Do Humans and Pets Share the Same Emotions?

Yes, according to world renowned, primate behavior researcher, Frans de Waal, who I spoke to in this week’s Raising Your Paws podcast episode, number 39.  Dr. de Waal talks about many animals that experience empathy and that make up with one another after a fight.

During the conversation with Dr. de Waal, he talked about a video about an ape and a man that gave rise to the title of his latest book, Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves.

Here is the famous video of the Chimpanzee named, Mama, close to the end of her life, greeting a man, Jan van Hooff, that she knew  throughout her life – for the last time.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 39.

Title: Do Humans and Pets Share All The Same Emotions? & How to Tell When Cats Are Anxious.

When your dog raises its hackles does it always mean they are angry and upset? No, it does not. In this episode, find out what else your dog may be feeling when you see that distinctive sign.

Then, as a pet owner, you know your dog or cat has emotions such as fear, anger and happiness. But what about anxiety, shame, empathy, gratitude? Do dogs and cats feel all these? World renowned primatologist, Frans de Waal, author of, “Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves” talks about the creatures that experience and act on the same emotions that you and I do.

Next, could your cat’s unusual behavior be due to an emotional problem? Regarding their emotions, cats can be surprisingly anxious. Here are some of the symptoms and signs to watch for.

Plus, have you ever wondered where certain animal expressions, such as “it’s raining cats and dogs”? come from? In this new feature, you’ll find out – and I’ll start with that one.

Additional Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about raised hackles: Why Does My Dog do that? By Sophie Collins.

Amazon link to Fran De Waal’s book, Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves”.


Dr. Frans de Waal.









For more information about Frans de Waal: Living Links: Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution.

Fran de Waal’s facebook page.

Blog Article: What Are Cats Saying?

Since we were talking about animal emotions, let’s explore what cats are saying through their numerous vocalizations.

A feline’s vocal apparatus differs from our own and is not designed for actual speech which is obvious, or your cat would certainly tell you the exact kind of litter he prefers to dip his paws into.   However cats do communicate with other cats, other animals and with us, their human companions. Cats “speak”  through body language, communicating feelings and intentions through their body postures and facial expressions as well as the sounds they make.

In 1944, American psychologist and cat lover , Mildred Moelk, wanting to better understand the cat’s vocal language, made a detailed study of cat vocabulary and found sixteen meaningful sounds, which included consonants and vowels. She produced a definitive list of 16 sound patterns made between cats and between cats and people.  She divided cat-sounds into three groups:

  1. murmurs made with the mouth closed
  2. vowel sounds made with the mouth closing as in “iao”
  3. sounds made with the mouth held open.

Moelk organized the vocalizations based on how cats formed the sounds and what she believed they most often expressed, which loosely translates to: “hello,” “pay attention to me,” “give me,” “please give me,” and “I like” or “I don’t like.”  Yep, that about sounds right to me from my experience with my late cat, Willie. And regarding the “Meow”, sound an adult cat uses pretty much for our sake, Moelk, identified, 6 different basic ones that convey: friendliness, confidence, anger, fear, pain and annoyance. I’ve heard that one!

Although emphasizing that these sounds are not words, Moelk said cats routinely change the duration, intensity, tone, pitch, speed and repetition to communicate their goals, desires and emotions:

Here are some interpretations of the various noises and vocalizations cats use: See which ones you recognize.

Kitten sounds:

  • Mew (high pitched and thin) – a polite plea for help
  • MEW! (loud and frantic) – an urgent plea for help

Adult cat sounds:

  • mew – plea for attention
  • mew (soundless) – a very polite plea for attention which is often a sound pitched too high for human ears and barely heard
  • meow – a plea for attention
  • MEOW! – a command!
  • mee-o-ow (with falling cadence) – protest or whine
  • MEE-o-ow (shrill whine) – stronger protest
  • MYUP! (short, sharp, single note) – righteous indignation
  • MEOW! Meow! (repeated) – panicky call for help
  • mier-r-r-ow (chirrup with lifting cadence) – friendly greeting
  • silent meow. Cat opens mouth and produces a sound so high pitched that you cant hear it. The guess is it could be a sign of affection.

Cats on the Prowl:

  • RR-YOWWW-EEOW-RR-YOW-OR – caterwaul – a yowl uttered by the male or a female in heat calling out to the tomcats.
  • merrow – challenge from one male to another male
  • meriow – courting call to a female

Mom cats:

  • MEE-OW – come and get it!
  • meOW – follow me!
  • ME R-R-R-ROW – take cover!
  • mer ROW! – No! or Stop It!
  • mreeeep (burbled) – hello greeting to kittens and disarming greeting to adult cats (also used between adult cats and humans)

Seventy years later, since the work of Mildred Moelk, experts agree that cats are communicating something to us –  although what,  is somewhat unclear. The most widely-held theory, developed over a decade ago by Michael J. Owren, PhD, is that cats use vocalization to influence or manipulate humans, not to deliver specific information.

“Cats produce meows to get attention and rely on the owner to infer what the cat wants,” explained Owren, a psychologist and professor who studied animal vocalizations until his death in January 2014.

“A person can pretty readily figure out what’s going on from the cat’s body posture — whether staring or other behaviors — so the cat doesn’t need to have a particular acoustic meow” for each situation, Owren said. “This is communication because it is using a non-linguistic signal to affect the behavior of others. The human response gets the cat what it’s seeking,” although it’s unknown whether the cat plans for specific reactions.

Loud, repetitive meows resemble general distress cries and do not convey emotions, Owren believed. “Cats are not producing distinct sounds that stand for individual emotions, but these sounds are triggered by the cat’s level of arousal. Like a child’s cries, it’s crude and sometimes counter-productive. It depends on the parent having an inherent level of caring,” he said.

Cats succeed with their vocalizations, whether the sounds are pleasant or unpleasant, Owren added. When cats purr, “which is very appealing to humans, [cats] want the humans to continue doing whatever they’re doing. When cats get excited, their loud meows are so annoying that people will do whatever they think the cat wants,” just to stop the noise.

Besides the meow that a mother cat uses to communicate with her kittens or the meow your cat makes as a  general all purpose attention seeking sound, here are some of the sounds cats make to communicate their state of mind. As cats all have individual personalities and will make up their own sounds as needed, you can probably add to this list.

  • Caterwaul – the cat wants sex!
  • Chatter – excitement, frustration e.g. when prey is out of reach or escapes (involves rapid teeth-chattering jaw movements). There are also other theories for this sound. The jury is still out on this one.
  • Chirrup – friendly greeting sound, a cross between a meow and a purr! (friendly greeting sound with rising inflection; familiar to most cat owners)
  • Cough-bark – alarm signal (rare in pet cats); like us, cats can cough both voluntarily and involuntarily)
  • Growl – threat, challenge, warns others to go away
  • Hiss (with or without spit) – threat, fear, warns others to back off
  • Mew (of kittens) – distress, hunger, cold (to attract mother’s attention)
  • Purr –   Purring is caused by vibration of structures in the throat. Although not strictly a vocalization, the purr is an important means of communication, and depending upon the cat’s situation, it can convey contentment, relaxation, pleasure or be placating  behavior (i.e. “I am not a threat to you”).  A loud purr invites close contact or attention. As well as purring when happy, cats also purr when severely injured, in pain, frightened or giving birth. A cat may even purr when close to death. At the vet, when cats purr, and are being restrained for procedures such as blood samples or X-rays, the cat may be indicating that he is easy to control, co-operative and does not need to be forcibly handled. This purr is likened to the behavior of a submissive cat attempting to avoid conflict with a larger, more powerful animal or human.
  • Scream – fear, pain, anger, distress
  • Squawk – surprise, shock (somewhat strangled sound)
  • Yowl – a threat, offensive or defensive, but also used in a modified form by some cats seeking attention when owner is out of sight
  • Squabble – a series of short and long meows and grunts made in a complaining tone that occur when a cat is moved or made to do something it would rather not do

The exact meanings of all of these sounds may be modified or emphasized by facial expression, tone/volume, frequency and body language depending on the current situation. Cats will use these sounds in different ways when communicating with humans and only your familiarity with your own pet will tell us for instance that a certain type of growl is a playful noise and not warning of an imminent attack.

