With the increasing awareness of how the environment is being affected by humans, it is understandable that many pet owners are attempting to make more environmentally friendly decisions within their home.
Some litter can be composted, and some can’t. If you are determined to compost it, the starting point is to ensure that your litter is made from natural, biodegradable materials.
The origins of cat litter
Cat litter, which was first invented in the mid-century, has always been viewed as unusable waste that needs to be thrown away after use. The inventor was American businessman Edward Lowe, who began using Fuller’s Earth – an absorbent clay-based mixture – rather than the ashes, soil or sand. He patented his product under the name Kitty Litter in 1947.
Many types of modern cat litter contain silica, which, although not harmful to cats, takes a long time to degrade after it’s been thrown away and can’t be composted at home. Some litters are marketed as ‘flushable’, but evidence suggests this can cause environmental damage. It’s made from ingredients such as corn, wood, pine or wheat, which means it’s biodegradable. However, the flushed litter can potentially spread toxoplasmosis, which can affect humans as well as other animals. Most water treatment plants are not equipped to remove the tiny organism. A healthy immune system can fight off the bacteria and the disease it causes – toxoplasmosis – but the ailment is life-threatening to people who are already unwell.
To add to the problem, flushable litters can block toilet pipes. If you use a septic tank system, the hardened poo and litter waste will not easily break down. If you opt for this type of product, it is actually best to bin it in compostable bags. Any litter that is not soiled can, in theory, be composted on the compost heap.
Choosing the best litter for your cat
So, what do cats think about all this?
No two cats are the same, and some seem to be very fussy about their litter. Every cat has its own individual needs, quirks and preferences – for example, sometimes a cat won’t share its litter tray with another cat, or will turn its nose up if the tray doesn’t contain their favourite type of litter.
Choosing a litter that your cat is comfortable with while remaining environmentally friendly can be tricky. Omlet eases this dilemma by offering four different types of biodegradable cat litter.
Omlet Cat Litter No. 2 is made from tofu and is one of the most environmentally friendly cat litters available. As well as being great for the environment, it’s also great for your home, as this litter is long-lasting and absorbs smells faster and more efficiently.
Omlet Cat Litter No. 4 is clay-based and is incredibly easy to clean up as it clumps together when wet, giving you an easier clean each time. The clay mix is not compostable, but it will not damage the environment when you dispose of it.
If your cat is only happy using a silica-based litter, it might be a good idea to head to your nearest waste disposal centre to dispose of it. They may have a more environmentally friendly option available than adding it to the general waste.
How to compost cat litter
Composting cat litter is like any other composting. The key thing is to get an appropriate bin. Follow these five points, and you won’t go far wrong:
- Remove clumps of cat poo (in the general waste bin) before composting, as they contain bacteria that can cause illness if it contaminates food.
- Keep the compost bin away from any vegetable beds or other food-growing areas.
- Ensure the bin is large enough to enable the compost to be turned regularly – a container of at least one cubic metre will be sufficient.
- Only litter that is 100% plant-based can be disposed of in this way. Clay litter or litter with added chemical deodorants cannot be composted.
- Add composter liquids, vegetable and plant matter and grass clippings to the compost. Chicken or horse manure will help the composting process, too.
- Leave the compost for two years before using it in the garden, and only use it for plants, never food items. Also be careful when handling the compost and make sure to always wash your hands afterwards.
This entry was posted in Cats on June 30th, 2021 by linnearask
For years dog owners have been limited to beds in dull shades of brown, grey and black, but things are about to change! The Omlet Bolster Beds are now available in 15 amazing colours, ranging from a stylish Meringue White to an eye-catching Cherry Red, so there is sure to be one you will love.
Are you having trouble choosing? Why not try and match the colour of the bed to your dog’s personality? We’ve put together a quick quiz that will help you establish which colour Bolster Bed will be the perfect style for your pooch. Choose the answers that most resemble your dog, and add together the results at the end to find out which colour will suit them best!
What is your dog’s idea of a perfect day?
A. Snoozing on their bed not getting disturbed
B. Playing with the other dogs in the park
C. Going for a walk in the city sniffing outside shops
D. Digging a big hole in the garden
E. Hiking up a mountain
What’s your dog like with strangers coming to your home?
A. Doesn’t pay them any interest whatsoever
B. Jumps up and down and barks as soon as someone knocks on the door
C. Comes to have a look, but then goes back to whatever they were doing
D. Tries to get a belly scratch from anyone, doesn’t matter if they’ve never met them before
E. They will love to come and say hello, but can tell if the guest doesn’t want to play with them
What is your dog’s coat like?
A. Very, very fluffy
B. Long in some places, short in others – a bit of a mess really
C. Perfectly soft and smooth, we brush it every day
D. Short and easily maintained
E. They’ve got a lot of it, that’s all I’ll say
What is your dog’s favourite treat?
A. Dry duck fillets
B. Liver from the butcher’s
C. Ridiculously expensive organic dog treats we ship in from Luxembourg
D. Probably pizza, or anything else they’re not supposed to eat
E. Just normal dog treats will do
How does your dog feel about bath time?
A. They hate it!
B. Bath time? Are you supposed to wash dogs?
C. Loves it, especially at the groomers
D. They enjoy getting sprayed with the hose outside, but I wouldn’t trust them in my bathroom
E. They accept it, but they’re not a big fan
What is your dog’s favourite time of year?
A. Springtime, it’s warm but not too hot
B. Summer, they love going to the beach
C. They really don’t like snow, but apart from that they don’t really mind
D. Christmas, or any other time when the whole family is together
E. Probably autumn, they love jumping in the leaves
What would be your dog’s reaction to meeting a squirrel on your walk?
A. They would just look at it and keep walking
B. They would chase it up a tree, then try to climb the tree themselves
C. They would bark, but wouldn’t run after it
D. They would run after it hoping to make friends
E. They would look at me, asking for permission to chase the squirrel
If your dog was reading a book this summer, what type of book would it be?
A. A book about World War II
B. Something the other dogs in their doggy book club had chosen
C. A romance novel
D. The latest crime best seller
E. A Russian classic
Mostly As: It is clear that your dog is as relaxed and easy going as dogs come; they are happy to go along with most things as long as they have a comfy bed to come back to for a snooze. A Mellow Yellow bed will be perfect for him or her to rest their head on after walks and play.
Mostly Bs: Your dog is a fiesty one, full of energy and play. We think that a Mocha Brown bed will be perfect for him or her. The soft and subtle brown colour will look great in any room of your house, and against whatever colour your dog’s coat is. As a bonus, the inevitable muddy paw prints front our dog’s adventures will be camouflaged on the bed!
Mostly Cs: Midnight Blue is no doubt the colour for your dog. A stylish and sensitive soul, he or she will love relaxing against the calming blue after a busy day out on the town, and you will appreciate the way the dog bed adds a bit of colour to your home while still blending in nicely with the rest of your furnishings.
Mostly Ds: It’s clear that your dog will love a Lavender Lilac dog bed. They are a social creature who want nothing more than to spend time with their favourite humans, it doesn’t matter if it’s on a walk or lying in the corner of the kitchen while you’re having dinner. The relaxing dark purple colour will be great for when they are tired and need to wind down.
Mostly Es: Your dog is adventurous and has lots of energy, he or she probably never slows down, and is always happy to chase a ball in the garden or go for a run across the fields. You’re probably very similar, so we think a Matcha Green bed will be perfect for those rare times when they actually retreat to their bed to rest those legs.
This entry was posted in Dogs on June 29th, 2021 by linnearask
Keeping your pets and their homes clean and hygienic is one of the best ways to prevent illness or distress. It’s obvious when your Guinea Pig is happy and in good health, as they will be running, playing, chattering and acting as they usually do. However, if your Guinea Pig seems to be under the weather, but a trip to the vet has identified no underlying problems, this could be a sign that better hygiene in the hutch and run is required.
