Category: Core thought

Looking deeper into the dog!

Yet another fascinating guest post.

Another post from Alex. The last one from him was back in November, 2016.

I should repeat the fact that Alex has an interest in promoting his articles:

I am writing to you on behalf of Premier Pups, one of the main partners of Doctorpup.com. We have read your materials and we found them very interesting for dog lovers.

But this one, as with the previous one, contains much useful information and although I hardly need to say it, I will repeat the fact that I have no financial or commercial connection with Alex, Premier Pups or Doctorpup.com.

Here is that guest post:

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Customer Reviews from Premier Pups strengthen 3 lesser known findings about dogs

Dogs are a special species, preferred as companions due to their loyalty and love they display towards their owners. Although dogs are considered man’s best friend, there are many things that are still unknown about them. At Premier Pups Reviews, we are fascinated with dogs and their temperaments. From time to time, we analyze dogs’ behaviors based on our customers’ testimonials. Premier Pups Reviews is a division of Premier Pups, in charge with managing customer satisfaction and testimonials.We are glad to share with you some of the lesser known and catchy things about dogs.

Cute Dog Animal Snow Mammal
Source

  1. People choose dogs with similar personalities

Every dog has a unique personality and his own preferences. After coming in a new family, dogs personalities adjust to match their owners’ characteristics. Dogs are pack animals that love to follow their leaders and imitate them to better fit into his new family. That’s why, dogs are like children, they watch, learn and mimic their family members.

On the other hand, it is known that people tend to choose dogs that look like them and have similar personalities and characteristics. Studies have revealed that the similarities go deeper. You may notice that a calm and quiet person prefers a quiet pup, while an extroverted person has an affinity for joyful and outgoing dogs.

  1. Dogs communicate with specific facial expressions

Dogs tend to communicate with specific facial expressions when their owners are looking at them without necessarily looking for food. Are you familiar with those puppy eyes? Puppy eyes are the response to the human gaze and are dependent on the attention state of their audience. Dogs are sensitive to humans’ attention and they are using expressions as an attempt to communicate.

Scientists have revealed that animals have the capability to produce facial expressions such as a happy or a sad face, but they are usually involuntary twitches. Recently, scientists have used the technology FACS – the Facial Action Coding System to analyze facial expressions in various species of animals. They have discovered that dogs are capable of displaying 16 facial expressions compared to humans that have 27 distinct facial expressions.

Dogs tend to engage in the same social gazing behaviors as people. They scan faces and eyes to determine intent and identify threats. We have some reviews with funny stories about how dogs adopted from Premier Pups analyze their reactions and intents, trying to establish a way of communication with their owners.

Scientists analyzed a small sample of 24 family dogs of various breeds and filmed them to catch their reactions in the response to their owners’ face. The owners faced them, offered them food or looked away. Scientists found out that dogs were prone to have more facial expressions when their owners were facing them than when they turned away or gave them food. According to Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth, dogs tend to make more facial expressions when their owners pay them attention as an attempt to communicate.

  1. Behaviors associated with guilt are driven by fear

Another interesting fact that surprised us is related to that “guilty” look, which is not actually driven by guilt, but by fear. You might be familiar with the face a dog makes after doing something it wasn’t supposed to do.

Behaviors like pooping on the floor, chewing home stuff, are assimilated with a reaction of guilt. A study conducted by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz in 2009, called “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know”, has shown that dogs don’t feel any guilt, but fear. They are conscious of their mistakes. When scolding a dog for something he has done, he tends to express fear which is always confused with guilt.

People tend to wrongly interpret dog emotions through the scope of human emotion, misattributing dog emotions based on human emotions. Dogs show the white of their eyes while looking up at you and pin their ears back to the head, yawning and licking the air because they feel fear.

Our customers left reviews on our website, Premier Pups Reviews, that confirms the fact that the so-called guilty look is more pronounced in obedient dogs than in those who are disobedient. This comes as a response of this type of dogs to their owner cues. Dogs have memories, but they don’t work in the same way human memories work.

Scientists don’t know exactly how dogs experience emotions and memory, that’s why people tend to use their own language and patterns to explain dogs’ behaviors and personalities.

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Want to close with two items.

The first is what Alex sent me in terms of his background. His bio!

Alex works as a Marketing Executive for PremierPups and Premier Pups Reviews. He is passionate about animals and loves to help people find the right dogs for them. In addition to reading and writing about animals and psychology, Alex enjoys spending quality time with his beloved dog.

The second is that the next post will be this coming Sunday, the 8th April. This next post will explain that from the 8th right through to the end of April there are going to be no more posts published on Learning from Dogs but that we will be back in May!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven

Part Two of a pictorial account of our recent trip to Klamath Falls and Crater Lake.

Covering Sunday, 18th March, when we travelled from Klamath Falls up to Crater Lake and then Monday, 19th March, when we returned back from Klamath Falls to Merlin, OR.

Part One of this pictorial account is here.

To Crater Lake – What would the day bring??

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Certainly much snow. In fairness, much of this was from the snow blowers! But still ….

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Roads on the approaches to Crater Lake were ‘interesting’!

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And there is was! Crater Lake in all it’s glory!

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Anyone for a White Christmas – in March!!

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Probably best not to go too close to the edge!

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Then in the blink of an eye it was Monday and the day when we returned home!

Time to go home. Goodbye High Country!

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Who was it that mentioned snow blowers!!

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Back to the familiar and very beautiful sights of home!

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Back to rural tranquility!

The photograph above shows a returning Canadian goose nursing her unborn chicks in their eggs with ‘Dad’ keeping an eye on things close by.

Our beautiful home. A wild flower close to our stable block.

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Andy, me, Jeannie and Trish.

Thanks Trish and Andy for inviting us! Big hugs from Jeannie and me!

Hertfordshire’s Finest is a Dog!

Again and again our dogs demonstrate their incredible characters!

I’m a very ‘ex’ typewriter salesman, in that for the period of 1970 to 1978 I was a salesman for IBM Office Products in the UK.

I have had two great friends for many, many years. Dan, whom I met in Boston, Mass., in 1980 at a Commodore PET Computer event, and Richard, whom I met in England a couple of years previously. Richard used to work as a salesman for Olivetti Typewriters more or less the same time that I was selling for IBM.

I speak to Dan and Richard several times each week.

A few days ago, Richard’s lovely partner, Julie, sent me an email with a link to a recent item carried by the BBC.

As follows:

It didn’t take me long to find another video. This time broadcast by Channel 5 News that had apparently led with the story. (NB: when I reviewed today’s post a little after 6am local time that FB page seemed to be missing.)

Brave, brave Finn!

When I spoke with Julie she added that earlier on in her lifetime she had been a police officer at that Hertfordshire Station.

Shit Happens!

A very inspirational essay from George Monbiot.

It is said that there are only two certainties in life: Death and Taxes.

I think that is one short: The Unexpected. As in Death, Taxes and The Unexpected!

As evidence of The Unexpected, one could put falling off one’s bike or being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Or the many other ‘hiccups’ that are an attribute of the real world that we humans live in. Put in the words of the street: Shit Happens!

Now read this very inspirational essay from George Monbiot. Republished here with Mr. Monbiot’s very kind permission.

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Unprostrated

16th March 2018

I have prostate cancer, but I’m happy. Here’s how.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 14th March 2018

It came, as these things often do, like a gunshot on a quiet street: shocking and disorienting. In early December, my urine turned brown. The following day I felt feverish and found it hard to pee. I soon realised I had a urinary tract infection. It was unpleasant, but seemed to be no big deal. Now I know that it might have saved my life.

The doctor told me this infection was unusual in a man of my age, and hinted at an underlying condition. So I had a blood test, which revealed that my prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels were off the scale. An MRI scan and a mortifying biopsy confirmed my suspicions. Prostate cancer: all the smart young men have it this season.

On Monday, I go into surgery. The prostate gland is buried deep in the body, so removing it is a major operation: there are six entry points and it takes four hours. The procedure will hack at the roots of my manhood. Because of the damage that will be caused to the surrounding nerves, there’s a high risk of permanent erectile dysfunction. Because the urethra needs to be cut and reattached to the bladder, I will almost certainly suffer urinary incontinence for a few months, and possibly permanently. Because the removal of part of the urethra retracts the penis, it appears to shrink, at least until it can be stretched back into shape.

I was offered a choice: radical surgery or brachytherapy. This means implanting radioactive seeds in the parts of the prostrate affected by cancer. Brachytherapy has fewer side effects, and recovery is much faster. But there’s a catch. If it fails to eliminate the cancer, there’s nothing more that can be done. This treatment sticks the prostate gland to the bowel and bladder, making surgery extremely difficult. Once you’ve had one dose of radiation, they won’t give you another. I was told that the chances of brachytherapy working in my case were between 70 and 80%. The odds were worse, in other words, than playing Russian roulette (which, with one bullet in a six-chambered revolver, gives you 83%). Though I have a tendency to embrace risk, this was not an attractive option.

