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Author Archives: Moira

The teenage months part 3 – food thief

First the good news!  Since the summer we have been working hard and I’m really pleased with Poppy’s progress when out walking, recall is now coming along well and when with me on her own she does not stray far. She still follows Jake, I guess she always will, but she now comes back first and voluntarily. I never forget to great her with open arms, lavish praise and a tasty morsel. Positive training and constant reinforcement.

I am however really reaping the whirlwind with Miss Poppy! Don’t get me wrong, she is a lovely dog but, and as I’ve been so lucky with my other 2, it’s as if she has been sent especially teach me a lesson! On the behavioural side of training much of my advice to others is based on knowledge gained but not necessarily on personal experience.  Now I’m being given a chance to put the theory into practice. Thank you for that Poppykins!

Right from the start she has been a food thief and with such long legs could easily reach the the counter top. The crunch came quite early on when she knocked over a bowl of very hot stock. Fortunately it was just messy and she didn’t get hurt, it could have been far worse! On the plus side it scared her so much that she didn’t go near the counter top again. Also I am more careful and I don’t leave anything tasty within reach. Removing the reward removes the unwanted behaviour.

If you have a dog that steals from the table or work surface one thing you can try is set a trap. Find a tasty morsel, a piece of string, a tin can or two/a bunch of keys (anything that will make a loud noise when it hits the floor but is light enough not to hurt the dog). You see where this is going? That’s right, tasty treat near edge of worktop/table, tied to something that’s going to make a clatter when the dog grabs the treat. The fright may be enough to deter the behaviour but it is then up to you to reinforce that by not leaving anything in temptations way and also to train them not to take without permission.

Here’s how.  First offer food in a closed fist and only when the dog stops sniffing and looks at you do you give the treat with a command to take. Once this is learned do the same thing with an open hand if the dog tries to take the treat simply close your hand, when it looks at you for guidance give the treat ‘take’. Then move on to placing a treat on the floor in front of your dog (not too close  to start with) and stop them from taking it. At this point you can now introduce the ‘leave’ command. When your dog is calm and looks at you give permission to take the treat.

Poppy, deterred from taking from the worktop then learned how to open the dog food draw. No mean feat and to this day I do not know how she did it, but child proof locks have solved that problem!

Shirley Reddell



Keep your counters clear to avoid counter surfing becong a habit!


Adoption of Nemo and Teo…

Today people seemed to be out and about again after all the bad weather and we had two great adoptions!

First to leave was Nemo. Nemo arrived at the SPA in May as a stray, a large pup who had probably outgrown his cuteness and was being ignored so just wandered off.  No one called about him or seemed to be looking for him but, as they say, their loss is someone else’s gain and today he left with a family who will appreciate and love him.

He is a lucky boy as adolescent black males can have a very long wait for a new home!

Nemo adopted!

Next to leave was little terrier Teo. He hadn’t been with us long and was a cute lively little lad. Generally speaking, small dogs are easier to home than large dogs, so it was no surprise that he was quickly snapped up.

Teo adopted!

Don’t forget that even although its Sunday tomorrow we will be open. We are now open 2-6pm every Sunday which gives people working more opportunity to come along and see our animals and means that more dogs enjoy a nice stroll on a Sunday afternoon.



Adoption of Neiko…

Todays adoption was Neiko, a young male who has just turned 1. Neiko is typical of many young dogs, acquired as cute puppies and then left to their own devices. This usually means that they arrive at the refuge as strays and are never reclaimed.

Neiko adopted!

Adolescent males make up large percentage of the refuge’s population. They usually arrive entire and have wandered off looking for fun. Most haven’t had much training and have been mostly ignored.

Saying that, most are sociable, happy dogs who have just been let down by their owners. In a home where they are loved, exercised and given a little bit of training, these dogs really thrive and the bond made with their new family is unbreakable. I am sure that most rescue dogs know that they have been given a second chance and are really appreciative.

Could you give a home to one of our youngsters? Don’t forget that even after adoption we provide post adoption support and have a dog trainer and behaviourist to assist. Most post adoption queries are easily solved with a little ‘management’ advice, so you are never left struggling on your own.

