Tales of Teddy

uncompromising quality and love for dogs

All Posts By

Samantha Greenway

All Posts Friday Find

Friday Find: Brilliant Long Dog Leash

long dog leash

If you are thinking of buying a very long dog leash to help train your dog, it’s worth considering Dog and Field’s Tracking Line. I wish I’d found it earlier, The Dog Nanny put me onto it – it is perfectly practical.
1. It has been coated and protected to make it waterproof and durable. It will not rot or hold odour. If you’ve ever owned a plain webbing long line you’ll know how revolting it can be to clean after it has trailed behind your dog through mud and who-knows-what. This 10 metre version wipes clean.
2. It’s neon. There’s no chance of losing sight of it when you need to pick it up in a hurry and there’s no chance any other person can miss it and trip over it.
3. It’s well made – with a strong trigger clip.
Finally, it’s pretty jaunty, and sometimes doggy training sessions require a bit of extra cheer.

All Posts Teddy's Tales

Teddy’s Tales: dogs on Instagram

dogs on instagram

In the past few weeks I’ve focussed on dogs on Instagram. I’ve witnessed much dog life: the drama of dogs lost – and thankfully, dogs found -, dogs in shelters tugging heartstrings, sick dogs, cute pups, dogs wrapped in tinsel, dogs wearing stetsons(!), dogs sleeping (many dogs sleeping), dog-lovers sharing stories, all heartfelt, some tear-jerking, some absolutely hilarious… this has been the shape of my Instagram feed over Christmas. I’ve dipped in and out – at times I’ve been glued – and yes, I’ve added to the hubub with photos of Ted. It’s been a valuable diversion. Worlds within dog world. If you ever need a moment to step away, I can recommend it.

All Posts Friday Find

Friday Find: Ladies walking boots

ladies walking boots

I have an extremely fashion-forward friend who owns a wardrobe bulging with Manolos and dripping with pieces of delicate sartorial whimsy, but who has long since held a candle for Granny Boots.
What do I mean by Granny Boots? A type of ladies walking boots – the type that can still be found in the small ads section of the Sunday supplements. Black suede triangular-shaped ankle boots, not in the least refined, with sheepskin lining, a thick amorphous rubbery heel/wedge and a no-nonsense, easy to pull-on, zip up the front.
She’s got a pair and makes them look geeky cool – like they hail from some Belgian designer’s studio. The point is, she says they are heaven to wear. She looks longingly at them in the way most people would look at her boxed stacks of Tabitha Simmons.
Now I like practical as well as beautiful, but there’s something about the Granny Boot heel that I can’t come to terms with – and since I’m spending an awful lot of time walking Teddy on boggy Hampstead Heath right now, this suede bootie would not be practical for me.
Which is why I’m showing you these. Cruising the J Crew website the other day, I came across the Women’s Sperry Topsider Short Pull-On Boots. I bought them and have road (Hampstead Heath) tested them. I love these ladies walking boots. They manage to merge ‘granny’ style practicality (sensible, waterproof, comfortable, pull-on with a reassuring bit of shearling) with the tiniest bit of interesting detail (the leather ankle cuff, the buckle, the navy/black colour way, the shearling).
They might not exactly be Belgian cool, but they are my current favourite: perfect for when the ground is wet’ish but you don’t want to clomp about in a tall Wellington Boot. Ideal for the urban dog-walker. My winter is sorted.

All Posts Friday Find

Friday Find: The Ultimate Christmas Decoration

christmas decoration

What a Friday Find! This kitsch, slightly vintage, Teddy-approprate bauble is my ultimate Christmas decoration. A festive Schnauzer, it’s going to totally make our Christmas tree (and possibly my Christmas). Although the John Lewis Glass Christmas Dog Bauble – in its excellent stiff-legged Schnauzer incarnation – is labelled ‘out of stock’ online, if you are lucky (like me, yesterday) you will be able to wander into your local branch and pick-up one (or four) in store. You’re welcome.

All Posts Training Teddy

Training Teddy: Dog Treats to Train Humans

dog treats

My friends have a handsome young Rottweiler called Beau. He’s a soppy, cuddly chap who has grown into the massive dog he was always going to become. He doesn’t know his own strength and is therefore in the midst of some intensive, reward-based training with dog treats. It’s going swimmingly well – except for the problem of co-ordinating giving the treat with giving the command.

The idea is that you give the dog treats immediately after the dog has done what you ask (reinforcement). How can something that sounds so simple be so tricky? It’s hard! I still find myself so happy that Ted is on his way to doing what I want him to do, that I slip him the treat before he has completed the whole task. I don’t even realise I am doing it – although I am a whole lot more aware of it since Kevin-the-Trainer pointed it out.

It seems Ted’s training is fraught with my slip-ups. I’ve been trying to stop Teddy’s feisty tendencies with a healthy dose of distraction. I bring out a bit of carrot as soon as I see the trigger (which in Teddy’s case is another feisty pup) approach and say ‘watch me’. It has been working well. Except this morning, as I was holding the carrot-y dog treats aloft, I heard myself not saying ‘watch me’, but saying ‘Good boy. Well done. Aren’t you clever?’ etc, etc (and there were plenty of etceteras). Completely confusing for Ted. It can’t be a coincidence that today this Miniature Schnauzer’s attention was less than focused. When I woke up to what I was doing I nipped it in the bud, but it did remind me that it’s clearly not just Teddy who needs more, much more, endless, repetitive training.

All Posts Teddy's Tales

Teddy’s Tales: Bonfire Night

Yesterday I read a Facebook post about a dog who panicked when fireworks were let off in a neighbour’s garden. He jumped the gate, ran into the road and met his end under the wheels of a truck. Awful, awful, awful.
It’s worth noting that even if you think your dog is bomb-proof, you need to be cautious at this time of year. There are some things you can do to alleviate a dog’s fireworks stress: Dogs and Fireworks.
I like The Dog Nanny’s advice on ensuring a dog’s collar won’t be slipped (tighten it a notch) on any essential evening walks. I like her advice about hunkering down with the dog and their snacks. And I particularly like her advice about dancing round the kitchen to loud music (Bon Jovi, preferably) as a distraction technique.

All Posts Friday Find

Friday Find: Anti allergy vacuum cleaner

anti allergy vacuum cleaner

It’s not glamorous and to the untrained ear it might not sound terribly important, but if you have a dog and you like your home, the Miele C3 Cat and Dog PowerLine Vacuum Cleaner is worth knowing about. I’m thinking of it as an anti allergy vacuum cleaner

As you might expect it’s designed specifically for doggy (or catty) households. Miniature Schnauzers don’t shed, but Ted’s a dog, he has hair, and we have Hampstead Heath, with what sometimes seems like all the mud in England, on our doorstep.

At the risk of sounding like a 1950s Good Housekeeping advert (although I’m not wearing a pinny, I’m not getting paid, and prefer photos of dogs to photos of Hoovers, hence the image, above) this vacuum cleaner really is a great gadget. It doesn’t blow so much of the dust that it sucks up back into the atmosphere which is particularly good if you have an asthmatic in the house or any eau de dog in the carpets. And it does do what it says on the tin (‘high suction power’, ‘odours are neutralised more effectively’ etc. etc). Expensive, but so worth it whether you’re having a bad hair day or not!

All Posts Teddy Loves...

Teddy Loves… dog decor

dog decor

“If you pay attention,” the noted New York interior designer Bunny Williams recently told The Wall Street Journal, dogs, “Will always show you the coziest places in the house to curl up.” I’ve come to realise this is a version of dog decor

Now that the nights are drawing in, and there’s a chill in the air, Teddy is back to pinching my favourite spot – chosen for its snug, draught-free angle – on the sofa, making full use of available cushions.

He will start-off, curled-up in what’s known in specific Instagram-ese as a #schnauzerball, with his feet tucked under him, tail wrapped round him, keeping warm and cozy (this also keeps vital organs protected, which is why you’ll often see outside dogs napping similarly coiled up). Then Teddy will drift into his dead-dog pose, as if he’s just keeled over on his side. He will stretch his short legs out stiffly. Initially I thought the leg stretching might be a winning subconscious attempt at contact – now I feel sure it’s just a bid to shove me along the sofa.

Teddy relishes this coziest of corners. And it’s clearly worth noting. If we ever get round to redecorating our house, perhaps a question worth asking is not ‘Where can I imagine sitting to read a book?’, but ‘Where would discerning little Ted most like to kip?”

All Posts Friday Find

Friday Find: The Graveyard Dog Walker

dog walker

I love to read a story. I love to walk my dog. A graveyard walk combines the two. Sounds grim but it’s a peaceful thing to do in a busy city like London. Reading the inscriptions on the ancient tombstones, noting the old-fashioned names, imagining the lives lived and lost, and all the while Teddy next to me, sniffing, pulling, dragging me to yet another marble plinth/stone cross/tangled hedge, his doggedness leading me away from anything too maudlin. It’s the best balance for an urban dog walker.

All Posts Teddy's Tales

Teddy’s Tales: Why Microchip Dogs?

microchip dog

Teddy is a microchip dog and for very good reason. Have you seen many stray dogs in Britain? I’ve seen packs in Ecuador. I’ve seen – and fed – plenty of stray cats in Greece. I’ve watched lonesome-looking dogs on the West Coast of America (were they were stray or let-out to roam?). But I’ve never knowingly seen a stray on the streets over here – the only unaccompanied dogs that I ever see are on Hampstead Heath, and clearly in pursuit of their person.

I’ve obviously not been looking hard enough. The annual Stray Dog Survey by the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, makes shocking, sad reading. From 2014-2015 in the UK:

102,363 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by Local Authorities.

47,596 dogs were left in council pounds.

5,142 dogs were destroyed by Local Authorities.

“Stray dogs that find themselves at Dogs Trust are the lucky ones,” says Adrian Burder, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust. “We will care for a dog for its entire life if needed.” But While Dogs Trust will not put a healthy dog down, the harsh fact is that Local Authorities are struggling to care for the stray dogs picked up on the streets of the UK everyday. Abandoning a dog puts them at risk of being put down by local authorities after seven days. In the past year, 14 dogs a day – that’s one dog every two hours – were destroyed.

Re-homing charities help as many as they can. While many of these dogs are abandoned, some are lost dogs, and are wanted back desperately. Less than half of the dogs in the report – 54,767 – were re-united with their owners. Of course all dogs should wear a dog tag, but they should also be made traceable via a microchip.

To ensure more dogs get to go home, Dogs Trust offers free microchipping. In April 2016, it will become the legal responsibility of dog owners in England, Scotland and Wales to microchip their dogs. Good news.

If your dog is not a microchip dog, please get it done. And just a heads-up – Dogs Trust is a marvellous charity, worthy of support.