At Day At… Discover Dogs

As many of you will have realised by now, this year we were asked to be ‘Official’ bloggers for Discover Dogs. We were thrilled to have been asked, we had an amazing time when we went in 2015 to compete at Scruffts and were very excited to be able to go again! Of course with two dogs this year, Mum needed to find someone to come with us, and who better than our favourite photographer Amy (otherwise know as Tilly’s Mum). All photos in this article were taken by her, you can check out even more of her fabulous work on Tilly’s Instagram.

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“Please can I say ‘Hello’ to your dog?”

At Discover Dogs this weekend I became very aware of a serious problem with society and, in particular with children. I have never experienced so many people touching my dogs without asking. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the children’s fault, if their parents have never taught them how to behave around dogs then how are they to know? As a child it was drilled into me that you NEVER touched a dog without asking their owner first. As someone who has loved dogs from an early age, I understand that sometime you just want to rush over and squish their faces but this is neither appropriate or safe. For some reason, people are not teaching their children the right way to act around dogs and I have no doubt that this could be contributing to the number of dog attacks that have sadly been happening. Dogs don’t usually attack for no reason and if children are not taught how to behave around dogs they could quite easily do something accidentally that may provoke an attack, something that may have been completely avoidable. 

For example, at DD I was talking to someone on one of the stand with Colin sat by my leg. The next thing I know, I look down and there is a child with their hand in his mouth and poking his face. Seriously. And the parents? Nowhere to be seen. Now, luckily, Colin was brought up around children and is pretty much bombproof, he can deal with any part of his body being prodded or poke but that is besides the point. That could have very easily led to a nip and Colin being branded as a dangerous dog, possibly even being put down. All because he reacted as most of us would if a random stranger shoved their hand in our mouths. This type of inappropriate behaviour from children (and adults as well!), unfortunately, was not an isolated incident on Saturday. Almost every time I stopped moving to talk to someone, people would come up behind me and start fussing Colin without even acknowledging me. Amy was handling Rhapsody and exactly the same thing was happening to her, possibly even more so. I can count on one hand the number of times someone actually asked if they could stroke them. Amy even got asked by someone if they could pick Rhapsody up. Umm how about no? You’re a total stranger. I wouldn’t randomly ask to hold your baby so please don’t pick up my dog. I guess at least they asked. 

Of course, I always let people stroke my two if they ask. And I always make a point of thanking them for asking. They love all the attention, especially from kids. And if Rhapsody wants a cuddle she is more than capable of asking for one, ask anyone that knows her! The point is this: they need to ask and parents should take responsibility for teaching their children this very simple lesson. It is not just children either, there were a lot of adults also touching Colin and Rhapsody without asking. They should all have known better. 

Not all dogs are ok with being stroked by strangers and not asking could end badly for the dog, the human, or both. Desmond, for example, will still shy away from any male stranger that tries to touch him (the behaviour dates back to when we first rescued him over seven years ago). To avoid the stress for him I would either ask men not to touch him or show them the best way to introduce themselves slowly to make it a positive experience for him. Not because Des would bite, just because it makes him anxious and that’s not fair on him. 

I understand that people are at a show like Discover Dogs to meet and fuss lots of different dogs and that great for the dogs on the breed stands that have been brought specifically for that purpose. People need to realise that just because you are at a dog event does not mean that all the dogs are just there for your petting pleasure. All it takes is a simple “Please can I say Hello to your dog?” to make sure everyone stays safe and has a great experience. 

Also, another minor thing. If your child is scared of dogs please don’t bring them to a dog show and try to physically force them to touch every dog there. A phobia is a complex issue and not something that cannot be solved by forcing your child to interact with hundreds of dogs on one day. You will just make it worse. The emotional stress of the situation you are putting your child through could have a devastating and lasting impact. For a child with a severe  phobia it could end up being a traumatic event that affects them for the rest of their lives. Do yourself and your child a favour and contact a dog trainer that deals with dog phobias and start from there. Alternatively there are groups around the country set up specifically to help children get over their phobias. One such group, From Fear To Friend (who we saw at Discover Dogs), run free weekly classes on the Sussex/Surrey border with the specific purpose of helping children conquer their fears in a safe enironment. You can find out more about the amazing work they do via their Facebook page.

And that’s all folks! I’ll leave you all with some cute pictures of Colin and Rhapsody enjoying all the attention (from people that asked, of course!).

A Trip To… Pumpkin Week at Secretts!

Yesterday us lucky pups were able to visit the Pumpkin Patch at Secretts Pick Your Own with our bestie Tilly. Not only did we get to go and choose a pumpkin (or four) but we also got to meet Winnie and Archie from Archie’s Great Adventures and their humans. All five dogs got on amazingly which was extra impressive considering they were all on the lead for the whole trip. The only time we had a little hiccup was when Winnie got too close to my pumpkins. And no, that’s not a euphemism. 

We were really impressed by how dog-friendly the site was, well behaved dogs on leads were more than welcome, the only thing we were not allowed to do was ride on the tractor! Of course, the five of us drew quite a crowd with the other guests, especially Winne and Archie in their Halloween jumpers! We got lots of cuddles from all the little humans after we had chosen our pumpkins and had a throurally lovely visit. There was loads going on for all the little humans that were visiting; tractor rides to the pumpkin field, mini tractors, face painting, biscuit decorating, hay bales to play on, it really was set up for the perfect family days out. There was also plenty of tea and coffee, and even pumpkin soup, for the grown-ups. We didn’t see any other dogs but we think this is because people were not aware that they were allowed to bring the furry members of their family with them! We love places that allow the whole family to have a day out together and, for that, Secretts gets a big paws up from us!

Featuring bandanas from Mabel & Mu (black and orange Halloween print) and Dogs Best Trend (pumpkin design). 

Discover Dogs – Companies To Look Out For

Discover Dogs is a big show. In one day (and we were there before official opening until after it closed) we didn’t even manage to get round all the stalls but we did manage to see lots of our favourite companies and discover a few new ones too. Here are the top four companies we discovered last weekend and why we liked them so much!

Urban Hound – our regular readers will know that our Mum had a slight *ahem* obsession with buying accessories for us. Discover Dogs, unsurprisingly, was full of different dog accessory stalls and bizarrely (other than our established favourites) Urban Hound was the only one that caught her eye. Not only were the humans behind the brand genuinely lovely dog-people, but their collars and leads were just gorgeous. All their show collars had metal buckles (you can get plastic ones online) and they had an amazing range of different designs. The ones that particularly caught our eye were their ‘Double Denim’ collection, a range of different patterned, you guessed it, denim collars and leads and their ‘Rainbow’ collection made of coloured corduroy. Their collars start at a very reasonable £11 for XS up to £15 for XL (and it’s only an extra £1 to add a metal buckle!) and their leads are all just £15. Amazing value for such quality products. A selection of Urban Hound collars and leads have now gone on Mummy’s doggy wish list with the heart and star denim collars right at the top!  Continue reading

What’s in our bag for Discover Dogs?

Whenever we go to event Mum is always worried she’ll forget something so she writes a list. This list is usually different depending on where we are going, our bag is much fuller if we are heading to an outdoor venue! With Discover Dogs now in less than a week’s time we thought we would share what will be in our bag this weekend – an essential packing list for an indoor show if you like!

Mable & Mu ‘Patch’ sets with matching We Love To Create tags – first on Mum’s list is always our accessories. One simply does not turn up to an event without the proper attire. We will be taking two sets with us for DD, everyone loves a costume change, and our coordinating sets from Mable & Mu were the obvious first choice, especially with our new tags from WLTC which were made specifically to match. These sets are busy, fun and set the tone for an exciting day!

Bramble & Friends rope lead and collar sets with tags from Dog’s Best Trend – these are the most recent addition to our collection and we just love the subtle beauty of them. Both sets were custom made especially for us by Tamsyn at B&F and they really are something special. When the collars arrived we knew that they just needed a hand-stamped copper tag from Katherine at DBT and luckily they arrived in time!

HALTI Harness – when we go to events I always wear my harness. My lead attaches to the front of it so it stops me pulling which stop me putting strain on my little body and stops Mummy from getting sore shoulders. I really don’t mean to hurt either of us, I just get very excited about everything going on around me so it’s much better for both of us when I wear my harness!

Whiskers and Stitched treat and poo bag pouch – this is also a new purchase and honestly Mummy doesn’t know how she managed without it. It is the perfect size for both treats and poop bags and it’s easy clip means it can be easily transferred between leads. It’s also pretty cute.

Boxby Mini Trainer Bones from Dependable Pets – our favourite training treats. Mum loves to take them to shows because they are tiny, which is great when we have to pose for photos all day, and there are a range of delicious flavours in each pack so we don’t get bored of them!

Beco Travel Bowl – possibly the most practical thing Mum has ever bought us. This handy collapsible bowl takes up no space in our bag and yet when we need it, it simply pops up and we can quench our thirst. Handy when you don’t like to share water bowls. Not that we are divas or anything.

Slicker brush – of course no self-respecting poodle or doodle would leave the house without a brush. We take a basic slicker brush in our bag everywhere we go, just in case we have any fluff-mares while we are out – the ‘fro must always be on point.

Watts In The Box jumper – as Rhapsody is a pretty tiny dog, Mum always carries a jumper for her in our bag, just in case she gets a little chilly. The obvious choice for such a big event is her stripy jumper from WITB, custom made of course. We love the quality of it and it is super cosy.

PitPat activity monitor – we don’t go anywhere without these on our collars. When we go to a show it is especially important that we wear them so Mum knows exactly how much exercise we have done and therefore how much to feed us!

Tickets – very important, if you forget these it doesn’t matter what else you’ve packed because you won’t be able to get it! If you haven’t bought your Discover Dogs tickets then you can do so here or you can buy then on the door at the weekend – hope to see you there (we’ll be the super fluffy ones trying to make friends with everyone!).

And that’s it! All our essentials for Discover Dogs, except our resident photographer Amy, she is definitely essential but we doubt she’d be very happy if we tried to put her in the bag. Hopefully Mum will now remember to pack everything, if not, I guess we’ll just have to go shopping – what a shame!

Review: Shampoo Bar and Paw Balm from Floyd & Bear

A few weeks ago we were thrilled to win a competition run by Floyd & Bear on Instagram, we were intrigued by their ‘Dirty dog’ soap and Skin and Paw Salve, both made by Coconut Blush. We usually stick to the same well-known brand of shampoo, we know it works and most importantly doesn’t dry out our hair and skin which can be an issue for us.

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Lucky pups!
Coconut Blush make a natural range of products for both humans and pets, they are all handmade in the Peak District, Derbyshire. All the pet grooming products they make are Paraben & SLS-Free. As all good dog parents should know, hard chemicals often lead to dry skin on dogs and can be the cause of constant distress from itchiness & scratching. All their products are gentle, focusing on keeping skin soft and nourished which helps avoid further outbursts of dryness and sores.

The range of products that Coconut Blush make, and supply to Floyd & Bear, contain a small range of essential oils that are very safe for us pups. Many of these are also effective flea repellents, such as the Neem oil in their shampoo bar we tried. Their use of natural oils and butters ensures a completely moisturising product which helps retain all of the natural oils in your pups coat.

Skin & Paw Salve (RRP £3.95) for dogs is made with Shea Butter to help alleviate sore spots. It is supposed to be great in winter months too as it eases pain & cracking caused by salt & ice balls, we can’t wait to use it this winter, hopefully we might get some snow this year! Although the product is mainly for skin and paws, we were reliably informed that it was also suitable for dry noses and this was very exciting news for Mum. Rhapsody has suffered with a dry nose as long as we’ve had her and Mum is always umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether to buy something to help moisturise it but has never actually ordered anything.  As soon as we opened our package, she dug into the tin of Skin and Paw Salve to see if it would help. She was sceptical to start with but the results speak for themselves, as you can see in the photos below. Rhapsody’s nose is 100% better and dry and cracked no more!

We finally got the chance to test our our ‘Dirty Dog’ shampoo bar (RRP £4.95) after our rather muddy walk at Fleet Pond last week with Tilly and Gatsby. We were totally filthy and Mum could not wait to get home and put our new bar to the test. The first thing she noticed about the bar, as soon as she opening it, it smelt amazing. The scent is light and fresh, scented with peppermint, tea tree, citronella and lavender, Mum was almost tempted to wash her hair with it! The bar also contains Neem oil, as I mentioned earlier, which has been proven to discourage and even kill fleas (in a high enough concentration) and is know to be great for achieving a conditioned, shiny coat. Our regular readers will know how much we hate fleas so this added benefit of the Dirty Dog soap is fantastic. At first using a bar instead of shampoo from a tube is a bit weird. Having said that, once Mum got the hang of using it (and stopped dropping in into the bath) it was really easy to use. Due to the fact that you rub the bar straight onto your dog’s coat, it definitely feels like you waste less shampoo that you would from a bottled shampoo and we only had to shampoo once which is unheard of it our house, especially when you consider how filthy we were! Overall we were really impressed with our shampoo bar, even though it takes a little getting used to it is definitely a great alternative to bottles shampoo and, we hope, it will last much longer!

 

In conclusion, we loved both the products we trialled from Coconut Blush courtesy of Floyd & Bear. Mum is always searching for natural alternatives, whether it’s for our food or healthcare, and she is thrilled to have found such a natural range of grooming products that are not overpriced, don’t dry out our coats and are so effective! Floyd & Bear also have a number of other products available from their shop including; Toys, collars, leads, bandanas (and everyone knows we love a good bandana) and bow ties from luxury brands like Teddy Maximus, Jolie Dog and Edition 12 alongside natural treats from one of our favourites The Dog Treat Company and Sea Treats Head over and check out what they have on offer, you won’t be disappointed!

Discover Dogs – 22nd/23rd October

On the 22nd of October we will be heading into the big city to attend Discover Dogs at the Excel Arena. This will be our second year attending, last year I competed in the Scruffts heat but this year is possibly even more exciting, we are attending as official Discover Dogs bloggers. We really enjoyed the event last year, it was a great opportunity meet dogs of all shapes and sizes, we even discovered some breeds we didn’t know existed! There will be over 200 different breeds to meet at this year’s event so I am looking forwards to making new friends and introducing Rhapsody to some of the friends I made last year! We’ve even heard that the Crufts Best in Show winner is going to be there, we better make sure we are looking out smartest! There is so much going on across the weekend that we thought we would share some of the potential highlights with you!

This year we are most looking forwards to the agility. Mum and I have started our own agility training since we attended Discover Dogs last year and cannot wait to see all the amazing dogs that have qualified for the events at Discover Dogs. They will all have had to qualify through other events in order to be competing in their semi-final or final at Discover Dogs so it really will be a chance to see the best of the best, maybe one day we might be lucky enough to compete at this huge event! Other activities going on in the main ring include flyball, heelwork to music, trick training, obedience displays and a number of displays from a variety of teams including the Metropolitan Police Display Team, Southern Golden Retriever Display Team, Paws for Thought Display Team and East Anglian Staffordshire Bull Terrier Display Team. With so much going on, we might just sit in the arena all day!

There are also a number of smaller arenas with their own exciting agendas; the Training and Display Ring when you can catch heelwork to music, displays from the Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme among many others and the Companion Dog Club Pedigree competition ring  where you’ll be able to see the best companion dogs from around the country competing against each other. Finally, a ring that we are very excited about, is the Scruffts ring. This year there will not be any Scruffts heats at Discover Dogs, just the semi-finals, so all the dogs competing will already have battled stiff competition in their heats and we cannot wait to see which dogs will go on to compete at the grand final at Crufts next March.

Of course, no show would be complete without copious numbers of stalls selling everything dog related you could possibly wish for. Established favourites we are looking forwards to seeing, and obviously spending Mum’s money at, include Mable & Mu, Greenies, Pet Munchies, Benyfit Natural Pet Food and Wiff Waff Designs. There are also a couple of stalls that we cannot wait to visit as we have met them through social media, it’ll be great to put a face to the brands. These highly anticipated meetings are with Teddy Maximus who make gorgeous, luxury dog accessories, coats and beds and Dr Zoo who make a range of pet skin products especially for sensitive and itchy skin, we hope they are both ready for lots of doodle kisses!

If you fancy join us for a day out for all the family at Discover Dogs then head over to our Facebook page where you could win one of two FREE pairs of tickets!

For more information on Discover Dogs you can had over to their website discoverdogs.org.ukfor all the latest news and full timetables for the weekend!img_0622