Thursday, 28 August 2014

Pound Shop Dog Toys

Daisy and Cybi are pretty hard on their toys, especially being as close together in age as they are (only 3 months separates them), and they play together a lot. It's usually noisy, generally boisterous, and often involves a tuggy toy. They love playing tug of war, whether what they are using is appropriate or not.

In an attempt to keep them from finishing off socks, shoes, paperwork, or anything else they can get hold of that looks fun, I try to have toys that they can play with permanently within grabbing range, either in their toybox or (more usually) strewn around the floor. We recently purchased a few from a local pound shop, to see how they stood up to the collie onslaught.

We got them four to go at initially.

Early reviews were that the beige one was the clear favourite for playtime, presumably because they can both grab an end each, and the orange one had to be removed from consideration almost immediately after it was offered to them, due to concerns about major injury to one of the tug of war combatants

(Yes that is one of my dogs wearing the toy while playing tuggy. Plainly even border collies have their less than stellar moments.)

So the beige toy has taken the brunt of the beating over the month that we've had them in the house, and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed. Given that this toy was, quite literally, a pound it's given them hours of enjoyment. I think it's coming up to the end of its life now (while I always supervise play with tuggies, I am particularly careful once they begin to "shed" swallowable pieces of fibre) but it's been worth every penny. Ditto the grey rope and the yellow and pink monstrosity, both of which Cybi loves to "kill" (I'd guess the single knot in the end makes it nice and weighty to throw around). The orange one had lots of potential, while it had both a plastic handle and an attached ball, but the risk of accidental strangulation of dog was too great to my mind, and so it's now adorning the end of my staircase instead.
Here's an overview of a month of the life of a tuggy toy in the mad collie household, taken at approx weekly intervals. We're hard on our toys!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Compulsory Micrchipping (Part 1)

Microchipping of pet dogs is set to become law in the UK as of April 2016. It's been put forward by several bodies, including the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the British Veterinary Association that this will:
  • make it much easier to reunite lost pets with their owners
  • assist with the reporting of hereditary health problems
  • act as a key part of the identification for a "pet passport" (and indeed has been a requirement for a dog that is being issued with travel documents since the scheme came in in 2001)
  • protect the welfare of pet dogs by encouraging responsible dog ownership
  • decrease the amount spent on recovering lost and stolen pets (currently £33 million a year)
  • bring dogs and owners back together more quickly and effectively
  • Improve the current situation surrounding stray dogs by minimising the need for unidentified lost dogs to be rehomed
  • Improve traceability generally
All this seems like a great idea, and with 60% or more of pet dogs already being microchipped (the number varies a bit depending on which data set you use - SAVSNET suggests just under 60%; a small recent survey by Animal Friends thinks a little over that), there aren't that many to go until the entire population of just over 8 million pet dogs in the UK is covered. But then what?

"Microchip rfid rice". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
If we look at the Dog's Trust annual Stray Dog Survey for 2013, it looks like of the 112,000 strays handled by local authorities, around 48% of them were returned to their owners. Optional data provided on the dogs (in this case filled out on around 1 in 10 animals) showed that 11% were microchipped. While that 11% might not be completely right (only 1 in 10 strays had the additional data), if it is close to correct for the data set as a whole then there is a large discrepancy between the percentage of the population of dogs that stray, and the percentage of dogs that are microchipped. All else being equal, you'd expect to see 60% chipping in the general population, and 60% chipping in the straying population. As it is, we have 60% of pet dogs with a chip, but only 11% of dogs in the straying population chipped, suggesting that unmicrochipped dogs are more at risk of being part of the "stray population" than an microchipped dog.
Of the strays dealt with by the local authority, 48% got back to their owners. For those with the optional data filled in (a data set of 20, 976 dogs), 44% were reunited when the owner contacted the pound, 40% by a microchip, 5% by disc details on a collar and 4% by microchip + tag together. What this shows is that microchipping works to get an pet dog returned to its owner - as long as the information held in the microchip database is correct.

The statement that microchipping will help with the reporting of hereditary health problems is likely to be true, though difficult to quantify. The microchip acts as a unique and permanent record of the dog's identity, and thus, data protection rights permitting, any problems can be added to the relevant breed and condition databases either by the owner or by the vet. The issue that I have with this is that these health problems occur almost overwhelmingly in pedigree animals. These animals are already identified by their Kennel Club name and pedigree and, while it's possible to envisage the substitution of one animal for another, it is unlikely to take place for the simple reason that these databases exist at all thanks to the efforts of breed enthusiasts who care about their dogs. It undermines their credibility intensely to suggest that permanently recording the dog's ID via a microchip makes it more likely that accurate hereditary data will be recorded by ensuring the dog under test is the right one.