One feature common to both cats and people is the use of a slightly raised tone of voice to indicate friendliness and a lowered tone of voice to indicate displeasure, aggression etc. Friendly chirrup and food-seeking miaow are usually uttered in a raised tone of voice while the low-pitched growl of a cross cat is undeniably unfriendly.

Volume is sometimes used for added emphasis (e.g. a strident miaow for urgency, a gentle “burp” for contentment). Cats which simply feel compelled to add their personal point-of-view to a conversation often do so in a neutral tone of voice to indicate that they are not being particularly hostile, nor unduly friendly, and that there is no great urgency about the subject matter.

Is your cat very talkative?

Oriental breeds, such as Siamese and Burmese cats are well known for being quite vocal and more talkative than others.  Siamese vocabulary includes “a very long mew of medium pitch” which is often emitted soon after the cat is let into a room. This is possibly purely conversational, serving to inform those in the room that it has arrived and is passing the time of day. A far more plaintive sound is made when cats wish to be let in or out, or to attract attention to themselves if they feel they have been unjustly ignored.

One Siamese cat I knew, named Shalom, could sustain his meow from the top of the stairs he had just climbed all the way down the long hall to my boyfriend, Steve’s bedroom. All without taking a single breath. It was one continuous, loud, monotone, plaintive  sounding merowwwwwwowwwowwwwwwwwowwwwwwowwwww lasting endless minutes. I think he was announcing to Steve – Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, I”ve had a rough day……all the mice got away………….where are you, need to lie dooooooooooooown, hope there is foooood in there……..I’m tired. You better open the door and let me in the room by the time I get to the end of this damn hallway, rrrrowwwwwwwwwww.

In cats attempts to communicate with us on our own level – we are quite vocal after all, talking to our cats like they are human, some cats even put together full “sentences” of noises and pauses. They might simply be joining in, encouraging and inviting you to talk back to them as most  domestic felines really enjoy this sort of attention and interaction from their owners.


Why Feed Bison to Your Dog.

Have you eaten bison? I had a bison burger and found it to be very yummy and since then have made spaghetti meat sauce with it a number of times. This meat has become very popular with people because of its rich taste and health benefits  in the red meat category.

Dogs love it too! In fact, the bison/chicken formula of dry kibble, named “Heartland Select”, made by NutriSource Pet Foods, had been stocked by many of our family owned and independent dealers and it used to fly off the shelves and into the eager mouths and tummy’s of dogs nationwide. Then, due to the high demand of bison for human consumption, the supply to the pet food industry rather dried up.  No matter how hard the Nelson family (who manufactures NutriSource/Pure Vita pet foods) looked, they could not get enough bison to make that particular bag of dog food. Perhaps, you were disappointed when you couldn’t find it anymore in the stores, and we’re sorry for that.

But, I’m happy to tell you, IT IS BACK. There are now more ranchers in the United States raising Bison and the company has a plentiful supply. It is being manufactured again in the family’s own plant so that you can once again find “Heartland Select” in the Ma and Pa, stores with which we partner. See the dealer locator here on our website, to find the stores near you where you can buy it.

Why is Bison a desirable protein?

Before we get to that, first, who is this animal?

American Bison.

Bison are a species of humpbacked, shaggy-haired wild ox that are native to North America and Europe.

Are bison and buffalo the same animals?

No, buffalo and bison are NOT the same animal. Early European settlers to the western United States referred to the large beasts as “bison” and “buffalo” interchangeably, and the name “buffalo,” though scientifically wrong,  stuck. Typically, the big shaggy animals that people call buffalo are actually bison, while true buffalo look more like large bulls. They are related – both are bovines, large, cattle-like animals,  but bison are in a different genus from buffalo and they have striking physical differences that tell them apart.

The American bison, is our continent’s largest land animal which can weigh up to 2,000 lbs. and is found only in North America.

It has an unusually massive head and a considerable shoulder hump, both of which are covered with thick, woolly fur. By comparison, the buffalo of Africa and Asia have no hump whatsoever, and their skulls are smaller than those of bison.

Bison is becoming recognized as a healthy alternative to beef as it is a leaner meat with similar taste and texture although bison tends to be somewhat richer, and sweeter.

The benefits of Bison as a source of protein are:

It has one of the highest protein contents of all meats. 

But it is still considered to be “lean” since it’s relatively low in saturated fat. That’s a result of the body structure of bison themselves as well as the practice of having them roam freely outdoors. It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid — known as the “good fats.”

Bison is high in B vitamins (vitamin B2 and niacin.) 

These vitamins help convert the nutrients from foods dogs eat into the useable energy needed for their bodies as well as supporting multiple metabolic functions and overall brain health. 

It fights inflammation. 

Selenium is a necessary mineral that acts as an antioxidant and eating bison is another great way to boost your dogs intake. Selenium, a necessary mineral, acts as an antioxidant that fights inflammation, and helps prevent the oxidative stress that causes cellular damage and the aging process. 

It supports a strong immune system through zinc.

Bison meat is a great way to naturally acquire zinc. Zinc is critical for proper immune system and cellular functioning.

It helps prevent iron deficiency.

Bison meat is high in iron. It’s what gives the meat its bright red color that makes it noticeably different from beef or poultry. The iron in animal products is more absorbable than the kind found in plant foods and more effective for preventing low energy and other anemia symptoms.

A herd of Western Bison.

Finally, If you care about how meat is raised, you’ll be please to learn that bison are grass-fed, allowed to roam –  spending the majority of their lives grazing at home on the range, and are not given growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals. (It is illegal to use them).

The Bison used in Heartland Select is from Colorado, United States and some of it comes from Native American producers. Heartland Select also has humanely raised chicken as the second ingredient after bison.

The chicken we use is humanely certified  –  which means the food comes from farms where Humane Farm Animal Care’s precise, objective standards for the humane treatment of farm animals are implemented. This encompasses how the chickens are treated from birth to death which includes their safety and their food source. These standards include; space, no antibiotics, no animal by-products, no hormones, the ability for the animals to engage in natural behaviors and to go to their ends peacefully.

Would you like to try a free sample of Heartland Select ?

Write me at, let me know what you think of the podcast and we’ll get those samples out to you.

Full show notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 38.

Title: Signs Your Older Dog May Have Alzheimer’s & 4 Poisonous Foods for Cats.

It’s well known that certain human foods are poisonous for dogs – but what about cats? Are there human foods that are dangerous for them? Here are the top 4 foods cats should not consume.

Do you have an older dog? Do you know what healthy, normal aging is supposed to look like? World renowned veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Nicolas Dodman, and editor of Good Old Dog, Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy and Comfortable, talks about what you can expect and what to do to help keep dogs healthy in their old age.

In a “Why Does My Dog do that” feature, I’ll share a common behavior that lets you know your dog is trying to work off stress.

Resources for the Episode.

Amazon link to: Good Old Dog: Expert advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy and Comfortable, Book by the Faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Edited by Dr. Nickolas Dodman with Lawrence Lindner.

The website Dr. Dodman mentioned: Center for Canine Behavior Studies –






The Five Subtle Warning Signals Dogs Display – Before They Bite.

In the last two episodes of the Raising Your Paws podcast, we were talking about how at times, dogs can see you as a competitor for something they want – like the hotdog they stole from the kitchen counter, or your favorite hat, or your child’s toy. And there are ways a dog communicates they just may bite you in order to keep it.

A key for preventing getting bitten or attacked in these cases is to learn and recognize the signs dogs use to let us know a bite or attack is imminent. 

Besides the slightly raised lip, this dog is using  three other warning signs to communicate, “back away from my chew toy or I may have to get physical with you to keep it.” Do you know what they are?

My guest, on the latest two shows, was dog aggression expert, Bryan Bailey, and the author of the book, “The Hammer: Why Dogs Attack Us and How To Prevent It.” He talks about the major reason dogs get aggressive towards people and the signs to watch for in episode 36. You can listen to this, but I have listed the signs for you to remember, below.

In episode 37 hear how a dog can quickly switch from defending an object to thinking they need to defend themselves and why this becomes deadly and then what to do to survive if you are attacked by a dog.


The 5 Subtle Signals Your Dog Uses to Warn You Before They Bite. 

Wolves use a series of ritualized body postures, facial and vocal signals to communicate their intent to attack –  before they actually do, in the hope that their warning, will be heeded by potential adversaries. The goal of those signals is to keep the food or protect the territory, or drive the competitor away etc., without having to resort to actual combat – which is a risky physical confrontation that can be hazardous to their health and life.

Your dog has the same inherited behaviors and survival strategies of wolves. Here is an example of how this could play out with your domesticated pooch and you.

Your dog is lying on the floor, happily chewing on a new bone that you gave him as a special gift. You figure the dog has had it long enough and its time for you to put it away.  You get up and start walking towards your dog. Your dog is on to you – in his mind –  just your approach  towards him demonstrates your obvious intent to take the prized bone away, but he does not know that you don’t want to eat it yourself or that he’ll getting it back later on.  In your dog’s eyes, you have just become a competitor for this highly valued item.

Since your dog, desperately wants to keep the bone to himself, but also wants to avoid physical contact with you, he will begin to systematically display a series of warning signals going from very subtle ones to increasingly ferocious ones if needed,  to tell you it’s MINE, you can’t have it and you’d better back off and go away or I might have to fight you for it.  Your dog is trying not to bite or fight!

You don’t even have to be meaning to take an object away.  One evening when I had friends over, my dog Rosy, displayed warning signs when one friend walked near her as Rosy lay on the floor gnawing on a dried beef tendon.  She calmed down when she realized Ivy didn’t want her treat – she only was on her way to the bathroom.

It is the subtle signs and signals that we tend to miss or not recognize,  and because we don’t notice them, we continue our behavior, like petting the dog that doesn’t want to be touched or reaching out a hand towards a strange dog or moving close to a dog with a coveted item that we want to take away and that’s what gets us into trouble.  Do yourself and your pet a big favor and start watching for what your dog is telling you.

The subtle warning signs that give notice of an impending bite or attack are:

Note the crescent moon shape of the white part of the dog’s eye and the ears pinned back. This dog is communicating possible aggression towards this cat.
  1. The body or torso of the dog may become stiff or rigid.
  2. The dog looks at you out of the corner of their eye. Called the “crescent moon” because this is the shape of the white part of the eye you can see.
  3. The ears have suddenly moved back.
  4. The tail has risen as fully high as it can go or dropped down below the parallel line of the dog’s body.
Notice the high tail position. This dog obviously is showing its teeth but may not always exhibit both signs at the same time.
Notice the base of the tail that falls below the parallel line of the dog’s back. This may occur without the more obvious barking and showing of teeth.









5. The eyes show a hard stare – sometimes described as “lifeless” eyes.

If these signals don’t work to make an opponent stop and back away, a dog will raise the stakes and display increasingly more aggressive actions.  These are the more noticeable and dramatic behaviors you expect from dogs.

  1. A deep growl, with fangs exposed.
  2. When guarding a valued item, the dog may straddle the object and increase the viciousness of the growl.

Any additional advance on your part towards the dog after seeing these last signs, will most likely result in an attack.

All of the above signs and signals are also used by your dog towards any other animal, dogs or cats that threaten them. By paying attention to this language of dogs, and responding in ways that will alleviate the conflict instead of increasing it, you can help protect yourself and others from dog bites that occur, all too often, from ALL sizes and breeds of dogs.

Full Show Notes

Raising Your Paws Episode 37  Title: How to Survive a Dog Attack and Why Your Cat Should Wear Glasses.

Do cats see in color? How does your cat’s eyes show you its mood? You’d think that cats have really good vision – but the truth may surprise you. I’ll take a closer look at those large, beautiful eyes feline eyes.

Then, if your dog picks up garbage to eat when you’re out walking, do you try to take it out of their mouth? To avoid getting bitten in the process, Dog aggression expert, Bryan Bailey, author of the book, “The Hammer: Why Dogs Attack Us and How to Prevent It” offers this caution. You’ll also hear exactly what to do if you get attacked by an aggressive dog, in order to survive.

I’d love to hear your feedback about the podcast and at the same time you’ll be helping us grow the show –  by rating and reviewing it.

It’s best to do so at i-Tunes. Here is the link to the page. Click, “View in i-Tunes” and then “Ratings and Reviews.” Thank you so very much.

Resources for this Episode.

Source for the story about cat’s eyes. What Your Cat Knows, by Sally Morgan.

Bryan Bailey’s Website.

Bryan Bailey.










Amazon link to order The Hammer: Why Dogs Attack Us and How to Prevent It.

Bryan Bailey’s “Taming the Wild” Training and Boarding Company.

When A Dog’s Sweet Tooth And Cars Collide & How Feb. 26 Has Meaning for Pets Worldwide.

Dogs like sweet things. If they grab a cookie or two, no big deal. But Canines commonly become poisoned – dangerously so,  when they consume automobile antifreeze.  

In this week’s Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 36, Title:  How Good is a Dog and Cat’s sense of Taste & Why Dogs Attack People and How to Prevent it,  you can hear  all about your pet’s taste buds and what they taste compared to you.  

Both you and your dog can taste sweet things and unfortunately the ethylene glycol in antifreeze tastes very sweet to a dog and they like and are attracted to it. Have you seen those green colored puddles of liquid under cars or left in parking spaces? I used to see them all the time, in the parking lot, when I lived in my condo with Rosy. We steered clear of them.  Leaks from the car’s radiator or coolant system leaves those puddles of antifreeze on driveways, on the street and on the floor of your garage. By the way, dogs that are housed  in garages, even just part time, are at greater risk of antifreeze poisoning.

Most dogs that are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze, will lick it directly from the containers or puddles they find but other dogs can become indirectly poisoned as they clean up their soiled paws and fur.  A cat is not attracted to the sweet taste but if it gets on its paws, it will lick it off when they are washing themselves. It is more common for dogs to become poisoned than cats. As little as ½ cup can kill a small to medium sized dog but one teaspoon can kill a cat.  Studies in U.S. suggest that between 10,000 and 30,000 dogs die each year of this type of poisoning and the cases seem to increase twice a year as people add antifreeze in fall and remove it in spring. 

