All posts by Dentbros

Equipment list for your new puppy

New puppy? Everything you need to get started


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Most puppies love snuggling into a piece of ‘Vetbed’ or similar. This is a synthetic simulated sheepskin, which is hygienic, machine washable, totally non-allergic and relatively resistant to chewing. It can also help to prevent pressure sores on bigger dogs. Buy at least two pieces so you use one while washing and drying the other.


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Your puppy needs its own space and safe place.  The crate or cage keeps it safe and out of trouble when it is alone, rather like putting a baby in a cot or playpen.  It also helps to teach the puppy that it does need to rest and so do you.

When ordering a crate for your puppy, buy one big enough for it to lie in stretched out and standing up in when it is fully grown (medium). Make sure that the mesh is not too big as puppies may get their mouths caught.  Put some bedding inside and tie some toys in the far end of the crate so the puppy has to go in there to play with them. Gently place your puppy in there whenever it falls asleep. Leave occasional treats in the crate for the puppy to find, so the puppy learns to love going in there.

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A handy hint to ensure that your puppy is eager to enjoy the safety and calm of the crate is to feed him in there, with bowls like these. Then, quietly close the door. Puppies love to search and sniff for pieces of food, and once they have found and eaten everything, they often settle down and drift into sleep for an hour or so.

This gives you a chance to do other things without worrying about what the puppy is up to, and it is a good experience for the puppy to curl up and sleep in the cot by choice.  You can gradually increase the time the puppy stays in the crate and initially this should be whilst you are in the room with it.

More information about crates can be found on this separate post.


Ellie-Bo Heavy Duty Modular Puppy Exercise Play/ Whelping Pen, 158 x 158 x 100 cm, 8 Pieces

A dog run, or playpen, like this one is ideal to help you manage your puppy. You can make sure they are safe, not chewing up the house, but they have room to run about and play. You can put down paper, or puppy pads, so that they don’t have to toilet in their bed.


Dogs & Horses UK – purple rolled leather collar

Dogs & Horses make beautiful collars and leads.  They are hard-wearing and comfortable for you and your dogs.  I highly recommend them!

Choose a comfortable collar that is suitable for the size and age of puppy. Puppies grow rapidly and collars should be checked almost daily for condition and fit. These should not be so loose that they can slip over your puppy’s head or so tight that you cannot slip two fingers underneath. Some are connected by a plastic catch, remember they are not as strong as the traditional buckle.


Choose a lead that is suitable for the size of your puppy, not too long, too short or too heavy. A good rope lead is both strong and comfortable on your hands. Chain leads can hurt your hands, but may be useful if you have a puppy that likes to chew or carry its lead in its mouth. Nylon leads are strong, but can hurt your hands. Whatever type you choose, make sure you attach it to the ‘D ring’ of the collar and not onto the split ring that attaches the identity disc to the collar, as this is not strong enough to take the weight of your dog.  Particular attention should be paid to the catch/ clip which must be strong and not liable to break or straighten.

Please do not use an extendable lead – it will teach your puppy to pull against it all the time and stop him from having a good run around.  Before they are able to go out, practise the recall in the garden, with lots of treats.  Then when you do go out, let them off the lead straight away.  The outside world will be big and scary and they will want to come back to you, trust me!  Give plenty of praise and treats and keep on recalling and rewarding all through the walk.  Before your puppy is 3 months old you will have a good strong recall and no need of an extendable lead.

If you really feel that this is going to be too difficult, buy a Long Line.  This is like a piece of rope around twenty feet long.  You put the puppy on one end and stand on the other end.  Let him go off for a wander and then call him back after a few minutes.  If he doesn’t respond, give a gentle tug on the line to attract his notice, then call and reward.  Do NOT pull him back to you – he has to want to come back.  The line is for your security, that’s all.  Please DO NOT chase your dog, you will not teach him to come back to you that way!  He must want to come back to you on his own.

Identity Disc

You are required by law (The Control of Dogs Order 1992) to inscribe the name and address of the owner on the collar or on a plate or disc attached to it. You must comply with this, even if the dog is microchipped, and you can be fined up to £5,000 if you do not. You may also want to put your telephone numbers on the tag, but you do not need to put your dog’s name on it.  Engraved discs are better than barrel types, which often undo and lose their contents.  

Interesting toys

It is very important that your puppy has a range of toys to play with, otherwise it might chew on your things, instead of its own. Chew toys also provide mental stimulation, help to keep your dog’s teeth clean and allow it to exercise its jaws. Select toys for your puppy carefully – some may be too small and might choke your puppy whilst other items might splinter. You should also have toys that you can play with interactively, like balls on ropes and tuggies, so that you can have fun with your puppy.

Do not let your puppy play with sticks, golf or squash balls. All these things can easily get stuck in the throat and cause damage or even death. For this reason, it is important to bear in mind the size of your puppy and the size of the chew or toy you decide to purchase. If a chew becomes too small after a prolonged period of chewing, do not take the risk, throw the chew away. Remember, spending money on toys is preferable to having your house and furniture chewed!

Kong chews are invaluable for keeping your puppy entertained while you are away from them.  If you fill it with treats and freeze it, this will keep your pup busy for quite a while!  It is also good for when they are teething.

Food and water bowls

You will need separate bowls for water and food. Make sure fresh water is always available for your puppy.  Metal bowls are unbreakable, safe from chewing and easy to keep clean.

These are the best water bowls for the car, as they do not spill (although they can be a bit of a pain to fill up!)

