Tag Archives: UK

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World: International Rescue Dog’s in the UK

Every Life Matters.

This is a fact not an opinion and before a mob chase me down with pitch forks i completely appreciate that the amount of dogs abroad facing life on the streets or in a “shelter” (where the conditions are often more appalling than the streets themselves) is significantly larger than here in the UK. I cry at every YouTube or The Dodo video i come across that is showcasing an extreme case that breaks my heart as much as the dogs in our own rescue.

conditions
So why are all these dog lovers and rescuers kicking up a fuss about dogs being rescued from abroad and coming into the UK?

Well for starters in 2016 the average amount of dogs put to sleep every day in the UK was 18, hence #18DogsADayUK, now in 2017 that average is 19 per day. 19 dogs being needlessly euthanised on a daily basis because there are no available rescue spaces, adoptive families or responsible owners. UK rescues are scrambling for foster families and kennel space as it, so surely it is irresponsible for us as a country to begin committing ourselves to saving the lives of dogs from abroad when almost 20 dogs here in the UK already are still being killed everyday?

However, this can and usually does, lead to a lengthy, volatile and deeply political debate that takes tangents like a firework and leaves a group of once-friends-dog-rescuers in an angry-no-longer-speaking-dispute. So a reason we can all agree on: the spread of disease. In the last 2 years the UK has seen a significant increase in reported fatal canine diseases such as Parvovirus and the newly arrived CRGV aka. Alabama Rot. The dogs from abroad are rarely vaccinated, do not go through proper quarantining and many become sick during travel. They then immediately join their new foster or adopting family who unknowingly spread the disease like wildfire.

alabama rot map 2

An often overlooked factor is the lack of Home Checks for the adoptive families taking on these dogs. To adopt a dog from abroad with an extreme story of abuse or neglect has become somewhat of a strange fashion for social media posting and general attention seekers. The fees to adopt from abroad are often triple those of the UK rescues due to transport fees, however, there are many who ship the animals en mass and raise the funds online for transport making adoption fees much lower. This attracts an unsavoury type of adopter who may take dogs on for puppy farming, dog fighting and bait dogs. It also means any well meaning but utterly clueless family can adopt any dog without even meeting first and having no option but to take their new friend home from the airport with them.

Last but not least, these dogs often arrive into the country with behavioral issues that may not have been fully or even remotely disclosed to the unwitting but charitable family. 100’s of these dogs are now being seen being sold online or given away for free, or more often that not, end up in the UK pounds and rescues. They have no “rescue back up” (or RBU to those in the biz), so when the family can no longer cope with the dog; there is no team of staff to support with training or finding a new foster or adoptive home. The already swamped rescue system in the UK is involuntarily taking on an international animal rescue crisis.

dogs intnl.

Now of course there are good international rescues that usually have their team here in the UK, ready and on call to support fosters, home check adopters and ensure things run properly with correct isolation and vaccination procedures. These guys are doing an amazing job and with them i have no qualms.

Please remember to #AdoptDontShopt #StopPuppyFarming and #EndBSL

To support our work at Broken Souls Rescue saving poundies from deathrow please visit: www.broken-souls-rescue.org/donate.html 

Dog Training Methods: Cesar Millan vs. Victoria Stilwell

There is an international dog training dispute going on that has been rumbling away in the background of the canine community for years. If you work in the canine industry or just really love dogs, there is a chance you watch some form of dog themed TV show, as more and more documentaries, welfare series and training reality shows hit our screens.

So what the real arguments revolve around is the difference in ethical opinion between the use of positive and negative reinforcement methods in dog training.
1)Positive reinforcement is the training of specific behaviours through rewarding the desired action.
2) Negative reinforcement is the training of behaviours through making an undesirable behaviour ‘uncomfortable’ or through a form of punishment. 

