Canine First Aid Part II

Normal Dog Parameters

In early February we introduced the beginning of a CFBA blog series entitled Canine First Aid by Rachel Bean.  The first article was the Introduction to First Aid followed by an Introduction to Rachel Bean, RVN.

There was an unfortunate interruption while we were all adjusting to the ‘new normal’, but over the next few weeks, we will resume the series, starting with Normal Dog Parameters followed by Haemorrhage (Bleeding), Stings, Allergic Reactions & Anaphlaxis, and finally, Poisons & Pesticides.

Normal Temperature, Heart, and Respiratory Rates in Dogs

Attending to your dog’s wellbeing should include basic knowledge of their normal Parameters also known as Vital Signs. If you can recognise normal vital signs then you will be able to establish when vital signs are abnormal and contact your Vet much sooner. This will aid the speed of a potential illness being treated much quicker.

Please keep in mind that these normal values for dogs are approximations and do not apply to every dog in every situation. If you have health concerns about your dog, be sure to consult with your Vet for advice.

Normal Temperature for a dog is 38.3 C to 38.7 C

Most Digital thermometers are in Celsius. It is good practice to have a digital thermometer in your Canine First Aid Kit for whenever you need to check a rectal temperature.

Temperature Abnormalities can be:

  • HYPERTHERMIA: Caused by exercise, agility, working trials or simply running.
  • PYREXIA: Caused by Infections such as infected wounds
  • HYPERTHERMIA: Caused by Hypovolemic Shock,
  • DIPHASIC: Caused by Distemper and other neurological conditions.


Blood pumped into the Aorta during ventricular contraction creates a wave that travels from the heart to the peripheral arteries. This is the Pulse.

Normal Pulse rate for a dog is

  • Small Dog – 100 beats a minute
  • Medium Dog – 80 beats a minute
  • Large/Giant Dog – 50 beats a minute

Taking a pulse rate – Feel how many pulses you can feel in 15 seconds, times by 4 – this gives you the minute rate.

The best place to take a pulse rate from is the Femoral Artery located on the inside of either back leg midthigh region or the heart beat itself located behind the elbow.


Pulse Abnormalities can be:

  • Raised rate
  • Lowered rate
  • Weak pulse
  • Irregular pulse


Respiration is the normal exchange of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide between the air and body tissues. Normal Respiration for a dog is 10 To 30 breaths a minute 

Abnormal Breathing rates:

  • Increased Breathing is called Tachypnea
  • Decreased breathing is called Bradypnea
  • Difficulty breathing is called Dyspnea

Mucous Membrane Colours

Any discolouration of the mucous membranes (gums) can be a lack of oxygen, blood flow, or dehydration. Always seek Veterinary advice if you notice this with your dogs gums.

The gums can also feel “tacky”, meaning they are dry and sticky, where they should be moist like the inside of your mouth. This, along with discolouration, can indicate an emergency.

Take the time to check your dog’s gums frequently. Knowing what they look like on a regular basis.

Normal CAPILLARY Refill time for a Dog is 1 to 2  Seconds

Pale gums caused by Anaemia or internal bleeding. 

Cyanosis caused by lack of Oxygen
Jaundice caused by Liver Issues
Cyanosis caused by lack of Oxygen

Table of Contents

Articles welcome:

January 2020 Newsletter

The next series of blogs is from Rachel Bean RVN. 

It is a series on First Aid and will include the following topics:

  • Introduction to First Aid
  • Normal Dog Parameters (Vitals)
  • Haemorrage- Bleeding
  • Stings, Allergic Reactions & Anaphylaxis
  • Poisons & Pesticides

Today’s blog includes – 

Introduction to First Aid

About Rachel Bean

Introduction to First Aid

First Aid is the critical first action carried out when a patient suffers an incident. It is essential that any First Aid is carried out not only rapidly but also with some consideration as to what the outcome is likely to be.

The first important action is:

Don’t Panic!

‘The sympathetic nervous system sends out impulses to glands and smooth muscles and tells the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and noradrenaline into the bloodstream. These “stress hormones” cause several changes in the body, including an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.’

 This is also known as ‘Flight or Flight’

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966

This Act is very important and Vets and Veterinary Nurses abide by its rules everyday when working with animals. So when carrying out First Aid you have to be aware of its Boundaries and Limitations.

Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 anyone may perform First Aid to an animal provided that it is:

To Preserve LIFE


To Prevent the DETERIORATION  of the patient’s condition.

Part of Schedule 3 of The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 says the following:

‘Lay persons may administer first aid in an emergency, for the purposes of saving life or relieving pain or suffering. As a result of the above act and the subsequent exemptions; it is illegal for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the animals Veterinary Surgeon is sought and obtained.’

So if you work with dogs or even live with dogs you have to be aware of the Veterinary Surgeons Act and its Limitations. The main ones are:

  1. If a member of the public or a customer/client asks you a medical question about their dogs health, you cannot be deemed to be making any kind of perceived diagnosis. Only a Registered Veterinary Surgeon can make a diagnosis. Always advise the person to ask a Veterinary Surgeons opinion. This avoids the risk of you being in ‘breach’ of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.
  2. Social Media – many people will ask on social media about the health of their dogs and many people offer a ‘diagnosis’ or treatments. This can be also be breaching The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 – it is best to stay away from commenting.
  3. Treatments – Canine Massage, Canine Physiotherapy , Canine Chiropracty, Canine Hydrotherapy etc are all disciplines that need a Veterinary Referral, this gives the practitioner permission to treat the dog under The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.

Assessing the Patient

There are three main rules you must remember when dealing with First Aid:

Remember A B C




So, with this in mind we can check the following:

Is the dog BREATHING ?
Watch for chest movements or nose/mouth movements. Put your ear to the mouth and nose and listen. Place your hand lightly on the chest and feel for movements.

Is the breathing LABOURED ?
This could indicate a blockage to the airway. Care must be taken to remove the blockage if it is visible. If the dog is on its side, then by extending the neck a blockage can be removed. Blockages could be the tongue, blood, vomit or mucous.

 Is the dog CONSCIOUS?
If the dog is aware of its surroundings, it is less likely to be a life-threatening situation and you might have time to tend to other injuries.


About Rachel

Rachel Bean is a Qualified Veterinary Nurse and has worked in Veterinary Practice for 17 years. With the support of the Practice Veterinarians in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area Rachel has for many years consulted with owners who encounter problem behaviour with their pets. Rachel works with clients in their home on a One to One basis and helps them achieve a better understanding of their dog’s behaviour.

Before qualifying as a Veterinary Nurse, Rachel was an Assistant Kennel Manager for the Dogstrust (formerly NCDL) and has a good deal of experience in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of dogs.

Rachel visits owners of newly acquired Puppies to educate owners on the importance of early correct socialisation, habituation and training to prevent behaviour problems in the future. Rachel won Pet Health Counsellor of the Year in 2004 and has a certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour issued by The British Veterinary Nurse Association. Rachel is a listed and Registered Veterinary Nurse with The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Rachel is also the consultant behaviourist at the Northwest newest and largest Dog Hydrotherapy Centre, K9 Swim.

Rachel has experience in providing Expert Witness reports for legal cases involving dogs both in Welfare and Dangerous Dogs.

Rachel is also a Master Dog Trainer with the Guild of Dog Trainers, and currently studying with Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training for an MA in Canine Behaviour. She is also a Tutor for the Foundation level Degree with the CIDBT.

The skills needed in Veterinary Practice, empathy, understanding, precision and forward thinking compliment perfectly the skills needed to be a Dog Behaviourist such as practical handling, breed knowledge, dog training capabilities and a natural passion for dogs. This combination of experience both practical and theoretical is a rare combination and places Rachel above and beyond the average dog trainer.

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December 2019 Newsletter

Park Life…
(A little rant about my dog walking experiences and owner responsibilities)


Not all dogs are born equal.

Of course, it should go without saying that pedigree dog breeds all have innate predisposed behaviours – greater or lesser within each individual of that breed or type. For example, the Border Collie’s inherent drive to chase, the Beagles desire to scent and the Greyhounds need for speed.

Before obtaining a dog, research should have of course be conducted online, visiting breeders and owners of that breed, attending dog shows, reading books etc – not simply getting a dog based on aesthetics or some faded childhood memories of past pets that your parents did all the care for.

I live in London and walk in public parks and as you can imagine I have my share of unruly dogs running over to me and my dogs with the usual owner excuses being bellowed at me ‘It’s Ok, he’s friendly’, ‘she just wants to play’ ‘she’s only a puppy’, ‘he has selective hearing’ and all manner of other nonsense that makes ones blood pressure rise.

I’m constantly amazed that people with a tiny Yorkshire Terrier have no problem with it running over to my four dogs ‘just to play’ or because ‘he thinks he’s an Alsatian!’

All of this is very irresponsible.

However, there is another level of irresponsible that I have encountered lately – those people who decide not to opt for the trendy Cockapoo, Cavapoo and any other ‘on trend’ little pet dog that they can let run amok – those that go and get a Cane Corso, Rhodesian Ridgebeack, Japanese Akita, Boerboel, American Bulldog and such and think that they are the same as other dog breeds – like a Cocker Spaniel or a Shih-Tzu. Yes, all of those breeds have arrived in my local City parks over the past couple of years.

All dogs need obedience training – the same as all children need educating – whether you send them to school or home educate – it is the same. To fail that is grossly negligent. However, when you get a dog belonging to the ‘power’ group of dogs – including Bull Terriers, Dogue De Bordeaux, Russian Black Terrier, European Dobermans and a host of others, your responsibility to train that dog, in my view increases tenfold (that is not to excuse those of you with poorly trained dogs of other breeds and types).

Sexual Status

I keep my male dogs entire for life and neuter bitches as late as possible. My extensive research leads me to do that for the health and longevity of my dogs – whom I love and wish to keep for as long as I possibly can and in the best of health and wellness.

You should not walk a bitch when she is in season. Period.  (a seemingly accurate time to quote our American friends).

Male dogs when left entire are more likely to spar up to other entire males – to me that is a natural and normal behaviour (more prevalent in some breeds and some individuals than others) than it is to go and play and frolic with other entire dogs. There are exceptions to each and every rule – I have an entire male Rottweiler aged 9 years who will play all day with other entire dogs and is used as a stooge dog for testing dog aggression in the work that I do. However, most entire male Rottweilers are not so inclined.

If you decide, for whatever reason to keep your male entire – your responsibility for training that dog is increased again. Allowing your entire male Chihuahua to run over to an entire male Patterdale, Schnauzer or Kerry Blue Terrier could be simply disastrous (regardless of your dog being friendly and wanting to play).

I have a man in my local park who walks his dogs on a Sunday – no idea what he does the rest of the time, but periodically on a Sunday, I am walking my dogs and all of a sudden two entire male black Labradors will ‘fly’ over to me and my dogs – sometimes the owner is in sight, sometimes he is quite literally nowhere to be seen. Their intention is friendly, but considering I walk four dogs – I now have six dogs to contend with alone. Two entire male Rottweilers, two over-excited entire male Labradors, a female Rottweiler and my 16 year old female Pomeranian. To date, all has been fine – due to the training of my dogs and therefore my ability to verbally control them and then physically control the Labradors when they try to mount my dogs.

I have had verbal exchanges with the dog owner of course; which makes for a less than pleasant walk.

Also in my local park, is the man with the entire male Ridgeback with zero recall, the dog aggressive Akita that trails a lead when running free chasing a Frisbee or attacking other dogs, the lady with the entire male Boxer that runs over to all dogs “to play” – regardless of how far away they may be – ignoring the ‘Bruno, come here’ ‘Bruno, get here now’ requests.

Pack Drive 

My dogs are all friendly with other dogs, BUT they are Rottweilers – incredibly powerful both physically and psychologically and do not suffer fools. One could argue that me taking three Rottweilers to the park is irresponsible; perhaps it is – it is certainly not what we would advise on our dog safety workshops, but my dogs will all recall regardless of what is going on – they will not run over to other dogs or people, will down/sit and stay when instructed. However, the Rottweilers have a strong drive to guard their pack and therefore if the Akita runs over to me and attacks one of my dogs – likely the three Rottweilers would protect each other – not an image to consider for too long. That is not the case with many breeds – my German Shepherd Dogs that I owned, wouldn’t  get involved if  there was an altercation and nor would my Pomeranian (she’d still be snuffling about looking for rabbit poo to eat whilst I was being mugged!)

It’s Not as Easy as you Think!

A couple of years ago, I was walking my sixteen year old German Shepherd Dog (who was naturally  a little frail) along with a 12 week old German Shepherd Puppy (who was destined for a life in Dubai) when I saw a Chocolate Labrador hurtling towards me – luckily – I was able to intercept the Labrador en-route. I grabbed his collar and held him (amongst a vile cacophony of vocalisations from said dog) and awaited the owner to come and get him. Neither my delicate elderly dog nor my sensitive impressionable young puppy would have benefited from this crazy over excited dog invading their space; the owner berated me for holding on to her dog and creating a ‘problem’ where there was not one – he only wanted to play (again!!) The chunky Labrador would have either injured my old dog or freaked out the puppy; possibly damaging her temperament for life. When I told the owner my opinion, she said “See how you get on with training ‘that one’…it’s not as easy as you think”.

Naturally that hit a chord, I did think about giving her my business card, but after some of the descriptive words I had used in our conversation, I decided not to.

I did however signpost her to real help.

If your car fails, breaks down or is problematic – you go to a Garage for expert advice and to get it ‘fixed’ (you don’t google it or ask advice on Facebook or similar). That is sensible. If your dog will not recall (or whatever) go and see an expert and get the right help.

There is no intrinsic desire for dogs to ‘come’ when called – nor will most dogs return to call, ignoring inherent or learnt drives for a bit of chicken or a manky bit of kibble from their daily food allowance.

When it Works

Every single day, I meet a man in my local park with a Weimaraner. His dog ‘hates’ my dogs. It’s not a problem.  We see each other coming – he will recall his dog and I recall mine. We put them on leads; we then stand a moan about life and the weather, but traffic mostly (he is a London Cabbie) – we then walk on and release the dogs off lead again and say ‘see you tomorrow…have a good day!’

Just like we have Skoda’s, Ferrari’s, Landover’s, Mercedes, Hondas and a whole variation within (dependant on size, performance, budget, experience) – we have the same with dogs – we have working dogs, pet dogs, performance dogs and the unknown element (because they are animals).  One should choose a dog breed like you choose a car – practically thinking about suitability, lifestyle, environment, your experience and an array of other factors.

For that matter, we also have the same with dog trainers and behaviour practitioners…we have those that talk a strange ideology that fails most dogs, those who mean well, but can’t help and those who are really passionate about dogs, their training and their people and who will work with you tirelessly to achieve your aims even with the most hard core of dogs. One size does not fit all and if one trainer cannot help – go and get another.

There was recently a sad case on social media whereby a dachshund was killed by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Said dog was on lead and the Dachshund ran over off lead. I do not know the details and therefore cannot comment, but it highlights the needs for proper, effective recall training regardless of if your dog is friendly.

If you are unable to recall your dog from other dogs – go and seek help and stop ruining other people’s walks and putting them in awkward and dangerous positions.

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October 2019 Newsletter

Dominance in Dogs: Owners’ Reports Are Scientifically Valid

New research shows owners’ assessments of dominance are ethologically sound.

I recently read an important new research paper that’s available online by Enikő Kubinyi​ and Lisa J. Wallis called “Dominance in dogs as rated by owners corresponds to ethologically valid markers of dominance,” the detailed results of which are well worth sharing with any people who live with dogs, as well as those who don’t. Dominance in dogs is well established by detailed ethological research; however, as the researchers point out, “to date, no study has examined how owners perceive dominance in dogs, and what different behaviors and personality types are used to describe dominant and subordinate individuals.” A detailed discussion of dominance in dogs can be found in Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Doand the authors of this new essay also nicely review available literature.

As a fan of “citizen science,” the results of Enikő Kubinyi​ and Lisa Wallis’s study were of great interest to me, and I was pleased they could answer a few questions about their research project, some of which went beyond what readers will see in the published paper. (See “How Well Do You Know What Dogs Do, Think, and Feel?” and “Dog Smarts: The Science of What They Think About and Know.”) Our interview went as follows. 

Why did you do your study, and what questions were you trying to answer?

The term “dominance” is often used by dog owners to describe dogs; however, there may be little agreement regarding its meaning, as dominance is defined differently in ethology, psychology, among the public, and in the popular press. So, we set out to examine what owners mean when they talk about dominance between dogs.

Previous ethological studies have established that dominance relationships do exist between pairs/groups of pet dogs, usually by measuring specific behaviors shown by dogs when interacting in a lab, facility, or dog play park. Scientists record the dogs’ behaviors when interacting, which then allows them to determine each dogs’ position and to predict how the dogs will behave in future conflict situations. This information is vitally important when it comes to managing multiple dogs living in the same household. In comparison to scientists, owners are in a unique position, as they observe their dogs daily throughout their lives, and therefore have a wealth of knowledge concerning their dogs’ relationships and interactions. Despite this fact, only few studies have focused on examining relationships of dogs living in the home environment, and none have sought to determine how owners perceive the relationships between their dogs, and whether they believe that dominance relationships exist. Therefore, we set out to examine if owners reported one of their dogs as dominant and the different behaviors they used to describe dominant and subordinate individuals.

How did you conduct your research?

We surveyed 1,156 Hungarian owners of more than one dog to determine how owners perceive dominance relationships in dog dyads. Based on previous studies, owner questionnaires could be a valid method, as the quality of data produced by citizen scientists has proven to be satisfactory.

How did you define dominance?

Since we were interested in understanding whether dog owners believe that one of their dogs is “dominant” to the other and what sorts of behaviors and personality traits both dominant and subordinate individuals may display according to the owner, we did not define dominance in the questionnaire, as we did not want to influence their answers. Instead, we asked owners: Which of the dogs is the “boss” (has a dominant status) to the best of your knowledge: “A” or “B”? Owners could also select “Similar” if both dogs fit the description, or “N/A”. When the owners marked “N/A,” we assumed that they could not answer the question as neither of the dogs appeared to be dominant to the owner, or they were unsure/did not fully understand the question. We also asked 20 other questions, each corresponding to a different behavior, personality trait, or characteristic (e.g., “Which dog acquires the better resting place?”), and then investigated the associations between dogs that had been designated as “dominant” and the 20 characteristics. Our hope was that owners responded to the questions intuitively, using the knowledge they had gained through daily observations of their dogs’ relationships and interactions, as well as their own understanding of the concept of dominance. Which was the only way we could answer our research question of how the dog-owning public view dominance between dogs living in their households. However, in the paper we emphasized the ethological definition of dominance. In ethology, the word dominance is used to describe the long-term social relationships between individuals belonging to a group, which is established through force, aggression, and submission, and serves to determine priority access to resources (such as food, mates, and preferred resting places). The consistent winner is referred to as the dominant, and the loser the subordinate. Once the relationship has been established, the subordinate offers submission behaviors, such as licking the mouth of the dominant. There is typically no longer a need for the dominant to use force or aggression, and thus the potential for conflict is reduced, which is very advantageous for a group.

What are some of your major findings?

Owners interpreted dominance based on specific behaviors, obtaining resources and certain personality traits, which supports that dominance relationships are robust and well-perceivable components of companion dog behavior. Dogs rated as dominant usually have priority access to certain resources, such as food, rewards, resting places, and they are perceived to undertake specific tasks, such as “guarding” through barking more, walking in the front during walks (i.e., “leading” the group), defending the group in case of perceived danger, etc. They display dominance: more frequently accept that the other dogs lick their mouth and mark over the other’s urination. They have characteristic personality traits: smarter, more aggressive, and impulsive, and they are older than subordinates according to the owners. Asking which dog wins fights is highly predictive if it did occur (fighting occurred in approximately 70 percent of pairs). Physical condition, obedience, sequence of greeting the owner and retrieving balls were unrelated to the perceived dominance.

Were there any surprises?

We were surprised that 87 percent of owners indicated that their dogs differed in their social status, and only 10 percent perceived them as similar. We assumed that more owners would be unable to detect differences in rank in their dogs, perhaps because the dogs had a different type of relationship, which was not based on dominance: For example, they were non-interactive (they co-existed without social interactions, i.e., they avoided each other), or they had an “egalitarian” relationship (the partners affiliated regularly, e.g., played with each other, without agonistic behavior). Also, we did not expect to find that in mixed-sex dyads, females were more frequently rated as dominant than males. This might be because dominant females were more often neutered than dominant males, and previous studies have found that aggression occurs more often in neutered females compared to intact females and neutered males.

We expected to find that age would explain the relationships between the dyads, perhaps better than dominance status, as previous studies have found that older dogs are more often dominant than young individuals. However, in the current study, dominance status, as perceived by the owner, explained dog-to-dog interactions better than the age of the dogs. Yet when we examined only the dyads where a younger individual was dominant, we found that 64 percent of the dominants licked the mouth of the older individual, which is a sign of submission. We reasoned that the owners may have perceived the younger individual to be dominant, as it was more motivated to obtain resources, perhaps because it was faster/more active, as well as showed higher aggression and impulsivity in comparison to the older dog. Possibly, these younger individuals may have started to test the older dog to establish boundaries. Regardless, there is still a lot to learn about how age differences influence relationships in pet dogs.

What are some practical aspects of your results?

Owners are responsible for choosing the social partners of their dogs, so they have a duty to try to ensure that relationships are as amicable as possible. For example, owners could reinforce the position of older individuals in order to reduce competition and avoid keeping multiple dogs of the same sex and age. We found great individual differences in dogs’ relationships and hope in the future to examine these more closely and include affiliative aspects as well as long-term changes. It’s important to note that our study represents a snapshot in time in the lives of the dogs, and that dog relationships are dynamic and may change according to context and learning.

What are some of your current projects?

Both of us work in the Senior Family Dog Project in Budapest. We explore the cognitive aging of family dogs with not only behavioral, but also neuroscientific and genetic testing methods. The results are expected to provide guidelines for a healthy lifestyle to promote successful aging and to aid our understanding of the biological background of human cognitive aging through the non-invasive use of the pet dog as an animal model. The “dominance study” was a side project, and originated from Eniko’s previous study on the collective motion of a dog pack. At that time, it was not clear what questionnaire items should be used to map dominance hierarchies between dogs, and we aimed to fill the gap.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers?

We would like to emphasize that the current study examined owners’ ratings of their dogs and did not attempt to validate these ratings with the dogs’ behavior in real-life situations. Another topic for future research is the relationship of owners with the dogs within their household, and how this might influence the intraspecific relationships between their dogs, a topic that is currently hotly debated. Since some dog owners describe dogs that often show dominant behavior towards other dogs as having a “dominant personality,” studies linking personality traits to owner-perceived dominance status would be especially useful to help clarify the correct terminology to the public. We hope to publish a paper on this topic in the near future. So watch this space!


Thank you so much Enikő and Lisa for your important research and for agreeing to answer these questions, the answers to some of which expand what you wrote about in your published essay. Your results are very important, and I hope others will follow up with more research on dominance and its assessment in dogs. 

Stay tuned for further discussions of the behavior of dogs and the ways in which citizen science can help us learn about them and other animals. It’s encouraging that so many of the people with whom Enikő and Lisa had contact know what they’re talking about and are fluent in dog.


Bekoff, Marc. 2018. Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

_____. Dominance in Free-Ranging Dogs: Age and Social TolerancePsychology Today, May 18, 2017.

_____. Dogs Display Dominance: Deniers Offer No Credible DebatePsychology Today, July 7, 2016.

_____. Dominance and Pseudoscience: Making Sense of NonsensePsychology Today, January 13, 2013. 

_____. Social Dominance Is Not a MythPsychology Today, February 15, 2012. 

Kubinyi E, Wallis LJ. 2019. Dominance in dogs as rated by owners corresponds to ethologically valid markers of dominance. PeerJ 


Woman gives up job as backing singer for Spice Girls and Kings of Leon to be a cat whisperer

Anita Kelsey


ANITA KELSEY reckons she has a purr-fect job . . . as a cat whisperer. She works her magic on problem moggies all over the country and can tame almost any feline.

Anita was once a backing singer with Kings Of Leon and the Spice Girls — even winning a MOBO award. But she turned her back on fame, which is music to cats’ ears.

She studied feline grooming and behaviour to graduate from Middlesex University with a first-class honours degree in cat psychology.

Anita, 56, from Notting Hill, West London, said: “I’ve always loved cats and knew I had the same passion about them as I do with music. When I was young, I wanted to be a vet or a singer. I’ve done the singing bit and I guess this is the closest I’ll get to being a vet! I’m happy to settle for that.”

She has dealt with fighting in multi-cat households, aggressive pets and much-loved moggies who refuse to use a litter tray. Anita also works to build confidence in nervous rescue-cats and ease anxiety in cats that over-groom to the point of injury.

She says: “Problems creep in when owners treat their beloved cats not as pets but like children, not making sufficient outlets for their natural instincts and behaviours.”

Vets may refer cats with problems to her, or clients contact her directly.

She said: “I’ve issued very naughty cats with ASBO certificates. The clients frame them! One of the big issues with solving cat-behaviour cases is the time it takes their owners to realise there’s a problem and getting help.

“If an issue has been occurring for some time, it may turn into a habit, which is far more difficult to break.

“Or could be happening for different reasons than those which prompted the original trigger.”

Here are Anita’s top tips to deal with cat-astrophes.

Going nuts indoors. “If a cat lives indoors and doesn’t have outside space or is in a high-rise apartment, they may be desperate for some breeze on their fur. Put them on a lead and take them for a walk to stop them crying in the house.”

Depression. “Have you moved house, altered your home in some way or got a new partner? A cat can become withdrawn and change behaviours to resemble a depressed state if their daily rituals alter. Cats do not like change or disruption.”

Petting anxiety. “Some cats don’t like too much stroking. Watch and listen to them. Do they actually look like they enjoy being picked up? Cats prefer low-intensity, less intrusive interactions in short bursts.”

Spraying and marking. “Cats spray to leave their scent and mark their territory but it can also be related to stress. Is the litter tray too small or too near to a noisy entrance? They could be seeing or sensing other cats in the area.”

Coping with a fat cat. “When their waist starts to disappear, it’s time to question what you are giving them and why. Their natural diet is meat, not biscuits. Never free-feed. If food is available all day, every day, your cat will eat it.”


Thank you for your patience while I continue to learn this new blog software.  – Diane

Please submit your blogs to Diane:

July 2019 Newsletter

New Member Welcome

by Estella Vaz

Guinea pigs were the pets I was allowed to have as a child and I loved them, but really I wanted a dog.  So eleven years ago, I decided that the time was right for a dog and I walked into my local rescue center and asked if they had any terriers.  The lady I was talking to answered “yes, we have lovely male fox terrier cross”.  Needless to say, a week later this young fox terrier cross came to live with me and changed my life.

As the dog ran off with my Birkenstocks for the umpteenth time, chewed up the telephone, pooped on the bed, piddled up the fireplace and had daily standoffs with my husband, I realised that this dog was not quite so ‘lovely’ and a bit of a handful.  Never one to hide from a challenge off to doggy training school we went, along with the implementation of a routine and an exercise program.  I learnt how to manage and understand his needs and as a deep bond with him grew we became a team.  Eight months later, I was back at the kennels – a Jack Russell terrier bitch joined our family with a whole different set of issues that needed addressing. 

After completing training with the JRT, I started helping as an assistant at the training school.  I found that I enjoyed helping people learn with their dogs and as a bonus I got to cuddle lots of puppies.  The instructor who owns the training school also performed temperament and behaviour assessments at the local rescue center. This seemed a natural progression and allowed me to expand my understanding of dogs by observing and handling a great variety of breeds. This work, as anyone who works with

Estella Vaz

rescue dogs knows, can be very emotional and as a result a couple more terriers came to join our expanding family, each with their own little character and issues.

Eventually, I decided that I could only learn so much studying on my own and it was time to commit to a formal canine education.  Therefore I started studying with the Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training and over the years I have gradually worked my way through a number of the courses and workshops.  Eventually I was able to start my own practice ‘Doggie Delinquents’ providing behavioural consultations and 1:1 training for puppies and adult dogs, covering part of East Midlands (Leicestershire, Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire).  Having lived with behavioural issues with my dogs, I can truly understand how challenging and stressful this can be for owners, so I get a lot of satisfaction from helping owners work their way through their issues and improve not only their lives but their dogs too.   

As for the dog that started this journey, he still has his moments but we both have certainly come a long way from those early days.

Estella Vaz, MCFBA

International Book Award for Lez Graham


                                      Mainstream & Independent Titles Score Top Honors in the                                              10th Annual International Book Awards 

Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, John Wiley & Son, Rowman & Little Publishing Group, Taschen, New World Library, Forge Books,  American Cancer Society and hundreds of national and international Independent Houses contribute to this year’s Outstanding Competition!

Animals/Pets: General
                             Manners not Mayhem : A common-sense approach to raising, training                                      and living with your puppy by Lez Graham, MA
Braidwood Books

Lez Graham

More Good News for Lez:               

The Pet Gundog was in the top 1.3% of all books sold on amazon last week!

Congratulations Lez!

Lez Graham, MA. FCFBA

CFBA Member Discounts

A Reminder of all CFBA Member Discounts

20% off of all courses for CFBA Members using the code cfba20 at the checkout.

Benyfit Natural

20% Off all products for CFBA Members when using CFBA20 at the checkout.


10% off of trade prices when ordering 10 or more units (mixed). You will need to email your order to

You can also get 10% off of retail prices when ordering less than 10 units using the code CFBA10 at the checkout.

Sara Abbott Artist

10% Off of a bespoke artwork experience. (Visiting the home, taking photographs, choosing an image and an oil on canvass  delivered back to you). £50 will also be donated to a dog rescue organisation.

For Dog Trainers

15% Off all products using the code CFBA15 at the checkout.

KJK Rope Dog Leads

20% Off of all products. Must be ordered by telephone 01884 254191 or email


10% off of all orders using this link: or simply using the code CFBA10INTRO at the checkout.


Members of the CFBA are invited to join the referral scheme – you will receive a unique reference number to provide to clients and when they place their order the client receives a free full size product with their order and so do you as a thank you for referring. Excellent products.

The Golden Paste Company

10% Off all products when using the code ‘Canine&FelineAssociation’ at the checkout.

Please email your blog entries to

June 2019 Newsletter

A Message for all CFBA Members

A message for all CFBA members,

This is just to remind all members who have signed up to the new membership subscription payment service, your payments will be taken automatically on their renewal date.

So if you’re a full member, your payment of £175 will be taken annually, or £43.75 every three months – depending on which subscription you chose.

Likewise if you’re an associate member, your payment of £65 will be taken annually, or £32.50 every six months – depending on which subscription you chose.


You can of course cancel your subscription payment at anytime by signing into your PayPal account – or just get in touch with us and we can cancel it.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need to clarify anything about your membership.

John Bowe

Dog Train-ing A Guide to Taking your Dog on the Train

Half of British dog owners (51%) refuse to go on holiday without their pets according to new research. And, a further 32% insist their dog is as much part of the family as their children. 

In addition, a staggering 54% would prefer to go on holiday with their dog than their partner, claiming they are better company (48%), better behaved (39%), don’t snore (30%) and don’t hog the bed (26%). 

The study of 1,000 British dog owners, commissioned by East Midlands Trains to celebrate the launch of a new range of pup-friendly provisions on selected routes, found that our four-legged friends are surprisingly well travelled. The average pooch ventures 500 miles every year, a third of dogs have been to a dog-friendly health spa (31%) and nearly a fifth (18%) have even attended a festival. 

However, many owners are unsure about rail travel, with 59% admitting they don’t know the rules concerning taking dogs on board. A third of people (30%) believe dogs aren’t actually allowed on trains, with nerves being the main reason for the majority of dog owners to avoid rail travel (55%) with their furry friends. Despite this, half (50%) of those polled said they would take their dogs on the train if they understood the on board rules. 

In response, East Midlands Trains has partnered with canine behaviourist, Colin Tennant, to devise the ‘Dog Train-ing’ guide specifically designed to help make travelling with four-legged friends as easy and as passenger-friendly as possible. 

Dog-owning passenger’s biggest travel concerns are addressed in the handy guide and video which sees Colin showing how our pooches can actually be the perfect train traveller. Major worries include the likes of dogs being too big to travel on board (36%), drooling (31%) and getting too excited (55%).  

The rail operator is also rolling out a range of pup-friendly provisions, including dog bowls at main stations and doggie treats (donuts bespoke for canine consumption) on board, to make travelling with pooches even easier.

Jake Kelly, Managing Director of East Midlands Trains says: “We welcome well-behaved pets on board and know there are plenty of advantages to travelling by train with your pet. However, it’s clear that some owners are unsure of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to bringing a dog on board. To help out, we’ve created a handy guide and are launching brand new doggy provisions on selected routes so that your dog, you and all other passengers are as comfortable as possible when using our services.” 

The research also discovered that most (69%) dog owners believe their fellow passengers are friendlier when they have their four-legged friend in tow, with two thirds (68%) polled revealing they have more conversations with their fellow passengers (68%) when accompanied by their pooch. Half of male dog owners even went as far to say that they could see these conversations leading to a date, compared to just 38% of women. 

Male dog owners also thought their pooch travelled better than their partner (32%) – twice as much as women (15%). So, it seems dogs really are a man’s best friend. 

Elsewhere in the research, the study found that the average pooch had visited three countries in its lifetime, so it’s not surprising that more than half (56%) of owners aged 18-29 year old owners said their dogs are more seasoned travellers than their parents.

Whilst a third (31%) of British dog owners admit to taking their dogs abroad with them, 14% confess they only take a UK staycation where they know their pooch is welcome. Blackpool Pier (16%), Stonehenge (16%), Land’s End (15%) and Big Ben (14%) are amongst the top tourist hotspots Brits love to visit with their dogs.

To download the handy ‘Dog Train-ing’ guide, and find out the services rolling out the doggy perks, visit the East Midlands Trains website: 

May 2019 Newsletter

Introducing the New CFBA Magazine Forum

Editor Introduction

Dear Members,

Please allow me to introduce our new magazine forum!  Instead of a quarterly PDF containing anywhere from 8 – 12 articles, I will send 2 – 4 article blog updates via email, similar to what you have received here.  I will email the blogs when relevant news and news of interest is brought to my attention, and where applicable I will source further, complementary articles to add to the theme of the blog.  Once published, updates will only be made available to CFBA members, to include a blog archive.

I always welcome unsolicited articles, and will still request articles or input based on the subject at hand, at which time I hope you will embrace the opportunity to share your expertise.  Many of you have been diligent about doing so, to include a series of formerly published small business articles recently sent to me by Dean Hart (which will be used in upcoming marketing blogs).


As another example, one of the articles in this blog is written by me – an editorial of one of our member’s books.  I know there are many published authors within our association, thus, and again, I encourage you to share your work with the rest of us, whether you provide your own summary or submit an editorial or testimonials written by others. 

I am also interested in breed articles, rehabilitation challenges and successes, and insight into your individual work …

For this blog, and in addition to this introduction and member book editorial, I also welcome new member, Sam O’Connor.