 Prestige Road Refresher Non Spill Pet Water Bowl


I feed my dogs Royal Canin.  I give them the Medium Starter first of all, moving onto Puppy when they are 8 weeks old.  I feed the adults a mix of Royal Canin Adult and Aging, depending on the amount of work (agility) they are doing.

There are many different types of dog food and many arguments for and against each type.  You can read my thoughts in this post. I feed Royal Canin because they eat it, I can order it online in large sacks and they look and behave well on it.

Car harness, travelling crate or dog guard

A dog should travel either behind a dog guard, secured with a car seat harness or, ideally, in a crate or fixed car crate. A crate gives a dog its own space and ensures both safety and comfort. If you have space for a crate then this provides a safe haven for your puppy in the car. There is nothing worse than seeing a dog squashed in a car with luggage piled up around it.

Accustom your puppy to car travel with short trips at first ideally when the puppy is tired so it will go to sleep. If the puppy is car sick try fixing the crate on the back seat as the car sways far more at the back which can cause travel sickness.


It is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped and for this to be done by the breeder.  You will need to change the details of the registered owner with Petlog – details will be provided in your packs.

Poo Bags

You are required by law (Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005) to clear up after your dog in public areas and dispose of the bag in an appropriate bin, so you will need a supply of poo bags, sandwich bags or nappy sacks to take with you whenever you are out with your puppy.

Grooming equipment

Your puppy will grow a thick medium length coat and it needs looking after.  The main problem areas that need the most attention tend to be behind the ears, between the toes, under the feet, in the armpits, the backs of the legs and around the tail. If you are not showing your puppy you may wish to trim these areas back. However, use round ended scissors so that you do not accidentally stab your puppy and get someone to help you if your puppy will not stand still.

See the Puppy Pack ‘Guide to Grooming’ for more information.

Doggy toothpaste and toothbrush

Gum disease is far too common in middle-aged dogs and can lead to all sorts of health problems, so it pays to brush your puppy’s teeth. Use special canine toothpaste, which comes in tasty flavours and does not foam (unlike human toothpaste) with a special rubber thimble for dogs’ teeth.

Dog shampoo

Dogs only really need to be bathed when they have been swimming or have rolled in something smelly. Use a dog shampoo or a mild human shampoo and put a non-slip mat down if using the bath. Towel drying your puppy is important and will get it used to being dried when it comes home wet from a walk.  Ketchup is a great way to get rid of the smell of fox poo.  Rub it into the area, then shampoo out.  Works like magic!

Puppy Reunion – August 2020

Dentbros Dogs get together!

When you find the best homes for your puppies, you make friends with the owners and you stay in touch. I now have WhatsApp groups for each litter, so that the owners can talk to each other and share stories and problems. It’s brilliant.

puppy get together
Dentbros Dogs

The natural progression from this is a desire to meet up, which is lovely. Of course this year has presented its own challenges! But meeting up in a big open space and then having a picnic is fortunately now allowed, so yesterday we were able to do this.

One litter, or several

It might seem sensible to have only one litter at a time meet up – I know the owners were especially pleased to see the owners of their dog’s siblings. However, some owners have more than one puppy from me. And of course my girls usually have more than one litter. Either way, they are all related!

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The Lovely Litter

I also think it’s nice for the owners of the younger dogs to see the progression they make – what they look like as older, more mature dogs. It was lovely to have 5-year-old Charlie demonstrating this – he’s such a lovely boy!

The perfect location

Ideally, people want to buy a puppy from someone down the road. Sadly, this is not possible, especially if you are buying from a Responsible Breeder. So although some of my puppies do live nearby, many do not. Trying to find a location that will be a manageable distance for as many as possible was a real challenge.

puppy reunion
starting to walk

Luckily, I had been riding in Windsor Great Park on several occasions – I highly recommend Tally Ho Stables for this. I knew there were big open spaces with easy walking and points of interest. I was a bit worried about toilets and would have loved a café. But I suggested a picnic and we decided that gave us a bit more flexibility anyway.

puppy reunion
Charlie with Pippa and Aura

Pleased to see me?

Some of them were! Most of them had forgotten me. If I see them fairly often, they do remember me and are happy to say hello. Usually they are not bothered. That’s fine.

puppy reunion
Somebody recognised me!

What about their mum? Are they pleased to see her? And she them? Not a chance! Once they’ve gone, they’ve gone, that’s it. When they live somewhere else, they take on the smells from their new home, so then they become a strange dog. It’s easy to think the mums aren’t pleased to see their babies in case they want something from them! I don’t credit my dogs with that much reasoning. I think they just don’t really like other dogs!

puppy reunion
Sisters Ounce and Pixie

Sibling rivalry

Brother and sisters must get on though right? It must be lovely for them to meet up and play together? Well a brother and a sister might find each other interesting, but we don’t want to encourage that do we? Brothers and sisters will often fight. They struggle to determine hierarchy and fight for dominance. This is especially true when there are lots of other dogs around. I’m sure you’ve seen children showing off in front of others they haven’t met. Dogs definitely do a bit of this.

puppy reunion
Brother and sister chatting

Luna and her sister Nell always used to argue when I took my dogs to see my friend Jane. So it should have been no surprise when Mowgli and Hector got into a scrap yesterday. It wasn’t serious and didn’t last long, but unfortunately Mowgli caught his dew claw. I felt particularly responsible because I’d been trying to get a group pic without owners and then I ‘released’ mine. I should have made sure everyone grabbed their dog and kept things calm. Silly me!

