a dog is for life - retriever puppy in santa hat

A dog is for life – not just for Christmas

A dog is for life – t’was the month before Xmas

T’was a month before Christmas and all around the house the children were squealing we want a pet mouse;
Or a hamster, a kitten, a dog or a horse. We PROMISE to look after it forever, of course!

So straight onto Google the parents they went; looking for puppies from Carmarthen to Kent.
A Springer, a Boxer, a Cocker or Lab. A puppy t’was decided would be incredibly Fab.

On the week before Christmas, the puppy came home.
To shouts of excitement and can I give him a bone? a dog is for life - retriever puppy sleeping

All soft and adorable with huge puppy eyes.
But all through the night for his mother he cries.

The children were sad; does he not love us dear Mum
We thought he’d be bouncy and all full of fun!

He poohed on the floor and chewed up their toys.
He barked and whimpered and made a strange noise.

He peed on carpet and jumped on the beds
and by morning the family had their hands in their heads!

Who knew having a puppy could cause so much stress,
We just weren’t prepared for all of this mess!

But puppies like children seem rather demanding
and puppies need training and words of commanding.

Oh what shall we do? shall we keep him or not?
Just send him away and be forever forgot?

Shall we contact a trainer, who knows what they’re doing,
Perhaps they can help with the peeing and poohing.

Should we have taken better advice,
looked at the kitten or the little white mice?

But all pets have needs whatever they be;
Whether they’re fluffy or furry or really scaly!

The family decided to stick with this boy
and after seeking some help, they were rewarded with joy!

A happy, loyal friend who’s been loved and adored,
A playmate forever so the kids were not bored.

Now he is old, smelly and grey
And the family have loved him for many a daya dog is for life - old retriever

He’s been there through trauma, sadness and sorrow
and given his love for today and tomorrow.

And when he is gone the family will hurt
As the memories of Archie cannot be usurped.

So remember this Christmas a puppies for life,
he’ll poo on your floor but he will change your life.

Sam Chapman – DogFence Ltd

 

 

 

 

husky dog escaping out of garden

8 top tips to stops dogs from escaping!

Top tips for stopping your dogs from escaping!

Escaping dogs? Lets look at solutions to stop dogs from escaping. Does your dog’s ability to escape from the garden have you convinced that they are Houdini in a Dog’s body?

Attempting to keep your dog in the safety of the garden can be frustrating and costly. Furthermore in some instances it can end in tragic circumstances for not only the dog, but for the whole family. The dangers of the roads are obvious, but wondering dog’s can propose dangers to other dog’s and people and stopping dogs from escaping is not always that easy.

As Dog owners, you are liable for any damage or injury that your dog causes and you may also be liable to pay a fine! Escaping dogs are becoming more of an issue with the increase in both dog ownership and increased traffic.

But why do dogs escape?

An escaping dog may have one of the issues below:-

  • Perhaps he’s Lonely
  • He may be frightened
  • It maybe he’s bored
  • Or just anxious

Dogs are pack animals they need Company. If young dogs are left alone for large periods they will seek opportunities to interact with other people or dogs. An escaping dog is looking for something. Of course, young dogs have bounds of energy and want explore and have a bit of fun.

For these reasons dogs will test the boundaries and seek new places. Stopping dogs from escaping can be akin to a battle of wills. A few changes to routine is often enough to stop dogs from escaping.

Tips to stop your dogs from escaping

  • Walk your dog daily
  • Play with your dog
  • Teach you dog a few commands and tricks
  • Give your dog toys that will interest them
  • Create a safe place in the garden for them
  • Install dog proof fencing
  • Send your dog to a Doggie Day Care centre
  • Install a dog run

Walking your dog daily

So we all know that exercise is good for us but we also being confined to indoors is unhealthy for both the mind and body. Your dog’s mind will be stimulated by exercise and leave him feeling more content. If your dog escapes on a regular basis exercise may be the answer. Consider using a recommended dog walker if you are short on time. There maybe also be people who don’t have a dog and would like to walk your dog – you can register with a web site to have your dog walked for free.

Playing with dog

a good game will enhance his well-being and again help to stimulate his mind and tire him out. Dog’s are social animals and enjoy company. If he or she is stimulated it will reduce the wanderlust. You can also leave games for him to play with whilst you are away – slide games with treats, Kongs are all good boredom breakers.

stop dogs from escaping by playing with frisbee

Having fun and keeping fit!

Teach your dog a few commands and new tricks

Often your dogs  escape route is a puzzle in itself! just 15 mins a day is all that is needed to help your dog to learn a new trick or command.

Create a safe place in the garden for them

install a kennel or dog house where dog feels safe and secure – it’s always good to have a comfy place to retreat to and installing a safe will most certainly help to stop your dog from escaping out of the garden.

Install some dog proof fencing

 there are many different types of fencing and it really depends on your budget, plot size and planning restrictions. Containment fences are growing in popularity because of the cost and effectiveness.

Although this type of fencing has been around for over 40 years advances in technology have made dog fences an increasingly popular choice. These are electronic dog or cat fences and offer a good all round solution to keep pets safe. Containment fences, often referred to as dog fences have recently been Government approved.

Stock or close boarded fencing is always another consideration but does not cover gateway areas and can end up being quite costly. Also dogs can climb over or dig under these types of fencing.

Send your dog to a Day Care Centre

Doggie day care first sprang up in the USA but is becoming increasing popular here in the UK. It’s a good way to let your dog have fun, socialize and get some exercise whilst you are out at work. Just make sure that the place you send them is secure as occasionally dogs escape from day care centres!

Install a dog run; this is ideal for working dogs and dogs that live outside but may not be the best solution for family pets as it is rather restrictive. Nevertheless, installing a dog run will keep the dog safe in the enclosed area.

How do dogs escape?

There are a number of ways that dogs can escape from a garden. Some dogs will jump over the fence whilst others will actually climb them. Another popular way dogs escape it to dig under the fence or simply just chew through it. The least talked about escape route will not actually be down to your dog though.Wildlife can dig from the outside in, and you would not know that there is a hole there until the dog has escaped. And then of course, there is the driveway, open gates are an open invitation and dogs will even. squeeze under or through them!

dog proof fencing, electric dog fence, invisible dog fence, dogwatch hidden fence

Dog getting out more than you?

What else can I do to stop my dog from escaping?

Containment Fencing for dogs is becoming more and more popular especially as it can be hidden away. An escaping dog can be easily kept home with this type of fence.

This hidden fence system can be used on any dogs/any size.  Containment fences can stop the dogs from digging, climbing or chewing their way out of the garden. With the system being generally cheaper then traditional fence panelling and easier to install, its a must for pet owners wanting to stop dogs from escaping. The other advantage is that containment fencing can be moved from house to house if required.

Where can I get the  Containment Fencing for Dogs?

Dogfence Ltd are the only company company in the UK who can supply, Install and train your dogs on the hidden fence system. With over 17 years experience supplying and installing containment fences DogFence Ltd have trained and contained over 20,000 dogs and cats. For more information including pricing please click here and request a quote or call us 03450 623623. We cover the whole of the UK.

electric shock collar

What is an electric shock collar?

So what is an an electric shock collar?electric shock collar

Oh how ghastly an electric shock collar for pets! Firstly, we need to remove the words “electric and shock”. These words are misleading implying a degree of intensity which does not accurately reflect the nature of the stimulus.  Shock is too much of an emotive word. These electric shock collars deliver an aversive stimulus but do not induce a state of shock. The stimulus is lower than the sensation delivered by a tens machine and is similar to the static shock received from a nylon carpet. It is not an electric shock that is delivered.

There are two types of “electric shock collar” – the handheld devices used for dog training and those linked to containment fences. One may well ask what the difference is between a remote trainer collar and a containment fence collar. There are principally 3 differences:

  1. The training levels are lower on a containment fence collar.
  2. With a containment fence the pet is in contro;l with a remote trainer a human is in control.
  3. The containment fence collars are small and lighter.

What are the benefits of a remote training collar?

Some may argue that there are no benefits to using a remote training collar. It is usually from the people who refer to the collars as “electric shock collars”. When used correctly by a qualified trainer these collars can be a life saver for many dogs. Dog’s that have not responded to solely positive training protocols and have behavioral issues can be re-trained with an e-collar. This may well save the dog from being euthanized or shot by a farmer. Respected dog trainer Jamie Penrith of Take the lead Training is a supporter and user of the collars has been instrumental in changing people’s opinions on their use. He has talked openly about the benefits and posted videos to his facebook page and you tube channels to demonstrate these devices.

