With the end of the year approaching it's a wonderful time to reflect on the year and think about changes we can make going forwards. Its been a year that's for sure, we've had our ups and downs, but I will always focus on the up's as they keep me driving forwards. The downs, are purely lessons to be learnt and evolve from. I did find myself a bit burnt out so had to take a week where I scaled back (as much as you can with Chelly, Spesh, Oscar, Lola, Fudge, Gucci and Popi keeping me busy on top of the others)!
I have just released the first courses for 2023 on www.perfectlypolitedachshunds.com
4 week Separation Anxiety (beginners),
4 week Puppy basics courses
Stop Barking Course
I was thrilled to graduate from my law degree this year with a 2.1. It was something I wanted to do when I was 18. Sadly due to a combination of things I drifted for a while and so it took me a while to finally be in a good place to achieve that goal.
Why law?? Well, at the time it seemed a good idea. With all the changes with animal related laws I wanted to learn more about the process and how laws were formed, and applied. But whilst I still have a strong interest in the law in relation to dogs......I never want to pick up a law book again!
I have huge admiration for those who have taken their degree further to qualify as lawyers. It is certainly not an easy journey!
It has been wonderful to see that sharing my journey has inspired others to pick up the books too and to have their progress and success shared.....amazing!! For those of you who are where I was, do it! If I can do it, you can do it! Do one module at a time and do the best you can. Each bit will eventually add up and then you'll be staring at a piece of paper thinking......hmmmm what next?!
The law degree led to my current academic study where I am doing a Post Graduate research methods course to enable me to study an MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour. Again, why? To be the best I can be for all of you and your dachshunds. I want to make sure the advice I give everyone is absolutely the best that can be given, and I can only do that through practical and academic learning, especially in an unregulated industry.
I am thrilled that for this course I am able to research IVDD and am putting together (painfully) a proposal on long term IVDD recovery for my assignment. All the research I am gathering will go to Dachshund Health UK to help continue to lead the way on IVDD research. Dachshund Health are a phenomenal charity and have done so much over the years to support our breed and will continue to do so.
If you have had a dachshund with IVDD (regardless of the outcome) between 2016-2021 please fill out this survey: https://forms.gle/Ytsr3imNdtZfst8aA
If you have a dachshund 8 years and over who has NOT had IVDD please fill out this one https://forms.gle/cZ3rRLLYYccFGMJT7.
Both surveys will help look at long term recovery and lifestyle influences on IVDD and for those who have not had IVDD may help highlight some areas worth looking into in our fight against this awful disease.
Five years ago I never ever imagined I'd be on this wonderful journey. I won't lie, it's not been easy. I've wanted to quit 10000000 times but thanks to all of you I kept going!
Now, what about you? This year I am thrilled to have helped hundreds of you through your challenges, some harder than others but overall, everyone is working towards a happy life with their dachshunds.
I pride myself on doing my best to help people, and obviously this needs you to make the changes I suggest. This is harder than we often think. Changing our approaches to things, adapting our lifestyle or changing our habits is really really hard. It's the same when we try to stop smoking, lose weight, stop drinking......there's always a reason not to......or a reason we stop.
The best advice I can give you, is life WILL always get in the way, don't make excuses and be honest with yourselves. Don't guilt trip yourselves, you can only do what you can do. Just make small changes that will help lead the way to bigger ones eventually....and ask for help! Don't wait until the issue is so big its incredibly hard to unpick. Best to get help straight away but please use someone qualified. APDT, APBC, ABTC are all reputable organisations who check and assess their members and have strong codes of ethics they abide by.
I compare behavioural changes to IVDD a lot. With IVDD, initially you cannot see the changes happening, and you lose hope. You cannot see the bruising easing, the swelling subsiding, the nerves regrowing and starting to fire....until you see that little twitch in a toe or tail. Then you start feeling a bit of hope, but only until you see it. Until that point you don't think its working. Its the same with your training. You cannot see those chemicals firing in the brain, the reduction in the release of the ones we don't one and the increase in the ones we do, the changes in the associations that you are trying so hard to change....until one day....they don't bark at something they usually do. Stop worrying about what you can't see, if you are putting in the work it will be happening, some take longer than others, DO NOT STOP! It will come, and you know I will help you through this.
I am so incredibly proud of every single person who has reached out for help behaviourally or for general support for those medical warriors. I am so grateful and proud to be part of their story and that my knowledge and experiences have helped you. Its also amazing to see many of you pass on the support to others. Thank you!
(Picture credit to the awesome and talented Kelly Snares)
As we approach Christmas, please remember even for the most bombproof of dogs its hard for them so do make sure you consider them in the celebrations.
Give them a place to hide. Material crates are grate if you're going to the families for lunch.
Make sure their name tags are up to date and legal (Contact name and Contact address are legal minimum requirements. I put my mobile and my vets number on too)
Take their food and treats with you
Keep them away from those table snacks. Raisins, chocolate, grapes, there's a long list of don'ts. Do some research on what they can and can't have. Pancreatitis rates rise at this time of year, so whilst we love to give them something extra special.....nothing too rich or fatty.
Watch that front door! Do not let them near it, its easy for a dach to just slip past! Please be careful!
Check your vet's opening hours and if you are away make sure you know where the local vet is and if they are taking on new clients in emergencies.
Make sure you don't let them destuff toys! Be careful with squeakers and novel toys, Make sure they are safe and suitable.
Enjoy the time with your families.
I'll probably do a Christmas post nearer the time or even a live on the main page, but now is the time to prepare for whatever you may be doing at Christmas and New Year.
Anyway, I can ramble on for pages, and if you've read this far thank you! You are all amazing people and your dachshunds, despite some of their challenges are wonderful. Remember that on the days where you get that side eye, or that bark that wakes you up.....they are wonderful and you love them!
Wishing you all love, peace and happiness. You know where I am if you need me!