Chasing the dream dog

Chasing the dream dog

When I was a child my Nan had two Dobermans, Kaiser and Monty, they were the most beautiful dogs, well they were in my eyes. Monty was my absolute favourite and I have all these wonderful memories of being round my Nan’s and playing with the dogs (this was the 1970’s so a very different era from today). I found out not too long ago that what I had remembered wasn’t strictly true. Monty was an actual nightmare who didn’t like children. My Nan had a fair amount of land and the dogs would roam, being a child in the 70’s, when there wasnt much of a focus on animal behaviour, I did things that now make me cringe and wonder how I could have been so daft, mind you I was only 6 or 7 at the time, Monty actually scratched my face badly, totally my fault, he was trying to get away from me and I was being a brat. It’s now very clear to me that Monty wasn’t the wonderful dog I thought he was. He was struggling to cope in a place where there were a lot of children, which made him anxious, and he would try and remove himself from the situation but us kids being kids (or total nightmares) and the adults not realising there was anything wrong with this, would follow him and basically make his life hell and cause him untold stress and anxiety. Looking back at this I hate to think what we put poor Monty through, but in the back of my mind there are still those memories, those rose tinted memories that I have of him being the best dog in the world.

So why am I waffling on about my childhood memories I hear you ask? Well ever since becoming a qualified behaviourist and also working a lot in rescue, one of the reasons I often hear for people getting a dog is ‘I had a *insert breed here* when I was a child and it was the best dog in the world’ and no other breed will do, or I havre had *insert breed here* all my life and I know all about them. So they look around the rescue centres for a certain breed or if the rescues centres dont have one, they look at getting a puppy and then they find out, that it’s nothing like the one they had as a child or how they remembered them to be. Or, even worse in my opinion, they see a film or a tv show with a certain breed of dog and the dog in the film is amazing so all dogs of that breed are amazing, lets face it we all wanted Lassie for a pet when we were kids, – unfortunately it just doesn’t work like that!

Here are a few things to remember if you are looking for a dog ‘like the one that you had as a child’ or ‘the one in the film’:-

The dog in the film will have been highly trained, hours and hours and hours of training, reinforcing, shaping behaviours will have occurred before the dog is able to perform in a film and they may have looked at 40 dogs of the same breed and only found one that had a temperament that was suitable. Do you remember Ashleigh and Pudsey from Britain’s Got Talent? After the final I remember everyone wanted a Chinese Crested Powderpuff dog so they could have a dog just like Pudsey. What they didn’t realise was the hundreds of hours that goes into creating a bond and trust between the dog and the owner, the hundreds of hours of training that goes in just so they can do a two minute performance and more importantly Pudsey is unique, as all dogs are.

Every dog is an individual, thank goodness, or it would be very boring if they were all the same. They have their own characteristics, their own personality, their own quirks. Dogs of the same breed will have breed traits, but these are different to personality. Even dogs from the same litter will be different. If we think about it in human terms, you may be similar to your siblings in your mannerisms and looks, but you will have very different personalities.

Environment: how well the dog was socialised and past experiences will also shape how a dog behaves.

So here are my top tips if you are looking to get a dog:-

Dont put your childhood dog, or dogs you have had in the past on a pinnacle that no other dog can reach.

If you are looking at getting a pup from a breeder, research the breeder. Its amazing how the first few weeks of a puppy’s life can make a huge difference to how it is as an adult dog. A good breeder will use those crucial first few weeks to get the dog used to different things it will come across in daily life, such as the hoover, children, tv, different floor surfaces, different noises and the list goes on and on. If the breeder doesn’t do this or the dogs are just left to their own devices then walk away.

If you are looking at getting a rescue dog then see if they have any past history for the dog. If there is no history, see if you can get an assessment of the dog from a qualified behaviourist. Most good rescue centres will have access to a qualified behaviourist either on their staff or they will have contact details.

Research the breed, this is so important. What was the dog bred for originally? does it have any specific breed traits that may not work with your lifestyle?

Finally, another thing to consider is that your memories may not be quite the same as reality, mine certainly weren’t. We tend to look back on things with a rose tinted vision and what we remember may not actually be what happened. So the dog that was the best dog in the world may have been totally shut down because they couldn’t cope, or they may have been an awesome dog but what you don’t see is all the work that went into making them that awesome dog.

We also have to take a moment to think about the impact our expectation of the dog will have on them. I have often heard the phrase ‘my other lab didn’t do that’, well that’s no surprise to me as this is a different lab, but the owner then starts having negative associations with the dog, ‘they aren’t as good as my last dog’ – have you ever said or heard that? Again it’s another negative association and it’s not the dog’s fault – it is the fault of the owners and their expectations.

In short, what I am asking of you is that if you are thinking of getting a dog, look at the dog in front of you, not one from a cinema screen or from your past. Spend time building up the bond and trust and you never know it may just be the best dog you have ever owned.

Sue Lefevre Grad Dip ABM, MICAN, MICB

 

 

Puppy Socialisation – Why is it going wrong?

By Lyn Fleet and Angela Pitman

 

For the last twenty years or so, trainers have been drumming it into owners they must socialise their puppy with people and other dogs. In many puppy socialisation classes all the puppies are let off lead together so they can play. This sounds great in theory but in reality some pups learn to be bullies and others learn to be victims. As your mother used to say “It will all end in tears”. Along with this, access to the internet has mushroomed so people have much more information at their fingertips; some of this is good and some is not.

Through best of intentions, owners (and also many trainers) think that they have to get their pup to meet every dog and every person that they come across; whether the pup wants to or not. Whilst this may seem perfectly logical in order to prevent behaviour problems later, why is it failing dogs so spectacularly?

You will often hear puppy owners say things like “Look at that big doggie” or “Say hello nicely”, whilst simultaneously dragging their pup on the lead towards the other dog. They will rush up to random people and ask them to make a fuss of their pup and feed it treats so it learns to like people. If it were your child would you plonk it on a stranger’s knee and ask them to feed it sweeties in order to make it well mannered?

People take their pup to the park which is fine, but they expect it to love all other dogs and want to endlessly play with them. Just because I am a human doesn’t mean I love ever other person on the planet; yet we think all dogs should love each other and therefor want to play together. Not so!

This is Humphrey, aged 12wks, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of an exciting new world without being forced to greet anyone or anyone crowding him, this will set him on the right road to be a relaxed and happy adult dog.

Dotty, on the other hand, was a little more ‘in your face’ as a puppy!

