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.