Saturday, 5 June 2010

Our sad news

On the 14th May, our lovely old boy, Eddy passed away.

Eddy was 15 years old and came to live with us at the age of 11 and a half when his owner was emigrating to Australia.

He was a wonderful little man who had his little quirks and could be a grump but all he ever wanted was to have cuddles and loved people.

At the beginning of the week we noticed him beginning to go downhill and knew that we didn't want him to suffer. He had been diagnosed with kidney disease months ago and we knew that we wanted him to pass on before he suffered with it. We booked for the vets to come to the house so on Friday afternoon we took him out with his girls for a lovely walk at Wadsley Common, Sheffield. He loved it and had a wonderful time, rolled about in the grass and we took it at his pace.
We brought him home and he had a box of chocolates! Eddy was a chocolate fiend and could find it anywhere but because it is toxic to dogs, he was never allowed it!
He had a box of Lindor chocolates and the vets came to help him on his way.

We now have Eddy's ashes and will choose a day to go and scatter them at his favourite walking place.

We'll never forget our wonderful boy.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Our Rally O Weekend in North Yorkshire.

This weekend the Pawsitively Pets team were split!
Miss Chief the rat, Smitch the cat, Felix the hamster and Old man Eddy stayed with my mum, little Bubble went to stay with her mum, dad and aunty in a lovely kennels and Takara and I went to Scarborough!

I had booked us onto a Rally Obedience workshop in Malton with a friend and her dog (Dexter) and we travelled up to Scarborough on the Friday night where we had a hotel booked, stopped the night and walked on the beach in the morning then travelled the half hour journey to Wolds Way Canine Behaviour & Training Centre for the first day of our workshop.

Rally Obedience is a new dog sport, originating from America (but don't let that put you off!). It's designed to allow any person and dog team to 'have a go'. You can have a go for fun or you can compete and it works in such a way that you are only ever working against yourself - to beat your own record. It is designed in such a way that any dog, irrespective of age, breed or physical ability can take part and similarly, any person also. Wheelchair users have been known to join in as well as myself on sticks this weekend!

Rally Obedience is a course composed of signs telling you what behaviour to perform or which way to turn to get to the next sign as well as a small cavaletti jump and weaves around cones. There are 3 levels and the turns and behaviours get more difficult the further up the levels you go. The nice thing about Rally Obedience is if your dog has, for instance, hip dysplasia and struggles to do a sit you can still take part and as long as the dog's disability has been explained to the organisers/judge they will be aware that you will be doing stands instead of sits and so won't mark you down.

Under the excellent guidance of Jane Heritage of the APDT we learned the essential skills for Rally Obedience - now this may seem easy - but it's much harder than I expected!

It's one thing being able to negotiate a 270 degree turn, it's another to read a sign telling you to 270 degrees and to actually go the right way around and it's an entirely different thing to be able to read the sign whilst keeping a dog close and then negotiate the turn without falling over your dog!

Thankfully, Takara is quite good at making sure she doesn't get trodden on but it didn't mean her feet were quite moving in the correct way. Additionally you then had to continue from that move to the next which would then tell you to do a 360 degree turn the
other way

We had great fun and by the end of the first day both the dogs and my friend and I were shattered and ready for bed at 4 o'clock when the workshop finished! There was no worries that they may need a walk so we drove back to Scarborough, picked up a pizza and retired to our hotel.

The next morning it was up at the break of dawn (thanks Dexter!), checked out of the hotel (which was fantastic) and off for a walk on the beach.
After half an hour of 'taking the edge off' we set off back to Wolds Way CBT.

This time we were doing courses that had been set up for us, receiving feedback on our 'run' on each course and we were given advice on how to improve.

I was very impressed with Takara, her attention and focus were fantastic despite my mobility being a little poor and me having to use a stick towards the end. She carried out many of the tasks with little fuss and the ones she wasn't sure of she picked up quickly.

We still need some practice - a lot of the work we did relied on me having food in my hand but I wasn't going to push her further than she could manage. We were in the middle of North Yorkshire and kept hearing gunshots as well as there being larger dogs there that she was a little spooked by. The gunshots were putting her off a lot so I kept it easy for her!

Overall we had a fantastic weekend and would definitely recommend Rally Obedience to anyone wanting to do something fun with their dog!
I'm certainly looking at doing some Rally Obedience workshops here in Sheffield and I'm sure that after this weekend the other dog trainers who attended Jane's workshop will be looking at starting something up in their areas too!

A big thank you to Christine Stansfield of Wolds Way for organising this workshop and to Jane Heritage for her fantastic instruction and extremely fun and interesting workshop!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Been a While! Meet the Bubble!

It's been a long time since the blog was last updated, things have been busy and the blog has sadly had to take a back seat!

We now have a newcomer to the Pawsitively Pets Gang! Bubble is now coming upto 5 months and is our first black spotted dalmatian!

Bubble joined us at the age of 11 weeks after speaking with her breeder who was looking for an experienced home for her with someone who could train her properly, as Bubble was born deaf.

A small percentage of dalmatians are born bilaterally deaf due to genetic difference relating to their pigmentation. Bubble was one of these and thankfully, her breeder was not one of the many who believe deaf puppies should be destroyed as soon as the BAER (Brainsteam Auditory Evoked Response) test confirms their lack of hearing at 6 weeks.

Bubble is absolutely fantastic, she goes off the lead to play and has good recall despite being unable to hear as she looks around for Lottie a lot who then recalls her using hand signals.

She has already mastered many hand signals and learns very quickly. She struggles with stay but that's because that waggly dalmatian bum just can't keep still!

She's been accepted into the gang very easily, Eddy, the old boy loves her and is convinced she is his to play with as and when he likes! It's done him good, at the age of 15 years, he just wants to bounce about with her.

Here is Bubble when she first arrived:
Bubble and Teddy

She's grown so much recently - more photos will be uploaded once we get them onto the computer.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Bangs, Lights and Squeals – It’s the Fireworks.

Owning a noise sensitive dog is an interesting experience during the fireworks period. One of my dogs is going deaf now but my four year old Dalmatian has never been keen on any loud noise, let alone fireworks.

Every year I’ve worked on counter conditioning techniques to attempt to desensitise the poor little mutt to these horrid sounds and lights that anyone without a dog finds entertaining and each year she’s still struggled.

Some things that have helped and you may find useful if you have a similar problem have been:
- Set up a safe spot for her – either a crate if you have one with a blanket hung over it to make it dark and enclosed or just hang a blanket between two pieces of furniture or over the furniture.
- Play some music quite loudly or the television. Be aware that if you are watching the news or a soap, there are likely to be fireworks on the TV too!
- If your dog is not too stressed she may accept some food or want to play – distract her by doing some training or a game.
- Close the curtains etc. to keep out the bright lights.

These things may help but you can also work on desensitising your dog to the fireworks throughout the year so that when the fireworks season arrives, it is less bothersome to your dog.

The Company of Animals has produced a CD called the Noises & Sounds CD which includes the sound of fireworks being set off. The idea with this is to start off quietly when it’s not bothering your dog and build up gradually, ensuring that it’s never too much for her to cope with. Providing something reinforcing when your dog hears these noises, helps her to associate the noises with something positive.

Last year I discovered a product that absolutely changed our lives – it’s called Serene-Um. This is a natural remedy that enhances the levels of Serotonin in the dog’s body, enabling her to accept reinforcement more readily and reduces stress levels. It is not a sedative and does not leave them drowsy but helps them to ‘chill’.
I would never recommend something like this on its own – it’s important to put the work in too. However, teaming this up with our usual desensitisation techniques worked a treat. When it came to fireworks night, Takara was unable to accept much in the way of reinforcement due to her stress levels and so we struggled to get to a stage where she was comfortable with the fireworks. However, with the help of Serene-Um, Takara was able to accept the reinforcement and therefore associate the fireworks with nothing scary. I saw an immediate improvement in her behaviour and am pleased to report that this year, we have already started hearing fireworks and she hasn’t even flinched. She appears not to notice!

For more information on Serene-Um or for help on working with your own dog, please feel free to email: with the subject title ‘fireworks’.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Doggy Advent Calendars?!

Perhaps it's the spirit of Christmas hitting me early, or perhaps I'm just going soft but I have been sucked in to the anthropomorphosis of dogs via the use of 'doggy chocs' and advent calendars!

When I went to the suppliers today and stood looking at all the goodies for pets at Christmas I decided there must be some really lucky animals out there!

As my eyes fell on the Doggy Advent Calendars I found myself thinking 'why not?'. I mean, ok - dogs don't know it's Christmas - but don't they usually get a little daily treat anyway? And it helps us grouchy humans get into the spirit!

So, having got plenty in stock, Takara and Eddy - the daft dallies - will be receiving advent calendars this year! Will your dog?

The advent calendars are £2.49 each and will soon be found at or email us for more info or to order:

Monday, 12 October 2009

Meet the Menagerie

At Pawsitively Pets we don't encourage the selling of animals from pet shops and prefer to refer anyone interested in a furry, feathered, or scaly creature to rescues or breeders.

However, we do have some of our own. Lottie, the director and founder of Pawsitively Pets has a little menagerie set up at home (which will inevitably grow as Lottie gets more of her own space!).

Here's introducing...

Takara - Dotty Dally #1
Takara is a 4 year old liver spotted dally who first met Lottie aged 5 weeks. She finally went home with Lottie almost three weeks later. She and Lottie have been through a lot together and earlier this year they appeared at Crufts for the Friends For Life competition.
Takara helps Lottie (who is disabled) with every day life and accompanies her to places wearing her assistance dog jacket. She also enjoys training regularly with Lottie.
Thanks to Karyn Wight of Tafuta Dalmatians for allowing her to come and live with us.

Eddy - Dotty Dally #2
Eddy came to live with Lottie and her family aged 11 and a half years of age when his previous owner had to move to Australia and decided it was in his best interests to find him a good home in the UK instead of making him travel.
Eddy is now 14 and a half years of age and people still struggle to believe his age! He playfights with Takara and is still pretty active. He has been diagnosed with kidney disease but is doing well.

Smitch - The Cat
Smitch is an 11(ish) year old cat Lottie has had since Lottie was 11. Until recently Smitch lived with her sister Smudge, who sadly died earlier this year.
The pair were rescue kittens and have lived with Lottie and her family almost all their lives.
Despite her appearance, Smitch weighs next to nothing as it's all fluff and her favourite past times include plucking at furniture, guarding the rodents and sharing primula cheese with Little Miss Chief.

Little Miss Chief - The Fancy Rat
Originally named 'Petal' after she was found abandoned in a garden, Little Miss Chief has been renamed due to her naughty and bossy nature!
She came to live with Lottie after attempts to introduce her to other rats failed. Little Miss is much happier with no other rats around her and is progressing well and growing in confidence.

Whiskas and Felix - The Hamsters
Whiskas and Felix are the rescued hamsters here at Pawsitively Pets. They came to live with Lottie after their owner didn't return for them.
Unfortunately we are lacking in photos of these two sweeties just now but will get some put up!
Whiskas is possibly the world's fattest Russian Dwarf ever and Felix is small but mighty! He enjoys picking up his wheel and banging it against the cage bars at approximately 2:30am! Not so fun as they live in the bedroom!

Welcome to the blog!

As our first post to this blog, I'll make it simple!

The blog is intended to bring you up to date with the latest pet news, bring you items of interest and to post items we like.

We will be keen to update you on the adventures of not only the Pawsitively Pets dotty dalmatians, but also of Smitch, the clever cat, Little Miss Chief, the naughty but nice fancy rat and of Whiskas and Felix, the hamsters!

Finally, we will be looking forward to reviewing and bringing to your attention new and exciting products whether we get them in stock or whether we know where else you can get them from.

So do keep looking back, and feel free to send us your feedback to: