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How to teach your dog the command ‘Go To Bed’

Dogtor Adem, founder and owner of Dog-Ease, is a dog behaviourist and trainer with over 15 years experience working with dog owners and their canine best friends. In this blog post, Adem shows you how to teach your dog the “go to bed” command. 


Using their fabulous new Bolster Bed, I have teamed up with Omlet to guide you through the basics of how to teach your dog the ‘Go to Bed’ command. ‘Go to Bed’ is a useful exercise for dog owners and can be used in a variety of situations, from being able to answer the front door knowing your dog is safely on their bed, away from external risks, or to allow guests to enter the home, to encouraging your dog to settle on a blanket or bed whilst visiting family, friends or even the local coffee shop!

Furthermore, whilst teaching this command you can also start to teach the basics of the commands ‘sit’, ‘heel’, ‘down’ and ‘leave’. All in all, it’s a great all round training exercise that can help you to be able to communicate with your dog effectively as well as helping our dogs to understand a range of commands that can be useful in our everyday lives in a variety of situations.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • A comfortable dog bed (we can vouch for the Bolster Bed!)
  • Some tasty treats your dog likes
  • Your dog on a lead and collar
  • A clear area where you can walk at least 5-10 paces away from the dog bed

HELPFUL TIPS FOR BEGINNING YOUR TRAINING

1) To teach your dog the command ‘go to bed’, follow the steps outlined below. Start slowly, taking your time with each step. Your dog will need time to understand each step and master it. The training is designed to be carried out, repeated, and built on over time. Your dog will not be able to learn the command within a day! Just like us, dog’s need time to process, practice and fully learn new skills. It’s even harder for them to learn a skill when they speak ‘dog’ and we speak ‘human’! Our job as teachers is to help them to understand our language. This will take time and patience.

2) Use your tasty treats to reward your dog when they achieve what you are guiding them to understand.  Give the treat as your dog carries out the command you are saying e.g. sit, helping them to associate the word you are saying with what they are doing at the time.

3) Carry out the training positively. Avoid telling your dog off and never force them into positions. They will not understand what this means and can form negative associations as a result. If your dog is not understanding, this is because they haven’t made the relevant connection between what you are saying and what they are required to do. Go back a step if this happens. It is your job to be a good and patient teacher!

4) Practice little and often. A good guide is to aim for 10-15 minutes of training at least once a day.

5) End your training sessions positively and on a ‘good note’. Accept small wins and small amounts of progress over pushing too quickly for too much from your dog, resulting in them not being able to do what you have asked of them. If the latter happens, go back to what they can do confidently and end there. You can come back to the next step another day. You want your dog to feel positive about what they have learnt and achieved, even if this is small, encouraging them to make the connections between what you are saying and what this means they should be doing at this time. This will also help them to want to participate next time!

6)  Once you have mastered steps 1-5, repeat again using the ‘HOW TO PROGRESS’ tips to advance your training.

7) Finally, please do not attempt this training if your dog is showing signs of possessive or aggressive behaviour around food or items as this could put both yourself and your dog at risk. You should seek advice from a qualified behaviourist if this is the case.

And now to begin…

STEP ONE: Set up your bed area and, with your dog on a lead, walk towards the bed

As outlined above, ensure that your dog bed is laid out in an area clear of obstacles. Ideally, you need to be able to walk 5-10 paces away from the bed in a relatively straight line. Put your dog on a lead and have your treats ready – preferably in a treat bag or easy access pocket so that you can access them quickly, ready to reward your dog for their achievements and cooperation!

Once your area and dog bed is set up, you have your tasty treats ready, and your dog on a lead by your side, walk up to your dog bed. You don’t have to walk far at first, 5 paces is sufficient at this early stage!

If your dog does not understand the ‘walk to heel’ command, hold a tasty treat to their nose as you walk to encourage them to walk on a loose lead by your side. Give the treat as a reward as you say the command ‘heel’ when your dog assumes the desired position by your side. You may need to hold the treat close to your dog’s nose to begin with if they don’t understand this command, helping them to stay close to your side as you walk.

HOW TO PROGRESS

  1. Increase the distance between you both and the bed so you have to walk further.
  2. When teaching ‘heel’, start to bring the treat away from their nose so they walk loosely on the lead without having to be directly lead by the scent of the yummy treat. Once your dog starts to understand they need to stay by your side, you can then progress to walking to ‘heel’ with the lead in your pocket, then to dropping the lead and the lead trailing on the floor, then finally to taking the lead off entirely! Take this slowly if your dog doesn’t know the heel command already.

STEP TWO: Ask your dog to ‘sit’ in front of the bed

Stop in front of the dog bed and, holding a treat to your dog’s nose, guide your dog into the ‘sit’ position. As they place their bottom on the floor, say the command ‘sit’ so that they associate this word with the action of sitting. You can give a treat for assuming the sit position if they do not already know this command.

