Dog toys come in all shapes and sizes, but my favorite — or should I say my dog’s favorite — are the interactive ones.

Interactive dog toys (also called enrichment dog toys) are created to serve a specific purpose and to provide a unique challenge for your dog.

the best interactive dog toys for bored dogs

Basically, interactive dog toys have some really unique features to keep your dog’s interest high, including:

  • Unusual sounds – like squeakers, sound cards, or crinkled plastic in the tail of a stuffed dog toy
  • Unusual movements – like toys that bounce around on their own, have dangling parts, or various textures
  • Unusual contents – like dog treats that come out when rolled around or when a puzzle is solved

All of these features are designed to keep your dog’s attention for longer periods of time. In addition, you will ultimately get your money’s worth from a dog toy with these features — because your dog won’t grow bored with it quickly.

Types Of Interactive Dog Toys

Here are some examples of interactive dog toys:

My dog enjoys all of the above, but I think his all-time favorites are the treat-dispensing ones.

Following are the best interactive toys for dogs, in my opinion…

 

Top 8 Interactive Dog Toys

When it comes to chew toys, keep in mind that dogs have many preferences for them. Some like them to be interactive or chewable or easily carried, pulled, and tossed around or a combination of 2 or all the above. In any case, it’s can be a challenge for you to get just one chew toy that meets all his preferences. Usually you’ll have to get at least 2 but no more than 4 chew toys to satisfy his ferocious chewing needs. Do replace them as they wear off.  — Small Dog Paradise

If I were going to buy my dog his first interactive dog toy, these are the ones I would choose from:

#1 – Orka Chew

pet stages orka dog toy

I like when a dog toy does more than one thing. This one bounces, has several “arms” to attract attention and gnaw on, and it dispenses treats! It’s made from a durable non-toxic synthetic rubber, and since it’s shaped like a “jack”, it creates a lot of opportunities for natural bounce each time it’s released from your dog’s mouth. Plus, it’s durable enough for serious chewers. There are several varieties of durable Orka dog toys to choose from.

This video shows a few dogs enjoying the Orka Chew interactive dog toy…

 

#2 – Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle Toys

dog casino interactive treat toy for dogs

Nina Ottosson’s interactive dog puzzles are among the most popular. Of them all, I think Dog Casi

no and Dog Brick are 2 of the best. Like all dog puzzle games, these teach your dog to wait (until told to start), find (things behind the puzzle pieces), and enjoy (the treats as immediate rewards). Other find & seek dog board games like this include: Dog Twister, Dog Spinny, and Dog Treat Maze. Hagen makes a nice dog puzzle: the Dogit Mind Games 3-in-1 Smart Toy. And there are a few interesting interactive dog games & puzzles by Kyjen as well. Although plastic dog puzzles are easier to clean, if you want a long-lasting puzzle set for your dog, opt for a wooden puzzle board like these: Zanies Wood Interactive Puzzles Dog Toy, Nina Ottosson’s Wooden Dog Treat Fighter, and the Ethical Seek-A-Treat Dog Puzzle.

This video shows a dog enjoying the Dog Casino interactive dog puzzle…

#3 – Rag Rope Ball

petstages rag rope ball for dogs

Another multi-purpose dog toy is one that features a ball and rope combination. My favorite is the Rag Rope Ball by Pet Stages because it’s long-lasting and this one is especially great for puppies. Of course, the rounder the ball, the more it will roll, so this one doesn’t particularly roll much. But that’s also a reason why it’s great for puppies. When your dog drops the Rag Rope Ball from his mouth, it won’t roll far away, but it will land on a different side and present yet another dangling piece of rope for your dog to start chewing on. Likewise, these dangling rope arms provide numerous opportunities for your dog to grab, carry, and toss the toy for added fun. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a rope on the other end in order to be a fun interactive dog toy. For example, this Weazel Ball dog toy looks interesting! Another rope and ball dog toy that looks like fun is the Zany Ball Rope Twister — but I can’t find anywhere locally to buy it.

This video shows a dog enjoying the Zany Ball Rope Twister interactive dog toy…

 

#4 – Kong Toy

dog kong toy - the classic treat dispensing dog toy

Regardless of which type of Kong toy you ultimately choose, they’re all super long lasting and multi-purpose. The rubber Kongs all bounce and roll in unexpected patterns, which piques your dog’s interest. In addition, most of the rubber Kongs can be stuffed with dog treats. For the short, quick treat, you can loosely fill a Kong with dry dog kibble and your dog will be rewarded simply for rolling it across the floor and gobbling up the treats. For longer enjoyment, you can stuff a Kong toy with a combination of food items packed tightly inside. For the ultimate challenge, freeze a stuffed Kong before giving it to your dog. Depending on what you’ve put inside, it could take your dog hours to remove all of the treats inside. This is especially great for relieving boredom when your dog is left home alone!

This video shows a dog enjoying the Kong treat toy for dogs…

#5 – Busy Buddy

busy buddy kibble nibble dog toy

This brand of dog toys was designed to redirect your dog’s destructive chewing behavior into positive playtime instead. There are a lot of different styles of Busy Buddy dog toys that provide different chewing experiences. My dog likes the Tug a Jug best.  The Premier Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Dog Toy is our second favorite. But they’re all great because they’re made with your dog’s safety in mind. And due to their shape, they all provide unique bounce patterns which keeps your dog’s attention longer.

This video shows a dog enjoying the Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble interactive dog toy…

#6 – Everlasting Fun Ball

everlasting fun ball for dogs

The everlasting fun ball is a round ball that can be filled with dog treats. What makes this treat-dispensing dog toy unique is the fact that the treats are much harder to get out. In addition, it’s a quieter playtime experience than some of the other treat-dispensing dog toys due to the fact that it’s made of a soft, durable material — so you don’t hear it bouncing and rolling on the floor. I wouldn’t say this one is for extreme chewers though. Determined dogs with strong jaws can sometimes pierce through the rubber. There are a few different varieties of Everlasting Fun Balls to choose from, along with uniquely shaped treats for these toys.

This video shows a dog enjoying the Everlasting Fun Ball interactive dog toy…

#7 – Talking Dog Toy

petqwerks dog babble ball

Most dog toys with voices or lights are not super-durable. So, as long as you know ahead of time that your dog is not an extreme chewer, there are 2 talking dog toys that I especially like. They’re both by PetQwerks: the Talking Babble Ball dog toy and the Animal Sounds X-Tire dog toy. Again, they’re not durable enough to survive being crushed by strong and powerful dog jaws. Instead, these interactive dog toys are meant to be gnawed on lightly while your dog becomes entranced by the unusual talking and sounds coming from inside. They’re attention-getters, that’s for sure!

This video shows a dog enjoying the Talking Babble Ball interactive dog toy…

#8 – Buster Cube

buster cube dog toy - a treat dispensing dog toy

My dog’s all-time favorite treat-dispensing dog toy is the Buster Cube. It’s made of a hard plastic, like the IQ Treat Ball dog toy — which is another popular option in this category — but it can’t come apart during play like the IQ Treat Ball. The only downside to the Buster Cube is the fact that it’s slightly noisy as your dog rolls it across the floor and the treats inside roll from side to side.  The upsides are plenty: First, you can adjust the challenge level, making it easier or harder for your dog to get the treats out. (Actually, you’re increasing or decreasing the size of the opening that the treats fall out of.)  Second, the interior capacity is really large, so you can toss a good amount of dry dog kibble inside and your dog will play for hours. Third, it’s completely indestructible. We have the large size, and there is no way possible for a dog to get its jaws around this thing. Even if he did, the hard plastic is super durable. We’ve had ours for over 15 years and it still works great. My dog loves it!

NOTE: The Buster Cube works best on tile and hardwood flooring. (Another one that’s great for slick floors is the Atomic Treat Ball; reviewed here). If your dog will be playing on carpeted floors mostly, then you’ll want to consider the Kong Wobbler instead. (Here’s a review of the Kong Wobbler.) The next best thing for a treat-dispensing toy like these is the Bob-A-Lot. It wobbles on its own a bit — as you can see here — which reminds your dog to keep interacting with it.

