- Pets and Animals
A Day In The Life Of A Rescue Spaniel
A Day In The Life Of A Dog!
Hi I am Charles (Charlie for short).
I am a rescue dog and I live in a little village in Sussex with my adopted family (Julie and Stuey - I call them Mummy and Daddy). I have a nice life now, although it is hard work being a Spaniel! Each day I do a lot of wiggling and wagging of my tail, and there are certain doggie duties that I like to fulfill each day. My family think I am a little bit nuts, but I can tell that they secretly like my extra wiggliness! We are a happy family.
I am going to share with you a typical day in my life, and tell you about what makes me such a happy and healthy dog!
The First Thing I Do When I Wake Up!
First thing in the morning I get up and wake up Mummy and Daddy. I think they like to be woken up early, even though they complain! I start the day by walking around their bed from side to side, wiggling and wagging as I go, so that I can make sure to wake up both mummy and daddy! I like to put my face close to theirs and look at them whilst wagging my tail until they open their eyes. If they don't wake up straight away sometimes I make grunting noises.
When I was first rescued daddy used to let me sleep on the bed with him. That was before Mummy came along. When Mummy came I got my own bed, and now I sleep on that. It is really comfy and I even have some pillows of my own!
A Comfy Dog Bed Is Vital For Your Dog To Sleep Soundly - And he is less likely to wake you up in the night!
Ummmm, I LOVE my bed! Here are some comfy dog beds like mine.
Your pet needs his own bed. Whilst it is nice to allow them to snuggle in with us, it's not practical in the long term and it is not so nice when your bed is constantly covered in mud and dog hairs! It's not a good habit to teach your dog, far better for them to learn to sleep in their own bed. So it is important to find a bed of the right size, that is comfortable for your pet. Make sure it is large enough that he isn't squashed. We added some cushions to Charles's bed to make it extra comfortable!
At first I didn't really think it was that important what dogs slept on, I mean they will be fine on an old blanket right? Except that when I see how much happier and cosier Charlie is on a proper dog bed I realize that I was wrong in that theory!
This bed is BIG, and very comfortable. However it is not suitable for dogs who chew as it is quite easy to chew a hole in!
This bed is perfect for dogs who like to feel warm and cosy. WE RECENTLY GOT ONE OF THESE FOR CHARLIE AND HE LOVES IT!
The best food for your dog
Once I have finally dragged them out of bed we all go downstairs and I have my breakfast. I usually have half a can of dog food mixed with some biscuits and a little bit of garlic (to keep the fleas away).
We have been looking into more natural foods for Charlie. I don't think the commercial brands of dog food are the best choice for good health. We are in fact currently looking into a raw food diet for our dog, however there is a lot to consider before embarking down this road, so we are still doing our homework. For now we are aiming to feed the most natural of the canned foods we can find.
Garlic is one of the natural alternatives that can help keep fleas away, although be careful not to feed more than about 1/2 a tsp every two days as too much garlic can be harmful for dogs!
Natural Dog Food
Here are some great brands of natural dog food for your favorite pooch. We believe that natural brands, without all the additives, are better for his health.
We feed Charlie an organic, natural brand of dog food here in the UK, however the one we use is not available in the US. This is the closest I could find. This company uses all organic, healthy, natural ingredients to provide optimum nutrition for your dog
This is the dry food option from the same company.
A Word About Overweight Dogs
Mummy says this is important!
Overweight pets and obesity in dogs is becoming very common. And the most worrying thing of all is that a lot of owners don't realize that their dog is overweight. It's easy to wear the rose tinted glasses and we all like to treat our dogs, however it is prudent to use other treats instead of using food all the time. Praise, affection and stroking all work well too!
When you look at your dog he should get narrower towards his back end and his tummy should be tucked up higher than the rest of his body. If you cannot see his waistline then you definitely have a problem. Also you should be able to feel your dogs ribs when you run your hands over his body. if you suspect your pet may be overweight seek advice from your vet. You will need to reduce his food and increase his exercise. Allowing a pet to be overweight is unkind at best and cruel at worst. It leads to a host of health problems and discomfort for your dog.
Spaniels Like Being Silly!
This is a picture of me and daddy messing around.
I LOVE going for a walk, it is my third favorite activity besides laying upside down and wiggling. We usually go for a walk in the morning and then again in the afternoon. The walks are typically about an hour long, although sometimes they are shorter if it is raining very hard! I need a lot of exercise, like most dogs, to keep me healthy.
Sometimes when we go for walks I get distracted by chasing bunnies. I run after them and don't come back for ages, so now Mummy and Daddy keep me on a lead when we go for walks. It is a really long lead so it's not too bad as I still get to run around.
Mummy says: Charlie does run off sometimes and we lose him, on occasion for several hours, which is very worrying and unsafe, so unfortunately we do have to keep him on a lead at the moment. We are currently in the process of training him to come when called (Recall) in the hope that eventually this will stop him from running off. We are following a training plan, so watch this space as we will report back on how we get on.
We are also trying out an electric collar which can be used to train your dog to come back. I review the collar in more detail in another article (click the link below). Whistles and treats also help when training your dog to come. They can be used as a helpful addition to training, however nothing trumps proper training. You can learn more about what we are doing to train Charlie below.
For the time being we use a very long lead so that he can still run around and get plenty of exercise.
Long Leashes For Your Dog Walk
If you have to have your dog on a lead because he runs off like Charlie, then here are some great longer dog leashes that you can use. It's important for your dog's health that he can run around and exercise, for fitness, mobility and weight management. Plus he will feel better when he gets to run around and burn off some energy, and be less demanding when he gets home!
This is really similar to the one we have for Charlie and is REALLY long, meaning your dog will get the benefit of being able to run around almost as if he were off the lead, without you having to worry about losing him.
This one is another good, durable choice, and is available in different length up to 50 feet.
What Do Dogs Love Doing?
Charlie says - some of my favorite things to do are:
Laying upside down on my back
Having my tummy rubbed
Playing search and doing puzzles or playing games with mummy and daddy using my toys!
Putting my head on the sofa and running with my back legs (see video below)
Tips To Train Your Dog To Come
Mummy says: Although we are still learning we have certainly already learned some useful dog training tips .
TIP - When training your dog to come back to you, use SIMPLE commands. Choose one or two simple words that he can learn. His name followed by the word 'COME' is ideal. Short, to the point, and easy for your dog to understand so he won't get confused. So in our case the words we use are 'Charlie Come'. Whilst your dog may be clever his vocabulary probably isn't as big as yours! :-)
TIP - When your dog does come, give him LOADS of praise. It needs to be a rewarding experience for him to come back to you. Don't make the classic mistake that we made at first of telling him off and smacking his bottom when he has run away and finally returns. I know you are probably mad because he ran away and you were worried, however this gives him the message that he gets a smack when he COMES BACK. If he runs away just ignore him when he does finally come back. Put him on his lead immediately but don't make a fuss. Instead go back to basics training him to 'come' when called. We found some great guides to help you with this process which you can access from the links list below..
TIP - The process we are following for training Charlie to come is to initially train him to recall to the words 'Charlie Come', firstly around the home and then when out on the lead. Whenever he comes he gets loads of praise and the odd dog treat. Later we will take him to an enclosure and practice the same routine. If he doesn't come straight away we will put him back on the lead and go home. Hopefully given time he will get the message. Then we will repeat the same with some added distractions like another dog. And finally we will try it without the lead and outside of the enclosure, but only we feel completely comfortable that he is not going to run off again!
Training Your Dog To Come
Other things to help you train your dog to 'come'.
This is not a method we have tried yet, however some dog owners swear by the clicker training method to get your dog to come!
Websites To Help You Train Your Dog To Come
Training your dog to come when called, otherwise known as 'Recall' is one of the most important things you will do together. It's important that your dog listens to you and is obedient, for safety reasons, and also to create a pleasurable and stress free relationship.
Teaching recall is a surprisingly in depth process, and you need to learn how to do it properly, otherwise you will not be successful!
Here are some websites to help you with this.
- The Dog Father Training Tips
I like this website for detailed tips on training your dog to come.
- Dog Secrets
This website is great for a more in depth look at the psychology behind training your dog and how to improve your relationship.
