Posted by: paperbacks | September 28, 2007

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

Description: German shepherd lovers praise the intelligence and versatility of this popular breed. They are a popular choice as guide dogs, herding dogs, guard dogs, police dogs, watch dogs, and pets. The American Kennel Club describes the ideal German shepherd as “strong, agile, well muscled,” and “alert and full of life.” They are wonderful dogs, but this description also implies that they are powerful and have a lot of energy. A male German shepherd will measure between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh between 80 and 90 lbs. The females are smaller, but not by much.

German shepherds are confident dogs, and not easily intimidated. They are not aggressive, but can seem cold and aloof with people outside of their family. Within the family, they will be very faithful to their owner. They are very trainable dogs, and considering their large size, an owner should take the time to train them very carefully.

When considering a dog this strong and powerful, you should definitely get to know the parents. Although the breed is not known for its aggression, there are some dogs that will appear with this trait. Breeders should not breed any adult that has distasteful traits, but some breeders may not be as educated or careful as they should be.

They are good family dogs, although puppies should not be left alone with children to avoid any accidents. Their natural instinct will be to herd children, so it is imperative that you train your German shepherd in acceptable behavior.


Health Problems: Prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, skin irritations, canine degenerative myelopathy, and von Willebrand’s disease.


Exercise/Living Conditions: Like any large, intelligent dog, German shepherds need exercise and amusement. If they get bored, they will become frustrated and destructive.


Life Expectancy: 10-13 years







Grooming: They should be brushed weekly, and bathed once a month or so. A minority of German shepherds are born with long hair. This variety will require more grooming. German Shepherds shed quite a bit. During some parts of the year, they will lose their undercoat, and will need to be combed with a special brush to help get the hair out. It is important to groom your German Shepherd properly and brush him frequently to avoid skin irritations.

Photos from Flickr:


Information from:
The American Kennel Club
German Shepherd FAQ

Posted by: paperbacks | September 24, 2007


Description: Weighing in at 2 to 6 lbs, Chihuahua’s are the smallest breed of dog, but can be agressive if they are not socialized properly from puppyhood. Because they are so small, Chihuahua’s will snap at teasing children, so they are not a good choice for a family. Although they are suspicious of other people, they have a great loyalty for their owners, and would like to go everywhere with them if possible.
They are ideal apartment dogs and watch dogs, as long as you take them out to play and exercise. Make sure to play with them and provide them with plenty of toys to keep them entertained.
Chihuahua’s come in short-haired and long-haired varieties. They stand 6 to 9 inches tall. They can be difficult to train, but are intelligent, and with patience they will learn.

The negative personality traits of Chihuahua’s can be successfully overcome with extensive socializing while they are young. If you want your Chihuahua to be friendly and tolerant of strangers and other dogs, make sure you have plenty of time to give attention to your puppy, and read up on how to socialize puppies.

Health Problems: Chihuahua puppies are open born with a soft spot on their skull. This should be hardened by adulthood, but they must be handled carefully while young.

Life Expectancy: 15 years

Living conditions: Chihuahua’s are good apartment dogs. They get cold easily, so they should be kept in a warm environment, or provided with a doggy sweater. They enjoy walks, which will keep them in shape, but they really only need the exercise they get from playing inside.

Grooming: The Chihuahua requires occasional brushing and a bath once a month.

Photos from Flickr:
Toronja Azul

Information from:

Posted by: paperbacks | September 22, 2007

Military Working Dogs

Miltary dogs help defend our country as much as any soldier. They have an important job to do, and they usually seem to enjoy doing it. Military working dogs require handlers, who must meet certain requirements and go through extensive training before they can work with the dog. The dogs themselves need expensive specialized training to work effectively.

First, the breeds that the military works with are usually Labradors, Belgian Malinois, or German Shepherds. Labradors and German Shepherds are well-known dogs in the United States, but Belgian Malinois are not as common as pets. The American Kennel Club describes their temperament as protective, not aggressive. They will be affectionate with the people they see as their family, but they may be somewhat withdrawn with outsiders. These dogs are most happy when working and are very trainable.

The dogs are trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The dogs are trained in endurance as well as special skills. This month at Fort Meade, they held an “Iron Dog Triathalon,” where teams of military dogs from different forts competed in events that included narcotics detection, a three-mile cross-country run, and attacking a dummy with the most force. These are just some of the skills the dogs need to learn.

There are about 2,000 dogs working in Iraq right now, and their numbers increase every year. They are especially needed to sniff out explosives. When wounded, they receive treatment and rehab the same as any soldier. It costs about $25,000 and 6 months to train one dog, and they provide services that no soldier or machine can, so they are highly valued.

The Army first began using dogs during World War II. Thousands of dogs were trained by the end of the war to aid several branches of the military. Traditional forms of obedience training evolved from the Army’s methods.

In past wars, when the Army no longer needed an animal, it would be killed. Today, when military dogs retire, they may be available for adoption but only to former dog handlers and law enforcement agencies. This is nice for soldiers who handled the dogs, who can then care for them in their retirement as a pet. The dogs are trained to be protective and attack, so their new owner must know how to handle them. However, if you have experience that you think qualifies you for adopting one of these dogs, you may be able to.





For information on adopting military dogs:

Photos from Flickr:


Posted by: paperbacks | September 21, 2007

Training Cats

While there are many books and classes to help you train your dog, most people do not expect to train their cat. However, you can train your cat in several behaviors that will make living with him much more enjoyable.

The most basic, of course, is for your cat to learn to use the litter box. This is not too difficult, as it is far more natural for a cat to use the sand/dirt that is in the box than to use your floors. When you have a new kitten, make sure to place him in the box frequently, as he may take a few tries to remember to use it, and kittens need to go often! If you have trouble with an older, male cat peeing in the house, consider getting him neutered.

You may also want to teach your cat to come when called, to stay out of certain rooms, off of tables, and not to scratch your furniture. The same training rules apply to cats as any animal: reward them for behavior you like, tell them NO! when you catch them doing something you don’t like, and most importantly, you cannot scold them for something AFTER they have done it, because they won’t understand.

So first you need to find out what your cat considers a reward. This is probably some sort of treat, and maybe a special way of being petted. Knowing your cat’s favorite way to be petted is good for training them where they can and cannot be. If your cat is sleeping on the floor of the living room, you can greet him happily and give him a scratch on the head. If he is trying to trip you up in the kitchen, you can pick him up and put him in a different room.
If he is on a table, say NO! and put him on the floor. He will probably figure it out, the only problem is stubborness!
To get him to come when called, it is the same as a dog. Practice where he can see/smell that you have a treat for him. Eventually, you will be able to call him in at night, if you’d like, because he will know that he will get a treat!

So, there are many things you can train your cat to do, if you can find the right motivation!

Photos from flickr:
Spring Dew

Posted by: paperbacks | September 20, 2007

Allergic to Cats

Allergies prevent many people from owning cats. Some people want the cat so much, they try to live with their allergies, or get stronger medication more frequently. A company called Allerca, Inc. answered that demand by breeding a hypoallergenic cat.

However, the waiting lists are so long at the moment that the company is going to stop taking orders for a year—effective September 30, 2007. To receive a kitten within 12 months, you are asked to order “Premium Placement,” which is an extra $1,950 on top of the price of the kitten. A standard order only guarantees a kitten within 2 years.

And what does the standard option cost?


The website argues that although the cost seems high, the other options that allow a person with allergies to own a cat may cost just as much. Allergists suggest that replacing carpet with wood, buying an expensive air filter, and switching from curtains to vinyl blinds may help allergic people to live with a cat.

Well, I’m not sure that you’d really need to spend $6,000 to make your house lower in allergens, but it’s something to keep in mind. Incidentally, the kittens still shed; they just do not produce the proteins that all other cats do, which is what causes cat allergies. However, some existing breeds of cats do produce less of this protein, such as the Siberian Cat, and this may be another option for allergy sufferers.

Posted by: paperbacks | September 19, 2007

Border Collie

Border Collie

Description: These are medium-sized, extremely high energy dogs. They are intelligent and easy to train, and generally get along with other dogs and children. However, Border Collies are bred to be working dogs, able to keep moving all day. To be happy, they need a lot of attention, activity, and exercise. They like to have a job, and this means something like farmer or agility training. If not, they can become bored and destructive. Border Collies do not make a good family pet if they do not get the treatment they require! Make sure to meet both of the parents of any puppy you consider buying, as there are many negative traits that can come out.

Some people first buy the Border Collie, then discover the joys of sheep herding. Some even end up getting sheep to go along with the dog.

Other activities that Border Collies are perfect for are agility training and Flyball.

Health Problems: Prone to hip dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly (CAE), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), epilepsy, deafness, and allergy to fleas.

Exercise/Living Conditions: It cannot be emphasized enough that Border Collies need huge amounts of attention and exercise. They need a family with the time and space to keep them entertained.

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Grooming: Border Collies need frequent brushing, and should be bathed when needed.

Border Collies In Agility
North American Flyball Association
Border Collie Rescue

Information from:

Photos from Flickr:

Posted by: paperbacks | September 17, 2007

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Bichon Baby

Description: This small, good-natured dog has a hypoallergenic coat and does not shed. They are usually about 9-12 inches in height, and 10-16 lbs in weight.
They are very social, and are happiest when they are with people. In general, they are good with kids and other animals, and easy to train. They love to show off in front of a crowd, and are also good watchdogs.

Health Problems: Prone to watery eyes, cataracts, skin and ear ailments, epilepsy, dislocated kneecaps, and have a sensitivity to flea bites.

Exercise/Living Conditions: These dogs will keep themselves active indoors, but they enjoy going on walks and playing outdoors.

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years (sometimes even longer).

Grooming: They don’t shed, but they do need to be brushed fairly often. They should be bathed and clipped at least once a month.Baby again

Bichon Rescue
Bichon Breeders


Information from:

Photos from SkyCandy on Flickr

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