Winners of 'Public Choice' Award

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Next Chapter

Those who have been following us on Twitter for a while will know that Bandit actually moved onto his next chapter back in February, when we departed for our trip to Thailand.

If you are one of 'Bandit's' new #toptweeps - here's the story about when he went off to start the next chapter in his Police Dog life - Bandit Bye Bye's

It's been the longest time we've gone without a Police Dog since we started working with the pups in 2005. Usually whenever one of our pups go off onto their next journey, we'll pick up a new pup on the same day. We literally swap them over. This time however, we've been without a pup, technically since the start of February - albeit we spent the majority of February in Thailand!

Bandit's getting on great with his new handler & he also gets on great with his new best friend - PD Pace. He's settled in really well & his handler absolutely LOVES him!

Because he hasn't jumped straight onto a licensing course, we've been lucky that we've been able to do little bits with Bandit, like the demo's we did at Crufts & more recently the stuff we did with ITV for the new Retired Police Dog Fund.

One of the reasons we've had such a long time between having a new pup was down to the work I was doing to set up the new Retired WM Police Dog Benevolent Fund. I've been working on the fund since September/October time & we're nearly there in terms of having everything set up & organised etc. Not having a pup, has given us the time to sit down & work through everything - not to mention the work I needed to do in putting together the website material.

Now that the Fund is pretty much all sorted, we've started to think more about what we're going to do/have as our next Police Dog 'project'.

We'd said that when Bandit went back we wanted to do/try something a bit different. We'd actually thought about having a Springer, however the timing of the breed plans just didn't fit - they were all allocated whilst we were in Thailand - so we've been thinking about what we can/can't do for the past few weeks.

There's always pups we can get out of the kennels, but having had GSD's since we started with the Breed Scheme, I must admit, I did fancy a change. We've had a 100% success rate with all of our pups (touching wood with Bandit!), so I wanted to challenge myself a little & also broaden my knowledge/experience of other breeds.

We'd been asked to have one of the Dutch Herders that have been bred by the West Mids Police Breed Scheme. They are the very first litter of Herders to be introduced to the West Mids & I'd been asked to have one when they were allocated around the end of Feb/beginning of March. Again, due to our holiday & with the work we were doing stetting up the Retired Police Dog Fund, I just couldn't commit the time to having one. The Fund was something I was really keen to get set up, so that has taken priority since coming back from Thailand.

However, last week we were told that 3 out of the 4 Herders had all come back into the kennels & they needed to be placed with experienced people. So on Saturday, we decided to take a trip upto the Dog Training Centre to take a look at the litter of Herders.

I've been thinking about the Herders since we'd been asked to have one at the start of the year. I've done lots & lots of research on them & spoken to many people who have worked & bred Herders. I must sincerely thank the people who took the time to help us out - especially @herderhandler & @jksud17 - I really appreciate all of your help!

So when we had a look at the Herders, one stood out for us straight away - PD Ivy. We took her into the canteen & just observed what she did, how she behaved & what she was like. 

I quite liked her to be honest & she was pretty stable & chilled. She settled down well too. We also took Taylor along with us to see how they got on - & it couldn't have gone any better. She didn't bother with Taylor one bit - it was almost like he wasn't there. Even when Taylor was causing his typical #beagleness mischief, Ivy was settled nicely lying down under the table!

The pups have been out & about for the past month or so, with the brief of being heavily socialised & environmentally exposed to lots of different environments. So she'll have a fairly good grounding already. What we now need to do is progress her work & her work ethic.

We'll concentrate heavily on a lot more environmental based work & really start to develop her nose work. I love working a dog's nose - to me I think it's a lot more important than the biting & barking. I always work to the motto "you've gotta find them first" - so I'm really looking forward to developing her nose & watching her progress. Of course we'll develop a little bit of barking & biting, but the majority of the work will be around nose work & further environmental training.

I'm really excited & looking forward to working with something new. I've heard lots of good things about Herders & the way they perform.

But let's not forget, & I really don't want people to think that these new Herders are the replacement for, the GSD's. We've spent the last 8 years working with GSD's & anyone who tells you there are no decent working GSD's in this country are . . .quite frankly . . . talking out of their backsides!

We've had some phenomenal GSD's through 'Puppy Towers', all of whom are out there working hard to serve & protect their communities - and doing a damn good job of it!

For us, Ivy the Dutch Herder, is a new challenge & something a little different for us to work with.

We'll have to slightly tweak & change our methods to get the best out of her & I'm dead excited about seeing how she develops & progresses.

PD Ivy will be Twoofing from her iPaw soon!!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Dog CPR/First Aid

I must admit I very often use the phrase “the more I know about people, the more I like my dog” – I think the very fact that this phrase is often credited back to lots of different people shows how popular it really is! Who was the ORIGINAL author of this quote?

I very often look at ‘hoomans’ (as Bandit calls them ;) ) & I’m just left scratching my head at their actions – no more so than the stuff I’ve seen, heard & read about following the death of Margaret Thatcher recently. I’m absolutely baffled by people sometimes.

I’m not a political person whatsoever; I have no allegiance to any particular party because, quite frankly, I think all politicians are just in it for themselves. People will agree & disagree, & then agree to disagree but to see people celebrating the death of someone's mother & friend just bemused me to be honest. Anyway, I won't bore you with my thoughts on the matter any further!

I saw on good old Twitter a month or so ago, one of #toptweeps Jill, put on a picture of ‘How to give your dog CPR’ - & I honestly couldn’t believe a comment I saw on Jill’s timeline!

I’m not going to name & shame; I always say I’ll only ever shout about good things (& in this instance good comments) . I don’t think rubbish products deserve any space on my Blog, nor do I wish to give any person coverage on my Blog. That’s not to say that they are ‘bad people’ – please don’t get me wrong on that, but I don’t think their view deserves to broadcast. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion – it’s what makes Britain so Great. In this instance I just have to agree to disagree.

The comment I saw from someone on Twitter just absolutely flabbergasted me to be honest – I couldn't understand why anyone would not want to give their dog CPR in an emergency?! I looked at a whole host of scenarios where a dog may need CPR & I couldn’t really come up with one reason why you wouldn’t try to save your best friend’s life. If you were out in the Lake District & your dog collapsed - what would you do? Sit there watching him suffer & pass away - no sorry I don't buy that one bit!!

Maybe it was just me – so I sent out a quick message to our fellow #toptweeps, just to see if it was only me who was completely flabbergasted by what I’d seen.

Fortunately, my faith in ‘hoomans’ was restored, in fact 100% of the people who responded said they would try anything to save their dog’s life.

I suppose there’s always going to be a minority of people who have different views. They are absolutely entitled to do so & I always say ‘my way isn’t the right or only way’ – however I do like to think that on something like this – my thoughts really are right! I’d do absolutely ANYTHING in my power to save my best friend’s life. I also know some people Tweet things to try & get more followers or just provoke a reaction - possibly in this instance, I would hope it was a 'wind up'.

So, off the back of that comment, I contacted Mike Jones of M J First Aid Training - West Midlands, to try & get a little help in how to try to rescue your dog, if the need ever arose. 

Obviously, we would always recommend that you take proper instruction & this does not constitute veterinary advice - BUT . . . if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing around & your dog is struggling - here's a little bit of help in what to do! Thanks to Mike Jones of  M J First Aid Training - West Midlands for his help in putting this Blog together.

M J First Aid Training is the home of the Canine First Responder Course© and Instructor Course©. Since it’s Introduction in September 2008 they have travelled far and wide to deliver the course to large groups and organisations, as well as individuals which include professionals in the canine field as well as the dog loving public. M J Training use the latest in Canine CPR Manikins called Casper and have also had their own professional production of the Canine First Aid and CPR DVD, to support the existing training materials.

We're going to try & put together a seminar from Mike on dog First Aid/CPR. It's worth checking out their site, as they have some great courses & sources of information!

If you haven't already seen this picture, then I'd say to download it into your picture gallery. It's always worth saving for emergencies. 

Obviously this is not a “How to” lesson in CPR. As we have said earlier, there is no substitute for practical hands on training with an Instructor guiding you. It does however give you a rough idea of the sequencing of Primary Care and a logical one at that.

Focusing just on the CPR sequence alone, which a lot of articles do, will not however give you an idea of the other things that you have to deal with, which result in restoring life to a dog - so we always advise getting proper training.

CPR For Dogs

1. Assess the Scene 

This helps to establish whether you can safely deal with the dog in the situation you find them, whether we need to move them or in fact if we can deal with the dog at all because of dangers to you such as oncoming traffic, downed power lines etc. 

2. Apply Barriers 

Applying gloves and the use of resuscitation face barriers helps us to prevent cross contamination and the spread of diseases. A pair of marigold gloves will do if this is all you have available. Obviously we know many people will not have resuscitation face barriers, so you can do this without the face barrier.

If you are not the owner of the dog, then you need to tell the owner that you may be able to help and ask for permission to help their dog. If they say no, then all you can do is monitor the situation. If you see the dog getting worse, then offer to help again!

If they agree to your help, ask them to call their vet and advise the vet that there is a problem and that someone is on the scene administering first aid. 

The reason for this is that vets typically keep office hours in the UK so they may not be onsite; they may already be in emergency or routine surgery or already have gone out to a call. The Receptionist or Nurse that answers the phone will then advise you accordingly of your best options for advanced medical care. 

3. Apply a Muzzle 

For safety reasons, whether you know the dog or not, or whether the dog is conscious or unconscious - we need to place a muzzle on the dog and approach in a quiet, non-threatening way (Even unconscious dogs can bite out of reaction). 

A muzzle can be a commercial one or improvised from a crepe bandage or even the dog's lead. 

4. Check to see if the dog is responsive 

This can be achieved by tickling along the back of the dogs legs, back and front - the same as we do for babies in paediatric first aid. If the dog reacts, he is responsive - if he doesn’t then we need to move the next step. 

5. Clear airway

We then need move the dogs head so the airway is in line and pull the tongue out to clear the airway. 

6. Check breathing

Next we look, listen and feel for breathing for around 10 seconds. We listen for breathing with the ear, look along the chest for rise and fall and also feel with your free hand for rise and fall. 

7. Absent breathing

If breathing is absent, we need to apply a resuscitation face shield and give two normal breaths. 

If a resuscitation face shield is not available, utilise your two hands to create a 'tube' around the dog's mouth to try to stop air escaping & so the breaths go into the dog's lungs.

8. Further breaths

If the breaths go in, we proceed to the next step, if not, we reposition the head and neck and try again.

If for any reason you can’t give rescue breaths - such as trauma to the face/snout or you just feel uncomfortable - proceed to the next step, CPR. 

CPR alone is beneficial to getting oxygenated blood to the brain and vital organs. 

9. CPR

After giving your initial two rescue breaths, locate the area just behind the shoulder. With the heel of your hand placed there, place the other hand on top and lock your fingers together. 

Keeping your arms locked straight, with your shoulders directly above the hands, we compress 15 times using your body weight, not your arm muscles, to compress the chest. 

The compression rate should be at least 100 compressions per minute.

Follow the 15 compressions by 2 rescue breaths and then 15 compressions and continue this for three or four cycles of 2:15 compressions then check again for breathing. 

You can also check for a pulse at the femoral artery but if you forget this step not to worry. 

Checking for a pulse in Human Primary Care was dropped many years ago as it was found that too much time was wasted trying to locate it and precious time performing compressions was lost. 

If the dog is still not breathing then we continue cycling through rescue breaths and compressions until the dog begins to breathe. Someone else takes over for us if we are too exhausted to continue. 

If the dog is now breathing on his own we can move to the next step. 

10. Checking for serious Bleeding. 

With your gloves in place we need to systematically check the dog from head to tail and top to toe for any bleeding. We also need to check our gloves at each stage for blood so as to know where it came from.

Starting at the head, check the face, snout and ears for bleeding - then check your gloves. 

Check along the torso, top bottom and sides checking your gloves at each stage for blood. 

Check the Hind Quarters and the tail - then check your gloves. 

Check the front legs and the pads - then check your gloves 

Then finally check the rear legs and pads in the same manner. 

If a serious bleed is present we need to stop the bleeding (we'll cover this further later)

If no bleeding is present then we need to continually monitor the dog for breathing and either wait for the vet to arrive or monitor them on the way to the vets.

Obviously this Blog isn't the 'complete' guide to dog first aid nor is it the 'complete' CPR guide.

However, if it helps save just one dog from a potentially life threatening situation then we're happy.

We would recommend that everyone looks out for a Dog First Aid course & would highly recommend looking at Mike Jones' website. They offer some fantastic courses & also produce a DVD to compliment their training.