Why Any Dog Can Bite Someone and How to Prevent It.

It can be the most innocent of things  – like you just wanting to move your dog from off of the couch. Did you know that one of the most common dog bites to  people in the home happens from an action like this? In this episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode 53, find out how being more mindful about your dogs needs and how they view you, their leader, can make a big  difference in preventing your dog from biting someone – the thing most of us think our dog would never do but in reality can happen.

Raising Your Paws Podcast  Episode 53

Title: Why Your Cat Brings You Dead Mice and How to React, & Your Dog Could Bite Someone – How to Prevent It.

Full Show Notes.

Does your cat bring you dead mice it kills or various rodent body parts? I’ll explain the current theory for why cats do this and the best way to react. It’s probably not what you think.

Then, if you are like many other dog owners, you don’t like to think that your dog could ever bite someone. The reality is that any dog – no matter the breed, can bite and injure someone. My guest, Melissa Berryman, is a dog bite prevention expert, creator of the People Training for Good Dogs dog handling program, and author of the book by the same title. In today’s episode, she talks about how we can take more responsibility for preventing dog bite injuries by better understanding our dog’s point of view and needs and expectations of us, and shares some of the innocent human actions that cause some of the most common bites.

Melissa Berryman









Plus, in the special feature, “Where Did That Expression Come From?” we’ll take on the phrase, “barking up the wrong tree” and then how one of America’s most popular foods, a sandwich eaten by the billions each year, got its name.

Congratulations to Ann from Woodburn, Oregon for winning a free large bag of NutriSource dog food. She did so, by being randomly selected from those that sent in a question about their pets that they wanted covered in the podcast. Her question, that we answered, was about why cats leave “gifts” of dead mice for her family. You can be selected as well and receive a free bag of pet food. Write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com or leave your question in the comment section below.

Additional Resources for the show.

Source for story about why cats leave dead mice and how to react. Why Does My Cat Do That? By Catherine Davidson.

Melissa Berryman’s “People Training for Good Dogs” Program Website.

Amazon link to order the book “People Training for Good Dogs: what breeders don’t tell you and trainers don’t teach.” By Melissa Berryman.

Source for Stories about where hot dogs got their name. National Hot Dog and Sausage Council Website

Blog Article: Why You Need To Take A Cat Bite Seriously.


If you get bitten by your cat, either through those play sessions that get a bit rough, or if you pick up your cat to separate them when fighting with another cat, the bite might not look like much at first and so you may play the injury down and forget about it. We tend to worry much more and pay closer attention to the possibility of dog bites as the wounds tend to be larger and can look so much worse. However, you’ll want to take any cat bites seriously and watch for unusual reactions especially if they are to your hand, wrist or forearms. Why?

Because cat bites can lead to infections. It’s not that a cat has more germs in their mouths than dogs, it’s the design and nature of their teeth that can inject hard-to-treat bacteria into your tissues. In comparison, dog’s teeth are more blunt and generally don’t penetrate down as deeply into the skin.

Even if your cat’s teeth are tiny and the bite mark is no more than a little pin prick, it can cause problems. Dr. Brian Carlsen, a Mayo Clinic plastic surgeon and orthopedic hand surgeon, relates that “Cat’s teeth are sharp and can penetrate very deeply. The bacteria gets into the tendon sheath or into the joint where they can grow with relative protection from the blood and immune system.”

And this is what puts you at risk, for a serious infection. With cat bites, it is best to seek medical attention.

Take the story of my father, who was checking in on my cat Willie, one afternoon while I was out of town a number of years ago. He had stopped by at the apartment, to feed, and play with Willie. My cat could be a tad unpredictable – lashing out and biting when you least expected it – to even those he loved the best.  Like my father who had cradled the teeny kitten when he was just a few weeks old, nestling him in the warmth of his neck. (Listen to Willie’s story – explains why my dad and I became the only mother he had. Podcast episode 30 – segment about socializing cats.)

So while visiting with Willie, in my home that day, my dad reached out to play or pat him and got rewarded for his affection with a bite to his hand. The bite stung – my dad’s feelings, mostly, but he washed it out and returned home. A few hours later my dad’s hand became red and swollen. When red streaks began radiating out from the hand, running up the length of his arm, my Mom and Dad figured there was probably something seriously wrong. They went to the hospital emergency room. Due to the seriousness of the infection at that point, he was admitted to the hospital and started on intravenous antibiotics.

This was quite a surprise to my father and very upsetting to me, when I heard the news over the phone – still being out of town. I felt so bad that my cat had put my father in the hospital. Who knew that a little cat bite could cause so much trouble? Fortunately, all was well by the next day after the medicine cleared up the infection.

My dad still loved Willie but, was somewhat more cautious around him after that experience.

My father and Willie.

Not all cat bites require hospitalization as it did with my father. People that have been bitten have seen their regular physicians when they could get appointments quickly, or more routinely visit the emergency rooms. Treatments can include oral antibiotics – but if they don’t knock out the infection, then intravenous antibiotics may be required. In some extreme cases patients have needed surgery to clean the wound or remove infected tissue. Research has shown in a majority of cases, if the cat bites were located directly over a person’s wrist or another joint instead of in soft tissue, these were the ones more likely to need hospitalization.

As you can tell, cat bites can be serious business – especially if you develop inflamed skin and swelling – you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately, so the wound can be treated aggressively. Play it safe and don’t wait until your hand and arm have long red stripes, like my father did.



What that Distinctive Vertical Slit in Your Cat’s Eye Is About.

Its Halloween time, and you’ll see many images of the black cats with their slitted eyes. It seems that for us, we associate animals, with eyes that have those vertical slits, like crocodiles and snakes and Harry Potter’s Voldemort, with being creepy, scary and threatening.


Some of the reason we perceive it as scary is that their eyes are different from ours.

Humans, (tigers and lions, as well) have round pupils and when bright light hits the eye, our pupils shrink or constrict to a tiny round pin prick size and shape. The constriction of the pupils is what stops too much light from getting in the eye which would damage our retinas.

In domestic cats however, their pupils are vertically shaped, not round, so when bright light, enter their eyes, to protect the retina, their pupils constrict into a narrow vertical slit. The cat’s vertical pupil shape is a real benefit, able to open wide, to an almost completely round shape, to let a lot of light in, when its dark out, to narrowing to a tiny slit to reduce the amount of light that enters as light increases.

Then to reduce the light even further, your cat may close her eyes half way and squint. We sometimes mistake this look on our cat’s faces thinking the cat is either sleepy or disgusted with something or us. This may be true, but it could also be that great adaptation at work, to protect your cat’s eyes.


The ability of your cat’s pupil to change from being a narrow slit in bright light to fully dilated  in low light large equates to about a 300 fold increase in the area of the pupil. Our round pupils only achieve a 15 fold increase.

Those wide open pupils gives them a huge advantage when hunting at night, allowing the maximum light in to see that tiny rodent in the grass.  The vertical slit however also gives cats an edge when hunting as it is believed that it allows them to better estimate their prey’s distance and focus more accurately on their target.

You’ve heard the expression that we apply to people – “the eyes are the window to a person’s soul.”  In your pet cat, the eyes are an indication of their mood and feelings. Start paying attention to the size of your cat’s pupils to get an idea of the state of their mind. You do need to take into consideration the context of what is happening at the time, and your cat’s overall body language as this affects what their eyes may mean.

Generally, a medium sized vertical slit usually indicates a confident, relaxed, happy cat.

The more open or dilated the pupils are at certain times, can mean your cat is feeling  defensive, may be agitated, and the eyes can warn you that they are about to jump away or may scratch or bite.  But as you can see in the photo below, this cat’s eyes are large but it is probably having a good time. Who doesn’t love sitting in a box?

If you notice that your cat’s pupils are becoming larger and rounder in bright light conditions, this can be an indication that something is bothering them. Pupil size is linked to the fight/flight response. If your cat is feeling fearful or threatened, the pupils get larger, letting in more light so your cat can see better, take in more information about the environment, assess any dangers and prepare to escape if needed.

Worried looking cat. Notice the ears – back and somewhat flattened.

A cat that is in pain, can also have dilated pupils. Vets learn to watch cat’s eyes for indications of how they are feeling during examinations.

Also pay attention to how they are using their eyes. If one cat is directly, continually staring at another cat, this can communicate a challenge. On the other hand, if your cat is avoiding eye contact with the other cat, he may be trying to reduce the likelihood of a confrontation.

You may have heard that one way a cat expresses its affection to you is to give a slow blink in your direction – sometimes called the cat kiss. It does seem true that blinking slowly is a sign of contentment and relaxation for domestic felines. Watch for this blink and you can participate in a bit of cat talk, and communicate your own happiness by slowly blinking back to your cat.

Speaking of cats, why do dogs seem to love eating their poop? Maybe your dog has too discerning of a palate to stoop down to the level of a litter box for a snack, but many dogs do covet cat turds as a particularly delicious treat. Why?  More importantly, is there something you can do to stop it? Answers are in episode 52 of Raising Your Paws podcast.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 52.

Title: Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop & How to Stop the Dog From Barking at the Mail Carrier.

Do you have both dogs and cats at home? Does your dog eat your cat’s poop? Seems that many dogs find those little turds, a tempting treat. I’ll talk about the habit of eating feces, called coprophagia and how to keep your dog out of the cat’s litter box.

Have you wondered if there is anything you can do to prevent your dog from barking and going ballistic every time the mail carrier shows up at the house? Hear what Katie K-9, a long time dog trainer who I’ve had on the show a number of times before, has to say about how to change your dog’s behavior without using punishment or a shock collar.

You may know that there are numerous ways in which a dog positively affects your physical health, but there is a brand new worldwide study that was just released, (Oct. 2019) in the American Heart Association journal, “Circulation,” that finds that having a dog actually causes pet owners to live longer. I’ll explain all the exciting and comforting details.

Win a free large bag of NutriSource pet food and help us out – by offering your feedback about the podcast. Write me at either susan@raisingyourpaws.com or leave a comment in the section at the end of the blog article for episode 52 at our website, www.raisingyourpaws.com. We’ll randomly select three people to win a bag of dog food and three to win a bag of cat food.

Additional Resources for the show.

Source for story about dogs eating cat poop. “ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in your CAT-DOG Household” by Amy Shojai.

Katie K-9 Website – to hear radio show and podcast.

Source for story about dog owners living longer.

Who’s A Family Making Food For Your Pets?

It’s always good to know exactly who is going to make dinner.

