Does your dog really feel love?

Photo: Valentine Pug

Photo: Valentine Pug

Yes, dogs do feel love and affection for their owners! Researchers at the University of Atlanta Georgia trained dogs to be still during Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in order to be able to study their brains. They found that brain areas that are associated with positive emotions in people were also present in dogs. In the second part of their research, they will be looking at the brains of dogs who receive treats from people versus machines. They hope to show that dogs appreciate humans beyond the fact that they give them treats but also for social comfort and companionship.

Anxious dog? This might help….

flute-1427652_640Do have an anxious or easily excitable dog? Then classical music may be the answer. Two studies* found that compared to other types of music such as heavy metal or pop, classical music appeared to reduce stress in shelter dogs and led to increased sleeping.

Interestingly, classical music that was specially designed to promote relaxation in animals did not fair any better than regular classical music. So the next time you need to calm your anxious dog, why not try tuning into the classic music station!

 

 

*Kogan, Schoenfeld-Tacher, & Simon. (2012). Behavioral effects of auditory stimulation on kenneled dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications & Research. 7(5), 268-275.

Wells, Graham, & Hepper. (2002). The influence of auditory stimulation on the behavior of dogs housed in a rescue shelter. Animal Welfare. 11(10), 385-393.

Bored Dog?

It’s not always easy keeping our pets active and engaged. Here are a few games to keep your pooch entertained.

1) Take your dog’s metal bowl, put low fat peanut butter on the sides of it and flip it over. Your dog will be teased by the scent of the peanut butter but will have to work to flip the bowl over to get the reward.

2) If it’s nice out you can take an old bucket or large bowl fill it part way with water depending on the size of your dog and get your dog to splash around or retrieve treats from the water.

3) Yummy veggies frozen in ice cubes will keep your dogs cool on hot days and a rousing game of hide and go seek inside will exercise their noses on rainy days. For more active dogs, setting up an agility course in your backyard might be the ticket. Although you can buy agility course items such as tunnels or ladders, you can also make your own out of sturdy boxes and step stools. Just make sure that what you use is appropriate and safe for the size of your dog.