A Guest Post and a Giveaway from Dog.com!

How often have you heard this in training class or during a handling lesson: “Nerves travel down to the other end of the leash”? Our dogs are so well attuned to our feelings that sometimes they mirror our fears or anxieties, or other emotions.

We have a guest blogger here today: Kaitlin Falatovich. Kaitlin is a content writer for dog.com, an online pet supply store that boasts of carrying Everything and Anything Dog™. Her guest post addresses the subject of “contagious feelings” mirrored between dog and owner. Take it away, Kaitlin!

Doggie Hypochondria

Humans have a way about overreacting about… hmm… just about everything. From their cars to clothes, humans are always worrying about one thing or another. But now it may be rubbing off on their canine counterparts.

There are two kinds of “doggie hypochondria” that come about. First, there is the chronic anxiety that some dogs can suffer from. And this is no laughing matter. This uneasy feeling can seem like just part of dog nature, but owners of dogs with severe anxiety find that their dogs have extremely heightened levels of fear and paranoia. This is classified by the persistent feeling of fear that cannot be rationalized.

This may actually come from a self esteem problem that is a very slow fix. An unexplained sense of fear can seem normal in a dog, but when your dog begins to fear every aspect of their environment, it may be part of this problem. To cure of your dog of this persistent anxiety, it would be wise to consider a hiring a trainer to slowly alleviate your dog’s fears. If a trainer isn’t what you are looking for, you can slowly and cautiously try to make your dog calmer in their surroundings.

The second type of “hypochondria” isn’t so much the dog’s problem as much as the owners (in the beginning). All dog owners know that dogs do not communicate in the same way that humans do. And even though they can tell us what /how they are feeling, that doesn’t always mean that we will interpret it in the right way. This miscommunication can turn a simple “sigh” into a mass contusion in the owner’s eye.

Now even though it is true that it is better to be safe than sorry, this type of confusion can not only rack up your vet bill, it can lead to a very confused pup. Imagine being taken to the doctor every time you stubbed your toe. (ANNOYING!) This type of “doggie hypochondria” is most common with new, first time dog parents. Just like first time parents to human children, mom or pop just want the best for their little one.

In most cases, over time, these cases of overprotective parents seem to fade. But in some instances overprotective doggie parents can stick with their behavior for the dog’s entire life. Effects rage from virtually nonexistent to the type of anxiety that was stated above.

So take some deep breaths, sit on the couch, and tell the doggie doctor all your problems… .

This article was written by Kaitlin Falatovich. She is currently a college student living in Pennsylvania with her fiancée. She works for dog.com. For more articles like this one please click here.

Thanks, Kaitlin! Just as a reminder, you can get a 10% discount on dog.com products through AKC. Go to their website and click on the dog.com ads for more information.

And Also from Dog.com…

We have something else from Dog.com for one lucky winnah. If you’re familiar with the Jolly Pets nearly-indestructible Tug-n-Toss™ ball with the handle, then you already know all about our prize, the Jolly Pets Bounce-n-Play ball! It’s the exact same toy, only without the handle. I give one of these to my brother and sister-in-law’s Mastiffs every year — and if these toys can survive beatings from two nearly-200-pound doggers, they can survive whatever yours will do to them.

Does your dog want one? All you have to do to win this one is follow these Wicked Simple Rules…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Go visit the Bounce-n-Play dog toy page on dog.com.
  2. Come on back to the blog and tell me what size and color ball your dog would like to win. (Remember: the glow-in-the-dark ball comes in Small only.) Remember, you have to comment on the blog, We adore Facebook comments, but the number-picker can’t find them — so, no entry. No entry, no winnee.
  3. Become a fan of Dog.com on Facebook.
  4. We’d never turn down a Like on the Shaggy Dog Stories page, either.

As always, we use a random-number picking script to select the lucky winnah by comment number. If yours is the lucky number picked, you’ll be contacted by email and/or Facebook message. You have a week to respond, or we’ll sadly invoke the You Snooze, You Lose rule and award your prize to the next non-snoozin’ entrant. Hate when that happens.

