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.

Why your pet loves your shoes

05:00am 15 Jul 2015

NICK BARNETT

A lot of pet owners have a footwear problem. The problem isn't that the footwear is uncomfortable or lacking in style - it's that the pet likes the shoes a little too much.

maya 1 maya 2
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It can be an issue with cats - such as Maya, pictured here getting close and personal with a high-heeled shoe - and with dogs.

My particular footwear problem is that my dog, Connor, is prone to grabbing one at certain moments and giving the shoe a good telling off, which includes mild use of the teeth.

He's not a habitual chewer of shoes (I'll tackle that problem in a moment), but more an opportunistic shoe-assailant when a certain mood envelops him. It's when he hears an animal sound from outside, or spots something through the window such as a dog in the park over the road. He seems to take sudden offence and starts running around growling in an affronted way and searching for something, anything, so he can tell it what's what.

Sometimes that thing is the bottom of a curtain, and now some of our curtains are dotted with pinholes where he's got his teeth in before we've been able to call him off. Other times it's a blanket or a cushion that he grabs, shakes, and drops. Other times it's a shoe.

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Furry Friday: Why cats delight us

06:47am 10 Jul 2015

NICK BARNETT

Last week I talked about some of the things our dogs do that make us smile. This week it's the turn of the cats.

Cats are delightful - but why? Sure, they look and feel beautiful, and that'd be enough reason to have one. But it's also their ways - their instincts and habits, their moods, their piss-elegance, their wobbly splendour. Today's collection of photos is a record of just some of those feline ways that delight us.

And we have another giveaway prize. Leave a comment on the blog below - pick a favourite, or say how your own cat delights you - and you'll be in to win a copy of I Am Cat, written and illustrated by New Zealander Melisa Sinclair. It's a picture book about the uniqueness of cats, and it's aimed for preschool and primary-aged children.

What is it about cats that delights us? One thing is their cleanliness. (Jasmine)

jasmine

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Furry Friday: Why dogs make us smile

05:00am 03 Jul 2015

NICK BARNETT

Every day is different, with its ups and downs, yawns and heart-rushes. But one thing is certain about every single day: my dogs will make me smile.

The way they look, the way they move. The way they can't hide their feelings or pretend to be anything other than what they are. It all makes me smile. So today's collection is of dogs doing the things that make us smile.

There's also a giveaway! Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog, naming your favourite photos or telling us what it is about your dog that makes you smile. The winner, chosen next week at random, will be sent a dog collar of their choice from the range at Chief & Co Petwares.

What is it about dogs that makes us smile? Their mature intelligence. (Chief)

chief

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The super-secret life of pets

05:00am 02 Jul 2015

NICK BARNETT

Every year, there are several new big things in computer-animated movies. One of 2016's looks set to be The Secret Life of Pets, and going from the synopsis and the very funny trailer, I'd say millions of pet owners will be lining up to buy tickets.  

cat chickenIt's all about a terrier named Max whose owner comes home one day with a new dog, Duke. But the conflict between Max and Duke soon takes back seat to something grimmer - a war waged on pets and their owners by an army of abandoned pets, led by a rabbit named Snowball.

So there's darkness and probably sadness in the story, to go with the wit.    

It's an age-old storytelling standby: imagining animals to be like humans, and giving them human voices (such as those of Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks).

But this movie will work best if its creature characters are also recognisable as members of their animal species, and again the trailer looks promising. There's a cat that shuns its kibble in favour of classier grub such as roast chicken. There's a dog that sits on a cushion all day, barking at squirrels, then returning to its cushion. There's a black-and-tan dachshund that turns a food mixer into a massage tool, then lies under it with one hind leg quivering in ecstasy.

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Furry Friday: How to handle winter

05:00am 26 Jun 2015

NICK BARNETT

You may have noticed certain things happening outside lately. Your washing line staying in shadow all day. The sun setting at what feels like lunchtime. Temperatures falling to single, if not minus, digits.

Winter changes things for pets too. The outdoor world is not so much fun - or at least it's fun but only for shorter periods of time, such as seconds or minutes. Then, heaters, beds and laps call them back indoors.

Let's look at some photos of pets handling the winter, in the various creative ways at their disposal.

Mulisha, Kobi and Izzy find snow to be an excellent surface for play.

mulisha

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