Monday, 23 October 2017

Ghosts, ghouls and the Sniffinator

Halloween is coming up soon. 

For some of us that means silly costumes and lots of sweeties.
Some dogs find Halloween really scary though – weird costumes, odd noises and no one looks the same any more.

Sometimes dogs don’t mind getting dressed up (just look at adorable Moss) but that takes time and practice too.

At our Spooktacular Scentwork party that meant poor Rosie had to deflate her amazing bat wings because they freaked out wee Hattie the spaniel – strangely Hattie’s mum had never thought to introduce her to people with wings on at puppy class!

So, be sensible and don’t take your dog trick-or-treating unless you know for sure they are super confident with it all.

If you do have visitors at your home, best to have your dog settled away from the front door with a tasty chew or stuffed kong. That way your dog isn’t getting scared by the monsters coming to the front door.

If, like me, your dogs would rather not have monsters ringing the door bell all night why not download and print our handy “thanks but no thanks” poster to put on your gate from our FB group 

(I leave a wee bowl of sweets by the gate too as a thank you and so far it’s worked every year)

Have a good week and don’t eat all the candy before Halloween….

Morag and the collie girls

PS Does anyone else remember when it was called Guising or was that just a Scottish thing? And turnip lanterns – the pain and blood from carving them!

PPS as for the fireworks which have already started *insert rude words here* I’m using on the spot treat showers, snuggle time and a Thundershirt to help keep Freya happy

Monday, 16 October 2017

Would you go to work in a swimsuit?

What clothes did you put on this morning?  Did you throw on an old t-shirt and jogging bottoms ready to get on with painting the bathroom?

Or did you choose a smart outfit ready for that big interview?

What if you work from home, do you wear “work” clothes or have you ever tried to work in your PJs? How did it feel?!

The clothes we wear help us to get into the right mindset for the task ahead. Think about dress down days at the office, often there’s a more relaxed atmosphere and a bit more laughter too.

And if you’re wondering what on earth this has to do with dog training, bear with me!

What we wear helps us to do our jobs or tasks better, and not just because it’s easier to run well in decent shoes and sports bra (for those of us that need one!).

I spent the weekend learning more about tracking from Allyson Tohme down in Cambridgeshire with Bronte (my collie). Bronte mostly does TD Scentwork and her preferred style includes lots of movement and air scenting.

Now I’m asking Bronte to follow a new smell, and in straight careful lines (at first).

Enter another new harness - and no I don’t have a harness problem, just a lot of sport interests! Bronte actually has the fewest harnesses of all my dogs…

I was concerned that if Bronte wore her normal Scentwork harness she might go back to that style of sniffing and searching when it got more difficult. With Bronte being deaf and part-blind, I needed to make things as distinct as possible – so we used a different style of harness and a new hand signal.

New sport = new clothes!

Bronte has a different harness for canicross (running and pulling in front), wimbling walks (allowed to move around but not drag me), TD Scentwork (only used when we’re doing serious sniffing), and now a tracking harness.

Putting each harness on helps Bronte understand what her “job” is going to be, and you can see her getting into a totally different frame of mind too.

If Bronte pulled a lot on walks, we’d use a front attachment harness. So the lead getting clipped to the front ring on her chest would = loose lead walking time.

How does your dog know what his job is when you get ready to go on a walk, saunter into town or prepare for a sport like tracking, TD Scentwork or Rally?

Happy walking and stay safe in the wind this week

Morag and the collie girls

PS If you need to try out harnesses. we stock and fit the Dog-Games fleece Perfect Fit range of harnesses, plus we have a range of canicross running equipment too. Just drop us an email to arrange a fitting