Category Archives: dog ownership

Responsible dog ownership

In the USA, it’s National Responsible Pet Ownership month (it’s also Pet Dental Health Month).  How can we explain what it means to be a responsible dog owner/guardian/parent?  There are 4 key areas to consider.

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Choose the right dog at the right time

Making the decision to add a dog to your family is an important life choice.  If the dog needs tons of exercise like a Siberian Husky, and you live in a small apartment and work long hours, then probably not the best choice.  If you are about to start a new job, or are in a new relationship, as examples, then probably not the best timing because you can’t focus your time on integrating your dog into your household.   In New Zealand, there seems to be a lot of people who decide to move overseas; if this is a possibility for you then maybe bringing a dog into your life isn’t the right choice unless you are prepared to take the dog with you (which is an expensive exercise requiring a lot of planning and preparation).

A dog is a lifetime commitment.  Ask yourself – do you have what it takes for the next 10-15 years?

Invest in wellbeing – prevention is better than cure

Be prepared to spend money on things like regular vet checks and vaccinations.  Flea control is another cost that is often overlooked until there’s a problem and by then, the fleas are established in your carpets and causing problems.  Choose a high quality diet (“you are what you eat”) and feed only healthy treats.  Keep your dog fit and trim.

Also important is investing is your dog’s mental health.  Avoid behavior problems by working on training, having enriching activities and toys available in rotation, and regular exercise.  Dogs need sleep, too.  So think carefully about the need for commercial daycare.  For most dogs, these facilities tend to overstimulate dogs and can create other behavioral problems if the dogs is left in these situations every day of the week.

As a professional canine massage therapist, I highly recommend massage as a technique for wellbeing and not just rehabilitation after injuries because it helps relax the dog and keeps their bodies moving efficiently.  It can also identify suspect lumps/bumps early so they can be checked by the vet.  Spend the money for a regular professional massage or take a class to learn basic massage which you can do yourself.

Compliance – obey the law

Licensing costs and leash laws are commonplace.  Cleaning up your dog’s poos is expected. We can all do our part by complying with local regulations.

Carry ID

In New Zealand, microchipping is mandatory.  It’s also advisable to have an identification tag on your dog’s collar with your phone number.  In 2011, when we experienced our large earthquake in Christchurch, many dogs went missing.  Those that had microchips registered on the national database and/or had identification tags found their way back to their families much faster.  Some never made it home.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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Unleashing success

Pets bring joy, companionship and comfort to people’s lives every day, but new research found business leaders believe pet ownership contributed to their success. A survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital® discovered a correlation between pets and professional achievements: 93 percent of C-suite executives surveyed in the U.S. grew up with a pet, with 78 percent attributing their career success in part to owning a pet as a child.

“At Banfield Pet Hospital, we’ve long recognized the special bond between people and their pets, as well as the positive impact pets have on our society,” said Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital. “From the pet ownership lessons we learned as children, to the ways our four-legged friends currently help us evolve, connect with others, and stay grounded, our latest research supports the notion we’ve had all along – that there may be a link between pets and their ability to help shape us as people.”

Unleashing success

WHETHER FELINE OR FEATHERY, PETS MAKE AN IMPACT
Banfield’s survey found childhood pet ownership may influence business success, and it isn’t just dogs and cats that have a positive impact. While more than four in five (83 percent) C-suite executives surveyed grew up with a dog, and almost three in five (59 percent) grew up with a cat, nearly two in five (37 percent) grew up with pets like birds, rabbits or rodents. Regardless of the pet, top business leaders agree their pet companions taught them valuable lessons as a child, such as responsibility, empathy and creativity – qualities they believe helped them to thrive as leaders in the workplace.

SIT, STAY AND SUCCEED
Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of those surveyed said their childhood pet taught them more valuable lessons than their first internship. C-suite executives feel their pets also helped them to develop other important leadership skills, including discipline (92 percent), organization (79 percent) and the ability to identify and anticipate business needs (38 percent).

CUT TO THE (CREATIVE) CHASE 
Many leaders surveyed also felt having a childhood pet unlocked vital lessons in creativity. Eighty-four percent of C-Suite executives who grew up with a pet said they’re creative, and almost three in five (59 percent) credit their childhood pet for having a positive impact on their ability to think outside the box. More than three in four (77 percent) C-suite executives said walking a pet helps them brainstorm business ideas and boosts creativity at work.

