Photo by bin Ziegler on Pexels.com

There are many fad diets for humans (I have tried a few!), this trendy eating has crossed over into dog food.

Along with the trend  toward the raw diet comes the grain free and hypoallergenic diets. Great if you have dog with food allergies, but it is rare for a dog to truly have an allergy to grain. The only people gaining from this trend are the dog food manufacturers and those  that sell it. 

Please do not take feeding advice from people who are profiting from your choices, speak to the experts, your Vet, animal nutritionists or other professional! 

I asked my Vet on her thoughts on feeding grain free and hypo allergenic diets and the message was very clear, Don’t! There is now evidence that dogs are suffering with heart problems as a result of zero grain diets. Check out the evidence here: 

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/outbreaks-and-advisories/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

Breeds that are generally not prone to heart issues are developing problems as a result of the lack of grain in their diet. A diet fed because the owner believes they are giving the best possible for their dog. Dog owners are being fed misinformation, pun unintended! 

In my youth the only dog foods available were mostly tinned or raw, next was the arrival of the complete food and now we are back to raw again! I stopped using raw back in the 80’s, the Dobermann’s I lived with came down with campylobacter, one of the few bacteria that can pass between dog and man. My dogs and my whole family had to be  treated, not a good experience.  That would still be one of my main reasons for not feeding raw meat to this day. 

This link gives clear scientific information that grain free is not good for most dogs.

Skip passed the advertising at the top, but do notice how many dog food producers are paying to sell you the idea! Very expensive dog foods, food with large profits! 

In my early days of doing my job, the main problem I came across with dog foods was the additives and colouring the producers put in the food to give a high “tail wag” factor (as it was known in the trade). The affect on the dogs was hyper activity and crazy behaviour, much as feeding children high sugar treats. Now there is a new era and a new problem and many of them are leading to health issues, the same ones we humans suffer from too! 

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+effects+of+grain+free+dog+food&oq=the+affects+of+grain+free&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i13i30j0i390l2.11555j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

One of the reasons dogs have adopted us and the relationship has worked so well is because they do really well on table scraps and leftovers, the dog is a professional opportunistic scavenger, they can thrive on what they can scavenge. 

The biggest behaviour issue I see today is related to over feeding high quality food and treats that the dog no longer has to earn. What dog is going to work for a living when they can kick back on the sofa and eat meat anytime they like? What treat is going to be worth working for, coming  back to us for? 

Couple that with the another new trend of scatter feeding and why have a dog at all, because they certainly will not be interested in being with you on a walk, why should they when all the best stuff comes along so easily! 

Here is googles definition of Scatter feeding: 

Scatter feeding is a way to elongate your dog’s meal times by scattering their food over a wide area such as around your garden or house and provide mental stimulation at the same time. WHY? It slows down feeding for dogs that guzzle their meals. As a low arousal activity it can calm highly strung or stressed dogs.”

Firstly with any young dog I would use every piece of their food for training, teaching my puppy to watch me to have every reason to want to be with me and learn how to sit, down, come and heel, to name a few.

Secondly if you want to calm your dog there are much better ways either by training them with food or by learning calming techniques in your handling. (See thedogcalmer.com for calming stroking video) 

Thirdly why train your dog to sniff out food, is that what you want to teach them? 

Take your time!

July 29, 2013

This morning, as I was putting my horse’s head collar on, I found myself starting to rush, as he turned his head away I went after his head, it was like I was being pulled around just to put on a head collar! I stopped, I would never do  that with a dog, any dog! I slowed down and waited for Red to settle down, every time he moved his head I stopped. It took a while, maybe 2 minutes at most to put on his head collar with no fidgeting, not forever, just a little time for me to teach him so that tomorrow the process will be quicker, but if it isn’t I will slow down again!

He doesn’t always do that, he was impatient to get out in the field, he knew what was coming next. Just like a dog knows he is going for a walk and gets impatient and fidgety! Next time your dog fidgets around as you put on the lead or collar, just slow down take your time, take as long as it takes. By bring down the adrenaline in this way your whole walk will improve, it will be worth it, let me know how long it takes you next time you put a collar or lead on your dog!

Red, my nephew Mac and Doyle (son of my Teddy!)

Red, my nephew Mac and Doyle (son of my Teddy!)

Posh puppy!

Posh puppy!

Toby (Betty baby) after a trip to the grooming parlour! Doesn’t he look gorgeous?! Lee is doing a great job of training Toby too, I can’t say too much or the rest of the litter will be jealous, but isn’t he handsome!?

My new puppy group reminded me to talk about titbit training today, my favourite analogy for titbits and puppy training is imagine you are paying the titbits into a bank account, every time you ask your puppy to do something without a reward you are making a withdrawal, with young puppies it is easy to become bankrupt, that is the puppy starts to ignore you! I always want to have a million on account! 🙂

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!

Riley growing fast!

Riley growing fast!

Riley’s Mum Janice kindly sent a great photo of Riley, and apparently he has become a rug designer, Janice now has a fringe on her rug, what a great idea:)

Thanks also to Rob Whitten for sending me the following link, do have a look how they are training dogs to drive in New Zealand! Probably enough room and little enough traffic out there to make it possible!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20614593

Puppies at five weeks!

October 5, 2012

Puppies at five weeks!

Are they even more gorgeous? They are 6 weeks old today, and every day sees them going further afield, yesterday was their first time going to the toilet outside. It takes a few outings for a litter to feel safe enough to toilet away from the nest, clever Mother Nature protects the young by inhibiting toileting on new ground before the ground is familiar to them. This is the reason, when dog owners first take puppies home, they won’t go to the toilet on walks to begin with, this behaviour is designed to keep the young safe from predators. But it is just the reason I want to get the puppies outside as soon as possible to get them used to going outdoors and speed up their house training.

Next Monday  I will start their training, sits downs and little recalls, regular grooming and a  car ride, the more normal this stuff becomes the easier they will be in their new homes! Not all sold yet!

Thank you to Jo at Jobo design for the great photo’s!

Puppies 3 weeks old today!

September 14, 2012

Gorgeous!

Betty looking glamorous pre puppies!

What a difference a week makes in a litter of puppies! They are now coming out of the box, all eyes are wide open, as are their ears, they respond to sounds now! yesterday was their first time with solid food, I had to shut Betty away from them for two hours to make sure they were a bit hungry, they are so fat I think I should have gone for 4 hours! I gave them some high quality tinned puppy food and they all tucked in a bit, some more than others! It isn’t a pretty sight, lying in the  food seems  as good as eating it, licking it off another puppy is as good as eating from the bowl!

This morning they were so  charming, I went into them and said “hello” and I they greeted me with beeping noises, wagging tails and a scramble toward me, I was soon down on my hands and knees putting my face to them for morning kisses! So gorgeous!

Puppies aged 3 weeks!

Betty and puppy’s

September 10, 2012

Puppies aged 2 weeks

How cute are they now? Amazing the difference 2 weeks makes, as the day progressed the puppies eyes gradually opened and they could definitely start to hear! By next week I won’t be able to keep them in the whelping box they will be escaping!

Betty loves them and is making sure they are the fattest of puppies.

I start to advertise them this week so if you know of anyone who deserves a really well reared puppy? …..

Thinking of a new puppy?

March 26, 2012

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A few questions from a client thinking of buying a new puppy reminded me that I haven’t written a blog on this vital time in you and your dog’s life! I am not even going to start talking about breeds on this occasion, I will assume you have chosen your breed and are looking for a good breeder.

Number one for me is a breeder that rears the litter indoors, this gives the puppy so much more exposure to normal life, giving the puppy’s a head start on the dogs raised outdoors. Having said that outdoor litters can be given this same exposure if the breeder is aware of the need, which many are, watch out for those that do not understand the mental and emotional needs of a litter and give them a wide berth.

Bitches can be softer but also busier, dogs more laid back and a little less sensitive! It is often a little easier if you have two of the opposite sex, generally they are more likely to get along okay.

When a breeder starts asking you questions be ready with your own!

Annie, my friend that bred both Pie and Betty, has one puppy left in her last litter, related to my two and well reared indoors!

A well cared for puppy from a great breeder!

Betty in her favourite chew chair! See the whiskers?

Betty is 4 months old now, I don’t remember how many weeks she is any more so time to promote her to months old rather than weeks 🙂

I do love having a puppy in the house, there is one thing I don’t love about having a puppy, it is the mess they make! I am not a lover of house work, but I do like the house to be clean and tidy, a bit of a conflict for me :)! Betty is now at the age and height when she can reach the table, which means that when I leave things out she gets them off and chews them up, mostly magazines and paper, not a big problem, but when I have just cleaned up and 5 minutes later I have to clear it all up again:(, plus she brings in twigs and plants and scatters them on the floor! It drives me nuts!! I foolishly left my paper diary on the table (my back up to my electronic diary) and she ate most of August and September! I know I will learn to put my stuff out of reach!

What irritates you most about puppies?

Other than this issue I do love her, she is so funny, her sense of humour is infectious! She seems to be permanently laughing at me or life or both! I only have to look at her little hairy face and she makes me smile! If I look at her for more than a few seconds she starts trying out her tricks in case I want more, throwing herself to the ground or bringing me a toy or flying to my side to show off her new going to heel trick, how sweet is that? !

With the change in the weather the back door is shut more often and I have been good in checking if she needs the toilet, she has been brilliant and apart from one occasion when she bopped to wee in front of me and immediately realised I was not smiling any more, she ran outside to finish, she is a good girl really!