A healthy Guinea Pig is a relatively clean animal that relies heavily on the nature and safety of their habitat. The cage, hutch and enclosure are the best places to start when looking at ways to improve your pets’ environment. Depending on the the material your enclosure is made of, you will need specific products to clean it. Using the right sort of cleaner will ensure you get the most out of every home and piece of play equipment you buy for your Guinea Pig.
How should I clean Guinea Pig hutches?
If your Guinea Pigs live in a cage or caged hutch, a pet-safe liquid spray disinfectant is perfect for cleaning the cage and any plastic base or play equipment. It’s a good idea to soak the cage in water and let it dry before disinfecting, as this will loosen any large pieces of dirt and allow the spray to do its job! If regular disinfecting isn’t doing the trick and the hutch retains unpleasant odours, try using hutch cleaning granules, which have been specifically designed to eliminate smells from your pets home. Omlet has a selection of suitable products.
How should I clean wooden hutches?
If your Guinea Pigs lives in a wooden hutch, you need to disinfect it as you would with a regular cage, and it’s also a good idea to clean it every month or so with hot soapy water and scrub the wooden surfaces. Try to minimise soaking the wood by squeezing out most of the water from your sponge before cleaning. If the hutch contains any fleece liners, these are usually machine washable, and it’s good practice to give them a clean more regularly than you would the rest of the hutch. Regardless of which type of hutch you use, always let it dry thoroughly after cleaning before reintroducing the Guinea Pigs.
Does my Guinea Pig need a bath?
If your Guinea Pig’s coat is in need of a good clean, there are some important things to bear in mind. Bathing Guinea Pigs in water can actually be bad for their health – Guinea Pigs naturally maintain a good level of cleanliness through self-grooming or group-grooming. As a result, they can develop dry skin if they are bathed in water. Instead, you could invest in a grooming kit. This is a particularly good idea if your Guinea Pig lives alone, as you can take the place of their fellow Guinea Pigs in maintaining their lovely coats.
If a Guinea Pig coat becomes matted with dirt, you may need to use a chemical-free wipe to slightly wet the fur, enabling you to clean it thoroughly. If your Guinea Pig’s coat gets wet in the process of cleaning, make sure they have plenty of blankets and warm toys to surround themselves with afterwards.
How often should I replace Guinea Pig equipment?
Everything you buy for your Guinea Pigs has a different lifespan, but it is often a good idea to replace items before they deteriorate completely. A typical pet’s water bottle could last many years without breaking, but replacing it every year or so is a good idea. This is because repeated wear and tear of the plastic bottles can result in the animals ingesting plastic, in small pieces or as microplastics in the water itself.
Likewise, if you feel that any piece of equipment is no longer possible to fully clean, even after a thorough attempt, it is a good idea to replace it. Your pet would appreciate having something new to play with – although you might want to think twice before throwing out a favourite toy that the Guinea Pigs have had since they were very small, as sentiment is just as important to Guinea Pigs as it is to us!
Should Guinea Pig teeth be brushed?
Guinea Pig teeth are naturally either yellow or orange, so there is no need to worry about struggling to find the smallest possible toothbrush to get them white! However, if you notice that your Guinea Pig’s teeth have grown very long, or they’re having trouble eating, it’s a good idea to check with your vet if any action needs to be taken. Equally, you should consult the vet if you’re concerned about the length of the toenails on your Guinea Pigs.
Although there is no way to ensure your Guinea Pigs will always stay healthy, paying attention to their hygiene and nutrition will set your pets up for long and healthy lives. Doing plenty of research on your Guinea Pigs is one of the best things you can do as a pet owner. Guinea Pigs, for example, need lots of vitamin C, and they have been known to lack this essential nutrient in their diets. They will benefit from the occasional use of supplements.
Keeping up to date with the latest research and advice on Guinea Pig health has never been easier than on the Omlet Blog, so be sure to keep checking back in for new articles!
This entry was posted in Guinea Pigs on June 28th, 2021 by linnearask
Easichick is a wood-based bedding specially formulated for chickens. Absorbent, dust and bacteria free and full biodegradable, it is the perfect bedding solution for your coop. And for a limited time only, using promo code EASICHICKSM at checkout, you can now get free delivery on two 10kg bags!
Terms and conditions
This promotion is valid while stocks last, until midnight 02/07/21. The offer of free delivery is available on Easichick Bedding only. Offer excludes any other type of bedding. Offer is limited to 2 bags of Easichick per household. Free delivery only applies to the included products, delivery charges will be added for other items added to the order. Free delivery offer is not redeemable on pallet deliveries. Omlet cannot take responsibility for third party supplier delays such as courier service. Free delivery is only valid for orders sent to mainland UK, and only applies to Standard Delivery Service. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Chickens on June 25th, 2021 by linnearask
Keeping your home free from loose fur is particularly hard at this time of year as many cats shed their winter coats in the warmer weather. On top of that you have the increased risk of fleas, plus dry dust and dirt from outdoor cats, and loose litter mess from indoor cats.
Discover our top tips and best easy clean products below for fuss-free hygiene in your home.
Facilitate healthy grooming habits
In moulting season, it’s important you help your cats with the extra grooming required to remove their loose fur, not only to minimise the clumps of hair discarded around your home, but also to assist them in maintaining a healthy and comfortable coat for summer.
If your cat isn’t a lover of the grooming brush, try placing beauty grooming mats on table or chair legs in your home for them to rub up against and lift away the loose fur. These mats will cling to the loose fur so it doesn’t float through your home, and you can easily pull it out, dispose of it and clean the mat if necessary.
Discover more grooming and fur-collecting techniques here.
Anti-tracking and low odour litter box
Another source of mess in homes with feline residents is, of course, their litter box. Not only because of the odours and unsightly mess that comes with it, but also the tiny litter particles that cats will carry out the litter box on their paws and walk through your home, also known as ‘tracking’.
Thankfully, there is a solution to all of the above! The Maya Jump On Top Entry Litter Box features an anti-tracking platform which, once they have done their 1s and 2s, cats will step out onto before jumping down from the box. This platform has tiny holes which allow the loose litter to fall through and back into the litter box as your cat jumps out, significantly reducing the amount of litter they carry out with them.
As well as the clever anti-tracking platform, the Jump On Litter Box also features an active carbon filter which effectively absorbs and controls bad odours before they emit from the litter box, plus a wipe clean, waterproof liner which makes it super easy to maintain a clean, odour free and hygienic environment, all in a discreet, private furniture-style box.
Air-purifying, cat-friendly plants
Air-purifying plants in the home can help to improve air quality and contribute to a fresher, hygienic feeling for everyone. Just because you have cats doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the benefits of plants! There are lots of cat-friendly species, such as the Boston Fern, which will refresh your home.
If your cat likes to play with plants, claw at the soil or chew on the leaves, you might want to consider smaller plants out of reach, or more robust plants. Discover 10 cat-friendly plants here.
Machine washable cat beds
It’s easier to maintain a fur-free, clean and hygienic home when living with a cat if their most favourite sleep spots are easy to wash, so a cat bed with a removable, machine washable cover is a must.
The Maya Donut Bed offers this easy clean solution, just unzip the cover and pop it in the washing machine at 30 degrees on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Leave to air dry and pop the cover back on – super easy! You can also raise the bed with stylish feet, which not only look great but also improve airflow beneath the bed to prevent a build up of fur, dust and moisture and protect your carpet. The donut bed is a great hygiene solution, AND is super cosy and soft for cats who desire the best!
