Taking Dog Beds to the Scottish Game Fair.

On 1st to 3rd of July the big Scottish Gamefair was on at Scone Palace. Tuffies was there as every year come what may, selling great dog beds at their stand in Pheasant Row. Many people are asking us if we feel we have saturated the market now as everyone that goes to Scone seem to already have one or two Tuffies dog beds. The answer is, to some extent, yes, but then we have been coming for well over 10 years and customers have started to replace their original Tuffies or adding new products to their collection. The situation is clearly that if we had never been to Scone gamefair before and suddenly turned up, we would, no doubt sell a lot more dog beds in three days than we did during these last three days, but going to Scone is also a social occasion and we like to be there to provide a service. AS IT TURNED OUT, WE HAD A RECORD YEAR AT SCONE. Many people come along just to see if there are any new products or new colours that might tempt them. Of course many customers have seen the new dog beds and colours on line or on Facebook and they are curious to see them in the flesh.

As I work my dogs all winter I also enjoy meeting all the other fellow hunters and dog workers at the show and it’s great to meet up with people that I perhaps didn’t get round to meet all last season for one reason or another.

There will be other people selling dog beds at the show, but that doesn’t normally bother us. We innovate, manufacture and sell fantastic dog beds that are soft, warm, durable and easy to keep clean. In essence we make top quality waterproof dog beds with optional machine washable fleece covers that you may like to add to the bed. About 40% of customers use the Tuffies dog beds just as they are, but 60% would add a cover, which they can take off and wash in the washing machine so that everything is kept clean and fresh. It also makes the bed look nicer in the house because you can get all sorts of designs and colour schemes. We have recently added our Summer Covers that are unique in their very sunny and summerly colours. They all remind you of days on the beach or sunny evenings and green trees. Very refreshing and a nice way to include your dog beds in the change of seasons.

We were lucky to get good weather and almost no rain at the weekend. The forecast looked dodgy, but with luck the rain just managed NOT to hit Scone this time. Although we sell waterproof dog beds the endless mud and cold weather makes the weekend such a disaster of gloom.

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Washing Dog Beds Every Day

There is definitely a place for waterproof dog beds that you can wash quickly and easily, keeping your  dog’s bed smell free at all times. That is what we do here at Tuffies and it is what we are famous for. However, there IS also a place for flat machine washable dog beds without any stuffing in them at all and that place is underneath puppies. Now that Gaia’s pups are three weeks old, they are on a thick, double sided fleece with a towel underneath while they are in the whelping box. They are now eating and drinking and are becoming quite big puppies, so there is a lot of wet there. The pee runs through the fleece and gets absorbed in the towel. Till now I have managed to change the fleece and towel once a day for a good, HOT wash, but I can see that I will soon be needing newspaper and a change of box bedding twice a day. Dog beds wouldn’t work in this situation because it is too bulky to give the pups a safe place under the pig rails. I often see a puppy behind Gaia, safely stuck without any danger of suffocation because of the pig rails. If I had one of our luxury dog beds in the whelping box, it would not leave enough space for a stuck puppy to breathe.  There have been no accidents so everything is good and safe.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once the pups are older I can take the pig rails out and they can have as many dog beds as they like, but really while they are so small, they don’t need much support because they don’t have much weight to push down to the floor. But they are German Wirehaired Pointer puppies and once they are adult they will all need soft, supportive dog beds in their new homes.

Fleece-lined-nest-thumbnail

Gaia doesn’t bother staying with them, she just makes sure they are fed and clean and then she goes over and lies in one of her raised dog beds that is at her disposal. She absolutely loves the raised bed as she is a little higher up than otherwise, seeing the world better and she is off the floor. The soft, cosy liner helps her keeping warm and comfortable and of course that is also super easy to put in the washing machine for a good freshening up.

 

I look forward to sending the pups along to their new homes with their comfortable puppy dog beds and other little goodies that they should be treated to. Of course it is not nice to say goodbye to the pups, but you know what I mean.

 

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New Summer Covers for Dog Beds

While we concentrate on making practical and extremely comfortable dog beds, we are also aware that almost everyone wants to have a dog bed that is sitting in their house or in their car looking stylish. So in making stylish dog beds we are permanently on the outlook for nice, top quality fabrics to purchase. We came across our latest fabric for covering the waterproof dog beds recently and out of many wonderful choices, we picked four. They are all tartan pattern in summer inspired colours such as sunshine and evening glow along with a blue and sandy coloured one reminding you of beach life. We even have one in grey colours like a pebble beach as you battle the “summer weather” and it’s like today: fresh with wind and rain, saturating all plant life ready to burst into life when the sun comes back out.

Summer Mattress cover Summer Glow

Summer Mattress cover Summer Glow

 

 

Summer Mattress cover Sunshine

Summer Mattress cover Sunshine

Summer mattress cover Sand'n'pebbles

Summer mattress cover Sand’n’pebbles

Summer Mattress cover Seaside

Summer Mattress cover Seaside

 

The new covers transform the sleeping area in to light, cool dog beds for the hotter season. The fabric is 100% polyester so it is easy to vacuum the dog hairs off and it is also super easy to wash and dry. The covers can cope with 60 degrees wash and come up like new. Of course you will see more dog hairs on these fabrics, but when you have dogs, you have dog hairs. If you absolutely hate seeing dog hairs on your dog beds, you would need to opt for our Wipe Clean Tuffie beds that are smooth like a waxed jacket and hold no hairs at all. But for beauty in your home and softness for your dog, fabric covers are the answer.

Summer Mattress cover on mattress bed

Summer Mattress cover on mattress bed

 

We are doing two styles, we have summer covers for our waterproof mattress dog beds, which close with poppers on the underside, which means that if a dog is slightly tempted to chew the metal poppers, they are unlikely to see these while sleeping on their luxury dog beds.

We also have covers for our deep dog beds, called our nest beds and we supply the covers for both the sides and the cushion in the middle as a set.  The cover that goes right over the sides of the nest and tie at the bottom with a draw string and a toggle. It takes a minute to get the hang of the fitting it all together, but once it’s in place it stands up to a lot of digging and rummaging around without it getting out of place.

Nest Summer Cover on a nest with Tippex the GWP

Nest Summer Cover on a nest with Tippex the GWP

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Puppies are Growing in their Dog Beds

The pups are now just over a week old and they are growing very, very fast.  They are German Wirehaired Pointers and look like spaniel puppies being white with brown spots. Every single person, who sees them in their whelping box with nice dog beds, ask why they have that colour as the mum is brown with scarce white ticks. But the answer is, that Gaia was also pure white with brown spots when she was born. They are already changing to off-white with brown spots. You can see that they will develop in to whiter and browner versions and there are also signs of a difference in coat length, but that is maybe jumping the gun a little bit.

 

Gaia feeding all nine pups one week old.

Gaia feeding all nine pups one week old.

While I am busy working in the office, looking after our business making the best dog beds, I am also dotting from one building, the office, to the other, the house, where the litter is. Gaia has a variety of large dog beds at her disposal  and normally chooses to lie on one of the comfortable dog beds  with a warm tweed cover, which I have placed in front of the whelping box. She is a devoted mum and makes sure all nine pups are fed and cleaned, but she is not a mum that will stay in the whelping box all the time no matter how comfortable the dog beds are. When my Vizsla, Alice, had pups she never left the whelping box for the first four months. I kind of prefer Gaia’s approach where she is delighted to come for long walks and little run on my bike rides to give herself a break from the pups. I am pretty sure she spends most of the night IN the box, but she is more free during the day.

She also spent some time on a spare piece of cover lying next to the box one night, where she had moved most of the pups to.

 

Gaia having moved her pups out next to the box.

Gaia having moved her pups out next to the box.

The other dogs are NOT welcome near the pups, but I have been surprised how Gollum, who is normally her best buddy is shoved out of the room if he arrives. She literally nudges him out of the room. He is keen to look in the whelping box, but she just herds him the other way. You can almost hear her say that there are lots of comfortable dog beds through the house and that he needs to go and lie on one of those, NOT in her maternity ward. He reluctant obeys and sulks on one of the raised dog beds that he normally adores.

