This week’s must-read article and podcast with Karen Wild and Jon Buscall for the latest in doggy news!
Boxes of chocs for our pets?
Do we treat our dogs like children, and should we?
My Dog has a Job – to find out the jobs your dogs do.
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Or read Karen’s must-read article and podcast notes below! Enjoy!
Do dogs need these goodies – or do we?
I have been to a couple of shows – not your average dog shows! One was PetIndex which is a trade show for pet products. I wanted to see what was coming to the market over the next few months! I found some interesting products in the face of the recession. Some great harnesses which I will talk about in another podcast after I have had the chance to try them out – to see if they really achieve what they say they are going to achieve.
Anyway. A couple of favourites really stood out for sheer barminess!
Doggy Popcorn from Snack Shack. Gourmet popcorn for people has been around for a while but how about if I told you you can now buy a tub of popcorn for your dog that is – wait for it – LIVER flavour. I’m not sure about the nutritional value of maize in a dog’s diet, but they assure me that it is low fat! They offered for me to try some but I declined, it does actually smell very tasty, rather like smokey bacon crisps.
My dogs went crazy for it even before I had opened the tub. It was easy to break up into small bits and is strong smelling so they really love it. I guess it would be lightweight training food!
The other completely crazy but gorgeous product I saw was a box of doggy chocolates! Yes, you can now buy your dog a box of what looks exactly like Thorntons or Belgian luxury chocolates but with absolutely no cocoa in them – theobromine is the poisonous element in human chocs. They really did look delicious and yes I did try one. They taste rather like the pick and mix chocolate that you get.
My feelings were that if you are going to get this sort of thing for your pets, be wary – it may not be poisonous but it is still full of fat and sugar so brush your dog’s teeth if you don’t want a Vets bill for dental work later on. My other ‘nagging at you’ point is that if you have a great big tub of goodies, measure out an allowance for the day (no more than around 5% of their daily food intake my Vets tell me) and every time you give your dog a treat, ask for something first – a sit, a down, walking at heel… you name it – but never give away a ‘freebie’.
It made me wonder a little bit about how much we humanise our pets and I had an interesting discussion with some lovely folk from the Kennel Club about who these things really are for – us or the dogs!
This led me onto our main theme for this week:
Treating our dogs as children
People often apologise to me about the way they are treating their dogs. It’s usually one of the first things they say to me.
“It’s probably my fault – he or she is my baby”
Well I am not about to let everyone off the hook, but here’s my message to all you dog owners out there beating yourselves up.
My best friend is a childminder and we often find ourselves comparing notes. Before you ask, she doesn’t use leads and her kids don’t wear collars or ID tags! When you are out shopping and you see someone’s kids racing around the aisles pulling things down and yelling when they don’t get their own way, what do you think? Do you think ‘Oh look, they are treating their kids like a child?’ No! Would you let your kids behave like that? Most people would say, No.
Anyway my point is, why should that be any different with dogs?
I don’t let my kids behave in a way that would upset other people when we are out. I make sure they mix with enough other kids and adults of all ages to learn the social rules. I show them what I would like to do and yes on occasion they have rewards removed (punishment) for not following the rules. I also don’t feel guilty when I am giving them a treat for good behaviour and I don’t always give them the same reward. I don’t always buy them a chocolate bar and I don’t ever consider a bit of bread to be a reward! Sometimes we go out and do something fun or sometimes they can play with their pals, and so on.
Why shouldn’t we be treating our dogs in the same way?
I could offer my dogs a bit of their normal dinner as a reward but it wouldn’t be surprising if they turned their noses up at that! If I always gave them freedom to play with their doggy mates after dragging me across to them, they are getting a free treat for very little. That’s pointless as well. If I tell my dogs to do something that they have learned and they don’t do it, I withhold a reward from them BUT if they do something and I haven’t yet taught them what I want them to do – and I punish them for that -then, that is totally unfair on my part.
My dogs aren’t perfect and neither are my kids and neither am I so yes I accept there are going to be times where I am tearing my hair out wondering what to do. Nevertheless I do treat my dogs like my kids and I am really glad that I do.
My dog has a job – does yours?
I would really like to ask you what you think about the jobs dogs do. Some time ago I ran a photo competition to help raise money for the charity The Oldies Club (rescue dogs 7 years and over) and got some great pics. Well, we have not yet judged the competition so what I want you to do is to send me a photo of your dog doing their job. Dogs don’t just do big important jobs such as Cancer Detection or Assistance although these jobs are amazing and lifesaving. Even so it has been shown that dogs are enormously stress relieving to us owners (even though it may not feel like it sometimes).
Send me a photo of the job YOUR dog does for you. We will add them into the competition and I will post a link after the next podcast for you to see the pics and we will judge a winner. So don’t be shy – send it over to email@example.com
I am sure I can rustle up a prize for the winning entry!