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STELLAR STAFFIES The big dog that could

WALKING 101 Do you and your dog pass our test?

CARERS FOR LIFE When foster homes become forever homes



ISSUE 139 SEP/OCT 2016 AUS $7.95* $7. 7 95* NZ $8.90 (incl. GST)

Why is this form of Frisbee such a hot canine sport?

Senior special HEARTWORM What you need to know

DOG-FRIENDLY GARDENS Is your yard pet-safe?


Contents The senior special SENIOR SPECIAL 20 Saying goodbye No one wants to say goodbye to their four-legged friend, but it can be for the best. Here are some tips on coping in this dificult time. 24 Senior pet care Read our expert tips on caring for your older pet. 28 Senior smarts You can’t teach an old dog new tricks … or can you? We look at why getting old doesn’t mean losing brain power. 32 Senior must-haves Got an older dog? Then you’ll want to consider some of our favourite senior products.



The heart of it Heartworm is a terrible parasite that can result in death. DOGSLife shows you how to keep your pet safe. 36 Tick of! With spring just around the corner, we look at the best ways to keep your pet safe from the deadly paralysis tick. 38 DIY grooming Get your pooch in tip-top shape with our guide to grooming at home. 42 Grooming guide You’ve got the passion; now get the tools to help make bath time for your pet a cinch.

24 34

BEHAVIOUR AND TRAINING 44 Herding It’s a sport that goes back many years, but is herding something we should have left in the past? Or could this be the sport your dog goes gaga for? 46 Diggity-dog Digging in the garden is a problem many pet owners face, so how can you stop your pet from getting its paws dirty (and ruining your petunias)? DOGSLife tells you how. 3


LIFE WITH DOGS 48 Dog-friendly gardens What essentials are needed to make sure your yard is ready for some pooch action this spring? Read more about creating a safe play space for your dog here. 50 Discover canine disc Have you heard about the dog sport that some canines are getting dizzy for? Find out more about canine disc with one of the industry legends. 52 Walking 101 We all know we should be doing it, but are you aware of the proper walk-time etiquette? Make sure your walk is on point. 54 Gorgeous Greys Meet three beautiful Greyhounds rescued to receive a better life. 56 Animals are not trash Thanks to one tiny dumped puppy, a huge positive message is being spread — animals are not trash. 59 Walk this way Local dog parks and trails, explored and given the snif of approval.


DOG TALES 62 Conservation canines Find out more about the dogs helping to put rhino hunters behind bars. 64 Foster fails What happens when you try to foster care for a pup and end up adopting it instead? We speak to carers who’ve done just that.

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REGULAR FEATURES 6 8 12 14 16 18 68 70 92 97 98

From the editor News Book club Over to you Letters Bone-anza giveaways Love’em snapshots Ask the experts Hot products Coming up Me and my dog

BREED FEATURES 80 84 88 90 4

Stafordshire Terrier Bichon Frise British Bulldog Schipperke

Ezy P WS

From the editor

Life EDITOR Lauren McKellar SUB-EDITOR Gililian Hamilton DESIGNER Jessica Roberts CONTRIBUTORS Tim Falk, Melanie Hearse, Kristie Bradfield, Danielle Lyonne, Dr Michael Archinal, Dr Kersti Seksel, Dr Renee O’Duhring, Peta Clarke, Caroline Zambrano, Carrol Baker, Nadia Crighton, Laura Greaves

INTERNS Jessica Harlow, Amanda Smuin NATIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER Rob Jordan (02) 9887 0359




i DOGSLife readers, This issue, one of our fabulous journalists, Alex Cearns from Houndstooth Studio, covered a particularly moving piece for us about a tiny puppy that captured the heart of a big state. Jakk was found in a dumpster outside a Hungry Jacks in Western Australia and his story of survival has spawned a huge campaign with a very strong message: animals are not trash. Nothing breaks my heart more than to hear stories of animal abuse like this and when I read of Jakk’s sufering, I was seriously moved. My heart goes out to the rescuer and the team currently working to get this little cutie accustomed to life with the disfigurement he currently has. Read this beautiful story and find out how you can help on page 56. Another story that brought a tear to my eye was on saying goodbye to your older pet. Last year, I had to say goodbye to my 14-year-old Border Collie, Molly. Molly had been with me through so much — you know those dogs that just seem to get it? When you’re down, they’re silent and yet there for a hug. When you need to let of some steam, they join you on a run but manage to stay on their best behaviour. When you want to muck around, they’re always eager for a game of fetch or two. Well, Molly was one of those, and when she passed away due to old age it was absolutely devastating for me. My heart


goes out to anyone who has lost a pet recently, or those who may be watching their pet get older and worrying about its future. If this sounds like you, I highly recommend checking out our article on saying goodbye on page 20. I hope it gives you permission to grieve. Of course, it’s not just emotional articles in DOGSLife 139. We have a heap of practical and light-hearted care advice, too — from our feature on teaching old dogs new tricks on page 28 to some DIY-grooming info on page 38, and an interesting feature on dog herding. Could your dog excel at this age-old sport? We have all this and much more in store for you so sit back, relax and enjoy this issue of DOGSLife. Lauren, editor




MARKETING & ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Chelsea Peters DOGSLife issue 139 is published by Universal Magazines, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax: (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office: Suite 4, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3025. Phone: (03) 9694 6444, Fax: (03) 9699 7890. Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore. Retail distribution: Gordon and Gotch. NZ Distributor: Netlink. UK Distributor: KLM Partnership, Phone: +44 019 9244 7544. Singapore & Malaysia Distributor: Carkit (F.E.) Pte Ltd, 1 Charlton Lane, #01-02, Singapore 539631, Phone: +65 6282 1960, Fax: +65 6382 3021, Website: This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. *Recommended retail price ISSN 1329-3583 Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXVI ACN 003 026 944 Please recycle or pass on this magazine.


It’s about you


Would you like to be a professional dog groomer or setup your own grooming business? In this fully accredited 18 week course you will learn the technical skills required to bathe and groom dogs of different coat types as well as how to maintain correct hygiene and infection control procedures. Students are encouraged to secure a work experience placement in a grooming salon while undertaking the qualification. All equipment supplied.

Course availability: Check website for details Contact: Kerry Nichol 9217 3954

Coming soon Certificate IV in Pet Styling This course will show you the styling standards for different breeds, identify pet hygiene issues that may indicate a health concern and give you the skills to set up your own business or manage a pet grooming salon.

1300 350 601 > Design Centre Enmore > Eora > Petersham > Randwick > St George > Sutherland > Ultimo

RTO 90003

Venue: Sydney TAFE

ß NEWS We’ve focused on canine careers this issue, checking out some great ways you can enter the nation’s ever-growing pet industry.

Canine careers profile: Medicine Ever dreamed of working in medicine for pets, but the idea of becoming a veterinarian doesn’t sit quite right? Here are two other options that might be truer to your style. CANINE MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY The Canine Myofunctional Therapy Certificate, run by the National College of Traditional Medicine, is its professional dog massage course. This form of therapy has been recommended by veterinarians and animal-care experts across the world as a powerful healing tool in the treatment of many conditions, including the specialised care required of post-operative procedures. In this course, students learn the application of controlled and deliberate techniques to aid in the relaxation and repair of soft tissue injuries via the circulatory and nervous system responses. Massage prepares the body for pre- and post-athletic activity, reducing muscle fatigue and recovery times, along with biomechanic assessments ensuring optimum musculoskeletal function. Research confirms the direct and indirect efects of massage to each and every cell within each system of the body and improves overall health, wellbeing and longevity, starting from the puppy stages of growing right through to our esteemed elderly dogs.


PRACTISING CERTIFICATE IN NUTRITION FOR COMPANION PETS When it comes to dogs and their diets, nutrition is key. By completing a Practising Certificate in Nutrition for Companion Pets at the National College of Traditional Medicine, you will study canine and feline nutrition as it pertains to the various stages of an animal’s life. The information contained in this course will assist you with your choice of meeting the special nutritional needs for dogs and cats on an individual basis. Understanding the digestive process, coupled with the knowledge that dogs and cats are not designed to eat cooked and highly processed foods, will enable the nutritionists to aid in preventing many of the more common illnesses and degenerative diseases that now seem to be more and more prevalent. This course blows out the myths when it comes to nutrition for companion pets. You are fully supported in all NCTM courses and industry accredited with this qualification.

There are more courses available at the National College of Traditional Medicine. To discover further information, visit 9

Canine careers profile: Groomer Ever wanted to launch a career as a pet groomer? With a Certificate II Pet Grooming, it’s not as hard as you might think. AMEIL AZAR MITRY

For more information, visit


his qualification is for people wanting to work as pet groomers or pet stylists within organisations that provide professional pet grooming services. A pet grooming attendant undertakes salon reception and housekeeping duties as well as bathing, brushing, trimming and other basic grooming services for domestic pets — usually dogs and, in some cases, cats. The duties require patience and a genuine empathy for animals and excellent customer service skills, as well as high standards of cleanliness and professionalism. This 18-week course ensures that students get experience in grooming all sorts of dogs with a range of coats including long, short and curly types. Sydney TAFE highly recommends

that while undertaking this qualification, students have access to a workplace that provides pet grooming services through either paid employment or substantial periods of work placement or work experience blocks so that they can practice what they learn. After completing this qualification you may be eligible to do Certificate IV in Professional Pet Styling, which defines higher level job junctions. At least half of the recent Sydney TAFE graduates of this course have set up their own businesses in the expanding grooming industry.

Owner of Exquisite Paws. a mobile dog grooming trailer, designed and built by Ameil. As a child, Ameil Azar Mitry dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, groomer and actress, singing and dancing in her backyard with an audience of dogs. Her business has saved her and now a significant part of her dream has come true. Ameil has created a mobile dog grooming trailer from scratch, which looks very professional. She has made sure all animal welfare requirements have been met and has the best grooming equipment to be used on all of her four-legged friends. In 2015, she completed her Certificate III in Pet Grooming at Sydney TAFE, which she cites as being a fantastic experience. The practical lessons allowed her to participate in grooming dogs of diferent breeds and sizes using an array of techniques, which have made her the groomer she is today. She says the course was very enjoyable; the teachers were great and the classroom was a good learning environment. “All the equipment provided at Sydney TAFE was in excellent condition. The pet grooming teacher at Sydney TAFE has a passion for animals of all shapes and sizes and knows everything you need to know about grooming dogs,” Ameil says. This course has given her the chance to do the job she has always wanted to do. Her future goal is to design more trailers for her business or for other groomers out there who want help in the design process of a trailer. 11

Š BOOK CLUB Grab a cuppa and enrich your world with our top picks from the DOGSLife bookshelf NATURAL DOG FOOD Author: Susanne Reinerth Publisher: Books on Demand GmbH Available: Now, via all major online booksellers There comes a time when we all question our pet’s diet. Is the commercially packaged produce the best way to go when it comes to feeding our four-legged friends? While DOGSLife always recommends consulting your veterinarian before making any radical changes to your dog’s daily dietary regime, if you are thinking it’s time to get back to basics and go raw, you’re going to need some help doing so and Susanne Reinerth’s Natural Dog Food is the perfect place to start. Translated to English from the original German language, this

book is easy-to-read and contains extensive information when it comes to working out the perfect natural diet for your pet. Not only does Susanne take the time to describe in-depth the serious benefits of a raw diet, she also covers all the nitty gritty, including everything from disinfection to storing meat, killing bacteria, and which cuts of food are best for your four-legged friend. Susanne also covers things such as your dog’s potential reaction to a radical diet change and even looks at intolerances and the time management involved in preparing a raw diet — something many feeders can be curious about. If you’re looking to change your pooch to a raw diet, this is absolutely the book you must read first.

Author: Johanna Bell Illustrator: Dion Beasley Publisher: Allen and Unwin RRP: $24.99 Available: Now, from all good bookstores Go Home Cheeky Animals is a comedic picture book and the sister book of Too Many Cheeky Animals, also by the same author-illustrator pair. There is a unique story behind the production of these two books. Firstly, they are set in a remote indigenous community, something rarely seen in children’s picture books. The illustrator, Dion Beasley, is an indigenous man who grew up in a remote indigenous town. Furthermore, he was born with muscular dystrophy and complete hearing loss. Teaming up with author Johanna Bell, they have created a pair of fascinating and hilarious books. In Go Home Cheeky Animals a small town is ravaged by more and more cheeky animals until all the residents and a group of cheeky dogs work together to chase of the cheeky animals. The artwork is fascinating and unique, while the story will have young readers in stitches.


By Jeremy Nigro and Lauren McKellar


Š BOOK CLUB RALF Author: Anne Crawford Publisher: Ann Crawford RRP: $29.99 Available: Now, from all good bookstores Ralf is the biography of a remarkable Giant Schnauzer of the same name. Ralf was trained as a show dog but developed a barking problem and faced an uncertain future, after his owner was forced to find him a new home. Fortunately for Ralf, the Lovicks, a young family from Victoria, were able to take him in. Through an interesting turn of events he became a therapy dog at Trinity Manor, eventually ending up at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. This book weaves together the diferent stories of the people afected by Ralf, including the Lovicks, and some of the patients he visited. This makes Ralf hard to put down as you always want to read to the end of the chapter to find out what happened to these unique individuals. Photographs of Ralf and some of the people in the book are featured here and the book is written in simple, easy-to-read language. This makes Ralf suitable for young teenagers and above. Ralf is a heart-warming and endearing tale that appeals to anyone who’s been afected by the love and generosity of pets. Ralf’s tale is an underdog story and proof that animals can bring hope to those who need it most.

THE MANY SELVES OF KATHERINE NORTH Author: Emma Geen Publisher: Bloomsbury RRP: $28 Available: Now, from all good bookstores We love a good read and The Many Selves of Katherine North definitely falls into that category. This debut from young writer Emma Geen takes the reader on a speculative journey into another time when Kit, a phenomenaut, has been projecting into other species, projecting her consciousness into the minds of lab-grown animals all in the name of research and helping her employers better understand the creatures we live alongside. This book opens on Kit when her employment takes a drastic turn. One jump as an urban fox ends in disaster, and our heroine’s world is turned upside-down as she struggles to work out who to trust and how — or if she can ever be safe. While this wasn’t this reviewer’s usual genre of choice, I found it very easy to get into and simple to read. The tension grew and I found myself turning the pages faster and faster, desperate to learn what happened next. The Many Selves of Katherine North is a well-paced read that will have sci-fi lovers enthralled. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat.

LET’S GO … TO THE BEACH! Author: Sue McWhinney Illustrator: Helene Ruma RRP: $14.95 Available: Via emailing, or at We love any book focused on responsible pet ownership, and Let’s go … to the Beach! sure fits that bill. Written by Sue McWhinney, this book tells the tale of Eddie McTeddie, a playful and afectionate Doberman, based on Sue’s own gorgeous pooch, and his adventure to — you guessed it — the beach. Suitable for readers aged five, or as a “read to” book for those aged between two and four, Let’s go … to the Beach! endeavours to entertain and inform, helping children learn vital tips on taking their pets to the beach, including: Always take water and a bowl Never pull your dog’s tail or ears Always ask permission if you’d like to pat a dog that doesn’t belong to you Let’s go … to the Beach! is made complete by stunning illustrations from Helene Ruma, which really make this book something else. This is the perfect gift for the young animal lover in your life.

• • • 13

Over to you Become a DOGSLife Facebook fan and follow us on Twitter to have your say on the hottest canine topics. Simply search for DOGSLife magazine. WE ASKED: DO YOU WASH YOUR PET AT HOME OR LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS?


“I have my own hydrobath so my boy gets bathed at home.” Bronwen Laughlin

“My dogs get washed at home in the laundry sink. They are only small (one Jack Russell and two JRT x Chihuahuas) so it’s easier and cheaper to do at home. They get bathed every three months, followed by their flea treatment.” Kimberly Cooper


“Yoshi gets washed at home in the shower. We have an extendable nozzle and we have just bought a grooming table, so we can groom him ourselves. Every parent needs to give their kids a cute or funny haircut. Yoshi gets the zoomies after he’s been washed and dried; he gets so excited and does laps around the house.” Mel Rowan

“We bathe our boys at home in their booster bath.” Dany-el Baker

“Having three Pugs/ Pug X, I bathe them myself (all together) in the bath. They stand like statues.” Tania Smith

Photo: Houndstooth Studio

“Most of the time in my bathtub for both my dogs, except when they are due a haircut, then of to the groomers they go.” Catherine Jeffries

“We bathe all our dogs at home in the hydrobath. I also hand strip my terriers myself and brush out my Newfoundland.” Elsa Hoggard

“I bathe Buddy in the laundry tub. He hates it and usually hides under the bed as soon as he hears the water start running!” Annemarie Manners

“I take my boofa to the Local PETstock and use the DIY bath and then afterwards he gets to pick out a treat.” Leisha-Marie Jope

“Charlie goes to the groomers every eight weeks for clipping and a bath, and in between he gets a bath at home every fortnight.” Nadia Sare

“My dog gets professionally washed and dried at the groomers/ doggy daycare weekly and clipped every six or so weeks. Helps that I am that groomer and can take him to work with me each day.” Sarah Bunt

“We take ours up to our local vets, who have a DIY bath out the front.” Cass Marshall

“Our dogs have a spa day once a month. They get their nails done, ears cleaned, teeth cleaned and a hydrobath with a blueberry facial — and no, I’m not kidding! My Pet Services visits them and does this at home. They [the dogs] love Brooke and fight to get out the door.” Mary-Anne Rowett 15



Office dogs Hi DOGSLife, I read your article with a smile on my face. Every now and again I bring my two precious girls in to work. Foxy and Cassie are older dogs so they are very calm. I work with a lot of people who were once terrified of dogs and, while still nervous, my two are slowly changing their minds to the joy of dogs. I have people from across the hall and throughout the building, asking if they can come and pat the girls. As you can see from the attached photo, their bed has its own space in the ofice. I highly recommend bringing your dog into the ofice. Sharon Morgan, via email


Ed: Sharon, I completely understand your attachment to ofice dogs — and it looks like yours feel right at home in the workplace. It’s so great you’re in a position to be able to introduce people to the joys that pet ownership can bring. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

Rescue ranger Dear DOGSLife, I have always loved dogs but because I have mostly lived in apartments, I have been unable to own a dog. Last year, I finally moved into my own home with a good-sized backyard and within the first month, I started looking for a dog. I had my heart set on a particular breed but my partner talked me into looking at getting a rescue dog instead. I then began scouring through the Pet Rescue website three times a day, but every dog I put in an application for seemed to be adopted so quickly. Then on a whim, my partner, his two kids and I went to an adoption day. We drove for an hour to get to Woodend and after waiting in line for an hour and half, we were unsuccessful in even being able to see any of the dogs that were up for adoption that day as there were so many people. The adoption day was held at a shelter, so we decided to just have a walk through and there in a tiny cage was a little terrier named Sasha. I knelt down 16

and called her over. Hesitantly, she came over to me to say hello and I knew she was the puppy for me. We adopted Sasha that very day and she was the great start to my fur baby family of three, which also includes Ollie and Finn. Coming home to their happy wagging tails has truly made my house a home. Rescuing a puppy dog is truly a life-changing choice … I got to save the life of a puppy and, in turn, they saved mine! Rebecca Lingham, via email


Ed: Rebecca, what a beautiful and inspiring story. It can be hard when it seems as if the universe is telling you not to do something, with all the dificulties you encountered while trying to adopt a pup, but we’re so pleased you persevered and found the rescue of your dreams. We absolutely bet those gorgeous dogs make your house every bit a home. Congratulations and thanks so much for writing in.

Do you have a story about your fabulous pet to share? Email dogslife@ universalmagazines. or mail your letter to Bark Back/ Universal Magazines, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde NSW 1670. Every issue our favourite letter will win a prize, such as a six- issue subscription to DOGSLife magazine.

WINNING LETTER The author of each issue’s winning letter will receive a sixissue subscription to DOGSLife magazine, valued at $47.70.

BONE-ANZA GIVEAWAYS DOGSLife has three (3) Luxepets collarThese beautifully made, soft-to-touch and-tag sets valued collars are the result of 10 years of at $54-60 to give away development and are intended for puppies (winner’s choice of and small breeds (less than 5kg). Made in three styles, six the US, they feature a beautiful design by colours and Claire Chew with crystals and have butter-soft size).


linings. They come in a range of colours to suit any dog or outfit. The ID tags include a range of themes such as fun, guardian angels and religious motifs. Our favourites are a beautiful gold and red enamel Buddha labelled with “Rub my belly for good fortune” and a “Best Friends” heart tag that breaks apart to provide a tag and a charm for the owner’s bracelet. For more information, visit


DOGSLife has three (3) PAW by Blackmores hampers to give away, each valued at $150.