Microchipping as a way of ensuring the right dog is being transported under the pet passport scheme is already uncontroversial, though as of later this year travellers apparently need to expect larger numbers of spot checks in Europe, and if moving more than five pets together need to make use of a professional transporter (attending shows excluded). See guidance.

Onto the aim of compulsory microchipping that is, to my mind, most troubling. A majority of pet dogs are already microchipped on a voluntary basis, and making it compulsory will pick up the majority of the rest that come from responsible breeders or pass through a rescue. But looking at the statistics on stray dogs, it already appears that not having your pet microchipped is consistent with it being more likely to stray. Are the people who allow their dogs to stray going to have their dogs chipped? Or do we run the risk of those dogs coming into the stray system and simply being abandoned because the owner realises that they need to run foul of the law on compulsory microchipping to get their dog back? In a similar vein, rescues are already over run with Staffy-type dogs, bred to be a status dog or to make a quick buck from selling puppies. Realistically, what are the chances that this situation will change, just because an extra law is involved? These dogs are already being bred without their best interests at heart: if they are already treated as disposable I don't believe having them microchipped will change that.

The Microchipping Alliance (who don't seem to have a website online, but are referenced by a large number of involved parties, including the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, PDSA, Blue Cross and DogLost, among others) think that annual cost savings to local authorities relating to dog welfare alone could be between £20.8 million and £23.2 million from the first year of introducing legislation. I think, from reading several briefing documents put out by the alliance member bodies, this is primarily due to speed and ease of reuniting a microchipped animal with its owner, and the decrease in number of animals that then have to go into kennels and/or rescue - as supported by bullet points 6 and 7 above, which are statements taken from the the Microchipping Alliance response to the government announcement of the introduction of compulsory chipping.

The last outcome of compulsory chipping is also worthy of further consideration. "Improving traceability more generally" could be any one of a multitude of things,  and is the subject of part 2 of this post, in which I'm looking at what happens when your lost animal is chipped and for some reason it isn't scanned, and whether compulsory chipping will change that.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

A different kind of cone

This post is a few days out of sync, but is from when Cybi was neutered. He destroyed two buster collars from the vet in a matter of days, so we went for a slightly different third approach. Unfortunately, it wasn't an option to leave the collar off completely, as he kept going in for a sneaky pull at his stitches so we had to find an alternative. I considered a few possibles -

A variant on the "traditional" buster collar:

This version is made by the Company of Animals, and is a translucent cone with padding on the inside and outside edges. I decided it was too similar to the ones he'd already wrecked, so probably wasn't worth a third attempt. Reviews of the cone on one of the sites that sells it (e.g. Pet Supermarket) show that it seems to be good for some dogs, but not collie proof.

This one is also Company of Animals, and fastens via a drawstring round the dog's neck. Given quite how much of an idiot Cybi is, and the fact that I'd have to take my eyes off him sometimes I just didn't like the idea of having a string round his neck. I also thought the solid colour would make it tough to see things and probably increase his frequency of crashing into..everything...
From its apparently quite wide fan shape and the flexibility of the material, it's also likely that a wiggly and agile dog like mine could work around it to get at his stitches. I think it'd probably suit a more mellow type who was distressed by the jarring of crashing a buster collar into walls but didn't mind actually having it on as it's flexible and lightweight. (Also found at Pet Supermarket)

The third cone "variant" I considered was the James Pet Health one, called the comfy cone.

 The side-opening velcro, the padding, and the ability to adjust the cone shape from long and narrow to wide as your dog's anatomy or activity determines is pretty useful. It isn't cheap though, and it's still a cone that extends some way beyond the dog's head in order to be useful, so based on the cost, lack of ability to see through it, and my pup's ability to headbutt anything I opted against this one too.

Non-traditional cones:
Three main candidates here, all variations on a theme. These cones are effectively an inflatable inner tube in a tight "C" shape, which then velcroes across the open part of the C to create a ring.

Option #1 is the Buster Inflatable Collar, an inner tube covered by a strong, nylon weave.
Next up, the Pet Project Comfy Collar - also an inflatable inner, but this one covered in vinyl.
And finally, the Kong Cloud E-Collar (link via Amazon)

Given these three similar products to choose from, I based my decision on the covering, opting for rip-stop nylon over vinyl because it had to withstand the other idiot jumping on it/attempting to chew it. I haven't been able to ascertain what the Kong one is covered in, though it looks furry. Other factors were price (the first two are fractionally cheaper than the third) and my own personal biases - the only place it seems to be straightforward to buy the Kong Collar in the UK at a sensible price is via an Amazon seller called "Pet Supply Company USA", and this company also advertises prong collars for sale in the UK. I rarely believe in absolutes when it comes to dogs and training, but I firmly believe there is no place for the use of prong collars in the modern day, and so will not support a company that sells them by purchasing anything from them.

So, a rush order of the Buster Collar it was. I'll post some photos of Cybi wearing his new collar and give my thoughts on how we coped with it rather than the traditional Elizabethan collar style. It was a largely affair, and my shins and calves, and the doorframes, all benefited from him being able to see better.
See how we got on here.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Well this is awkward

I had some surgery done on my hip on Monday. It's been due for a while, and so I'm glad to have it over with, but it's meant I've had to be more organised with the dogs than I generally would be.
This has proven to be tough - I'm very proud of the UK's NHS, and would defend it to anyone, but it has let me down slightly over the last day or two. First of all there was the "forgetting to mention I was going to be staying in overnight". I'd wondered if I'd have to, and had teed up a friend to help with the crazy collies but it was still a little disconcerting to discover at 7am that I wasn't going to see my pups again for up to 48 hours when I didn't feel I'd made good enough arrangements for their care.

Then there was the "not mentioning that I wouldn't be able to drive for twelve weeks after surgery." But...but...we have a puppy agility camp to go on! Nope, not any more. So that's a little bit upsetting. I'm trying to stay optimistic about the whole thing, as I knew it was going to be a challenge to work them at it (though I'd just about convinced the trainer to work the pups on my behalf - bonus benefit as they get to learn from someone who knows what they are doing, and I get to find out how good they are when they haven't got an incompetent amateur waving her arms ineffectually at them) but it's still a little frustrating.

My dogs are still managing to make me smile though. For all that they have discovered entirely new ways to wreck the house in the last few days (did you know that sofa cushion filler looks a lot like snow when it's strewn through the living room?) they have figured out for themselves that I am damaged, and they are being so gentle. No jumping up. No hopping up on my knee while I'm not paying attention. No charging into my legs at speed. It's very sweet, and they are cheering me up while I'm incapacitated and grumpy.

I do need put some serious thought into novel ways of entertaining them while my ability to get them out and running around is limited though. Anyone got any words of wisdom?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I can see the sea!

It was Daisy's first birthday this weekend, so we took them to the beach. Daisy had been on a beach once before, aged about 5 months, and she had such a lovely time digging, rolling and running about that we thought it would be a nice treat for her to go again. While Cybi was older when I got him, we actually don't know if he had seen the sea before. So we packed up two dogs and set off at the crack of dawn to go and play in Skegness. We thought we were going to Moggs Eye beach, but it turned out that Moggs Eye is just part of a longer expanse of coast line and we ended up in a different car park to the one we were aiming for. But no problem - we were just further down the same stretch of sand compared to where we thought we were going. (For me, this can be considered a victory - I have no discernible sense of direction at the best of times)

Best day EVAR. We had an awesome time - and we walked 11 miles, so I have no idea how far the dogs went!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Space Dogs

It’s getting increasingly common in the UK while out walking, holidaying and particularly at shows, to see dogs wearing yellow vests, or with yellow markers on their leads. This is the result of an initiative called the
Yellow Dog Project, which is trying to spread the word that some dogs might need more personal space than others.

I’ve been pretty lucky with my pair, in that they are both very friendly (too friendly in the case of Daisy) and so it’s never previously been an issue for us if another dog or person has bounded over to say hello. However, Cybi was neutered a few days ago, and he’s obviously feeling a bit out of sorts right now (the bucket on his head probably isn’t assisting matters, poor little chap) and is being uncharacteristically short tempered. I’m going to stick a yellow ribbon on his lead for a few days, and hope that enough people recognise it for what it is and give him a wide berth for now.

  2014-08-10 18.18.04

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Check your chip!