Now personally as a dog trainer, i have watched both Animal Planet’s “The Dog Whisperer” and Channel 4’s “It’s Me or the Dog” observing the common but effective methods utilised by both trainers. Now many trainers out there are just as good as those who have their own TV shows, but the effectiveness of any tool or method is the way in which it is carried out, this is where most dog owners find themselves dumbfounded as they copy these TV techniques and yet still fail to see any improvement in their dog’s behaviour. Any form of training strategy, if done incorrectly, can cause more damage than good.

Cesar Millan is often trashed in the canine world as intimidating with a style of training and thinking from cave man days. His dominant methods of becoming the ‘pack leader’ are labelled as old school and his frequent use of the ‘touch’ is thought of as abusive. His steps of often triggering the behaviour that requires rehabilitating can be perceived as over bearing and almost in the dogs face. He is seen as a trainer who uses negative reinforcement by forcing the dogs to become submissive.

Victoria Stilwell uses positive reinforcement through and through with clicker training, treats, toy drive, distraction and other such techniques. Since moving to the USA she has become involved with other dog TV and media such as USA Dogs, America’s Greatest Dog and of course It’s Me or the Dog USA. Positive training method use is her mission in life with her website even being http://www.positively.com. However, the case studies that Victoria publicly handles could arguably be called less severe in comparison to Cesar and on frequent occasions i have felt she could have assessed the family and owners more thoroughly and done more to change the human’s behaviour to make more of positive impact on the dogs training. I also feel that perhaps as we have seen no evidence yet, she would not be able to rehabilitate a human aggressive dog.

As a private and rescue dog trainer what do i think?

I see every kind of behavioural issue from simple lead pulling on a walk and jumping up to severe fear trauma, dog and people aggression. I find that in most cases, the root problem is fear, insecurity or learnt behaviour. The psychology of a dog versus dog training is where i find these lines can cross when rehabilitating a dog, because a dog’s basic psychology comes down to pack hierarchy and instinct. In severe cases where for example a dog has become human aggressive and a trainer must gain this dog’s trust and respect to begin to work with it, i feel some of Cesar’s alpha tactics could have the upper hand. Whilst i would always try to sit next to the dog (with a form of barrier of course) and allow the dog to go nuts and then over time calm down as it becomes habituated to me, there are some dogs that just won’t quit or there is no barrier and pen available. In this instance a completely dominant attitude and the approach to follow the dog until it submits is actually very useful and effective. I also feel that the “touch” that is most widely discussed and debated, is only used in situations where the dog is the one first willing to “touch” you, or to put it less subtly, bite. In this case we should look back the dog as an 8 week old puppy, developing its social skills amongst it’s litter mates, playing rough and boisterous. Puppies will bite each other with more malice and a different energy when a sibling causes genuine pain and injury during play to correct them that “this bite was too hard”. By a small sharp touch to the neck and shoulder joint, you are not hurting your dog anymore than a poke to snap their brain from an instinctive train of thought back to reality and inform them that their behaviour is too aggressive. This is not hitting, kicking, beating or smacking a dog, these are abuse. This is synthesising a natural correction in the canine world.

Cesar’s Techniques

Calm and confident energy that releases a leadership role or alpha male, but can be difficult for owners to understand and recreate within themselves.
Not allowing your dog to lead in front on walks or through entry ways.
Ensuring a dog is always invited onto the furniture oppose to when it wishes
His thought process of nose-eyes-ears to appreciate how your dog is perceiving you
His skills of observing and reading a dog’s body language to know when to correct or treat or sit back
Small touch/poke to snap the brain from instinctive thinking in more serious situations such as food or dog aggression.
No touch, no talk, no eye contact to almost immediately resolve bad behaviour with guests.
Use of other dogs or a whole pack to rehabilitate and build confidence, “Power of the Pack.

 Victoria’s Techniques

Food, toy, attention and fuss based rewarding
Fabulous clicker training
Her skills of owner interaction, explanations and education
Experienced and perfected timing of rewards
Application of consistency, patience and routine
Use of activities to build confidence
Use of techniques and tools that with practice anyone can mirror.

