Four Legs Good

Voted Best Blog in the 2012 NetGuide awards, Four Legs Good is a place to talk about pets, and the frustrations and fun of owning them. Blogger Nick Barnett is joined by pet experts and pet lovers who write about the animals in their lives and pet issues of all kinds. And though 'Four Legs Good' is true, we’re just as fond of animals with two legs, many legs – or none.

How not to pick up your dog

08:00am 12 Mar 2015

NICK BARNETT

When you were growing up, someone taught you how to pick up the cat, or the dog, right?

Techniques for pet pick-ups vary, if you go by what's available on the internet. Sometimes one recommended style is quite different from another. Sometimes the instructions are quite different from the illustrations.

But all approved methods of picking up a pet have one thing in common: none of them tell you to use the tail.

Award-winning dog owner Rebecca Cross uses the tail. Actually, she uses the tail and throat. Here she is:

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Furry Friday: A show of paws

08:00am 06 Mar 2015

NICK BARNETT

When you're a pet, paws are functional. Paws make it possible to stand and run, to wash, to knead a human awake, and to push the food bowl around. But paws can be cute too. It all depends on what you do with them.

Here's a collection of pets who are plenty lovable enough already, but who get even more so when they bring their paws into the picture.

Our cover-pet is Misty, who started out as an abandoned kitten in a cardboard box but is now a loved family pet.

misty

Pick me, says Mouse.

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The pride of a poodle

12:27pm 05 Mar 2015

NICK BARNETT

Bulldogs, pitbulls, terriers - I've heard humans compared to them all. When commentators look for an easy metaphor for tenacity and toughness, they have a few dog breeds to choose from. But what a pity about the glib image that people have attached to poodles.

apricot poodle
  The reality today: a lively apricot-coloured poodle. Credit: Ojelle
Wikipedia says that as an insult, poodle is "used to describe a politician who obediently or passively follows the lead of others". 

I predict that, after this morning's news, you'll hear it more.

Calling a politician a poodle is so overdone. Our pundits do it. Our MPs do it, and they're asked to withdraw such unparliamentary language. They do it in Britain, and they do it in Australia. As a stale term of abuse, it's not just "last year" to taunt an opponent as a poodle, it's "last century".

But it's not just a cliche, it's unfair to a great dog breed.

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Furry Friday: The coolness of cats

05:00am 27 Feb 2015

NICK BARNETT

What is "cool"? Maybe it's something to do with being independent, dignified and unworried in all situations. Maybe it's undefinable. Though I don't think so, because to me, the definition of cool is a cat.

A cat always seems to be in charge. It never seems uneasy or at a loss. It always looks good. If it does something that looks unwise or clownish, it somehow lets you know that it meant to do it, planned to do it, and achieved it perfectly. Now that's cool.

Who could doubt that cover-cat Ada is in charge?

ada

Sunbathing Cosmo proves that being cool doesn't mean you have to be cold.

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A dog's wakeup call

01:23pm 25 Feb 2015

NICK BARNETT

Good morning, this is your wakeup call. It may come with whiskers in your eyes, a tongue up your nostril, and an uncalled-for heart massage. Quite probably, it will come at an hour that is not your actual wakeup time.

I speak of the wakeup greeting known to any dog owner.

Here's a collection of wakeups in a clip I discovered recently:

The clip is a useful record of the range of techniques available to a dog to rouse its human companion. I can almost imagine an Attenborough-type voice explaining each encounter.

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