CARING FOR YOUR DOG

Caring For Your Dog

Taking on an adult dog as a pet may be something of a gamble. He may have been well brought up and be thoroughly obedient, in which case you will have avoided all the work and trouble of house-training and discipline. On the other hand, he may have been allowed to run wild and you will have a very difficult task ahead to train him into your ways. It may happen that out of kindness, you inherit a pet from a friend or relative who cannot keep it, and if it is no longer young you will probably have to accept, and live with, its faults. However, if you plan to buy an adult dog, or answer an advertisement for one wanting a good home, do try to find out why the last owner is parting with it. It may turn out to chase motorcycles, bite people or kill chickens. Do not take on someone else's problems unless you are really used to dogs, and feel able to deal with them. It is no kindness to the problem dog if he is to be passed from one home to another. There are many good training schools around the country. Look online, in a local newspaper, or ask your local pet shop.

HIS OWN CORNER IN THE HOUSE

The adult dog, like a pup, should always have his own box, or basket, placed in a quiet draught-free corner of the room and he should learn from the start to go into his basket, and stay there when told. Do not let your dog sit on the chairs, or if you must, then see that he has one old chair that is his own. You may not mind having your clothes covered in dogs' hair, but it can be very hard on unsuspecting visitors.

WHAT KIND OF BED?

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These days there are many types of dog beds available. Soft material beds such as doughnut beds are a good option provided that you check that they are machine washable. For dogs who often make a mess of their beds a soft bed with a water resistant outer which allows it to be easily wiped clean may be worth consideration. For something a little more robust plastic beds are a great choice, they are reasonably inexpensive and durable. Plastic beds can be made more comfortable with a dog cushion or an old blanket.

Which ever type of bed you select make sure that it can be washed thoroughly as fleas and their eggs can live in the bedding for some time.

KENNELS

If your dog is to live in a kennel, make sure that it is warm and weather-proof. It should be constructed of wood, and should be raised off the ground to avoid damp and draughts. Except in very good weather, it is preferable that the kennel should be placed inside another building, such as a garage or shed. If the kennel is to serve as a permanent home for the dog, it should be large enough to contain a raised bench type bed, and should stand in its own concrete run, in some part of the garden protected from cold winds or hot sun. Straw may be used as bedding, and it is best burned after use. Disinfection Faeces should be removed from the kennel daily to avoid build up of worm infestations and the whole floor area swilled out with disinfectant. The benches should be scrubbed with disinfectant at least weekly.

EXERCISE

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Walks and Adequate exercise is of the greatest importance in keeping a dog happy and healthy. "Adequate runs exercise" means at least one hour daily, for all except the toy breeds, and more if possible. Let it be a good run off the lead, not a dreary trail round streets, or worse still, shops. If you find this impossible to manage, a good game with a ball will help to tire out the dog without tiring its owner too much. If you cannot commit yourself to exercising your dog properly, you must ask yourself if you really should have a dog.

TRAINING

Exercising your dog will only be a pleasure if he has learned at least the rudiments of discipline and training. If you have brought your dog up from a puppy, the training programme should be fairly easy. He should have learned the one important lesson that when you give an order you really mean it. Half-hearted commands leave the dog feeling uncertain and, like children, they are inclined to get away with as much as they can. With a dog of six months or over, behaviour patterns have been built up, and training is much more difficult, and requires endless patience. Puppy socialisation training courses are recommended, and are usually advertised via you local pet shop or veterinary surgery.

WALKING ON THE LEAD

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It is only too common to see dog owners being dragged around the streets by their dogs, making passers-by wonder who is taking whom for a walk. Proper training classes cannot be recommended too strongly. A puppy can be accustomed to walking with a collar and lead from a very early age. It is best to start with a narrow, soft collar at first, and let him wear it constantly until he gets used to it. You can then attach a light lead and gradually coax him to walk along with you. If he lags behind or runs ahead, a few short, gentle tugs are all that should ever be used. Try to stay together, so the pup won't feel the lead too much and won't start to think of it as an uncomfortable restraint.

With an older dog who has got into the habit of pulling, you will need to be more severe. Speak the lead to him very sharply, and pull him back to the level of your legs each time that he pulls. When your dog has become used to walking quite nicely on the lead, try teaching him to walk "at heel" off the lead. Choose a quiet place for this lesson, away from distractions and, of course, away from traffic. Make him halt and sit at road crossings, and never cross until he gets the word of command. In some cases, special training collars available from pet shops or Veterinary Surgeons can be very useful for the dog that insists on pulling on the lead despite all efforts to prevent it.

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It is not wise to allow even a well-trained dog to walk off the lead on a road where there is busy traffic. A sudden distraction, such as a dog on the other side of the road, may cause him to forget his training with fatal results.

If you live in a town, never allow your dog to foul the pavement. Walk him along the outside of the pavement, and step out into the gutter as soon as you think that he is about to defecate, taking care to see that he is not so far out in the road as to be in danger from passing cars. Councils now insist that owners are responsible for removing dog faeces from public areas and so you should always carry one of the many "poop-scoops" when taking your dog for a walk in a public place. Plastic bags can also be used to clear up after your dogs, and these should be disposed of in the bins provided or taken home to dispose of in the domestic waste.

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Finally, and it should not be necessary to say, never turn your dog out to take a run on his own, even though you may feel that you live in a quiet situation. This not only shows a callous disregard for your dog's welfare, but may be the cause of a serious accident. Every dog should learn to come when called by name, or to a whistle, otherwise exercising off the lead becomes a hazard and a danger. Start training in a confined space, in the house or garden. Call your dog to you in an encouraging tone of voice and make a great fuss of him when he comes. Do this three or four times each day, but do not continue too long or he will become bored. If he is slow to learn this lesson, an extending lead can be useful to pull him sharply towards you as you call and then, of course, praise him when he comes. With older dogs that have not learned to come to a call, it may be necessary to use a piece of cheese or meat as reward, but it is better not to start this system if it can be avoided.

Never chase after your dog, or puppy, if he runs away. This soon becomes a game to him, and you will find that he can run much faster than you. If you are outside, call him in an encouraging tone of voice, bending or kneeling on the ground, and holding your arms out. In an emergency it is sometimes effective to call your dog while running in the opposite direction, to distract him from crossing a busy road, or some other danger. Finally, however exasperated you may be feeling, do not scold your dog when he finally does come back. He will only be more reluctant to return next time.

Teach your dog to "sit" by pressing him firmly down on the hindquarters, while repeating the command in a fairly stern voice. When this lesson has been thoroughly mastered, tell him to "sit" then "stay" while you walk a few paces away. If he attempts to follow you speak to him sternly, and put him back in his place. Gradually increase the distance and then try moving just out of his sight, preferably in such a way that you can still see him and call out "stay" if he starts to move. Make your dog sit while you prepare his meal every day, then wait until he hears the command to come. Regular teeth cleaning (see later in this chapter) means that your dog will be used to you examining his mouth. This is very helpful when giving medicine, etc. so that he does not resent handling.

GOOD MANNERS IN THE HOUSE

If your dog is to be a pleasure to you, he must learn "polite manners" in the house. He will, of course, by now have learned to be clean in the house. Nervous puppies may still sometimes urinate if there is some excitement, or if a visitor calls, but this is fairly normal, and is a habit that they will soon grow out of. It is better not to rebuke them sharply as this simply makes a timid puppy even more so.

Your dog should also have learned to go into his own bed when told and stay there, not to commandeer the best chair in the house, with his feet covered in mud. You may want your puppy to learn to be a watch dog, but do train him to give a warning only when strangers approach, not to go on and on barking. Do not let your dog jump up to greet you, or your friends. This may sound harsh advice, but muddy paws or torn stockings are not pleasant. Bend down to stroke your dog, and speak to him firmly if he jumps up, saying "down" in a stern voice. Adolescent dogs, when they become excited, will often attempt to mount strange dogs, or the legs of visitors. This rather embarrassing habit should be checked, saying "down" in a very firm voice, or by distracting the dog by spraying it with water from a plant spray or water pistol. Any discipline must be carried out immediately so that the dog associates this with its bad behaviour. Dogs are very quick to learn what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.

Never feed your dog at the table, you have only yourself to blame if he makes a nuisance of himself by begging at meal times. If you want to give him the scraps, put them into his own dish, and give them at the proper feeding time. And, of course, never start the bad habit of giving sweets to your dog. They are bad for his teeth and his figure - and we all know of dogs who spring to life when they hear a sweet paper rustle. Sweets are not a natural, or a necessary, item of your dog's diet, and if you do not start the bad habit, he will never miss them.

TEACHING TRICKS

Some dogs, such as Poodles, have a natural aptitude for learning tricks and seem to enjoy them, but as a general rule this is not something that should be encouraged. Tricks such as begging, or walking on the hind legs, may be positively harmful, especially in the long bodied type of dog. There is always the danger that they may overbalance, causing injury to the spine.

TRAINING CLASSES

All dogs will benefit from attending dog-training classes, which are held in many districts now. They are particularly helpful because they teach the owner how to train his or her own dog. One word of warning though. It is important to carryon with the training programme at home as well. Some people send their dogs away to be trained. This can sometimes be successful, but only too often a dog which has worked well with a trainer comes home and immediately reverts to its previous bad behaviour. This probably points to the truth that there are bad owners, as well as bad dogs.

