Greatest Dog Tips Ever (part two)

Greatest Dog Tips Ever (part two)

By Stan Rawlinson

TOP TIPS FOR DOGS (part two)

21. Fussy Eating

I am told by countless owners that their dog will not eat dry food or many other types of food and that they will only eat smoked salmon/steak/or best mince etc etc. This is because we actually teach our dogs to be fussy and picky eaters by free feeding. That is leaving down food all day. The dog then comes to the realisation that it can eat at any time and does not fall into a routine. Free feeding can also have an effect on , control complex behaviour also know as “dominant behaviour” though that term is vastly overused it can give the message to a socially mobile dog that he could be a pack leader as he has access to food at any time.

To overcome this decide on how many times you will feed per day. If he is over 1 year then this will be either once or twice. Feed the food of your choice not the food of his choice “I am a firm believer in a quality all in one dry food” If you prefer the more natural diet that is fine as long as you cook the meat “Never Feed Raw” put this down for ten minutes only, if the dog has eaten it in that time fine, if not pick the food up and put it away.

When the next meal is due then only put out amount of food you would normally feed, do not double up. It may take a few days for the message to get home, but it will in the end. Remember the dog’s dim and distant ancestor is the Wolf. Which is a feast and famine eater; they sometimes go many days or even longer between kills, so your dog will not starve, instinct and survival will take over and the dog will resume eating the food you choose not the food he chooses. Many people think that it must be boring feeding them the same thing every day. But do not realise that supplementing a quality dry food with tinned or pouch food is like putting tomato sauce on Lobster Thermidor.

I am sorry to say I am not a fan of most tinned or pouched meats and in some cases these are detrimental to the dog’s behaviour. We also assume that taste is a factor. It isn’t, dogs have only 17% of our taste capacity, lets face it if they can eat there own and other animals faeces which many do, then their choice of taste and quality must be questioned.

22. Recall Problems

How often do you see dogs coming back to about three foot from their owners then skipping away again, as if it’s a game, the owners probably in a hurry get angrier and angrier and start shouting, which of course exacerbates the situation? Giving the dog even more reason not to return, as he is aware that he may get smacked.

All this is caused because the owner did not correctly lead train and stimulate the dog in the park in the first place. He/She actually taught the dog not to come back, by only putting the dog back on the lead at the end of the walk. It doesn’t take long for the dog to click on that recall and lead mean end of fun and walk.

May I suggest the owners were probably on their mobile phone at the same time? Go to any park and see the dozens of people on mobiles walking their dogs, the poor dogs have to stimulate themselves somehow, and start running off to other dogs and people for the attention that they crave.

Give your dog’s quality time and quality training. During the walk call your dog back to you at least three or four times. Place it on a lead and reward with a brief game or a real tasty titbit, and then let it off again. Your dog will then learn that coming back to you is good news and being placed on the lead does not mean the end of the walk and end of play!

Play hide and seek behind trees etc, especially important before the 16 week puppy mark, and as early as is humanly possible. . It doesn’t think your hiding it thinks you are getting lost, and will tend to keep a beady eye on you, and by hiding especially at a young age sets up the recall and the need to keep you in sight for life. You can now get their injections so the dog can be fully covered and socialised at 10 weeks rather than 12 and I would strongly recommend this for every new puppy owner The vaccine is made by Intervet and is called Nobivac D.H.P.P.I/L. So switch off the mobiles and play games, stimulate your dog and he will have no need to wander off and not want to return.

23. Kennel Cough

On top of the Antibiotics from the Vet, Benylin Dry Cough mixture, twice a day will help to relieve the irritation. Also avoid any pressure from a collar, as this will exacerbate the condition. If you must go anywhere with your dog on a lead, use a body harness. Avoid areas where there are other dogs and if visiting your vet, make it the last appointment. Leave your dog in the car and go and tell the vet staff you are outside waiting to go in, or ask to be placed in an isolation room. This will help to reduce the spread of this highly contagious disease.

24. Timidity and Fears

How many times have you seen a dog shaking or cowering and the owner sympathising and reassuring it with petting and nurturing? This may appear to be perfectly logical behaviour, but is actually giving the dog all the wrong signals and rewarding it for being timid and nervous and confirming it has a reason to be fearful, therefore the very thing you are trying to cure is reinforced by your actions. The shy and timid dog should be exposed to as many different situations as possible. Take it along with you to the shops, the bar or the pub, and everywhere you can introduce it to new sights sounds and smells.

Don’t push it into fearful situations but gently desensitise it to the things it fears praise for calmness never for fear Consistent treatment in this manner will begin to deliver the message to the dog that there is nothing to fear. Do NOT cuddle the dog, or hug it and tell it there is nothing to fear. Dogs do not understand most of the words we say — they understand our actions. If the dog gets a hug, it assumes it has done the correct thing and will continue to be fearful.

25. Tag and Identification

It may surprise everyone to know that the maximum fine for not displaying a dog identification tag in the UK is £5000. (Where did they get that figure from?) Irrespective of whether your pet is already micro chipped. The law which is the Control of Dog Order 1992 states that “Every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort, shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached thereto”. I would also recommend you put your mobile number on the disc in case you are away on holiday with the dog; the home number would be useless if your dog then goes missing. You could also add the Vets number in case you cannot be contacted and the vet can keep the dog until you can pick it up.

26. Shy Timid or Frightened Dogs

I am a firm believer that socialisation is so vitally important; it almost outweighs any other consideration including the risk of contracting disease. The fear of infections has led breeders and owners alike to make the tragic mistake of keeping their puppies isolated until they have completed their vaccinations.

By taking this stance they risk ending up with a fearful, timid dog that may become aggressive as an adult. “95% of all reported dog bites are fear related”. Owners should strike a commonsense balance: puppies, especially from birth through to 14 weeks must be exposed to a variety of people and experiences. There are many activities and places to take dogs; without endangering their lives, it is vital that you take the time to expose your new pup to as many of these as possible.

This is especially true for one’s second or third dog; it is too easy to keep the new pup in the company of the older dogs, depriving him of the opportunity to develop self-confidence of his own without relying totally on the older dog/s and their protection.

27. Herbal and Natural Treatments

I am a strong advocate of herbal medicines for dogs especially in areas of Timidity, Fear and Anxiety. The more common and easily obtainable are Dr Bach’s Rescue Remedy, (chemist or health food shop, internet) D.A.P Diffuser (internet or vets) and Skullcap and Valerian (health stores chemists internet. These can be especially helpful in situations such as separation anxiety excessive barking and firework and thunder phobias.

28. The Lead

Your lead is the most vital piece of training equipment you can own, it has multiple uses, it is also an aerial to your dog. Tighten it at the wrong time and you can send messages that could spark aggression, fear, or anxiety, use it to drag your dog around and it could damage his neck and spine, especially if it connected to a choke chain which I abhor. Used correctly it can be a godsend almost the only training aid you will ever need.

All training including sit, stay, down, recall, sit stay, wait etc should initially be trained on a lead. Unfortunately most of the leads I see are far too short to be effective and are of a material that hurts and can burn and damage your hands.

The lead should be at least 5 foot long irrespective of the size of the dog, this will help all training and lead work in the future. It should be made of something like Cushion Web which is extremely strong yet very soft, (sounds a bit like a advert for toilet paper) NOT Nylon which is harsh as can burn and damage your hands.

The problem is that most lead manufacturers haven’t a clue about dogs and what constitutes a good lead, they just produce what makes the most profit. Good quality leather leads are OK though I find them a bit hard on the hands at first. Shop around till you find what you want, don’t be fobbed off with what the industry or pet shop wants you to buy. I have my own specialised Cushion Web leads made for me; you can now buy them direct from my site, it is worth shopping around until you get exactly what you want.

29. Counter Surfing

This is where dogs are constantly picking things up either from the floor tables or kitchen worktops, at best it can be frustrating and annoying, at worst it can be fatal if they eat something that is dangerous. The quickest way and most permanent resolution to this problem is to go to your local joke shop and buy a spring loaded cap banger. This is a little metal device that when you put a cap in it and set it by putting a suitable object on top, then anyone or in this case anything picking up the food/object will set off the banger takes about three/four bangs and the dog normally decides to call it a day. The beauty of this device is most dogs are crafty and only steal when you are not in the room therefore it is the perfect solution.

30. Dogs Ages in Human Terms

If I were to stop 100 people in the street and ask them how do you calculate a dogs age human in human terms 90% would say one dog year to every seven human years the others 9% would probably say they don’t know and 15 may know the correct calculation.

This is one of many doggy old wives tales that are totally and utterly wrong. As a general rule of thumb it should be fifteen for the 1st year ten for the 2nd and then five for every year thereafter. This is only an approximation there is a chart that works on size and breed that gives it more accurately than this. If you calculated every seven years and the dog is 16 years old then the dog in human terms would be 112 using my method the dog is a more realistic 95.

I also think we are all aware that a one-year-old dog does not act like a seven-year-old child; it is more like the rebellious teenager round the back of the bike shed having a quick fag. In addition, they are far more aware of the opposite sex than a seven year old would ever be.

31. Firework Aversion

For many dog owners the run up to November 5th is a nightmare. To help alleviate the problem purchase a sounds disc from places like Sounds Scary on the web or pet shops. Do this at least a six weeks before the main firework days for instant November the 5th in the UK or the 4th of July in the States. A DAP Diffuser also can help which is a chemical copy of the pheromone the nursing mother gives out to calm her litter along with herbal calmers such as Dr Bach’s Rescue remedy. Using the pheromones and the herbal remedies and a calm base, start playing the disc very softly at first the build up of the volume should be over weeks not hours. Never try to rush this and if the dog shows concern go back a few steps. Never comfort or cuddle an anxious dog (see tip 24)

If initially the dog has just been frightened for the first time by fireworks, you should act very blasé and immediately go outside and play with toys such as balls or Frisbees, or even a training session where you can praise for actions other than the fear, this can be done whilst the noise is going on. You may therefore overcome a potential future problem immediately.

How this works is the same principal as for instance flying, the plane suddenly hits turbulence, watch everyone’s first reactions, they look to the Stewards/Stewardesses to see if they are showing anxiety. If they are calm and acting perfectly normally then our anxiety and fear also dissipates. It is worth trying this tactic when your dog has any negative experience, even though it does not appear too affected, just in case of a potential phobia later on.

32. Dry and Crusty Nose

adding a teaspoon of flax seed oil to the dog’s food daily often helps.. Dry noses and other dry skin complaints respond well to a multivitamin supplement (especially if they include vitamin B complex).

33. Fleas

If you want a natural method of flea control give the dog a clove of garlic in his food each day. You can also purchase granulated garlic from a horse tack shop at a very reasonable price. Fleas hate the taste, which come out in the dog’s skin and will soon go looking for a more tasty meal.

34. Ear Mites

if your pet has contracted ear mites, then a simple remedy is to use corn oil to suffocate them place two or three drops of corn oil into its ears (you can use an eye dropper), massage the ear gently then clean our with a cotton ball. Repeat for 3 days. Regular ear bathing with oil is recommended by vets, to avoid a build-up of wax and irritants.

35. Urinary Tract Infections

Mix 30-40ml of cranberry juice into your pet’s food. This will boost the acidity of its urine, reduce bacteria and help relieve the discomfort. To ease the pain in fact any pain you can add half a dissolved aspirin or children’s liquid analgesic to your pet’s food.

This is part two of the Greatest Dog Tips see Greatest Dog Tips Ever (part one) for the first 20 tips.

Please rate these tips at the bottom of the page and add your comments thank you

Stan Rawlinson

Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer, who has owned and worked dogs for over 25 years, starting with gundogs then moving to the behavioural and obedience side of training companion dogs. He now has a successful practice covering Greater London, Surrey, and Middlesex.

Stan is recommended by numerous Vets, Rescue Centres, and Charities. He writes articles and comments on behavioural issues and techniques for dog magazines including Our Dogs, Dogs Monthly and K9 Magazine and Shooting Times. He is also the founder member of PAACT The Professional Association of Applied Canine Trainers.

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