Hot Dogs

Headline News: Two Dogs Die in Police Vehicle

Two dogs were baked alive in a police dog handler’s vehicle – the second time that this particular officer has left his dogs in a secure car without ventilation in very hot weather. It cannot be emphasized enough that if dogs are left in vehicles without adequate ventilation, a supply of water, shade and also the ability to move around to avoid direct sunlight, the consequences are unthinkable.

Perhaps this is blindingly obvious to us as responsible dog owners, but, following a brief question and answer session with several puppy and dog owners recently, some thought it was OK to leave them in the car unattended whilst they went into a supermarket, or whilst mum waited to collect the children from school or other activities, provided that it was for only a short time.  Think again.

The police dogs mentioned above, one a puppy German Shepherd, perished within a comparatively short period and that was before midday when the summer heat would obviously intensify.

Try this:  when you next reach your destination, turn the air conditioning off and wait in your car for one minute with the windows closed in full sunshine.  You will stifle, but just imagine being powerless to open the door and get out, or even open a window and you will know what I mean. I now have a brief chat about dogs in hot weather during all my classes and on all behavioural visits, because what I think is basic dog care (and common sense) may well not cross some owners’ minds….

PLEASE think of and for your dog: keep them cool. They wear fur coats 24/7!

*Let your dog lie in shade under trees on cool ground or on a tiled floor indoors.

*Hose him off and let him cool or soak in a paddling pool filled with cold water (it will heat up if it’s in the sun, of course).

*Put ice cubes in the water bowl or give one or two to chew on.

*Make sure that he has a constant supply of fresh water available at all times.

*Walk your dog early morning or late evening in the coolest part of the day.

*Pavements can get hot enough to burn your dog’s pads, which is very painful and can leave them permanently damaged.

**NEVER PUT A WET TOWEL ON A DOG – IT ACTS LIKE A SAUNA TRAPPING AIR BETWEEN THE FUR AND WET TOWEL

Do Dogs have a Sixth Sense?

Q            I think my dog has a “sixth sense”, because he seems to know what I am going to do before I do it. Is this possible?

A            It’s probably fair to say that dogs are acutely aware of our movements and that they learn to predict what we are going to do before we even realise that we have given any indications or signals of our intentions. Dogs as mind-readers? It’s unlikely.

Take, for instance, deciding to take the dog out for a walk. What preparations do you make before you actually tell him that it’s time to go out? We might shut the windows, get our boots out, pick up our keys and mobile phone, etc., all of which is indicative of preparing to leave the house and that’s before we even put our coats on and pick up the dog’s lead. Each action is part of a jigsaw that our sensitive dogs piece together; they are great at observing our behaviour and even before we announce that it’s time for a walk he seems to know!

It’s not that dogs have a psychic ability to read our minds, but their innate sense that enables them to be so in tune with what’s going on around them gives them what we may interpret as such. There are many historical accounts of dogs acting strangely or fleeing areas in advance of earthquakes or tsunamis and from my own experience, my dogs know when it’s going rain soon. The barometric pressure drops along with the temperature as the weather changes; they generally come indoors a few minutes before the rain starts, which is really helpful when I’ve left the washing out!

So why not observe your dog a little more closely, just as he watches you and learn a little more about his behaviour? It will give you more of an insight into how dogs think, which in turn will develop a mutual understanding and a closer bond between you and your dog.