I'm a bit later than usual with Dog of the Month this time around as it's just been a busy couple of weeks at Coastal Dog Walkers HQ but I am thrilled to give the award this month to Lola and Ralph!.
We've been walking these two characters for quite some time now. Lola joined us a few years ago and then, to her horror at the time Ralph became her brand new older brother in January this year. Almost a year later and it's fair to say Lola has now got used to Ralph and they make a great pair of dogs.
Both dogs unfortunately didn't get the best start in life and eventually they ended up in a rescue centre, thankfully they've now found their forever home with Phil and Louise are are happy living in Cullercoats. Because they had such a rough start in life they are both of a nervous disposition and it's took a long time to get them used to us but gradually we got there. They are still a bit skittish in certain situations but I think they'll continue to settle in time as they're both relatively young dogs.
These dogs are so very lucky to have finally found a happy home to live in. Well done Lola and Ralph!
I am very happy to announce that October's winner for Dog of the Month is Delilah. I am sure both Delilah and her owner, Abbi will be thrilled at this news.
Delilah has been with Coastal Dog Walkers since February of this year and it's fair to say that when she first came on board she was a dog with 2 distinct sides to her personality. At home she was a playful, clever and loving dog but in typical Border Terrier style she was not so great in the company of other dogs. Delilah at the time was about 15 months old and I am unsure what amount of socialisation she'd had with other dogs up to that point; we inherited her from another dog walker who would walk Delilah on her own but thankfully her owner wanted to explore pack walks in order to socialise Delilah.
We'd had some success stories over the years with anti social dogs (April I'm looking at you!) so we welcomed the challenge. My own experience with Border Terriers in the last 5 years has been mixed, maybe it's just me but I do find that often they can be a grumpy little breed around other dogs. However Border Terriers are also quick to learn and I looked forward to playing a role in Delilah's rehab. Owning an anti social dog myself I know first hand that this rehabilitation takes a long time, there's no quick fix and often it's one step forward and 2 steps back.
For Delilah the key tactic employed was exposure to other dogs. This was done frequently and in a way where everyone was safe, it would have been unthinkable to just lump her in with dogs she didn't know and that would have only set her back and put the dogs at risk. Fortunately she is a pretty regular client so there was plenty of opportunity to gently increase her exposure to dogs we knew would cope well with her....dark side.
Fast forward to now and she's improved no end. It's been a gradual thing but if you compare how she was initially in February to how she is now she's like a different dog. She's not perfect but I honestly think she'll continue to get better and better. She knows about 10 of the other dogs so is actually an easy dog to work into my scheduling each week. Her behaviour around them is very good and it's rare now that she reacts at all and if she does begin to 'go' she snaps out of it with is snapped out of it with ease, usually a short, sharp 'tsssk' noise gets her attention back on me and we can move on from there. Our next mission is to try and take her tension levels down around dogs she doesn't know as this is now where almost all of her anxiety comes from.
Delilah is much more that just a narky dog though, she's gots bags of personality and I can imagine she's great company at home. She's got a mischievous side and did go through a phase of playing hide and seek when we picked her up, fortunately we now usually find her on her bed, legs akimbo or pretending she's been eaten by the sofa!
Well done Delilah. I will fetch you some treats and your certificate later this week.
I am very pleased to award the latest dog of the month award to Pearl. She hasn't been with us all that long, just 3 months in fact but in that short time we've quickly grown to love her.
Pearl is an 8 year old Staffy and is quite the character. She's always super happy to see us and she gets so excited that she just can't keep still for long enough for you to put her harness and collar on. You can't help but laugh at her though as she just can't contain her excitement. She's borderline 'about to wet herself' literally every time but thankfully she has managed to contain herself, so far anyway!
On the walks she's a happy and relaxed dog, she likes her own space and prefers to be with quieter dogs. We usually walk her in a pack of 3 dogs but she knows 9 or 10 dogs altogether and she gets on very well with all of them. She's a great addition to the gang and we hope to be walking her for many years to come.
Well done Pearl!
The quick answer to that question is that it's up to you! If you've read up on the pro's and con's of having your male dog neutered and you still wish to leave him intact then that's great, go for it! This decision is a very personal one and for some dog owners the decision is a no brainer and for others they wrestle with the idea and find it hard to know what to do for the best.
Here's my thoughts on the matter. I won't go into the medical implications at all as there's lots of information on Google regarding that and I'd just be rehashing stuff from other websites.
Coastal Dog Walkers have been walking dogs for 5 years now and to begin with we'd take on any dog, any breed, any temperament and we wouldn't give any real consideration to whether a male dog was intact or not. In hindsight this was a little naive as over time we began to notice one thing that had not crossed our minds when we started out; intact males can attract trouble from other male dogs.
Allow me to explain and expand on that statement. Some of the loveliest dogs we've ever walked have been intact male dogs, in fact the first dogs we ever took on was a fantastic Labrador called Lewis. He was THE most gentle and loving dog and you could walk him with any other dog and he'd never be any bother. However as time passed we noticed that on occasion another male dog would get very agitated in Lewis's company or a dog that we walked past would react to him in an aggressive manner. Lewis never instigated any of this behavior and never even reacted to it as he was always super chilled. We thought it was odd but never really put two and two together.
Over the next couple of years we took on other intact male dogs and on occasion we had similar experiences with all of them, i.e. for no reason apparent to us another male would just act up and be aggressive towards them for no apparent reason.
We then spoke to some dog behaviourist colleagues and did a bit of Googling and suddenly everything fell into place - non neutered male dogs can sometimes provoke an unwanted response from a neutered male dog. The exact reasons for this seem to be open to discussion but in our experience this unwanted behavior toward uncastrated males is a very real thing.
As a consequence we no longer take on new clients with male dogs who are intact, the only exception to that is puppies who in time will have the operation usually at around 6 to 8 months old. For us it's just not worth the inherent risk. As a North Shields dog walker we are responsible for a lot of your dogs and our underlying thought in everything we do is always your dog's safety.
On a personal note I'd like to add that our own dog Buzz and his predecessor Elwood were both castrated, they were both rescue dogs and the rescue centres usually always give their male dogs the snip before rehoming them but even if they hadn't we would have put both dogs in for the operation - after all no one wants a humpy dog around the house!
We'd love to hear your thoughts - is your dog intact? What have been your experiences if you have an intact male dog?
This is Lewis by the way. Still my favourite Labrador x
Tilly has been awarded the coveted prize for dog of the month (August 2019). Tilly has only been with us since early June so it's great to see a relatively new dog win this coveted prize!
Tilly is an older girl, (don't worry Tilly I won't give your age away). She's a Bichon Frise X Yorkshire Terrier and has the cutest little face. She settled in very quickly and has continued to gain in confidence in the 3 months she's been on board. She's a brilliant dog for a dog walker to have on board as she's just one of those dogs that's happy to mix with any of the other pooches in the pack, she gets on well with everyone, human or canine.
Well done Tilly, i'll drop your prize and certificate off later this week.
So about a month ago we began a collection for the animals at the RSPCA shelter (Newcastle branch). This was something we'd thought of doing a few months ago and finally found some time to make it happen in the middle of July. The collection itself ran for just under 3 weeks and we had a couple of 'drop off points' in our local area. Big thanks to Doggy Delish Deli in North Shields and Children of the Revolution in Tynemouth for giving up space in their stores for your donations.
As a North Shields dog walker we really wanted to help a local dog charity and also the RSPCA was the place we got our own dog, Buzz from in 2016 so it made sense to choose them as the benefactor of our efforts. We also walk dogs for Louise (hi Louise!) who is in charge of the local adoptions for the charity so if we needed another reason to choose the RSPCA then that was it!
We really appreciate those people who made the effort and dropped things in - the dogs will get the benefit of the bedding, blanket, food, toys, treats, leads and everything else for a long time to come I'm certain.
Thanks again and look out for this collection next summer as we are planing on doing it all over again.
Please share this post as it helps raise awareness for the charity. If you'd still like to donate just pop your donations into the Whitley Bay branch of the RSPCA and mark your donations with the word 'kennels' and it will be taken up to the cats and dogs.
Here we are putting some of your donations into the RSPCA van the other day and here's one of the dogs who's looking for a new home already enjoying one of the toys.
This months coveted Dog of the Month prize actually goes to 2 dogs, Max and Mae. Well I couldn't give to one without giving to the other! These 2 gorgeous dogs have been with us since 2015 and we've had them both on the books since they were puppies. Mae came first and Max was adopted later and it may have been 2016 when Max came on the scene. He was already 6 months old when his owner brought him home to meet Mae who by that time had pretty much gone through the puppy stage and was a happy go lucky young dog (I bet she didn't know what was going on when Max came to stay!).
Mae is a Border Collie and is very loving. She is happy to accept any dog into the pack and is just a really friendly and confident girl. When she was a puppy she went through a stage for a couple of months where her favourite thing to do was to undo my shoelaces whilst we were out walking. She still has a mischievous streak even though now she is older. I no longer have to double knot my laces though.
Max is a Belgian Shepherd and he's been Mae's little brother ever since he was rescued at age 6 months. He's a big lump of a dog but is actually very good on the lead and although he can be reactive to male dogs we encounter he is getting better and will continue to improve as he gets older.
