Importance of Grooming

  • By A SZKUKALEK
  • 03 Aug, 2017

Care & maintenance

Grooming your dog, regardless of what type of coat he has, is an important habit to develop. Besides helping maintain your dog healthy and in good condition, avoiding discomfort and pain, it is an amazing tool that aids in the development of the so important bond between the dog and human.

Brushing your dog's coat for example, helps maintain good blood circulation, more so on long haired dogs than short haired dogs, due to the occurrence of mats and tangles in the coat. It helps release natural oils and get rid of grease. It can even tell you if something is physically wrong with your best friend.
If you see an adult long haired dog that isn't brushed, he will be having clogs of hair that pull and tighten, getting  very close to the skin. Besides causing an immeasurable amount of discomfort and pain when moving, it leads to bad blood circulation to all the blood vessels that exist close to the skin in that area. Any build up of grease in the coat can lead to blocked pores in the skin, which can cause sebaceous cysts, and if you probably check the hair between the paw pads, you might find balls of matted fur that become hard with dirt and grease, causing suffering and distress.
A dog that is in constant pain and stress, feeling restraint and aware that certain movements will hurt - such as running - will become easily annoyed and frustrated, leading to lack of patience and a snappy behaviour towards people and other animals, especially the ones he doesn't know.
We all know how people can get just by being a little bit hungry (hangry), so now imagine having a constant pain every time you look up or take a step.

So just looking at brushing, we can already see how regular grooming can lead to a happy and stress free dog, that feels more comfortable in his skin and body.

WARNINGS
If you take your very matted dog to a professional groomer, you will be told off as it is seen as cruelty;
You will be charged a lot more than if you had maintained it at home;
You might even find some groomers that eventually take you off their books and refuse to provide their services due to hassle of dealing with your very difficult dog. A dog that isn't used to be groomed and inspected will be snappy and yappy, desperate to escape, taking much longer to groom, and getting your dog very anxious and upset.

Welcome to our open Blog

By A SZKUKALEK 31 Aug, 2017
Socializing is one of the most important things to do with any dog. It will help the dog feel more comfortable in many varied situations, with more added elements, without feeling overwhelmed.

Why

A poorly socialized puppy will possibly develop into an adult dog with fear or phobias, anxiety, frustration problems, and/or aggression towards other people, dogs, and other animals.

When we talk about socialization, we don't mean just other puppies and dogs. It is important to socialize your dog with all aspects of our lives, and more. 

That's why some dogs have a problem with washing machines, hoovers, peple with top hats, umbrellas, cars and bicycles, bearded men, long coats, etc. These puppies have probably never encountered these "things" and will have a reaction about it.

A poorly socialized puppy can oftenbe very unhappy and become difficult to live with. Only with a lot of training and hard work, you'll be able to help them get over these obstacles.

When

The most important time to socialize your puppy is up to 12 weeks of age. At this point, their little brains are like sponges that take in everything, good and bad. Therefore, make sure all intereactions are positive ones, and try to work around certain aspects you might not be able to control - eg. your puppy interacting with a dog that you had perceived as being aggressive.

What

Anything you can think of:

  • Dogs - as many different breeds as possible, different ages, male and female;
  • Children - loud high pitch voices and screams, sticky fingers and using this opportunity to educate the child as well;
  • Clothing - All sorts of clothes you can think of that might be different. Long coats, hats, beannies, caps, sunglasses, high heels, shorts and trousers, wide puffy jackets, etc.;
  • People - different age groups, ethnicities, beards, moustaches, long and short hair, high pitch and deep voices, etc.;
  • Objects - umbrellas, plastic bags, bin bags, skateboards, bicycles, street signs, park benches,  etc.;
  • Surfaces - different surfaces, higher off the ground, grassy, rocky, sandy, metallic, wet, etc.;
  • Other species - cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, cows, etc.;
  • Equipment - putting on a harness and collar, having the lead on;
  • Sounds - door bell, someone knocking on the door, hoover, washing machine, dish washer, phone ringing, alarms, etc.
  • Locations - The lush green park, the sandy beach by the sea, the crowded city market, the local pubs, the car, the vet's waiting room, etc.
Expose your puppy to all of these, and any more you can think of.