As a dog trainer for the every day owner; i feel that Victoria Stilwell wins the debate here, she has a more approachable persona and better skills at explaining how she does things and really educating owners. She instils a new way of thinking within the household and highlights the importance of consistency whilst using tools that can cause minimal damage whilst owners get to grips with the technique. Her methods can be learnt by anyone who really wants to train their dog with ease where as Cesar’s energy cannot be replicated so easily and once back in the owners presence it is often the case that the dog reverts back to it’s old negative behaviours. However it should be noted that when Cesar does make an effort with the owners themselves to teach them how to properly utilise his methods, he can really make a significant difference in that human’s overall confidence and life attitude.

Cesar fascinates me and will always have my support because of his deep understanding of canine psychology and his learnt connection with dogs. His ability to accurately read a dogs body language and to adjust his own so as to carry out a silent conversation is amazing and can have such positive effects on those dogs that are shut down or are on a completely basic level of social skills. It cannot be said at all that Cesar Millan is in anyway cruel, although he may appear forceful and not be to everyone’s liking. Cesar is simply adapting techniques that canines would show every day in a pack in the wild or with their mother and litter mates, so that he may connect with and utilise the natural behaviour instincts and canine psychology to make the greatest impact in each rehabilitation he embarks upon. His methods if performed incorrectly, (as has been done by many wanna-be trainers), could be seen as cruel and abuse but this is because ignorant people confuse the difference between the dog being responsive due to fear or due to respect…

Each dog training endeavour can only be successful if the owners put in the work with patience, persistence, positivity, consistency, calm and basic canine knowledge. In other words; if the owner doesn’t put the work in each and every day, you can’t expect a trainer to make miracles happen. Although you would probably liken my sessions more to that of something Victoria might take part in, it must be noted that in situations where i see an extremely aggressive dog or a dog particularly difficult to understand the root cause, i always think, “Cesar would be able to fix that case…”.

I offer dog training one to one sessions across Coventry and the West Midlands, UK at £20 per session plus £10 travel charge to some outer areas. To book a private session with me or to support the rescue work we carry out please visit: http://www.broken-souls-rescue.org

#EndBSL #18DogsADayUK

3 Amazing Reasons to Neuter Your Dog

Oh here she goes again, another boring lecture from another animal welfare advocate about getting your dogs reproductive bits removed. Well you can stop rolling your eyes at me because not a day passes that i don’t see a whole pack of dogs with their wedding tackle dangling or in heat when I’m out and about walking the rescue dogs, so clearly some of you haven’t heard yet….

Neuter & Spay: The Basics

Neutering is a general term for the surgical removal of reproductive organs from your pet, spay refers only to the female procedure. Every veterinary surgery across the world offers neutering options and the prices do vary from around £60-£150 (male dogs) £88 – £220 (female dogs). Cats and smaller animals are much cheaper as the surgery tends to take less time and require less anaesthetic drug. Animal charities such as Cats Protection and Dogs Trust (UK) and SPCA (USA) often offer free neuter and spay months or weeks and for those in financial difficulty the PDSA in the UK offers a low cost neuter. If you think these costs are outrageous, let’s see how you feel about the costs of problems that could be found later on in the animal’s life as discussed below…

The Surgery

The surgery for your pet doesn’t actually take that long and is a routine operation with minimum risks unless your pet has underlying medical issues which may be affected by anaesthetic. A sedative is given which takes around 5-8 minutes to kick in and then your pet will be shaved in the area of the operation to avoid any hair making the surgical site dirty. A male dogs surgery will take only 20-30 minutes usually as an external removal is much simpler than the female internal organs. The female surgery usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the dog. Your pet will be observed in their vet kennel as they come round from the surgery and can be picked up just an hour or so post op! A follow up will be required a few days after to check the site for infection and again in 2 weeks to remove stitches. Your dog will probably be sent home with a few days worth of pain killers and either a vet cone or body grow vest.

Ok so why am i telling you to do this?

The Good Bits

  1. Prevents any accidental puppies being brought into the world from risky rendezvous in the dog park and adding to the over population problem. 

2. Prevents multiple types of cancers developing in your dog which are becoming more and more common such as; testicular, ovarian, uterus and cervical. These cancers if left untreated can spread through the hormones, blood and lymph system to grow and could develop into other types such as lung or even bone cancer which will be fatal. 

3. Prevents negative behaviours in both male and females such as: increased energy levels and hyperactivity, possessiveness, territorial, aggressive, resource guarding, humping/sexual behaviour, lack of attention, difficulty training. 

So what are you waiting for? The main culprits of the anti-neuter brigade, and i’m not being sexist i’m being honest, are the men who feel they are being cruel to “take away their man hood” or end their favourite hobby of licking their balls… Well guys if the Big-C wasn’t enough to scare you and you still want to argue that you are a responsible dog owner who will never allow an “accidental litter” to occur, let’s put it like this;

Imagine your dog is allowed to keep his “manhood”, and you are a responsible dog owner who never allows him to mate….Your dog is running around pumped full of hormones and no way of releasing them! You cannot allow  a dog to mate with a spayed female because the female will not feel the urge to mate and therefore you will be technically raping the female dog… There is no justification for allowing your dog to remain un-neutered. Get it done.

balls lick neuter

Many dogs who are found in the county pounds left as unclaimed strays appear to once have been well loved family dogs, and we often wonder why they haven’t been found, what happened? More often than not, after a full vetting, we find the dog is riddled with cancer and instead of the previous owner taking the difficult but responsible road of euthanising or treating the dog, it has been dumped.

18 dogs are euthanised in the pounds alone every day across the UK. Let’s end this now. To support our efforts pulling dogs from deathrow go to http://www.broken-souls-rescue.org

#AdoptdontShop #18DogsADayUK

CRGV (Alabama Rot) – The New Incureable and Unpreventable Deadly Canine Disease

“Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy” is otherwise known as CRGV or ‘Alabama Rot’, and is in the simplest terms a disease causing small blood clots to form in the blood vessels of the skin and kidney in dogs. These clots form blockages and damage to both the skin and kidney resulting in ulcerations, lesions and renal failure.

Symptoms are initially thought to be ulcers and lesions on the skin, in particular, the paws, legs, under carriage and mouth and tongue. Now obviously dogs cut their paws and legs running around the park or garden quite often, so let’s not all rush to the vet with every minor skin issue. Other symptoms from more progressed cases are lethargy and tiredness in your dog, a loss of appetite, vomiting in general, diarrhoea and both of the latter may contain blood. However, i feel it is extremely important to note that the skin ulcerations and lesions are not always present! Your dog may just suddenly seem not themselves and begin presenting with bloody fluid from both ends…It is an almost dreaded ‘Parvo’ like disease shutting down the kidney function causing havoc across the entire system of organs. A dog can go downhill in a matter of 12 hours and in 9 out of 10 cases: it is fatal.

alabama rot leison.jpg

So how do you prevent your dog from getting CRGV? Well to be honest; the vets don’t know. There is no vaccine against CRGV currently as the exact cause and specific bacteria causing this outbreak is unknown. The only tips available is to wash your dog down thoroughly after every walk paying attention to the paws and legs and in particular, to dry these areas thoroughly. Other than that, the areas of known cases in the UK is currently at 56 and i suspect many more cases left uncounted.

If your dog appears to be showing signs of or to have contracted CRGV what should you do? Get to your vet. The most important thing is topical treatment of the lesions, IV fluids, nutrients, electrolytes and vitamins as well as glucose. A dog who is not eating and is vomiting and excreting blood needs to be seen immediately to give the dog a chance of fighting off the disease. However, it really needs to be noted here that even once in the care of a vet, they will be dumbfounded as their is no cure or treatment for this disease. Application of antibiotics will negatively influence the already failing renal system and may push the kidney beyond its toxin limit.

