Monday, 24 November 2014

Will You Spoil Your Dog This Christmas ?

From UK Dog News by Ryan O'Meara  
Will You Spoil Your Dog This Christmas ?

Dogs could be in for an indulgent Christmas this year, as according to a recent survey by pet product manufacturer, PetSafe.
According to the research more than forty percent of dog owners admit they like to make their best friend feel special by giving them treats – and what better time to make your dog feel extra special than at Christmas.
As well as loving to treat our dogs, the survey also concluded that we are a nation of dog lovers with 83% claiming their dog is one of, if not their highest rated possession. With 63% spending up to £50 per month on their pets, it is certain that there will be a few stockings waiting for our pets on Christmas morning.
The only thing is you should keep a sense of proportion and remember a dog is not a human. 
If you want to treat your pet at Christmas, it will probably not appreciate the humour of a funny costume but will love extra treats in the form of food. Here again, be careful because a lot of human food is totally unsuitable for dogs. One important NO! is Chicken or Turkey bones, these are sharp and brittle and very dangerous for dogs.
Enjoy your Christmas but keep your best friend safe

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Leaving Something In You Will For Your Dog

Leaving Something In You Will For Your Dog
(From Viovet website -

Pets in Wills
Considering the majority of people reading this will be pet owners, the idea of bequeathing money and property to animals after death might not be met with such surprise. Apparently, the number of people factoring pets into their wills is on the rise, especially amongst the rich and famous. According to the Animal Legal Defence Fund, making provisions for pets has become increasingly popular in the last decade, with owners leaving money, trust funds, property and entire estates to their furry family members.
But people are not only bequeathing their assets to their own pets; the number of us donating to animal charities, shelters and to adopted strays has increased so much in the last century that today, making provisions for the less fortunate has become standard custom. For those of us who are the sole pet parent with no one to entrust our pets to, leaving a portion of our assets to ensure their continued care makes perfect sense. In fact, we are so devoted to our animals that roughly 1.5 million of the UK plans to leave our money to our pets.
That aside, it is the ones that go above and beyond to provide for their pets after death that I am most interested in; the ones bequeathing family fortunes, jewels, estates, luxury holiday homes and who knows what else to the house pet, slighting their expectant family members in favour of the dog, cat or chicken.

Sep 15th, 2014 - Posted by Hannah Dyball in Pet Discussion

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Danger Snakes!

Dog Owners Urged To Look Out for Snakes on Walks
Veterinary charity PDSA is urging dog owners to beware of snakes in woods and grassland, after saving the life of greyhound Cookie, who was bitten on Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. The eight-year-old dog is now recovering after her near-fatal encounter with an adder at the popular beauty spot on Tuesda

Read more:

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sheep dog patrols may curb seaside bacterial infections

Sheep dog patrols may curb seaside bacterial infections

Collie on the beachOn the shores of Lake Michigan, border collies were found to be an effective means of controlling bacteria

From BBC News
Border Collies may be an effective weapon against E. coli infections at the seaside according to a new study.
Researchers found that the hard working sheep dogs were successful at keeping seagulls away from beaches.
Gull dropping are known to be a source of E. coli bacteria, which can lead to abdominal cramping and diarrhoea in humans.
High levels of the bug are a leading cause of beach closures in many parts of the world, including the UK.
The bacteria are commonly found in human and animal faeces and can end up in the seas through rain water run off or from sewage.
Seagulls have been implicated in the spread of resistant versions of the bug. A recent report showed that around a third of E. coli samples taken from the birds were resistant to more than one antibiotic.
Shore patrol
In this new study, researchers assigned the dogs to 200-metre stretches of beach along the shores of Lake Michigan in the US, which were patrolled for parts of the summer season. Half way through the dogs were switched to untreated sections.
Populations of Ring-Billed gulls have soared in the region since the 1970s with numbers increasing by 10% per year.
The collies, known for their intelligence and their herding abilities, disturbed the seagulls and kept them from landing on the beaches.
"Most of the time, the dogs were kept on their leads," said Dr Elizabeth Alm from Central Michigan University, who led the study.
"They were released with the leads dropped, only when their handler directed them to chase gulls. Then the dogs were called, they would circle back, and the handler would pick the lead back up."
Over the course of the summers of 2012 and 2013, the scientists recorded the number of birds at each section of beach while water and sand samples were collected and tested for E. coli.
They found that the bacterial counts were significantly lower on those sandy stretches where the dogs had kept the gulls at bay.
dog on the beachBorder Collies are known for their intelligence and are prized by sheep farmers for their ability to work hard
However the benefit didn't last through the whole season and the researchers found that later in the summer, bacterial numbers had risen once again. Dr Alm believes that the timing of the dog patrols is crucial to their effectiveness.
"If the E. coli establish in the sand early in the season, they appear to be able to persist, and probably even grow in the sand so that even though the dogs can remove the gulls from the beach later in the season, this late reduction in gulls does not translate in to a late season reduction in E. coli."
One key question though was the worry that the dogs themselves might increase the levels of E. coli if they had to answer nature's call while working on the beach.
"These were professional working dogs," said Dr Alm.
"They were given ample opportunity to take care of their "business" before going to work. They didn't often poop on the beach, but if they did it was immediately picked up by their handler and disposed of off the beach."
The research has been published at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Soldier Saves Bomb Dog

From BBC News

Angie McDonnell and VidarDuring their time at Camp Bastion, Vidar and Ms McDonnell became close companions

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A soldier has saved the life of a bomb-hunting dog which she served alongside in Afghanistan.
Vidar, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, sniffed out a haul of enemy weapons while army medic Angie McDonnell was posted there.
But Vidar faced being put down after being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
So Ms McDonnell, a reservist, made it her mission to adopt Vidar and bring him back to her home in south Wales.
Angie McDonnell and VidarVidar located a haul of Taliban weapons near Camp Bastion
VidarVidar was facing an uncertain future after becoming nervous and developing bad eyesight
And the dog is now living a happy retirement at her home in Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.
'He saved my life'
During their time in Afghanistan, Vidar was on routine patrol near Camp Bastion when he located a haul of guns and grenades.
He alerted his handler and explosives experts were able to disable the weapons which were thought to have been hidden by the enemy to be used against British troops.
But on her return to the UK, Ms McDonnell heard that Vidar, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, was facing retirement.
He had become too nervous to carry out the job he had been trained to do and his vision was failing. He was under threat of being put down.
Ms McDonnell, who works as a paramedic, began a search to find Vidar to help save his life.
"He saved my life so it's only fair that I did what I could to save his," she explained.
"When I heard he had been retired after starting to get scared, I knew I had to track him down to help him.
"I would have done anything to make sure he had a loving home."
Ms McDonnell added: "The dogs out there are heroes and I knew from the first moment I saw him that he was a one-in-a-million. He looked like he needed a cuddle so I went into his kennel and rubbed his belly.
"We became best friends out there and I was sad to leave him when I returned home.
"I had to find him after he had been such a hero in Afghanistan."

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Does Your Dog Have Emotions?

From BBC news

Do Dogs Love?

Ask agility trainers if their dogs feel the emotion of love, and you will get a puzzled look. "Of course dogs love," they would quickly reply. Science, however, is slower to respond and looks for tangible evidence of emotion before admitting its existence.
A new study is beginning to prove with scientific evidence that dogs do indeed love. Over the past two years, Emory University Neuroscientist Gregory Burns has been looking at MRI images of dogs' brains in a study to find out what dogs think of humans. He released a few of his findings in an op-ed piece for the "New York Times" on Oct. 5, 2013.

What the MRI Reveals

Burns and his colleagues have scanned the brains of a dozen dogs trained to go into a MRI machine. He used different stimuli to see how the dogs' brains would react. His findings show that the area of the brain called the caudate nucleus lights up when the dogs' humans returned to view after a brief separation. This is the same area of the brain that is activated when humans feel love.
In his article, Burns says, "The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs."
This type of MRI experiment has never been done before because it was believed dogs had to be anesthetized before going into an enclosed and noisy MRI machine. This made the study of how a dog's brain lights up when presented with different stimuli impossible. Burns looked for a solution and trained 12 dogs to willingly put their heads in an MRI machine for brief periods, so their brains could be studied while the dogs were awake.

Through MRI studies, we will learn more about how similar we are to our canine counterparts. Much of this is no shock to the agility community. We have known how much our dogs love us for decades upon decades. What may be a shock is how this type of information changes dog training.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Choosing A Dog

Choosing A Dog? - Check This Out First
There is more to choosing a dog than you might think. Here you will learn about some of the things you should take into account even before you start the search for your new “best friend”.

One of the great joys of life is acquiring a new dog. Whether it is a lively fun seeking puppy or a mature dog from a rescue centre there is the excitement of collecting the dog and the eager anticipation of the pleasures of dog ownership to come. But how can you ensure a long and happy relationship? You need to learn about dog care and training as well as considering your own situation before you even start looking for a dog.

Some Essential Considerations
At Home
Are there children in your household.
Do you have other pets.
Do you have a reasonable sized yard or garden.
Have you considered the dog's toilet arrangements.
Are members of your family prepared to spend time training and exercising your dog.
Can you fund good quality feed, some vet's bills, insurance and kennel stays if necessary

Dog Breeds, Size and Weight
You will sometimes need to handle your dog e.g. grooming, trimming nails, bathing or lifting onto scales for a weight check. Obviously, the size and weight of your dog will make this easy (Chihuahua at 2.70 kg to 3.63 kg) or near impossible (St Bernard at 75 kg to 91 kg)

Exercise is a key factor in maintaining your dog's health. Small dogs like Jack Russell Terriers will not need as much daily exercise as a working breed such as a German Shepherd.
You need to decide how much time can be given to the task. The less time available the more important it is to acquire a smaller dog.

Home Environment
If you like your house to be warm some dogs may find it distressing – a Shih Tzu dog for instance or a dog with a thick coat. If you have an immaculate home filled with expensive furniture, you will need to think carefully about the sort of dog you intend to buy especially if you want a puppy.

Grooming Your Dog
You need to groom your dog on a regularly. Size comes into it but so does the type of coat. A short coated dog is obviously going to pick up less dirt, and mud. and be easier to clean and groom. A muddy dog may require washing. This needs a facility such as an old fashioned tin bath. You could use your shower or even your own bath but it means a lot of cleaning up afterwards.

You'll find that working breeds, a broad group, including everything from guard dogs to sheep dogs are often more stubborn and tough-minded. Terriers are often bossy and a little aggressive. Hounds are usually relaxed and friendly, but sometimes difficult to train.

Carry out some research into different breed characteristics. Do this on line and ask your vet's opinion. Dog breeders will normally promote their own breed so they are not necessarily the first people to ask for an opinion.

You will be looking to compare the following points.

  • Energy level
  • Activity and playfulness levels
  • Affection and Loyalty levels
  • Intelligence
  • Aggression (towards people/other dogs/other pets)
  • Ease of training
  • Heat and cold tolerance
  • Compatibility with people and other animals

Some Breed Comparisons:

This breed is good with children and quite intelligent. They can be hyperactive if they do not get enough exercise because they are basically a working dog.

Golden Retriever
These dogs are similar in temperament to the Labrador but have less tendency to hyper- activity

An intelligent dog. It has an excellent temperament. It was used as a hunting dog in times gone by so it is quite tough by nature.

Friendly, clever and not too big, making them suitable as a family dog.
They can be over energetic if not exercised. They respond well to firm training.

Cairn Terrier
Busy little dogs that adapt well to children. They are usually of good quiet temperament

The Collie and the smaller Shetland are both calm, gentle and tolerant breeds that usually do well with children. They do need some constructive play i.e. fetching a ball etc.

German Shepherd
Very intelligent but it is a big dog and needs exercise and constructive play. It is loyal and a good guard dog. However, a German Shepherd must be properly trained.

Cross-Bred Dogs
Come in all shapes and sizes and typically should not suffer from in-bred temperament faults.

Owning a dog is great fun but you need to think carefully about management before you take on your new “best friend”.

Need More Help?
If you would like more information about acquiring a dog or about caring for a dog please visit:
The Dog Care and Training Website :
Here you will find books and lots of free stuff which may be of use to you.