in a happy, playful tone and reward big when he gets to you, with treats, a toy, or praise.

5. Keep a positive attitude. If you are getting upset, your dog knows it!

6. Provide the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Bored dogs get into trouble. For young puppies, mental stimulation is just as tiring as physical exercise and is safer for their growing bodies.

(Source)

6 Useful Dog Training Tips

By / 25th May, 2017 / Dog Training / No Comments

1. Understand that a puppy is an infant dog – not a miniature adult. Adjust your expectations accordingly, considering his physical and mental limitations. Before you know it, he will be grown up!

2. Puppy-proof your house with baby gates, a crate, and/or a pen. Any time the puppy is not directly supervised, he should be in a safe place where he can’t get into trouble. Provide appropriate safe toys for him to chew. Nobody would think of giving a human toddler total freedom in a home, and puppies need the same careful supervision. Eliminating opportunities for accidents and destructive behavior will get you through the puppy phase with most of your stuff intact! This helps make sure that bad habits never get a chance to take hold.

3. Dogs are not born understanding English. The new puppy you brought home two days ago has no idea what the word “no” means. Instead of expecting him to drop whatever it is he’s doing, show him what you want him to do instead.

4. Learn about dog body language. Your dog may not be able to talk, but he can tell you how he feels. This is a good place to start learning what he’s saying: http://www.akc.org/content/entertainment/articles/how-to-read-dog-body-language/

5. Train with high-value treats. You will be amazed at how much harder your dog will work for a tiny piece of chicken breast, cheese, or liver, compared to even premium store-bought treats. Those may work in distraction-free settings, but when the job gets more difficult, you need to bring out the good stuff. Training treats should be soft, so you don’t have to wait for Rover to chew before continuing the lesson.

6. Catch your dog being good. It’s easy to get caught up in scolding when your puppy is getting into trouble, but rewarding him out of the blue for being good lets him know he’s doing the right thing.

(source)

My Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament

By / 22nd April, 2017 / Caturday w/ Romeo / No Comments

The entire country has tuned in to witness the NCAA Tournament. Basketball is a little too robust for me; however, I don’t mind getting in the sporty spirit for a few weeks. Some people might call a cat like me a “bandwagon jumper”. This is not the case as I do support the same few teams every year.

Yes. Teams. I root for multiple teams and have not yet decided on just one. To me, the animals representing the teams are very important. I am currently supporting the Kentucky Wildcats and the Arizona Wildcats. Despite my reputation as a rather sophisticated feline, I can stoop to being a wildcat for a few games. Just as long as the Kansas Jayhawks fail to win. Seeing a bird win with wildcats in the tournament would be embarrassing.

It might surprise some people to know that I am not against dogs winning. The Butler Bulldogs or the Gonzaga Bulldogs would not bother me, as I have learned to tolerate dogs here at the Animal Den. Just as long as the Jayhawks lose I will be quite pleased.

In my brief experience watching sports, I have realized that when I choose one team to win, they never win. On the other hand, the odds are much better about choosing a team to lose. So even though I would prefer one of the Wildcats to win, my main objective of watching is to watch the Jayhawks lose.

5 tips for training your dog

By / 20th April, 2017 / Dog Training / No Comments

1. Give your dog plenty of daily exercise and stimulation.
One or two short walks per day is simply not enough for most dogs, especially not for any of the working breeds, such as herders and retrievers. An under-exercised, bored dog is an unhealthy, unhappy dog. A great many destructive and aggressive behaviors stem from a lack of exercise and stimulation.

2. Be consistent.
This is one of those common-sense pieces of wisdom that just about everyone knows but not quite so many of us practice. When you’re working with your dog, it’s crucial to be consistent- both in praise and in discipline. Praise good behavior and/or correct bad behavior the same way EVERY time.

