Thank you!

171 Labs rehomed in 2010

52 Labs rehomed since 1 Jan 2011

We invite you to come and visit Labrador Rescue at

28 February 2010

Fleas - Pesky Fellows

This is one of many dog ownership tips I'd like to share with you under the name 'Paws for Thought' written by a friend at work, posted here with her permission. Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer). Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

With the time of year and persistent postings regarding fleas and their control I thought I'd check out a few references and learn more about the beasts and how to get rid of them. Here's what I learnt – and it’s more than you probably ever wanted to know…

About fleas

Fleas are parasites. They suck blood, make animals, especially puppies, anaemic, they spread tapeworm and cause serious skin irritations. Some dogs can also become allergic to fleas. They can bite humans as well.

Fleas can build up rapidly to plague-like proportions under the right conditions – something some of you seem to be experiencing: (

Adult fleas live & feed on your pet but 95% of the flea population live as eggs, larvae and pupae in the dirt, carpet, bedding and cracks and crevices, ready to jump on your pet.

With nearly 2,000 species and subspecies, fleas thrive in warm, humid environments.

The life cycle of a flea:

The female adult flea lives and lays eggs on your pet. The eggs fall off and remain protected in the dirt, cracks and crevices of your house, in pets bedding or in your carpet, where they hatch into larvae.

The larvae feed on debris and develop into pupae, which can lay dormant for a long time. They hatch into new adults under the right conditions, in as little as 19 days in warm and humid weather, and hop on your pet to feed. The adult flea can survive for up to a year without a blood meal.

With a complete life cycle ranging anywhere from 16 days to 21 months, depending on environmental conditions, fleas are most commonly found on a dog’s abdomen, the base of the tail and the head. With heavy infestations, however, fleas can thrive anywhere on the body. They feed once every day or two, and generally remain on their host during the interim.

A single female flea can produce up to 50 eggs per day and about 2,000 in a lifetime.

Larvae can be easily killed by drying out (exposure to relative humidity under 50 degrees) however they are capable as moving as far as a metre to find locations suitable for survival such as protected environments in carpet fibres, cracks between floorboards and on unfinished concrete floors.

Fleas are hearty and nimble, and when searching for a host, they can jump 10,000 times in a row (the length of three football fields). Three pairs of legs make for excellent leaping capabilities (up to two feet), and a laterally flattened body allows for quick movement in a dog’s fur.

A large build-up of fleas occurs when the weather gets warmer, especially in humid areas but we are still at risk in cooler areas because of heating in our homes.

Finding fleas

Often fleabites cause itching and scratching which can over time cause hair loss, inflammation and dry, scurfy skin over the base of the tail and lower backline, where fleas like to congregate.

The real sufferers are pets that become allergic to the saliva the flea injects into the skin while feeding. These animals will react every time a flea bites, even if only one flea is present. This condition is known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD).

But your pet may have fleas even though you can’t see them. 'Flea dirt' or flea droppings are detected more easily than the flea itself and can be seen on the skin over the rump and back - like black specks of dirt. To find them:

Groom your pet using a fine-toothed comb held over a white surface such as a piece of kitchen towel. Any fleas or flea droppings will be deposited on the surface.

Add a few drops of water and if the droppings turn reddish brown it is very likely your pet has fleas. Oh and by the way the reddish brown will be your dogs blood – yuk or what : )

Flea control

The only effective way to get rid of fleas is to remove all fleas from the dog and its environment (simultaneously to have most effect). Areas to address include:

·         Other household pets such as cats (even if they are not scratching themselves). But be sure that you treat each animal with a treatment appropriate for its species – or you might have a very expensive vet bill not to mention having poisoned your pet. For instance permethrin which is included in some dog flea treatments is poisonous to cats.

·          The dog themselves.  There are very many options out there – a staggering amount but be careful about mixing and matching as some in combination can cause overdoses/ poisonings. Also be aware particular dogs can be sensitive to particular products and the reaction can be worse than the fleas.

Options include:

Flea powers – generally needing to be applied once or twice a week.

Flea collars – can kill fleas for up to 9 months.

Flea shampoos – kill fleas on contact but have no residual effect.

Flea rinses – for use after shampoos or on their own and generally with a residual effect of up to 7 days. Options include:

Permoxin - can be used weekly on dogs or made into a spray for daily use. Used weekly it will also control ticks.

Flea sprays – rapidly kills fleas and some have insect growth regulators to prevent the laying of viable flea eggs for up to 6 to 12 weeks.

Spot on treatments – generally applied monthly. Some kill the fleas before eggs are laid and some include insect growth regulator to control all stages of flea life. Some options include:

-         Advantage – for eliminating adult fleas in dogs and contains micro-crystals that drop from the animal's coat into areas that they visits. These micro-crystals are like 'mine fields' that will bomb the developing flea larvae as they hatch from eggs.

-         Advantix - combines the active ingredient of Advantage to control fleas along with permethrin to repel and kill ticks, including the paralysis tick.

-         Frontline Spray - should eliminate fleas for 2 to 3 months. Apply by thoroughly rubbing into the coat with a gloved hand. Also treats ticks for approximately 1 month.

-         Frontline Plus Top Spot – used once a month. Combines a long acting adult flea killer with an insect growth regulator giving protection for at least 1 month. Also treats ticks for approximately 2 weeks.

Multipurpose products – some products incorporate flea treatment with treatment for heartworm and/or intestinal worm control. Options include:

-         Advocate - is a new multi-purpose product that combines the key ingredient of Advantage with an ingredient that also prevents heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, mange and lice in dogs.

-         Revolution - controls adult fleas, prevents flea eggs from hatching, and kills flea larvae in the environment. Also controls heartworm, ear mites, sarcoptic manage, roundworm and hookworm.

Tablets and injections – may include insect growth regulator to sterilise flea eggs and stop them hatching. Options include:

-         Sentinel - a monthly tablet that not only controls fleas by stopping flea eggs from hatching, but also includes a heartworm preventive and an intestinal wormer for tapeworms as well as roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.

-         Capstar - kills fleas but has no residual action. Can be useful to quickly eliminate a new flea infestation before using a long term preventive.

-         Proban - given once or twice per week on a continual basis is effective against fleas and ticks.

You can also use a flea comb on your dog to help control an infestation.

The environment – inside the house

Flea bombs, foggers and mists all of which contain insect growth regulators and some of which provide up to a years worth of protection.

Thoroughly clean and vacuum your house, including rugs, bedding, upholstery, furniture, floors and skirting boards to help destroy fleas at each stage of their life cycle. Remember to discard any vacuum bags.

Wash dog bedding weekly.

The environment – the outdoors

Yard sprays or rinses that can be applied to specific areas including kennels and runs and many of which contain insect growth regulators.

Treatment should include:

-         Kennels

-         Rest areas (both those you provide and the spots the dog chooses)

-         Areas in the garden frequented by the dog – particularly if they lie there

-         Digging spots and sandpits

-         Under the house, porch or other buildings particularly where dark and moist.

Concentrate on shady areas, where fleas live. Options can also include the use of an insecticide, nematodes or microscopic worms that kill flea larvae.

Your car

If your dog travels in your car then don’t forget that you need to treat this area as well.

Alternative options

There are a range of alternative options available including:

Garlic - a natural flea preventative. A herb some people add to dogs meals several times a week - fresh or as a powder. More is not better however and it has been suggested that prolonged use can cause anaemia. There are no scientific studies backing up the effectiveness of garlic as a flea control agent. I recommend you to talk to your vet about it before using.

Essential oils for flea control - dilute in water and spray on coat. Total essential oils should be about 15 drops in 500 mls of water. Lavendar, citronella or cedar are meant to repel fleas but don't kill so they are not effective in an infestation.

Electronic flea collars - often reported as not effective.

Parasitic nematodes - tiny worms that eat the larvae if placed in favourite patch in the yard.

Pyrethryn - derived from the chyrsanthemum flower. Considered fairly safe. Is often combined with piperonyl butoxide which makes it more effective.

Yeast – touted but no scientific studies.

Vitamin B - touted but no scientific studies.

Lavender - sprinkle around bedding or make a lavender pillow.

Plant fennel, sage or wormwood near kennels and resting areas.

Wash bedding in hot water and rinse in cold adding 10 drops eucalyptus or lavender oil.

Some alternatives to beware of include:

Borax - borax and borax powders are toxic to dogs as well as fleas so are not recommended.

Borates – which can be effective but are toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Diatomaceous earth which can be irritating to breathe.

Rotenone - derived from derris root. This is toxic than commercially available flea products and poisonous if it enters waterways.

Limonene and other citrus products - natural flea repellents. But do not use on puppies and could cause poisonings particularly if used with other treatments. Speak to your vet before using.


Some of these products and even natural remedies are poisons and you need to read and stick with the product labels.

If you have young, sick, pregnant or nursing animals then speak to your vet before applying anything as animals can be more sensitive to products at this time. Some products cannot be used on puppies under a specific age (usually 3 to 4 months but check the label).

Many flea products for dogs are toxic to cats so check the label and/or with your vet.

For prevention (or more likely minimisation of risk) consider:

o        Regular grooming of your pets

o        Regular washing of pet bedding (weekly even)

o        Blocking off access to under the house during flea season or treating the area with an appropriate product.

Your vet will be able to recommend the best product and/or mix of products for your pet – please speak to them.

Sources: - the background website behind many Australian vet surgeries and clinics websites

Dr Barbara Fougere -Healthy Dogs. A HAndbook of Natural Therapies.

Denise Flaim - The Holistic Dog Book. Canine Care for the 21st Century J.M Evans and Kay White - Doglopedia. A Complete Guide to Dog Care.

Eric Allan and rowan Blogg - Everydog. A Complete Book of Dog Care.

The Merk/Merial Manual for Pet Health. home Edition

Bloat - A Killer - Be Aware

This is one of many dog ownership tips I'd like to share with you under the name 'Paws for Thought' written by a friend at work, posted here with her permission. Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer). Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

This is a very personal topic for me having come within minutes of losing my beloved Merlin to bloat in June 2008. Thankfully I was home with him when it started. Thankfully our vet is just 10 minutes away. Thankfully it was before they closed for the night (just). Thankfully they are a vet hospital and thankfully they decided to operate on him right there and then rather than transport him to the after hours emergency centre.

Given recent posts and questions I thought I’d review what we appear to know about bloat. What is presented here is based on publicly available information only. It really all just confirms for me the need to talk to your vet about this killer and what you can do to reduce the risks with your dogs.

What is bloat?

Bloat is a life-threatening condition. A large number of dogs die of it every year in a painful and horrible death. Some stats indicate that even with immediate treatment 15% to 60% of dogs will die. The Purdue study indicated a mortality rate of approximately 30%.

My personal experience though is out of ten or more dogs that I have known or heard of having GDV my boy is the only one I know of who has survived.

Bloat is the most commonly known name for a condition also known as gastric dilation, gastric torsion and twisted stomach. The correct medical term is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) -sometimes referred to as Gastric Dilation-Volvulus . It happens when an accumulation of gases, air, fluid or food in the stomach causes it to first dilate and then to twist, sealing off the entry and exit to the stomach, causing the spleen to swell an placing pressure (if not cutting off) the major vein that brings blood from the lower body back to the heart. Toxins are then released from the dying stomach lining and heart dysfunction can occur. All of this happens quickly over just minutes to hours so timely treatment is critical.

Unfortunately I have known a number of people lose their dogs while down the shops, while dogs were home alone during the day or when sleeping in runs and kennels outdoors overnight.

What causes bloat?

The exact cause or causes of bloat remain unknown. Be aware though that bloat can affect any dog of any age, size, weight or breed.

A number of risk factors have been identified including:


Deep and narrow chests or abdomen.

Breed (although it is actually about their conformation – deep chests)

Risk factors are higher for dogs whose chests are long (from backbone to sternum) rather than wide – including mixed breed dogs.

Research by the University of Purdue, which of course did not cover all breeds, showed:

The highest average lifetime risk of an occurrence of GDV appears to be the Great Dane at 41.4% more likely than a mixed breed dog.

The rest of the list looks like:
·         Saint Bernard – 21.8%
·         Weimaraner – 19.3%
·         Irish Setter – 14.2%
·         Gordon Setter – 12.3%
·         Standard Poodle 8.8%
·         Basset Hound 5.9%
·         Doberman Pinscher – 5.5%
·         Old English Sheepdog – 4.8%
·         German Shorthaired Pointer – 4.6%
·         Newfoundland – 4.4%
·         German Shepherd Dog – 4.2%
·         Airedale Terrier – 4.1%
·         Alaskan Malamute - 4.1%
·         Chesapeake Bay Retriever – 3.7%
·         Boxer – 3.7%
·         Collie – 2.8%
·         Labrador Retriever – 2%
·         English Springer Spaniel – 2%
·         Samoyed – 1.6%
·         Dachshund – 1.6%
·         Golden Retriever – 1.2%
·         Rottweiler – 1.1%
·         Mixed breed – 1.0%
·         Miniature Poodle – 0.3%

Genetic predisposition

Having a first-degree (generation) relative with a history of GDV increases risk by 63%. So if you are a breeder of a susceptible breed (or mixed breed) then please consider not breeding from any dog that has suffered a GDV incident.


Males are more at risk than females (some say a slightly higher risk others indicate double the risk for males).


More often seen in middle age to older dogs – some even report that few dogs under 1 year of age appear to be effected; others indicate that they have had youngsters suffer from GDV.

Research indicates that large breeds risks increase by 20% each year after the age of 5 while giant breeds risks increase by 20% each year after the age of 3.


Thin dogs are more at risk than overweight dogs (but of course overweight dogs are not healthy in other ways).

Health problems

Experiencing a major health problem before age 1


Fearful temperament

Nervous temperament

Aggressive temperament


Eating only one meal a day

Feeding only dry dog food, particularly if:

- Fat was listed amongst the first four ingredients (some research indicates a 170% increase in risk others question the research)

- More than one corn ingredient is listed among the first four ingredients (although only a minor risk increase
for this one)

- Foods with citric acid are moistened (some research indicates a 320% increase in risk – others question the research).

Feeding food with only small particles

Feeding a large volume of food per meal

Moistening dry food before feeding (something that is widely thought to reduce risk but which Purdue’s research shows increases it)

Eating rapidly (some research say increases risks by 15% which it is proposed may be linked to increased swallowing of air)

Eating from a raised feeding bowl (also something that is widely thought to reduce risk but with Purdue showed increases it by 110%)

Water intake

Restricting a dog’s water intake before and after eating (identified by Purdue)

Over drinking (identified by others)

Purdue indicated that giving water from a raised bowl also increased risks by up to 110%


Increased physical activity before and after eating


May include recent kenneling or a recent long car ride


Abnormal gastric motility

Hormone secretion.

Atmospheric pressure and changes.

What are some of the symptoms of bloat?

If your dog develops bloat you may see:

·         Pacing and restlessness

·         Head turning to look at the abdomen

·         A distended abdomen (looking something like your dog is pregnant or being pumped up with air) – often starting with the left side of the abdomen first

·         Stiff legged stance with arched back

·         Unsuccessful belching or vomiting or vomiting up white froth

·         Retching

·         Weakness

·         Excessive salivation (drooling)

·         Shortness of breath

·         Pale gums

·         Rapid shallow breathing

·         Rapid heartbeat

·         Acting uncomfortable, unwilling to move around

·         Collapse.

What should I do?

If you even suspect that your dog has bloat get your dog to a vet immediately. Time is critical with this condition – so it is far better to be wrong and cop a vet bill then to be right but too late (and possibly copping an even larger vet bill for surgery and critical care).

How is it treated?

Treatment will depend on your dog’s condition but often includes:

·         Trying to pass a gastric tube into the stomach to release gas etc. This is sometimes also used as part of the confirmation (or other) that the dog is suffering from GDV. If they can’t get a gastric tube in then something is almost certainly wrong and further investigation is warranted.

·         Using a large gauge needle to release gases from the stomach.

·         Taking an x-ray of the abdomen to check the stomach’s position – Note: This is highly recommended even if a gastric tube or needle have been successfully used to release gas etc.

·         Intravenous fluids to reduce shock.

·         Blood work to check for abnormalities.

·         Heart monitoring.

·         Emergency surgery to relieve the pressure and untwist the stomach. In some cases damaged parts of the stomach and spleen will have to be removed.

Intensive (and costly) post-operative monitoring for several days is routine.

As you can see this is a serious condition and surgery is highly risky – but often the only alternative to certain death.

Unfortunately research has shown that it is possible for vets to miss or misdiagnose GDV. So if you suspect your dog has GDV, but the veterinarian dismisses it as a minor problem, inquire about radiographs to rule out GDV or at the very least keep an eye on your dog and if the symptoms increase or do not reduce be persistent and return to your vets or seek another opinion. Don’t mean to scare you – but the research shows it happens.

Many vets will recommend permanently attaching the stomach to the side of the abdomen with stitches in an attempt to prevent future episodes, either during the emergency surgery or even if the situation is resolved before emergency surgery is required.

Some sources quote stats of 75% - 100% of dogs who survive GDV having recurrences unless this surgery is conducted, after which recurrence is drastically reduced (to less than 5% according to the Purdue study).

Can it be prevented?

Unfortunately you cannot guarantee that a dog will not suffer GDV. There are however a number of things that it appears can be done to lower the risks. Some are management and care issues, others are medical. Research primarily at Purdue University by Dr. Larry Glickman, VMD, Ph.D, (an AKC Excellence in Canine Research Award winner), and Dr. Malathi Raghavan, DVM, Ph.D. have particularly contributed to this list.


o        Feed several small meals rather than one or two large meals throughout the day

o        Feed no more than one cup per 33 pounds of body weight per meal when feeding two meals a day

o        Feed an energy-dense diet, to reduce volume, but avoid a diet where a high amount of calories are from fats.

o        Feed a food with larger particles, and include larger pieces of meat to the diet.

o        Avoid moistening dry foods

o        Feed products with protein ingredients of animal origin, including beef, poultry, lamb and fish amongst the first four ingredients (the more of these listed among the first four ingredients the better). The Purdue University research indicated that this decreased risk by 53%

o        Feed a variety of different food types regularly. The inclusion of human foods in a primarily dry dog food diet was associated with a 59% decreased risk of GDV while inclusion of canned pet foods was associated with a 28% decreased risk

