Pet Advice: Most Popular Dog Breeds

How to Train Your Cat to Do Tricks
Colleen Mastony - Chicago Tribune

Samantha Martin, manager, trainer and owner of the Rock Cats, uses "clicker training" to train her felines. With a little luck and a lot of patience you too could have your cats jumping through hoops.

What you'll need:

1. Something that makes a clicking sound. Martin sells training kits, "clicker" included, at shows and by phone (773-549-3357). But you can use a ballpoint pen or make a clucking sound with your tongue. Pet stores also sell clickers.

2. Treats. Use them to reinforce a behavior. Tuna fish works well, as do pieces of chicken or lamb-flavored baby food.

3. A target stick. A foot long and topped with a ball, or something similar, it's used to direct the cat's attention.

How it works

The "click" tells the cat exactly when it is performing the correct behavior. Combined with positive reinforcement—a small piece of tuna dispensed immediately—the clicks can help teach a cat to perform tricks.

The steps

1. Use the treats to lure the cat toward the target stick. Click and treat when the cat sniffs or touches the end of the target stick with its nose.

2. Move the target, continuing to click-and-treat when the cat follows.

3. After the cat has learned to follow the target, you can use it to guide the cat's attention, clicking and treating to shape a variety of behaviors, including jumping to a seat or running an obstacle course.

Helpful hints

1. Keep it short. Martin recommends 10-minute sessions daily.

2. Start early. Cats learn best when they're young; start training when they are between 8 weeks and 4 months old.

3. Be patient.

from AllHatNoCattle

After a Pet Dies, There Are Many Options
By DR. JIM RANDOLPH - McClatchy Newspapers

Man's best friend escaped from his yard and was accidentally run over by a passing car.

The kitty you got from the humane society just last week ran out through an open door the same day you got him. A few days later you found him under the house with a horrible cat fight wound, dehydrated and hypothermic. The infection took over his entire body, and he died.

Or, maybe, the dog your parents got the year you were born finally expired from old age.

Now what?

The stages of grieving for a lost pet have been discussed in a Your Pet's Doctor column previously and are generally widely available. If you need a reprint, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and we will be happy to mail you one to help speed your healing.

Today, we are addressing the mechanics of what one does when a pet passes away. "Fluffy was a respected family member. How do I honor that in the way I care for her body?"

The most commonly used method of disposition of a pet's body is burial, usually in the family home's back yard.

Sometimes, however, there are reasons not to follow this traditional path. Some cities have local ordinances prohibiting the practice. You may have reservations about leaving a pet's grave behind if your job is relocated. You may be living in a "starter house" and planning on moving soon.

Still, backyard burial is a great option if it is available to you.

Adults and children alike may wish to visit the gravesite. "Closure" may best be obtained by seeing a visual reminder of the pet's departure, especially if the members make a family event out of manufacturing a grave marker. Whether a cross that says, "JoJo is with Jesus," or a simple pile of stones, a marker makes a grave all the more meaningful.

Another type of burial site is a dedicated pet cemetery. With the rising cost of land, such facilities are becoming more rare, but when they are available and you can't or wish not to bury at home, they are a great option. Many offer perpetuity for the gravesite and maintenance for the site and marker. The cemetery owner may also offer caskets and other services.

Before Hurricane Katrina scattered friends and neighbors to the four corners of the earth, I had a friend who performed pet burials for area veterinarians. His "cemetery" was less formal, simply an area in his pasture where he laid beloved four-legged family members to rest. There were no markers, no visitation and pet owners understood the land could be sold someday. Still, it was a beautiful site and for a reasonable fee A.J. would put his loving hands to work respectfully giving a resting place to any species.

I wish we still had such a service (and if anyone is interested in offering it please contact me at the address below). Almost anyone could afford the fee and I was always comfortable handing patients over to A.J. Sadly, A.J. himself has passed on, too.

While I know of no "human" funeral homes that provide burial services or operate pet cemeteries, many do offer beautiful wooden or metal caskets for pets, and the prices are astonishingly affordable.

Alternatively, you can build your own, anything from a simple wooden box to fancy caskets, the plans for which you can download from the Internet for free.

Cremation is a wonderful option and one I've taken advantage of many times over the years. As I write this my desk here at work is dotted with a variety of jars and urns containing the ashes of pets who have gone on. Most pet crematories offer custom urns in a variety of price levels.

Regardless of the reason you've lost your pet, feel free to call your pet's doctor for advice regarding his final resting place.