Easy clean cat blankets on furniture
If your cat isn’t a cat bed lover, and much prefers your bed or sofa, you might find these tips on encouraging your cat to sleep in their own bed helpful or you might prefer to opt for something to protect your furniture from fur, dirt and sharp claws!
A dedicated cat blanket, or two, is a simple solution to creating a barrier between your nice clean sofa and your cat’s fur and mucky paws! The Luxury Super Soft Blankets are just as they say – super duper soft – so your cats won’t turn their nose up at snuggling down on these dual-sided, quilted blankets, available in three sizes to suit the area you’re trying to cover.
Have a pet-safe cleaning kit on hand
A strong vacuum cleaner is the obvious choice to keep pet fur at bay, but there are other essentials you should have in your pet-safe cleaning kit! Lint rollers are super handy for running over clothes, cushions and blankets to quickly lift any clumps of loose fur. Fabric freshener sprays are also a must to eliminate any bad odours which cling to curtains and sofas. A pet-safe carpet cleaner is bound to come in useful when you’re faced with muddy paw prints or other accidents!
Wipe clean feed bowls
Regularly cleaning your cat’s feed bowls is also an important step to reducing odours and maintaining hygiene in the home so make sure you buy sturdy, wipe clean bowls. Consider placing the feed bowls in a quiet spot with little footfall so your cat can have privacy while they eat, and the food smell also doesn’t upset visitors or attract other pets and children! Putting the feed bowls on a wipe clean mat will also protect your floor, especially carpets, from food mess or spilt water.
This entry was posted in Cats on June 22nd, 2021 by linnearask
If you share your home with a dog, it’s important to make sure the space is just as comfortable, hygienic and safe for them as it is for you. These 5 simple tips are a good first step to a dog-friendly home…
Choose strong, easy clean materials
This is a simple idea but one that will save you a lot of cleaning time and expense in the long run. Opt for washable sofa covers wherever possible and steer clear of materials that can easily be scratched or will likely attract loose fur. The same goes for flooring – choose something easy to mop or wipe after a muddy walk! A machine washable dog bed like Topology will also help to minimise dirt and fur in your home, as you can quickly unzip and machine wash the topper, making maintaining hygiene much easier.
Most owners of excitable dogs will be well practiced in drink-saving reactions to prevent a whipping tail causing carnage. It’s important to keep breakable or potentially harmful items up high, like candles and glasses, not just for your sake but also your dog’s safety. Opt for higher side tables rather than low coffee tables for tea and snacks to move the temptation out of sight!
Built in, discreet crates
Crates aren’t the most attractive pet item but puppies, rescues and anxious dogs often really appreciate the calm, safe space to relax. Consider a built-in crate or pen under the stairs or in a side unit with surface above to better utilise the space in your home, like the Fido Studio – the optional wardrobe is also handy storage for their dog toys and treats.
Match their bed to your other home furnishings
Your dog’s bed doesn’t have to stand out awkwardly in your home, and matching the colour of the dog bed to an accent colour in the room can be a great way to integrate their bed with your interior style, and really make it part of the home. From bright Cherry Red to deep Plum Purple, sunny Mellow Yellow to soft Sky Blue, you can find a memory foam bed to match your home in the Bolster Dog Bed range. Plus, why not raise your dog’s bed with designer feet for an impressive, stylish touch?
Safe house plants out of reach
You can still enjoy house plants, but make sure they’re a safe species for dogs, for example, spider plants or boston ferns. If your dog loves mud, you might also prefer to keep houseplants up out of reach of digging paws!
What are your top dog-friendly interior tips? Tag us in your home pet pics on Instagram!
This entry was posted in Dogs on June 22nd, 2021 by linnearask
Before introducing new birds to an established flock, they should be quarantined. You will also have to quarantine chickens that have fallen ill or shows signs of illness.
The reason for separating new birds from the established flock is eight parts sensible to two parts paranoia. If you source the new chickens from a reputable supplier or have hatched the birds yourself, there is little chance of the birds harbouring illnesses. However, the potential problems you are guarding against are not easy to spot. Chickens may have internal or external parasites, or the bacteria and viruses that cause disease may be lurking out of sight.
Quarantine significantly lowers the risk of the new chickens spreading parasites or infection in your established flock. In the age of Covid-19, the idea of quarantining has negative associations with isolation and inconvenience. With new chickens, all you’re doing is giving them some space away from the main flock. Other than that, it’s chicken business as usual!
What is quarantine, and when should I quarantine my flock?
Quarantine simply means separating one or more chickens from the rest of the flock. The aim is to minimise the danger of illness spreading between ill and/or new chickens and the existing flock.
All new birds should be put into quarantine. Chickens bought at a show or fair will have been in close proximity with lots of other birds. Chickens from reputable suppliers are not immune to disease either, and even a new-hatched chick may harbour illness, as certain bacteria can penetrate eggshells and infect unhatched birds.
Why do chickens need quarantining?
Bird diseases and parasites spread quickly, and by the time you spot the symptoms, it’s often too late to prevent the other chickens from falling ill. Stressed birds are particularly prone to illness, and a new hen will always be a stressed hen. There’s nothing you can do about this, as it’s a symptom of moving from the world she knew previously to the world of your backyard chickens.
A bird that falls ill needs isolating from the rest of the flock to minimise the risk of the illness spreading. If the issue is parasites – lice, fleas or worms – by the time you spot the problem it will probably be present in every bird, so in these cases, you need to buy the appropriate parasite treatment rather than quarantining single birds.
How long do new chickens need to be quarantined?
New birds should be quarantined for at least four weeks. If there are any illnesses, they will show in the first week, following the stress associated with the move. Give the new birds a thorough health check every few days.
In the final week of quarantine, keepers with a larger existing flock often introduce an older bird – perhaps one that has stopped laying – into the quarantine shed. If at the end of this week the introduced hen is healthy, all is well. If there is any disease lurking unseen, the older bird will begin to look unwell. This is the so-called ‘Canary in the mine’ method, and not everyone will be happy putting an older bird at risk. However, the main point is that you are 90% sure that there is no problem in the quarantined flock by this stage.
Note: bird flu, or avian influenza, has an incubation period of around 21 days, so a hen that was infected on the day you brought her home will not show symptoms for three weeks. This is one of the reasons why the quarantine period is so long.
Setting up a quarantine area for new chickens
There is a simple checklist that gives the quarantine the best chance of being successful:
1. Give the new birds a physical check, looking for signs of lice or fleas. Check the consistency of their droppings and their general posture, referring to our guide to healthy chickens for reference.
2. Make sure the enclosure and coop have everything the new birds need, including a roosting perch, an egg-laying box, fresh food and water, and shelter from the elements.
3. Ensure that no feathers, sawdust, dander, food or water from the quarantined new birds enter the main flock’s enclosure.
4. Don’t wear the same shoes and clothes when tending the healthy and the ill birds. Infection can spread quickly, especially on your hands and the soles of your shoes.
5. The new birds should be kept as far from the other chickens as possible. Ideally, they should be at least 10 metres (33 feet) from the main flock, and downwind as much as possible. However, this will not always be practical, and simply keeping the new chickens in a separate enclosure will be as far as many owners can go. If there is an enclosed building to keep them in, that’s perfect. Keeping the new birds upwind of the existing flock is even more important in these close-proximity set-ups.
What to do if the quarantined chickens fall ill
If any of the new birds become ill, you will need to identify the illness. If you are uncertain, call in expert help to assist with the diagnosis. Depending on the problem, the new chickens will need to be treated and isolated for another month or so. If the illness turns out to be avian flu or another lethal disease, the birds will have to be culled. In the case of the bird flu, check out our bird flu article for the latest advice.
Quarantine of new hens is a better-safe-than-sorry routine that ensures health and happiness in your ever-changing flock of chickens. It also has the advantage of acclimatising newcomers to the sights and sounds of your garden before they mingle with the existing flock.
This entry was posted in Chickens on June 21st, 2021 by linnearask
Treat your hens to a new, boredom-busting, slow feed dispenser to keep them hentertained all summer long with the Omlet Peck Toy, now 25% off until midnight on Wednesday! Use the promo code PECKSM at checkout to claim your discount!
Terms and conditions
This promotion is only valid from 10/06/21 – midnight on 16/06/21. Use promo code PEKCSM at checkout to get 25% off Peck Toys. This offer is available on single Poppy and Pendant Chicken Peck Toys only. The offer does not apply to Twin Packs or Twin Pack with Caddi Treat Holder. Offer is limited to 2 Peck Toys per household. While stocks last. Offer is only valid for orders placed on www.omlet.co.uk, no international websites. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Offers and promotions on June 10th, 2021 by linnearask
Exercise is not always easy. You have to motivate yourself, find time and keep the pace. This is why it can be necessary for some people to be accompanied in this process. And who better to be your sports coach than your dog!
In a previous article we saw that it is possible to do yoga with your dog. Today we would like to show you why your dog is your best partner in sport.
In the current climate, where working from home has taken over from office work, finding the time and motivation to exercise and go outside has become a real challenge, and as a result many see a decline in their physical and mental health.
Lack of exercise motivation is harming our pets too. Various studies on pet health have found anywhere from 25% – 50% of dogs are considered overweight.
It has never been more important to do sport to feel good mentally and physically.
Resolutions and intentions are good, but actions are better. Deciding to turn off the TV and put on a pair of trainers is much more complicated than it sounds. Being accompanied in your training can be the ideal way to find the necessary motivation! Here’s why your dog is the best workout partner you could have…
5 reasons to get out and do some exercise with your dog
1- Dogs are very energetic and will always be happy to go out
Most dog breeds are happy to go for a walk and are excited to have a run around, so will always be in a good mood to go outside. It’s not like calling a friend to go for a workout and having them be unmotivated or in a bad mood, which will eventually demotivate you.
Dogs are habit-forming animals. If you regularly repeat the action at the same time for several days, it will become a natural ritual for your dog. This is ideal if you are demotivated but don’t want to disappoint your dog. You will still put on your trainers to please your little companion, imposing a certain regularity on you.
2- They have a regular pace
As mentioned above, they are consistent pets and function very much by habit. But beyond that, apart from when they are ill, they keep a certain pace and will always have a maximum of energy to expend.
Having an active pace allows you to optimise your training and get great results. It is much more fun to follow your dog’s pace than to watch your watch! If you are too slow, your dog will tend to stop. So don’t hesitate to find a pace that suits you both!
3- You will always be safe with them
Running or walking alone is not always ideal in terms of safety! Sometimes it’s late in the day and the simple fact of being alone and feeling vulnerable, can be demotivating. The presence of your dog can therefore be a real comfort for your daily outings. A dog has all those senses that are in turmoil when he goes out and he will also be able to. You should trust your dog’s senses, while also keeping an eye on him so that your dog doesn’t get hurt either.
4- They are always available, there is no need to wait for them
The most complicated thing about doing sport with someone is finding the right time and agreeing on schedules. There is always someone who can’t or would rather be an hour earlier or an hour later than the right time for you! With your dog this is not an issue. Your dog will always be available, happy and motivated to come and roam around with you!
5- They don’t ask for anything in return, only love and good times by your side!
Dogs will never ask for anything in return for doing sports with you. On the contrary, they will be happy to have spent some quality time with you! They are the best coaches you can have. They don’t yell at you (maybe a couple of barks) and you don’t spend money like you would with an experienced sports coach.
What discipline should I do with my dog?
There are many ways to exercise with your dog. It can be anything from walking to fitness training!
Have you ever heard of canicross? This discipline is an athletic sport where the owner is attached to his dog by a harness. The dog’s traction allows for long strides. It is a bonding moment between the dog and its owner through intense physical effort. This activity is open to all dogs!
Cycling with your dog is also possible! There is equipment that allows you to practice this activity safely with your pet.
Lewis Hamilton’s best training partner is his dog!
Multiple F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has released a video of himself training with Roscoe, his dog:
Every time you go out with your dog, energy and good mood is guaranteed!
This entry was posted in Dogs on June 9th, 2021 by juliakretzner
Whether in our gardens or in our homes, plants not only enhance the overall appearance of a space, but they can also help boost moods, increase creativity and reduce stress. Although we don’t always consider the dangerous side of plants, it’s important to know that some plants can be toxic to your cat if ingested. If you decide to add a touch of greenery to your home, make sure you pay particular attention to the choice of plants and ensure they’re safe for your feline friend.
In order to help you decide which plant will sit proudly on your coffee table, we’ve compiled a list of 10 plants that you can add to your home without hesitation.
Why is the choice of plant important for your pet?
Cats tend to eat plants. This behaviour is quite common in cats for a number of different reasons such as boredom, enjoying the texture, the need for certain fibres, and more.
By ingesting certain plants into his body, your cat may also try to eliminate and get rid of the hairballs swallowed during his daily grooming by vomiting.
It is therefore essential to choose suitable plants, and if you do not want your cat to touch some of your decorative plants, why not dedicate a corner just for them?
10 non-toxic plants for cats
Whether it’s wheat, oats, barley or rye, grasses are not toxic to your cat. It is safe to approach them. Your cat can therefore play with Deschampsia cespitosa, Briza media, Pennisetum villosum or Stipa tenuifolia.
If you observe cats in the wild, you can see that they easily go for natural grasses.
You can leave your thyme, sage, lemon balm or valerian lying around without worrying about your cat’s health. Valerian is often prescribed by vets for stressed cats. However, if you want to keep them for cooking in the evening for your lunch, don’t leave them lying around for too long, you might find them in your pet’s tummy. You can, however, have fun hiding them in your cat’s toys to stimulate your furry friend’s senses.
Don’t forget mint, which you can place in your cat’s litter box to reduce odours.
This plant has different names but it is the same plant: Catnip (Nepeta cataria). This plant has a euphoric effect on cats due to the smell it gives off. In the presence of this plant, cats tend to rub it, roll around in it… If they meow, purr, lick it, it’s perfectly normal! No need to worry yet, as this is still a plant that is harmless to your pet despite the effects it has on him. 2 out of 3 cats are attracted to this irresistible plant.
As well as decorating your home, papyrus is a plant that will entertain and amuse your cat with its drooping leaves. It is also extremely effective in cleansing your cat’s body.
Contrary to what some people think, heather is not a harmful plant for cats.
Lavender is a plant that tends to calm your cat. In addition to smelling good and being able to camouflage odours (especially litter), lavender is said to have soothing properties.
Germander is a very popular plant with our cats. They tend to chew and rub themselves on it.
This plant is harmless to cats. If cats do eat it, don’t worry, it is full of nutrients. Callisia turtle is rich in minerals and calcium.
Similar to humans, chamomile is recommended for managing your pet’s stress. It can therefore be interesting to give your cat chamomile when travelling by car or train, which can be very stressful for your cat. The various properties of chamomile will soothe, relax and calm your cat.
Used as a disinfectant for wounds and other sores, goldenseal is an interesting plant to have on hand to treat everyday ailments. It is known for its soothing, disinfecting and healing properties. Moreover, it is not toxic for your pet.
Plants to avoid for your cat
There are many plants that are toxic to animals and therefore to cats. If you have a cat in your home, you should be aware of which plants are toxic to furry friend.
Indoor and outdoor plants to avoid are dieffenbachia, lily of the valley, lily, ficus, azalea, anthurium, daffodil, oleander, holly and mistletoe, poinsettia, yuccas, amaryllis… This list is not exhaustive and if you have any doubts before buying a plant do not hesitate to search on the internet, ask your vet for advice or ask the seller.
If your cat ingests or comes into contact with any of these plants, do not hesitate to call or take your cat directly to the vet. The consequences can be severe.
This entry was posted in Cats on June 9th, 2021 by emmaibadioune
As we head into summer and the weather begins to warm up, you might be wondering how you can help your chickens keep cool in the hotter months. Get prepared now and catch up with our previous blog posts on keeping happy and healthy hens during summer below…
7 Ways to Help Your Chickens Stay Cool This Summer
Did you know, that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through their feathers. But what can you do to help?
From water to dust baths, here’s 7 simple but effective tips to help your chickens stay cool in the hot weather…
10 Things Not to Do in Summer if You’re a Chicken Keeper
From 7 things you should do, to 10 things you shouldn’t do this summer if you’re a chicken keeper! This advice is just as important as the tips above for ensuring a comfortable environment in the warmer weather, and also preventing your chickens from overheating.
How to Protect Your Chickens from Red Mite
Red mites, or Dermanyssus gallinae, are without a doubt backyard chicken keepers’ worst enemies! They are nocturnal creatures living in cracks and crevices of the coop, and they only come out at night to feed on chicken blood. Most long term chicken keepers will have encountered these parasites, and can confirm that they are more destructive and difficult to get rid of than all other pests combined.
Learn how to treat and prevent red mite infestations in your coop to keep your chickens happy this summer.
How the Eglu Keeps Chickens Cool
Traditionally chicken coops and rabbit hutches have been made from wood. This has its advantages: it’s an easy material to work with, it’s customisable and it looks attractive. However, when it comes to coping with the weather, it can leave a lot to be desired. Wood is not a very good thermal insulator, meaning if it’s hot outside the temperature will transfer through to the inside quickly.
If you’re using a wooden coop, it might be a good time to consider upgrading to a better insulated and ventilated house before the worst of the hot weather hits. Learn how an Eglu keeps chickens cool in this blog post.
This entry was posted in Chickens on June 8th, 2021 by chloewelch
Keeping chickens is a wonderful way to educate children about the lifecycle of animals and show them the many benefits of keeping any farm animal. It’s not just the never-ending supply of eggs on toast that children will enjoy – keeping chickens is a rewarding experience that will teach children of all ages the value of animal life and companionship.
Learning to handle your chickens
If you choose to buy your chickens when they are still chicks, there’s a better chance of children forming bonds with them. Handling chicks regularly is easy and great fun for children, a surefire way to make them feel comfortable and confident around the hens. Some chicken breeds – the Silkie and Sussex, for example – actually enjoy being occasionally petted, not unlike cats! Always remind your kids to be gentle with the birds, though, whether chicks or adults. Even a ‘tame’ hen should be approached slowly and with caution and respect – sudden moves trigger a chicken’s instinct to flap, squawk and panic!
It’s important that children learn to wash their hands whenever they’ve been touching the chickens, or after washing and cleaning the coop or feeding the hens. Chickens, just like us, have all kinds of bacteria which are healthy for them, but not necessarily for us!
Daily chicken activities
Chickens need tending every day, but they are very undemanding as pets. This is a great combination for kids, as it teaches them about routine and allows them to enjoy time with the chickens without feeling it’s too much of a chore.
Getting kids involved in the daily activities that keep chickens happy and healthy is fun and beneficial in giving children a sense of responsibility. The first job of the day is opening up the coop. Children love getting out into the garden after breakfast, and once they’ve refilled the feed and water bowls, it’s time to open the coop and let the chickens into the run. Again, these are simple but meaningful tasks that children will enjoy.
Healthy chickens eat and drink lots in a day, so ask your children to check out our guide on Feeding and Watering Your Chickens to turn them into instant experts!
Mucking out the chickens is probably a job for children of 11+, but consider asking a young child to help out too. They can certainly assist with putting new bedding and toys into the coop once the mucking out is completed. It can be fun setting up your chickens’ coop in new and different ways, and you can really tell when they love their homes!
Children love going into the chicken coop to find freshly laid eggs, and if it’s in time for breakfast, that’s even better! You could teach your child to collect and (if necessary) gently clean the egg, and if they are yet to learn any cooking skills, a boiled egg is a great place to start! Perhaps soon you’ll be getting breakfast in bed…
Teaching your children responsibility
Owning chickens is a great way to teach children responsibility. By looking after hens, a child can learn that a little hard work and reliability put food on the table – literally, in this case!
Having a pet is sometimes people’s only reason to go outside first thing in the morning, and any pet owner would tell you that this improves their lives in countless ways. Just like walking a dog, going out into the garden to feed the chickens can be a fun way to introduce routine, responsibility and regular fresh air into your kids’ lives.
Get your kids involved in choosing the chicken breed
If you want a friendly hen for your kids, Silkies are an excellent choice, as they are known for their affectionate nature. Other child-friendly breeds include Australorp, Cochin, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, Sussex and Wyandotte.
For more information on how to get children involved with chicken-keeping, including which breeds to choose, check out our article Children Love Keeping Chickens.
Tameness isn’t guaranteed in any hen, though, and the most important thing is ‘socialising’ them from – i.e. handling them – from a young age. If children spend time with the hens as soon as they arrive in the coop, they’ll be well on the way to making a feathered friend for life.
Whichever breed you choose, getting your children involved in the decision will help them feel responsible and connected with their chickens from day one. And then there’s all the fun of choosing names for the hens!
Having fun with your chickens at Easter
There are many Easter traditions that involve chicken eggs, the ever-popular egg hunt being the most obvious example. Try hiding eggs that your chickens have laid themselves – it’s lots of fun and a good way of working up an appetite before an egg-based breakfast!
Another Easter tradition is the painting of boiled eggs, which is a great way to introduce children to the weirder world of traditional art. And why not go a step further and go egg-rolling – another fine old British tradition! Find a hill and roll your painted eggs down the hill – the last one to crack and release its hard-boiled yolk wins! You’ll sometimes find an egg that seems unbreakable, no matter how many times it’s rolled – the challenge then becomes trying to break it, by throwing it as high as possible!
So, whether it’s using eggs for cakes or quiches, rolling hard-boiled eggs down a hill, or just spending meaningful social time with the chickens, there are loads of reasons why hens make great pets for children!
This entry was posted in Chickens on June 8th, 2021 by juliakretzner
While some cats follow their owners to the bathroom and don’t understand the concept of privacy, many are still wary of who’s watching when they go to the toilet themselves.
Some cats will do their business solely outside, others might do a bit of both, perhaps preferring a warmer toilet in the winter months. Many cat owners choose open litter trays, and don’t always have the option to have the tray hidden away.
But how do cats feel about doing their business?
Why do cats prefer to poop in private?
It’s easy to empathise with our feline friends’ desire for privacy when we remember the troubles their ancestors faced and the natural instincts that’re placed in our moggies’ minds.
Cats have a deep-rooted urge to be alert at all times. Their desire to protect themselves and be wary of their surroundings extends to the toilet.
Using an uncovered litter box while other people are around can make a cat feel extremely vulnerable and exposed, this may especially be the case for anxious cats and rescues.
So it of course makes sense that some cats may prefer to do their business in private, without disturbances, somewhere they can feel safe and comfortable to relieve themselves without the potential of being attacked!
What’s the best litter box for privacy?
