Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Weight Problem


I feel very ashamed as I add this entry.

You see I strongly believe that correct feeding and diet combined with weight control are absolutely essential in taking care of our dogs. It is the basis of good health and an active life not to mention a great saving on vet's bills.

Imagaine my horror and shame, when a knowledgeable person of my aquaintance, pointed out to me that one of our dogs (a little Jack Russell terrier) was over-weight - and they were right.

Okay, it was not terrible and easily corrected over a couple of weeks.  However, I had not really noticed and I should have done.

If you are concerned about your own dog's weight and wish to get some idea of how to check the situation there is information you can use.

You will find this on the following website.

Go to the bottom of the page and click on the links "Related Articles > Weight Chart For Dogs"
This is a guide only, but it is a very good place to start if you are not sure of your dog's condition.

Take care.



Saturday, 9 May 2009

Essentials of Dog Training


I often get asked what I think are the most important elements in training a dog.

With so many details to consider you may think that this is a very wide ranging question. In fact the answer is quite simple. There are three primary essentials to training a dog and the first is not about the dog, it's about you.

To be successful at dog training you must learn to discipline your self to react correctly with your dog. A typical example is when you are training your dog to come to you and it decides to wander off somewhere else. It is easy to start shouting and to loose your temper especially if you have had a bad day. The problem is that your dog does not understand any of this, it only understands that for some unknown reason, you are yelling in an aggressive manner and it it would be better to stay out of harms way.

The next essential of dog training is to follow a structured programme, taking one exercise at a time and spending a lot of time on that exercise before moving to the next one.

The third essential is repetition. To re-enforce your training message you need to keep repeating it. However, you also need to introduce variety into your dog's training session. If we consider the "come" exercise, although you keep repeating it, some times you will reward your dog with a tit-bit, sometimes with a toy to play with for a while, sometimes you just give your dog a whole lot of fuss and sometimes you do nothing and put your dog straight into the next exercise.

There is a saying amongst professional dog trainers that:
There are no no bad dogs only bad owners.

I will leave you to think about that.

All the best


Thursday, 23 April 2009

Basic Instincts


Here is another story which supports the idea that your dog is 99% wolf under the surface.

When Jan Griffith's dog "Sophie Tucker" (a grey and black cattle dog) was washed overboard from a yacht off the east coast of Australia she thought that it was gone for ever. However, Shophie Tucker had survived, swimming over five nautical miles through shark infested seas to a mainly uninhabited island. Here she suvived for more than four months by using basic wolf like instincts.

Faced with starvation, the dog reverted to these basic instincts to hunt and eat wild goats so that when she was discovered by park rangers the dog was fit and healthy. The rangers initially considered the animal to be a wild dog and when first captured the dog was very wild and ferocious. It would not let anyone near it and refused any food offered.

After several weeks contact was established between the park rangers and Jan Griffith which resulted in the dog being returned.

Jan Griffith approached the reunion with some apprehension but when she called the dog, it started whimpering and jumping about in the transporter cage. On release it raced over to it's owner jumping and wriggling around like a mad thing - all hostility gone.

Sophie Tucker quickly readjusted back to life at home and now nobody would know that she was temporarly an efficient hunter killer on a remote island of Queensland.

So there you are, the dog had to have these wolf like instincts to survive.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

A True Friend / Feeding Your Dog Scraps


Did you see on TV the item about a dog (18 years old) that helped to keep his owner (80 years old) alive when they were both trapped inside a building in rising water during Hurricane Katrina. The dog did this by constantly licking the face of his owner and keeping him from drifting off to sleep and certain death in the circumstances. Never under estimate the allegiance of a dog to it's master (or mistress) when a bond has been established between them.

It appears that this dog (I think it was a terrier type of dog) actually lived another two years so it would have been 20 years old when it died. Does anyone have an idea of just how old a dog can live to?

I have been looking back over my recent emails and I am surprised how many people have asked about feeding food scraps and left overs to their dogs.
I suppose it is all tied in with the tough economic times many of us are going through.

I believe the answer is to be found in the German Shepherd Training Manual but I have copied the main conclusion below

" Food Scraps
Scraps could be a useful way to supplement your dogs feed. Think of it, when you feed your dog scraps and leftovers from your own meals you can reduce the amount of actual dog food required and save money and there is less waste for you to throw away. The dog enjoys a variety of food and you may even reduce the time it takes to prepare your dog's meals and clean up afterwards – it's a win win situation – right?
WRONG – Dogs are not mini-garbage disposals. Like you, dogs have dietary requirements and there are human foods that can cause them gastric and other problems. You have learned from this book the importance of controlling your dog's food intake, not just the quantity but also the nutritional balance."

I think this sums up the correct philosophy.


Friday, 6 February 2009

Short of Cash - Don't Punish Your Dog

As a result of the economic downturn, lots of us are struggling to pay our bills at the moment. One outcome of this is that we have to cut back on household expenditure.

One area for review is how much we spend on dog food. If you are a responsible dog owner you will be feeding your dog according to it's weight but you may be tempted to look for cheaper dog food to save a little on the household budget.

You may be able to do this but you need to very careful. If you have already achieved a good balanced diet for your dog, changing it may result in a gradual deterioration in your dog's condition and a future vet's bill may wipe out all the savings you have made with cheap feed.

Another possibility is that you reduce the amount of feed you give your dog but make it up with scraps and leftovers from your own meals (assuming that you can still afford to eat !!!!!!!).
This course of action is not wrong but again you have to be careful as some human food is bad or even dangerous for dogs (e.g. Never,Never feed your dog cooked animal bones, especially chicken bones as once cooked the bones become brittle and the resulting splinters can damage your dog,s digestive system)

You need to avoid onion, chocolate and certain other foods. The best thing you can do is to speak to your vet and ask which human foods to avoid and which are safe for your dog to eat.

I appreciate that all this takes a little trouble to sort out but if you balance this against the greater trouble and cost of vet's bills and expensive special diets to correct damage done by poor or even dangerous diets I think it is obvious what you need to do.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Diets for Dogs

Recently a friend visited us bringing along her much loved dog. She was intested in learning a few basics about training the dog to sit,stay and come back to her when called. What stood out though as I surveyed this lovable but unfit dog was just how over weight it was.

It seems strange that when a dog is so much cared for as part of the family, it's owner is completely unaware of how much harm they are doing by overfeeding. The situation will be much worse if the dog is not getting enough exercise. If you are worried by this problem the best thing to do is contact your vet, have the dog weighed and ask advice on diet. Don't kill your dog by being too kind.
There is a useful information on diet at

Friday, 23 January 2009

Dangerous Toys

Dog Training Stories

Although this blog is to be about adventures in dog training, there are a number of related issues which I will include from time to time.

The first of these follows below.
A Cautionary StoryI would like to share a curious experience I had with the Jack Russell.About 18 months ago Trixie had amongst her toys, a smallish "pink" (don't ask) rubber bone. She loved to chew this but when I noticed that there were small bits of pink rubber appearing in her poo (apologies to those of you of a sensitive disposition) I decided that this toy had to go.Now fast forward TWELVE MONTHS .

Trixie became ill. She was constantly trying to be sick but only producing foam from her mouth. She was in great distress and had to be taken to the vets. An x-ray revealed a blockage in the intestine and an operation was needed. The amazing result was a lump of PINK rubber which was positively identified as part of the toy I had thrown away twelve months earlier. It had stayed in her stomach for that time until some manoeuvre caused it to enter the digestive tract.

$600 later (the Vet's bill), I realised that toys can pose a hazard.If this is a problem that worries you make sure you purchase dog toys that are made of firm rubber or similar safe substances and remove them as soon as they start to deteriorate and break up. It may seem expensive to do this on a regular basis but it is much cheaper than the vet's bill.