Its The Dog

Learning through dogs

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Wordless Wednesday with Dingo

Sleepy Dingo

I'm King of the world!

The yard is secure.


More than just friends

As I think we all know, dogs and humans have been together for some 15,000 years. Dogs are the first known domesticated species and no doubt the closest to us. This relationship has been studied, and it’s still not fully understood.

Have you ever laid in bed with your faithful furry companion and noticed your breathing is synchronized? Or perhaps you sigh at the same moment your dog just happens too. It’s relatively common for dogs to yawn when their people yawn, the cause isn’t known as yawns don’t appear to be contagious in canines like they are in humans.

One college has even stepped up to study these behaviours and others. At Duke University in their Biological Studies building they conduct experiments on dogs. No, not caged beagles that never get to see or smell the earth. The dogs they use are volunteers from the community. These dogs are tested on their interaction and interpretation of human expressions and gestures. One incredible fact they’ve discovered is that dogs will recognize human facial expressions much the same way people do; by focusing on the right side of the face. When compared to our closest living relatives; chimps and bonobos, dogs come out above.

Another fascinating discovery made by the University of Padua in Italy shows that dogs use facial recognition to identify their people in crowds. Until recently it’s been believed that dogs use scent to identify people. However their studies show that dogs may use facial recognition and possibly mannerisms to identify people. By setting dogs up to watch two people, one person they know and one they don’t. They walk back and forth several times, crossing paths, then exit out two separate doors. The dog is then released, the majority of the dogs would walk to the door the familiar person exited and would wait for them to return. When the test was repeated but bags were placed over the heads of the humans the dogs were more variable.

What sets these responses to human behavior apart is that dogs don’t use them when interacting with other dogs. These are innate skills dogs have developed to communicate with people. If only we were so devoted to dogs as they are to us.

If you’d like to participate in the Duke Canine Cognition Center you can sign up here


I’ve found tools can be very controversal. Even if they aren’t detrimental by nature. One of those tools is the dreaded flexi-leash. Everyone has encountered them, some have had great experiences with them while others absolutely hate them. I’m middle of the road. I’ve had dogs come flying around a corner in a store and ambush my dogs. I’ve had dogs block bike trails while out for a ride with Dingo, and putting us at risk of a bad fight. I’ve also seen dogs in the middle of the road while their person blindly walks on the sidewalk texting. I’ve even seen dogs take off at a full-out run and yank the handle out of a person’s hand. But I’ve also seen them being used responsibly. There in is the underlying problem, most people don’t give a hoot if their dog could potentially end up dead cause they let is wander willy-nilly on a 15ft flexi.
Flexis can be great if you’re walking in a field, or even doing off leash prep, but on a train, sidewalk or other place where someone is at risk of being tripped is not a good idea.

The other thing I see commonly is flexileads use with a flat buckle collar or even choke chains. This is an awesome way to collapse a dogs trachea. Even if the dog is not pulling you, it’s pulling the leash. The reeling mechanism inside the handle creates tension for the dog to pull against. It’s been hypothesized that this can set loose leash walking back because you’re training your dog to pull you (The dog gets freedom for pulling.).

If you insist on using a flexi leash, use it responsibly or accept the responsibility of any injury resulting from having no control over your dog. I’d also recommend working on LLW before using a flexileash.

Hey, how about a Wordless Wednesday featuring Dasy

Dasy enjoying some early snow

Sniffing, and breaking the rules of focus!

Dasy sniffing a pipe

Sun setting over I-90


Some cool fact

Since I mentioned my egg incubation could be an educational experience for thos of you with little ones, I thought I’d post some egg facts.

I set the chicken eggs today at 12:30pm est.

So here’s whats happening if they’re developing

  • 18 hours: The alimentary tract appears.
  • 19 hours: The brain crease begins to form.
  • 20 hours: Somites appear.
  • 21 hours: The brain and nervous system begin to form.
  • 22 hours: The head fold begins to form.
  • 23 hours: Blood islands appear.
  • 24 hours: The eyes begin to form.

Cool stuff, huh?

Oh the eggcitement

I’ve posted on here previously about my quail, they’ve been laying steady for a month or two now, and fertility is high. I’ll admit I have an obsession with hatching, and thankfully quail and chickens are easy enough to find good homes for. Added to this the hatchaholics community on Backyard Chickens ( are hosting a hatch along for New Years Day. I can justify hatching because I’m planning on selling hatching eggs, but any self respecting hatching egg seller will test viability of their stock. Okay maybe it’s an excuse, my point of this post is around New Years Day, I’ll be posting a URL to my hatch cam so everyone can join the eggcitement, it will be an educational experience for those of you who have small children as well. And maybe some candling photos and video showing the progess.

My goal is 6-9 quail eggs, and a dozen chicken “eating” eggs bought from a local farm(HOORAY for CSA!).


I’m a big fan of Ruff Wear products, and now you have a chance to win one of their products! No I’m not doing a contest, just spreading the word. Going on now til Dec 30th. Check it out!

‘Tis the season

Dingo at 8 weeks old

Some of you may be considering bringing home a new puppy for the holidays. Maybe you’re trying to justify it; the kids will enjoy it; it’ll keep you company during the winter; it’ll be fun. Maybe it’s time for a reality check.

Winter puppies are no fun, house training in 2 feet of snow, bone chilling winds and road salt are only a few of the complications. Dingo was a winter puppy, it took 8 months before he was reliably going potty outside. We had a routine, 3am I’d be up take him outside, then back in the crate, 5 minutes later go back out. By this time he was awake, great. Play for a few hours, potty breaks every 5-10 minutes. By 5am he’d be sleeping in his crate and I’d head for bed. By 7am he’d be awake again and already have gone potty in his crate. I’d wash his bed, play with him for an hour, feed him, again we’d be outside every few minutes. In between I’d be cleaning his accidents because he’d get so cold outside wouldn’t do his business. By spring this was the norm, and it became a battle of breaking the habbit of going potty inside. Once it was warm enough to spend more than 3 minutes outside, we assumed a very strict schedule, and even then there were accidents.

Other issues such as lack of soclialization are common among winter puppies. Due to the weather, lack of day light and, in some areas, winter road conditions, people lack the motivation or the means to take a puppy out for daily socialization. The puppies only social interaction is with the people who live at the house, and occassional guests. This is great if you want a dog who’s unsure about how to interact with other dogs and people.

The point is winter puppy raising isn’t all that fun, infact there are times when you’ll feel overwhelmed, and maybe even consider rehoming or abandoning the dog. The typical christmas puppy will find itself in a shelter by spring, when the family had become tired of their floors being destroyed by urine, or when the adolescent dog begins showing signs of being under socialized and nips the kids. Once the novelty wears off, it’s the puppy who suffers.

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