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.  


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





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.




What To Do if Your Dog Guards its Food Around You.

If you come close to your dog’s food while it is eating, does its body get stiff, or freeze up –  does your dog start to growl or snarl? Has she ever snapped or tried to bite? This is what is known as food guarding.

In episode 28 of raising your paws, I talked about what to do to prevent a puppy or a non-guarding adult from starting to do this in the first place.

A dog naturally has a tendency to want to protect its food, (don’t we all) but your pet needs to learn to accept your presence around them and their food for numerous reasons, safety being the first.

 Listen to episode 28 for how to do food bowl exercises with a young puppy or older dog,

But what do you do if your dog already has a food guarding problem?

In this blog, I’ll explain how to start practicing some food bowl exercises, that can change your dog’s response from feeling threatened when you are near their dinner, to acceptance and even happiness that you are there.  I’ll also offer some resources for where to go to get further instructions and how to find professional help if you’re dealing with a serious guarding issue.

If you have a dog who food guards around you,  the food bowl exercises are different than the ones you would use to prevent the protective  behaviors from starting  – like in the case of a puppy or non-guarding dog.  

If your dog shows any of the behaviors I described in the first paragraph, when you get close to its food, in order to change your dog’s feelings about you being there, keep in mind that   you will be practicing the steps listed below, SLOWLY and with CAUTION.

One way to know if you should be trying to work on this yourself (without the help of a dog trainer or professional animal behavior consultant) is to answer this question. Does your dog have a soft mouth?  This means that they take treats from you gently and when mouthing you, they do it softly. A soft or hard mouth has to do with bite inhibition – which is something that all dogs learned when they were very  young pups – it was part of the socialization process. Good bite inhibition means they will have a soft mouth.  This is not easily changed once the dog is an adult.

If your dog does have a hard mouth – taking treats roughly and tends to bite and mouth too hard, or is an unpredictable or explosive guarder or has a history of being a dangerous biter, you will need to use other strategies and will want to consult a professional trainer or animal behavior consultant to help you plan out a course of action.  Here is a link to locate a an animal behavior consultant near you.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.  

To begin to teach your dog you are not a threat to its food, here are the three first steps for a dog that DOES NOT have a serious, advanced (biting) guarding problem.  

1. Place your dog’s EMPTY food bowl down where you normally feed your dog. When the dog goes over to its bowl to investigate, approach your dog and the bowl.  Put a small handful of food in the bowl and back away a number of feet. Wait until the dog finishes eating it and then approach again with the next handful. Repeat this until all that meal is finished.  Continue to feed your dog every meal this way until your dog clearly is happy to have you approaching – it could take a number of days or weeks. Then, go on to the next step.

Step 2. Approach your dog and its empty bowl. This time, pick up the bowl, then put a handful of food in it, and put the bowl back down, move away, wait until the dog finishes the food and then repeat this.   Approach, pick up bowl, handful of food in, bowl back down, you retreat, dog eats, repeat. You got it.  You’ll do this over and over again, feeding your dog this way until again, your dog is happy to have you approach and is fine with you removing the bowl.

Step 3. This will be a combination of the two previous exercises, – approaching and adding food while the bowl is on the ground and then switch it up and alternate with the second step, removing the bowl to add the handfuls one at a time. But now in this step,  you’re going to add the next handful of food BEFORE the dog has completely finished the previous portion.  This gets your dog used to your hand being close by and bringing more helping while she is actually still eating.  Just like the other two steps, keep repeating this until your dog is totally comfortable with you doing this.

If at any time, during the steps, your dog demonstrates any guarding, such as growling, stiffness or freezing up, then slow down, and go back to the previous exercise and proceed more gradually to the one that resulted in you seeing the guarding behaviors.  

And, if your dog growls as you approach the bowl in the beginning while he is eating, only go up a certain distance like 3 feet away and while the dog continues to eat, toss a small handful of canned food (stays together) into the dish, then back away, and repeat, gradually closing the distance until you are able to touch the bowl.

For teaching food bowl exercises, DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN do this. For all these steps you are only going to have the adult family members doing these exercises. There does come a time when all family members can be brought into the work, but not in the beginning and with some dogs, children are NEVER a good idea for teaching the dog not to guard. 

The next steps to reversing food guarding issues and getting your dog comfortable with your presence involves you being able to place your hand on your dog’s bowl the whole time he is eating and then being able to move your hand off of the bowl, in order to add another helping and then replacing your hand on the bowl. BUT this is more challenging for your dog and you’ll want to consult the more detailed descriptions of how to do this in the books below.  

The resource for this material is Jean Donaldson’s book, The Culture Clash that writes out in great detail how to work with a food guarding dog. I highly recommend you consult this book for the specific details of all the remaining steps.  

Another one of Jean’s books that goes into more detail about what to do with guarding dogs:

MINE! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs.

Be honest about your feelings about doing this sort of training and your abilities about working with your dog and with the seriousness of your dog’s guarding habits. Caution must be taken – food guarding can be a dangerous habit to break –  for you – you don’t want to get bit.

Please consider if it would be best to call in a qualified dog trainer or animal behaviorist. There is no shame in wanting to do the wisest thing for you and your dog by getting additional help to solve the problem.  The good news is that there is hope and things to do to remedy the problem.   Write me to let me know how its going. 

Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast episode 28.

Amy Shojai with Karma Cat and Bravo Pup.

Upcoming Episode. 

Here’s what is coming up in the next episode.

November, 20, 2018 – Have  you wondered why your dog wants to eat cat poop every chance they get? And how do you stop a dog and cat fight anyway? Certified animal behavior consultant, Amy Shojai, author of  ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in your CAT-Dog Household, will tell you this and more, when she returns for the rest of our conversation.

Also, if your dog starts to growl at you and resource guard when you want to take something away from him like that half eaten bone, or your shoe or even a paper tissue, there’s a technique to use you’ll want to hear about.


Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Canines to the Rescue.

In this week’s Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 27, talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, I mentioned that psychotherapy, or talk therapy, has not been that successful in helping our combat war veterans that suffer PTSD. This is because of the way our brains are designed. It has to do with what is called, brain laterality.  There are two sides, or hemispheres of our brain.  Simply put, one side, stores all adversities/traumas in the limbic system which is the emotional seat of the brain. The other side, has the function of understanding language and producing speech. The traumatic memories that keep repeating themselves in victims of PTSD are encoded in the side of the brain that is not responsible for speech.  Since speech has no bearing on the side where the trauma is stored, and language does not have any bearing on the limbic system, this is why simply talking about the experiences does not rid a veteran of the flashbacks or night terrors.  Talking can assist vets in coming to terms about why they have post tramatic stress, but it is not effective in changing the pictures and memories that are stored in the limbic system. In other terms, words do not access where the trauma is stored in the brain that causes the vet to keep reliving the horrific experiences. There are other techniques used along with talk therapy that does work and medications are used to increase the brains ability for the two sides to better  “communicate” with one another. It is however, the non-verbal methods, that seem to be proving highly effective in treating PTSD. Such as participating in art or music or establishing a relationship with a DOG!

Rufus, a dog rescued from Afghanistan matched with a Marine veteran, Matthew. (photo credit: War Dogs Making It Home, Inc.)


There is a program located in Chicago, Illiniois, called War Dogs Making it Home, founded by Elana Morgan and run by Elana and Eva Braverman. Their mission is to help veterans better manage the invisible and lifelong challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury (PTSD/TBI) by pairing them with dogs they rescue from shelters and then train  to be their service dogs. The vets are saving the dogs lives and the dogs are saving theirs, creating a better life for both.

Here are some photos of the veterans and their dogs.  Then listen to the podcast to hear all about how PTSD affects the daily lives of the vets, where the dogs come from, what the dogs learn to do, and how a veteran’s life can be changed dramatically for the better, once they have a dog watching their back.

During training. There is no charge for the veterans to take part in this program. A vet does need to apply to the program.
Every service dog in the War Dogs Making it Home program is a rescue. It is the cornerstone of their mission. The veterans save the dog and the dog saves the veteran. Elana Morgan, founder, is in the middle of the photo.
If you know of a vet who could benefit from the program or would like to donate, please contact War Dogs Making it Home. Contact links are below.


Resources for Raising Your Paws, Episode 27.

Resource for Story about Guard Barking:


Please let us know what you think of the podcast.

Rate and review it at iTunes and at Stitcher.  (Stitcher – can only do so on a tablet or computer)

Thank you.

What Is Your Dog’s Job Meant To Be?

Your dog’s behavior will make sense to you when you know the job your dog was bred to do.  In Episode 26 of the Raising Your Paws podcast, I tell the story of how  and why one particular breed was developed to help waterfowl hunters of the Scottish Highlands, back in the mid 19th century.  Finding out about any dog’s heritage, will offer insights about how it may act in your home. Very helpful for when its actions leave you mystified and if you are thinking of getting a specific breed, you’ll know what to expect.

The point of this is that if you know the jobs your dog was meant to do, and understand the behaviors and needs that are hardwired into your dog, you can figure out positive ways for them to express them and acceptable outlets for their instinctual behaviors – rather than leaving it to chance and the dog to work it out. It  means, for example, that you’re making sure the dog that was bred for long distance running gets to go jogging with you or someone, instead of scratching through your front door.  Give that dog that was born to dig, its own good sized sand box so you don’t keep falling and tripping into those darn holes that your terrier keeps making in the backyard. Of course, keep in mind, every dog is an individual and not all members of a breed will have every single characteristic or behavior trait.

To hear the story of this episode’s, featured breed, (one of the most popular breeds worldwide) and what to expect from them, listen below.  

Raising Your Paws Podcast #26, Title:   How House Companion Dogs Become Race Winning Sled Dogs & How One of the World’s Most Popular Dog Breeds Was Created. 

In future podcast episodes, we’ll do the same thing for other breeds. If you want me to cover your favorite breed, let me know. Leave me a comment.

In the second part of the podcast episode, I talked about breeds in the working dog category: the Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Alaskan huskies to name a few that are very good at pulling things – sleds to be exact and doing so while running very fast.  I spoke to a dog sled musher, Frank Moe about how he got into the sport, how dogs learn to be sled dogs and I asked him to tell a few stories of his most memorable races. You’ll want to hear those!

Here are the resources mentioned in the Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 26 and the photos of Frank and his dogs I promised during the show.

Frank and Russell. (photo permission by Frank Moe)
Frank, Acorn and Winnie. (photo permission by Frank  Moe)


(photo permission by Frank Moe)

Resources for the Raising Your Paws podcast episode 26.

Frank Moe’s book, Sled Dogs to Saint Paul.

Where to buy dog booties that stay on:                

Kipmik Products – the Booties Frank uses.  

More information about NutriSource Pet Foods.

Where to buy NutriSource Pet Foods – the dealer locator.

For how to teach your dog to pull things or become a sled dog:

Sled dog Central

The book, Skijour with Your Dog.

We’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below and always feel free to send me a comment or question about the podcast or the blog at

P.S. I promised that there would be a resume for the breed we talked about in the show: One of the featured dogs that is helping me write it, wants it to be like a modern LinkedIn profile, rather than an old fashioned resume, and so here it is.

LinkedIn Profile.


Golden Retriever

Excellent specimen of a dog.  Well Rounded. Hunting and swimming expert.



I have an extraordinary disposition. I am cheerful, friendly and good natured with a balanced and gentle temperament and will forgive you if you forget to give me my evening chewy.  I’m affectionate as well. Excellent athletic abilities. My stamina is one of my strengths. I will encourage your health by enthusiastically going on walks together. I can play fetch with you for a long time without wearing out too soon.  I’m at my top physical condition when I get numerous daily long walks and a good run or two.  You’ll bring out the best in me if you spend time playing with me, take me on adventures that let me sniff out the news in the neighborhood and set up playdates with my canine friends. I am very popular with other dogs. Not to brag, but there’s really no one who doesn’t love me, humans, felines, cows, pigs. I make friends with all.

In the market for jobs that will utilize my powers of focus and concentration, like participating in nose work or agility courses.

I’m always a top candidate for work that uses my remarkable skills in locating and retrieving things without damaging them. I am proud of my “soft mouth”. My kind did not earn our name for nothing and it’s obvious, that the beauty of our gold and crème colored fur speaks for itself.

I like strangers as well as my own family, so, not looking for any guard dog positions. I can recommend my buddies, however, the Doberman pinchers and Rottweilers for those jobs.

I’m good at staying in your mind, as I’ll always leave bits of my hair about on the floor, furniture and you, so you don’t miss me if I can’t actually be in the room with you.


Helping hunters by running and jumping over the ground, through the brush and into the water to locate and bring back the birds they shoot down. I never damage the ducks (beyond the minor issue that they are, of course, already dead) but nevertheless, I carry them back gently in my mouth and drop them in front of the hunters.

Offering comfort and delight to people by visiting the ones living together in rather large buildings who have to stay in beds or chairs on wheels.

