Episode 45 - Dog walkers regulated, detection dogs retrained, ferrets as dogs and more

If you're looking for a weekly dose of dog flavoured news, look no further then The Dog News Show, the podcast in which Debbie Connolly and Julie Hill present their pick of the dog related headlines, and discuss them with honesty and not infrequent humour. If you'd like to comment on anything you hear in the show, or suggest stories to be included, do get in touch with the show.
 
Debbie starts this show off with the news that professional dog walkers in London will have to abide by new rules from the end of April. They will need a £300 licence to access the royal parks, a £100 licence for each vehicle they wish to park in the same parks, only be able to walk up to 4 dogs simultaneously, and have to wear an arm band identifying them as a dog walker amongst other conditions. Are these new measure fair? Will they help keep dogs safe?
 
Julie has a story of sniffer dogs having to be retrained in the USA after several states have decriminalised marijuana, so no longer need the dogs to detect it and alert their handlers. It's an interesting process, retraining a sniffer dog to react to different substances, and working dogs not only go through a thorough training, they are re-evaluated regularly. Some dogs are being retrained to sniff out wildlife or wildlife parts, like rhino horns and ivory that criminals attempt to smuggle into the country. If you'd like to find out more about how working dogs enhance our lives and make our working and leisure locations safe, visit the Bravo Working Dog Rescue website. Bravo helps retiring working dogs by offering rehabilitation and rehoming, as well as finding working roles for dogs who are struggling to fit into pet life.
 
You may find it difficult to believe this next story is not an April Fool, but apparently visitors to an Argentinian market were fooled into thinking they were buying dogs, when they were actually buying steroid fed ferrets. One woman thought she was buying a Chihuahua, while a man was under the impression he had purchased a Poodle, and was only disillusioned when he took his new "dog" to the vet. Some posters on social networks have commented that they want one of these new steroid-ferrets, but does this incident show just how low we have sunk as a species that we are willing to exploit animals in this extreme way?
 
Meanwhile Staffordshire Bull Terriers who have had some sad headlines recently, were reported on in a much more balanced way this week. Caralyn Hastings' son was bitten by their Staffie, but the pair insist he is a lovely dog, who simply reacted sharply as his injured leg was touched inadvertently. The article on the incident was very neutral - with a complete lack of the over-the-top adjectives often applied to this breed.
 
Debbie presents an interesting story from the Ashbourne News Telegraph, of a scheme by the rural insurer NFU Mutual, the British Horse Society and the Association of Chief Police Officers to help socialise puppies to farm animals in rural areas. However, as she points out no dog training organisation is involved, so how well will the classes be run, and most shockingly, the NFU has appeared to condone puppy farms and the dreadful practices that go on in them.
 
In a Schmaltz Corner Julie believes will gladden your heart, hear the tale of Sheila and Harry Lee, who have installed a stairlift for their dog, Pippa. WHen Dachshund Pippa had a spine operation, Sheila and Harry wanted to avoid her running up and down the stairs, but neither of them felt safe carrying her on the stairs. So the solution was clear - a stairlift. Now Pippa and their other two Daxies - all rescue dogs -descend and ascend safely and in style. So is this over-the-top or true pooch pampering? As usual Schmaltz Corner provokes colourful debate!