The 5 Different Types Of Dog Growls

Most people assume a growling dog is bad news, but that isn’t always the case. Dogs vocalize their thoughts and feelings in several different ways. They bark and whine, and the low rumbling we call growling can mean multiple things. There’s the basic aggressive growl most people know to watch out for, but a growling dog isn’t always an angry dog. Knowing the different situations where a dog might let out a growl will help you better communicate with your pup. Here are a few reasons for growling you might not have known about.

#1 – Play Growling

Dogs often growl in the middle of playtime to say, “This is fun! Let’s keep going!” It usually happens when they’re enthralled in a game of tug-of-war with their favorite human, and they also growl while playing with other dogs. For an outsider listening in, two dogs growling with each other can seem alarming. As long as the situation doesn’t escalate, however, there’s no reason to intervene. It’s hard to decipher the difference between human ears, but play growling is typically higher-pitched and shorter in length than aggressive growling. Dogs can tell the sounds apart and know when their playmate is having fun and when they’re not.

#2 – Pleasure-Seeking Growl

Similar to the play growl, a pleasure growl is completely harmless. Some dogs start growling every time their owners walk through the door because they know they’re about to get attention. They’re anticipating head scratches and belly rubs, and the growl is by no means threatening. The noise is usually low and loose, and it can even sound like the dog is trying to speak their owner’s language. They might bare their teeth and sound angry, but they’re actually happy and excited.

#3 – Frustration Growl

Like humans, dogs aren’t great at handling frustration—and some are worse than others. A frustration growl is almost a pleasure-seeking growl. It’s often misinterpreted as aggression, but that’s rarely the message the dog wants to convey. An example is when a dog is behind a fence and sees another dog or person on the other side. They desperately want to get closer to say hello to their new friend, but the fence is holding them back. Growling shows their irritation at the fence, and it doesn’t mean they’re being aggressive or threatening.

#4 – Warning Growl

Dogs that are uncomfortable with a situation will resort to a warning growl. It’s usually when the dog is afraid, possessive, or territorial. They emit the deep grumbling to tell whoever’s trying to approach them that it’s time to back off. They’re firmly requesting that the person or dog respect their personal space. A warning growl isn’t always easy to decipher. They’re typically extremely low pitched, and the dog doesn’t have to open their mouth to make the sound. It’s usually accompanied by a set jaw, dilated pupils, and stiff body language.

#5 – Aggressive Growling

Once a situation escalates out of control, aggressive growling is a clear sign the dog is past the point of warning. At this stage, the dog wants to establish their power. There are several possible triggers for an aggressive growl. It could be that the dog has a high prey drive and sees something they want to hunt, or they could relish the idea of putting a competing canine “in their place.” An aggressive growl is identified by being clearly audible with stretched-out rumblings. It also comes with lunging, raised hackles, and snapping.

Most of these types of growls are nothing for a dog owner to worry about. They sound scary, but if a loving family pet lets out a growl,  consider the situation and surroundings before jumping to conclusions. If a dog growls to show aggression, it’s important to separate them from whatever they’re growling at. Use extreme caution and know dogs think and act quickly. Talk to a trainer to better understand why your dog is showing signs of aggression and how you can help them overcome the behavior.

 

Introducing Your Cat to a New Dog

Despite the urban myth that cats and dogs hate each other, many cats and dogs live together happily and are great companions. If you’re considering bringing a dog into your home and you already have a cat, it’s important to try your best to make the introduction a success.

Before you choose a dog, think about the personality and temperament of your cat, and try to make a good match. There are certain breeds of dog for example, which are bred specifically to chase smaller animals, so they may not be a good choice as a new addition to your furry family!

Puppy or Adult Dog?

A puppy is likely to be more flexible and easier to ‘train’ to be around a cat, but they’re also going to be more lively and boisterous than an older dog especially in the first year, which is something to keep in mind.

An older rescue dog may have been part of a family with cats previously and tolerate them well. Older dogs are also generally going to be calmer and more relaxed.

If you’re introducing a new dog to a kitten, don’t forget that kittens are smaller and easily injured; so be careful with unsupervised contact between them. If your older cat is introduced to a new dog and gets scared, she’ll hiss and spit but she might also lash out with her claws – so make sure they’re trimmed.

How to Prepare for Your New Dog 

Make sure your home has plenty of ‘safe’ spots that a dog won’t be able to get to so that your cat has escape routes if it all gets too much for her. Think about hiding places, shelving high up on the walls, and tall cat trees that a dog can’t jump up at. If you have an upstairs and downstairs in your home consider putting a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs so your cat can escape upstairs in peace.

The Introduction Process

  • Before you introduce them, make sure that you’ve trained your dog to sit and stay. Keep the dog in a set location to start off with (as you would with a new cat), so the introductions are on your terms, and make sure it’s well away from the route your cat has to take to get to her food, litter tray etc. Make sure you’ve exercised your dog before every meeting to get rid of any excess energy.
  • Keep your dog on a leash for initial introductions, even if you’ve been successful in obedience training him – better safe than sorry! Keep introductions short, and be aware of both your cat and your dog’s reactions. It’s natural for your cat to run away scared at first, especially if she’s never encountered dogs before. Repeat as many times as you need until they both seem calm in each other’s presence.
  • Once you’re happy with their reactions to each other, do the same again but without the leash.
  • Move onto unsupervised contact only when you’re 100% comfortable but continue to keep a watchful eye to ensure the safety of both pets.
  • Watch out for warning signs from your dog. If he seems aggressive or you can’t control him it’s time to reassess the situation. You may need to make environmental modifications within your home so that your cat and dog have separate living areas, or seek help from your vet or an animal behaviorist until they learn to become friends or at least don’t hate each other.

Party Host Etiquette: How to Host a Party When You Have a Dog

Are you worried about fur flying during your upcoming dinner party? Here are 6 tips on handling typical problems dog owners face when hosting a party.

The phrase ‘party host etiquette’ takes on a whole new meaning when you have dogs. Often, you’ve planned, you’ve prepped and you’re oh-so-ready for your guests, but Fluffy and Fido have a slew of party antics up their sleeves. From fur flying onto your friend’s stylish suit to brain-beating barking, you never know what to expect when you’re hosting a party with pets in the house.

Here’s an overview of six common dog-related party problems and tips on how to avoid them:

  1. A Sea of Dog Fur
    Your guests aren’t likely to appreciate a layer of dog fur on their posh party pants. To avoid this party host etiquette fail, you should do a thorough vacuuming of all of your upholstered furniture before anyone arrives. Be sure to keep your pups off of the couches and chairs, and go over all fabric surfaces with a sticky lint roller just before party time. And don’t forget about your pillows, tablecloths and other fur-grabbing accessories. You should shake these items out or give them a quick wash before your guests arrive.
  2. Barking Battle
    Festive music? Check. Witty banter? Check. Annoyingly obtrusive background barking? Check. You don’t want barking to be the background soundtrack for your party, but what can you do? You could keep your pet in a separate room, but that could lead to a vicious cycle of your dog howling and you leaving the party to soothe your furry friend. Chances are she’ll chill out and stop barking as she gets used to all the new party people, so try to be patient if this is an issue with your dog.
  3. Lunging at Legs
    Picture this: The moment you open the door, your dog lunges and jumps all over your guests. Does this sound familiar? If so, you should put your pup’s leash on before anyone arrives. When guests do begin to show up, instruct your pet using commands that he’s already used to. If you simply say “sit” when you want him to stop during your walks, use that term. If “leave it” is your command of choice, work with that phrasing.
  4. Sniffing and Licking
    Dogs sniff and lick for many reasons. In the case of new people coming into your home, it’s likely just your pet’s way of saying hello or asking, “Who are you?” Pet-loving guests will get this and may not snub the sniff. On the other hand, some of your friends may not want a slimy stream of dog saliva garnishing their paté. You should try the lunging leash trick for this canine faux pas as well. When your pup gets close enough to sniff or lick, keep her in check on the leash and tell her to sit.
  5. Furniture Fiasco
    Your best dog friend is your constant companion. He cuddles with you in bed and nestles up next to you on the couch. While couch-sitting behavior may be completely acceptable when it’s just the two of you, your guests probably don’t want to have to move over so that your pet can claim his favorite spot. Unfortunately, on-the-spot training on the day of your party won’t cut it when it comes to keeping your dog off of the furniture. You can avoid the problem by putting your dog on a leash or using gates to keep him contained to a certain area of the party.
  6. Meal Madness
    Your dog’s begging for table scraps might not bother you during your daily meals, but this is certainly frowned upon at a dinner party. Are you worried that your canine companion might jump on the spread as your guests dine? Try making your pet’s feeding time slightly before the party starts. A full belly may prevent her from wanting to nose her way into another meal.

