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Archive for September, 2009

What is your dog feeling

My husband is in college and has been tasked with writing a research paper. He decided with all the dog books in my library to do something on dogs. His big idea, what does a dogs tail tell us? I said, not much – you have to look at the rest of the dog. Well, for the first time in our marriage, I was wrong. OK maybe not the first.

Apparently there have been numerous studies on what a dogs tail means. One study showed dogs pleasant stimuli and unpleasant stimuli. When the dogs saw something pleasant, the tail wagged far to the right. When it was unpleasant it went far to the left.

As I have been out walking Nitro I have been paying attention to his tail wag. We saw a lady with a flashlight in the dark, and his tail went to the left, and wagged quickly. His hair then stood up – he was scared. When he realized it was a person, he got excited and it switched to the right.

How is this useful? Watch your dogs tail and you will know when to slow down, redirect and help him get comfortable with things he might be scared about. This is probably very useful when socializing puppies too! Watch your dogs tail, what is he telling you?

Choosing the right breed

Its been about 6 months since we lost our dear Dakota – and now we just have Nitro (our yellow lab). We are thinking about adding a second dog back into our home. The question is, what should we choose?

Nitro is a great dog for our family, he walks with us to the park, goes to the bus stop, plays and sleeps when he is supposed to and most importantly – is competing in obedience with me (mom). Granted, Dad is the one home all day and he is too busy to give a ton of attention to a dog (much less a puppy). So, what will we go for?

Initially I was thinking I’d like a smaller dog – maybe a papillion – they are very cute, and smart – but may not be the best choice for a family with two young boys. The next choice would be another lab – though I worry about having two large shedding dogs in the house. If I start to think about a medium sized dog, we could consider a PGWD – gee, isn’t that just the fad now since that is what Obama got? The last choice might be an English Springer Spaniel – though I worry they need to much exercise for what my husband is willing to do.

Needless to say we are back at square one – here are the qualities I definitely want.
1. Would do well in an obedience / rally ring.
2. Able to go into schools for education of young children.
3. Active when our family is out doing things.
4. Preferably non shedding.

Any ideas friends?