Photographing New Dog Bed Models

We are now right up there with the interior design fashion as we have various shades of grey in our dog beds. Apparently grey is just the thing for the house at the moment. For us it is not a simple process of picking colours or designs off the shelves because we have all our fleeces and most of our waterproof dog bed materials produced specially for us. When we realised that there was a demand for grey colours for our luxury dog beds, we sat about getting that in to production. We had to look at the thread and yarn colours available and then try and mix a design that would be attractive. It is amazingly difficult when you are not a gifted colour designer, but we made various suggestions and made use of social media as we put our suggestions out on facebook and asked what our followers thought. It is sometimes a surprising result, but we take our customers’ advice.

We ended up with these three designs and there are one more to come:

grey-check-sample

Grey Check Sample

zebra print

Zebra print

Flint grey

Flint grey

We then had to made dog beds, both waterproof mattress dog beds and waterproof nests in order to show off our new colours. As we normally show the products with dogs on them, we then wanted to take photos with models. Our own dogs are very used to modelling the fantastic dog beds and it’s amazing to see them go in to the studio and lie down on the beds. They already know that it’s a question of relaxing and posing. In fact they soon fall asleep under the warm lighting lamps.

Raised dog bed with Grey liner

Raised dog bed with Grey liner

Obviously, it gets a bit monotonous if we always use our own in-house dogs, so we try and ask for new models. This weekend Lucy, the Dalmatian dog was willing to give it a try and turned up Sunday afternoon. Lucy is a very dainty fine looking dog with an absolutely lovely nature. She came in and didn’t seem too nervous, but she must have wondered what this was all about. In a dog’s experience, the only thing that comes near to this is being at the vet’s and frankly lying on a strange, but cosy dog bed under the bright light must be suspiciously like the vet’s operating theatre. However, Lucy took it in her stride and sat on the fantastic dog beds. She never quite looked relaxed, but good enough.

Raised dog bed with Autumn Check and Lucy looking lovely.

Raised dog bed with Autumn Check and Lucy looking lovely.

Sometimes models are so nervous that they pant all the time and it will never make a good photo of such comfortable dog beds.

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Dog Beds on TV

Last week I had the pleasure of showing my dogs on TV. It was five minutes on BBC Scotland, the Landward programme.

This all started because Euan Macillwraith bought a dog bed from us and I got in touch that way. I said to him that the BBC ought to look at game hunting in a different way and perhaps make a programme about it. He agreed, but then nothing happened for the whole summer of course as it is the closed season. Suddenly the BBC producer called me up and suggested that we go and do this. It all happened very quickly and I found a suitable place for doing a very small shooting day, purely over the pointers. Along we went with my shooting friend and the film crew. Everyone told me I ought to have Tuffies written all over the car and my clothes, but I didn’t really want to make it an advert for quality dog beds or waterproof dog beds even though of course my dogs were sitting in the back of my car on their beds.

Having seen how BBC operates, I am quite sure they would not have liked me to put dog bed advertising all over the programme anyway. When we had a cup of instant coffee at the end, the producer made sure the label on the jar was facing away from the camera, which did show attention to detail….

I worked the dogs on very little wind, which was difficult, but we managed to show how shooting can be done over pointers and how a modest shooting day for the pot is a very enjoyable one.

The game was taken home and we enjoyed it cooked later in the week.

The dogs loved the day although it was maybe a bit slow for them in the beginning as there was a lot of stopping and filming, but we all enjoyed being on the hill in fabulous weather. The sun was streaming down and we ended up walking in shirt sleeves.

The drive home was long as we had been in Perthshire, but it didn’t matter because we have luxury bespoke dog beds in the back of the vehicles, making it a restful journey.

 

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The Winning Dog Beds

Of course our dog beds are the winners when it comes to quality, durability, comfort and hygiene, but they are also winners in other ways: we often have competitions going on, either on Facebook or in magazines, where readers can win a Tuffie dog bed.

Last month we had a big competition through Your Dog Magazine, which was entered by 1,200 people. This was a straight forward lottery for winning two of our most popular dog beds, the Tuffies Nest. How great and heart warming that so many would like to try and win one of our many luxury dog beds.

pontus-in-red-tuffie-nestWe also have a regular feature in Dogs Monthly, where we are the star letter winner prize. Every month a letter is chosen for its content and the winner gets one of our dog beds.