Pets are living longer and, like humans, are more susceptible to lifestyle, environment and age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, digestion problems and skin conditions. The PAW by Blackmores range includes innovative natural products that have been researched and developed by vets and which are clinically proven to support the health of your pet. The range includes premium-quality products that help to prevent and manage common conditions seen in pets, keeping them healthier and happier for longer. For more information, visit

4CYTE Canine Foils Often, by the time a dog shows signs of lameness it has had the underlying issue for some time. It is estimated that 55 per cent of joint pain goes untreated. 4CYTE™ Canine is scientifically developed and is safe to take long-term, meaning you can support your dog’s joints no matter what stage of life they are at. 4CYTE™ contains a newly discovered plant extract Epiitalis® and because of its unique mode of action, has been patented to actively stimulate cartilage cells, which tips the balance back in favour of the production of healthy cartilage instead of degeneration. It also suppresses the chemicals responsible for inflammation. 4CYTE™ Canine comes in convenient granules and is given daily to address signs of stifness, support joint conditions, ofer support for healing after a joint injury or operation, boost the body’s ability to meet performance and recuperation, and improve and maintain healthy joints at any stage of life. Target the cause, not just the symptoms with 4CYTE™ Canine. For more information, visit


DOGSLife has four (4) X 100g 4CYTE Canine Foils to give away.

MIYOW & BARKLEY SANDALS DOGSLife Available now from miyow & barkley, these sandals has three (3) will be the cutest set of footwear pounding the sets of sandals in hot pavement this summer. They allow the feet to chocolate or pink breathe and can protect your pooch’s paws from (please specify in prickles, rough surfaces, allergies, oyster shells, hot your entry) to give pavements and slippery surfaces, thanks to their away. rubber soles. They’re also good for dogs with cuts on their paws, ofering a little extra protection for this sometimes sensitive spot. Sandals are available in size four (5 x 3.7cm), five (5.7 x 4.2cm), six (6.2 x 4.5cm) and seven (6.7 x 4.7cm), and come in a set of four in either chocolate or pink. For more information, visit

love’em beef liver treats

DOGSLife has 100 love’em beef liver treat sample packs to give away.

It’s no secret that dogs love beef liver, which is why the love’em range of this product is so popular. That’s because this all-natural, Aussiemade product is just what the label says it is — beef liver, with no artificial nasties added to upset your dog’s stomach. Developed by veterinarian Dr Marie Rowe, this product range is one of our favourites and we know your dog will love them, too. For more information, visit


WIN! * To win, enter online at dogslife. and tell us in 25 words or less why you and your pooch would love to win one of these prizes – along with your name, address and telephone number – or mail your entry to Bona-Anza Giveaways/DOGS Life, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde, NSW 1670. Entries close October 27, 2016. Please read the terms and conditions.

1. Entry into the competition implies full acceptance of all conditions of entry, including the instructions on how to enter. 2. Entry is open to all residents of Australia and New Zealand. Employees and immediate families of the promoter, associated companies and agencies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter. 3. Entries close with last mail and email on October 27, 2016, unless stated otherwise. The entries will be judged by the DOGSLife editorial team and the winner(s) will be selected on November 10, 2016. The winners will be notified by mail, email or telephone. 4. Write the competition name on the front of the envelope and send to DOGSLife magazine, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde NSW 1670 or enter via our online portal. 5. Prize(s) will be delivered to winners within four (4) weeks of notification of winning. Prize(s) are not transferable or redeemable for cash. 6. The prize must be collected within one (1) calendar year from the date a winner is chosen. If the prize is not claimed within this time, the competition is deemed invalid and the prize will be forfeited. 7. Prizes are subject to availability, not transferable or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. Any change in value of the prize(s) is not the responsibility of the promoter. 8. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes will be awarded on the basis of merit. Chance plays no part in determining the winners. 9. All entries become the property of the promoter. The entries may be entered into a database for future promotional, marketing and publicity purposes, unless otherwise stated by the entrants. If you do not wish to be entered into this database, please indicate this on your envelope. This will not exclude you from entry to the competition. Please see privacy note below for further information. 10. No responsibility is accepted for lost, misdirected or delayed mail. 11. If you do not wish to receive information about similar publications/services from Universal Magazines or carefully vetted third parties, please write either of the following statements on your envelope, depending on your preference: I am happy to receive future ofers from PETS magazine and carefully vetted third parties OR Please do not send me any further mail that does not relate to this competition. Privacy Note: With your permission, your details may be recorded so we can send you information about similar publications/services from Universal Magazines or carefully vetted third parties. Universal Magazines is committed to National Privacy Principles. We do not sell data to list brokers. If you wish to see our policy, go to and look under privacy or call us on (02) 9887 0339. 19

SENIOR SPECIAL Watching our pets grow older is a joy — but saying goodbye can be very hard.

Has Fido gone up to the guy in the sky, or perhaps it’s looking like that time? Here’s how to cope — and take care of the practicalities. By Melanie Hearse. 20

WHEN YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE CALL One of the hardest parts of losing a pet is when you have to make the decision to have them put to sleep. Known as euthanasia, this is sometimes the kindest

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Saying Goodbye to your Pooch


hile the research isn’t firm, any dog lover will no doubt concur that losing the family dog is on a par with losing a family member — probably because that’s exactly what they are. The relationship between humans and their dogs is usually one of the strongest bonds experienced. They love us unconditionally and we are their world. They’re always there for us when we need them and we love them, too. Here’s how to get through the grief and deal with the practicalities of your dog passing on.

SENIOR SPECIAL option when your dog is very ill, or in a great deal of pain that is not treatable. Step one is to talk to your vet. They will let you know what to anticipate as your dog’s illness or injury progresses, how long you can expect your dog to be living with it, and what his or her prognosis is long-term. It can be tempting to think that rather than having your pet euthanised, it is better to keep him/her at home indefinitely and to “let nature take its course” — to wait until they pass away peacefully in their sleep, says veterinarian and founder of the non-profit pet bereavement support site and online community, The Ralph Site, Shailen Jasani. “However, despite being very ill, it can take a long period of time for ‘natural’ death to come. In the meantime, your pet may be in serious and unrelenting pain. They could be unable to eat or drink, meaning they’ll become dehydrated or malnourished, or incontinent,” he says. He does note this isn’t always the case. You and your vet may be able to provide hospice care until your pet does pass on naturally, but your dog may need handson care during this time.

ALL OF THE FEELINGS Shailen says there are a range of common feelings that crop up following the loss of a pet. “For most people, the loss of a pet leads to feelings of sadness, lethargy and misery. Although potentially very severe, these feelings typically start to ease after a period of days and do not impair one’s ability to go about one’s daily business,” he says. Anger is also common and may be directed at your veterinarian, your pet’s illness, your pet, yourself or even a higher power — and, while common, it’s a good idea to see a counsellor if it lingers. This is basically a coping mechanism to distract you from the pain of losing your pet, which will eventually need to be dealt with. Denial and guilt are also very common. Shailen says many people will deny they feel sad, or the depth of their sadness. Again, this is simply a coping mechanism to try and shield ourselves from feeling the loss. Guilt, however, is a trickier beast. “Some people feel guilty because they have doubts over the decision they made to euthanise their pet; some blame themselves because they feel they were

negligent or did something to contribute towards their pet’s demise — the ‘should haves’ — while others feel guilty about times during their pet’s life when they felt they could have been more attentive or caring,” he says. However, guilt is an unhealthy and unhelpful coping strategy. It’s better to focus on positive, happy memories associated with your pet’s life. Many people experience a similar range and timeframe of emotions following bereavement. However, it is important to remember that there is no set pattern of grief. It is an individual experience that depends on many factors including your own personality, the circumstances surrounding your pet’s death and the relationship you had with your pet, Shailen says. “The first and most important step in coping with the emotions surrounding pet loss is to acknowledge and discuss them rather than deny or repress them. Attempts to suppress feelings of grief can sometimes actually prolong the healing process.” Shailen adds that support from others who “get it” and understand pet

loss grief is the thing that people find most useful. To that end, along with the website (, the Ralph Site Facebook page and, in particular, the Ralph Site Pet Loss Support Group on Facebook, are key elements of his online community. If, however, your feelings following the death of your dog start to interfere with your day-to-day life, or you are worried that what you’re feeling isn’t normal, it’s a good idea to see a counsellor to talk it through. They are widely available and can give you tips and objective feedback. Sometimes just having the freedom to share your feelings out loud with someone, without fear of upsetting them, is enough to move forward.

THE PRACTICALITIES Deciding what to do with your dog’s body comes down to personal choice. You can bury your pet yourself, have them cremated or buried at a pet cemetery, or your vet can take care of the body for you. If you choose to bury your pet, this can either be done in your backyard, or your vet can help you organise a burial in a pet

Making the choice to euthanise can be extremely tough. 21

SENIOR SPECIAL Children can be particularly heartbroken at the loss of a family pet.


HELPING KIDS DEAL WITH THE LOSS OF THEIR DOG Having a dog is a magical experience for kids and the bond your child forms with that pet often one of the strongest experienced. Many a dog has had their coat rendered soggy from tears following a bad day, not to mention clocked countless hours of play time with your pint-sized family members. This means the loss of their dog is a pretty devastating event. Here are some suggestions for helping your child through this tricky time: rush to make them feel better. • Don’t Obviously hugs, cuddles and chats

about their dearly departed are a must, but it’s important not to try and “tidy up” their feelings and make them feel like the correct response is to move on. While it’s instinctive for parents to protect their children and shield them from pain, allow them to let their grief out and take as much time as they need. It may be heartbreaking to watch but, like adults, they need space and time, and to be allowed to not feel okay for a while. Don’t hide your own grief from them. A stif upper lip may make your children feel they should also hide their feelings, so having a cry

and admitting that you miss your dog terribly allows your children to share their feelings and see them as normal. Do involve them in the funeral plans. Whether you decide to bury your dog or have him or her cremated, let your children have a say in the proceedings. Also, make sure they have a chance to say goodbye at whatever type of ceremony you choose to have. Do let them talk about your dog in the future, even after you feel they should have moved on. People grieve in their own time and talking about the family pet will allow your child to move forward and remember Fido with joy.

Photos: Big Stock Photo

cemetery. If you choose to bury them at home, it’s wise to check with your local council to ensure it is allowed — though there are no state or territory regulations that prohibit it. If you are burying them at home, ensure you bury them deeply enough to avoid feral animals (or your own pets) digging them up. It may be wise to plant a memorial rose bush or other favoured plant on top of the site; this will also deter digging. If you leave your dog with the vet to take care of the body, your pet will be cremated with other pets and their ashes disposed of as a group. Alternatively, you can organise for a private company to pick them up from the vet’s and have them cremated. Their ashes will then be returned to you and you will be given a choice of container — wooden boxes, vases or sealed bags being common choices. From here, you can choose to keep the ashes or spread them somewhere meaningful to you and your family. Taxidermy is also an option, though not common. It’s an expensive choice and can take up to six months for your dog to be returned to you. DL


Diferent dogs age at diferent paces.

When it comes to our senior pets, it’s important to show them that old love is the best love by treating them right. Kristie Bradfield reports.


e live our lives in stages. As we age, strange things start happening to our bodies; we slow down and enjoy life at a slower pace. Dogs do this, too. That zippy little puppy you brought home one day will turn into a sweet senior who is more than happy just to snooze by your side. So how old does a dog need to be before he is considered senior? Defining the exact age at which all dogs become “senior” is dificult because each breed of dog ages in diferent ways. Usually, larger-


ACHY JOINTS AND DECREASED MOBILITY You may notice that your senior dog is a little stif when he stands and may not move as freely as he once did. While decreased mobility can be a simple sign of getting older, it may also point to arthritis. Arthritis, which is also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is one of the most common ailments afecting older dogs. Some of the signs that could indicate arthritis include:

interested in walking or playing • Not movement • Reduced ness when walking • Stif iculty jumping up onto the couch or • Dif into the car the joints • Licking when touching the afected area • Pain Arthritis is no fun at all, but Dr Aaron Healy from Palmyra Vet Hospital says there are treatments that can provide help to ease the pain and discomfort. “If you still notice your dog limping or not moving freely, it’s a sign of pain. Many people think ‘he’s not yelping or crying so he must be fine’, but that is not the case. Like us, if they are limping it is due to pain that should be managed, especially if it persists for more than a day or so.” Dr Aaron says that there are excellent medications and natural-based remedies available that can help alleviate the pain. “Occasionally surgery might be helpful to relieve chronic pain,” he says. “For these reasons, it is important to have your pet examined by a veterinarian for the best in pain management.” One of the most positive things you can do for the long-term health of your dog is to keep an eye on his weight and

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Old love

breed dogs age faster than smaller breeds, so an Alaskan Malamute is considered senior at around seven years of age while a Chihuahua is senior at 11 to 13 years. As a very loose guide, some experts say that when dogs enter the last 25 per cent of their projected lifespan, they’ve reached their senior years. Caring for an older dog is a little diferent to caring for a puppy; it’s important to have an idea of potential health problems so you can plan and prepare. Here are a few of the most common issues facing our senior dogs.

SENIOR SPECIAL activity level. “This means not letting your dog slowly stack on the kilos as he gets older,” Dr Aaron says. “This extra weight compounds the efect of any painful joints. We also want to encourage dogs to keep moving as they age, as this helps maintain muscle mass, strength and coordination.”

PUTTING ON THE POUNDS We know that as dogs get older, they begin to move slower and are less inclined to play as vigorously as younger dogs. The problem lies in the fact that many of us don’t adjust their daily calorie intake to reflect their slower lifestyle. Senior dogs need fewer calories than younger dogs. The best diet for them should be nutrient-rich and full of good protein sources with highly digestible forms of fats, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. High fibre for gastrointestinal health is also important. “Digestion can become compromised with age or dogs start to become sensitive to particular ingredients in their diet,” says Dr Aaron. One way to combat the extra kilos is by doing regular exercise tailored to your dog’s age and fitness level. “Be wary of

high-impact, twisting and turning-type activities for the oldies like chasing balls, frisbees and leaping of walls, as they will often pay for it the next day,” says Dr Aaron. Moderate exercise, like walking, is ideal. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s weight as fluctuations can indicate potential health problems. You can do this by assessing your dog using the Body Condition Score (available at If your dog is showing signs that they are carrying excess fat — for example, you can’t discern their waist or abdominal tuck — it’s time to have a chat to your vet about the best diet options for your dog.

connective tissue. How do you know if your dog has dental disease? Dr Aaron says to be on the lookout for: Foul breath Blood along the gums Dificulty chewing Pawing at the mouth Severe depression Loss of appetite “Keep in mind the mouth is the most likely part of the body to carry infection and is often the entry point for a lot of bacteria into the body,” Dr Aaron says.

• • • • • •

COAT AND SKIN CHANGE DENTAL DISEASE Dog dental disease afects more than 80 per cent of dogs and it can lead to significant health issues if left unchecked. Dog dental disease, known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection in the mouth. It occurs over time as plaque on the teeth hardens into tartar. If caught early, tartar can be removed by your vet with very little fuss. If it’s left too long, it can increase your dog’s risk of infections in the liver, kidney and heart, and cause damage to the jawbone and

As humans get older we notice changes to hair colour and skin elasticity. Dogs go through a similar process. You may notice that their coat changes colour and it may become thinner, especially around the muzzle and eyes, which may increase your dog’s sensitivity to allergens and the weather. The dog’s skin may become less pliable and wounds can take longer to heal. Despite all the changes, your dog will love to be groomed and you should continue doing so regularly. Not only

As your dog gets older, it’s important to keep an eye on its waistline to ensure it doesn’t put on the kilograms. 25


ADOPTING A SENIOR DOG There are a lot of senior dogs, aged seven and over, who are looking for new homes. The great majority of these senior pets are friendly, welladjusted and well-behaved, and they will fit right into their new family — all they need is a chance to show you how much love they have. Some shelters around the country provide discount fees on older dogs too, so not only do you get to bring home a wonderful new family member, but it’s also a little cheaper to do so.

does this help to decrease stress levels but it also gives you the opportunity to get hands-on with your dog, which can help you spot the early signs of potential problems like cancer, kidney disease and arthritis.

CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR As dogs get older, Dr Aaron says that it is normal to see changes in their behaviour. “Cognitive decline is well recognised in our senior pets,” he says. The changes that occur in a senior dog’s brain are similar to those seen in people with Alzheimer’s and can include: Disorientation

in interactions with owners • Disinterest in sleeping patterns • Change of toilet training • Loss in anxiety in situations where • Increase it wouldn’t have bothered the dog in the past, such as separation from owners or fearfulness of storms Increased pacing or a decrease in general activity Not responding to commands due to memory loss The treatment for cognitive issues falls into three main groups: environmental enrichment, diet and medications. “Environmental enrichment means making the dog’s day more interesting and challenging,” says Dr Aaron. “Make them find their food, reintroduce training to increase predictability, use food puzzles, maintain regular exercise and teach old dogs new tricks.” Dr Aaron suggests introducing a diet for better brain function that is rich in fish oils and antioxidants. “Some people feel turmeric and coconut oil also can improve brain function, although it is dificult to prove,” he says.

• •

MORE REGULAR VET VISITS As your dog gets older, it’s important to schedule more regular visits to the vets.

“Keep in mind our dogs age roughly seven years every year, so if you get your dog checked once a year it’s essentially only going to the doctor every seven years,” says Dr Aaron. “The bottom line is that the older your dog gets, the more important it is for him to be examined and have any potential problems checked. Blood tests can pick up early signs of kidney and liver dysfunction among other things, so it is worth it.” Signs and symptoms that could be an indication of more severe problems include: Lumps and bumps that were not apparent at the last vet visit Changes in thirst, appetite and weight Signs of exercise intolerance, like pufing and panting. An increased respiratory efort could be a sign of heart, lung or metabolic disease. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the dog now content to snooze by your side on the couch is the same once-active whirlwind of a puppy. We go through a lot of changes with our dogs as we live our lives together and we’re both better of for it. By being aware of the changes that may happen as your dog gets older, you’ll be better prepared to take on his senior years, ensuring your dog will be by your side for many years to come.DL

• • •

Photos: Big Stock Photo

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New Tricks for Old Dogs Y

ou can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s a cliché we’ve all heard plenty of times before, but is there any truth to it? Happily, for our canine friends, the answer is an emphatic no. “This old saying is not true at all and has even been scientifically disproven,” says Katie Catherwood from Heads and Tails Pet Care Services. “Dogs can learn new tricks at


any age. In fact, it is very beneficial to keep teaching them new things as they get older. It is just important to bear in mind that the same patience, consistency and reward is required when training your older dog as it is when working with a puppy.” Chiara Perri from Point Cook Dog Training says that just because a dog is going grey and slowing down a bit, it doesn’t mean he or she has lost his or her

capacity to learn. “You can train a dog right up to old age,” she says. “As long as the dog still wants to interact with you and has the ability to see, hear or smell you, then training can still be part of your routine. In fact, I have often had 10-year-old dogs coming to classes just to learn something new. It may take a little longer to learn and it may require a bit more motivating, but they can certainly still learn.”

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Think you can’t teach your old dog new tricks? Think again. As Tim Falk discovers, age is no barrier to learning for our senior canine companions.

SENIOR SPECIAL The best time to train an old dog is before a meal.

“A dog that you mentally stimulate is more likely to sleep than try to stimulate itself by barking at every passing bird,” Alisa says. Dogs of all ages need a certain level of environmental stimulation in order to feel satisfied, and throughout most of their lives this stimulation is made up of both mental and physical challenges. Puppies are easily able to achieve a sense of enrichment as the world around them is completely new and exciting, while adult dogs often experience both mental and physical stimulation concurrently. A run in the park is also an act in exploration, socialisation, game-playing, recall practice and so on, Katie explains.


THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING We all know how important it is for our dogs to get regular exercise, but it’s not only your pooch’s body you need to exercise; exercising his mind has a wide range of benefits. “Mental stimulation is very important for keeping your dog’s brain healthy as they age,” explains Alisa Sannikova, animal behaviour scientist from Sydney dog walking and training service Perfect Dog. “A dog that has practice learning new things all the time has an advantage when it comes to dealing with new situations and experiences in life.” Doing a lot of thinking is also a great way to tire your dog out when you can’t take them for a run, for example if their arthritic joints are too painful for running.

