All posts by Dentbros

Week 3: All change

border collie puppies
I see you

It’s been quite a week here in the Puppy Palace. The Sweetie litter have transformed from guinea pigs into tiny dogs. When their eyes open their faces change shape and they start to interact more with their environment. As you can see from the video, they have already started to play!

Real food

Once their eyes are open, I start to gradually introduce them to puppy food, alongside Busy feeding them. It’s a messy process! They tuck in straight away, but it takes a few days to really get the hang of it – this morning they scoffed it double quick.

border collie puppies
Is this how you’re supposed to eat?

Up on their feet

The puppies are much bigger than a week ago and even sturdier. They are up on their feet, walking more purposefully and without quite as many tumbles. Running is not quite on the agenda yet though…

border collie puppies
The adoring masses

I have moved them into a bigger run again, so that they have a clear space for eating and toileting. There is also a crate in the run. This is partly so that Busy can climb in and out once the gate is shut – she needs to be able to get in to feed them, but also to get out and escape! It is also so that they puppies learn that crates are fun places to go and sleep. Busy loves to go in there for a quick nap. Go to Cages and Crates for more information.

Eye colour

There has been much speculation about the eye colours of these puppies. In particular, will any of them have ‘Heterochromia iridum‘? Sunny produced three puppies with this condition and Busy’s son Lenny also has it. It is pretty common in Border Collies and although not desirable for the show ring, it is a popular characteristic, as people love its distinctiveness. However, it appears at this stage that we are unlikely to have any blue eyes. The blue and white girl’s eyes are lighter, but I feel they will be green or amber eventually.

border collie puppies
no blue eyes here, sorry!

Coat colour

Which brings me to an update on the coat colours of this litter. I was told to expect tricolours and I believed that is what I had. Although the tan points are not visible at birth, you are supposed to be able to identify them by lighter hair under their tails. Three of the Sweetie litter have lighter hair here, so I merrily informed everyone that is what they were. Not so! It appears I was misinformed; the experts have said that since no other markings are appearing, these are now more likely to be black and whites and red and whites. That’s fine with me.

border collie puppies
black and white puppies

Meet the families

Luckily, it was fine with all their owners as well. We all had a VERY busy weekend, getting to know everyone. As I’ve said, almost half of these homes have been waiting ages for their puppies and they were not disappointed. Phew!

border collie puppies
I love you mum!

So now we know who is having which puppy. We have names for them all, after a bit of juggling – both proposed pedigree names and their pet names. I will therefore shortly be registering them with the Kennel Club.

border collie puppies
So much love

If you want to visit (friends and family only, sorry), please get in touch? And if you want to know how I keep my home clean quickly and easily with 12 dogs, look at my Norwex page to see the great products that can help you clean with fewer chemicals.

Remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?

Week 2: Still eating & sleeping

border collie puppies
A pile of puppies

Guinea pigs

Puppies are just like guinea pigs for the first couple of weeks. They are smooth and about the right size. They squeak and snuffle and whistle. It’s quite funny to watch. Not for long! They change while you watch, getting up onto their feet, moving around more, interacting with each other and their mum. And all before they can see and hear!

border collie puppies
It’s exhausting, all this eating

I wanted to get this video last week, but it’s better now. Can you see how Busy pops into the bed, nowhere near them and almost immediately they wake up and rush to her, to start feeding. Their eyes are not open and they can’t hear, but they sure can smell her! I find this magical.

Getting ready to see

Puppies’ eyes open at two weeks, so within the next couple of days I expect to be able to properly ‘meet’ them all. However, they are also getting used to my smell and are perfectly happy for me to pick them up and give them a cuddle. They are not so keen on my cutting their nails! I try to do this regularly so that they don’t scratch Busy too much.

border collie puppies
Twins? Or double trouble!

Used to cuddles

I have already been fortunate enough to have had a series of visitors, who are gradually and politely starting to be allowed to handle the pups. Again, this means they are being exposed to new smells and experiences. I’ve found this really does make a difference to how ‘people orientated’ they are – all my puppies LOVE people.

border collie puppies
Being cuddled is hard work

I don’t normally allow children in to see the pups for the first couple of weeks, but these two girls know my dogs extremely well and have a special relationship with them.

border collie puppies
Dogs & children – what could be better?

Moving to a new bedroom

All my puppies are born in my bedroom and spend the first week at least upstairs, where it is quiet and calm. However, as soon as I know they are sturdy enough to wriggle out of the way if Busy lies on them, I can safely move them downstairs. I’ve got them in a different room from the adult dogs, but the girls are free to come and go as much as they like.

border collie puppies
How many puppies can you fit in a small box?

Today I have put up a pen around their bed to allow them to move off the bed to toilet, which they have (incredibly) already started to do. They are on a non-slip mat and the run keeps them safe – they can travel quite a distance if you don’t keep an eye on them.

border collie puppies
The next stage – a bigger space, with en-suite facility

If you want to visit, please get in touch? And if you want to know how I keep my home clean quickly and easily with 12 dogs, look at my Norwex page to see the great products that can help you clean with fewer chemicals.

Week 1 pupdate: feeding frenzy

Puppies don’t do much in their first week of life, or do they? I have tried to capture just how ‘busy’ they are in this video. After all, they have an awful lot of growing to do! At birth, these puppies weighed 275-325 grams. Now, just one week later, six of them weigh around 500 grams! And then there is the other one – SHE weighs 575g!

They are all doing so well. You can see from these videos that they are sturdy, lively and contented. Busy is an attentive and nurturing mother, without being neurotic. She’s happy to come out for a while at various points during the day.

border collie puppies
Resting between feeds

Out and About

Usually when the puppies are just a few days old, I let the mum come out with the rest of us for her normal walk. I feel that this helps her stay fit and healthy. It creates a ‘gap’ between feeding the puppies, which helps milk flow and feeding patterns. I vividly remember being persuaded to go for a walk when my son was five days old and how refreshing that was – just to be out in the fresh air felt so good.

Of course I don’t push my luck – I decided not to take Busy to the ‘Big Doggy Do over the weekend. Even though she is vaccinated, I don’t want her mixing with other dogs too much.

border collie puppy
Black tri girl

How much food?

When my dogs are pregnant, I start to gradually increase their food, especially during the last few weeks. I add goats milk to their meals (which I then also give to the other dogs as it is good for them generally). I usually supplement their kibble with other protein sources. This time however I have started feeding minced raw meat alongside a good quality kibble (dried food). These seems to be working really well, as they like it (some of my dogs are quite fussy) and it is easily digested.

border collie puppy
Fat tummy

Once the puppies have arrived, I expect to give the mother around FOUR TIMES as much food as normal! She is working flat out to provide for her pups and I don’t want her to end up being skin and bone. I usually maintain this diet for around 6 weeks, until the puppies are more or less weaned. I generally find that my girls’ weights remain pretty constant throughout. They still lose their coats though!

border collie puppy
Blue and white girl

Pretty colours

Before this litter arrived, I was able to anticipate the likely colours by looking on a site that has a comprehensive Border Collie database – Anadune. This told me that I was likely to have a mix of colours, including, for the first time, tricolours! A tricolour Border Collie is one with tan or fawn ‘points’ usually cheeks, eyebrows, and the mid sections of legs.

Border collie puppies
Buzz – my tricolour

Three of the puppies are tricolour – two red tri boys and one black tri girl. We also have a black and white girl and boy, a chocolate and white boy and a blue and white girl. Lovely! I will be taking (many, many) pictures of them over the coming weeks, so you will gradually get to know them and see their characters developing.

Border collie puppies
Black and white girl

Remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?

Exciting announcement

border collie puppies
Busy – the proud mummy
border collie puppies
Just the size of a hand
border collie puppies
Oops! Was on top, but tumbled off.
border collie puppies
Pink nose – how sweet?
border collie puppies
How many colours can you see? Here are three..
border collie puppies
pink toes, tiny tails
border collie puppies
A soft tail makes a great place to take a nap

The Sweetie Litter

I am so delighted to announce the safe arrival of Busy’s second litter. They arrived yesterday, 20th May 2019, between 7.30pm and 11.30pm. This litter have been a long time coming and have been very, VERY eagerly awaited.

It is really great that I do already have homes for these puppies – people who have waited very patiently for their arrival, sometimes for over a year! Most of the owners will be meeting their pups in a few weeks’ time, once eyes are open and I can confirm they are fit and healthy. Meanwhile, they will just have to look at the pictures!

One of the best things about having puppies is all the visitors! I really love having people come in to see them. Busy is a brilliant mum and is very good at coping with people coming to admire. For the first few weeks I only allow specially invited family and friends round. After that I start to encourage more people to come (especially once homes are confirmed). I really like to have a wide range of visitors, especially children. This makes sure that my puppies are sociable, outgoing, confident dogs when they head off to their new homes.

So if you’d like to visit, let me know and I can start to book people in? Meanwhile, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?

Fundraising: Free calendar with every donation

Fundraising effort – raising money for Canine Concern. I have been trying to raise money for this wonderful charity for some time through the sale of the Dentbros Dogs Calendar 2019. My plan was to recover the printing costs. I would then donate any additional payments to the charity – 100% of the profits.


I have raised around £65 so far. But I still have around 40 calendars! As you know, a calendar is no use to anyone after January. I am now keen to give these away, with any donations I receive. Having a calendar is not compulsory!

Just Giving Page

To make the fundraising much easier to manage, I have now set up a Just Giving Page. So you can go there and donate to Canine Concern simply and easily. You can give as much or as little as you would like.

fundraising calendar
Miss May

Supporting dogs in schools

I am very proud of the fact that three of the dogs I have bred have now joined this charity and are working in schools.  This includes Bea (pictured above) who features on the calendar in May. It is my hope that others may be inspired to join the work done, which makes such a difference to a huge number of children and adults.

This week I took Aura and Ounce into school for a visit – they loved it! Ounce was such a show off! She was so excited, jumping on the children and ‘kissing’ everyone. The children were delighted with how clever she was, demonstrating all her tricks, including the ‘rollover’ which she does at dazzling speed! I kept asking her to settle down and she would look at me and answer back “I don’t need to settle down, everyone loves me!” They did – the children thought it was hilarious. Maybe one day she will be quiet enough to engage with the children properly.

fundraising calendar
Miss November – cheeky girl

Request a fundraising calendar

If you would like a fundraising calendar, please CONTACT ME? More details of the calendars can be found on my original post about them here – Fundraising Calendar 2019 – BUY NOW!

Labrador: Interview with an owner

Labrador – the perfect dog for beginners?

From an unusual breed, the Spanish Water Dog, to the most popular of all!  The Kennel Club describes the breed as follows: the Labrador is the most popular of all pedigree breeds and his popularity comes from his versatility as family companion, service dog, guide dog as well as a working gundog.

LabradorThe Labrador (Lab) comes in three main types – golden, black and chocolate, although there is now an increase in the ‘fox red’ Labrador.  In fact they are classified as being one of six breeds of Retriever, which also includes:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Curly Coated Retriever
  • Flat coated Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

These breeds have similar characteristics and make fantastic family pets, although Golder Retrievers and Labradors are the two breeds that have been extremely popular for centuries.

LabradorLabrador characteristics

Mel tells us that Labradors are great companions.  They love to snuggle on the sofa and want to be where you are. They love to be physically active, but also can sleep for hours at your feet.  She says:

“My Labradors love to swim, in rivers, in streams, in the sea, and they are very strong swimmers. They are enthusiastic about everything. They are medium to large sized, well muscled and very strong.”

Mel says that she chose her first dog, Bryn (aged 8) as she knew the breeder and her bitch had a wonderful temperament.  Flint is a rescue dog that she had from 10 months old (now aged 2) as a companion dog to train up to take over from Bryn when he is ready to retire as a Pets As Therapy dog.   They are both described as ‘working Labs’ rather than being from show lines.

LabradorInterestingly, Mel feels that her two are both more lively than she had expected, having previously owned Golden Retrievers.  She says she found they were much more exuberant and not so laid back as the Goldies.

An active lifestyle is essential

If you want to consider owning a Labrador, you will need a lifestyle that is quite active so it suits your dog.  Mel says she loves to be outdoors gardening or walking.  She also tries to keep her dogs’ minds active by giving them a job to do.

