Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why Do Dogs Hump?

Yes, it's time for the dreaded talk. But for some people, no matter how awkward they might be asking for advice and solutions, dog humping becomes a behavior that must be addressed. Some long lost statistic that I once read, and tentatively agree with, stated that only 1% of humping cases is for the obvious reason. So what is the reason behind all the other cases and how can you, a decent face in public, stop it?
The most well accepted and common reason for this unwanted behavior is dominance. Dogs will commonly hump any living thing, including your leg or another dog, to assert their position with that individual. This is a perfectly natural behavior, but should not be encouraged because one, it is incredible embarrassing when you are sitting getting to know your neighbor and your dog starts to hump your neighbors leg, and two, it could cause a scuffle or fight between two dogs, seriously, do you want a stranger welcoming you that way?
Some socially awkward dogs will not know how to interact with other dogs, and may take out their frustration by humping the other dog. This too should be discouraged by distracting your dog and showing him or her an appropriate way to play.
Reason three is simply out of boredom. If your dog doesn't go for daily walks and get adequate exercise, they will more than likely find an outlet for that energy and frustration, and that outlet might unfortunately be with your pillows. If this is the case, make sure your dog is getting at least two-twenty minute walks a day, and has enough (chew) toys to keep them entertained.
Probably the most obvious reason for humping, especially with females in heat, is due to sexual frustration. If your dog is not fixed, GET THEM FIXED! And your problem will more than likely be solved, not to mention you will have a much healthier and emotionally happier pet.
The last reason that I would like to point out is simply and uncontrollable urge to twerk when exited. Who can blame dogs when humans do the same thing? Often times puppies and young dogs will so called 'twerk' when they are excited, such as playing or eating or simply walking across the room. This is a completely normal and uncontrollable way for your puppy to practice behaviors key to their evolutionary survival. If you have a serious problem with this, you can remove your puppy from anything that might be getting them exited and calm them down. But for the first few months my lab puppy would twerk whenever I called him to me, and luckily he grew out of it, no harm done.
Humping is a behavior that should probably be discouraged as to make other dogs and people happy, and is fortunately very easy to redirect your dog from doing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Service Dogs Helping Veterans

Dogs have helped us with a multitude of ways and have made our lives easier for thousands of years. Their more recent feat, helping veterans get by in a non-combat world, is just another reason why dogs are truly mans best friend.
I find it amazing how the bond between dog and human can be so beneficial to both, and how a once depressed and hardly-coping person can come around with the help of a dog.
Today there are countless services that train dogs specifically for veterans and veterans with PTSD. The dogs range from fully trained service dogs who can help injured and paralyzed people perform everyday tasks, to personalized dogs trained to know specific ques from their owner and act accordingly, to the less trained therapy or companion dog who is there for moral support.
Even after training my owns dogs I am surprised by the number of things that a dog can be trained. For example, a veteran may do a specific thing when he starts getting nervous or anxious, like tap a foot or stroke a beard. A dog can be taught to recognize this cue and go lay his head on his owners lap for comfort and support. Service dogs have also been trained to listen to heart monitors so that they can wake up their owner before he starts having a 'night terror'.
Service dogs are generally trained to be able to 'block', the action of standing in front of their owner and creating a physical barrier if their owner feels the need to do so. 'Sweep', where the dog makes a round around it's house when coming home to check for intruders, along with many other daily tasks like turning on lights and opening doors. Not only does this make life for a disabled veteran easier, it also can give them a peace of mind.
Dogs allow for retired vets to open up with someone who will never judge them. It allows them to lift a huge weight off their shoulders and to function in society better than they would without a dog. Dogs allow people to let their guard down, which helps with hyper-vigilance as well as sleep.
Whether it's a shelter dog or a fully trained service dog, it's no doubt that dogs help people with every range of troubles and disabilities, both mental and physical. While any conclusive studies about the whether or not dogs help with PTSD and its symptoms are still under way, dogs have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the lives of the owner they unconditionally love.
'A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself.' -Henry Shaw
Image result for service dogs helping veterans