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Puppies do not come with a remote control!
The delightful images of cute puppies cuddled up together, rolling about, fluffy bundles of love and an overload of love and wholesomeness are often misled images of the perfect dog. Behind the scenes of puppy ownership and we are talking of dogs a year old, there can be absolute chaos and unexpected behaviours that were not expected. Even if you are an experienced dog owner or handler having been around older dogs having a puppy can knock you sideways. The best preparedness for a puppy is almost never enough. They simply do not come with a remote control to switch on and off behaviours, responses and unexpected acts of puppydom. It's OK, the best of us can become unhinged when a puppy is about. Puppies are new on the planet, they do not know the protocols of living in human society, they have no idea where to pee and poop, how to greet visitors, why barking is considered unsociable and why it's not a good idea to run out into the garden with your underwear. They simply do not know because nobody has shown them any different, they are just being a puppy and doing what they know best and that is having fun, exploring and testing the environment, people and things around them. That's OK too. Of course, it's not ideal for a puppy to do all of the above and there is often a frantic knee-jerk reaction to get a puppy toilet trained, learn some commands and hopefully get him or her to walk on the leash correctly, all in the goodness of time. Take a deep breath and look at the bundle of puppy in front of you. He's willing to please you, wants your undivided attention and you are the love of his life. His mind is like a sponge willing to soak up all information around him, learn new things but most of please you as his new found buddy. Now is the time to start the all-important obedience training, and build a Platform of Communication (this is where we come in) to bridge the gap between his language and your language. He speaks dog and you speak human, never the two will meet, this is where you are wrong, we have developed a third language that both you and your dog will understand, bridging the gap and making life a whole lot easier. The Dogzbody Platform of Communication is designed for both dogs and their owners to connect, understand each other and move forward in a common state of mind. It can be introduced to puppies and adult dogs alike from basic obedience to serious working dog abilities. So if you are all puppied out and need to connect with your puppy in a structured way start by understanding your puppy with our New Dog Online Course. Learn everything about having a puppy, what to expect and how to handle them. A good start for both of you.
Coprophagia, The what’s and Therefore's!
In this blog we discuss the causes and solutions for dogs eating their own or others feces.
Would you eat dry crackers every day? Food fads are not a new thing when it comes to nutrition both in humans and pets. Just like fashion, diets have ups and downs in what is popular and what is not. Some diets have staying power and stand the test of time whilst others get negative feedback for one reason or another. The same is with dog food, or is it? Years and years ago, back when I was a kid, commercial dog food was almost unheard of, it was only available in the occasional shop with limited stock and was very expensive, it was considered a luxury. Instead, nearly all dog owners prepared their own dog food, it was part of the routine in the kitchen for most households. Dogs ate real food and not dried, boring biscuit day in and day out. There were two diets most dog owners chose from, eating raw meat BARF (Bones and Raw Feeding) or cooked meals. The result of either of these diets was healthy, happy dogs. Variety is indeed the spice of life and dogs enjoyed eating real meat or raw, crunched-on bones, often getting leftovers from their owner's plate, the saying "put it in the dog's bowl" was common and the dog often got a variety of goodies at night with their regular meals. Meat back then was far more organic, the demand on the food chain was less and so meat didn't have as many antibiotics and preservatives pumped into it, which made for healthier meat fit for consumption for both humans and dogs. Dogs didn't suffer as many dental problems, intestinal issues were very few, allergies were almost unheard of and there were more satisfied dogs. Having an interesting diet meant fewer "food-related" behavioural issues for example "coprophagia" or "obsessive food possession." So why did this diet fad change all those years ago to commercial kibble and why are we now seeing a turnaround back to raw feeding? It's simple; Life speeded up for most people, time became more limited, working days got longer and less time was given to truly look after and care