Puppies & Dogs Annual - Volume 12, 2012

Page 1

2 0 1 2 A N N U A L

dogs puppies


Shelley Craft

New Puppy?

– TV personality, new mum and Boxer owner

– health, care and training advice from experts

Spoiling your dog

Furry Nomads – tips for travelling with your dog

– when enough is enough Volume 12 2012 Aust $9.95*

NZ $14.00* inc GST

Dog SportS — Three great ways to spend time with your dog AgiliTy


F ly B A l l



Good pet parenting starts with great nutrition. Your new family member needs great nutrition for every stage of life

Play and exercise keeps pets fit and helps them bond with humans

Visit your vet regularly for advice on how to help keep your pet healthy

Good pet parents feed Hill’s® Science® Diet because it’s carefully balanced nutrition for healthy growth and development. And with free enrolment at Hill’s Science Diet Pet Parenting Academy, it can also feed your need for pet parenting information, tips and advice.

Enrol FREE at petparentingacademy.com.au

Vets’ No.1 Choice To Feed Their Own Pets ®/™ Trademarks owned by Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. 2011.

Š Newspix / Braden Fastier

...cares for Katie & Gus, while Katie & Gus care for Australia’s Wildlife. Along with renowned trainer and Nutrience Ambassador Steve Austin, Katie and Gus sniff out any foxes at North Head ahead of the coming Little Penguin breeding season.

Steve Austin as seen on

60 Minutes

7.30 Report The

The health benefits of using premium ingredients. The use of select ingredients leads to superior results, including better digestibility, a fortified immune system and the building blocks necessary for a lean, healthy body. Natural ingredients like chicken, blueberries, cranberries and tomato pomace combine to make a great tasting dog and cat food of supreme quality, with the added benefits of no by-products and fillers.

For further information or to find your nearest store contact us on 1800 663 664 or go to www.nutrience.com/australia

Available at Pet Specialist Stores only

dogs puppies

2 0 1 2

VINK PUBLISHING ABN 3107 478 5676 38–40 Fisher Street East Brisbane Q 4169 Postal: PO Box 8369 Woolloongabba Q 4102 Australia Cover Photo Pinnicle Photography www.pinnicle.com.au Publisher Michael Vink michael@vinkpub.com Editor Andrea Ferris andrea@vinkpub.com Proofreader Karen Belik Graphic Designers Wendy Deng Richard Locke Advertising Georgina Chapman georgina@vinkpub.com Ph: (07) 3334 8007 All Advertising and Editorial PO Box 8369 Woolloongabba Q 4102 Ph: (07) 3334 8000 Fax: (07) 3391 5118 All material appearing in “Puppies & Dogs Annual” is subject to copyright laws. Reproduction of articles in part or thereof is not permitted without prior permission of the publishers. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those held by the publishers or staff. Any written material may be submitted, but no responsibility will be accepted for the return of solicited or unsolicited material. Photographs must have a return name and address written on the flip side, and must be accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Although every care is taken, no responsibility is accepted by the publisher nor the staff of “Puppies & Dogs Annual”, for loss or damage of any material submitted for publication.


Sharon Meyers



Contents 4 8 10 12 15 18

20 22 24 27 30 31 35 38 42

The Publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement, booked or otherwise, on sighting of material supplied.


*Recommended Retail Price

47 49

PUPPieS & DOGS annual 2012

Pooch Product Review

What will you learn? Best Dog Blogs News Hound

53 56

Dog Vox Pop


A dvances in veterinary science


H eartworm Disease in dogs – the facts First Aid for dogs Afghan Found Care through the seasons D epression in dogs – after the school holidays Give your dog a job The first week with puppy Perfect puppy nutrition esexing your pet – D the low cost option for a longer and happier life Profile – Flat Coated Retriever

Profile – Border Terrier oomerang Dog – tips for B training a reliable recall

66 70 72 75 78 82 86 88 92

hy spoiling your dog too W much can be harmful Scaredy Dogs – Canine fears and phobias explained ips for successful travel T with your dog urry Nomads – F enjoyable camping and caravanning with your dog Love that lasts forever Dog Culture – Robyn Osborne, author and dog owner helley Craft – S TV Star and beautiful, bouncing Boxer owner

Career - Nichola Donovan, Animal and Human Rights Lawyer Dog Sports – Agility Dog Sports – Flyball D og Sports – The Urban Herder Dog Business – Healthy Hounds Pet Food Breeders + Business Directory

Pooch Product Review

Here are some innovative products for your deserving dog.

dog Mail Everyone knows that a bone is the perfect gift for a dog! Dog Mail, based in Melbourne, delivers personalised bones in the mail to dogs in Australia. Dog Mail owner, Matt, who runs his business with the help of his two pugs, Ninja and Lila, says, ‘You don’t really need a reason to send a personalised dog bone, but you can be sure it will be the most fun, unique and memorable gift to a special four legged friend. Our number one aim is to make dogs feel special and appreciated by people who love them.’ www.dogmail.com

large box


Designed for the ‘moveable feast’, this is a dry food container that’s easy to use, easy to carry, easy to hold and easy on the eye. A great looking product perfect for travelling with your dog and adjustable to suit short (2 kg) or long (4 kg) trips. www.snooza.com.au



small b

Houndbag It’s stylish, fashionable and practical – it’s the Houndbag, the dog walker’s best friend with everything you need when out walking with your furry friend. The Houndbag has a dispenser for the poop bags, a pocket for training treats, somewhere for your iPod, phone, car keys, coffee money and purse. There’s an airtight perspex pouch for full poop bags so you won’t have to smell them or share them with other walkers! The Houndbag has a water bottle holder, a loop for the ball thrower on the side and the back pocket has room for a collapsible water bowl, a towel, or spare rolls of poop bags. Plus the reflective strap comes off the bag and converts into a spare leash if you happen to find someone else’s furry friend a little lost and confused! Visit www.houndbag.com and don’t ever get caught short again!


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

snooza Feed sack

out ‘n’ About bed® Designed to fit most wagons and 4WDs, the Out ‘n’ About Bed® is the ideal way to travel in style – plus it keeps your car nice and clean! The mat insert is removable and reversible. A woolly side for a snuggly ride and a super tough, water resistant, 600 denier ripstop side for sandy trips to the beach or muddy walks. The outer cover also works well on its own as a protective lining for the cargo area. The mat and outer covers are fully washable, including removable, washable bolster inserts, but with the fabulous PU coated fabric you may never need to, just give it the occasional spot clean. When you arrive at your destination the bed is easily removed to become a great place to rest whilst on holiday, at the campsite or at a sleep over. www.snooza.com.au

molly mutt dog bed duvets Molly mutt dog bed duvets are an exciting new approach to keeping textiles out of landfills. Cover your existing dog bed with the molly mutt dog duvet, or fill it with the old clothes and bedding you’ve got laying around your house. Your dog gets a new bed and you get a fun, easy way to recycle your old things – and some extra space in your closet. The duvets also come with a ‘stuff sack’ to organise the contents of the bed inside the duvet. Use them to throw in old blankets, t-shirts, and socks. By ‘upcycling’ your household leftovers, you save money and help keep textiles out of the waste cycle. Available from selected pet boutiques and from www.doog.com.au

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


The Lucky


Companion animals such as dogs and cats that live in this country have, by and large, a caring population of owners and breeders, plenty of room to exercise and most of all an abundance of their natural food, fresh meat. Why feed raw meat? Dogs and cats are carnivores (meat eaters); people are omnivores (meat and vegetable eaters) – all living birds, fish animals and people must consume proteins to live and grow. All proteins are made up of amino acids, not to be confused with omega acids (essential fatty acids).

How Protein Works When proteins are consumed, the body breaks them down into their separate amino acids. These amino acids then join together in different ways to form other proteins that make ours and our companion animal’s body cells grow and are responsible for various other functions. If more protein than the body needs is consumed, the excess is utilised as energy. Our body can make some amino acids but others must be sourced from the food that is consumed.

Quality of Protein A complete protein containing all the amino acids is found in raw meat from poultry, animal or fish. Some grains are high in the amino acid content of their protein but each type of vegetable is lacking in some of the essential amino acids. Intense cooking also destroys some amino acids found in foods.

Why is Raw Meat Fed to Dogs and Cats? Carnivores (cats and dogs) have a much shorter intestine than humans. This is simply to digest all of the protein, fat and bone as it passes through, whilst we humans have to digest a whole range of foods to extract all of the nutrients contained therein. Hence a more complex system is required. Carnivores in the wild also can go for days before they make a kill, to obtain fresh raw meat that will keep them going until they can make another kill. Grazing animals (herbivores) – vegetable matter eaters only – eat all day long to obtain all their required nutrients.


Fresh meat consumers – dogs, cats, reptiles, some fish and birds


Vegetable matter consumers – cows, sheep, horses, all grazing animals


Meat, fruit, vegetable, nut and grain consumers – humans, some birds, fish and pigs

Why not try UnCLe Tom’s pet foods. It has the lot!

for Pets What is a Good Protein Source? Research into kangaroo meat has shown it to be an extremely healthy food for humans as well as for dogs and cats. It is a lean meat containing around 20% fully digestible protein in its raw state. This is a high quality natural protein containing all the essential amino acids that your pet needs, unaltered by processing or cooking. The fat content is usually about 1% and even that is about 38% polyunsaturated. Little wonder kangaroo meat is regarded as a healthy alternative for us humans and our pets! Some extra vitamin B6, E and K and a raw meaty bone for healthy teeth and calcium intake that has the correct ratio of calcium and phosphate would complete the needs of your pet.

Essential Fatty Acids The raw fat that is consumed by carnivores after a kill is utilised for energy and stored in the body for use in the next hunt. It must be remembered that dogs and cats have evolved over thousands of years as hunters feeding on fresh meat whilst we humans have been hunter-gatherers. Modern science keeps telling us that we must eat more natural foods and cut down on manufactured products. A smoked bone, chicken wing or frozen roo shank can be fed as a treat for clean teeth.

UNCLE TOM’S is available at all Petcare2000 stores, Sydney www.petcare2000.com.au Bully Beef, Menai Ph (02) 9627 3033 Bucket O’ Beef, Albion Park Ph 0412 648 417 V.O.R. Management P/L, South Australian Distributor Ph (08) 8642 6066 Wholesale enquiries Tom Thompson Ph 0418 108 690

What will you learn? Inside this issue of Dogs and Puppies Annual is a wealth of information about puppies and dogs from some of Australia’s leading pet care experts. Here are just a few of the questions you can have answered while you enjoy the read!



How do I find great places to holiday with my dog?

14 What are two symptoms of a dog’s fear or phobia?


Can dogs that lose two legs survive and walk again?

15 How can I raise a confident dog?


What can I do to stop my dog from choking?

16 What can I give my dog to prevent car sickness?


Arsenic is used to treat heartworm disease. True or false?


What special care should I take of my dog in the summer?

17 How can I stop my dog jumping in the car before I’m ready to let him in?


Do changes in my life affect my dog’s mood?

18 Should I take my dog on holiday?


What are some things I can do to keep my dog occupied when I’m not home?

19 Do dogs like being in a crate?


Should I let my new puppy sleep in my bedroom in the first week?


Is cooking my dog’s food the right thing to do?

20 What is the correct etiquette for dogs in caravan parks? 21 What breed of dog won Best in Show at Crufts in 2011?

10 I want a dog to go running with me. Would a Border Terrier be suitable?

22 What well known TV personality immortilised his dog using taxidermy?

11 How do I get my dog to come back to me?

23 How many obstacles are there on an agility course?

12 What percentage of dogs in developed countries are overweight or obese?

24 To be a champion at flyball my dog must be ball ‘crazy’. True or false?

13 Dressing up my dog is harmless. True or false?

25 How can I give my dog a go at herding sheep?

PuPPies & Dogs annual 2012


The Transcat Dog Door is designed for small dogs and is ideal for Beagles, Poodles, Terriers and dogs of a similar size. The Transcat Dog Door is robust, unobtrusive and perfect for installation into glass (and other materials). Visit www.transcat.co.nz to see the full range of products. Email enquire@transcat.co.nz for suppliers throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Designed & manufactured by PO Box 17-328 Greenlane Auckland, New Zealand, Ph: +64 9 522 4594 Fax: +64 9 522 4481 Email: Enquire@transcat.co.nz PuPPies & dogs annual 2012



Dog Blogs

Want to keep up with the latest doggy products, training tips, opinion, veterinary advice, travel tips and more? Let your keyboard do the walking and start with these favourites.

www.traveldogsaustralia.com The Travel Dogs Australia Blog lets you know about new places to stay and play as you and your dog travel around Australia. www.puppytales.com.au A website devoted to the promotion of good relationships between dogs and humans. A good mix of advice, product and general dog information. www.thedogblog.com.au Trainer Nic’s regular advice and comments on behaviour, training, diet, exercise and playtime. www.raiseagreendog.com A US-based site dedicated to environmentally responsible dog ownership. Their blog, which has been running for four years, keeps readers up-to-date with the latest eco-friendly dog owning lifestyle tips.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

www.houseofspots.blogspot.com One for lovers of spotty dogs and photography. Another US site, this one follows the online adventures of Kim, a photographer and dog owner living in Florida. www.celebritydogwatcher.com As the name implies, this blog has all the latest gossip about celebrities and their pooches. www.ohmidog.com Ohmidog.com is the web domain of John Woestendiek, a former newspaper reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner who, after blogging about dogs and animals for the Baltimore Sun, decided to unleash himself from the newspaper and go out on his own. The articles are well written and researched and are a delight to read. www.petproblemsolved.com.au/blog Animal behaviourist Dr Jo Righetti shares her thoughts and advice on a range of pet issues and problems.

Pinnicle Photography PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


News Hound

Dogs feature quite a lot in the media around the world. Here are a few snippets from 2011.

January Dog trained to detect 'scent' of cancer Japanese research has added to mounting evidence that dogs can be trained to use their powerful sense of smell to detect cancer. It focused on a Labrador which, the study showed, could accurately detect colorectal cancer by sniffing samples of a person's breath or their faeces. The research, published online by the British Medical Journal, follows earlier studies into dogs which could detect melanoma as well as bladder, lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Smart US dog learns more than 1,000 words A Border Collie has learned more than 1000 words, showing US researchers that her memory is not only better than theirs, but that she understands quite a bit about how language works. Chaser learned the names for 1022 toys, so many that her human handlers had to write on them in marker so that they wouldn't forget, said study co-author Alliston Reid, a psychology professor at Wofford College in South Carolina. With that repertoire, Chaser has far outpaced another dog, Rico, found by German researchers to be able to grasp about 200 words, according to a study published in 2004 in the journal Science.

in physical activity,’ the authors wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

March China's million-dollar dog Forget sports cars, designer clothes and fancy apartments. An ancient breed of dog has nuzzled its way into the running to be the next big status symbol for China’s rich. An 11-month-old Tibetan Mastiff male puppy has gained the title of the world's most expensive dog after being bought for 10 million yuan ($1.5 million), London’s Daily Telegraph reported. It was purchased for this large sum by a coal baron from the north of China who will reportedly use him as a stud for other breeders, making as much as 100,000 yuan each time.

She is the ninth animal to win the award, and the second after Murphy, one of John Simpson Kirkpatrick’s Gallipoli donkeys, to win it for wartime service.

May A bin Laden hunter on four legs The New York Times reports that the identities of all 80 members of the American commando team who thundered into Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden are the subject of intense speculation, but perhaps none more so than the only member with four legs. Little is known about what may be the nation’s most courageous dog. Even its breed is the subject of great interest, although it was most likely a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, military sources say. But, its use in the raid reflects the military’s growing dependence on dogs in wars in which improvised explosive devices have caused two-thirds of all casualties. Dogs have proved far better than people or machines at quickly finding bombs.

February Teens might look perpetually dog tired, but the family pet could be the key to making them move. It's long been known dogs entice their adult owners to be more active, but for the first time researchers have examined the impact of dog ownership on youth. Their study found families who owned a dog had more active teenagers. Data was collected from 618 adolescents and their parents by researchers from the University of Virginia. They discovered teens from dog-owning families had higher levels of movement, recording up to 15 minutes more of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. ‘Children and adolescents may not have the primary responsibility of walking the dog, but may actively play with the family dog thus contributing to their overall minutes engaging


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

A Tibetan mastiff puppy sold to China for AU$1.5M

aPril Bomb-sniffing dog wins award Sarbi, the bomb-sniffing dog, who was missing for more than a year in the wilds of Afghanistan, has joined Simpson’s donkey as the recipient of the RSPCA’s highest award for animal bravery. At a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the 10-year-old Labrador-Newfoundland cross had the Purple Cross pinned to her coat and was then mobbed by primary school children.

Th e military has a growing depend ence on dogs in war

June Social media helps find stolen dog It had only just gone dark when George, a three-year-old blue Staffie, was stolen in a brazen dognapping at a busy Kings Cross intersection.

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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


A friend of his owner had taken George for a short walk and tied him to a pole while she used a nearby ATM. A minute later she turned back and he was gone. An elderly woman saw a tall, bald man with his right arm in plaster untie George’s leash and walk off with him. It sparked a two-day hunt across inner city Sydney for George, with 20 people on foot and thousands of posters offering a $4000 reward. A Facebook group spreading the word about George's theft attracted 900 supporters and by the Sunday night #findGeorge was the top trending topic on Twitter in Sydney. George was returned to his owner when police spotted him walking with a man fitting the description of the alleged thief in Redfern.

July Sunshine Coast Council considers ban on dogs in cafes A cappuccino at the end of walking the dog could soon be a thing of the past if council decides to enforce the Queensland Government’s ‘no dogs’ policy at cafes on the Sunshine Coast. Mayor Bob Abbot said council should review the policy, which makes having pets outside at cafes illegal. This was contested by another councillor who argued that if you want to eat at a cafe with your dog then go to Europe. As the debate raged, Ian Masterman said his cafe, the Attic Cafe at Alexandra Headland, is not complete without dogs. ‘The dogs bring the people in, not the other way around,’ he said.

August Dingo urine possible key to wild dog control A group of Victorian researchers hope dingo urine could become a weapon in the fight against wild dog populations. The group aims to detect the distinct scents in the urine that send no-trespassing messages to other dogs, as a non-lethal way of controlling the animals that are classed as pests. The Department of Sustainability and Environment, the body leading the research, says wild dogs cause about $18 million worth of damage to agricultural production in Victoria each year.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

sePtember Remembering Ground Zero heroes During the chaos of the 9/11 attacks, nearly 100 loyal search and rescue dogs and their brave owners scoured Ground Zero for survivors. Now, 10 years on, just 12 of these heroic canines survive. Along with countless emergency service workers and members of the public, the dogs worked tirelessly to search for those trapped in the rubble, where almost 3000 people died. Travelling across nine states in the US from Texas to Maryland, Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured in pictures the remaining dogs, in their twilight years, in their homes where they still live with their handlers. Ms Dumas wanted her book, Retrieved, to mark not only the anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, but also as recognition for some of the first responders and their dogs. ‘I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved,’ Ms Dumas said.

october Special TV ad just for dogs NESTLE is seeking to conquer the dog food market with special advertising targeted at men’s best friend. ‘Nestle Purina has created the first-ever television commercial especially for dogs,’ the world’s biggest food company said in a statement.

Nestle Purina has created th first-ever television comm e ercial especially for dogs

‘The TV commercial to be screened on Austrian television uses different sounds, including a high frequency tone, to capture the attention of four-legged friends and their owners,’ it added. The advertisement includes three sounds that can be picked up by dogs, including a squeak that is similar to the sound made by dogs’ toys as well as a high-pitched 'ping'. Another is a high frequency tone that can be captured by dogs, but which humans can barely hear.

November Tuckerbox Dog Heritage After nearly 80 years guarding his master’s lunch, The Dog on the Tuckerbox “five miles from Gundagai” can finally rest easy. He has been heritage listed. Inspired by a bullock driver’s poem and later immortalised in song, the bronze statue was unveiled by the then prime minister Joseph Lyons at Snake Gully on the Hume Highway in 1932. It celebrates the life of a mythical drover’s dog that loyally guarded his owner’s tuckerbox until death.

Dog Vox Pop Kara Billsborough asks Brisbane dog owners why their dogs are so special.

Pets aren’t as tough as they think, so don’t give fleas a biting chance.

What is it about Cramer that makes him so special? He is very loyal and he’s great company. His breed is interesting too. Tibetan Spaniels were originally used as guard dogs for monks.

Owner: Adrian Shan Dogs’ names: Barney and Crame r Breeds: Tibetan Spaniel and Wes ty cross Shitzu Ages: Cramer 7, Barney 6.5 yea rs

What is one outstanding memory you have about Cramer? Cramer used to come

to work with me and one time he thought it would be a good idea to roll in chicken poo, so I had to take him to the vet for a bit of a clean!

Cats and dogs don’t have to suffer flea bites. Advantage stops fleas biting in 3-5 minutes.

What is it about Barney that makes him so special? Barney is just like my shadow. He never leaves my side – he will just sit there and look at me adoringly.

What is an outstanding memory you have about Barney? [Laughs] when he bit my

friend Clint. But, in his defence, he was getting harassed and gave plenty of warning. In all seriousness, Barns is just the most loyal dog. Apparently his breed lives for 25 plus years. He’s not the sort of dog you get when you are 80 years old. He’s a loyal dog for life!

advantagefamily.com.au © Copyright Bayer Australia Ltd. 2011. Advantage is a trademark of Bayer AG Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer Australia Ltd (ABN 22 000 138 714) 875 Pacific Highway, Pymble NSW 2073. Customer Information Line – TOLL FREE 1800 678 368 from anywhere in Australia 9.00am to 4.00pm EST Monday to Friday. BAY2090PDVSa 09/11. GHG. ®

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


What is it about Charlie that makes him so special? Probably his nature. Charlie is animated, funny, and playful, and he can be a little bit lazy at times. He has the best personality.

What is an outstanding memory you have about Charlie? The way he trots around

Owner: An drew Hope, Ascot, Brisbane Dog’s name: Charlie Breed: Spoodle (Cocker Spaniel cross Poodle) Age: 8 years

the house with the paper in the morning is pretty funny. He’s always on a mission somewhere to find something in the garden or run around after someone. He is getting a bit old now so he isn’t really as animated as he used to be, but he will always be a loyal friend of a dog.

What is Keagan’s role? Keagan screens incoming passengers and their luggage through the Brisbane International Airport as part of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Detector Dog Operations. Handler: Simon Crouch Dog’s name: Keagan Breed: Labrador Age: 4 years

What is it about Keagan that makes her so special? Keagan is stable and quiet but

determined to go about her job and find the different dog targets. She started her training at around 18 months of age, when she was sourced from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s national breeding and development centre in Melbourne. She will continue her role until she decides not to play the game anymore. And, if I am lucky enough, it is possible that she will come to live with me in her retirement.

What is it about Sammy that makes him so special? Portuguese Water Dogs were typically

Owner: Nivi, New Farm Dog’s name: Sammy Dog Breed: Portuguese Water Age: 2 ye ars

bred as fisherman dogs – they are used to herd fish on fish farms. They are very good swimmers and have webbed feet. Their coats are pure wool. Sammy is good natured, loyal and extremely intelligent. He is a rare breed, and there is only one breeder in Queensland.

What is one outstanding memory you have about Sammy? My husband has cheese and biscuits each afternoon and he used to share his water crackers with Sammy. One day Sammy got a taste of the cheese my husband was having with his crackers. From then on Sammy wouldn’t eat the biscuits unless they had cheese on them as well. I went to the supermarket and bought home brand cheddar, but Sammy just turns his nose up at the cheddar and refuses to eat anything but the best. He’s a very posh (or smart?) dog.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

He’s not as tough as he thinks, so protect him from fleas, ticks and other nasties before they bite.

What is it about Lily that makes her so special? The story goes that we had a Lab

Owner: Pip Coore Dog’s name: Lily Breed: Labrador Age: 1 year 9 months

about seven years ago, but she sadly died and my mum always said if we ever got another Lab it would have to be like Molly. When we moved from Sydney to Brisbane we tried to find Molly’s breeder, who lived in Dubbo. I called all around to track down this woman and through people in the town, I was able to find the breeder. I phoned and told her my story and she actually had a litter coming in six weeks. It was really funny because when we were choosing the pups, the other dog was at the water bowl just sipping at the water, and Lily was the one that jumped in the water bowl, so we ended up with the crazy one. She’s just very special and a bit crazy.

What is one outstanding memory you have about Lily? I remember one morning I

chose the gym over walking my dog and I came back to two Birkenstocks, my tennis shoes and my reading glasses chewed in a pile as I walked into the house. It was like she was trying to say, ‘thanks for walking me’. I now take her for a walk every morning and every afternoon.