There are cases of dogs becoming ill with bloody excretions and vomit across the country with outraged owners suspecting the vaccination “Lepto 4” as the cause. We ourselves as a rescue lost a mama dog and 5 of her 7 puppies and another 4 month old pup to an unknown “infection or disease” that caused loss of appetite and severe sudden weight loss in a matter of 12 hours followed by extreme bloody vomit and blood coming out of the back end like a tap had been turned on…. The antibiotics seemed to make the situation worse and we lost all of them. There was no raised temperature present in any of these cases which would be a usual indicator of infection and illness.

CRGV, Alabama Rot, what ever you wish to call it, is fast becoming a deadly disease with absolutely no information or medical aid to battle it. Anderson Moores Veterinary group are currently the leading UK researchers on it and need urgent funding.

Forget Parvo; CRGV is here UK. RIP Miami who we lost to “Unknown” January 2017.

Miami.jpg

 

The Dog Pound: UK

We all remember the dog pound from Disney’s “Lady & the Tramp”, the dog catchers portrayed as evil with their catch poles crawling about in their cage van searching for dogs to catch and take back like it was their hobby. A dark and dingy place full of dogs in cold kennels looking sad, lost and alone. The little brown mutt too sad to sing who was crying always made me cry as a child. But having been in the animal industry for 13 years now, i know that the reality of UK dog pounds somewhat brighter, (thank goodness).

ladytpoundcry

Dog wardens in the UK are mostly people who actually adore dogs and want to be first on scene to respond and ensure each animal is treated with dignity and love. They don’t have time to be hunting down hiding doggies to make up their numbers; the kennels are already crammed and the calls keep coming in about stray and dumped dogs. I have also found that dog wardens are very active in the Lost & Found pet world to try and reunite any of their charges with their families outside of their work hours on their own time, and failing this,  they are extremely active in the rescue world, seeking out pound pulling organisations and rescue back ups to take the dogs in when their 7 days are up.

So what are our pounds actually like? Well think of the bottom end of the scale of boarding kennels and you’re pretty much there. UK country dog pounds are a council service or contracted purely for council dog warden intake, and therefore do not often have the biggest resources to be refurbishing their premises or improving their resources. Time is the biggest problem, the staff are usually spread thin keeping a full kennels clean and sanitary with feeding times and daily walks. Luckily, many pounds have volunteers who come in to walk dogs, spend time playing and being affectionate as well as helping to train out any behavioural issues.

Unfortunately, like everything in life, there are pounds who try to make profit from their rehoming services by selecting certain breeds of dog deemed more adoptable to extend their time in the kennels and put other breeds (like the staffy) to sleep without hesitation. Pounds can also be difficult when dealing with rescues trying to pull dogs from death row. Most pounds also won’t work with any rescue that publicly states a dog has been on death row, it says it gives the dog warden service and that particular “rehoming centre” a negative connotation. Posing as a rehoming centre and not allowing true no-kill rescues to be more honest and open about the problem is meaning their is little to no public awareness of the 18 dogs a day issue in the UK.

ladytpound.jpg

So is their really a clock ticking? Yes. Once admitted into the kennel and found to have no chip or not be able to contact the owners or have the dog released to the kennel by the owners; the dog has 7 days to be claimed or bought from the pound. Once the 7 days are up, it is all down to how full the kennels are as to how much extension each dog will get. 99% of the time, the pounds are full. If no rescue steps forward to pull an un-“adopted” dog from death row, the dog will be euthanised via lethal injection. Put to sleep. Killed.

