Do Your Dogs Play Naked?

     After reading this article shared by one of my fellow bloggers (Life Embarked), my dogs always, always play naked!!!! Maya used to always go streight for Lucky’s collar, which was the buckle kind. I never in a million years would have thought this could happen! Just thought I would share this for my readers as well!

The Whole Dog Journal: Take It All Off!

Five things you can do to protect your dog.

By Nancy Kerns

I was pretty traumatized recently by a phenomenon I had heard about many times but had never before seen: the intense, chaotic, life-or-death struggle that ensues when one dog gets his jaw stuck in another dog’s collar.

It happened to some dogs that live a few houses down from my home office. I was working at my computer when I heard a dog screaming. I leaped up from my desk and ran down the sidewalk toward the screaming.

These dogs are just playing and are not entangled. But if they were, the leather collar would have to be cut to save them; its buckle can’t be released under tension.

It was two young Lab-mixes in the front yard of a house down the street. One had grabbed his friend’s collar and then mostly likely rolled over, twisting his lower jaw in the collar. His tongue, trapped under the thick nylon, was being lacerated by his own lower teeth; he was the one making all the noise.

His buddy was not screaming; he was fighting for his life, and being choked to death by his own collar. Both dogs were thrashing in pain and fear. The owner of one dog was trying to get close enough to them to free them, and I tried to help.

I grabbed one dog by the scruff; she grabbed the other. I frantically ran my hands through the mass of writhing fur, trying to find a buckle on the collar. I felt a quick-release buckle and released it – but it was the wrong one, not the collar that was threatening their lives.

Then I saw the other buckle; it was in the mouth of the dog whose jaw was trapped. And it was a standard metal buckle – the kind that you have to tighten slightly to free the metal prong from a hole punched in the nylon fabric. It was already so tight, there would be no way to tighten it enough to release it, if I even could get my hand in the dog’s mouth.

Just then, the owner of the other dog ran out of the house with a pair of scissors. I was doubtful that they could cut through the thick nylon, but they did. And in the nick of time! Even as the young woman worked, feverishly, the dog who was choking released his bowels. He was seconds from death.

Imagine what would have happened if that young woman hadn’t had the scissors handy. Or if the same thing happened at a dog park; maybe someone would have had a sharp-enough knife. What if the dog had been wearing a choke chain or pinch collar? I’ve seen dogs wearing these while playing at dog parks – but I’ve never seen a person there with bolt cutters.

These dogs survived the experience. But since I’ve been telling my friends about my experience (with all the fervor of the recently converted), I’ve heard about a number of dogs whose jaws were broken in similar situations – and other dogs who didn’t survive an experience like this. Don’t let it happen to your dog!

Here are five things you can do to keep your dog safe when he’s playing with other dogs.

1. Play Naked! Remove your dog’s collar or harness. A harness may not present the same choking hazard as a collar if another dog got tangled in it, but on the other hand, a harness has many more straps to get caught in.

2. Use a Collar With a Quick-Release Buckle. If you’re nervous about having your dog naked (and without ID), use a collar with a buckle that can be released even under tension. Another option is a safety breakaway collar, such as Premier Pet Product’s KeepSafe Break-Away Collar (see or call 800-933-5595).

3. Don’t Allow Your Dog to Play With Dogs Who Are Wearing Gear. At times, this may mean your dog won’t be able to play at a dog park, because it’s nearly impossible to get everyone to comply with sensible rules at a dog park. If I had a young dog who really liked wrestling and mouthing other dogs, I just wouldn’t take him to a dog park that was crowded with collar- and harness-wearing dogs. Not after what I saw.

4. Spread The Word. I’m now telling every dog owner I know about the way, the truth, and the light. Many people have never considered this potential hazard and may be open to hearing about how they can prevent a tragedy happening to their dogs.

