Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Ask Amy Shojai: How To Talk To Dogs
Ask Amy Shojai: How To Talk To Dogs
Scared Cat? Teaching Shrinking Violet Shy Cats

Scared Cat? Teaching Shrinking Violet Shy Cats

scared cat

Is your kitty shy? How do you bring her out of her Shrinking Violet shell? (Image copr. Missi Hostrup via Flickr, a picture of Tiger Lily)

Working with fearful and scared cats can be a challenge. Does Sheba hiss at strangers? Does Tom dive under the bed when the doorbell rings? Do your kitties attack other pets (or humans)? What can you do to stop bad behavior if even a mild correction sends the cat into fearful meltdown? Alexa posted her Ask Amy question to my Facebook page, and the answer is in today’s video.

Helping Shy & Scared Cats

We often feel that our fur-kids must have been abused and feel bad to make THEM feel bad. But they still need to know limits. One of my favorite ways to train is using positive rewards. Instead of waiting for kitty to scratch the wrong object and then interrupting the behavior–why not REWARD her when she scratches the RIGHT object?

Using kitty clicker training can also build confidence in shy cats by teaching them what happens is in their paws. Here are more tips for dealing with scared cats.

Stranger Danger & Fearful Felines

While a normal dose of caution keeps cats from becoming coyote kibble, extreme fear makes cats miserable and disrupts your happy home. A hiding cat may not bother you, constant anxiety increases stress that can make cats sick. For instance, stress can aggravate bladder inflammation (cystitis), which prompts hit-or-miss bathroom behaviors from feeling pain. Even when the bladder doesn’t hurt, anxious cats use potty deposits or will increase scratching behavior to calm themselves—sort of the way nervous humans bite their fingernails. Noises can scare cats, and this post about dog noise fear may help kitties, too.

scared catMore Tips for Helping Shy Cats or Stressed Out Kitties

Do you have a shy cat? How does s/he react to strangers or new situations? What tips have you used to bolster confidence? You can use scent enrichment to help reduce your cats’ stress. Are you concerned (like Alexa, below) about damaging your pet relationship during training? How do you avoid that?

Of course you can find lots more fur-kid care tips in the pet books. Many of the tips in MY CAT HATES MY VET! will also help. But I hope anyone with a burning furry question (or heck, ANY question! *s*) will share in the comments and perhaps it’ll be a future Ask Amy feature!

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Stages of Puppy Development: Birth to Two Years

Stages of Puppy Development: Birth to Two Years

Puppy development stages are fascinating, and one of the most popular dog topics. Every time we get a new puppy, I learn new things about new puppy development by week. Did you know that the adult incisors (next to the canines) erupt at age 16 weeks? That’s a way to help age your new baby dog.

Along the way, puppies tend to get into all kinds of things–we laugh, but then we might cry if they hurt themselves. Shadow-Pup at nine months takes his delinquent duties seriously. Refer to this post for puppy proofing tips. 

Did you ever wonder about the stages of puppy development? Some of this has to do with the dog breed, but all newborn puppies (whatever the breed) look surprisingly similar. They also develop along the same period of time. Look no further, I’ve got you covered!

newborn puppy

Newborn puppy yawning. Images courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Puppy Development, Birth to Two Years

We consider dogs puppies from birth to one year of age and go through several puppy stages and puppy bookpuppy development periods. However, each dog develops differently, with smaller dogs tending to mature earlier and some large breeds not physically mature before they are two years old.

Newborn puppies vary in size depending on the breed; tiny dogs like the Chihuahua produce puppies sized about four inches long, while giant breed newborns like Great Dane puppies may be twice that size. The rate of puppy development also varies from breed to breed. For instance, Cocker Spaniel puppies open their eyes sooner than Fox Terrier puppies, and Basenji puppies develop teeth earlier than Shetland Sheepdog puppies. However, no matter the breed, all puppies are born totally dependent on the momma dog, technically called the bitch.

You’ll also find all the must-know puppy information in my COMPLETE PUPPY CARE book.

Newborns & Puppy Development

At birth, puppies are blind, deaf and toothless, unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own. Puppies depend on their mother and littermates for warmth, huddling in cozy piles to conserve body temperature. A puppy separated from this warm furry nest can quickly die from hypothermia—low body temperature. Cold, lonely puppies cry loudly to alert Mom to their predicament.

Puppies first experience the sensation of being petted when washed by their mother’s stroking tongue. The bitch licks her babies all over to keep them and the nest clean, and also to stimulate them to defecate and urinate.

Neonatal Period of Puppy Development: Birth to Two Weeks

From birth, puppies are able to use their sense of smell and touch, which helps them root about the nest to find their mother’s scent-marked breasts. The first milk the mother produces, called colostrum, is rich in antibodies that provide passive immunity and help protect the babies from disease during these early weeks of life. It’s vital to keep puppies safe from parasites or diseases that can cause devastating diarrhea dangerous for youngsters.

For the first two weeks of life, puppies sleep nearly 90 percent of the time, spending their awake time nursing. All their energy is funneled into growing, and birth weight doubles the first week. Newborns aren’t able to support their weight, and crawl about with paddling motions of their front legs. The limited locomotion provides the exercise that develops muscles and coordination, and soon the puppies are crawling over and around each other and their mother.

puppy growthTransitional Period: Week Two-to-Four

The second week of life brings significant changes for the puppy. Ears and eyes sealed since birth open during this period, ears at about two weeks and eyelids between ten to 16 days. This gives the furry babies a new sense of their world. They learn what their mother and other dogs look and sound like, and expand their own vocabulary from grunts and mews to yelps, whines and barks. Puppies stand by day 15 and take their first wobbly walk by day 21.

By age three weeks, puppy development advances from the neonatal period to the transitional period. This is a time of rapid physical and sensory development, during which the puppies go from total dependence on Mom to a bit of independence. They begin to play with their littermates, learn about their environment and canine society, and begin sampling food from Mom’s bowl. Puppy teeth erupt until all the baby teeth are in by about five to six weeks of age. The babies will want to chew everything. Be careful about swallowed objects at this age.

Puppies can control their need to potty by this age, and begin moving away from sleeping quarters to eliminate. Learn about potty training puppies here.

Socialization Period of Puppy Development: Week Four-to-Twelve

Following the transitional phase, puppies enter the socialization period at the end of the third week of life; it lasts until about week ten. It is during this socialization period that interaction with others increases and puppies form attachments they will remember the rest of their life. The most critical period–age six to eight weeks–is when puppies most easily learn to accept others as a part of their family.

Beginning at four weeks of age, the bitch’s milk production begins to slow down just as the puppies’ energy needs increase. As the mother dog slowly weans her babies from nursing, they sample solid food in earnest.

The environmental stimulation impact your puppy’s rate of mental development during this time. The puppy brain waves look that of an adult dog by about the 50th day, but he’s not yet programmed–that’s your job, and the job of his mom and siblings. Weaning typically is complete by week eight.

newfoundland puppy laying down - twelve weeks old

12 week old Newfoundland puppy

Puppy Development Week Eight-to-Twelve

Puppies often go through a “fear period” during this time. Instead of meeting new or familiar people and objects with curiosity, they react with fearfulness. Learn about puppy introductions in this post. Anything that frightens them at this age may have a lasting impact so take care you don’t overstimulate the baby with too many changes or challenges at one time. That doesn’t mean your pup will grow up to be a scaredy-cat; it’s simply a normal part of development where pups learn to be more cautious. Careful socialization during this period helps counter fear reactions.

However, they will be better adjusted and make better pets by staying and interacting with littermates and the Mom-dog until they are at least eight weeks old–older is better. Interacting with siblings and Mom help teach bite inhibition, how to understand and react to normal canine behavior, and their place in doggy society. Puppies make transitions from one environment to another more easily at this age, too.

Is your puppy jumping up? Maybe it’s cute now, but what happens when he’s knocking down the kids? Learn how to handle jumping up behavior (and what it means!) in this post.

Whippet puppy, 6 months old, sitting in front of white background

6 month old Whippet.

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Puppy Diarrhea, Home Remedies & When to Call The Vet

Puppy Diarrhea, Home Remedies & When to Call The Vet

We love snuggling baby dogs with sweet puppy breath, Frito-smelling toes, lap snuggles, and then–OH NO, puppy diarrhea! What’s a pet parent to do about dog loose motion? We’ve already had this issue with our new pup, Shadow, and had to deal with it.

Of course, adult dogs also suffer from the occasional loose stool as well or they pass gas (flatulence). At any age, dog diarrhea can be a sign of something serious that needs immediate attention to prevent pet dehydration. This is not about puppy accidents during house training, but an illness your dog can’t control. Knowing home remedies, dog first aid, and when to call the vet about puppy diarrhea could save your pet’s life.

If your dog is also VOMITING, click here to get the free tips sheets.
puppy diarrhea

Puppy diarrhea ranks near the top as a common puppy problem, and being familiar with dog diarrhea treatment is important. Mild cases may be treated at home and get better but diarrhea can be deadly especially for puppies.

When you have a dog, poop happens. Knowing what to do is key, and it’s vital to recognize the difference between an aggravation and an emergency, and what to do with both.

Diarrhea isn’t a disease. It’s a sign of illness and may be caused by many different conditions.

Shih Tzu puppy, 3 months old, sitting in front of white background

Causes Of Puppy Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be associated with viruses such as parvovirus and distemper. It also can be caused by intestinal parasites like whipworms, hookworms; protozoan such as giardia, bacterium like salmonella and E. coli. Some types of intestinal parasites can be very difficult for veterinary tests to detect and it can take many tests over weeks to obtain a diagnosis.

Puppies also may develop diarrhea from a sudden change of diet, or even swallowed foreign objects. The stress of coming to a new home could prompt loose stools or vomiting. Overfeeding or eating out of the garbage also causes tummy upsets. Without knowing the cause, the right treatment can’t be suggested.

sick dogKinds of Puppy Diarrhea to See The Vet Immediately!

