Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Do dogs ever fall out with humans?

I’d like to propose a serious question here, people: is it conceivable that dogs could fall out with humans and then hold a bit of a grudge?

 

OK, I know I’m at risk of making myself seem even more crazy than the title ‘Crazy Dog Lady’ suggests, but I think the answer to my above question is a great big “Yes”. Because I believe I’ve seen it happen.

Are you talking to me?!

Are you talking to me?!

Let’s start this story with a bit of character information about my Gran, who crops up on the blog from time to time as pet parent to Bruce’s Great Uncle Sam. Now, my Gran is a woman with opinions and she’s not afraid to unleash them. It’s fair to say that, if you were so inclined, you could participate in a healthy debate with my grandmother on a weekly – even daily – basis.

And so Bruce’s grudge began. There we were, relaxing in armchairs after a lovely meal, when Gran voiced her opinions on a subject and I vehemently disagreed. And lo, quite a furious debate ensued (more heated than any debate before or since between us), which culminated in some exasperation on both sides. Bruce, sitting at my feet, followed the action like an umpire at Wimbledon.

We cooled off and made friends, Gran and I. We agreed to disagree. But it seems that Bruce did not. Immediately, his body language changed towards my Gran. When she reached to stroke him, he dashed away. When she tried to offer him a treat, he wouldn’t take it. He would have nothing to do with her whatsoever.

It took two weeks before Bruce would speak to Gran again and we concluded it must have been the debate that sparked the cold shoulder treatment. When Bruce finally decided to forgive Gran, we were mightily relieved – and I’m pleased to say he and she are still firm friends.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Let me know …

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article is taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

Snooze stations: A week in dog bed heaven

If you lined up all the different styles of dog bed in the world, the row would probably stretch halfway across the globe. There are certainly enough beds to choose from for at least one different snooze station for every day of the week. Check out these great finds.

Monday’s snuggle fest

Monday requires a special kind of bed to ease you gently into a new week. Luckily, Charley Chau has the perfect solution in the form of the Snuggle Bed, for dogs who like to burrow under blankets – and probably take liberties with their humans’ beds when they’re not looking. For those days when you need an extra hug, this bed is just the ticket. From £60

The BecoBed

The BecoBed

Tuesday’s green cred

As the week takes off and different folks demand your time and attention, it’s important to show it’s not all about you – or them. For days when you want to show your green credentials, you need an eco-friendly bed so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re doing your bit for the environment. Take the BecoBed from BecoThings as a prime example. The stuffing is made from 100% recyclable plastic bottles which were originally destined for landfill, while the exterior is made from natural cotton and hemp. From £29.99

Wednesday’s wet weather

Halfway through a working week, the itchy feet start. You don’t just have the urge to take on your usual daily walks and runs – you want to get serious today. If the situation results in very wet fur and muddy paws – plus exhaustion – the Waterproof Bed from Muddy Paws is the order of the day. The antidote to soggy beds and wet dog smells, it’s easy to wipe clean – bonus. From £53.99

Thursday’s chill out

After Wednesday’s extreme burst of energy, Thursday is somewhat more chilled. Reflecting on the gorgeous views and delicious smells you experienced yesterday on your mammoth mid-week trek, you feel like cherishing your environment again while resting your weary paws. The Eco Donut bed from the Eco Dog Company is high-sided and keeps the drafts out, while also being made from 100% recycled materials. £29.99

Friday’s trend-setter

Humans often have friends coming round on Friday nights for dinner, so it’s time to pull out all the stops and bring out the Bubble Bed from the Pets Pyjamas. With a cool retro look in plexiglass and chromium plate, this designer piece is sure to turn heads and provide some dinner party conversation. For the really pampered pooch, there’s even a 24-carat gold version at a cool £4,356! £302.50

Dog Sofa from Anything Dogz

Dog Sofa from Anything Dogz

Saturday’s street cred

When a weekend of glamping is on the cards, the Teepee bed has to be the slumber station of choice. You can leave the teepee flaps open to enjoy the lovely views during the day and, at night, remove the wall to convert the teepee into a bed. £129.99

Sunday’s slumbers

While the rest of the family is digesting their extravagant Sunday lunch and taking afternoon kips on the sofa, the faux leather Dog Sofa from Anything Dogz is the pooch’s answer to a wonderful Sunday slumber. Leave the humans to their own settees and settle down in this stylish seat to watch the back of your eyelids in comfort. From £189

Find out how Bruce lost his bed last week. There was a thief in the night …

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch is a specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The little Chihuahua with a hotel inspector’s job

Betsy the Chihuahua may only be a year old, but already she’s got one of the greatest jobs in the country – she tours the UK to discover the best dog-friendly hotels, pubs and places to visit. And she takes her pet parents along for the ride, as The Mighty Pooch found out.

