How To: Get Through Fireworks

Bonfire night can cause some animals a great deal of stress. Different creatures react in different ways – some pace around, others run and hide, some are extremely vocal, whilst others can be quite destructive! 

Keep all doors and windows firmly closed throughout the evening.

What can be done in advance?

In order to help some of the dogs we care for, we have played a firework CD quietly to begin with, alongside positive activities/training to desensitise the dogs to the noises. We have done this to condition the dogs to hearing the sound and associating it with something positive.  

Before the night itself, we always recommend ensuring your dog has had plenty of exercise throughout the day, so that come evening they are more than ready to rest and relax. Not just physical exercise, mental too, that way they are in more need of a sleep. 

Make sure to tire your dog out throughout the day (both physically and mentally) so that all is on your dogs mind come evening, is sleep!



What should be done on the night?

  • Make sure all windows and doors are securely shut to block out as much noise as possible from the fireworks.
  • We have found that providing some background noise works wonders – have the TV or radio playing to cover up some of the sound. (Always have this on and sounding before the fireworks begin)
  • Having a ‘safe haven’ for your dog to go and settle down in should they feel distressed is another great idea. Make a little den for them somewhere, or simply use their usual bed/crate.
  • You can purchase dog appeasing pheromone products that can provide a chemical reassurance. It claims to help dogs remain calm and can comfort them during fearful situations. 
  • Providing your dog with interactive toys and puzzles can be a great distraction. Prepare some frozen Kongs to keep their mind busy and less focused on what is going on outside.
  • Should you need to take your dog out, make sure they are kept on a lead at all times. Loud noises trigger something in a dogs nervous system that cause them to run, as a survival instinct. Last year we heard a few stories about dogs who had bolted and escaped their home out of fear. Keep their ID tags on them at all times, just in case (worst case scenario) they were to run away.

An interactive toy, like a Kong, could be used as a great distraction.

What shouldn’t be done on the night?

One mistake many owners make is that they comfort their dog whilst they are in a fearful state of mind. By giving this type of behaviour attention, they are unintentionally making the fear worse by reinforcing the wrong behaviour. Comforting a distressed dog can cause them to think that fireworks are something to be frightened of. As much as it seems the wrong thing to do, the best thing would be to ignore them unless they are calm – if they’re calm, reward that behaviour, teaching them that that is the correct way to be.

We hope these tips help to make Bonfire Night as stress free as possible. If you have any further questions or would like more help with how to help your dog through the evening, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

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7 Life Lessons Learnt from Dogs

A slightly more fun and lighthearted blog to round off the week. What would the world be like if humans acted more like dogs? I don’t know about you but for me personally, dogs are the easiest, most simple and uncomplicated species to understand and interact with. The main thing that tends to confuse and affect the minds and lives of dogs, is us humans! Luckily dogs are unbelievably forgiving and can turn around and change so quickly. So, what can we take from them based on their behaviour and psychology?

1. Clearer Communication – Dogs are very direct and to-the-point when they have something to ‘say’. If only humans could communicate and interact as clearly, truthfully and amazingly as dogs do! They don’t leave confusing messages that can be misinterpreted. The majority of the time they simply get their point across and then walk away!

2. Always Down for Activities – It doesn’t matter whether the dog is slightly tired, whether it’s raining outdoors or what they’re currently doing. Dogs will always be up for accompanying you on your adventures. It may be they take a quick trip to town with you, go to the beach for a dip or simply accept the position as your running partner for the hour; they’ll never let you down and will always say yes. 

3. Eternal Love – Dogs accept everyone, no matter what their background and/or history. They will show all people love and respect, even when at times it isn’t fully reciprocated. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how much money you have, what car you own or the size of the house that you live in. Dogs will never judge; you are you and that is good enough for them. 

4. True Friendship – A dog is a man’s best friend. Fact. There is a well known saying that reads ‘a dog is the only living creature on earth to love you more than he loves himself’. What a wonderful and inspirational thing to take from them. They will never let you down, never judge and will always provide you with the best unconditional love that is totally irreplaceable. 

5. Grudges Don’t Exist – Have you ever accidentally stood on your dogs tail? Witnessed two dogs having a slight misunderstanding? Maybe you raised your voice to your pooch and instantly regretted it? Well, you will notice that in all three of those situations that moments later they are back to their happy-go-lucky, playful and loving selves. Dogs live in the moment and don’t hold onto grudges. Choose to forgive, forget and move on just as your dog would.

6. Enjoy Life – Some of you may find that your dog has a slightly monotonous and repetitive daily routine. It is good to change things up every now and again – keeping things new and exciting – however take a moment to watch your dog. Do they mope about it or make the most of what they have? If you observe, you will see they will enjoy and make the most of all the small things. For example, every scent will be taken in and treasured and every ounce of food is appreciated and savoured even if it is what they eat every day. Take joy in the simple things in life and relish the moment. 

7. Loyalty – Last but by no means least, be as loyal as your dog is to you. They are the most faithful, reliable, loyal creatures and will love you unconditionally.

  

Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com.

Find more tips, videos and blogs on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/K9DevelopmentCentre – give our page a ‘LIKE’ to be kept up to date with information, competitions and more!
 

    Rescue Remedies: Jan – Sofie, Kizzy & Eddie

    This is a new feature to appear on our blog; in this series we are going to be talking about rescue dogs. A lot of owners looking for a new family member toy between whether or not it is best to get a puppy from a breeder or to rescue a dog looking for a loving home. 

    We may be slightly bias as to which one we personally feel people should choose as all of our dogs have been rescues, but we want to explore further about why rehoming a dog can be a great option and hear about past experiences from rescue dog owners.

    Our first interview was with the lovely Jan who has been rescuing dogs from various outlets for over 30 years. Jan has a large amount of experience in the field and has fostered dogs, home checked for the RSPCA and has also taken on dogs with behavioural problems and health issues to help rehabilitate and bring them back to normality. Jan mentioned just how rewarding it is seeing lovely dogs (often strays) transforming into such happy, healthy, fulfilled pets. 

    Tell us a bit about your rescue dogs Jan…

    “Sofie the Smooth Coat Lurcher came from Wood Green in 2010. She actually chose us as we were visiting with our dogs and she jumped into the van having met my lot. After checks, she was allowed to come home! She had a terrible coat (not WG’s fault) but she allowed me to groom her gently. She fitted in from day one and is a real sweetheart. I had no issues with her at all. She is loyal, loving, friendly to all and has a cheeky side but has no issues. One of the easiest dogs I’ve ever had! Kizzy the Roughcoated Lurcher has been naughty from day one but not really in a bad way. Again she is loving, loyal playful, very cheeky and yet she had, by the sounds of it, a terrible start. Tied up outside and found by a lady who rescued her but couldn’t keep her. Lastly, Eddie the Saluki. He had issues from the beginning. Being a Saluki he’s highly sensitive and whatever had happened he wasn’t going to forget in a hurry. He adores us, again I can do anything with him: hugs, squeezes and he is so faithful. However despite our best efforts he doesn’t like others touching him; he moves away fearful.”

    Kizzy on holiday

     

    Why did you decide to rescue a dog rather than buying from a breeder?

    “Our first ever rescue dog came from a hunt kennel back in 1970. We were looking to have a dog but someone from my husbands work asked if he knew anyone that could take this Beagle as it wasnt integrating into the pack. Of course it wouldn’t, it had been a pet. We took Jasper on, sadly not for long, he had a fit whilst having an op to mend his ripped ear done by the other hounds. In answer therefore I’ve never chosen a rescue as such, they have chosen me. Always been somewhere helping where there have been rescued dogs or donating bits. I have had dogs from breeders and they have medical or behavioural issues. So many people seem to think a rescued dog will have issues and problems, but a dog that has come from a breeder can equally develop issues and turn out the same.”

    We agree that a lot of people seem to think rescue dogs will come with a range of issues; whether that be physical or psychological. With dogs you have rescued that have had problems, how did you go about rehabilitating and working on them?

