Today the sky is pouring with rain, and it makes writing a post about a sunny day out on one of Hampshire’s dog friendly beaches so ironic. A couple of weekends ago the weather was the exact opposite of today, and we decided not to miss a chance to enjoy the sea. We are not particularly beach people and we try to avoid crowded places with sand castles and picnics. One reason is that we like to walk on a beach, not to sit on it. But the main reason is that Milo likes picnics very much. He also thinks people’s things lying around are perfect for marking. So, to save us from those awkward moments when we pretended it’s not our dog, we prefer to seek out some remote and semi-wild beaches, where we can let him off the lead.
Every year since 2009 we have been creating a photo wall calendar with photographs of Milo and other dogs that used to live with us. This makes a wonderful present for the fans of Milo, which are numerous among our family. Of course, we always keep one for ourselves.Each months features a seasonal picture of Milo. I would like to share the 2013 photos with you.
Last weekend Milo felt so bad that we had to take him to our local emergency hospital. He ended up having abdominal surgery, but he is on the road for recovery now. Hopefully, he will be discharged from the hospital today. I decided to write a post on how dogs let us know about the way they feel.
Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us, when they feel unwell or what exactly is bothering them. Or can they? If you know your dog well, you should be able to spot signs of illness. As our dogs learn to understand us, we learn to understand their body language and habits. I am sure that most owners can communicate with their dogs in much the same way as they communicate with people. Remember Gromit and his eyebrows? Gromit is a beagle and I can assure you that Milo talks using his eyebrows in exactly the same way as Gromit. Other dogs may use their tails or ears more than eyebrows. Does your dog talk to you?
So when the dog becomes sick or just doesn’t feel well, he will tell you. You just have to listen… or watch. Several typical signs of illness or pain exist. I am not talking about obvious medical signs, such as vomiting, fever or blood in stool. I will describe some behaviours that may indicate that your dog is not feeling well and that you should call you veterinarian.
A dog’s ability to focus on the owner/handler is the foundation of successful dog training process. The dog should be able to keep its attention on you and must always expect guidance from you. This week we will be practicing a few simple exercises designed to teach the dog to focus on you and to improve your clicker training skills. In addition, it will accustom you and your dog to the regular dog training sessions. For those of you, who are not yet familiar with clicker training, I will outline the basics tomorrow. In the meantime, I will suggest modifications to the dog training exercises, that will allow you and your dog to benefit from dog training regardless of whether you use a clicker or not.
Before you begin, make sure you have enough treats, a clicker (optional) and as little distraction as possible around you. It is always better to start training at home.