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Dogs

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12July 2017
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It must be fair to say that nobody likes leaving their dog on its own. But in many cases, we often fail to look at the real reasons why leaving your dog is bad and the huge negative consequences it can have on your pet's mental wellbeing. So here are three of those unknown reasons why you shouldn’t leave your dog on its own.  

1. They get stressed

Have you ever wondered why your dog pees on the floor while you’re away? Well, it’s likely due to stress and fear. They worry that you are not going to return. The Canine Behaviourist and Welfare Team at the Battersea Dog’s Home estimate that the first 30 minutes after your departure is the most stressful period during your absence. They state that your dog’s heart rate, respiratory functions and stress hormones all rise quickly after your departure. Which in turn leads to their scratching, whimpering and possible urination.  

2. Some dogs can get depression

Depending on your experiences with you pet, you may or may not be surprised to know that dogs, just like humans, can develop depression. Professionals are unsure of the exact reasons as to why dogs don’t like being on their own. It could be because they feel they’re being abandoned, they get bored or are simply just incredibly needy. Either way, with poor coping mechanisms, many dogs do get depression and anxiety which is incredibly hard to treat.  

3. Being in pairs doesn’t help

Though there is no clear evidence to show which dogs perform best on their own or in pairs, simply leaving your dog at home with another dog isn’t necessarily the way forward. If one comes to develop anxiety or depression this can, in many cases, quickly spread to the other dog. Of course, it is possible that the second dog can help pull them out of the rut, though there is no clear answer as to whether it will or won’t.  

What’s the solution?

Training your dog to be independent is something that needs to occur from a very young age. From around 3 to 14 weeks old you need to start teaching them that being on their own is OK. You can do this by leaving them alone for short periods at a time and then gradually increasing the amounts of time. Alternatively, use positive reinforcement by leaving specially left treats that are only available whilst you are out of the house. One thing that is for sure is that leaving your dog on its own for any longer than is necessary is not a good thing to do, especially if you are away for a full day or more at a time. Also, if on holiday then having a minder come in just once or twice a day is not the care they need. Instead, you should use a day care service that provides the loving care and human attention that your dog needs. So, if you live near Welwyn and are looking for someone to take your dog on long, healthy and regular walks, then get in contact today.
24November 2016
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Your dog really does love you – and now it’s been proven that he can’t help it. According to a study released in Scientific Reports, dogs are genetically programmed to love humans. The findings were the result of a test which saw 100 beagles faced with trying to access food. The grub was placed in three boxes with transparent lids, one of which was bolted shut so that the pooches couldn’t get to it. The study measured how long it took the canines to look to their owners for help. Later DNA samples were taken from 95 dogs and it was discovered that your average pup carries five genes linked with an inclination to human contact. Now that the truth is out, you will surely want to return your dog’s love. It’s not hard to show your dog how much you care either. Follow these simple steps and your four-legged friend should be able to feel your affection.

Walk your dog

Research has found that dogs come to understand the word ‘walkies’ extremely fast. Why? Well, because it’s their favorite pastime. Dogs love walks for many reasons – one of which is the time they get to spend with their owner. You’ll no doubt also cherish the time where you get to let your dog off its lead.

Use a dog walker

Sadly, there’s not always enough time in the day to walk your dog. Luckily, there’s a solution. You can hire someone to go dog walking for you. This will ensure that your canine gets all the health benefits of a walk - such as increased fitness levels and lower blood pressure – even when you’re busy at work.

Doggy day care

While your dog likely loves nothing more than being by your side, he will also crave the company of his own four-legged friends. Doggy day care offers a solution for your dog to get some much needed socialising done.

