24th March 2018
28 Phoenix Rd Spearwood
9am – 2pm
THE DOG WHO HAD NO FRIENDS
There was once a young dog who had a heart of gold.
He was from a good family who loved him very much.
They cared for him just like he was human…
He was a friendly dog, one who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
He had 2 younger (human) brothers who would always play rough with him
But he knew that they were only playing and so he would gently play back.
He loved to play and make new friends
He was always SO excited when he would go for his daily walks down to the dog park
There were always so many new friends to be made!
So he entered the park…
Senses going off with new scents and smells
Always different from last time,
New friendly faces that he couldn’t wait to meet.
But for some reason…
Every time he entered the park…
The other dogs would be put back on their leash…
They would be taken home…
They’d leave just as he would arrive..
He never had the chance to make new friends
He would never be able to socialise
These other owners took his new friends away before he ever had the chance to say hi
Day in, day out,
He constantly had the same troubles.
He started to feel down
Less excited about his walks knowing he wouldn’t make any new friends…
Was there something wrong with him?
What did he ever do to the others?
Why wouldn’t they come close?
His owners could see he was less energetic,
Less enthused about his walks,
His owners could see he seemed sad,
So one night, they went online & bought him some new accessories…
Thinking gifts may lighten him up.
And that they did.
A big, bright green collar, perfect for his next walk.
So one day, back out on their daily walk to the dog park
His mood was still a little down,
Expecting the worst,
Knowing the routine…
The dogs stayed,
One, Two, Three..
None of the dogs left the park!
THEN, dogs started to approach him!
He was socialising!
He had friends!
He could FINALLY play with some dog friends.
But what was different?
What changed for this to happen?
Was it by a stroke of good luck?
It was his new collar.
His bright green new collar his owners got him.
It stood out so well that these other dog owners could read the big bold letters from afar that stated “FRIENDLY”
The collar was able to let them know he wouldn’t bite,
That he was a friendly dog and wanted to make new friends
From that day onwards his walks have become his favourite activities again,
He’s ecstatic for his walks…
To meet new friends
And it’s all thanks to his new collar.
…Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of awareness to let other people know your dog is friendly & approachable.
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By Katie Shannon
1. Be Patient: Some dogs have a line up for potential applicants and other dogs sit for weeks or even months waiting for a new home. There is the right home out there for every dog, sometimes you just have to wait a little while. Hang in there, it is worth it.
2. Adoptions Should Never Be “First Come, First Serve”: Sometimes the first applicant is not always the right one. If you don’t think its perfect, don’t be scared to wait it out a little bit longer.
3. Trust Your Gut: You have to be their advocate. If you get a bad feeling from an adopter or you just do not feel like it is a match made in heaven, speak up! You know this dog better than anyone else and genuinely want things to work out. They may not be a bad home; they may simply not be the best match for this dog.
4. Be Honest: Not all dogs are perfect. Be upfront and honest about any known history and behaviors. Surprises are not a good thing for new owners and their new pet. If your foster has some issues discuss them openly with potential adopters. You need to know if the new home is prepared and capable of managing them or not.
5. Manners: Great manners is an excellent way to positively portray them to anyone who meets them, and any prospective families. Always put their best paw forward.
6. Ambassador Dog: One of the biggest reasons a home does not work out with a new pet is behavioral issues, many of which stem from a lack of training. Give your foster the best chance at a successful placement by helping the new family out and getting a head start on training.
7. Social Media: Use it to your advantage; share cute stories and videos and tell all your friends, (and the rest of world), how wonderful (and adorable) they are. Share, share, share. Dogs can have social media too. Set up a Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter account, of their own.
8. “Advertise”: You need to tell the world that they are available. Rescue groups post adoptable dogs on their websites, but do not simply rely on this alone for exposure. You need to tell the world that they are ready to be adopted and eagerly looking for their family. When in public, or at the dog park, what greater way to attract attention than by sporting one of our “Adopt Me” leashes and collars so everyone knows this dog is looking for a new home.
9.Professional Photos: Capture your dog’s pupsonality with professional style photos. You do not have to be a pro, but set aside time to dedicate to a proper photoshoot. Take photos outside in sunlight or slight overcast skies to get the best lighting. Snap tons of photos and pick the best. Using a squeaky toy can help capture cute head tilts, perky ears and big puppy dog eyes.
10. Profile: Create a captivating profile by including interesting quirks, personality traits and favorite activities that readers can relate to. Showcase which type of home and setting would be the ideal match so applicants know a head of time if they are a good fit. This will help weed out interest from adoptees that may not suit the lifestyle and needs of the dog.
By Katie Shannon
Losing use of one of your senses can be a real challenge, including for our dogs. Many dogs will loose eye sight over time with age, degeneration or disease, to varying degrees. For those that have significantly reduced visibility it can be a real struggle for both the dog and the owner learning how to adapt. Here are some tips to help with the changes, keep things simple and comfortable for your dog.
1. Provide a safe space: Your dog will especially enjoy a safe place, created just for them. Use a small room with a comfortable bed, or their crate as their own safe zone. This means when they are in that space no one will bother them. It is theirs alone to enjoy when they need some peace and quiet all to themselves.
2.Scent Trails: Everyday items you already have in your house like vanilla or scented oils can be used to help your dog to know the way around the house; create scent trails or mark important locations like doorways.
3. Other senses heightened: You can use this to your advantage. Even though visual stimulus is reduced or non existent, you can find new ways to interact with your dog; use sounds or your voice to help guide your dog to your location or for commands. Use scent to play games of play hide-n-go-seek by sprinkling yummy treats around the house.
4. Do not let them free roam outside: Ensure the back yard or garden is safe and fully enclosed so they can not escape. Dogs should never be allowed to roam freely. Keeping them on leash during walks is for their own safety as they may not be able to see dangers lurking nearby.
5. Use physical barriers to prevent injury: Your dog should never have access to anything that could cause injury. Block off stairs, pools, only allow them access to decks and patios with secure railings.
6. Close doors or limit space: This is especially important if this is a new space to the dog or rapid onset blindness. By reducing the amount of space it will be easier for the dog to learn how to get around. Block off access to the rest of the house like bedrooms and hallways by closing doors or using baby gates. Keep them happy and comfortable by containing them to the main living area where their food dishes, water and bed are available, and the majority of the household likes to hang out so the dog can be near you.
7. Use textures: Everyday items can be placed strategically to provide location markers which will help your dog to safely know their location and surroundings. Placing a carpet runner over a hard wood floor can act as a safe guide for a straight path through a room. Placed at the top of stairs can mark the entrance to the staircase and notify the dog of the coming decent. Using gravel around the perimeter of the yard provides a defined border before making contact with the fence.
8. Do not rearrange furniture unless you absolutely must: Your dog will use pieces of furniture to mark their location in relation to objects they can identify. Every time some thing is moved the dog will need to figure everything out all over again. This can cause stress and anxiety for sensitive dogs.
9. De-clutter: Remove unnecessary items from the main living space of your house. Large items like furniture need to stay in place, but that decorative vase should find a home on a shelf instead. By creating a minimalist floorplan for your dog to maneuver you are reducing the amount of obstacles that they must encounter on a regular basis.
10. Routine: Dogs are creatures of habit and do not like the unexpected. Create a routine or schedule. This will help them to know when to expect activity around the house and when to relax, helping to reduce stress. Include a morning routine, daily walk, feed schedule and bedtime.
By Katie Shannon
This is a tough group to belong to; the dogs categorized as needing to be approached with caution. I sympathise with all who are experiencing the challenge of owning one of these dogs, it is no easy task. We may genuinely have a dog that has good reason to unfortunately, be labelled a Caution Dog. It may be their history, their unpredictability, legislation requirements or just for their own protection. What if I told you that more dogs should belong to this group, how would that make you feel? Confession time, when I am out in public, I don’t actually want anyone to approach my dogs. It is not at all because they are unfriendly; I just do not want to put my dog in a situation that exposes them to the unfair advantage of ‘anything can happen’. Truth be told, all dogs should be treated with respect and approached with caution.
Here are some creative ways to help get your dog the respect they deserve, cope with set backs and keep a safe distance.
1. Always Have Your Dog’s Best Interests at Heart: Simply put, do not put your dog is any situation where they are left to a disadvantage. Have their back and protect them from having to make a choice on how to control a situation they are uncomfortable in. Never put them in that situation in the first place.
2. Wait for the Right Time to Walk: Avoid peak busy times, reduce the risks. By walking early in the morning, you are more likely to run into dedicated owners, who on average, are better educated, and more understanding. This means they are more likely to respect your space. Late at night, the dog park is a night owls dream. You generally have the place to yourself. Avoid afternoons and weekends when the casual walkers are lollygagging along.
3. Know When Enough is Enough: If you ever feel like your dog is too much for you to handle, that statement was probably true a long time ago, and denial has kept it deeply hidden until now. It is OK to ask for help. Enlist the help and advice of a professional. Make sure you are listening to what they have to tell you, even if you don’t want to hear it. The truth can be ugly. It may not be easy, but they will have suggestions to make things easier.
4. Watch Me: This is a great command to teach your dog to direct their focus off on an object and on to you in a positive way. This means your dog sits and looks at you, instead of focusing on the whatever triggers them, they get well rewarded with yummy treats for remaining distracted. Keep your distance from any target objects your dog may be eye-balling as you do this.
5. Loose Leash: Tension on the leash is transferred right to your dog. Keeping a loose loop in the leash sends the message to relax.
6. Check Your Equipment: Be mindful of what type of collar you have on your dog. Corrective collars like prong or choke chains, for example, can actually trigger or heighten reactions as they tighten. A flat collar or harness may be a suitable replacement to ensure your dog is secured, while still maintaining control. The use of any type of training collar should be reviewed on a case per case basis, with a proper consultation, and prescribed under the education and guidance of a professional.
7. Speed up: This is incredibly helpful if you have a reactive dog. Picking up the pace will help set them at ease as they begin to shift their focus from an object to their gait and speed. If things begin to fall apart and your dog starts to spiral out of control, take them for a big burst of speed (short, but hard run). This can help to act as a reset button and relieves stress.
8. Walk with Purpose: If you look like you are on a mission, people are far less likely to want to stop or approach you.
9. Have a Fallback Plan: This sounds horrible, but I promise it works. If you have someone who just insists that all dogs love them and won’t take NO for an answer, make up a fake “contagious” illness. If they continue to approach I will call out “He has snuffle-oxy-ga-tight-us” or some scientific sounding name. They won’t even hear anything you said, except for the next part “It is highly contagious!!”. They won’t stick around long enough to dispute the facts, likely walk away quickly, and disgusted. I mean ‘how dare I bring a “contagious” dog out in public?’.
10. Wear a Muzzle: Muzzling your dog makes a statement. It tells people there is a reason to not approach your dog; whether it is for people, other dogs, or just a precautionary measure -it doesn’t really matter. The sight of a muzzle is usually enough to dissuade people from coming closer.
By Katie Shannon
Caring for a dog with the loss of one of the major senses can be a huge task to tackle. Often requiring more care and attention of a special home, these dogs can be hard to place. Not everyone is up to the challenge of dealing with a deaf dog. Certain breeds are predisposed to deafness, with an estimated 10-30% of Dalmatians being affected. Dogs with white coats and blue eyes are also more at risk. While life may be a challenge, it is not impossible. Here are some tips to help.
1. Consider getting another dog: A hearing-aid-dog for your dog? Why not?! Dogs can form amazing bonds, and many fully able-bodied dogs are happy to pick up the slack for their less fortunate counterparts.
2. Touch: Your dog is going to need to lean on you for support a little more than a “normal” dog. Keeping constant contact while on walks can be comforting. Try a relaxed heel position, that keeps the dog’s shoulder in close proximity to your leg so they always know you are there, even if just slightly out of sight.
3. Use food rewards: Nothing says “good job” like a yummy treat. No mixed signals there!
4. Protect your dog: All too often people take advantage of a dog’s good nature, and push them past their comfort limits. To avoid an unfortunate event from taking place, do not allow people in public to pet your dog, unless under your direction and supervision. Your dog may be well accustomed to you touching it, but a child running up and patting their bum announced should be a big no-no.
6. Keep them on a leash: Do not take safety for granted. Protect them by keeping them safe, and close to you at all times when exploring our big world.
5. Use lights to guide them: You let your dog out in your safely fenced yard for a potty break at night. You cannot call them back inside. Use a flash light and turn it on, and off a few times, to alert the dog’s attention to you as a way to lure them back inside. Alternatively, you could flash the porch light on and off.
7. Use your scent: For instances where the dog is sleeping and you need to rouse them, do not grab them to wake them. This, of course, could have a bad outcome. Instead, simply place your hand in front of their nose. The dog will become aware of your concentrated scent and know you are near. Making a habit of getting your dog used to this as a way to wake them can be a gentle, stress free, and safer way than the alternative.
8. Desensitize to touch: One of the biggest concerns with having a deaf dog is the element of surprise. You do not want to startle a deaf dog. Getting your dog used to touch through desensitization, with positive association, is a good thing to practice on the regular. When your dog is relaxed, touch them, then immediately follow with a treat. Rather than the dog having a bad reaction, they are building the association is touch=treat.
9. Alert: You can alert the dog to your presence if they haven’t taken notice yet by tapping your foot on the floor as you enter a room. They may not be able to hear it, but they will feel the vibrations and look around.
10. Learn Sign Language: Communication is the key to a great relationship with any dog. It may be fairly common knowledge that a dog with hearing impairments will need to be taught to hand signals, but why not take that a step further and explore sign language. Your dog is capable of learning hundreds of words; they can pick up sign just as well. Dogs are masters at body language after all. You could ask your dog if they would like to go to the park, outside, or who is at the door; or have a whole conversation, instead of just asking them plain old “sit” or “down”. If you are up for the challenge, this is an excellent link to a helpful video to show you the possibilities are endless. https://deafdogsrock.com/beginning-sign-training
Just like people, dogs can suffer from allergies and food sensitivities. While more dogs have sensitives than true allergies, both can have a devastating impact on the overall health of your dog. Allergies can stem from food as well as environmental elements, and diagnosing them can be incredibly difficult. One of the best ways to work with food allergies is to put your dog on a strict diet; it is understandable the last thing you want is someone else feeding your pet unknown food.
1. Anaphylaxis: Is an extreme emergency. You need veterinary assistance immediately; we are talking minutes here. You may not know the cause of the reaction, but it does not matter. Your dog is in severe medical distress and needs life saving assistance and medications only a veterinarian can provide. Symptoms are sudden (and usually severe) vomiting, diarrhea, shock, seizures, coma and even death.
2. Breathing: The respiratory system is complex and vast, and very likely to be implicated in a severe allergic reaction. Pay attention to a runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, raspy, difficult or labored breathing. If things get bad do not hesitate to get your best buddy the support he needs from a veterinarian.
3. Mugshot: That cute little face of your favorite pooch is home to a number of sensitive organs and health indicators. Watch for facial and tongue swelling, pain and abnormalities.
4. Red, Itchy or Water Eyes: Eyes may be the window to the soul, but they are also so sensitive they can help you SEE if there is a problem. Irritation of the eyes is not to be ignored. They are incredibly sensitive and prone to being damaged if left or improperly treated. Please consult with your vet if your dog is experiencing any issues with their eyes.
Now, if your dog has a serious allergy, the following symptoms require immediate attention. Please see your vet, and in the case of extreme allergies, take all necessary preventative precautions you can.
5. Obsessive licking: It can be a gross and nasty habit. No doubt, your dog will wait until you have a room filled with company and take to licking themselves compulsively. Anal glands may be to blame, butt (pun intended) bum problems are not fun for anyone. Please have that looked at, asap.
6. Chewing their feet: Though dogs may lick and chew their legs and feet for a number of reasons, the most common cause is allergy related. Often red or rusty colored staining of the fur will occur between the toes. Behavioral habits, punctures, and irritation may cause excessive licking or chewing, however, if your dog seems to be making a regular habit of this, it is wise to look a bit more closely at the diet.
7. Ear infections: Does your dog have a chronic ear problem that may go away temporarily with treatment, but alas returns a short time later? If your dog is a swimmer, it could be a case of swimmers ear, but if not, food is again a suspect for the cause. Mind you, take into account general hygiene habits, like regular cleaning, hair plucking, and physical conformation can play a part in overall reductions in non-diet related ear problems.
8. Constant Scratching: Both allergic reactions and sensitivities can create red, itchy and/or inflamed skin, to varying degrees. In extreme cases can result in hot spots, hair loss, bald patches, flaky skin and abrasions. Soothing shampoos, medicated baths, and ointments, along with prescription medications can help temporarily calm flare ups, but ultimately figuring out the cause and avoiding the culprit is the only long term solution.
9. Vomiting: Frequent or severe vomiting is a sign of internal distress, again usually from a sensitivity. Some dogs may be more prone to upset tummies than others. Try ruling out a food sensitivity by changing your dog’s feeding schedule. A dog that vomits in the morning may be a result of stomach acid build up on an empty stomach and not caused by an allergy. Try feeding smaller meals more often and see if that helps.
10. Bowel movements: Diarrhea, loose stool or frequent trips outside; these are all indicators of a food problem, usually more of a sensitivity than an allergy. Knowing what is “normal” for your dog is key, but also understanding how different types of food, especially base ingredients in kibble with grains vs. grain-free foods, or proteins can affect consistency.
Living with a nervous dog is a challenging problem. Owners need to be realistic about their goals and what outcome they desire. Not every dog can learn to be completely comfortable in situations that make them nervous. Although working towards that outcome should be the ultimate goal, one must understand that improvement, at any level, is the desired response and a victory for both you and the dog. The main focus while living with a nervous dog should always be keeping them within their comfort zone, work on building confidence and take great pride in improvements that happen along the way.
1. Study body language: Learn how to read your dog and what their body language is telling you about how they are feeling. Ask yourself “what are you doing to help or hinder the situation?”. Petting a nervous dog on top of the head causes them to shrink down, physically. It is a submissive position for the dog. Instead, stroke them under the chin, and offer a good chest rub. You will see how your dog sits up a little straighter and heightens their pose. You are helping to uplift the dog, literally, and their spirits.
2. Quit while your dog is ahead: On days that your dog is making progress, when they gain that extra ounce of courage, stop them while things are on the positive side, way before something has the chance to go wrong. If you push that extra little bit, and something goes wrong, you not lost any advancements made but will have a tough time coming back from that setback.
3. Give positive feedback: At some point along the path to over coming their fears, dogs will begin to show interest in the object that once scared them. At this point, you need to gently encourage, with calm praise. Even if this is only a tiny advancement, praise, praise, praise. Allow the dog to set the pace.
4. Settle for tiny victories: Use space between your dog and the object that makes them nervous as a guideline for their comfort level. If on every walk, for example, you encounter something scary, take note at how much space is between you and it/them when your dog begins to show signs of discomfort. Over time, when you notice that you are able to get that tiny little bit closer before the reaction occurs, call it a day, and a success, and remove the dog from the situation. There is no need to rush and push a dog through this to get them ‘over’ this problem. A step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction.
5. Use your actions to create a positive response in your dog: If you are the brink of encountering a situation or object that you know will set your dog off, use silly voices and make the situation light. Your dog is looking to you for a reaction and feedback. You need to bluff about what an innocent thing awaits ahead. For example, in a high and light voice “Oh look at that big group of people ahead, this is no big deal, we got this!” as you take a wide swing around them to provide space, and comfort, for your dog.
