Rehoming an Abandoned or Surrendered Dog

Rehoming an Abandoned or Surrendered Dog

Rehoming an Abandoned or Surrendered Dog

Up and down the country dog rescue centres of all kinds seek forever homes for 1000s of dogs that have been abandoned or surrendered into care. Social media campaigns spearheaded by armies of well-meaning volunteers and high profile celebrities encourage us to adopt rather than breed, and there is an argument for this.

In this article we shall outline the things that you should consider when adopting a dog and the reason that these considerations are so important.

Abandoned Dog

So What Should We Consider

It is absolutely true that many dogs that emerge from rescue centres make fantastic companions, there are many success stories published daily on social media that support this view. Yet it is also true that there are many extremely difficult dogs with serious behavioural issues passing through rehoming centres and on to unsuspecting new owners.

Just consider when you take on a dog from a rescue centre that you may also be taking on a dog with deep rooted issues and considerable emotional complications (that maybe the reason for its abandonment). Avoid rushing in and taking the first dog that catches your eye, take your time and visit the dog several times before agreeing to take it home. If the rescue are not willing to wait for you and use emotive language to encourage early acceptance it just might not be the right dog for you or certainly not the right rescue centre to take a dog from.

Ask the right questions and check carefully the terms and conditions of the dog rescue centre from which you are adopting. It is in your best interest to do this before you look at the choice of dogs, there is a strong chance that if you look at the dogs first you will be heart led by the dog whose eyes reach into your soul and before you know it you’ve fallen in love.

Always consider the following:

  • Personal experience and knowledge of the breed
  • Function and purpose of the breed (this includes mixed breed)
  • History and background information
  • Individual handling ability
  • Future environment
  • Living conditions
  • Family circumstances
  • Experience of dealing with behavioural problems
  • Experience of dealing with complex behavioural problems
  • Amount of time required and available to dedicate to a dog with issues
  • Financial demands associated with a dog with issues
  • Emotional demands associated with a dog with issues
  • Seeking expert assistance in choosing your dog.

What Exactly are You Taking On?

At The Way of the Dog we have thought long and hard about abandoned or surrendered dogs, especially those with behavioural problems, and how best to describe them.  It is our view that some dogs – with little or no known history – are best summed up as complex jigsaw puzzles.  The puzzle might be a 5000 piece jigsaw with no picture box displaying what the image should look like.  There may also be missing pieces, the more missing pieces the more complex the puzzle and the greater difficulty in trying to make sense of the remaining pieces.

Start to view an adopted dog as a complex jigsaw puzzle and you will understand the difficulty in trying to modify inappropriate behaviour when it is unclear from where that behaviour originates. When adopting a dog – with or without details about its background – one thing is for sure, you are unlikely to ever truly know the full range of environmental triggers that may ignite an emotional outburst.

 

Triggers that relate to its past and are the hidden motivators behind a fearful, defensive, or aggressive response.  It is unlikely that a rescue centre will subject a dog to every possible trigger, either due to a lack of knowledge and awareness or simply due to the impracticality and a lack of resources.  It is just not possible to reproduce every conceivable environmental situation and provocative stimulus that may elicit an emotional response, despite what some may claim.  Even if it were possible the fact remains that the dog’s general behaviour may very well be suppressed when residing in a rescue centre for a whole variety of reasons.

The lack of a clear history and knowledge of a dog’s environmental triggers make modification of behaviour difficult. It is for these reasons that our points to consider should be contemplated.

Give a Dog a Chance

This article is not intended to deter anybody from rescuing a dog; in fact the opposite is the case. We want to raise awareness and help people make informed choices to support both the dog and prospective owner to achieve a successful outcome. We want to support the reduction in the number of cases where there is a real risk of serious harm. Avoid further upset to the dog and subsequently the new owner due to having no option but to return the dog to the rescue centre. It goes without saying this cannot avoid causing further distress to the animal, unavoidable upset for the adopter, and possible inconvenience for the rescue centre. All the above advice applies to dogs being re-homed under private arrangements from adverts or between friends.

Whatever your personal view on rehoming and adopting a dog it is not always a straightforward practice and sometimes not a perfect or pleasurable outcome. By all means give a dog a chance, but do your groundwork first and know exactly what you are taking on or at the very least be prepared for the unexpected. If you have found yourself in that unfortunate position of falling in love with a dog that has behaviour issues of any kind please consider contacting The Way of the Dog, we can support you with a behaviour modification programme.

In the next article we will look at where rehoming has gone horribly wrong.

One Day Clinic – Dog Recall

One Day Clinic – Dog Recall

One Day Clinic – Dog Recall

Saturday the 13th of February 2016

The Way of the Dog senior training and behaviour specialist, Shaun Hesmondhalgh, is leading an exclusive One Day Clinic in how to master the Recall. This open clinic is especially for any dog owner who experiences difficulty in recalling their dog. This might be due to the dog being distracted by the presence of other dogs*, other animals*, or people, or the dog may simply be refusing to respond.

Dog Recall Clinic

Aims & Objectives:

The purpose of this clinic is to support and guide dog owners towards the development of a successful Recall. Throughout the course participants will achieve the following:

  • Discuss and understand the Recall.
  • Demonstrate and practice handling strategies in a group environment.

The clinic will be delivered in stages throughout the day which will comprise of theory, practical elements, and refreshments.

  • Meet, greet, and registration will take place over breakfast.
  • Classroom based theoretical presentation and discussion.
  • Hands on outdoor practical training.
  • Lunch will be provided during the break.
  • Hands on outdoor practical training.

Costs

  • The cost for each dog team is a £110.00 (one dog and one handler).
  • A non-refundable deposit of £55.00 is required by the 31st of January in order to secure a place.
  • Additional family members may participate subject to numbers; costs will apply and will be made available upon request.

Date, Venue, & Timings:

8.30 am – 4.30 pm
on Saturday the 13th of February 2016
at Curley’s Dining Rooms, Horwich, Bolton &
The Way of the Dog private training areas.

Book now ensure your place

This exclusive clinic is only available to a limited number of dog teams and places will be on a first come first served basis. If you are seeking support and guidance in how to recall your dog then this course is absolutely for you, book now to avoid disappointment. Send an email to Shaun using the form below or call him on 07917 203363.

*Please note that this clinic is not for dogs that demonstrate any form of dog-directed aggression or predatory chase behaviours. It is recommended that owners with dog’s that struggle with dog-to-dog interactions or instinctively chase other dogs and animals seek professional behaviour modification programmes with The Way of the Dog.

Behaviour modification is a specialised field that requires a professional, experienced and dedicated approach.

Shaun Hesmondhalgh is a member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association (CFBA). The CFBA is a member of Britain's Pet Education Training and Behaviour Council.  

The CFBA is accepted by Pet Insurance Companies who cover behaviour problems on their policies and meets their criteria for excellence in the field. Shaun Hesmondhalgh is an accredited Member of the CFBA and as such, your pet insurance policy may assist with costs. Each insurance company will have its own criteria of what it deems a behaviour problem which the client can discuss with their insurance company prior to booking an appointment.

Canine or Feline behaviour problems are defined by each individual company, dog training is not covered by pet insurance.

One Day Clinic – Dog Directed Aggression

One Day Clinic – Dog Directed Aggression

One Day Clinic – Dog Directed Aggression

Saturday the 23rd of January 2016

The Way of the Dog senior training and behaviour specialist, Shaun Hesmondhalgh, is launching a series of exclusive One Day Clinics concerning Dog-Directed Aggression.  The clinics are specially for our clients and their dogs who have previously participated in a Behaviour Modification Programme, or General Dog Training, that has specifically focused on addressing Dog-Directed Aggression.

Dog Aggression Clinic

Aims & Objectives:

The purpose of this clinic being to provide continued support to our clients whose dogs demonstrate hostile and unfriendly behaviour towards other dogs regardless of the intensity of or the motivation behind the aggression?  Throughout the course participants will achieve the following:

  • Define, discuss, and identify dog-directed aggression.
  • Demonstrate and practice handling strategies in a group environment.

How will the clinic be delivered?

The clinic will be delivered in stages throughout the day which will comprise of theory, practical elements, and refreshments.

  • Meet, Greet, & Registration will take place over breakfast.
  • Classroom based theoretical presentation and discussion.
  • Hands on outdoor practical training.
  • Lunch will be provided during the break.
  • Hands on outdoor practical training.