Betsy the long-haired Chihuahua has really landed on her feet. In between the cuddles, walks and huge amounts of attention she receives for being, well, pretty darn cute, Betsy, along with her humans Zoe Worsley and Alex Parsons, is a hotel and restaurant reviewer. While Zoe and Alex may be the ones who actually put finger to keyboard and type up the reviews that feature on their Dog Friendly UK website, Betsy is the star of the outfit. If a place isn’t dog friendly and will not accommodate Betsy, then frankly it’s just not worth a visit. And on Dog Friendly UK, they’ll tell it like it is – there are only honest reviews to be found here.

Betsy Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

Betsy
Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

It seems that the UK needs a site like this – somewhere impartial for dog owners to discover where’s hot and where’s not when it comes to taking your pooch out on the town. A recent study concluded that Britain is actually the least dog-friendly country in Europe, with a meagre 6% of British retailers allowing dogs inside their precious walls. In fact, the study revealed that 73% of the 7.3 million dog owners in the UK don’t visit as many pubs, shops and cafes as they’d like to, simply because they don’t feel their dogs are welcome. So it’s clear that it pays to do your research before you head out with your dog to avoid disappointment – which is where Dog Friendly UK comes in very handy.

It all started when Zoe and Alex brought Betsy home last year as a puppy. They set about googling the best pubs and hotels to visit with their pooch – but no one website lived up to their expectations. “We found plenty of websites that were jam-packed with information, but none of them really reviewed the places in detail or they weren’t tailored to younger couples,” explains Zoe.

Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

With their new puppy keen to accompany them on day trips and holidays, Zoe and Alex saw a gap in the blogging market and decided to fill it themselves. And so they created Dog Friendly UK to give impartial reviews of dog-friendly places and rate them out of 10 for their dog friendliness. “We thought it would be great to create a site which had more in-depth reviews for dog-friendly places to eat at and hotels to stay in. We like a little luxury ourselves, but money is tight for everyone at the moment, so we thought why not focus on travel in the UK and see what our own country has to offer for those with pets in tow.”

Zoe and Alex haven’t always been dog owners. In fact, until last year, they hadn’t even considered getting a dog. “We had never actually thought about getting a dog,” Zoe tells us, “until we went on a trip to Paris last year. We saw some puppies being sold in a shop and it really upset us. From that day on we started chatting about what it would be like to have a dog and, on our return to London, we saw an ad for Betsy. She looked too cute to resist, so we decided to pay her a visit and that was that. A few days later she was ours and we now appear to have become avid dog lovers!”

When it comes to rating dog-friendly places for their website, Zoe admits there are different levels of dog friendliness. “We consider dog friendly to mean that we are not just stuck in a corner somewhere, but have a bit of choice as to where we can sit in a venue. We totally understand that not everyone likes to eat with a dog in a dining room, but we really don’t like being relegated to a dark, damp corner near the toilets! It helps if the staff say hello and if they can provide a water bowl for dogs if asked. Providing doggie treats wins them extra bonus points!”

Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

Betsy the Chihuahua’s favourite place to stay so far is Malmaison in Belfast. “I don’t think we have ever stayed in such a luxurious hotel,” Zoe says. “There was so much space for Betsy and her crate, and our room was so large she just loved exploring it. The majority, if not all, of the Malmaison hotels are dog friendly so, if you are ever stuck and there is one in town, then you know where to go. They provide beds for dogs if you need them and at the hotel in Belfast we were allowed to take her into the bar after we had dined.” They also recommend the Saveurs Patisserie in Dartmouth, where “Betsy loved all the attention she got!”

