Author: Mel

Best Dog Crates- Croft Soft Crate Review:

Best Dog Crates- Croft Soft Crate Review:

To crate or not to crate? This is the question facing many dog owners. The need to crate came about for us when our dog became reactive in the car on short journeys. Long journeys and holidays were never a problem. Dogs and Stress: Did […]

Summer Running Essentials for Women:

Summer Running Essentials for Women:

As the temperatures rise, it is time to consider those summer running essentials. The right kit can make a run more pleasurable and most importantly keep you safe and healthy.   Feet: Trainers- As with running in all conditions, getting a good pair of training shoes […]

One dog or two? Getting a Second Dog:

One dog or two? Getting a Second Dog:

new whippet owner

Wondering whether to take the plunge of getting a second dog? I cannot promise you a definitive answer within this post as it is a decision packed full of personal variables. You will however, read the valuable and thought provoking opinions of many dog owners who kindly shared their thoughts and experiences. This may be a step towards the right decision for you.

new whippet owner

We introduced our second dog Finn (a rescue puppy of 4 months) to the family after having our first whippet, Jarvis on his own for 8 months. We wanted to provide a companion for Jarvis as he was constantly seeking out dog company on walks (despite having a team of friends at daycare). He was also spending short stretches of time on his own. Having two dogs is such fun and we love it but it does have its practical challenges.

Your Unique Family:

should I get a second dog?

The most important consideration is your own family set-up and your dog’s personality:

  • Do you have time for another dog in your life?
  • Does your family life feel hectic already?
  • How will your dog react with another dog living in their home?
  • Is your dog territorial in the house?

Think about your dogs temperament around other dogs, and the age that you introduce another one carefully. A dog that has lived on its own for a number of years will find it harder to adjust than a young dog, but that isn’t to say they can’t adjust. Adding a dog younger than your established dog (rather than an older one) may help with the pack politics.

scent games for dogs

Will they bond?

Having two dogs offers companionship when you are not around and can be particularly useful for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety. They can keep each other entertained and play together, some may even snuggle up together. The company will provide physical and mental stimulation which will tire them out and keep them both fit, healthy and happy. We have certainly found this to be the case with our dogs. Some owners found that, after a short time, the two dogs were inseparable.

getting a second dog

However, others said that even after settling-in time the pair only just tolerated each other and would have probably preferred to be on their own! It really does depend on the individual dogs and their personalities. Expect the bonding to take time and be patient.

Space:

Do you have the space in your house for another dog? Having two around can feel quite different. Consider temperament and size of dog here – where will they sleep, relax and play, both inside and outside of the home?  Try borrowing a dog (one that’s familiar with yours) for the day and see how the house feels and if the space you have works for two.

getting a second dog

Walks:

Having a second dog makes walks a lot of fun and for us, having a playmate did stop Jarvis bombing over to any dog within sight for a chase. Your dog will have a friend to play with, sniff with and generally enjoy their walk with.

two dogs

Think practically about being able to physically walk two dogs. Who can do this on their own if required? It can be a tricky task at times, particularly if one (or both) of your dogs is reactive on a lead. Juggling leads, poop bags and treats really is a dexterity test! If you live in the countryside this may be less of an issue but we live in a busy town so it is a consideration. Again, ‘borrowing’ a known calm, trusted dog for a walk can be a useful taster of how it works to walk two dogs.

getting a second dog

Do you have some time to dedicate to single dog walks? We find this hugely beneficial for training and reminding our dogs to focus on us rather than their pack behaviour. It is also good for the younger dog’s independence. As with all aspects of this decision, consider your personal circumstances and the personality of your dog(s).

Training:

Many owners said that the older dog set a good example and taught the younger dog good manners when they got a second. They can act as ‘personal trainers’ to the younger dog and make teaching dog manners much easier. Many multi-dog households said they hardly noticed the impact of ‘Dog Number 2’ (or three!) for this reason.

getting a second dog

Of course this also works the other way with bad habits! If your existing dog has bad habits they may well share them. An example of this is our younger whippet (once extremely quiet) developing a strangely similar pre-dinner, ear-piercing pitch moan under the watchful eye of his proud mentor. Jarvis has started barking at cats as per Finn too. The cheeky pair!

Affection:

Your dogs will each need their own, individual time and affection from you, which personally I see as a huge bonus! Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of having another dog is double the love, cuddles and snuggles. Some owners with many dogs found this time commitment tricky to juggle, so do consider your lifestyle.

cuddling dogs

Finances:

Can you afford another four legged friend?  Costs generally double with an additional dog, although small multi-dog discounts sometimes apply to costs like dog insurance, holiday and day-care . Consider the expense of  food, treats, day care (if applicable), insurance, potential vet costs, etc. Also consider one off purchases such as another collar, leads and possibly a coats (an essential for us whippet owners).

new whippets owner

When considering toys and chews we always get two, but of course, in true sibling fashion, they always want the same one!

Holidays:

Many of us dog owners love to holiday with our furry family- it is so much fun! More than one dog can make this slightly more challenging and incur additional costs but is completely doable with careful planning.

getting a secong dog

Plenty of holiday properties accept two dogs and some even more than two. A truly dog friendly property is often willing to trust the owner’s instinct when letting, so just get booked in plenty of time to have the pick of the bunch.

dear new whippet owner

If you are travelling without your dogs, consider in home pet sitters. Both dogs are cared for in the comfort of their own home and their usual routines can continue in your absence. This is a great option for more anxious dogs. Also your house is occupied and looked after too. We find this is most definitely the best option for our pair.

If you do decide to take the plunge- congratulations! Read on for tips of how to introduce a second dog.

Introducing a second dog:

dear new whippet owner

Introducing the dogs slowly and sensibly will help both dogs. It is best for them to meet on neutral territory so they can have a sniff and check each other out initially, so perhaps take them on a walk that is new to both dogs and let them become familiar with each other and you.

two dogs

Another useful tip is that when you bring the new dog home for the first time, physically enter the house together (rather than bringing the new dog in when the established dog is in and settled). This may avoid your current dog feeling like their home is being invaded.

Let them spend time together supervised and when you are happy that they are getting along, gradually build short unsupervised periods of time. They should eventually learn to accept each other and be happy to be left alone if needed.

getting a second dog

Do your homework on getting a second dog:

This can be a straight forward process in many cases but further reading on this topic is always helpful . Take a look at some great advice by The Dog Listener Rover.com or Time for Paws.

dog friendly cottages in Norfolk

Getting a second dog certainly worked for our family and did achieve its initial goal of providing companionship. It did take time though, a good few months, for them to really get on.

It has meant that we have to consider travelling and days out more carefully, and it has increased the cost of living for us, but is completely worth it and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

new whippet owners

What ever you decide, we hope that this has been helpful and that you enjoy your dog filled life of one, two or more furry family members- a family that contributed to this post had fourteen dogs! How fabulous.

For more dog friendly living posts click here. and for dog friendly days out and holidays click here.

Recipes for Meatless Days- Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagne:

Recipes for Meatless Days- Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagne:

This simple and delicious vegetarian lasagne recipe is a filling, crowd pleasing dish for a vegetarian option or those increasing their meatless days. Make in advance for a quick, pop in the oven dinner. You will need: Serves 3 (greedy people) or 4 (smaller eaters) […]

Which Restaurant to Choose for a Special Occasion in Cambridge?

Which Restaurant to Choose for a Special Occasion in Cambridge?

With its ever expanding food scene, it is easier than ever to find a restaurant for a special occasion in Cambridge. Here are some of our favourites. Restaurant 22: Sam Carter took over Restaurant 22 a short time ago and is receiving (well deserved) rave […]

Handmade Dog Treats to Buy Online- A Review:

Handmade Dog Treats to Buy Online- A Review:

I like to know exactly what I am feeding my dogs so look for training treats with no additives, preservatives, or salt. These small businesses make handmade dog treats to buy online, using quality human grade ingredients which are tasty enough to distract and motivate our flighty whippets. Here are their favourites:

Pet Bakery:

Handmade dog treats online

Lovingly handcrafted dog treats by family run Pet Bakery, these guys offer funky flavours that include liver brownies, Sunday roast bones, and cheesy paws. Using human grade ingredients with no added nasties, these are reassuring good quality.

Handmade dog treats online

We tried them on our discerning friends at JK Petcare and they went down a storm! Easy to split in to smaller pieces for training and the dogs loved the taste of them. Practically, they were also nice and ‘non’ messy’ to carry in pockets. Handy, resealable pouches and very reasonably priced.

Marge and Mabel:

Chesterfield based Marge and Mabel (named after their beautiful Labradors) is a family business making homemade healthy treats using human grade ingredients with no added nasties. A wide range of great flavours, these bite size (for medium to large dogs) treats arrive in pretty packaging so are a lovely gift idea. Nice and tasty, without being sticky for owners pockets.

handmade dog treats online

They also offer therapeutic treats, for example gingerbread men for motion sickness and calming cookies. Birthday cakes and muffins available too. Well priced and a big hit with our whippets, who were particularity excited by the cheesy treats.

WowDog:

handmade dog treats online

Scotland based WowDog are a family run business (overseen by chief tester Buddy the Westie) lovingly making handmade quality dog treats from their home. Using high grade, natural ingredients (no nasties of course), these are great for sensitive tummies as they are free from wheat, lactose, soy, meat, salt and additives.

Flavours include peanut butter stars, honey oat bones and our favourites the beer bones which use spent grain from BrewDog’s Ellon brewery. Great to break up to suit the size of your dog, and resealable. Needless to say the whippets loved them! The practical human ‘pros’ are that they can be easily split into small training sized pieces, and are non messy for pockets.

Harley Bear’s Coco Bites:

Harley Bears natural dog treats

Harley Bear’s (named after a well loved staffie) offer a whole host of wonderful treats and pops in a wide range of flavours, forms and sizes. These are so sweet and pretty so a fabulous gift,- in fact you can even buy a personalised name treat for your dog here. More importantly than their good looks though, are the health benefits of coconut oil and the other organic, natural ingredients.

Harley bears pops

On this occasion we tried the pup pops which come in a variety of flavours, all of which the whippets loved! More of a ‘treat treat’ than a training treat, this oil based, flavoured pop comes on a pig skin lolly stick, so is entirely edible- what a great idea! I definitely see an improvement in the shininess of the hounds coat after using coconut oil, but this was much less messy (and much more fun) than grappling with jars of oil.

Handmade dog treats to buy online:

handmade dog treats online

Well, the whippets have had a ball tasting all these wonderful, quality treats. They were most definitely focused on us when we took them training with them and it was reassuring to know that what they were eating was of good quality.

Warning– watch your pockets! I had my pockets picked more than once during this testing. This is of course the flip-side of carrying delicious treats! We will definitely be buying more of these products online.

For more of our dog-friendly recommendations click here.

The above mentioned businesses invited us to review their homemade dog treats, but as ever, all opinions expressed are my own, and most importantly those of my discerning whippets.

Quality Dog Friendly Hotels in Norfolk

Quality Dog Friendly Hotels in Norfolk

Norfolk is crammed full of wonderful dog friendly places to eat, drink, visit and relax. Here are a collection of high quality, really dog friendly hotels in Norfolk to enjoy with your furry family. Titchwell Manor: Beautiful Victorian farmhouse, Titchwell Manor has chic rooms and […]

Parker’s Tavern Review- Afternoon Tea in Cambridge

Parker’s Tavern Review- Afternoon Tea in Cambridge

The University Arms Hotel has always offered afternoon tea in Cambridge, but never like this! After its recent refurbishment and the opening of Parker’s Tavern, the traditional treat has been given a substantial makeover. Parker’s Tavern: Tristan Welch has worked in many Michelin starred kitchens […]

Help for Calming Nerves before an Exam:

Help for Calming Nerves before an Exam:

calming nerves before an exam

Exam season is upon us and many young people are facing the pressure of tests. Here are some strategies for calming nerves before an exam and ways to help with the feelings of anxiety surrounding test stress.

Preparation:

exam preparation

Remind yourself that you are prepared. Revision and hard work during lessons will have given you the information that you need to know- it is now just about staying calm and applying it.

Creating mind maps or prompt cards for the key areas before the exam can act as a useful last minute visual reference, without feeling too overwhelming as the nerves begin to rise on the day.

A Calm Start to the Day:

calming nerves before an exam

On exam day, have a calm start. This really makes a difference to maintaining a sense of well-being and control over the day.

Small details like your bag being packed the night before, containing any necessary equipment (books, etc.), and getting up and ready in plenty of time really helps. Make sure you allow time for a healthy breakfast and if possible a walk or cycle in the fresh air to the exam destination.

Cruelty free brand Neals Yard offer stress busting aromatherapy rollers to take with you and roll on pulse points as needed.

Be Kind to Yourself:

be kind

By adopting a positive mental attitude we can challenge the fear of ‘I can’t do this,’ with ‘I can do this,’ or ‘I know this’.  Repeating the positive phrase each time the negative pops into the mind can help to alter our thought patterns and take the exam on!

As human beings, we can be unkind towards ourselves when feeling worried or anxious. Encourage kindness towards yourself and praise yourself for all of the hard work and effort you have given to the studying.

Use Reflexology:

hand reflexology

This can be done anywhere to bring on a sense of calm. Try the following reflexology points of the hand:

 The solar plexus reflex promotes calm. Located below the joints of the index and middle finger, apply pressure to this area, front and back. Hold this for a few seconds, inhaling as you press and slowly exhale out as you release the pressure. Working along your hand horizontally across the finger joints as will also stimulate the diaphragm reflex point which is also very calming.

The adrenal glands work hard during stressful times so help restore balance. To locate the reflex on the hands, draw a V with your fingers down your index finger and thumb. The point should meet in the middle of the Venus mound, Press here in the fleshy, web part of the hand. To use this with breathing, inhale through your nose as you press on both sides of the hand and exhale slowly as you release the pressure.

Breathe!

Calming nerves before an exam

Simply breathing in deeply (that is ensuring that you breath expands your belly) on the inhalation and exhaling slowly is calming in itself. Repeating a positive mantra whilst doing this to centre the mind and feel more positive.

By ensuring that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath, we can slow and steady the breathing and mind. Focus further by using counting during the breath. For example inhaling for 5, and exhaling for 7, or in for 7 and out for 9 (try to make the exhalation longer than the inhalation). Inhale and exhale slowly through the nose. Again, this can be done anywhere and is discreet. For more breathing exercises click here.

Practising the breathing, positive thinking and reflex points at calm times makes them much more easy to use when anxiety is felt, so dedicate 5 minutes once or twice a day to this.  There are some wonderful Apps to help with this, try Calm , or if you have an Apple watch use Breathe.

Exercise:

yoga classes in Cambridgeshire

Relieve stress though exercise. Taking a walk, cycle or having a run releases endorphins and gets rid of some of that adrenalin that was needed to perform in an exam situation. Exercise makes us feel calmer and more positive and helps us sleep better too. Yoga is fabulous for relaxation. Taking a break from studying for some exercise is really worthwhile.

Sleep:

Calming nerves before an exam

Sleeping well gives our brain and body a chance to rest and prepare for the next challenge. Adopt a calm bedtime routine to help promote a deep sleep, for example, have a relaxing bath, read a book, or snuggling up with a pet.

Don’t be tempted to watch television or use a mobile phone screen before dropping off as this is proven to interrupt sleep. Put your phone in a drawer or even better keep it out of the bedroom.

Using a relaxing sleep balm such as Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm, or Neals Yard Goodnight Pillow Mist which both aid a relaxing night’s sleep and helps us wake up feeling ready to go again. These are both cruelty free brands.

Calming Nerves Before an Exam:

new whippet owner

All the very best of luck with the exams. Remember- your best is always good enough.

Dear New Whippet Owners… Tops Tips & Advice:

Dear New Whippet Owners… Tops Tips & Advice:

Embarking on the life-changing journey of pointy-nosed parenthood? Congratulations! This advice for new whippet owners offers a collection of top-tips and fabulous nuggets of knowledge shared by us and also the wonderful community of whippet and hound owners in the Mad About Whippets Facebook group.  […]