5. Keep Something Sharp Handy. This is quite a long shot – and yet, I now know a young woman who saved two dogs’ lives with sharp scissors. I now have a box cutter in my car, and another one on a shelf near my office door. I hope to never witness this again, but I feel a little better knowing that there would be more I could do to help.

Ear Infections In Dogs…

What are you talking about mom? It must be something good that I would love if you are telling me about it!

Zeus used to get ear infections all the time because of his allergies.

Zeus used to get ear infections all the time because of his allergies. Ear infections can be painful for your dog and can cause serious long term problems if not treated properly. I learned a lot about them from my experience with him. I thought I would share some information about ear infections with you.

Otitis externa is commonly referred to as an “ear infection”. It is an ear condition characterized by inflammation of the external ear canal. It is particularly prevalent in dogs with long, floppy ears, but can occur in dogs with short perky ears too. Ear infections represent one of the top 10 reasons dogs present to veterinarians and may affect up to 20 percent of dogs.

Infections are caused by fungus, bacteria or parasites. Laboratory tests can help to determine the underlying cause of the infection.

Several factors may predispose dogs to ear infections, including:

• Long floppy ears

• Abnormal ear conformation or anatomy

• Water or hair in the ears

• Allergies

• Trauma

• Tumors

• Foreign material in the ears

• Parasites

• Autoimmune disease

  • Generalized skin disease

Ear infections can occur in dogs of any age, breed, or sex. Dogs predisposed to otitis externa include those with genetic predispositions to abnormal ear canals, such as the Chinese shar-pei chow chows and English bulldogs; breeds with hair in the ears like poodles and terriers; dogs with pendulous pinnae such as the cocker spaniel and Springer spaniels; or outside and working dogs that are exposed to water or foreign bodies. Infections are most common in humid environments or during the summer months, but can occur in all environments and during any time of year.

What to watch for:  Common signs of an infection include:

• Scratching or rubbing the ears

• Head shaking

• An abnormal odor or discharge from the ear

• Pain when you manipulate the ear

• Redness and swelling of the external ear canal

The ears are responsible for taking sound waves from the air and transporting them to the brain. These waves pass through the ear canal until they come in contact with the nerves that convert them into sound and allow for hearing.

The ear canals are divided into three sections; the external, middle, and internal parts. The external ear canal extends from the outside of the ear lobe to the eardrum. The middle ear begins with the eardrum and includes the bones and nerves of the ear. The inner ear is closest to the brain and contains the organs responsible for maintaining proper position.

If the inner ear is not functional, the animal feels dizzy and the brain is not able to determine if he/she is standing, turning, lying down, spinning. The most common abnormality associated with the middle and inner ear is inflammation, which is referred to as otitis media or otitis interna. Otitis is the Latin term for inflammation within the ear. Media and interna refer to the parts of the ear that are inflamed. Otitis externa refers to an external ear canal inflammation or infection.

Inflammation within the ear can have numerous causes including bacteria, fungi, yeast, parasites, foreign objects, trauma, polyps and cancer. Middle ear infections typically occur in association with external ear infections. Inner ear infections can then occur as a progression of a middle ear infection. For this reason, prompt diagnosis and treatment of external ear infections can significantly reduce the chance of a middle and/or inner ear infection.

Deafness is a possible permanent effect if otitis media/interna is not treated appropriately. Signs of middle and inner ear inflammation vary depending on which part of the ear is affected and the severity of the infection.

What to Watch For:

• Head shaking

• Pawing, rubbing at the ear

• Discharge from the external ear canal

• Pain when the head is touched

• Pain with the mouth is opened

• Depression

• Loss of hearing

• Lack of appetite

• Head tilt

• Circling

• Leaning to one side

• Rolling

• Stumbling

• Vomiting

• Side to side involuntary continuous eye movement (nystagmus)



Otitis media and otitis interna are usually diagnosed based on results of a physical examination and thorough ear exam. Finding the exact cause of the ear inflammation requires more tests and may include:

• Complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile to determine the overall health of the animal

