The Star-Herald

What dogs want you to know

Last week’s article focused on cats, but we thought it would be fun to share what the dogs may be thinking.

With a nod to an article by Krista Carothers and Jen McCaffery, published in a recent Reader’s Digest, our dogs may be thinking along these lines.

I Don’t Feel Guilty — Ever:  Like their intelligence, dogs’ emotional maturity is similar to that of toddlers. When you come home to find that your dog has made a mess and she tucks her tail and looks ashamed, she’s really just afraid of your anger. She’s smart enough to associate the mess with your being upset, but guilt isn’t part of her repertoire.

I need to get out in the world:  Young dogs that don’t meet people or other dogs tend to grow up fearful and aggressive. Before they are six months old, puppies should meet 150 people and visit 50 different places.

I’ll tell you when I’m lonely:  Alert pet owners know that the pitch, duration and frequency of their dogs’ barks differ depending on the circumstances.  Two to four high-pitched barks mean a dog senses a threat and is alerting you to potential danger.  But a long string of single barks with pauses in between probably means your dog is lonely.

You might be transferring your stress to me:  Tension flows down the leash.  If you’re tense and upset, your dog will start to act tense and upset too.  With this COVID-19 nightmare going on, people are out of work, worried about meeting monthly expenses and just the uncertainty of when life will be back to “normal’ can be causing many sleepless nights and anxiety .  Focus on getting lots of exercise and socialization with your dog to help dissipate any tension you might be passing along to your pet.  

Your nervousness might set me up for a fight too:  When an insecure dog owner approaches an unfamiliar dog, the owner might pull back on the leash, causing the dog’s front legs to leave the ground.  This stance is threatening to other dogs, which is why many react with hostility.  Over time, an overly restrained dog will come to expect these reactions from the dogs she meets, and she’ll approach them with aggression herself.

But I do get jealous:  Has your dog ever snapped at you when you pet or paid attention to another pet? He could very well be jealous.!  Some tests have shown that three-quarters of the test dogs exhibited jealous behavior abut a fake canine, but only 30 percent reacted badly to an inanimate object such as a pail or book.  Scientists suspect that canine jealousy dates back to the days when dogs competed for food and other resources.

I can detect cancer:  Several studies have shown that dogs can detect whether a person has certain types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancer.  How is this possible?  By sniffing a person’s breath, urine, or blood. Dogs’ acute sense of smell, can pick up on volatile organic compounds that cancer cells give off.  Unfortunately, scientists say that dogs have not proved to be reliable diagnosticians: they get bored and lose interest in sniffing samples after a short while.

While the COVID-19 virus still has our doors shut, please check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society Facebook page for pets available for adoption. Send a private message and an appointment can be set up.  

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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