TOP TIP: If you haven’t already taught them, your dog will not understand the command words such as ‘heel’ or ‘sit’ at the beginning. It is your job as their teacher to be clear and help them to learn.  Always and only say the command words when your dog is physically doing the action you desire so that they can learn to understand what you mean. Ensure the treat you give as a reward follows within a couple of seconds.

HOW TO PROGRESS

  1. Once your dog is sitting on command each time using the treat and word ‘sit’, start to complete STEP 2 without offering the treat so your dog begins to further understand what this word means when you say it.

STEP THREE: Place a treat at the back of the bed and walk your dog back to the start position

Holding your dog’s lead in one hand, use your other hand to place a treat at the back of the dog bed.

Using a second treat, guide your dog away from the bed and the first tasty treat that you have placed at the back of the bed. As you move away from the bed and first treat you could also say the command ‘leave’. Remember, as with ‘heel’ and ‘sit’, say the command ‘leave’ as you move away and your dog assumes the correct action, following you rather than advancing towards the treat on the bed. To encourage your dog to move away from the bed, place the treat close to your dog’s nose to begin with to help them to understand what you are asking and to incentivise them to follow you.

Move back towards your start position by using the command ‘heel’. Remember to guide your dog with your treat, as before, back to the start position. Keep the treat close to their nose to begin with to help them walk closely by your side until they start to understand this command.

TOP TIP: As you guide your dog away from the treat, make it easier for them to leave the treat and follow you by turning into your dog, placing yourself in between them and the treat as you move away. This helps to limit the ‘temptation’ factor of advancing towards the bed and treat, helping them to understand what you mean!

WHY TEACH THE LEAVE COMMAND?

The ‘leave’ command can be useful in everyday life, from teaching your dog to leave a child’s toy that is not suitable for them to play with, to asking them to leave a piece of food that you have dropped on the floor or they have found whilst walking that might not be suitable for them to eat. It is useful not only for helping your dog to understand what is his or hers, but also useful in keeping them safe from ingesting harmful objects or food items.

STEP FOUR: Turn to face the bed and ‘send’ your dog back to the bed using the ‘go to bed’ command

Once back at your start position, turn to face the bed and continue to use the treat to guide your dog into the ‘sit’ position once again. Give the treat as you say the command to once more positively reward the action as your dog carries it out.

Next, walk your dog back to the bed whilst saying ‘go to bed’ as the dog advances towards the bed (and the tasty treat you have placed there!)

HOW TO PROGRESS

  1. As with teaching the ‘heel’ command, you want your dog to eventually be able to complete this off lead. Start by dropping the lead on the floor and sending your dog to their bed whilst saying ‘go to bed’. You could add a hand signal, such as pointing at the bed, at this stage to help your dog to understand.
  2. Complete this step with your dog off lead and say ‘go to bed’.

STEP FIVE: Allow your dog to find the treat, say their name so they turn towards you, and then ask them to sit whilst on the bed

After walking or sending your dog to their bed, allow them to find and eat the tasty treat you placed on the bed earlier. Next, call their name to get their attention and, using another treat if necessary, ask or guide them into the ‘sit’ position. They should now be sat on their bed and, as a result, they have completed ‘go to bed’ in it’s simplest form! Move to your dog’s side (so they don’t advance forwards and off the bed) and give them the tasty treat for sitting on the bed.

HOW TO PROGRESS

  1. After you are consistently able to achieve a ‘sit’ on the bed, use a treat start to guide your dog into the down position instead of asking them to sit on the bed. Say the word ‘down’ as they assume the correct position. Reward as before by the dog’s side rather than in front to encourage them to stay laying on their bed.
  2. Once your dog is confidently laying down on the bed each time you say down, increase the distance from which you ask them to assume this position. If your dog is doing well with this, increase your distance from them each time by a step or two. The eventual aim is that you will be able to say the command from the other side of the room and your dog respond appropriately! As before, always go back to your dog’s side at the end of the exercise to reward them with a treat for laying on their bed.

So there you have it, the five steps to teaching your dog to ‘go to bed’! Over time, the repetition of this training along with your clear giving of commands and timely rewarding of their actions in response should help your dog to understand exactly what you are asking of them.

Let me know if you give it a go!

Dogtor™ Adem
Top UK Dog Trainer and Behaviourist
Owner of Dog-ease Training
www.dog-ease.co.uk

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This entry was posted in Dogs


New Puppy Shopping List

You’re getting a puppy – congratulations! Bringing home a puppy is an extremely exciting experience, but it can also be pretty full on, as your new friend will require almost constant attention and care. To minimise the stress of not having the right things at hand when the dog is already in your home, make sure to tick off these puppy essentials before he or she moves in!

✔️ Crate

Many breeders will have crate trained the puppy from an early age, and most dog trainers recommend this method as a way of making the transition into a new home as smooth as possible.

The crate acts as an enclosed safe space for your puppy, a place they can return to when they are tired or worried, that they know is just theirs. The Fido Nook 2-in-1 Luxury Dog Crate and Bed is a great solution for this. Put the crate in the beautifully designed den, and make it nice and cosy for your dog. When the puppy is fully trained, you can decide if you want to remove the crate or keep it in. The Fido Nook is also available with a super convenient wardrobe where you can store all of your dog’s things in one handy place, and it looks great in any room of the house. 

