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Behavioural updates. Barking at the dog next-door Hot dogs or how to keep cool in Spain

I received a question last week this time more medical that behavioural but it is something that all pet owners question ourselves when our pets become ill, are we doing the best we can for them.

A family recently acquired a property that came with a resident and very lovable dog. Unfortunately, it had a heavy black waxy discharge from its ears that was seemingly difficult to clear up. The vet eventually took a swab for analysis and this came back as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa with the recommended antidotes of Ciprofloxina and Norfloxcian together with Cetraqxal Otico drops.

To us as lay people what was all this supposes to mean? The question asked was did I know any more and why was the condition not healing. Using the Web I entered the infection in the search engine to see what this would produce. It seems this is a virus commonly found in water and soil. The problem is it is highly resistant to most antibiotics and accounts for why the owners are not seeing any improvement. This virus can even live in sterile water so it is a survivor needing little nourishment. It is the cause of eye, ear and lung infections in humans and animals, the most commonly known one of swimmers ear.

I emailed the web link to the owners so they could see why they were having such a struggle and give them some comfort that this lack of improvement was par for the course. I then entered the Spanish pharmaceutical names of the drugs into the search to confirm that these were the current and most effective drugs currently available to combat this type of infection. As this was all in Spanish, I translated it and sent this information by email.

I also recommended a vet I know who spends a lot of time reading the latest information as he knew all about the work I do, my methods and training aids I use. There is nothing wrong in asking for a second opinion and not taken as a criticism. Years ago yes, vets were often more skilled by experience as well as qualifying from Universities but today with the web they can and do look up problems to find all the current remedies available. The question here though could be is there maybe something new available, as it seems from the web that this virus learns to survive even the newest of drugs. The vet I recommended I am hopeful of having more up to date information. It is just a chance that every pet owner wishes to make in order to make our pets well more quickly. None of us wishes to see pets in pain longer than necessary.

My last dog deteriorated quickly from the February and by June was dragging his back legs and falling over. One vet in the practice thought it might be arthritic whilst the other thought it could be Motor Neuron disease. Might and could be were not words I wished to hear so I went to see a very knowledgeable vet who took Tip through all the current tests and proved to me he did indeed have Motor Neuron disease. He then wrote to my vets with his opinion and Tip had his final sleep.

My vets were excellent and said they were pleased to learn about these more conclusive tests for what is an uncommon problem in dogs. Therefore, it is for you, if you are uncertain, to ask for a second opinion and you too can use the web to learn more about the problems affecting your pets.

Behavioural Updates

I have taken the shelter dog out again and there is no sign of him lunging at small children any more. I will give more details in next weeks article.

The owners of the barking dog have their Aboistop now and I will report on the progress in a few weeks.

Barking at the dog next door

If your dog barks at the dog next door, could it be telling it to be quiet? If you shout No does your dog think you too are talking to the dog next-door. As No sounds like the owner barking in unison, this only reinforces to your dog that you agree to it barking at the dog next door.

When your dog stops and receives praise and maybe a titbit, in dog's logic you have rewarded it for barking. It has only stopped barking to receive the reward.

To a dog, each action brings a reward or not so, if it has a nice reward of doing something it will continue with this. If it receives no reward or something unpleasant happens then it will stop.

Because you think you are rewarding your dog for stopping the barking you do begin to ask the question, why does your dog still bark at the other dog? This is because you are rewarding the barking not the stopping. To the dog, it thinks that when it barks at the other dog it will receive a reward so I will keep barking.

Dogs do not comprehend right and wrong only something good will happen or it will not. It is therefore for you dissect any dog problem into simple dog logic based on the Pavlov experiments and understand why it is you are giving your dog a reward.

A friend is attempting to help a neighbour improve their dog's recall using the gas collar. When he did finally get his dog to come to him, he made it sit in front of him and so gave a reward. To the dog, it received a reward for the sit. For completing the recall, it received nothing. Even my friend could see this and explained to the neighbour the error of his ways and this is why I am using it as an example here.

I have watched this taught at so many dog training classes where the recall requires the dog to come to sit at the front of the handler. Only when it has sat does it receive the command to heel up before the handler gives the dog a reward. Have you noticed how many dogs try to go straight round to the heel and sit because this is the only position that receives a reward?

Therefore, it is with your dog barking at the dog next door. For your dog it may seem you are joining in when you shout NO to also tell the dog next door to behave. For this your dog will become quiet too but only to claim its reward.

If you tell your dog to COME instead of saying No it gets praise and a reward. It will quickly learn that if it wants a reward it only has to come to the owner when called. Therefore, using the command COME clears up any confusion for your dog as to which dog you are talking to.

Hot dogs or how to keep cool in Spain

I read in the Daily Mail that the MOD are replacing the German Shepherd sniffer dogs in Iraq with Belgian Shepherd dogs because they have shorter fur and so better suited to the desert heat. The dogs will only work for two hours a day and they all have air-conditioned kennels. Is that not a dog's life?

Was it this little bit of information that prompted the next question I received? How do dogs coming from the UK cope with the Spanish heat? Dogs are very hardy animals and can live with winter temperatures of minus 20 to summers of plus 50 or more but it takes a little time to acclimatise to changes. If winters become colder, they simply produce more fat and a thicker coat and alternatively for summer the coat becomes thinner. It also depends if they are use to sleeping inside with artificial heating or use to living outside in a kennel.

Should this be anything to worry us? The vets' say no as our pets will acclimatise. That is all right but what about when then first come over here.

Most pets will like to find a shady spot and somewhere up off the tiles or concrete with a breeze. Using something like a pallet is excellent as air can stir underneath them and help keep them cool. Shade provided by plants in pots is a benefit as they also provide moisture, making for a more comfortable environment. I came across this method in the Canaries where the temperatures were extremely high and most houses had an uncovered entrance way leading to the front door full of potted shady plants for this very purpose.

A friend has asked me to obtain some rock sulphur from the UK, as this too is helpful in keeping pets cool and given as an additive to their drinking water. If anyone else wants any, please contact me and I will contact Shelley's for a bigger supply to bring back with me.

You could fit a timer water valve, as used in the city swimming pools, to the outside shower. All you need do then is to teach your dog to press this to receive a nice cooling shower when it needs it.

When it is hot, our cats love to sleep in their wicker travel basket as it allows the air to flow through as well as providing them shade. A curved kennel formed from the bamboo-shading rolls you can purchase from the garden centre could do the same for dogs.

As for cars and vans as I said last week dogs should not be left in these except for a very short time as they are far too hot.

I have though received a tip if anyone wishing to give it a test. It comes from a security guard who has a van with back doors, a side door to the middle section and three dog crates in the back for the dogs. It may help someone who uses a van for work.

He tells me this method has a basis in the physics of turning gasses into liquids. Pumping a gas through a small jet, the gas rapidly expands and cools. This cooled gas passes back over the inlet pipe cooling the incoming gas so when it expands, it is even cooler until finally it comes out as a liquid.

If you face the van into the wind, the air passing the wide-open side door draws out the air from inside the van creating a low pressure within. This low pressure sucks air in from behind the back of the van through the slightly open rear door. As there is lower pressure inside the van, the air expands and cools. This cooled air is then extracted out the side door again cooling the ambient air travelling past the side so mixed cooler air forms at the back of the van and is once again sucked back into the van and so on. Using this method the inside of the van should become a little cooler. I did not receive this tip on the morning of the 1st April and it could have some credibility in physics but I will have to leave it for you to decide about this one, as I am dubious so please do not try this with your dog yet. If anyone proves this works, you will win a free Kong for your dog.

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