How to: interact with dogs

All members of the community, not just dog owners, should learn the foreign language that is ‘dog speak’. Kids, especially, are most likely to be prone to dog attacks because of their excitement and often overwhelming behaviour upon interacting with a cute, fluffy canine. To family members, a dog attack may seem out of the blue. How can our once-trusted companion bite my innocent child? However, for anyone who is familiar with canine behaviour, a lot of attacks are provoked one way or another. Most attacks, the dog is actually known to the child or the family pet. Chances are, Rover does ‘mind’ but just simply tolerating the ‘cute’ ear-pulling and tail-grabbing from little Johnny.

Dogs are fantastic loyal companions to humans but they are still animals and cannot communicate their frustration through words. When a dog shows anxiety or grows, take their messages seriously and look at what prompted this. Familiarise yourselves, and teach your child, some basic rules about interacting with family dogs and unfamiliar dogs when and how to approach them, when to stay away and how to interact.

A few tips to remember when first greeting a dog are to:

  • Ask for permission – especially  if it’s an unfamiliar dog. Asking if you can interact with stranger’s dog shows respect, for the both animal’s owner and the animal, and also can ensure a safe and appropriate interaction. (E.g. patting a service dog on duty may cause interference)
  • Avoid eye contact – To a dog, a direct stare is aggressive and can mean a challenge and can make them feel anxious and threatened. Instead, use a sideward stance (non-threatening) rather than facing the dog front-on.


(Image credit: Doggie Drawings)

  • Give personal space – Distance in canine behaviour means respect and polite behaviour and will make them feel relaxed and comfortable. Wait for the dog to come to you in its own time. Keep meetings between with new animal friends short and sweet, and avoid bothering dogs just like you would with other humans.

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(Image credit: Sophia Yin)

We cannot stress how important it is to have a knowledge of canine language. Majority of the time, media reports blame dog-human attacks on the specific breed and “dangerous” nature of the dog, although it is not necessarily the case. Majority of society does not realise that dogs are not toys, with no feelings, and often they will too have met the end of their fuse, which is then seen as “aggressive” behaviour. Most dogs will react to situations according to what his instincts tell him unless they are overridden by the consistent training and socialisation he needs to receive from his owner throughout his life. This means that while some of a dog’s temperament depends on their training, they will always have some instinctive animal aspects, so it is also essential for all interactions to be supervised.

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(Image credit: Doggie Drawings)

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Dog Friendliness in Europe

The top 5 most dog friendly countries are all Europe based (with the exception of Canada also on the list). France, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary and Austria all welcome canine patrons into pubs and restaurants, there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels to choose from and provided that you pay the appropriate fare, well-behaved pooches are also permitted on public transit. Dogs are no longer simply tolerated; they are indulged! Let Australia follow suit…

 

So how are the Europeans doing it? 

The answer is, as always, responsible pet ownership. Let’s take a look at each individual country’s laws and regulations as well as aids that would make pups lives happier and healthier!

France:

  • “Loo points” offers free bags to pick up your dogs’ poop, along with lots of bins for disposal.
  • There are no leash or muzzle laws so long as your dog isn’t an attack or guard breed, meaning dogs get to run free.

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(Dogs sitting with their owners in a restaurant and a bar in France)

 

Switzerland:

  • All Swiss dog owners are required to successfully complete a course on animal understanding and pass a series of both practical and written tests to demonstrate their aptitude.
  • There are strict guidelines as to how you may train your dog (absolutely no prong collars, hitting, or equipment that uses electricity, for instance) and all owners must have special pet insurance.

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Germany:

  • Is known for its no-kill shelters which not only avoid euthanising animals but also provide excellent living conditions for their residents.
  • Germany often takes in dogs from other countries who would have otherwise have been put down.
  • There is a even dog tax that German citizens pay out of their pay-checks to avoid having to put dogs down!
  • These laws reinforce a society belief that dogs are an integral part of our lives, and therefore no wonder most German places open welcoming doors to canines!

 

Hungary:

  • Measures are taken to ensure that they are well taken care of at all times. Ear and tail docking are prohibited and micro chipping is mandatory.
  • There are also programs in place to ensure that spaying and neutering is accessible to everyone and rules are enforced in order to guarantee that all dogs get at least the minimum required amount of exercise daily.

 

Austria:

  • Pet stores are strictly prohibited from selling dogs and cats
  •  Training measures that use force are also not permitted (such as chains), nor are devices like shock collars or invisible fences. Austrians are also not permitted to clip ears and tails of their pups, presumably to curb dog-fighting rings.
  • In addition to cracking down on cruelty, Austrians make an effort to include dogs in daily life. There are plenty of hotels across the country that welcome animals, making it easy to include your pooch in your holiday plans.

 

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Dog of the Week: Leo

Every week we will feature an Australian canine who is excited about the #PawsPermitted campaign and shares with us their favourite dog-friendly businesses and public facilities that allow them to be their true, happy and socialised selves!

Our ‘dog of the week’ this week is Leo, a Samoyed who lives in Brisbane, Queensland. Thanks Leo and his owner, Emily, for supporting the #PawsPermitted campaign! If you would like to participate, we’d love to hear from you. You can get started simply by sending through your dog’s photo through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/pawspermitted.

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Feature: The Vic on the Park

The Vic on the Park is one of the most-loved doggie friendly pub in Sydney. Located in Marrickville, it is not only welcoming to canines, but to just about everyone. On their website it says, “Bring your crew, the pooch, the family…even your basketball team…” Perhaps the latter is because a large basketball court is also part of the eatery, but a visit to the pub and you’ll realise that it is truly canine heaven. Some days, up to 30 of the patrons at The Vic on the Park are dogs of all shapes and sizes dining happily with their owners in the colourful back deck.

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From day one, The Vic has been all about community. Talking exclusively in an interview with the General Manager, Sarah Lewis, she says perhaps the best thing about being dog-friendly is that “doesn’t matter how busy you are, the stress the job can bring, the people you have to deal with when you walk out onto that deck and see one of our dogs gazing up and wagging their tail everything else is irrelevant. They make the day so much better!” She knows all the regulars by name, and their dogs too. The inner-west pub is surrounded by Marrickville, Stanmore and Newtown, which are all considered to be Sydney’s most dog-friendly surburbs and this is one aspect that inspired The Vic is open doors to canines, Lewis says. “It seems that almost every household now has a dog and what better way to spend an afternoon out on our deck with a beer, friends/family and your best mate. Rescue dogs are very popular in the area and it’s great hearing the stories of how they came into people’s care and the genuine love people have for their dogs.”

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The Vic’s numerous collaborations and fundraisers with animal organisations over the years prove that they are more than a dog-friendly pub that has water bowls and Schmacko’s treats always at the ready, but genuine animal lovers who want to raise awareness. Their biggest relationship is with Maggie’s Rescue in co-hosting an annual fundraiser called Muddy Paws Walk where registered teams of doggie and owner start at Sydney Park and end at The Vic.

This year, $13,000 was also raised through dog competitions that The Vic has hosted. Lewis further explains: “We have also started a weekly Doggy Badge Draw we call “The Vic on the Pooch”. For $15 you sign your dog up and they receive a dog tag with their own member number and a doggy bandana. Each Sunday @ 4pm we draw a member number and that pooch wins prizes. The profits (after costs) from the $15 goes to Maggie’s. We also hold meat tray raffles with all proceeds going to Maggie’s.” In addition to this, The Vic held a grey hound adoption information night, with local Labor MP Jo Haylen to raise money and awareness, as there will be as many as 19,000 greyhounds needing homes following their race ban this year.

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Lewis aims to create a great dog-friendly community, especially in the society we now live in commonly sees our four-legged friends as part of our family. She states that “a lot more can be done” in order to improve Australia’s dog friendly status and compare this to her European experiences where they are known for their open door dog policies, “I love when I am in England for example, sat at a little corner pub with the locals and their dog.”

Lewis even admits, “To be honest, the dogs are sometimes better behaved then the patrons!”

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Vic on the Park
2 Addison Road,
Marrickville NSW 2204

For more information: www.viconthepark.com.au
Instagram: @viconthepark
Facebook: viconthepark

 

Dog of the Week: Lily

Every week we will feature an Australian canine who is excited about the #PawsPermitted campaign and shares with us their favourite dog-friendly businesses and public facilities that allow them to be their true, happy and socialised selves!

Our ‘dog of the week’ this week is Lily, a Golden Retriever who lives in Melbourne, Victoria. Thanks Lily and her owner for supporting the #PawsPermitted campaign! If you would like to participate, we’d love to hear from you. You can get started simply by sending through your dog’s photo through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/pawspermitted.

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Dog etiquette

The most important aspect of a dog-friendly society is responsible pet ownership, which means respecting and abiding to public rules and exerting doggy-owner manners.

The outside world is a great and fun way to get outside and socialise your dog, but there can be some unpredictability, especially when a group of dogs meet. Not only does paying attention to etiquette reduce safety risk of fellow community members and their doggies, but also keeps your four-legged pup happy and relaxed, ready to enjoy some quality time with you.

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Dogs in the workplace

Forward-thinking global companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, Purina and Huffington Post, are renowned for their employee friendly policies and allowing dogs into the workplace is also part of their work culture. According to reports,  Taiwan appears to be ahead of the rest of the world, with half of all work places welcoming dogs. And it is time for Australia to follow. The RSPCA estimates more than 60 per cent of Australian households own a pet but less than 25 per cent of employers allow pets into the workplace.

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Studies have long shown that allowing dogs in the workplace can reduce work-related stress, improve morale and creativity and increase job satisfaction. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who left their pets at home experienced much higher stress than those who brought their pets along to the workplace. Fifty-three percent of employees said they’d be more likely to stay at their current company if pets were allowed in their workeplaces. 65 percent of HR decision makers reported that candidates often inquire about the workplace pet policy during the interview process. Furthermore, A Central Michigan University study also found having a dog in the room can even make human colleagues more cooperative and encourage teamwork.

In Australia, it is a rare find for companies to allow this policy. But there’s a few lead by example. Surry Hills real estate agency, Gunning Commercial is one of them having up to three dogs in the office at times and Malcolm Gunning, the principal says to ABC in an article, “I think what it does, it creates a very balanced environment. Real estate sales, particularly, is stressful. You’re dealing with large assets. But the dogs are the calming effect. They’re the balance.” he said.

Queensland-based pet supplies company VetShopAustralia also believes that having multiple dogs around their office helps de-stress the work environment and creates an “all-around a happier workplace”. The apparel company, Cotton On, is dog-friendly in its head office in Geelong, Victoria even with their own hashtag on Instagram called #dogsofcottonon that tracks the canines who comes into the office. Senior communications manager Greer McCracken says to Herald Sun that “animals are a great social catalyst in encouraging collaboration, mitigating stress, creating a strong sense of community and increasing job satisfaction,” she says.

Located in Rhodes in Sydney, Nestlé Purina PetCare has around four or five pets in their ground floor office. Lal Meyer, the country business manager of Purina Petcare Australia said to Sydney Morning Herald bringing pets to work is part of the company DNA and business model. Pets have their own designated entrance, so people with pet allergies who work in the rest of the building can safely enter the building. HR Manager Carol Dietrich tells Workplace OHS that it all comes down to responsible pet ownership and Purina hasn’t had to tell anyone to stop bringing their pet to work because everyone has a clear idea of what is expected of them and their pet.

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Dog of the week: Hugo

Every week we will feature an Australian canine who is excited about the #PawsPermitted campaign and shares with us their favourite dog-friendly businesses and public facilities that allow them to be their true, happy and socialised selves!

Our ‘dog of the week’ this week is Hugo, a German Shepherd pup who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Thanks Hugo and his owner for supporting the #PawsPermitted campaign! If you would like to participate, we’d love to hear from you. You can get started simply by sending through your dog’s photo through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/pawspermitted.

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Feature: Wine with canine

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Gourmet Pawprints is a business started in 2013 that offers dog-friendly winery and vineyard tours around rural Victoria like Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Daylesford. The stops along the guided tours, which come in full or half day, are all dog-friendly and may include wine and cider tastings, morning tea, a walk along an off-lead beach, ball play and a gourmet lunch.

This is one of Australia most loved dog-friendly businesses and when talking exclusively to Gourmet Pawprints’ owner, Kerry Watt, she says, the business came about after she did not want to leave her own four-legged friend at home.”Dogs are part of your family, which means they go with you where you go. If people work full-time they want to be with their dogs on weekends.” With Gourmet Pawprints, the best part is “getting to enjoy a fabulous outdoor lifestyle with people who love to spoil their pooches” and “meeting great people who love their dogs.”

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Watt says, “For a dog lover you are severely restricted in Australia where you can take your dog. In the US and Europe dogs are part of the fabric of society. They are in hotels, pubs, restaurants, trains and buses.” For example, one of her biggest challenges was attempting to source a 50-seater bus: “I made about 50 calls to find companies that would accept dogs. They’ll take blokes on bucks’ parties but not so many take dogs,” she says.

When asked if Australia should encourage more dog-friendly facilities, Watt says, “Yes with proper education about how to interact with dogs and an understanding of dog behaviour”. And we totally agree! There is plenty of time for pooches to socialise and play on Gourmet Pawprints tours but Watt makes sure that there is no anti-social behaviour. All dogs on the tour must be desexed and vaccinated and of course, friendly and well-trained both on and off leash.

You can find more about Gourmet Pawprints at: http://gourmetpawprints.com.au

 

Why is dog ownership so important? Health improvement

FACT: Pet ownership improves our mental and general health

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It has been repetitively confirmed by scientific research over the years that owning pets has substantial benefits to our wellbeing.

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  • Pet owners reported fewer doctor contacts during a one year period than non-owners
  • Presence of pets in home develops the immune system, especially in children, so that it is less sensitive to allergens and asthma in later life.
  • Children from pet owning families have less school absenteeism through illness, and are more likely to have normal levels of immune function.
  • Pet ownership is significantly associated with better attendance rates across all primary / junior classes at school.
  • Pet owners have greater self esteem, undertook more exercise, and are better able to cope with social rejection than non-pet owners.
  • Pets provide a powerful buffering effect against grief and stress; stroking a pet has been proven as an antidote to stress.
  • Study of elderly persons who had recently lost a spouse, pet ownership and strong attachment to pets were associated with significantly less depression.
  • Pets are scientifically proven to improve cardiovascular health: non-pet owners are more likely to die from a heart attack.
  • People talking to and petting a dog have lower blood pressure than when they interact with another person.