What Is Leash Reactivity?

Dogs can act differently towards other animals and/or people when they are attached to a leash or restrained in some way.  Does your dog, who peacefully greets other dogs at the dog park, start barking and jumping or chewing on its leash when seeing other canines when on a leash? This may be leash reactivity. In this week’s episode of the podcast, dog trainer, Emily Stoddard, owner of Canine Dog Sports Training, explains what this is, the different ways it might exhibit itself and what to do to help your dog.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 70.

Title: Why Dogs Whine & What to Do If Your Dog is Leash Reactive.

Do you get annoyed at times when your dog is whining? Making you feel uncomfortable is one of the purposes of this high-pitched vocalization. I know that sounds crazy but once you know more about the mechanics and reasons dog’s whine, you’ll understand and respect the sound more.

When out walking your dog on its leash, are there times your dog starts acting very upset – barking and lunging – when it sees or encounters an unfamiliar dog?  This behavior can be triggered by the very fact that your dog is attached to a leash. What is leash reactivity and what can be done to help a dog that is experiencing this?  Find out, in part 2 of my conversation with dog trainer, Emily Stoddard, the owner of the Canine Sports Dog Training in Chicago, Illinois.

Finally, in this feline behavior fun facts feature, hear the answers to why cats roll over in front of you and what cats do to show affection to those they like.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for the story about dog’s whines – “How to Speak Dog” by Stanley Coren.

Emily Stoddard

Canine Dog Sports Training Company. Emily Stoddard’s Website.

Canine Dog Sports Training on Facebook.

Source for the story about cat behaviors – “How to Speak Cat” by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman. D.V.M.






This One Thing May Increase Your Dog’s Listening To You.

Photo by Mario Rodriquez.

Want to improve the odds that your dog will listen to and follow your cues? Look into it’s eyes.

This is what two researchers from the University of Vienna, discovered when they conducted an experiment to find out how dogs decide when it is safest to disobey their owners. In the book,  “The Genius Of Dogs,” by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, the authors describe and explain that the experiment revolved around a dog’s ability to understand what we humans see with our eyes and what effect this has on a dog’s behavior.

I explain the experiment and the results in this episode #69 of the Raising Your Paws podcast.

Now, for fun, you can try a version of this experiment with your own dog.  It might be easier if you have another person with you to help, but I’m going to try it alone with my dog, Rosy.

Here is what you do.


You will need  a room that has a television in it.

Get a chair that you can easily turn around like a dining room or card table chair.

Get a book.

Place a small amount of one of your dog’s favorite foods in a bowl.  You will probably be replenishing the bowl so have more of the food ready.  Each time, only use a very tiny bit of the food.

Call your dog to the room.

Set the scene.

Tell your dog to lie down and stay.

Place the bowl of food on the floor about 2 yards away from your dog behind them.

If your dog is not used to having to stay until you release them to eat, you may need to tell them to stay again.

Position the chair so that your dog will be in between where you are sitting and where the bowl of food is on the ground.   (in a horizontal line, it will look like:  You – Dog – Food.)

Then, while your dog is lying down, staying put, do each of the following 5 things – one at a time.

You will need to reset each time, most likely, after doing each activity – adding more food to the bowl and giving the down/stay cue.  Count on your dog getting up and eating the food. That’s okay.

The point here is to see which of these activities, if any, has a greater chance of resulting in your dog maintaining the command and which ones, result in your  dog deciding to get up and eat the food.

You will Not be punishing or correcting your dog at all during this – it is all for fun. 

  1. Look at your dog in the eyes. Sit in the chair with your eyes, head  and body facing your dog.
  2. Read the book.  Sit in the chair with your head and body facing your dog but with your eyes turned down looking at the pages of the book.
  3. Watch TV.  Sit in the chair. Your body will face your dog, but turn your head and eyes to watch the TV.
  4. Turn your Back.  Sit in the chair  but turn it around so your back is turned away from your dog.
  5. Leave the room.  As soon as you put the food down on the floor, leave the room.

Hold each one of these positions for a few minutes and see what your dog does.

Does your dog stay in the down/stay?  For how long?  Do they get up to eat the food?

Remember, say nothing to your dog – this is meant to be a game. No punishing.  You want to see how your dog responds to what you are doing and where you are looking after giving the command. Do they obey or not?

Don’t feel bad and think that your dog is not well trained if they get up right away to eat the food each time.  In the study, 60 percent of the time, all the dogs ate the food no matter what the dog’s owner was doing.

The best results where the dogs stayed in the down position and held off from eating the food the longest, was when the owners were looking into their dog’s eyes. Now that’s intriguing!  Gives whole new meaning to the advice to keep your eyes on your dog.

What did you find happened with your pooch? Tell me in the comment section below.

I’ll do this experiment with Rosy and let you know how it goes with her.

My dog Rosy,

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast – episode 69. 

Title: Keeping your Cat Interested in Toys & Solving your Dog’s Reactivity to Other Dogs.

Does your cat get easily bored with its toys?  At first being very excited to play but then after a short while, not so much?

In this episode, I’ll tell you about a research project a cat behavior scientist from England, conducted, to find out why cats are famous for getting quickly bored with their toys – even if you put them away in the closet overnight.

Turns out there are four mechanisms at work when cats are hunting live animals that also apply to keeping interest in fake prey- their toys. I’ll explain the four to give you the guidelines you need to help your cats stay engaged in play.

Next, when out walking your dog, are there times that it starts barking and pulling and lunging at other dogs? Looking aggressive and reacting all crazy? You wonder, what just happened and why is my dog acting this way? Dogs can become what is known as reactive to other dogs. What is this, how does it happen and what can you do to help your dog stay calm? Get the answers to these questions when I talk to dog trainer, Emily Stoddard, owner and founder of the Canine Sports Dog Training Company in Chicago, Illinois, who specializes in dog behavior issues.

Plus, I’ll tell you a story about your dog’s intelligence, how they pay attention to you and the affect it has on how well they follow your commands. An added bonus, there is a built-in fun, experiment you can try at home with your dog.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for story about cats and toys:  Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Cat, by John Bradshaw. 

Emily Stoddard

Emily Stoddard’s website: Canine Dog Sports Training.

Canine Dog Sports Training on Facebook.

Source for the story about the dog experiment: The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.


How Your Cat Could Go Along on a Bike Ride.

Photo courtesy of Catexplorer.co

How can cats possibly go along with you when you go hiking, biking, kayaking or even simply to the beach? We are used to dogs always accompanying us in our adventures, but we rarely if ever conceive of the notion that cats can do these things as well.  And for many cats this is true. By nature, they do tend to like to stay in their own familiar territories and that means at home or in their neighborhoods if they are outdoor cats.

But, did you know that there is a whole community of people who do take their cats along on their activities and the cats enjoy it greatly.

In this episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, Hasara Lay, chief explorer, and creator of the Catexplorer website and podcast tells you how to know if your cat has the personality to adapt well to going on unusual adventures, what to do to prepare them, and what you need to make sure they are safe and happy while you are discovering the world together.

Do you think your cat would like going to these places with you?  Photos from Catexplorer.co.

My cat Willie, used to regularly walk to the beach with me when I lived in Michigan City, Indiana and worked for the National Park Service.

This isn’t him at the beach – I didn’t think to take photos back then, (duh) but this one reminds me of our days on the sand.


In this episode, I also featured another true personal pet story from a listener of the podcast. This is a story many of us can relate to. The effects balancing numerous, necessary, yet stressful responsibilities all at once,  can have on a person. Wendy Levine tells the story of taking in her elderly parents cat, Hemi, who they could no longer care of and how this tiny, 15 year old cat with a lot of medical issues, and a constant need for attention, pushed Wendy to her limits of patience and tolerance.  Then how she came out on the other side of acceptance and love for this cat- having learned lessons she would have never expected from a feline. You’ll want to hear the story.

Hemi, Wendy’s cat.
You get an idea of how small she is here. Just 5 lbs.
Still very inquisitive and agile, Hemi, jumps into any kitchen cabinets she finds open.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast, Episode 68.

Title: Why Pups Are Snapped At By Older Dogs & How Cats Can Go Hiking And Biking.

Announcement! We have a Raising Your Paws Facebook page. Quick ideas and fun video’s about how and why dogs and cats behave the way they do and what to do to solve the challenges. Please join our community. We welcome questions. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Our Facebook Page.

Has your puppy gotten snapped at by an adult dog? Or has your adult dog irritably jumped on a puppy for no apparent reason? In this episode, I’ll explain the action that may look to you, like unprovoked aggression but in reality is a normal and to be expected correction of the youngster’s behavior.

Then, there are cats who do along with their humans on all sorts of adventures, like hiking and boating. How is this possible? Hasara Lay, creator of the Catexplorer website and podcast explains how to determine if your cat has the right temperament to become a world explorer and how to start getting your cat ready to discover more of their world.

Hasara Lay, creator of Catexplorer.








Plus, another true, personal pet story from listener, Wendy Levine. Hear the emotional story about a cat named Hemi, who turned out to be an unexpected teacher of patience and mindfulness for Wendy.

Wendy Levine, our storyteller.










Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for the story about corrections from dogs – Why Does My Dog do that? By Sophie Collins.

Catexplorer.co – Everything you need to know about having your cat discover the world.

Catexplorer Podcast.





Do You Have a Story to Tell About Your Pet?

One of your pet’s stories could be heard on the Raising Your Paws Podcast.  I’ve started a new feature on the show – telling true, funny, scary, crazy or heartwarming stories about dogs and cats from pet parents and owners like you.  And you just might have the possibility of telling the story yourself on the podcast. If you’re too shy for that, I’ll tell your story -announcing that the story is yours and posting a photo of your soon-to-be admired pet. The way this will work is, I’ll pick a theme for the month, let you know what it is, by announcing it on the podcast, listing it here on the website and on our facebook page. (Yep, we’re going to be on facebook very soon.) And then, if you have a story that fits that theme, I’m inviting you to send me a brief description of it. I’ll be in contact and we’ll take it from there. The theme currently is, a dog or cat that did something that got you out of trouble or whose antics got you into a whole mess of trouble. If you have a story like this, send it to me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.

In this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws, you’ll hear about a small dog, with big plans. Frank Pantell, tells the stories of how Paulie, the family dog, got him into trouble  – more than a few times.

