It is now grouse counting time and it is time to get the dogs fit for a massively busy three weeks. I only really have two dogs in top shape plus one dog of nine years old, which makes her less able to work for extensive length of time. Every aspect of their health has to be looked after, so not the least where they sleep is an important part of their well being. Out of all the dog beds you can get, the Tuffies have to be the best option for us because they give brilliant support for the tired bodies and you can adjust how warm you want them. If it is hot in July and August, you can make our supportive dog beds cooler by leaving off any fluffy covers, except you might like to put on a twill cover just to keep things neat and tidy. If it is cold in the months of heavy dog work, a Luxury Fleece will be necessary in order to keep the dog as warm and comfy as possible. This fantastic flexibility is such an advantage as you are never stuck with a situation where you feel your dog is put in a less than perfect situation over night or in transit.
In July and beginning of August there is a lot of driving to do as we do the odd day on the hill counting the grouse population. During that time the dogs have to be on one of our comfortable dog beds so that they can relax even when the journey is bumpy or speedy with corners that will make them lean one way or another. If the bed is too firm, they will feel as if they are being thrown about on top of bed in the back of the vehicle. Here they need something where they can sink in a little bit, but it is very important that they are on our dog beds with a futon mattress in it because if they are on a conventional dog bed, the stuffing tends to move out in the corners and leave the dog on nothing.
At night, if I am staying away from home, the dogs need great dog beds for their sleep as these sessions are like Olympic athletes performing at their peak. Sleep is essential and even making sure that the vehicle is parked in a sensible place without hotel guests coming and going all night is important so that the dogs get disturbed. A good sleep at night is essential.
Apart from giving the dogs the best dog beds available, we also have to make sure nutrition is first class. I feed mine a kipple mix, but only in small quantities. In addition they get oats, boiled carrots, cabbage, red meat and tripe. The tripe is vital during times of extreme physical work. You can end up with a dog looking like a toast rack if you can’t give enough food. The tripe is easy to digest, it is “wet” so that they don’t get the hideous thirst and it’s very fatty so that they can keep those reserves topped up. On the hill during the day, I like to give them digestive biscuits or Scottish short bread. It can really make a difference when you see the dog getting tired. A fat/sugar boost can make all the difference, not only for the running, but for the mental alertness too, which is essential when they have to react to the slightest scent of a bird.
So the conclusion is that good food and excellent dog beds for the dogs to rest on are the two main stays in working dogs hard (apart from fitness preparations of course).