For all that is known these days about the importance early socialisation, why is it we are inadvertently creating little monsters? Barking and lunging on the lead, pestering other dogs to play, no recall and mugging people for food; behaviour problems are at an all-time high.

You will have heard the expression “It’s not what you say; it’s the way that you say it.” Well it’s like that with puppy socialisation, “It’s not what you do; it’s the way that you do it”.

Observing dogs in many different European cities, they accompany their owner, walk nicely on the lead, seeing other dogs, adults and children and yet are unreactive. Nothing seems to faze them and they take life in their stride. Although they are polite they can pass people and dogs without a burning desire to say hello, play or to back away in fear, this is because they don’t force their adorable puppies onto everybody and people don’t rush up to the puppies, insisting on a fuss without even waiting for a response from the owner, the puppies are simply accompanying their owner in exactly the same way that toddlers accompany their parents.

Without a doubt, puppies do need early socialisation but in a far less obsessive way than we are doing now. We are currently putting too much pressure on them in our eagerness to get it right. Puppies are easily overwhelmed and can go into sensory overload because we are exposing them to too much, too quickly. Pups need much more space and time that we currently give them. They must be allowed time to absorb life at their own pace so they can and inwardly digest all the information they collect. Let them decide if they want to get closer to something or someone to investigate. If they look unsure or reticent to approach, take the hint and give them more space and time. In essence don’t try too hard; don’t be a pushy parent!

In the park, by all means let them to nod a quick hello to other dog but then to doff their cap and walk on by; metaphorically speaking of course. You need your dog to be polite but not constantly pestering other dogs to play; just as you don’t follow total strangers around in the street and ask them home for afternoon tea or a round of golf.

Although it is important that we don’t push our puppies onto other people, it is also just as important that we learn to say ‘No’ when people are aiming for you at a rate of knots with eyes fixed onto your pup, often they will be all over the pup while saying they ‘absolutely MUST say hello’, you are then left feeling helpless until they have finished, you don’t need to feel you are being rude, just a polite, ‘not this time but thank you for asking’ and continue with your walk.

This is the very reason that people then struggle for the next two years trying to stop their now, very boisterous pup, from jumping up at everyone, the pups/dogs don’t understand that what seemed normal when they were tiny, is not appropriate when they are 8 stone and covered in mud!

We all know what it’s like to get lumbered with the party bore. Every way you turn they are in your face trying to get you to laugh at their distinctively unfunny jokes. Many pups can be likened to that party bore, they don’t take no for an answer. To add insult to injury the puppy owner shouts “He only wants to play”. Because we abdicate our responsibilities, we leave it to other people’s dogs to sort the problem out. The other dog eventually loses patients and may growl and show its teeth to get your pup to go away; worst case scenario a fight may ensue and your pup could get seriously injured. The villain of the piece was actually you, not the other dog.

Sadly, this can be compounded by some well-meaning day care or group dog walks, all the dogs off the lead, seemingly having a fine old time, but when you then want to take your pup/dog out on your own, your dog seeks out the attention of other dogs or people, often leading to frustration, while on the lead, how insulting that your dog prefers the company of others to you!

Your pup’s enjoyment should not be to the detriment of other park users, be they human or dog. Now here’s a radicle thought, take toys with you and have enjoyable games with your pup. Sorted!

Humphrey and Dotty celebrating the first year of a perfectly polite friendship.

To rescue or not to rescue: that is the question


As a behaviourist, I love working with all kinds of dogs, large dogs or small dogs, pure breeds or cross breeds. The dogs that I really love working with are rescue dogs and I have a real soft spot for stray dogs that have been brought in, as we have no knowledge to prejudge; everything we learn is from observation and working with the dog. I have owned 5 dogs, 4 of which have been rescue dogs and one that I have had from a puppy, which was my first dog and the most challenging. I hadn’t started my journey as a behaviourist back when I got Jake my German Shepherd Puppy and all of a sudden I had this extremely cute ‘land-shark’ and I had no idea what to do, this is where my journey to becoming a behaviourist started, but that’s another story for another day.

I’m sure everyone, ok maybe not everyone, but a lot of people who have thought about getting a dog or have already decided to get a dog have been told by someone ‘Adopt don’t shop’, and in these days of social media some opinions can come across as quite aggressive. However as much I love rescue dogs, I know that adopting a dog from a rescue centre isn’t right for everyone and in my humble opinion you should never have to justify yourself whether you get a rescue dog or a dog from a breeder, all I ask is that you treat your dog with kindness and compassion and above all give it lots of love.

Over the years I have heard many reasons why people shy away from adopting a rescue dog, I am by no means saying that everybody that wants a dog should adopt a rescue, but there does seem to be some myths about the type of dog that you get when you adopt from a rescue. Hopefully I can dispel some of the myths for you.

 

Myth – All rescue dogs have behaviour problems, why else would they be in a rescue centre.

While it is true that some rescue dogs do have behavioural problems, not all of them do, some dogs end up in rescue centres through no fault of their own. Some are there because their owner has died, or there is illness in the family and they can no longer keep the dog, or their circumstances have changed and they can no longer give the dog the life it deserves. Some dogs are signed over just because they are no longer wanted – sad but true. Another point to remember is that behavioural problems do not just happen in rescue dogs, they can happen in any dog.

Myth – I can’t get a rescue dog because I have children.

Every dog is an individual and while some rescue centres put a blanket ban on re homing to families with young children, some rescue centres look at the dog, where the dog has come from and they will consult a fully qualified behaviourist to carry out an assessment. A dog may have come from a home with children and due to circumstances, that have nothing to do with the behaviour of the dog, it may end up in a rescue centre. The rescue centre will look to see if the family is suitable for the dog – surely that’s the wrong way round I hear you say – but no, it is the rescue’s job to advocate for the dog. The last thing the dog needs is to be placed in an unsuitable home and then returned to the rescue, just imagine how unsettling, scary and potentially damaging that would be for the dog.

Myth – You cant teach rescue dogs as they are too old or damaged.

The saying that you cant teach an old dog new tricks is a complete myth, learning theory does not discriminate against age or species, it does not care if the dog is 6 months, 6 weeks or 6 years. Behaviour follows motivation, if the motivation is right for that dog the behaviour will follow. You may have to adapt the way you train an older dog, but find the right motivation and you will be ok.

So, I can now hear you all running to your computers to look up where your local rescue centre is, but on a more serious note, if you are thinking about adopting a rescue dog there are definitely things to consider.

One of the most important aspects to consider is whether the rescue centre will give you help, advice and support after you have adopted the dog, in the world of rescue this is called rescue back up. Should any problems arise, the rescue should be able to either offer advice, if they have a qualified trainer or behaviourist there, or be able to put you in touch with a qualified professional to help you. Also you need to see if they will take the dog back if, god forbid, anything happens to you. If they don’t offer this support then walk away, I know it sounds awful, but honestly it is better all round.

Another aspect is always keep an open mind. We, as humans, see a cute picture on a website of a dog that needs adopting and we go ‘ah that one is so cute, I want it’, and if we don’t get what we want, then god help all those around us. The cute dog in the picture might not be the right dog for you and your family, but your perfect dog may be in the kennel next door and you haven’t even given it a second thought. Trust that the rescue knows their dogs. I love German Shepherds, I mean I really love them and my two rescue dogs are a Welsh Collie and a Collie cross, they were the right dogs for me and my husband and we adore them.

I would also suggest that you do some research on the breed that you are thinking of getting, this is good advice whether you are adopting a dog or getting one from a breeder. Have a look at your lifestyle and see if the breed you are thinking of getting will fit in well with it because the chances of you changing your lifestyle to fit in with the dog could be pretty slim, if you don’t like a lot of walking and providing a lot of mental stimulation then I would steer clear of working dogs such as Collies or Working Cocker Spaniel.

Another thing to consider is what activities does the rescue offer to the dogs in their care. Mental stimulation and enrichment is so important for the wellbeing of all pets, but especially important to animals in rescue centres.

Last, but by no means least is try not to prejudge the dog by breed. A lot of people are drawn to a certain breed of dog and some are drawn away from certain breeds, this can be for many reasons, it was a breed they had when they were young or they had a certain breed and the dog was amazing so all dogs of that breed must be amazing or they have heard horror stories about certain breeds so all the dogs of that breed must be bad. Remember every single dog is an individual, including every dog within a breed. There are certain traits within a breed, but no two dogs are the same, thank goodness or wouldn’t it be boring.

Having a dog (or dogs) to share your life, whether it is a rescue dog or not, is an absolute honour and that should always be remembered.

 

By

Sue Lefevre

Graduate Diploma Animal Behaviour Management

Chair of ICAN: International Companion Animal Network

ICB full member.

ICAN Certified Animal Behaviourist

Sally’s Fear of Loud Bangs

Sue Reid of Animal Matters

Flower essences are a natural, easy, inexpensive and safe way to help your dog feel calmer. With flower essences there are no side effects, no contra-indications, and no risk from choosing the wrong remedy or overdosing. They can be used alone or in combination with any other therapy.

Bach Flower Remedies found to help firework fears include:

  • Bach Star of Bethlehem for trauma
  • Rock Rose for terror
  • Cherry Plum for fear of losing control
  • Walnut for protection and feeling safe during the unpredictability of the fireworks
  •  Elm for the feeling of being overwhelmed by the environment

Sally’s fear of fireworks was helped with Bach flower essences

Sally’s fear of fireworks was helped with Bach flower essences. My rescue Jack Russell Terrier Sally, was terrified of loud bangs – panting, climbing the walls, shaking, running, hiding. I started the essences two weeks before Bonfire Night, and gave them every few minutes while the fireworks were happening. She was significantly calmer – still anxious but not constantly panting.

To make up a flower essence combination, put two drops of each chosen essence into a 30ml bottle, add 20ml spring water, and preserve with 10ml brandy or preferably vegetable glycerine for animals. This will last up to 30 days.

Bach flower essences are very simple to give. Four drops can be given on meals and treats; four times a day is ideal but you can give them every few minutes while the fireworks are on. You cannot overdose.

If your dog is too stressed to take essences on food or treats, put 10 drops from your combination bottle into a spray bottle (100ml is fine), top up with water and spray any area he/she goes to, including beds and bedding. Spray around him/her but not at close quarters, and always avoid eyes. Or you can just put a few drops into your own palms and stroke them into the top of your dog’s head as a dual purpose calming exercise. Again, when fireworks are happening you can do this every few minutes if your dog’s ok with it.

All dogs have unique personalities, behaviours and reasons for their fears, so an individually selected combination can be ideal. You can choose these yourself. Or, if you prefer, you can consult a qualified animal flower essence practitioner – just run this past your vet first. Bach also do a range of Pet Rescue Remedy products, designed for emergency use that many people have found helpful and are easily available in most good health food stores.

And if you’re scared of fireworks or distressed by your dog’s distress – take flower essences yourself. How you feel will affect your dog – so help him by helping yourself stay calm!

The healing art of Reiki

Nikki Caddick

Holding my hands for Macey to let her decide if she would like to receive Reiki energy

What is Reiki?

Reiki is an ancient Japanese method of natural healing. Rei means “universal” and Ki mean “life force energy”. This energy flows through people, animals, trees and plants. Originally founded by Mikao Usui in the early 20th Century, the tradition has evolved into the Reiki treatments we see today. We all have an inner energy and to be able to use this energy on other people we have to be “attuned” to our inner Reiki, as this allows a clear pathway for the energy to flow. Reiki then revitalises and balances the energies in our bodies to improve health and reduce stresses or anxieties. Reiki is a natural complementary therapy to help healing on a physical and psychological level. The person attuned to Reiki is the giver of energy and this allows the receiver to “self heal”. You can use Reiki alongside prescribed treatments (human and animal). It is non invasive, non harmful, non forceful and non addictive. Reiki can be given as often as required and you cannot overdose. Animals who are in pain or anxious seem to sense there is something positive rather than harmful and they will often seek the Reiki energy.

How can Reiki help dogs?

One hand on Peppa’s chest and one hand in between her shoulder blades are hand positions that help with stress or anxieties

Dogs who are stressed, fearful, anxious or depressed can all benefit from Reiki. It can help calm your dog by releasing tension and anxieties, and thereby reduce your dog’s stress levels. Reiki can be used at any time for fears, phobias (including fireworks), vet visits, grooming and general well being.

Reiki sessions

Receiving Reiki is simple. The giver of Reiki will place their hands on or near the receiver’s body (not specifically in the area affected, as the energy will flow through the body and be received in the areas where it is required). The life force energy then flows through the giver’s hands into the receiver. Sessions can last as long as the animal is happy to receive the flow of energy, and they can choose to move away at any point. To offer hands on Reiki you need to be attuned to Reiki Level 1. An alternative method is distance healing, where you can give Reiki energy to anyone around the world. To offer distance healing you must be attuned to Reiki Level 2.