Remember that puppies grow quickly, so get a crate that will also fit your pup when they are fully grown. 

✔️ Bed & Blanket

Growing puppies spend most of their days sleeping, so they will need a comfortable bed to rest on. The Omlet Bolster Beds have a memory foam mattress that will sculpt itself around the dog’s body, providing support and comfort after hours of play. As an added bonus the cover can be removed and is machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about puppy accidents or muddy paws.

Make sure you also provide your puppy with a super soft blanket to curl up on. Having a blanket in the crate means the puppy will associate it with home, and it can then be used as a comforter when you’re out and about seeing new sights and trying new things!

✔️ Food and bowls

You will probably have been given some instructions from the breeder on what to feed your puppy the first weeks, and it’s best to stick to this to avoid upsetting their delicate little tummies. After a while you can gradually start introducing the food you want to give your dog. Make sure it’s a high quality feed suitable for growing pups, like this one from Arden Grange that is packed with fresh chicken.

Get bowls for food and water in a suitable size that are deep enough to not create lots of mess, but stable enough to not tip over. It’s also a good idea to have a few travel sized bowls that you can bring on adventures.

✔️ Training treats

The key to a well behaved and well rounded dog is to encourage and enforce all good behaviours. Make sure you have plenty of small treats around to give your puppy when they are being a good boy or girl. The world can be rather intimidating for a small puppy who is learning new things, and knowing that you will provide them with praise and love – and a yummy treat – when they return to you will make the bond between you strong from the beginning. 

✔️ Chew toys

Puppies love to chew, and anyone who’s been around a puppy knows that those sharp teeth can do some damage, whether it’s on your sofa cushions or your favourite pair of leather boots. Give your pet some appropriate chew toys to ease the itch and blow off some steam. You might have to try a few to find one that’s the right size and hardness for your dog, so make sure you have a selection at hand. 

✔️ Collar & Lead

As soon as your puppy is ready to go out into the real world they will need a stylish collar to put their ID-tag on. We have plenty of different types in our shop, so you’re sure to find one that suits you and your new pet. Match with a lead or harness, from the simple and stylish Urban Pup leads to the luxurious soft leather leads from Cloud7

These are the most important things to get before you go to pick up your puppy and bring it home. You will probably find that there are plenty of other things that are useful to have, like grooming equipment, nail clippers, cleaning products, and even a dog jacket or a jumper, but the above essentials will see you through the first weeks with your new family member, without any emergency shopping trips! 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


The Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

All dogs are smart. That’s because their ancestor, the wolf, is very clever, so dogs’ brains had a great starting point. Even the breeds fondly described as “lovably clueless” are still relatively clever compared to most other animals!

The question of why wolves, and therefore dogs, are clever is simple. They hunt, in packs, using various strategies including herding; and they live in hierarchies of ‘top dogs’, alphas, and various layers of underlings. All in all, it’s a complex business being a canine, and only a top-notch brain is going to succeed.

The cleverest domestic dogs, then, tend to be the ones that retain an element of ancestral wolf instincts. That instinct comes in two forms – the herders (including all the sheepdogs), and the out-and-out hunters.

What Makes a Clever Dog?

Being human, we tend to judge other animals on our terms. Therefore, dogs that respond well to human training and learn to be obedient are the ones we think of as super-smart. What this means is that those dogs that have been bred to rely on us, listen to us, and interact with us, seem to us more human in their responses. More independent breeds, or ones that will still run after a rabbit years after you first told them not to run away may be judged more harshly (step forward all Beagles and Foxhounds!)

Also, when it comes to brain power, it appears that size really does count. The large breeds are the ones with the greatest grey matter (with the exception of that diminutive genius the Papillon). This, again, is all down to breeding.

Many small dogs have genes associated with dwarfism (e.g. Pekingese, Shitzu, and Pug), and these tend to have small brains to match. Most of the other small dog breeds are terriers (such as Jack Russell or Scottie). These have been bred ‘down’ from larger versions – they are miniature large dogs, if you like. Like the rest of the dog, their brains are more miniature than small, if you see the subtle difference.

Bearing in mind all these considerations and complications, the breeds in the following list are widely agreed to be the top 10 Canine Einsteins.

Best in Breed, Brainwise

The dogs in this list, when properly trained and socialised, can take on board a new command after hearing it for just the fifth time (and we’re not sure there are many young kids who can do that!). In general, these dogs will obey at least 95 percent of the commands given to them.

The word you’re looking for here is “Wow!”

The list is in no particular order, but the first three breeds mentioned are often credited with being the best of the bunch, when woof comes to shove.

  1. German Shepherd
  2. Border Collie
  3. Poodle
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Labrador Retriever
  7. Papillon
  8. Rottweiler
  9. Shetland Sheepdog
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

Almost all the herding breeds are nudging the top ten. The Belgian Tervurens, Bernese Mountain Dog and – perhaps surprisingly, given its size – the Pembroke Welsh Corgi deserve special mention. Away from the herding breeds, the Bloodhound and the Alaskan Husky have amazing brains too.

And it’s not all about purebreds. Your Labradoodle or Cockapoo could well be every bit as bright as the dogs in our top 10 list. A mixed breed dog whose ancestry isn’t obvious from appearance may also be a bit of a doggy genius.

As we said earlier, dogs are all clever. Full stop.

Which Wolf?

Returning to the smart brains of those ancestral wolves mentioned earlier, science recently stumbled upon an intriguing fact. Genetic analysis of domestic dogs and Eurasian and American wolves came up with some dog genes that are not present in the modern wolf. This has led biologists to conclude that man’s best friend is so old that it was actually developed from a now-extinct wolf species. Perhaps something like the Dire wolves (of Game of Thrones fame).

So take another look at your incredibly clever pet dogs. There’s a lot more to them than meets the eye!

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This entry was posted in Dogs


How to incorporate your dog’s bed in your home interior

Ever feel like your dog’s bed is just ‘plonked’ at the side of the room, standing out like a sore thumb? Or do you put their bed out of sight so as to not ruin your home’s interior style?

This needn’t be the case. It’s actually very easy to incorporate your dog’s bed into any room, like it’s part of the furniture. 

Utilise the space above your dog’s bed

If your dog’s bed is positioned near a walkway they could be regularly disturbed by people walking past and even tripping over them. Building up around your dog’s bed can ensure they have an enclosed space which is safe and secure from knocks and spills, while also allowing you to make the most of the wasted space that is usually above a dog’s bed.

You can easily utilise the space above the bed better by installing shelves or coat hooks, however, this doesn’t protect your dog from passer’s by accidentally standing on the corner of their bed or knocking them with the hoover. Installing a complete unit which completely encloses your dog’s bed with walls like a den, while also raising the bed off the ground is much more effective and beneficial to your pet. 

The Fido Nook Luxury Dog House does just that. The stylish piece of furniture complements your home while also providing a cosy space for your dog’s bed. The top of the Nook is an ideal surface for decorative or functional items such as plant pots, candles, photo frames and key bowls, and it is also available with an integrated wardrobe, perfect for storage of all your dog’s favourite things, including treats, toys, collars, leads and more. You can even accessorise the wardrobe with a sweet clothes rail and mirror to really make your dog’s new home their own. 

Match your dog’s bed to your soft furnishings

If it’s the look of your dog’s bed that is putting you off placing it pride of place in your lounge, kitchen or bedroom, it might be time to upgrade to a more stylish bed that matches your own sofa, bed sheets and cushions. 

Plus, dog beds are naturally prone to getting very hairy, dutty, muddy and smelly. You can be forgiven for preferring to hide that from visitors to your home. A bed with a removable and washable cover allows you to keep the bed smelling fresh and looking as good as new, all the time. 

The new Bolster Beds from Omlet are available in 3 stylish colours, with a subtle, woven, diamond geometric pattern, to suit all homes. The grey is the most simple and classic of the colours, while still being super stylish, guaranteed to fit in any home interior. The rich, forest green is perfect if you like a subtle hue, in your warm toned interior, while the vibrant, rose pink will be a hit with any lover of colour! 

Add the new Luxury Super Soft Blanket for extra comfort for your dog. 

A stylish upgrade

If you’re already happy with the positioning and look of your dog’s bed, but want something to tie it in with your home interior and really make it part of the room, why not give it a stylish upgrade with the Fido Sofa Frame? Available in 2 sizes to suit most beds, the Fido Sofa Frame turns any dog bed into a contemporary piece of furniture that blends into any room. 

Plus, it is effective in raising your dog’s bed off the ground; reducing disturbances and draughts for your pet. 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Why Do Some Animals Have Paws?

Have you ever looked at your pets’ paws and wondered why? Why don’t they have hands and fingers like us? The answer dates back thousands of years and is the result of our pets’ ancestors adapting to the independent and wild lives they once lived in an environment which was very different to your safe, warm home. 

The History of the Paw

Before our pets were domesticated, they had to defend themselves to stay alive while hunting for their own food. Many of the traits that helped them do that haven’t changed, staying with the species’ throughout evolution. This includes the paw

Dogs and cats are the main paw-ed animals that may come to mind. But before we had house cats and dogs, there were generations of wild cats and wolves. The purpose of the paw is largely related to sound and shock absorption. The fatty tissue inside the pads helps animals jump and land without pain or noise, especially helpful for silently hunting prey in the wild while protecting limbs from impact. 

A dog's paw pad

The paw pads are also much rougher when the animal is subject to extreme surfaces day in, day out. This assists with grip in treacherous or slippery conditions, working in a similar way to human shoes. For our domestic pets, the paw pads are often much smoother as conditions are easier underfoot. Some dog breeds still have webbed feet to help them swim, an adaptation that wolves passed on and still benefit from.

