Karen Wild BA(Hons) Dip App Psych
ABIPDT, APBC (full member)

WIN Caption competition with Sophie the Staffie

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Thanks to the brilliant Scott Passmore and his rescue Staffie Sophie, we have a great caption competition!

Enter the caption competition here

and you could win a copy of my NEW book ’21 Days to the Perfect Dog’! This competition is also being run on Facebook . You can have unlimited entries but all we ask is that you let people know how lovely Staffies really are by showing them the pic!

We will announce the winner on here and on Facebook. Good luck and let’s do some positive pr!

Does your dog eat everything?

dog sausage cartoon free useWe are all used to the comical images of a dog hot-footing it away with a string of sausages in his mouth, but what happens if your dog seems to have an insatiable appetite for everything, including the most unspeakable items you can imagine?

Dogs are natural scavengers. It is one of the reasons they are happy to live alongside us, as it is much easier to eat our scraps (or gourmet dog food, or our raw feeding efforts, in these modern times) rather than hunt rabbits or deer. Nevertheless this does not mean they simply stop eating when their appetite dictates they are full.

In fact, your Vet can no doubt report many incidences where they have needed to remove items from dogs internal workings. Eating non-food items is known as Pica, and eating excrement is known as Coprophagia. Why, when food is freely available, do dogs still do this?

Puppies will often eat items as part of exploring their environment, rather like young children will put things into their mouths. With mild discouragement and a tidy floor, this should pass after around 10 months of age.

Older dogs may gulp things down, fearing punishment, so go easy. Teach your greedy pooch to bring things to you, and swap items readily for a tastier treat, without getting upset. The more stressed you are, the more he will fear his prize being taken away from him!

A true scavenger can risk their own health, so if your dog is particularly keen on walks, consider a cage muzzle to prevent him eating possible harmful items.

It sounds revolting, but dogs eat poo, sometimes their own, possibly because it is poorly digested or still smells like food! Get a Vet to check him over to make sure he is getting the nutrients he needs in his everyday diet.

You can find out more about training your dog to come back to you, away from things he may want to eat, or chase, with my affordable, instant downloadable e-guides here.

or why not find out about a behaviour consultation or join our unique puppy class?

Thunder and lightning is frightening for dogs! Tips to help in stormy weather.

dog in storm thykaEasy ways to help your dog deal with scary storms.

We have had some big storms this week. With more to come over the summer months (with hopefully rather less rain) your dog will benefit from some help tackling these terrifying events. Hearing-sensitive dogs suffer greatly with all noises. The sound of tractors, lorries and birdscarers can send them dashing for cover.

In one case I dealt with, the dog was even terrified of tin foil as it emerged from the cupboard. Another dog was petrified of the rattle of a bunch of keys, shaking his head violently. Dogs have far more sensitive hearing than humans. They can hear to a much higher pitch than humans, and can hear sounds that are far quieter than we can, too. It varies with breed and ear type, but in general terms any kind of rotating mechanism (the lawnmower, or paper shredder) is said to give off an ear-splitting screech for most dogs.

Hardly surprising, then, when dogs are scared of thunderstorms, or fireworks. These events are impossible for a dog to predict. I imagine the dog must feel like they are suddenly under attack.

It is natural for them to run and hide, so provide somewhere your dog can retreat to. One client lets their dog hide in the shower room as it is a small space, more insulated from the noise. A cosy, blanket-lined cubbyhole or crate works well. If your dog dives under the bed or table, allow them to come out in their own time rather than forcing the issue. After all, they probably feel like there is a war going on outside.

Some dogs take on the fight and charge about, barking, in an attempt to scare the noise away. An agitated dog is usually closer to biting, so be careful if you decide to intervene.

Using recorded sound to desensitise your dog gradually can work well, too. Sound files can be downloaded from the internet, or bought on CD at a pet shop. Whilst the dog is doing something enjoyable, such as eating his favourite dinner, play the sound at a very low volume so that it is barely audible. Over a period of days or weeks, increase the volume until the dog is happily ignoring it. It is not precisely the same, as there are restrictions on the recording due to the range and pitch it can record (unlike real life), but it can help.

‘Jollying’ is another option. Rather than worrying as much as your dog is, stay happy. By all means let him cuddle you. You can’t make fear worse by reassurance. Even so, staying jolly, playing games and giving tasty food – even doing a simple bit of training, or teach a new trick! All of these give your dog the idea that if you are unconcerned, he will be, too.

With a serious phobia, contact your Vet for help, as they can arrange a referral to a behaviour counsellor. The best results are achieved when the vet and behaviourist work together with you and your sensible but sound-scared mutt.

To find a registered counsellor near you, visit www.apbc.org.uk or contact me for an appointment.

New treats from Dicky Bag

Bigger than it looks here! The new self-closing Treat Bag by Dicky Bag.

Bigger than it looks here! The new self-closing Treat Bag by Dicky Bag.

The latest Dicky Bag innovation – a self-closing treat bag!

The Dicky Bag team have not only given us somewhere easy, soft and hygenic to carry those dog poo moments whilst still on our walks, now the design team has come up with my latest favourite for dog training.

The Dicky Bag Treat Bag has a slot in the top made in the same neoprene material as their other products. Easy open and easy close, by just reaching into the slot. I decided to put it on test and here are the results!

- Containment of treats when you walk, run, bend or move about whilst training.

We gave this the ultimate test. Taking four dogs out on our walk across fields and ditches, with each dog of varying height. An enthusiastic dog jumped up at the bag but nothing spilled out unlike my other trusty drawstring one which would have emptied. Result – excellent

- Access to treats

The Dicky Bag Treat Bag meant I could easily get to the treats (we used chopped up dried meat pieces mixed with kibble). As the treats pull out, the opening simply closes so you only get out what you are holding. No more fumbly treat delivery. Result – economical/no waste!

- Comfort and attachment to belt

The treat bag has a large, secure carabiner clip and is stitched firmly. It is lightweight so easy to forget you are wearing it, but I felt like it was securely clipped onto my belt. Result – phew!

- Quality and design

If you are anything like me, you leave treats in the bag and forget about them. This makes rediscovery always rather interesting! I found that because the Dicky Bag treat bag was a neoprene, it was so easy to clean and didn’t suffer at all. The flowery pink design still looks very nice although there are other designs available (a blue version and also camouflage, amongst others). Result – guilt-free cleaning and a nice looking bag no matter what I do to it. Price – not the cheapest on the market but the only one I am ever going to use from now on, so worth every penny as it is so future-proof and Karen-proof!

- Future trials

I tend to use my treat bags as search items and targets for my dogs when training them to move ahead, but the drawstring ones are too flimsy to allow them to pick them up for me. I am going to try the Dicky Bag version and see how this goes, as I think it is sturdy enough.

Dicky Bag have been asked if they do horse-sized ones so this is also in the pipeline. Each bag is hand made over here in Britain so, yes, I am biased, this is a terrific product and another leap forward in the dog training product world. Thank you Dicky Bag for making life easier for us!

 

This post has not been sponsored by Dicky Bag, and is the author’s own opinion after review. The treat bag really is that good. If you want to read more, visit Dicky Bag HQ

 

Better Dog Baths

Muddy dog that was white - once!

This dog was once white!

It is raining…

and raining…

and raining…

You might decide your dog needs a proper wash to get rid of every last trace of muck.

Bath time is a peaceful occasion, with scented bubbles and soothing music, so why is it that doggy baths lead to frustration and a room utterly awash, resembling the closing scenes of the movie Titanic? A wet and grumpy dog clinging to the edge, then making his escape and shaking every drop of water onto the curtains as he does so. Here are my tips.

No need to fill up the bath!

A couple of inches of water in the bottom of the bath and a plastic cup or jug will be fine for the first rinses. Use dog shampoo ONLY and check first before you use it as it sometimes requires diluting. I occasionally put a tiny drop of it into the bath water to help soak muddy paws.

If using the shower to rinse, make sure you get the right temperature before you go near the dog. If it is a powerful jet, reduce it if possible or aim it at your hand first to soften the blast.

No slippery sliding!

Make sure your dog has a non-slip mat to stand on. You may want to lay a towel in the bath to help with this, although it may float – this might be better if you use the shower.

Most of all – bring goodies!

Your dog’s favourite toys, some treats, or even wiping a smear of cheese spread onto the side of the bath for him to clean off with his tongue, all make the experience a little more palatable… and a little less like he’s invited to an unexpected drowning event.

How do you cope with bathtime? Do you have a huge dog and especially generous-sized towels? Do you always take your dog to a groomer or ‘dog wash’. Do you think it is better to leave the mud on and let it dry? Let me know – comments box below :)))