My dog is older now

If your dog is now older than 12 weeks and is showing signs of being fearful of certain things, there's plenty of work that can be done. So get in touch with us, and we'll help you out.

Happy training!
By A SZKUKALEK 03 Aug, 2017
Grooming your dog, regardless of what type of coat he has, is an important habit to develop. Besides helping maintain your dog healthy and in good condition, avoiding discomfort and pain, it is an amazing tool that aids in the development of the so important bond between the dog and human.

Brushing your dog's coat for example, helps maintain good blood circulation, more so on long haired dogs than short haired dogs, due to the occurrence of mats and tangles in the coat. It helps release natural oils and get rid of grease. It can even tell you if something is physically wrong with your best friend.
If you see an adult long haired dog that isn't brushed, he will be having clogs of hair that pull and tighten, getting  very close to the skin. Besides causing an immeasurable amount of discomfort and pain when moving, it leads to bad blood circulation to all the blood vessels that exist close to the skin in that area. Any build up of grease in the coat can lead to blocked pores in the skin, which can cause sebaceous cysts, and if you probably check the hair between the paw pads, you might find balls of matted fur that become hard with dirt and grease, causing suffering and distress.
A dog that is in constant pain and stress, feeling restraint and aware that certain movements will hurt - such as running - will become easily annoyed and frustrated, leading to lack of patience and a snappy behaviour towards people and other animals, especially the ones he doesn't know.
We all know how people can get just by being a little bit hungry (hangry), so now imagine having a constant pain every time you look up or take a step.

So just looking at brushing, we can already see how regular grooming can lead to a happy and stress free dog, that feels more comfortable in his skin and body.

WARNINGS
If you take your very matted dog to a professional groomer, you will be told off as it is seen as cruelty;
You will be charged a lot more than if you had maintained it at home;
You might even find some groomers that eventually take you off their books and refuse to provide their services due to hassle of dealing with your very difficult dog. A dog that isn't used to be groomed and inspected will be snappy and yappy, desperate to escape, taking much longer to groom, and getting your dog very anxious and upset.
By A SZKUKALEK 01 Aug, 2017
Some dog treats are exceptionally easy to make, and one example are these dry kidney treats.

You can use beef kidney, which is very cheap to buy at a butchers. After washing the kidney, start by patting it dry with a bit a kitchen towel, and partially freeze it for about 40 min. so it's easier to slice. Cut all the fat out and slice it thin so it breaks up easily later. Afterwards, pop it in the over for about 1 hour at 100°C. Remember we don't want to cook it, we want to dry it out.
Afterwards just let it cool and break it into little bites.

You can have the treats in an airtight container for about 3 days before it goes off, or you can have it in the fridge for it to last longer. Ultimately, if you decide to do a big batch, have it in the freezer and just take out what you need.

Happy training!
By A SZKUKALEK 01 Aug, 2017
When one has a dog, one loves a back garden. Many people move to a house with a big garden, with the intent of getting a pet dog and that is to be applauded. Dogs need space to run around, and most dogs still have a bit of energy left after that long walk at the park. So having a back garden can provide and extra play time in your well known environment, and put an smile on your face, as your dog zooms around - up & down, over & under, right & left - to then fall asleep.

However, not all gardens are pet friendly, so we need to make sure that ours is one.

#1 Escape proof

Most dogs like to roam, and given the opportunity, they might just take off to smell the corners of the world. Huskies are a good example of a dog that likes to roam. A Husky is probably able to escape most simple fences to go for a walk, but with such a poor sense of direction, he might not be able to come back.
Other problems might occur such as your dog going after the neighbour's cat, causing damage to someone's property, hurting someone/something, or hurting himself. Not to mention dog-napping (which is not a dog having a nap).
To have an escape proof garden, have a good fence/wall, bushes along side it - #4 - so he can't get to the wall easily, and for some dogs, a barrier underneath the fence or wall to prevent the doggy version of the Shawshank Redemption.

#2 Paw friendly pavements

Some types of material for some pavements may cause harm or discomfort for your dog. In the summer, some materials can get really hot and burn your pooches pads, which is extremely painful. So a dog friendly material is needed. 
Providing a lot of grass space is ideal, because it will be gentle on your dogs paws and nails, and won't overheat too much in the hot sun. Shingle and Woodchip can be good options but can represent other problems such as your dog starting to make snacks of them. You may also consider fake grass, but make sure it is a pet friendly one and that this includes heat retention. Patio wise, consider sandstone, flagstone, concrete and brick, which seem to be OK in the UK. Always remember that almost every stone based pavement can have a high ability to retain heat, so if you are redoing your garden, make sure you install the right type of pavement.

#3 Water sources

Running around in the garden may result in thirst, so having a little pond or fountain is always nice as well. This water source bullet point can be as simple as having a hose in the garden. This way you can just get the hose and shower/mist the ground to make it cooler or simply to remove a bit of that doggy smell on a hot day.
However, if you do have any water features in your garden, make sure they are safe and that if they're big enough for a pet or child to fall into it, that they can easily get out.

#4 Greenery 

I love gardening and plants and green. But not all green is good for dogs. Some plants can harm, injure and even cause death. 
Plants like Daffodils, Wysteria, Hydrangea, Fox Glove, Azaleas, Lillies, Tulips, Daphne and Yew, can cause serious malfunction in your dogs system. So when in doubt, look it up to be safe.
If you also like your garden looking nice but you have a big dog, make sure you plant accordingly. Avoid having delicate or young plants where a dog can reach, as these can easily get ran over or dug up. Invest in more robust plants such as large perennials, and sturdy shrubs that can withstand a zooming dog. Lavender makes a good border that is sturdy and dog safe.
To keep our dog from getting out, plant climbing plants and vines next to your fence, which will also look beautiful as they cling and climb. Have several plants with thorns near the easiest access points of escape, as your dog will keep away from these. The rose bush is a good example.

#5 Poop area

One of the things one doesn't want, is poo showing up all over the place. Get your dog a specific soiling area and try to wash any residue away after picking it up. It's not safe to compost dog faeces since it contains dangerous parasites that won't die in a simple compost system.

#6 Resting area

Try to provide your dog with a safe and shaded resting area so your dog can take himself there to relax and escape for the hot sun. If you happen to have big trees that provide a good amount of shade, perfect. If not, try leaving a tent or parasol for your dog. If you have the space however, you can easily get a dog house or build one yourself.

#7 Keep snails and slugs out

Snails and slugs carry lungworm, which is extremely dangerous to dogs. But our pets don't know this and can sometimes try to eat them. There are many methods out there to keep these slimy animals out.
 Avoid using non-organic slug pellets as these are toxic to dogs and cats, plus all the other animals that might visit your garden.
By A SZKUKALEK 30 Jun, 2017
The command drop it, is one that will save you a ton of hassle. Dogs pick up all sorts of things off the floor and it's essential to have a good cue for letting go.
Another reason to teach it, is so that you can play fetch or tug, without having a five minute break after every trow because they are so reluctant to give it up.

To teach drop it, you need to get your dog to pick something up first. If your dog likes to tug, play tug for a little bit before you ask for the command. Keep you dog on a lead and close to you so he can't run off with it and leave you stranded. Once you want your dog to drop the item, say drop it and stop pulling the toy towards you. If you keep pulling, you're still playing, and the idea is to make it as boring as possible.
You can also gently grab your dogs collar, as soon as you provide the cue, and bring the collar up a little bit. That way you can make it obvious that your're not pulling anymore and also make it just slightly uncomfortable.

Do not make eye contact! No one is trying to dominate their dogs into releasing the item. The situation will be very boring for your dog after a few seconds and he will drop it.