Here are photos that go along with the story.

Paulie Pantell on Mother’s day. Looks so innocent.


Paulie, Noodle, and Larry at the office. Just waiting to make their break out the office door.


One of Paulie’s greatest skills. Opening bags of food.  He’s admiring his accomplishment before gobbling up the puffed rice.
Frank Pantell, the storyteller, with Paulie, a Cavapoo.


Big Announcement! You’ll now find Raising Your Paws on Facebook. 

There you’ll find lots of photos, fun videos, great tips and insights about the how’s, why’s and what to do’s about your pet’s behavior. Check it out and if you like it, please “like it” and leave your comments. (Should be live by either Tuesday, May 19 or Wednesday, May 20, 2020.)


Full Show Notes for Episode 67

Title: Add This Cancer Fighting Food to Your Dog’s Bowl & A trick for Getting a Pill into the Cat.

Children are always implored to eat their vegetables. There is someone else in your home that would benefit from eating some fresh veges -it’s your dog. Find out in this episode the one thing to add to your dog’s dinner bowl three times a week, that powers up their nutrition by adding micronutrients to their diet. Then I’ll tell you about the Purdue University study that suggests that the eating certain vegetables may prevent or slow the development of bladder cancer in certain dogs.

Next, as part of the new feature, telling true personal pet stories, you’ll hear pet parent, Frank Pantell, a podcast listener, tell you about his family’s dog, Paulie, who is rather small in size but always had big plans that got Frank into trouble.

Finally, do you have a hard time getting a pill into your cat? I explain one of the physiological reasons for this and offer a tip I was given by my vet that worked really well with my cat, Willie for 19 years. Just like I suggested for dogs in the first segment, here’s an easy way to add some extra nutrition to your cat’s daily diet that helps keep kitties intestines healthy.

Invitation for you!

Do you have any good stories about your pets? Let’s tell them on the podcast. The theme for this month’s stories are a pet that saved you from getting in some kind of trouble or one that actually got you in a heap of trouble. If you’ve got a story like this, send me a brief version:  susan@raisingyourpaws.com.


Additional Resources for the Show.

Resource for the story about feeding broccoli to dogs – “See Spot Live Longer” By Steve Brown and Beth Taylor.

Purdue University Urinary Bladder Cancer Research.

Frank Pantell’s Real Estate Business where Paulie worked (played).










Cats Doing Dog Agility?

Nonsense you might say!  If you are a dog owner who believes that dogs are THE rock stars of agility and would not deign to think that a feline could ever be as good or proficient as a canine or there be any point in the first place, for cats participating in the sport, this may come as a shock to you. It turns out that the feline is surprisingly and uniquely suited for the activity and could be a natural. What? Okay, we’ll take this slow, so as not to get your blood pressure all up there and high.

First, you’ve got to admit that if you’ve ever watched a cat effortlessly and efficiently manoeuvre around things, you can’t help but notice that cats are very agile.  In segment one of this week’s episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, I explain how they most always know exactly where their feet are.

So, the part about them remembering the path ahead of them, is explained because cats have a VERY LONG short-term memory of any environment they find themselves in – a cat’s memory retains it for up to 16 hours compared to a dog’s 10 minutes. And along with cats being quick learners, getting the order of the obstacles committed in their minds is a no-brainer. Well, actually a very good use of their brain.

And jumping over the bars and through hoops? If you have a cat, or have ever watched one, you know a kitty can leap up to the top of the refrigerator or a person’s shoulder (as my cat, Willie, used to do to my unsuspecting father) in an easy split second bound.  Ready for another comparison? The average housecat can jump six times its height. Typically dogs jump one times their height and we……are pitiful – the average person if they were so inclined to do so, would only be able to jump one quarter of their height. (not talking about Olympic athletes here – talking about you and me, well maybe not even me – hopping up a step is my limit.)

The whipped crème on the cake is their speed. Being natural sprinters, cats are able to run around 30 miles per hour at top speed. They are FAST – whizzing through the tunnels and through the weave poles.  It’s kind of fun to watch.

Suki, the agility cat.


This is a nice example of setting up your own course inside or outside your house.


Cat agility and tricks with Heavy and Elino.


There’s even more reasons cats are suited for agility than what I already told you.  Check out the International Cat Agility Tournaments website at catagility.com. This is where I got these stats. Pretty impressive.

Here is a nice video from Pet Dish TV that takes you through a bit of how a cat is trained initially.


Cat agility Training.


By the way, here is that video I mentioned in the podcast about the agile cat and clumsy dog making their way through a homemade obstacle course (it’s a set up for that poor dog, I’m sure,) but it’s funny nevertheless.




Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 66.

Title: Service Dogs Taught Without Training Commands & Why Cats Are So Agile.

First, I’ll answer a question from a listener – Scott from Highland Park, Illinois asked why cats are so agile with their feet? I go into the juicy details but overall the secret has to do with them needing to be great hunters.

Next, there is a newer revolutionary approach to teaching your dog that does NOT rely on the traditional method of training commands. Rocket, the NutriSource Pet Food, dog that is working as a service dog in a children’s’ hospital, (featured in the episode 64 and episode 65) was taught using the Bond-Based approach. My guest in this episode is Jennifer Arnold, the founder and executive director of Canine Assistants, the non-profit company that teaches and places service dogs, is the developer of the bond-based approach. In this episode she explains how this works for educating service dogs and pet dogs as well.

