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It's a dog's life
Interview with Annette Conn, Animal Behaviourist specialist
from BBC's Celebrity Dog School and Phil Buckley, Kennel Club 

If you've ever wondered why your dog chews up your shoes, whether your dog understands you when you shout their name, or why you just can't get Fido to sit then help is at hand!

 

Anna wants to know:"Can my dog enter Discover Dogs or can I bring my dog along to the event?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: Unfortunately not, as we have to guarantee the temperament of the dogs in attendance at the event, so it will be difficult for the public to bring their dogs in. More than welcome to buy a present for your dog at the event!

 

 

Mo wants to know:"Is there a connection between Discover Dogs and Crufts?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: Yes, about ten years ago, we did a survey at Crufts, where we already had a Discover Dogs area and found that 90% of visitors to Crufts attended the Discover Dogs area. It has proven so popular that we launched it as a stand alone event at Earl's Court 2 nine years ago and it continues to go from strength to strength.

 

 

Andrew wants to know:"What is Discover Dogs and what is there for dog lovers like myself to see and do?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: We like to say that if you like dogs, you will absolutely love this event. As well as pedigree dogs you can witness cross breeds, mongrels, displays by the metropolitan police, scrufts final, companion dog of the year final and junior warrant competition winner. We will also have the Crufts Best in Show dog from 2003 and we like to talk of this event as our cornucopia of canines!!!

 

 

Andrew wants to know:"What is Discover Dogs and what is there for dog lovers like myself to see and do?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... Annette: There will be over 180 different breeds for the public to meet in person, where they can discuss the breed characteristics with experts of that breed. There are also, over a hundred trade stands where you can buy fantastic Christmas presents for your dog, your friends and yourself.

 

 

Gem wants to know:"I really want a dog but my partner says its unfair as we are both out at work all day – what’s your opinion?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: The difficulty with being at work all day is that dogs are extremely social animals and really need company and normally the longest a dog can be left for is a maximum of four hours, so the only way it might work is if you have a network of friends and family or dog walkers or minders who can look after the dog for you during the working day.

 

 

Gem wants to know:"I really want a dog but my partner says its unfair as we are both out at work all day – what’s your opinion?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... Phil: I personally employ a dog walker and it works very very well. I would suggest that you get references if you go down this route and spend an hour with the dog and the prospective walker, to make sure the dog is happy with the situation.

 

 

Jules wants to know: "I have a Red Setter and I've been told he's 'untrainable' as are most of his breed. I know he's very lively but is that fair?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: I don’t believe that any dog is untrainable, although some are more difficult than others. The trick is to find a really good dog trainer, who can help you find the right motivation and rewards to train your dog.

 

 

Alice wants to know:"I am thinking of getting a dog - what breed of dog is the easiest to train? and what would be your training nightmare?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annnette: I find that dogs that were bred to be companions such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or The Pappilion make very easy companions and are easy to train and that dogs like Weimaraners are very difficult to train and handle. What kind of dog would suit you best, depends on your home circumstances and how much time and effort you 're prepared to invest in the early days...

 

 

Alice wants to know:"I am thinking of getting a dog - what breed of dog is the easiest to train? and what would be your training nightmare?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... I would discuss this subject with your vet and local dog trainers to get their opinion on what kind of dog might suit you best and then I would discuss this with prospective breeders, or the Breed Rescue Society who will give you a gritty realistic lowdown of what to expect from each breed of dog.

 

 

Caroline wants to know:"What’s the best way to toilet train my puppy?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: First and most important thing, is to feed your dog regularly and only feed the recommended amount. if you have regular input, you should get regular output!!! Puppies will always want to wee when they wake up, during play, 15 minutes after eating and they normally want to poo up to half an hour after eating...

 

Annette and Phil

 ... It is important to go into the garden with your dog, so that you can be there to teach it the correct word (say wee wee or poo poo) as it performs and to give a reward where it did its business. Try not to say "good girl or good boy" as it performs or you can guess what will happen the next time someone praises your dog...

Annette and Phil

 ...Don't leave your puppy unsupervised in the garden otherwise it will think the garden is an adventure playground rather than a latrine. And don't put newspaper down unless you are not there or at night time, otherwise you will be unwittingly training your puppy to toilet indoors.

 

Nadine Simpson wants to know:"I have a one-year-old Beagle bitch and she's a lovely obedient dog until she gets the slightest whiff of food. Last Sunday we had a roast in the oven and she went for anyone who came into the kitchen as the food was being served. What can I do?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: This can be quite common with hounds, to whom the smell oif roast dinner is like a lottery win. The best thing you can do under these circumstances is keep her out of the kitchen during these occasions, however, if the food aggression extends beyond this situation, I would seek professional help and you can ask your vet to recommend you a good dog behaviour therapist to give you more detailed advise on this matter...

 

 

Nadine Simpson wants to know:"I have a one-year-old Beagle bitch and she's a lovely obedient dog until she gets the slightest whiff of food. Last Sunday we had a roast in the oven and she went for anyone who came into the kitchen as the food was being served. What can I do?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... Whenever you are dealing with aggression problems it makes sense to get proper help before it's too late.

 

 

Petra wants to know:"My husband and I are considering getting a dog, as my mate's dog is about to have pups. While we both love the idea we are worried about the reality and therefore would like to know the main things we should think about before we make a decision?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: It's very important that you make the right choice in the first instance. If it's a pedigree dog will its temperament and exercise requirements, for example, fit in to your lifestyle and can you provide it with love and attention and training throughout its life. The Kennel Club estimates that it costs £1000 a year at least to look after a dog correctly and this financial factor should of course be a consideration...

 

 

Petra wants to know:"My husband and I are considering getting a dog, as my mate's dog is about to have pups. While we both love the idea we are worried about the reality and therefore would like to know the main things we should think about before we make a decision?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... Annette: There are many other factors to be considered before getting a dog. Dogs can be very disruptive to your lifestyle, they require lots of exercise, even when it's cold dark and raining, they require training, grooming and they need to be taught manners. They can have behaviour problems and can chamge a nice clean neat home into complete bedlam in seconds...

 

 

Petra wants to know:"My husband and I are considering getting a dog, as my mate's dog is about to have pups. While we both love the idea we are worried about the reality and therefore would like to know the main things we should think about before we make a decision?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... Most of the behaviour problems that I get called out to see could have been prevented had people been more realistic in their expectations of having a dog. The first chapter of my book 'It's a Dogs Life' explains the consideration that are required before committing to a dog.

 

 

Joyce Window wants to know:"Hi - Could you please tell me if the smooth version of the Griffon Bruxellois - The Petit Brabacon is recognised by the KC, and do you know the names of any breeders please." 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: We recognise the Griffon Bruxellois but currently not the Brabacon. If you call The Kennel Club on 0870 606 6750 and ask to speak to our information section they will be able to inform you as to whether recognition of this breed has been applied for.

 

 

dd wants to know:"My dog is very temperamental when it comes to meeting other dogs. Sometimes he is fine but other times he is quite aggressive. I have taken him to classes but I never know how he will react! He is a Miniature Schnauzer." 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: This can be for a lot of reasons and the advice would depend on the cause. In general terms most male dogs that are not neutered can be temperamental with other males, but fine with females and other puppies in which case neuturing might help to solve the problem. If however, the problem is fear based then the dog needs to be socialised with appropriate dogs to overcome its fears...

 

 

dd wants to know:"My dog is very temperamental when it comes to meeting other dogs. Sometimes he is fine but other times he is quite aggressive. I have taken him to classes but I never know how he will react! He is a Miniature Schnauzer." 

Annette and Phil said:

... In any case this is one of those situations where you would do well to seek professional advice.

