7 Beautiful Behaviors to Learn From—and For—Your Dog

Like people, dogs are complex, sentient creatures. They feel love and joy, sorrow and pain. They have thoughts and emotions, and hopes and dreams. And they care as deeply about their needs and desires as we, as human beings, care about ours.

As an animal communicator, I work telepathically with dogs, often to help humans, whether at shelters or in forever homes, to better understand and support them. So I also know this about dogs: they are more than “man’s best friend”—they are wise and wonderful teachers. By their very nature, they are remarkable role models for mankind.

But to benefit from your dog’s wisdom, you must open your heart and mind. And you must be willing to be his student.

For starters, consider seven virtuous behaviors you can learn from—and for—your four-legged companion:

  1. Be loyal. Trust is essential to any whole, loving relationship. Be a faithful companion to your dog, and devotedly meet his needs and desires—physical, mental, emotional and, if possible, spiritual.
  2. Be loving. Make an effort to deserve your dog’s unwavering, unconditional love. Every day, day by day seek ways to express the love and respect you have for him.
  3. Be attentive. Watch over your dog’s health and well-being. Educate yourself on his changing needs in each life stage, and consider holistic approaches to nutrition and veterinary care.
  4. Be compassionate. Always be kind and gentle with your dog. No excuses. No exceptions. Period.
  5. Be forgiving. Know how to forgive—and forget. And remember there are no bad dogs. Even bad behavior is often a cry for help, to express angst, boredom, or physical pain.
  6. Be dependable. Embrace routine. Be consistent with your dog in all areas—with feeding, training, walking, playing, and beyond.
  7. Be present. Don’t hold on to the past or fret about the future. Be in the present moment with your dog.

Finally, accept that being human doesn’t make you smarter, let alone superior. Be the teacher—and the student. Together, you and your dog can learn a lot.

What Dogs Know About the Power of Humor

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Dogs add so much to our lives, especially when it comes to the power of humor. There are so many ways they make our lives compete. Perhaps their biggest gift to us is that of comic relief and laughter. Dogs find the fun in everything. And the simplest things make them happy. Show them a leash, say the word walk or treat, offer them a car ride and they are in heaven. Unless that car ride is taking them to the vet. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can tell you stories about the humor dogs add to life and how they make us laugh and see the lighter side of things.

I remember, Fozzie, one of the foster dogs I had the honor to care for. A big, fluffy sheepdog-shepherd hybrid with a heart of gold. What amazed me about him is that he was so different than many of the dogs that came into the rescue I volunteered for. All of whom were heartbroken and shattered after losing their homes and families. Not Fozzie, he was like the class clown, the comic relief in our lives. Everything was a game to him. He’d toss a ball in the air with his teeth, balance it on his nose then bump it into the air again. Or he’d strew magazines all over the floor, race down the hall and pounce on them sliding across the room like a kid at the beach on a skim board. He brought so much laughter into our home. And that’s the beautiful thing about humor, it elevates our mood, improves our physical wellbeing, and according to some studies, it can even improve our leadership skills. It’s vital to our lives and dogs are masters at it.  Here are three things dogs know about humor!

  1. Choose your mood – take time to look in the mirror. Just a quick glance. What’s your current mood and what are you projecting in the world? While dogs may not necessarily do this, as an animal communicator, when I tapped into my own dog, he told me that it’s important to know what your inner being is projecting into the external world. You want to radiate joy as much as you can. It’s your inner being that becomes your external projection. And what you project will be reflected to you ten-fold.
  2. Open up – when you tap into and open your heart, you’re accessing the deepest part of yourself. Deep inside of us we all carry pain, but we also carry the ability to heal ourselves and others which can ultimately bring us joy, a sense of weightlessness, and yes, the ability to see the lighter side of things and to smile no matter what.
  3. Be the eternal optimist – Try to see the lighter side of things, explore your dreams, and imagine that your best and highest fortune is just around the corner. The power of positivity and humor can lift you up and help you to manifest magic and miracles!Dog breed

What Dogs Know About the Power of Empathy

Empathy is a powerful emotion, it gives us the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. The importance empathy plays in our lives is that it allows us to treat the people we care about the way we wish they would treat themselves. And it allows us to better understand the needs of people around us, and to more clearly understand the perception we create in others with our words and actions.

