Dog Health and Safety at Trials, Classes etc

In the last 2 weeks we have found two human pills in the kennel areas at TNC. One on the floor where a dog could easily pick it up and the other on a shelf where people throw their gear and could easily and unknowingly drag it off to the floor for a dog to get.  Unfortunately this is not the first time medication has been found in the kennel areas.  Human meds can be quite dangerous for dogs to ingest.  Especially small dogs. The dosage of any medicine for a 120+lb human is excessive for 4, 8, 20, 30 lb dogs.  Not to mention that many meds should not be given across species.  Within a year after I opened TNC, Flicka whom many of you know or know of, came down with hepatitis.  It was touch and go for a while.  I have often wondered if someone dropped meds on the floor and she got them, since hepatitis is frequently caused by medications.  I would not want anyone else to go thru what I went thru that year with Flicka.  And yes, that put an end to her already fragile career.  With the recent finding of medications on the floor twice in one week,  I have restricted my dogs from the training floor.  They will no longer be making rounds with me during opening and lock up in the morning.  They will be permitted on the floor only when I am actively working them.  That is a shame since I spend many hours here and they do not have access to a yard.  However their health and safety are very important to me and I obviously cannot trust clients to keep track of their medications.

In addition to medication issues, many dogs have severe allergies, resulting in anxiety/aggressive tendencies, severe diarrhea, hot spots, itching etc.  Leaving treats lay around out of the packaging is also quite harmful to many dogs.  At the trial in Dec,  someone chose to leave their cheese on the chair instead of in the box provided for treats and toys.  The cheese was unwrapped and laying there inviting the dogs to have a snack.  Pojke helped himself.  Thank goodness it was not Mira.  After every trial I go around the building collecting treats from the top of file cabinets and any other flat surface in the building, many of which are within dog reach.

I cannot supervise every person who comes to TNC to ensure their meds and dog treats are not available to the dogs but…. I would like to make some very strong recommendations.  My hope is that the clubs and other private trainers adopt a similar policy.

  1. Medications should be in securely closed bottles and should be removed from the bottle and taken only in the restrooms where a dropped pill can be found more easily. Then PLEASE pick them up.
  2. Dogs should not be taken to the restroom with you.  If you do, you personally assume all risks concerning what they might find there.
  3. Dog treats should be in sealed containers except when being given to a dog.  Make sure your dog actually eats the cookie! and doesn’t leave it on the floor.  During trials you should bring your treats to the staging area/gate etc in a treat bag or other container that can be closed.
  4. Dogs should never be permitted to roam or run around the field or kennel area..  At TNC classes dogs should be on leash when not actively running.  AND you the handler should be aware of what they are doing.
  5. Check all shared kennels for foreign materials BEFORE putting your dog in the kennel.
  6. YES… I know we give cookies to the dogs when we are working them… be AWARE!   I frequently pick them up when I am teaching.  I have seen students throw a cookie and walk away.  They do not even know if the dog ate it.  That cookie may be safe for your dog to eat but may be “poison” to another dog.  Think about peanut allergies and the effect they have on humans.

To anyone who reads this – and says “oh my!” and then changes their behavior and becomes AWARE!  THANK YOU for protecting my dogs and others!