Why Do My Dog’s Eyes Glow in the Dark?

You’re taking your dog outside in the dark, and, when your dog glances at you, his eyes have an odd, red glow.  What in the world is that?!

I’m going to go ahead and tell you the truth.  Your dog is a superhero, capable of shooting red-colored lasers from his eyes.  When you think he’s asleep at night, he’s actually out fighting crime.  This has been dogs’ well-kept secret, but I have finally let it out.  Now you know the truth.

Just kidding!

Seriously, though, why do your dog’s eyes glow in the dark?  The reason why they glow is somewhat like a “superpower.”  Your dog has an element of night-vision, like cats.  When you see your dog’s eyes get that odd coloring, it is actually just light reflecting off of the eye surface, enabling his eyes to make the most of the limited light.  Some of the colors a dog’s eyes may glow are red, blue, and green.

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Dog

halloween-all-dressed-upWhile Halloween is a fun time for children, it can be very dangerous for dogs.  People dressed up as zombies and ghosts can terrify some dogs, and ringing doorbells are enough to drive most dogs into a barking frenzy!  It’s very important for you to take safety precautions for this day in order to keep your dog safe and happy.

Keep Your Dog Secure

halloween-dog-under-fence

Before Halloween, inspect your fence and make sure that there is absolutely no way your dog could escape.  The sight or even noise of trick-or-treaters and ringing doorbells could easily frighten a dog, causing him to panic and look for an escape.  Also, make sure your dog has a form of identification on him like your address embroidered on his collar or an ID tag.  Microchips are a good idea too, but most people don’t think of having stray dogs scanned and assume that if there is no ID tag, there is no owner.

When it starts to get dark, children dressed as princesses, zombies, and superheroes will run from door to door, getting candy.  All of this activity can confuse and upset many dogs.  With this in mind, when the children start trick-or-treating, bring your dog inside and put him in his cage or a room with a closed door.

Can I Dress Up My Dog?

halloween-hot-dogSome dogs love to dress up, but most don’t.  Please don’t force your dog to wear a costume!  If your dog likes dressing up for Halloween, make sure nothing in his costume is too tight or can be chewed off, and never leave your dog unsupervised.

A treat can do wonders when trying to convince your dog that costumes are fun!  As you dress your dog, feed him his favorite treat.  Then, once your pup has his costume on, ask for a sit before giving him another treat.  Most dogs will not tolerate having clothes on for an extended period, so be ready to take any pictures you might want of your dog in his get up!

Going Trick-or-Treating?  Please Leave Your Dog at Home!halloween-dog-in-window

It’s never a good idea to take your dog trick-or-treating with you.  When dark it’s easy to lose your dog, and the children in spooky costumes could easily frighten him into yanking the leash right out of your hands.  Please leave your dog at home in a secure room or his cage (leaving him alone in the yard is not a good idea as he could dig under or jump over the fence, trying to escape the stress).

If you will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, please don’t let your dog greet the children!  Even if your dog is friendly, a kid dressed like a zombie could scare him, making him feel like he should protect you from this odd new thing.  Another concern is your dog bolting out of the open door.  Also, some children are afraid of dogs, so please be considerate and leave your dog in a secure room or his cage with a toy or two for company.

No Candy!halloween-candy

Candy easily upsets doggy stomachs, so please don’t share any with your dog (especially chocolate; it’s poison for us!).  Throw away all candy wrappers and make sure your kids keep their candy out of reach.

Have a safe and fun Halloween with your dog!

Get to Know Me Interviews

Sissy

What is your name, age, and breed?

My name is Sissy Dog, and I am a fourteen year old Toy Poodle.

What are your hobbies?

Begging for table scraps!  My humans refuse to give them to me, but I always have hope.  They need to learn to share.

What is your favorite color?

Hot pink.

What is your favorite food?

I have lots of favorites: cheese, hot dogs, bacon, carrots…I could go on and on.

What is your favorite toy?

I’m far too mature for toys!