• Sedation or anesthesia for a thorough examination since the ear may be quite painful

• Radiographs of the skull and base of the ear, although not usually helpful, to look for tumors or masses at the base of the ear

• Culture and cytology of any discharge or fluid within the canal to determine the cause of the inflammation. Culture can detect bacterial causes and help determine the appropriate antibiotic treatment. Cytology can detect parasite, fungus, yeast and some cancers. (Zeus had many of these done in his days)



The goal of treatment for otitis media or otitis interna is to remove the cause of the inflammation and provide ventilation and drainage. Treatments vary depending on the cause of the inflammation and may include:

• Initial flushing of the ear canal with warm saline (salt water solution). Zeus couldn’t tolerate flushing his ears with anything due to his allergies (he was allergic to everything) so we always had to skip this step. We treated his with medication that came in the form of ear drops and kept our fingers crossed he did not have an allergic reaction to the medication.

• If the eardrum is intact, a puncture through the eardrum to alleviate the pain and pressure as well as drain the middle and inner ear. This is painful and is done under anesthesia.

• Flushing the middle ear after perforating the eardrum

• Removal of any foreign object

• Oral antibiotics for 3-6 weeks for bacterial, fungal and yeast infections

Ear medications must be used cautiously, if at all. Usually, flushing the ear and oral antibiotics resolves the infection. For parasitic causes of inflammation, ear medications may be necessary.

If the infection is resistant to treatment or if polyps or cancer is the cause of the inflammation, surgery may be necessary. Surgery is more likely if the inflammation has progressed to include the inner ear.

Home Care and Prevention:

There is no home care for otitis media or otitis interna. See your veterinarian if your pet is showing signs of a middle or inner ear infection. Prompt and thorough treatment of external ear infections can greatly reduce the risk of otitis media and otitis interna. For dogs that hunt or spend time in wooded areas, frequent ear exams looking for foreign objects such as grass awns can help reduce the chance of foreign body induced otitis media/interna.



How to Teach Your Dog to Take a Bow…

Teach Your Dog to Take A Bow…


Now that Lucky has speak and quiet mastered, we are moving on to “Take A Bow”. This one is a little more dificult so we may be working on it for a few weeks.

Taking Take a bow: A bow is a dog trick which involves having your dog put his chest to the ground while keeping his rear end up in the air. It may sound like a difficult dog trick to train a dog to do, but the truth is that bowing is a natural behavior for dogs.

Tips: If you watch two dogs playing together, you will frequently see them bow. Trainers refer to this behavior as a play bow, and it is a dog’s way of asking another dog to come play. You can easily use your dog’s natural playfulness to train him to take a bow. And it’s a great way to end a demonstration of all the cool new dog tricks your dog has learned!

Method 1- When you see your dog takes a big stretch, with his head down low, say, “Take a bow.” Every time he wakes up and stretches, say, “Take a bow.” Someday you will say, “Take a bow.” and your dog will take a big stretch, but it will look like he is bowing. As soon as he is finished, give him the treat.

Method 2-With your dog in a stand position, take a treat and hold it near the floor, under his nose. As your dog reaches down to get it (he may try to lie down), slip your hand under his belly to hold his rear end up. Hold him in that position and say, “Take a bow.” Keep the treat right by his nose, but don’t feed him. Stay there for just a second, release him, and then feed the treat.

TIP (method 1): Tricks like this work because you put words with something your dog does. It may take some dogs longer than others to figure this one out. Some dogs learn it in a week and some take years…yes, years! But one day you will say, “Take a bow,” and maybe, just maybe, your dog will take a bow.

TIP (method 2): If you feed your dog the treat while he is in the bowing position, in the future he won’t bow until he sees the treat in your hand. If he learns that the treat comes later, he’ll be willing to perform for you without it right there all the time.

