I have a confession to make… I use a flexi lead!

It’s true. I use a flexi lead a lot. I actually love my flexi lead. And I’m going to explain why. Flexi leads, also known as retractable leads, are long lines where the lead extends out of a plastic handle … Continue reading

Exciting new changes to Kennel Club Agility

For a while now there have been calls and campaigns for a 4th height to be added to Kennel Club (KC) agility. To briefly explain, at the moment there are three jump heights in KC agility; Small, Medium & Large. … Continue reading

Get a dog for Christmas, but be prepared to keep it for life

I’m sure you’ve heard that famous saying… “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.” I’ve seen a few blog posts popping up about this now and I know that some rescue centres won’t rehome dogs in the week … Continue reading

Pick up your poo… everywhere!

Dog poo…  it’s not a pleasant subject (which is why I’ve waited until after tea time to post this) but it’s one that needs to be discussed. Dog foul is one of the most complained about environmental issues to local … Continue reading

It’s a scary time of year for dogs

Okay so this bat aint so scary, but seriously, it’s actually a really unpleasant time for dogs at the moment. Halloween, as fun as it can be, is full of people in weird-looking costumes that smell funny, all very confusing … Continue reading

Stay safe in the dark with your dog

The nights are drawing in! Isn’t it funny (and annoying) how you find yourself repeating those clichés your grandmother and your mum used to say… you know, right about the time you think “I’m starting to sound like my mother!”. But … Continue reading

#NationalDogDay

This morning a notification popped up on my phone telling me that lots of folk were tweeting about #NationalDogDay (don’t you just love technology)! Who knew! There’s a day for dogs?! It’s hardly surprising that man’s best friends has got a … Continue reading

What is age but a number?

Today is Guinness’ 6th birthday! He’ll be getting lots of fuss, long walks and fun! 6 feels pretty old, but the truth is he still runs around the place like a hooligan, he still plays all day and sleeps all … Continue reading

Pre-Puppy Checklist

So you’ve decided you want a puppy. You’ve got the time to give a new puppy, you can afford the lifelong cost, the whole family are on board and you’re ready to get one… but hold on! Now that you’re … Continue reading

The Two Sides of Crufts

Yesterday afternoon I was sat on the floor of the NEC with a latte still contemplating what I was going to write about. And then it dawned on me how Crufts has become split into two halves, especially so over … Continue reading

Dog Training Myths… BUSTED!

If you only read one thing this year… please read this!

Dig It Dog Training Club have published a blog that busts some of the most common dog training myths! In this day and age a lot of us now know to ignore Cesar Millan, not to bite our dogs ears and to treat them with kindness and respect.

However some of us still need a gentle reminder and education of what is correct!

This blog answers questions such as;

  • Should I alpha roll my dog?
  • Do I need to eat before my dog?
  • Is my little pug a wolf at heart?
  • Can I let my dog sleep in my bed with me?

Please follow the link and find out the true answers!

http://digitdogsblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/dog-training-myths-busted.html

 

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Crufts: The Agility Experience

Crufts is an exciting time of year for all dog owners and lovers. As a competitor it is the agility that really catches my eye. Ever since I was young I watched the agility on the TV and said, “I want to do that one day”. As I’ve got older and wiser I now start to notice the slips on the carpet, the lack of rubber and the bouncy seesaw, however lets not dwell on the bad.

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Shopping is a big part of Crufts. Toys, treats, equipment and clothing. You can buy any sort of toy at Crufts! Cage balls, tennis balls, fleece, stuffed animals, fur, you name it. My ideal agility toy is something on a bungee tug that is high value. Voila, I found a tennis ball on a bungee! Perfecto. There were a few stalls selling garden agility equipment, easy put together jumps, hoops, tunnels and weaves. They’re ideal for having a bit of fun with your dog which is the perfect way to introduce agility to pet dog owners.

Health equipment is also growing in popularity and promotion of health products and activities were seen throughout the show. Hydrotherapy, herbal supplements, tablets for joints, digestion, you name it and you can find something which “helps”. Plus peanuts, balance cushions and fitpaws!

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The DogBooksOnline.co.uk store left me quite confused! There was a huge choice of agility books to buy, including course diagrams and training exercises. I really didn’t know which to choose so I played it safe and left them all!

What really caught my eye was the Halequin Agility demo on the Eukanuba stall. I arrived just in time as a lovely lady with a great dane was demonstrating wobble cushions and the exercises to do on them with your dog. She talked about muscles and strengthening exercises and was really enthusiastic about keeping dogs fit. It was brilliant to see and I hope it wasn’t just me that thought so. It’s so enlightening to see more and more health and fitness demonstrations appearing.

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I challenge you to go away from Crufts without learning something new, no matter how knowledgeable you think you are! The Kennel Club have a big activities section with a little box full of people to answer your questions on agility, as well as free handouts. The activities ring also held some agility demonstrations throughout the day.

I was most interested to see Agility1st there! Set up by former KC International Team Coach, Steve Croxford, and current KC GB Team Manager, Mark Laker, Agility1st is a training and accreditation scheme for Agility instructors and coaches. It not only offers you a chance to be recognised and proven as an agility instructor it also offers you training and improvement opportunities! This is the first Agility specific dog training scheme that I have come across and I think it is a hugely positive step forward for agility! (Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to speak to them).

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Into the main arena and this is where the magic happens! I could sit in there all day (at least until the Group judging starts perhaps). There are plenty of big competitions held at Crufts and its one of the sought after goals for many agility careers. Novice, ABC, International and Championship classes allows for a wide variety of people to get their chance in the limelight.

I really enjoyed the courses this year (apart from a few contacts-into-nowhere) and they all ran fast and flowing! There seemed to be less slips and skids than I’ve seen before (maybe due to course design or the dogs being more prepared) and there was some tight competition! The crowd love the agility and there was one person behind me in particular that was squealing, gasping and whooping! I love hearing other people’s enthusiasm. My friends and I enjoying watching the decisions made by competitors, talking about what we would have done and discussing the different international handling styles and methods. Plus the best thing is you can go home and watch all again on youtube!

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Crufts is becoming more and more diverse and I feel that the attention is starting to creep away from the show dogs a little. Of course it will always be the biggest and most prestigious dog show in the World, however you can certainly enjoy a visit even if you have grubby farm collies at home and no interest in hairspray for dogs.

I went home full of ideas for my agility classes, motivation and inspiration to work on my own training and my purse was much lighter! A great weekend!

Sh*t Happens

Sh*t Happens and Dicky Bag is here to help us to deal with it!

The dicky bag is a fabric bag/case/pouch/thing with a zip opening that come in an array of sizes. It’s made of lovely neoprene and has a belt loop attachment and a clip on the back. The head of the bag unzips and opens like a mouth (Dicky Bag if you read this, you are missing out on a great design scheme!). Inside of mine I got a sealed air freshener disc (a great addition), some biodegradable poo bags that sport a daring and highly amusing slogan, and a small tub of hand sanitiser. I opted for a rugged camouflage colour instead of the floral pink or baby blue.

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The dicky bag is a great idea, instead of carrying your bag of poo you can carry a dicky bag containing your bag of poo. Much better for street cred! It removes the nasty smell coming from that bag in your hand plus you can store it in a rucksack, clip it to your belt or wear around your body with the shoulder strap.

For me it is too big to clip onto my belt as it bounces around annoyingly and I don’t fancy wearing one on a shoulder strap. However its real strength comes into play when you are out on a long walk with your rucksack! The long hikes I do that require a rucksack are normally routes that don’t have many bins. Regardless, I still believe in cleaning up after my dog and will pick up (even if I’m on top of a mountain, who wants to have a mountain hike spoilt by dog muck on your boots?!), but the prospect of stuffing a plastic bag of poo into my rucksack or carrying it in my hand is inconvenient at the least. Now I can clip the dicky bag onto the outside of my rucksack, where it can swing and bounce around all it likes without bothering me, or put it inside my bag. Hurrah! The thick, rugged design of the bag paired with the air freshener removes all smell, although I personally wouldn’t have it snuggling up next to my lunch.

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It’s also very useful on bike rides as a solution to dangling a full poo bag off your handlebars! Plus anyone who has travelled 5 minutes with a full poo bag in the car will know that the smell is overpowering! I’m not sure why that is, but wow! The dicky bag completely removes this issue.

This is all great but, confession time; I don’t use my dicky bag for my normal twice daily walks. I like to walk hands free and there is usually a bin within a mile, so I’d prefer to carry my bag of poo for a little while and remain hands free for the rest of the walk than carry the dicky bag for the whole walk.

It’s been over 12 months since I said I would write a review of the Dicky Bag and its due to not having a great deal of use that I haven’t written about it yet. But let’s not end on a downer.

HUGE credit is owed to Dicky Bag! They have not just made a really unique item that has a great purpose but they are also battling the nationwide problem of dog fouling and the campaigning, advertising and input I have seen from them so far is much-needed. They were one of the first (if not the first) to back new company Streetkleen when they stepped out of the blue with a daring “solution” to dog foul and their website offers good, sound dog training advice as well as fun competitions to keep dog owners engaged.

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I am sad to see that their online blog has not been updated since June 2013 (which is a particularly good article), and I really hope they continue to push forward in supporting and creating campaigns that can help to reduce the dog fouling issue!

Education is the key right now and the more the better. Overall Three Cheers to Dicky Bag!

An Important Quote

“Today’s dogs are clearly not wolves on the outside, but their behaviour is often interpreted as if they were still wolves on the inside. Indeed, now that we know for sure that the wolf is the dog’s only ancestor, it seems impossible to avoid such comparisons. The idea that dogs retain most of the wolf’s essential character is not only out of date, but also reflefts some deep-seated misconceptions about wolf behaviour that science is only now beginning to overturn. Despite these holes in the dog-wolf theory, however, it is still widely used to inform dog training, with unfortunate consequences for the dog and owner alike.”

Taken from In Defense of Dogs by John Bradshaw.

It is vital to understand why we should stop comparing wolves to dogs.

The deep-seated misconception refers to something explained earlier in the book, that the behavioural studies done on wolves, which we use when talking about dog behaviour, was done on Captive Wolves!

Captive wolves that could not and did not display natural behaviours!

Big Year for Crufts

This year has seen a significant change for Crufts and the Kennel Club. In 2008 a TV show “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” was shown on BBC One, which exposed the health and welfare problems faced by pedigree dogs in the UK. … Continue reading