A Guide to Working Out With Your Dog at Home

Man’s best friend is also man’s best workout buddy! According to our research, 73% of dog owners think their four-legged friends make great workout companions and help to keep them motivated.

This ulti-mutt workout guide is packed with ideas and inspiration – whether you’re looking for some fun new exercises to try at home, or tips to keep your pet entertained on a rainy day. Read on to discover moves for building strength, balance and cardio, and don’t fear, we’ve included plenty of time for toys and treats for your four-legged friend! 

As well as keeping you both active, exercising with your dog means spending quality time together – which they are sure to love. Remember, all dogs are unique and their exercise needs vary. Make sure you always have plenty of fresh water available and please consult your GP and vet before embarking on a new exercise regime for yourself and your pooch.

Squat & Paw

Our single favourite exercise is a simple squat with your dog—it’s so easy to do at home and you’ll be teaching your dog a fun new trick!

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lower your hips, keeping your weight in the heels and your chest up. Your knees should not go past your toes when you look down. 
  2. To include your dog, alternate which hand goes forward on each rep and ask your pooch for ‘paw’.
  3. Repeat. (Who will tire out first? Hint – probably you!)
  4. You can use a treat if your dog needs more than just a verbal cue. 

Did you know? Squats work muscles in the lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductor, hip flexors, and calves) as well as the upper body (shoulders, arms, chest, and back)—all of which support everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, bending, and carrying heavy items. Squats also improve flexibility and strengthen your core, which supports your back. 

Wag & Weave

Your dog might not be destined for Crufts, but some light agility training can be a great challenge for their mind and body. 

  1. Lay down some cones (or simply a dog-safe household item, such as cushions or books) in a line. 
  2. Depending on your dog’s level of training, use a treat, toy or verbal instructions to encourage them to follow you walking around the cones. 
  3. Make sure to reward them with lots of affection (or a healthy treat!) when you reach the end. 

Eventually, you can increase the pace to improve endurance and coordination for both you and your dog.

Twist & Treat

An important step in giving your dog a great all-round workout is to train their brain! Engage your dog by letting them see a toy, then enclose it in your hands. 

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and step back into a reverse lunge. 
  2. Twist your torso in the opposite direction on each rep with your hands holding the toy clasped in front of you, so your dog moves from side to side as you rotate. 
  3. Reward your dog often with lots of love or a treat.

Another option is to play fetch (if you have the space!) as you complete your reps.

Tug of War

This is a great one to reinforce the human-canine bond, as well as have some fun with your four-legged friend! 

  1. Using your dog’s favourite tug of war toy, hold onto one end of the toy.
  2.  Drop down into a squat whilst your dog takes the other end in their mouth. 

Make sure you take breaks so not to over-excite your dog and try not to get too competitive – letting them win is rewarding and can build their confidence. Avoid this move if your dog has any dental concerns.

Lunge & Balance

This is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles in your legs, whilst stimulating and tiring your dog out as you task them with following your directions. Make sure you are telling your pup how good they are doing when they listen to your direction to sit, lay down, and stay. You may need a little more space for this one so make sure you move any furniture out the way.

  1. Start with a 2-3 minute jog on the spot to get you and your dog moving
  2. Do a static lunge and ask your dog to sit, hold for ten seconds. TIP: Make sure your knee is line with your ankle and not over your toes. And your weight should be in your front heel.
  3. Walk forward a few paces and then lunge with the other leg, asking your dog to sit again. Hold for ten seconds. Keep this going for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stand on your left leg and tell your dog to lay down.
  5. Reach down and pet your dog, continuing to stand on your left leg.
  6. Come back up to your starting position and then reach down five more times.
  7. Repeat with your right leg.

Did you know? When you’re balancing, you’re improving your stabiliser muscles that often go unused. Balance training has many benefits including improved body awareness, coordination, and reaction time—and all these things work together to decrease your chances of injury from falling.

Making Fetch Happen

For dogs with great recall, try this move to get you active too! Throw a ball or toy for your dog to fetch, then instead of standing waiting, Burpee as many times as you can until your dog returns. This one is great if you have a long corridor, otherwise the living room is just fine. 

For the burpees:

  1. Bend your knees and place your hands on the floor. 
  2. Kick your legs out behind you and lower your entire body down to the floor, bending your elbows. 
  3. Push your body back up from the floor and jump your legs in. Jump straight up in the air, and repeat! 

