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There is certainly a lot of variability in head shape among the various dog breeds. They range from the long-headed dogs, technically called "dolichocephalic", such as Greyhounds or Borzois, to the broader wide-skulled dogs technically called "brachycephalic", which would include the Mastiff and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. In between are the "mesocephalic", sometimes called " mesaticephalic", such as the Labrador Retriever or Australian Cattle Dog. Actually in classifying a dog, one first has to determine what is called the "Cephalic Index".
the majority of brachycephalic dogs are specialized for fighting and guarding (think Bullmastiff) and the majority of the doclichocephalic dogs are specialized for running (think Greyhound). It is the mesocephalic dogs that are not particularly specialized.
Dog fanciers today have created the following terms to describe the basic head types found in dog breeds:
Apple Head: Very rounded, with a dome-like skull. (Chihuahua)
Domed Head: Convex, even rounded top skull. (Cocker Spaniel)
Broken-up Face: Receding nose, with a deep stop and undershot jaw (Pekingese)
Down Face: Muzzle has a convex incline from the top of the skull to the tip of the nose. (Bull Terrier)
Dish Face: A head with a profile that forms a slightly concave shape. (Pointer)
Snippy Face: Pointed, thin muzzle without much depth or width. (Saluki)
The head of the dog can be many shapes depending on the breed. It should also be proportionate in size to the dogs body. As with all dog breed characteristics, head shapes have been greatly influenced by the selective breeding practices of their human masters. If a certain shape was thought to be beneficial for a certain function, man worked to create the ideal head type for that job.
Faces of dogs that were used as guard dogs, for example, were bred to resemble wolves, with their elongated muzzles and pointed ears. The massive undershot jaw of the Bulldog was created to function as a fierce weapon for use in bull-baiting and dog fights. Dogs that were used in racing events or to chase down prey were bred to have long, thin, streamlined heads.
Sometimes head types were genetically engineered purely on the subjective opinion of what was attractive to the human eye. Many companion dogs were bred to have large soulful eyes and flattened, human-like faces. Considered canine "human babies," Pugs were once shown at dog shows wearing necklaces and were awarded extra points for having comical, hairy moles.
This section considers the overall shape or outline of a dog's entire head. Understanding these variations assists in recognizing breed type. Some variations of dogs' heads shapes are distinctive whilst others are quite subtle. So it is imperative to understand these different shapes and variations which are so vital to recognizing breed type. The two of most commonly recognized shapes are 'wedge shaped' and 'cone' or 'conical shaped'. The subtle difference between these two shapes is the roundness of the cone compared with that of the wedge which is easily seen at the back of these two heads.
Head Planes Head planes are best understood when the head is viewed in profile. The most common term referred to in Breed Standards is parallel head planes. This is diagrammatically illustrated here by two separate blue lines:
One plane that runs down a skull when it is viewed in profile, the other plane lies on the bridge of the nose and extends from bottom of the stop to the end of the nose. Several Breed Standards that describe flat skulls have parallel head planes. An example of this is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. But it is incorrect to assume that if a breed has a flat skull, it also has parallel head planes. In fact, many breeds with flat skulls do not have parallel head planes.
Skull to Muzzle Ratios As many breed standards state skull to muzzle ratios, it is important to understand the exact areas of the head to which these measurements refer. This diagram demonstrates
The term 'skull' refers to the topline of the brain case only
The area which includes the stop and the eyes should not be included when assessing the skull measurement
The area of the occiput should not be included when assessing the skull measurement
The name brachycephalic is a special name for heads which have a muzzle shorter than the skull.
Brachycephalic or short-faced heads To illustrate the brachycephelic head, we have chosen to compare the proportions of the head of the Australian Terrier to the head of a Bullmastiff. The Australian Terrier has equal head proportions with muzzle length equal to that of the skull. But the Bullmastiff has a brachycephalic head the exact measurements of which are clearly specified in the Bullmastiff Breed Standard which states that that the skull should be two units long to the muzzle's one unit.
As there are so many variations in head proportions of various breeds of dogs, it is important to understand the correct balance of the head which is typical of each particular breed. It is particularly important to appreciate that when a face is shortened, not only the nostrils but also the air passages they lead to, may also become reduced in size. A normal sized opening like that of the Australian Terrier, allows a normal flow of air to be breathed into the dog's lungs.
But if the openings of the nostrils are reduced, chances are the passages behind them may also be reduced. This can cause the dog to snore or even gasp for air, especially on a hot day or after exertion. Although there are veterinary procedures available which can surgically correct this problem, it is better that judges and breeders alike recognize that this problem exists so breeding stock does not perpetuate it. To understand this, please compare the brachycephalic dog pictured on the right with the Australian Terrier above.
Dogs' heads have 5 different components each of which can vary considerably. Some variations of the components of dogs' heads are distinctive whilst others are quite subtle. So it is imperative to understand the different components that make up the head before we can discuss these variations. After all, the dog's head sets the breed type of each particular pure breed of dog.