Advantix not only protects your dog from fleas, but has the power to stop ticks and flying nasties before they bite. Your dog doesn’t have to suffer bites with Advantix.

advantagefamily.com.au DO NOT uSE ON CATS. © Copyright Bayer Australia Ltd. 2011. Advantix is a trademark of Bayer AG Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer Australia Ltd (ABN 22 000 138 714) 875 Pacific Highway, Pymble NSW 2073. Customer Information Line – TOLL FREE 1800 678 368 from anywhere in Australia 9.00am to 4.00pm EST Monday to Friday. BAY2090PDVSb 09/11. GHG. ®

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Dog Technology


in veterinary science By Kara Billsborough

The late Steve Jobs introduced the world to advanced Apple technologies like the iPhone and iPad, and Google has given us the ability to find answers to any question through the internet – technologies we wouldn’t have dreamed could exist just last decade. Today we are seeing the emergence of technologies to assist us in caring for our canines that will change the dog world forever.


erence iff d r o j a m Th e man an d between huosth etics animal pr ans only is th at humegs to h ave two l ut. worry abo


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

hile the advancements in pet care technologies are wide spread, the most important advancements in canine technologies are happening within veterinary sciences. Smartphone applications like PetSaver, give the ability to access wads of information about emergencies your dog is at risk of encountering, including poison warnings and treatments, emergency procedures available to your dog and a pet first aid checklist, to name a few. This application is US$5.00 well spent if you have an iPhone, Android or Microsoft phone, as it ensures easy access to safety and awareness of hazards to your pet, even while you are away from home. The Animal Referral Hospital (ARH) based in Homebush, Sydney, is a specialist animal hospital and emergency centre providing advanced veterinary services to dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. The ARH was first established in 1990 and is the largest privately owned specialist animal hospital in the southern hemisphere, with vets from a range of specialist areas, including surgery, ophthalmology, oncology, cardiology, dental consultancy, exotic pet services and physiotherapy. General Manager Troy James says the ARH has employed a diverse range of specialists and new-age advanced medical technology to ensure animal care is of the highest quality. ‘Advanced medical technologies are really helping ensure the animals we treat aren’t at risk of moving into territory where they might suffer a decreased quality of life. ‘Facilities that were limited in the past are now becoming readily available and having this kind of advanced knowledge and technology gives us the ability to treat all animals with the same level of care,’ Dr James said. In Dr James’ opinion, technological advancements in radiology facilities are helping to minimise complications in veterinary procedures, and increase accuracy in animal diagnosis, which ensures an advanced

Martin and Amy Kaufmann from orthoPets. understanding of the procedures necessary to achieve a better outcome for patients. Although there were MRI facilities available for the treatment of animals before, the new digital radiology machines offer much clearer and more accurate imagery, which means the vets can see exactly what is wrong with the animal, and so they can determine a clear diagnosis and work out a more directed treatment plan. ‘Most general practices now recognise the benefits of moving away from conventional radiology and films to the latest in technologies in digital radiology. ‘We were one of the first specialist hospitals to install CT/MRI scans in 2005. Up until this point we had very limited access to MRI facilities and the machines generally tended to be human facilities. ‘The new MRI facilities available at the hospital are human grade magnet, and this is equivalent to what can be found at the Children’s Hospital in Sydney,’ Dr James said. Dr James supports the switch to digital radiology from conventional systems, despite the costly investment. ‘It is expensive to install and house these new MRI facilities, but certainly the quality of the scans is incredibly enhanced compared to the low film machines. ‘New radiology technology allows us to support informed discussions with the patient’s owners because in the past quite often a vet would have to tell the client they were unsure about what was wrong with their pet and would need to act on an educated guess. ‘We now have the ability to get a faster diagnosis and faster treatment, if that is the path the client chooses to take, and we can generally achieve a much better outcome for the animal with a more accurate diagnosis,’ he said. Although new radiology technology is expensive, pet insurance options are available that cover the majority of costs associated with technologies like CT and MRI scans. Dr James is confident the advanced medical facilities will mean more accurate and effective procedures for dogs in this modern age of advanced technology. ‘With the change in dynamics of graduates coming out of university, the better

understanding of specialisation, the push by large specialist hospitals to offer continued workshops and seminars to educate and the expansion in technologies, we have seen advancements grow a lot quicker in the last five years than in the past. ‘Technological advances now give specialists the ability to be able to customise the treatment based on financial or insurance circumstances. It really means now, more than ever, there is much more power being put into the clients’ hands so they can make an informed decision,’ he said. From the best of Australian veterinary science to the best the US has to offer – the team at OrthoPets, an animal clinic in Denver specialising in prosthetics and orthotics, have been making history fitting orthotic and prosthetic attachments to all kinds of animals, great and small. Directors of the company, Martin and Amy Kaufmann, established OrthoPets out of their home garage in 2003 and have since been providing mobility solutions for dogs with defects to their limbs in cases where surgery is not a viable option. ‘My husband and I started OrthoPets back to 2003 as a hobby out of our garage. By 2007, we both had to quit our jobs to work full-time at OrthoPets. Today we have 16 employees and our new state-of-the-art building is just under 5000 square feet, a long way from our 400 square foot garage!’ Ms Kaufmann said. OrthoPets now has various clinics across the world, including Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. Each of the vets involved with OrthoPets has done their practical training with prosthetics and orthotics at the main centre in Denver. Using the same materials found in human prosthetic and orthotic fittings, the major difference between human and animal prosthetics is that humans only have two legs to worry about. Earlier this year, for the first time, OrthoPets Director Martin Kaufmann fitted prosthetics to all four legs of a dog named Naki’o, who lost all four legs to severe frostbite. The prosthetics were designed and fitted to allow him to continue to run, jump and swim. ‘We have worked with many dogs that have received one or two prosthetic limbs, but Naki’o was the first dog in the entire world to receive four prosthetic limbs. Another inspiring story is Andre, the two-legged dog from Alaska, who actually came and lived with my family back in 2009,’ Ms Kaufmann said. The Kaufmanns see great potential in the future success of OrthoPets and other advanced veterinary technologies, as they believe people are beginning to recognise that animals deserve the same care and high quality medical treatment that is available to humans. ‘People are starting to realise that they want to have the same medical care for their four-legged furry children as we get for ourselves. If humans can get this treatment, why should it not be available for animals?’ she said.

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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Heartworm Disease in dogs

– the facts By andrea Ferris

heartworm disease is serious and can only be treated by a veterinarian.

What is heartWorm disease?

eneral, s are, in g subject. g o d in s ky Worm g an d yuk e a disgustinm is not only in th h e t r o in w t o als He ar egory, but yukky cat gory. Luckily, it’s killer cate le an d tre atable. preventab


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Heartworm disease (dirofilariasis) is caused by a worm called Dirofilaria immitis. They are found in the heart and large adjacent vessels of infected dogs. The female worm is 2.3 – 5.5 cm long and 5 mm wide; the male is about half the size of the female. A dog can have one or as many as 300 adult worms.

hoW do dogs get heartWorm? Mozzies. Yes, it would seem that mosquitoes are just as annoying to dogs as they are to people. Mosquitoes transmit the disease to dogs by injecting tiny heartworm larvae into their skin. The larvae develop in the tissues and migrate to the heart where they grow into adult worms. The adults live in the heart and

the large blood vessels surrounding the heart. They reproduce and release more larval offspring into the dog’s bloodstream, which are then taken by the next mozzie to bite the dog and so the cycle is repeated. It only takes the bite of one mosquito to infect a dog and only a few mosquito bites to create a fatal heartworm infection. An unprotected dog may only pop out into the backyard for a couple of minutes to toilet and come back to the couch infected by heartworm.

What are signs my dog may have heartWorm? As the term suggests, worms in the heart and lungs cause very serious damage. The

ith regular

artworm w Prevent he

How do vets cHeck for Heartworm? Your vet will conduct a blood test to see if adult heartworms or their offspring are present and may take a chest x-ray or ultrasound to determine the extent and severity of the infestation.

How is Heartworm treated?

spaghetti-like heartworms are so large they create a major barrier to the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs. The heart and lungs become infected, irritated and inflamed, which causes a chronic cough – often the first symptom owners will notice – and breathlessness and can lead to pneumonia. The blockage to the blood flow out of the heart strains the organ and leads to heart failure. Dogs with heartworm disease are lethargic, lose their appetite, can’t exercise normally, lose weight and may have a distended tummy due to the overflow of fluid from the blocked blood vessels. In severe cases, the dog will suddenly collapse, with laboured breathing, extreme weakness, a blue coloured tongue and very pale gums.

Immiticide, or Melarsomine, is the drug used for the treatment of heartworm. It is only effective against adult heartworms and must be administered by a vet. Although Immiticide is a drug based on the poison arsenic, it is much safer than previous arsenic treatments, although it can have side effects, the most common of which is the blockage of blood vessels caused by dead worms being carried along in the dog’s bloodstream. The usual method of treatment for dogs that do not have a large burden of worms is by a single, intramuscular injection followed by a second injection after 24 hours. If the dog has a large infestation it will have the first injection and then another after 30 days and a final one 24 hours later. Because of the risk of dead worms being carried to the lungs, the dog must be kept very still and preferably caged for the first few days and kept quiet indoors for several weeks.

wHat is in Heartworm Prevention medicine? Heartworm prevention drugs all fall into the same group of ‘antibiotics’ produced by different strains of the same class of Streptomyces species bacteria called macrocyclic lactones and include: Ivermectin, Milbemycin, OximeSelemectin, and Moxidectin.


Heartworm disease Prevention Heartworm disease is totally and easily prevented through medication in the form of tablets, injections or spot-on applications. Ask your veterinarian to explain the various options, their cost and what is suitable for your dog-owning lifestyle.

wHen sHould i start Heartworm Prevention? Heartworm tablets should be started when your puppy is six weeks of age and should be given for the rest of the animal’s life – no matter where you live as mosquitoes are everywhere in Australia. Heartworm injections, if this is what you and your vet have decided to do, can be started at three months of age and repeated as the pup ages. Once fully grown, dogs will have the injections yearly. If your dog is more than 4-6 months old and has never been on heartworm medication, or you’re not sure whether it has been or not, do not put them on heartworm preventive medication until you have had them checked by your veterinarian. If the dog has been unlucky and is infected with heartworm and you give it certain preventive medications, there could be a major reaction between the worms and the medication, and your dog could die. The medication is supposed to prevent your pet from becoming infected with heartworm in the first place – it is not designed to kill adult worms.

Heartworm is definitely yukky and deadly! So, get on to the right prevention plan from the beginning and you won’t have to worry.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


First Aid

for dogs By Sarah McCoy and Thom Soames

Knowing abo dog is impor ut first aid for your essential wh e tant, but even more Th e risk of s n you are travelling. to your dog omething h appening wh en you ar is much gre ater an d your usue away from home instructors S al routine. Pet Tech Thom S o amearah McCoy an d dog first aid. s sh are some tips for

got heaps of information about every type of emergency, including poisons, emergency procedures, a pet first aid checklist and transportation. It’s available for the iPhone, Android and Microsoft phones for US$5.00.

track your Pet’s health It’s useful to keep a close eye on your pet’s general health while travelling. Like us, some pets can develop travel-related issues with sleep, hydration, digestion or elimination. A daily Snout-to-Tail assessment of your pet will enable you to keep track of how he is doing and help you to catch any issues your pet may be experiencing. You can download your free copy of Pet Tech’s Snout-to-Tail Worksheet at http://snout2tail. pettech.net.au to easily record your findings.

common scenarios requiring First aid


efore you go take a Pet First Aid class! Sure, you’re thinking to yourself, the author teaches Pet First Aid classes so of course she’s going to try to sell one to me. However, here’s the thing, I teach Pet First Aid classes because I believe they will help people to help their pets. Even if you don’t, won’t or can’t take a class from me or another Pet Tech instructor, I would still strongly encourage you to take a hands-on Pet First Aid class so that should a pet medical emergency happen you are prepared and can give your pet the very best chance possible for survival.

First aid kit Put together a pet first aid kit. Any class you take will give you useful pointers and guidelines for putting together your own pet first aid kit. If you have a human first aid kit, you may even be able to add to that and combine the two. Although you can buy pet first aid kits online and in some retail outlets, some of the ones that are commercially available are not all that complete and there are some items that should be customised to fit your pet by weight (such as antihistamine capsules and hydrogen peroxide solution). I recommend building your own kit so that you know what’s in it and that it will be suitable for your needs. If you have a smartphone, you may also want to get the PetSaver™ app – it’s


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Carsickness – Unfortunately, up to one in four dogs suffer from carsickness. If your pet is prone to carsickness there are several things that you can do for him. Take plenty of breaks while driving, use the air conditioner and roll the windows down so that there is plenty of air circulation. There is also a tablet available from your vet that can prevent carsickness. Diarrhoea – If your dog develops diarrhoea while travelling, you should first withhold food and water for a short while (12 – 24 hours only) and offer only ice cubes to lick. If this doesn’t resolve the problem within that time, you will need to consult a vet for treatment. Choking – If your dog is choking you may only have about eight minutes to save his life. If he is no longer able to choke or gag, or has stridor (a high pitched wheezing sound resulting from turbulent air flow in the upper airway), start by giving him a sort of ‘bellows action’, using your hands to compress either side of his lower ribcage while elevating his hind end to point his head towards the ground. If this proves ineffective and he loses consciousness, check his mouth for the obstruction and attempt rescue breathing and CPR. You either need to ‘blow the object down’ or ‘bring it up’ to clear his airway. The full steps to address choking are outlined in the PetSaver™ app, and are also covered in the Pet Tech PetSaver™ class.

Poisoning – This is where your first aid training and first aid kit will really come in handy. Remain calm, take note of what the symptoms are, what the suspected substance is and when it was ingested in order to figure out what action to take. It’s advisable to have a 24-hour vet hospital programmed into your phone so that you can phone and ask a vet for advice in a situation such as this. Your vet may advise you to induce vomiting before transporting your pet to the hospital, depending on the substance ingested. If the substance is caustic, you may be advised to administer activated charcoal instead. Either way, you will need to transport your pet to the vet as soon as is safely possible for further treatment.

ensure Pet is well when you get home When you return home be sure to keep doing your Snout-to-Tail assessments for a few days just to be sure that your pet has not picked up any illnesses or parasites while travelling. You should also be doing your Snout-to-Tail wellness assessments at least a couple of times per week, as a matter of course. It’s a fantastic way to keep track of your pet’s health and your observations can be vital to help your vet diagnose any oncoming illness.

Pet First Aid Kit recommended contents (Remember to replace items after use and rotate out any items by use-by dates) Dressings & Bandages n Adhesive tape (25 mm roll) n Gauze pads (70 – 100 mm square) n Gauze rolls or cohesive bandage rolls (50 – 75 mm rolls, depending on size of the pet) n Triangular bandages n Individually wrapped sanitary napkins (they work well!) Instruments n Digital thermometer (check battery twice per year) n Scissors (blunt-end) n Tweezers n Eye dropper n Syringe (12cc w/o needle) Ointments, Disinfectants & Medications n Antihistamine (gel caps in blister packs work great) n Antibiotic ointment (may need to get from your vet) n Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)

n Vinegar or baking soda (helps to neutralise acid burns) n Activated charcoal (for absorbing poisons) n Petroleum jelly (or other sterile lubricant for thermometer) n Loperamide (talk to your vet about appropriate dosage for your pet) n Chemical ice pack Miscellaneous Equipment & Supplies n Small flashlight n Needle nose pliers n Cotton buds n Betadine solution n Razor blades n Extra collar and leash n Muzzle n Plastic bags (for samples or clean up) n Permanent marking pen n Photo of you with your pet n Towel or blanket (large enough to transport your pet) n Latex gloves

About the Authors

Pet Tech: Improving the quality of pets’ lives, one pet owner at a timeTM

Thom Soames “The Pet Safety Guy” is the author of the PetSaver™ Program and Knowing Your Pet’s Health. He also is the founder of Pet Tech, the first international training centre dedicated to CPR, First Aid and Care for dogs and cats. Thom’s career in the human medical field began when he trained with the Michigan State Police more than 30 years ago. He then became an EMT, started teaching human first aid for a hospital in San Diego and quickly became a Regional Faculty Member for the American Heart Association. During this Sarah McCoy same time he studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming and became a NLP Master Trainer. His passion and love for pets inspired his move into the pet industry and over the last 14 years he has devoted his time and talents to improving the lives of companion animals. To increase his knowledge in the pet medical field, he went back to school and qualified as a vet technician. Thom’s education and training has helped him to forge a link in the chain of care from pet owner to veterinarian that serves to create increased survivability for pets. To date, Thom has taught thousands of pet owners and pet care professionals the life saving skills of pet CPR and first aid. Sarah McCoy is Australia’s first Certified Master Pet Tech instructor and has worked with animals in one capacity or another since childhood. Sarah established Furry Godmother Pet Services in 2009 and became a Pet Tech instructor in 2010. She qualified as a Pet Tech Master instructor in early 2011 and offers both PetSaver™ and Pet Tech instructor courses throughout Australia and New Zealand.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Afghan Found Story and images by Andrea Ferris


PuPPies & dogs AnnuAl 2012

“A heartwarming story about love, loss and unwavering faith despite the odds.” ‘So, what do you do for a living?’ A fairly standard question from my new hairdresser I thought. ‘Well, actually I’m a freelance magazine writer and editor,’ says I. ‘Oh that’s interesting,’ she murmured while concentrating on painting some gooey, smelly substance on a piece of tin foil and folding it onto a delicately woven strand of my hair. ‘What are you working on at the moment?’ ‘A magazine for dog lovers,’ I answered. Suddenly the goo application ceased, she looked at me via the mirror and said – ‘Have I got a dog story for you … ‘


enny Buckingham is a petite, blonde, fabulous forty-something with intense blue eyes who confesses to be ‘over emotional’ about dogs. Some weeks after our first salon session, I’m sitting at her rough, wooden, but very stylish, dining room table gazing into a Buderim hillside vista nursing a second cup of coffee and fishing in my back pocket for a tissue to dab a few remnant tears that I’d missed with the back of my hand. ‘I didn’t realise telling the story would still affect me so much after all these years,’ she says. ‘I guess it’s just revisiting all the emotion I felt at the time.’ Jenny’s story also began with sadness as she remembered how bereft she and her three young boys were back in 2002 when their beloved Rottweiler died. It took quite a bit of grieving time before her thoughts turned to finding another dog to keep Lucy, the family’s Cocker Spaniel, company and provide some security around the property. ‘I’m not a door locker,’ she says. ‘The boys and I were always coming and going and, rather than hide a key, I preferred to leave a door unlocked and have a protective dog. I wanted a puppy, but I didn’t really care what breed as long as it was going to look after us. Basically I was looking for anything that I could love – and I knew that at some point I would look into a puppy’s eyes and instantly know it would be “the one”. ‘ The family included regular visits to a Gold Coast animal shelter in their schedule, hoping they would be able to give a stray a good home, but nothing seemed suitable. One Saturday, while browsing the local paper, Jenny noticed an ad for Afghan Hound puppies, but not knowing too much about the breed, didn’t pursue it. A few weeks later, she was in the local pet store and saw an ad on the notice board for Afghan puppies. Believing strongly in coincidence, she made an enquiry and took her youngest son to see the two pups left in the litter.

‘They looked a bit like Golden Retrievers,’ she laughs. ‘Very fluffy and very cute. There was a golden one and a white one. We sat down and watched both for quite a while. The white one was a bit naughty and the golden one ignored us until it finished eating a chicken wing, then it came over and sat first in my lap and then in my son’s. The breeders didn’t want to sell us this puppy as they intended to show her; clearly a disappointment for us as she would have been our first choice. We weren’t promised a pup that day. We’d been “vetted” as owners and told we’d be contacted at a later date when they’d made up their mind.’ Some weeks went by and Jenny and the boys’ hopes of becoming an Afghan owner were fading when out of the blue the call came. As it transpired, the golden pup didn’t make the grade as a show dog because she was too shy and wouldn’t be handled. The breeders chose to abandon their show dog dream and sell their treasured pup to Jenny for one simple reason – the puppy had chosen her. During the next five years, Inka the Afghan Hound became ensconced in the Buckingham family. Jenny found that her initial bond with the puppy strengthened and grew into a deep love. ‘As a single mum I relied on Inka, not only to protect us, but to be a friend to the boys and a companion for me,’ she explained. ‘While she was bossed by the Cocker Spaniel, she settled into her place in our family “pack” and was as totally devoted to me as I was to her.’ Far from living up to the “super dumb” reputation that Afghan Hounds have as a legacy from the 1970s

when their popularity peaked, Jenny says Inka is ‘highly intelligent’, was easy to train, had no bad habits and lived happily indoors taking part in every aspect of family life. Attractive and caring women aren’t single for long though and after a short while Jenny fell for a bloke that seemed to tick all the boxes – but wasn’t too fussed about dogs. As the relationship progressed they decided to pack up the family and move to the Sunshine Coast. Jenny sold her house, quit her job and was working the final days of a teaching contract when her man disappeared. ‘There was no explanation, no contact and I had no idea where he went or why,’ she says.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


‘We were left completely in the lurch – nowhere to live, no work, no money and two dogs and a cat being cared for temporarily by friends.’ Understandably upset, Jenny decided to continue with the plans to move north to fulfill a commitment to a friend but, because of her dire circumstances, she had to make what she now considers the hardest (and worst) decision of her life – to surrender her animals. ‘There wasn’t any alternative,’ she remembers tearfully. ‘It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My eldest son and I took the two dogs to the Animal Welfare League’s shelter on the Gold Coast. I was a total mess. I couldn’t speak properly because I was crying so hard. The staff were very understanding and caring. They explained the procedure carefully – once I signed on the dotted line Inka and Lucy would be their responsibility and I would never know what became of them. I signed and left sobbing, my heart broken beyond repair.’ Jenny and her family moved to the Sunshine Coast, where she settled the kids in school and eventually found a house and a job. But every day she logged on to the AWL website hoping for a glimpse of her precious dogs. ‘I couldn’t help it,’ she confesses. ‘I just wanted to see them again.’ Then the long-lost bloke reappeared. ‘He was full of remorse and begged me to take him back,’ she explains. ‘We went out for dinner to talk, but I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to check the AWL website as I hadn’t been there for a day or two, so I wasn’t really listening to what he said. As soon as I got home I logged on and there was Lucy – advertised as a ‘golden oldie’ free to a good home. Feeling so guilty for what he’d put me through, he went to the Gold Coast the next day, collected Lucy and brought her home.

No-one had wanted her because she wouldn’t stop barking – so out of character for her.’ But, despite having one dog home, Jenny couldn’t stop thinking about Inka. An intuitive and spiritual woman, Jenny says she was plagued with a persistent dream that Inka was waiting for her on a verandah somewhere. The feeling that she would be reunited with her precious hound wouldn’t go away despite all evidence to the contrary and her sons begging her to stop looking and move on. Nine months later her renewed relationship was going well. They had a house with a yard for dogs, Jenny had two jobs, the kids were settled, but the dreams persisted and every day Jenny checked the website. One day, she logged on at work and was interrupted mid search. Leaving the computer for a while she returned to find a different pet rescue site open to the one she thought she’d visited. Curious, she scrolled through page after page of unwanted dogs. After several minutes she was about to give up when she spotted a blurry thumbnail image of a golden Afghan Hound. Clicking on the image she read a description of a female dog at Ipswich that hated cats and appeared to have none of the traits of her beloved Inka. However, not prepared to give up easily, she made a phone call while she clicked on another image that revealed a close up of the dog’s smile – with Inka’s unique crossed over tooth! Ecstatic to have found her ‘girl’ at last, Jenny had to wait an agonising few days until the weekend to get to Ipswich after begging Inka’s new owner not to allow anyone else to see or take the dog. (This is where the box of tissues was needed!). Finally, arriving at the property, Jenny parked her car and walked towards the house – a partially renovated Queenslander with high set wrap-around verandahs. After a

polite greeting, they walked around the corner of the verandah to where Inka was lying staring through the railing. Jenny called her name softly and the dog leapt up and ran to her jumping up to put her paws on her shoulders in what could only be described as a hug. Some months before, an Ipswich couple had decided they needed a dog to guard their house during renovations. Passing the Gold Coast AWL shelter, the husband dropped in and was introduced to Inka being told she was very protective (which Jenny says she was). After a quick call to his wife for her consent, he bundled Inka into the car to begin her new life in Brisbane’s west. But all did not go to plan. Despite trying everything, Inka would not respond to her new, and incredibly kind, owners. She wouldn’t eat, barely drank, and was listless and depressed. She spent every day on the verandah slowly fretting to, what they feared, would be her death. Realising it would be kinder to find the dog a new home, they advertised her on the internet. There was of course no doubt that Jenny would take Inka home that day and there was no way Inka was going to let Jenny leave without her. ‘She sat right in front of the small gate on the front steps of the verandah and wouldn’t move,’ smiles Jenny. ‘I opened the gate and she shot down the stairs and jumped right into the driver’s seat of my car – just like she always used to.’ Three years later Inka is a little greyer around the face, Lucy has passed on and Jenny is once again on her own. ‘I am a great believer in destiny,’ she says. ‘You know, some things are just higher than us. Inka and I were meant to be together from the time she first sat in my lap. We had a special bond that I made the mistake of putting in jeopardy because of someone else – something I’ll never do again.’