Raising the Bar

Hopping over hurdles is a fun activity to try with your dog either indoors or outdoors, and provides you both with a great cardio workout!

  1. Set up your dog hurdles at home. There are a range of dog hurdles available to buy, but as a first step you can use household items, such as cushions, to create a mini obstacle course. 
  2. Hop over the jumps and lead your dog with a toy, treat or verbal cue.
  3. You can make the hurdles higher once your dog starts to get the hang of things. 

Remember to always take your dog’s size into account, and build a height-appropriate course.

Sit!-Up

A great exercise for engaging your core, and your dog!

  1. Start lying down on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Hold your dog’s favourite toy in both hands clasped in front of you – engage your dog by letting them see the toy, then do a half sit-up, stopping at the point where you can feel your abs engaging. 
  3. Lift your feet off the ground to intensify the move! 
  4. Twist your torso from side to side, pausing on each rep to encourage your dog to chase your hands or play fetch as you continue your reps. 

Tip: Keep the movement slow and controlled, and don’t forget to reward your dog with lots of love between sets.

Plank & Pass

Start by picking up your dog’s favourite toy—they’ll be sure to be engaged straight away.

  1. Get yourself into a plank position holding the toy in your right hand. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your back & legs forming a straight line. 
  2. Take your weight onto your left arm and extend your right arm out to the right, then across the front of your body to the left. 
  3. Repeat five times with your right arm, then change sides. 
  4. Keep your dog engaged so they chase the toy from side to side as you move. Make sure to reward your dog with ‘happy talk’ (or a treat!) between sets.  

Did you know? Planks are not only one of the best core exercises (a strong core is important in providing support for your back), they target nearly every muscle in your body, and also strengthen your skeletal system.

Downward Dawg

End your workout with a little Doga (that’s yoga with your dog, for the uninitiated!). Take some time to sit together and pet your pooch, bringing down the energy after a fun workout together. When your dog is stretching out, do a Downward Dog with them – this yoga move is inspired by the way our canine companions stretch their bodies and gives us a full-body stretch. For a gentler version, try a Child’s Pose while your dog is lying on their front; enjoy this light stretch and a moment to connect.

  1. Child’s pose: Get on your knees and sit back on your heels, reaching your arms straight out in front of you.
  2. Down dog: On your hands and feet, push your hips back. You will feel a stretch in your calves and achilles. Meanwhile, let your dog interact with you. Have them sit or lay down when you transition back and forth between child’s pose and down dog.

Some tips to incorporate your dog into your yoga practice:

  • Let your dog’s curiosity lead the way
  • Smaller dogs can be lifted during poses like “Warrior I”
  • Practice stretching alongside a larger dog
  • Rest together naturally during quieter poses

Why Your Dog Eats Your Cat’s Food (and Vice Versa)

Mealtimes in my multi-pet household can be frantic: the dogs stand under the cat tree hoping to catch pieces of fallen food, the cats gather round the dog bowls waiting for a chance to snag a bite, and I dance around them all trying not to trip. If you have a dog + cat combo at home, this is probably a familiar scene.

It’s common for dogs to slobber at the scent of cat food, and for cats to take an interest in the dog bowl.  Cats and dogs sharing food with each other is indisputably cute…but is it safe? Cats vs. dogs is a favourite argument among pet enthusiasts, but their different dietary needs are not debatable.

Why Your Dog Loves Cat Food

via imgur

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they depend on nutrients found only in meat to survive (source). They can have a little bit of plant matter, but cat bodies require meat to function, and commercial cat food is loaded with protein. Dogs are able to eat an omnivorous diet (meat, plants, and grains), so their food has a broader range of ingredients.

If they can eat more than just plain old meat, why do dogs love cat food so much? Well, think about the pungent aroma that arises from a freshly-popped can of cat food. Cat food is specifically formulated to appeal to your carnivorous cat, but that juicy, meaty goodness will get your dog salivating, too.

Another reason cat food appeals to dogs: it’s there! Many cats free-feed, meaning their food is left out all day long. Depending on how food-motivated your dog is, sometimes the mere presence of off-limits, delicious-smelling food can cause an obsession (it certainly does in my house).

Why Your Dog Shouldn’t Eat A Lot of Cat Food

If cat food is full of meat and smells delicious to dogs, you have to wonder: can dogs eat cat food? The answer is, yes and no (but mostly no). Your dog can safely sample a bit of your kitty’s chow. I sometimes let my dogs lick the cat food spoon as a treat! But a diet consisting solely of cat food won’t give your dog the balanced nutrition they need.

Think about humans’ reactions to our favourite junk food; we know our body needs a balanced, healthy diet, but sometimes a burger and chips just smells and tastes so goodFeeding your dog a cat food-only diet would be like feeding yourself McDonald’s every day. It might sound delicious at first, but in the long run, it’s a bad idea.

Overconsumption of cat food can cause health problems for dogs, including:

  • Gastrointestinal distress in the short term (my dog always ends up with a bad case of the f-a-r-t-s)
  • Higher obesity risk as time goes on (thanks to the high protein and fat content in cat food)
  • Kidney problems in the long run (particularly in older, already-vulnerable dogs)

Bottom line: you don’t have to panic if your dog gets into the cat food, but you shouldn’t make it part of her regular diet.

Why Your Cat Needs More Than Dog Food

food-sharing-bw

While it’s not ideal, a dog could live on a cat food diet for a while. A cat, on the other hand, cannot subsist on dog food alone. While a bite or two of dog food won’t hurt your cat, a dog food diet is lacking several essential ingredients to kitty health.

As mentioned, cats are obligate carnivores, and they need a meat-based diet with the appropriate nutrition. There are a few essential ingredients in cat food that just don’t come up in dog food:

  • High protein content. Without the right amount of protein, cats lose muscle mass and become lethargic.
  • Taurine. This amino acid is critical for vision, digestion, heart function, fetal development, and a healthy immune system in cats (source). Cats get taurine from a high-protein, meat-based diet, but commercial cat foods add extra taurine to make up for what’s lost in processing. Dogs don’t need as much taurine, so it isn’t added to their foods, meaning a dog food diet cannot keep a cat healthy.
  • Vitamin A. As explained by Doctors Foster and Smith, “dogs can use beta-carotene as a source of Vitamin A; cats cannot.” Commercial cat food is formulated to include the appropriate level of Vitamin A for cats, and they simply won’t get that from dog food.

It’s a little less common for cats to go cuckoo for dog kibble, but if you happen to have one of those special cats, just keep an eye on them and make sure they’re eating their own food too, even if they get a doggy sample once in a while.

How to Handle Feeding Time

via instagram/keegangbrown

We’ve established that a dog shouldn’t eat cat food, and a cat shouldn’t eat dog food, but in a busy, multi-pet household, how on earth can you keep them apart?

Separate feeding areas are a start. In my house, I feed the cats on a tall, sturdy cat tree where the dogs can’t reach. Raised surfaces are ideal for cat feeding, but if your cat is older or has mobility issues, instead of moving their food up, just move it to a closed-off area in your home. Here’s a list of DIY cat feeding station ideas to get you started:

  • A stable bookshelf
  • A wide windowsill
  • An empty countertop (so long as you don’t mind your cat having access)
  • A dedicated “cat shelf” like the one shown here
  • A utility room or walk-in closet with a cat door installed
  • dog-proof feeding station (you can make your own out of an up-cycled chest or side table)

Just make sure your cat-feeding surface is secure in case your dog tests the limits. You don’t want a broken door, or a bookshelf toppling over on top of your eager pup!

As for keeping the cat out of the dog bowl, closed doors are the cheapest and easiest solution. Simply feed your dog in a separate room, and don’t open the door until all the food is gone! If you don’t have extra doors to close, a raised dog feeder can help keep your cat from getting into the bowl. You can also try hand-feeding your dog (doubles as a great training opportunity), or simply feed both species at the same time so they stay busy with their own food.

At the end of the day, a little bit of kitty kibble won’t hurt your dog, and a bite or two of dog food won’t harm your cat. But dogs and cats have different nutritional needs, and neither one should rely on the other’s diet. Cats and dogs can live together harmoniously, but their diets just don’t mix.

We may have an endless stream of informative pet-themed content here at Rover.com  but we also have loads of fantastic dog walkers and sitters—many of whom offer dog boarding in your area–so you’re sure to find someone who’ll love to spend quality time with your dog when you need some extra help!

Do Dogs Smile?

Have you ever seen your dog flash you a silly smile? Does it just warm your heart? It’s got all the characteristics of a smile—open mouth, tongue hanging down, those cute pearly whites—but is that goofy facial expression an actual smile? And does it mean you have a happy dog?

A smile can definitely tell us how a human feels, but a smile isn’t the best indicator of a dog’s emotional state. Instead, we look for a dog’s body language—a wagging tail, a wiggly body, and an energetic attitude. But, let’s be honest, there are times when a dog appears to be wearing a big old silly grin.

So, do dogs smile? There’s no definitive scientific answer to this question, though many dog owners will swear their dog is a serial smiler. What we do know is that it’s perfectly natural to project our own behaviours and feelings onto animals, even when they may not actually apply. Moreover, each dog expresses herself differently—a single look doesn’t mean the same thing on every dog.

That said, there are a few ways to think about what it means when our dogs show us their pearly whites. Sometimes we’re seeing the submissive grin, sometimes the snarl, and sometimes the smile.

The Submissive Grin

This looks something like a smile because a dog will show their teeth. But it’s actually a gesture that indicates submission, fear, or social awkwardness. The dog will lift the front part of his lip below the nose, exposing the front incisors.

This dog behaviour can happen when a dog encounters a larger or more dominant dog, or when a new situation arises and the dog isn’t sure what to expect. Sometimes a dog may be confused by a new situation and she’ll make this expression as a catch-all backup plan. Like the teenager shrugging his shoulders. She may be saying, “Mum, what’s all this business? I really don’t know if I like it.”

You’ll find a few examples below.  The Chihuahua is giving a true submissive grin. And in the video, Rubi the dachshund repeatedly makes this face, almost involuntarily, while her owner plants raspberries on her belly. Perhaps she’s thinking, “What is this?! I love it, hate it, love it!”

When you see this face, consider the full context of the situation, look for other body language, and take into account the dog’s overall disposition and behaviour patterns.

The Snarl

This is a more familiar and truly defensive expression, a warning to other dogs to check themselves. It’s only slightly different in appearance from the submissive grin. With the grin, a dog lifts his front lip up like a window shade. With a snarl, the mouth pulls back and up, using more facial muscles.

You’ll often see this face on dogs who feel protective of their food, or when a new or smaller dog arrives on the scene and he needs to be put in his place. Some dogs use this face quite often, but you may never see this expression on a laid-back, happy-go-lucky pet. It may even be an early warning sign of aggression.

The Smile?

While there is no technical definition for a dog smile, dog lovers tend to know one when they see one. The dog looks relaxed and joyful. His mouth is open, his tongue is visible, and you see an upward curl at the fold of the lips. The dog has a relaxed body, his tail is wagging, and his whole being just looks happy.

But is this proof the dog is blissed out and completely loving life? Maybe. It’s hard to know. Certain breeds, particularly those with smushed noses, look very smiley when they’re panting or tired. Pugs have a naturally smiley face, for example, but they’re also generally easygoing dogs.

The Bottom Line

When we see a smiling dog, we can’t assume the dog is feeling ecstatic. If she’s just finished your four-mile training run, she’s probably trying to cool down and catch her breath. She was happy back at mile one. If you’ve taken her to the dog park to see her best friend or to the beach and she’s been splashing around in the waves, she’s probably tired and happy!

Of course, you know your dog best. And in the beaming face of uncertainty, it’s nice to just enjoy that gorgeous smile and give one right back.

8 Best Dog Breeds for Cat Lovers

I’m wholeheartedly a dog person, but my partner is a cat person. When it comes time to choose a dog, we’ll have to come to a compromise. Does this sound like you? Then check out this list of dog breeds that’ll win the hearts of any cat lover, thanks to their feline traits. This could be a great bargaining chip for convincing your loved ones to jump on the crazy dog owner bandwagon. From tiny lap dogs to the large and aloof, these dogs are the best breeds for cat lovers.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

flickr/baroqueflutist

These adorably goofy dogs are about the same size as your average cat. They’re also known for being quiet and stubborn. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were popular amongst royalty in the 17th century, and even got their name from King Charles II, who is said to have never gone anywhere without at least two or three in tow. (Sort of like how cats were popular amongst royalty in ancient Egypt, except maybe without the whole worshipping thing.) Still, these spaniels have certainly had a charmed existence!

2. Basenji

flickr/clockworkdog

Basenjis, sometimes called the barkless dog, are well-known for their quiet demeanour. They don’t often make noise, but when they do, it sounds more like a yodel than a typical bark. Like cats, Basenjis love to hunt. They were domesticated to be hunting dogs, which also might explain why they’re so quiet. As one of the more shy breeds, Basenjis can take a while to warm up to people—while being very attached to their owners.

3. Papillon

papillon top 10 smartest dog breeds

Don’t be fooled by that silly grin. Papillons are actually highly intelligent and assertive. Like cats, papillons bond fiercely with their human counterparts. They may look like lap dogs, but most papillons are happier hunting insects and small rodents around the house and garden. And also like most cats, papillons are known to live well into their teens, making them a great companion for first-time pet parents.

4. Whippet

Via Flickr/Ari Helminen

Whippets have very thin coats, so they’re better suited for living in a flat. They should be kept inside anytime it’s cold enough for a jacket. A cat probably wouldn’t tolerate being dressed in a jumper, but you can definitely put one on your whippet for winter walks. Whippets and cats share a strong prey drive. They both go nuts hunting down smaller animals. For this reason, whippets and cats may not do well in a house together! Finally, when their exercise needs are met, whippets tend to be lazy around the house. Like cats, they love to lounge in warm spaces.

5. Shiba Inu

This Japanese breed shot to popularity in 2012 with the emergence of the popular doge meme, but did you know that Shiba Inus are also known for bearing a surprising amount of feline qualities? Shiba Inus are fiercely independent. They like to lurk around the house alone, hunting smaller creatures with cat-like agility. Their tendency to do whatever they want may make them hard to train, but, with time, they can become loyal and obedient family dogs. They also like to keep themselves meticulously groomed by licking their coats just like a cat—which is an unusual trait for a dog.

6. Manchester Terrier

These loyal dogs are known for snuggling on your lap, just like a curled-up cat. Plus, they’re known to hunt a mouse or two! They come in two sizes; the toy Manchester terriers are closest to a cat.

7. Greyhound

Greyhounds are docile and mild-mannered, making them a great match for kids! Photo courtesy of Greyhound Adoption Center.

Greyhounds are docile and mild-mannered, making them a great match for kids! Photo courtesy of Greyhound Adoption Centre.

What makes a great dog for a cat lover? It’s not necessarily the size, but the personality. For instance, greyhounds are sleek sprinters but actually quite low-key around the house. They’re great for less-active households, as they don’t need as much exercise as some breeds. Greyhounds also know for being affectionate with their owners, but not clingy.

8. Japanese Chin

Japanese chin best dog breeds cat lovers

Also known as the Japanese spaniel, this intelligent little breed will appeal to cat lovers everywhere. They’re playful and affectionate, but don’t have the same exercise needs as many other dogs. Plus, the Japanese chin has a fascinating history as a favourite of Japanese nobility.

There’s a Dog for Every Cat Lover!

Finally, you never know who you’ll meet at your local shelter. Whether you’re looking for a lazy dog, an intelligent dog, or a quiet dog, there’s bound to be a companion out there that’s perfect for your household. Just ask shelter staff and find out which rescue has cat-like qualities. You might be surprised!

8 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ in Dog Language

You may know how to tell if your dog loves you,  but do you know how to tell your dog you love them back?

Often, the best way to tell a dog you love them is through mimicry. Dogs rely on facial expressions and whole body language to communicate. The better you understand canine communication and how your dog feels, the better you’ll be able to empathize and bond with them, expressing your love right back at them.

Additionally, dogs are descended from pack animals (though there’s still heated debate as to whether they can still be classified as such). Because of residual genetic or evolutionary pack animal inheritance, from times long before domestication, dogs enjoy the connections made from being part of a pack:

  • hunting (which we often mimic with play, think retrieving a ball or ripping into a squeaky toy)
  • exercising (part of the hunting and scavenging behavior of a pack)
  • physical touch (if only we could recreate the den in our modern living rooms)

By learning to interpret dog body language and mimic the pack behaviors your dog craves, you can say ‘I love you’ to your dog in the following ways. We all know that a loved dog equals a happy dog, and dog love equals pure love (just check out the video evidence!)

1. Don’t be embarrassed to use your dog voice

Studies using MRI technology show dogs understand human language better than previously thought. So holding that one-way conversation with your dog isn’t as crazy as you might think.

The news gets better: that high-pitched tone you use to talk to your dog (better known as baby-talk)? Dogs actually like it. Medical News Today also points out that your dog wants to hear words specific to the dog lexicon: treat, walk, good. You know the words.

Also, reading to dogs has been shown to calm anxious and high-energy dogs in shelters, and brings shy dogs out of their shells.

2. Be a good listener

Not sure if you’re getting the message of love across? Your dog’s body language will tell you. Look for all of the dog body languages of love:

  • a wagging tail
  • eye contact
  • a raised eyebrow (see more below)

Conversely, keep an eye out for the warning signs of and anxious dog:

  • a tucked tail
  • lip licking
  • your dog’s eyes are popping out or averted

3. Loving gazes

Your dog’s eyes do much of their talking. You can communicate back to them using the same language of eye contact.

When a dog gives you long, lingering eye contact, it’s a way of saying “I love you.” A recent study shows that oxytocin, the ‘love chemical,’ goes up in both dogs and humans when they share a kind gaze.

Watch your approach, though. Staring down a dog in a forceful manner can be a sign of aggression for your dog.

4. Facial expressions of love

No matter how we may wish to hide our feelings, even from our dogs, most pet owners know that animals are sensitive to our emotional states. Scientific studies have shown that dogs can read human emotions through our facial expressions.

You can be intentional about what your face is telling your dog. Japanese behavioral scientists have shown that when a dog feels connected to someone, they often raise their eyebrows—the left one more than the right. So greeting your dog with raised eyebrows and a relaxed smile tells your dog how happy you are to see them.

5. The lean of love

Did you know that a dog will lean against you as a sign of love and trust? Unless the lean seems to be an anxious behavior or a not-so-subtle push toward the door, this body posture from your dog can be mimicked or reciprocated to show affection.

So go ahead, lean in to show a little love.

6. Cuddles and naps

Part of your dog’s aforementioned residual pack behavior is playing hard and then resting together. Even if you don’t care to let your dog in bed with you, an afternoon nap together on the couch or in the grass will deepen your dog’s feeling of a pack connection.

And like humans, dogs thrive on physical contact. So while your dog may not enjoy a hug, a nice cuddle session offers the connection they crave.

7. Strolling

Dogs thrive on routine and schedule, so a daily walk with training mixed in will help your dog understand how much you love and care for them.

Walks and adventures give plenty of opportunities to work on skills like loose leash walking and recall. These shared experiences and training sessions build trust, communication, and that pack connection.

8. The touch of love

Just touching your dog releases oxytocin in you and your dog, so a soothing massage, gentle grooming session, or extended petting time will tell your dog in no uncertain terms how much you love them. In particular, rubbing your dog’s ears works to release oxytocin in their body. Those adorable, soft ears are also packed with feeling receptors.

Human signals of affection that may not translate to dogs

Dog owners also benefit from learning which human signs showing affection make no sense to your dog.

  • Hugging: some dogs feel trapped or pinned down when you hug them. Watch your dog’s reaction.
  • Kissing: a quick peck on the head is remarkably similar to a playful nip on the neck or a gesture of domination. Your dog may think you’re trying to play or assert your place in the household hierarchy.
  • Treats: as much as food can be a sign of affection for humans, treats are best used for motivating behavior and dog training. Think of how quickly your dog’s loyalty disappears the minute someone else offers them treats.

Your canine languages of love

Learning to say, “I love you” to your dog is a simple matter of getting to know both your dog’s individual body language as well as those comforts of pack life that your dog’s animal brain still craves. As a bonus, all of these love languages seem to benefit your sense of well-being, too.

Neighbourhood in Uproar after Supermarket Bans Beloved Cat

In Norfolk, England, a friendly neighbourhood cat named Pumpkin has been making himself at home in the local Tesco store. After spending over a year casually visiting the shop on his daily rounds, Pumpkin, a rescued street cat, has been banned from the establishment, a divisive decision.

While some customers agree with the decision due to hygiene concerns, it seems the majority of locals are cat lovers and are declaring a boycott on Tesco in retaliation.

#FreePumpkin


Pumpkin’s mom Jo Harding told local news the former street cat frequents all the shops around and is a popular favourite at the local pub and beauty salon.

“People were saying they were boycotting Tesco. I just can’t believe the overwhelming support we’ve had. We knew he was well-loved in the community but not to this level! The community spirit was just amazing.

Pumpkin clearly hasn’t taken the hint

Pumpkin even has his own Facebook group for sightings and now, support against Tescos. With almost 2,000 members and growing over 300 requests a day, the cult of Pumpkin is growing into a mighty force. Especially for a friendly ginger cat from Thorpe Marriott.

Pumpkin is all over the UK news

Despite his vocal fanbase, a Tesco spokesperson told Ladbible “Although we love the little ginger cat who visits Acres Way Express, a food store isn’t the best place for a cat to be, so our colleagues gently encourage him to go out when he tries to come in.”

Unexpected item in bagging area

Sorry for the trouble Pumpkin. We think Tesco should hire you as an official store greeter and chief happiness officer.

9 Surefire Signs You’ve Got a Total Mama’s Dog on Your Hands

Do you ever wonder if you and your dog are a little too attached? We’re talking about a true, old-fashioned “mama’s dog” — or daddy’s dog, as the case may be.

Read on for nine surefire signs you’ve got a total mama’s boy (or girl) on your hands!

1. You never use the bathroom alone

Mama’s dogs don’t want to be apart for a moment, even your most, ahem, private moments. You can try to close the door, but you’ll hear sniffling and scratching on the other side.

It can be annoying, but when you think about it, it’s only fair. After all, you watch them potty all the time.

2. Your car’s backseat is the dog’s domain

Whenever I give friends a ride, I have to move doggy blankets and chew toys out of the way. And there’s no cure for all that backseat dog hair!

If the backseat is a designated dog zone, and human passengers are an afterthought, you might have a mama’s dog.

3. They always stop for a check-in with Mom

You know you’ve got a mama’s dog if they come running back to you in the midst of a party! My dog Ralph is social with other people and dogs, but she always makes a point of making eye contact with me or stopping by for a quick check-in in the midst of all the fun.

Mama’s dogs aren’t always clingy, but they are focused on their favourite person.

4. You’re their favourite attraction at the park

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you take your dog to the park, enter the dog exercise area, and unclip their lead…only to have them stick by your side like glue. Some mama’s dogs only have eyes for you.

5. They have their own side of the bed

Mama’s dogs aren’t just allowed to sleep in the bed, they demand it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve woken up balanced at the very edge of the mattress while the dogs sprawl out on prime bed best real estate.

But despite doggy morning breath and more frequent laundry, it’s worth it to wake up next to the one you love.

6. They love riding in your arms (or on you in some way)

Sure, they’ll walk on a lead, but they’d prefer to be in your arms (or on your front or back). This is a whole lot easier for small dogs, but don’t put it past a big dog who’s determined for a snuggle!

7. They get the zoomies when you get home

When you come home from work, does your dog take a speedy lap around the house? It’s as if they can’t contain their excitement to see you! A happy, noisy, tail-waggy greeting is a sure sign of a mama’s dog.

8. Your shoe is their favourite toy

Dogs who are attached to their owners are also very attached to their scent and may snuggle up with their belongings—particularly extra-stinky ones like shoes.

My dog Radar loves to carry one of my garden clogs around in his mouth. I often come home to find him curled up around it, dreaming, no doubt, of shoes.

9. You’re never more than arm’s length apart

Another name for mama’s dogs: Velcro dogs. If they can’t reach out and lick you, you’re too far away.

Even if you have a whole house full of soft surfaces for them to sleep on, they’ll always crowd you on the couch. Sometimes, mama’s dogs can make you feel claustrophobic. But isn’t it flattering that they want to be close to you at all times?

The Latest Video Challenge is Here and it’s Really Catchy

The latest video challenge to take over social media may have started with a cat named Ed but it has truly gone to the dogs!

Dog lovers around the world are using the TikTok video platform to create these hypnotising nine-panel videos of their pets set to the opening bars of the tune “Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes.

You definitely need the sound on to appreciate the timing of these mesmerising videos, but be warned – the catchy tune will be stuck in your head for days. But to be honest? Totally worth it. Enjoy!

Golden Retriever Has Had Just about Enough of Flute Practice Thank You Very Much

There’s some music that dogs DO like, but it’s apparently not the flute for this adorable golden retriever. This dog cannot handle his human sister’s flute practice. Good thing his owners caught his reaction on video!

This dog has apparently heard Frère Jacques just one too many times, and he knows just how to get he wants…either that, or he’s got a musical side he just can’t deny.

Got an opinionated dog of your own? It’s never been easier to find them a sitter or walker who’ll love them just as much as you do.

Thinking about adding a golden retriever puppy to grow your family? You might find our goldie-pup fact file handy.

How Do Cats Choose Their Favourite Person?

Cats can be very selective. Some are affectionate with their owners and their animal housemates, but other humans have to spend months winning their trust. Others instantly make friends with everyone they meet!

More than dogs, cats tend to be picky about human companionship. If you’ve ever befriended a selective cat, you understand how special it can feel to be their chosen favourite. Have you ever wondered how and why someone becomes a cat’s favourite person? Here’s the story behind their preferential behaviour.

A brief history of cats and people

Cats and humans have been connected for many millennia. Scientists believe people started taming wild cats up to 12,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, where people first invented agriculture and stored surplus grains. Grain stores meant mice, and who loves mice? You guessed it: cats. Wild cats suddenly had easy access to prey and moved in closer to humans. At the same time, people started keeping and taming cats. The domestication of cats had begun.

These days, it’s widely accepted that cats domesticated themselves. They learned that people were an excellent source of food, so they decided to stick close by. Of course, that’s a very abbreviated version of a more complex process. But the trend of cats as a species choosing humans as a food source relates to why individual cats choose individual humans to love. The motivation is very similar: cats choose their favourite person based on a combination of circumstances, resources, and personality.

Early bonding helps

When kittens are very young, between four and nine weeks of age, they don’t perceive fear the way adult cats do. During that early socialisation period, regular handling and exposure to different types of sounds and smells can help kittens grow into well-adjusted, human-bonded cats. In addition, when kittens are old enough to be removed from their mother, they rely on the new safest figure in their life—you—to be their trusted caregiver. So cats who have been with their owner since kittenhood tend to bond closely to their favourite people.

But it’s not a perfect science. For one thing, kittens who are exposed to a wide variety of people may grow up to be comfortable around humans but a bit aloof because they haven’t bonded to one person in particular. And kittens who only spend time with one human can be loving and trusting with that person, but fearful of others. Personality comes into play, too—what you see in a kitten is not always what you get when they’re an adult cat.

Early bonding is just one way cats choose their favourite people, but it is far from the only way to bond with a cat. Just ask anybody who’s adopted a loving adult cat.

Communication with your cat is key

Whether you meet your cat when they’re an adult or kitten, you have to learn how to communicate with them effectively and anticipate their needs. John Bradshaw, a cat behaviour expert and author of the book Cat Sense, explains: “cats demonstrate great flexibility in how they communicate with us.” From meowing to head-butting, cats “talk” to their people in different ways depending on the situation.

The best cat-human relationships are ones in which the human adapts to the cat’s preferred style of communication. That communication style may not include physical touch—being a cat’s favourite person doesn’t necessarily mean they want you to stroke them. A cat’s favourite person may be the one who makes them feel comfortable and safe just by being in the same room with them.

Over time, you and your cat will learn how to best communicate with each other. In fact, Bradshaw says that some cats and their people develop a unique vocabulary “that they both understand but is not shared by other cats or [people].” If you’re the one person in the family who knows the difference between your cat’s “good morning” meow and their “feed me now” meow, then you might be their favourite.

Personality matters

Anyone with multiple cats can tell you: every cat is unique. And their preferences can depend on several different factors, from early socialisation to breed type to plain old personality quirks. The best human-cat relationships are ones where the human recognises the cat’s uniqueness and cares for them accordingly.

In other words, you can’t always tell why a cat likes one person more than another. The best you can do is take care of your cat, learn to communicate with them through attention and affection, and watch for signs that they’re happy and comfortable with you. If you’re the person they choose to spend the most time with, then chances are, you’re their favourite.

How to become a cat’s favourite person

If you just adopted a cat, or are trying to win over a loved one’s kitty, here are some tips:

  • Feed them. Cats respond to nourishment and safety, so being the one who provides food can win favour.
  • Play with them. Playtime combines attention and exercise, creating feel-good hormones and boosting the connection between you and your cat. Plus, once they’re tired from playing, they’ll be more likely to settle down for a snuggle.
  • Positive reinforcement. When your cat does something nice, give them a treat or gentle pets. And when they need alone time, give them some space. Both attention and space can reinforce your relationship.

Bonding occurs naturally between cats and the people who treat them well. So if you take good care of your kitty, keep them nourished and safe, and respect their unique personality, you will not only be an excellent cat owner, you’ll also likely become their favourite person.