Clever canines: Four skills to work on with your dog

It’s a great time to make a plan to work on some common behaviour issues and skillsets that many dogs in the UK lack, or to correct bad habits that our dogs have picked up over the course of the past year.

Dog SkillsOne thing that all dog owners will likely already know is that teaching a dog a new skill that they will reliably display or correcting an existing behavioural problem takes time, and a couple of enthusiastic training sessions at the start of the year with no follow-up after that is not likely to make a huge difference.

However, if you make a plan for the longer term and accept the reality that you might need to spend a little bit of time daily or regularly over several weeks or even months working on your dog’s skills, you can make sure that your dog finishes up at the end of the year displaying better behaviour, responses, and skills than they started the year with.

In this article we will suggest four skills to work on with your dog during the year if you’re in it for the long haul and are prepared to put the work in over the course of the year to make a real difference. Read on to learn more.

Improving your dog’s recall

“Recall” is a word that is virtually meaningless for some dogs, who will not exhibit a reliable capacity to return to their owners when called, either in any situation or when it really counts (such as if your dog is chasing a smaller animal or running toward a road).

Recall is commonly accepted as perhaps the hardest command to teach a dog and achieve reliable compliance with, and this is because paying attention to one’s handler and changing behaviour or direction as a result of receiving a command when something interesting is going on or if your dog is pursuing something in many ways goes against the dog’s instinctive nature.

You will have to work quite intensively with a new puppy to teach them the basics of recall compliance, and when you move things out into the wider world with all of its competing stimulus, it can feel as if your dog has forgotten everything they learned before. For adult dogs that have never or that rarely return when called when it counts, the process can be even longer and harder.

However, a lack of persistence combined with a lack of understanding of the recall command and how to incentivise it for your dog is what ultimately results in poor recall skills – so if you decide to make 2019 the year of reliable recall, bear in mind the fact that you may be well into the latter half of the year and with a lot of hard work behind you before it all really starts to come together.

Taking the edge off firework anxiety

A great many dogs find fireworks daunting, anxiety-inducing or downright terrifying, and react very badly to the loud bangs and bright flashes of light that they create. However, because we are only really faced with fireworks regularly around Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas and New Year, it can be all too easy to put the problem to the back of our minds during the rest of the year when fireworks are not a continual possibility in the average street.

Tackling and resolving firework anxiety in dogs is something else that may take weeks or month to achieve, and you need to be willing to work on exposing your dog to stimulus that emulates the bangs and flashes and managing their responses to them for a reasonably long period of time in some cases before it will pay off.

However, if you find yourself spending the eve of 2019 once again trying to coax your dog out from under the sofa or cleaning up puddles of pee from inside of the house, you might find that the motivation you need is right there to enable you to commit to making your own life and that of your dog easier in the future when the fireworks later on in the year begin in earnest.

Dealing with pulling on the lead

Many dogs pull on the lead, and while some began doing so when they were puppies, this tends to be a problem that develops over time in adult dogs. This can make walks challenging and unpleasant, although this is certainly a problem that the committed dog owner can fix.

Correcting pulling on the lead can be intensive, but if you are committed to doing it properly, you will likely begin to see results in days or weeks rather than months.

Don’t yank or pull your dog back or provide constant pressure on the lead to try to keep your dog by your side – teach your dog that until they walk to heel, you’re not moving, and will stop and wait for them to behave until you continue.

This is likely to be quite intensive and challenging at first, making walks long, frustrating and difficult, and you’ll probably get fed up very quickly or be tempted to just let your dog get on with it and try again another time. But if you knuckle down and have a plan to correct your dog’s pulling, this is a skill that your dog should have down within a few weeks.

Correcting bad manners

Identifying bad manners in your own dog isn’t always simple, as dogs are quite clever at very slowly adjusting their behaviour and testing the limits until you suddenly seem to find yourself dealing with a pushy or disrespectful dog without really understanding how this happened.

If your dog pushes past you through doorways, begs for food, jumps up at guests or refuses to move from a seat they should not be on, this is something you should work on before it begins to apply to every aspect of your dog’s life, to the point that you are no longer the boss – they are!

Begin by looking to identify ways in which your dog might be displaying poor manners and if you do find a sticking point, look a little deeper to see if this behaviour is replicated within other activities too.

When you are clear on what you are dealing with, you can begin to re-establish yourself as the boss and pack leader, correcting your dog’s responses and preventing future problems too.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Perfect pet profession: ‘I created my dream job as a pet transporter’

Merebeth Veit has experienced two strong impulses all her life – wanderlust and a love of animals. Almost by accident, she invented a perfect profession for herself: pet transporter.

pet transporterThere’s one pet that Merebeth Veit can never forget. He’s a little French bulldog called Harley.

A young couple from San Francisco found him online. He was at an animal rescue centre in St. Louis, Missouri, so they employed Merebeth to transport him by car to their home in California.

“I got so attached to that dog,” says Merebeth, wistfully. “I’ve got a tonne of pictures of him – super sweet.”

Harley was one of her better behaved clients, so he had the honour of graduating from his portable kennel to a makeshift bed on the passenger seat. Together they travelled on a road trip through Colorado, Utah and northern Nevada. Merebeth felt mixed emotions when Harley was safely delivered to his new owners.