puppy reunion
group photo

Relaxing picnic

I had already warned everyone that it would not be possible to ‘go for a walk’. It’s just too hectic with so many dogs and people – the pace is very slow! Still, we wandered around for a while and then headed back to the car park, where we sat in the shade and shared out delicious baked goodies! I took sausage rolls made Penne Rowley. The others had made various cakes and Tasha had even made dog flapjack! Yum.

puppy reunion

This was when we really started to appreciate our beautiful Dentbros Dogs. They behaved so well – calm and relaxed, mingling and settling. No hassle.

puppy reunion
The Sweetie litter

Thank yous

I had wanted to make a speech, to thank them all for coming. I wanted to thank them for being such brilliant owners, for making me so proud to have bred their lovely dogs. Lots of the dogs are or will be competing in agility and quite a few do other things. Finding the right homes is a burden of responsibility, but I definitely got it right with all of these homes.

puppy reunion
Happy boy! Mowgli

I thought it would be nice to give them a token, to thank them for coming and as a reminder of the day. But I realised I didn’t need to; they were ALL taking the best dog home!

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


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.


Flyball – Excitement for dogs!

If you are looking for something that will really wear out your dog, both mentally and physically, then you might want to try flyball! It’s a fast-paced team sport that was first seen at Crufts in 1990. Amber tells us about her experiences of flyball.

Amber and Eska ready to go

Amber says “I love the fast paced atmosphere in the race, but also the whole team involvement. It’s a really social sport.” She was first introduced to the sport at a dog show, where there was a ‘have a go’ session. Amber has been involved with the sport for over 6 years and currently competes with three of her dogs. Her terrier Zuko is now retired.

What is flyball?

The Kennel club defines the sport as follows:

Two teams of four dogs compete at the same time, each using a parallel ‘racing lane’ down which each dog in turn runs, clearing four hurdles in succession before triggering a pedal on the Flyball box.

Jamie has the ball

A tennis ball is then released which the dog must hold before returning over the hurdles to the start line. The first team to have its fourth dog across the finish line, with any part of the dog’s body, wins the race. Each dog must cross the finish line before the next dog can start, and handlers aim to launch their dog so that it will cross with a returning dog just at the line.

Who’s in charge?

There are two governing bodies, The British Flyball Association (BFA) and the UK Flyball League (UKFL). Amber competes with the BFA.

You will compete in your team, against other teams the same division. The division will be set by your teams seed time, so you will race teams of a similar level. Each team can have up to 6 dogs, but only 4 race at one time in each team. There is no restriction on breeds, apart from at Crufts, where each team must contain a non-collie, otherwise known as ABC – anything but collie!

Hex making a turn

How does it work?

The first dog to race is called the start dog; with a start dog your aim is to have as perfect as a start as possible. Once the judge has signalled that both teams are ready, the lights count down (3 yellow lights and then green) and you want the start dog to be passing through the start line as the light hits green. A perfect start would be 0.00 secs, normally you aim for anything below 0.10 secs.

Zuko eager to get the ball

The dogs have to run over 4 hurdles,  collect a ball by triggering the box and bringing the ball back over the 4 hurdles. The next dog will then pass the first dog to repeat. For the best cross you want the dogs’ noses to be touching (they will pass side to side) at the start/finish line. This is repeated until all four dogs have run.

The jump height is set to the smallest dog that is racing in that team, with the jump height ranging 6″ to 12″.

Eska in the lead!

Winning is everything!

The winner of that leg will be the team who completes a clean run the fastest. You can get a fault if:

  • you have an early start
  • you have an early cross into another dog
  • the ball is dropped before finish line
  • the dog runs out of the jump lane
  • the dog ‘steals’ the ball from the box (so it’s not triggered).
Go Hex go!

There is a box judge and a line judge who can help signal a fault to the overall judge. There is a scribe completing the paperwork and watching the run back. An interference between a dog from one team into another results in the loss of that leg to the team responsible. If it happens twice that dog is removed from the race.

Eyes on the prize

The winner of the race will win 3 legs (so there can be up to 5 legs if it 2:2). There are sanctioned competitions throughout the year, both indoor and outdoor. The ultimate goal is the flyball championships in August, or to run a team at Crufts, in March.

Equipment needed

You need a flyball box, 4 flyball jumps, and then other aids like props to help learn pacing and box turns. Balls of course, lots and lots of tennis balls! Your dog must absolutely LOVE tennis balls and playing fetch.

Jamie making a turn on the box

You normally need a training chute used before dogs learn the flyball box. You usually start with some netting to help the dogs run down the lanes.

Training needed

Flyball is not particularly difficult to train, although it can take time and commitment to train a safe and fast box turn, and for dogs to learn to race with other dogs without being distracted from the main job at hand. Dogs wear carpal pad protectors to prevent injury to their pads.

Pure power

Amber says “We have Sunday flyball training with out club.  But I also do work at home with my dogs on my own flyball chute to keep a good box turn technique. I’ll do drive work sprints  to keep the sprint fitness.” 

How to get started

Get in touch with one of the two governing bodies: The British Flyball Association (BFA) or the UK Flyball League (UKFL). They may be able to help find a club local to you. Your dog will need to be at least a year old and fully mature. You will need a good recall and a strong drive to run after a ball. Your dog will also need to be relaxed around other dogs. As with other dog activities, a good level of basic obedience is essential.

