All the Creatures

Sunday, January 31, 2010

All the Creatures

The dog training scams

Posted: 31 Jan 2010 10:35 AM PST

There are so many scams involving dog training and how to become a dog trainer on the internet that I thought I might give my readers a good shove in the right direction. Dog training is mostly an unregulated business. There is no one place that dog trainers go to, to become certified or licensed. In [...]


Saturday, January 30, 2010


The Grumpy Old Lady Looks Around

Posted: 28 Jan 2010 12:23 PM PST

When you're a cat, you don't always get the best view of things. I like looking around at the things Mom keeps hidden way up high. Seriously, they should all be ground level so I can climb on them, sniff at them, and rub them. Gotta get my scent on everything, ya know!Looking-around-with-Mom

I finally figured out what to do. I just sit by Mom and meow. If I'm patient, and if I meow softly, she'll pick me up and whisper in my ear and take me all around the house. Sometime I give a little purr - just to make her happy.

In this picture I'm pretending to try and get down, but I don't really want to. I like it when Mom carries me all around the new house. She's soft and she lets me cuddle up to her and I get free rides to my food bowl, my bed (which she still thinks is HER bed! oh really?), and to the front window where I can make sure no one is lurking outside.

Ok...sometimes I have to wail really get her attention. But, once she comes to see what's wrong, I give that pitiful little meow and...scoop...I'm up in her arms in the wave of a whisker.

I know how to get what I want.

All the Creatures

Friday, January 29, 2010

All the Creatures

Dog safety

Posted: 28 Jan 2010 07:34 PM PST

When I lived in California it was common for dogs to ride in the beds of pick-up trucks. Because dogs were getting injured or killed or they caused traffic accidents, laws were made to dictate that the dog must be secure and not be in any danger. I was in a chain reaction accident on the [...]



Feline Enrichment Basics

Posted: 28 Jan 2010 11:58 AM PST

Dr.Larry_NAVC_2010 We talked earlier this week about the importance of a cat's home environment to their overall health. We discussed how either a chaotic environment or a barren environment can lead to chronic stress and how this might lead to disease in some cats.

A healthy cat needs a balance of stimulation and security to lead a healthy life, especially if they live indoors full time. While outdoor cats are at higher risk of infectious disease and injury, indoor cats in unhealthy environments are also at risk. So how do we make a cat's indoor world more appealing and interesting?
First we have to understand the unique personality and behavior patterns of the domestic feline.
We discussed this earlier this week at some length. We need to remember that cats are solitary hunters of small prey, by nature. They are also prey species in the wild and these two evolutionary characteristics help shape their world view. Since we control their environment, we have to be cognizant or their unique needs and provide for these needs if we want them to be healthy and happy.
There is an excellent resource for cat lovers available on line called The Indoor Cat Initiative. This website provides all the information we need to enrich the lives of our cats and keep their stress levels low.
I'd encourage everyone to read the section on basic needs. This section of the website covers such topics as the need for personal space and resting areas. Cats in the wild are most vulnerable to predation when they are sleeping so their resting places need to be in secure, out of the way areas. They like their privacy when the use the litter box, too. A litter box in a highly traveled area creates stress and makes the cat feel vulnerable.
They also need climbing areas and perches. As the website explains they like to view the world from above. It gives them a sense of control over their environment and in the wild helps them locate prey and avoid being located themselves. Perches that allow them to see outside are particularly attractive to indoor cats. They need the visual stimulation.
You can go out and buy an elaborate climbing system with perches but the website gives you do it yourself ideas too. In the lecture I attended on this subject last week we got several easy and inexpensive suggestions for environmental enrichment. For instance, if you don't want to buy a kitty jungle gym you can go to the local hardware store and buy a wooden step ladder. Put this by a window and you have a ready made climbing area with a perch as several levels.
If you worry that your cat needs to hunt to be normal and that keeping him indoors deprives him of this activity, worry no more. You can cater to your cat's inner predator without letting him outside and without worrying about the impact on the local songbird population. There are a variety of toys that simulate prey predator interactions and satisfy that feline need to stalk and pounce. Even better, these toys provide a great way for you to interact with your kitty.
You'll find a list of ideas from ready made to do it yourself toys on the website. There's even a section on determining your cat's prey preference.
There is a host of other information, too. I like the list of books on cat care and there is one that comes highly recommended. From the Cat's Point of View is an excellent book that helps us understand how the cat sees the world and how we can make his world a fun and exciting place.
The more you know about your cat's unique needs the more you can make their lives that much more happy and healthy. The right kind of indoor lifestyle can provide a safe and stimulating place to live.  Spend some time on this website. Your cat will really appreciate it.


Thursday, January 28, 2010


Twiggy and the Q

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 10:04 AM PST

Yvonne Can't resist writing about Twiggy, the 'other' granddaughter (beautiful Greyhound), and her new friend, Q, the ... shall we say, enthusiatically loud?, Chihuahua that has come to stay for awhile.

As regular readers will know, the Twiggy is a sweetheart. She has her little problems (copraphagia is one...but we think she's over that), and separation anxiety is another, but for the most part, Twiggy is soft, delightful, friendly, and melts your heart with those big brown eyes.

Twiggy-too-big Recently, a friend of my daughter's came to stay and brought Q, her Chihuahua, with her. I remember when she got Q - just about the same time we started this blog. Well, Q is typical for his breed - he's loud, he's skittish, he's very Q the Chihuahuaprotective, and did I say he's loud? Yet, he's still adorable!

As time goes on, Twiggy and Q are making friends and learning to get along. Q is very attached to Stacia, his 'Mom' but Stacia also has a toddler to care for so...Q might be overly protective of both of them just because he can be. Watching the two dogs, when we're over to Chloe's house, is interesting, and amusing.

Somehow, I think Twiggy would have loved the gorgeous Greyhound Tom and I saw and wanted to keep while we were at the NAVC, last week. But, getting her from FL to CO wasn't in the picture.

For now, Twiggy will have to have Q. They are the dog version of Mutt and Jeff. If you can remember those comic book characters...

All the Creatures

All the Creatures

A feed store shopping spree

Posted: 28 Jan 2010 08:40 AM PST

Remember those days when grocery stores use to have contests for shopping sprees? The winner would get 10-20 minutes to load up what ever they could in a shopping cart or carts and get it past the finish line to get the items for free. Well, a local feed store is doing almost the same [...]

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

Link to The Days of Johann, an agility dog!

Trying out the Nina Ottosson Dog Box!

Posted: 27 Jan 2010 07:00 AM PST

Hey...remember when Mum helped me learn to fetch my little furry toy and put it in a box? Well....that was just the first step!

I got so good at 'fetching' and 'putting' that Mum finally felt I could handle the Nina Ottosson Dog Box that was sent to us free by the nice folks at (that's where we wholesale purchase the Nina Ottosson toys that we sell on JohannTheDog Direct) to test out.

So here's how it went...first Mum taught me to 'fetch and put' in a little box that little furry toy, because I am absolutely mad about that little thing. So mad about it that I will carry it around with me all day if Mum let's me.

Then she just translated my 'fetch and put' commands to the little wooden peg and Dog Box from Nina Ottosson. The Dog Box is pretty put a few treats in the box, then the goal is for me to put the peg in the box through the opening and it bumps the place where the treats are, so when I put the peg in the box, treats fall out. There are three graduated levels of openings you can slide into the box (you'll see in the video).

We're just at stage one and two, where I can put the peg (large or small one) in the larger and mid-sized whole, but I haven't mastered putting the pegs through the small whole yet. And Mum can't yet put the treats in the box, because I am more interested in getting the treats in the box, then putting the pegs in first...but we'll get there. Right now she's giving me the treats where they eject.

You'll see in the middle of the vid that Mum threw the peg and it hit the fireplace and made a big noise! Kinda scared me a little, so we had to work through that little scared stuff. I got a little confused, but we worked through it! Then, she decided to throw the peg and make the noise again...didn't scare me a bit that time.

So here's the vid of me learning the Dog Box, hope you like it!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Cat Owners are Zookeepers

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 01:57 PM PST

Dr.Larry_NAVC_2010 That's right. You may have been unaware that you were running a zoo, but if you have a cat you are part cat lover and part zoo keeper.