The best home would have access to open spaces for free running, water for swimming nearby and plenty of attention and company from the owners.  Mel says:

“I live in the country so we enjoy long walks and they accompany me wherever I go as much as possible. We enjoy going on holiday together to the seaside and they have accompanied me to several restaurants. Mine travel well.”

They are great companions for children, but need introducing responsibly, due to their exuberance, although Mel says she has found them to be very gentle around children. They need training and stimulation to get the best out of them.  Definitely not the dog for a flat!

Jobs to do

Bryn is a Pets as Therapy dog and goes into a local primary school to listen to the children read.  He was also in a Flyball team competing in Open competitions winning many rosettes.  Flint is currently taking part in the KC Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme. Both Mel’s dogs are Pet Blood Bank donors.

“I walk my dogs daily for an hours free off lead run over the fields and a half hour walk/training on lead later in the day. They receive an hours formal training weekly.”

LabradorHair, hair, everywhere!

One of the downsides of Labradors is that, even though they are not a long haired breed, they shed hair constantly – lots of it! That is why we have had the introduction of crossbreeds, to try and reduce this issue.  Labradors have been crossed with Poodles to create the Labradoodle.

As they are a strong dog, obedience training is very important. They require some stimulation to prevent them becoming bored, which may cause them to be destructive. They need company as they are very social dogs and don’t like to be left for too long on their own, but they can be left for several hours occasionally without any problem.

Health issues

The main issue for a Labrador is hips. Please ensure you check the breeder has had the dog and bitch hip and eye scored before you purchase.  Mel says the scores from Bryn were very good but with the rescue dog she had no information.  This means there may be a risk of hip dysplasia in future, which is painful and life limiting.  The only problem Mel has encountered has been with them catching or ripping their dew claws due to them being so active. Labradors are also prone to fatty lumps.

Final adviceLabrador

“My advice would be if you put in the work it will be worth it and you will have a wonderful faithful companion. Buying a puppy is just the start of the journey.

“What I love about their characters is that they are still puppies at heart and are full of joy at life.  They are very loving and affectionate and want to please.  They are such faithful pals to me and each other.  I can’t imagine being without them.”

Thank you so much Mel, for your lovely information about this No 1 breed!

Fundraising for Canine Concern

I am offering my Fundraising Calendar 2019 for sale within the UK.  You pay £8 +£1.40 p&p and all profit goes to the charity.  Please CONTACT ME to order one? BUY NOW!


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

Grooming your dog: Tops tips for a beautiful dog

Grooming: how do you keep your dog in tip top condition?

Following on from my post about the Spanish Water Dog I thought I would re-visit the issue of grooming for a dog.  Ask yourself: how lazy am I?  Then ask yourself: how rich am I?  I think these are the two key questions when considering what dog will suit you.  This is particularly important when thinking about the care your dog will need relating to its grooming requirements.grooming

Long or short coat?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that dogs with short coats require less care than dogs with long coats.  Common sense tells us that a Labrador will not need as much grooming as a Border Collie, for example.  Or will it?  Labradors have what is know as a ‘shedding coat’ which comes out all the time, scattering fine, short hairs throughout the house, sticking to every surface and getting into food.

As a result, short-haired dogs still need grooming.  Regular brushing will stop the hair being scattered everywhere.  You will also find that short-haired dogs tend to smell more, because dirt becomes trapped in the hair, prompting the need for more regular baths.  Dogs like the Spanish Water Dog, Spaniels and Labradors also love the water, so will find puddles and ponds to jump into at every available opportunity.

Moulting coats

Border Collies have a ‘moulting coat’, which comes out in armfuls once or twice a year.  Over a three week period, you will have ‘tumbleweeds’ around the house and may have to vacuum behind the sofas.  After that, not much hair comes out.  If you brush during those three weeks you can definitely reduce the impact, although you will be astonished with just how much hair comes from one dog!

Other care required for a Border Collie, (as with most dogs) will include:

  • Nail trimming – their nails must be clipped or trimmed
  • cutting out tats – sometimes Border Collies get hair clumped into tats, which have to be cut out. This is partly because they don’t need brushing on a daily basis.  Their hair is silky and usually sorts itself out, but sometimes the fine hair on the belly and round the back legs needs tidying up.