- Teach Your Dog The Recall Technique
This is my favorite guide to learning recall with your dog. It's an easy step by step guide that breaks down the process and gives you plenty of examples of exactly what to do.
Dog Training Books and Resources
A list of my favorite resources and books on dog training. I have found these to be the best ones available.
This book is easy to understand and if you follow the advice will help you get your dog well trained. Also the author provides on-going e-mail support after you have bought the book in case you have any questions! Brilliant.
Jan Fennell, dubbed 'The Dog Whisperer' offers real insight into your dog's mind! This stuff works and is well worth a read.
This book is GREAT! Exciting for both you and your dog, with a wealth of novel ideas for training and bonding with your dog, all presented nicely.
To play 'Search' get a toy like the one shown here, and then get your mummy or daddy to smear a little Bovril on it (not too much as it's very salty for us dogs!). Then they let me smell the toy so that I know what I am searching for. Next get them to hide the toy somewhere in the house. I stay in the kitchen whilst they do this - no peeking now! Then they let me out to search the house. I have to use my sense of smell to find the toy. When I find it I get to lick the Bovril off! I LOVE this game, it's so much fun.
Mummy says: This is a game we designed to keep Charlie entertained when we are all at home. Being a Spaniel he can get easily bored, as do most dogs, and it's important for health and brain development to keep them active and challenge them. Charlie loves hunting for the toy. There is much wagging of the tail and excitement when we play this game, plus it challenges his natural abilities and develops his searching skills. If you want to play repeatedly, substitute the Bovril for a little dog food, just be careful not inadvertently overfeed your dog!
If you would like to play search like we do click on the link below and buy the toy (or you can use one you already own if you have one).
This is the ideal toy for playing search with.
Puzzles and Games For You And Your Dog
Here are some more great ideas to help keep your dog mentally active and challenged. A mentally active dog will be more sprightly and happier, plus you can have great fun playing these games together! Also great for bonding with your dog.
You hide the treat inside, he has to find it!
This one is a bit sturdier and is reported to be very durable.
And Some Of My Least Favorite Activities!
Having my teeth cleaned.
Having a bath.
Mummy says: Although Charlie doesn't enjoy these things they are essential to his health and wellbeing, and to make sure he is comfortable. However there are ways in which you can do them that make them easier for you both and less of a struggle. We don't bathe Charlie often, it is not necessary, only when he is very dirty and then it is important to thoroughly wash your pet using pet shampoo. We use a natural one.
We also groom and brush him regularly which helps keep his coat healthy and shiny. He enjoys this more.
Charlie says: I don't like having a bath at all! In fact I avoid it if I can. However Mummy says it's important so I have a bath about once a month or so, or whenever I am very muddy! When I realize they want to give me a bath I normally try to hide and sometimes I have to be carried into the bathroom!
Mummy says: It's important to keep your pet's fur and skin clean to prevent bacteria and dirt from building up, which could lead to irritation and even infection. However do not over-bath your pooch as this too can cause dry skin and irritation, especially if using harsh shampoos. About once a month or less is fine. We try to use natural shampoo if we can.
This is a natural shampoo that smells nice too. It's suitable for pets with skin problems.
Conditioner is not 100% essential for your dog, however it does leave them with a lovely soft, strokable coat, so if you want to pamper your dog why not buy the conditioner too!
Dog Boots That Stay
This winter we have had some snow, and I had problems with clumps of snow sticking around my feet, so now Mummy and Daddy have bought me some Pawz Dog Boots. They are REALLY good.
In The Afternoon
It's a dog's life!
If I am not playing games with Mummy and Daddy and when we are not out walking, I like to spend my afternoons laying upside down. I really like being upside down.
Mummy says: We don't really know why Charlie enjoys being upside down so much, he just does. Sometimes he even sleeps upside down at night!
In The Evening
In the evening we all usually snuggle up on the sofa. Mummy and Daddy like to 'work' on Squidoo and I like to 'help'. I also like to stretch out and sometimes I don't think Mummy and Daddy give me enough room on the sofa!
Mummy says: Charlie usually ends up with about half the sofa, with me and Stu and our two computers squashed up on the other end!
Doggy BusinessClick thumbnail to view full-size
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