Right now, I’m talking about who makes your pet’s breakfast, lunches or dinners.  In the case of the NutriSource/Pure Vita/Natural Planet brands of pet foods,  then, you’ll be happy to know that it’s a family who is making your pet’s meals – the Nelson family from Perham (pronounced  Per-um,) Minnesota. This is where the family lives and the kitchen, I mean, the very large manufacturing plant, is located. (*see free promotion below)

It’s time to get to know the Nelson family, the people behind the company – who they are, and what they care about, besides making pet food, of course.

Let’s start with meeting Charlie Nelson, the president of the company, who is the third generation of Nelsons to be in that role.

Listen to the latest episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, (episode 51), to hear Charlie tell the stories of his grandfather and father, why their manufacturing company is called ‘”Tuffy’s,”  the route he took from playing professional baseball to coming back home to work the family business and how this  family owned company is going to improve the lives of many sick, hospitalized children starting this coming winter (2019) with the help of one very special dog.


Charlie Nelson and his family.

* If you haven’t tried NutriSource or Pure Vita brands of dog and cat food, and even if you have, you might want to participate in this nice promotion we’re offering for anyone to win a free large bag of dog or cat food. All  you’ve got to do is leave a comment below. We’d like some feedback about the latest episode of the podcast (number 51) and/or you can ask a question or tell me your story about your pets – that relates to the episode. Ah, another reason to listen to the show.

For those who do write, we’ll randomly select three people to send a large bag of free NutriSource dog food, and three more people to send a large bag of free NutriSource cat food. (When you send your comment, you’ll be including your e-mail address so we know how to get in contact to send you the food.)


Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode #51.

Title: Teach Your Dog to Stop Begging & How A Pet Food Company Helps Children Battle Cancer.

Does your dog annoy you when it begs for one more treat, or pushes your hand so that you continue petting its back, or bark at you to throw the ball just once more? In this episode, I’ll explain how to teach the cue, “enough” which means they are to stop doing whatever rather demanding behavior they are doing and leave you alone.

Then, meet the family behind NutriSource and why in addition to manufacturing pet food, the company is dedicated to helping children that are hospitalized or battling cancer. My guest is Charlie Nelson, the third generation president of NutriSource Pet Foods, from Perham, Minnesota. Charlie tells stories about his background playing professional baseball and how they got involved with an organization that started from a promise between a father and a child with cancer. Then, hear about the Nelson family’s latest cause, placing a full-time therapy dog, who will be named after their grandfather who started the business, in a Children’s hospital.

Plus, have you begun a new relationship, spending a lot of time together at your place, or perhaps recently gotten married? All is going really well but does your cat acts like it hates your new partner? Growling or acting aggressively? You may think it’s because your cat is jealous – your cat is upset – but it is not because of the time you’re spending with the new person. Your cat is feeling anxiety and fear. Find out the reasons why and what you can do to change your cat’s feelings about your partner so they stop hissing and start bonding with them.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for story about teaching your dog not to beg: “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, PH.D.

NutriSource Pet Foods Website.

Charlie Nelson, President of KLN Family Brands. (NutriSource Pet Foods and Kenny’s Candy and Confections.)


Pinky Swear Foundation: Helping Kids with cancer and their families with financial and emotional support. 

Source for story about when cat hates partner: “Think Like a Cat” by Pam Johnson-Bennett.




After fighting – How to Separate Your Cats for Safety and a Fresh Start.

There are two reasons that one of your cats may attack or bully another cat in the household that may come as a surprise to you – one has to do with a cat who was bothered by something else, but takes it out on the unfortunate soul who happens by at the wrong time, the other one – involves the effect a cat who has just visited the vet may have on the cat waiting at home.

Listen to Raising Your Paws Podcast episode 50, to hear about these reasons and what to do.

How to Effectively Separate Fighting Cats.

Anytime aggression breaks out suddenly between your cats, where there were no problems in the past, you’ll want to determine the cause –whether, its resource guarding of food or litter boxes (podcast episode 49) or things called redirected aggression and non-recognition aggression – (explained in podcast #50 above) or even a medical issue. Always and foremost, if one cat becomes uncharacteristically aggressive towards another, there could be a medical reason behind the behavior. Your cat may be in pain and that can make anyone irritable – so have cat checked out by the vet.

If the reason cat A was upset about a strange cat in the yard, but ambushes Cat B, or if Cat A attacks Cat B because he just came back from the doctor and smells icky, you’ll first want to separate the cats into different rooms to prevent further fighting and keep everyone safe.

Create a safe room, one that can be closed off, to place one of the cats or if you can, place each in their own separate rooms with doors. Set up the safe room(s)  with everything the cat needs: litter box, food, water, toys, scratching post, vertical space and good sleeping places. If you are going to have to leave one cat loose in the house and the other one in a den or bedroom, to figure out which cat should go into the safe room, there are two thoughts about this. If one of the cats was definitely, the aggressor, so that the cat does not get the perception that she ran off the other one, and is now the winner of the best territory – the rest of the house, place that cat in the safe room. If the victim cat, the one that got ambushed, appears nervous or stressed and tends to hide under things instead of enjoying the run of the house, place that cat in the closed off room.