TEACHING AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS
Didn’t grow up with a pet? Not to worry, as Banfield’s survey also suggests current pet ownership can go a long way in the workplace. Nearly all current pet owners surveyed reported they stick to a schedule or routine (86 percent), have better time management (86 percent) and are good at multitasking (86 percent) because of their pets. Sixty-two percent of C-suite executives surveyed believe pets had a positive impact on their ability to build relationships with co-workers and clients—and that’s true of both working professionals and C-suite executives, with 80 percent of those surveyed reporting they feel more connected to colleagues who are pet owners, and nearly the same number (79 percent) think co-workers with pets are hard workers.

A FUTURE WITH FIDO
When it comes to future generations, almost all (90 percent) of C-suite executives surveyed feel children would be more successful at school if they cared for a pet. And some business leaders shared they were responsible for taking care of their childhood pet, including grooming (54 percent), training (42 percent) and health needs (36 percent). Whether career-related or otherwise, it’s clear pets can make a huge impact on our lives, so it’s no wonder nearly one in five (19 percent) of C-suite executives who grew up with a pet would go back in time and add another to their pack. 

Source:  Banfield Animal Hospital

Purina’s pets and people survey

It turns out dogs are more than just man and woman’s best friend. They are also counselors, confidants, bunk mates, stress relievers, and overwhelmingly viewed as part of the family, according to the 2018 Pets and People Survey by Just Right® by Purina®.

The brand’s survey of more than 1,000 dog owners revealed fascinating details about the unique relationship and unbreakable bond people share with their dogs.

Purina owner survey

Among the key findings:

  • 95 percent view their dog as part of the family,
  • 62 percent said their dog helps them de-stress after a long day at work, and
  • 55 percent believe their dog provides emotional comfort after receiving bad news.

The survey also found dogs have helped 15 percent of men gain the attention of the opposite sex, while half of all women surveyed said they preferred time with their dog over time with their partner and/or other family members. Among Millennials age 18 to 34 years old, 56 percent said they have purchased birthday cakes for their dogs, and 77 percent said they feed their dogs before they feed themselves.

“Having dogs myself, I know firsthand that the emotional connection between dog owners and their pets runs deep,” said Julia Pitlyk, brand manager for Just Right by Purina. “We conducted this survey to learn more about what exactly the owner-dog relationship looks like and while each relationship provides that deep connection, the results really support our belief that every dog is unique – some may be confidants while others are effective wingmen.”

About the Survey

Research Now SSI conducted an online survey on behalf of Just Right by Purina among adults ages 18+ who are dog owners and have some responsibility over the well-being of their pet. A total of 1,010 responses were collected between March 26 and March 29, 2018. The online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Source:  PR newswire

Run, Spot, Run – book review

Run, Spot, Run -The Ethics of Keeping Pets by Jessica Pierce takes its name from the black and white puppy of the Dick and Jane early reader books that were used from the 1930s until the 1970s.

Spot is a stand-in for all the animals that are kept as pets; this is not just cats and dogs but also exotics and other animals.

Run Spot Run by Jessica Pierce

The scope of this book is a mixture of information which is enlightening, challenging and thought-provoking.

Pierce, a bioethicist, aims to answer the fundamental question, “Is it ethical to keep pets?”  And the issue isn’t nearly as black and white as Spot the dog was.

She covers the implication of care needs such as spay/neuter, enrichment and feeding, for example.  The feeding chapters canvas the issues of what we choose to feed, and how these feeds are sourced – powerful stuff that is often missed in the ever-present “raw vs kibble” debate.  Food for thought, definitely.

Cruelty and neglect are also covered, as are the hard-hitting facts of other animal abuse such as sexual abuse of animals (this chapter comes with a warning about offensive and disturbing content).   Exotic pets and their plight are also discussed.

This book is not a light read; but for any true pet lover, you owe it to yourself to look at the wider ethical issues around pet care and responsibility.  Pierce’s final words are a fitting closure to this book:

“I leave you with a call to action.  Change starts with awareness.”

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dogs – a driving force behind the home buying market

A major reason I bought my first home was to adopt a dog; I couldn’t confidently bring a dog into my home when I was renting.

I see that I was a woman ahead of my time (Gen X – not Millennial).  A study by SunTrust Mortgages from the USA reveals some interesting trends for first-time home buyers:

Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage Infographic

That’s right – not children or marriage, but dogs were one of the top 3 motivators for buying a home.

“Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions,” said Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO. “For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; home ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation.”