Costs

The cost for each dog team is a £125.00 (one dog and one handler).
A non-refundable deposit of £60.00 is required by the 5th of January in order to secure a place. Additional family members may participate subject to numbers, costs will apply and will be made available upon request.

Date, Venue, & Timings:

8.30 am – 4.30 pm
on Saturday the 23rd of January 2016
at Curley’s Dining Rooms, Horwich, Bolton &
The Way of the Dog private training areas.

Book now ensure your place

This exclusive clinic is only available to a limited number of dog teams and places will be on a first come first served basis. If you are seeking continued support with dog-to-dog interactions then this course is absolutely for you, book now to avoid disappointment.  Send an email to Shaun using the form below or call him on 07917 203363.

Behaviour modification is a specialised field that requires a professional, experienced and dedicated approach.

Shaun Hesmondhalgh is a member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association (CFBA). The CFBA is a member of Britain's Pet Education Training and Behaviour Council.  

The CFBA is accepted by Pet Insurance Companies who cover behaviour problems on their policies and meets their criteria for excellence in the field. Shaun Hesmondhalgh is an accredited Member of the CFBA and as such, your pet insurance policy may assist with costs. Each insurance company will have its own criteria of what it deems a behaviour problem which the client can discuss with their insurance company prior to booking an appointment.

Canine or Feline behaviour problems are defined by each individual company, dog training is not covered by pet insurance.

10 Ideas for Keeping Your Dog Cool in Summer

10 Ideas for Keeping Your Dog Cool in Summer

During warmer weather you should be aware of the risk that overheating poses to your dogs health and well being. Our recent article Overheating & Heat Stroke in Dogs provides information on how to recognise and treat overheating; this time were are going to offer a few ideas for keeping your dog cool in the summer.

Dog in the park in summer

The following suggestions are all preventative measures for overheating and will help your pet to dissipate some of their core body temperature through conduction (passing his body heat directly to a conductive material) and convection (transferring his body heat to the air through evaporation) or a mixture of the two. These suggestions can be used in addition to always providing your dog with plenty of cool, fresh drinking water and the availability of shade and ventilation.

Cool Treats

In warm weather we all reach to the fridge for a cooling drink or snack, why not do the same for your dog. A slice of cool melon, a chilled carrot, some natural yoghurt; anything that is dog safe and will help keep him cool too.

The freezer is also a source of cooling treats. Most dogs will enjoy a chew on an ice cube or frozen vegetable sticks. There are pet safe ice creams and frozen yoghurts available from many pet stores that your dog will love. Alternatively, buy and freeze some pouches of baby food (checking the ingredients for items that a poisonous to dogs), snip across the top of the pouch and then slide out the tasty, cold treat for your dog to enjoy.

Make an Ice Treat

Use an ice cube, cupcake or muffin tray to make some individual ice treats made from a watery chicken broth, fish stock or gravy. You could also use some of your dogs favourite treats by freezing chunks of cheese or cooked meat in water.

Frozen/Chilled Toys

There are plenty of frozen toys with a sponge centre that you soak and freeze available from pet stores. The idea is that your dog will chew, lick and shake them thus releasing cool water and cooling their mouth. If you decide to buy one of these items, please check its durability and suitability for your breed.

You can use existing treat toys such as a frozen Kong stuffed with fruit; alternatively you can make your own frozen toy by soaking a tea towel in water, place treats randomly across it (hotdog slices and cheese work well), roll it up, scrunch it, then pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours until partially frozen.

When giving your dog any kind of frozen or chilled toy, alway monitor the condition of the toy and remove from the dog if parts become damaged or loose.

Cooler Coats

Perfect for summer walks, in the garden or at the beach or park, cooler coats are fitted dog jackets created from absorbent material that you can soak with water. The water held in the material slowly evaporates, drawing heat away from your dog’s body and reducing their temperature.

If your dog is overheating you can create the same effect by getting him to shade and placing a cool, wet towel over his body. You can aid the evaporation process by creating a breeze using fans.

Cooling Collars and Bandanas

Working on the same principle as (although less effective than) cooler coats, cooling collars and bandanas hold water by your dogs skin, thus allowing the heat to transfer through evaporation.