When 11-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Gidget was diagnosed with mast cell tumours a little over 12 months ago, owner Amanda Collins feared the worst. “We were advised that she might not recover from the cancer. It was a terribly anxious time but we just kept positive and put our full trust in her wonderful team of specialists,” Amanda explains. “We were very fortunate that after significant surgery, Gidget fully recovered and was declared free of cancer. Gidget is a little fighter and she loves life to the fullest, which encourages me to live by her ‘little doggy’ example.” Sensitive yet cheeky, Gidget is notorious for getting herself into wonderfully strange and entertaining situations. And despite the fact that she’s not a young pup any more, Gidget is showing no signs of slowing down. “We walk Gidget daily and she loves it as much as she did when she was a pup. If we miss a walk, she gets very sad so we don’t often miss one,” Amanda says. “A month ago we went on a beach holiday and Gidget pulled a muscle in her leg from chasing and eating ghost crabs. She had the time of her life, though. While other dog breeds ran along the beach, chasing one another, Gidget was in the dunes chasing these virtually invisible little crabs like a crazed terrier. It was a sight to behold.”

“Most senior dogs, however, experience a decline in physical ability at some point and a fair consequence of this may be shorter, less frequent outings. Unfortunately, this also greatly reduces access to the main source of mental stimulation and can leave a dog feeling anxious or depressed, particularly over the long-term,” she says. So if your pooch is less active then she used to be, it’s very important to recreate the opportunity for mental stimulation in another, less physically demanding setting. This gives them a continued sense of purpose and fulfilment and can also improve their longevity.

Unfortunately, this adventurous pooch also ate a blue bottle, so it was of to the local vet where she was given a paste to line her stomach in case of any allergic reaction. “We joke that Gidget knows almost every vet stretching from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast,” Amanda says. “Most of our friends and family call for updates on Gidget, not us, as I think she often leads the most interesting life out of any of us.” And Gidget’s life got even more interesting than usual recently when she was given the opportunity to get into showbiz through the Domino’s Pizza franchise. “Gidget and I were asked to participate in a ‘360 video’ by a friend in advertising,” Amanda explains. “They wanted to highlight movement and provide the viewer with a front-row experience of people interacting with the new Domino’s Robotic Unit that is set to deliver pizza. “The video can be watched on your mobile or tablet device, and you can follow Gidget as she runs past the robot by moving your device around. The technology is incredible and they say it is the precursor to accessible virtual reality. “We were cast as the fitness pair and I literally jumped at the opportunity for her to be involved. It was so much fun and Gidget was on her best behaviour on-set, running on the director’s cue. It just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.” 29

SENIOR SPECIAL Despite the saying, old dogs can be taught new tricks.

TOP TRICKS So, what are some good tricks to teach an older dog? Aside from the basic “sit”, “drop” and “stay” commands, a fun and easy trick you can teach a senior dog is “shake”. “This is best to do just before your dog’s meal time and in a room where there are no other distractions,” Katie says. “Start by getting a few small pieces of your dog’s favourite food to use as treats. Put one of the treats in the palm of your hand and gently close your fist around it so your dog can’t actually eat it, but can still smell and lick it. Allow them to do so and be patient.” Eventually, most dogs will be determined enough to paw at your hand to try and retrieve the treat you have concealed. As soon as the paw touches your hand, release the treat to your dog and say “shake”, followed by lots of praise. For dogs who are more interested in toys than food, you could replace the treat in this trick with a new toy. Another fun trick a senior dog can learn is how to look for a hidden toy and “find it”. The key here is to make it very simple at first, and then slightly harder each time thereafter. Start with your dog’s favourite 30

toy — show the toy to your dog and then go into a separate room and hide it in a very obvious place. “Ask your dog to ‘find it’. If your dog needs a clue, you may even point at the toy. Most dogs understand this gesture and will take the hint,” Katie says. “When your dog does find the toy, it’s important to ofer him lots of praise, no matter how much help you gave him. The more pleased you are with your dog’s eforts, the harder he’ll try next time.” Alisa suggests trying to teach your older dog the following two tricks: Crawl: “Encourage your dog to follow a treat under a very low stool or your leg

TRAINING YOUR DOG When training an older dog, it’s very important to match the trick to your dog’s abilities. “For example, your adult dog might be refusing to learn to fetch your keys not because he’s stubborn, but because he has a toothache. And you’ll have a hard time teaching flashy jumping tricks to a senior citizen with arthritis,” says Alisa.

while you sit down, so that your dog does a short crawl. Next, see if she’ll follow your hand without the treat in it and start saying the word ‘crawl’ at the same time as the behaviour is happening. Once your dog is confidently doing it, start slowly raising the prop and removing it,” she says. Spin around: “Hold a treat in front of her and then move it slowly in a circle so that she follows it. It’s a very easy trick to transition to just drawing a circle in the air with your finger above her body. A great idea to prevent your dog getting dizzy is to teach it twice: ‘spin’ in one direction and then ‘twist’ in the other.” From this point on, the sky really is the limit. Just make sure that your dog is physically capable of doing what you ask and that you remember to stay patient and reward your pooch for doing the right thing.

STAYING SHARP Providing mental stimulation for your dog doesn’t end with trick training. In fact, there’s plenty more you can do to give canine minds a workout, starting with scent work. Teaching your dog to

SENIOR SPECIAL Hiding treats or toys for your older dog to snif out can exercise their mind.

CANINE HERO Each year, the Sydney Royal Easter Show hands out plenty of awards and titles to dogs of all shapes and sizes. But in 2016, the show featured a new type of award to recognise the outstanding accomplishments of dogs: the Canine Heroes Awards. The inaugural Companion Dog Award was open to any dog that “displayed in an exceptional way the human-animal bond” and you probably won’t be surprised to find out that it was taken home by a canine senior citizen. When her owner got her electric wheelchair bogged in Sydney’s Centennial Park, 11-year-old Shetland Sheepdog Brook leapt into action. Although not trained as an assistance dog, Brook raced to get help from nearby picnickers, who helped move the wheelchair to solid ground. For her quick thinking and initiative, Brook received her Canine Hero Award from Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove at the 2016 Royal Easter Show.

find objects through their sense of smell is a great way to provide stimulation and there are many workshops ofered now targeting scent work. “For the socially active dogs, visiting new places like the countryside, the beach, the markets, cafes, etc. can work wonders purely because it might be new with lots of smells and sights on hand,” Chiara says. “For the dog that loves to be around people, signing up as a therapy dog can be wonderful because the dog is seeing new people and calmly working in a new environment without being too strenuous. And for the dog that loves other dogs, a new puppy can pep the senior up, giving it something new to think about and keep up with.” Katie also has several suggestions on how to challenge ageing canine minds,

including using interactive puzzle toys at meal times. You could also ofer your dog some toys that are suitable to his life stage — many toy manufacturers cater for the senior age range. “If walking is too strenuous, try driving with your dog to the park and sitting together for a while. Even though your dog may not be very mobile, he will still enjoy engaging his senses in a diferent environment. You might even try a number of new places to keep you both interested,” she says. “Maintain social interaction with other dogs, just taking care to ensure your dog’s friends aren’t too boisterous for his liking. Most importantly, talk to your dog. He might not answer back but he is always listening and, above all, he is your companion.” DL 31


Senior life sweetener Here are some of the DOGSLife team’s favourite products to help make the life of your senior pet that much sweeter. ROSEHIP-VITAL CANINE Many older dogs sufer from joint pain, whether caused by arthritis or simply the efects of old age. Make your dog’s movements easier with Rosehip-Vital Canine, a plant-based anti-inflammatory that’s also good for your dog’s immune system. Whether you’re treating inflammation, maintaining healthy joints or supplementing nutrition, this is one nice product your older pet will thank you for.

HILL’S SCIENCE DIET ADULT 7+ ACTIVE LONGEVITY As dogs age, their nutritional requirements difer. Energy levels are naturally lower, movement can be trickier for some, and sensitivities to diferent products can flare up. That’s why it’s so important to feed your dog a diet suited to its age. DOGSLife likes Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity. Created by a trusted brand in canine nutrition, this precisely balanced food is easy for your older dog to digest and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Always consult with your veterinarian before any change to your dog’s diet.

REDFLEX HEATING PAD For several reasons, including less body fat and potential joint issues, some older dogs feel the cold more than their younger counterparts. That’s why we like the Redflex heating pad, designed to keep your pooch warm while it sleeps. The flexible moulded polymer heating pad is tough and durable, with a chew-resistant cord cover to give you peace of mind when your pooch is sleeping on it. Not only that, but it’s easy to clean, making any accidental messes easy to deal with. Coming in small, large and extra-large, the Redflex Heating Pad is available now.

CONNI CRITTERS INCONTINENCE PADS It’s a sad fact of life but as our beloved furry friends get older, they don’t always retain control over their bodily functions. Whether it’s just at night or a problem more consistent in duration, incontinence can be managed with a product such as Conni Critters incontinence pads. Absorbent on top and waterproof underneath, these machine-washable products are so good, they’re commonly used in veterinary clinics around Australia. Coming in small, medium and large, there’s one to suit almost all doggy shapes and sizes. Of course, if your pet does experience incontinence, please speak to your local veterinarian. 32


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Heartworm: deadly and dangerous H

ave you ever seen a cringeworthy image of a heartworm infestation in a dog? It is like something out of a B-grade horror movie, but unfortunately, it can be all too real. As the name suggests, heartworm is a writhing wriggling spaghetti-like parasite that lives in the heart and the blood vessels of dogs, cats, dingoes and foxes. Once an infestation takes hold, it can sadly be fatal to the host animal. The good news, however, is that heartworm is a disease that is largely preventable in your pet.


ONE LITTLE BITE Dr Hope Richards from Willoughby Veterinary Hospital explains that heartworm is distributed by mosquitoes. “The mosquito bites a dog that is heartworm-positive; the mosquito then carries the microscopic heartworm (microfilariae) and then bites another dog, who then carries the disease,” she says. In the life cycle of the heartworm, the dog acts as an involuntary host. The microfilariae mature into adults (which takes around six months), then they find

a mate and reproduce, which is why there can be so many worms inside an infected dog’s heart. Heartworms can live for around five years in dogs and, over time, these parasitic villains can grow up to 20cm long. Dr Hope says this is why taking steps to use heartworm preventive measures is crucial. “Treating your dog is one big step in the right direction towards eradicating this disease,” she says. “We know that it almost never occurs in areas where people treat their pets with preventive measures.”

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Learn more about the parasite that can harm and even potentially kill your pet. By Carrol Baker.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING While living in a warm climate may make your dog more likely to be bitten by a mosquito, all dogs nationwide run the risk of contracting heartworm.

Lethargy is just one potential symptom of heartworm.

A BROKEN HEART Over time, the parasites compromise the way the heart functions; the heart is designed to pump blood to tissues and vital organs in the body. “Once infected with heartworm, the worms actually clog the vessels that carry the blood,” says Dr Hope.

heartworms may be thriving. Heartworm is a sinister disease that progresses very slowly. “It can take many months before the dog shows any indications it has the disease and by the time the signs appear, the dog’s heart is already under extreme stress,” says Dr Hope. As the infestation spreads, you may notice a dry persistent cough, lack of appetite, lethargic behaviour, reluctance to go for walks, and slow recovery after exercise, she adds. With severe cases of heartworm, the blood flow is seriously compromised, leading to collapse. At this stage, surgery can be performed to manually remove the heartworms via the jugular, but there is only a very slim chance of survival. Heartworm can also cause secondary issues. Some dogs will develop an allergic reaction to the presence of the heartworms in their lungs. Dogs living in tropical climates where mosquitoes thrive in the warmer weather may be more at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes but all dogs are potentially at risk, unless preventive steps are taken. “Heartworm can afect all dogs equally,” says Dr Hope. “Even if your dog has long fur, there are still areas on the body a mosquito can get to,” she says.

worming measures. The option you choose for your pet is up to you but opt for the one that will easily fit into your lifestyle and routine, so you won’t forget to protect your pet. Start your puppy on preventive treatment when they are around three months of age.

TREATING HEARTWORM If you haven’t been treating your dog for heartworm, or have forgotten to administer a dose of prevention, take your dog to the vet for a blood test to rule out heartworm. This will be followed by another test in around six months’ time. “The first test may be a false negative, so a secondary test is always recommended,” says Dr Hope. If a dog has symptoms, your vet will recommend a course of treatment, which is by no means a quick fix. Like many diseases, the earlier the dog is treated, the greater its chance of survival. The sad reality is that once a dog has heartworm, there is no guarantee that they will survive, even if they’re given the correct treatment. If the dog recovers from the disease, there may be permanent damage to the heart’s arteries and scarring of other tissues, which can compromise their quality of life. DL

PLAYING IT SAFE EARLY SYMPTOMS In the very early stages of infestation, a dog may show no clinical signs. In fact, outwardly a dog may appear to be healthy and happy, but inside

There are numerous preventive treatments. These range from an annual injection from your vet, to monthly chewable tablets or spot-on treatments used in conjunction with flea and other

A word of caution: Do not give preventive medicine if you think your dog may already be infected. It can cause severe side efects. 35


Tick off A potential nightmare for every pet owner is the paralysis tick but just what should we be looking out for? Katie Cincotta reports.


t’s a terrifying thought to think that a creature the size of a pinkie nail, when engorged in a host animal, could cause paralysis and possibly death in our pets. Unfortunately, that can be the worst-case scenario with the paralysis tick, commonly known as the bush tick or the scrub tick and, in scientific terms, the Ixodes holocyclus. This sneaky little critter hangs out in warm, wet climates, usually close to the rainforest, along Australia’s eastern coastline. These areas are densely populated, which means it’s a definite


possibility that our companion animals might come up against one in the bush. The paralysis tick usually chooses a furry host, including koalas, possums, bandicoots and kangaroos, burrowing into the fur and latching onto the skin to suck out the animal’s blood. I guess you could compare them to vampires, except that after these arachnids (yes they’re related to spiders) consume their fill of blood, their fat little bodies drop to the ground. A female will then lay her eggs, about 100 of them at a time, which continues the life cycle — a

bit like fleas, but nastier. A flea bite can be annoying and itchy, but a bite from a paralysis tick can kill if it’s left untreated. This is why it’s important to check your dog’s fur every day from head to tail for these bloodsuckers if you live in a tickprone area, especially during summer when they tend to thrive. Pittwater Animal Hospital says the Northern Beaches in Sydney can claim one of the country’s highest incidences of the paralysis tick, with the worst areas afected including Avalon, Newport, Bayview and Church Point. While ticks are most prevalent over spring and summer, there are some places where you can find them all year round, especially when warm weather is followed by rain. Kelly Stonestreet, practice manager at the Animal Welfare League NSW, says because owners are so well-educated about the danger of ticks, it’s been a long time since they have seen a case in their vet hospital. “People are becoming so aware of ticks; so much so that we haven’t had to order any of the anti-toxin serum for a long time,” she says.

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Unfortunately, the east coast of Australia is known to be a hot spot for the paralysis tick.


HIDE AND SEEK Dr Eamon Grattan-Smith from the Pittwater Animal Hospital says the best way to locate ticks is to systematically run your fingers through your dog’s coat. Owners can remove the tick themselves with a nifty little hook. “We find using a tick hook to be the most reliable way to remove ticks. If the head is left in, don’t worry as the tick will die and inject no more poison,” Dr Eamon says. Ticks are very good at hiding, so always assume there is more than one tick on an animal and continue your search so that you cover every part of the body where an intruder might be lurking. Often ticks that are trying to hitch a ride on a host seek out clever nooks and crannies like behind or inside the ears, tucked away on the tummy, or around the head.

The paralysis tick likes the warmer weather but you should start prevention now.

SIGNS OF TICK POISONING The secret weapon of the paralysis tick is that it releases toxins that paralyse parts of the body, making it dificult to move and breathe. The early warning signs are a change in the voice. The bark can become softer or change its pitch. The back legs become weak or wobbly. Your dog may take a few steps but then suddenly sit down, like they can’t hold themselves up. As the poison progresses, the symptoms will become more dramatic. Your dog might vomit or have froth around the mouth. They might start salivating, panting or grunting. Many dogs start coughing and breathing becomes dificult, or they may be unable to stand at all. This is the very late stage of paralysis tick poisoning and requires immediate vet attention. The Animal Welfare League says without treatment most cases will continue to deteriorate and may die. “Some animals will survive, but their chances are better, the costs lower, and your pet sufers less if treatment is sought early,” says vet nurse Kelly.

THE ANTIDOTE It’s not cheap, but the tick anti-toxin can save your dog’s life. At up to $13 per ml, the serum required for a 20kg dog may cost around $150. In mild cases, the anti-toxin may be the only treatment needed, but many cases of paralysis tick poisoning require sedatives, antibiotics

and heart medication. “It is very frightening for animals to get tick paralysis. They do not understand why they cannot move their body, so they stress. This increases their blood pressure and breathing rate, quickly exhausting the heart and breathing muscles. Sedatives are used to reduce their blood pressure and keep them calm and quiet,” explains the Animal Welfare League.

RECOVERY Wollongong vet Dr Michael Cannon advises the following home care after tick removal and treatment. 1. Avoid all excitement for two weeks. Feed two to three small meals a day for the next four days. 2. Precede each meal with a small volume of water to check swallowing is normal. If any gagging or spluttering occurs with the water, do not give any food until the next meal is due, and try water again first. 3. Check daily for ticks. Avoid walking near creeks and areas with long grass. For all dogs on the property, consider using Frontline Top Spot or Advantix

on the back of the neck every two weeks, or preferably Frontline spray over the whole body every three weeks to assist in preventing ticks. Alternatively, rinse thoroughly every seven days with Permoxin Rinse.

PREVENTION While no prevention method is 100 per cent efective, there are ways to avoid the tick being able to attack your pet. NexGard chewables provide monthly resistance to both ticks and fleas. Advantix does the same thing but needs to be applied every two weeks, with the added advantage of being waterproof for dogs that like to swim. The rinse Permoxin kills both adult ticks as well as larval and nymph stages, and you can spray it on and let it dry. Frontline Plus, applied between the shoulder blades, also kills ticks on contact and can be used in a spray form. Another prevention for ticks is with a collar such as the Scalibor, which uses deltamethrin and the dog’s natural oils, sitting as a protective barrier on the skin’s surface. DL 37

HEALTH AND WELLBEING Dogs like the Cavalier need extra grooming attention paid to their ears.

Grooming Goodness W

hen you decide to get a dog, you agree to take on a range of responsibilities to ensure that your pooch has a healthy and happy life — feeding the right food, making sure he has enough exercise and taking care of all his training needs. Another essential task for every dog owner is grooming, including doing all the brushing, bathing and trimming necessary to keep Rover looking sharp. Although some people look at dog grooming as something of a chore, it actually ofers the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time bonding with your dog. And although it may at first appear to be all about keeping up appearances, proper grooming is actually an important component of any dog’s health.


“Regular grooming is crucial, particularly for long-haired dogs,” explains veterinarian Dr Joanna Paul from “Inadequate grooming can allow mats to form in your dog’s coat. This becomes painful as the knots tighten close to the skin, and may also damage the skin, especially if the coat becomes wet. The resulting ‘hot spots’ are skin infections that are painful and itchy for your dog and which can be costly to treat.” So what are the basic grooming tasks you can do at home to give your dog the best possible care? Let’s take a closer look.

THE “B” WORD For most owners, the first thing that comes to mind when grooming is mentioned is doggy bath time. And if

you’re a first-time owner, working out how to give your dog a bath and when your pooch needs a wash can be a dificult task. To begin with, the frequency with which you should give your dog a bath varies depending on a wide range of factors. “Not too often is the short answer, I think,” says Sydney small animal veterinarian Dr James Crowley. “It really depends on the individual dog, the breed, age, activity level, presence of skin conditions etc. Some people say you shouldn’t wash your dog too regularly as it depletes the natural oils in the coat, [though I’m] not sure I’ve ever seen a dog with dry skin from being too clean.” Dr James suggests that bathing your pooch roughly once per month is a good general guide, but an active puppy that

Photos: Big Stock Photo

You don’t have to take your dog to a professional groomer to keep him looking his best. Tim Falk investigates the grooming jobs you can easily do at home.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING plays in mud or a Cocker Spaniel with an oily coat may need to be washed more often. Allergic skin disease is also a common problem for some unfortunate canines and these dogs often benefit from being bathed in medicated or moisturising shampoos every 7 – 14 days. You’ll need to use warm (but not hot) water in the bath and it’s vital that you dry your pooch thoroughly once clean, especially in the colder months and if they are very young or old. “It’s important to use a shampoo formulated specifically for pets. Human skin has a diferent pH to dog skin so human shampoos can be too harsh for dogs,” Dr Joanna says.

