Walkies! Then give your dog a drone...
With 35 dogs to exercise three times a day, one innovative rescue centre owner has come up with a new way to tire his pooches out.
Brian Wheelhouse from Whitehall Dog Rescue in East Ardsley has purchased a drone for the dogs to chase.
Mr Whellhouse , 54, bought the flying aircraft from China after seeing drones on a television programme.
He introduced it to the rescue centre as a way of tiring out energetic breeds who were still “hyper” when returning to their kennels for the day.
He said: “We are constantly looking at ways to tire out our high activity dogs including our border collie Sam.
“It actually adds to our workload to have someone monitoring the drone but we end up with dogs more fulfilled because they have had more mental stimulation.”
The dogs are let into a field to chase the drone by themselves or in small groups, as well as their three daily walks.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “It is not a way of replacing walks, it is in addition to them. The drone is like a never ending Frisbee in the sky for them.
“Some critics say it is frustrating for the dog because it can never grab hold of it, but dogs chase squirrels that they can never catch and they still enjoy the chase.
“It is a good way of socialising some of the dogs.
“You might have a dog that is a little bit funny with other dogs but because it’s attention is away from the other dogs and instead on the drone, it starts to get more comfortable being around others.”
Mr Wheelhouse, who is the chairman trustee of the rescue centre charity, saved up to buy the drone himself, rather than using rescue centre funds.
The centre takes in its animals from dog compounds - which houses strays and unwanted dogs collected by wardens or handed in to the police - before they are put to sleep.
Eighteen of the rescue dogs chase the radio-operated drones, which have adjustable speed settings, in a controlled environment.
The drones land and take off in a fenced in area where the dogs can’t reach them.
Mr Wheelhouse added: “The propellers are going round at a very fast speed so we have to stop the dogs getting hold of the drones or they’d have their noses off. It is definitely something that needs a lot of thought and care.”