Some collars contain pouches that store ice or gel packs which will aid cooling. Ice shouldn’t be used in cases of overheating as this may cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict and may decrease heat transfer.

Again, you can create the effect of a cooling collar/bandana by creating your own from a tea towel, soaked in water and tied loosely around your dogs neck.

Cooling Mats

Cooling mats fall into 2 categories, wet and dry. They are great for the home, garden or in the back of a car.

Wet mats are made from a highly absorbent material, usually backed with a waterproof material. The user activates the mat by soaking the mat. As your dog lies on the mat, heat is transferred to the mat and dissipated through evaporation.

Dry mats are usually gel filled and require no activation. As your dog lies on the mat, heat is transferred and dissipated to cooler regions of the mat. These mats can be folded and chilled in the fridge for extra effectiveness.

Yet again, the effect of a cooling mat can be replicated using a towel soaked in cool water.

Paddling Pool / Hose Play

You may have noticed a theme in some of these ideas/products; cool water helps to keep a dog cool. All dog owners know that a dogs coat can take ages to dry so let’s get old school and get the hose out, fill the paddling pool and have some fun.

By soaking your dogs coat, his body heat will transfer to the water and evaporate. Keep soaking him and he’ll stay cool. If you are out and about, let him swim or pour water on him and rub it down to the skin.

Fans, Air Conditioning & Dehumidifiers

 

Heat transfers to the air very slowly, if that air is moving heat can transfer much quicker (think how the slightest draught can give you a chill). By fanning your dog or providing an electric fan this heat transfer is accelerated. A wet dog that is fanned will cool much quicker than a dry dog in still air.

If you have air con in the home or car, turn it on to help keep your dog cool on warm days. The cool, moving air will transfer heat from his body; whilst the reduced humidity will allow water to evaporate from his mouth and tongue more easily thus dissipating heat more easily.

Humidifiers do not cool the air significantly, but the reduction in humidity will again aid evaporation and heat dissipation.

Portable water

 

As your dog heats up he starts panting, evaporating water from his system. This evaporation takes heat away from his body, cooling him down. This water needs replenishing through drinking plenty of clean fresh water.

When you are out and about, particularly in the summer months, you should carry water for your dog and provide the opportunity to drink at regular intervals. You can either plan a walk around places where your dog can drink or carry a water supply with you.

Carry a lightweight flexible bowl and bottle of water that you can refill it water sources to ensure that you always have plenty of water available.

Portable shade

 

Wherever you go, your dog will follow. If you spend a sunny day in the garden, at the park or on the beach your dog will be right by your side. Without shade, your dog will overheat on a hot sunny day.

There are countless options for buying dog specific beds and shades, but a simple beach shelter will provide perfect shade. The beauty of these is that they can be relatively cheap and once erected can be turned as the sun crossed the sky to maximise the shade all day. They tend to have a floor that you can place a cooling mat in for maximum effectiveness.

If you don’t have a shelter, create some shade using 2 deck chairs and a towel, turn your windbreak into a tunnel tent or go home.

Enjoy the Summer

Cooling a dog

We hope you have enjoyed reading a few of our ideas for keeping your dog cool in summer. Please post any of your suggestions in the comments section below.

Enjoy your summer and stay cool.

Overheating and Heat Stroke in Dogs

Overheating and Heat Stroke in Dogs

Recently, we’ve had a couple of nice warm, sunny days here in Bolton and it got me pondering the perennial concerns relating to dogs and hot weather.

We all know that dogs die in hot cars thanks to excellent campaigns by the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, PETA and other animal organisations; what often gets overlooked is the fact that dogs die needlessly from heatstroke on warm days in parks, houses and gardens too.

In this article I’ll attempt to outline some of the facts surrounding dogs and overheating. Why and how it happens, the signs of overheating and what to do if your dog is overheating. Please take time to read and share this article, it may help to prevent the needless suffering of a loved pet.

Overheating Dog In Shade

A dogs core temperature

The average core temperature of a healthy dog is considered to be 38°C (101°F); however, the normal temperature of a healthy dog may range from 37°C to 39°C (99 °F to 102.5°F). A core temperature of over 39°C (103°F) is considered abnormal and requires immediate action. At 41°C (106°F) a dog will be suffering from heat stroke which can lead to multiple organ dysfunction and ultimately death.

