Archive for June, 2010

About The American Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

June 29, 2010

There are many breeds of Spaniels in the world, some of which are included in the Sporting Dog group of the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Spaniel dog breed is the oldest dog breed in the world and has an ancient Spanish origin. And the first Spaniel documented to arrive in North America was aboard the Mayflower in 1620.

A more specific Spaniel breed is he Cocker Spaniel. There are two Cocker Spaniel dog breeds in the AKC. One is the American Cocker Spaniel dog breed and the other is the English Cocker Spaniel dog breed. At one point, both these Cocker Spaniel dog breeds were considered the same breed. But the AKC separated them as two breeds in 1935. There are many similarities in the breeds, but the biggest difference is in their size. Cocker Spaniels were originally bred to hunt the woodcock – hense the name “Cocker” Spaniel. However, Americans preferred to use them to hunt quail. So a smaller version of the English Cocker Spaniel dog breed was bred and the American version took hold.

Cocker Spaniel dog breeds are one of the most popular dogs in the United States. Not only are they great game dogs with their ability to both flush birds and retrieve them, but they are also great family house dogs. They are great dogs to have with every member of the family, including children and even with other pets. However, you will want to make sure that you either adopt an adult Cocker Spaniel whose temperament has already been gauged, or purchase a puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder. The popularity of the Cocker Spaniel dog breed has resulted in a number of irresponsible breeders to breed several undesirable temperament traits such as separation anxiety, excessive barking habits, aggression, and other such unstable temperaments. A reputable breeder breeds only the Cocker Spaniel dog breed and only breeds them for the love of the breed, not just to make money. A reputable breeder may also be a member of the American Spaniel Club.

Cocker Spaniels are both very affectionate and playful dogs. They are relatively easy to train, but can be very sensitive to harsh training. Some are overly submissive so careful positively reinforced training is needed to build their confidence. The Cocker Spaniel dog breed is energetic, outgoing, and playful. They need a moderate daily walk and fun games like fetch. With their intelligence, energy level, and eager-to-please nature, they would also do well with agility training.

The Cocker Spaniel dog breed is the smallest of the Spaniel dog breeds. They have somewhat short legs and a long and straight back. The Cocker Spaniel weighs between 24 and 32 pounds and stands 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall. They are easily recognized by their docked tail, rounded skull, and long lobular ears. They have a flat wavy coat which needs regular grooming. Brush two the three times a week and pay close attention to the ears. The Cocker Spaniel dog breed is prone to having ear infections and other ear problems. If keeping the coat of the Cocker Spaniel long, more regular brushing may be needed. Otherwise, have the Cocker Spaniel’s coat clipped every two to three months.

The colors of the Cocker Spaniel dog breed is many. The three main color groups recognized by the AKC include black, ASCOB (Any Solid Color Other than Black), and parti-colors. A Cocker Spaniel who is considered black in color may be a solid black or black with tan markings. ASCOB colors include brown, red, cream or buff, or silver. ASCOB colors can also have tan markings. Parti-colors of the Cocker Spaniel dog breed is any solid color with a white background. This includes black and white, black with tan markings plus white, brown and white, and red and white. It also includes roan. Roan is a solid color intermingled with white hairs.

Colors of the Cocker Spaniel dog breed not favored by the AKC include sable and merle. Merle is a mixture of two solid colors (not including white) which are in sort of a dappled or swirled pattern. A merle-colored Cocker Spaniel may have blue eyes. It is a dangerous color to breed because if two merle Cocker Spaniels are bred, puppies can be born blind and deaf and have a number of other health issues which may shorten their lives.

As stated above, Cocker Spaniel dog breeds are prone to a number of ear problems. They are also prone to eye problems such as cherry eye, entropion, and ectropion. In cherry eye, the third inner eyelid comes out of its position and swells up. The swelling is red and rounded, reminding us of a cherry. Entropion and Ectropion is where the eyelid rolls inward or outward causing pain and irritation. The Cocker Spaniel dog breed is also prone to patellar luxation. Patellar luxation is where the knee cap slips in and out of position, causing difficulty and pain in walking. And another health issue associated with the Cocker Spaniel dog breed is seborrhea. Seborrhea is a skin issue which causes excessive dandruff and/or greasy and scaly skin. According to, “American Cocker Spaniels are one of the riskiest of all breeds in the health department.”

So while the Cocker Spaniel dog breed can be the perfect family pet or hunting dog, careful research of the breeder is needed before purchasing one. Visit lots of websites for more information and don’t rely on the information on a breeder’s website alone. Or if you adopt an adult Cocker Spaniel, be sure to ask the rescue group or shelter as many questions about the dog’s health and temperament as you can. Make sure every family member has a chance to meet and interact with the dog before taking him home.

