Archive for the ‘Working Dogs’ Category

How Often Do I Need to Walk My Dog?

Monday, February 27th, 2023

Daily walks are a deeply ingrained into British dog-owning culture. At least once a day and generally in the morning, owners will take their dog for a walk round the block before returning home. While widely accepted, this notion should be challenged. In reality, dogs often need more frequent and diverse exercise than a brisk morning walk. While each dog’s individual needs differ, defaulting to less is seldom a good idea.

Two forty five minute walks a day first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening is a good starting point with frequent outside trips so they can use the toilet, especially after meals. Breeds naturally have different energy levels, and these will often dictate a particular dog’s appetite and tolerance for exercise. Working line dogs will generally be more energetic than family companions, so a working Dutch Shepherd or Malinois will need more exercise than a Shih Tzu.

There are other ways to exercise dogs beyond a walk, though. These all have their own merits, with variety often being beneficial to the dogs concerned. Dogs with a high prey drive enjoy chasing fast moving objects, so games of fetch with a tennis ball or Kong, or flirt pole sessions can all be good ways to outlet energy. Owners often feel that these kinds of activities tire their dogs out more than a conventional walk, and they can be a more time efficient way to provide exercise.

Ultimately, owners must find what works best for their dogs and try to be consistent with however that manifests. Regular exercise is vital for a dog’s physical and mental wellbeing, and a key time for them to be able to display natural behaviours. For additional advice, we recommend contacting and consulting an experienced trainer or behaviourist. They are best placed to help you increase your dog’s activity levels, and will fully understand why this is so important.

Would A Dog Be The Right Pet For Me?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world with an estimated 12 million in the UK alone. For thousands of years, they have provided unparalleled companionship as well as invaluable working support in a variety of settings. Before committing to a dog, owners should consider and ask themselves whether or not one would be the right pet for them. All pets represent taking on a major responsibility, and dogs are no different.

At a basic level, if you are unable to meet a dog’s welfare needs then it would not be responsible to take one on as a pet or working animal. As a minimum, these needs include providing shelter, appropriate food and water, veterinary care if necessary, exercise, companionship, and some kind of fun or play. Dogs have complex needs and are highly reliant on humans to meet them. Dogs’ wellbeing and health will often decline if their needs are not being met.

Of these needs, companionship and fun are perhaps the poorest understood and most seldom met. Dogs are deeply social animals and while the more traditional pack theory can be questioned, it is imperative that they spend significant amounts of quality time with those they have bonded with. Dogs can bond equally strongly with humans as well as fellow canines, and if they are the only pet in their household then this will have most likely been with their owner and family. Dogs suffer when left alone, so this should be avoided as much as possible. If you are unable to spend most of your day with your dog every day, then another pet may more appropriate.

As excellent a pet as dogs may be, they too deserve the best owners possible. If you cannot meet a dog’s needs, then it is simply unfair for you to get one. If you would like to explore whether or not a dog is the right pet for you, we recommend discussing this matter with an experienced trainer or behaviourist before making a final decision.

Differences Between Companions and Working Line Dogs

Monday, January 2nd, 2023

Broadly speaking, dogs in the UK can be classified as companions or working animals. Companions are essentially pets. Their main purpose is to provide their owners with company and entertainment, and they are not expected to perform any particular roles or jobs. In contrast with this, working dogs are owned and employed because of their ability to perform specific roles or jobs, while companionship is an additional benefit they bring. These roles and jobs typically include guarding, protection, retrieval and tracking for hunters, vermin control, and supporting the disabled. Working and companion dogs can both be excellent additions to the right homes, but which one would be better for a particular owner should be given careful consideration.

Companion dogs are bred with characteristics such as friendliness, calmness, and docility in mind. In the case of showline dogs, an absolute emphasis is placed on aesthetics to conform with breed standards to the detriment of health and temperamental stability. Breed characteristics will always be present, but dogs bred from companion or show lines tend to be more relaxed and primarily require social stimulation in the form of time with their owner and family. So, while the Labrador Retriever is nominally a working breed, individual dogs bred from companions can still do well in most normal home environments.

Working dogs are intelligent and energetic, so thrive when given a particular role or task to fulfill. They are likely to have been bred with this in mind, so their physical characteristics may be less standardised than could be expected with a companion or show line dog. Working dogs are best suited to active owners and have very different needs for companion animals. While they are very rewarding animals to keep, a working dog demands a lot from its owners and can never be given too much physical or intellectual enrichment.

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