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Tim and Archie

Tim and Archie

“Thank you so much for your help. I feel better able to relax with Archie now he follows our commands.”

Tim, Tunbridge Wells

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Claire and Dinx

Claire and Dinx

“Dinx, our adopted border terrier, came to us with serious fear issues. The moment she stepped out of the door she would bark at everything, especially other dogs.

Jackie was a lifesaver. I cannot believe the difference her training has made in such a short space of time. Dinx is now brilliant with other dogs and we can take her anywhere. She is a completely different dog.”

Claire, Tunbridge Wells

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Getting a New Dog – Our Top-to-Tail Guide

Getting a New Dog - Our Top-to-Tail Guide

Are you about to collect your new puppy, or to adopt an older dog? Why not check out Jackie’s top-to-tail summary guide on what to expect, what you’ll need and what to consider?

Whilst certain advice within our Top-to-Tail Guide relates to puppies specifically, much of the guidance could equally apply to introducing a rescue or older dog into your home

Your new dog needs to feel safe. When you bring home your new puppy or rescue dog, create a safe, secure, gated area in your house; this can be a room, such as the kitchen, with a bedding area or it could be a crate or a pen. Your dog’s area needs to be warm and dry and away from items they shouldn’t have – your Sky TV remote or Jimmy Choos for example!

It is essential to have a toy box with a few toys that everybody in the house handles. Dogs use their mouths as their hands, so when you give your dog a new toy, play with them and make it interesting. Your scent on the toy will also make it very appealing.

For puppies particularly, at night time, either leave your puppy in their safe area or bring their bed or crate to your bedroom. Puppies will cry for the first night or two. Try not to rush to your puppy when this happens as they quickly learn this trick – they cry, you run. If you do bring your puppy into your bedroom at night, subsequently you will need to embark upon a desensitisation programme.

Toilet training

Puppy pads are essential. Put a clean one down when your puppy isn’t looking – if they see you they will think that this is a great game and may want to tear it up. To get your puppy to relieve itself in the right place, cut a lightly soiled piece out of a used pad and place it underneath the clean one. This will encourage your pup to relieve itself here. Make sure you clean any other areas that may have been soiled with an odour neutraliser, rather than a household cleaner.

Biting and mouthing

Your puppy will try to ‘mouth’ you. Distract them with a non-fluffy, tear-proof toy and avoid snatching your fingers away. Their adult teeth start to come through at around 14 weeks. This is very painful and they need something to relieve their tender gums. A rawhide chew will be helpful but this needs to be large enough to ensure that your puppy does not choke. There are many other alternatives on the market.

Socialising and training

It is very important to socialise your pup. This is more about getting your puppy used to the sights and sounds of everyday life and is very different to training. You should try to take your puppy out before they have had their immunisations by simply carrying them. The important subject of socialising is covered in greater detail. On our Training and Socialising Explained page

Equipment

Collar with tag – a tag is essential as it is a legal requirement to tag and microchip your dog. Before selecting a collar you need to measure your dog’s neck and get advice from your local retailer on the right size.

Harness – we recommend using a harness, with a lead clip at the front, for walks as this is more comfortable for your dog than having the lead clipped to the collar, and offers you more control.

Lead – we suggest a fixed lead (not an extendable one) for training purposes.

Neutraliser – this is very important because, of course, accidents do happen with puppies particularly, and simply spraying with a regular cleaning product will not work.

Poo bags – by law it is your responsibility to clean up after your dog – using ordinary public bins is fine. You can be fined if you don’t ‘scoop the poop’.

Crate – we recommend using a front and side opening crate to help with the training of your puppy, especially if you have children.

Toys and treats – always have a box of toys for your dog to play with and plenty of treats to hand. The toys should be readily accessible to your dog at all times and you should get your dog very used to playing with their own toys. For treats, it is more about the smell and less about the taste for dogs, and do break your treats into miniscule pieces. Cooked chicken is a great favourite.

Health and safety

Before you bring your puppy or rescue dog home it is worth considering all aspects of health and safety:

Dog tagging, microchipping and identification – it is a legal requirement for your dog to wear a tag with your name, address (including postcode) and telephone number. Dogs also need to be microchipped.

Pet insurance – paying for unexpected vet bills can be very expensive, so it is wise to have insurance in place.

Ticks – can cause disease when they bite dogs or humans, therefore it is important to check yourself and your dog when you return home from a walk, particularly if you have been in woodland or long grass. If a tick is found, it should be removed quickly. You can buy a tick remover or consult your vet. If you try to remove the tick yourself please ensure you remove all of the tick.

