“PET owners beware — new research has revealed that dogs don’t like hugs from their owners, which can make them (the owners?) more stressed out.” “According to new research published in Psychology Today, Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, said dogs respond differently to humans who seek comfort from hugging others.” “Coren, who studies canine behaviour, analysed a random sample of 250 pictures of humans hugging their dogs that he could find online through Flickr and a Google image search.” (skewed data – he left out Pintrest and Instagram where the animal pictures are more photogenic) “In using photos where the dog’s face was easily seen, he looked whether the dog appeared to be anxious or distressed, relaxed, or showed a neutral response to being hugged.” “He found that around 82 per cent of the photographs showed “unhappy dogs” receiving hugs from their owners or children.”
He said that dogs show signs of distress when they bare their teeth (called a smile when humans do it), turn their heads away from something ( just being bored and looking around), or they partially close their eyes (doesn’t everyone close their eyes when ecstatic?). Another sign of anxiety is when a dog’s ears are lowered or “slicked against the side of his head”. (Stanley, it’s just our coiffure) He also said that licking lips or licking a person’s face can also be a sign of anxiety, like yawning or raising a paw. (I lick when it’s tasty) Coren said the fact that dogs don’t like being hugged can be explained by their behavioural nature.
As “cursorial animals”, (cursorial? I swear I never curse) they are designed for swift running. When stressed, a dog’s first instinct is to run away. It is believed that when they are restricted from moving with a hug, it can increase a dog’s stress level and potentially cause them to bite their owners. (or bite researchers)
It’s not the hugs that stressed the dogs out it was having their pictures taken WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT to be displayed for all the world to see.
So hug away you human-beings and always follow-up with a treat for us dogs (you got your treat with the hug)
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET, CDB
Canine Dog Therapist, Retired and Certified Dog Blogger
Although it’s officially National Dog Day I am celebrating National Human Day. (Have to toss humans a “bone” every so often)
Human-beings are weird crittersbut we canines love you anyway. We try to take good care of you but, as you know, humans can be stubborn, arbitrary and difficult to train. That’s why most of us prefer to adopt those of you who are already toilet trained, like to walk and can open the refrigerator. But humans who drool, roll around the ground and babble can be fun playmates even when they are as old as my human-being.
The next time you come please do not make me look like a hedge-dog*.
Cutting dogs’ fur into perfect cubes, is the latest dog hairdressing trend to sweep Asia. “It is not known where the inspiration for the trend originated, but the look has been cropping up at dog shows around Asia in recent months.”
“Hairdresser Tain Yeh, who runs a parlour in Taipei told the Daily Mail: “It came about because people were always looking for more impressive haircuts, and somebody came up with the idea of shaping the dog like a hedge.”’ (HEDGE!, sounds like the Organic Green Revolution has gone to the dogs) . . . “The dogs don’t mind, (humph!, we are just too polite to complain) and the owners keep coming back for more. This sort of haircut needs a lot more maintenance than the regular type.”
“She warned that the look isn’t one which works for all dogs and has this advice for any British dog owners seeking to emulate the slick cubes: “It is also not suitable for all breeds. The dog needs to have plenty of hair to play around with so that you can shape it around the face and body.” (I’d love to get my paws on a pair of clippers and trim human-beings to look like a poodle . . . or a HEDGE . . . or a . . .)
Dear Human-beings and other creatures,Those of you who follow my posts know how frank and fundamentally illuminating they are (not to mention how fantastically informative about the human condition). This post is no exception as my story The Tree has an important lesson for all to heed.
Here ismy first (and possibly only) draft of the story. Those of you who appreciate and are knowledgable about this genre your “critique” would be appreciated before I am sought out by publishers.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a tree. (I frequently start my writing with “Once upon a time” as it lends a universal appeal to readers young and old) Its trunk was crooked and all its bark was peeling. Big roots spread all around the tree, some deep in the earth and some growing above the ground. The Tree lived in a park with other trees of its own kind on the far edge of town. Every day many dogs of differing sizes and persuasions came to claim the tree as their territory.
One day, after years of being claimed, the tree yelled at a big black dog with pointy ears and a black nose sniffing around its roots, “I am NOT your territory!” The big black dog didn’t care what the tree thought, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.
Within minutes a little white dog with floppy ears and a wet nose sniffed out where the big black dog had been. “I am a tree not a fire hydrant!,” the tree yelled at the little white dog who ignored the tree, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.
The tree, ever alert for impending indignities, spotted a medium-sized dog with shaggy brown hair and a pink nose approaching. Finally, after many years of being claimed by many dogs, the tree figured out that actions speak louder than words. So it picked up its roots and walked away.
The end of my tail
Frankly & Faithfully yours,
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Canine Dog Therapist RET, Author
As an experienced CDT here’s some basic guidelines for your new career.
Always have kleenex ready. It’s tax-deductible.
Do not take insurance. Make sure that your clients understand you take only “out-of-pocket” doggie-cookies, no deferred insurance payment. Insurance takes too long to reimburse and will discount the amount of cookies you are entitled to.
When your clients are angry or unduly upset get under a table until the storm blows over. In extreme cases you might have to jump on your human-being’s lap to protect her because she doesn’t have enough instinct to duck ‘n cover.
Show, don’t tell. Most therapist spend all their time talking – blah, blah, blah. After awhile clients just tune them out. You must demonstrate these time-tested psychotherapeutic techniques to help humans develop healthy behavioral coping skills:
Shake it off. Not everything needs examining or even understanding.
Roll over. “Turn the other cheek” in human-lingo.
Play dead when others are threatening, demanding or unreasonable.
Beg for forgiveness if you’ve done something hurtful.
Stare to get attention. Don’t make a fuss as it takes too much energy.
Sleep a lot in order to think clearly and make healthy choices.
Play. Don’t take life seriously as that takes MUCH too much energy.
Should you need further guidance send a check payable to Freddie Parker Westerfield and then call me.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
P.S. I don’t take insurance and no longer take payment in dog-cookies as I prefer to buy my own.
Warning! Do NOT read the story of Little Red Riding hood that has been circulating. It’s filled with violence and death.
The Real (& Untold Story) of Little Red Riding Hood
Dedicated to all adoptees, whether two or four-legged.
by Freddie Parker Westerfield
Once upon a time in a land far away lived a little orphan wolf. How he became an orphan is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.
The tale simply begins: Abandoned and never having been around others of his own kind the little orphan wolf didn’t know what sharp teeth he had. He didn’t know what big eyes he had. He didn’t know what a bushy tail he had. He didn’t know how hairy he was. He didn’t know how scary he was. All he knew was that he was alone in a big forest filled with creatures and critters that ran away from him as soon as he approached.
So the little orphan wolf covered himself with branches and leaves to listen to the birds sing to each other in the trees.
He laid in tall grass to watch the squirrels play so they wouldn’t leap out of his sight.
He hid behind bushes to sneak peaks at the deer eating their meals.
But every day, all day, he was alone: every morning he ate by himself; every evening he played by himself; every night he settled down to sleep, alone.
One day the little orphan wolf decided to set out from his forest home to find someone, somewhere, to be his friend.
Along the way he came upon a little girl. She had a yellow curl and wore a red cape and hood. Why she wore a red cape and hood is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.
Because she was young, and bigger than the little orphan wolf she wasn’t scared, she didn’t run away, she stopped and asked: “Where are you going Mr. Wolf?”
“I’m off to find a friend so that I am not alone. I’m off to find a friend to share my meals with. I am off to find a friend to play with and most of all I off to find a friend to talk with. I am very lonely.”
The little girl with the yellow curl wearing the red cape and hood, feeling sorry for the little orphan wolf, said, “Come with me to Grandma’s house. She makes delicious muffins with the berries I pick in the forest. She sits at the table while I eat the muffins and listens to me talk. Grandma loves all of God’s creatures. She can’t be your grandma, but maybe she can be your friend.”
“I don’t know what a Grandma is,” replied the little orphan wolf, “but she sounds exactly like the friend I’m looking for.”
And so the little orphan wolf set off with the little girl with a curl who wore a red cape and hood to Grandma’s house.
They passed by a giant berry bush. “Stop here to pick berries for the delicious muffins Grandma makes,” said the little girl. They picked only the very ripest berries and carefully carried them in the pockets of the red cape.
They passed by a field of flowers. “Stop here to pick flowers for Grandma to put on the table where we sit and she listens to me talk,” explained the little girl. They picked a bouquet of blue and pink flowers and carefully wrapped them in the red hood.
They passed a bubbling brook where cool waters ran. “Let’s stop here for a drink to refresh ourselves after all our work picking berries and flowers,” suggested the little girl. They drank from the bubbling brook and carefully rested on the red cape so as not to crush the berries or smash the flowers.
As they walked over the crest of a hill the little girl pointed and exclaimed, “Look!There’s Grandma’s house. Let’s see if she will be your friend.”
The little orphan wolf peeked out from behind the red cape not sure what a grandma was. His eyes grew bigger and bigger as he watched Grandma greet the little girl with a big hug and the biggest, most wonderful smile, neither of which he had ever seen before.
The little girl announced, “Grandma, I’ve brought you berries so you can make me delicious muffins. I’ve brought you flowers to put on the table where we sit and you listen to me talk. I’ve brought you a little orphan wolf who is lonely and looking for a friend”
Never having met a grandma before and not knowing how to greet one the little orphan wolf opened his mouth, showed his sharp teeth and wagged his bushy tail.
“My! What sharp white teeth you have”, gasped grandma. “The better to protect you with” replied the little orphan wolf.
“My! What big brown eyes you have,” marveled Grandma. “The better to lovingly look up at you with”, replied the little orphan wolf. “
“My! What a bushy tail you have,” exclaimed Grandma. “The better to wag at you with happiness,” replied the little orphan wolf.
“My! How fluffy your hair is,” declared Grandma. “The better to cuddle with and keep you warm,” said the little orphan wolf.
“Oh my goodness”, sighed Grandma. “I will be your friend and feed you delicious berry treats, while you sit and listen to me.”
“And because you are one of God’s creatures I will call you FREDDIE.”
Where upon the little orphan wolf looked up at Grandma with big eyes, wagged his bushy tail, stuck out his wet tongue and gave Grandma an appreciative lick.
Here I am AGAIN picking up the pieces for my Human-being. She is still a bit discombobulated. Since you are all my loyal friends I shall share a bit more about myself via Cee’s Share Your World” questions which, as usual I read on Mama’s blog.
1. Do you prefer shopping or going to a park? That is the most idiotic question I’ve ever heard. It’s so obvious I’m not going to respond.
2. If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why? That is the second most idiotic question I’ve ever heard. I go bare-pawed.
3. What’s the story behind a time when you got locked out? The third most idiotic question I’ve ever heard. If you don’t have keys you can’t lock yourself out.
4. Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts? The fourth most idiotic question I’ve ever heard . . .
5. Bonus questions: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’m grateful that I don’t have to carry keys and have no allergies to nuts . . . unless they are the human kind.
I’m looking forward to going bare-pawed in the park.
My Human-being says she’s “under the weather”. “What does that mean”? I asked her. “Under the table, under the blanket I understand. Weather? We don’t have a lot of weather in Southern California”. She says it means she’s too tired and achy to post and I have to do it so the blog subscribers keep reading . . .
So, for ideas I read Mama Cormier’s blog called Mama Cormier and Mama follows the blog Share Your World and Mama answers questions from the blog she follows and I like Mama and how she is so honest when she answers the questions so I thought I’d answer the questions too so you get to know me better . . . and keep reading.
Here are the question ( . . . they don’t make any more sense to me then being “under the weather”):
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Why would I want a guest for dinner. I prefer to dine alone.
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? I don’t sing. I sniff.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? Be able to open the refrigerator.
What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? Doggie treats and the frequency they are given out.
What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Doggie treats. Ditto.