There are also agility classes and specialised types of training classes for the different breeds. training German Shepherd and Labrador societies organise obedience training classes, Labradors, Spaniels, Retrievers and other sporting breeds can attend field trials, and Bloodhounds can be taught tracking. All these are sensible ways of making the most of your dog's natural intelligence, and they can provide a satisfying hobby for the owner.

GROOMING AND ROUTINE DOG CARE

All dogs need regular grooming. It improves the appearance of short coated varieties and it is absolutely essential for those with long and curly coats. It also does much to minimise the amount of hair shed on furniture and carpets. Start as you mean to go on. If you get your puppy used to daily grooming from an early age, he will accept it as a normal routine, and, as a rule, get to enjoy it. /p>

For short-haired varieties, a fairly firm close brush is usually best. It will remove the loose hair and give a shine to the coat. A rubber glove stroked firmly down the coat will also help to remove excess hair, especially in the moulting season, and a final polish with a soft duster will give a nice finish to the grooming.

For long-haired breeds, a slicker brush and long-bristled brush are essential. So many owners think that they are grooming their dog when they are actually only running a brush over the surface of the tangles. A daily grooming should prevent the formation of malts and tangles, even in Spaniels and Poodles, but if they have been allowed to form, it is best to cut them out with scissors. Use a blunt-ended pair of scissors, a good light, and care - and do not worry about the bare places, the hair will soon grow again. If you tug away at painful tangles your dog will soon dread the sight of the brush, and grooming will become an ordeal to be avoided.

Remember while grooming your dog to look for parasites such as fleas and lice which may have been picked-up and to deal with them appropriately .

You may also find grass seeds in the coat, and especially between the toes. If not removed, these may penetrate the skin, causing painful abscesses. A daily examination of the coat will also give you the opportunity to check for any signs of scurf or skin irritations that may need attention.

The feet should be examined daily, especially in hairy types of dogs, such as Spaniels, for the presence of thorns. It is better to keep the hair between the toes and under the pads trimmed short, and to wash the feet after exercise in muddy weather. The accumulation of grit and hard packed mud under the pads may contribute to the formation of interdigital cysts or boils on the feet. These are most commonly seen in dogs which have deep "wells" under the toes, which collect mud. Regular care of the feet can do much to avoid this trouble.

NAIL CUTTING

Dogs that live in the town usually get sufficient exercise on hard ground to keep their nails short, and indeed in some cases the nails may become worn too far down, with painful results. However, dogs living in the country or being exercised mainly on soft ground may need their claws trimming.

It is important to remember that the nail of the dog has a very sensitive "quick" and it is only the hard, horny tip that is to be trimmed. Use a strong pair of nail cutters, and little and often is the best policy to follow. You will hurt your dog if you cut the nail too short, and there may well be considerable bleeding - and you must not be surprised if your dog is very apprehensive when a nail trimming is necessary again. The dew-claws should not be forgotten when trimming the nails. These extra claws, or thumbs, are situated on the inner aspect of the legs, sometimes on the front paws only, but sometimes on the back also. They are of no use to the dog, and indeed they are often removed soon after birth. Because they do not wear at all, they may sometimes become ingrowing and cause the dog considerable distress before the cause of the trouble is realised. They are also inclined to become caught and broken if they are too long, leaving a painful exposed quick, or a tear in the skin.

BATHING

While regular grooming can do a great deal to keep a dog's coat looking clean and trim, from time to time a bath becomes necessary. White dogs which live in the town need fairly frequent bathing if they are not to become grey dogs, and dogs which have the unfortunate habit of rolling on anything disagreeable that they can find become frequent candidates for the tub. However, apart from this, any dog which lives as one of the family will smell sweeter and feel fresher for the occasional bath. Using lukewarm water and a suitable dog shampoo (see the Sherley's range in Chapter 8), lather the dog all over, rinse well, and then repeat the process. The final rinse should be very thorough, to remove all traces of shampoo from the hair, or the coat will be left with a dull, scurfy appearance. A shower attachment for the tap makes this job easier. Particular care should be taken when washing the head to avoid getting any lather in the eyes, or water in the ears.

Remove most of the moisture from the coat by rubbing with a dry towel, then if necessary, complete the process with an electric hair dryer, providing that the dog is not frightened by it, or keep the dog in a warm place until it is completely dry. A final brush through the coat and you will have a dog to be proud of.

Insecticidal baths may sometimes be necessary for the treatment of fleas, etc. These should be carried out strictly according to the manufacturer's instructions. Sherley's Insecticidal Shampoo is safe, effective, and straight-forward to use. Remember to dilute before use.

EARS

The ears should be examined daily as part of the grooming routine. Long-eared breeds, such as spaniels and poodles, seem much more susceptible to ear trouble than the prick-eared breeds, probably because the flap of the ear prevents adequate ventilation of the ear canal. This is another example of the way in which man has caused quite unnecessary trouble to the dog, by breeding for appearance, instead of for soundness and health.

The ears may be cleaned if it is necessary to remove accumulations of wax. It is not wise for an inexperienced person to use any kind of probe to clean the ears, as the delicate inner surface of the ears may easily be damaged, especially if the dog jumps unexpectedly. Sherley's Ear Cleaner is specially formulated to aid the removal of wax and other debris from the ear canal. It is gentle in action and does not irritate the ear.

If your dog suddenly develops a painful ear (shown usually by holding the head on one side, crying, and shaking his head) especially following a walk in the grass, he may have a grass seed or barley awn in the ear. These are difficult to remove without expert advice, so it is best to consult a Veterinary Surgeon immediately.

Persistent shaking of the head may also indicate that your dog has picked up ear mites, and these of course should be dealt with

An unpleasant or unusual smell from the ears, or any sign of discharge, may indicate an infection, and it is best to obtain professional advice.

EYES

Generally, no specific eye care is needed. Any eye problem will soon be obvious and it will probably require professional treatment. One related problem often seen by owners of light coloured dogs is a tearstain down the side of the nose. This can be difficult to remove, although it is only a cosmetic problem. However, Sherley's Tear Stain Remover is specially formulated for this purpose. It is suitable for use around the eyes, so aiding the removal of tearstains. Tired or dusty eyes can be soothed using Sherley's Eye Lotion.

TEETH

The teeth should be cleaned daily, if the dog will allow, and special toothbrushes and toothpastes are now available from your pet shop. Sherley's make a special toothpaste, which is available with a specially designed toothbrush, and a dental gel with which brushing is not required. Some dogs object a little at first, but they soon become accustomed to the treatment and the results are rewarding, in the form of cleaner teeth and sweeter breath. If the routine is started as a puppy, it will be easy to establish a regular routine. Never use human toothpastes though, as they contain foaming agents that are bad for your dog's stomach. Specially designed dental chews are available which help to keep the teeth and gums healthy.

TRIMMING AND STRIPPING

Many breeds of dogs, such as terriers, all of the rough-coated varieties (this includes West Highlands, Scotties, Airedales, and Wire-Haired Fox Terriers) and Spaniels require trimming, usually twice in the year, in spring and autumn, to get rid of their old coats and to keep them looking trim and tidy.

Poodles, on the other hand, have a very rapidly growing coat and need to be trimmed every six weeks if they are not to look like old sheep! This can obviously involve the owner in a lot of expense, and it is well worth learning to do the job yourself. You may never manage to achieve more than a neat appearance, but unless the dog is being shown this is quite sufficient, and for a nervous dog it can be less upsetting than being left in a poodle parlour.

Terriers have a tough, hard coat that should be trimmed correctly by pulling or plucking the loose, hard hair. This is very laborious work unless you are an expert, so for a beginner it is a good idea to use a trimming comb (a comb with an attached replaceable blade) and a pair of scissors. A terrier when correctly trimmed should have a rather square, box-like appearance. It is a good idea to get a picture of a show specimen from a magazine.

Spaniels should also be stripped using either a stripping knife, or a stripping comb. The coat should only be thinned and evened, not cut. Spaniels may be trimmed with electric clippers, but great care is needed to get a satisfactory, even appearance.

For poodle trimming, you will need a strong, sharp pair of pointed trimming scissors, a strong steel comb, with fairly close teeth, and a stiff brush. If you have groomed your dog regularly the job will be easy, but in any case there are no short cuts. If the finished results are to be satisfactory you must comb out all tangles, before you start to cut.

By far the most popular, sensible, and from the dog's point of view, comfortable, poodle trim is the Lamb trim. In this the feet, muzzle, and base of tail are trimmed close, and the body coat is trimmed fairly short and even all over. Moustaches may be left if you wish. A Puppy trim is very similar, but the body coat is left longer as a protection against the weather. The more elaborate trims are the Lion, Dutch, and Continental. These are really only justifiable for those who want to show their dogs. The average owner wants a happy, clean, neat dog, not a fashion plate.

Bedlington Terriers have woolly coats rather like poodles, and they are trimmed with scissors. The style is very much like a lamb, and again it is essential to get a picture of one correctly trimmed to use as a pattern.

Retrievers and Collies are not trimmed at all, but they can be much improved by a really thorough grooming, and having the hair thinned with a trimming comb.

HYGIENE AND DISINFECTION

1. All dogs should be groomed daily, and checked for fleas, particularly during the summer.
2. All dogs should have their teeth cleaned regularly.
3. Bedding or blankets should be regularly washed.
4. Exercise areas should be kept clean, and disinfected where possible. Dogs, and especially puppies, shed roundworm eggs in their faeces and there is risk of reinfection.
5. Following any case of skin disease such as ringworm or mange, it is of the greatest importance to destroy all bedding, including the box or basket. Do not forget the collar and lead as well.
6. Distemper and Parvovirus are some of the most persistent infections. If there has been a case in a house, remember that the virus can remain ave on furniture and carpets for a considerable time. It is wiser not to introduce an un-innoculated puppy into a house where there has been a case of distemper or parvovirus.
7. Let your dog have his own food dishes and see that they are kept separate and washed daily.

THE CORRECT DIET FOR YOUR DOG

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The dog is a carnivore and in the wild state meat was his normal diet, but it should be realised that at this time he usually ate the whole of his kill to supply the protein, fats, minerals and vitamins that he needed. In order to supply him with all these nutrients, complete diets have been developed, which contain everything he needs, and can also be matched to his life-stage. It is difficult to generalise about the quantities of food that should be fed to a dog, as even within the feed different breeds there are great differences in the individual requirements. It is worth remembering though that if you are feeding more food than the dog needs to replace tissues, and to supply heat and energy for the body, it will be stored as fat, and a fat dog is not usually a fit, or happy one. It is perhaps a tribute to our kind hearts that obesity is now much more of a problem in dogs.

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The dog is naturally adapted to eating at fairly infrequent intervals, and the food tends to remain feed in the stomach for a considerable time before digestion takes place. For the healthy dog, one or two meals a day is quite sufficient, given at regular times each day. Do not get into the habit of leaving a plate of biscuits down for your dog to nibble at through the day. It is not necessary if he is receiving a properly balanced diet, and the habit of eating through the day is as bad for a dog's figure as for ours. Never give your dog scraps at meal times, or worse still, feed him at the table. If he is to be given the scraps, put them in his own dish, and give them at the proper time.

A dog which perpetually begs at the table is a nuisance, and a dog which gets extras throughout the day will often be faddy and refuse his meals. A healthy dog, which is getting sufficient exercise and the right quantity of food, should be ready for its meals and clear them up at once. If your dog is choosy about the foods he will eat you are probably overfeeding him. Cut down drastically on the quantities you are offering over a few days, and his appetite will usually improve. On the other hand, if a normally hungry dog suddenly refuses his food this may be a sign of illness. If it continues for more than twenty four hours he probably needs professional attendance.

Do not start the bad habit of giving sweets or chocolate to your dog. They are not necessary and they may damage his teeth. Chocolate is positively harmful. A healthy dog treat will make a better reward if it is necessary in training.

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If you do not wish to feed a "complete" diet, the meal should consist of part meat (or protein in some form) and part biscuit, the quantities of each varying according to the weight, age, and the amount of daily exercise.

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A pregnant bitch or a growing pup may require considerably more food relative to its size than a normal adult dog. Equally, a dog living in a very cold climate will require extra food to maintain its body heat, and a Collie running all day on the hills will need more energy.

A small dog may take meat only at the meal, with the addition of a hard biscuit or two to help the teeth. The meal for a large dog may consist of half biscuit and half meat. It is better to feed the biscuit fairly dry to give the dog something firm to chew on. Any gravy should be added at the last minute.

The protein part of your dog's diet may consist of fresh meat if it is available. It may be fed raw if it is absolutely fresh, but if there is any risk of contamination by flies it is better to boil it for a short time. If meat is to be stored in a refrigerator, see that it is brought to room temperature before giving it to your dog, or you may find an attack of colic or stomach ache is the result.

Liver, heart, and kidneys have excellent food value, but in some dogs they may cause diarrhoea, so feed them cautiously at first. Tripe is a useful food.

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Other foods Fish, rabbit, or chicken are useful sources of protein and particularly valuable as invalid food, but great care should be taken to remove all bones. Eggs may be given if wished, and beaten egg and milk makes a good tonic for a pregnant bitch or a dog in poor condition. Vegetables such as carrots or green vegetables may be included in a dog's diet if wished, but they are not essential.

Nowadays, when convenience is important to us all, a great proportion of our dogs are fed partly, or wholly, on prepared dog foods. Those prepared by the leading manufacturers are very carefully formulated to supply all the nutrients required for a dog's health and although they are, on the face of it, fairly expensive to buy, there is no waste, and the actual value compares well with meat bought from the butcher. Prepared foods may come in the form of tinned foods, which usually have a high moisture content, semi-moist foods prepared in packets, or sachets, or as a complete dried diet.

Dogs certainly enjoy bones and they do have some value in keeping the teeth clean, but they should be given only with caution. When they are available, really large marrow bones are excellent, but any bones which the dog can break up and splinter are dangerous. Sharp bones such as chicken or rabbit should never be given, and small bones such as chops are equally dangerous. They can only too easily be swallowed whole and they may become lodged at the entrance to the stomach, or in the intestine, with sometimes fatal results. Soft bones are less dangerous, but when chewed up and swallowed they form a hard concrete-like mass in the bowel and may cause a bad case of constipation. It is worth mentioning that a dog which has eaten a bone will normally pass a very characteristic hard whitish motion.

You may possibly be thinking that dogs in the wild state must have eaten bones and this is obviously true, but a certain number of them died as a result, and you would not wish this to happen to your pet.

Dog chews or mock bones made from hide are useful for the dog who really loves something to chew, or for puppies which are cutting teeth, and they are free from the disadvantages of real bones.

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TRAVEL

Most dogs love to travel by car once they become accustomed to it. Indeed, many dogs seem to be happy just to sit in a stationary car, pretending it is going along. However, if a journey is to be a pleasure for both dog and owner too, it is important that your dog should learn good car manners. Let him have his own place on the seat, or on the floor, with his own rug. Do not allow him to leap from the front to the back of the car when something attracts his attention outside, or to hang his head out of the window. The first is very dangerous for the driver, and the second is liable to cause sore eyes. A good dog barrier for the rear of the car is a sound investment. A dog bag is a very useful thing to keep in the car. This is shaped like a pillow case, in a size appropriate to the dog, and made of strong towelling or any strong material. You can pop your dog into it after a muddy walk, fastening it around the neck if necessary. By the time you get home you will have a drier, cleaner dog, and a clean car!

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Many dogs or puppies are sick during their first experience of car travel, but in most cases they soon get over it, especially if they are only taken on short journeys at first, with a nice run at the end. For the dog that is persistently sick, extra care must be taken. Give a short walk before the journey, and do not give a meal for at least two hours before. There are herbal supplement that help to calm the nerves, and have been found to be helpful if given an hour or two prior to the journey. If the problem still persists, it is advisable to get in touch with your local Veterinary Surgeon.

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Try to avoid leaving your dog in the car, if at all possible. If it is unavoidable, great care should be taken to provide adequate ventilation. Leave all windows open a little way to provide a draught, or better still get a wire mesh window guard. Leave the car in a shady place, remembering that the position of the sun will alter. Each year, dogs die from heat stroke or suffocation as a result of owners lack of care.

If you are travelling by train in the UK, you can take your dog with you free of charge. Provided it does not cause any hazard to other passengers, it can stay with you in the compatment. However, if a fellow passenger objects to your dog's presence, you are obliged to move to another part of the train. If your dog causes a nuisance, you may be required to muzzle it and place it in the Guard's van, if there is one.

When travelling by plane, whether with you, or unaccompanied, your dog or puppy will have to travel in a crate in the luggage compartment. This is liable to be both noisy and cold, so it is as well to provide a warm blanket, and in the case of a nervous dog, consult a Veterinary Surgeon. If you are travelling abroad with your dog, the firm which is arranging your transport will usually take care of the arrangements for your dog as well. If you are sending a dog on its own, you will be wise to put yourself in the hands of a firm specialising in this work.

QUARANTINE REGULATIONS

UK quarantine regulations were phased out in April 2001. They are replaced by the new "Movement for Pets Scheme" which enables dogs and cats coming from countries that are part of the scheme (e.g. European Union countries, other European countries, rabies-free islands) to enter the UK without quarantine. The system also covers UK resident cats and dogs that have been abroad temporarily in those countries. Pets from other countries will continue to be subject to quarantine regulations. For further information on the "Movement for Pets Scheme", contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (or if in Scotland the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland). You will find contact details at the end of this book.

TAKING YOUR DOG ABROAD

When taking your dog out of the United Kingdom you will require a certificate of health given by a abroad Veterinary Surgeon within a few days of leaving. In addition, most countries require your dog to be vaccinated against rabies, or to produce a certificate showing that it is free from leptospirosis or other diseases. In some countries there is also a short quarantine period on arrival, but because the United Kingdom is free from rabies, most places will admit British dogs at once. It really is important to find out all these details about the country concerned as soon as possible. Your Veterinary Surgeon will often be able to help you find out what is required. Failure to do this may involve you in considerable delay, or heartbreak, if you find that you are unable to take your pet with you.

PUTTING YOUR DOG IN KENNELS

If your circumstances make it probable that you will have to put your dog in kennels from time to time, it is as well to get him used to it as early in his life as possible. Young dogs, if they have been sensibly brought up to be reasonably independent, will usually take to kennel life quite well. An older dog, which has only known its own home, is more likely to be distressed and to feel that you have left it forever.

Do go and see the kennels for yourself in good time before your holidays. If they are clean and well run you can have an easy mind, and if they are not you have time to make other arrangements. It is no use deciding when your plane is just about to leave that the place is quite unsuitable. Let your dog take his own bed and blanket with him so that he feels less isolated and far from home. Check that the food at the kennels is something that he is used to, or offer to take a supply of his regular food. Most conscientious kennel proprietors now require a certificate of vaccination against the major preventable diseases (and sometimes kennel cough) so check in good time to see if your dog requires a booster injection; this is usually given annually. It is also a good idea to equip your dog with a Flea Collar beforehand - it could save you the trouble of getting rid of the odd flea on his return.

