Sarah's Blog

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By Sarah Bartlett, Feb 8 2014 05:25PM

Happy New Year!!

It's been a busy one so far. We have a second new team member, Vicky. She is assisting with dog walks and puppy visits and is enjoying every minute, and yes even in the rain! You can find more details about Vicky on our Meet the Team page.

I thought I would tell you more about what makes us different, what sets us apart from other Dog training and Pet services companies.

We are the only company in the area who are a registered Limited company, who take card payments with our wireless card machine and who have also won awards!

We also offer the largest range of services and have the biggest carefully trained team to spoil your pets!

We pride ourselves on our flexibility for last minute bookings to help out when things crop up when least expected. We helped out an owner only last week who had unfortunately broken down and was worried about how long her dogs had been left. Sarah went to visit her dogs at 10.30pm and sent her a text to let her know that the dogs were fine to put her mind at rest whilst she waited for a recovery vehicle to arrive.

We as a team view our jobs as more of a lifestyle and not as 'something we thought we could do for some money'. We have heard reports of other dog walkers recently either giving up dog walking alltogether or not walking the dogs for the length of time they are paid to do, this is frustrating as it puts a bad light on all of us fellow dog walkers / pet carers.

As we are now in our 7th year of business we pride ourselves on time keeping and not cutting corners, you need not fear that we will let you down. Plus with us now being a team of three if we have illness or holidays there is always cover for your pets.

We usually send a text and sometimes a picture message to let you know how much fun your dog has had with us.

Puppy Visits – We cover all the basic commands, and train your puppy to walk nicely on the lead and interact with other dogs correctly. Now this does not mean you can just leave it to us to train your puppy, but we will not let them get into mischief or bad habits whilst in our care and do our upmost to improve any training you have done. All three of us are usually involved in puppy visits as the more people that are training your puppy the more they will accept that that’s how they have to behave with everybody, not just us and you as owners but also visitors etc. Training is an excellent way to tire your puppy out - at a young age we are mindful that you can over exercise them and so do a mixture of walking, playing, feeding if required and training appropriate to age, size and breed. Puppies get priority for times with lunchtime visits as we understand their little bladders can’t hang on for too long.

Dog Walking – We will walk your dog with other dogs or without; it depends on what you want. We always train dogs to walk nicely with us as this makes for more enjoyable walks for both us and the dogs not to mention also preventing injury for the dogs (and us too of course). I must stress that you may not necessarily see an improvement in your dog’s lead walking with you because dogs learn by association and associate us with walking in a certain way. That said we do hear from clients on a regular basis saying how much their dog has improved on lead, or on lead when they pass or see other dogs. Just like with puppy visits we will not let them get into mischief or bad habits in our care, this is mainly through careful management, keeping an eye out for other dogs when on and off lead and rewarding them for all their good behaviour. We walk dogs of all shapes and sizes, ages and breeds and will never walk more than four dogs at a time – if and when we do walk four dogs at once it is only ever dogs that we have got to know over a long period of time, who we have trained to fairly high level and who are carefully selected to be compatible together. Most of our walks there are only one or two dogs with one of our dogs in the mix from time to time. We tend to do most off lead walks away from large numbers of dogs, or busy footpaths as this reduces the risk of any harm coming to your dog from other dogs being walked by the public. We are all trained in various methods to scare away any loose dogs that may cause harm to the dogs we are walking. We consistently hear glowing feedback from clients about how much more settled and happy their dog is since employing our services. Although there are three of us we do not get duplicate keys cut to your property, we simply meet up on a daily basis to swap keys.

Training – I (Sarah) specialise in training for multi-dog households, it is hard work for all involved but the results speak for themselves. I also specialise in training for reactive dogs, dogs who react badly (either by nervousness or aggression) to either people or dogs. Each training program is tailored to you and your dog s individual needs and I also offer training whilst on walks to help lessen the workload for owners and speed up the results.

Grooming – our salon is set up for only a small number of dogs at a time, no more than three at a time but we also cater for grooming training for your dog, if your dog is very aversive to being groomed this is something we work on with you, either with or without other dogs present. 1st Puppy grooms are something we do regularly to ensure the best start to your dog’s grooming training and make sure they have a good time. These services are alongside loving grooming practices for dogs who just need a bath or a full groom.

