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Australian Dog Lover - Top Stories of 2016


2016, it's a wrap! Here's what you loved reading the most this year...

It was a pleasure learning more about our canine companions as well as the latest products, services and activities available to them and sharing our discoveries with you along the way. 
Practical advice-based articles were a hit and so were stories that inspired us to get out and about with our dogs.

We’d love to hear from you what you’d like to see more of in future issues of Australian Dog Lover so please leave your comments below!

Tips and Advice

Most of us need help when it comes to training our dogs so it came as no surprise that our Behaviour & Training column was the most popular section on the blog in 2016. 

From in-depth analysis of canine behaviours to practical tips from our panel of expert dog trainers, here are our top-ranking stories of the year…

8 Tips for Living with High-Energy Dogs


My dog is hyper! It’s a common complaint. You can go for an hour’s run and come home ready to flake, but, no, not your dog. Not only that, he’s jumping all over you, barking, demanding your attention, chasing the birds, passers-by, anything that moves!

If you are nodding vigorously, our 8 essential tips to bust backyard boredom are definitely for you!



Dog Mat Training in 3 Simple Steps

Training your dog to settle quietly on a mat is one of the most important and valuable exercises you can teach your dog. It teaches impulse control and promotes calmness. 

Mat training can be applied in many situations and for the management of many different behaviour problems.


Prevent your Dog’s Resource Guarding


Has your dog ever shown some kind of aggressive response in the presence of a resource which they highly value? This could be food, water, shelter, toys, bedding, an area or even your attention! 

Learn what resource guarding actually means, its causes and what you can do to treat this behaviour problem, plus we bust a few myths along the way!



Do dogs just snap and change from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde? Of course, not! 

Learn to read the subtle signs of canine body language and how to teach young kids how to interact with dogs …


Summer brings us an increase in the number and intensity of “noise events” namely thunderstorms, fireworks and home renovations. 

Here's some sage behaviour advice on getting our dogs through all these noise events safe and sound!



LIFESTYLE & TRAVEL WITH DOGS

Here are the stories which grabbed the most attention in 2016. Clearly you love exploring new places with your dogs, shopping for dog-themed items and given the chance, you may even consider switching careers to work with dogs all day long too!

 1. Great Dog Walks around Sydney and the Central Coast
2.  Dog-friendly Parks & Walks around Melbourne
3. Top 20 Christmas Gifts for Dog Lovers
4. 15 Dog Walks and Parks around Brisbane 

Our Health & Wellness section was also very popular this year as we aim to deliver advice to avoid pet emergencies as well as enjoy a healthy and more active lifestyle with our canine companions all year round.

2. Protect your Dog from Snake Bites

3. Common Plants Toxic to your Dog

4. Canine Bloat (GDV) is a Pet Emergency

5. Tick & Flea Prevention for Australian Dogs

The blog post which drew the most comments to date was this one

What an amazing first year it was for Australian Dog Lover, and 2017 is shaping up to be even bigger! Thank you for a wonderful year – we hope you enjoyed reading our dog news, tips and feature stories as much as we enjoyed creating those for you!

Got ideas for next year? What would you like to see? Let us know below or email us here

Happy Holidays from our Australian Dog Lover pack!

Getting Dogs through Noise Phobias

It is not uncommon to hear of dogs developing “noise phobias”. Some dogs’ fear is so bad that they will do anything to escape the noise, even to the point of breaking windows to get inside or running away for miles. Unfortunately, some dogs are severely injured, while others are killed in accidental hit and runs during their escapade. What a tragedy.

Summer brings an increase in the number and intensity of “noise events” namely thunderstorms, fireworks and home renovations. It is is one of the busiest seasons for pounds and shelters because so many dogs escape during this period and get lost.

Noise phobia however is not limited to this time of year and it can become a very serious problem that will adversely affect your dog’s health and quality of life. Please act now for the sake of your dog...


GETTING THROUGH NOISE EVENTS SAFE AND SOUND

Of all noise phobias, thunderstorm phobias are one of the trickiest behavioural issues to deal with partially due to the randomness of when they occur, partially because you cannot be with your dog at all times to guide them through, partially because some recommended behavioural techniques are ineffective and partially because some medications are band aid solutions. 