It would be easy to curse my luck and start to ask “why me?”. I have never smoked and hardly drink; I have a ridiculously healthy diet and follow a severe fitness regime. I’m 20 or 30 years younger than most of the men I see in the waiting rooms. In other words, I would have had a lower risk of prostate cancer only if I had been female. And yet … I am happy. In fact, I’m happier than I was before my diagnosis. How can this be?

The reason is that I’ve sought to apply the three principles which, I believe, sit at the heart of a good life. The first is the most important: imagine how much worse it could be, rather than how much better.

When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your condition is ranked on the Gleason Score, which measures its level of aggression. Mine is graded at 7 out of 10. But this doesn’t tell me where I stand in general. I needed another index to assess the severity of my condition, so I invented one: the Shitstorm Scale. How does my situation compare to those of people I know, who contend with other medical problems or family tragedies? How does it compare to what might have been, had the cancer had not been caught while it is still – apparently – confined to the prostate gland? How does it compare to innumerable other disasters that could have befallen me?

When I completed the exercise, I realised that this bad luck, far from being a cause of woe, is a reminder of how lucky I am. I have the love of my family and friends. I have the support of those with whom I work. I have the NHS. My Shitstorm Score is a mere 2 out of 10.

The tragedy of our times is that, rather than apply the most useful of English proverbs – “cheer up, it could be worse” – we are constantly induced to imagine how much better things could be. The rich lists and power lists with which the newspapers are filled, our wall-to-wall celebrity culture, the invidious billions spent on marketing and advertising, create an infrastructure of comparison that ensures we see ourselves as deprived of what others possess. It is a formula for misery.

The second principle is this: change what you can change, accept what you can’t. This is not a formula for passivity. I’ve spent my working life trying to alter outcomes that might have seemed immovable to other people. The theme of my latest book is that political failure is, at heart, a failure of imagination. But sometimes we simply have to accept an obstacle as insuperable. Fatalism in these circumstances is protective. I accept that my lap is in the lap of the gods.

So I will not rage against the morbidity this surgery might cause. I won’t find myself following Groucho Marx who, at the age of 81, magnificently lamented, “I’m going to Iowa to collect an award. Then I’m appearing at Carnegie Hall, it’s sold out. Then I’m sailing to France to pick up an honour from the French government. I’d give it all up for one erection.” And today there’s viagra.

The third principle is this: do not let fear rule your life. Fear hems us in, stops us from thinking clearly and prevents us from either challenging oppression or engaging calmly with the impersonal fates. When I was told that this operation has an 80% chance of success, my first thought was “that’s roughly the same as one of my kayaking trips. And about twice as good as the chance of emerging from those investigations in West Papua and the Amazon”.

There are, I believe, three steps to overcoming fear: name it, normalise it, socialise it. For too long, cancer has been locked in the drawer labelled Things We Don’t Talk About. When we call it the Big C, it becomes, as the term suggests, not smaller, but larger in our minds. He Who Must Not Be Named is diminished by being identified, and diminished further when he becomes a topic of daily conversation.

The super-volunteer Jeanne Chattoe, whom I interviewed recently for another column, reminded me that, just 25 years ago, breast cancer was a taboo subject. Thanks to the amazing advocacy of its victims, this is almost impossible to imagine today. Now we need to do the same for other cancers. Let there be no more terrible secrets.

So I have sought to discuss my prostate cancer as I would discuss any other issue. I make no apologies for subjecting you to the grisly details: the more familiar they become, the less horrifying. In doing so, I socialise my condition. Last month, I discussed the remarkable evidence suggesting that a caring community enhances recovery and reduces mortality. In talking about my cancer with family and friends, I feel the love that I know will get me through this. The old strategy of suffering in silence could not have been more misguided.

I had intended to use this column to urge men to get themselves tested. But since my diagnosis, we’ve discovered two things. The first is that prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. The second is that the standard assessment (the PSA blood test) is of limited use. As prostate cancer in its early stages is likely to produce no symptoms, it’s hard to see what men can do to protect themselves. That urinary tract infection was a remarkably lucky break.

Instead, I urge you to support the efforts led by Prostate Cancer UK to develop a better test. Breast cancer has attracted twice as much money and research as prostate cancer, not because (as the Daily Mail suggests) men are the victims of injustice, but because women’s advocacy has been so effective. Campaigns such as Men United and the Movember Foundation have sought to bridge this gap, but there’s a long way to go. Prostate cancer is discriminatory: for reasons unknown, black men are twice as likely to suffer it as white men. Finding better tests and treatments is a matter of both urgency and equity.

