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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Bald questions

When I was a child we had an old dog that lost his hair. As I was a kid, I thought that maybe old dogs always went bald like men do, but I now know that isn’t the case! I also remember his skin became strange, particularly over his back end – it was dry – I remember thinking his backside looked a bit like Rhino skin!
I’m just wondering, after a bit of Internet searching, could that have been Cushings Syndrome? Could there have been anything done to make him more comfortable or even better? What else would have been going wrong apart from hair loss? Are any breeds more prone – this was a Beardie? What causes Cushings – is it hereditary? Are there any other causes of canine baldness?

The baldness and the changes in the skin you describe have many possible causes including parasites, allergies and various hormone imbalances such as Cushing’s syndrome. Dogs do not generally go bald just as a result of old age.
The most common clinical signs of Cushing’s syndrome are a large water intake, frequent urination and possible incontinence, a ravenous appetite, a ‘pot belly’, lethargy and panting. Hair loss or recurrent skin diseases, as you described in your old dog, can also be seen.
Cushing’s will usually occur as a result of a tumour – often benign – of either the pituitary gland (most common) or the adrenal glands (less common). Symptoms of Cushing’s are caused by excessive amounts of cortisol, an important hormone that helps regulate the body’s metabolism. The signs of the disease can easily be mistaken for the normal signs of ageing. This can make it difficult for owners to recognise, especially as not all dogs will react to the disease in the same way. In particular, larger breeds of dog (such as Bearded Collies), may not exhibit all of the tell-tale signs.
Patient with Cushing's syndrome
Diagnosis of Cushing’s requires detailed blood or urine tests by your vet.
Once diagnosed, Cushing’s can be successfully managed and controlled with life-long medication, which will control symptoms and improve quality of life. The licensed medical treatment for Cushing’s (active ingredient – trilostane) helps to control the production of cortisol.
If left untreated, continued release of excessive amounts of cortisol into the bloodstream will eventually have a harmful effect on the function of many organs and on the body’s metabolism. For example, untreated Cushing’s will increase a dog’s risk of developing several serious conditions, such as diabetes, blood clots in the lungs, kidney infections, urinary tract infections and inflammation of the pancreas.
Cushing’s is usually seen in older dogs and any breed can be affected. Smaller breed dogs are more likely to develop the pituitary-dependent form of the disease. Adrenal tumours occur more frequently in larger breeds.
For anyone who is worried that their dog is exhibiting any of the above signs, it is important to contact your vet for advice.
James Walker, MAVetMB, MRCVS
(Veterinary Technical Advisor, Dechra Veterinary Products)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Chop and very little change

I was reading an article in tonight's local paper 'Shropshire Star' about a Rottweiler puppy who had to be released by firemen when he got his head caught in mesh at his owner's home. I was horrified to read that the puppy was "Six weeks old and had only been in its new home for a week" ?? But even more horrified to see that this poor unfortunate and in my opinion, miserable looking puppy had a docked tail! How on earth can this happen?
but more importantly, who can I report it to? I have been searching web sites without success.
I have a five year old Rottie whose tail was docked before we had her and I think it is the most barbaric thing anyone can do to a dog. I am sure some dogs think my dog is aggressive only because there is an absence of expression ie no tail and I also had great difficulty when we first had her to 'read' her mood from a distance. I would never part with her but how I wish I could give her a tail transplant and give her back what was so cruelly robbed from her.
Look forward to hearing from you ref the little tail less pup
Chris Birch

A few issues ago we exposed a loophole in docking laws which meant that breeders who wanted to continue to dock are now taking their new born litters over to Ireland for docking where it's still legal. We believe some breeders are probably DIY docking at home and just claiming they have taken their dogs to Ireland.
It is very disappointing to see this pointless cosmetic operation continuing - and dogs are still dying when botched DIY docks go wrong. Here's a link to a recent prosecution involving Rotties docked with scissors and boiling water.
We feel the show world needs to make an example for the pet market to follow and dogs with tails should be seen to be the norm. Unfortunately the show world is taking advantage of this Irish loophole, too. Many young top winning dogs could not be shown at Crufts this year as the law prevents dogs docked after 6th April 2007 (28th March for shows held in Wales) being shown at events where the public pay to come in. The law does also prevent dogs docked legally in the UK, for example working gundogs.
However, one apparently docked puppy was exhibited at Crufts the year and even though this has been drawn to the KC's attention they have reportedly replied that they feel it isn't up to them to deal with it and that it should be reported to the appropriate authorities although they say they would co-operate should action be taken. I understand they wouldn't have taken the £35 necessary to lodge a complaint even if someone had complained through their own complaints structure.
The KC stopped ear cropping virtually overnight by banning all cropped dogs from being exhibited. The King of the day - their patron - was the catalyst to this change. If only they'd take strong action against docking maybe we'd get fewer of these awful cases of people attempting to chop off their pup's tail at home in the belief they can get a few more pounds for their pups if they chop off their tails.
Tail removal for a misplaced human concept of beauty needs to be recognised as a cruel, unecessary mutilation and should have no place in the show ring or indeed 21st Century Britain.
So who do we report suspected illegal docking to? The RSPCA? The police?
I've asked the Anti-Docking Alliance and will publish the answer.
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Stop Press
A vet and three others have been charged with illegal docking. Click here for the story.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Naturally cautious about worming

I am very confused about whether I should worm my dogs or not! I worked as a vet nurse for ten years during which I didn't question the marketing material for the worming tablets we used to sell. As a result I wormed my dogs every three months. However, since leaving nursing and becoming a self-employed dog-walker, I have become very interested in caring for my dogs in a more 'natural' way. I can't help but worry they will come to harm if I do not worm them though! My dogs are both small-ish (about 10kg) rescue mongrel bitches, age 3 and 11.
They are fed NatureDiet with the following supplements: Dorwest Herbs (DH) garlic tablets. DH Keeper's Mix and diatomaceous earth. Both have ingredient intolerances / allergies. My older dog has recently started treatment for Cushing's Disease (60mg 'Vetoryl' daily). I also have a six year old son, who I do not want to come to any harm either! Any advice would be much appreciated...

Many Thanks,
PS Given the opportunity (ie when I look away for a split second!), both of my dogs love to eat dead 'things' or snack on other animal's poo - or roll in it... Sorry - a revolting PS I know! (dog-owning isn't for the squeamish is it?)
Best Wishes, Claire

I can quite understand where you are coming from, having been working as a veterinary surgeon in practice for 20 years come July! Advice has varied over the years, as have the worming products which now include spot-on as well as various oral formulations.
A simple answer is: Risk Assessment, the approach advised by BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association). The choice of wormer, its spectrum of activity and the frequency of treatment are tailored to the individual dog and owner, based upon Risk Assessment.
Routine worming is aimed primarily at Toxocara canis, although lungworm is becoming an increasing concern (contracted by eating infected slugs and snails). Risk assessment will include the kind of environment where you live and your dogs’ life style. Where are they habitually walked (public park or isolated wood, for example)? Do they scavenge in the garden? Whilst out on a walk?
The concerns are not only for the health of our dogs but also the risk to humans of contracting toxocariasis. A commonly quoted statistic is that someone goes blind from the effects of migrating Toxocara larvae every week in the UK.
As well as clearing up promptly after your dogs in the garden, it would certainly help if everyone picked up after their dogs whilst out on walks! Having a six-year-old son would tend to push the results of Risk Assessment towards worming as often as recommended by the manufacturers of the product used.
An alternative approach might be to have your dogs’ faeces examined under a microscope. That leads me to finish with another question: How often?
Alison Logan, Vet

Toxocarasis is something that most people associate with dog poo, but it is equally possible to contract it from cat and fox poo, too. No one worms foxes and cats that go outside and kill are very hard to keep worm free - but the dog seems to be much in need of Max Clifford's services as it is always dog poo that is linked in the media to people going blind.
I am told that to contract Toxocariasis you have to ingest poo from an egg-shedding host and it must not be fresh and there needs to be other 'ideal' environmental factors in play to make it dangerous. It would seem that the dangerous situation is while gardening or if kids play in uncovered sand pits - that would seem to be the most likely way to swallow the horrid stuff - by getting it under finger nails and not thoroughly washing hands. As most dogs have not yet learned how to bury their poos, I think the chance of eating affected dog poo by mistake is much less likely than cat poo.
If poo is picked up promptly and disposed of it is of no risk to anyone.
I've found a paper from Japan that suggests coackroaches can even be a vector, too. I wonder what the comparative figures are for Toxocariasis in countries that don't have very many pets?
There are many urban myths with the Toxocariasis figures, too and some years ago vet Bruce Fogle decided to approach all the hospital in Britain to find out exactly how many people have gone blind due to this disease. It certainly wasn't one a week, in fact it was difficult to find any cases of people going blind from this cause. Obviously even one case is one too many.
A long time ago a very damaging TV documentary on dog poo confused the statistic for cases of Toxoplasmosis with Toxacariasis and the figures have sadly been oft repeated since that time confusing everyone.
Toxoplasmosis is indeed very serious, particularly to pregnant women who can lose their babies - but the risk areas are there are cat litter trays and undercooked meat.
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

I would just like to clarify a few points from my initial reply. It is always hard to know just how much detail to give.
It takes a few weeks from the time that a dog swallows a viable Toxocara canis roundworm egg to himself passing viable eggs (the pre-patent period). The reason for picking up dog poo as soon as it is deposited is that any roundworm eggs present are not immediately infective to other animals. There has to be a period of development in the environment which is primarily temperature-dependent and therefore shorter in the summer (as little as two weeks) than in the winter (several months). Additionally, the eggs can survive in the environment for two years and more.
I have just had to bath my dog after she rolled in fox muck whilst out on our walk. As I have said before, she also eats stale dog poo, and on this basis I do worm her regularly, but not every month. Cat poo is another potential source, and especially from feral cats who will not be treated for roundworms. This is why, if you have concerns about routine worming, then having your dogs’ poo regularly examined would be another way to help you decide when they need treatment.
Alison Logan, vet

According to the Health Protection Agency (which used to be PHLS) in both 2007 and 2008 only one positive case was recorded in each year. This shows a continuation of the trend starting in the 1980's. In those days you would get about 40 or so positive reports per year with a proportion, perhaps about a dozen, being associated with ocular conditions. However a positive blood test may be coincidental and not specifically diagnostic.
Numbers being reported declined steadily through the 90's and I continued to monitor the figures as best I could after I retired from PHLS and did locum work. By the time I finally retired in 2005 reports were few and far between. There was an anti-dog pressure group of a woman working from her home - I forget the name - who put out supposed figures, starting at 50 cases per year and within a few months it was 50 cases of blindness, then 100, then 200, then 400! If this was so then our laboratory should have seen about a dozen cases per year. On checking, we submitted over a five year period ninety odd specimens- only one was a low titre positive which was almost certainly irrelevant!
While I am not up to date with the scientific literature, I doubt if anything has changed since I wrote about toxocara (and toxoplasma) in the Kennel Gazette in the early 90's plus other reviews.
On worming, I still think the important time is early puppyhood, starting at two weeks then every two weeks till about two months then decreasing till about 6m by which time the now mature immune system should be keeping them dormant.
I use Panacur but am not up on the others but I do wish they were available under generic names rather than trade products - the old paracetamol/Panadol question!
Archie Bryden

See the main blog for an in-depth article on the real risks of Toxocariasis and Toxoplamosis.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

No more rash decisions

I have had Springer Spaniels for over 40 years, but when the last one died I thought I would have a rescued dog so after a few months I had a Staffie and bonded very well with her, but after a few days I had a very bad rash and was told I was allergic to the dog so I had to send her back. Can you tell me what to avoid in the future as I don't want to go through that again.
Judi Sealey, Redditch area in Worcs

Hi Judi
How upsetting! It could have been just that one dog you were reactive to - or that type of dog? Perhaps you need to spend a bit of time around lots of types of dogs to see what it is specifically that sets you off. If it is dog hair maybe look at a non-shedding breed - Poodle, Bichon, Bedlington, Airedale etc - be wary of dogs advertised as hypoallergenic - Poodle crosses are less reliably non-shedding than 100% Poodles. If it's saliva or dander it's more difficult to overcome. Some people who are allergic to dogs try to suppress their reactions but it is a juggle and depends on the severity of reaction as to how successful they are. It maybe that you have become allergic to dogs in recent years, but I'm sure if you talk to some friendly local rescue charities or breeders they will let you spend some time with their dogs to see if it's all dogs you have a problem with now or just the odd one.
I'm allergic to some feral cats and pet rabbits - I come up in massive white blisters if they touch me - but it is alottery as to whether I'll be reactive or not. Sometimes you don't ever discover what the trigger is. Anyone got any advice or personal experiences of how to overcome or limit allergies to dogs?

Anyone in the Redditch area able to help?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

I may be wrong on this, but I had always thought of an allergy to dogs being manifested as sneezing, running eyes and exacerbation of asthma. To come out in a rash makes me wonder more about a contact irritation:
- had the dog been shampooed with a product to which you were allergic?
- Did the dog have a parasite living in its coat such as a fur mite?
- Was it a rash, or was it in reality many bites from fleas picked up from the dog?
I will never forget the two large ladies who brought in their Persian cat to be examined. They had just been to their GP because of a rash they had both developed, and he had wondered whether it was to do with their cat. When I asked them what their rash was like, up went the tee-shirts to expose a rash around their midriffs!
Combings from the cat revealed fur mites, and appropriate treatment was successful for both cat and owners.
Alison Logan, Vet

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Any tips for surviving mange? URGENT

These poor unfortunates were found dumped in two cardboard boxes, in a lay-by, near Spilsby , Lincolnshire on one of the cold frosty mornings a couple of weeks ago.
They have all had their tails docked and were in a poor condition suffering from mange and worms. They are six weeks old and of the Jack Russell type.

It is only speculation on my part but I believe they were bred with the intention of being sold as 'a breed', but then dumped when the owner realised they were going to cost money in vets fees.
Fortunately the pups were found by a kind burger van owner and are now recovering at the charity's kennels. Keith's Rescue Dogs). I dread to think what could have happened to them.
This of course is not responsible breeding, but I fear we shall see more of it. I hope these people can be found and prosecuted.
Unfortunately one of the pups died in the early hours this morning.
The remaining puppies are in a bad way suffering from mange. I know that these mites can kill the pups, but the dips also seem to devastate them further.
We are desperate for the other pups to live, they have been through so much, and wonder if anyone could give us advice on an gentler alternative treatment. I understand that diet is important to boost the pups immune system and we are working on that.
I would be very grateful for any help you could offer.

Thank you
Joan (Keith's Rescue Dogs)

Just received this update:
Thanks to everyone who has responded. At present the remaining pups seem to be holding their own, but I am passing all information received to Keith, who in turn is passing it on to the people who are caring for the pups in the kennels.
Apparently the little girl that died succumbed to pneumonia. We don't know how long they had been left without treatment before they were dumped, but they were obviously very weak. Heaven knows what state the mum is in, if she is still alive.
I would like to get hold of the people responsible and dip them.
Thank you all
Joan (Keith's Rescue Dogs)

Sorry I've been away for a few days visiting my mother (who is 95 and not in great health).
Hope pups surviving - yes, good healthy additive free diet needed, and immune system boosters, especially Echinacea, Vitamins A,C,E and Selenium, Royal jelly: plus homoeopathic meds - usually Psorinum helps but depends on precise symptoms
Let me know if more advice needed
All the best
Richard Allport, alternative vet

Thank you Richard. I have passed on this advice to Keith. Remaining pups are starting to rally a bit now, and are acting a little more like puppies i.e. running towards their food and barking. I can't wait to see them myself. I haven't been near them yet as I have had a virus and was afraid I might pass it on.
Thanks again

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Rocky & Rambo reformed

Regular readers will remember the case of Rocky and Rambo. The two Staffies that had taken to wrecking the house. Think Tank Behaviourist Amy Hatcher went out to see them and gave dogs and owner some homework. Click here to see the original problem.
Just had this update today from Tania:

Dear Amy and Beverley
Well what can I say apart from I now have two near perfect Staff's who are very happy. Rambo is not so clingy to me I can leave the room and he does not follow.
Rocky can be outside Rambo will be inside and he now does not mind walking with out Rocky. I leave them alone - they have the run of the house for up to three hours, come home they have been on sofa - but if that's all I can not grumble.
They feed perfectly - food down they eat then I take the bowls up. They still get excited when people come in, I do ask them to ignore them for at least 30 mins which seems to help.
I am over the moon - it's like I have two new dogs. I can now see they were spoilt by me. I still play with them and give them treats - but I can see they love and respect me more.
Thank you both for making my life happy, I don't dread going home anymore, makes me want more Staffies ! (But mine are enough!)
with big thanks
Tania Day

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Sleeping dogs and how they lie

Hello my name is Florence Smallwood
I was wondering if you have any past issues that talked about the natural sleeping behaviour of Golden Retrievers as I am doing a project on them and I need some information. I would be grateful if you have any information about the natural sleeping behaviour.
Would be grateful for a reply
Kind Regards
Florence Smallwood

Now I have to admit in 18 years we haven't yet written an article on the 'natural sleeping behaviour' of Golden Retrievers, or any other breed come to think of it!
But if you have a Golden Retriever, perhaps you could give Florry some pointers?
I can tell you a bit about the natural sleeping behaviour of Bearded Collies. They wake up as soon as it gets light and demand to go outside vocally. Much of the time they sleep with their legs in the air, preferably in a draught or on the coldest part of the floor if not. Beds are for chewing, not for lying on.
English Springer Spaniels (sample size of one so unreliable) prefer the comfiest beds, near a radiator if possible. They sleep with one eye open waiting for something to chase. Many of the Springer dreams seem to centre on chasing as there is occasional deep sleep leg movement and yipping.
Over to the bloggers. What's natural sleep behaviour for your dogs?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Monday, 16 March 2009

Rottie luck

Can you help I have an eight year old Rottweiler who has been a bit unfortunate health wise in his life. He has had problem with cancer when he was two which was luckily dealt with surgically. Then November 2007 had to have a cruciate repair. His latest problem is an abscess on the same leg as the cruciate repair we have been dealing with this with a long course of antibiotics just had a swab done and awaiting the results. The vet seems to think it could be a problem with the cruciate repair and says that he might need to have another operation, this I am reluctant to do because of his age and the long time it took to recover from the previous operation also worried about the general anesthetic. Are there any other options available?

Many thanks
Lynne Vaughan

We had a fascinating article in Dogs Today February 1996 about using acupuncture instead of anaesthetics. Might be worth a read. Still available as a back issue from 01276 858880.
Beverley Cuddy, Editor, Dogs Today

I think that many of your worries will be helped once you know the result of tests on the swab taken from the abscess, and I hope that you will have already received them by the time your read this.
Your Rottie has certainly had more than his fair share of health problems, and I think it is important for you to try to take this one step at a time. The abscess may well be an entity in its own right. The swab taken from the abscess will have been tested to identify microbes present, and their individual sensitivity to different antibiotics. Identifying an antibiotic or combination of antibiotics which is effective against the bacteria isolated under laboratory conditions will hopefully lead to similar success when given to your Rottie, resulting in the abscess healing.
Your vet is worrying about the possibility of an underlying reason for the abscess having occurred. This would be indicated if the abscess appeared to heal whilst your Rottie was being treated with an antibiotic course chosen based on the results of the swab, but then recurred after the treatment had finished, for example. At this point, further investigation would be needed. Based on the results of that, it will be a matter of weighing up the choices available.
I am afraid I cannot be more precise when it comes to alternatives available to you. An operation such as for cruciate disease is a major orthopaedic operation which would be expected to have a long convalescence, whereas a less invasive procedure may be needed in this instance. General anaesthesia has advanced greatly in recent years, with detailed monitoring techniques available and improved drug regimes.
Above all, there is your Rottie to consider. What is the effect the abscess is having on his quality of life? Will he be better off having any surgery, together with the risks involved? It always comes down to quality of life – we the owners have to make as informed decision as we can on behalf of our canine friends. Your vet will be able to advise you, based on his knowledge of your dog’s clinical situation, but ultimately it will be your decision.
Alison Logan, vet

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A mitey big problem

I am appealing to you for herbal help with the problems my French Bulldog bitch has with Demodex. I have great faith in my own conventional vet, but he admits that he has no training in herbal advice and I understand that the drug he is using for her shampoo will kill the dog before it completely eradicates the mites causing the Demodex. It can only be kept under control until the next time the mites cause the dog further irritation, when a further session of drug baths will again be necessary. She is not yet three years old and has just completed her third session of weekly baths, eight the first and second time, and six each of the third and last time. The first of each session involved an anasethetic to enable a scrape to be made and count the mites in the blood sample taken.
My vet advised me that Demodex is inherited from the mother, either as a sufferer or carrier so I wrote to the breeder and received a letter back stating that their bitch did not suffer from anything and they did not know anything about the sire!
Why is her natural immune system not coping with this problem? If you can cure this Demodex with a herbal remedy I should be very grateful for your help.
Helen Hastings, Northumberland

A mitey big problem
It is impossible to prove but I believe that improving the general diet can provide a less hospitable environment for the mites and boost the ability of the body to kill them off. A diet based on whole grains, low in fat and protein and fed as sparingly as possible can be helpful.
John Burns, Burns Pet Nutrition.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


I am writing on behalf of a friend who owns two year-old black German Shepherd bitches. They are littermates and my friend has owned them since they were around nine weeks old. They were both well socialised as puppies and, until just before their first birthdays, were generally very good with other dogs, although one of them, who was at the time the more dominant of the pair, tended to be a bit pushy with other dogs sometimes, though not aggressive.
Then one day they were being walked in the woods when another dog came rushing out of the bushes behind them and they both suddenly attacked it and had to be dragged away - but not before they had caused the other dog a bad injury, for which it needed stitches. It was the first time they had attacked a dog and the first time the less dominant dog had ever been bossy with other dogs.
Following this incident they were mostly exercised seperately, with the more dominant of the two wearing a muzzle. The less dominant dog likes playing with a ball so only wore her muzzle when other dogs were in sight.
For several months they seemed to improve until, on entering the park, the less dominant dog (who was being walked on her own) suddenly attacked a Labrador who was walking in the park with his owner. The GSD apparently rushed over to the Lab and attacked him on seeing him, causing him also to need stitches. Since then the less dominant dog is more aggressive than her sister, who now begins to run up to dogs then chickens out at the last minute, unless they are together.
Now they are both walked wearing muzzles and are kept well out of the way of other dogs, although they have always been fine with the small corgi-type cross who was walked with them since they were puppies.
Apart from their aggression towards other dogs, they are very friendly with humans. They are outdoor dogs and live in the back garden, though their owners' house has an extension which they have access to and they can go in to sleep or in cold weather.
To add to their problems, they have recently begun fighting among themselves whilst outside and as a last resort an electric collar is going to be used on them in an attempt to stop their aggression. As you can imagine walking them is one big headache with no pleasure at all. Ant advice would be very much appreciated.
Ellie, Kent

It can be difficult living with two bitches. Keeping two bitches is less natural than two dogs or a dog and a bitch. A high number of inter-dog aggression happens between two bitches as they tend to fight to be an only bitch where as two dogs would fight to take the dominant role and tend to dust themselves off and carry on as normal after a fight. Two bitches are more likely to fight until an agreement has been reached. That said many people successfully own two bitches and never experience any issues. Generally bitches need to be of different ages, sizes and temperaments in order to cohabit happily.
It is a problem that can be corrected but it is made harder by the fact that the two GSDs live outside as this means they are left to their own devices and does increase the chances of fights. If they could be brought into the house they would then need to abide by the human rules, rather than their own.
With the dog-to-dog aggression they display, does one set the other off or do they work as a pack? We need to start right back at diet, routine and rules in order to fix this one. It's quite an involved issue but most reputable behaviourists will be able to fix this. It is well worth contacting a good behaviourist who will come out with you on a walk and address all the issues, without just sitting at your house drinking tea. It is a tricky problem to live with as it means the dogs cannot be enjoyed and if they cannot be off lead this may exasperate inter-dog problems as due to their not letting off steam.
Amy Hatcher, Canine Behaviourist

I would strongly advise this owner to seek professional advice. I believe that thinking in terms of 'dominance' is confusing the issue here and that what is really going on has little to do with dominance and more to do with fear based aggression. I wonder how much training has been given to these dogs to provide them with adequate coping skills to deal with situations that give rise to anxiety or stress.
The fact that they are fighting amongst themselves also suggests that these two are not particularly comfortable around each other at times. The use of an electric collar will only make the problem worse, it may stop aggression when the owner is around but the 'angst' has to come out somewhere and is likely to lead to other problems further down the line. Please ask your friend to contact a good behaviourist that only uses non-confrontational reward based methods to work through behavioural issues to make a house call and evaluate the situation and work out a plan of action. Alternatively it may be in the dogs best interests to think about finding one of them a new home where it is not in competition.
Pauline Lock, Dogs Today Advisor

I have come across this scenario many times but usually with males. They must both be very unhappy to have started the infighting now. Perhaps they need more interaction with their owner.
I think that it would be a good idea to have them in separate homes for a while to see if their own personality comes through. We have found that when this happens it is best to follow this route. As the writer said there is no pleasure at the moment with muzzles and electric collars.
Jan Robinson, N.W. Golden Retriever Rescue

Monday, 9 March 2009

Breathe right

My gorgeous three-year-old Pomeranian, Esther, has a collapsing trachea, which seems to be getting worse. She will have about four or five, what I call, honking fits a week lasting anything from 30 seconds to two minutes. She takes them in her stride as she has always had them, but recently she seems to be having more difficulty with her normal breathing. She is constantly wheezing and snorting, and she also snores heavily when she is asleep.
I am wondering if anything can be done to help her. I am hesitant about surgery as she has already been through so much having had operations on both her back legs and her eyes. However, I worry about the long term effects her breathing problems will have on her.
James Lawrence, by email

I can understand your concerns about putting your dog through further surgery. I would, however, advise you to take her to your vet about her breathing because there are other options available. For example, it may be that she has picked up a secondary bacterial infection which will respond well to a course of appropriate antibiotic.
We are all concerned about quality of life, and a dog who is having trouble breathing will not be able to enjoy life to the full. She is, after all, only three years old. As vets, we advise on possible treatments but ultimately the decision is always yours: if you do not want your dog to have any more operations, then an alternative way must be sought to make her comfortable.
Alison Logan, vet

Breathe right
Regarding the snoring problem, I would like to quote from my Guide to Natural Health Care.

“Snoring: An involuntary, deep, guttural sound emanating from the pharynx and soft palate on inspiration or expiration; often intermittent depending on posture of the head. May indicate a chronic, obstructive lesion of the pharynx. (Saunder’s Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary)

Snoring is most commonly seen in older, small breed dogs which are overweight. Affected dogs are often short of breath and cannot exercise. Surgery is often suggested to try and open up the airways but I suspect is rarely carried out because of the uncertainty of the outcome.
I believe snoring can often be cured by less drastic measures. The “obstruction” is usually caused by the muscles of the pharynx or soft palate. They become soft and flabby and as a result tend to sag and obstruct the airway.
An aggressive weight reduction programme combined with controlled exercise will improve muscle tone and tighten up the affected tissues.”
John Burns, Burns Pet Nutrition.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A shadow over his character

I recently took over the care of Shadow, a stunning Border Collie who is approximately five years old. His previous owner died and I wasn't expecting to be a dog owner, but I'm really enjoying it!
He was on Baker's Complete when I got him, but his teeth were yellow and his skin was very dry. I asked at the pet shop for advice and they advised me to feed James Wellbeloved dry food and half a tin of Pedigree Chum.
His coat now looks lovely and glossy and his teeth are white, but even though I'm am walking him a great deal he just never seems to get tired. I take him on a two hour walk every day that involves lots of ball throwing and lots of other shorter walks throughout the day - but it just doesn't seem to ever be enough.
He has started herding me on walks and when I want to stop playing ball he seems annoyed and wants to continue the game.
Yesterday he rushed behind my legs as I put the ball away and he nipped me like I was a naughty sheep. His teeth went through my jeans and drew blood. I was quite shocked as he's never done anything like this before.
I already love Shadow so much and will do whatever it takes to make him happy - but I am very worried by his latest behaviour, I have kids and would hate them to get a nip.
Could his behaviour have anything to do with the change of diet?
Julie Wallace, Sunninghill, Berks

I just want to say thank you for all the replies and for pointing out that we were making some of the classic Collie-owner errors! We're taking them all on board and we've stopped playing ball games. Has anyone any good ideas for other games we can play?
Julie and Shadow

The wrong diet can certainly make a lot of collies more hyper, especially those containing too much protein, or those containing artificial additives, like colourings. So the first move I'd recommend is to keep Shadow exclusively on James Wellbeloved, which is an additive-free brand. Don't add anything else to this apart from boiling water to moisten it, and maybe also some gravy and steamed vegetable, particularly green leafy ones.
Also make sure you do not give Shadow any treats or titbits that contain artificial additives or colourings of any kind.
This possible exacerbating factor apart, Shadow's behaviour is still primarily to do with him being a sheepdog - it's just that you, at present, are failing to understand the nature of the breed.
The first thing to appreciate is that Border Collies were bred to work tirelessly, over all terrains and for countless miles, from dawn to dusk each day. That is why your dog never seems tired after what you might consider a 'long' walk.
But chiefly where you have gone wrong is with the endless dreaded ball thowing. People are always doing this with collies. They throw the ball and the dog brings it back, drops it, then stares at it or barks until the owner throws it for them again. On and on it goes incessently, and all the time the owner thinks that he or she is in charge of this whole interaction when in fact it is the dog who is constantly dictating what his owner does.
Once a collie spots this weakness in an owner, he will not stop the pressure to keep the game going, as this activity has brought out the more obsessive working instincts in the dog, with owner and ball replacing sheep as chasing/herding targets in his mind. That is why Shadow has begun trying to round you up. When you put the ball away, you then frustrate him, while he is in a highly aroused state, prompting him to nip you, to keep you moving, like - as you rightly surmised - a stubborn sheep.
To solve this problem, you have got to start acting a lot more like a shepherd and less like a sheep. Shepherds control what sheepdogs do and not the other way around.
Start by understanding that collies are obsessional, strong-willed dogs who need to be handled sensitively and respectfully but also with suitable authority. They also need to be properly training, because if you don't keep dictating the behaviour agenda to them, they will impose their own agenda on you, and others, instead.
A priority for you right now, other than learning how to convey greater authority to Shadow, is to teach him some pretty basic control commands like 'stop', 'stay' and 'down', as without such trained-in commands your dog is pretty much like a car with no brakes or steering. If, for example, you had trained Shadow to lie down and stay while you put his ball away, he would not have been able to rush up and nip you instead.
Similarly, is you got your children to make Shadow lie down and stay down, whenever he became excited around them, this would avert any nipping risks to them. That said, however, no dog should ever be left unsupervised with children, and it is also vital that Shadow has some quiet place of his own to rest any time he wants to, totally undisturbed by anyone and away from any source of noise or other ongoing stimulation.

Collies, toys and the nip reflex
- The instinct of collies to nip, offensively, in response to weakness, and defensively in response to any sudden sense of mental pressure (eg excitement, frustration, fear) is a vital part of their genetic repertoire as livestock working dogs.
- In some dogs, especially those from pure working lines, the instinct can be far stronger, and more easily triggered, than others.
- Many collies end up in rescue centres, or develop more serious aggression problems, simply because their owners failed to understand, and suitably discourage, this instinct from earliest puppyhood onwards.
- Ways to discourage it include making the dog instantly lie down and stay still every time he becomes too excited, and consistently training the dog to retain a calmer mental state, intesting situations, and rewarding him for it.
- Classic ways this instinct can be dangerously exacerbated is through continually over-exciting or over-stimulating the dog with endless chase, tug or 'rough and tumble' games, or poor socialisation, meaning the dog responds more fearfully to stranger dogs/people/experiences, or deliberately winding the dog up in training or competition events like agility.
- Toys can play an important part in collie training but only if you follow these rules: You must be in charge of any toy at any time. You dictate when any game starts or ends and what your dog must do for you in order to continue the game eg he must place the toy back in your hands, not on the ground, then lie down and wait until you tell him he can chase it again. If your dog tries to pressurise you into throwing a toy, instead, instantly stop the game. Do the same if he becomes over-excited, and make him lie down, still, until he calms down again.
- Only throw a toy in this way for a few short and random bursts, to encourage your dog to keep his attention on you, and then continue a walk. Never let your dog become over-excited or over-obsessional about it. Do not keep throwing the toy at the same place, each time, on a walk. Keep changing it.
- When out, also continually make your dog use his brain to find hidden toys. Make the hiding places more and more testing. This will keep him happily occupied and also much calmer.
- Be aware that collies who are perpetually over-stimulated with toys and chase games when out tend to come back from walks more hyper than ever, and can sometimes take hours to fully wind down again.
- The more you wind collies up in this way, the more rarely you will ever find them in a truly calm, balanced and non-reactive mental state, due to the continual impact of adrenalin on their minds and behaviour. Their bodies read this as an ongoing stress response, so it can also have a serious impact, short or long term, on their physical health.

Ideally you need to find a good local trainer near you, who is highly experienced with collies, and can teach you how to better understand and train your dog and show far greater authority to him. All these sujects are also covered in full in my book, 'Understanding the Border Collies' (Broadcast Books: 0117 923 8891). If you have any trouble finding a suitable person locally, please contact me again via Dogs Today.
I am glad you are enjoying owning Shadow so much, but you could be getting so much more out of him with better understanding and training. Believe me, it will be well worth the effort, as once they are suitably understood and well trained, collies can be the most remarkable and rewarding dogs in the world to own.
Carol Price, trainer and behaviourist

What you are describing is normal collie behaviour! If you are going to keep a farm animal bred for hundreds of years to work tirelessly, then you must give it an activity that satifies those instincts. You cannot change a collie into a Labrador or any other breed. Physical exercise alone will only make the dog fitter for more physical exercise. Mental stimulation is what tires dogs. Go to a good dog training school and give him a job to do. Nipping heels is normal herding behaviour for collies and they have not been taught that it is unacceptable to do it to the people they live with.
I suggest that Carol Price's book 'Understanding the Border Collie' should be purchased to start with. Unless you really understand how the breed 'ticks' the behaviour can develop to even more unmanageble levels - obsessive compulsive disorders, self-mutilation, herding children etc.
As for diet, I would certainly not make things worse by feeding foods full of chemicals. If you must feed 'convenience' food, then James Wellbeloved is certainly one of the better ones, but cut out the canned food. Adding Missing Link might be a good idea too.
Gail Gwesyn-Pryce, Dogs Today Advisor

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Poor eater

Our Standard Poodle is 21 months old. He is a calm, sweet natured lad but has always been a very poor eater and seems to have a very sensitive sense of smell. He really sniffs every morsel! We have tried EVERY food, and combination of food, known to man (so please don't go there!) and had blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound scan and urine tests. Sometimes his tummy is very
'tight'. My vet suggested Buscopan (last resort) to see if it made a difference - not for long term use - and it does seem to help a bit although it's early days.
Is there anything I can do to stimulate his appetite more? I know there are tablets for cats but apparently not for dogs. What about the homeopathic route? (We have 2 other dogs who would eat for England......and beyond, so cannot leave food down.)
Wendy Peacock, by email

We lay great store on seeing empty plates after serving a meal to the family, and the same applies to dog bowls. Finishing a portion of food is perceived to be a sign of health, and your dog has been given a clean bill of health by your vet after various investigations.
I wonder what your dog’s waistline is like? Can you see his ribs? Does he look well or under-nourished? I often have owners tell me that their dog eats very little, yet bodyweight is stable and the body condition (how that weight is being carried) is good, ie the dog does not look thin. Some individuals simply do not need the quantity of food recommended – the rate at which their body works is slower than might be expected, especially after neutering.
That leaves two possibilities. One is indicated by your question ‘Is there anything I can do to stimulate his appetite more?’ We all have different kinds of appetites for food. Small dogs seem to favour the grazing approach, viewing every piece of food with suspicion, whereas the Labrador sees the need to polish off a bowl of food, whatever it might be! Although your dog is a standard poodle, it may be that his appetite is more like that of a small dog and he simply will not naturally eat with gusto as you might expect.
I do feel, however, that exercise plays an enormous part; after all, logically if one is burning off energy then there will be a consequent increase in hunger and the urge to tuck into a bowl of food. You describe your standard poodle as being calm - I wonder whether that means he is a bit of a couch potato! I would therefore make sure he is on a good plane of exercise, not necessarily a route march every day but two or three walks of twenty or thirty minutes.
Appetite varies between individuals, and the sight of a full bowl of food can over-face a dog, or human, with a poor appetite. Instead, try splitting the daily ration into two or three smaller meals.
There is also the question of titbits. Is your dog eating between meals? Sounds silly, but I often catch myself telling my children (now 12 and 14 years old so fairly sensible) not to spoil their appetites before supper by snacking (on fruit, I hasten to add). It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling pleased to see a finicky eater having a biscuit or other titbit because he did not eat his meal an hour earlier, when in fact this could be taking the edge of his appetite before his next scheduled meal, as well as unbalancing his diet.
If a dog really will not eat individual meals, then encouraging grazing is a stand-by solution except that, in your case, you cannot leave food down because of the other dogs. I often advise owners to use nuggets from the daily ration as titbits when trying to instigate weight loss if they cannot break the titbit habit, so that there is no net increase in energy eaten. For your dog, this could be a way to ensure he eats his allotted portion over the day but it could also reinforce the problem with eating meals.
There is also the possibility of this being a behavioural problem. Food is often used as a manipulative tool by children and adults, and I feel it can be a way for dogs to exert dominance over their owners. I will be interested to hear what a behaviourist thinks.
Alison Logan, vet

Owners are very often concerned about their dog’s eating habits, but as long as the dog isn’t excessively thin or losing weight there is probably little to worry about. Some dogs are just not as interested in food as others. This may be due to breed related differences of priority; Labradors are notoriously greedy, but Collies are more interested in running around. It may be that they experienced pain after eating when they were young, or had a series of gastrointestinal upsets that made them wary of food. Trying to overcome a lack of appetite by offering different kinds of food will often make the situation worse, as the dog learns to hold off eating in order to get attention or better quality food. This is probably not the situation with your dog, but it is worth mentioning as a warning to others.
If you are concerned that your dog is ill, or he is losing weight, there may still be some more obscure problems that are worth investigating. One is a condition called Addison’s disease. This can cause weight loss and loss of appetite, but it is not picked up on routine blood tests. Dogs with Addison’s may experience pain after eating, which makes them wary of what they eat. Another issue is food intolerance or allergy; he may get abdominal pain after eating because he cannot digest his food or he is having an immune response to it.
Buscopan works by reducing intestinal cramp; it isn’t an appetite stimulant. Buscopan would not affect appetite in a normal dog. If this drug helps your dog it implies that he has some ongoing abdominal discomfort that needs to be investigated and sorted out.
I suggest that you review the situation with your vet and consider asking for a referral to a specialist for further investigation. There is no point giving an appetite stimulant unless you are sure that the dog is genuinely healthy; the drug will only work temporarily and you could make your dog ill.
Jon Bowen, behaviourist

All's not swell

About six weeks ago Katie, my GSD, developed a large swelling on her rump. As you can see from the picture, it is about saucer size. I took her to our vet who guessed that it might be a strain and prescribed anti-inflammatory tablets. Since then there has been no change whatsoever. I took her back this evening and a different vet stated that she had never come across such a swelling high up on the rump. The swelling is very hard and not pliable at all. It does not cause any discomfort to Katie and she is fit and active in every way. She runs, performs, eats and even sleeps on that side without any reaction.
The vet gave us two options - one, leave well alone and see what happens, or two, carry out an investigation with a biopsy. I am reluctant to take option two as I am sure the other dogs have experienced similar swellings and I would be most grateful if you could offer some suggestions.
Brian Gore, Bath

This is the type of conundrum they might give vet students at college! Let’s break it down into possible causes and see what we can do to make progress in this case.
We have a firm, circular, soft tissue swelling on the right rump of diameter about 15cms across and about five centimetres high. The mass is forward of the hip on the right side of the spine in the area approximately over the sacro-iliac joint. It is apparently painless and was unresponsive to anti-inflammatories.
A simplified list of the different diagnoses would look like this:

• Bone fracture
• Haematoma
• Bruising

• Parasites – worms under the skin
• Bacteria – abscess
• Yeast – less likely
• Fungi – dermatomycosis

Neoplasia (Cancer)

Auto-immune disease
• eg dermatomyositis

• Environment
• Food

Congenital/Hereditary Disease

I hope this list gives you an inkling of what goes through every vet’s mind during every consultation. We all chat and smile and look after your animal, but actually we’ve got a list something like this in our heads and we’re actually ticking things off even as you enter the consulting room.
On this list we can initially remove fractures as we haven’t got any pain. Parasites are a possibility and could be easily investigated, as with infection. Allergy is less likely as there are no other signs (itching or hair loss). The same is true for inherited diseases, but auto-immune disease would only be investigated using full biopsy of the mass.
My feeling in this situation would be to consider a Fine Needle Aspirate Biopsy (FNAB) initially. This is where the vet, usually without having to sedate the patient, inserts a fine needle into the lump then draws back on an attached syringe. If there is no pus or blood to serum in the lump, initial diagnosis is immediately possible. The material removed from the lump can be sent for analysis to identify it microscopically.
Ultrasound scanning of the lump is another simple tool that could allow the vet to gain, simply, information on the mass without being too invasive.
I would suggest doing the above needle biopsy and ultrasonography and then making a decision from there as to where to go in treatment or further tests.
All medicine, be it conventional or complementary, is best performed where a full diagnosis has been made.
If the vets diagnose it as a harmless benign lump of some sort, you can rest easy.
Nick Thompson, holistic vet

Pain relief

Please can you help with an upsetting problem with my 13-year-old Italian Greyhound bitch. Her eyesight is not so good now and any kind of movement causes her to yelp or scream. She jumps at speed and yells as if being beaten. She is otherwise healthy. I have tried drops of Rock Rose Larch Aspen and Mimulus but with little success.

As a ‘conventional’ vet, I must confess that I have not come across Rock Rose Larch Aspen and Mimulus. I will therefore look forward to reading any response from my ‘alternative’ colleagues on the Think Tank because I do consider myself broadminded and am always happy to consider alternative therapies.
This is especially so in the situation you are describing, because my own Labrador Retriever is often similarly afflicted, especially after strenuous exercise. For her, it is often neck pain because she cannot bend down to her food bowl, and to see a hungry Labrador unable to reach her food is not a happy sight. Her bowl is now seated in a stand to raise it off the floor.
At other times she squeals for no particular reason, and cannot jump into the car. I suspect she would be unable to go up and down our stairs, if she had not been trained to stay downstairs.
Pippin has responded very well to high dose glucosamine, either as a supplement or more recently incorporated into a prescription diet for joint health. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight is also important, neither over- nor underweight. In reserve, when Pippin has an acute flare-up, then a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is invaluable to alleviate the pain.
I know how distressing it is when Pippin squeals with pain so I can understand your concerns. Back pain is uncomfortable and depressing for us so it must be even more so for a dog. It is important to remember that back pain is a sign of an underlying problem and you should have your dog examined by a vet – there may be something else going on for which there is a specific or more suitable treatment.
Alison Logan, vet

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Death by chocolate?

Can anyone explain to me why chocolate is so very bad for dogs but makes us feel great? I've heard about a chemical that is in dark chocolate that is potentially fatal for dogs, but how are we and they so different? That chemical obviously doesn't effect us in the same way - although the calories do do me in! And is this chemical bad for any other pets? What effect does this chemical have on us - couldn't the chocolate people take it out as a precaution for everyone just to stop dogs dying?
Also - how do the manufacturers make doggie chocolate safe? How much human chocolate is bad for dogs?
My nan always used to give her Cairn a chocolate digestive when she had one and that dog lived to 11 without a problem. Are some dogs more sensitive than others?

Human chocolate is harmful to dogs because of the theobromine in the cocoa. There are dog chocolate products in the market, however some can still contain small amounts of cocoa. The completely dog safe chocolate option which contains no cocoa are the Good Boy Choc Drops. They are made with a carob formulation which is safe for dogs and are available in most good pet shops and grocery stores.
Samantha Hollas, Armitages

Lead Aggression

We rehomed Scooby, a two-year-old Deerhound-Greyhound cross six months ago, and we are pleased with the way he has settled down with our other Lurcher, Honey. However, we do have a couple of issues that are now becoming problems.
When Scooby is running free he plays happily with most of the dogs we meet, but when he is on a lead he will bark at any approaching dogs and will lunge at them if they walk past sounding really aggressive. In turn this starts Honey off and ends up with them both getting so fired up that they turn on each other, which is horrible as they usually get on so well together.
We are becoming very upset about this problem as I am sure everyone is starting to think that Scooby is aggressive when really he is so friendly. We have tried being stern with him, but because he is so strong I am finding it harder than my husband to control him and I'm not enjoying our walks at all.
He also goes absolutely mad when he sees a cat and I just can't seem to control the situation. I would appreciate any help.
Therese Taylor, by email

Carol Price, trainer and behaviourist, says...
Goodness me, I can understand your concern, as nobody wants to spend dog walks -which should essentially be a pleasurable activity - feeling and looking more like a cross between a lion tamer and a water skier!
The behaviour you describe in Scooby clearly stems from the frustration of being restrained on a lead and not able to properly interact with other dogs he passes. This in turn gets externalized into the aggressive behaviour which then sets Honey off. It is also likely your own response to this e.g. tensing when other dogs approach, tugging on the lead or shouting has made the problem even worse.
You desperately need more help with the training and handling of your dogs. You could start by fitting Scooby with a headcollar device—if you haven’t already done so—like a Halti or Gentle Leader. This should immediately make it that much easier to control him.
Thereafter, rather than just becoming heated and upset when your dogs kick off, you need to teach them alternative ways of reacting instead when other dogs approach and pass by - like the ‘sit and watch me’ exercise - in return for really tasty treats and praise. Begin teaching this exercise first where there are no other dogs around to distract yours. Only when this exercise is well trained in, use it when passing other dogs.
You will also have to learn to far better anticipate when your dogs are just about to kick off, and get in there quick to give them an alternative ‘calming’ command before they do so.
A good trainer should show you how to do all this, and also be able to organize other owners and dogs to help you. Such helpers should have calm, non-reactive dogs and keep walking past and around Scooby and Honey while you teach them calmer ways to behave. Ideally this should be done in the context of your normal walks, and not in some indoor training hall, which is a somewhat artificial atmosphere.
Unfortunately owners like yourself can so often get caught in a Catch 22-type trap, in that the more their dogs get frustrated and lunge/bark at others, the more other owners and their dogs will avoid them. This then greatly limits the quantity and quality of their interactions with their own kind, as well as their chance to learn better ways of behaving around them.
When owners start getting tense, distressed or angry at their dogs’ behaviour towards other dogs, this can also quickly escalate the problem, leading to negative/hostile associations with other dogs, in their own dogs’ minds, that were not there before.
For all these reasons, as I said, it is very important to find yourself a good trainer/behaviourist who can teach you how to handle your dogs that much better in these kind of scenarios, as well as show them how to be more confident and calmer in the presence of their own kind.
If you cannot find a good one locally, try any of the following organisations: The UK Registry of Canine Behaviourists: 01535 635290, or Association of Pet Dog Trainers: 01285 810811,

Vivian Silverstein, COAPE Association of Behaviourists and Trainers, says…
This is actually a very common problem. Re-directed aggression is often the result of frustration when a dog cannot approach another dog fast enough or is apprehensive about being on a lead, unable to run for safety. Without a thorough assessment of the dogs concerned I would hesitate to say which of the above is causing the problem.
When a dog is off lead he is very much able to move towards or away from other dogs freely. Nor is his body language inhibited by any owner interactions and use of lead. Therefore he feels more in control of a situation and is more able to deal with it calmly.
I would recommend that you fit both dogs with a Gentle Leader. This will help to calm the dogs and prevent them lunging. This should help to prevent the re-directed aggression. Also I recommend you enroll on a good clicker training class, which should help you to use appropriate skills to reinforce any good behaviour increasing the likelihood of it being repeated. Most good classes will include 'Meet N Greet' which shows you how to deal with your dog in these very situations.
You are likely to be up against genetic 'hard wiring' regarding his reaction to cats. His breed type could mean that he just can't help himself from reacting as he does, but you can learn to manage the problem to a degree with the training.

Gail Gwesyn-Pryce, Dogs Today Advisor
This is a very common problem when dogs are on the lead. They are not able to exhibit normal body postures which can then be misconstrued by another dog. This is generally made even worse by the handler's reactions. Going to a good training school (or having one-to-one training) to teach the dog how to concentrate on you as YOU are in control will help. Dogs off-lead will never approach head-on, yet when on-lead we are constantly asking them to do this.
When training a new dog you need to have it away from your other dog until you can control the behaviour, then work with the two together. However, if the older dog has also not been trained to a good standard then you also need to work on her too individually. It sounds like the older dog is taking over trying to control the new dog because she knows that you are not able to.
In the meantime you need to avoid the incidences that are creating the problems as otherwise they will only get worse - try and walk the dogs at a distance they are comfortable with then other dogs are around.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Panda Shepherds

I've just heard of something called a Panda Shepherd. Is it an early April fool is this another new breed? If it is a cross, what is it a cross between?
I can't imagine anyone needing a dog to herd Pandas! But I guess anything is possible!
Olivia Morris, Walton-On-Thames