Diarrhea can point to conditions that could kill your puppy. Don’t wait—the resulting dehydration can make puppies even sicker.

A couple of years ago, Magic suffered from a bout of explosive diarrhea. I’d been called for jury duty, so I was gone–and discovered his illness when I returned home after the first day of service. Yikes! Magic had been drinking from the water-filled tank (aka man-made pond) on our property, and we suspected the run-off infected him with some type of parasite. It required a couple of weeks of medication for him to feel better. Had he been a baby, the situation could have been life-threatening. See the veterinarian immediately if your puppy’s diarrhea:

  • Looks black with a tar-like consistency
  • Smells extremely foul
  • Contains large amounts of red blood
  • Diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting, severe pain, fever, appetite loss or lethargy.

Depositphotos_18034765_originalHow to Treat Dog & Puppy Diarrhea At Home

It’s always best to get a vet check first. But your vet may recommend milder forms of diarrhea be treated at home. For instance, if it’s been less than three days, the dog or puppy still feels and acts well, and the diarrhea has a pudding-like appearance, home care may help.

Make sure that water remains always available. It’s very easy for puppies to quickly become dehydrated. Ask your vet about electrolyte replacement solutions like Petralyte. A sudden watery diarrhea can spill large amounts of fluid and important minerals out of the body.

  • Withhold food for 24 hours to let his tummy rest
  • Then offer bland meals (one-part boiled egg with two parts rice or cooked macaroni) in four to six servings for several days
  • Gradually transition the meals to regular food. Mix half/half, gradually increasing to regular food by end of the week.

It often takes a couple of days for your puppy’s tummy to calm down, and a bland diet can help. You’ll find all the must-know puppy-licious info in the book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE (much of it applies to adult dogs, too!).

Are you also dealing with vomiting? Learn more about dog vomiting and what you can do in this post about puppy and doggy vomiting. Or click below to get the quick tips list for treating vomiting at home (or making your dog vomit, in case of poisoning!).

CLICK to get TIPS: TREAT VOMITING AT HOME!

Has your dog ever suffered from diarrhea? Seems like it always happens on a holiday or weekend, too! What did you do? Although dealing with diarrhea stinks, knowing what to do can ensure that everything comes out all right. Literally.

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers?  Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Have You Howled Today? Why Dogs Howl & What it Means

Have You Howled Today? Why Dogs Howl & What it Means

Do your dogs howl? Lately, Magical-Dawg has begun howling more often. For northern breeds, dog howling comes very naturally, but for my aging German Shepherd, his howls are more unusual. Oh, he’s always howled when I sing certain notes (everyone’s a critic!), and the coyotes sing a chorus when the tornado sirens sound. This was different.

WHY DOGS HOWL

Magic began a low “ar-ooooo-woo-woo” and slowly cranked it up. This happened early in the morning, before we’d got up. My husband and I figured he needed out–he did–and didn’t pay that much attention to it. But then Magic also howled outside the bathroom door when my husband showered. He came into the room and howled during my shower, too.

This went on for three or four days, just prior to his yearly veterinary exam. We’d been a bit worried about some of Magic’s aging issues anyway (read about his check up in this post). And I now realize I never mentioned the howling to the vet.

But…once Magic was given medication for his achy 10-year-old arthritic issues, the howling stopped. Lesson learned–howling may be MORE than the “usual suspects,” which I cover in the short Ask Amy video, below. Enjoy!

Dogs bark and howl to communicate–so what’s he saying?

Do You Speak Dog?

Dogs know how to communicate. You gotta go “low tech” to really connect with doggy wags, growls, whines and more. Do your dogs howl? When do they howl–and why? Have you howled today? Try it–for a terrific stress relief (and you might get your canine’s singing along). Lately the tornado sirens have stirred up the canine chorus at my house.

Learn about barking communication here, and what tail wags mean in this post.

Ask Amy Shojai: Why Do Dogs Howl?

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I recommend nothing unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Must Know Puppy Care & Puppy Play Tips

Must Know Puppy Care & Puppy Play Tips

NEW-PUPPY-COVER-kindleReminder, gang…for some reason this poor lil’ puppy book hasn’t been widely adopted. So I’m again making it available for reviews. Message me in the comments if interested!

COMPLETE PUPPY CARE is now available for your puppy-licious reading pleasure. I’ve included a brief excerpt below about how to tell when GOOD puppy play tips over into DANGEROUS games. That’s just the tip of the furry info, though. Please share the news about this book with all your puppy and dog loving peeps.

WANT A FREE PDF TO REVIEW?

COMPLETE PUPPY CARE includes more than two-dozen SQUEEE! cute puppy pictures (including Magical-Dawg as a baby), plus all the puppy must-knows. Those who subscribe to my PET PEEVES newsletter (click here & get another book free!) got the news early–and TEN folks won a free copy in exchange for posting an honest review. I’m nervously nail-biting until those get posted!

I’ll make the same offer here–post in the comments for a chance to review a free PDF copy of the book (the first 10 requests get the book!).

ABOUT COMPLETE PUPPY CARE…

Nothing beats a cute puppy for love, but proper puppy care and training prepares you and your new dog for a healthy and long life together. This up to date new guide provides a “Puppies 101” packed with veterinary facts, health care advice, how-to tips, and fascinating information about:

  • Choosing, training and communicating with your new puppy
  • Pros and cons of purebred versus shelter/rescue sources
  • Understanding common behavior problems and how to prevent them
  • Food, grooming and humane training recommendations
  • Tips for introducing your puppy to adult dogs, cats, babies and kids
  • The latest veterinary recommendations for preventive care
  • How to recognizing common health issues, and what to do
  • First aid and home remedies that save you money—and your puppy’s life!
  • More than two-dozen SQUEE! cute puppy pictures
  • Canine legends, myths and fun puppy facts including: Why puppies drink from the toilet, why dogs act guilty, reasons dogs hump your leg, and more!

COMPLETE PUPPY CARE empowers you with all the information necessary for your puppy to grow up into the happy, healthy dog you both deserve.

PlayHERE’S THE EXCERPT…

“Just Kidding” During Play

Dogs use exaggerated behaviors, called meta signals, to tell other dogs all action that comes after is not serious but a game. For instance, the play-bow is a butt-in-the-air with front-end down position where the pup’s forelegs dance back and forth to invite play. When your puppy first play-bows, he’s
telling you that any growls or wrestling that comes after are meant as fun and games.

Adult dogs often “pretend” to be subordinate to a puppy—with play bows or rolling on the back—to build up the pup’s confidence and invite him to play. This “just kidding” game allows lower-ranking pups to practice being in charge with play bites, mounting behavior, and wrestling games. Once the
play is over, the higher-ranking dog again assumes his more “mature” behavior that tells the pup to respect his leadership.

BAD VS GOOD PLAY—KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE

Dogs of all ages enjoy playing. Behaviors for fighting and fun are similar, but you must know how to tell the difference between aggression and play-acting. Watch for “meta signals” which tells participants that whatever comes after is meant in a “play” context.

Dogs commonly drop toys on your feet or lap to solicit a game, and offer toys to other dogs in the same way. A play bow—the dog sticks his butt and tail into the air, and bows forward on lowered forelegs that dance side to side—is the classic signal and invitation for the games to begin. Often, the
“fighting” behaviors seen during such games will be exaggerated to indicate play, or the “fight” behavior sequences may be jumbled.

Play includes inhibited mouth-open bites often aimed at the legs and paws of other dogs. Dogs also paw and bat each other without force to hurt. In appropriate play, all the dogs willingly participate. If you suspect one of the dogs doesn’t like the activity (one dog repeatedly tries to escape or hide),
gently separate the pair to see if they go back for more. If the play session was too rough, one will sneak away.

Inappropriate play results in one or more dog frightened, hurt, or overwhelmed. Bully dogs always end up on top, while in appropriate play you’ll see dogs take turns chasing and pinning each other during wrestling. Mouthing aimed primarily at the head or neck, or uninhibited bites means play has gotten out of hand. You’ll hear yelps from the bitten dog.

Consistent play up on hind legs may indicate problems. Ongoing mounting, clasping and thrusting also can lead to problems, as can resting of paws, heads or whole bodies across other dog’s shoulders to intimidate or achieve social status.

Growls don’t usually indicate problems, but play can be so exciting that the action escalates into aggression. Listen for louder, lower pitched growls,and be prepared to break up the session before they get too aroused.

***

Okay now, what about YOUR puppies and dogs? How do they play? Is it polite, taking turns, or is there some bully behavior involved? At my house, Magical-Dawg’s best play buddy is Karma-Kat and that involves a whole new set of signals.

Don’t forget–post your comment for a chance to review a free copy of the book!

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

#Puppies Book & Article Winners at #Dogs Writers Association Banquet!

#Puppies Book & Article Winners at #Dogs Writers Association Banquet!

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

The Dog Writers Association of America banquet was held last night in New York City. It’s traditionally held the night before Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and I’ve had the great joy and honor to attend both events several times. But not last night–due to travel constraints *cough-BLIZZARD-cough* and work issues, I wasn’t able to attend, despite knowing that I had a couple of entries in the running.

puppiescoverMy book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE was nominated for a Maxwell Medallion in the category of Reference Books. I received the Nomination Certificate some time ago and am deeply honored. You can see all the regular category winners here. I hope that you’ll recommend the award-winning book to anyone with a new puppy in their future!

(Equal time for Complete KITTEN Care!)

Much of the book is based on research and articles I’d written over the past three years for my puppies.about.com site, and so this was particularly sweet for me. As many of y’all know, my contract with that company was abruptly cancelled last summer–for those morbidly curious, details here. Ya know, the best “revenge” is always success, LOL!

So an even sweeter recognition came when I won a DWAA Special Award last night for an article written for the puppies.about.com site titled “AKC Canine Good Citizenship Programs.” The information from that article of course is also included in the book. You can see the list of all the special awards winners here.

AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and Canine Good Citizen Award

Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award is for the best writing about the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program or the puppy level of CGC, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy.

Recognized as the ‘gold standard’ for family dog manners, CGC and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy focus on teaching good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to dog owners. This award is a $500.00 cash award.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the nominees and winners! I am very fortunate to live in a world and participate in a community of professional communicators dedicated to sharing life-saving and relationship-saving information about the dogs we love!

Now then–how many of y’all have taken your puppy through the CGC or S.T.A.R. Puppy Programs? Or how about the AKC Community Canine program also mentioned in the article?

And…how many of y’all will be watching Westminster tonight and tomorrow night on TV? *raising paw* Magical-Dawg and I will be rooting for the…well, you know. *s*

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Ask Amy: Why Does My Dog Suck…Pillows?

Ask Amy: Why Does My Dog Suck…Pillows?

No, this isn’t some anti-canine post about why dogs suck. Rather, this post and video helps explain why some dogs practice nursing behavior on objects, and suck pillows or toys. Maybe your dogs suck, too!

why dogs suck

“My name is Magic–and I’m a suck-aholic.” Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

Why Dogs Suck

Has your dog ever had an obsession with a particular toy or object? It’s not at all unusual for kittens to nurse on their own toes, or the tail of a sibling. Just like with human infants, the behavior seems to be self-calming. Some dogs may outgrow the behavior as they mature and develop.

Dogs also can find stress relief by nursing on objects. Blankets, pillows and stuff toys are common targets. Licking or sucking can become an obsessive/compulsive behavior. For instance, Dobermans seem to indulge in “flank sucking” behavior and other dogs may lick-lick-lick a paw or toe until it becomes raw.

But in the case of puppies and even adults that indulge intermittently, it may not be a problem. (Magical-dawg told me to say that!). Now it’s your turn–what kinds of items does your pet target with licks? Do tell!

Of course, with THANKSGIVING tomorrow, there are lots more tasty things for dogs to munch. Just be sure they’re safe–a small amount of “treats” is fine but some can prove dangerous. Check out this article on people food for puppies to see what’s acceptable and what’s not–or even poisonous!

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Catnip Clues & STARE-‘o-DEATH!

Okay, my blog “burped” last Saturday…and posted this blog early. So if you already read it, sorry about that.

I’m repeating this blog covering catnip and why dogs stare from 2011 because…well, I’ve got a whole bunch new followers, AND the schedule for fiction-ing leaves me little time these days. Besides, it’s my blog and I make up the rules as I go along. So there! Also, I figured the blog needed a serious influsion of sparkle-icity to keep with the “bling” theme. I’ve not posted any “new” Ask Amy videos in a while but that’s on my to-do list so please offer suggestions for topics in the comments.

To start things out on the right paw, today I’ve posted two. Here’s one about cats and catnip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW_mRGjqTGM

And just to offer equal fair play, here’s an Ask Amy about doggy eyeball communication:

Please share–do your cats carry the “catnip gene?” How often do they get a kitty fix? Did you get ’em on film? *snicker*

And for the dog-matic followers, have you ever experienced the canine stare-‘o-death? Of course my Magical-dawg also stares at me when he wants me to read his mind….  “Time for a car ride, yes yes yes???!”

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cars for Dogs & Happy Yappy Appy for Puppy Bowl!

app

You can download it now–just click the picture–it goes live on Sunday.

That’s right, thanks to Subaru, there’s now a FREE APP for your tablet or mobile devices that works in unison with the broadcast as well as re-broadcasts. I’m not a techie, but am told somehow the sounds during the Puppy Bowl broadcast trigger activity on the app similar to Shazam technology.

So would you call that a Yappy Appy that makes me happy? 🙂 As you watch the Puppy Bowl live on TV, the Puppy Bowl Plus application dishes up treat-worthy content from Subaru to interact and engage with. But I couldn’t wait until Sunday so put together a bit of a teaser in this video.

Hey, with me being such a fan of Puppy Bowl and the Magical-Dawg a car-ride addict, I had to blog about this year’s Subaru of America gone-to-the-dogs campaign that celebrates the love between owners and their dogs. This year their Dog Tested. Dog Approved.™ campaign introduces Grant Weber, Subaru Canine Sales Associate, who sells the cars only to dogs.

Seren wants to know where the Cat Car Salesmen are? At least the Puppy Bowl includes a Kitten Halftime Show.

Gee, and this post comes right on the furry heels of my Wednesday post asking can we spoil pets too much! But these videos tickled me so much, I had to share several. Just click the links, enjoy!

Grant Weber shows a dog around the car lot–but a cat beats ’em to the paw-punch!

Too much of a good thing? Lots of room for a canine tailgate party.

Canine financing, dogged decisions–paw-tograph on the dotted line.

Okay, folks, would you buy a car for your dog? Do you plan to watch Puppy Bowl? I have to admit, we did choose our latest vehicle with Magical-Dawg in mind–but had to find a doggy grate to keep him out of the driver’s seat. What are your canine car tails, to tell!

Let me know how you like the Puppy Bowl Co-Viewing App.  You can download it now and be ready when it goes live on Sunday. Oh…and please Share the fun on Facebook.

This post is sponsored by Subaru. The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Woof Wednesday: Patriotic Dogs

“Even if all friends desert you, the dog remains true…”

I’m loving my dog today, and thanking God for all those who fight for the rights of the underdog.  God bless us and keep our loved ones safe.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter . Don’t forget to check out the NAME THAT DOG/CAT character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!

Thoughty Thursday: Thanksgiving & Rainbow Pets

Happy Thanksgiving! After a whirlwind trip last weekend to New York and back, I’m grateful to be home safe again. The Cat Writers’ Association conference has been good to me, and this year was no exception. While I’m thankful for the business opportunities and awards bestowed, those pale compared to the friendships developed through my work. I am honored to be in the company of these wonderful, dedicated professionals.

I’m thankful to be home with my family—furry and human—rather than on the bumpy road and bumpier plane. I’m thankful my human family, though miles away, remain close-nit and loving. And I’m thankful all remain healthy.

I’m thankful for veterinarians who make life better for the pets we adore. I’m thankful for researchers who work to find diagnoses, treatments, and cures for our ailments, both for pets and for people. I’m thankful for the animal welfare volunteers who do the work of the angels when others somehow let pets down.

I’m thankful that I have the best job in the world, sharing information about the cats and dogs that have become so important to our emotional and physical health. I’m thankful for publishers, editors, magazines, newspapers, TV and radio shows, websites, bloggers and email lists that share these important resources to benefit cats and dogs and the people who love them. And I’m thankful to writing organizations, teachers, agents and all those who promote the craft of good communication and help others pursue this rewarding craft.

I’m thankful that I found a dumped kitten fifteen years ago and brought her into my home and heart. I’m thankful that Seren-kitty still acts like a kitten and stays so healthy. I’m sure my veterinarian also is thankful Seren remains spry, since she is not a happy patient and the clinic staff likes to keep their fingers intact. I’m thankful Seren only rarely presents a hairball “gift” and that I’ve not found it barefooted at 3 a.m. for many months. I’m thankful she’s given up playing “gravity experiments” with my fine breakables, and has decided it’s okay to nap on my lap now and then. I’m also thankful that she’s decided the dog is a boob and great fun to torment, rather than spending all of her time sequestered upstairs.

I’m thankful for responsible breeders who ensure purebred dogs and pedigreed cats have a healthy paw-start in life. I’m thankful that Magic-dawg at age five has become a bit…just a bit…less driven. I’m thankful for water hoses, and tennis balls, stuffed teddy bears and Frisbees that wear Magic out without exhausting me at the same time. I’m thankful my roughneck dawg hasn’t had any injury or digestive “whoops” this year. I’m thankful Magic is smart, funny, a comedian, and a wonder to train—and doesn’t argue but has accepted that the cat is the boss of him.

I’m thankful that although he never grew up with pets, my husband loves Seren and Magic as much as I do. I’m even more thankful they adore him back (that could get awkward!). I’m thankful for my church family—pet lovers or not—who also support my furry notions. I’m particularly thankful to the Cuchara Gang (you know who you are) who lift me up with friendship and love.

I’m thankful for music that has always been so much a part of my life. I’m thankful for theater that feeds my soul. And I’m thankful my co-author helps me combine music, writing, theater  and pets into exciting new possibilities–see the sample in video, below. Note that all the CUTE DOG AND CAT PICTURES are in the video. *s*

Finally, I’m thankful to you—yes, those who read this blog or any of the other writer-icity hangouts I frequent. Without you, I would not have a career, and my life’s passion would remain unfulfilled. Without you, your pets wouldn’t have the wonderful love and care you provide. Without you, there wouldn’t be any reason for this heartfelt—THANK YOU.

RAINBOW PETS

Black and white, brindle or tabby,
Merle or brown, sable, Abby,
Persian, Collie, whole or fixed,
Rainbow pets a perfect mix.

I was young, I was old.
I was rescued, I was sold.
I was sick, and you were kind.
By some mystic Master’s design
Can’t you see, meant to be
You will always be mine.

Whoops or planned, shown or banned,
Shelter, rescue, foster, pound,
Bottle babies, purebred ladies,
Perfect, damaged, all are found.

You were clueless, so were we.
Lessons learned don’t come for free.
Can’t go back, regrets define.
By some mystic Master’s design
Shed no tear, have no fear,
Pay it forward in kind.

Blond or blue, calico, curly,
Pointed, smooth, wirehair, surly,
Sweetheart, bold, or shy thereof,
Rainbow pets—we’re yours to love.

Love me now, love me then,
Love me when we meet again
At the bridge, the rainbow shines
By some mystic Master’s design
In its light, Ever bright,
You will always be mine.

Thoughty Thursday: Do “Breastfeeding Baby Dolls” Suck?

”Snuggle

Now from time to time my writing certainly scores pretty dang high on the suck-icity meter, but today’s blog may just send you into the screaming into the OH-MY-GOLLY-WOMPERS heebie jeebies. We’ve had “nursing” baby dolls for kids for years, of course. I’m old enough to remember the “Betsy Wetsie” doll Grandma wrapped up for me one Christmas.

Aside: After having two sons, Grandma was delighted to have me to dress up in frills and spoil with dolls. Sad for her, I hated playing with dolls and even as a youngster, preferred stuffed animals when the real thing wasn’t around. That said, I inherited Grandma’s taste in bling!

Back to the subject at hand–I was delighted some year’s ago to discover the Snuggle Pets when I lectured at Tufts Animal Expo and I still have the Snuggle Kittie. There’s still a Snuggle Puppy available, but at the time the company even offered Snuggle Ferrets and bunnies and parrots. These plush toys include a battery powered heartbeat, heat element, and pocket for a nurser and serve as surrogate mom-objects to very young kittens and puppies. The idea isn’t new. Orphaned critters often “adopt” stuffed toys. Heck, the Magical-Dawg still uses his “bears” as doggy pacifiers (yuck! soggy misshapen heads on the things…)

As someone who adored playing make-believe with stuffed animals as a kid–hey, I had a flying cat named Snowball and a talking dog named Fluff–I can understand the appeal for children to use their imagination. And I suppose this first video might be a nice alternative to parents wanting kids to experience the fun of newborn puppies without the mess or hassle of poopy pick up or (horrors!) death. After all, a dead puppy just ain’t a fun gift. But what do you think about having a toy dog that actually NURSES the toy puppies? Check out that first video.

It sorta kinda made me go “ewww” but then I thought–people in my field constantly preach to the choir (and wish the rest would listen!) to spay/neuter, don’t breed, too many pups and kittens are born . . . so heck. Would this be a good alternative? Or should they also create a toy doggy that gives birth or a toy kitty that brings headless mice to your pillow? Hmnn.

So what sparked this deep thinking? Well, the Twitter-verse is a wondrous place, filled with amazing flotsam and jetsam and Wednesday I happened upon a Sweet Tweet with a link from CNN about a new doll for little girls. WordPress would let me embed that video so I searched YouTube and found another covering the subject. The doll comes with a little vest that allows children to mimic breast feeding.

Does that go off the scale in the OOOOK factor? Or is it a natural thing for little girls to mimic their moms and want to play-pretend this normal function? Heck, we encourage them to diaper babydolls or fill ’em full of water until they turn into leaky faucets. Is this so different? I’m asking y’all, because I only have the 4-legged kind of kids.

Great fiction writers have the ability to put in just enough reality to tell the story and create worlds of entertainment. Too much detail gets in the way. Is that what’s happening with these kinds of kid toys? Or is a six-year-old play-nursing her dolly more healthy than the kids killing zombies with transformers (or whatever the hell it takes to nullify the undead). What do you think?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Thoughty Thursday: Procrastination, Backups & Thpbpbpbpb

I missed posting Tuesday Tips, the next in the Kindle-ization series, and I’m HISSED OFF! You see, I have most all of that series done, and ready to go. They’re all on my laptop.

The laptop that DIED this week. Thpbpbpbpbpbpb! (that’s a virtual raspberry)

Actually, we suspect the battery ran dry–and it won’t run on just the plug. I’ve ordered a new battery, and hope for the best–but prepare for the worst.  I guess the old laptop served well–letters on the keyboard had worn off and a couple of books were written on it including all the updates to the newly Kindle-ized titles. Come to think of it, that’s where I kept the final versions of the updated manuscripts.

THPBPBPBPBPB!!!

I’m the person who always arrives early for meetings and circles the block until it’s not embarrassing to show up. With few exceptions, I meet or beat deadlines. And I angst and grow gray hairs and sprout crow’s feet lines when I can’t cross off each item as finished.  These days, though, with 5-10 blogs a week plus two weekly columns and the puppies.About.com stuff–oh, and a co-written musical play to produce, fiction WIP, acting gigs– keeping all the eggs in the air without scrambling them on impact takes a toll.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”237″ caption=”Scratch THIS!” seren scratching 1

”Some

So my blog schedule and backing up files fell to the bottom of the to-do list. Often I can get a few done early on weekends, but–well, over Memorial Day I actually shut off work and played with the Magical-Dawg and Seren-kitty! So I planned to post Tuesday’s blog on Tuesday morning (instead of days or at least the night before). Fortunately I had edited and uploaded the Ask Amy youtube videos for this week so yesterday’s Woof Wednesday and tomorrow’s Feline Friday are ready.

Just a week or so ago, one of my colleagues lamented the crash of her entire computer and loss of files. That was a wake-up call. I nearly subscribed to an online backup service but was instead convinced by my tech-guy husband to use thumb drives. So nearly all of the work on the !@#$%^&! laptop had been saved just a few days ago–but not the Ebooks and not the blog notes and content.

”Strawberries

I can re-created it but at the moment the pity-party-whine-fest is much more satisfying. Oh, I quick-like-a-bunny bought a new laptop with higher speed, larger storage, and updated software.  And I’ll get a few more of those thumb-drives and put it on my schedule for backups with more religious fervor.

How do you procrastinate? Has it ever bitten you in the ass-ets? What are your top reasons to THPBPBPB? Don’t be shy–vent away. And bookmark this blog to remind you what crappiocca can happen to derail even A-type go-go-go plan-ahead people like you and me!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Clueless Friends & Pet Book Launch

 Magic homecoming 2

We love to talk about our cats and dogs, show off cute pictures and brag how smart and clever our pets are. Even when we complain about stepping barefoot on nasty hairballs or cleaning up puppy potty accidents, we do so with affection. But unless friends share our furry passion, dog and cat conversations often raise eyebrows or spark disbelief about our pet devotion.

Non-pet friends don’t understand that Seren and Magic are my family. Pets don’t fire me as an owner when I’m downsized from my job, and they stay by my side when I lose my home or human loved ones. Friends don’t always get it that it’s not “easier” to give up my pet family even in times of disaster or hardship.

Friends don’t realize that getting another animal friend isn’t like shopping for new shoes. Each dog and cat is an individual and can’t be replaced once lost. New pets honor the past furry friends, but never take their place. My latest Paw Nation article lists another eight things friends often don’t “get” about our relationship with our cats and dogs.

What about you? Are there specific things that your family or friends don’t understand about your pet relationship? My husband didn’t grow up with pets–but quickly learned that in my world, fur is a condiment. In fact, he gave me (us!) our first doggy companion at my first birthday after we got married. And after that furry-muse died, it took over a decade to welcome another furry wonder into our home–the cute puppy picture (above) is Magic the first day he came to live with us.

”Pictures

Our first dog lives on in my heart, and in the books I write. In fact I’ve got to share a brag. Hey, it’s my blog, I can do that! This past week my colleague Dr. Debra Eldredge, gave a glowing 5-star review of Complete Care for Your Aging Dog.  You’ll want to bookmark her site, too, because Doc Eldredge is a brilliant writer and author who covers great dog content.

NEWS FLASH! I’m excited that the “Cutting Edge” book is back in print and a variety of Ebook formats, thanks to the brilliant folks at WhoDaresWinsPublishing yee-haw! And in celebration, those reading this blog get the first crack at a special in celebration of the print book launch. I’ve reduced Pet Care in the New Century “Kindle Version” to $2.99 for the next 100 books sold…or until the end of April, whichever comes first. Of course, I also hope you’ll share what you think in a review on the amazon page. (Stay tuned…there’s a kitty book special coming on Friday!)

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with April pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Copyright, Pictures & Shocking Info

Today’s post will be short and sweet, just like “tips” should be. Lots of folks who visit blogs also host their own blogs–and images make ’em great!  Just a caution, though, to treat images the same as you’d treat text and respect copyright. Some bloggers have learned this the hard way and been slammed with lawsuits by “lifting” images or even portions of text from other online sources. I’m not an attorney, but “fair use” generally covers all but the most egregious infringements–BUT, lately one law firm has targeted bloggers.

[caption id=”attachment_724″ align=”aligncenter” width=”276″ caption=”Don't mess with cat writers!”

”Some

Thanks to my colleagues a the Cat Writers’s Association for sharing information about the Righthaven Victims blog which explains how you can avoid being a victim of frivolous lawsuits. It includes definition of “fair use” so you have some guidance for your future blogs. There’s plenty of royalty-free images on the ‘Net and no reason to put yourself at risk. And yep, I own copyright in all the images in this post. *s*

Google copyright infringement case also got punted last week. They took it upon themselves to digitally scan and make available out of print books they believed to be in public domain–but lots of authors’ work got caught up in the round up, including mine. Why should Google harvest income from these books and force authors to jump through hoops to “opt out” of the program? Well, a judged agreed and rejected the proposed settlement. It’s not finished, of course–you can learn more about the whole @#$%^&*! situation here.

”Would

Blair Sorrel, Founder of Street Zaps, sent a warning to beware of contact voltage hazards that can electrocute dogs, people, horses and their riders or really any critter. The voltage can mame, cause severe pain or kill your pet in an instant. Any metal fixture potentially could conduct current–and dogs in pain lash out and bite. Blair urges everyone to simply EYEBALL THE BLOCK, AND AVOID A SHOCK. Look for plastic, wood and cardboard that does not conduct electricity, and listen to your dog–if he’s resistent to walking in a particular area, change directions. It could save his life, and yours.

So where do you get your blog pictures? Have you ever had your writerly work swiped and used illegally? What about “shocking” pet situations–static electricity thank goodness is the most I’ve had to face.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments, tips and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways! Be sure and check out tomorrow’s Woof Wednesday for some breaking news!

Pin It on Pinterest