Does Your Dog Have a Sense of Humor?

Tips for Preventing Boredom
by Pam Johnson-Bennett - Yahoo! Pets

You may not realize it but cats can become bored. Even though Fluffy seems to sleep 16 hours a day, she still needs stimulation and environmental enrichment. Some behavior problems can be caused by lack of activity. Cats were born with a prey-drive so it's natural for them to seek stimulation. Here are some tips for creating a more stimulating environment:

--In addition to providing your cat with toys for solo playtime, engage her in interactive play sessions using a fishing pole toy. There are many types on the market.

--Being natural hunters, it's normal for kitty to seek out food. Increase the fun factor in your cat's mealtime by hiding food in small containers around the house for kitty to discover.

--Use puzzle feeders so kitty can work for food rewards. You can buy commercial food enrichment products such as Play-n-Treat or the Buster Cube or you can make your own puzzle feeders by making paw-size holes in small boxes and then hiding dry kibble in there. You can even make puzzle feeders out of the cardboard toilet paper rolls.

--Provide your cat with elevated areas for exercise and lounging. A multi-perched cat tree is great for climbing, jumping and lounging in the sun. If you don't have the room or the budget for a tree, then consider padded window perches.

--Cardboard boxes and paper bags make great tunnels. Cut out the bottoms.

--Pet water fountains provide fun and can encourage cats to drink more water.

--Place an ice cube in the cat's water.

--Provide catnip once or twice a week. Not all cats respond to catnip but if your kitty does, it can be a wonderful way to act like a kitten again.

--Get her a cat entertainment DVD that showcases prey.

For more information, check out the book Think Like a Cat.

Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?
Yahoo! Pets

Does your dog ever make you laugh – on purpose? Does he know he’s being funny? An even stranger question – does your dog find things funny?

There are countless stories of dog antics and behavior that are funny, but most of those you’d have to say are unintentional. Humorous behavior may be repeated because of the positive reaction received. In this case, you can’t say the dog has a sense of humor, but is acting on positive reinforcement.

But dogs may be a little smarter than that. Just as some people enjoy making others laugh, it would seem, so do some dogs. Author Stanley Coren tells of his Cairn Terrier, Flint, who frequently seemed to try to amuse his owners. On one occasion, Stanley’s wife Karen was having friends over for coffee. Flint hung around the guests, perhaps hoping for a morsel of food. Karen shooed the dog away and told him to go find something interesting to do. Flint obediently left, only to return with one of Karen’s undergarments in his mouth. Coren writes, “Evading capture, he proceeded to flagrantly snap it from side to side with great joy—to the amusement of the company and the dismay of my wife.”

Did the terrier know he was being funny? Hard to say, but Coren says Flint did get a great deal of enjoyment out of it.

Now, there are many levels of humor. There’s basic physical humor like slapstick, up to very high-level humor that requires visualization and imagination to appreciate, such as the type comedian Steven Wright so
dryly delivers. A dog’s world of humor would have to be mostly on the physical level, through simply behaving in a goofy manner, or playing little tricks on you.

Of course, some really intelligent dogs may even enjoy a little psychological humor. One dog owner blogs, “I guess you could say… that I startle easily. And now, I live with The Crow - she's an unusually smart dog with a wicked sense of humor. She's decided it's funny to ambush me from the shower stall. Ha ha. Ha. Now I know she's likely to be there, and it doesn't scare me anymore ... not much, at least. Still, there's always a small start when I don't realize she's in there and I turn to see this.”

It’s really not so hard to believe that dogs have the mental prowess to grasp humor, since they so readily grasp the concept of play. Dogs completely understand the difference between play and something more serious, and are careful to make the distinction. For example, one tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Missy is exceedingly careful to make sure the line between play and not-play is very clear. Missy loves to growl and yap ferociously when playing a game with a person. But she’ll abruptly call a time out by running over and licking her human opponent most humbly, as if to say, “Hey, you know this is only a game, right? You know I wouldn’t hurt you.” (As if her five pounds of fluff could ever be a threat.) Once Missy is satisfied that all parties understand that it’s only a game, she’ll go right back to it, acting out her savage beast within.

W. H. "Hank" Halliday, of Wolf Awareness Inc. in Ontario, Canada contends that if dogs have a personality, why not a sense of humor? “Since personalities are a fact in these canids (dogs and wolves), I would suggest humor cannot be far behind. When my dog plays, it is not mechanical. He changes the rules to have "fun" with me. He certainly teases me and I would suggest that teasing is a form of humor.”

As these stories illustrate, if you’ve ever suspected your dog was making you the punch line to his joke… you were probably right.


