13th March 2018

I had a really really interesting – albeit long – day yesterday. I left at 7.30 and didn’t get home until 9pm. I took the long journey to Bath and back to meet some puppies.

There are four little girls and a little boy. The boy is the second from the left.

Aren’t they cute! I went to visit the little boy specifically after meeting his mum about six months ago and been talking to his breeder for a while now. Both of his parents have various health tests and brilliant results and I think he has lots of potential for being an amazing active companion. They’re only 5 weeks so I’ve got quite a bit more waiting to do now but I completely fell in love with him yesterday and think he’ll be a good addition to our motley crew.

I’d posted a blanket down when they were first born so I could fetch it back smelling of him to try to habituate MiMi to his smell from early on, so far she’s not overly impressed with the blanket but was very interested in me (smelling of lots of strange dogs definitely makes for an interesting half hour when I get home). I’ve also left another blanket with him to fetch back for MiMi when I collect him as we’re splitting the house so they have no contact so she doesn’t traumatise him. Laufey is going to be fine and make friends but I suspect that MiMi is going to be slightly less than impressed at another addition.

I’ve changed the lighting on this one then his face is more visible. I’m totally in love already.

So, that’s my big news at the minute. Poodle puppy is more than just a hypothetical and I’m so looking forward to welcoming him into my life.


February 8th 2018

I feel like this might be our year.

The kennel club are talking about changing the height and progression rules for their agility competitions. I don’t really know yet how the height aspect would affect us; Laufey is only just into the medium height category. But I do know that any alterations to the progression system is likely to make it harder for us with the amount of competitions we’re going to. That said, he needs one good win in either jumping or agility to progress to grade 2.

I’m getting a good vibe about this year. He’s been off all winter with injury and we’ve recently started training properly again and whilst I don’t want to push him too hard too soon (so he’s still over micro) his confidence and enthusiasm is fantastic. Whilst he’s been out, I’ve been going to the gym and going to keep going at least until the weather improves and I can hopefully take it outside. (I did have a personal training session but let’s never ever talk about that). I just need to keep our connection and not lose heart if it goes wrong because if I get disappointed, he can’t give it his all.

So, very high hopes for this year. It better live up to them!

New year, new updates

Well I’ve done it again. I really don’t blog so much anymore it seems, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day what with all the animals and a full time job.

I’m hoping that will change to some degree soon if I bring a puppy home as I really want to keep a record of puppy as I did with Laufey… So, first bit of news is that I’m hoping for my new puppy to be born next month. The bitch is pregnant and I’m getting regular updates on her progress so it’s just hoping that there’s a suitable puppy in the litter. A puppy is going to be really hard work but I’ve been looking for this puppy for a few years now and no time is going to be just right. I visited my breeder back in August of last year and of her two girls I really loved one of them in particular as she had everything I was looking for an additional sports dog, only downside is that her only litter was going to take place sooner than I’d wanted to add a puppy. Sometimes the best laid plans and all that… So we’re hoping that a puppy comes home in April and life gets turned upside down again.

In other, non-dog, news, we have two rats as on new years eve at work, a colleague was looking on facebook and a friend had posted asking if anyone wanted three rats as their daughter needed rid of them… Three tiny gorgeous boys in a tiny “hamster” cage turned out to be two little boys and a little girl. Naturally the “hamster” cage (I wouldn’t put a flea in it, let alone a hamster) went asap and the little girl has gone to a wonderful friend after ensuring she wasn’t pregnant. I’m hoping that in a few months I might get a couple breeder babies to befriend them too as their new cage is more than ample for around 8-10 rats. Of the two, the champagne hooded (Lucius) is very wary and scared of me but his friend, a black berkshire Sirius is getting to be very friendly so I’m hopeful they both will be eventually.

July 8th 2017

One day I will get around to an update on the last 7 months but today I want to talk to the Craig Ogilvie workshop I went on today.

I had a working spot with Laufey in the first session of the day. My big issue I wanted advice on is how Laufey will go all day when we’re just out on a walk but if we’re at an agility competition, he’ll totally disengage from the toy as the day goes on to the point he’ll completely ignore it, even if it’s something he usually loves – ie his tennis ball. Craig’s advice is to work with a flirt pole and really go back to his chasing instincts which really seem to have become much more pronounced recently. Initially, the pole we were using had a fluffy squeaky animal on the end but he said a ball on length would be very good for him if he’s more inclined to the ball. Our mini session could have been better on my end seeing as I ended up falling over (!) but I found it very useful to be shown how much I rely on talking to Laufey and really need to back off on the verbal some and concentrate more on moving with him.

I also had a discussion with Craig about MiMi. I still find her to be a really difficult dog to connect and engage with and she seems really unpredictable at the minute but Craig has said that I can film some footage of her and send it to him and he’ll try and help. I’m hoping to do this relatively soon and see if Craig can assist us remotely and then he’s coming back to the same location in January for another workshop so depending on how it goes with her, and how her behaviour is presenting then, I’m considering taking her. I think it would also be a very nice contract for a workshop too as pretty much every dog I saw today was involved in agility despite Craig never competing in agility himself and seeing how (if?) he can get the same engagement from MiMi and if it will help her in the wider world.


On a somewhat related note (I promise, roll with it). When I got home today and was looking on facebook, there’s a news report going around of yet another dog that’s died in a hot car as the owners’ went to watch their child’s sports day…. If it’s of interest to anyone, this morning at the workshop, Laufey was in the car for a lot of the day. We set off at 8.30, arrived for 9.30. His was the first session but I also spectated the second so we set off home around 2pm. When Laufey is stationed in the car, first thing in the morning my back windows were open with window guards and he is secured in the boot and my tailgate was locked with a 12inch vent lock. After his first session with Craig, so approx 10.30, I left the boot open fully and put my silver window shades in, still with just the rear windows open as they were. I kept an eye on the temperature, naturally, and when I got in the car to come home, the temperature in the boot was 18C – the same as the outside temperature. The rest of my car was 28C. In the closed car on the way home, with my air con on, the boot heated up to 22.5C and the rest of my car cooled to 26C. This was without my fan on as I didn’t want to push any warmer air to him. Once home, I nipped out again an hour later (sans dog) and the temperature in my closed and locked car had soared to 39C and was 21C outside. PLEASE always be aware of car temperatures. Closed cars heat up super quickly and it really doesn’t take all that much to keep them cool and comfortable but obviously I wouldn’t leave my car wide open, securely locked as it was, on a regular street or car park.

July 6th 2017

Wow it’s been a long time. Life has been seriously hectic and I might blog about it one day but the short story is I’ve got a new job, a new car and picked a poodle breeder. But, what I actually wanted to talk about tonight was inspired by a discussion with a friend who is thinking about raw feeding. She asked what I do for treats and as I’m actually making some tonight and she got me reflecting I thought I’d do a post on it.

Now, these days I’m much less “puritanical” about my raw feeding. I’ve been doing it for nearly three years and would never go back. If you told me you feed half and half I’d still be baffled as to why but a few commercial treats have snuck back into my arsenal. Partly because a dried kibble is so much easier to keep in the car as that emergency just in case and partly because I got to using treats such as the Nature’s Menu ones. Granted the NM ones are very few and far between because they’re so expensive but even so. Alas, I’m getting slightly side tracked. I used mostly dehydrated lung for a long time because it seems to be MiMi’s favourite thing in the world but it started just not cutting for Laufey and I needed to diversify.

I came across this recipe by Eileen over on Eileen and Dogs and thought they looked ideal. I had the silicone pyramid mould everyone is raving about and thought easy, no cut, none crumble, fantastic. That’s where the excitement ended though. Honestly what is canned chicken and where on earth am I going to buy tapioca flour??? So I improvised. They’ve not all been brilliant, in fact I’ve had some terrible examples of batter mixes but my first one actually turned out pretty good.

I used 1 pack of cooked chicken (240g ish), one egg, I think it was 2 cups of plain white flour and about the same of water. They were a hit. I went on to experiment with other recipes, swapping in beef, missing the egg, adding garlic, varying the flour as it didn’t seem to agree with Laufey. It was chaotic. But, I think I’ve settled, roughly, on a recipe.

Tonight’s mix is 400g of cooked chicken, 1 large egg, 1 cup of rice flour and just under 1 cup of water (adjusted to make a smooth, spreadable batter). As Eileen says in her original article, whilst to begin with you want to get the tray perfect and spread all over, once you’ve done it a few times you sort of slop it on and hope for the best so a lot of my pyramids are missing their tops. We don’t really mind and it’s much faster than trying to work out the air bubbles so decapitated pyramids it is.

So, this time the batter was slightly lumpy but significantly better if you cook the meat before you add it to your batter to blend. Also, blend for a long time with breaks for it to lose a little air. I leave it for around 15/20 mins and my treats seem more crunchy and paler than Eileen’s so don’t know how they’d work in a manners minder type toy but they’re fantastic as training treats. Also, they freeze really well. My treat bag of choice is, currently, still the Dicky Bag in it’s round design with the zip. These treats, along with some tiny cheese cubes, live in my bag in the fridge but the rest of them get put in a ziplock bag and go in the freezer. They don’t stick together and you can just grab them straight out as use as required. Handy for making in bulk when I get chance.

So, what else do I want to try in my treats? Well I got some ostrich that was cooked (I thought it was raw) and I put in the dehydrator but left it too long. I’m hoping to rehydrate that and try my pyramids in ostrich. I’ll likely do beef again now that I have more of an idea of proportions so it’s not as lumpy and I’d like to try pork. Laufey’s pretty easy and will eat anything but I’ve found the key to his attention is to keep changing it up and now we’re part of a trick class and doing trick demos, attention is definitely needed. But more on that at a later date. Right now, I need to go finish storing these treats and take dog food out for tomorrow. If you try the treats, or have any more recipe ideas for me to try let me know!

HST “Ladyhood” training vest

I figured since I’ve had this nearly a year now and use it all the time I should probably write an actual review about it.

Image taken from the HST website and it is at its heart a working dog vest – HST provide equipment for IPO training in all parts; obedience, tracking and schutzhund.

Vest vest comes in multiple colours, all of a black base with either white or red or they have neon options (on a separate listing) of green and pink. It is €65 or, having a quick look on their American website $104 USD, and was a christmas present last year when I was looking for a training vest.

I love this vest mostly for the large pockets. All on the outside of the vest, there are two front ones and two back ones which are perfect for separating out your stuff. Generally, the back left holds a spare lead and tissues, back right toy rewards, front left treats and front right has a fixed ring inside it to clip things too which I clip a poo bag holder too. Downside to the pockets is that there’s only those four so zipped, safe pocket for you phone or keys etc. and whilst you can obviously use the big pockets to hold these things, they will get wet in the rain.

Being fleece lined, the vest is very warm which is fantastic in the winter but less so if you want to do an active sport in it like agility (seriously, I can’t training agility in the vest as I melt!) or if it’s the middle of summer. Being in the UK our summers really can’t too bad if you ignore the heat wave! but not suited to the really hot days. I don’t use the drawstring on the hood but the string around the waist is great, the vest was slightly too big when I got it and I’ve lost weight this year but have been able to pull it is so it doesn’t just bulk out and get in the way.

If you’re looking for a training vest and don’t live somewhere really hot, I would recommend checking this out. If you do live somewhere on the warmer side, they do a similar product (the pockets, drawstrings, hood) but cotton lined which looks to be the same base product but I cannot confirm this. Really, the only way they could improve it would be a safe pocket.