It’s that time of the year again here in Northern Ireland where we get a few scorching days then back to the usual. Although the good weather may be fleeting it’s important to keep our doggies safe in this heat so here’s my top tips for beating the summer heat!
Be very careful and considerate with the following dogs that are prone to struggling more in this type of weather;
Brachycephalic dogs – flat faced dogs such as pugs etc
Thick coated dogs
Keeping them cool
Do not shave a double coated dog – make sure to brush regularly to get rid of dead coat
Cooling products such as cooling mats, cooling vests/harnesses, and bandannas soaked in water are great to help keep dogs cool – DIY options such as damp towels are also a good option
Give your dog some cooling treats – some ideas for frozen goodies are;
homemade ice treats using low sodium broth, yoghurt, peanut butter, coconut oil, fish oil etc.
frozzys instead of human ice cream as it’s healthier for them
frozen fruits like berries, watermelon, banana
Always have water on outings, when at the beach make sure to provide lots of fresh water to help prevent them from drinking the salt water as it will dehydrate them
Ice cubes can be put into their water bowl to keep water cool and refresh the supply as it melts
Protection from the sun
Special dog sun cream should be used on dogs with short or sparse hair such as dogs with short white hair and exposed pink skin
If you must absolutely walk your dog on pavement then use booties or pad wax to protect their feet
Walk in shaded areas or if you’re hanging out in the sun bring a pop up tent or a wind break that can provide shade for the dog to escape the direct sun
Avoid heat exhaustion
Walk early in the morning and later in the evening- avoid midday when the sun is strongest
Be careful when playing fetch or anything high energy as dogs can easily overdo it when they are having fun
Avoid any forced jogging or running on leash – let the dog decide when enough is enough
If there are any bodies of water nearby let them have a dip before or during their walk so the dampness will keep them cool
Take care travelling
Goes without saying do not leave a dog unattended in a car
Make sure to cool down the car with the AC 5-10 minutes before letting the dog into the car as we know how stiflingly hot cars can get by just sitting in the sun
Use a non spill travel bowl to make sure they have access to water while travelling or provide a frozen kong to cool them down
Provide a cooling mat or dampened towel that they can choose to lie on if it gets too hot
If putting down the window in the car make sure the dog is secured and can’t jump out, also considering using a mesh window guard to prevent injuries to your dog if it likes to stick it’s head out the window, as debris from the road can get kicked up into their face
Do you have any top tips for beating the summer heat? We usually play a lot of fun games, mental stimulation and training inside when it’s too hot for outings.
Angus is now 15 weeks old and since the socialisation period ends roughly between 12-16 weeks we have been super busy making sure he gets plenty of positive socialisation experiences with plenty of time to rest in between.
He is doing really well and I’m so pleased that he has such a happy, confident and cheeky character. He does have the odd shy or unsure moment but I feel that for such a sensitive breed he is doing super!
I thought I would include some of the socialisation work we’ve been doing to give ideas for any other puppy owners out there. And if you don’t need any ideas then I hope you enjoy the photos and videos of a pretty cute pup (even if I do say so myself!).
As many other dog owners can probably relate Bonnie hates getting bathed but she loves to have a little swim in rivers and streams. She also doesn’t care at all about rain no matter how heavy it is!
But one thing Bonnie has always had an issue with is the sea. The sight and sound of waves (especially noisy crashing waves on a windy day) would absolutely drive her mad. She would lunge, whine, bark and we couldn’t get her attention whatsoever! I had always envisioned taking my dog to the beach way back before we adopted Bonnie so I was quite disheartened.
We went to the beach maybe 3 times in the first year with her before we had all but given up hope. Instead we concentrated on getting her confident and focused in other scenarios and in the past several months it has really started to pay dividends especially as my own learning has progressed and skills improved.
Back in September on our trip to Portrush it was the first time she had been to a beach in ages, and if you have read that post you’ll remember how she embarrassed me on that beach! But hey at least I was able to get her back, I don’t think there would’ve been a chance earlier on in our training.
