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Here are some of the previous articles in the Dog Blog.


Friday 28th April  - Ready for a Heatwave?

So how well does your dog cope with hot weather? If the sun peep s out for longer than a micro second Jamie's panting.  It's all that thick black hair that makes him huff and puff.  Last year I found I could make him a lot more comfortable in the heat and I'm using the same tactics again this year. 

Jamie has a sort of double coat. There's a thick outer layer , and under this there's a soft, downy coat next to the skin.  If it pours with rain in the winter , and you part the outer coat, the undercoat will still be dry.  It's this downy stuff that needs to be combed out as much as possible in the summer.  This week I've been using the slicker brush and stripping comb and all the lovely fine hair is coming away quite easily.
 

     

The soft undercoat and dead hair is combed out .

     A small stripping comb is useful.

 

By the time the weather's really warmed up Jamie's coat will be much thinner. It did make a big difference last year.  We don't let him stand around in the boiling sun at shows.  That wouldn't be fair on a black dog. If there's a long queue someone else can stand in it for me or we'll wait until there's only a few dogs lining up.  Last year I threatened to dye Jamie white.  If you run your hand across a pure black dog's coat on a hot day it can feel very hot.  Run your hand over a white dog and the coat feels quite cool.  It would be interesting if someone could collect some statistics to see how much difference it makes to performance.  Do the dog's at the top of all the tables have big white patches in their coats.  Anyone fancy doing some research?

 

Thursday 20th April  - Humping the Aristocracy

How did you spend Easter? Jamie spent Monday afternoon humping the aristocracy and flatte ning Lady Molesworth St Aubyn's daffodils.
It was such a nice day that we decided to visit Pencarrow House, our local stately home.  Now Jamie isn't normally the sort of dog you'd take into polite company, that's why we do agility. 
On Easter Monday however, we decided to risk it.  Jamie was perfectly behaved.  He walked nicely on the lead and he had a little paddle in the pond.  He practised his jumping over a tree trunk and he didn't try to eat anyone or chase the peacocks.  We were on our way to the tea gardens when it happened.
The lady of the house was taking tea on the terrace and two of her dogs were keeping her company.  I was just admiring a lovely magnolia when suddenly I heard frantic cries from the terrace.  I looked up to see Sambo, the flat coated retriever, thundering towards us. Sambo was closely followed by a poodle and the poodle was followed by Lady Molesworth St Aubyn.  When they'd got as far as the magnolia the lady suggested that I let Jamie off the lead and then all hell broke loose. Jamie and Sambo went round and round in circles all over the daffodils as they tried their best to hump each other.
  "Do you think we could get them off the daffodils?" asked lady Molesworth St Aubyn, "they're called Cornish Chuckle.  Isn't that a lovely name?"
  "Yes, lovely," I said as I desperately tried to separate Jamie from the object of his affections. The poodle looked on with interest as I wrestled with the two large dogs.  After several minutes I managed to wrench the two dogs apart and I hurriedly removed Jamie from the scene.  Bernie slid out from his hiding place in the bushes and sauntered off as if he was nothing to do with us.
You would never know from Jamie's impeccable behaviour in the tea gardens that he was responsible for flattening the daffodils and humping the aristocracy.  He was even served a Bonio on a paper napkin.

Pencarrow House is near Wadebridge in Cornwall and it's well worth a visit.

 

Saturday 15th April  - A Message from Rena at Mighty Mite

The Mighty Mite Small Dog Sports Forum celebrates it's first birthday today! We are now 400+ members from around the world and over 11,000 posts - going strong!

Thank you agilitybits for supporting us!
www.mightymitedoggear.com/forum

Wednesday 12th April  - Oh Deer

I'm not sure I approve of Jamie's new hobby.  I thought that as he slid into middle age he would behave like a nice quiet middle aged dog. But no.  in the last few weeks he's decided to try his paw at deer hunting.  He's not much good at it in spite of regular practice.  I'm not sure he actually knows how big the deer are and if he did he'd be too much of a  wimp to venture off the footpath ever again.  We watched him yesterday to try and find out exactly what was happening.  He looked down into the woods from the footpath and spotted two deer skulking in the trees. Then off he went at full pelt. For all the noise he made he might as well have been waving a flag and shouting "Here I come," as he charged through the undergrowth in the direction of the deer.  They watched his progress with interest and even sauntered off a little way.  I swear one of them said to the other, "Don't worry deer, it can't see us now it's in the bushes." They were right.  Once Jamie was in the undergrowth he didn't have a clue where they were and he started going in the opposite direction.  At this point I yelled the magic words "Sweeties Jamie."  given a choice of sweeties and getting lost in a tangle of undergrowth the sweeties suddenly seemed the better part of valour and back he came.  I think the deer were laughing as they wandered off into the trees. 
I don't know how long this new hobby will last but if I have anything to do with it, it will soon die a death.  The next time Jamie looks even slightly interested I'll get the sweeties out and I hope that will be the beginning of the end.  I don't want any bad habits forming at this late stage of his life.  He's never allowed near farmland off the lead but even so you can't be too careful.   By the way.  I still don't know why deer only come out when you don't have the camera and then hide when you've got it in your hand ready to take a picture.