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When you return, try not to blame the kennels if your dog has lost weight, or has lost his voice. Very few kennel owners would be likely to keep a dog short of food, but many dogs will fret and refuse to eat, and others will bark until they are hoarse, when they find themselves suddenly left in a strange place.

If your dog is really unhappy in kennels, try to make an arrangement with a dog-owning friend to look after each other's dogs at holiday time, or, better still, take your dog with you if possible.

BAD HABITS AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

Some of the bad habits of the dog may be generally classified as a return to primitive behaviour. After all, the wild dog needed to chase and kill game, but this is not acceptable in a civilised world. Other behaviour problems seem to relate more to human neuroses. For instance, dogs who suddenly become frightened of traffic, or terrified of being left alone in a room. Presumably something happened to disturb them, which they connect with a particular place, but it is very difficult for us to understand, or deal with the situation. It is worth remembering that the dog is, by nature, a pack animal and in the absence of a pack leader, he appreciates firm guidance from his owner as a substitute.

If you have brought your dog up from a pup, by the time he is fully grown he should be a reasonably well trained companion. However, if you take over the care of an adult dog, you may have some difficult behaviour problems to deal with. Some of these can be overcome by kind and sensible treatment, but others, if they are of long standing, may prove impossible to eradicate.

As the various breeds of dog become more inbred, in the pursuit of show appearance, they seem to become worse in temperament. It is getting increasingly difficult to point to any one breed and say that it is 100% reliable. Even Cocker Spaniels, which were once a most placid breed, are now often nervous and snappy, and the golden or red strains seem to be the most highly strung of all.

Remember that if you get a large dog, this problem is going to be intensified. It is possible to live with a savage Pekinese, but a savage German Shepherd or Rottweiller is a different proposition. It is probably true to say overall, though, that bitches are less aggressive and make better pets than dogs. While dogs may inherit a tendency to be placid or nervous, a great deal depends on their upbringing. If you are always kind, firm, and above all consistent with your dog, you will get a good response. On the other hand, if you are excitable and inclined to "fly off the handle", do not be surprised if your dog behaves in the same way.

Never tease your puppy, or allow children to do so, and never encourage your puppy to growl or bite, even in fun. It may seem amusing in a little pup, but is much less so in an adult dog.

It is sad to say that a dog which has once bitten its owner will almost certainly do so again. In these circumstances you should pause and think very seriously as to whether this is a risk that you are prepared to take, particularly if there are children in the house. A dog which is really vicious should be painlessly destroyed. It is neither kind nor fair to give it to someone else.

Biting a postman has, regrettably, always been considered something of a joke, but obviously it is no joke to the postman. Unfortunately, many dogs who are trained to bark and guard the house take a great dislike to some of the routine callers and especially those in uniform. It is worth taking time to introduce your dog to these people, if they are dog lovers, so that your dog accepts that they are welcome visitors, If this proves impossible, make sure that the dog is not left to roam unsupervised in the garden.

It may sound something of a contradiction, but it is often the more nervous and timid dogs which become fighters. It seems that they feel that attack is the best form of defence. An over-protective attitude on the part of the owner usually makes this situation worse. If you rush to pick up your dog as soon as another dog approaches, it gives the impression that there is something to fear. Try to exercise your dog right from the start in company with a friend's dog, so that he becomes less apprehensive of his own kind.

If your dog shows a tendency to attack other dogs while on the lead, he must be checked. Stand still while the other dog walks past. Speak very sternly to your dog if he growls and make him sit. As his behaviour improves, still make him stop and sit while other dogs go past and then pat him and praise him.

CHASING

This must count as the worst vice that a dog can have and it is a serious worry for those who live in the country. A dog which is seen chasing sheep, or even seen in suspicious circumstances, may be shot by the farmer, and for this reason country dogs, just as much as those that live in the town, should never be allowed to wander on their own. The law that allows farmers this right may sound harsh, but terrible damage is inflicted on sheep and lambs each year by wandering or straying dogs. When training your dog, take every opportunity to walk it on the lead through fields where there are sheep and cattle. If the dog shows the slightest interest say "No" in a very stern voice.

This, though it is less common than some other bad habits, can be an equally difficult problem. Some dogs seem to be really maddened by the sound of an engine and something stronger than them comes over them and they are, of course, quite deaf to all your calls. If caught early, the habit may be checked by exercising your dog on the lead in traffic, and making it sit and wait calmly as each car goes by. However, if the habit has become really ingrained, the only measure you can take is to see that the dog is never allowed to get out on its own. He could be the cause of a serious accident. Cats Chasing cats should never be encouraged, even as a game. A dog can easily kill a kitten which has not learned to realise the danger, or a dog may be badly scratched by an older cat. Dogs and cats can live very happily in the same household when they get used to each other.

DESTRUCTIVENESS

Chewing This problem has already been discussed as it affects younger dogs. Most pups will chew up the occasional shoe if they get the chance, but if an older dog continues to destroy furniture or doors or wallpaper we must look further for the reason.

This sort of behaviour is most common in dogs which have had to change homes or have lacked a secure and reassuring start in life.

Make sure that the dog is getting as much exercise as possible - a tired dog is much less likely to be a destructive one. Concentrate on making the dog stay in his own bed, while you are in the room, so that he understands that this is where he is expected to stay.

Toys Give him some strong toys of his own to chew if he wants, and of course confine him to one room where you have put everything possible out of reach. Sometimes leaving the radio on when you go out will provide a little reassurance. This can be a very difficult and expensive time in a dog owner's life, but don't despair - it won't last for ever.

False Bitches will sometimes show symptoms of false pregnancy about six to twelve weeks after a pregnancy season. In this state, they really imagine that they have puppies, and start to scratch up their blankets to make a bed for the imaginary offspring. So if you come home one day to find your normally well-behaved bitch has chewed up her blankets, this may be the reason.

COPROPHAGIA

Practical Young dogs will sometimes develop the very unpleasant habit of eating their own faeces measures - usually to the great dismay of their owners. It has been suggested that this indicates a dietary deficiency, but there is no conclusive evidence. If you are satisfied that your dog is in good physical condition there is no need to worry too much. The problem can usually be dealt with by taking simple practical measures. Never leave your dog alone in the garden or yard, and see that all faeces are cleared away, and disinfectant put down at once. Sprinkling pepper, or other unpleasant substances does not seem to deter dogs from this particular habit at all. There are in-feed products now available to combat this type of behaviour. Your local pet shop or Veterinary Surgeon should be able to give you further information. When exercising, keep your dog on a lead, or at least until he has passed a motion, and you have got him well away from the place. Once again, this really is something that they will grow out of.

DOG SHOWS AND KENNEL CLUB REGULATIONS

Dog shows in England have been held since 1859, starting with a very simple show for pointers and setters. Today, showing dogs has become immensely popular, and shows are held all over the country for the many different breeds, culminating each year with Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham. Here, the top dogs of all varieties are seen, and dog breeders and dog lovers from all over the world attend. The Kennel Club, which holds the register of all pedigree dogs, was formed in 1873, and since that time has done a great deal to promote concern for dogs, and their welfare.

Unfortunately, it was not realised that the rather intensive inbreeding of dogs to produce their attractive show points was also leading to the appearance of some very unwelcome inherited faults. Among these we can include the condition known as hip dysplasia in German Shepherd Dogs, and the over large soft palate of some of the short-nosed breeds such as pugs, which makes it difficult for them to breath. Nowadays responsible breeders are trying to see that health and soundness of the dog is the first consideration, and it may be said that overall the showing of dogs has done much more good than harm. Only registered pedigree dogs may be exhibited at shows organised under Kennel Club rules, but if you own a cross-breed pup you may often find a show in your district, where prizes are given for appearance, obedience, or charm.

REGISTERING YOUR PUP

A pedigree dog is one whose dam and sire were both entered in the Kennel Club register. If your new puppy is a thoroughbred, the breeder will supply you with a written pedigree and register your puppy. This is done by writing to the Kennel Club at their headquarters at 1 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London, W1J 8AB (telephone number 08706 066750).

PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR SHOW

If your dog is to be shown, he must of course be in tiptop condition. In the breeds where trimming is required, there is a case for getting expert advice from a breeder. It is a good idea to buy a book about your particular breed to learn all you can about the subject, and to get a good picture in your own mind of the show points, and the appearance of a good specimen of the breed.

When you are choosing a pup with a view to showing, check to see that it is free from any obvious faults such as an over or under shot jaw, or kinks in the tail. If you are very inexperienced take an expert friend with you, or ask to buy the pup subject to a satisfactory examination by a Veterinary Surgeon. It can be very disappointing to pay a high price for a pup, only to find that it is of no use for showing.

All dogs should be vaccinated, and this is of special importance if you are attending shows, as, at any place where a lot of dogs are gathered together, the risk of infection is high. At all shows run under the Kennel Club Rules, a Veterinary Surgeon examines each dog before it is admitted, and if he or she suspects that there is any infection which might be passed on to other animals, the dog will be refused entry.

While showing your dog can be a pleasant hobby, if you mean to take it seriously and if you have the good fortune to have picked a good dog, it can take up a lot of time, and involve a certain amount of expense. Breed shows are held all over the country and, if your dog is to become a champion, it is necessary to attend the appropriate shows to meet the competition.

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