3. Don’t do anything with, for, or to your dog until he is calm and relaxed.
That goes for everything from clipping on his leash, to putting his food down in front of him, to giving him the go-ahead to jump into the car. When you engage with him while he’s in an excited or nervous state, you’re simply rewarding and reinforcing that energy.From a training standpoint, nothing productive happens until your dog is calm and relaxed.

4. Don’t Allow your dog to sleep in your bed with you.
This is a tough one for a lot of us, since pets are family. However, letting your dog sleep in your bed gives him mixed messages about his role in your world. Allow him to sleep with you and he will see you as his equal, not as his boss. Once that happens, he will see no reason to respect and obey you. If you’re still dead set on allowing your dogs on the furniture and in the bed, make it by invitation only. Let him know he is welcome, but only when invited.

5. Don’t Allow your dog to pull ahead of you on the leash.
When you allow him to lead, in his mind, he’s running the show (and that attitude can translate to the rest of your interactions with him). When you walk your dog on his leash, he should be either even with, or slightly behind you. When it comes to training your canine best friend, hard work, consistency, and patience will make all the difference.

Training is a great way to bond with your dog, and with the right attitude, you can both have fun with the process!

(Source)

Why Should I Train My Dog?

By / 13th April, 2017 / Dog Training / No Comments

Why Should You Train Your Dog?

A) So it’ll listen when you tell him to do something
B) So you can take it wherever you go
C) So you can show off all kinds of neat tricks to your friends
D) So you can enter fun competitions and maybe even win
E) ALL OF THE ABOVE

Training is essential to having a good relationship with your dog. It’s not just about tricks and showing off: it’s about communicating with your pet so both of you are happier.

Sadly, many pets are relinquished every year for behavior problems. These problems can usually be fixed if people would take some time to train their dog. Remember, dogs don’t know how you want them to act, you have to teach them!

Training is an important part of any dog’s life, and is important for several reasons. It provides mental stimulation which helps to keep your dog happy, and if combined with morning exercise your dog will be mentally and physically tired at the end and far more likely to sleep during the day.

Reward-based training is enjoyable for the dog and positively enhances the relationship between the dog and handler. This approach revolves around positive reinforcement – i.e. rewarding behavior that we like. Rewards may be in the form of a tasty food treat or verbal praise such as “good dog!” in a pleasant tone of voice, to be given when the dog performs the ‘good’ behavior.

Reward-based training also involves generally ignoring any ‘unwanted’ behaviors. In this way, the dog is not rewarded for any unwanted behavior. If dogs are not rewarded (i.e. receives no attention or treats) for a certain behavior, then they tend to stop doing it. For example if a dog is jumping up to greet people they should be ignored if they jump up and only receive attention (including eye contact) when they have four paws on the ground. Only when they are standing or sitting should they be rewarded with attention and treats.

Sometimes if owners react to ‘unwanted’ behavior by yelling or getting angry they may inadvertently reinforce the behavior – dogs perceive this as attention and the ‘unwanted’ behavior is simply reinforced. For some dogs, any form of attention/reaction from the owner is better than no reaction at all. For example, if an owner shouts at a dog who is barking excessively, the dog may interpret this as getting attention and thus the barking continues whereas it is more effective to try to ignore this behavior.

Aversion therapy or physical punishment should not be used in training programs. Punishing a dog for ‘unwanted’ behavior can actually exacerbate the problem.

We highly recommend booking your puppy into puppy school classes, which are an important way of socializing your puppy with other dogs. Your puppy can then use this practice and learning when they meet other dogs at the park or on walks as they grow into adult dogs. Puppies have a ‘critical socialization period’ from about 3-17 weeks of age. This is the time when they need to socialize with other dogs in order to learn social cues and how to communicate well with other dogs.

For dogs that are no longer in the puppy stage, The Animal Den offers training classes.

Strange Animal – Lamprey

By / 12th April, 2017 / Strange Animals / No Comments

Lampreys are any jawless fish of the order Petromyzontiformes, placed in the superclass Cyclostomata. The adult lamprey may be characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth.

Currently there are about 38 known species of lampreys. Parasitic species are the best known, and feed by boring into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood; but only 18 species of lampreys are parasitic. Adults of the non-parasitic species do not feed; they live off reserves acquired as ammocoetes (larvae), which they obtain through filter feeding.

Adults superficially resemble eels in that they have scaleless, elongated bodies, and can range from 13 to 100 cm (5 to 40 inches) in length. Lacking paired fins, adult lampreys have large eyes, one nostril on the top of the head, and seven gill pores on each side of the head. The pharynx is subdivided; the ventral part forming a respiratory tube that is isolated from the mouth by a valve called the velum.

This is an adaptation to how the adults feed, by preventing the prey’s body fluids from
escaping through the gills or interfering with gas exchange, which takes place by pumping water in and out of the gill pouches instead of taking it in through the mouth. Near the gills are the eyes, which are poorly developed and buried under skin in the larvae. The eyes complete their development during metamorphosis, and in adults are covered by a thin and transparent layer of skin that becomes opaque in preservatives.

The unique morphological characteristics of lampreys, such as their cartilaginous skeleton, suggest they are the sister taxon (see cladistics) of all living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and are usually considered the most basal group of the Vertebrata. Instead of true vertebrae, they have a series of cartilaginous structures called arcualia arranged above the notochord. Hagfish, which resemble lampreys, have traditionally been considered the sister taxon of the true vertebrates (lampreys and gnathostomes) but DNA evidence suggests that they are in fact the sister taxon of lampreys.

Studies have shown that lampreys are amongst the most energy-efficient swimmers. Their swimming movements generate low-pressure zones around their body, which pull rather than push their bodies through the water.

Parasitic lampreys feed on prey as adults by attaching their mouthparts to the target animal’s body, then using their teeth to cut through surface tissues until they reach blood and body fluid. A study of stomach content of some lampreys have also shown remains of intestines, fins and vertebrae from their prey. Although attacks on humans do occur, they will generally not attack humans unless starved. Non-parasitic lampreys, which are usually freshwater species, do not feed as adults; they live off reserves acquired as ammocoetes (larvae), which they obtain through filter feeding.

Lampreys provide valuable insight into adaptive immune systems, as they possess a convergently evolved adaptive immunity with cells that function like the T cells and B cells seen in higher vertebrates. Lamprey leukocytes express surface variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) generated from somatic recombination of leucine-rich repeat gene segments in a recombination activating gene-independent manner.

Pouched lamprey (Geotria australis) larvae also have a very high tolerance for free iron in their bodies, and have well-developed biochemical systems for detoxification of the large quantities of these metal ions.

Adult lampreys spawn in rivers and then die. The young larvae, ammocoetes, spend several years in the rivers, where they live burrowed in fine sediment, filter feeding on detritus and microorganisms. Then, ammocoetes undergo a metamorphosis lasting several months.

Some species do not feed after metamorphosis, while others migrate to the sea or lakes, where they feed on different species of fish and even on marine mammals. Species whose adults migrate to the sea begin preying on other fish soon after metamorphosis, even as they begin swimming downstream.

Lampreys live mostly in coastal and fresh waters, although some species (e.g. Geotria australis, Petromyzon marinus, and Entosphenus tridentatus) travel significant distances in the open ocean, as evidenced by their lack of reproductive isolation between populations. Some species are found in land-locked lakes. They are found in most temperate regions except those in Africa. Their larvae (ammocoetes) have a low tolerance for high water temperatures, which may explain why they are not distributed in the tropics.

Sea lampreys have become a major pest in the North American Great Lakes. It is generally believed that they gained access to the lakes via canals during the early 20th century, but this theory is controversial. They are considered an invasive species, have no natural enemies in the lakes, and prey on many species of commercial value, such as lake trout.

Lampreys are now found mostly in the streams that feed the lakes, and controlled with special barriers to prevent the upstream movement of adults, or by the application of toxicants called lampricides, which are harmless to most other aquatic species; however, those programs are complicated and expensive, and do not eradicate the lampreys from the lakes, but merely keep them in check.

To Ten Dog Training Tips pt.2

By / 6th April, 2017 / Dog Training / No Comments

HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Changing behavior takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BENEFITS OF FEEDING A HIGH QUALITY FOOD
Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.

YOU GET WHAT YOU REINFORCE – NOT NECESSARILY WHAT YOU WANT
If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.

BRIBERY VS. REWARD
The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.

FREEDOM
Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.

Meet the Breed – Komondor

By / 5th April, 2017 / Dog Breeds / No Comments

A large, muscular breed, the Komondor is mostly known for its unusually dense, protective coat of heavy white cords (which make him look like a giant mop!) that form naturally as the breed matures in age. The coat serves to cover vulnerable body parts in case of attack, helps him blend in with his flock and protects him from weather extremes. While he has been a working dog in Hungary for ten centuries, he is also found in the show and obedience rings in the United States

 

Did You Know?

  • THE KOMONDOR IS ONE OF THREE BREEDS OF WORKING DOG NATIVE FOR TEN CENTURIES TO THE SHEEP AND CATTLE COUNTRIES OF HUNGARY.
  • THE KOMONDOR IS CHIEF OF THE HERDSMEN DOGS, BUT NOT OFTEN UTILIZED FOR ROUNDING UP THE HERDS; MERELY ACCOMPANIES THE FLOCKS AND HERDS IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES, ACTING AS MORE OF A PROTECTOR THAN HERDER.
  • DESCENDED FROM TIBETAN DOGS, THE KOMONDOR WAS BROUGHT TO HUNGARY A THOUSAND YEARS AGO BY NOMADIC MAGYARS.
  • THE KOMONDOR IS AN ALMOST DIRECT DESCENDENT OF THE AFTSCHARKA, WHICH THE HUNS FOUND ON THE SOUTHERN STEPPES WHEN THEY PASSED THROUGH RUSSIAN.
  • FAILURE OF THE COAT TO CORD BY TWO YEARS OF AGE IS A DISQUALIFICATION IN THE KOMONDOR BREED.
  • THE PLURAL OF KOMONDOR IS KOMONDOROK.

Of the three breeds of working dog native for ten centuries to the sheep and cattle countries of Hungary, there seems little doubt that the king of them all is the Komondor.

Known for its dignity, strength and courage, the Komondor is generally reserved and serious with strangers but demonstrative with those he loves. Owners should be willing to provide daily exercise and obedience training. Early socialization for puppies is critical, especially to any unusual situations the dog will encounter later in life. This is important in reducing the number of situations that might trigger an unexpected protective response.

 

(Source)

Top Ten Dog Training Tips pt. 1

By / 30th March, 2017 / Dog Training / No Comments

LISTEN TO YOUR DOG
Learn to listen to your dog. If your dog appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or person, don’t insist that he say hello. He’s telling you that he isn’t comfortable for a reason, and you should respect that. Forcing the issue can often result in bigger problems down the line.

BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR AFFECTION
Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but, they often ignore the good stuff. Big mistake! Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been a good boy. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise. It’s even okay to be a little over the top.

DOES HE REALLY LIKE IT?
Just because the bag says “a treat all dogs love” doesn’t mean your dog will automatically love it. Some dogs are very selective about what they like to eat. Soft and chewy treats are usually more exciting for your dog than hard and crunchy treats. Keep your eyes open for what he enjoys.

TELL HIM WHAT YOU WANT HIM TO DO
There is nothing inherently wrong with telling your dog “no,” except that it doesn’t give him enough information. Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell him what you want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize well, so if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello and you say no, he may jump higher or he may jump to the left side instead of the right. A better alternative would be to ask him to “sit.” Tell him what you want him to do in order to avoid confusion.

BE CONSISTENT
Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.