My Reiki journey

My Reiki journey started during my Complementary Therapy module while studying for my degree in Dog Behaviour and Training. I was looking for alternative therapies that could be used to help with canine behaviour problems, specifically for nervous and fearful dogs where my main interest lies. One of my first puppy party clients recommended Reiki to help with emotional problems in dogs. Although sadly she is no longer with us, I feel I am continuing her Reiki journey. At first I was intrigued but was sceptical at the same time. How was it possible that by laying my hands on or near a person or dog, I could create healing powers that could help with pain relief, stress and anxiety?

Becoming Reiki attuned

One hand on Wesley’s chest and one hand in between his shoulder blades are hand positions that help with stress or anxieties

Wesley receiving Reiki Almost a year later I took the plunge and contacted Rob Fellows from Reiki4Dogs, applying to complete his Reiki Animal Healer 1st degree Reiki course. I remember saying to Paul my partner, “Well if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but I really want to try”. Rob said he would do my attunements via distance healing. He advised me on the date the attunement would take place and an approximate time. Around five minutes after the anticipated time, my dogs (who are usually asleep at this time of day) suddenly jumped up and came and sat in front of me. They then tried to rub their bodies on my hands. I mentioned this to Rob and he advised me that the dogs could sense something happening. After a few minutes they stopped and went back to sleep. Over the following few months I noticed I was calmer in situations that would normally create stress or anxiety. I also noticed our three dogs were much calmer and more relaxed.

Reiki for human healing

Although my reasons for learning Reiki were to help with stress, anxiety and emotional conditions in canine behaviour management, in December 2015 I used my Reiki energy as a pain management and to help the healing process for my partner Paul. Paul had shattered his finger in a work-based accident. At first he was as sceptical as I was in the beginning, but I explained it wouldn’t cause any harm and if anything could quicken his healing process. He gave me the go ahead. Paul commented that his fingers felt warm (which is a sign of receiving Reiki energy), his pain reduced and he felt as if the fragments were healing and coming back together. On his hospital visits they were impressed how quickly the skin around the fracture was healing. A work colleague had recevied surgery on her back five years previously, was still in constant pain and had limited movement in her back. I did a very quick Reiki session for around ten minutes, placing my hands near to her area of pain. I don’t think I had ever made her speechless before! It was the first time in five years she felt pain free and had a more flexibility in her back. The good thing about Reiki is it is always there, regardless of whether you intentionally use it.

Using Reiki as a veterinary nurse

I am a veterinary nurse as well as a dog trainer and behaviourist, and in both professions we see a lot of dogs who are stressed, anxious and have emotional instability. I have not changed how I talk to or approach dogs in either environment, the only difference being that I am attuned to Reiki. I have had many comments by owners who have been completely surprised that their dog seems relaxed in the consultation room and actually happy to be there, when previously their dog is usually scared or aggressive when they come to the veterinary practice. When the owner has requested the dog be muzzled because it has bitten before, the owner is even more surprised when we apply the muzzle and their dog is still calm and relaxed. These are the days that make me happy to be doing the jobs that I do. Only a few weeks ago we had a dog in the practice who was reactive towards people. I had seen this dog on a couple of previous occasions but not often enough for him to desensitise to the practice and veterinary staff, however he had always seemed fine and happy. The vet asked for my help because on this occasion the dog was lunging and growling at her and the owner had mentioned he had previously been ok with me. On entering the room, before I spoke or touched the dog, his body language went from “I am so scared” to “I am so happy”. He was wagging his tail and he launched himself at me trying to lick me through the muzzle. Once he settled I placed my hands on him, gently rubbing his shoulders and the vet administere his injection. No barking, lunging or growling. This confirms my previous comment that dogs will gravitate towards Reiki energy. Although at times I have not intentionally used Reiki energy it is always there. Feedback from customers shows me that dogs are much more relaxed and happier coming in for consultations since I have been attuned to Reiki. Macey’s receiving Reiki to help with stress and anxiety for her dementia

Reiki for Macey with dementia

Macey our Labrador has dementia and this causes her stress and anxiety. By using a combination of Reiki and Crystal Therapy alongside veterinary prescribed drugs she is calmer, more relaxed and enjoying her life once again.

Reiki for Pepper’s barking

Peppa receiving Reiki to help with barking At the time of writing this article we are on holiday in Scotland and when people walk past our car Peppa, our Cocker Spaniel, will bark. Peppa is a nervous barker when she is uncomfortable, scared or spooked. I gave her a couple of sessions of Reiki the week before we went away, and this was the only difference to her normal routine. We stopped at a distillery on the way to our holiday cottage and I was completely surprised by Pepper’s non reactiveness. 15-20 people walked past the back of the car and some stopped to talk behind the car. I assumed Peppa was asleep until I looked up and saw her looking out of the back window, wagging her tail – with no barking or growling!

Looking to the future

Reiki is hard to explain and I’m sure reading this article you think I’m a little crazy for believing this works, however the evidence I have seen so far is astounding. Since seeing such positve results I have since been attuned to Reiki Level 2, which allows me to give distance healing. I was very sceptical when first starting my Reiki journey, however I believe it is an awesome complementary therapy. I will continue my Reiki journey, helping dogs with emotional support for their stresses and anxieties. If you are unsure whether Reiki is for you, why not give it a go? After all you have nothing to lose!

Would you like a Reiki session or to learn more?

Nikki Caddick can be contacted for distance Reiki on 07507 667116 or email nikki@trainedtopawfection.co.uk. For more information about Reiki, attunements and courses please contact Rob Fellows www.reiki4dogs.co.uk.

One hand on Wesley’s chest and one hand on his head are hand positions that help with stress or anxieties

 

Regrouping

Brigitte Barton
 
I have recently observed an interesting change in behaviour due to one of my dogs passing away.

There were 4 dogs in my group, 2 males, 2 females, all of them castrated. The girls automatically paired up with one of the males without intervention.

Holly and Boogie

The mentally strongest dog, a bitch called Holly, took the 8 week old puppy Boogie under her wings and taught him all there is to know. They stayed inseparable for almost 9 years. The other 2 dogs formed the second couple and were father and daughter. They are also inseparable.

Although the two groups get on with each other there was a lot of animosity between the boys, no fights but growling and barking, especially from the younger Boogie towards the old boy.