6. Practice simple obedience: Further to the point above, training is also a healthy distraction when there is something scary lurking nearby. Create a diversion for your dog by asking the dog to perform a task until the ‘scary thing’ is out of sight.
7. Focus on building confidence: Practice anything the dog can do well, lots! This can be simple obedience cues or playtime. By allowing the dog to do a job, well, can do a lot for their confidence.
8. Provide a safe environment: Comfort is a key factor for working with a shy or nervous dog. You want to expose them to difficult situations slowly, and maintain a level of comfort the dog is capable of functioning in.
9. Consult with a professional: For the inexperienced, this is the no time for DIY. Working with an experienced behaviorist/trainer to guide you and your dog through situations can provide you with an action plan and know-how to work on overcoming the fear. A consultation with your veterinarian should also be performed. Nervousness, shyness, and fear can stem from environmental, behavioral, psychological, genetic, and medical conditions. In extreme cases, medication may be useful or required.
10. Know your dog’s threshold: “Threshold” is a term used by trainers to gauge a dog’s comfort level. As a nervous dog owner, it is important to know and understand your dog’s comfort level- keeps them under the threshold, or within their comfort level, while exposing them to new things, and working on training. Terrorizing a dog by pushing too hard can be detrimental to their progress and result in bigger setbacks.
You are out for a nice walk with your pooch when (dun, dun, dun) you see a dog approaching, coming in full tilt towards you. The oblivious owner in tow, “Oh he is GREAT with other dogs”. You just want to scream “WELL MINE’S NOT! Can you please call your dog??” You start to feel your body tense; your hands fasten to a white knuckle grip on your leash. Your dog locks eyes on the target, hackles raise. “Oh, please not today”, you’re thinking, “we just wanted to have a relaxing walk”.
1. Watch Me: Eyes on me. This means your dog sits and looks at you, instead of focusing on the other dog and get well rewarded with yummy treats for remaining distracted, away from the other dog.
2. Give Your Dog Space: If you must pass near another dog, give your dog as much space as you can. Put your dog on the opposite side of you, swing a wide trail around if you can, or turn and head away from the other dog.
3. Walking Schedule: Want to have the best chance at positive dog encounters or none at all? Walking your dog first thing in the morning or last thing at night has its benefits. Early birds are usually super dedicated dog owners. They tend to have more social dogs with better manners. Night owls often can enjoy their own space. Avoid walking your dog right after school gets out, when people get off work, or on weekends. These walkers usually have dogs that are not walked as regularly, tend to be cooped up and are finally getting a small taste of freedom which means they are overly excited already. They are generally under less control and can forget their manners.
4. Change Directions: Instead of approaching head on and creating huge stress for your dog, turn around and walk away from the other dog. Put that dog behind you. Out of sight is out of mind, well hopefully.
5. Harness or Collar: If you have a very reactive dog, sometimes switching from a collar to a harness can help to relax your dog. Aversive training tools, like choke chains, can trigger a dog into a physical reaction with unfavorable outcomes.
6. Where are Your Hands: LOOSE Leash! We tend to tense up in anticipation of what is about to happen next. Your dog will feel this transferred through a tight leash and it will only escalate things sooner. Be very mindful of your hand placement on the leash, your grip and try your best to keep the leash loose.
7. Pick up the Pace: This will help your dog release pent up tension. It will also help keep Fido more focused on the pace than what the other dog is doing. Try a speed walk in sticky situations, a slow jog in more difficult ones, and a big burst of speed after your dog’s alarm bells have gone off. It can act a bit like hitting the reset button.
8. Walk with Authority: If you like to dawdle on your walk, you are much more likely to be approached by overly friendly strangers (and their dogs). Head up, eyes forward and walk like you are on a mission. Stop for nothing, unless safe to do so. Most people take the hint that you are busy and look for a more approachable passerby to engage with.
9. Breathe: Do not forget to breathe. Ahhhh, take a deep breath. It will help you AND your dog both relax.
10. Remain Calm: Your dog will feed off your energy, your reaction and your cues, no matter how subtle you think you are being.