ChatterTip of the Month September 2011

Pet Tips
Growing up in English countryside, there were always tons of dogs around and everyone in my family seemed to have a dog, or two, and mostly Labradors or retrievers of some sort. Although I have had dogs too, I am really more of a cat person, so for this month, I asked my sister to write some dog tips for us. The photo is one I took when I was last in Guernsey visiting my Aunt. We were walking her little Jack Russell “Cassie” and ran into a woman who breeds and trains collies and was walking a group of them with a black lab as well. She very methodically arranged and instructed them all into a line for me so I could take their picture!

Photo by Louisa J. Curtis, September 2010

Pet Tips – in particular Dogs
1) Don’t forget that all dogs, whether pedigree or mongrel, originate from the wolf.  Whilst dogs have allowed themselves to be domesticated by humans, they all have deep-seated instincts that come from being related to wolves.  Respect this in your dog and don’t transform it into some kind of plaything or toy to be made a fool of and then discarded.

2) There are no bad dogs, just bad owners!  Try and see the world from your dog’s point of view when it does something you consider to be antisocial, messy, or just a plain nuisance.  Could you have played a bigger part in preventing whatever it was that made you cross with your dog?

3) Even the most energetic and outgoing dog will not appreciate constant noise and stimulation.  All dogs should have a quiet safe place to use for rest and retreat when necessary, somewhere that is warm and comfortable which the dog can use exclusively.

4) Pick up after your dog – it comes with the territory nowadays and so many owners blatantly disregard this perfectly reasonable request.  If your dog performs anywhere that is regularly used by other walkers, town or country, use the bag that you should always carry and dispose of it responsibly i.e. don’t throw it into the undergrowth or up a tree as some ignorant people do.

5) When disciplining a dog, always use a firm but calm tone of voice.  There is absolutely no point in yelling at your dog or hitting it – they will simply switch off and shut down.  As the wonderful Cesar Milan has written in his books, the dog should sense your authority merely through the leash when you are walking with it – body language is everything.

6) Enjoy your dog!  There is nothing as rewarding as the absolute trust and love of your dog – they give you total loyalty and companionship for not much in return.  We are privileged to share our lives with these wonderful animals.

by Charlotte Murphy

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