Then, you’ll hear the personal true pet stories told by a friend and podcast listener himself. Michael Birnbaum shares the story of his dog that stopped him from getting into a nasty physical fight and the emotional tale of how he was going to protect the life of a cat at all costs.

Listener Invitation!

I’m inviting you to have the opportunity to have your stories told. If your pet, dog or cat, has saved your butt somehow write and tell me your story. I may contact you, we’ll talk about either me telling your story on air, or you telling it yourself, on the podcast. Send me your brief story at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for the story about cat’s feet – “Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet” by John Bradshaw.

Jennifer Arnold, Founder and Executive Director of Canine Assistants.


How to Order Jennifer Arnold’s book, “Love is All You Need: The Revolutionary Bond-Based Approach to Educating Your Dog.”


Canine Assistants website.

Canine Assistants on Facebook.

A resource about the “Do It” program, by Claudia Fugazza, mentioned by Jennifer Arnold – dog’s learning by imitating humans.

Interesting article about how dogs learn through imitation, “Owner to Dog – Just Do It” by Claudia Fugazza and Adam Miklὀsi.

To request more information about Bond-Based dog education approach – write Jennifer at info@canineassistants.org.




Information about the storyteller, Michael Birnbaum on Facebook, Fine Artist and Color Design Stylist.

Michael Birnbaum, Fine Artist/Color Design Stylist
A photo of Fwosty, the Border Collie
Cat portrait Michael painted for a client.











His website: Transformed By Color.




What Rocket, NutriSource’s Childrens Hospital Health Care Dog, Did When He Knew A Child Was In Desperate Need.

Rocket, a Golden Retriever, that works in the M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s hospital in Minnesota, due to the generous funding of the program by NutriSource Pet Foods, has skills that go way beyond what therapy dogs do. In this week’s episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 65, which  is part two of a conversation, (part one started in episode 64) listen to the stories of exactly how Rocket helps children recover and the times when he sensed the extreme emotions of a girl and a woman in need and then offered his comfort in the way that only he, a canine, could.


Results of Smiling Dog Photos Submissions.

Thank you to all the people who responded to my request for photos of dogs that looked as if they were smiling during the month of March, 2020.

Do dogs really smile as we do, to show happiness or communicate good intent? Well…. that expression they sometimes get on their face is not really quite the same. The closest thing to a human’s open smiling mouth in a canine, is what animal behaviorist’s call the “open mouth play face” seen in some breeds when the dogs are happy, relaxed, at play or content.  Of course this does not stop us, from saying our dog’s are most definitely smiling. It sure looks like it doesn’t it?

Both of these photos are Super Cooper who is an Australian Shepherd. Congratulations to his human, Alissa from Menahga, Minnesota.

Super Cooper.
Super Cooper.


Here is Luna, a mixed breed Border Collie/Greyhound and Emma, an English Golden Retriever. Congrats to John from Perham, Minnesota who is the proud human of both dogs.



Who doesn’t like an upside down smile. Very nice teeth. This is Tank, an Anatolian/German shepherd mix. Congratulations to his human, Susan from Cottage Grove, Oregon.


All the dogs have won a free large bag of NutriSource Pet foods. The humans will receive a coupon so they can take their dogs on a field trip to their closest independent dealer and let their dogs select which flavor of bag smells the best.


Full Show Notes For Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 65.

Title: A Dog with Extraordinary Skills Helping Children & Reassurances about Cats and Covid-19.

We have a new logo for the podcast! You’ll see it appearing on all the podcast platforms, apps and on the Raising Your Paws website soon. Let me know what you think of the new art work by writing me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com or better yet, leave a comment below.

First in the show, have you heard about the zoo wild cats or domestic cats overseas that are reported to have tested positive to Covid – 19? Are you worried that this means your kitty can get sick and even transmit the virus to you? The American Veterinary Medical Association has the latest information and detailed stories about these felines and in this segment, I summarize their findings for your reassurance.

Anna Dressel and Rocket.
Rocket Tuffy with toy.

Next, NutriSource Pet Foods, donated $250.000 thousand dollars to a children’s hospital in Minneapolis in 2019 in order to select, train and place on staff, a dog who would assist children and their families as they go through challenging, and often traumatic medical journeys in the hospital. This Golden retriever is named Rocket and you’re going to hear from his partner and handler, Anna Dressel, a child life specialist at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the stories of how he unexplainably senses people’s emotions and then offers his unique canine comfort.

Here again, is the video of Rocket at the hospital in case you haven’t seen it yet.


Then, do you have a cat that seems to anticipate and know when family members are due to arrive home when there is no reasonable explanation for it? I’ll explain a few of the possible theories for cats moving to the window or the front door to greet you even when your return times are random and unplanned.

Invitation to tell your own story!

Do you have any stories of your cat exhibiting really mysterious, unexplainable behavior, such as acting as if they know something that seems impossible, or predicting extreme weather, such as thunderstorms or earthquakes? If you do, send it to me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com. I may ask you to tell your story on the podcast so everyone can hear it.

Congratulations to the people who sent me photos of their dogs that look like they smile. I have selected 4 dogs with the most winning of smiles. Thank you to Alissa from Menahga, Minnesota for her photos of Super Cooper, John from Perham, Minnesota for the photos of Emma and Luna, and Susan from Cottage Grove, Oregon for her dog, Tank. All of these dogs have won a free large bag of NutriSource pet food and their human companions will receive a coupon to take to their local stores to select their bag.


Additional Resources for the Show.

Details about zoo wild cats and domestic cats with Covid-19 – AVMA website.

More information from the M Health Masonic Hospital:

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital website page about Rocket.

For more information about Rocket, at NutriSourcepetfoods.com.

Source of the story about cats knowing arrival times –“What Your Cat Knows” by Sally Morgan.






A Dog With A Very Unusual Job Description.

Anna Dressel and Rocket.

NutriSource Pet foods, the company that presents the Raising Your Paws podcast, financially helped the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital add a new full time employee to their staff – a full time facility dog named Rocket. He arrived from Georgia in November, 2019 after being specially trained to help sick children and their families deal with the medical experiences they were all going through at the hospital.  In addition to seeing a video about Rocket below, you can now also hear all about what Rocket is like and hear the remarkable stories of how he just seems to know exactly who really needs the kind of comfort only a canine can provide.  That’s because on the show this week and in the next episode airing on April 21, I spoke to Rocket’s human partner and handler, Anna Dressel, a child life specialist who works with Rocket full time. In part one of our conversation, she will tell you all about him, the comical gesture Rocket show’s when he is comfortable with nurses, what’s its like to work and live 24 hours a day with this animal and describes a typical day in their life at the hospital helping people. Rocket’s skills extend way past what typical therapy dogs do. Make sure you tune in next time to episode 65 as well, to hear the truly incredible stories of when Rocket, himself without any prompting from Anna, approached two particular people who desperately needed his soft and kind attention. 


The video of Rocket taken at the M Health Masonic Children’s Hospital.


We were lucky to score some additional photos from Anna Dressel’s own files.

Rocket and Anna working, using the shared leash to help a patient feel more comfortable as they head to a procedure. (Photo by Jim Bovin)


Nap time – Rocket gets tired, just like we do – he’s getting some much needed rest after some hard work while I chart on our patient interactions. (Photo by Jim Bovin)


Anna and Rocket at work. (Photo by Jim Bovin)


Rocket’s life is not all work – there is plenty of playtime both in and out-of-doors. (Photo by Jim Bovin)
Anna Dressel and Rocket get help from a second handler, Amy Wynia.  Such a noble photo of him. (Photo by Canine Assistants)
The other video of a Golden Retriever getting a lot of attention by helping neighbors maintain distance during the pandemic, stay-at-home order.




Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 64

Title: How a Canine Hospital Staff Member Helps Children & What To Do First, After Adopting or Fostering a New Pet.

Fostering of pets is on the rise. All over the country, animal shelters have been putting out calls for community foster homes and people are responding. Adoptions are up as well. If you are thinking of fostering or adopting or have recently done so, I’ll discuss a few of the first things to consider to make sure your new dog or cat’s transition into your home.

I’ll start with the most important thing to know about what will be needed for dog owners and the two key things to do in your home for cat owners.

Then, NutriSource Pet Foods, donated the funds, so that the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, could obtain a full time canine facility dog. His name is Rocket, he’s been on the job since November, 2019 and his human partner and handler, Anna Dressel, a Certified, Child Life Specialist at the hospital is my guest on the show today.   You’ve got to hear the amazing stories of how this unique golden retriever demonstrates the ability to know, who really needs his special type of comfort.


Additional Resources for the show.

Anna Dressel and Rocket.

More information from the M Health Masonic Hospital:

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital website page about Rocket.

Visit https://www.mhealth.org/childrens to learn more about the hospital.

For more information about Rocket, at NutriSourcepetfoods.com.





Worried about your pets and Covid-19? Here Are Reassurances.

Having access to and getting accurate information is so important right now, to help deal with all the questions you might have regarding Covid-19, yourself, and your pets. There are many sources of good, factual information appearing on the web, to calm your fears about if your pets are at risk,  yet at the same time, you may be seeing stories and headlines from parts of the world where people seem to be panicking, thinking they are going to get Covid- 19 from their pets and abandoning them.  You DO NOT need to do this. There is NO, I repeat, NO evidence that pets transmit the virus.  If you are like me, I need my dog for comfort more than ever now. They will be fine and need to stay by you.

For love of your pets, your well being, and your blood pressure, PLEASE read beyond the some of the headlines you see that strike terror in your heart. Do not stop and get stuck at the scary stories that may or may not be true – and go directly to the credible and highly reliable sources of accurate information, such as the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Besides talking about this on the podcast, here are the questions I answered with expanded and updated information to read and refer to. You will also find in this blog,  the links to the above named organizations (CDE and WHO) so you can quickly find out what you need to know about the virus for your own sake and then links to the pages in the resource section below where I got my information from that answers questions about our four-legged family members.

In this week’s podcast, episode 63, in the first segment, to help reassure you, and calm some of your fears about pets and the coronovirus, here are some questions you may have and the answers from information from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.