Some dogs are more at risk to overheating than others, but at The Way of the Dog we consider this information superfluous to the need for education on overheating and heat stroke in dogs. We believe that all dog owners should be aware of the signs of overheating and heat stroke and be aware of the actions they need to take.

The causes and effects of overheating

There are many medical and physiological causes of overheating. As this article is related to the heat of a summer day we will focus only on these causes, but the symptoms and required actions are the same whatever the cause.

By exposing a dog to excessive environmental heat and humidity, excessive exercise or a combination of both heat and exercise your dogs core body temperature will begin to rise. His mind and body will respond as he attempts to regulate it.

Dog overheating

First, he will attempt to remove himself from the heat source by finding shade and/or stopping exercising. His blood vessels will dilate bringing hot blood close to the surface allowing it to cool. He will begin to sweat from the pads of his paws and will pant to bring air into his upper respiratory system to evaporate water from his mouth, tongue, throat and lungs thus dissipating heat. He will need to drink a lot of water to compensate for this evaporation. You should assist him to achieve this reduction in temperature by stopping exercising immediately and by providing shade, a breeze and plenty of cool fresh water.

In most cases this is enough to allow the dog to slowly reduce his core body temperature to it’s normal level. You should continue to monitor him for further symptoms and respond accordingly.

When overheating leads to heat stroke

If your dog is not removed from the heat source, is continued to be exercised and/or is unable to access enough water his temperature will continue to rise above 39°C (103°F). As he struggles to overcome the heat this starts a series of reactions that are difficult to stop, even if the animal eventually gets his temperature down. Heat stroke causes his organs and body systems to be affected and shut down, possibly leading to the death of your pet. By 41°C (106°F), irreversible damage will have occurred.

Symptoms of heat stroke

  • Body temperature above 39°C (103°F)
  • Severe panting
  • Sudden breathing distress
  • Lying down and won’t get up (panting may have ceased)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  • Diarrhoea, sometimes bloody
  • Vomiting, sometimes bloody
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Weak rapid pulse
  • Changes in mental status
  • Lack of awareness of surroundings
  • Staggering, appears blind or drunken
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment of heat stroke

Your objective here is to gradually reduce the dogs core body temperature; reducing it too quickly can cause further problems for your dog. Use cool, not cold water. Never use ice or iced water.

Treating Heat Stroke in Dogs

  • Remove your dog from any external heat sources. Find a shaded, well ventilated area that is close to a water source.
  • Provide the dog with plenty of cool, fresh drinking water. Do not force it to drink but you can moisten its tongue and mouth if it is lying down and panting.
  • Spray cool water over the dogs coat and rub in to the skin. Continue spraying.
  • Wrap the dog in cool wet towels, replacing them regularly.
  • Immerse the dog in cool water.
  • Use a fan to create a breeze.
  • Call your vet and explain what is happening and that you will be coming in.

If possible, you should monitor the dogs temperature and stop cooling once it returns to 39°C (103°F). Whilst continuing to monitor its temperature, you should now get your dog to your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible. Take wet towels/spray bottles for the journey to keep him cool.

Your pet will have undergone severe stress to its body and organs. Your vet will will need to examine your dog to check that its temperature has been reduced and has stabilized, and that no long lasting damage has taken place. Complications, such as a blood-clotting disorder, kidney failure, or fluid build-up in the brain will need to be immediately and thoroughly treated.

Our hope

At The Way of the Dog, we sincerely hope that this article has provided you with some essential advice on recognising and acting upon any signs of overheating in dogs. There are 4 key elements to remember:

  1. Be aware of putting your dog in a situation or environment where overheating is possible.
  2. Always monitor your dog for signs of overheating.
  3. Act to reduce the temperature of an overheating dog quickly and effectively.
  4. Always consult your vet if overheating has occurred and any of the symptoms of heat stroke have been displayed.

Enjoy the summer. Enjoy your dog.

Contribution by Matthew@HeppinessWebDesign

Sources and further reading:
Various articles at www.petmd.com
Temperature of a Healthy Dog (1999) – Jie Yao Huang (Janice)
Thermoregulation in Dogs and the Dangers of Hyperthermia for the Layperson (2011) – Jerilee A. Zezula, D.V.M.
 

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