It is however, the Facebook competitions that are the most attractive as there has to be a judgement involved most of the time. We sometimes have “Funniest dog” or “Dogs on holiday” or maybe “Do your dog sleep in you bed?”. The bed sleeping dogs were very cute and funny as it was very obvious that SOME dogs do not need dog beds. They always sleep in their owner’s bed and we received some fabulous photographs of people asleep with their dog somewhere in the bed, sometimes with only a paw sticking out from under the duvet.

A lot of the photos were taken by wives taking a picture of the husband with dog. I had the same experience: Obviously we have all sorts of great dog beds here in our house, but I came home one late evening and my husband had been home alone with one of our dogs (the one he likes the least). I got worried that the dog was not in the living room where it would normally sleep. I was hunting around the house to find the dog, but in the end I found my husband asleep in our bed and I could just see one grey paw sticking out from under the duvet. Ahaaaaa, so you don’t hate Tippex that much then!! Husbands have soft spots when it comes to a little old dog snuggling up.

 

 

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Draught excluding dog beds

Remember, now it is getting colder, that it is important to put your self in the dogs’ space and feel for your self whether you think that the dog beds are warm enough. On the  floor it can be a whole lot colder than you think as your head is nearly two metres above where the dogs are lying down. If you lie on floor for a while, you will probably experience the sneaking chill and if you had to stay there for several hours you would, most likely start getting seriously cold, not least during the night when the central heating is off. Cold obviously gets worse if there is a little bit of draught. Again, even in modern, well insulated houses, you will find that there is a bit of draught running along the floor. This is the sneaking cold that mattress dog beds, no matter HOW thick they are cannot keep out. So if you have any suspicion that there is even the slightest draught, you should start looking at draught excluding warm dog beds. Tuffies supply a number of luxury dog beds that all give protection against draught. Firstly, the warmest and snuggest of the dog beds that Tuffies make is the Tuffies Nest. If you look at the testimonials page or at the reviews in shop for the nest dog beds you will see that customers rave about them. They are extremely cosy and your dog can totally snuggle down. Here is Gollum and Pontus sharing a nest.

durasoft-nest-with-gollum-and-pontus

durasoft-nest-with-gollum-and-pontus

The other alternative of nests are the Raised dog beds from Tuffies. They are also elevated from the floor so that they give total insulation due to the double skin formed between the sleeping area and the floor. Further to this, these raised dog beds have sides protecting the dogs from any wind and draught. They would even be ideal in the out door dog run so that your dog can enjoy a warm, protected place to rest from where he can keep an eye out on the what goes on in his world. The liner gives beautiful warmth and comfort and the best thing is that it is extremely easy to wash and keep impeccably clean as you can simply put it in the washing machine.

raised-bed-w-pontus

Raised-bed-w-pontus

Finally, if you already have a plastic dog bed that you would like to keep using, these dog beds can be spruced up very easily with the innovative liner, made by Tuffies. The liner is secured with a cord all the way round so that dogs that dig their dog beds a lot can’t dislodge the liner. However, when you want to wash the liner, it is super easy to loosen the cord and lift the liner off to put it in the washer.

Skye-in-plastic-bed-with-liner

Skye-in-plastic-bed-with-liner

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Dog Beds on the Floor

Have you tried to sit or lie down on the floor in your house recently? At this time of year we get the slippers and the thicker socks out and the reason is that we are getting closer to winter and we are getting colder. At floor level, where our dogs spend their time in their dog beds, it is surprisingly much colder than you might think. Heat rises, so the cold air, which is heavier, is down at floor level in a gradient with the coldest air right at the floor (unless you have under-floor heating obviously). It is important to remember our creatures on the floor. As you lie on the floor testing the low temperature, imagine if thin dog beds were the only thing that your dogs had to sleep on. Many dog beds look all fluffy and nice, but the quickly go flat. It might look like the dog has a “thick” bed because the fluff has travelled out to the sides, but after closer examination, it usually turns out that the dog is only sleeping on almost just two pieces of fabric and no insulation.