A love like no other

Your dog won’t expect you to return its love – but he will surely appreciate it when you do. Follows these tricks and you can rest comfortably knowing your precious pup is leading a happy life.
12July 2016
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Dogs, like people, can get bored and when they do, they resort to looking for ways to entertain themselves - just like you or I would. They could be having a real riot of a time chewing up and spitting out bits of your slippers or scattering your scatter-cushions - before tearing them apart: it’s such an easy and fun way to pass the time! Many of us quickly assume that the dog is punishing us for leaving them alone in the house, all day, but we’re barking up the wrong tree! For example, a dog ‘gone native’ would be out scavenging for food all day. It would also be very excited about searching out food with a group of buddies (or ‘pack’, as we like to say), much the same way as we do, in fact. According to the Dog Trust: ‘To keep a dog from being bored and out of trouble in the home, you need to devise all sorts of fun and interesting ways to feed your dog his daily food ration.’ It’s not just food issues, though. Recent changes in weather patterns have also exposed an increase in boredom among pet dogs. Persistent wet, damp weather has meant dog-owners have been less inclined to go out for walks. Animal behaviourists have noticed a sharp increase in the number of depressed and distressed dogs needing therapy, lately. Carolyn Menteith, a dog behaviourist and Britain’s Instructor of the Year 2015, told The Independent: “I’ve been working with dogs for more than 20 years and I can’t remember a time when they have been this bored. I tend to see boredom in bursts but I’m seeing it chronically this winter.” Dogs are highly intelligent and are social creatures. They need mental and physical stimulation, social interactions along with variety to spice up their hum-drum lives, just like you and me. According to Kate’s Pet Corner: “A bored dog is a stressed dog. Behavioural issues can result from boredom and they are normally destructive. When dogs are bored they make their own entertainment. Unfortunately for you this tends to involve digging up your garden or chewing your favourite pair of shoes.” Other behavioural symptoms she notes include: stealing; chewing; digging; excessive barking and hyperactivity. “A bored dog usually knows that their behaviour was wrong and they will look guilty on your return,” she points out, which explains why we conclude their behaviour is deliberate. Walking is the most obvious and beneficial means to combat canine boredom. Maybe you have other friends with dogs that you could invite too? Such social interactions would enrich your dog's life. If you work all day, could you pop home in your lunch break for a quick walk? If that is not possible and you don't want anti-social or destructive behaviour from your dog you should look into a dog walking service. Nine million dogs can't be wrong!
10July 2015
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Your dog may understand more of your speech than you think. Have you ever talked to your dog and felt he was understanding every word? If your family and friends dismissed it, you might be heartened to know that scientific research could be backing you up. Research has shown that dogs may well not just be picking up on your tone of voice. They might be able to understand more than we previously thought. When we hear sounds, the right side of the brain processes tone of voice and the left side of the brain processes the content of speech. Our physiology means that the pathways between our right ear and the left side of the brain are stronger than from the left ear, and the pathways between our left ear and the right side of the brain are stronger. So we understand speech better from our right ear and the emotional tone of sound better from our left ear. Animals like dogs show a similar pattern when it comes to the sounds animals of their own species make. The question has always been: Do dogs make the same distinction when it comes to listening to human speech? A study by Victoria F Ratcliffe and David Reby which tried to answer that question was published in Current Biology (Orienting Asymmetries in Dogs’ Responses to Different Communicatory Components of Human Speech).The study positioned dogs between two speakers. Either a non-human or a human voice were played from both sides, simultaneously. The study looked at whether each dog turned its head to the left or right. That would indicate how the dog was processing the sound and which side it was hearing more clearly. The sound of the human voices used was enhanced to emphasise the faster-moving sound of the vocabulary, or modified to enhance the slower-moving sound of the emotional tone. The sound was varied between words and commands the dog was used to, and words in a foreign language were used. When the dogs were played the human voice speaking in a familiar language and with the vocabulary enhanced, most turned to the right. That showed the left sides of their brains were processing the words. When played the human voices in an unfamiliar language, most turned to the left, showing the right side of the brain was processing the sound. Most of the dogs also turned to the left when clips of human voices emphasising emotional tone, and removing the vocabulary, were played. The results indicated that to get a stronger reaction from the left side of the brain, there had to be meaningful verbal content. That's the same side of the brain which processes speech in humans. When there was no meaning to speech - where the language was unfamiliar or vocabulary removed - the right side of the brain took over in actively processing the sound. The team also played non-enhanced speech clips to the dogs. That normal speech prompted no such reaction, possibly because both components acted to cancel one another out when all the sound information was received at the same time. Overall, the study found dogs process sound in generally the same way we humans do. So how did this happen? Was it nature or nurture? Further research is now needed into whether this has always been inherent to dogs, or whether thousands of years of domestication by humans has created the situation. It's too early yet to say how much your dog understands, but the study showed he's not just responding to your tone of voice.  
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