Review: tug-e-nuff rabbit skin bungee tug for dogs

There are many excellent dog toy products on the market but unfortunately many more that are not fit for purpose.

One product I always take with me to a dog training session in a tug-e-nuff rabbit skin bungee tug.

Why do I like tug-e-nuff?

The tug-e-nuff rabbit skin bungee tug has these features that make it perfect for working with a dog outside:

  • It’s real rabbit skin!  This will trigger your dog’s prey drive.
  • The bungee part means when the dog grabs the toy the tug is super rewarding and acts as a shock absorber for your arm!
  •  It has a loop handle so I can keep hold of it securely.
  • It is very high quality.  I have been using the same one since 2015 and it’s still going strong.

So how do I use a tug-e-nuff bungee? 

It can be used as an indoor toy but I use it exclusively as an interactive toy out on walks. Dogs that are distracted on walks need something to break through to grab their attention.

When I first present it to a dog they don’t grab it. They just stand and sniff it intently for a few seconds. This is why I use the rabbit skin version!

They then grab hold of it and tug. I get them into a super exciting tug game to reinforce it strongly.

Once it is primed for the dog I then put it back in my pocket ready for action.

Dogs that have a desire to chase bikes, skateboards, joggers etc can then be given the tug game as a super motivating alternative.

It can also be used as a reward for a dog with poor recall, especially for dogs that are not very food motivated.

To maintain the toy’s high value, I only use it when outside on walks. I would never leave it down as a chew toy since being rabbit skin your dog will likely want to “kill” it as quickly as possible.

Available in 3 different colours

Orange
Purple
tug-e-nuff rabbit skin bungee tug for dogs blue
Blue

Please let me have your feedback below if you have tried this product.

Do you need help with your dog chasing things he shouldn’t or with his recall? Please contact Rainbow Dogs for help training your dog around Brighton & Hove.

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Some like it hot – but not dogs!

UK weather and dogs

When the sun comes out in the UK we tend to get over-excited and common sense goes out the window.

Dogs are one of the most adaptable species on the planet and have evolved to live in most countries of the world.  We therefore do not need to over-react and keep them inside once the sun comes out but we should use some common sense.

Hot Surfaces

Have you ever walked barefoot on hot sand?  You will run, hopping and yelping until you get to the sea or some shade.  A good test is to hold the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds.  If it is too hot for you then it is too hot for your dog.  

Dogs are barefoot all the time so if the sun is very hot then so is the pavement.  The simple solution here is to seek out shade.  In town, this may mean crossing the street to get the shade of buildings.  Where possible walk your dog on grass verges rather than the pavement since it will be much cooler.

Cooling down

When we get hot we sweat to cool down. Dogs don’t! Although they sweat a small amount through their paws the main way they cool down is by panting.  We sensibly take a bottle of water out with us when it is hot so do the same for your dog if you will be out for a while. Fold-flat water bowls are really handy.

Have a rest

Chill out under the shade of a tree for a while. This gives you both a chance to cool down.

Don’t run a marathon

Dogs are generally much more active in the park than we are so leave the ball at home when really hot since the motivation to play may override the motivation to rest. If you do want to give your dog a good run then go out earlier or later in the day when it’s cooler.

Garden

Have water and shade available in your garden. A doggy paddling pool can also be great fun!

Grooming

When we are hot we can take a layer of clothes off.  Give your dog a good brush to get out the undercoat and remove matts.  Some breeds i.e. terriers can be stripped to reduce hair and some breeds can be trimmed.

Young, fit, and healthy?

A dog who is young, fit, and healthy will do fine in the sun with sensible precautions. You may however need to be extra careful with puppies, older dogs, unfit dogs, or dogs with health conditions. Seek your vet’s advice as appropriate.

Brachycephalic (short nose) dogs

Breeds like the very popular Pug and French Bulldog need extra care.  These dogs have been breed to have very short faces meaning they have more difficulty breathing generally and cooling down when hot. Brachycephalic breeds can therefore quickly overheat. 

Heatstroke

If you are concerned that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke then get him into shade immediately. Cool him down gradually with water but not rapidly with cold water or ice. Contact your vet for advice.

Cars

It should go without saying now that dogs should never be left in cars on hot days. Even if it does not seem very hot, if the car is in shade, if left for short periods, or if the window is open! The temperature inside the car will quickly make it very unsafe for a dog with the possibility of heatstroke and death. If you see a dog in a hot car don’t delay but call 999 for help.


Check out RSPCA advice on what to do if you see a dog in a hot car.


Check out our blog post on how to manage your dog in cold weather.


Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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My dog is not interested in food!

My dog is not interested in food is something I sometimes hear from new clients. When I look down I often see a well feed or overweight dog looking back at me.

Food is a biological need for all of us including our furry friends.

What owners usually mean is their dog is not interested enough in the food they are offering at that moment in time.

Most puppies start their life with us enthusiastically eating what is put in front of them but over time some realise that if they wait us out then we will give them something “better” e.g. a little bit of gravy poured over their dry kibble or even a tin of wet food. As time goes on they may wait for some fresh chicken to be mixed in. We have then created a “fussy eater”.

It could be time to get your dog weighed and checked over by the vet and reduce his food a little if necessary. It’s great if you are spending time training your dog with treats but you may need to reduce his daily food allowance a little to compensate.

We may ask our dog to come back in the park and when he does we give him a dry biscuit. The dog may have run back from playing with all his friends and so is a little disappointed and therefore next time does not bother to come back. You could try using a higher value treat like Natures Menu (95% meat) which are tasty and have a strong scent to make his recall worth while.

Perhaps you have a nervous dog and when friends visit you ask them to offer him a biscuit but he still keeps away. In this situation the dog does not want the treat enough to risk the meeting the scary visitor.

Your dog may not like travelling in the car so you try to lure him in with a treat but the fear of the car journey outweighs the pleasure of the treat.

Treats are incredibly useful for training your dog in a positive way but the benefit for him has to outweigh the cost.

If you are worried about your dog not eating enough then please get him checked out by your vet to rule out any veterinary problems.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any help with your dog’s behaviour.

Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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Proprioception – what’s that?

Most dogs love their walks; they get to run around at full speed and play with the other dogs in the park. Once they get home they sleep for hours until the next walk… right?

Some dogs, no matter how much “exercise” you give them still have energy to burn. Border Collies come to mind. Breeds of the “working” variety e.g. working Cocker Spaniels or working Labradors often don’t have an off switch either.

Perhaps the exercise they are getting is just half the picture? The organ that uses most energy is actually the brain so how do you work that part of your dog?

Opening your eyes is the first step. I recently went to St. Ann’s Well Gardens with a client with a high-energy Springer Spaniel cross. He loves to run around but also loves to be with his human. As we walked around the park we looked for things to do. There is a long log that is on its side on the grass. We lured Lord Nelson onto this with a treat which he was happy to take and then jumped off again. He jumped off because he didn’t have the balance to stay on and was also moving quickly. On his second attempt we used a second treat to keep him there. This was great fun for all of us. Next Nelson was asked to sit on the log, his back legs quivered as he did this as all the small mussels worked together to control this delicate manoeuvre.

We then set off to the next adventure in the form of a tree trunk. Nelson was asked to jump onto it which he was happy to do but did so at speed but then flew off the other side. The next attempt he took it a little more slowly and managed to stay on.

Around the park we found an upturned tree with a 30 degree incline which Nelson happily trotted up but then had to work out what to do at the end. He turned his body around slowly, a little unsure of what his back legs were doing, but managed it without falling off!

The next obstacle was the well itself. Nelson’s task here was to jump on and slowly manoeuvre around the edge. This was a tricky task since it was very narrow. Another great success for Nelson.

When we got home Nelson crashed out on his bed struggling to keep his eyes open.

 

This brings me back to my original question “Proprioception – what’s that?”. Proprioception is knowing where your body is in space. Anyone who has practiced yoga may understand how difficult it is at first to control our body slowly. With practice comes improved strength, flexibility, and balance. Slowing down so the mind has awareness about what their body is doing has similar advantages for dogs. The added bonus for a dog that has used his mind and body is he may then crash out after his trip to the park.

I call these training sessions Urban Agility since you use whatever your local park has to offer to mentally and physically work your dog. I can train these sessions with you or as part of my Groundwork service where I work your dog for you.

Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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Tellington TTouch Workshop

We have a guest blogger today, Maddy with Jake Dog A.I.D. assistance dog in training telling us about the Tellington TTouch workshop we attended.

Navigating the maze 

Myself, Jake my German Shepherd and our trainer Mike were kindly invited to attend a Tellington TTouch workshop held by Caroline of Stylish Fido in Steyning.  It’s a fascinating subject with lots of novel concepts to think about and use such as non-habitual movement, where a variety of obstacles and surfaces are used to encourage dogs to become more aware of where their bodies are in space.  The dogs were taken around a type of obstacle course known as The Playground of Higher Learning at the beginning and end of the day; Jake started out clumsily knocking over every single pole balanced on cones with his back feet, but by the end was walking perfectly through the rungs of a rope ladder laid on the floor.  The challenge as always with Jake was trying to keep all movements slow and deliberate, when he wants to do everything at top speed!

We were shown how various types of body wrap helped aid calm and relaxed behaviour, one of which was demonstrated on a nervous dog who attended and seemed to make a real difference. The TTouch harness that utilises a front as well as a back attachment point was also demonstrated, and the manner in which it works to prevent pulling explained; I was already a convert to this style of harness as the very similar Perfect Fit harness has revolutionised the way Jake walks on the lead. Of course we also learned the touches themselves and came home with lots of ideas on how to use them, for example touching around the mouth and gums to help release stress that would otherwise be expressed via barking. Overall it was a really interesting and informative workshop that I would recommend to anyone willing to think outside the box about canine behaviour.

Stepping over poles 

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Staying at a holiday let with your dog

One of the best things about staying in a holiday let is that you get to take the dog! These are our top tips for a successful break with your dog.

How do I find dog friendly holiday let properties?

It used to be a case of having to flick through the holiday brochures trying to find a dog friendly cottage.  How times have changed!  You can still look at the brochures or even the websites of the old agencies but you will also have to pay their sometimes hefty commissions.

The new alternative is booking direct with the owner! You could Google all the dog friendly websites or alternatively use a Facebook group like dogfriendlyholidays which aims to match up holiday home owners with dog owners.

Should I bring my dog on holiday with me?

How much will your dog come out and about with you on holiday? If the answer is not very much at all then perhaps consider leaving him home with friends or family or a trusted dog sitter.

What will you do with him when he can’t come with you to the local supermarket or that posh little restaurant in town?

Some property owners are happy for your dog to be left for short periods but some may insist he shouldn’t be left at all!

What should I consider before going away with my dog?

Many owners use crates for their puppies but abandon them once their dog gets a little older. Now is a good time to reintroduce it. A dog that is happy being in his crate will have somewhere safe and secure to retreat into which is especially important in a strange place.

How does your dog cope with being left alone at home? If the answer is he is never left or he barks, chews, or messes then you can almost guarantee he will we worse in a strange new place. Consider getting some help with his separation anxiety now before you even consider going away and leaving him in a strange place.

Some holiday lets may insist that your dog is crated when left alone. Dogs that have never used a crate should not be put into one for the first time when left in a strange place since this is likely to be very stressful! Consider getting some professional advice on introducing a dog to a crate.

Where does your dog sleep at night? If the answer is in your bedroom, on your bed, or in your bed then check the property owner’s terms carefully. Many properties do not allow dogs on beds or even in bedrooms so your dog would need to be happy in a crate in the kitchen or living room.

Make sure your dog’s vaccinations, worming, and flea/tick treatments are up to date. Country locations may present a higher risk of worms, ticks, and water-borne pathogens.

Travel abroad may also require a rabies vaccination. Check with your vet since you may need to plan several months in advance.

Does your dog get anxious or travel sick in the car. You should start to work on this in advance of your trip. See an experienced dog behaviourist now if your dog has problems travelling.

Is the property a good choice for me?

Everyone has a different idea of what dog friendly means; property owners and guests alike. Some properties may just be dog “tolerant” others may be (almost) anything goes. If your dog has an “access all areas” life style at home then a “no dogs on the sofa” rule on holiday may not be practical for you.

How secure a garden do you need?  Is your dog happy to just plod around the garden or would he easily jump a 4ft fence given the chance?

Be sure to read the terms and conditions before you book to avoid any problems. If you are not sure of the property owners rules then double check before you book. If these rules don’t match up with your expectations then find somewhere else that does!

Am I a responsible dog owner?

When staying at a holiday let property you should be a responsible dog owner. The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme provides a comprehensive criteria on what it means to be a responsible dog owner

Some specific things to consider on your holiday are:

  • Clean up after your dog, both in the property grounds and when out on walks.
  • Be very careful around cattle and sheep, especially if you have a city dog that has never encountered farm animals before. You must always have your dog on lead in areas where cattle and sheep may be around.
  • Don’t leave your dog in a car. In warm weather, even with a window open with access to water, cars soon become like a greenhouse for a dog.Dogs can very quickly overheat and become dehydrated with potentially fatal consequences.
  • Prepare for the worst. You have a legal responsibility to have a tag on your dog and have him microchipped. Make sure the microchip details are up to date with your current mobile phone number before your trip.

Things to do the day you travel

Make sure your dog is safely secured in your car.

Don’t forget to pack for your dog. Bring his bed or ideally a crate. He will also need his lead, toys, medication, and bowls.

Bring enough of his regular food since a sudden change of diet could upset his stomach.

Plan “comfort breaks” en route.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring the dog! Have a great holiday!

Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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How to stop dog pee ruining your lawn

Many dog owners are worried about dog pee ruining their lawn. Lets look at the problem and possible solutions.

What is it about dog pee that is ruining your lawn?

A common belief is that the urine of bitches burns your lawn and that the urine dogs fertilises it. On the surface this is a reasonable explanation based on anecdotal evidence.

However, there is another explanation…Nitrogen!

In low concentration the nitrogen in your dog’s urine fertilises the grass encouraging growth but in high concentration it burns it.

The girls tend to squat and so the urine is concentrated in one area.

The boys like to spray it around, covering a greater area.

What about pH levels?

This explanation seems to be based on the desire to sell you products that alter your dog’s acid / alkaline levels. This is NOT something you want to do without first taking veterinary advice since you could easily be damaging your dog’s health!

The solution is dilution!

If your lawn is important to you then go buy a watering can and use it as soon as possible after your dog has used the area to eliminate.

The other option is training

Teach your dog to eliminate in a specific part of your garden.  This is best achieved by taking him on lead to a specific area of the garden.  You could also use a different substrate e.g. bark chipping and train your dog to just go on there.

What about a pee post?

 
 
 

This is a logical idea for the boys who like to raise their leg. It should also retain the dog’s odour encouraging him back. A quick look at reviews on Amazonsuggest it does not work, however I wonder how many owners put the effort in to take their dog on lead over to the post to pee?


Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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Do you JUST walk your dog?

Most people just walk their dog in the park, happy in the knowledge that they are running around and burning off energy. What happens though if you have a dog with almost unlimited energy like a Border Collie, working Cocker Spaniel, or a Terrier?

How do I improve my dog’s walks and use his brain?

Most people are aware that you can go to agility classes with your dog but your local park probably has much more that you can use to mentally simulate your dog than you realise. When I go to a park in Brighton & Hove with a dog I’m always on the lookout for “Urban Agility”. Urban what!?! This means anything that a dog can jump on or over, commando crawl under, balance on, weave around etc. This could be park benches, posts, tree trunks, logs etc.

I particularly like things that slow a dog down like a log or upturned tree. Jumping on to something and balancing can be a real challenge for an active dog who is only used to running around at full speed. It forces them to stop and think about what their body is doing, how to balance, turn, sit or lie down etc. It’s like yoga for dogs!

Next time you go to the park keep a look out for your own Urban Agility course.  Your dog will have to learn to do these tasks but I can guarantee that he will come home more tired if he has had to use his brain on a walk.

Sam shows you how Urban Agility its done:

This is Sam learning to walk slowly along a log. The first few times he fell off because he had no awareness of what his body was doing. This was also a great trust exercise for Sam to know I was there with him.

Feel free to contact me about Urban Agility training for your dog which I can either do with you or as a Groundwork Training service.


Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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HELP! My dog is stressed what should I do?

HELP! My dog is stressed what should I do?

Having a stressed do is unpleasant for the dog but also stressful for the owner!

If you have a stressed dog then you need to identify:

  • When the dog is stressed?
  • What are the causes (stressors / triggers)?
  • What is the solution?
  • Is the solution working?

When your dog is stressed?

You may believe your dog is feeling stressed but dogs cannot directly tell us so we need to look for outward signs e.g.:

  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Licking
  • Self-mutilation
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Chewing
  • Eliminating
  • Vocalisation
  • Escape attempts
  • Hackles up
  • Aggression

Identify what is causing the stress; the stressors or triggers

The dog’s genetics, early socialisation and subsequent learning may have played a part in his current stress; however the only thing you have some control over is the dog’s current environment e.g.

  • The home of a newly rescued dog
  • The home of a newly adopted puppy
  • A strange place
  • Being alone somewhere
  • A vet
  • A groomer
  • A boarding kennel
  • Travelling in the car
  • Thunder or fireworks outside
  • Strange people
  • Strange dogs
  • A stressed-out owner

The solution

You are not going to focus on the outward signs of stress but instead look at why the dog is feeling stressed. You need to reduce the feeling of fear and anxiety which should result in less of the outward signs of stress. The accepted scientific solution is a gradual exposure to the stressor ideally whilst positive things happen. In technical terms this is known as systematic desensitisation and counter conditioning. This exposure needs to occur at a very low level that the dog can cope with without becoming stressed. The level of exposure can then be gradually increased over time therefore increasing the dog’s tolerance. In practical terms owners often will not have the skills or experience to put this in to practice and therefore should seek out a dog trainer with a sound understanding of dog behaviour.

Is the solution is working?

This is more difficult than it may sound since you cannot ask the dog if he is feeling better. It is therefore time to look again at the outward signs. Have they reduced and only occur in more extreme situations? Then yes, it is working! It is likely that work is still needed to increase the dog’s tolerance and decrease his stress further.

What about drugs, holistic remedies, DAP etc?

Medications for a stressed dog

Only a vet can prescribe drugs. You may however consider drugs which alter the brain chemistry of your dog to be a last resort.

Holistic remedies for a stressed dog

Many people believe in holistic remedies but this is not backed up with a body of scientific evidence. Such remedies may help if the owner believes in them; reducing the owner’s stress and consequently the dog’s!

DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) for a stressed dog

DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) products are a chemical copy of the pheromone that the mother secretes after giving birth to her puppies. This helps calm the puppy and strengthen attachment during this turbulent period of the puppy’s development.Numerous clinical trials have provided evidence that DAP can increase feelings of security. Many of the outward signs of stress are consequently reduced in puppies and adult dogs especially when DAP is used in conjunction with behaviour modification to reduce the feelings of stress.

DAP products are available as a plug-in for a specific environment or as a collar which is especially useful when the dog is outside of his comfort zone.


Please contact us today for help to reduce your dog’s stress.

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What should I feed my dog?

There are so many choices of dog food on the UK market which can make it difficult to decide which one to choose.

I usually answer this question with “this is what you should NOT feed”.

The following are a few simple dog food tips:

  • Ingredients on the back are more useful than the marketing claims on the front. When the front packaging mentions a specific ingredient then the ingredient list must specify the percentage e.g. foods that say Chicken on the front often contain just 4% Chicken!
  • Less is more. A short ingredient list is generally better than a long one with lots of cheap fillers.
  • If you don’t know what an ingredient is or you would not eat it yourself then don’t give it to your dog. Do you know what animal derivatives are?
  • Be specific. Do you know if “meat” in the ingredients is chicken, beef, or horse? Is the “cereal” wheat or rice? Choose a food that lists the actual ingredients rather than hides them under a generic term.
  • Don’t blindly follow your vet’s recommendation. Vets have minimal nutritional training and often sell brands that provide them with large profits but which don’t do well in independent reviews.
  • Buy from a pet shop rather than a supermarket. Supermarkets tend to stock the low-quality foods.
  • Garbage in, garbage out. If what comes out the other end is loose and smelly then your dog’s body is not processing it very well. If it is small and compact then he is using most of it as nutrients.
  • Do your research. www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk is an excellent resource that reviews specific products and explains what the ingredients mean. Check out the market leaders to see how they compare.

What dog food do I recommend?

There are so many to choose from! However, a food that has high quality ingredients and is readily available in pets shops and for delivery is Canagan.

What about raw food diets or BARF?

Some people will tell you that feeding raw is the single most important thing you can do for your dog’s health. Others will say that the risk of salmonella is too high. Do lots of research if you plan to change to a raw food diet since you don’t want your dog to have any nutritional deficiencies.

Take home message

There is a massive difference in the quality of commercial dog foods.  Do your research and choose the best you can for your budget.

Is your dog not interested in food?

Check out this blog post.


Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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