How mixed breed dogs think differently than purebreds

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Sometimes I feel like my best friend just doesn’t understand me. I call him and he doesn’t respond. I point and he looks at my fingertip instead of whatever I’m pointing at. I’m talking about my dog Teddy, of course.

I wouldn’t call him overtly independent. In fact, he’s off-the-charts empathetic, and he does look to me for direction from time to time. But it seems like he’d prefer to make his own decisions than use my help. I wondered if his lack of interest in my pointing had anything to do with his previous homelife. We adopted him from a shelter, and we have no idea what sort of human communication he’d received before us. As it turns out, the fact that Teddy is more likely to use his own memory over my pointing may have something to do with his breeding, or rather, his lack thereof. Continue reading

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Keeping your dog stimulated on a rainy day

Dog looking out of window

If your dog is anything like my dog Teddy, outdoor time is part of your daily routine. Few things in this world make Teddy happier than running outside and chasing down his favorite ball. Next to fetch, Teddy’s other love is going for a nice walk. Teddy’s walks aren’t just good for his body; the sights and smells of the neighborhood are also good for mental stimulation.

But what about the times when it’s so rainy that even a walk seems like a perilous undertaking? When Teddy doesn’t get all of the mental and physical activity he requires, we sometimes get some less-than-desirable behavior around the house. Teddy might start throwing his own ball around the living room if he hasn’t had play or walk time. Or, if the ball is out of reach, he’ll play with garbage. Continue reading

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Helping Service Dogs Help Us

canine companions for independence puppies

The Need for Service Dogs

While many of the traditional jobs (hunting, sledding, herding) that dogs once performed are becoming increasingly rare in modern society, dogs are definitely in no danger of becoming unemployed. Demand for dogs and their special skills just keeps skyrocketing, including assistance dogs working in partnership with the disabled, police and military dogs helping keep our streets and soldiers safe, and even dogs working in a medical capacity, to detect cancer and other conditions. Continue reading

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4 Tips to Prevent Your Dog From Causing Accidental Fires

Protect your furry friend from accidental fires

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, a day to prepare ourselves for fire emergencies involving our furry friends. Not until my dogs lit the backyard on fire with a Tiki torch did I wake up to how easy it is for a dog to get in trouble with fire. On this particular night, my two mixed breed dogs, Nika and Cain, were playfully jumping on each other when Nika backed into and bumped a burning torch into the grass. Luckily for my family, the dogs were being supervised so the flames were quickly extinguished and the dogs were safely taken from harm’s way. Continue reading

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4 Dog Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Photo Credit: bestbullysticks.com

Independence Day is a stressful holiday for dogs with fireworks often driving many dogs to run away. 51% of Dognition users said their dog experiences some level of fear or anxiety in response to fireworks. Here are 4 tips to help keep your dog calm and safe this holiday weekend!

1. Keep Your Dogs Inside

Enjoy a day of grilling and outdoor fun with your dogs, but before the fireworks begin, secure your dogs indoors. Dogs can become easily frightened by the loud festivities of fireworks. Continue reading

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Keys for Keeping Your Canine Cool

Ginger in the shade

My dog Ginger loves car rides. Everything outside of our little neighborhood is something new, and she has a thirst to see it all. The second she senses someone in the family is about to leave the house, she continually runs in circles around that person’s feet, so it is impossible to forget her. When she hears, “car ride,” Ginger is the first one out the front door. She’ll hoist all 13 pounds of herself into the car and leap into the backseat, ready to go on an adventure. Some days, however, we have to leave Ginger at home where it is cool, because it is just too hot for her to come along. Her tiny face watches disappointedly from the window as the car drives away. But in the summer heat, even a quick ten minute errand isn’t the right time to bring Ginger along, because we most likely would have to leave her in the car. This is never a good idea because of the fatal consequences that could happen, such as heatstroke and overheating. Continue reading

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5 Ways Your Dog Can Make You Happier and Healthier at Work

Photo Credit: Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs

Did you know that tomorrow is Take Your Dog To Work Day®? At Dognition, there is a sure method to having a good morning: we bring our dogs to work.

Employees are much more energetic and productive when the office dogs, Dexter, Cooper, and Sisu are in the building, proving again that a dog is man’s best friend. Being welcomed by a dog is a great start to the day, not only are they an instant mood booster, but several studies in the past few years have examined the numerous rewards of pet ownership. Continue reading

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How to Play to Your Dog’s Strength

"Panting Dog" by James Barker

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the father figure in your life. One of the lessons my dad taught me is to play to my strengths. The example story that stuck with me, as I love dogs, was about his mixed breed dog in college named Astro. My dad saw a sign on campus saying that an injured dog needed a home; this dog, Astro, had a big wound on his back. With medical care, Astro’s fur from his backside had to be shaved, and other humans were quick to make fun of his naked appearance. If you wanted to pet a dog for the feeling of fuzzy fur, Astro was not your dog. What he lacked in fur, my father said this dog had in intelligence.

What made this dog so smart? Continue reading

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All About Dog Noses

Nosing up to the camera - Les Chatfield

Does this happen to you? You’re out on a walk with your dog, and your pup’s focus is on excitingly smelling the ground, the air, and whoever you pass. Dogs are known for having incredible noses.

Here are 5 cool facts about dog noses:

1. Each dog nose print is unique, just like human fingerprints, and can be used to identify your dog.
Continue reading

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Some Keys To Preventing Dog Bites

Banning dangerous breeds will not prevent dog bites. Photo Credit: Juanedc

I learned two valuable lessons about dogs at a young age. The first is that there are some people on this Earth that actually don’t like dogs. In fact, some people are even scared of them. This was shocking news to 9-year-old me. My new friend Trisha came over to my house after school to play. When she rounded the corner to the kitchen, she shrieked at the sight of Tonka, my family’s German shepherd. I couldn’t understand why; Tonka was the nicest dog. She ran for the dining room; Tonka ran after her. She motioned to kick him, and he bit her foot. Second valuable lesson learned: any dog can bite, even my gentle-hearted Tonka. Continue reading

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10 Simple Ways to Help Homeless Dogs

Saoirse, a Dognition Protodog, is looking for her forever home in the Washington D.C. area.

Summer weather is here and that means college students are on break and families will be taking vacations. For many shelters, this means a dip in the number of people who volunteer. Step up and help your local shelter this summer! Dognition has compiled 10 ways that you can help: Continue reading

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The Science of Self-Control

Dogs and bonobos took part in the self-control study. Photo: Brian Hare

The blond-headed boy is 4-years old and in pre-school. The adult tells him that the yummy delicious marshmallow in front of him is his to eat now or later. If he waits in the chair until she comes back to eat it, he’ll get rewarded with a second marshmallow. The young boy squirms in his chair, fights the urge to sink his teeth into the gooey sugary treat in front of him, and waits the interminable 10 minutes. The adult who is a child psychologist rewards him with the second marshmallow, and he immediately stuffs both marshmallows into his grinning mouth.
Continue reading

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