Blog Dog Training ~ Speaking Dog the Bark Busters Way!

Monday 21 November 2016

Alabama Rot Deadly Disease To Dogs

What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama Rot or CRGV (cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy), is a canine disease that causes blood clots to form in blood vessels causing damage which leads to tissue damage. 

An extremely dangerous disease, its cause is currently unknown, but it can affect dogs of any breed, size or age. Unless spotted early, the disease can quickly develop and lead to kidney failure and death.

The disease was first identified in greyhounds in the USA during the 1980s. The first cases to be identified in the UK appeared in 2012 and has since spread across England, with cases identified randomly by area and breed. As no exact cause for the disease has yet been established, developing a vaccine has not yet been possible

What are the Symptoms?
Early symptoms are a noticeable swelling of an area, skin lesions, patches of red skin or open and ulcer-like sores. Often, these will present on the dog’s legs, below the ankle or knee, or on paws; but they can also be found on the face, mouth, tongue, lower chest or abdomen.

Later symptoms, such as tiredness, reduced appetite and vomiting can be signs of oncoming kidney disease. These symptoms can occur quickly; within 2-7 days.

What can I do to protect my dog?
There is currently no vaccine developed against this disease. Current advice is to wash wet or muddy parts of your dog after a walk even though it is not yet known whether washing prevents Alabama Rot. Wash your dog in lukewarm water and avoid strong chemicals. In addition, remain vigilant; if you notice skin lesions or any of the symptoms described above, take your dog to the vet for immediate advice. Your vet will decide whether to treat with antibiotics, dressing, or whether referral to a specialist is necessary. Some dogs are able to fight the disease and recover but, sadly, others will go on to develop kidney failure at which point there is little that can be done. There is currently no evidence that the disease can be transmitted from one dog to another but if in doubt, contact your vet.

Veterinary specialists, Anderson Moores, who are based in Winchester seem to have made the most extensive studies of the disease in the UK to date. Their findings, up-to-date advice sheet and images can be found on their website . There is also a dedicated website where you can find images of what to look out for, information relating to the latest research and the number of cases in your area.

Bark Busters trainers have trained more than 1 Million dogs worldwide and are renowned authorities in addressing dog behaviour with all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers International guaranteed lifetime support. With hundreds of trainers around the world, Bark Busters continues its mission to enhance the human/canine relationship and to reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment and euthanasia. Contact your local Bark Busters dog trainer to see how they can help.

Monday 14 November 2016

Greeting Unknown Dogs - Training Tips

If you are a dog lover, which you probably are if you are taking the time to read this article, you will enjoy greeting new dogs you meet whilst out and about. However, attempting to greet a dog in an inappropriate manner could cause you all sorts of problems, and could also put you, the dog, and the owner at risk.

Dogs are taught by their mother from an early age, on the appropriate way to greet other dogs. As the time is getting shorter when a puppy is removed from its mother some dogs don't learn this valuable life lesson. When dogs meet, they do not normally rush in face to face. They know the rules of the canine world and respond accordingly. Dogs meet side on in relative silence. There will be little or no direct eye contact and no hugging. There will be sniffing! Some dogs will show respect to another dog by lowering their height and even sometimes rolling over to show their belly. These actions demonstrate that they are not a threat and the greeting will proceed according to the canine rules.

As humans, our behaviour is usually the opposite of this. Humans are of the primate world and our greetings are face-to-face, with eye contact, voice and hand movements. When we use this behaviour to greet a member of the canine world, our friendly signals may not be understood as such. For example, when we bend over the top of a dog, gaze into his eyes and reach out to stroke his head, these actions could potentially be perceived as threatening behaviour by a dog, and this may cause him to react to protect himself and/or his owners from you, and could have unpleasant consequences.

When dogs feel threatened they have two options – fight or flight. If you meet a dog on lead, the first thing to remember is that he has lost the option to flight, and he knows that. So, his only remaining option to escape your unwanted approach is fight. Many dogs will issue a vocal warning before they engage their fight response. This will be a low growl which tells you to ‘back off’ and lets you know that the dog is not feeling comfortable. However, you can’t rely on this as some dogs will completely skip the vocal warning stage and may simply attack. If you’re not familiar with reading a dog’s body language, you will have missed any silent signals and it will be too late. This is often the case for children.

Clearly, if a dog is on lead with their owner you should first address the owner. The dog’s first impression of you will be gained from its owner’s response to you, and their body language. If he sees that you are friendly and don’t make the owners feel uncomfortable, he will feel more relaxed. Always ask the owners for permission to greet their dog. They will know from experience whether this is a good idea or not. Listen to what they say… we have watched in horror as children rushed up to a strange dog whilst asking the owner whether they could pet him, but were already in the dog’s space before the owner had a chance to respond. In most cases they are lucky and the dog was tolerant, but the outcome could be very different.

If and when an owner confirms that you may greet their dog, you can move closer to the dog but allow a dog to complete the final approach towards you. If he doesn’t approach, leave it there – this dog doesn’t want you to greet him. Assuming that the dog does approach, you have his permission for a greeting. At this stage remember the canine rules…

  • Don’t make direct eye contact
  • Don’t bend over the top of dog – lower your height a little instead.
  • Don’t hug the dog as this can be seen as a threat or challenge action.