It was National Check the Chip day in the USA yesterday, and even though I'm UK based (and we have the whole month of June to raise awareness of having your pet microchipped) it made me think about microchipping, and what it actually is.

As with many (even most) people reading this, I have my dogs microchipped. Mine were both done by the rescues they came from; often it is done by the breeder's vet, or as routine when your pup is in for second vaccination.

Placing a microchip involves implanting a tiny (the size of a grain of rice) passive Radio Frequency Identification transponder under the animal's skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip is made up of several elements - on the outside there is a bioglass case, which is biologically inert (ie won't react with the body) and means the chip won't affect the animal in the future. Some types of chip have a polypropelene polymer "cap" over the glass casing, which stimulates the growth of collagen fibres around the implant and preventing migration, but not all do (How Stuff WorksIdentipet). Even without this, the risk of the microchip moving is low (see AVMA Microchipping Background Information for summary of numbers of migrations)

Inside the glass case, there is a silicon data chip, which holds the microchip number, and an antenna and a capacitor. The microchip is "passive" (ie has no power source) and so in order to be read, the capacitor receives power from a scanner set to the correct frequency. The transponder uses the power to send the data held by the silicon chip, via the antenna, to the scanner - the whole process of reading the chip takes about 0.6 sec.

Having your dog microchipped is going to become a legal requirement of ownership as of April 2016 in England (March 2015 in Wales), with penalties for not complying. It makes sense to have your dog chipped anyway though, legal requirement or not, as it massively increases the chances of having your pet returned to you if it strays - a study carried out in the USA in 2009 showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time (AVMA Microchipping FAQ). The majority of chipped dogs that didn't get home were cases where the owners had forgotten to update their details at the chip registry - and this is the focus of "check the chip" day.

Data released by the Dogs Trust (and supported by SAVSNET) indicates that around 60% of dogs in the UK are currently microchipped, so there's still room for improvement in overall numbers. However, there isn't any data on how many chipped dogs here in the UK currently can't get back to their owners because the owner data is wrong - but it's distressing how commonly I see the local dog wardens posting "found" pictures and commenting that the dog has a chip but the phone number is incorrect. You don't want that to be your dog - so it's worth making sure your details are up to date. The best place to start in the UK is with Petlog: the umbrella chip registry run by the Kennel Club, and with Pet Microchip Lookup run by AAHA in the US

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Why I can have a border collie...

...and you can't. I stumbled across a wonderful (albeit long) article at the weekend which is a fairly tongue-in-cheek look at the rigours a would-be border collie owner has to go through to show that they are worthy. It's all too close to reality (I don't recall my final exams for my degree being as in depth as the forms I had to fill in for the rescue centre), but it's a good thing, collies being what they are.

Check it out here: 101 reasons you can't have a border collie and I can

I defy anyone to keep a straight face at comments like this:

I have lived with happy Border collies for twenty years, but if I filled out one of those online applications, respectable breeders and rescuers wouldn’t even bother to send me a polite note to say they’ve received my application and they’re laughing. In fact, that’s what happened a couple of years ago. When my last Border collie died at fifteen, I didn’t have what it takes. First, I didn’t have a fenced yard. Then, even though I’d spent two decades learning to entertain Border collies, I’d been too cheap and lazy to get titles on my dogs. Between the lines of my empty in-box I could read the hint: “Just go get a used dachsund.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Cybi 1 - Cone of Shame...1/2

Trying to keep a collie "quiet" is like trying to plait sand. Within 12 hours of his op, Cybi was trying to play with Daisy and I'd had to resort to shutting them in different rooms to try to stop them charging about together.

Yesterday evening, I took my eyes off Cybi for a few minutes to make a cup of tea, and heard a "thump...crack" from the living room. Went rushing back in, to find that he had managed to take a chunk out of his collar - I assume by enthusiastically head butting something, but I have no idea.

Dim, but so happy!

Which then got progressively worse over the next few hours...

Until eventually he was pretty much just wearing a sheet of plastic round his neck.  I popped him in to the vets this morning to have them check his stitches and get another collar on him. He was not amused.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The cone of shame

Cybi was neutered today, poor boy, and is currently wobbling his way around the house looking a little bit sorry for himself. He recovered well but is having a bit of a whinge now that he's coming round.

Note the glazed expression, and the very unhappy tail. He always carries his tail low, especially when he's thinking (unlike Daisy who just wags hers regardless of what she's doing or where she is) but I don't think he could get his tail any further between his legs at this point. I know it's the right thing to do, especially as I would never breed from him, but I can't help but feel guilty when I'm presented with that sad little face.

A fortunate break

Having complained previously about the difficulty of getting Cybi's harness on him before a walk, it was actually a relief when he squirmed around so much while I was putting it on him that he managed to break a bit of it. Obviously breakage isn't ideal, except that it's freed up the clip.
Where previously the harness would only loosen by the different between when it was fastened and when it was unfastened, it'll now open completely. And as a consequence, it's MUCH easier to get on and off. So much so, that I've completely revised my opinion on whether I'd have another - it's basically removed all the bad points (except the initial adjustment, but I'll overlook that), leaving only a really well made, apparently comfortable, effective harness. I might have to do a spot of cutting off and melting the strap that can now hang free to keep it out of the way, but what could possibly go wrong with that?!?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Dog Show washout

Daisy, Cybi and I were supposed to be going to our first dog show today, but sadly Hurricane Bertha (or the remnants thereof) put paid to that, and the event was cancelled. We went for a long walk instead in the rain instead. My plan was to go along an old railway not far from the house - the rationale being that it's quite sheltered at the start as it runs in a culvert with heavy tree cover, and hopefully the conditions would have improved a little before we got to the more exposed path.

It was a fine plan, as these things so often are, but failed utterly to take account of the fact that the sheltered area at the start in the culvert is lower than the surrounding area - that being the point of a culvert. And there was a *lot* of ground water run off, and an awful lot of rain. Consequently the early part of our walk was more like wading through a river than having a nice sheltered stroll. Daisy loved it and happily splooshed around in the water. She seems to enjoy being as deep in water as she can get without having to swim, so was playing in the bits that came up to her chest. Cybi, on the other hand, hates water with a passion. He won't even get his toes wet unless there is no other alternative, so he was not having fun. So much so that I took pity on him, and actually carried him through the worst bit. Sadly no photographic evidence of this, but the absurdity of the situation didn't escape me as I lugged the great lump up the path.

We had a nice walk after that - I'd gone all out on the waterproofing and was glad I was wearing my drizabone jacket and waterproof trousers along with the wellies. But the rain didn't stop the whole time we were out and I eventually decided that we should turn back in case the water in the culvert was still going up. Which it was, and while we weren't in any danger (at worst case we could have worked our way along one of the sides, or left the path completely and walked through one of the estates that sits adjacent to the path of the railway) we had a couple of exciting moments on the way back. Daisy underestimated the strength of the water running down into the culvert and I lost her temporarily (she rapidly reappeared, barking her head off and with no ill effects whatsoever) and poor Cybi did his best to walk through the water where there was no alternative, but eventually got to chest deep and just froze. I ended up going back for him, picking him up out of the water and carrying him back to dry land. He's not usually a nervous little dog, but I didn't see any reason to traumatise him by making him walk through the water if it was scaring him. The downside to carrying him was that our combined weight made me sink just that bit further into the sand of the path, which meant the water got above welly height. Urgh. So the tail end of our walk included me squelching and complaining about my cold feet, while the pups shook themselves enthusiastically every few steps to try not to get any more waterlogged.

Needless to say the rain stopped as soon as we arrived back at the front door, and the sun came out. But we had fun anyway...

Friday, 8 August 2014

Cybi's Hurtta Harness

The Oldies Club (a wonderful charity, highlighting older dogs looking for new homes) recently did a fundraising "harness grab", during which there were lots of Hurtta harnesses available at a discount. There wasn't a "Y" harness available in Cybi's size but I did manage to get my hands on an 80cm Padded Pro in an interesting shade of lime green.

We've spent the last few days trying it out.

The good: Any concerns I had about the harness moving on the dog are completely unfounded, and it does a good job of distributing the pressure across his chest if Cybi pulls. As with when I tried a harness on Daisy, he instantly started to behave himself on a lead, stopped pulling out in front of me,  and walked nicely. I'm not sure if I've just got two dogs that are sensitive to pressure on their necks, or if it's typical that dogs pull less against a collar than they do a harness.

