Thursday, 23 December 2010

Don't count your chickens - or your turkeys...

Rosie our designer has not long moved house so doesn't yet have a freezer. At the supermarket they were giving away large frozen turkeys if you spent over £80 so she decided to have one and buried it in the snow outside till she could take it to her sister's.
Rosie has a very elderly Staffie called Molly. When Molly went missing for a little while Rosie grew concerned as she has been known to wander off and fall down holes etc.
Rosie went outside to find a very, very happy Molly indeed who obviosuly thought Xmas had come early.
Look at how much she ate, not bad for her ancient old teeth!
 

We all knew they were clever...

.... but now there is scientific proof. New Scientist carries a report of Chaser, a Border Collie that knos the name of 1022 objects and can reliably fetch them when required. The dog is also able to sort them into shape and function - something that a three year old child would be able to do.

Thanks to the Daily Mail phoning me up for a quote yesterday I know that the latest edition of New Scientist includes the story in depth:

"To find out whether there was a limit to the number of words a border collie could learn, psychologists Alliston Reid and John Pilley of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, started an intensive training programme with Chaser.
"Over three years, they taught the collie the names of 1022 toys by introducing them to her one by one, getting her to fetch the toy and then repeating the name to reinforce the association.
"The team regularly tested Chaser on her entire vocabulary. Groups of 20 toys were chosen at random and put in a separate room from where Chaser had to retrieve them by name. The toys were in another room so the trainer would not unintentionally give Chaser cues about which toy to choose. According to Reid, the dog completed 838 of these tests over 3 years and never got less than 18 out of 20 right (Behavioural Processes, DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.11.007)."


This is obviously a big leap for the scientific community but possibly just reinforces many owners' existing belief that their dog understands every word they say.
Other great milestones in doggie intelligence:
The first day Endal helped his wheelchair bound owner without being asked by helping him to use the cash point machine.
Vicki McCleod's super-dogs that started attempting to speak and unlike a parrot used this ability to ask for things they wanted!

Can you think of any other significant advances?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Oh no, I am ashamed to say that this made me laugh...



This advert is so very obviously very wrong, but it still made me laugh in the same way I laugh at bad taste disaster jokes! The biggest offence is Harvey Nicks comment on You Tube that,
"Harvey Nichols wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas. The must-have accessory this Christmas is canine."

Harvey Nicks don't sell puppies thankfully, but they do next door at Harrods.
Do we have the strength for another campaign against a major retailer...? And I can see from the comments on You Tube that war has already broken out.
But I thought I'd share it with you and listen to what you think.
Surely a chunky donation to Dogs Trust is in order at the very least for 'borrowing' their slogan to actually encourage the buying of dogs at Christmas...

Just got this comment in from Clarissa Baldwin OBE, the Chief Executive of Dogs Trust and the inventor of the phrase "A dog is for life not just Christmas":

 “Dogs Trust is deeply disappointed and concerned by the content of this Harvey Nichols advert. While it may be intended as a tongue in cheek reference to the Dogs Trust slogan ‘A Dog is For Life, Not Just For Christmas’, the depiction of dogs as gifts is extremely irresponsible and undermines the serious message behind this famous saying, which was born out of a need to prevent dogs from being bought as presents for Christmas only to be discarded when the novelty wears off.
 
"There will be some who view this advert at face value and see nothing wrong with purchasing a puppy on a whim as a gift. Wrapping up dogs with bows and gift tags for humour’s sake is in poor taste and we would strongly urge Harvey Nichols to rethink this advert. We have made contact with Harvey Nichols directly to open up a dialogue about this and we would welcome a response.”

and a comment just in from Wood Green:
Head of Animal Welfare Shelley Wooding said: “While we can see from the final clip of the advert that Harvey Nichols is trying to emphasise the point that dogs are for life and not just for Christmas, there are a number of animal welfare issues within the advert which sadly over look this key message.
"Dogs are not accessories that can be stored in a handbag or even a drawer. Dogs are living beings which are too often thought of as an accessory that can be discarded or replaced like the latest fashions.
As a result of this, their emotional and physical needs are over looked and they are unable to express their natural behaviours.
Adverts like this do nothing to deter people from treating pets as accessories and instead as the life-long commitment and cherished part of the family that they are.”
 

