Category Archives: Pet Behavior

Want To Calm That Hyper Dog Down , Here Are Some Suggestions

By: Pat Miller

Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say their dog was “hyperactive” or “ADHD” – I’d be a wealthy woman. In fact, those are clinical terms referring to very specific behavioral disorders (canine and human) that are relatively uncommon in dogs. In reality, most “hyper” dogs are just under-exercised. A couple of days hiking at the Peaceable Paws farm and you’d hardly know them.

Like many young dogs of active breeds, Squid needs a lot of intense exercise in order to be capable of focus and participation in training. Walking around the block doesn’t cut it for dogs like this.

Not every dog owner has access to large tracts of acreage upon which to exercise their unruly canines, and in any case, “wild child canine syndrome” (WCCS) is more than just lack of exercise; it’s also lack of appropriate reinforcement for calm behavior – i.e., training. Unfortunately, all too often a dog loses his happy home – maybe even his life, as a result of his high-energy behavior.

We’ve seen several of these WCCS dogs at the training center in recent weeks. One private client decided to return her Shar-Pei-mix to the rescue from whence the pup came. Despite her best intentions and efforts, the client had mobility challenges that made it impossible for her to provide the pup with the exercise and management she needed. As painful as it was for the owner, returning the pup was the right decision.

WCCS dogs often include inappropriate biting in their repertoire of undesirable behaviors. We currently have a temporary foster resident at the training center: a 13-week-old high-energy Jack Russell Terrier who failed his assessment at the shelter for using his mouth in protest when restrained. Little Squid is a perfect example of the kind of dog who needs to learn self-control and the art of being calm.

A successful WCCS behavior modification program contains three elements: physical exercise, management, and training. While any one of these alone can make your high-energy dog easier to live with, apply all three for maximum success. Let’s look at each of these elements in greater detail.

Physical Exercise

Squid’s day begins with an hour of barn-play while we do chores. He delights in harassing our dogs (and our pig). He gets at least one long hike around the farm per day, preferably two, or even three. He also gets one or more sessions of ball/toy fetch in the training center, and some puppy socialization/play time when there’s a class going on. Finally, he wraps up his day with evening barn chores. Does it tire him out? No. I have yet to see him tired. But it does take the edge off, so that when I work with him to teach calm he is able to focus and participate in the training. The physical exercise sets him up for training success.

The Manners Minder enables you to dispense a treat to your dog some distance away from you.

Not everyone has an 80-acre farm to play on. If you’re farm-deprived, there are other ways to provide exercise for your WCCS dog. A placid walk or three around the block won’t do it. Nor will leaving him on his own in your fenced backyard. He needs to be actively engaged.

Outings to your local well-run dog park can be a good exercise option. If you don’t have one in your area, invite compatible canines over to play in your dog’s fenced yard. If you don’t have one, invite yourself and your dog over to your dog-friend’s fenced yard for play dates.

Absent any access to a dog-friendly fenced yard, play with your dog on a long line. A 50-foot line gives him a 100-foot stretch to run back and forth and work his jollies off.

Caution: Work up to 50 feet gradually, so he learns where the end of the line is. You don’t want him to blast full-speed to the end of his long line and hurt himself. Also, wear long pants. A high-speed long-line wrapped around bare legs can give you a nasty rope burn.

If none of those work for you, having him wear a pack when you walk him, or even better, pull a cart (which takes significant training), or exercising him (safely) from a bicycle may be options for using up excess energy. If outside exercise is simply out of the question, here are some indoor activities that can help take the edge off:

-Find it. Most dogs love to use their noses. Take advantage of this natural talent by teaching yours the “Find It!” game:

1. Start with a handful of pea-sized tasty treats. Toss one to your left and say “Find it!” Then toss one to your other side and say “Find it!” Do this back and forth a half-dozen times.

2. Then have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash. Walk 10 to 15 feet away and let him see you place a treat on the floor. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.

3. Next, have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash and let him see you “hide” the treat in an easy hiding place: behind a chair leg, under the coffee table, next to the plant stand. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.

4. Again, have your dog sit and wait. This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching. Return to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” Be sure not to help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.

You can repeat the “find it” cue, and indicate the general area, but don’t show him where it is; you want him to have to work to find it.

The “find it!” game can be played indoors or outside. Nose work is surprisingly tiring for dogs.

5. Hide the treats in harder and harder places so he really has to look for them: surfaces off the ground; underneath things; and in containers he can easily open.

6. Finally, put him in another room while you hide treats. Bring him back into the room and tell him to “Find it!” and enjoy watching him work his powerful nose to find the goodies. Once you’ve taught him this step of the game you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house, and then telling him to “Find it!” Nose work is surprisingly tiring.

If you prefer something less challenging, just go back to Step 1 and feed your dog his entire meal by tossing pieces or kibble from one side to the other, farther and farther, with a “Find it!” each time. He’ll get a bunch of exercise just chasing after his dinner!

-Hide And Seek. This is a fun variation of the “Find it” game. Have your dog sit and wait (or have someone hold him) while you go hide yourself in another room of the house. When you’re hidden, call your dog’s name and say “Find me!” Make it easy at first so he can find you quickly and succeed. Reinforce him with whatever he loves best – treats, a game of “tug,” petting and praise, a tossed ball – or a combination of these. Then hide again. As he learns the game, make your hiding places harder and harder, so he has to really search. A trainer friend tells me she has hidden in bathtubs and closets, under beds, and even inside a cedar chest.

-Manners Minder. If you are into higher-tech exercise, use a treat dispenser called the Manners Minder that spits out treats when you push a button on the remote control. A Maryland trainer friend, Elizabeth Adamec of Sweet Wag Dog Training, shared her exercise secret with me for her high-energy adolescent Golden Retriever, Truman. This one is especially useful if you don’t feel like exercising along with your canine pal or can’t, due to physical restrictions of your own:

Teach your dog to use the Manners Minder, by showing him several times that when he hears the beep, a treats fall out of the machine. You can use his own dog food, if he really likes his food.

1. Set the machine a few feet away and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and let him go eat the treats. Repeat several times, encouraging him, if necessary, to go get the treats when he hears the beep.

2. Put the machine across the room, and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and watch him run over and eat the treats. If he’s not doing this with great enthusiasm, repeat Steps 1 and 2 several more times with higher value treats, until he really gets excited about the treats when he hears the beep.

3. Set the machine in the next room, and repeat the exercise several times. Call him back to you each time, so he runs to the Manners Minder when he hears the beep, eats the treat, and runs back to you to wait for the next beep. Gradually move the treat dispenser into rooms farther and farther away from you, until your dog has to run all the way across the house, or even upstairs, when he hears the beep. Now you can sit back with the TV remote in one hand, your dog’s remote in the other, and enjoy your favorite show while canine pal gets exercise and dinner, all at the same time.

There are tons of other ways to provide your dog with indoor exercise. Play tug. Teach him to bowl. Teach him to catch, then repeatedly toss him his ball 10 feet away and have him bring it back to you. Some trainers use treadmills and canine exercise wheels to exercise their dogs. (These must be carefully trained and supervised.) Get creative. Get busy. Have fun. Let the indoor games begin.

Management

Successful positive training, especially for high-energy dogs, relies on the appropriate use of management tools to prevent the dog from practicing – and being reinforced for – undesirable behaviors. In between his many daily exercise and training sessions, Squid is either parked in an exercise pen in the barn tack room (with plenty of bathroom breaks outside), or in an outdoor kennel off the side of the training center.

Squid has learned a modicum of calm behavior, and now offers a calm sit or down when he wants something, such as the opportunity to go outside. This is quite a contrast to his previous behavior of frustrated jumping and mouthing.

Here are examples of when to use various management tools for your wild child dog:

Crates and Pens. Use crates and exercise pens when you can’t directly supervise his energy to consistently reinforce appropriate behaviors and prevent reinforcement for inappropriate ones. The best times for the appropriate use of crates and exercise pens include:

When you can provide adequate exercise and social time in addition to his time in the crate or pen.

When your dog has been properly introduced to the crate or pen and accepts it as a good place to be. Note: Dogs who suffer from isolation or separation distress or anxiety often do not crate or pen well.

When you know you’ll be home in a reasonable period of time so you don’t force your dog to soil his den – no longer than one hour more than your pup’s age in months, no more than an outside maximum of eight to nine hours for adult dogs.

Leashes and Tethers. Leashes and tethers are useful for the “umbilical cord” technique of preventing your wild child from being reinforced for unwanted behaviors. With your dog near or attached to you, you can provide constant supervision. Also, with your dog tethered to your side, you should have many opportunities to reinforce him for appropriate behavior.

The leash can be hooked to waist belts that are designed for that purpose, or clipped to your belt or belt-loop with a carabineer. Your WCCS dog can’t zoom around the house if he’s glued to your side.

If inappropriate mouthing behavior is included in his high-energy repertoire, however, this may not be the best choice. Tethers are better for keeping this dog in view, with easy access for reinforcement of calm behavior, while keeping his teeth from your clothing or skin. Appropriate situations for the use of leashes and tethers include:

For dogs who get into trouble when they are unsupervised.

-Leashed when your activities don’t preclude having a dog connected to you – okay for working on the computer; not okay for working out.

-Tethered when you want to keep your dog near but not directly connected to you, to teach good manners and/or prevent inappropriate behaviors.

Baby Gates and Doors. Baby gates and doors prevent your dog’s access to vulnerable areas when he’s in wild child mode. A baby gate across the nursery door keeps him safely on the other side while you’re changing diapers, but still lets him be part of the “baby experience.” Not to worry if the older kids left their stuffed toys strewn across the bedroom floor; just close the bedroom door when your dog is in a “grab toy and run” mood. The most appropriate uses of baby gates and doors include:

To prevent your dog’s temporary access to areas during activities you don’t want him to participate in.

To prevent your dog’s access to areas when you can’t supervise closely enough, to prevent inappropriate behaviors such as counter surfing or getting on forbidden furniture.

Training

The final element of your WCCS behavior modification program is training. The more training you do the easier it is to communicate with your dog. The better he understands you, the more easily he can follow your instructions and requests. With a high-energy dog, in addition to basic good manners training, invest a lot of training time in impulse-control behaviors.

-Click for Calm. Start by simply clicking your dog for calm behavior, beginning with clicks and treats for any pause in the action. One challenge with a high-energy dog is that the instant you try to praise or reward, he’s bouncing off the walls again. With the clicker, an instant of calm elicits a “click” during the calm behavior. Even if the delivery of the treat causes excitement, your dog still understands it was calm that caused the click-and-treat to happen. An added advantage of the clicker: when they hear the click, most dogs pause in anticipation of the coming morsel, drawing out the brief period of relatively calm behavior even longer.

