www.naturallyhappydogs.com - The online dog video magazine

Saturday 28 December 2013

Surprising DNA results

Today we had a visit from Sarah Morris from Black Dog DNA (www.blackdogdna.com) following the results of our office dog Sandy's DNA test. We were very surprised to find out that, despite looking like a Sheltie crossed with a Dachshund, she is actually made up of Labrador (grandparent level), a Jack Russell (grandparent level) and smaller amounts of Miniature Poodle and Welsh Corgi!

Sarah talked us through the behaviour traits that Sandy is likely to show, based on her ancestry, and what sort of training and activities we could look at doing to keep her enjoying life to the full.

Monday 16 December 2013

National Animal Welfare Trust, castrations and massage

On one of the many wet and windy days in December, we set off to visit the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) in (Watford). As we were given a guided tour, it certainly made us very aware of the dedication of these people who are out in all weather conditions, smiling and undaunted, as they go about taking care of the needs of a large range of dogs.

We were made to feel very welcome and were particularly impressed by the inventiveness of the centre in creating a range of facilities to provide opportunities for agility, play, training and even somewhere to just give the dogs a cuddle.

Then it was just 20 minutes down to the road to Pinner where Medivet veterinary Surgeon, Reena Patel, kindly opened the doors of her practise again to give us an opportunity to film what happens during a castration. Watching an operation may not be everyone's cup of tea but it is reassuring to see how much care goes into ensuring the well-being of the dogs there and is a fascinating look at what goes on behind closed doors.

We finished the day back in Stevenage with a visit from Jenny Youdan from K9 Elements Massage Therapy (www.k9elements.co.uk) who demonstrated some massage therapy with the help of office dog Sandy. Sandy looked like she was thoroughly enjoying it, even nodding off to sleep at times. Jenny explained an overview of canine massage, the possible benefits and also some signs that you can look out for in your own dog that might suggest they would benefit from some massage therapy.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

TD Rally

Becky Skelhon made us very welcome today in her Talking Dogs Rally class. We enjoyed watching her students show off their skills until it was time for our very own office dog Sandy to give it a try.

Becky showed us some of the second level moves so it was a challenge for Sandy and she was tired out afterwards but we think she did pretty well.

Friday 6 December 2013

Down, boy!

Today we visited Vicky French and her two staffies Stella and Storm. As soon as we entered the house we were aware of the problem! While staffies are known for their exuberance and friendliness, these two were at the extreme of this spectrum, repeatedly jumping as high as they could at you. There was no aggression or viciousness there, just a very high level of hyper-excitement which had been left unchecked. We filmed an article on how to deal with this problem, a simple solution but one that requires patience and more than anything consistency. We look forward to bringing you this article soon.

Sunday 1 December 2013

December 2013 Issue

Seasons Greetings everyone!

In this month's issue we begin our new series of looking behind the scenes at the world of day to day veterinary medicine. With the help of Vet Reena Patel, we cover topics like neutering, dentals and X-rays. Reena is no stranger to the camera, having been the Blue Peter Vet, but has happily agreed to our filming actual veterinary procedures at her practise in Pinner. The first of these looks at Anaesthetics. Another first this month is Flyball. This month's video introduces the sport; future issues will demonstrate how to teach flyball skills.

In addition, we continue with some popular topics begun in previous issues. We take a step back in time from the Whelping video shown in November's issue to look at the topic of Mating. We find out the uses for the herb Psyllium and about the life cycle of the tick. We also look at how TTouch can be used to help with rehabilitation and how to teach the basics of Disc Dog.

Lastly, Trevor Nelson, who has demonstrated a range of grooming skills in previous issues, tells us what it is like to work as a Dog Groomer.

Just one more thing to mention, with Christmas just around the corner, is a reminder that we do have a couple of videos to help you to keep your pet safe and stress free at Christmas in our Seasonal Advice category

Friday 29 November 2013

We're an award winning website!

Here at Naturally Happy Dogs we are very excited about being awarded Online Business Of The Year 2013 at the Hertfordshire Business Awards last night.

The past three years has been a long but enjoyable road, and the website has developed and grown over this time, which included seeing us at Crufts and Discover Dogs this year, among a number of other events.

We are really pleased with the articles we have produced so far, we hope you've enjoyed them as much as we have making them, and we very much look forward to bringing you more top content in the future.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us get this award, especially to all our contributors, and also to Pauline Rowe, who has worked tirelessly to make contacts, and has recently put a huge amount of effort into the Breed Library.

We thank you all very much and look forward to working with you moving forward.

Best wishes, hugs, and woofs to you all from Kevin and Sally.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Book review: Camper vans, ex pats & Spanish hounds

Camper vans, ex pats & Spanish hounds by Tania Coates and Sam Morris, reviewed by Sally Marchant, www.naturallyhappydogs.com

This is a lovely little book about a couple who find and rescue a stray dog on their three day road trip to a family wedding in Spain. Not realising just how much their lives would change, they fell in love with 'Pedro' while trying, unsuccessfully, to find his owners. The book tells the story of how the couple gradually got more and more involved with the organisation SOS (spay our strays) during the process of bringing Pedro back to the UK, and how it didn't take long for them to start fostering and bringing dogs over to the UK to find their forever homes. They now run SOS UK and help many dogs per year through their ever expanding network of volunteers across the country.

The case studies in chapter four introduce some of the dogs they have helped, they give a taste of the horror that some dogs go through, how much people care and selflessly give up their time and energy to helping the strays of Spain, often with no return, and what great family pets these dogs can become. The dedication of Tania and Sam and everyone else involved with the schemes is obvious throughout.

Tania has a lovely gentle way of writing and the book is full of gorgeous photos which really show the personalities of some of the rescue dogs. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Spain, or the kindness of people, or just dogs in general!

Friday 15 November 2013

Puppy farming song for Christmas number 1?

At Discover Dogs this year we met up with a new group called "C.A.R.I.A.D." who have produced a single aimed at raising awareness of puppy farming. We were pleased to be the first to pre order their CD which is being released on 12th December.

C.A.R.I.A.D. was set up two years ago by Linda Goodman with the express aim of putting an end to the appalling battery breeding of dogs. 'Cariad' means love in Welsh, and the acronym stands for Care And Respect Includes All Dogs. C.A.R.I.A.D. is a small non-profit organisation with a big heart, and this Christmas it has set itself a huge task to reach the Number One Christmas slot with a song specially written by singer-songwriter Mandy Woods.

Aimed at educating the public about the reality of puppy farming, 'Cariad at Christmas Time' was recorded in October at Shabbey Road Studios in Caerphilly, and, like Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' back in the '80s, it's a multi-vocal recording. This time, however, instead of getting celebrities to sing the lyrics, C.A.R.I.A.D. decided to invite a number of smaller dog rescues and charities to put forward anyone among their staff and volunteers with a good singing voice and the confidence to go into a studio and sing their heart out. The response was phenomenal, and on October 5 a group of strangers, some local and others coming from as far afield as Lancashire, Suffolk and Wiltshire, met up at the studio.

Some had professional experience, others simply a love of singing and a commitment to the welfare of dogs. Al Steele, co-owner of Shabbey Road, did a magnificent job of instilling confidence in the group, arranging the vocal parts on the hoof and getting the very best out of everyone, regardless of their age or experience. He also produced the single, and the result is the CD that accompanies this message, that is set to receive worldwide radio air play. The charity single is available to pre-order via download from iTunes or as a physical CD from the website www.cariadatchristmastime.wordpress.com, and the proceeds will be donated to the rescues and charities that helped make it possible, as well as to the C.A.R.I.A.D. campaign.

More importantly, though, the song is aimed at exposing the horrors of puppy farming and persuading people not to buy a puppy at Christmas, especially if the mother of the puppy isn't present. Better still would be to go to a reputable rescue in the New Year and save a life by adopting one of the thousands of dogs and puppies who are waiting patiently for someone to give them a new, loving home.

C.A.R.I.A.D. and Mandy are very happy to be contacted for further information about this very special and vital project aimed at saving the lives of thousands of innocent and suffering dogs.

Website: http://www.cariadatchristmastime.co.uk
Twitter: #cariadatchristmas
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CARIADcampaign
For more information about 'Cariad at Christmas Time', email Mandy Woods at woods.mandy@hotmail.co.uk
For more information about C.A.R.I.A.D., email CariadCampaign@live.co.uk

Friday 1 November 2013

November 2013 issue

Ever fancied teaching your dog to read?  Thought it was impossible?  Apparently, it's not, dog Trainer Chris Mancini shows how it's done in Teaching tricks: Reading.  If you'd like to do something a little more active with your dog, we also have a video that gives an introduction to the sport of Disc Dog

At Naturally Happy Dogs there are times when we can be privileged to witness, and bring to our subscribers, some incredible footage. That is certainly the case in this month's issue. With the kind permission of experienced dog breeder Mike Hollingsbee, we were able to film the birth of 7 Border Terrier puppies, a truly moving sight. But for those considering breeding a litter themselves, Mike has many warnings, it's not always as easy as we might think, as the video shows.

On a more day-to-day level, in this month's issue, we look at: grooming puppies, preparing dogs for air travel and, in two videos, the irritating subject of fleas.  Tanya Leslie tells us about Flea Allergic Dermatitis and Nick Thompson tells us how we can treat fleas and worms naturally.

Finally, on a general interest level, Toni Shelbourne gives us her insight into how a wolf pack works.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

A day at the Animal Health Trust

We had a lovely day with the AHT (Animal Health Trust) in Suffolk where we were made to feel wonderfully welcome.

First stop was the hydrotherapy pool where we filmed two techniques used to help agility dogs: one was the use of the pool itself and the other was an underwater treadmill. Jo Handley Howard explained the use of each type of equipment and the different benefits they provide.

Then we met up with Farrah Stevens in a beautiful sunken garden. She gave us a very helpful overview of the work of the trust. After that, we were treated to a delicious lunch in the on-site cafe.

Our last stop was the highlight of the day. It is hard not to be won over by 7 bundles of wriggling gorgeousness - 5 week old Bull Terrier puppies. Once they'd had an opportunity to play and fill their tummies, they all grew very sleepy. That meant that they could stay happily relaxed through having their hearing tested. It was fascinating to see how this test is carried out. Julia Freeman, who performed the tests, explained how the signals on the equipment are interpreted. As for the puppies, they didn't seem to mind a bit and in most cases, slept through it.

Huge thanks go to the staff of AHT for making the day so enjoyable and for enabling us to capture on film some of the valuable work they do.

Sunday 20 October 2013

To cap it off

We have cause to thank the great Toni Shelbourne again for her time, filming some more articles around using TTouch for rehabilitation, and in particular talking to us about the 'Calming Cap' - a rather strange looking piece of equipment that can be helpful for dogs reactive to visual stimuli.

The cap doesn't stop the dog from being able to see, but reduces the intensity of the visual environment around it, allowing the dog to cope better.

We also filmed very interesting articles about "Conversations in the Park" (both canine and human!) and behaviour around livestock.

We look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Book review: "Toby's Tails" by Susan Keefe

Toby's Tails by Susan Keefe

Book reviewed by Sally Marchant, www.naturallyhappydogs.com

Toby's Tails is a children's book about the first year of life of a young Border Collie, Toby. The book is told from Toby's point of view: from the moment he opens his eyes and discovers the other animals on the farm through to going to his new home and learning all about life in general. This provides an unusual perspective and one that supplies a good opportunity to explore and empathise with Toby's feelings such as when he is scared of the camera and the TV.

Seeing the world through his eyes also enables the author to educate in an interesting way. When Toby, for example, wants to relieve himself, he discovers that he gets praised for going outside so decides that he will do things in this way again. This explains to children the concept of how to teach housetraining using positive reinforcement techniques that the puppy will understand.

The language is generally simple, readable and appropriate for children but the author doesn't shy away from using mature language where appropriate such as 'rhythmic', 'reprimands' and 'desolate'. This can be considered a good way to extend a child's vocabulary.

The only question mark hangs over whether the author should force themselves to be constrained by the basic premise they have set up. Should the puppy's understanding and that of the creatures around him be limited to what animals could, in reality, understand? Should the language of the people in the story sound like natural speech? Or are the characters in the story just a vehicle for education? Toby discovers a lot by asking Lucky the Golden Retriever he lives with and through conversations with local wildlife. He learns about birth and illness, the lifestyles of the animals around him, why colostrum is important to the farmyard goat kids, how bats use sonar to locate their food, and the difference between warm and cold blooded animals. The only difficulty with this is that much of what the animals discuss would, in reality, be beyond their understanding and as such feels rather unnatural. A child may well not have a problem with this and may just find it a fun way to learn about a range of interesting subjects.

The dogs within the book also understand every word of English said to them by the humans in the story, such as when they are going to get fed or what town they are in. Unfortunately, the belief that dogs should understand our spoken language often leads to problems with people and their pet dogs so it might be worth ensuring that children were aware that this ability is within the constraints of this book and not actually a reality. 

Overall, it's a nice little book that would be suitable to read to a younger child, or for an older child to read to an adult or even to themselves.

Friday 11 October 2013

Road trip

We've just returned from a trip around the M4 corridor, taking in some more topics from our Homeopathic Vet Nick Thompson, as well as a couple more breeds for our library, and some more new subjects too.

Have you heard of Schutzhund, otherwise known as IPO? It is little known here, but in Germany it is a huge sport. Schutzhund means 'protection dog' in German, and it is an obedience/tracking/protection combo mostly practised with the German Shepherd breed. Indeed, most GSD's will have a Schutzhund champion somewhere in their heritage, as this sport shaped the development of the breed. We spoke to one of the premier UK kennels practising this sport for a fantastic couple of videos coming soon.

We also caught up with Pen Farthing, an ex-marine who now runs a rescue and charity called Nowzad Dogs, which is doing some fantastic work in Afghanistan pioneering the rescue effort over there. Nowzad will be our charity of the month when their videos go live.

The Portuguese Podengo and Hungarian Puli were the breeds we filmed for the breed library, we thank their very experienced owners for their time. All in all, a very successful trip and we look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Monday 7 October 2013

Book review - "The Holistic Dog: a complete guide to natural health care" by Holly Mash

"The Holistic Dog: a complete guide to natural health care" by Holly Mash
Reviewed by Sally Marchant from www.naturallyhappydogs.com, the online video magazine.

At first glance, "The Holistic Dog: a complete guide to natural health care" by Holly Mash appears to be a small book but it is packed full of very good information.

It begins by clearly outlining what complementary therapies are and explaining what makes them different to conventional veterinary medicine. It explains each of the common types - Homeopathy, Herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Bach flower remedies, Tellington touch and Chiropractic and for each, explains how it works, what it's used for, how it is administered, dosages and how to find a qualified practitioner.

The language is a little technical at times, for example "serially diluting the active component in a solution and vigorously agitating it" but on the whole, the book is very readable, using the technical terms only where appropriate. The author gives plenty of examples to clarify any statements that are made and to add understanding to concepts throughout the book.

I was quite surprised that the book also includes helpful information for anyone considering getting a dog. It includes such topics as deciding whether you have the time and energy for a dog and the benefits of dog ownership. I had assumed that the book would focus on holistic treatments but it actually looks at every single part of dog ownership, from the initial decision about getting a dog, through to that 'final' sad decision at the end of the dog's life. Every aspect of dog ownership is considered from a holistic perspective, encouraging the reader to consider their decisions carefully. For example, the author posits questions like: Do you really want a long coated breed if you live in the muddy countryside? How might Bach Flower remedies be helpful for settling a new rescue dog? How can looking for 'qi' help to pick a suitable puppy from a litter? Throughout the book, 'standard' advice such as leaving a new puppy with a favourite toy for their first night in their new home, is mixed with 'complementary' advice such as the benefits of the homeopathic remedy aconite and TTouch when a puppy is teething.

The chapter on the canine mind is full of very up to date, modern thinking about training dogs, clearly explaining why 'dominance' based methods are outdated. Using pictures to illustrate, this section explains how dogs communicate, again including holistic advice such as initially visualising your dog's good behaviour before proceeding to teach it. The importance of exercise and playtime and the effects that feeding can have on behaviour are covered as well as training theories and techniques.

Following this is information about preventative health care looking at vaccines, neutering, worming and flea treatments from both a conventional and a complementary point of view. The author explains the pros and cons of each and also covers the benefits of combined health care such as what homeopathic remedies to give if your dog suffers a vaccine reaction. The nutrition section doesn't preach about what type of food one should feed, but gives clear information about what to be aware of when raw feeding and warning signs to look for on complete foods such as labelling terms, certification logos and whether the food is ethically sourced.

The supplements section gives information about each of the main dietary supplements, what they are and what they are used for, this section encourages the reader to ask questions such as where the ingredients are sourced and how much active ingredient is in the product.

There is some fantastic advice about looking after the elderly dog such as using different scents in different rooms as the sense of smell is often the last sense to fade. The author suggests giving the dog who can't get out and about some picked plants for him to sniff in bed for a bit of mental stimulation. This section also covers saying goodbye and what help and support is available. The last chapter covers typical holistic treatments for common ailments, including common symptoms, routine care and complementary treatments.

The book is full of large, lovely pictures which help to break up the information and often give helpful visual aids to what is being explained, and important points are often highlighted in coloured boxes. There is a useful 'addresses and further reading' section and a comprehensive index.

This book is not so much of a 'how to' in terms of treating problems or training dogs, but it gives a very clear and thorough explanation of the underlying concepts and ideas. Throughout, it advises if you have a specific medical problem; to seek advice from a veterinarian; for general training to attend classes and for major behavioural problems, to visit a behaviourist.

I would say this book is perfect for someone interested in natural care who is looking to get a new dog, or even those who already have a dog who want to look over their complete care of their pet to take into account holistic ideas. It is more of a 'reading' book than a 'reference' book, but whether someone reads it cover to cover or dips in to a chapter at a time, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to lead a more natural life with their current, or future dogs.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

October 2013 dog videos

One of the less pleasant aspects of dog ownership is that they are prone to picking up unwanted guests like fleas, ticks and worms, but at least there is helpful information on hand on how to deal with them. In this month's issue we look at fleas. Other health related topics are a video on the uses of Hawthorn (Cretaegus) and another on the VMD's Product Information Database which tells you all you need to know about veterinary drugs.