Happy dog, having fun

Thanks to Amber for the fantastic insight into this dog sport. Photo credits: Hannah Rose Baker and Helene Burningham.

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 Dog Doc blog for more help with training issues.

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


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.

Obedience (Formal)

Obedience training with your dog

If agility is like doing show-jumping with your dog, and canicross is like cross country, then competitive obedience is the dressage discipline. At the top end (as seen at Crufts for example), it is about perfect symmetry of dog and handler, working together to demonstrate just what can be achieved.

Aura just turned a year old, winning pre-beginners at her first show!

The starting point is basic puppy training, which every single dog owner must do. These days most people expect to take a puppy to classes, and this is usually the best way to work through the process of getting started with your dog.

Puppy Foundation Award

Lots of puppy and dog training schools use the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme. The Puppy Foundation award covers the following :

  • responsibility and care
  • cleanliness and identification
  • attentive response to name
  • play with puppy
  • socialisation, including
    • with an unknown dog
    • with an unknown person
    • with noise distraction
  • handling and inspection to maintain health
  • recall
  • sit, down and stand
  • walking in a controlled manner
  • stay (approx 10 seconds)
  • take article from puppy
  • food manners

That’s a pretty comprehensive list!

Pixie giving Helen a dumbbell

Good Citizen Awards

Many people stop there and that’s fine, on the whole, but there are 3 more levels on the Good Citizen Dog Scheme – Bronze, Silver and Gold. The gold award covers more challenging handling such as road walking, walking off lead beside the handler, send the dog to bed, being relaxed when on their own, stopping on command and staying, in a down, for two minutes, with the handler in and out of sight.

It can take a few months (or longer) to get to the Gold Award standard, so people continue to this level if they enjoy going to the classes and feel that their dog enjoys the time the spend there. As with all activities to do with your dog, it is time you spend focusing on them and building your bond with them.

Pixie showing off her heelwork

Formal competitive obedience

This video is a great demonstration of the highest level obedience, with my absolute hero, Mary Ray (on right), with her dog Lyric.

There are six ‘classes’ – levels of competitive obedience – available for entry at Obedience shows. New handlers will start in the basic Introductory, Pre-Beginners and Beginners Classes; as you become more experienced you can qualify for the higher classes from Class A to Class C, the highest (and most difficult).

Each class contains a set of exercises which the judge will ask you and your dog to perform.  More details about the different classes can be found on the Obedience Levels and Classes page, but the levels consist of increasing difficulty in the following:

  • heelwork
  • recall
  • retrieve
  • sendaway
  • stays (sit and down, handler in view and out of sight)
  • scent discrimination
  • distant control

Training requirements

Helen, who owns a red merle Border Collie called Pixie, aged 6, says she has done lots of different activities with her and has always done basic obedience with her dogs. She decided to have a go at competitive obedience 18 months ago, so joined a local club.

The club members are very helpful and supportive, Helen says, helping her aim for her first show, which was due to be held in April 2020. She says you don’t need much space. Everything can be done in your garden, but it can be useful to train in your local park, as this can be more distracting for the dog. There is very little equipment required – a dumbbell, some cones or markers and some cloths for the scentwork.

Helen says “I train at a club once a week but will do bits during each day in some way. This might be working on tricks, retrieve and heelwork. I love it when teaching things and it all comes together it’s a great feeling.” Thanks Helen for your insights.

The best dog breed for obedience? Border Collie, of course! Other breeds do compete, but collies are so driven to work, to please, to focus, they are absolutely fantastic at this activity. If you want to get to the top, get a collie!

Miri demonstrating that collies can work perfectly from a very young age

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 Dog Doc blog for more help with training issues.

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


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.


SOLD OUT! Puppies cannot be made to order

You may or may not have noticed, but the world and his wife have got a new puppy! How lovely for everyone. People have been forced to spend time at home reviewing their lives and have realised that their life will be better with a dog. Correct. It will be. If you have changed your working pattern and will now be spending time working from home, you will be able to play with your new dog – that’s great.

puppies for sale
Life is better with a dog

Of course there will be plenty of people who have been at home and thought it was the ideal time to get a puppy so they could ‘get it sorted’ before going back to work, when it will be left all day, every day. Those people will find their bored, frustrated puppy (it will still be a puppy) will wreck their house and bark all day, annoying their (now working from home) neighbours. Those puppies will then go into rescue centres – more on that later.

Where are all the puppies coming from?

When we first went into Lockdown, everyone decided they MUST have toilet paper. It sold out pretty quickly. But then the manufacturers realised that it was essential for everyone to have a year’s supply immediately, so production of toilet paper went into overdrive. These companies were able to stop making other products and produce more toilet paper. Great, everyone has a clean bum now.

puppies for sale

With puppies, this has also happened. I am sure that LOTS of people who were considering having puppies some time over the next year, have decided to crack on. This might well be because their own plans have changed. That is what has happened to me.

I would normally have two years between each of the three litters I would try to have from my girls. However, Busy was supposed to be spending this year competing in agility shows. We were going to drive across Europe with the dogs in July. All this has been cancelled. So I looked at Busy and thought ‘Well I may as well have another litter from her now.’ She’s 6 years old, young and fit. Her last litter are over a year old. It will just about be summer – a nice time to have puppies.

puppies for sale

What happens next?