Spend equal time with each cat, give plenty of attention and play time to both. This is not, nor should not feel like punishment for the cat placed in the den. The cats will stay apart for a number of days. Research shows that after an episode of redirected aggression the cats can remain agitated for up to two days after the incident. The point of the separation is to first, of course, prevent injury but to allow the cats to calm down and relax. Eventually when everyone calms down and goes back to their normal activities of eating, grooming, using their boxes, etc., while in their separate spaces,  then you can re-introduce them to each other.

If the spat happened recently and was not severe, and you were able to separate the cats immediately, then the time they need apart, won’t be very long however if the original fight happened a number of day in the past and they’ve been fighting ever since, then it’s going to be a longer, more gradual process before they can be together again and you’ll want to utilize what is known as a formal “reintroduction.” This is based on the principal that you will introduce them to each other in the same way you would as if this was the first time they had ever met. More about this in a future podcast episode.  If you haven’t subscribed yet to the podcast, now is a good time to do it. It’s free, and you will never miss an episode.


Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 50 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Making the Crate More Enjoyable For Your Dog & Why Cats Returning From the Vet Get Attacked By the Cats at Home.

Have you noticed that when a few dogs are walking or playing together, if one pees or marks a spot outside, than the other dogs will come over and mark the same spot? Why do dogs do this? I’ll explain how this is serious business in the canine world.

Next, talking to dog trainer, Katie-K-9 about dog crates, find out the answers to what the best kind of crate to get is, wire or plastic, what you can do to help your dog enjoy their time in the crate, and how to know when it’s time for the dog to be left out of the crate at home alone.

If you live with multiple cats and have had one cat suddenly become aggressive with or bully another cat, there are two surprising causes you’ll want to know about. One type of aggression has to with the cat who had simply been sitting and looking out the window and the other may happen when one cat comes home from the vet. I’ll explain the reasons these things can provoke aggression and how to fix it.

Let us know what you think about the podcast or the blog articles. Please leave your comment at the end of this blog article (episode, number 50) above, and win a few free bags of our cat or dog treats.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Amazon link to the source for the story about dog’s marking behavior. “Why Does My Dog Do That” by Sophie Collins.

Katie K-9’s Website.

Katie -K-9

Listen to Katie K-9’s shows on demand.

Amazon link to the source for the story about reasons for aggression in cats. “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett



What to Expect When Your dog Becomes a Teenager.

If your puppy is between 6 – 8 months old, (11 months or older in larger breeds) you may have noticed its behavior has changed – from being  cute, compliant, and quiet, to being rebellious, noisy, and rule-breaking. What’s happened, is your dog has become a teenager.

In this episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, hear about the normal, but challenging changes that may occur in your canine adolescent. Then in the blog below, find out about another thing your pooch may start doing – guarding its food – something that he had never done before as a puppy and what to do about it.

Episode 49 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Reasons Cats Bully other Cats & Why Your 8 Month old Puppy Seems to Forget all Its Manners & Training.

Does one of your cats bully other cats in the house hold? When human bullies torment other people, it seems like the reasons for doing so, is that they take delight in picking on others. Bullying cat’s behavior may look the same –torturing and attacking others, but the reasons are very different and specific to being a feline. I’ll explain a few of most common reasons a cat may turn into a bully.

Then, continuing the conversation with animal communicator, Tim Link, author of “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals, he shares the three steps he uses to “talk” more deeply with dogs and cats. Keeping an open mind, you can learn how to do this as well to increase the bond with your pet. Plus, you’ll hear the story about the dog who was eating socks, and paper clips and how Tim helped him to stop in addition to how Tim helps solve the number one behavior issue people call him about regarding cats and likewise for dogs.

Has your sweet, quiet, cuddly, obedient puppy who used to respond to everything you asked, changed overnight into a disobedient, counter surfing, stealing, creature, who runs away from you and seems to have forgotten all its training? There’s a very normal, inevitable reason for this that’s part of your dog’s developmental stages. I’ll reveal what this is, and offer some tips to help you deal with the behavior changes.

If you have any in-depth questions or want to share your stories about anything you heard on the show, please write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com or leave me a comment at the end of this blog article.

Additional Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about cats who bully – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett and “How to Speak Cat,” by Aline Alexander Newman & Gary Weitzman, D.V.M.

Get in touch with Tim Link through his website.

Tim Link

Order Tim’s books. http://www.wagging-tales.com/mybooks.html

Sources for the story about when your puppy becomes an adolescent: “Why Does My Dog Do That?” By Sophie Collins and “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

What to do if Your Teenage Dog Starts Guarding it’s Food.

Your adolescent may become more protective over possessions – showing some resource guarding behaviors that did not exist before. Resource guarding means the dog is feeling possessive about what’s his. Could be its food or toys. And if your pup now perceives you as a threat – thinking you may want to eat out of his food bowl, or take and keep her favorite hedgehog toy, she may be fully prepared to give you a strong warning, meaning, “don’t even try to move in on this” by growling, snapping, or snarling, at you. This is NOT a desirable way for your teenager to assert herself. It’s very different from the “Keep Out” sign that a human 12 year old places on the door to their room.

You don’t want your dog to get into the habit of being defensive around its food and there are things you can do to deal with the issue of the guarding, but first a word about growling.

