I was just doing some research and this little quiz popped into my head. Happy New Year and hope you enjoy it! Love ya, Readers! ~Maddie
We've had our cats for the last several holiday seasons. Some years we've had a horse or two. What we haven't had in a few years is a puppy... Wow...
Big Puppies, Holiday Decor and Holiday Guests
This week started with more than a bang. Two of them, and super weird ones. First, one of our cats decided that during the stress of holiday goings-on, she wouldn't eat cat food unless it was canned and heated. She's always a hard keeper so we give in a LOT. We usually add a bit of hot water to the food to hydrate the cat, but this time we put the food in the microwave for a
few moments and I didn't think much of it until I heard a pop from the kitchen. I ran in and the food was smoking, but I thought I just put it on too long. I put a fresh little pile of wet canned food (cod, sole and shrimp) on a paper plate and put it back in. Set microwave for 8 seconds. Turn on. SNAP CRACKLE POP WOW! The cat food was sparking like the time I left a spoon in my coffee cup! I mean SERIOUSLY. I was a little freaked out, so I found some pre-cooked turkey in the freezer that was leftover from thansgiving, heated that, and give it to the cat. I was busy doing that when I heard a yelp from the living room.
I found the poodle puppy whining and saw Christmas lights dangling from the tree, no longer lit. Some shreds of green plastic were on the floor. I examined the dog and found no burns or signs of real harm, but apparently she had decided to taste the delicious lights and received a small shock.
We've had our hands full with teaching the dog not to jump on every visitor that drops by and getting the dog groomed to prepare for travel. I've never seen a poodle that hated to be brushed, but she hates it, so we have to brush her daily while feeding her treats to get her used to it before she murders a groomer. Sigh... I do love the holidays, but I'll be glad when the dog is a bit older next year! I had to take my usual pill (worth every penny) to fall asleep last night, but at least it worked. (Here's a link if you're curious, this stuff DOES work! If you decided to try it, I appreciate the small commission I'll get to help replace the Christmas lights!)
I did a bunch of googling trying to figure out what the deal was with the cat food. It turns out that some vegetables spark in the microwave too, due to the high mineral content. I checked out the cat food cat and it does have added iron, magnesium and zinc. I am guessing that is what causes the sparking, but I'm still feeding turkey until I talk with my vet. I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments if you know anything about cat-food sparking phenomenon or if you have tips on coping with pets, puppies and holidays! Season's Greetings to all readers!
This story is a contest winner from our November writing contest. Congrats to Katie! See her writing credits below the story. Enjoy!
I recently had a stand-off with a deer. I’d like to say I’m kidding, but unfortunately, as my luck with animals goes… I’m not.
I’d also like to say I ended up winning this stand-off, but then again, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
This encounter happened last month while I was visiting my hometown of Caro, Michigan.
If you’ve never heard of Caro, I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s a small farm town that sits in the ‘thumb’ of Michigan, about 2 hours north of Detroit.
My mom and step dad still live in the outskirts of town off a dead-end road. It’s the same house where I spent most of my high school years riding quads, mowing the lawn and having bonfires. It also happens to be the same place that this stand-off of mine occurred. After the summer the raccoon’s outsmarted our paintball guns… I should have known something was up with the animal’s around there.
With my mom and step dad's cottage being in such a remote spot, the quiet aloofness makes for a great home to various types of wildlife such as squirrels, chipmunks, birds and of course… deer.
Thanks to its rustic charm most of the year it really is a great spot for wildlife and deer to be…MOST of the time. The exception? Deer hunting season.
…If you’ve never seen the movie Escanaba in ‘Da Moonlight, you may not fully understand how much Michigander’s love their deer hunting season. Here’s the jist—hunting to a Michigander is like pumpkin spice to Fall loving females. It’s serious.
I was back in Michigan right before the start of hunting season this year, so the deer were still frolicking around rather care freely, just like little Bambies.
This particular afternoon I ran into town to wrap up a few errands. When I came back and was pulling up my drive, I noticed a young male buck was hanging out grazing in the front yard. He was right near the driveway and didn’t startle when I pulled up alongside him. So, of course, I did what any true Michigander that’s seen the same animal 100 times would do... I took pictures.
I was only about 20 yards away from him with my car’s music blaring yet the whole time he stayed put. He peeked up for a brief moment, but then went right back to his grazing. I figured country music must not be his thing. After a while of watching the deer and taking photos I decided it was time to move along. I pulled the car the rest of the way up the drive and began unloading my things.
As I hauled my bags in, I noticed the deer was still in his spot, maybe 15 yards away by this point. He hadn’t moved an inch.
This seemed odd as most deer usually get skittish once they see human’s, especially when hunting seasons right around the corner.
