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Collars vs. Harnesses!


When choosing what to walk your dog in the choice is vast so how do you decide?

Neck Collars

  • Your dog should be wearing a collar and ID tag at all times.
  • If your dog pulls, even lightly, they can injure their neck or cause other health related problems if they are walked in just a collar. Think of a dog’s neck with the same sensitivity to ours.
  • Health issues from neck injuries include:- Trauma to the thyroid gland in the neck causing it to not work as efficiently potentially causing Hypothyroidism. A crushed trachea from excess pulling or sharp jerks can occur as well as fractured verterbrae in the neck or spine causing pain related issues such as behavioural problems.

Harnesses

  • A nervous dog could slip out of a collar so to have a harness on as well is an extra safety precaution.
  • You could choose a back or chest led harness.
  • Back led harnesses – Great for little dogs, unreactive dogs and for dogs that do not pull on the lead. Takes pressure from the neck and spine distributing it around the dog’s torso instead. If they are used with too much pressure for a long time then they can encourage dogs to pull through engagement of the dog’s opposition reflex so it is very important that when the dog is walking nicely that a loose leash is used.
  • Chest led harnesses – Great to help stop pulling and gives more control than a back-led harness for reactive dogs. If the dog pulls in a chest-led harness they just turn around rather than keep pulling forward.

Head Collars

  • Are very popular with dogs that pull on the lead.
  • It is highly unlikely your dog will enjoy wearing their head collar so if you choose to use a head collar then it is important that you introduce your dog to it slowly and in a positive manner using it for short periods and using lots of rewards alongside it so that they start to associate the head collar with a positive experience.
  • If your dog does not enjoy wearing the head collar then alternative equipment should be used.

If your dog does pull it is important (and very much appreciated by your dog walker!!) if you engage the services of a qualified dog trainer or behaviourist who use positive reward methods to encourage your dog to walk on a loose leash. We have lots of contacts in all of the areas we operate for some excellent dog trainers to help you.

Play vs. Aggressive Behaviours

Being able to tell the difference between play behavior and aggressive behaviour is very important for dog professionals if they are mixing multiple dogs. It can be difficult to tell the difference sometimes but key communications between dogs can help differentiate.

Common play behaviours include:-

  • The Play Bow – where the dog’s front end goes down and put’s their bottom in the air.
  • Sometimes dogs will bounce their front legs up and down too. The tail and bottom are often wiggling as well!
  • A big smile – A big, loose, open mouthed smile!
  • If the dogs are bouncing around and enjoying themselves.
  • Play growling – loud and continuous, sometimes sounds a bit ‘sealion’ like!
  • Self-handicapping – where a dog makes themselves vulnerable exposing their tummies and rolling around. Dogs take it in turns to be the vulnerable one when play fighting.
  • They keep going – one doesn’t try and run away all the time, they keep going back for more. They take it in turns to chase each other.

Common aggressive behaviours include:-

  • Bodies are tense causing various parts of their body such as ears and tail to be tight too.
  • The hackles along the dog’s back become raised.
  • The mouth is tenser, making the lips curl and teeth are visible.
  • The growling is low and warning like.
  • Movements are purposeful rather than bouncing around like in play behaviour.
  • If one dog is constantly dominating or chasing another rather than taking it in turns then it is unlikely to be fun for the dog being chased or dominated.

Top Tips for meeting and mixing dogs:-

  • Give your young, nervous, elderly or disabled dog extra support in social situations. They are more vulnerable and do not want to be injured or traumatized by being ganged up on. Walk them alone if you can’t guarantee an enjoyable experience for them with other dogs.
  • Don’t add their belongings ie. Food and toys, into the mix to keep possessive behaviours to a minimum but also use them as a distraction if things get out of hand and you need to move your dog away from the social situation.
  • Separate dogs if play gets too rough or you are seeing aggressive behaviours rather than play behaviours.
  • To separate dogs safely you must keep yourself safe as dogs can accidently bite you too. For some advice on breaking up a dog fight please have a look at the article by Greyhound Rescue Wales http://greyhoundrescuewales.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Breaking-up-a-dog-fight-V1.0.pdf

We are 9 years old!!