Deadline for entries is Monday, October 1.

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Two Winnahs, One Remindah

It’s an All-Canadian prize sweep here in Shaggy Dog Stories-land! Congrats to Marilyn Klein and Marcus, and to Patti Waddell and Mick for being lucky winnahs of the Kyjen Ginormous Hide-a-Squirrel toys!

Didn’t win? Don’t be blue. The giveaway for the Earth Heart Guard Well spray is still going on, and entries don’t close until tomorrow! Come on and enter — there’s still time!

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Review and Giveaway: Earth Heart Guard Well Spray

Welcome to Ragweed Season. If you suffer from pollen-related allergies in the late summer and early fall, you know all about the properties of ragweed and goldenrod. They can make you miserable! You sneeze, your eyes itch and tear up… and all you want is some relief!

Your best friend can suffer from seasonal allergies or from exposure to other environmental irritants ranging from molds to lawn chemicals to dry skin brought on by central heating. These sensitivities can manifest themselves as itching, chewing, licking, hot spots, and the like.

Earth Heart’s Guard Well formula is designed to help give your dog some relief. The spray is formulated (in the USA!) from essential oils of niaouli, ravensare and frankincense in a solution of purified water. It’s safe to use on puppies as young as 8 weeks old (but not recommended for use with cats or birds). You can spray Guard Well on your hands and massage your dog, spray directly onto the skin or coat and brush, or spray onto the dog’s blanket or bedding. According to our friends at Earth Heart, Guard Well can help relieve the itching and other symptoms in up to 90% of dogs affected by minor environmental irritants, bacteria, and so on — and can even help restore healthy balance after long-term use of medications.

Dinah and Badger on Mt. Ossipee in the fall.

We’re very lucky in that neither the humans nor the dogs in our little household suffer from seasonal allergies or environmental sensitivities. This does mean that we haven’t been able to give Guard Well a fair trial here with the Gang of Four, but I tested the spray on myself. The scent is delightful, yet not overpowering. I’ve used it on the old dog’s bedding, too.

Good News for You

Would you like to try some on your dog(s)? Earth Heart is providing Shaggy Dog families a buy-one-get-one-free offer (BOGO!) to help you enjoy a healthier autumn. To redeem the offer, enter the code GuardShaggyDog at check out when you order Guard Well and any other Earth Heart product from the Earth Heart website. Offer expires October 31, 2012.

Want to Win Some?

Thanks to Vicki from Earth Heart, we’re giving away a 2-ounce, BPA-free bottle of Guard Well to one lucky winnah! All you have to do is follow the usual set of Wicked Simple Rules…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Go visit Earth Heart on Facebook and Like the fan page — if you haven’t already done so.
  2. We always welcome Likes on the Shaggy Dog Stories fan page.
  3. Come back to the blog and leave a comment. Does anyone in your household suffer from seasonal allergies in the fall? Remember, comments on Facebook, while always appreciated, don’t count as entries.

As usual, the lucky winnah will be chosen at random by comment number, using a number-picking script. If that lucky winnah is you, you’ll be notified by email — and if you’re also a Facebook friend, we’ll try to ping you that way too. No matter which way the good news comes, you need to respond within a week to get your fabulous prize. Otherwise, we will just have to call You Snooze, You Lose on you and give your prize to some other entrant. You know you wouldn’t want that to happen!

Get your comments in by Sunday, September 23.

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And Now for Our Latest Review and… Squirrel!

Of course you remember Dug, the dog from the movie Up. This scene cracks me up every time. It’s just so… so… canine!