Monday, 6 December 2010

Harrods protest

News received from Mandy, one of the protesters:

Campaigners from the anti-puppy farming groups Puppy Love and SPEC and from the rescue site Dogpages organised a peaceful protest at Harrods last Saturday. We are campaigning against the sale of puppies in pet shops and although Harrods might have better welfare than some other pet shops a department store like this should not be selling puppies. Harrods are a high profile store and should set an example by stopping the sale of puppies immediately.

There was a lot of publicity all over the internet beforehand which has also raised awareness about pet shop puppies and puppy farming. We were hoping for a big turnout because of this but the weather and transport problems prevented many people from getting there. We had a dozen people there and handed out at least 300 leaflets. We also talked to a lot of people many of whom had no idea that Harrods sold puppies or that it was legal to sell puppies in shops or about puppy farming.

We gave Harrods a petition with very nearly 2,000 signatures and a lot of very good comments on it. There were more signatures on paper petitions that had been delayed in the post because of the snow and these will be added to the online one. This petition will carry on and Harrods will be reminded about it regularly.

The campaign will continue and we will go back to Harrods next year. There are also protests at other pet shops all over the country including monthly ones at Dogs4Us at Leeds. Please get involved and together we can make a difference.


I'll let you know of any future protests as I get to hear of them. I have to say even getting a dozen people to turn out in this dreadful weather was fantastic.

Details of next pet shop protest: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150105747043060&set=a.71710688059.99429.20069898059#!/event.php?eid=175947935756308 

And click here to see previous protests and more info.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Farm fresh and nervously waiting a new life...

Many Tears has some young, quite damaged Beardies looking for homes on their website and this has sparked a lively debate among Beardie people as to what should be done.  (Frost, seen above, is five)
It is likley these have been puppy farm dogs and we are to be grateful they are there no longer. They all look of good type and doubtless a couple of generations back there will be kennel names we all recognise.
The young dogs are very thin, they were covered in lice. They are all nervous.
Beardie rescue probably have good people waiting and lots of funds in the bank.
Should they just give Many Tears some money and take it from here?
Some are saying, however, that paying the adoption fee rather than just the expenses is wrong and that rescues should hand over any pedigree dogs to breed rescue where they exist.
A counter argument is why should the rescues not charge a fee for normally quite 'desirable' pedigrees as no one is offering to take all their Staffie crossesoff their hands and they're only using the funds to help other dogs.
And it has been pointed out that Many Tears is not a registered charity. Does it matter?
My view is Many Tears do an amazing job of wrestling dogs out of puppy farms that may otherwise just end up dead and dead in an often inhumane way.
I support the Many Tears ethic and I vote that Beardie Rescue pays the adoption fee in full and then uses their expertise to find these gorgeous gentle neglected dogs Beardie appropriate homes.
I am pleased to see the most shy has a reserved notice against her name. It was her sad face that I was seeing as I closed my eyes to go to sleep. I would love to take them all, but I'm sure someone with more time will coax these lovely dogs back to full Beardie bounce levels.
What do you think? Do check out all the dogs looking for homes on Many Tears, they do a fantastic job IMO.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Caption time!

This month the top prize wins a Nina Ottosson Dog Finder,

courtesy of The Company of Animals and five runners-up will each receive a tub of Coachies training treats, for either adult dogs or puppies.

Send your best captions to comps@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk - we'll be judging the caption on Monday at 1pm, so don't miss it!

Here's the fantastic photo of Mr Custard who also features on our blog about CV247





Do you know who Wee Barney's parents are?




If you are the first to guess the two breeds who make up this gorgeous dog you can win a book of your choice from Interpet.

Send you best guesses to comps@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk asap. First correct entry by email gets the prize.

I personally don't think this is so very difficult - two well known breeds. Clues to follow if no correct guesses.

FIRST CLUE: A directional-ish dog and a brand of chocolate

It's all over - Emma Faulkner has won it - Yorkie cross Westie. Congratulations. Caption competition up next! And don't forget of to enter the Dogs Trust facebook page for the daily competition... win a Furminator today!