Friday, March 30, 2007

Essentials of Breeding Bearded Dragons

To breed bearded dragons, you must create their natural seasons to bring the females into heat. This is called pre-condition. Before starting pre-condition, you should make sure that both your male, and female bearded dragons are well, healthy, and mature enough to be bred.

Pre-conditioning Steps

The first step is called the photoperiod, and is intended to simulate the winter season. Your UVB light will need a timer on it, and you should be set for 10 hours of light, and 14 hours of darkness, reduce the heat in the enclosure slightly. Ideally, the basking spot should be a maximum of 78 degrees, while the rest of the enclosure should be kept between 64 to 67 degrees. While you are simulating the photoperiod, you should decrease the food being given to the breeding pair. All together, the photoperiod should last around 6 weeks. After this period, you can change the lighting back to 12 hours of night, and 12 hours of light.

After the photoperiod has ended, you will need to provide more food than usual, and, where possible, offer fattier foods, such as wax worms. This is an important step that will help put weight, and condition onto your bearded dragons, getting them ready to breed.

After around 4 weeks after the photoperiod, you should make sure that the males and females are kept together. If there are more than one pair in the tank, you may notice that the males will become aggressive toward each other, and start to fight. The females will show obvious signs of submissiveness such as waving their arms, and bobbing their heads slowly. Once the female becomes fertile, she will begin looking for a place to lay her eggs. This is usually a soft, sandy place. Make sure that you provide such an area for her, by placing a mixture of play sand, and garden soil. The females are easily identifiable when they are pregnant, as they will appear much heavier than previously.

The Eggs, And Incubation

Once your female bearded dragon has laid her eggs, make note of the spot they have been placed. Then after she has finished, dig the eggs up with a spoon. It is vital that you are careful not to rotate the eggs when shifting them. It is possible to make your own incubator, although it is often easier, and the success rates are much higher with a bought incubator. The temperature must be kept at 85 degrees at all times, and must never go below 83 degrees. Eggs will need to be kept moist; you can do this by placing a small container of water at the bottom of the incubator, and misting the eggs with a fine spray regularly.

Hatching, And Caring For New Born Lizards

The eggs will usually hatch after 24 hours. Sometimes this may take a little longer. Just before the hatchlings emerge, you will notice that the eggs will begin to collapse. Once the hatchlings have emerged from their shells, it is time to place them in a rearing tank. The hatchlings will be very hungry, and need to be fed often to stop them from chewing at tails and toes, which do not grow back. Hatchlings must be fed very small wax worms, and crickets. Make sure that you don't feed them food that is too large, or you may cause them damage. Hatchlings need to be fed 3 times a day until they are 4 months old. After this, you can reduce their meal times to once per day. Offer the hatchlings foods such as greens, and flowers as well as worms, and crickets.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

All Pets Work - Reward Them With Kindness and Good Health

Have you ever watched as a "Guide Dog" stops a blind person at a stoplight? A period of training gives a guide dog the ability to safely help someone exist in a sightless world. The guide dog also gives unconditional companionship through it's bond with the owner. The owner's safety is paramount in the working mind of the dog. These two have a relationship as great as any human relationship.

How about the safety to all of us who travel? Have you ever watched a drug or explosive sniffing dog operate at an airport? It's a fantastic sight! Because of a dog's super sensitive nose (approximately 400 times more sensitive than a humans) he can detect even traceable amounts of those substances. We must be thankful for the safety they afford us.

Recent studies and tests indicate that dogs can detect cancer. Remarkable and reassuring that medical science can utilize this animal ability in this day of technology.

Did you know Pets are good for your health?

Arthritis sufferers find relief from having a dog present, possibly because of more activity required to care or nurture an animal.

Cancer patients, especially children, had reduced stress in the trauma of cancer treatments. Emotional distress was also reduced.

In a test at Brooklyn College, a test was done concerning heart attack victims that found dog owners

were eight times more likely to survive beyond a year past the attack. Possibly due to the need for walking the dog whereby gaining exercise time.

Alzheimer's disease patients also appeared more alert and had fewer behavioral problems when a dog was a resident of the facility.

Nursing homes commonly have pets to soothe and comfort patients as well as helping with exercise

Numerous books are available concerning pets and their interaction with people and how they can also teach as well as nurture humans.

A passing note: Pets sleep when they are tired, eat when hungry and give love unconditionally.
Maybe we can learn a lot from them!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Finding The Best German Shepherd Names Made Easier

Finding good German Shepherd dog names is no easy task. When one considers that this breed has consistently ranked as one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, it's no wonder that you as a lucky owner will want to find a name that fits like glove.

A couple of things you may have struggled with when coming up with a name, is whether to give your Shepherd a general dog name, meaning a good dog name that might be shared by other dogs, or a German dog name, meaning one that reflects this breeds country of origin.

Well have no fear, for this article will share with you puppy name suggestions that will cover both of these categories. Keeping in mind that the German Shepherd is such an intelligent, hard working breed, when coming up with these names we intentionally stayed clear of foo-foo dog names. You certainly won't find any names like Sparky, or Puddles on this list!

In our first category we've picked a few general names that we felt might fit this breed. We hope you'll agree.

General German Shepherd Names...

Apollo: Like the ancient Roman god, this dog has a presence of it's own.

Duke: A stately name for the dog who rules your palace.

Majestic: A good name for a dog that is just that…

Rambo: For the Shepherd who thrives on adventure.

Tiara: A feminine, yet strong sounding female name.

Other general names…

Avalanche, Freedom, Genghis, Harley, K-9, Max, Ninja, Rio, Saber, Sarge, Summer, Thunder, Tia

In this next category, we've listed German dog names and their meanings. Hopefully, by providing the meanings, it will make choosing the right name easier, and the name more special to you and your dog.

German Dog Names...

Boy Names and their meanings…

Arnold - Eagle, Powerful

Axel - Father of peace

Barrett - Strong as a bear

Bruno - Brown haired

Conrad - Brave counsel

Hank - Ruler of the estate

Jaegar - Hunter

Kaiser - Leader

Karl -A free man

Lance - Knight's attendant

Otto - Rich, wealthy

Reinhard - Brave, or a fox

other boy names…

Audi, Autobahn, Atlas, Attila, Beethoven, Blitz, Boris, Brando, Caspar, Conan, Einstein, Fabian, Franz, Freud, Fritz, Gunther, Gustav, Hannibal, Hanns, Herman, Igor, Klaus, Luger, Max, Mozart, Navarone, Reinold, Rembrandt, Romel, Rudy, Schnaps, Siegfried, Wolfgang

Girl Names and their meanings…

Adele - Noble, kind

Alison - Of noble birth

Anna - Gracious

Berta - Intelligent; Glorious

Brigitte - Strong spirited

Brooke - A stream

Elke - Noble and kind

Elsa - Noble

Emily - Industrious

Emma - All embracing

Gretchen - Little pearl

Heidi - Noble and kind

Katrina - Pure

Steffi - A garland or crown

other girl names…

Adelle, Avita, Babette, Bavaria, Blanca, Brandy, Brita, Danika, Elke, Elsa, Enya, Fraeulein, Hannah, Kalif, Kasandra, Kazimir, Misha, Noeska, Rachel, Sabine

I'm sure you'll agree that your Shepherd deserves the best, not only in it's care, but also the care you show when choosing the best name possible. Considering that you'll be using that same name over 30,000 times over your dogs lifetime, you can see how important choosing the right German Shepherd dog name can be.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cats: Don't Strike Or Harm Them

Cat or dogs? Which one would you choose? Both of them are our cherished pets. But by nature cats are quite different from dogs. Their behavior might at times be strange, mysterious, exasperating and maybe even alarming. Even after that if you want to understand them and be their friends you have to be quiet patient. But if one comes to understand why a cat behaves the way he does, you will find it easier to understand the wonder of their companionship.

But always remember and never forget even for a moment that you should not ever hit an animal for wrongdoing. This is not the way to teach our pets and will alienate their behaviour and their love for you. If you do strike your cat, the whole relationship can break down and that may be for a lifetime.

But before we start training our cats to do something or to stop doing something, we need to look at how cats learn. Since they are ignorant to our mode of conversation they tend to learn by experience and more than above all, our affection. To them it happens that if the experience is good, they will try to repeat it. But if the experience appears to be unpleasant for them, they will try to avoid it in the future. Try to understand and follow this. They enjoy scratching the furniture with their claws and, since they are fond of doing this, they continue to do it. But if they, for example, get burned by a candle flame then they get a shock and they won't do it again. The same response is true if anyone beats them or harms them - they may not be able to repair or trust that friendship.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's Bug Season

Some bugs are better than others. Take ladybugs for instance. They clean up all those garden destroying aphids. Even the ugliest of spiders help us out with those annoying mosquitos.

Then you have fleas and ticks. They can bring out "search and destroy" in even the holiest of holistic humans.

Before you haul out the big guns, like the ones you just dot onto the back of your pets fur and forget for a month, try some natural repellents first.


Those "spot on" insecticides are pretty severe. Do a search online for one of the active ingredients on the package, and see what comes up. Unfortunately, it isn't very comforting. And the words "inactive ingredient" does not mean "neutral". It means a chemical that is not the working part of the product.

If you have children that like to nuzzle the pet with their face, chronically ill, very young, allergy prone, or older pet, using harsh chemicals should be a concern to you. One of the biggest concerns around these chemicals is not what we know about them, but what we do not know. Just because a product is deemed safe under isolated scientific circumstances, does not mean it is safe in all circumstances. Our pets often fall under the "all circumstances" category because they share an integral part of our family.

What alternatives are there? Plenty, actually.

It will take a bit more work than simply cracking open a small tube and dripping it onto the back of your pet, but it won't take THAT much effort. The hardest part will be deciding which alternative method to use. In the end you will feel much better knowing your pet, your children, and your environment will be safer for it.

Here are some alternatives.

*Cloud Nine by Halo is a combination of aromatic oils you mix with water into a spray. It can be used on pets, bedding, and you can safely soak their collar in it. Your pet may have an aversion to the aroma at first, but smell receptors are designed to ignore smells that continue on and on (that is why you stop smelling a scented candle after it has been burning awhile). Also, do not spray your dogs face or head, use a sponge for that area instead.

*Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is a flour-like looking substance, but under the microscope is really the fossil remains of marine organisms. It works on many bugs including fleas and internal parasites by mechanical action. The fossils are razor sharp to insects and scratch their protective coating. The bug dehydrates and dies. The food grade version is the safest, and can be added pet food to control internal parasites. You can also dust it into your carpeting, floors, or directly on your pet and his bedding. You can mix it with water as a spray for a more controlled broadcast (This is the method I recommend if you have an aversion to dust).

*De Flea is a chemical for those who really have a flea problem. It is probably the safest chemical. It works by softening the protective coating on fleas (mechanical action like diatomaceous earth). You can use it to help eliminate the initial flea problem and then switch to one of the alternative remedies above for maintenance.

*A good diet is one of the best ways to improve your pets' bug defense. Bugs thrive in unhealthy environments (well, unhealthy for pets and humans). It is their place in the life chain. If you spend the money on super quality pet food (and supplement that food because nothing is perfect) not only will your pet need less of the food, but you will boost your pets own immune system giving him a head start against the bugs.

Other things you can do is wash the pets bedding (and yours if your pet sleeps with you), vacuum often, do not leave garbage, food, or water sitting around your house, and keep your pet in shape both emotionally and physically. These things take just a little bit more work than chemicals, but everyone will benefit from them (and its cheaper in the long run).

Happy Spring!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

How To Feed A Guard Dog

Guard dogs have extremely important jobs and they can end up serving on patrol duty, in riot control, shore watch, sentry duty and warehouse duty to name but a few. They need to be trained to a high standard and they need to have a lot of stamina too. This means that a good diet is needed to keep their energy levels up.

What You Should Feed a Guard Dog

All guide dogs need a high level of energy to do their jobs properly. They tend to be on duty for quite a long time and that means that there is no room for a lack of energy. Anything could happen and the dog would need to be able to jump in at any time when needed. Also, they are always under some form of stress, especially in riot situations.

You would think that a guard dog would be better suited to high caloric foods which have 1500 to 1600 calories per pound, but unfortunately not even these foods are good enough. Usually guard dogs are only fed once a day and that means that they need to eat a small amount in that sitting and it has to have an extremely high caloric intake to be sufficient enough to carry them through the day. This means that the food has to have the right nutrients as well as high energy levels too.

One thing which many people do not like about patrol guard dogs is the fact that they tend to leave their stools everywhere and due to the food that they eat, it can be quite smelly as well as look a mess! Workers do not like to have their dinner or morning coffee having to smell the remains of dog stools! There is a way in which this problem can be controlled however and that is to stick to a food which is high in energy but low in dry food. It is the indigestible dry matter which causes the problem and if you reduce that then you should be OK. The stools will become less frequent and they will also not smell as badly as they did before.

Overall guard dogs need high energy food which does not have much dry matter. The food should exceed 1600 calories per pound and they should be fed one meal per day. This way they will keep their maximum performance and their energy levels will be up all day.

One last tip is to feed a guard dog out of raised dog bowls. This will reduce the amount of air ingested during feeding, which makes digestion more efficient and creates less gas.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Minnesota State Statutes Regarding Outdoor Dogs

If you're going to keep a dog outdoors in the State of Minnesota, there are some specific requirements you need to be aware of. Minnesota State Statute 343.40 addresses the subject:

Minnesota State Statute 343.40

Dog Houses

Subd. 1. In general. A person in charge or control of any dog which is kept outdoors or in and unheated enclosure shall provide the dog with shelter and bedding as prescribed in this section as a minimum.

Subd. 2. Building specifications. The shelter shall include a moisture proof and windproof structure of suitable size to accommodate the dog and allow retention of body heat. It shall be made of durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor or a floor raised at least two inches from the ground. Between November 1 and March 31 the structure must have a windbreak at the entrance. The structure shall be provided with a sufficient quantity of suitable bedding material consisting of hay, straw, cedar shavings, blankets, or the equivalent, to provide insulation and protection against cold and dampness and promote retention of body heat.

Subd. 3. Shade. Shade from the direct rays of the sun, during the months of June to September shall be provided.

Subd. 4. Farm dogs. In lieu of the requirements of subdivision 2 and 3, a dog kept on a farm may be provided with access to a barn with a sufficient quantity of loose hay or bedding to protect against cold and dampness.

Subd. 5. Zoning. All shelter required by this section shall be subject to all building or zoning regulations of any city, township, county or state.

Subd. 6. Penalty. Whoever violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

In order for your dog's outdoor shelter to be in compliance with this statute, here are the key points you need to understand.

1. A dog house with windows, a leaking roof, slats in the sides, or an open doorway are all in violation.

2. For the dog house to be of 'suitable to size to retain the dog's body heat', the following is recommended: the door height should be at least 3/4 of your pet's shoulder height (from the ground to the neck), the length and width should be at least equal to but not more than 25% larger than the distance between the nose and the base of the tail, and the height of the house should be at least 25% taller and no more than 50% the height of the pet when standing.

3. The dog house floor must be 2 inches above the ground. Standing water or mud do not qualify as ground. If the house stands in water or mud, or leans into water or mud, then it must be relocated to a dry spot, where the entire floor of the house will be 2 inches above dry ground.

4. Between November 1 and March 31, it is not sufficient to have an open doorway on the dog house. A dry piece of carpet may be used, however it is preferable that the dog house be equipped with a clear plastic door to allow the dog the ability to see light, approaching people, and other movement.

5. Dry bedding must be provided within the dog house. Damp or wet bedding is not acceptable.

6. June 1 - September 30, the house must be located in shade, whether man-made or natural.

The statute is very specific and overlooking any one of these steps is a violation of the State Statute. The fine for a petty misdeameanor is approximately $300 per occurrence, plus any applicable surcharges.

So let's say you agree to all of the above and have complied on every point ~ you're now ready to house your dog outdoors, right? NO. You are now only in compliance on the minimum standard for the dog house itself. However, there is still State Statute 346.39:

Subd. 1. Food. Dogs and cats must be provided with food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or the maintenance of body weight. Feed standards shall be those recommended by the National Research Council.

Subd. 2. Water. Dogs and cats must be provided with clean, potable water in sufficient quantity to satisfy the animal's needs or supplied by free choice. Snow or ice is not an adequate water source.

Snow or ice is not an adequate water source. This is possibly the most important item to understand, considering that water left in a bowl may turn to ice in mere minutes on a Minnesota winter's day, and will most certainly freeze overnight. A heated dish with an electric coil is the only practical solution, and these may be purchased for as little as $30. However, you will want to investigate various heated bowls, as not all bowls are capable of maintaining the proper temperature when the mercury drops to 30 below zero. Additionally, puddles, and stagnant or dirty water do not qualify as "potable" under the statute.

It is also important to remember that your pet may require additional calories in the winter months as it takes additional energy to keep body temperature regulated. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate daily calorie intake your dog will require to spend the winter outdoors.

Even though you provide adequate housing, warm water and food, and despite the fact that your animal has a fur coat, animals that are kept outdoors in freezing temperatures are still at risk for hypothermia and/or frostbite. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow respiration, and lethargy. If you suspect hypothermia, the animal should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. If you attempt to warm the animal yourself, it is essential that ONLY the pet's abdomen and thorax are warmed; warming paws, ears, or other extremities first can cause the animal to go into shock.

Frostbite occurs most commonly on ears, paws, and tails. Frostbitten body parts are unlikely to have sensation until they begin to thaw, at which time they may become very red, swollen, and painful. It is not uncommon in Minnesota for dogs and cats to lose ears and tails due to extreme frostbite. Again, treating hypothermia or frostbite should not be attempted at home, these conditions require prompt attention from a veterinarian.

If you must keep your dog outdoors, particularly during extreme temperatures, there is much to consider. Your local humane society will be able to assist with any specific questions you have regarding dog houses, appropriate kennel space, and State statutes. The most important thing to remember is that protecting your pet against the elements is not only humane, it is the law.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vestibular Disease in Dogs and Cats

The vestibular system controls balance and prevents an animal from falling over. It does this by holding and constantly adjusting the position of the eyes, head and body in relation to gravity. When there is disease affecting this system, though it is seldom life threatening, the symptoms caused can be particularly distressing for a pet owner. Animals may tilt their head to one side, circle either clockwise or anticlockwise, fall over repeatedly, roll to one side, be generally wobbly and display abnormal pupil movement in their eyes. Here we look at the physiology of the vestibular system in dogs and cats, what can go wrong and how a good veterinarian will diagnose and treat it.

What exactly is the vestibular system?

The vestibular system is a sensory system consisting of a receptor organ within the inner ear, the vestibular nerve itself, and a balance control centre at the back of the brain. The receptor organ in the inner ear detects the position and movement of the head in space, both when the animal is resting or moving. Information on the position of the head is converted into electrical signals, which are transmitted via the vestibular nerve to the brain. The balance control centre in the brain then processed this information, and sends motor signals to the muscles controlling the positions of the eyes and limbs according to the movement of the head.

What is vestibular syndrome?

Vestibular syndrome is a general term describing disease of the vestibular system. The term alone does not provide any information on which part of the vestibular system is affected, and what the cause is.

What are the signs to look out for?

Animals with vestibular disease may display any or all of the following signs:

1. Head tilt

This is rotation of the head so that one ear is lower than the other. It occurs due to loss of antigravity muscle tone on one side of the neck.

2. Circling

Circling often occurs with vestibular disease, but can also occur with forebrain tumors. Generally, tight circles mean vestibular disease while wide circles mean a brain tumor.

3. Nystagmus (wandering pupils)

This means involuntary rhythmic movement of the eyeballs. The pupils tend to drift to one side (the slow phase) and then jerk back to the middle (the fast phase). Usually the slow phase is toward the diseased side.

4. Strabismus (squint)

This means abnormal position of the eyeballs, rather like the condition commonly known as a squint.

5. Ataxia (wobbliness)

This means walking in an uncoordinated fashion, and is seen with a wide range of diseases other than vestibular disease, such as those affecting the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves. Animals can adopt a broad based stance, exhibit swaying of the head, and leaning, falling and rolling to one side.

Peripheral vs Central Vestibular Disease

Vestibular disease is categorized as either peripheral or central, according to where in the system the disease originates from. Peripheral vestibular disease is where the disease is located in either the receptor organs in the inner ear or the vestibular nerve. Central vestibular disease is where the disease is located in the balance control centre in the brain (to be precise, either in the brainstem vestibular nuclei or in the cerebellum).

The first task for the veterinarian is to identify whether he/she is dealing with peripheral or central vestibular disease. This is done by looking carefully for all of the symptoms described above, and further characterizing them by direction and nature. It is beyond the remit of this article to go into the exact way of differentiating them clinically, and though it can usually be achieved by a competent vet by examination alone, sometimes further tests are necessary to do so.

Causes of peripheral vestibular syndrome

  • Middle or inner ear disease (infection or tumor)
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps
  • Head trauma
  • Drug toxicity (e.g. gentamycin)
  • Underactive thyroid gland
  • Congenital (present at birth)
  • Idiopathic (cause unidentifiable)
  • Causes of central vestibular syndrome

  • Brain hemorrhage or infarct
  • Infectious encephalitis (bacterial, viral or fungal)
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Head trauma
  • Drug toxicity (e.g. metronidazole)
  • Brain cyst
  • Brain tumor (primary or metastatic)
  • Thiamine deficiency
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Making a diagnosis

    First, the veterinarian must distinguish between peripheral and central disease based on clinical signs. If there is doubt, diagnostics for both should be done. If the veterinarian suspects central disease, he/she may choose to rule out peripheral disease with various tests first because the tests for central disease are expensive (e.g. MRI or CT scan).

    The following procedure is what is most commonly done when looking for causes of peripheral vestibular disease. If drug toxicity has been ruled out (no metronidazole, aminoglycoside antibiotics or topical chlorhexidine recently) then the external ears are examined using an otoscope (illuminated and magnified inspection device with a rigid conical end which is inserted into the ear canal). Ear infections, tumors and polyps may be detected this way. Middle ear disease is suspected if the ear drum appears to be ruptured, bulging, cloudy or red in color. Thyroid levels are usually measured by a blood test at this stage to rule out hypothyroidism.

    The next step of the investigation is taking xrays of the skull. Several views are required but the most important one is that which shows the tympanic bullae in the middle ears most clearly. This requires general anesthesia to allow correct positioning.

    If the tests at this stage have all come back normal, many cases will be given a presumptive diagnosis of idiopathic vestibular syndrome. This is usually because a) it is by far the most likely diagnosis, and b) further specialized tests are costly. If however further tests are to be carried out, MRI or CT scanning, electromyography and nerve conduction studies are a possibility in some referral centers.

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    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Rocky's Road - The Misadventure of a Globe-Trotting Boarder Collie

    Whish! Tracy swerved, nearly having to pull her car over. She was laughing to hard to drive. Whish! Plop! Jingle! Then, another Whish! Dog toys were flying past her rearview mirror like fuzzy meteors headed for earth. She was not two miles form Best Friend's Animal Sanctuary and Rocky's antics had already rendered her incapsitated. Again, jingles erupted out of the musical walrus.

    Rocky has always loved his toys. Some wonder if he had them on the streets of Beirut. His handlers always picture him gathering stuffed animals from the collapsed rubble of bombed out homes. No doubt he'd pile them up, keeping them close together in pure Border Collie fashion. Soon rescuers came, but not for his playthings.

    Rocky is one of hundreds of animals rescued by Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) during last falls conflict with Israel. When Betas's shelter was damaged the animals were moved. When neighbors threatened to kill them all, they moved again. This time the refugee pack came to America. The kind souls at Best Friends Animal Society evacuated the rag-tag menagerie, bringing them all to their facility outside Kanab, Utah.

    At two years of age, the stunning Rocky was already better traveled than many American citizens. Now, he was on his way to Colorado. Would this finally be his forever-home? A flying tiger toy balanced off the dashboard as the Jeep Cherokee rolled up Hwy 89. From the back, Tracy's own Lebanon Rescue, a cantacourous terrier mix named Flipper, snarled his disapproval. Why had Rocky gotten the good seat?

    As the Muttly Crew crossed Utah and wound up the Rocky Mountains, Tracy reflected on the past three weeks. It was her brother and his wife that were adopting Rocky. Or, so she thought. Tracy had taken the dog to obedience classes, drove him on outings, worked with him on the Best Friends agility course, etc. One of them had a natural talent for agility. It wasn't Tracy. She believed she laid the foundations of a great pet for her family. There was one flaw in the plan.

    Within a Colorado day the blemish appeared. It was Tracy's family that needed intensive training, not the dog. True, Rocky was not yet perfect. He needed house training and paced and whined when left alone or shut in a room. But, why not? He was a Border Collie after all. While he has a dash of husky or ausie, Rocky's needy heart and wrestles mind are Border through and through. Tracy was aghast by her own family's lack of preparations.

    Her brother had actually taken down his dog run. It was ugly. Sure, he had a dog door. It was in the box lying against the garage wall. Rocky's 'facilities?' They were a massive porch with a whopping three foot railing and almost that much dirt area for his bathroom requirements. Tracy hung her head in shame. Despite having ample acreage and money brother dearest was not prepared for his commitment. "And, he's literally a rocket-scientist," she mumbled under her breath. Lord help genetics.

    "Your enclosure will not work, she told Tim, her big brother. "You need to fence part of the actual yard." Then he iced the cake. "But, I have to work tomorrow." "I thought you wear retiring," she said. He had not. Nor was he willing to add more fencing or work a trainer. We both have the same Father's eyes, Tracy silently pondered.

    The next morning, Flipper snarled his disapproval at the world. Tracy went to Denver to meet her 'normal' brother, John, and Rocky was shut inside. He was shut inside his giant new home with all white carpets. Happy, happy, joy, joy, Rocky took his revenge.

    As John approached the restaurant table the following morning he told Tracy, "I have some bad news." She didn't miss a beat. "Tim just called and I'm taking Rocky back to Utah with me. I'll have a large chai with soy." "Ah, you're right," John stumbled. No doubt thinking, his sister should have been the rocket scientist. Tracy pretended to be undaunted.

    Inside she dreaded ten more hours in a car with Rocky and a disgruntled Flipper. She was mortified at the thought of telling Best Friends her own brother, whom she recommended, was such a wanker. Overall, however, her mind was dancing with glee.

    She'd already decided Rocky could not stay with someone unwilling to prepare for him, work with him or provided him a secure home and continued training. (The mind and body of a Border Collie needs more.) Now she could play apologetic instead of condescending. Now no 'Breaking and Entering' would be on her record.

    Back across the country the trio rolled. Tracy's heart broke when she returned Rocky to his run at Best Friends. She'd chosen the wrong home for him. Even the greatest sanctuary on earth is no substitute for a loving home. His rocky road will continue a little longer.

    To this day Tracy, a Best Friends volunteer, still walks Rocky, bumbles through the agility course and takes him for drives. Whish! While he waits for his forever-family, he keeps his toys on her back seat.

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    Friday, March 16, 2007

    How To Potty Train Your Parrot

    Parrots can be potty trained if you are willing to perform some dedicated and consistent training. Seldom are parrot perfect about their potty training but with some work, you can get near-perfect results. In fact, you can usually obtain results so good that when the parrot does have an accident, it is because you failed to pay attention!

    Parrot characteristics vary according to their various conditions. Wild parrots do not potty where they sleep or eat. They move to another spot. In case of caged parrots, an adult bird will usually move to a spot far from its food and sleeping perch to defecate. Birds can be trained to "go" in different places, but often the cage is the preferred location.

    SunDance Trained Me

    I must say that I did not invent this training technique. SunDance taught me how to train parrots this behavior. Whenever she would potty on a shirt, she would be taken back to her cage and told to "go home" while I changed shirts or cleaned up the mess. Often, I might get busy and not go back to get her immediately, so she was not happy with this situation. Soon, she began to say "go home" before she defecated, giving me time to take her to her cage, let her poop and take her back with me. She liked this much better! If I did not respond quickly, she would nip gently on my neck and repeat her command to me to take her home. After she told me the third time, she would simply let go. It was up to me and her other humans to respond to the command she gave us.

    Potty Times

    Parrots go potty at specific times that can be used to train them. First thing in the morning, they will potty. About 10 minutes after eating, they will potty. This is reliable and you can use these times to know when to give the command and expect results.

    Other parrot characteristics include getting into a certain posture before pottying. They sort of squat down and spread their rump feathers so they do not get them dirty. You will learn to watch for this body language and use it as well during training.

    Train Parrot

    Choose a word for the action of defecation. "Go poop", "go poo", "potty please" or something similar works just fine. Use this word whenever you see your parrot potty.

    First thing in the morning, after saying "good morning", tell your parrot to go potty. Wait; it will happen very soon. Once it does, lavish praise on your parrot. Make a really big deal about what a great bird he or she is.

    Watch for your parrot to finish eating breakfast and repeat the potty process. Also, watch for the potty body language and use the potty command and praise again.

    In Closing

    Some parrots learn this behavior quickly; others take some time to get the hang of it. But most parrots will get the idea in time and become reasonably consistent in avoiding messing up your clothes, sofa or carpet.

    The key to training this behavior is consistency. After your parrot begins to let you know it needs to go potty, do not fail to respond. Stop what you are doing and take your bird to potty and praise it. If you sometimes ignore the need, you will not be nearly as successful as if you take the bird to potty promptly.

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    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Puppy Training - Puppy House Training

    If you are a dog lover like me and have a new puppy at home, you know how anxious you could get. I love my puppy Ruff. He is a great partner for a walk and for a good time on the river banks. But training him was essential and I couldn't afford to send him to the Puppy Training School Near where I stay. I also disliked the idea of my puppy being taken care of by someone else whom I don't know and trust. With my previous experience of Pet trainers, beating up without reasons and training in the most unethical manner I keep out of the next door puppy training classes.

    That's when I started looking for Puppy House training classes. I wanted to learn how to keep Ruff under control. He was getting a bit aggressive about his boundaries and people he met. My Friends started keeping away from him as he growled at them when they were too near to him of me. I realized it soon and leashed him initially to avoid accidents. That wasn't enough. I had to train him and allow him to be loved by others. I started off with Aggression training with Leash and then with reinforcement. It worked well but the time I spent with my puppy was immense. I had to spend at least 4-5 hours with my puppy , training him on a new chore every day and every single trick took me at least a week to get him understand. I was of course annoyed and started loosing my patience. But looking into my puppies eyes I could see that I had to do it and I continued.

    I have spent at least 4-5 hours every day and trained my puppy to teach him the best mannerism, and control him over time. My Puppy training has enabled Ruff to keep his temper and also to control himself. It doesn't matter if its potty training or Just aggressiveness, I can know it from Ruffs movements. Today if you had to do a Puppy house training for your puppies you could be spending only one or two hours a day. You can also get to be doing some real professional puppy house training using the tips and tricks you can gain from some of the best books online.

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    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Ring Worm - An Illness Common To Dogs

    Even when fed and cared for properly, there are health problems that dogs can be prone to. With the many illnesses that can affect a dog's health, it is very important for the owner to be aware of the need for good sanitation in the food, the doghouse and anywhere the dog spends a lot of time. To protect against such deadly viruses as rabies, etc., dogs must also be routinely vaccinated. Below, we will discuss ringworm, a common dog illness – what it is and what to do about it.

    What is ringworm?

    A fungal infection, ringworm can have an adverse affect on a dog appearance as well as its health.

    What are the signs of the ring worm infection?

    A small area without any hair is an obvious sign of ringworm. This area will also have scaly skin and pustules. The dog will scratch because of the itching caused by ringworm. Over time, the affected area will grow larger if not treated. The most common areas to have ringworm lesions are the legs, the head and the tail.

    How to diagnose the ring worm infection

    There are several methods used to diagnose ringworm. The use of a specialized black lamp called Wood's Lamp is the most commonly used method. Ringworm will emit a fluorescent color when exposed to the light of a Wood's Lamp. There are two forms of ringworm, m.canis or t. mentagrophytes, that do not emit any fluorescent color, so another method must be used to confirm a diagnoses.

    How to treat ringworm?

    If a dog is otherwise in good health, ringworm lesions will clear up on their own in about four months. If the infection is severe, treatment is warranted. To keep it from spreading, the hair around the lesion must be trimmed away without irritating the skin. Then apply a topical anti-fungal cream, such as miconazole or lotrimin to the affected area. Be sure to take measures to prevent the dog from licking the medicated wound.

    In very severe cases, an anti-fungal shampoo [miconazole 2%, ketoconazole, chlorhexidine 0.5%] and an anti-fungal dip [lime sulfur, chlorhexidine 2%] will also need to be used. The veterinarian may prescribe an oral anti-fungal madication, such as griseofulvin or itraconazole, to help the healing process advance more rapidly.

    With good care and information, a dog owner can prevent the common dog illnesses from being too much of an issue.

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    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Akita Training & What To Look Out For

    When it comes to Akita training, you probably already know that it can sometimes be difficult to train your Akita dog. This is simply because the Akita dog is a highly intelligent, fearless and spontaneous animal. These of course are wonderful characteristics, but can lead to making training you're Akita rather difficult. So can the ultra intelligent Akita dog be difficult to train?

    For starters, Akita's are EXTREMELY protective of their owners and family. While this means undying loyalty to you and you're family, it also means that they have a strong tendency to be rather aggressive and hot tempered towards any "unknown" visitors. This characteristic is the most difficult personality trait that needs to be trained when it comes to Akita training. Of course with the proper knowledge of Akita training, this shouldn't pose to be too much trouble.

    Akita dogs are also very intelligent animals, and it is for this very reason that they may often times think they "know better", and try to take their own path…even towards their own training. However this means that if you have the proper knowledge of how to train you're Akita dog, then they will learn very quickly and with ease.

    Akita's have a strong tendency to NOT get along with other pets, but this trait can be somewhat cured. Because Akita's are very dominate and territorial animals, they're not very big fans of sharing space with other animals.

    From the moment you bring you're Akita home to the days that you're Akita is resting underneath the shade, it is absolutely IMPRETIVE that they know who their master is at all times, otherwise it is very likely that they will run all over you. A timid or submissive owner is not recommended for this breed, they're strong will can over power you.

    It also must be noted, that while Akita's do get along very well with children that they already know within the family, they have a tendency to not tolerate new children that are brought into the family, making it not a good choice for a family who expects more little ones down the road.

    Now all these traits should not put you off owning an Akita dog. Yes, Akita training can provide the owner with some challenges, but the rewards are very well worth it. It is also important to note that while this breed might have its difficulties, these are traits that can be drastically settled down, but require the proper specialized knowledge to do so. Being an expert on dog training myself, I highly recommend that you acquire the right specialized knowledge of how to train you're Akita properly, or you're Akita experience might prove to be somewhat bitter.

    It should also be noted, that training you're Akita is actually not a hard process, even though it might seem as such, the Akita's incredible intelligence makes it a very quick and fun learner.

    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    Benefits Between Pets and Humans

    Pets can be beneficial to your health and well being, as much as you are to theirs. Did you know that being around a pet for just 15 minutes can lower blood pressure, heart rate, reduce stress levels and lift your spirits? Animals can make you feel less lonely, less depressed, distract you from pain and ailments, as well as be entertaining and stimulating to the other senses. They have a lot of love, warmth, and companionship to give.

    Most pets, especially dogs and cats, have the ability to sense and feel when something is wrong. When you're feeling sad, depressed, or hurt, they seem to know it, and will do just about anything in their power to try to comfort you and make you feel better. A pet can put a person's needs aside, where they think less about themselves and more about the animal.

    It has been tried and tested in many areas to see how well this action is performed, and there is now areas in hospitals and nursing homes that use this technique, called pet therapy. The preferred use of the term is called Animal Assisted Therapy.

    However, what is good for you is also good for your pet. Your pet also has days when they are feeling blue, and or possibly achy or depressed about something. Let them know you care about them as much as they care about you. Pets depend on you to care for them when they need it. Your pet needs you for so many things during the course of their life, if they are to maintain a happy and healthy life. They have most of the same needs as you do, yet they can't always do for themselves as a human can. This is where you need to show your pet just how much they mean to you. It's not much, just a few minutes of your time each day will in most cases do just fine. Just a few short minutes of gently playing with your pet, giving it attention by pampering it with a bath, brushing, or simple talking and petting time, helps to relieve their stress, sadness, irritability, and loneliness. It's a great pick me up and adds a highlight and special feeling to their day.

    Pets need to feel needed, but they also need to feel loved and cared about as well. If you give 100% to your pet, they will give 200% in return. So, the next time you see your pet looking depressed or moping about, take the time to stop and give them that little bit extra. Chances are, the next time you're feeling that way, they will come to you to return the favor.

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    How Cosequin DS Works

    In this article we will take a look at how Cosequin DS works and how it can be beneficial to your dog's quality of life.

    Cosequin DS is a combination of three ingredients which are Chondroitin Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Manganese Ascorbate. They work together and so maintain the structure of a dog's joint cartilage whilst slowing down the enzymes which would normally break this cartilage down. The DS stands for Double Strength, these supplements are designed for large dogs over 25lbs. For smaller dogs the standard Cosequin is sufficient.

    Firstly the Glucosamine Hydrochloride which is contained in the Cosequin DS supplement acts as a building block for the cartilage by supplying it with a key nutrient which will keep the cells of the cartilage healthy and working properly. It has been shown that the 99% pure glucosamine contained in Cosequin DS is absorbable by dogs easily.

    Secondly the Chondroitin Sulfate is a nutrient which blocks the enzymes that will break down the cartilage in the dog's joints. Because of its low molecular weight and can only be found in its most purest form in Cosequin DS this has also been found to be easily absorbable by dogs and will also accumulate in a dog's body if it is continuously administrated to them.

    Finally we come to the Manganese Ascorbate this is a very essential part of the Cosequin DS supplement as it helps to optimize the production of cartilage components.

    As the cartilage is a slippery but resilient tissue which is produced and maintained by its own cells and is there to cushion the surface where two or more bone joints meet. So it in fact forms a flexible joint and unfortunately when a dog is in motion i.e., running then they are putting tremendous pressure on to these joints. Unfortunately the cartilage does not have its own blood supply and in order for nutrients to get into it they must pass through the surrounding tissue. It is vital that these nutrients pass through to the cartilage cells in order to provide the components which are necessary to maintain a very healthy cartilage structure for the dog.

    Scientists are still unsure as to what factors actually cause a dog's cartilage to breakdown. By they have discovered that enzymes play quite a major role in this process. Also age, injury or the dog being over active will also increase the breakdown process against the process of the cartilage actually being replaced in the joints. What this then happens is the dog's joints become less flexible and find it more difficult to move around.

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Signs of Illness for Cats

    Cats by nature will never show that they are hurt if they can hide it, because in the wild, the weak and hurt are targeted first. That's not to say it's impossible to know if you are paying attention to the signs.

    A cat lives life like a routine and as long as their environment and diet don't change around them they will act and behave the same on a daily basis.

    Changes like a change in appetite, activity, weight, behavior, sounds, toileting, sleep, interactions with you, coat, breathing rate, movement, coughing, vomiting, sneezing, amount of sleep, breathing or even a different smell are all signs you should be looking for if you suspect your cat may be ill. Even prolonged bad breath is a sign that they may have kidney problems.

    Weight change is something you should keep an eye for which isn't as noticeable as the other signs. Weight gain or loss of two or three pounds is a lot for a cat, equivalent to 20-30 lbs for us. Weight gain may be the first signs for diabetes.

    Keep track of what is in the litter box, if no changes were done to their diets and haven't been eating table scraps, what you find in the litter box should be constant.

    Call your veterinarian as soon as you think your cat is sick. We tend to wait till things get worse even for ourselves which just make things harder and more expensive to handle. Our pet cats deserve the best care possible.

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Cats And Children Does It Fit

    Cats are know to give various benefits to their owners but does this also apply to children? Yes it does providing you introduce your child to the right behavior towards pets. Cats can help to increase the wellness of your child. It is no problem to have a child with a cat but you need to make sure your child know the right behavior towards a cat. Your child doesn't know how to treat a cat, he or she must learn it first.

    It is important that your child learns to develop respect for pets and animals in general. If this is provided your child can have a lot of fun growing up with a pet cat. You can buy a a cat as a gift for your child, for example on Christmas or on his/her birthday. Such a special gift will certainly make your child happy.

    When you are looking for ways on how to bring out the best between your child and the pet, this article might be helpful.

    • Be aware that children do not know how to treat animals the right way, they have to learn it first. Show to your child the proper way of handling and treating cats. Make sure your child does not hurt the cat, otherwise your child will probably get hurt back by the cat. It is very important that your child knows what he or she can do with a cat and what better not to do.

    • Explain to your child why a cat acts in a certain way so that he or she understands how to treat a cat. Especially when it's your child's first time with a pet you need to be a guide.

    • If you tell your child some facts about cats he or she can better understand why a cat acts like it does. Your child will learn the important things that he or she needs to know while playing with a cat or petting a cat.

    • Make sure your child does not play to rough with the cat, this could end in a hurting child and / or cat. Cats may use their paws and your child could get hurt. Show your child how to use certain cat toys rather than using his or her bare hands.

    • Let your child know that cats need a lot of sleep and that they sometimes not want to be bothered.

    • Remind your child the importance of not letting the cats stay inside homes. To keep their pets safe, it is a must that your child learns how to protect the cat from any untoward incident.

    These are things you have to remember when having children and cats at home. Try to avoid any unwanted accidents or injuries by helping your child with the right treatment of a cat.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Control a Barking Dog

    Dogs bark for a good number of reasons. It can vary from the simplest reason to the more complex ones. Barking is inherent with any dog because that is how they communicate with each other. But there are some dogs whose incessant barking really annoys not just the owners but also the neighborhood as well.

    Reasons Why Your Dog Barks Incessantly

    Here are some things an owner should know why they bark that continuously and annoyingly.

    Dogs need attention, and dogs, by nature, love to play. If they are ignored, they are more prone to depression and/or start becoming unruly. They need the owner to start giving them attention, some time to play or take a walk in the park. It is basic knowledge that dogs should be taken for a walk on a daily basis, rain or shine.

    The dog may need something that it knows the owner could provide. It could probably be hungry or have to go pooh or something. The owner could go see what the dog is barking about and attend to it promptly. It is also good to follow a fixed schedule for feeding and potty purposes. This will train the dog when to expect their basic needs to be attended to and be less of a bother to the owner.

    If the dog becomes persistent on barking after making sure that his needs have been provided for, the pet may be testing how far the owner would go to meet his demand. Hurting the dog will usually not work in the long run although it may initially stop the barking, but after a few moments, I bet the barking will start again. This can be better addressed by spraying the dog with water. This should be a warning to the dog if verbal reprimand fails to elicit the desired response from the dog. But it is still best to make the dog stop barking first through verbal command.

    If the owner starts receiving complaints that the dog continuously barks whenever he's out, he could have his friend drive his car to trick the dog into thinking that the owner's gone. The owner should then hide in a spot where the dog cannot track him visually, positioning himself downwind where the dog cannot pick up his scent. If it starts barking, rush in and angrily shake a can full of stones and loudly say "No barking!" or "Quiet!" in a firm and commanding tone of voice while shaking the collar unsympathetically, letting him know who the master is.

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Basic Parrot Instincts

    I have had quite a few conversations this last month with people regarding parrot behavior. Why do they do what they do anyway? In the most basic sense, it comes down to one thing - Instinct. Okay, so what exactly is that? Technically, it is inborn behavior patterns and responses to stimuli (including reflexes). Kind of boring sounding isn't it? But, it's why parrots do certain things.

    Whether parrots are in the rainforest, the plains or your living room, they have the SAME instincts. Parrot instinct is hard wired behavior that we need to learn to work WITH, not against. Working with parrots and understanding their instincts will help you develop the mutual trust that is necessary for a good relationship with your parrot.

    Instinctual behavior is not the same as learned behavior. For example, parrots have certain calls to communicate, however, they learn to scream for attention. Parrots are master manipulators when it comes to learned behaviors, they respond to your actions and emotions and can easily figure out how to "push your buttons" but I'm going to stick with the basics in this article.

    Prey vs. Predator

    The most important thing to remember when interacting with parrots is that they are PREY animals. Dogs and cats are PREDITORS. Parrots are always on the lookout for something that might eat them. This prey mentality is to keep them alive. Predators are fast, parrots must be faster to live.

    This is why their eyes are positioned on the sides of their head and their neck can turn so they can see almost 360 degrees around them. It's the same reason that fast movements usually scare them or put them on guard. (Might be a hawk coming for lunch!)

    Here are a few common behaviors and the parrots underlying instincts:

    Fight or Flight

    You have probably heard of the fight or flight before, it's never been more true for parrots. I am sure they prefer to flee from danger but can, and will, get nasty when flying away is not an option. When parrots sense danger the first response is to get away. Alex, my African Grey is a prime example of this one. I call it the "fly first ask questions later" behavior. If anything startles him he is off and flying. If cornered, he will actually growl or get in a striking pose.

    April, my Umbrella Cockatoo, has a slightly different strategy. She also flies when threatened but she does so while screaming at the top of her lungs to warn the other members of her flock. If she is cornered, her first response is to "poof out" all her feathers and open her wings and tail out fully. This is to make her look much larger and more intimidating. Then she will rock back and forth hissing loudly. Ok, it works. Don't mess with her now.

    Being wary of predators is also why parrots prefer high spots. A curtain rod or top of the cage, among others, make favorite spots. This way they are in a better position to spot potential predators. If you had to worry about being someone's lunch you would want to see them coming first to get out of the way.


    Parrots need interaction with a flock. The flock in our homes is either other birds, humans or a little of both. Parrots are social animals and count on each other to survive. One bird can alert hundreds to danger. And the mass movement of a flock of birds taking flight confuses predators, etc.

    In our homes, parrots need attention from their human flock. If they don't get it, they will find ways to get it that are not particularly pleasant to us humans. Parrots will get lonely, self-destructive and can develop behavioral problems if not given enough attention. They NEED to be talked to, played with and interact with other members of their "flock."

    Parrots are very "tuned in" to their flock. It's true, if you have high energy, are in a bad mood or are sick and not feeling well, your parrot companion will interact with you in different ways depending on what they "sense." Some say they are almost physic.


    Flying is THE most natural behavior for a bird. It's hard to imagine how many companion birds never really fly. Even if a bird has trimmed wings, they can still fly to some extent. Flying to VERY important to both the physical and mental health of parrots. Parrots need the exercise - it's what their bodies were designed to do! Parrots that are flighted are usually more confident and comfortable. I won't get into the safety issue of clipping or not here, but I switched sides years ago and will never clip a birds wings again. That's my personal opinion.

    Seeing the world a little more through a parrot's eyes, it's easier to understand where you can make some small changes to your own behavior and enjoy a better relationship with your bird. Remember - TRUST is the key! When there is mutual trust, both of you can let your hair down a bit and enjoy each others company more.

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Favorite Small Dog Breeds in 2006

    Are you thinking of getting a small dog? Are you wondering what the most popular small dog breeds are? And why do so many people prefer a small dog?

    People get small dogs for various reasons. It could be they enjoy a small dog that is easier to handle, easier to travel with, and cheaper to feed. Many who live in cities prefer a small dog because they don't have a lot of living space.

    These are all good reasons to get a small dog. Others reasons could include that you want a lapdog. Almost every breed listed here makes an excellent lapdog. They all make great companions.

    What are the most favorite small dog breeds? It might interest you to know that the second most popular dog in the United States is a small dog.

    According to the AKC the Yorkshire Terrier jumped from third favorite to second favorite in 2006. They overtook Golden Retrievers for that second spot.

    It should really come as no surprise that these little dogs are adored by so many people. With their zesty personality and penchant for adventure, they are a very fun and playful dog breed.

    Second most popular small dog is the Dachshund. Weighing in at just eleven pounds they are the sixth favorite dog in the United States. They, too, have a bold and adventurous personality.

    The Poodle comes next at position eight. They weigh only four to eight pounds, just right for sitting in your lap and being your companion (both of which they love to do). If you get a Poodle you will find they want to be wherever you are.

    Like the other small dog breeds they should not be left outdoors. They cannot tolerate cold, and they will be miserable if separated from their family.

    The next most favorite small dog is the Shih Tzu, ninth most favorite dog in the United States. These dogs were originally bred to be lapdogs, so if you want a dog that is affectionate, will sit happily in your lap, and loves children, this is a good choice.

    The Miniature Schnauzer is the tenth favorite dog. These dogs weigh about 14 pounds and love to be included in everything the family does. Like many terriers it is a great watchdog, but because of its size it has little protection ability.

    The Miniature Schnauzer is also a good dog with children, like the Shih Tzu, and very affectionate, just like the next most popular breed, the Chihuahua.

    Chihuahuas are the eleventh most popular dog breed in the United States, and make great companions. Most insist on being wherever you are, and will follow you throughout the house.

    Chihuahuas tend to be intensely devoted to one person. There are some who will only love that one person and others who will love the entire family.

    Pugs are the next most favorite small dog breed, appearing at number 13 on the AKC list. They are also great companions, and love to sit in your lap.

    The Pug cannot tolerate heat or humidity. In fact, heat will kill them faster than it does other breeds because of their pushed in snout. So if you live in a hot climate keep that in mind.

    Pomeranians and Boston Terriers are numbers 14 and 15. Pomeranians weigh only about five pounds and Boston Terriers weigh about 15 pounds, although some are larger.

    Like many of the small breeds, these two also make excellent companions and lapdogs, and want to be with their family. Like the other small dogs, they should not live outdoors.

    The Maltese is the tenth most favorite small breed. They rose to position 18 on the AKC's most popular dog breed list in 2006. And like the other small dogs, they also love to be your companion and sit in your lap.

    So there they are, the ten most popular small dog breeds. After learning a little about them, they are basically lapdogs, companion dogs, and indoor dogs. These dogs are each precious and each can make a wonderful pet if you are willing to share your life with them and give them the love and attention they require.