Teaching Your Dog to Speak….

barking dogTeaching your dog new tricks can be a great way to strengthen your bond. Training of any kind is also great exercise for your dog’s mind and will tire your pup out as much any walk will. Thinking is hard work! Not only is it fun, but teaching your dog new tricks, will result in a better behaved, yet entertaining dog! I have decided to work on teaching my dog Lucky some new tricks. With the weather here so cold right now, working on learning new tricks is a great alternative to walking when the mercury dips too low. I will be posting mine and Lucky’s favorite tricks along with “how to” instructions, so that you can try them with your furry friend.

Last night, Lucky learned to speak on command. It took about fifteen minutes for him to catch on. He was so happy when he finally figured out what I wanted from him. After he knew what I was asking of him, we practiced for about fifteen minutes. Our full training session last night lasted 30 minutes and before we move on to the next trick, we will practice speak every night this week so I don’t confuse him. I decided to teach lucky the speak command first followed by the quiet command. It seemed to work well using the two commands together. When he figured out I wanted him to bark, he would bark a lot, about 10-12 barks in a row. After the third bark I would give him the quiet command and treat him after he was quiet for a couple seconds. This seemed to work well and he picked up on both commands rather quickly. He now will give 1-3 barks on the speak command without me having to give the quiet command. We will be using the quiet command more for excessive barking control.

Teaching your dog to “speak,” or bark on command can be fun as well as useful. A barking dog can ward off intruders and alert you to potential danger. Excessive barking can be a huge problem, but teaching the speak / quiet commands can sharpen the natural instinct to bark. With dedication and consistency, you can teach your dog to bark on command AND to be quiet. Different dog trainers and owners have varying techniques, but here is one basic method that works for many dogs.

I found a website that has steps to teaching your dog to speak, it was written by: By Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Guider many dogs. These steps worked really well in teaching this command to Lucky, so I am passing in on to my readers. The biggest thing to remember is to not get frustrated and have fun! If you are having fun and enjoying it, your dog will too!

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 10-15 minutes, 1-2 times per day (may take several weeks)

Here’s How:

1. Choose one simple word for the bark command. The word should be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “speak,” “bark” or “talk.”

2. Choose one simple word for the quiet command. This word should also be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “enough,” “quiet,” or “hush.”

3. When your dog barks, briefly acknowledge it by checking for the source (look out the window or door, go to your dog). Then, get her attention with a clap, whistle or similar sound.

4. Immediately after the barking stops, say your quiet command in a firm, audible and upbeat voice while giving a treat.

5. Practice the “quiet” command frequently. You can do this anytime she barks, but
keep sessions brief.

6. Once your dog seems to understand “quiet,” you can move onto the bark command.

7. Create a situation that will cause your dog to bark. The best method is to have a friend ring the doorbell or knock on the door. As this occurs, say your speak command in a clear, upbeat voice.

8. After your dog barks 2-3 times in a row, say “good speak!” in a clear, upbeat voice while giving a treat.

9. Repeat the speak command process several times until your dog seems to understand.

10. Once your dog learns “speak” and “quiet” separately, you can use them together – have your dog speak a few times, then tell her to be quiet.



1. Rewards should be immediate and very tasty. You need to make obeying “worth it” to your dog. Small, stinky liver treats or similar goodies work best.

2. Some people prefer to teach “speak” first, and “quiet” second. Others like to teach them together to begin with. This is your choice – it is about your comfort level, confidence and your dog’s ability to learn. Use your best judgment. Dogs with a tendency to become “excessive barkers” might need to learn the quiet command first.

3. Be patient yet consistent. These commands can take weeks to master for some dogs.

4. Teach speak only works on dogs that will bark. If you are training a puppy, wait until she develops the ability and desire to bark, otherwise she will become confused. Remember that the Basenji dog breed does not bark.

Do Dogs Dream?

Zeus taking a nap.

Zeus taking a nap.

My sleeping little angle

Lucky getting some shut eye.

I have often wondered if dogs really do dream and why they do it. Having dogs myself, I have noticed that mine do appear to be dreaming every once in a while. They will growl, twitch, and sometimes even bark in their sleep. I have also noticed that they also seem to have nightmares though these don’t happen too often. When I notice what seems and looks like a nightmare, I would gently pet them and talk to them to wake them from their bad dream. After reading the folowing article, I have learned not to wake them and let them sleep through it. What do you do when your dog is asleep and appears to be having a nightmare? Here is the article I found on this subject, I included a link to the website at the end of the article. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

It is not uncommon to hear a dog whining and squeaking while they are sound asleep. Often their adorable vocal sounds are accompanied by paw twitching and tail flicking. It can be amusing to watch and often people are convinced they are dreaming.

Is it true? Do dogs dream? Of course, no one will ever be completely certain as to what goes inside our canine friends’ minds, but it certainly looks as though they are dreaming.

When a dog is awake, it is almost impossible to argue that there isn’t some form of thought process that they go through. While their thoughts are probably not even close to the cute little voice overs we give them as we watch them, but their facial expressions, their ability to hold a lengthy attentions span, and their overall demeanor creates the impression of thoughts.

Most people believe that a dog is capable of processing about one hundred to one hundred and fifty words. Some experts believe there are dogs that can process as many as five hundred. By processing we are talking about some form of cognitive thought pattern like the ability to recognize a ball as a ball. Do they actually think, “Come on. I’m being good. Throw the ball?” Probably not. But when you ask a dog to go retrieve his ball, most dogs do know what you are talking about. Most can differentiate between “Get your ball” and “Get a toy.”

What does this have to do with dreaming? We already know that dreams are our brain’s way of processing our experiences in life. Dogs have experiences and are considered smart enough to need processing time as well. Some experts argue that all mammals dream in order to process and learn. What a dog experiences may or may not impact their dreams, but it is a likely possibility that it does. It’s actually logical to believe that it does.

In our household when a dog is appearing to dream we say they are chasing bunnies. We phrase it as such because our dogs all have a fascination with the exorbitant amount of rabbits in the neighborhood and they constantly want to chase them down. It would simply be logical that one of the events our dogs may process is being denied a bunny chase.

There is less evidence however, that abused dogs dream. Abused people tend to have nightmares and bad dreams. Studies performed on dogs show that severely neglected and abused dogs are more likely to experience a lack of dreaming rather than suffer from nightmares. Although, our puppies are not likely to wake us in the middle of the night asking to crawl in bed with us, so the theory is purely speculative.

Dreams are part of REM sleep. We know that when humans enter REM sleep they are most likely to fall into a dream state. Dogs of course experience REM sleep as well, and this is where the sleep barking and tail twitching takes place.

It is highly unlikely that we as humans will ever be able to truly understand the inner workings of a dog’s mind. They truly are amazingly complicated creatures with a vast array of communication skills. As much as we would like to enter their world and understand their thoughts, the closest we may ever get to that is watching them in their dream states. While in their dream states a dog may yip, run, growl, squeak, bark, even twist and turn the way his humans do. Watching this behavior is fascinating and entertaining. It is also a key to proving they have some capability for thought processing.

The genetics shared between dogs and humans are as high as ninety five percent. Our basic core makeup isn’t really all that different from our canine partners. It is reasonable and logical then to believe that we are more similar than we realize in our brain makeup and our brain functions as well. The human brain and the dog brain is remarkably similar as is our basic neurochemistry.

What makes it so remarkable to us as humans that our puppies are lying at our feet dreaming is that we feel connected to them somehow when we watch them. We tend to feel as though our little buddy letting us in on a secret or private moment. We find them endearing because we can tell if their dreams are happy, and for the most part they do basically seem like happy little dreamers.

Just as we cherish our dreams and often share them with those close to us, we tend to view our dogs’ dreaming activities in much the same light. For those of who actually tuck our pups into bed with a blanket, a kiss, and a “sweet dreams,” we feel rewarded somehow as they quietly lie by our bed at night in their own peaceful little dreamland.