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Woof Wednesday: Old Fogey Dog Webinar, Ask Amy & Dogs Rolling Over

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Those who regularly read my blog know about all the cute puppy pictures and content (SQUEEEE!) I’ve been creating. Our old fogey dogs are just as–or even more–deserving of our love and attention.

I’m thrilled to offer the fine folks at the Danish-Swedish Farm Dog USA organization a live Webinar next Monday June 20, based on my best-selling updated Complete Care for Your Aging Dog book. The presentation–with Q&A and some fun pictures from the powerpoint–has pending CCPDT accreditation. And a portion of the registration goes to fund dog-specific causes (your choice). Feel free to spread the furry word– and I  hope to “see” some of y’all there.

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"Rub my tummy....please?"

That puppy in the picture from last weekend’s local adoption event wanted to just chill on my lap, sleeping on his back, all afternoon. What a sweetie. When we first got Magic, he was NOT inclined to “roll over.”

Rolling onto the back and baring the tummy places a dog into a vulnerable position and not all feel comfortable doing this. As Magical-Dawg has matured, he’s much more willing to volunteer this behavior–and I’m flattered. It actually can be a sign of great trust, although many folks assumes this posture always means submission.

And no, of course I never “forced” Magic onto his back. Okay, guess I need to also mention “alpha roll” where the owner forces a dog onto his back to establish dominance. Probably a better name for it would be the “stupid roll” because it does nothing to foster submission and actually can get owners bit.

The premise comes from thinking that wolves make other wolves roll over to prove who is in charge. Uh…nope. Wolves roll over on their own to indicate deference, they aren’t “forced” to do this by a bigger wolf. And of course, dogs aren’t wolves. Dogs will show deference and respect to more potent, powerful and in charge individuals (whether that’s another dog, a cat or human). And sometimes the most powerful doggy in the group rolls over to show a less confident canine he means no threat, as an invitation to play or build confidence.

The fellow asking the question in the Ask Amy video was not happy about his newly adopted dog’s inclination to roll over. I suspect he wanted his dog to be “macho” and “dominant” and wasn’t clear on exactly what his dog was telling him–or what the dog “heard” his new owner saying.

Do your dogs enjoy tummy rubs? Does your dog flip on his back at the drop of a “hello?” When does he show his tummy–do you ask, or does he simply volunteer and request your attention?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Neat Freaks & Nasty Gifts

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12-12 persian kitten 2

Persians can be a grooming challenge.

We cherish the cat’s fastidious nature, and I’ve blogged before about the consequences–hairballs, ew!  But neatnik behavior goes beyond looking good. How and why cats groom impacts physical, emotional and social health. Kittens learn to lick themselves by 2 weeks of age using copycat behavior, and a slovenly mother will raise kitten slobs.

Are your cats neatniks, or slobs? Seren has a very specific grooming routine, ever since she arrived as a four-month-0ld stray. Most times kittens wash themselves by the time they are weaned, and adults spend up to 50 percent of their awake time in some form of grooming. You can learn WHY are cats such OCD groomers in the rest of my NEATNESS FREAKS article at Paw Nation.

By the way, I’ll be sending in suggestions for future Paw Nation topics. Have any suggestions (dog or kitty?). Please share! No guarantees, but I aims ta pleeze. And if not there, the topic could be a future Ask Amy.

So does it seem counter-intuitive for some tidy creatures to indulge in playing mousy games with critter entrails? Ew, again! Do your cats bring you special gifts? The few times that a mouse managed to get into the house, Seren simply watched it run by with only passing curiosity. She does attack crickets with relish, though, and leaves the buggy drumsticks behind. I think one reason many of us adore cats is they’re just a paw-step away from that wild-child creature, so it’s like bringing nature closer into our lives.

The Ask Amy video offers a couple of reasons why cats bring us gifts–but what do you think?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Ask Amy Thinks Outside The Box

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Now that I’ve got your attention, no–that is NOT a real book. The totally twisted folks over at Smoshed.com posted a whole slew of tongue-in-cheek (I hope!) “Rejected Children’s Books” . Here’s another one that seems to fit today’s theme–think outside the box & get off the @#$%^! pot!

As writers we need to know our audience, and give ’em what they want. Since all my kids have four feet and fur, I’ll leave it to others to wax poetic on what’s appropriate for human children. But for the rest of us, one truism remains in today’s world of publishing. Even though it’s changing faster than Magical-dawg sheds fur, publishers still want the same-ol’ same-ol’ but with a twist.

They want a book that’s exactly the same (so it’ll sell), only different. Arggg! Listen, if you’re writing to a popular “trend” the train has already left you behind. Legacy publishing–the traditional Noo Yawk way of doing things–takes so long that by the time your agent search, editor offer, and publish date rolls around, your piping hot trend is old news fit only for the bottom of the cat box. And we all know that discerning kittehs snub stale boxes and look for pristine accommodations.

Creative use of Beatrice's wedding hat...

So the tip of the day is — WRITE WHAT MOVES YOU. Put on your big-kid panties, get off the pot and write what YOU want to read, find your passion, and never mind if others raise eyebrows. It takes a brave soul to be a trend-setter. Somebody had to be the first to turn dry courtroom jargon into a thriller, transform doctor-speak into bone-chilling narratives, fairy-tale broom-riding kids into an international phenom, and cold-blooded suckers into sparkly hearthrobs. Study why that trend works. Then set it on its ear, and find a way to make your twist a success. And remember to listen to your audience!

I’m trying, believe me. Fur keeps getting in my ears.

How do you think outside the box? What passion rules your writing–or other creative outlet? Are you knitting fantastical creations for your grandkids–or the Siamese down the street? Have you figured out a new way to clicker train your goldfish, or teach middle school students? (Now THAT’S scary!)

My audience, for instance, gets pissy about cat box issues. (How’s that for an awkward segue? Stinks, don’t it…) Litter-ary problems are the top cat behavior complaint and there’s lots of reasons why Sheba chooses to …ahem…  “color” outside the lines. I suspect there are parents out there with their own potty-training horror stories. Lucky for me, Seren-kitty has been faithful to her box. This latest Ask Amy “covers” a common potty problem. What are some other tips that have worked for you? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy & Claw THIS!

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Jodi with "Merlin."

I’ve got a cat-tastic update for y’all. Remember last Thursday’s blog about “Thursday” the stray kitty adopted from the City Limits outdoor cafe? Heard back from Jodi Green’s nephew, Deron McCraw, that the kitty’s name is now “Merlin.” And he had his (ahem) ass-ets “fixed” last Friday and is settling into life as a pampered feline at Jodi’s house.

Doncha love happy endings? (pun intended…)

We love cats but don’t always understand them. But cats always have a reason for what they do, even if it seems bizarre to humans. Often, cat owners reward these strange behaviors without realizing it. That’s why many cats develop interesting and unique foibles. But cats around the world share some common behaviors that make owners go, “huh?” For instance, phone fanatics.

kitten with phone

And why are cats attracted to plastic? Apparently the plastic tastes good, perhaps because often it’s made from petroleum-based ingredients. What about elevator butt,  flipping, and privacy issues–why the holy heck do cats follow us to the potty? My latest Paw Nation article lists 7 weird cat behaviors, and what they mean. There’s bunches, more, though–what did I miss? what are other outrageous behaviors our cats (and dawgs?) indulge? Please share!

One of the biggest challenges cat owners share is SCRATCHING (hissssssssssss). What are some ways we can manage this natural behavior–and if’n y’all start recommending declaw surgery, there’s likely to be a cat fight in the comments section!

What are some of the best ways to naturally handle the pointy-sharp cat parts? Above is the latest ASK AMY topic…but even though I talked fast (HEY! no wise cracks!) couldn’t get all the tips in the short clip. So watch, kitty-kibbitz and add many several cents’ worth to get this topic covered cuz I know there are BRILLIANT cat savvy folks subscribed to this blog.

And yes, for those who asked, there’ll be ASK AMY videos coming soon to cover more crap-piocca dawg topics including how to address dogs eating their own or other’s shhhhh…t  (ahem) schtuff.  Don’t worry, I’ll give fair warning in case anyone’s in the middle of eating breakfast.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Thoughty Thursday: Feets, Don’t Fail Me Now!

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Show your dog-matic purr-sonality with Tobi Levi designer shoes.

 A colleague sent me a link to the shoes above  and now I lust after these designer dawg togs. Those who see me at public appearances know I love the unusual, the sparkly, the stand-out-from-the-crowd-icity and choose my attire accordingly. I get some kidding over it–and have also been accused of being gaudy and garish.

Get over it. I’d rather be garish and noticed, warts and all, than safely “appropriate” and fade into the background. I had enough of that as a kid. A colleague of mine, Kristen Lamb, I admire very much. She blogged yesterday that many of us “need more cowbell.”  Guess I’ve been a-bangin’ that bell for quite a while, and it’s paid off. I seem to be known for the sparkles and bling–and I pray that translates into the writing as well.

No, you don’t have to literally bang a gong (or cowbell), or wear designer shoes to get noticed. But by all that is hairy, your writing–your causes for animals, for kids, for your I MUST DO THIS (fill-in-the-blank)–had better have intrinsic “sparkle-icity” or it won’t matter what you do. You’ll be that wall-flower faded into the background, unnoticed and undervalued.

What’s your MUST DO THIS cause? And how do you shine a light on that effort? Do you wear sparkly socks? (guilty!) Known for hats? or for puns? (guilty again!) Or are you known as a listener, gentle critic, helpful mentor? What is your gift–and how do you express that gift?

The snow boots (above) keep my feet dry and warm when I trudge around keeping up with the Magical-dawg, and certainly could be muddy brown and do the job. But the colors make me smile, remind me about MY cause, and help me focus. No matter what I do–blogging, fictioning, singing, playing with the fur-kids–I must honor the effort with all-of-me so the passion and joy shine through. I LOVE what I do–can you tell?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!