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A Guide to Interpreting Canine Body Language

“…and then, out of nowhere, he bit me!”

Much to our disappointment, dogs do not speak our language and because of this fact our dogs are often misunderstood, leading to behavioral issues, distrust and accidents. The only way to truly comprehend and communicate with our dogs is by understanding and appreciating what their body language is trying to tell us. By learning how to read our dogs, and those we encounter, we are setting ourselves up to be better dog parents, better friends and, let’s be honest, potentially saving a dog from rehoming.

Dogs speak with their bodies and have a complex assortment of conscious and subconscious behaviors to relay how they are feeling and as mechanisms for dealing with stressors. I am not saying you must be a behavior specialist to “understand” dogs but by understanding the basics of canine body language you are taking the rights steps toward a more rewarding relationship with your dog and those your meet!


“Smiling” dog

When dogs are seeking attention from us or from other dogs, they use a variety of behaviors; muzzle/ear licking, jumping up, body curving (aka the wiggles), blinking, exposing teeth “smiling”, lowering their ears and play bowing. As dog owners, many of you probably nodded while reading through these because you’ve seen them a time or two when returning home or if you have a particularly fun toy. These types of behaviors are also used when one dog is trying to appease another dog. Socially experienced, or well socialized dogs, will also use these behaviors to avoid confrontation. Very often we see dogs that do not understand these cues that will take the opportunity to be aggressive.

One of the biggest misconceptions in the dog world is that a wagging tail means a happy dog. Tail wagging signals arousal. With our favorite breed having a shortened tail it can be difficult to determine exactly what your dog may be doing. The position of the tail can also be an indicator; above the spine or erect is associated with assertiveness, confident and even aggression, tail down can mean fear or stress and last a tucked tail shows a high level of anxiety. Lastly, studies have shown that the speed and direction of the wag can also tell us something! A tail wag, mostly to the right is seen when a dog is happy, like when it sees its owner and a tail wag mostly toward the left is seen with negative stimulus. This, of course, is difficult for the untrained eye to see.

When dogs are stressed or nervous there are many different behaviors that dogs use to show that they feel threatened or to calm themselves. These are the signs that are often overlooked that can lead to escalated or unwanted actions from our canine companions. To the inexperienced owner these actions seem normal, but they may not be.

Dog exhibiting “whale-eye”
  • Yawning. While dogs, like us, yawn when they are tired, they are much more likely to yawn when they are upset or stressed.
  • Lick lipping. Lick lipping does not always mean your pup is hungry, it is also an indicator of nervousness.
  • Brief of complete body freezing. A freeze is a dog’s way of avoiding until they can decide if they should flee or fight.
  • Panting, drooling or curved tongue indicate stress. The curve of the tongue is caused from tension.
  • “Whale eye” is seen when a dog turns his head away and you see the white of their eyes. They do this to turn away from what they’re afraid of, or what is causing discomfort.

Dogs are amazingly tolerant and often will do all these behaviors without moving on to a more negative reaction but in our rescue lives we often see dogs that simply are not as tolerant. This is one of the many reason giving your dog ample time to settle into their new home for several weeks or months is encouraged. The time allows you to learn about your pups’ special quirks are and how these behaviors translate into your dog’s language. I hope that by educating and teaching as many people as we can how to “read” their dog we can avoid scary situations that change how we look at our beloved pets!

5 Ideas for Canine Enrichment

You know the adage, “a tired dog, is a happy dog”, but did you know that mental stimulation can be as important to your dog’s overall wellness as a long hike?

As our dogs become ingrained in our lives, routines and structures it is important to focus on their mental health as much as their physical. Keeping them engaged and interested mentally is a powerful tool to decrease the likelihood of nuisance behaviors and bad habits!

Below we’ll discuss 5 of our favorite options for “brain games” with your pup! These options can benefit all breeds and all ages of dog.

The Licki Mat

The Licki Mat is an awesome boredom buster that combines a tasty snack with a fun game. The behavior of licking is a mechanism that dogs use to release calming endorphins. Licking also enhances taste and can even aid in digestion from increased saliva production.

