Puppy Socialisation

Angus is now 15 weeks old and since the socialisation period ends roughly between 12-16 weeks we have been super busy making sure he gets plenty of positive socialisation experiences with plenty of time to rest in between.

He is doing really well and I’m so pleased that he has such a happy, confident and cheeky character. He does have the odd shy or unsure moment but I feel that for such a sensitive breed he is doing super!

I thought I would include some of the socialisation work we’ve been doing to give ideas for any other puppy owners out there.  And if you don’t need any ideas then I hope you enjoy the photos and videos of a pretty cute pup (even if I do say so myself!).

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How cute are the pair of them in their coats 😊 #raindoesntstopus #bordercollie #roughcollie #puppy

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We have been having so much fun raising and socialising a puppy right from the start and look forward to many more fun and positive outings with him 😀


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Introducing Angus .. finally!

We brought Angus home on Wednesday 8th March so I’m a bit late getting around to this! But between getting him settled, getting into a new routine (3 feeds a day, so many toilet trips and late nights/early mornings) and recovering from my daytrip to crufts (up at 4.30am after 3 hours sleep and back home at 8.30pm – was excellent but I was wrecked!) I finally feel able to write about him!

So far Angus has just slotted straight into our family without much hassle and stolen the hearts of all of us even including Bonnie! She loves to play bitey face with her little bro and she is doing really well with him. We are very proud of her as she is learning to share her space with him and this is the nervous, under socialised, resource guarder who is teaching him bite inhibition, body language and play. Don’t get me wrong she still has the odd moment of resource guarding that is a bit OTT, we manage all feeding, and she sometimes gets overstimulated but she is doing well and is easy to redirect –  we are not scolding her in anyway as we do not want to potentially create negative associations with Angus.

Angus’ training and socialisation is going really well. He is very steady and copes well with most situations so far, the things we most need to work on in terms of socialisation is passing cars, baths and sudden noises away from home. He is a smart pup that is doing really well with positive reinforcement training and is currently in the process of learning auto-attention (look into my eyes for attention/food etc), sit, down, stand, touch, rollover, recall, loose lead walking, pee on cue (piddle), go into his pen, go into house from garden and a basic fetch for fun. His house training is going well enough I think – he has only had one poop accident the first evening, 2 have been on the grass potty tray and others have been outside. The pee on the other hand is going slightly worse with more accidents but is improving as we know his routine better, I would say we have a success rate of about 80% with the pee which isn’t the worst I guess.

Smart pup #recall #puppy #roughcollie #roughcolliepuppy #positivereinforcement

A post shared by Angus and Bonnie (@angus_and_bonnie_collies_ni) on

He is such a lovely pup with a lovely character and personality. I am honestly so pleased we brought him home. It has been a huge adjustment and change of routine for us but he has slotted right in like he has always been part of the family and I love him so much already. He is growing like a weed and is noticeably bigger than since we got him so although I look forward to when his bladder is bigger I’m going to appreciate how cute and dinky he is for now!


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Our Future Family Member!

For those of you who don’t follow our social media you might have missed out that we had finally met our special puppy to add to our family. He is a tri colour rough collie puppy that was born on Friday 13th (unlucky for some but not for us!) and will be joining us in just over 2 weeks time and we couldn’t be more excited!

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Caring mum entrusting her little pup with me
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Content wee pup and delighted me!
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Think he will be happy enough with us 🙂

We are very lucky to have found such a wonderful breeder as we only wanted to support a reputable breeder that would carry out health tests, raise pups in the house and so on. While visiting we met both parents who were absolutely lovely and had wonderful temperaments. We have received weekly updates since his birth and have loved seeing him grow up and change week on week.

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5 weeks old and so adorable!
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It’s tiring work being this cute!

His registered name will be Caronlea Dark and Stormy and we’re pretty much set on Angus as his normal name. We though it quite fitting as it matches the rough collie Scottish heritage and because Bonnie’s name is Scottish in origin too. I genuinely feel so lucky to be adding such a lovely pup from such a good background to our family and can’t wait to start this next chapter in our lives!


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Smithvale Dog Centre Visit

We finally booked a session at Smithvale Dog Centre for today and it was amazing! I’ve been here before to help with classes and behavioural sessions but this was the first time me and my partner had been here with Bonnie and it was so much fun! She really enjoyed having the enclosed area to run about freely and was super at the obstacles, even the ones she hadn’t tried before!

I was so proud of her as not only was she great at learning how to do the obstacles but I was also able to use a tennis ball and her tug as both a lure and reward for her. This is a huge deal for us as she came to us not knowing how to play tug and was wary of taking anything from our hands so for her to enjoy it so much is amazing. I always hoped for a tug obsessed dog and she’s slowly getting there – dragging her around with her firmly clamped down on the tug is the funnest thing ever especially considering how gingerly she used to be with her mouth!

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Taggart’s Famous Liver Cake Review

I’m really excited to share one of our favourite treats and a secret weapon for high distraction training! Taggart’s Famous Liver Cake is made locally in Ballymena Northern Ireland from an innovative dog owner who practises reward based training and wanted to create a natural, healthy and high quality treat. I love that it is made locally and by a dog owner with similar ideals as regular readers will know I love to train using positive reinforcement and I’m always coming up with new things to work on with Bonnie.

The liver cake comes in 2 varieties;

  • Treat sized bag – cut into small chunks ready for training
  • Pre-sliced 1kg loaf

Both varieties are meant to be stored in the freezer until ready to defrost for use. It’s hard to miss their lovely branded freezers in store! As we like to do a lot of training with Bonnie we always have a loaf stocked in our freezer. Their products are stocked in independent pet shops and stockists can be found here.

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We defrost slices in the fridge and then they can be used for up to 5 days after defrosting so is really convenient. My absolute favourite part of the loaf is once it’s defrosted it is so easy to cut up into whatever size of treats you want to use whether you want larger or smaller pieces. It’s also really easy to break up by hand when you’re on the go so really is a versatile treat!

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To sum up the Taggart’s Famous Liver Cake range;

Positives

  • Healthy treat with good, real ingredients with no cheap junk fillers, additives or preservatives
  • High value treat – Bonnie loves it even in high distraction training scenarios
  • Soft texture which is easy for dogs to eat – great for rapid rewarding and repetitive training such as clicker training as less time is spent chewing
  • Get a lot of treats per loaf
  • Easy to cut and break into whatever size training treat you want to use
  • Made locally
  • Reasonably priced

Negatives

  • If you wanted to be picky you could say that it needs defrosted before use but I will just chuck a slice into the fridge the day before a big trip out

Overall I cannot fault the product, both me and Bonnie love it and would highly recommend!

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Taggart’s liver cake? I love that stuff!

Check out their website here and their Facebook page here.

Do you have any favourite dog products made locally? We are very lucky that more and more local dog products and services are popping up regularly and I can’t wait to try more out!


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Tug-E-Nuff Dog Toys Competition

I thought I would share this awesome competition with you – enter for a chance to win over £500 worth of dog toys! We love Tug-E-Nuff dog toys so it would be great to win as we could choose a select few to keep then donate the rest to local rescues for the dogs to enjoy while waiting for their new homes.

If you want to enter using my referral link then please enter through this link. This means I will get extra entries for the competition if you enter through the above link.

If you want to enter without using the referral link then please enter by clicking the link from the Tug-E-Nuff Facebook post below.

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I would definitely recommend checking out their products as we have a few of their toys that we love!


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Bonnie and Water

As many other dog owners can probably relate Bonnie hates getting bathed but she loves to have a little swim in rivers and streams. She also doesn’t care at all about rain no matter how heavy it is!

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Drowned rat – please let me out already!
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Little paddle in the river

But one thing Bonnie has always had an issue with is the sea. The sight and sound of waves (especially noisy crashing waves on a windy day) would absolutely drive her mad. She would lunge, whine, bark and we couldn’t get her attention whatsoever! I had always envisioned taking my dog to the beach way back before we adopted Bonnie so I was quite disheartened.

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First beach outing was a total disaster – was our fault as we had her only about 2 weeks here and hadn’t a clue

We went to the beach maybe 3 times in the first year with her before we had all but given up hope. Instead we concentrated on getting her confident and focused in other scenarios and in the past several months it has really started to pay dividends especially as my own learning has progressed and skills improved.

Back in September on our trip to Portrush it was the first time she had been to a beach in ages, and if you have read that post you’ll remember how she embarrassed me on that beach! But hey at least I was able to get her back, I don’t think there would’ve been a chance earlier on in our training.

Since then though we have been going from strength to strength and have had 2 really successful beach trips – one in November and one at the start of this month. I uploaded the video below to our Facebook page showing the before (October 2015 and before we really hit our groove with training) and the after (November 16)

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Bonnie – a beach dog after all?

Our recent beach trip was the best yet and I was so so proud of her. She was able to be off lead without chasing the waves, chasing the other dogs and their balls or running away. She was able to focus, play with her ball and even stopped when I called her name as she was thinking of chasing the other dog. Also just before the video starts she was enthusiastically chewing on a bit of seaweed which I was able to get her to drop without any force and also could pick up her ball while she was playing with it to continue our play – these successes mean a lot to us as she used to resource guard food and toys, so lots of wins for us!

I really am so pleased with how well Bonnie is doing these days and I’m glad our hard work is paying off!

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As long as you’re by my side ❤

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Puppy Prep

As some of you guys may or may not know we are planning on adding a puppy to our family this year! I am very excited and have been preparing for sometime now so that when we find the right puppy we will be fully prepared for bringing it home. When we re-homed Bonnie we had so much to do and so much to buy in such a short time that it was quite stressful so we want to do things a little bit differently this time!

As you all know I love dog behaviour and training so I have been “swotting up” on puppy raising. I’ve been reading Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed : The Puppy Program and so far I love it, it’s so informative and really makes you think about your interactions with your dog. Although I’ve gleaned loads from it already I still have the majority of it left to read – it’s difficult to read a lot in one sitting as it’s so much information to take in at once and it really makes you stop and think, it will definitely be one I keep going back to and refer to! On Youtube I have also been revisiting videos from Kikopup, Zak George and Pam’s Dog Academy.

Regarding training and socialisation we intend to take the puppy to puppy classes and we are very lucky to know several excellent trainers in the nearby area so we have our pick of the best! We will also do our own training and socialisation ourselves so the puppy gets used to different people, animals, environments, sounds, surfaces, handling and so on. We will most likely keep track of our socialisation efforts to ensure we are doing all we can to help the puppy be a confident and outgoing dog. Here are 2 checklists that cover in great detail what type of socialisation can be done – Sophia Yin’s checklist,  K9 Fun Club’s checklist (hands up who else has an unhealthy obsession with To Do lists / checklists? :D)

We have already set up the puppy’s crate and play pen as well as a baby gate between the living room and the kitchen. This allowed Bonnie to get used to those items and that she can’t invade the puppy’s safe space of the play pen.

What is this thing? It’s in my way!

We still have to add a blanket to cover the crate and extra bedding and blankets to make it super cosy. As the puppy grows we can expand the pen with 2 extra panels and then it will graduate to free roaming in the kitchen where we will use the pen panels to protect the kitchen cabinets and back door. The ideal goal is for the 2 dogs to eventually have full run of the ground floor while we are out but we will take the introductions slowly as we do not want any fighting over toys, food, beds etc.

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Ooo are those toys for me?

I have been scouring online and local shops to find the best deals for all the puppy toys I have bought. This is by no means a list of necessary products and some people may think this is excessive whereas others may think it’s no where near enough for a teething puppy that will destroy things but this is what we have got so far. We will adjust expectations once the pup comes home and we learn more about their toy preferences and chewing habits. I wanted to buy a few different varieties as Bonnie came to us not really knowing how to play with toys so I don’t want the puppy to miss out on that experience while young.

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Chew toys and interactive feeders (Kong jump n jack not pictured)
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Interactive toys for tug / fetch / supervised play
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Snuggly toys and rope toys

I think we are well covered but we will probably buy some more puppy safe chews for teaching the pup to be happy on its own. Does anyone have any good puppy chew recommendations?

As well as toys we have a few accessories bought in but we still need a collar, harness and tags for the collar.

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Hunter bowls for food and water – I love their designs!
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Halti multi function lead and a tiny little jumper to get them used to wearing clothing
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Carrier bag for breaks during longer walks and socialisation (think it may be too small though) and a soft sided brush for getting used to grooming

And finally we have decided to go with Orijen puppy food as although we feed Bonnie a raw diet it is more convenient for us to use this while the puppy is growing. It will make it easier to divide their meals for training purposes and also when we are at the office and a family member or dog walker visits the pup it will be easier for them to feed kibble than raw. The pup will still get introduced to raw bones and treats and then transitioned to raw when it is older.

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Bonnie giving it the old sniff

No doubt I’m missing something critical but that’s our preparations for now! Do you have any must have puppy products, something you couldn’t live without in that needle teeth stage? Or any general puppy tips? I’d love to hear all your experiences raising puppies!


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2017 is here!

Hope you all had a lovely holiday period and we wish you and your family all the best in 2017.

We had a peaceful and quiet break which we mostly spent catching up on bits around the house and taking it easy. Bonnie enjoyed the fuss of Christmas presents as well as walkies, treats and naps!

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The snake was a clear winner from her gifts
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Hazelbank at the shore
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Fun and games at Hazelbank
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Our feathered friend
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Brown’s bay beach

Even the degus joined in on the festivities and had their Christmas hazelnut treat!

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For the new year I’m not one to make resolutions but I do like to set some general goals and also find it fun to look back on what I thought my priorities were in previous years and see how that has changed or if it has stayed relevant. So in no particular order here are my goals for 2017;

  • Continue training and socialisation with Bonnie
  • Continue learning about dog behaviour and training through self learning and possibly attend any local lectures, seminars etc
  • Add a pup to our family and raise it to the best of our ability
  • Be more adventurous – visit new places, try new foods, recipes and restaurants rather than sticking to old familiar, try new things in general
  • Live a healthier life – more water, veg, fruit and exercise, less processed and junk food

Do you have any goals or ambitions for this year? No matter what hope 2017 treats you well!

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Bonnie preparing herself for the adventure filled year ahead!

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Wishlist – dark & dreary dog walking accessories

It’s been a few months since my last wishlist post  so I thought we were due another one. Since today is the shortest day of the year for us in the northern hemisphere I thought I would share some accessories that might make those dark and dreary dog walks a bit more safe, fun and bearable until we start getting longer days and better weather!

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First up is some reflective gear to help your dog be safe and seen in those morning and evening walks!

1. Chuckit Max Glow Pro Ball Launcher with Glow in the dark Ball – Perfect for those ball crazy dogs so you don’t have to stop your play in the dark! We are always impressed by the quality of Chuckit toys so no doubt this would be great too!

2. Hurtta Lifeguard Dazzle Harness and Hurtta Lifeguard Leash – If you walk a lot in dark conditions a reflective harness and lead set like this is great for making sure you can be seen. We have the training rope lead from Hurtta which we love (we reviewed it here) – it’s super sturdy, comfortable and reflective so I would highly recommend their products!

3.  Nite-Glo LED Collar & Safety-Dog Reflective Dog Vest – LED collars and safety vests are a great and simple way of helping to stay safe!

 

 

Make the best of the bad weather with this gear!

4. Kerbl Raincoat  – This raincoat would be perfect for long haired dogs like rough collies that take forever to dry or for those really yucky days. Sometimes a lead walk just isn’t enough and a good romp around off lead is needed, when its wet and mucky out the last thing I want to do is give Bonnie a full bath and groom afterwards so this would be perfect to keep the worst of the dirt off of her!

5.Ancol Muddy Paws Jumper – For going into town or on lead walks on damp days where the “jumpsuit” might be a bit overkill, Bonnie would suit a lovely little jumper like this – of course in pink to match all her other things! She does have a few jumpers already but as they are Halloween and Christmas themed it would be nice to have a more generic jumper and it can also be used while the others are drying out.

6. Dog Drying Coat – This coat would be so handy for those days you get caught unprepared by the rain or even after a bath so Bonnie could lounge about and relax while drying rather than being subjected to a long and drawn out affair with the towel since we can never seem to get her fully dry when she’s got soaked!

Do you have any “must have” products to get you through those dark, damp and less than ideal walks?


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