Frustratingly many of those opposed to training collars have never even used or seen a collar in action. Just as people dogs are not a one size fits all and what works for one dog may not work for another. All dog training involves an element of negative reinforcement you cannot train a dog with a solely reward based training. Many well respected trainers use an advocate the use of these collars.

Big Leash electric shock collar

Remote Trainer Collar

What are the benefits of a containment fence?

Freedom and safety are the key words to use when considering a containment fence.  Again, an electric shock collar is completely inaccurate. The stimulation delivered by the containment fence is 250 times lower than a stock fence. For many cats and dogs they are a life-saver. Each year in the UK there are 300,000 pets killed or injured on the UK’s roads. Many owners have tried all types of traditional fencing and are concerned for their pets safety.

A loose dog can cause an accident or kill livestock; they could even be run over or stolen. Of course, some cats are happy to be kept indoors but other require their freedom. Also, housing cats solely indoors can cause obesity and urological problems. By installing a containment fence the owner can give their cat access to the garden but keep them safe and away from the road. A containment fence is also very flexible and can be used to fence areas that are not suitable for traditional fences at a fraction of the cost.

electric shock collar for containment fence

Containment fence collar

Those against electric shock collars will argue that the collars cause pain, fear and suffering and yet the scientific evidence speaks for it’s self. Owners and users of both remote trainers and containment fences are highly supportive of these products. The research into containment fences carried out by Lincoln University proved there were no adverse welfare affects and bizarrely until Feb 2018 DEFRA maintained that there was no evidence to support a ban for the use of remote trainers collars. In August 2018 the Government announced that they intend to ban remote trainer collars but exempted containment fences. This seems a strange position to take when there have been no new studies. Why the U-turn?

To learn more about our fences call us on:  03450 623 623 or email us on: info@dogfence.co.uk today.

Electric dog fences will give keep dogs free to run

Are electric dog fences legal?

Are electric dog fences legal?

So you’ve read the recent media reports and are confused about whether electric dog fences are legal. If you are concerned about your pet’s safety and want to use an electric dog fence read on …..

 

 

 

 

 

The good news is if you are considering installing an electric dog fence they are completely Legal to use in England. Our dogs and cats can have their freedom and safety!

In March 2018 the Government launched a consultation into the use of all electronic dog and cat collars.  Over a 6 week consultation period 7000+ people responded. Interestingly, the majority of people (64%) were opposed to a ban. The Government looked at the evidence and the  research for both the hand held units (aka remote training collars) and containment fences (aka electric dog fences). In August the Government announced that they would not ban invisible dog fence systems. They went on to state that these fence systems offer safety to pets.

Are there any regulations for installing a electric dog fence?

After considering the evidence the Government noted that in the interests of pet welfare containment fences must be Professionally installed. They . From Autumn 2018 all containment fences will have to be professionally installed with onsite training for the cat or dog.

What do I get with Professional Installation?

So what does Professional Installation give the customer? Firstly extensive knowledge as well as advise and a good standard of product. Companies that offer full installation will have correctly trained their operatives. The operatives will be trained to  know where to place the wire and how to correctly train the pet. These Companies will have also researched the best products in terms of durability and safety. If a product is constantly breaking down due to poor quality of wire or hardware it will leave the pet vulnerable.

When installing an electric dog fence correct placement of the cable is crucial. Ideally the cable will be buried to avoid damage. In situations where burial is not possible the Installer will find a safe position above the ground.  The product sold should have in-built safety features to protect the pet. This will include automatic shutdowns, a low battery warning and a good long battery life.  It is important to consider that if the battery runs out the pet could run out! When installing the cable advice should be given on areas to avoid and where possible the cable should follow natural boundaries.

Once the fence has been installed the Professional should train the cat or the dog for the owner. Ongoing  guidance and support should be part of the service.  A reputable Installation Company should keep records of the pets individual requirements and offer a follow up service for the future.

How do I know if I am getting a Professional Installation?

Companies that offer full installation will have a proven track record  so it will be easy to ask for references and check reviews. They should also offer installation using the trenching equipment and post installation service. Using a one man band or sub-contractor may not meet the Professional Installation regulations require. Due to the high cost of the installation equipment it is unlikely that these individuals will have access to correct installation tools and are most likely not trained. Furthermore a reputable installation Company will usually offer a good guarantee regarding their product and service.

Intrigued and want to learn more? call us on:  03450 623 623 or email us on: info@dogfence.co.uk today.

https://dogfence.co.uk/quote/

 

 

 

What are the UK’s most popular dog breeds?

The Top 10 of UK dog breeds in 2018

Just as fashions change so do peoples preferences for their dog breeds. This could be down to life style changes or even social media. Here at DogFence we have seen a trend towards smaller breeds and poodle crosses. It’s good to see, however, that still firmly in the #1 position is the Labrador/Retriever.

Young Retriever in training with Dog Fence

Labrador Retriever in dog fence training

1. The Labrador/Retriever – Always a firm favourite as a family pet , they are loyal, biddable and also highly intelligent. On the negative side they are often quite food orientated which has earned them the nickname of the hoovers in the DogFence office! Interestingly they were the #1 breed that we contained on the system until 2014 when they were overtaken by the Cockapoo!.

2. Cocker Spaniel – A popular choice for both families and also as a working dog the Cocker Spaniel is also a highly intelligent breed but often a good choice for those who don’t want a large breed dog. They are also an extremely handsome breed and have consistently been placed first as best in show at Crufts. They can be a little strong willed and when mixed with the poodle to create the Cockapoo the result can be a very intelligent but stubborn Houdini.

3. Springer Spaniel (English) -Another Gun dog meaning that the top 3 places are held by working dogs. Traditionally a little more sensitive than the Cocker Spaniel and extremely loyal they have a wonderful nature and make excellent family pets. We describe the Springers as fun loving and busy!

4. German Shepherd – The German Shepherd (aka The Alsatian) is a very loyal and intelligent breed. Known for their bravery they are an interesting breeds as they are also quite sensitive and are often misunderstood by those that do not know the breed. They are often used by the Police or armed forces as a service dog because of their fearless nature and intelligence

5.  Staffordshire Bull Terrier – The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is again a breed that comes with a reputation that they do not deserve. When homed in a loving family this loyal breed is both affectionate and inquisitive. Sadly in recent years they have become popular because of their stocky stature and fearless nature and are often the subject of abuse and neglect. Luckily when re-homed into a loving home they make excellent and loyal pets.

6.  Border Terrier -Formerly our #2 breed that we contained on the System Border Terrier is a small rough-coated dog originating from the Scottish borders. They have a wonderful personality and are a popular choice of breed for vets as they both hardy and fun loving. These little dogs love children but don’t be fooled by their sweet looking faces as they are also avid hunters and have a high prey drive (hence the need to contain them effectively with the hidden fence).

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a popular choice for families who like the kind nature found within the Spaniel family but want a small dog. They are friendly and affectionate and love to be sat on someone’s lap.

8. The Golden Retriever – The Golden Retriever or “steady Eddy” as we call them! This breed has the kindest temperament. They are extremely intelligent but do be warned as they love water and if you are not a fan of that “wet dog” smell then this may not be the breed for you.  Known for their loyalty and ability to work with people they  can be found in many working roles such as search and rescue, assistance for blind or deaf people.

9.  Pug –  The Pug breed has increased in popularity over the last few years – they are loved because of looks, small and stocky (almost a mini Boxer with a curly tail) they are entertaining and good-natured.

10. Boxer – The boxer dog, (one of our favourites) was named because of the ‘boxing’ moves they make when fighting or play fighting. Sadly their popularity has fallen in in recent years, but they do make excellent family pets provided you are prepared for the fact that they are bouncy and not nearly as intelligent as the Lab or Springer. They are always looking to please and extremely good natured.

 

 

Dog wearing yellow raincoat

Can dogs predict the weather?

We loved this article By Ralph Greco, Jr.

“Dog Alerts Owner to Bad Weather”

200460173-001It sounds like a headline from a supermarket tabloid but scientific facts support this seemingly amazing claim — which is not so amazing to those of us who own dogs. So many of us have experienced our furry companions barking well before we hear thunder, or have come to enjoy the old head-in-our-lap cuddle just before rain pelts our house.

How often do we find our dogs jumping for joy just about the time we hear our weatherman warning of an imminent snowstorm? We’ve all heard those not-so-tall tales of a family’s dog barking so loudly that they alert everyone to danger well before a tornado is even detected. The connection between imminent weather changes and our dogs knowing about them before we do, and often times their trying to tell us about them, is something so many of us have experienced or heard about that we seldom actually question this simple fact of doggy derring-do.

It’s less a canine “sixth sense” though, than it is a case of simple science.

A dog is more sensitive to the drop in barometric pressure and the shift in the static electric field that comes prior to climate changes. With severe weather imminent, like the often quick turn-about a tornado brings, or the severe conditions in the wake of an approaching hurricane, a dog will not only feel those acute changes in electricity and air pressure — all that much more acute in severe weather — but beyond warning their households, they have been known to seek shelter themselves.

Have you ever stepped out of your house, taken a hearty inhale and said, “Mmm, it certainly smells like rain?” Well, if you can sniff out that scent, your dog can too — their noses can detect concentrations of chemicals we couldn’t even imagine. When it comes to the smell of ozone in the air attributed to lightning, rest assured your pooch will smell it before you do!

And what about far-off thunder? Canine hearing is close to twenty times more sensitive than ours. Those rumbles we might not even hear until they are upon us as full-blown thunder are sounds and vibrations your dog will certainly hear or feel well before you This is why all that rattling really disturbs some dogs when it finally arrives in full fury.

Our dog’s senses are that much more sensitive than ours, so is it any wonder that they can detect the nuances of weather changes better than we ever could? If we can learn to recognize and interpret specific behaviors our dogs are instinctively revealing before those weather changes are upon us, we might learn to figure out what is literally “on the horizon.”

Although other animals, from cats to birds to turtles, are known to exhibit behavior related to anticipating storms or changes in the weather, researchers theorize that, because of the way dogs learn, the more often they are exposed to weather changes, the more they will learn to anticipate those changes — and then the changes that come before those, and so on, until they have learned to associate the tiniest of changes with what they have experienced before… and then will surely want to “tell” us about them.

Ultimately, we might be better off enjoying a good warm furry cuddle or heeding that loud consistent barking over watching the Weather Channel.

Does your dog warn you of impending changes in the weather, incoming tornadoes, or earthquakes? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Pets in the Spring

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations, spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. But the new spring weather can prove not-so-sunny for curious pets—or their unwitting owners. Before you embark on Spring cleaning or gardening, take heed of potential springtime hazards for your furry friend. Below are some of the potential hazards:-

Easter Treats and Decorations Keep Easter lilies and chocolate bunnies in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets, and lilies can be fatal if ingested by our furry friends. And be mindful, kittens love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration.

Buckle Up!

While every pet parent knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets.

Home Improvement

Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care

Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully.

Poisonous Plants

Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, daffodiles and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out this excellent full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.

Ah-Ah-Achoo!

Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Out and About

Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, mobile phone and any other relevant contact information.

Feeding a wild cat

The problems with feeding a cat that isn’t yours

Feeding a catFeeding a cat that is not yours, may not be doing the right thing

Cat owner or cat lover, we are all fond of cats. We appreciate it when they are around, we want to please them and make them happy. And what’s better for this purpose than a nice bit of food? But for several reasons, leaving cat food outside your house or feeding the nice cat that is coming to visit is perhaps not as good an idea as it may initially seem.

First, if the cat belongs to someone else, it might eat less at home. This may be interpreted as a loss of appetite by the owner, who then takes the cat to the veterinarian to have it checked over, causing unnecessary stress for both owner and cat. There are also the not inconsiderable financial consequences for the owner, as the vet may do tests because there is nothing obvious to explain this apparent loss of appetite. If the cat doesn’t eat less, then there is obviously the risk of obesity as the cat eats more than it needs and starts to put on weight. This not only puts a stress on the heart and the like, but also on the joints, resulting in painful arthritis sooner or later.

Second, if it’s not your cat, you won’t know if it has a health condition that is being controlled with a special diet. For example the cat could have a dietary sensitivity or diabetes, (which might be linked to obesity) and need to be on a specific diet to avoid problems. Feeding a routine food, may not have an obvious immediate effect, and the cat won’t avoid what might be tastier, just because it isn’t good for it in the long run. Such a choice could result in delayed complications, such as diarrhoea or a more serious crisis in the case of a condition like diabetes.

Some people like to offer visiting cats raw meat as a treat, after all, cats are strict carnivores, and feeding them with raw meat seems only natural.

sausages

Unfortunately, raw meat can carry disease, such as toxoplasmosis. This can be very serious, or may not appear to affect the cat very much (see Toxoplasmosis page here), but the cat can spread it to people including children, where the consequences can be much more serious. Feeding a cat that is not yours might not be the right thing to do, but feeding it raw meat is certainly not the right thing to do.

Finally, another sad potential consequence of feeding is that you may encourage cats to cross roads in order to come to visit and inadvertently increase the risk of them being run over. There are over 300 000 cats killed on the roads in UK each year and we don’t always know why they felt the need to cross this particular road. Getting food seems a pretty good reason, after all, many cats cross roads to head for fields where they can hunt.

crossing

So, what should we do about cats wandering in the neighbourhood? You should decide to do one or two things: First you should not feed any cat, and so avoid any problems linked to feeding them; next you can try to identify if the cats are owned or cared for? Where do they come from? Do they have to cross any road to come and see you? If they are owned, are they in good health and body condition? All this information and strong community contacts may give you the answers you need to make the right decision, and if it is not-owned, then it is better to take it to a rescue centre, where it can be fully cared for. Cat owners can also take measures to ensure that their cats are not put in “feeding- danger”. If they are on a strict diet, they can put a collar with the message “do not feed” on their cat. They can also talk to the neighbours and warn them about their cat’s special needs. Alternatively, if it is felt that it is better to keep it indoors, it must have plenty of stimulation and places to explore, so it doesn’t get frustrated.

vets3

By Dr Naima Kasbaoui and Prof Daniel Mills
University of Lincoln, Animal Behaviour Cognition & Welfare Group.

World War 1 Dogs

World War I Dogs

World War 1 DogsThis weekend we be remembering and paying our respect to those who lost their lives  in the two World Wars and other conflicts. During World War I many dogs lost their lives assisting the troops in the trenches.

Dogs had a vital part to play in World War One as the complexes of trenches spread throughout the Western Front. Dogs were used as messengers and proved to be as reliable as soldiers in the dangerous job of running messages.

The complexities of trench warfare meant that communication was always a problem. Field communication systems were crude and there was always the very real possibility that vital messages from the front would never get back to headquarters or vice versa. Human runners were potentially large targets and weighed down by uniforms there was a chance that they would not get through. In the heat of a battle, there was even less of a chance of a runner getting through as the enemy’s artillery was likely to be pounding your frontline and the area behind it. Vehicles were also problematic as they could breakdown or the ‘roads’ could have been reduced to a mushy pulp and travel on them made impossible.

Dogs were the obvious solution to this pressing problem. A trained dog was faster than a human runner, presented less of a target to a sniper and could travel over any terrain. Above all, dogs proved to be extremely reliable if they were well trained. A dog training school was established in Scotland and a recruit from this school traveled over 4000 metres on the Western Front with an important  message to a brigade’s headquarters. The dog traveled this distance  (war records classed it as “very difficult” terrain) in less than sixty minutes. All other methods of communicating with the headquarters had failed – but the dog had got through.

Dogs also had another role to play on the Western Front. For men trapped in the horrors of trench warfare, a dog in the trenches (whether a messenger dog or not) was a psychological comfort that took away, if only for a short time, the horrors they lived through. It is said that Adolf Hitler kept a dog with him in the German trenches. For many soldiers on any of the sides that fought in the trenches, a dog must have reminded them of home comforts.

Dog that is scared of firework

Remember remember the 5th November (& the weekend before!)

Dog and fireworkSo as Bonfire Night approaches this can be really frightening for our furry friends. Fortunately there are some simple things that you can do to make the experience as stress-free as possible for Fido!

* Walk the dog before the fireworks begin (best when it is still light to avoid an unexpected “Bang”). Some pets are too frightened to relieve themselves outside, which may lead to some accidents at home.

* Distract your dog and muffle any outside noise by closing the curtains and putting on the TV.

* If your dog does get scared, although it’s the natural thing to do, try to resist comforting them. This tends to reward their fearful behaviour; teaching them that it is the correct response to be scared.

* If your dog is not microchipped; make sure that they are properly identified with your contact details on their collar or install a containment system to prevent them running off.