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Hot Weather Tips for Dogs

Dogs need to stay cool in hot weather
Keep your dog cool in the warm weather

One of the reasons we own dogs is so we can take them out and share the many beautiful walks we have in the UK. However, we need to be mindful of our dogs needs and health considerations before we go on a day trip.

PUPPIES CAN NOT REGULATE HEAT LIKE AN ADULT DOG

so these tips are especially important for them

If you plan to take your dog out in the car, how will you keep it safe? We all love the image of a dog with its head out of the car window, ears and tongue flapping in the breeze as all the smells are inhaled up its nostrils at high speed. But, did you know this is a very unsafe way to transport your doggie?

Please click the link below to learn 5 tips to take your dog out in the car safely to find out more.

  1. Short nosed breeds, such as the French Bulldog, Pug and Bulldogs can die very quickly when over exercised in hot weather. Please limit any exertion to before 11 AM and after 4 PM in hot weather and for no longer than 15 minutes.
  2. Don’t let your dog gulp down loads of water in one go after exercise! This can cause vomiting and in some cases Bloat, which can cause a rapid death. Water should be given in small amounts and often.
  3. Be careful where you ask your dog to walk. You should be able to hold your hand on the surface for at least 5 seconds without the heat feeling uncomfortable. Be especially careful on sand. I was surprised how hot the sand was in Porthcawl last year and my feet did actually burn.
  4. Allow lots of breaks for your dog. A dog loves nothing more than sitting down on the grass, in the shade of a large tree and slowly inhaling the wonderful scents and smells all around.
  5. These signs mean your dog is too hot, excessive panting, lying on one side and panting heavily with its tongue out, tears or water coming from its eyes.

Also be very careful where you take your dog and how long for. If you have a drivey little dog, taking it a village festival, or country fair may not be ideal as there will be so many people smells and distractions it will just be overstimulated and it may easily overheat.

If you have any more questions please feel free to reach out below. If you have any tips to keep your doggy cool, please drop them in the comments below.

Featured

Get Your FREE 2022 Calendar Here

To celebrate the first year of my dog training business I have created a FREE calendar for 2022. The calendar features just some of my canine students over the last 12 months and how they progressed through their dog training classes.

In line with the global effort to reduce our carbon emissions, I have not printed the calendars but they will are available electronically here for you to download and print off at home. If you would like one printed professionally, please let me know.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2022.

Take a peek to see if your canine is featured here.

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5 Things That happen in Our First Dog Training Session

Congratulations, you have taken your first step in realising your dog or puppy needs training. I am sure you are thinking,what happens next? So I have decided to break down what happens on the first dog training session and open up all the possibilities that lie ahead of you and your canine pal in the dog training world.

  1. One on One Canine Training

The first thing to know is that all training is one on one. I come to your home and simply sit and talk to you about your doggie and the things you would like to work on. 

  1. I will ignore your dog

On the first visit, I will ignore your dog. This is not me being rude or uncaring, I am simply doing this to understand how you interact with your doggie and what he or she is used to doing in your home. 

  1. We will train as long as you need to 

There is no need to book a set amount of lessons at a time. We will work week by week until you think you are at a point where your dog needs to be.

  1. You will need to do your homework

Each week we will discuss what you would like to work on; it might be to stop jumping up on visitors for example. I will show you how to fix the problem using positive dog training methods and then I will ask you to carry out the dog training exercises for about five minutes per day until our next lesson.

  1. We train in your home, your garden and your neighbourhood

I want the training we carry out to be relevant to you and your family. I have no doubt I will be able to successfully train your dog, but my goal is to develop a partnership between you and your dog or puppy so you can enjoy your life together in your home, garden, neighbourhood etc. 

Things to Keep our Dogs Safe As Winter Approaches

Dogs can easily get lost in windy weather

Windy weather can make life difficult for us dog owners. Not only does it make walks tricky, it can also place our dogs in danger. I have created a list of things we need to watch out for to keep our doggies safe.

If you have a garden, now is the time to do a perimeter check to make sure all your fences are strong and secure. A blown down fence panel can mean a dog can go outside for it’s break and easily wander through a gap. You may not realise that your doggy has wondered off while you are eating your toast or brushing your teeth.

The wind can bring some very exciting smells front and center to our dogs incredible sense of smell. Did you know that a dogs sense of smell is in fact estimated to be anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times better than a humans? To put this in to perspective, a dog can smell up to 40 ft BELOW GROUND!

If your recall is not strong, then keep your dog on a lead. Auditory commands are secondary to dogs, and can be hard to hear when combined with blustery weather and teeming rain. If you need some help brushing up your recall skills, I have created a little video here that will help. I have also found teaching whistle recall incredibly useful with my dogs, please reach out if you would like more information as to how to train this.

Always make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag. According to the RSPCA the legal requirement is that your dogs tag MUST contain your name and your address . I also add my phone number as usually that is the quickest way for the owner to be contacted. Without a collar and ID tag it is possible that your dog may be seized and treated as a stray. This can be very costly as most shelters charge at least £80 for the dog to be released. It is also a legal requirement for a dog to be micro-chipped, but for this dog to be identified it usually needs to be taken to the vet to be scanned.

Bright colours for you and your dog are also important. Make sure you can be seen easily, wear reflective clothing and always take our phone with you in case you run it to difficulties. Stay out of deep water and stay away from river beds.

Do you have any top tips for staying safe during the winter months? Please share them below.

Saying Thank You to our Veterans on Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is a time to remember the service and sacrifice of those members of the armed forces who risked and gave their lives in order that we may enjoy our freedoms. This of course means we pay our respects the the courageous men and women who served Britain and the commonwealth. Many of these brave armed service personnel will have also been ably assisted by animals.

Our minds naturally think of pigeons, dogs and horses when it comes to animals being used in war time, but did you know the list of animals also stretches to Elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries, even glow worms ?

The Animals in War Memorial is a beautiful dedication to the service that animals have played in combat to protect our freedoms. A link to the site with visitor information can be found here.

animals in war
A memorial to animals who made sacrifices for us in combat

As a mark of respect and in order to help those veterans finding the cost of living crisis especially hard, I have decided to donate £1 of every full price lesson between October 27th and November 13th to the Royal British Legion.

I recently bought my 3 doggies these lovely poppy collar pendants.

If you want to find other ways to support our veterans, you can shop here at the Royal British Legion Shop https://www.poppyshop.org.uk/search?page=2&q=dog

Spooky Halloween Dog Training Deal!

Trick or Treat!

In the spooky spirit of Halloween I have come up with a frighteningly good deal for October.

Book one full price lesson and get one at half price.

The more you book , the more you save! So get ready for winter and get your dog trained before it gets too dark at night and the cold weather sets in.

Lessons can be used anytime but must be bought and paid for in October.

Comment below if you have any questions or would like to book.

You can also click here if you’d like to know what will happen in our first lesson.

Payments can be made online with your bank and using Paypal.

All payments are issued with an invoice and receipt.

Fall Faves for Walking the Dog

Autumn is here and with that brings chilly dark mornings. add in the dark starts to the day and the joy of walking the dogs (for me anyway) turns to dread. So what can we do to wrap up warm against the Fall weather and look stylish as we get our exercise and fun with our pooches?

Do We Need to Put Coats on our Dogs?

In most cases the answer is no. Dogs have evolved to have coats that attune to the local weather. For instance, when my dogs lived in the Cayman Islands they did not have undercoats, they simply didn’t need them in a climate that rarely fell below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now we live in Wales, my Shepherd mix, Hobo gladly sheds his coat twice a year to insure he is well insulated. Sixteen year old Rosa however, has really has never developed an undercoat and will sit and shiver with me on the couch as the winter draws in.

There is a school of thought that says if you keep your dog bundled up in coats and jumpers it will weaken its own coat and prevent that natural undercoat development.

We must remember that older dogs and puppies do not regulate heat well. So, as we take extra care to keep them cool in the summer, we must take care to keep them warm as temperatures drop in Autumn.

The other reason I like to get my dogs coats is to protect them, me and the house from mud and rain; but this really is a cosmetic desire rather than a necessary requirement for my dogs.

How Much Do I need to Spend?

My favourite place to but doggy clothes is B&M. They offer stylish coats, jumpers and accessories for doggies of all shapes and sizes at a budget to suit all pockets. Look at the cute little scarves here! Personally, I don’t like to spend too much on dog clothes as my eldest girl, Rosa will at any given chance, come back from the bushes “naked”. Sometimes the rain coat I have carefully selected for her reappears weeks later as the leaves fall from the trees.

I also enjoy visiting stores such as Pets at Home to get slightly higher end labels for the doggies such as Barbour coats.

What Should I Wear?

For me, an absolute must is a bobble hat. I feel naked if I go out in the colder months without a hat on my head. In fact I have had people fail to recognise me when I am not wearing a hat. Other fall dog walking favourites for me are my Hunter wellies, thick fleecy socks inside of them to keep my feet warm and of course my waterproofs.

What about you? What MUST you have now the days are getting darker and colder for you and your dog?

Let me know in the comments below:

Help Me Walk 60 Miles for Ukrainian Dogs in Need

Help me raise money for animals displaced by the war in Ukraine
The Paws and Prayers Charity are raising funds for animals displaced by the war in Ukraine

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, with around 6.7 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced. Not only has it hugely affected the cost of living across the world, it has also provoked fear and uncertainty in those watching.

As you will imagine, many of those who have had to flee their homes had pets. Some managed to take their pets with them, but many had to leave their beloved pets behind.

My pets are so important to me. They are my reason to get up every morning, my reason to work and my reason to walk out of the door. They are how I meet other people and I love spending time training mine and other people’s dogs. 

I remember watching television and looking at a poor lady with her darling little calico cat stuffed in a holdall in an underground shelter. I also have a calico cat and at the time, I felt through the television their fear of such an unknown, uncertain situation and it reduced me to tears. I imagined how they must be missing their little routine of meal times and cuddles in front of the television. That experience prompted me to donate cat carriers to The Underdog Charity so at least some people may be able to carry their kitties to places of safety.

Recently the 60 Mile Dog Walking Challenge challenge popped up on my Facebook page and it seemed like a perfect way to help support the needs of those whose pets are affected by the war in Ukraine. Some people may say that humans should be put before animals, but in my mind, pets provide such comfort, balance and peace of mind to us humans that to help animals, is in fact, to help humans.

At the time of writing, the 60 Mile Dog Walking Challenge has 1900 members. We members have pledged to walk 60 miles in August and raise £150 each for the Wild at Heart Foundation. The money raised will fund emergency aid for refugees fleeing Ukraine with their dogs and for the dogs who have been left behind to seek shelter in abandoned and bombed buildings.

I ask you to donate at least £1 to my challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/744816686785578/

So far we have walked about 55 miles, so any help and encouragement you can give me Rosa Hobo and Cairo will really help spur us on for the final few days!

Every donation made will make an impact. Thank you for your support.

3 dogs on a walk for Ukraine
L-R Rosa 16, Hobo 4, Cairo 6 months

UPDATE: We did it! We completed our challenge on 31st August 2022 and you lovely people raised £58 for the dogs displaced by war in Ukraine. I also donated in memory of the gorgeous Sinbad who sadly died during the month of August. So in total our little effort and your kind donations raised over £60 to be used by the Wild at Heart Foundation in Ukraine. Here is an idea as to how the money will be used:

£10 can vaccinate a puppy

£25 can sterilize a stray dog

£50 could provide a weeks urgent shelter

£120 can feed a stray dog for a year

Thank you all so much. We love you loads.

Cost of Living Changes

Brown Dobermann puppy
Changes to Hot Dog Trainers schedule

I wanted to write to you and let you know I have taken up a full-time position of employment. This is an attempt to provide me with some financial security as we move in to winter and the cost of living crisis lingers above our heads. The closure of Maerdy Mountain and the high price of fuel has also severely impacted my ability to affordably travel to my clients.

You are my valued customer and I will still be offering my services. At the moment, I will only be able to train or walk dogs at weekends. Hopefully after the following two weeks I will start to get days off in the week when training and walking will be scheduled. Training appointments will now be by prepaid appointment only.

I appreciate your patience in this situation and I look forward to working with you and your canine friends soon.

5 Reasons Dog Training Lessons Fail

Dog Training is a process that can take some time to rewrite unwanted behaviour

There is no right way to train a dog. There is only the way that works for you and your dog. Of course, there are methods that preferred by certain organisations, such as the RSPCA or The Kennel Club, but ultimately the communication with you and your dog is the only thing that is important. So, if you want your dog training lessons to work, consider the 5 points below:

  1. You don’t understand the theory

Most dog trainers will have their own way of training dogs. You may find trainers that follow positive methods and you may find trainers that follow compulsion or negative methods. In fact, when you start to delve deep in to dog training methods it can become very controversial especially when discussing the words positive and negative. The most important thing is that you understand what your trainer is aiming to achieve and how it should be achieved. If you do not, please ask questions. Your trainer will appreciate it.

2. You find it difficult to listen

No doubt you have been having issues with your dog for a while. When the dog trainer arrives, you will probably want to unload all the issues you are having with your dog. A badly behaved dog can be VERY frustrating to live with and when the trainer finally arrives you just want someone to listen. This is perfectly fine and in fact very helpful for your dog trainer as she will be able to hear little golden nuggets of information that will help her piece together what is going wrong. You must give that same respect your dog trainer.  In this fast-paced instant fix world we live in, listening skills may be hard to attune. But listening to your trainer and watching what she does is CRITICAL to success in your training lessons. Look at her body language, look how she works with the dog. Listen to the key phrases she repeats over and over. Listen to the instructions she gives. Make notes if you need to or ask your trainer to repeat what she has done at the end of the lesson.

3. You want an instant fix

As I mentioned earlier, we are used to things being fixed easily in the fast-paced modern world. But we need to remember that dogs are ancient animals that need our patience. A lot of these bad behaviours have been allowed to develop over time while our doggies have been on this earth. We can’t fix these effectively with a point and click solution. You need to work with your dog and communicate. You need to devote time a little bit of time every day and commit to success with your dog. The words, “I can’t” and “I’ll try” should be erased from your mind when you train with your dog. This should be a positive time. Commit to success.  If you know your dog has issues walking on the lead, do not take it to a busy dog park. Start with training your dog to leave the house in a controlled manner. Small steps carried out successfully will build success.

4. You want the dog trainer to do the work

You will probably see the dog trainer work wonders with your dog and then when you take the lead, you revert back to the old issues.  I have had students say to me, “I just want you to train the dog.” I have carried out board and train for some clients who live a distance from me, but I can’t be there in your homes for you. You need to commit to work towards success with your dog.

5. Hard to accept that what you were doing wasn’t working

Most dog trainers are dog people first and animal people second. That is why they choose to work with animals. Sometimes this can mean that the advice or instructions given may be very direct and cut a bit close to the bone.  Please look through your discomfort and understand the reason why the advice was given. As a dog trainer I know that you love your dog. I know that you have called me because you want the best for you and your dog. I will always do my best to keep lessons positive and fun as I want you to enjoy training your dog. I also know that sometimes I will have to tell you things that are a bit too close to home. Please understand that my only reason to do this is to help you and your doggy. It is not to offend you or hurt you.

The keener readers of this article may have noticed that at no one time did I blame the dog. As your dog training journey continues you will realise more and more that your dog’s behaviour is more and more linked to your connection and relationship with the dog. It is never the dogs fault. Please be wary of dog trainers who say a family pet dog is un-trainable. Expectations with you and your dog can always be accommodated and managed with good training advice.

So, do you think you are ready to improve your dogs behaviour? What would you like to work on? Reach out to me in the comments section below. I am excited to hear from you.

Hot Weather and Dogs – What You Need to Know

Image by shamyiukuen from Pixabay
Dogs love to lie in front of a cool fan in the Summer.

The UK is facing a RED WEATHER ALERT for the weekend of July 16th 2022. So, what does that mean for us and our dogs?

My first piece of advice for you is, Do Not Go Out in the Hot Weather unless you really need to. Our emergency services are already stretched to the point where they are unable to cope, so please don’t be selfish and potentially add to that burden. Also remember out of hours veterinary calls can be expensive and sometimes hard to get, so please don’t put your dog at risk if you don’t need to.  If you do go out, please do not take your dog.

This is especially important for Puppies and short nosed breeds such as Pugs and French Bull Dogs.

In my interview here with James Hanson on the Radio Bristol Breakfast show, I share the dangers of taking dogs out in hot weather as well as the unknown side effects of giving too much water in the effort of keeping our dogs cool.

Most of us know that prevention is better than cure and that is also the case when it come to avoiding heatstroke with us and our doggies. When a dog starts to overheat it can affect it’s brain and major organs so we really need to make sure it doesn’t happen. Many effects of heat stroke are very scary and can repeat when we become hot again.

So, if you are staying home what ways can you keep your doggies cool?

Ice is our friend: we can place it in our dog’s water to keep the water bowl and water nice and cold. We can also place ice in a tea towel and gently rub our dogs down with it. Be careful of letting your dogs crunch ice cubes as this may break teeth. There are also lots of lovely cooling blankets, neckerchiefs available from various pet and home stores.

We need to be careful of water! Don’t let your dog gulp down loads of water in one go, especially after exercise! This can cause vomiting and in some cases Bloat, which can cause a rapid death. Water should be given in small amounts and often. Hosing down your dog is not a good way to keep your canine companion cool. A dog’s coat is its insulation system and is critical in keeping its body at the correct temperature. If you soak a dog in water, it will not be able to dissipate heat properly through its coat. I like to just let my doggies get their feet and bellies wet in a paddling pool.

Cool treats: Giving your dog something cool to chew on will also help. How about slicing carrots long ways and putting them in the freezer for a nice cool chewy snack? These are especially great for teething puppies! You can also freeze things like chicken broth into ice cubes and give those when Fido feels hot. They won’t be so hard to chew as pure ice as they have more ingredients. Or why not make these lovely doggies popsicles?

We know that our dogs love a hot fire in the summer, well they also love to lie in front of a cool fan in the Summer. Just be careful of the cord…. especially with puppies.

What if my dog gets too hot?

Here are the signs of heatstroke in dogs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Lying on one side and panting heavily with its tongue out
  • Tears or water coming from its eyes
  • Restlessness or agitation, pacing, seeking shade or water
  • Red gums or tongue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

If you see any of these symptoms, immediately remove your dog from the heat source and get them to some shade. If you can, place them in front of a fan on a cool floor to reduce the body temperature. You can place cold water or ice on the feet and ears. CALL THE VET as soon as possible and advise what is happening. They will tell you what to do next. You should also have a thermometer handy so you can give the vet the dog’s temperature when on the phone. Learn how to take your dog’s temperature here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gEcfZuXm5s

I always have a “bendy ended” digital thermometer in the home or with me if we go out.

Do you have any cool weather tips for dogs? Maybe you have some yummy recipes that keep your doggies cool. Share them with me in the comments below:

Heat Effects on Dogs and Puppies

Keep your short nosed breed dog cool in the heat
Pugs and French Bulldogs especially struggle in the heat

Everyone loves enjoying the hot summer months and many of us enjoy spending time outside with our dogs and puppies. But did you know your canine companion can get heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke? Here are some signs to look for while out with your dog in the warm weather:

  • Heavy, frantic panting
  • Dehydration
  • Body temperature over 41° Celsius (feels warm to the touch)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Lack of coordination (ataxia)
  • Unconsciousness

Any of these symptoms can be very scary and can develop very rapidly, leaving you unable to react quickly enough. A dog can die within 15 minutes if these symptoms are allowed to continue.

If you see any of these symptoms, immediately remove your dog from the heat source and get them to some shade. If you can, place them in front of a fan on a cool floor to reduce the body temperature. You can place cold water or ice on the feet and ears. CALL THE VET as soon as possible and advise what is happening. They will tell you what to do next. You should also have a thermometer handy so you can give the vet the dog’s temperature when on the phone. Learn how to take your dog’s temperature here:

I always have a “bendy ended” digital thermometer in the home or with me if we go out.

Do you have any cool weather tips for dogs? Maybe you have some yummy recipes that keep your doggies cool. Share them with me in the comments below:

Teaching a Cavapoo to Walk to Heel

Cavapoo in the Rhondda Valleys
Polly the Cavapoo in her DOWN

Polly’s owners reached out to me as they just couldn’t get their adorable little Polly, a 9 month old Cavapoo to walk to heel, or stop being reactive to other dogs. As always, I visited the family home to see how Polly behaved around her family and to see if she had basic obedience skills. Home visits are the most important part of my job. This is because they allow me to see what owners expect of their dogs at home. I can also gauge what skills the dog and owners have and decide the best way forward when we start to work outside.

Polly was very relaxed at home. She also has a wonderful sister she shares her home with, but her drive and determination was very different to her sister. Polly is very bright intelligent and wants to please. But from discussions I could see that she needed a bit of help to know what was the best way to do that. I left Polly’s owners with a set of obedience exercises to carry out over the week. Polly’s owners worked brilliantly and we got Poppy to do everything APART from DOWN. This can be quite common with dogs that are a bit nervous or dominant and with time and patience it can be worked through.

The following week we worked on going for a walk. Polly was being walked on a harness and extendable lead. These two pieces of equipment, if used incorrectly as they’re often are, can create a dog that pulls very quickly. So, we swapped out the harness and flexi-lead for a good old fashioned leather collar and lead. I like to use leather as the connection between you and your dog is enhanced and leather is affordable, resilient and comfortable for your pooch.

In this lesson we taught Polly to wait patiently at the door and leave the door to heel. Her owners worked to use the clicker to Click Treat and Reward desired behaviour. At this point in the training, patience is key. You must DEDICATE time and patience to your dog, realise that we are taking small steps to gain great rewards and always finish our training sessions on a positive note. Polly came on SO well during this week, her pawrents worked so had to ensure her sessions were short and rewarding. On my third visit I was so pleased with Polly’s progress. She was walking beautifully to heel up the hilll and was maintaining beautiful eye contact with her mommy.

It was at this stage we were ready to introduce other dogs. For this exercise I always use my little dog,Hobo. He is very non reactive when other dogs lunge and bark at him. This helps my students concentrate on working with their dog instead of worrying what others may say about their dog’s bad behaviour and apologising for it.

We carried out basic heel work with Hobo and Polly and slowly worked to get the two dogs closer and closer. When we met Polly’s threshold we continued with the heel work without feeding in to the reactivity but instead working on maintaining good eye contact and listening, which was rewarded. I should point out that it is not my goal to get the dogs nose to nose and playing. That can be stressful for any dog to deal with and there can be a lot of body language displayed between the two dogs that can be warning signs. It is easy for this to be missed and a negative encounter ensue. Instead we just want the reactive dog to calmly be in the presence of another dog without losing her marbles. Not only did we achieve this, but we also had a little miracle. Polly gave us a DOWN!!! Proving that she was calm and comfortable with her mommy in the presence of another dog.

Good Girl Polly. It was a pleasure to work with you and your pawrents.

Is your dog reactive? What have you done to help it calm down? Did it work? Let me know in the comments below:

Read how Polly the Cavapoo learned to walk to heel and stop barking at other dogs.