(Dr. Jim Randolph is a veterinarian at Animal General Hospital in Long Beach, Miss. Questions for this column are encouraged. Write to South Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association, 20005 Pineville Road, Long Beach MS 39560 and include a self-addressed stamped envelope.)

Cops: Lady Froze Her Cats AGAIN!
By Jessica Fargen - Boston Herald

Police remove carcases, live pets

Beacon Hill’s notorious cat lady was in the spotlight again yesterday after an angry confrontation with cops who say they found at least two dead felines in her freezer following a brief standoff at her Plymouth home.

Police removed her Great Dane and three Persian cats after an allegation of animal abuse against Heidi Erickson, who was convicted of animal cruelty in 2005 and kept dead cats in her freezer when she lived on Beacon Hill.

Erickson, 48, who had a housing-related court hearing yesterday, was distraught and highly emotional when she returned home over the lunch hour to find an officer in front of her house.

“There isn’t any abuse. You have no probable cause to go in and take my animals,” Erickson could be heard yelling at a police officer. At the time, she was on the phone with a Herald reporter. Police armed with a search warrant later removed the animals. It was unclear last yesterday where they were taken.

Erickson told the Herald she has not abused her animals.

Plymouth Police Capt. John Rogers said police searched Erickson’s Lothrop Street apartment Tuesday and found two dead cats in her freezer. At the time, police were aiding the Plymouth Board of Health in investigating odors coming from her home. Rogers said police removed the pets as part of an animal abuse investigation. He refused to provide any information about the alleged complaint.

“We are investigating further into animal neglect issues,” he said.

Erickson said police seized her Great Dane and three Persian cats. She said she relies on the animals for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which she claims is linked to her Beacon Hill battle.

In 2003, more than 40 Persians that Erickson wanted to clone were seized from her Watertown apartment. In 2005, she was convicted of animal cruelty for her treatment of pets in her Beacon Hill apartment.

But the Supreme Judicial Court handed Erickson a bizarre victory, when it ruled in 2005 that Erickson could keep dead animal carcasses as long as she didn’t violate health codes.

Her landlord is in the process of trying to evict her because of her pets, she said. An attorney for Erickson’s landlord could not be reached.

Be Careful Where Dog Does ‘Doo-ty’
By ABBY Universal Press Syndicate

Dear Abby:

It disgusts me to see dog owners take their dogs out for a walk on a leash for the sole purpose of letting them dirty someone else’s lawn. This has continued even after my posting signs asking people not to walk their dogs on my property.

Is it too much to expect folks to be considerate of their neighbors and clean up after their pets? I’m sure I’m not alone with this annoying experience.

— DISGUSTED in Houston

Dear Disgusted:

You’re not alone. The 11th Commandment should read: “It is the ‘doo-ty’ of conscientious pet owners to pick up after their dogs.”

Humane Society Reminds Owners To Leash Dogs /

OMAHA, Neb. - As temperatures rise and the dogs begin to have their days in the park, Humane Society officials are reminding owners that violations could cost them their pets.

All dogs have to be on a leash while outside and all owners must pick up their dogs' waste. Also, dogs can no longer be tied up alone outside for more than 15 minutes.

Violating one of these rules, which are mandated in Omaha's new ordinance, is one strike against the owner. After three strikes within a 24-month period, owners could have their pets taken away, get sacked with a $500 fine and face jail time.

Bird lovers, like Jim Ducey, said unleashed dogs are a "disturbance to the native animals and things that people enjoy here at the park."

Dogs can run free at one of three area dog parks, located at 114th and Maple streets, 154th and Giles Road and at 96th Street and Highway 370.

"That's the last thing in the world we want to do is take a dog away from someone who has their dog loose in a park," said Humane Society spokesman Mark Langan.

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One Third of U.S. Bird Species Endangered, Survey Finds
By CORNELIA DEAN - The New York Times

Habitat destruction, pollution and other problems have left nearly a third of the nation’s 800 bird species endangered, threatened or in serious decline, according to a study issued on Thursday.

Described as the most comprehensive survey of American bird life, the report analyzed changes in the bird population over the last 40 years. “This report should be a call to action,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at a news conference in Washington.

Citing surveys by government agencies, conservation organizations and citizen volunteers, the report said that the population of grassland birds had declined by 40percent and birds in arid lands by 30 percent. It estimated that 39 percent of bird species that depend on American coastal waters were in decline.

Many forest birds are threatened by urban sprawl, logging, wildfires and “a barrage of exotic forest pests and disease,” the study said.

In Hawaii, the home of more than a third of American bird species, the situation is particularly grim, the report said. Most of that state’s bird species are in danger.

Climate change will make things worse, and work is urgently needed to prevent “a global tragedy” of bird loss, the report added.

But there was also an upbeat side to the news conference. The study found that herons, egrets, ducks and other birds that benefit from wetlands conservation were rebounding. Findings like this “show us that conservation can really work,” Mr. Salazar said.

Other speakers agreed. The report’s gloomy assessment makes it “a key document,” said John Hoskins of the United States North American Bird Conservation Initiative, an umbrella group for public and private efforts. But its data also show that “when agencies, organizations and individual citizens work together to conserve precious resources, some really good things happen,” Mr. Hoskins said.

The report draws on data collected by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Geological Survey, organizations like the American Bird Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and volunteer participants in the Christmas Bird Count of the National Audubon Society.

John Fitzpatrick, the director of the Cornell laboratory, which also oversees citizen bird-counting, said that a wealth of data gathered in such volunteer efforts had helped scientists make major strides in assessing the health of bird populations and in drawing more general conclusions about the environment.

Beyond taking part in counting efforts, the report urged ordinary citizens to assist conservation by drinking shade-grown coffee (coffee-growing in the shade helps preserve the winter habitat of species like warblers), donating unused binoculars for distribution to biologists in the tropics, reducing pesticide use, landscaping with native plants and keeping pet cats indoors.

“Education is urgently needed to make the public aware of the toll of pet cats,” Darin Schroeder of the American Bird Conservancy said at the news conference.

Baghdad's Pet Shop Owners Are Back in Business
Usama Redha / Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Baghdad -- Tall green peacocks, feathers aloft, perch on concrete blast barriers. Boys rattle the cage of a German shepherd, which barks fiercely and bares its teeth. Vendors wrap green and yellow snakes around their necks as they haggle with customers. Fathers and sons walk off with wooden cages holding yellow cockatiels and parrots.

The pet industry was a sleepy trade in Saddam Hussein's final years, hampered by international economic sanctions and an ever-shrinking middle class. The most exotic pets were generally bought by elite families, who could afford expensive animals, whether a monkey or a Siamese kitten. Then came the violence of the last few years: The Ghazel market, on a main boulevard in downtown Baghdad, has weathered two bombings since 2007.

But now, with bloodshed down and civil servants earning higher salaries, families are enjoying their spending power, the relative calm and the freedom to buy luxuries unavailable in sanctions-era Iraq.

Even dogs, traditionally considered unclean in Islam, have become popular.

The best day to buy pets is Friday, when the vendors set up their stalls of canines, cats on leashes and twittering birds. Thousands saunter through to browse.

Pet stores tucked away in alleys, closed for most of Iraq's sectarian bloodshed, have reopened in the last year. Precautions now include massive blast walls and policemen who pat down every pedestrian.

Fish shop owner Qassam Amiri looks at his tanks of colorful species -- with names like Lionhead, Red Cub and Baby Face. In the last six months, his business has climbed steadily. People began arriving from the provinces to shop. Some will pay as much as $200 per fish.

Kanan Abu Gazwan sits on the curb and keeps an eye on his two peacocks perched on the concrete barrier. He points to the male, with dazzling emerald feathers, and the duller-colored female, and explains that they are ready to mate. People with large farms or big gardens like to buy them, and he sells three or four pairs of peacocks a week. They usually fetch $800 a pair.

Pet seller Laway Mohammed brags that the market is crazy these days for Siamese cats, which can sell for $100 to $1,600.

"People pay high prices to get pet cats because they like the nice things," Mohammed says. "Their behavior is different than the street cats. They are cleaner. They don't defecate inside the house." Then he corrects himself: Only the trained cats know to go outside.

He also deals in high-end dogs such as Pekingese and dachshunds, or "sausages," as Iraqis like to call them. Prices fly as high as $600.

"When they see new pet animals, they buy them for whatever the price is," he says.

Mohammed finds it incredible that before the war, many people could afford only a pigeon. "Now people want everything and we can bring it. Nothing is difficult now -- even lions, crocodiles, everything," he says.

Wasfi Abed Yassin, 52, who has been selling pets for decades, marvels at the boom. "I've run out of cats," he says. "I don't feel strange that a person will buy a cat for $200 or $400 . . . . God gave him money, so why not let him buy if he can afford the price?"

Times staff writers Ned Parker and Caesar Ahmed contributed to this report.

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10 Tips on How to Feed a Finicky Dog
by Sara S.

Dog-owners already know that most dogs love to eat. They'll scrounge for any stray scrap that falls on the floor or get snuck to them under the dining table. Unfortunately, because most dogs inhale anything put in front of them, there's not a lot of help for owners of dogs that don't eat well. My own Italian Greyhound sometimes refuses to eat for days at a time, but here are some ways to help picky dogs get some nourishment.

1. Make sure your dog doesn't have any food allergies. Consult your vet to test for any diseases such as Addison's Disease or intestinal parasites that are inhibiting your dogs ability to retain nutrients. Keep in mind that many dogs can tolerate chicken and beef products, but some with sensitive stomachs cannot. Also, many dogs cannot handle pork products, but conversely, some can (like my own dog). If they can, consider adding small amounts of pork to their diet for added protein.

2. If your dog is like mine and hardly eats consistently, try offering them puppy food from time to time. Puppy food is higher in fat and might be more appetizing to them; also, if they've gone several days without eating, a higher-fat meal might ensure that they're sustained for longer. (I've tried this technique and it works well and has been supported by my vet.)

3. Most importantly, mix it up…somewhat. It's not easy on a dog's stomach to switch their food every few days, but sometimes dogs are finicky due to lack of variety. Find a product that offers different flavors but is still the same food formula. This way, their digestive systems aren't shocked by a new type of food but they're still intrigued by a new smell and taste.

4. Dry food is better for a dog's teeth, but some dogs won't eat it at all. Some dogs can be fooled into eating kibble if it's mixed with a little water and warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds (we put it on defrost setting for about 20-30 seconds). It's still not as good for their teeth, but giving them a vet-approved dental chew-stick can help fight plaque, gingivitis and strengthen their enamel.

5. If they still refuse to eat, try a bland diet: bland, cooked chicken meat and rice. It's boring and tasteless, but easy on the stomach and high enough in protein and carbohydrates that they won't become too weak. This might allow their system time to "reset" itself and to start accepting real dog food again.

6. Since dog food can get pretty expensive, and even more so if your dog only eats a little bit of one kind at a time and never touches it again, try to look for coupons for different foods your dog might be able to tolerate. Buy small bags using coupons (usually available at food company websites) or even try sample sizes given either free or discounted from local pet stores.

7. When putting food down, do it at a time when they'll be alone. Some dogs (especially those of lower rank in the "family pack") don't like being watched when eating. Feed them before or after the human family eats so there's no pressure and they won't have to worry about having their food taken from them. 8. If you have more than one dog, isolate the lower ranking dogs and feed them at a different place and time. Make sure the higher ranking dogs don't move in on their bowls! If they feel threatened, they won't eat.

9. If, however, you put food down and your dog ignores it, don't leave it out for very long, especially if it's soft food. Put some plastic wrap on it and put in the fridge until later. If they're not hungry now, they might be later, so don't leave soft food out for more than an hour. Put it away and offer it to them later (heated up a little in the microwave).

10. Offer them food at consistent times and know when they seem to be most interested in food. My dog is most commonly hungry in the mid-afternoon, but sometimes eats best at night when I'm planning to go to bed. Learn your dog's schedule, chances are she has one, even if it's not overtly obvious.

Either way, you know your dog better than anyone, and your vet should be your number one resource, but finicky dogs can be tough to care for. Just keep in mind that humans are the only animal capable of willingly starving itself to death; your dog isn't "starving" himself to spite you. He's not eating either due to digestive problems or disinterest in what you're offering him, but he'll eat eventually. Make sure he's checked for illnesses and then find a food he'll eat somewhat consistently (sometimes different flavors are all he'll need to take an interest in eating regularly!)

Your dog wants to eat, but sometimes dogs will go days without eating and not show any ill effects. My own 13-pound IG will go days without eating even when food is offered daily, but still won't lose any weight or any interest in playing. As long as they don't drop in weight or become lethargic, there's probably not a lot of cause for concern. Some dogs are just tougher than others.

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Most Popular Breeds Part 1
by Fox Harrison

1. Labrador:
Life Expectancy: 10-12 years.

Size: Large.


Labradors are generally very active, energetic dogs who require daily exercise. They are intelligent dogs who are eager to please so they are relatively easy to train. They don't require much grooming as they have very short coats, but they do shed seasonally so they may not be suitable for people with allergies.

Qualities: • Agile • Keen • Good with children • Good tempered • Adaptable • Devoted companions • Biddable • Sociable • Kindly nature

Drawbacks: • They have a tendency to chew especially if they are neglected • Need attention and companionship

Health problems:

Labradors can have problems with their hips and eyes.

2. Cocker Spaniel:

Life expectancy: 10-14 years

Size: Small


These are sporting dogs which are active so require lots of daily exercise. They are intelligent and responsive making them quite easy to train. Also they need to be groomed every few days and have their coats clipped every few months to keep it in good condition. They also shed hairs so they may be unsuitable for people with allergies.

Qualities: • Good with children if they have been raised with them • Sturdy • Affectionate • Gentle • Sociable • Enthusiastic

Drawbacks: • Can become over dedicated and clingy. • Demanding and require a lot of time and attention • Protective, this may cause them to bark which can be a problem.

Health Problems:

The show-type, single coloured Cocker Spaniel can suffer from a hereditary condition called Fits and Rage Syndrome which causes the animal to bite its owner or other normally trusted person.

3. English Springer Spaniel:

Life expectancy: 12 years

Size: Medium


This is a highly energetic, active dog which needs rigorous, daily exercise. They are intelligent dogs and quick learners making them relatively easy to train. However, they do need grooming several times a week and their coat needs to be clipped every few months to keep it in good condition. They are also seasonal shedders so may be unsuitable for allergy sufferers.


• Good with children once they are raised. • Friendly • Biddable • Strong • Sociable • Faithful • Devoted • Loyal • Good companion


• Can be overly boisterous • Can become dependent • Have a protective streak so my bark, but this makes them effective watchdogs.

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier:

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Size: Small


These dogs don't require grooming and they don't shed so they are suitable for people with allergies. They are active dogs and need daily exercise. However, although they are very intelligent they can be difficult to train and are better suited for an experienced dog owner, who is assertive and confident, to provide consistent, firm training. Early socialising is essential to promote stable, even temperament.


• They are ok with older, gentler children. • Strong • Indomitable courage • Affectionate • Tenacious • Fearless • Agile • Bold • Devoted • Loyal • Alert • Protective • Reliable


• Has strong impulses • Headstrong • Digger • Jumps high so needs to be contained. • Chews • Fighting instincts: they are strong and challenge other dogs

5. Alsatian:

Life expectancy: 12 years

Size: Large


Alsatians are energetic so require daily exercise. They don't need much grooming but they do shed so they are unsuitable for allergy sufferers. They are intelligent dogs so they are relatively easy to train and are often used by the police. However, they can be dominant and are better suited to more experienced owners and need to be properly socialised as they can be aggressive with other dogs.


• Versatile, working dogs • Good with children • Attentive • Alert • Tireless • Keen scent ability • Steady nerve • Confident • Self assured • Courageous • Resilient • Loyal • Independent


• They are protective which may cause them to bark or attack (they are often used as guard dogs) • Aloof • Serious • Dominant • Sharp • May chase smaller animals • May be aggressive or dominant towards other dogs • Can whine a lot

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

Life expectancy: 10-15 years

Size: Small


Again these are active dogs that require daily exercise. They are ok to train and can be quite obedient. They don't need much grooming and shed a little.


• They are good with older, more considerate children • Affectionate • Graceful • Fearless • Sporting • Friendly • Sociable • Devoted • Loyal • Playful

Health problems:

They can be prone to heart problems.

7. Golden Retriever:

Life expectancy: 10-14 years

Size: Large


Golden retrievers are active dogs that require daily exercise. They are an intelligent, obedient, fast learner which makes them easy to train. Also they are very stable dogs which make them popular for use as guide dogs for the blind. However, they need grooming twice a week and shed heavily making them unsuitable for allergy sufferers.


• Powerful • Good with children and families • Confident • Kind • Biddable • Friendly • Stable • Gentle • Loyal • Devoted • Responsive • Sociable • Trusting • Sweet-natured and loving • Love company


• They tend to chew • They make poor watchdogs as they are too sociable. • Demand attention

Health problems:

They are prone to obesity because they love food and will eat everything and as much as possible.

8. Border Terrier:

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Size: Small


These dogs need daily exercise. They are relatively easy to train but they are better suited to more experienced owners. They don't shed very much so they are suitable for people who are allergic but they need grooming weekly, with their coats being clipped every few months.


• Good with children • Spirited • Keen • Friendly • Alert • Enthusiastic • Determined • Sensible • Lots of stamina • Curious • Responsive • Effective watchdogs


• They can bark a lot, especially at strange noises • They tend to chase and hunt smaller animals so aren't suitable if you have other pets such as hamsters.

9. West Highland Terrier:

Life expectancy: 11-14 years

Size: Small


Again these dogs are active and energetic requiring daily exercise. Although they are intelligent they can be difficult to train so are more suited to an experienced dog owner. They need grooming twice a week and their coats need to be clipped every few months to keep it in good condition. They also need monthly bathing, but they don't shed very much.


• Strong • Ok with older, more gentle children • Hardy • Friendly • Alert • Self-reliant • Adaptable • Confident • Courageous • Inquisitive • Protective, causing them to bark, they make effective watchdogs.


• Arrogant • Stubborn • Demanding • Need attention, interaction and company • Dig • Can be possessive • Doesn't like cats • Dominant with other dogs • Chase smaller animals so unsuitable if you have other pets such as hamsters.

10. Boxer:

Life expectancy: 8-12 years

Size: Large


Boxers require daily exercise. They are quite obedient and easy to train. They don't need much grooming, but they shed seasonally so might not be suitable for people who are allergic.


• Lively • Good with children • Strong • Loyal • Fearless • Self-assured • Devoted • Friendly • Playful • Dignified • Steady • Protective, so they make good watchdogs


• Distrustful of strangers • Guarding instincts can make them bark or attack • Crave and demand attention • Headstrong • Can be dominant and aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex

Health problems:

Strenuous exercise can add to respiratory problems as they have a short muzzle. They also have short hair so they require shade and are not good in extreme temperatures.

11. Miniature Schnauzer:

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Size: Small


Miniature Schnauzers are intelligent and easy to train. They require daily exercise as they are quite energetic. Their coats need to be groomed several times a week and stripped or clipped every 3 months; their beards have to be cleaned daily.


• Robust • Good with children if they have been raised with them • Alert • Reliable • Adaptable • A good companion dog • Loyal • Protective: this makes them a good watchdog • Devoted • Friendly • Sociable • Versatile


• Headstrong • Stubborn • Barks a lot

Most Popular Breeds Part 2
by Fox Harrison

12. Shih Tzu:
Life expectancy: 10-14 years

Size: Small


These dogs do not need much exercise: only occasional walks. However, they aren't very easy to train. They need frequent grooming: 3 or 4 times a week, while their coats need clipping every month or two.


• Intelligent • Ok with older, gentler children • Active • Alert • Friendly • Independent • Confident • They make good watchdogs as they are very protective • Gentle • Responsive • Trusting • Elegant


• Proud • Stubborn • Arrogant • Fragile, so they aren't good with young or boisterous children • Haughty • Can bark a lot due to protectiveness

Health problems:

They have very large eye which are prone to injury or infection. They can suffer heart stroke in hot or humid conditions. Also they can have kidney problems

13. Lhasa Apso:

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Size: Small


These dogs are not very active and only need occasional walks. They can be difficult to train so are better suited to more experienced dog owners. They require daily grooming and their coats need to clipped every couple of months.


• Assertive • They are ok with gentle, considerate children. • Alert • Steady • Loyal • Gentle • Dignified • Friendly • Strong willed


• They bark as they are protective dogs • Stubborn • Dominant • Manipulative • Jealous • Wary of strangers • Aloof with strangers

14. Rottweilers:

Life expectancy: 9-10 years

Size: Large


These are energetic dogs that require daily exercise. They are intelligent and ok to train as long as you are assertive and use firm discipline and consistent training so are better suited to more experience dog owners. They need grooming on a weekly basis and shed hairs so they are unsuitable for those who suffer from allergies.


• Strong • They are ok with older children if they have been brought up with them • Bold • Fearless • High endurance • Good manoeuvrability • Courageous • Self assured • Powerful • High stamina • Fiercely loyal • Confident • Responsive


• Natural guarding instincts • Protective streak, which may cause them to be aggressive • Territorial so they require early socialisation. • Aloof around strangers • Aggressive with other animals

Health problems:

They can suffer from heart problems.

15. Bulldog:

Life expectancy: 8-10 years

Size: Medium


Bulldogs can be active dogs that require daily exercise. They don't need much grooming and they don't really shed hairs so they are suitable for people who suffer from allergies. However, you will need to clean the folds on their face to prevent infection.


• Powerful • Good with children • Determined • Loyal • Alert • Dependable • Strong • Bold • Courageous • Gentle • Easy going • Amiable • Loving • Docile • Sensitive • Intelligent


• They have a stubborn streak • They can be jealous • Lazy

Health problems:

They are short-haired dogs so they don't cope well in extreme temperatures. Also they can have breathing problems due to their short muzzle.

16. Yorkshire Terrier:

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Size: Small


Although these are energetic dogs they only require occasional walks. They are intelligent and quick to learn which makes them quite good to train. They need to be groomed a few times a week to keep their coat in good condition.


• Alert • Alright with older or more gentle children • They are protective so they make good watchdogs. • Sociable • Adaptable • Affectionate • Loyal • Courageous • Confident • Good companions • Agile • Inquisitive • Versatile


• Possessive, which may cause them to be aggressive • Dominant • Bark quite a lot • Easily injured or scared as they are so small • Fragile, so no suitable for large families • Not good in cold weather

17. Pug:

Life expectancy: 12-13 years.

Size: Small


Pugs are not particularly active dogs and so only require occasional walks. They are not too difficult to train either. They do require daily grooming and their wrinkles need to be cleaned to prevent infection.


• Dignified • Good with children • Happy • Intelligent • Lively • Sociable • Affectionate • Sweet • Even tempered


• Stubborn • Jealous of other pets • Strong minded • Sensitive

Health problems:

Their prominent eyes are prone to injury and infection. They are also heat sensitive due to their short muzzle and coat.

18. Whippet:

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Size: Medium


These dogs need daily exercise and are relatively easy to train. They don't require much grooming either, but they may need a jacket in cold weather.

Qualities: • Fast • Good with children who aren't too boisterous • Graceful • Affectionate • Strong • Adaptable • Elegant • Gentle • Agile • Good watch dogs as they bark when things are amiss • Intelligent


• Fragile • Sensitive • Like to chase things

Health problems:

They have thin skin which can easily be damaged and makes them sensitive to the cold

19. Bull Terrier:

Life expectancy: 11-14 years

Size: Medium


They are active and energetic needing daily exercise. They are not easy to train so are more suitable for more experienced dog owners.


• Strong • Ok with older, more considerate children • Courageous • Amenable • Sturdy • Effective watchdogs • Determined


• Obstinate • Protective, causing them to growl or bark • Headstrong • Aggressive if not properly socialised. • Instinctive fighters, making them aggressive around smaller dogs • Dominant • Possessive of food • Become bored and destructive if they are neglected

20. Bichon Frise

Life expectancy: 14 years

Size: Small


These are curly lap dogs. They don't need much exercise only the occasional walk, but they still need plenty of attention. They need to be groomed daily and their coat needs clipping every couple of months.


• Outgoing • Ok with older, more considerate children • Happy • Friendly • Lively • Sweet tempered • Eager • Playful • Sociable • Adaptable • Good with other animals or strangers • Independent • Affectionate


• Sensitive • Can be protective making them bark • Proud

21. Weimaraner:

Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Size: Large


These dogs are also known as the Silver Ghost. They are energetic and need daily exercise. They also need regular grooming but they don't shed much hair. They are better suited to the more experienced dog owner.


• Powerful • Good with children if they are brought up with them • Friendly • Alert • High stamina • Fearless • Obedient • Protective • Independent • Responsive • Good watchdogs


• They can become bored, frustrated and destructive if they are neglected • Need early socialisation and assertive consistent training. • Strong willed • Cautious and wary of strangers • Chase smaller animals which the consider prey.

What Has Cycling Got to Do With Tank Aquariums?
By Eddie Cooper

When you buy a new aquarium, or have just recently cleaned out your existing one for whatever reason, you will not have any algae or beneficial bacteria to process the ammonia produced by your fish. A build up of too much of this excess ammonia can be very stressful to your fish, causing them to have greatly shorter life spans and look less healthy and colorful in your tank.

The key to having a good looking fish tank is not actually picking the right fish ... what is far more important is cultivating the right bacteria.

Fish produce ammonia in their waste, and ammonia works on fish much the same way as carbon monoxide works on humans. Too much ammonia in your tank water can suffocate your fish and cause burns to the sensitive insides of their gills.

Fortunately, there are a lot of bacteria out there that feed on ammonia, converting it into something that fish can breathe with no trouble, as well as helping to encourage the growth of tank plants and algae.

Sacrificial Fish

The traditional method of cycling a fish tank is to start out with a few 'sacrificial' fish to add the requisite amount of ammonia to the water to kick start those ammonia eating bacteria into growth. These fish are also known as 'cycling fish'.

There is quite a bit of debate as to which fish are best to use as cycling fish, and the type of fish you are going to want to use to do your cycling depend on the size of your aquarium and the kinds of fish you are planning to keep in there on a long term basis.

Now, just because these fish are cycle fish does not mean you should go out and get any old fish to do your cycling. First off, do not use goldfish unless you are planning to only keep goldfish. They tend to introduce a variety of diseases into the tank environment.

The best bet is to go with a small number of the type of fish you are intending to keep long term. You certainly do not want to wind up with a bunch of fish you do not intend on keeping.

For a tank with a small number of fish your best bet is to go with Zebra Danios or White Clouds to start. An African Cichlid tank will benefit from starting with Pseudotropheus zebra, and Tiger or Cherry Barbs are good for a mid level tank.

Fishless Cycling

Of course, this is not so nice to the sacrificial fish, and you may want to try another cycling method known as 'fishless cycling'. For this you only need a source of ammonia and a nitrogen compound test kit. These can be found at your local pet store and there is a lot of more in depth info available on this online.


There are many chemicals available for cycling your tank, but you really don't need any of them as this process will happen on its own. Cycling a tank should take anywhere between two and eight weeks, but if you still have high levels of ammonia and nitrite you may have to do some troubleshooting.

Other Considerations

Make sure you are changing your tank water regularly ... this helps cut down on your ammonia levels and lets the bacteria catch up. Also, make sure you are treating the water that goes in to your tank for chlorine. If you are using chlorinated water, you could kill off the very bacteria you are hoping to encourage.

Additionally, make sure you are only changing 10-15% of the water in your tank at a time. This minimizes the stress on your fish and the bacteria as well.

New to keeping fish? Want to upgrade your current set up? For tank aquariums big or small, freshwater or marine, visit Great fish tank aquariums on sale now!

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Hamster Cages - How to Choose the Right One
By Andrew Martin Jr.

One of the first things you need to decide is what type of house you will provide for your hamster. You have several choices to choose from. Each type of housing will have its pros and its cons:

Wire cages

Wire cages are fine for your hamster. You just need to know that bedding material, bits of food, and hamster droppings can fall through the wire bars. Apart from the obvious mess that this can create, you should also know that your hamster will likely gnaw the metal bars of her cage. It is quite an unpleasant sound to say the least. Syrian hamsters are active during the nighttime, which means that they are nocturnal. Early morning and early evening are activity time for most dwarf hamsters since they are usually crepuscular.

Glass aquariums

Glass aquariums are much better if you are concerned about mess and about your hamster gnawing on wire bars. However, they are a bit more difficult to clean than wire cages. One important thing to remember is that you must keep a glass aquarium clean. Ammonia gas tends to build up easily in this type of habitat. Hamster are pretty clever and have been know to find a way to climb out and escape. Because of this, you need to be sure the top of the aquarium is covered at all times. Covers made specifically for covering the aquarium top can be bought at your local pet store. Be certain to buy one with clips if not your hamster can still push the cover off and climb out!

Wire and Plastic Combination

Wire and plastic cages will certainly work for your hamster's habitat. Just keep in mind that if you do not clean the plastic often it can become discolored.

Whichever housing you decide on, keep these things in mind:

1. A good cage should measure at the minimum, 24 inches by 12 inches, and be a minimum of 10 inches tall. It should have enough space to allow your hamster to have an area to sleep, an area to eat, and an area to potty. Some hamsters will sometimes store food in the area where they sleep.

2. Try not to get a multi-level habitat. Remember that hamsters are not good climbers and they can be seriously injured from a fall. It is better to choose a hamster home that offers more floor space than choosing a tall cage.

3. The cage should be cleaned regularly. Hamsters are more likely to become sick if they are living in a dirty home.

4. The cage should be kept dry. Always check to see if the water bottle has a leak. You do not want it leaking into the bedding material. If the bedding it piled up too close to just underneath the water bottle it may cause the bottle to release water.

5. Stay away from wooden cages, unless you want your hamster to chew its way to freedom. I recommend you stay away from cages with any wooden parts. Your hamster is pretty clever at finding the weak spots.

6. Choose a home that was made especially for hamsters. Cages that were made for other types of rodents may have spaces between the bars that are large enough for your hamster to escape.

7. Keep the cage away from drafts.

8. Keep the cage away from direct sunlight.

Once you have decided on the type of cage you want, its time to select the other supplies you will need.

Andrew Martin is a pet enthusiast and publisher. For more information on the hamster cage be sure to visit

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