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Little Bits of All Sorts

For the next two weeks, I want to take the opportunity to tidy up some loose ends and some important points that would not by them selves normally take up a full article. Many have been sitting on my desk for ages waiting to use them as examples that would fit in with a particular point or theme. Unfortunately, the pile is simply growing.

Open all hours
The first thing is the growing interest generating in the UK from British vets into the need of owners for better information on bringing their pets to Spain. Not only Spain but also the world in general as pets becomes globe trotters.

I receive emails from all over the world for all sorts of topics that are nothing to do with pet behaviourism problems. The topics that owners ask me range from how to start up kennels, transport dogs from America, Africa India etc. Many prospective owners are asking me for the names of breeders of certain breeds and from people asking where to find the phone number of a shelter so they can take them a dog they have recently found.

As my computer is on the Internet almost 24 hours, I receive emails at any time. Sometimes I fall asleep on my settee and I wake to a Ping “You have mail” sound and I just get up and answer them then go back to sleep. I know if I do not answer them now I may find I forget to reply.

With the growing interest in preventive immunisation and pet protection, I receive many requests for even more information that really only a vet can provide. In the next few weeks Dr Luigi Alfredo Arriaga from the Clinica Veterinaria Benitachell has agreed to write a guest article about this subject that I am sure will be of interest to both pet owners and British vets alike so please watch out for this and retain the article for your future use. It will of course be possible for you to read on my web site after publication as soon as we can catch up.

Pet Passport delays

One regular question that is coming up both here and on OCI radio is the length of time it take for the issue of a pet passport. I have just started this process for Winston and following the Rabies injection we have to wait 30 days for the vet to take a blood sample. I will also have his 6 monthly Leishmaniasis test at the same time as we have to sedate him because he has too much fear of what is he thinks is about to happen to him.

The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory in southern Spain to test if it contains the required anti bodies. This could take a few months but by United Kingdome regulations it must take six months. My understanding is that a dogs passport from start to finish can actually take nine months so please if you are thinking of transporting dogs to the UK then start the process as soon as possible and expect a long delay. If anyone has found a quicker way please write in.

Dogs can’t fly

Here in my area between Calpe and Denia we have many cliff top walks and inland high walled terraced areas. Please do be careful exercising your dogs on the assumption they know what they are doing and that they have some sixth sense about cliffs. They do not. A few months ago a friend’s dog fell 300 feet down some cliffs. Fortunately, the fall was not straight down, so the dog bounced many times, and she feared for his life.

Vets are remarkably skilled today, her vet opened his chest to reposition all his organs, and he was up and around very quickly. Looking at him racing about you would never know anything had happened to him.

Two weeks later, I was walking Winston along a track next to the edge of a stone terrace with a drop of about 4 meters. We have walked there quite often but as I walked along the track, there were some grasses about a foot or so in height growing on the edge and as Winston charge passed me he found that when he jumped over these and once airborne he could not change direction.

He took off and flew through the top branches of a pine tree growing on the lower terrace and he landed in the dense undergrowth that luckily broke his fall. This shook him but he has at least learned a lesson that dogs cannot fly.

Over 30 years ago my old dog Rolly jumped a stone wall near Scarborough and ended up running down a very steep cliff to the shore below. He was ok on the way down but was unsuccessful at pulling out at the bottom. It was over 10 minuets before he could walk again without falling over.

I received a call the other day where a small dog had fallen into a deep concrete storm drain causing him to break his leg. He had taken his dog to the vets who apart from giving painkillers and taking an x-ray could do nothing for 6 days at a price of 400 euros. I advised he take his dog for a second opinion at the Pet Hospital in Alicante but by this time, it was Saturday. The owner found a closer pet hospital where they x-rayed again and gave some painkillers but at least they made an appointment for the Monday at a charge of 300 euros. If you find yourself in a similar situation, do try telephoning in advance to find a vet that can do something more quickly.

Animals do not have a sixth sense it is scent that makes them aware that there is a major change ahead of them and so they become weary and uncertain. Animals are fallible and accidents do happen so do keeps an eye on them walking in dangerous areas.

