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August 26 2014 3 26 /08 /August /2014 09:41

harvest mite

The harvest mites or chiggers are six-legged larva which are present on dense vegetation throughout the UK and are active during the day, especially when it is dry and sunny. When they come into contact with any warm blooded animal they insert their small hooked fangs into the surface layers of the skin, and inject a fluid to break down the cells in order to suck the animals blood. They appear as red dust on the animal like paprika on the face, legs, abdomen or any area where there is little fur.They will inject and suck for two to three days at the same site until it has increased in size three to four times causing considerable itching and discomfort to the animal. The larva then drops off, descends into the soil and after about six weeks becomes an eight-legged nymph and then an adult which eats plants and small insects. Eggs laid by the adult in the spring and summer hatch into the six-legged larva (known as harvest mites) and the cycle starts again.

In humans harvest mite bites show as small inflamed pimples and in cats the mites cause reddening of the skin, papules and crusted areas.

Walk  your dog early in the morning when the harvest mites are less active and keep him out of the long grass. Some infestations will cause hair loss and continual scratching can damage the skin resulting is bacterial infections.


Frontline or virbac Effipro spray prescribed by your veterinarian can be used weekly on areas seen in conjunction with routine flea treatment. Animals that are hypersensitive to Harvest mites can be prescribed a short course of steroid until the mites have reduced in number.link

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October 18 2013 6 18 /10 /October /2013 12:08

Pod---the-vole-use.jpgThe dog became man’s best friend when it was discovered their use whilst out on a hunt. The spaniel (particularly the Springer) was ideal for running through the long grass acting as a ‘beater’, seeking out pheasants and the like.

The pointer was used to seek and point towards the prey. A well trained dog will have his nose inches away from the prey without touching it.

The retriever was used to retrieve the kill, bringing it back to the owner.

Both the pointer and retriever are known as ‘soft mouthed’, they are gentle, able to pick up the prey without leaving with bite marks. This is unlike the terrier (the ratter) whose vigorous shaking quickly dispatches most small animals.

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October 18 2012 5 18 /10 /October /2012 12:50


Obviously dogs cannot speak although they communicate though body language. As an owner you need to understand how the dog is feeling and therefore likely to behave.

 A stiff stance would indicate aggression, uncertainty or fear. Whereas a relaxed posture would indicate a calm, relaxed dog.

If his hackles (hair on the back of the neck) are raised, with eyes fixed and stance stiff the dog is ready to attack.

Ears pricked up and turned outwards, eyes wide and mouth closed is an indication that the dog has sensed something.

Ears rotated backward or positioned close to the head, eyes narrowed and teeth showing would indicate aggression.

Head held up, tail up, ears erect is a sign of an alpha dog.

Ears pricked forward, eyes wide and mouth relaxed is a sign of a happy dog.

Growls, whines, yips and yowls are ways of communicating with you using sound.

A raised stiff non wagging tail indicates potential aggression.

A low wagging tail indicates fear or submission.

A tail that is wagging with a smiling kind of face is a happy playful dog.

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July 18 2012 4 18 /07 /July /2012 12:48

Pod-ears.jpegCanine and human relationships go back for more than fourteen centuries. Probably the most important is that they provide companionship. Dogs are also not very demanding and offer us unconditional love, with their adoring eyes, wagging tails, and following us anywhere we go.

One important aspect of the dog-human equation is that we establish ourselves as boss upfront. Dogs by nature are pack animals and there is always a leader or “alpha” dog that the others obey and respect. When we adopt a dog, we become pack members and we must assume the alpha role or live to regret it.

One way of looking at dogs is to compare them to children. They both need rules and guidelines. You need to show leadership and establish boundaries. Dogs no longer need to hunt like wolves as their association humans provides them with food. Food and play treats therefore form the basic training lures for most dogs.

The Canine Communication System is one that is based on the principle of understanding your dog, before expecting it to understand you! We talk to our dogs and they “talk” with barking. It can be helpful for you if you know how to interpret the various barks that dogs have. Also important is your dogs ear position, facial expression, and tail action. Pod has several different tones of bark; barks of delight and another for danger. Tails up and wagging can be a sign of a happy or feisty dog so you would need to look for other signs.

A dog’s brain is completely different from humans in so much as how they interpret sensory information. A dog’s brain is far simpler than a human’s brain; it doesn’t have the capacity for speech or memory. Yet he will interpret, analyze and process information in order to act based on his senses.

Every pack has an alpha dog and he is the undisputed leader. When you bring a puppy or dog home they are naturally going to try and dominate the new pack which is you and your family. It’s up to you to show that you are in fact the alpha dog here and earn the dog’s respect, and therefore obedience. Being the Alpha dog is a very important concept to not only understand but to take action on.

Your dog can learn a lot about you from your body language, your mood, your facial expressions and tone of voice. The actual words you say to your dog or even their name is irrelevant to the dog it is the tone that you use that they respond to. 

Clicker training is often used in shaping the dogs behaviour. It starts by you teaching the dog to obey a command by using a treat as a reward. Gradually he will respond to the sound of the clicker at the exact moment the dog performed the task which will be closely followed by a treat. Apparently they use it to teach dolphins, did I really want my dog to jump out of water through a hoop??? Anyway I purchased a ‘clicker’ and taught him ‘down’ in 2 days…marvellous!!!.

Obedience training accomplishes two things: It establishes a bond of communication between you and your dog. Your dog learns that when you give commands, he needs to respond. When he responds appropriately, he’s rewarded for his behaviour. What he wants most is to please you, when you’re happy, he’s happy. Obedience training keeps your dog active, thinking and involved. Dogs that are active, both mentally and physically are less likely to be poorly behaved. Corrective behaviour involves both time and patience. You must be vigilant and correct your dog at times so as not to give mixed messages. Just like with children you can expect many disjointed conversations with people whilst you give a command to your dog. Fortunately, a dog learns skills faster than a child.

Some of the basic skills are maintain eye contact, sit, down, come, stay, heel, drop, fetch, ouch or leave it (the latter has been found to work with nipping puppies, if you yelp like a fellow puppy the pup will stop biting).

Most dogs are anxious to please their owners but sometimes the dog can become bored if not given enough stimulation, or frightened and intimidated if yelled at. Knowing about your dogs breed is also important, Pod is a West Highland Terrier, little dogs with a huge character making them mischievous and requiring less exercise that a Great Dane.

Sometimes dogs go through stages a little like children, the terrible twos. The dog will act up just to test you, to see if you really are the boss. But before you reach for the rolled up newspaper to discipline your dog please remember that if your dog misbehaves it is your fault for not teaching him/her correctly so hit yourself with it.Jan Fennell 

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  • : Poddington and P is about life in the country. It includes their creations, the animals they raise, and the plants and produce that they grow in the kitchen garden.
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