What is your pet peeve?

Having my ears brushed.  I hate it!

Would you rather be inside or out?

I want to be wherever my humans are.  If they go outside, I go outside.  If they’re inside, so am I.

What is your favorite movie?

Lassie Come Home.

What is your favorite book?

Lad: A Dog and Old Yeller

Wet dog food or dry?

Wet, but my humans only give it to me on special occasions.

What’s your best trick?

Taking a bow.  I’m very good at it, and I love to make charming faces while I do it.

If you could meet a famous dog (real or imaginary), who would it be?

Lassie.  She’s so cool!

How would you describe your personality?

I’m docile, determined, and posh.  I love people and know how to get what I want.  I also have a wonderful sense of style and love to dress up!

Do you have any goals for the future?

I’d like to be able to jump onto the table without the aid of a chair.  Then I could help myself to people food anytime!

Rosie

What is your name, age, and breed?

My full name is Rosie Posie of Greenbrier Valley, but I love you so you can just call me Rosie.  I’m a one year old Golden Retriever.

What are your hobbies?

Playing!  I love to play tug-of-war, fetch, and tease-the-cat.

What is your favorite color?

Red.

What is your favorite food?

Milk Bones.

What is your favorite toy?

My KONG.  I love it!

What is your pet peeve?

Being alone.

Would you rather be inside or out?

Outside as long as one of my humans is with me.

What is your favorite movie?

Up.  Alpha scares me, but I love Dug.

What is your favorite book?

Clifford the Big Red Dog.  I love picture books, and Clifford is red, my favorite color.

Wet dog food or dry?

I’m not picky, so I enjoy my chow dry.  If my humans switched me to wet, though, that’d be great too.

What is your best trick?

Giving a paw on command.

If you could meet a famous dog (real or imaginary), who would it be?

Dug from the movie Up.  We both have the same attitude towards life and love everybody!

How would you describe your personality?

I’m affectionate, loyal, and energetic.  I’m also super friendly.  Everyone I meet is my best friend!

Do you have any goals for the future?

I want to become a certified therapy dog and make people happy.

How to Use the Correction “No”

Naturally, you must discipline your dog if you want a well mannered companion, and the correction “no” is used by all pet owners.  “No!  Bad dog!  Don’t eat my sock!”  “No, Fido, get away from my food!” “No, no, nooooo!”  However, being such a popular verbal punishment, this word is often overused or used improperly.  In what way and how often should you use the correction “no”?

Make Your Correction Word Sharp and Short

Say “no” in a low, sharp voice.  Too often people will say “no” in a normal tone of voice or combine it with silly baby talk such as, “No, no, you bad pupsie wupsie.  Oh, you naughty, naughty puppers!”  Such tones and words don’t tell your dog that he has done wrong; they do they complete opposite!  Verbal corrections must be sharp and to the point.

Don’t Overuse “No”

When a dog hears the word “no” all day every day, he begins to ignore it.  Since the word has become a part of everyday life, he pays as much attention to it as he does to the tree in the backyard.  Because of this, “no” should not be used all of the time.  Not only is it discouraging for your dog to hear so much correction, “no” will also lose its effectiveness.  When your dog does something small that displeases you, distract him or ask for a different behavior.  Is your dog jumping up on you?  Instead of saying “no”, ask your dog to sit, then reward him for a job well done.

Never Use Your Dog’s Name as a Correction

Anytime your dog hears his name, he should associate it with good things – your attention, a treat, a walk, etc.  Never use your dog’s name as or with a correction.  If you yell your dog’s name when he chews your furniture, will he come to you when you call his name outside?  Most likely, no.  Because you have turned his name into a correction, he thinks that you yelling it means that he is in trouble.  To avoid this problem, always use a correction such as, “No, bad dog!”

Reward for Wanted Behavior

Too often, people forget to reward their dog when he stops an unwanted behavior.  Here is an example:

You walk into your bathroom, and Spot is in the act of tearing up a roll of tissue paper.  You shout “no” continuously at him, and he stops what he’s doing to look at you.  Grabbing your dog’s collar, you put him in a timeout in the backyard while you clean up the mess.