Diane Kunas, MA, MCFBA

New Member Introduction by Sam O'Connor

I know it’s a cliché but I have been obsessed with dogs ever since I was a child.  I have no idea where my interest came from – we didn’t have pets in the family at all, I wasn’t allowed a dog as my parents worked all day but from as early as I can remember I would invent imaginary dogs that I pretended I was walking round the garden and was desperate to play with my friends dogs all the time. I was forever going up to stroke dogs I didn’t know that were tied up outside the supermarket, which not surprisingly resulted in me getting snapped at quite frequently!  This never put me off though and dogs held my interest throughout childhood, even doing my work experience placement at a local boarding kennels, until eventually I came to a bit of a crossroads and a huge decision to make – do I go to University or do I go and work with dogs?

When I was 18, going to University was the thing to do.  Everyone at my school went, and I would never have imagined that I would be any different or have the confidence to be different.  Animal behaviour degrees weren’t on offer back then and the closest thing I could get to anything related to my interest was Zoology and I tailored my A-levels towards this.. However, soon after my work experience, I spotted a tiny advert in the back of “Dog World” newspaper for Bellmead Kennel staff Training College in Berkshire, the largest & most popular animal boarding facility in the South East.  Bellmead was offering a year’s placement to study for an NVQ in Animal Care & Management and whilst this was “going against the grain” as far as my school was concerned, ultimately, I decided this was the right route for me and at 18, I took a leap of faith. 

Bellmead wasn’t just a dog & cat boarding facility and a training college, it was also the country residence for the most famous rescue in the UK, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. 

Right from the start I was in my element, surrounded by dogs of all shapes and sizes, some who had owners, some who didn’t, but it wasn’t all fluffy puppies & cute kittens, it was really, really hard work!  Having sad that it was probably the best year of my life – I was out in the real world feeling really lucky that I was getting to do exactly what I had dreamed of, watching and learning how to handle and train dogs.  

That first year at Bellmead turned into a 23 year career in the animal welfare industry working in numerous different roles including running & managing a rehoming department, collecting stray dogs as a Local Authority dog warden, working as a canine temperament assessor, handling and training dogs of all ages, breeds & temperaments & most recently in an extremely emotionally challenging position as an intake co-ordinator for Battersea, helping people who were no longer in a position to care for their dogs.

I’ve owned two dogs of my own – Tia, a Border Terrier X who suffered with nervous aggression towards people & dogs and Dudley, a deaf Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  I worked so hard with Tia’s issues and we made such great progress together that she went on to compete in agility and was also a Battersea mascot, making appearances & greeting guests at various red-carpet events, attending photoshoots and starring in an TV advert for the Home. 

So here I am now with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. My skills have come from observing, handling & training literally thousands of dogs but I feel my full-time career within animal welfare is drawing to a natural close. Not because I don’t genuinely love it, I do, but because, like many jobs that involve such heightened emotions & hard-hitting issues, it definitely gets harder to cope with as you get older!

My choice now is to put everything I have learnt along the way into practice and utilise it to prevent more dogs ending up in rescue.  I am passionate about educating people in how to raise and socialise their puppies in the very best way so as to avoid the sorts of problems I faced with my own dog & have seen in so very many of those who come through rescue and I want to work with those owners who are struggling with their dogs but who are committed to working through problems.  

I have recently committed to updating my education and am currently working towards a Higher Certificate in Professional Canine Behaviour Practice with Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training.  Late last year I was ackowledged as a Master Trainer with the Guild of Dog trainers and am proud to say I am the newest full member of the CFBA. 

I offer private, 1-2-1 training for puppies & adult dogs and behaviour consultations throughout Surrey & West London.

Sam O’Connor, MCFBA


Puppy Coach by Jo Croft: Book Review by Diane Kunas

I recently welcomed a puppy to my home!  It’s been a while, so I thought it a good idea to brush up on what is new in the land of puppy journalism – for both my puppy and professional benefits.  What better way to start than to check out what my CFBA colleagues had to write on the subject! The reading began with Puppy Coach by Jo Croft (2017). 

Puppy Coach is literally everything and all-encompassing puppy: 30 Chapters and 300+ pages, all of which I read in a matter of days.  Of course I was very motivated by the impending arrival of my pup, but my eagerness to keep reading went beyond my own puppy-brain – it is an incredibly solid and immensely practical book! 

Another sign of a good (and again, practical) book are the number of pages that are dog-eared, and mine looks like it’s prepared for a lecture.  And while I could list the depth and breadth of what is covered, much of which, to my knowledge, has not been covered in so much detail and in one place, my biggest takeaway was an overarching theme of keeping calm regardless of whether you’re training, engaging in play, socialising, or when you’re dealing with the whole realm of common puppy problems.  This may seem like common sense, especially when you work with at least one puppy every other day of the week, it is different when the puppy is your responsibility every second of their critical, early developing life!  Therefore, and with this said, maybe the best sign of all is that I believe either I have an exceptionally remarkable puppy, or I am doing an exceptionally remarkable job –  I am inclined to say the latter, because at the top of my mind and at every moment (even when the ‘mini monster’ horns were full-on out), I stayed calm, and what is shaping before me is a calm and balanced dog. I’d like to think that this book reminded me of what I needed to remember most, and it set me up to success!

In perfect world, all new and novice dog owners would be required to complete the tasks at the end of each chapter.  If one doesn’t have time, inclination or interest to do so, perhaps they are not ready to take on a puppy!