Archive | April, 2013

Wanna know what’s fun?

27 Apr

Empty bottles!

 

SAM_0296

Step 1: find an empty bottle, or beg your humans to give you one

 

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Step 2: flatten it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 3: Get your brother’s attention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 4: tease your brother

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Step 5: RUN!

SAM_0266 SAM_0286 SAM_0280 SAM_0237 SAM_0241 SAM_0240

 

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Step 6: Relax and Smile

 

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Should my dog sleep in my bed?

27 Apr

Well, this is quite a controversial topic. I have been doing a bit of online research, and it seems that the “general public” say that it is absolutely fine to let your dog sleep in your bed, whilst the majority of behaviorists and trainers, say NO.

 

dog bed

 

 

The Statistics:

According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.

 

Cats:

The majority of cat owners (myself included) will admit to letting their cats sleep on their bed. But, i’m not here to talk about cats. I will however add in here, that whilst our cats do sleep on our beds, i do not agree that they should. Cat’s are a little more difficult to control.

 

Back to dogs:

So, i have done my best to come up with some pro’s and con’s to dog’s sharing our bed, and i will keep the “debate” open, before giving my personal opinion at the end. Do comment and let me know where your dogs sleep and where you think they should sleep.

 

The Pro’s:

  • Comfort: If you have had a long stressful day at work, it may be reassuring having your dog on or in the bed with you. 
  • Bonding: many people would argue that sharing a bed helps to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
  • They act like a hot water bottle.
  • Company: especially if you live alone. It may make you feel more secure having your dog in the room with you while yous sleep.

 

The Con’s:

  • Disrupted sleep: generally a dog will not sleep (or stay still) through the entire night. They might get up and move around, clean themselves or wake up early deciding its time for breakfast or to play. 
  • Disagreements/disruption in a relationship: If you already share your bed with your partner, a dog could get in the way. It could take up half the bed and force your partner out, become possessive of one person, or simply make romantic situations awkward situations.
  • Health issues: whilst your dog might not necessarily be “dirty” they also are not necessarily the healthiest of sleeping companion. Depending on the breed and type of dog, you might end up with a mouth full of hair which is never nice. You could suffer from accidental nips and scratches. There is also the issue of potential transmission of diseases through the close contact (although this is a low chance). People who suffer from allergies or asthma should definitely consider the health implications of sharing a bed with their dog.
  • Behaviour: There are many opinions over this one, but trainers in particular will often say that a dog sleeping in your bed can disrupt the heirachy of the “pack”. It gives them extra privileges and therefore a higher ranking position.

 

My opinion:

Well, i have NEVER and probably will never let my dog sleep in my bed with me. In fact, it has always been a rule in my house that dogs do not go upstairs and into the bedroom. My reasons? Well, i suppose there are a few:

After spending my whole life with a cat on my bed, i have to say, i really do not like sleeping with an animal. With my cat Sam (especially as he got older) i would often wake up, having inhaled fur, coughing. The movements of the cats would often wake me up (if only for a few seconds), but i cannot imagine the frustration of having a 25kg labrador moving around next to me at night.

If you ask me what i feel about the pack leader argument, i have to admit that i don’t know what to think. I agree that you need to be the leader of your dog, but i also believe that is fine (normal) to cuddle, kiss and love them. So i would say that one probably depends largely on the individual person, and the individual dog.

People often will admit to kicking their partner out of bed to make room for the dog (we’ve all seen it on the tv) – that’s ridiculous!

Finally, i will admit that part of me, does like the idea of sharing a room at night with a dog (though only the room, not the bed) and this is due to the idea of strengthening the bond.

 

What a trainer told me:

I never asked if my dog could sleep in my bed. However, one of the first things the trainer i saw said to me was “does your dog always sleep on the couch?”. When i said yes, he argued that dogs should not be allowed on the furniture, again because of the pack mentality issue. Needless to say, i gave in on that one, and both dogs do sleep on the couch.

 

Your opinion:

Ultimately, i would say it is another one of those scenarios when it is all down to personal opinion. So, let me know what you think!

 

“My dog needs space” – The yellow dog project UK

24 Apr

Yellow-Dog-Project

This is something that i only recently became aware of, but i think the concept is great and could potentially help a lot of people (and their dogs of course) out. If your dog needs a little bit extra space when out and about, you may want to consider using the yellow dog project. I know that many of my followers are from other parts of the world, but perhaps this is something that might catch on world wide, so far it has reached 20 countries (and the project only began in November 2012)!

The-Yellow-Dog-UK-poster

What is the yellow dog project:

Dog’s might need a little extra space for a whole host of reasons and the Yellow Dog Project was created with the aim of bringing awareness to dogs who need some space.

Why might a dog need space:

  • A puppy or young dog that is in training. For example, it is difficult to teach a dog not to jump up at people when a stranger walks by and “coos” at the puppy. Socialization is very important, but so is training and learning manners.
  • Health issues. Perhaps it has had a recent operation, or is unable to move around as well as other dogs or is more sensitive to other dogs or people being in its space.
  • Nervous. These dogs may have had a bad experience, or simply not enough socialization  Nervous dogs can sometimes “act out” when they feel threatened, but a bit of space and time can often do wonders.
  • Bitch in heat. Although it is recommended that you do not walk a bitch in heat, sometimes it is difficult to tell exactly when the season starts and ends, so an extra precaution is always a good idea.
  • Old and grumpy. Some dogs do not like being “bothered” by others as they get older, other old dogs may suffer from health issues such as arthritis.

yellow pup

How does the yellow dog project work:

It’s all very simple. If you see a dog that is wearing a YELLOW ribbon, bandanna, vest or similar on the leash or the dog dog (or even its human), you will know that this is a dog that needs a little space. By space, we mean that it is important that you do not approach this dog or its people. It would be fine to give some distance and then politely ask questions. For example, owners with a “pup in training” might ask that you wait a moment until the dog is calm, and then approach quietly before making a fuss.

The yellow indicates that the dog perhaps cannot be close to other dogs (or maybe people) at this time. Of course, it is impossible for you to know how close is too close, so maintaining distance and allowing the dog to move further away is good practice.

 

I noticed on their forum that some people were concerned over the use of the colour yellow (it is the same color used for guide dogs and pets as therapy dogs). Please correct me if i am wrong, but i from my understanding it follows the traffic light system used in many re-homing centers (and other situations). Yellow is a good signal that says “i’m not dangerous, but i also don’t want to be smothered in kisses”. It is also bright and stands out, something that is important for seeing early and enabling you to give the dog its space.

yellow dog

 

 

How you can help:

If you visit the website you are able to make donations, download free posters to print (I’ve stuck one in my car) and purchase yellow items that you may wish to use on your dog.

yellow

Once i get my hands on a couple of yellow ribbons, i will take some photos of my “pups in training” for you all to see and give updates on their progress.

Web address:

 http://www.yellowdoguk.co.uk/

The warm weather is here (for now at least)

23 Apr

Ok, so now that we have had two consecutive days of warm weather (yes, it was 23 degrees C today!) i thought now would be as good a time as ever to give you a quick list of do’s and don’ts for the spring/summer.

 

Health rules:

  • Do ensure that your dog is treated (regularly) for fleas, ticks and other nasty parasites. Although this is now something that your pet can easily pick up at any time of year, they are well known for being particularly pesky during the warmer weather.
  • Do continue to ensure that your pet is up to date with its worming and vaccinations. Beware of lungworm which is spread by snails and slugs.
  • Dont wash your pet too frequently. This will vary depending on the breed of dog, but being bathed too frequently can dry out their skin and cause irritations.
  • Do use a mild shampoo that has been made specifically for animals (or better yet, for dogs). Human shampoo is not suitable.

 

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Say hello to Solomon!

 

  • Do enjoy the warm weather and go for nice long walks. I have said time and time again how important walking is for your dog, and in the summer you have no excuse not to go. Enjoy the sun and fresh air, your dog certainly will.
  • Dont go out for walks in the middle of the day if the temperature is high. Heat stroke is something that can occur in dogs, particularly those breeds with flat faces i.e. pugs, Shih Tzus and bigger breeds such as Staffies.
  • Do be aware of snakes. This is something that is particularly important where i live. The snakes come out to bask throughout the dunes along the beach (one of our favorite walks). If your dog is bitten, you need to get them to the vets straight away and try to remember what the snake looked like (if possible take a picture, but remember, this is an emergency).
  • Do carry water for drinking (for both you and your dog)
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Maya loving her water break

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  • Do check your pets fur and between its toes. Seeds, grass, thorns and other bits and pieces can get stuck in the fur, skin or even pads of their feet.
  • Do  apply suncream to areas of your pet where the skin is pink. This will reduce the risk of sunburn and therefore skin cancer.
  • Dont leave your dog in a hot car. Every year we hear about dogs dying in cars (and no, leaving the window a crack is not enough).

hot car

 

  • Don’t leave your dog outside with no protection for long periods of the time. They need a cool place to rest.
  • Do encourage swimming. Swimming is fun, great exercise and will cool your dog down.

 

Doggy summer rules:

These rules are simple summer manners.

  • Do take your dog to the beach, but watch where they poop. Pick it up, don’t leave it behind or let your dog bury it with sand. You wouldn’t like your children (or yourself) to find it would you? 
  • Do take your dog on hikes, but if there are lots of people around, keep it on the lead. Other people will want to be enjoying their own hike and might not appreciate tripping over or being pestered by your buddy.
  • Do not take your dog to an outdoor event such as a barbecue without asking first. Remember, you don’t want to wind up leaving him in the car.

bbq

 

  • Do not let your dog poop in the park. Pick it up, there will be children about.

poop

 

  • Do take your dog out to public places (like the beach) as socialization is important. Do not let him/her jump up at people, especially children. They could get hurt or develop a fear of dogs.
  • Do not let your dog destroy the neighbors plants. Dog pee could kill a number of plants that flower in the spring/summer. So when you walk your dog, make sure it pees in an appropriate place. My dog also eats flowers, and has an obsession with flowers that are yellow. It isn’t fair to let your dog destroy other gardens, but also watch out for anything that could be poisonous.

 

 

Thanks for reading. Apart from using my own knowledge i also used some ideas from various websites, although i have not linked them here, they are easy to find.

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Thirsty work

23 Apr

Thirsty work

Spring has finally made an appearance (but for how long) and Maya is finally able to be let off the lead during her walks. This means that she has spent much of the day running about through the woods and meeting other dogs (including a pack of Labradors who she led into a fenced off field, naughty Maya).

Of course, all of that running about is thirst work and she couldn’t even wait for her bowl to be filled up before dunking her head under the cool water.

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“I am Princess Maya, bow down to me peasants”

19 Apr

Again, she was very naughty to do this, but the look on her face made me laugh.

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“Yeah, i sit at the table like a human, what of it?”

19 Apr

Maya being naughty

Ok, so she isn’t actually allowed to do this, but it made me laugh so i had to show you.

“Yeah, i sit at the table like a human, what of it?”