Dog Smarts

Do you think your dog spends all day dreaming of Milk Bones or wondering when you’re going to walk through the door?

Well, there may actually be a bit more running through his head. When it comes to the number of words or commands they can learn, dogs have roughly the same learning abilities as the average 2-year-old child.

In his book “The Intelligence of Dogs” researcher and psychologist Stanley Coren asked numerous canine-obedience judges to rank the intelligence of more than 100 dog breeds. When he compiled the results Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers topped the list. Shetland Sheepdogs and Labrador Retrievers were just behind them.

Don’t let it bother you if your dog’s not on the list! The study of canine intelligence is a vast one and personalities and so-called smarts can vary greatly from dog to dog.

So consider your dog one of the sharpest there is and shower him with love and appreciation for all that he adds to your life.

Coyotes in Connecticut

Here are some tips on preventing conflicts with Coyotes who have expanded their range and are now common throughout the state.  Coyotes are opportunistic and use a variety of habitats
including developed areas like the wooded suburbs we have in our area. 


Coyotes resemble a small, lanky German shepherd dog, but have wide, pointed ears, a long muzzle, yellow eyes, and an uncurled, bushy tail which is carried low to the ground. Their weight averages between 30-50 pounds.

Eastern coyotes were first documented in Connecticut in the 1950s. Since then, they have expanded their range and are now common throughout the state. Coyotes are opportunistic and use a variety of habitats, including developed areas like wooded suburbs, parks, beach fronts, and office parks. Their ability to survive and take advantage of food sources found in and around these “man-made” habitats has resulted in an increase in coyote sightings and related conflicts. A coyote’s diet consists predominantly of mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, deer, some fruits, carrion, and when available, garbage. Some coyotes will also prey on small livestock and poultry, and reports of coyotes killing small pets have increased in recent years. In Connecticut, unsupervised pets, particularly outdoor cats and small dogs (less than 25 lbs.) can be vulnerable to coyote attacks. Unfortunately, many pet owners are unaware of the presence of coyotes and the threat they pose, only to learn the hard way after their pet is seriously injured or killed by a coyote.
As coyotes have become more common and occasionally prey on small pets, public concerns about coyotes attacking people, especially children, have increased. Although some coyotes may exhibit bold behavior near people, the risk of a coyote attacking a person is extremely low. This risk can increase if coyotes are intentionally fed and then learn to associate people with food. Follow the tips below to increase the safety of pets and livestock, enhance human safety, and learn how to coexist with coyotes.
Tips on Preventing Conflicts with Coyotes
  • DO NOT allow pets to run free! Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times. The installation of a kennel or coyote-proof fencing is a long-term solution for protecting pets. A variety of livestock fencing and small animal pen designs can protect farm animals.
  • NEVER feed coyotes! DO NOT place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal proof containers.
  • Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. DO NOT run or turn your back. Coyotes are territorial and many reports of bold coyotes visiting yards, howling, or threatening larger dogs can often be attributed to this territorial behavior.
  • Attempt to frighten away coyotes by making loud noises (e.g., shouting, air horn) and acting aggressively (e.g., waving your arms, throwing sticks, spraying with a hose).
  • Be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting unusually bold behavior (e.g., approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children, chasing joggers or bikers, etc.)  and report these incidents to authorities immediately.
  • Be aware of and report any coyotes exhibiting behavior indicative of rabies, such as staggering, seizures, and extreme lethargy. Daytime activity is not uncommon and does not necessarily indicate rabies.
  • Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
  • Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds that coyotes or other animals may use.
  • Educate your neighbors. Ask them to follow these same steps.
  • Regulated hunting and trapping may be used to remove problem coyotes in areas where it is safe and legal to do so.
  • Contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 for more information on coyotes or other wildlife problems.
To report coyote problems and for control information:
Local Animal Control Division
DEEP Wildlife Division: 860-424-3011
To report animals that are behaving abnormally or are posing an immediate public threat:
Local Police Department
DEEP Emergency Dispatch Office (24 hrs.): 860-424-3333


Grateful for Dogs

November is the month we’ve appointed as a time to express gratitude and celebrate all that we are thankful for. We’re also grateful for the dogs we currently have and those that have shared time with us through the years.

Top 10 Reasons to be grateful for dogs
10. They may drag in some muddy footprints from time to time, but on a daily basis they keep the floor pretty spotless. They do a way better job getting that bit of bacon grease splatter off the floor than I every will!

9. They provide a strong sense of security. I’m confident they will hear any odd disturbances before I do. For that reason alone, they earn their keep.

8. They can keep a secret. They’ll never disclose who really did it so you can always blame the dog, like my hubby does, because I’m a lady and it would NEVER be me. 😉

7. Dogs, in general, are role models for loyalty. You can come home late, or not feel like leaving the couch for the weekend and they will hang in there with you, no complaints. They are happy just to be in your presence.

6. They know the value of soaking in a sunbeam. And we all need to be reminded of that from time to time.

5. For all of our working K9s around the world, thank you.

4. They are always ready and willing to do something. No waiting for them to be “in the mood to go out,” and no time wasted getting ready.

3. They don’t mind our singing. No matter how badly I massacre a version of “American Girl,” they dance right along with me.

2. It may be despicable, but they do look funny when we put sunglasses on them, or an old hat, or a Halloween costume, and they tolerate the silliness with out much fuss. They always take one for the team to make us smile.

1. The best thing about dogs — they exemplify gratitude. A pat on the head, a scratch off the belly, a scrap from the table, or just a kind word. It all makes their tail wag. Dogs are our perfect reminder for how to live in the moment.

Reprinted from an article by Robin McFarlane on Gun Dog Supply website.

Storm Stressed Pets

Thunderstorms, hurricanes, windstorms and tornados (not to mention fireworks and other noisemakers) are not always predictable, making storm phobia a particularly difficult fear to treat in pets. Not only do the pets show signs of nervousness (pacing, panting, chewing and drooling), they will also display behavioral signs (hiding, owner seeking, trembling, vocalizing, trying to escape, and destruction), which can be even more upsetting, and even dangerous, as phobic dogs have been known to break through screen doors or windows in an attempt to escape, causing serious injury to themselves.

I’m lucky because my fearful dog Josie has found a way to comfort herself by finding a “safe spot” where she waits out the storm. Recently, I showed her a spot inside a small walk-in closet in my bedroom and she now goes in there and sleeps through the night.

Here are a few tips to keep your pet calm and safe during storms:

Leave your pets at home and indoors. Most pets are afraid of storms and may try to run away.
Close all doors and windows and put on background music to muffle the sound.
Close curtains and blinds to block the lightning.
Be sure that your pets are wearing identification tags or have microchips in case they do run away or get lost.
Try to distract your pet with chew toys and games, or play with another pet that does not share his fear.
If you have time, desensitization techniques with appropriate sound CDs, such as thunder, fireworks, trains, sirens, etc. may help pets get used to the sounds at a lower volume, then as they become more comfortable, gradually increase the volume.

Spring Socialization

Dogs get spring fever just like us! Is your dog ready to get out and socialize? With Jan’s supervision, Captain Jack recently helped a fearful dog work on her socialization skills. It’s really a joy to help a dog go from unsure to happy. Take a peek here.