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Old 10 April 2007, 03:34 AM
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Dog Don’t Believe These Animal Myths!

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Dogs have been our close companions for at least 12,000 years, cats for 8,000. They warm our feet, guard our homes and love us unconditionally. But, as with all long-term relationships, misunderstandings are bound to crop up. And the animals can’t correct us! It’s about time we debunked some of the most persistent beliefs that owners mistakenly hold about their pets.
http://www.parade.com/articles/editi...6/Animal_Myths
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Old 10 April 2007, 08:10 AM
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The first myth not to believe is that cats have actually been our close companions for 8000 years. While wild cats were apparently used for rodent control on Cyprus 8000 years ago, the actual domestication of the cat didn't begin in ernest into around 4000 years ago in Egypt.
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Old 10 April 2007, 01:42 PM
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Neutered animals need less food than un-neutered animals, that's why they put on weight (at least that's the case with dogs). When your pet is neutered you should reduce their food intake to prevent them from putting on weight.
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Old 10 April 2007, 04:20 PM
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Less active animals need less food. sometimes neutered animals become less active, although not always. Two dogs of equal size and activity level, one neutered and one intact, will still need the exact same amount of food. Being neutered has nothing to do with it.

Sometimes I think this myth is a correlation thing; animals are often neutered as they reach maturity, right about the time they start slowing down and becoming less active. Then they are fed the same amount of food as a puppy who is bouncing of the walls constantly, so of course they gain weight.
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Old 10 April 2007, 04:30 PM
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Um, I may have to disagree with the "pets aren't spiteful" section.

When our old dog Patches was about 13 years old (we're guessing, we were never completely sure how old she was when we picked her up as a stray), Mom accidentally backed over her with the car. Mom was completely and utterly heartsick, because Patches was just about the best freaking dog ever (man, I loved that girl). Mom got Patches to the vet right away, and she managed to heal up pretty well from a broken pelvis, and lived four more years.

While Patches initially walked with a limp (she would always run with her back legs funny after that, but not "limping" per se), after about a year and a half the walking limp completely went away. Except when she saw Mom. Any time Patches saw Mom, she would lock eyes with her and start limping again.

Maybe we're wholly misinterpreting it, but it sure as hell looked like Patches wasn't about to let Mom forget what she had done to her
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Old 10 April 2007, 04:57 PM
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Dog

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Originally Posted by Loyhargil View Post
Um, I may have to disagree with the "pets aren't spiteful" section.


I have to as well. I had a shepherd mix that was, for lack of a better word, opinionated. F'rinstance when I got married he hated Mark with every fiber of his being. He put a big pile of NFBSK in the living room once, and would do that whenever we went out of town. How dare I go off with that intruder and leave him! Why I'll show you!! I'll poop right here in the house! Hah! I got used to setting out cleaning supplies along with instructions for the pet sitter.
When Mark would come home on leave from Puerto Rico (where he was stationed for two years while I kept the home fires buring) Buster would mope around the house and look like a Dickens character but when Mark left, he was happy, cheerful, eyes full of life.
There was one time I had to take Buster to the vet because of a hot spot. The vet shaved the area and treated it and when we got home, I got a look that would've frozen the Chesapeake Bay for the rest of the evening. That and the 'I'm not sitting near you!' attitude for the rest of the evening.
Buster was a sweet dog, and when it came to loyalty and smarts, Lassie had nothing on him, but he was opinionated!
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Old 10 April 2007, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kutter View Post
The first myth not to believe is that cats have actually been our close companions for 8000 years. While wild cats were apparently used for rodent control on Cyprus 8000 years ago, the actual domestication of the cat didn't begin in ernest into around 4000 years ago in Egypt.
The cat was also domesticated around the same time and independently in the Indus valley. The problem with the Cyprus cat (compared to Egypt and the Indus valley) is that there's no corroborating evidence - no paintings and not enough evidence of enough cats - in favour of domestication of the species rather than the taming of a few individuals. However "close" can mean proximity rahter than emotional closeness.
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Old 10 April 2007, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Loyhargil View Post
Um, I may have to disagree with the "pets aren't spiteful" section.

When our old dog Patches was about 13 years old (we're guessing, we were never completely sure how old she was when we picked her up as a stray), Mom accidentally backed over her with the car. Mom was completely and utterly heartsick, because Patches was just about the best freaking dog ever (man, I loved that girl). Mom got Patches to the vet right away, and she managed to heal up pretty well from a broken pelvis, and lived four more years.