Fireworks are easier to predict as are renovations – however renovations can continue for many months, not just a few hours, and so have the potential to do greater harm.

WHY DO DOGS DEVELOP NOISE PHOBIAS?

The reasons why dogs develop noise phobias are varied. Our canine companions have a heightened sense of hearing and they can be particularly sensitive to noise. Some dogs like people can have hearing issues which distort sound. Dogs that have poor eyesight are more likely to become jumpy or develop noise phobias because their visual alert system is hampered and they are often caught by surprise. 


Studies show that as dogs age they are more likely to develop noise phobias (which is in part due to declining eyesight and as hearing problems become an issue). Dogs with one type of anxiety issue are more likely to display other anxiety issues.

The other factor is, noise events like thunderstorms can be just plain loud and scary!  

I know I don’t like them. Thunderstorms are not just scary because of the sound, it’s the rattling of the house and windows, the static electricity in the air, the drop in air pressure, the wind and blasting rain, not to mention lightening and, they are unpredictable.
You know your dog has big issues with noise when:
  • They are stressed – They shake, cower and pant.
  • They seek to hide away - They attempt to bury themselves under a blanket or try to dig under the house.
  • They try to escape - They pace looking to scale the fence or chew through doors.
  • They get worked up – They bark at the air and lightening, their tail stands up and their hair is stiff, eyes are wide and wild.
  • They don’t respond well to instructions– They ignore commands during the noise event when at other times they would listen.
  • They exhibit any of these signs hours before a thunderstorm event - If this is your dog, it has developed “learned fear” of thunderstorms- through conditioning.
  • If you say yes to two or more criteria then intervention is appropriate. The last one is a huge tip off that your dog has an issue.

A LOOK AT DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO ADDRESSING NOISE PHOBIAS

#1. Desensitisation

Desensitisation is gradually getting your dog used to a stimulus and increasing it when your dog is accepting of it. This may work with patting your dog’s paws or getting them used to the clipper blades or lawn mower, but getting your dog used to a storm is a whole other ball game! 


Unfortunately this approach doesn’t do much to curb thunderstorm phobias because CDs that are prescribed to get your dog used to noise are grossly inadequate to the task of matching a storm. There are a couple of problems with this. The volume you can turn up your stereo often is nowhere near as loud as an actual storm. Secondly, some dogs don’t even care when a thunderstorm or fireworks CD is played, because it’s not the sound alone that makes it scary and uncomfortable – it’s the whole package.

#2. Medication

This is a common one. Some of the drugs that vets prescribe for noise phobias are Valium, ACP or Xanax. The difficulty with medication is that:

a) You have to be there to give it to your dog and not at work or living your life.

b) If you aren’t home, you must give it very early meaning your dog may be zonked and uncoordinated for a good part of the day (and Murphy’s Law says that particular day the storm will bypass your area!)

c) You need to monitor your dog closely for signs of over or under dosing, and adjusting the dose accordingly with your vets input.

d) They have side effects and are not without risk.

Dogs can develop a physiologic tolerance to sedatives, which means the dosage is usually required to be increased over time to be effective. Older dogs are susceptible to higher doses - it takes longer to be removed from the system placing an extra burden on organs. 

Valium and ACP are tranquilizers. Valium both calms and makes them drowsy while ACP makes them drowsy and uncoordinated but they still feel fear and panic. ACP is not for treating anxiety, but as a temporary measure may prevent your dog from escaping. ACP’s use is being phased out by Vets who understand its limitations in “treating” behaviours.

Xanax is used for panic attacks and is quick acting, doesn’t sedate your dog and is not known to induce physiologic tolerance, but it needs to be given every 4-6 hours (best before the onset of anxiety). 

It is becoming the go to drug for noise event phobias however it should be noted that without a behaviour modification strategy in place to teach you dog how to cope, owners tend to have to use it long term, when the goal should be for your dog’s responses to improve so you need less or no medication. 

And by the way, DON’T go giving your dog your Xanax or Valium because the dosage rate for canines is different to humans, and it must be given under guidance of your vet.

Be wary if your dog is prescribed an ongoing medication such as Reconcile, Clomicalm and Fluoxetine, for specific event behaviours with a known trigger who don’t display any other concomitant anxiety behaviours - it's overkill...

#3. Natural alternatives


Adaptil is a pheromone spray or collar. It mimics the pheromone a bitch produces especially for her puppies, to calm them down and orient themselves when she is away. 

In some dogs this is useful for thunderstorm and other noise phobias. The diffuser is a little more powerful and is plugged into a wall, and the pheromone must be allowed to build up to effectual levels in the air to work. I’ve personally found the collar ineffective.

NAS Calm and Rescue Remedy are options to try. I’ve seen hit and miss results with these, but they are worth a go and have fewer side effects. Long-acting Melatonin is getting a good wrap these days. I’ve known about it for many years and seen it used to good effect. While it is a natural substance and is the precursor to serotonin production, it requires a prescription in medicinal doses and many vets are unfamiliar with its use.

#4. Counter conditioning


This requires that you teach your dog to associate thunderstorms, fireworks or power tools with something pleasant or engaging in an activity not related to the storm. This requires time and skill, and for you to be home at the time of a storm to apply it. Many an owner has tried to engage their dog in play or another activity, only for the dog to ignore them. 


To be able to use counter conditioning effectively, the best way is to first build a strong relationship thorough obedience under distraction, good communication and strong trust. This will enable you to override or work through anxiety and draw them out with your communication, trust and leadership skills to listen or engage in a pleasant activity.

Some activities that may interest your dog when using counter conditioning is, playing fetch with the ball, playing with other friendly dogs or doing a treasure hunt or scent work. These activities work best with dogs that have a high play or scent drive. Doing intensive obedience work where your dog is required to focus (with huge rewards for good responses of course) is another beneficial activity.

#5. Distraction

Playing with a ball or eating a bone is the last thing a dog will think of when terrified. The difference between distraction and counter conditioning is one is skilfully applied and used to teach your dog to associate that when a particular noise event is occurring, its time to get the ball and play catch and have fun. The other is when you leave a ball out and hope that when your dog is most scared it will pick it up and play. As we like to say “Not Gonna Happen”!

#6. Parking them for the day

Sometimes owners have little choice but to take their dog to a friend or relative’s for the day. It simply isn’t possible for most people to be able to be at home with their dog during a storm, fireworks or renovations. If you are fortunate to have someone like this then you may have to avail yourself of this.

If you don’t, then consider doggy day care. Our centre (The Alpha Canine Centre) receives many dogs on days of thunderstorms or fireworks, or when the neighbours are renovating. 

While it is not a cure-all, day care has its uses. It doesn’t directly address the phobia, but it often prevents it from getting worse.

Many an owner has been surprised to hear that their dog was perfectly fine and non-responsive to a storm while in for day care because they are well looked after and engaged in healthy activities, when at home they would be climbing the walls.

#6. Swaddling and pressure


The Thundershirt is based on the principle of swaddling. Human babies feel safe and settled when swaddled and they can’t flail about. Some dogs do too. Unfortunately I haven’t seen resounding results with the Thundershirt and I think it is best applied with the comfortable confinement technique below.

It is important when your dog is stressed not to give your dog anything they perceive as a reward. Generally speaking this means pats and praise are out. However some types of contact like TTouch or acupressure points (without the praise/attention) have a soothing and calming effect.

#7. Use comfortable confinement



Of all the techniques I’ve seen and used, this one hands down consistently gets the best results. 
Many describe how their dog tries to gain access to a dark and confined space such as under the house, in a closet, under a desk, under the house on in the chicken coop, because dogs feel safe and secure in this type of space.


Many dogs when out in the open will become more worked up, yet when confined to a crate will settle enough to lay down or even sleep. Comfortable confinement helps to arrest the pattern of escalation, while giving a sense of security.

RENEE'S SAGE BEHAVIOUR ADVICE FOR NOISE EVENT PHOBIAS...


If you want to use this technique you will need an area that they cannot destroy, it will need to be small and confined and you will need to make it cosy and dark. While it has the some of the drawbacks of other techniques in that it takes time and persistence and you need to be there with your dog, if you are able to, it will more than likely yield results.

Step 1 - When your dog is showing signs of agitation, take them to the crate. Close it and cover it over and allow your dog time to settle.* If your dog is not used to being put in a crate or confined space don’t wait until a noise event to be the first! Do some training beforehand.

Step 2 – Continue this step (which may be over the course of several noise events) until you see they can go to their crate or confined space and relax.

Step 3
– After your dog has learned to settle, now you can try opening the door (but wait some time after they have settled). Remain close so that if they exit and they quickly show signs of distress (or ramp it up again) you can put them back in to settle again, and close the door again. You want to show and teach your dog that there IS somewhere to go to relax and escape the terrors of the storm. 



Step 4 - Over time if you have been consistent enough with this, your dog will begin to look for their space and take themself there. Leave the door open for them to go in. If they leave the confined space and begin to get worked up or stressed, walk them back to the crate (calmly and without attention rewards like praise), but leave the door open and monitor them that they don’t try to leave quickly. They should only leave the confined space voluntarily when they are in a calmed state.

Step 5 - If your dog is doing this regularly and is less stressed by the storm, you can look at doing some counter conditioning such as engaging with balls and toys or some other activity like training– but keep these sessions brief to begin with and at the first sign of stress, place them back in the crate. You should notice over time that they can increase their time out of the crate without becoming stressed.

*A small warning - there are some dogs that will try and break out of even a crate.



Renee Visentin Veterinary Nurse and Dog Trainer
Renee Visentin began training with Alpha Dog Training in 1998. She is trained as a Veterinary Nurse, has held over 3000 puppy classes and has worked as a kennel/dog handler and groomer. 
Since 1999 Renee has provided behaviour training services for clients, vets, shelters and rescue organisations. She also fosters difficult dogs to re-home for rescue organisations.

Renee is working as a senior professional trainer at Alpha Dog Training and is co-owner of the Alpha Canine Centre. She developed a number of behaviour saving protocols for the treatment of very difficult behaviours.

Hogs for Dogs Harley Ride 2017 - March 26

Assistance Dogs Labrador Retrievers in front of red Harley motorbike

Assistance Dogs Australia’s annual Hogs for Dogs Harley Ride is celebrating its 13th year in 2017 and it shows no signs of slowing down!

If you've ever dreamed of riding on the back of a Harley Davidson, well now is your chance to tick it off your bucket list and raise money for a great cause in the process!

Leaving at 9am from Cronulla Beach, ticket-holders will enjoy a scenic ride on the back of a Harley Davidson all the way to Mount Keira Lookout, where riders' tanks will be refuelled with morning tea. Upon return participants will enjoy a barbecue lunch in the park, thanks to the Cronulla Hog's Breath Café.
Hogs for Dogs Harley Riders on their way to Mount Keira lookout

The Liverpool Harley Owners Group (HOGs) are providing their time and bikes as a charity donation so ticket-holders can get their adrenaline fix as well as that feel-good factor, knowing that all the funds raised go directly to the Assistance Dogs, so they can open the door to freedom and independence to people with disabilities. 


Assistance Dogs black Labrador Puppy on the back of Harley Davidson motorbike
“The public is invited to join in as pillion passengers, and it costs just $130 for a nice, smooth, morning ride on Sunday, March 26.” said Richard Lord, Assistance Dogs Australia’s Top Dog. ‘’We’re hopeful people will join us.” 

The ticket includes your ride, morning tea, Hogs Breath lunch and a limited edition bandana and all funds go straight to raising and training Assistance Dogs.


It costs in excess of $30,000 to train and place a dog, and Assistance Dogs Australia receives no government funding. 

There are limited tickets available and these traditionally sell out very quickly!


When: Sunday 26th March 2017, from 9am

Where: Perryman Place, Cronulla South, NSW, 2230

Cost: Tickets are $130 (all inclusive) and are on sale here NOW!

For more information, please visit www.assistancedogs.org.au 


Labrador Retriever Puppy trained to assist with emptying a washing machine

About Assistance Dogs Australia

Assistance Dogs Australia is a national charity which trains Labradors and Golden Retrievers to help people with disabilities, providing them with greater freedom and independence. Dogs are placed free of charge, to a wide range of clients, including families with autism, people living with post-traumatic stress, schools, people with dementia and people with physical disabilities.

Doglogbook App Monitors Dog's Health & Wellbeing

Doglogbook app dashboard showing multiple dog profiles



The University of Sydney launched a world-first app that will optimise puppy socialisation and help dogs get the best out of life.


WHY THE NEED FOR A DOGLOGBOOK APP?

Research from the UK has revealed that the leading cause of death in dogs under the age of three relates to behavioural problems – being abandoned or euthanased because they display unwelcome behaviour or were involved in car accidents.*

This free app will offer you new ways to recognise and meet your dog’s needs, with the opportunity to let your vet see into your dog’s world and better understand how your dog is behaving.

The Doglogbook app was designed by animal welfare scientists in the Faculty of Veterinary Science to be a dog’s new best friend, helping ensure optimum quality of life and happiness – from puppyhood through to old age to assist with difficult end-of-life decisions.


The free app draws on the University of Sydney’s new science of ‘dogmanship’ – a term coined by Professor Paul McGreevy in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. Professor McGreevy said: “Dogs can easily be socialised so they do not display the common behavioural problems that relate to anxiety – which is where the doglogbook comes in, guiding owners as they socialise their pups, making pups more worldly and potentially even saving their lives.”

He explained  that the Doglogbook would enable dog owners to gather and review real data about their dog’s healthcare, management and preferences in life for the first time: “The data generated by users of doglogbook, as valued citizen scientists, will be available to researchers and also used to inform and educate the next generation of veterinarians.”

Not only does it help owners help their dogs be happier and healthier, but it could also play a life-saving role by teaching young dogs to behave better – thereby reducing the chances of pups falling victim to what are currently their top killers.

Mia Cobb, a canine scientist who was part of the expert doglogbook development team, said it was hoped these combined features would help owners become more mindful of their dogs’ overall happiness and wellbeing.

“Doglogbook may also help take some of the pressure off owners in identifying and acknowledging decline as dogs near the end of life,” Ms Cobb said.

HOW DOES THE DOGLOGBOOK APP WORK?



Doglogbook app first screen to register as a user
Doglogbook app - Smart Sports Solutions

Doglogbook is available online and is free to download from iTunes and Google App stores.

All you need to do is:

1. Register as a user 
2. Create a profile for your dog(s) entering basic information such as your dog's breed, age, weight, whether he/she is desexed or not etc. 
3. Complete an initial activities rating (what does he/she enjoy or dislike the most) as a starting point.



The app is gamified to increase engagement and reward owners for seeking out novel experiences during the critical socialisation period. 

This feature can work well in conjunction with puppy preschool, or as a simple means of logging when a puppy has travelled, visited different types of environments and met a range of people and other animals. 

Doglogbook app showing whether your dog enjoys or dislikes a particular task or activity
Doglogbook also enables dog owners to log the activities that their dog undertakes in a usual day (for example eating, walking, playing with other dogs, etc) and rate the enjoyment their dog gets from each activity both home and away. Owners can gather and review real data about their dog’s happiness in life for the first time.

There is also a ‘working dog’ channel in Doglogbook that logs training investment and tracks assessment outcomes, as well as assisting in the health management of dogs working in roles as diverse as scent detection, guide/seeing eye, livestock herding, guard/protection dogs, and racing Greyhounds.

Beyond the Doglogbook app itself, you can also consult the history of your data or invite your dog’s vet, trainer, therapist or handler to see the data you have collected with the app in the dashboard.

About Doglogbook

Funded in part by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Meat and Livestock Australia, doglogbook has the support of the Working Kelpie Council of Australia, the Dog Ownership and Human Health node at the University of Sydney, and was developed in collaboration with the Australian Working Dog Alliance and Smart Sports Solutions.

Doglogbook information could eventually feed into VetCompass, the national opt-in pet surveillance system for vets launched in Australia recently.

References:


*O'Neill, DG and Church, DB and McGreevy, PD and Thomson, PC and Brodbelt, DC (2013) Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. VETERINARY JOURNAL, 198 (3). pp. 638-643.

Why is Puppy Socialisation so Essential?

Puppies aren't born knowing how to live with humans! Socialisation is the process during which puppies develop positive relationships with other living beings. The most sensitive period for successful socialisation of your puppy is during their first 3 to 4 months of life.
This is when sociability outweighs fear and this is the most important time for adapting to new people, places, animals and experiences. 

WHAT IS PUPPY SOCIALISATION & WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT? 

Cream Labrador Retriever puppy pulling on his leash and being reactive Puppies that receive insufficient socialisation during this time are more likely to develop behaviour problems later in life, including fear, avoidance and/or aggression, commonly seen as excessive barking, growling at visitors and lunging at other dogs on walks

To develop into normal, friendly and confident adults, puppies need regular handling and exposure to new and novel situations during this period. 


Most importantly, the exposure needs to be controlled so that it is a positive experience for the puppy, not threatening. For example, exposure to other dogs should be with well-mannered dogs rather than those who play in an overly aroused manner or cause fear. 

WHEN AND WHERE SHOULD I GET MY PUPPY?

While you want to start handling and socialising your pup as soon as possible, a puppy also needs interaction with its mother and litter mates to learn social skills and appropriate play behaviour, so the best age to obtain a pup is around 8-10 weeks of age.
Litter of Bernese Mountain Dog puppies running in the grass


Pick a reputable breeder where the pup has already had early handling, which means that they tend to be more confident, social, exploratory, faster maturing and better able to handle stress as they develop. If you have cats, it would be advantageous to choose a breeder that has already exposed the puppies to cats. 

It would also be wise to pick a breeder who rears the pups in the home so they are already exposed to normal household noises and a variety of people.

Genetics also influences a puppy’s behaviour – some breeds are more outgoing than others, and behavioural traits are also inherited from its parents, so observing the puppy’s parents interacting with their owners, and with you as strangers, is also recommended. 


Then the individual puppies in a litter will all have different personalities – choose one that is sociable, affectionate, and playful, avoiding overly shy or aggressive puppies.
Two young puppies playing nicely together with a round soft toy
If a breeder doesn’t want you to come to their house, see where the pups are raised or see the parent dogs, you should be wary and question why.

INTRODUCTING YOUR PUPPY TO NEW EXPERIENCES 

Once your puppy comes home, you can continue the socialisation process by:

* Exposure to a wide range of people, including children, toddlers, babies, women and men, including men with beards, caps, sunglasses, hoodies, boots, etc. 


* Exposure to household noises e.g. vacuum cleaners, radios, TV, blenders, banging, kids running around, bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, prams, microwaves etc.

* Gentle handling of the ears, feet, tail, mouth, and collar daily

* Travelling in the car

* Spending time in a crate and being left for short periods of time

* Walking on a lead

* Getting used to walking on different surfaces like concrete paths, the beach, grass and wet grass (so the pup will still toilet outside in the rain)


Young puppy chewing gently a kitten's face

* Introducing to different vaccinated dogs and exposure to other animals e.g. cats in a positive way

* Eating meals from food puzzle toys

* Playing with toys, with you and alone

* Commencing house-training

* Learning to sit for greetings instead of jumping up


* Attending puppy preschool

To help you do achieve this, provide a reward such as a food treat when then puppy is exposed to a new stimulus, so that it associates the experience with a reward. Otherwise, positive reinforcement in the form of a pat or praise is effective. Control the exposure so that is gradual and non-threatening, and reward all calm behaviour shown by the puppy.


For example, have someone turn the vacuum cleaner on briefly and far away, feeding the puppy treats continuously. If the puppy does react, the vacuum cleaner is too close or too loud. Try again further away and reward the pup for calmness. Gradually move the vacuum closer over a period of time as indicated by your pup’s reaction. 

Young girl playing with a young white puppy holding a stick in its mouth
Supervise children, starting with one at a time, then the neighbours’ children, then progress to parties with balloons, music and games. Teach the children to interact calmly and offer the pup tasty treats or toys to play with. This will teach the puppy to look forward to meeting them. 