Fleas – are very common and so your dog needs to be treated regularly to repel them. We recommend monthly ‘spot on’ treatments, which also work against other nasties your dog might catch.

Worming – your dog also needs to be treated regularly against worms as this is a very unpleasant parasite that lives in your dog’s body. Treatment is available through your vet.

Grooming – it is important your dog is regularly handled and groomed. This can be done at a grooming parlour.

Jackie, Dog Behaviourist, Happy Dogs Training.

For further information, advice and support, please contact Jackie on 07947 305359 or email: jackie@happydogstraining.co.uk.

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Keeping your dog / puppy healthy

Keeping your puppy healthy

Fleas and treating them

Fleas are small, reddish-brown insects that live on animals and feed off their blood. They are very common and are the most common cause of skin disease in both cats and dogs. It is only the adult stage of the flea that lives on animals; the other stages are present in the animal’s environment.

And adult female flea will start to produce eggs about 24hours after getting onto the pet. She produces a staggering 40-50 eggs per day and she lives for about 21 days unless the animal can get rid of her. This takes a lot of energy so she feeds voraciously and produces a lot of poo, which you can see in the coat as little black specks close to the roots of the hair. The eggs are small white and shiny and they will drop off the dog, along with the flea poo, into the environment. The eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars, which can be seen by the naked eye, which feed of the poo as this contains blood and essential nutrients for the developing larva. The larva will moult a couple of times and then pupate forming a small cocoon. This cocoon will remain dormant for up to 2 years and cannot be killed other than by boiling or freezing. The cocoon is exquisitely sensitive to the presence of a suitable host and the adult will emerge and jump on as a suitable host wanders past. Within 24 hours the adult flea will start to produce eggs again. The life cycle of the flea can take as little as 2 weeks during hot weather or over winter when the heating is on so treatment is necessary all year to prevent infestation.

There are many treatments available for fleas, most of which tackle the adult stage of the flea. Presently, there are no known insecticide resistant strains of flea in the UK or EU outside of research laboratories and the main reason that treatments might be thought to be failing would be large environmental infestations so as quickly as adults are being killed by insecticides they are replaced by emerging adults from cocoons. Please ask your vet what they recommend to make sure that your dog remains flea free.

Fleas can also pass on another parasite – tapeworm, so it is worth treating your dog for this at the same time.

Ticks and treating them

Dogs can pick up ticks from overgrown areas and moorland especially where there are large numbers of sheep and deer present, most commonly in the spring and autumn seasons. If you take your dog walking in this environment it is essential to check them over for ticks when you arrive home, particularly long haired breeds. Run your hands over their body – ticks will appear as bumps. The sooner they can be removed the greater the chance of preventing disease and any discomfort it will cause you dog.

Ticks need to feed by sucking blood from a suitable host just before they are ready to moult and enter the next stage of their life cycle. They will attach to a suitable host and feed for several days before detaching and dropping back into the undergrowth where they then moult and carry on the rest of their life cycle. Ticks themselves are not too much of a problem for animals, however, some of the will be carrying disease organisms in their salivary glands or digestive tracts and can regurgitate these organisms into the host to cause disease. These diseases include Lyme disease and babesiosis. It is thought that the ticks feed gently for the first 48 hours so there is reduced risk of disease transmission but after this, feeding becomes more vigorous with increased risk of transmission. Ticks must be handled gently during removal as if they become stressed, they are more likely to regurgitate and transmit disease. Removal of ticks is best achieved by a special tool called a tick hook that is placed under the mouthparts and rotated. This action closes the jaws of the tick allowing it to be removed quickly and painlessly. It is very important not to apply anything directly onto the tick to kill it prior to removal, as this is likely to stress it causing regurgitation. However, some pesticides, which are recommended for control of ticks, will slowly kill them once they get onto the dog and these are safe to use.

Worms

Your puppy should be given an all-round wormer every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old, these should then be given monthly ongoing throughout their life. All puppies are born with worms; they cross the placenta and transmit when the puppy suckles the mother’s milk.

After six months the worming treatment you give will depend on the flea treatments you give your dog.

Practicing proper hygiene (washing hands before meals, not sharing cutlery or crockery with the dog, scooping the poop, etc.) should be enough to prevent children and adults catching anything sinister.

There are many useful instructional videos on YouTube.

Parasite Time scales
(depends on brands. Ask your Vet for advice)
Roundworm Every month/4 weeks
Tapeworm Every 6-8 weeks
Lungworm 4 weeks
Hookworm (penetrates dog’s feet) 4 weeks
Whipworm 4 weeks
Heartworm (not in the UK) 4 weeks
Ticks 4 weeks
Fleas 4 weeks
Ear mites 4 weeks
Biting Lice 4 weeks
Mange Mites 4 weeks

There are various types of parasitic worms that affect dogs, which are detailed below.

Roundworm

Roundworm can be picked up by your dog from contaminated soil or from the mother. They live in your dog’s gut, are white and round and can grow up to 15cm. Puppies are born infected with roundworms as it can also be passed across the placenta and through a mother’s milk. Often you won’t see any outward signs of infection but symptoms can include a potbelly, poor coat, diarrhoea and poor growth.

Did you know, it has been recorded that 2 puppies in a 24 hour period produced 1.9 million worm eggs, which can only be seen by a microscope?

Tapeworm

Tapeworm is a life style infection picked up from eating dead, infected animals or infected fleas. They are long and flat, growing up to 60cm and live in your dog’s small intestine. The most common intermediate host for tapeworms is the common flea. You may well not realise your dog has the infection as there are rarely outward symptoms. Problems caused by the infection may be seen in your pet scooting across the ground as the egg engorged segments of the tapeworm break off and wriggle out of the dog’s bottom causing irritation. Other signs include diarrhoea or vomiting.

Worms are very common and to prevent your dog contracting the infection regular deworming should be carried out. Treatments can be purchased via your vet or over the counter.

Lungworm

Lungworm is another parasitic infection that affects dogs. It is transmitted through slugs and snails, which can be picked up easily by dogs whilst out and about. Adult lungworms reside in the heart and pulmonary arteries and in rare cases can be fatal for dogs. Infection can be asymptomatic but other signs include coughing, tiring easily, weight loss and bleeding problems.

A full recovery is anticipated if dogs are treated early enough but prevention is the better than cure. You should give your dog lungworm prevention on a monthly basis. Treatment can be purchase from you vet or through other pet suppliers.

Ringworm

Ringworm is not a worm but a fungal disease. It is not common in dogs (mainly in terriers) but it is highly contagious and can be passed on to humans.

The infection is spread through contact with ‘spores’ which are carried on the hairs of infected animals. Not all dogs will show signs of the infections but all may be carriers and can pass onto other pets in your home. Puppies are more commonly infected, with the risk also increased in sick or older animals.

The disease typically affects the face and front paws and your dog may haves sore or crusted areas here. It may also have patches of hair loss. You may notice your dog scratching and chewing at its hair which can lead to the dog getting hairballs or constipation. If you suspect your dog is suffering from ringworm take it to your vet who can prescribe drugs for the infection and topical creams for any external sores.

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Vaccinations

Vacinations

You will need to go to a vet to get your dog vaccinated, as vaccines are prescription only medications. Different vets may use different brands of vaccinations that will cover different infections. Infections that are commonly vaccinated against are:

  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis virus
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis

Note: Some breeders will have taken care of the first set of vaccinations.
Consult with your veterinary surgeon about which vaccinations are required to make sure that your puppy is fully protected.

Puppies will be welcome to Happy Dogs Training classes if they have had their first set of vaccinations

INITIAL VACCINATIONS
Disease

Time scales
(depends on brands.
Ask your Vet for advice)

Significance

Distemper

8 weeks of age

Severe disease, potentially fatal

Parvovirus

8 weeks of age

Severe disease, often fatal

Hepatitis

8 weeks of age

Severe disease, potentially fatal

Leptospirosis

8 weeks of age

Can be fatal in dogs, may also be transmitted to humans

SECOND VACCINATIONS

Disease

Time scales
(depends on brands.
Ask your Vet for advice)

Significance

Distemper

Between 10-12 weeks of age

Severe disease, potentially fatal

Parvovirus

Between 10-12 weeks of age

Severe disease, often fatal

Hepatitis

Between 10-12 weeks of age

Severe disease, potentially fatal

Leptospirosis

Between 10-12 weeks of age

Can be fatal in dogs, may also be transmitted to humans

BOOSTER VACCINATIONS

Disease

Time scales
(depends on brands.
Ask your Vet for advice)

Significance

Distemper

At 15 months, thereafter every 3 years

Severe disease, potentially fatal

Parvovirus

At 15 months, thereafter every 3 years

Severe disease, often fatal

Hepatitis

At 15 months, thereafter every 3 years

Severe disease, potentially fatal

Leptospirosis

Annually, every year

Can be fatal in dogs, may also be transmitted to humans

Keeping your pet healthy

As not all infections can be treated fully a vaccination against the disease is the only method of truly protecting your dog. The vaccination provides your dog with a dose of the organism to trigger antibodies that will help your dog naturally fight the infection should the worst happen.

Distemper

Distemper is a virus that can be fatal. It can infect every organ system in your dog’s body and can produce a wide range of clinical signs including, increased temperature, ocular and nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea and a variety of nervous signs including fits. The dog’s nervous system, sense of smell, eyesight and hearing are often permanently damaged as a result of infection and not all dogs will survive.

Parvovirus

Parvovirus is most likely to infect young dogs up to six month old, though it can affect older dogs. It too can be fatal particularly in the very young and old. It is spread either by direct contact between dogs or via an owner’s clothing and shoes. Symptoms include severe vomiting and blood stained diarrhoea and high temperature. Damage to the heart can occur and lead to sudden death.

Canine Hepatitis Virus

Canine Hepatitis Virus is another potentially fatal disease. It is picked up by contact with urine from infected dogs and is most commonly found in young, unvaccinated puppies. It causes discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing and serious liver and/or kidney disease, appetite loss, vomiting, as well as a change in drinking and urination behaviour.

leptospirosis

Rats and mice or where hygiene is insufficient frequently carries leptospirosis and contamination of food and water is common. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, high temperature and discharge from the eyes. Liver disease and kidney disease may follow along with diarrhoea and increased weeing. The virus can be fatal, killing the dogs rapidly or much later from kidney disease. Dogs will remain carriers for the disease even if they recover.

Parainfluenza

Parainfluenza is highly infectious but will usually go away on its own unless the dog is very young or has an underlying medical condition. The virus can cause harsh dry coughing followed by gagging.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Infectious tracheobronchitis

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough is a canine respiratory infection caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. These pathogens attack the respiratory tract and cause inflammation of the upper airway leading to irritation of the airways and a dry cough. It can also make your dog more susceptible to secondary infection.

Kennel cough can occur at any time of year but is most prevalent in situations where dogs are gathering in groups such as kennels and training classes, allowing infection to be transmitted via aerosol production from an infected dog. This can happen more commonly in kennels where many dogs will be sharing a common air space and are likely to be more stressed than usual because they are not in their normal environment. The organisms will very quickly spread from dog to dog as it is highly contagious although the infection is not usually serious. Clinical signs of kennel cough include a harsh hacking cough, which is often described as sounding as if the dog has something stuck in its throat. The cough can be dry and hoarse or productive in which case it might be followed by a gag and a swallow. Sometimes dogs might vomit which is obviously distressing. Please consult your vet if you think your dog might have picked up kennel cough.

Vaccination for kennel cough is available, which is administered through the nose. This can be given to puppies from 3 weeks of age onwards and will provide protection for up to 12 months. However, there are many strains of the infection and so immunity cannot be guaranteed but in any event, the severity of the cough should be reduced and recovery times should be shorter if vaccination has been given. If your dog has already been exposed to kennel cough and is incubating the infection, vaccination will not be helpful.

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Toys

Toys

Toys are a fantastic aid to help you train your puppy. Always have a box of toys to hand. Picking the right toys according to your dog’s needs is very important.

They will help aid your dog in chewing what you want them to chew. Don’t be tempted to wash or throw your dog’s toys away when they get a bit tired. It is the scent on them that draws them to them.

Toys that smell of you are much more appealing to your puppy so make sure you and all your family touch all the dog’s toys. Set up a box to keep them in and when you and your puppy finish playing with them put them back in the basket. By repeating this your puppy will learn to go to the box to get the toys it is encouraged to play with and should avoid the ones you don’t want it to play with (such as the remote control or kitchen sponge).

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Biting and Mouthing

Biting and Mouthing

It is natural that your puppy will try and mouth you. Their adult teeth come through at 14 weeks which can be very painful for them (and you too if they are mouthing)!

Distraction is the key to stopping your puppy mouth or bite you. Using a toy can help to distract you dog as if they are chewing the toy they cannot chew you.

In addition to using a toy as a distraction, providing you puppy with something to chew on can help with the teething. A rawhide chew may help but don’t leave your dog unattended with it. To get your dog to lock on to the chew spread a very small amount of honey on it. You could also try using a pair of old shoes with the laces removed or latex toys which have a bit of give in them.

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Training and socialising explained

The differences between socialising and training

Both socialisation and training your puppy are equally important for their development. They are not the same thing. Both provide different learning opportunities for your puppy.

Learning basic commands and having a dog that is a pleasure to be around are both highly important as is house etiquette, learning to focus on you whilst on the lead when you are out for a walk and being able to walk on a loose lead.

These are all stages that are achievable and it does not depend on the breed of dog you have.

Training and Socialising explained

There are four stages you and your dog need to go through and understand in order for you both to cope with everyday life:

  1. Getting used to the sights and sounds of everyday life
  2. Learning doggy etiquette
  3. Teaching your dog to understand what you are asking of them
  4. Understanding the different developmental stages

1. Getting used to the sights and sounds of everyday life

Puppies need to get use to the sights and sounds of everyday life. It is vital to do this at a speed your dog can handle. Learning to read their body language is one key element of understanding when to push forward and when not to. If your puppy is not coping then you need to step back into a quieter area. Taking your dog into busy environments too early will cause a sensory overload. Make sure you carry your puppy when out and about before it has had its vaccinations. Stay away from parks and don’t expose him or her to busy main roads to begin with but quieter roads to let them get used to the noise of cars.

Introduce your puppy to new people gradually and not too many people all at once. All you friends may want to meet the newest member of your family but this should be done in the correct manner.

Your puppy will naturally get fear issues and be fearful of specific things – how you deal with this is very important. It is important to understand that puppies process their surroundings differently to a human. Dealing with their fear issues can either exasperate them or diffuse them and it is important to learn how to deal with the issue appropriately.

2. Learning doggy etiquette

Puppies don’t instinctually know how to interact with other dogs and therefore need to learn this. Just as you wouldn’t leave a group of toddlers in a room together unsupervised without teaching them the boundaries, neither should you do this with puppies! Whilst playing with other dogs they learn about coordination and the social etiquette needed. It is vital to use experienced dogs with the right temperament and skills. It is also very important to avoid putting a fearful puppy in with a very bouncy puppy. The concern being that the fearful puppy could end up with fear issues and the bouncy puppy could become a bully. In addition your puppy needs to learn which dogs it can approach, which it should avoid and how to approach any other dog in the correct fashion.

3. Teaching your dog to understand what you are asking of them

Training provides your puppy with the skills and boundaries it needs to become a loving but obedient member of your family. Dogs need to know their limitations and boundaries and teaching them what you are looking for circumvents getting the behaviour you don’t want! Training builds a bond and a trust and you will begin to work more like partners.

Puppies can go into overload easily. It is vitally important that when they are first learning you should keep them from environments that will send them into sensory overload. They interpret the world differently to us and understanding this will help you understand how to get the behaviour you want from them.

Puppies come as a blank canvas. Teaching the basic commands creates the start of communication between you and your dog. Dogs want to please. Understanding how they learn and interpret their world gives you the key skills into opening up a new level of communication between yourself and your puppy – not just becoming friends but learning to work together as a team.

Your dog won’t automatically know what behaviours you want from them, this needs to be taught and will require time and patience from you. Shouting doesn’t help as they don’t know what they have done wrong. Understanding when to and when not to reward is also really important.

Finally, your dog needs to be taught how to come away from other dogs and to do so in a pleasant manner, so it will happily return to you when you are in the park.

4. Understanding the different developmental stages, breed specific behaviour and personality

Developmental stages, breed specific behaviour and your puppy’s personality play a part in the training process. All dogs have a personality and that personality plays a key part in their behaviour. Some dogs can be quite submissive, others very sharp and attentive to what is going on around them. Some just like being the clown; others can have a very possessive nature.

Dogs go through lots of different stages as they develop at a much faster rate than a human yet they never go past the mental age of a small child. Understanding these different stages will help you to understand your dog and it is also important for you as an owner to know when and why their mannerisms may change e.g is it a developmental stage or a breed specific behaviour occurring or just their personality?

There will be times your puppy will try to push boundaries as a young child would. There will also come a point in their development when their hormones kick in. Understanding these stages before they happen will help you to modify your training to take these changes into account.

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Training your dog to travel in the car

Training your dog to travel in the car

Like humans, dogs, and in particular puppies, can suffer from travel sickness. Whilst they are likely to grow out of this as they mature there are techniques you can use to prevent this becoming a habit.

Start off by putting your puppy in the car and taking it out again. Do this a few times to get them used to going in and out of the car. Once they have got used to this try it again but with the engine turned on. This will help them get used to the noise of the car. Do this a few times until they are comfortable with it.

Once your puppy is used to being in the car with and without the engine turned on, go for a very short drive. If you have a driveway go up and down this in your car, if you don’t then just take a short drive down your street. Repeat this until they are comfortable with the motion of the car. You should then be able to increase the journey length steadily over time.

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Pet insurance

Pet insurance

It is advisable to have insurance for you dog as unexpected vets bills can be very costly, particularly if extended treatment is required. There are many providers of insurance and some policies my suit you better than others so it is worth shopping around.

Insurance can be a minefield and there are a number of things to look out for. For example what exactly does a life policy cover and are there any issues that suddenly aren’t covered. Look at the excess amount and what limit the policy covers up to.

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