This bit of information came to me in a talk at last week's North American Veterinary Conference and I must say it was quite a revelation. According to Dr. Tony Buffington of The Ohio State University and the mover and shaker behind the Indoor Cat Initiative, our house cats are basically solitary hunters of small prey. They tolerate us and in fact they are very dependent on us because we control their environment, or hunting grounds, as they would perceive it.
As you know, I'm and advocate of keeping cats indoors and I've written about that several times on the blog. I think indoor cats are less likely to get into trouble, are healthier in the long run and much less of a burden on wild bird and rodent populations. I still think that, but Dr. Buffington gave me a new perspective on this issue and it's something we should spend a good deal of time with on the blog.
His perspective is that forcing cats to live in certain environments may contribute to a host of chronic disease problems in cats. Furthermore, cats respond to their environment  much differently than people or dogs, due to their unique perspective as solitary hunters of small prey. Not only are they hunters, but in some cases they are also the hunted, and they've been genetically programmed to respond as such. In the wild, cats are the prey species of any carnivore larger or smarter than themselves. For house cats those predators would be people, dogs and even other bigger cats.
We people and our dogs are pack animals by nature and we view the world much differently than cats. Pack animals have highly evolved communication skills that lead to efficient pack behavior. Cats don't have the same skills. For instance, cats perceive any form of discipline as an attack. Where you might give your dog a whack on the butt if he gets up on his hind legs to eat your food off the table, attempt to whack a cat and they think you are tying to kill them. 
When you start to think about the world from the cat's point of view you can start to imagine how their living situation could have a big impact on their health. Imagine an environment that is chaotic, with people or other cats and dogs coming and going at all times. For a solitary hunter of small prey that situation would represent a constant threat. He'd have to compete for resources with the other cats while spend most of the day escaping or hiding from the threat of predation by dogs and strange people. Bailey_in_basket
On the other hand imagine an environment that is barren, that provides no stimulation at all. No chances to hunt small prey or even pretend chances to hunt small prey. The only activity being the sixteen hours of sleep a day interspersed with walks to the food bowl and litter box.
According to Dr. Buffington both situations lead to high levels of chronic stress and chronic stress has long been thought to lead inexorably to chronic disease. In fact Dr. Buffington has coined a term for this condition, namely, The Sensitive Cat Syndrome. As a renowned researcher on lower urinary tract disease in cats, Dr. Buffington is convinced that poor husbandry or poor "zoo keeping" with domestic cats and the resultant stress has a role in certain forms of cystitis.
We also know that many common cat disease conditions are far more common in indoor cats. Lower urinary tract disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and FORL to name a few are much more common in indoor cats. We don't know the exact cause of many of these problems and it could be that environmental conditions play a much bigger role than we think. 
This does not mean that we should immediately open the zoo doors and let our cats out into the great outdoors. That could create its own set of stressful circumstances, let alone exposure to infectious disease. Instead we need to work hard to create an enriching environment for our domestic cats. Feline Enrichment is a term we will be hearing about much more often in the future. Proper enrichment of the domestic cat's environment will be just as important as physical exams, vaccinations and parasite control in preventing disease.
I'm so excited about this subject. Imagine if we could reverse some of the troubling trends in chronic disease through enrichment. How much of the precipitous rise in the incidence of hyperthyroidism in cats could be due to environmental stress? In the years ahead we will know more about that. In the meantime we'll spend more time talking about specific ways to enrich the lives of our cats in posts to come.

Band of Cats

Band of Cats

The Cat from Great Wolf Lodge

Posted: 26 Jan 2010 06:21 PM PST

We went on a three day get-away recently to the Great Wolf Lodge near Niagara Falls. We had been a few times before and always had a great time with the kids. This time was no different and I think they actually added a few more things to do. The...

To see and read the rest of this and many other posts then be sure to visit us at


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Grumpy Old Lady: Wabby Speaks Out on Sleeping Conditions

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 09:40 AM PST

Wabby here - sharing a bit of news on sleeping conditions in the new place. Seriously, there's a huge bed upstairs and I claimed it the day we moved in. So, why do Mom and Tom think they can just hop in there and take up all the room?PandoraNapping-small

I guess they can't help it. They can't curl up in a ball like I do. And, I've taken care of everything - I situate myself right at the bottom of their feet. A hint of a foot coming my way gets the proper scowl and they are smart to remove it! Instead, they rightly contort themselves into strange positions to avoid disturbing me, and then they whine in the morning when their back or neck hurts.

Oh well! Just so they remember who's in charge here!