I (Sarah) am now a qualified Canine first responder, certified to give your dog CPR and deal with any serious injuries such as electrocution, broken bones and choking etc.

We are constantly updating our knowledge by investing in courses and seminars.

Please if you have any feedback or suggestions of how we can improve let us know!

Hopefully the ground will be a little dryer for my next post!


By Sarah Bartlett, Nov 10 2013 03:35PM

Another long break between blogs! I can only apologise, but as you read on I’m sure you will understand.

It has been a busy year, so I will summarise. We now have another dachshund, a bitch called Fern who is now 9months old, she has been a challenge but as I always say they are all sent to teach us and she is definitely doing that! And yes even trainers have dogs who aren’t perfect  - just to clarify, no dog is perfect, and neither are we otherwise life would be very boring.

I have attended more courses this year, some being with Shaun Ellis ( The wolf man), Grisha Stewart on BAT ( behaviour adjustment therapy), Dr Isla Fishburn, Patricia McConnell, Kay Lawrence, a Course on Rally Obedience, grooming training, a Kennel Club Breeders Education weekend and more that I have organised through our events company. I will soon be attending a course on canine first aid to keep my skills up to date too.

I am currently in the process of co-writing a Puppy development book with a very good behaviourist friend of mine; we hope to have it finished for summer 2014.

The exciting news is that I have a new team member on board, she is called Sam and you can find out more about her on the ‘Meet the Team’ page.

Sam has been a client of mine for over a year now with her two Boxers, both of whom have come a long way due to Sam’s very hard work and my guidance. It is because of this she is ideal for the position of Dog Walker, she is very familiar with my training methods and will keep up any training I have done with dogs she will be walking and is very competent in reading dog body language which is an essential skill to have. We will however be looking to take on a second Dog Walker in the New Year, so if you know somebody who may be suitable, please ask them to get in touch.

I apologise for the lack of advice in this blog but as always, I have to dash out to see a client, promise not to leave it as long this time!

Over and out,


By Sarah Bartlett, Nov 19 2012 12:42PM

Wow, what a busy 8months it has been!

Merlin came through his Spinal Operation and after months of rest and Physio on the Water treadmill he is now as good as he is ever going to be, the specialist is very happy with him stating ' he has had a textbook recovery' . We can go on walks now but still have to be mindful of how much he exerts himself. I dont think Merlin has a clue what he has been through as he is as lively as ever, we cannot do any gundog training now but I am hoping to start doing a dog sport called Rally 'O' with him ( more on that later ).

My absence of posts has been mainly due to mine and Marks Wedding in September, a wonderful day and of course all four of our dogs were there to share the day with us. Our Honeymoon consisted of Camping with the dogs in Devon. It was the first time since january that Merlin could be a 'proper dog' charging around on the beach it was great to see!

The 25th of September was the anniversary of losing our beloved Jazz but also the Pups' 1st birthday. All of the owners came for a very wet walk in Derbyshire where Jazz's ashes were spread. It was lovely to see them all and how they have matured and I cannot thank the owners enough for making such an effort, one couple came all the way from Yeovil!

Moss (our pup) has been keeping me busy with shows and training, he acheived his Good Citizen Silver award at just 10months and also completed it at the same time as his brother Stanley. This was a real distraction for both of them but they still did it and im so proud, Moss is being tested for gold in the next couple of weeks. As for Showing, he did well in the puppy classes, getting placed 3rd or above at every show, qualifying for crufts many times over. The adult classes is where it gets harder but fingers crossed he will do well.

I am still looking for another Dachshund Puppy but am hopeful about a few litters to be born early in the new year.

Since my last post I have of course been on yet more training courses and also booking courses in for next year.

I will also be starting a new class alongside our usual courses in the New Year. Rally 'O' - a fun new dog sport which is like a mixture of Obedience and Agility but very controlled, ideal for owners who love to have some one to one time with their dogs and also enjoy the social side of training. Start dates coming soon.

Some useful advice regarding Spaying and Neutering coming in my next post!

Take care, Sarah (now Bartlett)

By Sarah Bartlett, Apr 9 2012 04:05PM

Apologies for such a delay – I will try and recap the past few months.