for your dog both inside and out. This included preparing your dog's meal. So along came dog kibble or biscuits and canned foods, complete with their marketing frenzy to make it easier! But what are the consequences of choosing these convenience foods over a raw or sometimes cooked diet for your dog? Imagine eating dried crackers every day, twice a day............... forever! Hmmm! Pretty tough huh! Well, that's what you are expecting your dog to do every day. Dog kibble for the most part is just biscuit, each bite is the same as the last, each crunch is the same as the last and most dogs don't even know they are eating food as they hoover it down so quickly it's gone in a matter of seconds, usually with not much enjoyment and satisfaction and only because it had been sprayed with yummy smelling odour additives. For a dog eating, times are "an event" in their day that is important to them. In the wild, after hunting dogs eat socially together. The hunt and eating event is important for survival and also bonds the pack together, it's an event that the entire pack enjoys. Each kill will be different, sometimes a large animal, sometimes smaller. With a smaller kill, there is less to go around but with the pack, nothing is wasted, everything is eaten, the flesh, bones, offal, fur the whole lot is digested, and nothing goes to waste. Not only is this an efficient way to eat it also ensures an all-around nutritionally balanced diet. The nutritional value of eating all parts of another animal ensures a balanced diet where all parts of the animal's health are catered for. Quite simply eating raw food is what dog's should be doing! It's natural, it's carnivorous and it's what a dog wants as well as being what evolution and nature intended. Processed food, as we know it as humans, is best kept for treats or as a convenient quick-fix food. We also know that processed food is less nutritionally sound, loaded with preservatives, added vitamins, food colourings and scents to trick you into believing the type of food you are eating is good for you. It's likewise in kibble and canned foods. The packaging, information and clever marketing are heightened using terms like "fresh" vitality" and many other words to entice you into thinking your dog is eating healthy food when in fact it is not! How do we know this, just look at the ingredients on the packet to see what you are actually feeding your dog! Countries around the world are now clamping down on human and dog food packaging and its contents with diet and healthy eating taxes as science started to show the true identity of the content of these foods. Busting The Myths As you would expect companies making or selling kibble or canned foods will seek to dissuade you from feeding RAW or Home Cooked diets. Somewhat surprisingly though, so will many Veterinary Doctors. The reasoning here is clear, they want you to buy the food they sell! Surprisingly, Veterinary Doctors receive very little nutritional education during their studies because the range of animals that they are trained to care for is vast. What exposure they do get is often supported or "sponsored" by large manufacturers of dog food. Suppliers of dog kibble are quick to give you reasons as to why you should not go down the raw food diet route too. Here are some of the myths that you might hear being spread to dissuade you; They say - A raw meat diet is not a balanced diet! Commercially prepared Raw Food diets use the same science and knowledge gathered over many years when they are made as any other form of dog food. Therefore they are properly balanced and nutritionally sound. With very little research if you choose to make your own food, you can ensure that you include all the required ingredients to ensure your dog's diet is balanced. Just as you do for your own diet. They say - Feeding Raw will give your dog salmonella or other poisonings! Dogs' bodies are good at preventing harmful bacteria like salmonella. Dogs' stomachs are highly acidic and have natural digestive enzymes and bile that help them process Salmonella and other bacteria without getting sick. Of course, it is important to ensure that anything you feed your dog comes from a reputable, hygienic supplier. First and foremost the food you buy must be from a reputable source, treating your dog like your child in ensuring the meat you buy is from a safe, clean and hygienic shop that stores the food correctly, we buy from Carrefours and Kibsons, both are highly reputable sources and you can buy bulk also at a cheaper price. Food for thought: Various health scares over recent years have also had recalls on many major dog kibble brands due to contamination which is often played down. Feeding Raw is Expensive Pound for pound, compared to quality dry dog food, meat is almost the same price, when buying in bulk and picking cheaper cuts (you don't have to feed T-bone