Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

Betsy

Betsy

photo photo(1)

Betsy, Bonnie and Jess! Oz came too but managed to not get in a photo!

I wish you all a very Happy, healthy and prosperous new year and may all your dreams come true!

I have enjoyed my time off playing more with my horse who always manages to remind me about my dog training! It is so good for me to have him as my hobby and in some ways he is more of a pet than my dogs! I often hear myself thinking or saying Red wants to go out, Red wants more hay, Red wants to pull his carriage today etc. In fact I sound remarkably like my clients, who fortunately often know exactly what their dogs want too! All of which is fine as long as we get what we want as well!

I am lucky that with my horse I am aware that if Red kicks the stable door to get my attention or to speed me up in getting his food, that if I respond to his demands his behaviour would get worse, and even in time he could break out of his stable door. I remember Betty doing something similar as a puppy when she very cleverly started carrying her food bowl round near feed time, I was very impressed and fed her, before long her bowl was whizzing past my head across the kitchen, it was then I realised that I must not be so impressed!! It took a some self-control to not respond to her demands, I so wanted to laugh as the bowl landed on the worktop beside me!

Remember this year it is great to know what they want, but be sure you only respond to the behaviour you want to encourage! Happy new year!

Zippitydoodah!

Zippitydoodah!

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This warning comes from the USA, but my guess is it will be just a matter of time before this becomes an issue here. We can learn from their mistakes hopefully!

Please  tell  every dog or cat owner you know. Even if  you don’t have a pet,  please pass this to those  who do.
Over the weekend,   the doting owner of two young lab mixes  purchased Cocoa Mulch  from Target to  use in their garden. The dogs loved the way   it smelled and it was advertised to  keep cats away from  their garden. Their dog  (Calypso) decided the mulch smelled good  enough  to eat and devoured a large  helping.  She vomited a few  times which was typical  when she eats something  new but wasn’t acting lethargic in any way.  The  next day, Mom woke up and took   Calypso out for her morning  walk . Half way  through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.
Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label,   upon further investigation on the company’s web site,
this product is HIGHLY toxic to  dogs  and cats.
Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey’s,  and they claim that “It is true that studies have shown that 50%  of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer  physical  harm  to a variety of  degrees (depending on each individual dog).   However, 98% of all dogs won’t eat   it.”
*Snopes site gives  the following  information:http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp *
Cocoa Mulch,  which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman’s   Garden Supply and other Garden supply  stores contains a  lethal ingredient called ‘Theobromine’. It  is lethal to dogs and  cats. It smells li ke  chocolate and it really  attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff  and  die. Several deaths already occurred in the last  2-3  weeks.
Theobromine is in   all chocolate, especially dark or baker’s  chocolate which is  toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean  shells contain potentially toxic  quantities of theobromine,   a xanthine compound   similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline.  A dog that  ingested a lethal quantity of garden  mulch made from cacao bean  shells  developed severe convulsions   and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach  contents and  the ingested cacao bean shells  revealed the presence of lethal  amounts of theobromine.

Steve hard at work behind the desk

As ever I had a great time with Steve Scruton at the BBC Essex Studio in Chelmsford! We had some great callers with Dog questions and covered dog behaviour subjects like toilet training, separation anxiety, biting, dog to dog aggression and several more, if you missed the show and would like to listen in you can do for the next seven days via i player at the address below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p007d8bd/The_Afternoon_Show_on_BBC_Essex_23_04_2010/

Avril behind the mike

John came in to tell everyone about his show later in the day!

Steve with the BBC sign!

Me and my good friend Steve!

Does this look familiar? Have you got a photo of the real thing to share?

Spring is coming and the dogs will be spending more time out there, typically I am sure to be having a lot of questions about how to stop the puppies turning the garden into a bomb site! In anticipation here are some tips for those of you who are keen gardeners and do not want to lose your favourite plants this summer!

The good news first, dogs grow out of gardening by around their second birthday! If they don’t, it is not normal behaviour and you need to come and see me to correct the misunderstanding they have!

While growing it is natural for a puppy to explore their world and the garden is a wonderful place for them to do this, eating dirt, chewing sticks up, eating plants, digging around for insects, or just to see what is there is all normal behaviour, and if you fight this natural need to explore you will create more behaviour problems for yourself.

Management is the answer, by either fencing off an area that you give over to the puppy, or protecting your precious shrubs by fencing them off, to protect them from your puppy will make your life simpler, and allow your puppy to develop without upsetting you!

Ideally create a digging area for your puppy that is more interesting than the rest of the garden, this can be an earth area or you could make a sand pit, to reduce the mud you might get in the house. For a sand pit/digging area to be interesting you will have to dig it over once a day, add toys and objects of interest to the area, preferably bury these bits to make it more fun to find them!

Remember if you have just dug a part of the garden, or even better planted bulbs or plants, your puppy will make a bee line for this spot, your scent will make him think it must be interesting, prevent the puppy having access to this area for a few days until your scent has faded.

I am always delighted to have your queries and comments on any of the articles as it can lead to more clarity! Do you have a photo of your puppy digging in the garden for me to add to this post please?

For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!