What do dogs actually hear when we speak to them?
Isn’t this the single most important question of dog ownership? Isn’t getting it wrong the reason why so many dogs end up unhappy or worse?
I’m not going to solve it, because in 2021 that still isn’t possible. What I can do is show you some tantalising recent science that’s starting show us the way forward. Continue reading “What Words Can Dogs Hear The Best?”
If you’re planning a driving holiday in SA, it’s good to know where you can let your dog out for a run. The good news is that most towns, even small ones, now have a fenced off-leash area. Continue reading “23 Dog Parks In South Australian Towns”
Not long ago I published a survey of top Australian dog trainers about their favourite harnesses. It was an eye-opener for me.
Strikingly, one particular harness stood out from the rest: the Perfect Fit®. At the time, I hadn’t heard of it, and it was hard to purchase due to the need for a custom fitting. Then, an existing Adelaide importer asked me if I could start to stock it. Continue reading “Perfect Fit: The Custom Fitted Fleece Dog Harness”
The following information is taken from the fitting guides produced by Perfect Fit. Tiny harnesses have been removed for simplicity as we do not stock them here in Adelaide..
This information is a guide only and is intended to be used in-store during the fitting process. In almost every case, one or other of the pieces will need to be swapped out to customise the fit properly. Continue reading “A Perfect Fit Harness Measuring Guide”
One of the common arguments for not desexing a dog is the effect on their trainability, especially herding, guarding or protection. But does this really happen? Continue reading “Are Desexed Dogs Harder To Train?”
UPDATE 13 May: Limited puppy preschool places are now available at our clinic on Thursday nights. To comply with current regulations, we request that:
- only one person comes with each puppy
- class members wait outside until the start time
For puppies elsewhere in the world, I’m afraid that the puppies of the next few months won’t grow up the same. I fear that this virus will change how they enjoy the rest of their lives. But I also think you can do something about it. Continue reading “A Puppy Checklist For The Social Distancing Age”
I see every day how hard it is to find the right way to stop dogs pulling on the leash. There are too many traps and too little good advice.
For these dogs, an appropriate restraint needs to be more than just comfortable and secure; it has to also be effective. So I put the question out to a select group of professional dog trainers. Continue reading “What Is The Best Way To Stop A Dog Pulling?”
Everyone has an opinion about what makes a great obedience class. I’ve got a lot to say on the subject, but I’ll start here: obedience has nothing to do with it!
The evidence is clear and consistent. When measured by results, reward-based training outperforms more ‘traditional’ methods. It’s also much less likely to cause pain or anxiety.
That’s why this article is going to help you tell the difference. By the end, you should be able to choose the right class for your dog. I will go through some clues you can use, and then use an example of two very real classes. Continue reading “How To Find A Good Dog Training Class”
It seems like that, doesn’t it? You search for a “dog trainer” in your area and instead of a simple answer you get all this:
- Dog Obedience
- Positive Training
- Dog Whisperers
- Private vs Group Classes
It’s not even clear what the differences are. At last not yet. But you don’t want to find that out the hard way. Continue reading “Tinker, Tailor, Whisperer, Trainer…”
This lovely photo by Julie Wilson shows Jack, one of our Puppy Preschool graduates. It’s the way we like to see them: making the most out of life.
Did his puppy classes help him become the dog he is now? To answer that we need to know not what puppy classes promise, but what they actually do.
You have a right to be shown the evidence behind any veterinary recommendation. Here’s what we know. Continue reading “Puppy Preschool: The Evidence”
‘At A Glance (Much More Below)’ What To Do
How To Reduce Leash Reactivity
A good start is to accept it for what it is: common and no cause for shame
- Get help: it’s going to be much easier with expert guidance
- Discover tricks to keep your dog focused or distracted
- Avoid interactions with other dogs when on leash or near fences
Now dive deeper…
Do you have a dog who is hard to walk on a lead, but almost never a problem when off it? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve come to realise from my daily conversations with dog owners that we may actually be in the majority. It’s time we stopped feeling embarrassed and started to look into why our dogs behave the way they do on a leash and what we can do about it.
Here is a typical story. I was walking my Loki to school the other day and met another dog walker going the same way. Her dog immediately started barking and yelping in response. Before too long the behaviour turned to lunging and snapping.
She said (a little embarrassed) “he’s not aggressive”. My kids said (in disbelief) “he’s out-Loki’d Loki”. And it was true. The pipsqueak who has made leash reactivity his signature move was completely overwhelmed and confused. Continue reading “Help! My Dog Is Terrible To Walk On Leash”
25 years ago, in my very first week as a vet, a lovely bouncy Cocker Spaniel puppy taught me a hard lesson. Innocently enough, I asked his owner “so, how’s everything going?”
Right in front of me, without another word, his owner burst into tears. Back then I really didn’t know what was going on. I sure do now.
Toilet training, house training or potty training. Call it what you will, but it’s the greatest challenge most puppy owners will face. As vets, we might consider ourselves masters of keeping puppies healthy, but we often look on helplessly at training problems. Continue reading “Help! My Puppy Keeps Peeing In The House”
Here’s a checklist to help you get ready for the big day your puppy arrives. It might seem like a lot to do but that’s only because you’re actually thinking about things in advance. Continue reading “What You Need For A New Puppy”
True or false: early social exposure in a puppy reduces aggression to other dogs later in life. Easy, right?
After all, that’s why vets (like us) push early finish vaccination programs and puppy preschool classes. Get that puppy out socialising in the ‘sensitive period’ before 16 weeks and they’ll get to enjoy the company of other dogs FOR LIFE.
Well not so fast. A recent Australian study has shown the exact opposite. I’m not even that surprised; I’ve been warning puppy owners about this for years. Continue reading “Good And Bad Puppy Training”
Thanks to my big mouth I was in trouble from the outset. As a litter of five 10kg puppies were brought in by the scruffs of their necks, all I had to do was shut up. Continue reading “Why Banning Dog Breeds Doesn’t Work”
Here’s some bad news for people with barking problems. Humans may have deliberately selected dogs for their ability to bark. It’s one of the big differences between wolves and dogs. Continue reading “Stopping Dogs Barking”
Getting a new dog is an exciting time. Whether you’re bringing up a puppy or settling in a rescued dog there’s so much to look forward to…
Amid the fun are a couple of serious issues:
Continue reading “Introducing A New Puppy”
- Training and feeding a second or third dog
- Making sure your original dog likes the new arrival
Sam and Jesse are these two charming Cavaliers. The decision their owners made is the same one many dog owners face. I went through it three years ago.
However, it isn’t always a good idea… Continue reading “Should I Get A Second Dog?”
Most of the time it’s just assumed that modern pets in families will know what to do, have good manners and to be perfect angels.
When it goes bad, it’s usually the children that suffer. Dogs are more likely to bite kids in the head or neck (63% of bites compared with only 13.3% of older people) and kids are more likely to need surgery and to stay in hospital (Ting et al, 2016). You’ve only got to look at the picture of my young son (above) to see why.
Usually the dog gets the blame, sometimes with tragic consequences, even though the causes are a lot more complicated. Usually it could have all been prevented with better understanding. Continue reading “Kids and Dogs”
Listen to anyone who owns a dog (myself included) and you will hear them talking to their dogs in complex sentences. But what do dogs hear? Continue reading “Myth 17: My dog understands what I say”
If there is there a saying that makes a dog trainer more cranky I’d like to hear it. This myth is responsible for a world of missed opportunities for our senior pets. Take it from us- the only thing stopping our pets learning through life is our own prejudices. Continue reading “Myth 10: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”