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  1. While treating a dog I may sometimes need to use a muzzle, either for part of a treatment or the whole thing. While things like the Muzzle Up project have worked to remove some of the stigma around dog’s wearing muzzles, owners can be taken aback when I request that they muzzle their dog. They know their dog is friendly and can take it personally, as if I’ve suggested that their dog is aggressive or badly trained.

  2. Whether it’s becoming more common, or I just notice it more because of my job, I feel as though I’m seeing more dogs than ever with that familiar hop, hop, skip action when walking. Although it’s usually associated with terriers, it’s reasonably common in other small breeds too, but can affect any dog. Where possible I chat to owners about it, and nearly always get told “it’s just a terrier thing” or “ he’s always done that.” It seems to be so common and widely accepted that the hop and skip gait, and even walking predominantly on three legs, isn’t seen as cause for concern and is dismissed as a breed trait.

  3. Firstly, let me start by saying that I am all for the appropriate use of cool coats. I know some dogs that feel the heat really benefit from them, in particular a lot of black dogs that otherwise just seem to absorb heat in their coats. And on days like today where temperatures are set to hit 30 degrees, I know some people that are having to use them even in the house to give their dogs a little relief.

  4. When you’re seeing something not quite right in your dogs sporting performance it can be difficult to know whether it’s injury related, a training problem, or even down to something like the environment. And of course everyone who watches you will have an opinion they’ll want to share with you! You’ll be told it’s physical, due to poor training, totally normal, or stress related. And of course you’ll be given so many stories of how others solved it. So how can you tell whether a behaviour is due to injury or training?

  5. Having just seen four days of incredible agility at Crufts, many people will have been inspired to have a go with their pet dog. Some will want to have a go for fun with no thoughts of competition, while others will dream of getting to the green carpet of Crufts themselves.

    But can any dog take part?
    One of the things I love most about agility is how inclusive it is. Dogs of any breed and background can take part, and all abilities are catered for. But this inclusivity does mean that it is up to the individual owner to determine whether their dog should do agility. For while any dog is able to, it doesn’t mean that agility is the right choice for every dog.
  6. While talking to people about canine massage, the most common response has been "it sounds great, but there's no way my dog will lie still for that long." I'm sure people are picturing human massage, where we lie flat and relax, only moving when we're told to roll over. 

    I won't deny it, my job would be much easier if dogs did the same. But in reality very few dogs will lie still for the whole treatment, especially if it's their first one. It's not a natural or comfortable position for some dogs to lie in, and must feel vulnerable to lie like that, especially with a stranger working on them.