Starting from the head, a dog is made up of the
Nose: Dog noses are often cold and wet, and of course, they usually get stuck where they're not wanted.
The muzzle (foreface) comprised of the upper and lower jaws. The foreface or muzzle is the whole of the upper area from the eyes to the nose including the lips. It is sometimes also referred to as the face.
The boney part on the top of the muzzle is often called the nazal bridge whereas the sides of the muzzle are often referred to as flews in Breed Standards and general dog jargon. Some Breed Standards refer to the flews as muzzle. So, confusion could arise as to what are flews and what exactly is the muzzle. For example, the Breed Standard of the Cocker Spaniel shown here says it should have a square muzzle, whereby it is obvious that it is the flews that are square shaped.
The boney part on the top of the muzzle is often called the nazal bridge whereas the sides of the muzzle are often referred to as flews in Breed Standards and general dog jargon. Some Breed Standards refer to the flews as muzzle. So, confusion could arise as to what are flews and what exactly is the muzzle.
For example, the Breed Standard of the Cocker Spaniel shown here says it should have a square muzzle, whereby it is obvious that it is the flews that are square shaped. When the muzzle or flews look thick or padded, this is called cushioning. For example the Tibetan Spaniel shown here. This cushioning gives the dog a soft expression. Technically the lower lips are that potion of the skin closest to the mouth cavilty that is devoid of hair. The lower lips blend into the skin of the chin while upper lips blend into the skin that covers the top teeth.
The stop is an indentation (sometimes nonexistent) between the muzzle and the braincase or forehead.
The Occiput is the highest point of the skull at the back of the head and a prominent feature on some dogs.
The occipital bone has a crest or protuberance which is commonly referred to as the occiput. It is is clearly seen here in the English Setter and Bloodhound. However, in some other breeds it is barely perceptible. Myths in dog folklore believed that size of the occiputal protuberance was a measure of the dog's sense of smell. So to this day it is prominent in most Scent Hounds.
But the occipital bone itself actually extends right down the back of the head to where it articulates with the neck. So when breed standards refer to the length of a dog's skull, this measurement does not include the occiput as this is part of the occipital bone.
It's well known what ears are, but different dogs have different types of ears, including:
Pricked: Pricked ears are upright.
Dropped: Dropped ears hang down.
Button: Button ears have a fold in them.
Cropped: Cropped ears are surgically altered.
Eyes are pretty obvious, and most often obviously brown.
Like humans, dogs have eyebrows, or simply brows.
Whiskers provide some sensory feeling.
Flews is just a fancy word for a dog's lips.
A dog's cheek is the skin along the sides of the muzzle, about where your cheeks are if you had a muzzle.
Dogs have 42 teeth. Six pairs of sharp incisor teeth are in front of the mouth, flanked by two pairs of large canine ("dog") teeth. The other teeth are premolars and molars. The incisors and the canines are very important because the dog bites and tears at its food with these teeth.
Air breathed in through the dog's nose passes on its way to the lungs through the two nasal cavities behind the nose. These cavities are lined by a mucous membrane containing many nerve endings stimulated by odors. Smell is the dog's most acute sense.
A dog continually sniffs the air, the ground, and nearby objects to learn what is happening around it. The indentation in the dog's forehead just above eye level is called the stop. The stop in some dogs is deeper than that in others.
The fairly thin tongue of the dog is used mainly for guiding food to the throat, for licking the coat clean, and for perspiration. When a dog is overheated, it cools off by hanging its tongue out and panting. As it pants, the evaporation of perspiration from its tongue cools the animal. The dog also sweats through the pads on its paws and slightly, through its skin.
A dog's ears either stick up or hang down. The earliest dogs probably had erect ears, but the ears began to droop in smaller, later breeds because of excessive ear skin. Dogs have a fine sense of hearing. They can hear sounds at frequencies too high for people to hear. This is why dogs can respond to "silent" whistles.
Each eye of a dog has three eyelids, the main upper and lower lids and a third lid hidden between them in the inner corner of the eye. The third eyelid can sweep across the transparent cornea of the eye and clean it like a windshield wiper.
The head and body of a dog are connected by its neck. The neck may be long or short, depending on the size of the seven bones that support it. The length of the vocal cords in the neck is a factor influencing the pitch and loudness of a dog's voice its barks, grunts, and howls.
There are two basic head shapes: The Airedale Terrier has a flat skull.
In direct contrast the King Charles Spaniel has a skull which is domed or rounded like a ball, whichever way you look at it.
A narrow skull with a long face and a wide skull with a short face plus several intermediate head shapes.
Long-faced dogs, such as the German shepherd and the cocker spaniel, may have jaws eight inches long. By contrast, the nose of molosses small-faced dogs, such as the Pekingese and the pug, may be less than an inch from the eyes.
Variations in the Skin covering the Head
HAW - When the supple skin of the head is loose, the lower eyelid can droop or sag so the eye rim does not hug the eye. The red pouch which then becomes clearly visible is called haw. This is often seen in a breed with excessive head skin like the Basset Hound or the Bloodhound.
SCOWL- The skin of a Chow Chow's head wrinkles or contracts giving the expression is referred to as a 'scowl'. The dictionary describes a scowl as this wrinkling or contracting the brow giving an expression of anger or disapproval. In the Chow Chow, the slightly tilted, small rounded ear also adds to this scowling expression.
Your dog's head may not be the first place you think of massaging him, but think of all the important sensory organs, blood flow, muscles, and nerves that are located in your dog's head and neck area. A massage to this area is relaxing for your dog and can provide benefits all over his body. Massaging improves blood circulation, which is important where delicate sense organs are located in the ears, eyes, and nose.
Do not forget the mouth and gums that can benefit from improved circulation, and the jaw muscles, which can become tight with stress or chewing activity. A massage of your dogs head and face will be much appreciated with many benefits.
While your dog may love to have his head stroked and petted, massaging his head utilizes focused techniques to relax the head, neck, and facial muscles, organs, and tissues, to benefit your dog's health. While we traditionally think of massage as being about the back, body, and limbs, remember that the head contains muscles as well as your dog's brain, eyes, ears, glands, teeth, gums, sinuses, and multiple nerves and blood vessels that can all benefit from increased blood flow provided by massage.
The muscles in the head, neck, and face, are just as susceptible to tension, knots, and spasms as muscles elsewhere in the body. Stimulating pressure points on the head, neck, and ears can also provide benefits elsewhere in the body, as nerves from the cranial area connect throughout your dog's body. Massaging your dogs head can help relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue and provide overall health benefits.
Most dogs love to be massaged; they love the attention and, let's face it, being massaged usually feels pretty good. You will, however, need to be gentle and introduce your dog gradually to being touched in sensitive areas. When people get a massage, we understand why pressure is being applied to a sensitive spot, but your dog does not understand what is happening and it is pretty hard to explain it to him. You will want to avoid causing your dog discomfort and introduce pressure and touching in areas that are unfamiliar to him in a slow, confident, manner so he feels comfortable with the process, especially in the sensitive head region.
IMPROVE CIRCULATION METHOD
1. Massage top of head Massage the top of your dog's head with your fingertips to stimulate the skin and nerves and increase blood circulation in the top of the head.
2. Stimulate facial area Tap lightly on your dog's face to stimulate the brain and increase blood circulation.
3. Stimulate ears Lightly pull ear flaps and massage them to increase circulation. Rotate flaps and manipulate them to open the ear canal and improve air circulation. Cup the base of the ear with your hand and move hands in a circular motion in both directions. Finish by gently gliding fingers down the ear flaps.
4. Apply pressure above sinuses Apply light pressure with thumbs to the bridge of the nose and above the eyes to open up sinus cavities.
5. Massage mouth area Gently rub gums to improve circulation and improve oral health. Massage and run fingers along muzzle the back of the jaw and under your dog's chin and down his neck where there are major blood vessels and jaw muscles.
WORK OUT TIGHT SPOTS METHOD
1. Relax head Gently massage behind the ears with two fingers then cup your dog's head and encourage him to stretch it forward to relax his head.
2. Apply pressure behind ears Palpate behind the ears pressing upwards with your thumb. If you find a knot gently apply direct pressure. Vary between applying gentle and firmer pressure.
3. Massage back of neck Gently cup your dogs head and knead tissue on the neck with your fingers, starting with gentle pressure and increasing to medium and heavier pressure. When you find a knot or spasm apply direct pressure.
4. Use palm of hand Using the palm of your hand, apply light pressure, rotating your palm and moving all over the top of head, and back of the neck area. Vary pressure with your palm, if you find spasms apply direct pressure.
5. Gently stroke End by gently stroking your dog's neck and head to relax your dog and increase circulation.
CAUTION ! Wash hands before massaging your dog's face, as smells can irritate or distract your dog. Also, you do not want to contaminate eyes or ears. Make sure your dog is relaxed before massaging, take him for a walk or play with him to burn off excess energy. Distract your dog with a chew toy if necessary while working on your dog's head and neck, to gain cooperation. Do not apply too firm pressure on sensitive spots, to avoid injuring tissues, putting pressure on nerves, or causing discomfort to your dog.
Telencephalon The front part of the brain is called the telencephalon. Information from the five senses is interpreted there, and it is also where thought occurs. Dogs have large telencephalons which makes their ears, nose and eyes exceptionally sensitive. It also is responsible for dogs' undeniable personalities, and their advanced social behaviours.
Diencephalon Behind the telencephalon lies the diencephalon. Most basic functions are controlled in this portion of the brain. Chewing, breathing, equilibrium and the collection of information from the senses all occur here. This part of the brain is highly advanced in dogs, contributing to their fast reflexes, agility and the acuteness of their hearing.
Metencephalon This part of the brain is behind the diencephalon. It is responsible for finer muscle skills and the regulation of blood flow and pulse rate, and is also the brain's reward centre. For dogs, this part of the brain contributes to their remarkable endurance and stamina and is the part of the brain responsible for their love of playing fetch and other games.
Medulla Oblongata At the base of a dog's brain, where it connects to the spinal cord, is a structure known as the medulla oblongata. Here the basic functions that occur without thinking are regulated. Digestion, heart beat, respiration, swallowing and sneezing are all controlled in this area of the brain. The medulla oblongata is the first part of the brain that develops in puppies before they are born.
Corpus Callosum In the middle of a dog's brain is the corpus callosum. This is a wall of nerve cells which facilitates communication between the left and right side of the telencephalon and diencephalon. Depending on the breed of dog, the corpus callosum's size and the speed at which it allows the halves of the brain to interact can vary significantly.
As mammals the dog's brain has a fairly similar structure to the human brain: The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for the way in which we use our senses, such as sight, touch, vision and taste. The cerebral cortex of the dog has pronounced ridges on the surface, and this implies how advanced their brain is at distinguishing between these sensory stimuli. Dogs need this finely tuned hearing and sight because they have to hunt in order to survive, as well as protecting themselves and their pack.
Dogs are famous for their impressive sense of smell. The olfactory bulb is responsible for this and in dogs this area is very large, 150cm squared compared to 5cm squared in humans. Sense of smell is vital. They use it to interpret the world around them and everything within it. Just think how much we use our vision to find our way around the world - to a dog, his sense of smell is just as important. We've been able to utilise this in order for the dog to help us: search and rescue and sniffer dogs are now vital and enable us to live in a much safer society than we would be able to otherwise thanks to a nose 1,000 times more powerful than our own.
The temporal lobes on the canine brain are also very pronounced. This is the section where memories are stored. This will not come as a surprise to many dog owners - when we take our dogs to their favourite field where they seem to remember chasing a rabbit many months ago, even if they haven't been there for a long time. This supports the idea that dogs can have an impressive memory; vital for canines and wolves living in the wild. Perhaps this part of the brain has evolved in this way because a good memory is vital to their long term survival.
The frontal lobes are situated in the cerebral cortex and are famous for being responsible for our human intelligence. We are the most intelligent species on earth - we invent new medicines and discover the complexities of space. Without this vital section of the brain none of this would be possible. All species have a frontal lobe they just are not as developed as our own. The frontal lobes of the canine brain are fairly long compared to many smaller mammals. This part of the brain is responsible for the dog's intelligence and its nature. Many breeds are bred specifically for their intelligence and have been for generations; Border Collies for example are widely considered to be the most intelligent of all the breeds and therefore need a huge amount of mental and physical stimulation.
The complexity of the appearance of the canine brain, hints at the intelligence of the dog, and the way in which it has evolved over many centuries. It will be interesting to see what the brains of these animals look like in another 500 years and how they will further evolve to adapt to the world in which they live.
To be more knowledgeable in the area of canine brain read the following articles:
Aspire to be both strong and fast? Turns out you probably can't be both.
A recent study published in the journal Behavioural Processes found that the size and width of a dog's head can predict his strength and speed. Not only does this finding apply to dogs, but it may relate to other animals, including humans, as well.
William Helton, with the University of Canterbury's Department of Psychology, studied over 200 dogs at the International Weight Pulling Association events, reports Discovery News.
The broad-headed (Brachycephalic) dogs, including American Pit-Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs and Bernese Mountain Dogs, were able to pull noticeably more weight than the Narrow-headed (Dolichocephalic) dogs, including Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. But on the flip side, past studies have shown that narrow-headed dogs are faster and more efficient at running than broad-headed dogs.
Another study claims that humans can rather accurately predict a man's strength just by looking at a picture of his face. Don't judge a book by its cover, but perhaps it is appropriate to judge a man's strength by his face... The human head is narrower than other great apes, and Helton suggests that humans have adapted to run for long durations at the expense of strength. Endurance appears to have been important to our ancient hominid ancestors, who probably chased their prey to death.
Certainly head size isn't the only factor in determining the speed and strength of an animal. Nutrition and conditioning play a key role. But the study does demonstrate that we often can't have it all. As Helton explains, "Nature does not allow unlimited budgets and the trade-offs are often physical constraints."
Why do dogs tilt their heads when we speak? From trying to hear us better to seeing our faces more clearly, there are several theories about what's behind this adorable canine gesture. You may have noticed that when your dog hears a strange sound or when you ask him if he'd like to go for a walk, he cocks his head to the side. The adorable move seems to say, "I'm listening," but what's really going on when dogs' heads tilt in response to a sound? Here are a few possible explanations.
They are trying to hear better Dogs have movable earflaps that help them locate the source of a sound, but they also have brains that can compute time differences between the sound reaching each ear. A slight change in a dog's head position supplies additional information that the canine can use to judge a sound's distance. Essentially, tilting the head can help the animal more accurately locate the location and distance of a sound.
They are trying to understand us According to Steven R. Lindsay's "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training," when a dog listens to your voice, he's trying to identify familiar words or tones that he associates with a reward, such as going on a walk or receiving a treat. The muscles of a dog's middle ear are controlled by a part of the brain that's also responsible for facial expressions and head movements, so when a canine tilts his head, he is trying to perceive what you are saying, as well as communicate to you that he's listening.
They can't see our faces easily In an effort to understand us, dogs not only use our words and inflection, but also facial expressions, body language and eye movements. Because of this, it's important for them to see our faces, so Dr. Stanley Corren reasons that when dogs cock their heads they are trying to see us better. He says that dogs with longer muzzles have difficulty viewing a person's entire face and compares it to how our vision is obstructed if we hold a fist to our nose and view the world as a dog does. Corren suggests that dogs may tilt their heads to view a speaker's mouth and aid in understanding what is being communicated. He hypothesized that dogs with flatter faces, such as pugs, Boston terriers and Pekingese, might tilt their heads less because they don't have to compensate for prominent muzzles. Corren conducted an Internet survey to test his theory. Out of 582 participants, 186 had dogs with flatter heads. 71% of the people with large-muzzle dogs reported that their dogs often tilted their heads when spoken to, while 52% with flat-faced dogs reported frequent head cocking.
We have taught them to do it When dogs tilt their heads when we speak, it's undeniably cute: just check out the video below and we have a tendency to respond to the behavior with positive reinforcement. Perhaps we say "aww" in a pleasing tone of voice or offer the dog a treat. Reacting in such a way encourages the activity, and the more a dog is praised for cocking its head, the more likely he is to repeat the gesture in the future.
Medical Problems This condition is very noticeable in a dog - the animal will be almost constantly holding its head at an angle, as if trying to flush something out of the ear. You may also find that your dog has some redness around one of the ears. It could also be vomiting and falling over due to a severe case of vertigo. There also will be a lack of appetite and some pain when the dog attempts to open its mouth to chew. This condition is extremely dangerous to the dog's health and should be dealt with immediately. The first thing is to figure out what exactly is causing your dog to experience such an odd condition.
The most common cause of head tilt is an ear infection, often caused by mites or bacteria. There could also have been some trauma to the head that has recently happened. If the head trauma was severe enough, there could be a punctured ear drum. All of these are basic problems that do happen regularly. Depending on when the condition is noticed, they can range from mild to severe. You should immediately investigate further if you find your dog is suffering from head tilt. There are occasional times where the tilt is caused by a tumor in the ear. The tumor may be benign or malignant, so the onset of cancer is a risk at this point. It could also be that cancer has already set in and the ear drum is infected with cancerous tissue.
The Diagnosis: Blood and urine tests should be taken to rule out any infections or diseases. A neurological scan is highly recommended to determine if your dog is suffering from any damage to the brain. X-rays of the skull should be scheduled to clearly rule out any head trauma that could be causing vertigo. In some cases, a spinal tap may be needed to evaluate the spinal fluid. Head tilt does not seem like a serious condition, but the causes of it can be extremely life threatening to the dog. You must approach the situation seriously and swiftly determine what is wrong with the animal.
When you approach your dog in a head on or direct manner, does he turn his head away? If so, it's not that he's trying to ignore you. It's quite the opposite. He's talking to you and would quite appreciate an action on your part to clarify your harmless intentions. Head turns can vary. Dogs may offer repeated head turns from side to side, might turn their head and hold it turned away, or can will only slightly turn away while being sure to also avert any eye contact. Dogs meet one another in what might seem like an avoidant manner and do not walk straight up to one another. As polite dogs approach each another, you will see some head turning at first greeting. To us humans, it may look as though they are ignoring each other or are distracted by something else. They are not. They are simply talking their own language.
See the photo above, where Ziggy is approached by two dogs at once. She is offering a head turn. Notice though that each dog is mindful of approaching Ziggy at her side. Ziggy would certainly appreciate a head turn from the Shiba Inu (right) here to diffuse the intensity of the greeting.
So, how can you talk back? If you'd like to help your dog to understand your harmless and loving intentions, you can also offer a head turn, sigh, or yawn in response. Just like us, dogs lob out their words/signals hoping to have a conversation, where the other participant responds. Offering this sigh, yawn or head turn will let your dog know that you are calm and friendly. Please know that your dog is not ignoring you or being disobedient. He is trying to tell you that he's a bit stressed, confused, or wondering why you are! Switching your tone of voice, the way your body is positioned, or not using physical prompts in your training can all help.
When it comes to dogs, any minor itch, tickle, irritation, or sting is enough to prompt them to shake a little in order to bring relief. When you see your dog shaking, therefore, it is no big deal. If the shaking persists, however, and it consistently involves one part of your dog's body, it is cause for concern. When it is his head that he keeps shaking, there are a number of distinct possibilities that could be the reason, and some of them may require swift action.
What to Look For Begin your examination by following the directions outlined in "My Dog's Head Is Tilted", paying particular attention to your dog's ears. In addition, check your dog's skin carefully for any signs of dryness, irritation, infection, wounds, or parasites. If you notice any one of these, the sooner you treat your dog with the appropriate medication, the better chance he has for a rapid recovery.
What to Do Does your dog have any swelling of his ears? Sometimes a dog with an infection or other irritation of his ears shakes his head so much that he bangs it against something, which can cause a blood blister on the ear. This is called an aural hematoma, and it will certainly cause your dog to shake his head even more. This problem usually needs simple surgical intervention.
Does your dog have evidence of an injury or infection? The discomfort from a wound or a local infection of any part of your dog's head could cause him to shake his head. Clean and treat the wound or infection, and the shaking may stop.
Has your dog recently suffered a head trauma? Trauma to the head can result in a number of problems that might cause a dog to shake his head. If the results of the trauma are not serious, the head shaking should diminish and eventually cease with time.
Does your dog's balance seem unstable? Dogs that have balance issues from any source - such as head trauma, stroke, inner ear infection, or vestibular syndrome, will frequently shake their heads to attempt to relieve the symptoms themselves.
TEACH YOUR DOG TO SHAKE IT'S HEAD This article proudly presented by WWW.WIKIHOW.COM
Teach the dog to touch a sticky note with his nose. As with most tricks, clicker training and some treats is the easiest way to accomplish this. Bring the sticky note near the dog's face, give a verbal cue, then "click" and reward the dog immediately if he sniffs or investigates it. Train in short sessions once or twice a day.
Move the sticky note to different locations. Once your dog understands and can fluently touch his nose to the sticky note, start to stick the sticky note in different places. Repeat the training until the dog will respond to the command and touch it in any location. You can stick it to your trouser leg, the wall or a chair.
Stick two sticky notes at your dog's head height. Next, stick one sticky note to the wall at your dog's head height. Stick a second to the back of a chair opposite, so the two sticky notes face each other. Get your dog to sit in the gap between the chair and the wall. Command the dog to touch one of the sticky notes, then click and deliver your reward at the other sticky note. After enough repetitions, the dog will touch one and then the other. You now have a complete head shake.
Raise your standards gradually. As you continue this training, start insisting that the dog make complete contact with both sticky notes before you give the reward. Once your dog understand this, start requiring the dog to move from side to side repeatedly, touching each sticky note multiple times.
Phase out the sticky note. Once your dog has a good head shake going, have the dog sit further forward before you begin. The sticky notes will now be behind the dog, so the dog will not touch them when he turns side to side. Your dog may try to get up and turn around to actually touch the sticky notes, so you must be careful to click and reward right as they turn their head, not once they have turned around and actually touched the sticky notes. Gradually move your dog further and further away from the sticky notes, until it's learned to make the head shake motion with no props.
Smelly treats are great for getting the dog's attention!
Take your time. Only work for a short time each day.
DOG HEAD HALTERS This article proudly presented by WWW.BESTFRIENDS PETSCARE.COM
Are Dog Head Halters Humane? One of the more popular new tools in dog training is the head halter. Endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, head halters are not only highly effective in teaching dogs how to walk properly, but are useful in obedience training as well.
How does it work? A head halter is a collar with two straps: one goes around the dog's nose, and the other goes around his neck, just behind his ears. A small ring is attached to the nose strap under the chin. The leash attaches to this ring. When the dog begins to pull you, the head halter causes the dog's nose to be turned back toward you. He can no longer continue pulling. Professional trainers confidently state that head halters are a humane method of training, because they do not cause any pain to the dog, and cease unwanted behaviors immediately.
Contrary to popular opinion a head halter is not a muzzle, nor does it restrict mouth movement as a muzzle does. A dog in a head halter can still eat, drink, pant and bark (and even bite). While a muzzle is designed to stop certain behaviors by restricting all mouth movements, a head halter restricts the dog for only an instant, then releases. It is a correction tool that helps teach the dog what is not acceptable at the exact time the behavior is happening.
Putting it on Have plenty of treats on hand during the introduction and break-in phase.
Show the dog the halter, and allow him to sniff it and explore. Praise him and give treats.
Place the neck part of the collar on the dog. Praise and treat. If the dog reacts negatively, don't push him on any further for the day.
Put treats in the palm of your hand and open the nosepiece of the halter. After a while, slip the nosepiece over the dog's nose. Praise and treat.
Place the neck collar part of the halter back on the dog, and adjust to fit. Treat and praise.
Attach a short lead (not a retractable one), treat and praise your dog. Do this several times in a row.
The neck strap should be just behind the dog's ears, as high as it can be. You should be able to place one finger between it and the dog's neck. The nose strap should be just below the dog's eyes and not loose enough to slide off. The metal ring must be directly under the dog's chin. Halters are only effective when fitted properly, so be sure to read all directions and information in the head halter package
Getting used to the halter Most dogs do not like the halter at first and make many attempts to get it off. Keep his head up, keep him moving and use plenty of praise. Have him wear the halter around the house and yard for short periods of adjustment before venturing out. Anyone who is going to walk the dog needs to learn how to use the halter as well. When correcting the dog, pull the lead sideways, never with a rough tug. Used properly, the dog will learn to associate the halter with enjoyable walks and positive experiences.
The latest trend in Taiwan: grooming your dog to have a perfectly round or square head!
You might have a really cute dog, one with his own Instagram account, but he won't get followers unless you make him stand out of the crowd. And over in Taiwan, pet owners are taking their dogs to the salon to make sure they really do stand out. Forget cute doggie clothes-the latest trend in dog fashion is a perfectly round or square head. Like, so perfectly round or square that your dog looks like a freakish cartoon character. A cute one, though. A cute one with lots of Instagram followers, no doubt. I'm not sure this trend should be taking off. Have a thought for the poor dogs who have to go outside looking like Minecraft characters, they'll never live it down amongst their doggie friends.
DOG HEAD SHAPE and INTELLIGENCE This article proudly presented by WWW.PSYCHOLOGY TODAY.COM and Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C.
Is a Dog's Head Shape Related to His Intelligence? Can you estimate the trainability of a dog by looking at the shape of his head?
A surprising new analysis suggests that you may be able to roughly rank the intelligence and trainability of various dog breeds by simply looking at the shape of their heads. Back in the late 1800s through the early part of the 20th century scientists thought that they could estimate the intelligence and the personality of individuals by looking at the shape of their heads and faces. This led to a branch of science called Physiognomy. When we refer to somebody as being "highbrow" or "lowbrow" we are not only making a comment about an individual's cultural tastes and intellect, but we are also using inferences based on measures published in 19th century books on physiognomy. However physiognomy ultimately fell out of favor because of its tendency to draw parallels between the shape of a person's face and head and those of various animals. The idea was that if a person had the features or head shape similar to a particular animal, he must have the personality and intelligence of that animal. This resulted in amusing, but not necessarily believable figures such as the one presented here.
Recently scientists have concluded that there might be a kernel of truth in the belief that measurements of face and head shape can predict certain aspects of personality and behavior. In a study published in the journal Behavioural Processes, psychologist William S. Helton at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand decided to see if the shape of a dog's head was related to its intelligence and trainability. There is certainly a lot of variability in head shape among the various dog breeds. They range from the long-headed dogs, technically called "dolichocephalic", such as Greyhounds or Borzois, to the broader wide-skulled dogs technically called "brachycephalic", which would include the Mastiff and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. In between are the "mesocephalic", sometimes called " mesaticephalic" such as the Labrador Retriever or Australian Cattle Dog. Actually in classifying a dog, one first has to determine what is called the "Cephalic Index". This is computed by measuring the skull at its widest point and dividing that by the length of the skull and then multiplying the result by 100.
The rationale for this new study is that the majority of brachycephalic dogs are specialized for fighting and guarding (think Bullmastiff) and the majority of the doclichocephalic dogs are specialized for running (think Greyhound). It is the mesocephalic dogs that are not particularly specialized. According to Helton this lack of specialization might be associated with more cognitive flexibility which in turn could result in dogs that are more easily trained and appear to be more intelligent. While this reasoning appears to be a bit thin to me it nonetheless impelled this psychologist to launch what turned out to be some interesting research.
In this current analysis the rankings of the various dog breeds for their working and obedience intelligence was compared to their cephalic index. The results were consistent with what Helton had originally predicted. He found that as a group the dogs with the intermediate head shape - mesocephalic dogs ranked considerably higher in intelligence than either the dogs with the long narrow heads - the dolichocephalic dogs or the dogs with the shorter broader heads brachycephalic. There were exceptions, such as the fact that the Poodle, a dolichocephalic dog, ranks number two, while the basenji, a mesocephalic dog ranks second from the bottom in trainability. However if we look at the grouped results, we find that 16 out of the top 22 dog breeds that were ranked highest in intelligence were mesocephalic, while only 5 out of the 22 breeds ranked lowest in intelligence were mesocephalic.