    “Over the years I’ve learned a lot by going to different training, reading articles, talking to others – especially those at the top of their game. I’ve been going to Crufts and Discover Dogs for years. This was something I did on a regular basis. Companion shows and fun shows to socialise. Never put a dog through something they are not happy with though. Nervous dogs: One Greyhound hid in bushes when I took her on so I left her, turned my back and said nothing. She eventually decided after an hour I was OK. Sat on the floor with a treat and she gingerly came towards me. Never ever had to force a dog let alone use any other harsh methods. Always looking and seeking new methods. Dominant dogs: Well again, the old things like go before them in a doorway, offer a tidbit if they won’t get off the furniture. I’ve never been bitten. Even when I judge (and I have done a fair few) I approach the dog from the side, never lean over a dog. There are so many things to try. Boisterous dogs: Need to work off their 

    Sophie watching the birds

    It is always good to have some background knowledge and information about different types of dogs and their behaviours before going ahead with owning one. Having a basic understanding about training, diet, exercise levels and costs is crucial. How about bringing a rescue dog home with another dog already present?

    “With a new dog coming into house make sure you introduce to existing dog in neutral surroundings first. Walk together to see reaction. When taking them home, mine travel in cages so straight away they are getting to know each other. Then the resident dog goes in with you first. Always work with babygates and crates, it’s so much easier. I always have the new dog with me when I’m not keeping an eye on them together. Feed seperately to begin with. With new dogs, most have never been groomed. Take it steady. Use the back of brush first, some calm stroking. First lesson, allow the dog to get used to it’s new surroundings and don’t overfuss. For bad travellers we went down the natural route of giving Ipecac (a homeothpathy pill). With a Whippet that was sick as soon as we got in the van it worked a treat. Of course anything would be seen by our wonderful vet if needed.’

    Is there any particular behavioural problem you feel is associated with rescue dogs?

    “Separation anxiety is one I guess most people will worry about. I’ve never had a problem. Leave dog in another room, preferably the one where you are going to leave them. Leave for seconds. Gradually build up. Don’t always allow them to follow you everywhere. Leave an item of clothing (not your best gear haha) that smells of you. Socks but never slippers unless you want your best shoes chewed. Plenty of good quality toys like kongs, tuffy toys – nothing that can be destroyed. Have the radio on and exercise if possible before going out. Make a den – I have old canvas cages open and my dogs love them. On your return ignore for a few mins and greet when you’re ready.”

    Great advice Jan, thank you. Separation Anxiety is a common problem but easily prevented/solved with the most simple tips. What about exercise and stimulation, how have you provided that for your rescue dogs?

    “If you don’t want a stir crazy dog then definitely exercise and play with them. I’ve always played with my dogs, however many I had at once. Different toys so they don’t get too attached to one; this alleviates possession and guarding. It keeps them motivated and interested! Different types of games: fetch, find it, pully. A stimulated dog working off it’s energy is a happy pooch! Like being taught tricks.” 

     

    In conclusion Jan, why should people give a rescue dog a forever home?

    “To sum up, out of the many dogs over the years that I have had the pleasure to own, give these dogs time and you will be rewarded with an animal that seems to know you’ve tried your best for them. I have had many, many fabulous dogs, loved them all, cried buckets when it was time for them to leave this planet. I’ve shown some of them at companion shows and have many trophies and rosettes a bonus, but so much pride in how they were in the beginning and how they have turned out. All rescue dogs deserve a second chance.” 

    Sleepy boy Ed (Saluki)

    Thank you so much for your time Jan. We absolutely loved talking to you and learning more about you and your very lucky rescue dogs. We truly hope this helps people’s opinions on rescuing and inspires more people to experience this rewarding procedure. You do an absolutely fantastic job and are a real inspiration. Keep up the amazing work!

    #RescueRemedies

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to tell us your rescue story and have it featured on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com
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    Why Does My Dog: Hump?

    One of the more embarrassing behaviours that our dogs can display (usually in public, in front of friends or on your mother-in-laws leg!), but is just as natural and common as any other. Dogs mount and thrust against a wide variety of things, from other animals, to people and objects also.

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    But why do they do it? Well, there are a number of explanations behind the behaviour. It very much depends on other factors surrounding the dog at the time. Here are some of the possible explanations in a little detail:

    Sexual Behaviour – Humping is a very normal sexual behaviour for all dogs; it doesn’t matter if they have been spayed or neutered either, both male and female dogs can still display the behaviour. There have been a couple of ‘flirtatious’ dogs in my care that I have witnessed encouraging it, using their body language and certain behaviours to get what they want – tails go up, faces are licked, a couple of paws may be shared and a lot of bum wiggling and tail wagging goes on!

    Play Behaviour – Some dogs exhibit these behaviours during play. This could be put down to over-excitement or equally due to a lack of socialisation, they hump as it is the only behaviour they know to do in response to another playing. Some dogs just don’t know how to play and get over-aroused when interacting with other dogs an excitable manner.

    Stress & Excitement Response – Similar to during play, this behaviour may be shown as a response to a stressful or excitable situation. For example, some dogs do it when initially meeting another animal or person, either carrying out the behaviour directly on said individual or redirecting it onto a nearby object, like a dog bed or toy.

    Compulsive Behaviour – For some dogs humping may turn into a slight habit. If in the past they know that doing it causes a positive feeling, they will be likely to repeat the behaviour in the future. It can affect the way a dog functions and could turn into a bit of an obsession if not controlled and redirected correctly.

    Social Behaviour – It not not uncommon to see a dog interacting with another in this way to control them. It is said to be seen as a way to show social status. Again, it depends on a number of factors but this is a common explanation used when observing the behaviour of dogs.

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    Many dogs dislike being humped, so personally I would recommend stopping the behaviour when you can to prevent any issues between dogs. Discouragement alone won’t prevent mounting from re-occurring, you will have to engage in some training to show your dog an alternative behaviour to the one he is used to displaying.

    #WhyDoesMyDog

    Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com.

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    Doggy Delicacies: Valentine’s Day Special ❤️

    I recently found a healthy, simple and ‘love themed’ treat idea online that I thought would be fun to make and share with the dogs on Valentine’s Day.  

    All you need is plain organic Greek yogurt, natural peanut butter and a heart shaped ice tray (because the shape of the treat will make all the difference to the dogs…ok admittedly that part is just for our personal benefit).

    The order in which you put the ingredients into the tray is completely up to you! Some people find it is easier to put the yogurt down first, then the peanut butter, topped with some more yogurt as the PB can stick to the tray. Others have no issue with this and simply do a layer of peanut butter before a layer of yogurt. 

     

    Press the yogurt down as best you can into the moulds to help seal the two ingredients together. It should look like the picture above!

    Freeze for around 4 hours before popping some out for your dog to enjoy. Should you be feeling peckish, these are human friendly protein-packed treats too! Share a treat with your favourite canine companion this Valentine’s Day. They deserve to feel the love too!

      
    If you want, you can add some other doggy treats to these to make them even more appealing to your pooch. Try them out and let me know what you both think!

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com.

    Find more tips, videos and blogs on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/K9DevelopmentCentre. Give our page a ‘LIKE’ to be kept up to date with information, competitions and more!

    How To: Meet a Dog

    I recently saw a post on Facebook that inspired me to write about the “do’s and don’t’s” of meeting and greeting a dog. This post is aimed to help both owners who have a nervous/insecure dog and any animal lover out there who’s first thought when seeing a dog is ‘I have to go and say hello!!!’.

    DO Have Respect – This rule is especially important when meeting a dog for the first time. You need to give them respect in order for them to reciprocate it back to you. Show them respect by giving them space, not invading their personal zone and allowing them to approach you when they feel comfortable.

    DO Consider Your Body Language – Imagine if somebody came right up to you, standing tall, leaning over you. How would you react? To make yourself appear as non-threatening as possible to a dog, turn to the side and/or kneel down. Lowering yourself to a dogs level is a very polite way to meet and can make the dog feel so much more comfortable about approaching – we use this technique during recall training too, because it makes you much more appealing!

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    DO Keep Your Hands to Yourself – I know that a lot of people recommend holding an outstretched hand for a dog to sniff upon meeting, however to some dogs (especially nervous ones) this can be perceived as quite a threatening action. Remember that a dogs nose is ridiculously strong, so they will be able to gather your scent just fine without a hand being right up in their faces. Keep them by your side and allow the dog to smell you in their own time.

    DON’T Lean Over Leaning over a dog is a big no no. It is probably the most intimidating action you could possibly do. Even placing your hands over a dogs head for a pat on the head can be seen as a frightening move to a dog, so should you feel the dog is comfortable enough, always begin with giving a stroke underneath (for example, under their chin).

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    You can clearly see this dog is not comfortable with a hand coming from above – he’s avoiding it completely

    DON’T Stare Again, quite a threatening behaviour. Don’t stare a dog in the eyes, look away and let them investigate you without them feeling challenged. Some dogs will avert their eyes should this happen, whilst other don’t react at all. It all depends on the individual dog, however I would recommend not giving a dog eye contact upon meeting them.

    DON’T Pet When Sniffed  Make sure you don’t misunderstand a sniff as a invitation for a stroke. Dogs who really want to be petted will make it very obvious to you. Don’t ruin the dogs trust/progress by going in for affection too quickly. When a dog sniffs you, it is their way of taking in all your information, not asking for a cuddle. It is best to let them sniff you and see where it goes from there. Should they back away, don’t be offended or react negatively, just leave them and allow the dog to take their own time to get comfortable around you. The dog may approach you and invite you to be affectionate, for example, by leaning on you/offering you their back end or side for a tickle!

    wronggreet

    It is always best to bare these points in mind when meeting new dogs, especially should they be nervous, timid or insecure. You won’t believe how much you will be helping that dog should you meet them in the correct way, and alternatively, how much you will be damaging their progress should you rush it and do what you aren’t supposed to.

    And for those who own a shy dog/one who is a little more reserved than others, don’t be afraid to tell people how to behave around them. It is up to you to protect them and help them progress and improve after all. The more negative interactions your dog has with people, the worse the problem behaviour becomes.

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    Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com.

    Find more tips, videos and blogs on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/K9DevelopmentCentre – give our page a ‘LIKE’ to be kept up to date with information, competitions and more!

    Four Legged Running Partners

    What makes dogs such fantastic running partners? Well, for one they will never let you down, no matter what the weather. Secondly, they will always give you the enthusiastic boost you need. Lastly, it keeps them content as everybody knows a tired pooch is a happy one!

    Keep Fit, Together

    Most dogs absolutely love to run. Whether it’s during their walk when off lead, whilst engaging in an activity like agility or chasing after their favourite toy! So why not participate in an activity you both love, together?

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    Ruff & Ready

    The minimum age I recommend that you introduce dogs to running consistently is is a year old. Always check with your vet first as dogs can mature at different rates. Some breeds are prone to joint problems for example, so they will need additional care and attention. Even once you have started to run with your dog, always keep an eye out for any problems. It doesn’t just come with age, so always be aware of any change that may occur as dogs can develop conditions like arthritis at any time.

    Breed Specific?

    Some breeds are bred to suit running further distances better than others, for example Huskies and German Shorthaired Pointers. Whilst others are better suited for shorter, quicker, few-mile jogs. Certain breeds are also able to cool themselves down better than others too, so this is a factor that definitely needs to be taken into consideration when the weather is warmer along with whether or not there are any water spots on your route. There are experts that will be able to help you with deciding if your dog is suitable for the type of running you wish to participate in, however only you know your companion individually.

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    Slow & Steady

    Just like us, dogs have to be built up via training gradually. Most dogs will go and go and go until their legs fall off! However, it is our responsibility to control them and ensure they are introduced to all activities correctly. Even introducing their paws to different terrains is an important part of their training that is often forgotten by owners. It may take a while for the activity to be carried out smoothly and enjoyably by both, as I know from running with other peoples dogs that tangled leads and the occasional trip up happens quite often to begin with! As long as communication, consistency and patience are involved and you will be well on your way to experiencing an enjoyable run. Our group Canicross Sessions are a great way to get both dogs and owners better acquainted with the experience in a controlled, social and fun environment.

