May 29th, 2023
Pets bring us joy, love, and companionship, but they also have a mischievous side that can lead to countless funny and unforgettable moments. From sneaky antics to peculiar behaviors, our furry friends never fail to provide us with laughter and entertainment. In this blog post, we will delve into the amusing world of mischievous pets, sharing anecdotes and stories that highlight their comical nature. Get ready to chuckle as we explore the hilarious adventures and antics of our beloved animal companions.
Stealthy Food Bandits:
One of the most common mischievous acts performed by pets involves their unwavering determination to snatch food whenever the opportunity arises. Whether it's the dog that stealthily steals a sandwich from the kitchen counter or the cat that pounces on a slice of pizza left unattended, these food bandits leave us both exasperated and amused. Their incredible agility and lightning-fast reflexes can turn any mealtime into a comical chase scene.
Unusual Sleeping Positions:
Pets have an uncanny ability to find the most peculiar and awkward sleeping positions. From upside-down cats with their legs spread-eagle to dogs contorting themselves into bizarre shapes, their sleeping antics never fail to elicit laughter. It's as if they are on a mission to explore the limits of comfort, much to our amusement. These funny sleep positions often result in adorable photo opportunities and endless giggles.
Hilarious Reactions to Everyday Objects:
Pets have a knack for turning the most ordinary objects into sources of fascination or fear. Whether it's a cat's hilarious reaction to a cucumber or a dog's confusion when encountering a vacuum cleaner, their exaggerated responses can leave us in stitches. Watching them react to the simplest things with wide eyes, tilted heads, or playful barks reminds us of their curious and unpredictable nature.
Silly Playtime Shenanigans:
Playtime with pets is a never-ending source of laughter. Whether they're chasing their tails, leaping after toys, or engaging in playful wrestling matches, their energy and enthusiasm can turn any room into a circus. From dogs doing hilarious zoomies around the house to cats comically misjudging jumps, their playtime shenanigans provide endless entertainment and a much-needed break from the seriousness of daily life.
Pets have an incredible ability to bring laughter and amusement into our lives. Their mischievous antics, peculiar behaviors, and silly playtime moments remind us not to take life too seriously. These furry companions have an uncanny ability to brighten our day with their comical nature, making us laugh with their antics and warm our hearts with their affection. So, the next time your pet engages in a hilarious escapade, remember to cherish those moments and embrace the joy that they bring. After all, the laughter they inspire is one of the many gifts they bestow upon us as cherished members of our families.
Pets have fears, but that doesn't, necessarily, make them a fearful pet. By: Liz Serda Schneider
Let's get right to it. As humans, most of us are afraid of maybe a handful of things like spiders, the dark or of flying; but that doesn't make us pantophobic. If we have a specific phobia, we might feel intense anxiety, but with pantophobia, we would feel extreme anxiety and fearful of many things. [https://www.healthline.com/health/pantophobia#definition]
Some pets are afraid of thunder; some pets are afraid of fireworks and some of motorcycles; and some pets seem to be afraid of nothing at all. A true fearful pet generally has a vaster range of things that they are afraid of unfortunately. By vast I mean, numerous and here a just a few:
If your pet has one or two, he is not considered a "fearful" pet. BUT definitely respect their fear. You may not understand their fear, but their fear must be handled with care, and it is real to them. Speak calmly, reassure them it is okay and if they want to hide, let them hide and even provide them with a safe space that is all their own.
If your pet has all or most of what I have listed above, then, yes, consider them a fearful pet. The absolute first thing that you want to do is let your trusted Veterinarian evaluate the dog and assure that your pet is not ill, injured or in pain in any way. When pets are ill or feel pain, they will hide and their behavior often mimics a fearful pet because they don't want to be bothered or touched, they may not want to eat either. Once you rule out, by your Vet, that he is healthy, then you can take steps to help his fear(s).
There are several signs that a pet may be experiencing fear or anxiety; here are the most common ones:
An excerpt from the AKC on Fears vs Phobias:
Dealing with a Fearful Dog
“Living with a fearful dog can be stressful and frustrating. Treating phobias takes patience, time, and consistency. This can feel impossible, especially when excessive barking angers neighbors and landlords. Perhaps the most stressful component is the risk of an accidental dog bite from a fearful dog or a dog that may jump or run through a window or into the street.
Luckily, there are steps pet owners can take to help their dogs deal with phobias, beginning with a visit to their veterinarian as soon as possible. According to Dr. Klein, phobias may worsen with time, and they rarely resolve on their own. In some cases, they can even lead to new phobias, so the sooner you take action the better.
Veterinarians and board-certified veterinary behaviorists recommend behavior modification techniques as a first line of defense. These techniques, such as desensitization, help dogs manage their fearful behavior. There are medications available to relieve distress, however, most drug therapies work best in conjunction with behavior modification and are not an instant cure.”
I, personally, just completed a course on dog behavior from the Victoria Stilwell Academy and there are so many alternatives to help your pet; from medications to behavior modification and always love and lots of patience. But it takes your veterinarian to rule out illness or pain. He may prescribe Prozac or some similar type of medication to help your dog feel more confident so that he can be able to discern, in his own mind, what he believes that he can handle, not us.
Behavior modification offers many types of treatment, on their level, to help with certain fears. Talk to a behaviorist that can come to your house and observe and evaluate. We can offer Freework exercises that help with so many different fears. Freework is an enjoyable and stimulating activity for dogs that provides them with opportunities to build confidence around new or unusual objects, expend energy, and receive mental stimulation. By engaging in Freework, dogs can develop calmness, positivity, and a sense of security. Freework is done in many different forms to address different types of fear,
But above all, if you only get one piece of information out of this article, I hope it is RESPECT YOUR PET'S FEARS; your pet respects yours, doesn't he?
Teaching hyper dogs to relax; Just watch & listen to their communication, by Liz Schneider
I get asked quite often, "why does my dog seem afraid?" or "why does he hide so much?" and more often, "why is my dog so hyper, I don't understand."
If a dog appears hyper, it may indicate boredom or a need to burn off energy, necessitating walks or playtime. A behaviorist can assist in determining whether overstimulation within the household is the issue. Dogs may retreat to a quiet place to relax, but if they engage in excessive activity, they may require exercise to release energy. A long walk, including time for sniffing and exploring, can be beneficial.
Excessive stimuli within the home can cause health issues, such as gastrointestinal problems. A quiet place, such as a bed or crate with a blanket, can be provided to allow dogs to relax and escape overstimulation. If a dog is anxious, providing chew toys and a peaceful atmosphere can help, especially if the dog has a strong parasympathetic nervous system. Neuroscience has taught us that the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for increasing the dog's arousal in response to stress and the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for counteracting the arousal and calming the dog. But sometimes we have to teach them this. No yeling at the dog, or punishing him or sticking him outside is going to teach hm anything. He will only be confused as he was trying to communicate to you what he needed.
To teach dogs how to relax, a quiet retreat space can be set up with a soft bed, chew toys, and treats. Blocking off the room with a baby gate allows the dog to explore and learn that the space is for them alone. Avoiding loud noises elsewhere in the house, such as loud music or movies, helps the dog recognize that the retreat space is always available to them. Meditation or spa sounds can help dogs relax, and with time, they will learn to use their retreat space when needed.
There is so much more to teach on this subject, just call me if you have any questions. There are more methods to teach a dog to calm down and feel safe. Dogs all learn in different ways.
BUT HOW CAN YOU TELL?
The signs of fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) can vary from pet to pet and are directly correlated with the intensity of these emotions. While some stress is normal, chronic stress can negatively impact your pet's health. It's essential to recognize your pet's FAS signs and take steps to soothe their fears to prevent further escalation.
Pets may display subtle cues through their behavior and body language. Cats tend to withdraw and become quiet when stressed, while dogs may exhibit more obvious FAS signs such as whining, pacing, or avoiding eye contact. Chronic stress can lead to changes in behavior patterns, routines, and even health issues like inappropriate elimination or overgrooming.
FAS triggers for pets can stem from environmental or social interactions, such as encountering new situations or meeting unfamiliar people or animals. Improper housing situations, inter-cat aggression, and loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms can also cause stress in pets. Pets who lack proper socialization or whose mothers were anxious or nervous during pregnancy may be more prone to FAS.
Recognizing your pet's FAS signals and understanding their triggers can help you prevent and soothe their fears in the future, ultimately improving their overall well-being. Seek a behaviorist should you need help in translating the information and communication that your dog is giving you.
