Tag: American Kennel Club

It’s not just us!

That can be affected by the weather!

In posting this I must admit to not noticing any changes in our group of ‘buddies’. Correction: I don’t notice any changes in behaviour as a result of cold temperatures. Hot weather is different.

See what you make of the following article that was taken from here.

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How Changes in Weather Can Affect Your Dog’s Mood

By

Have you ever noticed that your dog’s mood shifts with the weather? Storms, heat, cold, and the changing seasons affect our dogs, just like they affect us. Understanding this behavior can help you prepare your canine companion for the forecast ahead.

Changing Seasons

When the temperature heats up, some dogs rejoice, while others seek out cool, shady spots where they can rest. Though all dogs can be susceptible to hot weather hazards, certain dog breeds are less heat tolerant than others. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers, do best when staying cool in hot weather because they can have difficulty breathing in extreme heat. Large breeds are also susceptible to heat, as are longhaired breeds like the Komondor, Afghan Hound, and Alaskan Malamute. If you own a breed like these, you may find that your dog is not as active in hot weather or as willing to engage in play and other activities.

Colder climates, on the other hand, is where Northern breeds like American Eskimo Dogs, Samoyeds, and Siberian Huskies thrive. Longhaired or double-coated breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, Saint BernardsGreat Pyrenees, and Newfoundlands typically enjoy cooler weather, too. They often become more active and playful during the winter months, unlike cold-intolerant breeds such as Italian Greyhounds, Greyhounds, hairless breeds, toy breeds, senior dogs, and dogs with conditions such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.

Relocating to a New Climate

Seasons change gradually, giving your dog time to adjust. Relocating to an entirely new climate, however, can cause sudden shifts in your pup’s mood. Depending on your dog’s breed, you may notice that he becomes more or less active, and some dogs even show signs of irritation if the weather makes them too uncomfortable.

A move to a cold climate can be shocking for dogs that are not used to chilly temperatures. Some pups seek out warm places, like air vents, blankets, or human contact, and you might notice your canine companion becoming cuddlier in the cold. Understanding the cause of your dog’s sudden lethargy or increased activity can help you determine if his change in mood is circumstantial or medical. Lethargy is a common symptom of many illnesses and should be taken seriously, so make sure your dog is not exhibiting any other abnormal signs. If he is, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Helping Your Dog Adjust

If your dog gets grumpy in the heat, don’t worry. There are things you can do to make him more comfortable and lower his risk of heatstroke.

  • Avoid taking your dog for walks during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Make sure he has plenty of fresh water.
  • Raised canvas platform dog beds offer a cooling alternative to traditional beds, and you can even invest in cooling mats or kiddie pools for particularly heat-intolerant dogs.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, adjust a fan so that your dog has access to a nice, cool breeze.
  • Never leave a dog unattended in an enclosed vehicle or in a warm environment that does not have good air circulation.

You can also help your dog acclimate to the cold. After all, who doesn’t love a pup in a sweater? With so many dog sweaters, jackets, raincoats, and booties to choose from, keeping your dog warm is easier than ever. However, it’s important to note that you should never leave an item of clothing on an unsupervised dog. And anything you do put on your canine companion should fit properly (not too tight or too loose).

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Understanding this behavior can help you prepare your canine companion for the forecast ahead.” One wonders just how one prepares our canine companions (all six of them) for the forecast.

Maybe we should go back to the drawing board!

Just a sigh between friends.

Something in common with our dogs, or not?

These days there is plenty to sigh about. Whether it’s presidential politics this side of the Atlantic or immigration and ‘Brexit’ in Europe. However, today’s post is not about our, as in human, sighs but is about the sighs that our dogs make.

Stay with this as I republish a recent item that appeared on Mother Nature Network.

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Why do dogs sigh?

Mary Jo DiLonardo, March 24, 2016.
We sigh when we're frustrated and when we're happy. What about our four-legged friends? (Photo: sgilsdorf/flickr)
We sigh when we’re frustrated and when we’re happy. What about our four-legged friends? (Photo: sgilsdorf/flickr)

Every dog owner has experienced it at one time or another. Your dog lies down, often with his head on his front paws, and lets out a sigh. Is he sad? Content? Disappointed in his life?

It could be any of the above, it just depends on the context, says the American Kennel Club.

“When the sigh is combined with half-closed eyes, it communicates pleasure; with fully open eyes, it communicates disappointment: ‘I guess you are not going to play with me.'”

Geez. Guilt trip, anyone?

A dog’s sigh is “a simple emotional signal that terminates an action,” writes Stanley Coren, Ph.D. in his book, “Understanding Your Dog for Dummies.”

“If the action has been rewarding, it signals contentment. Otherwise, it signals an end of effort.”

So if you and your dog just finished a fun romp in the yard or a great walk in the park, that sigh means, “I’m content and am going to settle down here awhile.” If your dog has begged at your side all during dinner without a payoff, that sigh signifies, “I’ll give up now and simply be depressed.”

Dog trainer Pat Engel agrees.

“My own unscientific observation is that dogs usually sigh while resting, or when they are what I call ‘resigned,'” she writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. “These sighs seem to mark a physiological transition into a deeper state of relaxation.”

If you feel like your dog sighs (or yawns or makes other noises excessively), it’s worth mentioning to your vet, Engel suggests. There’s always a chance that a health issue might be at the root of the sounds.

If a medical reason isn’t to blame, then concentrate on reading the cues your canine is sharing.

Massachusetts dog trainer Jody Epstein says a dog’s body language is definitely the key to interpreting the noise he’s making.

“If his body is relaxed, ears soft, head down on the bed in what we might call a ‘sleeping’ position, and he’s in perfect health otherwise, then I’d expect it’s just a sign of uber relaxation,” she writes in her All Experts advice column. “If he’s laying there, but sitting up watching you and doing it, then it’s more likely an active communication that you may wish to address.”

Like, hey, buddy, isn’t it time for a treat? Or when was the last time we played ball?

One dog may sigh because he's frustrated; another may sigh because she's comfortable and is ready for a nap. (Photo: Brent Schumacher/flickr)
One dog may sigh because he’s frustrated; another may sigh because she’s comfortable and is ready for a nap. (Photo: Brent Schumacher/flickr)

Is a sigh always a sigh?

“Dogs make many vocalizations, and they mean different things depending on various factors such as context, experience, relationships, the individual dog, and much more,” says certified animal behaviorist and dog trainer Katenna Jones of Jones Animal Behavior, in Warwick, Rhode Island. “There is also human interpretation: One person’s sigh is another person’s huff, moan, groan or whine.”

And, Jones says, some breeds tend to make more or different sounds than others.

“The most important thing is to remember there is no one answer. It’s important to not apply human feelings to dogs because dogs are not humans!” she says. “Look at the context of situations in which your dog is sighing, take note, and see if you can identify why YOUR dog is sighing — because it may be different than why MY dog is sighing.”

Just because we don’t always know what our dogs are trying to say, doesn’t mean we should stop trying to figure things out.

The AKC points out: “Dogs make sounds both intentionally and unintentionally, and they all have certain meanings. Just because we do not understand the wonderful variety of sounds that dogs vocalize does not mean that dogs are not doing their best to communicate with us.”

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So come on, you dear readers, send in some examples of sighing and other wonderful sounds that your dogs make!

Here’s my contribution from YouTube. The sound of a German Shepherd deep asleep and a very familiar sound in this house when Pharaoh is sound asleep.

Published on Sep 5, 2014

At first I had no idea it was him. I thought maybe it was my husband (who was downstairs in the living room taking a nap) and the dogs and I were upstairs….but soon figured out it was him! This was the first time I had heard Jax snore. I especially love his little face when he was woken up by his brother. Which I think he did on purpose. Haha. It is hilarious!

From wolf to dog!

The science behind our fabulous dogs.

I was doing some research for another writing project about the history of the domestication of the dog and came across a peer-reviewed article on The National Center for Biotechnology Information website, here in the USA.  The article was entitled: Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication. The website link is here.  (As an aside, if you drop in here and look at the NCBI sitemap it may well serve as an excellent resource.)

Anyway, the dog domestication article is, of necessity, highly scientific but nonetheless worth the read.  Here’s a taste from the Abstract.

Advances in genome technology have facilitated a new understanding of the historical and genetic processes crucial to rapid phenotypic evolution under domestication 1,2. To understand the process of dog diversification better, we conducted an extensive genome-wide survey of more than 48,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms in dogs and their wild progenitor, the grey wolf. Here we show that dog breeds share a higher proportion of multi-locus haplotypes unique to grey wolves from the Middle East, indicating that they are a dominant source of genetic diversity for dogs rather than wolves from east Asia, as suggested by mitochondrial DNA sequence data 3

But what really caught my eye was Figure 1, a wonderful illustration of the links between all the breeds of dogs and the grey wolf.

