10 Dog Breed Myths
Revealing the truth behind these common misconceptions.
By Audrey Pavia
Urban legend isn’t limited only to stories about Bigfoot and Pop Rocks. A number of dog breeds have also fallen victim to rumors that have spread like wildfire through the years. Here’s a look at 10 myths about dog breeds and the truth behind the rumors.
It’s hard to know how this rumor started. It could be because of the Irish Setter’s puppyish, clown-like nature. Not serious and stoic like some sporting breeds, the Irish Setter likes to goof around. The truth is that Irish Setters are intelligent dogs bred to work closely with hunters out in the field.
Not surprisingly, people think that because Greyhounds are famous for their talents on the racetrack, they need a lot of exercise. The truth is that Greyhounds are actually couch potatoes who prefer to cuddle up on the sofa than run around digging up the backyard. Although they love long walks, Greyhounds actually make great house dogs.
Although Rottweilers were bred to be guard dogs, they are also very trainable and affectionate. They are not mean by nature, as some people believe, and like any dog, make wonderful companions if they are properly trained and socialized. Although a Rottweiler will give off a ferocious bark when protecting his territory, a well-socialized Rottweiler will greet strangers with a wagging tail once his owner lets him know guests are welcome.
Some people are under the impression that Pugs just want to lay around the house all day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although by no means hyper, Pugs are active and happy members of the family, and are often underfoot, looking for the next adventure. Even though they aren’t bred for jogging alongside their human companions, they still enjoy running around the yard chasing a ball or another dog.
Pit Bulls suffer from very bad press, and one of the stories often repeated by those who don’t know better is that these dogs can lock on to a human or other dog during a fight. In truth, Pit Bulls have the same mechanics in their jaws as other dog breeds.
Although dogs such as Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows and American Eskimos might look uncomfortable in the summertime with their long coats, nature has provided them with fur that allows the heat to escape from their bodies when the weather is warm.
As a general rule, this is actually true: Smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. While a Saint Bernard might only make it to 7 years, a Chihuahua can live to be 14 or more.
Although Shelties might look like small Collies, they are actually a completely separate breed. The American Kennel Club recognizes the Sheltie and the Collie as two distinctly different dogs, both with inborn instincts to herd livestock.
Jack Russell Terriers are busy dogs with a lot of energy, but they aren’t hyperactive. While they do need lots of exercise, more than anything, Jack Russells need something to occupy their minds. Interactive toys and playtime with their human companions usually fit the bill.
As odd as this may sound, it’s actually true; Labs do have webs between their toes. This feature was bred into the Lab to help him swim, as the breed was originally created to retriever downed waterfowl. Labs can also use their tails as rudders when they are swimming.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.
It’s Pet Dental Health Month
Pet Bad breathe isn’t the only thing that improves with proper oral care.
By Lisa King
The condition of your dog’s teeth and gums affects not only whether his breath is stinky or not; poor dental health can influence his quality of life and even his life expectancy. Although cavities are relatively rare in dogs, they can suffer from plaque and tartar buildup, gingivitis and periodontal disease just like people. These in turn can cause painful gums, loose teeth and bone loss.
Periodontal disease can be very serious; bacteria and toxins from diseased gums can enter the dog’s blood stream and be carried to the organs. The brain, heart, liver and kidneys are the most likely organs to be affected. These toxins and bacteria can cause inflammation and infections in the organs, leading to permanent organ damage or even death.
It’s your responsibility as a dog owner to keep your pet healthy by caring for his teeth to prevent these painful and dangerous conditions. Ideally, this means brushing them every day.
This might sound like a tall order if your dog is not used to it. The trick is to get him accustomed to brushing. If he’s a puppy it will be easier, but an older dog can also be taught to tolerate tooth-brushing. Start by massaging the outside of his mouth for 30 seconds or so a couple of times a day. When he’s used to this, try massaging his teeth and gums. Let him lick a little doggie toothpaste off your finger.Never use human toothpaste.
When he will accept this type of touching calmly, get him a doggie toothbrush, either one that looks like a smaller human toothbrush or one that fits over your finger. Apply toothpaste and move the brush in small circular motions, lifting up his lip as you work around his mouth. If he gets impatient, you can skip cleaning the inside surface—most of the tartar buildup is on the outside of the teeth.
Another tool in your dental arsenal is the chew toy. Hard rubber, rawhide and rope chew toys help keep your dog’s teeth clean and his jaws strong, as well as relieving stress. You can also purchase dental treats that are designed to clean tartar off a dog’s teeth and dental rinses that you can put in your dog’s water. But as with people, there’s no substitute for regular brushing.
A well-balanced dry food is less likely to cause tartar buildup than wet food, and human food is worst of all when it comes to your dog’s dental health, so keep table-scrap treats to a minimum.
It is important that your veterinarian checks your dog’s teeth regularly. She will need to handle issues such as cysts under the tongue or tumors in the mouth. Between vet visits, be on the lookout for bad breath, increased drooling, loose teeth and swollen or inflamed gums (the tissue is red instead of pink). An apparent loss of appetite can be caused by painful teeth or gums. Any of these can indicate that your dog has a dental problem and should see the vet.
If you haven’t been taking care of your dog’s dental health or if he is simply an older dog, he might have developed tooth or gum disease. If so, it’s time for a professional deep cleaning. Your vet will need to anesthetize your dog so she can do a thorough job, including cleaning under the gum line. She will also X-ray your dog’s mouth to ensure the roots of his teeth are healthy. This procedure can cost hundreds of dollars, but it can make your dog pain-free and add years to his life.
The best approach to maintaining your dog’s dental health is prevention. Start as early as you can to brush his teeth and check the condition of his teeth and gums. Provide him with a good diet and plenty of chew toys and dental treats. Take him in for regular vet visits. A dog with a healthy mouth is a happier, healthier dog.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea.”
Living in an Electronic World
How to automate your home for pets.
By Stacy Mantle
There is no better evidence of our arrival in the golden age of computing than the introduction of electronics in the pet industry. Home automation is the name of the game in 2014 and it seems as though everyone is entering this field.
While I would never advocate spending less time with pets, those of you who must deal with long days at the office or a particularly bad rush hour will be relieved to know your pets are comfortable, fed and secure in the comfort of your home as they wait your arrival. Here is a look at a few of my favorite new electronic products available for pets and people.
Two of my favorites are the Samsung Pet Cam and the Motorola Scout 1500 Digital Wireless Video Pet Monitor. Both offer infrared monitoring for anytime viewingand can be used from your phone, computeror tablet. The Motorola Scout allows you to control the camera with nearly perfect 360® vision. The Samsung has slightly better night vision, but doesn’t allow you to move the camera around remotely. Both are excellent selections for any home monitoring. The apps are free and easy to download and use.
Automated Pet Feeders
You want to make sure your pets are fed at the proper time each day, but occasionally traffic or work makes that impossible. Your pets wont’ have to wait anymore; now you can control feeding time with your phone.
The Wireless Whiskers automatic feeder monitors the diets and feeding levels of up to eight pets. Each animal wears a small chip and the feeding doors automatically open or close, depending on the animal’s individual feeding requirements.
Automated Pet Doors
PetSafe is known for its excellent use of technology, and its automated pet doors are some of the best we’ve seen. This custom pet door essentially gives your pets the decision to come in or go out. Using RFID technology, the door reads the special chip on your pet’s collar and allows him to enter at will. This is especially valuable for dogs who “steal” food from other pets (or raid litterboxes). By installing an extra door flap in your cat’s room, you can offer full access to your cat while keeping your dog out of the room. The SmartKey™ can detect up to five programmed SmartKeys and operates in two locked or unlocked modes.
Remote Potty Training
Train ‘n Praise is another new product from PetSafe. Using a special treat dispenser and moisture-detecting “pee pad”,the automatic dispenser offers your pet a treat when it senses moisture on the pad—the moisture is trapped in the lowest layer. The remote training device protects your floors and rewards your dog for using the pad correctly.
Nearly anything in the home can be automated these days and as they become more advanced, so do pet products. A home’s ambient temperature can be controlled from your phone, energy consumption can be monitored, lights can be turned on and off, doors can be remotely locked or unlocked.
Security companies are now offering extra coverage for homes and special features for pets. Take some time to explore the many features available for even the oldest of homes. You’ll probably be surprised to learn what your smart phone is capable of doing!
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
For the Love of Cats
Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your favorite feline companion(s).
By Sandy Robins
There’s no question that our pets get to celebrate the holidays throughout the year, too. However, the next one up on the calendar, Valentine’s Day, is actually a difficult one for cats to celebrate by copycatting tradition people gifts because felines neither appreciate red roses nor chocolate, which is a big toxic no-no.
So what to do?
Cats are not that easy to shop for on Valentine’s Day in terms of themed merchandise. That said, you simply can’t go wrong with anything catnip, such as a plush mouse that can be filled and refreshed with dried catnip or a fresh catnip plant.
Kitty Cat Garden
Live plants should be placed in a bright position such as on the kitchen counter. Cats love to nibble on greens and a planter with different types of seeds—such as Pioneer Pet’s KittyGarden—makes a great gift, especially in multi-cat households. The wooden planter has four separate sections for 100 percent organic oats, wheat, rye and barley seeds. They begin sprouting in four to six days. And if you keep harvesting fresh greens for your cat, it can yield quite a crop.
A small, sealed aquarium of exotic fish or even a single betta fish, as long as it’s in a sealed, sturdy bowl, makes a nice decorative feature in a room and will provide endless hours of feline entertainment.
Super Cat Paper
Cats love crumpled paper and paper bags. So the feline paper items from Supercat—available in pet specialty stores and online—make great gifts for cats. Not only do they enjoy the sounds of the crinkly paper, but the products are infused with catnip to increase their enthusiasm!
Nothing says love quite like treats. This is a time to splurge and head for the pet store and purchase a variety of different flavors. However, it’s really important to know whether your cat likes her treats soft and chewy or crisp and crunchy. Some cats really enjoy treats that are crunchy on the outside with a soft center.
For cat lovers and pet parents, a nice coffee mug is always a welcome gift. If you simply Google “cat + coffee mug” a slew of fun designs will pop up. Even Grumpy Cat has her own mug, channeling Garfield and protesting that she hates Mondays …
The website Cafepress.com has a slew of fun cat-themed merchandise, including magnets, aprons, jewelry,, mouse pads and iPad covers. You name it there’s a variety of slogan and paw prints on everything imaginable. The craft site Etsy.com is another great place to explore.
For The Love of Cats
I can’t let this Valentine’s Day opportunity slip by without mentioning my cat book, which is aptly named “For The Love of Cats.” It’s a coffee-table collectible with beautiful illustrations by the talented Mark Anderson. The book is an alphabetical collection of fun rhymes and interesting feline factoids that cover everything from why the ancient Egyptians loved cats to the many “features” cat’s whiskers have. It’s available at www.SandyRobinsOnLine.Com.
While gifts are fun, there is no substitute for spending quality time with your favorite feline (or canine) and dispensing lots of extra hugs and kisses on Valentine’s Day. With love in the air, this is undoubtedly the best way to show your feelings to your pets.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats
ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
Edith Theadora Haralampous
Edith Theadora Haralampous or “Thea” is an ABC Veterinary Assistant Student from Cleveland, Ga. Growing up on a farm, Thea was lucky enough to be exposed to a lot of different animals. That is where her passion for animals started. When she was younger, her cousin and his wife started an animal rescue operation and Thea worked with them every day after school and on the weekends. This is where she learned a lot about the care of animals and it definitely boosted her longing to help them. While in the program, Thea completed her 90-hour externship at Animal Medical Care where she was hired on for a full time position as a vet assistant due to her knowledge and wonderful work. Thea is now being trained as a veterinary technician. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– January 2014
Tania Langrehr, who lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, was hired by her mentor at Animazing Pet Spa and is now working full time as a dog groomer. Although grooming was not her first choice for a career, she always new she wanted to work with animals. Tania is perfecting her skills and hopes to one day own her own grooming shop. Continue reading
I was recently reading an article on Dogster.com that spoke about tail docking and ear cropping. This article posses the question, is it cruel to crop ears and dock tails of animals?
As I read through the article there were some valid points made as to why it is cruel, and also why people shouldn’t allow these things to happen. More specifically the article touches on the fact that many breeders fear they will sell less of their dogs, if not adhering to the common practices and traits of the dog breed that they sell.
What is wrong with this picture?
Is it ignorant of people to consider tail docking a cruel act, when in fact the breeders are creating dogs that are not needed, as millions get euthanized for the lack of space in shelters? 30% of dogs in shelters are pure breeds.
I personally think a bigger concern than docking tails, should be…
Why do breeders continue breeding dogs, when there are so many who are killed everyday?
In this article the author has cited information based on opinion from a so called expert breeder, who is the second generation in breeding. After thirty years in the dog breeding business, one would think it is time to stop breeding animals and consider alternative means to making a living or livelihood.
This nation, and this industry, cannot continue to bare more dogs being bred for the vanity of “potential buyers.” If breeding continues, then so will euthanization of so many unwanted pets. We as a people who love animals, especially dogs, cannot expect to see the epidemic of animals being put down daily to ever reach a slow or progressive movement in the right direction as long as breeders continue breeding and ignorant people continue buying dogs from breeders.
Why do breeders continue breeding dogs?
#Adoptdontbuy – Please Adopt Your Pets, Don’t Buy Them. =)
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
As a young girl, ABC Graduate Stephanie McSweenie always wanted to become either a veterinarian or a zookeeper. However, because she could not stand to see animals in pain, even though she would be helping them, she decided to become a dog trainer. While she and her friend were looking online for colleges to attend after high school, they came across Animal Behavior College. It wasn’t until after Stephanie applied at a local doggie daycare that she made her final decision. Her soon-to-be-boss had an ABC Graduate Certificate on the wall in the lobby. She currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and, will be starting as a full-time trainer for Posh Pooch Hotel & Daycare in February. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Jennifer Antonacci lives in Hoboken, N.J., and came to ABC by way of the financial sector. After working as a vice president recruiter on Wall Street for several years, she decided to change her career path and become a certified dog groomer. Jennifer’s dogs—Charlie, a chocolate lab mix, and Sweet Pea, a Chihuahua mix—are both rescues. They inspired her to become a groomer and help other shelter dogs. Jennifer continues to work at her mentor’s shop and perfects her skills every day. Continue reading
ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
Sandy Nelson Alexander
ABC student, Sandy Alexander of Worchester, Mass., has always had a passion for dogs. While she loves cats, too, she is allergic to them. Sandy worked for 20 years as a restaurant manager while raising her daughter. When her daughter has moved out and on her own, Sandy thought, “Now it’s ‘my’ time,” although she didn’t really know which direction she wanted to go. One day, Sandy saw an ad for Animal Behavior College on Facebook; curious, she clicked on it. After looking through the website, she made a phone call and signed up for the Dog Obedience Program. Continue reading