Halti Experiment

I would like some help with an experiment. I know that many people have tried the Halti in order to stop their dogs from pulling. It does work and have used it on Ropi as he can pull like he were a tank when he first comes out of his kennel. After a while he does lovely heelwork but this is also due to Winston restricting him walking too far ahead of me before he tells him off.

If you will recall when you have a puppy and you make it wear its first collar how it scratches at this for quite some time. You know the pup must have to have a collar so it has to put up with it and in time, it becomes use to wearing it.

Many Halti owners stop using them because the dog shows the same reactions but also it can sometimes if wearing the wrong size slips it off or pulls it off by one means or another. Some manage to get them into their mouth and chew up the muzzle strap making the Halti useless.

How to over come this problem has been puzzling me for some time and think I have found a solution for those dogs that do not like the feel of the Halti. I have spoken to Roger Mugford and he is interested in the result. If you have previously tried one and given up or would like to try one for the first time then please get in contact if you would like to help.

What I am going to do is I will cut off the bottom loop of the Halti so leaving only the muzzle bridge piece and side stays. What this will mean is that the dog is only wearing the top part and cannot remove it. It is useless as a head collar but the dog will become accustomed to seeing and wearing this section over a period of two weeks whilst using the normal collar and lead. It also does not need removing in the house which to will speed up the period of the dog becoming accustomed to wearing it. The closest think I can think of that is similar is a girls training bra. It does nothing as a bra but it does allow a girl to become accustomed to its irritating straps. (So, they tell me)

The next step once the dog is use to this half Halti is to replace it with the real one and use two leads, one on the collar and one on the Halti. Whilst walking owners can on the occasions of the dog pulling change to using the lead attached to the Halti then release back to the old lead so it is possible to phase in the dog into accepting wearing it.

One of the most common complaints is a dog pulling whilst walking on a lead and the Halti does correct this. It is also useful in aggressive situations as it closes the dog’s jaws making it difficult for the dog to bite. If you are interested in helping, please get in touch.

The Bioflow magnetic collar test

On the subject of experiments you may recall that six months ago I was asked to test the Bioflow magnetic collar and found two owners who had dogs one of which is suffering from Hip Dysplasia and the other had a broken hip that had not set correctly causing the dog to limp. Next week I will give you the details of the results.

Dogs will guard a fearful owner

Every now and again, I receive an email that describes very well the interaction of humans to their dogs and one such email came in the other day. I have edited it for anonymity and tried to leave the mail intact.
Hi, 
This is just about my dog that is now 2yrs old and lives here in Spain with me. I am 13yrs old and live here in the north. I emailed you as I have been reading your column in the CBN, and find them very interesting! In part 84 you were talking about play is the best therapy for dog problems, well I just wanted you to know that I was very worried about my dog as I am one of those people that get kind of frightened around dogs that seem aggressive towards my dog. I take him for long walks all over the place off lead but now I have not because of the caterpillars. I find many of the dogs around here are very protective of there homes as I walk down my lane my dog becomes very uneasy around them. I soon realised that it is me!! It’s all my fault! When my sister came with me on a walk, she told me that I was walking too quickly past the dogs and looking frightened as I went past. She told me to wait by our house, she took our dog past the other dogs, and he was fine the whole time! O well, I soon changed that! Now when we walk past them, he ignores them or if any are running free, he just plays with them. I have also been going to dog training for the last 1 1/2 years and found it wonderful!! They socialise the dogs all the time in a compound and let them all off together, any dogs that come aggressive are not when they leave!!
Must go.
Our interaction with our dogs is as simple as that. The way we feel and our fears influence our dogs into showing aggression in order to protect us. If we stop showing our fear, our dogs can switch off their guarding mode and can do what they like to do most; play.

Talking of guarding mode Jackie who along with her husband owns the villa above me has returned from the UK making Winston so very happy he has gone back into guarding mode again. Whilst she was away, we were able to leave the gates open all the time and he never barked at anyone walking past with their dogs. He had even started to sleep outside my door again so for a week at least I actually had my dog back. Now he sleeps outside their door again. Is he trying to tell me something?

I will have some more little bits of all sorts for you next week.

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