Posted on December 4, 2018 by Admin under Care for your dog in an emergency
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And how would anyone know… ?

This was a very sensible question asked recently by the charity, Dog A.I.D. (Assistance in Disability), who assist people with physical disabilities to improve their quality of life by helping them train their own pet dogs to provide assistance with day-to-day tasks and, in some circumstances, providing life-saving interventions.

Dog A.I.D. are currently working with a local ambulance service to see if there is a protocol which can be developed to ensure provisions are made for dogs in the case of emergencies involving their owners.

As a trainer with Dog A.I.D., when I saw this article it made me think that this could also of course happen to any dog owner, particularly someone living alone, whatever their age.

Possible solutions

Some solutions to this, I thought, may be:

  • Have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number of a friend on your dog’s I.D. tag (if needs be then have a second tag with this information on – for a second tag you can buy a lighter weight acrylic tag ( pettags.co.uk/dog-and-cat-tags/acrylic-tags ).
  • (Pet tags (as above) ( pettags.co.uk/dog-and-cat-tags/stainless-steel-tags ) are a good online company which makes a variable size of tags and this link will take you to their stainless steel tags (both traditional (hangs down from collar) and ‘agility’ style tag (which lies flat on the collar and so is less likely to get caught in undergrowth)).
  • If necessary, as well as your usual ICE number in your mobile phone, have a second one which says ‘ICE DOG’ (although of course if the keypad is locked this will not help).
  • Have a sticker on the reverse of your mobile phone with both your usual ICE number and ICE DOG number making it clear that there is a dog at home which needs caring for.
  • Have an ICE note put in a prominent place in your home, such as the fridge door, which will include the name of the person able to care for your dog in an emergency (and even the name of the kennels you would prefer to be used if no-one is available).
  • Keep a note of the ICE DOG details in your wallet or purse, again, making it clear that there is a dog at your home which needs caring for.

Final words

I have had two accidents in the home in the last week where I was lucky not to have suffered broken bones or concussion.   These things happen so do please get your dog’s ICE information made available in case of an emergency and hopefully they will never be needed.

Oh yes, and, please do not text while driving!

© Sally Bartlett


Posted on November 20, 2018 by Admin under Dog Health, Dog nutrition
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The Supplier

ZooPlus  (www.zooplus.co.uk ) offer a mail order service for dog food (and other animal feed) and one of my client-friends recommended this as his savings per year are substantial for buying his dog food here.

ZooPlus sell dry food, wet food, raw food and dog treats (plus other doggy merchandise).

As always, when buying your dog food please ensure you are feeding the best quality food that you can afford.  The good news is that the most expensive is not always the best for your pet as the price may just reflect all the funding put into extensive marketing!

My only minus point for this site is that I notice (along with many high-street pet-food suppliers) that they also sell cages for birds and as a person who loathes any animal being caged I would please ask people to feed wild birds rather than lock birds away in a cage – I really don’t see how the Animal Welfare Act allows this cruel practice to continue.  Lecture ended!  Please see below for more advice on dog food.

Checking the Quality of Dog Food

A very good site to check the quality of dog food is:  www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk – here you can check on each brand, ingredients, nutritional composition.  In addition to this there are many filters which help you select the right food for your dog and a big plus is that any ingredient considered not 100% healthy for your dog is highlighted in red (just click on that highlight and you will see why it has been brought to your attention).

More Information on a Healthy Diet for your Dog

For more information on finding the best diet for your dog please also see my other blog article on ‘Healthy Diets for Dogs’ (https://co-operativecanines.proimageblogs.com/healthy-diets-for-dogs-researching-your-dogs-food )


©Sally Bartlett
07752 427804


Posted on August 3, 2018 by Admin under Dog Health
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A helpful temperature chart with guidelines
Knowing when it is too hot to take a dog out is really important in this weather and pet insurer, Petplan, have made up a useful little chart on their blog to clarify this:  www.gopetplan.com/blogpost/hot-weather-and-dogs

Obviously common sense should prevail and by knowing your own dog and how they cope in the heat should guide you but this chart does give clearer guidelines of when to exercise.

Continuing hot summers
As the UK weather seems forecast to continue with hot weather over the coming years then it is worth remembering the advice given by Petplan and below.

