Keep up to date with the Naturally Happy Dogs Blog

Top Ways Therapy Pets Help Humans and Vice a Versa

12 December 2017

The super old saying that "dog is man’s best friend" is one that has been around for ages and is completely true. There have been many studies done that prove dogs have a positive benefit on everything from the health of humans to the happiness of humans as well. There are many different ways that dogs help humans, but there are also ways that humans can help their loyal pets as well. From making sure that they are taken to the vet on a regular basis to keeping them safe during the holidays, our dogs should be pampered and loved. With that in mind read on below for a few of the top ways dog’s help their humans and vice versa.

Dogs: As Therapy Pets

Pets used for therapy are some of the most loyal and intelligent animals around. From helping you get through college to helping you shop at the local market, therapy pets are not just helpers to their owners, they are loyal companions and friends as well.

Humans: Give Your Dog a Home

The first and probably the best way that you can help your pet is by giving them a home to begin with. There are many stray dogs on the streets and many more that have been picked up and put to sleep because no one wants to adopt them. Your first step is to adopt a pet to give a home.

Dogs: Help with Depression

Dogs have been proven over and over again to be able to help with depression and keep their owners happy. If you find yourself depressed, curl up with your pooch and watch a movie or even just pay him some attention and you will both feel better before you know it.

Humans: Watch What He Eats

You might not know it, but there are some foods that are toxic for your dog. There are serious health consequences for everything from chewing a chicken bone to eating a bar of chocolate. Most dogs will eat anything they can get ahold of, so make sure to keep those items and other toxic foods up where your pooch can’t reach them. If your dog does get sick from a food that he shouldn’t be eating, take him to an emergency vet as soon as possible for treatment. You will both be glad that you did.

Dogs: Early Cancer Detection

It has been proven that dogs can be trained to sniff out the early warning signs of cancer. The smell that cancer cells give off is easily detectable to dogs who have been trained to know what to look for. If your dog is insisting on sniffing at a certain part of your body all of the time, it could be because he’s found something that you need to get checked out. Don’t ignore him, call your doctor right away for an appointment.

These are just a few of the ways that dogs help humans on a daily basis and some of the ways that you can help to take care of your loyal pet. From early cancer detection to being a therapy pet, dogs have proven that they are indeed “man’s best friend,” and always will be.

Ensuring a stress free Christmas

2 December 2017

How to make sure your dog has a stress-free Christmas

Christmas is a very busy time in most households. There are gifts to buy and wrap, food to prepare and eat, and close and extended family to invite round and visit. However, there is one member of the family who might not be having the most magical time: your dog. With all the comings and goings and an irregular schedule, the festive season can be confusing for your furry friend, and they might begin to feel stressed as result. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make your dog's Christmas as stress-free as possible, and we’ve listed several below. Read on to find out more.

Don't stray too far from your dog's routine

Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit. But, while we can make an exception for the festive period, our furry friends can't. For example, if you decide to go for a spot of spontaneous Christmas shopping during the time you'd usually give the dog their dinner or go for a walk, they are going to be left confused as to why their routine has suddenly been switched around. Instead, try to think ahead and do your best to plan Christmas around your dog. This doesn't have to completely set in stone, but giving your pet some structure will help them avoid becoming stressed. If you know you're going to be super busy for a few days and won't be able to take the dog out for a nice, long walk, ask a friend or relative if they'd step in. Should everyone else you know be busy, you could always try a dog sitter or a dog walker through Gudog, a service that matches local dog professionals with owners in a jam.

Prepare for your dog being around new faces

Christmas is the time when you catch up with all your friends and relatives, so there will probably be a host of faces passing through your door. Many dogs have a happy-go-lucky personality and are glad to accept strokes from just about anybody, but there are also a few who shy away from new people and retreat into their shell. You'll know how comfortable your dog is around strangers the best so, if you know they can become nervous at the sight and scent of newcomers, it's best to prepare a space they can feel safe in. Put their bed, water bowl, and favourite toys into a quiet room and ask your guests not to disturb them if they head in there to chill-out. It's vital your dog feels safe and secure, so providing that environment over Christmas is essential for keeping them totally de-stressed.

Decorate your home in a dog-friendly way

You might not realise it, but there are quite a few hidden hazards to be found in traditional Christmas decorations. Artificial trees are usually the best choice for dogs, as they have none of the sharp, mildly-toxic needles that can get stuck in paws or eaten. You should also look to avoid glass ornaments or baubles as they could cause similar issues if they fall and break. If you plan on using edible decorations, you might want to think again, as chocolate is highly toxic to dogs. Tinsel is also hazardous, as the strands can cause internal injury if eaten. For more expert advice on dog-dangers to watch out for around Christmas, be sure to watch our Keeping Dogs Safe at Christmas vet advice video that will keep you well informed.

Get ready for the fireworks

Around New Year, the UK tends to explore its fascination with fireworks, which is bad news for dog owners. The loud noises can put our furry friends on edge so, if you know there will be a local display or one of your neighbours is planning on enjoying a few, it's best to prepare and practice some understanding of your pet's fear.

Dogs can become very skittish when a firework goes off, so make a point of going for a walk earlier in the day when there is a less chance of a loud bang causing them to slip their lead and run away. Before you head out, make sure that your pooch's details are up to date on their microchip just in case the worst should happen. You can do this by logging onto your chip provider's website — all the UK registered databases are listed by Dogs Trust.

Make sure all your windows, doors, and curtains are closed. And, if there is a room in your home that is more insulated from noise outside, it might be best to set your dog's bed up in there. It's well worth taking a look at Millbry Hill's guide to keeping pets safe during firework season as it contains extensive and detailed advice for both dogs and other animals.

Take care of the furry member of your family this Christmas and make sure they don't get stressed by following our tips. Then, all that's left is to enjoy a healthy festive season together.

It's nearly Crufts time!

27 February 2017

We are off to Crufts again from the 9th to the 12th March, we don't have a stand this year but if you would like to come to chat with us, do drop us a Facebook message and we can meet you there.

While it was originally about showing dogs, Crufts has become the place to go for all of our canine shopping, finding out about new training techniques, sports and the latest companies in the dog world. It's also a great day spent out with a few thousand other doggy people!

Tickets are on sale now from the Crufts ticket office.  Don't delay - get yours today!


Merry Christmas everyone

19 December 2016

We hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

In the lead up to Christmas, why not remind yourself about:

Keeping dogs safe at Christmas

Reducing your dog's stress at Christmas

or you could even find out about Christmas at the RSPCA kennels.

Scentwork, breeding dogs and lead work

29 November 2016

Today we met Hannah Molloy from Pawfect Dogsense who discussed with us the pros and cons of breeding our dogs and making sure we are breeding the right temperaments and creating healthy puppies. Hannah also showed us a few lovely fun scentwork exercises with Skyler (pictured), and also demonstrated how to stop a dog from pulling on the lead.

Do As I Do with Dog & Bone

10 October 2016

This week we have been promoting Naturally Happy Dogs at the Dog & Bone seminar 'Do As I Do'. It's a fascinating technique where you teach your dog a cue to 'copy the action I've just done'. Sandy and Skyler both had a go, and seemed to be getting the hang of it by the end.

We filmed Claudia explaining the technique a while ago, you can watch the video here: Do As I Do with Claudia Fugazza

Three simple training exercises that really work

20 September 2016

It's lovely to learn a simple training method that really changes things for you and your dog, and today we learned three of them!


Tony Cruse from TC dog training showed us three exercises he teaches to his class:

"Chuck the Cheese" is a very easy to teach method to get your dog to pay attention to you, and untimately offer you some behaviours before they rush off to play with other dogs. Skyler helped out as the 'more advanced' training demonstrator. 

"Drop, Step and Treat" is a nice little exercise to do occasionally with your dog so that if you ever drop your lead, your dog's response is to look at you. Imagine how useful this would be if you dropped the lead near a busy road. 

"Food bowl manners" - does what it says on the tin! When explained in these simple terms, it's clear how effective Tony's methods will be to ensure dogs are happy when you are around their food bowl.

Large Munsterlanders, Weimaraners, Salukis

4 September 2016

Wow - three breeds in one week!

And what lovely breeds they are. The Large Munsterlanders were very sociable, friendly dogs, although you need to not be too house proud to own one as they do like to get a little muddy when out on walks!

It was amazing to see the Salukis run, and we got some lovely slow motion footage to add to our video. Their owners warned us about how attached Salukis can get to their first owners, these really are a dog for life as they don't cope very well with being rehomed.

And finally, the Weimaraners, the 'grey ghosts' showed their sensible and playful side, while their owners told us how good these dogs are at reading a situation and acting accordingly.

Car sickness, Firework phobias TTouch sessions

30 August 2016

Today we filmed the lovely Toni Shelbourne in Berkshire to find out more about car travel problems, firework phobias and what actually happens during a TTouch session. As usual, Sandy and Skyler were on hand to help out and were more than willing TTouch participants!

Skyler is a very active little dog so we wonder if it will have an effect in calming her down a little, we're ever hopeful!

Agility filming

26 August 2016

Today we have been filming with Marianne Tembey from Patchwork Training for some more agility articles...
- Using jump grids to affect stride
- Teaching the 'wait'
- Agility exercises for dogs under 12 months.


We look forward to bringing you these articles soon :)

What to do if your dog is lost or stolen

11 July 2016

Our dogs are an important part of our family, and so when he suddenly goes missing it can be absolutely devastating. Regardless of whether he has been lost or stolen, you will probably feel sick with worry until his whereabouts have been traced. Your natural instinct may be to panic, but it is important that you keep calm and act quickly to have the best possible chance of safely recovering your beloved pet.

Here is our guide to what to do if your dog is lost or stolen.

Report your dog as lost or stolen
The very first thing that you should do is report your dog as either lost or suspected stolen (whichever applies) to your local council’s dog warden, as this is the person most likely to pick up your pet if a member of the public finds him wandering around.

You should also report your dog as either lost or stolen to local branches of the RSCPA and veterinary practises, again because these are places that a lost dog may be taken by the finder.

If you have reason to believe that your dog has been stolen rather than become lost, then you should report it as a theft to your local police station. Unfortunately, not all police are willing to record missing dogs as theft, and so you may find you need to be insistent and provide any proof that may be left behind.

Finally, you should report your dog to the microchip database. They will then know to inform you if anyone tries to re-register the chip number associated with your pet.

Search the neighbourhood
While it is completely understandable to want to get straight out and start searching for your beloved dog, a methodical and well thought-out search is almost always more beneficial. By visiting the locations that you usually take your pet for a walk, including nearby parks and walking routes, you will be able to speak to other dog owners about your missing pet. Go armed with photographs and post-it notes with your contact number on, so that anyone that may have seen your dog can get in touch.

Then spread your news wider
Some dogs have the ability to run for very long distances, and if your dog has gone missing then he may be further away than you anticipate. If you don’t have any success in tracking your pet down within the first 24 hours then spread news of his disappearance further afield.

Utilise the power of social media
Social media is currently one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, and news of your dog’s disappearance can spread extraordinarily quickly. Ask your social media friends to like and share the information, as this significantly increases the number of people who will hear that your dog is missing and will dramatically improve the likelihood of recovering your pet safe and well.

Make posters
Even with the evolution of technology, there is still a definite place for traditional methods when it comes to tracing lost or stolen dogs. Create a poster using one or two very clear and recent photographs of your pet. Include the details of when/where your dog went missing or was stolen and remember to put your contact details on too. Display the poster in as many places locally as you are able to, including shop noticeboards, schools and libraries.

Don’t give up hope
Some dogs that have gone missing are not found for several days or even weeks. Don’t give up hope and keep circulating information about your pet.

How to protect your dog from theft

6 July 2016

Animal theft in the UK has grown steadily over the last five years, with dogs being the primary target of both opportunistic thieves, and highly organised and experienced gangs of snatchers. Some target pedigree dogs with the intention of selling them for profit or using them for breeding. Genuine pedigree puppies can sell for upwards of £600, but pups from a puppy farm are often sold considerably cheaper in order to turn a fast profit. Puppy farms are created by individuals or groups who mate their dogs and bitches with one intention – to create as many pups as possible. This often means that bitches are forced to carry litters too frequently and in poor conditions, putting her and her puppies at risk. The pups are often sold too early, and without any of the necessary vaccinations, treatment or paperwork. Other thieves target older dogs of any breed so that they can be used as bait dogs in illegal dog-fighting rings. Both of these scenarios are heart-breaking for dog lovers and it is understandable to worry about the security of your pet. That is why we have put together this guide detailing some of the best ways to help protect your dog from theft.

Dog Theft Protection at Home 

Although your dog is safer at home than anywhere else, there are still some steps that you can take to ensure that your pet is well protected from theft.

* Make sure that your garden is as secure as possible, particularly if your dog likes to dig! If you don’t mind higher fences, then this is a good way to stop potential thieves from seeing your pet to identify its age and breed, and makes it much harder to get in and out of your garden if the gate is locked.
* Consider fitting a bell or similar noise-making device to your garden gate so that you will hear if anyone tries to open it.
* Don't leave your pet unattended in the garden, keep him firmly in sight.
* Consider covering the garden, and front and rear entrances to your property with CCTV.
* Install a burglar alarm for your home.
* Keep pets away when answering the door. This is especially true if you have multiple dogs who tend to rush to the front door when you have a visitor, as the confusion may make it easy for a thief to snatch and run with a smaller breed.


If you breed puppies

If you breed puppies, you are at greater risk of theft as you need to invite people into your home to view them. Minimise your risk by:

* Making sure another family member or friend is present when you show the puppies.
* Place a limit on the number of people that you show the puppies to at any one time.
* Show the puppies in a secure area of your house that has only one access point.

Outside your Home

Your dog is most vulnerable when they are outside of the home. Here are some preventative measures you can take against theft.

* Don’t leave your dog tied up outside a school or a shop as this makes him an opportunistic target. If you need to run an errand, leave him at home and take him out for a dedicated walk later.
* Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car. Not only does it put him at risk of serious dehydration, but it would also only take a thief a matter of seconds to break a window and snatch him.
* Some thieves have been known to target specific dogs by monitoring their daily activities. Change up your walking routes and times so you don’t become predictable.
* Be wary of strangers asking lots of questions about your pet.
* Train your dog to return when called and don’t let him off the lead until he can reliably do so.
* When letting him off the lead, try to only do so in areas where you can keep a close eye on your dog, such as open fields and parks.
* If you want to use services such as a dog groomer, walker, sitter or kennels, make sure you use a reliable and reputable business, and get first hand references wherever you can.

General Rules for Dog Security

* Microchipping your pet is the single most important thing that you can do as it means that if your dog is lost and then found he can be returned to you. However, it also means that if you believe your dog is stolen and you let the microchipping database know, if anyone else tries to re register the chip in their name, it will instantly flag up that the dog has been stolen. Just remember to keep your address and phone details up to date so that you can be contacted.
* Make sure your dog has a collar and ID tag with your name, address and phone number on so that you can be contacted without taking your dog to a veterinarian for a chip scan.
* Take plenty of pictures of your dog on a regular basis, and particularly of any distinguishing features. You should also take pictures of your dog with you and other family members as this will help prove ownership in the case of a dispute.

Don’t let your pet be an easy target. Follow some of the advice listed above and protect your dog from theft today.

Competition time

29 June 2016

Enter to win....
* A years subscription to NaturallyHappyDogs.com
* A goody bag from Natures Menu
and...
* A GPS device courtesy of Locate your pet Enter today at

http://www.naturallyhappydogs.com/pages/competition


Brenda Aloff seminars

15 April 2016

We had a great time at Brenda Aloff's seminars with Dog & Bone this week, Brenda was discussing Handling Reactive Dogs and Training Reactive Dogs and we had a stand at the Bedfordshire and the Yorkshire events.

Brenda was a fascinating speaker and obviously a fan of Naturally Happy Dogs, so much so that she was more than happy to do some more filming before her seminars even started. We look forward to editing those three new videos and putting them live soon.

The NHD stand was very popular at the seminars, with many people coming over to sign up.

The camping and caravan show.

29 February 2016

Dog lovers are often going to want to take their dogs on holiday with them but may also be away from home with their dogs for other reasons, too, such as entering multi-day doggie events. For this reason, something like a motor home or caravan can offer the freedom to take your dog(s) with you.

On 24th February Naturally Happy Dogs set off to the NEC in Birmingham to explore the sort of vehicles that are currently on the market. The choice is bewildering: a huge range of sizes and types but more especially a wide range of internal layouts. Ones that particularly caught our eye were motor homes where parts of the interior could be removed, altered or moved. We even found a small motor home with generous room for dog crates under a bed.

The vehicle that appealed most to us, though, was the least practical: a caravan made entirely of lego. It wasn't something you could take on holiday but was utterly charming.

Photizo Light therapy

29 February 2016

Naturally Happy Dogs have always taken the approach of finding out what's out there for a dog's health and leave the decision to the owner about which to choose. We recently met Ruth from Danetre Health Products who offers Photizo LED light therapy.

It sounds very exciting and multi-purpose and so easy for everyone to use.  Ruth had a willing volunteer in the form of her young cocker spaniel who seemed very relaxed receiving their treatment.

Crufts is celebrating 125 years

13 February 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed this look back at the last 125 years of Crufts dog show

We found it fascinating to see the breeds from the 60's and 70's and how similar they look to today's breeds.

We spotted the below breeds in this video…

Afghan, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Border collie, Borzoi, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Japanese Chin, King Charles Spaniel, Maltese, Poodle, Rough Collie, Samoyed, Scottish Terrier, Smooth Collie,

Did you see any others?

Beco Pets

5 February 2016

Today we met with Beco Pets in Kent to film an article about their company and products. It's amazing just how many dog toys and poo bags can be fitted into one warehouse - and that was apparently only 2 weeks supply!

Beco now sell products to 33 different countries, it's no wonder as we think their eco friendly products are great.

Ston Easton Park

17 January 2016


The NHD team were very fortunate to be asked to visit the beautiful Ston Easton Park country house hotel this weekend.

Since the 1980’s Ston Easton Park have welcomed dogs to stay with their owners with open arms – they even have their own on-site dog 'Oscar', who is announced as the real boss of the establishment, and when we first arrived he was the first to greet us.

Set in 37 acres of beautiful Wiltshire countryside and with a river running through the estate, Ston Easton Park felt like a real get away, and we were in for a treat. As well as the warm welcome from Oscar, the staff were very relaxed and welcoming, fussing over their four-legged guests, our film crew and pooches felt immediately at home.

The room was very spacious and comfortable, and the rest of the hotel followed this trend. The food was amazing, and we enjoyed the chance to dine with our dogs joining us in the lounge rather than the restaurant (which has to keep dogs out to adhere to health and safety rules). The view from our room was simply stunning, and the antique furniture throughout the venue with the large ornate ceilings meant we could sit for hours, simply enjoying looking around the rooms. We could go on about what a wonderful time we had, but we’d rather show you in our video review coming up shortly on the Naturally Happy Dogs website.

We would like to thank everyone at Ston Easton Park for inviting us, and making us feel so welcome. We have a feeling we will be returning in the future as normal customers, when we find time in our busy schedules!

Pregnancy scanning

6 January 2016

We spent a very interesting day today in Milton Keynes with Domini Allday from Petscan finding out all about canine pregnancy scanning.

It was amazingly quick and easy to find out that two of the attending dogs weren't pregnant and the other had 7 puppy fetuses that were just 3-4 weeks old!

We look forward to receiving pictures of the litter after they're born.

Breed photos wanted

10 November 2015

Calling all owners of pedigree dogs - Photos wanted.

We are looking for an image of each of the dog breeds to use in our 'breed library'. If you own one of the breeds missing from our breed library, please feel free to submit a picture of your dog and you might feature on this page.

The photo must be:
- a good example of the breed
- the dog standing sideways on to the camera
- one of the breeds with an 'image coming soon' picture
- your own copyright
- emailed to us at breeds@naturallyhappydogs.com along with some text to say you are happy for the photo to appear on www.naturallyhappydogs.com

If your photo is chosen, you will receive a free 1 month membership to Naturally Happy Dogs.

Hidden camera videos of pets left home alone

10 November 2015

Animal-themed videos are often the ones that get us giggling the most, everybody loves a funny pet video.

Home videos can show us what our furry friends really get up to, when they think nobody is watching. On our quest for the funniest animal-themed video, we came across ‘What happened when this cat and dog were left home alone’.

We had no idea what was about to happen, and we really didn’t expect to see what came at the end of the video. Here’s what happened… make sure you watch and share it with your friends. It’ll make you think carefully about how you leave your pets home alone.

Scent work trials

8 November 2015


We spent a very enjoyable day today learning about scent work at the second ever trails by Scentwork UK. There were level 1 and level 2 dogs competing - 20 dogs in total. There were some fantastic searches - some in just a few seconds.

Each level completed 4 searches - an interior 'chairs and tables' search, a vehicle search, a luggage search and an exterior search. It was fascinating to see how the different conditions affected the different dogs. It was also amazingly clear how important the handlers were, in helping, rather than hindering their dogs.

Puppy Skyler came along for the ride and decided to 'help' at the end when we filmed the interview with Heather Donnelly!


Some 'different' assistance dog videos

30 October 2015

Today we were filming with an inspirational lady - Philippa Sjoberg and her 3 dogs (plus two visiting canines!) When Philippa was told she would need a wheelchair, her main worry was whether she would be able to continue living and working with dogs. She has shown that, if you want it enough, it is certainly possible.

Along with Golden Retriever, Jack, Philippa lives with and trains a cocker spaniel and a Chihuahua, and sometimes looks after her daughter's two dogs too.

Philippa trains all her dogs and now the others sometimes even try to join in Jack's assistance dog tasks as they know there are treats on offer!

Today we filmed articles about living with assistance dogs and other dogs, ongoing training of assistance dogs and some of the practical aspects of training dogs from a wheelchair.

New puppy?

3 October 2015

A local writer came across our website and thought it was a great idea, so he put together a guide to things to think about when getting a puppy, with links to some useful videos.

Things to think about when getting a new puppy
by Sloan McKinney

Puppies are one of the cutest things on the planet earth, and getting a new, fluffy, four-legged friend is an important decision that should be weighed very carefully and comes with a great deal of responsibility. There’s much to consider when choosing a new member of your family, whether you live alone, share your space with a significant other or have a house full of kids, things like what breed you will decide upon will depend on some of these environmental circumstances.

BREEDS
There are many different characteristics of certain dogs that are breed specific, for example, some larger canines like the Golden Retriever are excellent with children, while smaller pups, like chihuahuas and other tiny toys, can be easily fallen on and hurt and so may lack the patience to deal with toddlers. Speaking of children, while dogs need basic obedience training, kids should also be schooled on how to deal with canines to avoid aggressive behaviors that could lead to biting. 

SINGLE PEOPLE
For single people or lone wolves, pardon the pun, there are also breeds that tend to lean towards having a single master, like some terriers for example the border terrier, but at the same time, they also make great family pets.
Often, working dogs, like sheep-herding animals, military and police K-9’s will carry a stronger bond with their single, unique, one-and-only handler and trainer.

SIZES
Just because you live in a small space or have a tiny flat, doesn’t mean you can’t get a big dog. Large breed canines like the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, St. Bernard, Newfoundland and Mastiff have all been labelled as “mat dogs,” due to their seemingly endless nap times. Naturally you’ll want to take them out for some exercise, but once they’ve grown up, they’ll likely be perfectly content to sleep for a few hours while you’re at work or school.

HEALTH
When deciding upon a certain breed or type of dog, people should research what health issues they may be prone to having. For example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can develop a specific neurological problem known as Syringomyelia (SM). They are also more susceptible to heart and eye problems.

Some larger breed dogs, like the German Shepherd are well-known for carrying hereditary conditions, like hip and elbow dysplasia. Be sure to do your homework first, especially when it comes to choosing a healthy puppy.

TRAINING
A puppy’s first training session should happen soon after they are weaned, especially when it comes to learning important socialization techniques to safely interact with other people and animals. For their safety and the well-being of those that they will come in contact with, all dogs should be taught basic commands, how to sit and lie down for example.  Eventually you’ll put them on a leash so you’ll want to train them to walk properly on a lead. If you are struggling with this, you can train them to wear a headcollar. They will need to see a veterinarian or be taken to other locations and you’ll need to be able to properly control them.

So after you’ve done your research and picked out your prized pooch, you can train them to be the perfect companion. A well-trained dog is a happier dog and both of you will benefit from some manners and basic training.

To see more from the Blog please see our archive by clicking here.