Sniffing out and locating lost and missing people during search and rescue and  recovery missions. Very low fees for work performed – a bit of tug toy, a moment with coveted ball, or payment of beloved, rarely eaten food morsels.


Please….I’m naturally very intelligent – I’m ranked as being in the top 5 smartest dogs when it comes to doing work and following commands. It doesn’t bother me at all to do what you ask of me – I rather like how you act when I please you.  Bits of hot dogs are always welcome.

However, I don’t mind going for further education training classes. I like to show off.

Not a bad idea though, to take the youngsters of my kind to puppy and obedience training. They act pretty crazy for a few years – takes them a while to settle down if you don’t show them what’s what.

Volunteer Experience

Picked up after people, when they dropped their socks, underwear, gloves, hats,  and toted them around. Since it was a volunteer position, I decided when to give them back.

Will empty closets, bins and boxes of your possessions and redistribute them into other rooms, if you would like – or not.

Skills and Endorsements

Patient. Can sit still and think deep thoughts or roll on the ground while I wait for you. Especially good with human babies and young children, many references available – just ask anyone with a family and one of us.

Trustworthy – You can tell me anything. I’ll never reveal the secrets you whisper into my fur.

Very strong – I can lunge forward in a flash at the sniff or sound of a mouse in the grass and take off right after them if you’re not holding on to my leash too tightly. Don’t worry, I won’t trip over you if you fall to the ground. I know how unsteady humans can be. And the trailing leash doesn’t get in my way.

A wide palate – enjoy a variety of foods. – I  love to eat different proteins. I’m partial to the high quality meats in the bags of kibble and cans of NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet brands of  dog food. Some of my favorites are lamb and duck which is easy on my stomach and is delicious.

Can carry house keys, remote controls, newspapers, and much more in my mouth and deliver only slightly soggy at the appropriate times. I surmise these are high value possessions to you and am very responsible with them and would appreciate the opportunity.

Much written about us in the press and featured in many books, movies and TV shows.


Food. Being in water. Watching for things to hunt. Hunting. Chasing and catching squirrels, tiny rodents, and birds. Swimming. Balls. Treats. Being with my humans.  Sniffing. Cheese. Did I say, the water? Snuggles and affection. Cleaning up dropped food from off the floor. Exploring. Fetching.  Being given things I can retrieve. Having my own blankie or binkie to carry. Italian beef.

How To Know If Your Cat Is Irritated – Reading A Cat’s Body Language.

Does this happen to you? You are petting your cat, it’s purring away, your blood pressure is dropping, you feel great, your cat is happy, all is bliss –  and then whoosh, faster than you can curse, with a sudden snarl, swipe or bite you’ve just been scratched or bitten. What the heck just happened, right?  Why does a cat do this – go from ecstasy at your touch to attack mode in what seems like a second?  Talk about mixed messages huh?

As long as your cat does not have a medical problem, the sudden behavior change can happen when you go over their tolerance for being petted. It’s known as petting-induced aggression. It occurs when a cat gets too stimulated from continual petting. Most often the cat will start giving warning signs with his body that the stroking that felt so good a minute ago, now feels unpleasant. Since we often don’t recognize the cat’s subtle body language signals that they are no longer feeling good, we miss what the cat is communicating and your feline is left with the only other way to get you to stop petting them – to use their teeth or claws.

Watch for these signals that your cat is reaching his limit for being pet.

  1. Purring stops.
  2. Its tail starts thumping or lashing.
  3. Its skin twitches.
  4. Your cat looks back at your hand.
  5. Its ears flatten against its head or are held in airplane position.
  6. Your cat shifts positions.
  7. The cat meows or growls.
This cat is enjoying being pet.
This cat is not enjoying it any longer. This cat may bite very soon.

Now that you know what to watch for, the best way to avoid triggering petting-induced aggression is to stop petting your cat before you see the warning signals. For example, if you normally pet your cat for about 5 minutes before he gets annoyed, stop after 3 minutes. It makes it a positive experience – leaving your cat wanting more – which you can provide in another short affection session later.

And if the aggression still happens on occasion as you learn your cats tolerance for petting, I  know you may feel angry, and want to punish the cat, but remember your cat did not bite to be mean, it felt it had no other option because its attempt to communicate had not worked, so please don’t hit or yell at your cat.  Punishing your cat here works against the trust and affection that was your intent from the start.

Hear the story behind three other cat behaviors that may leave you puzzled, but makes total sense from a cats point of view. All in episode 25 of Raising Your Paws.

