Dog Walking Tips During Coronavirus Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has an unmeasurable effect on all our lives. All aspects of our daily routines and plans for the future needed to change somehow, to adapt to this new situation with all the restrictions, threats, and limitations. Being a dog parent has also changed, and for many reasons, it became harder, especially for those who don’t own a garden or even the smallest backyard. You can still provide your furry best friend with their favourite Canidae canned dog food, love them and caress them, but all dogs need their daily walks, and not only because of their physiological needs. With the abundance of information and constant changes, it may be challenging to know what you can and can’t do, what you should and shouldn’t do, so in this article, you will find all the helpful and useful tips on walking your dog during the COVID-19 lockdown.

You can walk your dog on a regular basis
If you don’t show any symptoms of the infection, you feel well, and you haven’t received a letter from the government ordering you to stay home, you can leave your house to exercise, which includes walking your dog. However, you need to remain cautious. It’s better to keep your dog on a lead, especially in the areas with more people around, to avoid situations where they may approach strangers, and you will be forced to do the same. You have to stay 2 metres apart from all people and ask them not to pet your dog.

You can walk your dog wherever and whenever you want, so don’t hesitate to use this opportunity
There aren’t any limitations as to where you can walk your dog, or how often you can do it; it is advised that a person do it once a day, so if your household includes more people, it’s best to do it in turns.

As long as you keep your distance from other people, you can spend hours exploring sites with your Fido, which we strongly recommend. It’s a challenging situation for your dog as well as for you, especially that animals don’t understand the world as profoundly as we do. You may not realize that your dog is more tense or upset, but they can feel what you’re feeling, and they certainly notice changes in your routine.

You may consider longer walks with your furry friend. If you have a possibility to explore new routes, you should allow your dog to discover new smells and sights. There aren’t any limitations in the UK when it comes to travelling to open spaces, so if you have a car, you can drive your dog to a nice place. However, take into consideration that spring (with almost summer weather) is here, so there will probably be more people everywhere; keep your distance. Plus, as the temperature gets higher, remember to keep your dog hydrated at all times.

Make it fun
As dogs don’t understand changes, they can easily get frustrated by the whole situation. That’s why it’s crucial to discover new routes, offer something fresh to your Fido, and try to make it all more fun. Don’t merely go for a walk, but use toys, carry treats, play with your dog to make sure your furry friend stays entertained and happy.

What if your dog isn’t used to walking on a lead?
You can let your dog run freely only if you’re absolutely sure there aren’t any people in the area, so probably only in your own garden. In other cases, it’s best to keep your dog on a lead. If you’re both not accustomed to this, it is the best time to change it. Introduce the habit of wearing a loose lead by using positive rewards, e.g. treats.

Don’t pet other dogs
While experts say that humans can’t contract the coronavirus from dogs, it is not advisable to pet other people’s pets. It may not be possible for them to contract and spread the disease as humans do, but they can temporarily carry germs, just like your phone and other items. So you probably should keep yourself away from other dogs and ask people not to touch yours.

Can someone accompany you while you’re walking your dog?
As of today, if you live in the same household, you can walk your dog together. If you want to walk your dog with a person you don’t live with, you can do it as long as there’s only two of you, and you stay 2 metres apart at all times.

What if you’re unwell?
If you’re feeling unwell, even if it’s not the coronavirus, you should arrange for someone to take care of your dog while staying 2 metres apart, of course. It’s essential that your dog stays in their routine and does their daily exercise. It’s also possible to walk your dog once a day if you’re self-isolating, but then, you need to avoid the more popular dog walking sites, and keep your dog on a lead at all times. In this case, it’s even more important to keep your dog happy by organizing their time indoors.

Protect yourself and a person who walks your dog
If you’re unwell or busy and arrange for someone else to walk your dog, make sure you do everything possible to keep everyone safe. It may be a good idea to prepare a whole separate set of walking essentials for the other person to keep, e.g., another lead, separate toys, different pack of poo bags. Make sure you wash your hands after dealing with your dog walker, while also maintaining the required 2 metres distance. It all also applies if you are the dog walker for another person, of course.

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Happiest Dog Discuss Caring for Dog Paws with Dog Paw Balm

A hot, dry, or cold environment could cause dogs to experience some discomfort and irritations, especially in their paws. Considering how sensitive dog paws are, harsh weather conditions like snow and ice could result in them getting calluses and lesions. Since dog’s paws are susceptible to injuries, it is vital to ensure that they are protected by a quality dog paw balm like the Dog and Snout Premium product offered by Happiest Dog.

Since dog paws are quite delicate, always make sure that you inspect your dog’s paw pads at least once a day, especially during days when the weather is cold or scorching hot. And the best time to do this is while your dog is resting or sleeping.

Even if you have a resilient dog breed, it is worth keeping in mind that his or her pads are still vulnerable and susceptible to injuries, especially when it is hot outside. As your dog walks around, his or her delicate paws are exposed to various things like bacteria, dirt, and other objects that might cause them to experience paw problems. Since stepping on a sharp object or walking on a hot pavement could injure your dog’s paw, you, as a pet owner, will find yourself having to deal with one type of paw problem or another at some point.

Here is What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Paws

When young, a dog’s paws are pinkish and soft and quite susceptible to injuries. However, as they mature, the skin becomes tougher, rougher, and less delicate. However, special care is needed for dogs who spend most of their time indoors since their paws are still quite sensitive because the skin hasn’t had the chance to grow thicker and tougher.

We, as humans, regulate heat by sweating. Dogs, on the other hand, regulate body temperature in certain ways since they only sweat in specific parts of their body. When a dog gets too hot, it will start panting in an effort to regulate its body temperature. And while their paws sweat, it is so little that it’s barely noticeable.

It is worth noting that dogs basically have five paw pads that are all covered with a thick fatty tissue coating found under the layer of their skin. The work of these pads is to absorb pressure when the dog is walking, easing the muscles around their joints. And while paws do an excellent job of relieving tension, they are the ones that are exposed to the environment and different elements.

Dealing with Dog Paw Issues

If your dog is experiencing any paw problems, make sure you sort them out as soon as possible. This is because most paw issues quickly become more serious problems if left untreated. As a dog owner, make sure you check your dog’s paws for signs of tears, cuts, or cracks regularly. It is always advisable that you treat any issues as soon as you notice them; otherwise, they could result in infections.

Making sure your dog’s paws aren’t cracked and all dried up should be a top priority. One thing many pet owners overlook all of the time is their dog’s feet. One way to ensure your dog’s feet stay healthy and safe is by using a paw balm such as the one offered by

Happiest Dog.

Hyperkeratosis

It’s also worth noting that some dog breeds are born with hyperkeratosis, a genetic disorder that causes their skin to thicken. The condition does affect a dog’s nose or paw pads.

This condition is acquired when the dog’s body produces too much keratin. The result? A build-up of extra skin on their paw pads. This excess skin makes their paws thick, dry, rough, and very hard. So, if your pet has hyperkeratosis or is experiencing issues due to extreme weather conditions, do your best to ensure his or her sensitive paws are protected with a high-quality paw balm.

Dog Paw Balm from Happiest Dog is convenient and very easy to apply. An extra layer of protection will ensure their paws stay moisturized while keeping them from becoming injured or irritated.

Using Happiest Dog Paw Balm Products

As we have already seen, extreme weather conditions like the cold of winter or heat of summer can aggravate a dog’s paws causing it to become excessively dry. Sadly, there are pet owners who never check on the state of their dog’s paws. Ignoring and not taking care of your dog’s paws could lead to severe issues that could develop into even more complicated health problems.

To ensure your dog’s paws stay healthy and well protected, consider applying dog paw balm from Happiest Dog on his or her feet. However, it is worth keeping in mind that paw balms are different from paw wax. While they may seem to have similar characteristics and traits, the two products are manufactured to serve different purposes.

Paw wax products are generally made to protect paws using wax-based ingredients. While some paw balms do contain wax in them, that does not mean that they are the best solution for your dog. Dog paw balm from Happiest Dog are designed to moisturize and soothe dog paws, especially if the dog in question has hyperkeratosis or dehydrated skin.

However, how does one tell their dog needs paw balm? Some of the signs to look out for include rough, dry, chapped, and flaky skin. Paw balms are designed to protect the paws of dogs from extreme temperatures, whether the condition is hot or cold. They are also intended to protect their paws from debris, sand, road salts, ice, and other potentially-toxic substances the dog might step on when out for a walk.

Paw Protection

One of the most practical ways of protecting your dog’s paws from the wide variety of external elements that pose a danger to them is to massage the pads with dog paw balm Happiest Dog. When applied, the balm creates an extra layer of protection that prevents particles from getting in between your dog’s paws and keeps the paws from coming into contact with toxic substances.

When using dog paw balm from Happiest Dog, make sure you apply it regularly right before your pet starts their routine. After you’ve walked your dog, make sure you check the soles of their feet to see if there is anything lodged there – make sure your wipe off any debris that might be stuck between the paws.

As a dog owner, you know that dogs are known for their excessive chewing issues and will probably directly or indirectly ingest anything you apply on their paws. Happiest Dog’s all-natural products are perfect for dogs since they don’t contain any ingredients that could harm your dog. Apart from using the balm on your dog’s paws, you could also smoothen his or her paws with shea butter, aloe vera, or coconut oil.

Benefits of Using Dog Paw Balm

Paw balm products create a barrier that shields the dog’s paw from anything they come into contact with while outside. They also serve as a protective coating that protects the paw from damages caused by chemicals. Apart from that, they also serve as an insulation that protects their feet from extremely hot or cold weather.

Paw balms also help keep your pet’s paws comfortable, smooth, and moisturized. These products are not just useful on paws; they can also be used or applied to their nose.

In instances where a dog has stepped on unwanted substances and has torn or cracked their paw(s), paw balms also work as effective first aid solutions as they contain healing properties.

Paw Care Tips

While applying dog paw balm from Happiest Dog on your dog’s feet helps protect it from injuries and discomfort, it is not the only solution to ensuring his or her paws stay healthy. As a pet owner, you need to take other precautionary measures, which is why you are advised to take your dog for paw check-ups regularly. This will help ensure that things like salt and other toxic materials that might be affecting your pet’s paws are addressed.

If you use paw balm on your dog, there are several ways to monitor if the product you are using is working to your pet’s advantage. To ensure that what you are using is effective, take the time to inspect your dog’s paws to see if there are any irritations. Any foreign objects or substances on your dog’s paws can make them uncomfortable.

A cracked paw could lead to serious infections. If you notice cracks on your dog’s paws, make sure you wash the feet with warm water and apply some Dog Paw Balm. To ensure your dog’s paws are well taken care of, make sure the paw balm you are using is safe and effective. For more added protection, consider getting him or her some dog shoes, booties, or socks.

Why 100% Natural Dog Paw Balm Products are the Best

When looking for a paw balm for your dog, make sure you get a product that contains 100%-natural ingredients. Natural ingredients tend to be gentler on the skin and prevent irritations. To determine which balm is effective and safe, check the ingredients used to make the products you are considering.

When Is It Time to Visit a Vet?

Fortunately, most paw problems can be easily treated from home. However, there are paw issues that might require you to take your dog to the vet for a check-up. If you see some of these signs on your dog’s paws, take him or her to the vet immediately:

– Sores on their paw pads

– Crusts forming at the base of your dog’s toenails

– Deep and bleeding cracks

– Excessive bleeding

– Calluses so thick that your dog’s toes appear misaligned

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My puppy has worms, what do I do?

Having a puppy is fun. It’s your small companion with whom you can spend free time, play and go for a walk. It brings a lot of joy and love to every family. But deciding on a new four-legged friend entails a huge responsibility, too. You need to devote it as much time and care as you can. It needs your affection, but also professional help when something is going wrong. Dogs and puppies similarly to humans may suffer from many conditions, including worms. It’s actually one the most common issues concerning pets, especially puppies, which are more prone to have them than adult dogs. Then, it’s the role of the owner to help them. So, anytime you observe worrying symptoms, such as pot-belly, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting, belly pain, weight loss, or roundworms in their poop or vomit, then it’s time for your reaction.

Even if your puppy doesn’t have any of the signs described above, you can do many things to prevent them from having worms at all. To find out more on this topic, and feel more confident when it touches your pet, feel free to read the following article, which tries to explain to you the reasons for having worms, the best preventive methods, as well as the ultimate treatment for your bundle of joy.

Reasons for having worms

First of all, you should realise the source of your puppies’ worms. As My Sweet Puppy experts claim, puppies can have them from their mother that was infected already during the pregnancy and shared them with their offspring. Even if your puppy was lucky enough not to catch the worms from its parent, it could suck them out with the mother’s milk after birth.

Another reason for having worms is sniffing or eating infected faeces of other animals, found outside, in the neighbourhood. Then, they are likely to catch roundworms, which live in the intensities.

