Category Archives: Dogs

Titbit: Bertie the Miniature Schnauzer


So recently I’ve started clicker training with my new friend Bertie. As you can see from the photo above, Bertie is a (young) Miniature Schnauzer. He is such a lovely little pup – so friendly and so smart! But, as with all pups, quite mischievous too!

Bertie is quite fond of the clicker as he has quickly learned to associate the noise with the reward. They key in any kind of training is to find what motivates your dog to use as the reward – with Bertie it is most definitely treats! But with your dog it may be a particular toy or ball, or even just a big fuss!

Bertie responds well to the puppy treats i have been usuing. He is lovely to train as he responds really well to the clicker. He learned “down” in about 10 minutes one afternoon.

As he’s young we (his owners and I) are going to do the basic training, as well as a few fun tricks! I know Bertie will pick it up quickly.

The other week I was dog-sitting so used the opportunity to do a little recall training with Bertie on my own. It’ll be an eye opener to see how well he does this for other people; for a first go he was very good for me, and spent a good amount of time off lead as a result.

Before we left the park he made friends with a Husky cross – even if she was a little unsure of the small dog at first!

I am looking forward to doing more training with little Bertie, and seeing him become a model dog/ student! 😉

Prepping for your Pup!


So you’ve picked your pup and soon (s)he’ll arrive, and make a lovely addition to your household!

Boston Terrier puppy

We love our pets (as per my first ever website post), and part of that love comes before we’ve even brought them home – in ensuring we are ready and able to properly care and provide for them.

Dogs are a very popular pet; preparing for an adopted adult dog and preparing for a puppy are different things. This post will focus on preparing for a brand new little puppy.

Preparation depends a lot on the breed you have chosen – the attributes belonging to the breed of dog you have chosen. Choosing a breed should tie in with your lifestyle – don’t get a breed of dog that requires what you can’t provide. For further information about specific dog breeds, pop me a message or check out my posts covering A-Z of Dog Breeds.


Food, Water and the Bowls that hold them!

Bowls should be the appropriate size and weight for the breed you have chosen; a large dog breed will require larger, heavier bowls than a small dog breed.
If your pup will grow into a tall dog, you may want to invest in bowls that will fit into a stand as your pup grows bigger! A large dog will strong, and move small items (such as food/water bowls) around easily, so heavy duty bowls may be more suitable, to prevent your pup pushing them bowls (and spilling the contents) as they eat/drink.
Small dogs are suited to smaller bowls, and medium dogs to medium bowls, etc. The weight of a smaller bowl will depend on the breed – if it’s a stronger/heftier breed (e.g. British Bulldog) you have chosen you may wish to opt for a weightier bowl, than if you have chosen a petite/lightweight breed (e.g. Italian Greyhound).
The depth of the bowl should reflect the length of muzzle and shape of the head/face of your chosen breed – a short-snouted dog will struggle to reach the bottom of a deep bowl. You can even get bowls specifically designed to keep long, floppy ears out of the dish and nice and clean!

Food will size specific and often age specific, and breed specific too with some brands. Do your research into top brands – don’t compromise with a poor diet for a bargain! There are plenty of top-notch foods out their that won’t break the bank, as well as the ones that will stretch your wallet a bit further! Depending on how quickly the dog breed you have chosen will reach maturity, will determine how long your pup should stay on puppy food – this should be indicated on the packaging (in my opinion, any food brand worth their salt will provide this information). Between 6-18 months old, your dog will have reached sexual maturity (at this point dogs often get neutered), but they may continue to grow to full size for some time after that. Small dogs tend to reach maturity closer to 6 months and are often full grown at 12-18 months; where as larger breeds tend to reach maturity later and can take 2 years to become fully grown.