Nine years ago this week, Friends for Pets was launched! Initially the plan was to offer a local pet care service to a few pet owners living in the Cheddar Valley area of the West Country. A little business that could be run by Becca alongside looking after her own pets and her Animal Science lecturing work. With little advertising, within a couple of months word had spread and three pet carers were recruited to help provide these services (Liz and Margaret, two of these original pet carers are still with us after all this time even though Margaret keeps trying to retire!! Thanks ladies for your amazing work and commitment to FFP).

Within the first couple of years, enquiries started to come in from all over the country and increasingly in some of the more densely populated areas like Bristol and Bath. At one point Becca had 85 pet carers working for her on a part time basis. The company was now running her! To allow things to grow at a more manageable pace, in 2011 FFP was set up to be franchised to allow local managers to manage smaller teams of pet carers therefore maintaining a higher standard of service. The first franchisee was Julia Barnaville, who as well as owning the Bath team now owns a neighbouring franchise also. As of July 2017 we have a few more franchises over the South of the UK and we hope to slowly build on these whilst continually improving the services that we offer to our clients.

It has been a whirlwind of nine years. As with everyone that runs their own business will know, there are lots of ups and downs and it does take your heart and soul to make things work sometimes. The people and pets we have met along our business journey make it all worthwhile and the passion that our team leader and pet carers have is inspirational to work with. Huge thank you’s to all of our managers, pet carers and clients for your support and commitment we will keep trying to improve things everyday! xxx

Why Dog First Aid?

By Tash Myers

As I was training to be a qualified Canine First Responder Instructor, I had quite a few people asking me ‘why do you need dog first aid?’ and ‘Why would I need a certified course?’. Once upon a time I was one of those people asking those exact questions. To me it’s a very simple answer. If you have a dog, work with dogs in any profession (dog walking, dog sitting, working in a dog rescue centre, dog trainers or groomers) or have a beloved dog as a pet, what if something happened to a dog in your care? If it collapsed, stopped breathing, had a serious bleed, would you know what to do?

It’s not until someone asks you that question until it makes you think. Calling the vet is the obvious answer, but what if you were not minutes from a vet and your dog needed assistance before you could get to a vet, what would you do? Would you know how to reduce a serious bleed? Would you know how to help your dog breathe again? Our certified courses are very much there to give you the knowledge and skills to provide first aid to the casualty whilst the professionals are on their way to you. Most businesses have their own human first aid responder let’s make it the ‘norm’ for the pet industry to have their own canine First Aid Responders too!

Ticks!

That time of year has come round again when we are starting to find ticks on our dogs that we walk. So why are they such a problem?

Problems

  • With changes in temperatures, ticks are starting to feed earlier and earlier in the year.
  • With the introduction of pet passports and the increase in international pet travel, not only ticks but other parasites, are able to easily introduce new diseases to countries where they did not used to be present.
  • Very serious diseases can be transmitted via ticks such as Canine Babesiosis and Lyme’s Disease as well as commonly causing localised infections around the entry site.
  • Treatment

  • Have a chat with your vet about preventative methods. There are many products on the market which if used routinely during the tick’s active months can keep ticks at bay.
    Check over your pet frequently and remove any ticks that you find. This is not always easy with longer haired pets!
  • If you find a tick on your pet, you should ideally remove the whole tick including the head which bury inside your pet, with a special tick removal hook which can be brought from most vets or pet shops. This should be rotated until the whole tick comes away.
  • Don’t try and remove it by pulling it off or burning it as parts of the tick can remain inside your pet leading to either an infection of the site or another disease that the tick was carrying.
  • If the area is very swollen or red, do not be afraid to get your vet to give your pet a quick check over.
  • Tickhook DogTicks

    When Becca went to the APGAW Dog meeting at the House of Commons at the end of 2016, some Veterinary researchers gave a talk about The Big Tick Project run by Bristol Veterinary School. It is running again this year. If you want to find out more about it then please see http://www.bigtickproject.co.uk/ This site contains some great pictures of the different ticks you might find on your pets too!

    Our Top 5 Dog Walking spots near Bradford-on-Avon, Corsham and Atworth!

    Our Bradford-on-Avon and Corsham dog walking team are lucky to have some fantastic dog walks to take their clients on! Here are some of our favourites:-
    1. The Kennet and Avon Canal Path- A gorgeous dog walk along the towpath that stretches all the way from Reading to Bath. The dog walk passes through Bradford-on-Avon and is a good flat path for buggies and wheelchairs too.
    2. Corsham Court and Lake- A great dog walk near Corsham with plenty of variation for your dogs. There are parts with water, woods and fields. You are able to let your dogs off in parts but just be careful to keep them on the lead and under control when sheep are present. There is a free car park too!
    3. Slaughterford- Not far from Corsham, a dog walk with lots of variety- woods, fields and a little beach with a pond for dogs to play in. Lots of great places for some off lead playtime and some lovely dog friendly pubs in the area too to make a day of it!
    4. Box Woods – Not far from Corsham and Atworth, with some incredible views stretching over Bath and Box, this is a beautiful dog walk through bridlepaths and woods. Occasionally livestock are present in fields along the way so please remember to keep dogs on the lead and under control for everyone’s safety.
    5. Woods and Fields around Neston- a quiet, pretty dog walk around Neston, between Corsham and Atworth. Lots of places to let your dogs have a run off the lead but please keep them close and under control re is plenty of wildlife in the area.

    If you would like your dog to join one of our dog walkers on one of these gorgeous dog walks please get in touch with Sarah on bradfordonavon@friendsforpets.co.uk or 01225 667245

    10 Great Dog Walks in the Vale of Glamorgan!

    The Barry and Vale of Glamorgan dog walkers that provide dog walking services in Penarth, Dinas Powys, Llandough and surrounding areas are lucky to have some gorgeous walks to take the four legged friends on! Here are some of their favourites:-

    1. Lavernock Point – Very close to Penarth for our dog walkers. Provides a gorgeous coastal walk and amazing views across the channel. Parking can be difficult especially on more pleasant days.
    2. Bryngarw Country Park – Gorgeous park for a dog walk near Bridgend. Convenient (paid) parking and café on site, parts of the walk are along a disused railway and although you are allowed to let dogs off keep them close as there are plenty of cyclists around on warmer days.
    3. Llanwit Major Beach – This is a lovely spot for a dog walk during the winter months (dogs are banned from the beach during the summer months). Convenient car parking too near the beach. A lovely little town to have a wander around as well.
    4. Dinas Powys – With stunning countryside there are lots of beautiful places to explore on a dog walk around Dinas Powys including the lovely Salmon Leaps Walk. There are some wooded areas and open fields. If you are lucky you may see some wildlife with kestrals, buszzards and pheasants commonly seen. At some times of year there may be livestock in the fields so please keep dogs on the lead and under close control to keep livestock and dogs safe when our dog walking.
    5. Porthkerry Country Park – Beautiful footpaths and woodland to explore whilst dog walking in Barry. With a car park on site, this is great dog walk for the warmer summer months when you are trying to avoid hot tarmac and missing the beaches!
    6. Watchtower Bay – a lovely beach walk in Barry. The beach is close to the town so parking is usually quite easy and there are also toilets on site.
    7. Cosmeston Lakes & Country Park – Can be an extended dog walk to incorporate a countryside and coastal walk. The actual park has two lakes, good footpaths making it a good choice for wheelchairs and pushchairs as well as dog walking. Due to the amount of birdlife around the lakes please keep dogs under close control at all times.
    8. Knap Gardens – A great place for a dog walk in Barry all year round. Beautiful gardens around a lake visited regularly by birdlife. A good walk for buggies and wheelchairs as well as being popular with dog walkers.
    9. Jacksons Bay – This is a quiet secluded sandy beach and the locals best kept secret. It is popular with dog walkers due to allowing dogs on it all year round. You can also walk round the Coastal Path to Barry Island though that does have dog restrictions at certain times of the year.

    10. Merthyr Mawr – This walk is easy to find from the M4 and again dogs are allowed here all year round. Start by exploring picturesque historical cottages before wandering the wilds of the sand dunes. Dogs
    will love running up and down the dunes including the Big Dipper! Reach the top of this one and be rewarded with all the surrounding views.

    If you would like your dog to join us on one of these gorgeous walks then please get in touch with Catherine on barry@friendsforpets.co.uk or 07502 316670