The goal of clicker training is to get your dog to understand that he can make the click happen by offering certain behaviors – in this case, calm. At first you won’t get long, leisurely stretches of calm behavior to click. Begin by giving your dog a click and treat just because all four feet are on the floor at the same instant. Be quick! You want him to understand the behavior he got rewarded for was pausing with all four feet on the floor, so the click needs to happen the instant all four feet are down. If you click late, you may reinforce him for bouncing around – the exact opposite of what you want!

If your timing is good and you click for four-on-the-floor several times in a row he’ll start to stand still deliberately to make the clicker go off. This is one of the most exciting moments in dog training –when your dog realizes he can control the clicker. Your clicker is now a powerful tool; you can reinforce any behavior you want, any time it happens, and your dog will quickly start repeating that behavior for you.

Make sure your dog’s crate is comfortable and equip him with a nice chew or food-stuffed Kong.

How does “pausing briefly on all four feet” translate into calm? Very gradually. You will “shape” the pause into longer periods of stillness, by extending the time, in milliseconds at first, that he stands still before you click and treat. As he gets better at being calm for longer periods, be sure to reinforce randomly – sometimes for shorter pauses, sometimes longer. Do the same thing with “sit” and “down.” Down is my favorite calm position: the very act of lying down evokes relaxation.

Do several short training sessions every day. You’ll have the most success if you practice “clicking for calm” right after one of your dog’s exercise sessions when he’s tired anyway. When he understands that “calm” is a very rewardable behavior, it will work even when he has more energy.

When your dog will remain still for several seconds at a time, add the verbal cue of your choice, like “Chill out,” that will eventually cue him into calmness. Over time you can phase out the click and treat for calm behavior and use other rewards such as calm praise, a gentle massage, or an invitation to lie quietly next to you on the sofa.

-“Sit” As Default Behavior. “Sit” is one of the first behaviors we teach. Even after the dog knows it well we reinforce “sit” so heavily that it becomes his “default behavior” – what he does when he doesn’t know what else to do. Teach your dog to sit by holding a treat at the end of his nose and moving it slowly back a few inches, clicking and treating when his bottom touches ground.

Alternatively, shape it by clicking and treating for slightly lowered hind end until touchdown, and/or click for offered sits. Then shape longer sits. If he already knows sit, start reinforcing it every time he does it until he sits for anything and nothing. When you have installed “sit” as his default, things like the “Wait” exercises (below) and “Go wild and freeze” (See “More Steps to a Calm Dog,” page 19) happen very easily.

-Wait. “Wait” is especially useful for dogs who are short on impulse control. I teach it using food bowls and doorways. “Wait” then easily generalizes to other situations.

-Wait for Food: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “Wait.” Hold his bowl (with food in it, topped with tasty treats) chest-high, then move it toward the floor 4 to 6 inches. If your dog stays sitting, click and feed him a treat from the bowl as you raise it back up to your chest. If your dog gets up, say “Oops!” and ask him to sit again. If he gets up several times in a row, you’re asking for too much too soon; lower the bowl in smaller increments.

If he remains sitting, lower the bowl 4 to 6 inches again, and click and treat for his continued sitting. Repeat several times until he consistently remains sitting as you lower the bowl. Gradually move the bowl closer to the floor with succeeding repetitions until you can place it on the floor without your dog getting up. Finally, place the bowl on the floor and tell him to eat. After he’s had a few bites, lift the bowl up and try again. Repeat these steps until you can easily place the bowl on the floor and he doesn’t move until you give him permission.

Caution: If your dog guards resources such as his food bowl, consult with a qualified positive behavior professional before trying this exercise.

-Wait at the Door: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “wait.” Reach for the doorknob. If he doesn’t move, click and treat. Repeat this step several times. Then jiggle the doorknob. Click and reward him for not moving. Repeat this step several times. Slowly open the door a crack. Again, click and treat if he doesn’t move, and repeat. Gradually open the door farther, an inch or two at a time. Do several repetitions at each step, with clicks and treats each time.

Eventually you’ll walk all the way through the door, stop, and face your dog, without having him move. Wait a few seconds, click, then return and give him a tasty treat. Of course, occasionally you’ll actually give him permission to go out the door!

Squid does a variation of “Wait at the door” in his pen and kennel. With the dog on the inside and human on the outside, I reach for the latch. If he jumps up, I pull my hand away. If he sits, I continue with the gate-opening process. Each time he jumps up, the process stops. If he exercises self-control the gate opens and he earns his freedom.

A Happy Future

Using a combination of exercise, training, and management, I am wildly optimistic that I can help Squid chill out, pass his shelter assessment, and find his forever home. If, after reading all this you still think your dog suffers from clinical hyperactivity or ADHD, then it’s time to visit a qualified behavior professional for help. More likely though, using the same combination of exercise, training, and management, you can ensure your own dog’s calm and happy future in your family.



Hello Cat Meet Dog ; Dog Meet Cat…PEACEFULLY

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Prince Nino

I have had my new Shih Tzu puppy , Prince Nino for almost three weeks now. I will tell you, it has not been easy introducing Nino to his new siblings of dogs and cats. The older pets simply don’t like him. And I’ve been working on different strategies to help them get along. I get that Nino is a puppy. Puppies can be annoying. My older pets have no issue with letting him. And when Nino cries, I get very upset and feel bad. I know what it’s like to be rejected too.

Well I have developed some strategies and want to pass along the tips to anyone going through the same thing.

It’s exciting to add a cuddly new pet to your life, except maybe when you have to introduce it to another pet that has already staked claim to your home. That’s especially true if one’s a dog and the other’s a cat. But whether you’re introducing a new dog to your cats — or a new cat to your dogs — it doesn’t have to be hard. Here is some expert advice to help keep peace during the transition.

Watch the Dog

If there’s going to be a problem during cat and dog introductions, it’s usually caused by the dog. SURPRISE!

Most dogs will chase a rapidly moving object. So if a cat gets frightened and runs, a dog often feels honor-bound to chase it.. It’s important to nip that in the bud. If you don’t, the result can be injury, and even death, for the cat.

Basic Rules

Make sure your cat can run and hide if it wants to. Whether your cat is the newbie or the senior pet in the house, the cat needs to be able to move freely when the introduction is made. There should be perches or cubbies for hiding, someplace where the cat can get off the floor and settle in. You basically want an elevated resting place [for the cat].

Make sure your puppy or dog is well restrained. Your dog shouldn’t be able to chase, even if the cat darts away. This is a bigger issue with herding breed dogs, who have a prey instinct. But it’s really a hardwired response in all dogs to chase small fluffy things that run away quickly.

Consider baby gates. Gates can help you gradually introduce dogs and cats, and the barrier minimizes danger to the cat. A baby gate is often better than a cat carrier because it gives the cat much-needed freedom.

Age Can Make a Difference
When introducing a new pet to the household, youth can be a virtue. That’s because puppies are much less dangerous to adult cats, and kittens can be quite fearless with adult dogs.
The same safety rules still apply, though. When adding a kitten or puppy, you may want to enforce separation longer or extend your period of supervision. That’s because kittens tend to scurry (an enticing behavior for dogs) and puppies are just goofy and will want to pester the cat.

4 Don’ts

Here are four common mistakes you don’t want to make when introducing cats and dogs:
Forcing physical proximity: Picking up your cat and holding it in your dog’s face by way of introduction will tempt your cat to scratch the dog and encourage the dog to not like the cat. Always let kitty decide when or if it will approach the dog.
Not knowing the background of the dog you adopt. Adopting a dog from a shelter is often a wonderful idea, especially if you don’t have other pets. But people rarely know a shelter dog’s past. If a 2-year-old dog is looking for a home, there’s usually a good reason. In some cases, the dog may be aggressive, destructive, or have other problems. If you want to bring a canine into a feline household, I do recommend getting a puppy.
Not preparing your pet for change: Make changes like moving your cat’s litter box, putting up a baby gate, or closing certain doors before you bring your new pet home. That way, your long-time pet has a chance to get used to the changes before the new pet shows up.
Not thinking about your pet’s reaction. Try to think about the changes you’re making in your home from your pet’s perspective. For example, be aware that if you move the litter box and the cat has to walk past the dog’s kennel to get to it and the dog is barking that’s going to be stressful for the cat.
When to Get Help

If you’re lucky, it can take just a few minutes for a new pet to settle in, although it’s more likely to take days or even weeks.

But if you’ve come home to find your kitty cowering in fear, if one pet is always hiding, if your dog is displaying resource guarding behavior (such as snarling around its food) or being aggressive toward your cat, get help.

Don’t wait until a pet gets hurt. Talk with a veterinary behaviorist (a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior). These professionals can help you troubleshoot so that your old and new pets get along.

Ten Most WTF Pet Pics…..

1. This dog who might also be Harry Styles.

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2. This dog who’s been chosen by the thug life.

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3. This pair of steamy seductresses.

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4. Ummmm…OK

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5. This pair of relaxing guinea pigs enjoying a refreshing summer cocktail.

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6. These real-life dogs at a poker table.

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7. This pony who found himself in this terrible bucket situation.

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8. This very angry turtle on a tricycle.

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9. Whatever this sock monster is.

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10. And this baked potato.

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Wondering If Your Cat is Sick?….These 7 Signs Will Give You A Clue

 

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It happens all too often — by the time an owner realizes her cat is sick, the cat is very sick. Cats tend to hide their illnesses, and they even hide themselves when they’re ill. But many problems are best treated when they’re caught early, which means you are your cat’s most important health care provider. You’re the one who sees him every day and decides when he needs to see the veterinarian. Don’t ignore what he’s trying to tell you — or trying not to tell you. Here are just a few of the clues you should look for.

Is He Acting Differently?

The most common sign of illness in some cats is hiding in a quiet, out-of-the-way place. Sick cats often lie quietly in a hunched position.
They might neglect grooming. They may be purring, which cats do not only when they’re happy, but also when they’re sick or in pain. A cat with breathing difficulties may refuse to lie on his side and may keep his head raised. Cats with neurological problems may be confused, have seizures or press their heads into furniture or walls. This is not the head butting that cats do on your leg affectionately but rather prolonged pressing on a surface.

Is He Eating, Drinking, Urinating Or Defecating More Or Less Than Normal?

Cats who don’t feel well usually don’t want to eat. Some illnesses, however, can cause increased appetite, so don’t ignore your suddenly ravenous cat. Increased thirst and urination may indicate kidney disease, diabetes or other illness. Frequent, sudden attempts to urinate, especially if only small amounts are produced or if accompanied by signs of pain (including meowing or straining in the litterbox), may indicate a urinary tract infection or blockage. Inability to urinate is a life-threatening emergency that is all too common in cats, especially males.

Is He Regurgitating Or Vomiting?

If your cat regurgitates food soon after eating, he may have a problem. Vomiting food after it’s been in the stomach can indicate poisoning, blockage or a host of other problems. If your cat vomits for more than a few hours or vomits repeatedly for more than a day, she probably needs to see a vet. And if any vomiting episode is accompanied by lethargy, diarrhea or reluctance to move, you should seek medical attention. When in doubt, it is always better to call the vet instead of waiting to see what will happen.

Does He Have Diarrhea Or Constipation?

Diarrhea can result from nervousness, a change in diet or water, food sensitivities, intestinal parasites, infections, poisoning or many illnesses. Watery diarrhea, diarrhea with blood, or diarrhea accompanied by vomiting or other signs of illness warrants a call to the veterinarian. Cats commonly become constipated. They may strain to defecate; cry or meow in the litterbox; pass only small, hard feces; or pass small amounts of watery feces. Examine your cat’s litterbox to make sure he’s defecating as he should be.

Is He Coughing?

Coughing can be caused by a variety of conditions, including foreign bodies, hairballs, allergies, asthma, tumors, heart disease, lung disease or several contagious illnesses. If coughing persists for more than a day, don’t wait — contact your veterinarian. If your cat is coughing over and over, has difficulty breathing or has bluish gums, he needs to see his veterinarian immediately.

Is His Gum Color Off?

If you suspect a problem, check the gums. They should be a deep pink, and if you press with your thumb, they should return to pink within two seconds after you lift your thumb. Very pale gums or slow repinking may indicate anemia, shock or poor circulation. Bluish gums or tongue can mean a life-threatening lack of oxygen. Bright red gums may indicate overheating or carbon monoxide poisoning, and yellow gums are a symptom of jaundice. Tiny red splotches may indicate a blood-clotting problem. Tooth and gum problems often cause bad breath and pain, with redness around the gumline.

Is His Temperature Abnormal?

To take your cat’s temperature, lubricate a rectal thermometer (petroleum jelly or personal lubricant are both OK to use) and insert it 1 to 1.5 inches into the cat’s rectum. Depending on the thermometer, leave it there from 10 seconds to a minute. The normal temperature for a cat is 100 to 103 degrees, averaging 101 degrees. If the temperature is 104 degrees or above, or 99 degrees or below, call your veterinarian for advice; if it’s 105 degrees or above, or 96 degrees or below, go to your veterinarian.

When in doubt, call your veterinarian. A false alarm is better than ignoring the symptoms of a sick cat.

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2015 Pet Holidays!

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Are you looking for pet holidays that recognize the special role that dogs, cats, and other pets play in our lives? You’ve come to the right place. This extensive calendar, updated throughout the year, features fun pet holidays as well as serious pet awareness days, weeks and months that focus attention on challenges in the pet world.

January

National Train Your Dog Month

Walk Your Pet Month.

Adopt a Rescued Bird Month.

Jan. 2, 2015: National Pet Travel Safety Day.

Jan. 14, 2015: National Dress Up Your Pet Day.

Jan. 22, 2015: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day.

Jan. 24, 2015: Change a Pet’s Life Day.

Jan. 29, 2015: Seeing Eye Guide Dog Birthday.

February

Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. (Humane Society of the United States)

Pet Dental Health Month.

Responsible Pet Owners Month.

Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.

National Prevent a Litter Month.

Unchain a Dog Month.

Feb. 7-14, 2015: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week.

Feb. 16-17, 2015: Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show. Held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, this event is televised.

Feb. 14, 2015: Pet Theft Awareness Day.

Feb. 15-21, 2015: National Justice for Animals Week.

Feb. 20, 2015: Love Your Pet Day.

Feb. 22, 2015: Walking the Dog Day.

Feb. 23, 2015: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.

Feb. 24, 2015: World Spay Day. Annual campaign by the Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States; held the last Tuesday of February.

March

Poison Prevention Awareness Month.

Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month.

March 7, 2015: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins. Called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” this grueling race travels along a path that alternates between two paths, changing in even and odd years. The race crosses two mountain ranges in conditions that range from 30 degrees above to 30 degrees below zero.

March 3, 2015: If Pets Had Thumbs Day.

March 1-7, 2015: Professional Pet Sitters Week.

March 5-8, 2015: Crufts. Held in Birmingham, England, this is the world’s largest dog show, featuring nearly 28,000 canines in its four days.

March 15-21, 2015: National Poison Prevention Week.

March 23: National Puppy Day.

April

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This event is an effort by the American Red Cross to draw attention to the need to know specialized pet first aid.

Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. (ASCPA)

National Pet Month. (UK)

April 12-18, 2015: Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week.

April 11, 2015: National Pet Day.

April 18, 2015: Pet Owners Independence Day.

April 22, 2015: Earth Day.

Third week in April. Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week. An effort by the Humane Society of the United States.

Third week in April. National Pet ID Week.

April 26, 2015: National Kids and Pets Day.