This May Be The Reason Your Dog Curls up to Sleep.

 

Nothing is cuter than when a dog curls up to sleep. But why do they do it? My dog Radar has a pre-sleep ritual. He’ll wait to be invited onto the bed, dig in the blankets to make a nest, and turn in circles until he’s found the perfect spot to curl up in. Radar almost always curls up to sleep, even when it means squishing himself into a seemingly too-small space.

Some dogs sleep stretched out on their sides. Others contort themselves into uncomfortable-looking sleep positions. But many dogs curl up to sleep like my Radar. And it’s not just a preference: curling up to sleep has practical benefits for dogs.

Canine sleep habits
Like humans, dogs like to be comfortable when they sleep. Although some dog sleep positions look uncomfortable from the outside, for your pooch, they’re just perfect.

Common dog sleep positions include:

  • On their side
  • On their tummy
  • On their back with their paws up in the air
  • Snuggled up with their favorite human or animal friend
  • Curled up in a ball

All of the above sleep positions have their benefits. For instance, sleeping sprawled out on their side or tummy can help dogs cool off in warmer months. In general, dogs fall asleep in positions that offer physical comfort and psychological safety.

A dog curls up to sleep for warmth
The most obvious reason dogs curl up to sleep is for warmth. By curling tightly into a ball, and tucking their nose under their tail, they conserve body heat. Consider how you sleep when it’s cold: bundled up under warm blankets, possibly with your knees drawn up to your chest, or even snuggled around your sleeping dog.

Huddling up for warmth is an instinctual behavior in mammals. You and your dog have a lot in common!
Your dog’s tendency to curl up to sleep goes back to their origins. Before they were domesticated, dogs slept in dens and made nests to keep warm at night. Even though your dog has a warm, dry shelter, they still have hardwired behaviors from their ancestor’s pre-domestic days. This may also explain why dogs “make the bed” by digging into blankets or the couch. They’re preparing their nest for the night.

Dogs curl up for security
Another reason dogs curl up when they sleep is to feel safe. You may have heard that dogs show their stomachs when they’re comfortable. Conversely, they curl up to protect their tummy in vulnerable situations. Curling up to sleep protects dogs’ vulnerable organs from would-be predators. Curling up to sleep can also offer psychological comfort to dogs who feel unsafe. Consider how often you see photos of dogs in animal shelters, huddled or curled up in the corner of their kennel. In a noisy, intimidating environment, curling up to sleep can help dogs feel protected and safe.

Dogs curl up for comfort (even if it doesn’t look that way to you)
In truth, the main reason dogs choose one sleep position over the other is simple: it’s comfortable!

When your dog curls up to sleep, whether for warmth or protection, they’re mainly just trying to get comfortable. Even if they sleep in a crate, as long as they have space to stand up, stretch out, turn around, and lie down, they can get a great night’s sleep.

You can help make your dog more comfortable by providing space and soft surfaces for sleeping. Give them a soft blanket or pillow to use in their “nest.”

And for added cuteness, keep a teddy bear or other stuffed toy around. Curling up to sleep is always nicer with a friend to snuggle!

Doggy Boredom: How to Tell and What to Do.

 

Most of us have jobs that keep us away from the house for at least eight hours a day. Do you wonder if your dog gets bored or lonely while you’re gone? For some dogs, the answer is definitely yes. Bored dogs can be a problem for owners, too, as they’re more likely to get into trouble.

In other words, lack of mental stimulation and exercise during the day leaves our dogs looking for something to do, and often it’s not something we approve of.

So how can we prevent dog boredom? We’ve got the expert tips on how to help bored dogs—and keep the house in one piece.

Why Dogs Get Bored

Dogs are intelligent animals, and some breeds more than others. Border collies, German shepherds, golden retrievers, and poodles are among the most intelligent breeds, and these guys and gals need stimulation. In fact, most of these dogs were bred to complete a job. Nowadays, dogs are more likely to be companions than workhorses—and that’s messing with their mojo. Bored dogs might just be dogs that want a job! (Pro tip: agility classes are great for dogs like these.)

Stimulation not only prevents boredom, but also cultivates your dog’s personality and wards off stress. Psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren has authored many books on dog psychology and says the most important stimuli for dogs include:

  • Exposure to interesting places and things
  • New, exciting experiences
  • Frequent opportunities to learn things and solve problems
  • Investigating and interacting with objects and the environment around them

If your dog is sitting around the house all day without any of the above, he’s likely to get bored.

Is My Dog Bored?

If you’re seeing a big mess every time you come home, chances are your dog needs more stimulation. After all, bored dogs are looking for something to do—even if it’s not what you’d like them to do. Signs you’ve got a bored puppy include:

  • Antsy or restless behavior
  • Destructive behavior, like chewing shoes or carpets
  • Pawing for attention
  • Jumping
  • Barking
  • Digging in the trash
  • Digging up the backyard

If you’ve seen one or more of these signs, it’s likely you have a bored dog on your hands.

Bored Dogs: How to Help

1. Give your dog plenty of exercise. Bored dogs often have a lot of pent-up energy. Give them enough physical activity, though, and the same dogs will be pooped and more likely to spend the rest of the day napping.

2. Send him to doggy daycare. The socialization and mental stimulation will keep your dog engaged and busy.

3. Make mealtime fun. Turning mealtime into a game will help keep your dog entertained. Try a slow feeder dish, stuff some peanut butter or wet food into a classic Kong, or let your dog knock around a treat dispensing ball filled with part of his dinner or small low calorie treats.

4. New toys, Mom! The same old toys get boring after a while.

And they prefer the soft, squeaky kind. Bored dogs will look for inappropriate toys, so giving them a variety of approved playthings will help keep them out of the trash.

You can mix up your dog’s toy stash to keep him interested—don’t leave toys scattered about, but hide and rotate toys over time so when they come back into the rotation, they’re brand new again. You can also hide toys around the house or yard.

5. Let him watch some TV. DOGTV that is. If you’re a DIRECTV subscriber, you can add on this channel tailored to stimulate your dog. It’s also available on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. You can also leave Animal Planet or NatGeo Wild on to keep your dog engaged while you’re away.

6. Give him a playmate. Bored dogs are often solo dogs. Although it’s a lot of work, in the beginning, being a multi-dog household gives your dogs built-in socialization and stimulation. Make sure your dogs get along, though—don’t pair an alpha dog with an alpha dog and expect peace and harmony. Get help from a certified dog behaviorist or trainer before bringing home a second furry family member.

 

The Bottom Line

Yes, dogs get bored. Sit around the house all day with absolutely nothing to do and you’d get bored, too! Try some cool new toys or puzzles to keep your dog engaged and, of course, exercise always helps. Mixing up your dog’s routine will keep him stimulated and happy—and the house intact!

What Foods Are Safe For Dogs at Thanksgiving?

