Monday, 30 December 2013

Full steam ahead :)

I have just received planning permission to extend the dog boarding.

It has proved a great success and we often turn business away.

I shall be mindful not to grow too big as my main objective is to deliver a high standard of care to all my guests.

Once we have completed the new build we will have 4/5 big exercise areas. One will be in my bottom paddock giving the large dogs great space to run and play and one will incorporate part of the island so the dogs will have trees to chase around. The boy dogs will use the tree trunks too :)

Once we have quietened down after the Christmas rush I shall start painting. Dogs are soooo messy!!

I have interviewed some help who should be starting with me soon to get into the swing of things ahead of my next busy period.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A lazy day :)

On Christmas day Marion came in to help me. She is a star as we were close to full everywhere what with dogs, cats and puppies.

My lovely boys got up early and helped too. Between the 5 of us it still took a couple of hours but all our guests were well tended and had Christmas treats too :)

My children opened gifts then we went off to The Stenson Bubble for lunch :)

It was lovely with so much choice. No preparation and the biggest bonus, no siding away. It was well worth the money and we may well do it again next year.

The afternoon was full on again with animals and my helpers didn't abandon me, my boys played a lot with the dogs. They do have their favourite but make sure they give all some time and attention. The dogs love it. They are very quiet when returned to their own units as well exercised and happy to have a snooze.

The weather is being kind to us so far with only a slight frost. The units have under floor heating which goes on at night so I really don't need to worry about them getting a chill

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Nanny Poebe :)

These are not your babies Phoebe!!

She is very happy sitting with the Labradoodles. She carefully lays down and even lets them suckle off her. She is so very gentle but of course we don't leave her in with the puppies.

They are all doing very well. Eyes open, ears almost. They have just about got their bellies off them floor so they can walk rather than slither.

They are still very much on Mum's milk but I will introduce solids very soon which will take the pressure off Lulu. She is doing a fantastic job and is very attentive.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Busy as usual

Almost finished the shovelling of rubble for the entrance but got a little side tracked as I am part of a team of 7 ladies, who have various fund raising events raising much needed funds for cancer research and the charity CRY

The first event was a Winter Wonderland evening. Held in Carolyn's barn atLower Damgate Farm near Ilam. Beautiful part of the country in the peak district. We spend most of last week tooing and frowing as we took this beautiful, large and empty barn, decorated it and set it up ready to receive 200 guests for a sit down meal.

We did it and the evening was a great success. Marie a friend of mine sang and entertained for most part of the evening. We ate the most delicious beef stew and dumplings served by a fantastic team of teenagers who had all kindly given up their evening for us. The atmosphere was buzzing with happy chatty people enjoying themselves who danced their little feet off till the wee small hours. The conga was like no other, even the teenagers were impressed.

We raised circa £5,000 which is fantastic as there was no raffle or auction.

Many have asked me when the next might be?

Watch this space but if you are interested please let me know as it promises to be a good one and sell out quickly :)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Nearly there

Just signs and lights to sort now and the rubble to level but I am so pleased with our new gates.

It is throwing some people as they think they have gone to the wrong place. We will all get used to them.

The electric element to them is fantastic and gives us so much security as outside the hours pre set by me, the gates will not open.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Looking good

Just waiting for the gates to arrive ( they keep moving on a couple of days at a time)
and we are there for now.

I will take a picture to show you once there here :)

Business wise a little quiet at the moment, which is no bad thing and gives me time to catch up with maintenance jobs. Christmas will be completely chocker, I have no doubt and amongst the animals I have to care for I shall try and spend some time with my lovely boys.

They are all in happy places now.

Eldest seems to be getting on well at Futaba (Toyota) He talks about future plans and ideas which is great. he is on the mundane production line at the moment, learning the job which is what the apprenticeship scheme is all about

Middle son seems to be coping well and even enjoying his AS level subjects especially economics.

Youngest has settled incredibly quickly and easily into Denstone College. He is loving the sport and is bringing exam results home which are A passed. I couldn't have hoped for better as he is clearly happy now.

On the farm

We have a problem with the mink at the moment!! Lets hope they reduce the rabbit population as my lawn is alive at the edges when I go out at  night, put the light on to collect the coal.

I sat and watched a beautiful, big, black tailed fox on my lawn yesterday too.

To help clear up the storm fallen apples off the lawn the horses have been recruited to the job. They are loving it and doing a great job but I do wish they wouldn't have a run around as they do make a mess :)

They did make me laugh at the weekend as they were having a good canter around the field together and flinging legs up in the air. The dogs were out in the run but desperately wanted to play. Good entertainment for all :) :)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


17 tonnes of scalpings (rubble) later and lots of wackering.

6 cubic metres of concrete and despite this dreadful weather the gateway is prepared for our new gates.

The electric and sensor pads are in situ. The gates are scheduled to arrive this Saturday :)

We will be able to walk through but no vehicles for another couple of weeks as the concrete takes a while to harden off.

Like most things in life "a little patience goes a long way".

I won't fully complete the job until next year as I intend to tarmac the new area and tidy up the existing but the new entrance will make a huge difference from both aesthetics and security.

Better not start any more projects this year as we have puppy arrivals pending and then we will be very, very busy over Christmas as getting booked up already :)

It is exhausting but a great life!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

On holiday :)

Phoebe and I have been away.

We went over to Oakham for a couple of days and spent lots of time with a very dear friend of mine.

We watched kites flying over head which was very impressive. I hadn't realised they were so far north.

Phoebe was such a good girl and I felt very proud of her as the vast majority of time she was off the lead. We passed sheep, swan, geese, bikers, runners and oooodles of fellow walkers. She wasn't perfect as is very sociable but, for such a young dog she never embarrassed herself. She was also very good in our accommodation, for some reason she chose to sleep under my bed. There wasn't a lot of room.

It was lovely just to have a couple of days off and get away and I shall do it again one day :)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Just 2 metres outside our house, sat on the arm of a chair, this cheeky buzzard is taking a rest.

We never used to have rabbits on our land but over the last few years they are everywhere. They consume huge amounts of grass but more importantly they burrow under buildings and undermine foundations to the timber barns. Cute but a nuisance. The birds of pray have followed them of course and I hope he is successful and eats well as I cannot bring myself to reduce their numbers by any other means. Yes, I am a softy :)

Monday, 28 October 2013

Making progress

Despite the dreadful weather we are getting there.
The brick layer, my boys and myself soldered on regardless all week end.

This slab area was concreted Friday and the pillars and walls are now completed.

The electric gates are being made and will be hung in 2 weeks time.

It has been a huge undertaking but will be worth it to improve our security and aesthetics.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Major improvements

We are improving the entrance to our home/Dogs Paws and Cats Whiskers. The is the view from the drive with the highway behind you. This was a grass paddock and will be the entrance. We are installing electric gates which open and close automatically. Set on a timer. This will improve our security. There will be a very discrete CCTV system installed.  
 This View is from within our yard. There will be a brick wall here, leading unto the electric gates. 
These improvement will certainly enhance the appearance, improve our security and give more clarity to those wishing to find our exact location. 
The CCTV system is linked to the internet and will send me an alert whenever the sensor detects movement. So sophisticated and offering peace of mind.

I would just have liked the weather to hold off whilst we completed the digging out as the mess!!!

Sorry for any inconvenience caused but please bare with us though as it will be very worth it :)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

My heart lifted

Thursday evening my youngest son accompanied me as we had to take Gemma (Jam Jar) Aged almost 15 years, to the vet. She clearly was very unwell and the enevitable outcome was decided.

A very sad day as she has been with me and my boys almost as long as we have lived at West Farm

Friday morning, after dropping my boys for school I headed off up the M1 to Harrogate for a funeral.
Very sadly a family member aged just 53 years  He was far too young to die.

The M1 was horrific with very dark cloud and heavy, heavy rain. The usual volume of traffic of course.

I am a radio 2 fan and had Chris Evens on in the car, feeling very fed up and downhearted.

His first guest was Gary Barlow who sang live.
It was nice and made for presant listening but my head was still full of Gemma, the looming event in Harrogate etc etc

His next guest was Alfie Boe, some one I had heard of but didn't really know.