“I told them that if for whatever reason things didn’t work out, I would drive back and collect Harley to look after him myself. After three nights travelling together I was so in love. It’s happened a few times.”

For nearly a decade now, Merebeth, 65, has been a self-employed pet transport specialist, travelling the length and breadth of the United States. She estimates that she drives 60,000 miles (100,000km) a year, moving about 100 pets.

With her husband she lives in a town called Mountain Rest, in South Carolina, but her life is punctuated by these solo journeys. “I’ve done hamsters, cats, dogs of all sizes,” she says. “I haven’t done snakes, but I have done a turtle. I’ve done two guinea pigs. Oh, I took some angora rabbits to Minneapolis a few years ago.”

These are often animals spotted online, whose new owners want them delivered to their home, without subjecting them to the trauma of flying. Or it may be that the clients are forced to move for work – often it’s a military family, and the pet will be temporarily kept with a friend or family member. A number of bigger businesses exist to transport pets long distances across the US. They usually depart on set dates, like a bus service, so they can find enough pets to take as a group. Merebeth’s more informal service comes at a premium, but provides one-on-one attention and can be organised at short-notice.

One of the highlights of the job, says Merebeth, is simply standing back quietly and watching while pets are reunited with their owners – with tears in her eyes. Merebeth’s pet transport job was born of the financial crisis in the late 2000s. The downturn hit the real estate firm where she had worked for a decade as an office manager, and left her looking for a new job. Fate intervened, in the form of a dog.

Driving near her home, she saw a puppy wandering on the road, clearly lost. She stopped and took it to the nearest house, and learned that the dog was one of six. Sensing that the owner didn’t care about them, she persuaded him to let her have the litter. She took four to a shelter and the other two back to her own home. Her sister in Denver agreed to take one of them. This was a loving home for sure, but 1,600 miles away. It didn’t take long for Merebeth to decide to drive the dog there herself. It was her first canine road trip assignment. “It’s a win-win, you see,” says Merebeth. “I love animals and I love to drive.”

Merebeth enjoyed the experience so much she wanted to do more, so she tapped into a popular US website called UShip. It’s an online marketplace where people list items they need delivered, and others bid for the right to carry out the job in an auction. The object to be shipped might be a 10-tonne boat, or a 4kg tabby cat. Merebeth built up a five-star user-feedback rating, focusing on animal jobs. Over time she also developed relationships with breeders and rescue centres, who recommended her services. The car she bought in 2011 to use for pet transporting is now worn, with 334,000 miles on the clock.

Not all pets are model passengers like her beloved Harley. Merebeth recalls a tricky cat that bit her hand when she tried to open its cage – she bled profusely and had to get bandages from a local pharmacy. No dog has ever bitten her, she reflects. There was also a rescue cat called Traveller, who would only stop miaowing when the car was stationary. She phoned the rescue centre to check whether the name had been a joke.

She typically sleeps in the car with the animals, because it’s easier than taking them into hotels, where people may complain. Driving can become monotonous, especially on well known routes, but podcasts help to pass the time, she says. “With the pets it’s like I’m not alone,” says Merebeth. “Sometimes if they are nervous I talk to them, or put music on. A lot of the time the animals may be fussy at first, but once they are used to the rhythm of the car, they just sleep.”

The easiest customers are hamsters. “I once took two hamsters from Springfield, Virginia to Blairsville, Georgia. They were those teddy bear hamsters, really cute. Sometimes with these jobs I think I should pay these people – I didn’t need to do anything for them.”

The only thing that will interrupt her journeys – aside from exercise breaks for the dogs – is the sight of an animal in distress. She has rescued more than 30 cats and dogs, taking them to nearby shelters. She keeps four rescued pets of her own in South Carolina, including Millie, the lost dog who inspired her work.

Her love of animals comes from her upbringing, she thinks. She was raised in a suburb of Los Angeles that was far from rural, but as well as cats and dogs, her family kept chickens and a lamb – she raised rabbits, at the age of 10. All her siblings remain huge pet-lovers.

Merebeth’s pet delivery service also satisfies her desire to explore. It has taken her to every state in the US bar Montana, Washington and Oregon (and Alaska and Hawaii) she says proudly. If she wants to visit a new place, she will simply find a pet with transport needs there.

There is also a thrill in battling the elements, she says. “I’ve driven through 55mph winds in Wyoming, heavy flooding and thunderstorms in Alabama and total whiteout conditions in Kansas.” A few times she’s had to outrun a storm. After a completed mission, she will treat herself to a hike or two.

This wanderlust is inherited from her father, she says. He moved their family from Canada to California when she was one year old, because he wanted them to explore a new place together.

“My mom was always more of the homebody,” she says. “I’m glad I got my dad’s genes.” As soon as she graduated from high school she left home to live on Catalina Island on the Californian coast, away from her parents, where she enjoyed a life of sailing and off-road biking.

