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A head-halter such the 'Halti' or the 'Gentle Leader' makes life much easier if you have a large dog that pulls on the lead and is kinder than most normal collars. They are available from most pet-shops.
 


Training

There are as many views on training dogs as there are for rearing children. If there is one unbreakable rule it should be to always think very carefully about the effect of what we are doing. Just as with medicine, we shouldn't apply a remedy without first understanding the cause.

Some of the forceful training practices of the past, sadly sometimes still used, did nothing more than to make a problem worse.

Too often it's easy for us to reward the behaviour we don't want by the way we try to stop it. At it's simplest, chasing after a dog because it has stolen a slipper provides exactly the fun and attention it enjoys and will encourage it to do it again and again.

If the problem is minor the answer may be found in one of the many good training books but if the problem is serious then get help straight away. Although there's lots of good advice available on the internet, do be cautious unless you know the person it comes from and never accept any advice that's contrary to your own good sense. Generalised advice without seeing the problem first hand is not always helpful.

If you have a good dog club nearby you'll learn a lot both from the instructor and other owners and have nearly as much fun as your dog. Your vet should know of one but always visit before you join to see how well it's run.

You can ask specific questions concerning dog behaviour and training and learn from the experience of other owners in the Dogpages forums.

Pet insurance

KR of Basset Hound Welfare writes: “Having obtained the pet of you dreams you'll want to give him/her all the love, care and attention that he/she deserves after what may have been a poor start in life. But what about their health?

With the advanced range of care now available to your dog at your veterinary surgery in times of illness or injury, and the associated costs, it's advisable to insure your pet with a reputable pet insurance company. Pre-existing conditions and preventative treatments will be excluded but the insurance will still cover a great variety of potential medical problems and rescue dogs are not automatically excluded.

There are a number of pet insurance policies on the market but as usual when you buy anything it is a case of 'buyer beware'. Before deciding on a particular company read the small print in their terms and conditions to ensure that you are getting the best possible cover available. Cover and the premiums you pay vary considerably between companies.

For the sake of your pet and your pocket seriously consider pet insurance.” KR

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