Dogs at Weddings

If you are a dog owner and are getting married, chances are you have thought about having your dog at your wedding.  If you are, we have some tips for you.

  1. Venue – Have you told your venue that you plan to have your dog at your wedding? Do they have any special requirements?
  2. Grooming – Talk to your groomer about the best time to groom your dog before your wedding day. Leave it too late and your dog may shed at the wedding, leaving it too early may leave your dog not smelling as fresh as you would like.
  3. Planning – How will you get your dog to and from your wedding? Who will lo2015-03-15 17.43.29ok after him before, during and after the ceremony?
  4. Training – Address any training or behavioural issues early. It is much easier to walk your dog down the aisle if s/he is not trying to say hello to all your friends and family!  (as dog trainers we can advise you in relation to this).
  5. Food – it is a good idea not to give your dog a meal or snacks before the wedding, we don’t want special doggy smells as part of your guests’ memory of your wedding day!

Talk to us about how we can help you to have your dog as part of your wedding!  We are the experts in accompanying dogs to weddings and look forward to talking with you about your dog at your wedding.

All dogs are therapy dogs

I know several therapy dogs, in fact I know a psychologist and dog trainer who runs a brilliant course for health professionals (and others) to train therapy dogs.

Recently I had a friend in crisis. We got that friend some help, and now we are in the aftermath, the calm after the storm so to speak. It’s funny, because I can feel the space in the palm of my hands where I should have a dog. So I have gone to my greyhounds and patted and stroked them, and picked up and cuddled my Jack Russell Terrier, and even snuggled with the Sausage Dog (Dachshund) that is staying for a week. All the time, I noticed something, I felt calmer, my anxiety has decreased and I am able to focus more easily on my day to day tasks.

I usually have many techniques up my sleeve for calming myself after a stressful event, but dogs bring something unique to the situation and this experience has just recently reinforced that belief.

You can read anywhere on the internet about dogs assisting in therapy situations (animal assisted therapy) and how pets can help with lowering blood pressure amongst helping with other serious illnesses, and many people have dogs trained for specialty therapy or assistance situations, but if you have a dog you love that brings you joy and you feel stress, I highly recommend you go fill that space in your hand that can be filled by a  pat and cuddle and use your dog as a therapy dog.

Interestingly, my normally independent dogs are all hanging around extra close tonight. I am reassured by their presence.


PS: If you are interested in learning about having a therapy dog, I highly recommend Lead the Way

Don’t give up

I just had a phone call from a man with a very nervous little Jack Russell Terrier.  He is currently deciding whether to have the dog put to sleep or to try and rehabilitate it.  I am hoping they give the dog a chance and at least get me out for a consult so I can give a more in depth opinion on its chances.

First rule:  when someone says ‘do not pat my dog’.  You should always respect that – too often I have heard stories of dogs gone biting someone after the owner has requested the dog be left alone with the response from the other party “but I’m good with dogs”.  The interesting thing (and frustrating for all good trainers out there) is that these people took this dog to obedience school when they realised there was a problem with doggy not loving new people.  After asking the instructor not to pat the dog and the instructor ignoring the owners and patting the dog, they were asked not to come back (the dog bit the instructor) –   Incidentally, this is a fault of the school and training system, not the owners who were trying to get help.

So, they sought help from a local trainer who did in home visits. This trainer told them that the dog needed to go to the vet for medication and that it should wear a muzzle, but left them with no other training tips.  The vet decided the dog did not need medicating and told them to keep the dog at home, and on a lead in public and away from people.  That was 2 years ago.  We are now facing a situation where the dog has bitten a family member who was visiting over the Christmas period and the family is trying to work out whether to keep the dog, try and rehome it, or put it to sleep.

So the moral of this story is, if you are looking for help with your dog, and you have had a trainer out or go to a dog school, if you think it isn’t working – don’t give up!  Please.  Call the trainer, call the school, email them and ask for help.  If they give up, they either need to help you understand why they can’t help you, and then I encourage you to look around and call other trainers – it is very rare that a dog can’t be rehabilitated fully or to a point where the undesirable behaviour is controlled and manageable.