I will ride this out. I will own this disease but I won’t be defined by it: I will not be prostrated by my prostate. I will be gone for a few weeks but when I return, I do solemnly swear I will still be the argumentative old git with whom you are familiar.

http://www.monbiot.com

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It appears to be a unique aspect of the human mind. I am referring to our ability to worry about the future, to struggle to break away from ‘habitual’ responses to unanticipated crap coming along, to see the glass as half full as opposed to half empty, and so on, and so on.

Oh, to be like our dear, sweet, wise dogs.

Just let the world roll by!

What a great man he was!

I am, of course, referring to the recent death of Stephen Hawking.

There’s no way that I can add anything to the widespread reporting of the very sad death of the theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Professor Stephen Hawking.

Except, possibly, this interesting quirk of fate.

For this great man died yesterday: March 14th.

The very same day that another very famous man, the German-born Albert Einstein, was born. As in March 14th. Albeit, Stephen Hawking’s death being 139 years after the birth of the 1921 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Did you also know that Professor Hawking was a great dog lover!

I was very pleased that The Conversation blog site released a wonderful tribute to Stephen Hawking. The item opens, thus:

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Acclaimed British theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking has died aged 76. Hawking is best known for his work on black holes, which revolutionised our understanding of the universe.

Hawking passed away today peacefully at his home in Cambridge, his family confirmed in a statement:

We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.

His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. He once said, “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.” We will miss him forever.


Read more: A timeline of Stephen Hawking’s remarkable life


Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. In 1963 he was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, and later confined to a wheelchair and forced to communicate via a computerised voice. But he continued his theoretical work and was outspoken on many things over much of his life.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media for the scientist, who made complex science accessible to everyone in his 1988 bestselling book A Brief History of Time.

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Do read the rest of that article. I will take the tribute from Alice Gorman that closes The Conversation article to close today’s post.

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Alice Gorman, Senior Lecturer in archaeology and space studies, Flinders University

There are few scientists who reach as far into popular culture as Stephen Hawking did. His research tackled the biggest of big questions – the nature of time, space and the universe we live in.

Sometimes it feels like science is losing ground in the modern world, but people still look to the stars for answers about who we are and how we come to be here.

Hawking’s bestselling A Brief History of Time made cosmology accessible to people and brought black holes out of the shadows and into the public imagination.

Personally I’ll miss his appearances on The Big Bang Theory, where he could out-nerd the nerds, and also provide some often necessary common sense. It was always great to see a world-class scientist just having fun.

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What a very great man he was!

Saving lives!

Saving the lives of our dogs and their owner/carers!

The Smithsonian website recently featured a dog rescue centre in Costa Rica that has the odd dog or one thousand being cared for!

I kid you not!

This Costa Rican Paradise Shelters Over 1,000 Stray Dogs

A photographer documents scenes from Territorio De Zaguates, a converted farm in the Santa Bárbara mountains that’s giving abandoned dogs a second chance
By Jennifer Billock, smithsonian.com, March 6, 2018

The article also includes a range of incredible photographs. I have ‘borrowed’ a couple to share with you.

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What rescuing a dog means to thousands of gentle-hearted people is no better spoken about than in the words of a poem that Colin published over on his blog A Dog’s Life.

It is republished here with Colin’s very kind permission.

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“A Stray they named Ray”

The following is one of the poems in my book “Just Thinking”, which is available direct from Friesen Press, Amazon, and other on-line book retailers.

https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000032944229/Colin-Chappell-Just-Thinking

This is such a sweet collection of beautiful thoughts and sentiments and reflections. The people and stories and memories are so real and tangible, easy to connect with, easy to read. For each poem I have read so far, it’s like he is talking about someone I know… or someone I would want to know 🙂 This books explores so many things, takes you on so many journeys.. the good and the bad and the beauty in between. This book was given as a gift, and it’s one I will treasure!” (Amazon review)

 “A Stray they named Ray”

They were found on a farm

Not too far away,

But… where was their home?

Two dogs, frightened, hungry,

So very tired and,

Surviving somehow on their own.

***

The rescue van arrived,

And the crew discussed

How best to capture this pair.

Traps were determined

To be the most humane,

But… so many questions were there.

***

Why were these two dogs

Having to scavenge for food?

Why were they out on their own?

The treats in the traps,

Put an end to all that,

And they were captured, scared… and alone.

***

They had no collars; no tags;

No microchips were found.

They were just two dogs without names.

Their faces were expressionless,

And their fur in poor condition.

Were they siblings? Perhaps their mother was the same?

***

Once back at the shelter

They were caged together,

But then a fight ensued.