It turns out that pet transporting pays quite well at about $30,000 (£23,000) per year before tax. She doesn’t work in summer, as it would be unpleasantly hot for the animals in the car, even with air conditioning, she says. Instead she does seasonal work, cleaning holiday rental properties near her home. Every year, as autumn approaches, she says she feels “antsy” – the same old wanderlust returning. It’s a call she must heed alone, though.

“My husband has no interest in being on the road and works pretty much all the time, though he loves animals,” Merebeth says. “I’m sure he misses me, and I miss him too, sometimes. But when I’m on the road I’m just in my own world. “I’ve always been independent-spirited and I just feel compelled to help animals.”

(Article source: BBC News)

Pet finder: Are GPS pet trackers worth the money?

There is a heart-stopping moment when you realise that your dog has escaped through a hole in the fence, or your cat hasn’t come home for 24 hours. Even if they are chipped, there is a distinct possibility they will still be elusive – chipping is essential, but only useful if someone manages to secure your dog and get them to a vet to have the chip read.

GpsSo what other precautions can you take to find your lost pet? With the many technological advancements on the market, a pet tracker could be for you, to save you all those missing hours that seem interminable.

So many ‘lost’ pets end up in animal shelters, and if they aren’t chipped, their owners cannot be located. Investing in a GPS tracker could prevent you from being without your pet forever. Worth considering, certainly.

What is the difference between a microchip and a GPS tracker?

With microchipping, if you lose your dog or cat, you will have to rely on it being taken to a shelter or to a vet and wait for them to call you. With a GPS tracker, you can locate where your dog is yourself, and in ‘real time’. Most trackers are sturdily built and waterproof to avoid them falling off – unlike a dog tag.

Many trackers cover a long-distance service, and work similarly to any other ‘app’ that you may have on your phone or on your computer. Easy and convenient to use, they can be lifesaving. Many owners may have trailed the streets or park areas for hours trying to locate a pet, and a GPS tracker is certainly time saving and can pinpoint the area your dog is travelling in. Undeniably, it is the fastest way to find your pet, and not have to rely on friends and family to go out hunting in the wrong direction.

Whilst dogs and cats have a great deal of homing instinct, they can become disorientated and lose their way, causing them stress and anxiety, so the quicker you find them, the better it is for both of you in terms of emotional upset. A distressed pet will frequently hide themselves due to fear of the unknown, so with a tracker you can find them so much more quickly.

A GPS tracker should not be a substitute for microchipping – just a bonus of making it easier to find your pet once they go missing. Microchipping for dogs is currently a legal requirement in the UK.

What are the advantages of a GPS tracker?

• No lost time in locating your pet

• Accuracy in their exact location, within a certain parameter (trackers vary in quality, so do your research)

• Can be easily connected to your smartphone or computer

• Ability to spread the word through any of your social media accounts and connect with other like-minded pet owners

• Their construction means they won’t get detached as easily as a tag

• No health dangers – microchips can be dislodged and end up in your pet’s stomach, which can be dangerous and cause sarcomas to form

• The longer your pet is missing, the likelihood of something happening to them increases. A tracker could potentially save your pet’s life.

• If your microchip information is not up to date or if your pet does not have one, vets or shelters will not be able to connect with you. Not all shelters keep pet’s long term, so you run the risk of your pet being put down and the chance of being reunited is lost.

• Most trackers are extremely lightweight, so cause no discomfort for your pet and they won’t be tempted to try to remove it. The average tracker weighs in at between 110g and 120g. It is infinitely lighter than the average collar.

Disadvantages of GPS trackers

Like any other technology advancement, GPS tracking systems can have problems as can any other device you own such as a smartphone or computer. Here are some other flaws that should be noted:

• Cost – this varies considerably between the various systems on the market. Just be aware that you ‘get what you pay for’.

• There is the upfront expense of having it installed, the same as any other satellite service, which will also involve a monthly subscription. If you miss a payment, the service is likely to be cancelled by the operator, so if your pet should go missing during this period, it would all have been a waste of time. Some operators do not charge a monthly fee, but in all honestly, they just aren’t efficient enough to give you peace of mind.

• If you are out in the wilds or camping or simply trekking with your dog in an isolated area, this can be a problem. The location of satellite masts in the open countryside is scarcer than in more populated environments, so locating them in real time could be an issue. Weak phone signals will certainly hamper your ability to find them.

• Locating your pet will only be as good as the life of your battery in smartphones, laptops or iPads. Without adequate power, the GPS tracking system will fail to operate properly. Remember, a dog can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, so try to keep just that one step ahead.

How do I decide which one to buy?

Research is the key. GPS trackers can range from around £45 up to £500 and cover other factors such as health tracking. Other trackers can cover up to 3 pets at a time, so you simply must decide exactly what you want and then compare brands.

As for the expense, what price do you put on your beloved pet? Surely it must be worth considering all your options for making your pet safe and sound.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Top Dog! Staffies are named as Britain’s favourite dog of 2019

Staffordshire Bull Terriers have been named the country’s favourite dog breed in a result that left many viewers stunned. Is your prized pooch in the Top 100?

StaffiesStaffies beat off competition from popular breeds such as the Labrador and the Springer Spaniel to claim the top spot in a nation of dog lovers.

