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Category Archives: Dog Training & Care

Name Game–What Dogs Call You?

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Magic11wks, closeup crate&toys

Magic at 11 weeks stock-piling toss-able toys.

It’s Woof Wednesday and I’m busier than a three-legged doggy in a flea circus, wow. Yesterday afternoon I finally got my copies of the thriller and have been discussing the story, writing process and more on the DogRead list (you’re still invited!). Something fun that’s developed has been folks “channeling their inner dog” to guess what their pet is thinking.

You see, in my book LOST AND FOUND, the service dog Shadow calls his trainer the “treat-lady.” So other list members began to speculate what their dogs actually think and how they refer to us. One person said her dog probably thought of her as “Mom,” while somebody else said their dog thought of them as, “that person who SHOULD be in the kitchen getting me food.”

From his behavior, I suspect Magic doesn’t think of me as Mom, or Amy or even Treat Lady. He thinks of me as, “she who tosses toys.”

Even as a baby dog, Magic was head-over-furry-heels in love with fetching. He will fetch ANYTHING. Socks, stuffed toys, balls, Frisbee. And I’ve never known him to be the one to call quits on the game. If he could throw the toy himself, he would–but since he can’t, he relies on his human housemates (the ones with opposing thumbs) to do the honor. He’ll bring ANYTHING to me, drop on my foot/lap/side of the chair, and then STARE…as if to say, “Make it GO, get with the program, do your JOB already!” And if I decline, he gets disgusted and eventually picks up the motionless toy and dumps it in my husband’s lap and repeats the process.

Okay, your turn. How does your pet think of you? She who fills the bowl? He who scratches tummies? Please share and don’t forget to say WHY your pet thinks this way!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

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Monday Mentions: Rabbit Holes, Sandra Brown & Cats Rule

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Sometimes we ‘go down the rabbit hole’ without knowing it . . .

Happy Monday. This week has got to be an improvement over last week’s virus, Internet kerfluffle and AC outage. In my world it seems “crappiocca” comes in threes–so hopefully my crap quota has been filled and I’ve tunneled out of the rabbit hole. For now.

There was some terrific stuff, too. I met an awesome blogger (new to me) at Healing Rescue Dogs Blog and she interviewed me about LOST AND FOUND. Want to know more? October 1-7 (that starts today!) I’m discussing myths about writing thrillers as part of THE BIG THRILL ROUNDTABLE PANEL.

Want more? (gulp!) I’ll be over at DogRead as the guest author starting today (Oct. 1) through Oct. 15. This is a yahoogroups email list dedicated to discussion dog books–and the many of list members are savvy dog trainers, exhibitors and more, I can’t wait to talk “dawg” and writing! You can subscribe and lurk, post questions, come and go as you like–it’s free. Here’s the link to find out more.

I will be sending out the copies of the LOST AND FOUND book to the winners–as soon as I get my copies! Arggg! There must be something up with the mail these days, because several of my online orders recently have been delayed or gone astray. Doncha HATE when that happens? I even have the padded envelopes addressed and ready to mail. Thanks for your patience–me, I’m biting nails!

I promise to get some more ASK AMY videos made. Several folks have asked terrific questions either on my Facebook pages or in blog comments. It’s been too long…but yep, been a weee bit busy. 🙂 I’m saving the questions, though, so stay tuned.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for an awesome Thrillerfest interview with some legends–Sandra Brown, RL Stein and David Morrell!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Poison Pen Press Launches YA Mystery Imprint, “Poisoned Pencil” with Ellen Larson, editor, now open to submissions!

PublishAmerica Lawsuit Dismissed

How To Host A Free EBook Day (Without Amazon)

Espresso Book Machine puts POD in your coffee shop. Really.

Before You Self Publish, Questions to Ask

Getting GoodReads Reviews on KoboBooks

A Million Books Sold, What Next? from the incredible CJ Lyons

Webinar on Selling Film & TV Scripts

Rudeness Compounded By Internet  ya don’t say?!

Fake Facebook ‘Likes’ Disappear first it was fake book reviews, now fake “likes” Gimme a break! Oh, and the FanPages may not be worthwhile anymore.

Nightmare Sperm Donation from the creepy files of DP Lyle’s awesome blog

PET SCHTUFF

DOG PEANUT BUTTER RECALLED!

Cats Rule the Internet & Here’s Proof!

FUNNY Lost Pet Signs that said, it’s NOT funny to lose a pet so get ’em microchipped and keep ’em safe!

Pets Share Environmental Risks interesting article with what researchers are looking at

Are Animals Conscious? well, yes…so how should they be treated? Fascinating discussion.

Of Feral Cats, Conservation & Birds…Again.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Furry Friday: Spay & Neuter

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It has been quite a week–and I’ve gotten snowed under with a number of challenging issues both professional and personal. So today’s post is a bit late because (confession time!) I took the day off and went for a LONG walk with the Magical-Dawg and then took a nap with Seren-Kitty.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month and all the kittens “littering” shelters need your love and care. But don’t neglect the adults and older felines–or the dogs, either. Today’s “Ask Amy” offer some basics you already know about spaying and neutering pets and here’s more details for fixing puppies.

Are you in the market for a new furry friend? Will you adopt this month? How did you find your special cat friend? How do you feel about adopting “older” pets?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Blogs, Pet Food & Summer Colds

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Looking for a new friend

Pets make us feel better just by being there…

I’m sick today, urk. No voice. Stuffy head. Feel exhausted. So that’s my excuse for the brevity. I’ve had folks suggest a number of remedies–eat marshmallows to coat the throat and my personal favorite, sip “Hot Damn” (cinnamon flavored schnapps). Need to snuggle with my Seren-kitty and have the Magical-Dawg deliver some chicken soup (but he’ll want to share…). Colds suck anytime, but summer colds are particularly aggravating. Hope y’all stay healthy and I promise, I’ve sanitized the links and suchlike so germ-icity won’t infect you today on the blog.

Do your cats and dogs know when you’re under the weather? How do they act? Do tell.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

New Writerly Production? book a year or more? Is acceleration of content a good thing?

Love Is Murder, check out Sandra Brown’s edited anthology of romantic suspense (pre-orders now available)

Blogging Tips for Writers–FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!

More Blogging Tips–make it EASY to comment plus all about moderation

Author Facebook Pages, why have them?

New Anthology Opps from Margie Yee Webb the co-creator with Dahlynn McKowen for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Cats. And Ken McKowen and Kathy Baker are co-creators for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Dogs.

Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency has new website with value-added for writers. Meredith was my agent for many years and I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Hyperthymesia and Marilu Henner’s Brain from the awesome Writer’s Forensics Blog of Dr. Lyle

Authors On the Air, a new radio show might be worth a look, suggested by author CJ West

PET SCHTUFF

Cat Food Recalls and Dog Food Recalls expanding. Here’s further info from the FDA.

Small Vet Practices On Way Out? IBISWorld reports veterinarians appear to be gravitating toward working in larger multi-doctor practices. What will this mean for your furry wonder?

Pit Bull Saves Owner, Loses Leg awesome story about a hero dog pulling owner from train tracks

New Hyperthyroid Diet for Cats–miracle or disaster waiting to happen? A veterinarian weighs in.

Dogs Feel Your Pain, fascinating read from ScienceNOW thanks to great pet author Cheryl Smith

Bad Journalism How-To on Cat Declaw from Sally Bahner. Let’s be responsible, folks!

Is Innovative Vet Care Too Expensive? Great post by my colleague Jo Singer. I have to say, the only “hate mail” I ever got about a book took issue with my cutting-edge title and the expense involved. Hmnnn.

SAR Dog Organizations Receive $258,000 In Grants from the AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support & Relief Fund, bow-WOW!

Hogzilla–Feral vs Domestic Pig Brains for those who are really into “this little piggy.” Hmnn, wonder what would happen if people brains took that turn (can you say “weird plot idea?”)

This how-to video is on my new must-do list, since Magical-Dawg loves getting dirty and we have white carpet.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Furry Friday: Mother’s Day for Pets

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Birta og Rjómi

“This is MY purr-son!” Copr. Maria Magnus/Flickr

There’s no doubt we love our pets—but do our cats and dogs love us back? Kitty and doggy shows of affection aren’t always what humans expect. In fact, a pet’s lovey-dovey wishes might instead puzzle, aggravate or even offend some people. To celebrate Mother’s Day here are 14 ways dogs and cats show love.

Cat purrs can mean everything from delight to expressions of concern. A cat that purrs while snuggled in your lap expresses deep trust and love for you.  Return the favor and talk back—say, “I love you!” She’ll understand the emotion, if not the exact words.

Dog howls aren’t nearly as subtle as kitty purrs but can be a canine Valentine. A howl can mean your dog is lonely. Try scheduling extra face time with your special dog, or offer puzzle toys filled with treats to show your love. It’s harder to howl when chewing something yummy.

Kitty rubbing against you leaves the cat’s scent—marking you as “owned” by them. Cats repeatedly head-bump their most favorite people. Bumping your face is the ultimate show of trust since it leaves eyes vulnerable.

small-IMG_2860

“I trust you no matter what…” Copr. Paul Loades/Flickr

Dogs lean against us. Yes, it can be pushy or awkward especially with big dogs, but it’s a way of showing and asking for love and attention. Either sit down so he can lean and love, or teach him to “sit” before you dole out the attention.

Kitties groom other cats—or humans—that they like. Licking your skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on your clothing spreads “family” scent and is an expression of feline love. Return the favor—petting your cat is the kitty equivalent of a love-fest of mutual grooming.

Dogs jump up, not to knock you down, but to give a big kiss. A dog kiss isn’t exactly the same as human kisses. Puppies lick the mom-dog’s eyes and face to show deference. Adults give doggy kisses to humans they love and respect and aim at the face. Kneel to let him kiss you (if doggy smooches don’t bother you). Or offer your hand for a sniff-and-smooch instead.

Cats scratch and pee to calm themselves down, and seek out items that smell most like their beloved human. So scratching your favorite chair or “baptizing” your bed with urine actually is a backhanded kitty compliment. Relieving stress and providing legal scratch and potty opportunities encourages kitty to love you in more appropriate ways.

Puppies pee and roll on their back when owners come home—another way to show deference and declare their love and respect. Most pups outgrow the pee-party, but not the rolling over. Baring his tummy invites a friendly rub, so answer his request to show you love him, too.

Cats knead—honestly, we’re not sure why. Kittens do it to prompt mom-cat’s milk to release. We suspect this instinctive behavior hearkens back to that feeling of comfort and joy. So a cat kneading her human certainly can be a kitty Valentine.

Dogs chew to relieve stress and calm upset feelings, and also seek out owner-scented items like shoes or that Gucci handbag. Why not offer him a Valentine’s gift of a legal chew toy—stick it inside your shoe overnight so it has the appropriate “cologne” to really show your love!

Dog crotch sniffs may not seem all that loving but are the equivalent of a human hand shake. Request a “sit” instead, then pay him with attention.

A kitty butt-in-your-face is an invitation to sniff—that’s a very friendly and loving gesture! (Not that you want to indulge). Scratch the base of her tail, instead.

Doggy wags that are low, loose and wide are technically a “distance-decreasing signal” that invites attention and love. Tail-less dogs wag their whole body.

Kitten tails held straight up with the end tipped over use this to greet mom-cat, and the tippy-tail is a kitty Valentine when directed at humans—in effect calling you “mom.”

What have I missed? How do your fur-kids show you love–on Mother’s Day and the rest of the year? You can show your Mother’s Day love by “gifting” the pet lovers in your life with something for their pets–maybe even a book (hint hint!).

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Food, Glorious Food & Worry-icity!

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Tillie & Glen

“Look pitiful–THAT’S how you get treats!” Awesome picture copr. Craig Logan via Flickr

You are what you eat applies to pets just as much as it does to people. After the pet food recall (you remember, the one that killed a bunch of pets and turned the pet food companies into damage control demons?), a lot of dog and cat folks morphed into DIY feeders. In fact, a friend of mine and great pet person and awesome journalist Arden Moore’s fun gift book REAL FOOD FOR DOGS became a best-seller when owners went looking for alternatives. Note: this is a fun book with recipes for treats and suchlike, not for a daily diet, so is great as an adjunct to your dog’s main food.

PROS & CONS OF HOME FEEDING

The veterinary community as well as the FDA cautions pet owners about home cooking food and especially raw diets for two reasons. First, it’s very difficult to create a nutritionally sound diet for your pet on a sustained basis.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have friends who have done this for YEARS with great success but it’s not for me–I don’t even cook nutritionally sound meals for myself, LOL! (Cheetohs and M&Ms are my friends…). But with a sound recipe from a vet nutritionist (www.petdiets.com is a good resource) it can be done very successfully, and is particularly helpful for pets with therapeutic dietary needs.

Second is the fear of food contamination, and salmonella is a real danger more for people (especially kids and immune compromised folks) than for pets. Safe handling of food is a must even with people food, though. The fear has been that widespread home cooking and/or raw feeding could result in an outbreak of salmonella.