Do you know that... The Afghan Hound is an ancient sight hound breed that assisted desert nomads to hunt in North Africa. They were introduced to the western world at the turn of the twentieth century and became very trendy in Australia in the 1970s. They are a tall dog described as ‘regal’ and ‘majestic’ with a fabulous long, flowing silky coat. The Afghan has a strong hunting instinct and is often regarded as being aloof and independent. They can be trained and with a fair bit of persistence will do well in dog sports like obedience, agility and fly ball. This beautiful dog appeals to many people and suits someone who is prepared to spend time exercising and grooming it. They are fine with children and make good guard dogs.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Care through the seasons

By Bernadette Rowley BVSc

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Once upon a time, dogs were wild creatures that cared for themselves. Then along came man who figured he could do a better job. In many ways, our canines are far better off these days than they were even ten years ago, but modern dogs become vulnerable when they have no human to care for them or if their owners neglect their needs. The level of care depends on the age and breed of dog and also on the season. Let’s examine how the care of your canine may change from season to season.

“When it comes to dog ownership, an ounce of prevention definitely is worth a pound of cure.”


pring is my favourite time of year, but for many dogs it can be a period of intense suffering. Fleas and ticks hatch out in the warmer, humid weather and allergies abound. This is when dog owners need to be especially vigilant. Flea control products should be used all year round to prevent the build-up of flea numbers that causes grief for the poor dog. The best flea control products for your dog include monthly spot-on preparations or tablets. Tick infestation requires eternal vigilance and spring is when ticks are most active, especially the paralysis tick. There is no fool proof method for preventing tick paralysis, but the use of a good tick collar or tick spot-on and a daily check of the dog’s coat is the best way to combat this deadly parasite. Keeping your dog out of long grass when you take it for a walk is also an important preventative measure and can help minimise contact allergies. In my practice, allergic dermatitis is a condition I am seeing more and more. It is a frustrating ailment with multiple causes. The most common allergies are flea allergy and contact plant-based allergy. Keep your lawn mowed at all times to prevent it from going to seed and remove any plants that are common causes of contact allergy in your area. Your vet will be able to help you identify them. Shampooing is important in the management of contact allergy. As soon as your dog begins to itch, a good quality shampoo will remove the allergen and minimise the skin’s reaction. Ears will often become infected in spring, again due to skin allergies. The application of an ear cleaning solution once or twice a week will prevent these infections. Skin support diets, quality shampoos and reducing exposure to allergens all play their part in canine skin care during the warmer months. Spring is the perfect season to get out and about with your dog. The days are longer and weather not yet too hot. If you have a dog that needs to shed some kilos, take advantage of the


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

longer days to increase the number and length of walks. Rather than reduce food intake, place your pet on a calorie restricted diet suitable for weight loss as this will still provide the vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Once the weight is lost, your dog will be ready for summer action and won’t have the added burden of weight on its heart over the hot months. The warmer weather means more dogs will be around the pool and at the beach or lake. Senior pets should be prevented from accessing the pool as drowning in our oldest small breed pooches is tragically common. Swimming presents other challenges and supervision of your dog is always necessary. Don’t allow smaller breeds to get too fatigued in the water and perhaps restrict the depth of the water they have access to if they are inclined to ingest or inhale water. Inhalation, though uncommon, is particularly dangerous and if enough sea or freshwater enters the lungs this can result in cardiac arrest. If you suspect your dog has inhaled water it is always best to have it examined. The beach is a source of dangerous sea creatures so control your dog in this environment to avoid accident and illness. I would particularly watch for sea snakes, cone shells and blue ringed octopus at the beach. In Northern Australia, crocodiles and stingers provide added dangers on a trip to the seaside. The warmer months trigger the movement of snakes though our backyards. Terrier-type breeds are more vulnerable to snake bite as

they will search out the reptiles. If you suspect your dog has been bitten by a snake, have it checked by a vet as time is of the essence. Don’t rely on symptoms as an envenomated dog will often appear to recover only to slowly deteriorate and die over the next 3-5 hours. As we move into summer, some of our canine companions suffer from the heat. Long coated dogs should be clipped twice during the hottest part of the year. Many owners mistakenly believe that a long coat provides insulation from heat, but this is incorrect especially if there is any level of humidity. If you doubt this, just clip your shaggy friend and see how different their behaviour is when they don’t have to swelter in a fur coat. Other ways to manage the heat include providing a shower or wading pool for the dog to sit in during the day or housing your dog in an air-conditioned room. The latter is particularly important for older pets suffering from cardiac disease as the humidity in summer makes it very difficult for these vulnerable members of our household to cope. Their medication may have to be altered during this time so make sure you schedule a health check with your vet if your dog is on heart medication. Of course, the ever present risk of sunburn is heightened in summer and more so the further north you live. I don’t believe sunscreen is practical for dogs as they are liable to lick it off. I advise my clients to restrict their dogs to the shade between 9am and 4pm especially if they have pigmented skin. Common breeds I see

with skin cancers are Dalmatians, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Bull Arabs and the most common area affected is the abdomen. Storms cause added traumas for many dogs in the warmer months. Frightened canines will bolt, injure themselves or destroy the house and, at the very least, suffer hours of mental anguish. If you have a storm-phobic dog, it is prudent to prepare for the season with a visit to your vet, who will discuss with you ways to minimise the impact of storms on your dog and your household. It is always better to rely on a combination of techniques such as medication and desensitisation and to ensure that your pet is secure, but don’t make too much of a fuss. Storm phobias are likely to become worse over a dog’s life and a fearful dog can inspire fear in another dog in the household so don’t ignore the problem. Parties abound during the summer months and Christmas and New Year are a time for overindulgence in the human population. Along with this comes extra special treats for the canine members of the household. Remember, chocolate is toxic for dogs and the smaller the dog, the less chocolate is needed to make them sick. Fatty meals can bring on an attack of pancreatitis, an extremely painful and sometimes fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Extra treats can cause upset stomachs and weight gain resulting in potential vet visits and special diets down the track. If you are going to give your dog a treat, give one specially made for dogs and reduce its normal meal that day.

The cooler months are a welcome respite after the long hot summer weather and parasites are less of a concern. Flea control needs to be maintained to minimise any environmental build up during winter. In the southern states, central heating means that fleas thrive all year round indoors so it is critical not to take a break from flea preventatives. Autumn is again an excellent time to increase the exercise program before the shorter daylight hours of winter, shedding any extra kilos so that arthritic joints cope better in the cold months. Longer coated breeds should be growing their winter coats, the last clip having been a month or two past. Shortcoated breeds may need to wear a dog coat especially if they live out of doors. A warm kennel or dog bed needs to be provided for shelter against cold winds and rain. Winter heralds stiff joints and senior pets that struggled with heart disease in the warm months now find their joints seizing up especially after rest. It’s not just our older dogs that suffer with arthritis. Many younger dogs, particularly in prone breeds, have hip dysplasia or have had an injury which predisposes them to early degenerative joint disease. Much can be done for sore joints. Our exercise programs in spring and autumn will have shed kilos and reduced the load on the joints. Making sure that your dog doesn’t overdo the exercise to the point of becoming sore will also slow the deterioration of the joints. Now is an excellent time to start a joint supplement

containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. These products help to maintain healthy cartilage and are found in large breed and senior diets, powders and tablets and also some treats. The supplements need to be given for at least a month before you will notice their beneficial effects and are ideally fed year round. If you notice your dog limping or taking longer to rise in the morning, winter is a good time to schedule an arthritis check-up with your vet. They will examine your dog‘s joints and advise on the best program for its individual needs. This may include a series of injections that can promote long term joint health, anti-inflammatory medications, supplements, diet, weight loss and an exercise program. There is so much that can be done to help dogs with joint disease today that no dog need suffer painful arthritis. Owning a dog is a big responsibility and certainly comes at a cost, especially for those pets that suffer from chronic conditions such as allergies and joint disease. It pays to schedule vet visits as the weather warms up and when the temperature drops so you can formulate a plan to tackle seasonal problems. With a bit of planning, you can be prepared for common issues that arise year after year and minimise the detrimental effects of these. Planning also enables you to have medication on hand for ongoing illnesses such as allergies and arthritis and so avoid expensive after-hours veterinary visits. When it comes to dog ownership, an ounce of prevention definitely is worth a pound of cure.

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Depression in dogs

– after the school holidays School holidays are over; everyone’s gone back to school and work and the dog’s depressed.


epression in dogs is serious and potentially life threatening, explains veterinarian Dr Peter Higgins. ‘Some people don’t understand that dogs can get depressed, but I firmly believe the condition exists and that it can be prevented and treated successfully. ‘Our pet dogs are an important part of the family and at the end of school holidays all the people disappear along with the regular activities and socialisation the dog has enjoyed for a few weeks. This alteration in routine for the dog can have a disastrous effect,’ he says. Causes of depression in dogs depend on the dog’s individual situation, but can be from an unwanted change of scenery, death of a companion, experiencing boredom from extended periods of isolation, and lack of or disruption to a proper exercise regime. Symptoms of a depressed dog can include an unusual increase in amount of sleep, withdrawal from social activities with other dogs and the family, loss of appetite and a general lack of enthusiasm. ‘You can also see detrimental changes in temperament,’


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says Dr Higgins. ‘A dog that was once friendly can be quite introverted. Depression can also have serious physical repercussions, such as decrease in fitness and lack of appetite.’ Once diagnosed and other illness ruled out, a veterinarian can recommend treatment. There are also natural alternatives, such as herbs and homeopathic blends that can be used with, or instead of, conventional antidepressant drugs. Dr Higgins warns that conventional antidepressants can have serious side effects, such as grogginess and emotional lows that can sometimes increase the problem. ‘St. John’s Wort and homeopathic essences have a naturally uplifting effect that can calm and soothe a dog. They also avoid the dangerous side effects associated with conventional drugs that can actually worsen the problem.’ The first step for dog owners to take is to discuss their pet’s individual circumstances with their veterinarian in order to make an accurate diagnosis and take appropriate, timely, effective action. ‘People need to keep an open mind about depression in dogs,’ says Dr Higgins. ‘The good news is that, given time, treatment and a bit of TLC, a depressed dog will eventually get back to normal.

About dr Peter Higgins Dr Peter Higgins is a qualified veterinarian and spokesperson for Dogs NSW. Peter’s involvement in the dog world has been quite diverse, incorporating roles as a veterinary surgeon, show steward, dog breeder, exhibitor, show commentator, and spokesperson for a number of pet organisations. He lectures to dog judge candidates as well as veterinary students at Sydney University. Peter commenced showing dogs in 1985 and quickly became involved in stewarding and Dogs NSW committees. He was spokesperson for the Australian Veterinary Association for five years and also stood on the Board of the Australian Red Cross, Animal Welfare League, Lost Dogs Home, and Royal Guide Dog Association. Dr Higgins was one of the initiators of the Outreach Program for the elderly, and the Pets As Therapy program. Early in his veterinary career Peter was awarded a Clinical Proficiency Medal for Veterinary Medicine and, later, a Global Leadership Award. For 20 years he has been the official veterinarian for the Domestic Animals Pavilion at the Sydney Royal Easter Show as well as the commentator in the dog arena. His most recent recognition is the prestigious Contributor of the Year Award for the Royal Agricultural Society, an award that has been granted to only 14 people in the history of the Royal Easter Show.

By Karin Bridge

Give your dog

b o j a

The biggest problem facing the modern pet dog is unemployment. We bred dogs to help us with lots of jobs such as retrieving game, hunting for vermin, herding sheep or even just keeping us company, but today most dogs spend long hours alone in a backyard with little to engage their senses and brainpower. However, with a little thought, time and ingenuity you can turn your backyard into a stimulating ‘work’ environment for your dog.

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exPloring the environment For starters, consider installing a doggy door to provide your dog with choices about his daily routine – a factor that has been proven to reduce stress in dogs. Many dogs prefer to sleep inside the house (den) and have only short outings throughout the day to ‘monitor’ the backyard. Allowing access into the home, even when you are away, is also effective to reduce nuisance barking and improve separation anxiety. In the garden, provide a variety of minienvironments to make it more interesting for your dog to explore. Simple suggestions include: a grassed lawn area (for rolling, eating, bones, stretching out and running around with toys); a shrubby area under trees (for sniffing and exploring); a rock garden (great for attracting entertaining little lizards to chase); a pond (without delicate plants or fish!); a cool spot under the house (for deep sleep and privacy); or the perennial favourite – a shady verandah (close to house, elevated, protected position). A sand pit or designated digging area is an excellent way to satisfy your dog’s natural desire to explore his environment with his paws and claws. Either allocate an area of your back garden, which may be used for this purpose, or buy a child’s clam shell and fill with sand. Lace this area daily with food treats such as raw hides, just beneath the surface. As your dog becomes more proficient, bury the treats deeper. Periodically rake the sand again – dogs are attracted to areas that have been recently disturbed, which is the reason they so often love to dig-up the plants you’ve just planted! The other half of the clam shell can be used for a wading pool. This is a particularly good idea on hot days. Even dogs that may not like to swim often enjoy cooling their feet or tummy in a shallow pool. Your dog may well invent other games to play with his pool. A simple sturdy table can provide a favourite spot for dogs to rest both on top – providing an elevated view, and below – providing a snug or shady den area. The table should be large and sturdy enough for the dog to be able to jump up and lie down comfortably. Depending on your dog’s inclination, he can choose whether he feels like being ‘on watch patrol’ or safely curled up asleep in his ‘den’. Tyres and inner tubes can be put to a myriad of uses and are especially good for ‘destructo dogs’. To hang one from a tree, put a length of PVC piping on the rope to prevent the dog getting tangled in the rope. Secure the pipe in place by knotting the rope. A car tyre on the ground is a great place to hide treats and tough dogs can push and shove into them without doing any harm to themselves or the tyre. Car inner tubes can also be used as tug toys and are often available free of charge. Fold in half, cut one end, bind half the inner tube


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together with string, leaving the half on the cut end loose so the dog can grip. Attach a rope through the other end and then attach to a high tree branch or similar so that the tube swings. Again, it is a good idea to cover the attaching rope with a PVC pipe. For the dog that seriously loves to tug, Aussie Dog Products* offer the ultimate home alone toy that is available in four sizes. The ‘HomeAlone’ is a combination treat ball, bungee ball and tug toy that can be hung from a tree or other high place. Let your dog see you place a small amount of food in the ball. In the dog’s attempt to reach the food by pulling the grip, food will fall around the dog and it will release its grip to get the food. The toy then springs back above its head. Many dogs will tug even without the reward of food falling from the ball. This is a heavy duty toy for the very active dog of any size. Heavy duty balls, such as the indestructible bully ball made of hard plastic, can also keep some dogs amused for hours. These balls are designed to be pushed around by the dog’s chest and shoulders rather than be carried in the mouth. They are easy to push and roll and use up loads of energy! In fact, some dogs may need to have their time limited with these balls to prevent strain and heat exhaustion. Not quite as tough but still loads of fun for smaller dogs are the ‘exercise balls’ used in gyms. The principle is the same – the dog loves to push the ball around and mount mock ‘attacks’. Balls that dogs can throw themselves, such as soccer balls that are surrounded by a cotton rope ‘net’, make it easy for the dog to grab and toss the ball. Similarly, some large hard plastic balls on the market include a handle for the dog to grab and toss himself. All of the above can be left in your dog’s everyday living area to enhance his environment and to provide him with opportunities for play. However, we all enjoy change and new challenges. While rotating toys is a good idea there is a better way to keep your dog busy for hours. Zookeepers around the world have been doing it for years and now dog owners are beginning to recognise the benefits too. What is it? Simply giving your dog the opportunity to work for his food just as he would have done in the wild.

‘Will Work for food’ Perhaps you have seen the chimpanzees at the zoo hunting for termites, or poking for honey using long thin sticks. Devising clever ways to make exotic animals ‘work for their supper’ has become one of the major developments in animal care. Giving these animals a ‘job to do’ has made a major difference in the quality of their lives, reducing boredom and stress. Your dog is no different. Rather than providing your dog with a free meal served up in a bowl at the end of the day (total enjoyment for most dogs equals just a few seconds!) it is a far better idea to allocate all or some of the meal to home alone activities. Although you may add some special treats to the mix, using meal rations prevents problems of obesity and/or unbalanced nutrition. Now, instead of waiting for a few seconds of joy at the end of each day, your dog will be able to enjoy the very natural sequence of search, chase, bite, hold and dissect in exchange for a ‘reward meal’. This process will take far longer and expend more energy than the time it takes to gulp down a meal in a bowl.

Your dog ‘nose’ hoW to hunt Dogs have finely tuned senses and brains wired to utilise the information they provide. A dog’s nose is a work of art – able to track minute traces of scent great distances. You don’t have to teach your dog how to scent because he already knows, just give him the opportunity and he’ll soon become a treat tracking fanatic. It is no wonder then that the vast majority of ‘home alone’ toys are based on the premise of making your dog work to receive a self-released food reward. Some good examples are: n Kongs* and similar hollow rubber toys or smoked marrow bones. There are endless ways to stuff a Kong* with recipes ranging from beginner’s level (loosely stuffed with large treats) to university level (for experienced treat dissectors) with lots of yummy things jammed into every crevice. Common foods to use as stuffing include dry dog food, cheese, canned dog or cat food, peanut butter, a little vegemite or liverwurst (to seal the ends), leftovers, dried liver and commercial

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dog treats. In most cases it is important to vary the contents to keep your dog really interested. You may choose to simply hand your dog his stuffed treat as you walk out the door, however a better option, once your dog understands the game, is to hide the stuffed object somewhere in the garden. You may even hide two or three! The ultimate luxury from the USA is a Kong Dispenser that will dispense up to five stuffed Kongs throughout the course of the day! n Buster cubes and similar devices are cubes, balls or pyramids made of plastic or rubber that are filled with dry doggy treats. The ball or cube has an opening that can be adjusted to make it easier or harder for treats to come out. Your dog will learn to push the toy around using his feet or nose to slowly dispense the treats inside. n A cheap and simple alternative is to half fill a plastic PET bottle with kibble, pasta or water and allow your dog to toss it around. If you leave the top off, treats will slowly spill out. Alternately put a PET bottle sealed into the freezer for a short time. When removed, the change in air temperature will make it expand. A lot of dogs will like the noise it makes and enjoy trying to ‘catch’ it in their mouth. (Note: some dogs may need supervision with a PET bottle if they are likely to swallow the plastic.)

n Throw tiny pieces of dry dog food or cat kibble around the backyard while your chow hound spends hours making sure he hasn’t missed one! Very hard to spot on pebblecrete or scattered in garden beds. Be wary of throwing on recently mown lawns however as over a period of time toxins can build in the mulch and might have an adverse effect on your dog’s tummy. n Tear a rag into long strips. Roll into each strip a little treat and tie into knots. Make the bundle as tight as possible and then give it to your dog to explore and dissect. Most dogs become really absorbed trying to reach the hidden delectable treats. In some cases the centre treasure could be a tennis ball or other popular toy. n Iced treats – Kongs, other stuffed toys, or simple ice cream containers can be filled with diluted stock or other liquid sensations and frozen. Add a really special treat into the centre and watch your dog lick away trying to reach the frozen centre. Perfect for a hot day’s entertainment. By using food in this way you are not only meeting your dog’s daily nutritional requirements, but are providing him with mental stimulation and, perhaps most importantly, providing an outlet for natural dog behaviours such as chewing, digging, exploring and dissecting.

be A ‘worK’ mAte too While it’s great to find ways to help your dog amuse himself in your absence, there is no substitute for spending time walking and playing with your dog. To have a good companion you need to be a good companion so try to include a bit of one on one time as often as possible. *Visit Aussie Dog at www.aussiedog.com.au *Kongs are a rubber hollow toy. Visit their website full of ‘kong recipes’ at www.kongcompany.com

About KArin bridge Karin has competed with her own dogs in obedience, agility and dog dancing and is a popular speaker and writer on dog related issues. She has presented seminars to the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia, The Delta Society, The Association of Pet Dog Trainers and various training clubs across the country. Karin is a Life Member of the NSW Animal Welfare League and Delta Society Australia and past President of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia.

Get S-M-A-R-T dogs

Successful Motivation and Reward Training for your puppy or dog.

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Experienced instructors Group or private lessons Basic manners to competition Based on Sydney’s north shore Now in our 13th year

Visit www.getsmartdogs.com.au or phone (02) 9418 2467


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

The first week

with puppy By Nicola Anderson

PuPPies & dogs ANNuAl 2012


First things first … congratulations on the new addition to your family! Puppies are so cute. Be prepared to waste a lot of time as you gaze adoringly at your cute, cuddly, bundle of fur – especially when they are making puppy dog eyes at you! You’ll be amused for hours watching them discover the world, bound around your house, and sit and tilt their heads to one side looking up at you seeming as though they are trying to understand what you are saying to them! Puppies are simply adorable, however if you don’t set some ground rules early, that cute bundle of joy can quickly turn into a cute little monster!


he first week with your puppy can be tiresome and surprisingly hard work. Many new owners don’t know what to do in this crucial first week so here are my tips. One of the most important things to work on straight away is establishing your puppy’s sleeping pattern. Remember, your puppy has come straight from their litter so they will be missing the closeness of their fur family. One of the best ways to get them settled is to have the puppy sleep near you or near your bedroom for the first couple of nights because you are their new family. Once you have succeeded in


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getting them settled, start to move them to a safe area somewhere else in your home, such as the bathroom or laundry (where it doesn’t matter if there are toilet messes to clean up). Crate training your puppy is a great idea too. Puppies love crates as it allows your puppy to have its own little den. Some owners find it successful introducing crate training in the first couple of nights, setting up the crate in their bedroom allowing their puppy to get used to their new family, their new home and their new crate. Your puppy will soon learn to love this space and you’ll soon love that they are sleeping like a baby! While you are getting their sleeping routine under control, you should also be considering your puppy’s diet needs, their daily routine, toys, training equipment and veterinary visits. As a dog trainer I encourage all new owners to establish some early training patterns to reward good behaviour. I know it’s hard to do when your puppy is so cute, but make sure you ignore attention seeking behaviour. This can be very hard to achieve as puppies are really very good at manipulating and working the situation to suit them. But, I have seen thousands of puppy owners who end up with behavioural issues because they did not set clear boundaries to establish and reward good behaviour – you

have been warned! But, don’t stress, there are some simple rules to follow to help guide your puppy to become the perfect pet. Always remember to train gently and positively and use a firm, but kind voice. Never use physical punishment to correct your puppy, only a vocal correction should ever be used to tell your puppy right from wrong. Once boundaries are set, it is much easier to control your dog and you and your family will be much happier. Training your puppy is a smart move so find a good ‘puppy school’. Not only will it teach you and your family tips and tricks on basic obedience, but you will learn about pet care, pet health, welfare, behaviour and many other topics that you will want to know about. It will also give you the confidence to guide your puppy through this important early stage. Check with your local vet clinic to find a reputable school. Remember puppy school is just the start though; once you graduate you should commit to ongoing training as your dog will be now eager to learn and you will benefit from them learning more commands. When buying toys for your new puppy, make sure they are doggie toys and not toys passed down from the kids. Toys that are especially designed for puppies allow them to display normal puppy behaviour. They are teething,

so all puppies love to get those little needlelike teeth chewing on something. And, if you give your puppy their own toy to chew on, you might just save your shoes! Toilet training is the next hurdle for puppy owners and it does take time. So don’t expect to get on top of this in the first week (unless you are extremely lucky!) However, if you all follow some basic rules, you will at least contain the messes in and around your house. My recommended toilet training rules are based on repetition. Get your puppy to go to the same spot as frequently as possible and make sure you give them lots of praise when they do go. They will think it’s wonderful and you will soon discover that they will simply repeat their behaviour in order to receive the attention and praise. Never, ever, rub your dog’s nose in the toilet mess as this will only confuse your puppy and worse – teach them to go to the toilet elsewhere and hide it from you! You won’t want to find little surprises in all different areas around your house, so don’t teach your puppy by rubbing their nose in their toilet. One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen in the house of the new puppy owner is when the owner changes their whole house routine around to suit the pup. Your puppy needs to

learn how to fit in with your life and new owners need to ensure their puppy doesn’t have full access to the whole house (den). Toilet messes can occur all too easily when the pup has full access around the house. Play pens and baby gates are good investments to control the access your puppy has around the house. See if you can borrow these items from other dog owners or family members with children to save money. If you stay patient and persevere with your puppy you will find that things do start to settle once the first few days are over. If you set some early ground rules, you will be rewarded with a fur friend that fits in with your family.

About nicolA Anderson

Nicola Anderson is a renowned Brisbanebased dog trainer whose popular classes help families get the best from their pets. “Trainer Nic” is a regular on local and international television sharing her positive reinforcement training tips and tricks. Nic established an online community through Facebook, twitter and her website www.thedogblog.com.au to connect dog lovers across the globe. She has released the smart dog training iPhone app which allows any iPhone, iTouch or iPad user to become their own dog trainer by downloading the 12 easy-to-follow video lessons. In this article Nicola shares her tips on how to have a great first week with your new puppy.

