Euthanasia, the Owner’s Right?

There is an uproar in Singapore because an owner had an adopted 7-month old puppy put down. The public are angry at both the owner and the vet.

The AVA has said that it is within the owner’s rights and the vet’s responsibility to advise on euthanasia and neither has broken any laws.

It is very sad when any dog needs to be put down and should be the VERY last resort.

The reason the owner Alice McElwee gave for her decision was the puppy was aggressive and bit her children.

Why is this sad + appalling?

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When Not to Get a Dog?

I love dogs and I think everyone can benefit from having a dog in their family. Especially kids.

But the reality is a dog isn’t for everyone (aside from allergies and just a dislike of dogs and animals).

I think over the years, even mass media has shared the many benefits of having a dog.

Lower blood pressure. Better immune system. More calm + less stress. Just overall well-being.

If you are depressed or prone to it, having a dog is great!

So why would I advocate not getting a dog? Or at least the times when not to?

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New Dogs on the Block

It has been a while since my last post. Almost 6 months. WOW!

Everyday something would happen and I’d say to myself that I need to blog about it but somehow time just keeps slipping away.

In this time, new dogs have moved into the neighbourhood. Two Golden Retriever puppies. In fact, their owners talked to me before their new wards arrived. One told me they were getting a second dog, and importing from Australia I believe. The other owner actually asked me where I got Goldie. I think he was happy that she was still so healthy at 11 but not so impressed that she was adopted. But before long, a fluffy rambunctious blonde puppy came bounding up to their gate to greet us on our walks. Of course he had to be quarantined until all the shots were done.

My neighbours across the street sadly moved away. They both had a dog but one sadly died from a heatstroke. The other one simply couldn’t be taken with him and last I heard, the dog was happily living on a fish farm somewhere in the lush jungle outposts in Singapore. People are always surprised Singapore is not all concrete and glass.

The papillon down the street also moved away.

Yes, there has been a lot of movement just on my one street.

Soon, our friend Darcy the beagle will be saying goodbye to Singapore and hello to Shanghai.

New friends and old friends. Happily there are more dog-loving kids with dog-loving moms. Instead of pulling them away, the moms are teaching their kids to ask for permission to touch the dog. It’s always a good idea to ask. Just because a dog looks friendly doesn’t mean she/he likes kids and just because a dog may look “aggressive” (whatever that means), he/she could be the most patient and gentle creature. You just never know! Goldie for example is so cute (people LOVE Golden Retrievers) but she’s terrible with kids! She is friendly but when she gets excited or wants attention, she rolls on her back, kicking. It’s tough for young kids who aren’t so coordinated yet to anticipate her happy kicks.

Oh yeah, my brother adopted a dog too! Good luck!

Collar Chat

I had an interesting conversation at the park yesterday. Yep, about dogs. Dog training, and using the choke collar, in particular.

Training a dog is a huge part of having a dog and doing it right is very important. Many owners talk amongst themselves, research, and seek out trained trainers for guidance. While I don’t like choke collars myself, I can see that they may be necessary, at least temporarily. I do prefer semi-choke if any choke collars must be used.

I volunteered at a dog rescue before and it’s not on to have any of the dogs loose while we are on walks. It does happen. Dogs get spooked (by the sounds, other dogs, traffic, etc) and some dogs have difficulties with being walked, or just being leashed. But having a dog loose in the neighbourhood, no matter how nice a dog it is, can only do damage to the organization’s reputation and all the good it’s trying to do.

So we used semi-choke collars. We also used the Gentle Leader to help with stubborn dogs who didn’t want to walk “properly”.

When I first adopted Blackspot, we used a Halti. That’s what that shelter was using for their dogs so she was already used to it. It wasn’t always easy and I felt she never really learned to walk, only learned how to walk with a Halti. Eventually I moved back to just a collar, but only after walking her multiple times daily for months – something I doubt she did before us. Blackspot walks really well now, calm and responsive (except when she spots “edibles”), especially compared to Creamy. The blonde one only walks well when she’s out by herself. Weird, I know.

My neighbour rescued a street dog. He is NOT an easy dog to walk. Something about our street spooks him and it’s a chore getting him out of the yard. He’s a bright dog, that’s for sure and he LOVES my neighbour. My neighbour’s gotten advice from many people, including one owner who recently started using a prong collar. Yikes!

I feel for those with difficult dogs. I get it. I also feel for those dogs who had a reason to be “difficult”. But…

I truly believe that using only positive reinforcement or reward-based training methods is the way to go. Other methods only deepen whatever fear and trauma that is present, and causing the difficulties in the first place.

So yesterday, my neighbour, our friend, and I started discussing choke collars. Our friend uses one but frankly she doesn’t really use it, if you know what I mean. She and her partner have trained their dog using rewards and only quick jerks are used to correct behaviour. Their dog is very well-adjusted, easy-going, and is walked on an retractable lead.

What worries me is when I see owners constantly “choking” their dog, yelling or smacking. I see helpers do this and honestly it’s unfair to burden helpers to “train” dogs. Helpers don’t want to get in trouble and it must be an emotional drain each time they have to walk a difficult dog.

So what’s the verdict on choke collars?

I say no. Try a Halti. Try a Gentle Leader. Try using essential oils and flower essences to correct the underlying emotional imbalance to connect with your dog. Dogs are pack animals and they are just wired to fit in and our domestic dogs? They just want to please, really. Everyone, including animals, comes into our lives for a reason.

Agility, anyone?

Dog Jack Russell (Victoria Moody) - Dogs in Singapore BlogLooking at Blackspot, resting on a yoga mat, tummy full of dinner, it’s hard to imagine her running around, let alone doing agility.

But that’s the point, you don’t know what your dog likes until you try it.

We tried agility when we first adopted Blackspot. We had just completed basic obedience and wanted something a little more challenging, more mentally challenging for our new smart puppy.

Plus I thought it’d be a bonding experience for the two of us.

Because while my husband and I both attended the basic obedience classes, agility was really for Blackspot and me. She still saw me as an interloper in her queendom with my husband. It didn’t matter that I was the one who fed her – associating me with food and treats didn’t turn the tide.

But agility did, kinda.

What is agility?

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Frisbee Dog

Border Collie (Wiki) - Singapore Dogs

When you think of a frisbee dog, what pictures do you get in your mind’s eye?

Probably a Border Collie. Or an Australian Shepherd?

Interestingly enough, the Frisbee Dog World Championship (AWI), which started in 1975, wasn’t won by a Border Collie, until 1984, with Whirlin’ Wizard. Until 2011, 9 champions had been Border Collies, followed closed by Australian Shepherd (6). But the most common breed to win (12 championships) is a mixed breed. There are a ton of stories of mixed breed finding their groove after being rescued from shelters etc.

But when you think frisbee dog, you think long legged exuberant dogs like Border Collies…not a little sausage Dachshund, right?

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Food Guarding?

Dog Food - Singapore Dogs

123RF

Does your dog guard his food?

According to Sally Andersen of Hong Kong Dog Rescue, this is very common, especially because many pet shops that sell dogs advise owners to feed very  little, to keep the dogs small.

I’d be cranky and guard my food if I’m only getting a % of what my body needs too!

Obviously it’s more complicated than that…but food guarding is a serious issue.

So what can you do?

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