Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Thank You

Our thanks to everyone

Life under Lockdown

Has our life here changed under lockdown? To be honest, on a day-to-day basis, not that much.

We work from home, we have plenty of space to walk the dogs, and our families live a fair distance away, so we don’t get to see them that often under normal circumstances. Nonetheless, we have still ‘felt’ a restriction – the sense of not being able to go out, even for something trivial, just because we want to.

For others though, we understand that the adjustment has been huge and much more difficult to make, but we have heard so many stories about how creative people have been throughout this unprecedented period and how they have filled their time with new challenges and hobbies. We found it quite inspiring, in many ways.

Escape to the Garden

Lately, we have spent lots of time outdoors in the garden. We have recovered our polytunnel which was lost in a severe storm several years ago.

In early April, the polytunnel looked like this, with the hoops and refurbished rails.

Reconstructing the polytunnel: 05/04/20

And this is how it looks today. It’s amazing how quickly everything has grown and we are looking forward to a bumper harvest. We are already enjoying fresh herbs, spinach and rocket.

The polytunnel today: 24/05/20

We have also taken a keen interest in all the wildlife in our garden and have installed several bird boxes which were occupied in no time, especially this cute little caravan.

Our thanks to key workers

Although we have been lucky enough not to call upon their services, we are truly grateful to NHS and care workers for what they are doing. Just knowing they are there has been hugely reassuring to us.

We would also like to thank all of the other unsung heroes that have kept us going over the past three months. The delivery drivers who continue to deliver stock to us. Royal Mail who have maintained regular postal collections without missing a beat so that we could get orders out the door to our customers. Plus a special mention to the shop workers who have kept us fed and the bin men who ensured we weren’t overrun with rubbish. The many others who work in difficult circumstances, too.

Going forward

How have your lives changed during this awful pandemic? Have you learned lessons that you will take forward, or will you just be glad when it’s all over?

Here are some excellent tips on how to ease your pets out of lockdown: AFTER THE LOCKDOWN: HELPING YOUR PET TO COPE WHEN NORMAL LIFE RESUMES

And how to ensure your dog is not spooked by humans wearing masks have a look at this short tutorial: Teach Your DOG to Accept Masks

Please stay safe, take care and look after each other.

Sophie

Embrace the Curfew

Five German Shepherds

Left to right: Fin, Amy, Sophie, Blitz and Molly

Out of Control

Back in 2002, we were the confused owners of five German Shepherds. Their behaviour was appalling and we were losing control. Every morning we would take them to the nearby army ranges for their morning walk. We found ourselves going earlier and earlier in the hope that we wouldn’t meet other dog walkers because if we did, it would turn into utter chaos.

We realised we needed to do something about the situation and we consulted dog behaviour expert, Angela Stockdale of The Dog Partnership. Her advice was ‘they need a curfew‘. We were even more confused if we didn’t take them out, how would they get the exercise they needed? They would become even worse, surely.

We decided to put our scepticism aside and follow her advice. For three months we didn’t take them out for walks. Their stress levels that had been escalating day on day during the walk, began to come down.

Life without walkies

But you can’t just stop walking your dog and leave it at that. The morning walk had to be replaced with some other activity. For us it was clicker training and to say it was a life-saver is not an exaggeration.  We scheduled short five-minute sessions several times a day, individually for each dog. It enabled us to get to know each one of them far better, learn their strengths and weaknesses, what motivated them and what bored them.

In no time at all, they weren’t rushing to the front door at 5 am, barking and waking the whole neighbourhood. They were more relaxed. When it came to training sessions, we did various different things with each of them. We had a lot of glass doors and when one was doing their training session, the others would watch.

Dogs Dancing

Molly (left) does the tango with Fin

Molly, who was a timid girl, learned to dance and her confidence grew. Fin, who was our newest rescue, learned some manners and how to behave around ladies!

Dog Skateboarding

Amy on her skateboard

Amy who was frankly a bit of a thug diverted her attention to skateboarding.

KONG Time

Amy (left) and Sophie at the top of the stairs

Sophie was a master of the KONG. She would empty it of every last crumb by taking it to the top of the stairs and dropping it down.

Jolly Ball

Blitz with his beloved Jolly Ball

Blitz, our first rescue boy who was a real gentleman, loved the Jolly Ball and would spend ages playing with it on his own. Both him and Fin mastered the peek-a-boo trick (see our What Makes You Click Training Cards for this trick) and many others.

Did it work?

So, what was the result of our three-month curfew? We had calmer, better-behaved dogs that we knew as individuals. They could entertain us and show off their tricks which they really enjoyed. Who doesn’t enjoy praise for a job done well? It was time well spent and we were able to gradually reintroduce them to the outside world.

What you can do right now

Why not give clicker training a try? We have Clicker Training Cards, that come complete with clicker and treats, or download our What Makes You Click? cards absolutely free and get started right away.

Clicker Cue Cards

What Makes You Click Training Cards

You will need lots of tasty Training Treats which we have in abundance, or why not make your own. Most people have a tin of tuna, flour and eggs in the house. This recipe will get you up and running in no time: Tillies Tuna Cake Recipe.

Tuna Dog Treats

Tillies Tuna Cake Recipe

Snuffle Mats are becoming an increasingly popular game for dogs and cats. If you fancy a challenge how about making your own Snuffle Mat to keep them entertained when you’re flagging. An old doormat and some t-shirts should suffice to complete this excellent tutorial from the Dogs Trust.

Make your own Snuffle Mat

Make your own Snuffle Mat

Learn to love the curfew

Your dogs may not be badly-behaved and in need of a curfew, but it has been forced on us all and we have an opportunity to really make the best of it by embracing it and spending quality time with our furry friends. You never know, both dog and owner could learn something new.