What Does Appropriate Dog Play Look Like?

Watching a variety of different dogs play is one of the biggest benefits of my part-time job. Dogs really know how to party, and the joy they get from play can be contagious:

Mini-breaks and Time-outs

In this video you several breaks in the action, even in just under a minute of elapsed time. This is a good thing. I highlighted the big one in the video, and there was another right after I stop filming (naturally) where Caffeine was gagging (it happens during allergy season and no, it’s not the collar) and Buddha politely stopped and waited for her to reach up and mouth him to resume play. I really wish I hadn’t stopped filming!

This kind of cooperation is what we want to see. It doesn’t always look exactly like this of course, because all dogs are different and play differently. It’s possible to draw broad generalizations about breeds – retrievers tend to like to mouth wrestle and end up with their heads literally soaked, bully breeds tend to slam dance, some herding breeds like to play tag — however the "tagging" better be gentle — but as I’ve said before, these are broad generalizations and are not always true. Know your dog, and know your dog’s friends.

Symmetry and Handicapping

Patricia McConnell talks about self-handicapping frequently on her blog and in her talks. It’s an important part of play. In the video I highlight a point where Buddha offers to let Caffeine pounce on him for a bit. She rarely takes him up on this offer. She likes to play on the floor and even did that when we had a much larger dog that played much more roughly with her.

In the puppy playgroups at Kellar’s Canine Academy we have a "regular" named Lucy, a 8 month old or so Pit Bull mix, who is an absolute master at self-handicapping. She can switch from letting a tiny puppy half her size jump on her and nibble her face to slam-dancing with her best friend, a 70 pound Rottweiler puppy, in seconds.

Some dogs can adjust play styles. I’m fortunate that Buddha and Caffeine (with the few dogs she will play with) can and will do this. It’s not necessarily common and don’t expect your dog or the dogs you come across to do so. Some dogs take offense, even in the middle of a play session, to a bitten ear or a jumped-upon face. The question is, how do they react? A warning and/or disengaging from play is just fine. Retaliation is usually not.

In a safe environment dogs always have the option to end play by stopping and, if nexessary, leaving the area. This means (at least) two things must be true: the area is big enough for a dog to be able to leave the area of play and the participants are in control to take the hint when a dog wants a break.

So What’s Actually Acceptable?

This is an excellent video, worth watching a few times, about play and body language:

One of the more interesting parts of my apprenticeship was watching how different trainers handled playgroups in both puppy classes and with adult dogs. Some were very hands on and quick to enforce a break in the action. Other tending to go with the flow and tried to engineer things more by strategically picking playgroups.

I came away a bit of a laissez faire attitude, and the fact that I have had to deal with small groups and then ideal facilities (until very recently) have forced me to improvise. I want to see regular breaks in the action. I don’t like to see too many high-speed chases, dogs up on their hind legs, and dogs that seem overwhelmed or afraid need to be helped by pairing them up with appropriate playmates. But attempts to support one dog or another or to enforce specific rules of play are not my thing.

What has your experience with playgroups been?

What Does Appropriate Dog Play Look Like? is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey


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Tyco: Blue-Mitted Ragdoll Cat Eats Greenies Pill Pockets

Just a cute and useless video of Tyco eating broken up pieces of Pill Pockets. I don’t give him the whole thing because: a) they’re just given as a treat (he…

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The strange twisted story of canine circovirus

You have probably been hearing a lot about canine circovirus. So have I. You may have heard some conflicting things about this virus. So have I. Because I love you all and I want you to know what I know, I’ve spent the day trying to make sense of the information that’s out there. Here’s what I know so far and why I’m not recommending mass panic at this time.

Part 1: It’s the food

Here’s how the story evolved, as far as I can piece together.

1. In mid-August, P&G pet foods issues a voluntary recall of certain lots of dry food manufactured at an East Coast plant over a 10 day period because of the possibility of Salmonella.

2. Last week, The Pet Spot, a pet kennel in Ohio, learns that several dogs who had been at the facility in the last few weeks had become sickened with a severe hemorrhagic gastroenteritis/ vasculitis type disease. Three of those dogs died.

3. The kennel owner, trying to figure out what was going on, noted that his kennel’s stock food is Iams. He makes a “hey, we may want to look into this” sort of statement which gets digested, churned up in the bowels of social media and local media, and becomes

OMG EUKANUBA IS KILLING DOGS AGAIN (CHAOS/PITCHFORKS)

mob

The only problem is, it wasn’t. By this time, P&G- which coincidentally is headquartered in Ohio- hears this story and of course they would like to know what happened to those dogs. I spoke with Jason Taylor over at P&G, who among many duties has the awesomely fun job of managing pet food recalls when and if they occur, to ask what happened next.