Trainers intervened,

And gave them separate cages,

But then had to decide what to do.

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One (they later named Ray) was not unfriendly,

Although cautious and rather aloof.

He seemed to know he was no longer alone.

He was given a bath and a bowl of food

And, with some loving care (they thought),

He could possibly adapt to a home.

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He was a sorry sight,

And no doubt a once proud dog.

Clearly a German Shepherd cross,

Just managing to survive,

By eating scraps to stay alive.

To explain him, they were quite at a loss.

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They tried to find his owners.

They checked the Missing Pets files,

But there only seemed one option.

He now belonged to the shelter

And… as he was neither reported lost, nor stolen,

He would be trained for adoption.

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Four months later he was ready.

His adoption photo was published,

And all were looking for a sign.

He needed a family,

To love… and be loved by.

This will, hopefully, be his time.

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Eventually a couple arrived

Who clearly were drawn to him,

And regular walks were arranged.

It was soon to be seen

That his life, as it had been,

Was quickly going to change.

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His day of adoption came.

The staff all said their farewells.

Smiles, and tears, were all around,

For the life of a stray;

Of a dog they named Ray;

A life almost lost… had been found.

*

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I am finishing today’s post with another photograph from the Costa Rican Paradise Shelter.

Then my final words are those in that Smithsonian article:

Now, more than 1,000 dogs roam the countryside of the Costa Rican estate. They go on daily walks in the mountains and eat roughly 858 pounds of food per day. They’re bathed and treated on-site for illness or injury (though more intense cases go to a specialist vet in San Jose). And most importantly, they’re given a better quality of life than they’d experience on the streets.

“There is a major problem with stray and abandoned dogs in Costa Rica,” Dan Giannopoulos, a photographer who recently visited the shelter, told Smithsonian.com. “The government line on [the] treatment of strays is to destroy them. This is the only shelter of its kind in Costa Rica. It offers a new lease [on] life to the dogs, many of whom have lived terrible lives and have terminal illnesses.”

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/these-photos-transport-you-dogs-central-american-paradise-180968018/#v9xZpKmRadL5JHeA.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Dogs and allergies

Again and again I feel so privileged to be writing this blog!

For so many reasons! But the top reasons are that I feel part of an enormous family of dog lovers and that so frequently I am approached by a person who has valuable information to share with me and you.

Such as it was when back last September in came an email from Zara Lewis.

Hi Paul,
As you probably already know, all the pet stories you are sharing are super interesting and, most importantly, super useful to the entire community of us, pet parents.
Professionally, I am a regular contributor at highstylife.com magazine, while personally I am very interested in pet topics, as I am a proud mom of two + one. I say “+one” because I can hardly separate my foster dog from my children 😀

I have no book to publish, but I was wondering if you are willing to add guest content to your blog. Here you can check my style and previous posts:

https://caninecupcakes.com/the-essential-guide-to-going-green-with-your-dogs-diet-this-spring/
http://tinpaw.com/everything-need-know-preventing-heartworm-cat/

Here are some topic suggestions that I believe can be useful for your community:

-Teaching your child responsibility with animals
-The Latest Trends in Pet Care
Looking forward to your response.
Regards from me & furry Joey,

Zara

You will not be surprised to hear me say that I replied to Zara saying that I would be delighted to receive an essay from her.

The weeks slipped by, as they do, but on the 6th March Zara sent the following.

It’s a wonderful essay!

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Dog Allergies 101: What Are the Most Common Ones & What to Do About Them

by Zara Lewis, March 6th, 2018.

Allergies are a very common ailment, so it’s not unusual for your dog to have one. Even though people have the ability to describe the symptoms to the last detail, dogs tend to show different ones, so it’s very important for us to know and recognize them. Unless you have some kind of a super dog breed, your four-legged friend might start developing certain allergies. This mostly happens because their bodies mistakenly believe a certain type of food is bad for them, or they use it too much or too often, so their immune system responds by releasing antibodies that can cause serious problems. Take a look at the most common symptoms and allergens:

What could the symptoms be?

So before starting with the most common allergens, it’s very important to know what the most common symptoms of food allergies in dogs are. So, if you happen to notice that your dog is experiencing one of the following, make sure to get them checked by a vet as it’s very probable they have a certain food allergy:

  • Itching
  • Poor fur quality
  • Nausea
  • Obsessive Licking
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Chronic gas
  • Chronic ear inflammation

What are the most common allergens?

