With the arrival of spring I was reminded of a previous article I wrote on how to deal with snake bites and insect stings to your dogs – please see previous blog article. And also the need to carry a Dog First Aid kit with you when out walking, especially if you are in more distant exercise areas.
Essentials to carry in your portable First Aid kit
The essentials I carry in my coat or bumbag are:
- A tube of sterile saline solution – useful for rinsing grass seeds, etc, out of eyes or washing a wound.
- A Piriton tablet in case of a snake bite or insect sting. As above, please see link to my previous article on this and particularly note that before using any medication not prescribed by your vet you should check with your vet that this product is suitable for your dog (some medical conditions and medication may mean that piriton is not suitable for your dog). It is worth checking as it could save your dog’s life.
- A tick remover – apparently we have many ticks in the area at the moment and only last week I helped an owner remove one from her dog’s neck.
- Some sort of clean padding to cover a wound (after cleaning with your saline solution). Sterile pads are included in First Aid kits or just carry a clean individually wrapped sanitary towel or tissues which are kept clean in a sealed plastic bag.
- A self-adhesive bandage to cover the padding and wound.
All of the above products can also be used for people (same note regarding Piriton applies in that you must not use any medication on a person unless you are sure it is suitable for them).
Ensure you have a complete First Aid kit at home and/or in your car
Animal Aiders and Amazon sell more complete First Aid kits – see links below. These are actually small enough to carry in a large bumbag or small rucksack.
Knowing what to do in an emergency
Buy a suitable book – see below.
Go on a dog First Aid course – Animal Aiders run these and often a local vet or dog training organisation may run them as well so make sure you are on your vet’s mailing list if they have one.
https://www.animalaiders.co.uk/dog-8-c.asp (Dog First Aid kits from Animal Aiders)
More of my health-related blog articles you may be interested in are:
Wishing you happy and healthy dog-walking.
© Sally Bartlett
Ashdown Forest (close to East Grinstead in East Sussex) offer practical training days to help teach your dog to stop worrying sheep. These are a very good way to do such training under the guidance and safety of an experienced trainer and under controlled circumstances with sheep, and at a very reasonable price (£26).
Please note that, as with any training, this sort of training needs ongoing consistent training which must be done in a way not detrimental to the welfare of sheep.
Beware of other methods of sheep training with your dog
Please be wary of training days which offer to teach your dog to work sheep. For pet dogs these can simply encourage a dog to chase and nip at sheep. Unless you are going to regularly train and compete in sheepdog trials and so ensure you have complete control of your dog this sort of training should be avoided.
Worrying sheep includes:
- Attacking livestock.
- Chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce.
- Being at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.
Also please be aware that all dogs, regardless of their level of training, should never be allowed off-lead near sheep and that a farmer is legally entitled to shoot a dog if he believes he had a ‘lawful excuse’ – for more on this see article by solicitor, Tim Ryan:
Also please see the government legislation on the Act which sets out the law regarding dogs and livestock:
Details of the training days at Ashdown Forest
- Tuesday 8th May 2018
- Tuesday 15th May 2018
Time: 20-minute training slots. Throughout the day from 09:20 to 16:00
Location: Cats Protection, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath RH17 7TT.
To book please email: email@example.com.
We will need name, email address, mobile number, breed and age of your dog.
Price: £26 per dog. Please pay on 01342 823583 to secure your booking.
Improving Obedience Training
The Ashdown Forest training, above, is specifically to teach your dog to leave sheep. However, general training, which is essential to ensure control of your dog in any circumstances, can be done in a variety of environments and Co-operative Canines Dog Training and Behaviour can help you with this.
For general control out of the home I like to teach:
- Stop your dog at a distance.
- Recall your dog under any circumstances and distractions.
- Leave any distraction on command.
For more information on my one-to-one training for your dogs please contact me (see below).
© Sally Bartlett
Why it’s a good idea to teach your dog to retrieve (and play in general with you)
- It helps to build a strong bond between you and your dog (so long as you play nicely and it’s fun for your dog).
- Valued toys and games can be used as a reward so you don’t always have to rely on using food rewards.
- Games are a great way to train your dog – as above, just make sure it is fun for your dog and that the control exercises are just a small part of each play session. Too much control and not enough fun will find your dog heading off to find more exciting friends.
- A dog which has learned to play with you is less likely to feel the need to find his or her own entertainment such as running off to play with other dogs or taking themselves off hunting.
- A well-taught retrieve and leave is then a safe game for other people to play with your dog. However, remember that interactions with children should be supervised.
Genetic Influences of Retrieve
Some breeds of dogs, such as many of the gundog breeds which have been bred to retrieve – there is a clue in some of the breed names (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever!) – will be naturals at running after a thrown item. Lots of these dogs will also be natural retrievers and bring the item back but even with these dogs they may not be quite so keen to give them up to you.
Many other breeds of dogs, such as terriers (or the corgi-cross shown above), have not been bred over the centuries to fetch and give up their prized items and so these breeds will need more encouragement and practice.
If you have a dog which has shown any aggression over its toys then you should not try to do this without the help of a trainer and behaviourist. If this is the case, please contact me for some one-to-one help. One of the most common behavioural problems I see is dogs which have become aggressive over their toys or items which they have found or taken. With sensitive and correct handling and training of this problem your dog can learn that it is really worthwhile to ‘share’ his things with you and that aggression is not necessary.
Should you play tug with your dog?
Just a note on playing tug with your dog – this is a great game to play and does not usually cause a dog to show any aggression. However, it does depend on how you play it and is not suitable for all dogs if they become over-excited or if you are perceived to them as being aggressive (ie, if you are shouting at them to leave, or using aggressive body language such as leaning into their face, or other such rude behaviour which owners sometimes engage in…). Again, it is helpful to have a trainer assist you with this if you have any doubts about the safety of playing this game.
SETTING YOURSELF UP TO SUCCEED…
(Always try to do this as it avoids frustration for both you and your dog)
The first step with trying to play any game with your dog is to ensure you find a toy which he is keen to play with. However, too high a value toy and they will definitely not want to give it back so try to find a toy which they like to play with but which they will also be likely to ‘share’ with you.
Then you need to find a quiet area in your home or garden where there are no other distractions (such as other toys, people, smells, other pets, etc). As your dog learns to enjoy play with you be sure to take toys on walks with you and to have several short little play sessions to teach your dog that you are the most fun thing, even on walks.
Have a treat bag around your waist – the magnetic snap-shut type are the best. Have the bag closed and you should not give your dog any treats at all to begin with as we want him to focus on the toy and not be too focused on the treats.
Keep it Fun
Play should be exactly that (ie, fun for your dog) and if you set up the location correctly with no distractions and the right toy then you are on the first step to successful play with your dog.
The next steps
Sit on the floor with your legs in a V-shape so that your dog can play with the toy in between your legs. Now put the toy on the floor and wriggle it around on the ground to get your dog’s attention if you haven’t already got it.
If your dog grabs it before you are ready that is fine – you can give a little tug game (so long as no aggression issues – see above).
To get the toy back from your dog just stop moving it (or even let go of it) and hold a treat right next to his nose and when he lets go say the ‘leave’ word. This is assuming you have not already taught the ‘leave’ command – if you have, well done, you can just use it to ask for the toy back but don’t forget to still give a treat now and then when your dog does a good ‘leave.’
Incidentally, if your dog likes a game of tug with you then he is much more likely to bring it back to you as that is the only way he can get the reward of playing tug with you so the tug game is actually a very good way to help most dogs retrieve.
Now that you have your dog’s attention, throw the toy just a couple of feet away (no farther or you reduce the chances of getting a retrieve) and heap on the praise as your dog goes to pick up the toy.
Now, do not lean forward and try to grab your dog or the toy, but instead just pat your legs and praise and encourage your dog in to you, back into the V-shape between your legs or anywhere close to you.
When he gets to you, tickle and stroke him on the top of his bottom and ruffle his fur (or whatever he enjoys) and see if you can get him to do that happy wiggle thing that dogs do. When he has done this, get up and move away and sit down again and repeat the previous bit of encouraging him in and touching the top of his bottom and verbally praising and then move away again. This should have your dog coming to you with no fear of the toy being taken.
Now you can quickly take out the treat and hold it on his nose (as above) and when he lets go then say the ‘leave’ word to help teach him what this means (when teaching a new command to our dogs we need to say the new word at the same time as the action of the dog so that he can learn what the word means). As above, if your dog already understands the ‘leave’ then you can say the word before he lets go.
Whichever of the two methods above are used, remember to heap on the praise as he lets go.
Then after giving the treat you can throw the toy again a short distance and repeat the above.
Once your dog learns what a fun game this is then you can just give a treat occasionally but your dog’s main reward will be the game itself so no need to keep on with the treats each time once your dog is doing a good retrieve and leave but instead just give the occasional treat to keep him really keen to do a good retrieve and leave.
Adding commands to the retrieve
Also, once your dog becomes more reliable at running out to get the item and bringing it back, then you can add commands to the actions. You can either use a command such as ‘Fetch’ for the action of getting it and bringing it back or you can use separate commands, such as ‘Fetch’ and ‘Bring it Here’.
The normal method is to use just the ‘Fetch’ but if you want to go on to advanced training such as going to pick up an item and then putting it in a basket/box or taking to another person then it’s useful to have the separate commands.
Your dog’s joint health
PLEASE NOTE THAT RETRIEVES SHOULD NOT BE TOO FAR OR TOO FREQUENT FOR YOUNG DOGS AS IT CAN DAMAGE THEIR JOINTS AS THEY BELT OUT TO GET THE ITEM AND SLAM ON THEIR BRAKES. EVEN WITH OLDER DOGS BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER-DO IT.
ALSO REPEATED LONG CHASES AFTER ITEMS CAN EXCITE SOME DOGS AND IT DOES NOT WEAR THEM OUT BUT CAN ACTUALLY INCREASE ADRENALIN LEVELS AND SO LEAVE YOU WITH AN OVER EXICTED DOG.
WHEN THINGS DON’T GO QUITE AS PLANNED…
Check the following:
- Is the toy exciting enough?
- Is the toy too exciting so your dog won’t bring it or let go?
- Are your treats too exciting so that you dog only wants the treats and not the toy?
- Are your treats not exciting enough so your dog won’t release the toy?
- Are you being a grumpy playmate? Remember it’s meant to be fun for your dog.
- Are you being impatient? Remember not to grab at your dog or the toy but to praise and stroke and move away to encourage your dog to want to come to you.
- Is anyone else playing with your dog in a way which is affecting your success?
- If your dog is moving too far away from you then put him on a lead about a metre long and sit on it or hold it so that he can’t run off. However please do not reel him in like a fish! The line is on simply to prevent him moving too far away so that you stand a better chance of being able to encourage him to you.
- Is your dog simply lying down with the toy and not coming to you? Then you can go to him and make a big fuss of him (start at the top of his bottom and no snatching for the toy) and if he is happy with that then hold a treat on his nose and try to get a leave. Then lots of praise for being such a good dog and start again. Once he learns you don’t snatch his toy and that he gets a fuss and a treat and another game he should start coming in to you and giving the toy.
If all that fails
It shouldn’t fail but if you feel you need some help with this or any other training or behaviour then please get in touch.
You may also be interested in my other articles:
Happy play and training!
© 2018 Sally Bartlett
Co-operative Canine Dog Training
Introducing new Puppy Toys and Chews
Puppy toys and a variety of chews are essential to keep your puppy mentally happy and out of too much mischief!
However, when giving your dog any new item, please supervise to check he/she is safe
to be left with it. Some dogs eat anything!
The above items are described in the order from top left going clockwise.
As above, please remember that when you give your puppy (or any age of dog) a new toy or chew you must always supervise to ensure he or she is not going to:
- Destroy any new toy.
- Eat something unsuitable which may injure your dog.
Also, of course, decide if your pup’s health is good enough to deal with any new food items. Always err on the side of caution and introduce any new food items in small amounts and supervise to ensure your dog does not choke on any new chews.
Items in the above photo
Rice bone: These are good for pups to chew and eat. I cut them in half so you don’t have to over-feed. You can also put them in the freezer to make them last longer and to soothe new teeth coming through.
Vegetable chew: These are used in the same way as rice bones.
Nylabone puppy chews: These two small puppy sized fake bones are good for pups to chew on. The one on the left can have little bits chewed off as your dog’s teeth and jaws are bigger/stronger it so I stop giving this once you notice your pup can do this but the one to the right of it is much harder and cannot usually be destroyed until your dog is much older or if you have a dog with much stronger jaws.
Adult nylabone: This is a large plastic bone which most dogs are OK with. They are very hard and your dog should only be able to make small dents in it but should not be able to bite off any large bits.
Commercially treated bone: A real bone which has been cleaned so is safe for your pup. They come from pet shops with some filling inside but I remove that as it will be full of additives usually and instead I fill with my own ideas – see my play-biting article. Most dogs also just enjoy a chew on this bone even without any filling in.
Please do not buy the baked bones which allow dogs to bite off pieces – they can splinter
(and never give your dog any sort of cooked bone).
Deer’s antler: There is some controversy over these as I have heard one vet say they are too hard for dog’s teeth but I give them and have not had problems. Buy the size suitable for your dog. They can chew pieces of these and digest them but it should happen in small bits which do not risk injury. If your dog is able to bite off large bits you have probably given too small a size and you will need to bin that one and buy a larger size but supervise to check safe. Once any of these are reduced in size then throw them away before they can be a choking risk or an increased risk of larger pieces being swallowed.
Smoked bone: This is again a commercially treated and cleaned bone but with more flavour. I would suggest not giving on your best carpet – they smell quite strongly smoky and leave bacon coloured marks!
Rope tug toy: Your dog can play with this alone or with you. However, regarding toys you play with your dog with, it is a good idea to have a few toys which your dog only has access to when you are playing with him/her – partly to ensure best toys are not trashed but also to ensure you have some toys which your dog is crazy about and can then be used as rewards in training.
Kong: Most dog owners know about these now and you can buy a variety of sizes. You can stuff with a variety of food treats and give at room temperature or frozen – again, see my play-biting document.
Busy Buddy Twist and Treat: Another way to have dogs work for their food and so give some mental and physical entertainment by filling with food and twisting the toy so that your dog has to push and tip over the toy to get the food to fall out. There is a smaller version of this available to the size shown.
Rope knot: As the rope toy above but bigger and stronger so less able to be chewed. Top tip: these are heavy so do not throw and have it land on your dog’s head! I speak from experience …
Plastic puppy chew with rope: A favourite of my most recent pup’s as she can chew on the hard plastic and also the rope.
Some special toys for you to play with your pup with
These are just a few of the special toys I play with my own dog with:
Rubber figure 8: Good for teaching tug and ‘leave.’ The tug game must be played sensibly and only by adults until training is at a very good level. Contrary to some opinions on this, it does not make a dog aggressive but you do need to watch out for any signs of a dog becoming too excited or treating it as a competition. Most dogs do not want to rule the world, or your household, but just enjoy a good game of tug. There are a few however who are not best suited to this game either because they do play too competitively or they just become too excited. If this happens with your dog then I would suggest a one-to-one session to look at how best to play with your dog and improve his/her manners and training.
Rope toy: As above in previous photo although you can get much bigger versions of this toy. Remember to keep some special toys only for play time with you.
Shake-a-Pheasant (brand name): There are a number of ‘animals’ in this style and they all have a squeak so definitely do not leave this with your dog unsupervised as the squeaks are quite small and a risk of choking. A great toy to tuck in your pocket and take on a walk as they squish up small and also dry quickly on a wet day. The squeak helps get your dog’s attention too.
Tuff-e-nuff.co.uk stretchy tope tug toy: A good strong tug toy which has a handle at one end so very comfy to play with. You can also get a similar Fun with Fido toy which has Velcro at the end so you can put a food treat it in to get even more attention.
Cute and Cuddly – for snuggles and games
And include a few soft toys for your little friends. Please make sure they are safe dog toys, eg, no children’s toys which might have eyes which come off and could be swallowed. These soft toys can be for your pup to snuggle up to in bed and you may also want to keep some for special play-time, in which case you will need to keep them safely tucked away from your pup unless you are supervising.
As above, always supervise with any new toy. The fish toy above had a squeaky ball in its mouth but I removed this as it was too small and could get stuck in a dog’s throat so I removed it and sewed up the toy but my pup still loved holding it, squeezing it and chucking ‘Freddy Fish’ around …
Another fun thing to do with toys is to teach your dog the names of some toys – do this one toy at a time to keep things simple. You can start with things like, “Get Teddy,” as you throw out the teddy toy and then after a week or so of doing that switch to a different toy and repeat with a different name for a week and then see if your dog can choose the right one on command when you lay out both toys. A simple tip for success is to decide which is your dog’s favourite toy and send your dog for that one first so you can reward the success. When you switch to send for the other toy then place that toy closest to the dog and point to it. Don’t forget to reward well for getting this right. If things go wrong, have a think about it and see how you can make things easier for your dog to get it right – always a good idea in any dog training.
As mentioned above, you may also like to read more information on how to keep your puppy or older dog mentally entertained by reading my play-biting document.
Happy shopping and playing with your dogs …
© 2018 Sally Bartlett
Co-operative Canines Dog Training and Behaviour
Having contacted the Blue Cross myself in the past when having to go through a bereavement which I found particularly hard, I thought it would be useful to make more dog owners aware of this very worthwhile charity support via the Blue Cross, who offer support to anyone who has had to part with their beloved pet for whatever reason.
Sometimes talking to friends and family about how we feel is simply not enough, but talking to animal-lovers who have been trained to give emotional and practical support to us when we are going through a distressing loss of a much loved pet can really help. These are trained counsellors who will give as much support as you feel you need via the method you are most comfortable with (telephone, email or contact form on their website).
All of us who love our dogs (or other pets) will know the huge loss we suffer when we have to part with them for any reason – be it their passing away, or having to re-home due to changing circumstances – and the Blue Cross offer their emotional and practical support to help pet owners at this very difficult time.
For more details of this service please see their Pet Bereavement and Pet Loss Support page:
If you feel you cannot cope with the loss of your wonderful dog, please do not struggle on alone, but call the Blue Cross and speak to caring animal-lovers who will understand and help you.
Parting with a pet is one of the most painful experiences we go through so do not think you have to cope alone.
Giving your dog the best possible start in life, be he or she a bundle of 8 week old joy or an older rescue dog, will help you greatly in having a well behaved and well mannered friend who is both easy to live with and a pleasure take out in public. It will also give your companion a full and happy life.
Buyer beware ...
Before reading my advice below about how to get your puppy to best settle in your home and to ensure good training and behaviour, please see my previous article about responsible puppy purchasing which will help you avoid buying your puppy from a commercial puppy farm or any breeder who does not have the welfare of both the parents and your puppy as a priority.
Why is it a good idea to seek advice before bringing your dog home …
By gaining early training and behavioural advice, your family and your dog will get off to the best possible start for a long and happy relationship with your new friend and, as above, result in a companion who is a pleasure to live with.
Whether you are getting your first puppy or an older dog then a home visit with me before his or her arrival will help you set up your home, buy essential equipment for house training and other training, and agree on suitable house rules for your new arrival. This avoids confusion for your dog and helps you, your family and your new friend to start off on the right foot (and paws) as soon as he or she arrives.
Once you have your dog …
If you have missed the opportunity of pre-arrival advice and you already have your little (or large) bundle of joy in your home then early help with training and behaviour will still really benefit you rather than waiting for undesirable behaviour to begin.
It is so much easier to prevent bad habits and unwanted behaviour than it is to stop it once it has started – although I do, of course, deal with that a lot as well!
A one to one session can really put you on the right track to a happy dog and a happy home …
Some of the things we cover in the pre-puppy or pre- older dog consultations are:
- If you have not already chosen your dog then advice on how to best choose a dog which is both suitable for your household and how to buy responsibly.
- Setting up your home to help your new friend settle in quickly and without stress.
- Discussing health issues.
- Socialisation – how to maximise the ‘socialisation’ period with your puppy even before vaccinations are complete, or how to do likewise with an older dog to improve or maintain confidence.
- Equipment you will need to ensure good house training, control, and general obedience training.
- Which toys and how to use them to help you bond and play with your dog.
- Advice on up to date dog law.
- House training – setting up equipment and a daily routine to ensure your dog learns in optimum time to toilet outside so as to avoid bad habits of indoor toileting.
- How to reduce play-biting and chewing.
- Learning to spot the signs of possible aggression – you may be surprised that some young puppies will demonstrate this and it is better to know the signs and so be able to ask for immediate help with any such issues. Contrary to popular (optimistic!) belief dogs do not ‘grow out of’ unwanted behaviour.
- Advice on correct amount and type of exercise to avoid damaging your dog’s joints.
- Feeding advice.
- How to avoid stress of car journeys (the initial collection and ongoing).
- Advice on a sensible daily routine for you and your dog.
- Advice on ongoing training for your dog to ensure he or she is a pleasure to be with both at home and in public.
Further on-line help and getting in touch …
Please also browse my web articles for more advice on training and behaviour or get in touch directly.
I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you raise your puppy or older rescue dog to have a full and happy life together.
Small, friendly dog training classes in South Nutfield, near Redhill, start Thursday 25 January 2018 at 10am.
I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you with your dog’s training and behaviour.
Canine Partners‘ assistance dogs really do change people’s lives.
I am a Puppy Parent for this very worthwhile charity and hope my own dog (pictured above) will go on to help her future partner by giving companionship and independence to her new owner, as well as being able to enjoy a full and varied life herself.
Meanwhile, please see this lovely film, (kindly made free of charge by a company called Turkey Red Media who were so impressed by what Canine Partners do that they wanted to produce a film for them), which shows how the dogs transform the lives of the people they are partnered with) – which will make my parting with her a little easier!
Join us for a small, friendly and practical dog training group class in Nutfield, near Redhill (Surrey).
Class is limited to just four dogs to allow for plenty of one to one advice for you and your dog, and to allow plenty of time for practical and effective outdoor training tailored to each of the dogs in the group.
Course starts Thursday, 25 January 2018 to 22 March 2018 (no class 22 February).
I have just been reminded via Home Counties Boxer Welfare of a very good charity which, like HCBW, is run solely by volunteer staff and who work with other rescue societies to help find homes for older dogs.
Dogs Looking for Homes
The Oldies Club, as the name suggests, helps to find older dogs a happy-ever-after home and a link to all their lovely dogs looking for homes is here: Give an Oldie a happy home
Information about adopting an Oldie
And for more information about adopting an Olide please see here: Adopt an Oldie
My personal favourite
As an ex-Boxer owner, the dog who won my heart (but sadly I can’t have due to other doggy commitments) is beautiful 8 year old Molly from Home Counties Boxer. Her profile is below but also you can find it on their website:
This lovely girl is called Molly. Molly is a brindle and white 8 year old girl who is looking for a home through no fault of her own. Molly currently lives in Hampshire with 3 other dogs that she gets on well with, she is good with children but cannot be homed with small furries. Molly needs an experienced home as when she is out walking she is not good with other dogs. If you feel you can give Molly her new forever home please contact Rosemary Westbrook, Telephone 01747 822345.
Please remember when considering taking on any new dog whether you have the time and financial resources to ensure both you and your dog have a happy life together.
Thank you if you are able to help an Oldie or any rescue dog to find their happy forever home and please make sure you go to a reputable rehoming centre who will have carried out temperament testing and be able to find a companion most suited to you and your home.