Since then though we have been going from strength to strength and have had 2 really successful beach trips – one in November and one at the start of this month. I uploaded the video below to our Facebook page showing the before (October 2015 and before we really hit our groove with training) and the after (November 16)
Our recent beach trip was the best yet and I was so so proud of her. She was able to be off lead without chasing the waves, chasing the other dogs and their balls or running away. She was able to focus, play with her ball and even stopped when I called her name as she was thinking of chasing the other dog. Also just before the video starts she was enthusiastically chewing on a bit of seaweed which I was able to get her to drop without any force and also could pick up her ball while she was playing with it to continue our play – these successes mean a lot to us as she used to resource guard food and toys, so lots of wins for us!
I really am so pleased with how well Bonnie is doing these days and I’m glad our hard work is paying off!
Hope you all had a lovely holiday period and we wish you and your family all the best in 2017.
We had a peaceful and quiet break which we mostly spent catching up on bits around the house and taking it easy. Bonnie enjoyed the fuss of Christmas presents as well as walkies, treats and naps!
Even the degus joined in on the festivities and had their Christmas hazelnut treat!
For the new year I’m not one to make resolutions but I do like to set some general goals and also find it fun to look back on what I thought my priorities were in previous years and see how that has changed or if it has stayed relevant. So in no particular order here are my goals for 2017;
Continue training and socialisation with Bonnie
Continue learning about dog behaviour and training through self learning and possibly attend any local lectures, seminars etc
Add a pup to our family and raise it to the best of our ability
Be more adventurous – visit new places, try new foods, recipes and restaurants rather than sticking to old familiar, try new things in general
Live a healthier life – more water, veg, fruit and exercise, less processed and junk food
Do you have any goals or ambitions for this year? No matter what hope 2017 treats you well!
This covered motivation methods of training dogs, looking at the different motivations of dogs including physical, behavioural, play etc. We also looked at different breeds and dog groups – what they were breed for, what motivates them, common issues and things to be aware of or look out for.
This covered what is dog training, why do we do it or need to do it, what are the benefits, what are the most important behaviours to train.
First assignment was handed in on time woo hoo!
The third assignment is due in on 31st October – yes we still have class on Halloween night! I’ve got about half of it done so will be finished in time for Monday!
The second assignment is due in on 7th November and that will be started once I finish the third assignment.
Reading list progress
Dogs That Bite and Fight – still in progress!
Outside of class learning
As it’s that time of the year where there can be a lot of fireworks you will see a lot of advice trying to be helpful where it states to ignore the dog when it is afraid in case it reinforces and validates the dog fear. Well no need to worry about feeling mean while ignoring your dog during fireworks or thunder – you cannot reinforce fear! Only behaviours can be reinforced, in fact positive interaction and conditioning can change a fearful response to a happier emotion! Check out the useful links below which will explain it much better than I can.
These weeks just seem to getting more and more busy which has left me a bit exhausted but I’m learning to cope and I’m very happy with how things are going. I have a week long holiday in a few weeks time though so I’m really looking forward to that although we still have a few things we need to buy before we go away. Anyway onto what happened this week!
On Monday I attended the 2nd class of my dog behaviour course. I’m still getting used to Monday routines as it means a full day of work, having dinner in the office, travelling to class then getting home around 9.30 and by that time I’m ready for my bed! In case anyone is worried Bonnie is catered for as we have a dog walker at lunchtime and my partner arrives home at the normal time.
On Tuesday we worked from home and at lunchtime we took Bonnie into town with us to get some milkshakes as a treat (this may be becoming an awful habit xD). She wore her “Do not disturb” vest and it seemed to make some people aware. She was on her best behaviour and as we were heading back to the car we came across a westie that was barking and lunging at Bonnie while tied outside a shop. Bonnie startled a bit but kept her cool and walked beside me calmly then.
Then at the top of the street there was a woman with three dogs – one terrier type was again barking and lunging, but Bonnie still kept her cool. The woman seemed to purposely avoid coming near us so hopefully the vest is working! It was quite funny as some elderly women nearby seemed to be commenting on how well behaved Bonnie was in comparison to the two shrieking dogs xD Tuesday was a long work day and I didn’t get finished work until well after dinner time so I didn’t have any energy to do a blog post or progress on my assignments.
Wednesday was a fairly normal work day for us and I was finally able to do the blog post on the class and made some more progress on my assignment.
On Thursday I worked from home and had planned to go out for drinks with co-workers after work but that didn’t quite work out! At lunchtime I took Bonnie out for a walk but we had a bit of an incident with a wasp which was just inside the front door of our house. As you might know Bonnie got stung 7(!) times in total a while back now and clearly is still terrified of them.
We did a normal walk and when we came back to the house Bonnie wouldn’t go through the front door. I eventually managed to get her in but she went out to the kitchen and lay down for a few hours totally avoiding the living room and front of the house. Needless to say I wasn’t going to go out and leave her alone and terrified in the house so I sat with her to make sure she was okay and she eventually came around. Later that night I collected my partner from the night out and by the time we went to bed it was well after midnight!
Friday was a normal work day and I was pleased that I had finally got a project sorted which I’d been working on for some time. But with how busy we had been this week when we came back from work we pretty much feel asleep without even having dinner. Thankfully we had the animals fed and sorted and Bonnie was very accommodating and just snoozed with us!
Saturday was a very exciting day for me! Earlier in the week I had contacted one of the trainers who runs the dog behaviour course asking if I could help out or observe at any of his classes and events to gain more practical experience. He very kindly offered me the opportunity to come along to his classes on Saturday morning and also that I was welcome to attend his behavioural home visits afterwards. I couldn’t believe my luck! I set out to met at his house for 9am and we travelled down to the location for the classes together.
The first class was a puppy class and the puppies were absolutely lovely and the owners were really keen and did a brilliant job. We had a Newfoundland, a Chihuahua, an Akita, a Cocker Poodle cross and a Cocker Spaniel so was a good mix! A Mini Schnauzer didn’t turn up so maybe we will see them next week. The second class was for adult dogs and it was great to see the owners try their best especially as some of them were rescue dogs.
Then we went on to do three home visits which was really interesting to see different behavioural issues and solutions for those. All the owners seemed really keen and committed which I was really impressed with.I finally got back home before dinner time so was almost like another work day this week! I am welcome to come back again next week so we shall see if I can hack it!
Finally today on Sunday we travelled to Pet Warehouse again to stock up on Bonnie’s raw food and also some treats for her Birthday coming up on Halloween day! Then afterwards we went out on a lovely walk in a local park. It felt very autumnal and we had a blast with the frisbee – Bonnie is starting to get the fun of the game!
Needless to say we are taking it easy the rest of today! Hope you guys had a great weekend and are re-energised for the week ahead!
I was gutted to miss out on our week in review post this week as we had a little streak going but things have been hectic around here. I’m not letting any more posts slip behind schedule though so here is my update on the dog behaviour course!
I’m going to format these posts a bit better so it’s easier for me to track progress etc so here we go.
Again we covered two topics in this class;
Canine Life Stages and Learning
This covered the importance of socialisation (defined as learning how to recognise and interact with the species with which it cohabits – kids, adults, other dogs, cats, livestock etc) and habituation (defined as becoming accustomed to environment stimuli – household noises, traffic, fireworks, surfaces etc). It also defined the different development and life stages for a dog including the importance and effects of socialisation, habituation and potential problems at each stage.
Learn to Earn training program
This covered the training protocols for the learn to earn program. This program is recommended for dogs with poor impulse control that may excessively bark, jump, mouth or dogs that are quite “pushy” for attention or are a bit over the top in general. It is a program where the dog must earn all its rewards so that it can develop impulse control and realise that patience and behaving calm is what gains access to things it likes such as food, throwing a ball, releasing through a door, getting to greet and play with other dogs, getting stroked etc.
I still haven’t completed the first assignment. I have done most of my research and background reading and will be hopefully get it finished this week. It is taking me longer than expected due to being quite busy with work and also due to making sure I put enough time and care into research and compiling the references for the essay.
A second assignment has also been handed out which is due on 7th November. This is another 1000 word essay based on the importance of socialisation and whether socialisation is necessary only at the “critical socialisation window”. I’ll need to pick up the pace to make sure I’m not too pressed for time!
Reading list progress
In Defence of Dogs – done, fantastic in-depth read, actually re-reading for assignment 1
How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves – in progress, great practical easy to read book
Dogs That Bite and Fight – in progress, really insightful book around aggression that isn’t really covered in detail in other books
The Other End of The Leash – done and really enjoyed it but could do with re-reading as it was a long time ago!
Outside of class learning
I follow quite a lot of facebook pages, groups and subscribe to channels on youtube pertaining to dogs so I usually come across a few interesting videos or resources so I thought having these grouped here would be great for future use or if anyone else finds them interesting or informative!
I finished watching the following 2 part series this week and I really like how it shows that even inexperienced trainers can train their own dog to do something quite impressive through the power of positive reinforcement! I also like how they cover dog body language and signals which is important in respecting our dog’s emotional state.
This short video from Chirag Patel is a great reminder to be aware of our dog’s true feelings about being petted and stroked, and to ensure our dog is enjoying it or help them form positive associations to truly enjoy it rather than just tolerate it for our sake.
I love this quote and feel like it’s something we should all strive towards with our dogs. There are always going to be difficult situations we get into with our dogs where we have to ask them to “trust us” whether it’s navigating a particularly stressful situation out of necessity or emergency, performing first aid procedures on our dog that could be stressed and could lash out in pain, asking them to leave a really tasty looking scrap of food that is dangerous to them and so on. If we have continually built up our relationship and trust with our dogs through positive means these “deposits” add up then when we have to take out “withdrawals” in situations like I mentioned then our balance stays in the positive.
Finally some interesting research was done around children and dogs’ abilities to follow advice from adult humans. Those of you that have both young children and dogs what do you think of the research? Maybe it would be a fun experiment to try at home!
This week I felt pretty tired, unmotivated and like I hadn’t achieved much but now looking back it was actually a pretty busy and productive week, funny how that happens! This time last week I got a new phone and I have been really enjoying using all the new functions and the camera on it, it’s definitely a big upgrade from my previous 3 year old phone and it’s nice to not have to always be bugging my partner to take photos or borrow his phone haha.
For this week’s walks we did a mixture of walking around our neighbourhood, into town, along the seafront and also to our favourite park Hazelbank to take final advantage of the summer opening hours as it now closes early at 8pm 😦 As always we are continuing our loose lead training, general focus outside and muzzle training.
Nothing too out of the ordinary happened this week on walks except 1. A small grumbly match between her and an off-lead lab but it wasn’t really anything to worry about and she came away easily 2. In Hazelbank while me and Bonnie were playing off-lead another off-lead dog came out of nowhere with owners halfway across the park and started a chase game with Bonnie. Thankfully since Bonnie was already in a playful mood from playing about with me she didn’t take offence and just had a bit of fun with it, but it was really difficult to get them to stop and the other dog’s owners didn’t attempt to call it back or even walk closer to help out.
I have been having a lot of fun with recording videos especially slow motion as it’s so fascinating to watch things slowed down! The first video is after a few attempts at learning a switch sides cue while walking. And the other two are just fun slow motion videos 🙂
We bought a frisbee this week to see how Bonnie would react and if she would like to chase it as when we first got her she didn’t really know how to play at all. As you can see below she didn’t quite get the appeal!
Our office took part in the Macmillan Cancer coffee morning on Friday and we baked some chocolate brownies to contribute. Bonnie tried her best to convince me that she deserved a brownie too – sorry Bonnie but not a chance!
We went back to Pet Warehouse NI to buy more Nutriment as she is really getting on fab with it. We have had no upset stomachs yet since switching her over so fingers crossed! She did great in the store but we got ambushed by a man who encouraged her excitement and when we said sorry please ignore her we are training rather than him acknowledging that and backing off, he instead encouraged her jumping, petted her and asked what she was training for and asking us to clarify multiple times. God I was so mad as both me and my partner tried to make it clear that we didn’t want to be disturbed but anymore we are just going to walk the other way than try to explain ourselves. When we came home we ordered a slip lead and customised vest/jacket thing to hopefully get the message across to ignore us as her little training bandanna is quite hard to notice so we will do a post on those items when they arrive.
Later that night I had a little chilled out grooming session with Bonnie (cutting her nails, trimming her hairy feet, brushing) and I thought it was adorable that she feel asleep between my legs afterwards although my legs were starting to go numb hanging off the sofa as I didn’t want to disturb her haha
Today we don’t have anything too exciting planned – we are going to have a relaxing day since tomorrow I will be starting my dog behaviour course(!) which means I have a 14hr day ahead so think I’ll need the energy for then! Hope you guys all had a great weekend and are refreshed for the week ahead!