While paws are well adapted for walking and jumping around, debris can sometimes get stuck in the paw pads and cause pain. If you spot your pet chewing at their paw or limping and lifting it off the ground, carefully check their paw pad for any stones or splinters that may need removing. If your rabbit or guinea pigs paws look sore it could be a sign that their bedding is too scratchy. 

What can the paw tell us?

Did you know, that some animals use their paw pads to keep cool and release sweat? So damp paw prints could mean your pet needs some help cooling down.

Pet’s paws can sometimes tell us a little bit about how they are feeling, too. For example, cats will knead blankets, beds, pillows and even humans with their paws when they are feeling happy and content. There’s lots of reasons why this may be; it might remind them of nursing from their Mother, they could be trying to create a cosy spot to sleep, or they could be using the scent glands in their paw pads to mark their territory. 

Have you also noticed your cat doesn’t like their paws to be touched? This is because the pads are extremely sensitive to touch, but some cats can be trained to tolerate their paws being touched, often easier if done from a young age, so if your cat does let you touch their paws it could be a sign of trust. 

More info here and here.

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This entry was posted in Cats


Do Pets Experience Heartbreak?

There is something very arrogant in assuming that only humans can experience deep emotions. We’ve all seen our pets excited and happy, and we also come to recognise when they’re sad. In other words, they experience feelings.

Sorrow in an animal is different from fear or anxiety. The latter things are brought on by stress, resulting from poor environment, poor diet, scary neighbours, cruel owners, or countless other factors that can make animals feel exposed or in danger.

Heartbreak, as any person who has experienced it knows, is something very different. It results from bereavement, or other forms of fundamental loss. Scientists are often eager to point out that we can never prove an animal feels these emotions. But many owners have seen it for themselves and have no doubt at all.

What Makes Dogs Sad?

A pet may become distressed if a certain person or a longstanding companion of the same species is no longer around – but only if that person or pet was one that the animal had completely bonded with.

A family dog will have a relationship with all the human members of its family, but there will usually be one favourite – an Alpha male or Alpha Female, if you like. Although the dog may miss the others, it is on this favourite, its main owner, that its affections will be focused.

If such a person leaves the household, for whatever reason, the dog’s first reaction will be one of separation anxiety. It will pine and lose its interest in things such as food, games and walks. Loss of appetite can lead to liver problems in a relatively short time, so keep an eye on the situation and be ready to turn to a vet for help.

The dog may also whine and cry more than usual, and may start to lick and chew household items, or its own fur or paws. Many grieving dogs find it hard sleeping, and will sit and whine by a door, or may simply go into hiding.

A lot depends on the breed, and on the individual animal too. But many dogs can certainly be classed as heartbroken in these situations. The grieving will last for several weeks, even months.

Time will cure the heartache, but in the meantime you can help by making sure the pet continues to have walks in its favourite places. If the dog enjoys staying in kennels, a short break there is a possibility too. You could also consider employing a dog walker, to give your pet a change of routine. Don’t be afraid to be more generous than usual with the snacks, treats and toys, too.

What Makes Cats Sad?

Cats can be harder to read than dogs. They will tend to lay low, hiding away more than usual. Some will become more vocal, mewing and crying for their lost friend. Many will lose their appetites, sleep less, and may even run away for days at a time.

Like dogs, a cat that stops eating can develop potentially fatal liver disease, so early intervention by a vet is recommended.

Many, however, soon transfer their main affections to another member of the household. Other, more independent cats seem to readjust without any problem.

What Makes Other Pets Sad?

Small mammals don’t appear to grieve when their owners disappear from their lives. But many will revert to a natural nervousness if they are no longer being handled and fed by their best friend. Someone else needs to step up and become the pet’s favourite.

Pet parrots who have bonded with a partner or owner are known to grieve the loss of a loved one, whether a fellow bird or a human. Loss of appetite and listlessness are the usual signs. Someone needs to keep up the contact and interaction, to ease these highly intelligent birds into their new lives.

The problem does not usually arise if the birds are kept in an open aviary setting. Smaller parrots such as budgies and lovebirds don’t seem to miss their human friends so intensely either, although they will certainly grieve if their feathered best friend disappears.

The Grieving Process

Above all, try to be upbeat and affectionate with the grieving animal. Pets pick up on our moods with an almost supernatural skill, so if we’re very sad, they may mirror our feelings. Again, this might be a good time to bring in friends or relatives more able to put on a happy face for the sake of the heartbroken pet.

Most pets will, with time, move on. Some older pets may never entirely recover. In all circumstances involving loss, all an owner can do is care for the animal as it readjusts to changed circumstances.

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This entry was posted in Cats


Where Is The Best Place For My Dog’s Bed?

Dogs like having their own beds. There is, however, a big difference between an old blanket in a drafty corner and a proper bed in an optimum position.