Open litter trays give the most exposed and vulnerable toilet experience for cats, and for you they offer the least in the way of odour and mess control. An enclosed litter box, such as the Maya Jump On Top Entry Litter Box, allows your cat to drop down into a dark and secluded litter box, giving them a feeling of peace and privacy to do their business.
The Maya Jump In Litter Box takes that privacy one step further with a high entry point where cats can jump in and step down into a completely covered litter box. In the Jump In, cats can feel completely at ease that no dogs, children or adults can watch or touch them while they’re using their toilet.
For you, the Maya Cat Litter Box also offers an effective odour control solution, reducing tracking mess around the home thanks to a grid platform which collects loose litter from your pets’ paws, and an easy wipe clean litter liner, with a cute underwater scene printed on the inside for your cat’s to enjoy.
The Jump In’s optional storage space is a great place to keep spare litter and poo bags, and the discreet pocket on the side of the litter liner holds a complimentary, fold-flat scoop, meaning everything you need for used litter removal is always on hand.
Best of all, this litter box fits in your home seamlessly, designed like a discreet cubicle, with no hint to what’s going on inside. This gives your cat that all important privacy, and keeps all the mess which comes with loving a cat hidden out of sight from you and your guests.
What else can I do to help my cat feel comfortable?
As well as an enclosed, private litter box, there are other things you can do to minimise any feelings of vulnerability your cat may have when they use the toilet.
If you notice your cat is visiting the litter box frequently but never leaving any mess behind, it might be a sign that they have been disturbed and not felt safe enough to do their business.
Leave the room for a while to give your cat the opportunity to use their litter box without noise and disturbances. If you have children or other pets in the house, encourage them out of the room with you so your cat has complete privacy.
If you can, place the litter box in a room which is not frequented often and rarely gets noisy, for example a bathroom or utility room.
Do cat’s dislike using dirty litter boxes?
Another reason for cats being reluctant to use their litter box or visiting without using it, could be that the litter tray has already been used and is dirty. Cats can be incredibly fussy about mess and filth in the litter box, and may decline their used litter as to not dirty their paws!
Make sure you are regularly removing used litter from the litter box, and that you choose a litter with strong odour control qualities such as Omlet No. 4 Clay. A clumping litter like this makes it super quick and easy to remove the used litter without wasting perfectly clean litter around it.
Use the fold-flat scoop in the Maya Cat Litter Box to remove the used clump of litter, and the loose, clean litter will fall back into the litter box through the fine holes in the scoop.
What are the best litter boxes for a multi cat household?
Covered litter boxes are also a wise choice for multi cat households where cats may prefer to do their business in secret from their house mates! Cleaning the litter box regularly is also key if the same box is used by multiple cats, and opting for fresh, hygienic type of litter such as Omlet’s No. 1 Silica provides longevity and ease of cleaning.
Some cats can also be fussy about sharing a cat litter box with a friend. While keeping it clean will help, the scent of another may put off your cat, and bringing a new cat into the home to share the litter box can make an existing cat feel especially annoyed. In this instance you may need to be prepared to get a separate litter box for different cats in the house.
How and when to give your cat space
Giving your cat privacy extends beyond the litter box. Cats can also feel vulnerable and exposed when trying to sleep in a busy house and particularly anxious cats will search for a quieter spot in the home.
Consider where your cat chooses to rest during the day when the house is busy and make that space comfortable for them, for example, if your cat prefers to nap under a bed or chair, place a blanket or small bed, like a Donut Bed, beneath to make the spot cosy and warm.
If you have children and dogs in the home, it’s a good idea to keep them from your cat’s ‘safe space’ when your cat is resting or grooming.
Also consider where you have placed your cat’s food and water bowls. It may also be advisable to leave the room, or move them to somewhere quieter, where your cat can eat in peace without feeling threatened.
What’s the best litter box for a senior, disabled or pregnant cat?
While tall Jump In boxes will give cats peace and privacy, less agile cats will feel most comfortable with an easy access litter box that won’t cause them pain or discomfort. The Maya Walk In Litter Box offers just that, while still being a relatively covered and discreet litter box for cats who want to feel secluded and safe.
7 Reasons You and Your Cat Will Love the Maya Litter Boxes
1. Easy to clean cat litter box solutions, reducing smell and mess
2. A range of entry point options and litter box styles to suit all cats
3. Designed to fit seamlessly into your home like a piece of furniture
4. Enclosed litter box to give your cat the privacy they desire
5. Durable, reusable and long lasting litter liners are easy to wipe clean
6. Includes a complimentary Omlet folding scoop in discrete pocket
7. Push-to-open door prevents accidental opening
Which litter box should I choose for my cat?
All the Maya Cat Litter Boxes offer an easy clean solution and effective odour and mess control, in a discreet, seamless unit. Find the right box for you and your cat from the range of 5 entry points…
Jump On – Anti-Tracking & Low Mess
Walk In – Senior & Disabled Cat Friendly
Walk In + – Senior Cat Friendly with Storage
Jump In – Anti-Tracking & Discreet
Jump In + – Anti-Tracking with Storage
Discover Omlet Cat Litter
Our modern range of high performance cat litter offers excellent odour control and highly absorbent particles to eliminate bad smells from your litter tray. With 5 different types of cat litter on an easy to compare page you’ll find the perfect litter for you and your cat.
Use our clever Cat Litter Selector to get an expert recommendation for your cat. We only sell direct, with competitive pricing and free delivery.
This entry was posted in Cats on June 2nd, 2021 by juliakretzner
Chickens pretty much take care of themselves from an early age. However, there are certain things you need to avoid if you want your baby chickens to get the very best start in life.
In this article, we present six easily preventable pitfalls.
1. Not Having The Brooder Ready Before The Chicks Arrive
You need to sort out the chicks’ housing – known as a brooder – before the birds arrive. Otherwise, there will be nowhere to put them, and that would be disastrous.
You can buy brooder boxes made specifically to keep chicks in, or you can make a DIY brooder using a cardboard box or plastic bin with holes in the side. Only choose the DIY avenue if you’re 100% confident you know what you’re doing.
The important thing is to keep the birds in a warm and well-ventilated space, but protected from drafts. As a rule of thumb, allow two square feet per chick – this is more than enough space for fluffy newcomers, but remember you will also need to make sure they have enough room when they get bigger – which they will do very quickly!
A chicken wire covering for the top of the brooder is advisable. Chicks can easily ‘fly the nest’ if the sides of the brooder are less than 45cm high. Older chicks need roosting poles for perching when they sleep, and will appreciate the inclusion of these in the brooder.
2. Not Getting The Temperature Right
Too much or too little heat can kill chicks, so this is another life-or-death issue. The chicks need to be kept in a temperature of 35 °C (95 °F) in their first week. The heat should then be reduced slightly every five days or so until you’ve reached room temperature.
The source of heat is an important detail too. A heater designed explicitly for coops and aviaries is the best option, or a red heat bulb. You should not use a white heat bulb, as these produce glare that keeps chicks awake at night. This will make them irritable, as a result of which they may start pecking each other. Standard light bulbs are not suitable either.
Even the correct type of heater or bulb will need some adjusting in terms of where it hangs, and how high it is from the ground. Watch how the chicks behave in relation to the heat source. If they crowd together directly under the bulb or in front of the heater, it means they’re too cold. Lower the heat source or add an additional one, depending on the situation.
If the chicks cluster away from the heat source, they’re probably too hot. In this case, the heater or bulb will need to be moved further away, or its temperature reduced slightly. The chicks’ behaviour may change as they grow larger and the space becomes more crowded, so watch them carefully each day.
3. Using The Wrong Type Of Bedding
With chicks, it’s not a case of “any old bedding will do”. Use wood shavings or other non-toxic, absorbent material recommended for baby chickens. Avoid newspaper or shredded magazines, and don’t use aromatic, oily woods such as cedar. A 2.5cm layer of this bedding will be enough. If you omit the bedding, the chicks are in danger of slipping and sliding on the surface, which can lead to an injury called “splayed leg”, which is a life-threatening condition. The bedding should be changed at least once a week to prevent sticky droppings from accumulating.
4. Getting The Wrong Type Of Feed
Starter feed – in the form of either ‘crumble’ or ‘mash’ – is the essential basis of a chick’s diet. If your chicks have been vaccinated against coccidiosis, you will need to buy an unmedicated feed. The starter feed will double as a ‘grower’ feed, intended for chicks for up to 16 weeks. Some varieties, however, are for the first four weeks only, after which you can switch to a ‘grower’ feed.
Chicks will also enjoy a bit of fresh food as a treat, either vegetables or worms and bugs. These should never replace the starter feed mix, however. Chicks only eat as much as they need, and there’s no danger of them over-eating. So all you have to do is make sure the feeders are topped up at all times.
Like adult birds, chicks require grit to grind up their food. It needs to be sand grain-sized rather than the small pebbles and shell fragments that grown birds require.
The chicks will need food and water dispensers. Buy custom-made ones rather than improvising with dishes and trays: these inevitably end up fouled and/or spilt. Very young chicks will need to have their water changed at least twice a day, as they very quickly dirty it.
5. Forgetting To Perform Daily Health Checks
A chick health check is a simple case of looking at the young birds and making sure they look as lively and alert as usual. A chick that sits alone and looks lethargic or fluffed-up when the others are active may be unwell. An ill chick will deteriorate very quickly and die.
The most frequent health issue encountered in young chicks is ‘pasting up’. This is when their droppings become encrusted on their bodies, preventing them from pooping. An affected bird can be cured by wetting the pasted-up area with warm water and wiping it clean. You may occasionally have to use tweezers to remove a plug of poo from the vent. The chick will need holding securely during this rather delicate and undignified procedure. If left blocked, a pasted-up chick could quickly die.
Note: if there is a thin dark strand hanging from a chick’s rear end, this is NOT pasting up. It’s the dried up umbilical cord that attaches the bird to its yolk inside the egg. It will fall off in a few days.
6. Moving Chicks Outdoors Too Quickly
Chicks can spend up to three hours a day outdoors once they’ve reached two weeks, as long as there is someone to supervise them. A large wire cage or portable run will do the job. The birds should only be placed outside if it’s at least 18 °C (65 °F), dry and not too windy. They will need food, water and shade.
Note: If you take the chicks outdoors before two weeks old, or if you leave them for more than three hours, they may catch a chill or sunstroke (depending on the prevailing weather). These shocks to the system can kill a small bird.
By 12 weeks, the young hens are old enough to move into an Eglu coop and run. They will still be too small to negotiate the roosting bars, so these should be removed until the chicks are big enough to perch and walk across them safely. If you have an Eglu Cube, the chicks may have to be lifted in and out of the roosting and laying area, as they often struggle with the ladder. This can be converted into a ramp during these early weeks, to make things easier for the hens.
The roosting area of the Eglu – or any other walk-in coop and run set up – should have lots of bedding to ensure the hens stay warm at night. The bedding should also be replaced at least twice a week.
Chicks soon pick up the dos and don’ts of life from your other birds. A lot of their behaviour, remember, is based on instinct, so as long as you give them the right environment, nature will take care of the rest.
This entry was posted in Chickens on June 2nd, 2021 by juliakretzner
A dog who has been taught positive behaviour will be your best friend – fun, affectionate and reliable. It’s straightforward teaching your dog this canine version of positive thinking, but it won’t happen unless you lead the way.
There are many ways of teaching a dog the rights and wrongs of living in the human world, and that extends to how they interact with other dogs and the world around them. In this article, we reveal the five rules of thumb for all dog owners – whether you’re training an adult dog or a puppy.
Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Puppies
Puppies recognise when we’re pleased or displeased. It’s all part of their instincts, and in the wild this instinct helped their wolf ancestors find their place in the pack very quickly. Learning their place in the big wide world is all about positive reinforcement.
1. Puppy Treats. Dogs of all ages love food and will put lots of effort into doing what you want them to do as long a there’s a yummy treat at the end of it! This means treat-based training can be used for everything from toilet training to basic obedience training and that all-important early socialisation. The message here is simple and timeless – do this right, and you’ll get a treat!
2. Affection. This is arguably even better than a food treat! Bonding with a puppy involves physical contact in the form of belly-rubs, back stroking and lots of gentle words of affection and encouragement.
3. Fun and games. Tug-of-war, fetch and simply running around the garden with you are games that puppies love. What’s more, they strengthen the bond and love between you and your pet, and that’s the perfect groundwork for training and encouraging positive behaviour.
4. A trip to a favourite place. This is a great treat for dogs, and can be as simple as a trip to the park, or perhaps to a favourite street for an on-lead walk, or maybe a shop that sells some of those yummy treats! If this is being done as a reward for good behaviour, make sure your puppy knows it by telling them what a good boy/girl they are as you put the lead on or get into the car!
5. Puppy playdates. Starting these early is a great way to socialise your puppy, and that provides the basis for all the positive behaviour training. Young dogs love meeting each other – it’s not going to be a quiet morning out with your furry friend, but it’s one that will give him or her essential social skills.
Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Adult Dogs
The basics are simple. Positive reinforcement rewards a dog for good behaviour and ignores, rather than punishes, undesirable behaviour. Punishment will only lead to confusion and fear in your dog, reducing your chances of achieving the full benefits of positive-behaviour training.
Here are the five ways to make everything go smoothly, no matter which dog breed you have.
1. Keep it simple. One-word commands are better than complex ones. We’re talking here about sit, come, sat, etc. Save the long-winded exchanges for praise and affection! A training session based on simple commands and treats is a great start for encouraging positive behaviour. Which brings us to…
2. Treats. Just like puppies, adult dogs will be well and truly ‘reinforced’ if treats are involved. Some breeds are more food-obsessed than others, but all types of dog will quickly learn that good behaviour results – at least in the early days of training – in a yummy treat.
3. Quality time. Dogs are social animals by instinct, and they will thrive in human company. Once you and your pet are the best of friends, the positive behaviour training will be much easier. If there’s any nervousness or standoffishness in your dog, they will be less able to take on board the things you’re trying to teach them. So, keep up the contact, and play with them every day.
4. Make it fun. A long session of ‘sit, lie down, stay, come’, etc. will soon become boring for a dog. A short session of command-based training followed by a bit of fun, however, will make your dog look forward to the sessions every time. After five or ten minutes (depending on your dog’s stamina), round off the proceedings with a game or a walk. The dog will soon realise that “If I do this tricky bit, I get that fun bit afterwards!” It’s a trick that works just as well with young children – “Finish your homework, and then we’ll go out on the bikes!”, that kind of thing.
5. Get everyone involved. Once your dog has grasped some of the basics, other members of the family, or friends, can reinforce the good behaviour by running through some of the training with your dog. Your pet will then learn that positive behaviour is part of their general lives and applies in all situations with all people.
This latter point is the ‘quantum leap’ for a dog – the idea that positive behaviour extends beyond their immediate owner to the big wide world around them. Getting them to this point takes time, there’s no doubt about that, and some breeds are a lot easier to train than others. However, once the work has paid off, you’ll have a doggy best friend you can be truly proud of!
This entry was posted in Dogs on June 2nd, 2021 by juliakretzner
Pride of Omlet series is a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
We have been lucky enough to collect some wonderful stories of your extraordinary pets and share them with you for 10 weeks! Here is a summary of the stories that you can read again and find directly on our Blog.
