If you would like to pass on your experiences with your puppy, we would love to hear from you.
From the moment we collected our black German Shepherd puppy and put him in the car, we realised he was very anxious just being in the car and during the journey home he was sick several times.
When a dog really hates the car, it is a slow process as he needs time to understand there is nothing to fear and you need to build his confidence. I t might feel like it will take forever before you can even drive round the corner, but if you go at his pace you might find that you can progress through some stages really quickly.
The first stage was for a couple of days walking him on the lead around the car on the driveway with at least one door open, giving him the chance to sniff and become familiar with the smells of a car.
Second stage: on the third day, with both back doors open I brought Jet to one side of the car and my husband called him from the other open door and showing him a treat and our puppy eventually bravely jumped in and was rewarded with a treat and he was allowed to promptly jump back out of the car. This process needs to be repeated for another 2 or 3 days, then you can have someone sitting on the back seat calling your dog. Once he is in, praise him, give him his treat and push the car door closed quietly, then let him stay in the car for just a couple of minutes. If he shows signs of anxiety such as panting, licking his lips or trying to get out, try and re-assure him and distracting him with a toy or a treat. If he doesn’t calm down, first open the window and if he is still stressed, open the door but try and keep him in the car just a bit longer. Again this stage needs to be repeated over several days.
Third stage: the last stage before the engine is even turned on is your dog jumping or being lifted in the back seat and you sitting at the wheel and speaking quietly to your dog and hopefully by then he should start to feel more comfortable in the car.
Fourth stage: once the dog is coping just sitting in the car, turn on the engine and let it run and watch your pooch’s reaction. Some dogs get very worried and others are fine as there is no motion of the car. After 3 days of just sitting in the car on the driveway, I drove around our block which took no more than 4 minutes and Jet started getting anxious. For the next few days I would start the car up and wait for 2 or 3 minutes before driving around the block and on the third day, he just sat quietly and didn’t appear stressed . He therefore got lots of cuddles and treats when we returned. I then felt brave and took him for a short drive on the fourth day but he was sick after 2 miles. That was still progress as 2 weeks before he was too scared to even get in the car.
After another week of going on short journeys and taking the opportunity to stop and take him for a walk during our short journeys, Jet really relaxed and his confidence grew very quickly.
If you have had experiences of your canine refusing to get in the car or have any hints and tips, we would love to hear from you.
If you’re thinking about offering a home to a cat or kitten that’s great news. However there are many factors for you to consider before rushing into a decision that you may regret later. The fact is, too often pets acquired by impulse quite often don’t work out so you have to be sure that the cat coming into your life is right for your family and your lifestyle. Adopting a cat for the first time should be a lifetime commitment, so it is important to do your homework first and that will give you the best chance of a long and happy life together.
It’s very important to be aware of character traits that all cats share. Their qualities include inquisitiveness, cleanliness, affection, patience, dignity, and courage. Cats are very loving creatures, but in order for them to trust and love their owner, they need to be fed regularly, treated kindly and given lots of care, which builds a strong and trustworthy relationship. All cats come fully equipped with retractable claws which are used for hunting and climbing and sometimes help re-design your curtains and carpets. They also come with night-vision goggles in the form of those beautiful green or blue eyes that have more rods and cones than humans do. All cats are born with hunting and chasing instinct, however some will want to hunt more than others. Some cats will want to be out at night and some are happy spending more time indoors. They are predators and you have to be prepared that your cuddly kitty could come home with his dead prey to offer to you as a gift. Remember, although we refer to cat ‘owners’, nobody really owns a cat. They are very independent and can go and find a new owner if they are not happy with the current one!
Most rescue cats will have had at least one home. Sometimes many more and it is important to find out as much as you can about the cat’s previous home.
• Do you have other pets? A dog for example? If so ensure any cat you are interested in adopting is going to be able to live with your other pet(s).
• If you are an inexperienced cat owner don’t choose a cat that has lots of issues (the rescue centres will work hard to ‘match’ you). No-one wants to see a cat returned because of incompatibility.
• Don’t discount an older cat. Kittens are rewarding but an older cat can be too! And kittens involved more hard work than older cats. Be open minded about your choice.
• Finally be patient. Some rescue cats take weeks before they will trust a new owner.
If you have children, you want to care for them the best way you can, and a new cat will be much like having a new child in the family. This means you need to be prepared for the costs of responsibility for a cat.
1. Food of the best quality you can afford
2. Enough toys to keep your cat entertained and fit
3. Cat litter
4. Vet bills including neutering
5. Pet insurance
6. Care for your cat during holidays
Tots usually love kitties, but if you bring a very young kitten into your home you may find them loving it to death–literally. Alternately, the kitten could inflict some painful scratches. You’d be better off either getting an older cat that’s been around children, or waiting a couple of years.
Face it, cats need scratching exercise so a good scratching post and a good selection of toys are essential to stop your cat heading for your curtains, furniture or carpets. To ensure your kitty uses the litter box, keep it clean as cats do not like using a smelly litter box.
This is a serious consideration. Pets are fine for teaching children responsibility, but there should always be an adult around to supervise and make sure the necessary jobs are done every day.
Cats are very social animals and love attention from their humans. A lonely, neglected cat will soon find all kinds of mischief with which to amuse herself. 15 minutes a day of play time and petting will make the difference between a happy cat and a nuisance.
Adopting a cat is an immensely rewarding experience and you can really make a difference.
Adopting a cat is an immensely rewarding experience and you can really make a difference. Once you are confident you are ready to adopt a cat, your life will be enriched in many ways. There are countless benefits to pet ownership, and when you know you saved your furry companion from an unpleasant fate, it makes the bond you share that much more meaningful.
Cats Protection www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat
Blue Cross www.bluecross.org.uk › Rehome a pet
Cats for adoption across the UK www.catchat.org/
It is also well worth considering one of your local rescue centres.
Our First day
This great info-graphic has been sent to us by Sainsbury’s Bank. It has some interesting facts as well as great ideas to keep you and your dog fit while having some fun along the way!
Online dating can help you find your perfect match but let’s face it, broken hearts and disappointment are obvious risks. You need to be aware of how to keep yourself and your finances safe.
Don’t panic . . . most people who date online are perfectly normal good people, however it pays to be aware of the risks posed by the minority. This guide will help you stay safe and have a great online dating experience .
Not everyone has similar morals or outlooks on life as you do. Some folks can do a pretty good job at hiding their true agenda, even if you’ve followed most of these tips. First dates (and second dates and even third dates) are for people to be on their best behaviour, so you may not always see the “true self” behind the person you’re sitting across from. Sometimes, though, people can’t be on their good behaviour for that long and signs begin to appear. Look for:
Make sure that you are always in control of what happens. Do not let anyone pressure you into giving away more information than you feel comfortable with. Once you’re on the site and setting up your profile, it’s important to retain an air of mystery, and not just to attract a date!
Prince (or Princess) Charming may very well indeed be waiting for you online, but you should also set your expectations just a little bit lower. Most of your dates will turn out to be duds. That’s just the statistics! So it helps prepare yourself if you remember that going into the online dating process. Don’t believe that everyone who shows interest in you is worth your time. And don’t get disenchanted if your first date decides they don’t want a second. It’s easy to believe they are rejecting you personally, but it’s for the best. After all, you’re looking for a good, mutual match, not someone to swoon over. (But hey, if you find someone to swoon over, that’s cool too!)
Being realistic also means setting realistic expectations about geography. The Internet allows us to search for and communicate with people from all over the world, regardless of their proximity to us. Unfortunately, that makes a real dating relationship difficult once you have to translate it into the real world. So if you’re not willing to fly to Paris to meet Mr. Frenchie, then don’t look for anybody outside of your local community. Keep in mind, that 50 mile drive for the first date might seem like no big deal, but imagine doing that multiple times a week if things got serious. It can (and has) been done, but know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand.
If you’re convinced that the person who’s been contacting you isn’t genuine, report them to the dating site. Most dating sites should have policies in place to protect genuine members, and will act swiftly if they find that someone on their site is a fraud.
It’s tempting to get caught up in the excitement of online dating, but don’t rush into anything. It’s perfectly acceptable to be chatting to a few potential dates at the same time, and it pays to spend time getting to know them before you take things to the next stage with anyone.
Take things at your pace. If the other person is a good match for you, then they will not only understand your pace, but will often mirror it! Always talk to the other person by telephone at least once before agreeing to meet for your first date. Ask for a photo (if they didn’t provide one in their profile) so that you can be assured of meeting the right person. Be on the lookout for inconsistencies in their history or any stories they tell you of their life, background, or growing up. Ask informative questions of the other person to ensure they match what and who they say they are in their profile.
If someone seems a little too keen to take the conversation away from the website and onto text messages or calls, you’re totally within your rights to ask them to slow down. Don’t feel the need to give out your phone number if you’re not comfortable doing so. Instead, ask for theirs and remember to put in the code for blocking caller ID before making the call. There’s no need to be paranoid about your privacy, but at the same time, it is wise to take simple precautions that will ensure you remain safe until you are completely comfortable. There are plenty of options for chatting via the sites. Most online dating services use a double-blind system to allow members to exchange correspondence between each other. This allows members to communicate, but without knowing each other’s email addresses or other identifying personal information. It’s best to use the dating service’s internal, secure messaging system until you feel as though you know the person to some degree. This ensures that when you do run into the inevitable creep online, you remain anonymous and safe. Some of the bigger dating sites even have webcam chat, which is great if you want to be able to see and talk to someone without giving them any personal contact information. Only move onto Skype, personal email or give out your mobile number when you’re ready.
Don’t send ‘sexts’ or pictures of yourself wearing very little to someone you’ve never met or don’t know well. Similarly, be wary of doing anything in front of a webcam that could be used against you…
It is very common for fraudsters to start an online ‘relationship’ with the sole aim of scamming you out of savings. Don’t fall for hard luck stories. Despite all the warnings, some people are still being duped into handing over cash via dating scams. It should go without saying that you should never give someone you’ve just met on a dating site any money. If they’ve been carefully weaving a sob story, in a lot of cases you can see it coming; the techniques used are similar across the world.
You’ll build up a rapport with someone, they will usually be very polite and complimentary, tell you everything you want to hear, and lead you to believe they have ‘fallen in love’ with you and that you’re special. Once they’ve reeled you in with flattery and declarations of intent, something terrible will happen to them that involves them needing money. They may claim to be working abroad and lose their passport or money, be robbed, or have some unforeseen mishap.
Usually they will be desperate to ‘meet’ you, but can’t get back into the country without the money they need from you. Don’t even think about handing it over. The same applies for receiving money through your personal bank account, or anything involving giving the person involved any of your financial information. Just back off and put the whole thing down to experience, then report them to your dating site’s administrators before they are able to scam anyone else.
If someone you meet online is sincerely interested in you, they will want you to feel safe and they will be happy to let you apply a few common sense rules when you meet:
Unfortunately, some of the people on dating sites, although not trying to scam you for your money, really shouldn’t be there. Catfish are the type of dating site user best avoided, but it can be hard to spot them straight away. They may be married or attached, or just wanting to boost their own ego. Either way, they are a waste of your time because you’ll never meet them. If someone you’ve been chatting to makes repeated excuses about why they can’t meet you, or cancels repeated dates, they could well be a Catfish.
It’s common for this type of site member to try and gain your sympathy by faking a car accident, family crisis or illness that makes it impossible for them to meet you. Of course, it’s perfectly possible that something awful could have happened… but if this person seems to be the unluckiest person you’ve ever come across, they might just be making it up.
There have been cases in which people have made up a completely new persona for online dating – sometimes of the opposite sex! A recent case involved an anonymous woman posing as a man who managed to fool three women at once.
There are a lot of lovely people online, but unfortunately, just like in real life, some can turn out to be a pest. Cyber stalking is always a possibility when you’re dating online, so keep your personal details private until you know someone better, and stay on your guard. Another tip is to Google your name to find out whether there’s any information online that could be used by a stranger to identify you and track you down.
If you’ve decided you don’t want to be in touch with someone anymore, and they won’t take no for an answer, report them to the dating site and block their emails and IMs. If they persist, try contacting their Internet Service Provider (ISP) – you can find the domain from their email address. If there is any suggestion that you might be in danger, report them to the police.
Inevitably, some online dating is going to lead to a sexual relationship. This is not the time to start being coy. Know your partners’ sexual background by asking direct, frank questions about the number of partners he or she has been with, whether protection was always used, how well they knew the people (was it mostly serious relationships or just one night flings?), and whether they have any known sexually transmitted diseases. Yes, it’s not easy to talk about these sorts of things, but it’s important to do so before your first night in bed. When in doubt, definitely use a condom.
If you’ve made the decision to date long-distance, make a note of it in your profile. Since travel is usually expensive for most people, be realistic about your ability to see the other person. Ensure you feel completely comfortable with the other person before making your first trip to see them. If possible, make all of your travel plans yourself and arrange to stay at a hotel. Get a rental car if you need to get around town with your date. Avoid making dates at your hotel’s restaurant or having your match meet you at your hotel. Only after you’ve met and feel completely comfortable should you share such information with the other person. While some of this may seem a bit silly at first, you need to protect yourself until you are certain the other person is legitimate and you are comfortable with them.
There are some well-established free dating sites such as Zoosk, Match and Plenty of Fish, but although the sites themselves are reputable, some of the users might not be so trustworthy. You’re less likely to meet a scammer or a time-waster if you’re prepared to fork out a membership fee. If members have to use a debit or credit card to sign up, they are also traceable, which may deter less genuine people from joining.
Many dating sites have free weekends and offers designed to tempt you to join. You’ll get a limited membership and normally have to give the company your credit card details upfront. There’s nothing wrong with this, as long as you know that after the free trial is up, your credit card will be charged. This also happens automatically at the end of your initial membership period, unless you stop it in advance.
If you’re not happy with the site, make sure that you cancel your membership before the next set of fees is due or you could be charged for a service you don’t want.
AND SO . . . . .
As the old saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Don’t pin all of your hopes on one person, until you’re sure your feelings are returned. Keep an open mind, an open heart, and most of all, your common sense.
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Selecting the right rabbit hutch will help ensure your pet rabbit is happy and healthy. Rabbits are active, intelligent, social animals; they have complex welfare needs that must be met if they are to be happy and healthy. Providing housing that meets rabbits’ complex environmental and behavioural needs is an important part of responsible ownership. Your rabbit will spend a lot of time in their hutch so it must be comfortable and spacious. You have a legal obligation too. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, rabbit owners are required by law to meet their rabbits’ welfare needs; these include providing a suitable environment.
As an absolute minimum, each of your rabbits should be able to perform the following behaviours within the enclosure and shelter at any time they choose:
1. Stand up on their hind legs without their ears touching the roof [For a medium sized rabbit this behaviour requires a height of at least 75cm].
2. Lie fully outstretched in any direction.
3. Take an unhindered sequence of consecutive hops
4. Turn around unimpeded.
Check that your rabbits, when fully grown, will be able to perform these four behaviours within each section of their housing (both the main shelter and the living enclosure) as an absolute minimum. The RSPCA does not recommend that owners of baby rabbits buy ‘starter homes’ for their pets, but would encourage owners to buy or build a home that will be large enough to house all their rabbits for the whole of their lives.
Most rabbits live in hutches that are too small for them and most of these smaller hutches were bought in pet shops. The result is that some pet rabbits are in worse conditions than laboratory rabbits (Mullan & Main 2006).
In small hutches, rabbits suffer from loneliness, lack of exercise, and sometimes chronic arthritis pain if they spent long hours immobile for lack of space. They may also start developing bad habits such as repetitive hair chewing, head swaying and pawing because they have nothing else to do (Gunn & Morton 1995).
Think BIG when buying your rabbit’s home. Buy the biggest in stock or better still order an even bigger one. Don’t be tempted to buy a cheap rabbit hutch, they probably won’t be the right size or quality!
Your rabbit or rabbits should have plenty of room in their hutch. A hutch for one or two medium or small rabbits should be no less that 180cm wide x 60cm high and 60cm deep. Larger rabbits will need a bigger sized hutch. One or two large-sized rabbits will need a bigger hutch about 180cm wide by 90cm high by 90cm deep.
A rabbit needs a sleeping compartment, and an eating area. As well as this, there should be an exercise run. The bigger the breed, the bigger the house and run. Giant breeds need giant houses. Wendy houses, garden sheds, aviaries, summer houses, dog kennels with runs, or even chicken houses with runs offer more room than the traditional hutch. A walk-in rabbit house will make cleaning easy.
A shameful 18% of UK rabbits don’t have anywhere to exercise (PDSA 2013). So in addition to a hutch your rabbit will need a run. Too many rabbits are given runs that are just too tiny for good welfare (Mullan & Main 2006). Many of these have wire mesh floors which are known to create foot problems for rabbits kept on them for extended periods of time (De Jong et al.,2008). Ideally the run should be attached to the hutch if the rabbit is living outside. If not, then the rabbit should be put in the run for several hours every single day and there should be an area within the run sheltered from sun, or rain, or wind.
We would recommend choosing a rabbit hutch that is made of a timber frame with boarding in between. To stop your rabbits nibbling and gnawing at the timber, the interior can be lined which is also great for insulation. The outside of the hutch should be protected with paint or safe varnish. The inside should not be painted in case it’s unsafe for the rabbits.
Easy access to the inside of the rabbit hutch is important. You should always choose a rabbit hutch with doors to both the ‘day’ compartment and ‘sleeping’ compartment. Always double check that the hinges and/or catches are good quality and fitted well!
You should also consider the height when choosing a rabbit hutch. Your rabbit hutch should be raised on legs ideally to about the height of a normal table. This will make accessing the hutch easier and make rising damp less likely.
Choosing a rabbit hutch with more than one level can be a good idea as they offer more space. This is especially handy if you are keeping more than one rabbit in the same hutch. Rabbits are social animals and normally prefer to be with another friendly rabbit. The RSPCA recommends that rabbits are kept with at least one other friendly rabbit in compatible pairs or groups. Whilst there are exceptions where an individual rabbit must be housed alone this should only be for a good welfare reason, as advised by an expert, such as a vet or qualified animal behaviourist. When choosing housing for your rabbits, bear in mind the number of rabbits it is intended for. The more rabbits kept, the larger their housing will need to be as they will need space both to interact with one another, and be alone for a while if they choose.
Many multi-level rabbit hutches will have a ramp allowing your little bunnies to flop up and downstairs at their leisure. These ramps can also be used in front of the hutch door to let them stroll down into their own enclosure when they choose.
Rabbits are prey animals and therefore need safe hiding places within the living enclosure to allow them to hide, rest and withdraw from their companions when they want to. These hiding places should be in addition to the main shelter. Suitable hiding places can include cardboard boxes and tunnels.
Outside shelters should be raised above the ground to help deter predators and to prevent the shelter from becoming damp. Any wire mesh on the shelter or the outside living enclosure should be of a heavy gauge to prevent potential predation and deter rodents, and any fastenings should be strong.
A deep layer of soft barley straw is the warmest most comfortable bedding for an outside hutch. Rabbits prefer straw or paper bedding to wood shavings or sawdust on the floor (Turner et al.,1992,cited in Boers et al., 2012). However you could put wooden shavings (not bark chippings) below the straw, particularly in the latrine area (if you are not going to litter train your rabbit) or special rabbit litter. Indoor house rabbits don’t need such a large amount of straw and some people just put a fleece in their sleeping area.
An indoor house rabbit needs a secure den where he can retreat for privacy and sleep. This must be lockable, so that the rabbit can be locked in at times for his own safety. Depending on the size of your rabbit, a crate sold for dogs might be the ideal. This must be big enough to contain a sleeping box, food bowl, hay rack, water bowl and litter tray. Crates are useful for taking in the car or on visits. Plastic dog beds turned upside down make nice bunny retreats in rooms away from the bunny’s den.
Choosing the right rabbit hutch is important for your rabbit’s health, happiness and wellbeing. By following this simple guide you should end up with a great rabbit home for your rabbit!
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