As the site is still relatively new, Betsy, Zoe and Alex plan to spend the next 12 months visiting as many places as they can to build up a comprehensive list of reviews. “It can be an expensive (but enjoyable) business eating out all the time and hotels add to the costs, so we’ve been looking into getting a few guest bloggers to post on our site to cover any areas that may be too far for us to get to right now. We also hope to have some professionals posting interesting content to help people with their pet queries,” says Zoe.

www.dogfriendlyuk.com

Dog Friendly UK provides honest reviews of dog-friendly places to visit in the UK

So what are Zoe, Alex and Betsy’s top tips for choosing a dog-friendly restaurant or hotel? “Top tip number one would obviously be to keep popping back to our blog to see what new places we have visited and read our reviews,” Zoe laughs, “We’ll keep adding to it all the time and will hopefully have a more extensive list of dog-friendly spots to visit very soon.

“I’d also recommend downloading the Doggity and Doggy Pub apps. They are both great for when you are on the move and need to find something nearby. Also, you will find that, if you do ask an establishment, they may let you in anyway, even if they are not advertising themselves as dog friendly. Everyone needs customers and it’s likely that lots of places will happily accept your friendly canine!”

So, if you fancy a night out or a weekend away that your four-legged friend can join you on, check out the website at www.dogfriendlyuk.com where there are some gems to be found. And let’s hope Britain becomes more dog friendly in the future – there’s nothing nicer than going on holiday with the whole family. No one wants to be left behind!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Contact Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch is a specialist dog photographers located in Yorkshire but available for photoshoots nationwide.

Dogs can help cure back pain

A new study has suggested that simple walking is as effective at easing lower back pain as muscle strengthening programmes that incorporate specialist equipment, meaning those of us with dogs should not put off the walkies with the excuse of a painful back but should, instead, get out there and walk that pain away.

Taking your dog for a walk can lead to a healthier back and heart Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch

Taking your dog for a walk can lead to a healthier back and heart
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch

The study split 52 patients with lower back pain into two groups, with one group completing a muscle strengthening programme and the other group participating in an aerobic walking programme.

Both groups improved significantly in all areas, demonstrating that walking was “as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic”, according to Dr Michal Katz-Leurer of Tel Aviv University’s Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, who lead the research.

This news comes as the American Heart Association reveals that dog owners have healthier hearts than people without pets, concluding that dog ownership “is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease”.

Dr Glen Levine of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who led the study, added, “A person may take better care of themselves if they have a good bond with a pet and feel better about themselves and are more motivated to live longer.”

However, he also warned, “The primary reason you should adopt or rescue or buy a pet is to give that pet a loving home and to derive enjoyment from the relationship. We don’t want people to go out and adopt a dog or a cat and then sit on the couch eating potato chips and smoking a cigarette and assume they are now going to live longer.”

Quite! Now then, where’s Bruce’s lead?

Meet Millie and Jake – Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs

For the last three years, Michael has enjoyed the lovely job of photographing the Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs Millie and Jake, whom The Mighty Pooch also now sponsors. Both long-term residents at the centre, Millie and Jake are wonderful dogs who had a tough start in life.

 

Jake (left) and Millie Photograph by The Mighty Pooch

Jake (left) and Millie
Photograph by The Mighty Pooch

Jake is a tan-coloured beagle cross who was born in March 2009. Aged just one, he came to live at Dogs Trust Leeds in March 2010, where he enjoys paddling in the pond and playing with his squeaky toys. He’s also quite the drooler, which could be down to his love of food! Although Jake has been with Dogs Trust since 2010, it is possible that he could find an adoptive home, should the right people come along. He’s certainly a happy chappy with a lot of sunshine in his doggy smile.

Millie is a Heinz 57 – she is her own unique breed. She was born in October 2000 and, aged two, she arrived at Dogs Trust in September 2002. Millie’s favourite things are her toys, grub and trips out in the car. She is mistrustful, however, of strangers, and dislikes those she doesn’t know. Luckily, she has some wonderful carers who she allows in for cuddles – and plenty of canine chums to play with at the centre. She’s a refined lady who offers her paw for treats and, at 12 years old, she still enjoys a walk and a chew on a big stick.

Dogs Trust vows never to destroy a healthy dog – and that’s why they have their sponsorship scheme, as they explain: “For those dogs finding it difficult to be rehomed, whether it’s due to behavioural or medical issues they may have, supporters are able to sponsor them whilst they are in our care. Sponsorship goes towards food, medical care and training for all the dogs in our care. It also covers the costs of running the rehoming centres, ensuring our dogs stay safe and warm until we can reach our ultimate goal of finding each dog a loving home.”

If you want to find out more, or sponsor Jake or Millie yourself, head to www.sponsoradog.org.uk for more information.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

hello@themightypooch.co.uk

Oscar the dog teaches children new tricks

From the moment Laura-Jane Muscroft saw Oscar, a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen cross, she fell in love. Today, four years on, Oscar is her right-hand man, accompanying her to primary schools to educate  young children how to care for dogs. Here, Dogs Trust’s Laura-Jane (LJ) talks guessing games, converting petrified youngsters into dog lovers and Oscar’s comedy moments.

 

LJ with Oscar (right) and new puppy Polly

LJ with Oscar (right) and new puppy Polly

Four years ago, Oscar arrived at Dogs Trust from Ireland, where he’d been rescued from a puppy farm along with his brother and sister. LJ, who’d been working at Dogs Trust for two years at the time, took one look at Oscar and had to take him home. These days, LJ and Oscar tour schools to educate the next generation of dog owners how to care for and understand their four-legged friends.

“When Oscar and I go into primary schools,” explains LJ, “we want to get the message across about responsible dog ownership and how to stay safe around dogs in the community. For the younger year groups, I do a workshop called Oscar’s Bag of Needs. This bag has everything Oscar needs to stay happy and healthy. The children love guessing games, so this is great for getting them really engaged.”

Children who guess correctly what Oscar needs – water, dog food, veterinary treatment, toys, walks, etc. – are invited to the front of the class to demonstrate that particular need. For example, they listen to his heart beat to represent veterinary treatment, give him a brush to demonstrate grooming and fill up his water bowl to hydrate him. “We even have some pretend poo to pick up!” laughs LJ.

Millie, seen here, is a resident at Dogs Trust Leeds and has been living at the centre for most of her life

Millie, seen here, is a resident at Dogs Trust Leeds and has been living at the centre for most of her life

In sessions with older children, LJ shows them a DVD called It’s A Dog’s Life, before asking them to role play at being rehomers and match certain dogs with the best home for them, explaining why they have chosen their answers. “In one school, I put It’s A Dog’s Life on and Oscar sat up in his bed, turned round and watched the entire DVD from start to finish. The children thought this was great!” adds LJ.

At the end of each session, the children are taught how to stay safe, with tips like never running away from a dog or stroking a dog without permission. This advice seems to go down well with the children, as LJ explains, “I had just finished my workshop at one school and the children went out to play on the grass. I was swapping Oscar’s lead and he spotted the children playing football, so he ran onto the grass and started to play with them. All the teachers were laughing, as the children stood still and did the ‘X factor’, where they cross their arms and stand still if there is a dog running around the park – this is one of the things I teach them to do in the safety part of the workshop, so it showed they had listened.”

While Dogs Trust is well known for rescuing and rehoming dogs who have experienced neglect or maltreatment, the education side of the charity plays a key role in preventing poor welfare of dogs in the future. By educating the dog owners of tomorrow, the charity hopes to prevent many dogs from experiencing cruelty or neglect – and feedback has been great. “The feedback I have had has been unbelievable. The children have been so engaged throughout the sessions, which is brilliant. We want the children to go home and tell their parents what they have learnt, and explain how to care for dogs correctly and how to stay safe. After all, they are the dog owners of the future!”

On occasion, LJ gets to see an immediate effect on the children she teaches, which is very gratifying, “I went to one school where a girl was petrified of dogs. She couldn’t go near them. After a one-hour workshop, however, she loved Oscar to pieces. She was stroking him, playing with his ball and even walked past everyone in the corridor holding onto his lead to take him down to reception. It was as if something had just clicked! Oscar has a very calming influence on children.”

LJ is also a passionate advocate of adopting rescue dogs. She has nine dogs herself – plus horses – and the latest addition to her canine family is Polly, a Cockapoo who is around 19 weeks old. LJ was taking one of her school groups around the Dogs Trust centre for a VIP tour when Polly arrived looking for a new home. “We walked through to the puppy section and there she was – I couldn’t say no!”

When it comes to rehoming a rescue dog, LJ recommends you do lots of research into the different breeds to find out their energy levels, temperament and characteristics. You should also consider the age of the dog as, with puppies, you need to be around most of the time at the start to properly train them. She also advises that you think with your head and not your heart, and don’t get carried away. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your dog’s behaviour issues. If you adopt a dog from Dogs Trust, you get free behaviour advice for life,” she says. “When you find the right dog, it’s the best feeling ever to know you have just rehomed a rescue dog.”

If you work for a primary school that may be interested in one of LJ’s free educational workshops on responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs, contact her at laura-jane.muscroft@dogstrust.org.uk. More information can be found on the Dogs Trust website.

Remember: A Dog Is For Life.

Laura-Jayne’s key to responsible dog ownership

A Dog Is For Life

A Dog Is For Life

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst

2. Freedom from discomfort

3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour

5. Freedom from fear and distress

6. And lots and lots of LOVE

Coming up on the blog on Friday – meet the Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs. They’re gorgeous.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

Photographs copyright of The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers.

Rescue animals can become more optimistic, with rescue centres playing a vital role

A study by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London has found that female goats who had been subjected to poor welfare in the past were “more optimistic” than well-treated females once they had begun a new life at a rescue centre.

 

Nine rescued goats were observed in a spatial awareness test that aimed to discover whether the poor welfare the goats had experienced had impacted on their mental health, by comparing their behaviour against that of nine well-treated goats.

Elvis, seen here, is a sponsor dog at Dogs Trust who will be hoping to find a new home in the future Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch

Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch

Co-author of the study, Dr Elodie Briefer, said, “We found that female goats that had been previously neglected were the most optimistic of all the tested animals. They were more optimistic than well-treated females, but also the poorly treated males. This suggests that females may be better at recovering from neglect when released from stress, and might have implications for animal sanctuaries in how they tailor the care they provide for the different sexes.”

Dr Briefer continued, “Mood can have a huge influence on how the brain processes information. In humans, for example, it’s well known that people in positive moods have an optimistic outlook on life, which means they are more resilient to stress. In the same way, measures of optimism and pessimism can provide indicators for an understanding of animal welfare.”

As the goats were monitored while seeking out food – which the rescued goats were “more optimistic” about finding, in that they went to greater lengths to obtain it than the goats who had been well treated – The Mighty Pooch wonders if actually the findings show that rescued animals have developed a more pronounced survival instinct than those who have been well looked after all their lives. However, what the findings do seem to show is that many neglected animals can begin to recover once they are given good care and this is a positive endorsement for rescue centres, such as Dogs Trust and Radar Rescue, who are hoping to reverse the effects of neglect and maltreatment on animals.

Dr Alan McElligott, also from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, concluded, “The study shows that animal rescue centres, such as Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats, where we collected our data, can provide a vital role in reversing long-term neglect once the animals receive excellent care.”

This week on The Mighty Pooch Blog – on Wednesday we’ll feature an exclusive interview with Dogs Trust’s Laura-Jane Muscroft, who visits schools to teach children about responsible dog ownership, and we’ll meet the Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs on Friday.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

Meet the 17-year-old dog lover with a huge ambition

I’m a sucker for a dog-friendly café. If I can take Bruce with me for a nice brew and piece of cake after a good walk, I’m happy. So when I heard about 17-year-old Nicole Welch’s dream to open a Paws for Coffee café, where people can go for coffee plus a cuddle with a canine, I was intrigued.

 

Nicole got her initial idea for her dog-friendly café, Paws for Coffee, from the cat cafés in Japan, which give punters somewhere to go for a cuppa and the option to stroke a resident cat while they’re enjoying their refreshments. Nicole’s plan is to open a doggy version in London, where dog lovers can congregate and non-dog owners can visit and feel the benefit of a cuddle with a four-legged friend.

Nicole and Millie Image supplied by Nicole Welch

Nicole and Millie
Image supplied by Nicole Welch

“I realise how much dogs can bring people together,” Nicole tells The Mighty Pooch. “Whether you have a dog or not, just talking about dogs can make you smile. That’s where I came up with the idea of a dog café, a place where you can meet puppies and other dog owners, and bring along your furry friend, all while enjoying yourself.”

