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The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Dogs

What Colours Can Dogs See?

It is a common myth that dogs only see in black and white. This is not the case, although their colour vision is limited compared to humans’.

The average person can see ‘all the colours of the rainbow’, from red to violet. However, dogs don’t have the same light receptors in their eyes as we do, and to them the rainbow is missing the red half of the spectrum. They can, however, see the yellows and blues. Indeed, a rainbow, to a dog’s eyes, is a series of yellows and blues of different shades.

The ‘missing’ reds and oranges will appear to dogs as the various shades of light brown labelled ‘tan’. The greens in grass, trees and other plants are also tan to a dog. That bright red ball lying in the lush green grass may be very clear to you, but to your pet dog, the ball and the grass are both brown. Buy your dog a yellow or blue toy, however, and it will be as visible to your dog as it is to you.

Luckily for dogs, they rely on their sense of smell more than sight, so locating that ball in the grass won’t be so tricky, no matter what colour the toy is.

Do dogs see colours in their beds and toys?

As long as you don’t decorate your dog’s crate, Fido Nook or other cosy corner with reds, oranges and greens (which will all appear brown to a dog), they will appreciate a splash of colour. There’s nothing wrong with shades of tan either!

There is no evidence, either, that a dog prefers a blue or yellow ball to a red or green one. They will, however, be likelier to lose track of a light brown ball in the light brown grass.

How do we know dogs can’t see certain colours?

In the earliest research into animal vision, dogs were taught to choose a disc that was a different colour from the others by touching the odd-one-out with their noses. If they chose the right one, they were given a treat – always a great incentive, as any dog owner knows! Sometimes, however, even the most well-trained dogs struggled to identify the odd-one-out. This told the researchers that the dogs were unable to distinguish between certain colours. When the discs were all red, apart from one green one, all the dogs could see were light browns!

Scientists are also able to use electroretinography to measure how animals’ eyes react to light. It was soon confirmed that key ‘cone cells’ responsible for registering colour in human brains were absent in dogs. Humans have three types of cone receptor, while dogs only have two.

Do dogs have good eyesight?

It may come as a surprise to many people that dogs, in addition to their poorer colour vision, cannot see as clearly as humans. Beyond a certain distance, everything becomes blurry for them. They have a genetic short-sightedness that prevents them from seeing distant objects clearly. The degree of short-sightedness varies between dog breeds, and it comes as no surprise to learn that so-called ‘sight hounds’ such as the Afghan Hound, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet have better eyesight than Chihuahuas, Pugs and Bulldogs.

However, dogs’ eyesight comes into its own at dawn and dusk, when they can see just as well as they do in the daytime. Like cats, they have retinas that function well in poor light. The shape of their eyes’ light receptor cells and a reflective tissue layer at the back of the eye combine to create this low-light supervision.

And yes, that reflective layer is why dogs’ (and cats’) eyes always have a ‘red eye’ effect in photographs, and in car headlights. No wolf pack in a horror film would be complete without those glowing eyes!

Dogs also have a broader field of vision than humans, as their eyes are more on the side of the head than ours. This enables them to take in details that we would either miss or would be half-glimpsed things seen ‘in the corner of the eye’.

Why do dogs see less colour than humans?

Dogs evolved as hunters, just like modern wolves. On the one hand, this might make you assume that fantastic vision would be essential, as it is, say, in a bird of prey. However, the difference between a dog and an eagle is that the dog evolved to hunt at night, or at dawn and dusk. A hunter doesn’t need full-colour vision at night, as colours simply disappear when the sun goes down. The key skill is to detect motion and to see things vividly in the half-light. In these respects, dogs’ eyes excel, and their eyes are super-sensitive to movement.

Humans, in contrast, evolved as daytime hunters, and that’s why we have better colour vision. At night, our eyes are hopeless without some kind of artificial light. At dawn and dusk, our brains have great difficulty identifying moving objects with certainty. That’s why ghosts, goblins and other supposedly supernatural sightings occur at these times of day – they are a function of our brain trying to busk in the half-light!

Human vision, then, contains more colour than a dog’s. However, we are certainly not top dogs when it comes to colour vision in the wider animal world. Many insects, including bees and butterflies, as well as many fish and crustaceans, have far more light receptors than we do and can see far more colours in the rainbow and the world around them.

But a dog’s vision is still perfect – for a dog!

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5 Dog Friendly Interior Tips for Your Home

If you share your home with a dog, it’s important to make sure the space is just as comfortable, hygienic and safe for them as it is for you. These 5 simple tips are a good first step to a dog-friendly home…

Choose strong, easy clean materials

This is a simple idea but one that will save you a lot of cleaning time and expense in the long run. Opt for washable sofa covers wherever possible and steer clear of materials that can easily be scratched or will likely attract loose fur. The same goes for flooring – choose something easy to mop or wipe after a muddy walk! A machine washable dog bed like Topology will also help to minimise dirt and fur in your home, as you can quickly unzip and machine wash the topper, making maintaining hygiene much easier.

Remove temptation

Most owners of excitable dogs will be well practiced in drink-saving reactions to prevent a whipping tail causing carnage. It’s important to keep breakable or potentially harmful items up high, like candles and glasses, not just for your sake but also your dog’s safety. Opt for higher side tables rather than low coffee tables for tea and snacks to move the temptation out of sight!

Built in, discreet crates

Crates aren’t the most attractive pet item but puppies, rescues and anxious dogs often really appreciate the calm, safe space to relax. Consider a built-in crate or pen under the stairs or in a side unit with surface above to better utilise the space in your home, like the Fido Studio – the optional wardrobe is also handy storage for their dog toys and treats.

Match their bed to your other home furnishings

Your dog’s bed doesn’t have to stand out awkwardly in your home, and matching the colour of the dog bed to an accent colour in the room can be a great way to integrate their bed with your interior style, and really make it part of the home. From bright Cherry Red to deep Plum Purple, sunny Mellow Yellow to soft Sky Blue, you can find a memory foam bed to match your home in the Bolster Dog Bed range. Plus, why not raise your dog’s bed with designer feet for an impressive, stylish touch?

Safe house plants out of reach

You can still enjoy house plants, but make sure they’re a safe species for dogs, for example, spider plants or boston ferns. If your dog loves mud, you might also prefer to keep houseplants up out of reach of digging paws!

What are your top dog-friendly interior tips? Tag us in your home pet pics on Instagram!

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5 Reasons Dogs Make Great Workout Partners

Exercise is not always easy. You have to motivate yourself, find time and keep the pace. This is why it can be necessary for some people to be accompanied in this process. And who better to be your sports coach than your dog!


In a previous article we saw that it is possible to do yoga with your dog. Today we would like to show you why your dog is your best partner to reach your exercise goals.

In the current climate, where working from home has taken over from office work, finding the time and motivation to exercise and go outside has become a real challenge, and as a result many see a decline in their physical and mental health.

Lack of exercise motivation is harming our pets too. Various studies on pet health have found anywhere from 25% – 50% of dogs are considered overweight.

It has never been more important to get your daily exercise to feel good mentally and physically.

Resolutions and intentions are good, but actions are better. Deciding to turn off the TV and put on a pair of running sneakers is much more complicated than it sounds. Being accompanied in your training can be the ideal way to find the necessary motivation! Here’s why your dog is the best workout partner you could have…

 

5 reasons to get out and do some exercise with your dog

1- Dogs are very energetic and will always be happy to go out

Most dog breeds are happy to go for a walk and are excited to have a run around, so will always be in a good mood to go outside. It’s not like calling a friend to go for a workout and having them be unmotivated or in a bad mood, which will eventually demotivate you.

Dogs are habit-forming animals. If you regularly repeat the action at the same time for several days, it will become a natural ritual for your dog. This is ideal if you are demotivated but don’t want to disappoint your dog. You will still put on your sneakers to please your little companion, imposing a certain regularity on you.

 

2- They have a regular pace

As mentioned above, they are consistent pets and function very much by habit. But beyond that, apart from when they are ill, they keep a certain pace and will always have a maximum of energy to expend.

Having an active pace allows you to optimize your training and get great results. It is much more fun to follow your dog’s pace than to watch your watch! If you are too slow, your dog will tend to stop. So don’t hesitate to find a pace that suits you both!

 

3- You will always be safe with them

Running or walking alone is not always ideal in terms of safety! Sometimes it’s late in the day and the simple fact of being alone and feeling vulnerable, can be demotivating. The presence of your dog can therefore be a real comfort for your daily outings. A dog has extra senses that will make them react if you are ever in some sort of danger. You should trust your dog’s senses, while also keeping an eye on him so that your dog doesn’t get hurt either.

 

4- They are always available, there is no need to wait for them

The most complicated thing about daily physical activity with someone is finding the right time and agreeing on schedules. There is always someone who can’t or would rather be an hour earlier or an hour later than the right time for you! With your dog this is not an issue. Your dog will always be available, happy and motivated to come and roam around with you!

 

5- They don’t ask for anything in return, only love and good times by your side!

Dogs will never ask for anything in return for doing sports with you. On the contrary, they will be happy to have spent some quality time with you! They are the best coaches you can have. They don’t yell at you (maybe a couple of barks) and you don’t spend money like you would with an experienced athletic trainer.

 

What discipline should I do with my dog?

There are many ways to exercise with your dog. It can be anything from walking to fitness training!

Have you ever heard of canicross? This discipline is an athletic sport where the owner is attached to his dog by a harness. The dog’s traction allows for long strides. It is a bonding moment between the dog and its owner through intense physical effort. This activity is open to all dogs!

Riding a bike with your dog is also possible! There is equipment that allows you to practice this activity safely with your pet.

 

Lewis Hamilton’s best training partner is his dog!

Multiple F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has released a video of himself training with Roscoe, his dog:

 

 

Every time you go out with your dog, higher energy and good vibes are guaranteed!

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Choosing The Right Bed for Your Dog

Dogtor™ Adem, Dog behaviourist & trainer, discusses everything you need to know about dog beds, which types may suit which breed and age of dog, and why we might see our four-legged best friends exhibit certain behaviours in and around their beds. Read on to learn more!


What should I look for in a dog bed?

A dog bed should be comfortable for the breed type, age and size of your dog. If you have an older dog, they might benefit from an orthopedic or memory foam bed, such as the Omlet Bolster Bed with premium memory foam mattress, which gives support by gently moulding around your dog. A puppy, on the other hand, might benefit from a bed that can absorb water if, for example, a bowl of water is accidentally knocked over by them or they ‘toilet’ on their bed area whilst still being house trained. For puppies, you may also want to consider a type of bedding that is comfortable for them but not too precious or expensive due to the higher risk of this bedding being chewed or damaged as they play and explore. For me, it is also important to choose a bed that is robust and can be easily washed. Again the Omlet Bolster bed is a great choice with this feature! This not only helps the environment by limiting the need to frequently replace a smelly or very worn dog bed with a new version, but also ensures any accidents or dirt brought into their dog bed area can be easily cleaned away, keeping their bed area hygienic and inviting. You could also consider covering your dog’s bed with a removable and washable cover, particularly in the winter months.

What type of bed might suit my breed of dog?

Certain breeds might need more cushioning than others to stay comfortable and limit their potential for developing sores or sore patches, for example greyhounds who are considered more ‘boney’ than many other breeds. Some breeds might also like to curl up, for example a husky or some of the smaller breeds, whilst others prefer to lay on their side and stretch out, for example hounds such as deer hounds, greyhounds, and lurchers. An owner should consider how their individual dog likes to lay and relax and choose a suitable bed with this in mind.

The time of year can also have an effect on where your dog chooses to sleep. To ensure your dog remains comfortable, you can adapt their bed to suit the season by adding extra blankets or even cool mats to your dog’s bed. If you’re looking for a cozy blanket, Omlet’s Super Soft Dog Blanket is definitely a winner for those cooler months where some dogs might like to ‘snuggle up’. For the warmer months of the year, you could try a cool mat instead of their usual bed if it is particularly hot! Omlet’s Cooling Mat for Dogs is a perfect choice, coming in a range of sizes to suit many breeds.

I have observed my dog ‘digging’ their bed, why is this?

This is a natural instinct derived from the need to ‘clear the ground’ or an area of insects and potentially small rodents and reptiles. Ancestors of our pet dogs might need to do this in order to make the area they are choosing to reside in safe for them to lay down in. Some dogs, such as those in tropical climates that predominantly live outside or live as ‘street dogs’, still use this instinctive behaviour to keep themselves from being bitten and stung. This act of ‘clearing the ground’ may even have benefits in preventing parasite infestation. Whilst in Mauritius last year, I witnessed a young street dog clearing an area and whilst watching I noticed that she stopped in her tracks and became very observant as she had disturbed a small scorpion in some leaves. Without this act of digging and clearing, this dog would have undoubtedly been stung by this scorpion.

Dogs may also dig because they sweat through their paws, making the act of digging and ‘circling’ in an area another way of spreading and leaving their scent. This is something we commonly know as ‘marking’ and usually associate with the image of dogs urinating up lamp posts!

Finally, dogs may also dig naturally on hot days and in hot climates in an attempt to try to remove hot surfaces (e.g. baked earth). This helps them to reveal a cooler surface to reside in. In addition, wild canids such as arctic foxes and wolves, may dig to avoid extreme weather such as high wind, the cold (e.g. snow), and storms. Again, this act helps to keep them safe as well as assists in regulating their body temperature. Although seldom needed in the pet dog world today, this instinctive behaviour still remains in part in our domesticated dogs.

How can I train my dog to sleep in their bed?

A good training instructor or behaviourist will have this on their training syllabus, helping owners to teach the ‘go to bed’ command.

If, however, your dog is reluctant to sleep in their own bed you should investigate why. Firstly consider, is the bed area provided the most attractive sleeping area available to your dog? Positive reinforcement such as offering treats in this area can help to make their bed area a more positive and inviting place to reside, as can ensuring the bed is comfortable for their breed type and age (as discussed above!) Secondly, you might want to evaluate if your dog potentially has a behavioural issue such as separation anxiety that is preventing them from wanting to sleep in their own bed. If you believe this to be the case, you should seek help from a certified behaviourist to address this issue and help to build your dog’s confidence in being physically away from you.

How can I stop my dog destroying their bed?

Think about your dog’s life stage. A young puppy may chew a bed as they explore with their mouth and enjoy the texture on their teething gums. In this instance, it would be advisable to buy a bed that does not contain lots of small parts or stuffing that can be ingested. Similarly, you could pick bedding made of material that can not easily be broken down through the act of chewing. You can always buy a ‘nicer’ bed for your dog to use under your direct supervision until they have passed this life stage and have lost their baby teeth and gained all of their adult teeth.

If your dog is older and destroying their bed, perhaps when they are left alone for example, this could potentially signal that your dog is feeling stressed and is suffering from separation anxiety, for which behavioural advice should be sought to enable your dog to recover from this issue.

Similarly, chewing and destroying of beds can also sometimes indicate that your dog is bored. To combat this, you could look to try to tire your dog more effectively before leaving them alone, which will encourage them to rest more in your absence. You should also ensure that your dog is not left for long periods of time by themselves. Just like us, dogs are social mammals and need company. As well as ensuring your dog is appropriately exercised and is not being left for too long, you can also offer your dog something to do for some of the time you are away from them. For example, you could leave them something else to chew that is safe and made for this purpose. Consider leaving them with a hard chew food item or a food dispensing toy filled with tasty treats for them to try to get to!

I hope you have found the above information useful. Wishing your beautiful pooches the most restful of snoozes!

Dogtor™ Adem
Dog Behaviourist & Trainer
www.dog-ease.co.uk
@dogtoradem

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Five Ways to Encourage Positive Behaviour in Your Dog

A dog who has been taught positive behaviour will be your best friend – fun, affectionate and reliable. It’s straightforward teaching your dog this canine version of positive thinking, but it won’t happen unless you lead the way.

There are many ways of teaching a dog the rights and wrongs of living in the human world, and that extends to how they interact with other dogs and the world around them. In this article, we reveal the five rules of thumb for all dog owners – whether you’re training an adult dog or a puppy.

Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Puppies

Puppies recognise when we’re pleased or displeased. It’s all part of their instincts, and in the wild this instinct helped their wolf ancestors find their place in the pack very quickly. Learning their place in the big wide world is all about positive reinforcement.

1. Puppy Treats. Dogs of all ages love food and will put lots of effort into doing what you want them to do as long a there’s a yummy treat at the end of it! This means treat-based training can be used for everything from toilet training to basic obedience training and that all-important early socialisation. The message here is simple and timeless – do this right, and you’ll get a treat!

2. Affection. This is arguably even better than a food treat! Bonding with a puppy involves physical contact in the form of belly-rubs, back stroking and lots of gentle words of affection and encouragement.

3. Fun and games. Tug-of-war, fetch and simply running around the garden with you are games that puppies love. What’s more, they strengthen the bond and love between you and your pet, and that’s the perfect groundwork for training and encouraging positive behaviour.

4. A trip to a favourite place. This is a great treat for dogs, and can be as simple as a trip to the park, or perhaps to a favourite street for an on-lead walk, or maybe a shop that sells some of those yummy treats! If this is being done as a reward for good behaviour, make sure your puppy knows it by telling them what a good boy/girl they are as you put the lead on or get into the car!

5. Puppy playdates. Starting these early is a great way to socialise your puppy, and that provides the basis for all the positive behaviour training. Young dogs love meeting each other – it’s not going to be a quiet morning out with your furry friend, but it’s one that will give him or her essential social skills.

 

Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Adult Dogs

The basics are simple. Positive reinforcement rewards a dog for good behaviour and ignores, rather than punishes, undesirable behaviour. Punishment will only lead to confusion and fear in your dog, reducing your chances of achieving the full benefits of positive-behaviour training.

Here are the five ways to make everything go smoothly, no matter which dog breed you have.

1. Keep it simple. One-word commands are better than complex ones. We’re talking here about sit, come, sat, etc. Save the long-winded exchanges for praise and affection! A training session based on simple commands and treats is a great start for encouraging positive behaviour. Which brings us to…

2. Treats. Just like puppies, adult dogs will be well and truly ‘reinforced’ if treats are involved. Some breeds are more food-obsessed than others, but all types of dog will quickly learn that good behaviour results – at least in the early days of training – in a yummy treat.

3. Quality time. Dogs are social animals by instinct, and they will thrive in human company. Once you and your pet are the best of friends, the positive behaviour training will be much easier. If there’s any nervousness or standoffishness in your dog, they will be less able to take on board the things you’re trying to teach them. So, keep up the contact, and play with them every day.

4. Make it fun. A long session of ‘sit, lie down, stay, come’, etc. will soon become boring for a dog. A short session of command-based training followed by a bit of fun, however, will make your dog look forward to the sessions every time. After five or ten minutes (depending on your dog’s stamina), round off the proceedings with a game or a walk. The dog will soon realise that “If I do this tricky bit, I get that fun bit afterwards!” It’s a trick that works just as well with young children – “Finish your homework, and then we’ll go out on the bikes!”, that kind of thing.

5. Get everyone involved. Once your dog has grasped some of the basics, other members of the family, or friends, can reinforce the good behaviour by running through some of the training with your dog. Your pet will then learn that positive behaviour is part of their general lives and applies in all situations with all people.

 

This latter point is the ‘quantum leap’ for a dog – the idea that positive behaviour extends beyond their immediate owner to the big wide world around them. Getting them to this point takes time, there’s no doubt about that, and some breeds are a lot easier to train than others. However, once the work has paid off, you’ll have a doggy best friend you can be truly proud of!

 

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5 Ways To Figure Out What Dog Breed Is for You

David is a long time lover of dogs since he was young. He loves most dogs but his favorite are golden retrievers. He also runs his own blog at dogdesires.co.uk where he helps other dog owners with advice and dog product reviews. In this article David gives 5 considerations for finding the right dog breed for you.

There are several things you need to consider in order to choose the right dog breed for you. Depending on your lifestyle, certain breeds are more suited for you because of their size, maintenance, activity level, and more.

Read on for more detail and by the end of this article, you will have the insight needed in order to choose the ideal dog breed for you.

Size

Some people already have their hearts set on whether they would like a huge dog or a tiny one. Those who aren’t sure or that bothered about it tend to go for medium-sized dogs.

One thing that is an important deciding factor regarding what size breed is best for you is your living conditions. Naturally, large dogs need a lot of space so if you’re living in a relatively small and cozy apartment you would not want to get a Great Dane. They especially need more room because of their tails, so that they can wag without injuring anyone or damaging anything.

That being said, living in an apartment does not automatically mean you must get a toy dog. Some dog breeds are known for being adaptable to living in apartments, such as the Sheepadoodle. If you’d like to read more about this breed, you should check out this breed guide here – Sheepadoodle.

Keep in mind that small dogs are more vulnerable, in the sense that you need to get used to always looking down to not step on them. Smaller dogs also tend to be more sensitive to the cold so they need a little help staying warm.

Maintenance

With maintenance comes many things. Firstly, some breeds have fur that needs a lot of maintenance to stay healthy. Dogs with short fur are easy to take care of, such as Springadors, as they just need brushing every now and then. But dogs with longer fur, curly or otherwise, need to be brushed more frequently as well as trimmed and more. So, you will need to dedicate more time to these dogs.

Another factor is the expense. The larger the dog, the more food you need to buy and larger dog beds, etc.

Lastly, there’s training. This is very important, as some dog breeds are known for being more well-behaved and thus easier to train. Smaller dogs tend to have something that is referred to as ‘small dog syndrome’, which is when a small dog thinks that they are bigger than they actually are and therefore have more of an attitude. This can cause them to be more stubborn when it comes to training. For example, pugs are known for being naughty and for being stubborn.

Another good thing to remember is that if you let a large dog breed behave as a lap dog from a young age, they will continue to try and walk all over you when they become adults – and I mean that literally, not figuratively.

Also, dogs with long and floppy ears need frequent and thorough cleaning as they are more prone to ear infections. Moreover, certain dogs are more likely to drool than others such as Bloodhounds and Mastiffs.

Activity Level

If you get a hunting dog breed, such as a Labrador, Beagle, Foxhound, etc., then you can expect this dog to have a high activity level. Even crossbreeds with a hunting dog parent tend to inherit the genes and have a lot of energy.

Most dogs do not destroy things and dig up holes in your yard without a reason; energetic dogs, in particular, need much more exercise and become bored and destructive without it. Mental exercise, as well as physical, is a must too.

No matter the breed or size though, all dogs need routine exercise. You will need to commit to going for walks twice a day and if you’re looking for a dog that you can jog with then a Weimaraner or German Shepherd are great choices.

Personality

This one goes without saying for some people, but seeing as certain breeds are known for having certain personalities, we can use this to our advantage. For those of you who are looking for a cuddly and loving dog, Retrievers, Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Old English Sheepdogs, Pitbull Terrier, and King Charles Spaniels are known to be some of the most affectionate dog breeds.

Restrictions

Unfortunately, depending on the country and state you’re in, some breeds may be banned.

To give an example I would like to name Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Both of these dog breeds are sadly banned in many states, the reason being that they face stigmas as ‘dangerous’ and ‘aggressive’.

Personally, I would like to note that I have had several dogs of both of these breeds and none of them ever showed any signs of being aggressive or dangerous in any way. They were sweet, kind, and several of the Rottweilers were protective over me.

I do not believe for a second that aggression can be inherited in genes, but rather it comes about when a dog is being raised wrongly.

 

 

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Happy National Rescue Dog Day!

Happy National Rescue Dog Day!

20.05. – National Rescue Dog Day! We would like to use this special date to address animal welfare, shelters, the hard work they have to face every day and of course everything about the topic of adoption.

Every year, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide in the US and are in dire need of being adopted. With this warning number, it’s important we consider our local pet shelters when welcoming a new family member. We’ve interviewed an animal shelter which has a tough job to do. Let’s find out more about this work and the process!

The “Einfach Tierschutz e.V.” is a German non-profit animal welfare association founded in 2016 with the aim of helping street dogs where the need is greatest. This is particularly the case in Eastern and Southern European countries, where street dogs have no rights and face harsh times. Einfach Tierschutz stands up for those animals in need, in areas such as Romania.

“Everyone has a purpose in its life, a reason for being in the world. My purpose is to save dogs.”

Jens Waldinger, Head of Einfach Tierschutz

1. Omlet: Can you please tell us a bit about the company: how many pets do you care for? What does the work at an animal shelter involve and what does a typical day at your shelter look like?

Einfach Tierschutz: Einfach Tierschutz e.V. is the owner and operator of two animal shelters in Braila, Romania. In our “Phoenix Shelter”, where we take care of about 400 street dogs, just recently also cats, and try to find them a new home. They get medically treated and socialized every day in our spacious sanctuary.

Since spring 2020, we have been running our second shelter specifically for puppies, the “Phoenix Puppy Shelter”, where up to 50 puppies and young dogs are fostered, cared for and prepared for placement in a family on an area of 2,000 m≤. In addition, we were able to move forward with a long-time wish in 2020 with the construction of the cat house on our premises. With the completion of this product, we can also provide our cats with safe and species-appropriate accommodations.

We have employed an average of 6 staff members in the shelters of Romania, who work in shifts so that someone is present at all times. Additionally, we have a driver and an office worker as well as the shelter manager on site. The tasks of the staff are mainly the support and maintenance of the dogs as well as night watch and administrative activities.

Our team consists of trained and certified dog trainers, professionals, and experienced fosters. We are also in contact with vets/veterinary assistants. In addition, we work closely with the local veterinary office, registering both our transports and our foster homes at this office, and can provide proof of the correct written documentation on transports, dogs and adopters at any time.

Our office is located in Germany, from where we coordinate all of the association’s activities. Various volunteer teams work under our guidance in the areas of social media, pre- and post-inspections, placements, adoptions, flea market and planning of the shelter travels.

         

                            Jens Waldinger                                                     Sarah Goetschel                                            Carmen Salcedo

                   Head and Manager of the shelter                                     Head and Manager in DE of the placement                           Dog Management in Braila

 

A primary goal of our work is to relocate and find new homes for as many dogs as possible and place them into loving and safe families. We also provide a licensed transporter in order to transport our dogs and cats in our own equipped vehicles from Romania to their future families in Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

Lutz (top model, top dog)

We provide dogs, which are not suitable for a life as a family dog or for any other owner, a permanent safe refuge in our shelter. Here, they will have a better life without hunger and diseases, and are not exposed to the bad and cold weather conditions in Romania, especially during the winter season – just a stable and stress-free life.

Another goal for us is to make an important contribution by helping to control the reproduction of street dogs and cats through regular spay/neutering campaigns at our expense, and to bring about a change in the way the local population thinks about handling this issue. Due to the uncontrolled multiplication of street as well as house and yard dogs of the inhabitants, thousands of unwanted puppies end up on the streets or in the municipal animal shelters every year, which are allowed to euthanize these dogs after a period of two weeks if they are overcrowded. We also intervene here and are happy if we can take some of these dogs with us.

Spay/Neutering Marathon in Baraila, Romania

 

2. Omlet: What differs Einfach Tierschutz from other animal rescue organizations?

Einfach Tierschutz: First of all, the Einfach Tierschutz is a German association which is not only active abroad, but also runs its own animal shelter abroad. We do not solely relocate our dogs in Germany, but also in Switzerland and Austria. Mostly, we stand out because of our size: since we have started this organization, we now have over 8,000 members who support us. We have succeeded in convincing many people of our projects and know-how in just a few years, and with their support through donations, memberships, sponsorships, etc. we have been able to invest wisely.

We also offer our members the experience of traveling to our Phoenix Shelter in Romania. Our members then get to see first-hand what our team’s workload is on a daily basis. They also get to see what we have achieved in this short period of time with all the donations and membership fees we receive from them.

   

 

“There is a before and an after in my life: Before the trip to the Phoenix Shelter and after the trip, because since then I know what it is worth living and fighting for every day: “my” dogs there in the shelter. I may be back in Germany, but my heart has stayed there with the dogs.”
– Association member a few weeks after returning from a shelter trip

We offer our members the opportunity to follow our work on a daily basis via our Facebook members’ group. We provide pictures and video material from our shelter and thus allow every member to participate in current events. We also offer the opportunity to network with other members at more than 40 regulars’ tables and to plan joint activities such as information booths or fundraising campaigns.

We recently had our first big fundraiser where our members purchased lots from us in order to have the chance to win many great prizes from generous donors. The proceeds went directly to the shelter.

We are constantly working to improve our standards and ourselves professionally, in line with our ideas of good, sustainable animal welfare so that we can continue to grow and help as many animals as possible. In this way, we are always trying to maintain a balance between possible improvements and new projects or extension of our activities. We are very motivated and hungry to go further, to achieve even more.

 

3. Omlet: What do you like about your work? What is most rewarding?

Einfach Tierschutz: Every little success reminds us why we do all this. For example, the rescued dogs that we are able to bring into the safety of our shelter or animals that are brought back to life by our team after serious illness or injury make the work that much more rewarding! Also, seeing fearful and shy dogs that we have been able to socialize to such an extent that they can now enjoy their lives in a family makes the work worthwhile for us. All of these animals that are given a chance for a better life through our work is what makes the work priceless for us!

4. Omlet: Adoption vs. Purchase: what is the biggest challenge?

Einfach Tierschutz: From our point of view, the biggest problems are the mass breeding of pedigree dogs, while thousands of dogs are waiting for a loving home in the animal shelters. In particular, the illegal breeding and illegal transfer of puppies from abroad, which are then sold cheaply via various online portals by professional traffickers posing as private individuals, is a thorn in the flesh. As humans, we have a responsibility towards our fellow creatures and as long as the streets are full of unwanted animals that reproduce uncontrollably, suffering from hunger and diseases, we believe it is irresponsible to continue with breeding dogs.

Unfortunately, many people lack a sense of responsibility and foresight. Many hardly think about what it means to give an animal a home for the next 10 to 20 years and also give up far too quickly when the animal becomes “uncomfortable” for whatever reason. The decision to give up an animal is taken ever more quickly and lightly these days…

Floki (left) has also found a new best friend for life through his new home

5. Omlet: Speaking of adoption: What is important to you when looking for the right adopters, what expectations should a potential adopter fulfill ? What challenges or difficulties can you face when a shelter dog moves into its new home?

Einfach Tierschutz: It is very important to us that the family and the dog are well matched, which is why we work with the dogs on site to get to know them better and assess them as well as possible. Our employees in Romania also help with socializing the dogs when we are not around. Nevertheless, though we try our best here, we cannot predict what the dogs’ behavior will be like when they arrive at their new homes. Several factors will play a role. With the new environment, new people and maybe other companions it is hard to make a binding statement about it but so far, we mostly received positive feedback from the adopters.

Annett has finally found her family after waiting for such a long time

A dog from another country is always a bit of a “surprise package”. They are not familiar with our everyday lives and need time to get used to it. Through plenty of interaction with volunteers, outdoor runs and play sessions as well as walks, we try to keep the dogs as busy as possible and introduce them to new things. However, there is no comparison with the life they will experience with their future families. Some of them have never seen a leash or worn a collar or harness before, they are often unfamiliar with stairs, cars, bicycles, pedestrians etc. Some dogs are already house-trained when they move in, others need days, weeks or even months to train. Domestic or human smells and noises are often unfamiliar to them, and while one dog may be happy and react inquisitively, another may still feel anxious and need more time to realize that all of these changes are leading to a better quality of life.

Hamlet not only found his forever home but also his favorite meadow where he can play and relax

The sensory overload, especially while settling in, can lead to dogs initially acting differently – often more timidly – than in the familiar environment of our shelter. This is why it is very important to us that we educate and prepare our adopters well before receiving the dog. We offer them thorough advice about dogs that are suited to their circumstances and lifestyle. We carry out pre-checks (and post-checks) and we discuss general aspects of adopting a dog from another country with the prospective adopters.

We have useful tips for them on how to deal with newly arrived dogs, with common behavior patterns during the settling in period and safeguarding during walks. Also, we talk about illnesses that cannot be ruled out based on incubation times. This information is constantly updated and further refined.

However, in those cases where, for whatever reason, things do not work out in the new home, we take care of finding a new place for the dog, and even provide emergency foster homes. Under no circumstances will we allow a dog that was placed by us to end up in another shelter.

Up to now, we have been able to offer a swift solution in each of the few individual cases, where contrary to expectations, the adopters had to return a dog. Thus, we have been able to make the best of the situation in the interest of the dog.

In case of problems, we assist our adopters with help and advice and we are always available after an adoption and happy to help! On our Facebook page you can find some great stories and photos of “happy endings” posted by the families and owners that have adopted these dogs .

 

6. Omlet: As an NGO, how do you raise money for your animals, shelters, sterilization projects, etc.? How are you compensated?

Einfach Tierschutz: In order to be able to cover the high project costs, we had to invest a lot of time in advertising and generating new supporting members to bring in enough donations. As an association that is mainly active via the fast-moving social media channels and also promotes the dogs through them, we depend on a well-functioning technical infrastructure.

The commitment of our local board is particularly important too, as it generates a lot of attention. Our local experts also have to regularly assess the socialization of the dogs, as we place them very responsibly to ensure that dog and family get on well together later on. We invest in our social media presence, promotion via billboards, newspaper advertisements, flyers, info sheets, stickers. As a result, we have been able to maintain our high level of popularity and success, – which of course goes hand in hand with a further increase in administrative expenses.

 

7. Omlet: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Einfach Tierschutz: We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the interview and the interest in our association and invite everyone to get an idea of our work and visit our homepage or follow our social media activities. We – and especially the animals – would be very happy about a small donation, which we would like to invest in food, vet visits/surgeries/medications, spaying/neutering or in the shelter itself, e.g. for the expansion or the cat enclosure.

