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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Kimchi – newest degu in the family!

Today has marked a week since we brought Kimchi home from the Lisburn Pets at Home adoption section and I am so pleased to have brought him home. He is such a gorgeous degu with the funniest little personality. He was brave and adventurous as soon as he arrived.

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No fear at all and loves his grub!
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The other 3 boys were certainly interested in what was happening – how dare this newcomer come into their territory! xD

I thought I’d be a little sad and document all his “firsts” with us.

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First taste of herbs – he’s definitely a fan!
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First sandbath
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First crock – needless to say he loves them!
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First chill out on his homemade hammock

I have been having so much fun getting to know him and he certainly seems to enjoy getting to know us too, he’s an outgoing degu to say the least!

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I’ll just sit here while you weigh my food out
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Selfie time!
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My wee parrot on my shoulder
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We had an escape – like I said, he sure is adventurous!

And not to leave out the other 3 boys they are still doing well and getting on great!

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Curious little faces
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I wouldn’t be getting in you way of cleaning would I? xD

I’m so glad we brought our original degus home back in March 2014 as since then we now have had 5 degus and all of them have their own personalities and bring so much joy to our everyday life with their cuteness and silly antics ❤


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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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Week in review – same old!

I have a bit of time between work and my dog behaviour class so thought I would throw out a very brief week in review post! This week was very much a case of same old, same old. Bonnie is getting on well, the degus are well, work and the course is going well. I shadowed the dog trainer for another Saturday which was just as interesting as last weeks and I’m loving absorbing all of the information!

The weather has got very chilly suddenly and it feels like winter is just around the corner. This time next week (on Halloween day) we will be celebrating Bonnie being with us for 2 years which is very exciting! Hopefully I’ll get a few more regular posts up about her gotcha day celebrations. We are usually more active on social media as it’s much quicker than writing a post so check out our links below if you’re interested in keeping up with Bonnie’s adventures! We didn’t take many photos this week but here are some of my favourites 🙂

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I love belly rubs!
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More belly rubs please!
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Rare photo of all three at once! Love little Azoth posing for the camera ❤
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Bonnie wrapped up in the cold weather behaving lovely
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Stopping to “smell the roses”
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Those cold autumn walks sure do take it out of her!
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Sleepy little tongue sticking out ❤

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Our Degu Family

It’s been a while since I last posted about our little degu family so thought I would share some photos and something a bit different from dog training as it seems that’s all I can talk about at the moment!

Abel and the babies are still getting along brilliantly although they are definitely not babies anymore! I just can’t get out of the habit of calling them the babies haha. Abel and Azoth seem to be best buddies but they all get along great and I love sneaking in and seeing them all cuddled before they run to their cage door expecting their food!

The babies have definitely come out of their shells from when we first brought them home and they have such lovely little personalities. Durzo is very sweet and shy, Azoth is more confident and is very smart.

The babies coats have become so lovely too as they have grown, they are an agouti piebald colour and have white at the ends of their tails too. I think they are adorable although I love all degu colours! I hope in future to again have another full agouti degu like our Cain was. It’s been around 10 months since we lost Cain and it still hurts to think about him – he really was a special little man who was full of personality and charm and always made us laugh at his antics.

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Cain in his better days ❤

I am definitely glad we got Abel his two new brothers and that he is still healthy and happy. Abel is roughly 3 years old now and as you can see he is definitely the tamest of our degus and he especially loves his dad.

And because you all know I like a bit of training and enrichment for our pets here are our degus in training to push their little trolley/shopping cart.

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Aren’t they adorable, I love our little degu boys ❤


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Big Pet Product Haul!

Yesterday was like Christmas come early as all the packages arrived at the same time! As I was opening all the packages I kinda thought to myself ummm how much did I buy?! It was super exciting though as we haven’t done any large purchases for the pets in quite a while so it feels good to be able to spoil them every once in a while 🙂

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This was the point of realisation of how much I bought –  oh dear! xD

I’m just going to show what I ordered and not give any in-depth opinions on the items right now as I haven’t been able to use all of them or test them out properly, so I want to wait a while to be able to give a fair review in future once I’ve thoroughly tested them out. I’ll also leave the links of where I bought them in case you’re interested in trying out any items (All non affiliate links).

First of all here are the items from Amazon!

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Toys and treats!

We got a bunch of new toys and treats as well as getting some more kongs for our collection. From left to right we got;

PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug – Medium/Large

KONG Classic Dog Toy – Large, Red

Thrive ProReward Chicken Treats for Dogs – 500g MaxiTube

Nylabone Dura Chew Hollow Stick, Wolf

Pet Munchies 100 Percent Natural Duck Fillet, 80 g (Pack of 8)

Pet Munchies Liver and Chicken Training Treat 50g, Pack of 8

Sanzang Outdoor Interactive Dog Toys Extendable Flirt Pole (L, Blue)

At first look the treats  seem to be high quality, good value for money and should last us some time.  We have tried the duck fillets before and highly rate them but the other two treats will be a first for us. The Tug-a-Jug seems quite interesting so I will update with how Bonnie gets on with it. I don’t know how Bonnie will react to the flirt pole so again I’ll let you guys know in a future update.

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Eyeing up her new toy 🙂

I forgot to include in the above picture but we also got this Kong Traxx Dog Toy Medium/Large . She has already had a little play with this and seems to enjoy it so far, she seems quite intrigued by it when we roll it along the floor for her.

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Canine conditioning equipment

I ordered these two items as I wanted to start doing some body conditioning work with Bonnie – first of all as another fun way of bonding and building confidence through training and also to help increase her overall fitness, core strength and balance. I thought this would help reduce Bonnie’s chance of injury as we start our agility training together because I am a total amateur! We will slowly work these into our routine.

ResultSport® Balance Pods with Pump

66fit Wooden Wobble Balance Board 50cm

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Degu goodies

I couldn’t leave out the degus so I ordered them some new bedding, new food as we want to switch them from their current food (Pets At Home brand), 3 woven balls for their play pen and a cat treat ball as it’s a perfect size for the degus.

Beeztees Plastic Cat Treat Ball

Kerbl Hemp Rodent Mat, 40 x 100

Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Degu 1.5 kg

Rosewood Boredom Breaker Small Animal Activity Toy Trio of Fun Balls, Medium

Finally I ordered the following two items from Camddwr Canine.

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Hiking gear – for me and the Bonnie

I’m probably most excited about these items, I seriously can’t wait to try these out on our walks and build our way up to a full hiking day out! I will be building up Bonnie’s tolerance to the harness and the bags slowly as it is so different to what she is used to and it will take a while to build up her ability to carry extra weight. We had a little try on session and she didn’t seem to mind it too much which is promising! I’m really excited to try out the hiking belt so I can keep my hands free while out on our walks and it will be perfect for if we start canicross, bikejoring etc together (I’d really love to do the Couch to 5k program with Bonnie – just need to get off my butt and do it!)

Hurtta Outdoor Hiker Belt

RuffWear Palisades Backpack – Small

I can’t wait to try out all these items and do some updates and reviews later. If there are any reviews you definitely want me to do let me know in the comments!


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Degu Updates

I just wanted to share the good news that the degus are finally integrated! They have been living together now for a month since their first “sleepover” on Sunday 27th March.

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Degu piles finally 😀

In the last degu post I mentioned how the intros weren’t off to the best of starts but we persevered. We spent about a hour each day before bedtime (degus are diurnal so most active at dawn and dusk) doing intros. We started with having them separated by one of the panels of the run and feeding them near each other to hopefully create positive associations for Abel being near the babies .

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Baby degus = food for Abel

After a few times doing that he wasn’t making any aggressive gestures through the bars so we decided to take the barrier away and let them interact in a fairly empty run. We took out most things to avoid guarding or if they fought so they wouldn’t get stuck in any enclosed spaces making it difficult to intervene.

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Note the towel for emergency interventions – degu bites are painful!

We did this process (separated in the run until settled, swapping the sand baths then removing the barrier) for another while  as we were set back a few times by fighting which got slightly heated but nothing too viscous. They were able to eat hay together and forage for herbs without any fighting which was a positive sign. After that we were able to swap the sand baths in their cages and plop them straight into the run together with no issues.

They were getting there but we still had some preparations to do before we could put them in the same cage together. First we had to start introducing more “furniture” into the pen such as their wheel and tunnels etc so they could get used to sharing with each other. We also started feeding them their meals in the pen to see how they would react. They had a few warbles and shoving over their food bowls but otherwise they were happy to share their wheel and did lots of grooming.

The final step of the intros was to get them used to being in the big cage together which took another bit of time as we did only short periods to begin with and increasing the duration. They had a few scuffles to begin with as they had to establish their “hierarchy” again in a new area but they eventually were able to tolerate each other longer and longer each time. Finally on that Sunday night they were so settled in the cage and after we got ready for bed we decided to leave them in overnight and they have been a little degu pack since 🙂

I am so pleased with them, they are all so settled and it really was worth all the effort and time we put in. They all seem much happier now together, the babies aren’t as nervous and Abel has stopped accepting rubs from us, which was really bittersweet but it means that he actually was crying out for company and now he’s happy with his little adopted goo brothers. I really do love the little critters, they are family to us 🙂


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Newest Additions to the Family

So thought it was about time that I shared one of the reasons we have been so busy recently!

As some of you may know from the post Bonnie’s on a Lucky Streak we had two degus, Cain and Abel, at that time. Unfortunately we lost Cain at the start of December which was a huge heartbreak and really dampened the Christmas period for us.

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One of the last photos of Cain & Abel together, cuddling on the snugglesafe

As degus are social animals and do best in groups or pairs we spent a lot of time debating whether we could handle the heartbreak of getting more degus after losing Cain. After all Abel seemed to be getting on well by himself and even starting accepting rubs, something which has never happened before (see cute video below)

But we decided it was unfair to not give him the best life we can and that means some company of his own species as we can’t be giving him rubs all day, although I wish! We started looking for young male degus to intro to him, the younger the better as it’s usually easier to introduce babies rather than adolescents. As some people may not know degus are territorial and fight for “dominance” and so therefore you can’t just stick degus together in a cage as they will most definitely fight and some fights lead to death (even in bonded pairs) so that’s why intros are a necessary and sometimes lengthy process.

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Bringing the babies home – 15th January

We came across some baby degus on gumtree near us and decided to check them out. The poor babies had no hay in their cage, were eating tesco value guinea pig food and were in a smokey house (nothing against smokers if they smoke outside away from pets). There were just two boys and we knew we had to take them away from that environment and give them the best care and life.

We had been thinking of names for a while but decided to go for Azoth and Durzo as the Night Angel trilogy from Brent Weeks is probably my favourite book series. We set them up in the old Thicket’s cage and the first few days they were soo skittish and a bit lethargic it was a bit worrying. But they eventually came around and now they have such lovely personalities, don’t tell Durzo but Azoth is my favourite!

The introductions haven’t been the greatest of successes so far, Abel seems to be a bit reluctant to accept them. I think he’s been spoiled over the month that Cain hasn’t been with him that he’s a bit reluctant to share again. He was the lower status in the group with Cain so maybe he’s happy not being the bottom of the degu pile being by himself.

Regardless we will keep trying the introduction process (swapping cages, sharing scents, supervised play time etc) and see how its goes in future. At the very least he will have some company of his own species nearby and also we are so happy to have brought the babies home as they are just lovely little critters. I think I will always have degus throughout my life as they have the best personalities!

So between the intros, caring for the degus & Bonnie and both of us starting new jobs recently we have been kept busy! I have enjoyed keeping up with all the blogs I follow but hoping to do some more regular posting, commenting etc so here’s hoping I can stick to it!

 


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