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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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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Interactive Dog Feeders

Bonnie has a habit of gulping her food down if we put it into a bowl so a few days after we brought her home we have completely ditched feeding from a bowl. Instead we use her breakfast and dinner kibble for either training sessions or put it in an interactive feeder. This has helped with her gobbling her food, gives a great mental workout as she is excited to work for her food and means we can fit training into our daily routine. I do use high value treats for outside training and more distracting/difficult training in general but inside in the living room she is still content to train with kibble.

Bonnie waiting impatiently to receive her peanut butter and kibble kong
Stop taking photos and give me it already!

Bonnie currently has three interactive feeders: Kong original, Kong Wobbler and the Nina Ottisson Brick.

Bonnie enjoying her kong on the rug

We use the original Kong to keep her occupied when she is in her crate.  It is really durable and she hasn’t managed to chew any bits off, for any heavy chewers there is also the Kong Extreme. There are loads of recipes out there (check out this UK based Facebook group for inspiration) which I want to try in future but at the moment we mostly use frozen peanut butter and kibble, or kibble and yoghurt. Bonnie is super food motivated so other dogs might not want to work hard for kibble so other high value treats might be more suitable like liver or fish treats etc.

 Kong wobbler filled with kibbleBonnie batting the Kong Wobbler about for her food

We usually use the Kong wobbler at breakfast time. We have the large size and it fits quite a lot of food. The top screws off so makes it super easy to fill and clean. It is made out of strong durable plastic that is very hard for Bonnie to grip onto with her mouth and I feel that it is generally safe for unsupervised play. She really enjoys playing with it and bats it about with her paws and nose to get the food out. The only downside is that it is quite noisy rolling on any floor except carpet and also hitting into walls.

Nina Ottosson Dog Brick food puzzle filled with kibbleNina Ottosson Dog Brick food puzzle filled with kibble and ready to go

We use the Nina Ottisson Brick whenever we can fully supervise as I would be worried she would eat or ingest the small bones or the brick itself as it is plastic. This fits a lower amount of food and is a bit more awkward to fill and clean than the wobbler. There are different difficulty levels based on whether you use the bones and how many. We really try to encourage her to pick the bones out using her mouth to increase her confidence with picking up items using her mouth – when we first got her she wouldn’t take objects like balls, antlers or dentastixs from our hand. She loves to sniff  out where the last bits of food are. Bonnie finding the kibble from the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick food puzzle

Overall I think interactive feeders are great and I would love to branch out and get more of them so please leave any recommendations in the comments!


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