Working Dogs – The Border Collies

Border Collies are energetic dogs that want to work. They were originally bred to work sheep and are happiest when they are working. They are known for staring at the sheep to intimidate.

They are especially good ranch dogs for herding cattle. They are often used at rodeos during the bull riding events to help herd the bull back into the shoot. They take on the massive bulls by nipping at the heels. They are quick and agile so they can quickly get out of the way of the bull’s head and horns.

They have been used to chase wild birds, such as Canadian Geese off small airport runways and golf courses.

Description: Medium sized dogs that come in a variety of colors. Although most are black and white. They have a double coat of fur so shedding is a problem. I know this from my personal experience. My daughter has a Border Collie and is constantly picking up dog fur.

Intelligence: Very intelligent. They are known to be the most intelligent dogs. They learn commands very quickly and are quite easy to train. They are very loyal and protective of their owners. I have known one that sat outside and guarded his owner’s boots all day until the owner returned home. They do make good guard dogs.

Exercise: They can be very demanding dogs that need a lot exercise and mental stimulation. They do not make good dogs for apartment living because they need room to roam and work. They can be quite destructive if not given the needed attention and exercise.

Health and Grooming: Generally pretty healthy, especially if you get them from a reputable breeder. It is best to use a high quality dry pet food made of natural products and grain free. It toenails clipped, teeth and ears checked. They should be brushed at least once a week to help prevent matting of their fur and also to help control the shedding problem.

If you are in need of a good working dog and have lots of room for them to run and exercise, then the Border Collie is the dog for you. They are loyal, smart, and like to work. Conduct your research and make sure you find a reputable breeder from whom to buy your dog.

If you have a local Humane Society, it is best to check with them to see if they have a Border Collie that fits your needs. You may also go online to find a one to adopt that needs a good home.

Remember, once you get your Border Collie, be sure to provide appropriate food, shelter, training, and love. They are very loyal and will work for you as well as guard and protect your family.

Keeping Pets Cool in the Summer Heat

As the temperatures soared last week, so did cases of dogs left in hot cars and one poor dog was left to fry on the hottest day of the year!

The RSPCA and other animal welfare charities only recently launched a campaign to highlight the dangers and despite warnings they are still being left!

Let me ask dog owners one question. Have you ever walked barefoot on a hot pavement? If not, please try, since that is what your dog feels each time he is walked in the midday sun!

We have strict guidelines with regard to our pet care services, in that dogs are never exercised during periods of intense heat. They are walked early morning and late evening. When the mercury rises, dogs are encouraged to settle on a stone floor and in the coolest part of the house.

Pet Sitters are always careful to follow these simple procedures.

Damp towels

If your dog does start to show signs of overheating, put a towel under the cold water tap, wringing it out before placing it over your dog. This is an excellent tip for bringing down your dogs temperature as explained by our local veterinarian. Our German Shepherd Dog absolutely loves playing with water, hence we have great fun with the hose on a hot sunny day and placing a paddling pool in the garden will prove to be a real hit with your canine friend.

Cooling mats

These can be purchased quite cheaply and if you do not have stone floors in your kitchen a cooling mat is a great alternative. Just ensure that you buy the correct size for your dog in order that they receive the full benefit.

Fans

Like our cats, yours will probably gravitate to a favorite area of the house, so make that area cool by including a fan or air conditioning unit.

Sunburn

Did you know that even your pets can suffer sunburn, especially white dogs and cats and with this comes the increased risk of cancer.

Apply a dog/cat sunscreen and use a quality one. It should be applied to the nose, ears, groin and any area that is normally pink. Many human sunscreens can be toxic to your pet, especially those that contain PABA or zinc oxide, so if in doubt, ask your vet.

Hutches

Ensure that hutches are removed from full sun and if possible, check them regularly and bring them inside to the coolest area of your house.

Fans can be used, but ensure that it is pulling the cool air in and not blowing against it.

Ensure that their water is changed regularly and the hutches are kept clean. Fly strike is a real problem in rabbits and keeping their area clean is essential.