Beds, crates and safe spaces

As mentioned above, the breed and size of your dog plays a big factor in getting ready for them. If you plan on crate training your pup (which I personally would recommend) think about the best option – if you plan on keeping the crate throughout your pets adult life, for travel or holidays or “just in case!” (like we did with our family dog) then buy for an adult dog! Don’t buy a little crate for the pup, buy the size you will need in the future to accommodate the size of dog you will have. In my experience, crates don’t tend to differ too significantly in price as the sizes go up, so it’s more advisable to spend a tenner or so more for the correct adult size than end up spending the X amount now and then X+ amount again in the future.
Post on Crate Training to follow.

Beds – sizing being the obvious factor here, but also take into account where your pup will be sleeping and what characteristics the breeds is known for. Some breeds are known for chewing through anything – you don’t want your pup chewing their way through nice pillow stuffing that can clog up their gut, just for the sake of wanting them to have a soft bed they can snuggle into. Dogs are brilliant and keeping themselves warm, and you’d be surprised how insulating a lining of newspaper under the bedding can be!
The bed and/or crate will be your pet’s “safe space” – this is where teaching children and others comes in. If your dog takes themselves off to their bed and/or crate, do not disturb them or harass them but leave them to it; they need to know this is their space and it is safe for them to have peace from children and from excitement and anything else.

You should be able to stroke your pet, to handle them if necessary in their bed – they shouldn’t be possessive of their “safe space” to the extent they may get aggressive. Do stroke your pet in their bed and/or crate but not for long, but often enough so they allow you into their “safe space” when necessary.


Collars, leads and “walkies!” related titbits

Get your pup used to a collar – puppy collars are gentle on the new skin and new fur of a young pup. Put the collar on for 5 minutes a day at first, and build up the amount of time over a few weeks. Once your puppy is ready for their first set of vaccinations you can try a collar on for a few hours building up as you see fit until their second set of injections, when you can take them for a walk. Before they can go out into the big, wide world you can take them around your garden or home on collar and lead (or harness or whatever you will use to walk them).

Puppy collar modelled by Tilly


Teaching your pup to walk well on a lead is essential – especially if you plan on walking with just a collar and lead. If you plan to use a harness or a gentle leader (personally I’d advise against using a Halti) get them used to this also with the collar and lead. If you do plan to use a harness, do your research and get the best type of harness for your breed – I would advise against a harness that goes round the chest and over the shoulders as this restricts movement; go for a hardness that goes from the chest, around the shoulders. Do not use a harness on breeds designed to pull, as this will encourage pulling. If you plan to use a gentle leader, ensure you fit your pet with the correct size to ensure full control and that your pet will not slip out of it. Alternatives are check chains and half-check chains – I personally would never use a check chain, and certainly if you are unsure how to set it up for safe use as you could choke your pet; half-check chains are a lot safer, as they do not require set up as they are half chain and half collar. I personally do not prefer either but if you insist on one, go with the half-check.

Gentle Leader


Once your pup is big enough for “walkies”, keep walks short and interesting until they’re big enough to walk further an explore more. If you plan to walk your dog off lead in any location, then off the lead training should be done before hand, in a safe area, to ensure your dog’s safety when out and about off the lead.
 For further information on the above section check out my Loose the Leash! post.

On a related note, for travel in the car I suggest getting a suitable harness or travel seat/carrier. Do not let your dog loose in your car whilst driving – you may have a well behaved dog, but good behaviour won’t stop your dog flying out the windscreen or into a person (or worse) in the event of a crash. My little pooch (pictured below in his car harness) weighs around 10 kg – just imagine the damage 10 kg can do loose in a car in a crash… safety first, for you and them!

Please do check out my other website posts or send me a message via any of my contact details below for further information on any of the above, or advice for walking equipment and/or on and off the lead training.

(Car) Harness – note straps go around the shoulders, not across.




All images are WordPress supplied, open source Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


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Once upon a time… dog breeds (1)


Once upon a time there lived different types of animals – in addition to or the ancestors of the ones we know know and love today… 

So we all know animal species become extinct and I’ve written many posts about threatened/ endangered species; but what about those species that are still around but have just lost some types/ breeds along the way?

