Author Archive

01 Nov 2011

Week 2 – Going out and coming back in the door

No Comments Bo's Training Diary, General

Another problem I have (and that I’m sure I share with other dog owners) is getting Bo in and out of the front door in a calm way. To have a dog who tries, or succeeds, to pull you out of the door before you get out poses two problems. Firstly, that he is starting the walk excited and his mood will continue in that way. Secondly, that your dog is showing that he is more dominant than you.

My plan with Bo was, after working on getting ready last week and to put his lead on nicely, I have him sat in the doorway. However, for me to unlock the door, we need to be closer. And he knows this, so Bo does move, so I tell him immediately to sit just by the door. Which he does, eventually. I unlock the door, repeatedly telling him to wait. I use the command wait here instead of stay. For Bo, stay is when I am going to come back for him and then release him, wait is when I need him to wait until I have done something, like unlocked the door, and then he can follow me. These commands work well. Until we switched to differentiating between the two, Bo would always be itching to move when I told him to stay. Now, when I say stay he is better, he still twitches on wait though!

So, I tell Bo to wait, and then unlock the door, and slowly walking backwards (carefully) I move out of the door first whilst holding onto his lead and telling him to wait. A couple of times he followed me too quick, but I just moved him back to where he was and told him to wait again. Which he eventually gets. Then, I go out the door, once I am out I release him by saying ok and he comes out after me.

After our walk Bo is far more willing to do what I say, which makes coming back into the house easier. I want to go through the door first, so upon getting to the door I tell him to sit and wait. I then unlock the door and continually tell him to wait until I am in, then he comes in. Once in, I tell him to sit in the same spot where he waits while I get ready to go out. I want him to know that he has to wait calmly on either end of the walk. He sits in the spot, and I tell him to stay. I put my shoes on the shoe rack, take off his lead and take my coat off. Only then do I give him a treat and say ok, and he tends to go to his basket and sleep!

It is always important to remember to keep hold of your dogs lead when coming back into the house, otherwise if he gets distracted, he could fly off and into the road. It is also important to remember that if your dog moves before you tell them to, you need to put them back where they were and do it again.

When doing either stay or wait, Bo gives tell tale signs that he is about to break the command. He twitches once, then moves. If I see it happening, before he moves I release him and praise him. It is far easier for them to learn by doing this than by putting them back and starting again. Bo can only stay or wait for a certain time period, which is different in different places with different distractions. So, it is important to look for your dogs capability and not to push them too far. Bo’s timings are short at the moment, but have been improving as we do the exercise more and more.

Bo is slowly getting the hang of going in the door, coming out is a little harder, but we will get there in the end I am sure!

Happy Training!

Becca.

27 Oct 2011

Beef Porridge Balls

No Comments Doggie Recipes, General

Beef Porridge Balls

Ingredients

50g Porridge Oats

100ml beef stock (either water with half a stock cube or stock)

Method

Boil the beef stock and then add the oats. Cook for 5 minutes stirring every now and then.

Cook until very stodgy.

Leave to cool.

Roll into bitesize balls and put in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Feed to your dog as a nice treat, especially in the summer months.

25 Oct 2011

Week 1 – Getting ready to go out.

No Comments Bo's Training Diary, General

So, the first thing that Bo is in desperate need to work on is his excitement at the prospect of going for a walk. From the moment I come downstairs he seems to know what is about to happen!

We have a small hall and putting on shoes is a nightmare to do with a big German Shepherd clumsily bashing around. When I put my shoes on, even to go out with Bo, I have started to make him sit in the kitchen doorway. He is in sight, but out of the way.

The very first thing I do is to get him in position in the doorway and then I tell him to sit and stay. Bo knows both of these commands, however, he seems to have selective hearing when putting them in practice.

He wasn’t very good at staying to begin with, in fact, he moved immediately on the first go. So, I moved him using my body, blocking him so he had to go backwards. Then, I got him to sit again. It did mean that putting my shoes on took some time but, in the long run it will be easier…..I hope!

Next was to put his harness and lead on. I did exactly the same thing here a I did with the shoes. When he moved, I dropped the lead and put him back. He soon realised that he needed to stay, otherwise his walk would start later and later.We do eventually manage the lead, he can contain himself just about, but I need to be quick! And of course, I praise him when he does it, but not in a way that would excite him. A treat or a toy works well. His main praise however, is his nice long walk that he gets after being good to begin with.

He is slowly learning, although he still doesn’t get it right. I think it will take constant training, which is hard, especially when I’m in a rush. But, the hard work will pay off when he knows that he has to sit by himself while I get ready to go out.

For the next week we will be adding on this by trying to get Bo out of the front door without pulling me with him!

Becca

24 Oct 2011

Bo’s Training Diary

No Comments Bo's Training Diary, General

Bo has never really been trained formally. This has led to his training being a little bit behind. However, with the help of books and sheer willpower, more on my side than Bo’s, I will try to make him into the perfect (or near enough) dog. I will write about the methods I use, what I have been doing and how Bo is getting along so you can follow us on our adventure to him becoming a better dog! If you have any training methods or any advice you want to share then please comment below or send me a message on twitter @beccasdogblog or on facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dog-Blog/219460794734721

Happy Training!

21 Oct 2011

Pet Insurance

No Comments General

There are clear advantages and disadvantages to getting pet insurance. So, do you do it or not? Hopefully, this article will help explain them to you and help you make an informed decision.

Advantages

  • If your dog gets injured or falls ill and you cannot afford the vet bills, insurance will help you out.
  • If your dog goes missing, insurance companies often help with advertising and a reward.
  • Perks with some insurers, such as boarding costs should you be hospitalised and holiday cancellation cover should your dog fall ill while you are away.

Disadvantages

  • There will be an excess and a limit to how much you can claim, no good if your dog is ill for a substantial amount of time.
  • You will have to pay for the insurance each month and might not ever need to claim.
  • Sometimes, you may need to pay the vet yourself and then claim back, costing you money.

So, there are some things to discuss, if you feel like you can cope with your vets bills should something happen, then insurance may not be for you, particularly in your dogs healthier years. However, if you have an older dog, it may be worth considering.

Various companies offer different benefits from their insurance, for example, multi-pet discounts, legal advice line, grief counseling and public liability.

Here are a few comanpies that offer pet insurance:

  • Tesco
  • Direct Line
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Pet Plan
  • More Than

Just remember, do your research into many companies before making a choice as to which company and what plan you go with.

11 Aug 2011

Police Dogs in Action – London Riots

No Comments Doggie News

The recent London riots have highlighted the use of police dogs, and unfortunately the drawbacks for the dogs themselves. After the riots, it was announced that 5 dogs had been injured, along with over 100 police officers, of course, this number could be higher by now.

All the dogs used in the riots were fantastically brave. The many pictures of them show how good they were at their job.

In this very short post, I wanted to highlight the work of these police dogs during the riots.

Here are a few links to show you what they have been, and still are doing.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4cvUhZdTro

http://doggiefile.blogspot.com/2011/08/police-dogs-injured-in-london-riots.html

http://abcnews.go.com/International/riots-london-police-canine-unit-takes-hit/story?id=14265825

Becca

20 Jun 2011

Surfing Dogs!

No Comments Doggie News

On the 5th of June 2011, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition took place at Imperial Beach California. This competition is in its sixth year and dogs compete for 10 minutes after being divided up into three heats, small, medium and large dogs. Judges are concerned with confidence, long wave ride and fashion sense. The winning dog gets a holiday at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

For pictures and more information, have a look at – http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/06/6th-annual-surf-dog-competition.html

19 Jun 2011

Dogs in cars

No Comments General

The law on dogs in cars is often confusing and not well known. Here is the law on dogs in cars as of 2011 in the UK and how to travel with your dog safely.

There is no specific law on dogs in cars. However, the law states that a person must be in control of the car. This means no dogs sitting on drivers’ laps and no distractions from the dog. The Welfare of Animals Act does state that dogs should not be in a car in a way that is uncomfortable for them, or that would cause them unnecessary injury of suffering. Therefore, it is best to restrain a dog in a car using a crate or harness.

So, going by the law and advice, dogs can go pretty much anywhere in a car. Options can include the boot in or out of a crate, in the back seat, or even in the front seat, if restrained.

It is definitely advisable to use a dog guard or harness when travelling with your dog. These are easily bought from shops such as Halfords and Pets at Home.

Travel sickness can be a problem for some dogs, so make sure you visit the vet if this is an issue for advice and medication.

Lastly, don’t forget, never leave your dog in a car, especially in the summer. The car can heat up extremely fast leaving your dog to dehydrate and suffocate. On long journeys, your dog will need rests just as you do for water, food and toilet stops.

