Discover Dogs at Crufts!

Since my dogwalking company kicked off in July 2011 I have become very familiar with the parks, streets and road in NW10, NW2, NW6 and surrounding areas. My regular pooches have chosen Gladstone Park in NW2 as their favourite place for a morning run/sniff/roll/romp!

Lottie and Tyla tracing a scent

I have also been introduced to many new breeds and some super friendly doggies who join us on our daily dogwalks! My most recent encounter is with a cross breed often called a Bull Arab originating from Australia. The wonderful mix of Great Dane, Mastiff and Greyhound makes this a large and graceful dog with a friendly, gentle nature.

I also have a Kelpie, an Australian Cattle dog who is also very gentle and intelligent. I have so much time and interest in meeting all breeds from around the world and learning about their origins and temperament.

This year I will be attending Crufts for the first time! It is a largest and most well known dog show in the world, held at Birmingham NEC from 8th-11th March 2012 it houses hundreds of traders in 5 halls including the main dog show arena and the Discover Dogs section that allows you to meet and greet over 200 different pedigree breeds and their knowledgeable owners. People also considering getting a dog can also use this area to research the right breed for their lifestyle and the best breeders to buy a healthy dog assured by The Kennel Club.

Crufts is a dog lover’s dream and well worth the entry fee of £14 (advance discounted price) or £17 on the day. There are additional tickets to gain entry to the judged Best in Show competitions.

Remember to budget for this event as you’ll find it VERY hard to resist not buying shed loads of exclusive goodies or you and your dog! Many traders are offering deals and products which are exclusive to Crufts and cannot be found online or anywhere else.

grab your advance tickets here: http://www.crufts.org.uk/ticket-office

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All I want for Christmas is….

PLEASE PLEASE reconsider buying a dog for your child as a Christmas present.

If you feel you have thought long and hard about it then PLEASE continue to think.

Are you ready and willing to look after another living being once your child has grown tired of it? Dogs have an adverge life span of around 15 years. Are you ready and willing to take it out for an hour’s walk EVERY DAY for 15 years? Are you prepared for the months and months of housetraining and obediance training that this little dog needs? Do you have enough money to feed, insure, medicate and fund this little dog all through it’s life no matter what happens? Have you researched how much vet’s bills and vaccinations can be?

Do you have enough time each day to give to this little dog? Or have you considered putting money aside to hire a walker/daycare if you work full time? Do you have a plan of action for where your dog will go if you ever decide to go on holiday without it? or even just a dog free weekend away?

Have you researched the correct breed that will suit your lifestyle and family home?

Are you aware of puppy farming and the conditions they are bred and raised in? Do you know the right places to look before choosing you dog? Do you know the places to avoid?

Owning a dog is not dissimilar to caring for a child. They require a lot of attention and care. More then you may be bargaining for! Rehoming a dog is NOT an easy option out if you are thinking that as a move if you decide it’s not working out. A large percentage this year are not allowing any dogs to be rehomed until after the New Year in an attempt to discourage their dogs being taken home as Christmas presents.

For the alarming statistics after The Dog’s Trust completed a survey on households over the UK see this for an idea of what dog’s and rehoming centres are facing http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/mediacentre/newsreleases/pr10nationalsurvey2010.aspx

 

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You must be Choking!!!

The ongoing debate between the appropriate use of collars verses harnesses continues. I find that, living and dog walking in London (NW6), the majority of people seem to prefer clipping their lead to their dog’s collar ready for a walk, no matter how long or short. It is also apparent that it doesn’t seem to be a concern if their dog is a small breed with a tiny, fragile neck.

Zsa Zsa with her Halti

If you ask me, I would use a harness almost every time, no matter what breed I was walking… There are obvious acceptions to this rule, those being the large and giant breeds with thick, muscular and fatty necks that are able to support and cushion the strain from the collar. I do feel, however, that if your dog does like to pull (walk you) and if you are still trying to train them to “heel” then using a harness is a much safer method for you and the dog. Even a headcollar on larger breeds are safe and effective.