Throughout his 8.5 years of happy life with Holly, Boogie remained the baby of the family. The others ignored his growls and barking, sometimes snarling at him to shut up. During walks Boogie would walk in my shadow. Holly was right in front, followed by the other bitch and the old boy when he was less arthritic. But Boogie would walk so close to me that he often stepped into my shoes. He seemed a very insecure dog although he was by far the biggest in stature.

He has always been very friendly to other dogs and all people and just hates mountain bikes with a vengeance…

And then Holly was put to sleep without having been ill for any length of time. The dogs were in kennels where they have often been and in the morning Holly would not get up and deteriorated fast. By the time I had landed at Manchester airport they had taken Holly to my vet where I had to make the dreaded decision. Apparently the kennel told me that Boogie, who shared one kennel with her, started screaming when she became ill – so he must have known that something was very wrong. Perhaps he was more prepared than I was of what was to come.

Boogie

A few days followed where Boogie refused to eat, and at night he would do pee and poo and I woke up to a little surprise every morning. I had separated the two couples at night and now it was difficult to know what was best for Boogie. I put the other girl in with him once the old boy was asleep but he still left surprises for me… I then decided to put them all together in the kitchen and hope for the best. Boogie settled immediately without any more accidents at night… Sleeping with the enemy got a new meaning….

He even started eating his raw diet at night again but in the morning he still sometimes needs to be hand fed.

And then the big change happened… on our daily off lead walks he suddenly took the lead! He no longer walks in my shadow, he is right in front. At certain points he will stop and wait for the other dogs which sometimes takes a while since the old boy is really slowing down now but Boogie keeps an eye on him throughout the walk, ensuring he doesn’t get left behind.

My insecure baby has grown up! After 8.5 years… they say Border Collies develop slowly!

 

Owning a dog in Spain

Nat Osborne

Owning a dog in Spain brings the usual challenges that I imagine every caregiver around the world undergoes. Navigating around the rules, regulations and restrictions is not always straightforward, especially if you have dogs with quirks! Being a trainer, I think it can be less straightforward and with the knowledge I have gained, ensuring you are doing what you know is best for your dog and getting that recognised and accepted by other professionals, can seem like an uphill struggle.

Early spaying and neutering seems to be a one size fits all and the impact on behaviour or health is rarely considered. The usual laws apply with mandatory yearly vaccinations for rabies. Leishmaniosis is a disease transmitted by sand flies. Dogs who live outside are at a greater risk of contracting the disease as sand flies are most active at dusk and dawn. There are various preventatives which can be bought (collars, drops and even vaccinations), but keeping dogs inside during these times reduces the chance of being exposed.

This part of Spain is densely populated with Pine trees so from February until April care is needed to avoid the processionary caterpillars that nest in the Pine trees. The caterpillars’ hairs are extremely poisonous and can cause very painful allergic reactions to dogs or even death.

We have a lot of stray dogs in Spain, adding to the assumption that spaying and neutering the dog population as a whole is the answer without considering the pros and cons and effect on behaviour. Some dogs are picked up and taken to shelters but I have not personally seen a decrease in numbers in the seven years I have lived here. Some rescues have up to 20 dogs in one pen and although the carers are well meaning, there is little education and training provided for them.


Hunting with dogs (Galgos or Podencos) is popular. The dogs are seen as tools not pets and this sentiment has rippled down through the generations. Rarely are they socialised. For the lucky ones taken to local rescues after the hunters are finished with them, the lack of socialisation is evident and the level of fear that many have is extreme. The cycle of fear continues as the hunters breed from fearful parents, who undergo large amounts of stress during pregnancy. There are an increasing number of hunters who are trying to change but they still do not set their dogs up for a good life.

There have been positive changes over the last few years. There are rescue organisations going into schools and educating the children on how dogs should be treated and hunters are more willing to take their dogs to rescue centres instead of dumping them on the streets or killing them.

More pet dog owners are using harnesses and taking their dogs out for walks, instead of just letting them wander out in the street or leaving them in the garden.

A couple of years’ ago two dog parks and two dog beaches opened in Estepona, Fuengirola and Casares Costa. On one hand this shows that the authorities are trying make ‘safe’ zones for dogs, but on the other hand more knowledge is needed by caregivers who attend these places to ensure safety and to help them understand whether or not their dog is okay in this environment.

All in all, for me having dogs in Spain is great. There are many pet friendly hotels and restaurants where you can sit outside with your dog. I have four dogs and we spend a lot of time walking in the mountains where they can be off lead exploring. I have a Galgo/Podenco mix, a Podenco cross, a Labrador/Dachshund mix and a Jack Russell Terrier. Slowly there are changes being made for the better and with the younger generations being educated about animal welfare there is optimism that a better quality of life for dogs will be achieved. There are more trainers using positive methods than there were ten years ago and more people seem to be taking their dogs to training classes on a regular basis. We do not have many behaviourists local to the area but hopefully this may change in time. As with all things change takes time but at least things are moving in the right direction.

By Nat Osborne

Jobs for your dog: “How teaching your dog to help around the house can benefit you both”

We have all looked on in awe and admiration at assistance dogs who happily help their owners in day-to-day life. But have you ever thought about how your dog could help you? Teaching your dog a few jobs around the house is not as difficult as you may think – and is hugely beneficial to both you and your dog. While you might not need a fully trained assistance dog, you might struggle bending down to pick up something dropped on the floor or need a helping hand emptying the washing machine, or you might just be a busy mum with piles of laundry and need a help stacking the washing machine to save time!

Dotty the author’s JRT: Time for some work

If you have a dog who will tug at a raggy toy, fetch a tennis ball, push with his nose or pull with his paw, then you have a dog who can pick up a dropped pen (instead of chewing it on the cream carpet), fetch the mail (instead of shredding it), and push or pull the living room door closed (instead of nudging you for attention). Your dog will love carrying out these tasks!

Some of the things our dogs do that we find irritating, is perfectly normal canine behaviour. Because we lead such busy lives, we sometimes find it hard to spend quality time with our dogs. While our dogs certainly enjoy their walk in the park twice a day and a good long run on a Sunday, why do they still pester us while we are checking our emails, glancing at Facebook or when we are busy? The answer is simple: they are often bored. But it is so easy to teach your dog to help you with a few tasks around the house, leaving you to enjoy a glass of wine with your feet up at the end of the day without your dog pestering you. The extra tasks you give him will leave him happily tired, satisfied and contentedly resting.

Dotty the author’s JRT: Now where is the iron?

By teaching your dog fun tasks, such as fetching slippers, picking up dropped car keys or finding the TV remote, you are not only challenging him mentally, you are greatly improving the bond between you and making him feel a valued family member. Twenty minutes of teaching a task (work in short time slots of five minutes) is enough to tire your dog out for a couple of hours (now that’s got you interested hasn’t it?). Your dog will be so enthusiastic about learning these new games that you need to be constantly coming up with new ideas!

Dotty the author’s JRT: Never mastered folding

Teaching your dog to do some household jobs will positively affect his overall wellbeing. You may see a difference when you go for your walk as better connection builds between you. You may find that your dog is calmer, possibly less reactive, perhaps less determined to pull down the road or to jump up at the lady in the park who always gives free chicken. These changes happen because you have become more interesting and attentive to your dog’s needs, and he is becoming more focussed on you rather than somebody or something else. A calmer dog means a more relaxed owner, and this in turn goes ‘down the lead’ and helps prevent or greatly reduce behaviour issues.

Dotty the author’s JRT: All done – time for tea!

Clicker training is by far the best way to teach tasks. I am using the word ‘task’ rather than ‘trick’ because I have found that many people say they don’t want to teach tricks. To a dog, however, there is no difference between a ‘trick’ and a ‘task’ – they should all be the same fun exercises whether teaching a formal recall, a timed stay or even static sit, down and stand’ exercises. Fetching your slippers is a ‘formal’ recall!

Why not move your training in a new direction and teach something different? Watch your dog’s eyes light up when you reach for the clicker and tiny treats and head for the laundry room with a pile of cloths to be placed in the washing machine – by your dog! (Remember to take the training treats out of his daily food portion to avoid excess weight gain.) Instead of getting frustrated when your dog pesters the visitors, whilst the kettle is boiling and the coffee is brewing, show off his new trick while your friends look on in awe wondering if they can teach their dogs how to do that!

You don’t need to worry about whether your dog is too large or too small to do the sort of tasks that qualified assistance dogs do. Several charities train dogs as large as Leonbergers and as small as Border Terriers for assistance work, so size does not matter as long as your dog is physically capable of carrying out the task.

What sort of tasks could your Jack Russell Terrier or ‘Cavachon’ do? He could be taught to empty the washing machine without tearing the clothing, fetch the post without killing it first, pick up pens, credit cards, pegs and litter without chewing them or fetch a bottle of water, a blanket or your slippers. Perhaps he could take your shoes back to the shoe stand, find a missing sock or bring you a beer from the fridge? All these tasks, and many more besides, can be taught while you and your dog enjoy quality time together.

Why else might you want to teach these skills? Well, you never know what’s around the corner! You could have a misfortune and suddenly put your back out or trip and sprain your ankle, and you will either be very grateful for the fun tasks you taught your dog – or very frustrated you hadn’t…

Teddy at his final assessment earning his jacket.

Teddy is a Cavachon who is a fully legally qualified Assistance Dog, trained with the support of the charity DogAID and myself. He helps his owner Karen with a number of tasks and is one of the most amazing little dogs I have met! He has such a sense of humour but takes his work seriously when needed.

By Angela Pitman, Full Member ICB

Feeding your dog a raw diet

Brigitte Barton

Many dogs develop skin allergies, over active behaviour, aggression, bad teeth, cancer etc a few years into their life.
More often than not these symptoms are due to a manufactured diet which comes in tins or in the form of dried food. Due to the manufacturing process many important minerals and vitamins are killed and lead to a deficiency. Also, manufacturers add flavourings and preservatives as well as colours to their food in the shape of chemicals. These are often not eliminated by the dog as their body cannot process them. The toxins get stored in their systems and therefore it often takes years before we see any ill effects.

As soon as the dog is fed a home-made diet the body can begin to detox and recover. It is never too late to change your dog to a raw food diet. Vets often advise against these for two reasons: one, because any raw bones can splinter and cause tears in the gut walls and two, because there are harmful bacteria in raw meat. Cooking any meat would destroy this bacteria but it would also destroy many of the nutrients which your dog needs.

Any meat that is fed to your dog needs to be frozen for a minimum of 3 days. This will kill all harmful bacteria. Due to the dog’s high acid contents of its stomach which needs to be able to break down any non-chewed food including bones, it is possible to defrost meat, mix it with raw ground vegetables, and re-freeze it in portions. This may sometimes be necessary if you are going away for a few days and want to prepare food in advance or if you have a busy weekly schedule and want to prepare your dog’s food for the week in portions. If you prefer to prepare his meal on a daily basis but have meat left over you can keep it in the fridge for another day or two.

If you want to feed your dog any bones I can only recommend chicken wings and breast of lamb (lamb ribs) because those bones are as soft as cartilage and will not cause any damage in your dog’s stomach. Both must be fed raw as they would go brittle when cooked! You can give your dog a couple of chicken wings now and then as a treat. He will love you for it!

So, what meat do you feed a dog? You can buy meat especially prepared for dogs. It is human grade meat but often has some ‘inners’ like heart, kidney, liver mixed in and also contains some ground bone. Bone is an essential source of minerals for your dog and it is therefore necessary to include bone in the diet but if it is ground and mixed into the meat it will not cause any harm.

A dog’s diet must consist of meat (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, rabbit) and offal (tripe, heart, kidney and some liver) plus finely ground vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, celery, courgette, leafy spinach, apples, pears, bananas. You can also add chopped up sunflower or pumpkin seeds, dried apricots or dates, parsley, thyme, basil etc. The vegetables must be pureed so that they are nice and mushy.

Never feed your dog any onions, leek, chives, grapes, sultanas, raisins or human chocolate! Also, please do not think that your dog needs to be fed fat free. He is not a human and does require fat for maintaining a healthy body. Please note that some dogs have problems digesting runner beans and can become quite bloated.

If you want to give him fish it is best to cook it as most dogs do not like raw fish. However, a can of tuna in oil or some mackerels in oil or sardines are most welcome and can serve as an ideal stand-bye if you forgot to buy meat.

If your dog is fed a well-balanced diet of meat (often in minced form), offal and a mixture of vegetables there is no need to add any extra pills or powders. However, Keeper’s Mix by Dorwest Herbs can be added as it contains all minerals necessary for your dog.