Visit www.thedogblog.com.au for more information and tips on what to do with your puppy or you can download our dog-training app for iPhone or iPad, which is an affordable resource for new dog owners to learn how to train their dogs.

The Smart Dog Training App

HAS BEEN CREATED BY EXPERIENCED DOG TRAINER NICOLA ANDERSON AND IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD IN THE ITUNES STORE. This mobile video training tool of 12 easy-to-follow lessons will turn any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into your very own “personal dog trainer” for $2.49 (AUS) Australian dog trainer Nicola Anderson created the website www.thedogblog.com.au and an online network of resources utilising Facebook and Twitter to provide dog-owners with an interactive community to share information and advice. Dog lovers from across the world have joined her Facebook page, Twitter feed and downloaded the Smart Dog Training App.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Perfect puppy nutrition By Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons)

If we could go back in time when man first befriended the dog, I’m sure we would find it all started with a puppy. Puppies are the picture of innocence, love and affection and warm the coldest of hearts with their adoring attention and playful antics. It is these traits carried into adulthood, along with the dog’s hunting, protecting and scavenging skills, that ensure the dog’s place as “man’s best friend”. However, even though this happened more than 10,000 years ago, the actual human impact on the dog, on an evolutionary level, is extremely small.


he dog family (Canidae) has been evolving for more than 40 million years and for the first 39.99 million years they had no human contact. Therefore, if we question what a puppy should eat to get the optimum in nutrition, healthy growth, strength and vitality


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

should we ask a scientist, a veterinarian, a pet food manufacturer, a zoo keeper, or Mother Nature?

Common sense feeding PraCtiCe is the key to good health! In just about every situation where mankind has altered the natural feeding practices of domesticated animals, whether it be for increased growth and production; better condition or speed; convenience; profit; or simply by the nature of domestication and confinement, which prevents natural migration patterns, there is deterioration in health and the emergence of new diseases. Natural evolution has been at work for millions of years evolving genetic traits to structure every organism to survive and thrive in its environment. Dogs have evolved eating raw food (prey) and scavenging scraps and that’s what they thrive on!

Domesticated animals live longer than their wild counterparts due to their protected environment and help from humans, but domesticated animals suffer from diseases that are not found or are very rare in the wild – because we changed their natural diet. For example, wolves that eat a natural, raw diet don’t suffer from allergies, flea hypersensitivity, gingivitis and gum disease, anal gland blockage, sensitive bowels and food allergy, hip or elbow dysplasia, diabetes, thyroid deficiency, early onset arthritis, autoimmune diseases or the vast array of cancers that are diagnosed in dogs today. Their whole body, from teeth, salivary glands, stomach, intestines, organs and enzymes, has been finely tuned over 40 million years to process and digest raw food: meats and organs, bones, fur, feathers, insects, plants, fruits and nuts, grasses – fresh or weeks old, they thrive on it.

What is a natural diet for a groWing PuPPy? Puppies should eat a natural, raw, uncooked, unprocessed, unadulterated diet to achieve maximum optimal nutrition, health, growth and longevity. Natural nutrition starts in the uterus from the diet of the pregnant bitch. Although you can’t always know your puppy’s parents, if you have a choice, find a breeder that feeds raw food because the health and vigour of newborn pups is a direct reflection of diet and genetics. The importance of the bitch’s nutritional plane continues through lactation, where for the first few weeks the pups are completely reliant on their mum for their nutrition (growth), immunity (colostrum), and waste disposal. You can usually pick the strongest pup (often the pick of the litter) at about two weeks. At this age the pup is a direct reflection of its genetic make-up and its mother’s nutritional intake. From the time the pup cuts its first milk teeth at around 2 – 4 weeks of age, it is ready to tackle solid food. In the wild, the mother regurgitates her food (voluntary vomiting) for the pups to eat, which is food (or prey) she ate minutes or hours earlier regurgitated, chewed, warm (38.5⁰C) and partly digested for the pups to devour in the security of the den (or whelping box). Many domesticated bitches will vomit at this stage of lactation, even if you are offering solids, which can be the cause of a panicked phone call to the vet from inexperienced breeders. Puppies in the wild eat what their mother has eaten – pre-chewed, partly digested, raw meat, organs, gut contents, bones, fur, feathers, and other plant or organic material. The bitch is often eating for herself and six or more pups so her diet is more varied than usual. In fact, the concept of cravings for food, which is experienced during pregnancy and lactation, may play an important role in ensuring

Wolves that eat a natural raw diet don’t suffer from diseases.

balanced early nutrition of pups and people in the same way. By 6 – 8 weeks, the pups can tackle a whole carcass and food brought by the bitch intact. By the age of 6 – 8 months old, the pup has grown and learned to hunt and scavenge for itself. So how does this translate to the modern domestic puppy? Quite simply we should try to recreate the core elements of a natural diet with easily accessible ingredients. It’s not that complicated or time consuming and there is only one golden rule: do not cook food for your puppy! The cooking and artificial processing of pet foods that began in the 1950s with the post-war popularity surge in canned foods is the single most significant impact that man has had on the domestic dog. It represents the most dramatic deviation from nature that we have imposed on any domesticated animal and is integrally linked to the rapid decline in health, fertility and longevity that our ‘best friends’ suffer today. The nutritional damage caused by cooking is insidious and complicated, however in basic terms it damages or destroys essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and trace elements. It denatures (mutates) proteins, inactivates natural enzymes and kills all natural bacterial flora (sterilises food), which results in decreased nutritional content, increased digestive effort and enzyme output, poorer absorption and intestinal vitamin production, and greater waste production. Cooking is a completely unnatural, man-made process and should not be involved in the preparation of a dog’s natural diet.

What are the ingredients for a modern natural PuPPy diet? The ingredients in a natural diet vary only slightly from puppy to adulthood. They comprise the four basic food groups: proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vegetables. The ratios of these in the diet will vary with the different nutritional requirements of age (stage of growth), metabolism, energy expenditure or exercise levels and reproductive status. A diet based on raw meats (both muscle meats and some organ/offal); bones; mixed cereal grains; vegetables and fruits; and a few basic natural supplements to ensure vitamin and mineral balance can be adjusted to suit all stages of a dog’s nutritional needs. The aim is to mimic the omnivorous diet (both animal and vegetable) that wild dogs consume. The basic constituents of a weaning diet are no different to that of a growing diet except that pre-digestion and regurgitation introduce several key points. Firstly, the meat portion must be finely chopped or ground to match the pre-chewed state to increase the contact surface area for easier digestion and absorption. Secondly, the time spent in the gut of the bitch also introduces a mix of digestive enzymes and pro-biotic bacteria (normal bowel bacteria or flora), which are both underdeveloped in the weaning pup.

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This can be re-created by the addition of enzyme supplements, such as Enzyplex powder, and pro-biotic supplements (live culture, non-harmful, bacterial additives such as Protexin powder or Skin and Coat formula). These two additives will greatly enhance the digestive and absorptive capabilities of the pup, which results in vigorous healthy growth. The mix should also be highly moist and served at body temperature (38.5⁰C). The weaning mix should be made available to the pups as soon as their milk teeth erupt, usually around two weeks old. Spend some time introducing the food to the pups; let them suckle your finger and then dip it in the mix and repeat, and familiarise them with where they will eat and the food bowl. Make sure your bitch is well fed if she is in with the pups during this process as it will lessen the chance that she will eat the lot herself. The mix should be available as often as possible, but the pups should still have full access to mum’s milk at least until 5 – 6 weeks old, or ideally, when the bitch naturally dries up and weans the pups herself. A weaning diet that is high in dairy products and cereals is unnecessary while the bitch is lactating. There is no substitute for the bitch’s milk and certainly not pasteurised cow’s milk. If you must use a milk substitute for any reason, raw (unpasteurised) goat’s milk is the best alternative. High cereal diets, such as Farax and porridge, do not suit puppies. They provide a rich source of energy and easily processed starch and sugars, but the pup has not developed a normal glucose metabolism at this age and will experience sugar highs and lows (bursts of high energy followed by collapse and sleep). Cereals are also too low in


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bones are vital in any dog’s diet. protein for the rapidly growing pup (proteins are the building blocks for body tissues), who is doubling its bodyweight every three weeks at this stage. The basic nutritional ratio for the growing pup is 70 per cent protein (raw meat), 20 per cent carbohydrate (cereals), 10 per cent vegetable/fibre. The final ingredient is access to raw bones. Bones are a vital ingredient in any dog’s diet. They provide good abrasive dental action, which maintains healthy teeth and gums; they are the best natural source of calcium; and they provide solid matter for proper stool formation, which aids bowel cleansing and appropriate anal gland function. Bones should be raw, soft enough to be chewed and digested completely, and large enough to prevent swallowing whole. The ideal puppy bones are raw chicken carcasses or frames. They can be made available as soon as the pups are starting to chew solids (or chew on soft toys) and can be continued for life. The growth diet (from weaning as a pup to mature adult size) will provide the pup with all the raw materials required for rapid growth. The pup needs higher levels of protein and fats and more concentrated vitamin/mineral content to keep pace with the rapid growth of body tissues, organs and bones. Correct ratios of key elements like calcium and essential fatty acids, and micronutrients like iodine, chromium and zinc, are all vastly more important when

designing a diet for a growing puppy than that of a fully grown adult dog.

The puppy dieT for all breeds With a properly balanced puppy diet, the only difference to feeding different breeds of dogs is in the amount and the length of time it is fed. All pups need small regular meals during the early stages (the amount is relative to the size of the pups): four feeds a day up to six weeks old; three feeds per day up to 12 weeks; two feeds per day up to six months old. Small breed dogs will reach mature size between 6 – 12 months old and can be fed once a day. Larger breed dogs continue to grow and develop up to 18 months of age and giant breeds up to two years and should maintain two feeds per day until then. As long as the diet ratios are correct, this is the main significant difference, as well as the individual dog’s metabolism. The meat should always be raw, preservative free, and meat inspected. Kangaroo and rabbit is preferred as they are free-range and organic; are a likely natural source of prey; are lean meats (about 4 per cent fat); and are cost effective. It is a good idea to add some organ meats at least once a week. A mix of 100g organ to 600g meat is rich enough. Use liver, kidney and heart primarily and only buy from a butcher or supermarket. Try to always have a bone offering (chicken carcass or roo tail bones are fantastic) at least once daily or every second day.

About dr bruce syme bVsc. (Hons) Dr Bruce Syme is a practising veterinarian and animal lover with a Bachelor of Science and Veterinary Science with first class honours from Melbourne University majoring in molecular genetics. He has worked in the UK and Australia with many leading specialists and is also a registered veterinary acupuncturist. Dr Bruce owns the Vets All Natural Animal Health Centre in Castlemaine, Victoria that includes a veterinary clinic with five veterinarians and eight support staff providing an emphasis on natural health/medicine, grooming, dog training, and a wholesale outlet for natural pet care products such as foods and fresh meats. Because of his special interest in pet nutrition, Dr Bruce used his experience and holistic approach to animal care to develop a high quality natural range of pet food products for dogs and cats. Dr Bruce regularly lectures on raw food nutrition, natural veterinary medicine and complementary therapies for cancer treatment. He also lectures with the Kintala Dog Club founded by David Weston, author and teacher of The Gentle Modern Dog Training Technique and has a busy media appearance schedule hosting the radio 3AK Saturday morning talk-back Pet Care hour and as guest veterinarian on RRR talk-back radio and Channel 10’s Dave and Kim and Ch10 Totally Wild program.


Complete Mix

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Veterinary formulated muesli to mix with fresh meat. “There is absolutely no doubt this diet improves the health and longevity of dogs and cats. It’s based on what dogs & cats have been eating for millions of years.”

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There are 5 varieties - Adult/Senior Dog, Puppy, Weight Loss, Sensitive Skin & Cat/Kitten

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• Kelp • Barleygrass • Vitamin C

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• Milk thistle • Peas & carrots • Flax seed

www.vetsallnatural.com.au for more info.

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Desexing your pet

– the low cost option for a longer and happier life By Dr Jo Sillince, Managing Director, Pets australia

It sounds so scientific – desexing, neutering, spaying, ‘the cut’, ‘the snip’.


esexing has traditionally been ‘sold’ to pet owners to stop unwanted pregnancy, but the reality is that desexing has far more positive effects than just too many puppies! You can give your dog a longer life with fewer dangerous health conditions just by desexing it. Many cancers and other problems can be eliminated completely. Why not desex all pet dogs? Australian Companion Animal Council 2006 figures suggest more than 80 per cent of owners who have registered their doggy pets also desex them – a fine idea when you consider that around 140,000 dogs are euthanased every year from pounds and shelters. The Australian Veterinary Association has a standing policy that all pet dogs should be desexed for their health. Virtually every veterinarian, animal shelter and pound agrees.

Myths and sPeculation So why doesn’t everybody do it? Tragically, myths from our grandmother’s day still prevail. Will desexing make your dog or bitch fat? Science has developed since grandma’s day. Obesity is a combination of diet, exercise, metabolic rate and some complex lipid chemical interactions. While all dogs are prone to a little ‘middle aged spread’, feeding for leanness and stopping your dog gaining weight (it’s harder to lose weight than avoid putting it on) solves that problem. Will desexing change your dog’s personality? If there is a personality change it is almost always for the better. With less drive to defend territory, remove competitors and hunt for a mate, dogs become safer family pets. Perhaps the most damaging myth is that bitches should ‘have a litter’ before desexing. This is a remnant of times when dogs weren’t ‘family’ and had pups at their first heat because


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pregnancy went unnoticed; against a background of poor nutrition, poor growth and high pet losses due to undiagnosed or untreatable disease. The world is different now! Having a litter increases the risk of preventable diseases later; makes desexing a much bigger operation because all the reproductive organs are stretched after birth; and increases the risk of bleeding during the operation and afterwards because blood flow increases to the uterus during pregnancy never return to their pre-pregnancy state.

an extension of our Personal sensitivities? Every veterinarian has a laughing story about the insecure Aussie bloke – the man who can’t bear to get his dogs ‘cut’ (desexed).

This guy enters the surgery with his young, masculine, muscled dog ‘for vaccinations’. He looks uncomfortable and ‘asks to see the male vet’. He avoids desexing discussions and mumbles when asked to book the desexing appointment. After the consultation he shoots out the surgery door at high speed and roars off down the road – and not always in a ‘ute’ by the way! For this poor bloke, his dog is an extension of his own manhood and he can’t bear to see his dog desexed because he thinks part of his manhood will be removed as well. He believes in ‘sowing wild oats’, ‘freedom’ and ‘leaving a dog alone’ – which often reflects things he doesn’t get to do himself. Sadly, investing a dog with your own insecurities doesn’t help the dog – prostate and testicular problems in later life could have been avoided by desexing. Be warned, though, ‘people who know’ can jump to conclusions if they see a bloke wandering about with an undesexed dog!

The LaTesT News – earLy age desexiNg Once, a conga line of people would arrive at the vet with 6 – 7 month old dogs and bitches for ‘the snip’. Bitches would have a long stitch line and dogs would yelp for 24 hours. Some bitches would already be pregnant, because smaller bitches can have their first heat before six months old. It’s now known that desexing can be done much earlier – as early as 8 weeks old for dogs and as early as 20 weeks for bitches, provided both weigh more than one kilogram. The later age for bitches reduces the risk of urinary problems in middle and old age. The old ‘train track’ stitch line in bitches has given way to a tiny slit on the belly or even on the flank. New science shows that dogs and bitches desexed at a younger age recover from surgery earlier and faster, can have fewer side effects, have quicker healing times, smaller surgical sites, and lower doses of anaesthetic. Not only that, your puppy can be desexed before you get it! Many shelters now sell puppies already desexed, as well as microchipped and with their first vaccination – a great deal for the dog of your life!

whaT’s iNvoLved iN desexiNg? Desexing involves a short period of general anaesthetic and the removal of the reproduction organs. For dogs, it’s vasectomy ‘with a twist’. Not only are the tubes tied, but the whole testes are removed. Nowadays you can even get ‘neuticles’ – silicone prosthetic testicles to fill the space. It’s all the doggy manhood, but without the health risks! For bitches it’s virtually the same as hysterectomy in

Men are often unwilling to women except the ovaries are removed as well. While it’s a significant operation, it’s generally done so well by veterinarians that side effects are rare.

whaT does iT cosT? Cost depends on the size of the dog, the age, any complicating factors for anaesthetic (like ‘squashy nose’ breeds such as Pugs), and whether the bitch is pregnant. Don’t just take the cheapest option. Talk to your vet about their equipment, whether they offer pain control, and how they do the operation. Desexing is often the first chance you have to develop a relationship with the veterinarian who will care for your pet for their whole life. Don’t fret if you can’t afford desexing. Many councils, shelters and welfare agencies have cost support schemes, some veterinarians offer discounts to seniors or those on government benefits, and some will offer payment plans to help you cope. One thing’s for certain – the cost of the desexing will be less than the cost of a litter of puppies, or the cost of cancer or other preventable problems later in life!

whaT abouT side effecTs? These are rare and generally more nuisance than crisis. Talk to your vet about side effects and risks.

have their best mate ‘cut’.

dr JoaNNe siLLiNce “Dr Jo” Sillince is Managing Director of Pets Australia and a qualified veterinarian who has worked in most animal industries since graduation. She has worked in small animal veterinary practice, in animal medicine research, in farming, in agricultural policy, and in member-based associations. She has volunteered in dog clubs and worked in kennels and grooming. She has also appeared extensively in the media representing the ‘silent majority’ of responsible animal owners and has been called the ‘voice of reason’ on key animal issues. Jo is a past president and board member of the Australian Veterinary Association and a past president of the AVA NSW Division. She is committed to excellence in business, ongoing education, pet ownership, science-based animal welfare, and loving animals.

abouT PeTs ausTraLia Pets Australia is a peak industry group for all sectors of the pet industry, including pet owners. Pets Australia advocates for pets, pet businesses and pet owners using education, science-based policy and quality relationship building. Join Pets Australia today! www.petsaustralia.org

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10 great reasons to use desexing as your key method of Pet health care 1. It stops male dogs getting cancer in the testicles. This is a nasty cancer that feeds into other hormone systems and can spread through the body. It cuts life short and you have to make the difficult decision on when and how to treat it. Worse, sometimes one testis gets large and the other smaller due to feedback, which is not only medically dangerous, but gives the dog a truly lopsided look! 2. It stops female dogs getting ovarian cancer. This cancer is a silent killer in women and can be just as evil in bitches. When bitches are desexed the ovaries are removed so there is no chance that your bitch can get this horrible cancer. 3. It stops male dogs getting prostate problems. Not only an issue in humans, dogs also get prostate problems with age; problems that don’t occur if they have had ‘the little operation’ as adolescents.


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4. It stops female dogs getting pyometra. Relatively frequent in middle-aged female dogs, this is an infection in the uterus of bitches that can make them really sick and sometimes even kills them from toxaemia or septicaemia. Using other forms of birth control, like hormone injections, can even increase this risk. 5. It significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer in female dogs. Mammary tumours are the most common tumours in undesexed bitches. They can often be aggressive, painful and deadly and the risk can be strongly reduced if the bitch is desexed before her first heat. 6. It makes male dogs want to focus on the family instead of their territory or their girlfriends. There is good scientific evidence that male dogs want to wander less and are happier at home, especially if birth control is performed early. 7. It stops puppies! It’s pretty obvious, this one, but what most people forget is that a puppy’s cuteness is balanced against sleepless nights for you, puppy poo, changing whelping boxes daily,

extra feed, everything chewed, veterinary bills and then trying to find good homes for puppies with strangers walking through your house. 8. You only have to do it once. Unlike pills, hormones, or regular heat cycles, desexing is something you only have to think about once. Once it’s done, it’s finished. Your pet looks forward to a life of stability and you stop worrying about accidents. 9. It helps stop dogs being bad boys. There is a proven reduction in unwanted behaviours like excessive urine marking, inappropriate mounting, and aggressive behaviour toward other dogs. 10. You pet may be slightly taller. Early desexing in particular can make your dog just a little taller – which means a few extra treats before they start to get fat!


Flat Coated Retriever History Retriever breeds were developed in the early 19th century as dogs whose sole purpose was to pick up shot game. The Flat Coated Retriever was developed from the Lesser Newfoundland as a land retriever and evolved into a fine water and land retriever much favoured by gamekeepers. The credit for establishing this breed is given to Mr J Hull who began breeding them in 1864 and they came to be commonly used on estates throughout Great Britain. In the 20th century their numbers began to decline and after the Second World War fell drastically. Although the breed was re-established by the mid 1960s, numbers remain relatively low. This is seen as an advantage to the breed as the low demand has prevented commercial exploitation and their soundness, type and working ability has been retained. There is a record of a Flat Coat in Australia in the 1920s, but breeding didn’t start until the 1970s.

APPeArAnce The Flat Coated Retriever is a medium-sized, athletic looking dog, with an intelligent expression. They have a black or liver coloured long, thick, shiny, flat coat with feathers on their legs. The preferred height for a male is 58 – 61cm and for a female, 56 – 59cm and weigh between 25 – 35kg.

temPerAment And trAinAbility The Flat Coated Retriever has been described as the canine ‘Peter Pan’; he never grows up and is always ready for fun and play even when getting on in years. He is a kind, sociable and loving dog that is good with children (although supervision is recommended at all times with children and any dog) and other pets. A Flat Coated Retriever will bark if someone is around, but is definitely not a guard dog. He is firstly a companion, craving human company and not happy left on his own. However, he is not a one man dog and generously shares his affection with everyone in the family.

HeAltH These are generally healthy dogs with very few breed-specific ailments. There is a low incidence of hip dysplasia in the breed and pups should be chosen from parents who have been screened for this.

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triever e R d e t a o C t Fla ndog

Gu tion nd friendly Classifica cheerful a t n e Temperam $1000+ ars Cost 10 – 14 ye n ium a d e sp Life low – m ce n a es n te m in Ma tive fa ili ed for ac d n e m d m e o Rec iever gain g oated Retr 1 followin The Flat C ide in 201 w d rl o – w K e c eU prominen Crufts in th ow win at sh world. in e st th e b in its g show o d s u o m the most fa


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Maintenance A brush at least once a week will ensure their coat stays healthy. They shed a moderate amount of hair. As with all dogs, nails require checking and trimming regularly.

exercise This dog is capable of covering long distances, but is happy with a moderate exercise regime of three or more outings a week. They love the water, are great swimmers and enjoy a game of fetch.

ideal owner If you’re an active person able to spend a lot of time with your dog, then the Flat Coated Retriever is for you. Because they are so people-oriented, they won’t adapt to being left alone all day. They are a fantastic family dog for children over the age of seven – they are so exuberant they tend to knock small children over. Flat Coated Retrievers are intelligent and enthusiastic and would enjoy many dog sports such as tracking, gun dog trials, obedience, agility and flyball.

availability Only about eight litters a year are expected in Australia and most breeders have waiting lists. More information/contacts Flat Coated Retriever Association of Victoria – www.flatcoated.org.au or telephone 03 9803 5678.


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My life with a ver Flat CoateddaRWeilltiarmies.

ur dogs. on ctoria with fo have one. My name is Rh Melbourne, Vi in knew I had to y tiful, d le an er er av W ev tri Re tionate, beau I live at ed ec at aff e Co ar at Fl ey st th fir e y us m ca In 1984 I met y favourite be Retriever is m y, playful The Flat Coated stic. would be funn thusia by dogs they e en d rib sc an y de pp to ha se three words If I had to choo would be chef . scribe me they te de na to tio ds ec or aff w d e an re e d to choose th cover becaus If my dogs ha s (and run for a pushover. at d co r an ei e th tiv ire ac , m extraordinaire ost people ad y dogs out m ty and brains. When I take m ve both beau ha t!) ey an th er e us ub factor is beca they are so ex ey are a black ink their WOW mon, most people think th Personally, I th m co at th ’re not all Because they . lick. er a ev tri Re their tails and n or items on Golden stinct is to wag n trying to keep walls clea he Their natural in w g t a challenge ience, showin This can presen tracking, obed in ed lv vo in coffee table. tyle and I am part of my lifes any early mornings! nformation. The dogs are m o to es rament and co lv pe vo m in te is r Th fo . d ppy. and breeding rtant to bree y for a new pu think it’s impo when I am read towards widening the gene on d As a breeder I se ba d ee e working oice to br er breeders ar I make my ch Coated Retriev ose dogs. at Fl y el ed to know iv ct Colle ner I would ne r dual purp ow ou er ng ev ni tri ai nionship. Re nt ai pool and m rives on compa of ial Flat Coated th nt at te th po g a do g a in er are them lots When consid e family – they rs are to give ill be part of th Retriever owne ed at Co at that the dog w Fl n! vice for new g and have fu onship. My tips and ad in their trainin t and compani en y ist jo ns gs co in br er ev tri Re attention, be ed ith a Flat Coat A life spent w


Border Terrier History The Border Terrier first appeared in the 18th century and hasn’t changed much since. They were used as working terriers in the Scottish Borders where they hunted foxes and other vermin that preyed on livestock. They had to be strong, brave and fast enough to keep up with a horse and the hound pack. Although popular in the hills and plains of its homeland, the Border Terrier is not that common in Australia, becoming fleetingly popular as a show dog in the 1980s and more popular as a pet in the early 90s. It is probably one of the lesser known terrier breeds and owners will tell you it is one of the dog world’s best kept secrets.

APPeArAnce This little dog is not very glamorous and actually could be mistaken for a stray bitzer if you didn’t know its heritage! Taller than an Australian Terrier, the Border stands around 25 – 28cm and is lightly framed with an athletic build. Colours range from red, tan, grizzle (salt and pepper), wheaten, or tan and blue. The thick skin, or ‘pelt’ can be lifted from the body and with the water-repelling double coat, is designed to protect the dog from the cold, harsh climate of its homeland.

temPerAment And trAinAbility Terriers have a reputation for being feisty and highly strung, but the Border is neither. It has quite a placid temperament and gets on well with other dogs, pets and people. Like all dogs with strong hunting and chasing instincts, the Border Terrier needs stimulation and consistent training from the outset. Care should be taken when they are off-leash that they don’t become distracted while chasing something and find themselves in trouble! They are smart little dogs and excel in every dog sport or activity.

HeAltH Robust and healthy with no inherited problems, a well cared for dog’s average life span is 15 years. They tend to gain weight easily and care should be taken not to over feed or under exercise.

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Terrier active and even tempered Cost $1000 – $1500 Lifespan up to 15 years Maintenance low to medium Recommended for families and active pe ople

border terrier Katt cool ganm ain. g showing her

Classification Temperament

Pamela Hardin

Border Terrier

er Terrier d r o B a h it w e f li My llions. and some Papi ’t fall a Harding. Border Terriers Maintenance Their coarse top coat requires stripping by hand from the undercoat twice a year on the change of season. A weekly brushing or comb through is recommended and bathing should be kept to a minimum to leave the natural oils and stiff structure of the coat intact. Clipping is not necessary as the outer coat provides good insulation and protection.

exercise The Border Terrier is a very active dog with lots of stamina. It needs some daily exercise and plenty of mental stimulation.

ideal owner A Border Terrier makes a great family pet and has something to offer everyone. Men will appreciate that it’s not too cute and fluffy, mums will no doubt be grateful for its compact size and small appetite and the kids will love its playful and energetic nature. If you like to exercise with a dog, but don’t want a large dog – the Border Terrier will suit you well.

availability There is a wait for puppies of six months or longer. More information/contacts Border Terrier Club of NSW www.borderterriernsw.com or telephone 02 6226 8929 Border Terrier Club of Victoria www.borderterrierclubvic.com


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mel sed! I didn sband, eight My name is Pa I was unimpres ra with my hu er nb Ca e id ts dog show and a at er rri I live just ou Te my first Border is breed can be with them. In 1980 I met lly flexible. Th ta I actually lived to til e ar un ey trialling em th th ite because ing, earth dog in love with er is my favour excellent obedience, track leave rri u Te yo er if t rd fre Bo t The rd pet to an gs. They don’ ya do ck y rs. ba ap ne a er ow m Th r as Pet As d trust thei anything fro are even used intelligent an ey e, ’re bl Th ey ta g. th ap e do ad us n beca or show ould be y dogs they w t to any situatio to describe m them and adap ds or w e re n th se be bossy, mea If I had to choo e they would ugh. m to e d rib an sc le de ab companion ree words to d to choose th ey ’re If my dogs ha ) and happy. et they are, but th di a them on t know what (because I keep dogs out most people don’ age. different. y in a small pack ok scruffy and When I take m are a big dog cause they lo ed ey be br th se em os us th cr ca in factor is be interested ey are either ink their WOW mon, most people think th th I , ly al on rs Pe com ’re not all that ey have a Because they y, however th r owner happ ei th es ak i. m nj t wha or Be stinct is to do ers can be Their natural in er, Border Terri ase. ch ill w ey anage. Howev th m so , to ct rs in st ne in ow for prey t a challenge g showing sily. This can presen nformation do imals really ea co an in r ed he lv ot vo ith in w e trained to live tyle and we ar part of our lifes ugh The dogs are the breed thro d promoting an . rly ng la di gu ee re br s and show going to dog This involves k with good n. io at owner. uc m healthy stoc ed fro d d an ee n br tio to y prospective bi t exhi e breed to an k it’s importan th ines in of dl th I oo ns r bl co de r d ei ee As a br n the pros an of the dog, th ai n pl io ex at elf. to m ys d or m nf an t the co t a puppy temperamen breed based on rally only breed when I wan to gs ce do oi y ch th y al m I make oducing he e time. I gene ng towards pr t to breed at th ders are worki dog activity. and why I wan ee of br as er en rri ar Te l rder mily petitive in al m co about their fa e Collectively Bo ar em at th th owner I ask quality of s tic problems er it’ ne rri at Te ge th t er ss ou rd re ith Bo w ial me and I st kids ering a potent e away from ho e dogs. A family that has When consid hours they ar th y ith an e w m m d w ho en t ho n they ge need to sp situation and time that you as long as whe of er y rri tit Te an er rd qu t time no fine for a Bo re he king all day is g. feed, make su e with the do and is out wor tim ity al are don’t over qu rs d g to in ne en sp go ow e ly er ar al rri u tu they ac w Border Te life – that yo ne ur r fo yo in ce e vi os ad purp m. My tips and that he has a activity with hi the dog and the boss and nion or do an ith pa w m g co in knows you’re a nd as bo , or have him ts of fun and play with him rrier brings lo Te er rd Bo a ith A life spent w ne together. m activities do enjoyment fro

Boomerang Dog – tips for training a reliable recall By Brad Griggs

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Make coming back to you fun every time. Without a doubt, coming back to you when called – what trainers call the recall – is the most important skill that your dog will ever learn. A dog that will recall reliably will be included more broadly in your lifestyle and will enjoy a much better quality of life.


reliable recall enables you to protect your dog from unsafe situations, such as running onto a road. When teamed up with knowing how to walk on a loose lead and how to drop on command, reliable recall, even with heavy distraction, will give your dog the skills to truly be considered a well behaved dog. The recall is a skill many find elusive and there are a few do’s and don’ts that can set you on a path to success with your dog. Let’s have a look at what you can do to make your dog’s recall go from bad to good, and good to great:

Make coMing back to you fun every tiMe The most common problem that professional trainers see when dealing with a dog’s poor recall is that dogs don’t find the exercise


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reliably enjoyable. Dogs live in the moment and when you call your dog back to you, and he recalls successfully, then you need to make sure he knows for sure just how happy you are with him. In addition you should never call a dog back to you in order to scold or punish him. If you do this your dog will learn that coming back to you has bad consequences. In fact, even if your dog does something naughty between the time you call him and the time he reaches your side, it is a bad idea to punish him for his misdeed and a very good idea to let him know you are happy with the fact he got the job done right!

effective coMMunication When calling your dog it is very important that you consider how the command sounds to the dog; too gruff and boring and your dog will not want to come back to you at all. Too girly and squeaky sounding and the dog may not think that you mean what you say. Choose a tone that implies the recall is a fun idea for the dog, whilst still sounding like it is still something the dog must obey. Practise finding

the right balance by observing the reaction of your dog; change your tone and watch for the change in his enthusiasm.

Make winning easy and take sMall stePs People often make a major mistake by expecting too much of their dog too soon. Some people expect a young dog to be reliable, coming back every time, no matter how distracted he may be. Some people expect the dog to work off lead and come back from great distances without any prior training. It must be remembered that the recall is a progressive exercise. You must build the dog’s skills over time and praise him along the way. Start on lead and then progress to greater distances and higher levels of distraction. Don’t expect too much, too soon! This progressive approach is at the heart of a successful and reliable recall. After starting with a shorter lead, move to a longer lead as the dog attains proficiency, only then can a recall off the lead be attempted and a successful outcome reached by the dog. Brilliant recalls are built, not born.

You can bet your bottom dollar that a dog you see recalling at warp speed and skidding to a happy sit in front of his owner started off in the same way you should and progressively developed the skill with time, patience, and lots of fun rewards for a job well done.

use a ‘release’ coMMand As with all obedience commands, your dog should have a reliable cue or word that signals to him that he has finished the command you have given. Smarter trainers recommend words that you don’t use in your everyday speech, such as “OK”. A more appropriate choice would be “free” or “break”. Once the dog has returned to you, it must remain in position until it is given its ‘release command’. Without this process in place (called a termination cue), it will always be a little unclear to a dog when the exercise has finished and he can move off again. A termination cue is an essential part of achieving reliability and ensuring that the dog doesn’t come back, only to run straight past to the next, more interesting thing.

enforce your coMMands always When you recall your dog (or any skill for that matter), you must be prepared to see the command through to the finish. If you start giving commands that are not followed then you are teaching your dog that it doesn’t have to listen to you and weakening your dog’s association with your command.

Letting your dog off lead at the park gives you no ability to control the situation and ensure that your dog comes back when it is called. A controlled training environment, such a using a long lead, or a small fenced area allows you to enforce your commands and allows you to progressively develop the recall. This is the reason that working on a lead during the initial stages of formal training for the recall is so important; should your dog decide not to follow your command you will be in a position to make him follow through as he should and complete the task at hand. When paired with highly enjoyable rewards, this approach will make a huge difference in getting your dog to come back to you.

aiM for reliability While we want our dogs to want to come back to us, as they get older they must understand that they must come back to us. Putting the right patterns to use in your training will make achieving reliability that much more easy. Keep the rewards of high interest to the dog and keep recall training sessions short to maintain the skill. As a dog becomes well practiced you can introduce the use of a quick pop on a flat collar or corrective device to get the dog heading back to you when called, however bear in mind this approach must be accompanied by loads of reinforcements for the job that is done right. After all, it is unlikely to be punishment that makes the dog perform better; it is the contrast between the unenjoyable outcome and the high value reward for getting things right that will make the dog more reliable.

create Positive Patterns in your training Dogs learn through patterns. This can be both a benefit, as well as a hindrance in terms of training the dog to come back when he is called. We want the dog to learn that every time he comes back, he will be rewarded, whether that be with his favourite treat, a game of ball or a pat on the head. So we teach a positive pattern; call the dog  the dog comes  he gets a reward. You must be careful not to set up patterns that have a negative meaning to the dog. For example: only calling the dog back when you have to go home from the park, or to put him on lead. This teaches a pattern that is not desirable to the dog; call the dog  the dog comes  he has to do something he doesn’t like. If you are at the park, randomly call your dog back, reward and release him and allow him to go play again. By mixing things up we can maintain a positive attitude in the dog and keep his motivation high.

Make sure your dog knows how happy you are with him.

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Training Questions

Q: i call the dog back to me and although he runs back to me fast and happily he gets close to me and then runs away again. How can i stop this from happening? it’s making exercising at the park a real chore!

Q: My dog won’t come back at all when i call at the dog park. He will come back sometimes but it is very hard to get him to at other times, especially if he is off playing with other dogs. How do i fix this problem? it is very frustrating!

This is what professional trainers often call ‘the fly by’, and it can be very frustrating. Teaching the dog to sit closely in front of you or beside you in order to complete his recall would be the first step. Teach the sit separately first, and then add it to the recall while you are controlling the dog on lead. For example, “Fido, come!- Sit!- FREE!”. When the dog sits for you at the end of a recall you should be using a release command and making a very big deal of his performance. After a while the dog will only need to hear the recall command once and will roar in before sitting without the extra command. He will also understand the exercise is not over until you release him. These steps should do the trick with a little practice and perseverance.

This is a classic example of expecting too much, too soon. Good dog training is all about blocking the dog’s ability to learn bad habits while teaching them the habits that we desire them to develop. I would recommend a longer lead and reduce the distance between the dog and myself, and I would only give one clear, calm command before ensuring the dog complies with what I say using the lead to bring him back to a sit in front of me. A tasty treat to give him after you use his release command for completing his job is a good idea, and recalling him to you before letting him go right back to playing with the other dogs is also a great pattern to use in your training.

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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Why your dog too much can be harmful By Kate Mornement

For many people their dog is their best friend, a family member, a loyal companion. For these reasons and because dogs give us so much in terms of companionship, loyalty, unconditional love and joy we tend to spoil them. But what happens when this utter adoration of our canine companion becomes a little extreme? Excessively spoiling our pet dogs can lead to both physical and psychological harm.

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spoiling your dog in

What is excessive sPoiling? Excessive spoiling is when we spoil our dog to the point where it becomes detrimental to their health and wellbeing. There are many ways in which people spoil their canine companions including: feeding special food and treats; giving special privileges, such as allowing the dog on the furniture and bed; dressing dogs up; and even carrying small dogs around in a bag. But surely spoiling your dog is harmless, right? Wrong! Here we discuss how spoiling to excess can cause physical and psychological damage to your canine companion.

Physical harm caused by sPoiling Spoiling excessively can actually cause your dog physical harm and the most common ways dog owners do this is by feeding the wrong kind of food or feeding too much food. Feeding your dog human food, such as leftovers, can make them sick. Foods that are toxic to dogs and should be avoided include chocolate, onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, coffee, alcohol, macadamia nuts and rich fatty foods. Feeding too much food can result in obesity in dogs and up to 40 per cent of dogs in developed countries are estimated to be overweight or obese. Obesity causes a number of health problems including damage to joints, bones and ligaments, diabetes, shortness of breath, increased risk of cancer, poor immune function and decreased quality and length of life. Unfortunately, many dog owners simply feed their dogs too much food, feed the wrong kind of food for the dog’s lifestyle, feed too many high calorie treats or don’t exercise their dog enough for the amount of food they are feeding. Many people enjoy taking their dogs to various places in the car. While most dogs enjoy car travel, spoiling your dog by allowing


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them free range in the car while you’re driving can be fatal – for you and your dog. In the unlikely event of a high speed accident, an unrestrained dog has no protection and is highly likely to sustain serious, if not fatal injuries. Unrestrained dogs also have the potential to cause serious injuries to people travelling in the car. In fact, a law was introduced in NSW in 2009, and more recently in Queensland, stipulating that ‘motorists must not drive a vehicle with an animal on their lap or preventing them from having proper control of the car’. Another way people like to spoil their dog is to dress them up. While buying a winter coat for your dog has the practical benefit of keeping them warm in the colder months, dressing them in elaborate costumes can cause discomfort and stress. Unlike people, dogs don’t normally wear clothes and care should be taken when purchasing clothing to ensure you buy the right size for your dog. You should gradually condition your dog to accept wearing the clothing using treats to make it a positive experience. Most dogs will readily accept wearing a costume if it is comfortable. If your dog will not relax while wearing the costume, even after several attempts, consider whether it’s really necessary for your dog to wear it. It may look cute to you, but it might be causing your dog unnecessary discomfort, fear, anxiety and stress. Under no circumstances should dogs be left wearing costumes unsupervised as they may attempt to get out of the costume and injure themselves.

Psychological harm caused by sPoiling Psychological harm caused by excessive spoiling is not as common as physical harm, however it does still occur. Many dog owners


d to a good relationsh

the right way can lea

feel guilty about leaving their dog home alone while they’re at work. To make up for this, they spoil their dogs excessively by showering them in love and attention immediately before leaving the house and again on their arrival home. This can actually reward anxious behaviour and exacerbate separation anxiety – an often serious psychological problem in dogs that are overly-attached to their owners. Other owners allow their dog too much freedom to do what they want without teaching them socially acceptable behaviour. For example, allowing or rewarding your dog with attention when they jump up may appear cute when the dog is a puppy and may be acceptable to you, but having a 30kg adult dog jumping up on you with slobbery chops and dirty paws is not endearing to most people! Indeed, it can be downright scary for those that don’t particularly like dogs. In addition, allowing your dog to manipulate you to the extreme is another way people spoil their dog. Some dogs growl at their owners when the owner attempts to remove them from the bed or furniture. The owner backs away and the dog learns that growling at the owner allows them to stay on the furniture for longer, reinforcing the aggressive behaviour. A new trend, which has emerged over the last few years, is to carry around small dogs in designer shoulder bags. While this may look cute, it can be very detrimental to the psychology of small dogs. Being carried around off the ground constantly, especially during the critical period for socialisation as puppies, small dogs learn to feel safe and secure up high in their carry bag. However, this can result in some dogs missing out on the opportunity to learn that being on the ground and interacting with other dogs is also fun. Spoiling small dogs excessively by constantly carrying them around in bags can

make for a dog that’s very antisocial with other dogs and, in some cases, other people. Not only can excessive spoiling be bad for the health and welfare of dogs, but it can also be detrimental to dog owners. Problem behaviour including aggression, excessive barking and destructive behaviour can cause dog owners stress and anxiety and, although rare, physical injuries, such as bite wounds, can occur and may require medical treatment. The best way to avoid these issues is to avoid excessively spoiling dogs and to spoil them the right way. Now let’s look at acceptable ways that you can spoilt your dog to promote good behaviour and discourage undesirable behaviour.

how to sPoil your dog the right wAy Despite the potentially detrimental effects of excessively spoiling your dog, you can actually spoil your dog in a way that benefits it and the owner rather than harms them. Spoiling your dog by consistently rewarding them with attention and/or their favourite treat for desirable behaviour, such as being calm, playing nicely with other dogs, not jumping up on people, not barking and obeying commands, will teach your dog that in order to get what they want, attention and treats, they must behave in a calm and obedient manner. Feeding your dog the best quality food you can afford is a fantastic way to spoil them. To

avoid your dog from gaining weight you can choose small low calorie treats, such as cooked chicken and carrot pieces. Alternatively, if you’re doing lots of reward-based training, simply use a portion of your dog’s daily food allowance to use as treats to reward good behaviour or just reduce the amount of food you normally feed your dog at meal times. Another way to prevent your dog from gaining weight is to exercise them more often, which is beneficial for both owner and dog. Giving your dog special privileges, such as being allowed on the bed or furniture is acceptable, but should be used as a reward for good behaviour. Taking your dog in the car is a great way to spoil and spend time with them. Ensure your dog is properly restrained. Car harnesses are available for purchase from most pet supply shops and will help minimise injuries in the event of an accident. Similarly, carrying small dogs in bags is okay as long as you don’t do it all the time. Small dogs need to learn that spending time on the ground and interacting with other dogs is also fun and rewarding. Dogs can be dressed up for short periods of time for special occasions, however they should be taught to enjoy, or at least tolerate, wearing the costumes. Choosing comfortable and practical clothing, to keep dogs warm, rather than impractical and elaborate clothing is a much more appropriate way to spoil your dog.

Spoiling dogs the right way and in moderation, is a great way to promote better behaviour and foster a better relationship with your dog. However, care should be taken not to indulge your dog too much, especially if using food treats to spoil them. Spoiling should be used as a reward for good behaviour, rather than given for no reason. This will reinforce good behaviour and teach your pooch that it is more rewarding to be good!

About the Author Kate Mornement is a companion animal behaviourist, media personality and educator with a Bachelor of Science with first class Honours in Zoology (Animal Behaviour) from LaTrobe University, Melbourne. She is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in canine behaviour at Monash University. Kate has had a life-long passion for animals and a keen interest in their behaviour and welfare. Having owned many pets throughout her life including dogs, cats, parrots and rabbits, she currently has a Boxer called Archie and a reclassified guide dog Labrador Retriever called Joseph. To find out more about Kate’s work visit www.petsbehavingbadly.com.au

Pets Behaving Badly is a Melbourne based animal behaviour consulting business offering solutions to owners of pets with behavioural problems. Training methods are rewards based and gentle, using scientifically proven positive reinforcement techniques. Kate Mornement, a qualified animal behaviourist, helps you understand why problem behaviour occurs, and how to modify it, to improve your pet’s behaviour and your relationship with your pet. Check out our website for more information: www.petsbehavingbadly.com.au

Follow us: Facebook: Pets Behaving Badly

Twitter: PetBehaviourist

YouTube: petbehaviourist

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Scaredy Dogs

Canine fears & phobias explained By Dr Joanne Righetti, animal Behaviourist

What are fears and Phobias? Fear is an animal’s response to a perceived or real danger in their environment and most animals show fear in particular situations. When that fear becomes so pronounced that it reaches abnormal levels or when the animal changes its behaviour and lifestyle to avoid the anxiety-provoker, this is a phobia.

hoW do fears and Phobias develoP? Pets (and humans too) may fear certain situations when: n A bad experience has occurred, for example, a thunderstorm has resulted in the dog escaping and being lost away from home. n No experience has occurred, for example, a cat or dog has not met any young children and so has never been exposed to the sounds and movements they make. When they hear these, they are terrified.

symPtoms of fears and Phobias Various symptoms related to fears and phobias may be seen. These will vary depending on the individual dog and the environment and may include: n Hiding under beds, the house or in small, dark areas


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n Attempting to escape by climbing or digging or breaking free from the lead n Seeking the owner for comfort n Inappropriate destructive behaviour eg. digging, scratching doorways n Fear based aggression when approached n Inappropriate toileting

noise Phobias Noise phobias are some of the most common fears and phobias experienced by dogs and the sources of these noises are varied. Noises that may provoke a fear response at home n Thunderstorms n Fireworks n Baby’s crying n Children’s shouts and screams n Shouting and arguments n Vacuum cleaners n Lawnmowers n Garden hose n Pots and pans banging n Garbage trucks n Washing machine and/or dryer n Parties And… while outdoors n Vet clinic noises n Traffic light crossings n Trucks and trains

n n n n n n

Motorbikes Children in parks Construction noises Skateboards Ice cream vans Alarms

Prevention of Phobias Most young animals are willing to accept new experiences in their lives, providing those experiences are positive ones. It is important that young puppies are socialised to a wide variety of events and experiences, but especially those that are likely to result in fear-based responses in later life. Prior to purchasing your new pet, ask the breeder or the owner of the animal if they have been socialised to a variety of experiences. A pup from a noisy household is less likely to become noise phobic than one from a very quiet household or one who has not been within a household at all. A puppy that has been raised with children or who has had regular exposure to non-threatening experiences with kids will be more likely to cope with children in his or her new family. Ensure you expose your newly acquired pet to all sorts of people, places, events and experiences. Pair the experiences up with a pleasant experience such as a play session or a treat and your pet will soon look forward to experiencing them again.

Case study: Milly

Case study: Max

Case study: Benjy

Milly was an 8-month-old Cavoodle that lived with her family, including two young children. She was introduced to many experiences when young and seemed quite calm about life. This changed on her first experience in the garden with a lawnmower. She barked at it and then ran away and could not be persuaded to come out into the garden again for a day or two. Leaving the lawnmower out in the yard for a week at a time, at first in an area where Milly did not frequent often, then moving it silently into a more prominent position (but never turning it on) helped Milly get used to this scary item. Also turning it on, but not moving it anywhere also helped Milly.

Max was a 2-year-old laid back Beagle that was unperturbed by anything until his family decided to throw a birthday party for their 3-year-old daughter. Max liked children so he had no problem there, not until some balloons were blown up and he started playing with one and it popped. Max went running, tail between his legs and hid behind his owners. They had to put him away for the duration of the party. Max’s family recorded the sounds of balloons popping and played these back to Max at a very low volume, when he was relaxed. Over a few weeks the volume was gradually increased. Then the family introduced Max to the children playing with a balloon but kept him at a distance and on a lead and gave him a treat as a reward for calm behaviour. Max soon wanted to join in and even tolerated the loud bang as the balloon popped.

Benjy was a 6-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who lived with an older couple. Benjy had never met children when he was young and now had a fear of them. He tried to hide under the bed when a friend with kids visited his home. This was potentially going to be a problem as his owners were going to become grandparents soon. They realised the potential danger involved and consulted an animal behaviourist. Benjy was gradually introduced to children, from a great distance at first and then gradually closer. He got to watch one child play across a field while he was on a lead and was rewarded for calm behaviour by his owners. He progressed to seeing children play together in a park and also listened to recordings of children play, cry and scream while at home. After four months of this gradual exposure, two children visited Benjy at home and he was very accepting of them, especially enjoying it when they gave him his dinner. His owners are still vigilant and supervise every interaction Benjy has with their new grandson but they are impressed with Benjy’s progress.

