Showing posts from October, 2015

Make Your Dog Happy: The Best Ways to Provide Enrichment for Your Dog

Easy ways to provide enrichment for your dog. Photo: Petr Lurch/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD Although we love our canine friends, many dogs have a relatively boring life in which they spend a lot of time hanging around the house or yard, perhaps on their own. Dogs that are bored or under-exercised can easily find their own entertainment, which might not be so pleasing to their human companions. Luckily there are many easy ways to add enrichment to our dog’s lives. This page contains affiliate links. Dog Walks If you are one of those people who walks your dog whatever the weather, you may be surprised to learn that not everyone takes their pooch for walks. Estimates vary, but a recent meta-analysis found that only 59% of dog owners walk their dogs (Christian et al 2013). The obvious benefit is physical exercise for both dog and human. Remember to allow for sniffing time, because dogs like to spend time ‘reading’ all the local news with their nose.  A less

A Conversation with Carri Westgarth

Carri Westgarth and Francine Watkins new paper explores the perspectives of victims of dog bites. The results give important new insights into dog bite prevention. Carri kindly agreed to answer questions about her research on dog bites, dog walking, and puppies, and her own companion animals.  By Zazie Todd, PhD How did you get interested in studying dog bite prevention? Carri as a child; Top photo: Carri with her dogs Jasmyn and Ben, and her friend's dogs Alfie and Zephyr My mum might say it started as a toddler when she dashed upstairs to get a nappy and left me with two Jack Russell’s, one elderly and blind in one eye (sorry mum – she never has forgiven herself!).   I still have the scar on my forehead and a nice little bald patch. I initially wanted to be a vet, didn’t get into vet school, but after a zoology and genetics degree, worked various jobs in rescue and assistance dog training until I came back into academia.  Through all this I developed a fascin

A New Approach to Dog Bite Prevention

Strategies to prevent dog bites need to get past the belief that ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Photo: ARENA Creative/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD 4.5 million people a year are bitten by a dog in the US, of whom 885,000 need medical attention (Gilchrist et al 2008). In England in the last year, there were 7,227 admissions to hospital for injuries due to dogs , over 3000 more than a decade earlier. Developing a better understanding of how to prevent dog bites is essential.  A new paper by Carri Westgarth and Francine Watkins ( University of Liverpool ) suggests new directions for dog bite prevention. They interviewed 8 women about their experience of being bitten by a dog. Four of the participants had received medical attention for their bite, and six had also been bitten by a dog before. The results show that dog bites are a complex phenomenon.   Dr. Westgarth told me, “the most important finding is the belief that it wouldn't happen to them, or that dog bites