When I wrote about our open show held on the March 24th, I said that our show secretary Jacqui Walmsley had arrived early having left home at silly o’clock, to get everything in order as she was expecting, a visit from the KC Field Officer as it was her first time as being our show secretary. A few days ago she was thrilled to receive a certificate from the KC saying that “This is to certify that Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK had been graded Excellent for the Open Breed Show”. Many congratulations Jacqui, I know she said it was a team effort which was very nice of her but think most of it was down to her hard work. On Monday this week there was half hour programme on BBC I about 3 very badly behaved pets, a parrot who had injured his owner so badly on several occasions that she had to go to A &E, a cat who went to the toilet all over the house after his owner had a baby, and a dog who was scared about going out .It was said quite rightly that many pets are put up for re homing because of bad behaviour, I have never been able to understand that personally. The animals were all checked out by a vet to make sure that there was nothing that was causing the problem. Then having all been given the all clear on the health front, a behaviourist was called in for each animal. The parrot had had a broken leg and been in a lot of pain and although his owner had nursed him back to health, he was blaming her for his past pain so trust had been lost between both of them, over the weeks it was rebuilt so they could have a good relationship. The cat was very interesting as you thought straight away that is was due to the new baby and that the cat had not had so much attention and was jealous of the baby. That was part of it and they did make an effort to pay more attention to the cat, but two other two things also helped which I would never have thought of doing. As cats are hunters and this was obviously an indoor cat, so to make life more interesting the owners were told to leave food (obviously dry food) in various places so the cat had to search for it, rather like giving a dog something to occupy it when you leave it, the third thing was to give the cat a much bigger litter tray. This was so it could dig as if outside and to use substances more like soil rather than shavings that they were using. Amazingly the owner said these things worked almost straight away. The dog was a small terrier type and was scared of going outside, when on a lead it spent the whole time barking and going round in circles. Apparently, it had an eye problem as a small puppy and so was never socialised outside, so now when it went out it thought everything was terrifying. I always remember going to a lecture many years ago given by a very well know behaviourist, saying that if a puppy is not socialised by the time it is 16weeks you are playing catch up. Not everyone has the same idea of what socialising involves and the fact that it is said puppies can’t go out till they are fully vaccinated can cause problems, but with the small to medium puppies you can always carry them. With this young terrier they started with stoking the lead apparently the vibration helps to calm the dog, again not something I had heard of, but it seemed to work. The owners were also given various exercises to do at home and in the garden, like walking over poles and searching for things, which helped build up a relationship with the owners .The transformation was amazing, of course we were not told, how many weeks or visits from the behaviourist were needed, but there was certainly a transformation into a happy little dog which was the main thing. They were fairly small things, but they helped to build up trust and vary the life of the animal.
I have been so pleased with my Kiki (Trelowen Ancorya ) who many of you know went blind about this time last year due to an infection, nothing genetic. He had competed in agility, a few rally competitions and was in our Obreedience team, often getting nearly full marks for his ‘Go To Bed’ and he has his Gold Good Citizen so he really missed doing things. A friend suggested I try to do ‘scent’ with him and she knew of a training class not that far away. I was quite worried, as a new hall, new people and new dogs, but I need not have worried he took it all in his stride. It helped that the trainer had worked with blind dogs before and so tailored his training to include the fact that he would do some things differently, certainly to start from the dogs that could see. The scent we use is cloves, the sighted dogs were given toys with that scent and their reward was to play with the toy when they found it. Kiki had to learn to find the scented toy with a food trail but he soon realised what was needed and now a couple of weeks on he just searches for the scented toy having his food reward when he finds it. He is not top of the class but certainly not bottom, one dog does not want to leave the handler and another does not like walking on the wooden floor, so it has certainly paid off that Kiki has done a variety of things in his life.
Margaret Deuchar firstname.lastname@example.org
.The views expressed in Margaret’s Breed Notes are hers and hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK