The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Dogs

10 Common Dog Training Mistakes

It’s a fantastic achievement to transform that over-excited, jumping, weak-bladdered puppy into a trained and trusted friend and companion. The transformation isn’t automatic, but comes about through persistence, organisation, and a few simple dog training tools.

You can find several training tips on our Omlet Dog Guide. Here, we’ll highlight a few things that can slow down the training process.

1 – The training sessions are too long.

This is definitely rule number one. Training takes a lot of canine concentration, and if you overdo it, the dog will become bored and/or impatient. And, frankly, so will you. A training session should be between five and ten minutes. After that, it’s time out. You can resume the training with another 10-minute session an hour or so later.

2 – You’re getting impatient.

You might think your dog is the cleverest pet you’ve ever met. But he’s still a dog, and not a human, so you shouldn’t expect miracles. A dog has to concentrate to learn new commands, especially ones that go against his natural instincts to run, bark, eat, and jump up to greet people. Many owners lose patience when, for the umpteenth time, the dog fails to respond to a command, lies down instead of sitting, forgets to wait when you tell him, and so on.

As soon as you lose your temper, your dog will sense the hostility and begin associating training with human anger. Understandably, he’ll not be too keen on taking part in future sessions.

3 – You’re on auto-repeat.

If your dog fails to get the hang of a new command or trick on the third attempt, let it go. The mystified mutt will have made three incorrect guesses, and getting it right after ten attempts will not make the training stick. Revisit these ‘fails’ in later training sessions. Review your approach – was it too vague, too similar to another command, or have you fallen into the traps mentioned in points 1 and 2 above?

Similarly, if your dog fails to lie down when you say “lie down”, don’t repeat the command endlessly. It will tell the dog he doesn’t need to respond immediately, or it might make him think that the command for ‘lie down’ is actually “Lie down! Lie down!  Lie down! Lie down! Lie down!…etc.”

4 – Everyone’s moody.

If a dog is tired, grumpy, hungry, or expecting his regular walk, a training session isn’t going to go down well. The same applies to the human trainer – if you’re not in the best of moods, the dog will know, and neither of you will be in the best frame of mind for a training session.

5 – The default approach is punishment.

There are two ways of training a dog – the old-fashioned correction-based method, and the much better ‘positive reinforcement’ method. The old way involved punishing a dog for getting things wrong, while the modern way is to reward him when he gets it right. Some owners mix and match the two methods, which can be confusing. The poor dog doesn’t know what’s coming next – a tasty treat or an angry gesture.

You should never shout your dog’s name in anger or as part of verbal punishment either, or he will come to associate his name with negative things.

6 – The training is inconsistent.

Always use the same command words for each action, and make sure the dog performs the required action once he’s learned it. If you give the command and then let it slide if the dog doesn’t bother responding, you’re undermining the process. When training a dog you’re establishing sets of rules, and consistency is the only thing that’s going to make them stick.

If using a dog clicker, make sure the clock is reinforced with a treat. And don’t click loads of times for a single training action or behaviour, or the click will lose its meaning for the dog.

7 – The training is tailing off.

If a dog learns new tricks and performs well in early training sessions, it doesn’t mean the behaviours will stick in his head forever. They need reinforcing every day over the dog’s early months, otherwise he will get rusty (a bit like you trying to recall those school French lessons 20 years later). Some owners make the mistake of thinking a paid-for training session can replace a year of regular and patient training. It can’t.

8 – Bad behaviour is being rewarded.

If a dog is misbehaving, it can be tempting to shout his name angrily, and then reward him with a treat or attention when he comes. To the dog this means bad behaviour = reward. Ignore the bad behaviour as much as you can, and draw a line by distracting the dog by asking him to sit or lie down (without using his name). You can then reward the good behaviour.

9 – You’re overdoing the treats.

If dog treats are given too frequently or the portions are too large, the dog may decide, later, that he will only listen if there is food involved. There are also health issues involved with overdoing the snacks too. Praise, play and affection are just as important as food treats when training.

10 – A bull terrier can’t be a sheepdog!

There’s no single ‘best way’ to train a dog. It depends on breed and temperament. So, don’t rely on previous experience or the advice of another dog owner, if the dogs in question were completely different characters. 

No dog is born pre-trained. But by avoiding these 10 common mistakes you’ll make the training much more effective, ensuring that everyone involved – human and dog – has a great time during the process.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Fruity Frozen Yogurt Treats for Dogs

Try out these delicious homemade frozen treats that dogs will go crazy for! These are super quick and easy to make, and kids will love getting involved with different fruity creations…

You will need…

An ice cube tray – (moulds to make larger ice cubes are available on Amazon)

500g Greek Yogurt

200ml of water

A selection of dog-safe fruits, such as apples, bananas, blueberries, mango, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.

We used an ice cube tray which makes large 2 inch square ice cubes. This quantity made approximately 8 at this size ice cube.

Method

Prepare the fruit and cut up into smaller bite size pieces.

Depending on the size of ice cube tray, fill the molds up to a third high with yogurt, followed by a small splash of water. Pop a few small pieces of fruit into the moulds, before continuing to fill the molds with yogurt, splashes of water up and pieces of fruit up to the top.

Pop in the freezer for at least 4 hours depending on the size of the ice cube moulds.

Allow the treats to thaw for 5-10 minutes before feeding to your dog.

Other Frozen Treats…

If your fruit bowl contents are on their way out and unlikely to be eaten by the humans in the house, you can also freeze cut up pieces of the fruit, like apples and bananas, to give to your four-legged friends directly.

Don’t forget!

Remember to give your dog treats in moderation, alongside a healthy diet. Supervise your dog when eating these frozen treats and remove at any sign of distress. These frozen fruit cubes should be given to your dog as a treat, with other solutions in place to keep your dog cool, such as access to shade in the garden and the coolest room in the house, fresh water, walks at the coolest time of day etc. Consult your vet if your dog is showing signs of distress or potential heatstroke.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


10 Top Tips For Camping With Dogs

Hitting the great outdoors on a doggie camping trip is a great idea… in theory! But what if the dog keeps everyone awake all night, barks endlessly at a field full of strangers, and runs off at the first whiff of someone else’s barbecue?

The fact is, some dogs are born campers, while others tend to get frustrated or freaked out. Our ten dog camping tips should help you find the right pitch for you and your canine companions.

1. Think about your dog’s personality.

A chilled-out dog who enjoys lying down after a walk just as much as he enjoys the walk itself will probably love camping. So will a sociable hound who likes meeting other dogs and new people. On the other hand, a skittish, nervous or aggressive hound will find it all a bit stressful. That doesn’t mean you can’t go camping with a less sociable dog. If he’s always aggressive to strangers, it’s best to forget it; but otherwise you just need to do your campsite homework. Somewhere small and quiet might work better than a busy camping village at the height of the season.

Having said that, many well-trained dogs are able to tolerate the hustle and bustle, as long as they also have the opportunity to get away from it all on regular walks.

2. Research the camp sites before setting out.

Lots of places do not allow dogs on site, and many more have a ‘Dogs on leads at all times’ policy. The ones that do encourage dogs tend to be very proud of the fact, boasting of their dog-friendly facilities. The non-dog-friendly ones outnumber the others, so do your homework.

