As we head towards Crufts 2023 this March, we thought it fitting to pop a few words together to celebrate our pawsome pals...
Dogs, described as a ‘Man’s best Friend’ come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. From working dogs to lap dogs, guide dogs to police dogs, we have an infinite love for our four-legged hound.
These amazingly loyal creatures deserve a chance to show you what wonderful creatures they are.
Social media is full of funny reels and videos of their antics and behaviours which in turn make it look pretty easy to own a dog.
On paper, ‘Lockdown’ should have been the perfect time for dogs and owners just starting their journey of learning about each other, having all the time in the world to dedicate to training.
It wasn't until the world began opening up with owners returning to the workplace that unnoticed behaviours before were now nuisance behaviours that had inadvertently been nurtured.
The biggest one of all was Separation Anxiety. Coupled with rising costs of vets’ bills, food and insurance, a lot of ‘lock down’ dogs are now being returned to shelters across the UK, but it doesn't have to be this way.
Sharon Arnold, Director and Head dog training instructor and behaviourist at FromeK9, has been working in this field for over 25 years.
“Separation anxiety, biting/mouthing, demanding behaviour and reactivity are just some of the common behaviours we work with on a daily basis that are attributed to the ‘It’s a lockdown puppy’ syndrome.
Separation anxiety can affect the quality of life for the owner as much as the dog and there is no instant cure. Working with a qualified dog behaviourist will put you on the right path of understanding and creating a calmer state of mind and harmony…..for you both!
Behavioural centres are a plenty and it is worth investing the time and money to train your dog so that you can enjoy them for the wonderful creatures that they are.
Whilst waiting to see a dog behaviourist, consider implementing the following:
- Leaving a radio on quietly all day can create a relaxed ambience, (look on YouTube for calming dog videos that can really help with anxiety)
- Limit access around your home. In fact many dogs prefer smaller spaces. Comfortable closed spaces can remind them of their ancestral dens. Setting up a safe space for your dog will not only help it feel secure, but it can prevent your dog from destroying belongings and trashing your home during bouts of nervousness.
- A Kong stuffed with cream cheese, a lodged in carrot or even filled with frozen dog food could help distract your pet from your absence.
- Not making a fuss before you leave the house or on return can help to create that calm state of mind that there is nothing to worry about."
Once you have a happy hound you can resume that healthy lifestyle you both love – outdoor walking.
Walking in the open air is proven to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in improving the symptoms of mild depression. It can make us fitter and in turn, improve our self-esteem.
Walking in the afternoon or early evening can relax you. It will improve your quality of sleep and you can do it all with your four-legged friend.
There have been a few articles recently regarding dogs in the countryside so it would be remiss of me not to mention a few important points:
There are not always poo bins on every country walk and sometimes it can be many miles in between. Dog excrement is extremely harmful to animals, especially nursing cows and sheep. There are plenty of ways to get around this, the easiest is to carry a container to store it until you find a bin or get home.
The Dicky Bag Company, official partners with UK National Parks, have a range of great solutions and you can find them, along with us, at Crufts this year and the National Outdoor Expo in March.
“When you make it easy for people to do the right thing, they will” Steve Jenkinson, Kennel Club’s Access and Countryside advisor quotes.
Also, when walking the country routes with ‘Rover’, keep him/her on a lead when there are sheep in the field. If you do not have 100% perfect recall, you will not catch your dog if it decides to ‘go and play' with the sheep. A dog will outrun you every time.
Dogs do not need to attack sheep to cause all sorts of harm. So be mindful, farmers are working harder than ever to make a living in these tough times.
Abiding by the country code is imperative. Keep your dog on a lead and close the gates after you and the countryside will remain a fantastic place for us all to enjoy.
The same advise is given for other livestock. Stick to the footpaths unless you need to steer around an animal. Walk calmly and quietly to not draw attention to you and your dog. Only let your dog off the lead if there is a serious risk to you by a cow or large animal which will probably only be interested in chasing your dog. Again, your dog can run faster than you.
Of course, our lovely inclement weather will also play a part in the enjoyment of your country walk. So we have an amazing range of fully waterproof jackets for you to keep dry.
As our Nordic partners say, “It’s not bad weather, it’s bad clothing”. Halti have some amazing new colours this season, with a range of rainproof and waterproof jackets and boots.
For extreme weather the Halti Juonto DrymaxX Jacket is the perfect stay dry jacket for our lovely British weather.
The worst feeling when you are out on a walk is cold wet feet, so we have the perfect solution with the Halti Ragnar Mid Walking Boots. Waterproof, slip resistant and supportive.
For the sunnier days, take a look at the Holebook Windproof Knitwear for an amazing range of full zip jackets and pull on sweaters.
Do not forget when walking the country lanes, it is still dark out there early, so a reflective collar or jacket will keep your dog safe.
And one last note, with all the mud and salt on the roads, fields, and woods, wipe your dog’s paws when you get home.
There are lots of gadgets to clean paws on the market but a little dog shampoo and an empty large carton with warm water is the perfect solution. There are some nasty bugs just waiting for your dog’s paws and it only takes a couple of mins to do.
Stay safe, enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend where you can both reap the benefits.
...and see you at Crufts: Hall 1, Stand 1-132.