Something seemed off with this guy…
I walked inside and set my stuff down before heading back outside; I wanted to see if I could figure out what this deer’s deal was.
When outside I found that he was still in the same position, except for one thing. Instead of grazing, he was looking right at me… as if I were the one intruding on his property.
Not cool deer, not cool.
I looked him right back in the eyes and yelled out, ‘HEY!’, hoping to give him a start.
He cocked his head towards me as if I were annoying him. We each stayed there standing our ground in silence… eyes locked on each other in a rather intense stare-off.
Then, he picked up his right hoof and let out a huge puff of air while he slammed it down onto the ground.
The words ‘oh crap’ came to mind as I grew a bit uneasy with my current situation at hand. I’d never seen a deer do such a thing let alone be so bold. It was clear he meant business.
I decided I’d best show him I wasn't going to let him win that easily. So, I hovered my right hand over the door handle—just in case I needed to make a quick getaway to safety—and then picked my right foot up and slammed it right back down at him.
He cocked his head, probably wondering if I were actually serious.
Oh, boy was I. I‘d never been so serious in my whole entire life.
He picked his hoof back up and slammed it down with a louder huff this time, his gaze fierce, trying to eye me down.
So, this was how it was going to be, eh?
I matched his movement again as I picked up my foot and slammed it down just as hard, adding a ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!’ For good measure.
This foot-stomping charade went on for quite a while.
With each stomp, I grew increasingly more annoyed with our little game. I needed to end this battle once and for all.
I took a deep breath, mentally preparing myself to extract my hand from the safety of the door handle. Then, in one swift motion, I stomped about 5 steps forward yelling, ‘GET OUT OF HERE GET OUT OF HERE GET OUT OF HERE!!!’ at the top of my lungs.
You’d think my antics would have at least phased him.
But nope, not this cavalier deer.
He observed my idiotic outburst and then very… very… slowly, turned and meandered off. Just like the careless or fearless deer he was.
I watched him a moment longer until what had just happened finally sank in.
It was mine.
I’d beaten a deer in a stand-off.
A smirk spread across my face as I watched my opponent saunter back off into the wild, wishing him adieu.
“Well played you beautifully, brave deer. Well played. I wish you the best of luck out there”.
Katie Bertrand is a freelance Article, Fiction and Narrative non-fiction writer.
She received her B.S. in Merchandising and Product Development from Western Michigan University. In Katie’s free time she enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, reading her way through a good book, or hanging out with super fun, interesting people.
Among friends & loved ones she's best known for her Michigan accent, her fiery red hair, and her 20-pound orange rescue cat, M.G.
I've been slow to keep the posts up in December with a number of freelancing projects coming in, but I did want to pop in for a quick post to wish everyone seasons greetings! I'll be back soon to put up a winning animal story from last month and I think you'll like it! Hope your season is going well and a bit more even-paced than mine!
This is just a quick follow-up to our dog training kit post since we got this promo code later and this is a nice Christmas or other gift product!
This Amazon seller is offering the heavy discount on multiple sizes of dog harnesses that look basic but useful! Hope this benefits someone - happy shopping!
Since our recent articles have focused on dog training, we though it might be useful to provide a list of items that we frequently use for dog training. If you don't have any of these, you'll have easy links to view them and add them to your cart. You can also just pick the ones you don't have.
(You can buy them through our affiliate links at the same cost and we appreciate it, but you can also just get them on Amazon or the site of your choice.)
We'll do similar lists for cats and horses soon, but in the meantime, these are products we have tried, we like, and that we really use.
RealBeYourself Dog Training Kit:
Flat Leather Buckle Collar for Tag Display and Everyday Use
Sprenger Training Collar for Leash Training and Problem Correction
6 Foot Lead for Training
Short Traffic Lead for Working, Heel Training and Daily Walks
20 Foot Lead for Recall Training
Treat Pouch or Nail Apron (Apron works for Backup/Budget)
Optional but Useful Items:
Thick Horse Lead for Tie=Up and Strong Pullers
Pupperoni Training Treats
E-collar for remote training (Not required, nice and humane tool, only brand we use)
Service Dog or Working Dog Harness (Doubles as seat restraint)
For Serious Adult Service Dogs - Mobility Harness
If you prefer a small bundled kit, there are a couple that we have not tried. They are simple and lack some of the tools we prefer to use, but if you don't want to pick and choose, take a look at what seems to be the best one:
Guest Post by Daku Sayers (Cats.how)
When you are planning to adopt a cat, there are some very important points to keep in mind to make sure that you are pleased with your new cat. They can mean the difference between regretting your decision and having a wonderful new friend.
One mistake to avoid is getting a cat on the spur of the moment. You may see litter of kittens for free and fall in love with a cute face. Instead, you decide if the kitten or cat will fit well into your life and your home.
Good Planning is the Key
A second mistake is to underestimate the cost of a new cat. Whether you choose an expensive kitten from a breeder or a mixed breed from the shelter, the initial price is far from being the only cost involved. Your cat will need food, supplies, and visits to the veterinarian.
You should also avoid getting a cat because one member of your family wants one. When a cat lives with a family she is going to make a difference to everyone. Only if you know that she will be welcomed by everyone should you make a long-term decision.
Your first cat can be a pleasure. You must know what to expect, though, and that you are ready to become a cat owner. Once you feel that you know all you need to know to make adopting a cat a success, you can narrow the decision to a certain animal. Finally, you find the cat or kitten you want, and are anxious to bring it home. All you need to do is to prepare, and you will be glad of your decision to adopt.
Prepare some special time just for the cat and the family will benefit everyone. Read up on ways to make your cat feel special with articles like “How to Make your Cat Love You.” It is a good idea to bring your cat home on a weekend or during a vacation when there will be few distractions. A calm, quiet atmosphere is best and helping him to feel safe and comfortable. Take him to his own personal area as soon as you can. He needs to get used to his food and water location, toys and litter box. He will begin to feel at home.
Whether you have put a couple of weeks or more into all the things it takes for a successful adoption, the overall experience will make you comfortable with your decision to adopt a new cat. Once your new cat realizes that home has been found, you have a friend and companion to enjoy for the rest of his or her life. If you’d like to learn much more about what to expect, cat behavior, health, feeding and supplies, check out the CATS.HOW site. You’ll find tons of information about everything feline! Thanks for reading!
Irrational or Rational? Relax, learn what you want to know. Easy, free, GO get the book now. Sign up for our mailing list (NO spam, just occasional notices about our news or new books) and get a FREE GUIDE on the ways animals and pets can help with physical health, mental health, PTSD, Autism and more.
This guide is an introductory offer since we will soon release our NEW BOOK on therapy animals, emotional support animals, service animals and pets or animal-interaction as a health aid. The book will be full of info on the why and how plus training information and resources!
This story with the accompanying article was written by the Grand Prize winner of our October writing contest! Other entries will be published soon. Grats to our winning piece by new pet blogger Devi S. Thanks, Devi!
I don't just use the words "for life" in this title to make a good title. A true hard recall can literally save the life of your dog. A recall is one of the first things we train a new dog although if we don’t show, many of us are probably good with it if the puppy comes wandering toward us when we call its name. I’ve seen an example of why it’s critical to follow up later with a real solid marker word like “come” or “front.”
In years working with dogs, there was one time I saw a sold recall save a life.
The dog, Bo, was a purebred shepherd with the classic GSD look. His quizzical looks and perky demeanor were adorable. Dee, the owner, had several mixed breeds and purebred dogs and she was at the even to compete in obedience and agility.
Bo completed a run and did well. Dee jogged back to her area with him and they were right next to me and my Poodle. Dee had crates for her dogs but she needed to change shirts and still make it back for another event. She looped the end of the lead under the leg of a folding chair and put Bo back on a stay while she left for just a few minutes.
Just as Dee came back toward us all, two other dogs got into a minor fight. `It scared Bo, and he jumped away which caused the folding chair to collapse and fold up tight on the leash. The frightened dog moved further and the sight of the chair “following” him sent him to panic. Bo took off trying to get away from the chair and he bolted right toward a street with heavy traffic.
We all realized how dangerous the situation was. Dee ran as fast as she could to position herself where Bo could see her and then she used her sternest voice to shout “Bo, come!”
o had a solid recall and even scared, the sound of his owner’s voice helped him shift and run in her direction instead of into the street.
Once he reached her, he trusted her enough to slow down and be released. He was bruised but mostly unhurt.
Training a dog to have a recall that will work in an emergency is critical and it can absolutely be done. It’s beyond the simple teaching we do with young dogs. Very young dogs may not be able to focus enough to divert attention to us at lightning speed though we still teach them to move to us when we call to them.
The process of teaching an emergency recall is like the puppy recall. Once a young pup will come to us when we call his name, we can begin to train with a clear marker word that means “Come here right NOW.” Dogs can differentiate between the casual recall and the rock-solid recall which will also be the foundation for an emergency recall. Over time, the dog should never fail to put its full attention on the trainer at the marker word. The dog should go straight to the trainer. No matter how tempting it is to ignore the recall word because of distractions, we must teach the dog that there are no options but to respond immediately.
Then make the recall more solid, we can start by putting an older puppy or adult dog on a long lead (20 foot is great) and having them roam where we can still hold the end. Some trainers use a remote collar for this. If a device of this type is used, it should be a high-quality remote collar with a technology that works by delivering low electric impulses, not electric shock. Dog trainers have taught emergency recalls for centuries without these aids, though, so they aren’t a necessity.
It is best to start slowly and gain the dog's confidence. We should call the dog with the solid recall word when only a small distraction is present. It may be helpful to use the dog’s name and the marker word. Later we move up to practicing the recall under more complex circumstances. If the dog begins to come quickly, even if activities are going on nearby, you can move on to deliberate and more extreme distractions.
To start working with the dog on planned distractions, you need a couple of helpers. Get another trainer or a friend to engage the dog in some simple play. Try your hard recall marker word on the dog. If the dog doesn’t instantly respond, use the remote collar or snap the long lead firmly to get the attention of the dog. Repeat the marker word and shower the dog with praise when it comes to you. As the dog gets more consistent, work with the dog repeatedly while making the distractions more difficult. Have someone else give the dog high-value treats and recall so that the dog learns to come even if it really prefers not to.
If at any time the dog resists strongly or stops responding, go back to basics.
Get the dog to come to you fast on a 6 food lead and use a very firm snap of the lead if they do not. Give high praise and treats when they do. Once they are solid, return to more complex training. It’s all right if the dog has to start back at the beginning a few times. Some dogs retain things better and some can control their impulses more easily than others. The key is to work it until it’s a guarantee. The biggest mistake people make with this is to train it and not keep practicing or to give up when the dog doesn’t get it in the early stages.
Keep upping the difficulty by calling the dog when it’s hungry and eating a meal or a delicious treat. If the dog ever fails to focus instantly, a snap of the lead or other correction should get things going. Once the dog will come to you every single time, you just need to keep practicing occasionally to keep that emergency recall sharp. Someday it could save your dog’s life!
by Devi S. (See me on Medium!)
Dog Training Tips are published here often! Check back!
Today's post is brought you you by the Magnificent Camel. This post came into being when I was chatting with my spouse, having a perfectly normal conversation about camel butts. I'm not really sure how we got into the camel discussion. Somehow we just did and it partially evolved into a discussion about their bodies. I suddenly wondered if they had tails and although I've ridden a camel, I really wasn't sure.
"Do camels have tails?" I asked.
"I don't think so." I got back.
"Do they just have empty butts?" I said, thinking that didn't seem right to me. "Like us," I added as though I might be misunderstood.
We had to Google it and the first hit was this adorable item that was missing a butt view:
"Argh." Not helpful, though I still ordered one because I don't HAVE a Christmas sleight with a camel inside it. I searched again and I felt stupid. Of course they don't have empty butts. Camels DO have tails:
Now I don't know why I thought camels didn't have tails. In further research I discovered that they actually have tufted tails, which is really fun to say. Say it out loud.
"My Camel has a Tufted Tail."
See? If you didn't really say it out loud, do it and see if it makes you laugh. Try saying it with "My camel does not have an empty butt, but my camel has a tufted tail. I do not have a camel toe." If that doesn't make you laugh, you may need to drink more. Or, I need to drink less.
Either way, now you know for sure that camels have tufted tails. Even if you knew they had tails, I bet you didn't know they were tufted. Unless you are a camelologist or a tuft expert. Aren't you glad you read this? (No, you can't get that 2 minutes back, sorry, but you can get a camel in a sleigh decoration!)
Most of the good stuff about Maddie "Be Yourself" Gee is on the About page, but that page got out of hand. Don't go there. Maddie is an animal expert, a crazy person, and a writer. Full Disclosure - this blog does have Amazon affiliate links in it for products that Maddie likes. Your use of the Amazon links is greatly appreciated, but the intent is just to help keep things running and offer giveaways. You are welcome to search for the items elsewhere if you prefer it.
Contest Info Below*
*Contest/Giveaway for Amazon Gift card: When you sign up to receive our weekly newsletter, you'll automatically be entered to win. You can opt out of the newsletter anytime. You do not have to opt-in for other promotions to enter and we do not send out newsletters more often than once per week. No purchase necessary to enter. Please do provide a real email address as we will email the winner to confirm before sending your prize by email!
Legal and other weird disclosures that people want us to make: This is a condensed version. If you really want to read the long version, see it on the About page. This is a personal blog owned by Maddie. Other people sometimes author guest posts or other content. No one gets paid a salary to work on this. It costs us something to run it since prizes are given away (and we get rare donations but we usually pay for the prizes ourselves) and we spend time and cash on creation. We are not paid directly for the reviews themselves, we do it because we want to comment. So, to complete this goofy disclosure statement, we have a material connection with most or all of what we talk about because that's just how our lives work and how we made this blog. Amazon would like us to state: "We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites." We collect email address through newsletter signups and book giveaways but we do not collect any other data when you just visit this site. If email addresses are collected, you can opt-out at that time on signups for our newsletters, if you opt-in you can unsubscribe anytime. Thanks!