steaks) you can feed your dog together with veggies, yoghurt, herbs and fish. There are commercial raw-packed diets now available in the UAE, prices do vary as you would expect, do your research and pick what suits your budget or go DIY so you have complete control over the diet or if you do indeed, have time restraints go for the ready-made patties available from retailers (including Homely Petz!). It's dangerous to give bones to your dog. This is an easy one, you give raw bones, but do not give your dog cooked bones as they become brittle and splinter. When not cooked they snap and break down much easier for digestion. As long as you choose the size of bone to suit your dog's life stage then the occasional bone as a treat or part of a diet is suitable. We do not recommend having bones every day or to replace a raw food diet as they do not hold all the nutritional values required for a balanced diet. My vet tells me raw food is bad for my dog. This is a difficult one and will probably offend a few, but here goes. Vets are not nutritional experts. Should people fully trust the nutritional advice given by vets? While veterinary surgeons play a huge part in your dog's life and perform much-needed services, these services also include selling dog food driven by hard marketing dog kibble companies. Marketing from dog kibble companies is often incentive driven offering rewards for veterinary clinics to reach sales targets and they blind both your vet and you with "science marketing.' For example allergy foods, low-fat food, dental diets etc. Most of these can be managed by a raw diet where there are more natural sugars and fewer processed sugars, there are no wheat products or chicken "derivatives" to trigger allergic reactions in a dog. Carbohydrates are high in dog kibble, and training is given by dog food companies to veterinary clinics that often claim that dogs need more carbs in their diet. Scientific research has shown that both dogs and cats have no evolved need for carbs and fibre which are a large percentage in commercially made dog food. As with humans, too many carbs make for a fat dog. Overweight dogs are a huge problem in today's world, unlike years ago as mentioned earlier. With overweight dogs come, heart problems, joint issues, cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. You very rarely see an overweight dog on a raw diet. Do you want to learn and understand more? A documentary about the pet food industry makes for an interesting watch. Available on various media and streaming apps. The trailer and series are on the below link on Youtube, the documentary is called "Pet Fooled." Pet Fooled Documentary - click here From Kibble to Meat - how to? Get in touch with us, do not change your dog's diet to raw overnight, it takes a little time of slowly introduce your dog to a better way of eating. Although you might think your dog has an iron stomach sometimes with eating all sorts of things he shouldn't like socks and sticks etc, they are actually very sensitive. So take it slow in introducing raw food and slowly reducing the old food, we recommend you do this over a minimum 3/4 week period.
Your dog's snout!
An amazing tool of a dog is their nose. Not to be under estimated this highly efficient organ creates a great world for a dog's sense of smell. Here we explore in a little more detail how it works and guides a dog through it's day.
The mirror your dog sees in you
Quite simply you are being watched. Dogs mimic their owner's behaviour and responses. How do they do that and why?
To prey or not to prey
Simply put prey drive is an instinctive urge for a dog to find, follow or pursue and then catch their prey, or hunt, catch, kill & eat! The prey is typically for eating although for the domestic dog this may not be the case. The thrill of chasing and catching is a natural drive in a dog that stems from thousands of years of evolution and breeding. The prey drive in a dog is important to ensure the survival of the species, especially in wild dogs that obviously need to hunt their prey (other animals) to eat. For the domesticated dog, prey drive is more of a game, their urge to pursue is still present and the end result of catching their prey, in most cases a toy is very real for a dog. Prey drive differs from dog to dog, thanks to breeding and a dog's experiences in life. Different classes of dogs approach and use their prey drive in a multitude of ways. For example "Herding dogs" will chase their prey, corner and then attack their prey, Herding dogs include Collies, Sheepdogs, Malinois, Cattle Dogs and Canaans. Hound dogs will stalk their prey, using their nose to seek out a strong scent, track it and then find their prey, Hound dogs include Bloodhound, Beagle, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Dachshunds. Terriers are known to quickly hunt down their prey and not waste time, they have a mix of using their nose and herding their prey into a corner for example a hole in the ground to then capture their prey. When you have mixed breeds who may have any or all of the above traits then you can also get a mixed prey drive too. Not all dogs have what is called a "high prey drive" some dogs are simply chilled and are not interested in chasing, herding stalking or sniffing out a new or unusual scent which in turn would usually switch on this natural instinct to pursue prey. It is neither good nor bad if a dog does or does not have a prey drive, it simply is what it is though for training a dog it is preferred to have a high-drive dog. Training and prey drive Although dog training encompasses many areas of a dog's ability, the prey drive of a dog can make or break a dog trainer's ability to get a dog to engage with them. When a dog's prey drive is triggered they become totally engaged in the process of seeking out it prey or in dog training terms the toy, lure or treat. By triggering a dog's prey drive a trainer is trying to get a dog to respond to an action or command in return for the prey. The toy or lure can be anything from a professional dog training toy to a favourite squeaky toy or empty water bottle, whatever it is that the dog needs to find exciting and stimulating enough for the dog to want it. Sometimes a dog has very little if no prey drive and this can be a challenge to motivate a dog to respond, if the dog is not excited about a toy or lure then it might not respond and simply ignore the challenge put in front of them, often a dog trainer's worse scenario. A professional dog trainer if up against this block with a dog will use other balanced training techniques to guide the dog towards working in partnership with them in a motivational way. Using good prey drive in a dog can enhance the skill of a dog responding to commands, they can be taught when to get their prey, how long to hold on to it and more importantly learn when to let go of their prey on command too. Using a dog's prey drive in dog training is a good way of building a mutually understandable dog/handler relationship. Like humans, dogs have personalities and can also have good and bad days. As humans are not perfect, the same goes for dogs. Whether a dog fails at getting its prey or indeed captures its prey the end result is important to them. A failed capture whereby nothing is caught can, in wild dogs mean no food which can mean life or death, a threat to survival. This instinct and skill need to be 100% successful to ensure that a dog can eat or protect itself from harm if threatened. This same instinct is in domestic dogs too. Their environment may be different but the two core triggers of prey drive, survival and protection are very much present to varying degrees. In the home setup, a domestic dog’s prey drive is driven by their life experience to date or breed specific traits or a mix of the two. What do we mean by life experience when we talk about prey drive? If a dog has had an easy and non-confrontational life where food has been readily available, they have not felt threatened, they have interacted with those around them in a balanced manner and have had positive experiences with people and other dogs then its prey drive will most probably be balanced. This means they will not be protective of their food (as it’s always been made available), and they are not defensive around others because they have had comfortable relationships with them and felt threatened. Although their prey drive will still be present its need to be used may be less. In the opposite scenario if a domestic dog has had to search and fight for every mouthful of food and had experienced hunger regularly, for a “street dog” their resource (in this case, food) protection drive will be very high. Even though they may not have had to chase “live food” just seeking out scraps in a bin and hunting for others' unwanted food will mean their prey drive for survival will be very high. The above life experience examples of a dog can determine how a dog uses their prey drive later in life if its home circumstances change. A dog that has had to search for food on the streets, when in a home environment may be more protective of its food bowl, its high drive to guard if they're caught or found food will be high. Prey drive is a very complex matter in all animals it requires a great deal of understanding and most of all respect. It is not to be underestimated as its role in survival is important for both the dog and its prey. Without this raw instinct, life would be messy. Dog trainers find this aspect of dog behaviour extremely interesting as no two dogs are the same when it comes to prey drive. Without having a time machine to look back on a dog's previous experiences, a lot of behavioural work is based on the dog trainers' own experience with other dogs.
Puppy vs Adult
So you've made a decision to get a dog! You've worked out all the logistics of home care, you know where the nearest pet shop is, check out the best vet and are keen to make the decision to go and choose your new dog. We often get asked, "what age of dog shall we get?" A tough one as all dogs are just great, but both young and old dogs have their pros and cons. Do you opt for the super cute and cuddly puppy or choose an older dog who may not have the cuteness factor but has more experience in life and may make life easier for you quicker? So where do you start in the decision process? The first step is to analyze your own life and home environment, look around you and imagine a dog living and being with you in your world. Imagine the commitments and routines that will be required on a daily basis regardless of what else is going on in your life. Caring for a dog never stops from the moment you get it to the moment they pass away! Try and picture who will be feeding the dog, how many times will your dog need to go out to the toilet and walks, where will their bed be or will you allow your new dog on the sofa. If your dog wants to play is there plenty of space, do you have a garden or just a balcony? How about your routines, are all members of the family at work all day, if so how will a dog cope without you being around and what will they do in your home when left unattended? If you have kids will they take part in the care of the dog or will the burden eventually wear off and you get lumbered with more chores around the home? Do you enjoy your weekends doing nothing or getting out and about and exploring? All these things need thinking about...... to include a dog. The pros and cons of a Puppy They are of course, cute, cuddly, and playful and everything is just a big game for a puppy. Their age means that they are out to explore absolutely everything and everything they do indeed explore. With this exploration comes destruction on various levels, unlike humans, they don't have hands so most things are tested or picked up with their teeth. Anything new will most probably be examined by chewing, sucking, nibbling and pulling apart. This behaviour is not at all unusual as it is to be expected of a healthy puppy. If a puppy was still with his mother and litter mates they would be encouraged by the mother to explore and test things as part of learning and growing up to be an adult dog. This helps them learn how to hunt their prey, kill it and then eat it, even though they may be bred as domestic dogs their prey instinct is very much intact and this comes across as puppy play in the domestic dog. Puppies also are totally inexperienced in the world and they do not come with a remote control or puppy manual! They do not come trained, they do not know where and when to pee and poop, and they don't realize that their barking (to get your attention over and over again) can be a nuisance to those other than their owners and their body clock can be a little all over the place. Their desire to dig holes and seek out new smells can be overwhelming and the washing basket will be emptied time and time again to parade around the lounge with underwear and odd socks in their mouth when you have guests visiting! Does a puppy still sound like fun? ;) To list in short the below can be challenging when acquiring a puppy: Barking. Not toilet trained. Chewing. Noisy. Digging in the garden. Awake at random times day and night. Sleeps a lot. Messy when eating. Costs for training. Costs for initial veterinary care, and starter vaccinations. And the positives of having a puppy: Cute and adorable (of course). Behavioural issues can usually be corrected quickly. Training can be easier. Children are more engaged with puppies to help care for them. Best time to socialize them with other dogs. They can be toilet trained quicker. They will settle quicker in the home and are more accepting of new environments. The Pro and con of an Adult Dog It is not uncommon for adult dogs to be overlooked in dog shelters, typically adults are not for sale with breeders as they prefer to sell puppies on quicker as they are a more attractive "product." So usually adopting is the key with adult dogs. Adult dogs have obviously been on the planet longer than puppies so they have life experience behind them, their experiences could be either positive or negative depending on where they have been and where they have come from. That said all adult domestic dogs deserve a second chance at being with a family. Adult dogs can be set in their ways and may need longer to adjust to a new environment and people, if they are confident and have had positive experiences beforehand then this will not be an issue when looking to adopt an adult dog if you do not have the time to train and work with a "challenged" dog then look for a confident and happy dog who is engaging with you from the first meeting. If you have the time and money to work with a dog who is less confident and has known behavioural or training issues then it is an admirable thing to do to accept the challenge and take on a dog who needs a little bit more time and effort of which the rewards will be immense when results and goals are achieved together. What can be challenging when getting an adult dog? Unknown behaviour issues. Not knowing their history. Not knowing any health problems. May take longer to settle into their new home. Positives of getting an adult dog. Almost always toilet trained. Well trained and behaved. Walks well on a leash. Already confident and experienced. May not chew things. Will be appreciative and positive to be with a new family. Have set daily routines already. Whichever you decide to do, remember to look inwards at what you can offer a dog in your home. Do not make a snap decision based on your heart only, look at the practical side of dog care and routine, snap decisions usually go wrong. Do not be overwhelmed with jargon and marketing from the source of where you get your dog from, it is your decision alone, if you are unsure then don't get a dog until you are 100% ready. You can always go back a week, month or year later when you are completely ready to welcome a dog into your life. Remember a dog is for their entire life, they will view you as their pack mate until death do you part and by doing that it will make you an awesome person.
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