 

Is your dog joining you at the Thanksgiving table this year? Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if your dog is like most dogs, they will definitely be joining in on the food fun!

Sure you technically should not give your dog people food. But, it’s Thanksgiving.  Our dogs are part of the family. A poll from PetMD says that 56 percent of people do give their pets some food on Thanksgiving.

It is perfectly fine to give your dog small pieces of turkey as a treat or mix it with their regular food.

The question is: Which Thanksgiving snacks are safe for dogs and which are not? 

Thanksgiving classics like turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes to our furry friends under the table. But what may be delicious to us, may not be safe for our pups.

Here’s a look at some Thanksgiving foods that are OK for dogs to eat, and which you should avoid:

 

Safe:

1. Turkey

It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey. And dogs can eat lean protein, so giving your pup a little Thanksgiving turkey is absolutely fine. Just make sure that you’ve taken out any bones that your dog could choke on and take off the skin. The gravy, though, could be too much for your dog.

2. Sweet Potatoes

A little bit of sweet potato is a great snack for your dog. You might want to skip it, though, if you add marshmallows to your sweet potatoes. And definitely, check to make sure there’s no Xylitol in your marshmallows if you do add them.

3. Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac n cheese? You could give your dog some macaroni and cheese as a Thanksgiving snack as long as you know that your dog can handle the dairy well. If not, a piece of a roll could be good.

4. Vegetables

Vegetables are always a great, healthy treat for your dog. And there are plenty of options on Thanksgiving. Hand over some carrots or some green beans for your pup to crunch away on.

5. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes would be fine to give to your dog. But as Care.com points out, it depends on how you make them. If you add onions, garlic, chives, or leeks, for example, you should definitely skip the potatoes.

6. Cranberry Sauce

Similarly, a little cranberry sauce should be OK for your pup, but it depends on how it’s prepared. If you’re adding macadamia nuts or raisins, then you definitely should not give it to your dog. Some canned cranberry sauce, too, could have too much sugar for your dog to handle.

Unsafe:

1. Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin isn’t bad for dogs. In fact, vets recommend you give your dog a little pumpkin when they’re having digestive issues. But pumpkin pie can have spices like nutmeg, which is very bad for dogs. And you might not want to give your dog too much pumpkin if they’re not having stomach problems.

2. Stuffing

While some stuffing could be OK for dogs, Vet Street points out that a lot of bad ingredients could potentially be added to the stuffing. If you don’t know what’s in the stuffing, or you know it has garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, grapes, raisins, or unhealthy spices, it’s best to avoid the stuffing.

The Real Reason Dogs Eat Poop – And How to Make Them Stop

Many dogs start eating poop because their bodies are prodding them to correct an insufficiency or imbalance in the digestive process. Some dogs eat poop because they are anxious, frustrated, bored or stressed. Younger dogs that don’t have behavior problems can pick up the habit from other, more anxious, canines in the family.

If your dog is stressed, he might eat non-food objects besides animal waste. If your dog shreds anything he can, he may be telling you that he needs more play time. He may be hungry or seeking minerals lacking in their regular food.

Did you know that there is a technical term for poop-eating? Coprophagia is the scientific term. Coprophagia is almost always done by healthy dogs. Almost 25 percent of dogs have been observed eating poop.

How to treat Coprophagia
There are no proven methods to stop dogs from eating feces 100 percent of the time. The best way to stop the behavior is to prevent it. Pick up poop from the yard immediately and don’t make the cat litter box accessible to your canine.
*Change the dog’s diet. Buy or prepare only nutritious, quality food that is formulated for dog’s age, breed and any medical issues.
*For the hungry dog – try feeding him a little more, and make sure the food is quality, nutritious food.
*Clean up after your pet, right after he goes.
*Walk the dog on the leash to better watch to make sure they leave the poop alone.

Coprophagia can be a hard habit to break since it is self-reinforcing, but do not get discouraged. Follow these tips and give them a chance to work.