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  • the good girls

All the stuff you will need.

Updated: Jul 13, 2019

Yes, we love our dog. No, she is not deprived.


dog with a stick
happy dog

The absolute basics.

♥ Food bowl

We started off with a ceramic food bowl we picked up for £2 from a charity stand in our local park. It was quite heavy so quite difficult for Lily to push around, knock or flip over whilst eating.

Soon she grew bigger and started to hoover up her food all in one go, inhale it in like 3 microseconds without stopping or breathing. As she ate it too quickly – guaranteed she was sick straight after. And then eat it all up again. Yuk.

So we discovered that if we use a baking tray where we flatten out her food with a fork so she had to lick it off (as we feed lily raw food it was fairly easy to do feeding mince and mashed vegetables as her base diet), she stopped gobbling it all up and stopped being sick. It`s a miracle!

Now we have settled for a metal bowl ("ahem", salad mixing bowl from the kitchen cupboard) – super easy to clean after each use and shatterproof.

We also tried raising the bowls from the floor as she grew bigger (following extensive research on the internet) however there have not been any issues with bloating or excessive gas after eating. She eats and drinks with her bowls placed directly on the floor.


food and water bowl

♥ Water bowl

We started off with a ceramic bowl for her water. Again, for the same reason – can`t spill or tip over as the bowl was fairly heavy and Lily has always been very clumsy.

Then as we were going to Europe for few weeks we got a pet travel bowl - the one you can’t spill whilst driving – and we have never looked back. Or used any other bowl again.

We change her water daily or as soon as there are any food bits floating around (she eats like a pig) – that is more for us pretending to be good dog parents.

Lily will happily drink out of the muddiest puddle in the park or toilet bowl when no one is watching (invest in a soft closing toilet seat and you can thank me later).


♥ Leads

As a pup she was completely unaware of her size, weight, strength, space around her, corners, length of the lead, constantly getting tangled in things, bashing her head on something, tripping over her own feet etc. Well, I’m happy to say that none of that has changed and she is 3 years old now.

Firstly we got her a chest harness and extendable lead.

So she could run free in the big boy dog park until her little paws got tired and when the lead extended to max she got gently stopped by her body being pulled back rather than her neck.

As she grew larger and heavier we settled for neck collar and short lead whilst going for walks. That said Lily has always been super friendly and sociable dog so she runs free in the park amongst all other dogs. We only use a short lead when walking on busy roads or in busy, unfamiliar places as most times she walks without the lead to and from the park (under super strict and militant supervision tho).

We also use a 10-metre long lead when camping – so she has space to roam around without moving into neighbour’s camper and stealing all the sausages. It is a full-time job trying to untangle her from all the bushes, trees and chair legs. This dog does not sit still. Ever.

And we use a shorter plastic lead when swimming or if there are no trees to tie her on to – you can simply twist the metal piece into any surface and attach the lead to it. No more roaming free and chasing squirrels or sausages.

We also got a flashing night time collar so I can clearly see her in the park when the nights get longer and days get shorter. It’s rechargeable via USB. It makes her look like a little fairytale princess. Best.Purchase.Ever.


♥ Anti pulling aid.

HALTI saved my arm from having to be amputated. Lily was pulling like mad and no tricks from Cesar Milan was going to stop her (we probably just weren’t implementing them right). It wasn’t just the dog walking you rather you walking the dog scenario. It was the sheer horror in other dog walkers, pedestrians, parents with small children faces when a large German shepherd puppy was pulling towards them with her tongue hanging out ready to eat anyone standing in the way (in Lily’s case just lick them and beg for some treats and cuddles ).

Long walks soon become less and less enjoyable and more strenuous to mine and the husband’s arms.

Then I found HALTI. A gift from the DOG God. The pulling stopped immediately as if it never existed before. My arm did not need to be amputated, neither did I developed abnormally large muscles on my left arm.

She did chew through her first Halti in the first week as I left her unsupervised for about whole 3 seconds. Complete sabotage. I bought 2 more. On Amazon Prime. Next day delivery.

Who’s the Alfa dog now?

She did not like wearing it at first – tried to drag her face in the grass to get it off, eventually she got more relaxed and got used to it. Progressively more enjoyable walks with a calm and well-behaved pup. I am utterly lying about the well-behaved bit.

These days we mostly walk without lead in quiet areas and with short lead and collar on busy roads. We do occasionally still use halti especially if travelling to new places in foreign countries as Lily loves everyone and wants to say hello to everyone but not everyone loves Lily. And then there is the language barrier also.

Please do not use anything that could hurt your dog. The Internet is overloaded with free advice on how to train your dog to walk on the leash. Or watch some dog training videos on YouTube or TV. If all else fails – get some puppy classes booked.

Whatever you choose to do – do not use anything that will hurt your dog. Period.


♥ Seatbelt

We have a VW van converted as a camper so putting a crate in it has not really ever been an option. So when we travel, and we do travel quite a bit, Lily lies on a flat-out rock and rolla bed wearing a seatbelt. First few attempts she would wiggle out of it, but once settled she was absolutely fine.

Now, whenever you pick up a seatbelt she gets very excited and lets you put it on willingly as she knows that most likely it means we are going for a drive to an awesome dog park for a long walk and a swim.


Please ensure your dog is safe. Don’t drive around with your dog chilling in their bed on the front seat (the dog will distract you with sharp unexpected movements or just wanting cuddles; large breeds will also obstruct the views in the mirrors. And in the case of an accident, the airbag will go off and your pup will be in pup heaven (dogs only go to heaven).

Don’t put your dog in the back seat in a dog bed or with some toys. What would happen in a case of an accident? Would you drive around with your child bouncing around in the back seat or standing on the front one? Absolutely not. Don’t risk the life of your dog. Always stay safe.


♥ Dog poop bags

This is simple. Your dog's poop is ultimately your responsibility. Soft. Watery. Super hard. Extra smelly. Or triple size after a period of constipation. Your responsibility. Pick it up.

Buy some hardcore scented poop bags and pick up the poop. Let me repeat this – pick the damn poop up. Even when no one is watching. Or you will go to hell.


♥ Bedding

The dog will sleep a lot. Puppy sleeps up to 18 hours per day and adult dog up to 14 hours so a comfortable bed is necessary.

However.

They will sleep everywhere.

Lily sleeps on the couch. On the kitchen floor. On the tiled floor by the main entrance. On floorboards. On especially warm days she will sleep in the bathroom. Next to the toilet. Pretty much everywhere else than her fancy bed.

We always opted for a flat and square cushioned bed so she has space to roll around, play, chew, and stretch & occasionally be sick on.


favourite sleeping spot

She went through 4 different beds as a pup and now she just sleeps on the sofa or living room carpet. Or in the grass in the garden. Or on your lap.

No bed is necessary.

Occasionally if the weather is really cold outside we might fold a little blanket on the floor and she will lie on it for a while, but then she gets too hot and goes to sleep in the bathroom.

There is absolutely no winning with this dog.


♥ Indoor crate or puppy proofing

We did not get a puppy crate as my husband mostly works from home.

We cleared and de-cluttered the whole downstairs space. Raised all books, magazines, candles, vases, sharp objects; anything which can be knocked over. Put away all plants, books, shoes – especially shoes and anything else which can be knocked down, eaten, chewed or potentially be harmful to a puppy. We cleared away any available cleaning chemicals, washing powder, dishwasher tablets etc. I mean not even on table tops or surfaces, completely put away and stored in locked cupboards. We locked away all medications including vitamins, supplements, sweetener tablets (check for animal harming ingredients).

We never had this issue with the cat. Cats are super selective on what they eat and drink, and our one is a spoilt little prince who only eats a certain type of cat biscuits. Cats also can`t taste sweet (according to Google) so they don’t roam around the bins etc. This cat does not even drink tap water out of his bowl, only drinks rainwater from pots outside, more minerals you see; that’s exactly how fussy our Ace is.

Lily, on the other hand, will hoover up absolutely everything – like a mini fluffy Dyson she will move around every corner trying to find something that will occupy her mouth. Food or no food. It’s amazing how you can find in your dogs poop the following, day.

Please make sure you look at your environment from puppy’s perspective – is there anything exciting they could chew on? Don’t forget phone chargers, extension leads, cables, wire, plugs, remotes basically everything and anything.

And if it looks like she can’t chew on it - can she sharpen her teeth on it?

Oh, glorious puppy teeth!

Get a bin with a touch point lid to ensure your pup can’t get in it and can’t pull anything out of it. We have a large under counter Brabantia bin. Get a lid on your recycling and keep it on at all times - there is nothing more appealing to a pup than an empty ice cream tub, sandwich packaging, pop bottles, cat food tins or tuna tins which are also very sharp on the edges etc etc etc.

Once we had puppy proofed the downstairs we let her roam free all day every day.

Well, for the whole 6 hours she was awake.

The rest of the time she was very very safe snoring away in her puppy bed.


♥ Baby gates.

Lily grew very quickly and soon became quite a handful. Mostly annoying the life out of the cat. She also learned how to climb the stairs so we had to protect her and her joints and back legs from injuries and potential accidents.

So we purchased 2 baby gates.

We installed a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs – no climbing up or down the stairs = Safe for Lily.

Peace and good nights sleep to the humans upstairs.

No proofing to be done in husbands office. Protection from all makeup, perfume, fake tan disasters in my dressing room and most importantly - a safe space for the cat to relax in. There was never any peace and quiet for the cat downstairs – nonstop chasing, playing, jumping, sniffing, trying to steal food etc.

We also moved cats feeding station to one of the steps behind the baby gate so the cat could eat without getting harassed.

As we don’t have any doors downstairs bar the bathroom door, of course, it is all an open walk-through space; the second baby gate was installed in the doorway of the living room.

Why? Because sometimes, just sometimes, humans need 10 minutes of peace and quiet to eat their food. Without anyone trying to lick the plate whilst you are not paying attention, guilt tripping you for not sharing, eating crumbs from under your feet or trying to sit on your lap as soon as you pick up your plate. Or simply drooling bucket loads of saliva on a beige carpet whilst watching you eat.

Not to mention that everything gets spilt – tea, coffee, pop, beer, wine, every damn thing.

Pups philosophy – if you can’t fit under the coffee table properly, just use more force and bump it until you fit. Exactly.

It also worked miracles as a timeout for naughty behaviours such as trying to lick the plates, rip up the carpet, chew on a table leg or the time we discovered that food left on the table wasn’t really abducted by the aliens whilst humans left the room for 6.5 seconds exactly.

Nothing teaches the pup how to behave better than watching her humans having lots of fun whilst sitting on the OTHER SIDE of the baby gate. And yes, we acted up a little bit and pretended to have like SO MUCH FUN and Lily was not allowed to join us as she has been naughty.

Who is the alpha dog now?

The baby gate has definitely helped with setting rules and establishing acceptable and unacceptable behaviours.


♥ Toys

Mr Pig – first ever toy – her favourite. Dug somewhere in the garden.

Best friend – squeaky Christmas reindeer. She chewed the squeaky bit from the first one and then looked really sad when it did not squeak anymore. So we got another one. She loves them both. A squeaky toy is a must.

Tennis balls – how to tire your dog out in 5 minutes. 100% effective every time. And she never gets tired of it. Also great for swimming.

Sticks – any stick. Whatever she drags home from our walks. Let her chew her heart out. Hoover the shredded wood. Happy dog, no questions asked. Great for tug games. Jumping games. Fetching games. And sticks are for free.

Oven glove – when playing rough. Or just protecting yourself from a shark disguised as a German shepherd puppy.


mr pig

♥ Shedding control

There is no control. Period.

Everything you will touch, eat or drink will have dog hair in it.

First, you will find it gross pulling dog hair out of your dinner.

Then you will be annoyed fishing dog hair out of your coffee.

Then you will get peed off going to work looking like a homeless person and spending all your spare cash on lint rollers.

And then one day you will be sat eating your dinner and there will be no dog hair in it.

And you will panic. Guaranteed. That you have lost your dog somehow.

Trust me, dog hair soon becomes a blessing.

2 Dysons and a Henry later, armed with lint rollers everywhere and spending all our free time brushing this dog we have come to the conclusion that the dog shedding CAN NOT BE CONQUERED.

Fish the hair out of your soup.

Breathe.

Smile.

You only live once. You incredibly lucky human being. Your dog loves you.♥

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