Top Tips through Winter with your dog

Getting your walking boots on in the depths of winter in the rain, wind and sometimes snow, is not very appealing, but that is part and parcel of dog ownership.   Dogs still need to be exercised whatever the weather.  It can be said that even dogs are not always so enthusiastic either! However, you can learn to love your winter walks with the right preparation.

  • BE SEEN WHEN WALKING

    Stay within well lit areas and wide pavements when walking in built up areas. Keep your dog walking by your side away from the traffic. Invest in some high-visability gear for yourself and your dog.  Hi-Vis collars and dog jackets will make sure he is seen by motorists and by you. Walking with your dog off lead in the dark is not advisable.  Always carry a torch. A head torch is a good idea to keep your hands free.   Walk with friends if you can.  If you are alone make sure you walk in familiar surroundings and consider carrying a personal alarm for added safety.

  • KEEP WARM IN WINTER

    Invest in a good quality Gortex waterproof jacket.  Add a good pair of waterproof walking boots and/or wellingtons with thermal socks and you are good to go.  Don’t forget a waterproof cap or hat.  Consider getting your dog different types of dog coats for all occasions and always keep a spare in the car.  The fleece dog coat and jumpers are great for putting on for the journey home or during the walk as they are weatherproof, lightweight and warm.  It is not a good idea to have your dog’s coat clipped too short during the winter months.  Keep the hair around his feet trimmed to prevent the build up of ice balls between the pads and toes.

  • KEEP YOUR CAR AND HOME MUD FREE

    Mud and rain are unavoidable during the winter, so make sure your car and house is mud and wet dog friendly. Dirt trapper house and car mats will absorb mud and moisture and help keep your home and car clean.  High absorbent dog towels are also useful to keep in the car for drying off after a very wet walk. Then pop on a fleece jumper to keep your dog warm!

  • CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST

    Make sure you are prepared for the conditions.  If it does start to snow heavily while you are out, put your dog on the lead.  Snow can affect his sense of smell and could make him feel a bit disorientated.

  • ENJOY THE WINTER SEASON

    Popular areas that are normally jam packed during the summer, tend to be a lot quieter during the winter.  There is nothing like a frosty winter walk with a touch of winter sun – perfect for photography.  But do beware of flood water as there is often a strong current, so keep your dog under control.

  • WINTER WALKING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE BORING

    Winter walking often means you have to keep your dog on the lead. Let him sniff – smells are very important and using the nose keeps your dog’s brain busy. Changing your usual routine helps to make it a bit more interesting.  Take a toy or ball with you and stop regularly for a game.  This is the best time to top up your dog’s training.  Make the most of your time together and brush up on basic commands like sitting at the roadside before you cross the road.

  • KEEP YOUR DOG WARM AND SNUG AT HOME

    Get him a new dog bed for the winter. Paws Plus One has many designs and sizes for all breeds. Waterproof dog beds and mats are great for keeping in the kitchen and can be easily wiped down.  The Luxury waterproof mattress and the Quilted dog bed are fab products for practicality without the loss of comfort.  A personalised dog blanket would make a very pleasing Christmas gift for a dog lover.

 

 

 

Finding the best reputable breeder and puppy

You have done your research and decided on a breed. The next big step is to find a reputable breeder. The best way is to find a  reputable and registered breeder is with the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme here.  Being a part of this scheme makes sure all the correct guidelines are followed and that puppies are happy, healthy, vaccinated and wormed and socialisation has already started before leaving the litter for their new home.

Don’t be put off if you find a breeder that has been rearing his puppies in a kennel or barn outside. It does not mean they have been neglected. Most good reputable breeders will keep the mum and her litter indoors for the first couple of weeks and then transfer them to a safe area outside where they will have more space to romp around. As long as they receive plenty of socialising and they are kept in a clean environment, the puppies will be perfectly well raised. You will find that most gun dog breeders always keep their puppies and dogs kennelled outside. However, if pups whether kept indoors or outside, are shut away and only getting basic care, they will not be ideal puppies to buy as they will not have had any essential socialisation and life experiences.

It is unfortunate that there are so many shady so called ‘breeders’ and back street dealings with puppies. There are some that will buy in puppies to sell on and the ‘mother’ dog you may be shown has nothing to do with them. Always ask to see the puppies with the mother while they are very young and see how they interact. This will also give you a good indication of how they will look as adults. Whilst some bitches will be quite happy for you to have interaction with their pups, up to 5 weeks old the mother will be very protective of her young and some may not be very happy to have visitors around. Some can get quite distressed or even snappy and if that is the case and the pups have to be separated for your visit, this does not mean the bitch has a bad temperament as some of the sweetest bitches can get very protective whilst pups are so young. If the breeder does show the pups and mother to you separately and then when you have left the litter, allows the mum to rejoin her pups so you can see she is the real mother, you can be assured that this is a good breeder who is considerate of the mum’s needs as well as yours. Don’t expect to see the father with the puppies as they are often separated from the litter as most usually the bitch will not want any adult dog near her young.

Choosing the puppy

When looking at a litter, a well socialised litter of pups will come bounding up to check you out and bounce around. If you are looking for a bold dog, the first one to approach you may be the one for you. But bold dogs don’t always fit with everyone and you will need the pup to fit in with the family. There may be one pup that will stay a little longer to interact with you on its own and often this is the one that has chosen you and the one you should go home with.

The pup who is sitting apart from the rest of the litter and observing you from a distance, may not be as shy as it appears. Often these are the more intelligent pups and maybe a good fit for someone that is looking for a close one to one bond and able to spend time to develop it. This pup may not be good for a big noisy family. The shy type or ‘thinkers’ can be demanding to train, but still make good dogs, so don’t dismiss this one if you can manage a clever dog.

However, a pup that runs and cowers and appears nervous of human contact, could be a difficult one to raise and perhaps better avoided unless you are up for a challenge and a skilled dog handler.

The saying goes ‘never choose the last pup’, but don’t worry, process of elimination means there will always be one left! That doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice, it just may not have been the right colour, temperament or whatever, for the other families. If you like the last pup and it likes you, don’t be put off because the other pups have gone first.

Good breeders spend a lot of time with their puppies and get to know each one well, so sometimes they will direct you towards a pup they think will fit well with your family.

For the first few weeks or until your pup has had all it’s vaccinations and the all clear from the vet to start the big experience outside, all you will need as a start is a crate, a nice comfy bed and blanket and a simple collar and lead. Don’t forget the toys, pups love to play and training can start straight away through playing and teaching them to sit, stay and fetch.

Most of all, enjoy your puppy, show him everything in the big wide outdoors – good socialisation is the key. They grow up so fast and it is such a fun time and the basis for a good all round happy adult dog.

If you require any other support or assistance in choosing your next puppy please contact us

Dog lead, an essential item but which one is best?

All dogs need a dog lead, but do you know there are so many different types?

The short flat lead is a good choice for dogs who walk well on the lead and are used by many as the daily walk lead. There is a good choice of materials and designs, including leather, nylon, chain and rope so it is easy to find one that suits your dog and your lifestyle and also your pocket. The nylon lead is probably the cheapest and fairly strong. Just need to check it regularly for any fraying. A good leather lead will last forever.

Training leads are great for dog walking and training. Training leads come in varying lengths, but a 6 foot lead that is comfortable to hold and the right size for both you and your dog can be a valuable piece of equipment to use daily. You can buy multi-functional training leads which have versatile functions i.e. double ended suitable to use as a short lead for heel work, medium length for obedience training and as a long lead for recall. A double ended lead can be used to clip around the waist so you are hands free.

A long line is a useful training lead for recall and usually available in two lengths of 5m or 10m. It will allow your dog to get to a good distance before you call him back without fear that he will run off. Long lines are not a good idea to use for anything other than short training sessions as with it being so long, it is likely to eventually get wrapped up in trees and bushes or your legs!

Types and what are the best?

Shock absorbing dog leads are another style of lead that is available in the marketplace. These leads are designed to reduce stress and strain on hands, arms, back and joints. This ‘shock absorption’ takes the stress out of walking dogs that pull.

The retractable lead is a good lead for people who are unable to let their dog off the lead, possibly due to poor recall or in open countryside where there is livestock. This lead will allow the dog more freedom than the regular lead, allowing them to sniff and explore without leaving it trailing. However, this type of lead is not good for training as it encourages the dog to pull forward to gain ground. It is important to ensure they locked when walking close to traffic.

A figure of 8 lead has three different modes of use depending on your needs. It can be used as a slip lead, a fixed collar and lead and also as a halter which will go over the nose. These are usually made from nylon and padded.

Slip leads are not really suitable for lengthy dog walks or training, but are really useful for getting a lead on and off quickly. These are a particular favourite with gun dog handlers and in field trials and competitions. When using these, make sure the lead has a stopper to prevent it from becoming loose and the dog backing out of it.

Walking your dog is not just about getting from A to B and back again. Always make your walks fun and use the opportunity as a training exercise. Take out treats and your dog’s favourite toy and balls. Walking a dog is a chance to improve the bond between dog and owner and is your dog’s ‘me time’. Happy walking!