April 25, 2015: World Veterinary Day. This event from the World Veterinary Association is always celebrated on the last Saturday in April.

April 25, 2015: Hairball Awareness Day.

May

National Pet Month (US)

Responsible Animal Guardian Month.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Pet Cancer Awareness and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. (Also see November events.)

Chip Your Pet Month.

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month. The American College of Veterinary Optholmologists hosts this annual event when over 200 veterinary optholmologists donate their services to provide eye exams to service dogs in the US and Canada.

May 1: National Purebred Dog Day

May 4-10, 2015: American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week. This week-long event has been celebrated since 1915. Always the first full week of May.

May 3-9, 2015: National Pet Week. Always held the first full week of May by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

May 4-10, 2015:American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week . An initiative of the HSUS, this week is always scheduled to begin the Monday before Mother’s Day.

May 18-24, 2015: Dog Bite Prevention Week. This event by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) along with the United States Post Office (USPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) focuses attention on preventing dog bites.

June

Adopt-a-Cat Month®. From the American Humane Association.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. From the ASPCA.

National Pet Preparedness Month. This month, timed for the first month of hurricane season, urges people with pets to make preparations in case they should be hit by a disaster…and that includes making plans for what you would do with your dog in case of a hurricane, tornado, flood or other natural disaster.

June 4, 2015: Hug Your Cat Day.

First week in June. Pet Appreciation Week.

June 9, 2015: World Pet Memorial Day.

June 10-14, 2015: World Dog Show, Milan, Italy. This large show is hosted by a different county every year.

Mid-June: Animal Rights Awareness Week.

June 26, 2015: Take Your Dog to Work Day.

July

Dog House Repair Month.

July 4: Independence Day. This US holiday is no holiday for dogs; the sounds of fireworks causes many dogs to panic and run, resulting in many lost dogs every year.

July 15: National Pet Fire Safety Day. Sponsored by the The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club® (AKC).

July 21: National Craft for your Local Shelters Day.

July 31: National Mutt Day. Also see Dec. 2.

August

Aug. 1: DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs. The North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, declared August 1 as a birthday for all the shelter animals whose birthdays are unknown. Happy DOGust!!

Aug. 5: Work Like a Dog Day.

Aug. 2-8, 2015: International Assistance Dog Week.

Aug. 15: National Check the Chip Day. AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) joined together to create “Check the Chip Day.”

Aug. 15, 2015: International Homeless Animals’ Day®. From the International Society for Animal Rights.

Aug. 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day.

Aug. 26: National Dog Day.

Aug. 30. National Holistic Pet Day.

September

National Disaster Preparedness Month. Led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign, Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, this effort encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. Visit Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov.

Second Sunday in September. National Pet Memorial Day. Established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (IAPC).

Last full week in September: National Dog Week.

Last full week in September. Deaf Pet Awareness Week. By Petfinder.com.

Sept. 13, 2015: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day. A day dedicated to the issue of pet birth defects including information on identification, prevention and treatment. Sponsored by the MBJungle Foundation.

Sept. 23: Dogs in Politics Day (also known as Checkers Day). Recognizing the dogs of politicians.

Sept. 28: World Rabies Day. Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.

October

Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.

Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month. By ASPCA.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

National Pet Wellness Month.

1st Week of October. National Walk Your Dog Week.

October 4: World Animal Day.

1st Full Week of October. Animal Welfare Week (AVMA)

Oct. 11-17, 2015: National Veterinary Technician Week. Sponsored by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America.

Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.

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Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.

Last Saturday in Oct.: National Pit Bull Awareness Day.

Oct. 28: Plush Animal Lovers Day. A day that most dogs will be happy to celebrate…as they unstuff them…

Oct. 29: National Cat Day.

Oct. 30: National Black Cat Day in the UK.

November

*MORE November holidays; observances

Adopt a Senior Dog Month. By ASPCA.

National Pet Awareness Month.

National Senior Pet Month.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) and the Animal Cancer Foundation. (Also see May events).

Pet Diabetes Month.

National Dog Show. Always broadcast in the US on Thanksgiving, this event is held at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania and is hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. Sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, the event features 2,000 dogs.

First full week of Nov: National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. by The Humane Society of the United States.

Nov. 17: National Take a Hike Day.

Nov. 17: National Black Cat Day.

December

Dec. 2: National Mutt Day. Also see July 31.

Pets At The Office : A Positive Or A Negative ?

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Hanging out with man’s best friend is a huge part of our daily routine, and for many families a dog or cat is like another child. But as much as we pamper our furry friends, we can’t take them everywhere with us. And when it comes to those 8 hours (or more) we spend on the clock, it seems like our family pets are just never welcome to spend time with us while we are at work.

But not all professions believe in working without their trusted animal friends. For centuries, cats have been prowling breweries and farms to kill rats and mice. K9 units couldn’t function without their canines, of course, and many hospitals and nursing homes have on-staff dogs or cats to comfort patients. Even some bookstores have cats prowling the stacks.

And increasingly, “regular” offices are encouraging pets to become a part of the work day. But are animals in the office a source of distraction, or a legitimate tool for increasing productivity?

The Challenge

If anyone in your office suffers from allergies, bringing a pet to the office would be inconsiderate, even if you are at the top of the food chain. But respiratory conditions aside, there are plenty of other problems with having an animal in the workplace that could severely impact your productivity.

For one thing, an ill-behaved pet can cause havoc in all kinds of ways, from “accidents” to jumping up on your desk and knocking over your computer or stacks of papers. An animal that is too energetic should not be constrained to an office environment, for the sanity of you, your co-workers, and the pet itself.

Sick pets should stay at home; no one wants to walk into your cube and see a pet dragging its back end across the floor. And it should be obvious that animals with aggression problems should not be in an office….unless you want to get sued.

Therapy animals or service animals, on the other hand, should always be welcome in an office setting.

By the Numbers

According to one study conducted by Christopher Honts and his colleagues at Central Michigan University, dogs in the office can help to boost productivity.

And according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers, 17 percent of Americans work at pet-friendly companies and 23 percent believe pets should be allowed in the workplace. The survey also found that 70 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace reduces stress, and 46 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment.

Since 1996, people have been celebrating Take Your Dog to Work Day every June, with over 10,000 companies participating in the United States. The next Take Your Dog to Work Day is June 24th, so start buttering up your boss now to get them to take part.

Success Stories

In Portland, Oregon, the local opera company has a resident cat named Nerissa. The Opera’s general director Christopher Mattaliano also allows dogs at work.

“I feel a happy staff is a productive staff,” says Mattaliano.

“During stressful times here, I get people coming in from a different floor just to connect with [my pet]” adds Noelle Guest, the director’s executive assistant.

Elsewhere in the country, Linda Goldstein Dunay, president of a marketing and public relations firm, is also a fan of pets in the workplace.

“From the beginning, I wanted my company to feel like a community,” she says. “I find that having dogs around, and allowing people to have their pets with them, is a big morale-booster.”

Murray Low, director of The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School, adds that allowing employees to bring pets to work can be an inexpensive way to bolster productivity and reduce stress. “If the pet’s at work, it’s not as difficult for the employee to stay till 10 at night.”

10 Most Adorable Pictures Of Animals You Must See Now!

Here are a very few absolutely essential pictures that will warm your heart.

1. A kitten animatedly explaining her opinions to a disinterested rabbit.

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2. A rare snowcat general surveying her territory and weeping “because there are no more worlds to conquer. 2015/01/img_0605.jpg

3. A big dog carrying a little dog in a basket like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

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4. A dog who is taking a “sick day” to spend more time with his penguin

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5. A baby bear giving a suspicious dog a kiss

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6. Two geese and a dog having a business meeting

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7. A cat who is having the best day ever

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8. A cat who has just taken a massive leap forward in relaxation innovation

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9. A Great Dane who is friends with a fawn

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10. A Frenchie Stampede!

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Bonus : The happiest Siberian husky couple on the planet

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Do You Have Any Adorable Pictures To Share?  Post in Our Comment Section

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Pet [ Oh, and For You Too :- ) ]

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Goals Aren’t Just for People

The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for pets needing a change in their routine. For example, with over 50 percent of pets in the U.S. classified as overweight, there’s no better time for owners to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for their pets. Need more ideas? Here are ten resolutions to make this year your pet’s healthiest year yet!

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#10 Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use an 8-ounce measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t taking in more calories than they need. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag are good place to start to figure out how much food Fido (or Kitty) really needs. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

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#9 Choose an Age-Appropriate Diet

Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. For example, some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, but have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with the appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.

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#8 Try a New Activity with Your Pet

From doga to hiking, skijoring to kayaking, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Meet-up groups are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

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#7 Incorporate (More) Playtime into Your Routine

Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Experiment to see what really gets your cat going — in addition to lasers, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat trees are perennial feline favorites. Even a cardboard box can become a cat cave that satisfies a cat’s desire for a hiding place.

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#6 Make a Date with Your Vet

Yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.

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#5 Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.

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#4 Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits with Your Pet

Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay — just be sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be a helpful tool in keeping teeth clean. And even with all of these tricks, regular cleanings by a licensed veterinarian are the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip top shape long into your pet’s senior years.

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#3 Teach an Old Dog a New Trick

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.

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#2 Update Pet ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2012, don’t wait — update their tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home.

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#1 Consider Fostering

You think you want a new pet, but you’re not 100 percent sure it’s right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they wait for their forever home. Who knows? That home just might end up being yours.

Prevent Your Inside Cat From Becoming A Lost Outside Cat

image  Pepper Grayson aka “Peppie, My Love”

 

 

I like to think of myself as a Dr. Doolittle or a Pet Whisperer. I tend to form special relationships not only with my pets but with other animals. They listen to me, understand me and love me to the point I know they would never run away. They also worry about me when I’m not well. This year was pretty tough , health wise. I was in the hospital 6 timexs this year , with each visit lasting at least one week. When I disappear like that, my pets make it a mission to find me. Well obviously I needed extra help and my parents came to help out. It does matter what rules I give them that are applicable to my pets, somehow something always happen. Well this November, while in the hospital , my youngest cat did a number on them. They were afraid to tell me my cat was missing so waited until I got home into the garage to say, ” Oh by the way, your cat is missing.” Needless to say I was extremely upset. Don’t worry my cat is home and safe. He came back that next morning after I came home. I could tell, he was looking for me. Now I’m not crazy, but oblige me please. To increase the probability of your cat returning safely , if this ever happens to you, here are a few suggestions to get him home safely.

1. Create an enriched, stimulating environment for your indoor cat

By providing a catified home for your cat, you’ll prevent boredom, and they won’t even want to go outside. My Peppie and my female cat, Princess have two big pet condos, catnip, toys, feathers , food and companionship. Now who would leave a home like that?

2. Consider leash training

Some cat experts recommend leash training indoor cats so they can safely go outdoors. I agree with this recommendation. Peppie is leash-trained. Note however, leash training depends on your cat’s temperament, but for some cats, giving them a taste of the great outdoors, even if from the safety of a leash and harness, can satisfy his curiosity about what is going beyond the comforts of his home.

3. Train your cats to come when you call them

This is not all that hard to do. Call their name, and reward them with a treat each time they come to you. For many cats, simply hearing the sound of the treat bag coming out of the cabinet will do the trick, and that’s fine, too. You need a reliable signal that tells your cat she needs to come to you. This will not only help in the event that your cat does get out, it will also be useful in emergency situations.

4. Use caution when opening doors

Cat sitters , like myself, are well aware that many cats are door darters, and they act accordingly. My home has dogs and cats. So to keep my pets safe, one thing I do is let my dogs go outside from an area that intimidates my cat. That area for Peppie is doing everything through the garage. Peppie is afraid of the garage door as well as the sounds from a car. So when that door opens, he darts upstairs. I know that is not every cat therefore , you as the owner need to know the areas of the house your cat is and isn’t afraid to venture.

5. Treats Will Do A Kitty Cat Good!

If you have a cat who consistently darts for the door when it’s being opened, distract him. Throw some treats into the hallway behind you before you leave, or ahead of you when you enter. Use a laser pointer to distract cats who respond to it. Don’t use squirt bottles to deter your cat. Squirt bottles do not stop undesired behavior. All they do is ruin the bond between you and your cat.

6. Front Door Not Always the Best Door

Another option is to not use your front door at all. I have friends who never let visitors enter through the front door. The enter through the garage and the adjacent laundry room. This way, the garage door can be closed before the laundry room door to the house is even opened. I like this “double entry” system. Even though My cats are not door darters, this way of entering the home is safer when you have your hands full of bags, or when delivery people show up.

Make sure that all family members know that letting the cat out is never okay. ( I did that and it STILL didn’t work but it is still great advice!)

7. Locked Doors

Lock your cats into a room when you have service or repair persons at your home. Service persons may need to frequently enter and exit your home during the time they work inside your house. It’s safer to keep kitty away from the activity until the repairs are completed.

8. Make sure your cats are micrcochipped

In the event, that your cat gets lost, a microchip may be the only way he/she find their way back home. Collars are important, too, but they can come off. If your cat wears a collar, make sure that it has updated contact information. A great thing to do is provide all thecat’s collar tags with inscribed words : “I’m lost if outside.”

It’s very stressful to worry about the safety of your cat outside. I hope some these suggestions help. Anyone have anymore suggestions?? Please Respond in the Comments Section!

Until Next Time…….

Scientists Sign Declaration That Animals Have Conscious Awareness Just Like Humans

An international group of prominent scientists has signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in which they are proclaiming their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are — a list of animals that includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus. But will this make us stop treating these animals in totally inhumane ways?

While it might not sound like much for scientists to declare that many nonhuman animals possess conscious states, it’s the open acknowledgement that’s the big news here. The body of scientific evidence is increasingly showing that most animals are conscious in the same way that we are, and it’s no longer something we can ignore.

What’s also very interesting about the declaration is the group’s acknowledgement that consciousness can emerge in those animals that are very much unlike humans, including those that evolved along different evolutionary tracks, namely birds and some cephalopods.

“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states,” they write, “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.”

Consequently, say the signatories, the scientific evidence is increasingly indicating that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.

The group consists of cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists — all of whom were attending the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals. The declaration was signed in the presence ofStephen Hawking, and included such signatories as Christof Koch, David Edelman, Edward Boyden, Philip Low, Irene Pepperberg, and many more.

The declaration made the following observations:

  • The field of Consciousness research is rapidly evolving. Abundant new techniques and strategies for human and non-human animal research have been developed. Consequently, more data is becoming readily available, and this calls for a periodic reevaluation of previously held preconceptions in this field. Studies of non-human animals have shown that homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perception can be selectively facilitated and disrupted to assess whether they are in fact necessary for those experiences. Moreover, in humans, new non-invasive techniques are readily available to survey the correlates of consciousness.
  • The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals. Wherever in the brain one evokes instinctual emotional behaviors in non-human animals, many of the ensuing behaviors are consistent with experienced feeling states, including those internal states that are rewarding and punishing. Deep brain stimulation of these systems in humans can also generate similar affective states. Systems associated with affect are concentrated in subcortical regions where neural homologies abound. Young human and nonhuman animals without neocortices retain these brain-mind functions. Furthermore, neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (e.g., octopus).
  • Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in articular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.
  • In humans, the effect of certain hallucinogens appears to be associated with a disruption in cortical feedforward and feedback processing. Pharmacological interventions in non-human animals with compounds known to affect conscious behavior in humans can lead to similar perturbations in behavior in non-human animals. In humans, there is evidence to suggest that awareness is correlated with cortical activity, which does not exclude possible contributions by subcortical or early cortical processing, as in visual awareness. Evidence that human and nonhuman animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.

Read more about this here and here.