Dogs are masters of empathy. They know when we are sad or blue and they communicate that to us through physical contact. And we’ve all seen photos of dogs laying on the grave of a departed human companion or keeping watch over an injured friend. Scientific research has established that dogs are empathetic to human feelings; in a groundbreaking 2016 study, researchers evaluated dogs’ empathy for other dogs. Study results suggest that not only do dogs empathize with the distress of other dogs, but they also show sympathetic concern. Anyone who’s ever loved a dog can testify to their ability to read our moods and celebrate our highs and support us through our lows. Here are 3 things that dogs know about the power of empathy.

  1. Empathy is an act of love. It requires opening our hearts to the feelings someone else is experiencing. It’s especially important to practice empathy when your life is flourishing in all areas. Opening ourselves at a time when everything is going our way allows us to give back to others who aren’t in the same place and offer our own personal fulfillment to be poured back into the greater whole.

 

  1. In the spiritual sense, it allows us to open up our chakra’s or our energy centers, particularly the source of our intuition. When we do, we are more awakened to feelings of love and devotion for those who need us and ultimately all humanity.

 

  1. To show empathy is like offering a burst of spiritual sunshine that encourages others to replace the darkness of a troubled mind and soul. It creates a bridge of compassion and understanding to everyone who shares your life path.

The Beauty of Adopting an Older Dog

 

Avoid the Puppy Phase

Yes, puppies are adorable, but they’re also a lot of work. Adopting a dog when it’s in its puppy years is somewhat like having a baby. If you adopt a puppy, plan on having some sleepless night and being constantly on watch. Puppies need constant attention and time to adjust to their new homes. They miss their littermates and can be very lonely, which leads to crying and even howling throughout the night. An older dog will likely already be housebroken, will be more likely to resist chewing your favorite shoes, books, glasses, furniture, etc., and can require less training and vigilance from you. The reality is…if you’re not ready for a baby, you’re not ready for a puppy.

Older Dogs Are More Likely to Have Some Training

More often than not, an older dog will have received some training in their prior homes. And even if this isn’t the case, an adopted dog may be coming from a foster home where its temporary family will have provided some training and socialization. The-beauty-of-adopting-an-older-dog

A Great and Grateful Companion

If you’re adopting an older dog, chances are he or she may not have had a perfect life. Dogs land in shelters or rescue groups due to neglect, abandonment, or abuse. This can have a tremendously negative impact on their emotional state. Those giving an older rescue or shelter dog a second chance may find that the dog is eager to be a part of a family and may bond more quickly than a puppy.

Knowing What You’re Getting Into

When you adopt an older dog, you know exactly what you’re getting. Personality, size, and health are already apparent. With a puppy, there can be some unknowns in regard to how they will mature and develop. An older dog, coming from a rescue or shelter, will have been evaluated for temperament and behavioral issues, and they’re done growing, so you know, for the most part, what you’re getting into.

Not Supporting a “Puppy Mill”

When you buy a puppy from a pet store, chances are that the poor dog came from a puppy mill and could suffer from poor health and medical complications down the road. Puppy mills are horrific breeding facilities run by people who care little for the welfare of their breeding dogs and whose sole purpose is to churn out litter after litter of puppies for profit. Dogs in puppy mill facilities receive little or no medical care, are generally caged for their entire lives, and have a poor quality of life. When you adopt an older dog from a shelter or rescue organization, you’re not supporting the puppy mill trade.

Save a Life

It’s a sad fact, but many shelters haven’t adopted a “no-kill policy, which means that if an animal isn’t adopted within a finite window of time, it’s euthanized. In fact, it’s estimated that 4 million dogs are euthanized annually. And since puppies can be more sought after for adoption, older dogs are often passed by for their cuter counterparts. Adopting an older dog from a rescue or shelter not only saves its life, but it makes room for the shelter or rescue to take in another dog so you’ll really have rescued two dogs. And once you bond with your new companion, you may find yourself wondering who rescued who.

So there you have it. The beauty of adopting an older dog…and six beautiful reasons why you should.

 

Top 10 Tips for a Lifetime of Good Health for Your Pet

  1. Spay or Neuter—Spaying or neutering your animal companion is actually healthier for them, reduces the desire to wander, and wards off risks of cancer!
  2. Vaccinate—When your animal companion was born, he received protection from many diseases from antibodies passed through the mother’s milk. These antibodies dissipated by the time he was about three months old, leaving the immune system vulnerable. Talk to your vet about the recommended vaccines for your area. Continue reading

Five Reasons to Adopt…Not Shop for Your Next Dog

It’s a sad fact that millions of dogs (and cats) are relinquished to shelters each year. Sadder still almost half are euthanized before they ever have a chance at finding a forever home. Here are five reasons to adopt…not shop for your next dog.

 

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Give Back and Save a Life

If you’re ready for a new dog, adopting your new companion means you’ve saved a life. Dogs in high-kill shelters often have only days to find a new home before the are put down. You’ll feel good knowing that the pet you just brought into your life is a dog that you saved.

You’ll Play a Part in Solving the Pet Population Problem

When you buy from a pet store or a breeder, you create a demand for more puppies. This means breeders will continue to breed their dogs to make more money. When you adopt, you’re providing  a homeless and abandoned dog a new lease on life. adopt dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a Dog Whose Training Is Underway

Dogs who find their way to rescue generally receive some training from either the rescue organization or foster families. When you buy a puppy from a breeder, the sole responsibility for training your new canine will fall to you.

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Great Selection

Dog shelters have a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and breeds. In some instances, you can even find purebred dogs and puppies. And in most areas, breed-specific rescues are common, which means once you determine the breed you’d like, you can quite often find a rescue with dozens of possibilities.

 

 

Get Help Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right

Shelters and rescues generally evaluate the temperament of each dog and can help pair you with the
perfect partner. If you buy a puppy from a breeder or pet store, you have no idea how that dog will develop. Getting advice from people who’ve had training in pairing people and pups will ensure that you find the right dog for you.

 

10 Reasons NOT to Breed Your Dog

Hundreds of puppies are born every day, and hundreds of adorable puppies are put to sleep in shelters across North America. We have a serious pet overpopulation problem right now. In this post we’ll share the top 10 reasons not to breed your dog.

1. Don’t breed your dogs if your goal is for any reason other than advancing the breed. Financial gain as a reason is unacceptable. Responsible breeders stand behind every puppy in their litters, ensuring that each dog has a forever home with them should they need to be returned.

2. Don’t breed if you do not have the physical and financial resources to keep every puppy—whether the litter produces one puppy or 10 puppies—in case you are unable to place them in responsible and appropriate homes.

3. Don’t breed just because your neighbor likes your dog and wants a puppy from him/her. There is no guarantee that your dog will pass its looks, temperament, or personality along to its offspring.

4. Don’t breed if you have not done the appropriate health checks on the prospective parents. Diseases are rampant in the dog world. Without the due diligence up front, you increase the odds of breeding offspring with undesirable, inheritable conditions that could have been avoided.

5. Don’t breed if you are not informed. Know the ins and outs of the type of care that both the puppies and their mother will need. Puppy care can easily take many long hours each day!

6. Don’t breed if you don’t know a thing about socialization. Puppies need introduction and exposure to household noises, children, dogs, and a variety of experiences to build the strong confidence and character that will make them good members of society.

7. Don’t breed dogs with poor temperament just because they are structurally “a good example of the breed.” Conversely, dogs that are not structurally sound will pass their physical flaws to their offspring.

8. Don’t breed if you do not realize that you are putting the life of your dog at risk. Yes, my friend, some bitches die in the process of whelping puppies, to say nothing of the fact that the puppies often die too!

9. Don’t breed just because you think it would be good “sex education” for your children. If something goes wrong, it can traumatize a child. Children can get good education from watching Animal Planet. There’s no need to put their own beloved pet at risk.

10. Don’t breed if you are willing to let your pups go to just anyone who comes along. You need to consider the lifestyle and financial resources of any prospective family and then make the appropriate match, which may include no match at all! Don’t be afraid to reject prospective adopters if they’re not qualified to be puppy parents. Good breeders take responsibility for every pup in their litters.

 

Seven Myths About Dog Adoption

There are so many reasons to adopt your next dog. But many people have misconceptions about what they’ll experience in the process. In this post, we debunk seven myths about dog adoption.

Dogs in Shelters or Rescues Have Behavioral Issues.

Some dogs in shelters or rescues can have issues stemming from abuse or abandonment or lack of training from their previous family, but quite often this is the exception rather than the rule. Recent economic challenges have forced families to relinquish their companions due to a variety of issues. Which means there are plenty of fabulous animals waiting for a new forever home.

I Won’t Be Able to Get a Purebred.

Many shelters have dozens of purebreds to choose from, and if you do some homework, you’ll easily find breed-specific rescues that not only have purebreds but may also have animals with papered pedigrees.

It’s Expensive.

While shelters and rescues do require an adoption fee to cover some of the expense of spaying, neutering, microchipping, and tending to the medical needs, this fee is generally a fraction of what you’d pay to purchase a pedigreed dog from a breeder.

I Won’t Be Able to Get a Puppy.

Shelters and rescues have dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages, which means you can quite often be able to select a puppy if your home and living situation is deemed a good choice.

Shelters and Rescues Have Plenty of Room for New Dogs.

The sad fact is that about 4 million dogs are euthanized each year because shelters need to make room for incoming dogs each day. In high-kill shelters, a dog’s lifespan is about seven days. Rescues struggling to run on meager funds can only take in a finite number of dogs and can’t take on new dogs until they adopt out dogs they currently have. Both rescues and shelters can only save a finite number of dogs each month.

Rescue Dogs Have Physical Issues.

Dogs in shelters and rescues have usually been checked out by the vet, have been fixed, and are up to date on shots. This means that you’re adopting a dog you know is healthy. If there are any issues, the shelter or rescue will be upfront with you so there are no surprises. A breeder might not. Reputable breeders are diligent about the health of their dogs, but backyard breeders and—even worse—puppy mill breeders are less diligent.

Rescue Dogs Need Training.

All dogs need training in order to peacefully coexist with their human families. Dogs from rescues will generally receive some training in their foster homes, from volunteers, and in some cases from professional trainers. These dogs will also have been evaluated for temperament so that they can be placed with the appropriate family.

5 Compelling Reasons for Spaying or Neutering

  1. Health—Spayed and neutered pets live 30 percent longer than intact animals. Sterilization reduces, or can eliminate, a number of health problems that are difficult and/or expensive to treat, such as mammary, uterine, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancers. Female dogs have a 700 percent increase in breast cancer rates after only five heats. Male dogs not neutered have a 25-30 percent chance of getting prostate or testicular cancer.
  2. Behavioral Issues—Spaying and neutering makes your dog a better, more affectionate companion who is less apt to stray, mark territory, and attempt to wander the neighborhood. Dogs that are unsterilized often have more behavior and temperament problems (such as aggression, territorialism, and predatory instincts) than dogs who have been spayed or neutered. Irresponsible breeding is often the source of dog aggression, attacking, and biting. Note that, contrary to some popular beliefs, altering does not make dogs lazy. Altered dogs are as playful and energetic as intact dogs. Continue reading