Feeding bowls

o        Avoid feeding from a raised bowl unless advised to do so by your vet

Speed of Feeding

o        If your dog eats rapidly, find ways to try to reduce his speed of eating. These might include:

- Feeding on a baking tray or other flat surface

- Use of specially designed bowls or adding a largish ball, rock or block into a standard bowl

- Feeding dogs separately (to avoid them gulping down their food)


o        Encourage normal water consumption – have water available at all times. Note though that some question the correlation between intake of water and incidence of GDV


o        Maintain an appropriate weight


o        Avoid rigorous exercise before and after meals – up to 1 hour before and 2 hours after. Again some question the correlation.


o        Try to minimize stress for your dog. Stressful events have been reported to be precipitating factors in GDV occurrence. Some stressful events particularly mentioned are boarding, traveling, showing, breeding, and trialing.

o        Avoid vigorous, excitement and stress up to 1 hour before and 2 hours after eating.


o        For high risk dogs or when risk factors are increased (such as stress) consider using a baby monitor to alert you if your dog is in distress.


o        Have vet contact numbers and know the way there for 24 hour coverage. This means you might need to have after hours numbers or alternative vet hospital or emergency care centre details handy.

A few of the key areas where there is contradictory advice appear to be:

·         Feeding in a raised bowl or on a raised feed station

·         Amount of water that the dog should be allowed to drink immediately before or after eating

·         Making changes in diet slowly, over a period of a week or more or feeding a varied diet at all times.

·         Anti-flatulence treatments – some recommend it and others believe that it increases the risks of GDV.

So this merely reinforces the importance of talking to your vet!

A recent discussion with my vet reinforced that we really don’t yet know the specific causes and that it can even happen from just gulping down too much air. A friend then lost a dog that bloated on water. We have a long way to go in really understanding GDV – so all we dog owners (and vets) can do is work with the information we do have and be willing to change (or at least consider changing) as new information comes to light.

If you have a high-risk breed then you might want to talk to your vet about performing a gastropexy during de-sexing or at another time. A gastropexy is where they attach the stomach to the abdomen making it harder (if not impossible) for the stomach to twist.


27 February 2010

Happy stories this week!

Jet very well behaved on his walks, and in the Austin Healey Sprite (the engine vibration sends him to sleep though, spoiling the whole image of windswept flapping jowls poking out from the side of the windscreen) as we cruise from home to lake locations & back again...

This is my favourite shot of Jet enjoying his new life!


...In the end I moved my mattress onto the floor and slept in the laundry too...

...She is turning out to be a nice quiet presence in the house...

...Thanks for all your good work with Candy...


...Just wanted to say a BIG thank you from Toby and I for helping to find him such a great forever home. He flew down to ... early on Wednesday morning (6.50am…eek but at least it was cool for him ;) )) They all absolutely adore him as does O their other dog who is 12yo. ...O is in love! Lol...


...we are almost at the point of “can’t imagine life without him”...

...will start puppy pre-school tomorrow night...

...He loved the bone which I think really helped whilst I was at work. He showed his boredom yesterday though by pulling off 3 of the mosquito nets covering our floor to ceiling windows which is a pain but hey that’s what you get when you have to work I suppose...

...Sorry about the lack of photos ... Funny how a puppy slows these things down!...


..She has settled very well and is a real cutie...


 I was lucky enough to be able to visit my precious Blossom in her new home. She seems very happy :-)

Thank you to all !

25 February 2010

Is your dog too fat, too thin or just right?

This is one of many dog ownership tips I'd like to share with you under the name 'Paws for Thought' written by a friend at work, posted here with her permission. Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer). Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

We get Labs of all shapes and sizes. Some need to lose heaps of weight and others need to gain some. Don't blame your dog for their weight problems, it's your responsibility to feed the right amount so that they stay a healthy weight. Hopefully this information will help you stay on the right path :-). 

Each dog is an individual and even dogs from the same litter can differ greatly in their adult size and nutritional needs. You can’t rely on breed standards and books because they give standards, averages or ranges – there is no ideal weight chart that suits all dogs. So how do you tell if your dog is too fat, too thin or just right?

Some approaches for determining whether your dog is the right size or not are:

A visual check:

* Take a good look at your dogs shape from a couple of angles (from the side and from immediately behind or in front) and then compare it with one or more of the following dog body condition charts:

How to Evaluate Your Dog’s Weight for Dummies at

University Body Condition Score Chart at but
which you will also find on a number of other university websites

Purina Understanding Your Dog’s Body Condition at

Purina Body Condition System – Adult at

Purina Body Condition System – Puppy at

IAMS Dog Body Condition Chart -

Placing your hands on each side of his rib cage:

* If the ribs are protruding your dog might be too thin.

* If you can feel individual ribs easily and your dog’s abdomen (belly) is slightly tucked up from the side – he is probably in good form.

* If you can’t feel the ribs easily, you can’t see his waist and his belly hangs down then he’s probably overweight.

Or you can combine both into a process that Waltham has flowcharted for you at

The three graphics from the website give you a quick visual overview of the key points you will find in the other more detailed condition charts.

You can find more about the 14 year Purina life span study from the same site. The key findings being:

* Lean dogs generally appear to live longer than other dogs (measured in years).

* The need for treatment for certain health conditions can be delayed by years in lean dogs.

* Lean dogs appear to delay the loss of body mass as they age.

* Lean dogs appear to have fewer visible signs normally associated with aging, such as greying muzzles.

For a more detailed look at the research and its results check out:



Final note

If you are at all uncertain or concerned about your dogs weight or your dog comes in as underweight or overweight please speak to your vet.

References (in addition to links included in post)

Look at gorgeous Buddy's shape - he's a beautiful athletic boy!!

21 February 2010

Revolving Door

The new puppy homes seem to be getting over the initial shock of life with a baby puppy, which is great to hear! The pups also seem to be settling in well and starting to show their true colours, for better or for worse ;-)!!

