DOGS TRANSMIT HAPPINESS

My take on how dogs transmit happiness, from newborn back to the being that gave it life and then to future caregivers
My take on how dogs transmit happiness, from newborn back to the being that gave it life and then future caregivers

This is my take on how dogs transmit happiness. From the moment a puppy is born, it is loved by its mother. It feels great comfort and happiness which it then transmits back to the being that gave it life. As it grows in a safe environment, it develops into a grateful and happy young adult that only knows how to please and give love…always. And so the cycle continues.

HOW PETS FEEL AND ACT

Because they don’t speak our language, we often have to guess how pets feel and act the way they do. And, as you probably already know from experience, it takes time to develop a sense of what is going on inside the head of your companion dog and cat. But that’s what makes having them around so interesting and, occasionally, challenging.

Last week we introduced the topic of behavior and body language. In today’s blog we’re going to discuss a few more mood indicators and what to avoid. 

Mistakenly, a large percentage of humans believe that canine and feline behavior cues are identical. Then, after a rather painful experience, they find out—the hard way—that’s not the case.

Belly exposure is one glaring example. Read on for more tips.

If you don’t know why dogs do this, learn all about how pets feel and act the way they do
You can learn how pets feel and act by understanding why dogs sniff this part of the anatomy

A Dog
  • Food and toys: do not allow Fido to guard and prevent you from getting near what he claims is his and his alone. 

Reaction: he will almost certainly bite or even attack you.

  • Shakes toys vigorously in his mouth: this is how dogs in the wild kill their prey by breaking their neck.
  • Sniffs the rear end of other dogs: the pheromones (chemicals)  secreted by this part of the anatomy allow other dogs to know his identity.
  • What happiness looks like: happy facial expression; body relaxed; one paw tucked under his body

 

Kitty looks carefree but skills to know how pets feel and act a certain way help promote harmony at home
Kitty seems carefree but it’s helpful to develop skills to really know how pets feel and act a certain way

A Cat
  • Petting: many, many cats do not tolerate having their belly, tail or any of their paws touched so avoid doing this unless you know her very, very well. 

Reaction: she will lash out by scratching and injuring you.

  • Turns her back on you: it means she trusts you; and if she places her rear end in your face, she is being affectionate and wants to bond.
  • Tries to bite your ankles: this is play aggression; it’s her way of telling you to give her more attention and to play with her.
  • What happiness looks like: eyes half-closed and slow eye blinks; slow, deep breathing; quiet purring; slow walking gait; ears slightly forward.
Addressing The Issue

By taking the time to observe and analyze your companion animals, you will soon develop the ability to know why and how pets feel and act a certain way. This is really important. 

So, if you notice that your dog is starting to show signs of aggression, do not wait thinking that he’ll get over it in time. The fact is, the behavior will only worsen and the consequences can be very serious.

Last but not least, do seek the help of a professional, a dog behavior expert, to address this issue promptly. The expense is a small investment that is well worth it compared to any medical bills and legal expenses that will likely occur down the road.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

PET BEHAVIOR AND BODY LANGUAGE

Understanding pet behavior and body language helps pet parents avoid actions like petting a dog on the head
When you understand pet behavior and body language, you will never pet a dog
on the head again

This week’s blog is an introduction to the fascinating subject of pet behavior and body language as it related to dogs and cats. In fact, it’s one of many that I will be sharing with you over the coming months.

Some of the behaviors are in their DNA. They are passed down from generation to generation since way back when dogs and cats were wild. However, there are times when these, now, companion animals of ours can be trained to act a certain way. In addition to that, they may just acquire a particular characteristic on their own. And, another likelihood is that they will mimic what they see other canines and felines do.

When you understand pet behavior and body language you can find out why your cat is urinating on your bed
Understanding pet behavior and body language helps pet parents find out why the cat is urinating on their bed

It’s All About Communicating

The body language they exhibit and the sounds they utter tell us, and other animals, what emotional state they are in. Whether they are content and relaxed, excited and playful, concerned and anxious, or defensive, fearful and in fight mode.

These visual and auditive signals may be done consciously, or otherwise, but the purpose is unquestionable. They are designed to transmit to others their intention and when the communication is successful, those other animals and humans will react accordingly. 

Here are just a few specifics to get started, with more on their way very soon.

A Dog

  • Removes food from his bowl and eats it elsewhere: he is prewired to protect his food from other animals.
  • Petting: avoid the head and rear part of the body where he cannot see you. As he reacts, he may either move away or else snap at you.

A Cat

  • Chirping is an attention-getter. Mother cats chirp to their kittens so they pay attention to what she wants them to do and follow her lead. 
  • Urinating on your belongings: it is likely she feels insecure and is attempting to bond by leaving her scent on your personal items.

To Sum Up

Watch. Listen. Learn. And, don’t forget, this is a two-way street. While you are interpreting what your pet is demonstrating to you, your pet is doing the exact same thing, to one degree or another.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

HOW A CAT’S DNA AFFECTS BEHAVIOR

When it comes to the topic of how a cat’s DNA affects behavior, I don’t know a single person who is more knowledgeable. Who am I referring to? None other than the amazing Jackson Galaxy. 

You probably already know him from his enormously successful tv show “My Cat From Hell.” In addition to that, he has authored several best-selling books. And, you may have heard, too, about and his impactful advocacy work across the USA. 

Companion cat’s DNA affects behavior due to inherited wild cat ancestor instincts and skills. Play hunting and chasing provide important physical and mental benefits
Companion cat’s DNA affects behavior due to inherited wild cat ancestor instincts and skills. Enrichment through play hunting and chasing provides important physical and mental benefits

A Jackson Galaxy Term

Jackson Galaxy often uses the term “raw cat,” which describes what all felines are pre-programmed to do. If you haven’t already realized what it actually means, please take note. I can’t stress enough how important this is. After all, if you want to understand what your cat does and why, it really is fundamental. So, let’s take a look at a cat’s usual 24-hour behavior cycle.

First of all NAP

Then WAKE UP

  Next comes HUNT

 Followed by CATCH

Then KILL

And, of course EAT

 After all this is GROOM

Final full circle NAP

Wild And Not So Wild

I wonder if you’ve ever spent time observing wild cats, either in their natural habitat or at a sanctuary somewhere. And, if you’ve also noticed how all domesticated cats have a lot of characteristics in common. There are some striking similarities between the two, aren’t there? That’s because genetics determine how felines act, both in the wild, and in the home.

My point here is that in order to understand why our companion felines act the way they do, we need to look at their ancestors. And, this is the work that zoologists and other animal experts have done in the past and continue to do even today. As a result of their research, we are now able to provide a better quality of life for the animals we care for at home.

Let me give you a brief example. As we already know, wild cats, from the biggest species (Siberian Tiger) down to the smallest (Rusty-Spotted Cat), are hunters. They hunt for survival and spend many hours, every single day, doing precisely that. As for domesticated cats, when given the opportunity, they will behave in a similar fashion. They, too, love to hunt, kill and eat size-appropriate prey, such as lizards and mice. This is instinct. It’s in their DNA. That’s what cats do!

Play Hunting Activity For Indoor Cats

There are a number of ways you can get involved to enrich their life once you figure out how a cat’s DNA affects its behavior. Below are some suggestions and explanations so that your felines can satisfy their prewired hunting instincts and skills. Try to give them several play/workout sessions each day.

The Activities 

What cats love to do. They delight in running, pouncing, jumping,  chasing, searching and batting.

The Tools 

Mostly inexpensive, here are a few ideas to fulfill your cat’s activity needs. There are throw toys that make a noise, and wands with dangling objects. Plus, a laser beam never fails to give enjoyment. 

How about some interactive toys? For example, balls that spin and roll around on a track. Or a play station for pushing, poking and moving objects. Also, if your budget allows, a multi-level cat tower will give Felix and Fluffy multiple options to jump, bat, be on the look out, and even snooze. 

The Benefits

Finally, but most importantly, are the physical and mental benefits of keeping cats occupied and free from boredom. They result from the combination of activities and tools I already mentioned. In just a few words, they include cardiovascular health, agility, reflex acuity, muscle tone, and mental stimulation. 

To Sum Up

The message throughout my blog is that genetics determine how felines act. I now hope that pet parents who didn’t fully realize what all felines are pre-programmed to do, can make some meaningful changes. Love manifests itself in enrichment so that their companions can enjoy active and purposeful lives. 

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!