 

Tuesday 4th April  - Looking for a new dog

 

Recently we've decided that Jamie might be a happier dog if he had a companion.  We thought there would be a lot of dogs needing a good home and that we could go to one of the animal rescue organisations and choose our new family member.  How wrong we were.  Most of the organisations now say that you cannot have a rescue dog if you're it's likely to be left for more than four hours a day.  We leave Jamie for five hours, which is one reason for wanting another dog to keep him company.   When I investigated further I heard many stories of people who had asked to take in a rescue dog and had been refused.  One person lived on a farm and because the farm wasn't fenced it wasn't deemed suitable.  Another was turned down because the garden fence was four feet high and not six feet. 
I know that these organisations have to have strict criteria for rehoming animals but sometimes I wonder if they are now a bit too strict.  Take  the case of one of our neighbours for instance.  They gave a lovely home to an elderly dog that needed veterinary treatment.  The dog had to be left for more than four hours but nevertheless she settled down well in the family and she's very well loved and cared for.  The family now have changed circumstances and there is someone at home all day with her.  She was so lucky to find them.  It just so happened that I was in the local RSPCA centre when I overheard one of the officers refusing to take in an eleven year old cocker spaniel as they  didn't think there would be any chance of finding a home for her.  How sad.    If they had relaxed their criteria a little they might have found a home for this dog just like the one up the road. 
We will keep on looking for Jamie's new companion and hopefully we will give dog a  home when it might otherwise be put to sleep.  I'm pretty sure that this is what would have happened to Jamie if we hadn't chosen him.  He'd gone back to the kennels too many times and had shown aggression to too many people.  I think we've given him just the home he needed.

 

Monday 27th March  - Canine Massage

 

The other day I borrowed a book from the library called The Healing Touch for Dogs - The Proven Massage Program, by Michael Fox.  After reading the first few chapters and trying a bit of massage on Jamie it put me in mind of something that happened a few years ago.  We'd taken Jamie to an agricultural show to try and get him used to the show atmosphere, but as it happened the show was far too big and noisy and I soon realised that we should have gone somewhere smaller and quieter to start off with.  Jamie was worried and nervous as we all sat down on the grass to watch the agility dogs.  He was panting and salivating and looked as if he'd rather be a million miles away. We'd only been there a few minutes when a man approached us and reached out to touch Jamie.  I asked him politely not to get too close as Jamie was agitated and might snap.  I explained that he was shy of men and might be best left alone.  The man completely ignored me and began stroking Jamie slowly along the length of his back. What happened next was completely unexpected. Instead of snapping or jumping away, our highly strung dog began to look less agitated and uncharacteristically seemed not to mind the stranger at all.  The man was murmuring to him all the time to relax and within about five minutes Jamie was lying down on his side and going to sleep.  At this point the man got up without a word and walked away.  I've never seen anything like it before or since but I'm wondering now if he was using similar techniques to those described in the book I've just borrowed.  It was a weird experience.

 

 

Saturday 25th March  2006- A Lost Dog Returns After Four Years

 

This week our local paper ran an interesting story about a couple who were reunited with their lost dog after four years.  The couple had left Holly, a collie cross, in a boarding kennel in Cornwall while they went on their honeymoon.  When they came back they were told that she had escaped.  But how's this for devotion?
The couple actually lived in Macclesfield, which is a tidy step from Cornwall, nevertheless they spent their weekends travelling back to the area where Holly was lost so that they could search for her.   After six months they gave up their jobs and moved to Cornwall where they spent all their spare time looking for her. 
Holly had been sighted and nearly caught several times during the four years but she always managed get away.   At one time an army of helpers had her surrounded and she still slipped past them.  Then one day she went into someone's house after finding some food there.  Luckily the people recognised her as a missing dog  and the local dog warden was called in to reunite her with her delighted owners.
What surprised me was how quickly a dog can become feral.  It seems that after only a short time on the loose some dogs are simply not inclined to rejoin their family.  It makes you think doesn't it?  Jamie got an extra hug when I read this story.

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