3. Take all the dog accessories with you.

You’ll need food and water bowls – including light, portable dog bowls and water bottles for hikes and day trips – food, leads, harnesses and muzzles, poo bags, beds, towels, favourite toys, tick- and flea-collars, tick-removers, and anything else that will ensure a trouble-free trip. You might want to consider a light-up dog collar too, for those dark nights.

4. Don’t forget the dog ID.

In case of emergencies, or AWOL dogs, you should have all your pet’s details on a dog ID tag, or printed out (and laminated, ideally – wet camping trips can soon make slips of paper illegible). This includes vet’s notes and vaccination record, and contact info. Your dog’s microchip records need to be up-to-date too.

5. Settle in.

After the journey, before doing anything else, let your dog acclimatise. He’ll need a wee and will enjoy a good, long walk around the immediate area to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of his new surroundings.

6. Keep your dog under control.

You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder every other second to make sure your dog isn’t making a nuisance of himself in the shower block or attacking the neighbours’ sandwiches. Unless your pet is very well-trained indeed you’ll need to put him on a lead – a long one, if space allows – tied to a ground spike or tree. That way he can nose around without sneaking off while you’re not looking. You could also take a travel dog crate with you, if your pet has been crate-trained. Doggie tents are available too.

7. Clean up.

Take poo bags to dispose of your dog’s trips to the toilet. Remove all food bowls and dog toys after they’ve been used, to prevent other dogs sniffing around and potentially leading to doggie disagreements.

8. Discourage the woofing.

If your dog is barking, distract him or move him somewhere else to take his mind off whatever has been winding him up. A walk is ideal. Remember that children and many other people on campsites go to bed early, so impose an 8 o’clock woofing curfew. This may involve taking the dog into the tent or crate and encouraging him to settle down for the night.

9. Go easy on the snacks.

It can be tempting to feed your dog lots of picnic and barbecue leftovers, or to overdo the treats due to his good behaviour in strange surroundings. Too much food can upset a dog’s stomach, which means nasty doggy smells at best, and runny poos at worst. Limit Fido to his usual food, with just the occasional treat – and make sure he doesn’t make lots of new ‘best friends’ on the campsite based on the fact that they feed him their leftovers!

10. Enjoy yourselves!

A simple but vital point. Treat the trip as a holiday rather than a trial. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your dog will be.

Once your dog has caught the camping bug, he’ll relish the trips every bit as much as you do. And those happy family holidays with the dog become cherished memories when you look back over days gone by. 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


The Best Pets For Older People

Elderly pet-owners will need a little help looking after their furry or feathered friends. Shopping for pet food, training, grooming, and cleaning out cages and litter trays are all factors to be considered.

If a pet falls ill, it will need taking to a vet, or medication may have to be given. Lack of transport and shaky hands can suddenly become problems in these circumstances.

The level of assistance needed will, of course, depend very much on the physical and mental health of the pet owner.

But in spite of these considerations, pets and older people are a perfect match – as long as you get the right pet!

Pets to Avoid

For many older people, owning a pet is all about companionship. So, although an iguana, goldfish or tarantula may be low maintenance, they don’t exactly exude personality and friendship. Reptiles, fish and insects can therefore be placed in the category ‘Dedicated Enthusiasts Only’.

Rodents are not ideal choices, either. They are fast moving, and can easily escape from an open cage. Some, such as the hamster, are largely nocturnal too, losing several points on the ‘companionship’ scale.

The Best Bird Companions

Small cage birds make good pets for seniors. Larger species such as parrots are long-lived, and this can present mounting problems if an owner becomes increasingly frail with the passing years.

A budgie is a good option. These birds are intelligent, easily hand-tamed, and once trained they will return to their cage unassisted after playing and flying indoors. Some also learn to talk, which reinforces the companionship enormously. Add to this the fact that their cages can be kept on holders at shoulder-height, with easy access for cleaning and feeding, and you have the perfect pet for older people.

Canaries and other pet finches can be good choices too, but it has to be said that they lack the big personality, trainability and talkativeness of budgies. There are other plus points, though, notably the beautiful song of the canary.

The Best Cat Companions

In many ways the cat is an ideal pet for seniors. But it isn’t just a question of arriving at Gran’s door with a kitten and expecting everything to be fine!

A kitten will need to be house-trained, and won’t instantly be the placid lap-loving cat that many elderly owners will be looking for. An older cat, on the other hand, will have ‘grown in’ to its personality. You could choose a placid, indoor-loving coach-potato breed such as the Persian, Russian Blue or Ragdoll if laps and cuddles are the priority.

Ideally the cat should still be given access to the outdoors to prevent the chore of cleaning a litter tray every day. In this respect one of the ideal breeds is the Abyssinian. Super-friendly and incredibly tame, they are also lovers of the great outdoors, mixing and matching house and garden perfectly.

If a cat is being adopted from a previous home, you will be able to find out all about its personality. Many ‘moggies’ of a non-specific breed turn out to be the perfect pet for seniors, after a little investigation into the animal’s background.

Bear in mind, though, that cats can live up to 20 years – a big time commitment if someone is already worrying about health and mobility in later life. But once again, this is where the animal’s independence becomes a great asset. Most cats, even though they love their owners, can pretty much look after themselves.

The Best Dog Companions

For an elderly person with mobility, dogs are a great pet choice. Several breeds thrive with just a little daily exercise. Many of these are at the smaller end of the scale – dogs such as the Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu, Maltese, Bichon Frise, and good-natured individuals from the West Highland and Yorkshire Terrier families. Smaller dogs have smaller appetites too – a major consideration if money is an issue.

However, some smaller dogs can be very yappy or snappy – not a great combination. Breeds to beware of for these reasons include Chihuahua, Jack Russell, and Dachshund.

If the owner is still able to walk a mile or two a day, a Golden Retriever makes a great choice. But with all breeds you need to bear in mind longevity – a dog that needs walking at six months old may still be demanding walkies at 15.

Pets For Therapy

It’s a well known fact that pets are therapeutic. Some care homes hold regular pet therapy sessions in which residents spend quality time with cats, dogs, and other tame animals.

Pets bring positive benefits for mental health across all age groups, and can also prevent loneliness becoming a problem. We all need affection, and pets deliver it with no questions asked!

However, having a pet-handling session in a care home is a different proposition to an elderly person keeping a pet in their own home. All animals need a certain amount of looking after, and if mobility is an issue, even a simple chore such as cleaning a cage can become difficult. In these circumstances, seniors will need a little assistance.

But if you get it right, a pet can bring so many positives into an elderly person’s life – companionship, stimulation, stress relief, and that most important human need of all: love.

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This entry was posted in Budgies


How Old Is Your Dog Actually in Human Years?

Curly Coated Retriever

As a dog owner you’ve probably wondered how old your dog would be in human years. And you’ve probably came across the rule that one year for your dog equals seven human years. But this rule is actually far from accurate and the math is not that simple. Dogs mature at a different rate to humans and also the size and breed have to be taken into consideration. Smaller dogs generally mature faster and live longer than larger breeds, and cross and mix breeds tend to live longer than purebreds. The exact reason why small dogs live longer than large dogs is still unknown (generally speaking, large mammals tend to live longer than small ones). Scientists did conclude that every 4.4 pounds of body mass reduced a dog’s life expectancy by about a month.

