What is a dog?

As most people know, dogs evolved from wolves.  Whilst wolves and dogs are still the same species and can interbreed, our dogs’ ancestors evolved from the wolf a long time ago, not as hunters, but as scavengers around human settlements.  Scavengers have no need to hunt cooperatively as a pack and therefore dogs have less

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Doggie body language

https://youtu.be/gC4kvrH4jaw Dog body language – and why we need to understand it! In no way is this video exhaustive more just a series of snap shots.  Hopefully it will help you to think about what dogs are ‘saying;’ and to start to tune your observation skills. Body language is a dog’s main method of communication Dogs

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The walk: ‎

The daily walk is likely to be the high point of your dog’s day, whether it is likely to be the high point of your day will depend upon a number of factors!  Some days nothing goes wrong and your walk is relaxing and perfect, whereas other days everything goes wrong.  You have probably noticed

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Neutering male dogs:

We tend to neuter most dogs in our society although this policy is starting to come under scutiny.  In Norway it is now illegal to neuter your dog without a proven reason.  The health benefits of spaying female dogs fall in favour of spaying, however, when it comes to male dogs, the health benefits fall

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Spay and behaviour

Hormones affect behaviour, both in dogs and humans, therefore it stands to reason that removing hormones by spaying, will affect behaviour too.  Female hormones go up and down naturally, and an unspayed bitch will be subject to the behavioural influences of her hormones around the time of her season.  Whilst the health of dogs benefits

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Trigger stacking: ‎

it is common amongst behaviourists and trainers to refer to whatever it is that causes an individual animal (this applies to people too!) to react as ‘triggers’.  Different stimuli can trigger a fearful, frustrated or excited response depending upon the dog and the situation. If a single ‘trigger’ occurs, provided it isn’t too intense (close,

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The Yellow Dog

You may have seen dogs out and about dressed in an array of yellow paraphernalia!  The Yellow Dog Project is an interesting and potentially very useful idea.  Basically, if a dog has a yellow collar, harness, lead or has a yellow ribbon tied to the lead then it may indicate that they need space from

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What is a cat?

Cats don’t always get along with other cats.  It should be easier to understand why an already resident cat might not automatically get on with a new cat, and vice versa, if one understands what a cat is. In order to provide properly for more than one cat living under the same roof and facilitate

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Introducing your new cat

This article follows on from my previous blog article ‘what is a cat’ which attempts to explain cats.  From there one can deduce what a cat needs.  As discussed in the previous article, when introducing a new cat, both the resident and new cat will need their own ‘core territory’. When introducing another cat you

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Dogs and cats:

Many people own both dogs and cats and the age old rivalry can cause problems.  However, setting up both dog and cat to succeed will help friendship blossom. The first priority is to ensure that the cat, as both predator and prey species, has a safe area.  Cats need a ‘core’ territory and shouldn’t have

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we were very unfortunate in that our first cat, Mog who we had had from our friends as a tiny kitten was hit by a car and killed on our street – virtually on his first birthday.  Vowing next to get a grown up cat who knew the risks, I went down to the RSPCA

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Daisy: ‎

was a Border Terrier cross Jack Russell with a bit of Parson Russell thrown in, giving her lovely long legs.  She’s the only dog we had had who was not a rescue.  She was family bred, eager to please, cooperative and delightful.  We taught each other so much and she was an asset to the

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Rover came to us from a local rescue centre in 2011 when he was somewhere between 8 and 10 months old.  He had come in as a stray and he was still serving his first 7 days waiting to be claimed when we spotted him.  Luckily for us, his old owner never came.  The rescue

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was a proper 1930’s comic book mongrel, there aren’t many dogs like him anymore, a proper Heinz 57!  We found him at a local rescue centre where he had been a regular visitor.  We were never very sure of Fowler’s breeding but it seems likely that he was a Foxhound cross.  He was definitely a

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We brought Spot home when she was 8 weeks old.  After Daisy died, Tim, my husband said, “if we are to get another dog (and I’m not sure that we should) we must get a small dog, a puppy of the ‘right’ age”.  By this, he meant 8 weeks so that we could socialise her/him

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Expert witness report regarding Spot Kirby – Kendal Shepherd, BVSc., MRCVS

Report regarding:- Spot, a 10-year-old neutered female Staffordshire bullterrier/Jack Russell terrier crossbreed, belonging to Claire Kirby   Purpose and scope of report:- To give a retrospective overview of a Dangerous Dogs Act Section 3 case from the point of view of an expert witness in dog behaviour in the light of charges brought against Ms

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Dogs are more ‘in the moment’ than us and I can’t help but be reminded of this when I’m walking our dogs on a hot day and Rover chooses to simply stop in the shade rather than rushing home.  He doesn’t have to get home to get ready to go to work.  Dogs are perfectly

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Mindfulness for dogs:

Apart from starting to meditate and learning to come back to the present and noticing the moment many, many times a day, if you would like your dog to be more relaxed it helps to start small.  Exercise: Many people get their dog to stop and sit at every curb.  Why not use this opportunity to

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Cats and wildlife

People assume cats are destroying wildlife.  With approx. 10.8 million owned cats in the UK in 2021 there are certainly a lot of cats and there is also not much wildlife left.  Correlation or causation? Cats undoubtedly decimate populations of wildlife and are cited as having contributed to the decline and extinction of 367 and

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Worms, fleas and their treatments in the environment – it’s worse than I thought

The majority of dogs and cats routinely receive flea and worm treatments containing toxic chemicals – the ‘active ingredients’.  Many worm and flea treatments now come together in a single treatment either as a (easy to administer and ever growing in popularity) ‘spot-on’ or as orally administered treatments.  Spot-on treatments are finding their way into

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Petfood packaging has a quick turnover and almost immediately ends up in the bin.  These fast-moving consumer goods, known in the trade as consumer packaged goods (or CPG’s), account for much of a household’s waste. Cat food pouches are the worst if you ask me – the unrecyclable, eternal, pouch packet is the epitome of

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How the way we deal with our dogs’ poo has changed since writing the safe disposal of pet waste article:

We made a dog poo-composter for the garden!  We do regular ‘worm counts’ https://www.wormcount.com/ and so we are reasonably sure that their poo hasn’t too many nastys in.  However, the worm count will only really look at round worms, tape worms and hook worms and these are easily dealt with once you know that they

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How the way we treat our pets for worms and fleas has changed since writing the ‘worms, fleas and their treatments..’ article.

Rather than worm our pets periodically and unscientifically like we did before, we now do regular worm counts through wormcount.com.  This requires putting a bit of fresh poo in a bag in an envelope and sending it off.  A basic ‘worm egg count’ costs £18 (October 2022) and looks for gastrointestinal nematodes (gut roundworms) and

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