When I dropped off Scooby on Tuesday night I brought home sweet Abbey. She's a very light girl with a gentle soul. She seems to be feeling a bit lost without her family and was a bit overwhelmed at Katherine's place with 10 other dogs.  She had a family in Canberra keen to meet her as a companion for a their previous rescue Lab, it's always nice to have an adoptive family come back for more :-). They came to meet her on Thursday night and took her home for a two week trial. She showed sensitivity around her rear end which has since been checked out and is possibly bruised so she is on a course of anti-inflammatories which should help the healing process. I'm glad to say all is going well so far.

Young Buddy was dropped off to us on Friday morning after a failed trial. His potential new family thought he was absolutely perfect but found out from a concerned friendly neighbour that he had been barking constantly during the day when they were out at work.  It turns out that this affectionate, sensitive boy craves company, so we'll be looking for a home with as much human or dog company as is possible for him.  He's lovely to have around and we think he is a Great Dane cross Lab. He's no trouble at all living with our cat. He does love to jump up for a cuddle but really concentrated on sitting during his morning greeting this morning, such great progress :-). He's very athletic and loves to run around and jump over things.  He's a real sweetheart.

19 February 2010

Scooby has joined his new home

I'm a bit late with this news, it's been a busy week! Scooby left us on Tuesday night to catch a lift to Sydney with Save A Shepherd on Wednesday morning. We only finalised transport on Tuesday so I drove him out to Yass to have a sleepover at Katherine's place ready for his ride from there the next morning. He loved the party at Katherine's house with 11 other dogs!  It'll be interesting to see how he settles in to a home with no dogs but he will have a very dedicated young lad to tumble around with.

The handsome young fellow, Scooby

Love this shot of him being attacked by his sisters!

Flat out with Kaeli - cute puppy belly

Such a little chatterbox :-)

15 February 2010

Winkie has gone to her new home

Winkie had an awesome adventure today! She hitched a lift with Golden Retriever Rescue from Canberra to Sydney to join a home with a 3 yo black Lab as her new big sister. It was all organised last night after another home fell through. She should feel right at home after staying with our big black boy Gus :-). She even LOVED the big Goldie boy she was travelling with today. This little girl is wonderful with other dogs. During her travels she met some toddler aged children too and wagged her tail lots with them.

Aint she sweet !

I felt she was a very independent girl while here but her new mum exclaimed that she was so affectionate when she arrived, nestling into her neck and falling asleep on her shoulder. A very endearing little girl. I think she loves her new family :-).

14 February 2010

Blossom has joined her new home

Here are some of the memories we have of sweet affectionate Blossom
my personal favourite (in a whisper, don't tell the others ;-))

She's gone to live only a few suburbs away and has a new big sister, a 4 year old friendly yellow Lab, and a lovely affectionate family.  The initial introductions were a little scary for Blossom so we expect to hear an improvement in the dog to dog relationship within the next 48 hours. She was enjoying her new family's cuddles straightaway! It won't take long for her to settle in :-).

She enjoys cuddles, moulding herself into your body shape

She is often found sleeping under foot

I love this shot, it shows how much skin she has to grow into!

Playing ball with Kaeli

Sprite Looks Happy!

To those who are waiting for news of Sprite.  Sprite looks very happy in her new home and will be adopted by her trial family, yay!

She had some scabs under her chin, which needed attention during her trial period. The vet checked it out and it turns out she had blocked pores (a dog form of acne) and is responding well to having them cleaned out and is on a course of antibiotics, the joys of being a teen!

Thank you

We and the vets we take our dogs to may not always pick up everything during an initial check-up so we certainly appreciate this duty of care.

07 February 2010

Realistic Expectations of Kids

This is one of many dog ownership tips I'd like to share with you under the name 'Paws for Thought' written by a friend at work, posted here with her permission. Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer). Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

Only a week or two left until our fostered pups go to their new homes. Many of our dogs join families with kids, in fact Scooby is going to a family whose eldest child is an 11 yo boy who will share responsibility for caring for him as well as playing with and cuddling him. Some people who contact us have unrealistic expectations of what having a dog will teach their children so I thought I'd share this little article as a piece of gentle guidance. 

Realistic Expectations of Kids

People focus a lot on the behaviour that they expect from their dog, or dogs, around children but how about taking a look at what is reasonable to expect from the children themselves. Having seen some stunning examples of great dog training (and on occasion parent training) from some very young children and some stunningly bad examples of kids and dogs in risky situations I wondered just what we should be expecting from that ‘average’ child at each stage of their development. Here’s what I found…and while some of it might sound like common sense – it doesn’t seem that common.

Birth to three years

These children:

·         Require constant supervision when around dogs.

·         Do not understand that what they do to a dog causes pain or might cause aggression – they don’t yet really understand that anyone other than themselves has feelings or thoughts at all.

·         Can be harmed by even friendly interactions.

·         Obviously cannot be expected to help care for or actively participate in training a dog.

Your focus here should be in protecting your baby (and dog) at first. Then as the child develops into a toddler they are also likely to develop a fascination with the dog/s – which may or may not be reciprocated. You toddler may be poking, pushing and prodding the dog – but it is likely to really be an attempt to learn about the animal. Start using touch and feel books and stuffed toys etc before you try and teach your youngster to touch dogs appropriately and gently. Be aware that they can have difficulty telling the difference between living beings and inanimate objects such as stuffed toys – it’s up to you to teach them.

At about 2 you might consider getting your child to help put the dog’s toys away in one box and their toys in another. Alternatively you might want to teach your child to leave all dog toys alone – it’s up to you.

By 3 your child should be starting to understand and accept boundaries including a pet’s boundaries such as how far the child needs to keep or not going onto a dog’s bed or into a dog’s crate.

Three to six years

These children are starting to take responsibility for themselves. They are becoming more independent and are willing to learn and interact with the world in a different way. With children this age you can consider:

·         Allocating one special task to the child so that he has and is rewarded for having an important role in caring for the dog (and yes – reward your children for behaviour you like just the way you do with your dog). Tasks may include filling water bowls from a jug or watering can (filled by an adult); some simple grooming tasks.

·         Working with your child as a partner in training particularly where your dog is already well trained. This gives the child some level of control over the dog and also gives them a sense of achievement that will be written all over their face.

Be warned that children at this stage in their development:

·         Are still cognitively immature and have some quite strange, illogical and entertaining (or frustrating) views of how the world works.

·         Do not have a good grasp of cause and effect so cannot always predict what will happen next if they do something to or with a dog.

·         Have a limited attention span but an even more limited level of self control – many find it impossible to stand or sit still.

·         Are not particularly consistent in the way they do things – so if you are going to have them train with the dog ensure that you supervise, that the dog really knows the behaviour that the child is training and be ready to a) back up the child’s cue with subtle cues from you and b) do some remedial work with the dog to maintain their consistency in regard to the cue – therefore come and other critical (even life saving) cues are not one’s I’d consider doing with a child this young.

·         Believe, really believe that the world is all about them so developing an understanding of others needs, including the dogs, is beneficial but also can be hard work.

Children this age learn a lot from modeling what they see adults and older children do – so beware this really is a case of having to have a good look at what sort of role models your child is mimicking. Demonstration is also a great method of showing the child what to do – what the dog does like in terms of touch for instance – and what they don’t like (but perhaps on a stuffie for this one).

Six to twelve years

Here taking on additional responsibilities successfully helps develop a positive self-concept. They start to really develop logic – understanding things like cause and effect and problem solving.

Here being responsible and being recognised and rewarded for it is very important in developing self confidence and a ‘give it a go’ or ‘I can do it’ attitude.

For these children being responsible for one or more aspect of pet care is a good start. From about 8 they can also increasingly become involved in training, including starting to train tricks and games – all with supervision of course.

A tip for parents and teachers is to use role play and questioning sessions to help the children develop an understanding of dog body language, feelings and needs and also the likely consequences of both dog behaviour and the child’s own behaviour. More on this in a future post.

You can set up family rules and contracts with children of this age if you are realistic, and if you stick with them too! Don’t forget to recognise and reward instances of people who actually stick with the rules.

You need to be really cautious about letting children take responsibility for walking a dog. They need to be able to physically and mentally control the dog and in times of high arousal when something unexpected and exciting or stressful happens.

Otherwise you risk the child witnessing their dog come to untimely and unhappy end and blaming themselves – and by then it’s all just too late.

Some dog training schools will allow children at 8 years of age to participate in dog training classes (with parental supervision – and sometimes with the parent holding the lead).

Twelve +

These children are now developing more complex thinking skills including more complex hypothetical problems. They start to be able to think about options and different possible outcomes. This all means that they can really start to understand and apply (and even modify) basic training principles. With some coaching they can also become able to predict possible problems and redirect or address them before they occur.

Sometimes you need to remember that they are still basically children or adolescents and that you need to be realistic about expectations.

You might be surprised to learn that many teenagers actually rely on time alone with the dog so that they can download, talk and seek comfort from them in a way they often feel they can’t with humans. So if possible give them this space and special time.

Some dog training schools choose to restrict the minimum age of children in class to 12 years of age. This can also be a great age to get the child and dog involved in doggy sports such as flyball or agility (with appropriate supervision) as these can teach self control, focus and a lot of other really useful life skills to both dog and child.

So where do we end up?

Throughout growing up we learn about our dogs (and other animals) and how to treat them and embed some pretty deep convictions about their worth, their feelings and their role through:

·         Trial and error – trying something with the dog and learning from the response from the dog and from other people around you.

·         Observing other children and adults – particularly those you admire or have great affection for – in the way they interact with dogs.

·         Observing what your peer group expect and reward in terms of interactions (not always nice ones).

·         Being taught that the dog is a member of the family deserving of respect and consideration.

·         The media and all its realistic and misleading representations of animals and people’s interactions with them and the value of them in our society.

·         Education experiences – zoo trips, farm visits, school and youth group education activities.

So be careful about what information’s going into your child’s education. More on some useful resources coming soon.

A warning

No matter how well socialised and trained your dog. No matter how well behaved your child. Put the two together and there is risk. No one can guarantee a dog to be ‘child-proof’. They are animals not robots. With both the dog and the child in the mix there are so many things that can go right – and others that can go wrong. So remember the rule – Supervise! Supervise! Supervise!


·         Colleen Pelar – Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind.

·         Andrea McHugh – Your Child’s Dog. How to Help Your Kids Care for Their Pets.

·         Ruth Weston and Dr Catriona Ross – Kids & Dogs. Teaching Them to Live, Play and Learn Together.

·         How Kids Respond to Pets: What to Expect from Your Child by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at

·         How Old Should a Child Be Before S/He is Allowed to Take Care of a Pet by RSPCA Australia at

Brooki is looking for a wonderful new home.

06 February 2010

Puppy Toilet Training Progress

The puppies are awesome! I've been crate training them with a crate and puppy pen overnight, as shown above. They soiled the area during the first two nights but haven't soiled their sleeping area since, 4 nights in a row, and they're only 7 weeks old! Well there was one early morning when they escaped (led by the intrepid boy Scooby) and relieved themselves as far away from it as possible, but I'm not counting that ;-)! They're comfortable going about 7 hours overnight, 10pm til 5am or 11pm til 6am. 

They also have chew toys available to relax with while in the play pen. Don't worry they also have heaps of outside time and cuddle time with the family and time to wander around the house and explore (fully supervised of course).

For more information about this method of toilet training see the post on Key Puppy Priorities

05 February 2010

Bite Inhibition and Its Importance - One Viewpoint

About Paws for Thought - written by a friend at work, posted with permission.

Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer).

Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

Fostering puppies with their sharp little teeth and lots of biting and chewing has reminded us all of our fostered dog Lucky (also affectionately known as 'Lucky to be Alive'!). He acted like an 8 week old puppy but in a one year old body, really challenging and a little scary. He had absolutely no bite inhibition whatsoever. He would grab clothing and play tug o' war which is cute when puppies are ankle height but not when they can jump up and wrap their paws around your waist. He would grab our arms in his excitement too, leaving bruises. We coped with him for a week and saw some improvement to his behaviour, his rehabilitation continued with Katherine and he found a wonderful home with an experienced gundog family who knew how to continue to manage his mouthing. My kids are now very keen to teach these pups bite inhibition so they don't grow up to be like Lucky!! I'd like to share this informative article with you.

Those who read the post on puppy priorities will know that bite inhibition is right up there as a priority to teach puppies (basically because this is the time they are tuned to learn this lesson and it can prove impossible to teach them as adults).

Bite inhibition is not about teaching a dog not to bite (or at least not only about teaching them not to bite). Bite inhibition is where a dog does not bite even though it could easily do so, instead self limiting themselves to grasping or mouthing without causing damage. It’s a normal part of dog to dog play between socially adept dogs. It’s also a key part of establishing a safer dog to human relationship as a dog with bite inhibition towards humans is far less likely to actually inflict injury or even in some horrific circumstances cause far less injury then they have the potential to. So let’s take a look at both scenarios:

* Bite inhibition dog to dog.

* Bite inhibition dog to human.

While many trainers and other professionals will tell you to stop your puppy from putting their mouth on you immediately they start it seems that this can actually cause a problem – as can having a puppy that never puts its mouth on you in the first place. You need that puppy to apply teeth at some level in order to be able to teach them bite inhibition.

Not everyone will agree with the thinking, nor the approach taken here, but the more I learn the more it makes real sense to me.

So read on and make of it what you will…

Dog to dog

Bite inhibition between dogs allows for dogs to have disagreements and fights to resolve conflict but minimise the damage caused, thereby allowing the social group to remain intact.

Puppies have needle-sharp teeth and weak jaws combined with a penchant for biting for a very specific reason – so that they will use their teeth frequently and learn how to control their bite. Puppies in a litter and later at puppy play school teach each other bite inhibition when they play fight – and this is reinforced by off leash interactions with appropriate adults who let the pup know what is and isn’t acceptable. So appropriate socialisation with appropriate puppies and dogs is a priority for your pup.

Dog to people

Why is it an issue and what are we trying to achieve?

Establishing bite inhibition towards people is critical for dogs to be able to live safely (as safely as an animal with teeth and claws can) alongside humans as our companions and family members. This particular behaviour can get you out of some particularly nasty situations. Take the following real life examples:

·         My boy Merlin was a very mouthy puppy – just ask his vet : ) but this gave me lots of opportunity to help him learn bite inhibition to people – and it all paid off when he got to a couple of years old and was at the same vets for a limp. While pressing along his spine the vet obviously hit a very very sore spot and Merlin turned quickly and put his mouth fully and firmly around the vet’s arm and gave him a clear signal – that is enough – but only held it long enough to give the message and left no marks at all. The vet blessed his luck (or was that Merlin’s early training even though I was just bumbling along) as he figured many of his other patients would have shed his blood in a similar situation.

·         A woman in the US who accidentally stood on her lying Rottie as stepping down from a step so there was a lot of force and a stiletto actually went through the poor dogs leg – but he too curbed his natural reaction and while he turned and grasped the offending leg and held it did not so much as tear the woman’s stockings.

One approach to teaching bite inhibition

Instead of the well known approach of ceasing all contact or applying punishment/an aversive immediately a puppy’s teeth touch human skin, this approach takes 4 steps:

1. Teach no hard bites – progressively teach the pup to decrease the pressure he applies with his teeth and jaws.

2. Teach no pressure at all – so now mouthing (or gumming) is the only acceptable contact.

3. Teach that mouthing is okay until you say stop – and then it must stop.

4. Teach that mouths are not used on people or clothing attached to people without permission. That permission is only given in highly controlled exercises or games and rarely and only if you want to.

The idea is to teach the puppy to develop a soft mouth (inhibit the force of his bite) and then to inhibit the frequency of his gentler mouthing. Then when the inevitable happens and some poor dog gets such a fright or is in immense pain it is far more likely to inhibit its bite and while some damage may occur it will be far far less than the dog is inherently capable of.

To learn more about how to teach the steps check out:

Articles for those who prefer to read:


Videos for those who prefer to watch and listen:


* - the importance of biting and step 1 (yelping and stop interaction) and then
- - timeout

and/or and then

To sum it up in Dr Ian Dunbar’s own words:

When bite-inhibition is poor or non-existent, if and when the dog bites, in addition to the serious injury caused to thevictim, invariably the dog loses his life and the owner loses their companion, their peace of mind and often, a lawsuit.

However, when good bite inhibition has been firmly established in puppyhood, when the dog is provoked as an adult, he seldom causes harm and consequently, rehabilitation is comparatively easy and safe. Basically, bite inhibition is the dog's, owner's and victim's last line of defense.

If you have a puppy – act now. The critical period for teaching these skills is until about 4 ½ months of age when they start turning into an adolescent and their teeth and jaw start strengthening.

But what if…?

There are a number of situations that make teaching bite inhibition harder including:

* People who play many games with their puppy that incite them to such a level of arousal that play-biting and play-mouthing occur. In this case insist on rules and frequent breaks in the games to control arousal levels. See the previous post on teaching tug for an example of rules and arousal will be the subject of a future post.

* Puppies who do not frequently mouth or bite and do not occasionally bite hard. This is serious stuff – in order to learn about bite inhibition the puppy must apply teeth and receive appropriate feedback. Get into off leash play sessions with other puppies and work on getting your puppy playing and aroused enough to apply teeth so that other puppies and you get the opportunity to teach him.

Happy to hear other views, experiences and questions.

The Lab Rescue puppies; Scooby, Winkie and Blossom, using their teeth in play

03 February 2010

The Puppy License and its loss

About Paws for Thought - written by a friend at work, posted with permission.

Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer).

Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.
I particularly wanted to share this article, as I'm fostering puppies at the moment and am watching my dogs teach the little ones doggy language, etiquette and self control. They get away with a lot at this age but are told off in no uncertain terms when they go too far!
Also we recently had a young adult rescue Lab go on trial with a 4 month old puppy. Initial introductions were great, then the dogs continued playing happily at home, by evening the Lab decided that enough was enough and told the puppy off. The owner asked us to take back our aggressive rescue without willing to listen to a possible explanation. Such a pity the 4 month old puppy missed out on valuable life long lessons from the older dog.
Many pet owners are quite shocked to find that suddenly at about 4 ½ to 5 months of age adult dogs will appear to ‘turn’ on their cute and adorable puppy….it also comes as quite a surprise to the pup! So what’s probably going on here?

Puppies go through a particular period of socialisation between 3 to anywhere between 13 and 18 weeks of age (depending on who you listen to) during which they need to learn as much as they can about the world they are going to be living in and the people and other creatures that inhabit it. It’s also a critical period for learning about being a dog and what is and is not socially acceptable in dog communications and interactions. Future posts will delve into this critical period – there is just so much to share about the world of dogs : )

This period is critical for developing positive relationships with other dogs and development into a behaviourally healthy dog. Research shows that puppies who are isolated until 16 weeks of age are more likely to display fear in all sorts of situations and be the recipient of aggression from other pups and dogs. They generally seem unable to develop normal relationships with other dogs – it’s like they don’t learn the language through lack of experimentation and practice (otherwise often known as play). The scary thing is that when talking about isolation we’re not just talking about being locked in a solitary cage but also any other means of restricting the pups experience of the world so puppies that don’t get to socialise and play with other dogs of all ages (and sizes, shapes and colours), puppies that are raised in sub-standard breeding arrangements and highly sterilised and sterile kennels and pups that spend time in a pet shop window or just locked into a back yard or laundry. All of these can lead to a wide range of potential issues with a pup and its development but the focus of this post is specifically dog-to-dog social development and the end of this special development period.

Puppies up to 4 ½ to 5 months of age appear to have something called a ‘puppy license’ – something that allows them to be an absolute pest to older dogs without repercussion. You see puppies being down right rude in dog terms doing things like jumping on older dogs, stealing food and toys from adults, barking right in the face of an adult or worse still humping them – and the adults just seem to put up with it, and even expect it – at least well socialised dogs do (dogs with good dog communication and social skills).

However at about this age the license expires as the puppies hormone levels change and they develop psychologically. Adult dogs now start to insist on the puppy controlling their behaviour and being more respectful in their interactions – and this comes as a shock to many puppies who ignore the more subtle signs until an adult dog (maybe their best pal at home, a friend at the park or a total stranger) snaps back – figuratively and sometimes literally. The adult dogs might:

· Bark (roar) at an adolescent displaying inappropriate behaviour.

· Plant the adolescent’s face into the dirt with a well placed paw (something my boy was doing to other younger and over the top puppies at only 12 weeks of age – and which caused some distress until I figured out what was going on).

· Knock the adolescent with their muzzle or mouth.

· Snap at them.

The messages might be relatively peaceful and quick or they might appear and sound like a major scuffle if not full out fight – and the adolescent will generally be doing the majority of the screaming. But if there are no wounds then do not panic – now or the next time you see or meet this adult dog or any adult dog, or your adolescent will pick up this fear from you and act on it. This does not mean that you should put up with inappropriately socialised/skilled adult dogs or other adolescents bullying and picking on or terrifying your pup – so if you are concerned, if blood is drawn or punctures made then seek professional help.

Adults will also tend to self-handicap themselves less and instead play with more of their cunning, strength and brute power – now they might knock the adolescent over, pin them or stand over them. Any of these can cause the adolescent to scream or run from the scene giving high pitched yelps that cause us humans concern and often end in sanctions for the adult so that the conversation between adolescent and adult dog is not completed but rather interrupted by us with the adolescent getting off lightly – and sadly not learning the lesson as quickly as they would have if these interactions were monitored but only intervened in when either dog is in likely physical danger. The adult dog is also more likely to then try to get in and teach this cocky adolescent a lesson more quickly next time, therefore escalating the situation needlessly. If the adult dog gets the blame and is therefore removed from the dog park, class or home needlessly, removing a well socialised dog with clear communication skills from the social group and therefore reducing the number of well socialised dogs that other puppies, adolescents and dogs are likely to come across and learn from.

It is critical that the adolescent dog gains experience with adult dogs and learns to control himself, communicate clearly and interact in a socially acceptable way. Without this experience the pup grows to become an under-socialised dog – one that is likely to attract or cause altercations in the playground (park, footpath or any where else they meet or come within sight of another dog). If as an owner of a pup you get to the point of considering stopping dog contact please call for professional assistance immediately rather than socially isolating your pup – and if you’re not happy with the answers and approach you get keep looking. It appears virtually impossible or at least very hard work and a long term project to make up for the lack of this experience when the brain, body and psychology of the pup are programmed (ready) for it after the event (in later life).

It seems that male pups are particularly prone to being put in their place. It’s almost like they are suddenly wearing a sign on their back that says ‘kick me’ – and they are but the sign is six foot high and flashing red – it’s a surge in testosterone that every dog in the area can recognise much more easily than any sign and it seems to say ‘put me in my place before I get out of hand – I’m super male!’ Male testosterone levels start to rise by 4 to 5 months of age and reach their maximum at about 10 months of age before falling back to their normal adult levels at about 18 months of age. An adolescent male pup can have levels that are 5 to 7 times greater than adult levels, so you can understand your male pup is under extreme hormone attack (far more than any teenage male human) and that this can be a difficult time for them and therefore you – but one that you can both live through, particularly if you have some understanding of what is going on.

As puppies, both male and female, approach adolescence, they may be continually harassed by adult dogs – sometimes so subtly that you might miss the signals from the adult dog but should see a change of attitude in your growing furball. Adult male dogs will often target in on the adolescent male and make his life quite stressful. Luckily this particular phase is usually short as the pup quickly learns what is acceptable – showing active and exaggerated appeasement signals to adults.

While I might have made this change over period sound particularly scary you need to remember that this is about puppies learning how to control themselves and behave more politely and this takes time and experience. The adult dog’s role is to help the adolescent learn the social rules of interaction and while they will be forgiven mistakes at the beginning they are expected to get with the program pretty quickly as they gain more experience – and letting them have that experience with safe and well socialised/adept dogs is our role in this piece of their development. It’s VERY important that pups learn to talk “dog” and interact with dogs of all kinds and ages so that he or she can become a great communicator, peacekeeper and teacher of future generations as well as the life of the party.

What are your experiences with the puppy license and what your puppy managed to get away with?

What are your experiences with the change that occurs at the expiration of that license?


· Barbara Handelman – Canine Behaviour. A Photo Illustrated Handbook.

· Ian Dunbar – Dog Communication at

· Ian Dunbar – Social Hierarchies at

· Turid Rugaas – The Puppy and the Young Dog. About Growing Up at

Also check out:



· The Diary of Raising a Hearing Ear Dog -