Among millennials who have never purchased a home, 42 percent say that their dog – or the desire to have one – is a key factor in their desire to buy a home in the future, suggesting dogs will also influence purchase decisions of potential first-time homebuyers.

What does this mean if you are selling a home (or are a real estate sales agent)?  Make sure you strongly advertise a securely-fenced section, local parks and dog-friendly facilities such as dog parks or cafes.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  PR Newswire

 

 

 

Netflix and Woof

When it comes to watching TV, most people — 58 percent — find pets to be the best binge partner, a new survey released by Netflix reveals.

One in three respondents, meanwhile, said they’ve turned to their furry friends for comfort during a sad or scary scene. And 22 percent have talked to their pet about the show or movie they were watching.

dog watching tv on the couch

Additional stats:

  • 37 percent have moved where they were sitting so their pet would be more comfortable.
  • 22 percent have bribed them with treats to watch longer.
  • 12 percent have turned off a show because their pet didn’t appear to like it.

Dog owners are more likely to choose action like Narcos and Marvel’s Daredevil, the survey found. Cat owners prefer sci-fi series like Black Mirror and Star Trek Discovery. And bird lovers like comedies such as Orange is the New Black.
The one show that brings all streaming species together: Stranger Things.

The survey was conducted Jan. 9-25 by SurveyMonkey and based on more than 50,000 responses. The sample is representative of an adult online population who watch Netflix with their pets in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Source:  Pets Plus

The importance of “Dog Speak”

Scientists at the University of York have shown that using ‘dog-speak’ to communicate with dogs is important in relationship-building between pet and owner, similar to the way that ‘baby-talk’ is to bonding between a baby and an adult.

dogspeak

Dogs paid more attention to people that used ‘dog-speak’ (photo courtesy of University of York)

Speech interaction experiments between adult dogs and humans showed that this particular type of speech improves dog attention and may help humans to socially bond with their pets.

Previous studies on communicating with dogs had suggested that talking in a high-pitch voice with exaggerated emotion, just as adults do with babies, improved engagement with puppies but made little difference with adult dogs.

Researchers at York tested this theory with new experiments designed to understand more about why humans talk to dogs like this and if it is useful to the dogs in some way or whether humans do this simply because they like to treat dogs in the same way as babies.

Speech register

Dr Katie Slocombe from the University of York’s Department of Psychology, said: “A special speech register, known as infant-directed speech, is thought to aid language acquisition and improve the way a human baby bonds with an adult.  This form of speech is known to share some similarities with the way in which humans talk to their pet dogs, known as dog-directed speech.

“This high-pitched rhythmic speech is common in human interactions with dogs in western cultures, but there isn’t a great deal known about whether it benefits a dog in the same way that it does a baby.

“We wanted to look at this question and see whether social bonding between animals and humans was influenced by the type and content of the communication.”

Unlike previous experiments, the research team positioned real humans in the same room as the dog, rather than broadcasting speech over a loud speaker without a human present.  This made the set-up more naturalistic for the dogs and helped the team test whether dogs not only paid more attention to ‘dog speak’, but were motivated to spend more time with the person who had spoken to them in that way.

Dog-related content

Researchers did a series of speech tests with adult dogs, where they were given the chance to listen to one person using dog-directed speech containing phrases such as ‘you’re a good dog’, and ‘shall we go for a walk?’, and then another person using adult-directed speech with no dog-related content, such as ‘I went to the cinema last night.’.

Attention during the speech was measured, and following the speech, the dogs were allowed to choose which speaker they wanted to physically interact with.

The speakers then mixed dog-directed speech with non-dog-related words and adult-directed speech with dog-related words, to allow the researchers to understand whether it was the high-pitched emotional tone of the speech that dogs were attracted to or the words themselves.

Preferences

Alex Benjamin, PhD student from the University’s Department of Psychology, said: “We found that adult dogs were more likely to want to interact and spend time with the speaker that used dog-directed speech with dog-related content, than they did those that used adult-directed speech with no dog-related content.

“When we mixed-up the two types of speech and content, the dogs showed no preference for one speaker over the other.  This suggests that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice in order to find it relevant.

“We hope this research will be useful for pet owners interacting with their dogs, and also for veterinary professionals and rescue workers.”

The research paper, ‘’Who’s a good boy?!’ Dogs prefer naturalistic dog-directed speech, is published in the journal Animal Cognition.

Source:   University of York media release