Basic Horse Care
Author: Fran Black

Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, it also requires a whole lot of care.

Herd Mentality:
Observe horses in the herd system, each horse's welfare in the wild depends upon an instinctive submission to the discipline of the herd. The instinct is for immediate action. To the horse, action is survival. When horses live in an herd environment, they often take turns sleeping and standing guard for any predators. When the leader of the herd signals danger they take flight.

Learning respect and ascending to authority starts on the first day of life for the foals, there is a distinct pecking order in herds of horses.

It is important to keep a quiet profile around horses. Horses naturally do not like unnecessary noise because in the wild their survival depends on detection of predators with their hearing. Extraneous noise interferes with this predator detection. This predator detection is tightly coupled with a horse's flight reflex. Due to these survival genetics, horses have a physiological wiring in their brains that predisposes them to prefer quietness and to become bothered by unnecessary noise. Many horses can get startled easily from abrupt noises and this could result in injury to the horse, the rider, or people around the horse. Talk to your horse in a quiet, reassuring voice.

Relationship With Horses:
A horse will love you if, first and foremost, you treat it fairly, and secondly, if you allow yourself to develop a relationship with it in the same way you would a human partner. There are too many who will look after the horse's material needs but put nothing back into the partnership itself. The horse born in captivity will identify with an alternative provider and companion, resulting in a healthy relationship from the beginning. A healthy relationship with your horse requires: trust, coupled with respect, fondness with compliance, and a desire to please.

Check Your Horse:
Examine your horse every day and especially prior to riding the horse. Carefully examine the horse's legs and back for any unusual heat or lumps. Make sure that the horse's eyes are alert and not glazy. Listen for any excessive noise or gurgling sounds coming from your horse's stomach. Catching problems before they become serious is critical to keeping a show horse sound and alive.

Exercise caution and discretion when around stallions and mares when they are in heat. They are dealing with hormones on an order of magnitude that you probably can not comprehend. Stallions typically bite and some may be easily triggered into violent behavior.

Grooming Horses:
Keep your horse clean. Keep your horse's entire coat free from dirt, mud, sand, and sweat. Brush your horse every day. Pick out your horse's feet every day. Wash out any sweat residue from the saddle pad or girth every day. Wash out any dirt or sand residue, as from the riding arena, on your horses legs every day. A number of different problems can result if a horse's coat is not kept clean.

Barn Care:
Keep your horse's stall clean. Make sure that your horse's stall is cleaned every day. Be sure that any wetness is removed with the manure. Replace the removed bedding with fresh, clean, dry bedding. Water should be dumped from buckets every day without exception. Unhealthy dirt and bacteria can build up in a bucket if it is not cleaned on a daily basis. Clean water is essential to maintaining a healthy horse. Make sure your horse always has clean, fresh water available.

Training A Horse:
The intelligence of the horse increases rapidly with education. An intelligent trainer can make an intelligent horse. A kind but firm trainer will result in a disciplined but pleasing horse.

Horse Feed:
Feed your horse(s) at the same times every day. A horse may get upset and colic or injure themselves by kicking the stall or pawing, if not fed when feeding is expected. You should not make radical changes in a horse's feed program. If you must make a change in the feed program, make the change gradually. Drastic changes in a horse's feed program can cause the horse to colic and in some cases, may die. Your horse's stomach is a highly sensitive bio-reactor that maintains a delicate balance of the organisms that digest food in your horse's digestive track.

Visitors should not feed a horse that you do not own without the owner's permission; no carrots, no apples, no treats, nothing. The horse could potentially, get sick if they have an allergy or sickness.

Pay attention to everything that goes into your horse; that means all feed, all hay, all water, all treats, all supplements, all pills, and all shots. This knowledge could save your horse's life in an emergency situation. Post this information on your horse's stall door so that it is available to a vet if you are not around in an emergency. Make sure that your horse gets high-quality feed and hay. Your horse's health and soundness depends on the nutrition that you provide for them. Take good care of your horse. A rider without a horse is no rider at all.

Vet Care:
Make sure that you have a good equine veterinarian. A good vet will save you money in the long run and may save your horse's life some day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your horse has all the vaccinations that are normal for your geographical location. All horses should be on a good worming program to control intestinal parasites. A horse should be wormed by a vet at least twice a year.

Horse Flies:
In the summer spray your horse trailer down with fly spray about 10 minutes before you load the horses. The flies should leave, and your horses will be without those pesky flies!

Cooling Horses:
Never spray a hot, sweaty horse with cold water immediately after working the horse. This can cause muscle spasms and binding, or shock that can lead to death. Wait until the horse is breathing regularly, and use warm water if it is available. If a horse has heat shock, consult your vet and the vet may instruct you to cold hose the horse, even if still hot and sweaty. Never put a horse in a stall or confined area while sweaty or while they are still breathing heavily. This can result in shock and/or colic that can lead to death. Walk the horse until the horse is cooled out and the breathing is normal.

Horses' hooves generally grow approximately 1 cm in a month, and take nearly a year to grow from the coronet band to the ground. Horse's hooves need to be trimmed regularly (about every 6-8 weeks). Shoeing a horse does not hurt them. If you were to grow out your finger nail, you could put an earring/pin through it without causing discomfort; however, if you pushed the pin through the part of your nail that is attached to the soft tissue of your finger, it would hurt. When horse shoes are nailed in, they are nailed at an angle so which the horse doesn't feel it.

Make sure that you have a good farrier, especially if you show your horse over jumps. The concussion from landing from jumps amplifies any problems in a horse's shoeing. If a horse gets sore feet or legs from bad angles or bad shoeing, the horse can not just take his shoes off, sit back on a couch, and rub their feet, or find another pair of shoes like you can. Bad shoeing can result in your horse becoming lame due to a number of problems including: bowed tendons, popped splints, or shoulder/back soreness or spasms. Bad shoeing can ruin a good horse, so don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish where shoeing is concerned. A laid-up horse is far more expensive to maintain than a good farrier. And remember not all horses need to have shoes, only if they are competing, walking on hard/rocky surfaces, or have hoof problems.

Horses do lay down to sleep, but only if they feel completely comfortable in their environment. It is not enough to provide a dry stable, food and water. Horses will often sleep standing up by locking their knees. Horses are one of the few animals that can put one half of their body asleep while the other half is wide awake. Emotionally and mentally, all horses need to feel they have and be comfortable in their own space!

To fully enjoy a horse's finer qualities you must treat them with both kindness and quality care. In the end, a happy horse will mean a nicer ride and a happier rider.

Article Source:

About the Author:
Rob Daniels has been an equestrian rider for 25 years. He has studied various disciplines additional articles are available at: Riding Stable - and Horse Stall

Control Over Your Aquarium!
Author: Paul Talbot

I believe that too many people start their aquariums with the aim of its inhabitants surviving. I would like to suggest that this hobby is now way past this simple aim. Due to the lack of information and technology aquariums once had a reputation as being hard to keep.

I have done some study into the mind set of the people that have the aquariums that thrive as a oppose to those that have aquariums that merely survive. I have found that it is more then a choice it to be able to see the aquarium with a new set of understandings.

When I say thriving I mean beautiful clean tanks that are easy to maintain full of fish that are happily growing and breeding and plants or coral that that are growing and propagating.

The first thing I want you to understand is that your aquarium is perfect and it is exactly what it should be. So many people blame their aquarium for its problems e.g. I would love my tank if it didn't have so much algae or I would love it if the fish didn't keep dying, like it is the tanks fault. Guess what, its not the tanks fault, its your fault and only your fault.

These people seek advice on how to fix these problem and may take a step in the direction of it being fixed but just don't get there e.g. they find out that their algae problem is caused by elevated phosphate levels, so they do a water change, cut down food and even add a phosphate sponge and wonder the very next week why the problem is not solved. Many people fall short of creating a solution even though they did take a step in the right direction. I need you to understand that much of what you do today will not show up tomorrow, even next week, more likely next month. Using the algae as an example, lets say that you find out that the algae is caused by phosphate so you do every thing you need to do to get your phosphate down to zero but still the algae lives on. Well guess what, the algae doesn't what to die, it will cling to life until it is literally starved of the conditions it needs to live e.g. present phosphate. This will not happen over night, but with time it will happen. The good news it that once it is gone it is gone and it will take a while until it returns, once those original conditions are present again and at least this time you will easily have the power to fix it again.

Another area that people complain about is that one person says one thing and some one else says something else, so how will they ever know what is right if experts can't even agree, so why should I bother. Let me share something with you, so guess what, everything you know about your aquariums and everything that anyone knows about their aquarium has all been made up. Understand that there is no truth so stop looking for it. People will share their experience of what to do and how things happen but that is all it is, their experience and this is true if you are talking to a marine scientist, an expert aquarist or your neighbour. Understand that there are many ways of doing things and none are the right way, they are all made up, either by them or the person that told it to them. Just do what make since to you and you will soon see exactly how your aquarium reacts, which maybe different to how your neighbours aquarium reacts.

An example of getting information on a solution from one person to the next is lets say I have a 10lt bucket of water and I need to get the water from one 10lt bucket to the next, so I ask one person and they say siphon it, someone else say no, no, no, you have to scoop it, until someone else sees you scoop it and says hey just pour it, this all makes sense until you see someone happily splashing it in. The point that I am trying to make is that if you know what you are trying to do e.g. get water from one bucket to the next it doesn't matter how you do it, if you know what you are trying to do. When learning about your aquarium the aim is really to learn what are you trying to do. Too many people argue and focus on how to do it. Once you know what you are trying to do you will not be confused about how to do it, you will feel freedom in choosing how you decide to do it. Everyone has an opinion on the right and wrong ways of doing things but having an aquarium is about you giving it a try and learning what works for your system.

Learn to accept your tank just the way it is and just the way it isn't. The aquarium does what the aquarium does and that is exactly what it is supposed to do. When you understand this, it will bring you new power to enjoy your tank e.g. one fish doesn't get along with another one, so watch and enjoy this natural interaction until you believe the life of the weaker fish is in danger then remove one of the fish to another aquarium, but don't resent the fish as if that wasn't supposed to happen because exactly what happened is exactly what is supposed to happen, you are meant to watch and enjoy every interaction in your aquarium not just the nice ones. Do you think that some fish don't get along in the wild? Of cause they don't. You will never control your aquarium, but you will have control over it.

To many times people have come to me and said that over the last year one fish has killed off all the other fish in the tank. Remembering that you do have control over your tank but at this point it would be a good idea to possibly move this fish to another tank once it has killed the second fish and saved all the other fish. Your observations and actions are the key to a thriving tank.
Never forget that you bought your aquarium to watch it, so watch it. Watch what happens enjoy what happens, be alert to what happens and use your control over it. I would like to suggest that most problems that occur in your aquarium could be avoided by learning the rules of how to keep an aquarium and using your control over what you see happening.

You have some control over your aquarium but you will never control it completely, so except this and enjoy it.

It is your job to create the possibility of your aquarium thriving. If your aquarium is not the way you want it, create the possibility that it will be great and give it time to show you results. The way to create a new possibility with your aquarium is to start doing something new, which will allow something new to show up, remembering that when you make a change today you can often expect to see the change show up next month, thriving aquariums are often the result of patience. Most chemical or biological changes to your aquarium take about 3 weeks to really make a difference.

Imagine, visualise and plan your perfect aquarium before you start, if you fail to plan you may plan to fail. So many people walk into an aquarium shop because they would like a new fish, with out any idea of what type of fish they are looking for. They will ask the staff on duty how these fish will go with the few fish they are able to name in their tank. As you can imagine sometimes this works and other times it doesn't. Creating a plan for your tank including a wish list is a very good idea. This way you are able to show your wish list to many aquarists before you start buying your fish and start learning the hard way which fish don't often work together. Imagining, visualising and planning your tank is the best way to make sure that your tank turns out with the best result.

Taking responsibility for what it will be will ensure you don't have to focus on what it is, what it is, is a product of what you did in the past. Learn that there is no one else to blame but you for why your aquarium is not thriving and I don't mean just surviving. Never blame the people that give you advice, they are only trying to help and next time they may help. An aquarium has many factors that must be taken into consideration when giving even simple advice, only you are able to understand the happenings of your tank, so don't get angry at the guy at the aquarium store that has tried to help you in a five minute conversation, when what he has said didn't work out. Learn your aquarium yourself and remember that what ever happens to it in this time was supposed to happen and each incident will carry lessons to help your grow as an experienced fish keeper, remember that good experience is often born out of bad experiences. Never give in and keep seeking the best advice.

Keeping an aquarium is a game, play the game. You need a vision with results to make it worth playing the game. No matter what happens don't forget that it is just a game and one that if you loose the game you didn't play it well enough and that you can always play again and win next time. When playing a game you often need a good coach so it can be important to seek out and create a relationship with a good aquarium adviser that can help you win this game of keeping a thriving aquarium. Ask around because you will find this person and your relationship with them will bloom as they get to contribute to and share in the adventures of your thriving aquarium. If you are not aquarium expert it is as important to have an aquarium coach as it is to have a mechanic for your car.

Aim to have a perfect tank, don't aim to just see how it goes. You need to have a vision that truly inspires you in order to have a tank the really thrives. Don't aim to have a tank that survives, aim to have a tank that thrives.

The way your tank is today is the way it always will be, unless you change it now because tomorrow never comes. So many times I here people say that they will improve their aquarium when this and when that. When is now, now or never, your fish deserve nothing but the best so why would you give them any less, just because you are too busy or to lazy, when you break down what really need to be done to have a thriving it never takes as long as it seem, anticipation and procrastination is a huge killer of this beautiful hobby.

People pretend to be good and that they look after their tank. Understand that you are never doing the best you can and try to do at least one thing better. This simple understanding can allow constant grow in you and your hobby.

How good your aquarium goes is governed by your vision, equipment and knowledge.

Enrol, people the universe and yourself in how wonderful your aquarium is and what it brings to you. Create the possibility of what you want it to be and don't focus on the things that you don't want or you will attract them to you. Sharing the joy your aquarium beings to you is the best way to bring your joy alive and to allow you to really feel and get in touch with what your aquarium really means to you.

To have a perfect tank you will have to be unreasonable, many reason will stop you from having the tank that you desire. A reasonable tank is an average tank, don't be stopped by reasons. You will always create the most amazing results when you are unreasonable. Enjoy your hobby and learn to monitor your internal chatterbox or the voice of reason in your head. Learn that this voice in your head it not you, it is just a little voice which will hold you back in every thing you do, including keeping the aquarium of your dreams. Listening to this will limit you and stress you out. If the voice tells you that tank is too big or I am to tire to clean the filter now, listen to the voice but choose what you know you should do, don't listen to that voice because everything it says is reasonable and you want a better tank then a reasonable tank. Get in tune with how the success of your aquarium effects you life, for many how their aquarium is going effects there whole out look on life.

Train yourself to enjoy and do your regular maintenance and don't anticipate it, because the anticipation is always worse than actually doing it. So many people will literally be scare of their tank because they know that their filter is over due for a clean and they tell themself that they don't have the time to clean it, in the mean time they have spent more time stressing about cleaning it then they would spend if they actually just cleaned it. Enjoying your maintenance is a major key in having an aquarium that thrives. If you know you don't want to spent the time then get someone in to service it for you. This may cost you money but will save you money in the long run not having to replace fish and will keep you enjoying your hobby, which is why you got the tank in the first place. Having a poorly maintained tank with fish dying will make you hate this hobby that you wanted to love.

Don't be scared to fail because sometimes you will. All great hobbyists with the most amazing tanks that you dream to have can tell you some horror stories of thing that happened to them early on while they were developing the skills that they need to allow them the thriving tank that they have now. For more advice on Marine Aquariums please go to

Good luck and enjoy,

Paul Talbot

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About the Author:
Paul's interest in fish species and aquariums started early in life. He has worked in the aquarium industry all his working life and has been able to transfer his passion as a hobbyist to his customers. His wealth of experience is an advantage to corporate and hobbyist customers alike. Paul has written many articles for both international and local magazines. He has bred many types of fish and propagated many types of coral. His Instructional Marine Aquarium DVD can be found at

Making Your Apartment Pet Friendly
By Sigrid Vargas

For a large number of us, our cats and dogs are our best friends. Many of us couldn't imagine life without them and consider and treat our four legged friends as a cherished family member, giving them equal treatment and care as we do our two legged loved ones. Some people are so emotionally attached to their pets that they even celebrate their birthdays and other occasions. since pet lovers like to keep their pets with them as much as possible, here are some great advice to Making Your Apartment Pet Friendly.

Many apartment landlords regard pets as nothing more than a nuisance that should be avoided. Landlords worry that pets can damage the apartment and/ or may pose a health problem or bother and disturb other tenants. Therefore, as a pet owner, you are well advised to do some research to counteract possible Landlord objections to pets. In today's times it is not hard to look for some pet friendly apartment. Both you and your pet will feel comfortable in such dwellings because the pet would be able to move freely here and there and there will be other pet owning tenants to provide company for you and your pet.

These kinds of apartments are not hard to find and they provide complete care for the pet at a nominal extra charge per month. These pet friendly apartments have enough space for your pet to run and walk, they also have pet playgrounds and entertainment areas like dog runs and exercising facilities. Some of these apartments are especially designed keeping in mind the needs of pets like cats. These apartments have high windows and hard floors to avoid scratches, and special stain remover paints on walls.

Some apartments are specifically designed for dogs too because dogs need a lot of place for exercise and running and playing. These apartments usually have a bigger backyard for active canines. a word of caution. Make sure that your dog is not destructive when it is left alone because if this is the case, please avail yourself of pet expert help and mend these habits. No place, not even a pet friendly apartment building wants a destructive or troublesome dog.

Well trained and well behaved pets are also a center of attraction for neighborhood. Your neighbors will seldom complain about your pets if they are trained and don't create any unnecessary nuisance.

Want more tips on pets and pet friendly apartments? Come join us at is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

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