Both dogs live together and get on really well. Mae's in charge though!
At coastal Dog Walkers we walk your dog - I know that sounds like a super obvious thing to say as surely all dog walking businesses do that don't they? Well yes and no. Read on McDuff...
Unlike many other dog walkers we mainly walk your dog from your front door, we walk them out for a specified amount of time and then we walk them home again. I think we're unique in that respect as other dog walking businesses in our area seem to round up all of their dogs in a vehicle of some sort and head somewhere where all of those dogs can run about and have a jolly old time and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that but that's not how we do things. Don't get me wrong there are occasions when we might have one dog that lives in North Shields and two dogs that live Whitley Bay and it makes sense to transport the single dog to the pair of dogs but that's really about as much as we ever rely on a vehicle.
What I'm seeing is more and more vans, small and large whizzing about and collecting dogs en masse . I know there are multiple dogs in the vans as I can see and hear them in there when I walk by but I literally never see those dogs being walked as I guess the dogs end up in places like the Rising Sun or one of the beaches and are managed from there by their handler. I'm sure that's wonderful for those dogs that love having a good run about off lead but that's not all dogs. You may have a nervous dog or a older dog that prefers being walked on lead. You may have a younger dog that you would like to be walked in a small group to improve his social skills or lead work.
When I started Coastal Dog Walkers in 2015 I wrongly assumed that all dog walking businesses worked in the same way we do but I now know that we're different (I'm not saying better, keep ya wigs on!) and I genuinely don't mind being a bit different as I've never been a one to follow the crowd.
So if you're looking for a dog walker then there is more than one option out there for you. My advice is to do your homework and choose the right one for you and your dog.
Hopefully our way will suit your needs.
All of our walks are on lead. We never let any dogs run loose. I get that will put off some people who are looking for a dog walker but after doing this job for 5 years I also know that there are lots of dog owners out there that prefer our approach, horses for courses and all that. Our packs are small. No big groups. Your dog will be cared for and walked with friendly dogs in areas it's already familiar with. Our small team has bags of experience and I'd love for you to be our next customer!
Coastal Dog Walkers
We all know that dogs die in hot cars and yet every now and then we all see a dog in a car on a hot summers day so just what should you do when you see a distressed dog trapped in a hot car?
There are a few things you can do before you might consider the need to gain access forcibly. You could look around for the owner, maybe there's a pay and display ticket in the car which will give you a good idea on how long the dog has been in the car and perhaps how soon the owner is likely to return to the car. Perhaps the owner is in a nearby store or cafe, it may be worth a quick look if you feel you have time.
If the dog is clearly distressed ring 999. According to the Ask the Police guidelines the first thing you should do is to ring them if you see a distressed dog in a vehicle.
I also found this advice online which makes sense to me if the dog is distressed and you cannot quickly locate the owner:
1. Call the police and ask for their assistance.
2. If the police can't attend but the dog is in desperate need of help you may consider taking further action.
3. Explain to the police what you intend to do.
4. Take a photo of the dog trapped in the car.
5. Take the name and number of any witnesses.
6. If you do forcibly gain access to the car you should be willing to defend your actions in court.
Hopefully you'll never find yourself in this situation but if you do then I think doing 'something' is better than doing nothing at all.
After much consideration the panel have chosen Leo as the Coastal Dog Walkers Dog of the Month for June. Well done Leo!!!
We've been walking Leo since August last year and he is a much loved dog. Graeme, Julie and I all love him to bits and he's always happy to go for a nice long walk and you simply cannot tire him out. He's a very handsome looking dog and we think he's a Picard, which is a breed of dog I had never heard of before Leo. Picard's are are believed to be the oldest French Sheepdogs breed and are affectionate, easy to train and have a lot of energy - this describes Leo well as he is all those things and more.
Initially his owner was perhaps a little wary about him around other dogs as he had a tendency to bark at dogs he doesn't know. However Leo quickly showed us that actually he was a very friendly dog and after an initial bark he would happily accept any dog that we introduced him to. He regularly walks with Indie, Murphy, Jacob, Lola, Ralph and Delilah but has been out with pretty much every dog on the books in the past 12 months.
Recently Leo alerted me to a thunderstorm in the distance although I didn't realise that until the storm was audible to me. About 10 minutes before I heard the storm he started barking, jumping up and generally trying to get my attention. As we were at the end of our walk anyway I took him back home. A few minutes later I heard the storm and the heavens opened. Next time Leo warns me of an impending storm hopefully I'll pick up on his message and head for shelter!
Coastal Dog Walkers
Welcome to the occasional ramblings of a North Shields dog walker.