By Popular Demand: Ferret Toilet Training PLUS Pet Airways!

Pack Behavior In Dogs & Humans
by James Glover -

Q: What can you tell me about nanny behavior in a pack of dogs? As the pack leader in my house, I (a female) have 4 canine members: 1 female, three males spayed and neutered. The female seems to think I need help in the form of defense against one of the males. A behaviorist suggested that this may resemble the actions of a nanny in a pack of wolves. Does this have any basis in fact? (Kathy Jones - North Carolina)

A: Wolf packs are complex hierarchical organizations, typically comprising of an Alpha male and female, their offspring (the Beta, or second-in-command) and their offspring's offspring. Specific roles within each level of the hierarchy are less clear, but there is normally such a role as a "nanny" in wolf packs, whereby a younger female which is not part of the Alpha couple will take care of the puppies while the pack hunts. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that her role extends beyond a puppy-sitting role, and I would suggest that your dog's behavior is more complex than this.

You have assumed that your dogs view you as the pack leader (or Alpha) and we have no reason to suspect that this is not the case. Therefore, even if a dog's role as "nanny" extended beyond puppy-sitting, why would she consider the pack leader to be threatened by another pack member if that role is unquestioned? In my view, and without seeing the behavior first-hand, she is not trying to protect you, but is trying to prevent the other dog from interacting with you. If we were to personify this behavior, we'd call it jealousy, but it probably indicates that she has a non-settled role in your pack's hierarchy and is trying to dominate your other dog(s). Some behaviorists blame this kind of behavior on an pack leader that does not exert complete control - that is, one or two of the pack may not categorically see you as the leader.

10 Dog Feeding No-No's
by Darcy Lockman -

Some dogs experience motion sickness. "We started taking our pug to my mom's on Sunday mornings, and we'd get in the car more or less just after she'd finished eating. Three weeks in a row she threw up," remembers 30-year-old dog owner Casey Johns of Baltimore, Md. "We asked the vet about it, and he told us we needed to wait four hours after she ate to take her for a car ride. My husband and I don't get car sick and can drive after eating with no problem, so it hadn't occurred to us."

Lisa Peterson, a spokesperson for the American Kennel Club, concurs: No car rides after meals. Peterson weighed in with 10 additional rules for feeding your dog.

1. Don't Let Your Dog Guard It's Food
Some dogs are like vacuum cleaners. Walk them and you'll notice: any scraps of food (or discarded chewing gum, cigarette butts, etc.) go straight from the sidewalk into their mouths. "You need to be able to step in and remove food from a dog when it's necessary for safety's sake," says Peterson. In order to help your dog tolerate your behavior, it's necessary from puppy-hood to train your dog to let its food go. Feed your puppy, and then remove the food after a few bites. Replace the dish and remove it again. You can train your older dog in the same manner, giving it a reward for sitting calmly until you replace the food.

2. Don't Feed Puppies At The Same Time As Adult Dogs
If you've got multiple dogs, the older dog will most likely want to be treated like the king of the castle. "I tell people with an older dog to feed the dogs separately until the puppy is a year or so," says Peterson. "The puppy should be trained to eat food in his crate." The puppy needs to learn its place and this feeding style will facilitate the process.

3. Don't Tease a Dog While Eating
While you may not be tempted to pull your furry friend's tail during dinner, your toddler or young child might. "Parents need to be aware that children shouldn't be near the dog when it's eating," says Peterson. The child may jar the dog or get in its face. This can lead to a dog choking, gagging or simply becoming frustrated enough to lash out at the child - not a safe situation for your dog or your toddler.

4. Don't Walk Your Dog After Dinner
Your dog should not have a walk right after a meal. Peterson advises waiting at least 15 to 30 minutes after feeding to exercise your dog. "Just a little time to digest," she says. This is important for all dogs, but especially crucial for deep-chested dogs such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, Boxers and Dachshunds, all of who are prone to bloating, a dangerous condition that can have severe health consequences.

5. Don't Give People Food
A begging pooch can be hard to resist (that sweet face, those sad eyes), but your dog doesn't know how dangerous the meal you're eating can be. Grapes, raisins, chocolate and onions: each of these can be toxic to your dog in large enough quantities. Sometimes excessive fat in meats or dairy products can cause digestive distress. Given that it's hard to know how your dog will react to people food, the best rule to follow, says Peterson, is no table scraps whatsoever.

