It’s been a long time since I’ve had a puppy in my life, 14 years to be precise. When I got Bruno in 2003, I really didn’t know what he needed apart from a comfy bed, some toys and good food. The internet wasn’t what it is now and there certainly wasn't the choice of great products out there that we have now come to expect.
Having a puppy in 2017 means that George is going to benefit from so much more choice of great pet products, my greater knowledge of the market and the needs of whippets. I know from my customers that many of you have recently welcomed a new pup into your world and I wanted to share the 5 Puppy Purchases that I love.
Bruno was lead trained with plenty of cheese and sausage and always walked beautifully next to me, hardly ever pulling on the lead. When Frankie came she had never been walked on the lead and was a shocker for pulling - nearly taking me into hedges and off pavements several times! In the end we used a gentle leader with her with the help of some cheese which eventually worked! With George I knew that I wanted to use a harness. I have heard some sad tales from customers over the years of injuries caused to whippets necks while walking on the collar. One tragic story stuck in my mind and this was enough for me to believe a harness would be the safest option to lead train George.
I took to my Facebook page and asked for recommendations for harnesses and settled on a Fleece Lined Harness, but many of you were keen on the Perfect Fit Harness - both offered from Dog Games Ltd. They are a small British company and could not have been more helpful. The harness is fleece lined which is great for their delicate skin, and fully adjustable allowing for some growth. I opted for size 2 which is still fitting nicely, even over his fleece jumper on cold days.
I chose the lovely bright orange but they do this harness in 14 solid colours, rainbow and camouflage options too. It is easy to put on, slipping over the head and clipping behind the front legs. It’s offered in 6 sizes and I think that George will go into the next size once he is fully grown, the only question is - which colour will I go for next!!
www.dog-games.co.uk - they do a great catalogue explaining how to size up your dog for a harness.
2 Collar Tag
It is a legal requirement in the UK that your dog have a tag with the following details on:
First Line of your address
I am not a fan of the dogs name on a collar tag, simply because I worry that if a dog is stolen, and let’s face it, it happens, why make it easier for the thief to bond with your dog as they will know the name.
Another recommendation from my Facebook page, was the great people at Pawsome Paws Boutique. I chose a ‘Loved and Chipped’ tag with our details on the reverse, and I think at £13.50 it was money well spent! Other options are, ‘I’m not spoilt just well loved’ and ‘Have your people call my people’
Of course George also has one of our Scrabble G tags, and I couldn’t resist the ‘Eat, Sleep, Play, Repeat’ tag that I found on my trip to the Doghouse in Bradford on Avon, this is on his Best collar - not one that might get coated in fox poo! This is from a company called Growlees - London based company who do many humorous tags - I might have already purchased ‘Eau de Fox’ for Toffee’s Christmas box!
3 Interactive Toys
I am amazed by how many great toys there are for dogs, and how much thought has gone into designing them. It is important to get your dogs brain working and many tricks can be employed to do this - cheese under the beaker on the kitchen floor is a great way, and one that Bruno loved, George gets a bit bored with that!
For George we have several options. For free I made him a simple plaited toy that I bury food inside out of an old tea towel! He had a gift from a friend, his beloved Owl, it has different textures, rope legs to chew, soft back for comfort and a textured belly to sniff. It is by a company called Wagtastic & they are readily available through supermarkets on and off line.
My favourite interactive toy is the P.L.A.Y Wobble Ball Puzzle Treat Dispensing Dog Toy that I purchased from Ruff Shop - a great website with lots of super toys and chews for your dog to get hours of fun from.
George loves this ball, I load it with is favourite treats and he is stimulated mentally and physically by working out how to roll it and get them out! What better reward for his effort than food!! At £13.45 I thought it was a bit pricey but now I realise that it is worth every penny!
Both Frankie & Bruno had beautiful Big Tomato ceramic personalised bowls but having broken two of Frankies I decided not to go down the ceramic route with George. I love an element of personalisation so how delighted was I when I discovered Sophia Victoria Joy enamel bowls. I was so excited that I ordered him two of the 15cm bowls. It wasn’t until they arrived that I realised how big they are and that clearly I would be using them as his WATER bowls!
I had heard about slow feeder bowls but with Frankie & Bruno never had the need for them. George is one enthusiast pup when it’s time for food, so I decided to get one for him. I found this beauty on a recommendation on Facebook also available from Ruff Shop.
It makes your dog eat slower therefore reducing the risk of bloat - a condition that can be fatal, and also makes your pup tired after meal times! George has got the hang of it now and it’s been fun watching him work it out!
It didn’t seem fair to make George work for every meal so luckily I found a lovely melamine bowl at The Doghouse but I’m on the hunt for something more beautiful - any recommendations would be happily received!
5 Soft Blanket
One thing I do know about whippets is their need to be warm & cosy. We have lots of dog beds in our house, all hand me downs, but I wanted George to have something of his own in the bedding department. On a trip to Dunhelm Mill before George came home, I fell in love with a soft green Teddy Bear Throw that I cut in half, half for the sofa - yes, sofa privileges were always going to happen - and half for his bed in his crate. And at less than £20 I thought it was a bargain!
It has worked a treat, he loves his blankets and knows that wherever it is, that’s his bed. He sometimes falls asleep with it in his mouth - it’s his comfort blanket & I think he will always have it.
I’m currently eyeing up two beds from Charlie Chau and plan to purchase one for George’s Christmas pressie!
So there you have it, 5 puppy products that I love. I hope it’s been helpful to those owners who are new to this dog pawrenting or some fresh ideas for those more experienced.
ps - I don't seem to be able to do the links, but they are there to copy and paste into your browser, and who doesn't love a bit of copy and paste!