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Breed questions, Chappie dog food, Donations to Shelters, and a case study of misinterpreting aggression.

I receive a wide selection of questions and a number of them are requests for information regarding breed and breeders. Whilst I have answered all that I can I have learned that Norma Knocks who lives near Alicante has a wealth of experience in dog breeding. When I telephoned her the other day, she says she is always willing to help with any information she can regarding breed questions so I will leave her phone number in the important notes section.

Norma was telling me the Kennel Club is holding a Championship Breed show on 13th and 14th of December near Alicante airport. An advertisement for this show, which also includes agility, will appear in the CBN so any of you who are interested keep your eyes pealed. I will take Winston along to see what he makes of so many dogs in one area at one time if they let us in.

One of the varied questions I received earlier in the year was from Chris Law of the Canine and feline Rescue centre based in El Campello Alicante. He had been trying to obtain the English recipe Chappie dog food. The Spanish recipe is not the same and does not have the same medicinal benefits for healing dog’s tummies like chronic diarrhoea.

Many dogs that are living rough or badly abused often turn up at the shelters with problem tummies. Chris knows that Chappie, even though it is cheap, soon sorts out these dietary problems and why he has been trying to obtain it. Many people assume that if something is cheap it is poor quality well Chappie is one of those exceptions; it works.

Chris contacted the English manufactures and the English shops here in Spain to see if they would export or import but there was little response. He then asked if I could help. I too tried the manufacturer, then Tesco and Spar but whilst there was understanding, that was all there was. They all agreed that the English version does have a significant dietary benefit and that the Spanish version was a different recipe and not as beneficial as the English version. There is even a website forum that discusses the benefits of this dog food and there are some people that would never ever feed their dog Chappie whilst there are many others who swear by it.

I too found I was having no luck at all until I tried an English super market recently opened in Javea called Quick Save. I called in one evening and spoke to the owners. They said they were happy to help and would make inquiries of their importer. A few weeks later, it was a yes; they can import it by the pallet load.

For Chris Law, who can cater for nearly 40 dogs, the price quoted was better than he can purchase the Spanish variety. For APASA who look after over 150 dogs their supplier can sell them the Spanish version cheaper but the medicinal aspects of the English version are well worth testing though they do not have many dogs with tummy troubles. They may purchase a small amount to see if it works as the claims suggest.

If there are any other Shelters who are interested and wish to obtain the English recipe Chappie dog food then please contact Vandra and Paul at Quick Save on 965794648 and there is the possibly that with bulk buying the price could be negotiable.

Christmas is almost upon us once again and no room left at the shelters. These important Charities are the necessary buffer for finding dogs new homes and keeping strays off the streets. I have seen what bad looks like and if you are annoyed at seeing the odd dog living near the waste bins try to envisage ten or twenty more. Try to imagine five or six Dogs living in and around your home or even in your garden.

Alternatively, you could find them forever living round the shops and restaurants all waiting for food. As in Romania, they will breed and nothing will stop them. There is outrage if they try to cull them and sterilising needs 80% of them to have such operations. It is an impossible task so if we are not to let roaming dogs get out of hand we must keep on top of the situation. Only the shelters can do this so they need our help now.

If you do not wish to see what has happened in Romania happen here and you wish to see all dogs and cats find new homes then please support your local shelters with aid. Andrea Rapholthy APASA was telling me the other day their shelters weekly food bill is over 400 euros. Add to this the vet bills and waiting for money from the council that is so painfully slow it makes it a cash flow nightmare.

If you could find you are able to make a monthly donation of a few euros it would mean so much. For donations, your local shelter will have details if you give them a call. If not a regular donation then you could possibly persuade your local shop to place a trolley at the entrance. This means that when people are shopping either they or their children can purchase a can of dog or cat food or whatever and place it in the basket.

Imagine if we just donated one large can of dog food each what that would mean to the shelter's finances. We would also be showing our support to those people who give up their valuable time to help dogs find a better life. I know of some people who actually subsidise the dogs kennelling out of their own pocket rather that have a dog put to sleep in the hope that an owner is just around the corner. Ropi was just one such dog that eventually found a home and I know of a dog that was just a month too late.

Carrying on from last weeks misdiagnosing aggression, I had a request to see two nine-month-old large dogs that were seemingly aggressive to all other dogs.

I had seen them once outside the vets where they were barking so much even Winston retaliated in similar fashion. Using compressed air, I showed how I could stop Winston and stopped each of their dogs in turn. This was good as it showed me that they had a favourably reaction so we agreed to make an appointment some weeks later.

This was interesting case and Kathryn Hollings, who is a local behaviourist, asked if she could come along and learn about using compressed air. Three heads are better than one. After a few weeks, we fixed a date for Winston, Kathryn, and me to make a visit to the owner’s house.

There were two large type pups and an older bitch. She was as good as gold and very well socialised so you would think the pups should grow up the same. Another problem was the pups like to chew up just about everything in sight. They had destroyed the satellite cables, the underground plastic, the plants, and anything else that they could get their teeth round.

While we sat in the house discussing the dog’s symptoms, they were no problem and they just lay about the house quietly. Now came the time to put them to the test.

Once I had shown the owners how to use the compressed air then to immediately praise their dog, its use should quieten them down. This is most important as the air in not a chastisement. It is just a signal that the owner is about to praise the dog.

Once the owners understood this, it was time to bring out of the house each dog in turn to meet Winston.

I went outside and let Winston out of the car and we walked across to some spare land opposite the house. The owner brought out the first dog with it immediately pulling and barking at Winston but intermittently quietened by the compressed air.

I had already thought that this was not aggression, but only highly charged excitement to get to another dog simply to meet and play. The owners on the other hand feared that the dogs were becoming dangerous so they were heavily restricting their socialisation. Winston was leaning up against my leg and at the sound of each dog in turn coming through the door was already shaking in happy anticipation. He knew the dogs only wished to play. His wagging tail was excellent confirmation for my own belief there was no aggression. After they met Winston the dogs were soon let them off their leads, and they ran to play with Winston.

One of the problems here is the breeder suggested that the dogs should not be exercised too much until they were a year old because of Hip Displayisa. Whilst I would not allow dogs to jump or exceed their abilities of their growing limbs I think here the problem for the dogs is they needed exercise and socialisation that would also stimulate their minds. A reasonable walk should mean that on their return home they would lie down and go to sleep as most dogs do and not take the house apart out of boredom.

The owners also purchased two of Roger Mugford’s Halti head collars as both dogs were very strong so these should drastically reduce their pulling power making it easier for the owners to walk their dogs to heel rather that their dogs walking their owners. We will see how they get on in a few weeks.

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