Breakin’ the rules

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Today I am breakin’ the rules on my dog blog, to bring you a cat! But he’s so squishy and cute that I don’t think you’ll mind! Plus I’ll be talking about dog to cat introductions too. So this is Pilchard, the latest addition to my mum’s household.

He’s about four months old now, and has so much character! He loves to play, especially with the cat toys I make for my Etsy shop and he’s fascinated by the indoor rabbit he lives with. My mum keeps finding pieces of straw around the house that he’s stolen from the cage!

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This is Pilchard and Pebbles, my mum has another cat too. As for the dogs, they have always lived with cats, but introducing a new pet, especially a tiny fragile one, is always a big deal. They had short introductions, just a supervised 5 minutes or so, then the kitten would go back into the dining room to his bed and toys. My mum uses a baby gate to section off the dining room to give the kitten a bit of peace and quiet if he needs it.

Max seems to have a higher prey drive than Jess when it comes to small things. He gets excitable about wildlife on walks, and is generally harder to calm down. But Max was actually pretty chilled out. Both dogs wanted attention when we were holding the kitten, but once Max had seen him he was like ‘oh, another cat…’ Jess was much more intrigued and a bit more heavy handed. Not purposely, but when she sniffed Pilchard she would lift him off the ground on her nose!  The settling in period didn’t take long at all, and calm has been restored now, it’s as though Pilchard has been there all along.

Here’s a short but sweet video of Jess and Pilchard together. I just wanted to show a size comparison and how patient she can be, although just as intrigued herself!

Mind games, 3 in 1 puzzle toy by Dog it

Choosing a gift for someone who has everything is hard! Even if that someone is a dog! After doing some research at Christmas time, I ended up investing in the ‘Mind games 3 in 1 puzzle toy’, by ‘Dog it’ for Jess and Max. I set a budget of £20 and under, mainly because I’d spent enough already but also I noticed a lot of the puzzle toys out there were very similar in their function and logic, but just differed in their shape or material. For example, you could pay £24.99 for a toy with the same mechanics as a £4.99 one, but one was wooden and the other plastic. I paid £12.49 + free postage for my chosen toy and I suppose the main thing that appealed to me about it, was the fact it was 3 puzzles in 1 (in an attempt to get my moneys-worth!)

imageSo here it is, set up ready for the first and simplest puzzle. The dog has to lift/push the green caps to find their reward underneath.

imageThe green caps have a rim around them, which enables them to slot/click into place between the two white parts of the toy. This makes them slide around the board without lifting up, creating puzzle number two. It was actually my 12 year old brother that figured out how to slot them into place! I was (embarrassingly) baffled!

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Puzzle number three involves a sliding green disc, that the dog has push around to find their treat.

So how did we find it? Well this was Jess and Max’s first puzzle toy, so when I presented it to them both they had quite unimpressed expressions! With a little encouragement Jess was the most keen, which is always the case. She is highly food motivated, never gives up on a Kong and picks things up really quickly. Once she had the scent of the hidden roast chicken she whizzed through all three of the puzzles, although I’d say she found puzzle three the hardest to figure out at first. Here is Jess using puzzle three, I like how she uses her teeth to try and lift the disc!

Max on the other hand can be a fussy eater and he quickly loses interest in tasks such as training or emptying a Kong. He will just walk away, and this was the case with this toy. However, I have noticed he likes to eat alone and that he’s a slow eater. So maybe if he wasn’t so close to us with the puzzle toy (away from me and my camera) he would interact with it a little more, and wouldn’t feel under pressure to rush it. I also wonder if he finds things like this more difficult having a flat face/snout. Jess can nudge the disc with her nose whereas Max has to stick his full face in there! There may have been a little social learning too, as Max watched Jess complete the puzzle before having a go himself. Here he is using puzzle three:

Overall, I think the way both dogs interacted with the toy reflected their own personalities. It was pretty much what I would expect from them both. As for the toy itself, the plastic is sturdy, and it has suction pads on the bottom to prevent sliding (which I didn’t notice straight away). The fact that it’s three puzzles in one makes the price reasonable, in comparison to others. It does it’s job in providing a puzzle and something novel for the dog, and it’s cute to watch them pawing and figuring it out! But if you’re looking for a puzzle that takes a while to crack this one may not be the one, I think it’s a great starter puzzle though before moving onto something more advanced. I’m open to suggestions to modify/add to the toy if anyone has any ideas!

Hello 2015 and a happy snow dog

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Before I begin, I’d like to celebrate the new year with one of my new favourite photos of Jess. I could just squish her! She makes me talk all smushy and high pitched. Oh so much cute.

So hello 2015! My feeling for 2015 so far is simply ‘do what you love’. For me this is mainly aimed at my shop. I spend too much time worrying about what people would want to see in the shop. I know keeping my customers happy is important, but I wasn’t happy with my end results. So far so good though, I’ve created some lovely, detailed items, that I’m really proud of :)

As for the end of 2014, we finally saw a bit of snow! It was good while it lasted, it just didn’t last very long! But I managed to have some fun with Oscar as I was home at the time. He’s a typical retriever and loves footballs, won’t go out without one. Here we are in the garden…

Notice how the video fades out at the end? That’s not some fancy editing, that’s my phone freezing up in the cold! It’s all better now, but it meant I couldn’t get any more photos! I managed to get this one on our car journey back to Lincoln though…

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Maybe we’ll see a bit more before the spring comes!

Swimming aka Labrador heaven!

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I had the pleasure of walking at Cowm Reservior recently, in my home county of Lancashire! My step-sister and I took Oscar for a good walk n’ swim, which is of course Labrador heaven! Labs being retrievers will fetch pretty much anything, but they work particularly well in water! So here are some photos of our travels:

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Oscar’s always in and out of the water, here he is making sure he wasn’t the only one getting wet!

p.s there’s an area in which dogs must be kept on lead, because of these guys!

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