We always advise that you contact us as soon as a behaviour becomes an issue rather than waiting until it becomes a crisis but once a dog has passed through the SPA it has our support for life.



Adoption of Olaf…

When two dogs arrive at the refuge in a traumatised state, cowering at the back of their kennel, trembling when approached and terrified of a leash……we know that their experience of humans hasn’t been positive and that they have been let down by their previous owner.

Brothers, Olaf and Oleg arrived in such a state and it was pitiful to see how scared and distressed that they were. Although they didn’t know it arriving at the SPA was the very best thing that could have happened to them.

At the SPA they will receive vet care, regular food, love and patience and that really is the start of a new life for them.  Slowly, terrified dogs do heal, but it does take time and a lot of patience to regain their trust in human beings.

Today Olaf was adopted, and his new family understand the level of patience and love that he will need.  Such families are hard to come by and we are so grateful to these special people who give our scardies a second chance.

Olaf adopted.

Now all we need is another special family for Oleg but until his time comes he will be well looked after by our super staff and volunteers. At only 3 years old he will soon bounce back and will make a great pet for the right family.

Oleg needs a home too…

If you could offer a home to Oleg then please get in touch. You can phone the SPA ,send a message or send an email to website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk.


Adoption of Obiwan..

Now followers of our blog will be thinking, wait a minute, that’s not the first time we have had that headline! And its true, Obiwan arrived and was adopted straight from the pound when his 10 days were up.

Once adopted, he did what border collies do, he herded, he used his very intelligent brain to create all sorts of fun for himself. Yes, he was a very bored, under exercised, under stimulated border collie, so back he came!

Today he left with a family who know the breed inside out and are quite prepared to exercise, train and keep him well occupied.

Obiwan adopted!

As mentioned in last nights blog we love when adopters understand the breed of their dog. So much heartache can be avoided for both them and the dog. Now sometimes you do get an exception. Jess a border cross pup who was adopted by my son is an example. Even as a pup she was easy and apart from her addiction to a tennis ball she is a very relaxed easy-going dog. I think that they have been very lucky and the ‘cross’ has diluted out the collie traits within!

So in general, borders are going to herd and require an active lifestyle, shepherds are going to guard, terriers are going to dig and chase, pointers are going to point and use their nose and Labradors are going to wag their tails and love everyone!  Now you know why I have Labradors!

The other good news if that Story the lovely lab cross has found his owners and has gone home!

Let hope for a busy weekend with plenty adoptions. Don’t forget that we are open on Sundays now 2-6pm.

Story has gone home!


It’s been 2½ months since Barney joined out family – here’s his story and a recent photo!
As soon as we saw Barney’s face on the Dog Rescue, Carcassonne website page, we knew he was the one for us!  We were told that he had been with a homeless person prior to the DRC, and that he was a very active dog who was in need of someone to bond with.  He certainly is active!  He loves playing games – sometimes it’s “throw and catch the ball”, sometimes it’s “try to get me to put the ball down so you can throw it again” !  He recently completed the CSF charity 5k walk (with me in tow of course!) – I thought he would sleep for the rest of the day, but by 6 o’clock, he was raring to go again!  “Come on Mum, where’s the ball? Lets go out and play!”
He’s bonded with both me and my husband.  We are able to give him lots of attention but, as long as we’re around, he’s quite happy to snooze the day away with one of his favourite cuddly toys (until play-time of course).
We’re so glad to have him in our family.  He’s even been trying to win the cat over – but his playful pouncing at her puts her off a bit, as you can imagine!  However, I know that before too long they’ll be curling up together.  It’s only been 2 and a bit months after all.
Thanks to DRC for keeping him until we found him!

Barnie…an active boy!

Here today, gone tomorrow…

In last nights blog I let everyone know that Elliot was reserved and today he was adopted! Yes, sometimes it can be as quick as that! If a dog is abandoned and is identified and vaccinated they can leave as soon as they have been checked over by our vet and of course sterilised.

Lucky Elliot had no time at all to wait and tonight will start his new life with a new family who know the breed well and have always had Dalmatians!

Elliot adopted!

We don’t often specify individual reservations. This is because they are sometimes cancelled, people don’t turn up and all sorts of things. But when you have so many people wanting and enquiring about a specific dog it saves people falling in love with a photo and then having their hopes dashed when they contact us about the dog.

So, how do we choose which family is best for an individual dog?  We now have a pre-adoption form that we ask prospective adopters to complete. This gives us an idea of the family, their lifestyle, their home and how the dog would fit in.  It also saves embarrassing incidents such as a 90-year-old wanting to adopt a young active pup and gives us conversation points to discuss with the prospective adopter.

One thing that lots of people worry about saying is that they have no garden. That certainly doesn’t worry us at all so long as they can walk the dog regularly and are around to make sure that it has regular toilet breaks. In fact some dogs who are known escape artists are better in this kind of home with regular walks and stimulation they have nowhere to try and escape from!

So please don’t panic when we ask you to fill in the form. It helps us advise you how suitable the dog that you want would be or even better, we can suggest dogs that would fit right into your lifestyle!

We also had another adoption today! Little Lila the 9 month old terrier cross also found her forever family! Didn’t I say last night that terriers were very popular! A lucky coincidence, but we are delighted that she never had a long wait at the refuge either!


Lila adopted too!


Adoption of puppy Toto…

It was late last night when i heard of Puppy Toto’s adoption so I thought that i would just mention it in tonight’s blog. Toto hadn’t even got a photo album so he was a very lucky lad to be snapped up so quickly.

Toto adopted!

I was really hoping that I would be adding this news to some more adoption news today but no, today all eyes and interest were on Elliot, our newly arrived Dalmatian.

Within minutes of him appearing on the SPA facebook pages our message box was pinging with lots of interested adopters.  One lucky family came along and met him today so he is reserved and will be leaving very shortly.

It always amazes me how quickly ‘pedigree’ dogs are adopted and why!  I totally understand that lovers of certain breeds hate to see that breed in rescue. Pure Labs, Flatcoats, Dalmations, French Bulldogs always have lots of interest but not as much as Cairn, Westies or Scotties. We could re home these terriers over and over again!

We are always careful with these adoptions and try and ensure that the prospective owners are breed lovers rather than someone wanting a status dog.

Elliot is a lucky boy. He will soon be of to his new home, lets hope that some of our other 100+ dogs catch prospective adopters eyes.




Four fantastic adoptions!

It always great when we have multiple adoptions to report and today we have 4! Bouba, Funk, Milou and Marcelou have all  been adopted!

I am so delighted that little Bouba has found a home. He arrived with his mum in January and was sad when his mum was adopted. We of course found him some new friends, but I am glad that today he found his forever family!

Bouba adopted!

Milou 2 as we called him as we already had a fox terrier called Milou left next. He arrived  at the beginning of August in a sorry looking state, He had an allergy to flea bites but once this was treated soon regained his handsome looks, A lab/dalmation is a lovely cross and we wish him all the best with his new family.

The next to leave was Breton spaniel cross Marcelou. He was a very loving , happy boy who really needed an active family. Yesterday his perfect family came along and off he went.

Puppy Funk was also adopted, We have had lots of pups leave recently and we hope that each family is prepared for the chaos pups bring, They also bring lots of fun and nonsense but we do hope all of our puppy families realise how much an impact a lively pup has on their life

Puppy Funk adopted!

Dont forget that this Sunday afternoon we are open so do feel free to pop along, say hello , walk some dogs or cuddle some kittens!


I never thought I’d be writing another ‘life after the refuge’ post, about a different dog, but you never know what’s round the corner, so here I am.


We lost our lovely SPA adoptee, Mattie, in March ’17.   Mattie loved to chase cars, and one fateful day she chased one for too long, and lost. Our other dog, Skype, was with her when it happened.  Afterwards he became very calm and just like us, he grieved. It was obvious that he missed his canine companion, so we started talking about heading off to Carcassonne to find him a new friend.


Scanning the SPA Carcassonne site, we saw a puppy that looked quite cute, but when we got there, the puppy had been adopted 35 mins before.  It just wasn’t meant to be.


Then Darcy bounded up to Annette (a known fan of long eared hounds), and pretty much said “Have I got the dog for you!!!”. The dog in question still had her stitches in from sterilisation, and the wound was a bit of a mess, but “Paige” was bouncing around a park like she was made of springs. Our first impression was that she was a gorgeous, so we took a walk. Paige was interested in everything except us, so we went home in a bit of an unsure frame of mind. It took 10 days to decide that we wouldn’t want her to go to someone else, and home she came.



The first thing we found out about the newly renamed “Duffy”, is that she is scared of everything. Not as badly as some dogs, but gunshots two villages away would make her cower, tremble, or even try to escape out of a window; blades of grass in the wind blowing the wrong way would make her jump, and any noise from the TV would necessitate leaving the room in haste. Conversely, she moves around in almost complete silence. We have both tripped over her a number of times, purely through not hearing her walk up and sit behind us. She also has in inbuilt ‘off’ switch, and sleeps as soundly as anything if she feels safe – off in to the Land of Duff.



The name Duffy suits her very well, but has so many diminutives, rhymes, and other plays on words that it’s a wonder she responds to shouts of “Duffy!” at all. A non-exhaustive list: Duffy, Duffs, Duff the Fluff, Fluffy, Doofus, Doofus Faloufus, Doofaloo, Ninja, Ninj, Evil one, Duffaflump, Flump, Duffalo, Fluffalo and Thing, to mention the main ones….



Duffy clearly had none at all.  She has quickly learned to sit for food and a few other rules are slowly starting to sink in.  She can be quite headstrong, but sometimes she just sits and stares at us (or the fire) with a far-away expression, so ‘slowly’ is definitely the word …


Crate training

The first night in her crate, Duffy was as good as gold. The next nights, she was panicked and yelled the place down. She’s bent the door of her crate and even managed to bend Skype’s Rosewood crate (apparently one of the strongest on the market). We tried leaving the crate open and the office door shut, but she tried to batter down the door.   She hates to be trapped and we were losing a lot of sleep so we came to an unspoken compromise. Duffy now goes to bed quite happily, but we barely engage the bolt, so she can break out easily and fairly quietly. We sometimes come downstairs in the morning to an open crate but Duffy still in it, fast asleep. The scariest moment (for her as well I suspect) was when she got out of her crate and tried to come upstairs by jumping over the stair gate. She got stuck between the slats with paws hanging in the air, suspended by her tummy. Lots of screaming and a quick rescue, but she’s never tried it again. She can still get through it if panicked (like in a thunderstorm) but we have no idea how!



Over the Summer we walked both dogs together, but as soon as the hunting season started, Duffy started refusing to go out in the morning; she would hide and tremble, even in the car. Evening walks were better, but there were still traumas. We made the decision early on to not let her off the lead, as a single gunshot or car backfire could have her taking flight and hiding in a different Department in a few minutes.  I am fortunate in that I have clients with big enclosed gardens that are happy to let the dogs have a run off the lead, so we do let her off and see her in full flight occasionally.


Dog jealousy

Skype’s initial reaction to welcoming a new dog into his home was not as calm we expected.  Thankfully, within 48 hours that changed and they have been friends and playmates ever since.  Duffy is so affectionate and such a cutie that she gets away with an awful lot of things she shouldn’t!   Simply with a flick of the ears and a wink of an eye people instantly love her. However, the 2 dogs are now happy to use each other as pillows, and even sleep sharing a crate (usually his).  She’s incredibly playful and we think she has a lot of puppyhood to catch up on – and usually Skype obliges to be the punchbag.


The right decision

Welcoming Duffy into the family has been great for us and for Skype (and hopefully another doggy has benefitted from the space left in the SPA).  Duffy, 16 months later (her Gotcha day was the 24th april), isn’t scared of TV noise unless it’s a really noisy war film, she’s as affectionate and cuddly as you could wish for, and we count ourselves very lucky that there has been no sign whatsoever so far in either dog of aggression to other dogs or humans. She’s also gained quite a few kilos so her ribs are no longer sticking out like sticks.  She does jump up for cuddles with strangers, and can be quite insistent, but once the ears have been scratched, she’ll settle on a dog bed (or usually a sofa), and go off to sleep and snore in the special Land of Duff.

Duffy and Skype are great friends!