According to Taylor, despite the fact that the kennel owner did not have the lot codes of the food he was using, P&G was able to ascertain the lot numbers based on order history and shipping details, determining that the food being fed at the kennel was not part of the recall, and in fact was not even manufactured at the same factory.

But since they were there anyway with a group of microbiologists and toxicity experts and a small business owner who was under a lot of pressure to figure out what was going on, they figured they would add their resources to the investigation, crawling around with cotton swabs and all that science-y stuff and send it off to see if there was any identifiable pathogen in the environment. There was none. The facility was cleared to re-open.

Still with me?

Part 2: It’s circovirus

4. By now, the state veterinarian, the local veterinary community, and the Ohio State veterinary hospital are involved. People put their heads together. Someone says, “hey, I remember reading about a dog in California that died this April with similar symptoms; he had circovirus, which is weird and unusual because it’s normally a pig disease. We should test for that too.” The news, already paying attention after losing the whole pet food angle, is still interested. Under the tender editorial guidance of a click-happy news site, “we are investigating this possibility” becomes:

OMG A SCARY NEW VIRUS WILL KILL YOUR DOG

because if there’s one thing the spell check challenged online journalism teams at local newspapers like to do, it’s to drive traffic with leads like “It’s a scary new disease, that can kill your dog” then follow up with some man-on-the street interviews with statements such as “It can like, kill your dog, and that’s like bad for them.”

hazmat4

Uh oh.

As anyone who has read any sort of newspaper or watched any news channel in the last decade will attest to, journalism has become less about accurate reporting and more about fast reporting. It’s the nature of the beast these days, but it’s why everything needs to be taken with a grain or bushel of salt because guess what?

According to a UC Davis professor who tested samples from three of the affected dogs, only one tested positive for circovirus. You may not have heard that yet because Ohio can’t test for circovirus; samples got sent to California and despite what CSI tells us, results are not instantaneous. It took this long for the official results to come in, which is about 4 days too slow for a news cycle that is moving on to the next disaster at midnight.

Part 3: It’s…a case in progress

So what do we know about circovirus and dogs, exactly? Not much. What caused these illnesses? Not sure.

  • Correlation does not imply causation. In the above referenced piece, Dr. Pesavento points to an academic article published in April that  talks about the dog in California, then went looking for the presence of circovirus in other dogs. To sum up, it was found in some dogs with diarrhea. It was also found in some healthy dogs. Most of the sick dogs were co-infected with some other pathogen as well. Clear as mud.

So again, what do we know about circovirus in dogs? That it exists. It may or may not cause disease. That is all the scientists are willing to say at the moment. Wordier summary is in the Ohio Department of Agriculture press release.

That is soooo anticlimactic and unsexy and un-newsworthy, and as a person who likes exciting news as much as the next person I wish I had something more earth-shattering to report. But at the end of the day I am also a person that likes TL:DR summaries, so to put it all in one handy image:

circotagion

Part 4: So now we torch the dog park, right?

I in no way want to minimize what happened to those affected dogs, who suffered from a rapid onset, devastating illness. It is entirely possible that circovirus will be identified as the cause, and in that case we can revisit this issue and talk more. I as much as anyone else hope the patient scientists who make this their life’s work will be rewarded for their diligence with a definitive cause. As of now, there is none. We live such stressful lives as it is, I like to wait until I’m forced to panic so I don’t spend my entire life wedged in the corner covered in Saran Wrap. While we wait to determine if this is necessary, here’s what you can do:

1. Remember the number of reported cases stands at ‘miniscule’. If you’re worrying about circovirus while your dog is running around a year late on his parvo booster, I would recommend re-focusing your attention, at least for the time being. That being said:

2. Call the vet immediately if your dog shows any signs of this disease. If your dog has bloody diarrhea, you should be at the vet ASAP anyway; this advice has not changed since before this virus emerged. The affected pets became rapidly, severely ill: rapid treatment was essential to positive outcome.

3. Avoid high risk environments. Consider the fact that all of the reported cases happened in dogs that had recently been to kennels or doggie daycares. High concentration of dogs in one place means higher likelihood of disease spread.  I actually don’t recommend carte blanche avoiding these environments, but if you are really concerned or if your dog has a less than hardy immune system, dogs survive just fine without those facilities.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Two Fluffy Pomeranians

Fluffy Pomeranians

two-fluffy-pomeranians

Two adorable fluffy Pomeranians with their cool shades on. Hey, let’s go watch a movie Kaohom

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Poor Oral Hygiene Tied to Cancer-Linked Virus

Poor Oral Hygiene Tied to Cancer-Linked Virus
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) — People whose teeth and gums are in poor condition may be more susceptible to an oral virus that can cause certain mouth and throat cancers, a new study suggests. Researchers found that of more than 3,400 U.S. 
Read more on WebMD

Saving the smiles of Nepal with good dental care
Spero's ceremony was supposed to be a crowning achievement for Eva Nepal, the nonprofit group she founded in 2007 to provide the village with desperately needed oral health care. Today, for the first time, the health post would absorb responsibility
Read more on The Japan Times

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The Thirsty Dachshund

Sometimes, you’ve just got to have a drink but it’s too high – and then it’s scary because you might fall in!  I met this lovely wire-haired dachshund in Gorbio.  This is where the horses come to drink.