Compared to humans, dogs age more quickly during the first years of their lives and slower toward the end. Calculating your dog’s age relative to humans is a bit tricky, but more or less possible with this figure:

The four stages of a dog’s life

Emotional and physical maturity occurs over an extended period of time and in stages, although every dog develops at his or her own rate depending on their size, breed and personality. Here’s an overview of what you can expect during the different phases.

PUPPYHOODUsually ends between 6 and 18 months of age

Puppies of smaller breeds develop into adults clearly faster than puppies from larger breeds. Small dogs are fully grown at the age of 10 – 12 months, while larger dogs can still be considered puppies for eighteen months, even up to two years. All puppies are born deaf, blind and unable to regulate their own body temperature. After four weeks, puppies are weaned from their mother’s milk gradually over a period of 2 – 3 weeks and start to eat puppy food. When their senses develop, puppies gets to know the right way to interact with humans, other dogs, and other pets. Socializing and the socialization process are extremely important during this period. A puppy should spend the first eight to ten weeks of its life with his mother and siblings.

ADOLESCENCEStarts between 6 and 18 months of age 

Adolescence is probably the most challenging period in a dog’s life. In this stage of the life cycle hormones start to kick in. If not spayed/neutered, your dog may begin to act like a teenager, reluctant to pay attention and more likely to exhibit undesirable behaviour. Your dog will start to grow in his second set of teeth at between six and eight months of age. His teeth will be sore and he will do anything to help ease the discomfort. This means chewing on… everything! Make sure you give your dog suitable chew toys at this stage. Your dog will also lose his puppy fur and experience significant growth spurts. Adolescence is the perfect time to start with obedience training.

ADULTHOODStarts between 12 and 36 months of age 

Generally speaking, small dogs hit adulthood in about a year, large breeds in two and giant dogs in three. Adulthood usually marks the end of a dog’s growth and your dog’s height and size have reached a point that’s typical for an adult of his or her breed and sex. Visible signs of adulthood in male dogs is when they starts to lift their leg while urinating and in a females when they go into heat for the first time. During adulthood dogs are usually in the best shape of their lives and they will need plenty of exercise and stimulating activities to keep them engaged. An adult dog is emotionally and physically mature and behaviour will be more difficult to change.

SENIORITYBetween 6 and 10 years of age

At this point in your dog’s life, you most likely have noticed signs of him getting older. Your dog may still enjoy a long walk, but he is not quite as bouncy as he used to be and it may take him a bit longer to respond to your commands. Just like us, dogs get older gradually and the ageing process affects dogs in the same way that it affects humans. Older dogs may need more rest and it’s important they have their own quiet place with a soft, comfortable bed away from draughts where they won’t be disturbed. It is important to know when your dog reaches this stage of life because of the changes needed to, amongst other things, its diet and exercise. Your veterinarian can help you identify when it’s time to make these adjustments.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Introducing A New Baby To Pet Cats And Dogs

The arrival of a baby in a household turns things upside down. That’s certainly how it can seem to your pets. A dog may find there’s less time for walks and playing, and a cat may suddenly be ousted from her favourite sleeping places in the bedroom or on your lap, due to the presence of the baby.

It’s important to get your pets used to the idea of having the newcomer around, along with the changes in routine that go with it. And ideally the preparation needs to start before the baby is born.

Prenatal Pet Training

In the months leading up to the birth, spend slightly less time with your cat or dog – particularly if they are used to lazing in your lap or sitting by your feet demanding attention.

If your dog is not fully trained at this point, fill in the gaps with some training sessions. Get an expert in to help out, if necessary. Your dog needs to know the basic ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave it’ commands, at the very least. It’s essential that the humans in the house reinforce their roles as Alphas in the pack.

A new baby will bring new sounds and smells to the house. You can get your pets ready for this by inviting mums and dads with babies or toddlers to call in for coffee. Play a recording of a crying baby to acclimatise pets’ ears, and switch on any noisy new toys, mobiles, swings or other baby-related apparatus. Let your pets sniff a nappy and a cloth with a few drops of baby oil on it. Familiarity is half the battle.

Get Your Pet Vet-Ready

A neutered pet is a calmer pet, and less likely to bite. This is especially true with males. When neutered, they are less likely to view the baby as a rival. Arrange for a vet to perform the operation, if the pet is not yet neutered. And while you’re there, make sure Puss and Fido are up to date with their vaccinations, worm-free, and generally in tip top health.

Reset Schedules

Babies bring lots of unpredictability to a household, and old routines soon break down. There’s nothing wrong with this, but a pet who’s set in his ways may not take kindly to sudden change. Break him in by varying feeding times, blocking off no-go areas with a baby gate, or perhaps hiring a dog walker.

If the human mum-to-be has always been the pet’s chief companion, it’s handy if you can introduce another ‘favourite’ into its life. This could be a partner, older child or friend – anyone able to spend quality time with the animal.

Introducing the Baby

Before letting a dog or cat see the baby, let them sniff a blanket and a soiled nappy. Try not to show any nervousness when bringing the baby into the house for the first time, as pets will pick up on the bad vibes.

To make the first introduction, sit with the baby in your arms – ideally in a ‘neutral’ room, one where the pet doesn’t usually go – and let the dog or cat approach in its own good time (and one at a time, if you have multiple pets). Don’t force the issue. Have some treats ready to reward good behaviour.

You can reinforce the positive associations by treating a dog whenever it’s around you and the baby. That way your pet will come to associate the baby with good things (i.e. food!) A cat will need less fuss in this respect, and will simply equate the baby with you, logging it as something not to worry about.

Whenever there’s any interaction between baby/toddler and pet, make sure there’s an adult around to keep an eye on the situation.

Special Notes For Cats

A docile cat needs to get used to the new baby, and to keep away when it’s asleep. A more flighty cat should simply be kept away. Toddlers seem to have an instinct for grabbing handfuls of pet fur, and a nervous cat may react by scratching. A cat flap with a lock can be handy in the early days, to keep puss outdoors at key times.

Many cats dislike a baby’s crying, and will disappear when the screaming begins. This is very handy! Make sure there’s a quiet, safe spot for them, away from the mayhem. The Maya Nook is a perfect solution to give your cat some privacy. 

Cats feel exposed and nervous when they eat, so you should keep a toddler away from the place where your pet is feeding. It should also go without saying that you should prevent young ‘uns from rummaging in the litter tray too!

Special Notes For Dogs

All dogs will need to be well-trained, in a situation where trust is so fundamental. Some dog breeds are very rarely going to be friendly with children, though. A dog bred over hundreds of years for aggression is NOT a dog you should have in the family home. ‘Snappy’ breeds such as Jack Russel, Dachshund or Chihuahua can be problematic too, but you probably know your dog best.

A treat-based puzzle toy such as a Kong ball is a useful distraction. You can give it to your dog while you spend time tending to the baby, to divert the pet’s attention.

It’s important not to abandon dog walks, as that will lead to doggy stress and frustration. It’s a case of ‘business as usual’, where ‘usual’ has simply undergone a few changes.

The dog/child relationship is a two-way process, and youngsters need training too. Teach them to be gentle with the dog, and they will have the basis for a good relationship.

And the importance of that relationship shouldn’t be underestimated. Children learn lots about friendship, respect and responsibility from interacting with animals. There is also evidence that allergies are less of an issue in kids who have been brought up with pets.

So – you’ve replaced your ‘pet baby’ with the real thing. That means big change. But when handled properly it’s a positive change, the beginning of a new chapter in the happy family home.

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This entry was posted in Cats


How to Deal with the Loss of a Pet

Those who have lost a beloved pet will know the pain can be as heart wrenching as the loss of a family member or friend. For many couples, the family pet becomes another child, just one with four legs and a tail who doesn’t answer back. Many of us also find comfort and friendship in our pets throughout the highs and lows of day to day life, so the passing of a pet can be extremely painful.

It’s okay to be sad

Take the time to process what has happened and allow yourself to be sad. This is especially important if you have children who may be experiencing this kind of loss for the first time and might struggle to understand.

Pet owners often have to make the difficult decision to have their pets put to sleep when their health deteriorates too far to be helped. This adds another aspect to the grief as some may feel guilty for having to make that decision, or as though they could have done things differently. Discuss the events with your vet, as they will be able to reassure you that you did the right thing.

Don’t feel ashamed for any sadness you feel. Many people may not understand or be sympathetic towards the sadness when we lose a pet, but that doesn’t mean you are not allowed to feel upset. If you think it would help you to take a couple of days off work to grieve, do so. Pets who have been in your home for years leave a big hole, and feelings of loneliness and emptiness are completely normal.

Confide in your family and friends about how you feel, but if you do not think they understand, seek the support of grief support helplines.

If they were your only pet, consider moving your pet’s bed, food bowls, toys and other belongings into a garage or shed so they are out of sight. Throwing these in the bin straight away can be difficult so don’t rush, just put them away so there is one less reminder in the home.

If you have another pet, keep a close eye on them for signs of depression and loneliness. Consult a vet if you believe your pet’s behaviour has changed drastically and shows no sign of improvement.

What next?

Some people choose to rescue or adopt another pet soon after the loss, as the home can feel empty without them. However, others find this feels too much like attempting to replace them. Consider rescuing a different type of pet, e.g. if you have lost a dog, why not rescue a cat instead. That way you are not at all replacing your previous pet, but you are offering a cat in need a happy home.

We are all guilty of taking lots of photos of our pets, and this is the time to put those photos to use. Find your favourites and prepare a photo album, or get a canvas printed, so they can still be a part of your home. Other things you could do in memory of your pet are plant a tree or flower in their favourite garden spot, read or write a poem, make a donation to a pet charity which means a lot to you, or volunteer at a local rescue shelter.

 

Pawprints Left By You – By Vayda Venue

You no longer greet me
As I walk through the door,
You’re not there to make me smile,
To make me laugh anymore,
Life seems quiet without you,
You were far more than a pet,
You were a family member, a friend,
A loving soul i’ll never forget.

It will take time to heal,
For the silence to go away,
I still listen for you ,
And miss you everyday,
You were such a great companion,
Constant, loyal, and true,
My heart will always wear,
The pawprints left by you.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Special Offer – 15% off ALL Dog Products!

As naughty as your dog may be, we all know you can’t stay mad for long.

Treat your pup with 15% off ALL Dog Products.

 

Whether your dog is a sock-stealer, accidental-painter, or muddy paw-printer, we all know that no matter what they do, we will always love them. That’s why we’re offering you 15% off all dog products so you can save on their next treat.

For the new pups on the block, you can save 15% on the popular Fido Studio dog crate, perfect for crate training your puppy in style. Or treat your dog to the luxurious Fido Nook, where your four-legged friend will love to snooze away the afternoon – now available with stylish curtains offering your dog a cosy and secure space to relax.

Don’t miss out on this pawesome opportunity to treat your furry friend for less!

 

Terms and conditions

This 15% off promotion is only valid from 14/08/19 – midnight ACT on 28/08/19. 15% off requires no promo code. This offer is available on all dog products listed in our dog category only. Excludes spare parts. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


How To Teach A Dog To Swim

Richard Whately, 19th century Oxford academic and Bishop of Durham, taught his dogs to climb trees on the banks of the river Cherwell, and jump into the water from the branches.

Fortunately, there are much easier ways of getting your pet dog used to taking a dip. But the key word in the previous paragraph is ‘taught’. Dogs are not born swimmers – they need teaching to a certain extent, even though most of them can stay afloat and doggy-paddle their way back to shore if you throw them in. But this is certainly not a recommended way to introduce pooch to the pond!

Many of them need no persuasion at all, and jump into rivers, ponds and the sea at every opportunity. Others are less eager to take the plunge, and some breeds are simply not built for the doggy paddle.

Sorting the Water-Dogs from the Non-Swimmers

Dog breeds with no snout, such as the Boxer, English bulldog, French bulldog, Pekingese and Pug, have great difficulties keeping their noses above the water. Their squashed muzzles – ‘brachycephalic’ is the proper term – means they are simply not built for swimming. Similarly, breeds with large heads and muscular upper bodies such as American bulldogs and Staffordshire bull terriers are not able to swim well, or at all.

Dogs with short legs find it hard to get very far in the water, even though they are capable of holding their heads above the surface. This applies to such breeds as the Basset hound and Dachshund.

Taking the First Dip

For dogs that can swim in theory but are a bit nervous, or simply not yet used to taking a dip, there are a few tips and tricks that should turn them into water dogs in no time.

  • Choose a location with water shallow enough for you to easily rescue the dog if it starts to panic. Somewhere with a slope is ideal – a lakeside, a gentle river, or a coastal pool. A paddling pool at home is where many dogs take their first swim.
  • Try to choose a quiet location, to minimise distractions and enable the dog to concentrate on the swimming lesson.
  • Keep the dog on a long lead during these early dips.
  • Take a stick or toy to tempt your dog into the water. If you go in first, the dog will be more inclined to follow. Some will leap in at once, others need more time to get used to the idea. Never drag, throw or otherwise force a dog into water.
  • Doggy lifejackets can be bought, if your pet is particularly nervous, or if you’re not sure whether he will be able to swim very well, based on his body shape.
  • Once the dog is used to being in the water, wade further out (tricky in a paddling pool!) and encourage him to follow you. It’s all about building confidence.
  • To help a nervous dog get used to having its feet off the bottom of the pool or river, hold him by the middle for reassurance. Paddling with the front paws will be instinctive, and you can encourage use of the back legs by raising the dog’s back end slightly. He will instinctively kick his hind legs to regain equilibrium.
  • Once the dog is paddling at the front and kicking at the back, he’s cracked it. You can now let him test his new skill – but stay close and be prepared to hold him by the middle again, in case he tires or suddenly panics.
  • It’s a good idea to take a towel to dry the dog once it’s emerged from the water. Smaller ones in particular can get cold very quickly. Be prepared for a gentle soaking as your wet pet shakes the water from its coat!

For many dogs, the so-called training process will be over in a couple of seconds. Many hounds swim as naturally as they woof – breeds such as Newfoundlands, Poodles, Otterhounds, the various Retrievers, Spaniels, Setters, and – surprise surprise – Portuguese and Spanish Water Dogs, for example.

And rest assured – you don’t need to teach them to climb trees as well!

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How to Teach Your Dog to Go Through a Door Flap with Clicker Training

When we got our Miniature Schnauzer, we had already had a catflap in the back door for years. We soon realised that our little dog would easily also fit through the cat flap, and this would allow her to go in and out of the backyard whenever she liked. We decided to pin it open to see if she would even use it at all, and it turned out to be a hit. It worked perfectly and in the summer it was nice to have a light steady breeze from the door. But we all know, summer must come to an end one day. And it did.

Winter came and with that freezing air blowing through the cat flap every day, all day. Unpinning the door meant having a sad little furry dog staring at it in disbelief “This used to be open all the time! Why is it locked now? And since when can the cat walk through walls?” The surprised look on our dogs face every time the cat appeared and vanished in the door was adorable and yet a little upsetting. How she wished to have the cats ability of passing through closed doors. And I wished that too. The comfort of going in and out whenever she wanted proved to make for a demanding dog, that needed help to open and close the door. Countless times a day.

Something had to change. As she didn’t understand how the door worked, we would have to show her and help her a little. I had used clicker training with other dogs before, and it was not only fun for me but also for the dog. Somehow we had never started training our newcomer with it, but now I dug out the clicker from the ominous corner drawer in the kitchen that hardly ever gets opened these days and made a plan.

Teaching my dog to use the cat flap!

My dog got the concept in a matter of hours and used the door by herself on the next day. Now she is young and very intelligent, but older dogs should also be able to learn this trick in no more than a few days.

Dog Clicker Training for flap doors – let’s get started.

Four essential things you need:

  • A clicker
  • Small dog treats or favourite toys
  • A cat flap
  • A dog (any dog will do…)

Clicker Training

If you’ve never heard about clicker training, then I will try to quickly introduce you to it. In short, clicker training conditions the dog through positive reinforcement to repeat certain behaviours. There is no such thing as active punishment in this training – “punishment” is shown in a passive manner by ignoring the dog. Dogs thrive on attention, they mostly don’t mind if it’s positive or negative attention – they often might not even be able to tell them apart. As long as their favourite humans interacts with them, that’s great news. Nothing is worse for a dog than being ignored. This is very useful when it comes to training.

A click tells the dog “That’s exactly what I wanted you to do!”, then a treat follows. Click means treat – that is very important. Never click without it being followed by a treat – even if you click by accident. Click and treat go hand in hand. For most dogs, food treats work great, it is possible though to offer toys as a reward instead. Depending on the dog or the situation – I don’t take the clicker on walks for example, but I use the same method of “Do well and something good happens” to train my dog to, for example, stay sitting while I walk away. If she waits for my release command and comes running, we play with her toy. If she runs towards me without the command, we don’t play. That way she realises that, even though staying put might not be the most fun thing to do right now, but when that’s done, there are better things to come!

Step one

But let’s go back to the cat flap. If your dog already works with clickers, then great, skip this paragraph and read the next. For everyone who has never used a clicker with their dog, you will want to get your dog accustomed to the clicker, what it does, how it works and how he/she can actually “make it click” to get to that tasty treat.

I admit, I am very impatient and extremely lucky with my dog. I have done all this in fast forward mode, but generally it is best to take some time and be patient… Start with teaching your dog what the noise means. With your dog in the same room, click the Clicker. Your dog will most likely look up at the noise, but even if he doesn’t, make sure to click and immediately offer him a tasty, small treat.

Click again, give the treat.

Click again, give the treat. Repeat.

Click again – does your dog already look a little excited about the noise? Good, he is starting to realise that a treat follows the click every time he hears it.

This stage shouldn’t take long at all, and it’s soon time for the next step.

Step two

I thought about what skills the dog would need to open the door. To go through the door she would have to push it with her nose. So my next goal was to get her to touch the cat flap with her nose. The direct approach didn’t seem to be very successful, so I got a colourful Post-It note out of the cupboard. Maybe this isn’t necessary if you manage to make your dog touch the door with its nose. However, I wiggled the bright pink piece of paper in front of her nose and the first thing she does is give it a quick sniff. As soon as her nose touches the paper – CLICK! and treat.

Move a few steps away and show the paper, have the dog follow you, trying to touch the paper with its nose.

When the dog touches the paper reliably, you can now introduce a command such as “Touch” every time the dog does the action. Your dog will soon connect the motion of touching the paper with the word.

Keep this up until she touches the paper with her nose every time she sees the paper. Once this works well, phase three can begin – stick the Post-It on the flap door.

Step three

With the Post-It on the flap and the dog knowing the “touch” command, the next step was quite easy.

Ask your dog to touch the paper. Click when they do. Your dog might not push the door yet, so start to encourage him to touch it harder. Stop clicking if the nose only just touches it, instead click only when the dog put enough pressure on the door and the door slightly wiggles.

Does the door wiggle a little every time now? Great, then take away the click again until your dog starts to push the door harder.

This is a gradual process and encourages the dog to think about what you want it to do. When he figures it out himself, he learns a lot faster. Teach him gradually to not just make the door wiggle but to push so hard, that he has to stick his head through – at this point he will usually have realised that he can walk through as the door actually reveals what’s behind, and eventually you will be able to gradually change the slight door touching to actually walking through. Like magic!

Done!

My dog was finally able to make her way in and out of the house whenever she wanted – and we could finally take off the second layer of socks.

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Want to involve your dog in your wedding? Here are some things to think about…

Wedding season is in full swing, and many couples are choosing to include their treasured four legged friends in their nuptials, giving their dogs a prominent role to play in their big day!

If you are planning your wedding and want to include your pooch in the celebrations there are a few important things that you should consider…

1 – Check your wedding venue is pet friendly

Some wedding venues do not allow animals, so remember to check that they will be allowed into your venue if you plan to include them in your ceremony.

2 – Decide what role will they play

Will they have a role in the ceremony? Perhaps they’ll be pup of honor and walk the bride down the isle? They could be flower dog or even ring bearer (if your dog can be trusted not to run off with the rings!), or perhaps they will just turn up for a few pictures after the ceremony?

3  What will they wear?

Most weddings include a colour theme so your may wish to dress your dog in a collar to match the bridesmaids, or a bow tie to match the groom!

4 – Agree how long they will stay at the wedding

Would you like your pooch to stay for the whole day and evening or perhaps arrange for a dog sitter or friend to take your dog home before the evening celebrations commence? All of the excitement, food, music and noise may be too much.

5 – Consider incorporating your pet into your cake design or wedding favours

Wedding cakes come in all shapes and sizes, so you could ask the person that makes your cake to incorporate your beloved pet into the design.

6 – Pick your flowers carefully

Some flowers are toxic to dogs, so be careful which flowers you choose for your bouquet if your dog is joining you on your special day. Daisies, Tulips, Hyacinth, Daffodil’s  and Lilys are extremely poisonous to dogs.

7 – And finally – don’t forget to include them in some of the photos!

Remember to pack a few treats in your bridal handbag or the grooms pocket to help encourage your dog to pose for a few photos to create memories that you can look back on for years to come!

 

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Bring Your Dog To Work Day: The Aftermath

Did last Friday’s Bring Your Dog To Work Day not quite go to plan? Did your dog show you up in front of your colleagues? Maybe your dog was an angel and ticked everything off your to do list?

Get your dog office-ready in time for next year with Omlet’s Head of Pups’ top tips for dealing with the 9-5…

  

Who let the dogs out?

If Friday was your dog’s first day at the office it would likely have been incredibly overwhelming and therefore, would have influenced their behaviour and potentially made them act strangely. Try introducing your dog to the office and colleagues again but in short bursts, slowly building up to one whole day in the office. This will help your dog become familiar with all the faces, sights and smells and they will be better equipped to handle whatever is thrown at them.