Remember a growl is a warning. Warnings are good things – they alert you to what could come next. Never push your dog to act on it – from a dogs point of view he has given you fair warning not to come closer and if you ignore him, he may feel compelled to take the next step and snap or bite.  So back off from your dog when she growls – then you can deal with the reason she growled. Many people get upset at their dogs for growling, thinking its bad, in and of itself,  and punish the dog for the growl.  Think about this though, don’t you want to know if your dog is feeling so threatened by something that they are ready to bite to defend themselves? You WANT your dog to warn you that the next thing coming is most likely the bite.

Listen to the podcast episode where I talk about the importance of the growl, and the reasons you don’t want to punish this away in Raising Your Paws podcast episode number 015.

The growl is not the problem to solve – its what’s behind it. If the reason for the growl is because your adolescent dog is now guarding its food from you, where they weren’t before, its time to start some food exchange exercises or bring them back and do them again, if you originally used them with your young puppy.

If you have multiple dogs at home, your  growing puppy may even test his ranking in the pack, by approaching another dog’s food. This little experiment is likely to earn him an abrupt lesson in both manners and status by the other dog. As long as the older dog just gives a warning or an injury free correction, like a small nip, let it be. Hopefully, the bold teenager, will have just learned its lesson and leave the other dog’s food bowls alone. If not, and the pup keeps barging in to the point that serious fights break out, feed the trouble maker separately and you may want to consult with a trainer for how to deal with this going forward.


Breaking Up Dog Fights and Identifying Healthy Dog Play.

What are you suppose to do if your dog gets into a serious dog fight? When dogs fight, our response may be, first, to scream and yell at them, thinking this will stop them. Then, even though it goes against common sense, people do get injured when they try to use their hands to break the dogs apart. Find out why yelling is useless, and what you CAN do to try and break up the fight without risking your life and limbs.  All here, in the Raising Your Paws podcast episode below. Then in the following blog article, you’ll find a list of the 8 signs that indicate the dogs that are roughhousing, are actually playing happily.

Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 48 – Finding Lost Pets, Stories from an Animal Communicator & How to Break Up Dog Fights.

Full Show Notes for Episode 48.

When your dog catches sight of that rabbit and runs off for the chase does your pet ignore you as you call for them to come back and act like they don’t hear you? I’ll explain this phenomenon.

Then, has your pet ever suddenly started acting differently, you can’t understand why or what to do to help and you just wished they could just tell you what’s wrong? Many people have gotten their answers through animal communicators. My guest is Tim Link, an animal communicator, who specializes in missing or lost pet cases. Hear his stories of how together with the dogs and cats, behavioral issues were solved and lost animals returned back home.

What can you do to stop a dog fight? There are a few physical interventions that are recommended, but more practical and useful are a number of tools you can carry with you that dogs will find aversive or offensive to their senses and are strong enough to stop the behavior. In this episode, I’ll list what they are.

Regarding animal communication if you have any stories of times your dog or cat understood things you’ve said that seem impossible and/or felt your pet actually communicated messages and talked back to you, I’d love to hear them. Write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com or leave a comment in the space below after the blog article.

Additional Resources for the Show:

Source for the story about why your dog ignores you at times – “Why Does My DOG Do that? By Sophie Collins.

Tim Link

Tim Link’s website. http://www.wagging-tales.com/_index.html

Amazon link to order Tim’s book, “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals”.

Amazon link to order “Wagging Tails, Every Animal has a Tale” by Tim Link.

Source for the story about how to stop a dog fight – “Play with Your Dog, by Pat Miller, CPDT, CDBC.

Source for the citronella dog spray, Direct Stop Spray Shield.

(Correction: I had the name of the company wrong in the podcast  – not gentleleader.com.)

Blog Article – What Healthy and Happy Dog Play Looks Like.

Perhaps you’ve seen two dogs at play and all seems well, but then, the play turns aggressive and all of a sudden they’re fighting. Do you know what healthy one-on-one dog play should look like?  Here are the signs that tell you the two dogs are playing happily together and also how to know if it’s time to stop the play session and move the dogs along.

1. There are play-bows.  Play bowing is the body language dogs use to communicate their intention and what will happen next. A dog that play bows to another dog means, let’s play and what I do next, is meant only as play.

2. There will be frequent, short breaks in the activity. If the play becomes frenetic, and continuous, this can be a sign that the playtime is ramping up out of control.

3. The vocalizations of the dogs, such as grunting or growl sounds, will stay in a middle range of tone and pitch. “If one dog’s vocalizations begin to get lower and lower or higher and higher in pitch and more frantic in tone, a fight is in the making.”  (from “Through a Dog’s Eyes” by Jennifer Arnold.)

4. The dogs will exhibit open mouths, loose tails and the force of the bites they give each other, are inhibited and do not cause any damage or yelping.

5. The play is fair and the dogs take turns – reversing their roles. One dog is the chaser and then becomes the one chased – one dog does the biting first and then is the one bitten or being mouthed, etc. The roles do not have to be a perfect balance of 50 -50%, as long as both dogs seem be happy in their roles.

6. Each dog is respecting the body language signals of the other. If one dog is constantly trying to run or get away and the other dog is not allowing it, this situation is becoming unhealthy and you’d want to end the interaction. Time to distract the dogs.

7. If one dog is clearly stronger or bigger than the other, the stronger dog will handicap itself. For example, if a older, stronger  dog plays with a young fragile puppy, it is polite and correct for the older dog to use less power while playing with the youngster. If a stronger dog, needs to control itself around a weaker one, but fails to do so, this is indicative of unfair play and you’ll want to stop it.

