Month: February 2018

Dog Shock Collars finally being banned – Bishops Stortford Dog Photography

I have heard news this week that can only be the UK finally coming to its senses. Within weeks it seems we will be hearing there will be a ban on the use of shock collars! These torturous, lazy, ‘training’ devices have been legal for far too long!

So what is a shock collar?

A controversial training tool, it relies on causing pain to a dog to modify its behaviour. The collar has a small box (containing the electronics) that has two prongs sticking out of it. These prongs are designed to sit either side of the dog’s windpipe. The collar needs to be tight enough to ensure the prongs have direct contact to the skin. Some collars have a remote, to be operated by the ‘trainer’, whilst others are automated like bark collars or those used as an electronic fence.

Remote controlled dog shock collar


When the dog performs a behaviour that is unsuitable, the ‘trainer’ presses the button on the remote and an electric shock is delivered to the dog’s throat. The idea behind this is that the dog associates the pain with the behaviour and learns not to do it anymore.

Just to give an example of what the levels of pain feel like, many people have tried these collars on themselves. See the video below to see a perimeter shock collar used on a human. Would you consider this a humane method of training?

Some believe that in the right hands, this method of training is very effective and the shock applied is at a level that doesn’t hurt the dog. Personally, I can’t even begin to comprehend who ‘the right hands’ would be! If someone is lazy enough to consider pain, in this day and age, a suitable method of training a dog then I wouldn’t call them a trainer! But what do I know!

Anyway, it seems that after much public pressure (thank you the Great British public!) the government have succumbed and shock collars are going to be illegal in the very near future.

What’s your opinion on shock collars? I’d love to hear your views over on Facebook.

Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised

Do you cut your own dog’s claws? –Bishops Stortford Pet Photographer

There are a few things that a lot of us dog parents have difficulty with, and quite often we end up paying others to do those tasks for us; one of them is cutting dogs nails.

As you can probably imagine, I am part of an active dog community and I wanted to know whether people cut their own dog’s claws, or whether claw clipping was something they left for their vet or groomer to do. I was surprised to hear back that the majority of people do actually clip their own dog’s claws, yet unsurprisingly a few were wary of cutting black claws. If only you could reason with your dog and explain that claw clipping is a necessary task and, if they could just hold still for 2 minutes, it would be over without any stress or pain.

My whippet has always been a wriggler when it comes to nail clipping. I don’t know whether it’s just that she has ticklish paws, or whether it stems back to having her dew claws removed as a tiny puppy. Either way, it usually involves a fair bit of avoidance and repeatedly trying to take her paw away from me as I’m cutting. It’s not really conducive to a quick and stress free experience on either of our parts!

Layla - a wriggle bum when it comes to caw cutting - Bishops Stortford Pet Photographer

I grew up with German Shepherds (GSDs) and cutting their black claws was never an issue. They were lovely and big and their quicks (the nailbed, like ours, that bleeds if you cut the claw too short) were easily to see and feel. They had a very obvious dish shaped under side to their claw and it made clipping a breeze.

Zeke - big black German Shepherd claws - quicks easier to see on big claws

My whippet on the other hand, has these dainty little feet, with tiny claws, no obvious dishing due to their size. Thankfully most of her claws are white, which means that given a bit of sunshine behind them I can easily see her pink quick – it does make matters a little easier!

With a lot of work over the past 4 ½ years she has gone from quivering wreck at nail trimming time to a resigned acceptance. Unfortunately, the last time I cut her nails she moved just as I cut and I caught the end of her quick. Thankfully it wasn’t enough to make it bleed, but I do fear we may have taken a step backwards in the journey to a stress free nail trimming experience.

How to cut your dogs claws - Herts and Essex Pet Photographer

One of the questions I’ve asked my friends recently was what type of clipper they use on their dogs. The overwhelming answer came back as the pliers style cutter like the one pictured. People said that using the guard helped to start with and then once you got the hang of it you could use it without.

I used to use this style on my GSDs with great success; it’s a nice strong tool with a good grip and comes in different sizes. I have personally found with smaller claws that its sturdiness becomes a little bit of a problem as I have trouble seeing what I’m doing as it’s too bulky.

Pliers style dog nail cutters - 4 Legs Photography

With whippet claws I much prefer the scissor type cutters like the ones pictured. I find they give me a better view of what I’m going. They are great for small breeds but also for puppies.

One style of clipper that I have had success with in the past, on small claws, is the guillotine style cutter. This is a single bladed cutter that some dogs prefer, maybe because it creates a more shearing action as opposed to a pinching action.

Scissor style dog nail cutters - Pet Photographer

There are quite a few varieties of claw trimmers out there. Overwhelmingly it seems experienced dog parents use the pliers variety of clipper for large dog claws. I even spoke with a groomer who trims claws for a living, and along with using the pliers style cutter she told me that we should all be remembering to sharpen our trimmers every now and again to keep them at their most effective, and more comfortable for the dogs. You can do this with a knife sharpener like the one pictured.

Knife steel - keep your dog nail cutters sharp

Since I drafted this post at the end of last week, I have once again braved claw trimming on my whippet, with freshly sharpened clippers! With copious amounts of cheese bribery she managed to stay still and endured the experience without disappearing half way through! Very well done Layla, what lovely claws you have now!

Short claws after cutting - you can see the quick
What method do you use to cut your dog’s claws? Join the conversation over on Facebook
Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised