Dogs at home
•Never leave any dog unattended with a young child, no matter how confident you are about its temperament.
•There are criminals who will steal valuable working dogs, so always consider the safekeeping and security of your dog.
•Ensure that a new puppy is vaccinated to protect it against diseases such as distemper, parvo virus and leptospirosis (as advised by your vet).
•Ensure that your dog receives an annual booster for these diseases as advised by your vet.
•Ensure that your dog is microchipped in line with legal requirements.
•Ensure that your dog is wormed and regularly treated (follow medication manufacturer’s advice) to control roundworms, tapeworms and other parasites. This is particularly important if young children are around.
•If an infestation of lice, fleas, ticks or ear mites occurs ensure it is treated promptly. Remember to treat bedding, carpets and furniture used by the dog at the same time.
•Provide your dog with living quarters that are warm, dry and draught free.
•Ensure that your dog has clean drinking water available at all times.
•Feed good quality food appropriate to the dog’s age and working regime.
Dogs in the car
•Do not leave your dog unattended in a car unless absolutely unavoidable. If you have to do so, park in the shade, ensure adequate ventilation and security and leave the dog for the minimum amount of time possible.
•Never leave a dog unattended in a car on a hot or sunny day. Even with the windows open, a car can quickly become an oven.
•When travelling with a dog in a vehicle, make sure that water is available.
Dogs in the field
•Always treat game with respect.
•Be confident that your dog is under control before you take it out in the field. An untrained dog can be a danger to livestock, other dogs and people.
•Ensure that your dog will be welcome before taking it onto a shoot to which you have been invited.
•Never take a bitch in season (oestrus) onto a shoot where there will be other dogs.
•Ensure that your dog is under control when not working, particularly near roads and around cars and livestock.
•Remove your dog’s collar before going into the field to prevent the dog from being caught on fences, branches etc.
•Know where your dog and others are when walking up cover.
•Know where your dog is when loading and closing guns, particularly in confined spaces such as pigeon or duck hides.
•Check with the keeper/shoot organiser where and when you may work your dog, and do not let your dog disturb ground which is still to be shot.
•Never tie a dog to yourself or your equipment. Use a proper dog anchor if necessary.
Dogs on the foreshore
•Try to make your dog comfortable and make sure he has a dry seat.
•Send your dog to retrieve birds as they are shot.
•Dogging the tide line will often recover lost birds. When retrieving from running water, try to get downstream from the dog during the retrieve to avoid it having to return against the current. The handler should also assess where the dog can get out of the water before sending it to retrieve. During and after the Shoot remember the health and welfare of your dog is paramount.
•Check your dog regularly for cuts or thorns and treat them promptly.
•Always have a first aid kit available for your dog.
•If you have to leave the shoot to get veterinary attention for your dog always remember to tell someone you are leaving.
•Seed heads can get into dogs’ eyes, ears and toes and long-haired breeds can become tangled with burrs. These should be removed.
•Make sure that your dog has regular access to water, especially on warm days.
•Always attend to your dog before yourself; ensure it is warm and dry before travelling. If you have a long journey home, your dog may need food and a drink before you leave.