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New Year, new beginnings

You may recall I wrote an article about Agility training and about Bruno from Benitachell who had invited me to visit one of his regular classes. A few months ago, he invited me to Sunday lunch. At the end of the meal, he told me he was immigrating to South Africa and asked would I be interested in taking over the rent of his house and would I be willing to continue the agility and obedience classes to which I was willing to agree.

Many people over the last few years have contacted me to ask if I had any structured training classes and had to say I did not have the space at the time and only had one-to-one assessment classes. These are where I watched the owner and their dog work on places like the Arenal in Javea to see what problems they were actually having and to suggest the best way of retraining.

Now from January I am able to offer a ten-week course for road safety, obedience, and sociability classes as well as agility and anything else owners would like to do with their dogs.

Winston and I moved in just before Christmas and had yet another new home to have to settle into. Mind you this time Winston could not believe his luck having so much land to run around in.

We are still just settling in and finding places for everything and everything in its place but is slowly taking shape.

I did find two of the Processionary caterpillar’s nests in one of the young pine trees and using an insecticide like Raid or Bloom I killed both colonies. January to March is the regular danger period once again when the caterpillars start coming down from their nests to find a place in the ground to pupate before emerging as a month in a year or twos time.

Please do be careful when walking your dog in areas of Pine trees in the next few months following the New Year and look out for the cotton wool looking nests on the sunny side of the trees. Remember these caterpillars can cause a major reaction for dogs, and cats that in some cases, can prove to be fatal.

After writing about the poisonous toads the other week I have finally seen one even though this one was dead. This was only a small one but people tell me they grow to eight or nine inches in length, so they should not be difficult to miss. Again, I have found many people thinking these toads are harmless but this is not the case.

Recently I received a request to visit a dog, not because it did not have a good recall but because it had too good a recall. It came back like a rocket when called but like a rocket they do not have brakes and so the dog used the owners as a suitable cushion to bring himself to a safe stop. Such a method was hospitalising the family.

Whilst we were out walking, the dog was following Winston when the owner called her dog to come to her. It was coming back so fast I had to stand in its way to stop it crashing into the owner again. My suggestion was to use the Pet Corrector (harmless compressed air) and then to call the dog but when it was about twenty metres away to command the dog “Steady” and when nothing happened to fire the Pet Corrector in the direction of the dog. This worked a treat as the dog applied his brakes loosing all his momentum and then the owner could finish calling him in for praise.

As we were walking back to the owner’s house, a couple of Spanish owned small dogs came out displaying loads of aggression towards us. I suggested the owner fired the compressed air towards them. Again, it worked like a charm and the two dogs immediately stopped the aggression and just turned round and walked off back to their home, letting us pass peacefully.

I think this gave the owner great satisfaction at finally getting the measure of these two annoying dogs. Certainly when I was leaving, they just sat in their doorway and watched me without any sign of aggression what so ever. Therefore, for this owner the New Year has brought a turning point of becoming in control of not only her own dog but those of her neighbours.

During this festive season, many people have adopted a dog into their home. I have received a number of emails requesting help for older dogs fouling the house. It is very common for a dog coming into a new home after living in the shelter of some months they do often go round the house marking by urinating on the furniture especially if there is an existing dog.

It is often necessary to have to re-housetrain dogs from shelters as they are out of the habit because they have been fouling in their runs. If you treat them like puppies again it does not take too long before they remember and are once again clean in the house.

I had an unexpected telephone call the other week from a very satisfied owner who lived in a block of flats with her two dogs. They had previously been forever barking when people came to the door or when the telephone rang. As you would expect the neighbours were becoming annoyed.

Fortunately there was another couple on the same urbanisation who had purchased a citronella collar (Harmless Compressed air scented with the smell of citronella) from me over a year ago when they too had the same problem. The collar worked for them so the owner asked could she also purchase one and would one work with two dogs.

I arrived to the barking from her two dogs and I had not even rung the doorbell. I explained that they saw her telling them to be quiet as only barking along with them. The owner had never trained them know what Shut up means. They cannot understand English unless trained to respond in the appropriate manner.

I placed my demonstration collar on the first dog then I went outside and knocked on the door. Both dogs barked but the one with the collar stopped after her first bark. The owner then placed the collar on the second dog and success again.

After a little while, I went back outside and even banging on the door there was only silence. The owner also purchase the Pet Corrector for times when they were not wearing the collar so if the phone or the doorbell rang, simply firing the compressed air would stop them in their tracks followed by lots of praise.

Two weeks later the owner was telephoning me to say all barking both inside her flat and even outside where they were barking at other dogs had finally ceased so she was calling to tell me how pleased she was with the result. This should finally bring this household and her neighbours some peace and quite for the New Year.

Both Winston and I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

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