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  1. Can Your Dog See Ghosts? Here's What Science Has to Say About It

    Jess Bolluyt

     

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    Have you ever wondered whether your dog can see ghosts, or at least sense whether there’s something spooky going on? Plenty of dog owners have had that suspicion. After all, your dog has impressive abilities to sense all kinds of things in his environment. So does that include the supernatural?
    Below, check out what people think their dogs can see and sense — and what science has actually established on this spooky topic.


    Many dog owners think that dogs can see ghosts or spirits
    It’s not just around Halloween. Year-round, many people get the idea that their dogs can see ghosts or spirits. Perhaps they think the dog is reacting to the spirit of a loved one who’s passed away. Or maybe they think that the dog is alerting them to the presence of a ghost in a home or on a property that’s rumored to be haunted. Even if you don’t have any personal experience that makes you think it’s true, you probably find the idea intriguing, at the very least.

     


    Lots of dog owners also think that dogs can sense the ‘angel of death’
    Similarly, many people think that dogs can see the “angel of death,” or otherwise sense when somebody is about to die. As Psychology Today notes, some of the anecdotes are intriguing. For instance, a dog who had never howled before began howling inconsolably. He continued for hours and didn’t stop until a woman in the neighboring house had died. Regardless of whether you believe or disbelieve, you’ve probably heard (and remembered) such stories.

     

    People also think that dogs are sensitive to places associated with death
    Another related idea is that dogs are sensitive to places where somebody died. Some dog owners say that their pets may stare, growl, whimper, and refuse to keep walking at a spot where someone died or was found dead. People think that their dogs can sense the person’s spirit, or at least that the dogs know that something happened in the vicinity, thus are reacting accordingly.

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    The idea is that dogs have a ‘sixth sense’
    Psychology Today notes that regardless of your specific beliefs about what your dog can see or sense, it comes down to the idea that dogs have a “sixth sense.” As Stanley Coren writes, “The belief that dogs are in tune with the spirit world, or have some sort of precognition which allows them to anticipate ominous events, is not just something from the distant past. It persists today.”

     

    Dogs seem to warn their owners about impending bad news
    As Psychology Today explains, a poll found that nearly 47% of dog owners report that one time or another, their dog has alerted them to some impending bad news. Such dogs sometimes try to hide in a safe space. Other times, they whine or whimper. Sometimes, they behave erratically or seem to have a lot more energy than usual. And, of course, they sometimes bark insistently just before something bad happens.

     

    It’s possible that dogs aren’t reacting to ghosts at all
    Coren explains that while some people maintain that their dog can see ghosts, science hasn’t backed up that claim. The real explanation may be a lot simpler. “Dogs have keener sense than we do,” Coren explains.
    He hypothesizes that “many of the instances in which dogs are apparently alerting to ghosts or spirits are simply situations in which the dog senses something through normal sensory channels that the average human is not aware of.” He adds, “Whatever the dog is perceiving in such cases is vague and uncertain to him. In the absence of a clear idea of what he is sensing, the dog tends to become wary and acts in a cautious or suspicious manner.”

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    Dogs really do have keener senses than humans

    Think there’s no way your dog could be reacting that dramatically to something you can’t detect? You may want to reconsider. As Animal Planet reports, “A dog’s senses are keener, and different, than ours: His eyes detect more delicate movements; his sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s. He can hear much higher frequencies, and at four times the distance of a human with normal hearing.” Your dog may be able to sense small movements and sounds that you can’t.

     

    In fact, dogs can actually see frequencies of light that we can’t
    Dogs can’t just see better than we can. They can also see things that are completely invisible to us because dogs can actually see some of the ultraviolet spectrum (which humans can’t). So if you believe that ghosts exist but are invisible to the human eye — or even if you’re a skeptic — that may sound like further evidence that dogs can see and react to the supernatural.

     


    Even if they don’t see ghosts, dogs can sense hallucinations
    Interestingly enough, Coren notes that dogs can detect another kind of sensory event that’s troubling to the average person: Hallucinations. Hallucinations occur with a variety of psychological conditions, including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Charles Bonnet syndrome, some forms of epilepsy, and post traumatic stress disorder. Psychiatric service dogs can help people realize when they’re hallucinating, and reassure them that there’s nobody else in the room with them.

