Monday, January 26, 2009

A canine trivia collection

Did you know that small dogs are more prone to tooth problems? That Bull Terriers — the “Target Dog” — are prone to having knee caps that slip out place?

How about the fact that Boxers tend to reach behavioral maturity much later than other breeds, often keeping their puppy-like behaviors and mischievous tactics until age 5?

That pugs can sometimes have a problem with their eyeballs popping out of the socket, and Great Danes are at a higher risk for having their stomachs twist — a very serious and sometimes deadly condition — during strenuous exercise?

Or that there’s a member of the canine family which happens to look amazingly similar to Racoons? A wild animal, it’s called the “Racoon Dog” and is a hint of how several species of modern day animals can trace their genes back to just a few.

Some people like to collect random trivia — I happen to center my trivia collection on dogs.

After surprising people with some strange piece of information about dogs, I usually follow it by jokingly adding, “Yeah, I have a lot of useless dog trivia stored in my head.”

However, I like to think I have as much useful information as I do useless.

As a little girl, I asked my parents for a puppy before every Christmas and every upcoming birthday. It was always first on my list, to be followed by a horse, and then some more realistic wants.

But with a father who is allergic and a mother who worried the responsibility of caring for the animal would fall back on her, I never did get that puppy.

I never got the horse either, but that was understandable. We lived in a subdivision, and not one where money grew on trees.

Without a dog to walk or horse to ride, I spent most my time with my nose buried in books. And most those books were about dogs and horses.

It not only interested me, but I figured I was preparing myself to be a good dog owner one day.

My “one day” came when I was 18 and dating my now-husband, who shares my love for animals and felt he’d gone too long in life with a four-legged pal.

On our anniversary, we went to look at a litter of puppies he’d heard about through a co-worker.

From that day going forward, I realized that I had been studying the wrong stuff all those years. I read about different breeds, enjoyed many fiction novels about canine heroes and even studied some dog training manuals, but it wasn’t helping.

I still didn’t understand my dog.

So I dived back into reading and this time, I studied canine behavior. I’ve been studying canine behavior for about five years now, and I enjoy it so much that I consider it a great hobby of mine.

Well, not so much the reading as applying it to my dog and seeing, by trial and error, what works and what doesn’t.

It’s been an enlightening five years and now I’m overloaded with a great variety of dog-related information.

I plan to use this blog to unload it all on you.

Anything from training tips, behavioral stuff, breed or health information and the occasional heart-warming or comedic story about my own dog or others I know are fair game, so check it out and enjoy!

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