Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Man's Best Friend – and Co-worker!

It's that time of year again – Bring Your Dog To Work Day! Of course, we encourage this year-round in our office, and there are a number of great reasons why other workplaces should follow suit ... 

It's been well researched that there are many great benefits to having a dog in your life. has an excellent piece on the many ways in which having a dog can be beneficial for your mental health. With a plethora of information, this blog covers a large spectrum, covering people of all ages, and an array of mental health issues. 

As Hubble & Hattie is an official sponsor for this year's Bring Your Dog To Work Day, it's only fitting that we share with you the benefits of having canine colleagues in your office!

They can keep you on your feet
Office jobs can leave you desk-bound for the majority of your day, which can have a detrimental effect on your health. Having your dog join you at work will help encourage you to get up and move around, even if it is only to take them outside to do their business. 

The best way to de-stress 
Finding those spreadsheets a nightmare to deal with? Petting or stroking a dog is one of the ultimate ways to unwind from the stress of office life, as it helps to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dogs have a calming effect on those around them, so even if he's not your own, having a pup in the office can help just as much!

Dogs increase job satisfaction
There are a number of ways in which having dogs in the workplace can be beneficial not only to you, but your employer and your dog as well! If a company allows staff to bring their dog into work, they are more likely to stay in that role for longer. It's also an effective incentive to attract a younger workforce. Canine co-workers can also help boost morale and productivity, as well as improve work relationships. Your commute to work will be of benefit to your pooch, as it will help them develop their confidence in public, whilst social interaction in your workplace will exercise them mentally. 

We're not sure how many pooches will be roaming the offices of H&H HQ this Friday, but Jude will be providing doggie day-care for Bonnie and we hope that Kevin's trusty companion, Indie, will be with us.

L-R: Bonnie and Indie

Some great pics from previous Bring Your Dog To Work Days!

L-R: Jeff & Solace, Paul & Olive, Lizzie & Frodo

As an official sponsor for this awesome event, we've donated to the mega prize draw! For a chance to win over £900 worth of goodies, including £50 worth of Hubble & Hattie books of your choice, all you have to do is upload your best pooch selfie to the Dog with a Job Hall of Fame on #BringYourDogToWorkDay! For more information, visit the official website. All proceeds from the day will be donated to All Dogs Matter

From all of us here at Hubble & Hattie HQ, we hope you enjoy Bring Your Dog To Work Day, and we'd love to see your pictures on our Facebook or Twitter pages, with the hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkDay

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Canine Aggression – Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindness and compassion

Our second release of the year is proving a popular one.

Canine Aggression is the inspirational story of Calgacus, a dog-to-dog aggressive Bull Mastiff, and first-time dog owner Tracey McLennan. Learning how to understand Calgacus and encouraging him to direct his own learning alongside clicker training, TTouch, trick training, and lots of fun, allowed him to conquer his issues, and find joy in playing with other dogs. 

Described as "a vital resource for dog owners with problematic dogs" (Pet Owners Association), it's easy to see why this book has been eagerly anticipated, and a popular seller already!

If you're local to the Linlithgow area, and were one of the lucky few who managed to grab a ticket for this now sold-out event, Friday the 15th of June sees a fundraiser for Paws for Progress, in which Tracey and a number of top dog experts will be in attendance, talking about all-things training. The event is also acting as a book launch for Canine Aggression, with copies available to purchase on the night – you can even get them signed! All proceeds from this event will be donated to Paws for Progress, to help the company continue its wonderful work. 

In amongst planning events – as more are in the works due to the popularity of the first – Tracey has also been working on her own online dog training business, geared towards those who have read the book and wish to learn more; it's called Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd.

Having all of the required qualifications – a BSc (Hons) in Canine Behaviour and Training, an MA (Hons) in Philosophy, a qualified Telling TTouch practitioner as well as a member of the UK TTouch Guild of Practitioners – combined with the glowing reviews that Canine Aggression has been receiving, it's no wonder that Tracey's next venture was to start her own dog training business. You can read a snippet of what Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd is all about, direct from Tracey's website, below: 

"I first experienced how powerfully online communities can help when I found myself caring for a Bull Mastiff who was aggressive towards other dogs. I had no idea what to do to help him and was struggling to find in-person help with him. I found help and support on internet forums and this was so powerful that it helped me to find ways that helped my dog. Not only that – many of the people I met that way continue to be valued friends over a decade later. 
"I have a passion for problem solving and have been lucky enough to share my life with dogs who prove to have challenges in one way or another. I have worked to help my dogs through issues such as dog-to-dog aggression, resource-guarding between dogs, high prey drive and separation anxiety." 
Best Dog Learning & Stuff Ltd is still under development, however be sure to keep an eye out on the Canine Aggression Facebook page for more updates!

Canine Aggression – Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindness and compassion is available on our website now, and be sure you have subscribed to our newsletter Animal Magic for more updates on Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd.

Friday, 1 June 2018

French Bulldogs

With their friendly personalities, and small but adorable stature, it's easy to see why French Bulldogs are on course to become the most popular dog breed by the end of the year – overtaking the UK's current favourite, the loveable Labrador Retriever. But there's more to these pups, and important aspects that you need to be aware of before deciding whether or not to give one a home. 

Due to their genetic makeup, French Bulldogs are prone to a number of health problems, with most linked to how they are bred. Their squashed-up noses may look cute, but this is technically a genetic deformity, and contributes to breathing problems, slobbering, and flatulence – as short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat. Their respiratory problems can be more evident during hot weather, and they tend to overheat quickly, possibly resulting in heatstroke, During cold weather, there respiratory problems can cause dehydration of the nasal passages.

Due to their dwarf legs and long back, roughly one in three French Bulldogs suffer from malformed hip or knee joints, leading to early arthritis, or a malformed vertebrae, which can cause pain or even paralysis.

A study by the Royal Veterinary College, London, highlights ear infections, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, and skin problems as the most common issues presenting in Frenchies. Furthermore, it appears that males tend to be less healthy than females.

"While it's a lovely breed, it is very unwise to buy one simply because of a cute appearance or its fashionable appeal. Anyone doing so could inadvertently be contributing to an impending welfare crisis," says Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary

Frenchies are incredibly easy going and make for affectionate companions. They love to play games and are fairly quiet but may be stubborn, and will require consistent training for the first few months.

So, before you go looking for the perfect French Bulldog, make sure you are fully clued up on all of the possible health problems that he or she may suffer from. And remember: adopt, don't shop!


Thursday, 24 May 2018

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog

We all love our creature comforts. They can help us to unwind after a long day, and make us feel content. And the same goes for dogs! 

The living quarters of Madrid's 22-strong Police dog force underwent a renovation earlier this year, in order to reduce stress and improve the overall health of these hard-working pups. The new kennels include a patio where they can lie in the shade during the summer months, a green play zone, and heated beds – which a council spokesman said will help to reduce energy bills by 80%. The dogs will also be treated to music therapy sessions, where they will be played Mozart. 

Photo credit: Andrew Winning/Reuters from The Guardian

It has been shown in a number of studies that playing classical music to dogs can help lower their stress levels. A study conducted by the Scottish SPCA back in 2015 showed that a dog's stress levels significantly decreased after hearing classical music. This non-invasive research was conducted in its own kennels, where they monitored the dogs' heart rates, collected saliva samples, and monitored their behaviour over a week. Although this study yielded positive results initially, at the end of the week, the dogs' heart rates and behaviours associated with kennel stress had returned to normal, as they had become accustomed to the classical music.

A further study in 2017, also by the Scottish SPCA, and the University of Glasgow, looked at the effects that different genres of music had when played to dogs. Professor Neil Evans said of the research;

"Overall, the response to different genres was mixed, highlighting the possibility that, like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences. That said, reggae music and soft rock showed the highest positive changes in behaviour."

Combined, these two research projects have helped to highlight the importance of music in order to help the dogs in its care feel as relaxed as they can. Having shown that the key is to avoid habituation, the Scottish SPCA will be investing in sound systems for all of its kennels – much like the Spanish Police force.

With the amount of hard work that police dogs undertake, not to mention how long some pups are kept in kennels whilst they wait for their new forever home, it's no wonder that our canine companions like to let there fur down to some music!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Pick up a penguin!

Who doesn't love penguins? From movies and Christmas cards, to the face of a well-known chocolate biscuit, everyone is well accustomed to seeing penguins in everyday life. However, a threat to penguins is looming that also has other, far-reaching effects ... 

Recent studies have shown there has been a dramatic increase in krill fishing in Antarctic waters. Though they may be small, krill play a huge part in the food chains of the world's marine ecosystems. With between 125 million to 6 billion tons in the waters around Antarctica, these tiny crustaceans are the cornerstone of the Antarctic food chain, and therefore a vital food source for penguins. Combined with the effect of global warming, the krill population is at stake.

In addition, krill help to eliminate greenhouse gases. Krill feed on phytoplankton: microscopic, single-cell plants that drift near the ocean's surface, living off harmful carbon dioxide and sunlight. With global warming already affecting the ice on which these phytoplankton live, it is vital that we do all that we can to assist in the preservation of the magnificent Antarctic.

So, what can be done?

As a way of combating excessive krill farming, companies such as Holland & Barrett, Morrisons and Superdrug have already taken krill-based products off their shelves, with pressure growing for other large companies to follow suit.

A proposed way in which to protect krill is to implement a sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean. If given the go ahead, this sanctuary would become the largest in the world, and would prohibit krill fishing in these waters, allowing Antarctic wildlife to flourish once again.

This proposed sanctuary will be discussed by governments at the Antarctic Ocean Commission in October, and you can do your bit to be heard by signing Greenpeace's petition to protect the Antarctic Ocean.

Help to p-p-p-pick up a penguin today!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Introducing the Detector Dog Awards!

The sun has finally started to make an appearance, Spring is well and truly in the air, and what better way to spend your summer days than by training your dog in a new skill?

Last year, we published Detector Dog, a step-by-step guide to teaching your dog how to become a pro at scentwork in no time. With nothing but positive feedback for the book, it was time to take scentwork to the next level ... 

Talking Dogs Scentwork® has launched a new way for dogs and their people to get involved with scentwork. Author of Detector Dog, Pam Mackinnon, wanted to bring all the Talking Dogs Scentwork® resources together to form a new way for teams to achieve success when working from home or unable to attend regular workshops. This idea then became the Detector Dog Online Awards. 

By submitting film clips for assessment, teams can work through modules to earn certificates and awards, learning as they go. These Online Awards are suitable for every dog, no matter the breed, age, physical ability or skills – teams can start at various levels depending on their experience, from complete beginner to seasoned sniffer. 

So, how do the online modules work?
There are three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced. Within those levels are: Key Skills, such as introducing scent, safety checks and handling skills; Level Searches, which increase in complexity as the modules progress; and Specialist Searches, including baggage, vehicle, and postal. 
Each module sets out what equipment teams will need, a list of resources, such as the Detector Dog manual, and what the films must show. And to help teams to stay focused, Pam has set out some learning goals for both handler and dog. When they are ready, handlers send in their video for submission; these will then be assessed. Modules follow on from each, building skills in a logical and practical progression. 

The first team to gain a certificate was Hazel Kemble, and her Vizla, Swift. They already had some scentwork skills, and so were able to begin at the Intermediate Level after successfully submitting some lovely searches. Check out Swift giving the certificate a good old sniff!

For more information on the Detector Dog Online Awards, and how to register, click here. Help turn your dog's favourite pastime, into your favourite hobby!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

A ban on shock collars

By now you'll be familiar with our ethos here at Hubble & Hattie: to publish books that are of real benefit to the species they cover, whilst also promoting compassion, understanding and respect between all animals. For us, the wellbeing of animals is paramount, so when animal welfare makes the news, it always piques our interest ... 

There has been a lot of talk lately of the government introducing a ban on electric shock collars. The devices, which are used to aid training or to discipline pets, are often remotely controlled, and send an electric shock to the animal at the touch of a button. Wales already has in place a ban on such collars, with Scotland following suit imminently. 

Other so-called training collars squirt noxious sprays, which campaigners warn can disrupt a dog's acute sense of smell, whereas others can emit a sound painful to a dog's hearing. 

A recent survey carried out by The Kennel Club found that three quarters of those questioned would support a ban on the use of these collars. The same survey revealed that a third of dogs let out a cry of pain at the first use of a shock collar. What's more, animal behaviourist and veterinary surgeon Kendal Shepherd reports that she has seen evidence of animals with burns and scars, due to these horrific collars being used on pets. 

Speaking to The Guardian, The Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: "Training a dog with an electric shock collar causes physical and psychological harm and is never acceptable, especially given the vast array of positive training methods available. We hope that a ban on their use is imposed swiftly."

To help illustrate the point that shock collars should be banned in England, Dogs Trust teamed up with the Channel 5 show Do The Right Thing with Eamon and Ruth at the end of last month. One of the panellists, Roman Kemp, wore a shock collar on his arm for the duration of the segment. Presenter Eamon Holmes was in control of the button, and when pressed, the shock made Kemp jump out of his seat. "You kind of feel the shock throughout your whole body. It's vicious, it's a weapon," said Kemp of his experience. If these collars spark this reaction in a human, how can their use on animals be allowed?

You have until the 27th of April if you would like to share your views and support the ban on electric shock collars. To do so, please contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and do something good for animals!