Dodgy leads – please beware

We just wanted to let you know about a product to avoid or throw away if you have it.  Pets at Home Reflective Padded Dog Lead Black | Pets At Home

Last week a client’s dog escaped off the lead because the metal clasp on the above make of lead just broke. For no reason. The dog ran into the road, but despite cars is miraculously fine. The owner understandably nearly had a heart attack.

However they are also fine. But really cross as there are several reports of the same thing happening which can be seen by the reviews on the site.  So it maybe a faulty design or a bad batch but it’s definitely best avoided. We said to the owner we would draw your attention to it as they absolutely don’t want this to happen to another owner: the consequences could be far worse.




Kennel Cough: how to recognise it, prevent and treat it

Kennel Cough

What does kennel cough sound like? 

To hear what kennel cough sounds like, go to 1.13 on the video.  It is a cough with usually a wretch at the end.

What is kennel cough? 

Kennel Cough is an air-borne multi-strain cough. It’s highly contagious and if your dog is infected then it prevents walking in a group environment.  A vaccination is available from your vet and though it only covers the major strains,it will speed up recovery and minimise symptoms even if your dog does contract it. Kennel cough isn’t dangerous to a healthy adult dog though puppies and older or sick dogs can be very ill with it, it is still a MASSIVE pain in the neck and unpleasant for your dog, so is well worth avoiding.

How do dogs catch kennel cough?

From other dogs and from where other dogs have been which is why we take sure care with it. it is air borne and is carried in spores so if your dog is sniffing where another dog has been who has the disease, then your dog can still pick it up even if not in contact with the carrier dog. It is often picked up in boarding kennels or rescue centres, dog shows and small dog parks.

Help! What do i do???

Prevention is best

  • MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS UP TO DATE WITH THE KENNEL COUGH VACCINATION. Always ask for it when you go for the annual booster.  And if you haven’t got it already, then please make an appointment asap as this becomes more common during the summer.
  • As kennel cough vax isn’t part of the normal series of vaccinations please do make sure you ask for it it addition to the standard vaccinations. Your vet may say it isn’t 100% certain it will prevent kennel cough, however it will provide protection from the main strains, and it will minimise symptoms and speed up recovery times if they do come into contact with it.
  • Dogs can carry and pass on the disease for up to 2 weeks before they show any symptoms. Therefore it is essential for all dogs walking with Happy Hounds & Cooler Cats to be inoculated for their own protection and the protection of other dogs.
  • This is mainly preventable so PLEASE do get them jabbed up!

But what if they do contract it? 

  • If you notice your dog is coughing, then keep them away from other dogs and lead walk only avoiding coming into contact with other dogs.
  • Take to the vets immediately so they can confirm and administer antibiotics.
  • PLEASE inform Happy Hounds & Cooler Cats immediately so we can inform other dogs and put in place our kennel cough procedure.

Treatment: Vaccination, antibiotics and isolation from other dogs.

Incubation period: 2 weeks

Puppy toilet training

Puppy – toilet training

Here at Happy Hounds we are more than happy to give you basic tips and techniques. How toilet training works for your puppy? It should be quite a simple process, as long as you’re patient and take the time to develop a good routine.

You will need to build your routine around your puppies needs which are reliably predictable when your puppy is very young. Eating meals stimulates the digestive system. They will normally need to urinate 15 minutes after eating and defecate half an hour to an hour after. Having a feeding routine is very important as it will regulate your pup’s toileting. Puppies need to go every 1-2 hours so it’s so important you try and get them out in the garden as often as you can. They can wee if they get excited so take your puppy out regularly if they have been active or playing. Don’t expect your pup to hold it in through the whole night especially when they are very young.


When you’re out in the garden try and use cue words like “wee wee” and “poo poo” whilst they are actually urinating or defecating. Use different words for each action so that you can prompt the puppy later on. Don’t use words like “good girl” or “good boy” as the next time you say that guess what could happen? Always go with your puppy whenever they are in the garden so that you can reward them when they go with lots of vocal praise and treats. If you introduce the garden as the toilet area as soon as you can. You shouldn’t get your puppy into the bad habit of going indoors. If they ever do go indoors never ever punish them. These rumours of pushing their face in it or shouting at them never works. They will then become scared to go to the toilet full stop or in some cases, begin to eat their own poo in order to ‘hide it’ so they aren’t scolded. If your puppy does have an accident inside you don’t say anything just simply put them outside.

Dogs naturally don’t defecate where they sleep so never put puppy pads or try and persuade them to go near where they sleep. If they are crated it is very important that you let them out first thing in the morning. Use cleaning products that are specifically for cleaning up pet odours. It will get rid of the smell and will stop them recognising a ‘marked’ area and so they won’t repeatedly go in the same place.  If you have left your puppy alone for a while and you come home, don’t make a fuss just get them straight out into the garden. If you make a big fuss, your puppy is going to get excited and will probably wee out of excitement when he sees you.

On the walk

If you’re struggling to get your puppy weeing and pooing whilst out on a walk then you could try taking them out first thing in the morning before they have had their morning wee. Make this routine and praise them when they go.  Some pups struggle to learn to go when outside as they think the only place they can go is at home or in the garden. So try and get them out on walks as soon as they’ve had their jabs using your prompt words to try and persuade them to go.

Puppy Habits – Biting

Puppy habits

Puppies will develop bad habits, this is all part of the process of them growing up. It’s important that you know what to do to help make these puppy habits go away. Here at Happy Hounds we have been asked numerous questions. Mainly on how to stop a puppy from biting, whining, jumping up and toilet training. The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to be patient. These processes take determination and time. You will not fix these problems overnight and every puppy is different. So it’s figuring out what works best for your puppy. Here at Happy Hounds we are more than happy to advise you.

The Biting

I think we all agree that this is the habit most owners want to get rid of as soon as possible. Those tiny razor sharp teeth can really hurt sometimes especially when your pup is at the age of 3 to 4 months and getting bigger by the day! There are various ways to teach this lesson, the overall goal is to stop them mouthing and biting people altogether. Firstly let’s teach our puppies that our skin is very sensitive. That they must be very gentle when using their mouths.

Biting inhibition is a dog’s ability to control the force of his mouthing. Trainers believe that a puppy that has learned to be gentle when playing with people is much less likely to bite hard or break the skin if they were to ever bite someone out of fear or pain. Puppies learn biting inhibition whilst playing with each other. If you watch puppies playing together you will see them biting each other all over. You will then notice when a puppy bites another too hard, the pup that’s been bitten will let out a loud “yelp” sound and will stop playing.  The offender will be taken back by the “yelp” and will also stop playing for a moment. However in no time the pups are back to playing the game. Now this is what we recommend that YOU do when your pup bites you too hard. Through this interaction puppies learn to control intensity of their bite so no one gets hurt and they can continue to play. If they can teach each other that, then they can learn to do the same with people.

What to do

You’re playing with your puppy, everything is fine until he really nips you and it hurts. This is when you let out a high pitched “yelp!” and immediately stop playing. You could also try just physically turning your back on them. All the fun that you were just having together must immediately stop. I have personally done this and then the puppy has licked me afterwards as if to almost apologise because he realised he bit me too hard. That is what you want! You then need to make the judgement call of when it’s time to go back to the play. Another way to help puppies learn bite inhibition is to play lots of tug of war, this is a great game to play. Be positive when they are doing what you want them to do, lots of praise. For example if they are playing nicely and grabbing that tug of war and really going for it, good boy! Yes! Always reward puppies when they are doing what you want them to.

As I mentioned before this takes time, doing this once won’t magically stop your puppy from biting. What it will do is teach them, learning takes time. Make sure everyone in your household is providing the same rules, otherwise the pup can become confused. This is a phase that will eventually go. Be patient!

Puppy exercise guide

Getting a puppy!

Getting a puppy for the first time is a wonderful feeling. You are gaining a family member and it’s a very exciting process. Everyone in your household is filled with joy when you first bring that puppy home. Us lot here at Happy Hounds agree that this should be a very special time. All that said puppies are also a lot of work. We feel that you should get as much knowledge as you possibly can so that you be the best dog owner. One topic we would like to talk about is puppy exercise. Getting a puppy is a big responsibility, there are rules and regulations on how they should behave in society. There is also information that you as dog owners should be aware of.

Puppy exercise

So were going to talk about puppy exercise. How much they should be getting and how important it is to not OVER exercise them. Puppies need much less exercise than fully-grown dogs. If you over-exercise a growing puppy you can overtire it and damage its developing joints, causing early arthritis. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown, i.e. 15 minutes (up to twice a day). When three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once they are fully grown, they can go out for much longer.

It’s important that puppies (when they’ve had their injections) go out every day. In a safe environment to be able to socialise and explore. Having a decent sized garden is great but puppies need variety in their lives. They are highly intelligent animals that need stimulation and lots of exercise (depending on breed). Before letting any dog off lead make sure you know that their re-call is good and that they won’t run off. It’s also good to know that you shouldn’t exercise them on a full stomach as this can cause them to bloat.

The government recommends that we get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This is something that everybody can achieve, and go beyond, on a daily walk. Dogs’ exercise needs vary according to the breed that you have but every dog should have at least one walk a day, often two.

Get walking

There are many social benefits for you and your dog. People who go walking with their dogs are often believed to be friendly and approachable by others. Your dog also gets time to have a chase and play with other friendly pooches. At Happy Hounds we believe that socialisation is very important and something that your dogs should be doing on a regular basis. This is great to start when their puppies, so they get used to it from an young age. This is why group walking or day care is a fun and great opportunity for your dog. They will learn socialisation skills and what it’s like to be around other dogs.

For your dog, walking is essential for its long term health and fitness – keeping the muscles strong and supple and ensuring that it doesn’t get overweight. With one third of our pets estimated to be overweight as a result of their owners’ sedentary lifestyles. Walking is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner. When out walking remember to always have poo bags and pick up after your dog. This will make all environments nicer for us to all be in.

Whilst walking your dog, it is important that you are aware of the Countryside Code to keep your pet safe. Protect the environment and show that you are a responsible dog owner. You are obliged by law to ensure your dog wears a collar and an identification tag stating your name and address (Control of Dogs Order 1992). In addition, cleaning up after your dog is one of the key areas of responsibilities for dog owners. Especially when in public spaces. You can face a considerable fine if you do not.

Don’t forget play and sleepy time

Play time is another important part of a puppies life, playing games is another way to teach commands.  Aggression can be fostered if you play tug of war. So make sure you don’t create a competitive environment between you and your puppy. Always remember dogs around children. They are likely to become aroused or frustrated with intense physical play. So ensure children and dogs are never left alone. Only use suitable dog toys that are safe for your puppy.

Sleepy time is also crucial for your pups development, they need a lot of it! They may whine when you first bring them home but it is important to ignore them and let them settle. If you never leave them you will create future separation issues.

Dog underweight issues

Under weight issues

There are many possibilities for why dogs can be underweight, worms, diabetes, disease, bad teeth, and anxiety. The most likely is not getting enough nutrition from their food or by being under fed. Regardless of the cause take any dog underweight issues very seriously. Every time you have an appointment at the vets your dog should always be weighed. Your vet will tell you whether he’s over or underweight and advise you on what you can do to help. There are lots of varied dog food out there that is high in calories or low to help with gaining and losing weight.

At Happy Hounds we sometimes come across dogs that seem to be looking underweight. Now we understand that every breed is different and that age has a lot to do with it. What we have noticed is that some dogs can look skinny when they are between the ages of six months to just over a year. This is very common something we tend to see in Labrador or high energy breeds. Dogs don’t fully develop till the age of two so when we see this it doesn’t massively concern us. We just like to suggest maybe increasing their food, especially if they are dog that charges around and gets lots of exercise.

We will always let you know of any concerns we may have with your dogs. Whenever we give advice it’s coming from a good place, we NEVER mean to offend. We just like to think of ourselves as doggy experts. We like to make our clients aware of any information or guidance that we can give.

What to do:

If you feel your dog is looking underweight the best thing to do is increase their food intake little by little. Don’t over feed them. Of course any major concerns it is always good to ask your vet (they are the experts after all). It’s also good to remember that dogs are not people. Their digestive system and what they should and shouldn’t eat are COMPLETELY different to ours. If you have a fit and healthy life style that is great but it doesn’t mean that your doggy should be on a strict diet to.

Now it’s important to just be aware of how your dog should look. Ribs shouldn’t be visible and the hip bones should not be poking out. (We understand this is different with greyhound breeds). So your dog’s weight and diet is just something to be aware of. Food is very important and I think we forget how much of an effect it has on our lives and our doggies, after all you are what you eat. If you ever have any questions about food or the amount of exercise your dog should be getting never hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you and your pooches in any way we can.


What’s the best flea treatment for my dog?

What’s the best flea treatment?

The most effective flea treatment, in our many years of experience, is Advocate. It can cure dogs or cats of fleas and also prevent them catching them if they come into contact with them on another animal or in a particular environment.

Does it cover anything else?

Advocate is the most comprehensive product available and covers a range of other conditions. These are roundworm, hookworm, heartworm and ear mites in dogs. It also treats lungworm, whipworm, biting lice, sarcoptes and demodex.

How do I give my pet this treatment?

This is what is known as a ‘spot on’ treatment. It is a liquid in a pipet that you put on the back of your cat or dog’s neck once a month.  Try not to stroke or cuddle them in that area for about 24 hours or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Where can I get my flea treatment?

All good flea treatments require a prescription. At Happy Hounds & Cooler Cats we insist on this if your dog is to mix with other dogs. So you will need to see your vet as no vet in the UK can prescribe medication without physically seeing the animal first. A prescription can be fulfilled by your vet OR you can often get cheaper deals online if you have the prescription. You can discuss how long a prescription your vet will give you and ask about the possibility of repeat prescriptions.  Each dose of advocate lasts 1 month, though some animals have a shorter cycle and may need treatment every 28 days or so.  Keep a close eye on your pets and see if they start scratching.

Anxiety in dogs: dog training tips

Anxiety in dogs

Dog aggression, anxiety or both?

Anxiety in dogs. Lots of dogs are anxious and this can show itself in many ways, but probably the most common is as aggressive protection of the owner or territorial guarding behaviour of the home.

Why is my dog anxious?

This is often because they don’t know where they are in the pack and feel it is THEIR job to look after you. Not the other way around.

How can I make my dog seem less anxious?

So, to change this behaviour, you the owner need to change where the dog feels they are in the pack, ie. at the bottom.

This may feel uncomfortable, but you need to establish that YOU are in charge, YOU are top dog and that YOU are looking after them and therefore they don’t need to worry about it. The home is not their responsibility to guard. It is YOUR responsibility and when you’re out, YOU are watching out for danger, not them.

This doesn’t have to be a permanent situation – 5 seconds stroking only??? – and once the new regime is established you can relax things a little so you can have some more cuddles. Follow these rules consistently and make sure everyone who has responsiblility for your dog, is following the same rules as much as possible.

  • Train on a regular basis (every day)
  • Don’t play tug of war or hand teasing games
  • No food treats unless the dog has worked for it. g. Sit, down.
  • The dog is only fussed for five seconds at a time and only after s/he has been made to respond to a command such as SIT. He is not stroked for minutes on end.
  • When the dog demands to be fussed he is given a command such as SIT before he is fussed. Only fuss for 5 seconds.
  • At the end of 5 seconds, the owner says NO MORE or ENOUGH, folds his arms and ignores the dog. Never resume fussing for a full 10 minutes after you have told the dog NO MORE.
  • Always call your dog to you. Do not go to your dog.
  • Owner must go through all narrow openings like doorways, stairs, and passageways first. Make the dog follow you.
  • Do not allow your dog to demand a walk. Make the dog sit to have its collar and lead fitted.
  • Do not allow the dog to dictate the route you take, i.e. don’t’ let your dog walk in front of you. You’re pack leader, you walk in front or at the side.
  • Mix the dogs food up in his presence. Make them wait for it whilst you go through the act of eating it yourself. This instinctively tells the dog that YOU are pack leader.
  • Teaching the dog to fetch will help him to learn to work for you.
  • If the dog is in your way as you move around the house, tell him to move even if you have to wake him up. This also tells the dog you are pack leader.
  • Tell your family and friends not to fuss the dog if you haven’t given it a command.
  • Deny your dog freedom of movement around the house. Shut doors for a few days until your dog accepts its new lower rank. Only pack leaders have complete freedom.
  • You keep the dog’s toys, give out to play, then put away.
  • Sometimes stand in your dog’s bed or anywhere else it likes to sleep.
  • Do not allow your dog to sit on the furniture, on your lap or sleep on your bed.
  • Groom your dog daily

I know this can seem drastic, BUT for an anxious dog displaying what can be seen as aggressive behaviour, especially in a strong dog, it is essential to create a safe situation for all, INCLUDING your dog.  They must know how to behave and that you are in control of them, not the other way round.

Poo eating (and other nasties)

Poo eating (and other nasties)

Poo eating…some dogs eat poo. There. I said it. It’s not lovely but it happens. First things first. If your dog does this, then you may want to lay off the face licks.

But more seriously it can cause problems. Sometimes it’s a behavioural habit that’s come from poo being cleared up too quickly when a puppy. They think the poo has to disappear. And so they make it disappear. Who knows why some do it and others don’t. We’re not here to judge.

However at a practical level, if you want to stop them poo eating, because it can cause upset tummies, then you need to keep a very close eye on their behaviour and just before they’re going to do it, distract them with some something they like. Whatever motivates them: food, squeaky toy, come here for a cuddle, whatever works. This is to get them out of the habit.

However, this is not always possible. In which case you might think about a muzzle. The Baskerville muzzle is what we would recommend as even though it looks a bit Hannibal Lecter it means they can still breath pant, and drink. But it prevents them being able to grab at whatever ‘treat’ they’re after. Worth having one in your box of tricks.

When you first use it, always do it with LOADS of positive reinforcement. Make if fun and rewarding. So you can integrate it into play: make it a ‘chase me game’ so as soon as it after it’s on get them to ‘come and get you’. Give them lots of praise and some favourite treats before, during and after. Do that while they’re adapting to it.

Good luck. Some dogs will always do it and if it’s persistent it may be a dietary problem rather than a behavioural one so always worth clarifying with a vet to make sure they’re not lacking in some nutrient they’re trying to get from their scavenging. Good luck!

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