While Patches initially walked with a limp (she would always run with her back legs funny after that, but not "limping" per se), after about a year and a half the walking limp completely went away. Except when she saw Mom. Any time Patches saw Mom, she would lock eyes with her and start limping again.

Maybe we're wholly misinterpreting it, but it sure as hell looked like Patches wasn't about to let Mom forget what she had done to her
That's not spite, that's a classic example of the "psychogenic limp" and has been documented by cat/dog behavioural expert Peter Neville. When the dog was injured it got attention and sympathy. It associates limping with sympathy.

Owners have a tendency to attribute human emotions to their pets rather than understanding how the pet thinks (this is a big cause of behavioural issues). A dog learns tht certain behaviour gets it a reward in terms of a food treat or special treatment. That reinforces it to do that behaviour - just like trianing a dog to do a trick except you don't realise you are training it. That reinforcement has trained it to look at your mother and affect a limp because it associates it with being fussed.
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Old 10 April 2007, 05:29 PM
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I have a hard time believing that a dog would put two and two together and realize that a) your mom was driving the car that hit him and b) this therefore makes your mom responsible for his injured leg.
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Old 10 April 2007, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by putitinwriting View Post
I have a hard time believing that a dog would put two and two together and realize that a) your mom was driving the car that hit him and b) this therefore makes your mom responsible for his injured leg.
But I'm guessing mom was responsible for fuss and treats (due to guilt trip) hence the deliberate limp to elicit more of the same
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Old 10 April 2007, 05:44 PM
putitinwriting putitinwriting is offline
 
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Absolutely - I'm not debating your read on it at all. Just adding a comment on the specific story given.
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Old 10 April 2007, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by putitinwriting View Post
Absolutely - I'm not debating your read on it at all. Just adding a comment on the specific story given.
One of my first cats got into the habit of the sympathy limp. He was one of the brightest cats I've ever owned and he soon learnt the big bandage on the foreleg (removal of infected dewclaw) got him sympathy. For months after it was healed he had an intermittent limp proportional to his desire for big cuddles or tasty treats from my dinner plate! The effect was ruined when a food can rattled and he forgot his limp and raced into the the kitchen, saw me and sat with the paw in the air doing his best "I'm hurt mum, nice food please?" act.
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Old 10 April 2007, 06:02 PM
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Pets can become stressed when left alone and may seek comfort by finding a “scent picture” of you in your favorite chair or shoes—anything that smells like you. They also may express their stress by chewing or leaving a puddle. But that doesn’t mean they did it with a “this will teach my human a lesson!” intent. It’s unlikely that dogs and cats are even capable of such thought patterns.
That might explain why animals sometimes wet in the house when you're gone, but it doesn't explain why cats sometimes hiss at you when you come home after an absence. I had a cat that would wait in the driveway for the family to come home, then hiss at the car, though he never hissed at the car on other occasions. He was clearly making his opinion felt. Even now, when I come back from a trip, my cats are happy to see me at first, then stand-offish for a while.
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Old 10 April 2007, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
I have to as well. I had a shepherd mix that was, for lack of a better word, opinionated. F'rinstance when I got married he hated Mark with every fiber of his being. He put a big pile of NFBSK in the living room once, and would do that whenever we went out of town. How dare I go off with that intruder and leave him! Why I'll show you!! I'll poop right here in the house! Hah!
You remind me of Pippen. When I was still living at home and was the primary caretaker during the day (I worked evenings) she would defiantly do her business right outside of my door when I would get home after work before she went to my room to sleep in the bed. Annoyed the NFBSK because she was already deaf and yelling at her was pointless.

At least she was good and didn't do that while she was staying at my house...
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  #15  
Old 10 April 2007, 06:38 PM
putitinwriting putitinwriting is offline
 
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Do dogs really have a concept of poo = bad? I mean, a lot of dogs eat the stuff - why would they leave poo to express random displeasure?
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Old 10 April 2007, 06:59 PM
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They may not think of it as "bad" but they know how we react to it. Also, might not the whole territory marking thing come into play? That is, we may look at it as them being angry or spiteful, when really they're trying to mark the space as their own?
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Old 10 April 2007, 07:16 PM
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Come up with an explanation other than him being "mad" for this...

We used to have a collie/GSD mix named Laddie. Don't blame us, the shelter named him.

Anyways, he usually slept downstairs in my Mother's bedroom, so most of his toys and his food/water dishes were kept down there or in the adjoining storage/hallway/laundry/whatever room (it was a weird shaped space lol).

One day, Mother yelled at him for something (we're not sure just what exactly). About 10 minutes later Dad called from upstairs asking what she DID to the dog. Mom came upstairs, and Laddie was in the process of carefully picking up every single one of "his" possessions and moving them into Father's bedroom.

From that day on, he slept exclusively in Dad's room, and wouldn't sleep in Mom's room anymore.

<shrug> Sounds like he knew what he was doing that time... female pack leader upset him, so he moved into the other pack leader's "den".

Laddie was an odd dog anyways... he had a positive hatred of coyotes and would kill them every time one set foot on the property... but if the coyote made it to the fence line before Laddie caught it, it got to live. He would NOT chase them past the fence line, even though he could easily have walked right through. We never did figure out what it was about coyotes that got him so mad. Other dogs, even small dogs, were safe around him. Best we could figure is that he saw one kill a cat -- Laddie seemed to think that the cats were his "sheep", he liked trying to herd them and would (usually) break up any random cat fights.
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Old 10 April 2007, 07:28 PM
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[thread hijack]
I know one animal myth I hate. If I see one more rabbit starving to death on an all carrot diet, or a bird overweight and malnourished on an all bird-seed diet I think I shall lose it and punch the owner in the face. What - you can afford a pet but can't spent 2 seconds in the library researching basic dietary needs?

And secondly, you want 'spiteful' try a larger breed of parrot. When they say those guys have the selfish and emotional behaviors of a 2-3 year old child they aren't kidding, combine that with the cognitive abilities of a 4-6 year old and you've got lots of mess. Every parrot I've known finds something to imitate that causes the owner to come running, be it phone, doorbell, dog whimpers, or whatnot. One knew his aviary mates by name and could tell them to shut up just by hearing which one was vocalizing (even if he couldn't see them).

I think that we are at least on the way to dispelling myths about our favorite domestic animals, dogs and cats. Now it is parrots who are suffering.
I like this page because it does do a good job of stressing the negative aspects of parrot ownership. If I see one more cage bound, depressed looking, non-socialized parrot plucking it's feathers while it's ignoramus owner complains that it's 'mean' I'm going to lose it and outscream a macaw. [/thread hijack]
Edit: My bird was luckily a fairly neat eater. he did however have a tendency to spit seed hulls at people walking by. Once he did my dad when he was walking 10 feet away. My dad stopped, and stared as a seed hull hit his forehead and bounced away.
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Old 10 April 2007, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by putitinwriting View Post
Do dogs really have a concept of poo = bad? I mean, a lot of dogs eat the stuff - why would they leave poo to express random displeasure?
For dogs and cats, poo is a territorial signpost, a sort of "I was here" and "I own this" statment. What we might think of as displeasure is the animal's attempt to scent mark something, often trying to mix its scent with ours to create a "pack" or "family" scent to warn off outsiders (outsiders includes new partners).

My cat Cindy (RIP) started peeing on the bed. I couldn't work out why. It turned out my husband was having an affair and Cindy, who was very closely bonded to me but not to him, was trying to over-mark the other woman's scent. The cat viewed the other woman as an intruder and peeing on the bed was a feline way of marking territory against that intruder. It owuld be easy to call it displeasure, but it was probably insecurity at finding a foreign scent in the territory. When he went to live with the other woman, the scent marking stopped immediately and never recurred.
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Old 10 April 2007, 09:20 PM
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I wasn't stating I absolutely thought that was what was going on, just that it's sure what it looked and felt like, enough to make me not just totally dismiss it as learned doggy behavior patterns. It's not like I could ask Patches about it, obviously.

There were other factors: Patches was an outdoor dog, and Mom has always had issues with arthritic knees. So it's not like Mom went outside often and knelt down to fuss her (as much as Mom would have liked to). The rest of us, though, fussed her incessantly. Mom gave her table scraps and such, too, but Mom always did that anyway. So I don't think you unequivocally say that Patches limping + Mom = fussing and treats. Probably the most Mom did was say her name more often (usually preceded by, "I'm so sorry"). So maybe Patches was responding to more utterances of her name?

Patches would also start limping when she saw Mom even when Mom was nowhere close enough to give a fussing or a food treat. Patches would be ambling around at the bottom of the hill, and the minute Mom would come out the door, about 100 feet uphill, Patches would commence that limpin'. Again, maybe it was the name thing.

I know I can't state for certain that Patches was being a spiteful little girl. I'm just saying that's certainly how it came off. That's why I qualified my story with, among other things, "Maybe we're wholly misinterpreting it, but it sure as hell looked like Patches wasn't about to let Mom forget what she had done to her."

It hadn't occurred to me until this threat, though, that maybe Patches was just responding to her name being called more. /shrug
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