He was also invited to sing live and WOW every hair on my body stood up.

What a voice, what power and he seemed a lovely gent too.

The rest of my day and journey back were very sad of course but my spirit was lifted and I shall certainly look him up when in concert :)

After 15 years we are all missed our gorgeous Jam Jar

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Golden girls!

Phoebe, Ruby and Gilly have all passed their gold good citizenship kc award.

I along with the other handlers are so very proud as they are all just 1 year old.

We are going to have a puppy party to celebrate :)

All For Dogs are going to continue with our training sessions by introducing some fun classes.
For me, I just love getting her out and about, learning how to be a good, well behaved member of society. The handlers all have a good chat and giggle too.

One of my jobs soon will be to strip the grape vine. It is laden, as always. Full of black, very sweet grapes. Our fruit trees have had a great year too.

Friday, 27 September 2013

All go!

My lovely boys are all very happy all at different places at different times which is challenging but fun.

Eldest now at Futaba doing an engineering apprenticeship and enjoying it.

Middle son very happy doing his AS levels. Particularly enjoying economics.

Youngest having a great time at Denstone where he has settled very very well. Wish I had moved him sooner.

Down on the farm we are still quite busy from the summer rush. The cattery was completely full last week end.

I have an apprentice coming on board Monday. She seems very keen and I think we shall work well together so fingers crossed as I may even manage to get a day off :)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Summer is over!!

Yes the temperature has dropped and the sun seems to have gone in but what a lovely summer we have had. T shirts only for months :)

We have been very busy with no room at the inn for either dogs or cats which is what we worked towards and this keeps us afloat in the lean times. We are still reasonable busy with those without school aged children taking their holidays.

For me this is time to do maintenance, cleaning and prepare for my next project.  Well! we cannot stand still :)

Phoebe continues to do very well with her training. She is working towards her gold KC award but I am also doing some "rally" training with her which in a nut shell will further develop her heal work and obedience. I am so proud of her.

My boys are all very settled and enjoying life.

Eldest has started his engineering apprenticeship middle is enjoying being back at school studying for AS levels and youngest is loving it at Denstone College.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Sooo well behaved!!

Ok, so it took a few attempts but this is Phoebe training group. They all came to play at ours and we did actually do some training. The dogs were pooped and the humans chatted lots of course

Finley decidid he had had just about enough of sitting and looking pretty :)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Busy busy

As I suspected we are very busy with every unit, everywhere booked for the summer.
I am really enjoying it which is just as well with a truly 24/7 life.

I have some help now and I couldn't manage without it.
My boys are great too when I need extra help.

The vast majority of dogs come in and settle easily but we have had an odd one who has struggled a little. I find it so very rewarding to be patient and work with these dogs to bring them out of their shell. I watch their confidence grow and by the end of their visit they are out playing with the rest. Owners have commented about a "different" dog coming home and have booked for next year so we must be doing some thing right :)

My eldest son has been offered an apprenticeship and the company intend to sponsor him through his engineering degree. He is thoroughly enjoying driving too. We insured with "insure the box" this was chosen for many reasons but it does enable him to view, on line how he is driving. For me I hope it keeps him driving sensibly as if not his insurance will not decrease next year.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Where do I begin?

My eldest son is now in Tanzania, working in the school for orphagned children. He has no phone etc so I can only assume he is having and enjoying a fantastic life experience.

He passed his driving test on Monday before he left last Wednesday and had the third phase of an interview for an engineering apprentciship so what a week he had.

My middle son is working very hard at the moment too as he is now raising funds to go to Tanzania next summer. He is helping me (we moved 11 tonns of gravel) He is glass collecting on 7 hour shifts and doing manual labour for our neighbours.

I feel very proud of my boys as I am fully aware of the reluctance of many youngsters to "graft"

Business wise, we are incredably busy.

We have been granted permission to increase our number of dogs as we have been turning customers away since the dog boarding was just 1 year old. Needless to say we are no longer advertising.

The cattery is almost fully booked for summer too. I do think we are doing so well as all of our units have their own outdoor run, especially in this weather but also it offers the cats stimulation as they all have a lovely view too.
We have done quite a lot of maintenance this summer with a new roof going onto the cattery soon too so we are looking very smart.

I am so very pleased with the dog boarding as this heat is a great test of it and the units themselves are certainly lovely and cool. I did heavily insulate the roof and put a grannit floor in all of the units and it is all paying off now as the dogs are clearly very comfortable and cool. The self filling water dispensers are certainly a big hit, providing fresh, cool water constantly and I am not for ever carrying buckets of water.

Phoebe is still such a star as she breezed through her silver Kennel Club award. She is such a pleasure to work with and so very easy to train. She certainly does her breed proud.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Our new lawn mowers!

Well, what better way to get the grass cut :) They are on our lawn:)

If horses feel safe and secure it isn't unusual for them to lay down, Scotty and Rocket are best mates.

I am struggling to keep ontop of the weeds. After a relatively dry spell the heavens opened and the grass and weeds have shot up. Horses will eat nettle once they are cut but not whilst growing, so a big job for me next week is strimming. If I don't strim it leaves very little for the horses to eat and being thorough breds will loose weight easily.

We are looking to create another run for the boarding dogs, taking them onto the island, between the trees but we will bypass the moat. It will be like an adventure playground :)
There have been a couple of times when I could have done with a third run and what a fun place it would be for the dogs. I will make sure it is very secure of course.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A special guest

Our family fun and doggy day was a great success

We had 800 human visitors, both young and old and many, many dogs.
All were very well behaved and the sun shone beautifully, thank goodness!!

The tortoise made a rare outing and tried to escape his pen many times. His owners (Cousins on Blagreaves Lane, Littleover) said "he enjoyed his day out"
He was the focus on guess the age. The attempts ranged from 11 to 140 years. He is in fact 9 years and 7 months so a youngster.

The dog show was very well supported with many smiling handlers walking away with hampers, rosettes and certificates and Derwent valley gave a superb, inspirational demonstration.

My two sisters and niece did a stirling job cooking the BBQ all day for which I thank them.
We had quite a team on the day helping to make it all run smoothly and the feedback has been very good, in fact we have been asked about 2014 so put 5th May in your diary.
I shall post more photographs as I get them

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


I don't think I have ever been so busy which is fab of course

My boys are getting older, the eldest now learning to drive. We have managed to get him a little car and just about afforded the insurance. I had no idea what an honour it would be sitting next to him as he goes out practicing.
My middle son is GCSE's and studying hard. He is determind to do his very best which is fantastic and very good luck to him
My youngest is going to change school to Denstone College this year which is fantastic news for him and I am sure he will flourish and achieve his full potential.

Business wise, the bookings are flooding in for the summer. Lots of repeat business as well as new. We have vets recomending us too. I do have some help lined up :)

In case I ever had any spare time we decided to host a Family Fun and Doggy Day at our home

The purpose is to raise funds for two registered children's charities.

Findern Community Pre School
Gedeli School for Orphaned children Tanzania Africa

The day is based around a fun dog show and starts with a domonstraion by Derwent Valley Dog club of obedience and heelwork to music
Suppoerted by All For Dogs dog traning

We have a selection of trade stands, BBQ, cream tea and cake stalls.
There is lots to entertain the children with bouncy castle, hook a duck, balloon pop, face painting, wet sponges etc

West Farm, Stenson is the venue

11 am till 4pm  the timing and the great weather is on order so please join us and help to make the event a great one

Sunday, 21 April 2013

What a big girl!

I know I am bias but Phoebe is beautiful and generally well behaved. The number of people who are surprised that she is a Rotty and their image is not of gentle or submission which is how she is.

The Labrador puppies are leaving us now and she has played a great role in their education with socialising. If I'm not careful she will be asking for a salary.

Other news
We have sold Storm, our coloured horse as he had no jockey. The money has helped towards my eldest's car insurance which is crippling and towards my middle son's pot for his Tanzania 2014 as he too is going to work in the school for orphaned children.

"smelly cat" has settled in very well. Coming and going as he pleases and not using his litter tray, thank goodness.

Bookings for the kennels are looking good for the summer and I now have lots of help to ensure we maintain our high standards
Cattery bookings look a little slow but that could all change.

The preparations for 6th May are all under way and Mel and I are starting to look forward to it. We are just praying for some sunshine :)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Play time!

No Phoebe, you cannot eat the puppy :)

Actually she is fantastic with them. Of course we never leave them un attended but it is good for their socialisation to have exposure so young.

Phoebe is doing very well with her training other than 2 days ago when she followed Pippa (our Terrier) to the farm next door to steel cat food!!
I called her and yes, I did expect her to turn and come back but no, where Pippa was taking her was so much more fun. I have focussed on this and she was so much better today.

My next stage is to encourage her to wait where ever I leave her until I release her.  She is getting the hang of it.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Guess where I have been :)

Yes! on a much needed holiday and took 2 of my boys to France skiing for a week. (My middle son was away with school) We went to an area called Montgenevre. I am not usually a great fan of Europe for skiing as the runs tend to be narrow and the lifts, too few in number, congested and busy but this holiday has had a good impact as the conditions were perfect with wide open pistes, well groomed and the lifts were plentiful and never was there a que..

We all came back having skied our little legs off and with a good tan as it was very sunny.

Marion and Laura did a great job looking after the farm and all for me as without that back up I would never get away and as much as I love it, it truly is 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and at times exhausting.

We are beavering away and preparing for our fun day 6th May. I do hope the weather improves and the crowds come flocking and we all have a great day.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What weather!!

Ok, so the weather hasn't been great but I love it.
I put on extra layers and off I go to tend the dogs.

They love to run, wrestle and play with each other and in the snow. Find a piece of ice and the fun begins as they play chase with it. When they are all huffing and puffing back into their units they go where they have food and water and their under floor heating is on. For the ones who feel the cold I shut down their hatch as it is very windy at the moment too. They all seem to be happy and now one is off their food which is always a good sign.

We have just had two of our favourites in Missie and Dillon (Bull Mastiffs) Huge dogs but lovely. My boys have been fascinated by them and have given them extra attention. Missie in particular has responded very well to it and has settled well indead. They are coming back in May so must be happy.

Bae (F1 Labradoodle) has eventually come into season after 10 months so by the time we have puppies available from her she will have been approximately 2 years since her last litter. She does produce lovely puppies though and I am covering her with a miniature poodle this time so should make slightly smaller Labradoodles

Thursday, 21 March 2013

All go

This is our poster for our Family Fun and Doggy Day

What a lots of work is going into the preparation so lets hope we have good day.
We have ordered the sunshine in good time and the gazebos will be up to stop us getting sun stroke :)
but doggy people are hardy so I hope you will all turn out in any event.

There will be lots to entertain, feed and water the whole family and it is all to support children's charities so please put the date in your diary and it will be lovely to see you with or with out a dog.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Special guest

Last week we had a German exchange student.
What a pleasure he was to have around.
Very polite and such command of the english language. Any word he was unsure of he was confident enough to ask and between us all we worked it out.  They went to Chatsworth House, Black Country Museum, Staffordshire Potteries and shopping to Westfield of course.

It was interesting hearing about life in Germany as they do appear to have a very structured life with a number of rules to live by.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Play time!!

Tiffin and Phoebe have My eldest pinned down. What fun and such lovely dogs, so trusting and never
any aggression. My boys are all very confident with dogs as they have always had them in their lives.

Tiffin is teaching Phoebe tug of war :)

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Aunty Phoebe

No they are not your babies!!

I cannot believe how gentle she is with Lola's puppies. She has been washing them and even let them suckle off her. At just 6 months old she has no milk of course but she'd fascinated by them, she even picked one up in her mouth and moved it. Sooo gentle

Friday, 1 March 2013

We plough the fields and scatter

Well it felt like the autumn song as the horses have well and truely ploughed the fields as it has been so very wet for so long and we don't have stables.

A good thing for the horses as long as they are well fed and have good rugs on to keep them warm.
A good thing for my boys (who's horses they are) as they don't have mucking out etc to do

As the rain stops and the land begins to dry, fingers crossed that is what is happening at the moment, keeping the horses on the land helps it to flatten down again. My boys and I sewed grass seed last evening so the seed is under the surface as the horses hooves knock it down.

Well that is my theory and hope fully we will have reasonably nice looking grass paddocks ready for our Family Fun and Doggy day on Monday 6th May     and improved grazing for our horses of course :)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

An update

As you can see Phoebe is growing in to an impressive looking girl.

Physically she is doing well and she clearly has some growing still to do as her spare flesh swings from side to side as she runs. Rottweilers run on two tracks with her hind legs following a different path to her fore legs. It does look funny.

Training wise she continues to do very well. She is a very laid back girl and never too quick off the mark but does get the idea and is obedient on the whole. Establishing "stand" is proving a difficulty as we teach dogs to sit almost straight away also Phoebe is lazy and does love to have her bottom and or her belly on the floor.

We and all our visitors love her to bits and she graces our home beautifully.

Rottweilers are a sheer pleasure to own :)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Thorough inspection

A vet and the senior licensing officer from South Derbyshire Council arrived to view our facilities for breeding and boarding of pets.

They looked at the puppies and the facilities I have in my home. We went into the cattery and down to the dog boarding and finished back at the house to go through the paperwork/records.

Ok! so it was a little nerve racking as I have never had a vet or the senior officer and whilst I do try hard to deliver and maintain high standards you don't really know how you are doing across the industry. At times, it is challenging as I am a Mum of 3 very busy boys too

Phew! They gave me a gold star and were clearly pleased with how I am doing. The dog boarding, of course is very new but they commented on the way I had set it up and the thought I had put into the detail.  My guests were all very well behaved and our new litter of puppies are looking gorgeous. The vet commented how lovely it was to see puppies being raised the way we do, giving the new arrivals lots of attention and exposure to family life.

I have my license for another year and the vet did say he would be happy to recommend me to his patients and I don't think you could get better endorsement than that.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Two little ducks

We have ducky, a wild, female malard. She has lived here for 5 ish years now. She came to us via a builder originally who found her in a skip as a duckling. We raised her with our various chicks and then released her to decide for herself. She goes away for winter and comes back every year trailing a number of "husbands" with her. She usually sits two batches and off she goes again until the following year.

The past few days she and one of her husbands sit on the edge of our island teasing the dogs in the kennels. I have Jess (our cocker) down there at the moment and she is very bothered. She squeals and runs up and down the fencing. The ducks sit and watch, obviously fully aware that the dogs cannot get to them.

Monday, 18 February 2013


My old friend from Rugby, where I used to live, came to see us today. She brought her German Pointer and Bracco Italiano. Both beautiful girls. Very fit and sleek. Wendy is showing the Bracco Italiano at crufts so I wish her the very best of luck.

We have had a very busy day today as we have quite a number of boarders, both cats and dogs so the animals take me quite a while. My eldest son helped me as we then headed off to the car auctions to watch a few go through and gauge what there cost would be. He is 17 soon and is desperate to have his freedom but the cost is huge. No the purchasing but the insuring of a 17 year old boy.
I spotted a couple of lovely cars but did resist the temptation :(

Eventually I had finished all my jobs and ready for a sit down when my boys decided it was off to the super market. My eldest shopping for his birthday party (30 + coming, will I survive?) My other two wanted a game. Well! they have been good and helping. :)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Family fun and doggy day

Fun day at West Farm

 Monday 6th May 2013

The weather is ordered :)

Main ring events

Dog obedience/agility demonstration by Derwent Valley Dog Club
Doggy show with fun classes with prizes and rosettes
Dog scurry

We have many stalls and sponsors joining us. Details to follow

Enjoy our BBQ, cake stall and cream tea

We have lots to entertain the children too. Details to follow

Please put the date in your diary as it promises to be a great day

Friday, 8 February 2013


Phoebe and Doris's training continues to go very well.

 We had a session last evening teaching them how to obey commands given from a distance.
They both got the hang of it.

We then did some work getting them to go "down" without an action or command. This took a lot of patience as the basic jist is to have them on a lead and keep their attention with a treat held by your stomach and wait for them to go down and drop the treat. I was shocked as to how it worked as we are basically praising them for something that happens by fluke but once they had been rewarded and the "down" command given at just the right moment they repeated the movement much sooner with subsequent attempts. Phoebe took a little longer than Doris but they do both work very well with each other in the hall to say they are best mates.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Phoebe (My now 4 months old Rottweiler) hates getting her feet wet or dirty.

We went for a 7 mile walk today, along the canal so nice and flat for her. The track was very we, of course and some areas that were well trodden, muddy and some puddles. The lengths she would go to to avoid getting her feet either wet or dirty. She did make me laugh lots. She teetered on the very edge of the canal, almost falling into the canal which would have seriously shocked her.

We walked to The Dragon and enjoyed a drink. She got lots of fuss and we enjoyed the return walk.

Friday, 25 January 2013

How do they know?

One of my boarding dogs, a Golden retriever, Knows which is her unit!!

I watched with fascination as Tilly would come out into the big run, exercise and do what she needed to do and then go to a unit and bark, obviously wishing to go back in and who can blame her as it is freezing outdoors and they all have underground heating on. What fascinates me is that of the 15 units, which all look the same, she went to hers. All items inside are from hear i.e. carpet and bedding so how did she know exactly which one she came out of?

Dogs are soooo clever.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Clean car!!

I have found a mobile car valeting company who have given my car a great clean (in the deadfall snowy weather) and it didn't cost a fortune either.

As a dog owner plus the fact that I often pick up and drop off my customers animals my car does get a little messy. I don't know about you but I find it very difficult to get all the dogs hairs out of the carpet, in the boot. I do have a rubber mat but the hairs still get down the edge. Anyway, Tim Horobin from MCV (0800 988 1302) has done a great job and he comes to your home so we can get on with other jobs too.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Jade meets Cocoa

Good morning 

Cocoa (Labradoodle) and Jade (German shepherd)  had a great time chasing, wrestling and generally having a great time with lots of freedom. They are both quite young dogs and of a similar size, I have had to put them back into their own units for a rest or they would still be playing out now.

I have closed the hatches down for a while to keep the heat in from the under floor system. The dogs in my care have all had 2 good play times so I think they are happy for the rest. It is all quiet anyway.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow and ice everywhere

My boys had a day off school today, much to their delight.

The dogs had great fun, running and playing in the snow. I cannot believe how much they love to get a piece of ice and toss and catch it in their mouths. They spent a long time trying to take it off one another too.

The horses are coping well as they are having fresh hay put out 3 times a day and hard feed too. I do think they do better in many ways out in the fields and able to wander where they like to. They all have good quality rugs on so are lovely, warm and snug.  If we had stables (which we haven't) they would be stuck inside for many hours, unable to wander and confined to a relatively small area.

Spring is just around the corner :)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Well done South Derbyshire Council

My son works on a horse stud farm 8 am till 4 pm every Saturday. It is very much off the beaten track so I suggested we set on 1 hour early for a, usually 20 mins journey. We had on our wellies, hat, coat etc. Filled the car with all the "just in case" kit and off we set. Astonishingly the roads were clear (a good few inches at the sides) The only difficult bit was the last drag up a single track, very steep slope but we made it. Low gear, all the way.

I did consider my fuel consumption and the things we do for our children as it probably cost me more than he earns but for me it is worth it as not once did he complain about having to go to work, out side in these difficult conditions.

I do just hope the return journey is equally as easy :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Play time!!

Come on, lets play :)

The Rottweiler has eaten my head!!

Doris came for a sleep over and my youngest son (age12) and I took them both to their training class. The attendance was poor, I guess due to the threatened snow. The puppies were very good, especially Doris who didn't have her Mum with her so had to obey commands from completely different handlers. She did great.

Phoebe found it quite confusing as sometimes she was with me but others with my son so it was a challenge to gain and maintain her attention. She did very well too. In fact I felt very proud of them both.

OK so we haven't had the predicted snow, yet, but any photo opportunity :)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Getting out

I took Phoebe out to a friends today. There are dogs, horses, chickens and cats so a great educational opportunity for her in that she was not allowed to chase/eat the chickens and the cats put her in her place even though she really wanted to push the boundaries. She was very submissive with the dogs which is just how I want her to be too.

She was a very good girl and as always she was off the lead and never ventured too far away and came when called, almost straight away.

Her training continues along the right lines in that I am really working on her "stay" command and as she is so very fond of food I make her sit, stay and wait before she can eat. I can see it is torture to her but it should help to get a very clear message to her and form good foundations to her training.

Her heal work is doing ok but I think I may need her on a lead a little more to establish very close work and I don't really want to do this. I shall see what our trainer says on the topic tomorrow.


We are never happy are we?

First too wet, now too cold/frozen as I watched my horses trying to break the ice on our moat, which is where they drink from on the whole. They first used their muzzles then used their hoof. It took a few attempts but they managed it. At this time of year we feed hay and hard feed. I do soak their hard feed (cereal) but the hay, of course is very dry so they do need lots of water. One of my sons went down this evening to break up lots of ice to ensure they can get at the water with ease.

My eldest was supposed to be show jumping this evening but weather has stopped play as even on a prepared surface it is too hard/frozen and dangerous for both horse and rider.

Spring is on it's way :)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

No snow :) :(

The temperature has dropped and about time too. I have gone to the trouble of having under floor heating for the dogs which is thermostatically controlled and it has barely come on this winter ( I am happy really as no huge electricity bill).

I have a cast iron wood burner which I am having installed into the dog boarding too so there should be no complains of cold from our guests.

Bookings are coming in thick and fast as people are obviously planning their holidays and don't want to miss out on a space at Dogs Paws. For me, for a new business this is very encouraging and continues to build my confidence in it being the right decision to make the significant investment.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Training has begun

Phoebe had her first training class last evening.

She was a good girl for just 17 weeks old.

I did make a mistake in letting the boys play with her for a good while before we went so she got very tired and lost concentration but for her first time I was pleased with her. Her basics are good but if I had the treat in my hand when giving a command she was tempted to jump up. If I just pretended by closing my fist she was so much better. I do not want her jumping up as a full grown girl.
Close heal work and stay are going to be my focus for this week.

Dorris (Mel's Rotti) went too and she was great.

Having watched them both and observed how eager to please their owners they both are and once off the lead they remained loyal to us, I do think that Rottweilers are such lovely dogs and both Mel and I are working to ensure they stay that way and see if we can dispel the bad reputation the breed has. Well we won't be doing it any harm :)

In our home she is never left un attended and loose, I put her in her crate or I have a small pen to contain her. She is given things she can chew and play with and of course, hasn't damaged anything as yet and nor should she. The size and sharpness of her teeth, she could chew through cables or shoes in no time :)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Water Water

I do watch with interest, where the dogs in the boarding drink from.

I have put the self filling water dispensers into their individual units. That way I ensure they all have fresh, clean and cool water available at all times but I also collect storm water into a butt and have a bowl below which I keep filled. As the dogs are let out regularly they have a choice and many do prefer storm water. This will not come as a great surprise as many of you have told me your pets enjoy drinking out of puddles, often muddy. Here they have a choice too :)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Mesmerised !

No she wasn't a help with decorating the tree and yes she did manage to trash a few decorations but what fun we all had in the process. Phoebe got quite good at pulling crackers too although she was very nervous of them at first.

My boys have been doing some training with her too ad teaching her to roll over, turn a circle and play with her own tail. All good fun and any training opportunity has to be good for her.

She continues to be a good girl with things like socialisation, recall, heal, sit and down. As she comes to work with me I am trying to stop her running up to our guests owners as they arrive to collect or drop off their dogs as they may be un nerved by a Rottweiler. She is getting better which is great as I am really enjoying having her with me all the time.  She also needs a lot of practise with the "stay" command as she wants to be with me.
Our formal training starts this week so lets see how we get along.

Leaving us :(

My boys have called him Foxon. A Cockapoo, of course (Toffee is his Mum)
He is leaving us today for his new home.
10 weeks old and full of fun.
He has been on his own for a couple of weeks so has had oooodles of attention from us. He has been running out with my adult dogs and wrestling with Phoebe. We will  all miss him but I do know his new family will enjoy him and make a great fuss of him.

We actually have had 3 days with no rain and the sun has been shining too !!!
Long may it continue :)