While this seems like a very effective and clear punishment according to you, this can confuse your dog as to what you’re punishing him for.  Were you saying “no” because your dog was chewing the tissue or because he stopped chewing?  Your dog doesn’t know; the only thing he knows is that you’re mad.  Here is how this episode should have gone:

You walk into your bathroom, and Spot is in the act of tearing up a roll of tissue paper.  Sharply and in a low voice, you say “no”, and your dog stops to look at you.  “Good boy!” you say, rewarding him for stopping.  Spot steps towards you, and you ask for him to sit.  He obeys, so you pet him.  Then, you put him in the backyard so you can clean up his mess.

It was clear to Spot in the above paragraph what he was being punished and rewarded for.  Chewing tissue is bad, stopping the behavior and sitting is good.  Always remember to reward your dog for stopping the unwanted behavior and to ask for something good he can do, such as sitting.

Saturday Morning Fun

Hello!  I hope that you are all having a paw-some Saturday!  So far, Rosie and I have been having a grand time.  While my humans ate breakfast, I made sure to make them feel guilty about not sharing with me.  After I got my morning treat, I tried to mooch some oatmeal from Baby.  Rosie is too young to understand the art of begging, so she just goofed around with her toys before going outside to play fetch.

Just look how stoic and noble Rosie looks in the picture above.  It looks like she’s always that calm.  However, that picture is a lie.  She usually looks silly, like in the picture below.

Rosie loves to make funny faces while she’s playing.

My humans have been saying that I look like a stuffed animal.  Why not use this to my advantage?  I tried to blend in with stuffed animals so that my humans wouldn’t see me, enabling me to steal their food.  They saw me no matter how still I sat, though, and even took a picture of me, saying I was so cute.  Isn’t that silly?

Why Does My Dog Have a Tail?

Have you ever wondered why in the world your dog has a tail?  Thick or thin, long or short, tails are an interesting canine body part.  They’re also really fun the chase, according to Rosie.  I, however, would never stoop to such foolish behavior (besides, my tail is too short to catch!).  Besides being a lot of fun for dogs, though, why are tails there?

Tails = Communication

This pup is happy!

Flapping back and forth to show joy and tucked under legs to show shame, a dog’s tail helps him communicate with humans as well as other animals.  Here a few different tail behaviors your dog might do and what they mean:

  • Simple wagging of the tail shows that your dog is happy.  However, a slow wag can also mean that your dog is nervous.
  • Tails held straight up like a flagpole mean your dog is telling someone that he’s the boss.
  • Tails held down or between legs show fear or shame
  • A very rapid wag means that your dog is super excited!

This dog’s tail is helping him turn

Balance

Your dog is running and wants to make a quick right turn.  His front legs turn right, but his back legs continue forward.  Your dog’s tail, however, turns right, helping his back legs get on track.  Thanks to his tail, your dog was able to make that quick right turn smoothly and efficiently.  Tails are a wonderful asset for dogs when it comes to turning, running, and even walking, giving them better balance.

Swimming

For dogs bred to be in the water, a tail acts as a wonderful rudder.  If you ever see a water dog in the water, notice his tail.  He will use it sometimes to help propel him as well as to turn.

Why Doesn’t My Dog Have a Tail?

Breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer and Corgi don’t have tails.  These breeds have what’s called “naturally bobbed tails.”  They’re just born with it.  Other dogs, however, have theirs cropped.  Cropping of tails dates waaaaay back: Ancient Romans thought that it could prevent rabies, and people in the 18th century had to crop their hunting dogs’ tails or be taxed.  The practice has been handed down since those times, some thinking that it will prevent injuries as well as get rid of a nuisance.  A study done in Great Britain, however, determined that a cropped tail doesn’t help a working dog and that injuring of tails is very, very unlikely (0.23%).  I would highly suggest that you not have your pup’s tail cropped.  The procedure could be very painful (have you ever stepped on your dog’s tail?  They’re sensitive!) as well as unnecessary.  Also, your dog needs his trusty tail for communication and balance!

Don’t worry if your dog was born without a tail.  He doesn’t know what he’s missing, and he will still wiggle when he’s happy!

Dog Walking Gear

With the many different leashes, harnesses, anti-pull equipment, and collars, it can be hard to decide what walking gear your dog needs.  What’s the difference between a leather leash and a nylon?  What is a head halter?  Does a choke collar really choke your dog?  Below many of the popular dog walking gear is explained to help you choose which best suits your dog.

Collars

  • Snap and buckle collars are the most popular collars.  The former snaps together, and

    Buckle collar

    the latter buckles like a belt.  They are also adjustable and come in a variety of colors.

  •  A choke collar does just what its name implies.  When your dog pulls, the collar tightens, eventually cutting off breathing if your dog continues to pull.  For your average dog, this collar isn’t a good idea.  Not only is it frightening for your dog, a choke collar can also give him injuries or even cause death.  However, a dog that is seriously aggressive may benefit from such a collar if it is used properly.  If you think it would help your aggressive dog, consult a professional dog trainer.  Never use a choke collar without professional assistance!  Also, a choke collar is not meant to be worn constantly.  It could catch on something and strangle your dog to death. *
  • The prong collar is somewhat similar to the choke collar.  It does not, however, choke

    Prong collar

    your dog.  Instead, it pinches.  As with the choke collar, though, it is not for your average dog.  It is more suited for training dogs who are very aggressive.  I think that the pinching correction is better than choking.  However, the prong collar is not meant to be worn all of the time.  It should only be worn every once in a while or the prongs will start cutting into your dog’s skin.  Also, you should consult a professional before putting one on your dog. *

  • Shock collars, like choke and prong collars, should not be used on your typical dog.  When used, it should be set on a very low shock and only when under direction of a professional dog trainer. *

*Should never be used on puppies!

Leashes

  • A Nylon leash is the most popular when it comes to canine leads.  4-6 feet long, this tough, durable leash is perfect for casual training and walking.  Also, it comes in a wide range of colors.  One downside, however, is that it will give you rope burn if your dog

    Nylon leash

    pulls.

  • Leather leashes are durable as well as stylish.  A leather leash will most likely last longer than a Nylon and won’t give you rope burn.
  • traffic leash has two handles, one at the end of a the 6 ft leash and the other nearer the dog’s head, giving you a short and long leash all in one.  When crossing the street or simply to get more control, you can switch to the handle which makes the leash shorter.
  • Retractable leashes can be a great way to give your dog freedom while also making sure he doesn’t escape.  However, these are not appropriate for places with traffic or people.  This leash’s rope will give you painful rope burn and can cause injury if your dog should wrap it around someone.  Also, it doesn’t give you good control as your dog can be trailing 16-25 feet ahead of you, eating who knows what.  In a quiet neighborhood or country setting, however, it can be a great way to give your dog a little freedom.

Harnesses

  • The traditional harness can be helpful for dogs who get choked when being walked with only their collars.  Your traditional harness, however, may encourage your dog to pull even more as it makes doing so very comfortable.  Harnesses are especially

    Head halter

    beneficial for small dogs as it reduces the tension on our little necks.

  • There are many different anti pull harnesses to choose from.  Rosie wears a mesh anti pull harness which is comfortable and also discourages pulling while not choking your dog.  Check it out on Amazon.com.
  • A head halter goes on your dog’s face and is like a horse halter, giving you control of your dog’s head.  It does work on certain dogs, but be aware that people may mistake it for a muzzle and avoid you in public.  Also, it can make some dogs very uncomfortable.  When your dog pulls, the side of his face becomes uncomfortable.  It can either give your dog a feeling akin to a push or a terrible pain, depending on how hard he pulls.  Such a thing might frighten some dogs, causing them to dread walks.