RIVIERA DOGS

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My 10 Favorite Boots for Fall 2013

The 10 Best Boots for Fall 2013 // Bubby and Bean
1. The Alms Boot, in Whiskey Blowfish  //  2. The Horrigan Boot in Black, H by Hudson  //  3. The Brit Lo Boot in Black, Nasty Gal  //  4. The Contra Boot in Black, Pink & Pepper  //  5. The Biker Boot in Pecan, Madewell  //  6. The Parker Suede Boot in Weathered Sage, J.Crew  //  7. The Who Boot in Alpaca Suede, Belle by Sigerson Morrison  //  8. The Legacie Boot in Brown, Madden Girl  //  9. The Richards Boot in Black, Matisse  //  10. The Hi Top Back Zip Boot in Black, Minnetonka 

As much as I whine to you guys about summer coming to an end, I’ll admit that there is one thing that gets me pumped for fall.  And no, it’s not pumpkin spice lattes.  It’s boots.  This especially holds true for this year, because the vast majority of cool weather clothes I own and would potentially be getting excited to pull out of the closet will not be fitting my now nearly six-month-pregnant body.  Since I refuse to go out and spend a bunch of money on a new fall/winter maternity wardrobe, and will thus be making do the best I can with what I have clothes-wise, I’m focusing any cool weather fashion excitement on a staple that I can wear no matter how much my body changes.  Again, this would be boots.  And booties.  And ankle boots.  And there are plenty of them that I’m loving this season, as seen above.  Lucky for me, I already own #10 (and adore them), and am anxiously awaiting #1 to arrive early next week (outfit post coming soon).

Who else is mildly obsessed with boots and ankle boots for fall?  What are your favorites from this round-up (ya know, just in case I break down and get myself just one more pair)?

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A dog is a man's best friend and it's up to us to keep them happy, healthy and safe. There are many ways to prevent them from Starting out with small amounts of food is better so the dog can get it out easier and helps them learn how to get food
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Toothbrush still works best for pet oral hygiene
The bulk of bad breath odor — the trademark rotten egg smell — comes from hydrogen sulfide, which is waste from anaerobic bacteria that thrive without oxygen in places like gaps between teeth and gums. Plaque buildup also invites the bacteria and as
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World’s Most Adorable Degenerate Produce

A grape. So benign. Frozen, so delicious. Dehydrated, so raisin-y. And in large quantities in dogs, the unassuming grape goes Breaking Bad and becomes a killer. Da da duuuuum…. so let’s talk toxic foods for a minute.

When my friend Lili Chin over at Doggie Drawings asked if I would look over a poster she was designing of toxic foods for canines, I was so excited, because her drawings rock and I couldn’t wait to see how she interpreted “bulb of garlic.” The idea was to create a simple, cute piece about toxic foods for dogs, and she wanted my thoughts.

As soon as I looked at the list, I realized this would be a challenge, because toxicity is not always linear. Sometimes a dog eats a bag of grapes and is fine and other times a dog eats one bite of pork fried rice and dies of pancreatitis. Sometimes only portions of a fruit are toxic and other parts are fine. Sometimes there are at least three variables that must be calculated before you know if a food was ingested at a toxic amount (chocolate, for example.)

There is a reason this poster does not have in-depth detail about toxicity doses, etc. Determining toxic likelihood on a case-by-case basis is exactly what veterinarians are for, so if you swear up and down onions have made your dog’s life better don’t email me complaining, talk to your vet and go forward in peace. Consider this a lighthearted PSA that you can do with what you will.

At the end of the day, the world will always be improved by more of Lili’s drawings. Macadamias packing heat will NEVER go out of style.

toxiclili

Source: Lili Chin, DoggieGrawings.net

What this is: a cute graphic with limited specifics intended to share knowledge about foods that might cause a problem for your dog, so that you can discuss it with your veterinarian if you are concerned.

What this is not: An exhaustive treatise with toxic dose approximations, a prediction of your dog’s demise if he eats a piece of cheese, an academic piece in a peer reviewed journal, a substitute for your vet’s opinion.

It’s a poster, and a really cute one at that. Lili has them available for download here as well.  Hope you like the hooligan chocolate bar as much as me!

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Snoring Dog Sends Baby Into Giggling Fit [VIDEO]

Watch as this darling baby goes into absolulte hysterics when a napping French Bulldog begins snoring! Amazingly, the babies' shrill giggles fails to wake the slumbering pup.

Snoring french bulldog happy baby

 


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