Call it a rehoming centre, a county kennel or a high kill shelter; the pound represents the stray, abandoned, dumped, unwanted dogs of the UK being turned away by large rescues due to their breed and smaller rescues are too full to help. The 18 dogs a day in the UK being killed.

ladytpound-1

Dog Death Row…Yes; It’s A Real Thing.

If you haven’t seen the brutal yet underground documentary “Death Row Dogs”on Netflix yet, i suggest you take a peep to catch just an edited glimpse of the UK’s dog death row situation. The documentary focuses on those dogs who have been reported as “dangerous” to police and are seized for genetic and behavioural testing.

In the UK, should a neighbour or family spat turn sour, no longer is it just the social services being falsely called with reports of addresses to inspect; now your Staffy could be reported for being dangerous or suspected “pit type”. The police must respond to every report, and the manner in which they respond is truly quite horrific and needs some serious revision. Picture a team of 5-10 officers dressed in full riot gear bursting through your front door 10pm at night, shouting, brandishing shields and acting like they’re searching for Osama Bin Laden. You’re dog is separated from you, barking in fear trying to protect you and itself, as they corner it, catch pole in hand. Looped and tightened, you watch screaming in protest as they drag your poor dog down the stairs, out the front and into a dog van where they slam the door shut as if your loving family pet is an alligator.

Where is your dog going? To a concrete kennel block to be kept in isolation for “observation” and DNA testing to determine what percentage is Pit Bull and whether your dog is friendly or not… Disorientated, confused, defensive and with negative connections to these people manhandling them, being kept in quarantine with minimal human contact; what chance does any dog have of passing the test? How would you be affected after 6 months in isolation; could you interact normally? Even if your dog passes this emotional and mental mountain, should it be more than 20% pit bull DNA, it will be euthanised any way. Because of it’s breed. Nothing else.
What world are we living in where a country calls itself an “Animal Loving Nation” yet turn the other cheek to such a horrific system that puts healthy and happy dogs to sleep simply because of their type, or in human terms; race? The UK classes itself as having the best animal rights legislation’s in the world, yet we allow the system to try our canine family members in court because of their heritage, this would be the same as determining without any biological proof that all white people are criminals because of their skin.

This is without even beginning to talk about the pound dogs who have their 7 days to be claimed and removed from kennels by their owners after paying a release (“boarding”) cost. 18 Dogs are euthanised in the UK every day just in the county pounds… yet people continue to breed and buy puppies…

Support our work pulling dogs from UK death-rows, rehabilitating and rehoming them via online donation through PayPal “Friends & Family” to: broken-soulsrescue@outlook.com or visit http://www.broken-souls-rescue.org.

Thank You for your support.

deathrow

 

 

#18DogsADayUK

Buster is 10 years old and i have no idea where he has been, what he has seen or how he came to be on deathrow. He has the goofiest face you just want to laugh at and all he wants to do is cuddle up and watch TV. Out and about he has been a perfect gentleman with a particularly gentle nature around children and a playful attitude to other dogs and cats. Why is Buster on deathrow with 1 day left until he will be taken down that hall and “put to sleep” with the subtle pink fluid.

I will never know why Buster was on deathrow, an unclaimed stray, nor Oliver, or Mitch or Cubey or any of the 100’s of others i see everyday in our rescue, in my email inbox, on my facebook wall all desperately begging me for a rescue space. I can’t save them all, we are a small scale rescue after all, but if ignore that email, that post, that voicemail…where will that dog be tomorrow?

How can the UK be so ignorant to not be able to see the severity of this animal overload on the island to continue to breed more puppies and kittens? They will complain about graphic images in social media posts and the never ending plea for donations but they refuse to realise the source: Themselves.

Until we stop treating our loyal canine companions like commodities and possessions we can pick up, throw away and replace the problem will not cease. 18. Eighteen. 18 Dogs are euthanised each day UK. Wake Up!

Please tweet, post, blog but #18DogsADayUK today.

Donate to support our rescue work through PayPal (broken-soulsrescue@outlook.com) or via the website on our contact page.