Don't offer your hand to allow him to sniff. It's possible that you're simply giving him something to bite. Don't make any sudden movements and remain still whilst he takes time to sniff. You need to let any sniffing run its course, as this is how dogs interact. Wait until any sniffing stops and you see that signal from the dog that he's happy with you. If he backs off do not force your petting on him. Once he is happy with you, you can stroke him lightly. Try to avoid the top of the head or the hindquarters. If at any time you feel unsure of the dog, or sense that the dog is unsure of you, stop the interaction, slowly move away and say goodbye. Dogs can sense uneasiness, and this could cause them to react badly to you.

Equally, if the dog has allowed you to say hello and then moves away from you, he is giving you the signal that the interaction is over. Respect that and move on. Don’t keep forcing your attentions onto a dog whose body language is telling you otherwise.

It is also important to teach children the correct way to greet dogs. They tend to see dogs as cute and cuddly playthings and rush to hug them. This behaviour is very dangerous as, not only might the dog feel threatened by them, the child’s face is likely to be the first point of contact if the dog reacts. Always stay in control of your child’s behaviour around all dogs, including those that are known to them. You can read more on child safety around dogs at

An ‘attack’ by a dog on a human, particularly a child, can result in prosecution for the owner and destruction of the dog. The owner could potentially face a prison sentence of up to 5 years, disqualification from owning a dog, and a fine of thousands of pounds. Please be considerate of the potential results of your actions. Follow these simple steps whenever meeting new dogs.

Bark Busters trainers have trained more than 1 Million dogs worldwide and are renowned authorities in addressing dog behaviour with all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers International guaranteed lifetime support. With hundreds of trainers around the world, Bark Busters continues its mission to enhance the human/canine relationship and to reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment and euthanasia. Contact your local Bark Busters dog trainer to see how they can help.

Monday 7 November 2016

Sibling Rivalry - Dog Training Tips

One of the common calls we get is for help where two (or more) dogs living in the same household have started to fight. We call this sibling rivalry. Many owners never experience this but, for those who do, it can be very distressing. Not only can it be dangerous for the owners when they try to break up fights, once sibling rivalry becomes extreme, owners may be left with no option but to rehome one of their dogs.

A sibling rivalry situation can seem to appear out of nowhere. Your dogs have probably got along pretty well for years and then suddenly things change. In truth, the situation probably hasn’t arisen out of nowhere; it’s possibly been developing for months without you noticing. There are many different reasons why sibling rivalry might develop and it is worth ensuring that you understand some of the more common reasons and how best to avoid it.

Dogs living in the same household are forced to spend a lot of time together. Whilst living together can be advantageous to dogs, providing them with company when you are out, and a permanent companion and playmate, it is worth remembering that each dog is an individual and that dogs do not think in the same way as humans.

It’s a good idea to allow the dogs some time away from each other from time to time; so separate areas in the house, or separate crates can be arranged so that dogs have the opportunity to take themselves away from another dog that might be causing them stress. You can also try to introduce the odd walk, or playtime with you that doesn’t include the other dog but, again, this must be done fairly and alternated between the dogs. For the dog that isn’t out with you, leave a brain-training game, or a toy stuffed with treats to mollify and entertain him. Another benefit of separating the dogs for your attention is that you can use the play time as a chance to do some useful training. It is often difficult to train two dogs at the same time as they distract each other and, between them, can get the upper hand. Train each dog separately and ensure that they respond to your commands.

It is vital that you do not give preference to one dog over another or allow privileges to one dog and not another. The rules must be (a) clear, (b) consistent and (c) applied equally to all. Treats and toys and food must be fairly shared amongst all the dogs, and access to your attention must also be equal. Every dog in your household needs to be trained to respond to your commands. If you don’t train your dogs, so that they listen to you, they will look to each other for leadership and direction, and this is likely to cause you major issues.

When a younger dog comes into a household with an established older dog, you may notice that the older dog is automatically given status by the younger dog. The younger dog will follow the older one around, and will learn from him the rules of the household. This may include acceptable behaviours and manners around other dogs, where to toilet, and feeding etiquette (eat from your own bowl, not mine). However, as the years pass, your older dog’s leadership will start to wain in the eyes of the younger one, and he may start to challenge the older dog. It may go so far as to take over the older dog’s bed, snarl at him in doorways or when there is food around, or prevent him from having his favourite toys.

A worst case scenario is that the above can be just the start to behaviours that may escalate into fighting. If you notice these signs, ensure that the older dog has the opportunity to take himself to a safe place but, most importantly start to address these behaviours. Sibling rivalry isn’t limited to being between older dogs and younger dogs. It can happen at any stage in dogs’ lives when they live in the same space

If necessary, put in place some emergency measures to separate the dogs and keep them safe. Look out for the triggers such as food, a favourite toy, prime spot in front of the fire and try to change things so that the triggers are removed. Also get your dogs’ health checked by your vet. It could be that the dog being attacked is ill

The first thing to remember when owning multiple dogs is that you, the human, must be in charge. All of the dogs must recognise that you are the leader and know that there is no leadership to fight for. As we have said in previous articles, dogs are great people trainers. We can find this cute and funny, but it is often the cause of many cases of sibling rivalry. Look at your situation; do your dogs demand attention/actions from you? And do you respond? Do they become more demanding if you try to ignore them? If the answer is yes, then your dogs have been busily training you and now think that you are their hand maiden rather than their leader. They may start to fight over your attention or your belly-rubbing services, or fight over who sits on you on the couch. You need to take back some authority very quickly and you may need to seek the help of a dog behaviour professional.

If you need help with this or any other issues, please give us a call on 0808 100 4071. Our trainers will be happy to help you.

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