BRUSHING Just like bathing, how often you should run a brush through your pooch’s hair can vary from dog to dog. Those with long coats should ideally be brushed every day to prevent any knots and tangles. “Short-coated dogs don’t need to be brushed as often, but it’s still worthwhile

WHAT IF MY DOG HATES BATHS? The water, the soap, the fact that you’re getting rid of all those interesting smells they’ve worked so hard to gather — whatever the reason, some dogs absolutely hate baths. The mere mention of the “B” word will be enough to send them scurrying of to a hiding place and bath time is usually a stressful struggle for these pets and their owners. So how can you help your pet grow to love (or at least tolerate) having a bath? Dr James says a slow and steady approach is the key. “Your dog may associate the tub or the place where you bath him/her in a negative light, so select a new place if possible. Start small; feed your dog in the tub, give him/her treats and limit the baths to very short periods without the water running to form a positive association with the bathing area,” he says. “A bath mat or piece of rubber

may help your dog keep their footing in the bath and stay comfortable. Keep practising this in short sessions until your dog is calm, then you can introduce water. Again, start at a slow speed or gently pour a small amount on the feet or part of the coat. Gradually increase the time in the bath and the speed of the water to appropriately wash your dog.” Throughout the whole process, remaining calm and patient is the best way to help your dog come to see the bath as a fun and happy place. “Speak gently and calmly and never shout at or punish your dog,” Dr Joanna says. But if your dog has developed such a dislike of the bath that it’s stressful for everyone, you might want to consider using a professional groomer for baths. “They can use a walk-in hydrobath and are used to working with dogs that are unsure or scared,” she explains.

Some dogs dislike bath time, whereas others don’t seem to mind. 39


WHY GROOMING IS GREAT FOR YOUR DOG Dr James outlines some of the many health benefits grooming can produce for your dog: Grooming helps to bring out the natural oils in the coat, which are then distributed through the rest of the coat to produce a nice sheen. Grooming removes dandruf, dead hairs and the like from your dog’s coat. Grooming helps you check your dog for abnormalities, identify skin problems, reveal ticks and fleas, and detect any issues with nails, eyes, ears and teeth. These issues, particularly ticks, need to be identified at an early stage. “We see a high incidence of skin disease in long-haired dogs in summer,” Dr James says. “Appropriate grooming at this time of year can help prevent skin infections and keep your dog comfortable.”

• •


putting in the time to sit down with them every couple of days for a brush,” Dr Joanna says. “They are likely to enjoy it and it’s nice bonding time. It’s also a great opportunity for you to run your hands over their body and notice any abnormalities such as lumps or bumps early.”

NAILS AND EARS Once the coat is taken care of, don’t forget there’s still more grooming that needs to be done. The first area that requires attention is the ears. “Regular ear cleaning is important to keep them free from disease and infection,” Dr James says. “This is especially important for dogs that swim regularly, have long floppy ears or hairy ears (Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) or narrow ear canals (Shar Peis).” Use a mild ear cleaner registered for use in dogs and avoid vinegar, oil and other household remedies, as they can irritate an already inflamed canal. Last but not least, make sure to keep your dog’s nails in good condition. Many

dogs need their nails clipped every two weeks or so, as nails that are too long will afect the way your dog walks and can be painful if they are pushing into the toes. “Some dogs need less frequent clipping if they are walked regularly on hard surfaces such as concrete, because this wears the nails down,” Dr Joanna says. “However, the dew claws don’t wear and should be checked regularly. If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor when they walk, they are probably too long. If you’re unsure or worried about clipping nails, you can ask your vet to show you how.” There really is a whole lot you can do at home to ensure that your dog is perfectly groomed, but if you don’t feel up to the task or if you own a breed with complex grooming requirements, don’t hesitate to book your pet in for a session with a professional groomer. Above all, the most important things to remember when grooming your dog at home are to stay calm and have fun. If you take a patient approach, your pooch will be looking good and feeling even better in no time. DL

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Regular brushing can lead to a stronger bond between you and your pet.


Grooming guide Here are some of our favourite products to help keep your pet clean DIY-style.

KONG ZOOMGROOM DGG NATURAL THERAPY SUPERSHINE SHAMPOO Keep your dog’s coat looking its absolute best with the Natural Therapy Supershine shampoo, available exclusively at PETstock from Doggone Gorgeous. This cleansing product is bound to give your four-legged friend shiny locks that will have them looking fabulous. Made with natural botanicals, this product is pHbalanced and soap-, SLES- and parabenfree, making it suitable for almost all dogs. And, with a percentage of all DGG sales going to the RSPCA, you know by washing with Doggone Gorgeous, you’re supporting a good cause, too.

Keep your dog looking sharp with the ZoomGroom, available now from KONG. This product is perfect for removing loose hair on your four-legged friend, while stimulating capillaries and encouraging natural oil production for a healthy skin and a healthy coat. Not only that, but the ZoomGroom is made from the kind of material you expect from a KONG product — high quality and long-lasting — making it a valuable addition to your grooming tool kit.

UWDOGS is all about making pooches and people happy and, with a partnership in place with the talented Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel, we find this mission statement well-suited. This company makes high-quality all-natural shampoos and conditioners suitable for your dog, in a range of divine scents that will have even the fussiest human inhaling with approval. The UWDOGS Gift Box includes the brand’s signature shampoo and conditioners, their No Knots formula (great for detangling longer-haired breeds), and Gloss (perfect for adding a little extra shine to your four-legged friend’s coat). Now that’s something to smile about.


Photos: Houndstooth Studio



DYSON GROOM TOOL Keep your dog looking sharp with the Dyson groom tool. Never has grooming been so easy with this product, which removes the loose hair directly from your dog before he or she has had a chance to shake it all over your home. Not only does this tool collect loose hair but also dead skin cells, meaning this is a great house-cleaning option for those who sufer from allergies. Suited for medium- and long-haired coats, the Dyson groom tool is a handy option for those looking to keep their house hair-free.

ESSENTIAL DOG ANTIITCH SPRAY Essential Dog products are perfect for those dogs with sensitive skin and this anti-itch spray is no exception. Made from a range of natural ingredients including aloe vera, calendula and vitamin E, this product’s mild mixture is designed to soothe even the itchiest of dog skin without the use of toxic chemicals. Free from soaps, phosphates and parabens, the Essential Dog Anti-Itch Spray truly is an essential product for anyone whose dog has gnawed away at an incessant itch without relief.

FUZZYARD SENSITIVE OATMEAL AND MANDARIN SHAMPOO When it comes to pet products with style, you can’t go past Fuzzyard. Since 2003, this brand has been producing brightly coloured, fashionable pet products that range from leads and bowls to harnesses and collars — and, of course, shampoos and conditioners. We love the Sensitive Shampoo in oatmeal and mandarin. Not only does it smell fresh and delightful, but it contains a whole host of certified organic extracts, vitamin E, and some lovely essential oils that are gentle on your pet’s coat yet leave it looking great and feeling nice and soft.

FURMINATOR COMFORT PRO GROOMING CLIPPER The DOGSLife team loves getting its hands on the best pet items in the industry and the FURminator Comfort Pro Grooming Clipper is one such item. Designed with the groomer in mind, the FURminator Comfort Pro Grooming Clipper is lightweight with a superior grip, letting you tidy your pet with ease. The superior power glide magnetic motor is powerful, but only emits a low vibration and quiet buzz, helping you to keep your pet calm during the grooming experience. With a three-metre-long power cord, enabling you to groom where you want, and six interchangeable comb attachments, the FURminator Comfort Pro Grooming Clipper is a must-have tool for those whose pets need constant coat attention. 43

BEHAVIOUR AND TRAINING Herding is an instinct that comes naturally to many breeds.

Herd hounds T

he herding of livestock is perhaps one of the oldest jobs performed by domesticated dogs. Without these dogs, the vast cattle and sheep stations that were so integral to our country’s growth would have surely failed. It’s become increasingly popular for herding breeds to make their home in the suburbs, far from the open fields and bustling stockyards known by their ancestors. Unfortunately, this quieter lifestyle has spawned a range of problem behaviours exhibited by dogs coping with environments that don’t challenge them. Enter herding, a sport created to reconnect these dogs with their herding DNA.


Claire Stipic and her Border Collie, Hamish, started herding three years ago. “Hamish was young and I thought I’d try him on sheep, as I had noticed him having an interest in livestock we had encountered while he was a puppy,” says Claire. “Also, being a herding breed, I felt it was something that we should at least have a go at. Well, the first time he was on sheep I realised that we would have to continue herding. He loved it and he knew a lot more about what he was doing than I did.”

breeds. Handlers control their dog’s movements by a series of commands and together they work to move livestock — generally sheep, ducks or cattle — around a course. Organisations like the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) have established programs to preserve the unique instincts possessed by these herding breeds. Through tests and trials, the ANKC has been able to provide a benchmark against which a herding dog’s basic ability and instinct can be measured.

WHAT IS HERDING? Herding is not unlike agility and obedience — a sport that celebrates the unique herding instinct of working

HOW DO I GET STARTED? A number of breed clubs around the country hold herding events throughout

Photos: Big Stock Photo

If Australia was built on the sheep’s back, it was only made possible by the resilience and hard work of our herding breeds. While these dogs may be urbanised, their herding spirit lives on, as Kristie Bradfield discovers.


HERDING COMMANDS Skilled handlers can control their dog’s movements using a few simple commands. Here are some examples. Come-bye: go to the left of the stock. Away to me, or just away: go to the right of the stock. Stand: stop. Cast: gather the stock into a group. Find: search for stock. Get out/get back: move away from the stock. Bark: bark at the stock. Look back: return to the stock for a missed animal. That’ll do: stop working and return to the handler.

the year, but over the last five years there have been specialist herding schools popping up to provide regular training with livestock. Unlike herding trials, which are competitive events and only open to recognised herding breeds, herding training is usually open to all who are interested. If you decide to become further involved you can compete in herding trials, but before that you and your dog need to pass three test levels. The first is the instinct test, which is performed in a small area where the dog is on a long lead and must show sustained interest in the stock (cattle, ducks or sheep). The judge can choose to drop or remove the lead at any time and the dog must be able to be called of the stock, come to its handler, and be able to be caught. The second test, the herding test, is also done in a small area but this time of-leash. To pass, the dog must be able to hold a pause or stop at the beginning, move stock around pylons in a controlled movement, stop when told, and return to the handler. The final test is the pre-trial test and this is conducted in a larger area. It involves working sheep through obstacles and putting them in a pen, which may sound straightforward but it’s not. There are three diferent trial courses you can compete on, each developed with diferent breeds in mind. Levels begin at Started and grow to Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. These trials are only available to ANKC-sanctioned herding breeds, including:

Dogs must be interested in livestock, but able to obey their handler’s commands.

Cattle Dog • Australian Kelpie • Australian Shepherd • Australian Collie • Bearded Collie • Border Lapphund • Finnish Shepherd Dog • German Buhund • Norwegian English Sheepdog • Old Corgi. • Welsh Some breeds from other ANKC groups such as Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzer and the Bernese Mountain Dog are also eligible to compete because they have a background of herding in their development.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HERDING? Dogs like Hamish are very smart, but their intelligence can sometimes get them in trouble. If they don’t have a suitable outlet for their energy and intellect they may turn to herding children at the park, nipping at heels or digging trenches in the back lawn. Dogs that have that herding DNA will benefit from being able to do what comes naturally to them. For Claire, that is exactly what she sees when watching Hamish. “I love that Hamish pretty much knows what he should be doing,” she says. “We get to develop our relationship with the job he was traditionally bred to do, and that he instinctively knows how to do. These dogs were bred to be doing this job and even though we live in suburbia, he still loves to do it and I love being able to enable him to work with this instinct.”

Giving dogs an outlet to do what is instinctual is a great alternative to the tired old walk around the block. “A short time herding is more fulfilling for Hamish than a whole afternoon running at a park,” says Claire. “He gets to use his brain and also his physical ability. I also think it does help herding breeds of dogs to express this instinct in appropriate ways, therefore minimising problem behaviours that may be related to this instinctive behaviour, such as inappropriate chasing and herding of people and other animals, or even things like cars.” For people considering herding, Claire says to do it and you won’t regret it. “Get out there and have a go. Even if you can only access herding training every so often, your dog will benefit from it and I think you will develop a new level of understanding and respect for your dog,” she says. “Make sure you find a trainer who has livestock that will be appropriate for a beginner dog and who also will help you train in a way that sits well with you. Go along and see some workshops and herding trials, but be careful — it’s highly likely you will catch the herding bug.”DL

WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION? Keen to start herding? The best place to get all the information, rules and regulations relating to herding in Australia can be found at the Australian National Kennel Council website at 45

LIFE WITH DOGS Sometimes, relieving your dog’s urge to dig by taking him or her somewhere like the beach can curb any desire to dig at home. Photos: Big Stock Photo


Can you dig it? It is one of the most common “problem” doggy behaviours, but you don’t have to put up with digging, writes Laura Greaves.


lison and Dallas Parker didn’t realise they had a digger on their hands until nearly a month after welcoming their Border Collie puppy, Logan. Aside from expected puppy mischief, the spirited little working dog was on his best behaviour from the moment he arrived at the couple’s Adelaide home at the age of eight weeks. It was only when Dallas returned to university at the end of his holidays — and Logan was left alone for the first time — that the destruction began. “He would dig up plants and the irrigation dripper system, and what little


lawn we had at the time, but only when both Dallas and I were out,” says Alison, a nurse who works irregular shifts. “Everything we read said that digging was a common form of ‘acting out’ in bored working dog pups, so we tried a few boredom-busting toys, but Logan is the kind of dog that won’t play by himself — he needs a human to be present. We even tried burying poo in the holes. Nothing seemed to work.” It’s a common refrain among dog owners whose canine companions seem to be addicted to digging. So why are some dogs so determined to dig and what can their owners do about it?

All dogs have the ability to dig, but not all choose to do so. Those that do may be motivated by a range of reasons, says animal behaviourist Dr Joanne Righetti ( “Digging has several purposes, including burying food to eat at a later date; to find a cool spot in warm weather or a warm spot in cool weather; or to find small grubs, roots or seeds to eat,” she explains. Other dogs dig in order to search for small animal prey and humans have bred dogs for precisely this purpose. Jack Russells, Fox Terriers and West Highland White Terriers are among the breeds that were once prized for their ability to dig out ground-dwelling creatures such as rats and foxes. A dog may dig if he is seeking protection or trying to escape, which is why sturdy, secure fencing is important for all dogs. Anxiety-induced digging is also common. The act of digging acts as a distraction from whatever is worrying the dog and helps him to calm down. And still other dogs dig simply because they enjoy it; they use it as a form of entertainment or play. “Those that do dig appear to enjoy it immensely [and] once some start, they get into the habit,” says Dr Joanne. “It’s fun!”

BOREDOM BUSTERS The moral of the story is that it will be dificult to dampen your dog’s enthusiasm for digging without first understanding why he does it. Once you identify what’s driving him to gouge grooves in the garden, then you can implement strategies to direct his energy elsewhere. Firstly, it’s important to ensure your dog is getting enough exercise, as insuficient activity is a leading cause of problem behaviour. Depending on the breed, an energetic walk at least once a day should do the trick. If your dog is home alone all day and you suspect he’s digging out of boredom, try making his environment more interesting. Invest in some quality enrichment toys such as sturdy chews or a treat-dispensing ball. Rotate these toys on a regular basis to maintain his interest. Ofering a raw, meaty bone once or twice a week will keep him occupied, too.

LIFE WITH DOGS Human interaction, a change of scenery and an opportunity to stretch his legs during the day can also work wonders. Consider employing a professional dog walker to take Rover for a lunchtime romp in the dog park, or arrange doggy play dates with a friend or neighbour’s pooch.

ADDRESSING ANXIETY But what if boredom is not the reason your dog is digging? In some cases — if you can live with the destruction — it may not be necessary to do anything. “If the digging is a natural breed behavior, there is nothing problematic about it for the dog — only for the owners,” says Dr Joanne. “Does the dog need shelter? Is the dog sufering from separation anxiety? If the digging is due to these reasons, then it is a problem and we have to address the cause.” If he’s seeking shelter from heat or cold, try giving him access to a protected area such as a garage, shed or laundry, or provide a comfortable kennel that will allow

him to retreat from wind, rain and sun. Digging as a symptom of separation anxiety or a generalised anxiety disorder can be more challenging. Other signs of separation anxiety include barking, howling, urinating or defecating, pacing and escaping (or trying to) when left alone. If the dog is displaying any of these behaviours in addition to digging, seek the advice of a veterinarian or qualified animal behaviour specialist. As he grew older, Alison Parker’s Border Collie, Logan eventually gave up digging. “At around 18 months or two years of age he stopped digging in the garden beds, but kept a spot in the grass that he would dig out to sleep in,” she says. “To curb this we committed to getting the grass to grow in properly. We put in new soil, seeded the lawn, then pegged chicken wire flat across the ground so he couldn’t dig down through it. He’s six now and hasn’t dug since, except to find the odd lamb shank he has buried in the mulch and leaf litter!”

DIG-FRIENDLY ZONES While Logan proves there are exceptions, Dr Joanne says that in most cases it’s unlikely a dog will stop digging of his own accord. “I would not count on any dog growing out of digging behaviour. If a pup starts, then I would advise owners to go with it and allow their dog to dig in appropriate locations,” she explains. Yes, you read that right. Sometimes the easiest option is to give your dog opportunities to dig to his heart’s content, whether at home or elsewhere. Fence of parts of the yard that are dig-free zones and let him go to town on the sanctioned area. “The best thing is to satisfy a digger. Take him to the beach, or create a beach within your backyard. Buy a kids’ sandpit, fill it with sand and bury some toys or treats in it to encourage the dog to dig,” Dr Joanne says. “If the dog is digging for fun, then we need to provide appropriate fun.” DL

Logan outgrew his digging — but not all dogs will grow up and stop this behavior. Photo: Alison Parker 47

LIFE WITH DOGS A secure fence is an essential part of any dog garden.

Dog-friendly gardens W

hen you share your life with a dog, you get used to sharing a lot of things — space on the couch, dinner leftovers, sometimes even the quilt on the bed. What we often forget to customise is our outdoor space. Dogs thrive outside. It’s where they used to call home before humans adopted them into their lives as companion animals. Even the strange act of a dog rufling blankets or cushions together before they sleep harks back to bedding down for the night, out in the open, using leaves and the surrounding


ground matter to create a bed. How well we design our gardens can have a huge impact on our dog’s enjoyment in ofering them a space that enriches both their body and their brains. Animal behaviourist Joanne Righetti ofers some essential tips in thinking about how to create a dog-friendly garden this spring.

SAFE AND SECURE Joanne says the first consideration when designing a dog-friendly garden is to make sure it’s secure. Strong, high fences are the best way to keep your dog enclosed and prevent them from

escaping or disturbing the neighbours. If you back onto a park, or have friendly pets next door, some owners consider adding holes through the timber at the dog’s face level, so they can have a snif and greet, and check out what’s going on. Dogs are curious creatures; having your dog be able to peek beyond its borders can help them remain stimulated. Joanne says if your dog is a problem barker, it may be best to avoid a viewing area as the sight of passersby will only encourage your dog to go into “guard dog” mode, which often involves barking. When it comes to balconies and decks,

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Is your garden doggy-safe? Katie Cincotta tells us how to keep our yards pooch-friendly.

LIFE WITH DOGS A secure fence is an essential part of any dog garden.

ideally there shouldn’t be so much spacing between palings or a balustrade that a dog could fit or fall through, especially for tiny breeds like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. It’s a smart idea to consider a gate, so that you can make a deck or access to stairs secure. Having that ability to close of a space can also help you protect parts of the garden you may not want your dog to explore, like the veggie patch or a patch you’re trying to regrow on the lawn. At our own house, I’ve used two lines of string across the veggie patch to discourage our dogs from walking through the produce and digging. So far, it’s worked. Anyone handy enough with tools could consider a more permanent barrier, like a timber one, or put up lattice boards, which are readily available at hardware stores and garden centres. Joanne says it’s extremely important to keep pesticides and chemicals out of reach; up high on a shelf or in a cupboard that your dog can’t get into is best. If you’re using snail pellets for seedlings, choose one that’s pet-friendly and won’t be toxic to your dog if they eat it. Or be a real hippy and ditch the chemicals in favour of an old traditional way of keeping snails away, scattering crushed eggshells on the dirt.

flowers that is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Eating it can cause vomiting, anxious behaviour, coordination problems, tremors and seizures, which demand urgent medical attention. Rhododendrons, rhubarb, poppies, oleander, lillies and aloe vera can also be toxic for our pets, so it’s best to avoid them in the garden or ensure your dog doesn’t have access to those plants. The RSPCA suggests referring to the Pet Poison List from the US ( as a comprehensive guide to poisons.

