Monday, 26 January 2009

Emma has won sausages!

Emma Andrews has won the first bag of sausages for her suggestion of the game What is the time, Mr Wolf? Well done Emma!
We'll be playing it in class on Wednesday, so I'll let you know how we get on...

The competition continues, so if you can think of any other games that we can use in the Basic Obedience classes to work on sit, down, stay, leave or walking on lead, that we are not already playing (see the Competition! blog on the 24th of Jan 09), you will win a bag of sausages!

Oh what a day...

It has been one of those days today. It started out well, we had a really nice long walk, the sun was out and the dogs were behaving themselves. Then we got back from the walk to discover that Jasper had a cut on his thigh. Thankfully enough Paul was back by the time we got back from the walk, so he took us down to the vet (I don't drive!). They said they wanted to stitch it up under sedation, so we left Jasper there. We'd only been home 30 minutes when they called and said he was done and we could pick him up, so another trip down to Hitchin. I can't say I envy Jasper's owners the bill of £140!

Home for a couple of hours and then Dot and Bruna arrived for our usual afternoon walk. I was bragging to Dot about how good Toby had been off lead at the weekend and subsequently thought I should give him a bit more off lead time than he normally has. Of course he ran off and was gone for a good long while! The little so and so... :-(

So all in all, not the best or most productive day I've ever had. And there was me planning to start on my tax return this morning!

At least the weekend was good, despite the weather on Sunday. We got totally soaked during our morning walk, but it was only the odd drop of rain during my 3 Basic Obedience lessons, so that wasn't so bad. I looked a bit of a mess though, after having several big dogs jump up at me, spraying me with mud water! They were all really enjoyable lessons though and I am really chuffed how well they all got their dogs focused on their first lesson.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


Ice, mud, water puddles everywhere and sunshine... quite a mixed bag today. It was nice first thing, when it was icy, although that caused poor Pam to drive off the road, very scary! She's alright though and amazingly enough her car didn't get a scratch on it. How she managed to hold all her classes despite such a scary start to her day, I dont know...

In the afternoon we had a lovely walk around Offley with quite a large group of dogs and owners. Angela with Dennis Cocker came all the way from Cambridgeshire!

What else has happened today?

Started a new puppy class today, with 4 Labs, 1 Boxer and 1 Rottie. As always the first lesson was a bit manic, with some puppies being very boisterous and others being quite shy, so lots of running around trying to protect the nervous ones. By the end of the lesson it seemed even Briar, the tiniest puppy, was rearing to have some fun! It will be interesting to see how they are next week.

I'd like to ask you all for some help... we keep using the same games in the classes, to make the training a bit more fun, and now I'd really like to have some more games to choose between. The games we are currently using are all based on childrens games, so maybe there are some more childrens games that could be adapted to dog training? If you can think of any, please let me know. For every game that is usable in class, I'll give you a bag of sausages! We want games where we can work on sits, downs, walking on lead, recall and stay. Not necessarily all those in the same game though.

We currently play Shark (musical chairs), Red Light (Red light/Green Light), CopyCat (same for children), Spoon Race, Simon Says. If you can think of any other childrens games that could be adapted, please let me know.

Keeping my fingers tightly crossed that we won't get the rain tomorrow, that the weather people have threatened us with. We've got enough water as it is!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Why do dogs have to heel?

Pam Haynes ( and I had an interesting discussion yesterday, about why so many of our clients expect their dogs to heel when out on a walk. What is that all about? It is like asking a bloke to sit with a straight back and only sip tea when he's the pub...
(I know, a bit of a weird allegory...)

The whole point of taking your dog for a walk is surely to allow him to do doggie things, such as sniffing the ground, marking up the area, meeting doggie friends, etc. Your dog can't do these things on a tight lead, walking right by your side and why should he?

Is it another remnant of all the dominance training on TV? Dogs should never walk in front of you, a la Ceasar Milan? Or is it something else?

The way I see it, your dog should be able to walk next to you in a controlled maner (work on a focus exercise!) if you are going through town, in a crowded space, etc, but when you are out on a walk with them they should be allowed to sniff on a nice long lead (go to and get yourself a canal lead - they are the best!) or they should be off lead.

Consider this, why do you take your dog for a walk? Is it for your benefit or for your dogs? I sincerely hope the answer comes back 'it's for my dog'...

In class we train walking on a slack lead, but we don't really train heel. Heel is something you do in competetive obedience. It looks great, but it is very hard for the dog to sustain for a longer period of time, which is why you see so many of the highest ranking competetive obedience dogs dragging their owners around when they are out of the show ring. Teaching your dog to heel in a very specific environment (the show ring) is VERY different to teaching him to heel in an every day situation.

What do you think? Do you expect your dog to heel? If so, when do you expect your dog to heel?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Bia beds in colour!

Having handed off the business to Alison Milner yesterday (thank you Alison!), I've been changing things on the site for her today and sending her addresses to suppliers, etc. Whilst doing this, I managed to find a site for the Bia beds that I haven't seen before, which is obviously much more updated than the one I usually look at, and am now so very excited... the Bia beds come in all kinds of funky colours now! Look at to see what I mean...

I'm usually not very fond of pink, but the pink one is rather gorgeous... I now realise that instead of having a shoe fetish or bag fetish, I've got a dog equipment fetish! Anything new that I haven't seen before... gotta' have it!!!

So Alison... will you be buying in some Bia beds in flashy colours? Could I have one please? :-)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

ActivateYourDog online shop moves on...

So I'm packing up the ActivateYourDog shop for good this time... Alison and Paul Milner will take over from here on out. You can find out more about the Milners on their web site

I can still supply you with Naturediet, dried sausages, tripe sticks, rawhides and pigs ears, but I will only stock enough for myself and a bit more, so I can never guarantee stock and you will have to pay cash.

DogBasics has a blog!

I've been meaning to add a blog to DogBasics for years, but never got around to it until now. I will try to write every day.

I hope you will help me with the blog by commenting on the site, blog, videos, pictures, training, etc.