Maybe your dog’s day at the office highlighted some gaps in their training or social skills, take the time to focus on these areas.

If you missed our preparation post for Bring Your Dog To Work Day you may not have thought to bring this and that with you on the day. Write a checklist of things you wish had taken with you so you are ready for your dog’s next trip to work.

Was your dog missing a secure space to hide when it all got too much? If your dog has been previously crate trained, taking a portable travel crate to the office with you and placing a blanket over the top will create a quiet dark space for them to rest when the bright lights of the office are too distracting for a nap.

Bring Your Dog To Work Day

Omlet is a proud sponsor of Bring Your Dog to Work Day, an annual event that raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs. Visit their website to read more and make a donation!

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Bringing your dog to work? Here are the things you need to think about!

Did you know that dogs in the office has been shown to boost morale, and employees who come into contact with dogs at work have higher job satisfaction than the country average? Having a pet in the workplace can also reduce stress levels, and stroking a dog can lower both your heart rate and your blood pressure!

This Friday, 21st June, is Bring Your Dog to Work Day, and a few of us might consider bringing our dogs to the office for the first time. If you’ve got the go ahead from your manager, read our list of things to think about to make sure the pup’s introduction to the workplace goes smoothly.


Consider if your dog can handle it

Not all dogs are suited for a day in the office, and to make sure you both enjoy it, you will need to consider if your dog will be able to stay calm and quiet all day. Do you think he or she will actually enjoy the experience, or are they better off at home? If there are other dogs in the office you will also need to take these into consideration.

Make sure your colleagues are okay with it

Even if you’re confident that your dog won’t cause any problems around the office you might have colleagues who are afraid of or allergic to dogs, and bringing in your pooch unannounced might not go down well. If people seem hesitant, let them know that you will make sure to keep the dog by your desk at all times, and that they won’t have to interact with the dog if they don’t want to.

Choose a good day

If it’s the first time your bring your dog, make sure it’s on a day when you haven’t got lots of meetings or when you are too busy to have a proper lunch break to take the dog for a walk. The pup will probably feel most comfortable if you’re around most of the time, and the office is relatively calm and quiet.

Make sure you have time for breaks and walks
Your dog will do much better if he or she gets a good walk at lunch time and a few shorter breaks during the day to stretch their legs and have a pee. This will benefit you as well, as taking a break and getting some fresh air will improve both your mood and your productivity.

Have a plan B

You know your dog, but a new environment might bring out sides you were not expecting. Barking, or other ways of marking their territory, can be really annoying and distracting, so make sure you have a getaway plan. Also keep an eye out for any sign of stress, like panting and licking lips. Are you able to take your dog home if needed? Or has the office got a meeting room that the two of you can retreat to if the pup is causing problems?

Bring everything your dog will need

Make sure to pack a comfy bed for your dog that he or she will feel comfortable in and that smells of home, and place it somewhere quiet and close to you. If you’re planning to bring your dog in regularly, you might want to buy a separate bed for the office. Bring water and food bowls, and treats. Puzzle toys like Kongs are perfect for keeping your dog occupied while you make a phone call or when you really need to focus on work.

Take full responsibility

You definitely don’t want the dog to be a reason your colleagues start to get annoyed with you, so make sure that you never leave someone to take care of your dog unless they have clearly said that they are happy to do it. Never assume that someone will want to take the dog out for a toilet break, or watch him or her when you pop out for a meeting.


Omlet is a proud sponsor of Bring Your Dog to Work Day, an annual event that raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs. Visit their website to read more and to get involved with all the fun! 

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How to Throw a Birthday Party for your Dog

PARTY CHECKLIST

Everything you need to do before the big day to guarantee your pawty is a success!

  • Send invites to all your dog’s favourite pups and people
  • Buy and set up decorations, e.g. number balloons, animal balloons, bunting, dog-friendly party hats.
  • Bake a delicious pupcake
  • Buy and bake other party treats for both human and canine guests
  • Prepare your party games
  • Set up a playlist
  • Fill a few bowls of water, and have poo bags on hand

BIRTHDAY PUPCAKE

Of course the birthday boy or girl deserves a birthday treat. This grain free peanut butter pupcake contains only 4 ingredients, but will no doubt impress both two and four legged friends!

Ingredients

1 egg

3 tablespoons peanut butter (make sure it’s sugar and salt free and contains no xylitol)

1/2 apple, grated or finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  3. Grease a muffin tin or a ramekin and pour in the batter
  4. Bake for approximately 20 minutes
  5. Let cool in the container for a few minutes, then remove. Let the pupcake cool completely before serving to your dog.

Decorate with your dog’s favorite treats. How about some greek yoghurt? Maybe some more peanut butter? Finish off with an apple slice or sprinkle some dog treats on top.

Recipe from http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2012/05/01/grain-free-peanut-butter-apple-doggy-cake/

EASY DOG BISCUITS

Impress your guests with another delicious homemade treat, that won’t take you all day to make!

Ingredients

3 cups of all purpose flour

2 eggs

⅓ cup of water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and form a stiff dough with your hands.
  3. Add more water if necessary to achieve dough-like texture
  4. Dust some flour on a clean surface, and roll out dough to a ¼ inch thick
  5. Cut out desired shapes (we used bone shaped cookie cutters) and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
  6. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes

Why not try adding some finely chopped apples, bananas or carrots to your biscuit dough before rolling and baking?

Recipe from: https://theblondcook.com/simple-dog-biscuits/

PAWTY GAMES

Even if running around and playing with friends will probably be enough to keep your pup happy you might want to plan a few games that both dogs and owners will enjoy, and that will hopefully keep four-legged party-goers out of mischief.

CATCH THE TREAT

If possible, make the dogs stand in a row with their owners a meter or so in front of them. The owners will throw 10 treats to their dogs, and the dog that catches the most wins.

PARTY TRICKS

For this one you will need a judge to decide who’s got the best party trick up their sleeve. Alternatively you can chose a few commands and see who will get the most right in a minute, or who will finish the commands first.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

Place mats or similar markers in a circle, one less than the number of party pups. With the dogs on the lead, the owners walk around the mats while the music is playing. When the music stops, owners will need to bring their dog to a mat and make them sit nicely. The couple without a mat is out of the game. Remove one mat at a time until you have a winner!

FETCH

This game is best played outside with plenty of space. Owners stand with their dogs and throw a toy on a given command. The first dog to return with the toy is the winner.

PUZZLE GAME

Cut a cross in old tennis balls and put a treat in the ball. Give the dog one ball each. The first one to work out how to get the treat out wins.

PAWTY BAGS

All the best hosts give their guests a little something to remind them of the fun that was had and thank them for coming! Take a look at our favourite party bag suggestions for canine guests…

  • A little bag of your homemade dog biscuits
  • A lovely soft toy
  • Tennis balls
  • Treats
  • A balloon
  • A stylish doggy bow or bowtie
  • A frisbee
  • A bone
  • Poobags

PUP PLAYLIST

A party isn’t complete without the perfect playlist for your guests to enjoy. From the party favourite “Who let the dogs out” to anxiety-reducing melodies, take a look at our dog-lover’s Spotify playlist here:

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Top Tips for the First Week with a Puppy

Introducing a new puppy to your home is very exciting, but it is also important to remember that this can be quite a frightening experience for a young dog. Take a look at our top tips for setting in your new furry family member below…

1 – Take some time off work

When you have been informed of the day you can collect your puppy, it is wise to take at least a week off work to stay at home with your new four-legged friend, to settle them in to your home. If you work full time, you will also need to make suitable arrangements after this time for letting your dog out for toilet breaks and exercise during the day.

2 – Start in one room

To avoid overwhelming your puppy with new sights and smells, keep them in one room to begin with. This will preferably be a room with direct access to the garden for them to go outside for toilet breaks, and will also be the place where you intend to keep their bed, food and water bowls in the long term. Unsurprisingly, your puppy will be very excitable and full of energy, so take them outside to become familiar with their surroundings and have a run around!

3 – First interaction

The first few days with your puppy are crucial for establishing a strong and positive relationship with your pet. You should take the time to interact with your dog; playing, cuddling, stroking. Introduce them to a couple of toys and begin playing and rewarding any good behaviour with treats. 

Your new puppy may also be a little weary of you to begin with. Be very gentle when you are handling him and slowly you will be able to develop their trust in you and become familiar with your touch, voice and scent.

4 – Feeding 

To maintain as much consistency as possible while your puppy goes through a confusing change to their environment, it is wise to follow the same diet as the breeder was feeding to the litter. Find out as much information as possible before you go to collect your puppy, so you have time to research and purchase the appropriate food. Once your puppy is home follow the diet as closely as possible, and if transitioning to a different type of food, do so gradually to avoid upsetting their sensitive stomach. 

5 – Playpen/crates

While excitably exploring their new space, your puppy may be able to injure themselves or damage items in your home, if left unsupervised. Obviously, you will be unable to monitor your puppy’s every move day and night, so it may be wise to consider a puppy playpen or dog crate to use for short period’s of time and at bedtime to keep them out of harm’s way when you cannot be with them. Dog crates are also a very useful training tool, and provide nervous puppies with a safe den they can call their own.

Add a bed, blankets and a couple of toys to your puppy’s crate to create a warm, cosy space. Puppy pads are also advisable for potential accidents inside, but make sure you are letting your puppy outside regularly to go to the toilet and stretch their legs.

Omlet Director, James, who recently adopted a Cavapoo puppy named Pip, said that getting a puppy “was like having another newborn child. It’s wonderful but you’re also nervous because you want her to settle in really well and be happy. In the first few days, she spent a lot of time curled up on my feet or on my lap. I slept downstairs for the first week to keep taking her outside to go to the loo while she was being puppy trained.

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8 signs your dog loves you

Warm Welcomes

One of the best things about being a dog owner is coming back home to be greeted by a happy (and pretty crazy) dog. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gone to the shops for 10 minutes or have been at work all day, your pup will act like you’ve been gone for days – jumping, dancing, licking and tail wagging. This is quite clearly a sign that your dog loves you and is happy that you have returned to them.

Yawning

We know that yawning is contagious between humans, but did you know that studies show that dogs are more likely to yawn simultaneously with their owners than with someone they don’t know? It is suggested that this is a way for dogs to show empathy, and that yawning together with their owners is a sign of affection.

Licking

Does your dog wake you up with wet kisses in the morning, or does he or she lick your face when you’re playing together? This is one of the absolute strongest signs that the dog feels truly comfortable around you, as it’s a version of the grooming that they would have spent time doing with their parents and siblings in the pack.

Sharing Toys

You might think that your dog only wants to play when they bring you their favourite toy. Wanting to play is also a strong sign of love, but by giving you their beloved possessions they are showing that you’re the pack leader and that they’re fully dedicated to you.

Loving Your Scent

You might get a bit annoyed when your pup steals your underwear and runs around the house with them, but try to remember that this thievery is actually a strong sign of affection. It means that the dog wants to feel close to you even when you’re not right next to them. If you see your dog doing this you might want to leave an old T-shirt in their bed when you’re out of the house to make them feel safe.

Eye Contact

If your dog looks you in the eye when you’re talking to or playing with them, they’re telling you that they love you. Eye contact releases the hormone oxytocin in the brain, which triggers feelings of comfort and affection and creates a stronger bond between you and your dog. An interesting fact is that dogs don’t use eye contact in the same way within their own species. In fact, prolonged eye contact between dogs can be a sign of aggression.

Relaxed Body Language

There are several ways your dog can use body language to show that they feel completely comfortable in your presence. A wagging tail is one of them, but you might also see relaxed facial features with a slightly open mouth and lolling tongue, blinking eyes, raised eyebrows and a tilting head, as well as rolling over for a belly rub.

Snuggling

In the wild dogs sleep huddled with their pack, and as you are your pet dogs pack, he or she might choose to snuggle up next to you for a nap. If they’re allowed to, dogs will sleep as close to their beloved humans as possible, both to feel protected and to protect the people they love the most. In a similar way you might also find that your dog stays close to you and sometimes leans against you when they are feeling stressed or intimidated.

 

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Fun and mentally stimulating ways to feed your dog

For most pet dogs meal time isn’t very challenging time of the day. Typically owners only put the food bowl down and leave them to it. If this suits you and your dog that’s absolutely fine, but they would without a doubt not have been served food in this way in the wild. Instead they would have had to scavenge and hunt for their meals, keeping both mind and body active. If you feel like you would like to challenge your dog and enrich their daily routine, then making some changes to their meal times can be a good start.

Adding more mental stimulation to your dog’s life can have several benefits. It keeps them busy and tires them out in a similar way to a long walk. Many dog owners forget about challenging their dogs mentally, and when they encounter problems with boredom and linked behavioral issues like chewing, pacing, jumping and barking, they just presume they need to increase the physical exercise. This helps, but it doesn’t satisfy your dog’s hunger for mental stimulation.

Mentally stimulated dogs are not as hyperactive, and they tend to adapt more easily to stress. This is useful if you’ve got a very worried pup who shows aggression towards other dogs walking past the house, struggles with separation anxiety or gets stressed during thunderstorms or fireworks.

Brain games are therefore a brilliant way of tiring your dog out for the evening, or before you leave for work in the morning. By combining this with their normal feeding time, it won’t take much longer than normal, and your dog will love the extra challenge. Additionally you don’t have to worry about giving your dog too many treats as they are rewarded with food they would have eaten anyway.

So what are some fun ways of mentally stimulating your dog during meal times?

The aim is that it should take your dog 10-15 minutes to finish their food. Make sure you supervise your dog the first few times you’re trying a new way of feeding.

Our first tip is nose work. Using their nose comes naturally to dogs, and searching for their food will definitely add stimulation to their daily routine. Scatter the food in the garden so that your dog will have to sniff around to find it. You can also do this indoors, but it might be good to choose a room that’s easy to clean and where the pieces of food won’t get stuck under furniture. If you want to make it even more challenging you can hide little heaps of food under a bush, on a window sill or behind some flower pots. If your dog doesn’t get the game, start with something that smells a bit more than their normal dry food.

Our second suggestion is puzzles and food dispensing toys. There are many food dispensing toys on the market, but you can also find treat balls and complicated puzzles that provide your dog with a harder challenge before they are rewarded with food. The idea with most of these is that your dog will have to move the toy around the floor or press certain parts of the toy to make the food fall out. Dogs absolutely love this, and as they get rewarded again and again it can keep them entertained for hours.

If you don’t want to buy toys you can make some yourself. Try putting the food in a cereal box and taping it shut, in a toilet roll with folded sides, or in a plastic bottle with some holes cut out where the food can fall out. This can get a bit messy, and definitely noisy, but it’s worth it when you see your dog running around trying to get into the box, tail wagging with excitement.

You can also use mealtime as an opportunity to practice tricks and teach your dog new ones. Don’t ask your dog to do the same tricks every meal time, as it will just become a part of the routine, and not challenging or mentally stimulating. By using this time for training you are able to give your dog more than just the one treat at a time, as it’s the food he or she is supposed to eat anyway. This will form a stronger positive association, and your dog might learn faster.

Another thing you can do to change the daily routine is to change the texture of the food. If your dog normally gets wet food, try freezing it into little discs or cubes that they will love crunching on. If your dog gets dry food you can mush it up with a bit of yoghurt or water. It’s all about novelty and enriching your dog’s daily routine!

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7 Expert Tips When Introducing Your New Dog to a Flock of Chickens

You’ve seen it on some TV programmes or driven past small-holdings and seen canines and chooks living in harmony.  Maybe they are a working dog? Maybe they are a family dog? How do they do it?  We have put together 7 expert tips to help you introduce your new dog to a flock of chickens.

Understand How Dogs and Animals Learn

Our canine companions, on the whole, are super intelligent and trainable, providing we know how they learn and what we need to do to train them.  Introducing them to our chooks can be done and co-habiting harmony does exist. It’s through this small thing we call desensitization. Stay with us for a short Psych 101 and we promise it’ll be worth it.

Desensitization is a process where, through graded exposure, an emotional response is diminished and adapted to a specific stimulus.

Now, what the heck does that mean I hear you yell?

In short, you expose your dog to your chooks, from a distance.  As he behaves how you expect him to, you gradually move him closer to the chooks.  You eventually get to the stage, that through the gradual exposure, he’s not that interested in the chooks after all.  His emotional response has diminished, and he has adapted which results in a calm response.

Stay Safe

Start with your chooks in their coop or a fenced in area.  Keep your dog on leash and feed him treats, providing he is ignoring the chooks.  If he is paying too much attention to them, move to a greater distance.  The aim is to find a distance where he is not having any emotional response towards them.

Grade the Exposure

Providing your dog is ignoring the chooks at a certain distance, you can move gradually closer to them.  Say you start at 50 feet away, slowly reduce to 45 feet, 40 feet and so on.  Continue to praise and reward him for ignoring them. Remember, you want his emotional response to diminish. Keep training sessions short, you don’t want to over tire your dog.  Some dogs get hyper-aroused just by being over-tired.

The Big Moment!

You’ve finally made it to near the chicken coop or fence, providing he is still pretty chilled out in ignorance of the chooks, ask him to sit next to the fence or coop.  Praise and reward.  If he behaves how you expect him to, lengthen the leash, so he can move around the border of the coop or fence, he can sniff and explore.  If he’s calm, the chooks may even come over to investigate.  Stay calm.  If he starts getting excited or lunges/barks at them, remove him to a safe distance where he will ignore them again.  You may need to do this a few times.  What he learns is that to be around the chooks, I must stay calm.  If your chooks will stay in a coop or fenced area, this may be where you spend the time repeating the behaviour and praising and rewarding.  You may sit with him with a chew or just work on some commands.  Again, the aim is to encourage him to ignore the chooks.

If you plan on having free range chickens, and canine and chooks will be mingling daily, read on.

The Great Escape

When you feel confident that your dog has so far, happily ignored the chooks and not shown any aggression or heightened arousal towards them, you can let them out of their coop/area to roam freely.  Keep your dog on his leash.  Ask him to sit or lay down if this makes you feel more comfortable.  As the chooks are roaming, providing your dog shows little interest, praise and reward him.  Again, you may want to give him a chew or even a slow feeding puzzle game.  He just needs to learn than he can co-exist with the chickens without interacting with them a great deal. 

Patience Is A Virtue

You may have to spend a significant amount of time working through these steps, but done in the right way, it will be worth it.  Whilst on leash you can walk him through the chooks, he may sniff, they may also show interest too.  The only behaviour you don’t want to see is aggression, lunging or chasing.  If this happens, go straight back to beginning and work on the gradual exposure again. 

Riding Solo?

The most nerve-wracking part will likely be when you feel he is ready to be let off leash to mingle on his own.  Again, take your time.  You may pop the chickens back in the coop and let him explore off leash around a fence.  You may prefer to put him on a long line (50ft) when in with the free-range chooks.  This way, he feels like he has more freedom, but you still have control if it goes pear shaped.  Be realistic though, some dogs just never quite make it to being able to mingle unsupervised with chooks, so watch the behaviour of your dog and make the call. 

Conclusion

Chooks to dogs are super-interesting, like most things.  The long and the short of it, successful introductions mean the chooks are no longer that interesting and your dog learns that to be around them he simply just needs to be calm.  Arm yourself with some high value treats, chews and any other slow feeder puzzles; start from a distance and encourage the behaviour you want to see.  Praise and reward when you do.  Grade the exposure.  Always stay calm and in control and don’t be afraid of going back to square one if things don’t go as you’d hoped.  It may take time, but it will be worth it when you have canine and chooks living in harmony.    


This post was written by John Wood at All Things Dogs.

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Dog-Friendly Pancake Recipe

Try something new for your pup and treat them to this dog-friendly pancake recipe with all the trimmings. This is also a delicious, healthy option for humans, too!

All you need for the pancakes are –

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • Coconut oil spray for frying pan

Eggs are a great source of protein for dogs, and are full of vitamins which can benefit their diet. Bananas are also rich in vitamins and minerals, and they also help boost your dog’s immune system and skin health.

Mash up the bananas in a bowl or food processor. Add the eggs and mix. Thicken with flour until the mixture forms a batter-like texture. Spray the frying pan with Coconut Oil Spray on a medium temperature. Add a tablespoon of the mix into the frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side. Allow the pancakes to cool before giving to your dog.

Suggested toppings for your dog’s pancakes –

  • More bananas!
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Peanut butter (check there is no xylitol in ingredients)
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Apple
  • Cottage cheese
  • Small cubes of cheddar cheese
  • Their own treats!

Flipping fantastic! Join the fun on Instagram and tag us in videos of your dog attempting to catch their pancake using the hashtag #FlippingFido.

Remember dogs should only have treats in moderation so consider the portion which is appropriate for the size of your dog to avoid overfeeding.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


10 Things Every Dog Parent is Guilty of Saying

In this post we’re introducing Esme, the latest addition to the Omlet HQ Pet family. This new puppy colleague has reminded us all of the crazy things we say to or about our dogs. Only truly mad dog parents will be guilty of saying these things…and also happily admit to it. If you think of someone while reading these, make sure you name and shame them on social media using #OmletPets.

 

“Can I work from home today?”

Why?

“My dog gets lonely…”

“Oh, don’t worry the dog will clean it up…”

“Go do wee-wees, go on”

“Sorry I’m late, my dog was -”

“Oh my God, my dog did the cutest thing this morning…”

“Sorry, she’s a licker”

“LOOK AT YOUR LITTLE FACE!”

“OH I MISSED YOU TOO!”

“Who’sacutiewootiethenyesyou’reacutiewootieyesyouare”

Hey, you free tonight?

“No, I’m cuddling my dog.”

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This entry was posted in Dogs