8. Play does not become overly vertical. In normal dog play, they often rise up on their back legs and wrestle chest to chest with each other. However if this type of vertical play keeps increasing in intensity and duration, this can quickly turn into a fight, so keep your eye out for too much of it.

We’d LOVE to know what you think about the podcast and or this blog. Please leave your comments below. Or you can always write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.

How to Become Your Dog’s Leader.


047. Being Your Dog’s Leader: A Technique for Out-of-Control Behavior & Is Eating Grass Good or Bad for Dogs?


Full show notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode 47. 


First, is it good or bad for your dog to eat that wild grass and why do they do it?

Does your dog want to eat the wild grasses that sprout during the spring and summer? Do you let them? There are mixed opinions between dog owners about this. Why do dogs want to eat grass anyway and is it okay for them to eat? We start this episode by asking dog trainer, Katie-K-9 for her opinion.

Then, the leadership technique that will stop your dog from rushing out the front door.

Is your dog in control – rather than you?  For a dog to listen to you, you don’t have to be the Alpha or dominant – you do need to be a good leader. I’ll describe an effective way to handle some of your dogs out of control behavior that uses your body, not the leash, to stop certain movements and that establishes you as the leader in your dog’s eyes.

Plus, a fun kitchen game to play that gets your cat moving.

Want an easy way to give your cat some more exercise in the house? Grab two chairs, some treats and get your cat jumping – I’ll explain how.


Have additional questions about the tips and techniques in the show or would like to share some of your own stories and solutions you’ve found with your pets?  Please write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.


Resources for the episode. 


Katie K-9’s website

Listen to Katie-K-9’s podcasts.

Katie -K-9

Resource for obtaining green tripe for dogs: greentripe.com.

Source for story about dog leadership and body blocking: “How to be the Leader of the Pack… and have your dog love you for it” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.




What to Do for Pet’s Insect Bites.

The summer season can bring out the bugs and bees as you well know, if you’ve been picnicking or dining outside. Where we tend to jump away from the stinging bees, hornets and wasps and shy away from holes and hills of ants or spiders, dogs and cats love to investigate and sniff around the areas these critters tend to congregate and can get bit or stung. Spider bites and bee stings often occur on the faces and front lower legs of our pets because of their inquisitive nature as they stick their noses and paws into all sorts of places they shouldn’t. Spiders tend to bite the softer, less furry areas of your pet, such as their noses and feet.

Don’t worry too much about insect bites on your pets, they are usually not life threatening, UNLESS……, your pet has a severe allergic reaction to the insect or your cat gets bit by a black widow spider. More about that later in the blog.

My dog, Rosy, is HIGHLY allergic to bees. Listen to her story on Episode 46, of the Raising Your Paws podcast.


If your pet has been “gotten” by a bug, you may see him or her paw, lick or scratch at the injury site. Unless you actually witness the bite or sting happening, it can be hard to know exactly why your pet is in discomfort or locate exactly where the bite occurred if it is covered with fur. You can start checking the skin under the fur to look for redness and/or swelling at the bite or sting site and the spot may be painful for your pet.

Extreme swelling, breathing problems, such as gasping, wheezing or gulping for air, excessive salivation, vomiting, and seizures are indications that your pet is having an severe allergic reaction, called anaphylactic shock and this is very serious and must be treated immediately. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life threatening allergic reaction to a substance where the body’s immune system overacts and floods the body with inflammatory compounds and antibodies that cause the above listed conditions. The reactions can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen and future reactions can be more severe than the first time. Big time scary, I know.

What to do.

Mild Symptoms – First of all, watch for and treat symptoms as they occur. If your pet was stung, and you can see the stinger, you’ll want to remove it, but use the edge of a credit card or key to lift the stinger up and flick it out. You don’t want to grab the stinger with your fingers or a tweezer as this can inject more of the poison into your dog or cat. Where there is some redness, swelling or apparent discomfort from your pet, you can apply calamine or antihistamine cream that you purchase over the counter at drug stores, to the affected area. You can also administer the oral antihistamine, diphenhydramine, to dogs. You may know this by one of its trade brands names, Benadryl. For cats, chlorpheniramine is often the recommended antihistamine. Call your vet to confirm which one to use for your particular pet and also prior to giving any medication, you’ll need to ask your vet for the correct dosage that will be based on your pet’s weight.

I recommend you always have some of the medication in the house, so you are prepared in case you ever need it. Go to the drug store and buy the generic version to save money. Get the liquid gel caps, pin a safety pin to the back of the box and then when you need the medicine, you can poke a hole in the gel cap and squirt the liquid in your pet’s mouth. Easy and quick way to get the drug into your pet.  Also write your pet’s weight and dosage on the box so you won’t forget this information.

Severe Symptoms – anaphylactic shock.

Call your vet or an emergency clinic right away for what to do while you’re at home (probably you’ll be told to give the oral antihistamine) and then get going- take your pet to an emergency animal clinic as fast as possible.   With my dog, Rosy, who is allergic to bees and wasps, for example, I immediately give her a shot of liquid diphenhydramine (that I got from my vet) followed by a shot of steroids and then I transport her to the emergency vet clinic closest to me, in case there is something else going on. This is the protocol advised by my vet, that I learned to do over the past few years, after a number of increasingly severe reactions by Rosy. It’s a huge relief to know that I can quickly restore her normal breathing, before driving to the emergency clinic. If your pet ever experiences severe reactions –be assured – there are things you’ll learn to do to protect your pet’s life.

