Understanding Pet Behaviors

1. The "soft eye"  Dogs will soften their eyes and more often then not just turn their heads to let us know of their harmless intentions.  Dogs communicate with body language... as they approach one another it is a polite gesture to soften the eye and avoid direct eye contact.  You may see this more often if you have more than one dog.  Notice their behavior when they enter the room, lay down close or walk by one another.

2. Dog's ears are not just for listening.... they are for communicating feelings.  Note the rest of the body language as well.

    A) Relaxed - ears loose & in neutral position, open mouth, drooping tongue and relaxed body   

    B) Attentive - ears tilted forward, mouth open or closed, eyes focused on you, body at attention waiting for a cue.

    C) Alert - ears pricked forward, eyes focused, tail lifted and mouth shut, body is still and tense with all concern directed to the item or noise. 

    D) Fear - ears dropped and pinned tightly to head, body cowering and shaking with tail tucked tightly between legs or paces back & forth, usually pants heavily, may or may not growl.

    E) Happy - ears are dropped back to say it is feeling in a harmless social mood, body is loose, can be all wiggly and dancing about, tail wagging or not.

3. Cats....Did you know that cats can be trained to sit, stay, climb ladders, give high fives, stay off counters, refrain from darting through open doors and more on command.  According to Karen Pryor, an expert in clicker training. 

The clicker is a great training tool.  It is a low-tech device that makes a distinct sound.   Unlike voice commands the clicker always sounds the same... delivering the "you got it right" signal.  The real trick is timing of the clicks followed immediately by a tasty reward. 

For just 10 minutes a day you can teach your cat or dog new skills.

Shaggy Bear was a happy pup


Information on dog behavior can also be found in part on Dog Time's Blogs

    Getting your dog to listen to you.

A good first step is teach them to pay attention. This is not hard with intelligent dogs.
Be explicit always start with the dog's name before a command.


Play Round Robin to help them learn (need a partner for this game). Go to separate rooms call out your dog's name in session, one at a time. Only say his name. Give a yummy, but very small treat when your dog comes running (you don't want them taking time to chew the treat), continue for several rounds. Your dog will love this game. 
After this sets in use your dog's name before each command. Say the same word for each command.

Dogs hear well, it is just a matter of getting them to understand. Be patient dogs need time to think before reacting.

Corrections should be firm, the dog should be physically made to do what is asked and rewarded after success using praise, a treat, or a combination of both.
Never be harsh or aggressive.  Always end with lots of praise. 
Using one or two words before the action also helps them learn, Dogs love predictability so,
be consistent, Keep things on the quiet side, Keep the sessions short and keep your patience.


Keep Me Company Pet Sitting has a nice blog on cat behavior

I have seen a lot of cats through the years and never met one I did not like. We find them to be fun & very interesting creatures.