Thursday, 13 August 2015

Dog ID Tags

I'm always surprised by the number of people who don't realise that their dog is legally required to wear an ID tag.
The Law states (via the Control of Dogs Order 1992) that "Every dog while on a public highway or place of public resort ( this basically means every dog not at home on private property) must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner (including postcode) inscribed on it, or a plate or badge attached to it"
This pic from the Kennel Club shows what must "by law" be included on your dog's tag.
Your telephone number is optional I would recommend this as well. Some people recommend that you put just your name on the tag (as you are required by law to do) and not your dogs name. Unfortunately dog theft is a very real problem and if the thief knows the name of your dog this may help them pass on the dog to the unsuspecting new owners because it appears they know the dog because the dog responds to their name. That's a more personal choice.

Some people are of the opinion that if their dog is micro chipped, they do not require a dog tag with their contact details on it. This is incorrect, and you should always have a dog tag on your dogs collar no matter if they are micro chipped (which I highly recommended) or not.

Certain dogs are exempt from having to wear a dog tag. They are:
  • Any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
  • Any dog while being used in emergency rescue work.
  • Any dog while being used on official duties by a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces, HM Customs and Excise or the police.
  • Any dog while being used for driving or tending cattle or sheep.
  • Any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin.
  • Any dog while being used for sporting purposes.
  • Any pack of hounds.
If your pooch isn't on this list then it must be wearing a tag by law :-)

They only cost a few pounds and there really is no excuse :-) Especially if it reunites you with your lost pooch :-)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Dog Agility at Bramble Cottage

I have several pooch's which I compete with at Kennel Club Dog Agility. I'm in the process of building my own course in the garden for extra practice and have a couple of promising pups almost old enough to compete alongside my other "sports dogs" :-)
Tullah has just retired having reached Grade 7 and qualified into Champ classes

This is a photo of Hess my border collie from a few years ago (and my legs!)
And here is a video of us competing :-)

This is one of the things my dogs and I do when we are not at Bramble Cottage Dog Grooming caring for dogs, its great fun!
Posted by Bramble Cottage Dog Grooming - Skegness/Spilsby/Wainfleet on Saturday, 20 June 2015

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

About me :-)

Possibly a bit narcissistic but nevermind! :-)

My name is Skhy and I have been working and playing with dogs since birth! My mother competed in dog obedience with Standard Poodles and German Shepherd's, and showed Cocker Spaniels, which I got to play with from a very young age!  I got my very own dog, a whippet called Rhea, in 1989 who I took to the "Don’t Hit It, Train It" dog training club in north London from 6 months of age, which is were the dog training bug took hold!

I spend my weekends helping out in my mother's dog grooming salon as a child (which I loved!) and learnt first hand how to groom dog and cats, from start to finish, over the course of ten years. I was a founding committee member of the "Whippet Club Obedience Demonstration Team" taking part with my whippet Zasha, in the Crufts display team, for three consecutive years. I competed with my pet Whippets, and one of my mothers Cockers Spaniels, in breed showing, child handling, obedience and agility. In 1994 I got my first Standard Poodle 'Shelbie' as I wanted to have some hair to groom, I should have known then!   
I gained my Kennel Club Breeders Affix of 'Zerhea’s' in 1996, when I bred my first litter of Whippet puppies for the breed show ring.  As with all children, there comes a time when the grown up world calls, and you have to finally become independent, and it was the same for me. My dogs had to take a back burner, whilst I left home for three years, to study for a degree in Social Work. In 2005 I got my first job, working for the local authority, following another dream to make a difference in some way.
Over the last ten years I have juggled being employed, with my love of dogs, which can be a struggle sometimes when you have a demanding job, often working over 50hrs a week.  As a de-stresser, I took up dog agility with my one of my pooches Tullah (see pic below!), and in 2007 worked with her up to Championship Classes! I have also collected some Border Collies along the way, who have travelled up and down the country with me to Agility competitions (with a tent!)
Tullah doing what she loves (after sleeping!)
In 2009 I started organising the "Spilsby Companion Dog Show" which is a charity fundraiser for the local community. I have continued to organise this each year, which gives yet another excuse to hang out with dogs!
I became a trainer at "Partney Dog Training Society" in 2011 and took over the role of 'Club Secretary' in 2013. Every Tuesday I get to help people, and their dogs, build their relationship and bond.
I reduced my hours at work to part time in 2013, and started grooming dogs as well. I got my dog grooming qualifications at Grimsby College and in January 2015 I got engaged to “The Dr”!
In February 2015, I was given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy from my social work role, and I decided to accept, as it would allow me to follow the dream of having my own Grooming Salon and start a family (four legged and two)! My fiance and I are buying our first home 'Bramble Cottage' where I will be grooming pooches, becoming a house wife and playing with my dogs full time!
I am currently grooming from one site (1 Green Lane, Wainfleet) and when the sale is completed, I will also be opening a second site at Hampton Lane, Old Leake. Both are home based grooming, where my customers dogs can feel like they are part of the family and where their hair is cared for in a calm and caring manner.
So that's me! :-)

Thursday, 16 July 2015

A Big Thank You to eveyone who attended the Spilsby Dog Companion Show

We had a busy weekend organising and running the Spilsby Companion Dog Show on Sunday 12th July. We raised £300 for the Spilsby Local Charities! Thank you to all my customers who attended and gave their support and to my family for their help on the day!

This is me, all set up and ready to take entries with Hermione Austin.

And a big thank you to Sue and Jane. Here you can see Sue handing out the Best in Novelty prize.

Hot Cars Kill Dogs!

With the recent hot weather it's always a good idea to spread the word about not leaving pooch's in cars on summer days. The Dogs Trust have a great site about not doing so and why with some surprising stats! Did you know for example that it only takes a few minutes for a dog to suffer the effects of being left in a car. Even if that car has its windows left open or has been left in the shade it is still not safe! In under 20 minutes, a hot car can prove fatal to a dog should its body temperature exceed 41°C. On a 22°C day it can reach 47°C in the car in an hour! At 26°C outside it can reach 37°C in just 10mins!

Dogs overheat quickly which means they could be at serious risk in only a short time.

This video shows why!

A dog left in a hot car will start to show distress through excessive panting, whimpering or barking, their gums or tongue may be red, there may be heavy salivation, vomiting, lack of coordination or even lack of consciousness. This will then develop into a loss of muscle control and ultimately their kidneys will cease to function, the brain will become damaged and their heart will stop.

The Dog's Trust's Chief Vet gives these helpful tips:
  • Don’t leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes – even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot, very quickly. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down does not make it safe!
  • If you see a dog in distress in a parked car, please call the Police on 999. If the police are unable to attend, please call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line 0300 1234 999. If you are at an event often the organisers will be able to break a window having previously warned the car owners.
  • Make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving. Avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the vehicle
  • Make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off on the way for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans, so can suffer from heat stroke and dehydration very quickly
  • If you are present at the rescue of a dog from a hot car that is clearly in distress, seek immediate veterinary advice. The very first priority is to prevent the dog from getting any hotter, attempt to provide shade from the sun and move to a cooler area. Dampening the dog down with cool (not freezing) water will help start to bring the body temperature down
  • Wet towels can be used to cool a dog but these must be regularly changed or spraying them down with water and placing them in front of the air conditioning vent to enhance evaporation on the way to the emergency appointment

  • If you are organising any sort of event then the Dog's Trust has a couple of posters which you can print out and put up. Download them here and here.

    You can also get some free stickers from them! You can order up to 5 stickers by emailing your name and postal address to

    Did you know:
    • More than one in 10 people know of a dog that has come to harm left in a parked car in hot weather
    • Last year AA patrols attended more than 1,000 pets locked in cars
    • Brits are far more likely to leave their dog in a car alone for a few minutes (28%) than their phone (10%)
    Also remember those hot pavements on your pooch's feet! It’s always best to avoid the hottest times of day, so if you can, walking in the early morning or evening is advisable. This way you’ll avoid very hot pavements which can be uncomfortable for your pup.

    Tuesday, 14 July 2015

    No Heated Cage Dryers at Bramble Cottage

    As promised a post about heated cage dryers.
    I Never use heated cage dryers in my salon. Ever. I like the dogs that visit my salon to have a spa treatment experience rather than being in a factory environment, and I consider them to be dangerous.
    Dogs cool themselves in an entirely different and somewhat less efficient manner to humans.  Unlike humans, they have very few sweat glands.  The few they do have are located mostly in the pads of their feet.  A hot or nervous dog will leave damp footprints on the surface it stands on, but these glands are not terribly effective at cooling your pet when it becomes overheated.

    Dogs primarily regulate their temperature by panting and breathing.  The moisture on the surfaces of their tongue, mouth, and upper respiratory tract evaporate as air passes over them.  Dogs with shortened muzzles such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzu have more difficulty cooling themselves because their sinus cavities are far more compact. However, if the air the dog is breathing is not considerably cooler than its body temperature, this method of cooling cannot work properly and overheating could occur.

    When dogs pant, they increase the speed of their respirations, but breathe more shallowly.  The faster breathing exchanges the warm air from inside the body at a rapid rate.  The lungs function in this capacity to not only exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen but also to lower the body temperature.  It is important to note that dogs may also pant when they are nervous, afraid or ill. 

    Another way that dogs exchange heat is by expanding blood vessels that are located in the ears and on the face.  The blood flows close to surface of the skin, where it can be exposed to cooler air before it recirculates to the rest of the body.

    From this information we learn that it is important that dogs have cooler than body temperature air to breath in order to regulate their body heat and avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
    In some salons heated cage dryers are used to dry off just-bathed dogs as the groomer attends to other dogs. Sometimes though, a pet that is too warm or in distress may be missed when the cage dryer is on and people are busy. Dogs have ended up in emergency rooms or died from heat stroke after getting too hot from a cage dryer. There are plenty of examples on the net of why I don't use heated cage dryers and plenty of pictures of horribly burned dogs too.
    At Bramble Cottage Dog Grooming  I use a fluff or force dryer after the bath then proceed with the haircut.  I don't believe that heated cage dryers are safe and so I don't use them.  When I work on any person’s beloved pet, I do so as if they were one of my own beloved pooch's.

    Sunday, 12 July 2015

    The Spilsby Show Today

    It's the Spilsby Show today! I'm running the Companion Dog Show next to the main marquee, the weather looks like it will be nice and there is lots to see and do, so why don't you join us for a fun day out?! :-)

    Thursday, 9 July 2015

    The Partney Dog Training Society

    I am the secretary and one of the trainers at the Tuesday night Partney Dog Training Society.
    It's a fun and friendly club for you and your dog. We have different classes to suit your needs, with expert instructors to show you how to work with your dog.
    You can:
    1. Improve heel work to make those daily walks more enjoyable
    2. Get your dog coming back when called instead of doing his own thing :-)
    3. Make sure your dog doesn’t run in to danger
    4. Provide the mental stimulation dogs need
    5. Build the bond between you and your dog
    6. Enjoy the company of others :-)
    The club is about to celebrate it's 32nd birthday and we would love to welcome new members :-)
    We're at Partney Village Hall on a Tuesday evening,  next to the church and opposite the Red Lion pub. There are 4 classes from 6:30pm to 10pm:

    Ring Craft 6.30-7.30pm
    Training on how to walk and show your dog, together with familiarising the dog with being handled by judges.

    Puppy Class 7.30-8.00pm
    For dogs up to 12 months. In this class you will work towards the Kennel Club Good Citizens Scheme (Puppy Foundation Certificate). Bring a toy and some treats (for the dog not you).

    Beginners Obedience 8.00-9.00pm
    Working towards the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award. For all dogs whether Kennel Club Registered or not. Bring a toy, some treats, and a brush.

    Further Obedience 9.00-10.00pm
    Working towards the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Silver and Gold Awards. There is no age limit, and dogs do not have to be Kennel Club Registered. Dogs for the these classes must have achieved the Bronze Award.

    So find me at Partney Village Hall on a Tuesday evening, I'm normally taking one or two of the classes!


    Tuesday, 7 July 2015

    The Spilsby Companion Dog Show

    It's just over a week till the Spilsby Companion Dog Show on Sunday 12th July!
    I help to organise this every year for charity, and would love to see as many members of the public there as possible. You can enter on the day and its lots of fun :-)
    Here's a pic of last years winners, don't they look lovely!
    What's more Bramble Cottage Dog Grooming is currently running a special offer for any dog that attends the Spilsby Companion Dog Show on Sunday 12th July!

    For further information or for entry details please telephone Shky on 01754 881803 or Becky on 01507 605378.

    For anyone interested in entering here are the rules!

    Off the Leash!

    I love Rupert Fawcett's Off the Leash cartoons!
    He has a brilliant Facebook page and some really funny books :-)
    This is my favourite of his more recent posts:
    Copyright 2015 Off The Leash Dog Cartoons (Rupert Fawcett)

    Wednesday, 1 July 2015

    Ticks! It's that time of the year again :-)

    Ticks are small creatures that are mostly found lurking in grassy areas. They are parasites ( which means they require a host to feed from). Ticks can also pick up disease from one mammalian host and then pass it onto another (like dogs!).
    Ticks start out as small, oval and flat ( about the size of a sesame seed) when unfed, but once completely engorged with blood, they grow to the size and shape of a coffee bean! They look for hosts to latch onto, by climbing to the top of a long blade of grass and waiting (a behaviour known as 'questing') for passing mammalian traffic (dogs!)

    Ticks aren't just pests that feast on your dog and cause him or her to itch; they can also be carriers of some serious diseases. UK ticks can carry a devastating condition called Lyme disease caused by bacteria, which affects both muscle and nerve cells. Dogs may experience intermittent lameness, fever and lethargy while humans may show a rash, joint pain, fever, and headaches. If incorrectly diagnosed, or left untreated, it can result in an extremely serious debilitating chronic illness with lifelong complications. In humans it is, unfortunately, a difficult disease to diagnose but in dogs, it is even more difficult, so prevention against ticks is of vital importance.

    Whilst I started this post by saying that it was "that time of the year again", and ticks are commonly more active in summer, don't be fooled into thinking they're just a warm weather problem; they can, in fact, be found in your dog's environment anytime throughout the year!

    There are many safe products on the market to prevent ticks: from spot-ons and sprays, to special collars impregnated with substances that infiltrate into the fatty layer in your dog's skin, killing ticks when they attempt to feed and get their first mouthful of anti-parasitically treated blood. I personally use frontline. Even so it's a good idea, on returning home, especially from areas such as parks and woodlands, to check all over your dog's body for signs of any visitors.

    Ticks can be dangerous for any age of dog and any breed so it's important to know what to do if you spot one on your pooch :-) The most important thing is don't panic and resist the urge to just pull it straight off. This would be extremely painful for your dog so ticks always need to be removed slowly and carefully, otherwise embedded mouth parts can be left behind. Or if ticks are 'stressed' - poked and prodded, burnt with a flame, or, as is commonly done, covered in Vaseline to suffocate them - the ticks may regurgitate their bloody meal back into their host along with any disease they're carrying! Gross right! So we definitely don't want to do any of that! :-)
    If you find any ticks on your dog, they must be removed, however if done incorrectly, mouth parts left inside your dog could result in a local tissue reaction, inflammation and infection often requiring antibiotics, or even surgical removal. There are plenty of good and inexpensive tick removing tools out there. A quick google search will reveal most of them :-)

    Tuesday, 30 June 2015

    First Post! :-)

    The Bramble Cottage Dog Grooming Blog is now up and running! To celebrate here's a picture of the new BCDG microfiber towels (embroidered with our logo!) just arrived and waiting for your pooch :-)
    At Bramble Cottage we like to use microfiber (a synthetic fiber that is finer than one denier - this diameter is smaller than a strand of silk!) towels as:
    1. They absorb water much more rapidly without the need for rubbing (better for your pooch's coat!);
    2. You don't have to rub hair to get the water out so there is minimal friction between the towel and hair fibres - less friction means less breakage and a nicer coat;
    3. Hair that's been wrapped in a microfiber towel will dry a lot faster than hair that's been wrapped in a regular towel;
    4. Microfiber doesn't produce lint (bits of white fluff). Lint from regular towels can cause hair tangles.
    5. It helps to reduce hair "frizziness".
    We Don't use heated cage dryers at BCDG. Never. Ever. I like my dogs to have a spa treatment experience rather then being in a factory environment :-) (see more on this in an upcoming blog post!)
    Here's a pic of the lovely Bracken the Cocker sitting on one of our new towels after his groom :-)He came in for his first big boy's groom, and showing his age, he had to have a little nap! :-)