Dog Behavior Conference
I am excited to tell you that I am attending a 3-day "dog behavior" conference by Victoria Stillwell, one of the world renowned dog trainers and dog behaviorists. I am so excited!
Since I was a little girl, I have always been able to connect with pets in a special way, almost right away. Like the pets had a sixth sense that I was not going to hurt them and I understood them. I have been that way ever since. I have gone into client's home and have been told that the pet would hide and within a minute the pet came out, on it's own, and came right up to me, gave me a kiss and let me hug him. The pet was telling me that he knows that I am an animal person, that he knows that he can trust me and that I won't hurt him; and personally, that means the world to me.
I can see when a dog is in distress, is having gastric issues due to stress and anixiety and which specific breeds are prone to this as well. I can tell when a dog is sad and can usually figure out within a short time why he is sad and how to correct it. I have connections with certain Veterinarians that will help me diagnose what I recognize as behavior issues THAT CAN BE CORRECTED so that he beome a happy dog. Some dog need medication and some dogs just need a change in their environment or their shedule.
I rescued a 6 month old lab mis from Waveland Mississippi in 2009. He was emaciated, terrified of people, very fearful and didn't trust anyone. He was used as a bait dog and was found tied to a tree, surrounded in his own feces and no water in the back of an abandoned house, that police say, was clearly used for dog fights. But that dog came right up to me, laid his head on my shoulder and asked me to help him. He lived with me for 11 years, until he paassed away of cancer 2 years ago. He was always in some phase of rehab, never completely trusted anyone that he didn't know really well. He was never affectionate, he didn't like when I tried to give him a hug and he rarely a kisser (I love doggy kisses), but he did know that I was going to help him and never leave him. On the day that I had to put him to sleep, I sat on the clinic's floor sobbing. My dog, still always a little anxious, was a pacer...he was pacing and walking in circles waiting for that first dose to calm him down. Finally, while I was still sobbing, he came and sat down directly in front of me and laid his head on my shoulder. He had never done that before. This time, he knew he needed to rescue me.
So I have decided that I am going to take my "special spidey senses" and put them to to work so that I can help other rescue dogs overcome fear and anxiety; so that I can teach pet parents what they aren't rcognizing and hopefully make the pet and the household a better place for everyone. Starting tomorrow I am attending a 3-day conference on all things dog behavior from helping an abused and rescued dog learn how to get his self-confidence back, to solving a mysterious puzzle of why dogs react certain ways to stimuli that most don't realize.
Nonie's Pet Care's 2023 campaign is to get the dogs out of the house, get them moving on walks and to sniff all of the smells in their neighborhood, play with our ball launcher for fun exercise and lots of love and attention. Keep those dogs healthy, not laying around the house all day an keep them out of the Vet's office.
But dog behavior has always been my passion knowing that I had this special "spidey sense".
And I cannot wait to get started.
Dog walking Take-away from the Conference
Attending the conference of the National Association of Pet Professionals, which encompasses all pet industry businesses, not just pet sitting, was a great investment!
We have brought pets of all species into our homes and into our hearts and making them part of the family. We love them and care for them as if they were our children. We buy them clothes, we take them on airplanes and in restaurants; we take them to the doctor if anything seems wrong and we buy them dog food without dyes, fillers and chemicals, because it can cause illnesses.
Having said all that, I am struggling to figure out why our/my city and my neighborhoods aren't taking part in the daily dog walking part of the industry, that is so huge around the country. It is such a healthy and loving thing that you can do for your dog while you are at work. It helps with separation anxiety, boredom deterrent, helps prevent early onset of arthritis and it is a fun heart-healthy activity as well. Everyone knows the power of a dog's nose, so just like we enjoy scrolling through Instagram, the news, our Facebook feed, Twitter, Tic Toc...going on a walk is the same feeling for your dog. They enjoy the stroll and smelling all of the multitude of scents in their neighborhood.
Back to the Conference; the majority of the 100 or so people that attended from all over the country and a few from Canada, told me that their dog walking business is as big, if not bigger, than their traveling-pet-sitting business. Now other cities have much different terrains, they take dogs on hikes up moutains or through trails; we don't have that here. The weather is different, cost of living if different, cultures are different and probably several other elements that I am not thinking of at this moment. But why do we [my City] leave our dogs to sit at home all day, bored, sleeping and lonely. Some owners have doggy-doors which are great for not forcing them to hold it all day, but they are still bored. Maybe your dog rips up sofa pillows or his dog bed or maybe he digs wholes in the backyard or rips up your garden. Really? HE IS BORED! Dogs need stimulation, enrichment, activity, exercise...why are you leaving them home?
My business has a strong travel-pet-sitting business but our dog walking services are seldom used and it breaks my heart. The regular dogs that we dog walk every day or 3 times a week, etc., are so happy when we take them on a walk around the block, half a mile or a mile, depending on the cold, the heat and the health and age of the dog. It is incredibly sad to walk by a house and have a dog sitting in the window barking or crying to be outside too. But I promise that your dog is happy, tird and had a great time when we bring them back home.
If we can spend the money on the very best food brand, the best pet care, the best orthopedic dog bed [all good things] then please, please give your dog something to look forward to each day, 4x/week or whatever you choose. I know that you want your dog to be happy, you love them.
Give them the gift, the joy of a walk a day. Please.
I will be bringing a lot of useful and helpful information to share with you, after the conference.
To be the Best of the Best, as we are, we never stop learning and improving!
Liz Schneider, Owner
I once went to a pet vist for two dogs and were warned by the Owners that..."the dogs will bark and growl, but he won't bite you, he just wants to be pet." Well, I got bit twice. I have studied and worked with dogs, just like this little guy, for about 10 years. Any Veterinarian or Trainer will tell you that barking, growling and showing his teeth is NOT a sign that he wants to be pet or played with at all; that he is having fear and anxiety at that very moment.
ALWAYS keep in mind that what might seem scary to a dog will feel normal to us. Respect how that dog feels. When I was very young, there was a family member that used to "tease me" when he caught a roach and I was terrified of them! He would then pretend to throw it at me and I would scream out of shear terror and run as fast as I could. Picking up the roach, to that guy, was no big deal, but for me it was scary and cruel. Have you ever walked your dog and he saw a Halloween decoration in a yard and backed away from it, barked or growled at it...that is fear to them but normal to us. Sometimes dogs will see just some litter on the ground and react the same way...fear for them but normal for us.
There are several ways that I have shown my staff and owners on how to manage a situation like this when you walk in the front door and some of them are:
1. START BY understand that you are entering the DOG'S home, probably for the first time and he doesn't know you. His [distressful] barking or growling likely means he being anxious and fearful. Fearful and anxious dogs will bark, back up, growl, show their teeth and not let you touch them or maybe even try to nip at you. Dogs that aren't socialized correctly will usually have this before to new people walking THEIR home. That being said, NEVER try to touch, pet or stick your hand out when a dog is clearly distressed and do NOT bend over his head. Always have bite size treats with you when you go to a fearful dog's home.
2. Always Assess First before walking further into the house: Is the dog's tail wagging while he is barking or is his tail stiff and he is growling and showing his teeth? Is he moving closer to you to smell you while he is barking or is he backing away due to fear, continuing to bark? If the tail is wagging, that is a good sign and means that he is a little nervous because he doesn't know you. If he is reacting more viciously that is called a REACTIVE dog and he is scared and doesn't know what to do.
3. So the first method: Show the dog that you respect his space and it's his house. I always talk calmly to the dog, let him sniff me and literally ask him, "can I come into your house?" or "show me your toys? It sounds ridiulous but the tone of my voice and my body language can be calming and most times I can walk past him, but follow through with taking him outside, seeing his toys or taking him for a walk. But if is still showing signs of anxiety or fear, just go about your business WITHOUT MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH THE FEARFUL DOG. Let him hear your voice and speak as calmly and friendly and always mention the dog's name. If he follows you to go outside to potty in the yard or preparing his food, etc., give him a little treat for every calm and positive effort that he is making.
4. Second method: If you CANNOT get past him (likely a bigger dog), then you stay at the entrance of the home and wait till he can calm down. Once he calms down a bit, lower yourself to his eye level but not close in front of his face; that takes away the fear of you towering over him which can be intimidating for any dog just meeting you and it keeps you from possibly getting bit in the face. Keep avoiding eye contact, which is a trigger and can cause a dog to take that as a challenge. While lowering yourself to the ground, don't make any gestures or try to touch him or bend over his head. Let him calm down even more and he should start to sniff you. If he doesn't, go to #5.
5. Another method is to lower yourself to the ground slowly BUT turn your back on the dog. Turning your back on him removes eye contact, your arms are in front of you and away from the dog and you aren't trying to engage with the dog in any way. That removes some immediate fear right away. Every fearful dog whereby I use this technique, has always slowly approached me (feeling safer w/my back turned) and starts to sniff all around my back, my hair, then my shoulders and neck while you just stay still and talk to him calmly mentioning his name. If you happen to have a small treat (not a large one), slightly hold it out with your arms extended, still with your back to the dog. Let him take the treat and that will be one sign, to him, that you are not there to hurt him. If he is calmer, then slowly try to stand back up.
6. After he has settled down more, don't move around the house in a rush, as that couldl trigger the dog that something might be wrong and he likely will return to being anxious. Just move about the house calmly, go to the back door and let them outside to potty. If you're taking him on a walk, put the leash on the floor, with a treat, and use the word "walk" or "outside" to elicit some sort of response, from him that he wants to go for a walk with you.
WRAPPING THIS ARTICLE UP, LET ME SAY;
Knowing canine body language is very important. All dogs have fears and triggers; it's so important to discover what they are in an effort to help them. Sometimes it may appear that he is fearful or aggressive when he actually is in pain somewhere. SO BEFORE AN OWNER ATTEMPTS THESE STEPS, FIRST RULE OUT, WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN, THAT HE IS OKAY. So many times the owners thank me because their Vet said that he had something in his paw, his arthritis was worse or he had a virus. It could easily be so many things that aren't easily recognizable to us. So always rule out pain first with your Vet.
Experts say that walking or taking them out to a dog park, a run on the levee, dog play dates or even Petco to smell all of the goodies, are all great ways to provide your dog with different stimuli and experiences [adventures] that will provide him fun, exercise and socialization. How will a fearful or aggressive dog ever learn that poeple are okay and safe if they never meet them? So it is SO IMPORTANT to provide these adventures for your dog to give him confidence rather than fear, enrichment rather than living only within the house and backyard.
We definitely get it; your life is busy with work, cooking, laundry, homework, baseball or soccer practice, school events, etc., THAT IS WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR...to make YOUR life a little easier and to provide your dog enriching experiences and you will find a happier, calmer and better behaved dog for your family to enjoy.
Written by Liz Schneider,
Owner of Nonie's Pet Care
I am going to attach an article from the Anti-Cruelty Society, 2022. that addresses determining your dog's triggers and then how to deal with them.
Finding your dog’s trigger(s):
It’s crucial to always be aware of your dog's behavior and to take note of the things she is afraid of, aka her “triggers”. Along with noting what her triggers are, observe the amount of the scary thing she can handle before behaving in a fearful manner. This is called her threshold. It is important to never exceed your dog’s threshold throughout the training process.
Managing your dog’s trigger(s):
Once you have determined her triggers and threshold, create a plan to limit her exposure to these things. When you’re training her, it’s important that you don’t scare her more.
In most cases, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid every trigger. Make sure to have a “Plan B” in case you aren’t able to avoid a trigger, such as taking a U-turn on a walk or crossing the street. Be sure to always have treats on you to reward your dog for moving away from the scary thing!
Reintroducing triggers through positive reinforcement:
Introduce your dog to the things that scare her slowly, gradually, and in a controlled environment. To prevent your dog from being more afraid, it’s incredibly important not to rush this process and never to force your dog into a situation where she is scared. Remaining calm throughout this process is also key. Use calming gestures such as stroking her head and talking to her in a soft tone of voice to help ease your dog’s anxiety and fear.
Start off by introducing the scary thing to your dog at a distance and rewarding her with lots of treats and praise when she does not show signs of fear. This will teach her to associate yummy treats with the scary object. If at any point she does start showing signs of fear, take a break and calm her down by softly petting her. Start again from the last point when you succeeded and go even slower.
For example, if your dog is afraid of strollers, feed your dog a treat every time she sees a stroller, even if it’s from a distance. Soon enough, your dog will start associating the stroller with treats and be less fearful of them.