A while back, I asked you faithful shaggy dog fans what Kyjen product I should review next. You could nominate pretty much anything from Kyjen’s extensive and varied collection of sports and travel equipment and toys, and you chose…

Ta-daaaa! You chose the Kyjen Ginormous Hide-a-Squirrel! Kyjen makes four size versions of this toy, but you guys chose the huge one with the six squirrels inside! What would the Gang of Four think of your choice?
Read the rest of this entry »

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New Nature’s Variety Coupons for Dogs and Cats

This latest coupon offers you a deal on Nature’s Variety Instinct or Prairie canned food. Not only do we have one for your dog, but there’s another coupon here for your cat!

We use Nature’s Variety canned. It’s one of the brands we use in rotation for old Charlie (Dinah gets raw and the boys also get kibble). The Homestyle formulas seem to be the preferred flavors here. We use Prairie because our dogs aren’t particularly sensitive to grain, and because Badger produces less gas.

Bonus! Here’s one for your cat, too!

To use these coupons, click on the image to open a new window. Print the coupons from there and go shopping. Enjoy!

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Dog Names — The Sublime and the Ridiculous

Every year, lists of popular dog names appear in print and online, just as popular human baby names do. Truth, be told, the puppy names are more traditional; people may be naming their kids Jayden and Shaliqa-with-a-silent-Q, but their dogs are still Max and Bella. Go figure. There are a bazillion references out there about name rankings, but I decided to go with Stanley Coren’s compilation for the Psychology Today website.

I love Celtic names, being part Scots and Irish, and have always wanted to bestow one of those marvelous names from Irish mythology on one of my dogs. The thing is, I do performance events. For example, if I entered a dog named Siobhan (pronounced “she-VON”) at an agility trial, the poor beleaguered gate steward would probably wonder why no one named “SLOB-HAND” ever showed up for a run. Best not to confuse everyone unless I want to go through 15 years of gloriously misspelled certificates and personalized typos.

What are the top dog names? It honestly depends on which web page you bring up in your web browser, as well as where you live. In the UK, the most popular names for male dogs are Charlie, Jack, Max, and Alfie. For the girls, it’s Bella, Molly, Lily, and Daisy. Here in the States, the boys are most likely to be Max, Buddy, Rocky, and Bailey. The girls are Bella, Molly, Lucy, and Maggie.

Our friends at Pet365 have a charming new infographic available on the subject of dog names. Enjoy!

Dog names graphic produced by Matt Beswick for Pet365. Click on the sample below to see the full-sized version.
Dog Names Infographic

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And the Winnah Is…

Congrats to Abby Rubin and Olivia the Service Dog for winning the $25 Petco gift card from Coupon Cabin! From the look of it, Abby needs to get herself a new pair of sneakers, and then she and Olivia can cruise the aisles of Petco in style. Woohoo!

Didn’t win this time? Not to worry. We have some really great stuff coming up that you’ll absolutely want to win!!

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We Have Another Winnah!

Congratulations to Linda Aronson, DVM for being the lucky winnah of the copy of The Fitzy Resolution! She chose to go with the paperback edition of the book. A Kindle edition is also available, and you can get both at Amazon.com. (Amazon is running specials on both editions right now, so get over there and order it!)

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Two New Winnahs!

Congratulations to Maddy Maloney from ME, who is the lucky winnah of the Arenus STEADFAST supplements! Maddy even dressed up to accept her prize…

Maddy puts her party hat on!

Party hearty congratulations are in order for Sue Brody from CA for winning the $15 credit to LeLePets.com! Hope she has a terrific shopping experience!

What’s the matter, bunky? You didn’t win this time? Not to worry — the book giveaway for The Fitzy Resolution is going on for one more day, and we have some really great stuff just waiting for this blog!

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Review and Giveaway: The Fitzy Resolution

The Fitzy Resolution isn’t just your standard dog story — it’s not even a standard dog story told from a dog’s-eye view. Is it a social satire lampooning representative government? Is it a flight of fancy that assigns human politics to a group of dogs a la Animal Farm? Is it a mystery/political thriller built on a new and imaginative framework? What exactly do dogs do and think in the company of other dogs, and in the complete absence of humans? You’ll have to read the book to decide for yourself.
Read the rest of this entry »

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