There is so much to grooming that people don’t realise. They are first aid trained? They need to understand a dog’s body language? They can even refer your dog to a vet as they can spot things you don’t.
In the first of my guest blogs you will be hearing from force free groomer Angela Bakun of Short Bakun Tails. She explains what you can do to help your groomer, why it’s important to tell your groomer of any health issues and how your groomer will do the most to make it an enjoyable experience for your dog.
It is important to find a force free groomer as you don’t want your dog to have any kind of aversion. A good groomer will be happy to answer any questions you have, and never feel uncomfortable to ask them!
The benefits of grooming include;
Warning signs of parasites can be seen and dealt with properly and quickly to avoid further infection to other animals and people.
It is a good way to bond with the dog.
If the dog has been injured this can be made more apparent during a groom.
Makes the dog more comfortable.
The dog’s health and coat can be checked on a regular basis.
In my 1-2-1 puppy course I go through how to conduct a head to tail examination on your dog. Doing this on a regular basis will mean your dog is used to being handled and this will not only help with the vets, but also the groomer too.
I’m sure the answer to this is yes but do you know how to get a happy, confident dog?
Socialisation begins before they even leave their mother and breeder. Small things, such as introducing noises all build a dog’s confidence.
To continue building your dog’s confidence it is important you introduce them to lots of different experiences as early on as possible. These experiences must all be positive, if your dog has a negative experience it can cause major behavioural issues.
In my 1-2-1 puppy course I have a section that is purely focused on confidence building and this includes hiding food in piles of boxes. By doing this your dog will get used to the noise and the movement the boxes make as they fall. You can increase the pile, add other materials and vary the surface. Aslong as everything you use is clean and safe it will help.
Others things you can do include playing noises a various volumes, introducing diiferent smells (not strong smells as a dogs primary sense is it’s nose), wear different face coverings e.g hats, scarves, cycle helmets, walk your dog in different placs e.g fields, parks, beaches, industrial estates, past schools etc.
If you click the link below it will take you to a YouTube channel that has lots of different noises you can play. Try and play them as often as possible and gradually increase the volume. With Fireworks night coming up it is incredibly important to start work now. Ideally you should be doing this daily.
Over the years we have become more and more conscientious of what we eat so why not do the same for your dog? Eating healthier will increase life longevity, reduce your vet bills and help raise a happier dog…….it’s a no brainer really!
I often refer my clients to https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/ to check the nutritional value of their current dog food. Most are surprised by what they find and often change to something healthier.
With raw feeding becoming more and more popular it is no wonder there are shops popping up everywhere. I am pro-raw and I often have clients ask about the benefits, how to transition, cost, complete diet vs DIY etc. It can be so confusing when starting out so I have written a beginners guide to raw feeding to help make things easier. Feel free to download and share, and if you have any further questions just ask
It has been so hot in the UK this week that Vinnie has been really struggling. Imagine how your dog must be feeling. It is so important to try and keep them cool, to not walk them in extreme heat or to leave them alone in a car.
Dogs die in hot cars so please don’t leave your dog in a car even just for a few minutes. Even if the window is down it can have severe consequences.
Heatstroke can be fatal to dogs, especially puppies, older dogs and brachycephalic dogs. Signs of heatstroke include a racing heart, red, blue or purple gums, lethargy, extreme panting or drooling and collapse.
If you think you dog is suffering from heatstroke try cooling the area, put your dog on a cool, damp towel, try and encourage them to drink sips of tepid water, rub their legs and paws to encourage circulation and contact a vet immediately.
Thankfully there are lots of things you can do to keep your dog cool. There are products you can buy such as a cooling mat, cooling banadana, cooling vest and cooling jacket. There are also lots of things you can do at home including having a shaded area in the garden, have a cool area in the house, use a fan or air con unit, wet a towel and encourage your dog to lay on it, make sure fresh water is available at all times, put ice in the water to cool it, set up a paddling pool but make sure the water is cool as it can heat up in the sun, discourage physical activity (including walks) and feed food frozen.
Walking your dog in extreme heat can be very dangerous so consider doing enrichment in the home instead. You can have short training sessions, set up free work, use brain training games or make puzzle toys with things you have at home.
Some examples of homemade enrichent include:
putting food in a toilet roll tube and folding it at both ends
putting food in a kitchen roll tube then put papaer in each end
putting food in an egg box and close it
putting food in newspaper and scrunch it up
putting food in a teatowel and roll it up.
You might find your dog enjoys shredding the paper once it has eaten the food too, if so let them do it.
Always supervise your dog when taking part in enrichment.
Whether you love the sun or you hate it, make sure your 4 legged friend is safe.
With the weather getting warmer it’s the time of year when you might see Adders basking in the sun. The Adder is the UK’s only poisonous snake but generally will only bite if feeling threatened. They are easily identified by the zig zag pattern down it’s back.
I live in an area that has quite alot of gorse land so we see them quite alot and there have been a couple of dogs that I know of that have been bitten, thankfully they have all been ok.
Symptoms of an Adder bite are: puncture wounds (one or two), swelling in the area of the puncture wounds (this swelling can spread if not treated), limping/yelping, increased heart rate, panting, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, pale gums (it’s worth looking at your dog’s gums, only if it’s safe to do so, and take note of the normal colour so you know when they are pale or inflamed). All or some of these symptoms will be shown.
If you think your dog has been bitten by an Adder it’s important that you get your dog to a vet asap. Try and keep the dog as still as possible to prevent the spread of venom. Once at the vet they will decide on the appropriate medication to administer depending on the severity. Not all vets have the antivenom so it’s worth calling the vets in your area to find out which one stocks it.
In some cases bites from Adders can be fatal but with early treatment the majority of dogs make a full recovery.
Force free training, otherwise know as positive reinforcement is a form of training that focuses on rewarding your dog for the behaviour you want and ignoring the behaviour you don’t want. This type of training is backed by the latest scientific studies and research. This can be done using food, toys, praise or anything else your dog loves to mark the desired behaviour.
Will it make my dog more fearful?
People sometimes think it can be used to reinforce fear but that’s not true. You can’t reinforce fear. A good example to use is by imagining you are scared of flying but you love cake. If I fed you cake all the way to Spain (apart from making you feel a bit sick!) would that make you more afraid or would you think “actually I don’t mind flying so much if I get cake all of the time!”. It’s the same theory for your dog. It’s a matter of changing their perspective of the situation.
Will my dog put on weight?
A question I often get asked is “will this type if training make my dog overweight?” Not if you do it correctly. Obesity in dogs is very common and it can have major long term implications. You don’t have to use treats, you can use your dog’s everyday food, you can use praise or you can use toys. If you use food you can gradually stop using food as the behaviour improves.
What about traditional methods?
Traditional training would focus on hierarchy in the household, punishing the dog and possibly using aversive tools. These methods and tools will include shock collars, prong collars, pet corrector spray, slip leads, pinning a dog down, being the boss of your dog, and so many other things that could do long term mental and physical damage. Sadly as this training method has been used for such a long time people still believe it to be correct and is still used by some trainers today.
Luckily scientific studies have proven force free training has longer lasting results, is ethical and will result in a better relationship between you and your dog.
Even the pack theory has been discredited by the very man that wrote the original study, Dr. David L. Mech. You can see a short YouTube clip from him by clicking the link below.
This is just a few words on how to prevent your dog being the victim of theft. A few simple steps can really help.
It has been reported that dog theft is on the rise. Please don’t leave your dog outside a shop (even if you’re just nipping in), make sure your garden is secure, make sure they have good recall and keep them well in sight when out for a walk.
Microchip details (by law) should be upto date, check your insurance will cover posters etc, make sure you have an upto date photo and make sure your dog has an ID tag (again this is law). I never recommend putting your dog’s name on the ID tag, if criminals know your dog’s name then it will be easier for them to claim the dog as theirs.
Hopefully you will never have to go through this but you can never be too careful.