    Running Equipment

    Me and my German Shepherd Kimba personally enjoy running together whilst she is off-lead, by my side, but able to explore and have a sniff when and where she pleases. Other people find that running with their dog attached to them works just as well if not better for them, and it can have many added benefits for certain dogs. The harness is very important. You need to make sure your dog is able to move comfortably, pull into the chest (not the neck) and breathe freely. A whole range of harnesses cater for the dog to pull out in front of the owner, however there are some available should your dog (like mine) prefer running by your side. Make sure you get the right harness to suit your individual companion – companies that provide them are able to help with this.

    Next is the line. Now this is different to a lead or a long walking line; this one is specifically designed for dogs to run with as there is a bungee section that helps to lessen the impact of your dog’s sudden movements. Some also have an inbuilt handle into the line which helps should you need to have your dog close or require a little extra control (for example, going downhill, as I can tell you from past experience that having the control at times like these are much needed!).

    Lastly, the belt for you to wear. I would recommend the belts that distribute the pull evenly around your lower body – these are especially beneficial for those with bigger dogs and/or the very strong pullers!

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    A photo from one of our Canicross Sessions

    And They’re Off!

    After either running alone, with a friend or in a controlled group environment, why not join a local running and/or Canicross club? You may even find yourself getting involved in some competitions and running events. There’s such a variety out there that many owners enjoy participating in with their dogs! Most parkruns are already dog friendly and a large amount of races are starting to cater for canines too, however always double check with the event as to whether or not dogs are able to join in with the fun.

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    Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com.

    Find more tips, videos and blogs on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/K9DevelopmentCentre – give our page a ‘LIKE’ to be kept up to date with information, competitions and more!

    Why Does My Dog: Butt-Sniff?

    To a large number of dogs owners, the way their dogs meet others is considered rude and unusual. It may well look strange to us, however in a ‘dogs world’ it is much more polite to offer up and engage in a bum-sniff than to approach boldly for a face-to-face meeting.

    Dogs learn a great deal of information from sniffing another dog’s behind; this is due to their scent glands being situated there. They are able to find out all sorts like what the dog has been eating, the gender, current emotional state, etc. So baring that in mind, along with the fact that a dog’s sense of smell is at least 10,000 times stronger than ours, you begin to understand why the rear is so appealing as opposed to a boring old facial conversation.

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    Just like people, some dogs are more polite than others. Getting to watch a group of dogs interact with one another on a daily basis is a fascinating privilege. You witness the ‘polite dogs’ with brilliant social skills who approach from the side, sniffing briefly, before moving on. Whilst on the other end of the scale are the ‘rude dogs’ who seem to be a little more intrusive, sniffing for what could be described as “too long”, before eventually moving on. Some dogs will react to this particular behaviour negatively, expressing how uncomfortable they feel, whilst others will just ignore it and move away.

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    Sometimes when dogs meet face-to-face it can seem/be quite confrontational. You will rarely see dogs looking at each other in the eye, unless they know one another well (and even then it’s rarely prolonged eye contact). In fact, it is very rare that any animals meet head on, the majority of mammals carry out their introductions nose-to-rear. The only animals I know that do not abide by this rule are elephants as they introduce themselves trunk-to-trunk!

    If you want to look at a dog introduction like you would a human one, the rear sniff would be the equivalent of our handshake/the brief initial conversation had, whereas the subsequent nose-to-nose encounter would be similar to taking things to the next level…

    I-like-you-butt-sniff

    #WhyDoesMyDog

    Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com.

    Find more tips, videos and blogs on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/K9DevelopmentCentre – give our page a ‘LIKE’ to be kept up to date with information, competitions and more!

    Why Does My Dog: Stretch?

