Tag Archives: Dogs

Help Buddy to Walk Nicely – Twenty Tips to Help You Take the Strain Out of the Leash!

Do you have a dog that pulls you along like a steam train pulling freight? 

 

If so, walks are probably pretty miserable for both of you.  Walking nicely is a life skill that when missing can significantly and negatively impact the relationship you share with your dog and may result in fewer walks, less exercise and a decrease in social exposure for your dog.

Here are twenty tips that should help you reconnect with your enthusiastic ‘train driver’ and take some of the strain out of the leash and your relationship with each other!

  1. Mark and reinforce anything your dog does other than putting tension on the leash e.g. mark and reinforce standing with stillness, focus on you, sitting facing you, standing next to you… Choose something your dog is good at and that already has great associations, with lots of money in the ‘bank account’ of positive reinforcement. You can literally choose anything that does not involve pulling you along.
  2. Rapid-fire ‘click and treat’ for all correct responses. You want a really high reinforcement rate as this will mean your dog will be enthusiastic about playing your ‘game’!
  3. Use delicious, easy to chew and easy to swallow nutritious training treats
  4. Practise in lots of quiet locations around your home before you take any behaviour on the road!
  5. Very gradually add in ‘distractions’ – things that your dog might be interested in. e.g. a ball on the floor, a person sitting nearby, a change of location…
  6. Always have a happy smiley leash! Yes, your leash should look like a smile U or a J.
  7. It isn’t a contest to see who can pull most. If you don’t want your dog to pull you, please reciprocate and don’t pull your dog.
  8. When out walking, please ensure you connect with your dog. Tell him ‘well done’. Tell him ‘good boy’. (If you don’t connect with him, why should he connect with you?)
  9. Say ‘yes’ – or click – and give a treat whenever your dog looks at you. Yes, you will need to take lots of treats out with you when first teaching this skill!
  10. Say ‘yes’ – or click – and give a treat whenever your dog comes into the ‘Close’ position near your left leg.
  11. Use your left hand to deliver the treat in the ‘Close’ position, next to or just behind your left leg. If you use your other hand, you are likely to pull your dog out of position across the front of your body
  12. Act before the leash goes tight. Don’t wait until your dog is at the end of the leash as that is the hardest place to get him back from.  Get your dog’s attention by making a kissy noise or saying  ‘this way’ and changing direction.
  13. Try walking in big circles. This can help everyone relax and let’s face it, if your dog doesn’t know which way is forwards, he is less likely to pull you in that direction.
  14. Say ‘good boy’ when your dog moves back towards you and then walk on a few steps before you click and treat that lovely walking and focus on you! This will help you avoid creating a ‘yo-yo’ dog: hit end of leash – return to handler for treat – hit end of leash – return to handler for treat – hit end of leash …
  15. If your dog wants to sniff something/investigate something, as long as it is safe for him to do so, that is fine. Walks are meant to be fun! If your dog pulls towards something, ask for a behaviour he knows e.g. cue  ‘watch me’, ‘touch’ (hand target), ‘front’ or ‘close’. Mark with a ‘yes’ and tell your dog ‘Go Sniff!’  Sniffing functions to positively reinforce the correct response to the given cue.
  16. A front-fastening harness can be helpful while you and your dog are learning to walk nicely together.
  17. Always say No to Shock, Prong, Choke, Pain, Fear & Force. Aversive tools that cause your pet to experience fear, anxiety, stress or pain, may appear to be the answer you have been searching for but at what cost to the emotional and physical well-being of your pet and your relationship with each other?
  18. Sign up for a basic ‘manners’ class with a certified force-free trainer. Not only will you and your dog have fun together learning new skills, the skills that you learn will help you when you are out and about with your dog.
  19. Please remember that we need to give dogs feedback, guidance and encouragement not just when we are training them, but in all our daily interactions with them. Don’t wait for a training session to reinforce all those lovely behaviours that you see throughout the day – reinforce them as they occur!
  20. Don’t have enough time to work on this skill but would love your dog to get in some practise while receiving some loving attention and much-needed exercise?  Schedule a dog walking session with a force-free professional while you are at work or away from home!

 

If you need more help with teaching your dog how to walk nicely on leash or would like to schedule a Dog Romp, please contact your local DogSmith

If you are a trainer who would like to add another service to your private or group class options, please check out the DogNostics Walk This Way Instructor Program

This article was first pulished on August 5, 2019 by Louise Stapleton-Frappell with the title Choo! Choo!