On a practical front, we look further at dogs and air travel and at how pets can be affected by grief and loss when another dog passes away.

If you're looking for more information in relation to dog activities, we offer further videos on a couple of appropriate topics. In our Ringcraft series we look at handling techniques and in our Teaching TD Rally series, we look at spirals.

Finally, we find out from studies undertaken into wolves whether there is truth in the idea that we have to be the "alpha".

Thursday 26 September 2013

Medivet Pinner

Today we visited with Reena Patel and her colleagues at Medivet Pinner, who very kindly allowed us to film their day.

We got some great footage of some consultations, and also some procedures in theatre which was very interesting, and will make for some great articles.

We filmed a few topics with Reena while we were there, and look forward to bringing these to you in the coming months. We also hope to return to Pinner in the not-too-distant future to capture some more great footage.

Thanks very much Reena and co, it was an honour and privilege to spend the day with you all!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

'Ello 'ello 'ello!

Today we visited Stevenage Police Station to interview Sergeant Ian Blundell and Sarah Sheldrick about the Dogwatch scheme.

'Borrowed' from the Met Police, this scheme is aimed at getting the local community, and in particular dog walkers, involved in making their area a safer place.

Stevenage is now the largest such scheme, with over 2,000 local people signed up. Anecdotal evidence has shown that people involved in the scheme are more likely to report suspicious activity to the police. We look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Filming Nina

At last we had our first opportunity to film Nina Bondarenko, not for the website this time but filming her seminar for a new DVD.

Nina was talking about various different training methods and demonstrating using the attendee's own dogs, which were allowed to come along.

We're a fan of Nina's work, and hope to film her for the magazine sooner rather than later... fingers crossed!

Sunday 1 September 2013

September 2013 dog videos

There are many tricks that are lots of fun to teach your dog but surely getting them to tidy their toys away has to be one of the more useful ones. Find out how in Teaching tricks - Tidy toys away. Other useful information can be found in the first of the series of videos about air travel for dogs, what to take into account and how to find a good company to help you with this. For this, see the video Pet Air UK.

In September's issue we have more to offer in our ongoing series': Ringcraft - Showing Dogs, Herbs - Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), Wild Wolves in the UK and Support during grief and pet loss. We also learn about how the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate) deal with reports of adverse reactions to drugs.

Finally we look at Dog Poo Wormeries, how to turn your dog's waste into something a little more useful. We really do cover everything!

Sunday 18 August 2013

Disc Dogs

Today we visited with Chiara Zorzetto, an italian dog trainer living in the UK. Chiara competes in and trains in a sport called Disc Dog, quite unknown in the UK but big in the United States and also played on the continent.

Chiara took us through a potted history of the sport, and also gave us a demonstration of the freestyle and also distance flavours of the Disc Dog sport with Enja the Border Collie.

We thank Chiara for their time and will look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Thursday 1 August 2013

August 2013 Issue

If you're looking for something fun to do with your dog, had you ever considered watching them launch themselves into a swimming pool?  Perhaps not, but that's just what the sport of dockdogs offers.  See our video Dock dogs.  For those looking for something a little more traditional, we bring another in our series on Ringcraft, this time looking at Movement Ringcraft - Movement.

As Promised in the July blog, August brings another video on the work of Fire Investigation Dogs and we meet CC and Reqs.  We also learn more about the work of the VMD and how their Accreditation Retailer Scheme can help us to buy pet medicine online safely.

Reactive Dog expert Brenda Aloff shows us how to use Eye Contact and Impulse Control techniques to help with problems of dog aggression and we learn how Reiki can be used for heart problems:Reiki - for Heart Problems.

Following the loss of much beloved "office" dog, Lady, we've found Belinda Johnston's advice on dealing with Grief and Pet Loss particularly helpful. We bring the second of Belinda's videos this month.

On a happier topic, having visited the UK Wolf Conservation Trust site in Reading, we have some lovely footage of their wolves as well as hearing about the great work of the Trust.

Saturday 27 July 2013

On the ball

Today we visited the Hot Shots Flyball club near Watford, to film an article for our 'Activities with dogs' section.

We interviewed Team Captain Richie, who has been training in Flyball for the past 6 years. He gave us a great introduction to the sport, and showed us how to teach a dog to do the box and the set of four jumps. We got to see the whole team in action who are currently completing the whole course with four dogs at around 19 seconds.

We look forward to bringing you these articles in the coming editions.

Sunday 14 July 2013

The last ever 3-day UK Dunbar Seminar?

This weekend we spent 3 days filming the brilliant Dr Ian Dunbar as he delivered what is possibly his last ever 3-day seminar in the UK.

This filming is for a forthcoming DVD of the seminar to be created and distributed by Dog & Bone, we will keep you updated as to the release of this DVD later this year.

Friday 5 July 2013

Here's the Splash!

Today we visited Dock Dogs during their set up for the All About Dogs in Southend, Essex. It was a sweltering day, perfect for the sport of dogs jumping into the water. There was definitely an expectation of some owners following suit!

We filmed the UK & European Manager Robert Kemeny and he told us all about this up-and-coming sport, which originated in America. We got some good footage including office dog Sandy having a go too.

We look forward to bringing you this article in the coming months.

Monday 1 July 2013

July 2013 dog videos are live

July brings the usual mix of practical advice and general interest. We’re continuing with a number of series of videos which are proving popular.  Trevor Pearman brings us the last of his grooming videos and we learn about scissoring. Brenda Aloff brings us helpful advice on training reactive dogs. Rob Fellows demonstrates how Reiki can be used to help with arthritis. If we are looking for fun activities with dogs, Roxanne McDonald, our Ringcraft expert, teaches us about standing and stacking and we learn about “Call Front” in Talking Dogs Rally. To help us to prepare for sadder times, Belinda Johnston describes the wide range of symptoms of grief we might expect when we lose our beloved pet.

We also begin two new topics. Nikki Harvey gives us an overview of the work of Fire Investigation Dogs. We also learn about the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the body that oversees veterinary medicine. Over next few weeks, we will learn more about the word of the VMD and how they can help us to make informed decisions about our pet’s health.

Friday 28 June 2013

Saying goodbye

Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our office dog 'Lady' on Wednesday. At the age of 15 and 8 months, her body had given up and she went peacefully off to sleep at the vets. I wrote this to her while thinking through everything that we had been through together.

Dear my little Lady,

I want to thank you for what you have given me throughout your 15 years and 8 months. I still remember just how excited I was when I first saw you, I chased the postman down the street when he delivered the developed photos that I had taken of you and your litter mates. Originally called 'Whisper' we soon changed that to 'Lady' (that turned out to be a very sensible decision!)

In your prime you knew (and would respond to) over 70 commands, including sneezing on command and wrapping yourself up in a blanket. You were my best friend and my excuse to not do my homework.

You appeared on Japanese TV, were 'Miss June' in Dogs Today calendar 2002 and competed at Crufts in agility, flyball and obedience. You gained a 3rd in agility, winning out of elementary and gaining me a trophy. Your claim to fame was beating a particularly good poodle in a Helter Skelter! Despite you fouling in the agility ring at some shows, we persevered, teaching me to cope with embarrassment and frustration.

You have enjoyed eating your way through life, impressively finishing off a plate of gammon for 14 people! 

You have been my 'old faithful' for many years. I have you since before my 'first kiss' all the way through to happily married life.

The world will be a quieter place without you, but my heart will feel that bit emptier without you resting your head on the bottom step waiting for me to come downstairs.

I hope there is plenty to eat and there aren't too many doors to be the wrong side of wherever it is you are going. I will find you again one day when it is my turn.

Love you little Lady xxx

Sunday 23 June 2013

Puppy grooming

Today we returned to film Trevor Pearman at his grooming parlour to film him and his poodle puppy Lacey.

Trevor told us about the importance of early grooming for pups to help them get used to process, particularly for those breeds that will need grooming often. We got to see the process, and while we were there took the opportunity to film Trevor about being a groomer for our series about dog-related professions.

We look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Fleas, Ticks and mating dogs

We've had a rather unusual Saturday today, firstly we spent an hour finding out about the life cycles of ticks and fleas, then this afternoon we filmed two dogs mating!

Vet Tanya Leslie from Merial gave us some surprisingly interesting information about fleas and ticks and Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD). The life cycles of these little blood suckers are quite extraordinary, for example, did you know that the tick 'quests' by standing on a leaf and waving their front legs around. When they sense a vibration or shadow or a change in CO2 level, or temperature change, they reach out and grab hold!

This afternoon we filmed a mating at a local breeders, we plan to film an article about what is involved in mating and breeding dogs soon so thought we would get the practical footage while we could.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Treating Your Dog for Fleas

Following our recent visit to Nick Thompson, we thought we'd bring you some information about fleas while we're waiting for his video to go live.

All dogs, pedigrees and cross breeds, can get fleas. Flea infection can not only make your dog uncomfortable but it can be a nuisance to people too. It is vital that you take preventative measures if you wish to avoid getting an infestation in your home. The reproduction cycle of the flea is exceedingly difficult to break, and infection can give your dog such distressing problems as dermatitis, allergic reactions or large sores. Humans too can be afflicted with these symptoms.

Traditional vets recommend regular dog flea treatments to prevent your dog becoming infested. The PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) gives advice on how and how often to treat for fleas here.

Nick recommends a mixture of garlic and ginger which can make dogs 'taste bad' to fleas and can reduce the chance of them becoming infested. You can sign up to our free newsletter to find out when this video goes live.

Flea eggs can drop off your dog and be deposited on carpets, furniture and bedding. So be sure to hoover carpets and launder your dog΄s basket regularly. Central heating means that your home can provide year-round warmth which means fleas can thrive at any time of year and damp conditions combined with humidity will only encourage fleas to multiply.

Dogs can also pick up fleas from other dogs, so while you may be scrupulous in keeping up flea treatments for your dog, other dog-owners may be less so. Be sure to reduce the risk of infestation when your dog is in social situations.

There are obvious tell-tale indicators that your dog is infected if he has been unfortunate enough to catch fleas. He will be scratching frequently, particularly behind the ears, and will probably have black flecks, known as “flea dirt”, showing clearly on his skin. The skin may also be red and inflamed. It is possible that you will see actual fleas, though this is rather less likely.

If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible, they can advise you as to which commercially available products are safe and effective.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Basics for Home Vet Care

As the temperature is rising and more people are getting out and about with their dogs, we have heard of a number of cases recently where animals have needed medical attention in an emergency. It is important to 'expect the unexpected' and be prepared for any emergencies.

Our video 'Canine First Aid Kit' explains some of the medical supplies you might want to keep handy, these can be bought from online stores such as as All Vet Supply.

Sophie Flux from Animal Aiders explains some useful Basic Health Checks that you can perform regularly to make sure your dog is healthy.

Should your dog cut or injure himself, unfortunately they can be notoriously difficult to bandage, our video shows a general methods for Bandaging Paws. Dressings can be damaged, and dogs can be persistent in chewing or licking bandages. Apart from the standard gauze and tape, there are lots of options for protecting animal injuries. Consider a product that stops bleeding without fabric by encouraging clotting. And don't forget antibacterial sprays and antibiotic ointments. In addition, if your pet has ever been given an anti-licking collar after surgery, keep it in case you need to reuse it.

As well as medical products, it's also useful to have close by some emergency contact information. First of all, make sure you have numbers for your veterinarian, a backup vet, and any 24-hour vet facilities in your area. And have information numbers like the ASPCA pet poison control line on the list so you don't waste precious time looking them up online should an emergency occur.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

June 2013 is live

Gosh, May's been a busy month. We’ve been out and about in the good weather and doing lots of filming for future issues.

This month we look at some fun activities you can undertake with your dog. We offer the first in a series of videos about ringcraft by experienced Ringcraft teacher, Roxanne McDonald and we learn what to expect in a first Talking Dog’s Rally lesson, an activity based on American "Rally-O" Obedience.

We also look at some products which you can purchase for your dog which might be described as “Interactive dog toys” in our “Interactive games for good behaviour” video. There might be times, however, when our dog is not a source of fun but of embarrassment or frustration. We offer advice from leading dog behaviourists on some common areas of concern. Ian Dunbar tells us how to deal with inappropriate sexual behaviour and, in the first of a series of videos, Brenda Aloff tells us what to do about an aggressive or “reactive” dog.

There's more practical grooming advice from Trevor Pearman in his video on clipping and another inspirational video about Treo, the world’s bravest dog. Finally, on a sad but necessary topic, Belinda Johnston, a vet who specialises in bereavement, describes what euthanasia entails to help to prepare us for the day we might have to face some painful decisions.

Sunday 2 June 2013

Irish Red And White Setters

Today we filmed with Gemma Hawkins and her two bitches, and also her friend who brought their male round. In line with our other breed videos we asked all the questions we think potential new dog owners should know, and look forward to bringing these to you soon!

Saturday 1 June 2013

What to do with dog poo?

Another interesting article today, this time about Dog Poo Wormerys. We spoke to Earth Essentials, who make this fantastic product.

Instead of your normal way of disposing of your dogs excrement, why not consider recycling it into a fertiliser for your geraniums? That's exactly what you can do with the Dog Poo Wormery, and this article talks you through the basics. We look forward to bringing this article to you shortly.

Air travel for dogs

We love new and interesting topics, and today we filmed Bob Ghandour of Pet Air UK, a company that specialises in travelling pets on behalf of owners, all over the world.

They are experts in this field, and very happy to chat to people about what needs doing and when, and also costs.

We filmed a number of topics covering the whole subject, and look forward to bringing these to you soon.

Friday 31 May 2013

Homeopathy continued

Today we visited Nick Thompson to film some more articles on Homeopathic treatments for dogs. As well as a couple of interesting articles about fleas and worms, we also filmed about three remedies that Nick likes to use for various illnesses.

We thank Nick again for his time, and look forward to bringing you these articles in the coming months.

More wolf behaviour

Today we visited Toni Shelbourne, author of "The Truth about Wolves & Dogs" which we reviewed on this site earlier in the year.

Toni has over 10 years experience working with wolves at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, and gave us a great insight into pack theory and practice, and more about the difference between dogs and wolves. We look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Is it a wolf or is it a dog?

Today we had the pleasure of filming at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, including some articles about the organisation and their work. We also got some great footage of wolf behaviour, we can't wait to bring this to you soon!

Thursday 23 May 2013

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Today we filmed at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate who authorise and regulate medicines for use in all animals, including dogs. They are also responsible for ensuring that these medicines are stored and used correctly, and monitor reports of adverse affects and inefficacy.

We spoke to CEO Peter Borriello about the work of the VMD in general, Giles Davis about adverse event reporting, to Matthew Isted about the Internet Accreditation Scheme which seeks to ensure the safety of medicines bought online, and also to Abigail Seager about the Product Information Database which contains detailed information about all currently and previously authorised products.

A huge amount of very useful information coming your way, watch this space!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The Dogfather – Part 1

Today we had the great pleasure of filming Ian Dunbar's one day seminar entitled "Crucial & Cutting-Edge Concepts in Dog Training". As you may already know Dr Dunbar is a world-leading authority on dog training, and started the world's first puppy classes 32 years ago. In this seminar Ian talked about a range of subjects around puppy and dog training, and his thoughts about the direction of this in the future.

This recording will be made into a DVD to be sold through seminar organiser Dog & Bone in the coming months.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Fun in the sun

We couldn’t have asked for a better day on Sunday for Stevenage Dog Watch Day. The sun shone, encouraging everyone to come along, bring a picnic and to be happy to spend some time chatting to us about Naturally Happy Dogs.

For a small scale dog event there was a surprising amount to see. We met the local flyball team and discussed some filming with them. Dogs really seem to love flyball and get very enthusiastic (and vocal) about it which probably explains why the team choose to call themselves Loud Barking!

Those who had come with their dogs could give their pets a taster session of flyball, agility, a fun dog show and other activities too. They could try an hay bail scurry, some trick training with us or just sit back and enjoy the sun.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

On fire!

Today we had the great pleasure of meeting Nikki Harvey and her fire investigation dogs CC and Rex.  Nikki talked us about her job and what role her dogs have in the investigation of a fire.  We then filmed a training search and got to see the equipment CC and Rex would use while doing their job.

Fantastic videos heading your way, thank you very much to Nikki, CC and Rex, and the Hertfordshire fire department.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

May 2013 is Live

May brings you another mixed bag of brand new subjects, advice from top dog experts and more articles on popular topics. One of our new subjects is thanks to Dave Heyhoe who recently retired from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps along with his explosives search dog Treo. In the first of two videos, Dave tells us about the invaluable service teams like Dave and Treo perform to safeguard our troops (Explosives Search Dogs). We also have the first in a new series on the use of Reiki for dogs (Reiki for stress and anxiety).

This month’s expert advice comes from, Grisha Stewart (Correcting wrong behaviours), Richard Allport (Homeopathy for itchy skin) Sally Marchant (Teaching Hide) and Tamsin-Jane Sewell (Socialisation: how, when and why).

Finally, we continue our series on Working as... (Working as a...dog lawyer).

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Talking Dogs Rally

Today we returned to Yaxley to film Becky Skelhon and Pam McKinnon, providing a bit more insight into the Talking Dogs Rally® system that they created. Looking forward to bringing you articles on starting out in TD Rally® and a closer look at Call Fronts and Spirals in the coming months.

Thanks again Becky and Pam, great to see you again, and look forward to filming more articles about TD Rally®!

Monday 29 April 2013

Filming Brenda Aloff

We had the great pleasure of attending the Brenda Aloff seminar this weekend, and what a great seminar it was. Brenda was engaging and very knowledgable, and gave us some great tools for treating aggression in dogs.

Thanks very much to Dog & Bone for another great seminar. Then on Monday we were back to film Brenda demonstrating some of her techniques. So excited to bring you these videos in the coming months.