Water

Make sure that water bowls are filled regularly giving your dogs/cats fresh cold water throughout the day and you can include some ice cubes to keep it cool. We always have a few water bowls around the house, in case one is spilt.

We are lucky enough to have a feature pond in a garden, which is wonderful for the birds in hot weather. You may not have a pond, so why not fill a large bowl with water and watch as the wildlife as they use it to keep cool.

We all look forward to the summer, but the heat can prove fatal to our furry family. Remember to keep

Information on Hunting Dog Products

dog-product

 

Some hunting dog products that can serve as tracking solutions for your dog when they out after game includes GPS collars, beeper collars, attaching simple bells to their existing collars. Hunting dog products further include supplies designed to keep dogs warm, comfortable, and healthy during hunting. Below is a brief description of some of these hunting dog accessories.

Hunting Dog Products

1. Training Collars

Since hunting dogs are trained to work away from handlers, it can be difficult to correct their behavior. However, remote training collars can solve this problem. This device allows the handler keep track of his/her dog.

2. Behavior Correcting Collars

A behavior correcting collar is designed to handle behavioral problems. It corrects these issues by causing a light shock, vibration or buzz when the handler taps a button on the control.

3. Command Training Collars

These are training collars used to teach sporting dogs basic commands. They do this by giving off a faint tone which can only be heard by the dog. The handler can activate this tone by praising the dog when it performs a task well.

4. Dummies, Launchers, and Scents
Retrieving dummies used to teach (particularly retrievers), how to pick up kills (without mauling it) in a gentle manner. Most dummies come with a handle and rope attached which allows the handler better force and accuracy when using the dummy.

5. Whistles

Whistles are convenient hunting dog accessories to use outdoors as their sound carries more than voice commands. While a population of dogs prefers hand signals or silent commands, training your sporting dog on whistled commands in place of voice commands can help both handler and dog avoid frustration and confusion during a hunt or competition.

6. Hunting Dog Collars, Leashes, and Leads

Nylon and leather hunting dog collars can be joined with leashes or leads and used to monitor dogs before they are released for a hunt. Brightly colored collars make locating dogs during hunting much easier.

7. Tracking Collars, Beepers

When hunting in the scrub, dogs may wander off course from their handlers. A tracking collar, beeper gives a handler a sign of where his/her dog is.

8. Radio Collars

Traditional radio tracking collars give directional radio signals. This lets the handler know their dogs’ direction.

9. GPS Collars

GPS collars are dog hunting accessories that transmit radio signals to GPS units. A GPS collar can pinpoint a dog’s exact location during hunting.

10. Beeper Collars

A beeper collar comes with a device that produces a loud beep when the handler activates it. These beeps can be heard within 400 yards away in the right conditions. However, the performance of these collars depends solely on the handler’s hearing.

11. Bells

Some handlers prefer fixing bells to their hunting dogs collars. This allows them to be able to determine the dogs’ location (with the sound of the bell).

How to End Destructive Chewing

It can be demoralizing to come home to a coffee table that used to have four legs, a sofa that is now inside out and your kid’s favorite teddy bear who is now an amputee. Destructive chewing is a common reason for relinquishment to shelters. If this grisly scene is a regular part of your reality, there are things you can do to put an end to the madness.

Destructive chewing is usually a symptom of boredom. I’ve put together a list of things you can do to limit boredom even while you’re away.

The Right Kind of Toys

You are your dog’s best friend so it makes sense that they get bored and help themselves to the remote (and not to watch daytime television) when you’re away. Toys are a great way to mentally and orally engage your dog.

Oral engagement is an important part of your dog’s well-being. It releases endorphins that relax them, which is why it looks so damn satisfying. Safety is key here, as we saw in my pet advice article. It is important to choose toys that you can leave with your pet for long, unsupervised periods that won’t end up being swallowed or choked on.

Find a texture (and smell) that you dog enjoys. There’s a huge variety of chew toys out there. Some are smooth, ridged, bumpy, and/or wavy. Some are shaped like bones, tires, antlers, or sticks. There seems to be an endless variety of “flavors” (we have to take their word for it) like venison, chicken pot pie, or peanut butter. There is an endless combination of textures and flavors for your dog to enjoy, so use that to your advantage!

