Friday, 15 August 2014

Dog & Bone Film and TV Masterclass

I signed Sweep up for the Dog And Bone Film and TV Masterclass workshop as I thought it would be good for him to do some learning around other dogs and also good for me to see whether I was teaching him all the right things, it also meant he could be registered for work with Dalys Dogs.
It was held at The Dog Training Barn in Banbury and the satnav took me straight past the venue into the village so it took me a while to find it.  The venue is fab (once you know where it is!) as it’s easy to get to not being far from the M40.
The day started with a talk from Kay Weston from Animal Ambassadors, we worked a lot with Kay when Dizzy was doing work and she is a lovely person to work with and would recommend her to anyone.  She has a lot of experience and has worked on programmes such as Eastenders and Dogs Trust adverts etc.
We then started training and throughout the day when we started a new session on a new behaviour we split into groups so dogs that were already trained could then be in a more advanced group to improve the behaviour and strengthen it.  As Sweep was only 20 weeks I stayed in the lowest group, he could do some of the behaviours well and probably could have gone in to the other group but I didn’t want to push him in a new environment.  We did things like stand, sit and down stays with distractions, this is really important for any kind of media work as there are a LOT of distractions on set.  Recalls with distractions, sending the dog to a mark, touch (nose touch and paw touch), holding an object, leave (food or toy).
Training was great as there was plenty of time for the trainers to go round the group and tailor everything individually.  We had a mid morning and mid afternoon break with a lunch break as it is a long day for the dogs.  Hot drinks and cakes were provided for us.  At the end of the day all the dogs were assessed to see which behaviours they could and couldn’t do in order for them to be put forward for any future jobs.
Sweep – I was really pleased with him, I just took his travel bed in with us and in between sessions he just lay on his bed and chilled out.  I made myself a drink, wandered round and he stayed on his bed with people and dogs walking round.  REALLY pleased as it’s so important for a dog to be able to settle and relax if you are interested in doing filmwork.  They are normally long days and a lot of the time the dogs aren’t doing anything so they need to be able to settle in between working.  Dizzy was always brilliant at settling, Cas or Ember I could never get to settle.

This is a fab course and you don’t need to have done any training before you go but similarly if you have trained all the behaviours the advanced class was there to expand on them.  There was a rescue dog (who is looking for a home) there who came for a day out and obviously had never done anything, he got on really well.  Thanks Dog & Bone for the photos.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pet London Review

Pet London kindly sent us some goodies to try :), I love Pet London and was so excited when they said they were sending me some goodies.  Thank you very much, the dogs loved their pressies.

First up was a toy - a UK Royal Guard Dog soft squeaky toy, which with Sweep wasn't going to last two minutes, his eye fell off!  So this is a toy for an older dog who isn't a chewer, it's a really sweet little toy and a lovely size for Ember to run round with.

Next up was a t-shirt, another patriotic item which looked so cute along with the little toy!  It fit well but I don't think the sizes available go up much larger than this so it  is more of a little dog item.  It did look pretty cool though and I am not normally one that buys dog clothes.

Then we tried on the Puppia Soft Harness, I actually had one of these when Sweep was smaller as I much prefer a harness on a smaller dog/puppy as they tend to pull and I hate them putting so much strain on their necks.  The harness fit really well and I do think they feel like they are comfy as they have a soft wide band that goes around their neck and under their tummy. The only thing I would prefer on them would be to have two clips on their back as you end up having to put their leg through or pulling the harness out of the loop, just makes life a bit easier when you have two clips.

I also tried it on Ember and it fit well too :) It did look very smart.  They come in all sorts of pretty colours.

I took Sweep on a training day and it was a great oppurtunity to test the Pet London Travel Bowl. In the past I have used the fabric type bowls and found them a bit messy as they tend to squash and spill quite easily.
This one is made of rubber and packs flat so it doesn't really take up a lot of room. It has a handy clip so you can clip it to you if you don't have room in your bag.
The rubber concertinas out to form a really sturdy bowl. I was impressed as it didn't squash down like the fabric ones do, it ws really stable. It isn't a huge bowl but any dog can drink out of it happily. In fact a doberman wouldn't drink out of his own bowl and made a bee line to drink out of this one!

I only wish I had known about them earlier as I would have bought one. Would really recommend it.