Thanks again to Brenda and Jez.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Healthy Pet Care Tips

Staying on top of pet care at home can make for a happy pet as well as a happy owner. It can be tough at times, but it is important to care for your pet’s health. Here are several tips to keep not only your animal but your local environment healthy:

Get Pet Exams Regularly 
There are many problems your pet can encounter, as severe as heart problems or arthritis of the joints to even as little as a toothache. Owners can prevent these problems by taking their pet to see a veterinarian every year. Annual vet appointments will pay close attention to how their diet is progressing, nutrition, their weight and if it is appropriate with their age and size. Vet visits also take care of any needed vaccinations, dental exam, and parasite control. Set a date on the calendar each year and make it a priority because it can be vital to your pet’s health.

Spay and Neuter Your Pets 
Many cats and dogs are left unattended to and can’t find a home (we have a video about how to rehome a new dog here). This is often a result of unadvised offspring and this problem can be prevented. The purpose of spaying and neutering your pet is not just to prevent the offspring of your cats or dogs but to also assist in other health areas such as cancers.

Fight against Parasites 
We all are aware that fleas are the common issue when it comes to parasites. Fleas are the common external parasite which can lead to fur loss, injection, and irritated skin with your pets. Prevention is the best way to battle parasites because fleas can introduce other parasites both external and internal. This external problem can lead to a variety of issues including tapeworms and heartworms.

Prevent this from happening at all times, which may require year-round persistence but not a lot of effort from the owner. Talk to your vet about what medications will suit your cat or dog best and keep them safe at all times.

We found a useful article on 10 Steps to Keeping Your Dog Happy

Keep Your Pet Healthy Weight Wise 
Many owners allow their cats or dogs to become overweight, which can lead to many health risks such diabetes and arthritis. Some owners tend to over feed their pets and that becomes the source of the obesity. Pets who don’t maintain a healthy weight will begin to chip away at their life span.

Speak with your vet on what they think is appropriate for your pet’s daily meals. Remember to allow your pet up to an hour of exercise every day if possible. If you have a back yard you can let them run around and play. ‘Dog flaps’ are useful for allowing dogs access in and out, and you can even get them for sliding glass doors here: sliding glass doggy door

Monday 15 April 2013

"All About Dogs"

Well, after a very successful debut into the world of trade shows with Crufts, we decided to venture outdoors with "All About Dogs". It wasn’t so much a “baptism of fire” as one of snow, rain and wind!

One thing you can’t control with outdoor shows in the UK is the weather! For the first one, in Ipswich, we had an onsite marquee which, while it provided a shelter, didn’t keep out the cold. It even snowed – brrrrr! The weekend was quite successful, but we felt there was something missing from our stand, so for the second outing, to Newbury, we took along our own gazebo and had a much bigger pitch, giving us the opportunity to set up a ring to offer trick training as a fun element to grab people’s attention.

This wasn’t so successful on the Saturday, as the rain-soaked visitors were not inclined to stand around outside any longer than they had to learning tricks but the Sunday proved more successful. On that day we just had strong winds to contend with! We spent the entire day battling with holding down a gazebo that kept filling up with air and trying to take off like a great balloon. What didn’t help was that the rain-soaked ground made the pegs pull out easily.

We thought we’d escaped unscathed and were just packing up when disaster struck! One of the other gazebos actually did take flight and crash landed into ours, causing irreparable damage. Huge thanks go to the immediate team of local stall-holders who immediately marshalled to come to our aid and to Sarah from BlackDogDNA, the owner of the errant gazebo that had taken flight. Sarah is doing everything she can to help us to sort this out, which is handy as we think her company is a great idea and we plan to do some filming with her. BlackDogDNA uses a simple test to find out which breeds have gone into the mix in non-pedigree dogs. We look forward to finding out the ingredients that make up our “office” dog, Sandy.

On the subject of filming, we also got some great footage of Dock Dogs, where dogs compete in a water-based long jump by launching themselves into a sort of dog swimming pool. The winner at Newbury jumped 18 feet! We look forward to filming an article on Dock Dogs soon too.

Monday 1 April 2013

April 2013 issue goes live

Any Bill Bailey fans out there? Boy do we have a treat for you! Bill very kindly agreed to speak to us about his Balinese dingos and in particular his about a topic very close to his heart – BARC, the Bali Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre. We are very pleased to bring you this video (Bill Bailey and BARC) in this month's issue, and to support BARC; they are this month's supported charity which of course means £1 from each new subscription this month will be given directly to them to support their fantastic work.

Grisha Stewart was a speaker at this year's WOOF! event, and while she was here she filmed some more topics with us. This month we bring you Grisha teaching the 'watch' cue (Teaching Cues - Watch). Also this month we continue with our feature on Medical Detection Dogs with an article about the training process (Medical Detection: The Training), Chris Mancini shows us how to teach 'Feet on feet' - a very useful trick especially for heelwork to music (Teaching Feet on Feet), and Sally Marchant shows us how to teach the weave poles for agility (Agility: Weaves). Our grooming section gets another article with plucking ears (Ear Plucking), Tamsin-Jane Sewell talks to us about the long-haired Akita (Long Haired Akitas), and Catherine from Albion Meat Products talks to us about being a raw meat supplier (Working As a Raw Meat Supplier).


Thanks to all those who visited us at Crufts, it was lovely to meet you.  We had a great time with so much interest in the magazine. We were completely shattered by the end of the four days but are looking forward to other trade stands throughout the year already!

Sunday 17 March 2013

Reiki with Rob

We were welcomed back to Shropshire to film Rob Fellows and his dog Monty today.

We covered topics such as 'Reiki for stress' and also interviewed him about Monty's heart condition and arthritis, which Rob treats with Reiki every day.

We thank Rob for his hospitality, and look forward to filming him again in the future.

The world's bravest dog

Today we were very privileged to meet up with Dave Heyhoe and Treo, his Army explosives and weapons cache search dog.

Dave spoke to us about how he met Treo, the training process, and of course the work he did in support of our troops abroad.

We thank both very much for their time, and look forward to bringing you this video shortly.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Socialisation training

Today we filmed Tamsin Jane in Cambridgeshire with her 6 month old long-haired Akita pup.  Tamsin explained some of the differences between the American and Japanese Akitas, and also talked about the importance of socialisation, particularly with breeds such as the Akita.

We also filmed an interesting video about the Nina Ottosson range of dog training toys, we look forward to bringing you these articles soon.

Friday 1 March 2013

Getting ready for Crufts

In a few days time we’ll be bringing Naturally Happy Dogs to Crufts Dog Show for the first time and are naturally very excited! Crufts, is, of course the world-famous dog event organised by the Kennel Club. In March’s issue we have a couple of articles about some of the invaluable schemes run by the Kennel Club. One is the Assured Breeders Scheme (Assured Breeders Scheme) which sets standards of good practice for breeders and the other is the Companion Dog Club Scheme (Companion Dog Club) which gives owners of non-pedigree dogs the opportunity to compete in a wide range of competitions.

We continue with our series of articles on the work of Medical Detection Dogs (Medical Detection: The Benefits) and take another look at the benefits of changing your dog to a raw food diet (Changing to a Raw Diet). We also offer general dog training tips (Gundogs - Retrieve Problems) (Teaching the "Name Game") and further suggestions for anyone wanting to try out trick training ideas (Teaching Cross Paws).

In addition, we investigate a new development in the realm of dog safety. The Animalarm (Animalarm) is a device that gives warning when the temperature surrounding your dog is too hot or cold - invaluable if you have to leave your dog for brief periods of time. If you don’t already have one of these devices, come and visit us in Hall 5, Stand 104A for a chance to win one.

Friday 22 February 2013

Filming Grisha

Today we travelled to Milton Keynes to meet up with Grisha Stewart for some more filming.

Grisha was over for the WOOF! conference along with a star-studded line-up, and she kindly took some time out to film a number of topics for us. One of these was an explanation of the difference between her BAT technique and Classical Conditioning, which we'll be bringing you very soon, watch this space!

Thanks again to Grisha for taking some time out for us, we look forward to seeing her again in the future.

Friday 1 February 2013

February 2013 is live

We’re looking forward to letting you know, starting in this month’s issue, about some exciting new developments in the field of medicine. One topic is how dogs can be used to help with detecting human health problems (Medical Detection Dogs). To continue with looking at medical issues, we take a further look at the work on Bionic Vet Noel Fitzpatrick, this time looking at the spine (Spinal disc problems).

We get some inside information from staff at Woodgreen: The Animal Charity on how they manage rehoming dogs (Rehoming your dog) and from one of the volunteers with the Pets As Therapy charity on what happens during a typical visit (P.A.T. dogs in action).

There is practical helpful information on how to dry your dog safely after a bath (Drying dogs) and how to teach your dog to drop on command (Gundog training: Drop) - an excellent immediate solution to dangerous situations.

We also have another video from Alex Wilson from Xtradog about choosing the most suitable kind of harness for your dog (Choosing the right harness).

Finally, if you fancy training your dog to do something a little more unusual, Chris Mancini shows you how to train handstands (Teaching tricks: Handstand).  The mind boggles!

Sunday 20 January 2013

Book review - 'The truth about wolves and dogs' by Toni Shelbourne

Here at Happy Dogs we have been asked by Hubble & Hattie to review a new book, one about dog training, and have decided to accept the challenge. The book for review is called 'The truth about wolves and dogs' by Toni Shelbourne. The subtext reads 'dispelling the myths of dog training', and this piqued my interest. Knowing the range of dog training theories there are out there, and knowing the very best there is already out there, I thought it would be interesting to see where on the scale this book placed itself, and if it could bring anything new to the world of dog training books.

According to the cover-wrap blurb, Toni has "worked professionally with dogs since 1989" and "...worked with [a pack of wolves at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust] for ten years as Senior Wolf Handler and Education Officer". She is also a "...successful Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner". An excellent start then, someone with a potentially deep understanding of wolf behaviour, and also someone with a leaning towards the compassionate side of dog training.

The book starts well; it lays out its aim clearly and succinctly, to challenge the outdated and incorrect assumptions about dog and wolf behaviour of yesteryear. It moves on to explain the differences between the wolf and modern companion dog, again being short and to the point, using references to important pioneers in their field such as Belyaev, Pavlov and Rugaas, and making good use of quality photographs to illustrate the point. It strikes a nice balance between delving too deep into the technical aspects it describes, and dumbing down too much, covering much ground in a short space whilst pointing towards sources of research should the reader want to find out more.

There is a large section on the signals displayed by wolves and dogs, and this is again illustrated with many pictures. The information is informative and helpful, again not getting too technical but giving a good overview of calming signals and other behaviours that you might see in your average dog.

The book finishes with advice to potential owners on choosing the right breed of dog for their lifestyle, and explaining how to see the world from the dog's point of view. Whilst this is undoubtedly good advice, it seems strange to have this at the back of a book which appears to be aimed more at the budding dog trainer or dog enthusiast.

Nevertheless, this is a somewhat brief but accurate and helpful overview of dog behaviour, how they communicate with us and each other, and the key differences between dogs and wolves. It is not too heavy and the photos used are high quality and informative. It doesn't offer any new revelations about our canine friends, all this information is available from a variety of other sources, but it does package it up in an enjoyable and easy to read bundle.

The truth about wolves and dogs by Toni Shelbourne
Paperback with flaps
112 pages, 126 pictures
ISBN: 978-1-845844-27-1

Reviewed by Kevin Marchant, Naturally Happy Dogs

Tuesday 1 January 2013

January 2013 Videos

Happy New Year! We hope you had an enjoyable Christmas.

We're excited to be sharing information on new techniques in the field of veterinary surgery with the “Bionic Vet” Noel Fitzpatrick, starting with a look at Cruciate ligament problems and a new video in our Free Videos section - elbow disease.

We continue our series on the work of the Pets As Therapy charity (Volunteering) and begin a new series “Working As...” where, month by month, we talk to people whose career involves dogs in some way about what their job entails. This month will be “Working as a Dog Walker”. There are more training tips from Adem Fehmi (Gundogs: Teaching Directions) and helpful advice from Woodgreen: The Animal Charity on rehoming a new dog. Finally we tackle the thorny subject of dangerous dog laws with Wheldon Law – experts in this area.

We also find out some top tips for bathing dogs and also what basic health signs to look out for in our dogs to make sure they are healthy as well as happy. 

We’re off to a cracking start!