First things first I would like to introduce you to ‘Moss’ (pic below)the puppy we kept from Jazz’s litter ( see previous blog).He is now 6months and is a little star. Since my last blog I have been on a few more training courses –Roger Abrantes and John Rogerson to name a couple, not to mention ones that I have hosted through our sister company ‘Wholly Dog Events’ ( see Events/seminars page).

I promised to update you on how the case against the vets with regards to jazz was going. We have lodged a complaint with the RCVS and are currently dealing with the vets insurance company. Progress is very slow, and no matter what the outcome it will never bring our baby girl back but we hope to prevent it happening to others in the future.

More recently it was crufts, the highlight of my year. I was overjoyed to have both Merlin and Moss on Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme display teams so I was there all four days. I came away very tired and with an empty bank balance, but most of all both Merlin and Moss had a great time, so here’s looking forward to next year.

We have had some sad news about Merlin ( our Flat coated Retriever) was first diagnosed with Spondylosis ( fusing of the spine ) and since an MRI scan last week he has also been diagnose with degenerative disc disease – Merlin is not yet 4years old. The Vet has said it is very uncommon at his age and he is very unlucky to have both problems.

The Mri scan shows that a disc is out of place and putting pressure on his spinal cord. Merlin is booked in for Spinal surgery for the 18th of April.

On a lighter note I recently went to see a Miniature Longhaired Dachshund puppy with the intention of bringing her home to enable us to carry on our line by breeding in future.

The little bitch puppy was stunning at 5 ½ weeks very curious, sweet and outgoing – not forgetting the puppy breath ;). The problem was I felt nothing for her, the breeder was great, ticked 90% of the boxes I look for which is rare, but it made me realise that emotionally I’m not ready yet for after losing our wonderful Jazz. Having said that it is not stopping me researching breeders, litters, prospective pedigrees etc which brings me onto –

What to look for in a breeder /puppy when looking for a companion dog

( for reasons why these points are important please contact me)

Puppies should be reared in the house – not in a garage / kennel/ shed etc

Never take home an only pup ( only one survived, only one born)

Ideal litter size is 5 for a well rounded/ temperament puppy (but not a crucial point)

The mother of the pups shows no signs of illness, distress or spooking

The mother should be seen with the pups (not in a separate room to the pups)

Breeder should have carried out relevant health checks for the breed on both father and mother – this includes health checks for both parents of Designer breeds, labradoodles etc

The breeder should ask you about your lifestyle, work hours, intentions for the pup etc

The breeder should be able to tell you all about the breed but also should be asking you how much you know about the breed

Never take the last pup if you have only seen that puppy and not seen it with its litter mates

Try and view the pups before they are old enough to go to new homes, giving you a chance to avoid the temptation of those puppy eyes pleading you to take them home the same day despite many things that may not tick boxes above and below

It is very important to have plenty of toys in with the litter at all times

It is also important that at feeding times there are plenty more bowls than puppies (to reduce the chances of food aggression when they are older)

The puppies should have two separate surfaces in their pen/area this helps with toilet training to distinguish between places to toilet and sleep

Never take any puppy from a breeder who offers you or lets you take more than one from the same litter

The breeder should offer advice for the lifetime of the dog

Breeder should not have more than four separate breeds

If the breeder is breeding more than four litters per year they should have a licence and this amount of litters classes them as a puppy farmer avoid like the plague!

A breeder Ideally should breed no more than two litters per year, if that.

Pups should be weaned onto a wide range of different food to avoid allergies, puppies should never be weaned onto just one complete food

The mother of the puppies can separate herself from the puppies as and when she pleases (even if it is a shelf above the puppies)

The breeder should be able to tell you of all the places they have taken the pups ie in the car, the vets, the garden and also how many different types of people the pups have met, young, old, with hats, without, glasses, sticks, different races of people etc.

The breeder who only offers you a pup on breeding terms should also be avoided

Breeder can tell you about the different personalities of the pups and advise on which may suit you best.

Over and out until next time with updates of Merlin post op


By Sarah Bartlett, Dec 22 2011 09:29AM

October 2011

Well, where to start? It has been an eventful month to say the least:

I'll start at the beginning; at the time of writing my last blog it was a few days before our little Jazz was due to give birth. She went into labour on Sunday the 25th of September at sixty-four days. She started a couple of contractions in the early hours of Sunday and then stopped, so we took her to the vets at 10am just to get her checked over. After a shot of calcium we were sent home and to wait. In the afternoon she started contractions again, but with no results so off to the vets again and it was decided a c–section was needed. We were sent away and told to return in an hour. When we left jazz she was happy and healthy - wet nose and wagging tail despite her contractions - and because of this I tried not to worry too much. Upon returning to the vets, about 20 minutes early, we could see through the window from the car park, into the surgery room and witnessed a 2nd vet shouting at our vet and a lot of commotion with people running around etc. At this point I was very worried as I knew that they wouldn’t panic like this over a fading puppy. Shortly after our vet called us into the waiting room and confirmed that Jazz hadn’t made it. Words cannot describe the loss I felt and still feel now. The vet then went on to say we had five healthy puppies….

I shall not go into details but it was, and still is apparent due to many factors that jazz was not monitored as she should have been and we have since been lied to by the vets on many occasions, so are pursuing this matter further. I accept that we are all human - even vets - and it is in our nature to make mistakes. If they had said "we're sorry, we have made a mistake and we are prepared to help in any way," it would have been easier to swallow and I could have at least tried to move on. The fact that they took both my partner and me for mugs has not helped in anyway. I will keep you all updated on developments in future blogs.

I have been hand rearing the puppies - all boys - and they are now 5weeks old and going strong. It has been very hard work and I have had to cut down on a lot of my working hours. Weeks one and two I was doing feeds every other hour and stimulating them to make them go to the toilet as their mother would have. By week three feeds were every 2 and a half hours and by the end of that week they started to to go to the toilet by themselves. Now the pups are being weaned onto solids it is getting a lot easier. They are playing with each other and toys, wagging their tails and enjoying cuddles. Our other dogs are teaching them about dog language and manners, as am I teaching them how to cope with frustration.

We will be keeping one so as we can hold on to at least part of Jazz’s wonderful spirit, though we dont know which yet as their personalities are still developing. Because all the pups are boys and I had homes for girls - we do have two available to go to extra special homes; please contact me if you are interested.

In conclusion I would like to put forward a few points for you all to consider: When people ask me for advice on breeding their own bitch I have always been very straight with them, saying things like "do you have the money and time to raise a litter of pups?" They are a lot of hard work and ‘real breeders’ do not make money out of a litter as they cost a lot to raise, especially if you have to pay for a caesarean. Jazz’s previous litter were born naturally with no problems, but she needed a c-section this time so there are no guarantees. The only reason we mated her again was in the hopes of getting a bitch to try and get better temperaments within the breed. Every litter carries the risk of losing their mother; are you prepared for that? Now hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if I had the choice again: pups or Jazz? Well I would choose Jazz hands down. But we live and learn.

In saying that, having the pups after losing Jazz has given me the strength to carry on, I have had to for their sake, but it does not stop me missing her.

The loss of Jazz has hit the whole family hard, including the other dogs and even one of our cats and this has to be taken into consideration when choosing the new pup. Jazz was our pack leader (within the dogs), kept everyone in check and gave our dogs the stability they needed so it is crucial we consider which puppy will fit in the most with our pack.

Ziggy, our Dachshund boy, is very obviously grieving for his best friend and although he is lapping up the extra attention I fear he will never fully recover from losing Jazz as they were so so close.

Another point to make is because the pups did not receive the first milk from their mother (colostrum - which provides them with their mother's immunities) we have had to be very carefull with risks of infection etc, and as such our dogs have not been able to go out for walks which affects them greatly. They have not been bouncy but the opposite and quite depressed. I feel that walks would help them out of this slump, but unfortunately they will have to wait another couple of weeks.

Jazz was just four years old and words cannot describe just how wonderful she was; she touched so many lives and had a long list of people who swore they would have her if ever I couldn’t. I keep telling myself "only the good die young" but it all feels so wrong not having her here. I am very angry with the vets to say the least, but nothing they do now will bring her back. All I can do is concentrate on what I call her "gifts" (the puppies), and find the best possible homes for them.

Until next time, Sarah

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