Coming in a variety of surfaces, it’s likely to appeal to the most forward or passive treat seeker! You can use a variety of tempting items on these mats. Peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, canned food, mashed sweet potatoes and more can be used! Simply spread and offer. If you want to make it a bit more challenging, you can prepare your mat ahead of time and freeze them. Licki mats are also a great tool to use when introducing your dog to crate training or confinement.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys require a little bit more hands-on activity from you but these can make for a fun scent based activity for your genus pup! Most puzzle toys have draws, flip hatches or spin. Your dog gets to use their nose to figure out these various steps to find the treats hidden inside! It’s important for these activities to use something that is smelly and high value. Soft, small training treats work well for this! As your dog learns how to do these, he or she can up their game to the harder level varieties!

Treat Dispensing Toys

There is a wide variety of treat dispensing toys out there! We’re partial to Kong and Petmate’s “Busy Buddy” line because the of the variety of shapes, sizes and methods of dispensing they allow. Treat dispensing toys are often self-entertaining for your dog! Simply fill them up with your dog’s favorite treat or even a little extra kibble and hand it off. Treat dispensing toys are the best of both worlds. They provide the same mental stimulation that a puzzle toy does, and it can continue to be played with as a normal toy!

Filled Marrow Bones

Marrow bones come with a variety of fillers direct from the pet store! The bones take your dog time and focus to lick all of the goodies out! Once they’re done, they still have a tasty bone to chew on! Empty marrow bones can also be refilled with peanut butter, canned dog food or other items and frozen! They function as at treat that keeps on giving!

Snuffle Mats

Our final favorite enrichment toy is a snuffle mat! These bring out your dog’s natural instinct to sniff and root with their nose. They can also be a fun arts and crafts project for you at home. Snuffle mats are often made of soft fleece fabric. Simply toss a small amount of kibble or training treats onto the mat, move the fabric around a little and let your dog start sniffing!

“Help! My Human Went Back to Work” – Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Many of us have been forced from the work office into makeshift home-work spaces. Dining room tables are now makeshift desks, couches are now for conference meetings and our only co-workers are our pets.

Many of our pets are enjoying the luxuries of having their humans home all the time. They’re enjoying more exercise and attention than ever before. Long hours lounging with Mom and/or Dad while they work is the new normal for them. But wait, what happens when mom and dad head back to the office?

Hey Mom!

While we may seamlessly head back in to work for the nine to five shifts, our pets don’t understand that their new “normal” isn’t actually, normal. Many of our pets, even those who have never had an issue before, may begin to exhibit separation anxiety behaviors.

The Facts

Separation anxiety in dogs is a severe panic attack that is brought on by being left alone. According to the American Veterinary Association between 20% to 40% of all dog owners report issues with separation anxiety. The symptoms can range from barking when left alone to urine or feces accidents, destructive behaviors to as severe as jumping through windows. Most of the time your dog will begin to show symptoms before you even leave the house, becoming anxious as you put on your shoes or pick up your coat. The process of “getting ready to leave” can begin the stress process that causes an attack. Separation anxiety is treatable and surmountable, but it takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication to help.

So, how can we avoid throwing our dogs into fits of anxiety as we return to work?

Dog in Crate

THE PLAN

Your first order of business is to establish a routine. Ideally a routine that can seamlessly take you back into your work schedule. If your dog has never had an issue being left alone in the past you’re already on your way.

Start by determining where your pet is going to stay when you’re gone. If your dog is not experienced having free roam of the house, it is not advisable to allow it until they’ve been properly trained. You can confine your dog several ways: crating, in a spare bedroom, behind a baby gate or using an exercise pen. Start the training process by asking your dog to enter this space, offer them a treat and then let them out. Your goal is to show them that great things happen there and by remaining nearby there is no reason for them to begin stressing. Repeat this until they easily enter the space for you.

Once you’ve set up your area of confinement, it’s time to start leaving. At the start, only leave for short periods of time, leave for 10-15 minutes and return. As your dog becomes comfortable with these time periods you can begin increasing your time away. Leaving a minimum of three times a week for at least an hour is ideal. Always make entering the space a pleasant experience for your dog and never as a punishment.

