Archive for General

01 Nov 2011

Week 2 – Going out and coming back in the door

Comments Off on Week 2 – Going out and coming back in the door Bo's Training Diary, General

Another problem I have (and that I’m sure I share with other dog owners) is getting Bo in and out of the front door in a calm way. To have a dog who tries, or succeeds, to pull you out of the door before you get out poses two problems. Firstly, that he is starting the walk excited and his mood will continue in that way. Secondly, that your dog is showing that he is more dominant than you.

My plan with Bo was, after working on getting ready last week and to put his lead on nicely, I have him sat in the doorway. However, for me to unlock the door, we need to be closer. And he knows this, so Bo does move, so I tell him immediately to sit just by the door. Which he does, eventually. I unlock the door, repeatedly telling him to wait. I use the command wait here instead of stay. For Bo, stay is when I am going to come back for him and then release him, wait is when I need him to wait until I have done something, like unlocked the door, and then he can follow me. These commands work well. Until we switched to differentiating between the two, Bo would always be itching to move when I told him to stay. Now, when I say stay he is better, he still twitches on wait though!

So, I tell Bo to wait, and then unlock the door, and slowly walking backwards (carefully) I move out of the door first whilst holding onto his lead and telling him to wait. A couple of times he followed me too quick, but I just moved him back to where he was and told him to wait again. Which he eventually gets. Then, I go out the door, once I am out I release him by saying ok and he comes out after me.

After our walk Bo is far more willing to do what I say, which makes coming back into the house easier. I want to go through the door first, so upon getting to the door I tell him to sit and wait. I then unlock the door and continually tell him to wait until I am in, then he comes in. Once in, I tell him to sit in the same spot where he waits while I get ready to go out. I want him to know that he has to wait calmly on either end of the walk. He sits in the spot, and I tell him to stay. I put my shoes on the shoe rack, take off his lead and take my coat off. Only then do I give him a treat and say ok, and he tends to go to his basket and sleep!

It is always important to remember to keep hold of your dogs lead when coming back into the house, otherwise if he gets distracted, he could fly off and into the road. It is also important to remember that if your dog moves before you tell them to, you need to put them back where they were and do it again.

When doing either stay or wait, Bo gives tell tale signs that he is about to break the command. He twitches once, then moves. If I see it happening, before he moves I release him and praise him. It is far easier for them to learn by doing this than by putting them back and starting again. Bo can only stay or wait for a certain time period, which is different in different places with different distractions. So, it is important to look for your dogs capability and not to push them too far. Bo’s timings are short at the moment, but have been improving as we do the exercise more and more.

Bo is slowly getting the hang of going in the door, coming out is a little harder, but we will get there in the end I am sure!

Happy Training!


27 Oct 2011

Beef Porridge Balls

Comments Off on Beef Porridge Balls Doggie Recipes, General

Beef Porridge Balls


50g Porridge Oats

100ml beef stock (either water with half a stock cube or stock)


Boil the beef stock and then add the oats. Cook for 5 minutes stirring every now and then.

Cook until very stodgy.

Leave to cool.

Roll into bitesize balls and put in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Feed to your dog as a nice treat, especially in the summer months.

25 Oct 2011

Week 1 – Getting ready to go out.

Comments Off on Week 1 – Getting ready to go out. Bo's Training Diary, General

So, the first thing that Bo is in desperate need to work on is his excitement at the prospect of going for a walk. From the moment I come downstairs he seems to know what is about to happen!

We have a small hall and putting on shoes is a nightmare to do with a big German Shepherd clumsily bashing around. When I put my shoes on, even to go out with Bo, I have started to make him sit in the kitchen doorway. He is in sight, but out of the way.

The very first thing I do is to get him in position in the doorway and then I tell him to sit and stay. Bo knows both of these commands, however, he seems to have selective hearing when putting them in practice.

He wasn’t very good at staying to begin with, in fact, he moved immediately on the first go. So, I moved him using my body, blocking him so he had to go backwards. Then, I got him to sit again. It did mean that putting my shoes on took some time but, in the long run it will be easier…..I hope!

Next was to put his harness and lead on. I did exactly the same thing here a I did with the shoes. When he moved, I dropped the lead and put him back. He soon realised that he needed to stay, otherwise his walk would start later and later.We do eventually manage the lead, he can contain himself just about, but I need to be quick! And of course, I praise him when he does it, but not in a way that would excite him. A treat or a toy works well. His main praise however, is his nice long walk that he gets after being good to begin with.

He is slowly learning, although he still doesn’t get it right. I think it will take constant training, which is hard, especially when I’m in a rush. But, the hard work will pay off when he knows that he has to sit by himself while I get ready to go out.

For the next week we will be adding on this by trying to get Bo out of the front door without pulling me with him!


24 Oct 2011

Bo’s Training Diary

Comments Off on Bo’s Training Diary Bo's Training Diary, General

Bo has never really been trained formally. This has led to his training being a little bit behind. However, with the help of books and sheer willpower, more on my side than Bo’s, I will try to make him into the perfect (or near enough) dog. I will write about the methods I use, what I have been doing and how Bo is getting along so you can follow us on our adventure to him becoming a better dog! If you have any training methods or any advice you want to share then please comment below or send me a message on twitter @beccasdogblog or on facebook,

Happy Training!

21 Oct 2011

Pet Insurance

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There are clear advantages and disadvantages to getting pet insurance. So, do you do it or not? Hopefully, this article will help explain them to you and help you make an informed decision.


  • If your dog gets injured or falls ill and you cannot afford the vet bills, insurance will help you out.
  • If your dog goes missing, insurance companies often help with advertising and a reward.
  • Perks with some insurers, such as boarding costs should you be hospitalised and holiday cancellation cover should your dog fall ill while you are away.


  • There will be an excess and a limit to how much you can claim, no good if your dog is ill for a substantial amount of time.
  • You will have to pay for the insurance each month and might not ever need to claim.
  • Sometimes, you may need to pay the vet yourself and then claim back, costing you money.

So, there are some things to discuss, if you feel like you can cope with your vets bills should something happen, then insurance may not be for you, particularly in your dogs healthier years. However, if you have an older dog, it may be worth considering.

Various companies offer different benefits from their insurance, for example, multi-pet discounts, legal advice line, grief counseling and public liability.

Here are a few comanpies that offer pet insurance:

  • Tesco
  • Direct Line
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Pet Plan
  • More Than

Just remember, do your research into many companies before making a choice as to which company and what plan you go with.

19 Jun 2011

Dogs in cars

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The law on dogs in cars is often confusing and not well known. Here is the law on dogs in cars as of 2011 in the UK and how to travel with your dog safely.

There is no specific law on dogs in cars. However, the law states that a person must be in control of the car. This means no dogs sitting on drivers’ laps and no distractions from the dog. The Welfare of Animals Act does state that dogs should not be in a car in a way that is uncomfortable for them, or that would cause them unnecessary injury of suffering. Therefore, it is best to restrain a dog in a car using a crate or harness.

So, going by the law and advice, dogs can go pretty much anywhere in a car. Options can include the boot in or out of a crate, in the back seat, or even in the front seat, if restrained.

It is definitely advisable to use a dog guard or harness when travelling with your dog. These are easily bought from shops such as Halfords and Pets at Home.

Travel sickness can be a problem for some dogs, so make sure you visit the vet if this is an issue for advice and medication.

Lastly, don’t forget, never leave your dog in a car, especially in the summer. The car can heat up extremely fast leaving your dog to dehydrate and suffocate. On long journeys, your dog will need rests just as you do for water, food and toilet stops.

01 Jun 2011

Dogs at Weddings

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With the wedding season in full swing, many of you brides-to-be will be planning what you hope to be the best day of your lives. So, what better way to enjoy your day than having your dog there to witness it. This isn’t for everyone, but if you want your best friend to celebrate with you, here’s how.


The first thing is to ensure that this will not stress you or your dog out too much to enjoy the day. Here is a checklist for a stress free wedding involving your dog.

1.     Check that your registrar or priest is happy for you to have your dog there.

2.     Check that your venue allows dogs inside and out, and not just in the hotel bedroom.

3.     Have a designated dog sitter; this person can keep an eye on your pooch throughout so you don’t have to.

4.     Is your dog good with crowds, strangers and children, if not, it may be too much for him.

5.     Take him or her home before the reception, the noise of a band and rowdy people dancing will result in a stressed out puppy.

6.     Discuss this with your fiancé; you don’t want him not to be on board with this plan.

7.     If your venue is not a hotel or you are going elsewhere for the night that will not take dogs, your dog will need a place to sleep for the night.

8.     Train your dog before hand; ensure that if he is carrying rings he has done it before so it is not a completely new experience. If he is walking you down the aisle, practice at home.

9.     Can your dog sit through a ceremony, will he bark or fuss? If he will, consider the impact this will have.


You can either book a dog friendly venue or book a venue and ask whether they will allow dogs and in which areas of the venue. For many venues, this will vary on whether you are having your wedding inside or out. It is up to you which way round you do this. However, if you have your heart set on a venue, you may have to give up having your dog around if they won’t allow it.

Many women do not just want to have their pooch around on their big day but also give them a role. The most obvious choice for your dog is a ring bearer. To do this, attach the rings to a cushion which is in turn attached to a collar or your dog itself using ribbon, or, if you are feeling brave, in his mouth (only for the well trained dog). Other roles can include walking the bride down the aisle, a pageboy or bridesmaid.


So, now you have picked a venue, chosen a role and trained your dog ready for the big day you need to make she he looks the part. However, do make sure your dog is comfortable in what you dress him in so you don’t cause him unnecessary stress. The choices with clothing are endless. Your dog can wear a bow tie or full tux, even a dress. Flowers can be used in a wreath around their neck (loosely of course), or in their collar. A nice new pretty collar will add some extra glam to help them look good.

Having your dog share your big day can be a blessing and for some a necessity. However, follow the checklist to ensure a stress free day and remember to not make your dog unnecessarily uncomfortable.

Venues that accept dogs

Eastnor Castle –

Based in Herefordshire, Eastnor Castle is a stately home that boasts its friendliness towards dogs. Dogs are allowed in both the home and the grounds on a lead.

Rydon Inn –

This is a restaurant in Devon that allows well-behaved dogs.

Ivy House Country Hotel –

This is a hotel in Suffolk that allows well-behaved dogs on leads. The only catch is a charge of £15

Down Hall Country House Hotel –

For a £5 charge, this hotel in Hertfordshire will allow dogs. This hotel boasts that it is one of the friendliest dog hotels in the UK. On arrival, each dog receives a welcome pack including a bowl and doggy do’s and dont’s to ensure a good stay.

Tulloch Castle Hotel –

This hotel, based in Highland, Scotland, has no charges for dogs coming to stay; the venue is both a castle and a hotel providing the perfect background for a wedding.

Brynafon Hotel –

This hotel in Powys, Wales has select dog friendly rooms.

For all of these venues, it is essential that you call/email and confirm that your dog will be allowed in the venue during the ceremony and reception, not just the bedrooms.

22 May 2011

Camping With Dogs

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Camping with dogs can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Going on holiday is far nicer if you do not have to put your dog into the kennels and worry about him or her. The solution to this is to take your dog with you, camping is the best and cheapest way to do this.

First off is finding a campsite. Most campsites do take dogs, but do check, there is sometimes an extra charge for your dog or a limit to how many dogs you can have. Then, you need to look at where it is, whether there is a set place for dogs to run around or whether they will need to be on the lead the whole time. Lastly, if your dog has a tendency to bark, go for a campsite where noise is tolerated, as opposed to finding your dog is too noisy.

Next is planning your time there. Few if any shops and restaurants will allow dogs inside, so remember when you shop for food, or other items one person will have to wait outside with the dog. If you are not going for a long trip, take enough food with you to make it easier. The same goes for recreational places, you will not be able to go into stately homes, museums or galleries. However, there are many things you can do, cycling, walking or viewing stately homes from the gardens. Beach holidays would be fantastic for dogs to have a play in the sea, although be careful when doing this.

There are some things it would be helpful to have with you when camping. If your dog has to be on a lead for the entire time you won’t want to be holding a lead for that length of time. You have some options here; you can attach a long lead to a car wheel or tie two leads together to do the same thing. If you have a smaller dog who will not pull something up out of the ground, you can use a stake to put into the ground, which a lead can be attached to. These can generally be bought in most pet shops. Your dog ay be content lazing around in the sun watching people go by, but if not, it may be worth taking a chew toy to pass the time.

Depending on your dog, your tent needs to be right for him or her to sleep in. I would suggest a separate compartment from your dog to you unless you normally sleep with them in the same bed. If they are in a tent that does not close up along the bottom, it may be worth checking your dog cannot crawl underneath the gap and escape to cause mischief at night. Just remember to take in your dogs food at night to stop the birds waking you up to try to eat it!

The positives of camping outweigh the negatives, all of which can be resolved by careful planning, to allow you to have a fantastic and fun holiday with your dog who will enjoy every minute.

Happy Camping!

22 May 2011

How to Get a Pet Passport – It is Easier Than it Seems

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Wouldn’t you love to take your dog with you on holiday instead of putting him in the kennels? Or maybe you are moving, but will want to bring your dog back to the UK. The only way to do this without a quarantine is to get a pet passport. Many government and official websites make the process sound long, confusing and complicated. However, travelling with your dog could not be simpler.

The process starts with a lengthened vet appointment. During this appointment, a microchip is inserted into the dog if he doesn’t already have one. At the same appointment, the dog is given a Rabies vaccination. A couple of weeks after the vaccination comes the blood test, this is a simple five minute appointment. After this you need to wait for the results, this normally takes 3 – 4 weeks, but it depends on how busy the lab is. If your dog’s results are ok, then you get your passport, if not, you repeat the vaccination and blood test step. All this costs around £200 but that depends on the vet.

You can now take your dog out of the country, but cannot bring him back in until 6 months has passed since the blood test. When you do bring your dog back, you need a qualified vet to treat your dog for worms and ticks 24 hours before you enter the UK. This treatment needs to be put into the passport.

So, as long as everything goes smoothly, you can have your passport in time for the summer.


22 May 2011

Cycling With Dogs

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Cycling with dogs can be a fantastic way to give your dog a good run and really tire him out. But, you need to make sure you don’t over do it and injure him. There is a lot of controversy over cycling with dogs, but if you do it right then you have nothing to worry about. Victoria Stillwell has even used cycling for dogs on her programme to calm a dog down who had a bit too much energy.

So, the first question is, can my dog run alongside a bike? I cycle with a 2 year old German Shepherd, he has a lot of energy and is a working dog, he is built to do the running. But, even with him, I would not cycle with him before he was 18 months old so as not to do any damage while he was growing. Even after that time, I am careful. Smaller breeds and breeds without as much energy are clearly not as able to run alongside a bike as breeds such as Border Collies and German Shepherds. If you are worried, ask you vet.

When cycling, I take lots of water with me, they need it. And I stop every 30 minutes to allow my dog to have a drink and go to the toilet if he needs to. I also stop every hour for a bit longer, to allow him a well-deserved lie down. I do not go to fast, I cycle at a speed that he is running, but not sprinting, to get this speed, cycle with your dog and find a speed he is comfortable with. I only do this a maximum of once a week.

To begin with, your dog may not be used to running alongside a bike. I had this issue, my dog tended to run in front of the bike. So, I started cycling with him on a lead next to me, just going slowly, when he tried to cross over, I said no, and praised him when he was next to me. He soon figured it out and we were able to go faster on the lead and then eventually with no lead.

There are some products you can buy that attach to the back of your bike. This enables you to cycle with the dog on the lead without you having to hold the lead yourself. With regards to safety, this is a very good idea. I am very lucky, I have had no problems with Bo cycling off the lead so I have had no use for these products. But, if your dog will not cycle next to the bike, or has bad recall, or you are simply cycling in a place where you can’t let your dog off the lead, these products may be ideal.

Having never used this, I cannot recommend you this product. However, it is one that I have found to show as an example. Please look around to find the best one for you.

I never cycle on the road with my dog. I have always thought it dangerous to have a dog next to a bike, especially on busy roads or windy lanes. I always ride on a bike track, in the woods, this is also ideal as it is easier on their pads.

The most important things to remember are, don’t go too fast, carry water, breaks are needed and consult your vet before starting to make sure your dog is up to the challenge.

If you have done all of these, happy cycling with your dog. I recommend this as an enjoyable exercise for both you and your dog, an exercise, which will tire him out completely!  I have found that now when I get the bike out to go for a ride with Bo, he gets far more excited than when we go for a walk, a sure sign that he is enjoying it too.