That’s all fine so far. More puppies, to meet more demand. Everyone is happy. I have had hundreds (literally) of enquiries for puppies, over the past couple of months. I could have sold many, many puppies. So I have a waiting list of carefully scrutinised, suitable owners. I am sure all responsible breeders, especially those who are Kennel Club Assured Breeders, will have gone through the same process. I have plenty of people on the reserve list. I even have a few possible homes for a litter I might have next year (from Ounce, NOT from Busy!)

puppies for sale

The trouble is, I am still getting enquiries. Usually, when I get an enquiry, I tell people to go the other KC Assured Breeders. Or to look on Champdogs, a reputable website with health tested, pedigree dogs. So what happens now? Where will the future puppies come from?

The breeding cycle

It only takes 9 weeks to make puppies. Wow, that’s not very long, I hear you say. Then it’s standard practice to have the puppies for 8 weeks before they go to their new homes. The Kennel Club recommend that as a minimum.

So then you start again, right? Wrong. Dogs are only able to have a litter when they come into season. This is usually every 6 months, but can be less often. The trouble is, they should NOT have a litter of puppies every 6 months. I’ve talked about all the issues with having puppies already on my recent post 5 reasons not to breed from your dog.

If more puppies are being produced, the chances are therefore high that these are being bred by people who don’t care about the health and wellbeing of their dogs. They just care about the money.

Puppies are not a commercial commodity

Please care about where your puppy comes from? If you get it from a rescue centre, why was it there? It may have been bred without much thought, or care. Usually that won’t matter too much, but there may be health issues that have not been accounted for.

It will probably have been dumped because the pet owners couldn’t be bothered with their new toy any more. They probably won’t have taken the time to train their puppy. It might not even be house trained! It almost certainly won’t come when it is called, or know how to interact appropriately with other dogs, or cope with strange situations.

puppies for sale

Most of these issues can be fixed, given time and patience. Some things can be harder to work through and it may be years before you have the dog you imagined. That can be painful and frustrating, for both you and your dog.

Illegal importing

I know from information given to me by the Kennel Club, that dogs are imported illegally into the UK all the time – it is a huge problem and one that is likely to get FAR WORSE in the coming months. Hopefully, with travel from Europe being more restricted, there might be better controls, but I think it unlikely.

People bring pregnant dogs into the UK, smuggled in tiny spaces in the backs of cars. They then register the puppies here, sell them off for a fortune and then go home to breed again from that bitch at her next season. NB: Registration on the Kennel Club Activity Register does not mean that the dog is a pedigree!

Extortionate prices

Sadly, when it comes to dogs, you don’t ‘get what you pay for’. Responsible breeders will charge a reasonable amount to cover their costs, including health testing of course. Unscrupulous people, breeding for financial gain, will charge whatever people are prepared to pay. So if it is costing thousands, it’s not been well-bred.

In conclusion

Now really is not the time to start looking for a puppy! You will get one from a rescue soon enough, if you are prepared for some extra work. But healthy, carefully bred puppies are sold out. Sorry.

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


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.

2nd dog: why, when and how

Top tips on getting a second dog

When you have a great dog, whom you love to bits, it’s very natural to think that having a second one will be fantastic. Twice the love, twice the fun, twice the happy times, right? Usually, that’s true. However, I know people who keep their older dog muzzled in the house to make sure it doesn’t kill the younger ones. I know someone with stair gates all over their house to keep their dogs separated. There are people who find their lives ‘ruled’ by their dogs; they can’t go out for too long, or they can’t have visitors, or they don’t go on walks because it is too stressful.

second dog
Mother and daughter – always together

Why bother getting a second dog?

What are the advantages of adding a second dog to your family? As I’ve said above, it should mean, twice the love, fun and happy times. In reality, the number 1 reason is: to make your first dog’s life better. Your first dog should enjoy having another dog to lie around with. They should play together and run about together.

Why have one couch potato when you can have two?

If you regularly leave your dog, especially for long periods, then a second dog should make that much easier. The two dogs can stand and bark at everything together! Seriously, if you have a dog that barks or howls when left, you probably need to tackle that issue first. Having a second dog could easily just mean twice the noise! Yes, they will be happier, but your neighbours might not be..

Ask yourself: What is my dog’s current life like? Do they seem happy with just me (and the family) for company? Do we hang out together, most of the time? Or do they just prefer to go off on their own? Not all dogs are sociable – some prefer their own company. When you are out and about, does your dog desperately want to rush up to other dogs to play? Or are they happy pottering along with you? If other dogs come over, does your dog say hi? If they aren’t really that bothered, they probably won’t be that fussed about another dog in the house.

Playing happily

When is the right time to introduce a second dog?

This is a tricky one. Most people don’t really think about it, or only in relation to what they want. Some people love their first dog so much they can’t wait to get more. Other people struggle with the ‘puppy stage’ and it take them years to consider going through that again. Or they might feel that it’s better to get a rescue, older dog to add to their family.

Don’t forget – twice the dogs means twice the mud!

Consider what your dog wants? When I got my first dog, a re-homing from my mum, she was 8 years old. She’d been fourth in a pack of five and had got ‘lost in the crowd’. Rue adored being my dog and being with my sons who were babies at the time. She kept to herself and enjoyed coming along with us.

Then we got a puppy, Buzz, when Rue was 11. It was a mistake from day one. Rue hated the intrusion. She was old and set in her ways and was a bit stiff. He was a really sociable, outgoing dog, who loved to chat to others when he was out, unlike Rue. When Buzz was 8 years old, after a few years of him being on his own, we got Sunny.

second dog
Buzz (left) gazing adoringly at his Sunny.

Buzz was SO HAPPY! He absolutely loved her! Buzz spent the next seven years following her lead, enjoying being with her and engaging with whatever was going on. It really improved his life to have her. (She completely ignored him.)

Not too young, not too old

One more story: When Aura was just 18 months old, I got Busy. This was not planned, but hey ho, there she was, my fourth dog at the time. Again, Aura hated her! Eventually, they talked to each other, but they’ve never played together. Aura is a jealous, demanding dog – she’d love to be on her own with her owner – it would suit her far better.

second dog
Not really friends, exactly

I won’t home my puppies to someone with a dog aged much more than 8 years old. If you’ve got that far with just one, you should stick with it. Likewise, I would never choose a home with a dog younger than two. You need to have your first dog mature, well trained and established.

Dogs do get jealous in my opinion. They do feel resentment and they do have friends. Don’t expect it will be brilliant. It might not be. Pay attention to what your dog wants, please?

Second dog
A happy family

How to introduce a second dog?

Just a brief guide to bringing that second dog into your home. It’s exactly like when you have a second child. Don’t expect it to be easy, or quick. Take it slowly and pay attention to your older dog.

When the Lovely Litter went off to their homes, three went to families with older dogs. All three puppies were initially ignored by the older dog. The owners made sure that they were never left alone together. Allow for the fact that a new dog, whether a puppy or a bit older, will be annoying. So manage their time together? Watch them playing, or just being around each other.

second dog
These two are NOT friends

Top tip from a dog training friend I heard this week: take turns giving them treats. Say their name, give a treat. Then the other one’s name, give a treat. They understand turn-taking. Give attention to both, starting with the older one. Feed the older one first.

Above all, make sure you spend plenty of time with both dogs individually. This is vital to ensure you bond with the younger dog and train it effectively. You won’t get as much focus or engagement from either dog when they are together. If you can, try to ensure you have some special time with your older dog each week. They will really appreciate it.


Should the second dog be related to the first? I don’t think it makes that much difference, to be honest. They will either get on, or they won’t. You can manage that and make it happen.

second dog
Happy days

Sometimes though, the personalities clash and they just don’t get on. If they are not improving each others’ lives after a few months, it’s probably worth re-homing the younger dog. Of course you need to give it time and make the effort to train both dogs, but maybe a different home is a better solution. Good luck!

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 service.

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


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.

Working trials

What are Working Trials?

The easiest way to explain working trials is to say that it is the civilian equivalent of police dog work, but it is purely for competition. It has also been described as the canine equivalent of three-day eventing for horses.


John says he chose this activity in the late 1980s and early 90s because he was competing in obedience and wanted something more challenging for his dogs. He competed for around ten years, qualifying two of his dogs. His first trials dog was Cindy, Wicklow Triangle Cdex Udex Wdx Td open.

Johns team from 1990 l to r Sue, Tigger, Cindy and Bobbie

John has returned to the sport after a break of twenty years. He currently has four dogs, all Border Collies or collie crosses – Max, Skip, Jay and Whisper.

Who runs the sport?

Working trials are run under Kennel Club regulations and the schedule is constructed so that competitors must qualify for entry from one stake to the next, from open to championship trial. There are two classes of working trials and five working trials stakes which must be worked in progression.

the scale

The working trials stakes consist of three sections:

  • obedience, including heelwork, retrieve, stay etc
  • agility, including the ‘scale’, the high jump and the long jump
  • nose work, which is a track to follow and a search square with articles to find.

There is a fourth section relating to police dog work, which is where the dog has to apprehend and contain a suspected criminal.

the stay

There are 7 stakes in working trials:

  • Special beginners (no jumps) for dogs from 6 months old
  • Introductory, for dogs over 18 months
  • CD – companion dog stake
  • UD – utility dog stake
  • WD – working dog stake
  • TD – tracking dog stake
  • PD – patrol dog stake (police dogs only)

What do you have to do?

John says the reason he likes working trials is that you are working in different disciplines: obedience, agility and nose work. You are competing against a set standard and if you meet these requirements you have a qualification and a certificate, even if you finished last out of 20 competitors. (Sounds like my kind of activity!)

long jump

The drawbacks with working trials is the equipment requirement of a 6ft scale (like a wall or fence), a 3ft hurdle jump and a 9ft long jump. There is also the challenge of being able to use a farmer’s land for tracking training.

Smaller dogs are disadvantaged when it comes to the jumping section. However, in the companion and utility dog stakes the scale is lowered to 4ft. The most successful breeds of dog in working trials are the Border Collie, German Shepherd and the gundogs such as Retrievers.

How often do you train?

John says he trains quite frequently throughout the week as he is retired. However he feels that you can succeed in any dog sport if you are committed. “I had my most success when I was doing a full-time job and running 6 dogs.”

Whisper doing the nose work

Thank you very much to John and his dogs for this valuable insight!

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 Dog Doc blog for more help with training issues.

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


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.

Canicross – running with your dog

Get fit and have fun!

Sam and Pacha

Sam and her 11 year-old collie Pacha, have been doing Canicross for around 4 years. She says the thing she enjoys most about Canicross is the fact you and your dog are both getting exercise out in the fresh air, it’s very sociable and it is not expensive. Most clubs are around £15 a year to join and the organised runs are led by volunteers.

Sam says “We got into Canicross as I booked my wedding and decided I wanted to get fit, so I took up running. Pacha regularly came for a run with me and it worked well as it meant that we were both getting great exercise. I then saw an advert for ‘Ashridge Canicrossers’ and thought it sounded perfect.”

Getting started

Most clubs will lend you equipment to borrow at club runs so you can find a good harness fit and size for both you and your dog before you purchase any. You will need:

  • a running harness for your dog
  • a bungee line to attach you to your dog
  • a belt harness for yourself
  • a good pair of trail running shoes with grip for the mud
  • most people use a running rucksack to carry water and supplies.

Organised runs are twice weekly at Sam’s club, but its completely personal choice how often/little you go. She says she generally tries to get out twice a week, whether that’s club runs or running from home.

Who sets the rules?

The Kennel Club are the governing body and a full list of rules and regulations can be found on their website. As a general rule dogs must be at least 12 months of age to start Canicross and 18 months of age to compete in Canicross races of 5km (3 miles) or more.

Sam and Pacha

There are many competitions for Canicross run all over the country. These mainly take place during Autumn/Winter months (September to April) as the weather is generally just too warm/humid to run the dogs during the summer months.

Can anyone do it?

Sam says “I have seen every sort of dog do Canicross. Obviously some breeds are better/faster than others! But if you’re looking to both have fun and get fit you really can do it with any dog.

The only reason that someone may not enjoy this activity is if you are not into running. However, there are staggered speed groups so you are urged to give it a try. Oh, and if you don’t like getting dirty it might not be for you, as it is very muddy a lot of the time!

It can be muddy!

If your dog doesn’t pull or you’re worried it may not, then you are advised to go near the back of the group. They soon get the idea to run ahead, especially with the excitement of following the other dogs.

The groups are usually between 4-8 people in size so as you can imagine it gets very loud and exiting! Some dogs do take a couple of attempts to really get the hang of hit, but most get it and love it after a couple of goes!

Top tips?

Sam says “It’s good to teach them basic commands e.g go, stop, left, right so you can navigate your dog around the trails safely without tripping you up.

“There’s always going to be be the odd accident, as I learnt just as we set off on a run. Pacha was in full flight, then in a split second decided to stop for the toilet right in front of me. Before I knew it I was face down in a pile of leaves! A quick dust off of the hands and knees and we were on our way again.” 

Thank you very much to Sam and Pacha for this valuable insight!

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 Dog Doc blog for more help with training issues.

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


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.

5 Reasons not to breed from your dog

Why dog breeding is not a casual hobby, or a business

“Responsible owners research their breed before choosing a dog that will best fit their lifestyle.”

“Responsible breeders know that purpose-bred dogs are predictable which helps owners make the right choice for their family.”

These are strange times we are living in, indeed. We are all spending our days differently, whether we are furloughed, redundant or just working from home, online and via Zoom. So it is not surprising that we are reflecting on our lives and how we are living. I am not at all surprised that people are realising that NOW is the perfect time to get a dog.

border collie puppies
getting the right dog for you

Everyone should have a dog (or 5!) They simply make life better. Always present whether you need them or not, keeping you company. They demand attention, through affection and play, which is the best way to soothe your soul. Dogs will amuse you every day, through their antics and interactions. And of course walking with a dog is the absolutely best start to your day. Whatever the weather, having a dog by your side is brilliant.

Don’t get a dog NOW?

Sadly, dogs are not toilet roll (it’s a pandemic joke!) We simply CANNOT rush out and buy a dog. We CANNOT demand more dogs are made – it just doesn’t work like that.

Yes, some breeders may be able to bring their plans for the next one or even two litters forward. If you have a number of breeding bitches, you may decide to have the next litter from one of these this year, rather than next year. BUT BEWARE! The more puppies the public demand, the more likely buyers are to get one from an unscrupulous person, who will take your money and lie to you. Heartache will be yours, as your dog becomes ill and dies, or just doesn’t turn out how you thought.

Here are some reasons why it is a BAD idea to ‘just have a litter from your pet dog’.

1. It’s not healthy

dog breeding
before puppies

Having puppies really sucks the health right out of dogs. It is NOT something than can be done on a whim. The Kennel Club require that dogs are only allowed to have litters between the 2 and 8 years of age and they will only accept 4 litters for registration. They do NOT allow more than one litter per year.

Bitches generally have two ‘seasons’ per year, which is the fertile period during which they can be mated. Their first season is at around one year old, so they could potentially then have two litters per year, for 8-10 years. Imagine that? What would that do to a dog? Would you want that for your dog? Think about what that would do to them?

dog breeding
after puppies

I take the utmost care of my dogs. They have top quality food, plenty of exercise, stimulation and training. But it still really takes its toll on them. I only have three litters, if they are able to cope with it. Not four, that’s too many.

2. It’s time-consuming

Having a litter of puppies takes time. A lot of time. I reckon I spend around 5 hours a day, or 35 hours a week, for 8 weeks, on each litter of puppies. Not to mention a great deal of time preparing for the litter before it arrives. Then supporting the new owners once the pups have gone.

border collie puppies
up to no good

This time includes:

  • being there for the labour and birth (usually through the night)
  • getting up several times during the night to check on the puppies, so they are not crushed and are feeding successfully – for a couple of weeks
  • cuddling the puppies (a couple of hours a day should cover it)
  • talking to the new owners and preparing pupdates for them
  • having visitors to the house to show off the puppies (around 150 per litter for me)
  • cleaning up after the puppies (about an hour a day doing this)
  • providing a stimulating and enriching environment
  • taking pictures (obv!)
  • feeding the mum, then the puppies endlessly
  • putting them outside
  • bringing them inside
  • taking them for their microchips and health tests
  • preparing their puppy packs

Sounds terrible doesn’t it? Of course it is brilliant having puppies, but I cannot stress enough what hard work it is! It is exhausting at times.

3. Finding homes

When I started out, over 10 years ago, I was told that finding the homes is the hardest part of the breeding process. I thought ‘well it can’t be that hard, everyone will want one of my pups’. Wrong! It’s a nightmare.

border collie puppies
the perfect home

Yes, everyone thinks your puppies are SO cute. But that doesn’t mean they want one. Or that they are the right home for them. You will be let down by people, who seem really keen, then drop out for no reason. Then there are people who come and look at your gorgeous pups and then say ‘Well I wanted one a bit more…’ God, that’s so annoying!

4. Vetting homes

People lie. All the time, so it’s really hard to believe them when they say they know all about your breed of dog, or that it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for.

I’ve produced over 50 puppies now, over the past decade. I’ve had two go to new homes. One came back to me at 13 months and was successfully rehomed within days. One was re-homed to friends of the owner, as he went travelling. None of my puppies have gone into a rescue.

border collies
best boy in the right home

I know that for certain, because I keep in touch with my owners and they with me. I vet my homes rigorously and then support them as required. It’s hard work!

5. It’s expensive

You won’t get rich having a litter of puppies from your pet dog. If you want to do things even half well, they need health testing first, which is expensive and time-consuming.

border collie puppies
special toys are needed

Then you need special food, bedding, runs, toys, and other equipment. It all adds up! I always spend money on bits to add to the puppy pack, partly because I am Assured Breeder, but also because I want my owners to have everything they need for a great experience with their new puppy. A photo book is a lovely keepsake.

puppy pack
the puppy pack

It’s not just the financial cost though. Having puppies takes its emotional toll on you. Things can go wrong, people can mess you around, or cause you worry. It’s really hard and there have been many occasions when I think this litter will be my last.

So why do it?

I carry on because for me, it is a passion. Producing amazing dogs that enrich people’s lives and bring joy every day; it’s a brilliant thing to have in your life. Under the right circumstances.

border collie breeder
best job ever?

But when I’m receiving 5 enquiries PER DAY for puppies I cannot produce, I get frightened that people will be conned into buying puppies that have been carelessly, thoughtlessly brought into the world, only to be just as carelessly dumped when things don’t turn out to be the cute, fluffy dream you imagined. Please take care?


If you want to see more videos and photos, please go to the Dentbros Dogs Facebook page.

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.

week 10: settling in

Adapting to their new homes

The Lovely Litter have been in their homes for a couple of weeks, so I thought you might like to know how they’ve been getting on. Pretty well, it seems.

border collie puppies
Finn in charge

“It’s like Finn has always been here. He’s generally a super laid back boy; he loves new situations and has been a pleasure to train so far! He’s very enthusiastic and really clever. He also loves a good cuddle”

border collie puppies
A favourite spot for a snooze

“Today Rusty was quite adventurous and wanted to explore what the sound was of my son hoovering the car! Very brave!”

Getting on with the family

I’ve been surprised with how quickly they settled down with the other dogs they are living with. Initially the older girls tended to just ignore them, hoping they would go away! Lol. But they stayed, and quickly won over their older ‘siblings’, which has been so good to see.

border collie puppies
Sisters plotting..

“Miri and Pixie play all the time now. She is so friendly and a right little explorer and quick to learn – sits, down etc. She is confident on different surfaces. Loves cuddles.”

Not all great news

Gardening is the biggest problem at the moment! When I questioned why Rusty was on lead, I was told he was a bit difficult to manage.

border collie puppies
Rusty at play

“Bentley has also taken a fancy to our garden vegetation, especially the hebes! Sadly, they aren’t faring too well..”

We’ve had a bit of a discussion about how to manage this – with difficulty! Puppies are incredibly destructive and will do a lot of damage in seconds. Of course you can put them on the lead in the garden, so that you can stop problem behaviour and make sure they are safe.

However, they do need to be able to explore on their own. And they absolutely, definitely need to be able to come back to you! The more you practise this at this stage, the better results you’ll have when you venture out on walks.

Once they do go on walks, they MUST go off lead straight away. I have written a great deal about recall – make it exciting!

border collie puppies
Checking the shower works

“Our recall is coming on really well with Miri, but I have a good squeaky voice!”

“Finn also likes to try and eat everything, but I just substitute for a toy and make out it’s much more exciting. Eyes in the back of my head definitely needed!”

border collie puppies
Finn with big sister Pacha

Pouncing play

“Do any of them stalk and then pounce on their toys? Watching Bentley is like watching a David Attenborough film on the artic fox pouncing on their prey in the snow”

border collie puppies
Getting ready..

“Hettie definitely pounces like an artic fox when playing – on her toys, a stolen carrot! And once on Nell’s tail (didn’t go down well!)

Still lovely

“Just loving Hettie. She is so much fun and so keen to learn. They do seem to be a truly ‘lovely litter’.

border collie puppies
Hettie with big brother Jumble

All so great to hear! It’s so nice for the owners to be able to talk to each other, ask questions and share problems. The owners of the Sweetie Litter still talk to each other almost daily and their pups are now 11 months old!


If you want to see more videos and photos, please go to the Dentbros Dogs Facebook page.

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.