Neighbour-joining trees of domestic dogs and grey wolves.
Neighbour-joining trees of domestic dogs and grey wolves.

From:Nature. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 November 9.
Published in final edited form as: Nature. 2010 April 8; 464(7290): 898–902.
Published online 2010 March 17. doi: 10.1038/nature08837

Copyright/License ►Request permission to reuse

Branch colour indicates the phenotypic/functional designation used by dog breeders 8,9. A dot indicates ≥95% bootstrap support from 1,000 replicates. a, Haplotype-sharing cladogram for 10-SNP windows (n = 6 for each breed and wolf population). b, Allele-sharing cladogram of individuals based on individual SNP loci. c, Haplotype-sharing phylogram based on 10-SNP windows of breeds and wolf populations. d, Allele-sharing phylogram of individual SNPs for breeds and wolf populations. For c and d, we note breeds where genetic assignments conflict with phenotypic/functional designations as follows: 1, Brussels griffon; 2, Pekingese; 3, pug; 4, Shih-tzu; 5, miniature pinscher; 6, Doberman pinscher; 7, Kuvasz; 8, Ibizian hound; 9, chihuahua; 10, Pomeranian; 11, papillon; 12, Glen of Imaal; 13, German shepherd; 14, Briard; 15, Jack Russell; 16, dachshund; 17, great schnauzer; and 18, standard schnauzer. Gt, great; mtn, mountain; PBGV, petit basset griffon vendeen; pin., pinscher; ptr, pointer; ret., retriever; shep., shepherd; sp., spaniel; Staf., Staffordshire; std, standard; terr., terrier. Canine images not drawn to scale. Wolf image adapted from ref. 31; dog images from the American Kennel Club (http://www.akc.org).

The diagram on its own was a bit of a struggle but looked at in conjunction with the research paper was much better understood.  Another reason for going to the original article on the NCBI website is the interesting range of links to other scientific papers that may be seen to the right-hand side of the screen. For example:

Coat variation in the domestic dog is governed by variants in three genes.

mtDNA data indicate a single origin for dogs south of Yangtze River, less than 16,300 years ago, from numerous wolves.

that included this in the Abstract:

The mean sequence distance to ancestral haplotypes indicates an origin 5,400-16,300 years ago (ya) from at least 51 female wolf founders. These results indicate that the domestic dog originated in southern China less than 16,300 ya, from several hundred wolves. The place and time coincide approximately with the origin of rice agriculture, suggesting that the dogs may have originated among sedentary hunter-gatherers or early farmers, and the numerous founders indicate that wolf taming was an important culture trait.

Ancient DNA evidence for Old World origin of New World dogs.

Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA sequences isolated from ancient dog remains from Latin America and Alaska showed that native American dogs originated from multiple Old World lineages of dogs that accompanied late Pleistocene humans across the Bering Strait. One clade of dog sequences was unique to the New World, which is consistent with a period of geographic isolation. This unique clade was absent from a large sample of modern dogs, which implies that European colonists systematically discouraged the breeding of native American dogs.

If you needed a reminder of the Pleistocene period, as I did, there’s a helpful Wikipedia entry here.

The final link that I wanted to highlight was this one, for all dog owners who worry about the health of our dogs.

The legacy of domestication: accumulation of deleterious mutations in the dog genome.

Abstract

Dogs exhibit more phenotypic variation than any other mammal and are affected by a wide variety of genetic diseases. However, the origin and genetic basis of this variation is still poorly understood. We examined the effect of domestication on the dog genome by comparison with its wild ancestor, the gray wolf. We compared variation in dog and wolf genes using whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. The d(N)/d(S) ratio (omega) was around 50% greater for SNPs found in dogs than in wolves, indicating that a higher proportion of nonsynonymous alleles segregate in dogs compared with nonfunctional genetic variation. We suggest that the majority of these alleles are slightly deleterious and that two main factors may have contributed to their increase. The first is a relaxation of selective constraint due to a population bottleneck and altered breeding patterns accompanying domestication. The second is a reduction of effective population size at loci linked to those under positive selection due to Hill-Robertson interference. An increase in slightly deleterious genetic variation could contribute to the prevalence of disease in modern dog breeds.

Have to say that there are some fabulous learning opportunities from the enormous range of websites available nowadays.