FUN AND GAMES Creating special zones is an important part of putting together a garden that

works for both adults and dogs. That often requires fencing of precious spots like a rose garden, herb patch or sections of the lawn. For families and active dogs that like a challenge, consider making an agility course where your dog can jump a hurdle or crawl through a tunnel. Having a section in the yard where the dogs move through an obstacle course might seem like a lot of work, but if you design and build it as a family, and involve the kids by having them time your dog runs, this can be a really stimulating way for the whole family to have some fun. If your dog shows talent, you might like to take it to the next level and consider agility training. DL

TOILET TIME Most dogs like to toilet in the same spot. Sometimes they’ll choose this spot on their own, but you can also encourage a certain area when you’re toilet training your puppy. If your dog likes to urinate on the lawn, there’s not a lot you can do to avoid the yellow patches over summer. One option might be to put in an artificial turf patch, like those used by people who live in units and apartments. Synthetic turf just needs to be hosed on a regular basis and if you have a stubborn spot where your pet pees all the time, products like UrineFree crystallise the liquid and break it down without damaging the turf.

TOXIC PLANTS We know foods that are poisonous to dogs include chocolate, garlic, onion and avocado, but there are also plants that are dangerous to curious canines. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a fragrant plant with white and purple

Make sure you section of any garden areas where you don’t want your dog to dig. 49

BEHAVIOUR AND TRAINING Canine disc is perfect for those dogs that like to jump and catch.

Is your dog a pro when it comes to the game of fetch? Maybe you should give canine disc a try. By Lauren McKellar


he sport of canine disc is not a new one, having originated in the 1970s in America, but it certainly has experienced a growth in popularity in the land down under during recent years. Founded in Australia by Damian and Karen Noud in 2003, the governing body was originally named the Australian Canine Disc Association, primarily focused on and centred in Brisbane with a group of approximately 20 to 30 members. However, in 2012 a change occurred. Participants in the sport were getting more and more passionate, and desperate to take the group from something small


to a bigger movement, bringing canine disc to more people. “We formed a board of directors and renamed the group the Canine Disc Australia,” Allison Britton, president, says. And so the popularity of the sport began. “Since then, we’ve boomed ahead,” Allison says. “We’ve taken it from a small member base to 220 members. A huge improvement from the 20 to 30 it was.” Huge improvement is right. Not only does the organisation boast these record numbers of members, but there are also 245 dogs registered to play, resulting in some fierce competition and a whole heap of good fun.

Canine disc is exactly what you think it is — basically, a more organised game of Frisbee. “If you’ve got a dog and a Frisbee, then you can play canine disc,” Allison says. Of course, it isn’t quite as casual as what you might be used to at home. There are diferent formats played in canine disc, and each has a specific set of rules and point systems. “There’s throw and catch — that’s pretty self-explanatory. You throw the Frisbee and the dog catches it and brings it back,” Allison says. “The further you throw, the more points you get if the dog catches the Frisbee on the full and brings it back.” There’s also a freestyle canine disc session, where one person and one dog are out on the field with up to 10 discs. The trainer will go through a routine with the dog, set to a soundtrack of the participant’s choosing. “The really good teams will try and choreograph their routine to the music and, as a judge, I think that’s pretty cool. You might get extra points for knowing your music and your music should cue you in your routine for where you’re up to.”

Photos courtesy of Canine Disc Australia

Discovering disc



EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS There are many canine disc competitions held each year, with the biennial Nationals being the largest meet. “We just had the Queensland State Championships,” Allison says, adding that it’s the third year they’ve run them under this new format. “The skills of our members are improving. I got to witness and judge one of the best rounds of Frisbee I’ve ever seen.”

There are a whole heap of other games played in the sport, including time trials, blackjack, fast fifty, and more. Most of these are based on the American version of the sport, but some of the games, including Double Up, have been innovated by Allison and the board and given a truly Aussie twist.

This sport can be a great bonding exercise between owner and dog.

A SPORT FOR YOU One of the best things about canine disc is that it’s open to anyone with a dog that has the ability to catch and retrieve. “We see all diferent breeds of dog playing,” Allison says, listing some of the participants as Border Collies, Kelpies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, German Short-haired Pointers, Jack Russell Terriers, Australian Koolies, Stafy crosses, Bull Arab crosses, and even a Miniature Poodle. “The Border Collies are the most popular dog for dog sports at the moment,” Allison says. “But there’s a Boston Terrier competing at the moment. He’s great to watch. Everyone really gets behind him when he catches the disc.” It’s this welcoming attitude that is no doubt making the sport grow in popularity so drastically. What started as primarily a Queensland-based activity now has branches in New South Wales and Victoria, with members located throughout the country. With breed no barrier, it comes down to a willingness to participate and a very certain skill set. “The desire to want to chase a Frisbee is the most important skill of all,” Allison says, adding that catching it and returning it is also a necessary requirement. “Within the dogs, we’re looking for their ability to track a Frisbee, too.” Sound like the perfect sport for you and your four-legged friend? Then get in touch

Being able to track a disc is important in this sport.

with Canine Disc Australia today to find out more. “One of the big things we’re about is safety,” Allison says. “Frisbees you can buy from a pet shop aren’t designed for this sport and can be dangerous to your pet. All discs sanctioned for competition here are imported from the USA, designed specifically with the sport of canine disc in mind.” Once you have the right tools, it’s as simple as finding someone near you to take your skills further. As well as groups in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria,

there are club members throughout the country who the club can put you in touch with to help you get started. “We have a Facebook group where anyone can ask questions,” Allison says. “We’re a friendly bunch and we really want to see the sport grow.” And with any luck, it will. DL

For more information, visit 51


Walking 101 Got yourself a pooch and a leash? Melanie Hearse talks to the experts about how to handle any problems that can happen when you go walkies.

STOP THE PULLING Pulling on the leash is one of the most common problems when it comes to leash walking; even some of the bestbehaved dogs can struggle with it. And just why do they engage in this frustrating behaviour? “Because they can. More to the point, 52

because they don’t think there is anything wrong with it. In fact, some owners inadvertently teach their dogs that they should pull on lead through negative reinforcement,” says Katie. “Dogs don’t understand that by pulling on the leash, they are causing their owners discomfort and frustration. All they see is that they are getting closer to their goal in a shorter space of time.” Katie says when it comes to pulling on the leash, prevention is better than cure. “It’s ideal for your dog to practice wearing a collar and leash as early as he or she comes home, and preferably before you actually need to use them in public. As a puppy, your dog will naturally be much lighter and easier for you to physically control, too,” she says. If this time has already passed, however, you may have some pre-established habits to overcome — not to mention you’re no doubt working with a much larger dog and will require

some additional training tools, such as a walking harness. When it comes to modifying your dog’s behaviour, Katie recommends putting your focus on what you are teaching your dog to do rather than what you’re teaching them not to do. “For instance, rather than training your dog not to pull on the leash, alter your perspective and train your dog to walk alongside you. The outcome is the same, but when you reframe the situation like this, it immediately becomes positive and promotes encouragement rather than punishment,” she says.

MASTERING YOUR TRAINING TECHNIQUE Training sessions should be short, frequent and fun, and patience is paramount. Do be mindful that your dog is a dog and, as such, he will naturally walk faster than you and at an uneven pace. To a dog, this is normal. “Think

Photos: Big Stock Photo


othing makes a dog’s tail and body say “oh boy, oh boy, oh boy” like bringing out the leash and getting them ready to go for a walk. For your four-legged friend it means meeting people, snifing the trees and getting in a great run — all big doggie treats. While walking your dog should be an enjoyable experience for both parties, sometimes this is hindered by undesirable behaviours such as pulling or lunging, mouthing the leash or on-leash aggression, says Katie Catherwood, director at Heads and Tails Pet Care Services.

LIFE WITH DOGS Your dog should walk with you, not pull ahead.

It’s a good idea to start on-leash training from an early age.

praise (such as “heel” or “steady”) when your dog is doing a great job, so he or she understands the name of the command. “Don’t rely on your leash to change your dog’s direction. The aim is to have your dog walking alongside you because he wants to, not because he is being forced to,” says Katie.


of the last time you tried to pick up a new and unusual skill. How long did it take you to master it? Now imagine you learnt it in a diferent language, and then suppose your instructor became frustrated with you. It certainly wouldn’t help,” says Katie. As the teacher, your job is to create opportunities for your dog to succeed, so choose an environment that is free of distractions and where you and/or your dog’s wellbeing (or timeconstraints) do not rely on their ability to achieve the task. Be consistent and use small, high-value rewards. And how do you nail excellent walkingon-the-leash behaviours? Entice your dog with encouragement and rewards to walk next to you while you move in a figure eight pattern, making sure you always step of on the same foot when you would like the dog to follow you (and the opposite one when you would like the dog to “stay”). Pair a verbal cue with your

Responsible dog ownership comprises both written and unwritten rules. “Technically there are no guidelines around right of way for dog walking, but it is both polite and wise to give other walkers space, unless it is mutually agreed by both parties that an approach is desired,” Katie says. “This goes for both on- and of-leash areas. There is no problem allowing two dogs to meet as long as both feel comfortable doing so, and it is up to the owners to read the body language and assess whether this is the case. If a dog poses a genuine threat to other dogs or people, he or she should be wearing a muzzle and the owner is strongly advised to seek assistance with behavioural coaching,” she says. And when it comes to right of way on walking spaces, generally the rule is riders give way to walkers, and walkers should allow one another enough room to pass without meeting, if needs be. “Instinctively, many dogs will be interested in the passers-by, but if you have put in the work around loose-lead walking and sit/stay commands, there shouldn’t be an issue. This definitely comes down to practice and persistence.” DL

WALKING YOUR DOG AND THE LAW Councils difer slightly on their legal obligations around responsible dog ownership and management within public areas; however, generally owners are required to comply with the following regulations: Pick up after your dog. Carry enough poo bags to pick up after each dog (generally three to four per dog is a safe bet). Carry a leash at all times (one leash per dog). Usually this refers to a standard fixed-length (not flexible/ reel) leash, approximately 120cm long max. Do not allow your dog to threaten or worry any person or animal. Dogs to be exercised of-leash only within designated of-leash areas. Maintain a safe distance from playgrounds, barbeque areas and organised sporting events. Maintain efective voice or hand signal control over your dog when of-leash. Aggressive dogs are to be managed with appropriate measures suficient to prevent them from causing harm to others. Ensure that your dog has a current registration within your municipality. In some areas, councils impose a limitation on the number of dogs being handled per person. For specific rules, check your local council website for their guidelines around responsible dog ownership.

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LIFE WITH DOGS With the right training, Greyhounds can be very much at home with other animals. Check out how relaxed Bimbi is with bunny Pete.

A GENTLE BREED Lisa White, founder of the Queenslandbased Greyhound rescue group called Friends of the Hound says Greyhounds are an easy-going companion pet that will fit into most families with ease. “They are so adaptable. They’re a sensitive, soulful dog,” she says. “I have had so many people come back to me after taking home a rescue Greyhound and saying, ‘Lisa, this dog has changed my life’. “They can also be quite quirky; they have diferent personalities,” she adds. “They can be goof balls and, at other times, very chilled out.” Those who are fortunate enough to share their home with one of these gentle giants of the canine world say one of the best things about them is that there is more of them to love, but that doesn’t mean they are hard work to look after. Their short coat just needs a brush to keep it in check every now and then.


This beautiful breed has a bad reputation but a real heart of gold. Carrol Baker learns more about Greyhounds and the people fighting to save them.


f you are looking for a gentle, loving dog, that’s low-maintenance, big on cuddles and small on exercise needs, you can go no further than a Greyhound. Yes, you read that correctly. For the uninitiated, the concept of sharing your home with a Greyhound might seem a little at odds with your


beliefs about them. They need lots of exercise, right? Aren’t they an aggressive breed? They’re just an outdoors dog for racing, aren’t they? You might be surprised to learn that the answer to all those questions is a resounding no. Greyhounds can make wonderful pets; they have a sweet disposition and are very loving.

POUND PUPPIES NO MORE Lisa started her rescue group after spotting Zada in a cage at a pound in 2002. “I saw this beautiful blue face looking out at me and another volunteer said ‘that’s just a Greyhound, it’s not here to be rehomed, it’s here to be put down’,” says Lisa. “But I couldn’t forget about it; I kept seeing that poor dog’s face. I was online until 3am; I knew nothing about Greyhounds and what happens to them.” After Lisa navigated her way through mountains of red tape, 18-month-old Zada found her new home with Lisa and her family.

Photos: Lisa White, Friends of the Hound; Kristal Carey

Happy hounds

People think because they are racing dogs, Greyhounds need lots of exercise. Peter Flann, who founded the Sydneybased Greyhound Rescue along with his wife, Janet, says that this is a myth. “They’re couch potatoes that are capable of running 70km per hour in short bursts, but they mostly like to snooze,” he says. Your greyhound will enjoy walks with you, but they don’t need lots of exercise; they’ll comfortably fit in with your routine. It’s also not true that all Greyhounds will chase small animals. Lisa took her first rescue Greyhound Zada home to two cats, chickens, horses and two small children. “She fitted right in and was very much part of the family right away,” she says.

LIFE WITH DOGS Zoumi and Rosie, two Greyhounds with hearts of gold.

HISTORICAL HOUNDS The Greyhound is best described as a large, lean and muscular breed. They date back over 6000 years to ancient Turkey and became a highly sought-after dog used for hunting because of their speed and agility. Noblemen owned Greyhounds; pharaohs in ancient Egypt are also depicted with their graceful hounds alongside them. Fast forward a few centuries and what started out as a friendly wager between friends who owned Greyhounds has developed into a money-making industry where dogs are used for racing and discarded when no longer needed.

ADJUSTING TO THEIR NEW HOME If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet that’s afectionate and rarely barks, these gorgeous pets tick all the boxes. “They’re such an easy-going companion pet and are a very people-focused dog,” says Peter. Peter and Janet have rehomed around 1000 Greyhounds in the last decade. It’s fair to say, he knows a thing or two about these lovable lanky pets. Many Greyhounds find their way to Greyhound rescue organisations because they aren’t winning races or they’ve reached their use-by date. “At age four and a half, they’re like a 35-year-old rugby player; not wanted as they’re past their prime,” says Peter. There are many rescue groups that

CASE STUDY: PATCH, 4 If Patch’s human, Kristal, could think of one word to describe her dog Patch it would be “bubbly”. “He’s just so funloving and smiles all the time,” she says. “Patch bounds out of bed, wiggles and runs around in happy circles in the morning, follows me around for a bit, then lies on the lounge.” He also enjoys hanging out with Bella, Kristal’s Great Dane X. Patch’s happy-go-lucky nature belies his former life as a racing hound. “He’s almost blind in one eye, missing some teeth, and has ear injuries. I was told he was kicked,” she says. Kristal says Patch has become a much-loved family member. “He’s brought me so much joy; I look forward to coming home each day.”

CASE STUDY: ZOUMI, 4 Zoumi is a beautiful black Greyhound with a sweet gentle disposition. Her human, Ausilia Cristiano, has been in Zoumi’s life for a year. Zoumi was a failed racer, a shy, timid dog who won Ausilia’s heart the moment she laid eyes on her. “She’s got such a sweet, gentle disposition,” Ausilia says. “When we arrived home that first day she walked

take in these pets from shelters or trainers and rehome them. “My advice is to put your faith in a rescue association and don’t source a Greyhound directly from a trainer,” he says. Rescue organisations put dogs through a transition program, get them socialised to the outside world, and work to match a particular dog to a particular family situation. After reading this heartbreaking story, you might be thinking about welcoming a Greyhound into your family. Before you do, there are some things you need to know.

DOGGONE DAWGS It’s not a good idea to let your happy hound of-leash in a public area — they pick up speed and momentum quite quickly. Greyhounds are taught to chase the fast-moving lure and they have good vision. It’s better to play it safe.

KEEPING WINTER CHILLS AT BAY With their super-short fine coats and minimal body fat on their lean frames, Greyhounds feel the cold. They need a warm snug spot indoors to warm their

straight past chickens in my yard and didn’t bat an eyelid. She’s so wellbehaved.” Ausilia also cares for her elderly parents and Zoumi goes with her every day to visit them. She also loves playing and zipping around on the beach — it’s her favourite pastime! “Zoumi is my constant companion. She’s a beautifully natured dog,” says Ausilia.

toes by a toasty fire in winter, a cosy warm bed and a coat to wear outdoors in the cooler months.

HEALTHY HOUNDS Generally, Greyhounds have a clean bill health. Some may have issues with their teeth from chewing on bars; others may have pannus, a treatable eye disease. If your dog is diagnosed, they’ll need eye drops for the rest of their life. A Greyhound’s nails need to be regularly trimmed as they grow quite quickly. Corns on foot pads are another issue that may afect Greyhounds. You’ll notice a small circular area that might be raised and your dog may limp. A vet check and various treatment options can fix the problem.

THE MUZZLE PUZZLE? The idea of muzzling greyhounds was introduced many years ago to stop them injuring themselves during a race and, sadly, it’s assumed that ex-racing Greyhounds will chase small animals. Some states and councils still require Greyhounds to wear a muzzle in public places, so check with your local authority. DL 55

LIFE WITH DOGS This gorgeous pup has captured the hearts of many.

Animals are not trash A

s a pet photographer who works closely with dozens of rescue organisations, I hear many stories of neglect, cruelty and abandonment. Thankfully, these are balanced out by stories of rescue, love and devotion. The story of Jakk the dumpster puppy is shocking due to his young age and has exposed a practice that is barbaric and cruel — throwing animals away as if they were trash. I’ve been entrusted with the


task of documenting Jakk as he grows, photographing him every two weeks. It is a privilege to spend time with this little fighter. Here is his story. It was 5:30am on a cold April morning when Jade Roberts, an employee of Hungry Jacks in Baldivis WA finished her shift and walked into the rear car park. As she walked past the dumpster, she heard crying coming from inside and initially thought the noise was being made by a cat or kitten. On investigation, Jade realised

it was coming from a tiny puppy. Without hesitation, she jumped into the bin and rescued him. He was tiny, no more than two to four days old with his eyes closed and his umbilicus scab attached. It was immediately noticeable that the puppy’s front legs hadn’t formed properly and so Jade rushed the pup, who she called Jakk, to the closest vet for a check-up. The vet advised that expert care was required for Jakk so Jade took him home and kept him safe and warm while

Photos: Houndstooth Studio

Dumped puppy Jakk inspired a huge campaign that is touching the nation. Alex Cearns reports.

LIFE WITH DOGS Jakk, a few days old.

contemplating who to ask for help. In the meantime, the Perth-based rescue group WA Pet Project (WAPP) heard about his plight and contacted Jade, who released him into their care. A dedicated WAPP volunteer, Madilyn Wall, then completed a four-and-a-half-hour round trip to collect Jakk and deliver him to WAPP founder, Edith Balatonyi. By the time Jakk got to Edith’s, there was immense interest in his story and, by the following morning, several news stations and newspapers had been in touch to share the tale of Jakk the dumpster puppy. Within a few days, Jakk was booked in to see specialist Dr John Punke (DVM, MS, DACVS, DECV) from Perth Vet Specialists. The vet’s diagnosis was that Jakk was likely to have a congenital condition called hemimelia. This is when human babies or animals are born without portions of their limbs due to faulty development while they are in the uterus. It can range in severity from missing a small, nonessential bone without much consequence to the complete absence of multiple major bones, causing severe deformities and dysfunction. Dr John believes that Jakk is missing parts of both the humerus (upper arm bone) and radius (lower arm bone) in both legs and that radiographs will be required when he is around 10 weeks of age. From there, Dr John will be able to determine which bones are missing and make a plan for Jakk’s future treatment. For now, the immediate priority is to keep Jakk safe and prevent him from getting bed sores from not being able to walk well. Realising Jakk would require ongoing

Jakk, looking healthier here at three weeks.

medical treatment, WAPP started a gofundme campaign that raised more than $10,000 in 24 hours. These funds will contribute to his ongoing care. For now, Jakk is playing a waiting game. “We won’t really know what we’re dealing with in terms of treatments needed until his X-rays are completed in four weeks’ time,” says Edith. “In the meantime he’s getting daily physio and massage and weekly therapy with Julie Edwards from the Wellness Centre for Dogs and their Humans.” Future treatment options could include prosthetic limbs or possibly surgery to increase Jakk’s ability to walk and give him the best quality of life possible. The team at WAPP are currently building a wheelchair to help him get around. While his breed is still unknown, Jakk is growing bigger and stronger each day. According to Edith, he’s a cheeky, smart and inquisitive puppy that is constantly watching everyone and taking everything in. A foster carer for more than eight years, Edith says caring for animals in need is the most rewarding thing she’s ever done. “Foster carers have a direct impact on the lives of animals. I get to help them overcome their fears, learn new tricks and, best of all, I get to be a very big part of their happily forever after.” Understandably, people were upset and outraged about the way Jakk was discarded like a piece of trash. Jakk’s rescue has brought to the forefront the stories of other animals that have been abandoned in dumpsters, particularly cats. WAPP has launched its “Animals Are Not Trash” educational campaign, wanting people to

realise they have other options and do not have to take such drastic measures if they can no longer care for a pet. “As a community we need to help each other be good pet owners. Be it through education, raising awareness or direct support. It is easy to be angry and upset, especially after what happened to Jakk, but to prevent this from happening again, we need to let our community know that help and support is available.“ says Edith. Despite his cruel introduction to the world, Jakk is in the best hands and will receive everything he needs. If you would like to donate to his care, please visit Jakk’s gofundme page at jakkscare. And if you would like to follow his journey, please follow the WA PET Project Facebook page at wapetproject

ABOUT ALEX CEARNS Internationally renowned animal photographer Alex Cearns is the creative director of Houndstooth Studio. Her images have won a multitude of awards and have been published widely across Australian and international print and online media, including DOGSLife magazine. Inspired by the joy of working with animals, Alex’s philanthropy and passionate advocacy for animal rescue has earned her high regard among Australia’s animal lovers and a strong following on social media. She is a selfconfessed crazy dog lady who loves to hug all animals. Follow her on Facebook at or visit her website houndstoothstudio. DL 57

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Walk This Way Photo, Peter Clarke

Our Australia-wide correspondents trek the high and low roads with their canine counterparts in search of a pooch-tastic adventure.




Where: Avoca Beach/North Avoca NSW Of-leash Area: Yes, along the sand in the middle of the two beaches. Time: Walking from one end to the other could take you 30 minutes or so, but we recommend spending longer and enjoying the gorgeous Central Coast beachscape. What to take for your dog: Lead, training treats, ball or Frisbee and dog waste bags. What to take for yourself: Hat, sunscreen, water and a towel.

Photos: Big Stock Photo, Peter Clarke

eter takes his dog Danger to explore a popular surf spot at Avoca Beach. When you first pull up to the dog-friendly area of Avoca Beach, one thing is clear — this area isn’t just for canines. Perched at the edge of the car park is a viewing platform frequently occupied with dedicated surfers, eying of the ocean to see if it’s worth going out for a wave. Of course, they’re not the only ones with their eyes on the prize. A host of dogs can regularly be seen here, chasing balls, the waves and sometimes each other as they enjoy this of-leash area. Avoca Beach is a popular dog-owning location and the local of-leash beach is where many locals come to let their dogs get some socialisation done. Several years ago, the dog-friendly area was threatened to be taken away, but thanks to protests from some particularly vocal local pooch lovers, the dogs get to stay, leaving them free to roam the area from the surf club parking lot down to the North Avoca end of the beach on the opposite side of the lagoon. The surf is a little rougher here than at other beaches, so if your dog likes a swim, make sure you supervise them closely. I took Danger for a run along the sand and then a quick splash in the shallows of the lagoon where the water is much safer — it makes for a much easier games of fetch, too. This area is highly populated, so if your dog isn’t great around other canines, I wouldn’t recommend it. If he or she has no worries about them, however, add this picturesque location to your dogwalking list. DL 61


Canines for a cause A

South African man suspected of poaching stood smugly in his living room. Organised crime oficers all but knew he was involved; the gang leader they’d arrested earlier that night had told them so. But to arrest, detain and convict this individual, the authorities needed evidence. Preferably the rhino horn itself, but if that could not be found, the firearms, or other


weapons that poachers carried with them, would be enough to make an arrest. Unfortunately, poachers could hide this sort of thing rather well. But these police oficers didn’t come alone. A dog handler arrived, with a Weimaraner, which immediately started snifing around the room as the oficers looked on. This dog had been trained to snif out the scent of rhino and suddenly, when it started

concentrating on one particular wall, the oficers knew they were onto something. “The dog had found traces of rhino carcass scent on the wall,” says Conraad de Rosner, the dog’s handler. Conraad, who runs K9 Conservation, explains that the traces were most likely on a poacher’s shoe. Turned out the poacher had been scrambling up the wall to hide his rifle in the roof and left residual scent there. “We

Photo: Catherine Corrett

In South Africa, an organisation is training dogs to help make a difference when it comes to wild animal poaching. By Crispin Andrews.

DOG TALES Weimaraners are one of the preferred breeds used by the K9 Conservation team.

also found rhino horn fragments and the saw which the poacher had used to cut of the horn,” Conraad says. Dogs like this Weimaraner help the African authorities in their increasingly desperate struggle against wildlife poachers. Conservation group Tusk estimates that 30,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year — that’s one every 15 minutes. Ivory goes for

US$1000 per pound (approximately A$2036) on the black market. Rhino horn can fetch up to US$45,000 a pound (approximately A$62,500), according to the African Wildlife Foundation. Some people, particularly in China and the Far East, believe that it can cure impotence, hangovers, fever and even cancer. To the criminals, it’s more valuable than gold. In South Africa, where 80 per cent of the world’s rhinos live, a rhino is killed by poachers every three days. Then there’s the bush meat trade, with gangs killing and selling animal meat. Desperately poor, starving individuals kill animals to feed themselves and their family. It is both illegal and, for African authorities, very dificult to combat. “The consumption of African wildlife by the people, and by the people I’m talking about everyone, is shocking,” Conraad De Rosner says. “We’ve reached a critical stage; it’s happening all the time. Essentially it’s a war, but we’re not military.” Conraad was born and raised in the bush on a family-owned game reserve. “I’ve lived in the bush my whole life,” he says. “Worked as a ranger for 20 years and a park manager for 15.” Conraad set up K9 Conservation with his partner, Catherine Corrett, in 2011. They met when London-born Catherine visited Kruger National Park in South Africa. “With Conraad’s passion for the dogs and mine for the wildlife, we decided to open a security company that trains dogs to work in conservation settings,” Catherine says. K9 Conservation has its own dogs. The company trains other people’s dogs and provides dog-handling courses for rangers and other park staf. They train dogs to track poachers, track injured animals and to snif out contraband, weapons and ammunition. “The dogs specialise in one or the other disciplines,” Conraad says. Tracking dogs go out with their handlers into the bush. If, at the scene of a poaching incident, they pick up a human scent, the dog can track that scent right back to the poacher, wherever they are hiding. “We train the dog to discriminate between diferent human suspects’ scents,” Conraad says. “Then a handler can put the dog onto a specific trail.” The dog has to ignore the other scent trails it encounters and follow the one specific scent that the handlers hope

will lead them, if not to the poacher then to the place where the poacher left the park. A poacher might have jumped into a vehicle on the outside of the park, which, obviously, the dog can’t follow. But at least the dog has helped park authorities gather valuable information about where and how poachers are entering and leaving the property. Conraad says that the best working dogs have high drive, are obedient and enjoy being around humans. “Patrol dogs tend to be Malinois, German Shepherds, Weimaraners or Bloodhounds,” Catherine adds. “They’ll bond very intensively with the handler and ignore animal scents to track humans. Ideally you want a puppy. Start training him or her at an early age so that he or she gets used to the environment.” Conraad adds that for detection you need a more sociable dog, one that likes interacting with people, searching vehicles and luggage. “We use Labradors, Beagles and spaniels,” he says. “Training involves lots of repetition, so it must be fun for the dog. For us, that’s the ball reward when they get it right.” There are dangers for the dogs, of course, including poisonous snakes and wild predators, in particular lions. The biggest threats, though, are the poachers themselves. These individuals are often armed with heavy-calibre rifles, pistols, knives and machetes. “The dog is there to help track the poacher, not to run the criminal down,” Conraad says. “The dog can do this, of course, but we don’t like to put our dogs at risk, so we take the poachers down ourselves.” These dogs also act as a visual deterrent to poachers. “It’s like a show of force along the borders of reserves where people live and gather, and also to anyone who works inside a reserve who might be leaking information to the poachers,” Catherine Corrett says. “Prevention is better than cure,” Conraad adds. “If your enemy doesn’t come into your camp then you are winning. These guys (the poachers) know they are at the receiving end of night-time surveillance. Most of the poachers operate at night. They know that the dogs are there and they’ll be tracked. We might not release a dog on a poacher in two years, but we’re still getting the job done by keeping them away.” DL 63



Sasha once was shy and scared, but now she’s the picture of health.

Foster Fails Fostering a dog is only meant to be a temporary arrangement, but sometimes a dog’s short-term stopover can end up being its forever home. Tim Falk reports. STEPHANIE AND SASHA Stephanie Moses works at the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) Warra Rehoming Centre on Brisbane’s north side, so it’s not unusual for her to 64

have an extra kitten or a sick cat in the house from time to time. But the first dog she fostered, a sweet-natured Kelpie cross named Sasha, would eventually become her full-time pet.

“We don’t know too much about Sasha’s background,” Stephanie explains. “She arrived at AWLQ as a stray without any identification and nobody came searching for her. She was quite anxious and would flatten herself on the ground to avoid having to meet people and other dogs. The staf worked with her and built up her confidence and after a few weeks she was adopted.” But when Sasha was too nervous in her new home, she was returned to AWLQ after a week. “We managed to get her into the ofice where she hid under the desk getting some treats. She looked at me with those scared eyes and I decided I’d take her home for the week to see the extent of her anxiousness,” Stephanie says. “The first day we had Sasha at home she stayed in the backyard, not wanting to come inside. She would walk to the doorway and stretch over the threshold as far as she could to have a look, without actually putting her feet inside the house. She did this for the first couple of days and would sleep outside as she seemed more comfortable. “A couple of days later we had the back door open and found her in the kitchen. She froze in fear when she saw us but we were so happy she had made it inside on her own. She slowly made her way into the lounge and sat at our feet. It was a very happy and rewarding moment seeing her actually relax. “A week later and she was completely comfortable, making herself at home on our sofa, although she was scared of loud

Photos: Stephanie Moss, Mel Sanderson, Susie Weitenberg

Thinking of becoming a foster carer to help animals in need? AWLQ is one of many animal rescue organisations around the country looking for committed foster carers. While it can take a lot of hard work and patience to give these animals a second chance, Susie says the rewards make it all worth it. “While it’s sad to take them back, it’s also so comforting to know that they are ready for adoption and they have the best possible chance in life thanks to our eforts and the eforts of so many other foster carers. It doesn’t get much better than that.” For more information head to awlqld.

DOG TALES noises and would run if she saw the cat coming. I had planned on taking her back to work after another couple of weeks but we had fallen in love with her and she really seemed to trust us.” Fast forward six months and Sasha, fast approaching her second birthday, has settled in perfectly. “She is best friends with our kitten and lets the kitten chase her tail around and they’ll play together and even eat from the same bowl,” Stephanie says. “Her favourite time of day is when we come home from work and she jumps in the air to peek over the fence; she’ll then do laps of the house.” Watching Sasha’s transformation has been an emotional and inspiring experience and one well worth the efort for Stephanie. If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, Stephanie says that shelters will be supportive and answer any questions or concerns you may have, and most will supply everything you need: food, bowls, litter etc. “Most importantly, you’re making a diference to at least two lives: the animal you foster and the new animal that can take their space at the shelter,” she says. “It’s a rewarding experience and will probably change your life for the better.”

MEL AND MARLEE As many as 17,000 healthy Greyhounds are euthanised every year in Australia when they are deemed no longer able to race, but right across the country, people like Mel Sanderson are stepping in to give these lovable, gentle dogs a second chance. “After adopting our first rescue Greyhound nearly two years ago, we wanted to do something to help so, as a family, we decided to start fostering and Marlee was our first,” Mel explains. “We already have a full house of animals and just can’t keep any more. We had all steeled ourselves, especially me, as we knew she could not stay with us.” The plan was for Marlee to stay for just a couple of weeks to start learning how to be a pet, but after three days Mel knew that wasn’t going to happen. “That night, at the dinner table, I told my husband and two daughters that I was in love with Marlee and couldn’t bear to give her back, that she loved me and all our other pets, and she was happy and she had a sparkle in her eyes that wasn’t there before and that I just

Winter was surrendered as a stressed and pregnant dog, but later blossomed under Susie and her family’s care.

had to keep her. They all rolled their eyes and said something like ‘as if you were ever going to just foster’,” Mel says. “The back story for Marlee is the same as most Greyhounds — over bred and raised purely to win money. Marlee had no idea about the real world; she was a blank canvas and I can’t put into words the pain and the pleasure of watching her world open up. “She is so playful. She goes ‘shopping’ at home and finds all sorts of things that she proudly bounces of with to put on her bed. She has taken a particular shine to a small, headless, turtle garden ornament and a 3cm bolt and nut. She loves to collect shoes and anything she can reach on the kitchen bench. It was kind of cute but also strange when I found the missing sweet potato and zucchini in her bed; not chewed, just collected.” Looking back now, Mel thinks Marlee more or less became a part of the family on the drive home from AWLQ. “She is gentle, loving, loyal, sweet and kind and she now has a home and will be loved and cared for forever,” Mel says.

SUSIE AND WINTER Susie Weitenberg has fostered an amazing 32 animals over the years and eight-year-old Siberian Husky Winter was sixth on that list. “Winter and her brother lived in a backyard with a family and unfortunately

Winter and her brother weren’t desexed and, well, it led to a litter of six puppies. So Winter was surrendered pregnant and her brother was also surrendered to AWLQ,” Susie explains. “When she first came to us she was overwhelmed as she had six puppies and she was under the age of 12 months herself. It took some time for her to adapt and settle but once she did it was an amazing transformation. “We had her with the pups and then the pups were sold. We had planned to go away for a couple of weeks, months in advance, and when we returned we were asked to take her again. That was when my husband John had a chance to have her without the puppies, not stressed, and he saw her full, beautiful character and he was smitten. “She was just such a good mother with these six puppies once she settled and got her maternal act together, as she had a lot to deal with as a young dog in such a short space of time. And she was so beautiful with us as well. We couldn’t imagine giving her back as she was just such a part of our life and the furniture.” These days, whether it’s a game of fetch or a walk on the beach, Winter loves doing everything with Susie and John. “Her personality is loving, attentive, playful and very loyal. She is my shadow,” Susie says. DL 65


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Does your dog have an itch he just can’t scratch? Photo: Houndstooth Studio

FLEA ISSUES Dear DOGSLife, I have tried almost every brand of flea prevention/treatment there is going to keep my six-year-old wire-haired Fox Terrier Smokey from itching up a storm, but no luck. Smoky still has fleas. What am I doing wrong? Do you have any tips? Emma, via email Dr Renee O’Duhring says: Australia is a country that has a perfect climate for flea development and survival and, in most areas, a flea problem can be challenging to control. A single adult female flea can lay up to 5000 eggs in her lifetime and, in ideal weather conditions (warm and 70

mildly humid), the flea life cycle (egg, larvae, pupae, adult flea) can occur in as little as three weeks. So a few fleas on your dog can very quickly turn into a major flea infestation in your home. More than 95 per cent of the flea population resides of your pet, as eggs, larvae, pupae and hatched fleas waiting to jump onto a passing animal. So treating your animal without also doing something about the environmental flea load is rarely efective. A concerted efort at flea control requires treating your pet with efective products and also doing something about the environmental stages. What can be done? Vacuuming your house (floors, furniture, soft furnishings)

daily has been shown to be very efective in the battle against fleas. Block of shaded areas under the house to prevent your pets from bunking in prime flea real estate. Wash your pet’s bedding weekly in hot water and place it in the sun to dry. And using safe, natural products like diatomaceous earth around the home and garden can be helpful. Continue using a flea control product on your pet if they tolerate the use of chemicals. Sentinel is a safe monthly heartworm and worming product that also contains a chemical that sterilises adult fleas, so that the eggs they lay cannot hatch. This is a way of controlling fleas in the environment. I have found this product to be one of the most efective in the battle against fleas, because people will use it year-round for heartworm prevention, and so the fleas that jump on your pet never lay viable eggs. You may still see a few fleas on your pet now and then after a trip to the dog park or other flea hot spots, but they won’t get out of control. If you have a highly allergic animal that sufers with flea bites, then you will also need to use a fast-acting chemical to kill the fleas on your pet before they can get too many bites in, while also working to strengthen your pet’s immune system so that the flea bites become less of a problem for them. All of the flea products on the market are efective, but some work better in certain situations than others. For example, if your pet swims frequently you may be better of using an oral product such as Nexgard, or the Frontline spray, which is more water-fast than the other topical products on the market. Note than any flea efort can take six months or more before you will see a reduction in fleas on your pet, as there are already many eggs, larvae and pupae in your environment waiting to hatch. Also, itching is often due to reasons other than fleas, such as food or environmental allergies, so don’t assume an itchy pet has fleas without checking first. The battle against fleas can be a trying one, but if you commit to these suggestions you should be well on your way to a flea-free pet soon.


BABY BLESSING Dear DOGSLife, Soon, we’ll be welcoming a new addition into the household — that is, a human. I am pregnant. I was wondering if you have any advice for introducing our five-year-old, sometimes a little bit hyperactive Chihuahua to the baby. Carmen, via email Peta Clarke says: Carmen, you are going to make a great mum. I can tell already because of the thought you are putting into preparing your Chihuahua for your baby now. Good planning and preparation is one of the most important aspects of setting our animals up to be successful in life, so if you are this good with your dog, you are going to be great with your future bub. First things first — for me, it would be to sit back and try and take an honest look at how much time your Chihuahua has spent around young children and, more importantly, what those experiences have been like for him or her. While many people think socialising a dog is all about exposing them to diferent things, that is actually nowhere near the truth. If a dog has experienced children and it’s been a frightening experience, that dog will not have good emotional associations with children — in fact they will probably be negative — and being around kids could trigger fear, anxiety or even aggression. If you have had experiences with your dog acting fearful around kids, best to get some professional help so that a program can be developed specifically for your dog. The main things I focus on when working with a new arrival is understanding that lots of things are going to change for the dog, and changing them gradually as we lead up to the birth and the baby coming home rather than waiting and having it change all at once will help. We know, for instance, that a new baby is a full-time job on its own, so it is inevitable that your Chi will get less attention and time with you. Gradually changing things will help the dog adjust tremendously. Think ahead to what your routine may be like when your baby comes home and start making these changes now. For instance, if the dog is not going to be let into the baby’s room, put up a baby gate now. If you have your dog on a strict routine — breakfast at 7am, dinner at

EXPERT PANEL Dr Michael Archinal

DR MICHAEL ARCHINAL “Dr Ark” has been a vet for 25 years and runs three busy practices with more than 50 staf. For more than a decade, Dr Archinal has appeared regularly on Channel Nine’s Mornings and has been on ABC radio talkback for 15 years. He is passionate about the human–animal bond and gets invited to lecture around the world. He has also written a successful book on the subject. He has been married for 24 years, and has three boys and many pets with attitude.


Peta has trained animals professionally for 20 years. While her current focus is her lifelong love of working with dogs, she also has a long history training exotic animals for zoos and the film industry. Having studied psychology, Peta is a self-labelled nerd when it comes to the science behind training and is a regular lecturer for various canine associations and dog training clubs. Currently, Peta works as a consultant to zoos, vets and dog owners worldwide, helping better the life of animals in human care.


Dr Kersti Seksel

Holistic veterinary expert Dr Renee O’Duhring follows nature’s principles when treating her patients. She is relentless in pursuing a natural state of health for every animal, aiming to uncover and address the root causes of disease, and provide an insight into what pet guardians need to change for healing to occur. In 2015, together with Dr Henry Stephenson, she opened The Natural Vets, a dedicated holistic veterinary clinic on the Sunshine Coast. Their website is constantly being updated with articles on health, healing and the path to wellness.

DR KERSTI SEKSEL Dr Kersti is a registered veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine. She is the director of behavioural medicine at the Sydney Animal Behaviour Service as well as the Animal Referral Hospital (Sydney) and the Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre. She is a regular presenter on ABC radio and other media outlets, and speaks nationally and internationally on a regular basis. 71


Something as simple as grass could be a possible allergy cause for your dog. Photo: Big Stock Photo

6pm, for example — start varying the time the food is given. Fifteen minutes diference here and there at first, then a little longer until you feel it is as varied as it will ever need to be is great. Investing in enrichment feeders (either homemade or store-bought) can be incredibly useful for keeping the dog more occupied as your time is taken up by the job of being a new mum. The next thing that is really important is 72

to understand that how your dog learns to feel about babies now will help her adjust to the arrival of the new human family member when it happens. Babies can seem very strange to dogs when they have not spent much time around them, and for a dog the size of a Chihuahua, it can be quite scary. They smell diferent, they move erratically and they sound weird. The more you can expose your dog to as many baby smells and movements, sights and sounds

as possible now will mean that some aspects of the baby are familiar when you bring him or her home. Even better is to provide the dog with something they love — special food treats, a chew toy, attention — in the presence of baby stuf. This will not only allow the dog to get used to the stimuli but also associate it with good stuf. Using a recording of a baby crying, for instance, and throwing treats around for the dog to run after and eat is a perfect example of

ASK THE EXPERTS blankets until she is satisfied will be a huge benefit. It also gives you a chance to see what the dog’s reaction is to the smell of you and the baby on the blanket. That is key information as to how the real introduction might go. Also, if you have no well-trained cues for behaviours like “lie down”, “stay”, and “go to your mat (or crate)”, it would be well worth putting in the time for this training now. Training allows us to communicate clearly what we need from the dog and will allow her to understand what you want from her when the baby comes. This will be a huge blessing when you need to focus on the baby. The main thing to remember, Carmen, is that the more we can do now, the easier it will be when the day comes for them to be introduced to each other. You are streets ahead planning for this now. I wish you and your family all the love and luck in the world. What an amazing adventure for you.


setting your dog up to be able to cope with those crying episodes that are going to come and go. Once you have had the bub, ensure that some rugs or clothing belonging to the baby are brought home ahead of time for your Chi to snif and gather information from. Remember, dogs get a huge amount of information about situations from odour. Allowing her to investigate these bits of clothing or

Dear DOGSLife, I have a four-year-old Stafy named Luna. Recently, I’ve been worried that Luna may have an allergy. She constantly licks her paws and it’s becoming a real worry. What would you suggest we do? Ella, via email Dr Michael Archinal says: Hi Ella, you are highly likely to be right in your assumption that Luna may have an allergy. Stafies, as a breed, are very prone to these. It sounds like the condition would fall under the banner of Atopic Dermatitis. This usually starts to manifest from two to four years of age when we can see foot licking and, commonly, an ear infection. These two sites are the first that are obvious. The cause can be anything from grasses she walks on to pollens blowing from a tree to the food she eats (which is more likely if it starts under 12 months of age). Stafies can sometimes lick the paws so compulsively that they can also cause a secondary infection in the feet. Some simple things you can try include feeding a special skin allergy food exclusively. There is one made in Australia that will help up to 30 per cent of dogs with this issue. Your vet can identify with a blood test the allergen that Luna may be allergic to and start a course of

desensitising injections over 18 months. There is also a brand new medication that has fantastic results with no side efects (unlike the old cortisones). Unfortunately, antihistamines don’t work that well in all dogs. Another very simple management process is to wash her feet in water and then dry them after a walk, or avoid walking on grassed areas and stick mainly to the footpaths.

VET VISITS Dear DOGSLife, I have an eight-year-old Border Collie, Jojo and a two-year-old rescue cat. I was wondering how often do I need to take them to the vet? If there’s nothing wrong with them, and we do worming and flea treatments at home, is it that important? Asher, via email Dr Michael Archinal says: Hi Asher, this is a fantastic question and very timely. In 70 per cent of older dogs like Jojo, there can be an issue that you are not aware of that can only be picked up by an expert. Unfortunately, we are seeing many dogs much later in the disease process due to “research” that people do on the internet. This can cause unnecessary sufering and often means it is too late to help many dogs. As an example, more than 80 per cent of dogs over three years of age have some form of dental disease; this is one obvious area. It is now also recommended that a simple blood test be carried out in dogs eight years and over to be proactive about their health and check any internal issues like early kidney and liver disease, as they can’t speak for themselves. We very commonly identify issues early on in the process and can take action. On the vaccination front, as pets can get fatal infections (eg Parvo virus) without dog-to-dog contact (you can bring it home), I strongly recommend this is done. Make sure your worming includes heartworm as this is transmitted by mosquitoes. The same holds true for your cat. One pet year is about the same as seven human years. A lot can happen in that time and your local vet is an expert in helping and speaking up for your pets when they can’t, so a yearly visit for young pets, and twice a year if they are more than eight years of age, would be the best recommendation. 73

ASK THE EXPERTS A pooch pulling on the lead is a problem many dog owners face. Photo: Big Stock Photo

MARKING MALES Dear DOGSLife, I have always had female dogs growing up (Border Collies, to be precise). However, recently weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re thinking of rescuing a pup from the RSPCA and it happens to be a male. One thing about male dogs is that they always seem to lift their leg and pee, but I was wondering how often do they do this and why? Can you minimise their marking? Noah, via email Dr Kersti Seksel says: Dear Noah, thanks for your questions and great to hear you are thinking of rescuing a puppy. Dogs urinate using diferent postures including squatting, lifting a leg and some may even do a handstand! The sex of the dog does not always determine the posture they will use. Some male dogs will squat and some female dogs lift a leg. All of these postures are normal and they are used to empty the bladder. 74

Marking is a form of communication and not about emptying the bladder. Marking is a normal behaviour of dogs and many other species. Dogs use marking to communicate information to other dogs about their identity, health and reproductive status. Marking also occurs in response to the dog smelling a stimulus, such as another dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scent or urine mark. It is only a problem if the dog is marking in areas or at a frequency that is unacceptable to you. For example, you may not want your dog stopping to urinate on every tree and telephone pole when you go out for a walk. However, that is the main reason for taking your dog for a walk, to allow it to snif and pick up messages from other dogs as well as leave messages for other dogs. Think of it as pee-mail (where you might use email). If your dog marks inside the house it is usually not as simple as being a male dog and the dog may have an anxiety disorder.

Male dogs that have been castrated are much less likely to mark so that would be the first thing to consider for your pup. Additionally, you can also train your dog to urinate at the appropriate time and place. The best way to encourage your dog to urinate in a specific area is to take your dog to the place where you want him to toilet and bring plenty of treats. Every time the dog uses the appropriate area praise him immediately and give him a small tasty treat. If you are consistent taking him to this spot regularly and encouraging him with rewards such as treats and praise, he will soon realise this is the best spot to urinate and other places will become less appealing. By taking him to his toilet area before the start of the walk you can set him up for success by giving him an opportunity to urinate, which will make him less likely to need to go on the walk. Some dogs who have anxiety disorders can start exhibiting excessive marking behaviours and, in those cases, it is best to


speak to a veterinarian who may refer you to a veterinary behaviourist to help work with you and your dog to manage your dog’s anxiety and subsequent behaviours. So don’t worry too much if the pup is a male — just take some time to train and enjoy your new puppy.

WALK-TIME DRAMA Dear DOGSLife, My dog pulls on the lead to no end. Seriously, no matter what I do, he just gets over-excited when we’re on our walks — he’s a Stafy, so perhaps that’s part of it. I was wondering, do you have any advice for me? Or is it a case of I should try a diferent harness product? Courtney, via email Peta Clarke says: Hi Courtney, welcome to the dilemma experienced by most dog lovers at some point in their lives. Stafies certainly do have a reputation for being full of life, but that certainly doesn’t mean

that they can’t be taught how we need them to behave for us to make both our lives more comfortable. As I’m sure you know, there are many techniques for teaching a dog not to pull. Like all training, the techniques can only be based on one of two choices: by rewarding behavior we want or by not enforcing the bad behavior (by stopping when the dog pulls, thus not allowing it to reach its desired destination). The big trouble for us is that every time you follow a dog on a tight lead you are training your dog to pull on the lead. Why? Well, behaviour that is rewarded grows. Dogs pull to get where they are going quicker, so if it’s a walk to a dog park or another fun place, pulling is rewarded. If the dog pulls to another dog, a good snif spot, a special post to leave pee-mail … you get the picture. Most dogs (even Chihuahuas) can move quite a bit quicker than we like to walk and thus, we end up with them out in front with us bringing up the rear. Once the distance between us gets greater than the lead is long — bingo, pulling training begins! My main tool of choice from a training perspective is food treats tossed on the ground at your feet. By playing this game you give the dog a reason to pay attention to you and begin hanging closer. Once the behaviour of hanging around you and the lead being loose begins to build, we gradually reduce the food. We will begin to see the dog checking in more with us and being close instead of pulling. This also begins to help with any reactivity issues you might have towards other dogs on lead, as we can start to deliver tasty treats when another dog is encountered, changing the emotional state of the dog. I also like to add cues to any behaviours the dog naturally performs on a walk, like snifing, peeing and exploring. It’s so simple to do — watch your dog and when you think they want to say snif at a tree, tell them “go snif” before they do it. Remember, our dogs live in a very diferent sensory world than we do and I am sure they wonder why on earth we would not stop and investigate all these amazing smells. Learn what your dog wants while on the walk and only provide access to that activity when the lead is loose. The options above all have to do with us controlling consequences, but we have other options as well. By manipulating the environment, we can set our dogs up for

success rather than failure. This is exactly what you are doing when you ask about diferent equipment. If we were sitting together having a cup of tea, I would get you to show me the harnesses and the lead you use. Harnesses that clip to the top of the dog, usually between the shoulder blade area, are great for giving dogs extra strength when pulling. There are, however, many harnesses available now that clip on at the front of the dog squarely on the chest. This means the dog can pull and can only go so far before pulling themselves around to face you. They soon learn the only way to get to the good stuf is to not pull. But allowing them to still explore their environment is a must. That’s why I love long leads — at least three metres. With some of my clients, simply throwing away a two-metre lead and getting a lead that allows the dog exploration room without putting tension on the lead solves their pulling problem. The other thing to do is make the half hour before the walk at home more mentally and physically exciting. Think about the contrast currently — it’s probably pretty dull for your dog at home, which makes the contrast of a walk incredibly exciting. We can easily change this to make walking together more enjoyable. You could play with your pet in the yard or house or do some scent-work games or training before you go for a walk, to make going out less exciting. What’s life like at home? What activities do you do at home? If all the fun and excitement is in the daily walk, you are setting your dog up to be ultra-excited about this activity by making it the highlight of your dog’s day. Taking your pet to diferent locations to walk instead of walking the same route in the same area with the path that he knows can also be used to slow dogs down. More smells, shorter distances from each other, can sometimes make things easier. Good luck!

PUPPY CARE Dear DOGSLife, I’ve just got a new puppy, a Cocker Spaniel. She’s gorgeous and has fit into our family so well. When we purchased her, the breeder warned us that we needed to keep her ears clean, only I’m not entirely sure what that entails. Do you have any tips or advice? Beatrix, via email 75

ASK THE EXPERTS Dr Renee O’Duhring says: Hi Beatrix, congratulations on welcoming a new puppy into your family. I hope she has brought you many hours of joy and delight. Dogs with long floppy, hairy ears like Cocker Spaniels can be prone to ear problems simply because their anatomy means that the ear canal doesn’t get well ventilated. Keeping the ears clean means keeping an eye on the ears, checking them on a weekly or more frequent basis, and using an appropriate ear cleaning solution to break up and clear out any waxy

Cocker Spaniels can require extra ear care.


discharge that is building up. The PAW Gentle Ear Cleaner by Blackmores is a great product that is very efective at breaking up wax and keeping the ear canal clean, without drying it out too much or causing irritation. You simply dribble a very small amount of liquid into the ear, massage it down to the ear base, then wipe out any discharge with a cotton ball that has been moistened with the solution, being sure to get down deep into the ear canal and continuing to wipe until your last cotton ball comes out clean. You can clean as deep as your finger can go without risking

any damage to the eardrum as there is a 90-degree bend in the dog’s ear canal before it gets anywhere near the base. As an aside, I have seen many dogs with ongoing ear discharges and infections resolve by changing them from a processed food diet (which contains too much carbohydrate) to a low or no-carb raw food diet. This may also be something for you to consider to be sure your Cocker’s ears stay clear and healthy in the long-term. A balanced raw diet is surprisingly easy to provide and does wonders for your dog’s health and vitality.


LAWNMOWER REACTION Dear DOGSLife, My four-year-old Aussie Cattle Dog, Whipper, hates lawnmowers. I’ve tried everything. I bring him inside when we mow; I give him treats; try to keep him calm, but he’ll sit there and bark at the door until my husband’s finished mowing, or if he happens to be outside for some reason, he’ll go after the mower and try to bite its wheels. Do you have any advice on how I can try to eliminate this problem? From Sarah, via email

Dr Kersti Seksel says: Hi Sarah, Whipper appears to have a problem with the noise of the lawnmower. Does he have a similar reaction to other noises or is it only the lawnmower? Does he also react to bicycles or scooters or other things that are noisy and have wheels? If Whipper is worried about other noises and movement as well he could have a noise phobia or noise sensitivity, both of which are fairly common in dogs and can be triggered by all sorts of different sounds. The most common are reactions to thunderstorms and

fireworks but dogs can react to many sounds. Dogs that react to noises or movement may bark, snap at the object making the noise, shake and tremble, hide, howl, pace and lick their lips. These dogs are usually very anxious in this situation and are not being naughty or misbehaving. They are simply reacting in this way because they do not have the tools to deal with their anxiety. The key to managing Whipper is to understand that you may never be able to totally stop his reaction to the whipper snipper but you should be able to manage it. You have done a good job already trying some behavioural and environmental techniques to try to help him with the problem. Have you tried taking Whipper to the park or for a walk (if he feels safe and enjoys those places) when your husband is mowing the lawn? That way he is not being exposed to the noises that concern him. You can also try fine-tuning these techniques. Start teaching Whipper to sit and look at you, using treats when your husband is not mowing the lawn, so that he starts to learn to be calm when nothing is going on. This will increase your chances of him learning to be calm and focus later when the lawn is being mowed. Always reward him with a high-value treat, something like a bone that will take time to chew may be helpful. You can help keep him calm by speaking in a calm, quiet voice. Sit next to Whipper and talk softly to him. When he is inside, move him to a room that is as far away from the noise as possible. Keep the blinds drawn and the lights dim and play some classical music as this has been shown to help some dogs. You may also want to invest in a “Manners Minder” or “Treat and Train” as that is a great remote-controlled product that can assist many dogs to not bark at the things that bother them, be it doorbells or lawnmowers. Remember, please do not punish him if he reacts as that may increase his concern about the lawnmower. If he is still reacting, please ask your veterinarian about options for medications that can be given to Whipper before your husband starts mowing, but these should always be used in addition to, not instead of, behavioural and environmental interventions. You are doing a good job so continue to work to help him with his issues to help him cope better. DL 77

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Breed features • Staffordshire Bull Terrier • Bichon Frise • British Bulldog

Photos: Big Stock Photo

• Schipperke 79


STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER Over the years the fun-loving Staffy, with a smile as big as its heart, has proved its worth as a nonaggressive, loyal and doting member of any family. By Helen Frost. The Stafy is sought-after by families wanting a fun pet for adults and kids alike.



he smiling Stafy is a wonderful dog that has proven, over the years, to be one of the most loyal, doting canine companions any family could wish for. With a big heart, a big personality and a smile so large youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d think it could swallow you up, this happygo-lucky breed will repay a good, caring family tenfold in love and afection. With a history dating back to the bloody dog sport rings of the 1800s, the Stafyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nature was unfairly tainted when, in those days, it was bred for dog fighting and bear-baiting to provide entertainment for blood-thirsty audiences. However, it was often said that as soon as the dogs left the fighting ring, their aggression would disappear and they would become calm and gentle, even watching over babies in the family. With those cruel days now far behind it, the Stafy has become one of the most popular of all dog breeds and is sought after by families wanting a fun, gentle pet for adults and kids alike.

MAD ABOUT KIDS The Stafy got its name from Stafordshire in England, where, in the early 1900s, miners and iron workers began breeding the dogs for companionship and showing. The Stafy arrived in Australia in the 1950s and is today one of the most even-tempered breeds available. According to the experts, the Stafy is one of the best dogs to have around kids and seems to have a natural afinity for children. Breeders recommend early training and socialisation, as with all breeds, but warn the Stafy does not respond well to harsh training methods. Gentle, positive reinforcement and lots of patience is the way to go. The Stafy is known to be a highly intelligent dog and excels at obedience, flyball and agility.

While the idea of owning a Stafy may seem a good one to some, keep in mind the advice of Stafy breeders who emphasise this is an inside dog and needs to be a part of the family rather than left outside to its own devices. The Stafy craves attention and love from its family and can become problematic if left on its own. Breeders say this can lead to destructive behaviour, separation anxiety, barking and depression. 80

Photos: Big Stock Photo


BREEDS Another reason to keep your Stafy inside is its thin coat, which makes this breed susceptible to heat and cold. Some refer to the Stafy as the ‘washand-wear’ dog because it is so easy to look after. Although fairly dense, the coat is short and easy to brush, however it can harbour fleas and ticks in the summer months so always check carefully for those nasty critters. This pooch’s thin coat makes it susceptible to extreme weather conditions; be especially vigilant on hot days and always ensure your Stafy has plenty of shade and cool water.

CONVENIENCE PLUS The Stafy is very popular with families because it is such a convenient dog in so many ways. It is a manageable size, does not come with grooming baggage and is

fun for kids and adults alike. The only demand your Stafy will make of you is to get a regular outing each day. If your pooch is well socialised, of-leash parks are great fun for dogs to play with each other and get rid of pent-up energy. If your Stafy is not good around other dogs or people, make sure to give it a good walk on-leash each day. Unless your dog is well trained to stay by your side or come when called, never leave it of-leash near roads.

BUY WISELY The Stafy’s growing popularity has brought with it the unwanted consequence of backyard breeding. To ensure you buy a healthy pup with the right temperament, always deal with reputable, registered breeders who have the breed’s best interests at heart.

CARE OF THE BREED Daily: A good daily walk is a must to keep your Stafy stimulated. Avoid exercising in the middle of the day in summer. Always ensure there is cool water available and feed an appropriate diet. In winter, make sure your pooch has enough shelter and is kept warm. Weekly: A brush once a week will keep the coat shiny. Remember to check for ticks through summer. Monthly: Check ears and eyes and if nails need clipping. Bath once a month, if necessary. Other: Gastrointestinal worming every three months for adults, more frequently for puppies, heartworming and vaccinations.

While this dog can be stubborn, the Stafy is very loyal and loving. 81

BREEDS The Stafy is known to be a highly intelligent dog and excels at obedience, flyball and agility.

AT A GLANCE Grooming: ★★★★★ Exercise: ★★★★★ Size: Medium Lifespan: 12+ years



If you’re unsure about your ability to handle a new pup, Stafies are very adaptable so there is also the option of re-homing an older dog. This means you get an already-trained and well-behaved adult without having to worry about all the work that comes with puppies.

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the Stafordshire Bull Terrier or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website ankc. New Zealand readers can visit for information.

BIG HEAD The Stafy’s very wide head may give us the wonderful Stafy smile, but it can cause breathing problems for this pooch at the same time. The Stafy’s wide head has made the breed susceptible to breathing problems, which may be exacerbated in hot weather. Always

Who could say no to that adorable face?

watch that your pooch does not start showing symptoms of heat stress in summer, and if your Stafy does appear to be struggling to breathe in the heat, wash him down in cool water. DL

Photos: Big Stock Photo

Personality: A fun, loyal pooch that will thrive with good training and socialisation, and if it is accepted as one of the family and included in family activities. The Stafy has a soft spot for kids and makes a wonderful family pet. Favourite activities: Spending time with the family will be high on the favourites list for this pooch, as well as regular outings and getting involved in agility, flyball and obedience. Backyard requirements: The Stafy does not need a lot of space at home because of its smaller size, but without regular exercise this breed will become destructive. Watchdog qualities: The Stafy can always manage to scare of a stranger simply with a snarl and a stare, but this is an inherently friendly breed and is not aggressive towards strangers. It should never be bought to serve as a guard dog or be trained for that purpose. Hereditary diseases: The Stafy can occasionally sufer from epilepsy and cataracts and some pups may be born with soft or cleft palates. All conditions are manageable with medication or surgery.

