Pet-Friendly Staycations in Singapore

Singapore is getting more and more dog-friendly but it is still a small country. One city, in fact so options for traveling with your dog is quite limited and hikes are less than fun in this heat and humidity. The oceans could be cleaner, but given the high traffic of the container and cruise ships this will unlikely to change.

Luckily, there are a few hotels that allow dogs. Both Great World and Frasier Suites allow pets. Great World charges $10/pet/day (before GST) and if you are staying a month at Frasier Suites, the pet levy is $200. Capella surprisingly is also pet friendly (cats and dogs) and with its beach access, fantastic spa treatments, and gorgeous and quiet grounds, this hotel resort makes a great choice for human and animal.

We spent a few days at the Capella recently. Having room service and taking time out from the busy Singapore daily life was perfect for everyone. We were the only ones there and enjoyed walking throughout the grounds, encountering peacocks almost everywhere, even a family with three little ones. There are a few dogs living at The Club, apartments, duplexes, and mansions that are part of Capella. These lucky dogs have daily access to Palawan Beach which is empty in the early morning hours, perfect for easy-breezy long walks and a dip in the water.

Not everyone is comfortable with animals at Capella and that’s why you get a door hanger that lets the staff know there is a pet inside. It’s pretty easy to keep the Animal House in the bathroom or on the balcony when room service comes around. There aren’t too many trash cans but you figure out where they are and include them on the walking route.

Housekeeping will also come by with dog beds, bowls, and poop bags.

Sometimes all I want to do and need is to veg out and enjoy room service!

Squeak Squeak Goes the Shrew

Shrews live in my park.

These are little rodents that squeak whenever there is danger. I hear the squeaks a lot on my night walks.

But sometimes the squeaks head my way. These are not perhaps the smartest or nature’s selected fittest. They actually run towards me and my two large dogs, which makes at least two sources of predator.

Sure they live within the relative safety of the park’s confines. But there are lots of stray and non-stray cats that hang out in that park. It is actually a feeding spot, where aunties come around before the sun dawns to place lumps of dry (and sometimes, wet) food. (It’s somewhat of a nightmare to walk my glutton dogs with so much leftover foods, including the mushy after-rain piles)

Last night, I was out a little later than usual.

My two dogs decided to go to separate sides of the walkway. Not an uncommon thing.

I watch Creamy to make sure she doesn’t decide to roll in the puddles. At almost midnight. It’s happened before. Many times.

This is when I realize it’s rather quiet on the other leash. As I look over, my curious Blackspot, ears perked up, is sniffing a little shrew right under her.

Then squeak, squeak, and off the shrew ran. At least it was away from me!

My dog could easily have put an end to that tiny animal. I’m frankly surprised it didn’t spark any prey drive. They chase after cats, or try to. Except the ginger one down the street. They have an understanding – they stare each other down.

My theory is that the reason they chop down the beautiful flowering shrubbery that lines the edge of the park because of the shrews. It seems like the trimmers come when the shrew population gets big. There are several bins along the walk but people still just toss out their garbage, including chicken bones and other unsafe items for dogs.

Public Service Announcement – please throw your leftovers and other garbage in the bins.

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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Dogs & Halloween

Halloween is still a novelty in Singapore.

Its biggest draw is still for adults to dress up and party.

Trick or Treating is still spotty around town. My street, with only a few kids, is quite quiet this time of the year.

Whether it will get busy with throngs of kids, as it did at my old place, it is good to be mindful of what Halloween can mean for our pets.

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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.

Why do Dogs Roll on their Backs?

Why Do Dogs Roll on Their Backs? Singapore DogsI get asked “why do dogs do that? Roll on their backs?” a lot!

I guess my dogs do it…a lot.

Since I’m trying to build a positive image of the Dog, I didn’t have the heart to tell these innocent people that my dog is rolling on something nasty!

To be honest, my dogs don’t always scent-roll. In fact there are many reasons why dogs roll on their backs.

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