Like this illustration of a pet-shop dog bed cut open.

petshop-bed-with-gaia-on-copy

Furthermore, as most people turn the heating off during the night, the floor-level temperature is even lower as the night progresses.  An automatic heating system that turns on about an hour before you get out of bed will give you a false impression that it is nice and warm during the night, when the temperature has plunged under the dog beds in the kitchen or living room about 5am. Dog beds need to be insulating from that cold floor in order to protect the dogs’ health.

There are two main ways of protecting the dog from the cold floor itself: Either by having a very thick and insulating dog bed or otherwise go for raised dog beds. The thick dog beds, such as a Tuffies Nest, has a 10-15 cm thick mattress in the middle of the nest with a luxury fleece on it for extra supreme comfort. The beds themselves have waterproof covers which ensures that all our dog beds stay dry inside, which means that they insulate better. Soggy dog beds do not insulate.

Here is a mattress bed with a very happy hound in. No matter how cold the floor is, the dog can not feel any chill from it through this thick mattress.

 

The other way of ensuring that the dog beds solves the problem of a dog being chilled from the cold floor is to have a raised bed. Our raised dog beds offer a unique solution to this. The shape creates a double skin between the bedding space and the floor, creating a void with still air  –  just the formula for insulation. The bedding area only has a modest amount of fleece under the dog as this helps making it easy to wash. With a good, always clean, cover, you have hygienic and comfortable dog beds that are light, long lasting and super easy to clean.

pontus-in-raised-dog-bed

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Got my Dog Beds Stolen

It is essential for travelling with one or several dogs to have good dog beds in the back of the car. Obviously I travel a lot with my dogs as I work them on all sorts of grouse moors and other stuff. I also take them with me on holidays or when I visit friends. So of course I have a custom made bespoke dog bed in the truck, which fits round the wheel arches and is shaped to fit round my spare wheel that I carry in the  boot.

 

The beauty of these dog beds are that they are totally waterproof, so when you feel the need to wash them, you can simply scrub them down with hot, soapy water and rinse them off. I have the Wipe Clean material and it is almost dry instantly after the water has run off the surface.

izzie-on-wiipe-clean-tuffie-dog-bed

I also have a Fluffie Tuffie cover on it, shaped to fit it perfectly. Having the nice, soft cover gives several advantages such as softness and warmth and because it is a thick polyester pet bedding, it works in a wicking fashion in the sense that a wet dog will find that the water is draining from him, while he feels high and dry.

brodie-on-fluffie-tuffie-dog-bed

A few days ago I wanted to wash the Fluffie Tuffie cover so I took it off and put it in the washing machine at 40 degrees. In the meantime I leant the dog bed itself against the wheelie bins outside. Stupid, you might think, but it was just on the ground, leaning against the bin. It sat there a couple of days when I didn’t need it, but today I wanted to put the cover back on and I had one of those moments where you don’t believe your own eyes. No waterproof dog beds anywhere near the wheelie bins. I thought someone might have moved it further near the house, but no. Well, ehm, the bins were emptied yesterday……   So I think that the bin men were either REALLY nice putting the bin in the rubbish skip despite me not “disposing” of it correctly OR they thought it was a good excuse to help themselves, pretending to misunderstand…..

 

In any case, I lost my car dog beds which is a real pain as I am off to a Field Trial tomorrow transporting not just my own dog, but another competitor’s and had to ask the work shop to make me a new one, which they happily did and I have a brand new car dog bed with soft Fluffie Tuffie Cover.

 

Pontus on the brand new dog bed in my car

Pontus on the brand new dog bed in my car

The back of pickup with Pontus looking very smug.

The back of pickup with Pontus looking very smug.

Working dogs and WALKING dogs love good dog beds.

Whatever happened, I remember some time ago, a customer rang to say that he had had his dog beds stolen from the back of his vehicle. As he said, they didn’t take his smart Barbour jacket, they only went for the dog beds.

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Washable Covers for Dog Beds

As autumn and then winter approaches it is time to think about how to tackle the problem of muddy dogs and dog beds.

Obviously there are no end of cheap dog beds on the market and they really are cheap. If you have a look on line, you will find “beds” big enough for a large dog for £10 – £15. Not only are they made overseas in the East, China most likely, but they are usually the lowest possible quality. If they don’t come apart at the seams, the stuffing will give in soon as they tend to look all thick and fluffy in the picture, but actually only contain a very small amount of stuffing, which will collapse as soon as a heavy dog lies down on it. The result is very quickly that the dog is lying on a thin layer of flattened wadding, which does not protect it from the cold floor. There is no support and certainly no warmth in the “bedding”. Wet winter dogs will also make this little mat soggy and wet in no time. After a walk in the woods, seeking out the puddles, these sort of dog beds are really not something to offer your dogs that are wet and tired. The floor level in your house is likely to be surprisingly chilly and a damp dog will not be safe health-wise and will not feel comfortable.

 

The best dog beds for these conditions are properly waterproof beds with a thick, firm filling that will not collapse. The filling must NOT be light and fluffy to start with as it will not hold up and the outer fabric really has to be a top quality 1000 denier Nylon with a top quality Polyurethane coating at the back to make properly waterproof dog beds.

 

If you can find thick, waterproof dog beds and in addition find extra covers, you are really looking after your dog. The dog beds will be insulating from the floor, not collapse and therefore give pleasant and healthy support. The outer, softer and removable covers can be machine washed in no time and they usually dry very fast, which is needed.

 

At the moment we are looking at nobbly covers, noodle type covers, that can really absorb dirt and wet. They are like a built on towel that the dog snuggles in to and gets dried on. This is at an experimental stage at the moment, but Tuffies already have several covers for the wet season. The Wicking covers are ideal for allowing a wet dog to dry up on the surface of the bed, feeling high and dry all along. The Fluffie Tuffie cover does also have strong wicking features and are good to wash, but will take a little longer to dry. Finally, the most popular and strongest seller for the Tuffies dog beds is the Luxury Fleece. Not the most wicking, so not for seriously dripping wet dogs, but very cosy and warm and it comes in increasing number of beautiful colours.

 

Dog beds are important for the dogs’ health, especially when it gets colder in the winter.

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Dog Beds in Modern Colours

It must be the number one priority to have top quality dog beds for our dogs and it is important to search for the absolute best dog beds in terms of warmth and comfort and practical hygiene. When you look for the best dog beds, there are many choices and it is clear that there is not ONE type that is simply the best. You have to decide what would suit your circumstances and THEN search for the best dog beds in terms of quality that suits your needs. You might like to wash dog bedding in the washing machine in order to keep it all fresh at all time, in which case a good mattress type with an optional fleece cover might be ideal, such as our mattress dog beds and Luxury Fleece. Alternatively you might hate getting dog hairs in the washing machine and prefer to use your waterproof dog beds on their own and not use any further fleeces on them. Washing the dog beds then becomes a matter of just scrubbing them down with hot, soapy water outside and rinse before drying them and putting them back with the dog.

Alternatively you might have a house that gets quite cold at floor level, especially at night time and you  might prefer dog beds that have a draught excluding surround to provide more warmth. In that case we supply nice Nest Dog Beds and they are extremely popular. You can wash the fleece that comes with the middle cushion (or if you hate the idea of washing dog beds and accessories in the washing machine, you can use the nest and middle cushion without the fleece on). We also offer a complete nest cover, which is of course designed to be taken off and washed in one go. This is a very good way to keep everything looking perfect and fresh and if you have had one of our nests for many years and it is starting to look a bit tired, then a full nest cover will extend it’s life for several more years, especially because our nest dog beds don’t flatten down.

So we concentrate all the time on making top quality dog beds that are warm and comfy and practical, but there is one more dimension to our work: Keeping colours great. Interior design is something that for some dog owners will play an extremely important role while for some people is so utterly irrelevant and when we ask customers on the phone what colour they want, we get anything on the wide scale from “Oh, colour, I have to ask my other half, I couldn’t possibly make that decision in case I get it wrong” to “Colour? Whatever you have available, my dog can’t see colours”. So in other words, there is a segment of our customers, who want dog beds in JUST the right colours and they have to be modern of course. There are in fact many different criteria that have to be met because you might want a certain colour scheme, which could be darker grey or black, but if you have a white and black Spaniel, you will see the white dog hairs on the dog beds from the minute the dog occupies the bed. So you might have to make a compromise between what is fitting your colour scheme and what suits the dog hair colours. You might have a mud loving black Labrador in which case the cream colours that we also offer might not be the right choice either.

We are about to embark on several new colours for our Luxury Fleece for the winter, so watch this space. We will take home fashion and dog hair disguise in to account when we choose.

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Dog Beds on the Hill

The best way to take dogs travelling in the back of a car is with a good, waterproof dog bed with a firm filling/mattress. The one in the picture is one of Tuffies’ waterproof dog beds in fact it is one of the bespoke dog beds so that it fits the shape of the cab precisely. This cab has wheel arches protruding in to the space, but it is not symmetric as there is also a spare wheel tied to the side for easy access in case of a puncture. It’s all accommodated by these bespoke dog beds. Furthermore, for extra comfort we have fitted a machine washable cover, again in bespoke size and shape, made from our Wicking Fabric material. This is an open weave material, which has a lovely bounce and also helps when dogs are wet. Wet dogs with soggy coats, will feel nicely high and dry on this material because it allows the coat to dry out though the base as well as the top of coat when the dog is lying down. The wicking material is designed and used in off-road vehicles’ seats so that the driver does not feel wet and clammy sitting in their seat if they have been out on a wet, rainy day. Tuffies grabbed this material and have made a much loved cover out of it to complement their top quality dog beds.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the moment I have to transport the pointers across the moors and it is really bouncy. If you have ever sat in the back of a pick-up even on a normal road, you will know how bouncy it is. The hill roads we sometimes have to negotiate are seriously bumpy and the car dog beds that the dogs are sitting on are really worth having so that all three dogs are protected from hard bounce.

 

Pontus must stay on the car dog beds most of the day

Pontus comes on the moor, but must stay on the car dog beds for the day.

During the day, you may also need to leave one dog in the car if for example you have a spare dog or if you have a puppy, who can’t come along on the full day. Pontus is the puppy at the moment and although he surely can’t be enjoying it, he does put up with being left in the car for hours, partly due to the great dog beds, partly due to the delicious pigs ears he is treated to.

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Foam in Dog Beds?

Tuffies has now existed for 16 years on the basis of our fabulous dog beds is the futon mattress inside. We are famous for our top quality through and through, from the futon, which keeps its shape, warmth and thickness to the fabric that encases our waterproof dog beds. As we strive to keep making the best dog beds you can buy, we are constantly experimenting with new raw materials and have had our eye on foam as a filler for some time. We would certainly NEVER replace our futon inner in our mattress beds, but we might think about a foam mattress in our nest dog beds. The reason is that we need a combination, which will be soft on the top side, while firm enough at the base in order to keep the shape of the nest. Unfortunately foam has got a bad reputation because other companies that make dog beds tend to skimp on quality, using cheap foams that collapse. Also, because other dog beds on the market, sometimes claiming to be waterproof dog beds, often have an inferior covering that allows water to seep in to the foam, the foam beds rot and collapse that way.

Beware of copycat companies that make inferior products made to look like our dog beds, but they are only copycats and not always the great quality of Tuffies.

Because we only use top quality materials, ie totally waterproof materials, the dampness will not be a problem. The question of how long one of these dog beds would last if we made them with the best quality outer fabric casing comes down the quality of the foam. True to the Tuffies form, we have researched foams and foam combinations for a long time now. We have decided which foam is the best and we are now in the middle of our “Clinical Trials” with all nest sizes out with customers all over the country.

This is the combination that we came to in the end, a nice, firm base with great insulating power and a softer, high quality foam on top, which is soft, but according to the foam manufacturer, very durable in terms of holding its shape.

Foam explanation for FB July 16 copy

We do not want to be the same as all the cheap and cheerful companies making dog beds cutting corners and cost, ending up with terrible products. We want to make the best dog beds and therefore it will still take a little while before we have the final result that we can put out there for sale. Watch this space as there are more top notch quality dog beds coming from Tuffies.

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