News, Photos and Advice for You and Your Pet!

Dog Training: Biting Furniture
by Sarah McDermott

A sometimes cute but other times quite infuriating habit that some dogs have is to constantly bite the corners of furniture. Sometimes this is something that helps them such as times when they are only puppies and don't know any better. He could also be in pain from the changes his teeth are going through. That in a way is excusable but there are other times when he is already at an old enough age where biting the corners of expensive furniture just wont do. You worked hard to be able to purchase them and you don't need them to go to waste because your pet has a very bad habit of destroying it.
There are a lot of people who try to correct this problem but not by the means in which they are supposed to but by hitting the animal. This isn't acceptable because for one it puts you at risk or being attacked if he decided to and secondly it is just inhumane to beat an animal for your own mistakes.

What I mean by your own mistakes is that this bad behavior is partly if not mostly your fault. Animals especially dogs follow the pack mentality which simple says that they have a leader of their group and whatever he says goes. When you own a pet you need to be able to provide that kind of leadership otherwise he will take it upon himself to do so. The conflict is essentially caused by this struggle of leadership because he thinks he is the pack leader and you think that he should be doing what you say which in a way is also the pack leader mentality.

So in order for this bad behavior to stop you need to establish yourself in his mind as the pack leader. You already know that you are the pack leader and now it's time that you convince him of the same. The way to do that is to simply take a walk. This has to be the simplest way to do it but it is also the best way to establish who the leader is and who the follower is. Don't be fooled by how simple this sounds. It is nowhere near simple and will take a lot of work and a lot of patience.

When you go out to the walk you first need to make sure that he walks beside you and not in front of you. Secondly and certainly important is the act of correction. When he does something that you don't approve of such as pulling you, you need to stop him and correct him to make sure he knows that he did something that the pack leader didn't approve of. Doing this consistently is the best way to establish yourself as the leader and make him aware that the next time he decides to bite the furniture of the pack leader there will be severe consequences for him performing that action. You must make sure of that.

About the Author
This author lives in Flemington, NJ with her husband and 5 month old daughter and is an expert contributing author for a luxury dog feeders boutique offering variety of dog beds and dog couches.

Cat Gifts - 6 Inexpensive and Fun Ideas
By Claudia Escobar

Finding a gift for a cat lover seems easy enough. You know for sure that cat lovers love cat-related stuff. But, of course, things are not always that simple. On the one hand you have to know the individual taste of the gift recipient. And on the other hand, you have to consider your budget. So here's the dilemma: how to get a unique, yet budget-friendly, cat gift.

If you already know your cat-loving friends' personal preferences, then finding the right gift will be much easier. But what if you're not sure about what to give? Fortunately, there is a wide array of cat-themed gifts to choose from. You will certainly find something that is fun and affordable for that special cat lover in your life.

So if you're looking for a unique, low-priced cat gift and don't know where to start, take heart. Here are six inexpensive gift ideas for cat lovers. You can find most of these gifts for $25.00 or less.

1. Cat Calendars

You can give a whimsical cat calendar by itself or you can include it in a cat-themed basket. There are several options to choose from: wall calendars, pocket calendars, planners, and desk calendars, just to name a few. You can also give customized calendars.

2. Cat T-Shirts

These make fun gifts for adults and children alike. And they're so easy to find online. Several online stores even allow you to personalize your pieces. For example, you can choose a design from a selection of available logos and images, or you can upload your own graphics. Cat T-shirts come in different styles and prices and most are very affordable.

3. Cat Posters

Does you friend love cats and art? Then cat posters are the perfect choice. And even if your friend is not an art enthusiast, he will surely appreciate this gift. Luckily, there is a wide selection to choose from: from humorous artwork to traditional pictures; and from inspirational works to whimsical pieces. For an extra fee, you can have your poster framed. And if you can afford it, give a fine art print. You can even find reproductions of famous works of art, including Renoir's Woman with a Cat.

4. Cat Magnets

Feline-inspired magnets make fun, and affordable, cat gifts. You can give just one or a whole set. Better yet, you can help your friend start a collection of cat-themed magnets. You can also include a cat magnet in a cat lover gift basket.

5. Cat Books

This idea is one of my personal favorites. You can find cat books on subjects as varied as humor, art, photography, history, inspiration, mystery, trivia, health, cat care, and much more. Undoubtedly, this is the perfect gift for cat lovers who also enjoy a good read. Do you need some ideas? A popular series of cat-inspired books is The Cat Who... series of mystery novels, by Lillian Jackson Braun. A personal favorite is Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort by Allen Anderson and Linda Anderson. Another popular book is Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul: Stories of Feline Affection, Mystery and Charm by Jack L. Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Carol Kline, Amy D. Shojai, and Marty Becker.

6. Cat Candles

Does your friend love decorating? Does she love candles? If this is the case, your friend will love the gift of feline-inspired candles. You can give one or an entire set, or include it in a gift basket. Candles with cat motifs and cat-shaped candles can be easily found online. And you can find both scented and unscented candles.

Bonus Idea

A cat-themed picture frame is another fun and inexpensive gift idea. If you can, include a picture of the gift recipient's cat. If you plan on giving a cat lover gift basket, also include a cat-inspired picture frame. It will add a nice touch to your basket.

© Claudia Escobar is a cat lover who loves anything cat-related. For more gift ideas for cat lovers visit her site at If you would like to reproduce this article please feel free to do so, provided that you publish the article in its entirety and include this resource box.

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How to Use Laterite As a Substrate For a Planted Freshwater Aquarium
By James L. Sanford

Setting up a planted tank is one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences in freshwater fish keeping. Not only will your aquarium look natural and provide cover for your fish (which keeps them happy), the plants will help keep the water free from nitrates and other toxic biological compounds. Most of my tanks are at least semi-planted and I almost never have "random fish deaths" in those tanks. .Plants in my opinion can act as a buffer to keep the water more stable for your fish.

When you set up a planted tank there are many things to consider, such as which plants to pick, which lights and how much, and of course the substrate. For today lets focus on the substrate since it's the foundation of your tank. If you are like most people, you go to the pet store and buy their overpriced bags of colored gravel. You end with an empty wallet and up wondering why your plants won't grow properly.

The only thing from the typical pet store you are going to need for this is box of laterite. Laterite is a clay like substance that contains iron, which plant roots need to grow properly. A typical box for a 40+ gallon aquarium will probably run you about twenty dollars. Next go to a hardware store like Orchard Supply or Home Depot and take a look at their sands and gravels. Typically you can find a 50lb bag for around five dollars. Personally I prefer to have a nice texture to my gravel so it looks natural. I usually buy a second bag of a larger size that I will mix in.

Make sure to completely rinse the laterite and other substrates in buckets before putting them into the tank. The laterite is tough to get clean so do the best you can. When you are ready, lay the laterite down first evenly or more concentrated where you think you might have more plants. Next, if you chose 2 or more other components, mix them together until you create a texture that looks good to you. Place the mixed substrate over the laterite, completely covering it.

For most tanks, I'd say 2-3 inches is fine for substrate depth. When filling the tank with water, pour slowly and carefully or you will stir up dust and powder from the laterite. Also be careful if you only used sand with your laterite. Sand is fine but sometimes it (and this is rare) can compact and create toxic bubbles of bacteria. When it's mixed with something else it's more unlikely this is going to happen. A good burrowing fish can also prevent this too, much like earthworms churn soil. Your gravel should have a nice rich, natural look and be ready for plants....good luck.

For more great tips on maintaining a healthy aquarium click here now!

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SF Gate

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