Looking for peace

As creatures of habit we shop regularly on Fridays at the same time and at the same supermarket and consequently bump into the same people. We were surprised to bump into one couple we had not seen for some time recently and commented on it.

They told us how for weeks they have been kept awake by "those wretched dogs in our neighbourhood, barking and howling all night long".

We have suffered the same but only for three nights when our neighbours had visitors who were dog owners and left the dogs out at night. We pointed out that it is not the dogs which are at fault but the owners ,who have a weird notion that dogs like to sleep out in the summer. As one such owner state, "It is natural." So it may be but dogs do not live as pets in a natural world. They live in our world and are the better for it with regular good food and water, visits to the vet, acomfortable place to sleep, safety from predators and with the company of humans. But as we have to adjust to pet ownership so do dogs have to adjust to our way of life.

Dogs should not sleep out at night, especially here in Spain, which has the mosquito that carries the terrible Leishmaniosis. This disease breaks down the dog's immunity to a variety of life-threatening diseases, causing ill health and shortening the dog's life span considerably.

Dogs do not bark without good reason. Left outdoors there are plenty of reasons: other dogs barking give them the need to reply; shadows being cast by the moon; wild animals passing by and the dog's superior hearing picking up the slightest sound. Letting your dog bark at night is anti-social behaviour and some people within range may be ill and very much in need of rest.

How to stop dogs barking without good reason? Remember one important thing with dogs - they love to please. They do dislike it when you, by tone of voice, are displeased with them. But let the praises outnumber the scolds; they soon learn.