Category: General

Crufts & Crates

March can only mean one thing, the biggest event in the doggy calendar and that is Crufts!

After having a year off due to tha pandemic I CANNOT wait to get back on that green carpet. Crufts 2020 was the first time taking my own dog Lily to do our Good Citizen Bronze Award, one of my proudest moments with my girl! This year myself and Stef will be seeing what this world renowned show has to offer.

Prepping for a Crufts visit is like preparing for a Marathon, here are my top tips for Crufts 2022!

-  Wear something light and comfy, it can get pretty toasty in the halls due to the amount of people. You’ll soon warm up from visiting stalls and demos all day.

- Comfy shoes, this really is a must. Comfort over fashion is key, it's a long day and the whole event is a lot bigger than you think. If you have a new pair of shoes you’re wanting to wear in, start now!

- Plan your visit, have a look at what is going on in the rings, maybe a certain breed you want to see competing, a live demo or even some heelwork to music. Factor these demos in with what brands you want to go have a chat with. Crufts is a great place to meet the people behind your favourite companies and meet new ones too. I will be on the Photizo stand doing a live Canine Massage and Photizo demo 2pm - 3pm, 1 - 52 next to The Kennel Club merch, come say hi!

- Crufts is renowned for its freebies and show offers, make sure you have a tote bag to stash your goodies in. Even if it's something that isn’t suitable for your own dog you can always donate to an animal charity, this includes the show offers you pick up.

- So you have picked the brands you want to go see, you go past so many other stalls and slowly your bag is filling up drastically with spoils to take home to your canine companion. Now I have no shred of shame to admit that I will be taking a shopping trolley with me. There is nothing worse than lugging around a metric tonne of things and your fingers going blue from holding 6 different carrier bags. Ladies and Gents get your Nana shopping trolleys out, trust me you will thank me later.

- Now I prefer to spend my money on my dogs, hence why I will be taking a packed lunch and plenty of water. Of course there are plenty of food and drink vendors on site, which I will be grabbing hot drinks from but everything else I will fetch with me to save having to remortgage my home for lunch. 

I have a couple breeds I will be looking to watch ring side, my life revolves around gait analysis so I have a real appreciation for good conformation, a balanced stride amongst other things. Gait analysis is where I watch dogs move to spot abnormalities or just stare in awe. Understanding breed standards allows me to strengthen my knowledge of the relationship between conformation and locomotion of each breed.

We can’t wait to be surrounded by all the things dog related, make sure to follow our adventures on our socials.

So my next port of call for the blog is having a little chat about crates.

This topic can sometimes stir up some emotive responses, but I am going to share my experiences with crates with my therapist, fosterer and pet guardian hats on.

Therapist Hat

If injury is sustained, the chances of me recommending strict crate rest is going to be entirely dependent on the dog and injury combined. Having your dog trained to settle in a crate gives us the option when trying to manage injury. However if your dog has had surgery strict crate rest really is of paramount importance. This is to safeguard the result of surgical intervention, picture your dog snuggled up on the sofa following a hip replacement (THR), there snoozing and suddenly the postman knocks. Can you guarantee your dog won’t go flying off the sofa and down the hallway barking, why take the risk? Providing the boundaries of a crate/ and or pen will help to manage your dog's movements in order to promote rest and recuperation. We can’t wrap our dogs in cotton wool the whole time when managing injury or surgery recovery but crates/ and or pens can really help when managing our lives around this time period. If you dog is scheduled for surgery and your concerned about keeping them calm start building up that positive association with the crate/ and or pen as a safe space, in order to best prep your dog for when they return home. Equally doing the prep is worth it for if injury should occur out of nowhere, you’ve already got the basics covered.

Fosterer Hat

Romanian rescue dogs are my heart dogs and I have adored my time fostering. Giving a dog a new chance in life and being that stepping stone is incredibly rewarding. When Rommie dogs arrive, they have been travelling for usually 2 days and need time to decompress. These dogs are in fight or flight mode and sadly too often I see Rommie dogs escaping their new homes. They have zero concept of arriving to a better life, everything is new and having one space that is theirs, is so important. Providing a crate in these instances, allows the dog to gently start to lower cortisol levels, be around people but without the fear and pressure of having to interact. There is nothing more special or rewarding than seeing a shut down dog slowly start to gain a little confidence. Sleep is massively important for any dog, but for these initial few days it's vital to bring cortisol levels back down. Most of the dogs have never known the warmth of a home, instead have sought shelter under things to stay dry or have been in a kill shelter where their kennel was their only safe space. We can’t romanticise the situation, if a confined space is the only place a dog has known safety then to remove this can itself be detrimental to your new rescue dog. When my own dog Peggy arrived she was shut down and struggled to be touched, you wouldn't think so now given how much love she has to give. One of my top tips for interacting with new rescue arrivals is to sit yourself in the same room away from the crate and read to your new dog. Sounds daft but this will help build up association with our language (for overseas rescues) and a way to interact without putting a single hand on your dog. A crate can help facilitate all of this, and even though Peggy has been with us for over two years, she still loves to go snooze in her own space (an understairs cupboard with a baby gate across). It is not a case of you’ve always been in a cage therefore you will never have one again, think about how it brings a sense of safety to your dog but also helps to keep them safe.

Pet Guardian Hat  

Having three young dogs is utter chaos and I wouldn't have it any other way! Now although I love dogs and a lot of people I know love them, there are going to be instances where dogs free roaming just isn’t ideal. For example, when a plummer entered my home to fix a leak, my dogs were confined to their bedroom (an under stairs cupboard with baby gate). This was for their safety and that of the workman. I was able to let him in without them rushing to greet him, he was able to solder pipe work as I came in and out the door turning the water off. After an initial shouty 5 minutes the dogs settled and slept whilst work was being carried out, all thanks to the training and boundaries in place. For Lily and Rodney building up a positive association from a young age has been integral to their training. Lily eats super slow and the others will try to pinch her dinner, so she goes into her bedroom to eat in peace. Travelling by car without suitable restraints (crate or seat belt and harness) in place for your dog can land you a fine of £5k! Crates have been instrumental through puppy training to help with structuring our day, ensuring plenty of nap time and working on toilet training. Later in life having multi dog households and keeping entire pets apart is incredibly important to avoid accidental pregnancies.

I am by no means a dog trainer but just here to share my experiences. If you are looking for help with crate training contact your local dog trainer on how to build up that positive association as you never know when you might need one!

Continue to nourish your dogs with species appropriate nutrition, massage and compassion.

Catch up soon,

Yaz x 

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