Make it Count

One of the keys to success with integrating your dog to their confinement space is, high value enrichment items. Enrichment items are things that take your dog time and brainpower to consume. Filled Kong’s (see below), filled marrow bones, puzzle toys, puzzle bowls, Licki mats and long-lasting chews are a few options that are a tasty snack while also taking time and focus for your dog to complete. You can prepare these items ahead of time so that when you get them out it’s the beginning of your routine of putting your dog away!

Toys like KONGS, especially when stuffed with treats or paste, can help with separation anxiety.

We never hope to have issues with our dogs when we leave but it’s an unfortunate reality that many dog owners will face and as our time home expands, the likelihood of our dogs experiencing some form of stress is more and more assured. Setting up a plan and seeking out resources for help ahead of schedule is also advisable. Whether it’s starting to work with a dog trainer or joining a network of other dog owners it is a wonderful tool to have someone to experience this with. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to enjoy those extra dog snuggles and get all the “walkies” in while you can!

Puppy’s First Grooming – Groomer’s Corner

Please welcome guest writer and in store Groomer, Nicole Lutz from That Groom Room, to the Petblog!

 

Here in That Groom Room, we often get a lot of questions regarding when is a good age to start grooming a puppy? Now that Christmas is over and many puppies were given as gifts I thought that it would be a good place to start.

 

At What Age Can I Start Getting My Puppy Groomed?

Officially it is best to wait until your new puppy is 8 weeks old, and can leave their mother before you consider getting them groomed. Once the puppy has been introduced to its new home and has established relations with the new owner they can think about getting the puppy groomed. That Groom Room recommends starting at 12 weeks of age. The very first grooming appointment is an introduction to the puppy and the owner to the world of grooming. The puppy with be introduced to a bath, blow drying, nail clipping, and slight trimming. We do not recommend having a puppy be given a full hair cut the first time being groomed. The reason behind this is you are forcing the puppy to stand still and be handled for 1.5 hours. This is a lot to ask of a puppy. It would be like asking a one year old child to sit without moving, going to the bathroom, or play with any toys for 45 minutes. That is why we only do the basics for puppies first groom. We bathe them, slowly dry them, trim the nails, trim the fur from around their eyes, pads, and around the sanitary area. This is about all they can handle. The puppy will be introduced to having scissors around the face, having to hold still while the pads on their feet are trimmed. Depending on how the puppy reacts to the first grooming we may recommend doing this type of trimming one more time before the full haircut. The more comfortable the puppy becomes with being handled by the groomer and being on a table, and in the tub the better the puppy will become as they grow up.

 

What Can You Do to Help?

It becomes more difficult to groom a puppy that is 6 months old for the first time than a 12-week-old puppy. The 6-month-old has already established fears and aggression. For example, it would be like taking a 5-year-old child and putting them in kindergarten without any discipline and experience of a pre-school and making them sit still and raise their hand when called on by the teacher. At this point in a puppy’s life if the owner has not prepped the puppy with any type of grooming; brushing, combing, or nail trimming. It makes the groomers job nearly impossible to have the puppy trust them and enjoy grooming.

 

All About the Training

At home grooming is also extremely essential to having a puppy become used to grooming, and to enjoy their experience at the groomers. Different types of fur require different tools. Our groomers are very willing to answer questions and show you tools that are appropriate for your puppy. One of the biggest misconceptions about puppies and grooming is when they will change from puppy coat to adult coat. This time in a puppy’s life is essential to maintain so the coat does not mat. Usually puppies get their adult coat around six months of age. The puppy coat on some breeds will not shed and becomes tangled in the adult coat if not brushed on a regular basis. Please ask one of our groomers if your puppy has started this stage in life or when this may occur in order to make the transition more comfortable.

 

Thank you for reading, and if you are ready for us to help you and your new puppy contact us today!  You can reach us at (717) 484-9758 or by emailing us at grooming@thatpetplace.com.

My Top 5 Pet Themed Holiday Movies

Many of us will be busy with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, working extra hours, driving amongst angry drivers, and dealing with the holiday blues.  Before Scrooge gets you in his sights pop one of these movies in for an instant feel good, and a friendly reminder of what the holidays are really about.   I hope you enjoy the list, and if you have any to add feel free to leave your recommendation in the comment box below.  Happy Holidays!

 

5)Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

charlie-brown

I know what you’re thinking, Thanksgiving over Christmas?  As cute as Charlie Brown’s Christmas is, I’m partial to the bond of man and man’s best friend in this adorable Thanksgiving movie.  Snoopy even tries to save the day when Peppermint Patty invites herself as well as two others over for a Thanksgiving feast.  For those who have seen it, their dinner is the sweetest, funniest, and cutest concoction that Snoopy can come up with in a pinch.  At the end of the day, it’s dear Marcie that helps to put the true meaning of the holiday into perspective.

“We should just be thankful for just being together.  I think that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.”

 

4) Addam’s Family Values(1993)

adams-family

Perhaps this isn’t your typical holiday movie and Thing probably isn’t what you would consider a”pet,” but I think we can all appreciate the similarities between Thing and some of our four-legged friends.  The Addams Family is by far what you would find in a Sears catalog, but it’s their loyalty and ability to stay calm and collective while making personal sacrifices for their loved ones that really gets you in the feels. The Thanksgiving feast is beyond comical in this film, and I would say personally favored over the first television to film adaptation The Addams Family  in 1991.  While Raul Julia is sadly no longer with us, his depiction of Gomez Addams was genius and wise.  It’s literally the Addams Family values that draws you into this movie, and leaves you longing to be an Addams too.

 

3) The Muppet Christmas Carol(1992)

There muppetare so many adaptations of Charles Dickens Christmas classic, but the Muppet Christmas Carol is my second to 1988’s Scrooged.  I realize these aren’t “real” animals, but you can’t get more pet/animal friendly than the muppets.  Kermit plays poor mistreated Bob Cratchit while Sir Michael Caine leads with a grumpy brute force as Scrooge.  This timeless classic story pulls on your heartstrings no matter how many times you may have seen it (regardless of version), or read it.  It’s simply not Christmas without it.   What makes Muppet Christmas Carol standout over other renditions are the beautifully written songs in true Jim Henson style.

 

 

2) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

national

Due to strong language, I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie with children that are easily influenced.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a nonstop laugh riot.  What adds to this families nonstop disastrous holiday are a rottweiler named Snot (for very obvious reasons), a cat who was accidentally wrapped as a present by a delusional Great Aunt, and a squirrel that makes it into the house under some very hilarious circumstances.   At the end of the movie you have an almost broken and defeated Clark Griswold about to swear off Christmas for good, when he finally realizes the importance of his family and what they mean to him as well as what he means to them.

 

1)Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (1977)

jugband

Christmas can’t officially begin in the Ries household if Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas isn’t playing.  A holiday tradition since I can remember, this Jim Henson classic features a plethora of woodland critters singing, dancing, and even playing in a rock and roll band.  What makes this movie stand out to me, is the fact that I’ve seen it at the bare minimum 35 times and it still melts my heart to this day.  Christmas isn’t always about what you receive, it’s way more than that.  The holidays are about coming together, committing personal sacrifices just to see your loved one happy, and enjoying some beautiful music.  It’s an amazing movie that should be enjoyed by everyone.

Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Summer is finally here! And for a lot of us that means getting outdoors and enjoying cookouts with family, friends — and pets!

It’s a great time to sit back and relax, drink a beer or two and maybe set the family record for the number of hot dogs you can eat. But don’t rest too easy, there is some responsibility you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have pets!

cook-on-bbqWhile we are enjoying our favorite summer foods, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of these tasty treats are not so good for our furry friends.  Even simple things that you might not think of, like onions and guacamole, can be dangerous.  These kinds of foods are typically left out on a table well within reach of any curious dog or cat, so let’s look at some of the more harmful culprits we should keep an eye on.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Hot Dogs

While tasty, hot dogs are not the healthiest food for us humans, and they are even worse for pets. Hot dogs are packed with tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are just not used to. Excessive amounts can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. It’s our recommendation to avoid them altogether, but if you must must must give in to temptation and treat your dog, please exercise moderation. Also, it’s helpful to cut them into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Snack Foods

Chips are pretzels are also full of salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination.  And who wants a dog peeing everywhere!?  In all seriousness, snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs as they can be for us and we should exercise caution.  If your dog gets too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers and even death.

Bones

The leftover remains from ribs, steaks or chicken wings can be dangerous in the mouth of your dog.  Bones can splinter easily  and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dogs mouth, stomach or digestive tract.  They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards.  For your dog’s safety, make sure everyone knows where they can safely dispose of their food.

Fruits and Desserts

Fruits in general are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues, but the main culprits to watch out for are grapes and raisins.  They have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs.  Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.

Choking Hazards

Many cookout foods are also choking hazards.  Hot dogs, bones, and corn cobs can get lodged in your dog’s airway.  Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite size.

Alcohol

An ice cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet.  Even a small amount, just a few licks or laps, can be dangerous or even fatal.  In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean up after your forgetful friends.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Enjoy

Okay, cookouts are all about fun and food.  If we enjoy these things, why shouldn’t our pets?  They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them!

thThe good folks at the DogVacay blog have come up with some tasty, pet safe recipes that you can prepare for your pet and bring to your next cookout.  The recipes include a tasty Bacon Swiss Burger, a delectable Turkey Burger and Peanut Butter Treats!

As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation.  If your pet is just too far determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way.

Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because they can enjoy the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!

 

My 5 Favorite Animated Animals

As the mother of a 2-year-old, most TV and movies that I get to watch are animated. After watching the same shows and movies over and over you begin to develop a few favorites.
Here are 5 of my favorite animated animals!

1. Sebastian
The Little Mermaid
Sebastian character
Sebastian is a red Jamaican crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He is often ordered to look after Arial which seems to give him a deal of anxiety. He would much rather be writing music. Sebastian can also be seen briefly in Aladdin.

2. Flik
A Bug’s Life
Flik
Flik is a nerdy ant in A Bug’s Life. He is determined to make a difference in his colony. Flik makes a short appearance in Toy Story 2.

3. Dug
Up
dug-from-up
Dug is a super lovable Golden Retriever in the movie Up. His inventive owner created a special collar that translates Dugs thought into words.

4. Donkey
Shrek
50b30ae149cf51fb49bbde67922dbef3
Donkey quickly goes from a stranger to Shrek’s hyperactive sidekick, proving to Shrek that he is there to stay no matter what.

5. Apollo the Super-Pup
Paw Patrol
PAW_Patrol_Apollo_the_Super-Pup
Apollo is by far my 2-year-olds favorite. He is a TV show character on a TV show. The Paw Patrol pups watch his show in a few episodes and Apollo appears in Rubble’s dream in the episode “Pups Save Apollo”

Who are your favorites?

14 Foods You Can Share with Your Dog

As pet owners, we are often warned about what foods not to share with our pups but sometimes it is hard to resist those puppy dog eyes. Here are 14 foods you can share with your dog!

Keep in mind that all dogs are different and just like people some dogs could be allergic to certain foods. Always try new foods in small amounts and watch for any side effects.

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Peanut butterLicking dog
  3. Chicken
  4. Yogurt
  5. Carrots
  6. Broccoli
  7. Green beans
  8. Pumpkin
  9. Eggs
  10. Salmon
  11. Cottage Cheese
  12. Apple slices
  13. Cheese
  14. Sweet Potatoes

You can make your own dog treats with these ingredients and more. Check out our DIY Dog Treats board on Pinterest for recipes!

Enjoy these treats with your dogs this summer and remember to always treat in moderation.

How to Greet a Dog

You know that feeling you get every time you see a new dog? That somewhat uncontrollable urge to run over scoop that pup up and snuggle it for hours. As tempting as it may be, think about it from the dog’s point of view, scary right? If a dog sees you as a threat they may feel like they have no choice other than to bite. Here are some tips on how to greet dogs in a non-threatening manner.

  • Always ask the dog’s owner
  • Do not make direct eye contact
  • Approach the dog slowly
  • Get down on his level
  • Wait for him to approach you
  • Pet gently
  • Pay attention to his body languagegreeting-a-dog

Proper Interaction Between Kids and Dogs

Petbehavior.org‘s Topic of the Month for May is Training Your Child To Be Pet “Wise.”  Their message is that you should start teaching your children how to interact with your pets as soon as they can become mobile.  Our youngsters have no idea that their tugs, pulls, pinches and smacks are painful and can hurt our dogs.

If this is left unchecked, our dogs can suffer from high levels of stress and may even react by biting.  They advocate proper correction from the start is the best way to curtail these actions and even recommend separating your pet from your kids until proper behavior can be demonstrated.

 

doggieAdding a Dog to the Home

A few years ago we bought our first house.  Since we already had kids, we thought getting a dog was a great way to round out our new home.  We already had two cats…but cats are cats and they never exactly warmed up to any of our kids.  But the kids sure did try and had scratches to prove it.

We naturally thought a dog would be different.  And he has been.  Since we picked out our dog, he has been a fun part of the household and he gets along with everyone.  Well, except the cats.

But getting back to PetBehavior’s topic, I think we were able to quickly get through to each of our kids that hitting the dog was bad.  Our two boys only batted at him a few times before our correcting got through to them.  And I can’t even really recall our youngest girl ever taking liberty with him.

The one problem that we run into on occasion is that our two boys have trouble understanding the difference between playing with each other and playing with the dog.

One of their favorite play activities with the dog is to take one of his chew toys and play keep away.  It’s one thing if it’s just them playing keep away with each other, but our dog isn’t as appreciative when it’s one of his toys.  They tuck the toys under their arms or close to their bellies and the only thing our dog can do to play is try to wrestle it from them.  This obviously leads to bites and scratches and every now and then it’s a little too hard and they end up crying.

So we try to impress upon them that that is not how dog’s play and he doesn’t quite understand that he is hurting them.  It’s working slowly, but I think we’ll get there soon.

The one interaction that we always found cute was one of our youngsters running over and giving our dog a big hug.  We thought it was something they would enjoy — and something the dog would appreciate.  Turns out we might have been wrong the whole time.

 

No Hugging?

An interesting theory gaining steam on the internet argues that you should prevent your kids from hugging your dog.  Sounds crazy, right?

Maybe not.

The basis of the theory is that dogs are cursorial animals, meaning that they naturally predisposed to run from danger when needed.  And whenever we hug our dogs we are depriving or preventing them from that ability.  In some cases it can stress your dog to the point that they might bite.

Dr. Stanley Coren writes on PsychologyToday.com, that he found several sources that suggested reducing the chances your child suffers from a dog bite start with preventing them from hugging dogs.  They also found that the proximity of your child’s face to the dogs mouth during a hug greatly increased the chances of being bitten.

Hug scoring 2 Humane Society of Greater RochesterIntrigued, Dr. Coren decided to test the theory.  He collected a random sample of 250 pictures posted to the internet that show a child hugging a dog.  He then looked at the dogs for signs of stress.  He lists signs of stress that can include baring teeth, lowered ears slicked back against the head, submissive eye closure or partial eye closure, avoiding eye contact and lip licking.

Coren found in the pictures he reviewed, 81.6% of dogs showed at least one sign of discomfort, stress or anxiety.  He found that only 7.6 % showed comfort in being hugged and the remaining 10.8% were neutral or ambiguous.  That’s pretty striking.

One thing that Cohen found troubling about his study was that he feels the pictures people post to the internet are the ones they feel show the dogs and their children at their happiest.  If such a high percentage of these photos show dogs under stress, he fears that the owners are not recognizing these signs and, if left unchecked, it could lead to stress and bites.

After reading both articles, I think the thing we can take away is to do a better job of observing our dogs and watching for these signs of stress.  As we try to teach our kids to better interact with our dog, hopefully we can catch any of these signs and prevent something bad from happening.

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