Moreover, puppies are highly exposed to fleas and other insects, such as mosquitos, which can infect your pet through biting. However, this time, they’ll suffer from heartworms, another type of worm found in the lung, heart, and blood vessels, which can lead to severe damages to these organs. These types of infections are much more dangerous, and in extreme cases, may cause even the death of your pet.

Preventive methods

Even though your puppy is healthy and you don’t suspect that it’s infected, better safe than sorry. So, the first thing you can do is to provide it with regular vet’s appointments, and check it in terms of worms a few times a year, when it’s a small puppy, and once a year, when it’s older. The vet should also deworm it for the first time when it’s young, ideally at the age of 2 or 3 weeks.

What’s more, keep clean your pet’s habitat, the place where it sleeps, eats, and spends most of the time. Always clean after it either in the yard or in the park. And don’t let it use playgrounds or sandboxes as their litter boxes. It’s highly insanitary, both for children who play there and for your puppies, which can catch some diseases.

Also, you can buy your puppy, a special flea-free collar or medicines applied to the dog’s skin since fleas are one of the causes of the worms. So, keeping it away from insects can be an effective preventive method.

Except for roundworms, you should also protect your fur friend from heartworms, which are carried by mosquitoes, and exist in the blood; hence they are more challenging to detect. For that purpose, ask the vet to prescribe your pet the right medication for heartworms, which usually also treats roundworms.

Since most worms can be easily transferred from dogs to people, and they are equally harmful to them, often wash hands after playing with your puppy. Also, don’t allow them to lick or kiss you and your kids. And most of all, don’t enter them into your bed at night. They have their own place to sleep. Otherwise, you may come across eye, heart, lung or neurological problems.

Deworming is the most effective treatment

However, if all these methods haven’t helped and your puppy is anyway infected, then you definitely need to see the vet. First, try to take the sample of your pet’s poop, which is necessary to take tests. The vet can also check it during the visit, and then examine the stool under the microscope, whether it contains worms or worm eggs. If so, then the proper treatment will be incorporated. Nowadays, many medicines can help your puppy. They are given to adult dogs as well but in higher doses.

That’s all you can do to your pet when it’s infected with some pests. Although the whole situation may be stressful at the beginning, keep calm so that you won’t stress your doggie additionally. It can be as frightened as you.

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How To Treat Dogs With Dry Skin

Having a dog around gives you one of the best feelings in the world. Their joyful and playful nature fills the house with positive vibes. However just like humans, dogs also sometimes get under the weather. Here we are not talking about some major illness, but a very common yet quite irritating and annoying condition – dry skin!

The constant itching, irritation, scratching and licking caused by dry-skin can drive your four-legged amigo half crazy! Taking your dogs to the veterinarian should be your first course of action, but there are few other things that you can do to treat your dog with dry skin. Let’s take a look at these natural and home remedies that are effective for dry skin treatment.

Use Olive Oil or Coconut Oil:
We already know the miraculous properties of olive oil and coconut oil for our skin. Just like these oils are effective and remedial for our skins – they work wonders for the dog with dry skin treatment. Even veterinarians also recommend giving your dog oil massage often – with or without the dry skin. Simply just message the infected area with chilled-solid coconut oil. It will remedial for other allergies, eczema, insect bites & sting and yeast infections. Alternatively, you can massage your dog’s paws with some olive oil.

Give Your Dog Vitamin E:
Vitamin E is another remedial cure for dry skin in dogs. Your dog doesn’t need to take it internally. You can simply massage your dog with vitamin-E oil or add it in the bathwater. If you want to give Vitamin-E internally to your dog, then first consult with the vet – as some species of dogs require Vitamin A rather than vitamin E.

Give Oatmeal Bath and Paste:
Another effective cure for dry skin is ‘Oatmeal.’ All you need is grounded oatmeal. You can either make a paste and apply it over the infected area – or you can simply sprinkle the oatmeal powder in warm water and give a bath from it.

Chamomile and Herbal Tea Soaks:
Your chamomile and herbal tea bags are not just effective to burn the calories, but you can also use these teas to cure your dog with dry skin. Before the bath, soak 4-5 tea bags into tub or sink and soak your dog’s skin for at least 5 minutes in the water. Alternatively, you can make herbal/chamomile tea and pour cool tea on the infected area.

Feed Plain, Sugar-Free Yogurt:
Do you know that plain, sugar-free yoghurt is remedial for treating dry skin in dogs? Whether its the dry skin, or any other allergies, yoghurt is great for your dog. Feed a teaspoon to small dogs and 2 teaspoons to big dogs once a week.

50% Apple Cider and Water Spray:
The last but not least cure is the solution of Apple cider vinegar and water. Mix 50% cider and water and spray on the infected area.

Want to know more about dry-skin solutions? Then check out the evolutionpets site – where you can find remedial solutions for all the skin allergies and how to cure them!

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Our Top 5 Walks in North Wales

Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Old Mill Holiday Cottages are in the perfect location to explore the stunning scenery and beautiful views that North Wales has to offer.
Located in Flintshire a ‘Hidden Gem’ and only 1 hour from Liverpool and Manchester. Many of our favourite walks are lesser-known and are much quieter than in Snowdonia.
 
As a family, we’ve always enjoyed being out and about discovering new places, but with the addition of our new dog Eli, we’ve got more excuse now than ever!
 
I hope you love our ‘Top 5 Walks in North Wales’ as much as we do!
All of these walks give you the feel-good factor, but for walks that have stunning views, I’ve also included a ‘Stir-you-soul’ rating as well 😊

Top 5 Walks in North Wales

1. Penycloddiau Hill Fort, Llangwyfan
Difficulty Level – Moderate
Time – 2-hour circular
Footwear – Walking boots
Views to stir you soul – 5/5
Distance from the cottages – 3 miles

Penycloddiau is the largest hillfort in the Clwydian Range and one of the largest in Wales. Recent archaeological searches have found stone tools dating back 4000 years to the Bronze Age.

There are many walks in this area and on the main its usually very quiet (Don’t tell anyone!!).

Our favourite trail begins at the far right-hand side of the car park. The path takes you up a gradual incline through pine forest. (The path is a bit rugged in places, be careful of tree roots and uneven ground). Once through the wooded area, the views to the left over the Vale of Clwyd are just breathtaking!
Continue up the hill to the top of the hill fort – In good weather, you can see for miles around, the views are just stunning!

2. Moel Famau to The Jubilee Tower
Difficulty Level – Moderate
Time – 2 ½ hour circular
Footwear – Walking boots
Views to stir you soul – 5/5
Distance from the cottages – 10 miles

Park at the lower car park (Change needed for parking). Here there is a nice picnic area, play park and toilets.
Moel Famau is the highest hill within the Clwydian Range, there are several walks from this area, for a range of abilities – Which makes this, and Loggerheads the most well-known and popular of the walks listed.
 
There are x3 main trails signposted here. Our favourite is the purple trail – it’s a steady climb upwards (And gets your heart pumping!) It takes you through open countryside and woodland area, with beautiful views across the Clwydian Range.

The last section of this walk is the most challenging and includes a 30-minute steeper section – However, once you get to the top, you’re rewarded with reaching the Jubilee Tower, and stunning views across as far as Liverpool!

The Jubilee Tower was built to commemorate ‘Mad’ King George III and dates back to 1810 – However, it was never completed!.

3. Loggerheads Country Park
Difficulty Level – Easy/Moderate
Time – 1 to 2 hours +
Footwear – Sensible Foot-ware (Weather depending)
Views to stir you soul – 3/5
Distance from the cottages – 7 miles

Loggerheads Country Park is a very accessible walking area (Suitable for off-road prams as well) with a large car park, café, gift shop, picnic area and toilets. (Please note change needed for parking).

Loggerheads Country Park is such a wonderful place to go walking at any time of year. If you like, you can wander by the shallow river and quietly absorb the sounds and the beauty of the woodland. Or if you’d like a bit more of a work-out take a hike to the top of the cliffs, its hard work to get up there, but the views at the top are outstanding!
When you come back to level ground, there’s a café, gift shop and field where dogs and children can run and play games.

4. Clwydian Range – Afonwen – Known Locally as ‘The Tank Track’
Difficulty Level – Easy/Moderate
Time – 1 to 2 hours – Or much further if you wish..?
Footwear – Walking boots
Views to stir you soul – 4/5
Distance from the cottages – 3 miles

From the village of Afonwen, take the left turn towards ‘Afonwen Craft & Antiques Centre.’ (An ideal stop off – perfect for gifts and it has a great café.) Instead of branching left, continue straight up the steep hill. Please note – This road is known locally as the ‘tank track’ do drive carefully, the road is very steep and has main pot-holes!
 
Park in the small lay-by area. If you prefer a flatter walk, go through the 5-bar gate, to the right of the car park. Here you are on the Offa’s Dyke path, this is a much flatter and gentler walk, with sheep grazing in fields and isolated farms dotted around.

For a more challenging walk, climb to the top of the hill to the left – This is the chain of hills which make up the ‘Clwydian Range’. In the distance, you will be able to see Moel Famau. The landscape extends ahead of you, like a series of ‘big dippers’
For keen more experienced walkers, there’s plenty of scope for a long walk here…

5. Starting Point – The Old Mill Holiday Cottages
Denbigh Road, Melin-Y-Wern, Nr Mold
Difficulty Level – Easy/Moderate
Time – 2-hour circular
Footwear – Walking boots/wellies (Can be muddy in the Winter)
Views to stir you soul – 3/5
Distance from the cottages – 0 miles!

This is a circular walk, beginning at The Old Mill Holiday Cottages. The popular Cherry Pie Inn is just next door – An ideal stop for lunch or an evening meal after a day sight-seeing.
Cross in front of The Cherry Pie Inn. Take the footpath between the two bungalow cottages. Walk ½ mile to the end of the lane, at the T-Junction, you’ll see a bench, with a footpath sign to the right. Follow the footpath into the woodland.

On entering the wood, the footpath is clearly marked and meanders alongside the pretty stream. There are many shallow pools, making it perfect for children and dogs to paddle in.
Look out for the ‘Teepees’ (This is a lovely spot for children to play) Continue on through the woodland, until you reach a stile. Cross into the meadow (Fabulous wild-flowers grow here in the Summer). Walk diagonally to reach the top end of the field.

Cross the stile into the lane. Turn left downhill, into the pretty hamlet of ‘Nannerch Mill’. Walk up the hill (The lane flattens out) and after approx.1 mile, enter the rural village of Nannerch. With ‘The Cross Foxes pub’ opposite, turn left and through the village past the church. As you are leaving the village take the left turn. Continue straight on this lane, which gradually takes you downhill and back to the bench.

At the bench turn right – you have then completed the loop and are back on the lane to The Old Mill Holiday Cottages. (Cross the road in front of The Cherry Pie, for best visibility).
 
I hope this has inspired you to explore this beautiful part of Flintshire and Denbighshire in North Wales.

Dog walks in North Wales

Kindly Supplied by The Old Mill Holiday Cottages.

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The Truth About Puppies – They Steal Your Heart And Drive You Mad

Having a new puppy, particularly if you’re a first-time fur parent is so exciting.  Your puppy is the cutest little fluff ball on the planet and there is nothing you wouldn’t do and nothing you wouldn’t buy for your little bundle of delight. And boy are there plenty of things to buy; the best fluffy beds, top of the range food and drink bowls, toys, chews, some people even like to dress their pets in little outfits, and now this little bundle of fluff has stolen your heart It’s all fun fun fun – isn’t it?

Puppies

Or do you feel that it might have been easier if your puppy had come with a warning  “will chew your shoes, rip your belongings, wail loudly all night long or screech for hours every time you go out”.

And why did no one tell you that you would soon be wondering how something so small could make so much noise and mess, behave like its being murdered each time you try to take it out to toilet, and then produce enough poo and pee to sink a battleship when after what felt like hours in the freezing cold, defeated and deflated, you bring it back indoors, or how it can wriggle backwards at the speed of light when you try to attach collar and leash to go for a walk.

And what happened to all those who promised to always walk the pup forever and ever if only you would let them have him/her?  The family who said they would take turns to feed and walk the pup?  

Well you are not alone ….

I remember when one of my pup first arrived, I soon learned that initial excitement can quickly give way to frustration, I can clearly remember being so delighted that my boy Beau had learned to get upstairs all by himself that I squealed with delight – I squealed again some days later when I went upstairs and found the huge brown pool of diarrhoea that spread all across my beautiful mint green carpet.

And believe me when I tell you that there is not an alarm clock on the planet that gets you out of bed faster than being woken from a deep sleep by the sound of a retching puppy, only for you to step into a pool of slimy frothy vomit – how did all of that come out of something so small?

So whether it’s your first or your fifth, each pup is as different and individual as we are, so the chances are that the new puppy journey you have just embarked upon will have much to teach you.

To begin with think of your pup as a toddler who has no concept of right or wrong and you are the parent who has to teach them everything from potty training, walking on a leash, socialising and being well mannered – seems daunting at first doesn’t it?  

As puppyhood is the most important time for learning, I’d like to share a few tips that helped me with my pups and may help you in those first few months together.

IN GENERAL

Always try to have a calm but assertive approach when you’re when dealing with your pup, the aim is to provide positive, gentle and reward-based training.  Don’t get upset if your pup doesn’t “get it” straight away or if he/she does something wrong or has a little accident now and then.

Though there will be times when you may feel convinced that he/she is doing it deliberately to get on your nerves – believe me, they really don’t know any better at this stage so be patient as it takes time. 

A crate can be an invaluable tool particularly when potty training as it provides your pup with a secure area whilst you are busy.  If your pup is reluctant to go in at first,  persuade him/her by using a Kong with some natural peanut butter, (but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol as this is a sweetener that is dangerous to dogs). Always praise your pup when it gets something right or does something you asked it to do. Don’t, however, leave your pup in the crate for too long as this can cause other issues.

A baby gate will also help to keep your pup out of areas that may be dangerous or simply “off-limits”, this will teach your pup what areas he/she is allowed to go into or not, and will help provide a safe area for your pup to play in.

If your pup cries all night – I won’t lie, I never had this problem because I always took my babies upstairs and they slept in my room until they decided to go elsewhere to sleep.  I know this is not an option for everyone and I’ve heard of lots of different things to try, old fashioned alarm clocks have a soothing ticking sound that is said to help the puppy sleep.  An old piece of your unwashed clothing to snuggle into or a teddy bear to cuddle with – it really is all trial and error.  Your pup will sleep when it feels safe, warm and protected – its for you to find that place so that you can all get some sleep.

Teach your pup the command “eyes on me” this is a great way of getting your dogs attention during training especially if they are easily distracted by other things around them in the big outside world.

Also teaching your pup to “go to your mat” is a good way to prevent them from running and barking in a frenzy every time someone arrives at the front door and will save you from receiving those embarrassing postcards from the post office telling you that your dogs behaviour is upsetting the postman – yes I’ve had them!

Do avoid giving in to things now that will lead to problem behaviour later on, no matter how cute that little face is. For example, don’t let your pup jump up at people when they visit. Though this seems so cute now, once the dog is grown it may not be so acceptable – I have lost count of the times I have been knocked into someone’s flower bed by an overexcited dog running out and jumping up to greet me.

Always make sure to distract your dog with something acceptable like a toy or a treat when you want to change their behaviour instead of just telling them off when they get it wrong.

Enrolling into a puppy training or obedience group is a great idea,  but make sure to attend a proper class where all the other dogs are up to date with their vaccinations.  It’s never too early to start training as it provides both mental and physical stimulation. It will not only help them to learn some manners but also help them to socialise with other dogs and help prevent difficult or dangerous situations from developing in the future. 

Training with your pup will help you develop a firm bond and provide you with a better understanding of what motivates him/her so that you can continue training accordingly.  Puppies just want to please you so this is a golden opportunity for you to show them how. Always be consistent and always be gentle, there is no place or excuse for any negative behaviour towards your pup.  They will take time to learn, they will make mistakes, and if they are anything like my boy Beau, they will embarrass you further by cocking a leg and peeing over the pup next to them.

CHEWING 

I get asked a lot about unwanted behaviours such as chewing and barking, and I’ve had a lot of personal experience of both behaviours with my girl Lola. In just one day she chewed my handbag to pieces, chewed the door frame and ate my husband’s library book so I know how frustrating it can be.  

There are lots of reasons why dogs chew but if a pup or very young dog is into this, its a strong indication that they are teething.  

Dog chewing

A good way of coping with this is to use a Kong or something similar and place some frozen peanut butter or other goodies into it and give that to the dog or simply buy toys and ropes of various textures so that your pup can chew on these – a word of warning, don’t buy shoe-shaped chews, you know where it will lead to.  

If it has happened and you are quick enough to intercept your pup as it makes off with one of your best shoes, then simply offer an alternative or a treat, once the pup drops the shoe say “good boy/girl” in a very excited voice (or at least a relieved voice), your pup will soon get the idea but you must be consistent. 

If your handbag or best shoe does fall casualty to your babies toofy pegs then you will have to write it off and learn your lesson that nothing is off-limits to a teething pup unless you make it so.

On the subject of teeth, a good habit to start at this stage is that of cleaning your babies teeth, do ask your vet for advice and use the smallest brush (not a human toothbrush) to begin with.  Tooth decay can cause a lot of medical problems particularly if you have a pup with a heart murmur as the decaying matter can make its way into the bloodstream and cause serious issues. A yearly check-up saves a lot of problems including a massive vet bill for a tooth removal.

BARKING

Is there anything worse than a dog that won’t stop barking?  Well yes I can think of a few, but constant barking can drive the most loving pet owner up the wall.

Again, there are any number of reasons why dogs bark and not all of them are negative, remember this is also the sound of the dogs own language.  It’s the way the dog communicates with others of its species or tells you when it wants something.  It can also be an indication of fear, frustration or excitement as well as aggression or warning. 

Dog barking

How to deal with it?

Pups usually bark because they want something, are excited or simply because they have just found their voice and quite like the sound of it – after all its new to them.  

At this point, it’s a good idea to try some distraction tactics by engaging the pup with something else or by taking them for a short walk provided they are fully inoculated.

 If the pup is barking because someone or something new has arrived in front of them, it could be an indication of fear. The pup will look to you for security so stay calm and tell them that it’s okay and provide them with comfort.  

Always seek to reassure the pup until you can ascertain what has caused the barking – remember how you deal with this now sets the scene for the future.  Never ever shout at the pup because this will only make matters worse and could create issues that prove difficult to deal with in the future.

Socialisation and training are key here, introduce your pup to many different situations, places and people as possible.  People with glasses, hats, beards, tall people, short people and loud people, children and other dogs – though always supervise the latter two carefully and never leave a tiny pup alone with small children until they have learned to handle the pup with respect and gentleness.  Always have treats on hand to reward your pup in new circumstances and never be afraid to tell other dog owners to back off if their dog gets a bit rough or overexcited with your pup.

POTTY TRAINING

This is a biggie for a lot of new puppy owners, here are a few tips that helped me stay sane not only with pups but also with adult rescue dogs I’ve adopted who weren’t potty trained.

Firstly, be prepared for accidents, your pup will get it wrong and so will you.  

The pup is not out to make your life a misery but do try to see things from their point of view some of the time – would you really like to go pee-pee in the freezing cold dark night or when it’s lashing down with rain?  You will get stressed, the pup will get stressed and the moment you step back indoors the pup will pee !!

Choose a particular area where you want your pup to toilet and take the pup out on a regular basis, particularly after meals and before bedtime. 

In the first few months, and if your pup is small enough, carry it to the designated area so that it gets the message that this is where you want it to toilet, reinforce this by saying something like “wee wee” so that your pup associates the place and the words with the action.

Use positive reinforcement, so that each time your pup does a pee or poo say “good boy/girl” in an excited tone of voice and provide a treat.  The pup will soon learn that it will be rewarded each time it goes to that place to pee or poo.

If your pup has an accident  – and it will – ignore this, clean it up and say nothing. Use a disinfectant that removes the smell as well as cleans or your pup will keep going to toilet there. Pets at Home have several good brands that will remove the odour and disinfect the floor. 

Never hit, shout or rub the pup’s nose in the mess – this is abuse and serves no purpose other than to terrify the pup and delay or prevent the training.

Remember it really is on you if your pup keeps going to toilet in the house and you need to increase your pups trips outside, never scold the pup for your mistakes.

If your pup is very slow to toilet train or continually relapses, seek advice from your vet and get your pup examined in case there is an underlying infection or problem.  

In the meantime, you can get (human) adult-sized disposable incontinence sheets from Amazon, that you can put down on the floor – they saved my sanity during some difficult times with my rescue dogs.

When out walking in public areas, always pick up after your dog, it is an offence not to do so and you can be fined.

MORE GENERAL INFORMATION

Puppies need lots of naps, it’s essential for them to grow so don’t be surprised at how much they nap.

Exercise your pup, but not too much too soon and only take them outside once they are fully inoculated, seek guidance from your vet if you are unsure.

Initially avoid taking your little pup into big shops or places where lots of other dogs go, parvovirus, other diseases and parasites can last a long time in areas that are not properly cleaned or where people have not picked up after their adult dogs.

Try to get your pup used to being handled, particularly around their face, feet, legs etc as this will help the pup cope with being handled on future visits to the vet and the groomer.  Always handle with care and gentleness and never allow children to “play” with your pup – remember they are only babies.

Get your pup used to travelling by car as soon as you can, this will help them with any travel sickness issues.

Ensure that everything your pup needs, such as beds and feeding bowls are in low traffic or quieter areas of the home so that they are not disturbed by lots of noise or people coming in and out.

SEPARATION ANXIETY

Does your pup cry, whine or bark excessively when you leave the room or the house for any length of time, or destroy and chew things up when you are not there?

This could well be separation anxiety.  

Before your pup came to you it lived with its mum and siblings and there was always someone to go to for comfort, food or whatever.

Now this beautiful pup has left its family behind and lives with you and your family, your pup doesn’t understand everything in this strange new environment.

You can’t be with your pup all of the time, you have to go out for whatever reason and the pup can’t always go with you. Now for some pups, this is no issue as they will use this time to catch up on much-needed sleep. However, for others, this will become a time of distress and worry that, if not addressed, can escalate to the point where the young dog damages its home or itself.

Separation anxiety is a complex situation that can require the advice and help of a suitably qualified person and in extreme situations may never be fully resolved.  Unfortunately, many dogs who suffer from this often find themselves put up for adoption or simply abandoned. 

The treatment of separation anxiety requires a consistent approach and can initially feel distressing. 

You may need to start with placing distance between you and the pup or young dog in order to reduce its dependency upon you.  

By simply ignoring your pup just prior to departure and again on return some cases can correct themselves without further intervention.   

However, some cases are more difficult to deal with because the pup is very needy and its relationship with you creates real distress when you are not there and the pup is left alone. 

In such cases you may need to lessen the bond with the pup by cooling the overall relationship, stroking less or getting someone else to feed  or take on things like walking and visits to the vet so that the pup gets used to other people in its life. 

Crating the pup may help to a certain extent but this should always be a short term solution. 

Providing sufficient exercise throughout the day coupled with obedience training and mock departures to help desensitise or diffuse the situation may also help to calm the pup. 

Providing an alternative stimulus such as leaving the television on or providing an acceptable object to chew can also help the pup to remain calm when you are out if all else fails the dog may require medical intervention, but that should always be a last resort.

Doggie daycare in an environment with a limited amount of other dogs is another way of dealing with long term issues as the pup or young dog gets one to one attention but also has the opportunity to enjoy the company and comfort of others – always ensure all the dogs get on with each other before making this a permanent thing.  

Large dog daycare facilities should be avoided until the pup is old enough to cope with it otherwise you could be swapping one type of anxiety for another.

ONE LAST THING

The answer to most things is time, love and patience by the bucket load so enjoy every minute of your adventure with your pup.

WHERE WE COME IN

Scamps and Champs Cardiff provide a whole range of individually tailored pet care services.  

We can step in when you need to step out – providing support, company, feeding and cleaning, dog walking, puppy visits or visits to the vet and groomers – in fact, anything your pup needs.

We can also provide daycare for your pup or young dog in carefully selected environments where they can continue both their training and daily routine.

Here in Cardiff we are open seven days a week and cover bank holidays so why not give us a call?

Ring: 0333 200 5827

Or Email us at: cardiff@scampsandchamps.co.uk

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Top 10 Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Having a pet is one of the most wonderful things in the world. That wagging tail when you come back to your home and enters the door, not only makes you feel good but also takes the anxiety and stress of your whole day away. For many pet owners, pets become their furry family members. They share almost everything with their canine pal, from their hearts and houses to their beds.

But is it okay to share your food with your pup? According to the new University of Guelph research, around 35% of pet owners, especially those who are vegan, love to have a vegan dog; they are interested in feeding their pets a plant-based diet. Unfortunately, they don’t know that dogs have a different digestive system than humans. The food items that are safe for humans can wreak havoc on your pooch’s body. However, it doesn’t mean that a dog can’t eat human food.

In fact, there are many human food items that are safe and healthy for your pup and can be added to his/her meals to add a bit of variety to the food bowl. However, make sure the addition of human food items should not be in excess. Check out this article to know which human food items are safe to feed your pup if you want to give your four-legged friend a treat from your table.

Eggs

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, riboflavin, and selenium. Eggs are safe for dogs as long as they are fully cooked. There is evidence that eggs help in relieving nausea and upset stomach in dogs. However, before you feed eggs to your dog, make sure it is fully cooked as eating raw eggs can cause biotin deficiency in dogs, which is harmful to their skin and coat.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, protein, Selenium, iron, and several vitamins, including Vitamin-D, C, and B. Dogs can eat mushrooms, but only a certain variant of mushrooms like plain mushrooms (usually available on local stores). Eating mushrooms help your pet with better immunity and overall well-being.

Dairy products

Dairy products: Though many dogs have a low level of lactase, some dogs can consume dairy products, including milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, in moderate quantity. Dairy items may affect their gastrointestinal system and cause diarrhea or vomiting. If you want to feed cheese or yogurt to your dog, it is best to introduce its small amount in your dog’s regular diet gradually.

Pumpkins

Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a major source of fiber and beta carotene. Canned pumpkin or freshly cooked pumpkin without spices and sugar is an ideal choice for dogs, especially when they are troubling executing successful bowel movements. Adding a tablespoon full of pureed pumpkin to a dog’s regular food helps in relieving both diarrhea and constipation.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a whole grain and safe for dogs to eat. Being a great source of fiber, it is the best alternative for the dogs that are allergic to wheat and have trouble in maintaining bowel regularity. Since flavored oatmeal has ingredients that are not good for your dog’s health, make sure you feed plain oatmeal in moderation to prevent obesity.

Vegetables

Vegetables: Vegetables give your pup vitamins, fiber, and canine crunch. Hence, it is okay to serve raw veggies such as cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, corn, and celery. You can also serve them green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, but make sure you steam them completely to prevent any digestive issues. Skip avocado; it can upset your dog’s stomach.

White Rice: Dogs can eat plain and cooked brown or white rice. It helps in relieving an upset stomach and binds stool because rice can be easily digested. Serving plain white rice with some boiled chicken can make your pup feel better, especially if he/she has any issue related to digestion or stomach. However, white rice can enhance the blood sugar level. So, diabetic dogs should avoid it.

Apples: Apples give your pooch an appropriate amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help in boosting your dog’s immunity. Also, apples are high in fiber, which is beneficial for their digestive system. However, make sure you remove the apple seeds before giving it to your pup. The reason behind it is that they contain cyanide, which can be poisonous for your dog.

Carrots: Carrots are low in calories and a major source of Vitamin A and fiber. They are beneficial for a dog’s immune system, skin, and coat. Not only chewing on carrots helps them to remove plaque from their teeth but also beneficial for their dental health. Hence, dogs can eat both raw and cooked carrots. However, make sure you feed carrots in moderation as a large amount of Vitamin A can be toxic.

Dog with fish

Fish: Like humans, dogs can produce half of the amino acid on their own. There are some amino acids that are essential for your dog, but they can only be obtained from a proper diet. Fish contains good fats and amino acids and safe for a dog to eat. It keeps the immune system strong. Apart from this, fish like salmon and tuna are one of the major sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat. However, before you feed fish to your dog, make sure it is cooked well.

Final words
While these are the food items that you can give to your dog, there are many more, such as peanut butter, popcorn, pork, blueberries, bananas, watermelon, etc. However, you should generally feed human food item in moderate quantity to your dog. Otherwise, you will dog end up while having some serious health issues. Since some human foods that can kill your dog, it is always recommended to consult a vet before giving human food to a dog, especially if he/she is suffering from health issues like diabetes, weight issues, liver or kidney disease, food allergies, etc.
We hope that this article has helped you to know about everything you can feed to your dog. If you have any queries, feel free to ask; we are always here to help you. Do share your comments and thoughts with us.

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Most Common Dog Health Problems And Their Solution

Dogs are the most faithful human friend, and owning a dog is a blessing in itself. When it is about dogs, only a dog parent knows that having a dog is not all about relishing happy and fun times with them. They also bring along a significant amount of responsibility, and one needs to take good care of them.

Just like humans, dogs too can suffer from a variety of health issues ranging from skin problems, ear infections, intestinal worms, to eye problems and dental disease. Most of the health issues can cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms in your four-legged ball of fur, and they might end up feeling devastated.

Thus, to help your canine companion live a happy and healthy life, you must know some of the most common health issues they face, their signs, and a solution to treat the same.

So, let’s move forward and discuss some of the most common health problems your pooch face and what you can do about it.

1. Worms

Heartworms, Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, etc., are some of the most common internal parasites and chronic problems in dogs. Well, when it comes to worms, any of these can make your dog feel uncomfortable, but some like hookworms can prove to be fatal for them.

Signs that indicate that your dog has worms include:

Diarrhoea
Vomiting
Weight loss
Rough and dry coat
An overall low appearance

If you find any of these symptoms in your dog, then there are chances of intestinal worms living inside them.

The best solution to get rid of the problem is to see a vet as soon as you confront the issue. Also, the treatment will depend on the type of worm your dog has and make sure you don’t try treating the worms yourself because a medication that kills roundworms might not kill tapeworms.

Prefer reading: Dog Heartworm: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

2. Flea Infestation

No human wants to see their dog in pain. Be it any problem; a dog parent wants to free their cuddly kid from it as soon as possible. But when it comes to the blood-sucking parasites, the parent may also become victim to these.

These dark brown coloured insects take only around three weeks to turn from one into thousands. Also, these are very common and easy to pick up in dogs, but their treatment is also easy.

Signs that your dog may have fleas include:

Hair loss
Reddish spots on the skin
Persistent scratching and biting
Flea dirt on your dog’s skin

The best way to confirm the presence of fleas on your dog is by testing flea dirt on a damp paper towel. If the dirt turns red, then sadly, your dog has fleas.

Once you know that your dog has fleas, the best you can do is see a vet and find the right medication. But, you may also try various home remedies to treat your dog and help him get rid of these insidious parasites.

3. Hot Spots

Hot spots usually develop as a result of contact allergies, flea bites, or food allergies. These are a bacterial skin infection that irritates your dog’s skin, and they can’t help but scratch or chew the affected area persistently, which may further lead to pain. Also, if left untreated, the problem may grow even larger.

Signs that your dog is suffering from hot spots include:

Consistent scratching or chewing
Visible red spots on the skin of your dog

Treating hot spots may include cleaning and shaving the affected area, anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, and steroids. Well, the treatment usually depends on the condition of the spots and the intensity of pain your pooch is going through.

Read more about understanding hot spots on dogs.

4. Vomiting

With so many possible causes, vomiting is another common health problem in dogs. Some of the reasons behind this problem are heatstroke, kidney failure, food poisoning, and intestinal worms.

Signs that your dog is suffering from this problem include:

Of course vomiting
Abdominal drooling
Lethargic behaviour
Inability to hold fluids

Once you notice that your dog is suffering from this life-threating problem, contact your vet. The treatment may include fluid therapy and drugs to control the vomiting.

5. Ear Infection

Ear infections are widespread in dogs and can be caused by bacteria, yeast, ear mites, allergies, hair growth in the ear canal, and many other factors.

Symptoms that your dog may have ear infection include:

Ear odour
Lack of balance
Redness of ear canal
Head tilting or shaking
Vigorous scratching by your dog
Swelling on the outer portion of the ear
Discharge from the ear (usually bloody, yellow, or brown)

If your dog exhibits any of the signs mentioned above, take him to the vet as soon as possible. In most of the cases, cleaning and medicating the ear canal will clear the infection. However, a chronic infection might call for surgery.
Wrapping it Up
Dogs bring along happiness, but they also come with a lot of responsibilities, which their human parent must fulfil. One such huge responsibility and of course, on top of the list is taking care of their health.

One must always stay alert about the common health issues which a dog might face and their behaviour. If they do any unusual activity, one must consult a vet to look into the matter.

Also, the health issues, along with their signs and probable solution mentioned above, might have helped you gain an insight into the most common health problems in dogs.

So, the next time you see any of these signs occurring in your loving pet, do not ignore and take the right steps to help them get rid of the same.

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5 Tips To Train Your Dog With Treats

When you bring home a new dog, one of the first things to do is to train it. For me and my family, it was necessary for our new pet to understand simple instructions. It is common knowledge that the secret to training your dog is to use treats because food is such a huge motivator for them.

In our experience, it was really effective when we were doing obedience training. Getting them to perform a task might seem easy for us humans, but dogs do not just understand the way people do. They need something very basic and primal, like food, to learn a task.
 
Training your dog depends on various factors, like the age of the dog and its temperament. For us, using treats to train our new dog was possible, especially if you follow these simple tips.  

  1. Use Small Treats
     
    While using some treats is good because our dog got fed at the same time, but it was important for us not to overdo it. Some dog breeds are prone to obesity and giving too many treats can be dangerous for its health.
     
    Another trick that worked for us was to use different kinds of treats to mix it up and keep it exciting for our pet. Choosing healthy ones was also important for our dog’s diet.
     
  2. Reward Your Dog When It Is Calm And Submissive
     
    The idea of rewarding with treats is to encourage the right behavior, which is why we had to be careful when we give the dog the treats. If you give your pooch a little treat while it is hyperactive or doing something destructive, then you are teaching your pet to act this way. We simply had to wait until the dog is calm and submissive before giving treats.
     
  3. Do Not Use Treats To Bribe The Dog
     
    While using treats is a great way for your pet to learn new tricks, you should definitely avoid using it for the wrong purpose. We did not want our pet to mistake the treat for a bribe. If you notice your dog waiting expectantly for the treat, then this is a bad sign. Ideally, you teach it to follow a command using a treat, but you should rely on this less and less. Our secret is to use reinforcement and praise to make it follow our commands.
     
  4. Reward Each Step
     
    Most tasks actually involve a few steps, like throwing a stick and having the dog get it and bring it back. One huge mistake we made is to only reward after it has done the entire task, which can be quite frustrating for everyone. Instead, we changed our technique, breaking down the task into smaller ones and get the dog to perform them first.
     
    To do this, whenever your pet does each step correctly, remember to give it a treat. Once all the steps have been done correctly, then you can teach it to do them all together. Even if your pet is not able to do everything perfectly, any progress in the right direction should still be rewarded. In our experience, this kept our dog motivated the entire time.
     
  5. Learn “fade the lure”
     
    Fade the lure is an important technique to avoid the treat turning into a bribe. Simply put, you will use the treat the first few times to make it do the task you want it to do and then once it has mastered it, do the same gesture but with an empty hand. Our trick was to replace the treat with verbal encouragement. At times, we still continued to randomly use the treat, but eventually we reduced it until we stopped giving treats completely.
     
    Even without training or experience, teaching our dog new tricks was not complicated, because we used the right techniques. Giving it treats is one of the most successful ways to do it, and it was great for making sure our new dog was obeying our commands and settling in the family well.

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Canine Kleptomaniacs

Canine Kleptomaniacs
Canine Kleptomaniacs

A Devon-based family (in the UK) is hoping that its home-grown card game, ‘Canine Kleptomaniacs’, will capture hearts and minds around the world with its quirky doggy theme and family-friendly gameplay.

What began two years ago as a wet summer holiday ‘distraction from screens’, has turned into a project involving the whole family, and the prospect of launching the game world-wide through a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.

The game is inspired by the family’s 5-year-old Sprocker spaniel, Amber (also known as ‘Ginty’) whose thieving antics border on the criminal.

“Her stealing obsession is hilarious” says Matt Jones, the game’s co-creator.

“Socks, pants, slippers, t-shirts, cycling shorts – you name it, she thieves it”.

Matt Jones, who is married to Jo, with three kids, explains how the whole family has been involved in the project:

“It was never our intention to make a game for other people, it was just a bit of a giggle and a way of us keeping the kids off screens! It has been amazing to see the creativity and how everyone has chipped in ideas”.

Eldest son Ollie (18) has spent hundreds of hours creating quirky illustrations for the cards, making video trailers, setting up websites and managing social media.

“What started out as scribbled drawings on scraps of paper in our caravan has turned into this potentially huge thing”, says mum Jo.

“It’s all a bit scary, really, but the kids have led the way, and they’re so determined to see the game made that they have encouraged us to keep going”.

Now the family has set up a small company, named Golden Ginty Games (in reference to the family pup who has inspired it all), and they hope to raise enough money to produce the game.

“Now we’ve got this far, we have this amazing opportunity to use it for something really positive, and that’s something the kids are into” – says Jo. “Once we decided to go for it, we agreed as a family, that if we were successful, we would give something back”.

The family has decided that a share of any future profits* will go to charities who seek to bring dogs into vulnerable people’s lives, supporting them through providing therapy and companionship.

“The strongly doggy theme makes these causes a natural fit, and we have a particular heart for helping young people and the homeless” adds Matt.

It is still early days for the fledgling family venture as they are now running their first crowdfunding campaign on the website Kickstarter.