A mammoth two-and-a-half hour rundown saw the country’s 217 recognised dog breeds whittled down to a top 100. Based on a poll of 10,000 people for ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Dogs show, popular breeds such as the German Shepherd and Cocker Spaniel managed to nab spots in the top 10.

However a shock was on the cards when last year’s winning breed, the Labrador, came in at third, behind the Cockapoo, a mix of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Hosts Ben Fogle and Sara Cox then announced the often-maligned breed of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as the winner, causing jubilation online from many.

We start with the Top 10…

1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier (pictured above)

Despite their mixed reputation, Staffies are officially Britain’s favourite dog this year. They are part of the Pit bull family and can be very friendly to human and other dogs but they will fight if challenged. Their aggressive side only comes out if encouraged by their owners.

2. Cockapoo

A mix of the Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, Cockapoos are small and very friendly. They generally live long lives and were rated Britain’s favourite cross breed in the latest poll. These particular pooches are up five places from number seven last year.

3. Labrador

They were the UK’s favourite dog last year, but still hugely popular at number three on the 2019 list. Often used as guide dogs they can be taught how to do anything – even answering the phone. Their adorable puppies are well-known in the UK for being the face of Andrex toilet roll.

4. Springer Spaniel

Also a member of the Spaniel family, Springers are famed for their strong sense of smell. They are used in the military to sniff out explosives, but can suffer from health problems in later life. There are English and Welsh Spaniels and they are up five places from number nine on last year’s list.

5. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are the original bird dogs. Out in the open air they will chase them at any opportunity. There are English and American Cocker Spaniels, which get their names from the Eurasian Woodcock. They have climbed one place up the list from number six last year.

6. Boxer

Boxers were originally bred from English Bull dogs and the now extinct Bullenbeisser. They are fantastic at jumping and are good at catching prey because of their strong jaw. They were at number 18 last year, rising an impressive 12 places.

7. Border Collies

Border Collies are highly reliable and are often used as herding dogs. Originally from the Scottish borders they are picked as sheepdogs and used in dog trials. They are known for their intelligence and are believed to understand more than 1,000 words. They are down two places from number five last year.

8. German Shepherd

Their full name is German Shepherd Dog and they are relatively new as a breed, with their history only dating back to 1899. They are known for their reliability and trainability and are often the breed of choice to use as police and military dogs. They have stayed at number eight from last year’s list.

9. Golden Retriever

Known for their gorgeous coats and their love of water, Golden Retrievers were originally bred as gun dogs to hunt waterfowl. They were named Retrievers because of their useful ability to ‘retrieve’ shot game from the fields without damaging their mouths. These pooches are also used as disability dogs for the blind of the disabled. They are up from number 16 last year.

10. Mixed Breed

While not strictly a breed, the mixed breed category scored highly on the list, with more than 400,000 across the UK alone. Also known as ‘mongrels’, ‘mutts’ or ‘cross breeds’, mixed breed dogs are the result of breeding between two different types of dog. They are generally considered healthier than pedigree dogs, which can often carry health problems.

And here’s the best of the rest…

11. Flat Coated Retriever – They can often be used as Guide Dogs.

12. Miniature Schnauzer – Adorable smaller versions of their full-sized cousins.

13. Labradoodle – A Labrador and poodle mix. Bred to be a low-shedding dog, they are ideal for people with allergies they have started to be used as guide dogs.

14. Dandie Dinmont Terrier – One of Britain’s oldest terrier breeds, one of the rarest dogs in the world.

15. Cavachon – Cavalier King Charles spaniel and bichon frise mix.

16. Welsh Terrier – Likes to chase badgers, foxes and otters.

17. Weimaraner – These noble-looking dogs are born with stripes for camouflage.

18. Daschund – Also known as a sausage dog.

19. Doberman Pinscher – Developed by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann in 1890.

20. Jack Russell Bred in England around 200 years ago to hunt foxes. Corrie star Simon Gregson’s Jack Russell, Cookie, plays his dog Rover in the soap.

21. Cavapoo – Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle.

22. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Named after King Charles II, who adored them. Their favourite place is on your lap.

23. Sprollie – A springer spaniel and Collie cross.

24. Lakeland Terrier – Now an endangered breed.

25. Dalmatian – Features in the 1961 film, 101 Dalmatians.

26. Springador – A Labrador and English springer spaniel.

27. Border Terrier – Bred as a fox and vermin hunter.

28. Welsh Pembroke Corgi – One of the happiest breed of dogs.

29. Great Dane – They can grow up to one metre tall.

30. English Setter – Often described as a mischievous gun dog.

31. Beagle – Famous as cartoon character Snoopy.

32. English Bull Terrier – Bred to fight, they have triangle-shaped eyes.

33. Tibetan Terrier – It’s name roughly translates to ‘shaggy or bearded’.

34. Irish Water Spaniel – One of the oldest and rarest breed of spaniel.

35. West Highland White Terrier – Good with children and quick to learn.

36. Shetland Sheepdog – Also known as a Sheltie, this breed was popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

37. Lurcher – They are distant cousins of greyhounds.

38. Rottweiler – A German breed with a powerful bite.

39. Whippet – Can hit speeds of up to 35mph.

40. Greyhound – Takes just three strides to reach 30mph and has a top speed of around 45mph.

41. Shih Tzu – Another Toy Dog breed to make the list.

42. French Bulldog – They have surged in popularity.

43. German Short Haired Pointer – A hunting dog suitable for both land and water.

44. Schnauzer – They’ve a distinctive beard.

45. Poodle – The most popular dog in the 60s.

46. Manchester Terrier – Bred in the 19th century to control vermin.

47. Pug – Their characteristically squashed faces can hamper their breathing. A group of pugs is known as a grumble.

48. Rhodesian Ridgeback – Developed in Africa as a hunting dog.

49. Old English Sheepdog – Its hair can cover its face and eyes.

50. Hungarian Vizsla – Famous for their loyalty.

51. Chihuahua – The world’s smallest breed.

52. Bedlington Terrier – Once a vicious hunter of rats and rabbits.

53. Welsh Cardigan Corgi – This is one of the oldest breeds in Britain.

54. Yorkshire Terrier – Their hair keeps growing, like humans.

55. Newfoundland – Bred in Canada to haul in fishing nets.

56. Olde English Bulldogge – One of the very oldest breeds of dog.

57. Siberian Husky – Used as a sled-racing dog.

58. Irish Terrier – This is one of the oldest dog breeds.

59. British Bulldog – Stood for Brits’ tenacity and courage.

60. Basset Hound – They’ve the best sense of smell of all 100.

61. Bloodhound – A large scent hound originally bred for hunting deer and wild boar.

62. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – This is the smallest of the retrievers.

63. Lhasa Apso – Bred for Tibetan monasteries.

64. Bichon Frise – Has black eyes and a fluffy white coat.

65. Rough Collie Bred as a sheep herder – and famous as Lassie.

66. English Pointer – They point their bodies in the direction of prey.

67. Bearded Collie – Bred to withstand Scottish weather and troublesome sheep.

68. Sealyham Terrier – A Welsh breed that surged in popularity during World War One.

69. Pug / Beagle (Puggle) – A cross between a Pug and a Beagle.

70. Irish Setter – Glossy dogs that date back to the 1500s.

71. Alaskan Malamute – Bred to pull sleds across the Arctic tundra.

72. Parson Russell Terrier – These are Jack Russells with longer legs.

73. Saluki – A sleek Persian greyhound.

74. St Bernard – The largest dogs, they can weigh 25 stone. They are also known as Alpine Mountain Dogs and were famously used for mountain rescue in a dangerous pass between Italy and Switzerland.

75. Norfolk Terrier – A variety of the Norwich Terrier.

76. Bernese Mountain Dog – A large breed of dog that was originally kept as a farm dog.

77. Scottish terrier – They were bred to hunt vermin.

78. Japanese Akita – Japan’s most popular breed.

79. Maltese Terrier – A tiny breed in what’s known as the Toy Group.

80. Pomeranian – Two of them were saved from the Titanic.

81. Airedale terrier – The biggest terrier of the lot.

82. Gordon setter – Its thick coat was designed to protect it from the harsh Scottish weather.

83. Welsh Springer Spaniel – Very similar to the English Springer Spaniel.

84. Samoyed – This is a breed of a large herding dog and hails from Siberia.

85. Wire Fox Terrier – It is a fox terrier and has bundles of energy and intelligence.

86. Bullmastiff – Packs up to 130lbs of muscle and drools.

87. Cairn terrier – Small breed from the Scottish Highlands.

88. Chow Chow – Chinese breed, known as puffy-lion dog.

89. Schipperke – This is a Belgian breed of dog and make great sheep dogs.

90. Boston terrier – Its coat has a tuxedo-like pattern.

91. Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla – As the name suggests, this breed comes from Hungary and are excellent hunting dogs.

92. Borzoi – Also called the Russian wolfhound, it is similar in shape to a greyhound.

93. Sussex Spaniel – The breed was developed in Sussex and is a compact Spaniel.

94. Irish Wolfhound – This is a very large sighthound which originated in Ireland.

95. Chinese Crested – These dogs were created to be a companion to invalids and are said to almost be able to read their owner’s minds.

96. Sproodle – Sproodles are a cross between an English Springer Spaniel and a Poodle.

97. Leonberger – These are a giant breed of dog and come from the city of Leonberg in Germany.

98. Australian Shepherd – Known simply as the Aussie, these dogs were bred in the US during the 19th century.

99. Afghan hound – Bred in Afghanistan’s mountains.

100. Otterhound – One of Britain’s oldest dog breeds, the Otterhound is a scent hound. There are just 600 of them worldwide.

About the Show

Dogs and their owners up and down the country were transfixed by the show. Hundreds of people took to social media to post adorable pictures of their pets glued to the TV screen to see if they featured on the list.

Hosts Sara and Ben visited dogs from across the nation telling incredible – and bizarre stories – two of which were about the winning breed as the top 100 were counted down.

The final announcement came after a star-studded show featuring celebrities including Nicola Adams, Harry Redknapp and Gemma Atkinson and their best four-legged friends.

Staffie Diesel and owner Jordan featured on the programme, telling viewers how Diesel became a lifesaver. In May 2016, the dog woke his family in the middle of the night by barking.

When Jordan went to check out the noise he found the house was on fire. The entire family made it out alive and rescue dog Diesel won the PDSA award for bravery. Jordan said: ‘I rescued him, gave him a home and he ended up rescuing us from the fire. It’s the wonderful way things work out in life.’

The show also featured a doggy DNA test for actress Sue Cleaver’s dog George. The mixed breed turned out to be 100 per cent Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The show also revealed how dogs are regular blood donors. The owner of Gordon Setters, Sue, explained how she regularly takes her pets to help save lives.

She said: ‘All have my dogs have saved up to 140 dogs lives by giving blood on a regular basis.’ Sharwood the Gordon Setter saved the life of Sizzle the Daschund who is a hemophiliac.

The smaller dog went into cardiac arrest and received his first blood transfusion after he cut the inside of his mouth. Sharwood came to the rescue after a blood transfusion.

Ben Fogle even tried out Doga – doggie yoga – with a class fulled of Golden Retrievers. The class is designed for owners to relax with their four legged friends – although one dog was seen mounting its female owner.

Nine-year-old Jack Russell Dally also showed ITV how she can ride a horse. Spanky, a miniature horse, patiently rides around their US ranch home with Dally on her back – much to the amazement of their owner who said the dog did it without instruction.

(Article source: Various)


Hot under the collar? How to take your dog’s temperature

It can be a really worrying time when a much loved dog is under the weather and you’re not sure what’s wrong with them. It could be they are off their food or just not interested in going out for a walk which is something they usually love going on.

Sick As A DogIf you cannot get your pet to the vet straight away, you should try to take their temperature to find out if they running a bit of a fever and there are several ways you can do this.

Although it’s pretty easy to take a dog’s temperature, it’s important that you do it the right way using a top quality thermometer which you can buy from a good pet shop or online pet products website.

If you are not sure whether you should get your dog to the vet as a matter of urgency or maybe it’s the weekend and the surgery is shut, knowing if they are running a temperature could well be the deciding factor as to whether or not your dog needs veterinary attention sooner rather than later.

What your dog’s normal temperature should be

A healthy dog should have a temperature from anything between 100.5 degrees F and 102.5 degrees F. Most people think that by feeling a dog’s ears or head is enough to tell if they are running a temperature or not.

The same can be said of a dry or hot nose. However, this would not give an accurate idea of your dog’s core body temperature which in short means it would be unreliable. The only way of establishing whether a dog is running a temperature is to use either a rectal or an oral thermometer and these days you have a choice of using either a mercury or a digital one.

Another option is to invest in an ear thermometer which is often an easier option especially if you share your home with a dog that fidgets a lot. The key to successfully taking your dog’s temperature is to learn how to read the thermometer correctly.

How to take a dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer

If you share your home with a laid-back dog, the chances are they will let you take their temperature without getting too upset about things. However, if you have a fidget on your hands, you might need a second pair of hands around when you attempt to do it.

How to use a mercury or digital thermometer

• It’s important that you always give a mercury thermometer a shake before using it. You should give it a flick of the wrist to make sure the mercury level is below 94 degrees.

• Next, you should put a little Vaseline or KY jelly on the thermometer which acts like a lubricant.

• If your dog fidgets, you need to get your helper to hold their head and shoulders by gently, yet firmly hugging them.

• Once your dog is calm and settled, you should then gently lift their tail before inserting the thermometer. You can then very carefully and slowly insert the thermometer about an inch into their rectum. You need to hold it in place for a minimum of 2 minutes when using a mercury thermometer. If you’re using a digital device you will hear it “beep” when the time is up.

• Gently remove the thermometer and you can read the temperature straight away.

How to take a dog’s ear temperature

A healthy dog’s ear temperature should be anything between 100.0 degrees F and 103.0 degrees F. When you use an ear thermometer, the heat waves that emanate from your pet’s ear drum are measured by the thermometer which establishes whether or not they are running a temperature.

An ear thermometer has to be placed quite deeply into your pet’s ear canal in order to get an accurate temperature reading and this needs to be done very carefully and gently.

If your dog fidgets, it’s worth asking someone to give you a hand by holding your pet’s head steady in much the same way as they would when you use a rectal thermometer.

If your dog just won’t sit still, then it’s not worth the risk of using an ear thermometer because you might end up injuring their inner ear in the process.

It’s a good idea to take use both a rectal thermometer and an ear thermometer the first few times you attempt to take your dog’s temperature to make sure you are placing the thermometer far enough in your pet’s ear so that you get an accurate reading.

You should be able to see if this is so by comparing the two readings. If you find that your dog’s body temperature has dropped to under 99 degrees F or they are running a temperature in excess of 104 degrees F, you need to get them along to the vet as a matter of urgency so they can be checked out sooner rather than later.


Learning how to take your dog’s temperature is important because knowing if they are running a temperature could be the deciding factor in whether or not they need to see a vet as a matter of urgency.

It’s important to have a thermometer in your dog’s first aid kit whether it’s a digital or mercury one.

You may prefer to use an ear thermometer, but these need to be used with care and it would be worth asking your vet to show you how to use one before attempting to do it yourself.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Missing house cat reunited with owners FIVE YEARS after she vanished

Black and white puss Lucy bolted out of her owners’ front door in 2014 leaving them devastated.

missing catThe Mirror reports that a long-lost kitty has been reunited with her owners, five years after she went missing.

Microchipped indoor cat Lucy escaped out the front door in 2014, leaving Rachel Beecroft and her partner Michael Louth devastated. Rachel, 48, said: “She just bolted and we couldn’t find her anywhere. She was a very timid cat anyway so we think she was frightened to come in when we were calling her.

“We had flyers made which we put up in the area and also posters and we put her details on the lost and found pet website – but there was no trace.

“In 2017 I had to move across town but by then, in my heart of hearts, I never thought she’d return. I thought she had been run over by a car.”

Rachel had adopted Lucy and her sister Lottie from the RSPCA’s cattery in Nantwich, Cheshire, in 2012.

Lucy spent two happy years with her before she went missing. Although she was microchipped, the couple heard nothing – until this year.

Rachel said: “Out of the blue I got a phone call from the RSPCA to say she’d been found and was fit and well. “I went straight to collect her and she knew instantly who I was – we shared lots of cuddles and love.”

Lucy was picked up close to Rachel’s old home in Crewe and a cat lover took her to the RSPCA, thinking she was a stray. The charity found Rachel’s details from the cat’s microchip.

“She seems well-looked after so I believe someone has taken her into their home,” Rachel said. “But I am so glad she is back where she belongs with her sister and our border collie Harry.”

Lee Stewart, RSPCA centre boss, said: “We’ve had cats reunited with owners after they’ve been missing a few months but the fact Lucy was missing for five years was a surprise. “It highlights why microchipping is important and it is vital to tell the chip company if contact details change.”

It is a legal requirement to have dogs microchipped but not cats. The process involves a tiny microchip quickly inserted under the skin with a code that can be matched to a database.

(Story source: Manchester Evening News)

Paul O’Grady tells of heartache after revealing death of pet pooch Bullseye

The TV star revealed the sad news about pet pooch Bullseye to listeners of his Radio 2 show.

BullseyeManchester Evening News reports that Paul O’Grady told of his heartache after revealing one of his dogs has died.

The TV star revealed the sad news about pet pooch Bullseye to listeners of his Radio 2 show this evening.

He said Bullseye, who suffered from epilepsy, had a seizure earlier this week and subsequently died. O’Grady, 63, is well known for his love of animals, and dogs in particular.

He hosts the ITV show Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, which follows the lives of the animals and staff at the famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London.

On the show this evening, O’Grady, originally from Birkenhead, said: “Now I will tell you my lousy news. You know that I did have an epileptic dog called Bullseye. I’ve got two dogs that both have epilepsy and I’ve managed it with medication.

“However on Monday night he had a massive seizure, like a really bad one that he didn’t come out of and on the way to the vets at two o’clock in the morning he died in the car.

“And it gets worse, then I get home from the vets and one of my other dogs had found a bar of chocolate that was 80% cocoa that had been left out stupidly – not by me! I don’t like chocolate on the coffee table.

“So we had to go back, it was the same emergency vet, for her to get her stomach pumped and we got her back two days later looking worse for wear because she was covered in charcoal because you know they give them charcoal at the vets.

“I can’t tell you, poor old Bullseye. He was such a lovely dog, he had a thing about doorways, you had to coax him through them and he wouldn’t go upstairs. It was part of his condition I think, he was a sweet little dog and sadly missed. It’s just terrible really and I just said to Malcolm ‘no more, that’s it Malcolm, no more animals!’

“Maybe a mongoose might twist my arm, but no I can’t handle it, it’s what I always say; invite an animal into your life, inevitably you invite heartache. But then why contemplate the hangover when you’re at the party, you know what I mean? So that’s the poor saga about poor old Bullseye, he’s gone but not forgotten.”

(Story source: Manchester Evening News)

‘Obama had a dog, you’re right’: Trump takes swipe at Barack after claiming it’s ‘PHONY’ having a pet dog at the White House

When he moved into the White House in 2016, Donald Trump became the first president not to have a pet dog in 130 years.

dog white houseThe Daily Mail reports that during his rally in El Paso, Texas on Monday night, Trump appeared to finally reveal why – while taking a swipe at Barack Obama.

‘I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time,’ Trump told the crowd. ‘How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn? Would that be right? It doesn’t. It feels a little phony to me. A lot of people say, “Oh, you should get a dog.” Why? “It’s good politically,”‘ Trump continued. ‘I said, “Look, that’s not the relationship I have with my people.'”

A person in the crowd then pointed out that Obama had a dog while he was president. ‘Yeah! Obama had a dog. You are right,’ Trump remarked as he and the crowd laughed.
Obama famously promised his daughters that he would get them a dog if they moved to the White House in 2008.

‘Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House,’ he said during his victory speech.

The Obamas adopted Bo, a hypoallergenic Portuguese Water Dog, in 2009. They adopted a second dog, named Sunny, in August 2013. Sunny made headlines four years later when she bit an 18-year-old family friend, who posted pictures on social media.

Trump’s youngest son Barron, 12, lives at the White House, but it remains unknown if he has asked for a pet.

While Trump seems unlikely to welcome a dog to the Oval Office anytime soon, he made it clear which canine he prefers. During his rally, the president went on a long tangent about the incredible abilities of German Shepherds.

Trump said the Secret Service has taken him out to places where he could see the dogs in action.

‘There is nothing better than a good old-fashioned German Shepherd. It’s hard to believe. It’s true,’ the president said. ‘They are unbelievable. They’ll run past all these empty boxes, and one of the boxes has drugs in it, deep down in a box. And it comes to a screeching halt barking at it every time.’

Trump said he has asked how German Shepherds compare to expensive machines designed to detect drugs.

‘I asked the people that sell the machinery – and a lot of money – I say, “Let me ask you a question. This stuff is incredible. I’m really impressed. How does it compare to a German shepherd?'” Trump recalled. ‘The guy looks at me and goes, “Sir, honestly, it’s not as good.” Can you believe it? German Shepherds. Certain types of dogs.’

(Story source: Daily Mail)

Heartbreaking: The ‘adorable’ dog so unlucky in love he has been rejected 3,000 times

No wonder this doleful dog lives up to its name of Blue… He’s the Valentine’s Day pet whose quest for love has been turned down thousands of times.

BlueThe Express reports that the way Blue the lurcher has been left in the lurch for the last 465 days is being highlighted today to show which dog breeds are most overlooked at animal rescue centres. Rhodesian ridgebacks, English bull terriers, American bulldogs and Staffies are the breeds that spend longest waiting to find a new home. Yet for poor Blue his marathon stay at a rehoming centre has left the RSPCA astounded.

Although red is traditionally the colour of romance, the animal welfare charity says four year old Blue also deserves lots of loving because he is such a calm, friendly dog. Since he arrived at the RSPCA’s Suffolk East and Ipswich branch in November, 2017, when his owner was struggling to handle him, he has been overlooked by potential new owners more than 3,000 times, with one adoption failing at the last minute.

Manager at the rescue centre Zoe Barrett said: “If you want a dog to go and sit and have a cuddle with, all the staff here go and sit with Blue. He is a real favourite for all of us. We absolutely adore him and just want to see him settle into a long term home.” As the RSPCA was making a case for Blue to be rehomed, it detailed the average times different breeds spend waiting at its rescue centres before being adopted.

Latest figures show Rhodesian ridgebacks have an average stay of 118 days followed by English bull terrier crosses, who wait 97 days, and American bulldogs with a 76 day wait.

Staffies, recently voted the nation’s best loved breed in an ITV poll, are the most frequently seen dogs arriving in RSPCA care and spend an average of 47 days in care before they are rehomed. By comparison, smaller breeds are being snapped up by new owners. Toy poodles take on average only 10 days to find a home. Pugs wait two days longer while shih-tzus spend an average of two weeks before they have new owners.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Lisa Hens explained while staff caring for animals on a daily basis know how lovable and different each dog is from one another, some breeds sadly take longer to find a perfect match.

She said: “This is probably due to a combination of reasons. For example, size or beliefs about particular breeds and types can stop people from even considering the possibility of adopting certain dogs. With so many of the same type of dog in our care it can be difficult for individuals to stand out from the crowd despite their great potential. Sadly in some cases, animals are overlooked just because of how they look. We would urge anyone looking for a pet to do their research, especially as the reputation of a particular breed or type is often undeserved. Just like people, all dogs are individuals and they should find out if they are a good match for that particular animal to see if they can offer them a loving home.”

(Story source: The Express)

Pets at Home may boost stockpiles by £8m in case of hard Brexit

Pets at Home says it is considering spending an extra £8m stockpiling products, including food, in case of a “no-deal” Brexit.

Pets At HomeSky News reports that some 17% of its goods come from outside the UK and chief executive Peter Pritchard has previously pledged to ensure families do not run out of food for their pets.

The retailer and vet business confirmed last year that it had already started building stocks to prepare for possible disruption to imports. It joins other major UK retailers, including Tesco and M&S, in filling warehouse and other storage space in the run-up to Brexit day on 29 March.

Businesses are worried the country could leave the EU without any agreement over its future relationship with the union, after MPs rejected the prime minister’s deal.

Pets at Home said: “As we approach our financial year end and monitor the Brexit process, we may consider increasing our inventory holding by up to £8m.”

The firm also gave an update on its Brexit preparations while outlining trading progress over the 12 weeks to 3 January – its third quarter.

It reported a 6.3% rise in revenues compared with the same period last year and said trading profits were on track to meet full-year expectations, though its bottom line would be hit by a £42m charge linked to the closure of 30 vet practices. Shares were more than 8% higher in early trading.

Mr Pritchard added: “Momentum in retail accelerated over the festive period, culminating in the biggest trading day of our entire history on the Saturday before Christmas. “We are working closely across the group to maximise our assets and data as a pet care business, delivering initiatives that are resulting in an even better experience for customers.”

(Story source: Sky News)