Other methods to keep your dog cool
During this recent hot weather I have been doing a few things to help:

  • Opening windows as much as possible to allow a breeze through (be careful of safety though).
  • Drawing curtains and blinds to keep out the sun.
  • Buy fans to keep air circulating (please do not aim straight at the dog).
  • If your dog has warm bedding then allow him/her access to another surface to lie on, such as a cool tiled floor.
  • Ensure your dog is able to sleep and rest in the coolest part of your home which they may not usually have access to (in which case ensure it is safe for them).
  • I use a cotton cover rather than a warmer fleece for bedding in this weather (and also in the car).
  • I give some special cool treats – see previously blog article:
  • See also my play-biting document for how to make frozen kongs:
  • For car travel in hot weather please see my previous blog:
  • Buy a special dog cooling mat (personally I have not done this but have heard good reports).
  • Fill a child’s paddling pool and let your dog paddle and you can drop vegetable treats (safe ones) in the pool to encourage your dog in and to give some entertainment when it is too hot to walk.  With paddling pools, of course make sure they are safe and that your dog can easily get in and out without injury.  Also please leave something in which would help a bird easily get out if necessary.  Or, safely cover the pool when not in use which will keep it cleaner and avoid wildlife being injured.
  • Avoid walking when it is hot – get up early and/or walk much later in the evening.
  • Walk in shady areas such as woods (as in the photo above) although when it is very hot the humidity will still make it too hot to walk.
  • If you can find shady areas with clean water then even better (photo above taken at the ‘Secret Garden’ on Ashdown Forest).
  • If you live close to a beach then a cool sea breeze and a paddle may be possible – just be careful of the hot sand as that can burn paws.
  • Or when it is just too hot to walk at all, you can give entertainment by other methods – see my play-biting blog for ideas:
  • Also keep your dog brushed and combed to reduce a build up of excess hair and/or take them to the groomers to be clipped.
  • If your dog enjoys being hosed off, then hose with lukewarm or cool water.

If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke then you must take him/her to the vet immediately.

More tips?
If you have any more tips on how to keep your dog cool, please add them to this blog.

Wishing you a happy and safe August!

© Sally Bartlett
07752 427804





Posted on June 28, 2018 by Admin under Dog Training, Puppy Training
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The ‘release’ command

This simple training exercise will make a huge difference on how much control you have over your dog and is used to teach your dog to remain in position when asked (Wait, Stay, Sit, Down, Stand) and also useful when asked to ‘Leave’.

Having control over a dog contrarily gives your dog more freedom as you will be able to take her to more places in the knowledge that you can control her better both on and off lead, in the home or out in public.

What is the ‘little word’?

I use OK’ but you can use any word or phrase you wish.

As mentioned above, it is referred to in training terms as the ‘release’ command.

Why use it?

The main reason I see regularly as to why a dog won’t remain in position is that she has never been taught to do so until ‘released’.  Lots of dogs incorrectly learn that they may move out of position as soon as they have received a treat.

This means a dog will sit (or other command given) for only a few seconds (usually, as above, until given a treat) and then move out of position.

The above scenario is obviously not much use in practical terms as we want our dogs to remain in position until we decide it is time for them to move.  For example:

  • Sitting to greet people (instead of jumping up).
  • Waiting at the kerb before crossing the road.
  • Settling in a down while we enjoy lunch at the pub.
  • Settling in the evening (Go-to-Bed and Down) instead of running around grabbing your ankles!
  • As in the above photo, two of my ‘students’ trained not to move until asked means taking photos of your dogs is much easier – set them up where you want them and they won’t move until you tell them it’s ‘OK’ to do so. (See also actiondogphotography.co.uk for professional images of your friends and pet photography training.

How to teach the release command

Introduce this with the first control exercise you ever use.  I use Wait as it is so easy to do, even with very young puppies) and you can use it in several ways.  It doesn’t matter if your dog stands, sits or lies down – that is the advantage of teaching the Wait; it is so easy.

How to teach the Wait & OK when letting puppies out of a crate or pen

  • Open the crate door slowly with one hand and have the other hand ready to stop your puppy coming out.
  • As you restrain your puppy, tell her Wait.
  • When she stops wriggling and trying to get out then praise her very quietly.
  • Then tell her OK and allow her out of the crate.