13 Jun 2011

Breed Profile – Border Collie

No Comments Breed Profiles

Before buying or adopting a puppy or dog of any breed it is important to know what breed is right for you. Here is a checklist; if you answer yes to all these questions you are a step closer to finding out whether a Border Collie is right for you.

Do you have a house with a medium to large garden?

Do you have an hour or two to walk your dog?

Do you have time to train your dog?

Could you cope with ongoing vet bills from a health issue such as epilepsy?

Can you afford the vet and food bills?

Have you got ten minutes every other day to groom your dog?

Description

It may come as a surprise to a few people that Border Collies don’t all come in black and white! Black and white is the most common, however, they can also be tricolour in black, tan and white or black, sable and white. Or they can be tan and white or sable and white. They are medium-sized dogs some with fully erect ears and some with semi-erect ears. Their eyes can be brown or sometimes with some blue in them. Some even have one eye brown and the other blue.

Size

Male Border Collies can be around 13 – 20 kg in weight and 48 – 55 cm in height.

Female Border Collies can be around 12 – 19 kg in weight and 45 – 53 cm in height.

Exercise

Border Collies are working dogs and as such will need a lot of exercise. This exercise should include a brisk walk or jog coupled with some ball play. Border Collies also need intellectual stimulation so ensure you have the time to train, play and walk your Collie.

Health

Like all breeds, the Border Collie has some common health issues. These include hip and elbow dysplasia (common in all larger dogs), epilepsy and Collie eye anomaly. All these are genetic within the breed. Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a congenital disease of the eye. The average life span of the Border Collie is between 10 and 17 years.

Temperament

Border Collies are considered to be the most intelligent. They are also working dogs, however, many people have them as pets. Because of their working background, Border Collies have a lot of energy and if they are bored they will dig and bark. They are good companion dogs and are good as family pets if trained well.

Training

As mentioned, Border Collies need a lot of training to keep their minds’ occupied. This training can come in the form of agility and flyball. Being a working breed, Border Collies can also have training in the form of sheep herding, although this is best left to professionals!

Grooming

Border Collies should only have a bath when necessary. Their hair can either be coarser or sleek and longer. Longer hair will obviously need more brushing to ensure no tangling. However, both types of coats need brushing regularly, particularly when your dog is malting. Teeth, skin, ears and nails should be checked regularly while grooming to ensure they look good. Nails shouldn’t get too long, if you are unsure; consult your vet or a professional dog groomer.

06 Jun 2011

Breed Profile – German Shepherd

No Comments Breed Profiles

Before buying or adopting any puppy or dog of any breed it is important to know what breed is right for you. Here is a checklist, if you answer yes to all these questions; you are a step closer to finding out whether a German Shepherd is right for you.

Do you have a house with a large garden?

Do you have an hour or two to walk your dog?

Do you have time to train your dog?

Do you have ten minutes every other day to groom your dog?

Could you cope with ongoing vet bills from a health issue such as hip dysplasia?

Can you afford food and vet bills, which increase as the dog size does?

Description

German Shepherds can be black and tan, black and sable and all black, some can be white but this colour is deemed unacceptable. They have long muzzles with a black nose, strong jaws, almond eyes, a bushy tail and large erect ears.

Size

Male German Shepherds can be around 30-40 kg in weight and 60-65 cm in height.

Female German Shepherds can be around 22-32 kg in weight and 55-60 cm in height.

Exercise

German Shepherds need strenuous activity combined with mental activity like training. They require long walks daily whether it be a brisk walk, jog or running alongside a bike and some ball play.

Health

Due to their breeding, German Shepherds experience hereditary hip and elbow dysplasia. Being a large dog they are also susceptible to bloat. They also can develop eczema and ear infections. The life span of a German Shepherd is around 9 – 13 years.

Temperament

German Shepherds have a willingness to learn and a loyal nature. They bond well to those they are close to. However, they can be overprotective if not socialised correctly. German Shepherds respond best to positive reward training.

Training

The German Shepherd was bred for intelligence and so is a quick learner. They are used as police dogs and for search and rescue. Training activities can include scutzhund, agility and flyball.

Grooming

German Shepherds can come in three types of coats: rough, long-rough and long-haired. German Shepherds seasonally malt; however, they will shed hair all year round. Therefore, brushing every day will result in less vacuuming but brushing once or twice a week is good enough. German Shepherds should only be bathed when necessary due to sensitive skin and should be checked for nail trimming regularly.

All these factors need to be taken into account when discussing whether a German Shepherd is the right dog for you and your family.