When it has no official bed or bedroom, if left to its own devices a dog will try several different parts of your home in search of a good place to sleep. It’s only when you give them something proper to sleep on that they begin to settle down. But even then they might still be restless, always looking for a better spot. If your dog wanders around a lot in the night, slumping in different places, it is a sign that he needs a proper bed.

The first step, then, is to buy the bed itself. There are several good ones available, including the Fido Dog Sofa Bed, the Fido Dog Bed and Crate and many more. These have all the good design necessary for the perfect dog-nap, but you’ll still need to think about where the bed will actually go.

The Best – And Worst – Places To Put A Dog Bed

  • Your dog crate may be the obvious choice, if that’s where your pet tends to chill out.
  • If the dog has already chosen a favourite snoozing place in the house, simply put the dog bed there, if that’s practical.
  • The bed should be away from drafts, and also away from hot radiators and fires.
  • A corner, or at least against a wall, is usually the best location. Dogs like to feel safe and closed-in when settling down for the night, and wide open spaces don’t make for a good night’s sleep.
  • The bed should not be in the middle of the room or in a noisy corridor. Dogs like to stay close to their human friends, but they don’t want to be interrupted by constant commotion when they’re trying to sleep.
  • At the other extreme, a room where no one usually goes is not a good choice either. Dogs like to stick with the pack – or at least to have them in the immediate vicinity.
  • If the dog is used to sleeping in your bedroom, put the new dog bed there. The only thing you have to do now is persuade him that his bed is a better place to sleep than yours!
  • If your dog is in the habit of catching 40 winks outside, you could put a spare bed in a shed, kennel or other garden building. It shouldn’t be on a wet lawn, though.

The main compromise when finding the best spot for a dog bed is to balance your pet’s need for peace and quiet with his equally strong need to be near you. Some breeds are more ‘clingy’ than others. If you opt for a spot in the bedroom, though, always discuss it first with your nearest and dearest – not everyone is happy with the idea of a midnight mutt snoring in the vicinity!

So, the best place for a dog bed depends on the nature of your home, the whim of your dog, and the practicalities of keeping everyone happy. One thing is for sure – the sight of your contented hound chilling out in his own comfy bed is very satisfying.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Does my dog really need a bed?

It’s true that dogs can sleep pretty much anywhere. But, when you think about it, so can we – in a tent, on a long train journey, or in front of the TV. However, by choice we would rather be tucked up in our own beds, waking up comfy and refreshed rather than grouchy and with a crick in the neck. Dogs are just the same.

A dog bed work on two levels. It provides consistent comfort for a good night’s sleep (and all those daytime doggie naps too), and it also gives a dog a sense of security. Dogs are territorial – they claim certain places as their own. Their most special places – the ones where no one else goes – are the most important parts of their territory. A dog bed is the ultimate safety zone for your pet.

If you don’t provide an actual bed, your dog will improvise. A favourite spot on the rug, a comfy corner away from all the noise, or an old towel or blanket. These can all be roped in as beds, and the dog will retire there whenever he needs some downtime.

The spot your dog chooses, given half a chance, may be your own bed. Unless you’re firm with him, he’ll be there to stay! This is yet another reason why buying a comfy dog bed makes sense.

Finding The Ultimate Dog Bed

Incorporating the bed in a dog crate makes sense. The crate then becomes an all-purpose safe place and chill-out zone. This is the inspiration behind custom-made kit such as the Fido Studio dog crate and Fido Nook.

A crate also provides a frame for the dog mattress, rather than just having it free-standing on the floor. As a sense of security is very important for a dozing dog, this is an important detail.

Another great option is a dog sofa bed. It provides a frame for the mattress to rest on, just like a human bed, and it raises the dog from the ground to minimise draughts. You can also replace the dog mattress if it becomes worse for wear, while the frame will last a lifetime.

Dog beds can prevent sores, callouses and bald patches – things that may afflict dogs who sleep on wooden or stone floors, or rough carpets. As a dog gets older and its joints become stiffer, it will appreciate the comfort of a good dog mattress.

It’s A Bed, Not A Naughty Corner!

One mistake some owners make is to send a naughty dog to its bed as a punishment. Needless to say, this makes the poor dog associate the bed and mattress with bad things, and that isn’t going to give it a good night’s sleep! A bed in a crate should not become a lock-up, either. A dog who spends all day in the crate will come to view it as a prison cell – and the same goes for the bed, too.

If you have more than one dog, they will usually insist on their own, separate sleeping arrangements. It’s therefore important that a dog’s bed is not treated to the canine equivalent of sofa surfing. A dog that shows interest in another dog’s comfy mattress should be firmly discouraged.

A comfy bed isn’t much to ask. It provides warmth, security, and the ultimate in doggie comfort. We definitely draw the line at doggie pyjamas, though…

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This entry was posted in Dogs


How to Decorate your Nook for Christmas

Incorporate your dog’s Fido Nook into your Christmas homeware and transform your pet’s den into a festive haven with these seasonal decoration ideas…

Fairy lights

Everyone loves the sparkle of lights at Christmas time so why not beautifully frame your Nook with battery powered fairy lights. If using with a puppy, place the lights across the top of the Nook so you still have a lovely glow, without the chewing risk! 

Mini wreath

Stick a Fido Hook to the outside of the Nook’s wardrobe door for a mini Christmas wreath. You could even make one yourself so it matches your festive decor perfectly, and add subtle puppy touches, like some decorative bones or a paw print ribbon.

Christmas curtains 

If you have added a curtain pole and Fido curtains to your pet’s Nook, why not try your hand at sewing your own Christmas curtains with a festive fabric.

Christmas tree

No need to sacrifice your Christmas tree, for puppies and frequent chewers use shatter-proof or soft baubles and keep any that are fragile or precious near the top! 

Fake candles 

Battery-powered candles give the same warming glow as real ones, without the risk to pets! If you are concerned about chewing, keep the candles on top of the Nook. 

Stocking

This super cute dog stocking is perfect for hanging up in the wardrobe ready for Santa Paws!

For the dog

Get your pup ready for the party season with a super cute Christmas jumper or festive red collar they can wear with pride. 

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This entry was posted in Christmas


Involve Your Dog in the Christmas Celebrations

Take Photos Together

Set the timer on your phone, get a friend to help, or hire a photographer to take a family portrait with your doggy. The sky is your limit when it comes to ideas for this shoot. Maybe you want to get a photo of you all out on a walk, or posing in front of the tree. Matching Christmas jumpers are not mandatory, but definitely encouraged!

Send Out Christmas Cards

Print some copies of your family portrait to send out to family and friends. If you have children, get them to decorate the cards with glitter and stickers, and the dog to sign them with a cute paw print. This will no doubt get the best spot on the mantelpiece at anyone who receives one!

Dress Them Up in Holiday Outfits

If your dog is happy to get dressed up, there are few things cuter than a pup in a bow tie or some antlers, or a festive jumper that can add some extra warmth on the darkest nights of the year. Make sure the dog is comfortable and that nothing is too tight or might hurt them.

Go For a Walk to Look at the Lights

There is always someone in the neighbourhood who goes crazy with the Christmas lights. Take your dog for a long walk and check out the decorations. Most dogs will be fascinated by all the bright blinking lights, but keep an eye on them and take them home if it gets too much.

Visit a Christmas Market

Most Christmas Markets will be outdoors, perfect for when you want to bring the dog along to drink some mulled wine and listen to carol singers. Dogs will love the smells from the food stalls, but you’re probably best of bringing some dog friendly treats from home to distract them if they get too excited. 

Watch a Christmas Film

There are few things better than curling up in front of the fire and watch those Christmas movies you’ve already seen about a million times. Make yourself and the dog comfy on the sofa and nap your way through a festive favourite. We suggest choosing something featuring a dog, like The Grinch, or The Holiday.

Bake Dog Treats

We all allow ourselves some extra treats over the holidays, and even though you should not change the way you’re feeding your dog just because it’s Christmas, it might be nice to give them a special homemade treat. Why not make these healthy Apple and Cinnamon Dog Cookies, perfect for the stocking!

Buy Gifts

If your dog has been a good boy or girl all year, they deserve a present or two under the tree. We have plenty of fun toys and delicious treats for dogs in our Christmas shop!

Make sure they stay safe

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it does involve some things that can pose a danger to dogs. Read our blog post about how to keep your pets safe during the holidays, to make sure you can celebrate without any accidents. 

 

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This entry was posted in Christmas


Gift Guide – For Dogs & their Owners

Are you struggling to find something to give a dog, or a dog owner, for Christmas? Fur-tunately we have some paw-fect gifts for all budgets! 

Fido Nook

Everyone knows that a dog is for life, not for Christmas, but if you or someone close to you are introducing a four-legged friend to the family in the new year you will be able to give the dog the warmest of welcomes with a Fido Nook, the world’s most luxurious dog bed. The Nook will be a safe spot for your dog to return to for a nap or just some peace and quiet, and you can add the removable crate if you’re planning to crate train your puppy. 

The neat freak who gets stressed about mess in the house will fully appreciate the Nook’s integrated wardrobe, which allows you to store all your dog’s things in one place. No more treats in kitchen drawers, tennis balls under sofa cushions or leads on the hallway floor! The pawfect present for both human and canine!

Are you buying for someone who’s already got a Nook for their dog? Fill the wardrobe with any of the Nook accessories: the bed, clothes rail, storage box, shelf, bowl or mirror, now all with 25% off

You could also get them some other bits and bobs to decorate the den for Christmas, such as fairy lights or a mini wreath.

Beds

Any dog owner knows what dogs will not settle for anything but extreme comfort. If their bed is old and smelly, or just not comfortable enough, there will be no stopping them from napping on the sofa or under the covers in your bed. So why not take the opportunity to upgrade your pup’s bed in time for Christmas? From Cloud7 to Buster & Beau, we stock luxurious beds from all your dog’s favourite brands.

Accessories 

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to treat your dog to some new toys, but also to get those things that you have put off getting for ages. Maybe your dog’s collar is looking a bit worse for wear after hundreds of walks and a few dips in the mud? We have plenty of collars, harnesses and leads in our Christmas shop that will make your doggy the most stylish canine in the neighbourhood. How about a new Christmas Jumper to complete the outfit? 

Stocking

Fill this super cute dog stocking with treats, toys and more for your own dog this Christmas, or as a thoughtful gift for a friend and their pup. You will find lots of great bits and bobs to put in the stocking in our Christmas Shop, such as this Christmas Cookie or the luxurious Candy Cane Rope Toy. 

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This entry was posted in Christmas


10 Common Dog Training Mistakes

It’s a fantastic achievement to transform that over-excited, jumping, weak-bladdered puppy into a trained and trusted friend and companion. The transformation isn’t automatic, but comes about through persistence, organisation, and a few simple dog training tools.

You can find several training tips on our Omlet Dog Guide. Here, we’ll highlight a few things that can slow down the training process.

1 – The training sessions are too long.

This is definitely rule number one. Training takes a lot of canine concentration, and if you overdo it, the dog will become bored and/or impatient. And, frankly, so will you. A training session should be between five and ten minutes. After that, it’s time out. You can resume the training with another 10-minute session an hour or so later.

2 – You’re getting impatient.

You might think your dog is the cleverest pet you’ve ever met. But he’s still a dog, and not a human, so you shouldn’t expect miracles. A dog has to concentrate to learn new commands, especially ones that go against his natural instincts to run, bark, eat, and jump up to greet people. Many owners lose patience when, for the umpteenth time, the dog fails to respond to a command, lies down instead of sitting, forgets to wait when you tell him, and so on.

As soon as you lose your temper, your dog will sense the hostility and begin associating training with human anger. Understandably, he’ll not be too keen on taking part in future sessions.

3 – You’re on auto-repeat.

If your dog fails to get the hang of a new command or trick on the third attempt, let it go. The mystified mutt will have made three incorrect guesses, and getting it right after ten attempts will not make the training stick. Revisit these ‘fails’ in later training sessions. Review your approach – was it too vague, too similar to another command, or have you fallen into the traps mentioned in points 1 and 2 above?

Similarly, if your dog fails to lie down when you say “lie down”, don’t repeat the command endlessly. It will tell the dog he doesn’t need to respond immediately, or it might make him think that the command for ‘lie down’ is actually “Lie down! Lie down!  Lie down! Lie down! Lie down!…etc.”

4 – Everyone’s moody.

If a dog is tired, grumpy, hungry, or expecting his regular walk, a training session isn’t going to go down well. The same applies to the human trainer – if you’re not in the best of moods, the dog will know, and neither of you will be in the best frame of mind for a training session.

5 – The default approach is punishment.

There are two ways of training a dog – the old-fashioned correction-based method, and the much better ‘positive reinforcement’ method. The old way involved punishing a dog for getting things wrong, while the modern way is to reward him when he gets it right. Some owners mix and match the two methods, which can be confusing. The poor dog doesn’t know what’s coming next – a tasty treat or an angry gesture.

You should never shout your dog’s name in anger or as part of verbal punishment either, or he will come to associate his name with negative things.

6 – The training is inconsistent.

Always use the same command words for each action, and make sure the dog performs the required action once he’s learned it. If you give the command and then let it slide if the dog doesn’t bother responding, you’re undermining the process. When training a dog you’re establishing sets of rules, and consistency is the only thing that’s going to make them stick.

If using a dog clicker, make sure the clock is reinforced with a treat. And don’t click loads of times for a single training action or behaviour, or the click will lose its meaning for the dog.

7 – The training is tailing off.

If a dog learns new tricks and performs well in early training sessions, it doesn’t mean the behaviours will stick in his head forever. They need reinforcing every day over the dog’s early months, otherwise he will get rusty (a bit like you trying to recall those school French lessons 20 years later). Some owners make the mistake of thinking a paid-for training session can replace a year of regular and patient training. It can’t.

8 – Bad behaviour is being rewarded.

If a dog is misbehaving, it can be tempting to shout his name angrily, and then reward him with a treat or attention when he comes. To the dog this means bad behaviour = reward. Ignore the bad behaviour as much as you can, and draw a line by distracting the dog by asking him to sit or lie down (without using his name). You can then reward the good behaviour.

9 – You’re overdoing the treats.

If dog treats are given too frequently or the portions are too large, the dog may decide, later, that he will only listen if there is food involved. There are also health issues involved with overdoing the snacks too. Praise, play and affection are just as important as food treats when training.

10 – A bull terrier can’t be a sheepdog!

There’s no single ‘best way’ to train a dog. It depends on breed and temperament. So, don’t rely on previous experience or the advice of another dog owner, if the dogs in question were completely different characters. 

No dog is born pre-trained. But by avoiding these 10 common mistakes you’ll make the training much more effective, ensuring that everyone involved – human and dog – has a great time during the process.

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This entry was posted in Dogs