Monday, April 2, 2012

Understanding Canine Communication & Understanding Felinese. Choke Chains. Stop Pulling. Canada's Seals. Ponce de Leon. Falklands.


For "Mammal Monday":


Dog Behavior - Understanding Canine Communicationcute dog photo

Amy D. Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including "PETiQuette: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multipet Household" and "Complete Care for Your Aging Dog."

"People who love dogs want to understand canine communication. But growls mixed with tail wags can be confusing. Though people rely on words, dog talk combines vocalizations, body language and smells.

Here are 12 ways canines communicate:
1.    Barking is used during play and defense -- and to get attention. Barks signal conflicted feelings -- "I like you, but I'm not sure," or "I want to play, but I shouldn't." Barking also serves as a canine alarm to alert the dog's family of anything unusual -- a sound, trespassing squirrel or your wearing a hat.
2.    Whines, whimpers and yelps are nonthreatening communication. These sounds telegraph fear, pain, submission and sometimes frustration. Dogs also whine and whimper to beg attention or treats from humans.
3.    Growls are closed-lipped warnings to keep your distance, and can be soft or loud. Growls are defensive or offensive depending on whether the dog is frightened or hostile. However, growls are also used during play, which can be confusing, though looking at other dog body language can help you know that the growls aren't real.
4.    Snarls are growls with teeth displayed and threaten attack.
5.    Howls express loneliness and are used to call the family together. Northern breeds like malamutes howl more than other breeds, while some hunting hounds use baying as a joyful variation of the howl.
6.    Body positions indicate your dog's emotional state and intent. Confident dogs stand with erect posture, nearly on tiptoe to impress other dogs. Aggressive dogs lean forward, while fearful dogs lean backward. Dogs cry uncle by crouching as low as possible or exposing the tummy. Urinating when crouched before the aggressor is the dog's ultimate sign of deference.
7.    Fur is smooth in relaxed dogs. Fluffing the fur along the ridge of his back -- the hackles -- makes a dog look bigger and more impressive. Both fearful and aggressive dogs raise their hackles.
8.    Ear position indicates mood. When held high and facing forward, the dog is interested and possibly aggressive. The ears flatten against the head by degrees depending on how fearful or submissive the dog feels.
9.    Eyes convey intent. Droopy eyelids indicate pleasure, while alert dogs hold eyes wide open. An unblinking stare is a challenge, while averting the eyes shows canine submission. The pupils of a dog's eyes indicate aggression and imminent attack when they suddenly dilate.
10.   Mouths hide or reveal teeth to communicate. Lifting lips vertically to show the canines -- fang teeth -- is a threat that indicates aggression, defense or fear. Lips pulled back horizontally to show more teeth is a submissive grin used to diffuse threat. A flicking tongue signals intent to lick -- an appeasement gesture if aimed at the face. The relaxed, happy dog's mouth is held half open with lolling tongue.
11.   Tails beckon you closer or warn away. A relaxed tail curves down and back up in a gentle U, and increased interest makes the tail go higher. Dominant and confident dogs hold their tails high, and wag rapidly in tight, sharp arcs. An aggressive dog signals imminent attack with tail high, often tightly arched over his back with just the end jerking quickly back and forth. A low-held tail indicates submission, and dogs show deference by wagging in loose, wide, low arcs that often include hip wags. A tail tucked between the legs signals submission and fear and is the doggie equivalent of hiding his face, since it prevents butt sniffing from other dogs.
12.   Urine marking is used by both male and female dogs, and has social and sexual significance. It takes very little urine to send a pee-mail. Even when he runs out of urine, a dog may continue to lift his leg as a visual signal to any dogs watching.

Understanding canine vocabulary improves your loving relationship with dogs. Pets with curled or missing tails or floppy or cropped ears develop variations on this vocabulary, just like people who speak the same language may have different regional accents." From:


Cat Behavior - Understanding Felinese

cat behavior

Amy D. Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including "Complete Kitten Care" and "Complete Care for Your Aging Cat."

"We love our cats but don't always understand cat communication. Our feline friends use a combination of vocalizations, body language and smells to talk with each other and their special people.

Here are 12 ways cats communicate: 
1.    Meows: These are rarely aimed at other cats. Instead meows are requests pointed at humans. For example, cats meow to be petted, for you to open the door or for you to wake up and fill their bowls. The more demanding Kitty becomes, the lower the pitch of the meow.
2.    Purrs: These vocalizations signal nonthreat. A cat's purr has been described as a feline smile, and cats purr in the presence of other pets and humans. Purrs often express happiness.
3.    Hisses: Keep your distance if you hear a hiss. Cats hiss at other pets and people. Hisses can be defensive or offensive, and arise from frightened or hostile felines.
4.    Growls: This is a serious warning from a cat that an attack may be coming. Hisses that don't succeed turn to growls when the cat can't escape.
5.   Chattering: This odd sound indicates frustration. Cats that watch critters through the window may chatter when unable to reach the evil squirrels.
6.    Spit: This not-so-pleasant communication is the equivalent of a feline gasp of surprise.
7.    Body Position: These movements indicate attitude. Confident cats face forward, while fearful cats stand sideways with arched backs to look larger than they really are. Defensive or submissive cats want to look small and nonthreatening, so they crouch low, with feet tucked, and ears and tail held close to the body. Cats show trust by placing themselves in vulnerable postures such as rolling.
8.    Fur Position: The hair on a cat can telegraph emotional state. Fur is smooth in relaxed cats. Any kind of arousal -- fear, aggression, happiness, stress -- may prompt fluffed fur that stands straight off the body. For instance, you'll see a bottle brush tail when kitty becomes excited.
9.    Ear Position: The ears of relaxed and interested cats face forward. Ears turn sideways in uneasy cats. Fearful kitties hold ears sideways like airplane wings. Ears that flicker back and forth very quickly indicate great agitation. The cat slicks his ears tight to the head in preparation for attack. Cats with one ear forward and one sideways aren't clear how they feel.
10.   Eye Reactions: They dilate suddenly (pupils go from slits to round) any time the cat feels sudden excitement. That arousal might be anything from the sight of a dog to a bowl of favorite food or a feather toy. Cat stares indicate a challenge. Squinting shows strong emotion and possibly impending attack. But a slow eye-blink to other cats or people signals non-threat and is known as a "kitty kiss" when aimed at people.
11.   Tail Position: While these vary somewhat between cats, a tail held straight up, with just the end tipped over, is a feline "howdy" that signals to other cats and people a friendly greeting -- it means kitty wants to interact with you. Relaxed cat tails are held in a gentle U, and the greater his interest, the higher the cat holds his tail. Tails tucked between the legs or wrapped around the crouched body show fear. The end of the tail flicking back and forth indicates frustration that may progress to tail-thumping wags that warn of imminent attack. A bottle-brush tail held straight up or behind the cat shows aggression, but if it's held in an inverted U it is a defensive posture.
12.   Rubbing/Scratching Behavior: When cats rub against you or scratch objects they are leaving the equivalent of scented Post-It notes. Scent glands in the forehead, cheeks, paw pads and tail leave behind the kitty's signature scent. Cats rub or scratch to mark territory as owned -- including scent-marking a beloved human with cheek rubs.

Understanding cat vocabulary can help you become more attuned to what your cat has to say. But every cat is different, so pay attention to what your favorite feline does. Some cats develop their own way of communicating -- a particular meow, for example -- the same way people who speak the same language may have different regional accents. Watch your own kitty to learn the way he or she talks." From:


Dog Killed by Choke Chain

"A very unfortunate accident has happened to a dog wearing a choke chain. Choke chains or check chains should never be worn by dogs and certainly not left on dogs unsupervised. Here is an account of what happened from the dog's owner (we have permission to post this from the owner)

"About two weeks ago our beautiful chocolate lab died, we are still devastated as he was only three years old. This should never have happened. He was just like a bear and the collar we had on him was a choke chain which was easy to remove and put on whenever the need required. Our dogs spend their time sleeping lazily outside on the deck and spend most of their time there, they are never tied. We went out for two hours recently and left the dogs in their usual spot telling them to mind the house. When we got back our lab was dead, it took quiet a few minutes to register what had happened we were just in complete shock. His choke chain loop had gone down through the small gap in the deck boards and he panicked and kept pulling the collar and gradually strangled himself. I beg anyone who uses these chains or any collar with a loop and chain not to leave them on the dog. This was a horrific death and one the children and I will never forget.  Rest in peace ‘Banjo’ we miss you terribly."

"I would be delighted if you would post this topic anywhere that would make people aware of how dangerous these are, it was such an horrible thing to happen. I noticed these chains are sold in a lot of hardware sections of the big DIY stores, no warnings or how to use them."  From:


Choke Chains.

"Alarming facts from a recent survey :
63% of the dogs examined had neck and spinal injuries.
78% of the dogs with aggression or over activity problems had neck and spinal injuries.
Of the dogs with neck injuries, 91% had experienced hard jerks on a leash or had strained against their leashes.

Pulling on leash:
Of those dogs that had cervical (neck) anomalies, 91% (!) had been exposed to harsh jerks on the leash, or they had a long history of pulling or straining at the end of a leash. There is a risk of "whip-lash" from jerking the leash that probably increases if the dog wears a choke chain. Choke chains are constructed such that pulling it results in pressure distributed around the dog's neck, but the muscles that absorb the pressure are situated mostly at the sides of the neck. The neck and throat are almost unprotected.
The study concludes that leash corrections, the dog forging ahead or a tethered pet hitting the end of a solid line may inflict spinal injury."  From:


How To Train Your Dog to Not Pull

"A choke chain is something that should be thrown in the trash.  If you have taught your dog to walk on a leash properly, it is not necessary to use one.  Leash walking is one of the commands that dog owners have difficulty with. In this video I share a simple secret to leash walking."


Walking On Leash

There is a beginning and ending to a command:


Environment contributes to aggressive behavior.

"A dog that is in a negative environment will, overtime, become aggressive. A dog that is smacked for peeing on the carpet, smacked for barking at the door, has an electronic collar on, and is trained using a prong or choke collar from a very early age is going to get nasty – how can you blame the dog?"


Seal Slaughter by the Numbers


On This Day:

Ponce de Leon discovers Florida, Apr 2, 1513:

"Near present-day St. Augustine, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon comes ashore on the Florida coast, and claims the territory for the Spanish crown.  Although other European navigators may have sighted the Florida peninsula before, Ponce de Leon is credited with the first recorded landing and the first detailed exploration of the Florida coast. The Spanish explorer was searching for the "Fountain of Youth," a fabled water source that was said to bring eternal youth. Ponce de Leon named the peninsula he believed to be an island "La Florida" because his discovery came during the time of the Easter feast, or Pascua Florida, or the flowered Passover.

In 1521, he returned to Florida in an effort to establish a Spanish colony on the island. However, hostile Native Americans attacked his expedition soon after landing, and the party retreated to Cuba, where Ponce de Leon died from a mortal wound suffered during the battle. Successful Spanish colonization of the peninsula finally began at St. Augustine in 1565, and in 1819 the territory passed into U.S. control under the terms of the Florida Purchase Treaty between Spain and the United States."


Argentina invades Falklands, Apr 2, 1982:

"On April 2, 1982, Argentina invades the Falklands Islands, a British colony since 1892 and British possession since 1833. Argentine amphibious forces rapidly overcame the small garrison of British marines at the town of Stanley on East Falkland and the next day seized the dependent territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich group. The 1,800 Falkland Islanders, mostly English-speaking sheep farmers, awaited a British response.

The Falkland Islands, located about 300 miles off the southern tip of Argentina, had long been claimed by the British. British navigator John Davis may have sighted the islands in 1592, and in 1690 British Navy Captain John Strong made the first recorded landing on the islands. He named them after Viscount Falkland, who was the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time. In 1764, French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville founded the islands' first human settlement, on East Falkland, which was taken over by the Spanish in 1767. In 1765, the British settled West Falkland but left in 1774 for economic reasons. Spain abandoned its settlement in 1811.

In 1816 Argentina declared its independence from Spain and in 1820 proclaimed its sovereignty over the Falklands. The Argentines built a fort on East Falkland, but in 1832 it was destroyed by the USS Lexington in retaliation for the seizure of U.S. seal ships in the area. In 1833, a British force expelled the remaining Argentine officials and began a military occupation. In 1841, a British lieutenant governor was appointed, and by the 1880s a British community of some 1,800 people on the islands was self-supporting. In 1892, the wind-blown Falkland Islands were collectively granted colonial status.

For the next 90 years, life on the Falklands remained much unchanged, despite persistent diplomatic efforts by Argentina to regain control of the islands. In 1981, the Falkland Islanders voted in a referendum to remain British, and it seemed unlikely that the Falklands would ever revert to Argentine rule. Meanwhile, in Argentina, the military junta led by Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri was suffering criticism for its oppressive rule and economic management, and planned the Falklands invasion as a means of promoting patriotic feeling and propping up its regime.

In March 1982, Argentine salvage workers occupied South Georgia Island, and a full-scale invasion of the Falklands began on April 2. Under orders from their commanders, the Argentine troops inflicted no British casualties, despite suffering losses to their own units. Nevertheless, Britain was outraged, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher assembled a naval task force of 30 warships to retake the islands. As Britain is 8,000 miles from the Falklands, it took several weeks for the British warships to arrive. On April 25, South Georgia Island was retaken, and after several intensive naval battles fought around the Falklands, British troops landed on East Falkland on May 21. After several weeks of fighting, the large Argentine garrison at Stanley surrendered on June 14, effectively ending the conflict.

Britain lost five ships and 256 lives in the fight to regain the Falklands, and Argentina lost its only cruiser and 750 lives. Humiliated in the Falklands War, the Argentine military was swept from power in 1983, and civilian rule was restored. In Britain, Margaret Thatcher's popularity soared after the conflict, and her Conservative Party won a landslide victory in 1983 parliamentary elections."



The mower repair shop left a message while I was at church, that my mower is repaired.  But at twice the estimated price.  Even when I do get it, I don't know when Ray will have time to use it.  The grass (and weeds) were looking tall and straggly, and so when Jay called wanting something to do, Misty and I went to get him and his mower.  It didn't take him too long to cut it all down, but as it was fairly humid, he had enough for the day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

They are talking about trying to figure out what a dog's bard means, heck my dogs "talk" to me and I know what they mean or want or don't want.

Gypsy said...

My dog rarely barks, but she seems to know what I'm thinking, especially if I want her to know. I'd like to find a website or book that discusses how animals communicate with each other and with humans.

Michael Ultra said...

I have three doggies and we communicate quite well. They have trained me to get them treats.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Yes, My Misty has different barks for different wants.

My pets only get 2 treats and their vitamin pill at bedtime, but if I forget, Prime, my foster cat reminds me.
Cats are good communicators, too.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny.