www.naturallyhappydogs.com - The online dog video magazine

Sunday 31 August 2014

Treibball and Rottweilers

Today was an eventful day with two lots of filming for Happy Dogs. First stop was Hawkhurst to meet Laura to find out more about the sport of Treibball. Laura has revised the official rules of Treibball to make it more accessible for the family pet and their owner but the principle is the same. Essentially, the dog noses a large fitness ball into a small goal. With the help of her Jack Russell and Dalmatian, Laura showed us how she goes about training this fun sport so that we can share it with you.

Our next stop was Maidenhead to meet Julie and John Johnson and their Rottweilers. The final video will be for our breed library. Six adult Rottweilers and a puppy might seem like quite a handful but they’re obviously in excellent hands. The couple do competitive IPO Schutzhund and Obedience with their dogs and we were treated to a short display. We were impressed at how incredibly attentive and responsive the dogs were and very please that it had all been achieved with kind reward-based training.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Considerations for Caring for Your Senior Dog

We were sent this article recently and wanted to share it with you:
Just as people are prone to a variety of health problems as they age, so is man's best friend. Properly caring for a senior dog is much different than a puppy or a canine in its ‘prime.’ Older dogs may develop many conditions similar to older people, from heart disease to joint pain.

Here are just a few helpful tips to optimize health and comfort for as long as possible, and minimize symptoms of any conditions your dog may have already developed.

Pay Closer Attention 

One of the first things you need to do as your pet ages is pay closer attention to his behavior to get on top of any problems as soon as possible. No one knows your pet better than you, and changes in his personality, daily routine and the like can be an early indicator of a health problem. The sooner you get him checked out, the better. Take note of any concerns and bring them with you to your veterinarian.

As your dog ages, it is important you educate yourself on the signs of some of the most common health problems he is likely to develop at this stage of life.

Common signs of arthritis include favouring a limb, trouble standing or sitting, sleeping more than usual, hesitating to jump, climb stairs or run, weight gain, less interest in playing and being less alert.

Common signs of cancer include abnormal swelling that doesn't seem to subside or gets bigger, sores that aren't healing, weight loss, lack of appetite, bleeding or discharge, foul mouth odour, trouble swallowing or eating, reduced stamina, persistent stiffness, and trouble breathing or going to the bathroom.

Common signs of kidney disease include decreased appetite, frequent urination, increased thirst, vomiting, sore mouth, and changes in coat. Common signs of heart disease include trouble breathing, decreased exercise tolerance, coughing, vomiting and decreased appetite.

The Importance of Diet 

While diet is an important part of your dog's health through all stages of life, it is particularly so as he gets older. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is paramount, as overweight dogs are more likely to develop a range of conditions from heart disease to cancer. Consult with your vet on this one—it is important that while trying to keep weight down, he is still getting all the nutrients he needs. On the other hand, some older dogs have problems keeping on weight, and this can further complicate his health, so getting ample calories is important.

Older dogs often suffer loss of mobility to some degree, and a diet rich in fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA (found in fish oil), may help. Supplementing the diet with chondroitin and glucosamine may also help ease joint pain and increase mobility.

If your dog has a specific health condition, such as kidney or heart disease, further changes to the diet may be needed to avoid excess consumption of substances that may prove harmful. Kidney disease, for example, usually calls for reduced amounts of calcium and phosphorus, since the organs cannot process them as efficiently any longer.

Good Dental Health is Paramount 

Poor dental health in senior dogs can lead to increased pain and discomfort, as well as make it more difficult to eat. Gingivitis may increase the risk of other diseases because this harmful bacteria can make its way into the bloodstream and damage the organs. Get regular teeth cleanings; if you can’t brush your dog's teeth, look into products that help clean the teeth.

End of Life Considerations 

The thought of your pet dying is very distressing to say the least, and often times, we must make a decision about whether to euthanise, as dying a natural death may prolong suffering. It is important to consider your dog’s quality of life—are there more good days than bad? Can his pain be adequately controlled? Is he still relatively mobile and can move on his own? These are just a few questions to consider.

There are services, such as a dog hospice, which will provide care near the end of life, and provide home euthanisation if preferred. It can be difficult letting go, but it is important to do what is best for your pet.

These are just a few important considerations for taking care of your dog in his golden years; make sure you see your vet at least once a year for a wellness check, and make an appointment as soon as you notice any problems. Keep him mentally and physically stimulated, and don’t forget to give him plenty of love!

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Pack walks and hand feeding

Today we were in London with about 15 dogs, all off lead, many used to be 'grumpy' with other dogs. For an hour or so they played, sniffed, enjoyed a little bit of training and generally demonstrated how well behaved dogs can be. Some other dog walkers saw us from a distance and initially looked worried, bringing their dogs under close control away from us, but as we approached and they realised that one quick word from Dima 'Rex - come' and any of our 'pack' would come rushing back to the group, leaving the other walkers to enjoy their walk in peace.

Dima puts his success with dog behaviour and dog training down to his regime of hand feeding all of their food for the first few weeks.

After the walk we went back to Dima's to film some of his advice about when, where, how and why to hand feed all dogs, but especially those with behaviour or training issues.

Monday 18 August 2014

New training method - Do As I Do

We have been learning recently about a new dog training method called "Do As I Do", where you teach your dog to imitate you. The seminar was run by Dog & Bone over 2 x two day seminars in August, one in Surrey and one in Warwickshire.

Claudia Fugazza was a fantastic speaker, there were 6 or 7 dogs at each event, with a variety of behaviours that they performed. They each needed 3 behaviours under verbal command only (with no 'head nod' cues etc from the owners) before the event, to enable the training to start. One dog fetched his dog lead, some stood up on a stool, some went to their bed, some performed a spin or a lie down and one touched a cone with his nose. We started by showing the dogs what we wanted them to do, then gave the cue ‘do it’, followed quickly by the old cue for the behaviour. We repeated this until the dogs started getting the idea that they could anticipate what cue we would give by copying us.

Sandy (our office dog) seemed to be getting the idea by the end of the seminar, watching my demonstration of the behaviour I wanted, then performing the behaviour when I just said 'Do It'. It was fascinating watching the dogs get the idea of the training at different speeds, especially as this was a completely new way of communicating with our dogs. We're looking forward to getting home and working more on this type of training, although Claudia has advised a few days’ rest as studies have shown that dogs actually learn faster with a break in between training days. If you are interested in finding out more, the English version of her DVD of the 2 day seminar and book explaining the process are available from www.dog-and-bone.co.uk.

Friday 1 August 2014

August 2014

This month introduces the sport of Canicross, an ingenious way of turning the activity of exercising your dog into something a little more demanding for dog and owner. In the first of our series we find out what exactly Canicross is.

In addition, we follow up a number of topics started in previous months with quite a few that relate to health issues. We find out what to do if you're out and about and your dog cuts his tongue, how to spot the signs that your dog might be afraid of going to the vets and how canine massage can benefit the sporting dog. If alternative therapies are more your scene, we look at some examples of aromatherapy oils and find out how Bach Flower Remedies can help with rescue dogs.

Continuing our series on the different roles at a dog show, we learn from a judge how to go over a dog without getting bitten. And finally, we add to our collection of general dog training videos by looking how to teach your dog manners at the front door.