Signs of Antifreeze Poisoning:

Early signs are drunken looking behavior such as wobbling and staggering then vomiting and diarrhea can follow.  The symptoms do go away within 12 hours…but this does not mean the danger is passed. It gets worse, the digested antifreeze travels to the liver where it is broken down into toxic by-products.  Those by-products then travel to the kidney which causes it to shut down and the dog and cat will no longer be able to urinate.  Once this happens, the pet can go into a coma and die.  As you can tell, this is serious, scary, stuff.  The fatality rate is high and so if your pet laps up any amount of antifreeze, take immediate action –  even if you only suspect they got into it.   

What To Do First:

Call your vet immediately or the ASPCA poison control center – 888-426-4435  to determine if you should induce vomiting. You only want to induce vomiting if your pet is fully conscious and in complete control.  Woozy “drunk” pets can inhale the vomited material when it’s on the way up and suffocate.  If your dog is acting drunk or depressed, just get to the emergency vet right away.

To induce vomiting: Use a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.  You can buy hydrogen peroxide at any drug store or the drug departments in grocery stores.

The dosage is about 1- 2 teaspoons for every 10 pounds of your pet.  Use an eyedropper or cooking baster to squirt the mixture to the back of your pet’s tongue.  The foaming action and taste is what triggers the gag reflex which causes the vomiting. Your pet should vomit within 5 minutes – if not, repeat 2-3 more  times allowing 5 minutes between doses.   

Then Get Medical Attention Immediately.

Remember,  the symptoms go away but the damage is still going on in your pet’s body.  There is effective treatment that the vet can do if it is started soon enough.

 A Safer Antifreeze Alternative/Preventative to Use.

Purchase and use the less harmful type of antifreeze -a propylene glycol-based one for your car.  Propylene glycol is not totally non-toxic but is considerably less poisonous than ethylene glycol. It’s also not as sweet tasting so it is not as attractive to dogs.  And great news for the car, there appears to be no performance differences between ethylene and propylene glycol antifreeze, so it’s a no-brainer choice  to keep your dog’s love of sweet things and habit of eating from off the ground, free from harm.   

 What is so important about the month of February for Pets? 

It’s February 26 as I’m writing this blog. Is it raining cats and dogs? No, but there are wild dogs and cats on the streets –millions of them, world wide.

A group of homeless cats on a city street hunting pigeons.

Have you seen groups of feral cats living by you or when you travel? Do you have populations of homeless dogs roaming the streets where you live? Pet overpopulation is an issue all over the world.  In the U.S. alone, 30 million puppies and kittens are born each year. This means there is the  ratio of seven pets born for every human birth. At this rate, there will simply never be enough available homes for all these companion animals. Estimates now suggest that only one out every 10 animals born will find a permanent home. The current estimate of homeless dogs worldwide is over 500 million, with the number of homeless cats likely even greater.

Street dog overpopulation occurs in many countries around the world. A few examples to give you a more worldly view: if you were watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi you may recall coverage about the overwhelming pet overpopulation problem that exists in Russia, and stories of many athletes that attempted to bring pets home to their own countries.

Feral dogs foraging in rubbish on a Mumbai, India beach.

On the popular paradise island of Mauritius, there is an estimated quarter of a million of dogs, most of whom are owned,  but are free to roam the streets and beaches and in certain places such as the hotels, they are sometimes considered a nuisance. Thousands of puppies are born on the streets of Mauritius each year because most dog owners don’t sterilize their dogs. The people of Mauritius are known to love their dogs, but many simply don’t have access to local veterinary care to prevent the endless number of puppies being born, and responsible dog ownership has never been taught in many communities. This is changing now. Thousands of dogs and puppies are being spayed and neutered as part of the animal charity, Humane Society International’s mission,  to help the government humanely reduce the number of dogs roaming the streets, beaches and hotels. Education and awareness talks are also being provided.

Companion animal overpopulation is a complex problem spanning issues of human health due to the potential spread of zoonotic diseases to financial burdens placed on nations worldwide to the millions of domesticated cats and dogs globally, surviving without homes.

Due to the complexities, many governments and local authorities implement sporadic mass culls where dogs are killed. As well as being cruel, culls are ultimately ineffective because although they produce immediate results, over time they simply provide a vacuum in the local dog population to be filled by more breeding and other dogs moving in to the area.

So what is the solution? Currently, it is well accepted and supported that the only long-term effective and humane means of pet population control and decreasing the number of homeless animals put down in shelters or living on the street worldwide, is through targeted, affordable spay and neutering programs

Today is World Spay Day. (Feb. 26) It kicks off a month of awareness and the promotion of dog and cat spay/neuter programs. Preventing litters reduces the number of animals for whom resources such as homes, constant food and care are not available.

Most people support spay/neuter, but affordable services are out of reach for many pet owners, and funding is always needed for street animal surgeries.

To this end, veterinarians are well-known for passionately supporting such programs, often offering discounted procedures and organizations such as World Vets run programs for volunteer veterinarians and technicians to travel to countries such as Nicaragua and Paraguay to perform large-scale spay and neuter programs.

Then there are local, organizations, who are helping, such as Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program, (MN SNAP) whose mission  is to end the suffering and death of Minnesota cats and dogs due to overpopulation by providing both high-quality, affordable and accessible spay and neuter services to those in need, and animal welfare education in the communities they serve. 

One of MN SNAP’s clients. A sweet  cat, Moo Moo.
Another one of MN SNAP’s clients, a pit bull puppy. 










They provided the materials for this article. Thank you, MN SNAP.

Besides addressing the overall pet population problem, there are other physiological benefits to spaying and neutering our pet dogs and cats, which is why vets, breeders and adoption agencies suggest or require it.

Here are few of them from the MN SNAP website.

*   Neutering male cats and dogs decreases urine odor and marking behaviors.
*   Neutering male dogs decreases the tendency of roaming and aggression.
*   Spaying and neutering decreases the risk of dog bites.  (* regarding dog bites, Listen to the second segment of Raising Your Paws podcast episode 36 – Why dogs attack people. Time stamp: 11:33. One of the reasons has to do with this photo below.)

*   Spaying and neutering pet’s decreases behavioral problems.
*   Spaying and neutering reduces the number of pets killed in shelters.

For more information about MN SNAP, and to see the numerous links they provide if you’d like to read more, please see Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program’s website.

It is good to know that many countries, states and cities offer free or low cost spay/neuter programs for the public. Check your local listings or on-line for agencies near you that can help.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 36.

Title: How Good is a Dog and Cat’s sense of Taste & Why Dogs Attack People and How to Prevent it. Listen to the episode here.

You know your pet loves food but have you ever wondered what they actually can taste compared to you? I’ll explain the similarities and differences between your taste buds and dogs and cats. Did you know that there is a fifth identified taste detector on your tongue that you share with your pets?  Find out what it is here.   

Talking about dogs biting people is a disturbing issue.  Contrary to what many people think and you may have experienced, there are very specific reasons that dogs bite and attack people. Dog aggression expert, Bryan Bailey, author of the book, “The Hammer: Why Dogs Attack Us And How to Prevent It” will explain how dogs have retained the survival strategies of wolves, the subtle signs that dogs give that an attack is coming and how you can prevent dog bites and attacks.

 Resources for this Episode.

 Source for the story about pet’s taste buds – How Dogs Think by Stanley Coren.

Bryan Bailey’s Website.

Bryan Bailey.


Bryan Bailey’s “Taming the Wild” Training and Boarding Company.

