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East Midland Trains has launched doggy provisions for canine travellers on board selected services, including dog bowls and treats. Toot toot!

As a doggy devotee, you probably won’t be surprised to know that over half of British dog owners (51%) refuse to go on holiday without their pets, according to a recent study by East Midland Trains. In addition, a staggering 54% would prefer to go on holiday with their dog than their partner, claiming they are better company, better behaved, don’t snore and don’t hog the bed – preach!

Here in the UK, we are lucky that pets are welcome on most train lines (although each operator will have their own set of rules ), so whether you are travelling home to see family or heading off on a pet-friendly staycation, the train is a great way to go.

In fact, the same study found that the average pooch ventures 500 miles every year, with a third of dogs having been to a dog-friendly health spa and nearly a fifth having attended a festival!

So with all those miles under their furry belts, it makes perfect sense that train operators start to take special care of their four-legged travellers. In response, East Midlands Trains have just launched doggy provisions on selected services, including doggy doughnuts, treats and water bowls to make dogs more comfortable on the journey.

If you have never taken your dog on a train before, the prospect might seem a bit daunting. East Midlands has also teamed up with canine behaviourist Colin Tennant, to create a Dog Train-ing Guide – which addresses pooch parent’s biggest travel concerns in a handy guide and video.

Dog Train-ing - YouTube

Worried about how your fellow passengers might react? The research also discovered that most (69%) dog owners believe their fellow passengers are friendlier when they have their four-legged friend in tow, with two thirds (68%) polled revealing they have more conversations with their fellow passengers (68%) when accompanied by their pooch. Half of male dog owners even went as far as to say that they could see these conversations leading to a date, compared to just 38% of women!

To download the handy ‘Dog Train-ing’ guide, and find out the services rolling out the doggy perks, visit www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/dogs . East Midland Trains are also on the lookout for its best behaved canine travellers, so tag your photos with #EMTCanineCompanions and one lucky pooch will receive some awesome prizes!

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Rudi wearing the Tail it GPS Pet Tracker

Styletails’ writer Caroline Cullern and her dog Rudi test out the Tail it Pet GPS Tracker – rated one of the lightest and most reliable on the market.

*We have collaborated with our carefully chosen partner Tail it to bring you this review. All opinions are genuine and based on one week using the device.

For any pet owner, one of the biggest fears is losing your beloved furry friend when they dash off on the scent of a squirrel. Cue the frantic searching, shouting their name throughout the neighbourhood, putting up lost posters, and all the while, poochikins is most likely still at the local park playing with his puppy pals.

If like me, your muttley is one to tear off after anything that moves, being able to keep tabs on them and reduce your stress levels when out on walks is a must. I had been contemplating getting a dog GPS tracker for a while, but they seemed either ridiculously expensive or so big they would weigh Rudi down (though in hindsight that may have stopped her running off!).

So, when the team at Tail it asked us to review their GPS pet tracker, I was interested to see how it performed. At just 22g, the tiny black box can be comfortably fitted to the collar of even the smallest dog (or cat).

Easy to operate

Setting up of the tracker was surprisingly easy – I just had to download the Tail it app onto my phone, scan the QR code that came on the paperwork (by using my phone’s camera) and it was pretty much as simple as that.

The app has clear instructions and all I had to do was put my phone number in to validate the device and then set up an account for Rudi. In all, this took around 10 minutes. There are also videos and instruction manuals available on their website if you should need them.

Battery capacity

Battery life is key when it comes to trackers – after all, if your pet does go missing, it’s no use using a tracker that runs out of power quickly. Tail it Pet has a really good battery life – it takes two and half hours to charge, but that will give you a full two weeks of use when in standby mode (and whilst still receiving updates every day), which I felt was really good going. It also meant I didn’t have to keep taking Rudi’s collar off to charge the device.

Updating Rudi’s location

When it comes to tracking your pup’s location, you can either choose to manually update the location status or turn on the live tracking feature for more frequent updates, which is ideal if your pet should get lost.

The real-time tracking can be used to see what your dog is doing at any given time, which was particularly amusing when Rudi was out with my partner on walks – I loved watching her route from the sofa!

Global range

Because the Tail it pet tracker uses a cellular connection, it means it has a global range. All you need is either wifi or a phone connection and it will work anywhere in the world. The downside of this of course is that the tracker requires a monthly subscription fee of $4.99 – though if you have more than two devices this amount goes down to $1.50 per device.  

Other key features

You can add multiple “watchers” to the tracker. They just have to download the app and  you can grant them access to view the device location – perfect if there are multiple people that walk your dog. You can also add more than one device into the app, which is super useful if you have more than one pet using a Tail it tracker. Rudi is a fan of running in puddles, so the fact that it is waterproof was great, and it is even further protected by a silicone casing.

Downsides

Although the set-up was super easy and quick, the instruction manual was a little on the light side. It would have been nice it the tracker had come with some literature that highlights the key features of the tracker that I discovered myself – such as the ability to remotely activate the light on the tracker – this would be really important if your pet did go missing at night and could make all the difference in finding them.