Focusing, for a few posts, on dog breeds that once were but now no longer exist; here are the first few in our exploration of extinct dog breeds…

Hare Dog (a.k.a. Hare Indian Dog or Coydog)

The Hare Dog or Coydog is said to have been a domestic dog/ coyote hybrid (Coy[ote] dog). Bred as a (sight) hunting dog by tribes in Canada. This breed fizzled out of existence by breeding it with other dog breeds that were introduced to the region, until the Hare Dog was bred out of existence.

Described as having no detectable difference in form from that of a Coyote, except in size (being smaller than a Coyote). It is said to have had more of a howl than a bark, yet at the same time the sound is distinct as belonging to a domestic dog. However there are a lot of debates regarding the exact origin of this breed, and surrounding the appearance – and being extinct, I suppose the facts will remain extinct with it.

Coydog (open source image)

Talbot Hound

Said to be an ancestor to the Beagle, the Coonhound, it was close to the Blood Hound; the Talbot Hound was a scent-hound and was used for hunting. It is thought that the breed was interbred with the Blood Hound until just the one breed remained.

The breed is said to have originated in Normandy, and brought over to England by William the Conqueror. This however is disregarded by most as here-say, as there is no evidence to support this. Nor is there any mention of the breed in medieval French history.

Talbot Hound crest (open source image)

With big floppy ears and known for being white in colour (on occasion with spots/patches) the Talbot is described as having been a large, white hound. Large, slow, heavy hounds were described as ‘Talbot like’ regardless of colouration, but the ‘true Talbot’ was described as being milk white in colour.

Talbot Hound (open source image)

Molossus

Originating in Ancient Greece, specifically from within the region of the Molosi tribe, the Molossus is said to be the ancestor of a lot of large breeds we know and love today. The Molossus was often kept as a guard dog, and said to have been very loyal – fiercely so!

This dog was also used in war, hunting, gladiator and dog fights, as well as for herding and guarding livestock on farms.

The appearance Molossus varies between sources; some suggesting it was Mastiff like in appearance, and others suggesting it was more of a slender sight-hound looking animal. M. Aurelius Olimpias Nemesianus wrote a poem in 284 BC describing this dog as having the appearance of a sight-hound.

Due to the variation in appearance, the Molossus is referred to having been a type as opposed to a breed. Mastiffs are often referred to as Molossus types nowadays.

Stone depictions of Molossus type (open source image)
Molossus type – Alpine Mastiff (open source image)

Hawaiian Poi Dog

This short, fat, little barrel of a dog is said to have been a playful and friendly breed if not a little clumsy! It is also said that they were lazy and rarely barked. Being fed on a vegetarian paste diet caused them to be quite slow and sluggish, and resulted in a bloated stomach. It is said to also have had a large and flat head due to the lack of chewing from their diet. Some sources describe the Poi Dog as having flopped ears, whereas other sources depict them with ears that stick up.

Hawaiian Poi Dog (open source image)

They were kept by tribes they lived with as food. Fattened up along with the hogs. The Poi was also a companion animal and a pup would often be presented to a child as a gift. It is said that if the child died before the dog, the dog would be killed and buried with the child; if the dog died first, however, the child would be given a necklace of the deceased dog’s teeth for protection.

Hawaiian Poi Dog companion (open source image)

As this breed interbred with other breeds it lost its purity; a breeding programme was started in Honolulu Zoo in the 19th Century, in an attempt to recapture the original breed type, but with no luck. The breed soon became extinct.

Cumberland Sheepdog

It’s pretty obvious by the picture below who these guys are the ancestors of…

Cumberland Sheepdog (open source image)

A medium sized dog, with a bushy tail and white in colour with brown or black markings. These dogs were said to be highly intelligent, but unruly if their owner did not take on the role of Alpha. Said to have been an energetic breed – much like its descendant, the Border Collie – it needed a lot of exercise and could get bored easily. Used for guarding and herding livestock, this breed is said to have become extinct by interbreeding; it is said to have been interbred eventually resulting in the Border Collie.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


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Moving: With Pets (Part 1)

Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 1: packing and travelling.

On a practical level – remember to update your contact details on microchips, tags, pet passports, etc. – as well as with your pet insurance company and your local vet. If you’re moving a significant distance, remember to find a new local vet and get all your pet’s details transferred.

Updating the tag is something you can do easily, and may choose to do before moving day in case your pet wanders off during or post transit.

Packing:

Your pet’s belongings and foodstuffs – if you can pack these last do. In particular pack bowls/bottles last so that your pet can have a drink upon arrival, as they will likely need one!

If you have a designated area in your home for your pet and will do so in your new home, this can all be packed last so your pet can chill whilst you pack up, and then unpacked first so your pet can begin to settle whilst you move the rest of your stuff in.

Maine coon snoozing on suitcases

Welfare:

If your pet is prone to being anxious in transit there are steps you can take to ensure their welfare is one of the top priorities on moving day…

• Allocate one person (if possible) to be in charge of your pet – checking on them at regular intervals during the move to ensure they’re doing okay.

• Ensure the removal company staff know where your pet is and how their belongings are to be transported – i.e. any of your pet’s things that are to stay with your pet and not be packed deep into the removal van you should make the removal co. staff aware of.

• Pheromone sprays and collars are very beneficial to a distressed pet – companies such as Feliway and Adaptil provide such items for dogs and cats (for more information please click here for Feliway and here for Adaptil).

• Animals can be placed into carriers with a familiar scented item (current bedding rather than fresh, blanket or owners item of clothing, etc).

• Placing a blanket or towel or sheet over the carrier can also help in keeping your pet calm.

• Ensure pets in carriers have something to keep them occupied if they so wish – you don’t want chewing of carrier bars (potentially damaging their teeth/gums) when you could provide a chew toy to keep them occupied.

• Ensure your pet is secure in transit; whether this means entrusting someone responsible to holding the carrier, or fitting the carrier safely into a vehicle, or ensuring your dog’s seat-belt is secure and he can’t get to anything he shouldn’t whilst on the move – make sure your pet is safe and secure.
A big pet peeve of mine is people who have dogs loose in the car – not only is their jumping about distracting to you and other drivers, even a small dog (say 5-10kg in weight) can cause serious damage to you if you have an accident and the dog is thrown into someone – not to mention the injury the dog will sustain by being unrestrained! We wear seat-belts to avoid injury if we were to be involved in an accident; its the same principal – secure your dog.

• If you ware moving far away and the journey is long – remember your pet would enjoy a bathroom/ water break and a leg stretch. Ensure that any exercise is done safely and with your pet on a lead – your can get harnesses/leads for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and more.

 

To follow: I will cover moving with fish, amphibians and reptiles, and once you’re in your new place.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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Interesting: Boris’ Bedlingtons

Actor, William Henry Pratt, known more commonly by his stage name; Boris Karloff, was not only ‘the monster’ in the 1931 film ‘Frankenstein’, and a big actor in horror movies for decades, but was also a breeder of Bedlington Terriers.

He was fond of animals and had many different kinds, including exotics and livestock, but he had a particular interest in Bedlingtons and would breed them when he was between films. Two of Boris’ Bedlingtons were called Silly Bitch, and Agnus Dei (meaning “Lamb of God”).

One of the stories goes… Boris was walking three of his Bedlingtons with his four year old daughter; the dogs ran off barking at a drunk on the roadside, who subsequently asked Boris to take him to the hospital, as he’d just seen three sheep barking at him! Boris is said to have obliged.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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Titbit: Macy the Staffie

So this morning I went for a walk/ training session with a friend and her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Macy (pictured). Sensibly, Macy is muzzled on walks as she (like many Staffie’s and other breeds) has a particular dislike toward her fellow canine. She will grumble, whine, moan, and often pull on her lead when other dogs are around – and is particularly displeased if coming into contact with another dog.

This morning Macy (and owner) learned that it is okay for other dogs to walk past (on and off the lead), and that large groups of dogs do not have to be an issue either. Macy kept her focus on the person walking her on the lead, and made very little noise or motion toward other dogs on this morning’s walk.

Macy was walked close to heel, with the led loop around the walker’s wrist, and the other hand holding part way down the lead to keep her to heel, while other dogs were around. She was walked on the opposite side of the pavement to the other dog(s), with the walker in between Macy and the other dogs. This kept Macy focusing on what the walker was doing, rather than on who else was walking past, and whether or not she wanted to eat them! 😉

When a more difficult challenge was presented – lots of dogs coming from lots of directions – Macy and her walker stood still, backed up against something (fence/ wall/ tree/ etc.) on a short lead; the walker talked to Macy to keep her focused, and not distracted by all of the other dogs.

These basic method meant for a pleasant walk and a happy Macy (and owner) – her owner feels like Macy has called her a liar due to how well behaved Macy was, with a little bit of direction.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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Upcoming posts

In 2014 I covered A-Z of dog breeds, with some basic facts and other titbits. The posts covering the A-Z of dog breeds can be found by clicking the lettered categories A-CD-F, G-IJ-L, M-O, P-R, S-V, and W-Z – in which the breed you’re searching for is found in.

Border Collie dog - own image
Border Collie dog – own image

If the breed you’re looking for has not been covered, but you would like it covering, please get in touch, using the information in bold at the end of this post.

Following on from dog breeds, I will now (over 8 weeks) cover cat breeds.

Domestic Short-hair cat - own image
Domestic Short-hair cat – own image

If you have a cat, and would like me to include the breed in the upcoming post, please get in touch with the breed of your cat, using the information in bold below.


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Common Behavioural Problems: Tail Chasing

Behaviour Banner

Tail chasing can be a harmless behaviour; however, when performed regularly, and encouraged, can become a behavioural problem (and even damaging to the health of your dog).

Tail chasing (see video) often starts when the dog is young. When you have a puppy, and it is playing and bouncing around and being adorable and silly – and it chases that waggy thing behind it, and the pup is running in circles trying to catch that wild tail! You sit watching this cute display; cooing and talking to the puppy in your excited voice (you know the one I mean)! This, to your puppy, is encouraging the behaviour.

Try, despite how adorable it can be in a young dog, to discourage this behaviour. If you don’t, this behaviour may lead to obsessive compulsive behaviour or damaging attention seeking behaviour in your adult dog. The word compulsive is used to describe the repetitive, irresistible urge to perform a behaviour. Discourage this behaviour as a puppy, and throughout the life of your dog, to reduce the likelihood of this behaviour problem occurring.

Adult dogs with obsessive tenancies can become obsessed with catching their tail, and if they do, they can obsessively chew. The behaviour does not necessarily have a purpose to it, however the dog feels the need to perform it anyway – even past the point of pain. This can be severely damaging to the health of the dog, as obsessive chewing can occur past the point of pain and cause series damage (which can be a behavioural problem in and of itself).  A dog who repeatedly performs a compulsive behaviour may find that it gets in the way of normal activity – normal life. Tail chasing becomes the primary need in the life of the dog – so much so that the dog may lose weight, due to missing meals performing the behaviour; the dog may become lethargic/ exhausted, due to staying awake more to perform the behaviour; the dog my become anxious when not performing the behaviour.

Tail Chasing - Open Source Image
Tail Chasing – Open Source Image

This type of behaviour is more likely to develop in dogs whose living conditions cause stress/ anxiety. Dogs in situations where they are stressed; which can contribute to the compulsive disorders developing. Such as; dogs who spend a lot of time tied up, or confined to living in small areas, or a dog experiencing social issues – long separation from a companion or discord in social relationships, for example. Dogs with the opportunity to perform normal dog behaviour, or do not get the chance to socialise with people and other animals can succumb to obsessive, compulsive behaviour. Alternatively, there could be an underlying medical issue causing the behaviour.

Seek advice from your vet if you suspect that your dog has an obsessive behaviour – your vet may refer you to a dog behaviourist. Your vet will also be able to tell you if the behaviour is being caused by a health issue, and treat any health problems caused by the behaviour.


Image is open source, Google images. The video is a YouTube video, from the search result of “dog tail chasing”. The image and video are NOT my own.


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International Assistance Dog Week: 2nd-8th August 2015

Assistance dog week is about recognising the hard work and effort put in by assistance dogs on a daily basis; and appreciating the new lease on life they give to those they assist.

Assistance dogs are not just a companion; but a carer. The person needs to put so much trust in their assistance dog, just to do the daily activities that most of us take for granted!

I know from being led around an obstacle course, by a brilliant guide dog, at a dog show; trusting this assistant dog to keep me safe, was really hard. Obviously time builds up trust; but having the courage to put your trust in these assistant animals is something the people they assist have to do. Once the bond and trust is established, it’s well worth it (at least in my opinion)!

image
Me being led by a guide dog

Guide dogs assist blind people; they learn how to think of leading around, and looking out for, a person – someone a lot taller than themselves. Obstacles that the dog could easily manoeuvre has be thought about by the dog from a human point of view; can my human navigate this obstacle? If yes, they will proceed. If no, they will find an alternate route. Knowing hazards and dangers that we take in the stride of daily life, need to be learned by the dog. Knowing the daily activities, that would not normally pose a hazard in daily life, need to be learnes how to navigate. Things such as; knowing when it’s safe to cross the road, standing a safe distance from the edge of a train platform, knowing how to get to and from home from various locations, and much more.

Mostly it is the Labrador that takes on this role, also commonly used is the Alsatian. For blind people with allergies to dog fur, the Labradoodle is being considered, as it does not moult.

Guide dogs wear bright yellow harnesses with a metal bar for the blind person to hold, when the dog is working. When a guide dog is just on a lead, it knows it’s off duty for the time being.

Hearing dogs assist deaf people around the home, and out and about. Hearing dogs learn various visual displays to signal different noises – the deaf person needs to learn what signal means what, so the lesson can take the appropriate action. For instance, the signal for the doorbell going and the signal for the fire alarm going off – not 2 signals you want to mix up!

Hearing dogs wear a plumb/ purple harness with a lead. Most commonly, hearing dogs are (Cocker) Spaniels, due to their brilliant hearing. However, the Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle) is increasingly being used these days; beneficial for deaf people with dog allergies, due to not moulting.

Dogs for the disabled can be any breed really; often larger breeds such as, Labrador or Golden Retriever as larger breeds can reach things higher up. However, your pet dog can become a Dog for the disabled, if you suddenly require one, and would prefer your current companion; the smallest I have seen in this instance was a Miniature Poodle.

Dogs for the disabled do everything required for the person; from helping with the shopping to helping with laundry to just opening a door.

There is no doubt how much these dogs help and enrich the lives of those they assist – and we’ll worthy of a week of recognition!

This Assistance Dogs Short Documentary video is part of a documentary, which just gives a better idea of how assistance dogs help the lives of those they assist. This is not my video; the link is to a public YouTube video.

Fun Times

Life has been pretty busy recently, and a blog post done in a rush or without my full attention is not something I want to do. I enjoy my blog posts, and I hope anyone reading them also enjoys – so I won’t post something not done properly.

Instead, check out some fun animal-related videos on YouTube. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with any of these videos; they are not mine, or posted by anyone I know. I am just guilty of watching them too often online!

I love this video, “Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend” – I think is a a funny (and kind of accurate) depiction of dogs and cats in the home.

I also love this video, “Dog wants a kitty” – apart from the owner of this frustrated pooch being scarily accurate in matching his voice-over to the dog’s behaviour and mouth movements, I think it would be just ace to be able to have conversations like this with your pooch! Wonder what voice your pet would have? Also check out the related video, “Ultimate Dog Tease” – poor thing is just hungry!

And one for the musically inclined, “Hamster on a piano” – not quite sure what I love more in this video; the fact the hamster is nomming popcorn, or the fact that (s)he is just so not bothered about what’s going on because (s)he has popcorn!

Have you got any fun animal-related videos I have missed, or you just feel the need to share? Please post a comment below, or via one of my social media pages…
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