How much you feed your dog depends on his level of activity and his body size. If he is overweight before you start the raw diet you should start him on a portion of meat correct for his normal size, not his overweight size. I give you some guidelines as to how much to feed but you must watch your dog to see if he goes too thin (then increase the meat portion) or if he goes too fat (then decrease his meat portion and give him an extra tablespoon of vegetables). On this diet it is best to feed your dog a small breakfast such as half a banana with some yoghurt or a Wheetabix or Shredded Wheat with some warm milk etc and give him his full meal of meat and 2 – 3 tablespoons of veggies in the evening, around 6 pm. Do not feel tempted to feed more veggies as this would cause an imbalance. He then only needs a little top up in the morning.

If you have to kennel your dog because you are going on holiday you can replace his raw diet by something like NatureDiet which is a ready-made meal of meat, veggies and rice and heat sealed in a white thermo packet. This can be bought on the internet or in pet stores.

Feeding guide

Dog meat usually comes in portions of 460 gr approx.

  • A small dog (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) requires about 80 – 100 gr of meat a day
  • A medium size dog (Border Collie upto 25 kg) requires about 160 – 180 gr of meat a day
  • A large dog (German Shepherd upto 35 kg) requires about 220 -280 gr of meat a day
  • A very large dog (Rottweiler, Great Dane) requires about 300-400 gr of meat a day.

The meat must be accompanied by a mixture of ground vegetables. They should be 25% of your dog’s dinner. Mix the veggies well into the meat as your dog would leave them and just eat the meat. Make sure you weighthe meat every day as you can easily misjudge the weight.

There is no need to add any mixer (and thereby manufactured food!) to your dog’s diet. If you have any rice or pasta left-overs your dog will happily eat those up for you.

Where to buy

Most large pet stores have freezers in which you find frozen minced meat for your dog. However, it is cheaper to buy the meat through the internet if you have storage for a larger order as they usually require you to place an order of around £40.

Diet: a different perspective

Diet: a different perspective

Adele Buxton

When it comes to the question of what to feed your dog, it certainly seems that everyone has an opinion. Some swear passionately by raw food, some proclaim kibbles to be the answer, others avoid too much protein, others seek it out and some don’t really care as long as it’s cheap and the dog eats it. Are we making ‘a meal’ of dog food or is there really a single wonder food that is best?

Over the years I have provided my dogs with various food in a quest to find the food that makes their coats glean, their eyes shine and gives them that certain ‘je ne sias quoi’. I have fed them with raw food, I have cooked lovingly for them, I have tried various brands of wet and dry food and after all my endeavours – no one diet really stood out from the rest! Now, I simply give them a good quality kibble mixed with a little wet food for variety and any suitable table scraps that happen to be going. It’s easy, it’s affordable, they are in good health and most importantly, my dogs seem to like it.

However, even choosing a particular brand to feed your dog is no mean feat in itself! Anyone who has searched online for dog food or who has walked down the isle in a pet store will recognise that it is almost impossible to decipher the claims and contents of the multifarious brands, let alone make a decision about what is best for your dog!

So, how do you begin to choose that wonder food?

Read the ingredients! If you can understand what is in the food and why, you are heading in the right direction.

If you are uncertain as to what it all means don’t be disheartened. There are many websites which will provide you with lots of useful advice on feeding your pet (and of course some others, complete with conspiracy theories, which border on the hysterical!). Stick to UK websites and you should be fine. For example, a quick Google search will probably lead you to the PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association) website which although funded by the manufacturers, is not a bad starting point for your research.

Be aware too of labelling tricks! By law, ingredients have to be listed in weight order. For example, if in a list of ingredients chicken comes before rice, this should indicate that there is more chicken in the food than rice. However, some companies may lead you to believe that the source of protein is the largest ingredient by listing it first but then follow it up with multiple sources of carbohydrate such as rice, wheat, maize, corn etc. If added together, all these sources of carbohydrate would far outweigh the source of protein! Another fine trick is to state ‘with chicken’ or ‘with beef’. Just have a look at the percentage of chicken or beef stated on the ingredients list, you may be a little surprised!

Some foods state a single type of protein (for example lamb or turkey). Others may state ‘meat and animal derivatives’. The latter can basically include any type of meat, so you won’t really know what you are getting, although it is required by law to be derived from meat fit for ‘human consumption’. It’s generally made from the bits that we don’t like these days such as offal. Also, don’t assume the chicken, lamb or turkey for example, are likely to be the best cuts of meat, so much will depend on price. Many manufacturers will state chicken or turkey meal. Don’t be to put off because it doesn’t sound as appetising. It is usually added as a dried component and many high quality manufacturers will in fact use it.

If none of this appeals to you, raw feeding or home cooking are always possible alternatives. However, bear in mind that raw meat may come with some unwelcome bacteria which may not do you or you dog any good and some raw vegetables simply cannot be digested by dogs until cooked. Home cooking which looks more appetising, if a little time consuming, always has the potential to leave your dog lacking in some important nutritional requirement, which is most unlikely with manufactured food. Therefore, extra mineral and vitamin supplements may be required. But do your research carefully and you may find its for you.

Whatever you decide, keep a close eye on your dog to see if that particular food agrees with him! If your dog suffers from skin irritations or frequent digestive upsets, if he has too much energy or too little energy, if he is scavenging for food or eating other animals’ faeces, or if plain and simple he just won’t eat it, the food you have chosen may not be right for him. Your vet may need to make a diagnosis if the problems are severe but there are many ‘hypo-allergenic’ foods for dogs with food allergy and intolerance problems.

Two of my dogs have a clear preference for the brands of kibble they enjoy. One hates fish kibbles, another thrives on it and one will eat just about anything that fits in her mouth! One has a really cheap brand of wet food mixed with her kibbles because she loves it and it helps her go to the toilet more easily (and no raw feeding did not help with this at all!).

The reality is, that all dogs are different and what works for one, may not work for another – even in the same family. As one canine nutritionist once told me, if it’s right for your dog its right!

Find what is right for your dog and whatever that may be, long may he continue to lick his bowl until it shines.

Diagnostic skills

Brigitte Barton

Boogie before any muscle wasting on his head

By Brigitte Barton

I have a pedigree Border Collie, Boogie, who will be 9 years old in a few weeks’ time. He was neutered at almost two years of age.

Within the next couple of years post neutering I noticed his beautiful coat changing so that it became poor quality, and the bone which protrudes at the centre of a dog’s skull became very pronounced. I also noticed that somehow his head looked too small for his body. I thought he was totally out of proportion – or was it just a weight problem? He was put on a diet but nothing changed drastically.

Boogie’s head shape changed due to muscle wasting and the bone which protrudes at the centre of a dog’s skull became very pronounced.

As he did not display any symptoms of illness I just thought that his looks were due to bad breeding. Although his pedigree is outstanding there is always the one throwback… He stopped playing like a lunatic, which I put down to his growing up.

I once mentioned to my vet that my dog’s looks had changed dramatically, and how beautiful he used to be. My vet said the change to his appearance was due to cranial nerve damage. This injury can occur due to a severe knock on the head or bad breeding. My dog has never been involved in an accident and I put it down to poor breeding. I felt very sad that there was no treatment but my consolation was that his health was excellent – as it should be for a raw fed dog.

Boogie’s change in head shape was quite pronouced

About six weeks ago I read the book ‘The Canine Thyroid Epidemic’ by Dr. Jean Dodds, a vet in America who runs a very professional and technically advanced laboratory specialising in thyroid disorders. On page 13 she mentioned muscle wasting, on page 137 facial muscle waste… and my alarm bells went into overdrive!

The very next day I was at my vet’s – whom I trust totally in his diagnostic skills. He is a very clever man and excellent veterinarian. He admitted that he had never heard of the thyroid and muscle waste connection. He said that hypothyroidism is to blame for lots of illnesses and therefore behaviour problems in dogs, but muscle waste is new to him. We looked at my dog as a whole: poor quality coat, overweight, lethargic, bump on his head… and wondered if it pointed towards hypothyroidism.

We decided to give it a try and put him on thyroid medication. He was given half a tablet twice a day, and my vet wanted to see him again two weeks later – and said if it was hypothyroidism I would see drastic changes within a month.

Boogie before his hypothyroidism

After just four days Boogie became lively! As a young dog he used to run through the hall into the lounge and use the rug on the floor as a skateboard to surf through my lounge. Great fun!! And that’s just what he did again after years of doing nothing. Outside on walks he was beginning to run around instead of slowly walking behind me. He started doing so many things I had totally forgotten. I had my old dog back!

After two weeks I returned to my vet and told him about the incredible changes I had noticed since the treatment began. He said to leave my dog on the thyroid treatment and he was sure that his head would develop muscle again over time but that this will take much longer. Meanwhile the weight is beginning to go down and his coat is growing more lustrous. My vet also told me that he would never have treated Boogie for hypothyroidism and was so pleased that I had pointed my suspicion out to him, and he will take this on board now for other dogs.

I mentioned this to a Border Collie breeder recently and she told me that she knows of a Border Collie who had also been diagnosed with cranial nerve damage until a vet saw a connection between that symptom and hypothyroidism. After receiving medication for about a year the muscle waste in the face began to disappear. There is still a little way to go but the dog looks normal again. So I live in hope.

Dogs around the world: Greece

Dimosthenis Moumiadis

Having been a dog owner for many years, and also a dog trainer and a pet hotel owner, gave me the advantage of having a more clear view of what is happening with dogs in Greece. More or less, I realise that the same stands for the rest of the world.

As dog owners, we all fall in the arms of our nature and act almost the same way. We misinterpret the instincts and needs of our pets and react as our own instincts command us. That means that some of us are more tolerant, some oversensitive, some more strict, and some cruel to them.

When we choose to adopt a dog, we either choose a breed that we like or choose to save a stray dog, either we want one or this one has just crossed our path.  The least we can do is to train ourselves to understand and help this new member adjust to our family.  So we end up confused and distressed by the difficulties and make our lives, in many cases, unbearable. We then choose to find a dog trainer or just let the dog out on the streets.

In an attempt to train a dog, one has two choices: either train the traditional way or train with no force (positive training).  Usually dogs with aggression towards people or other dogs or both, are hard to train with traditional training methods, so they end up, as their last shot, with a positive trainer. In many cases the aggression is caused by the wrong methods of training. If the owner really wants to help, he will try hard to succeed. But I have met a few who didn’t have the patience and just gave up hope for their dog. Once someone said to me, ”I give you one week to fix my aggressive dog.  If still nothing happens, I will skin him alive”.

As dog owners, we all must follow the law of our state. No dog is allowed to walk free on the street. Every dog should walk on the leash, near his owner and may wear a muzzle if the dog shows aggression. Still some believe that they know more and decide to ignore this; they walk their dog without a leash and advise others to do the same. They force all the rest to put up with their dog’s misbehaviour. In an attempt to “socialise” their dog, they gather in dog parks – or any park – and let them play unattended. Small, big, puppies or youngsters, older or forceful. Only huge problems come out of this. But they claim they know better.

If you walk in the cities, you will find too many stray dogs lying here and there. Most of them are harmless but there are some showing great signs of aggression towards people or dogs, or both. How come there are so many?? Well, there are people who just let them out, there are those who choose to  let their dog reproduce and let out the unwanted puppies who are not given to someone, and of course there are those stray dogs that the state hasn’t castrated or spayed and they reproduce on their own.

In the countryside the problem seems even worst. People who choose to let their dog out on the street; they drive out into the country, find a place where other dogs are straying, or a spot in the fields where many people pass, and just abandon them there.

Dogs form groups. Those who survive, may spread  around and make the territory their own. They guard these territories against other strays or, even worst, dogs that live with families. To be honest, it is very difficult to walk your dog because of all those stray groups and sometimes it is difficult even for us to walk  on our own.

In the case of a dog on the streets, I must say that there is no State planning on how to manage their fate.  Only in the recent years, the State has introduced a law that says that every stray female should be neutered  and set free again in the place that she was found. Only if a dog is very aggressive should it be picked up and sent to a shelter. What will happen to it will be decided by “experts” in the field. There are no shelters for stray dogs and if some exist they are in the worst of conditions. The work of taking care of the strays is in the hands of  simple people who care for them. Their care is to find the resources to vaccinate, castrate and feed them. They also keep and nurse them. Their “job” is also to find new homes for them, inside or out of this country. Many devote their lives to this cause but many lose their way in their attempt to care for the strays. Many choose to keep more than one in their own homes and may end up with eight or ten or more, as they are not willing to let any of them find new homes with the excuse that no one will love and care for them better than they do. Many pay from their own money for vaccinations, food and pet hotels to keep stray dogs until they find a new home for them.

Steps forward have been made and many things have changed already, but still much needs to be done.  For all of us who work with dogs every day, there is hope for the future to make the world a better place for man’s best friend.

 – Dimosthenis Moumiadis –
H.Dip. CBP / FISAP / Trainer – Canine Behaviourist 
Full Member of I.C.B
Ambassador of Greece for I.S.A.P