Let’s talk about spiders. There is only one species, the black widow spider that is particularly dangerous for cats because felines are very sensitive to their bite. Cats can lose 30% of their body weight in the first 24 hours of a black widow bite and the loss of body fluid can put them into a downward metabolic spiral. You’ll need to get to a vet right away if your cat does get bit by this type of spider. Black widows are found worldwide, in North and South America, Southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In the United States, they are more common in the southern states, preferring the warmer temperatures throughout the year but they have been spotted as far north as Canada. But don’t freak out, they tend to live in more secluded areas, not urban cities, they are recognizable, where they tend to inhabit is identifiable, and there are ways you can manage keeping your cats away from them.  Here is a link for more information about black widow spiders. Check to see if they are common where you live.


Last thing about the bees and Rosy. I’m going to start teaching her to wear a muzzle this summer. I’d rather have to explain when people see her on walks, that “no, she’s not a threat for biting you” than worrying ever time something flies by, that she’ll snap up another bee, she’s back in crisis and I’ve got to get to the vet – again. Stay tuned for how muzzle training goes.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 46.

Title: The Meaning behind a Cat’s Twitching & Thrashing Tail & Handling the Puppy with the Kids.

Did you know that a cat’s tail is an extension of its spine? The tail can tell you much about their mood. In this episode, I’ll explain what twitching and thrashing can mean about how your cat is feeling.

Then, dog trainer Katie K-9 is back on the show, answering listener’s questions about what to do when the new puppy won’t leave the human kids alone – roughhousing and chewing on them.

Plus, I tell you the story of my dog Rosy, who has a very dangerous habit of eating bees and the first aid I must enlist to keep her safe and breathing.

 Additional Resources for the Show.

Katie K-9 and her dog, Lucee

Katie K-9’s website and how to listen to her radio show and podcast.

Source for the story about cat’s tails. “How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language” by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman, D.V.M.





Vacationing with Your Dog? Prevent Separation Anxiety.

Planning on traveling with your dog – where your dog will have to get used to a new place to stay? Perhaps it is a vacation or you’re going to visit someone for an extended stay. Make sure the experience is a positive, happy one for both humans and canines alike.  I  recently traveled across the country to California with Rosy to stay in a townhouse for a month that we had never been to before. Here are some photos of her enjoying the new sights and smells of being at the ocean.

Rosy at ocean.
Rosy running – first time at ocean. She drank the ocean water. FYI- salt water gives dogs bad diarrhea. She learned not to.

A change of location can be exciting for a dog but also anxiety producing – especially if they experience being left alone by you, too fast and too long in a strange place –  like a hotel room or if you’re staying in the home of a friend or family member. When you leave them there alone, your dog does not know initially, that they are not being abandoned in this unfamiliar place – even if there are other people around. By the way, hotel’s complain and have policies against guests that leave their dogs alone in the rooms barking non-stop. When you hear that, it’s a dog experiencing separation anxiety. I never left Rosy alone in the hotel rooms we stayed in as we drove across the country.

When traveling with your dog, you’ll want to take steps to make sure you do not create separation anxiety where there was none before.

Speaking of the topic in general, in the last episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast, number 45, I spoke with Nicole Wilde, professional dog trainer, behavior specialist, and author of the book, Don’t Leave Me! Step by Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety. We talked about separation anxiety – what it is and what you can do if your dog has a problem with this. Listen to the episode here.

When moving into a new place temporarily, (or permanently) prevent it from occurring.

1. At first your dog may follow you around everywhere you go in the new location needing to keep you in sight. This is fine. Let them. Rosy does not do this at home as she is not the kind of dog that has to be near me every second. However, last summer when we moved into the new house in Illinois,  she did this the first day as I was unpacking and then recently, in the California townhouse, the first few days, as I was getting settled she was like velcro – she would follow me up and down the stairs and even peek to see where I had gone when I visited the bathroom. I did shut the door and she soon learned I’d reappear.

(For moving into a new home – to hear everything to do to ensure an easy transition for your pets, listen to podcast episode #22.)

2. Plan to stay home at the new place with your dog for a number of days. You want to try NOT to leave your dog alone for long periods of time in an unfamiliar place. This may mean ordering in food at the hotel, taking your dog with you, or arranging fun things to do so you’ll be at the house for a few days. In my case, when I moved into my new home last summer, I took a week’s vacation – it wasn’t only for Rosy – I also needed the week to unpack and attend to other business, but it greatly benefited her. Here in the townhouse, during the first few weeks, when I needed to leave to run some errands, I took her with me. In places she could not accompany me, since it was the summer, I left her in the locked, air-conditioned car. The car is a safe, familiar place for her and she is very used to being in it for short periods of time, alone.

3. Get your dog used to you leaving the residence in small little steps.

a. On the first day – practice going out the door you’ll use the most and then immediately come right back in. Do this a number of times. In California, when I arrived, I had to unpack the car and so I went in and out of the door into the garage at least 20 times. At first, I left the door hinged open so Rosy could see me. By the end of the day, after going in and out so many times, I was able to shut the door in between my trips and she would be in the family room, waiting, but relaxed. I also got her used to my raising the electric garage door – moving the car out, and then coming right back in.

b. With any other doors of the house – practice going out and coming right back in . You will start increasing the length of time you spend outside of the house. 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. If there is a screen door they can look out and see you when you start this process, it is helpful. Rosy would watch me as I wheeled the garbage cans out to the end of the driveway or visit with some of the new neighbors. Then I started shutting the outer door, so she could not see me when I was outside for 15 minutes. After the first week, she no longer would be waiting at the door, but lying down in the living room, secure I was coming back.

c. When your dog seems at ease, then you can extend the time and leave for an hour or two. Give your dog a Kong toy stuffed with frozen canned food, pumpkin or plain yogurt for a lovely distracting treat while you are gone for longer periods. And, when you leave, act normal – not guilty or anxious yourself. Don’t make a big deal out of saying goodbye to them – just a casual “see you later,” and when you return, keep it calm – offer the same routine greeting you normally would.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 45.

Title: Cure Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety & How Dogs Detect Arson and Save Bees.

Does your dog have a separation anxiety problem? Not quite sure what it is or what to do about it? Nicole Wilde, professional dog trainer, behavior specialist and author of the book, Don’t Leave Me! Step by Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety, explains that there is hope and help for you and your dog to alleviate the numerous challenges that result from a pup who becomes severely anxious when left alone.

Then, I’ll share a few more unique ways in which dogs apply their noses to assist fire and termite inspectors as well as beekeepers.

Resources for the episode.

Nicole Wilde and Sierra.

Link to order Nicole Wilde’s book, Don’t Leave Me! Step by Step Help for your Dog’s Separation Anxiety.


Nicole Wilde’s Website.

Nicole Wilde’s Facebook Page.

Nicole Wilde on Twitter.

Sierra on Coyote Hill








Sierra with a look of love.

Here are links to the organizations, Nicole mentioned to find a behavior specialist if you would like help dealing with your dog’s severe separation anxiety.

Association of Professional Dog Trainers. (APDT)

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. (IAABC)

Pet Professional Guild

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. (ACVB)

Malena DeMartini – separation anxiety specialist.

Source for the story about dog’s smelling arson and insects: “How Dogs Think” By Stanley Coren.




What To Do if Dog Noisily Greets Guests At Front Door.

When the doorbell rings, does your dog stand at the front door barking his head off and crowding visitors as they try to enter your house? Why do dogs go nuts when there is a knock on the door ? And what can you do about this behavior? Find out on Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 44.

Here are some details about one of the options mentioned. It’s a practical solution – give your dog something else to do instead– train them to go to a mat!

The mat will provide a special place for your dog to go and lie down until you release your dog from it. The mat can be a small rug, (I purchased an inexpensive one just for Rosy) a bath mat,  or a dog mat. It’s good to reserve it just for this purpose and be able to roll it up if you want to  take it with you for travel.

When I used to live in a condo on the second floor, to stop Rosy from wanting to run out the door and onto the landing to greet my visitors as they climbed up the last few steps, I placed the mat in the front foyer against the wall about 10 feet back from the door. Anytime the doorbell rang, instead of twirling in excitement, and barking and barging in front of me, I instructed her to go to her mat. There she would lie, waiting in anticipation, barely containing her excitement, but still contained until the visitor entered and I released her to “go meet”.

Here are a few videos that teaches you how to do mat training.

From Vet Street.com.

Here is another one – talking through some of the steps.

For detailed written instructions about the steps, here is the link to a good article.

In the videos the trainer is using a clicker to mark the correct behavior. You can also use a word, like “yes” instead of a clicker.

Having your dog be able to go to a mat helps anytime you would like your dog to get out from under foot, like, while working in the kitchen, or when repair people are at the house. For teaching your dog how to “down–stay,”having this defined space can assist some dogs to understand the training better. When you and your dog are away from home, taking the mat with and laying it down, gives your dog a safe and familiar place to be. When Rosy would accompany me to dog food demos at pet food stores, I always took her mat. I didn’t even have to tell her to go there, once I laid it on the floor, she’d plop down on it. I’m sure you’ll start thinking of many times and situations in which having your dog go settle in one spot and stay there, will be very handy.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 44.

Title: Use Your Voice So Your Dog Listens & The Key Difference Between Training Cats and Dogs.

Did you know that the pitch of your voice and how you say words, can affect if your dog ignores or obeys you? I’ll explain how to use your words in the most effective way so your dog will be more apt to listen to what you are asking.

Where ever did we get the idea that you can’t train a cat? In part two of my conversation with, feline behavior specialist, Sarah Ellis, from International Cat Care, and co-author of the book, The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, we talk about what you can do to prepare felines for major changes in the home and when training cats, if punishment is a good or bad way to stop problem behavior.

Does your dog start barking every time the doorbell rings and scare visitors with their noisy greeting? Since dogs are aware that the front door is the entrance to the home territory and a place that everyone in the family treats as important, many dogs take on the role of being the sentry. Hear what you can do to manage or change this behavior.

Please subscribe to the podcast for free at iTunes and at Stitcher.

Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about how you use your voice. “The Other End of the Leash,” By Patricia McConnell.

International Cat Care Website.

Dr. Sarah Ellis.


Dr. Sarah Ellis, Facebook page.

Amazon link to order “The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat” by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis.