For those of you who don’t know- I’m a college student, which means travelling a fair amount. For most in my position, summer jobs are a necessary evil- but fortunately for me, I look forward to mine. I can’t wait to be at Lee Shore and spending my day surrounded by cute pups. While I love getting to hang out with all the animals at LSR, it’s not all fun and games. In order to keep yourself and the animals safe, you have to learn to read each other’s reactions. Animals have a wide range of emotions, just like people; fortunately, this week I’m coming at you with a guide to understand dog’s body language! That way you can be sure you know what your pup is trying to tell you.
Dogs eyes are super important in understanding their body language. A key thing to look for is the size and shape of their pupils, and the whites of their eyes (the sclera). Anxious dogs may have eyes that appear rounder, or the sclera may become bigger/more visible. Dogs eyes may also have a “glassy” appearance when they’re scared or stressed. If you notice these signs, try to identify what’s upsetting your dog, and, if possible, remove the stressor from the area, or make it clear to your dog that they’re safe.
When dogs are relaxed their eyes have a more almond shape, and the sclera is often not visible at all. Happy dog’s eyes can be described as squinty, so not seeing whites is a sign that your dog is comfortable and content.
Scared dog: Relaxed dog:
Tension is pretty clear in the mouth, and if your dog’s mouth is tensed up, more than likely so are they. In their relaxed state, dogs keep their mouths open, and may pant. A dog with its mouth closed, lips pulled back, and/or that is panting rapidly is showing signs of stress. Your dog may also be stressed if it is drooling but not in the presence of food (This is more subjective, though, some dogs are just droolers).
Another thing to look out for is a wrinkled muzzle, and the exposure of a dog’s teeth. While some dogs show their teeth in a happy smile, others may display an “offensive pucker”. This is when dogs wrinkle their muzzles, and the corners of their mouths pull back into a “C” shape. To differentiate between happy and tense smiles, look at the rest of your dog’s body language. Widened eyes and wrinkled foreheads may alert you to the fact your dog is anxious, but relaxed ears and a wagging tail are evidence that your pup is happy as a clam.
Dogs who are becoming stressed may also start yawning or licking excessively. This is a warning sign, and if you notice it by itself, or accompanied with tension in their body, the situation probably needs to be assessed and diffused.
Relaxed Dog Body Language:
Dogs ears are a little bit harder to read, simply because there are so many types of dogs ears (And we love that, personally I’m sucker for floppy ears, but to each their own). There’s a formula to help you understand what your dog’s ears are saying. Generally, content dogs have their ears slightly back or to the side, like this swell fella:
Dogs have the ability to move their ears forward and back at the base, so if your dog’s ears are forward (generally their foreheads wrinkle, too) something has piqued their interest. They may have just seen a squirrel outside that caused them to become alert, but it may also be a sign that they’re frightened.
Alert Dog Body Language:
While our favorite thing to see is a wagging tail on a pup, there areother emotions that the tail can display. The first thing to consider when looking at a dog’s tail is the position of the base of tail.
Relaxed: Tail extending from the base of the spine, neither raised nor lowered.
Fearful: Tucked away between hind legs or, held stiff against the stomach.
Excited: Tail raised higher than normal, above the level of the spine.
Next to consider is the way in which the tail is moving. Not all wagging means that your pup is happy or comfortable, but there are pretty distinct ways to tell different wags apart.
Normal: Sweeping side to side, or in a circular pattern (Happy dogs are dogs who knock things off tables with their tails, which is endearing… sort of).
Excited: Still side-to-side, but now at a faster pace.
Fearful: Stiff, firm wagging (if the tail is not held rigid)
Fearful Dog Body Language:
Important:If a dog becomes aggressive, the best thing to do is to remove yourself and others from the situation. Aggressive behavior should not prompt a dramatic reaction to your pet, disciplining your pet is great sometimes, but preventing bites is always the #1 priority.
Alright, y’all, that’s all I’ve got for today! I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll be covering body language for the next few weeks, so if dogs aren’t your thing- fear not. I hope you guys all have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday.
Also: here are some great articles I found while researching, if you want more information on this topic, I highly recommend checking them out :)
Hi guys! Welcome back to the blog!
I hope you’re all well and as excited as I am for a new post. As much as I’ve loved writing about kittens, there’s a special place in my heart for the monthly featured pet. Luckily for us, it’s that time again! Lee Shore takes pride in our adorable rescues, and I try not to play favorites, but today’s guy is a gem.
This beautiful boy is a Staffordshire Terrier, and has a sweet, playful personality. He’s about two-and-a-half years old, and was born on 12/21/16. He’s a medium sized boy, weighing in at approximately 55 pounds. Teddy is muscular, but he’s a medium energy dog, and would love simple activities like cuddling with his person, taking sun-naps, or going on a casual walk.
Teddy has been very friendly towards his foster family and other dogs, but he would do best in a home with other dogs that share his playful energy and are around his size. Teddy loves to make friends, and having siblings to romp around with would make him super happy.
Some background on Teddy: He came to us from our local shelter with an injured shoulder. Teddy was most likely the victim of a car accident, but we’re happy to report that he has made a full recovery. Though he has a (barely noticeable) limp, he has no physical limitations and is in no pain. We love stories with happy endings, and Teddy is definitely the hero in his!
Not only is Teddy cheerful and sweet natured, he’s also house trained, crate trained, and leash trained! He’s started obedience training, and is progressing very well, this definitely makes him a great pet to bring home. Continuing Teddy’s list of accomplishments (not trying to brag, but…) he is also neutered, microchipped, and up to date on his vaccinations, de-wormings, heartworm prevention and flea-tick medications!
Teddy’s adoption fee is $225, and he is currently with his foster parents in WNC. He is available to be picked up, or we have options for transport at an additional fee.
If you think Teddy is your forever-friend, fill out an application here: https://www.leeshorerescue.com/adopt-now.html
Hey y’all! Happy June! I don’t know about you, but it’s been a pretty hectic time (hence the Wednesday post- sorry guys). I wrapped up my freshman year at ASU last month, and now I'm busy spending my summer playing with cute rescue pets. That’s beside the point though, we’re all here to talk about kittens, so let’s get into it!
People talk a big game about how hard raising kittens is, and tell horror stories of destroyed furniture. To be honest though, that’s mostly talk. Raising a kitten isn’t as hard as it sounds, and they’re definitely not malicious creatures set on scratching up your curtains. With kittens, fostering good behavior really just comes down to providing an enriching environment.
Although kittens are domesticated, there’s still an innate need for them to feel fulfilled in terms of hunting. Cats whose needs aren’t met often times become stressed, which may be expressed through behavioral problems. Kittens are also full of energy, so they need proper outlets to prevent them from playing in inappropriate ways. The best way to avoid this is to promote acceptable play for your kitten. To do so, start with supervised play- the most effective means of keeping your kitten out of trouble is to make sure they know what they areallowed to do. A great toy for cats, kittens especially because of their high energy, is a feather toy like this:
This is a good option because it will help your kitten get out some excess energy, and it will satisfy your kitten’s urge to hunt. An added bonus is that toys that are interactive for you and your kitten will help to increase your bond.
Take note though, you should let your kitten decide when and how much they want to play. Don’t force interactions, and make sure they have plenty of time to recuperate between games.
Protip: Make time to play with your kitten just before bed. The goal here is to tire them out so they’re not bothering you throughout the night, and it will help your new friend become assimilated to your schedule.
Don’t worry about spending all day everyday playing with your kitten, that’s exhausting, and impossible. At times when you’re not around, try giving your kitten a puzzle toy. This could be something with a hidden treat, or ball set in a track that your kitten can bat around without losing. It’s also recommended that you allow your kitten a rotation of toys. This will stop them from getting bored, which in turn helps prevent them from getting into things they shouldn’t. Not to say that you need to have a thousand different, costly toys for your kitten. You can easily get a cardboard box (great for scratching and keeping claws from getting too long!), a sock, or the cardboard roll from paper towels or toilet paper. If you’re interested in DIY cat toys, check out this article:
I will say that I’ve heard warnings against giving cats yarn or string to play with. Though they’ll enjoy it, these materials can be harmful to your cats digestive system.
(Links for similar puzzle toy options here:
Cats are territorial, and can also be moody if they don’t get enough down time- me too, for that matter. The best way to ensure your kitten is getting enough rest is to provide a safe place for them to relax. I mentioned in my last post these cuddle cups (Link here:
that my boyfriend’s cats adore. Again though, you don’t necessarily need to buy an extravagant bed for your cat. I’ve had major success with a simple cardboard box stuffed with an old towel/blanket before. Another great option is to patrol places like Facebook market place or Craigslist to find them at a cheaper price- or even free if you’re lucky.
Last but not least, cats love to perch. Love it. Having something like a cat tree not only fulfills your kittens need to explore and be stimulated, but also gives them a great place to observe what’s going on around them. Cat trees are also a great idea if you have other animals in the house, so that if your kitten needs a break they have a nice little escape, and don’t have to climb your cabinets. Most cat trees/perches are also made out of scratch proof materials, and this is wonderful as cats need things to scratch to keep their claws from getting out of hand.
Links for perches and trees:
While researching for this post, I found this article super helpful:
Be sure to check it out for more information on kittens and advice for interacting with and raising them.
Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you all back here next Tuesday!
Joy Shanahan is a student at Appalachian State University with a passion for community service. She can be found in the dance studios at ASU or researching helpful animal tips for Lee Shore.