Eggs
It’s a well-known fact that eggs (more specifically egg yolks) are very rich in protein, so your dog can easily become allergic to them. On the positive side, avoiding eggs is not difficult; just make sure to check dog food labels to see if there’s any danger for your four-legged friend. Even though one of the most common symptoms of this type of allergy in your dog is the appearance of bald spots, egg allergy can manifest in other ways as well.

Beef, chicken and lamb
Beef is also known to have high amounts of protein, which means that your dog can become intolerant to this kind of meat as well. This usually happens if you’ve been feeding your dog a certain type of food for a very long time, so your dog becomes intolerant or allergic to that specific food. Due to this reason, beef allergies are very common, as most dog foods contain this type of meat. The same rule applies to chicken as well. Dog foods are most commonly made of beef and chicken, so it would be best to feed your dog with all possible meats – beef, pork, chicken and lamb, and rotate them as much as you can. On the other hand, lamb is very often regarded as a ‘safe haven’ for dogs with meat allergies. However, if you don’t pay attention to rotating your dog’s diet, your dog can also become allergic to lamb.

Grain
Another thing that most types of dog food contain is grains, which means that this is also one of the most common allergens. If you happen to notice itchy and dry skin or hair loss, make sure to check if your dog is allergic to grain. Mind that finding completely grain-free food can be quite tricky, so there might be a chance you have to cook everything by yourself. Luckily, for all those who don’t have the time to do this daily, there are certain products that can help with that, such as the grain-free line of Ivory Coat dog food. Always check your dog – if they’re allergic to grain, the sooner you discover it, the better.

Dairy products

It’s not only people who can be lactose intolerant – dogs can be as well. This means they are not allowed to eat or drink any dairy products, such as cheese or milk. Otherwise, they’ll end up with gas problems, diarrhoea and vomiting. As far as dairy products are concerned, there is one tricky thing you need to pay attention to – a dog can actually develop an allergy towards them, so it’s crucial for you to be able to tell the allergy apart from the intolerance. If you notice itchiness or redness on your dog, make sure to have it checked by the vet as soon as possible. If it’s only diarrhoea or vomiting, it’s probably only intolerance, but a check-up won’t hurt.
Soy
There’s an ongoing debate whether soy is good for your dog or not, but it’s definitely true that soy food is very common. Soy can cause many health problems that can be more serious than simple allergies, including reproductive and growth problems, and diseases of the liver. Furthermore, soy is the second most genetically modified crop that is grown, so it would be the most advisable to avoid this product.

It’s not for nothing that they say dogs are people’s best friends. And we treat our best friends nicely, don’t we? This is why we should all (especially if we’re the owners) make sure to treat them the best we can. The first step is making sure our little furry friends are not allergic to anything, and discovering this quickly won’t make only our lives easier, but those of our dogs as well.

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Great email from Zara! Great guest essay with great pictures and loads and loads of valuable advice, and great links to other websites.

You see why I like running this blog!!

Travelling with your dog!

So welcome to the first day of March!! Holidays in the offing? Here is some useful advice!

Inevitably, with so many followers (big hugs to you all) I receive emails from people who have a commercial interest in the readership of this blog.

As I did earlier in January.

Hi,

Hope you had a great weekend!

My name is Emma from BestCarSeatHub.com. I’m wondering if we can contribute a fresh and original post about pets (traveling with pets or safety of dogs) to your site Learning from Dogs. It’ll be 100% neutral and written based on your site’s tone.

In return, we’ll be sharing that post to all our networks… helping you gain new and more readers.

Let me know if you’re interested. I’m also willing to discuss any other options you have. Thanks a lot.


Sincerely yours, Emma Lachey.

My reply was:

Emma,
Thanks for writing me.

In principle, I am happy to receive your guest post so long as you are happy for me to introduce your company as a firm of which I have no personal knowledge.

Does that work for you?

Paul H.

Emma then sent me the following guest post. It’s very useful advice in my opinion.

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Traveling With Your Dog – A How To Guide

Are you planning to travel with your dog in the future? While it is a great experience and you will certainly have many memories, it will also add a few new levels to your traveling experience. You will have to plan a lot more, make sure your dog is allowed everywhere you go, and make concessions on what you can do.

For most people, boarding their dogs turns out to be the better option – but it doesn’t have to be if you take these tips into consideration. For now, we will focus on traveling with your dog in the car.

Plan Ahead

The first thing you want to do is really plan ahead for your travels. Think about where you may need to take a break for your dog to go to the bathroom – and he will need to go much more frequently than he will just at home. Make sure to have some time set aside so that he can get out and walk around – a dog that wares off some energy will be much easier to deal with in the car.