7. Don't Prepare Your Dog's Food Yourself
Commercial dog foods are prepared with the right amount of calories and the necessary combinations of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Achieving that combination yourself is unlikely. Dogs are carnivores. Their bodies are made to assimilate protein. Says Peterson, "Prepared kibble or canned food is balanced nutrition."

8. Don't Mix Prepare Foods
Trying to save money on your pet's food? Don't do it by mixing a high quality dog food with a lower quality one. Often, premium foods are packed with nutrients and require less food to be fed, making them a good buy.

9. Don't Feed From Plastic
Casual observation has demonstrated that dogs prefer ceramic bowls, followed by stainless steel. Plastic bowls are too easy to chew, especially for puppies, likely to gnaw on anything in sight. The bowl should not be a part of your dog's meal. Plastic dishes can also harbor bacteria and retain odors, leading to allergic reactions, or even your dog's rejection of its food.

10. Don't Over-Treat or Over-Supplement
Too many treats will lead to unhealthy excess pounds. Too many vitamins can also have unintended consequences. Ask your veterinarian about whether your dog needs any extras before starting it on a regimen of supplements.

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Ferret Toilet Training
By Peter Dee

Ferrets are such adorable animals because they are very playful and intelligent. However when they are just giving the house a bad smell from their litter, the love would somehow subside. As an owner of the pet, you must have knowledge in ferret training and that includes the toilet training. Young and old ferrets can be taught so, you just have to do it.

Ferret training could start anytime but it would be advisable to train it as soon as possible. Training right after you have the pet will be more beneficial. If you notice, even if you have not trained your ferret yet, it will pick a spot and make it as his kingdom of litter. Eventually, that would be your pet's routine when he have to poop. Unlike dogs, ferret does not cover their waste so the responsibility of scooping it will be your task. If there is a pan available, the ferret would use it but when the pan gets dirty, ferret tends not to use it. Here is a guide o how to have ferret toilet training.

You can start by scooping a bit of poop and put it on the pan. Next, let your ferret smell it to get the idea. If the ferret gets the idea once or for a bit of time, give him a reward. On the other hand, if the ferret simply ignored it, put him together with his poop into the pan together. Do not scold it, just do it until he accepts it. The clumping litter must not be used. It would help if put some powder so that the ferret will not have an access to it. The ferret usually wipe their bottoms after using the pan so it would help too if you gently remind your pet where and when to stop.

Ferret training could be an easy task if you have patience and when you are consistent with it. Toilet training is very important for your pet and for you. You must have time to do the training because you will only have a hard time and most of all, a very smelly house. Just like any pets, you are responsible for it. It will be up to you if you want to have a good relationship with your ferret or not. After you have successfully made the toilet training with your ferret, you will be ready in dealing with other advanced trainings.

Do you want to find out more about different types of ferret training?

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Top Ferret Facts
By Scott Reinheart

Anytime you are considering adding a new pet to the family, searching for breed specific information will help guide you in choosing the right pet for your home. When it comes to ferrets, there are plenty of ferret facts out there that will help you determine how to best introduce this lively animal into your lifestyle.

One of the basics of ferret information families should know is in regards to their smell. Believe it or not, there are many new ferret owners who are surprised by the ferocity of their ferrets scent. But think about it: every animal, including humans, has a unique smell. This is how the animal kingdom can recognize and communicate with one another on a very natural level. Not only are ferrets born with anal scent sacs, but they also have musk glands throughout their body. These glands are concentrated around the face, and thus the face gives one the best idea of the ferret smell. Some ferret owners actually enjoy the smell put off by their pet, while others must simply endure it.

You may be thinking: "No problem! I'll just wash my ferret to rid my home of the smell." Not so, my friend. In fact, washing your ferret too often will simply produce more of the same scent you are trying to get rid of! The musky scent is just a part of the ferret; as much so as their bright and bubbly personalities. Bathing ferrets LESS often can actually lessen the intensity of the smell, but there's really no guarantee. Some ferret owners only bathe their pets a few times a year, unless they get dusty or dirty during a rambunctious bout of play.

In order to properly care for your pet ferret, it's important to have the right ferret info and know how to follow it. There are some who believe they can rid their home of the ferret smell by de-scenting their ferret. This means that the anal scent glands are removed. This is not correct ferret information. The anal scent gland only emits a smell if it is used by your ferret - an action called poofing. In reality, a ferret's scent may change when they have been spayed or neutered.

Something you can do to lessen the ferret smell in your home is to wash their bedding frequently. This would include their blankets, hammocks, toys and any other washable items they use regularly. It is also helpful to clean your ferret's litter box completely each week and remove any soiled litter daily.

Finding ferret facts online is relatively easy, so if you need further tips on dealing with that ferret smell, check around and you're sure to find the ferret information that will help you. Adding a ferret to your home can be a delightful experience, but informing yourself of the true nature of your ferret is a priority. Knowing all that comes with owning a ferret will help you enjoy your pet to the fullest extent.

Scott Reinheart is a author and ferret enthusiast. He resides in Centerville, MD. He spends his time teaching others how to raise and properly care for ferrets. For more tips on ferrets visit his site by clicking here.

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Why a Gentle Spray Citronella Collar is a Better
Alternative to Shock Collars
By John D Frost

A great many people use electric shock collars, ultrasonic products, and other methods that cause physical pain to dogs, to train them not to commit certain unwanted actions or behaviors. These behaviors usually include barking, using the bathroom inside, digging in the yard, jumping up on furniture, jumping up on people, chewing on things like your shoes, that are not meant to be used as chew toys, and many other things. One alternative that has recently become available and is gaining a lot of popularity in both Europe and the United States is the use of a gentle spray citronella bark collar.

The use of a citronella training collar allows you to train your dog without any physical pain to the dog. The citronella collars will squirt a gentle spray of citronella oil under your dogs chin, which will get his attention, but not hurt him. Like shock collars, citronella collars come in both sound activated versions and remote control versions, depending on which type of behavior you need to correct.

The sound activated versions are great for barking, because they have a sound sensor that will detect when the dog barks, and release a squirt of citronella juice. The remote control versions are great for other behaviors, because it lets you press a button on a small remote control, every time your dog commits one of the unwanted actions, and soon he will associate the actions with a spray in the face. Gentle spray citronella collars have been shown in several studies to be more effective than products that cause pain in training your dog.

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How a Cat Uses It's Whiskers
By Frank Loethen

Many people wonder why cats have whiskers. Unlike humans, they do not have to be trimmed. They may get wet or have food left on them. So why have them?

Whiskers also known as tactile hairs are sensory organs that become sensitive when something comes close. They help identify an object especially in the dark. By sensing changes in air currents with them, objects can detected and avoided.

There can be up to 12 long whiskers on the upper lip, shorter ones above the eyes and back of the forelegs. They are deep rooted in the face and up to three times thicker than normal body hair. The tips are sensitive to pressure. The ones on the lip will fan out enabling the cat to determine if it can fit through an opening. It can twist it's body through an opening because it has a collar bone. Even a blind cat can get around very easily by using them.

The ones on the forelegs can determine the size of an animal that has been captured. This helps keep control of the captured animal. A cat has is a natural hunter. It depends on it's ability to move undetected in the dark to capture it's prey. They help navigate as it is stalking it's prey.

A cat will use them to communicate. Depending on the mood, the position of them will change. If it is walking, they will be fully extended. They are held in tight when feeding, around another animal or angry. If it is content, they will be pushed forward and relaxed.

Some are straight and some are curly. Never cut or try to rearrange them. Some maybe lost when shedding but that is nothing to be concerned about. It takes several months for them to grow back. There is still enough left to navigate with until the new ones grow back.

Every feline has whiskers. Even on a lion or tiger, they perform the same functions in the animal. They are dependent on them for survival especially in the wild. They can be found in other animals and are usually used for sensing purposes.

So now you know that whiskers play an important role in everyday life. No human intervention is needed because a cat will maintain them. If there is a significant loss of them or they are damaged, go to a veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian can determine why the loss or how to repair the damage.

Frank Loethen-lives in Georgia with my wife and three cats, Sunny, Sinclair and Midnite. If you enjoyed this article, please visit, your one stop site for all your cat and kitten needs. Cat toys, cat treats, cat beds, cat gifts and litter accessories are among the many items on the site. You also can meet my three cats on the site.

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The Important Ingredient When Starting
a Tropical Freshwater Fish Aquarium - You
By John N Eddie

When you start a freshwater fish aquarium there is not much you can do without You. But still lots of folk rush out on a whim and a prayer to make that start without any thought or logical processes going on anywhere. Your fish need You and if they don't have You, You won't have them.

Have you ever absent mindedly walked into a shop, bought something and forgotten to wait for the change? Yes, of course you have. When our minds are elsewhere we often continue in a task and later just cannot remember what it was that we did. Folks, you cannot be that way when starting a tropical freshwater fish aquarium.

Your new hobby needs You all of the way. You need to research what you are about to do. You need to plan the task ahead in such a manner that costs are kept to a minimum and the fish are kept alive. There really is no room for guess work or an absent You, because You are the brains behind your new hobby and You are the one who will ensure you have a hobby for life not just until the end of the month.

Research your new hobby, you'll enjoy it. Do you need a heater? What temperature should the water be at? If you want different species of fish, can they live together or will they eat each other? Which size tank is right for your personal preferences? The questions go on and they need to be answered, though as you research on, the answers will come pretty quickly.

So go on, start a tropical freshwater fish aquarium but start it right. Include You every step of the way, let research be your companion and leave guess work outside. This way you will certainly have the hobby for life and a visually stunning aquarium which may just make you the envy of the neighbourhood.

John Eddie has for some time been a keen enthusiast in freshwater fish and their aquarium. He has gathered lots of information, much of which is not readily available at your local pet shop.
For more interesting and helpful information on freshwater fish and the aquarium please visit the above site at your leisure.

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Pet Airways: Where the Fur Flies

Pet-Oriented Airline Will Take Dogs and Cats Airborne, Starting at $149

There's a new airline that has no security lines, no middle seats and flight attendants who even take customers for a walk before they fly. The only catch? You've got to be a dog or a cat -- no humans allowed.

New airline offers safe travel for four-legged passengers.Pet Airlines will get the fur flying next week when it begins service as the country's first pet-only airline.

The airline's launch is the culmination of an idea from pet owner Alissa Binder and her husband, Dan Wiesel, after they took their aging Jack Russell, Jack, on a cross-country flight. Like other pets, Jack had to fly in the cargo bay.

"We were totally stressed out," Wiesel said. "We didn't know if she was on the flight, didn't know how she was doing."

To avoid that stress in the future, the couple leased a plane, hired veterinary technicians to monitor the animals in flight and started advertising their new airline. Starting at $149, pet owners can send their furry friends on flights that provide a preboarding walk and bathroom break.

Pet Airways will initially fetch animals from five cities -- New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

The planes have no seats and no overhead compartments, and are all designed for creature comfort.

"Our priority is the pets," Binder said. "It's about the pets."

While Pet Airways may be the newest dog on the block, they face competition with major carriers such as Continental, which moves an average of 500 pets every day.

"We've got dedicated personnel, constant monitoring 24 hours a day, tracking all animals," Continental employee Lisa Schoppa

Furry Frequent-Flier Miles
Even famous dogs take to the cargo bay when they fly.

Westminster Dog Show champion spaniel Stump has racked up half a million Continental frequent flier miles so far.

Prevent Pet Drownings in Pool with These Tips

Backyard swimming pools can be hazardous to pets and wildlife, warns the Humane Society of the United States.

There are more than 8 million swimming pools in the United States, and an estimated 1 of every 1,027 pets drown in pools each year, statistics from the society indicated. Yet, this tragic figure doesn't account for the tens of thousands of wild animals that suffer the same fate. All types of animals -- skunks, mice, ducks, fledgling birds, lizards, chipmunks, frogs and snakes -- can get caught in a pool with no lifeline or firm footing. Especially at risk are the wild animal babies that are curious and fall in.

"We hear about pool drownings through our wildlife hotline," said Laura Simon, field director for the HSUS' urban wildlife program, "It's tragic, because these events are preventable."

A few simple pool precautions can dramatically lower the risk of pets and wildlife drowning in pools. For more tips on living humanely with wild animals, visit Here are some tips from the HSUS:

• • Don't leave pets unsupervised in a yard with a pool.

• • When building a pool, design lounge ledges along the sides. These usually are just below the water's surface and allow animals shallow areas from which to drink and an easy escape route from the water.

• • Install a fence around the pool to keep out other animals.

• • Install one or more water-exit devices. Examples include: the Skamper-Ramp ( or Frog Log ( These buoyant devices are placed in the water along the pool's edge and allow animals to get out on their own. Because of their white color they are highly visible to animals.

• • Disperse knotted nylon ropes at strategic locations along the sides. Make sure the knot is at the water's surface so the animal can more easily climb out. This technique works only for climbing animals such as raccoons, mice and squirrels.

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