As soon as your dog drops it, say yes with enthusiasm, release his collar and start tugging again. By rewarding the release with more play, he will learn after a few repetitions that releasing actually makes him have more fun. 

Tips!
#1 - Let your dog win every now and again. Would you want to play a game with someone if you know you'll lose? No, you wouldn't...
#2 - The toy only goes away 1 in 5 plays. That way you won't have the reaction "I don't want to give it to you because you're going to take it away".
#3 - If your dog likes to play tug with clothes, get them to drop the clothes and reward with food. Then try to play with tug or ball instead.

Any doubts, let us know!
By A SZKUKALEK 30 Jun, 2017
When one goes to a Pet Shop to get a toy for our dog, we are faced with a ridiculous amount of toys to pick from. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some destructible, some indestructible. However, most people end up buying a ton of different toys, without realising how and what their main uses are.
I've met a ton of people that have a dog that happens to have a huge tugging drive, but doesn't show any interest to the ones at home. Or a dog that loves to absolutely kill , de-fluff and de-squeak stuffed toys. But what's the point of it all? Let's get in to it.

There are four different types of toys you can buy for your dog!

#1 Interactive toys
For me, these are the best toys because you can have fun with your dog, train them, and get them tired, all in one!
This group of toys consist of all your frisbees, balls and tugs. Your dog should be really happy about these toys, so we must set ourselves some rules.

Rule number 1
Leave these toys safe and away when they are not being used. They only come out when YOU are going to play with your dog. Once the play session is over, the toy is put away.
If you always leave these toys out, you will ruin the toys' value. By always being present, they don't value it, as it's taken for granted.
Rule number 2
Teach your dog to drop it . Some people are afraid of playing tug of war as it "makes dogs aggressive", but that is an old theory that has long been debunked. Simply make sure that you are not confronting your dog and reward for tugging.

#2 Chew toys
These are the kind of toys that are always left about. I mean deer antlers, nylabones, kong chew toys and other toys whose purpose is solely to be chewed. 
Chewing will keep your dog busy if they are home alone for longer periods, it keeps your furniture safe, and mentally stimulates your dog's brain.
These toys can also help your dog calm himself/herself down, and can help with a large range of behaviour issues, when used alongside training and behaviour modification.

#3 Dental toys
These toys can also be left about, but they tend to have a purpose, which is to help clean your dog's teeth. Most of these toys have some rubbery teeth to help clean around the mouth, or grooves such as Kong's dental stick, in which to get treats or paste stuck in.

#4 Stuffed toys
These toys are NOT to be destroyed, de-fluff and de-squeaked. If you allow your dog to do these things to the toy, they will aim for your laundry, your mail and other possessions next. Especially if they squeak. Some dogs get overly excited over a squeaky noise and will aim for other things that also squeak, such us your child's pet rabbit or your baby niece Linda. 
Stuffed toys are to be cared for and bring your dog to a calm. They should survive the extent of your pets life and no, they can't be just left about.
For example, my dog has a chicken toy. The chicken only comes out when it's settling down time. If trained, your dog will also associate the stuffed toy as a calming toy, so don't waste the amazing opportunity that is right in front of you.

Overall
Toys are fantastic when used according to their purpose, so please have a look at your dog's toy box/drawer/cupboard. Any toys that are getting too damaged must be replaced. Any doubts, give us a shout!
By A SZKUKALEK 30 May, 2017
There is one thing I love doing in the Summer and that's going to the beach... with the dogs. Nice swims and fun play times, ending with a nice walk along the coastline. 

Norfolk has some amazing dog friendly beaches and you've probably heard of some of them. 

We are going to give you a guide for the beaches in Norfolk with no restrictions only.
  • Snettisham
  • Heacham South & North
  • Old Hunstanton
  • Holme-next-the-Sea
  • Thornham
  • Burnham Overy Staithe
  • Holkham
  • Wells-next-the-Sea - Only to the west of the beach. No dogs allowed near beach huts.
  • Waxham
  • Horsey
  • Winterton-on-Sea
  • Scratby
  • Caister-on-Sea
  • Great Yarmouth North & South (not central)


This list includes beaches from the West and the North, to the East of Norfolk. Remember to always take poo bags and fresh water for your dog. No one wants their dogs to suffer from Heatstroke!

Happy beaching!
By A SZKUKALEK 30 May, 2017
Taking your dog to the beach is one of the most fun experiences to have with your pooch. They can go in the sea, play with other dogs or with you, but most importantly, beaches provide a ton of training opportunities. 
However, you do need to be prepared.

Things to look out for
  • It's tougher to run on sand than on grass, and not just for us. So don't ask your dog to do too much,
  • Make sure your dog has ID and is micro-chipped just in case they get lost,
  • Not all dogs can swim. Corgis, Frenchies, Pugs and Dachshunds have difficulty swimming and will struggle,
  • Make sure you have plenty of fresh water for your dog,
  • Don't forget poo bags, it's a really bad idea,
  • For those dogs with very short coat or white skin, get a doggy sunscreen, and
  • Afterwards, don't forget to check your dog's paws for cuts. Some beaches have a lot of stones with sharp edges.

Heatstroke
A dog that is too hot will not be able to cool their body temperature by panting, which can result in excessive panting, drooling, lack of coordination, lethargy, vomiting and collapsing. If the situation is not resolved and the dog ins't helped, heatstroke will cause death.
If you feel your dog is feeling heatstroke, remove him to a shaded area, give him plenty of fresh water and place a wet towel over their shoulders. Call your vet for advice. You can find some very nice cooling doggy beds with cooling gel at Jollyes in Norwich.
Dogs susceptible to heatstroke are the very young or very old dogs, very heavy coated breeds and the dogs with very flat faces such as Bulldogs, Frenchies and Pugs.

So take care and enjoy the summer!
By A SZKUKALEK 30 May, 2017
Although peanut butter is one of our favorite treats for dogs, there has been a rise in awareness towards this product in the market when being fed to our lovely canines. Peanut butter is used in Kongs and in doggy baked goods, it's used to give medication and much more.

Xylitol
The whole fuss is due to a little chemical called Xylitol , which is a sugar substitute used in many products that we consume. Xylitol  is a sugar alcohol, and naturally found in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some other fruits.
Although it's completely safe for humans, it's extremely toxic for dogs and can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death.

But how much Xylitol is too much?
50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg)  has been reported to cause Hypoglycemia. The higher the dose, the higher the risk of liver failure, and past that point, the higher risk of seizures and death.

What about palm oil?
Palm oil is used for some peanut butter brands (usually the cheaper ones) to substitute the more expensive peanut oil. In large quantities, palm oil can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhoea, due to the high level of saturated vegetable fats contained in it, making it too rich and fatty. So both high in calories and possibly, too rich for the digestive system of some dogs.

Which peanut butters are safe?
The big deal with peanut butter now, is that some brands have been adding Xylitol to their recipes in order to substitute sugar and make it cheaper to produce and sell. However, there are some brands that don't include this chemical in their recipes and those are the ones we can feed our dogs. 
This is a list of some of the brands we are sure don't currently contain Xylitol , making them safe for dogs.
  • Sun-Pat
  • Peamutt Butter
  • Meridian
  • Whole Earth
  • Skippy

Thank you for reading!

By A SZKUKALEK 04 Apr, 2017
After many requests for spreadsheet for the classes, we have decided to provide you with access to all the information, via a membership system on another website called Canine Experts . This membership provides you with limited (8 weeks) free access to all the exercises for your specific course.
We will not take any card details as this is just a complement to the classes.

So let's say you've just started your Little Rascals Puppy Course,  to access the content, all you have to do is go on the website and create a free account. Afterwards, you can view all the Puppy Course material available under the content tab.

After the 8 weeks free access, your account will simply be deleted and you won't be charged anything.
Exercises will be explained in written posts with (eventually) video.

So go now on Canine Experts !
If you have any doubts, contact us.
More Posts
Share by: