The Rough Collie is a medium / large breed of dog. People sometimes refer to them as ‘Lassie Dogs’, thanks to the character of Lassie, a Rough Collie who has appeared in novels, movies and television shows.
The most recognisable feature of the Rough Collie is the long fluffy coat. This coat is found in four different coat colours, sable and white, tricolour, blue merle and white, though even ‘white’ examples typically have small patches of colour. The coat is double layered, with a coarse outer coat over a downy under coat. This coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting.
They are a medium / large breed, with males typically weighing between 20–29 kg, and females between 18–25 kg. The breed has a very distinctive face, with its long thin muzzle, and alert eyes. Their ears stand proud of their coat, but the points typically tip, rather than standing straight up. Similar breeds include the Smooth Collie, which is a shorter haired variety, and the Shetland Sheepdog, which is a smaller breed with Rough Collies in their ancestry. Continue reading… “Rough Collie – Breed Profile”
As part of International Assistance Dog Week, we will be profiling a different UK assistance dog charity each day. We have also spoken to Support Dogs on The Yorkshire Vets Podcast this week, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled! Our fourth charity profile is on Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Who are Hearing Dogs for Deaf People?
Hearing Dogs was founded at Crufts in 1982, with a three-year pilot scheme. In the early days all charity activities, including training, took place in co-founder Gill Lacey’s living room. Within 4 years, they had placed 20 hearing dogs and had a further waiting list of 26. he charity grew quickly and in 2004, they placed their 1,000th hearing dog. Continue reading… “Charity Focus – Hearing Dogs for Deaf People”
In our second episode, a celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, we chat to Rita Howson and Danny Anderson of the charity Support Dogs. Support Dogs is a Yorkshire based charity that provides assistance dogs to people in need across the UK. Continue reading… “Episode 2 – Support Dogs”
As part of International Assistance Dog Week, we will be profiling a different UK assistance dog charity each day. We will also be speaking to Support Dogs on The Yorkshire Vets Podcast this week, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled! Our third charity profile is on Medical Detection Dogs.
Who are Medical Detection Dogs?
Medical Detection Dogs was founded in 2008. Their Co-Founder, Chief Executive and Director of Operations, is Dr Claire Guest. Claire helped found the charity after spending a number of years working with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and then training medical detection dogs around the world. The charity’s headquarters is in Milton Keynes, but they provide assistance dogs to people across the UK. Continue reading… “Charity Focus – Medical Detection Dogs”
As part of International Assistance Dog Week, we will be profiling a different UK assistance dog charity each day. We will also be speaking to Support Dogs on The Yorkshire Vets Podcast this week, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled! Our second charity profile is on Guide Dogs.
Who are Guide Dogs?
Guide Dogs (also known as The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association) is one of the UK’s most well-known charities. The first four guide dogs in Britain completed their training in 1931, with the charity later becoming established in 1934. Their headquarters is located near Reading, and they have training centres in Redbridge, Atherton, Forfar and Leamington. The Leamington centre is also situated near to their national breeding centre. The charity receives no government funding, so their £49 million a year running costs are entirely provided by donations, fundraising and volunteers.
What do they do?
Guide Dogs help blind and partially sighted people across the UK. Not only do they provide dogs to those in need, but they also provide other services, such as rehabilitation. There are currently over 4,950 guide dog owners in the UK. Guide Dogs is now the largest breeder and trainer of working dogs in the world.
Derek Freeman MBE, who reared over 20,000 puppies, founded the Guide Dogs breeding programme in 1960. The most common breed used as guide dogs is the Labrador Retriever, due to their trainability, temperament and intelligence. They are also just the right size for guide dog work. There are smaller numbers of Golden Retrievers and Golden / Labrador crosses also in the programme. Guide Dogs run their own breeding programme to ensure that their stock adheres to the requirements of the charity. This also allows them to ensure breeding practices that result in the healthiest dogs possible. In 2011, the charity opened a new breeding centre, which has allowed them to increase the number of puppies bred to around 1,500 a year. Two-thirds of puppies bred by Guide Dogs go on to become a fully fledged guide dog.
For the first 14 months of a potential guide dog’s life, it lives with a foster owner. This volunteer will teach the dog basic commands and will introduce it to a wide variety of environments and experiences. These can include busy shopping centres, public transport, as well as interactions with other animals and a variety of people.
After 14 months, the dog will now be ready to move on to training school. The first three months involve the introduction of the training harness and work on avoiding obstacles. The following three months ties together everything that the dog has learned, and the trainer will begin to work on finding a suitable match for the specific dog. After this, the dog will receive intensive training alongside its new owner, before becoming a permanent fixture of that person’s life. The cost of bringing a dog to this stage, including breeding and training, is £42,300.
Guide Dogs continue to support to the dog and owner throughout its working life. Working guide dogs allow blind and partially sighted people the freedom to safely negotiate day to day environments that they would otherwise be unable to do. Their training teaches them to avoid obstacles, stop at kerbs, and prevent their owner from walking out into traffic. The companionship of a guide dog can also be instrumental in improving the confidence of an owner. The cost to support a guide dog through its working life is £12,300.
Guide dogs are typically retired at around 10-11 years of age, though this does depend on the individual dog. In many cases, these dogs remain with their owner, while a new working dog joins the family. Guide Dogs will rehome the retired dog if this is not practical. Because of their level of training, retired guide dogs can be excellent pets. If you would like to rehome a retired dog, please get in touch with Guide Dogs.
How can I help?
As previously stated, Guide Dogs receives no government funding. This means that they are always on the look out for volunteers, campaigners, donors and fundraisers. If you would like to help, please click on one of the following links for further information.
As part of International Assistance Dog Week, we will be profiling a different UK assistance dog charity each day. We will also be speaking to Support Dogs on The Yorkshire Vets Podcast this week, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled! Our first charity profile is on Dogs for Good.
Who are Dogs for Good?
Dogs for Good (formerly Dogs for the Disabled) was set up by Frances Hay in 1986 and became a registered charity in 1988. Frances developed the charity after benefitting from having her disability supported by her own pet dog. Their headquarters is in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and they now have additional centres in Bristol and Culcheth, Warrington. They receive no government funding, so their £3 million a year running costs are entirely provided by donations, fundraising and volunteers.
What do they do?
Dogs for Good provide three main different services to benefit people with autism or physical disabilities. These are:
The charity trains assistance dogs to support people with physical disabilities. Training allows these dogs to help with tasks that are wide ranging and significant. Tasks can be as fundamental as opening and closing doors, filling and emptying the washing machine, or picking up dropped items such as keys or mobile phones. As you can imagine, support in these areas can be vital in allowing disabled people to have a normal life. Assistance dogs for children also provide a welcome companionship that can help them to develop independence and confidence that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.
A more recent development in assistance dog training is the use of autism support dogs. These dogs can help in a number of ways, including the development of a routine, the interruption of repetitive behaviour, and the providing of emotional support in unfamiliar environments. They also allow an added level of safety to autistic children. Autism support dogs wear a special ‘bolt harness’, that tethers to their child. This means that if a child tries to ‘bolt’ if they become stressed or upset, the dog is able to anchor them to stop them from getting away or running into danger. The dog is also harnessed to the parent, who is then able to take over and calm their child.
Dogs for Good also train and provide community dogs. These dogs are useful in situations where multiple people are able to benefit from a single assistance dog. They are also useful on a one-to one basis for people who only require part-time assistance, or in cases in which full-time dog ownership is impractical.
In recent years, Special Educational Needs Schools have started using community dogs. These dogs have a professional handler working with them and take on a full-time role within the school. They can provide support individual students, become involved in classroom activities, and work with groups of children. Their work is helpful in developing the educational, social and emotional development of students.
Outside of education, community dogs are also used to benefit adults with autism and learning disabilities. They are useful in developing important life skills and allowing the people they work with to live full and active lives within their community. New and groundbreaking roles for community dogs are also in development all the time. These include dementia support and the support of elderly people. Trials are also underway to explore the use of assistance dogs to support children with brain injuries.
The charity also works with the families of autistic children to train pet dogs to help support their child. This allows for autistic children who may not need a fully fledged assistance dog, to benefit from the companionship and support a dog can provide. Dogs for Good runs regular workshops that provide advice on choosing and training a dog that will benefit the family.
How Can I help?
As previously stated, Dogs for Good receive no government funding. This means that they are always on the look out for volunteers, donors and fundraisers. If you would like to help, please click on one of the following links for further information.
The Shih Tzu is a small breed of dog, well known for their short muzzle and long coat. To find out more about the breed, and if it is a good fit for your family, read on below.
Shih Tzus are a small but sturdy breed. Females typically weigh between 4.5 and 8kg, with males between 5 and 8.5kg. They frequently have an obvious underbite, which is prominent under a short muzzle. They have drop ears and a tail that curls over the back. The Shih Tzu coat is soft, long and double layered. While show dogs typically only have this trimmed at floor level, it is common for pet Shih Tzu to receive regular trims to keep their coat at a more manageable length. Because of the coat length, Shih Tzu’s do require regular brushing to avoid matting. Compared to other dogs, shedding is minimal, so Shih Tzus can be good for those allergic to pet hair. The coat comes in a great number of colours, and the breed standard does not prefer one colour over any other. Continue reading… “Shih Tzu – Breed Profile”
The German Shepherd is a large breed of dog, well known for their intelligence and trainability. To find out more about the breed, and if it is a good fit for your family, read on below.
German Shepherds are easily recognised by their distinctive face, with its long muzzle and pricked up ears. Most people also recognise them by their black and tan colouring, though they can be found with other, rarer colours. These less common colours include sable, pure black and pure white. They have a dual layered coat, with a dense outer coat over a thick under coat. Although most commonly short haired, longer haired examples do exist. They are a large breed, with females weighing 22-32kg and males 30-40kg. An exaggerated sloping of the back has caused controversy after being seen in show German Shepherds. This has resulted in dogs with spinal and hind leg issues. Consequently, the Kennel Club has retrained judges to penalise dogs that show these symptoms. Continue reading… “German Shepherd – Breed Profile”
As a respected local vet practice, we receive lots of requests for work experience. As a result, we usually fully book out our available work experience placements up to a year in advance. Due to the high volume of applicants we receive, we also have to be very selective about who we take on. Many of these applicants contact us as they are interested in becoming a vet in the future. But what does it take to become a vet? This article should give you an idea of what you need to pursue a career as a qualified veterinary surgeon. Continue reading… “What Does It Take to Become a Vet?”