Hello Again!

Needless to say this blog had taken a bit of a back seat but I’m going to do my best to get back to blogging with a focus on the reasons why I started this blog. I want to share more about local products, places, services and events as well as sharing training progress and tips.

So thought I would share a little catch up with what’s happening. Lots of exciting stuff and I hope to share some of the upcoming events and news with you guys.

Angus will be 6 months tomorrow on the 13th July and he has gone from a little cute pup to a handsome teenage doggy.

He attended his first dog show in May and although he didn’t compete, we met up with his father, it was so lovely to see him again.

Bonnie is getting on great, she has really taken on the big sis role and loves to play with Angus.

I’ve been helping out at dog and puppy training classes recently and even got to help teach a class with another assistant while the trainer was away at the IMDT conference.

I will be attending a Suzanne Clothier Seminar on 15th July. The seminar covers Relationship Centred Training and also Enriched Puppy Protocol. I’m super excited for a day of learning and can’t wait to see what new info and ideas I will take away from the seminar.

I will be taking a Practical Dog Training course with the same tutors that held the previous training course I completed. This is a 4 week course and will involve practical training with a local animal rescue centre’s dogs. I’m looking forward to gaining more experience with working with other dogs and it will be nice for the rescue dogs to get some extra enrichment and training too.

In August I will be attending a Tellington TTouch Workshop held by Jetta Reis. It will be really interesting to see the techniques and how I can apply them to my own dogs.

I am also doing the couch to 5k program as I entered the Waggy Races which is a 5k race where you run with your dog. I’ve entered with Bonnie and I’m hoping I can progress enough to jog the full 5k but we will see how my training goes!

Lots of exciting stuff ahead so hopefully I can share these with you guys!


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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

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

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

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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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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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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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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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It’s been a while!

That was a bit of an unintended break to say the least! Rather than explain away my absence with excuses I thought I would post a little catch up and hopefully start posting more regularly again as I have missed posting as well as all the blogs I follow. Last time I was talking to you all it was Halloween and Bonnie’s 2nd gotcha day. Now it is the middle of December (where has this year gone?!) and this is a bit of what we’ve been up to;

Bonnie is still healthy, happy and generally loving life as usual! She is a big girl now and has free roam of the living room while we are out instead of being in her play pen – no accidents or destruction (yet anyway – fingers crossed!).

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Her wee cosy area – her play pen now protects the Christmas tree xD

We got her titre tested this year and her results came back positive and strong positive so she didn’t need any boosters.

We went on Holiday to Berlin for a week which was great and I really enjoyed myself – it was my first time abroad out of the UK so was very interesting! I might share some more photos at a later point. It was the longest we’d been away from our pets and I had really missed them all by the end of our trip so our next holiday will probably be a dog friendly place close to home so Bonnie can join in!
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We have started thinking about adding a second dog (a puppy) to our family! We have starting buying in a few things for a pup and we had gone to see Newt a 13 week old Border Collie at Dogs Trust but the timing isn’t quite right for us yet. We will continue to slowly buy in things for a puppy and get Bonnie used to the new items such as a baby gate, puppy’s play pen, toys etc and keep on the lookout for border collie pups in rescue centres with the aim of adopting sometime next year, most likely the first half of the year.

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Lovely Newt but unfortunately it wasn’t quite right for us

Before we had gone on holiday we had seen a lone degu with cataracts in our local Pets at Home adoption centre who was very sweet and we were totally smitten. Unfortunately as we were going on holiday we didn’t want to take her and then leave my partner’s mum with another degu to take care of while we were away. So we talked with a member of staff who said she would try to discourage people so as to keep her for when we got back, unfortunately for us but fortunately for the degu she was rehomed while we were away. Since then we have been looking out for a special lone degu to rehome and today we added Kimchi to our family! He is a total sweetie and I will probably post more about him soon when he is more settled but I love him already!

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He’s a confident little one ❤

The dog behaviour class finished up last week, all the assignments have been handed in and now I am eagerly awaiting my results! I have also been sporadically helping out at the dog classes and behavioural visits too when I can. I had my first scare working with dogs – a nervous dog snapped at my hand fortunately resulting in no damage except a slightly bruised ego but an important lesson learned!

Just as an end note is anyone else as unprepared for Christmas as us?! The only presents I have bought is the office's secret Santa gift and things for Bonnie xD


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Bonnie’s 2nd Gotcha Day!

On Monday we celebrated Bonnie being with us for 2 years! Although she was probably just under a year when we brought her home, for convenience sake we will say she is 3 years old now. We didn’t do anything extravagant to celebrate or buy loads of stuff for her as she had already been spoiled earlier in the year so we kept our celebration pretty simple. Apologies in advance for the photo quality but my camera seemed to be a bit foggy in some photos for some reason!

We started the morning with extra cuddles in bed then as an after breakfast snack Bonnie got to share some of my yoghurt – she loves yoghurt and blueberries so she really enjoyed this one!

I love that ear of hers! Also love how cute she is when begging contrasted with her looking so silly smushing her nose while licking out the yoghurt.

As we had to wait in the house for her raw food delivery we played about in the garden with the flirt pole and the Christmas rooster stuffy that she loves so much.

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Afterwards she proudly carried her catch into the house where she proceeded to de-stuff it!

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I didn’t do anything I swear!
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All that chasing and destuffing makes a dog tired!

After a nap she got her new Kong Squeezz Jel toy (which was recommended to me I believe by Liezel’s owner over at Owning a dog with anxiety) and had a ton of fun playing with it. The squeaker did stop working only a few hours afterwards which was slightly disappointing, although she still loves it and we can watch TV in peace so I guess that’s a win!

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Oooo what’s this?
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Ahhh I love it!

Soon after finally her Nutriment raw food package was delivered! This will keep her going  for quite some time!

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Poser!
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Sniffing all around the tasty food!

After packing away all the food we were finally able to go on our walk up the glen. It was pretty quiet out, we didn’t run into too many people and no dogs bothered us so it was a great and stress free walk 🙂
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The rest of the day was filled with cuddles and treats as we stayed indoors to keep away from the fireworks. She even dropped me off and picked me up at my class so she wouldn’t have to be home alone with fireworks or trick or treaters.
Overall we had such a lovely day filled with simple pleasures 🙂 I am so glad that we decided to bring Bonnie into our family as she has completely changed our life. Here’s hoping to many many more years together ❤

For last years celebrations check out our blog post and also this album of photos from the first year of Bonnie’s life with us on Facebook (looking back on them makes me a wee bit emotional!). I’ll hopefully get around to creating an albums of highlights from her second year with us as it’s so nice to look back on 🙂


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Week in review – nearly 2 years!

Tomorrow, on Halloween day, will mark 2 years since we first brought Bonnie home! It’s unbelievable to think how this little collie has changed and influenced my life ❤

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This week was fairly uneventful except for the many fireworks let off! Thankfully Bonnie was not bothered by 95% of them and only barked at the loudest ones after being bombarded by them most of Saturday evening.

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Not amused after having a bath – she was covered head to toe in mud but we didn’t get a before photo!
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Make sure you haven’t missed any spots!

On Wednesday we were disappointed in the result of the Great British Bake Off final as we were rooting for Andrew – he’s from Northern Ireland too and such a fab baker.

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Bonnie was prepared for the bake off final – well as chief crumb cleaner at least!

With the fireworks and general festivities this week we didn’t have too many exciting walks to avoid putting Bonnie into any situations she couldn’t cope with but we did manage to get a nice trip out to Hazelbank park today for a good run around!

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It’s such a beautiful park especially with all the autumn foliage but it is slightly ruined by out of control off-lead dogs. I wish their owners would respect others’ space, I just don’t understand how they can’t see that their dog is a problem when it won’t recall – if you don’t have a good recall use a long line! I used to be afraid of dogs and remember the feeling so well that I would never want anyone to be afraid or wary of my dog’s actions whether they are an adult, child, runner, cyclist, a reactive dog owner etc.

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Off lead fun – dragging a long line just in case
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Lift off!
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Incoming!
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We love practising recalls 😀

We tried being artsy and getting some photos of Bonnie on this fallen tree trunk but it didn’t work out so well and I somehow ended up standing in poo of god knows what type of animal xD
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I spent another Saturday with the dog trainer and really enjoyed it again – I’m learning so much! I also had my first experience of holding onto a large breed while it tried pulling and lunging – thankfully I was able to hold my ground! I’ve only ever walked small – medium dogs before so I was very proud of myself xD

I’ll end this post with a very typical looking nail cutting scenario – note the packet of ham, phone used as a torch (black nails are the worst!) and plenty of belly rubs along the way!

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Hurry up and give me the ham!

I hope you all had a safe Halloween weekend and that your pets weren’t too disturbed by all the commotion.


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