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Canine Phobias solved Long term solutions to the sound phobic pet require prevention where possible, management of the problem where it exists and a longer-term behavioural treatment plan to cure the animal. Management solutions There are several management strategies to get you through the difficult times. Try some of these: n Create a safe place Our pets often benefit from having a safe place to retreat to. Usually this will be a place of their own choosing, but we can help by providing appropriate places, generally den-like areas such as under a table, under the house, a kennel, a laundry. n A calm atmosphere Blocking lights and noises from outdoors can help during a thunderstorm or fireworks. Try keeping a low level noise, like a radio, (and lights on) in the background. Try some lavender scents around your home. n Safety first Ensure your own and others’ safety. Never approach a severely frightened animal. Instead wait until it is safe to do so. Keep your dog on a leash when outdoors. Use a muzzle if necessary. Ensure your pet’s name tag and your contact details are up to date and secure in case of escape.

n Other management solutions Talk to your vet about veterinary medication for the pet that is severely affected by phobias. This may be the most effective way to manage your pet’s problem and, in conjunction with a behavioural therapy program, may result in a quicker solution. Long term solutions To enable your phobic pet to cope with life, it helps to carry out a desensitisation process where your pet is exposed to gradually increasing intensity of the experience he fears over time. For instance if your pet is scared of noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks, gradual exposure to the sounds your pet dislikes can be achieved by recording the sounds or by purchasing CDs of sounds. These must be specifically developed for pet use and should ideally have instructions included. Playing these sounds at increasing intensity over time (sometimes months) should see a decrease in your pet’s phobic reaction, especially when paired with effective management techniques (see above). Since this process has the ability to affect your pet’s future and your relationship with your pet, it is recommended that professional help be sought.

ProduCts that assist sound Phobias Sounds CDs Try sound therapy CDs including: n Sounds Scary – with noises of thunderstorms, fireworks and gunshots n Sounds Soothing – with baby and children’s sounds n Sounds Sociable – with everyday sounds such as those of traffic and vet clinics All designed to help your pet get accustomed to the noises of life. Available at www.boredombusters.net.au

about the author Dr Jo Righetti is an animal behaviourist, based in Sydney. Qualified as a zoologist with a PhD in animal behaviour, Dr Jo is an honorary associate of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney, chairperson of the Delta Society Australia and has held the positions of director and vice president of the NSW Animal Welfare League. Dr Jo’s business, Pet Problems Solved, has been helping pets and owners around Australia for 12 years. Much in demand for her knowledge and advice, Dr Jo often appears in the media to talk about pet’s problems and pet ownership issues. Visit Dr Jo at www.petproblemsolved.com.au

Join Dr Joanne Righetti Animal Behaviour Consultant at www.petproblemsolved.com.au

Talk about your pets at www.twitter.com/JoanneRighetti Pet Problems Solved on Facebook it may take time for some dogs to get used to children.


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Jo Righetti.indd 1

21/11/11 11:22 AM

Tips for successful travel

with your dog By Brad Griggs

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


If you ask most people about the place their dogs hold in their lives they’ll tell you that they’re part of the family; their best friend; or their much loved companion. So, it’s only natural that we like to include our pet as much as possible in our lifestyle and this inevitably means that dogs will have to travel with us.


o make travelling with your pet a safe and enjoyable experience there are a few things to consider.

Before you go EXERCISE: It’s always a good idea to make sure your dog has received sufficient exercise prior to beginning any journey. A squirming, wriggling dog that isn’t calm doesn’t lead to a peaceful journey for anyone! This will also ensure the dog will have ample opportunity to toilet before commencing the trip. Avoid exercise that’s too vigorous as it may encourage some dogs to consume large amounts of water, which will mean a full bladder during the trip. This can be especially problematic in young dogs, elderly dogs, highly anxious dogs and/or dogs that are inexperienced travellers. FEEDING: If your dog prefers to travel with a full belly then give him a feed at least an hour before you leave so the food has a chance to

settle; he can have a good drink; and he takes care of post-dinner toileting. Some dogs travel better on an empty stomach. Indeed, many people that feed their dogs supplements or medications to help them travel, prefer to do so with the dog having an empty belly.

suPPLeMeNTs To Aid WiTH TrAVeL HERBS: Ginger, when given about 30 minutes before a car trip, helps lots of dogs avoid travel sickness. Giving a couple of ginger nut cookies to your dog is the most popular way to administer the herb, however people also use crystallised ginger, ginger capsules or fresh ginger root crushed up finely. Each dog will have its own preference, so it’s wise to experiment before the day of travel to make sure you and the dog don’t stress out because you’re having trouble dosing him. Other herbs that have been reported by some as helpful include: fenugreek, peppermint and chamomile. MEDICATIONS: Some dogs actually require medication to be able to travel, although the number of dogs this actually applies to is considered very low. Most bad travellers respond better to a little crate training effort or to positive exposure to car travel in a training context rather than medication. Only

A cargo barrier keeps dogs safe and the car clean!


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ever use travel medication for the dog for which it was prescribed and only ever use the recommended dose, otherwise you risk the wellbeing of the dog. DOG APPEASING PHEROMONE (DAP): A synthetic version of a natural pheromone secreted by dogs, DAP tends to have varied levels of effects on different individual dogs, ranging from profound responses through to the barely noticeable. TRYPTOPHAN: Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid used by the body to produce serotonin; a chemical that promotes a calmer and more stable mood in many dogs. As tryptophan is not a drug it may be worth approaching your vet for some advice on using it for calming during travel as it’s unlikely to cause any serious side effects. Effects and dosages will vary for each dog and your vet will ensure its use does not interact with any other medications your dog is taking.

resTrAiNT It’s vitally important to safely restrain your dog in the car, no matter how long the journey, for the safety of the dog, the driver and any passengers – not only in the event of a collision, but to reduce the incidence of distraction to the driver. Here are three common methods to effectively and appropriately restrain your dog during travel.

BARRIERS: Many wagons and 4WDs come with cargo barriers fitted to protect passengers from shifting luggage in the event of an accident. These barriers can also be efficient in restricting a dog’s movement and provide extra safety for passengers and dog in an accident. There are also some excellent quality businesses that offer after-market fitting of purpose built dog enclosures for the back of vans, wagons and 4WDs. Puppy Bars, a Melbourne based business, has been fitting these enclosures for more than 20 years and has earned an excellent reputation for providing a high quality product. If you travel often with your pet, then this type of setup would be a worthwhile investment. Whether using a crate, harness or a barrier/ enclosure, it’s a good idea (where practical) to offer dogs their familiar bedding. Often this can be a cue for the dog to relax and remain calm and a calm dog is much more likely to enjoy his trip.







With appropriate restraint for our travelling canine now addressed, there are some other things you can do to help make travelling with your dog safe and enjoyable. CAR MANNERS: Travelling dogs require car manners to be safe. Teaching your dog to enter and exit a car on command is of paramount

importance – even more so if you have very young children in the car or are required to stop beside a busy road or in a busy car park to exercise or toilet your dog. It’s all too common for a dog with poor car manners to push his way out of a slightly opened car door, taking the owner by surprise and bolting into a dangerous situation such as oncoming traffic, a cyclist or a busy intersection. Ideally, work towards expecting your dog to offer a sit or drop to gain access to your vehicle and to wait calmly for his leash to be fitted and a command given to exit the vehicle, even when the door or tailgate is open. HEAT AND CAR TRAVEL: Sweating is the way the human body regulates its temperature. Dogs don’t sweat to regulate their temperature, instead they pant to cool down. Add to this the fact that their hairy bodies are actually designed to keep them warm and you can see why they have real problems being left unattended in cars during warm weather. Even on a mild day your dog can suffer heatstroke, which can cause major problems including irreversible brain damage and organ failure. With an exterior temperature of just 29 degrees it takes around 10 minutes for the incar temperature to reach 44 degrees. Cars with large glass surfaces, such as 4WDs and hatch backs, get hotter more quickly. TRAVELLING IN UTES: When travelling in a ute it’s very important to ensure your dog is secured by a well manufactured and properly fitted harness, which is tethered to the ute at a length that doesn’t enable the dog to extend past the side of the ute tray. Different states have different laws about this, however, as long as your remember to secure the dog by the harness before the vehicle begins to move, even during a short trip, your canine companion will remain safe and injury free. Be sure that the dog’s body can’t extend itself too far over the edge of the tray and be certain to consider that some dogs move around a lot. It is also important to consider dogs on the back of a ute in the sun, and even more so on warm days. To be a responsible guardian you need to provide access to water and sufficient cover from the elements. A well constructed kennel type arrangement on the back of the ute will also protect your dog from any unpleasant weather conditions. A little pre-trip planning and some consideration of training and safety will ensure you, your dog and your family travel well and arrive home healthy and happy.


CRATE: A crate replicates a dog’s natural affinity towards using a den, which harks back to the dog’s wolf heritage. With a little forethought and training you can teach your dog to feel safe and calm in a crate, which you can use when travelling in a car and by plane. Crate training promotes a cool, calm, relaxed and self-assured attitude in dogs, which benefits dogs in all areas of their life. A crate is also an integral part of any complete toilet training program, making it an especially worthwhile and versatile training tool. Crates come in many forms with some being collapsible and some being rigid. VariKennel pet crates are considered by many to be the best quality pet crate on the market and are also accepted for air travel on major airlines with a couple of minor modifications. HARNESS: Many versions of travel harnesses are available commercially for dog travel, with the most popular and convenient being the type with a clip that attaches to a seatbelt buckle. These harnesses restrain the dog from moving around the vehicle too much, and can also be used to attach a leash to for toilet or exercise breaks during longer trips. When fitted properly, travel harnesses allow the dog enough movement to get comfortable, but not enough movement to be a danger to the driver’s concentration.

using a crate is a safe way to restrain your dog in the car.

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Furry Nomads By andrea Ferris

Enjoyable camping and caravanning with your dog After having a ‘no dogs’ policy for 32 years, in July 2011 the Big4 Holiday Parks chain decided to allow pets in certain parks. According to Big4 CEO Ray Schleibs, ‘it [the decision] was not made lightly. it has been made due to recognition that society’s attitude towards travelling with dogs has changed. More dogs are travelling and holidaying with couples and families, with many viewing dogs as substitute children or loyal companions.’ Dogs will be welcome in 23 parks including Atherton, Cania gorge, innisfail and Airlie Beach in Queensland.


collective cry of ‘It’s about time!’ reverberated around the country after this announcement and hopefully other chains and local council managed caravan parks will follow suit. These days thousands of people enjoy pitching a tent or hitching up a van and travelling around this fantastic country – and a good percentage of them want to take their dog along for the journey. Travelling with a dog is certainly more complex and restrictive than going without one, but with a bit of prior planning and preparation, pooch can become a furry nomad and enjoy your trip just as much as you do. The great outdoors and life on the road is no place for a prissy pooch or coveted canine. Your dog will be happy just to be with you, but you and your new travelling buddies will only be happy if he is well trained and socialised. Fussy Fido has probably enjoyed a certain ‘lifestyle’ around your home for many years, so any new and unfamiliar environment may be a bit of a canine culture shock. Even weekend camping trips may upset a dog with entrenched habits and routine. However, don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t teach old


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

dogs new tricks. With some patience and persistence (and possibly help from a dog trainer) bad habits can be broken and new regimes established that will fit in with your travelling lifestyle. Car travel without question takes top priority. (Read our article on travel training on page 59). The dog needs room in the vehicle to lie down comfortably and be restrained without danger of any badly packed items falling on him in a hard braking incident for example. Travel sickness is just not pleasant for dogs or passengers and neither is frequent wind-thewindow-down smelly episodes! Evaluate your dog’s diet before you travel – you will find that a raw, natural diet will eliminate, or greatly improve, flatulence, frequency and consistency issues and talk to your vet about travel sickness medication. Be prepared to stop often. We should all rest and revive at least every two hours on a long drive, but our doggy mates may need a wee and drink break more often, particularly if they are older dogs or nervous travellers. Travelling with your dog will require it to be on a leash possibly all day every day – a lot

different to wandering around the house and backyard free and unfettered. Exploring new places will be fun and pleasant if your dog walks well on the lead without pulling. It will also need to be comfortable and relaxed being tied up or tethered for long periods, including eating, drinking and toileting while tied up. Permanent tethering is fine for your dog providing it has sufficient exercise each day. Practice tethering at home well before you leave. Start with short periods and work up to a full day over time. Ensure he has access to water and shade on the tether and something to do, like a bone to chew. If your dog has slept inside the house for several years it might find sleeping outside the van or tent in a strange place on the end of a chain just a little too much to bear! Consider an acclimatising program at home quite a few weeks or even months before you go to get him used to sleeping under the stars or in a folding kennel or dog crate with cover. While you and your partner may be happy with an inside dog at home, a caravan is a much more compact living environment where, quite frankly, a dog just gets in the way

and can cause a serious trip hazard. It’s not as easy to clean the upholstery regularly in a caravan – there’s no vacuum cleaner and often sheets and quilts have to wait several weeks before you can find a suitable laundromat or dry cleaner. Also, while it might seem a bit mercenary to contemplate at this stage, it’s worthwhile giving this a mention; if you want to sell your caravan when you finish your travels it is much harder to sell if it’s had a dog living in it. Dogs in tents are even more problematic! Consider sharp dog nails on an air mattress? Food and utensils are stored at dog height in the tent and everything gets knocked over by wagging tails. Personally I’ve had more than one fly screen opening wrecked by a dog pawing it to get outside! Dogs on holidays are a magnet for mess and dirt. There will be burrs, sand, dirt, mud, wet fur and slobber for sure – all best kept in the great outdoors. One of the greatest pleasures of travel is making new friends and your dog is a great conversation starter and common point of interest with other doggy travellers. Therefore, a well socialised dog is paramount. Your dog must welcome frequent encounters with other dogs on walks, within campgrounds and, most importantly, at your campsite. While it might be great to believe your dog can protect your caravan and belongings, it’s simply not practical for it to bark every time someone walks close to or enters your site – and you won’t be popular with fellow travellers. Neither will you make new buddies if your dog barks and growls at people and other dogs while they are out for a walk on the leash. On the other hand, folks won’t be too keen on your

There’s no reason why the family dog can’t enjoy the family holiday.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


dog if he’s too friendly either! Jumping up, licking, begging for left over bbq scraps and, heaven forbid, humping are all anti-social travelling no-nos designed to ensure you won’t be invited to join the 5.00pm sundowners crowd. The anti-social dog is often this way because it is anxious and afraid. Many new places and faces will mean your dog is constantly worried – no fun for it and no fun for you. If your dog is anti-social, seek help from an experienced dog trainer to solve the problem before you leave or ask your vet for advice. Caravan parks and campgrounds generally have strict rules and regulations about keeping dogs on site, often for very good reasons, but there are also the unwritten rules or ‘etiquette’ and here are My Top Ten. n Ask before you bring your dog into someone’s camp or van parking area. n Never leave your dog unattended at the campsite while you go off sightseeing. n Don’t take your dog into the amenities block, recreation room, toilets, laundry or washing line area. n Don’t wash dog towels or dog coats and bedding in park washing machines. n Never use baby bathing facilities to wash your dog! n Pick up poo – always without exception. n Don’t ask other campers to mind your dog while you go anywhere. n Keep your dog on a lead – always without exception. n Don’t take your dog to bbq facilities, camp kitchens or poolside. n Before setting up camp, ask the incumbent neighbours if they mind that you have a dog with you and be prepared to choose another spot if they have any reservations. Not all people are dog people and even some people who love their own dogs aren’t so keen on other people’s pets. It’s courteous to keep this in mind and be sensitive about other folks’ feelings when living in such a close community environment. Preparation is the key to a happy holiday and there are a few canine-related activities to take care of prior to departure on a trip of any length, and a lot of it makes good sense even for a weekend outing. A visit to the vet should be the first port of call. Have the vet examine your dog thoroughly and tell him what your plans are so he can give any advice needed to manage any current health issues or possible problems. While you are at the clinic: n Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and you have a current certificate. n Pick up an adequate supply of any medication your dog needs.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


G – Do In L L e v a Tr

n Have the vet write a note or supply a copy of the dog’s medical records if your dog has any specific problems so you can give it to another vet on your travels if necessary. n Purchase tick and worm prevention medication. n Talk to your vet about dog first aid supplies, particularly if you are going into remote areas. n Program a 24-hour vet clinic number into your mobile phone in case you need emergency treatment advice. Identification is really important when you are travelling in case your dog is lost or stolen or you are in an accident. Microchips are the best solution because collars can be removed or lost, but make sure your contact details are current on the relevant database. Council registration needs to be current and your dog should have both the council tag and a tag/ disc engraved with your mobile phone number and possibly your car registration details. Consider pet insurance. Travelling increases the risk of something happening to your dog and enormous vet bills might mean your dream holiday is ruined. Your dog needs to be comfortable and relaxed while you are away, but so do you! If you are travelling for an extended period or going interstate to different climes, think about having your dog clipped – great for beach holidays in the north. Or, on the other hand, if you are going south, make sure you grow your dog’s coat out from his last clip well before you leave (or leave him clipped and buy a warm dog coat). Clipped dogs are cleaner and easier to look after on the road. You don’t need to pack the full grooming kit; less hair in the car and caravan and it’s far easier to dry them after a swim and check for ticks. Travelling with a dog is difficult and somewhat restrictive, but not impossible. National parks, home of the most spectacular scenery and arguably the best camping grounds, are totally off limits to dogs throughout the country, but that doesn’t mean you have to boycott them. Plan ahead, base yourself in a major town near the national park and book your dog into the local boarding kennels while you go touring. Most local vets will be happy to recommend a good boarding establishment. Some towns might even have pet-sitters that take dogs into their own homes for short periods. A Google search for camping or holidaying with dogs reveals many sites and forums with recommendations for pet friendly caravan parks, both public and private, and bush camping spots where dogs are allowed. If you’re not internet savvy or need recommendations on the road, the book, ‘Holidaying with Dogs’, now in its 11th edition, is



w.houn d is id e al ww

ouse (Houn d H el n n e k g ) Foldin ar as a kennel le nnel an d c e b k u o r d o f n a g n d it c Beddin sing one a u if ( e t a r Travel c Food bowl l Water bow arness an d/or h Dog food s) g a t ID r (with Le ad, colla in an d peg Teth er ch a ppers Poo b ags ing nail cli d lu c in s tool/ Grooming me) s ke th at ga li t a Dog towel/ h t se for tho e or b alls it r u o v Dog co at a f ve a if th ey h a Dog toys ( e n certificat lets Vaccinatio worm tab d n a l o r t n Tick co pplies. First aid su

a fabulous guide to pet friendly accommodation in Australia. The ever popular camping and caravanning guide, Camps 6, also indicates whether campsites and caravan parks allow dogs. No book or internet? Local tourist information centres and council call centres are a wealth of information. Camping and caravanning associations generally keep a database of pet-friendly campsites and their online forums are a handy source of current information. Even if caravan parks advertise as being pet friendly, it’s a good idea to telephone ahead

and make sure there hasn’t been a change of ownership and/or policy. Some park owners favour some breeds over others, so also check that your dog breed/type is welcome. Everyone that travels with their dogs, be it for a weekend or a permanent nomadic lifestyle, should be ambassadors for responsible pet ownership. Obey the rules and regulations, clean up after your dog, practise polite pooch etiquette and, in time, more campgrounds and caravan parks will accept that well cared for dogs are no trouble and a pet friendly policy might attract more business.

With some preparation your dog can

enjoy your holiday as much as you do!

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012



PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Love that lasts forever By Sonia Hickey

Immortalising pets by the process of taxidermy is becoming increasingly popular in Australia.


f you want one good reason to have your pet immortalised through the process of taxidermy you just need to talk to Australian television celebrity, Scott Cam. ‘Lizzie was such a good dog. I just wanted to keep her,’ he says of his faithful companion of 14 years, a Kelpie cross, who one day, without illness or any other prior warning, just decided that her time was up. ‘Kelpies are famous for just going off to die under a tree,’ says Cam. ‘Lizzie didn’t seem crook, but I knew something wasn’t right.’ Cam took Lizzie to be examined by vet Chris Brown (also a well known TV face) and, a little while later, Lizzie took her last breath. For Cam, having Lizzie immortalised was a reasonably spur of the moment decision. (Chris Brown made all the arrangements). ‘It wasn’t really something I had considered before,’ he says. ‘And maybe in some ways it was a selfish decision. But I’m sentimental … I’m always keeping things for posterity and thinking about the future generations. I wanted my kids to go on enjoying Lizzie and for their kids to experience her too. In many ways it just made sense to me.’ Lizzie now rests in a quiet corner of Cam’s bar at home. She is surrounded by other personal mementos and family treasures, but Cam is adamant that it is not a shrine. ‘Lizzie is just amongst the things that have been, and will always be, important to me. She’s still got paint on her fur from the last job we did together and for me it is better than a photo. It’s nice to still have her around.’

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Cam’s passion and candidness about this very personal decision are obvious. Despite the fact that Lizzie shared so much of her life with the Australian public (as a regular on Cam’s various TV shows and also as the subject of a couple of chapters in Cam’s book: Home Maintenance for Knuckleheads (Murdoch Books, 2003), her fame was not a factor. He simply wanted to honour Lizzie’s life. For other pet owners considering the process, this line between celebrating a life and wanting to prolong it, is not always clear and it’s for this reason that taxidermist Gary Pegg screens all the enquiries he gets about pets very carefully. ‘I am always wary that people want to do this because they think it will somehow help them grieve and relieve them of their pain, but – frankly – it’s not the answer,’ he says. Pegg is one of about 25 full-time taxidermists in Australia. The rest of the industry is made up of about 50 hobbyists who work part-time or on a casual basis. Pegg, who is also the President of the Australian Taxidermists Association, has made a 30-year career out of taxidermy and while the majority of his work is ‘trophy’ work, required by hunters, he does occasionally work on pets. Most recently he has completed a Boxer, and a Great Dane. He is about to start work on a Pomeranian.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

‘For hunters, having the trophy is a mark of respect for the animal,’ says Pegg. ‘Often, the game represents years of hard work and hunters then want to have the animal to keep. In Europe, in particular, there are strong traditions around the hunt and the trophy. ‘Pets’, he says, ‘are another story. It’s a totally emotional decision and if people make a rash decision out of grief, then, in my experience, they’re likely to change their mind or end up disappointed because in death the animal is not the same as it was in life.’ Pegg is a perfectionist. As he sees it, it is his job to make the animal as beautiful in death as it was in life: finding an appropriate pose and getting the facial features just right. He says achieving this result is relatively straightforward with game, but not so with a much-loved pet that has many years and fond memories attached to it. As an example, Pegg recently answered three phone calls from a prospective client wanting to have her pet Pomeranian immortalised. ‘Initially I was really concerned about the reasons why this lady wanted to have it done, but she was very persistent. When she explained to me that she’s elderly and the deceased dog was the last pet she would ever own, I was convinced that her head and her heart were in the same place,’ he says.

Pegg is always mindful that the process of taxidermy can take a long time. ‘Before the process is finished people can find that emotionally they have moved on, or they might have even acquired another pet,’ he says. ‘The grieving process is different for everyone and it can impact the decision. I don’t want my customers to end up unhappy.’ In Scott Cam’s case, while the family now has another dog, Rosie, Cam says the new pet has in no way affected the family’s feelings about Lizzie. ‘Lizzie was done 5 or 6 years ago now and when we first got her the kids were delighted. They were proud to be able to show her off to their friends. Then Rosie came along, and as a pup she was curious about Lizzie. ‘I had to teach her not to go too near,’ says Cam. ‘And over time she has developed a healthy respect for Lizzie.’ ‘Having Rosie has not changed the way I feel about Lizzie or the reasons I wanted to keep her. Lizzie is just Lizzie and she always will be – she’ll always have a special place in my heart. My grandfather used to carry around pictures of all his dogs in his wallet – dead or alive, and I’m a bit the same. All of my dogs have been – and will always be – a big part of my life.’ Even if you do decide to immortalise your pet, taxidermy is not cheap, and it’s a lengthy

“There’s a constant demand for the service. People want all kinds of animals done – from warthogs to fish to crocodiles.” process. A small-breed dog costs around $2,500, larger breeds even more, and can take anywhere from 2 – 8 months to complete. The process of taxidermy is also only suitable for animals that have died with their bodies intact. If your beloved was hit by a car or suffered some other trauma that left the skin damaged the process can be complicated and good results can be harder (and more expensive) to achieve. Taxidermy is also not ideal if your pet has had to have an autopsy because the process relies on the animal’s skin being in good condition. The skin is removed and it is then placed over a reconstructed (artificial) body known as a manikin. Furthermore, if you are considering having your own pet done, you need to be aware that the body needs to be frozen as soon as possible after death, and it needs to be kept frozen until your chosen taxidermist can start work. Dead animals start to decompose quickly, usually about 6 – 12 hours after death, even more quickly if the weather is warm. Most vets will have some kind of refrigeration facility and may be able to accommodate your dead pet for a few days, but ideally, you should have arrangements in place before the animal dies. You also need to consider how you are going to transport the dead animal’s body to the taxidermist. ‘My advice to people considering this, is to think very carefully beforehand – talk to your family and friends – and make sure that if you decide to proceed you are going to be happy in the long term,’ says Pegg. ‘If you don’t want the animal after it has been completed then you need to find a way to dispose of it, and that’s not easy.’ Once finished, animals should last indefinitely, as long as they are taken care of. ‘Ideally, they should be kept in a case, or at least on a shelf with some kind of protection,’ says Pegg. ‘The animal will need to be in an area where the heat and light are stable – not too close to a fire or heater, or an open window. This will also prolong the quality and longevity of the work.’ Pegg advises that animals should be lightly dusted from time to time and checked regularly for any signs of damage by moths or other bugs. ‘I also advise people to take their time choosing a taxidermist, which is why you really need to make the decision before your pet dies,’ says Pegg. ‘Go and meet some and choose someone whose work you like.’ While in America and Europe there are some formal training courses for taxidermists, in Australia, taxidermy is more of a “learn on the job” skill. Pegg himself started out as a hobbyist doing animals on weekends and in holidays when he

Taxidermied dog. was still at school after sending away for some books and materials. He says he was simply fascinated by the process, and his confidence and expertise has grown over time. He estimates that he would have worked on around 15 – 20 thousand animals during his career. The largest job he completed was 270 birds for a collector and the job took six weeks. Pegg says that over the past decade or so he has definitely noted an increase in the number of enquiries regarding pets. The Australian Taxidermy Association has a Code of Ethics that all members adhere to, but licensing is only required for those professionals who want to work on native species. The licensing does not cover domestic pets or feral animals. There is a “World Championships of Taxidermy”, which taxidermists from around the globe can enter. Winning or securing a place in this competition does provide a benchmark for excellence, and is something consumers can look for as a mark of a well-respected taxidermist. A common misconception is that taxidermy is a gruesome profession and something definitely not for the faint-hearted, but once you start doing some research, it becomes apparent that these specialists are highly talented artists who are experts in precision.

Another misconception is that it’s a trade dominated by men. ‘Women are very good at this,’ says Pegg. ‘They tend to have smaller hands and fingers, which can be an advantage, as well as a good eye for detail.’ Taxidermy itself is ancient. Historic evidence demonstrates that cave men saved the skins of the animals they killed. However, it seems to be the Ancient Egyptians who took the process further, embalming animals in the same way they did their kings and queens to lie forever in the great tombs. It has come a long way since then. ‘Like any industry it has evolved and there are always advances resulting in new techniques and new products which enhance the way we do things,’ says Pegg. ‘Once we did a lot of museum work, but these days museums use a lot of technology. Most of the work we do is for collectors.’ As for the future, it’s anyone’s guess, but this is not a dying profession by any means. ‘There’s a constant demand for the service. People want all kinds of animals done – from warthogs to fish to crocodiles. ‘Birds are quite complicated,’ he says, ‘But the strangest request I ever had was from someone wanting a jellyfish done!’

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Dog Culture

Robyn Osborne – author and dog owner


PuPPieS & dOGS annual 2012

Robyn Osborne and Sox (Photo courtesy of The Gympie Times).

Snowy and Sox Osborne live with their ‘mum’ Robyn at Gympie in south-east Queensland and are the inspiration behind the Dog’s Life magazine ‘Philosophical Pooch’ column and a recently published dog training book, Dog Logic – A pooch’s guide to dogs behaving badly.


ue to local council regulations Snowy and Sox couldn’t be present at a local café to be interviewed for this article, so Robyn kindly agreed to represent them and tell the story about how their thoughts made it into print. Luckily for this special doggy pair, their owner grew up adoring animals; developed into a self-confessed ‘animal fanatic’ and vegetarian at an early age; and loved writing. Following many uncreative years as an office bound public servant with an unfulfilled burning desire to write, Robyn became a student again and embarked on a career change that led to a very satisfying life as a primary school teacher with time and energy to indulge in her two favourite hobbies – writing and dogs! At about the same time she graduated from university and started to teach, Snowy and Sox were re-homed from the RSPCA (Snowy from Gympie and Sox from Noosa). Taking pity on the terrier cross and cattle dog cross – described as the canine yin and yang because of their opposite personalities – Robyn adopted both dogs into her family.

Book Review

Dog Logic – A pooch’s guide to dogs behaving badly by Robyn Osborne

The dogs were both special characters and, because writers have a creative mind, Robyn couldn’t help wondering what Sox and Snowy were thinking from time to time, so naturally she asked them – and recorded their life’s ponderings in a notebook! Snowy, now 16 and sadly reaching the end of her happy life, will leave behind the poignant, but yet to be published, Midget Bones’s Diary - Memoirs of a Mongrel. Sox, at 13, is at the peak of his literary career. Using his already credible household name as the Philosophical Pooch columnist for the former Bark magazine and current Dog’s Life magazine where he solves complex canine conundrums, Sox embarked on a serious literary endeavour – a dog training book. Publishers at Big Sky Publishing were impressed by this bitzer’s wit and wisdom and signed him up for a publishing deal on the spot. One year later Dog Logic was being unpacked in book stores and loaded onto iPods across the country. Although aimed squarely at ‘doggy’ people, Dog Logic is not an ordinary run-of-the-mill dog training manual. Like its author and fourlegged mentor, it’s funny and quirky with a dose of the practical thrown in. This book offers dog training from the dog’s perspective and is supported with helpful tips from Sylvia Wilson, founder of Bark Busters Australia. Robyn explained that Sox has a passion for saving dogs due to his former pound dog


een to turn your disobedient dog into the perfect pooch? Tired of man’s best friend ending up in the doghouse? Why not take an informative and entertaining walk on the wild side, with Dog Logic, a unique view of the world, one that is both canine created and related. Whether your best friend is a blue blood or a bitzer, Dog Logic has them licked. Should you let sleeping dogs lie, exactly who is top dog and can you teach old dogs new tricks? Dog Logic helps get you on the right scent and ensures you’re not barking up the wrong tree. And who better to take you on a journey deep into the canine world, but a member of the pack himself; Sox, the quintessential Aussie cattle dog and four legged philosopher. With 20 chapters covering issues from barking, beds and biting, to worrisome walks

status. ‘He hopes that if all new dog owners read his book and get a better understanding of the canine mind there will be less dogs condemned to a life of backyard prison or worse, surrendered and euthanased,’ she said. Sox and Snowy would love to hit the road on a book tour and dream of morning television show interviews and mass adoration at book store signings. But, alas, Robyn can’t indulge their fantasies – however well deserved! She’ll be in retreat for a few days soon as one of only eight authors chosen by publishers Allen and Unwin for a national manuscript development program to work on her young adult novel and then she’ll be busy pitching Memoirs of a Mongrel to prospective publishers to ensure Snowy’s legacy to literature. Learn more about Robyn Osborne, Sox and Snowy at www.robynosborne.com. Buy Dog Logic at www.bigskypublishing.com.au or book stores.

and everything in between, Sox offers his humorous but practical advice on resolving your doggy dilemmas. Supported with terrific tips from humans in the know, each chapter provides both canine and two-legged advice that is fun, uplifting and relevant. As a RSPCA puppy who overcame a difficult start to life, Sox is proof that a dog from the wrong side of the pound can achieve greatness. As the creative canine consultant to Dog Logic, Sox is no stranger to fame, having written a regular full page column in Bark! Australia magazine. Combining the creative genius of Sox the Philosophical Pooch, and his human assistant, Robyn Osborne, Dog Logic is the must have book for anyone searching for the ideal canine companion.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Shelley Craft

TV Star and beautiful, bouncing Boxer owner Courtesy of Health Mutt


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

It’s no surprise that Shelley Craft, the beautiful and bubbly TV presenter of Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, has grown up with Boxers – an entertaining, cheerful and forever-young breed that triggers infectious laughter. She can’t imagine life without them. he former Saturday Disney and The Great Outdoors presenter now has a seven-year-old Boxer named Jackson – a ‘big brother’ and playmate for her and husband Christian Sergiacomi’s young daughter, Milla Grace. But sadly, their eight-year-old Boxer, Beau, passed away last year. Beau suffered from various inherited diseases throughout her life, but she was a fighter and always bounced back, says Shelley. Life was certainly never dull at their Byron Bay (NSW) home with the two lively Boxers. Shelley laughs, remembering a magazine interview at her home not long after returning from hospital with Milla. “Beau was stung by a bee during the photo shoot and kept putting her back to the camera until the swelling went down – very funny and very human!” she says.

Christian dashed to the vet with the unhappy and very swollen Beau, marking the first of many memorable moments juggling the three kids. Shelley says caring for Beau and Jackson certainly prepared them for parenthood – you start to change the things you do for fun, she says. “I think there are certainly similarities to raising puppies and babies,” she says. “Keep it simple as their needs are very simple. Be disciplined and stick to your guns. A mixed message is just as confusing for kids as it is for dogs. If they are not allowed on the couch, they are NEVER allowed on the couch – the dog that is … Milla is not allowed on the couch with food.” We caught up with the lovely Shelley just before she moved with her family to Melbourne, Victoria, for the filming of the popular TV program, The Block 2012, on which Christian also works as cameraman. Shelley will return to her Challenge Master role, putting couples through their paces in a series of exciting, renovation-based challenges. Shelley talks about Beau and Jackson, who brought constant laughter to her home, and made her life complete.

Tell us about the dogs in your life to date. did you have a favourite? did your family have dogs when growing up?

What is the most indulgent thing you have done for Beau and Jackson?

I had Boxers growing up and to me they are the most incredible breed for families. Madison was our first and we later adopted her mother, Heidi, when she finished breeding. They are still spoken about as part of the family and I know that Beau and Jackson will always have a very special place in my heart.

They are treated as one of the family, but I do not spoil them too much. As a pack animal, they know their place.

How did you decide to get Beau and Jackson? Where did you meet? did you choose them or they chose you?

What have Beau and Jackson done to get them into ‘double trouble’?

I believe a family is not complete without a dog. Beau came first and she chose us – we stood in the yard and she came fumbling over and started chewing on our shoelaces. From that moment on it was love. We visited a few times before she was old enough to come home. Jacko was about 8 months old when we got him as a friend for Beau. He had been a show puppy and was looking for a happy home for ‘retirement’.

Dig, chew, poo ... all the usual. Beau used to blame it on Jackson, but since she has been gone, I have realised that she was definitely the trouble maker.

some people say they are like their dogs. Are you and your dogs alike in any way?

How have Beau and Jackson made you laugh – that is worthy of appearing in Australia’s Funniest Home Videos perhaps?


I like to think we all have a love of life and plenty of love to give.

do your dogs have a ‘special thing’ they do that makes them unique? Oh, they are very unique! Beau was such a special character – she had an incredible personality and was definitely my first child. Jacko has a tongue that sticks out of his mouth by about 2 cm, but as he gets more tired it comes further and further out. (The reason he is not shown anymore.) He also has a real way with the ladies!

What is their favourite treat? They both love roo tails.

do you talk to your dogs? Maybe tell them funny jokes or practise your lines with them as your audience? Talk? Yes. Jokes? No.

There is constant laughter around here, especially now with Milla and the way she and Jackson play together. He was so used to being wrestled and harassed by Beau, now that Milla is doing it there is no rest for him. The best big brother around!

Who does the poop scooping in your household? One in, all in.

does Milla say anything to call the dogs? ‘Jack Jack’ was her first word.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


home. There are beautiful moments every day with Milla and Jack. She cuddles him, pulls his ears and uses him for climbing practice. They play on the beach together and I even found her curled up with him in his bed.

What do you want Milla to learn from owning a dog? Love, friendship, responsibility, caring, independence, life and death.

dogs wearing costumes - fabulous fashion or doggy disaster? The cruellest thing imaginable.

Lassie, inspector Rex or Benji? Red Dog! I saw the movie on a flight and it was terrific!

if you could be reincarnated as a dog, what breed would you be and why? Definitely a Boxer – cool, fun and forever a puppy.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about getting a Boxer (or two!)? Do it, but be prepared for the energy levels. Boxers are forever young and have so much spunk about them. Although they need exercise every day, their staying power is pretty poor. They are happy with a good quick play a couple of times a day. They are so expressive and wear their heart on their sleeve. Be prepared to fall in love time and time again. Once you have had a Boxer, life is changed for the better.

do you think you’ll get another Boxer in the future?

How did you spread the love between your two dogs? Were they jealous of each other getting attention?

I would love to get another Boxer, but I think I will let Jack and Mills enjoy each other and when Milla is a little older and we think we can handle a new puppy, I will ask Jack if it is okay.

My dogs are my fur kids. Your heart just gets bigger. Beau was my first and a very special little girl. She had every possible hereditary condition you can imagine and was always in the wars. She was the million dollar dog and always bounced back with even stronger conviction. We miss her very much.

How does Jackson (and previously Beau) cope with your busy schedule? Very well, actually. We have a number of great carers and a terrific pet resort that they love to visit. I am sure they get more spoilt there than home. When we move to Melbourne for the filming of The Block 2012, Jacko is coming with us. He has lived down there before and will enjoy the change I am sure. I don’t think Milla would forgive me if I left him at home.

Has being a dog owner prepared you for raising kids? I think pet ownership certainly prepares you for having a child. You cannot just lock up and take off to work or holidays without a lot of preparation and organisation. You cannot change your plans and stay out all night; you need to really think ahead, and as we have had family holidays with the dogs before Milla was born, you start to change the things you do for fun. Perhaps your Sundays are more of a walk on the beach instead of a sleep in. My dogs used to sleep inside in winter, so that certainly prepared me for sleepless nights!

With Beau gone, what is Jackson and Milla’s relationship like? I feel so blessed that I had a couple of months with Milla and the two dogs. Beau was your typical first child whose nose was a little out of joint at first, but Jackson slept outside Milla's door from the first day she came home. As time went on I would have Beau licking her toes and Jacko sitting as close as he could without squashing her. Unfortunately, Beau passed whilst we were in Melbourne filming The Block 2011 so she never got to see Mills walking, but now Mills and Jacko are best friends and I often find her sitting with him reading him her books. It is a beautiful time in our


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

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Nichola Donovan – Animal and Human Rights Lawyer

I studied philosophy and learned about the concept of 'speciesism' from Peter Singer. That was a revelation: finally I could understand why I felt the way I did about animals. As I gave up eating meat and stopped using animals in ways that cause suffering, my mind opened up to a new understanding of animal justice. As humans, we have a psychological habit of excusing the things we (sometimes falsely) believe to be in our personal interest.

Where do you work? Thanks to family financial support, I’m able to volunteer as an animal – including human – rights lawyer. In 2007, I left full time employment with the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre to devote more time to animal law. I am serving my third term as president of Lawyers for Animals (LFA), a not-for-profit, legal policy ‘think tank’ based in Melbourne. LFA was founded in 2005 by lawyers that recognised a need to use their special skills and understanding of law to advocate for animal justice in Australia. Our aim is to alleviate animal suffering through education and by achieving incremental improvements in the laws and policies affecting animals. LFA can’t afford legal indemnity insurance yet, so we don’t provide legal advice or assistance, but we do offer legal referrals and general education on animal law, including hosting events. I work with an amazingly generous and talented executive.

describe a typical day in your professional life?

Nichola Donovan is a Melbourne lawyer specialising in animal and human rights. She spoke with Andrea Ferris about her career, her passion, her dog and her future.

What motivated/inspired you to take up the cause of animal rights? I have always felt happier and calmer in the presence of animals – they are my link to nature. I trust their pure honesty, caring instincts and am inspired by their gentle acts of kindness, their light tread on the earth and their acts of selfless love. I feel an affinity for animal suffering that I think many others – and our dominant paradigm – choose to ignore. Although I have some close and positive human relationships, my strongest and most trusting friendships have been with dogs and horses.

I divide my professional time between volunteering as a refugee lawyer with my former employer and volunteering as legal policy officer and administrator with LFA. I spend a lot of time responding to email enquiries; networking and generating ideas with others – again, mostly via email; undertaking research; and writing or editing policy submissions. I also spend a fair amount of time organising LFA’s educational events to promote animal justice.

is your profession your job or your lifestyle or both? I try to keep some delineation between my animal law work and my private life – partly for self-preservation purposes – but the truth is, they readily intersect. Deciding what to eat, what to buy, how to respond to people, basically, how to live – is all informed by my growing understanding of animal justice and my perceived purpose in life as a guardian of ecology.

What type of personality traits do you have that make you successful at what you do? Ironically, many would say that I’m ‘dogged’. I don’t give up easily, I’m very determined and I keep working to achieve the justice I seek.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


What makes you really angry or upset? Human acts of cruelty to animals, children or other vulnerable beings. Nothing enrages me more than seeing a person deliberately inflict pain and suffering on a defenceless being. Humans have developed enormous power in our ecological system and have a responsibility to wield it for good – not evil. So I think animal cruelty is both a fundamental breach of our moral code and of our reason for existing. Also, I find it particularly upsetting that animals have no realisation that they are blameless and powerless to end their suffering and, because they live in the moment, are without the sense of hope that eases most human suffering.

Why do animals need lawyers? Because animals have rights and, without laws and lawyers, most humans don’t respect the rights of those less powerful than themselves. The basic rights of animals are known as the five freedoms [see side bar] and were developed about 35 years ago: they are widely accepted and now it’s just a question of how these rights are interpreted when humans impact on them. Animals have the same neurological capacity to suffer; they experience pain the same way we do. I admire British enlightenment philosopher and legal scholar, Jeremy Bentham who wrote about animal rights in 1789: ‘ … The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?’

in terms of companion animals in Australia, what are the main issues you’re involved with? The first issue would be about, what we consider, the totally unnecessary euthanasia of hundreds of thousands of companion animals each year. LFA favours a 'no kill' approach for shelters, whereby animals with potentially good temperament and health are fostered and then adopted into good homes. Related to that is our strong encouragement for registration and desexing. Secondly, we are working with other groups to end the puppy farm industry. We think most people are horrified when they learn that puppies are raised in such appalling conditions. There needs to be higher standards and better enforcement of regulations around breeding. LFA is also taking a strong interest in the sentencing of cruelty cases, including those involving companion animals. We generally find that sentencing is not reflective of community feeling about cruelty towards animals – just as sentencing for domestic violence and sexual offences once lagged behind community attitudes.

do you believe companion animals' rights are adequately represented in Australia? Definitely not! At the moment animals are regarded in Australian law, and in most international jurisdictions, as mere property – completely underestimating their value. For instance, if someone deliberately injures your animal you may claim veterinary expenses and the cost of replacing the animal if it dies, but you may not claim for the pain and suffering that you and the animal endured. That doesn’t reflect what people feel about their animals. In the US there seems to be a small transition away from the property angle through family law where people seek guardianship of their companion animals after


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

The Five Freedoms

nger and thirst 1. Freedom from hu scomfort 2. Freedom from di in, injury and disease 3. Freedom from pa ve normally 4. Freedom to beha ar and distress 5. Freedom from fe the UK’s Farm Developed in 1979 by cil Animal Welfare Coun

relationship breakdowns. In Austria, animal lawyers unsuccessfully sought a guardianship order in relation to a chimpanzee. We need to regard animals, not as property, but as sentient beings that have rights. The best way to do this is probably to expand our notion of legal personhood to include animals and also to allow humans to act as their legal guardians, in the way we grant guardianship of intellectually disabled people who lack legal competence. Then humans can advocate for the animals' rights in court – ultimately the only way to ensure their rights are respected.

is there one issue that you believe is the most important for pet owners to know about and why? I want people to take very seriously the need to desex their animals and to consider where to purchase their next dog or cat. People think it’s fun to let their dog or cat have a litter, but the bigger issue is that around 200,000 dogs and cats are euthanased without reason every year. I want people to better understand speciesism, so they can have a truly great relationship with their companion animals and others. It’s a concept that we need to understand as much as racism or sexism. I think it’s human instinct to be afraid of that which is different from us and to accord lower rights to those already less empowered – conforming with the dominant paradigm. We need to look at why we are doing that and whether there is any justification for it. Even though it’s a hard concept to grasp, the rewards for us and our animal cousins are enormous, so I take every opportunity to spread the word about anti-speciesism.

Why should and how can the average family pet owner engage with animal rights? Start by respecting the five freedoms of your own animal, and then I recommend joining an animal group, such as LFA, Animals Australia or the RSPCA to become informed about the issues, such as possible changes in the law, that will improve the situation for animals, and the opportunities to exercise your democratic voice. Attending peaceful demonstrations is important: I’m a great believer in true democracy. I think the vast majority of Australians really care about animals and want cruelty to end, but the only way the government is going to know that is if people exercise their democratic voice.

How does Australia compare to other countries in terms of companion animal rights/welfare? Sometimes, when I think that Australia is dismal on this issue, I go to countries that I expect to be far more advanced, like New Zealand, and discover that we’re not too far behind. But, comparing Australia with Europe, I think we do have a way to go; they are getting rid of battery cages and factory farming, while our progress is much slower.

if you were the Australian Prime Minister for a day, what would you do to advance companion animals’ rights/welfare? Assuming I could, constitutionally, then as Prime Minister, I would: expand the concept of legal personhood to include animals; permit legal guardianship of animals by humans; and enshrine the five freedoms in law. I’d do this to grant animals their basic rights, and give them a voice in the courts, which I think would ensure respect of those rights. It’s not only about animal guardianship, it’s about us as animal organisations being able to voice our concerns in court and let our judges decide what is fair and reasonable. Right now it’s very difficult to get ‘standing’ – or the legal right to speak in court – for an animal, unless you own the animal, and that's just the first hurdle.

Tell me about your own dog? Pippa is a kelpie-heeler cross whom my dad rescued as a pup. She is nearly 16 years old and she’s my best friend. Pippa is so trusted and clever that she’ll sometimes deliberately ignore me and demand her own rights and interests – which of course I try to respect if they are reasonable! After Pippa passes on, which I hope is not for a few years, I think I’ll look at fostering dogs because that should give me the flexibility to work overseas if an opportunity arises. I love older dogs – there is something about the wisdom and dignity of an older dog that is so admirable. I really look forward to having dogs as part of my life. Although I am disappointed by their longevity – I’d love to have them for life – it is wonderful to share your life with many different dog ‘personalities’ and to learn from each one.

From your professional perspective, what advice would you give a new dog owner? Educate yourselves because there can’t be too much understanding about animals. The more you read, the more you watch people like Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, the more you learn from others who have good relationships with their animals, you’ll learn to respect and understand your own animal. Also, try to keep your animal well-behaved so it doesn’t reduce the rights of other dogs and guardians. Basically, just don’t cause harm: if what I’m doing or what my dog is doing is causing harm then I’ll try to stop it.

Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years? I’ve always had an idea that I’d like to work overseas in some capacity. There is a United Nations Declaration of Animal Welfare that has not yet been enacted and I’d love to work on bringing that into being. It would hopefully do for animal rights in the long term what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has done for humans. I used to see my future in human rights law, but in recent years I’ve discovered that animal rights law is the new frontier. It’s said to be the next big social justice movement, but it will take a lot of work to overcome the current prejudice against animals. Further reading: www.animalsaustralia.org www.voiceless.org.au www.rspca.com.au www.lawyersforanimals.org.au www.defra.gov.uk/fawc www.peta.org

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Dog sports



PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

ourpert: ex

lot Cathy s

eensland ich in Qu sw Ip m o t fr ity Dog Cathy Slo irman of the Agil A) of a h DA C (A is the 4. ralia Ltd n of Aust g member in 199 o ti ia c o Ass in d n a n u th for more d e was a fo which sh en training dogs lve e b vely invo e s ti a c She h s been a Sh . a h rs a d e n y a 0 than 2 25 years re o ges m d r Ju fo A’s ity with agil mber of the ADA . e e te m it a m is also ent Com Managem

On The Ball Photography

When did you start in agility and why? I started in agility in about 1990 in Tasmania where I was doing competition obedience. I thought it looked like a groovy sport to get into because it had more activity and more ‘fun’ than obedience. I then moved to NSW, joined an agility club and it opened my eyes to some of the possibilities in the sport. In the next four years I seriously embarked on my agility journey. In 1993/4 I moved to Queensland and really become addicted to the sport. We started a club and my husband and I founded the ADAA. I still love obedience and other dog sports, but now I seem to only be able to make time for agility. It’s taken me all around the world and it’s been a great thing in my life.

What dogs do you own? Over the years I’ve had German Shepherds and at the moment I have a four-year-old red German Coolie.

What do you love about the sport? I passionately love it. I love to see people come to our club and develop a relationship with their dog. Agility engenders fun and enthusiasm between you and your dog and I love seeing people have fun with their dog. Agility is a sport where positive training methods are used, and while it isn’t appropriate for puppies to train on the competition equipment, they can still learn all of the fundamentals, such as work=play=work (Susan Garrett), body awareness, self control and drive. I also love that every course I compete on is different. And, I like that it’s all about solving the puzzle set by the judge. I get such a buzz when my dog and I have a great connection and it’s all gone well. It’s a mental and physical challenge for the dog and the handler. Anyone can come along and have a good time even if they never compete. It’s a sport that encompasses everyone from age 10 to age 70! It’s not biased towards gender or age. Everyone encourages each other and are happy for others’ successes.

The lack of recognition of agility (by the state and federal governments) as a sport or activity is quite frustrating. It makes it much more difficult to access support (coaching, grants or resources) to develop the not-forprofit clubs. In comparison, the Belgium government funds the sport because they see it from the human activity perspective. Conversely, our local governments are generally very supportive because they see it at a grass roots level not only for a people activity, but also to promote responsible dog ownership. Personally, the challenge (and thrill) is recognising each dog’s individual needs and applying the learning to each dog as no two are the same. I live by the mantra that my dog is a mirror image of my abilities as a trainer (Susan Garrett, Canada) and as I learn from these challenges my skills and knowledge as a trainer grow.

Paul Durante

What do you find the greatest challenge?

Cathy slot with her german Coolie agility dog.

Are you a member of a club? Agility Dog Club of Queensland Inc (trains at Tivoli, west of Brisbane).

What is your best achievement with your dogs? My German Shepherd was the second dog to achieve a Master Australian Agility Dog title.

I recently achieved a portrait of one of my dogs to recognise my Bronze Handler Award (at least 100 clear round or qualifying certificates).

What does the future hold? I am the team manager of Team Australia who is going to the FCI World Agility Championships in 2012 in Fort Worth, Dallas, USA. In 2014 I’d like to be a competitor. I would also like to return to Malaysia (where I have taught previously) and again work with the handlers and dogs there.

Natalie Kirkwood

I am equally proud that my young dog is now having the greatest time ever at competitions compared to her struggles early on with the environment because she was shy.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Simone Holt


gility started in England in the late 1970s as a part-time show at an equestrian event and has grown to be one of the biggest dog sports in the world. It came to Australia in the late 1970s and the not-for-profit ADAA was formed in 1994 to promote the international style of agility. There are agility clubs throughout the country. Agility is similar to equestrian show jumping. It has a series of obstacles, including hurdles, tunnels, a-frames, weave poles and dog walks. The objective is for the dog and handler team to get around the course set by the judge without fault within the set time. All dogs run without leads and collars – it’s all about the relationship between the handler and the dog. Any dog can compete in agility – it doesn’t have to be purebred. The smallest dog currently competing in Qld is a Mini Dachshund and the largest is a Great Dane. While working breeds like the Border Collie are popular and successful agility dogs, as long as the dog is healthy and is not carrying excess weight it can have a go. Dogs of a similar height compete against each other, but they won’t necessarily be the same body build. While agility advocates say that any dog can compete as long as it has four legs, there was the example of a three-legged poodle successfully competing in NSW! People usually start with the family pet, get hooked on agility and then get another dog. Depending on the dog’s general health and wellbeing and its size and structure, a dog can compete well into its senior years. As the dog gets older it can move down a class from international to regular, where the jump and equipment heights are lower, giving it and the handler the opportunity to compete for longer. There are two types of tests at an agility competition and a number of different ‘games’. Agility Tests comprise of 15 – 20 obstacles and the judge sets a course suitable for the standard.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Jumping Tests comprise all the obstacles except contact equipment (the ramp obstacles) and require dogs to be faster than the agility test. Games add variety and an extra challenge for the handler. In some games handlers can avoid obstacles that their dog is not good at and repeat obstacles that their dog excels at. Individual Games are games where handlers and dogs compete as individuals and not as part of a team. Pairs Games are games where two dogs (each with a separate handler) participate as a team. These include pairs relay and strategic pairs. Team Games are where three or more dogs (each with a separate handler) participate as a team. These include team relay and team knockout. Challenge Events consist of multiple rounds, with results of the rounds being added together and are often run over a combination of days. Final scoring is based on completing the course within the time set, and the number of faults, which are penalty points given for making mistakes and not finishing within the set time. To compete in agility competitions sanctioned by the ADAA you have to belong to the ADAA. Competitions are held at club training grounds, which are generally public parks or facilities. The public are always encouraged to attend as it’s a great spectator sport. The ADAA advertises all competitions and events on their website. ADAA also holds training days from time to time however its affiliated clubs provide the great forums for dog owners to go along and train their dog. Most people start agility with their family pet and the best dogs are those that are well-behaved pet dogs that at least walk well next to their owner and come when they are called. Joining a club has the advantage of being able to learn foundation training and the skills necessary to build a strong relationship with your dog.

Natalie Kirkwood

Personality profile – what sort of person does this sport suit? Anyone wanting to enjoy themselves with their dog. Dog agility, like most dog sports, can be humbling as sometimes the dog’s level of understanding and skills isn’t what we thought it was or would like it to be. The best outcomes are from people prepared to build on the relationship with their dog, put in the work at home and learn from their experiences.

Fitness – do you need to be physically fit and able? Being fit does help, but you don’t have to be fit. People can compete on mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Normally, dog agility involves a balance of something like 50 per cent input from the dog and 50 per cent from the handler. If you are less physically able, you have to become a better dog trainer so your dog can contribute more.

Family friendly – can the whole family get involved and are there events for youth? Dog agility is very family friendly. Children must be over 10 years old to compete and can compete with titled dogs to increase their skill level and confidence. There is a Junior Handler Owner Trainer class where youth receive extra certificates for training and handling their own dog.

Bank balance – how much does it cost? The sport can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. There is the purchase price of the dog and its general health care and upkeep expenses. Club membership ranges from $20 - $50 per year. Training fees are about $5.00 per night and to compete costs $50 for a three-year ADAA membership plus nomination fees of around $4.00 per event. Competitions are generally in metropolitan areas, so travel expense is minimal. Serious competitors can spend money on private training and many use therapies such as massage and chiropractic treatment to keep their dogs in peak form.

Tick tock - how much time do you need to spend training/practising/exercising your dog? Allow 1 – 2 hours per week at a training venue and 10 minutes productive training time daily. Plus the dog will need regular general exercise and activities to keep it fit.

What is the best way for someone to get started? Go to www.adaa.com.au for list of clubs, visit a competition and talk to someone or telephone 0423 138 914 or email admin@adaa.com.au

social set – is it easy to make friends in this sport? Club training is quite social and the more experienced people help less experienced people. Competitions usually take a whole day, or perhaps the afternoon and evening, and there is plenty of opportunity to socialise and interact with other friendly and supportive competitors.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Dog sports


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dney i, near Sy om Catta ecretary of fr , y sa d Brian Lin th Wales, is the S tion and ou in New S an Flyball Associa orwest li N ra e st er of th the Au n memb b. o ti lu a C d ll n a u b a fo ogs Fly rd e d n u h T


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Brian Lindsay and Bundy

When did you start in flyball and why? I started flyball in 2002 because my wife and daughter were both competing and I was driving them to competitions and training. So, I decided that if I was going to be there I might as well get a dog and join in.

What dogs do you own? My first flyball dog was Holly, a four-month-old rescued Labrador that had been surrendered for aggression – she was jumping up and nipping children. Holly is 11 years old now and still actively competing and hasn’t nipped anyone in years. The next dog that I trained (and retired) was a Kelpie cross who wasn’t motivated – she was the slowest Kelpie in Australia! I currently race a chocolate Border Collie named Bundy.

What do you love about the sport? The first thing I love about it is that the dogs love it. Flyball combines all the things that a dog loves to do: jumping, catching a ball, and being rewarded. I like the challenge of being part of a team sport and the social aspect. Our club does at least two interstate trips a year and regularly goes places for weekends with the dogs and nice people.

What do you find the greatest challenge? Recognising that I am part of a team and understanding how to get the best out of all the dogs in the team. It’s not uncommon for teams to change in between competitions so you have to learn how to run on to other dogs in your team and where to release your dog from. You have to be able to judge how quick the other dogs are and try to get your dog to cross over the line within a foot [30 cm] of the dog returning as it crosses the line. Every foot you are out adds about 1/10th of a second to the team’s time. A gap caller lets you know how close the dogs are on the line. Dogs can’t cross early on to the other dog before it gets back because the dog has to run again and there is a risk of collision.

Are you a member of a club? I’m a member of the Norwest Thunderdogs that operate out of Castle Hill in New South Wales. I’ve been a member since the club was formed in 2004. We are the current Australian record holders for first division and we were the national champions from 2005 to 2010 – six years in a row. It’s been a very successful club.

What is your best achievement with your dogs? I’ve been a member of two national championship winning teams, however my best achievement is getting my Labrador up to grand champion stage. She is the only Labrador in Australia to achieve that award. Both Bundy and Holly are flyball grand champions. To be a grand champion you need to accumulate 2000 points. You get two title points for winning a race with a clean run and if you run clean but lose the race you get one point. It took Holly and I ten years to achieve this – that’s a lot of tennis balls!

What does the future hold? Both of my dogs are getting on a bit. Holly is 11 years old and may only have a year’s more racing in her. Bundy is seven, so he’s going to be racing for a few more years, but I’ll be looking for another dog to start training next year.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012



lyball started in North America in the early 1970s. Originally it was a demonstration sport with one dog catching a ball out of a ball launcher developing into a team sport in the 1980s. The first competition in America was held in 1981. The sport came to Australia in the early 1980s, but didn’t take off. It wasn’t until 1996 that the Australian Flyball Association (AFA) was formed. Flyball started around the Australian Capital Territory and quickly spread to New South Wales and Victoria. The AFA currently has more than 1000 members and there are 45 affiliated clubs in all states except the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Any dog can do flyball – it just depends on how fast you want your dog to be. The faster dogs tend to be Whippets or working dogs like Border Collies and Kelpies or crosses of these breeds. Flyball is done in divisions so you compete against teams of similar speed. You might believe that because your dog is ball ‘crazy’ it will be a flyball champion, but that’s apparently not the case. Ball focused dogs think the game is over when they get the ball, whereas in flyball the game’s not over until the dog brings the ball back to you. There is the need for a certain level of ball focus, but you can train a dog to be ball motivated, it just takes a little longer. According to Brian Lindsay, most flyball club members only run one dog. Some run two dogs, but very few run more than two dogs. Dogs are not able to compete until they are more than one year old to ensure their growth plates are set before they start jumping. However, as long as they keep loving it and are healthy, they can continue to compete well into old age – they just drop down into a lower division as they slow down. To compete in flyball your dog must be registered with the Australian Flyball Association. Flyball is a team sport. It’s a relay where each dog jumps over four hurdles; triggers a flyball box, which releases the ball; catches the ball; turns; and jumps back over the four hurdles returning to its handler. As one dog crosses the finish line the next dog in the team is starting its run. The course is 31 metres up and back.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

The dog handler has to release the dog and call the dog as it turns on the box and then run away from the dog to get it to come back as quickly as possible, usually with a motivator (dog toy) or food treat so the dog gets a reward when it brings the ball back. And there’s no time to waste after the dog is released. Fast dogs will complete the course in four seconds – in the United States the really fast dogs are doing it in 3.6 seconds. Flyball clubs form teams based on the speed of the dogs and their compatibility. The jump heights are determined by the height of the smallest dog in the team – so it’s popular to include at least one small dog on a team! The minimum jump height is 17.78 cm (7 in) and maximum height is 35.56 cm (14 in). A flyball competition has three heats or the best of five heats. Each team competes against another team for a race. Two points are scored for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss. There are between six and eight races per team per day and it’s the team with the most points at the end of the day that wins the division. If a dog is really motivated it could be trained to race in six months but, if it’s not that keen at the beginning, it could take up to a year before it can compete. Training is held at local flyball clubs where they begin by determining whether a dog is right or left handed because that’s the way it will naturally turn on the flyball box. Dogs are taught each element of flyball separately then the elements are joined together. Balls are not introduced until the dog is at the fairly advanced stage of being able to take four jumps, jump onto the flyball box, turn and return to its owner. Flyball is done off lead in a team environment so the dog has to be really well trained before it goes into a competition because crossing over into the other lane is dangerous and can lead to aggression incidents. Flyball competitions are usually held at shows, pet fairs and expos, and other dog-related events. Because it’s such a fun spectator sport, flyball club members are often asked to demonstrate the sport at fetes, fairs and community activities.

Personality profile – what sort of person does this sport suit?

Bank balance – how much does it cost?

You need to be able to move and run, but don’t need to be too fit. However, your dog must be fit as it’s the one that does most of the running.

Apart from the normal cost of keeping a dog, flyball costs between $40.00 and $50.00 to belong to the AFA and your local flyball club and $4.00 per night training fees. Competition entry fees are around $100 for the team, so $20 per dog and for that you get a full day’s sport. Many people use rescue dogs for flyball, which cost less than a purebred dog. Keen competitors also use therapies such as massage and chiropractic treatment to keep their canine athletes in tip top racing form.

Family friendly – can the whole family get involved and are there events for youth?

Tick tock – how much time do you need to spend training/practising/exercising your dog?

All kinds of people that like to have fun with their dogs.

Fitness – do you need to be physically fit and able?

Yes, it is a family sport. Junior handlers start at eight years of age and handle dogs in the ring under the supervision of an adult.

social set – is it easy to make friends in this sport? It is a team oriented sport and very social.

Dogs in competition need a walk at least four times a week for at least 40 minutes. Most attend at least one training session per week and travel to competitions can take as little or as much time as you want.

How do you get started in flyball? Join a flyball club. Visit www.flyball.org.au to find a club near you or approach someone at a flyball demonstration or event and have a chat.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Dog sports

The Urban


Most dogs were originally bred to do a job and this is no more evident than in ‘herding’ breeds – dogs traditionally used to help farmers with stock. These days, many herding dogs are kept as suburban family pets and never actually get to run in a paddock, let alone use their natural herding instinct. However, thanks to some dedicated ‘herders’ and their dogs, there are clubs throughout the country that hold herding tests and trials and are happy to arrange for herding breed dogs to ‘have a go’ at herding.


What is your best achievement with your dog?

Louise McFarland – Rottweiler Herder When did you start in herding and why? Tito and I started herding about 18 months ago. We wanted to try herding as a new sport, firstly because the Rottweiler is such a versatile breed and secondly, because I wanted my dog to try his ‘paw’ at every opportunity and give him a job to do. I knew herding was in his blood and thought he would at least enjoy giving it a go. Most people wouldn’t realise that herding was a big part of the Rottweiler’s history – right back to Roman times where Rottweilers drove the cattle for the Roman Army during war.

What dog/s do you own? My husband and I own two wonderful Rottweilers: Tito, a three-year-old male, that participates in obedience, conformation, carting and herding; and Tank, a two-year-old male, that participates in obedience, herding, carting and is a certified therapy dog.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

What do you love about the sport? I love the close bond and relationship Tito and I have formed as a herding team. The enjoyment of such wonderful outdoor surroundings and great friends we’ve made through the sport and the general atmosphere when competing – it’s so friendly, fun and supportive.

What do you find the greatest challenge? The greatest challenge we face is getting sufficient time on stock. My nearest venue for stock hire and lessons is with 'Double K Herding' in Nyora, Victoria, which is a 45 minute drive each way from home, but well worth the travel once a week for a lesson or workshop.

Are you a member of a club? I am a current committee member of the Victorian Herding Association and a member of the Rottweiler Club of Victoria, the Rottweiler Club of South Australia and the Utility Club of Victoria.

The best achievement with my dog would have to be the first time I ever took Tito herding. It was the first time I got to see my dog do one of his most natural instinctual behaviours. Without any prior training or commands, Tito just did it and it was such an overwhelming and emotional experience – I was as hooked as Tito. This year [2011] we competed in the Victorian State Herding Trials up against other pure breeds and working breeds, such as Australian Shepherds, Cardigan Corgies, Border Collies, Kelpies and Koolies. Tito made me so proud, gaining high scores consistently over the weekend and achieving overall the state ‘Herding Champion 2011' – the first Rottweiler in Australia to gain this title. Currently Tito is the highest competing ‘Rottie’ at his level in Australia.

What does the future hold? Since Tito is only young, we hope to have many years of herding left in us because there is still so much more to learn. I hope in the future to continue the sport to the highest level possible on all three stock types (sheep, ducks and cattle) smashing many more records and showing what an amazing breed the Rottweiler is! My dogs are truly the best gift I have ever received and I’m thankful for them and their individual qualities each and every day.

ourpert: ex


cl arke

ry of the e, Secreta rk la C n ly e Joc ociation. erding Ass H n a ri to Vic


armers have used herding dogs for much of human history. In the late 18th or early 19th century, British farmers developed a competitive sport based on the daily work of the farm. Herding came to Australia with the First Fleet, which brought cattle, sheep and dogs. Farmers’ herding competitions date back to the 19th century in Australia and these competitions, while built on the British heritage of herding, also began to reflect Australian conditions, such as yard dog work. Competitions under Australian National Kennel Control Council (ANKC) rules started in 2001 and are designed to preserve and develop the herding abilities of all herding breeds. To take part in ANKC competitions, you need one of the breeds listed in their herding rules or a dog that is apparently of one of these breeds or a mix of herding breeds. Common herding breeds are German Shepherds, Rough, Smooth and Border Collies, Kelpies and Australian Cattle Dogs, but there are many others. If you have a dog that is not on the ANKC list and not aggressive to stock, you may be able to arrange a ‘herding experience’ for that dog, but you won’t be able to enter competitions.

Most owners of herding breed dogs say that their breed is the best! However, it’s fair to say that, within any breed, some dogs are better at herding than others and every breed has its own dominant style of work. You don’t need more than one dog to go herding and a dog can keep herding while ever it’s fit and healthy. Herding trials are held in public dog ‘event’ areas or private properties throughout Australia, but not the Northern and Capital Territories. Herding involves controlled movement of stock around a standard course that mimics situations that occur on a farm, for example, putting stock through a narrow laneway or into a pen. Herding is different from other dog sports because it’s not just about the handler and the dog – there is a third party – the stock. The handler must watch the stock as well as the dog and develop an understanding of their behaviour. The dog is usually a long way ahead of its handler because of its instinctive knowledge of stock behaviour, but it has to grow in confidence and effectiveness while learning to respond to its handler’s commands. The reward is that, if the dog has a strong herding instinct, it will love herding more than anything in the world. There is a prescribed maximum and minimum size of rectangular ‘ring’ set up for each level of competition. As in obedience trials, there is a series of levels to work through. The three lower levels are ‘tests’ and the three higher levels are ‘trials’. As well as advancing up the levels, competitors choose what type of course they want to compete on and whether they want to herd cattle, sheep or ducks. At the lower test level, there is a set of criteria that the competitors must meet to pass. At the trial levels the competitor starts with a perfect score of 100 and has points deducted if exercises are not completed correctly. If you fail an exercise, you fail the competition. There is no obligation to belong to a herding club to compete, but registration with a state kennel council or canine association is necessary to enter an ANKC event. Herding training is done in a yard or paddock with stock and there are herding trainers throughout the country to help teach dogs and handlers this challenging sport.

Personality profile – what sort of person does this sport suit? Somebody energetic and extroverted who loves being outdoors and doesn’t mind being covered in mud now and then!

Fitness – do you need to be physically fit and able? Not everyone is, but it certainly helps.

Family friendly – can the whole family get involved/are there events for youth? Children of all ages are very welcome at herding events. The age at which children can enter competitions varies within states and there are no specific junior events.

social set – is it easy to make friends in this sport? Yes!

Bank balance – how much does it cost? The main costs are lessons, trial entries and fuel to get to and from lessons. If you have your own stock, there is the cost of keeping them, but if you don’t, you may need to pay for extra lessons or practice time.

Tick tock - how much time do you need to spend training/practising/exercising your dog? Herding breed dogs usually have high energy levels and need a lot of exercise every day. If you don’t have your own stock, you should aim to herd at least once a week, weather permitting.

What is the best way for someone to get started? Find a teacher by searching the internet or contacting a kennel club or canine association. You usually take your dog to the teacher’s property and train on their stock.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


Dog business

Healthy Hounds Pet Food Story and images by andrea Ferris

Most of us would love to have a job or a business that relates to our sport, hobby or passion – it’s apparently one of the keys to success and happiness. Mark and Beck Higginbottom from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland are a young, entrepreneurial, dog loving couple who are expecting their first child and are gradually building a business with a lofty aim – to get every dog healthy.


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Mark and Beck Higginbottom with spana.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012



ark and Beck grew up with dogs. They met, fell in love, married and after renting a house for a while finally bought their first home and immediately set about finding just the right dog. After much searching they settled on a Spanador (Spaniel x Labrador) and “Spana” joined the family. ‘Because we are fanatical about our food and choose to eat naturally to avoid chemicals, preservatives and additives, we wanted Spana to eat as well as we did,’ says Beck. ‘So, we researched pet food and were shocked to discover there was no commercial dog food we were willing to feed our dog. Basically our philosophy is that if we won’t eat it ourselves we won’t feed it to our dog.’ The couple began studying what a dog should be eating, what dogs need in terms of nutrition and how their metabolism works and started making their own dog food. ‘Wherever we went with Spana people would ask what we did to make our dog look so healthy – mainly because his coat was so shiny. Our answer was that we fed our dog properly. I suppose it’s like us, if you eat properly and exercise regularly you’ll maintain your health.’ Requests were frequently made for Mark and Beck to make dog food for others, and they recognised a groundswell of interest from people wanting to feed their dogs differently and therefore a possible business opportunity. ‘Our first concept was to consider what dogs would eat in the wild. It’s all raw, fresh and natural. In the wild they wouldn’t cook it, bake biscuits from it, or add anything to it,’ they explain. ‘We undertook further research using the internet, books and veterinary advice into vitamin and mineral requirements and food groups and types of food, such as meats, fruit and vegetables and other whole foods for dog food. We itemised exactly what was needed, broke it down into its components and came up with a recipe. Then we engaged a human nutritionist to conduct an analysis and happily her verdict was that we were “spot on” with our ingredients.’ Mark and Beck were adamant that their dog food was going to be made from human-grade produce, including the beef, chicken, and kangaroo, which forms the bulk of the product. ‘Raw pet meat is supposed to have blue dye in it,’ explains Mark. ‘When we looked up the number of the blue dye we found that it accumulates in mammals and is a possible carcinogen. So to avoid using it we had to make the dog food under human food regulations, which makes it more time consuming for production, but ultimately better for the dog.’


PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

Basically our philosophy is that if we won’t eat it ourselves we won’t feed it to our dog.

Friends and acquaintances offered their dogs to be used as guinea pigs! One dog had a bad skin condition – bald and itching and smelly. After about three months, Beck received a call from the dog’s tearful, but very happy owner. She had taken the dog out for a walk and, for the first time, someone had commented on how beautiful her dog’s coat was. The dog apparently had made an amazing recovery – it was healthy, had a lovely coat, wasn’t smelly and had regained its playful personality. As with most new ventures, the paperwork proved to be the biggest hurdle. It took the couple almost a year to conduct their research and obtain the necessary government approvals to go into production. Mark agrees that the process of dealing with the rules and regulations was their greatest challenge. ‘We had to engage Safe Food Queensland for accreditation and licensing and hire a food consultant to test the food, the process and our procedures. We learned a lot during the year,’ he adds. ‘Particularly about all the health issues, struggle and expense that dog owners can experience – many of which can be solved by good nutrition. Also, we were surprised at all the human conditions that dogs can get like pancreatitis and diabetes – again caused by eating too much processed foods.’ When it came to naming their new business, Mark and Beck wanted something simple that said exactly what they wanted to achieve – so Healthy Hounds it was. ‘We did our market research and while there are other natural dog foods on the market, our point of difference is that we use human-grade ingredients and our product is prepared in a fully certified production facility under human-grade rules and regulations. ‘The produce is supplied locally where possible and many suppliers, who also supply restaurants, are surprised that their product is to be used in dog food!’ At the moment, Healthy Hounds Pet Food is restricting its operation to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. ‘We supply to selected health

food stores, pet shops, veterinary practices and home deliver,’ explains Beck. The pair hasn’t spent a lot on fancy marketing. ‘Marketing a new product without spending a fortune is difficult,’ says Mark. Our best advertising is word-of-mouth. We’ve put brochures in selected retail outlets on the Coast and we sell at local markets, which is great because you get to talk to people directly about their dog’s problems and explain how the product might help them.’ Healthy Hounds Pet Food has a website, but the couple don’t sell online because adding frozen freight cost to their product to get it interstate, for example, would be uneconomical at this stage. Mark works as an avionics engineer four days a week while Beck does the bookwork, home deliveries, takes orders and arranges the supply of produce. They spend one day a week at the production facility – although this arrangement will change when the baby arrives – which means their next step will be employing staff. Possibly not a good candidate for the Richard Branson school of business success, Beck says frankly, ‘We aren’t in business to be millionaires, we’re in it to help dogs.’ ‘We’ll expand the business gradually and it will be as big as it needs to be to get every dog healthy,’ she says. The Healthy Hounds team of two has some sage advice for the new dog owner. ‘If the ingredients aren’t human grade and whole foods that you understand or have numbers in it – I wouldn’t feed it to our dog! If you are worried about what food you are feeding your dog, read the label. If there is something in it that you don’t understand then perhaps you shouldn’t use it.’ Visit www.healthyhounds.com.au [Note: Dogs require a nutritionally balanced diet and it is not recommended that you make your own dog food without seeking good advice as to the exact ingredients and amounts required.]

spana, the inspiration behind Healthy Hounds Pet Food.

PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012



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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012




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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012


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PuPPies & dogs annual 2012

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