“The Dog Breed Bible” by D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.
“Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds” by Ernest H. Hart


A figurine of the Cocker Spaniel is pictured above. This Cocker Spaniel figurine can be found at the

Teaching Your Dog Not to Beg While You Are Eating

June 26, 2010

I can’t stand it when a dog stares at me while I am eating. When I was growing up, none of the dogs in our house ever begged. So I am often surprised when I visit a friend who has a dog and the dog goes from person to person to beg for food. I suppose most people don’t realize that you can teach your dog not to beg. It may be hard for the dog at first, but it can be done.

The most important thing to remember when teaching a dog not to beg is to not encourage the behavior to begin with. Never ever feed a dog from your plate while you are eating. In fact, you should completely ignore your dog during meal times. Don’t allow your family members or visitors to your home to do it either. If you must give your dog pieces of food that you don’t want, give it to them after you are done eating and when you are away from the table.

Another method of keeping your dog from begging is to not give your dog the opportunity to beg. During meal times, confine your dog to their crate, outside, or in another room. This method is a good method to use when other methods are not working.

If your dog can do the down-stay command, you can have them down-stay from a distance while you are eating. This is a very long down-stay so you shouldn’t try it unless your dog has mastered the down-stay command. If your dog gets up to move, tell them “No” in a very firm voice. “Eh eh” is another word you can use. Be consistent and use the word which you normally use when your dog does something they are not supposed to. After you are done eating, feel free to reward your dog with lots of treats if they have managed to down-stay during the entire meal. It is okay to still reward them even if they tried to get up a couple of times. Just as long as they are still staying after you are done eating.

If it is not meal time and you are just eating a snack, tell your dog “No begging” in a very firm voice and turn around and ignore them. If your dog tries to get in position to watch you again, give the “No begging” command again and keep turning away so your dog can’t see you eat.

You can also glare at them when you say “No Begging”. Keep eating and glare at them until they turn their head and eyes away. After a few moments of not looking at you while you eat, tell them “Good dog” and give them a treat. Use the glaring method only with dogs who are not going to take your glaring as a challenge. Most dogs will submit and turn away when you glare at them, but some dogs will become agitated. If your dog shows any signs of agitation, do not use this method. Signs of agitation include growling, the hairs on the back of their neck go up, they refuse to look away, and/or they hunch down in such a way that it looks like they are about to lunge at you (different than a cowering hunch).

Teaching your dog not to beg has two major benefits.  First, mealtimes will be much more relaxing when your dog isn’t staring at you, pawing you, or giving you sad puppy-eyes.  Your friends will be amazed at your dog’s good manners.  Also, by teaching your dog not to beg, you are establishing your leadership without using unnecessary force.  Overall training and behavior modifications are easier when your dog sees you as the leader of the pack.

Featuring Devil Dog Breed Figurines

June 23, 2010

New to the Animal Figurine are your favorite dog breed figurines in a devil costume. We love our dogs but sometimes they have quirky little annoying traits, or sometimes they do some naughty things. That is where the Devil Dog Breed Figurines come in.

Take my dog, Maya, for example. She is basically a good dog. But there was this one time when we went to the dog park and the first thing she did was find a big muddy puddle and jump in it. Its what dogs do so I couldn’t be mad at her, but I couldn’t help thinking, “You little devil!” At that moment, the Labrador Retriever Devil Dog Breed Figurine was a perfect representation of her.

There was another time when we went to a park which had a big fountain. The water of the fountain was dyed pink for Breast Cancer Awareness week. Maya, being a Labrador Retriever and all, saw the water and bolted so quickly that I lost hold of her leash. Next thing you know, she is playing in pink water. Since Maya is a Yellow Labrador Retriever, she turned pink for a week. It was really funny but I couldn’t help thinking, “You cute little devil!” Once again, the Labrador Retriever Devil Dog Breed Figurine was the perfect representation of her. I keep a Yellow Labrador Retriever Devil Dog Breed Figurine on my desk at work.

My parents have a Lhasa Apso named Killer. Killer is basically a good dog with some annoying habits. He likes to take food out of his bowl and take it into another room to eat. Every once in a while, my parents step on a piece of food which had been dropped in the hallway. I’m sure that when they say, “Ouch!”, they are actually thinking, “You little devil!” They now have a Lhasa Apso Devil Dog Breed Figurine on their curio shelf at home.

Although sometimes we call our dogs “brats” or “little devils” we say it out of love. And sometimes when we think back on bad things they have done, we can’t help but to laugh. Get a Devil Dog Breed Figurine to help remind you of those times. Visit the Animal Figurine and enter “devil” in the search field to pull up all our Devil Dog Breed Figurine gifts. See if we have a Devil Dog Breed Figurine for your dog’s breed.

Happy Father’s Day From Your Best Friend

June 20, 2010

Thank you for everything that you do for me.
For taking me for walks so I can mark every tree.

Thank you for sneaking me your dinner scraps when mom isn’t looking.
For letting me taste some of your barbecued cooking.

Thank you for playing fetch with me and taking me to the park.
For not being too mad at me when I bark.

Thank you for letting me on the couch when mom isn’t home.
For giving me treats and sometimes a bone.

Thank you for rubbing my belly and scratching me behind the ears.
For soothing me during thunderstorms to calm my fears.

Thank you for giving me a challenge when we play tug-of-war.
For playing with me until I am too tired to want more.

Thank you for being patient with me when I have been bad.
For letting me put my head on your lap you when you are sad.

Thank you for the nice warm bed and the loving home.
It’s for you that I wrote this little poem.

Thank you for being such a wonderful Father to me.
I will make sure you have Happy Father’s Day, you’ll see.

Happy Father’s Day!! – from your best friend.

by Dawn Ross
© Copyright June 20, 2010

Update of Animal Figurine Website for Dog Figurines

June 15, 2010

We have recently updated our www.Animal Figurine website. We have updated it to mostly sell dog and cat figurines. Our wildlife figurines are being faded out and are all currently on sale for a very low price.

Dog figurines can be found by searching under the AKC breed group or by entering your dog’s breed in the search field. We will be adding more dog and cat figurines over the next couple of weeks so if you don’t see a dog or cat figurine you like, come back and visit us again!




Book Review of Feisty Fido, Help For the Leash-Reactive Dog

June 12, 2010


The Feisty Fido

My dog, Sephi is very leash-reactive when it comes to other dogs. What does leash-reactive mean? It means that when we are going for a walk, Sephi barks and lunges at other dogs she sees on the way. This is very problematic as she has taught my other dog, Maya, to do it too. So whenever I take them for a walk, I have to try to control two big dogs when we see another dog. It is not at all easy. And the situation could be very bad if either of them gets away from me.
 Due to this issue, I usually only take them on walks during the times of day when fewer people and their dogs are out. And if I see another dog, I try to walk as far away from them as possible before Sephi and Maya see them too. But this is only one solution to the problem. To try to find other remedies, I purchased a book titled, Feisty Fido, Help For the Leash-Reactive Dog, by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen B. London, Ph.D.
The book has been very informative and helpful. I must warn you, however, that the process is a long one. There is no immediate miracle cure and it takes a lot of time, patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency. (See our post, But it is worth it and it works.

The first tip they taught is called the “Watch”. This cue works just like it sounds. You teach your dog to look at and focus on you. You start in areas with no distractions and tell your dog to watch. When they look at you, give them praise, a treat, or whatever reward motivates your dog to learn. As you prefect this cue in non-distracting areas, slowly introduce mild distractions and work your way up to bigger distractions. Over time, your dog will learn that whenever they see another dog, it is better to watch you than to pay attention to them.

The second tip they teach is the “U-Turn”. This cue also works just like it sounds. Whenever you see another dog, turn and go the other way. The trick to this cue is to encourage your dog to follow you without having to jerk on their leash. Leash jerking can make the leash-reactive problem worse rather than better. Again, you have to start this cue with no distractions and work your way up to higher levels of distractions.

We have given a very simple overview of two of the tips indicated in “Feisty Fido”. We highly recommend reading the book for more important details and additional tips. Visit the author’s website at for more information and other great books.  The book is also available at our affiliate site titled Dog Lover’s Book Store.


Summer Flea & Tick Prevention/Elimination

June 9, 2010

Dogs can get fleas and/or ticks any time of year. But spring and summer months are when these pests are most abundant. This makes it harder to keep your pet pest free. Check out this great post on the AllThingsDogBlog titled, Top 5 Tips for Fighting Fleas and Ticks.

Information About the Bernese Mountain Dog & the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

June 6, 2010

Bernese Mountain Dog

There are great similarities between the Bernese Mountain Dog & the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. So we will give information about the similarities between the two breeds first. Then we will discus the differences.

The Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog both originated in Switzerland. It is believed that these breeds came about over two thousand years ago during Roman times when Rome invaded the area which is now Switzerland. The Roman mastiff-like breed mixed with the flock-guarding dog breeds of the Alps to create strong and hardy dog breeds who were very tolerant of the cold weather. These tougher breeds then had uses beyond guarding the flocks which including herding and droving the flocks, pulling carts, and assisting in general farm duties.

Despite the many uses, these breeds nearly became non-existent. Fortunately, in the 1900’s, dogs which had the ideal qualities of the ancient breeds were found and reproduced. Their popularity spread across Europe and eventually reached the US some years later. The Bernese Mountain Dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1937 while the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was not recognized by the AKC until 1995.

Both the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog have gentle and easy-going mannerisms. They exhibit a great loyalty to their master which generally makes them easy to train. These great dogs are hardworking and willing to please. Only moderate exercise is required for these large dog breeds. An easy-going daily walk is perfect for them.

The Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog are good with other members of the family, including children, and with other pets. They tend to be wary of strangers. While both are good watch dogs, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is more strongly inclined to be a guard dog.

These Swiss dog breeds are easy to identify. Both are rather large in size and are black, tan, and white in color. The Bernese Mountain Dog can be 23 to 27.5” in height and can weigh 70 to 120 pounds. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can be 23.5 to 28.5” in height and can weigh 85 to 140 pounds. Both the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog are mostly black in color with tan and white markings. The white markings are on the muzzle, chest, and feet. Sometimes there is also white on the tip of the tail and a white blaze on the forehead. Sometimes, the white on the chest also goes around the neck like a collar. There are tan markings above the eyes. There should be tan between the black and the white of the feet. And there should be tan on both sides of their white chest and on their face.

Both the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain dog have a flat skull, triangular ears with a rounded tip, a long tail carried low, and round feet. Visually, they would look almost identical except the Bernese Mountain Dog has longer hair. The coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog is thick, long, and straight or slightly wavy while the coat of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is thick but short. Needless to say, the Bernese Mountain Dog requires more attention to grooming – especially during shedding season. Even though the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has shorter hair, his thick coat helps him do just as well in cold weather as the Bernese Mountain Dog.

For a long time, it was thought that the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and two other Swiss breeds were all the same breed of dog with variations. However, scientific study showed that they were dissimilar enough to be considered different breeds. As indicated above, their primary differences are in their level of guarding and in the length of their coat. Another difference is that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is more prone to having medical issues involving seizures. The Bernese Mountain Dog is more prone to have mast cell tumors. Mast cell tumors are a type of malignant skin cancer which appear as a hard lumps on the flesh.

Health problems which both breeds share include hip and elbow dysplasia and gastric torsion. Hip and elbow dysplasia occurs when the joints of the hip or elbow do not develop properly. This issue can lead to difficulty and pain in walking and can deteriorate to such a point that expensive surgery would be needed in order to fix. Gastric torsion occurs when the stomach gets twisted up. If it doesn’t fix itself or doesn’t get properly treated by a veterinarian, it can cause death.

Both the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog are great family dogs. They get along well with every member of your family, are relatively easy to train, and only need a moderate amount of exercise. If you are considering one of these dog breeds as a pet, check for responsible breeders or a rescue group. If looking at responsible breeders, be sure to check beyond AKC registration and credentials beyond what is read in a flier or on a website. Generally, a responsible breeder will be a member of an exclusive dog breed club such as the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of American or the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America.

Before You Get a Great Dane – A Dog Like Marmaduke

June 5, 2010
Great Dane Dog Breed

Great Dane Dog Breed

Here is a great article from Paw Nation about the Great Dane Dog breed – 10 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your Own “Marmaduke”.  This dog breed is sure to become popular now that the new movie, Marmaduke, is coming out.

If you are still considering getting a Great Dane dog breed after reading this article, also consider where you get him from.  There are going to be several unscrupulous dog breeders out there taking advantage of this opportunity.  They are going to breed dogs without care or concern about any genetic health traits they may be passing on.  Great Danes are prone to gastric torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia, cariomyopathy, and bone cancer.

If you want to get your own Marmaduke Great Dane dog breed, consider adopting one from a Great Dane rescue group.  The dogs may already be trained and any health issues may be known in advance.  Or if you purchase from a breeder, do your research and make sure they are a reputable Great Dane dog breeder.  A reputable breeder will not only be a member of the American Kennel Club, but they will also likely be a memeber of a breed club such as the Great Dane Club of America, Inc.

Fun Dog Surfing Video

June 3, 2010

This is too cute! Check out this adorable video of dogs surfing. Notice the dog with a life jacket that reads, “SurFur”. And look at how much fun many of these dogs seem to be having.