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BICHON FRISE Cute as a button and ideal for allergy sufferers, the adorable Bichon Frise is the perfect fit for some dog lovers. By Michelle Segal.



ate having hair on the furniture? Are you always sneezing around your friends’ pooch? The adorable Bichon Frise could be the answer you’re looking for. Originating in Spain but gaining regal status under French royalty in the 1500s, the Bichon Frise — curly lap dog in French — is a small, white bundle of fur that is almost impossible to resist. Under the cute white curls, however, is an amazing dog — intelligent, friendly and the answer to every allergic dog lover’s prayers. The Bichon’s wonder coat does not shed and is ideal for people sufering allergies and asthma. The coat is not oily and loose hairs come out easily when brushed and the only drawback to this amazing coat is its need for regular grooming. Breeders emphasise that if you don’t have the time to groom your Bichon’s coat regularly — at least a few times a week, preferably more — you should rethink buying this breed. Without regular brushing, the coat can get matted and the dog’s skin can be afected. Similarly, the coat will need to be trimmed every five to six weeks and should be washed once a week to ensure it stays white and healthy. Sharon Saul has been breeding Bichons for a number of years and is a huge lover of the breed. “I first became involved with this breed five years ago,” she says. “I had never heard of the Bichon before then, but my sister had been given one and I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. I was going to breed Poodles, until I met the Bichon and fell in love.” Sharon says the Bichon Frise is a very devoted dog. “I think the Bichon is a beautiful breed because these dogs have a

With the right training, this pooch can grow into a mighty smart dog.


Photos: Big Stock Photo

CRYING EYES The pink marks you may see under your Bichon’s eyes or around its muzzle are caused by tears from the eyes and is known as staining. Some owners do not like this look and try to get rid of the stain by using commercial tear stain removers and special eye washes. Always check with your vet before trying to get rid of the staining because it could be a symptom of something more serious, such as blocked tear ducts, ingrown eyelashes or an eye infection.

BREEDS wonderful nature. They are lively and alert, with eyes that are so full of expression. What I like most is their love and devotion to their owners,” she says.

the French Kennel Club. From then on, the little pooch began making its mark around the world and is today one of the most popular of the toy breeds internationally.



Bichons originated in the Mediterranean region and became popular with Italian and Spanish dignitaries when Italian sailors took them back to Europe in the 1300s. They were later bred as lap dogs for French royalty, becoming especially popular with the French aristocracy. So popular, in fact, that King Henry III would carry his Bichons in a basket around his neck so he could stay close to them at all times. By the late 19th century, the French love afair with the Bichon was waning and the little pooches found themselves relegated to the streets during the French Revolution. Their cute appearance caught the eye of commoner entrepreneurs, however, and the little dogs were taken in and trained to be circus and beggar dogs. The Bichon began rising in prominence once again after World War One and by the mid-1930s, was an accepted breed in

The Bichon’s coat does not shed, making it ideal for allergy suferers.

The Bichon Frise is considered one of the best dogs for allergy suferers because of its coat, which does not shed. However, experts recommend that before rushing out for a Bichon, allergy suferers should spend some time in the dogs’ company to make sure they are not afected. “They are the perfect allergy-free dog,” Sharon says. “I myself sufer with allergies and asthma and the only time I sufer is when I am cutting their fur, so getting a groomer to do that job would be better for allergy suferers.”

CLEVER AND CUTE Looking at times almost like a human pom-pom, the Bichon Frise has been compared with a child’s stufed toy. And while this breed is undeniably adorable and immensely huggable at all times, it is an intelligent dog and perhaps aware that it is capable of winning over even the

FIVE FAST FACTS Personality: A gorgeous dog, hard to resist picking up and cuddling, the Bichon Frise is intelligent and great fun to have around. It bonds closely with its family and is especially loyal. Suitability: This little pooch is ideal for families, singles and elderly people as long as they do not have timeconsuming careers and have time to spend with their dog. The Bichon gets extremely attached to its owners and will fret if left alone all day. Prospective owners should also make sure they have time to dedicate to grooming. Favourite activities: Spending time with the family is top of the wish list for this pooch. The Bichon loves to play games and go on outings, but is just as happy to curl up on the lap of its favourite person and have a snooze. Watchdog qualities: While not considered an efective watchdog, the Bichon is alert and has an acute sense of hearing. This will make it very aware of strangers and intruders. Hereditary diseases: This pooch is relatively free of disease due to careful breeding, but can be afected by luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), the eye disease progressive retinal atrophy, and skin allergies. 85


CARE OF THE BREED Daily: Ideally, your Bichon should be brushed each day to keep its coat matt-free and healthy. Feed an appropriate diet (check with your breeder or vet) and always ensure your pooch has fresh water available. Weekly: Breeders recommend a bath once a week to keep the coat white and clean. At this time, always check nails, eyes and ears. Monthly: Your Bichon may need a coat clip every five to six weeks to keep it from getting too long and unruly. Some

hardest of hearts. As a result, the Bichon can work its way to top dog status within the family unless training begins early and it learns its place in the hierarchy. Friendly, loyal and fun this pooch may be, but breeders warn that this cutie does like to get its way and can be dificult to train, particularly when it comes to house training. However, once the little Bichon has undergone an early training regime, it is a delight to have around and quite irreplaceable, according to many owners. “My advice for anyone wanting to own a Bichon would be much the same as for

owners like to clip the coat in the typical “beard and mane” style. Other: If you live in a high-tick area, check your dog’s body during tick season and apply anti-tick treatment as necessary. Some Bichons can be very allergic to fleas and have been known to scratch and bite their skin, causing hot spots. As a result, some breeders recommend using flea control treatments throughout the year. Gastrointestinal worming every three months for adults (more frequently for puppies), heartworming and vaccinations.

any breed of dog — to make sure it is the right breed with all the qualities you are looking for,” Sharon emphasises. “You should know exactly what having a new Bichon pup all is about. They will need lots of patience and love, especially with toilet training, as they can be a bit slow at learning this. Otherwise they are quite intelligent little dogs. I always say to people buying my pups that it is just like having a new baby; they need training, discipline and lots of afection.” The Bichon is especially loyal and while it will adore its entire family, it

may pick one family member to bond more closely with. This breed is clearly a lap dog-type pooch and is strictly a companion dog. As such, it will thrive when taken in as one of the family and included in the household activities. It is not a dog to be left outside and relegated to the backyard. Bichons enjoy the company of children but, as with all dogs, kids should be supervised to ensure they are not too rough. “Anyone who is looking for a friendly little dog and has small requirements in terms of living space and food shouldn’t need to look any further; the delightful Bichon is the perfect pet,” Sharon says. “It would be dificult for anyone to find a better breed of dog with a happier, friendlier temperament than the Bichon Frise.” DL

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the Bichon Frise or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website via ankc. New Zealand readers can visit for information.

AT A GLANCE Grooming: ★★★★★ Exercise: ★★★★★ Size: Small This breed is easily recognisable, thanks to its super-cute looks.


Lifespan: 13+ years

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BRITISH BULLDOG Considered a symbol of strength, the British Bulldog has earned its place as the national dog of England. By Helen Frost.





It is generally agreed that the British Bulldog descended from Mastifs bred in the early 13th century for fighting and bull baiting. During bull baiting, the dog had to creep on its belly towards the bull, while the bull was watching and waiting for the dog, its head lowered to protect itself with its horns. The dog was supposed to leap up and grab the bull by the nose before the bull had a chance to attack the dog. As barbaric as it sounds, this was actually done for a reason. Butchers discovered that if the bull exercised before

Thick set, low in stature and extremely powerful, this compact creature has always been admired for its strength, which is probably the characteristic that drew Churchill to the breed during World War Two, when he needed a companion he could count on. Weighing in at around 25 kilograms, this well-muscled dog makes a beautiful family pet with its incredibly lovable squashed face. The short coat comes in a variety of colours, including fawn, white, red and brindle. Dot Burke of the Northern British Bulldog Club of New South Wales has been

Photos: Big Stock Photo


Daily: Shade, fresh water and a well-balanced diet are essential. This breed is prone to overheating so it should have an area indoors where it can rest. Weekly: Brush every week and bathe when necessary. Clean the face, wrinkles and ears. Other: Make sure your British Bulldog is wormed, vaccinated and regularly checked for ticks.

it was slaughtered, a buildup of lactic acid in the bull’s muscles tenderised the meat and enhanced the flavour. The Mastif turned out to be the perfect animal for the sport and was bred by butchers. Many years later, in 1625, Bulldogs were still described as being large dogs with a laid-back nose. In 1686, a new system of bull baiting was introduced which required a smaller dog that was more agile. Some say this short-legged version of the Bulldog, which looks similar to today’s breed, appeared as early as the 1700s in paintings. In 1835, bull baiting was banned and Bulldogs were exported across the globe. Several sources say the abolition of baiting started a decline in the popularity of the breed and this initiated cross-breeding. It is reported that by the mid-1800s, the Pug had been introduced into some lines, which brought the size of the Bulldog down dramatically and shortened the muzzle even further. Terrier blood was also introduced into the breeding lines to give the dog more agility. This is thought to be the basis of the British Bulldog we know today.

Who could resist this happy, smiling face?

ne of the world’s most recognised breeds, the British Bulldog has graced our television screens for years in shows such as Tom and Jerry and the Warner Bros favourite, Tweety. There was also a very famous and powerful man who kept a Bulldog by his side. Sir Winston Churchill was often called the “British Bulldog”, as he seemed to epitomise the Bulldog’s fighting spirit. In 1940 he said to a Nazi, “Do you know why the British Bulldog has a jutting chin and sloping face? It is so he can breathe without letting go.” It was to become one of his most renowned quotes.


BREEDS in love with the breed for 20 years, both breeding and showing British Bulldogs. This is an in-demand breed that comes with a decent price tag — a pedigree dog will cost you between $2000 and $3000. But Dot says they are definitely worth it. “A Bulldog will give you all the love and pleasure in the world, and all he wants from you is his dinner and a very welcoming lap to lay his head on at the end of the day,” she says. Known for their loyalty, Bulldogs adore human company and quickly entrench themselves as important members of the family — and once they do, they will protect you and your children. “There was a day a long time ago when I had my first Bulldog,” Dot recalls. “One of the kids was being cheeky so I was giving him a piece of my mind, when our Bulldog bitch stepped between my son and me as if to tell me, ‘Don’t you come near him’. With a dog like this, you know your house is in safe hands.” DL

FIVE FAST FACTS Personality: Originally bred for bull baiting, the British Bulldog is an amazing dog with strength and intelligence. These traits are coupled with a great temperament and an extremely laid-back personality to form a breed that has become the mascot for numerous universities, schools and organisations. Afection is one of the attributes most commonly noted about this adorable dog. Suitability: The breed generally loves everything to do with families and wants nothing more than the afection and attention of its owners. The British Bulldog loves to be with children and also makes a great companion dog. They are well-suited to a family living in a home with a small backyard or courtyard area with plenty of shade. Favourite activities: The British Bulldog doesn’t need a lot of exercise,

but does like a walk or a romp on the beach. They enjoy being indoors and can easily overheat. A boisterous young pup, this playful breed calms down as it grows up. The Bulldog likes to be involved in whatever its owner is doing and isn’t particularly fussed about specific activities. They generally prefer to have a cuddle with a member of the family. Watchdog qualities: Alert and inquisitive, this breed will alert the owner if anyone is around. They rarely bark, so when they do it grabs people’s attention. Their stubborn nature and strength mean they should make a good guard dog. Hereditary diseases: Prone to overheating, the British Bulldog should never be left in a hot car. They are known to drool and snore. As with all breeds, they can inherit problems such as hip dysplasia.

AT A GLANCE Grooming: ★★★★★ Exercise: ★★★★★ Size: Small to medium Lifespan: 9-12 years

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the British Bulldog or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website via ankc. New Zealand readers can visit for information. Wrinkles make this dog rather easy to recognise. 89


SCHIPPERKE A small, active breed with a fox-like face, the Schipperke makes a wonderful (and different) family companion. By Melinda McHugh.

after Belgium’s Queen Maria Henrietta acquired a Schipperke at a show in Brussels in 1885, the breed became a fashionable companion. Today the little Schipperke is mostly an ideal household companion but still enjoys using its sea legs and going for the odd fishing trip.

PART OF THE FAMILY Philip Semmel of the Schipperke Club of Victoria has been breeding Schipperkes since 1997. Philip says the breed is lively, curious and friendly, making it great for families with children. “I feel the most satisfaction when I supply a puppy to a young family with children in primary school,” he says. “This way the dog is likely to be with the family for the next 14 or so years and will receive the love and care from the children and parents.” However, the breed is also suited to anyone who enjoys spending time with their dogs and would like a constant and loveable companion. The Schipperke is not a breed to be left in the backyard as it loves taking part in household activities. The Schipperke should be included as an additional member of the family. “Schipperkes are excellent for families and children,” Philip says. “They’ll play with them, guard them, love them and own them but young children must be supervised in the company of any dog.”


The Schipperke may be small in stature, but he’s big in personality.


he Schipperke (pronounced Skipper-key) has been in existence for centuries but its exact origins are unknown. It is probably related to other continental European spitzen such as the German Spitz and Pomeranian, but nobody knows for sure. What is known is that the breed originally came from the Flemish provinces of Belgium and was later developed into a canal guarder and


small-mammal hunter, hence the name Schipperke (which translates to “Little Captain of the Boat”). The Schipperke was originally employed in Belgium and Holland in the 1600s to work on the barges and keep them free of vermin, as well as to warn the bargemen of potential intruders. The breed was also an eficient rat, rabbit and mole hunter and first appeared at a dog show in 1880. After this time it became popular in Belgian households and

Due to their intelligence and eagerto-please attitude, Schipperkes are relatively easy to train. “I see training as something to be done through most of any dog’s life and Schipperkes can be trained to achieve remarkable outcomes,” Philip says. “They are rated as a clever breed and that means they can be highly successful, but it also means that techniques for smart dogs have to be used. Basic training can be carried out quite easily and I prefer to see owners join their local obedience club. So far I haven’t heard of Schipperkes in flyball, herding trials or lure coursing, but someone’s bound to take up the challenge in the future. There’s also scope for any member of the family to take up trialling or showing.” The Schipperke can be aloof with strangers and likes to howl and bark,

Photos: Big Stock Photo


BREEDS warns Philip, but this also means it’s a good watchdog and will protect its family if necessary. “Schipperkes are excellent watchdogs as they were bred to watch the decks of canal barges in Belgium. They will probably do a regular stocktake of furniture as well as alerting the house to intruders,” he laughs. As Schipperkes are a curious breed and interested in everything around them, they will certainly let you know if anything is out of the ordinary.

HIGH-SPIRITED Even though Schipperkes are small, they are very active and enjoy a long walk or a good amount of exercise in the backyard. “Access to a small yard will provide the Schipperke with the opportunity to selfexercise but they can be walked for long

distances,” Philip says. “It’s good to take a Schipperke (or any dog) for a walk at least daily.” They also enjoy the company of other dogs (and even cats) but socialising from an early age may be necessary to achieve this. Due to the Schipperke’s hunting instinct, rodents, rabbis and guinea pigs must be well fenced or kept out of reach. A big dog in a little dog’s body, the Schipperke is high-spirited, self-confident and loves the attention of people. It really is a people’s dog. The breed is also very low-maintenance in terms of grooming. “Not much grooming is required,” Philip says. He recommends a weekly brush, more often during moulting (which happens once or twice a year). “Nails may need clipping from time to time but bathing only when necessary.

The Schipperke is also free from doggie odour,” he continues. This breed is relatively hardy and healthy. “Schipperkes are robust, with very little exposure to inherited diseases or proneness to injury,” Philip says. “Buyers should put their names on a breeder’s waiting list,” Philip recommends. It’s important that the breeder is registered with the controlling body in their state. “Our Schipperkes help to make daily life a magical thing. They have a special place in our lives,” Philip enthuses. DL

AT A GLANCE Grooming: ★★★★★ Exercise: ★★★★★ Size: Small Lifespan: 14 years but have been known to live to more than 20 years

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the Schipperke or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website via au New Zealand readers can contact for information. This breed is curious and friendly. 91

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Joker Dog Design notebook When you love dogs like we love dogs, you want to celebrate them in every part of your life. What better way to do that than with a Joker Dog Design notebook from the Full House range, available now. Featuring the wonderful illustrations of Dan Adams, this notebook would make a fabulous gift for everyone from the adult to the child dog-lover in your life. For more information, visit


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PAW Dermoscent Essential Mousse Make bath time a pleasant experience for your dog this winter. PAW Dermoscent Essential Mousse deodorises and moisturises the skin while eliminating dirt without the need to rinse. It is ideal for pets living in apartments and flats, to use after walks or while travelling. It is also perfect for pets that do not tolerate regular bathing and for pets with poor mobility that are unable to groom themselves. PAW Dermoscent Essential Mousse is suitable for all skin and coat types, contains 100 per cent natural ingredients and is rich in Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat in optimal condition. This product is an easy-to-dispense mousse in a pump bottle. For more information, visit

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Doggie Lovers Directory

Doggie Lovers Directory Dear dog lover, If you love your dog like we love ours, we know how important it is that you find the best pet producers on the market. That’s why we have the Doggie Lovers Directory, full of the paw-fect products and services to make your dog’s life complete. From training aids to toys and everything in between, we hope you find our advertisers and their products a benefit when it comes to your pet’s health and wellbeing. You can also visit for more great companies that, just like you, are all about dogs. Don’t forget to tell them DOGS Life sent you! Until next time, The Dogs Life team

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Coming up … in the next issue of DOGS DOGSLife Life CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA Find the paw-fect gift for your pet

Photo: Big Stock Photo


SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY The canine sport your dog will go crazy for

Is your pet New Year-ready?



Your guide to the best in dogfriendly destinations

For a dog-gone good year ahead

WORKING DOGS Meet the canines who fight to keep our country safe

On sale October 20

COOL AS A CANINE Keep your dog’s temp down this summer 97

SENIOR SPECIAL Chester just loves the beach. Photo: Alex Coppel

Laura admits that meeting Chester changed her life.

but the listeners love it. When I talk on air and give people advice, I often look down at him, to find him lying flat on his back under the desk snoring.

Me & my dog This issue, we speak to animal behaviour expert Laura Vissaritis about her relationship with her gorgeous pooch, Chester.


remember the first time I saw my pet. It was seven years ago. I had just moved into a place with a larger yard and had an overwhelming urge to welcome a dog into my life. I had rescued two rabbits that I house trained, had several fish, turtles and stick insects; and so it made complete sense to adopt a dog as well … right? I remember asking my boss at the time if I could reduce my working hours so I’d have time for this new bundle of fur in my life. I was prepared to make big sacrifices and reduce my income. I was ready. Then, I met Chester. I visited a registered breeder of Stafordshire Bull Terriers, who were recommended by the breed’s oficial club. Chester was this chubby little ball of uncoordinated white fur, with two black patches on his face. I sat down with him and he clumsily crawled all over


my lap and it was at that moment, my heart melted and, to be honest, it was at that moment that my life completely changed. Meeting Chester changed my life because he became the best teacher I could have ever asked for. He taught me more about responsibility, sacrifice, trust, respect and empathy than I had learnt from any human. Like all dogs can, he made me a better person. What I love most about my pet is … his kindness. He has such purity about him. He is thoughtful and sensitive and trusts me completely. It is such a privilege to care for him. We are together a lot. I am so lucky in my work, where I get to travel with him, take him to clients’ homes and even take him into my studio where I talk on radio. Sometimes he has a bit to say on radio,

The place my pet loves the most is … the beach. There is no comparison to the beach. He loves to run and snif and dart through the sand. You can tell how happy he is by his body language and that elates me, too. We go paddle boarding sometimes and even though he hates to swim, there is nothing that would keep him from getting on that board with me. It’s so satisfying watching someone you love happy and content. It makes me mindful and grateful for the simple and most important things in life. The dog essential I could not do without is … his sleeping bag. I take this with me wherever we go. Dogs need a safe place, which is something I tell clients to create for dogs who have anxiety or fear, in particular. Chester knows that wherever he is — whether at an airport, on a train, TV or in the radio studio — his doggie bag is the place where he can lie down and relax. Dogs are creatures of habit and creating a safe zone wherever they are is so important for their sense of safety and wellbeing. DL Laura appears regularly on morning TV and lifestyle programs. She also has a fortnightly radio show on 3AW’s Afternoons program as the pet expert. Her book, a best seller called Things Your Dog Wants You To Know, is available in all book stores or through au. You can find her on Facebook by searching Dognitive Therapy.

Because all big things started in small packages

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