The point of attachment to the lead is actually a ring that can float freely along the strap on the dog's back. That doesn't seem like such a big deal until you've got two excited dogs bouncing about, both on leads and both wearing harnesses. Having a single (static) point of attachment means that the lead gets wrapped around the dog as soon as the dog changes direction, whereas having that float increases the amount the dog has to turn before the lead begins to tangle. Obviously it doesn't remove the wrap problem completely as the attachment point is still behind the dog and won't spin (compared to a collar moving on a dog's neck so that the point of attachment to the lead is always closest to the person holding the other end) but it does help somewhat.
Floating ring on the strap on the left (Hurtta), static ring on the right (Perfect Fit)

The colour is actually really cool. I was dubious, as off the dog the colour is pretty hideous, but once he's wearing it it works on his black coat, and it stands out and is highly visible. The reflective taping is also very effective in twilight and later as it catches car headlights well. The harness is made from slightly padded material, and while it isn't fleece, and the straps aren't so wide as on Daisy's harness, I would have no concerns about chafing if he wore it for a long time. The belly band stays pretty secure, and gives enough clearance behind the armpits that there's no worry about it ending up under Cybi's forelegs.

The not so good:
Putting is on is a colossal, enormous pain. The single clip doesn't undo completely (it just "loosens"), so putting the thing on in the first place requires an obliging dog and a certain degree of dexterity. The dog has to be ok with having his forelegs threaded through a strap into place, and the smaller the dog around the girth, the tighter the harness is adjusted and the less space there is to get the dog's legs through. Cybi is slight for a collie, and just sat there in bemusement as I manhandled his legs into position, involving quite a tight bend at the knee.

Even once unclipped, it still only gives an extra couple of inches of wiggle room to put the harness on the dog

Adjusting it to fit causes the invention of new swear words. I can see why the adjustment needs to be as it is, but it sure isn't easy to get right. It's not possible on the dog (this may be because the harness was brand new and stiff, but that'll be true of most people buying harnesses), so you have to try it, take it off, curse your way through adjusting the belly band tightness by moving the position of the clip buckle, put it back on the dog and repeat as needed. Though once it's done, it's hopefully done forever.

So would I buy another one? At this point, probably not. I'm planning to have Daisy and Cybi try working trials at some point, as I love the balance between obedience, agility and independent working in the scent exercises, and I suspect the Hurtta harness will be great for use while tracking because the dog can work into the chest strap. But for every day going for a walk, not having to manhandle the dog into the harness at the start and end wins, and so I'll most likely revert to plan "A" and acquire a second Perfect Fit. Or possibly look at the Hurtta Y harness - if the clips undo completely it stays in contention, but if there's any dog limbo involved then not so much.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Grooming glove as floor cleaner?

My poor little vacuum cleaner has been teetering under the onslaught for some time, and has finally given up. I think the unique combination of my long hair, Cybi's mid-length, coarse hair, and Daisy's shorter, fine hair creates a mat on the carpet which then requires high power, very effective filtering and extreme resistance to blockage to overcome. My vac, which did a cracking job pre dog, has none of these things, and is additionally hampered by an awkward bend in the tube which is very prone to clogging.

I managed to ignore the blackening carpet for a good couple of weeks, but I did eventually crack - once there was no evidence that the carpet was in fact blue I figured it was probably time to do something about it. Buying a new vacuum cleaner isn't on the available list of options right now, as it's going to have to be a super powerful, pet hair resistant big thing, which basically = expensive. While buying dog food, I noticed this - the CarPet Pet Hair Remover. I figured for a fiver it was worth a go, while the state of my carpet was driving me to distraction, and the reviews were pretty good. Then I spotted that it was basically the same thing in a square as the Mikki Grooming Glove I'd bought for Daisy is in a glove.

So I figured while I was waiting for the delivery, I'd have a go at the floor with the grooming glove.
What a success. Labour intensive for sure (you're effectively grooming the entire surface of the floor with a pad the size of your hand), but it's got the hair up brilliantly. I suspect the novelty of having to clean my living room floor by hand will wear off remarkably quickly, but for now I'm just appreciating the fact that my carpet is unarguably blue, even if only until the next time the dogs decide they have to have wrestling practice in my living room.

Before and after getting at the floor with the grooming glove. Quite the change!

Friday, 1 August 2014

On to the Bronze

Daisy passed her Puppy Foundation course, and is now onto the Bronze Good Citizen course. I'm so proud.

It might not seem like a huge deal to most people, but given her iffy start (her foster mum said of her "Who'd have thought she was once a little Irish stray with no hope at all" when she saw her a few months ago), every time we get through a milestone like this, however small, it just reinforces how far she has come.