    My German Shepherd in particular stretches quite frequently; I get a lot of people asking my why she does this so thought I would explain the reasons behind why dogs stretch. They stretch in different ways, for example, some put their heads down with their bottoms in their air and stretch our their legs really far in front of them, whilst others (like GSD, Kimba) stretch their back legs out far behind them whilst holding their head high.


    Below I have listed a few reasons behind why dogs stretch. These are excluding stretches that may be caused by an injury, pain or is a sign of discomfort. There are usually other symptoms displayed should this be the case. Always check with your vet should you be worried about any behaviours that your dog may be displaying.

    The ‘Hello!/Greeting’ Stretch – You may notice your dog stretches when they see you in the morning or when you come home. My GSD does this with a wagging tail, relaxed ears and smiley/squinting eyes and it is said that this is a sign that they are comfortable/happy around you. It is rare if at all that dogs will do this around strangers, it is most commonly a behaviour only displayed when people they know are present.

    The ‘Wanna Play?’ Stretch – The other stretch I commonly see whilst caring for dogs is when they stretch around one another, inviting or initiating play. They may do it close by the particular dog they wish to play with or around a group of dogs to see which one will engage.
    The ‘Relax’ Stretch – I’ve observed Kimba does this particular behaviour around nervous/insecure dogs; the way she does it suggests to me it’s her way of calming them, trying to make them feel comfortable and showing them an alternate way to be. It’s almost as if she is telling them to relax, showing that she is no threat. This particular scenario usually always ends with the dogs playing together and finishing the interaction on a positive, happy note.

    The ‘I’m Just Stretching!’ Stretch – Obviously there is not always a meaning behind a stretch other than they simply need to do it! They may have been laying down or was in a certain position for a while so feel the need to stretch themselves out. I know it is the first thing I need to do in the morning, so they may feel the same way too!

    #WhyDoesMyDog

    Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com 

    Why Does My Dog: Dislike the crate?

    Crates are a very useful tool that you can use to help with a number of things when it comes to bringing a dog into your home. If introduced correctly it can be seen as a lovely quiet place for them to feel safe and secure in and a spot to sleep in during the night. On the other hand, if the process is rushed/carried out incorrectly, your dog may view the crate as a lonely, negative place to be.

    Some owners make the mistake of leaving their dogs in their crates for too long too soon during crate training; the amount of time they spend in it has to be built up gradually in a very careful, positive way to prevent them feeling trapped. A lot of dogs that I care for enjoy using the crates at our Centre as a place to retreat to when they need some time to relax by themselves. They see it as a form of tranquil security as opposed to a place of loneliness.

    Dog-Crate-Cover-in-Ashley-Wilde-Hollyfield-Sorbet-and-Lucy-Stripe-1

    Rule no.1 is that you should never force a dog to go into a crate – you may be feeling frustrated as to why they dislike it, however by doing this you will only cause her to become afraid of not only the crate but you too. Make sure you undergo gentle, positive reinforcement like leaving treats and toys in the crate for your dog to find and enjoy on their own accord. Leaving the door open constantly to begin with is key to ensure they won’t feel trapped and has the chance to investigate the space themselves. If they feel that going into the crate is their decision, they’re more likely to favour it.

    Another good tip is to leave a blanket or item of clothing in there with a familiar scent on it, it will help them to feel more comfortable and cosy within that environment. If you reach a point where they feel happy to be within the crate, close the door for just a minute, without making any fuss or saying a word to the dog, before opening it again.

    Crate-Training-Blog-Dog-in-Wire-Crate-mara

    If the association with the crate is far too stressful and negative due to bad experiences, there are other alternatives should it not be a tool you wish to use. There are other confinement options such as exercise pens. Some owners even choose to use a certain room or a particular area of the house instead. Find what works best to ensure your dog isn’t stressed when left alone.

    #WhyDoesMyDog

    Please note: I will alternate between using ‘she’ and ‘he’ when talking about dogs throughout my blog posts.

    If you have any questions regarding all things dog related or would like to see a certain subject spoken about on our blog, feel free to email us at k9dc@hotmail.com