Pride of Omlet: Stand Up for Disabled Animals
Jerry’s a cheeky, playful and boisterous rescue dog from Romania who can do a handstand! He landed on his feet when Shena gave him a home and inspired her to start a rescue centre specialising in disabled animals. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: The Constant Companion
Martha’s humans Nicola and Ben bought chickens to bring joy to Julia, their mother who they cared for at home. The family could never have imagined that a chicken would become a caring companion to Julia in the advanced stages of dementia. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Free Support
Once caged battery hens, Hennifer Marge and Sybil now work free-range with their human Jonathan, transforming lives for offenders at the Rosemead Project. Jonathan (support worker and chicken champion) believes the hens have the power to unscramble tricky social situations. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: A Perfect Match
On paper, Kipper wasn’t exactly what Angela wanted. After years of behavioural challenges, he’s become the best-behaved blood donor and saved over forty dog’s lives. Kipper’s turned out to be Angela’s perfect match. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Teachers Pet
Henni Hen is a teaching assistant by trade. A cute and cuddly chicken who loves children. She follows in the footsteps of her bubbly humans, Hamish and Verity. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Mipit Makes Sense
Mipit is a Mental Health Assistance Dog for his human, Henley. Mipit keeps Henly alive and independent. Who wouldn’t love a dog that can put out your recycling, answer your phone, and be your best friend, come rain or shine? Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Perfect Peaky
At the tender age of one, Peaky is already a retired filmstar. He had lived in a cage his whole life, released only to perform. When Joana and Fergus took him home, he was a fluffy, yellow bundle of nerves. But they are determined to help Peaky, their cute little canary companion, to come out of his shell. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Saving Sophia’s Life
When you’ve grown up with animals, home isn’t home without a pet. Bringing Harry home was lifesaving for both him and his humans, Sarah and daughter Sophia. Harry has a special gift. He’s a unique epilepsy monitor, and he’s saved Sophia’s life countless times. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Buster’s Beard
Buster was destined to chase balls on the beaches of Barry Island. He’s a lovable labradoodle with big brown eyes and a long beard. A thinker with a playful nature, he’s co-authored a children’s book with his human Natalie to bring Autism Awareness to all. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Brave Bunnies
It’s hard to describe how frightened Pixie the rabbit was when the RSPCA rehomed her with an experienced rabbit owner. Eighteen months on, cheeky little Pixie lives in the lap of luxury and is learning to be loved by her adoring human, Wendy. Read the story here!
This entry was posted in Budgies on June 1st, 2021 by emmaibadioune
Evidence suggests that rabbits who bond with their owners live longer and happier lives. Sometimes it can feel like our furry friends are in a world of their own – but it only takes time and patience to start bonding with your bunny.
This article looks at ten fun and exciting ways to deepen your connection to your pet, whether the rabbit is already part of the family or you’ve just brought a new bunny home.
1. Learn Your Pet’s Personality
Like people, all rabbits have distinctive personalities and unique habits. If you have decided to buy a baby rabbit, you may find that they’re very shy at first, but over time they will come out of their shell and begin to reveal their personality. We have a very useful article about Learning to Read your Rabbit’s Body Language, a great resource for identifying what makes rabbit tick. The article outlines the many different sounds your rabbit can make, as well as how its posture can give you clues to what your pet is thinking.
2. Create A Shared Space
It’s natural for your rabbit to feel nervous or even defensive if you interact with them by reaching into their hutch – after all, this space is their home, and all of their instincts tell them to protect it from potential predators. If you want to spend time bonding with your rabbit, try setting up a play area or run large enough for you to sit inside with the rabbit. This way, you can start interacting with your pet on neutral ground.
Rabbits feel comfortable when they have something over their heads, so don’t feel bad if the first few times they hide under any covered area you have set up.
3. Fill Your Shared Space With Toys
There are many fun things you can place around your rabbit’s play area or run, including Zippi tubes and tunnels, chew treats, a covered area, hanging toys and a hay basket.
Once you have a shared space set up with toys and other gear, try sitting in there with your rabbit for half an hour every day without reaching out to touch your pet. This way, your rabbit will learn to feel comfortable in your company and begin to trust you. It is likely that after a few days of this close contact, your rabbit will approach you without fear and begin to show some curiosity. It’s natural for your rabbit to have a gentle nibble when you first meet – don’t worry, it’s not a bite!
4. Give Your Rabbit New Experiences
Although rabbits are creatures of habit, it’s still good for them if new things are introduced into their lives now and then. Your rabbit will learn to associate you with these new fun experiences, which will deepen your bond. Try occasionally changing the layout of their hutch or investing in a fun new toy for them to play with – you could even make toys for them out of simple household objects like empty kitchen rolls.
5. Offer Healthy Treats
Rabbits can teach us a lot when it comes to healthy treats. They don’t like sweet things or junk food, and the most unhealthy thing you can give them is actually carrot or apple (as these are relatively high in sugar)! It helps you bond with your pet if you offer tempting greens, celery sticks or other yummy things. The rabbit will cautiously approach and take a nibble, and you’re a step closer to breaking down those barriers and properly bonding.
6. Pet your Rabbit
Once your rabbit is comfortable around you, and doesn’t run away when you approach with your hand extended, it’s time to start stroking them. Physical contact with your pet is one of the most natural ways to form a bond, and although you may find at first that the rabbit doesn’t seem too keen to be stroked, this is totally normal, and nothing to worry about. It may take a few weeks before you have your rabbit sitting comfortably in your lap.
The most considerate way to approach your rabbit is to reach with your hand low down, just to the side of their head. This way, they can see that it’s you who is petting them. Rabbits are naturally terrified of birds attacking from above and often run away when approached from a height (and a human standing on two legs is, as far as the rabbit is concerned, a height!). Rabbits also have a blind spot right in front of their noses – something common to most plant-eating animals – so you should also avoid approaching nervous rabbits directly from the front.
7. Teaching Rabbit Tricks
Once your rabbit is playing with you regularly, you can start teaching them some simple tricks! This can begin with reinforcing natural behaviour such as walking through a tunnel, with a treat waiting for them at the far end. Or, it could be something more complex such as teaching your rabbit to spin or do a roll. We have an article all about teaching your rabbit tricks if you want to go deeper down this fascinating rabbit hole!
8. Copying Your Rabbit
One slightly more unusual way of bonding with your rabbit is to behave in ways they would expect to see in other rabbits. This could include pretending to clean yourself the way a rabbit does, or having a little bit of your own food when you see them nibbling at theirs. Just make sure your rabbit sees you doing this, as the whole point is to make them see you as more rabbit-like! This may not be necessary if you already have a trusting relationship with your rabbit.
9. Choosing The Right Time To Play With Your Rabbit
As you begin to get to know your rabbit well, you will see that they have certain times of day when they are more or less active. It is natural for your rabbit to spend large amounts of time sleeping, and they are very habit-forming animals. Try taking note of when they are most active so that you can choose that as the optimum time to play – this avoids frustrating your rabbit by interrupting their nap with a trip to the playpen!
10. Learning To Hold Your Rabbit Safely
When your rabbit is fully bonded with you, they might let you pick them up and carry them around. If you are lucky enough to have a docile rabbit that lets you do this, always remember to hold them in the way that is most comfortable for them. Support your rabbit’s hindquarters in the same way you would support a human baby’s head. Hold them only firmly enough to keep them in your grasp – there is no need to hold them tight, as they are unlikely to jump to the floor.
Rabbits are gentle souls, so you need to be gentle in return. Be patient, give them time, and they’ll soon come to look on you as a true friend and companion.
This entry was posted in Pets on June 1st, 2021 by juliakretzner