Amazon link to order The Hammer: Why Dogs Attack Us and How to Prevent It.



For Training with Food Rewards, Use Yummy And Nutritious Treats.


Photo credit: Can Do Canines.

In the latest episode of Raising Your Paws podcast number 35, my guest, Alan Peters, the executive director  of the organization Can Do Canines, talked about how they train assist dogs to do highly specialized jobs in order to live with and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Wait until you hear about the skills these dogs know how to do. Wave a magnet over the neck of a woman so that her seizures stop? Cross the legs of a small boy who can’t move them himself? Yep, and there’s much more they can do. It puts my training of Rosy to jump up and stay on a platform to shame. And I still don’t even get a consistent “drop” from her – I’ve got to get serious after learning what dogs are really capable of doing.  Listen to the episode below. For hearing the segment about the assist dogs go directly to timestamp:  09:07

Anyway, the majority of how the “Can Do Canine” dogs  are trained to do such things like going to get the phone and bringing it to their person so that they can call for help when they fall or alerting their person with hearing loss that there is some important sound they need to know about, is accomplished through positive reinforcement training and using food treats as the reward.

Photo credit: Can Do Canines.

At NutriSource pet foods, they have been busy making a greater variety of  delicious and highly nutritional treats for both dogs and cats that are perfect for training your pet. Yes, you can train a cat.

Ok, not saying we’re going to train your kitty to do this.

Let me know in the comment section of this blog, if you’d like me to do a podcast segment about that topic- cat training.

One of the latest new treat products they are making is the tasty,  freeze dried treats for both cats and dogs that come in a wide selection of different meats.

Its always helpful to know exactly what ingredients are in a food and what the source of the good nutrition happens to be. Since there are a number of nutritional benefits to these treats besides being a really handy size and texture for training your dog to fetch the TV remote, let’s get to it.

Firstly, these treats are made with a single source protein. Only the one meat that is clearly indicated on the package. This is good because if there are some proteins your pet cannot eat or does not like, it’s isolated for you and you can choose another one. If Barney the beagle is so allergic to chicken he breaks out when just seeing a picture of one, no problem – there is venison or duck or turkey or beef or wild boar or Alaskan salmon as options. Is Caterina the cat, finicky about anything with beef in it? Perfect, try the minnow, ahi tuna, Alaskan salmon duck liver or turkey. 

Having a single meat, not a mixture of proteins also offers your pet a variety of distinct tastes. Its boring tasting the same thing over and over and over again, don’t you think?  It’s more fun and a pleasurable experience for your dog to savor a salmon treat one time and then your cat devour a duck tidbit the next. Hey, pets have a good amount of taste buds too!  Rosy, my dog has eaten the duck and the venison treats so far, and both were winners. We’ll try all the rest of the flavors soon.

A treat that combines a yummy taste and high quality meat is fabulous but lets not skip nutrition. These treats are made using a process  – they are flash frozen, and slowly freeze dried ( that was a mouthful) that preserves the ingredients nutritional integrity and thereby delivers optimal bio-availability.









Okay, whats that?  Bioavailability is the ease and effectiveness with which any nutrient makes its way from the food you or your pet eats into your or your pet’s body.  It’s a journey  every nutrient takes that involves first, being digested or broken apart so that the nutrient can be freed from the food that contained it.  Once the nutrient is released then the second part of its journey involves the absorption of the nutrient from the digestive tract into the rest of the body so that is it able to have an active effect.

When a nutrient is highly bioavailable, it can be digested and absorbed a high percentage of the time and in a dependable way.  Poor bioavailability means the digestion, absorption or both can be difficult and much less predictable. The ability of the body to effectively absorb and use all the possible nutrients from a food  is the corner stone of optimal nutritional bio-availability. And it follows to reason that foods with good bioavailability are the most desirable and these treats are!  A big yum to health!

Ask your local pet supply store for NutriSource/Pure Vita Freeze Dried treats.

And, learn more about them at our website: Click here for the dog treats. Click here for the cat treats.

Look at the ingredients in the treats. You will see they contain only the meat listed on the package and then in some of the treats, you will see the ingredient, mixed tocopherols. No mystery here. This is essentially a form of vitamin E and being mixed provides a combination of the different kinds of necessary tocopherols which are simply anti-oxidants that stabilize cell membranes. increase immunity, and reduce disease.

Happy and healthy training or snacking.

 Show Notes for Raising Your Paws podcast episode 35.

Title: How to Help Dogs Terrified by Thunder & Stories of Canines Whose Specialized Job Skills Save People’s Lives & the Best Way To Play With Your Cat.  

 Have you ever wondered why many dogs are afraid of thunderstorms? I explain what your dog hears compared to you, reveal the most important role you play during storms and then offer a few things you can do to help calm a petrified dog.    

Then, we’ll hear more stories from Alan Peters, the executive director of Can Do Canines, an organization in Minnesota that trains dogs to perform customized, one-of- a-kind skills that make all the difference in the lives of people with certain disabilities. In part two of our conversation (part one is in episode 34) you’ll hear about the astonishing things dogs do, such as helping a wheel bound boy move his legs, and saving a woman from the constant need to call an ambulance to stay alive.  

Did you know that how you play with your cat can have a big influence on its happiness and in preventing or remedying behavior issues? The secret is having a particular type of toy and then knowing the best way to move it so that it engages your cat’s natural hunting skills. I’ll explain how to activate this most important “prey sequence” so that you both reap the benefits

If you enjoy the podcast, please tell your friends about it. They can subscribe for free and the easiest way to do this is to go to the podcast website,

 Resources for the Episode.

 Check out the website for more information on The Tellington TTouch – a method for calming your pets.

Can do Canines website.

Guest, Alan Peters, with his dog Sam.








Source for the story on thunderstorms: The Secret Lives of Dogs by Jana Murphy and editors of Pets: Part of the family.

Source for the story on a cat’s prey sequence:  The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider.


Why Your Kitten Attacks Your Ankles.

Does your kitten bite your ankles? My cat Willie used to do this to people- mostly when my guests or sister would come over to visit.  Willie would lay in wait until the person walked by  him, and then with no warning or provocation, he’d pounce and land on their feet with the clutching of his paws and the biting with his jaws. Ouchh!  would cry my visitor. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” I’d say time and time again. “I don’t know why he does that.” This happened, especially to my sister –  whose shoes were enemy number one for Willie. He’d attack them with military precision and regularity. Willie’s been gone a long time now, and after researching and reading a lot about cats, I have a good idea of what that was about. If you’ve heard  my story of how Willie came into my life,  you’ll know I raised him from being a few days old. He never had a feline mother and no cat littermates. He grew up with cottontail rabbits. I was his mother. Listen to the story here – (episode 30, third segment, timestamp: 34:55.)

Normally, a cat spends his first 2-3 months with his mother and siblings, and spends a lot of time play-fighting, and pretend hunting. His mother and littermates, teach the kitten the rules of cat etiquette, when it’s being too rough, when the play is getting out of paw, and when it’s time to stop all the nonsense.  

Mom will discipline kitty with quick sharp, nips and the siblings will stop playing, if the kitty gets out of control. This way the kitten learns what is and what is not acceptable behavior. I did not know this. I was not a total loss at teaching rules. I did teach Willie not to jump on counters, to drop that chipmunck in its mouth and to come to me when I called even it he was outside on an adventure. I just didn’t know about teaching bite control.

Did you get a kitten when they were just a few weeks old? Many times, kittens are taken away from their mothers too soon and they did not have the time to learn to control the rough housing that the mother would have taught. So then, if you have a young 6 week old kitty, when they play fight with you, of course, their tiny little teeth and claws don’t bother you too much as they chew on your feet and hands, and we tend to ignore it. How would we know that a real cat mother would discourage it!  We don’t – and to the kitten, when we let them do this, without realizing it, we are teaching them that nipping and scratching is allowed.  Then as they grow bigger and their claws and teeth get stronger, those ambushes and bites start hurting a lot more and they are capable of drawing blood, as I can attest to from Willies’ surprise attack missions. A kitten can even start to associate someone with fighting behavior, and so the sight of them can trigger the prey drive and an attack. After all your feet and ankles are highly attractive moving targets.

I think this is what happened with my sister and her feet.  Every time she came over, it became a habit. There was Willie, latching on to her shoes with his teeth as she came in the doorway. Then he’d break away a bit as she walked into the living room, circling to get the best angle for the next launch and grab as she slowly made her way to sit down. It was all great fun or a threat or who knows what was really in his mind. But as his mom, I had never redirected him away from this continual onslaught.

So, when you have a kitten and it is biting you, be the mom! Teach your kitty to control its bite. Kittens that are allowed to bite when young, are much more prone to bite when they are older.  Being a cat mother and practicing discipline can be trying but start teaching them right away.

Every time your kitten bites, look at her and say “no”. You don’t have to yell or shout. Say it quietly, calmly yet firmly. If you do yell in anger, your kitten will just run away, scared, and you’ll lose the teaching moment.

If she does not stop, either tap her on the nose or place your hand on her head and hold her somewhat tightly which is similar to what the mother would do when she immobilizes the kitten with her paw.

When your cat stops biting, praise her in a gentle voice.  You will get many chances to practice this often. Just like human babies, kitties like to bite and mouth things.

When your cat is very excited and seems about to bite, stop all your movement because any moving will just excite her further.

And what can you do when your cat has a hold of you and is ripping up your ankles or your arm?  First, if your cat has its paws wrapped around you and its teeth are sinking into your skin, do not pull away or run.  Gently push your leg or arm towards his mouth and then keep still.  This movement confuses the cat and causes him to release the grip.  Once he lets go, continue to stay still and ignore him until he moves away. You are teaching that biting flesh is an immediate end to the fun.

Finally, make sure you are giving the cat enough other, external stimulation – plenty of opportunity to play with and hunt things –  that are not you. I know you know this, but you’ve got to play with your cat – they need to burn energy – so engage your cat with interactive play sessions twice a day. Get them moving with the stick or pole type toys that you swish around  that have the fake bug, bird or mouse at the end.

Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 34 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Stories of Dogs with Very Special Jobs –Helping People with Disabilities & How Gazing into one Another’s Eyes Is Good Chemistry for You and Your Dog.    

 Is there such a thing as good chemistry with a dog? Science is proving that both you and your dog’s brain chemistry is changed for the better by certain interactions. Find out which chemicals are involved and when this happens.

Does your dog fetch your newspaper for you? Wait until you hear what specially trained dogs can do to help individuals living with challenges, such as hearing loss or childhood autism. Alan Peters, the executive director of Can do Canines, an organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities, tells stories of people’s lives that are transformed by these dogs.

Does some of your cat’s behavior baffle you? In this “Why the cat does that” fun facts feature, you’ll hear the answers to why your cat makes a chattering sound when seeing birds out the window, why your cat gets the zoomies – running around like crazy at times and why your cat sticks his rear end up in the air and raises his tail near you when you pet him.

 We’d like your feedback. Please write me at to comment on the podcast and if there is anything in particular you’d like to hear in future episodes. Thank you.

  Resources for the Episode:

Source for the story: Chemistry with your dog: How Dogs Think: Inside the Canine Mind. Time Special Edition

Can Do Canines website.


Alan Peters, and his dog Sam.


Should You Allow Your Pet to Sleep in Your Bed?

Do you sleep with your cats and dogs? Do you sleep well in general?

We’re trying something new for our blog. Here is a guest article written for us from an author with the Sleep Help Institute. (

This is a really good website, an independently owned, unbiased sleep resource where you can read about everything “sleep”.  

Should You Allow Your Pet to Sleep in Your Bed? By Samantha Kent.

A beloved pet can feel like a full member of the family. But, should you share your bed with an animal? There are pros and cons to inviting your furry family member in bed. Your personal circumstances will have the largest impact on your decision. No matter what you choose, everyone in the house needs adequate rest. If sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome already affect you or interfere with your spouse’s, or your pet’s sleep, be open to other arrangements.

When the Dog Needs to Sleep Somewhere Else.

There are circumstances under which an animal should not sleep in your bed. Dogs and cats can pass diseases on to their owners through the fleas, or ticks they may have that get transferred to you or your bed. It is uncommon, but certain bacterial infections such as one strain of Staphylococcus, and parasitic infections can be transferred to humans from the pets licking, biting or scratching of you that may happen more frequently due to the close contact of being together in bed. Keep in mind that animals that are up to date on their vaccinations and flea/tick treatments pose a very small risk of passing on a disease. However, the risk is still there.

For that reason, very young children, and anyone with a compromised immune system should not sleep with their pet. Even a small risk of infection could prove to be hazardous to their health.

Pet allergies are another reason you may not want to share the bed. Mild allergies can become more severe due to the immune system being overstimulated when exposed to pet dander all night long. Tightened airways in the throat can result and poses danger for breathing and interfere with your sleep.

If you have allergies, your pet should probably sleep somewhere else. Over time, dander from your pet, attaches itself to almost any surface, and before you know it, even when your pet is not in the bed, the entire bedroom can become a source of sneezing and nasal congestion. So in reality, you’ll sleep better if your animals stay out of your bedroom altogether.

When a Furry Companion Might Be the Best Idea.

A pet in the bedroom isn’t always a bad idea. Your dog or cat nearby can provide much needed companionship and:

*   Relieve Anxiety: Pets are natural stress relievers. For some people, being near their favorite four-legged companion can cause a release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps us feel compassion and love. The calming effect your beloved animal has on you, can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

*   Increase Your Sense of Security: One of the number one reasons people own a dog is personal safety. This is especially true for those who live alone. Animals, generally, have a better awareness of their surroundings and have been known to alert owners to potential dangers at night. If that feeling of safety helps you sleep better, your pet in bed is definitely a positive thing.

*   Offer Comfort: A furry friend can be like a warm stuffed animal toy. They’re great for comfort and warmth and are far more personable than an electric blanket.







Making It Work.

Sleeping with a pet might require some changes in your sleeping arrangements. First, you’re going to have to deal with motion transfer. A mattress topper can help absorb motion and reduce disruptions. See this page at for recommendations. Second, consider training your pet to sleep at the foot of the bed so you’re not running into one another all night long. Lastly, sometimes large pets are too much for one bed. A dog bed positioned on the floor next to your bed, close enough so you can touch your dog during the night is another possible solution.

Whether you decide to keep your pet in another room or make him a bedfellow, everyone needs adequate sleep. You need seven to nine hours while most dogs and cats may sleep 12 to 18 hours per day, though not all at once. If everyone is getting the sound, restful, sleep they need, you know you’ve made the right choice.

Samantha Kent, the author, of this article is a researcher for Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.    

There is another article on the Sleep Help Institute website I really like about how your dog sleeps. See it here.

Full Show Notes for Episode 33 – Raising Your Paws Podcast.

Title: A Very Human-like Reason Why Dogs Like to Roll in Smelly Filth & A Guilt-free Strategy for Meeting Other Dogs on Walks.

You can listen to the show here. 

Cats have exceptional noses just like dogs do, and smelling and being smelled is an important part of their social life. They also have a smelling superpower function and I’ll tell you how you’ll know your cat has turned it on.

Then, continuing my conversation with dog trainer, Katie-K-9, you’ll get practical advice about:

How retractable leashes can cause more problems than the “freedom to roam” benefit.

A simple and reassuring thing to do with your dog if meeting unfamiliar dogs on walks does not always go so well.

The best way for you to personally, greet an unfamiliar dog so you don’t get bit.

Plus, did your dog roll in stinky dead remains again? I offer two explanations from the world of animal behavioral science for why dogs delight in doing this.

To support this podcast, please subscribe, rate and review Raising Your Paws on ITunes. Click here.  Thank you.

Resources for the Episode:

Source for story about your cat’s nose. “What Your Cat Knows” by Sally Morgan.

Katie K-9 website. Click here.

Katie K-9.

Source for story about dogs rolling in smelly things.  “The Secret Lives of Dogs,” by Jana Murphy and the Editors of “Pets part of the Family.”




Finding The Pet That Will Be A Good Match For You.

Thinking of getting a puppy or kitten as a gift for someone during the holidays?  In the last episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 31, I spoke about the thing you will want to do first and foremost to make sure the new pet will work out to be a joyous and welcome addition to the family.

Make sure that the type or breed of dog or cat you choose will be a good match for the person, people or family you are giving the pet.  Do some research first!  It can be fun and easy. Below, you’re going to find two resources, I really like,  that are going to help you know what kind of breed you should get.

First of all, here’s why to do this.

It’s the things we don’t tend to think about when we pick out a pet that can lead to frustration, unhappiness or animal behavior problems later – such as,  is the dog breed a challenging one to train, which ones have the tendency to bark or howl a lot, which cats naturally talk (meow) a lot, which dogs are kid friendly, or which cats  need a lot of attention?

We can be easily charmed by the looks of a puppy or kitten and its affectionate behavior when they are at the shop or shelter but this will not help when the dog breed you chose needs to run and move at least 2 hours a day to be sane and you are the type of family that lives in an apartment and barely have time to give the dog a 15  minute walk each day. Can you say, behavior problems?  To give the pet the best odds that it will stay in your home and be loved for the rest of its life and that you can handle the needs of the dog or cat check out these resources. I think they are both really good.


The first one, is for finding your perfect dog. This is a really cool website.  At there is a match up tool that determines which types of breeds and mixes may be a good fit for you and  your family.

Dog Matchup

Then you can browse their detailed dog breed profiles to read all about the characteristics of the different types of dogs. 

Dog Breed Selector

I really like that there are categories of the breeds you can look through such as dogs that: adapt well to apartment living, ones that are easy to train, which dogs have drooling potential and the flip side, dogs that are not big droolers.  There are many other designations like – dogs that are good for novice owners and most importantly the breeds with high energy levels and exercise needs and which breeds have lower ones.  Really helpful feature and its fun to look through no matter what. 

This website goes a long way to help you think about and find the dog breeds that can be a good match.  There is even an “Are You Ready” Quiz , you can take if you’re not sure you’re ready to have a pup or not.

Now, head over to the ASCPA Meet A Match™ Program.

This one helps you to figure out both dogs and cats that would be good for you. It is designed for matching you with dogs or cats that you would adopt from an animal shelter. First, lets talk about dogs. Dog shelters conduct an assessment on dogs 6 months and older (the Canine-ality Assessment) which helps them determine the individual needs of each dog. A battery of five tests help them to determine his or her general canine-ality including friendliness, playfulness, energy level, manners, motivation and drive.

It’s also very fun to look through and do. It color codes dogs into three designations,  easy maintenance (purple), average maintenance (orange), and high maintenance (green). Within each color category are three descriptions to help you better understand the dogs canine-ality.  Here are the category descriptions for adult dogs.  (Puppies are also divided into the three colors but have different descriptions. To learn more about puppy- ality, click here.  

Couch Potato
Like the easy life? Then I’m the perfect match for you. I’m a relaxed, laid-back kind of dog who enjoys long naps, watching movies, curling up on laps, and walking very short distances from the couch to the food bowl and back. (Internally motivated)

Constant Companion
Looking for an emotionally secure, mutually satisfying, low maintenance relationship? I am all you need. Let me sit at your feet, walk by your side, and I’ll be your devoted companion forever. (Socially motivated)


Teacher’s Pet
I’ve got the whole package — smart, fuzzy, four legs, love to learn and live to please. Go ahead, teach me anything. Sit, stay, balance your checkbook, I can do it all. Keep me entertained and I’ll be yours forever. (Externally motivated)

Shy yet charming canine searching for patient owner with relaxed lifestyle. Looking for gentle guidance to help me come out of my shell. Treat me sweet and kind and I’ll blossom. (Internally motivated)


Busy Bee
I’m a naturally playful, curious, and trusting canine. Take me for a big walk every day; give me something to do. After my job’s done, I’ll curl up in front of the fire with you in the evenings. (Externally motivated)


I’m a fun-loving, happy-all-the-time, glass-is-half-full kind of dog looking for someone who loves to laugh and play around. Must have a great sense of humor and some time to spend with me. I’m a dog on a mission to please you. (Socially motivated)

Life of the Party
I think everything is fun, interesting and meant for play, especially you. Anything you do, I’ll want to do too. With my own brand of surprises, life with me will keep you constantly on your toes, and the fun is guaranteed. (Socially motivated)

Want to get more exercise? Action is my middle name. My “Let’s GO!” lifestyle will keep you motivated to get outside and move. I’ve got tons of energy; and just like the sun, I’m burning and working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’ll run for miles, chase a ball for hours, and still want to play at the end of the day. (Externally motivated)

Free Spirit
Intelligent, independent, confident and clever, I prefer making my own decisions but will listen to you if you make a good case. We’re partners in this adventure. Treat me like one and we’ll both live happily ever after. (Internally motivated)

Which color of dogs will work well with you?  On the ASCPA Meet A Match™  website you can take a short easy survey (dog adopter survey) and you’ll find out which color categories of dogs blend well with your needs and expectations and helps conclude what kind of canine-ality you are looking for in a dog.

Many shelters across the United States are using this system. Call your local shelters to find out if they are using Meet A Match™ and then you can take your completed survey into the shelter so they can begin to match their dogs’ or cat’s behaviors to your expectations, experience, lifestyle, and home environment. Many of the dogs in the shelters that are using the program, will have identifying color cards on each of the dog’s kennels. Easy peesy!

If you’re looking to adopt a cat that will match well with your family, meeting a cat through the Feline-ality Adoption Program allows you to bring home a new companion already knowing something about them.  And you take a survey for cats just like for dogs to find out your color match. (cat adopter survey.) 

  • Green adopters are most successful with cats who adapt quickly to new situations.
  • Orange adopters are a good fit with easy-going cats.
  • Purple adopters are comfortable with cats who need time and encouragement to adjust to new surroundings.

You can see a poster showing the above cat color category descriptions.  Click here. aspca_felineality_poster


Additional Resources for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 31.

Title: Before Giving a Pet as a Gift, Do This First  & How Search and Rescue Dogs Find Missing People.

North Star Search and Rescue Website

North Star Search and Rescue on Facebook.

Chief Diane Stefanick and Shiloh.
Deputy Chief Ross Butterfield and Bosco.
Tracking dog.

Please support this podcast by subscribing and then rating and reviewing the podcast.  To subscribe on iTunes (so you never miss an episode) here is the link.  For android devices, subscribe on Stitcher.




How to Help Keep Dog Play Friendly.

Isn’t it fun watching dogs playing with each other? I get a kick out of how Rosy loves leading a chase and is so happy when she is wrestling with her best friends. Mostly, dog play is all done in good fun, but if the dogs get overly excited or if someone starts bullying more than being a buddy, or if two dogs gang up on one, then the play can change and someone winds up getting alarmed or scared or nipped. Kind of like human kids at play – it can get out of hands at times.   

Here is something you can do to help it stay all in good fun.

On a regular basis, make it a habit to interrupt the dogs playing, frequently, by calling your dog out of play and taking little pause breaks. If you are with friends, have them call their dogs to them as well. Everyone will take a breather. If you have a puppy, call it over, have it  sit or go into a down, praise the pup quietly or give it a high value treat for coming when called or have a short petting session. With your adult dog, reinforce a short down/stay and offer a reward for coming to you so nicely.  There has to be something good for her to want to stop playing and come to you, otherwise your dog may just ignore you. Think about if you are in the middle of doing something really fun, someone asks you to stop and come over, you do so and they say, “good”  and pat you on the arm. I regularly practice calling Rosy over when she is either walking off leash or when playing with her dog friends. I always pay her a bit of a high value treat – something she really loves – then I let her go back to playing.  Rosy has a great recall.  Just saying…..

The most important part of this, and why you’ll do it often, is you want to interrupt the play BEFORE it escalates into being overly rough or bullying behavior begins. The point of this technique is not to wait and call the dogs to you in response to unwanted and potentially dangerous behaviors. You are working to prevent this.

If you wait until the behavior occurs,  then redirect your dog attention by calling them to you, it does not prevent the bullying from happening in the first place and if you call and reward after they get in trouble, and do this a number of times, it can actually serve to unintentionally reinforce the unwanted behavior. Not what we want. Once they take that mini break – let them go back to their friends. By now, their attention has shifted. They may all investigate  “that smell” together, play chase or it will be time for all of you to take a walk down the trail.   


Additional Resources for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 30.

Title: Teaching Your Dog to Pee and Poop on Command & Why Socializing a Young Kitten is A Must!

Win three  free bags of NutriSource Pet Food’s new freeze dried treats for cats or dogs.

Write me at Let me know what you’d like to hear on the podcast and we’ll randomly select a few people to win the free bags of treats.

 Source for the story about the three S’s.    Dog Smart by Linda P. Case. (On Amazon)



Dog Trainer, Katie K-9’s website.

Katie K-9 and her dog Lucee.

Katie K-9 Radio Show.

Katie K-9 on Facebook.

Resources mentioned by Katie-K9

Starmark’s collars.

Herm Sprenger prong collars.  


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How to Peacefully Blend a Dog-Cat Household.

In the last two episodes of the Raising Your Paws podcast, we talked about how cats and dogs misunderstand each other and how to help them get along, with my guest, certified animal behavior consultant, Amy Shojai, author of  ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in the Cat-Dog Household.

Listen here to episode 28 to find out: how dogs and cat misunderstand each other’s body language, and how to stop your dog from chasing your cat.

Listen here to episode 29 to find out: the easiest way to break up a fight between your cat and dog and why your dog loves eating cat poop.


How to Create Harmony Between your Dogs and Cats Right from the Start.   

From Amy Shojai’s book, here are shortened and paraphrased versions of her TEN COMMANDMENTS of PET DYNAMICS – Things to keep in mind before you choose a new four-legged family member for your household.

The ideal situation if you want to have both cats and dogs in the home,  is if they can grow up together as kittens and puppies. This way they go through their socialization periods together and have a greater chance of living together in peace and harmony as adults.

Since this may not be realistic for you, follow these guidelines to try to avoid the worst cat-dog behavior challenges.  Detailed advice and additional information about all of the topics below are found in Amy Shojai’s book, ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in the Cat-Dog Household.



  1. Introductions between the resident pet (either dog or cat) and the new one is much simpler when your resident pet already knows the rules of the house and basic obedience cues. At the least, the ones that already live there, should understand the word NO and the dog, be leash trained.
  1. It is easier to introduce a newcoming cat to a resident dog than the other way around. Dogs tend to be more accepting of newcomers than cats are. Cats prefer a status quo and changes can be perceived as threats.
  1. Resident adult pets, both cats and dogs tend to accept and be more tolerant of younger pups and kittens being added to the family more readily than adult animals. Baby animals are less likely to challenge the resident’s social status than adults.
  1. The more space you have in your house, the less trouble you will have. Dogs and cats are territorial so there needs to be enough room so that they are not living on top of each other. Amy’s “rule of paw” is to have no more pets than there are rooms available in your home. If space is limited, make sure you enrich the environment by providing plenty of hiding places, lookout posts, and numerous toys. Privacy is important to pets.  Both dogs and cats need a place they can call their own – a sanctuary where they can retreat and not be bothered by the other pets.
  1. With cat/dog introductions that will take place in the home, both pets should be familiar with your house (the territory,) before introducing them to each other. The new pet should be allowed to explore the home without interference from the resident pet prior to the introductions.
  1. Choosing complementary personalities of the pets, aids in establishing good relationships. The potential for most problems comes with two aggressive individuals especially if there is a big size difference between them. Confidence in a pet is an asset, if it is fearful, this can cause problems. The least conflict comes when your resident pet is outgoing, curious and interested, eager to investigate rather than running to hide.
  1. Along this vein, matching a lap sitter with a playful pet works well because they don’t challenge each other’s preferred state of being. Your energetic pet can encourage the lap-potato to become more active and the more sedentary pet may help calm down the energizer bunny pet.
  1. Introduce the new dog or cat to one resident pet at a time if you have multiple pets.
  1. Pay more attention to your resident pet. The new kitten or puppy is irresistible, but your older beloved friend will feel much more willing to accept the newcomer if they don’t feel they’ve lost your affections.
  1. Patience is the key to successful competability. Don’t expect pets to become fast friends upon the first sniff. It can be hate at first sight and the best you’ll be able to hope for is that they initially will tolerate each other. Most likely, it will take days to weeks before the pets have figured out everybody’s place and established their own furry rules.


Does your dog guard its bones or possessions? You can help fix this.


Find out how to do the technique called the “object exchange” in Raising Your Paws podcast episode, 29. Listen here to segment one.

NutriSource Pet Food’s new freeze dried treats are great to use in the object exchange exercise for teaching your dog how NOT to guard its favorite possessions. But you can use them for training anything to your cat or dog and pets think they are YUMMY.

Win some free bags of the freeze dried treats!!

Write me at and let me know what you think of the podcast and what you’d like to hear in the future, and we’ll randomly select three people to win some bags of the dog or cat treats. To see all the different flavors of meats that the treats come in, check out the Pure Vita website.

Show Notes for Raising Your Paws episode 29.

Title: The Easiest Way to Stop a Fight Between Your Cat And Dog & Taking Coveted Items Away From Dogs Without Them Guarding the Possessions.

Amy Shojai’s website.

How to order ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in Your CAT-DOG Household.

Amy Shojai’s blog: Bling, Bitches and Blood.

Amy Shojai on Facebook.

You can help support this podcast by subscribing and telling your friends. To subscribe on iTunes (so you never miss an episode) here is the link.