Finally, make sure that you have places you can go so that your dog doesn’t have to be stuck inside the car when you go to eat. There are plenty of places that either offer outdoor seating or will be happy to pack your food up for you so that you can eat it somewhere where your dog can as well – of course, weather will dictate much of this.

Consider Medication

If your dog has severe anxiety when he or she is in the car, you might want to consider getting medication for your dog. This is something you should only use sparingly, but it is something you want to consider.

Bring Toys and Familiar Items

Does your dog have a favorite toy? How about a familiar bed or blanket? If he does, you want to bring some of those with you, just to make him more comfortable. With toys, you want to get something that he will sit and play with for a long time while you are travelling – this can take away much of the stress.

Use a Dog Car Seat

Dogs get pretty excited about going in the car, especially if they aren’t the type of dogs that get to go for a ride all that often. There are plenty of dog car seats on the market today, from simple tethers or harnesses to high-tech dog booster seats that have all you can ever imagine.

Some other items you want to have?

  1. Leash
  2. Water bowl and water
  3. Treats
  4. Busy Toys
  5. Doggie Bags
  6. Medication
  7. All your dog’s tags
  8. The name and number of a local vet

The car seat won’t only keep your dog safe, which of course is important, but it will keep you safe as well. Dogs running around the car can really distract you from your surroundings and can put everyone in danger.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Emergencies will happen, and while you hope that you won’t encounter one, you do have to be prepared for anything. Planning in advance will ensure that you can tackle anything that might happen. Before you go on a trip, talk to your vet about anyone that he or she may know near where you are staying. It should be a priority to take your dog to the vet before you leave for your trip anyway. You also want to have the phone number of your vet so that you can call in a pinch. Always make sure that your phone has a full battery so you can look up vets in the car.

If your dog is acting quiet and a little “off,” it could be nothing – your dog could just be adjusting to life this way. However, you want to ensure that your dog has enough time out of the car and has enough water. Once your dog shows sudden signs of illness, then you want to get to work.

If you are driving, you want to map out any vets on the pathway, set an alarm for medications, bring only the highest quality dog food, give your dog adequate bathroom time, and bring all medical records with you.

Make Sure ID Is Always on Your Dog

Make sure that your dog always has a collar on when you are traveling. Make sure the collar has your phone number and your name on it as well. If your dog does get away when you are traveling, this is the best way to ensure that your dog will get back to you.

You might want to consider a microchip as well. You’ll want to have a recent photo of your dog on your phone so that, if the worst does happen, you will have a way to make flyers.

Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. Instead, you want to make the most of it by being prepared, taking many photos of your pup, and having the times of your lives.

ooOOoo

Now all that Jean and I need to work out is how to take our six dogs with us when next month we travel to Europe for a couple of weeks!!

Any ideas, Emma?

Beating depression without pills!

The value of a loving dog is not to be over estimated!

Returning to the theme of how dogs can help us humans fight off depression.

A delightful guest post from Taylor who recently asked if she could share a post from her own blog. I was delighted to have been asked.

oooooh

Dogs Can Help Decrease Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression.

by Taylor G. February 23rd. 2018.

I have always been a huge animal person. But mostly, a dog person/mom. I have two pups, and I am a dog walker in my neighboring towns. But I also suffer from depression and anxiety. Doctors always rush to prescribe medicine, but I have found that dogs can help as well. This post will be describing how dogs can help people suffering with depression and anxiety.

  1. Exercise- For all you dog owners out there, you know how much exercise your furry friends require. Since becoming a dog walker, I am forced to exercise and walk everyday. While it hasn’t cured my mental illnesses, it has decreased some of my symptoms. I am forced to get out of bed and do something. In recent studies, they have found that dog owners are a lot more likely to meet daily exercise requirements then none dog owners!
  2. Sense of Purpose- When you know that there is another living being that relies solely on you,
    Koda and I on a walk.

    you get a sense of worthiness. I know I struggle with feeling needed, but as soon as I schedule a dog walk, I know that that dog needs me. That the dog is waiting for me to walk it. It makes me feel needed in this world. It has increased my self worth and makes me feel like I have a purpose.

  3. Structure/Daily Routine- Many people who suffer with depression and anxiety know the struggle of having a routine. All we want is structure in our lives in a world where everything is hectic and last minute. Having a dog/being a dog walker, gives you a routine. Most dogs get up to do their business at the same time every morning and they know when its walk/feeding time. Trust me 🙂 It has given me a set schedule and has helped me feel more structured and less crazy!
  4. Forever Companion- Dogs will steal your heart, but you will also steal theirs. They are one of the most loving and caring animals out there. They sense your emotions and will be there for you through your good and bad days. I know that when I have a bad day, I always have my happy little furry babies to come home to. They are my friends when my depression tells me I have none.
  5. Petting Reduces Stress- It is proven, that the ‘motion’ and the ’emotion’ the goes into petting,
    Chloe with my Guinea Pig Daisy

    actually releases oxytocin (hormone related to anxiety relief), which can help reduce blood pressure!

  6. Mindfullness- For people who are trying to practice mindfulness (anxiety/depression technique that keeps you in the current moment), having a dog will help you do that! They keep you distracted from the bad things that are going on, and make you concentrate on their cute shenanigans.
  7. Koda with a cup on his head.

    Help with Isolation- For those days when your depression gets the best of you, they help you feel less lonely and less isolated. They will be there for you when no one else is, and knowing that always makes me feel better.

  8. They allow me to smile- Last year, when my depression and anxiety were at its peak, I forgot how to smile. The only time I smiled was when I was in the presence of my dogs. They taught me how to smile again, and I am so grateful to them.

My dogs have helped give me my life back. While I am still fighting my

Koda smiling.

depression and anxiety, I am definitely proof that dogs can help in this fight against mental illness. While they also may be a huge responsibility, they are also a huge help in the war with mental illness.

ooOOoo

I will close by stating the obvious.

That is that everyone who has a dog or two in their life and has times of feeling depressed knows without question what it means to hug a dog.

Those who do not have a dog in their life and have experienced depression should find their own dog to hug – pronto!

Inward thoughts.

Reflections on being gentle to yourself.

There are three reasons why I wrote this post. A post that runs across today and tomorrow.

Firstly, this post is inspired by love! The supreme love that I receive from my darling Jeannie and the love that I sense practically twenty-four hours a day that flows from the beautiful dogs that we have here. But also from the wonders of the rural world in which I live. From sights like the one below to being visited by wild deer every single morning when I go out to feed the horses.

The view from our bedroom window any cloudless morning. (This photo taken October 18th, 2015.)

The second reason for writing this post is a direct result of the love that flows in from so, so many of you precious readers. You are like one big online family that I live in. And, as one hopes to do within a family, from time to time you want to open up your inner feelings.

The third and final reason for this post is wanting to explore how one might find some peace from the chaos that seems to be spread so far and wide across this planet that we all call home.

It’s a very personal journey and I suggest that if this is not your ‘cup of tea’ that you call back another day!

OK! Now that’s off my chest, here we go!

Life’s beauty is inseparable from it’s fragility.

Pause awhile and just let those words float around your mind.

It is a quotation taken from a TED Talk that Jean and I watched a few days ago.

The speaker is Susan David and is described on that TED Talk page as follows:

Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

If you want to watch the talk it is a little over 16 minutes long and may be viewed on the TED Talk site here.

Let me return to that quotation. For there is no question that life, at whatever scale, from the personal to the global, is fragile. Fragile with a capital “F“!

Whether it’s the madness of our politics and governments, or nature presenting us with extreme hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and floods, or the frustrations of life itself, especially when one is the wrong side of 65, or numerous other aspects of being human it’s terribly easy to become frustrated, or worse, with oneself.  I speak from a very personal perspective as my short-term recall is now pathetic!

STOP! (You see, I wrote the word “pathetic” without thinking. Demonstrating how  quickly I come down on myself. Without automatically and unconsciously being gentle on myself and being very grateful that this old Brit, born in 1944, is still able to string a few words together!)

One of the great, possibly the greatest, things that we can learn from our dogs is to be gentle on ourselves. So very often our dogs take time out to relax, to be happy and to spread their joy around the home. Look at the following photograph!

Oliver demonstrating the art of being very gentle on himself and on Pedi. (Picture taken November, 2015.)

Being gentle on yourself!

But for us humans that seems a great deal more easier to say than to practice!

Yet the argument for being gentle to yourself is compelling. And the first step in that personal journey towards being kinder to yourself is to be better aware of oneself when it comes to our emotions.

I shall be continuing this inward journey tomorrow but today, holding on to that idea of how we manage our emotions, I want to close with another TED Talk. Just 18 minutes long but invaluable to watch.

The talk is given by Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD who is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University,and has positions in psychiatry and radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

As I was reading the draft of this post it did cross my mind that you do know I write from a purely personal perspective. I hold no qualifications whatsoever in the fields of psychiatry, psychology or any related disciplines. If you have found yourself to be affected to the point where you think you need proper counselling then, please, do seek help.

Part Two coming along tomorrow!