The perfect holiday home for a reactive dog

I recently went on a long weekend away.

Along with James and myself came Frank, my fluffy reactive lurcher.

Finding somewhere to go on holiday with your reactive dog can be a nightmare. Trying to find a place that “gets” your dog is a challenge.

But I’ve found that place. I’ve struck the doggy holiday jackpot!

Now let me tell you first that I don’t go on holidays that far away with Frank. He can cope with journeys of an hour to two hours but anything more would be a push.

I also like to look for cottages that are rural. When I go on these kind of holidays I don’t spend all day everyday out, so home comforts are important to me too.

What I found was a cottage near Swaffham in Norfolk. It was set in the owners garden and attached to the owners house. The bit that was linked was their entrance hall into their house, so don’t let that put you off.

In the cottage itself was a modern kitchen with a dishwasher. This is a plus point for James and myself as neither of us have that luxury of a dishwasher in our respective homes.

The floor was tiled, ideal for mucky paws. Plenty of room to put down your dog bowls and to dry off said mucky paws.

By the way this is a character cottage built in the 18th century. The cottage is filled with beams and is decorated tastefully to match.

The living room has a sofa, large foot stall, armchair and a table for two. This particular cottage sleeps 2 only, although I imagine you could take a baby too.

On the foot stall were 2 throws. In the welcome manual it stated that these throws are for putting on the sofa for your dogs.

Most dog friendly cottages tell you not to let dogs on the furniture so this was a refreshing change. The manual also said that if more throws were needed to just go and ask.

Frank does love a cuddle on the sofa so this met our needs.

Upstairs is one huge bedroom with a super king sized bed. Built into the bedroom is a luxurious bathroom with a deep roll top bath and a double sized shower.

Now you will need to know the person you are going away with quite well. The bathroom has walls but they do not got all the way up.

And nor should they because the exposed beams demand to be shown and enjoyed. The bathroom walls are plenty tall enough for privacy.

There is more wardrobe space than you can ever dream off, a dressing table and an armchair.

In the manual the owners ask you to keep the dog of the bed but say it’s fine for the dog to be upstairs.

Again, very refreshing.

But let’s head outside, where the magic really happens.

Directly outside the cottage is a communal garden. You are asked to keep dogs on lead in this part.

In the garden is a very old building that is home to a hot tub. A six person hot tub. Lush.

The first time I went in the hot tub, Frank came along too. Not in the tub though, just in the building.

After that he stayed in the cottage by himself and was fine for an hour whilst we bathed away.

The dog wash area
Hot Tub Heaven!

Also by the hot tub is a bathing area for your dog. It even had a clip for you to attach your dog too. Handy for those muddy, wriggly pups!

At the end of the communal garden is a gate leading to the paddock.

You have full access to this paddock. It has got poles for your dogs to weave round, a platform for them to climb up and tyres to jump through. There are also swings for the human children.

If your dog is friendly then they can go in and are welcome to join any of the other guests dogs in there.

If your dog is reactive you put a red pole in front of the gate. This then means no one else is allowed in there. Genius!

This was perfect for us. Frank could have a lovely run around and I felt very safe in the knowledge that no one would come in.

Each house has a very small secure garden, perfect for those late night wee breaks!

I will definitely book to go here again. I can’t recommend it enough as being perfect for Frank.

You view more about the cottage and book it here.

Love, Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

What is this Engagement malarkey all about?

One part of my unique P•E•T system is Engage or engagement to give it the full title. I actually believe that engagement between a dog and you is one of the most important things to teach and build on with your dog.

So what is engagement? Engagement is about your dog being aware of you. An engaged dog will always respond when we talk to them or play with them.

An engaged dog won’t be getting distracted by what else is going on because they will be having too much fun with you, or us if we walk them!

A dog who is engaged knows that rewards come from their walker or you and because of this they want to work with you.

How do you get a dog to engage with you though? Well it’s all about payment. That’s right, just like you expect to go to work and get paid, so does your dog. Ok, they aren’t really working but do try and think of your dog having an emotional bank account.

If your dog has done something great and they have been “paid” for it then you have just made a deposit in to their bank account. But imagine if they have done something brilliant and it was ignored. Yep, you guessed it, you have just made a withdrawal from their emotional bank account.

In the dog world, payment is a food reward, playing with toys, an audible reward or a big fuss. Rewarding is not bribing, it promotes a great relationship and behaviour.

A dog that has a healthy emotional bank account is a happy dog looking for more ways to increase their balance.

Still confused? Imagine your boss has asked you to stay late to get a report done. You may not be happy about that. If it was me, I would probably mumble something unspeakable under my breath and curse them for everything wrong in the world.

But if that boss asked me to stay late with the promise of a pizza break later on, well I’m a happy girl. I may well think that my boss is great and I’m wondering what I need to do to get cake. Let’s start paying our dogs!

Love, Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Managing Muddy Mutts

We are still 4 weeks away from the longest day.

Can you believe that, I’m mean how much shorter can the days get. Even I seem to be missing out on daylight.

November is such a dark and dreary month and after all that rain from last week there is mud everywhere.

And if you live at my end of town then you have the added mud caused by the Haverhill Lagoon (just by Boyton Place) and the Anglian water works just before Kedington.

In fact you can’t get away from it and believe me I’ve tried. Mud is everywhere.

I don’t  know if I’ve ever told you, but I’m not really the outdoorsy type. I hate mud. I hate being dirty. Add to that the ruddy cheeks and the windswept birds nest on my head. Yep, gorgeous. Not.

I can’t manage the weather but I can and have managed the mud.

Let’s go through some basics first. There are different types of mud. There are probably scientific terms for them all but let me just tell you about the 3 types I know about. Mud, muddier and mucky mud.

Mucky mud is the worst. That’s the one that sticks to everything. It’s the one that clogs up your boots fast and makes you feel like you are carrying an extra stone or two of weight on your feet.

If you have naturally mucky mud in your garden the only way to deal with it, in my humble opinion is artificial grass. Mucky mud leads you into a false sense of security and just when you think it’s drying out, then wham bam it’s muckier than ever.

And let’s face it no dog is ever going to carefully tread round it.

Some dogs like to roll in it (not mentioning any names) and this is why you need to get your dog a coat if they are guilty of this behaviour. Even if they don’t need a coat because they don’t feel the cold, get them a lightweight coat.I take a portable shower out with me. This is the one I’ve used previously and this is the one I’m using this year.

Whilst talking about coats you can also get drying coats for dogs. 

Basically these work by popping your dog in them and they then dry off. Won’t help with the mud but does help with damp dogs especially if you have to shower them down.

Take out a flask of warm water and you can rinse them down before your dog gets in the car. Pop on a drying coat and you have got the equivalent of bathing your child at whoever’s house you are at and popping them into their pyjamas before you head home. Cute.

You can get boot liners and seat covers for your car. They aren’t that expensive and they do save the upholstery. I also have some vet bed in my car as this helps with wet and muddy paws.

When faced with a muddy dog you do need to work out if they need to be showered off and just given a good rub down with a towel.

Let me tell you that I rarely use my portable shower. Muddy dogs usually look worse than they are if they have been walking in mud or muddier mud. Usually the mud in these two cases is mainly water based. If your dog is covered in muckier mud then it’s shower time. Let’s not also forget that sometimes it’s just as easy to let the mud dry and then brush it out of your dog.  Although I don’t recommend this option if your dog is really muddy. Or hates to be brushed.

The best towels that I’ve used are just old towels. I find these very absorbent and way better than new towels or the micro fibre type ones. The great thing about old towels is that if you ask friends or family they nearly always will have a couple they can pass them on to you.

If you are using coats, dryings coat and towels then you need to be able to wash them quickly. I’ve talked about this washing bag before. It’s a big life changer.

It traps all the dog hair without it staying in your washing machine drum and then infiltrating your next load of washing.

Pick lightweight coats that can dry quickly on a radiator. For myself I do like my towels soft and fluffy but your dog will be happy with a towel dried on the radiator.

Don’t forget to use non bio washing products though, you don’t want to irritate your dogs skin.

There isn’t a lot you can do about wet dog smell, but you can use candles to mask it.

Check out this candle that has been specifically made for that purpose.

We all know that continually bathing your dog’s strips essential oils from their skin and hair. 

So once they are dry using some doggy perfume. This is my favourite, but there are plenty to choose from out there.

I like to deal with muddy dogs before they get in the house but that doesn’t help if your dog has got wet and mucky in the garden. I use these mats. They are washable and non slip.

You can get them in a variety of sizes including a runner. Train your dog to sit on these when they come in from the garden and then work your mud cleaning magic on them.

I love a fabric collar for Frank, but they are not practical for wet and muddy weather. These collars and leads, from local company Bella Bows, are fantastic. Hi-vis, easy to wipe clean, antibacterial and just bloody perfect for mud!

Mud doesn’t have to be your enemy. It can be managed. I know of people who have installed a mixer tap outside so they can hose their dogs down with warm water.

If you have some other ideas on managing mud, please tell me in the comments below.

Love, Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.