Can my dog and cats catch it and get sick? –

No. To date, the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with Covid-19.

I want you to know that coronaviruses are not unusual. They make up a large group of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause illness in people, others appear in wild animals and there are even canine and feline coronaviruses, but the ones that dogs and cats get, only infect dogs and cats. The particular coronavirus that we are calling Covid – 19 to distinguish it from other coronaviruses is a new or novel one we have never seen before and it only infects humans.

 But wait, I read/heard that one dog in Hong Kong did get it and now there is a second one – what about that?

I’ve been following the story of the first dog, a Pomeranian for awhile. It’s important for you to know the details of this story.

In Hong Kong, in February, there was a woman who had Covid- 19 and her 17 year old Pomeranian dog was handed over to the Hong Kong Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department for observation and quarantine. They collected and tested nasal and oral cavity samples from the dog which came back with a weak positive. While the test results seemed to indicate that the dog had a low-level of infection, the dog was not sick and showed no symptoms. They kept the dog in quarantine and continued to test because they could not establish if the dog really had been infected with the virus or this was a result of environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose. Many other medical experts, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO), investigated the case also trying to determine if the dog was actually infected or had picked it up from a contaminated surface.

Subsequent tests were done looking for antibodies in the dog’s blood. Just so you know, antibodies are proteins that the immune system produces to attack a particular virus or bacteria – each antibody is different and designed to fight off a specific kind of invader. The antibody tests were done to  see if the dog has been infected and show if the dog’s immune system had come in contact with the virus. The Pomeranian’s tests came back negative meaning that no antibodies specific to the Covid – 19 were found in its system. Leaves it a bit unclear doesn’t it? As the dog was negative, it was then released back to its owner who had recovered from the virus.

Sadly, after the Pomeranian was returned home, it did die – but the cause is unknown due to no autopsy being done.

Here again, we want to stress, for your own sanity and peace of mind, during this most unprecedented and troubling time in our lives, be sure to read beyond headlines you may see. You and I know that at times, headlines are meant to catch our attention and can instill fear. Last week, I read a headline about this dog that was maddening to me. It stated, “First dog to test positive for coronavirus has died in Hong Kong.” If you don’t delve into the actual story in detail, you could easily get the impression that the dog died from coronavirus. This isn’t the case. The Hong Kong department said the cause of death could not be determined – the owner declined to conduct an autopsy. What needs to be stressed and to keep in mind about the dog dying, which was very unfortunate, was the dog never got sick with the virus, he had underlying medical conditions and he was an old dog for that breed.

You may have also recently, heard that as of March, 21, 2020, there is another story being reported that a second dog, a German Shepherd in Hong Kong, has tested positive for coronavirus. This dog has not shown any symptoms of the disease. He is in quarantine with another mixed-breed dog from the same household who tested negative and also has shown no signs of the disease.  Both dogs continue to stay in quarantine and will continue to be tested.

Even with these two dogs, the World health organization, the Hong Kong Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the CDC still states, that to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet animals, can become ill with COVID-19.

A little perspective in case you are wondering if we will find out in the future, that our pets can become infected with it.

During the days of the 2003 outbreak of SARS, which was the severe acute respiratory syndrome, some dogs and cats did contract low-level infections of that particular coronavirus but the case histories showed that even though a small number of pets tested positive, NONE became sick and importantly, there was no evidence of viral transmission from pet dogs or cats to humans. The key point here is that there is a difference between the dogs and cats being infected and becoming infectious. They were not infectious during SARS.

So what’s the most important message about these dogs in Hong Kong regardless of what else you may see? The Hong Kong department themselves stated “Pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets.”   Calm your fears and keep your beloved pets with you.

Can they transmit the virus to you?

The answer is No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no reason to think that any animals, including pets in the U.S., might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, they haven’t received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, noting that “at this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19.”

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) also echoed that there is no evidence that dogs can spread the disease or that the disease can cause an animal to fall ill.

Didn’t the virus come from an animal in China in the first place?

Yes, this is true. Scientists say the virus initially jumped from animals to humans.

As I mentioned before, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals.

In recent history, there have been the rare incidents where the kind of coronaviruses that infect some animals – have emerged to infect people and then they were spread between humans.  This is what is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. There was a variety of different wild animals being sold for food, at a seafood market in Wuhan, China and Chinese health officials believe that the coronavirus, Covid – 19 originated from the wild animals at the market. Even though you may have heard that the animals that spread it, were snakes or bats, but this has NOT been confirmed and to my knowledge we don’t know which particular animal it actually was.

What is important is remember is that the type of coronaviruses that dogs and cats may get, are NOT the types that jump to humans.

The bottom line: People don’t get Covid-19 from pets, and pets don’t get sick or pass the virus on.

Are there any precautions I should be taking with my pets?

Yes, If you are sick with Covid-19, you’d want to restrict your contact with them, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with Covid-19, it is still recommended that people that have the virus limit contact with their animals until more information is known about the virus. As hard as this would be, it means, avoid petting, snuggling, and kissing your pet.

You see, while there is no solid evidence that animals can carry the virus internally, their bodies may still act like a fomite for it. What’s a fomite? It’s a surface that can transmit disease – and anything can be one – such as a door handle, a gas pump, a phone screen, or your cat’s fur. The idea is that someone with the virus that may have been coughing into their hands or wiping their nose, that then, pets the cat, may deposit some of the virus on the animal’s fur. When someone else in your family comes along to pet same feline, they can inadvertently get the virus on their hand, and then, without thinking, rub their eyes. Oh, oh. Possible infection. As you know, this is why we are constantly told to wash our hands and stop touching our faces.

Now, we don’t know for sure this could happen with your pets fur, and we don’t really know how long the virus could live on the your dog or cat’s fur, but because  we don’t know enough about it yet, its better to play it safe.

If you are sick, if possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while recovering. Keep them close for comfort, of course, but you’re going to have to be more diligent about washing your hands before cuddling.

If you must care for your pet yourself, while you are sick with Covid-19, wash your hands before and after you interact with your dog or cat, avoid sharing food and wear a facemask if you have one.

If you are well and going for walks with  your dog, this also means when out walking, it’s best not to let other people touch or pet your dog. This is a hard one. When I’ve been walking Rosy the last few weeks, even though I am social distancing and so are the other people, every one does want to be close to my dog and she wants to go near them and get petted and loved on. Eeeesssh.  I am going to have to get strict about this and ask people not to pet her –  Not easy, I’m finding. Rosy is very sweet and beautiful – her fur is very soft and people we meet, clearly, want or need her comfort. I hate to deprive them of her attention, but I guess we’ve got to apply social distancing to our pets too.

Probably goes without having to say so, but if your pet becomes sick and you are not sure why and you are concerned, of course, call and go see your vet.

Knowing what we do know about pets not getting sick from the virus, and not passing it on, please keep perspective, and do your very best to remain calm.


Full Show notes for Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 63

Title: Reassurances About Pets and Covid-19 & The Benefits of CBD oil From a Vet.

If your dog ever gets an expression on its face that looks like they are smiling, I’d like you to send a photo of that to me. I’ll post a number of smiling dog photos on one of the blog posts on the Raising Your Paws website and your dog will receive a large free bag of NutriSource pet food.   Please send one or two photos of your smiling dog to susan@raisingyourpaws.com. Be sure to tell me your dog’s name and the kind of breed they are. Keep the photos coming through the end of March 2020.

First, are you worried about your pets, and Covid – 19? Confused about crazy stories and scary headlines that seem contradictory? Please be reassured.

Here are the questions I’ll answer from the reliable sources, the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Can my dog and cats catch it and get sick?

I read that one dog in Hong Kong got it – what’s the real story?

Can they transmit the virus to me?

Didn’t the virus come from an animal in China in the first place?

Are there any precautions I should be taking with my pets?

Then, Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, a leading integrative vet who is the founder and owner of The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center and author of “The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets” is here to talk about the benefits that CBD oil has for your dog and cat.

Finally, there is something about your dog’s face that can aid you in knowing your dog’s mind – if their mouth is open or closed as they go about their activities during different times of their day. This can be another indicator of their inner feelings. I’ll explain which ones.

Additional Resources for the show.

Center for Disease Control – Information about pets from the FAQ page.

World Health Organization – Information about pets from the Q & A page.

Dr. Barbara Royal’s Royal Treatment Vet Center.

Purchase Dr. Royal’s books.




Blindness Didn’t Stop This Dog from Doing What He Loved.

Indy, a sled dog that races even though he has no eyes.

Never lose faith in what your dog can do and overcome. This is what Frank Moe, a sled dog musher learned about one of his Alaskan Husky’s, named Indy, who was a racing sled dog who lost both of his eyes.  Listen to the story of how Indy became blind and yet found his way back to being part of the racing team on this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws podcast.

Here is the video about Indy, I mentioned during the podcast.


And here are the photos Frank sent me so you can see more of Indy.

Indy before his eye problems in 2015 with the dog, Wolfie.
Indy and Frank.
Indy just before the 2nd leg of the Gunflint Mail run. At 100 miles it was by far the longest race Indy had done since he went blind three years prior. He finished strong and happy in 8th place in the 12 dog class.

Indy, happy in his harness and racing again.


Here’s a video made just before Indy ran in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in which they finished 5th place.  A great close up view of sled dogs running.


Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 62.

Title: Understand Your Dog’s Facial Expressions & the Story of Indy, a Blind, Sled Racing Dog.

I start this episode clarifying a part of the conversation I had with animal trainer, Ken Ramirez in the last episode, about rewarding your dog every time they come when you call them. This is in response to some questions listeners had about positive reinforcement training and if this means one always has to give treats to get a dog to do anything.

If you have any questions you’d like answered on the podcast about your pets, please feel free to ask. Post your question in the comment section of any blog article or write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.

I talked about dog’s mouths in the last episode and how at times when they pull their commissure which are the corners of the mouth, back, it looks to us like a smile. In this episode, I’ll describe some of the other positions your dog’s mouth takes that reveal when they are feeling nervous, defensive or fearful. Once you know what to look for, it’ll be easier for you to understand your dog’s emotions and anticipate its actions.

Then, did you see or read about the blind sled racing dog named Indy on the internet? Frank Moe, a dog sled musher in Minnesota, is the owner of Indy, and is on the show today, telling the story of how Indy lost his sight, what is was like for him to have a blind dog and how Indy was able to get back to racing.

Finally, have you wondered why your cat greets you by sometimes walking towards you with its tail held straight up towards the sky? This is a signal that all domesticated cats use with each other. In wildcats, it is only the kittens that show this posture. Find out how adult cats started using this and what it means when your cat raises its tail for you.

Send Us Your Smiling Dog Photos!

Do you have a dog who looks to you like they smile? Send me one or two photos of your smiling dog – I’ll select a number of the most engaging photos of dogs with smiling faces on, and post them on a future blog article along with your dog’s name. If your dog’s photo is selected, I’ll send you a coupon for a free large bag of NutriSource Pet food.

Send your photo to susan@raisingyourpaws.com. You’ve got until the end of March 2020 to get the photo to me. I’m looking forward to seeing your doggies.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Listen to the full conversation with Animal Trainer, Ken Ramirez.   Part 2 – Episode 61.

This is when I asked why he advised me to always “pay” or reward Rosy every time when she comes after I call her when she’s far away from me.

Resource for the story about facial expressions revealing dog’s emotions – -”For the Love of a Dog” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

Dog sled musher, Frank Moe’s Facebook page.

Frank Moe and Indy.


Resource for the story about cat’s upright tails – Cat Sense, How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw.




Do Dogs Really Smile?

Do you think your dog naturally smiles at you? I’ve seen what looks like a grin on Rosy’s face (my Shetland Sheepdog/German Shepherd mix). See what I mean in  the photo below?

Rosy looking like she is having a good dream.

But most likely, it’s just the way she is lying against the edge of her bed that is causing her lips to take that shape –    rather than her dreaming about unlimited access to cheese. We as people, are primed to recognize smiles on faces, which is a powerful, universal, human signal.

Because our brains are programmed (so to speak) to respond to smiles, this can mean anytime, we see other animals with the corners of their mouths pulled back with upturned lips, we interpret it the same way. So the question is, no matter if your dog “looks” like they are smiling at you,  is there actually an expression that a dog can make that really means they are feeling happy? You may have a strong opinion about this. Hear what animal behaviorists have to say about it and what else to look for in your dog’s body language to help you determine if that expression on your dog’s face is truly joy. Listen to this week’s episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast.

Here is the photo I spoke about in the show of Rosy with an open mouth and corners raised – Yep, we could call that a smile right? Problem is at the time, she could also just have been warm – and cooling off –  as you know that dogs release heat by panting.  

Anyway, now that you know more about your dog’s lips from listening to the podcast – lets have some fun.


Raising Your Paws Smiling Dog Photo Contest.

Come on, you know you think your dog has a great smile –  We want to see that.

Send me one or two photos of your dog that looks to you like they are smiling and include your dog’s name.

I’ll choose about 6-8 of the most engaging photos and post them here on a future blog. And for your dog being selected, I’ll send you some great NutriSource Pet Food coupons so you can reward your doggie.

To be considered, all photos need to be sent to me by March, 31, 2020.

Send to susan@raisingyourpaws.com.   Good luck, I can’t wait to see your dog’s photo.


Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws – Episode 61.

Title: The Emotional Benefit of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training & Do Dogs Actually Smile?

First, you might think that when a cat hisses at something, it means they feel mad. This is not the case. I’ll explain what cats may be feeling that causes them to hiss, how a cat’s hiss is similar to a dog’s growl and offer tips of how to handle your cat when they hiss at you.

Then, I’ll continue my conversation from the last episode, with Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, and author of The Eye of the Trainer: Animal Training, Transformation and Trust.

When training your dog, can punishing it for doing the wrong thing, negatively affect how your dog feels about you?   You’ll get the answer to that question, and hear the story of a German shepherd named Serena, whose training resulted in her being able to help a trapped firefighter.

Plus, do you think your dog smiles? The expression on your dog’s face may look like a smile to you, you may call it a smile but is it really the same thing – do dogs really smile like we do to express happiness?

Your mouth and lips contribute to the many different facial expressions you have, that can communicate your feelings. This is true for dogs as well. We’ll analyze the expression dogs have that we think may look like the dog is smiling.

News! Smiling Dog Photo Contest.

To accompany the segment about dog’s happy facial expressions, we’re going to have a smiling dog photo contest. Send me one or two photos of your dog’s face when you think they are smiling. I’ll select about 6 – 8 of the most engaging photos to post on our raising your paws website along with your dog’s name and I’ll send you some great coupons for NutriSource pet food.

Send your photo to susan@raisingyourpaws.com. Please include your and your dog’s name and your mailing address. The contest will last until the end of March, 2020.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for the story about cat’s hissing – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Why Dog’s Growls Are a Good Thing – listen to Raising Your Paws episode 15.

Ken Ramirez Website.

How to order “Eye of the Trainer” by Ken Ramirez.

Karen Pryor Clicker Training Website.

Karen Pryor Clicker Training on Facebook – Videos of Ken Ramirez.

Follow Ken on Twitter @KenKPCT

Follow Ken on Instagram ken_ramirez_kpct

Find a certified Karen Pryor positive reinforcement trainer.

Source for the story about dog’s expressions -”For the Love of a Dog” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.