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What’s on your dog’s Christmas list this year.

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While everyone’s ticking off their Christmas list have you made room for you canine under the tree? Our furry friends have done a lot for us this year in keeping us company under lockdown conditions. I’m sure initially many dogs will be more interested in the leftovers. You can treat them to something that will last a while longer than Christmas trimmings. There are some brilliant choices of Beds, leads, collars and more depending on what you need.

Beds

A good dog bed will last you the lifetime of a dog and potentially longer. Considering the bed its where a dog will rest in the day and night the comfier the better. While a blanket might suit a smaller dog, there is little comfort for a lab sized dog.

Having worked for Orvis and owning one of their beds i can vouch for the quality whole heartedly. They use a chart depending on how your dog likes to sleep, stretchers, curlers and a mix of both. This will dictate how thick the bed is packed. I can vouch for the two dogs that have lived in my one and its perfect. After any time out they are straight into it and fast asleep before the boots are off. I’ve owned the bed for almost 8 years and it looks good as new. The benefits are Orvis lifetime guarantee on their products and you can choose whatever size and material combination from their stock.

You can have a look at the Orvis beds Here

Ruffwear dog beds

If you’re looking for a bed for the house and the car then the Ruffwear bed might be ideal this Christmas. Rolling in on itself like a camping mat with a clip to hold it in place. This will certainly suit the active dog who spends a lot of time going between home and adventure. For a working dog this might be a trump card especially after a day in the field. Post shoot muddy dogs can get straight into their bed without any temptation to explore the back seats. Once the bed is filthy, it can go straight into the washing machine on a cold cycle.

You can find the Ruffwear bed Here

Tuffies dog beds

This is a dog bed that we’ve been using in the office for almost 2 years. With as many as 8 dogs in the office at any one time, finding somewhere to put them. We can say that the beds comfortably fits two spaniels or a spaniel and a lab at the same time. The covers also come off without a hitch and goes straight into the washing machine. Rather thing and quite light this is the perfect bed to move from room to room. The flat beds are usable on their own or with a cover should you want it.

You can look at the Tuffies bed Here

Lead

A decent lead is invaluable to success with your dog and Christmas is the perfect excuse to get one. You need a lead that can last for years and not start falling apart after a trip in the rain. We recommend a slip lead in particular while working your dog. The slip lead stops any pulling quite quickly and you can get your dog on or off the lead very quickly. Fiddling with buckles becoming increasingly difficult in adverse weather. With a slip lead, we recommend something not too thick and not too thin. Around 8mm is an ideal thickness while remaining comfortable in the hands. We’d also recommend fabric instead of leather as leather can wear quite quickly and often doesn’t have much backing to it.

Braided leads are a brilliant economic choice. The one linked here is a good length and thickness and you have a choice of colours. Braied leaves have a bit more give than a nylon lead which has almost no stretch to it at all. This all comes down to personal preference but i prefer a bit of stretch to my leads. if the dog feels the tension in the lead they become aware that they’re approaching the end of the lead and stop pulling before the slip tightens.

Nylon Leads are another choice, they’re quite taught but feel very secure and give you a lot of feedback about the dog’s intentions. Purely because of how stiff these leads are, I’d recommend something about 10mm thick. This makes it a little more comfortable for you and the dog. These are also weather proof so should take on water and dry without much fuss.

Collars

There are two opinions when it comes to working a dog with a collar. Some will suggest that the dog is at risk if they’re used to work with a collar. Others will argue the opposite and site potential thefts and having a handle on the dog as giving added safety. Personally my dogs wear a collar for the reason they spend the majority of their time as house dogs and it’s the law. I’ve also had a dog fall in a canal with high banks and having the collar was the only handle I had to get him out. With the collar done up correctly, I believe the dog is at very low risk when working. I’m sure some will disagree but that’s where I stand on it. Buying one at Christmas gives your dog a fresh look in time for next year.

Leather collars are what I’ve picked for the last 10 years. they clean up easily and last a very long time. They hardly hold any smell at all and any mess can be wiped off with hot water. They remain rigid when wet and they age along side the dog which looks quite nice as the dog ages. A dark coloured leather will hardly change shade or size in its life time and if well made shouldn’t fray or tear. The cost of a leather collar will determine its quality and features to keep in mind are thickness and the type of buckle.

This one from Filson is made out of saddle quality leather and is an inch wide. The reviews show owners as long as 11 years speaking of its quality and longevity. If you’re looking for a collar to help your dog match your boots this Christmas then there’s one from Le Chameau. A little cheaper but still looking like a brilliant collar you can see it Here.

Training

Training is imperative to keeping your dog ready for the next season. Other than using cold game, dummies are the next best alternative. These come in a variety of sizes and designs with some including real feathers from game birds. These will draw you some strange looks if used in local parks but in most cases worth it. Of all the dummies available I like the ones from Dokken the best. They use a hard head and tails encouraging the dog to pick up by the body. The body is also injectable with pheasant scent which makes it perfect for practicing rough cover retrieves. They come in all sizes, modeled after the UK’s game birds including Geese. The best deals I could find are these ones Here. There are additional ones available from their US store should you need them. This is one of the best gifts you can get your canine this Christmas.

If a full sized dummy doesn’t suit you then there are smaller fabric bag dummies available too. There’s a selection of canvas dummies available Here. Just consider the weight of the dummy is appropriate for your dog, especially if the dog is young.

Other

Just in case you have all these bases covered, there are a couple of things that you might not have considered this Christmas. A working dog is naturally more at risk of becoming injured than their housebound counter parts. Running through brambles and cross barbed fences a small mistake can become a bigger issue. Keeping a dog orientated first aid kit with you can often nullify an injury before you take them to the vet. Whether this is a bloody tail, cut ear or something else. Keeping this clean and sterile can pay dividends in the long run. It also gives you some peace of mind that the injury isn’t getting any worse. You can find these first aid kits by clicking the link Here.

A wet dog often isn’t a pleasant dog, they have the potential to make a mess of the house or car. It also isn’t pleasant for the dog, a shivering dog is a clear sign the dog is cold. At this point, it would be inadvisable to keep working the dog as they won’t be as effective as they were before. The best way to restore a dog’s internal temp is with a coat. The coats from Siccaro have great reviews and claim to dry your dog 90% in 15 minutes. Perfect for restoring your dogs temperature while you’re enjoying lunch.

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