     

    Either way, dogs don’t judge what’s going on in their environment
    Pet psychologist Marti Miller tells Animal Planet that she believes that both dogs and humans have a sixth sense. The difference between the two? “Humans judge or deny what they are feeling,” she says. On the other hand, “Dogs don’t judge what is going on in the environment. While our own minds start to analyze what is happening, dogs don’t do that. They feel the barometric pressure change, and may react by shaking, panting, salivating and feeling anxious, or they may not react at all.”

     

     

    Dogs may be more open to experiencing the supernatural
    Miller argues that if there are ghosts or spirits in your environment, your dog is a lot more likely to sense them than you are. For dogs, she explains, “sensing the supernatural is natural because they don’t judge it. People could see auras or spirits, but they either don’t believe they exist, or think that if they do exist, we could not see them.” Because dogs are less judgmental and more open to experiences they can’t explain, they may be more likely to experiencing the supernatural.

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    Ultimately, you can’t know what your dog is experiencing
    Finally, Miller tells Animal Planet that whatever you believe, you’ll have a hard time figuring out what your dog is experiencing. You may see him reacting in an odd way to what looks like nothing. But it’s hard to tell whether he’s sensing a spirit you can’t detect, or if he’s just catching a whiff of the garbage you forgot to take outside.
    Even though she believes that a dog who’s barking at something invisible is reacting to “an entity, spirit, or energy that doesn’t belong there,” she also admits, “we don’t know that dogs see ghosts or spirits.”

     

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  2. fabulous dog beds quiz

    20 Dog Trivia Questions: How Much Do You Know?

    Kristine Lacoste

    It’s time to test your canine capabilities! Check out my list of 20 dog trivia questions and see how many you can guess correctly.

    1. Normal adult dogs have how many teeth?
    A) 24
    B) 38
    C) 42
    D) 32
     
    2. Through what part of the body do dogs sweat?
    A) Mouth
    B) Ears
    C) Nose
    D) Paws
     
    3. True or False: Dogs can only see in black and white.

    4. What is the most common training command taught to dogs?
    A) Stay
    B) Beg
    C) Sit
    D) Dance
     
    5. What is a dog’s most highly developed sense?
    A) Taste
    B) Smell
    C) Sight
    D) Touch
     
    6. Puppies are delivered how many weeks after conception?
    A) 36
    B) 22
    C) 9
    D) 16
     
    7. What is the favorite dog breed of the Queen of England?
    A) Corgi
    B) Basenji
    C) Poodle
    D) Pomeranian
     
    8. Which TV series had a dog named K9 who was also a robot?
     
    9. Which dog breed is the smallest of them all?
    A) Dachshund
    B) Shih tzu
    C) Pomeranian
    D) Chihuahua
     
    10. Which breed was once known as St. John’s Newfoundland?
    A) Newfoundland
    B) Golden retriever
    C) Labrador
    D) Puli

     

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    11. Which dog breed has a black tongue?
    A) Husky
    B) Labrador
    C) Weimaraner
    D) Chow chow
     
    12. The first dogs registered in the American Kennel Club belonged to what group?
    A) Herding
    B) Sporting
    C) Working
    D) Hound
     
    13. Which dog yodels instead of barks?
    A) Komondor
    B) Otterhound
    C) Basenji
    D) Basset hound
     
    14. True or False: Dalmatians are born with spots.
     
    15. What breed of dog is the smallest used in hunting?
    A) Chihuahua
    B) Miniature Dachshund
    C) Toy poodle
    D) Smooth fox terrier
     
    16. What is the name of the dog on the front of the Cracker Jack box?
    A) Jack
    B) Max
    C) Bingo
    D) Fido
     
    17. How old was the world’s oldest dog, an Australian cattle hound named Bluey, in human years?
     
    18. What was the most popular dog name of 2011, according to VPI Pet Insurance?
    A) Lucy
    B) Bailey
    C) Bella
    D) Max
     
    19. True or False: It is cheaper to spay or neuter a dog than it is to raise a litter of puppies for one year.
     
    20. What is the most popular breed of dog, according to the American Kennel Club’s registrations?
     

     

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    Answers appear below…

    1. C) 42
    2. D) Paws
    3. False. Dogs can see multiple colors.
    4. C) Sit
    5. B) Smell
    6. C) 9 weeks
    7. A) Corgi
    8. C) Doctor Who
    9. D) Chihuahua
    10. C) Labrador
    11. D) Chow chow
    12. B) Sporting Group
    13. C) Basenji
    14. False. Dalmatian puppies are born white; their spots come in later.
    15. B) Miniature Dachshund
    16. C) Bingo
    17. D) 29 years
    18. C) Bella
    19. True, according to the ASPCA
    20. Labrador

     

     

     

     

  3. The 7 Most Important Dog Training Skills



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    The 7 Most Important Dog Training Skills
    By Elisabeth Geier


    Dog training is a lifelong process, but some skills are more important than others.  Think of mastering these essential dog training skills as laying the foundation, and preparing your dog for a lifetime of good behavior and companionship.
    Whether you just brought home a puppy, adopted a shelter dog, or want to brush up your old dog’s training, these are the absolute most important skills to teach your dog (and yourself).
    Before you start, it’s a good idea to review the basics of dog training: be patient, be positive, mind your body language, work in bursts (10-15 minute training sessions at a time), and add variety to help your dog respond reliably in any situation.
    House Training
    Potty training is all about consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. Start with the basics:
    Supervise your dog. When you’re just starting to house train her, limit her access to other parts of the house, whether that means closing off doors to bedrooms or crate-training so she has her own space.
    Set a routine. Dogs are creatures of habit. By feeding your dog at the same time each day and offering regularly spaced walks and outside potty breaks, you can condition her to “go” at set times each day.
    Never punish your dog for eliminating indoors. Accidents happen, and dogs don’t understand cause and effect the same way people do. Clean up the mess, remind yourself that it will get better the more consistent you are and move on.
    Reward your dog for getting it right. Give her a treat as soon as she goes potty in the designated spot.

    Come
    Coming when called is one of the most important skills for your dog to have on lock, because it can keep her safe in potentially dangerous situations. “Make it a party” every time your dog comes when called. No matter what they’re leaving behind, coming to you should be the best thing that happens to them all day!
    To train your dog to come when called, start on leash in a quiet area. Back away from your dog while enthusiastically telling her to “come!” Only give the command once, but be enthusiastic, and keep your body language relaxed and open. You can show your dog a treat to encourage her to head your way. Once she starts towards you, say “yes!” (or click) and reward her with a treat.
    Over time, you can gradually increase the distance between you and your dog, and start practicing in a variety of situations. View our trainer’s guide for more tips to teaching your dog to come when called.

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    Stay
    Teaching your dog to “stay” isn’t only about getting them to sit still. Like “come,” it’s a command that can keep her safe from harm.
    Build on your dog’s “stay” skills with the Three D’s of training:
    Distance
    Duration
    Distraction
    Start up close to your dog, placing her in a sit or down position. Hold a hand out toward and say “stay.” After a moment, reward her. Repeat this until your dog gets the idea that she’ll get a treat if she holds her sit or down position.
    Over several training sessions, increase your distance from your dog and the duration before you release her, and introduce distractions to test her resolve. Visit this puppy training guide for more detailed instructions.


    Leave It
    The “leave it” command is another essential for keeping your dog safe, whether from something they might pick up and swallow or another dog growling at them from across the street. It’s also a skill that takes time and consistency to master, so be sure to take it in gradual steps, building on the three D’s mentioned above.
    To teach “leave it,” start with a treat in hand and your dog in a sit or down position:
    Show your dog the treat, say “leave it,” then place it under your shoe.
    Wait. Your dog will try to get the treat — sniffing, licking, even pawing at your foot. Let her try. When she eventually gives up, immediately say “yes!” and give her a treat from your hand (not the one still under your shoe!)
    Repeat. Your dog may go back to sniffing around your foot; as soon as she stops and looks away, mark the desired behavior with “yes” or a click, and reward.
    Once your dog has mastered the art of ignoring a hidden treat, you can work up to a treat in plain view, and eventually “leaving” more compelling distractions. Then, put the training in motion by asking her to walk past and “leave” other the floor. See this article from trainer Shoshi Parks for detailed instructions.


    Sit
    Useful in so many situations, “sit” is often the first command dogs learn. In fact, most dogs “sit” on their own, so all you have to do is connect the command to the behavior.
    First, while your dog is in a standing position, hold a treat in front of her nose and raise it slowly towards the back of her head. When her head follows the treat up, her butt will go down. Once her butt hits the floor, say “yes!” and give her the treat.
    Once your dog is sitting reliably with the treat lure, you can transition to a hand signal and verbal command. View the above video from the AKC for a clear explanation of the whole process.
    Down
    Like “sit,” you can start training your dog the “down” cue with a treat lure.
    Start with your dog sitting in front of you
    Hold a treat near her face.
    Move the treat straight down to the floor, and then slowly away from the dog. She will follow the treat by moving her front feet forward, eventually lying down.
    Be clear with your movements, and be patient! Once your dog lies down, say “yes!” and give her the treat.
    Repeat.



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    Down
    Like “sit,” you can start training your dog the “down” cue with a treat lure.
    Start with your dog sitting in front of you
    Hold a treat near her face.
    Move the treat straight down to the floor, and then slowly away from the dog. She will follow the treat by moving her front feet forward, eventually lying down.
    Be clear with your movements, and be patient! Once your dog lies down, say “yes!” and give her the treat.
    Repeat.
     
    Settle
    Teaching your dog to “settle” on command is an awesome way to help an anxious or fearful dog manage emotional reactions. As with sitting, settling is something dogs do on their own. Your job here is to connect a cue to a familiar behavior.
    To start training your dog to “settle,” leash her up and take a seat. Step on the leash so your dog has only enough room to sit, stand, and turn around, but not stray from your side. Then, wait. Your dog may be excited at first, and try to jump up on your lap or run around the room. Let her figure out that she can’t go anywhere. Once she settles down on her own, say “yes!” and give her a treat.
    After your dog is settling on her own, it’s time to add in the cue. You’ll start by saying it after your dog is already settling, then gradually “back up” the cue to the beginning of the process.

     


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  4.  
    The Strangest Things Dogs Do !!!!
     
    Just Wags
     
     
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    Howl.
    Ok, this might not seem that strange for a dog, even though most dogs don’t howl at all. It is a behavior that is almost always misunderstood though!
    Howling is a completely natural Wolf behavior. Since today’s domesticated dogs are descendants of Grey wolves, they have inherited countless instincts and normal wolf behaviors. Before reading further, understand that a howl can mean one of many things, not just one thing in general.
    When mose of us think of a wolf howling, we assume it has something to do with the moon. Some people think the wolf is sad or lonely, because what sounds more depressing than a long, drawn out howl? Pictures of wolves howling at the moon can be found everywhere! In reality, howling is an intricate form of communication, has absolutely nothing to do with ‘the moon’, and so complex human biologists don’t even fully understand it! No, the dog probably isn’t sad or depressed
     
     
     
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    Chase Tails.
    Almost every pet owner has seen at one point. We usually think the dog is just trying to play with himself. Also, like most other behaviors, this can have several meanings beyond simple play!
    Boredom and excess energy
    Confinement in small quarters with restricted movement
    Anxiety or stress
    Fleas or irritated anal glands
    Canine compulsive disorder
    Compulsive disorders, although rare, can also cause excess mounting/humping, but can be treated by a veterinarian.
     
     
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    Sniffing Crotches and Butts.
    Any owner with multiple dogs has seen it at least once, usually not understanding what it means. Why does he like the smell of that ones butt so much?
    When it comes to people, most owners draw the line between gross and strange to an unwanted nuisance. It can even get pretty embarrassing!
    For dogs, it is completely natural and normal to want to know what’s going on down there. Is she in heat? What is this one’s gender? How is he feeling today? Butt sniffing for dogs is a bit like ‘speaking with chemicals’, and it is as natural for them as smiling for us.
    Women give off a different scent during ‘that time of the month’, which will drive any dog wild with curiosity! Unfortunately (unlike dogs), most women don’t want other people to know what is going on because that would be very strange indeed.
     
     
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    Digging Holes.
    It might seem odd, to watch your pup bury his favorite toy or bone. It certainly doesn’t help the yard at all! So why do they do this?
    It isn’t because they are playing in the dirt. This is actually a deeply ingrained instinctual behavior stretching back thousands of years, when wolves had to bury their kills, or portions of their kills, to prevent other predators from eating their prize. These instincts can really make for that annoying dog walk having to bring your dirty pup back into the house. We all know the struggle.
     
     

    fabulous dog beds weeUrinate on Everything During Walks.
    Have you ever wondered why your pup seems to want to pee on every single raised object, tree, or garden gate you two pass on your walks? He can’t actually still ‘need’ to go! It has already been, what, five times? You would almost have to wonder whether or not he has a spare bladder in there somewhere.
    There is a reason for this, just like everything else. Because dogs have such a powerful sense of smell, they are able to discern things about other dogs long after they’ve departed the area- from their pee. Dogs urinate often in order to leave their scent on things, not necessarily because they ‘need’ to go.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  5.  

     

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    The mysterious bridge where dogs go to kill themselves

    Don’t take Fido for a walk here.


    Residents of West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, love strolling over Overtoun Bridge, a picturesque 19th-century bridge. But dog owners steer clear of the structure, which has developed a reputation as a doggie suicide bridge.
    Fifty pooches have leapt off the 50-foot bridge since the 1950s — and no one’s sure why, according to Vice UK. The Daily Mail reported in 2006 that five dogs jumped to their deaths in six months alone a year before.
    Some 600 more dogs are said to have flung themselves off the bridge from the same exact spot and survived — after which some of them get back up and try to jump all over again.
    Local Donna Cooper lost her collie, Ben, in 2005 to the deadly bridge. She tells the Daily Mail, “His paw was broken, his jaw was broken and his back was broken and badly twisted. The vet decided it wasn’t worth putting him through the pain, so we had to let him go.”

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    Some believe that the bridge and Overtoun House, a former estate, are haunted. (“In Scotland, everything old and Scottish is said to be haunted,” Vice UK writes.)
    Another theory goes that the pups are being lured over the edge by animals hiding beneath the bridge, such as squirrels, mice and minks, which give off enticing scents to the pups.
    Long-nosed breeds, such as German shepherds and Scottish terriers, seem to be the most affected, Vice UK reports.
    The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has investigated the bizarre phenomenon. But it hasn’t figured out what’s happening — and until it does, local dog owners aren’t taking any chances.

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    Could dogs be deliberately committing suicide?
    Built in 1895 by Calvinist Lord Overtoun, the ornate Victorian structure arches 50ft over Overtoun Burn, the stream which runs below.
    Now, thanks to stories posted on the internet, doglovers from around the world are asking: could dogs be deliberately committing suicide on this particular bridge, and if so, why?
    In an attempt to solve a problem which has left many local dog owners so concerned, they will no longer walk their pets on the doomed bridge, a host of specialists converged on the west Scotland town earlier this year to investigate - and finally solve the mystery.
    Rumours have long circulated that the bridge and nearby Overtoun House are haunted. In 1994, local man Kevin Moy threw his baby son to his death from the bridge, claiming he thought the child was the anti-Christ.
    Shortly after he tried to end his own life with an unsuccessful suicide attempt from the same bridge.
    Donna Cooper says: 'Rumour has it that he was on drugs, but he insisted the place was haunted and it does seem to have a strange effect on people and dogs.'

     

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    The Thin Place
    In Celtic mythology, Overtoun is known as 'the thin place' - an area in which heaven and earth are reputed to be close.
    Certainly dogs have been shown in the past to be more sensitive than humans.
    Were they 'spooked' by some supernatural or external force emanating from the bridge, and deliberately leaping to their deaths?
    Psychic Mary Armour took her own labrador for a walk along the bridge to test the theory. However, she reported no unusual sensations.
    'Animals are hyper-sensitive to the spirit world, but I didn't feel any adverse energy.'
    In fact, Mary said she experienced a feeling of 'pure calmness and serenity' but admitted that her dog did pull her towards the right-hand side of the structure.