How to teach the Wait & OK at the door or kerb

  • Have your dog on lead.
  • With your dog at your side and on a short-ish lead ask your dog to Wait.
  • If she fidgets just correct her back to your side until she stops. It doesn’t matter if she stands, sits or lies down, that is the advantage of using the Wait command.  You just want her to remain still without pulling on lead or fidgeting.
  • Once she is still for a few seconds then very quietly and calmly praise her, wait another few seconds and then tell her OK and then you move forward encouraging your dog to go with you because at first your dog won’t know what the OK means (but see below for tone of voice use).

How to teach your dog not to snatch toys

As mentioned above,  you can teach your dog to ‘leave’ an item until you give the OK to take it; that may be meals, toys, treats, etc.

  • Pick up a dog toy and tell your dog to Leave (assuming it has been taught this command).
  • Wait until your dog is calmly standing and leaving the item and then praise quietly, as above.
  • Just before you give the toy to your dog give the OK (some people do a similar thing but use a more specific command such as ‘Take-it’ – it doesn’t matter what you use so long as your dog understands what she is meant to do and learns good manners).

Using your tone of voice to communicate

To help your dog understand what is required you will need to make use of difference tones of voice:

  • The command to Wait should be clear and confident.
  • The praise should be v-e-r-y  q-u-i-e-t   a-n-d   s-l-o-w (if you sound jolly and excited she will leap out of position and want to play with you!)
  • The release command OK should be in a jolly higher pitched voice which will naturally encourage her to move. However if this makes your dog leap ahead or bound around then make it less jolly and excited – you just have to get the balance right for each dog.

Once your dog has learned they should not move from the Wait, then it is much easier to teach them to remain in position for Sit and Down, and much quicker for them to learn not to snatch toys, so all your early efforts teaching the Wait and release will also pay off later.

When you don’t need to use the release command

If you are giving another command, such as Heel, Come Here, or any other command then you don’t need to say the ‘OK’.

Problems with your dog learning to remain in position

The most common problems are a lack of consistency, either because:

  • You forget to give the OK command every time.
  • Other members of your family or a dog-walker do not know or do not remember. Be sure to tell everyone involved in training your dog what all of the commands are.  Write them up and put them in a place where everyone will see them, eg on the fridge for your family.  If you have a dog walker then that is more difficult for them but the good ones will be teaching some basic obedience on walks and should be doing this before they let dogs off.

Enjoy your dog’s company and have fun but do please practise a little training each day and you will see results.

As always, if things are not going as well as you would like then please get in touch.

© Sally Bartlett
07752 427804



Posted on May 2, 2018 by Admin under Dog Health
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With the arrival of spring I was reminded of a previous article I wrote on how to deal with snake bites and insect stings to your dogs – please see previous blog article.  And also the need to carry a Dog First Aid kit with you when out walking, especially if you are in more distant exercise areas.

Essentials to carry in your portable First Aid kit

The essentials I carry in my coat or bumbag are:

  • A tube of sterile saline solution – useful for rinsing grass seeds, etc, out of eyes or washing a wound.
  • A Piriton tablet in case of a snake bite or insect sting. As above, please see link to my previous article on this and particularly note that before using any medication not prescribed by your vet you should check with your vet that this product is suitable for your dog (some medical conditions and medication may mean that piriton is not suitable for your dog).  It is worth checking as it could save your dog’s life.
  • A tick remover – apparently we have many ticks in the area at the moment and only last week I helped an owner remove one from her dog’s neck.
  • Some sort of clean padding to cover a wound (after cleaning with your saline solution). Sterile pads are included in First Aid kits or just carry a clean individually wrapped sanitary towel or tissues which are kept clean in a sealed plastic bag.
  • A self-adhesive bandage to cover the padding and wound.

All of the above products can also be used for people (same note regarding Piriton applies in that you must not use any medication on a person unless you are sure it is suitable for them).

Ensure you have a complete First Aid kit at home and/or in your car

Animal Aiders and Amazon sell more complete First Aid kits – see links below.  These are actually small enough to carry in a large bumbag or small rucksack.

Knowing what to do in an emergency

Buy a suitable book – see below.

Go on a dog First Aid course – Animal Aiders run these and often a local vet or dog training organisation may run them as well so make sure you are on your vet’s mailing list if they have one.

Useful resources

https://www.animalaiders.co.uk/dog-8-c.asp  (Dog First Aid kits from Animal Aiders)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pets-Premium-First-Aid-Green/dp/B01N7VMKSZ/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1524844491&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=dog+first+aid+kit&psc=1  (Dog First Aid kit from Amazon)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Aid-Dogs-invaluable-lovers/dp/0995490007/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524845459&sr=1-1&keywords=dog+first+aid+book#reader_0995490007  (Dog First Aid book from Amazon)

More of my health-related blog articles you may be interested in are:

Snake bites

How to keep your dog cooler in the car

Dog insurance policies 

Wishing you happy and healthy dog-walking.

© Sally Bartlett



Posted on April 3, 2018 by Admin under Dog Training, Stop dog chasing sheep
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Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest (close to East Grinstead in East Sussex) offer practical training days to help teach your dog to stop worrying sheep. These are a very good way to do such training under the guidance and safety of an experienced trainer and under controlled circumstances with sheep, and at a very reasonable price (£26).

Please note that, as with any training, this sort of training needs ongoing consistent training which must be done in a way not detrimental to the welfare of sheep.

Beware of other methods of sheep training with your dog

Please be wary of training days which offer to teach your dog to work sheep.  For pet dogs these can simply encourage a dog to chase and nip at sheep.  Unless you are going to regularly train and compete in sheepdog trials and so ensure you have complete control of your dog this sort of training should be avoided.

The Law

Worrying sheep includes:

  • Attacking livestock.
  • Chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce.
  • Being at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.

Also please be aware that all dogs, regardless of their level of training, should never be allowed off-lead near sheep and that a farmer is legally entitled to shoot a dog if he believes he had a ‘lawful excuse’ – for more on this see article by solicitor, Tim Ryan:


Also please see the government legislation on the Act which sets out the law regarding dogs and livestock:


Details of the training days at Ashdown Forest

  1. Tuesday 8th May 2018
  2. Tuesday 15th May 2018

Time:  20-minute training slots.  Throughout the day from 09:20 to 16:00

Location:  Cats Protection, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath RH17 7TT.

To book please email:  conservators@ashdownforest.org.

We will need name, email address, mobile number, breed and age of your dog.

Price:     £26 per dog.  Please pay on 01342 823583 to secure your booking.

Improving Obedience Training

The Ashdown Forest training, above, is specifically to teach your dog to leave sheep.  However, general training, which is essential to ensure control of your dog in any circumstances, can be done in a variety of environments and Co-operative Canines Dog Training and Behaviour can help you with this.

For general control out of the home I like to teach:

  • Stop your dog at a distance.
  • Recall your dog under any circumstances and distractions.
  • Leave any distraction on command.

For more information on my one-to-one training for your dogs please contact me (see below).

© Sally Bartlett
07752 427804


Posted on March 29, 2018 by Admin under Dog Training, Playing with dogs




Why it’s a good idea to teach your dog to retrieve (and play in general with you)

  • It helps to build a strong bond between you and your dog (so long as you play nicely and it’s fun for your dog).
  • Valued toys and games can be used as a reward so you don’t always have to rely on using food rewards.
  • Games are a great way to train your dog – as above, just make sure it is fun for your dog and that the control exercises are just a small part of each play session. Too much control and not enough fun will find your dog heading off to find more exciting friends.
  • A dog which has learned to play with you is less likely to feel the need to find his or her own entertainment such as running off to play with other dogs or taking themselves off hunting.
  • A well-taught retrieve and leave is then a safe game for other people to play with your dog.  However, remember that interactions with children should be supervised.

Genetic Influences of Retrieve

Some breeds of dogs, such as many of the gundog breeds which have been bred to retrieve – there is a clue in some of the breed names (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever!) – will be naturals at running after a thrown item.  Lots of these dogs will also be natural retrievers and bring the item back but even with these dogs they may not be quite so keen to give them up to you.

Many other breeds of dogs, such as terriers (or the corgi-cross shown above), have not been bred over the centuries to fetch and give up their prized items and so these breeds will need more encouragement and practice.

Avoiding Aggression

If you have a dog which has shown any aggression over its toys then you should not try to do this without the help of a trainer and behaviourist.  If this is the case, please contact me for some one-to-one help.  One of the most common behavioural problems I see is dogs which have become aggressive over their toys or items which they have found or taken.  With sensitive and correct handling and training of this problem your dog can learn that it is really worthwhile to ‘share’ his things with you and that aggression is not necessary.

Should you play tug with your dog?

Just a note on playing tug with your dog – this is a great game to play and does not usually cause a dog to show any aggression.  However, it does depend on how you play it and is not suitable for all dogs if they become over-excited or if you are perceived to them as being aggressive (ie, if you are shouting at them to leave, or using aggressive body language such as leaning into their face, or other such rude behaviour which owner sometimes engage in…).  Again, it is helpful to have a trainer assist you with this if you have any doubts about the safety of playing this game.

(Always try to do this as it avoids frustration for both you and your dog)

The toy

The first step with trying to play any game with your dog is to ensure you find a toy which he is keen to play with.  However, too high a value toy and they will definitely not want to give it back so try to find a toy which they like to play with but which they will also be likely to ‘share’ with you.

The location

Then you need to find a quiet area in your home or garden where there are no other distractions (such as other toys, people, smells, other pets, etc).  As your dog learns to enjoy play with you be sure to take toys on walks with you and to have several short little play sessions to teach your dog that you are the most fun thing, even on walks.

Treat bag

Have a treat bag around your waist – the magnetic snap-shut type are the best.  Have the bag closed and you should not give your dog any treats at all to begin with as we want him to focus on the toy and not be too focused on the treats.

Keep it Fun

Play should be exactly that (ie, fun for your dog) and if you set up the location correctly with no distractions and the right toy then you are on the first step to successful play with your dog.

The next steps

Sit on the floor with your legs in a V-shape so that your dog can play with the toy in between your legs.  Now put the toy on the floor and wriggle it around on the ground to get your dog’s attention if you haven’t already got it.

If your dog grabs it before you are ready that is fine – you can give a little tug game (so long as no aggression issues – see above).

To get the toy back from your dog just stop moving it (or even let go of it) and hold a treat right next to his nose and when he lets go say the ‘leave’ word.  This is assuming you have not already taught the ‘leave’ command – if you have, well done, you can just use it to ask for the toy back but don’t forget to still give a treat now and then when your dog does a good ‘leave.’

Incidentally, if your dog likes a game of tug with you then he is much more likely to bring it back to you as that is the only way he can get the reward of playing tug with you so the tug game is actually a very good way to help most dogs retrieve.

Now that you have your dog’s attention, throw the toy just a couple of feet away (no farther or you reduce the chances of getting a retrieve) and heap on the praise as your dog goes to pick up the toy.

Now, do not lean forward and try to grab your dog or the toy, but instead just pat your legs and praise and encourage your dog in to you, back into the V-shape between your legs or anywhere close to you.

When he gets to you, tickle and stroke him on the top of his bottom and ruffle his fur (or whatever he enjoys) and see if you can get him to do that happy wiggle thing that dogs do.  When he has done this, get up and move away and sit down again and repeat the previous bit of encouraging him in and touching the top of his bottom and verbally praising and then move away again.  This should have your dog coming to you with no fear of the toy being taken.

Now you can quickly take out the treat and hold it on his nose (as above) and when he lets go then say the ‘leave’ word to help teach him what this means (when teaching a new command to our dogs we need to say the new word at the same time as the action of the dog so that he can learn what the word means).  As above, if your dog already understands the ‘leave’ then you can say the word before he lets go.

Whichever of the two methods above are used, remember to heap on the praise as he lets go.

Then after giving the treat you can throw the toy again a short distance and repeat the above.

Once your dog learns what a fun game this is then you can just give a treat occasionally but your dog’s main reward will be the game itself so no need to keep on with the treats each time once your dog is doing a good retrieve and leave but instead just give the occasional treat to keep him really keen to do a good retrieve and leave.

Adding commands to the retrieve

Also, once your dog becomes more reliable at running out to get the item and bringing it back, then you can add commands to the actions.  You can either use a command such as ‘Fetch’ for the action of getting it and bringing it back or you can use separate commands, such as ‘Fetch’ and ‘Bring it Here’.

The normal method is to use just the ‘Fetch’ but if you want to go on to advanced training such as going to pick up an item and then putting it in a basket/box or taking to another person then it’s useful to have the separate commands.

Your dog’s joint health




Check the following:

  • Is the toy exciting enough?
  • Is the toy too exciting so your dog won’t bring it or let go?
  • Are your treats too exciting so that you dog only wants the treats and not the toy?
  • Are your treats not exciting enough so your dog won’t release the toy?
  • Are you being a grumpy playmate? Remember it’s meant to be fun for your dog.
  • Are you being impatient? Remember not to grab at your dog or the toy but to praise and stroke and move away to encourage your dog to want to come to you.
  • Is anyone else playing with your dog in a way which is affecting your success?
  • If your dog is moving too far away from you then put him on a lead about a metre long and sit on it or hold it so that he can’t run off. However please do not reel him in like a fish! The line is on simply to prevent him moving too far away so that you stand a better chance of being able to encourage him to you.
  • Is your dog simply lying down with the toy and not coming to you? Then you can go to him and make a big fuss of him (start at the top of his bottom and no snatching for the toy) and if he is happy with that then hold a treat on his nose and try to get a leave.  Then lots of praise for being such a good dog and start again.  Once he learns you don’t snatch his toy and that he gets a fuss and a treat and another game he should start coming in to you and giving the toy.

If all that fails

It shouldn’t fail but if you feel you need some help with this or any other training or behaviour then please get in touch.

You may also be interested in my other articles:

Rewards for dogs

Toys and chews for puppies and older dogs

Happy play and training!

©  2018 Sally Bartlett
Co-operative Canine Dog Training



Posted on March 16, 2018 by Admin under Playing with dogs, Puppy chews, Puppy toys
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Introducing new Puppy Toys and Chews

Puppy toys and a variety of chews are essential to keep your puppy mentally happy and out of too much mischief!

However, when giving your dog any new item, please supervise to check he/she is safe
to be left with it.  Some dogs eat anything!

The above items are described in the order from top left going clockwise.

As above, please remember that when you give your puppy (or any age of dog) a new toy or chew you must always supervise to ensure he or she is not going to:

  • Destroy any new toy.
  • Eat something unsuitable which may injure your dog.

Also, of course, decide if your pup’s health is good enough to deal with any new food items.  Always err on the side of caution and introduce any new food items in small amounts and supervise to ensure your dog does not choke on any new chews.

Items in the above photo

Rice bone:  These are good for pups to chew and eat.  I cut them in half so you don’t have to over-feed.  You can also put them in the freezer to make them last longer and to soothe new teeth coming through.

Vegetable chew:  These are used in the same way as rice bones.

Nylabone puppy chews:  These two small puppy sized fake bones are good for pups to chew on.  The one on the left can have little bits chewed off as your dog’s teeth and jaws are bigger/stronger it so I stop giving this once you notice your pup can do this but the one to the right of it is much harder and cannot usually be destroyed until your dog is much older or if you have a dog with much stronger jaws.

Adult nylabone:  This is a large plastic bone which most dogs are OK with.  They are very hard and your dog should only be able to make small dents in it but should not be able to bite off any large bits.

Commercially treated bone:  A real bone which has been cleaned so is safe for your pup.  They come from pet shops with some filling inside but I remove that as it will be full of additives usually and instead I fill with my own ideas – see my play-biting article.   Most dogs also just enjoy a chew on this bone even without any filling in.

Please do not buy the baked bones which allow dogs to bite off pieces – they can splinter
(and never give your dog any sort of cooked bone).

Deer’s antler:  There is some controversy over these as I have heard one vet say they are too hard for dog’s teeth but I give them and have not had problems. Buy the size suitable for your dog.  They can chew pieces of these and digest them but it should happen in small bits which do not risk injury.  If your dog is able to bite off large bits you have probably given too small a size and you will need to bin that one and buy a larger size but supervise to check safe.  Once any of these are reduced in size then throw them away before they can be a choking risk or an increased risk of larger pieces being swallowed.

Smoked bone:  This is again a commercially treated and cleaned bone but with more flavour.  I would suggest not giving on your best carpet – they smell quite strongly smoky and leave bacon coloured marks!

Rope tug toy:  Your dog can play with this alone or with you.  However, regarding toys you play with your dog with, it is a good idea to have a few toys which your dog only has access to when you are playing with him/her – partly to ensure best toys are not trashed but also to ensure you have some toys which your dog is crazy about and can then be used as rewards in training.

Kong:  Most dog owners know about these now and you can buy a variety of sizes.  You can stuff with a variety of food treats and give at room temperature or frozen – again, see my play-biting document.

Busy Buddy Twist and Treat:  Another way to have dogs work for their food and so give some mental and physical entertainment by filling with food and twisting the toy so that your dog has to push and tip over the toy to get the food to fall out.  There is a smaller version of this available to the size shown.

Rope knot:  As the rope toy above but bigger and stronger so less able to be chewed.  Top tip:  these are heavy so do not throw and have it land on your dog’s head!  I speak from experience …

Plastic puppy chew with rope:  A favourite of my most recent pup’s as she can chew on the hard plastic and also the rope.

Some special toys for you to play with your pup with


These are just a few of the special toys I play with my own dog with:

Rubber figure 8:  Good for teaching tug and ‘leave.’ The tug game must be played sensibly and only by adults until training is at a very good level.  Contrary to some opinions on this, it does not make a dog aggressive but you do need to watch out for any signs of a dog becoming too excited or treating it as a competition.  Most dogs do not want to rule the world, or your household, but just enjoy a good game of tug.  There are a few however who are not best suited to this game either because they do play too competitively or they just become too excited.  If this happens with your dog then I would suggest a one-to-one session to look at how best to play with your dog and improve his/her manners and training.

Rope toy:  As above in previous photo although you can get much bigger versions of this toy.  Remember to keep some special toys only for play time with you.

Shake-a-Pheasant (brand name):  There are a number of ‘animals’ in this style and they all have a squeak so definitely do not leave this with your dog unsupervised as the squeaks are quite small and a risk of choking.  A great toy to tuck in your pocket and take on a walk as they squish up small and also dry quickly on a wet day.  The squeak helps get your dog’s attention too.

Tuff-e-nuff.co.uk stretchy tope tug toy: A good strong tug toy which has a handle at one end so very comfy to play with.  You can also get a similar Fun with Fido toy which has Velcro at the end so you can put a food treat it in to get even more attention.




Cute and Cuddly – for snuggles and games


And include a few soft toys for your little friends.  Please make sure they are safe dog toys, eg, no children’s toys which might have eyes which come off and could be swallowed.  These soft toys can be for your pup to snuggle up to in bed and you may also want to keep some for special play-time, in which case you will need to keep them safely tucked away from your pup unless you are supervising.

As above, always supervise with any new toy.  The fish toy above had a squeaky ball in its mouth but I removed this as it was too small and could get stuck in a dog’s throat so I removed it and sewed up the toy but my pup still loved holding it, squeezing it and chucking ‘Freddy Fish’ around …

Another fun thing to do with toys is to teach your dog the names of some toys – do this one toy at a time to keep things simple.  You can start with things like, “Get Teddy,” as you throw out the teddy toy and then after a week or so of doing that switch to a different toy and repeat with a different name for a week and then see if your dog can choose the right one on command when you lay out both toys.   A simple tip for success is to decide which is your dog’s favourite toy and send your dog for that one first so you can reward the success.  When you switch to send for the other toy then place that toy closest to the dog and point to it.  Don’t forget to reward well for getting this right.  If things go wrong, have a think about it and see how you can make things easier for your dog to get it right – always a good idea in any dog training.

As mentioned above, you may also like to read more information on how to keep your puppy or older dog mentally entertained by reading my play-biting document.

Happy shopping and playing with your dogs …

© 2018 Sally Bartlett
Co-operative Canines Dog Training and Behaviour
07752 427804


Posted on March 15, 2018 by Admin under Pet Bereavement and Pet Loss
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Having contacted the Blue Cross myself in the past when having to go through a bereavement which I found particularly hard, I thought it would be useful to make more dog owners aware of this very worthwhile charity support via the Blue Cross, who offer support to anyone who has had to part with their beloved pet for whatever reason.

Sometimes talking to friends and family about how we feel is simply not enough, but talking to animal-lovers who have been trained to give emotional and practical support to us when we are going through a distressing loss of a much loved pet can really help.  These are trained counsellors who will give as much support as you feel you need via the method you are most comfortable with (telephone, email or contact form on their website).

All of us who love our dogs (or other pets) will know the huge loss we suffer when we have to part with them for any  reason – be it their passing away, or having to re-home due to changing circumstances – and the Blue Cross offer their emotional and practical support to help pet owners at this very difficult time.

For more details of this service please see their Pet Bereavement and Pet Loss Support page:


If you feel you cannot cope with the loss of your wonderful dog, please do not struggle on alone, but call the Blue Cross and speak to caring animal-lovers who will understand and help you.

Parting with a pet is one of the most painful experiences we go through so do not think you have to cope alone.

Sally Bartlett




Posted on December 13, 2017 by Admin under Buying a puppy, Dog Behaviour, Dog Training, Puppy House Training, Puppy Training
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Giving your dog the best possible start in life, be he or she a bundle of 8 week old joy or an older rescue dog, will help you greatly in having a well behaved and well mannered friend who is both easy to live with and a pleasure take out in public.  It will also give your companion a full and happy life.

Buyer beware ...

Before reading my advice below about how to get your puppy to best settle in your home and to ensure good training and behaviour, please see my previous article about responsible puppy purchasing which will help you avoid buying your puppy from a commercial puppy farm or any breeder who does not have the welfare of both the parents and your puppy as a priority.

Why is it a good idea to seek advice before bringing your dog home …

By gaining early training and behavioural advice, your family and your dog will get off to the best possible start for a long and happy relationship with your new friend and, as above, result in a companion who is a pleasure to live with.

Whether you are getting your first puppy or an older dog then a home visit with me before his or her arrival will help you set up your home, buy essential equipment for house training and other training, and agree on suitable house rules for your new arrival.  This avoids confusion for your dog and helps you, your family and your new friend to start off on the right foot (and paws) as soon as he or she arrives.

Once you have your dog …

If you have missed the opportunity of pre-arrival advice and you already have your little (or large) bundle of joy in your home then early help with training and behaviour will still really benefit you rather than waiting for undesirable behaviour to begin.

It is so much easier to prevent bad habits and unwanted behaviour than it is to stop it once it has started – although I do, of course, deal with that a lot as well!

A one to one session can really put you on the right track to a happy dog and a happy home …

Some of the things we cover in the pre-puppy or pre- older dog consultations are:

  • If you have not already chosen your dog then advice on how to best choose a dog which is both suitable for your household and how to buy responsibly.
  • Setting up your home to help your new friend settle in quickly and without stress.
  • Discussing health issues.
  • Socialisation – how to maximise the ‘socialisation’ period with your puppy even before vaccinations are complete, or how to do likewise with an older dog to improve or maintain confidence.
  • Equipment you will need to ensure good house training, control, and general obedience training.
  • Which toys and how to use them to help you bond and play with your dog.
  • Advice on up to date dog law.
  • House training – setting up equipment and a daily routine to ensure your dog learns in optimum time to toilet outside so as to avoid bad habits of indoor toileting.
  • How to reduce play-biting and chewing.
  • Learning to spot the signs of possible aggression – you may be surprised that some young puppies will demonstrate this and it is better to know the signs and so be able to ask for immediate help with any such issues. Contrary to popular (optimistic!) belief dogs do not ‘grow out of’ unwanted behaviour.
  • Advice on correct amount and type of exercise to avoid damaging your dog’s joints.
  • Feeding advice.
  • How to avoid stress of car journeys (the initial collection and ongoing).
  • Advice on a sensible daily routine for you and your dog.
  • Advice on ongoing training for your dog to ensure he or she is a pleasure to be with both at home and in public.

Further on-line help and getting in touch …

Please also browse my web articles for more advice on training and behaviour or get in touch directly.

I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you raise your puppy or older rescue dog to have a full and happy life together.

Sally Bartlett
07752 427804