Clive on the Couch

Clive loves to be on the couch and get some love.

Natural History

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The Rise of the French Bulldog


The story of people and dogs is always tied in some way to culture, which is itself tied economics and sociology. 

For example, I came of age in the Era of the Retriever, when in the late 80s and 90s, there was enough economic expansion as the result of a technology boom that middle class aspirations were always a house in the suburbs and a golden or Labrador retriever in the backyard.

Since the Great Recession, the middle class hasn’t been able to grow in most Western countries, and large sectors of people are coming of age in a world in which people must work long hours and live in little apartments.

Those are not the best conditions for caring for a gun dog breed, unless it’s a very toned down Labrador or golden. 

Ten years ago, there was bit of an English bulldog fad. Ozzy Osbourne had bulldogs, and several reality TV shows, not just his, featured the breed. The breed suffers from a myriad of problems, and it took about a decade before people began to realize that these dogs are a lot of work and heartache.

So the English bulldog’popularity boom never stood a chance at replacing the Labrador.

But traveling alongside its larger English counterpart in its popularity rise was the French bulldog, and it is this breed that has the potential to reign as the most popular breed in much of the West in a very short order.

You may think I’m a bit crazy for saying so, but right now, the French bulldog has already displaced the Labrador in the UK in terms of Kennel Club registrations.

The reasons why this is happening are quite interesting. These dogs are not easy to breed, so the prices of them are extremely high. They are not dogs that the middle class can buy, but as the good life is no longer being defined as having a big house in the suburbs and having children, the French bulldog fits in better with these expectations.

Someone once told me that the reason someone likes French bulldogs is because they don’t like dogs.  What was meant by that statement is that French bulldogs lack many of the traits we typically like in our dogs. They are not particularly trainable. They do have issues cooling themselves and breathing, as a result of their brachycephaly, and they really cannot be used for anything.

I’ve contended that the appeal of these dogs is they have more monkey-like faces, which we higher primates find particularly easy to relate to it,  and we now live in a world where it’s harder and harder to keep and handle dogs. So much so, that  we now have whole generations who don’t understand what a dog should be like.

So they go for the monkey dog, which won’t mind that it must live in an apartment or condo and certainly won’t care if its owner can’t give it much exercise or serious training.

The dog is cute to some people, probably because of our own ethology that predisposes us to monkey faces, and it’s not that hard to care for.

It’s now obvious that the market for these dogs is far from saturated, and people are plunking down as much as $ 10,000 for an eight-week-old puppy of some fad coloration in the breed.

There is now so much money in this breed, that thieves are stealing them from homes and even pet stores.

I am not going to argue for legislation that will tell you what kind of dog you must have, but it seems perverse that we moving so staunchly away from truly athletic and workmanlike dogs to these monkey dogs.

I can’t help but feel some sorrow about what we’re doing, because we’re not really doing it because of dogs but because of our own alienation from the natural world, an alienation that becomes more and more complete every year and with each generation.

The wolves that sat by the campfires of yore allowed their bodies to be bred in some many bizarre shapes and forms, but the current move is to step so far away from what a wolf is or was. It is step beyond the 35 million years or so this particular subfamily of Canidae, which has been to develop adaptations for distance running and cursorial predation.

We are engineering something new, just the way we have when we adapted wolves and primitive dogs for own new societies and tasks. It’s just what’s driving this distortion is human caprices and fashions, which are so rarely checked in when allowed to run amok in domestic dog breeds.

Natural History

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2019 Washington Capitals Pet Calendar Helps Dogs in Need

  Not only did the Washington Capitals win the coveted Stanley Cup in 2018, the professional ice hockey team also won the admiration of dog lovers as the players once again championed the cause…



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DogTipper

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10 Holiday Traditions My Kids Love

10 Holiday Traditions For Kids

Thank you Amazon for sponsoring this post. Give the gift of reading this holiday season with Prime Book Box!

When I think back to the holidays of my childhood, it is the family traditions that stand out most in my mind. Those activities we did every year felt so magical! And to this day, they remain some of the most special memories of my life. Holidays with kids are so full of wonder and excitement, and I knew from the moment my little ones were born that I wanted to create traditions for them as well. This year feels especially fun, because they are both at ages (almost 5 and almost 3) where they are able to remember holiday activities we did in previous years, and are asking to do them again. We’re truly establishing traditions together, which is wonderful in every way.

Today I thought I’d share with you some of the holiday traditions my kids most love. Some are borrowed from my childhood and some are new. Some are commonplace and some are unique. But each of them is adored by my little ones – and by their mama and daddy too.

1. Doing an advent calendar. There are so many incredible creative ideas for this on Pinterest, but we just buy the old fashioned ones with chocolate inside like my husband and I had as kids, and our children absolutely love them. They are genuinely thrilled to open a new window each day starting on December 1st.

2. Making our own ornaments. If you’re a regular reader, you may have seen the handmade ornaments we created last week. This is the second year in a row we’ve done this, and is something I did with my mom growing up as well. I can’t wait to fill our tree with them over the years.

3. Reading together. This is another favorite tradition carried over from my childhood. Every evening, we turn on the Christmas tree lights, curl up together under a blanket (often with hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, or candy canes), and read books as a family. This season we’ve been reading books from our Prime Book Box. (Current favorites are Elmore, Kitten’s First Full Moon, Mother Bruce, and The Friend Ship.) Prime Book Box is a subscription program, exclusively for Prime members, that is perfect for future book lovers, pre-readers, and readers, from age 0 to 12. Each box contains 2 hardcover books or 4 board books that were hand selected by Amazon editors, so kids are ensured to receive books they’ll want to read again and again. We love ours so much! Learn more about the awesomeness that is Prime Book Box right here.

4. Seeing a holiday show. This year we’ve seen two holiday movies as a family (which I think totally counts!), but for us, our main holiday show tradition is the Nutcracker Ballet. My daughter is a dancer and it is her dream to perform in it (she will be old enough to audition next year!). She, my mom, and I go see it every year.

5. Creating a holiday collection. When I was growing up, I collected miniature Santas. Each year, my parents would let me choose a couple of new ones to add. I still have them all (close to 50!), and display them proudly every year. As I mentioned above, my daughter loves dance and the Nutcracker Ballet, so she decided to start collecting nutcrackers this year. It makes my heart swell!

6. Decorating the Christmas tree. Okay, so this isn’t exactly original, but I couldn’t not include it. This year we went and picked out our tree the day after Thanksgiving and decorated it that weekend. I think we’ll do the same from now on. So much fun!

7. Giving a gift that truly keeps on giving. While the choosing of this gift itself is a tradition that is more for my husband and me, the opening of it by the kids on Christmas morning is something really cool that I hope to continue each year as they grow up. So many of the presents my kids receive for the holidays, while appreciated, ended up being quickly forgotten. My husband and I decided that giving them something they can receive throughout the year would be both practical and special. Prime Book Box is a perfect example of this. With Prime Book Box, any Prime member can give the gift of reading for the holidays, and because it is a subscription service (that delivers hand-picked, hardcover children’s books  – the best!), your child can enjoy it throughout the year. And what’s really cool is that you can choose how often you want it to come (every 1, 2, or 3 months), and also have the option to customize the books from a list of curated selections. Each kid also gets to see his or her own name on the box when it’s delivered, which is really fun.

8. Taking holiday light drives. Every year we load up into the car, turn on the holiday music station, get hot chocolate to go, and drive to look at different light displays. My kids think it’s the most magical thing ever.

9. Writing letters to Santa. This was one of my favorite parts of the holidays as a kid! Our park district has a program where you can register for letters from Santa by filling out a form with questions, having your little one write a letter to Santa, and then taking it to a special decorated mailbox at the community center. The letter that comes back is personalized on fun holiday paper.

10. Helping those in need. My daughter is at an age where she is beginning to understand this, and we talk a lot about how kindness and generosity are the things that most embody the spirit of the season. Last year, we had the kids choose toys they no longer played with to donate. This year, my daughter used money from her piggy bank to buy some in addition to this. It’s such a great way to teach children about the importance of giving to those in need because they also see it as a fun tradition. And I’ve found that even really little ones feel good when they give to others!

Thank you for letting me share my children’s favorite holiday traditions with you. I’d love to hear about your family’s traditions as well! And, again, if you’re looking for a unique holiday gift that can be appreciated all year long, I can’t recommend Prime Book Box enough. You can’t get much better than a gift that inspires a love of reading in kids, and the hardcover books contained in each box are just fantastic. It’s priced right too at just $ 19.99 per box. (Prime members can save up to 40% off List Price! That’s pretty great!) Click here to learn more about Prime Book Box, and subscribe today!

Happy holiday traditions, friends!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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How to Help Your Dog Feel Comfortable with Holiday Guests

This post is sponsored by CEVA Animal Health, makers of ADAPTIL® for dogs. All statements and opinions are entirely our own. As always, we only share products that we use with our own pets! Let’s be…



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DogTipper

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Win a Paw Promise Bracelet Stack of Your Choice!

It’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like the holidays around here as we decorate and prepare for Barli’s first Christmas. I think we’ll have to forego a Christmas tree because…



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DogTipper

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Holiday Baking

I started my cookies yesterday. I’m not brave or skilled enough to try a gingerbread house, but I have a feeling it might end like this if I did! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Celebrate #GivingTuesday with the Humane Society of the United States and Halo®

GivingTuesday

Today, November 27th, is #GivingTuesday and your gift to the Animal Rescue Team of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) can go even further. For every $ 1 you give, Halo is donating one bowl of food to a rescued animal courtesy of Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org. Plus, your gift directly supports the work of the Animal Rescue Team. Every dollar raised will help save animals from puppy mills, animal fighting operations, natural disasters and other situations where they’re suffering from extreme cruelty and neglect.

Donate to help animals!

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Barli’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Dogs

This post includes affiliate links and sponsored products. If you purchase an item from one of our Amazon links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This year has been a big one…



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DogTipper

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Malaria-Sniffing Dog May Help Wipe Out Disease

We know all dogs have a powerful sense of smell. Whether we’ve brought a fresh loaf of bread into the house or carried a rotten bag of food out of it, their nose knows. And, of course, when we return home after sitting in a coffee shop or playing with someone else’s dog (gasp!), they sniff us down and let us know they know.

But some dogs take their sniffing to an entirely different level. Many have been trained to smell cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and even detect when people with diabetes go into hypoglycemia. And now, a Springer Spaniel named Freya who was trained by a charity called Medical Detection Dogs, is in the spotlight for her ability to detect malaria—in 10 seconds—by sniffing a sock worn for one night by a child who has the disease.

Scientists are calling Freya’s 70% accuracy record remarkable as they work to find ways to fight this disease that is spread by mosquitoes and has killed hundreds of thousands of people. There is hope that dogs may be able to help sniff out other infectious diseases, too, and right now dogs are inspiring scientists at MIT who are trying to create an e-nose to replicate their remarkable skill.

So while your pupper may not be sniffing out sickness, it’s important to remember how powerful and gratifying dogs’ sense of smell is to them, and to satisfy it with food and treats that deliver the scents they love like real, WHOLE chicken and chicken liver, wild salmon, sweet potatoes or pumpkin.

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