Help Keep Rover Safe – Foods that may be toxic for pets!

Are you confused about which foods may be harmful for dogs?

 

Consult your veterinarian

 

Knowing what is safe and unsafe for a pet to eat can be a complicated topic as while one dog may eat grapes and be fine, another may fall seriously ill and even die. My own dogs often eat avocados that fall from the trees in our garden. They do, however, always leave the seed, which could cause an obstruction in the oesophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract if part or all of it were swallowed.  As you will see below, avocado is a fruit that should be avoided as it contains persin, a fungicidal toxin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs and may cause any of the following symptoms in birds: Inability to perch; agitation; fluffed feathers; anorexia; difficulty breathing; organ failure; sudden death.  Horses and ruminants that eat avocados could experience lethargy; swelling of the mouth, head, neck, chest; mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands); heart damage.

There may be several variables that need to be taken into account before you know if a food was ingested by your pet at a toxic amount but, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the foods listed below or any food, plant or item that you are unsure whether to be safe, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Here is a List Foods to Avoid

Listed in alphabetical order (not order of toxicity)
Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Avocado

According to the ASPCA, avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin, which may cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine

These all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds.  Methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.

Please note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.

Citrus

The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid which can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.

Coconut and Coconut Oil

When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to harm your pet and may even be beneficial. There are lots of articles about the benefits of feeding small amounts of coconut oil to dogs and using it topically, however, we were unable to find any scientific studies.  Care should be taken as the flesh and milk of fresh coconuts contain oils that may cause stomach upset and diarrhoea. If unsure, please consult your veterinarian.

Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.

Grapes and Raisins

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure and should always be avoided.

Macadamia Nuts

Can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs.

Milk and Dairy

As pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products can cause diarrhoea or digestive upset.

Nuts

Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, and even pancreatitis.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

Can all cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage.

Cats are more susceptible, but dogs are also at risk.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones

We know that many of you may be ‘raw’ feeders, so please don’t shout at us but…

Raw meat and eggs may contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli and more seriously for dogs, campylobacter.

Raw eggs contain the enzyme avidin which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and coat problems.

Pets might choke on bones or sustain serious injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture the pet’s digestive tract.

Salt and Salty Snack Foods

Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death.

Please avoid feeding salt-laden snacks like potato chips (crisps), pretzels, and salted popcorn.

Xylitol

Used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy (sweets), some peanut butter, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release which can lead to liver failure.

Signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. May progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in the pet’s digestive system. This can cause pain and may lead to Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), also known as gastric dilation, twisted stomach, or gastric torsion, a medical condition in which the stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by excessive gas content – a life threatening emergency.

The above list is based on information provided by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

The list may not be exhaustive.  If in doubt, always consult your veterinary professional!

 

More Resources

 This great poster by Lili Chin is available as a free download from doggiedrawings.net.
 

Source: Lili Chin, DoggieDrawings.net

Read this blog post by DogNostics faculty member and the owner of The DogSmith of Estepona, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, written for BARKS from the Guild blog on November 5, 2016, for information about toxic toads, other creatures, food items, products and objects that could prove deadly to your companion and some precautions you can take to help protect your canine companion. Toads, Snakes, Spiders and Chocolate!

Take a look at this slide show from WebMD Food Your Dog Should Never Eat.

 

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is a 24-hour emergency service that provides information and advice to vets and animal welfare organisations on the treatment of animals exposed to toxins. (Europe).

This article is simply intended to share information about foods which may cause a problem for your pet – If unsure, don’t ‘watch and wait’, contact a vet for advice immediately.

 
 
 
 
 

Keep Fido Mentally and Physically Active – Boredom Busters, Enrichment Exercises & More!

What is Boredom?

 

Science has only recently began to look at boredom and understand what makes people bored.  A 2012 review of boredom research entitled The Definition, Assessment, and Mitigation of State Boredom Within Educational Settings: A Comprehensive Review (Vogel-Walcutt, J.J., Fiorella, L., Carper, T. et al.) suggested that boredom is a combination of a subjective psychological state of dissatisfaction, frustration or disinterest and an objective lack of neurological excitement, all of which result from a lack of stimulation. (Kubota, 2016).

Do Dogs Suffer from Boredom?

Animal welfare lecturer Charlotte Burn, from The Royal Veterinary College,  observed dogs left alone at home before publishing an essay entitled Bestial boredom: a biological perspective on animal boredom and suggestions for its scientific investigation, in which she states that Chronic inescapable boredom can be extremely aversive, and under stimulation can harm neural, cognitive and behavioural flexibility.”  She told The Times: “They often yawn, bark, howl and whine. Some sleep a lot – a sign of apathy. Some of this is anxiety but often they are just really bored.” 

Take Your Dog to School

A bored dog, lacking appropriate mental and physical stimulation may get himself into trouble by looking for ways to entertain himself. “Animals in barren conditions seek even aversive stimulation, as if bored.” (Burns, 2017).  Problematic behaviors such as digging, incessant barking and inappropriate destructive chewing may be a dog’s way of alleviating boredom and easing anxieties.

Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation for Your Dog

Some simple changes might go a long way in helping overcome boredom and alleviating anxiety by providing both mental and physical stimulation for the pet.

Here are some suggested ‘boredom busters’:

  • Make sure your dog’s diet is nutritionally balanced. A poor diet may not only affect your dog physically, it could also negatively affect their behaviour.
  • Take your dog to school – Learn how to engage and motivate him!
  • Teach your dog some fun tricks – Check out this A, B, C of Apprentice Tricks video for some ideas!
  • Provide interactive feeding and chew toys.
  • Provide a doggie sandpit – an appropriate place for the dog to dig.
  • Provide a doggie paddling pool – a great place to cool off and have fun in the hot summer months.
  • Play fun games with your dog. 
  • Teach your dog how to relax and provide him with a comfortable place to do so.

    DogSmith Slumber Party – The Perfect Doggy Vacay!

  • Vary your walking routine.  Taking the same path every day is monotonous for everyone.
  • Arrange a playdate with a suitable doggie friend.
  • Arrange a Slumber Party or Sleep Over for when you are away.
  • Hire a certified pet care technician to spend time with your dog while you are out at work – to feed him, take him for a walk, play with him…

Fun Games

There are lots of options for fun games you can play with your dog, many of which can help proof some of your cues.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Practice cues such as take it, drop it, sit, down…. while the dog has fun chasing a soft toy on a flirt pole.
  • Play a game of fetch.
  • Play fun scent games like the Find the Hidden ? Game (Insert word of choice e.g. Treats/Vegetables/Ball/Stuffed Toy/Car Keys). Start by ‘hiding’ food in plain sight and gradually increase the level of difficulty.
  • Enjoy a fun game of hide-and-seek. Simply go hide and then call your dog. Start by hiding in a place where you are easy to find and gradually increase the level of difficulty as your dog gets better at the game. This is a great way of proofing your recall cue. Please, remember the recall word is a very important cue and deserves double reinforcement.  What betterthan a fun game and a high-value reinforcer every time your dog comes, no matter how long it takes him to find you.  Please note, if it is taking a very long time, you should probably make the game easier as you want your dog to enjoy the game and have fun finding you, not get frustrated and give up.  
  • A fun tug session is also a great choice!

Interactive Feeding Toys

Whether you would like to keep your pet occupied while you are out; need your dog to be quiet while you make an important phone call; want a good way of slowing down how quickly your dog eats; want to give your dog a job in the form of an opportunity to ‘scavenge’ for his food; want to provide a suitable alternative to chewing up your furniture or nibbling on your ankles … an interactive feeding toy or appropriate chew toy is going to keep your dog busy while also providing great mental stimulation.  I recommend all pet guardians provide their dog with an interactive feeding toy.  My favourites are the KONG Classic, KONG Wobbler, West Paw Zogoflex Toppl or West Paw Zogoflex Tux. Nylabones are also one of my favourite recommendations for those in need of a good, long-lasting chew. 

KONGS and Nylabones come in a range of sizes and chewing options.  KONG options include the KONG® Classic, KONG® Extreme, KONG® Puppy and KONG® Senior. There are also KONG balls, bones, toys on ropes, rings, tires and many more rubber KONG toys. There are Nylabones for soft chewers and Nylabones for extreme chewers.  They come in a variety of shapes and flavors such as peanut butter, bacon, cheese, chicken, Philly cheese steak and more, so there is sure to be one that your dog loves.  Whether purchasing a KONG, a Nylabone or any other interactive feeding toy or chew, please choose the appropriate size and chewing ‘strength’ for your pet. Puppy teething rings are another ‘must buy’ but something a simple as soaking a face cloth in water and popping it into the freezer, means that you always have something on hand to help soothe a puppy’s sore gums.  Please always actively supervise and, if unsure as to whether the pet might try to swallow something, keep hold of it while they enjoy a good chew.

Stuffed KONGS

Stuffing a KONG is not only good for your dog, it is a great way of using up your surplus (doggie appropriate) groceries!  One of my dogs’ favourite recipes is a mixture of cooked sweet potato and flaked chicken mixed with leftover veggies and kéfir. I simply stuff the KONG and pop in the freezer for an extra challenge!

If you and your dog are just starting out with interactive feeding toys, keep it simply by simply stuffing with some loose high-quality kibble, small chunks of meat and cheese or a few small treats. Encourage your dog to play with the toy and offer plenty of praise as he starts moving it around to get the treats out.

Here’s a favourite recipe – the KONG ‘Summer Picnic’

KONG® Classic

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Split the mixture between your KONGs and freeze for a greater challenge.

You can find the Kong ‘Summer Picnic’ and lots more stuffing recipes on the KONG website here

Doggie Ice-Cream

Another of my dogs’ favourite recipes is banana ice-cream. I blend the ingredients and pour into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, the doggie ice-cream is served in a West Paw Zogoflex Tux (the perfect size for an ice cream cube!). This is suitable for both feeding toy novices and pros.

Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups kéfir or plain low-fat yoghourt
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (organic if you have it)

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until it’s mixed. Pour the mixture into ice trays and freeze.  Serve in a Zogoflex Tux.

One of my dogs’ and my canine clients’ much-loved low-fat alternative to banana ice cream is fish sorbet.  This is how we make it:

West Paw Zogoflex Tux

  • Three-quarters fill an ice tray with water.
  • Flake in some tuna, sardines, mackerel or salmon.
  • Add 3 crushed blueberries or other favourite fruit such as apple, banana or melon to each cube.
  • Freeze and serve in a Zogoflex Tux.

 

Please note that some food can be toxic or otherwise hazardous to dogs. No onions, sultanas, grapes, raisins, xylitol (artificial sweetener), chocolate, macadamia nuts or cooked bones. This list is not exhaustive.  For more information on foods that could be unsafe for pets, visit the ASPCA’s People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page.

 

Training Classes

Attending group training classes is a great way of providing both mental and physical stimulation for your dog. If you are new to training, we advise a pet dog manners course – The DogSmith Small Paw Etiquette Puppy Class is a fantastic choice for those of you with young puppies.  The Pet Dog Ambassador programme is a great choice for dogs of all ages. Fun Scent Games and Trick Classes are also highly recommended as both get a big thumbs up from dogs and guardians!  If you or your dog are likely to be unhappy in a group class situation, we highly recommend private training sessions with a qualified force-free trainer.

When Should You Call a Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant?

telephone-dogWhile implementing the above recommended ‘boredom busters’ is going to help provide mental and physical stimulation for your dog, if you have a dog with specific behavioural challenges such as: Aggression toward people; aggression toward dogs or other animals; leash reactivity and impulse control problems; excessive barking or digging; destructive behaviours; growling nipping and snapping behaviours; attachment or separation anxiety problems; shy or fearful behaviours; abnormal behaviors, such as excessive licking, air snapping or obsessive tail chasing; hyperactivity…  we urge you to contact a certified dog behaviour consultant as soon as possible.

 
 
 
 

More Information

The DogSmith

 
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The DogSmith offers force-free, learning-theory based dog training programmes coupled with professional pet-sitting and dog-walking services.

Whether you’re a dog owner looking to solve a specific behavioral problem, a dog lover simply wanting to strengthen and broaden your relationship with your dog, or a family wanting the best care possible for your pets while you’re away from home, the DogSmith is the only call you’ll ever need to make.

Listen to a five minute podcast about the DogSmith and our training and behavior services. There is a difference between the two.  Alternatively you can contact your DogSmith who will help guide you in your choice of services.

You can locate a local DogSmith here.

 

The Pet Professional Guild

The Pet Professional Guild is a membership organization representing pet industry professionals who are committed to results based, science based force-free training and pet care.

You can locate a PPG Professional Member in your area by clicking here: PPG Member Search

 

 


Why dog trainers will have to change their ways

Finally a great article written by a scientist that confirms The DogSmith training methods are the way to go.

Professor John Bradshaw is leading a revolution in the study of canine behaviour. ‘Dogs don’t want to control people, they want to control their own lives,’ he says.

Professor John Bradshaw is holding out a clenched fist – you might see this as a novel way of greeting a stranger were it not that it is my dog, Lily, he is approaching. He is giving her a chance to have a good sniff at him. Before we go any further, it needs spelling out that Bradshaw is not a dog trainer. He has not come to my house to turn Lily into a reformed character. He is a scientist – founder and director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol – who has devoted the last 25 years to studying the domestic dog and has just written the most fantastic book, In Defence of the Dog, which is already on US bestseller lists and is about to become required reading for dog lovers everywhere. Bradshaw is not interested in canine hearsay. He does not peddle opinions. His style is tolerant, clear and benign and he is interested only in what science can support. His book is a revelation – a major rethink about the way we understand our dogs, an overturning of what one might call traditional dogma.

Read the full article here…

 

 


Do Humans Have an Inborn Understanding of Dogs?

By Dr Becker

According to a recent study conducted at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, our human ability to understand dogs probably peaks at around 10 years of age.

By age 10, children seem to develop a natural talent for decoding dog barks.

The study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, involved children aged 6, 8 and 10 years, and adults who listened to different types of recorded dog barks.

The barks were separated into three general categories:

  • Barking while the dogs were alone
  • Barking at the approach of a stranger
  • Barking while at play

Study participants had to match the barks to three types of human facial expressions, including fearful/lonely, angry and playful.

All of the kids and adults had no trouble picking out angry barks. But of the three groups of children, only the 10 year-olds were able to correctly distinguish the other types of barks. Their ability to understand each type of bark was about the same as that of the adult listeners.

According to study authors Pe?ter Pongra?cz and Csaba Molnár:

“This shows that the ability of understanding basic inner states of dogs on the basis of acoustic signals is present in humans from a very young age. These results are in sharp contrast with other reports in the literature which showed that young children tend to misinterpret canine visual signals.”

Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News thinks the study supports the theory of a universal animal language – a primitive method of communicating basic emotions that may unite virtually all mammals.

Matching Barks to Emotions

A few years ago, study author Pongracz and colleagues took a look at how well people were able to distinguish five different canine emotional states based on the barks of a Mudi, which is a Hungarian herding dog. The five states were aggressiveness, despair, fear, happiness and playfulness.

The researchers concluded changes in tone, pitch, and elapsed time between barks determined how study participants categorized the emotional states behind the barks.

High-pitched barks with longer intervals between barks were perceived as less aggressive than faster, lower-pitched barks.

According to Pongra?cz:

“This relationship could have formed the basis of an evolutionary ritualization process whereby low pitched vocalizations tended to signal aggression because larger animals are more likely to win contests…and high pitched vocalizations became predictors of submission or friendly intent.”

Study participants also associated certain barks with the emotions of despair, happiness and playfulness. This seems to indicate humans and canines might have the ability to communicate at a higher level than the universal mammal language.

Scientists think so many years of domestication have enhanced dogs’ ability to communicate with us, and not only through barks, but also through visual cues like changes in expression.

Our Special Bond with Dogs

The idea that humans have an innate ability to understand dog barks should probably come as no surprise.

After all, wolves and dogs have figured prominently in the lives of men, women and children since the Stone Age.

These same study authors also recently tested the ability of people who were born blind to understand the meaning of dog barks. They wanted to use people without sight because they have no visual memory of barking dogs to interfere with what they hear.

It was concluded the blind can also pick up on the general mood or inner state of dogs based on their barks, which certainly supports the theory that humans are born with the ability to some extent.

When you think about it, this makes all kinds of sense.

Animals in the wild listen for the sounds of other animals as a matter of survival – usually for purposes of eluding predators and other dangerous interlopers, or catching prey.

Humans are animals, after all – and we haven’t always lived safely tucked away from other animals.

What about Cat-to-Human Communication?

According to researcher Nicholas Nicastro of Cornell University, our feline companions also appear to have evolved in terms of their ability to communicate with us.

But according to Nicastro, the goal of kitties is to manipulate their humans! “Though they lack language, cats have become very skilled at managing humans to get what they want — basically food, shelter and a little human affection,” said Nicastro.

I think most of us who are owned by cats can agree communicating with a feline member of the household is a whole different ballgame from exchanging information with the family dog!

Dr. Dennis Turner of the University of Zurich and a leading expert on the feline-human bond, describes the results of his research this way:

“What we found was the more the owner complies with the cats wishes to interact, the more the cat complies with the owners wishes, at other times. They go up together, or they go down together. If the person doesn’t comply with the cat’s wish to interact then the cat doesn’t comply with the person’s wishes. It’s a fantastic give and take partnership. It’s a true social relationship between owners and cats.”

 


Do you Have a Herding Dog and No Sheep?

Looking for a creative ways to exercise your dog? Check out Treiball!

Posted by Kirby @ Dog.Nerd.101 at 7:27 PM

Sourced October 1st 2011

My fellow mudi fanciers and I were brainstorming about different ways to exercise our busy body dogs…especially on days like today where the rain in the North East part of the country has taken over! Torrential downpours for almost two days straight means lots of stir crazy pups! I took Griff out for a long run this evening and on the way home, it started to pour really hard! My squishy sneakers were not happy about it, but Griff was so in his element! The rain slicked right off his coat and he didn’t even seem to notice. Aside from a head shake or two to clear the water from his big water catching ears, he was entirely un-phased. For the record, I did invite Sophia to join us on our rain run, but she politely declined and waited for us by the door.

Lack of access, weather, expenses all affect the things we can do with our dogs. A creative bunch of folks in Germany must have had lack of access (to sheep) when they came up with this crazy new sport called Treiball.

In Trieball (which means “ball herding” in Germany) the dogs herd huge exercise balls (i.e. sheep) into pens or large nets (like in soccer.) Handlers have to learn to work their dogs at a distance, direct the dog to go out and around the “sheep,” collect the “sheep” and then drive them in the correct direction! Interesting concept eh? I suppose if you have a herding dog, or any dog that really needs and wants a job, but you don’t have access to sheep or herding lessons, this might be a great fit! Maybe Sophia could herd tiny, little exercise balls? If you are interested in learning more about Treiball, you can join the Treiball Yahoo Group here. What do you do with your dogs to exercise their mind and body, especially during those times when lack of access or resources presents additional challenges?


Dogs in Pickup Trucks. Are They Safe?

A few years ago, Julien Roohani of Portland, Oregon, was at work when her roommates spontaneously decided to go on a hike. Not wanting to exclude Julien’s six-month-old Shepherd/Border Collie mix, Niña, they threw her into the back of their pickup truck and set off for an adventure.

Niña had never been in a truck bed before. Whether she was scared or just spotted something of interest, she managed to jump out during the drive. Panicking, the roommates called Julien, who rushed Niña to an emergency veterinary clinic where she was diagnosed with a broken spine and other severe injuries. Julien had no choice but to allow her young pup to be humanely euthanized.

Unfortunately, stories like Niña’s are all too common. It is never safe to drive with an unrestrained pet—especially with that pet in an open truck bed.

“When you drive with a loose dog in the back of your truck, you’re taking a huge risk and placing your dog and other motorists in danger,” says Chuck Mai, a vice president with AAA Oklahoma. “Even if a dog is trained, we’re talking about an animal who responds to stimuli on impulse. This irresponsible decision can start a deadly chain reaction on the road.”

Is It Legal?
Transporting unrestrained dogs in low-sided truck beds has been banned in a handful of states, including California and New Hampshire, and municipalities including Indianapolis, Cheyenne and Miami-Dade. However, in the vast majority of jurisdictions, it’s not even illegal to transport children in this manner, so we must rely on common sense and education to protect children and pets alike.

How You Can Help
One can feel terribly helpless witnessing a loose dog in a pickup truck. The best course of action is to try to get the vehicle’s license number (if you can do so while remaining safe) and call the local police. Rather than dialing 911, Jill Buckley, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations, suggests storing your police precinct’s phone number in your cell phone.

Sourced from

http://www.aspca.org