Strangely Tippex, with whom Gaia has a strained relationship with, is, however, allowed to be quite close to the pups. She finds her way in next to the whelping box, slinking along the walls, lying under my computer table. She can’t see them from there, but she is close and has patience. She doesn’t mind that there are no dog beds under my desk, she lies on the bare floor as this is the ideal place for her to be near while not being imposing. If she gets the chance, she will sit on her bum and stretch her neck as far as she can to get a little glimpse of the pups over the edge of the box. Last night she managed, supervised by Gaia, to come round and look inside the box. She was utterly mesmerised. The problem is leaving. When she turns to leave, Gaia gets aggressive. Last night I just walked out and they followed without any problems, except from a bit of growling. Tippex went to the dog beds in the other room and all was good.

Watching the wolf pack is so fascinating.

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Dog Beds for Whelping Boxes

That was a busy weekend. Away from the normal world of thinking about dog beds, I was buried in the world of whelping. My German Wirehaired Pointer bitch, Gaia, was due to give birth on Friday, so I stayed around and during the last few nights I slept in a separate bed room with Gaia on my bed. During Friday night I was sure I would be woken up to be called on duty, but she just woke up, panting, every hour, but no puppies arrived.

I got up at 5am as I could just feel she was getting closer. I put her in on one of her favourite dog beds, the Tuffies Nest, and she suddenly, at 7am, produced the first pup. I did try to encourage her to go in the whelping box, but she kept going back to the dog beds she knows. Nice to see commitment to the brand, hahaha.

I spent all day, Saturday, whelping Gaia and we ended up with nine puppies. I had put my little order in to the workshop for whelping dog beds and I have a luxurious collection of bases, which are really just a couple of pet-bed pieces (just like our Fluffie Tuffie covers) sewn together back to back. They give nice support to her and they are relatively easy to wash (although they are big and thick), they are super easy to dry and they a soft and lovely. I also sneaked over in the workshop one evening, when nobody was busy making dog beds, and produced little covers for the pig rails. I thought it might be nicer for Gaia to lean against a padded pig rail rather than a plain one. I just made long tubes and slid them on to the rails before I fitted the rails in the box. It looks neat and they can of course be washed too.

I did manage to move her from the nest to the whelping box during the whelping, but I was momentarily in another room to do something and as I returned, she was busy putting the five puppies she had had by that time, over in the nest.

I removed all the nice dog beds from the room to encourage her to use the whelping box. Of course I don’t mind her using the waterproof dog beds to give birth in as I am around all the time, but it would not be safe to leave her with the pups in any other than the whelping box where the pig rails will help preventing her from squashing a puppy by mistake.

She gave in at last and is now quietly looking after her pups in the whelping box. She had nine pups in the end and they are CUTE. Here is a link to the Pups.

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Dog beds for whelping box

My dog is due to have puppies on Friday and it is best to be well prepared. Gaia looks like a whale, but I am sure she will just have a few, uhm….

My bestest friend Anne’s husband Steve originally built a fabulous whelping box large enough for the size of a German Wirehaired Pointer. The box has been doing its rounds and been the base for many lovely litters. I think most dogs will start off digging up their dog beds and start delivering their pups in one of the Tuffie Nest dog beds or similar, but it is  important to move mother and babies when there seem to be an opportunity to do so. This prepares everything for the quiet time where mother should just settle down and let the little newborns suckle away as much as they can. After the birth the bitch will be very tired, but will still want to stay awake, full of adrenalin after the big experience of having all the new pups.

At the moment, though, Gaia is just looking big:

 

Gaia in the garden, five days to go.

Gaia in the garden, five days to go.

I remember when my Vizsla, Alice, had her first litter, I just got hold of a huge big cardboard box from the white goods shop in town and lined it with waterproof fabric, normally used in our waterproof dog beds. I fixed the pig rails (broom shafts) and then noticed that there was a sticker on the box (used for a fridge originally) that said “Early delivery”, which I thought was very funny and even funnier as she did deliver her pups two days early.

Pregnant Alice 2 029 xxxxxBlog

Pups 8-9 Jan 096xxxxBlog

What fun it is to have little pups as long as the birth all goes well of course. Can’t wait till it all happens.

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Small Chew Proof Dog Beds

At last, the ball is rolling for our smaller version of our fantastic chew proof dog beds, our Really Tough Tuffies. About ten years ago we decided that since we offer extremely tough and durable dog beds and because the company name is “Tuffies”, we were in a position where our customers sometimes trusted the strength of our dog beds to the extent that they thought they were all chew proof. As this is not the case(as dogs can after all chew through wood, plastic and even make an impact on metal) we have always stated as clearly as humanly possible, that our normal durable dog beds are not guaranteed chewproof, they are just super durable. This is now very well understood by dog owners, but it simply threw up a true need for a completely chew proof dog bed. When there is a need, creativity is often fostered and we got the thinking hats on. It was clear that dogs have fantastically strong jaws and can chew most things, so it was not possible to find a comfortable material, which would also be chewproof. We tried Kevlar and Milar, but there were three reasons for not pursuing those technical textiles: It was damn uncomfortable and noisy; it was super expensive and it wasn’t even chew proof. Furthermore, IF a dog chewed and ingested it, there would be big problems as Kevlar is, microscopically little sharp fibres!!!  So it was time to think outside the box, which we did.

We came up with an idea which meant that our Really Tough Tuffies are made from chewable material, but it is built in such a way that the dogs can not get their jaw round any parts, hence the  chew proof dog beds were invented. Dogs can’t get hold of the middle fabric because there is no edge due to the fact that the fabric edges are sandwiched in-between the two plastic parts. The plastic parts are again un-chewable due to their shape, which is rounded and impossible to get hold of with dog jaws.

Freia and Tilly in a Really Tough Tuffie chew proof bed

Freia and Tilly in a Really Tough Tuffie chew proof bed

 

Our chewproof dog beds are also easy to clean and have been a huge success and although we obviously sell far, far more of our durable dog beds and our luxury dog beds, we are always supplying a steady amount of the chewproof dog beds, which are simply solving an irritating problem for many, many dog owners. With a failure rate of less than one for every 1000 sold, we are very pleased with this result.

 

So far we have only had the one size, big enough for a dog up to 32Kgs. We don’t think we could make a larger one simply because there is a physical limit to how far the fabric can be stretched and still remain impossible for the dog to get on to it. However there are a lot of small dogs like terriers and working Cocker Spaniels that like chewing and they don’t really need such big chew proof dog beds. Also, they are often in a crate because they chew the house as well. So therefore we have now made a small Really Tough Tuffie and look forward to launching it in the middle of June. It fits inside the size of a common size crate, 90x60cm, so it should be ideal.

Our new, smaller chew proof bed fitting in a cage

Our new, smaller chew proof bed fitting in a cage

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Natural Dog Beds

When we make dog beds here at Tuffies we take everything in to account: we think about comfort for the dogs, hygiene for dogs and owners, style for the dog beds to fit in to the modern dog owner’s house and we also try to look at the dogs’ natural instinct regarding their bedding. Some things can be tested, such as how easy it is to wash the dog beds and of course we try to look at what styles are modern and what our customers like. Our customers are the biggest help we have for testing and guiding. We have a number of products that are simply inventions from our customers. We LOVE it when a loyal customer tells us that he or she wants an addition to his/her nice dog beds and proceeds to tell us in details how they imagine we could make a new product. One of them is our Nest Sock. This came from a lady, who had several of our waterproof dog beds for her Vizsla. Her dog adored the bed, but being a Vizsla, the dog still appreciated being covered during the night. As dogs do, in the morning the dog had moved and lost the blanket, now sleeping on top of it instead of underneath. This prompted the customer to ask if we could supply a Nest Sock for her nest dog beds. We kind of thought it was an odd idea, but we made one for her. Like all product development there was a bit of testing and adjusting, but we ended up with a popular product thanks to a devoted customer.

 

Developing good dog beds appealing to the dogs also come from the simple observations of the dogs’ behaviour. We sat in the garden recently and unfortunately we have loads of moss in the grass lawn. When we are INSIDE the house the dogs tend to be waiting and hoping that we will come outside and when we are outside they simply want to be with us next to our garden bench and enjoy that we have “completed the pack”.  So they play a bit and then they settle down to relax in the “lawn dog beds”. Their natural instinct results in exactly the same behaviour as you see when dogs use their lovely dog beds: they dig. On the lawn the result is that they manage to rake up a whole bunch of moss (in our pathetic lawn) and you can see how they intend to pull it up under themselves and around themselves. With mixed results, it has to be said. Dogs are not good at arranging things, but they still try. The aim is clearly to make super cosy dog beds to sleep in.

 

We can’t have moss-beds in the house, so we have to think of an alternative that satisfies the dogs’ need to dig a bed up to be cosy. Our nest dog beds do satisfy this because the surround is ready made. Dogs love it. If you can supply them with an additional blanket to throw around, you will appeal to their instincts of digging up a grass or moss bed. This has to be the reason why our nest dog beds are so popular.

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Both Warm Dog Beds and Jumpers

What happened to spring? My dogs are back in their kennel dog beds in the kennels WITH extra jumpers on. Now I have a pregnant bitch, I am particularly fussy about not letting them get cold. They are certainly not up for lying outside on their patio dog beds, they are inside their nests, preferably in a big heap. You can just see them through the door hole, how they are squashed together for warmth. We don’t have super, double skinned kennels, they just have to bunch up for warmth.

What is more worrying is the grouse on their nests on the hill. At this time they will be starting to lay their eggs and if we get lots of snow it can cover the nests, freeze the eggs and kill them off. The birds simply have to start all over again. They have to find new nest places (one can imagine that the particular nest spot is chosen very carefully) and they have to put in the huge physical effort that egg production demands. It takes food and energy to produce eggs, which involves as much protein as possible. With cold weather there will be less of this as protein mainly comes from buds and insects, which are not in abundance when there are sub zero temperatures.

I drove my dogs, on their travel dog beds, in my truck in to a very large estate in the Monadhliath Mountains last week in order to count grouse pairs. I was also delivering one of our waterproof dog beds to the estate ‘keeper on the day. We went out on the moors for two days and most of the time the grouse were in pairs, but sometimes the hens would not flush with the male bird, which is a sign that she is sitting more tightly on her nest. Not always of course, but I had one incident where I could see where she had been sitting and there was now one beautiful egg. There should be many more to come and this hen would be full of underdeveloped eggs.

 

Grouse nest with one spotty egg

Grouse nest with one spotty egg

 

When you hunt the dogs on the moor out of season, they always get very tired and relish their dog beds at night. They are not quite in moor-fitness like they are in the season, but we take care of them and make sure they have a lovely night’s sleep. Best sleeping place is on the warm dog beds in the back of the car. They don’t like the kennels in a strange place with “strange” dogs next door to them….

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Kennel Dog Beds for Spring.

Last week we spoke about the best dog beds to have in the garden for spring and summer when the dogs enjoy being outside, but may get chilled with draught. The Raised dog beds with sides are ideal for a sunny, but windy corner of the garden where the dog would like to lounge. I certainly know that my dogs love to be outside, where they can keep a strict eye on passing cyclists (which MUST be barked at and chased successfully away). They love being high up and off the ground with padded sides for shelter and warmth while they can still keep an eye on everything and get some sunshine on their bodies.

However, almost all dogs are inside at night either in the kennel or in the house. Looking at kennel beds, it is again important to be aware of the time of year and the condition of the dog. Dogs with really big, thick coats would be perfectly happy with simple, waterproof dog beds where they can be protected from the harsh floor inside the kennel, whilst cool enough to be comfortable if the summer nights get very hot. Draught is a funny thing because if it is cold and damp, a draught can result in the sleeping area becoming unbearably cold and unhealthy with all sorts of complications for the dog. We have to be extremely vigilant with these sort of things because when we go and see our dog in the morning, it will be bouncing up and down, pleased to see us, he will never go:”Actually, mum, I was flipping cold all night, is there anything you can do? Maybe some better dog beds???” We have to empathise and guess. We have to adjust the sleeping area, doors and dog beds according to the dog, the time of year and the temperature. Giving your dogs the CHOICE has to be the best way to make sure they are comfortable, so it might be a good idea to bite the bullet and get BOTH mattress dog beds without any covers on AND the nest type kind of dog beds for perfect draught exclusion. You could put the mattress bed out in the outdoor part of the kennel, where it is still covered for rain, but where a hot dog can go and cool off. If you also have the nice nests inside, they have the choice.

For best results, you must always try and study your dog’s behaviour so you can guess what he is thinking.

There is no doubt that some dog beds are literally appalling and whether your dog is trying to be warm or simply just padded, the beds are so thin that they will not lie flat nor provide any support. Go for top quality dog beds and invest in the best. It pays off in the long term, also with respect to the long term health of your dog.

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