VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
Only 2 months ago our March DogBlog talked about how Coronavirus was affecting us all – dog owners, walkers, groomers, daycares and shop owners – and how we were all coping with the changes. Now, one way or another, we’ve possibly embraced these changes and tried to see the positive side of this new reality.
There is no doubt that our dogs are benefitting from our extended presence at home, that we’re enjoying extra and more relaxed walks, that we’re finding ourselves trying to entertain our pets at home more than before (especially if we don’t have the godsent luxury of a garden or patio).
Personally, not having been able to continue to do my job as Cabin Crew for the last 8 weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed my dogs’ company and have seen this as a one-off opportunity to spend every day of the week with them, something unthinkable while I was still flying.
This gave me the time to revisit tricks I had taught them from puppies, some kept fresh in our and their memories, some forgotten. But what’s most important to me isn’t doing cute party tricks to entertain friends and family; it’s to use these tricks to keep my dogs and the people who deal with them safe.
Welcome to May’s DogBlog:
Here are a few videos of my Sprockers (Springer-Cockers) and how a seemingly fun, cute and entertaining party trick could in fact keep dogs and people from harm.
In this video I expect Oscar and Ollie to sit down before they are fed. This is a polite way to ask for food and treats; although they sometimes get too excited to remember, most times it’s done automatically as soon as they see they’re about to get something. Now… the social aspect is great because if they happen to see someone eating at a restaurant or in a park, they calmly sit near them and hope that they will get a morsel; most people find this endearing and, due to their good behaviour, decide to reward them. In reality, should my dogs be in the presence of someone eating, the probability of them stealing the food from their hands is next to nothing. Of course with dogs you just never know, but in respectively 8 and 4 years, it has never happened. This is particularly reassuring in the case of babies, children, the elderly and the disabled. So whether we’re putting down a bowl of food or water and don’t want it knocked out of our hands before it touches the floor, handing out a dog treat, or even just enjoying an ice-cream in a park bench, we are pretty confident that our dogs will always politely ask to be fed.
Any dog with floppy ears struggles to air them more than those with pointy ones. Since Oscar was a 3-month old puppy he had recurrent ear infections which not only meant a lot of earache, regular visits to the vet and medication, but consequently the expenses that come with this problem. Within the local dog community we quickly found out that using a small amount of canker powder in his ears, especially after a bath or a swim, would virtually erradicate ear infections and save us hundreds of pounds. The challenge now was how to apply the powder once a week to a dog who’s quite active and sometimes a bit stubborn…
Getting Oscar to lie down wasn’t a big problem, nor was applying the powder, since it was always followed by a nice cuddle and a yummy treat. But because Oscar hates being manhandled, we always struggled to turn him to the opposite side. As in everything, after 2 or 3 years of applying the powder every single week, we started to tell him to turn over – what an amazing feeling to witness his first turn without being touched! Of course this doesn’t always go to plan and sometimes we still get a grumpy growl… The fact remains that every single time we apply this treatment they both get a cuddle and a treat and this definitely helps the whole process!
By the time we got Ollie (also at around 2/3 months), Oscar was already 5 so a lot of the tricks we had to teach big brother, were simply copied by the pup. It’s work in progress.
Finally, it’s up to you how practical or how fancy you want your tricks and commands to look. I like to think that something that looks clever will also be useful: hand gestures to get dogs to sit or lie down look impressive but the real advantage is that in a very noisy environmet your dogs may not hear you but they’ll still see you; this also works from a distance like across the street or with glass doors or windows between you and them (for instance, when you’re about to open the car boot and don’t want them to jump onto the street). It’s not hard to imagine the number of situations in which these clever tricks could actually keep your dogs safe.
The same principle applies to ensuring that your dog exercises self-control when given food or treats, rather than biting someone’s fingers off. So you choose your command – “wait”, “stop” or (in my case) “smell” – and only feed the dog when it stops trying to get it. The process of teaching this trick is actually quite simple and requires pure repetition: you keep the treat in the palm of your hand and approach your dog; every time it tries to grab the treat you close your hand; instinctively, your dog will learn that trying to get to the treat will not result in actually eating it; within a few minutes your dog will stop trying and the correct moment to give out the treat is when the dog looks away (as if to say they’re no longer interested); this turn of the head may be very slight so you need to pay attention; it may even be just looking away – reward the dog with the treat!
The next stage, when you feel that the trick is working, is to add a word to the process – a command. So every time I say “Smell” in fact I’m saying “You won’t get the treat until you’ve stopped trying”. It turns your dog into a very polite pet!
We would love to hear about the tricks you’ve taught your dogs! Or even the tricks that your dogs showed you they could do. So please post your videos on our Facebook page and tag them on our Instagram account. We will collate them and publish a blog just for dog tricks in the next few months.
Shampooches Grooming Room – Rugeley WS15 1GR
In light of the initial government announcements regarding Covid-19, I informed customers that, if anybody wanted to, they could cancel their up-and-coming appointments! That I would stay open to anybody who still wanted to come and would operate under the following conditions to achieve the correct social distancing and safety for all of us:
– I would meet them at the door to collect their furry friend and drop them back at the door for them;
– I would accept a bank transfer or card payment (no cash for health/hygiene/handling reasons) – I could give them the bank details upon arrival to pay in whilst I groomed;
– I was happy to take future appointment bookings to try to keep life going on as normal as possible but via text message/phone only;
– I would not be implementing the £3 pay increase that was due in April due to the circumstances to ensure that their furry friends’ grooming needs were met and were affordable as I appreciated it may not be everybody’s top priority at the time;
– If they did want to cancel, again, I’d fully understand and we could rearrange at anytime – I would always fit them in! I just asked that they let me know as soon as they could what was best for them;
Finally and most importantly, I wanted them to stay safe, knowing that we would as a nation get through this.
The gist of it is we are allowed to operate, people are allowed to bring their dogs but we need to exercise safe distancing, so it’s drop off/collection only, no “in the salon” consultations for newbies, that is done via messages and pictures, I use a long lead measured at just over 2 meters for them to attach and I take the dog in, wearing gloves and a mask when facing customers, the gloves stay on until after the dog is bathed and sterile, and I only use gloves to touch/handle the dog’s collar.
I’m still offering pick-up/drop-off for anybody deemed high-risk or vulnerable and anybody isolating must rebook their appointment until clear of any symptoms. Things will be like this until further notice from the government and until most likely next year nobody apart from the dog may enter the property or salon.
I have also completed online covid awareness safety mini-courses to show my customers I’m covid-safe. And I display the necessary signage to show people Shampooches is complying with covid regulations. People still make payment via bank transfer or card machine, no cash is exchanged for safety purposes and rebooking is done via phone or messaging, not in the salon.
I’ve also held off my price increase till August to aid people and allow them to still be able to afford to maintain their dogs’ groom during the height of covid.
Shampooches Grooming Room
Kiwi Dog Walker – Clapham/Battersea SW11 5PF
Life of a corona virus dog walker
During the last few months, or since the corona virus lockdown, the life of a dogwalker has changed fairly dramatically… Like most businesses, we’ve seen a loss in clients, due to them working from home (as their office has closed) or being concerned about dogwalkers picking up their dogs regarding health and safety procedures… Sanitising dog leads, social distancing, etc.
Personally I’ve lost 75% of my clients / holiday bookings as they are working from home or have cancelled their bookings for obvious reasons. This has also affected other dogwalkers I bump into on Clapham Common and Battersea Park whilst walking the couple of remaining clients I am lucky to have.
Some lucky dogwalkers have been paid a retainer from their generous clients which financially has helped them… In the meantime we are grateful for the government grant for small businesses, the self-employed and for the remaining clients we have, and it will be an uphill battle to get back to normality like most businesses in the next few months…
Dog-friendly businesses in Portugal
Following a change in portuguese law in 2019, numerous businesses up and down the country have opened their doors to our 4-legged friends and it’s more and more noticeable.
For decades, most establishments used the excuse that “it wasn’t their policy, it was the law”. Well, the law finally changed early last year. It is now the decision of each business whether to allow dogs inside, as long as they don’t access food preparation areas such as kitchens, salad bars and open buffets.
The examples below are only the start of a huge tsunami of dog-friendliness covering the country. And for every business which proudly displays this fact on their doors and windows, online through their websites and social media but also face-to-face with their customers, there are those in the vicinity which haven’t yet taken the plunge but who will, when asked, state that they too love dogs.
A huge change is underway…
Accommodation in Portugal
Bars & Pubs in Portugal
Cafés in Portugal
Restaurants in Portugal
Shops in Portugal
Do you know any dog-friendly businesses in Portugal that aren’t yet listed on our site? Please let us know and we’ll add them immediately. Do you own a dog-friendly business? Post it on our Facebook page and Instagram account. We look forward to hearing form you.
And thank you! 🙏🏽
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For more ideas and recommendations, try:
Bars & Pubs – https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/bars-pubs/
Restaurants – https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/restaurants/
Photos and videos of your dogs, as well as business reviews, are always welcome on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.