Nicole is certainly a determined teenager, as she spent 10 years trying to persuade her mum, who suffers from a skin condition, to get a dog. “After extreme researching I managed to convince my mum that a hypoallergenic breed shouldn’t trigger her and we’ve now had Millie, a cockapoo, since the day she turned eight weeks old. The one thing that annoyed me though was not being able to take her out with us for a coffee or some lunch!”

Millie will be one of the resident dogs at the café when it eventually opens and will come to work with Nicole every day. “I intend to rescue another dog as soon as I can who will also be a resident pooch, while people with friendly, healthy dogs will be more than welcome to come in for tea and cake. Later down the line we’ll organise puppy parties and other events. I want to hold fundraising events to raise awareness with animal charities too.”

Far from simply a café where dogs are petted and cooed over, Nicole intends to use her enterprise to “make the world (well, maybe just London for now) a place that accepts dogs and looks after them, loves them and treats them as we would wish to be treated.” She hopes to work with people with disabilities, anxiety and depression, too, believing that dogs can really make a difference to people’s well-being.

“Dogs do wonders for people’s emotions. They can lower blood pressure, stop anxiety and just talking about them can put a smile on your face. My dream has always been to work with animals and, this way, I will also be encouraging others to love dogs the way I do!” She tells me.

Currently, Paws for Coffee is at the planning and funding stage. Nicole intends to use crowdfunding to finance the opening of the café, which uses donations to get ventures up and running. “The plan so far is to ensure we can secure all the right licences and insurances to make this possible and, from what we can see, it’s all green lights! A dog-friendly café is something that will really involve the community, so why not ask them to get behind it and contribute? I want the café to be as sincere as possible and to be a lovely, family-orientated place.”

So far, Nicole has had a good response to her enterprise, with many people pledging to donate money to get the venture off the ground. “In general, everyone has taken to this idea so well, that I can’t wait to open and meet them all! I know I can make this happen with everybody’s support.”

If you want to drop Nicole a line, she can be contacted at pawsforcoffeecafe@live.com or you can follow her on Twitter @PawsForCoffee.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

hello@themightypooch.co.uk

Sam the Super Dog strikes again!

Ever wondered what the most tenacious breed of dog is? Well, I’m here to lay it on the line people. It has to be the miniature dachshund, with Super Dog Sam at the helm. He may be tiny in stature but he sure makes up for it in sheer determination.

 

Last time on Crazy Dog Lady, I relayed the story of Sam and his little super dog cape. But that was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Sam aged 13 years old

Sam aged 13 years old

Sam began his light-pawed ways as a puppy, when he broke into an unopened chocolate biscuit tin that was sitting on top of a chest. The family returned home to find a tiny puppy in the centre of biscuit carnage, having polished off a few of the choicest biscuits.

Later, when a tin of Quality Street went missing, everyone blamed Sam but no one had the foggiest idea where the tin was. Months later, it was found under a sideboard with teeth marks around the lid. It seemed our pesky thief had tried so hard to break in that he’d pushed it under the cabinet till he could no longer reach it. Oh the frustration! He’s even eaten half his human brother’s birthday cake.

I’ve been out for strolls with Sam when, all of a sudden, the lead tightens and I am jerked to a stop. I turn to see four short legs firmly planted to the ground and a busy nose pressed to the path. Upon inspection, I discover that Sam is in fact peeling someone’s old chewing gum off the pavement. Waste not, want not.

Sam’s also had a go at defrosting the freezer. As payment for his kind deed, he helped himself to a three course meal of paté, followed by chops, and rather splendidly rounded off with a portion of apple pie for pudding. I know for a fact he ate them in the right order. I just know it.

These pesky youngsters are always trying to steal the limelight!

These pesky youngsters are always trying to steal the limelight!

He has other talents, too. One day, his human mum brought boxes of plates home from a function that she’d agreed to wash. As she unpacked the last box from the car, she was waylaid by a neighbour and they proceeded to chat over the fence. Sam, the helpful little chap that he is, decided to do a good deed. So, he removed every single plate oh-so-carefully from each box, taking care not to break any, and laid them all out Jackson Pollock style on the kitchen floor, where he cleaned each plate until it gleamed.

Sam has even been known to cause the odd faux pas. At a dinner party, he was chastised for some time for whistling under the table. That was until his mum realised it was one of her guests, whistling through his dentures.

But the reason I know for sure that the dachshund is one of the most tenacious breeds, is what happened next. In 2007, Sam suffered a slipped disc and was initially paralysed. But with daily, dedicated physiotherapy on a table pushed up to the window so he could look out during his exercises, followed by walks with his back legs through the handles of a plastic bag, he learned to walk again. He’s pretty remarkable.

Sam can no longer fly to the top of the wardrobe in his super dog cape but he’s not lost his mischievous streak. These days, aged 13, he’s promoted himself to con artist. He’s lately taken to faking going to the loo in order to be awarded a treat. Found out!

So, if you’re ever wondering which the most determined breed of dog is, I think the dachshund has a good chance of being crowned king or queen.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

hello@themightypooch.co.uk

Keep track of roaming dogs with a GPS dog collar

To lose a dog must be devastating. But did you know that there is a way to keep track of dogs with a penchant for haring after rabbits and disappearing out of sight? The GPS dog collar is not something on everyone’s radar – but it is there to give you peace of mind.

 

Last week we spotted new posters in our area pleading for information on a beautiful terrier who had gone missing on a walk. Having spotted a rabbit, she’d raced off after it and her humans hadn’t seen her since. A couple of days had passed and they were seriously worried.

Beagles are especially notorious for heading out on missionsImage copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Beagles are especially notorious for heading out on missions
Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Then, a few days later, we found a different wandering dog and returned her to her owner. The owner was delighted to have her back but seemed to think that wearing a normal collar would stop her from getting lost, as someone would be able to return her. Not always so, of course, especially if the dog is frightened of strangers. (Not to mention the fact that a collar certainly doesn’t stop a dog from being run over.)

It got me thinking and I got straight onto google to check out the latest on tracking collars. I have a dog myself (although he usually likes to stay close, touch wood!) and I’ve grown up with dogs, but I’ve never actually seen a tracker collar first hand. In fact, I’m not really sure that I knew they existed to be honest, nor did a friend I asked who owns two dogs, one of whom has been known to dart off at the first sign of a rabbit. GPS dog collars just don’t seem to be widely advertised or fully embraced by the dog community – I’d love to know why – but they are out there.

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Of course, the tracker collar may be of little use if your dog is stolen. That’s another matter entirely – and a terribly distressing one – but if your dog is a roamer, a chaser or an escape artist, the tracker collar could give you peace of mind. And if it reunites you with your lost dog, then of course it’s worth way more than any money you might have paid for it.

So what’s the deal with these collars? Well, the Retrieva seems to be the most widely advertised and available collar out there. It’s also listed as an anti-theft collar, which sounds promising, as it’s apparently very difficult to remove if you’re not authorised to do so (it requires a key to unlock it) and, should someone try to remove the collar, it alerts you. (I would assume there’s a balance to be found between ensuring the collar cannot be slipped easily over the dog’s head and not having the collar too tight.) It’s waterproof (not just showerproof), provides live tracking and location data direct to your mobile phone, iPad or computer, and the rechargeable battery can last for five to seven days. The price of the collar is £249.99, with an annual fee of £79.99. You can also rent a collar from £35.

Another, cheaper option is the Loc8tor – the available devices range from a tracker with a range of just 400ft to alert you if your dog escapes from your garden (£64.99) to the full GPS device at £99.99.

According to a study by the Open University, wearing a tracking collar can also impact positively on the behaviour of your dog, due to a reduction in stress. If you are less worried about where your dog is when they are off the lead, they say your dog is more contented and even enjoys more freedom.

A five-minute internet search brings up a host of GPS dog collars to consider. And what price can you really put on the safety of your beloved dog?

Please add your comments, as I’d love to know if you use a GPS dog collar. Which one do you use and would you recommend it? Have you and your dog been reunited happily thanks to such a device?

If you fancy writing a little review on your experiences with a GPS collar, please drop me a line! hello@themightypooch.co.uk

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

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