Show notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 25.

Title:  Why And How to Make An Estate Plan For Your Pets & When the Pavement Can Hurt Your Dog’s Paws.

Source for story about cats: Cat Wise, by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

For information about the new Pure Vita dog and cat foods,

To order the book, “Who Will Care When You’re Not There? Estate Planning for Pet Owners,” by Robert E. Kass, JD, LLM and Elizabeth A. Carrie, JD, LLM.



If you like this podcast and want to make sure you hear each episode, subscribe for free at iTunes on your apple device or at Stitcher on your android device.

Robert E. Kass, Attorney.

Do You Know the Stories of the Dogs that Helped on 9-11?

Today as I write this blog, on Sept. 11, 2018, it is the 17 year anniversary of  9-11. Here at NutriSource Pet Foods, we’re commemorating the day on the Raising Your Paws podcast as well as on this blog.  On the podcast you will hear the story of Dan Hughes, co-owner of the detection dog company, Dogs for Defense, who was a former secret service agent for the United States. He had been reporting to work at the World Trade Center on 9-11, 2001,  when the towers collapsed.  His survival and what he experienced during that event, led him to become a dog handler.  Dan shares his story of what happened that day on episode 24.

There were numerous search and rescue dog teams that deployed to New York to help in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Fresh Kills Landfill. During the podcast in segment two, you’ll hear the stories of three of the dogs that worked at ground zero.

Listen to Raising Your Paws, podcast episode 24: Title: Stories from 9-11: The Dogs That Worked at Ground Zero and a Secret Service Agent’s Tale of Survival. 


Below, are the photos of the dogs talked about in the podcast, Bretagne, Riley and Storm.

Photo Credit: Dog Heroes of September, 11th. A Tribute to Americas Search and Rescue Dogs. Author, Nona Kilgore Bauer.

Here is a photo of Bretagne and her handler, Denise Corliss. Bretagne had remarkable skills in knowing which firefighters needed her comforting presence or to cry into her fur.

Photo credit: Dog Heroes of September 11th.


Photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres. Photo credit: Dog Heroes of September 11th.

Above is the famous photo of Riley, being transported in a stokes basket over a 60 foot canyon of debris, in order for him and his handler, Chris Selfridge to search what was left of the north tower of the World Trade Center. This was the most practical way to get Riley across the huge void. Then below is Storm, the German Shephard that was never mistaken when indicating that he had found someone.

David Sanabria and Storm.
Photo credit: Dog Heroes of September 11th by Nona Kilgore Bauer.
At 9:38  in the morning of September 11, a third hijacked airliner struck the Pentagon in Washington, DC, killing 184 people.

In addition to the dogs teams that worked at ground zero, many k-9 teams worked the site at the Pentagon. The dogs found the DNA evidence that identified all of the 184 victims as well as the 5 hijackers.

In the photo below, you’ll notice you can barely see where Otto, a certified cadaver search dog, is, in the midst of the massive debris pile at the Pentagon.  Dogs were able to move sure-footedly though areas that were nearly impossible for people to navigate.  Sonja Heritage, his handler,  said that Otto, knew the job he was there to perform and worked well off lead with very little input from her. Otto helped bring closure to many of the victim’s families.

Photo credit: Dog Heroes of September 11th.
Below is Dan Hughes, the former secret service agent who survived 9-11 and then became a dog handler working with explosive detection dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dan is also the co-owner of Dogs for Defense, a company that provides working dog services for around the world. 


Resources for this episode. 

The source of the stories and photos is from the book, “Dog Heroes of September, 11th” by Nona Kilgore Bauer. 

The dog on the cover is the golden retriever, Riley. 


Dogs For Defense Website.

Dogs for Defense Facebook Page.

To order, Dog Heroes of September, 11th.


What Job Was Your Dog Born To Do?


Beagles – Born to hunt hares and rabbits.

In the latest episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 23, I introduced a new segment, (still working on the perfect title for it) that will help you know what jobs certain breeds were designed to do. Every breed was developed to do a job – even if the job was to sit on a person’s lap and look cute. Of course, a great majority of the  dogs were bred to help humans, by hunting, retrieving, or herding, etc.  These behaviors are instinctual for a dog. They can’t be trained away –  yet you can manage some,  and provide outlets for your dog “to do their thing” in a positive way.

The point is, if you know what your dog was bred to do, the job it was born to perform, it will,  first, explain a lot of their behaviors to you, very valuable when you’re getting frustrated, cursing and scratching your head, wondering, “why does my dog keep doing that” and second, you’ll be able to figure out how to provide constructive outlets for your dog’s built in strengths.  Knowing this kind of information is also super helpful when considering getting a particular dog.

I’ll be highlighting different breeds in the podcast episodes – telling you their story – what they were originally bred to do, describe some of their characteristics and the common behaviors you’ll see while living with this type of dog.  The latest show, (episode 23) is about the Beagle.  You can listen to the podcast here.

Beagles also use their excellent hunting skills to hunt for food of a different sort, at airports. Have you ever heard of the Beagle Brigade?

The Beagle Brigade, sniffs out restricted meats, fruits and vegetables that are brought into the country by travelers.  Most people innocently, want to bring home in their luggage, some of the foods they enjoyed while traveling and visiting other places, yet don’t realize that certain foods can hold harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases that can be introduced into our country’s agriculture and then those insects and germs can wreck havoc in our food supply. This is why these foods are restricted. 

Out of all the breeds, beagles have one of the best developed senses of smell of any dogBecause of this, as well as having a good temperament, a non-threatening size, a high food drive, and gentle disposition with the public, beagles and beagle mixes are the preferred breed of dog to do the job at airports, land borders and ports in the United States as well as in a number of other countries around the world. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and the People’s Republic of China, also employ beagles to keep their country’s agriculture safe.


A Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist with a member of the “Beagle Brigade” sniffs out possible agricultural contraband.


Here’s a video about the Beagle Brigade.

The United States, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (APHIS)  airport inspection program was begun in 1984 at Los Angeles International Airport.  The canine members of the Beagle Brigade have either been donated by private owners and breeders, or rescued from animal shelters and all receive training.  The dogs are evaluated for appropriateness, such as friendliness and intelligence. The beagles coming from the shelters that are not selected for the program are then placed in adoptive homes and none are returned to animal shelters.

Before the selected beagles can start their specialized work, they have to be trained at the USDA National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia.  All Customs Border Patrol (CBP) agriculture canine officers and their canine partners complete the initial 10-13 week CBP Agriculture Specialist Canine Training at the training center.  Depending on where the teams are going to be working, the dogs are trained to give either a passive/sitting response or an active response by pawing to indicate the presence of an agricultural product.  Regardless of the behavioral response, food (dog treats) and  positive praise from their  handler is the reward that increases their proficiency.

A beagle’s career with the Beagle Brigade usually lasts between six and ten years. When they retire, they are usually adopted by their handlers (handlers and dogs are paired throughout the beagle’s career). Otherwise, they are placed in adoptive homes.

In Episode 23, I also talked about how a dog’s remarkable sense of smell can make a huge difference in diagnosing disease.

Currently there are two programs going on, one in the U.K. and the other in the U.S. to train dogs to sniff out Parkinson’s disease. This is an illness that is very hard to diagnose early on. If dogs can detect it before doctors can, the health benefits would be tremendous.

Watch this video entitled, Dogs Train to Sniff Out Parkinson’s Disease.

Here are more of the Parkinson Alert Dogs in training, alerting the human, when they find the container that holds the sample with the odor of the disease.

Show notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast, Episode 23.

Title: Leash Techniques to Stop Your Lunging, Barking dog & Canines Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease. 

Show description: 

You may be inadvertently causing your dog to react aggressively towards other dogs by how you are handling the leash. In this episode find out why this happens and how to easily correct it.

Knowing the job a particular dog was bred to do, not only explains some of the behaviors, but offers you the key to providing positive outlets for your dog’s instinctive behaviors. Also good information to have when choosing to live with a certain breed.  In this episode, I’ll feature one of the most popular breeds in America, the Beagle and you’ll hear about the special role some of them have, working at airports as part of the Beagle Brigade. 

The world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy.
Editorial credit: catwalker /

Currently, there is no definitive medical screening test for Parkinson’s disease that offers an early diagnosis. Canines, may be the answer for detecting it years before symptoms develop. Hear about the projects that are training dogs to sniff out the disease.

 Resources for the episode: 

Medical Detection Dogs Project Website.

Parkinson’s Canine Detection Project Facebook page.

An article about Joy Milne, the woman who could smell Parkinson’s.

If you are enjoying the podcast, please tell your friends and family.

It can be heard on iTunes,  Stitcher, Google Play, and all your favorite podcast apps. Thank you.