Cavaliers as Companions
February / March / April 2024
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes

Sharing His Dinner

A WolfA Cavalier

There has been much debate over the years as to the true origin of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). Some experts believe that they are descended from the Grey Wolf while others believe that the domestic dog and the grey wolf are both descended from an earlier type of wolf that is now extinct. There are many types of wolf which have continued to evolve during the time that the domestic dog has been in existence, but whether or not the domestic dog evolved directly from the grey wolf or whether they both continued to evolve from an earlier species there is little doubt that genetically they are very closely related. There have been countless matings between grey wolves and domestic dogs and these hybrid wolfdogs do breed true and are not mules. Many books on the evolution of modern dogs say that domestication was a conscious effort by humans. The theory was that ancient people took wolf cubs from their dens, adopted them, fed them, trained and tamed them. Raymond Coppinger is a biologist who has spent over 45 years working with and studying dogs and claims that it is nigh on impossible to take a wolf puppy from the wild a get them completely tame. He believes that the wolf ancestors of the domestic dog domesticated themselves. The process would probably have begun at the end of the last ice-age around 20,000 years ago when people began to gather and live in one place for the first time. The growth of these early villages was fairly rapid and coincided with the fossil evidence of dogs as we now know them.

As people became settled and less nomadic, they created villages where they would remain for long periods of time. When humans live in the same spot for a lengthy period they create waste, including both sewage and, more importantly for the dog, leftovers. There are things people can’t eat, seeds that fall on the ground, things that have gone bad and all this waste which may be found in dumps, or just scattered near houses, attracts scavengers such cockroaches, birds, rats and of course wolves. There is an animal behavioural characteristic known as flight distance and this was crucial to the transformation from wild wolf to the ancestors of the modern dog. It is how close an animal will allow humans (or anything else it perceives as dangerous) to get before it runs away. Animals with shorter flight distances will linger, and feed when humans are close by. This trait would have been passed on to successive generations creating animals that became increasingly more comfortable around humans.

It was probably wolves that had been living on the edges of human encampments for countless generations that were first taken in and adopted rather than wolves straight from the wild. Over time it is likely that animals that chose to live with humans bred with other animals that adopted a similar lifestyle, replicating the traits that made the animal tolerant of humans. Slowly, the camp-wolves became the camp-dogs. In effect, the dog domesticated itself.

It is likely that the dogs did not remain in packs for long but divided themselves between the family groups of the hunters. Evidence from modern hunter-gatherer villages where semi-tame dogs roam, shows that these animals do not necessarily form packs but tend to organise themselves into groups of no more than three, which then adopt a particular dwelling (and its occupants) as their own. In the past, perhaps this was the reason that people began to interact with dogs on an individual basis and the first relationships, with which we are now so familiar, began. We may never know for certain what made these wild animals befriend us and change to become an altogether different species, but I’m sure that whenever your own dog jumps up on your lap for a fuss you are certainly glad that they did.


Some people are none too keen on crate training a puppy, but if used correctly it can be a great tool to aid house training. It is important that the crate should be big enough for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably, but not too big that he can go and sit in a corner away from any potential mess. You should never, ever use the crate as a punishment. The puppy should be able to regard the crate as his own special place where he can rest and feel a sense of security and comfort. When first introduced you should put in a comfortable blanket, some favourite toys and a few special treats. He must always have access to water and the type of drinking bowl that clips on to the side of the crate is idea as it avoids spillages.

The crate can be used to keep your dog confined when you are not able to supervise him. Since most dogs will not mess in the same place they sleep, your dog will most likely try to hold it when he is confined to his crate. This prevents him from getting in the bad habit of having accidents in your home. However, you must regularly take the puppy out of the cage and let him go outside to relieve himself and then praise him when he has done his business. This way a puppy will quickly learn where to go to the toilet. Once the puppy becomes used to the crate you will find that by leaving the door of the crate open the puppy will return to it of his own accord whenever he feels that he needs to rest. As we mentioned in last December’s Cavaliers as Companions a crate is probably the safest way to transport a dog when travelling in a motor vehicle.


There are several types of worms that can affect dogs; roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms, but in the UK it’s mainly roundworms and tapeworms that are of concern. Unless the dog has a heavy infestation, it is not always obvious that your dog may be suffering from worms. An easy way to tell which type of worm is which is that roundworms look like spaghetti and tapeworms resemble grains of rice. Both types of worm can be picked up from the ground, particularly if he has been sniffing the faeces of other dogs. Roundworms are passed from dog to dog via eggs and larvae in their faeces. These eggs and larvae can live in the soil for very many months. A dog can easily pick them up in its coat, paws and muzzle and then ingest them while licking itself. It is therefore of utmost importance that worming treatments are carried out on a regular basis to prevent re-infestation.

The symptoms of a high infestation could range from vomiting, diarrhoea, pot-bellied appearance, dehydration, weight loss and a general lack of condition. Sometimes lung damage can occur resulting in breathing problems. Roundworms, also called ascarids, are whitish in colour. They can reach up to eight inches in length (20cm) and feed off of your dog’s food in its intestine. Roundworms shed their eggs continually. They can migrate throughout the blood into the lungs and are then coughed up and often re-swallowed. You may hardly ever see these worms, but then one day one may come out in the dog’s stool. They can cause bloating, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Toxocara canis is a white roundworm which most frequently infects young puppies, being passed via the uterus and the mother’s milk. When the bitch becomes pregnant the hormones that she releases stimulates the roundworm larvae, which can be lying dormant in the tissues. Some will go to the uterus and into the developing puppies, some will go to the mammary glands and be passed to the puppies through the milk and others will stay in the intestine.

Tapeworms are spread by the ingestion of fleas. The flea larvae swallows the eggs from the tapeworm segment, these eggs mature as the flea matures, making the adult flea infectious to the dog. When the dog ingests the flea, the tapeworm larvae are released into the small intestine and so the cycle goes on again. To treat this tapeworm you will also need to carry out flea treatment to help prevent re-infestation. The symptoms of this type of tapeworm infection can be, in severe cases, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and poor growth of the puppy. Tapeworms can infect humans, but this is rare, so dogs should be wormed regularly and a flea control programme carried out.

Wash Your Paws


A recent study conducted by Hill’s Pet Nutrition believes that a large number of pet dogs and cats in the UK are facing a ‘dietary time bomb’. The study of over 100 Vets states that a great many of the caseloads are man-made dietary related problems. As well as obesity, other diseases that are exacerbated by poor diet include diabetes, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, kidney problems and heart disease. One researcher said that these similar to many of the health problems that are also found in children and mirrors the modern lifestyle of fast food, excessively large food portions and too little exercise. Amazingly the survey found that many people were totally unaware that their pet was overweight. Often people say that they are only feeding the recommended amounts of proprietary dog food when in fact they are also giving their dogs far too many titbits and table scraps.

If you have an overweight dog it is very important that this excess weight is reduced. Obesity can complicate other conditions such as arthritis and cardiopulmonary disease by adding stress to an already injured anatomy. The most important thing when embarking on a weight loss programme is to ensure that calories burned exceed calories eaten. Ideally you should reduce fat and calories and increase exercise.

You must be firm; no treats or table scraps or extra food because you succumb to your dog’s large pleading eyes! If your dog is excessively overweight you should first consult your vet who may recommend a low calorie proprietary diet food. These type of foods tend to contain few calories but more fibre to give bulk and make your dog feel fuller. Some dogs may need vitamin, mineral and fatty-acid supplement to maintain good coat condition while on a low calory diet. You could also try feeding three small meals through the day rather than just one large meal.


Los My Best FriendLosing My Best Friend
By Jeannie Wycherley
Publisher: Bark at the Moon Books

After losing her beloved boy Herbie, Jeannie Wycherley found herself lost in grief, struggling to find her way through it.

Too many friends and acquaintances told her she’d ‘get over it’ because he was ‘just a dog’ however, to Jeannie, Herbie was so much more than that. A loving companion. A soulmate. A true character. Her best friend.

She found that the more she articulated her feelings around other pet owners, the more she came to understand just how many of those people had been similarly locked deep in secret mourning for a furry friend. Feelings of guilt, overwhelm, exhaustion — even shame — were common.

And so, she wrote about her experiences. The result is this poignant book which offers practical advice about what to do when your pet passes away, including tips on helping your children or other pets cope with the loss, designing your own ceremony to celebrate your dog’s life, and creating memorials.

In these pages Jeannie Wycherley has created a loving tribute to Herbie and delivers support with a light and loving touch that aims to validate the feelings you’re experiencing.

The Book Your Dog Wishes You Would ReadThe Book Your Dog Wishes You Would Read
By Louise Glazebrook
Publisher: Orion Publishing

The truth is that your dog is communicating with you all the time but, unless you know the signs, you aren’t picking up on what your dog wants you to know.

Louise Glazebrook is a dog behaviourist, trainer and television presenter who specialises in teaching people how to understand and connect with their dogs.

In The Book Your Dog Wishes You Would Read, Louise tackles everything from bringing the right dog home, understanding body language and breed behaviour, responding to common behavioural issues, to the toys and games that you and your dog will both love.

Most dog trainers focus on the dog, but Louise focuses on you, the owner, giving you the skills and confidence to interpret your dog’s needs and behaviour and build a better, happier relationship for life.

No Dogs On The Bed No Dogs on the Bed
By John Holder
Publisher: Quiller Publishing Ltd

Dogs are Man’s Best Friend, but that wonderful relationship can be tested when that sweet but naughty dog misbehaves behind the owner’s back.

This imaginative and hilarious collection of colourful, highly-illustrated cartoons by the renowned artist John Holder perfectly captures both the joys and frustrations of these lifelong companions with great affection.

Not only does it contain the finest attributes and characteristics of dog breeds but it will also remind them of past misdemeanours and act as a warning of possible future calamities!


It will soon be Valentine’s day, have you noticed that in the last few years more and more Valentine cards feature dogs?

Valentine CardValentine Card

Valentine Card



Here are a few romantic, and not-so-romantic, YouTube videos of Valentine Day doggies!!!


Trying to wash out a bad hair day!
"Trying to wash out a bad hair day!?"


"A well-trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch.
He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it."
Helen Thompson

For further online Cavalier news and stories don’t forget to read some truly inspirational articles by logging on to the Pawz and Pray page at


If you have any questions about owning a Cavalier then click on the envelope to email Dennis and Tina who will only be too pleased to try and help you.

However please remember that we are not Vets or Lawyers so questions on these topics should be addressed to the professionals for advice.

Questions and answers that are of interest to other owners may be published on this page.

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