This video shows a dog enjoying the Buster Cube interactive dog toy…

So, there you have it, the best interactive dog toys for your pooch. There are probably several on this list that your dog will love!

More About Interactive Dog Toys

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you choose the right interactive dog toys for your pet:

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).

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The latest in the ‘better world’ series about dogs and cats.

Think Dog! A Golden Retriever by the sea with a tip for how to make a better world for dogs

These are the latest images in the series about how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.

You can read the full quotes on those posts. I’m working through each expert answer in random order, so stay tuned for more!

A cat by its food bowl - understand the role of food for a better relationship with your cat

“…Bradshaw explains how an affinity for animals drove human evolution and how now, without animals around us, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.”

A boy reading a book to his dog, to illustrate the book choice for February: The Animals Among Us

The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for February 2018 is The Animals Among Us: How Pets Make Us Human by John Bradshaw. In the UK, the title is The Animals Among Us: The New Science of Anthrozoology.

From the inside cover,

“In The Animals Among Us, anthrozoologist John Bradshaw argues that pet-keeping is nothing less than an intrinsic part of human nature. Throughout history, empathy for animals has increased our ability to survive. As our relationship with animals evolved, from the earliest domestication of wild animals thousands of years ago to the ubiquity of modern household pets, this connection grew ever stronger. Today, we can no more set aside the attachment that many of us feel for animals than we can ignore our sweet tooth. 

Drawing on the latest research in biology and psychology, Bradshaw explains how an affinity for animals drove human evolution and how now, without animals around us, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.”

Will you be reading the book too? Leave your thoughts on it in the comments below.
Companion Animal Psychology is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Companion Animal Psychology is also a participant in the Etsy Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Etsy.com.

This says it all! –Kim

I Am an Animal Rescuer.
My job is to assist God’s creatures.
I was born with the drive to fulfill their needs.
I take in new family members without plan, thought or selection.
I have bought dog food with with my last dime.
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand.
I have hugged someone “vicious” and afraid.
I have fallen in love a thousand times
And I have cried into the fure of a lifeless body.
I Am an Animal Rescuer.
My work is never done, my home is never quiet.
My wallet is always empty,
But my heart is always full.

I Am an Animal Rescuer.
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand.
I have hugged the vicious and afraid.
I have fallen in love a thousand times.
My work is never done, my home is never quiet,
My wallet is always empty,
But my heart is always full.
Rescuing one animal may not change the world,
But for that one animal,
The world will be changed forever.
Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness!


See, also:
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Older dogs with a history of lifelong training perform better on measures of attention.

Reward-based training protects older dogs - like this Border collie - from declines in attention
Photo: Mary Lynn Strand / Shutterstock

We know that as people get older, they may experience cognitive decline including in attention. We are used to hearing that doing lots of different activities that engage the brain may help to ward off some of these changes. It turns out that may also be the case for dogs.

As dogs get older, they experience a decline in attention just as older people do. But lifelong training can help to prevent this decline, according to research published last year by scientists at the Messerli Research Institute at the Vetmeduni Vienna. This is good news, because attention is important for human-canine communication and for other processes.

The study took pet dogs aged between 6 and just over 14 years. They were divided into 3 age groups: late adulthood (between 6 and 8 years), seniors (8 up until 10 years), and geriatric (10 years or over). There were 75 Border collies (59 of which were tested in an earlier study) and 110 dogs of other breeds and mixed-breeds.

They all took part in two experiments that were designed to be naturalistic such that the dogs did not need any prior training. The owners completed a questionnaire that included the dog’s participation in 13 different types of training, including puppy class, obedience, agility, service dog training, hunting/nose work, trick training/dog dancing, and sheep dog training.

The first experiment tested the extent to which a social or non-social stimulus could get and keep the dog’s attention. The non-social stimulus was a toy attached to some wire so that it could be moved up and down in front of the dog for 1 minute. The social stimulus was a person who came in, kept her back to the dog, and painted an imaginary wall for 1 minute.

A dog takes part in a study of the effects of training on attention in older dogs
A dog taking part in the first experiment. Photo: The Clever Dog Lab, Messerli Institute

The results showed that senior and geriatric dogs took longer to look at both stimuli than those in late adulthood, and there was no effect of lifelong training on this. All of the dogs looked for longer at the person than at the toy.

Sustained attention declined with age and was worst in the geriatric dogs. But dogs with a high level of lifelong training kept their attention on the stimulus for longer than those with a low level of training.

Durga Chapagain, first author of the paper, said,

“The decrement of sustained attention in the older dogs is due to the repetitive, monotonous and non-arousing nature of the task, leading to a decrease in endogenous attentional control as the task advances.” 

The second experiment looked at selective attention. Each dog took part in a 5-minute clicker training session. At the very beginning, the experimenter called the dog to her and threw a piece of sausage on the floor. Then, every time the dog made eye contact with her, she clicked and then threw a piece of sausage on the floor. If the dog lost interest, she crinkled the plastic bag. We all know that’s a good way to get a dog’s attention!

This task requires the dog to switch attention from making eye contact with the person to finding the food on the floor.

Even older dogs can learn new tricks, as shown in this study of aging of attentiveness
A dog learning to make eye contact during the clicker training session. Photo: The Clever Dog Lab, Messerli Institute

Unlike in humans, age did not affect selective attention in this task.

Dogs with higher scores for lifelong training and also dogs with prior experience of clicker training made eye contact faster than those with low levels of lifelong training and those with no specific experience of clicker training.

Older dogs took longer to find the food on the floor, with geriatric dogs taking the longest, and this ties in with previous work on aging in dogs. There were no differences due to lifelong training in the time to find food, but dogs with prior clicker training experience were quicker to find the food than those without. The clicker-trained dogs had more experience at looking for food after the click, by definition, and the researchers say they may also have increased anticipation of food.

They point out that all kinds of training involve the dog looking at the human. From these results, it’s not possible to separate the effects of clicker training specifically from other kinds of training, as clicker training contributed to the lifelong training scores.

It is probably no surprise that dogs with prior experience at clicker training did better at the clicker training, but it is worth noting that all of the dogs improved at the task of making eye contact during the 5 minute session. So it shows that you can train an old dog new tricks.

And of course the fact that dogs with more lifelong training did better on this selective attention task is very promising.

Friederike Range, senior author of the paper, said,

“Dogs with a high lifelong training score reacted faster in both measures of attention. This result is indeed a convincing proof for dog-owners to engage their dogs in different forms of physical and mental training, if they want their furry friends to retain their attentional abilities during aging.” 

For the Border collie owners out there who want to know how this breed compared to the other dogs, there were actually few differences, but the Border collies were faster at finding the food dropped on the floor. Because there was a wide variety of breeds and mixed-breeds in the other group, it’s possible that a larger sample size might have found other differences.

This is a fascinating study that suggests reward-based training has cognitive benefits that persist into the dog’s later life.

The paper is open access and you can read it via the link below, and you can follow the Clever Dog Lab on Facebook.

Reference
Chapagain, D., Virányi, Z., Wallis, L. J., Huber, L., Serra, J., & Range, F. (2017). Aging of attentiveness in border collies and other pet dog breeds: the protective benefits of lifelong training. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 9, 100.

Companion Animal Psychology is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Companion Animal Psychology is also a participant in the Etsy Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Etsy.com.

Here’s some vital information that I hope will save a life and reduce suffering! –Kim

By Dr. Karen Becker, DVM

I talk a lot about vaccine dangers, and I often mention a condition called vaccinosis.

Since vaccinosis isn’t recognized by most traditional veterinarians and isn’t something many pet owners have ever heard of before, I thought it would be helpful to do a short video to explain the condition.

 

Vaccinosis Defined

First, let’s talk about what vaccinosis isn’t.

It isn’t an acute, often immediate adverse reaction to a vaccine. Adverse events, or hypersensitivities, whether mild (such as lethargy, flu-like symptoms, etc.), or severe (such as anaphylactic shock), that are clearly linked to a recent vaccination are widely acknowledged by the traditional veterinary community.

Unfortunately, these reactions are considered by traditional vets to be occasional aberrations that result from a basically safe procedure.

Vaccinosis, on the other hand, is a problem only holistic veterinarians seem willing to acknowledge. It is a reaction of a pet’s body to vaccines that have been injected without the pet having experienced a notable adverse event or hypersensitivity. These are chronic reactions to not only the altered virus contained in the vaccine, but also to the chemicals, adjuvants, and other components of tissue culture cell lines – as well as possible genetic changes – that can be induced by vaccines.

Dr. Richard Pitcairn, who holds a PhD in immunology, defines it this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”

Dr. Pitcairn: Vaccines Create Chronic Disease

According to Dr. Pitcairn, vaccines intended to protect pets against acute natural diseases actually create chronic conditions with features of the disease the vaccine was supposed to prevent.

This transformation begins in the laboratory, where natural viruses are modified in order to make vaccines.

Whereas the natural virus would trigger a strong immune system response, the modified lab-created virus in the vaccine doesn’t elicit much of a reaction by the animal’s immune system. Instead, it creates chronic disease.

The delivery of a vaccine is also very different from how a natural disease develops in an animal’s body.

Vaccines contain a number of toxic substances, including viruses, mutated bacteria, immune irritants, foreign proteins, and chemical preservatives. All of these toxins are delivered by injection directly into the blood and lymph, bypassing the usual first line of defenses, including the skin, mucous membranes, saliva, and so forth. So not only is the virus in the vaccine unnatural, the way it enters a pet’s body is also very unnatural.

When you look at the situation from this perspective, it’s easy to see how abnormal immune reactions are triggered by vaccinations.

Your Pet’s Individual Risk of Vaccinosis

The strength and balance of every animal’s immune system is different, so there’s no way to predict – unless your dog or cat has had a reaction in the past – how much danger your pet is in from exposure to the modified virus contained in any given vaccine or the many toxic ingredients it contains.

That’s why I strongly encourage pet owners to avoid all unnecessary vaccines and re-vaccinations [i.e., “booster” shots].

Symptoms of Vaccinosis

COMMON VACCINE REACTIONS INCLUDE:

Lethargy Stiffness
Hair loss Lack of appetite
Hair color change at injection site Conjunctivitis
Fever Sneezing
Soreness Oral ulcers

1. You think my tail wagging is always an invitation for you to pet me more. Wrong!
Italian researchers found that dogs wag their tails slightly to the right when they see something they like and to the left when they’re confronted with something they want to back away from.

2. You might buy any old dog-grooming brush at the pet store…
…but you should really pick the right one for my coat. A rubber brush will promote circulation and loosen dirt. A bristle brush removes dead hair.

3. You’re giving me too much food.
How can you tell? I don’t seem motivated by food treats when you’re trying to train me. Cut back, and I’ll start to pay attention.

4. Grooming day means you bring out the big blow-dryer. Don’t!
To make dogs like me look fluffy, shake a little cornstarch into the base of the fur and then brush. It will absorb oil and grease and detangle matted fur.

5. Please don’t rush me when I’m going to the bathroom.
There’s a reason dogs circle around before getting down to business: We have an instinct to be aligned with the earth’s magnetic field before we poop. In fact, researchers watched 70 of us engage in 1,893 defecations over a two-year period just to figure this out.

6. You may think it’s nice to let me sleep all day, but too much nap time can affect my personality.
A lot of behavioral problems can be solved by just taking your dog on a daily walk or by playing with your cat for 20 minutes every day.

7. Since I’m an old dog, I get to eat whatever I want, yes? No!
If I have arthritis, I’ll be much happier if you give me a daily supplement that contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which protect joint cartilage. And switch me to a food formulated for an animal my age.

8. If you lose me
…the first thing you should do is call every animal shelter within 100 miles of home, and visit the nearest shelters every day if you can. Many animal control bureaus euthanize animals if they go unclaimed for a specific amount of time. (For good measure, be sure to get me a microchip when I’m young.)

9. If you’re getting me spayed
…ask your vet if she can remove just my ovaries, not my uterus. A much less invasive procedure, it’s the way cats and dogs are spayed in Europe, and many U.S. veterinarians have already made the switch.

10. Because I’m a creature of habit, even a subtle change in my behavior is a red flag that I might be sick.
So if it takes me an hour to eat my food instead of 60 seconds as usual, if I’m tiring out faster when we play, if there are more urine clumps in the litter box than usual, or if I seem to be drinking more water, call the vet right away.

11. There’s no question that if you keep me inside and don’t let me wander the neighborhood…
I’ll have a better chance of living a longer life. I won’t get hit by a car, stolen, or just plain lost. But once I’ve been allowed to roam free, it’ll be hard to change me.

12. Please introduce me around when I’m young so I’m not afraid of strangers.
Some experts say I should meet 100 new people of different sizes, genders, and ethnicities in my first 100 days at home, even if it’s just a quick greeting. Make sure you include people wearing hats and sunglasses, since those accessories can look awfully scary to me.

13. You may think it’s cute when I rub my butt on the carpet…
…but it probably means that I’m itchy and would like to see a vet.

14. When you’re choosing a new furry friend, ask a vet or trainer for simple tests you can do to gauge temperament.
For example, you can try rolling me over on my back to see how I handle it. If I really struggle, I’m probably going to be tougher to train than an animal who lies there placidly.

15. Forget the Milk-Bones!
If you want me to really pay attention when you’re training me, use a treat that’s moist, something so gross, you don’t even want to hold it in your hand, like a piece of greasy chicken.

16. While some of us gulp down grass only if we’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with us and we’re trying to regurgitate it…
…others of us just love to munch the lawn. So let me graze – just make sure the grass I’m eating is free of pesticides.

17. Beware, Mom, because I will eat your underwear…
…especially if they’ve been worn. Veterinarians surgically remove hundreds of pairs from dogs’ bellies every year.

18. Please, please can I choose my own bed?
The most comfortable one will depend on how I sleep. Let me try out a few in a pet store. If I usually sleep with my legs sprawled out, I’ll be more comfortable on a flat bed without side bumpers. But if I like to curl up, I’ll probably love a bumper bed.

19. You say I’m great with kids, but…
…if I’m licking, pulling my ears back, turning my head away, or yawning (all signs of anxiety) while they play with me, I’m probably just barely tolerating them. If you keep letting them pull my tail, one of these days, I might lose it.

20. Hold those clippers!
No matter how high the mercury climbs or how long my hair is, I don’t need to be shaved. My undercoat actually insulates me from heat, so it helps me stay cool. Just make sure you keep my coat brushed and mat-free to promote good air circulation.

21. If you leave me in the backyard when you’re not home…
…don’t fool yourself that I’m going to run around and have fun. The truth is, I’m probably going to sit in one spot and wait for you to return. Dogs are den animals, and many of us prefer to be inside, ideally with you.

22. I love to fetch and would like to learn how to catch a flying disc…
…but those hard plastic FRISBEEs can hurt my teeth and gums. Instead, look for a soft one at a pet store.

23. If I’m not used to strangers and you reach out toward me when you first meet me…
…your hand may as well be a meat cleaver. Instead, crouch down on one leg and look slightly away. Then let me approach you and give you a sniff.

24. Let’s get one thing straight: Declawing is not the same as cutting our nails.
It’s a hideous, painful surgery that’s much more like amputating the last two knuckles of your fingers. If my scratching is really bad, try glue-on nail caps.

25. If I’m spraying “outside the box,” I’m not being spiteful.
Something is stressing me out. It may be a new person, a new pet, or even a new piece of furniture in the house that seems to be encroaching on my territory.

26. I’m confused. When I jumped up on you earlier…
…you gave me such a nice pet. But now you’re mad at me for jumping on Aunt Martha. Am I allowed to jump up or not?

27. If you let me on the furniture now, while I’m young and cute…
…I will always think it’s OK, no matter how big I get.

28. What do you mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
My owner taught me to fetch the newspaper from the driveway and take it to him when I was ten.

29. Remember when I was little and you shoved my nose in a puddle of pee I left?
I have no idea why you did that. Instead, get me outside as quickly as possible and praise me whenever I pee outdoors.

30. Want me to learn to walk by your side on a leash?
Well, give me some incentive. As soon as I start to pull ahead, stop walking. When I turn and look back, offer me a treat right next to your leg. I’ll quickly figure out I need to stay next to you in order to keep doing what I love most: moving and exploring.

31. If you’re tired of finding pet hair on your sofa and want to keep me off…
…try a Scat Mat, which gives out a small, harmless electrostatic pulse when it’s stepped on. Or buy a car mat and turn it upside down on your couch, so the little rubber prongs are facing up. I hate those.

32. When I bark, jump, and grab the towel off the countertop…
…I’m not trying to be bad. I’m just bored! I want your attention! Please, get off your smartphone and play with me.

33. If I’m a dog who is scared of thunderstorms or loud noises, get me a snug-fitting Thundershirt.
Or you can make your own. Wrap an Ace bandage across my chest, cross it over the top of my body and then back under, going over and under until it’s midway down my back, and then secure it. The constant pressure against the middle of my body will help ease my anxiety and calm me down.

34. Remember, my digestive system is very different from yours.
Raisins and grapes can shut down a dog’s kidneys. Other dangerous foods include chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts and avocado.

35. Want my coat to be thick and shiny?
Make sure my diet has plenty of essential fatty acids. Most high-quality commercial pet foods have enough, but pets on low-quality foods or homemade diets that aren’t balanced may develop a dull coat.

36. Every bag of pet food has an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the label…
…although you might need a magnifying glass to read it. Look for one that says the food has undergone animal feeding trials rather than one that’s been “formulated” by a computer. The trials are expensive, but they indicate that real dogs actually ate the food for six months with good results.

37. Check with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist before giving me a homemade-food diet.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, who examined 200 recipes last year for home-prepared dog food found that 95 percent had some serious nutritional deficiencies.

38. Did you hear the hype about grain-free cat and dog food?
That’s what it is: hype. There’s nothing wrong with feeding me grains – they can actually be an important part of a balanced diet. Before you make any change, talk to your vet.

39. If you switch me to a raw diet, I may end up with cracked teeth or a bacterial infection.
Also, exposure to my feces could put anyone with a weakened immune system at risk. That’s why the ASPCA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other institutions all strongly discourage raw diets.

Sources: Brian Hare, PhD, codirector of the Canine Cognition Center at Duke University; Rebecca Remillard, PhD, DVM, DACVN, a veterinary nutritionist at North Carolina State University and founder of petdiets.com; Jorge Bendersky, a groomer and pet stylist in New York City; Spencer Williams, owner and president of West Paw Design, a company that makes pet toys and beds; Nancy Kay, DVM, author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life; Jennifer Coates, DVM, veterinary adviser to petmd.com; Victoria Schade, dog-training and behavioral expert at pet360.com and author of Bonding with Your Dog: A Trainer’s Secrets for Building a Better Relationship; Sophia Yin, DVM, a veterinarian and animal behaviorist and the author of How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves; K. C. Theisen, director of pet-care issues at the Humane Society of the United States; Amy Farcas, DVM, DACVN, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of Pennsylvania; Marilyn Krieger, cat behavioral consultant and author of Naughty No More; Karen “Doc” Halligan, DVM, author of Doc Halligan’s What Every Pet Owner Should Know; Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist and host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell; Stephen Zawistowski, PhD, animal behaviorist and adviser at the ASPCA.