MAY 3, 2012 Issue #35 Published by Sue Skiff







Wouldn't you know it? As soon as I started getting back into writing my e-zine, I became really busy, and had a hard time finding the time to write. I wish that I could say that this busy -ness was due to my stellar writing bringing in tons of new clients, but I can't. I have been getting income from being busy, however. So, that's a good thing.

I am having trouble understanding the weather these days. For those of you that don't live around here; since I wrote 2 1/2 weeks ago, we have had summer weather, followed by winter weather, followed by spring weather, followed, again, by winter weather. I, personally, would like a regular spring.

Okay, enough rambling. This is kind of a different e-zine issue. There is no article giving tips on training. Instead, I have written an article about the appropriateness of hugging and kissing your dog; prompted by a client with grandchildren and a young, unpredictable German shepherd. The other main article is about great gray owls, which I studied in Yosemite in the late 1980's. I don't know why, it just seems like this issue has a more serious tome to it than normal.

Emma is sad that she is not getting any questions for her advice column, and has asked me to remind you that she needs them. You can just reply to this e-mail, if you have anything that you would like to know.




Humans often show affection by sharing hugs and kisses with each other. So, naturally, we want to show our dogs affection in the same way. However, one has to question whether this is appropriate from the dog’s point of view. I say “no.”

Let’s look at kissing. When dogs “kiss” someone on the face, they are not doing it as a sign of affection, but as a sign of submission. Facial licking in dogs originated from wolf puppies licking the faces of adult wolves to stimulate the regurgitation of food by the adults. Wolf, and dog, puppies, alike, often show submission to older pack members by licking the older pack members on the face. Thus if you kiss your dog on the face, your dog can interpret this as you showing submission to it, which is confusing when you consider the fact that you are supposed to be the one in charge. So, it’s best to let your dog supply the kisses to your face, rather than the other way around.

What about giving hugs to your dog? Surely, your dog appreciates a hug to let it know that you love it, right? I’m sorry to tell you this, but probably not. Dogs simply don’t hug. There are a couple of instances where two dogs might approximate hugging. One is when they are fighting, or play fighting. The other is when one is mounting the other; which can either be for sex, or to show dominance. Again, your attempts to show affection to your dog in this way can send confusing signals to your dog. Dogs can easily misinterpret the meaning of a hug. Also, many dogs feel confined by hugging, and will squirm to get away. Not exactly the reaction their people are looking for.

Why am I bringing this up? I was recently working with a client whose German shepherd had issues about having its face and paws handled. The dog would try to get away, and if that didn’t work, he would act like he was going to bite. I gave the client some tools to work with to teach the dog to be comfortable with handling by people. However, I became concerned when he talked about his grandchildren hugging the dog. Just the idea of a child’s face near the jaws of that shepherd made me extremely uncomfortable, and I told my client so.

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Recently, I had a phone conversation with a man that I did research on great gray owls with in Yosemite. It was a shock for me to realize that it has been more than 20 years since we did that research. Where does the time go? Anyway, it got me thinking about those days, and thinking about the owls. I know that in the past I wrote about things from the male great gray owl perspective. Now, let’s take a look at what being a California great gray owl means.

Great gray owls are an arctic species. They can be found all over the arctic; Scandinavia, Siberia, northern Canada, Alaska, etc. They are built for cold. This means that they are mostly feathers. A female great gray owl (female owls are bigger than their male counterparts) can stand almost 3 feet tall. She looks massive. However, she weighs in at only about 4 pounds max. By contrast, the smaller in stature, and much more common, great horned owl, only reaches about 27 inches in height, while weighing up to 5 ½ pounds. Great gray owls are a mass of feathers around an itty-bitty body. As, I said, they are built for the cold.

Knowing the above, it is strange to think of great gray owls as living in “sunny” California. But, live in California they do. However, their range in this state is limited to the Yosemite area; separated by hundreds of miles from their relatives in Oregon. Yes, it gets cold in Yosemite; it got down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit sometimes when I lived there. That’s awfully cold for a San Francisco Bay Area native. However, it is nothing compared to the subzero temperatures of the arctic. And, it gets hot in Yosemite in the summer. Let me tell you; I spent many summer days observing those feather- laden owls looking mighty hot; their mouths open wide as they engaged in gular fluttering (the bird equivalent of panting).

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Silver Lining Pet Services is the business owned by Sue Skiff. It provides both dog training and pet sitting services.

If you own a dog, then look to Sue to alleviate any fears and frustrations that you have over your dog's behavior. Sue will come to your home, and set up a training program that is customized to your, and your dog's, needs. You can even have Sue do the training for you, in your home, while you go about your business. If you don't live within Sue's service area, you can contact Sue about setting up a Skype, or phone, appointment.

The first 15 minutes are free As for pet sitting services, Silver Lining Pet Services endeavors to give traveling pet owners peace of mind that their pets will be well cared for while they are away.

For further information on the services provided by Silver Lining Pet Services, please visit our website.

Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is: 1547 Palos Verdes Mall #202 Walnut Creek, Ca 94597