Titbit follow-up: Bertie the Schnauzer


So training with Bertie has been pretty straight-forward, and quite easy – until the last time we had a trainging session, in which we continued lead training!

He’s not so keen to walk to heel when he knows a run on the field is just around the corner! But his owners and I have been working with him and he is getting better each time we go out. He is quite good with his recall training, but sometimes gets distracted by the 10 metre lead and decides to play with that instead!

Bertie

Initially treat motivation and reward was enough, especially with the basics; with more distractions and unwillingness to walk without pulling, I implemented a new reward – his favourite squeaky toy! This saw the change in his behaviour, as the motivation to be good for the reward was renewed. Clearly the treats are not what he’s most interested in as a reward, but play time with his favourite squeaky toy is a great reward; he is now motivated to do well again.

Don’t give up when training your pup gets tough – change tactics, change reward, change your approach – incorporate whatever positive thing works.

Goodnight and goodbye


To paraphrase the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy;

So long, and thanks for all the licks.

Last week (19/09/19) my family and I said our final farewell to our little dog – he was just over 15 years old, and he brought joy to our lives ever since we brought him home as a puppy in 2004.

It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the family – our Barney has been a part of ours since I was 13.

It’s never an easy decision to make; but for so many of us it’s a decision that has to be made, at some point, on behalf of our beloved pet. It was the kind call to make, for his sake, even though heartbreaking for us.

A piece of my heart went with him last Thursday, and he’ll always be treasured in our hearts and memories!

All we can do, as responsible persons for the lives of our animal family members, is to treat them well and give them a happy, healthy life. Then, if it comes down to it, we have the responsibility to not let them suffer too much at the end; and to be there for them – the way they’ve been there for us throughout their lives.

We are to do what’s best for them, as care-givers for as long as we get to have them in our lives!

Royal Mail Dog Awareness Week: 08-13 July 2019


Dog awareness week, this week, is to raise awareness of dog attacks on post men and women. The aim is to encourage dog owners to be responsible, with the aim of reducing/ eradicating attacks which can result in permanent/ disabling injury.

Over 2,000 dog attacks happened to post men and women in the past year! Over 80% of which happen when the dog is unrestrained in the front garden and at the door.

This is significant risk when you’re just trying to do your job!

Even the nicest dog can become defensive or fearful if it feels its’ territory and/or pack is being threatened – possibly causing your placid pooch to act out of the ordinary and attack the post delivering ‘intruder’. Any dog is capable of attacking; it is therefore the responsibility of you, the dog owner, to ensure the premises are safe and the dog secure when Royal Mail staff deliver your post.

If you have a dog that is aggressive for any reason, ensure you take necessary measures to ensure the safety of any person that may come to your home. This could simply be by ensuring your dog is shut in the house or back garden, having a cage round your letter box to protect the hand and post that comes through, having an external letter box, using a muzzle, having your dog on a lead … the list goes on! There are many little things you can do to help keep staff safe. This will also benefit your dog, as if they do cause substantial injury it could result in your pet being destroyed.

Post men and women should be able to go to work without fear, and do their jobs in safe environments. Be aware of your dog and those around your dog – be responsible and do your up most to ensure your dog is well trained, and all measures necessary are undertaken to keep everyone safe.


All images are open source, Google or WordPress images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Want to know more? Crocodiles


With regard to the ears and hearing of Crocodiles – see my previous post. This post is just a short follow-up, with a bit more crocodile info…

Their nostrils can also close up to seal out the water when submerged. They have a long snout full of teeth! The fourth tooth (working from nose), on the bottom, is visible over the sides of the top lip.

The tongue of a crocodile is quite unusual in the fact it is fixed to the bottom of the mouth; it is immovable.

The double spikes along the length of the body and tail are called the scute. Each spike along the scute has bone…

The pattern of the scales on their head and snout are unique to the individual the same way our fingerprints are individual, or the patterns on a giraffe or leopard (etc)…

They really are (in my opinion) fascinating and magnificent creatures.


All images are open source, Google or WordPress images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Dog groups: Sighthounds


Sighthounds (a.k.a gazehounds) are hunting dog breeds that hunt by sight, and speed! As this group of dogs hunt by sight; they need the stamina, speed and agility to keep up with their prey.

As seen in the below image; Sightounds are slim built dogs (lean), with deep chests, long legs, and flexible backs – all traits which aid the dog in keeping up with their prey.

Saluki Whippet (TMSHG)
Deep chest, long (strong) legs, lean build – Saluki and Whippet. [Photo credit: Paul Morrison/ The Morrison Sighthound Gang on Facebook]
Sighthounds need exercise just like any other dog, but focusing on the type of exercise. As long as your sighthound gets a good sprint, a couple of 20-30 minute walks daily are quite sufficient (in between nice, long snoozes of course)!

Sighthounds playing (TMSHG)
Playful dogs from The Morrison Sighthound gang [Photo credit: Paul Morrison/The Morrison Sighthound Gang on Facebook]
Sighthounds are generally affectionate and friendly dogs, both with their human(s) and other dogs. However, are often not suited to living with small, fast animals as this may trigger their chase and hunt instincts!

Sighthound breeds include:

  • Afghan Hound
    Height: 60-75 cm, Weight: 25-35 kg, Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Azawakh
    Height: 60-75 cm, Weight: 15-25 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Basenji
    Height: 38-43 cm, Weight: 9-12 kg, Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Borzoi
    Height: 66-76 cm, Weight: 25-47 kg, Lifespan: 7-10 years
  • Greyhound
    Height: 68-76 cm, Weight: 26-40 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Ibizan Hound
    Height: 56-74 cm, Weight: 20-30 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Irish Wolfhound
    Height: 76-90 cm, Weight: 47-64 kg, Lifespan: 6-10 years
  • Italian Greyhound
    Height: 33-38 cm, Weight: 3-5 kg, Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Pharaoh Hound
    Height: 53-64 cm, Weight: 18-27 kg, Lifespan: 11-14 years
  • Saluki
    Height: 58-71 cm, Weight: 18-27 kg, Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Scottish Deerhound
    Height: 70-80 cm, Weight: 35-50 kg, Lifespan: 8-11 years
  • Sloughi
    Height: 61-72 cm, Weight: 18-28 kg, Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Whippet
    Height: 45-56 cm, Weight: 6-14 kg, Lifespan: 12-15 years

A Lurcher is a type of Sighthound but is not a purebreed, but a mix (this may be a mix of Sighthound breeds, or of a Sighthound and any other breed(s)). Lurchers will exhibit traits of the breeds that are in them, as with any other crossbreed, but will have the general appearance of a Sighthound.


I recommend checking out (via this link) The Morrison Sighthound Gang page on Facebook for more stunning photographs, as well as videos, and information. I want to thank The Morrison Sighthound Gang for the use of the images (all individually credited).


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Titbit: Bertie the Miniature Schnauzer


So recently I’ve started clicker training with my new friend Bertie. As you can see from the photo above, Bertie is a (young) Miniature Schnauzer. He is such a lovely little pup – so friendly and so smart! But, as with all pups, quite mischievous too!

Bertie is quite fond of the clicker as he has quickly learned to associate the noise with the reward. They key in any kind of training is to find what motivates your dog to use as the reward – with Bertie it is most definitely treats! But with your dog it may be a particular toy or ball, or even just a big fuss!

Bertie responds well to the puppy treats i have been usuing. He is lovely to train as he responds really well to the clicker. He learned “down” in about 10 minutes one afternoon.

As he’s young we (his owners and I) are going to do the basic training, as well as a few fun tricks! I know Bertie will pick it up quickly.

The other week I was dog-sitting so used the opportunity to do a little recall training with Bertie on my own. It’ll be an eye opener to see how well he does this for other people; for a first go he was very good for me, and spent a good amount of time off lead as a result.

Before we left the park he made friends with a Husky cross – even if she was a little unsure of the small dog at first!

I am looking forward to doing more training with little Bertie, and seeing him become a model dog/ student! 😉

Endangered Earth


In the past 10 years we have lost several animal species – in this day and age we consider ourselves better than our predecessors, yet we are still the main cause of animals going extinct… we’re no better than those before us – in some ways we’re worse, as we are not doing what we do to survive; we are doing it for “fun” or “progress”. In what civilised or ‘advanced’ society is there place for this abominable behaviour? Yes, this post is looking to be an informative rant-type…

In the past century many animal species have been wiped from the planet, below is a selection (from the past decade) of those lost forever:
(1) 2015 – Eastern Cougar
(2) 2014 – Malagasy Hippopotamus
(3) 2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard
(4) 2012 – Pinta Tortoise
(5) 2012 – Zanzibar Leopard
(6) 2012 – Japanese River Otter
(7) 2011 – Western Black Rhinoceros
(8) 2010 – Alatora Grebe
(9) 2010 – Derwent River Sea Star
(10) 2009 – Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat
(11) 2008 – Spotted Green Pigeon (Liverpool Pigeon)
(12) 2008 – Caribbean Monk Seal

Many species that are extinct today is due to humans – we hunt to extinction, we destroy habitats, we remove animals from the wild for fashion or entertainment – we first make them extinct in the wild and then we deplete the captive animals until they’re gone… and many other reasons.
The ICUN Red List contains information of the endangerment of species.
We used to hunt sustainably for food, and in many countries/cultures this is still the case, but most of the hunting (at least in first world cultures) is for “fun” or “sport” and is unjustifiably cruel and unnecessary. The man that hunts to feed his family and/or community is not the reason Elephants and Rhino’s are depleting in number and becoming extinct; the cruelty of riding out with a pack of dogs to have them tear apart an innocent fox is not for any justifiable reason; the mind-set of people needs to change to make a difference… the bans we have in place need to be enforced to make a difference… we all want a better world but that won’t happen if we cannot really change.

We have bans (in certain countries) on things like fox hunting, whale hunting (whaling), shark finning, dog and cock fighting, removing animals from the wild (with conservation excepted), and many more abhorrent things – yet these bans are not universal, and often not enforced. If there are no consequences for these actions, or these consequences are not adhered to and/ or enforced, then what power do these bans have? Where then is the protection for these creatures?

Red Fox

Animals are a lot more important to their ecosystems than people give them credit for – the removal or addition of one species has an affect on everything around it. Take the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for example – video link here (this is in no way my video) – thanks to wolves being back in the ecosystem, the rivers went back to how they used to be, plants that had been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer returned, because the wolves kept down the deer population – things went back to the way they were; back to how they should be. Why did the ecosystem breakdown in the first place; why did the wolves become extinct in Yellowstone? Because of us. Because of humans. Because we killed them off…Grey Wolf

The way we are going, the same thing will happen again and again, with more species. We, as a species, need to change before we are the only species left on a dying planet – small steps to ensure that other species don’t become myth and fairy-tales, instead of living, breathing creatures that share this planet.

Your cat and the big outdoors


New cat or kitten? Wanting to let them roam the big, wide world outside? Stop and think before you do, to ensure the safest way to introduce your cat to the outdoors.

Kittens Outside

You must note that there are differences in introducing a young kitten and an adult cat to the outdoors.

With an adult cat, keep them indoors 3-6 weeks before letting them venture outdoors; cats have a great ‘homing beacon’ and if you let them out straight away will find their way back to where home was before you brought them home with you. Keeping your cat indoors for minimum of 3 weeks will sort of ‘re-set’ this, so your home becomes theirs and they will then find their way back to you. This also applies with adult cats when you move house – keep them inside until your new location becomes theirs.

With a kitten there is a bit more preparation before letting them outside – this is first for a new kitten! Ensure your kitten is micro-chipped in case they get lost; vaccinated to avoid illness or disease; and neutered at the appropriate age to avoid any unplanned litters!

Work on recall in the home before letting your cat/kitten out – calling them and shaking their favourite bag of treats, or something similar so they know to come back when called.

Cat Collar

If you want to put a collar on your cat/kitten (many people choose to so a bell can be added), ensure you get a collar that can has some sort of [emergency] release so the collar will break if it is stuck on something, and it won’t harm your pet. Bells on collars do reduce the success rate of hunts, however won’t ever completely prevent the occasional successful hunt.

At first it is wise to monitor your cat/kitten on their first adventure outside to ensure they don’t get into too much trouble, and so you’re on hand if they do! You may wish to firstly take your cat/kitten out on a harness and lead to let them get used to the smells and surroundings and layout of your garden in a controlled environment.

Whilst outside, sit and play and explore with your pet to allow them to get used to, and enjoy this new setting. Practise recall in the garden with your pet, being sure to reward, fuss and praise them when they come back when called.


Kitten exploring

Eventually allow your cat/kitten more time outside without you, until they want to venture out on their own.

As cats are nocturnal, they spend the nights active and hunting – to allow your pet outside of an evening/night it is advisable to get a cat flap. With a cat flap, you won’t have a restless cat that has been cooped up all night, and you won’t be disturbed by your pet asking to be let out. The best options are cat flaps that open via magnets (one in the flap and one on the collar of your cat(s)), or that open when registered microchips are within a certain proximity. These kinds of flaps ensure no cats that are not of your household can enter.

For any further advice or any questions on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me via any of the methods below.


All images are open source, Google images, WordPress supplied images, my own images, or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…

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