Tag Archives: spaniel

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole

31 Jul

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole

I took this photo during a 6.30 am run along an almost deserted beach with my dogs. I have said before how much i love running with the dogs, how we all have fun and how i feel it is a great bonding experience.

But in those moments, i feel completely at ease, free, and happy. I think this picture comes pretty close to conveying that feeling.


The Princess and the Gladiator

28 Jul

The Princess and the Gladiator

A little while back i paid cartoon rebels to make me a cartoon of Maya and Max. This is what they came up with!

I think it captured their personality and they look awesome!

I know this is only a small post, but i will try to post again tonight if i have time after work, sorting the dogs etc.

Happy blogging!


A mini training session

24 Jul

Most days i like to spend a few minutes like this with the dogs practicing some of their little “tricks”.

The beach can be fun!

17 Jul

At 6 months old, so far Max hasn’t been keen on the beach, and even less keen on swimming! In fact, he hates getting wet. Until today!


First it all started with me getting my feet with. Just as a did with Maya, i took the dogs to the beach when it was calm and warm, took off my shoes and socks and in i went. It never takes long before they follow me and tip toe (or paw) into the sea towards me.


Ok, so he wasn’t sure at first and just hovered around where it was shallow. Each time a wave came he tensed or ran back.


Maya on the other hand, already knows how to swim and loves it! She loves it even more when she has a friend to swim with and seemed to be really happy that i joined her in the sea! Something i’ve not really done properly since she was a tiny pup. She quite literally swam circles around me!Image

So, what was it that eventually got Max to get right in the water and go for his first real swim? Seagulls!

Both of my dogs love chasing seagulls along the beach, and little Max never gives up on a chase, so in he went!

Of course, Maya was there to make sure he was ok!

Trying our hand at agility

28 Jun

Agility is something that i always thought seemed like a fun idea, for both myself and my dogs. What i didn’t want to do (at this stage at least) is sign up for agility classes. The first reason being that they cost a lot, and we wouldn’t be doing it competitively anyway, just for fun. The second reason being that classes cost a lot. 

Instead. i went on amazon and for thirty quid bought myself a set of six weave poles which also convert into three jumps (you can vary the height, which is handy). 






So, out in the garden we set up our poles, and had our first attempt at weaving! 



For a first effort, both Max and Maya did great! Max was speedy but not overly accurate, and Maya was slower but accurate. 



So, ive never done any agility before, and although i have read up a tiny bit about it, i kind of just went along with what i felt like. Starting at the end, i guided my dogs through the weaves, starting at the left (i seem to remember that you always start at the left). Instead of putting my dogs on the lead to guide them through, i just tempted them with food. Food always works when you own a labrador!



The jumps were the best part, and actually tired out the dogs before me! (bonus)!














In between agility training we took breaks where i got the dogs doing some of their tricks and obedience training and also spent time playing with them. 



All of that running and jumping about tired us all out. The sun was shining so we all laid down and sunbathed before it was time for our walk. 




Dew claws: what claws?

2 Jun

Those of you who regularly follow me will know that Max had an issue where he needed to have his dew claw removed, which in turn cost a fortune and took weeks of bandage changes following an operation (including being neutered much earlier than most dogs in the uk).

So, first things first, what is a dew claw?

Well, basically the dew claw is just an extra claw (the equivalent of where the human thumb would be). They have no real use, although some people might suggest that they have seen their dog using them for example to aid in holding a bone. Many dogs are born with dew claws on both front legs (and these generally cause no problems providing they are looked after). It is the dew claws on the hind legs that often become a cause for concern. Some dogs have them, others don’t. usually if your dog has them, he will have a pair (on both hind legs for example), lucky for us, Max only had the one. These claws grow up higher on the foot and do not touch the ground when the dog stands (so if your dog has one and it is not removed, be sure to make sure that it does not become overgrown as it wont be filed down through normal wear and tear like the other claws).

Dew claw removal:

There is some debate whether removal is necessary, and often these claws are not removed.

However, in some breeds they are removed in order to achieve a sleeker and neater look, in these cases they are usually removed when the puppy is very young and the procedure is simple. Other breeders will also remove them early, simply to ensure that no problems ensue later in life (i.e. snagging, overgrowing etc).

In Max’s case, the dew claw was not removed by the breeder and by the time he came to live with us (10 weeks old) the dew claw had become ingrown and had to be surgically removed. In this case he was put under anesthetic (and we had him neutered at the same time). When surgically removed the healing can take a long time, requiring stitches, numerous bandage changes and of course, no walks.

Overall, unless there is any cause for concern, it is down to the owner to decide whether or not dew claw removal is something they want to go through with.

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Poor Max with his cone of shame and bright green bandage.

You don’t need much to make a fun game

29 May

Just like us, your dog needs to be physically AND mentally stimulated. Bored dogs often result in destructive and otherwise unwanted behaviour (i.e. attention barking).


Of course, you will have seen the amount of different dog toys and puzzles available on the market, and the majority of these are great, but ever noticed how expensive they are? You don’t need to spend a lot of money to please your dog. Here i decided to create a short list of a few things you can do to mentally stimulate your dog, without hurting your wallet.

1. Plastic bottles. 

This is an absolute favourite of my dogs (and also my previous dogs). If you are like me and drink bottled water, or have the occasional bottle of something fizzy, save the bottle. Remove the cap and that little plastic ring and you are good to go. Your dog will probably spend an unbelievable amount of time playing. They are light and can be tossed around in the air, they make crunchy noises and you might even consider putting some treats inside for your dog to try to get out. Filling them with water can be fun in the summer, but do supervise your dog to make sure that they don’t hold the bottle up and end up choking on the water (this happened to Maya when she was a little pup).


Plastic bottle are probably one of Maya’s favourite things in the whole world!



2. An empty bone. 

If your dog is like mine, and just eats the middle (or the marrow) out of the bone and leaves the rest, save it. You can fill it with something else delish, and make them work for it once more. I often put a tea spoon of peanut butter inside an empty bone, and this usually takes Maya about half an hour or so before she has cleaned it back out again. To buy bones anyway is usually not too expensive, and will keep your dog satisfied for hours.

3. The hose.

Mine aren’t so keen, but if it is warm out you might want to try turning on the hose and playing with your dog. Many will love running in and out of the spray, cooling off and burning some energy at the same time.

4. Puzzles.

Instead of buying one of those fancy puzzles try making your own. All you need is a few treats or a small portion of your dogs food (remember to be food wise and do not overfeed) and something to hide it in. You could try putting out several cups and hiding food under just one or two, then letting your dog search for the food (don’t let your dog watch whilst you are preparing or they will know where to go!). I sometimes use their food bowls. These are heaving and when put on the patio they are flat against the ground and so it takes them some time to figure out how to flip them up and get the treats.

5. Agility. 

You can make your own agility equipment with things laying around your house or shed. You could try making some jumping poles out of old pieced of piping for example. Once you have created a small obstacle course, you can spend time with your dog teaching it your own little agility course.

6. Tea towels. 

You can make a tug of war rope by using an old tea towel. Just twist it up and secure the ends and there you have your very own tugger.

7. Hide and seek. 

Yep, hide and seek, the game you played as a child. This might work best if there are two of you so that one person can hold and distract the dog whilst the other person hides. But it could work just as well if you hide when your dog is distracted by something else. Once you have hidden call your dog and wait for him to find you. This is also a great game for working dog breeds, particularly those with instinct to retrieve.





8. Bubbles.

You can pick up a tube of bubbles for about a pound or so. You could even make your own using washing up liquid. Some dogs absolutely love to chase bubbles around. It really gets them jumping and moving around and their brain working as they try to locate them and then work out why they have disappeared.



9. Sticks. 

Yep, sticks and other bits and pieces you might find in your garden or out on walks are perfect. You could easily spend hours playing fetch with a stick or a pine cone, and they have something to chew on afterwards.

10. The sock.

Dog’s love socks. I don’t know why, but they just do. There are all sorts of things you can do with a sock. Make them into a ball, put some food in one and tie the end so they have to work out how to get to the food, or you could even make them crackle by sandwiching some plastic or something between two. Have a think and see what ideas you can come with.


Ok, so there we go, ten cheap and easy way to stimulate your dog, both mentally and physically. See if you can come up with any ideas.

I’d love to hear how you get on with any of these suggestions and if you have any of your own. Comment or send me a message! 🙂