Toys that keep up interest will keep your dog from getting bored and tearing up the house. There are all kinds of food puzzles in pet stores now ranging from super easy, like the traditional Kong to super advanced flip board puzzles. Find a toy that engages your dog for as long as possible without causing frustration (Gremlin gets really frustrated with the really hard ones).

Just like with a toddler, you’ll need to keep these toys on a rotation so they don’t get bored because of overexposure.

Encourage your dog to play with toys by praising them when they do.

Mix and Mingle

A lot of boredom comes from a lack of socialization. Here are a few things you can do to help your dog feel more socially engaged.

A regular play routine with your dog is an important part of your relationship and the routine will help your dog manage boredom.

Positive social interactions include walking or jogging around the neighborhood. Be sure to allow your dog to stop and really get a good sniff of something interesting since this plays into his social engagement with neighborhood dogs, cats, and whatever else you have running around your area.

Play games with your dog like fetch, frisbee, or go for a swim if they enjoy it.

Enroll or take part in more intense social and physical activities like flyball, agility training, or even herding trials. You might be surprised at what activities are available to you in your area and the kinds of dogs participating in them. Don’t let your dog’s breed keep them from doing something you know they’ll enjoy.

Obedience training only seems like work to you. Your dog will

How You’re Making Problem Behaviors Worse

Many of your dog’s unruly behaviors are attention seeking. It makes sense! We’re our dog’s best friends! But what do you do when their needy behavior becomes obnoxious? For many people, needy behavior manifests itself in the form of barking, jumping, or mouthiness (biting but without aggression). Most people take to Google (I’m glad you did since you’re here!) to see how they can stop these behaviors. The advice you get from the big names and prominent methods might be making it worse!

Cesar’s Way

Cesar Millan is a prominent name in dog training and a top result on Google for most behavior problem fixes. His method advises people to assert themselves to show their dog who’s alpha. I don’t like Milan’s alpha intimidation methods because of the likelihood of instilling some amount of anxiety in your dog. You might think, “Anxiety? He uses his method successfully all the time!” Just because it seems to work doesn’t mean that it’s the right way to do it. Many of us aren’t looking to base a good relationship with our dogs on intimidation, so maybe (hopefully) you moved on.

“Ignore It” Method

There are much more passive approaches recommended by many trainers, most prominently, Victoria Stilwell. Stilwell uses positive training that focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the dog she’s working with. She and many other trainers recommend completely ignoring these kinds of problem behaviors until the dog is calm.

Instead of fighting the dog off of you when they jump up (which looks a lot like wrestling to your dog) they recommend turning away and making yourself as “boring” as possible. I am much more inclined to agree with this method, except for one major flaw: withholding love and attention is crazy difficult.

To be clear, my unease with this method is not that love and attention withholding is mean, but that it takes a ton of discipline on the human’s part.

I always say that people should choose a training method that not only works for their dog but that also works for them. It’s not just useless to attempt a training method that you can’t commit to, it can actually have a serious and lasting unintended effect on your dog’s behavior.

Reinforcement Schedules

When you attempt to ignore your dog’s bad behavior you are probably pretty good at it from the get-go, but as the behavior persists or as the days go by your commitment starts to wane. This is where the trouble begins.

Training your animal (or spouse) is done through reinforcement schedules. The schedule you keep will influence your success rate and how easy or difficult it is for the trainee to stop doing the behavior (this is called extinction).

Variable-Ratio Reinforcement

A common mistake that makes problem behaviors worse is when people use methods like the “ignore it” method but don’t stick to it. When these folks manage to ignore the attention seeking behavior for a few days or more but slip up occasionally, they are rewarding their dogs on a variable-ratio reinforcement schedule.

This means that you are rewarding your dog’s (bad) behavior after an “average” number of times. The average can change without disrupting how your dog views the reinforcement.

Variable-ratio reinforcement produces a high rate of response (jumping, barking, etc) because they don’t know when they’ll be rewarded, but the do know that they’ll be

Let’s Celebrate National Dog Day This August 26th

With all the wonderful and amazing things dogs bring into our lives let’s look into some ways we can support them by choosing some of these options to celebrate on National Dog Day this coming August 26th.

My favorite is that if you’re thinking of adopting, this is the perfect day to take the plunge. Check out your local shelter or purebred rescue, to find your new friend and companion. Please be sure to check the breed you choose to make sure he/she will fit into your lifestyle.

If you are unable to adopt consider volunteering at your local shelter, you can choose to clean cages or help with walking the dogs or even just giving them some one on one time.

Another way to help is to donate to your local shelter or rescue, they always need blankets and toys for the dogs as well as dry and wet dog food. Cleaning supplies are also a constant needed supply.

A more fun way to celebrate on August 26th is have a party for your friends and their dogs. Choose a fun theme and have your guests dress for the theme. Include safe treats for all your guests both the 4 legged guests and their humans. Be sure to have plenty of water bowls available and that the dogs are properly supervised to avoid any altercations.

If you already have a companion, you can celebrate by buying your dog a new toy or two. Another idea is to give your dog a good thorough brushing to reduce loose hair and shedding. Most dogs would also love a good massage or holistic spa treatment.

An option that we are planning to enjoy this year is a trip to the beach or a local dog park for a day of play. Even with living close to the beach like we do, it’s amazing that we don’t make time to take our dog for a good day of running and playing in the surf and sand. Be sure to bring fresh drinking water for your dog and also a towel to brush off the sand.

Having a photo shoot of your dog either with a professional photographer or by doing your own photo shoot. You can even try entering the photos in photo contests. What better way to show off your best friend then with some great pictures and have your memories saved for years to come.

A Beagle On Steroids – The Harrier!

Harriers were bred as scent hounds for hunting. This means that they were bred for stamina, endurance, and independence. These traits are the most difficult parts to deal with as a dog owner. They have a strong prey drive and while they get along well with other pets, they can view them as prey, if not socialized properly. Because of the stamina built into the dog, it requires regular, prolonged exercise, so this is not for an apartment dweller. A large yard is helpful, however, Harrier’s may bay when bored, so the neighbors may complain. The endurance of the dog is legendary, a Harrier has been known to track a rabbit or a fox till the prey basically gives up and lies down! This independence and singlemindedness can be an issue when training the dog. The owner must also find a way to keep the Harrier occupied mentally as well as physically. The good news is that they enjoy playing, jogging, running along as you bike, or hiking.

A sturdy dog, the Harrier stands about 19 to 21 inches tall, weighs between 45 to 60 pounds, and has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. They love children and have a sturdy bone structure that allow them to interact without fear of the dog being hurt. In fact, the only problem commonly reported is hip dysplasia and this is rare. As with all breeds, the dog should be socialized to interact with children and other pets. This is a pack dog, so the family become its pack. Harriers are comfortable being with you, but do not demand attention. They can tolerate hot and cold, if protection is provided, but they are much happier in the house with the family (pack). Due to the hunting nature of the dog, it should remain on a leash when in open areas to prevent it from chasing squirrels and rabbits. If you plan taking your Harrier jogging, start after they are a year old and gradually increase distances. this protects the developing bones and joints. Once done, you will have a happy companion on those jogs!

The Harrier coat is smooth and relatively short. They do shed, but not excessively. Taking care of the coat requires brushing and an occasional bath. As with all breeds nails may need to be clipped, if these are not worn down during activity. Teeth should be brushed a couple times a week. The ears should be checked for redness or foul smell on a regular basis. Because of the flop over hound ears, there is limited air circulation and this can lead to ear infections.

Harrier’s make good watch dogs, but poor guard dogs. Don’t expect to protect your valuables, but it will let you know someone is in the driveway. They are welcoming of strangers, children, and other pets. They will not demand attention, but love to play a good game of fetch or chase! You will need a good fence about 6 feet tall to keep the dog enclosed. The more time you spend with the dog, the more it will be a happy family member and not be destructive.