P1010026

“Num, num, num, num…”

PET FOOD RECALL–REDUX

Yes, it’s happened again and the culprit is salmonella. But it’s not home cooking folks or raw feeders, but commercial foods once again. BRAVO to Diamond Foods, the manufacturer/packager of a number of brands, that kicked off a VOLUNTARY RECALL as a precaution even though only small amounts of product actually was suspected to be a problem. Since that initial announcement, additional foods–dog, puppy, cat, kitten–and brands have been added to the recall list. Brands include:

  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
  • Country Value
  • Diamond
  • Diamond Naturals
  • Premium Edge
  • Professional
  • 4Health
  • Taste of the Wild
  • Apex Foods
  • Solid Gold

You can find links to the various products along with batch codes and dates to ensure your pets’ foods are still safe or should be returned in this recall blog.

PET FOOD SELECTION

How do you know a pet food is the best for your furry wonder? Every pet is different, of course, but there are ways to figure things out. Reading labels gets you part of the way there–but the labels are a legal document and serve to satisfy the regulators more than they do to inform the public. There are terms that have legal definitions but can be misinterpreted by pet owners (ain’t that the way legalese works?), and even some ways the labels can mislead (accidentally on purpose, LOL!) to get you to open up your wallet. After all, dogs don’t have thumbs or bank accounts so it’s up to us to choose wisely.

Here are a few links to further information about pet foods–much of this applies to cats, too:

What’s On Pet Food Labels?

Label “Myth-Information”

How Food Claims Are Verified

What IS That? Additives In Food

So what do you feed your furry wonder? What does your veterinarian recommend? Do you rely on other “expert” advice and if so, where do you get your information? Have you been affected by the pet food recall? How do you advise your pet-loving friends? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Contests, Dog Meets Wolf & PET FOOD RECALL!

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“Deadlines” won 2nd place in the suspense/mystery category!

This past weekend I attended the annual OWFI Conference and had a ball. It’s as much about reunions and connecting with like minded folks as it is attending the stellar seminars. I had a ball moderating a panel on social networking, was a judge for the contest, and attended sessions on “building brand” and perfecting your elevator pitch to using screen writing techniques to improve writing with Tom Sawyer (of Murder She Wrote fame).

Steven James the thriller writer, poet, and more was the keynote speaker and was the BEST I have ever heard at this conference or elsewhere! I laughed until I cried, was inspired, and came away with a new determination to “throw my hat over the wall.”

I love this conference also for the encouragement and inspiration that arises from the contest–for unpublished work mostly–that garners helpful comments. I even recommended a handful of editors and agents to the contest chair to see if they wanted to judge. The contest is judged “blind” so nobody knows who entered what and the judges aren’t announced publicly until after the winners are announced. I entered my thriller. It was the 4th time I entered.

The first year it was disqualified (the judge failed to find the synopsis). The second year, the mail lost the entry. Last year the judge rated the manuscript about a 15 out of a possible 100 points because “everyone knows dog viewpoint only belongs in kid books.” This year the judge awarded that same manuscript 2nd place! As it turns out, two months after entering the contest I submitted my thriller to an editor who bought the manuscript–and until this weekend I hadn’t a clue that she’d already seen it in the contest! Yes, my editor was that category judge and (perhaps?) as a result of entering the OWFI contest I had a paw-up in getting an acceptance. Wow! The book (new title, LOST AND FOUND) will be published this fall.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

PET SCHTUFF

DIAMOND PET FOOD RECALL has been expanded due to fears of salmonella contamination and includes several brands for both dogs and cats. Check the link for further info to be sure your pets’ foods aren’t on the list. Spread the word!

A DOG’S LIFE BLOG on PET PARTNER EVALUATIONS from Patricia Tirrell, an awesome post for those interested in learning about therapy dogs

PET’S EYE VIEW CAMERAS these attach to the collar–pricy but looks like fun

CAT MAN DREW Mother’s Day Special kitty portraits, awesome!

The AKC Humane Fund, Inc. offers the John Spurling, O.B.E. Scholarship Celebrating the Human-Canine Bond.  Five scholarships will be awarded annually to full-time students enrolled in courses of study that advance responsible pet ownership.

DO YOU WANT “KITTY” WITH YOUR COFFEE? a cat cafe complete with snuggles…in Vienna

CANINE SERVICE DOG FOR–ANOTHER DOG? awesome video, a must-see!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

CONTEST FOR DOG WRITERS from the Universal Cavalier

TARGET DROPS THE KINDLE

DO YOU NEED A BIG SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING? one writer’s experience and insight

THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE interview with true crime author Cathy Scott–you’ll be inspired how she jumped ship on a “safe” job and became a best selling author.

MICROSOFT INVESTS IN B&N DIGITAL

WRITE-WELL ACADEMY from Jennifer Crusie and Lani Diane Rich provide online workshops for beginning and advanced writers.

Now for some pure fun, check out this video and the dog’s reaction to the “wolf.”

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!