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Is Your Dog Feeling Guilt?

Whether dogs have the ability to experience secondary emotions, such as  pride, jealousy and guilt, is an issue currently being debated by animal behaviorists everywhere. It was long ago shown that dogs experience fear, happiness, anger, sadness and love. However, are they really capable of higher level emotions that involve understanding what a person is thinking or feeling themselves?guilty dog

In order for dogs to feel secondary emotions, they must be able to understand that someone has information and/or a plan that differs from their own. In a study done by Alexandra Horowitz in 2009, she concluded that the look that dogs demonstrate, head lowered, tail down and ears back, that we associate with guilt is actually a learned response. When owners scold, dogs quickly figure out that looking “guilty” will get them to stop yelling. They don’t feel badly for something they may have done wrong, they just want the yelling to stop.

Researchers at Tufts University suggest that domestic dogs may possess the basic form of empathy, the ability to understand what others are thinking and/or feeling. An example given is the dog who gets into the trash when his owner is not home. Usually the dog is waiting for the owner to get home, but on the days he’s gotten into the trash, he is nowhere to be found!

In England, a dog jealousy study demonstrated how dogs would push their way between two owners while they were hugging. In other research, Dr. Brian Hare also demonstrated that dogs can derive information from humans. He hid a treat from the dog and then pointed to the place where the treat was hidden. The dog was able to go to the site and retrieve the treat.

It is obviously difficult to figure out exactly what dogs are thinking, but many behaviorists are finding ways to demonstrate that dogs are capable of some level of self-awareness.


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Why Do Bulldogs Have So Many Wrinkles?

It is those plush, fleshy, adorable wrinkles that attract us to Bulldogs, but why do they have them in the first place?

bullIn 18th century England, the sport of bull-baiting was very popular. Bulldogs were bred to “bait” already agitated bulls and then tear them apart with their teeth. Most of the time bulldogs came out of the bloody battle victorious, but there were those times when the dog lost.

The bulldog was bred to be short in stature, for stability, and to have short snouts so they could easily breathe while their mouths were full of bull.  The numerous thick, fleshy wrinkles on the bulldog served two purposes: First, the body wrinkles reduced the probability of impalement by a bull horn (the horn would often slide away from the body of the bulldog) and second, the facial wrinkles allowed for drainage of blood (from the bull) away from the dog’s eyes and nose.

Thankfully, the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed in 1835 and the sport began to disappear. The bulldog seemed to lose popularity for many years until it is alleged that a group chose to reinvent the breed as a family pet. Today it is one of the five most popular dogs owned.

One of the best methods of cleaning the folds of a bulldog is to use unscented baby wipes and then sprinkle on a little corn starch afterward, Bulldogs are prone to fungal infections in between those wrinkles so it is important to keep the skin dry.



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Choosing Between the Pet Gear Traveler Bags

PG1280OBThe Pet Gear carrier bags have multiple uses, making them very popular pet accessories. The I GO Traveler series includes four carriers: The I-GO2, I-GO2 Escort, I-GO2 Sport, and I-GO Plus Traveler.

All four carriers can be used as a roller bag by extending the telescoping handle. They can be used as a car seat when you thread the seat belt through the seat belt straps on the back of each carrier. You also need to extend the carrier strap and put it around the head rest, securing it on both sides of the carrier. They have straps tucked into the back that can turn the carrier into a backpack. Attach the carry strap to the outside rings to make it a shoulder carrier. Finally, you can carry the bag as a tote.

The main difference between the bags is the size and the amount of weight each carrier can hold. The Escort and the Sport both hold up to 15 pounds, while the I-Go2 holds 20 pounds and the Plus holds 25 pounds.

The I-GO2 Traveler (16″L x 12″W x 15″H) and the Escort (14″L x 9″W x 19″H) can both be expanded an extra 3 inches by unzipping the sides.

The Sport, which only comes in a blue color, is the smallest of the four bags (12″L x 8″W x 17.5″H). The Plus is the largest of the carriers: 16″L x 13.5″W x 17.5″H).


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