I cringe each time a dog walks past me making that rough choking sound as they pull away on their lead meaning their collar is acting like a slow noose cutting into their fragile windpipe and damaging the trachea. It’s even worse when I see the owners yanking them back with a firm jerk of their arm. This is only making things worse. Damaging the neck further and indicating to the dog that their pulling is acceptable.

Byron with his padded harness

Traditionally, collars are really only worn to attach an ID tag to which is required by law when you are out and about with your dog. Mircochipping is not enough. You have to have your contact details visible on your dog in case of an emergency. Collars where never intended to be used in conjunction with leads BUT then the slip lead was introduced which means it can be slipped over the dog’s head and sits around the neck, the difference being that is gives slack and doesn’t strangle the dog. Ideally these are only used to walk dogs who are trained to heel or naturally enjoy plodding along by your side.

There are general guidelines widely available online focusing on the appropriate use of collars, leads, different types of leads, harnesses and other dog walking and training attire which is up to the owner’s discretion on which method they feel comfortable using on their dog. There is a lot of misuse due to ignorance and plain lack of education and information on this subject so most owners simply are not aware of the potential long term damage they could be doing to their dog’s neck and internal organs.

One thing should always be considered when walking your dog. Make sure that you are in full control and feel safe. Make sure that your dog is comfortable and safe. Have fun!

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Pound the Pavements or Burn the Rubber?

To buy a van or not to buy a van, that is the question!

As the weather begins to close in (Summer never exists very long in the UK) I have been more and more inclined to purchase a medium sized van as a general run around to collect the dogs and keep them safe, warm and dry. I also will be broadening my catchment area in order to be there for the dogs and the owners when they need me! I have been putting my new posters in and around: NW10, NW2, NW6, W10 and W9 which is a very large area to cover on foot.

Keep an eye out in your local cafes, vets and pet shops for my colourful flyer!

My latest flyer!

I have been deliberating whether to continue to use my VW Golf which I have harness seat belts for small dogs if they are happy and willing to sit calmly on the back seat together whilst en route to and from the park. I have only needed to use my car for a few new customers but I am not happy with this entirely as I don’t feel it is appropriate. I have seen several walkers in the area transporting their dogs all crammed together in the boot of an estate car which is, in my eyes, unbelievable. Can or is it even legal? Surely their insurance, if they have any, doesn’t cover this!

I intend on beginning with dog guards and a cage or two bolted down but the main aim is to have a good van kitted out with at least four cages and a comfortable space for larger dogs to sit. I have applied for a “Pet Transport License” from DEFRA which I hope will give my customers comfort knowing their pooches are in safe hands and will enjoy their trips to and from their walkies! I just have to decide whether to bite the bullet and purchase a van soon or hold out until I can be sure it’ll pay for itself. My business is still very young and I worry that I may be ever so slightly impatient with it’s progress! All I want to be doing every day is going out and about with the dogs! I will never walk more then 6 dogs at one time on my own but that will be on rare occasions as four-five is the main average I’m aiming for. The van does not need to be very big but cannot be too small either!

Do I carry on pounding those pavements, leaving extra time to collect the dogs, or do I burn the rubber saving time, working further and spending more? Watch this space!

If you have any recommendations for my first van then I’m all ears! :)

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Top Tips from NW6!

Handy Doggy Tips I can’t take credit for!

Since introducing LJ into my life, I have entered a whole new world of Dog! The Doggy community in North West London is lovely and I love nothing more then letting our dogs play happily around us while we stand in the middle of the park, packed into a huddle swapping stories, advice and watching our dogs chasing each other in circles around us and making friends all over again each time we meet!

I have been storing various (tried and tested) handy hints and tips that Ive picked up from my fellow dog owner acquaintances and friends. I feel that it’s only right, now I am in the Pet Care business, that I share these little pearls of wisdom with you! Of course, some tips may not always be suitable for every dog so exercise caution and tread carefully until you know it’s working! They are only intended to make your life a little easier, NOT to cut corners on matters that need tending to thoroughly.

If your dog/pup is finding meal times a bit boring then it never hurts to bring a little fun

LJ finds his dinner tastes better in his Kong!

into din dins every now and then! Stuff a Kong with their food, maybe add in a low fat treat to keep them going, and watch how it all becomes new and exciting again!

Dip a rawhide chew into some warm water to soak it so it helps them get started on chewing it if they are not very strong chewers or are teething.

If your dog is partial to a spot of rolling in the smelliest thing in the field, fox poo is their favourite, then put some tomato ketchup on a cloth or kitchen towel and rub it into the offending area and leave for a few minutes then wash off. The acetic acid in the tomato neutralises the smell! It is totally harmless, just watch your dog to make sure they don’t try licking it off!

On a hot day a great treat to help hydrate your dog is ice cubes! Most dogs love them so

Frozen Tuna IceCube treats.

try freezing something tasty inside like tuna or bits of sausage. It’s best to serve them in a bowl or outside in the shade to prevent mess.

You may already be aware of this tip as it is pretty popular around here. A great way to save the pennies on poo bags is to use the supermarket’s own brand of scented degradable nappy bags! They are the same but often half the price. I also recommend investing in a good, sealed container to carry your full bags in until you find a bin so you don’t have to walk around with a stinky squidgy, heavy bag dangling from your hand! Check out these: www.dickybag.com they even have scented disks inside to keep the bag fresh. I use one and it really does work!

Credit where credit is due: Linda Ward of Boredom Busters who is a dog walker & trainer (TBC) based in Brentwood, Essex http://www.brentwooddogtrainer.co.uk/, Chloe Brown, fellow Min Pin owner (LJ’s BFF) & the lovely Dicky Bag!

(The tomato ketchup one was my own research and experiment)

If you have any more helpful, non medical based tips then please share them here with me! Just make a comment then I’ll check it, approve it and publish on this post!

Always remember: If you are in any doubt please consult your local vet about anything. Also NEVER EVER leave your dog in a car on a hot or warm day. They could die in minutes even with the window down. Please read my previous post regarding this serious matter for advice.

The best tip: HAVE FUN! Enjoy your dog! xx

 

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Dog Friendly London in NW10, NW6, W10 & W9

I thought I’d share my Hot List of Dog friendly venues in and around my local dog walking area of Brent: NW10, NW2, NW6. Hammersmith & Fulham: NW10, W10, W9 (Westminster)

I hate being away from my dog almost as much as he hates being away from me! It’s wonderful to know that times are changing and social venues and open spaces are becoming much more dog friendly then they have been in the past. It is mainly because more people are bringing dogs into their family and they want them to be included just as much in their daily outings etc.

Many pubs, cafes, shops and even some salons are opening their doors to well behaved dogs! Here is my personal list of recommended places I visit often with LJ who offer great products, service and even a bowl of water for the pooch!

NW10:  Parlour (pub) http://www.parlourkensal.com/ This is a new joint which has been refurbished where The Regent Pub used to be. Still Happily welcoming doggies of all sizes! Mainly in one section of the pub.

The Chamberlayne (pub) http://www.thechamberlayne.com/ dogs allowed in the bar. They grill some great steak!

The Masons Arms (pub) http://www.themasonsarmsnw10.co.uk/events.html Love dogs! check out their posh new garden!

The William IV (pub & Tapas) http://www.williamivlondon.com/ dog friendly and they sell my favourite Fruli Strawberry beer!

Aubrey’s (cafe) http://www.facebook.com/AubreysLondon A new cafe in KR that offers a warm, friendly place to sit and indulge in some tasty home made delights and a steaming fresh cup of your favourite hot beverage! Dogs are very much welcome inside!

The Diner (cafe) http://www.goodlifediner.com/#/locations/kensalrise Dogs are allowed in their garden and receive lots of fuss from the staff! Lately, my little dog has been allowed to sit under the table in the restaurant!

The Island (pub) http://www.islandpubco.com/ Newly refurbished on College Rd. Makes great steak and loves our furry friends!

Roundwood Vet: http://www.any-uk-vet.co.uk/jones-craven-park/index.htm

Harrow Road Vet: http://www.veterinarycentre.com/

Sidmouth Rd (NW2) Vet: http://www.allpetsdavidking.co.uk/

Roundwood Park, Gladstone park, King Edward VII Recreation Ground.

NW6: Jacks Cafe http://www.jacks-cafe.com/ Dogs allowed in the garden. Great place to meet for a light lunch or just a coffee!

The Tricycle Cafe & Bar http://www.tricycle.co.uk/home/about-the-tricycle-pages/about-us-tab-menu/cafe/ lovely, friendly charity run cafe with nice food and tasty coffee. Dogs allowed into the cafe.

The Salusbury (pub) http://www.thesalusbury.co.uk/ Dogs welcome in the bar area. They also own the Chamberlayne so provide equally good grub!

Queens Park Vet: http://www.queensparkvets.co.uk/

Queens Park (dogs on lead only) Tiverton Green, Kilburn Grange Park

W10: Paradise by way of Kensal Green (pub) http://www.theparadise.co.uk/ The place for trendy sunday roasts!

The Nektar Bar (pub) http://www.timeout.com/london/venue/15308/nektar-bar Owned by Dimitri who, once you meet, you’ll NEVER forget! He & Maggie make amazing homecooked dishes with fresh ingredients and very generous portions! Dogs welcome inside!

The Garden Bar & Grill (pup) http://www.housebars.co.uk/gardenbar/findus.asp Dog friendly and in the summer they do smoking BBQ nights!

Notting Dale Pizza (set in a pub garden) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Notting-Dale-Pizza/132371263459532 Set in the beer garden of The Pig & Whistle pub, the owner is a lovely guy who loves dogs and, as dogs are allowed in the garden, you can eat your freshly prepped and baked pizza, in their Italian stone oven, with your pooch waiting for the scraps!

North Kensington Vet: http://www.sthelensvets.co.uk/

Wormwood Scrubs, Little Wormwood Scrubs, Meanwhile Gardens (great dog friendly community space!)

W9: The Warrington (pub) http://www.gordonramsay.com/thewarrington/ Posh eatery upstairs but dogs are allowed in the saloon bar downstairs. Good for a posh pint!

Raoul’s (cafe) http://raoulsgourmet.com/ lovely food and a great atmosphere. Dogs allowed in outside area but its covered by a big awning when its raining so you’ll always be comfortable!

Maida Vale Vet: http://www.villagevet.co.uk/

Paddington Recreation Ground:  http://www.westminster.gov.uk/workspace/assets/publications/siteinfopadrec-1261583395.pdf This place is awesome! They even have a dog friendly section outside in the cafe!

You can always enjoy your days out with your pooch if you hate leaving them behind! If, on the other hand, you prefer to have a dog free day then I will be more then happy to take them off your hands for a fun doggy day of their very own! check out my Doggy Day Care.

Here are a few handy websites for you and your pooch!

http://www.dogsey.com/

http://www.4leggedlondon.com/index.html

http://www.londondogforum.co.uk/

http://www.doggiepubs.org.uk/index.php?15=on

 

 

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Don’t Cook Your Dog!

Since the huge uproar in response to the police officer who left two dogs in his care to die inside his vehicle last Sunday, there has been a fresh campaign on Twitter created by @beverleycuddy the Editor of Dogs Today magazine to raise awareness of this issue which is widely misunderstood by many dog owners of how fatal leaving their dog in a car on a hot day, even for a few minutes can be.

Here is the poster for the campaign:

Dogs will die if left in a hot car, even with the windows down.

They will also be gathering support from charities such as Dogs Trust and also approaching celebrities too. Gordon Ramsay is first on their hit list due to the relevance of dogs cooking slowly in a hot car. There was an experiment performed by the RSPCA a few years ago which showed how a dog does start to cook from the inside even with the windows down in a matter of minutes. They have put forward the idea of a new demo piece featuring a slab of raw meat cooking in the heat produced from the sun on a hot day within a typical family car. Please read Beverley’s blog for further info and how you can help! http://coldwetnose.blogspot.com/2011/06/dont-just-get-mad-stop-it-ever.html

I am very passionate about this along with other aspects of animal welfare, PUPAID being another one in particular, so I cannot emphasise enough PLEASE PLEASE NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN YOUR CAR ON A HOT DAY. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE. Let’s spread the word to dog owners and walkers alike in NW10, NW6, NW2, W10 and beyond.

