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Monthly Archives

August 2020

The brilliance of the Border Collie

By | Breeds | No Comments

border collie laying in grass

Border Collies are smart, eager and always alert. Not only are they a popular working dog breed, they’re the 7th most popular breed of all dogs in the UK in 2020 and it’s not hard to see why.

Exceptionally easy to train, Border Collies are great around children and other animals and despite having beautiful, long coats, they don’t tend to shed as much as other breeds, which is a very practical plus.

Here are four excellent reasons why we believe the Border Collie is brilliant….

Athletic prowess

Border Collies are very energetic. With minimum effort they move freely and smoothly with both speed and stealth, which is what makes them amazing at herding.

With the ability to jump 6-foot-tall fences, they are incredibly agile dogs who are able to dodge, weave and jump with grace – that’s why the Border Collie frequently wins canine sporting activities for their agility skills.

Because the Border Collie is full of energy, it is important to keep them active, both mentally and physically, from an early age. From about two months, start to train your Collie basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ in stride. As they are superfast learners, he will soon be keen move on to the more challenging agility moves.

Intelligent and obedient

Intelligence is what really sets the Border Collie apart from other breeds in this field.

Ranked number one for intelligence out of all herding breeds has resulted in the Border Collie being the shepherd’s go to sidekick for generations. Their love of the outside, high energy levels, athletic ability and enjoyment of a challenge makes them the perfect fit.

Once trained, Collies rarely get it wrong. It is usually very hard to break their focus, making them an owner or handlers dream. With an extremely strong instinct to work alongside man, they are always ready and alert to commands. They are patient too, and are good with authority, children and other animals.

Friendly, playful and driven

Border collies are affectionate and love to get your approval in the form of praise, treats and cuddles. They have a tendency to form a particularly strong bond with one member of the household, but their pack mentality means they will always be friendly and affectionate to the rest of the household too.

As a puppy, they are all about playtime and will happily fetch and catch all day. This playfulness never really leaves them making them an excellent playmate for life.

With the focus, stamina and enthusiasm of an athlete, it is in the Collie’s nature to ‘get the job done’. Not only does this make them great for herding, it also means they are extremely obedient, particularly if they know they will be rewarded for their efforts with a treat or two.

Strong work ethic

Border Collies have herding down to a fine art. Herding is a trait that is deeply embedded in the Collie’s psyche, so they naturally are excellent at rounding up the troops and leaving no stragglers behind.

Collie’s do have a high prey drive and will chase any animal, whether large or small. This is not necessarily to hurt it, more because they feel the need to. Nonetheless, it is important for the Collie to understand the ‘recall’ command, and obey it instantly, otherwise they cannot be let loose around livestock.

Not only do Collie’s work hard to herd sheep, they are also a popular choice for search and rescue dogs, as well as tracker and sniffer dogs too.

To keep your Border Collie healthy and nourished, visit our website to view our full range of dog food, specifically made for working dogs.

Dog V’s Ticks – a rough guide to winning

By | Dog Welfare | No Comments

dog scratching it's ear

Part of the arachnid family, and closely related to scorpions, spiders and mites; ticks are small parasitic creatures that lurk in grassy areas, awaiting an unsuspecting host, in this case, your dog. Ranking second only to mosquitoes in the spreading of infectious disease (among human and animal) – ticks are a tiny but formidable foe.

There are around 20 species of tick living in the UK. Due to their penchant for woodland, marshes and meadows of wet, long grasses, ticks are a particular risk for your working dog. Although most active in spring and autumn, they’re found lurking about all year, as long as the temperature is above 7°C.

Are ticks harmful to dogs?

Not only are they irritating and uncomfortable to your dog, and hideous-looking (google Ixodida), as parasites, ticks can also pick up infections from one mammalian host and then pass it onto another – resulting in the spread of disease.

Sometimes, ticks carry Lyme disease which they can spread to both humans and our pets through biting. Lyme disease is a particularly nasty bacterial infection. In dogs, the most common symptoms include lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, swollen and sometimes painful joints, intermittent lameness, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, it can cause damage in the heart, kidneys, and nervous system.

Not only that, but ticks can also carry a myriad other harmful diseases and pathogens, often bringing them into the UK from abroad. With this in mind, speak to your vet if you’re thinking of travelling with your pet.

How can I avoid my dog picking up ticks?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to prevent your working dog from getting ticks. If you’re regularly out and about in the countryside; the likelihood of encountering them is high. However, there’s a lot you can do to reduce the risk and quickly eliminate the pests should they prevail.

1.  Use a tick treatment

The good old flea collar is surprisingly effective at keeping ticks at bay, but with modern methods emerging, there are much more effective ways to beat the tick.

Spot-protectors work well, as are orally administered repellants. Brands like Bravecto, which act by inhibiting the tick’s nervous system, are effective for three months. However, be sure to read about the side effects as some can be drastic, and sometimes lethal to your dog.

2.  Check your dog(s) thoroughly

If you are in a high-risk area, regularly check your dog for ticks. You’ll usually find them on his stomach, ears, head, legs, and in the creases of their armpits.

3.  Avoid high-risk areas

This advice is easier said than done if you enjoy the shooting season, or walking in woodland areas! Ticks are more common in moorland and wooded areas, especially in the long grass. If you struggle to avoid these areas, regular, thorough checking is highly advised.

4.  Check how common ticks are

If you’re planning on travelling to an event with your dog, check how common ticks are in the local area. Ensure you use a treatment that will kill and repel ticks.

How to remove ticks

When removing an embedded tick, it is imperative to pull out the entire body. Leaving the head behind will result in a painful abscess and possible infection for your dog.

Tick removal tools are the best implement to use – and readily available for minimal cost online, and in most reputable pet shops. Cleverly designed with a forked end; this tool allows you to prise the tick cleanly from your dog, using a swift and satisfying twisting action.