 

 

Darren wants to know:"I have always had mongrels that I think are gorgeous but can't enter them into competitions because they don't fit the classic breed definitions required at the snobby shows. Where can I enter my dog for fun?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: Believe it or not since the 1970's The Kennel Club has accepted for registration non pedigree dogs on our obedient and working trials register. We have recently launched our Companion Dog Club and now licence Companion Dog Club shows where all dogs can take part, obviously including mongrels and cross breeds...

 

 

Darren wants to know:"I have always had mongrels that I think are gorgeous but can't enter them into competitions because they don't fit the classic breed definitions required at the snobby shows. Where can I enter my dog for fun?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... If you come to Discover Dogs, you will be able to see the finals of these heats and for your nearest Companion Dog Show please contact the The Kennel Club on 0870 606 6750 and ask to speak to our Shows Dept.

 

 

Victoria wants to know:"I have a yorkie cross which has no papers can I enter her for Scruffts if not what other top show can we aim for? Please help as I would love to show her." 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: Yep, you can enter her in the Companion Dog Shows that Phil has just mentioned as well as The Scruffts family dog of the year competition. You can get details of both of these from The Kennel Club website on www.the-kennel-club.org.uk and www.discover-dogs.org.uk

 

 

Bebe wants to know:"How important is training for competition? I have been told that my borzoi could be a show dog, but his behaviour is not great, will this stop my dog having his day?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: If you are considering showing your dog, you should go to what are called Ringcraft classes that teach your dog the basics of dog training, but they are tailored very much to the dogs movement and presentation in the Show Ring.

 

 

Trace wants to know:"I've seen Paris Hilton carrying her dog in her handbag - do you think that is cruel?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: We would recommend that dogs are treated as dogs and not a fashion accessory. Some owners do tend to get carried away with treating the dog like a baby and this is certainly not in the dogs best interest.

 

 

C wants to know:"Annette, Who impressed you most with their dog training on the dog school programme and why?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: I like the fact that it brought dog training to public eye in a fun way. Dog training in the past was very millitary and this may have put people off. However, today things have evolved enormously and dog training can and should be fun for the dogs and the owners as well as the training instructors.

 

 

Hebe wants to know:"My dog is 15 and still won't do as she's told is it too late to try and train her? Can you teach an old dog new tricks?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: You can teach an old dog new tricks as long as she is physically up for it. See what she like best, it might be a piece of chicken, her favourite toy, or a great fuss and see if she is prepared to do a trade off. If she is very old, and geriatric it may be best just to enjoy her as she is.

 

 

Keri wants to know:"What breed of dog have you got and why did you choose that breed?"  

Annette and Phil said:

Phil: I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which I chose as I like the look of the breed, believe it or not they are very easy to train and are a joy to own provided that they are housed with responsible owners...

 

 

Keri wants to know:"What breed of dog have you got and why did you choose that breed?"  

Annette and Phil said:

...Annette: I don't have a dog at present because my work keeps me away from home for far too long to leave a dog alone. One has to practice what one preaches, however, I enjoy a huge extended family of dogs that I meet through my work as a dog behaviour therapist and at the Rescue Home where I help out and at my dog training classes.

 

 

Monty wants to know:"What is it that you love most about dogs?" 

Annette and Phil said:

Annette: I love the fact that they give you unconditional love, are terribly humourous and better company than most people I know...

 

 

Monty wants to know:"What is it that you love most about dogs?" 

Annette and Phil said:

... Phil: Plus they don't answer back!!! If you do come to Discover Dogs you will see a host of reasons why we are a nation of dog lovers. Discover Dogs is a celebration of all things Canine and will provide something for everybody... So we hope to see your there!

 

Annette and Phil

 Thank you and farewell. We hope to see you at the Discover Dogs Show at Earls Court 2 on 13th & 14th November. www.discover-dogs.org.uk