If you ever see a dog which has been left in a vehicle then you MUST alert the authorities IMMEDIATELY! Call the Police and report the location.

Here is the RSPCAs advice on what to do and how to read the signs:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars/-/article/CAD_DogsDieInHotCars

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my dog walking day in NW10,W10,NW6…

I thought it would be a nice idea to write about what I am doing with my days since setting up my own dog walking business in NW10. It mainly consists of walking, writing, planning, advertising, dreaming, shopping and emailing.

Walking my own pooch in his favourite places in and around NW10, NW6 Queens Park and W10 is the highlight of my day and bringing along the other dogs who now join me for our walks which seems to be few and far between recently. Because my business is so new, 3 weeks and counting, I only have 2 other dogs who get to enjoy an afternoon with me on my walks. We tend to favour the hidden secret of Wormwood Scrubs in W10, or “The Scrubs” known to locals, which is a large 200 acre nature reserve located in West London off the main road and hidden behind an expanse of trees it offers a wide open grassy field for the dogs to run about and play in. There are 2 small copse sections that offer shade in the summer and is home to a variety of plant and wildlife. It appears to be a secret as everytime I go there is only ever a handful of other walkers there making it mostly very peaceful, uncrowded and safe for dogs to meet each other, sniff, play and it makes a very relaxing hour long stroll!

As well as the walking, I have also been drawing up a business plan so I can hopefully find some money to buy a little van for the dogs so I can spread my services further afield and take more advantage of other parks in London of which there are LOADS! I am already finding it a struggle to walk the dogs on foot especially due to my newest addition Tyrone the Rhodesian Ridgeback! He is a friendly giant! Thank God for the Halti head collar, that’s all I can say! He is stronger then he knows! I want it to be a safe and comfortable space for the dogs to travel in and be happy while im collecting other dogs, also when it’s time for them to get back in after their walk. It will eventually have cages but I will make sure the floor is padded and fitted with soft blankets and towels. They will have plenty of water and the odd chew to occupy then whilst in transit.

It’s so important to understand your dog’s needs and exercise is very high indeed. They need mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis with a good amount of sleep afterwards. You’ll always find that you may have a dog with social or attention issues if you are unable to get them outside for at least an hour of daily exercise. Dog Walkers who genuinely care about the well being of every dog will understand this the most. My main aim is to ensure each dog gets their individual needs met while in my care. Even if your dog is not very mobile then there are a number of stimulating games to play with them to get their brains active! You’ll notice how tired they become afterwards! Even sniffing is exhausting to some dogs, especially to the young ‘uns! Hiding little treats can be a great game for dogs no matter if they can get out or not!

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Hello world!

My North West London based dog walking company is very new and very small, run only my me at this time.

I am professional and passionate about dogs of all shapes and sizes. I offer walking, boarding and pet sitting throughout the week and on weekends if agreed and arranged in advance! At the moment I am on the promotional trail adding my details to all the local vets and pet shops within the Brent area and also w10 North Kensignton, nw6 Queens Park and Kilburn. I have submitted my details into the Google Places app too and waiting for them to approve it to go up onto their directory for the local area… Ive been added to several doggy website databases for dog walkers inc:

The Good Dog Guide http://www.thegooddogguide.com/london/kensalgreen/dog-walkers

and Gumtree http://www.gumtree.com/p/community/fun-on-all-paws-dog-walking-pet-sitting-service/77337039

the others are still pending… I will also check with the councils who run the parks I walk in if they can stick my posters up on their park notice boards just in case anyone should take a glance over and read them!

I am fully insured for all eventualities and have back up from 2 local vets. I am CRB checked and about to go onto a canine first aid course too!

It’s all very exciting!

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