Similarly, invite a variety of people over (one or two at a time) and have them offer the pup treats (or its daily kibble), get the postman to offer the pup treats and take your pup out with you to meet new people in safe places or while the pup is small enough to carry. 
Many short car trips will help reduce travel anxiety.

If the puppy is initially fearful or shy in any situation, let it retreat to somewhere that it feels safe, do not force it to confront the situation. 

Young puppy staying calm in its crate with the door closed
Puppies should be encouraged to have naps in safe places like a crate or pen so they are less stressed if they need to be hospitalised or confined for travel. 

Their crate can be taught to be a safe place by feeding the pup there and providing favourite toys, for short periods initially so that it doesn’t show distress or fear.

Leave the crate open to start with so the pup can come and go. 


Pups that can amuse themselves and tolerate being left alone for short periods may be less likely to develop over-attachment to owners and separation anxiety when the owner leaves. 
Cream Labrador Retriever puppy chewing on his toy and happy alone

THE BENEFITS OF PUPPY CLASSES 

There is a compromise with opening up the world to puppies, in that they will not yet be fully covered by vaccination. However, the benefits of socialisation outweigh the health risks, and there are low risk environments such as friends’ houses with vaccinated dogs, and puppy classes. 


Puppy classes are highly recommended to help teach basic commands, to socialise with other puppies and their owners outside of their familiar home, and to learn some basic health points. They usually consist of 3 or 4 sessions at your vet clinic, starting at 6-8 weeks of age, after your pup has had its first vaccination

Young puppies attending a puppy class at the Command Dog Training School
Kindergarten Puppy Training - Photo Credit: Command Dog Training School
Pups up to 16 weeks of age can attend. Older pups and adult dogs can attend age or size-appropriate classes or training schools.

Socialising doesn’t stop there! Continued positive exposure to a variety of people and other animals, new environments and stimuli, as the pet grows and develops, is also an essential part of maintaining good social skills.


Above all, HAVE FUN!

Dr Julia Adams animal behaviour consultant at Pets on the Couch
Dr Julia Adams, BVSc, is a veterinarian and animal behaviour consultant in Cootamundra, NSW.

She is passionate about educating pet owners and helping them overcome behaviour issues that negatively affect their lives and the relationships they have with their pets.

www.petsonthecouch.com.au


Rent.com.au launches Pet Resume feature

Rent.com.au Pet Resume front screen showing dog and cat profiles
Rent.com.au recently launched Pet Résumé to help pet owners put their furry friends in the best light - through their very own résumé. 

This new feature follows the successful launch of personal renting profile Renter Résumé.

Renters can now present future landlords with their ‘Pet Résumé', which details whether their pet has been vaccinated, registered or trained, whilst also providing insight into the animals' hobbies and personality, all to improve their chance of application success. 

Insights from a recent Rent.com.au survey of more than 1,300 Australian renters found overwhelmingly, that 42% of renters found it ‘extremely difficult’ to find a place to rent which would also accept their pets, despite almost two thirds (or 63%) of Australian households owning pets. 

Pet Resume profile for Lucy the Dachshund Dog
Rent.com.au Chief Executive Officer, Greg Bader said renters regularly face obstacles in their search for a pet-friendly property: “While many landlords would eventually welcome pets, we find that only 25% of our property listings specify ‘pets allowed’. 

 “Introducing a Pet Résumé to a prospective landlord, combined with a Renter Résumé, can build a real case for responsible pet ownership,” he said. “It’s a proactive move that shows a tenant’s honest and open approach to taking responsibility for their pets.” 


“Even if the landlord doesn’t request it, being prepared with a Pet Résumé could set a tenant apart from the pack and help with the negotiation process.”

About Rent.com.au 

Rent.com.au is Australia’s number one website dedicated to renters and rental property, and a leading advocate for the country’s growing number of rental tenants. The company has recently launched Renter Résumé, a personal renting profile feature. Renter Résumé allows for the automatic generation of property enquiries and applications, as well as giving Renters control to edit, view and review their current profile. Since its launch there has been an overwhelming response with over 500 new résumés created daily.