I had hoped to send out a mid-year newsletter, but unfortunately I had too many things on the go in June and July, so this is a post mid-year newsletter instead.
Although training classes have been going well, I have been hearing more and more complaints about problems with dogs that are being walked in parks. I recently wrote an article that is being published in the Animal Behaviour Consultants of SA newsletter, and I am going to put it in this newsletter, as I feel so strongly about this.
“I am probably going to ruffle a few feathers with this article, but I have been prompted to write this, following an upsurge in complaints that I have received these past few months. I have received complaints not only from my friends, but from many people who train with me and walk regularly in parks.
An owner with two dogs is walking in the park. In the distance are several owners walking their dogs in a group. As they get closer, the group of dogs race up to the owner and two dogs, and some of the dogs in the group jump on top of the dogs. The older dog is extremely nervous and immediately rolls on his back with some dogs on top pinning him down; the younger dog is interested in greeting, wagging his tail, but one large dog jumps on him and pins him on the ground. The owner is told firmly by the leader of the group to “leave the dogs, they must sort it out amongst themselves.” When the owner finally can’t take it any more, she says a firm “Uh Uh, not on top” and gets her dogs away from the group and quickly moves off. I later get a call from the owner who is very upset. Her older dog had this happen when he was young, and is now very nervous when around other dogs, and she is worried that her young dog will become nervous after this incident.
A group of children are playing and they see a child is walking towards them. As he gets closer, the group of children rush up to the child and push him to the ground, sit on him and push him around. The child is not happy and will either fight them off, or lie there crying, hoping for them to go away. The person in charge of the play area tells the adults to “leave them alone, they will sort it out amongst themselves.”
So, what is the difference between the two scenarios? In my opinion - none, they are both incidents of BULLYING. One is with children, and the other is with dogs. The only thing that could be different, is that the adults probably wouldn’t listen to the person telling them to leave the children alone - I’m sure that an adult would go and help the child that is being bullied. But sadly, owners usually follow the instructions to let dogs sort it out. Why is it that people have the idea that it is quite alright to leave dogs to rush up to other dogs, and in many cases to allow their dogs to jump on top of other dogs and “bully” that dog because you must “leave dogs to sort it out amongst themselves”.
Over the past year or two, people have become more aware that they need to walk and exercise their dogs. This is great, but it has also seen an increase in the number of people walking in parks either individually or as part of group walkers. A large number of these dogs have never been socialized properly, or even been to some form of training. This means that when their owner calls them, they don’t listen and generally run around doing their ‘own thing’.
There are now “dog walking groups” that meet specifically to walk their dogs in a group. Wonderful for the dogs that now become friends and run and play together, but extremely intimidating for other owners and dogs to see a group of dogs racing towards them, and in 9 out of 10 cases, some of these dogs will jump on top of the other dogs, play roughly, and maybe even growl, making the owner feel uncomfortable about having so many dogs around their own dog/s.
Which brings me back to my reason for writing this article. There needs to be some PARK MANNERS for owners and for dogs when walking in a park. I believe that dogs should not “rush” up to other dogs, and especially not when they are in a group.
I own two Border Collies and a GSD who were all well socialized when young. I used to walk regularly in Delta Park, and had very good control of my dogs - with a simple “leave” command and walk away when other dogs came running up. Unfortunately, after having too many dogs come running up and barking, trying to jump on them and even growling in my GSD’s face, she couldn’t take it anymore and chased any dog that came into her space. Of course the big, bad GSD was to blame, not the other dogs that started it. My female Border Collie has had hip surgery and she also would fight any dog that tried to get on top of her. So, I have now walk in a private area, so that my dogs can have a peaceful walk without being annoyed by other dogs. I am lucky to have this, other people have to continue to walk in parks.
The rule that I tell anyone who attends my puppy and training classes - NEVER ALLOW YOUR PUPPY / DOG ON TOP OF ANOTHER DOG. I have seen it over and over again, when one dog jumps on top of another dog and the underneath dog is either terrified, or fights back which becomes a huge fight. By teaching your puppy / dog that it is not allowed on top of another dog, you will prevent this bullying from occurring.
Sadly, I think I am the only trainer who believes in this. There is absolutely no need for one dog to pin another dog to the ground.
I know that I am not going to change the mindset of other owners, trainers and dog walking groups, but I want to state that to me, this is bullying, and just as humans are against bullying in children, we shouldn’t allow it to happen to dogs.
I await with interest for the reaction to this article.”
FOR SALE EVERY WEEK
A variety of dog toys
Packets of tracheas
Freshly baked liver cake, cut in small pieces - R15 per bag
Now that Summer is on the way, I have THUNDERSHIRTS in stock. They are fantastic for dogs that are scared of thunder.
AGILITY TRAINING 2014
Cindy and Billy Knox run these classes, and here is the information for anyone wanting to join:
There are classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced.
The whole aim is to make the classes as much fun as possible with love and motivation. Sometimes it is the love the handler shows that gets the dog to do the obstacle that it most fears.
WHAT TO BRING:
Water bowls and water. Although there is a shell filled with water, most dogs play in it, so fresh water is necessary for drinking.
Soft treats that are high in value - cheese, chicken viennas, liver bread, bacon bits, liver paste etc.
If your dog is toy driven, then bring the toy. (Some dogs prefer balls to food!)
All dogs need to have some form of obedience in order to attend the agility classes.
Agility Prices: R900 for 8 lessons, which includes the levy.
Anyone interested in Agility, please contact Cindy:
071 079 5724
FOREVER HOME WANTED
I am looking for a forever home for the son of my beloved Border Collie, Triffyn - sister to my Teagan.
Trent’s owner died last year, and I was contacted by his wife in May this year, asking me to find a home for him. I had a man who was interested, and as I was leaving to fetch Trent to take him to meet the man, the wife phoned and said that she couldn’t part with Trent, so the home fell through, and I left it at that.
At the end of June, I was informed that Trent was at Border Collie Rescue. I was horrified to find that the wife had dumped Trent at BCR without informing me. As BCR didn’t know that he was the son of my Triffyn, they saw on the pedigree that his mother was from the Venron line and they contacted the Jukes. The Jukes very kindly took him out of BCR and are fostering him in kennels on their farm.
I have been so busy with competitions, workshops and performing on stage, that it is only now, that I am really trying to find a home for Trent.
He is nearly 8, but he still has a lot of go in him. I am still working Triffyn in competitive dog dancing and he is nearly 12! His sister goes to protection work every week, as well as doing clicker training. She has achieved CAP 1 and 2 and Novice and Intermediate Trick Dog Titles in the past 8 months.
So, despite his age, Trent would still be able to do things - I hear from the Jukes that when he has his time in the play area, he runs around with as much energy as the younger dogs.
Sadly, when anyone does see him when looking to adopt, he is passed over because “he is too old”. Sad really, because older dogs are much less work then young dogs and they can be wonderful for teaching younger dogs “manners”.
So, I am putting the word out about Trent. The man who owned him worked from home and Trent never left his side. He was even lying next to him, when he died - the family found them together.
I would really like him to have a forever home and not have to spend the rest of his days in a kennel. If you know of anyone, please let me know. Kathy - 082 454 1750
FOREST FARM ENTRANCE STICKERS
Forest Farm recently introduced their own entrance stickers. They will be particularly useful for anyone who comes regularly to FF. They are R5 per sticker - give us your details and we will get the sticker for you. If you don’t have a sticker, then you will be required to fill in the form and get it signed by someone at the table each week.
With the weather getting warmer, go out and train your dog!