We would also more than welcome new fellow members who would like to get involved in our activities (e.g. shelter travels), gladly from anywhere. You can find all information on our homepage: www.einfachtierschutz.de

Phoenix-Shelter: https://phoenix-shelter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/einfachtierschutzvermittlungen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/einfachtierschutz/

(You can also set up the pages in your desired language.)

 

Yours,

Omlet would like to thank Einfach Tierschutz e.V. for the interview and wishes them all the best for the future and that all dogs will find a great and safe new home.

 

 

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Pride of Omlet: Buster’s Beard

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

Buster was destined to chase balls on the beaches of Barry Island. He’s a lovable labradoodle with big brown eyes and a long beard. A thinker with a playful nature, he’s co-authored a children’s book with his human Natalie to bring Autism Awareness to all.

Buster 1Ethan, Natalie’s son, was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD aged four. Natalie gave up her job as a teacher to become Ethan’s full-time carer. She always had dogs as a child and, naturally, wanted Ethan to experience the same positive companionship. They went to a local farm and had the pick of three puppies. One was fast and furious, one was quiet and sleepy, and one was in-between. They picked the inbetweener and called him Buster.

After a few weeks at home, it was clear that Ethan wasn’t taking to Buster. He just wasn’t interested in him. So he became Natalie’s companion instead, being a full-time carer isn’t easy and Buster’s a great source of comfort on difficult days. He motivates Natalie to keep going and gives her much-needed respite, with long walks on the beach.

A couple of years after Ethan’s diagnosis, baby Isobelle was born. Isobelle’s afraid of the dark, so Buster sleeps in her room and helps her feel safe. And in the daytime, Buster is Isobelle’s playmate. They love playing dress-up together, and at the end of the day, she’ll read him a story and brush his hair.

As Buster grew, the hair on his chin got longer and longer and longer! Until he developed a fully grown, 7-inch beard. It’s not a thing you see every day, a dog with a beard. People started staring. Natalie’s used to people staring, sadly many people don’t understand Autism, and when Ethan has meltdowns, Natalie and her family have experienced staring and unkind remarks, which have been devastating.

She realised that staring at Buster was something different. When walking on the beach, Natalie was approached by people asking, “Is it real? Have you stuck it on?!” It was curious and fun and got people talking in a good way. So what does a positive ex-primary school teacher do with that? She writes a children’s book, of course! Natalie wrote a story starring Buster called ‘That Dog Has Got a Beard’.

It’s a story about being special and unique. Natalie and Buster have toured schools and libraries all over Wales and even appeared on ITV Wales, opening conversations that celebrate differences and spreading Autism Awareness through the story of Buster’s Beard.

“A lot of children don’t see disabled children, and there’s a lot of negativity around it. You want people to be accepting, and a lovable labradoodle is an excellent way to open a conversation. He looks different. He’s got a beard. But that’s wonderful, you know? “

Buster 3

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Can you feed pets a vegan diet?

 

Some animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, are herbivores. Others, like hamsters, are omnivorous. Finally, there are also carnivores like cats that cannot survive without meat.

All animals need to have their nutritional needs satisfied. However, this does not mean you can’t have a vegan dog. Vegan cats, though, are a lot trickier.

Can my dog have a vegan diet?

If you were to meet a species of animal for the first time and had to make an accurate guess about its diet, you would get lots of clues by looking at its teeth. The teeth of a dog, like the teeth of a bear, proclaim loud and clear that this animal is an omnivore – that is, one that eats both meat and vegetables. If you think of your dog as a domesticated wolf, you get a good idea of its natural diet.

However, as the panda proves, a supposed meat-eater can sometimes get by perfectly well on a vegan diet. A panda’s teeth are similar to any other bear’s – long canines for meat-eating and molars for grinding vegetation. And yet pandas don’t eat anything other than bamboo. So, if a bear can be vegan, does that mean you can have a vegan dog?

The answer is yes – but it’s a yes with lots of small print! A dog requires a diet that contains the fats and proteins it would get from meat. It is dangerous to ignore this basic need and simply feed your pet with whatever you please. Some dogs have delicate stomachs at the best of times, and a low-fat, high-fibre diet can cause potentially life-threatening problems. A diet that excludes meat should never be fed to a dog without the advice of a professional pet dietician.

The collagen, elastin and keratin found in meat diets are not easily replaced by vegi equivalents. Your dog will also need the ‘long chain’ omega-3 fats found in animal products such as egg, fish and some meats. Vegan omega-3 fats are not the same as animal-derived ones.

All of which presents a headache for the vegan dog owner. There are, however, products available that claim to let your dog live a healthy, meat-free life. Before you take the plunge, it is essential to seek professional, scientific advice and guidance. Compromise is usually the best choice here – a vegan diet supplemented by some of the animal-derived essentials. Crickets, for example, can provide lots of the amino acids and keratin a vegan diet lacks, and they’re 65% protein.

Can my cat have a vegan diet?

The compromise approach is even more important for cats. These are amongst the planet’s true carnivores, obtaining all their dietary requirements from other animals.

The main challenge with minimising the meat in a cat’s diet is that, unlike many mammals (including dogs), cats cannot produce certain proteins. They have to absorb these from the meat and fish in their diet. Amino acids are another issue – cats deficient in the animal-derived amino acid taurine, for example, usually succumb to a specific type of heart problem.

Even a fortified vegan cat food cannot be confidently recommended. Turn the situation on its head, and try to imagine weaning a rabbit onto a meat-only diet, and you get some idea of the challenge – and the ethics – involved.

There are some lab-grown ‘meat’ products in development, with vegan and vegetarian cat owners in mind. However, whether these will arrive – and remain – on the market any time soon is hard to guess.

For many vegan pet owners, there is a huge ethical issue involved in feeding the animals they share a space with. Ethics, however, include the animal’s needs too, and it’s an almost impossible issue to resolve when it comes to cats. If you are able to reduce but not eliminate the meat in your cat’s diet, that’s the safer option.

Top 10 pets for vegan households

There are, of course, plenty of other pets that don’t eat meat, or that eat some meat but can still thrive on a meat-free diet. Here are our ten favourites.

1. Rabbits. No problems here – rabbits are happy vegans, with diets based on hay and vegetables. You could argue that the soft pellets they eject and then eat are animal products of a sort, but they are simply semi-digested vegetation.

2. Guinea pigs. Like rabbits, these wonderful little characters thrive on a 100% vegan diet.

3. Hamsters. Most hamster owners give them store food, you don’t always know what’s in it. However, hamsters, like rats and mice, can do without meat.

4. Gerbils. Like hamsters, gerbils are omnivorous. They have sensitive stomachs and need a quality pellet mixture. Food that is too fresh can harm them.

5. Mice. Although they will eat pretty much anything in the wild, mice can thrive on vegan diets; but it is still best to use a food mix prepared specifically for them. This ensures that they will not be deficient in any of the vitamins and minerals they need.

6. Rats. These are the most omnivorous of rodents, but as long as you feed them a vegan mix that has been fortified with all the nutrients they need, they will thrive. Indeed, rats who eat too much animal fat tend to become fat and die prematurely.

7. Chickens. If you watch a free-range hen, it soon becomes clear that she will eat anything – grass, beetles, worms, and everything in your veg patch if you’re not careful! Most chicken feed emulates this mix of plant and animal products. However, it is possible to buy vegan chicken feed, and circumstantial evidence suggests that hens can thrive on it. However, they are likely to produce fewer eggs, and you will not be able to stop them scratching for worms and bugs, no matter how vegan the layers pellets are!

8. Budgies and parrots. Vegans will have no obstacles to face with budgies and parrots, unless the birds are being bred. Egg-brooding female birds need a protein boost, normally delivered via an egg-based food or cooked meat. Vegan alternatives are available, though.

9. Finches. Many finch species enjoy bugs and mealworms as treats, but these are not an essential part of an adult finch’s diet. These birds thrive on a mixture of seeds and fresh vegetables.

10. One for reptile fans. When you think of pet snakes and lizards, you probably have an image of dead mice or doomed crickets. However, there are a few commonly kept pet reptiles that eat a 100% vegan diet, the most popular being the Green iguana. Getting the balance of vegetables just right is very important for the animal’s health, but meat is certainly something you won’t have to worry about.

There is no shortage of choice when it comes to vegan pets. Keeping a vegan cat or dog is a much trickier proposition, though. And with all these animals, a balanced diet that matches the pet’s nutritional requirements should be your primary goal.

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How To Prevent Dog Theft & What To Do if Your Dog Is Stolen

Dogtor Adem, founder and owner of Dog-Ease, is a dog behaviourist and trainer with over 15 years experience working with dog owners and their canine best friends. In this blog post, Adem provides us with helpful tips on preventing dog theft, and what to do if you experience dog theft yourself.

With dog theft on the rise, it’s only natural that we might feel worried about taking our furry family members out and about at the moment. I think most of us can agree that if anything should happen to them, we would feel devastated. So, I have put together my top tips for keeping your dog safe from theft when both at home and out and about. Following on from this, I’ve also put together some tips on what to do should you find yourself in the awful position of your dog having been stolen. I hope you never have to refer to them, but they might just help you be reunited should you find yourself in this unfortunate position.

 

MY TOP TIPS FOR PREVENTING YOUR DOG THEFT

 

START AT HOME

By this I mean you should review your current security measures at home. Start by ensuring gates and fences are secure and avoid leaving your dog in the garden unattended. You may also want to ensure your dog cannot be seen by people passing by when you are out of the home. You can do this by making them a base in a room away from any windows that can be easily looked into or even by closing the curtains on these windows when you are out.

 

MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS MICROCHIPPED

It is not only law to have your dog microchipped, but it is also best practice. If your dog is ever separated from you a simple scan of their chip in their neck area should reunite you pretty quickly. Keep your dog’s microchip details up to date. It’s usually really easy to do this over the phone or online.

 

ADD AN ID TAG TO YOUR DOG’S COLLAR AND CONSIDER A GPS TAG ALSO

By law, your dog should have an identification tag attached to their collar when outside of your home. This makes it really easy for you both to be reunited without needing your dog’s microchip to be scanned. You could also consider attaching a trackable GPS tag to your dog’s collar. There are many on the market to choose from and these can be purchased online, if not from your local pet shop. Some also have fun features to use on a daily basis such as tracking your dog’s activity levels.

 

TEACH YOUR DOG THE RECALL COMMAND

Teach your dog the recall command and make coming back to you a fun game that you can play throughout your walks together. Offer a tasty treat or engagement in a game such as fetch each time they return to you. This makes them more likely to want to return to you, seeing the recall as a fun part of your walk. Head over to the Blog page of my website www.dog-ease.co.uk/blog/ to watch a tutorial on how to begin this training if you haven’t already had a chance to.

 

KEEP YOUR DOG’S ATTENTION

Make it fun for your dog to stay close to you on your walk if you are letting them off lead. For example, you could practise off lead heel work as you walk, offering a tasty treat as a reward for their focus, or play recall games. Taking a special toy such as a ball can also help to keep your dog’s attention and focus with them chasing and retrieving during your walk.

 

KEEP YOUR DOG IN SIGHT

Following on from keeping your dog’s attention, avoid letting your dog go out of your sight on a walk or leaving them unattended outside a shop, school, or even in your car. The less opportunity for them to come into contact with strangers without you also present, the better.

WALK WITH OTHERS

If possible, walk with a family member or socially distanced with a friend. You could also try to walk in public areas where other people are walking and present too. Pick times of the day where other people are likely to be around and walk in daylight if possible. If this is not possible, try to walk in well-lit areas. Safety is often found in numbers and the more people that are around the less likely you may be to be targeted.

 

CONSIDER TAKING ANTI THEFT DEVICES WITH YOU

Consider taking an anti-theft alarm or another similar device on your walk with you, even a whistle is better than nothing to be able to attract attention with. You could also try to keep your mobile phone handy to use if necessary, although it’s best to not allow your mobile phone to distract you from what is going on around you as you walk. See the next tip!

 

STAY ALERT

Following on from the tip above, stay alert and be vigilant on your walks. Watch out for any unusual activity or people in the areas you might typically walk. It is best to limit your use of any electronic devices such as your mobile, even to listen to music. The more aware of your surroundings you are, the more likely you will be to spot anything not quite right.

 

AVOID CLOSE CONTACT WITH STRANGERS

Avoid letting people you don’t know pet your dog or telling people you don’t know any details about you and your dog. It’s nice to be friendly but be vigilant about the information you share.

 

BE LESS PREDICTABLE

If you’re particularly concerned, change up your routine frequently. This makes it harder for anyone ‘watching and waiting’ to predict and plan to ‘bump into you’ on a walk.

 

PREP OTHERS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WALKING YOUR DOG

If you use a dog walker, ensure you ask them what steps they are taking to avoid your dog from being stolen. You can also ask that they remain vigilant in securing your property when returning your dog to your home and ask that they look out for and alert you to any unusual activity.

 

USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND LOCAL NEWS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Check local social media pages and local news for up-to-date information on what is going on in your area. Often any worrying incidents are reported by residents with details of suspicious people and even sometimes vehicles too look out for.

 

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU SHARE ONLINE

Sharing your location and details of your pet on non-private forums such as on non-private social media pages can alert potential thieves to your where abouts. Make sure you are mindful of what you share and where you ‘check in’, with or without your dog.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG IS STOLEN?

In the awful event that your dog is stolen, here are some tips to help you find and be reunited with them.

 

REPORT THE THEFT IMMEDIATELY

Report the theft immediately to the police and ensure it is recorded as a crime rather than as a lost pet. You should receive a crime reference number for your records.

 

CHECK CCTV

Check all available CCTV footage in the area your dog was stolen from to gain evidence of any people needing to be identified or vehicles that may have been involved. You might also want to check in with neighbours and those in the local area to see if anyone has any footage from their own security systems – from Ring Doorbell footage to Dash Cam footage. Anything is worth a shot and could lead to identifying something or someone.

 

CONTACT YOUR MICROCHIP COMPANY

Contact the company your dog’s microchip is recorded with and register your dog as stolen. If your dog is scanned by a vet elsewhere, they should then be alerted to this and your dog returned to you.

 

CONTACT LOCAL VETS

Contact all vets in the local area to let them know of the theft. Provide a photo of your dog if possible and include details of any markings or particular features that they have so they can identify them more easily.

 

MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE

Make other people aware of the theft by putting up posters stating your dog has been stolen, with your contact details on them. You should also post a copy of such posters, or an equivalent, on social media sites. If you ensure that the settings of your post are set to ‘public’ you can ask others to share your post and reach a much wider community. The further your dog’s details are shared, the more chance you have of your dog being identified and returned to you!

 

DON’T GIVE UP

Don’t give up hope! Keep sharing your dog’s details far and wide. Someone somewhere might know something and help you to be reunited.

 

I hope you found the above tips useful. Stay alert and keep safe!

 

Dogtor(tm) Adem

Owner of Dog-ease Training & Behaviour

www.dog-ease.co.uk

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Pride of Omlet: Mipit Makes Sense

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

Mipit is a Mental Health Assistance Dog for his human, Henley. Mipit keeps Henly alive and independent. Who wouldn’t love a dog that can put out your recycling, answer your phone, and be your best friend, come rain or shine?

Six years ago, homeless and experiencing mental health crisis, Henley was given a glimmer of hope when she was offered a flat. She reconnected with her mum and dad, and slowly, life started to improve with their help. But something was missing. Henley needed a companion.

Henley’s autistic and always wanted an autism assistance dog, but by now, Henley was too old to apply. One day, Henley and her mum went to get their hair cut. The hairdresser suggested they go to the nearby pet shop to ask if they knew of any puppies; the pet shop gave her two phone numbers. As Henley was leaving the shop, she spotted a leaflet on the window about Mental Health Assistance Dog training.

Henley rang the breeder’s numbers and soon after brought home her first puppy. A jug (Jack Russel cross Pug) she named Lottie. First, she began training with the Kennel Club good citizen dog scheme and then assistance dog training with Darwin Dogs. But at six months old, Lottie was attacked by a pack of six dogs, and Henley decided to stop her training to give her time to recover. With Lottie better, Henley felt it would be good for her to have a friend. So she called Lottie’s breeder to see if any more pups were on the way. Luckily Lottie’s grandmother was pregnant, and when the puppies were born, Henley went to visit and brought home Mipit.

Mipit’s a Jug like Lottie, who Henley chose for his rebellious nature, but despite wayward first appearances, he’s proven to be intelligent, loving and loyal. Within a few weeks, Mipit was doing things that Lottie had taken months to learn, and Henley decided to focus her assistance dog training with Mipit.

He flew through both bronze and silver Kennel Club assessments by the age of one. He was too young to start gold, so Henley started assistance dog training. In under two years, he’d completed all three levels. Lottie had taken the same time to complete only one. Mipit’s instinctive with training. “He can see into the future,” says Henley. “It’s like he already knows before you’ve trained him.”

Henley uses a wheelchair and Mipit is always beside her, ready to help. He opens doors, picks up the phone and takes out the recycling. He does things to make Henley laugh, like playing hide and seek under the duvet. He never turns off. Mipit’s training with Darwin Dogs is unlike any other assistance dog training. Henley has developed a partnership with him to train him in three special skills that are unique to her needs.

Mipits first special skill is to lay flat on Henley’s knee, giving deep pressure therapy to help with the pain she has in her legs. Secondly, he’ll fetch and retrieve anything up to his own body weight. His third skill is a showstopper. If Henley’s been upset anywhere, Mippit will sing to her to help her recover. He often sings Henley out of Sainsbury’s to get her ready for the journey home, and Mipit has become known for his singing in their home town. Sometimes Henley is stopped by people asking, “Are you the one with the singing dog”, and Mipit will gladly give a little performance.

Last year Henley lost her mum. This was devastating for Henley’s mental health. Both Henley and her Dad, Chris, credit Mipit with keeping them a team, working through difficult times and keeping their bond strong. “He forces us to be together in a lovely way. He’ll cuddle Dad and bring him to me. He dives up and gives me kisses when he knows I’m poorly.”

Mipits unconditional and constant devotion to putting a smile on Henley’s face gets her ready for the day, every day. With the help of Mipit and Lottie, Henley hasn’t self-harmed in six years and now lives in a bungalow with a garden with six chickens for company. Soon two rabbits will be joining their extra special support bubble.

Henley’s dad Chris says, “I watch Mipit because he picks up on Henley’s mood. When she’s not feeling good, he moves closer. It gives me comfort to know Mipit is looking after her. He’s a cracking little chap.”

 

 

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Dog Collar vs. Harness – Which is Better for Your Dog?

It can be tricky to decide whether or not your dog should wear a collar or a harness for walks. A lot of it depends on your dog himself, from the breed to his age and activity level.No matter what type of breed you have, one thing’s for sure, they all need to go out on walks! The main two types of leash attachments that you can use for your dog are harnesses or collars.

Whether you just got a new dog and aren’t sure which to use or you are looking to switch things up, it’s important to know the pros and cons for both dog harnesses and collars before making a decision.

Collars

Pros

Dog collars are the best when it comes to controlling aggressive dogs, puppies or dogs who are in training. It gives confidence to the owners where they can let their dog walk without any fear. It comes with many direct benefits while providing better control to the handler. Dog training is one of the most important reasons for buying a dog training collar. It is one of the first dog training tools that an owner would need. It helps your dog to successfully overcome obstacles. It also helps to guide your dog and secure his attention if it has a short attention span.

Your dog may get a bit rowdy during the walking session. It’s the dog collar that can correct its behaviour when it is misbehaving. Dogs can go on jumping fences, playing in woods, or getting into mischief; so, you should consider durable dog collars with breakaway fasteners.

A dog collar is more convenient than a harness: The main benefit of collar

s is that they can be left on at all times as opposed to a harness, which should only be worn during walks and it’s much easier to snap a collar on and off than a harness.

Another great benefit of wearing collars comes with the metal ring where you can attach your pet’s ID ta

g or name plates with your address, your phone number, veterinarian office phone number or the tag of the dog registration organisation where your dog is registered for identification in case he or she gets lost.

Are you a fashionista or do you love to express individuality? You can even use a bow tie or bandana/scarf as an attachment for the collar.

 

Cons

What can go wrong when you lead a dog by the neck? Quite a lot, it turns out.

The safety of your dog’s neck plays a vital role here. If dogs constantly pulls against their collar, they can injure themselves or reduce the airflow they are getting. Some smaller breeds, like miniature dachshund or poodle, are prone to collapsing tracheas, and a rough tug on the collar can quickly turn into an emergency situation.

Other dogs’ necks are as thick as their heads, e.g. pugs and whippets, so slipping out of a collar is effortless. Even if you have a tough mutt or working dog, repeated pulling on the neck can lead to thyroid damage or spinal injuries over time. Please avoid using collars to walk dogs with medical issues such as glaucoma, neck injuries, or spinal malformations.

Collars should also not be used on toy breeds and brachycephalic breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Chinese Crested, Italian Greyhound, Maltese, Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs and Boxers.

 

Harnesses

Pros

The main benefit for using a dog harness instead of a dog collar is the control you have over overly excited dogs, as you have more control over them. If it comes to safety and security harnesses are generally better at preventing accidents because they fasten more securely around your dog’s body and are simply the most secure, and most comfortable way to hook your dog up to his leash. It covers your dog’s chest, shoulders, and upper back, which disperses pressure over a larger surface area whereas collars give you better control over your dog. While dogs can easily slip out of their collars and potentially run into traffic or another person’s yard, harnesses offer much more security and safety.

A good harness will reduce pulling, increase your control over your pup, and decrease stress on his neck and joints. Bonus points: because it secures closer to the dog’s center of gravity, a harness gets tangled in the leash less and helps prevent jumping.

Also here, for the individualists among us, there are different kinds of harnesses, starting from cool, cute or practical, such as bags where you can put some treats or eco-friendly waste bags.

 

 

 

 

When it comes to specific breeds or diseases, a harness has a better function for your dog:

  • Brachycephalic breed: These breed dogs typically have flatter faces, “shortened head” and refers to the short nose and flat face of dogs like Pugs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Pekingese, French Bulldogs or Bulldogs. Respiratory issues may be better managed with a harness.
  • Tracheal collapse: This is a medical condition where the trachea will fold in on itself causing trouble breathing and a cough. Please avoid using a collar because it applies further pressure and can even worsen the condition.
  • Risk factors for spinal problems: A condition called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) makes long-bodied breeds such as dachshunds very prone to slipped disks. By using a harness you can take pressure off the neck and back and help prevent further damage.
  • Orthopedic disease: Dogs with orthopedic disease can have a hard time getting up to walk so a harness can help you get them up and move around more easily.

 

Cons

Harnesses are just less convenient than collars for hoomans. A collar can just slip on, but harnesses take more time to fasten.

Harnesses can be uncomfortable: Harnesses are bulkier than collars, so they can be more uncomfortable for your dog. Some dogs really don’t like wearing harnesses, so it can take some time for them to get used to it.

Harnesses may not have a place for carrying an ID tag. It’s best to get a harness with a ring for a tag-or use both a collar with a tag and a harness when out walking.

If your dog wears weather protection or due to some illness needs to wear clothes, a harness might be a bit more of a disadvantage than a collar. The clothes might cover the harness ring(s), so that you’re unable to put a leash on. Alternatively you can attach the harness over the clothes but make sure -in general- it’s neither too tight nor too loose.

 

Summarising

So, collar or harness – which one is now the better option for your dog? There is no general answer to this question as it always depends on the breed and health of your pooch and the use of the item. But please, always keep in mind:

  • Collars are less restrictive on movement, which is good for working dogs who are running around all day. Collars are also better for dogs that don’t pull and can calmly walk by your side.
  • Harnesses are better for overly excited dogs as you have more control over them.
  • Smaller dogs and brachycephalic breeds should avoid wearing a collar.
  • It is absolutely advisable to get your puppy used to both, collar and harness.
  • If you want to transition an older dog or even a pup from collar to harness be patient – the adjustment phase may take some time. Bring some treats along on your first few harness walks to distract your dog from that unfamiliar feeling, as well as associate the change with positive rewards.
  • It also depends on the use of the item. If you want to have a walk with your buddy or take a ride with him in your car (to fasten the seatbelt), it is recommendable to use a harness. If you just let him out in the garden or take him to your friends’ house, a collar is totally fine – same goes with dog kennels.

To sum up, harnesses are usually the best choice for walking dogs because they don’t put pressure on the neck. But collars are generally more comfortable and have a place to hold an ID tag. At best, let your buddy wear both: If you can’t attach a tag or name plate to the harness, use a collar for the ID tag and a harness for the leash.

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Can I Keep Chickens With Other Pets?


Photo by
Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

When considering whether or not to keep chickens, it’s important to take into account the pets you already have around your home. The most obvious examples are cats and dogs, who sometimes let their chase instincts get the better of them. However, all your pets can get along just fine, as long as you lay down a few ground rules.

Keeping chickens with dogs

If you’re a dog owner, the first thing to consider is the temperament of your pet. Does it often chase rabbits or deer when out on a walk? How does your dog react to birds in the garden? If your hound tends to lose control in these situations, this behaviour is likely to carry over into their relationship with chickens. Equally, if your dog is of a more relaxed temperament, they may show little if any interest in your coop.

The likeliest scenario falls somewhere between the two extremes, in which case you’ll see your dog taking an interest in the chickens, and spending plenty of time watching and attempting to play with them, but not moving in ‘for the kill’. What’s important here is that your dog needs to understand that the chickens are part of the pack, and not something to be hunted. It’s also important that your dog understands that chickens are fragile, and that dog-style rough play is out of the question.

Teaching dogs to get along with chickens

You can teach your dogs that the chickens are part of the family by letting them watch you spending time in the coop – initially keeping them separated with chicken wire or fencing. Many breeds of dog are naturally cautious around small animals and will be protective of your chickens once they consider them a part of the pack. The behaviour you want to see is your dog cautiously sniffing at the chicken, as opposed to adopting the head-down-bottom-up ‘let’s play’ stance.

One of the most important considerations when it comes to dogs and chickens is the temperament of the dog breed. Hunting dogs such as greyhounds and beagles will cave in to their chasing instincts if the hens begin to flap around, and they should never be allowed to mingle with the chickens. In contrast, farm dogs such as sheepdogs have protective and herding instincts, and they will be less likely to harm your chickens.

There is no sure-fire way to guarantee your dogs and chickens will get on, but spending plenty of time introducing them goes a long way. As with all dog training, this can be an extended process, so be prepared to spend a few weeks introducing your chickens to your dogs with a barrier before you let them meet face to face. When you do introduce them, it’s a good idea to keep the dog on a short leash at first, just in case.

Keeping chickens with cats

Cats are a completely different story to dogs – they are harder to predict and less susceptible to training. However, they are unlikely to view a big fat hen as potential prey. Many farmers concur that their farm cats have no interest in hunting poultry, and are much more interested in the rats and mice that are inevitably attracted by birds. When keeping chickens, the occasional rat is standard, and having a cat around can greatly reduce their numbers.

Although most chickens are too large for a cat to hunt, this largely depends on the breed of chicken and the size of your cat. If you find that your cat is beginning to stalk your chickens, a sturdy and secure coop and run that your cat can’t access will deter trouble. This is good practice either way, as even if your cat is friendly with your chickens, your neighbour’s cat might not be! The ideal answer here is the Eglu, which is super-secure and comes with its own attached chicken run.

Keeping chickens with guinea pigs

You may already have a guinea pig hutch or run in your garden, and while this won’t be a problem for your chickens, it is not recommended for chickens and guinea pigs to share living quarters. This is for several reasons, one being that rats will be further attracted to your pets’ food, and they may attack your guinea pigs. Another reason is that when establishing a pecking order, your chickens will peck at each other and any other animal they live with. This can cause serious harm to guinea pigs, who do not have thick feathers to protect them.

Keeping chickens with rabbits

Rabbits can be great companions for your chickens if you introduce them to each other when they are all very young. You will also need to ensure that you care for their different needs within the same run, in terms of food and equipment.

Rabbits, for example, like to have a clean space to sleep in, so you may need to muck out your coop and run more regularly than you would if the chickens were alone. You will also need to ensure that the chickens and rabbits all have a safe space within the coop where they can have privacy and space. You can achieve this by separating your run into three areas, one to house the roosting chickens, another for your rabbits, and a communal space.
 
Photo by JackieLou DL from Pixabay

Having a large and secure garden run will make your chickens feel safer in general, and plenty of space will maximise the chance of the hens getting along with each other and their rabbit and guinea pig neighbours.

Chickens and other pets

Chickens can also rub along happily with goats, and with female ducks (males will tends to bully them). Ironically, they do not mix with birds in an aviary. They will eat anything that falls to the aviary floor, but they will also happily peck the other birds whenever they can and may attract rats and mice, which will cause problems for the smaller birds.

Small mammal pets such as hamsters and gerbils should never be kept in the same enclosure as chickens. The rodents will be pecked and killed.

By following these few ground rules, you will be able to keep the various members of your mixed menagerie happy!

Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash

 

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This entry was posted in Budgies


Pride of Omlet: A Perfect Match

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

On paper, Kipper wasn’t exactly what Angela wanted. After years of behavioural challenges, he’s become the best-behaved blood donor and saved over forty dog’s lives. Kipper’s turned out to be Angela’s perfect match.

When Angela’s house was burgled, the first thing the police said was, “Get a dog.” Because a dog barks, and people are less likely to enter your home uninvited. But working as a teacher, Angela felt she couldn’t look after a dog, especially not an active breed like a collie.

With fond memories of the collie she grew up with, she spent a long time talking to the Border Collie Trust, and they helped her find Kipper. He was an eighteen-month-old Irish stray and had been rehoused multiple times. Being a collie, Kipper had a lot of energy. On paper, he didn’t look right for Angela.

But the Border Collie Trust thought he was the perfect match and persuaded her to meet him. So, she went to the rescue centre to get to know him. Angela could tell he was fantastic with humans, which was really important. So she took him for a walk and fell in love with him. A few weeks later, she brought him home to start their new adventure.

Angela had prepared a lovely kennel and run in the garden for Kipper to spend half the day in. The plan was at lunchtime; he would be walked by a professional dog walker and then left in the house in the afternoon until she got home from school.

Kipper turned out to be hard work, boisterous and disruptive. He destroyed the house and was what Angela describes as ‘over the top’. In the evening, after a long day at work, Angela would go to tie up her shoes for a walk, and he would bite her hair, not in an aggressive way, just incredibly overexcited. It used to take them twenty minutes just to get to the front gate. It was exhausting.

But Angela had experience with Border Collies, she knew he had incredible intelligence, and he just needed things to do. Her teaching instincts kicked in, and with support from the Border Collie Trust, she began what would turn out to be life-changing behaviour training for both her and Kipper.

At first, it was simply stopping and waiting for him to calm down whenever he did something that was ‘over the top’. Then Angela needed to tackle the chewing at home. She started by leaving him for five minutes, going to the front gate, standing across the road, then coming back in and praising him for being good. Angela worked out Kipper’s motivations (toys and food) so that she could effectively train him.

“He is so clever,” says Angela “, That he will work out. What am I being asked to do? What is the reward on offer, and is it worth it? And if it isn’t worth it, he won’t do it.”

Over time he made progress, and his behaviour slowly improved. Angela worked hard with him, and as his obedience improved, their bond grew, so did the trust between them.

Kipper lives on the edge of the countryside and occasionally chases livestock, so he has to wear a muzzle on long walks. But incredibly, Angela can leave him alone, unmuzzled with the chickens in her garden. His behaviour at home has transformed so dramatically that Angela is confident Kipper will do whatever she asks him to. Angela has even watched a big bolshy chicken trying to steal Kipper’s bone!

“The chicken was getting closer and closer and closer, trying to peck at his bone. All Kipper did was pick up the bone and walk away.”

With good obedience at home, they started to have fun together. Kipper achieved Gold in the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme and got to the Kennel Club Starters Cup Final in 2017, an agility competition for beginners. The activity and the mental work was fantastic for him, and they both made new friends, travelled to new places and shared memorable experiences.

But when Kipper had to have his dew claws removed, he couldn’t do his agility work, and the lack of exercise led to frustration. Angela, always on the lookout for ways to develop Kipper’s potential, discovered CaniCross. Cani sports are a whole range of sports to nurture the bond between dogs and their owners and are particularly beneficial for dogs with behavioural issues.

Taking part in cross country runs and triathlons, Angela and Kipper were getting fit together and making strong friendships with a whole community of like-minded dog lovers.

One of their friends introduced them to the pet blood bank. Angela was keen to give back to the dog community, but he was under the 25kg minimum weight. However, as he matured, his muscle development changed. As soon as he’d gained enough weight, Angela registered Kipper as a donor and proudly took him along to his first session.

But Kipper was terrified. He had to have a little piece of fur shaved and couldn’t stand the sound of the clippers. Once again, Angela turned to training. The blood bank advised using an electric toothbrush to get him used to the vibrating sound. Over time, using his favourite soft cheese as a treat to reward good behaviour, Angela gently got him used to sound until she was sure he knew it wasn’t going to harm him.

 

Finally, Kipper was ready to give blood, perfectly behaved. He’s now on his tenth donation, and with a rare negative blood type, his blood is a perfect match for any dog. With every donation providing blood for up to four other dogs survival, Kipper has helped save forty dog’s lives.

 

Kipper and Angela have experienced so much together. Pushing each other to do better, they’re a winning team. Motivating each other to get on with life and do something good, to make friends together. As Angela says,

 

“Not every dog would suit me, and not every owner would suit him, but the Border Collie Trust got it right. We were meant to be.”

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


The OMLET Easter Cake

-The Best Things In Life Are Sweet-_________________________________________

The OMLET (Omelette) Cake

Ingredients for the cake batter (for a ÿ25 cm cake tin):

  • 900 ml milk*
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g butter/margarine
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 eggs*
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 packet baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 package of clear cake glaze*
  • 1 can apricots halves (850 g drained net weight)
  • 1 can apricots halves (425 g drained net weight)

Ingredients for pudding cream:

  • 100 ml milk*
  • 2 packets vanilla pudding powder
  • 80 sugar
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 2 cups sour cream*


*For a plant-based or vegan option:

As a milk substitute you can use any non-dairy milk (e.g. almond or oat milk). As 1 egg substitute use 1/2 mashed banana (5 eggs = 2 ? bananas) or 70 g apple puree (5 eggs = 350 g). You can buy vegan sour cream or soy yogurt. Instead of the clear cake glaze you can use agar-agar powder.

Instructions

  1. Grease a cake tin (ÿ25 cm). Preheat oven to 170 degrees C/338 degrees F (convection oven).
  2. Boil 900 ml milk in a saucepan. Mix in a bowl the remaining milk, 80 g sugar and vanilla pudding powder until smooth, stir into the boiling milk and cook well for 1 minute while stirring. Pour into a bowl and let cool, stirring several times.
  3. Mix butter/margarine, 200 g sugar, 1 pinch of salt with the mixer until you reach a creamy texture. Mix in eggs one at a time. Mix flour and baking powder and stir in 2 tsp of lemon juice. Put the batter in a greased cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, drain the apricots well and collect the juice. Stir the pudding again, and now stir in the sour cream with a whisk. After the 20 minutes baking time, spread the pudding cream evenly on the batter. Cover the cake with apricots and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Let cool down.
  5. Mix the icing powder, remaining sugar, 1/4 liter of apricot juice and remaining 2 tsp of lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring. Now spread the glaze with a tablespoon over the apricot halves so that it looks like egg white. Allow to become firm.

 

 

You can use peaches instead of apricots as well.

If you want to bake the ultimate “Omlet”-cake with a ÿ12 cm cake tin, use 1/2 of the ingredients and only one apricot halve on top of it.

If you prefer a more traditional Easter cake, here is a super delicious yet easy recipe:

_________________________________________

Carrot-Marzipan-Cake

Ingredients for the cake batter:

  • 350 g wheat or spelt flour
  • 4 eggs*
  • 400 g carrots
  • 100 g ground hazelnuts
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 packet baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 200g marzipan
  • 200 ml rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 200 ml milk*
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • extra portion love

Optional adult version: 150 ml advocaat

Frosting:

  • 70 g icing sugar
  • 200 g coconut yogurt
  • 30 g coconut paste
  • shot of lemon juice

optional: food colouring, e.g. green colour

Decoration: e.g. Marzipan carrots, chopped pistachios, dried flowers, grated coconut


*For a plant-based or vegan option:

Use 2 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp cider vinegar or alternatively banana/apple puree as egg substitute (1/2 mashed banana per egg; 70 g apple puree per egg).

As a milk substitute you can use e.g. almond milk or oat milk, or any other non-dairy milk you prefer.

Instructions

1. Grease a cake tin (about ÿ25 cm) or use baking paper. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C/347 degrees F (convection oven).

2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, hazelnuts/almonds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon) and the eggs in a bowl with a mixer. In a separate bowl, peel and grate carrots and mix them with the wet ingredients (vanilla extract, oil, milk, lemon juice).

3. Now slowly heat the marzipan in a saucepan, stirring repeatedly until it becomes a liquid mass. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together and gradually add the marzipan (and optional advocaat) to the batter, mix well.

4. Pour the batter into the cake tin, smoothen it and bake it for about 50 minutes (skewer test).

5. Let the cake cool down and prepare the frosting in the meantime. Mix the sifted icing sugar with yoghurt and coconut puree and season with more icing sugar and a shot of lemon juice. You can add food colouring to the frosting if you wish. Now spread the frosting on the cooled cake and decorate as desired, e.g. with marzipan carrots, chopped pistachios or dried flowers.

Enjoy!

Bon appÈtit
&
Happy Easter
from the Omlet Team!

 

Tag us on social media (Instagram: omlet_uk) with an image of your cake!

 

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This entry was posted in Food


5 tricks to teach your dog

Teaching your dog tricks is not that difficult. Your pet is very intelligent. Training a dog is much easier than training other animals. We know that sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration and ideas, so we’ve put together a list of 5 must-do tricks to teach your dog!

Image by Claire Diaz from Pixabay 

Dogs are very attentive to their environment, they are able to learn several commands and quickly assimilate what you tell them. However, you will need to be patient and rely on rewards and encouragement to get results. Never spend more than 10 minutes on an exercise per day and make sure you are in a good mood to praise your dog. Frustration must be put aside or your dog will feel it and may perform less well. 

Do you know that the tricks and exercises taught to your dog will stimulate him physically and mentally? They also allow you to enrich the bonds that unite you. 

This list is far from exhaustive and we assume that your dog already knows “sit”, “down” and “stay”.  

1- Pawing or shaking hands

Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels

As you may have noticed, dogs sometimes instantly raise their paws when they ask for food. So this trick is not fundamentally complicated to teach your dog. You just have to find the right word, the right signal to give your dog to obey. 

Omlet’s tip: Keep the treat in your hand, show the treat to your dog and tell him to wait. Slowly lower your hand and when your dog lifts his paw, make the sound you want to associate with the command. “Shake”/”Paw” is an easy sound for your pet to remember, so use short words. Add emphasis to the word and enthusiasm. Once the dog has the treat in his mouth, congratulate him with a pat. 

Gradually, you won’t need to lower your hand too much. Each time you repeat this command, make sure you raise your hand a little higher so that your dog’s paw is raised to chest level. Repeat with the same paw. 

Once your dog has mastered this command, you can train him to lift the second paw. However, the sound/word should be different from the previous one. Use the word “other” for example. 

Afterwards, you can easily teach him the “high five” command. You will have to show him your palm and encourage your dog to go even higher with his paw. Once your dog does this, reward him.

Image by Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus from Pixabay

2- Rolling over

This is a trick that many owners want to teach their dog, but many don’t know how. 

Omlet’s tip: First, you get your dog to “lie down”. Place a treat in your hand and let your dog smell the treat without giving it to him. The goal during this exercise is that your dog should not get up. If it does, don’t get upset and try again. 

Use your hand to guide your dog. You must make the movement and the trajectory that you want your pet to follow. Use your hand to turn your dog’s head and make a backward movement. As your dog tries to turn his head to grab the treat, he will end up rolling. Repeat the exercise several times, but don’t spend more than 15 minutes doing it. You can come back to the exercise later in the day. 

via GIPHY

3- Speak

This command can be easy to learn for expressive dogs but a little more complicated for calm dogs. 

Omlet’s tip: Excite your dog a little with your voice. Ask him to sit and put a treat in your hand. Wave your hand but don’t give him the treat. Repeat the word/command you want him to learn several times, perhaps “bark” or “speak”. Wait for him to bark or whine. After a few seconds give him the treat and praise him. If you want your dog to calm down, repeat the word “quiet” or “enough” and walk away. 

Never encourage or praise your dog when he barks out the window or at people. Barking can be frightening to some people. 

Photo by Noah Austin on Unsplash

4- Dance

Good news, your dog can also learn to dance! Maybe he can even dance better than you… 

However, this trick is easier to learn for small dogs. Larger dogs have a harder time standing on their two hind legs. This trick is also not recommended for dogs with back problems. 

Omlet’s Tip: Ask your dog to sit. Put a treat in your hand and put your hand over your dog’s muzzle slightly backwards. Your goal is to get your dog to sit on his hind two legs, and he will only do so if he sees no other way to get his treat. Once both front legs are up, praise and encourage your dog. Repeat this trick several times until he can quickly stand on both paws. 

Once he does, you can move on to the next step. When your dog is on his two feet, hold the treat and move your hand in a small circle over his head. After a few seconds your dog should be able to twirl or at least move both paws on the ground. As you do the movement, remember to say the word you want to associate with the command. In this case that word could be “dance”. Once your dog has taken several small steps, give him the treat and praise him. 

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

5- Playing dead 

Photo de Rushay Booysen provenant de Pexels

This is a challenging trick! It’s a great way to impress those around you, although it is not so easy to teach your dog, especially if he tends to be dynamic. However, nothing is impossible, you will just need more patience. 

Omlet’s tip: As with the “roll over” command, have your pet lie down. Take a treat in your hand and put it over his head. Once your dog turns around, stop the process by asking your dog to stop moving. Repeat this process several times until your dog understands that it should not move. It is very important to say the word you want to associate with the command. For this trick it could be “Bang”. 

This trick is not easy to describe, a video is sometimes worth a thousand words. We advise you to watch this video to teach your dog to play dead.  

No matter what tricks you teach your dog, patience is the key and the only way to succeed and achieve your goals. Never forget to congratulate and encourage your pet. Finally, never force him. If he doesn’t want to learn a command or doesn’t understand it, don’t be obstinate. If you are afraid of doing the wrong thing, many resources are available on Youtube. Don’t hesitate to watch several videos to find the best technique for your dog. 

Tag us on social media if you manage to do one of these tricks with your dog. We would love to share your pet’s achievements. 

Tag us on instagram omlet.au or send us your video to the following address: hello@omlet.com.au

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Pride of Omlet: Stand Up for Disabled Animals

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

Jerry’s a cheeky, playful and boisterous rescue dog from Romania who can do a handstand! He landed on his feet when Shena gave him a home and inspired her to start a rescue centre specialising in disabled animals.

When you see a dog with two legs, what do you think? Many people would give up on them. On her first visit to the vet, Shena was advised to put Jerry to sleep. But Shena’s couldn’t do that.

Shena had four dogs, worked for the NHS in cancer care and was studying for a degree in Social Care. Then a friend sent her a video of a puppy in Romania, and her heart melted.

Jerry was paralysed, an unwanted street dog who had probably been hit by a car and left for dead. Shena couldn’t get the image out of her head, “What’s one more?” she thought and decided to bring him home.

The first time Shena met him, Jerry jumped out of the car, a bundle of energy. It was love at first sight. He was a playful six-month-old puppy. Shena’s four dogs gladly accepted him, and he slotted into the pack straight away.

Having been through so much already, it was perhaps no surprise that after the operation to remove his hind legs, Jerry bounced back again even after a few falls while he perfected his balance.

Jerry can walk on two legs around the house and garden and manages well, but he wears his wheels on walks. They’re made from plumbing pipes, and at first he was a bit wobbly on them, but with a couple of days of practice, he was charging off. Now on his 3rd set of wheels, Jerry loves chasing balls. Nothing can stop him. Shena thinks he’s probably faster than the other dogs!

Jerry kicked off a following on Shena’s social media, and people started coming to her for advice about disabled animals. Jerry now has two more two-legged dog friends and a special relationship with Flo, another Romanian rescue. In 2013, just a few months after getting Jerry Shena and her husband Ian decided to set up PUDZ officially. PUDZ is an animal sanctuary that specialises in disabled animals.

Until last year Shena and Ian looked after 170 animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks and turkeys from their North Lincolnshire home.

Because of their disabilities, many of the animals Shena and Ian care for wouldn’t be here. With Jerry for inspiration, they’ve recently been able to raise enough money to buy a one-acre plot of land so their excellent work can continue and the animals in their care can lead the happy lives they deserve.

 

“Jerry changed my life completely. I’ve met so many people. Animals don’t get as much care as people, but we don’t give up on people who are disabled, so why should we give up on animals? Everyone deserves a chance in life.”

 

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Doga: is it possible to do yoga with your dog?

Long walks with your dog help you to relax and share an intimate moment with your pet and allow you to recharge your batteries. However, if the weather is grey, and a long, cold walk isn’t appealing, we have a new activity for you! Fun and playful, Doga, a trendy, new discipline, will allow you to spend quality time with your dog and help you both disconnect from the world.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Involving your pet in your yoga activities can help you develop your yoga practice but it can also be an excellent entertaining and fun way to bond with your pet.

What is Doga? Do you need specific materials?

You have probably already heard of Yoga. This relaxing activity allows the person to be refocused on themselves and their body. Practiced alone or in yoga studios, this activity is very popular nowadays and brings many benefits.

Combine the word yoga with the word dog and you get the word: Doga. This activity was born in the United States in the early 2000’s and has spread quickly to all the big cities, particular in Asia. Unfortunately, Doga is still very little known in Europe and there are no “official” places to practice this activity in groups.

It’s not about just finding anything to engage with your dog. Doga is, above all, a shared moment between you where positions can be adapted to involve your dog and assist owner and pet bonding.

No specific equipment is required. You just need a Yoga mat and a comfortable outfit which allows easy movements. Doga can be practiced outside, but if the weather is grey, it’s just as fun indoors! If trying it indoors, choose a specific room for your Doga sessions. The routine gives your pet confidence, he will quickly associate the Yoga mat and the room and will be happy to spend a moment of relaxation just with you.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

The benefits of Doga

Doga largely incorporates the benefits of Yoga: relaxation, concentration, meditation, refocusing on yourself… However, this activity which is done jointly with your dog, brings new advantages.

Doga helps reduce stress

Your dog can often tell when you are stressed, picking up on particular behaviours which in turn affects their mood too. Doga is a specific moment when you take time to breathe, to relax, and your dog will destress with you.

There are no precise rules in Doga and for it to be relaxing for your dog, he or she must be able to remain free to move. If your dog wants to participate in the session and be active with you all the better, but if he prefers to stay by your side without moving, don’t force him. The Yoga session will do you good and your dog will feel it, and relax with you.

Doga encourages master/dog communication

You must guide your dog throughout the session. It is necessary that you lead the pace in order to comfort your dog and give him a feeling of security. To make your dog feel reassured, work on your breathing and perform simple exercises. Repetition is the key to a successful session with your dog. He needs to soak up the movements. Show him how to do it, encourage him but as said previously never force him.

By adding this new activity to your schedule, it will be an opportunity for you to enjoy your dog’s company while strengthening your complicity.

Thanks to all these benefits, this practice can help your dog sleep better. Just like human beings, your dog dreams. These dreams often relate to the moments experienced during the day. By sharing a calm activity without outside noise, your dog’s nights will be less hectic.

Is Doga suitable for all dogs?

Doga is made for all types of dogs: young, old, large, small, restless, calm. This activity should not be seen as a way to educate your dog but as a moment of sharing. Rewards shouldn’t be necessary, as your dog will enjoy the moment with you.

Doga can be especially useful for slightly older dogs or dogs that have been injured. Stretching, if done right, and massages can have real positive impacts on your dog’s body.

The objective of Doga is to have fun and have a good time. There are no rules and Doga should not be an activity to be taken seriously. This is why this practice is open to all types of dog: the dog is not forced into anything. In the worst case, you will end your session all alone, relaxed and ready to cuddle your pooch.

How to practice Doga?

There are several books that tell you how to practice yoga with your dog. The positions are detailed and the authors explain the benefits of such a practice:

You can also find many videos on the internet and YouTube to help you train with your dog.

Watch the Video on Youtube

It is essential to spend time with your dog so that he can develop to his full potential. Just doing one yoga session won’t really benefit your relationship with him. If you establish this activity as a routine not only for you but also for your pet, you may well be surprised at the benefits you can derive from it.

In addition to this fun activity, do not forget that the well-being of your dog depends on a balanced diet, daily walks and special attention to his needs.

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Do Dogs Laugh?

Photo by Jane Duursma on Unsplash

Many dog owners believe their dogs enjoy a good laugh. Check out YouTube, where there is no shortage of smiling and laughing dogs!

However, can a dog laugh in the same way as a human laughs? It’s very easy to anthropomorphise animal behaviour – i.e. judge everything they do from a human emotional and moral perspective – and the real question, perhaps, should by why would a dog laugh? What does it mean, and what advantage would it have given the dog’s wolf ancestors in the wild? Or is it perhaps something they have only learnt to do since they were domesticated by humans?

There is no definite answer to that last question, but we do know a bit about animal laughter.

Do other animals laugh?

From a hard-nosed science point of view, the only animals that are definitely confirmed as laughing are the great apes, dolphins and lab rats. Chimpanzee laughter sounds to our ears more like a shriek, and in the wild it is linked to reassurance and the release of pressure rather than pleasure. However, a tickled chimp definitely laughs, just like a human child does.

Gorillas have been known to laugh at slapstick human behaviour, suggesting that they would make a great audience at a pantomime! Orangutans are a bit more inscrutable, and their signs of laughter may be more akin to simple copying than genuine amusement. They laugh when tickled, though.

A 2004 study of dolphins found that the animals produced a sonar pulse followed by a whistle when playing. The researchers concluded that these sounds meant that the dolphins were feeling happy and relaxed in a fun, non-threatening setting, and that the ‘laugh’ prevented the rough and tumble play from escalating into violence. This is fascinating, as many psychologists believe that human laughter evolved for these exact reasons, and it ties in with those wild chimpanzee ‘laughs’ too.

The fact that lab rats laugh when tickled suggests that, given the chance, many other mammals would chuckle when tickled too. They just haven’t been given the chance in a scientific setting. Dogs, however, seem to relax rather than burst out laughing when tickled.

The fact that you can’t make your dog laugh by tickling it doesn’t mean it can’t laugh, though.

What does a dog laugh sound like?

Dog laughter – if that’s what it is – is a kind of rapid panting – a play-pant which they use to invite humans and other dogs to play. It is a hhuh sound followed by a hhah sound, and humans can impersonate it by making breathy ‘hoo-haa’ sounds. The panting will often be combined with head bows, and the dog may reach out with one of its paws too, or make little teasing jumps in your direction. This is an invitation to play rather than an expression of amusement in the human sense of laughter, though.

If you laugh at your dog using the hhuh hhah panting sound, drawing your lips back in a cheesy grin during the ‘aaa’ part, you may make your dog laugh back. It’s a great way of bonding with your furry friend!

Do dogs smile?

When a dog is relaxed it often pulls back its lips, lets its tongue droop and narrows its eyes, it can sometimes – depending on the

breed – look like a smile. The fact that they pull these faces when happy and relaxed makes it an easy associated with smiling. The fact that human smiles seem to have their origins in tension-reducing body language suggests that the same might apply to dogs. The wild wolves, close cousins of the domestic dog, does indeed have a tongue-wagging facial expression linked to relaxation and submissiveness.

Intriguingly, smiles appear to be contagious among dogs, just as they are in human to human interactions. If you can’t make your dog laugh, you can certainly make it smile! Smile at your dog, and your dog may well smile back!

Do scientists believe that dogs can laugh?

Science is on the side of the laughing dog. In a 2005 study titled ‘Dog-laughter: Recorded playback reduces stress related behavior in shelter dogs’, it was discovered that a dog sometimes pants in a way that sounds like a laugh. When recordings of these ‘laughs’ were played to other dogs, the dogs became playful and de-stressed, as measured in stress-related behaviour such as tail wagging, doggie ‘play-faces’, happy body language and lip-licking.

However, being happy, relaxed and playful is not exactly the same as laughing. There is no evidence that a dog ever finds things amusing in the same way as humans – or gorillas – do. On the contrary, slapstick behaviour is more likely to startle or scare a dog.

Laughter is all about fun, though, and you can certainly have plenty of that with your dog. They readily show their emotions through sounds and body language. Take the panting and playful body language as a sign of deep friendship. And that means there’s plenty to laugh about!

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How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Just like humans’, dogs’ opinions on hot weather vary. Some absolutely worship the sun and will take any opportunity to find a sunny spot to lie down on, whereas others prefer to stay in the shade sipping some cold water, longing for autumn. Certain dogs are more likely to struggle with heat, including flat-faced breeds, dogs with thick coats, giant dogs, overweight dogs or dogs with underlying medical problems, so if your pooch is in a high risk group it’s extra important to make sure he or she stays cool. Here are some ways you can help you dog beat the heat:

1. Adjust Exercise

When it’s really hot outside it’s best to stay inside during the hottest hours of the day. Your dog will still need exercise, but if possible, stick to walks early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler. 

It’s also worth trying to walk as much in the shade as you can, to avoid hot pavements and tiles, and to stop your dog from running around too much whilst out on the walk, maybe by keeping them on a shorter lead.

2. Keep Hydrated

Make sure your dog always has access to clean, cold water, ideally in all rooms of the house. If you’re going out, bring a bottle of water and a foldable bowl. 

If you’re worried your dog doesn’t drink enough water, try feeding them things that are hydrating and have a cooling effect. Frozen fruit and veg are great, but you can also put some cooked chicken in a blender with some banana or assorted berries and freeze in ice cube trays. 

3. Get On Top of Grooming

This is extra important for breeds with thick fur, as they particularly struggle in the heat, but most dogs benefit hugely from some extra grooming in summer. For some, regular brushing to get rid of dead hair will be enough, but others need to have their coat properly trimmed for summer. 

Don’t be tempted to grab the trimmers and give your dog a buzz cut; the sudden lack of insulation can shock the dog and damage the quality of the coat, as well as make him or her feel very self-conscious! Take them to the groomers and ask what they recommend for your dog’s type of fur. 

4. Go For a Dip

Having water around to cool themselves down with will be highly appreciated by most dogs. You can put a shallow paddling pool in a shaded area of the backyard, turn the sprinklers on and watch your dog run through them, or let him or her play with the garden hose.

If you live close to the sea or another body of water and your dog is used to swimming you can take them there to lower their body temperature in the evening. Remember that swimming can be tough exercise though, so call them back up when you’re happy they’ve cooled themselves down.

5. Keep Cool Inside

When it’s too hot to be outside, your dog will probably spend most of their time indoors, so it’s important to try and keep your house as cool as possible. It might be nice to open windows on different sides of the house to create drafts, or find other ways of letting cool air circulate. Drawing the curtains or blinds will help stop the sun from heating up bedrooms during the day. 

6. Avoid The Car

If possible, try to avoid going in the car with your dog when it’s hot. We all know that you should never, ever leave a dog in a car in warm weather, it doesn’t matter if the car is parked in the shade, you’ve got the windows open and it’s only for a few minutes. A stationary car will quickly get very, very hot, and it can kill your dog.

If you can choose not to go in the car on very hot days, try to avoid it, especially if your dog is not a big fan to start with. 

7. Get a Cooling Mat

On a hot day, your dog will love relaxing on something cooling. The Omlet Cooling Mat doesn’t require refrigeration or electricity, but works by absorbing heat from your dog’s body while at the same time cooling your pooch down. The memory foam mat is foldable and super comfortable, so you can take it with you wherever you go in summer, assuring your dog will always have a place to rest that will also minimise the risk of heatstroke. 

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This entry was posted in Dogs