A big “Thumbs Up NZ” for the lack of imagination & foresight and daring to be different. The new proposed dog control laws, leave a lot to be desired.

A big “Thumbs Up NZ” for the lack of imagination & foresight and daring to be different. The new proposed dog control laws, leave a lot to be desired.

This will probably be, my first and last article I write on this subject because quite honestly, its enough to make a person pull their hair out, in frustration and disgust.

I am not going to get caught up in the fray and ramble on emotively, there are plenty of people out there, who without a doubt, are more qualified at emotive and unproductive rambling, than I.

The number of dog attacks/ bites have been slowly increasing over a number of years, there are many reasons for that, the theme however always seems to remain the same.

NZ has a spate of reported dog attacks/bites.  Reports in the media usually lead to a feeding frenzy of emotive rants, raves & ideas on how to solve the “dangerous dog problem”. This theme seems to be repeated every time a serious attack story hits the media.

Common sense facts and solutions, are what is needed, not emotive rants and raves. I have been an advocate of dog safety education for all (children & adults) for a very long time and I have to say, “Lets get real, is the dog really to blame?”

When I refer to dog safety,  I mean teaching both children and adults,  how to act, behave and stay safe, when in the company of dogs, it’s about teaching and keeping both dogs and people safe. 77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog.

Personally, I have found that most dog bites & attacks are caused by inappropriate interactions with a dog. There’s a real culture of “she’ll be right”, or “oh Fluffy wouldn’t bite – he’s bomb proof”. People are complacent and usually not aware of the warning signs.

Indeed in a recent online survey commissioned by Hon Louise Upston  (associate minister of local government) which ran from 1st August 2016 – until 14th August 2016. The need for more education was indeed one of the things identified, yet it seems one of the last things on the “to do” list.

Yet, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is often mentioned.  For those of you who don’t know what BSL is, it’s laws or legislation based on the breed your dog is, or in some cases what people think your dog is if you’re not sure. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a quick fix solution that worldwide, is known not to work! However, it has the potential to cost a lot of dogs their lives. So why look at adopting it? Is it to placate the uneducated & uninformed, while trying to curry favour, with the general public?

 Why not, dare to be different, how hard can it be, to research and maybe try something new.

For example take a look at: How Calgary reduced dog attacks without banning pit bulls  Briefly, they changed from the “standard animal control model” to a “responsible pet owner model” education is a big thing, all schools are visited every year, dog owners are urged to get training for their dog if problems arise and so on. Read the article, it is food for thought.

In a recent article published on Radio NZ web site 23rd September 2016 an article titled:

Dog law change would make dangerous breeds extinct in NZ :

Mr Les Dalton (Institute of Animal Management president) said the new measures were well overdue.

“It’s something that needed to be done. We’ve had far too many children being mauled by pit bull-type dogs and dogs that had the content of the wrong breed in them. Would you put your grandchild or little daughter or little son in the lounge with a pitbull and leave them alone with the child?”  A very emotive statement, to say the least.

Maybe, Mr Dalton needs to be taught some basic dog safety education. You should never leave any dog, irrespective of the breed, alone with a child or even some adults for that matter. (dog safety 101, folks!)

All dogs can bite, even “GOOD WELL TRAINED DOGS” if they are teased, hit, abused or put in situations THEY find uncomfortable. People need to be taught how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. “All animals speak to us, including dogs, if we as humans, choose to watch, listen and learn”. Dogs need us to protect & respect them.

Having a well trained dog isn’t enough, basic dog safety/dog bite prevention, should be taught in all schools, while I know in some areas of NZ, it is being done. I am also aware  “Funding” is an issue. If NZ wants to turn the tide and is serious about reducing the dog bite statistics, make the funding available.

The old saying, “talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is, or shut the bleep up” springs to mind.

Now, this suggestion may or may not be popular and yes it will not reach everyone but its a proactive start.

How about anyone involved with dogs.  All dog trainers, vets, pet shops and behaviourists  hand out information and discuss basic dog safety and the dog control act with their clients? It’s easy enough to make up FAQ sheets or even print something off the internet and hand them out. I’d also be interested to hear from any trainer, club, vet who is doing this, apart from myself.

 Also, rescues, SPCA, Plunket and the like, are on the front lines so to speak. It’s a great opportunity to educate your clients and help turn the tide.

Even “GOOD HUMANS” will react if they’re pushed, teased or threatened – so why do we put our pets in potentially life threatening situations?





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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in About


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Dog Training Classes, Woodville & Ashhurst, Palmerston North. Sunday 9th October 2016 @ 10am Woodville, & 2pm Ashhurst, Small classes min 3 max no 6. Means more time spent with you and your dog. “Book Now” to secure your place.

Dog Training Classes, Woodville & Ashhurst, Palmerston North. Sunday 9th October 2016 @ 10am Woodville, & 2pm Ashhurst, Small classes min 3 max no 6. Means more time spent with you and your dog. “Book Now” to secure your place.

Dog Training Classes with an expert dog trainer and behaviorist The course is very comprehensive and unlike others, covers more than just dog obedience & dog behaviour.

Small classes max no 5, Min 3, so you will learn more and I can spend more time with you and your dog. unlike some of the larger classes.

To secure your place, Book Now! Start: Ashhurst Domain, Palmerston North Sunday 9th October 2016 @ 2pm & Woodville @ 10am (class will be transferred to the 2pm Ashhurst class if adequate numbers aren’t reached) Suitable for dogs of all ages.

Classes are kept, as age appropriate as possible. I will teach you how to handle your dog in real life situations.

The course teaches you: How to Effectively communicate With Your Dog & How Dogs Communicate With Each Other. Commands: Sit, Stay, Recall, Down, Social Walking (loose lead/heel) Stand, Leave It (visit Turid Rugaas link on this blog to gain a better insight on how dogs communicate, with each other). Covers Minor Behaviour’s Such As: Jumping Up, Digging Holes, Pulling On The Lead etc

My aim is to also promote dog safety & awareness so this class also covers: How to socialize your dog, the right way. Basic dog behaviour & safety around dogs/Dog bite prevention Responsible Dog Ownership/Dog Control Act, Introduction to Canine Parkour (Urban Agility)

Course cost: $110 (FAQ sheets included) runs for 4 weeks (4 x 1 hour sessions) For more information visit:

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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in About


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Dogs, Chicken & Boxes = FUN

Dogs, Chicken & Boxes = FUN

Dogs, chicken & boxes = Fun scent work for you and your dog.  Scent work is a great workout for dogs, it can be both mentally and physically challenging. It can be done indoors or outdoors, so if the weather isn’t that great and your dog is chomping at the bit and maybe driving you crazy, hiding a few treats around the house can give your dog a bit of a work out.

Today we decided to hide chicken in the boxes, they didn’t need a lot of motivation to go and hunt it out. We placed the chicken under and in the boxes, on trees and around a car. below is a few photos I took today of the dogs having a great time, in fact we all had a good time.

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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in About


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The Dog, the Gorilla, and the Gun

This is a great article, very insightful and gives cause, for everyone to stop and think.

The Cognitive Canine

Just a few days ago on May 28th a little boy somehow found his way into the Gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Social media is awash in this story right now, so we all know that a gorilla, Harambe, was shot and killed by the zoo’s dangerous animal response team shortly after the boy entered the gorilla habitat. The boy was removed from the enclosure and is relatively unharmed.

Strong opinions and even stronger feelings are running rampant; and I am not here to argue for or against the decision to end Harambe’s life. The welfare of the little boy was defended only once his life was in peril; while the welfare of the gorilla was considered heavily up until that same point. What would happen if everyone’s safety had been better considered, from moment one? Would Harambe still be alive, and would a four year old boy’s family be happily non-traumatized…

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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in About


Another great video from Stopthe77 for kids on how to greet a dog safely. Pet Pat Pause. Also good for adults to learn as well.

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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in About


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Lets get real, Is the dog really to blame?

Lets get real, Is the dog really to blame?

Well, I feel like I am a broken record saying the same thing over and over again, when it comes to Dog Safety and how to stay safe around dogs.

The reported dog attacks over the last few weeks here in NZ, are certainly a cause for concern but are the dogs really to blame? Easier to blame the dog than the owner or the person who was supposed to be supervising because they can’t stand up for themselves and tell their side of the story.  Dogs don’t just bite, most bites are the caused by inappropriate behaviour by adults and children   as well as people not seeing and reading the dogs warning signs. All too often the dog pays the price, with its life.

77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog and a good percentage of the victims are children. Many, not all, of these bites stem from inappropriate greetings and play as well as, dogs being generally put in, bad situations

While it may be good the media report and highlight these instances they fuel the fire but we “the public” very rarely get to hear the full story.

In my opinion, there are 3 things which have greatly contributed to the rise in dog bites/attacks over the last few years in both children and adults. 77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog and a good percentage of the victims are children. Many, not all, of these bites result from inappropriate greetings and play.

1. Human Complacency.

People feel too comfortable & secure and don’t see or are unaware/oblivious to the potential dangers living with a dog can bring. Dogs have been put on a pedestal, too much is expected of them. They have to act and behave and be good dogs, in any given situation. As if humans would do the same, if the roles were reversed. Dogs are not human they don’t think the same as we do, they need to be treated with respect and understanding. After all we are living with an animal that can move faster than us in everyway, who has teeth that can do a lot of damage and in many cases is stronger than us.  If I were not talking about a dog but another animal, say a Tiger, Horse or even a Cat, would people be so complacent?

2.  A she’ll-be-right attitude, which is quite self explanatory

3. People looking but not seeing.

Lack of supervision, supervision for many  these days means taking a quick glance around at what the dog, kids or other adults are doing while chatting on the phone. working on the computer, having coffee with friends maybe even in another room, going for a walk with your dog and not paying attention to what is going on around you. The list is endless. If you can’t be watching 100% of the time, its quite easy to remove the dog or person/people from the situation, and if you are out walking, leash your dog.

By looking and not seeing, you are not seeing if your dog is, being teased, harassed, bullied or is or is frightened, stressed or distressed. All animals talk to us including dogs, (via body language) if we choose to watch and listen. As humans, we won’t tolerate being teased, harassed or bullied, so why should dogs?  As humans, we may feel frightened, stressed or distressed at times and what do we do?   We seek help, comfort, support, so why not help, comfort and support, dogs. After all they are supposed to be mans best friend, so dog owners need to become educators  so they can teach others including non dog owners, how to act, behave and communicate, when in the company of their dog or anyone else’s.

So what do dogs need from us? they need love, boundaries, rules, guidance, protection, consistency and a safe place to call their own, a place they can go, to have a break, from kids, you, your friends, other dogs and to just chill. They need time spent with them on a daily basis. They need you to understand them and stand up for them, when they are unhappy, stressed, frightened or are being teased, harassed or bullied. They need you to look and see and not to be complacent, and not to be afraid to say NO to that child or adult or even another dog & owner, if their behaviour is unacceptable. Remember, dog owners its ok to say “NO”

Always remember, its your dog, your house, your rules and when you are out its your dog your rules.

These days there is a lot of information about dog safety out there and there is no real reason why people should not be, well informed. I often hear “my dog is good with kids” (maybe be good with your kids but not someone else’s) “my dog won’t bite”(any dog will bite given the right set of circumstances) “my dog is a good dog” even good dogs bite if they are teased, hit, abused or put in a bad situation.

I personally hand out dog safety information along with the training FAQ sheets to all my clients. If they are new expectant parents I cover that also. I find myself now teaching people how to protect themselves when they are out walking, with or without their dog, from unwanted attention from off leash dogs, which in reality, I shouldn’t have to  be doing.

If we want to turn the tide and reduce the number of dog bites/attacks maybe its time that all dog trainers/behaviourists, training clubs, vets who run puppy schools, private trainers, SPCA, Rescues, Schools and Plunket get on board and provide basic dog safety information to their clients, children and parents. All people, (children & adults)) whether they are dog owners or not, need to know how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. All dogs speak to us, if we choose to watch and listen.

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Posted by on May 9, 2016 in About


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Walks & Wags, Dog Walking with “Lyndall”

Walks & Wags, Dog Walking with “Lyndall”

I don’t do this for everyone but Lyndall is great with dogs and I support her and wish her well in her new, dog walking business venture. So without further a do I will let Lyndall tell you a bit about herself and the service she can provide for you and your dog, around the Palmerston North-Linton area.

Hi name is Lyndall, I’ve just started a dog walking business! As you know I call myself a “dog lady” (I’m probably a crazy dog lady – but we can just stick with “dog lady”).
I adore dogs but more importantly I am capable and experienced handling dogs of all shapes and sizes, I’m fully insured and most importantly I 100% promise one on one attention for your pet(s)
I only walk dogs from the same family together and I NEVER let the dogs off lead. I’m aiming to provide the kind of service for my customers, as I would use for myself & my dog. Walks are $15 for 40 minutes (we usually end up going a bit longer) and extra dogs are only $2 each. For more info you can visit my facebook page: I can be contacted on 0210 579 251 or bookings can be made directly from my pawshake page here:

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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in About


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The Cognitive Canine

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