One must be careful in interpreting such results, since the cephalic index is a continuous measure that gradually moves from brachycephalic to dolichocephalic. Because of that one must establish arbitrary values to define the groups which means that the results might be affected by where we put our cutoff points marking the various categories of head shape. Furthermore, the measures of what I call intelligence have been interpreted by some other researchers to reflect "trainability" rather than a general intelligence factor. Regardless of those considerations, the interesting finding brought to us by this research is that by simply glancing at the head shapes of the various individuals in a group of dogs we can make a rough guess at which ones are going to be the easiest to train and which will learn the best.
DOG HEAD INJURIES This article proudly presented by WWW.PETS WEBMD.COM and WWW.DOGHEIRS.COM and Copyright (c) 2007 by Howell Book House.
A dog's head can be injured in many ways, including a car accident, a fall, a blow to the head, or a gunshot wound. Since the brain is encased in bone and surrounded by a layer of fluid, it takes a major blow to the head to fracture the skull and injure the brain.
Skull Fractures A skull fracture can be linear, star shaped, compound (a compound fracture opens to outside the body), or depressed (forming a depression). Skull fractures often extend into the middle ear, nasal cavity, or sinuses, creating pathways for bacteria to gain access to the brain and cause infection. In general, the larger the skull fracture, the greater the likelihood of brain injury. However, the brain can be injured even if the skull is not broken.
Open Fontanel The skull is formed by three bone plates, and the area at the top of the skull where they come together is called the fontanel. Usually these plates fuse when a puppy is about 4 weeks old, but sometimes they never completely fuse, leaving a hole at the top of the skull called an open fontanel, or molera. The open area can range in size from a 50-cent piece to a penny.
Most of the time an open fontanel will close over by the time the dog is 1 year of age, but sometimes it will remain open throughout the dog's lifetime. These areas can be susceptible to trauma but are generally not a problem. In some dogs this condition may be associated with hydrocephalus. Congenital open fontanel is seen primarily in Chihuahuas, but the condition can be found in all the toy breeds. Since it's likely a hereditary problem, dogs with an open fontanel should not be bred.
Brain Injuries Injuries severe enough to fracture the skull are often associated with bleeding into and around the brain. Brain injuries are classified according to the severity of brain damage.
Contusion (Bruising) With a contusion, there is no loss of consciousness. After a blow to the head the dog remains dazed, wobbly, and disoriented. The condition clears gradually.
Concussion By definition, a concussion means the dog was knocked unconscious. With a mild concussion there is only a brief loss of consciousness, while with a severe concussion the dog may be unconscious for hours or even days. When she returns to consciousness, the dog exhibits the same signs as for a contusion. A severe concussion causes the death of millions of neurons. Recent information indicates that brain cell death does not cease within a few hours of the injury, but can continue for weeks or months.
Seizures Seizures can occur at the time of injury or at any time thereafter. Seizures at the time of injury are particularly detrimental because they increase pressure in the skull and compromise blood flow. This worsens the effects of the injury. Seizures that occur weeks after the injury are caused by scars that form in areas where brain tissue has died.
Brain Swelling and Bleeding Severe head injuries result in brain swelling and bleeding into and around the brain. Brain swelling, technically called cerebral edema, is always accompanied by a depressed level of consciousness and often coma. Since the brain is encased in a rigid skull, as the brain swells the cerebellum is slowly forced down through the large opening at the base of the skull. This squeezes and compresses the vital centers in the midbrain. Death occurs from cardiac and respiratory arrest.
Blood clots can form between the skull and the brain or within the brain itself. A blood clot produces localized pressure that does not, at least initially, compress the vital centers. Like cerebral edema, the first indication is a depressed level of consciousness. One pupil may be dilated and unresponsive to a light shined in the eye. Another sign is weakness or paralysis involving one or more limbs.
Dog Head Pressing Dogs Who Head Press Should See A Vet ASAP!
Recognizing This Behavior Could Save Your Dog's Life !!!
If you notice your dog repeatedly pressing their heads against the wall, floor or other object for no apparent reason, your pet could have a dangerous medical condition. The behavior is called "head pressing", and it is characterized by the compulsive act of pressing the head against something solid for extended periods of time. Head pressing generally indicates damage to the nervous system or a neurological condition or illness and it is very important that you take your dog or cat to a veterinarian for diagnosis.
The causes of head pressing behavior can be varied, but may include:
prosencephalon disease, in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged
Tumors - brain or skull
toxic poisoning - lead poisoning
metabolic disorder, such as hyper or hyponatremia (too much, or too little sodium in the body's blood plasma
encephalitis Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Many things can cause encephalitis. Infectious causes include bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and tick-transmitted disease).
hepatic encephalopathy - metabolic disorder as result of liver disease
infection of the nervous system - rabies, parasites, bacterial, viral or fungal infection
Head pressing should not be confused with a "headbutting", where a dog affectionately rubs against a person or other animal.Head pressing can be just one symptom among other behaviors and symptoms of neurological or metabolic distress. By recognizing head pressing and other neurologically-related symptoms in your dog or cat, you could potentially save their lives!
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