Tag Archives: dog-owner

The benefits of being dog-friendly (Christchurch take note)

Here’s more research that backs up my position on dogs and the Christchurch rebuild.  Hopefully the CCDU and CERA will take note…

A study from the University of Liverpool has recommended investing in dog owner education and facilities as a strategy to target physical inactivity and problems such as obesity in both people and their pets.

The research team reviewed scientific papers published since 1990 (31 studies from the UK, USA, Australia and Japan) and found that access to dog-friendly walking environments and better education about dogs’ physical needs could all motivate people to get out and take more exercise with their pets.

An exercised dog is a healthy one, less likely to be obese, and who is less likely to develop behavioural problems like aggression and excessive barking. 

Among the most common findings of all studies was that dog owners have a varied understanding of how much exercise their dog needs. This affected how much they took their dog for a walk; something that could be addressed with education programs.

People without access to high quality local areas that support dog walking, for example parks where dogs are allowed off-leash and poo-disposal facilities are provided, were less likely to walk with their dog and missed out on the associated health benefits.

There are a large number of reasons why people do or don’t walk their dog and it is worth considering how we can address this when designing strategies for reducing obesity, or when planning urban areas and public open space. Not being able to let their dog off the leash is a particular put-off,” said Dr Carri Westgarth, co-author of the study.

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

The study also found that some people are worried about their dogs’ behaviour and may be less likely to take it out to the park – potentially out of embarrassment or worry about how it might act – but lack of walks may also be causing this bad behaviour, due to boredom, frustration or lack of socialisation.”

When I submitted to the CCDU in November 2012, I made the point that by having greater accessibility, owners have more opportunity to take dogs out – and that increases opportunity not only for exercise but also socialisation.   We want good ownership to be more visible in our communities – thus making it the norm.  Poor ownership would also be more visible – and subject to peer pressure combined with enforcement approaches.

Let’s have a dog-friendly central city with walking accessibility from one end to the other!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  University of Liverpool media release

 

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The 5 types of dog walker

A new study in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management discusses the environmental, health and safety issues of dog walking and, in particular, scooping the poop.

Please Clean UpChristopher Lowe of the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (UK) and colleagues hoped to determine what factors influence dog walker behaviour and how those who do not do the right thing might be persuaded to take charge of their dog mess.

The team suggests that there are five types of dog walker from the most to the least socially and environmentally responsible:

  • Proud to pick up – happy to be seen carrying dog waste, will pick up in all locations and take it home if no bins are available
  • It is the right thing to do – will pick up in public places but will seek to dispose of the waste as soon as it is practical; often embarrassed to be seen carrying bagged waste
  • I have done my job – if there is no bin available will leave the bagged waste to be dealt with by someone else
  • Only if I have to – will only pick up in the presence of other people – likely to discard when no one is looking
  • Disengaged – will not pick up in any situation even if they are aware of the environmental consequences of their actions

Dog faeces are not only as unpleasant as any animal waste, they can also carry parasitic diseases that have health impacts on people and animals that come into contact with them. For instance, they might transmit toxocariasis, via the larvae (immature worms) of the dog roundworm (Toxocara canis), which can cause blindness, asthma and neurological problems in those affected. Dog faeces from animals that eat raw meat and bones are also suspected of causing neosporosis in cattle. The researchers also point out that the presence of dog faeces in country parks, walks and other recreational areas can deter visitors and so have a local economic impact in those areas.

The team’s final thoughts:  The issue of getting dog walkers to do the right thing is both complex and emotive….more research is needed.

Source:  AlphaGalileo media statement

Darla’s story – what every owner needs to understand about dog toys

This video comes via the Center for Pet Safety, a registered 501(c)3 research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety.

Darla was the victim of a poorly designed dog toy purchased at Walmart by her unsuspecting owner.  Darla ingested nylon fabric that wrapped around her tongue and proceeded into her digestive tract causing peritonitis.  She fought for her life for over 3 days before losing her battle.

You can read Darla’s story by clicking on this link.

Dog owners must understand that dog toys are not subject to recalls and the burden of proof and legal remedies rest with the dog owner in cases like these.

I’m sharing this story to spread the word about this dog toy and to remind everyone to be careful in their selection of toys.  Toys sold at discount retailers are particularly suspect, such as those in New Zealand that are imported from China and are not well made and use paints and dyes that clearly rub off when being chewed.

Read Darla’s  story and then give your dog a hug – and promise to keep them safe from deadly toys.

Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You? | Video – ABC News

One of the things I try to do through this blog and my column in NZ Dog World magazine is to educate dog owners.  This item, from ABC News in the United States, gives you some food for thought.

The key messages are:

1) Be an educated dog owner about health care

2) Ask knowledgeable questions about recommended procedures (including vaccinations)

3) Understand that some practices market procedures (up-selling) to increase sales

And the subtle one for me is really to develop a working relationship with your vet.  I believe that most vets are ethical and are willing to have an intelligent conversation with you.  But, it’s up to you to be the steward of your dog’s care.  You are the one who says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to all treatments given to your dog.

Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You? | Video – ABC News.

Blessed bonds between dogs and humans

This is going to come as no surprise to many of you – but research has confirmed that the owner-dog bond is similar to that of parent-child.Paw in handScientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna (known as Vetmeduni Vienna) have studied the phenomenon known as the ‘secure base effect’ between dogs and their owners.

Human infants use their caregivers as a secure base when it comes to interacting with the environment and the researchers wanted to know if dogs found the same security with their owners.

The research team, led by Lisa Horn, examined the dogs’ reactions under three different conditions: “absent owner”, “silent owner” and “encouraging owner”. The dogs could earn a food reward by manipulating interactive dog toys.

The dogs were much less keen on working for food when their caregivers were not there than when they were. Whether an owner additionally encouraged the dog during the task or remained silent, had little influence on the dog’s level of motivation.

In a follow-up experiment, the research team replaced the owner with an unfamiliar person. The scientists observed that dogs hardly interacted with the strangers and were not much more interested in trying to get the food reward than when the stranger was not there. The dogs were much more motivated only when their owner was present. The researchers concluded that the owner’s presence is important for the animal to behave in a confident manner.

Horn said, “One of the things that really surprised us is  that adult dogs behave towards their caregivers like human children do.”

Am I surprised? Not really.  (This blog ain’t named Doggy Mom for nothing!)

You can read the journal article “The Importance of the Secure Base Effect for Domestic Dogs – Evidence from a Manipulative Problem-Solving Task” online here.

Proud to be Daisy's doggy mom

Proud to be Daisy’s mom