Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Except, our dogs don’t remember. They wonder what on earth is going on! How to help them.
Plus, great doggy podcast fun and chat with Karen and Jon – here’s this weeks line-up
- News reports on cruelty cases do not reflect the actual levels says RSPCA
- Autumn is coming – new Acorn treat toy from Collarways
- Do your dogs wear a coat in winter?
- Dogs and Fireworks
- Some of your entries in the ‘My Dog has a job’ competition – Take a look at the photos : My Dog Has A Job – on Flickr
Listen to The WildPaw Dog Podcast episode #5
Recent case calls into question RSPCA approach to cruelty.
Mary Bale – wheelie bin cat woman – who was captured on CCTV placing a cat into a wheelie bin has been prosecuted by the RPSCA.
Then in the news, video footage captured by a passer-by of a man in a park lifting his dog up on a lead and kicking it. It is distressing footage. Although I have seen similar done in the name of dog training. I don’t want to get into the whole debate here, but next time you are watching a show on TV about dogs where someone is supposedly helping the dog, usually saying they are ‘dominating’ it – watch it with the volume down. Without the sales spiel voiceover it’s pretty hard to stomach.
The worrying thing is that the RSPCA comment that cases of cruelty are far more common than we can even begin to imagine. Nigel Yeo, RSPCA director of operations, says: “Much as we would like to help, we simply don’t have the staff to personally investigate each and every issue that the public brings to us so we must prioritise to make sure we get to the animals most in need.” In fact the RSPCA does not have any special powers of prosecution although it can bring a case to court if it knows that an animal has been subject to cruelty or neglect. The RSPCA says its priority is an animal’s welfare and it is more likely to try to educate and advise owners on how to look after their animals responsibly than remove them from the household if they feel that this can be managed successfully.
This draws attention to how very very difficult the job of the RSPCA is. How do we protect dogs from this kind of thing?
Maybe community support is a better option. Could you help a friend or neighbour care for their animal? Maybe you could volunteer with The Cinnamon Trust who ask for volunteers to help support elderly pet owners so that they need not lose their own pets when they are no longer able to care for them. Contact the Cinnamon Trust here.
I would love to hear your comments. Where would this education begin do you think? email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Autumn is coming – I spotted a cute new Acorn treat toy from Collarways – a very cute little invention that might just help your dog occupy itself on those darker evenings
and… do your dogs wear a coat in winter? Why? Do you think dogs need them? Write in a n let us know your views
Dogs and fireworks
I am pleased to say that this is another free download for everyone. November the 5th is our Guy Fawkes night where firework displays are common. It is also popular to buy fireworks for parties at home. The effects can be severe on some dogs. Why?
It’s a very unusual event. Some dogs really don’t notice, but the ones that do can become extremely stressed at this sudden array of whizzes, bangs, pops and those long screamy ones. High pitched sounds vibrations, smelles can all be interpreted as a threat. Myself and a couple of other behaviourists, Muriel Brasseur and Debbie Jacobs write a guide to what to do which is free to download from www.dogsandfireworks.com
On the site we also have two excellent resources which are also free. One is a video clip of fireworks which was donated to us by a very kind lady called Karen Gee. This is great beacuse you can make it full-screen so that the flashed of light emulate what may happen at home. As well as this I also puton an mp3 file of firework noises which again is free to download. You can put it onto a CD or onto your mp3 player to use.
Important – read the handout before you start. You ar aiming to gradually desensitise the dog, not play the recordings to make them jump out of their skin. The guide tells you in detail how to do this but generally, start with the sounds very very low so that you only see even the slightest whisker of a response. Any louder will simply traumatise the dog. One of the worst things you can do is what is called ‘flooding’ which invloves taking a stimilus that the dog finds firghtening and then exposing them to it forcefully. This induces panic and high levels of stress which can be extremely damaging. I have seen this done on a TV programme to a dog – yes – in the name of entertainment. The dog was put on a treadmill and made to experience the things it was scared of. Basically what happens is that the dog simply shuts down. It isn’t calm, even thgouh it may be still. It’s eyes are rolling, ears back, panting. It is not the way to get your dog to accept and enjoy an experience!
So back to dogsandfireworks.com. We ask that if you do download from the site, please make a donation using the Dogs Trust JustGiving button on the site. We did beat our initial target of fundraising from last year but we need more – it only has to be £2 – so please, please donate.
On the site there are also some great additional help resoures you can buy – One is the famous Dorwest Herbs who produce a product ScullCap and Valerian – you can click through to their site for more info. I have used this product on my own dogs and it really is excellent for calming in many situations. They are also incredibly helpful in letting you know what you will need for your own dog and they also have a little dog helper on Twitter DorwestDrMonkey who is on hand to answer your questions.
There is also Collarways ‘Sleepytime’ tonic which is drops you put into the dog’s drinking water. This is a herbal remedy rather like Bach flower remedies (like Rescue Remedy for example) and is purported to have calming properties. You can again click through in the dogsandfireworks.com site to visit their site. The really nice thing they have done is that for every bottle of Sleepytime Tonic you buy through they site they will donate £1 to Dogs Trust so thank you to Collarways for that it is really generous.
Please feel free everyone to spread the word around – as I say, the downloads on the site are free and they are our most up to date advice written by experts. Pass the site along to anyone you can think of who might need it and let’s try and spread the word that help is out there for dogs with firework fear.
So – some initial tips for those of you with dogs that are fearful.
– Preparation – First of all try to get in plenty of practice beforehand. The best progress is made gradually and consistently as with all dog training.
– Establish a ‘safe’ area in the house, one that is protected from noise.
– Heavy curtains or a blanket at the windows to block noise and light.
– Introduce a beautiful bolt-hole, padded top, bottom and sides to block out noise. Gradually teach your dog that this is a nice place to be. Do NOT shut them in!
– Leave the door open and let them come and go but feed them meals and treats in there.
– If they are inclined to hide it might be nicer for them to hide here.
– Comfort – Do not worry – if you want to comfort your dog, DO IT – thinking that this will make your dog more scared is a bit of a myth nowadays. It is very hard to reinforce fear by providing gentle calm reassurance. If you yourself act anxious this is likely to make your dog more fearful, so keep calm and happy and do ‘normal’ things. Some people save playtime for the evening of the worst fireworks – the dogs love that.
– Keep the TV on, and the radio on in another room to help block out the noise.
– You can walk your dog earlier in the day to avoid the fireworks in the evening so change their routine around a few days – or longer – beforehand if you can.
There are a lot more tips in the download, so please be sure to take a peek and don’t forget that all-important donation to Dogs Trust.
My Dog has a Job
Some lovely entries woth great photos
NOTE: Sorry – Those that sent by Twitpic we cannot get accepted onto Flickr. PLease send us an email photo instead to email@example.com and we will be sure to add you in
I work with a dog called Coco who is a chocolate Labrador and a ‘school’ dog. We work at the Willoughby School in Bourne which is a school for special needs children. Coco does a great job. The children can play and interact with her as a reward for good work. They are learning from her about dog safety. We have even made a video which I will re-post on my blog so you can see her in action
So what about your dog’s special jobs that they do. Remember I said that not every dog has a job that involves amazing levels of training although these dogs are incredible. What I wanted was something that your dog does for you – their job.
Here are some of your emails:
Ernie’s job is to make me smile just by being there, he can make me feel better after a bad day just by coming up to me and cuddling up with me, he is my most loyal companion on walks and is very friendly and loves everyone he meets. He can bring me my keys and can even shut the door when im on the other side of the room. He can also bring me my slippers and also take my socks off. He is my teacher and has taught me how to train dogs, he used to have no recall around other dogs and was also aggressive, now he’s the opposite:). Most importantly, he is my very best friend and a well-loved member of the family =].
Missy has a job as Underwater Search & Rescue dog for missing stones She’s even broken a few teeth in the line of duty.
Chico has a job as a ‘teacher’. He helps Guide Dog pups and foster dogs learn that loud noises are not scary. He also shows them how to follow house rules and where we keep the toys.
My dog Vinnie has a job – Resident Toilet Paper Softness Tester. If we let him get his paws on a roll of toilet paper, he submits it to his own form of rigorous in-depth testing. He’s very thorough and makes sure to test not just the outer layers, but as many as he possibly can.
I’d like to enter my 5 year old rescued Springer Spaniel, Henry, into the my dog has a job competition.
Henry has transformed my life since we rescued him in August 2008 after he was abandoned in poor health and poor spirits by his previous owner. I have lots of health problems including depression, anxiety, diabetes, fibro mylagia (muscle condition), and ME. Before Henry came to live with us I was afraid to go out, crippled by my depression and anxiety. I was sad and scared, suffered black outs and was generally in a bad place.
Now Henry accompanies me everywhere, and I’m no longer afriad to leave the house. He calms me down if he senses I’m getting me panicky, and even alerts me when my blood sugar drops, preventing diabetic hypo attacks. If I’m crying in pain he cuddles up next to me and tries to take my pain away.
Officially we rescued Henry, but in reallity he has rescued me.
I know you won’t approve but Lola is Plate Prewasher Also grief counselor after Emmy’s death – Joe
Mollie dog really does have a job. She looks after our pensioner neighbours during the day. Before we got her, they had recently lost their beloved Staffy, “Bruiser”, and he had left a big gap in their lives – but they couldn’t afford another dog of their own. Them having Molls during the day works well for all of us. And as illustrated in the picture, she reminds them to light a fire on cold days 🙂
When I’m poorly & even when Mina’s poorly she still ‘looks after me’’
Marley – Friend in Need – Counsellor
Badger – Photographer’s Model
Winnie – Pensioner – Retired
Sharon (Elliott444 – Twitter)
My pet dog, Ricochet was slated to be a service dog for a person with a disability, but due to her instinct to chase birds and other small animals, which could be a risk to a person with a disability, she had to be released from that role. I still wanted her to do something meaningful with her life, and rather than focus on what she couldn’t do, I focused on what she COULD do, and that was surfing. So, she went from service dog to SURFice dog, and began surfing for charitable causes. The following link is a short video of her inspirational journey, and a must see! The video went viral, and has over 2 million views, which continues to increase daily. Each person who watches it finds an individual message, and it touches them on many different levels, bringing them to tears.
Part time model. Full time cutie!!
Elle finds my missing socks
This is Bailie and Kaaxan. They are both Pipeline Leak Detection Dogs. As well Bailie is a certified Therapy Dog and has a Canine Good Citizen Award. Both are also involved in AAC agility.
Just wanted to tell you about Daisy. Daisy works at The Center For Child Protection here in Austin Texas which provides services for families and children who have suffered abuse, or neglect. She hangs out with the kids once a week for a couple of hours and provides a hug, a shoulder, and just someone who listens. We are registered through Delta Society, which is a wonderful organization if anyone is interested in doing volunteer work with their dog!
Thanks for the opportunity to brag.
My dog has a job of keeping me smiling no matter how dark my day. (or pretending to be a demon)
Sleepyshadow on Twitter
Thank you everyone who entered and these really made me smile. They were all wonderful and impossible to judge a winner. In the end I decided to pick one of you at random simply because your dogs all mean so much to you – I can’t judge that! So fate has decided the winner will be….
My dog kept my home cosy for me while I was on basic Army training. Now I am in the US full-time so he had to stay in the UK. I miss him but he’s having a lovely life with other Spaniels now – Nerissa and Bailey
NERISSA AND BAILEY – well done!
So good luck in the week to come with Fireworks.
Next podcast we will be looking at the Stopping the Door Dash training challenge results – already heard some of your stories about progress so far – it isn’t too late to download the free handout (see the last podcast edition on Hallowe’en) It is also on my site and get yourself started.
See you next week!