Hypoallergenic or ‘non-moulting’ coat

This sounds ideal doesn’t it?  A soft, cuddly coat, that doesn’t shed or moult – perfect! Or is it?  Well, in my view, there are a number of issues with this type of coat:

  • it will still come out, just not as much as with shedding or moulting breeds
  • you aren’t guaranteed this type of coat if you have a crossbreed, or so-called designer dog – it will depend on how the mix of breeds comes out in your individual dog
  • dogs with these coats need regular care.  As with collies, their hair will form tats and because it is curly, this is going to happen all over their bodies, on a regular basis.  They will therefore need daily brushing, and/or frequent trips to the grooming parlour.


NB: Dogs do like to be muddy!  You won’t keep them clean and that’s as it should be.  They need to be outside, running around, smelling smells and exploring.  If you try and cover up their ‘dog smell’ with your silly perfumes and shampoos, they will just go and roll in some more mud.

Using a Grooming Service

I picked up a leaflet for one of these services recently, having never really looked into it before.  Wow, these things cost A LOT of money!  For example:

  • Pug:  Bath, brush and blow dry every 4-6 weeks and Express groom every 6-8 weeks.  Total annual cost: £528
  • Cockapoo:  Bath, brush and blow dry every 4-6 weeks and Full groom every 6-8 weeks.  Total annual cost: £594
  • Newfoundland: Full groom every 6-8 weeks, including de-shedding or hand stripping as required.  Total annual cost: £816

By way of contrast: 

Border Collie:  Stand in a bucket when muddy, clip nails if not worn out by running around, cut out some tats, brush when moulting.  Total annual cost £0.  Lol.

Grooming tools

Of course there are many grooming tools to choose from to enable you to do the expensive stuff yourself.   This deshedding tool looks great and it comes in different colours!

There are also nail clippers to keep their toes trim.  People worry about doing their dog’s nails because if you catch the quick, they bleed profusely.  But the dogs aren’t especially bothered if this happens, and it’s much better to risk that than to have nails that are far too long, as this can be crippling for your dog.


Just a minor point here about microchipping, as the ‘grooming service’ I looked at offers to do this.  From 6th April 2016, all dogs are required by law to be microchipped.  As a breeder, I know that I am legally required to have my puppies microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old.  I get this done by the vet.  I have to register the pups in my name and then the new owners have to transfer ownership to them.

So, if you are getting a puppy, check before you get it that it has been chipped?  You should therefore be able to trace its ownership back to the breeder.  If you are getting a rescue dog, it should now be chipped before you get it and that chip should be registered to the previous owner.  If not, why not?  There’s not much point having a legal requirement to microchip dogs if this doesn’t allow us to trace ownership of them.

Fundraising for Canine Concern

I am offering my Dentbros Dogs Calendar 2019 for sale within the UK.  You pay £8 +£1.40 p&p and all profit goes to the charity.  Please CONTACT ME to order one?  BUY NOW!


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

NB: If you read my posts in an email, you may be missing out on the lovely pictures!  Please click through to my website to see the post in all its glory?

Ask for help?

You are very welcome to contact me to ask for my advice.  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

Please let me know if you have found this post helpful?


Fundraising: CALENDAR 2019 – BUY NOW!

Fundraising for Canine Concern – Calendar 2019

For the last few years I have been producing a calendar for friends and family.  This year I have decided to go all out and try a bit of fundraising while I’m at it.  I have decided to do this as a fundraising exercise for a charity very close to my heart: Canine Concern.

I am therefore offering these calendars for sale for £8+£1.40p&p.  For each calendar sold, ALL PROFITS will be donated to Canine Concern.  I hope you agree that this is a worthwhile cause.  fundraising


Supporting dogs in schools

I am very proud of the fact that three of the dogs I have bred have now joined this charity and are working in schools.  It is my hope that others may be inspired to join the work done, which makes such a difference to a huge number of children and adults.

2019 Calendar

Last year, I made a calendar using my own photographs for the first time.  Obviously I am not a professional photographer, but thanks to some lessons from Kate and a decent camera, I have been pleased with the results.  The first couple of years I made calendars using photos taken by two amazing dog photographers – Kate Everall Photography and Bridget Davey Photography.  These two are highly skilled at their job and if you want gorgeous photos of your dogs, look no further. Kate  also takes fabulous photos of people, including newborn babies, children and families with their dogs – I highly recommend her.

The advantage of using my own photos, vs ones taken by the professionals, is that I am able to take pictures throughout the year.  My goals with my pictures for next year’s calendar have been as follows:

  • seasonal pictures – preferably with flowers (collie flowers – get it?)
  • different dogs – there are 8 different dogs on next year’s calendar
  • different poses – lying down is the easy one, but I have tried to get some variety as well
  • showing off what makes Border Collies SO special.



I am hoping to sell around 70 calendars, so please help? fundraising


Please can you CONTACT ME with details of your order?  As this is only a small, personal fundraising project, I have not been able to set up an official shop (that is not what I’m about), so please bear with me?  I’ve added a contact form for you to fill in if that’s easier?

CALENDARS COST £8+£1.40p&p (UK only). 

Order now – while stocks last!

Thank you for your support xx

Spanish Water Dog: Interview with an owner

Spanish Water Dog – A hypoallergenic delight!

Have you ever seen a Spanish Water Dog?  Well if you have, you probably (rudely) just thought it was a cockerpoo! They are part of the Gundog group of dog breeds, like Spaniels, so do have some similarities with those breeds.  Sarah says:

“We had never heard of this breed until my daughter included it on a presentation of the breeds she thought we could consider, as my husband was very allergic to dogs. As a result we went to visit breeders and spent time with the dogs, both to test my husband’s allergy and to see if this was going to be a breed we could live with.

Spanish Water Dog“Our criteria was for a family pet, an active dog and one that didn’t need a lot of time both in terms of exercising and maintenance. We liked the relatively compact size and the fact they are very intelligent and easily trainable.”

Grooming requirements

The Spanish Water Dog has an unusual coat, which would have kept him warm in Winter and cool in summer when he was herding sheep on the Spanish mountains.  The coat doesn’t moult at all, but needs to be clipped regularly.  Murray also doesn’t need grooming – in fact you are not allowed to brush his fur.  As a result, Sarah says he does need regular bathing, especially if he is swimming often.

The Kennel Club description of the Spanish Water Dog says:

“Although the Spanish Water Dog was primarily a retriever of wildfowl, he has also traditionally been used as a herder of sheep. His thick coat, a feature of the breed, requires clipping once or twice each year.”

A perfect pet

Sarah says that Murray has fitted into the family extremely well.  He is more of a lap dog than they expected, as he is quite small for the breed (like his father).   He has been easy to train and care for.  Sarah feels that he prefers people to other dogs, possibly because he is not often with other dogs.  In my view, some ‘only dogs’ are desperate for the company and interaction of other dogs, to the point of being a real pain about rushing up to other dogs when out.  Full credit to Sarah if Murray is not like that!

Spanish Water DogSarah says,

“I think his sociability, his calmness and his love of people and especially children are his best characteristics. He isn’t a jumpy, lively dog, not even as a puppy, much more calm and gentle. He is a perfect family pet.”

Spanish Water Dogs are intelligent enough to be trained as gundogs or to herd and they are able to learn activities such as agility.  Sarah has taught Murray a string of tricks he loves to do.

Hairy ears

The Spanish Water Dog, as with many other breeds, can be prone to hip issues, so breeding should be managed to minimise this.  The only other health issue they have is that their hair can grow and block their ears.  Sarah says she was encouraged to pull out the hair, but Murray really doesn’t like that and she found that grass seeds find their way into his ears without that hair to provide a barrier.  They have had experience of grass seeds, but of course this is not peculiar to Spanish Water Dogs.

Spanish Water DogWater for the Spanish Water Dog!

The clue is in the name! Sarah takes Murray for two walks a day, one longer walk  for 45-60 minutes and one shorter walk 15-30 mins. In total he has about 60-90 minutes a day. Murray also loves swimming and she says they try to let him have a swim every week, except for in the middle of winter. They don’t have a particular training regime any more, but Sarah says they do give him the opportunity to do his tricks on a regular basis.

Spanish Water DogPerfect for..

Sarah’s Spanish Water Dog loves people and children, so she feels they can live anywhere where they aren’t going to be spending too much time on their own and has people to love and fuss him.  Murray is very fussy and loves nothing more than a cuddle, which not every dog does like.

Thanks Sarah, for introducing us to this unusual, but delightful breed.

Fundraising for Canine Concern

I am offering my Fundraising Calendar 2019 for sale within the UK.  You pay £8 +£1.40 p&p and all profit goes to the charity.  Please CONTACT ME to order one? BUY NOW!


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

NB: If you read my posts in an email, you may be missing out on the lovely pictures!  Please click through to my website to see the post in all its glory?

Fireworks and Dogs – how can we help our dogs?

Fireworks: What can I do to help my dog cope?

If you have ever had a dog who is terrified of loud bangs or fireworks, you will know how agonising it can be.   Symptoms include:

  • panting, drooling and whining
  • restlessness and fidgeting
  • anxiety and aggression
  • hiding or scrabbling at furniture.

I remember on the eve of the new Millennium, Buzz was left at home while we went to a neighbour’s to celebrate.  We came home to find he had destroyed a door, trying to escape.  Poor boy!

fireworksIt’s really hard to know what to do.  We want to reassure them, but they don’t really want to hear it.

Ignore it and it will go away

When I first went to training classes with Sunny, I remember being told very clearly “Don’t make a fuss if something scares your dog.  If you cuddle them and fuss them, you are drawing attention to their fear and ‘rewarding them’ for wanting your attention.  Just ignore them and they will realise there is nothing to be afraid of.”

I do understand where this advice is coming from.  If you are anxious about your dog being anxious, they will become more anxious, because they are feeding off your anxiety!  I see this most often when we are out walking and we walk past someone whose dog is ‘nervous of other dogs’.  They have the dog on the lead and are gripping hold of it.  Or they might even be clutching the dog to them – I’ll protect you!  Even if they are just holding the lead though, the owner’s anxiety is being transmitted down that lead to the dog.

It’s a vicious circle; the dog is afraid so you become afraid, so the dog thinks “there must be something to be afraid of” so becomes afraid.  This ‘transmission of emotion’ also happens with horses, as anyone who has been nervous about riding a horse will tell you!  Another example is when you are faced with a dog you don’t know and aren’t sure about – you know that they can ‘smell your fear’.  In fact it is true; dogs (and horses) can smell fear and will react accordingly.

Fireworks – training or ignoring?

Getting back to the fireworks then, how should we tackle it?  If we completely ignore it, we are not helping the dog to cope with it, we are just being mean!  What we need then, is a strategy to positively develop coping behaviour for the dog. There are a number of ways we can tackle this:


  • Provide alternative noise to counteract the bangs, such as a loud radio playing
  • Use a Desensitisation CD for dogs
  • Provide a safe place for the dog to go into, such as a dark corner with a comfy bed or blanket
  • Shut curtains and move the dog away from the bangs if possible
  • Put the dog into a Thundershirt
  • Give the dog medication, obtained from your vet, or buy some calming tablets

The Training Solution

Distraction is a crucial factor in persuading your dog that there is nothing to worry about.  It’s not about ignoring them when they are afraid, as about ignoring their fear – making light of it.  If you can clearly project to them that you are perfectly fine with whatever is going on, in fact you think it’s time to have a game, then the dog may be able to move past it with you.  You need to be convincing!  But if you can get their attention on you and persuade them to play fetch, or do tricks, or even just a bit of rough and tumble, then they are less likely to be thinking about ‘that scary thing’.  So go on, play with your dog?

This works if you are out and another dog goes past.  Thinking to yourself “that’s not an interesting dog, playing with you is much more fun” will help to encourage your dog to ignore other dogs.  They won’t feel the need to protect you.  This also works for bangs and loud noises.

This is all a bit boring

Not just fireworks

It is useful to enable your dog to cope with loud bangs, not just for when the fireworks are around, but for all sorts of other things.  Thunderstorms are an obvious one, but also bird scarers, gunshots, hot air balloons, cars backfiring, starter pistols etc.  In fact if you want your dog to become a Pets As Therapy volunteer, they will need to cope with someone dropping something loud beside them.

Eventually, we want a dog who is secure and confident enough to find loud bangs and flashes a bit boring.  Don’t think that you cannot cuddle your dog if they are scared, just make sure that you are not afraid of their fear!

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