If you are looking for a tracker with lots of bells and whistles (health monitoring etc) then this isn’t the tracker for you. However, if you are looking for a reliable, lightweight GPS tracker for your pet that is suited to all sizes, big or small, then Tail it Pet is certainly a good contender.

Tail it trackers retail for $99. Find out more and get your own at https://www.tailit.com/pet/

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Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash

Summer can be a great time of year for dogs – more outdoor time with your favourite human, doggie paddling, a plethora of fun dog-friendly happenings, and delicious sausages straight off the BBQ! But when you are wearing a fur coat, the warmer temperatures can also be uncomfortable and a source of undesirable issues for your coat!

From cooling mats for dogs to Pawsecco ice pops, there’s plenty of ways to help keep your dog cool but a summer fur care regime, particularly for those with longer or fluffier coats, will help them stay comfy and healthy.

Daniela Forshaw, groomer to the celebs and grooming expert at Pet Teezer, the life-changing pet de-tangler, shares her top tips for making your dog’s summer a cool breeze:

Pet Teezer De-Tangling Pet Brushes
  1. Resist the buzz cut. While you might think shaving off your dog’s thick coat will help reduce their body temperature, it can actually have the opposite effect. Shaving short, particularly with short-coated dogs also carries the risk of sunburn. A dog’s fur has a way of regulating, so unless you really think it’s causing them distress, leave as is and concentrate on brushing.
  2. Keep your dog’s undercoat in check. The warmer temps increase shedding and a loose undercoat is a trap for bacteria and can contribute to overheating. Whether a heavy shedding breed such as the Golden Retriever or Pomeranian or light (Labradoodles, Shih Tzu’s, West Highland Terriers etc), the PetTeezer DeShedder will keep rogue fur at bay. Plus, the configuration of the two-teeth technology means the excess fur stays in the brush and not left on your carpet
  3. Keep your dog’s coat tangle-free! Tangles can easily turn into matting, which can cause skin irritation, restrict body movement and is uncomfortable to undo. The PetTeezer De-Tangler will keep your dog’s locks flowing free.
  4. Groom regularly (two to three times a week) as this will not only keep their fur tip top but help spot any hidden problems brought on by the summer season such as grass seeds, ticks and fleas.
  5. Pay attention to paws. Check in between their toes for ticks, grass or anything else unsavoury they may have picked up. With all the extra summer walks, be sure to keep their nails trimmed and maintained too, to avoid catching and painful tears.
  6. Keep ears tangle-free and clean to prevent infection and expensive trips to the vets. Whether it’s dangling in their food or water, or from mouthing play with other dogs – ear fur can easily get tangled. Metal tools can scratch, pull and hurt whereas the Pet Teezer De-Tangling Brush is gentle for the sensitive ear area, both inside and out.
  7. Check the ear canal too and if yours’ is an avid swimmer pay extra attention, as those with fold over ears can be prone to infection. A squeezed out, damp cotton wool will help clean out gunk or remove excess moisture from their ears.

Do you have some great tips for keeping your pet’s skin and coat in great condition in summer? Tell us in the comments below!

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MiaCara, the designer brand for stylish pets and their people, have launched a pop up shop in KaDeWe, one of Europe’s most famous department stores.

Design conscious pet parents can shop MiaCara’s collection at KaDeWe in Berlin until the end of May. The second largest department store in Europe (after Harrods), KaDeWe stocks some of the world’s most famous luxury brands.

At the popup you will find MiaCara’s covetable designer dog beds, luxury cat scratchers, stylish dog and cat bowls, and a range of modern furniture for pets.

The MiaCara pop up shop at KaDeWe Berlin is on until the end of May. If you can’t make it to the store, you can also find the collection in our online shop.

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Welcoming a puppy into your world is one of the most exciting, joyful (and challenging!) times of your life. But before you get carried away with planning your first pet friendly holiday or buying designer gear for your pup, there are some serious things to consider.

Choosing the right dog breed for you and your lifestyle will be a deciding factor in how happy and harmonious life with your pup will be. If you have decided you will get your puppy from a breeder, there are also some vital things you need to know before committing to your new fur-ever friend.

New statistics from the British Veterinary Association show that most of the puppy problems vets saw last year as a result of poor purchasing decisions were related to owners choosing a breed without sufficient understanding of its needs or its suitability to their household or lifestyle.

Almost one-third of vets noted seeing puppies with congenital and conformation problems, such as trouble breathing due to flat faces, and more than one in five saw dogs that were not suited to their environment, which often led to behavioural issues.

Photo by Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

So, how can you choose the right dog breed for you? And how can you be sure your that your dog has come from a responsible puppy breeder? The Puppy Contract is a free, one-stop guide developed and supported by leading UK animal welfare charities. It gives prospective puppy owners all the information they need at their fingertips, including all the right questions to ask the breeder about important aspects of the puppy’s care, such as socialisation, vaccination, microchipping and health tests.

Read: 5 Tips for successfully socialising your puppy

Here are the important questions you should ask a puppy breeder before making your big decision:

  1. Did you breed the puppies?

If the answer is ‘no’, walk away regardless of the answers to the other questions. A seller who hasn’t bred or reared the puppy won’t be able to give an accurate picture of the puppy’s medical and socialisation history. More importantly, puppies from puppy farms are often sold via third-party sellers. Always buy a puppy directly from the breeder.

2. Where are the puppies kept? Have you started to house train and socialise the puppy? 

It’s important to know if the puppy has had lots of human interaction or only at particular times, such as during playtime and feeding. If puppies are not kept in a home environment, they will have reduced human contact and they may have socialisation issues or trouble adjusting to life in a home. Ask to see it socialise with its mother and littermates. It is also a good idea to visit the puppy more than once to help you identify potential problems more easily. 

3. Were both the puppy’s parents screened for inherited diseases that can be tested in that breed? 

All dogs, whether pedigree or crossbred, can suffer from inherited diseases which are passed on from parent to puppy. Health testing and screening, such as the BVA/The Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes, allow breeders to screen for inherited diseases, and the results can then be used to help ensure that only healthy dogs are bred from. Ask for health screening certificates and run the results past a vet to make sure the breeder has interpreted the results correctly.

4. Will the puppy be microchipped and given its first vaccinations prior to homing?

Puppies must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old, and before they go to their new home. The breeder should supply you with microchip paperwork which includes your puppy’s individual identification number and database they are registered with. Vaccination records should be stamped by a veterinary practice and signed by a veterinary surgeon.

5. Has the puppy or its parents had any health problems? 

It’s important to be aware of any health problems the puppy or its parents have had as they could have been passed on to your puppy. Many puppies don’t need to see a vet before they leave their breeder. If your puppy has been checked or received any treatment, the breeder should provide details of anything abnormal that the vet noted. Talk to your vet if you are unsure about any of the information provided.

6. Has the breeder used any routine veterinary treatments for the puppies, such as wormers? 

Regular worming is important for the health of puppies and humans. Ask your vet about the products mentioned and avoid buying from breeders who have not treated their dogs for worms at all.

Have you recently become a new puppy parent or are you planning to? Tell us in the comments below.

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In this dog friendly destination guide, we help you plan your perfect pet friendly holiday to Yorkshire. Inside you will find our hand-picked selection of the very best pet friendly hotels and accommodation where canine (and human) guests stay in style, pubs and restaurants where your pooch will be welcome, as well as stunning walks and dog friendly attractions to enjoy with your canine companion. 

From its lively cities to pretty villages, rolling countryside and grand coastline, Yorkshire has so much to offer – especially for those holidaying with their four-legged friends. There’s a reason Yorkshire is referred to as God’s Own County – and the beauty of Yorkshire has inspired generations of painters: from the Victorian artists of the Staithes Group to David Hockney’s Yorkshire Wolds. Yorkshire boasts three national parks, a wild and rugged coastline, and wonderful Victorian architecture, not least the preserved terraced streets and mills of the World Heritage Site of Saltaire – and best of all, Yorkshire is a very dog-friendly county!

WHERE TO STAY The Devonshire Dell, Burnsall

The Devonshire Fell, Burnsall

The Devonshire Fell is a quintessential dog friendly country hotel, boasting stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales as well as a top dog-walking location. The hotel can be found in the pretty village of Burnsall, with the classic Edwardian building offering a chic getaway in the countryside. You can even dine with your dog in the Conservatory whilst taking in the stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales, Burnsall village and the River Wharfe. Visit www.devonshirefell.co.uk/

The White Swan, Pickering

The White Swan, Pickering

The White Swan is a delightful dog friendly pub and hotel in the historic market town of Pickering. Once a 16th-century coaching inn, it offers a fantastic location at the gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors – perfect for plenty of poochy frolics. Dogs are more than welcome in the cosy bar and lounge – complete with board games, books and a log-burner. Book one of the Hideaway bedrooms, which are perfect for hounds, with stone flooring and a porch for doggy kit storage and a towelling down after muddy walks. Visit www.white-swan.co.uk/

The Blue Lion, East Witton

The Blue Lion, East Witton

Surrounded by the splendour of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and nestled in the heart of iconic Wensleydale the historic 18th century, The Blue Lion Inn is a charming dog friendly hotel that encapsulates the finest elements of traditional rural England. Inside you will find flagstone floors, sturdy oak tables and chalkboard menus in the dog friendly bar area, where your canine pal can join for a bite to eat. Dogs can stay in the country-style bedrooms across the courtyard, where contemporary styled rooms in converted stables offer direct access to the courtyard – perfect for late night poochy comfort breaks! With the Yorkshire Dales National Park literally on the doorstep and several circular walks right from the hotel’s door, The Blue Lion is the perfect setting for tiring out energetic pooches. Visit www.thebluelion.co.uk

Yorebridge House, Bainbridge

Yorebridge House, Bainbridge

For those looking for a touch of luxury with their hound, look no further than stylish Yorebridge House. The luxury dog friendly boutique hotel and restaurant is situated by the river Ure, on the edge of the unspoilt village of Bainbridge, Wensleydale. Surrounded by open countryside and breath-taking scenery, this luxury pet friendly luxury hotel offers relaxation and beautiful interiors, as well as a superb 3 AA Rosette menu, a bespoke wine and bar list and personal and professional service from the moment you arrive – hounds included! Yorebridge House sits in its own five acres of land, flanked by two rivers, so owners needn’t look far for a stunning spot to walk their four-legged friends. Visit www.yorebridgehouse.co.uk

West Park Hotel, Harrogate

The West Park Hotel, Harrogate

If you are after a town-based adventure with your pup, then stay at this beautiful dog-friendly hotel in Harrogate. If you still fancy a long walk then the Nidderdale Greenway is nearby – a converted railway line linking Harrogate and Ripley that’s perfect for a dog walk. The West Park Hotel is a slickly converted Victorian coach house with a lively brasserie, a courtyard for alfresco drinks and smart bedrooms. Dogs are welcome in the bar area, three double rooms, one superior room and one suite. Visit www.thewestparkhotel.com

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK Simonestone Hall, Hawes

Simonestone Hall, Hawes

This dog friendly country house is a great place to grab a meal with four-legged friends. Open fire pits on the outdoor terrace allow you to dine al-fresco year-round, and the pet friendly bar is stocked with delicious doggy treats, bowls and not forgetting the resident dog, Crumpet. The delicious seasonal food is sustainable and locally sourced from neighbours, friends and suppliers! Visit http://simonstonehall.com

The George & Dragon Hotel, Kirkbymoorside

The George & Dragon Hotel, Kirkbymoorside

A family-run Yorkshire inn with bags of charm and a welcoming dog-friendly atmosphere, The George & Dragon offers fabulous food with your furry friend in tow. The top quality fare has an emphasis on locally sourced produce from field, sea and moorland to create an impressive menu. There is also a fantastic selection of real ales (as well as the usual pub tipples) to choose from while you dine. The best part is your pooch can dine with you in the oak-panelled bar and bistro and may even get a treat or two! Visit www.gdhotel-yorkshire.co.uk

The Black Swan Tearoom, Helmsley

The Black Swan Tearoom, Helmsley

Voted the ‘Top Tea Place 2010’ and a ‘Tearoom of Excellence’ in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Black Swan Tearoom in the pretty Yorkshire village of Helmsley is both charming and traditional. At this pet friendly tearoom, you can enjoy a fabulous, quintessentially English Afternoon Tea experience. In addition to the traditional Afternoon Tea, which changes seasonally making best use of the local produce, there is a wide selection of brasserie style dishes – all of which can be enjoyed with your pooch by your side. There are also pretty gardens for you and Fido to enjoy when the weather is nice. Visit www.blackswan-helmsley.co.uk

Salami & Co, Otley

Salami & Co. is a dog friendly cafe and coffee house where human and hound can sit back, relax and watch the world go by together. Situated in the market town of Otley near Leeds in Yorkshire, this dog friendly coffee house offers menus for both humans and their canine friends. With a modern and bright interior, Salami & Co. offer a range of single origin and bespoke coffees, homemade cakes and artisan pastries. As well as using the finest ingredients from local suppliers for their brunch menu – which is served all day. Hounds are fully catered for with water bowls, mats to laze on, towels to dry off on and their very own menu – which includes, but isn’t limited to, venison sausages, puppuccinos and pupcakes. And to make it even easier for their human companion(s) there are plenty of hooks to attach leads to – so there are no awkward moments of trying to have cake and eat it. Visit www.luxepetguide.com

THE BEST DOG WALKS

Runswick Bay

Fancy frolicking on the beach? Then this hidden spot on the coastline is one of the best beach dog walks in Yorkshire. This gem of beach overlooks the North Sea, which can be admired to their fullest from Kettleness Point. The beach has plenty of room for mutts to run free and burn off some energy or take a dip in the sea. If you have worked up an appetite then head to The Royal Hotel, a dog-friendly pub in the nearby village.

Wessenden Valley – copyright Andrew Bowden – Creative Commons

Wessenden Valley Circular

If you prefer countryside walks then the Wessenden Valley circular route offers one of the most picturesque dog walking routes in Yorkshire. At just over 6.5 miles the route will see you and your pooch roam across the moorland valley at the top edge of the Peak Disctrict, taking in the six reservoirs of Blakeley, Wessenden, Butterley, Swellands, Black Moss and Redbrook. There are a few mini waterfalls along the route for pooches to cool off in and The New Inn dog-friendly pub awaits at the starting point in Marsden for drinks all round.

Staithes and Port Mulgrave

Take in the Yorkshire Heritage Coast on this 4-mile route coastal walk. The dog wall starts at Staithes harbour, winding through narrow lanes, before heading up along the Cleveland Way to Port Mulgrave – where you and Fido can admire the stunning views. You might want to put pooch on lead near the top due to steep drops, but there are plenty of fields and woodlands en route to stretch their legs in.

Knaresborough Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Ali Turner

Knaresborough, the Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton

For a dog walk that takes in town and some of the best scenery North Yorkshire has to offer, head off on this 6-mile walk. Starting near near Conyngham Hall the route will take your and your hound through the pretty village of Bilton towards the River Nidd – perfect for a quick doggy dip. The Gardeners Arms in Bilton allows dogs in the beer garden for a pit stop en route, and back in town The Mitre is the place to grab some tasty pub fare and are very dog-friendly.

Welburn – Copyright Amy Bradley – Creative Commons

Welburn and Castle Howard

Take your furry friends for a Yorkshire dog walk through the Howardian Hills from the pretty village of Welburn. The region has been classified as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, and it’ easy to see why –  with rolling hills, landmarks like the Castle Howard estate and plenty of space for dogs to run off-lead it’s a stunning spot for a dog walk. Don’t forget to stop at Pattabakes for a bite to eat, Welburn’s famous dog-friendly cafe.

York – Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Peppermint Creative

York – Dick Turpin’s Walk

For something a little different head for the city centre of York an retrace the route of Dick Turpin and his faithful dog Nell. The 2-mile walk starts at Clifford’s Tower, passing by Turpin’s old local pub, The Last Drop Inn (also handily dog-friendly), before taking in some of York’s other sites. If you want to let poochy off lead for a run, the Tower Gardens is great for a romp.

DOG FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS Embsay & Bolton Abbey awaiting the arrival of Julian Smith (MP) for a visit to the railway. 20/3/15 Photographed during 90% eclipse totality

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

Take a ride with your pooch on a vintage steam locomotives for a journey back in time. Settle back in beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages and enjoy a unique view of some of Yorkshire’s finest countryside or for something a little extra special, ride in a First Class saloon, or combine your trip with a Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea, Ploughman’s Lunch or Cooked Breakfast served on as you steam through the Yorkshire Dales. Plus dogs travel for free!

Ingleborough Show Cave

Ingleborough Mountain, one of the famous Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is renowned for its caves and potholes. The area contains a labryinth of underground passages and watercourses hollowed out of the limestone rock over thousands of years. Head down into the Ingleborough Cave (dogs are welcome on lead) to explore the waterways.

Skipton Boat Trips

Take to the waters for a peaceful boat trip as you drift by the lush green Yorkshire Dales. Dogs are welcome on board (on lead) the comfortable canal boats, whether it’s a chartered cruise or you want to be your own skipper on one of the day boats.

Burton Agnes Hall

Pop in and say hello to the Cunliffe-Listers at their turn-of-the-17th-century pile near Driffield, described by author Simon Jenkins as ‘the perfect English House’ in his book England’s Thousand Best Houses. The house itself is an absolute treasure trove and the award-winning gardens are a perfect adventure playground for dogs on leads.

Forge Dam

This scenic spot is a popular choice for cyclists, joggers and walkers (both with and without dogs). Enjoy the lovely wooded surroundings and warm doggy welcome at the Forge Dam Café, which has served up great grub to weary walkers (and bowls of water for their tail-wagging companions) for more than 80 years.

WHAT TO PACK

With endless walks on offer and moorlands to explore, a decent pair of walking shoes are a must – as well as some towels to dry off muddy dogs in the wetter months. For those visiting a beach don’t forget to bring your costume – though the North Sea is pretty chilly year round so you might want to leave the paddling to the pooches. And of course, no visit to Yorkshire would be complete without accessorising with a flat cap!

WHEN TO GO

Take part on the Great British Dog Walk at Burton Constable Hall in April – not only do you get to enjoy the 3km or 8k routes with pooches-a-plenty but you will also help raise money for a good cause as proceeds go to the Hearing Dogs charity. For those into arts and culture then the Swaledale Festival is an annual celebration of music, poetry, film and walking in May, with many of the events dog-friendly. Foodies will enjoy the Malton Food Festival that takes place once a month. With beaches and plenty of cosy dog-friendly pubs to explore – Yorkshire makes a great destination year round.

Have you visited Yorkshire with your dog? Tell us about your favourite dog friendly places in the comments below!

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Owning a pet isn’t all cuddles and insta-perfect moments – it can be challenging, confusing and downright frustrating at times. To help you navigate pet-parenthood and all that it brings, we have launched Dear StyleTails – think of it as your really cute four-legged agony aunt!Every month our team of pet experts, including trainers, behaviourists, vets, nutritionists and holistic pet therapists, will answer a burning question from our community. Got something you want to ask? Submit your question here

Q: How can I stop my dog barking at squirrels and rabbits?

Dear StyleTails,

My male standard poodle is a year and a half and has become obsessed with squirrels and rabbits. As the leaves fell from our large oak trees, he discovered all the life living in our backyard and barks all day.

If you let him out, he stirs up all the other dogs and they all run out barking at the trees. I bring them in and he immediately runs to the window to continue the insanity.

I have tried to distract him with other things without success. We have tried “leave it”, and “go to your bed”, all only work temporarily and he goes back to barking.

Please help us, our neighbors would appreciate it too!

Lisa, Minnesota

A: Rosie Bescoby from Pet Sense

Rosie is a fully qualified Clinical Animal Behaviourist with a degree in Zoology & Psychology from the University of Bristol & a Post-Graduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling from Southampton University.

Hi Lisa,

In order to teach an alternative behaviour, you first have to implement management strategies to prevent him continuing to rehearse the unwanted behaviour. As this is a self-reinforcing behaviour, rehearsing it will make it stronger and increase frustration when he is restricted behind the window.

First of all, you will need to think of ways to stop him practicing the chasing/barking in the garden and window barking. This is likely to mean taking him out into the garden on a lead and blocking visual access from the windows. Temporary opaque frosting stuck on the bottom panes of windows are a commonly preferred way to block visual access as it still allows the light in and means the dog can’t push past curtains or blinds that have been pulled across.

Provide your dog with lots of alternative arousal-reducing activities in the house and garden like things to chew (halved stag antler bars, anco roots, marrowbones, hooves, buffalo horns, and dried animal parts) and lick (stuffed Kongs and Licky Mats). Use your dog’s meal portions in activity feeders, search games and training a calm exit into the garden (with the dog on the lead to start with).

Reinforce calm as you open the back door and as you step out into the garden. You can then do lots of scatter feeding or provide chews or Kongs outside, whilst you keep hold of the lead. If your dog spots a squirrel or rabbit, try waiting to see if your dog can make the choice to look away and then you can heavily reward this choice.

You haven’t said whether your dog is toy motivated, but I would recommend looking into ways to improve toy-play so that the chase instinct can be given an appropriate outlet with a more satisfying end (the dog gets to catch the toy, unlike the rabbits and squirrels, I hope!). You can then reinforce the choice to look away from the squirrels with either toy play or tasty food. Once your dog is reliably disengaging from looking towards the trees, you can gradually move nearer. Then once you have cracked this, start to drop the lead or use a longer line, building up to them being off the lead.

If your dog spots a squirrel or rabbit, try waiting to see if your dog can make the choice to look away, then you can heavily reward this choice.

Really working on training “on your bed” and building duration in his bed whilst visual access is blocked would also be sensible. Add in distractions yourself so your dog learns that it pays to stay in his bed regardless of what else is going on around him.

I hope this helps. If you require professional help, I recommend contacting a good local force-free trainer.

Rosie Bescoby, BSc (Hons), PG Dip CABC

Full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors Find out more about Rosie and her work at www.pet-sense.co.uk

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Given their unique personalities and distinct features, it isn’t surprising that writers have long been obsessed with cats. In fact, our feline friends have proved the perfect subjects for many poets, with several writers devoting entire collections to these curious creatures. So with this in mind, for your next read, check out our round up of cats in poetry and prepare to be further intrigued by their charming nature.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot

Widely regarded as the most famous collection of cat poems, T.S. Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ is a whimsical array of loveable cat poems. Perfect for children and Eliot aficionados alike, these loveable cat poems were written by Eliot for his godchildren and today, they continue to delight children and grown-ups alike. The collection inspired the world-wide hit musical, Cats!, featuring famous characters such as Macavity, Mr Mistofelees and Growltiger! Shop it online here.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat by Edward Lear

While essentially it’s a children’s book, there’s no denying that the classic, ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’ is equally appealing to adults. Whether you wish to revisit it, or introduce it to your children, this loveable lyric rhyme focuses on an unusual pairing, who sale for away, delighting and captivating readers for generations. Beautiful illustrations by Charlotte Voake really help bring the tale to life, offering a feast for both the eyes and the mind. Purchase it from Waterstones here.

The Book of Cats, by George MacBeth

‘The Book of Cats’ is the perfect way to get access to an array of poetry, prose and pictures which focuses on the fascinating feline. This collection is an affectionate melody, praising the most elusive and intriguing of creatures – the cat. With work by 150 writers and artists, ‘The Book of Cats’ is the most comprehensive cat anthology published. It is extravagantly illustrated with over a hundred pictures to really bring the words to life. Purchase it online here.

Cat Jeoffry by Christopher Smart

‘Cat Jeoffry’ is a self-contained passage from Christopher Smart’s much longer work ‘Jubilate Agno’ (Rejoice in the Lamb), and one of the most famous pieces of poetry ever written about a cat. This new edition includes the much-loved original Peter Hay illustrations, using his rubber stamps and linocuts, and adds Tom Woodman’s informative commentary to place ‘Cat Jeoffry’ in the context of Smart’s life and works. Shop it online here.

I’m Not Sorry: Poems by Cats, by Rosa Silva

What mischievous cats! They have destroyed our homes and they are not sorry. Now they have decided to celebrate their destructive ways by comprising insightful and funny poems written by themselves. With titles like “It’s 6 a.m., time to wake up”, “I hate the vet”, “Oops, I did it again”, “Let me in”, and “Red dot, red dot”, this collection of laugh-out-loud poems offers a cat’s view on common wacky and exasperating feline behaviour. Shop it online here.

Cat Poems, by the world’s greatest poets

To poets, in particular, cats serve as the most delightful and beguiling of muses, as they purr, prowl, hunt, play, meow, and nap, often oblivious to their so-called masters. ‘Cat Poems’ offers a litter of odes to our beloved felines by some of the greatest poets of all time. Shop it online here.

I Could Pee on This, by Francesco Marciuliano

Showcasing the quirkiness of cats, this insightful collection of fully illustrated poems is a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of felines, helping them unlock their creative potential and explain their odd behaviour. With titles such as “Who Is That on Your Lap?”, “This is My Chair”, and “Some of My Best Friends Are Dog”’, the poems perfectly capture the inner workings of the cat psyche. Available online here.

Cat Haiku by Deborah Coates

Expressed in the form of the haiku – an ancient and honourable Japanese verse form comprising three lines and 17 syllables, ‘Cat Haiku’ presents cats as you’ve never seen them before. In a series of brilliant vignettes, Deborah Coates gets inside the mind of the beloved cat and comes up with some surprising revelations. You will never look at your (or anyone else’s) cat the same way again. Shop it online here.

Which cat poems do you love? Tell us in the comments below.

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Here in the UK we are so lucky to have a multitude of stunning forests at our disposal, perfect for exploring with our faithful friends. This Thursday 21st March is International Day of Forests, and to mark the occasion, events will be held in forests across the country. So to get you feeling inspired to slip on your walking boots and head out into the wilderness, we have picked our top 10 favourite forest walks for you and your outward hound!

1.Grizedale Forest, Lake District

Set in the heart of the Lake District, Grizedale Forest offers wonderful walks with 10 dedicated waymarked trails offering a range of stunning lake and forest views. There are also mountain bike trails and Segway hire, as well as great facilities such as a café, picnic and BBQ areas. One of the biggest draws to Grizedale Forest are the stunning sculptures spread throughout the area. For nature lovers the forest is home to the only remaining indigenous woodland red deer herd in England and is a haven for wildlife, with roe deer and red kites to be seen along with barn owls and buzzards.

Photo: www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk

2.Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire

There’s so much to do at Alice Holt Forest, particularly if you have little ones as well as dogs. You can all head off on the Gruffalo trail or just wander through the forest tracks with lots of exciting smells for your dog to explore. If you are going in wet weather make sure you don your walking boots, as the Lodge Pond trail gets pretty muddy but is a really beautiful route. You must keep your dog on a lead near the visitor centre and cafe, but they are allowed to roam freely elsewhere. There is also cycle hire and an easy access discover trail suitable for wheelchair users.

Photo: Forestry Commission

3.Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire

Sherwood Pines is a fantastic place for dogs to run wild and explore and it’s a top location to visit if you enjoy Canicross or simply running with your dog. There is a good selection of different routes to take (of varying difficulties) and walks are well signposted. You may even find Robin Hood’s whetstone.

Photo: Visit Cheshire

4.Delamere Forest, Cheshire

Easy waymarked walks and plenty of space to roam make Delamere Forest a brilliant doggy day out for all the family – one of the routes even has a surfaced path for wheelchair users to enjoy. Head up to the landmark of Old Pale, where you can take in great views of Liverpool’s skyline while your dog is enjoying a sniff around – or head to the lake to cool off on warmer days.

Photo: Visit Dartmoor

5.Bellever Forest, Devon

Dogs will enjoy a great runabout in the woods and a swim or paddle in the East Dart river. Climb all the way up to Bellever Tor if you’re feeling energetic, or enjoy a picnic by the banks of the river if it’s a relaxing day out you’re after. Four waymarked trails provide routes for every ability of dog walker.

Photo: Dolgellau

6.Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Gwynedd

Famously home to Mount Snowden – Snowdonia as long been a popular tourist hotspot. But there is so much more to the area than this fanous peak, including the wonderful walking trails in Coed y Brenin Forest Park. Routes will take you across rugged mountain terrain, past stunning waterfalls or along rushing rivers, with beautiful views no matter which way you choose. For a challenge try the Volcano Trail, or for a more relaxing day out that is wheelchair-accessible, park at Pont Llam yr Ewig for the all ability trail.

Photo: Marble Arch Caves

7. Big Dog Forest, County Fermanagh

With a name like that we couldn’t not include it! But thankfully, as well as having an amusing name, Big Dog Forest is also a stunning place to walk your hound. Head off around Big Dog and Little Dog, two hills that are believed to be named after Irish wolfhounds belonging to the legendary giant Finn MacCool.

The Geopark itself is covered largely by conifers and the Marble Arch Caves have become a popular visitor attraction. The forest is also part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark – home to one of the finest show caves in Europe. Visitors are guided through a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers while stunningly beautiful cave formations glisten all around. 

Photo: Visit Hampshire

8.Tall Trees Trail, New Forest

Beginning at the Blackwater car park by the famous Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, the Tall Trees Trail is one of the many wonderful walks to be had on or around the drive. This gentle and flat walk is suitable for all abilities and offers a stroll beneath the canopies of towering trees. Nearby, the Blackwater Arboretum Sensory Trail is home to a variety of trees from around the world.

Photo: Visit Kielder

9. Kielder Forest, Northumberland

Tranquil Kielder Water is the UK’s largest man-made lake and is surrounded by the largest working forest in England (250 square miles), as well as a wealth of wildlife including ospreys. Kielder Water & Forest Park is also an ideal base for exploring the rest of Northumberland, Cumbria, Hadrian’s Wall Country and the Scottish Borders.

Photo: National Trust

10.Hatfield Forest, Essex

Hatfield Forest is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, there are over 4,000 different species of flora and fauna which call this place home. Dogs are welcome off lead around the forest and there are plenty of trails to explore as well as the stunning landscaping of Capability Brown, a forest café and a wonderfully accessible circular tree walk.

DOG FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION

If a quick explore simply isn’t enough, why not make a weekend of it? There are plenty of great dog friendly hotels, bed & breakfasts and guesthouses in some of the UK’s most beautiful forests. Here’s our pick below.

Bell Inn, New Forest

When it comes to dog friendly holidays, there aren’t many locations more perfect for an adventure than the New Forest. And for those looking for a pet friendly hotel where both both human and hound are welcomed in style, you can’t go passed the gorgeous Bell Inn. Nestled in the pretty Hampshire village of Brook near Lyndhurst, this attractive 18th-century coaching inn has countless beautiful walks right from the doorstep, delicious locally sourced food and a good dose of warm hospitality. Check out our review of the Bell Inn here.

Forest Holidays, various locations

Forest Holidays offer a collection of luxury woodland cabins set in nine idyllic locations across the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall, and the latest in Thorpe Forest, Norfolk (where we were lucky enough to spend the weekend). These pet friendly wilderness retreats offer a completely immersive forest experience for both human and hound, with a few little luxuries to sweeten the deal.

Hengoed, North Wales

Over a little wooden bridge, appearing through a clearing in the trees is Hengoed, a traditional treehouse trailing in the treetops.  Comfortably sleeping two, with additional bunks to extend your party size to a family of four, this secluded treehouse sits in an ancient, undisturbed wooded valley.  It is one of six treehouses on this beautiful, mountainous site near Machynlleth, with views towards Cader Idris and the undulating hills of Powys. Find out more at www.qualityunearthed.co.uk.

Do you have a favourite forest to explore with your dog? Tell us in the comments below!

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With Mother’s Day just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about spoiling all the special dog mums in your life. Check out these gorgeous gift ideas that any dog mama will go barking over.

1. London Carry Leather Dog Walking Bag

The Growlmama London Carry holds everything a pet parent needs for both work and play. Designed in London and handcrafted in Spain from the softest vegetable-tanned leather, the London Carry is hand-dyed to match the London Collar, Lead and Tidy in Camel or Nero. Featuring 100% cotton interior pockets for dog things: dog water bottle, bowl and lead plus ample space for your laptop and lunch or dog blanket. Available at www.store.styletails.com

2. Dog Mum T-Shirt

This super cool tee from Trio and Me will go down a treat with hipster dog mums worldwide. Made from 100% organic ring-spun cotton, these T-shirts are certified OCS by ECOCERT Greenlife – so you will be helping the planet whilst getting plenty of brownie points! Available at etsy.com

3. Personalised Pet Paw Print Silver Charm

Keep your furry friend with you always with this solid silver charm from by Butter and Bean. You will be send an impression kit to take an imprint of your dogs paw and the charm can also be personalised with your pets name. Available from notonthehighstreet.com

4. Jay McClellan Studio Bone Appetit Platter

Sure to be a favourite among dog lovers, this delightful serving platter is designed by Jay McClellan Studio in collaboration with Anthropologie and is perfect for serving up a delicious Mother’s Day meal! Available from anthropologie.com

5. Dog Park Blanket

The Dog Park Blanket is made from super soft New Zealand wool so it will keep you warm and comfy all year long, as well as awesome thrown across a sofa or even hung as a tapestry. Available from fourlegsfourwalls.com

6. Romy Dog Jumper

As if the supersoft merino blend wasn’t enough, this jumper is bursting with character too. Decorated with a choice of fun designs (including this cute pug), it’s the life of the party (or just extra fun during a stroll in the park). Pops of colour at the cuffs and contrast tipping complete an everyday, playful look. Available from boden.com

7. Dog Parent Pin Badge

Our furry friends are a part of our family so it’s time to be loud and proud! This pin features gold detailing with an adorable dog surrounded by the words “Dog Parent”. Wear this dog pin with pride on your favourite jean jacket, backpack or anything in between. Available from etsy.com

8. Swen Swensøn Dog Print

Graphic designer Swen Swensøn keeps it cool with his clean, vector-like illustrations of dogs – his prints will make the perfect gift for the artist dog-lover! Available at society6.com

9. Dog Bracelet

This stunning bracelet consists of Poodles, Whippets, Dachshunds, Scottie dogs and Pugs in various silver, 22ct gold vermeil or black ruthenium finishes. Each dog is adorned with a little collar with a semi-precious jewel attached. Available at amandacoleman.co.uk

10. ‘Best Dog Mum’ Greetings Card

On a budget? Then check out this dog themed card to wish your Mum a Happy Mother’s Day (from you or their beloved pooch!). Available from notonthehighstreet.com

Which is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below!

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