What Should a Dog Wear?

Miniature Schnauzer on a Sink in Tuffie

Miniature Schnauzer on a Sink in Tuffie

Good question. I am totally in the “nothing” camp and I hate seeing dogs dressed up in clothes as if they were babies. The only textile products dogs should be using are their dog beds.

Well, I am not totally adverse to clothing. When I work my dogs away and they have to stay in the car over night, I usually put a fleece on them if it is in the middle of winter. Although three of them together in the back of a truck generates a lot of shared heat, it is still better to make sure they all have warmth.  They all have thick dog beds so nobody ends up on a cold base of the car, but still, in the highlands I have come out to an over iced car in the morning and been very pleased with the dog beds and the dog fleeces. Also when I let them out in the back garden in the winter they may need a fleece. I make the fleeces my self and when they run around and play rough, they often accidentally tear each other’s fleece jumpers, so it’s best if I can quickly make a new. Last winter I ended up making an extra armoured jacket for Gollum because the young Gaia just kept on ripping his fleece. I used the same, strong material, the Wipe Clean, that we make strong dog beds out of and it certainly put a good stop to the ripping. His jacket is a little bit more stiff than a pure and nice fleece, but he is cosy as toast in under it. Lovely to take them in from the garden in the evening and find them with fresh, cold noses, cool ears and toasty bodies. They are really happy that way.

Should dog wear collars? I never have collars on my dogs when they run around in the garden. They have quite a good doggy area with a patio, where they have their little kennels for rainy days, stuffed with warm dog beds and they have outdoor dog beds on the patio. But they also have a little wooded area with tall grass to do their business, a pond to swim in and apple trees for their five a day. But for the reason of the trees, I find it too risky to allow them collars out there as they can get strangled. There is no need for them to wear them anyway. Only when I work the dogs in the heather or in thick wood land does the collar become essential. When they stop on point, you can sometimes hardly see them, especially the darker two, unless they wear their orange collars. With tippex, who is white and black it’s a little easier. In woodland in the winter where the light is bad it is also important to see them better with a fluorescent collar.

Gollum retrieving a bird

Gollum retrieving a bird

If I walk them in town, I also put a lead on of course, but I do not understand whey people put halters on their dogs. You need to teach them to walk to heel so you don’t need uncomfortable halters on them.

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Liners for Raised Dog Beds

Now that our Raised dog beds are just about here to be lined, there are suddenly big obstacles for seemingly small problems. We have made patterns for liners that fit beautifully inside the raised bed. The biggest problem is to cut the pattern so precisely that it simply fits and wraps itself round the thick surrounds on the bed. I did this over a few weekends and evenings and ended up being rather proud of the result.

Raised Tuffie bed with Autumn check liner

Raised Tuffie bed with Autumn check liner

However, I had ignored all along that there will have to be some way of attaching the liner on the outside of the bed to make it fixed and tidy when a dog digs and moves around. My first inkling was to drill holes and put a toggle though. I got my self all fixated on this idea and couldn’t see past it. I could not find the right toggles either so I went and bought dowling and cut pieces out to make my own toggles. The problem just got bigger because you need to make very large holes to push the toggle and the rope through.

But then I thought of hooks and looked through pages and pages of photos of hooks finally finding a company in Mexico that would make the correct size of hooks for our raised dog beds. They will screw on perfectly and make it easy to simply pull the rope at the end to make the liner fit beautifully. Of course, having bought a sample of those hooks I narrowed it in to finding both American and UK companies that are able to make the right sort of hooks.

Cocker Spaniel in a medium Raised Tuffie

Cocker Spaniel in a medium Raised Tuffie

I went to the workshop this morning to fit the hooks to the raised dog beds with liners that I had already made last week and it’s absolutely perfect.

We are now waiting for the first consignment of our raised dog beds early next week and we can then fulfil our orders that have come in as pre-orders on the web site. We are very, very excited about this new product as it simply has everything you ever needed in dog beds.

These dog beds can be kept clean through and through and are super comfortable for your dog, who also appreciates hugely to be higher up from the floor. Wonderful.

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Dog Beds and Sandy Beaches

Dogs love the beach. What is there NOT to like about a sandy beach with a nice sea lapping in at the shore? Tippex loves to be taken in the car to the beach with my son or daughter in Aberdeen. As Fergus is heavily in to tennis, he always takes a racket and a ball along.

The other day Tove took Tippex in her car, but forgot to have dog beds in the car, so the back of it was already hairy by the time she reached her destination, but she wasn’t too worried.

 On the beach it is all about whacking that tennis ball a long way out and let Tippex retrieve it.See the ball where I put the arrow.

Tippexs runs out for the ball by the sea.

Tippexs runs out for the ball by the sea.

She grabs the ball in the sand.

She grabs the ball in the sand.

She is now 10 years old and I haven’t used her much this year for the grouse, not because I didn’t want to, but the two younger dogs did the work no problem and having three dogs out is usually too much, it ends in chaos. I have often been on the grouse moor and brought her for back up, but she has to spend most of her day in the car, which she does not approve of. She has beautiful waterproof dog beds in the car, but by the time we return from the hunting, she has been digging them up and tumbled them round and round. Poor soul.

Tippex returns with the ball, exhausted.

Tippex returns with the ball, exhausted.

So a good run on the beach in the city is just heaven for her. She is off as fast as she can go, scoops it (and a load of sand) up and hurls back with it.

I am not entirely sure how many times she can do this, but if it is not too hot, it is many, many times. The German Wirehaired Pointers have fantastic stamina, but they are not good if it is hot. Tippex is a resourceful madam, who will always find a muddy puddle to lie down in to cool off, but on the beach, it’s easy to just jump in the sea.

 When she thinks that she has done enough running, she lies down and hogs the ball to make sure it does not get  pinged off again.

Finally Tippex needs to lie down and rest.

Finally Tippex needs to lie down and rest.

Tove said that Tippex would sometimes lie ON the ball to hide it (or have a paw on top of it) while she caught her breath. Making herself sandy dog beds in the beach is great for getting that sand right in to the coat.

 Obviously, on the way home in the car, if you don’t have good, nest dog beds with sides on, she sand and salty water will be shaken everywhere.

 Dogs love balls. Here is Christine’s Max’s with three he collected to play with.

Max can pick up three balls

Max can pick up three balls

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Cleaning my Friend’s Dirty Dog beds

My dog enthusiastic friend, Anne, has got Tuffies Dog Beds absolutely everywhere. In the kennels, in the house (kitchen and conservatory) and in both cars. She has never paid us for one because she has six dogs and is the perfect place for us to test durability, likability and cleanability.  Her dogs will give the dog beds a good old wear and tear and we have every access to see how the beds and prospective products get on. When we first brought out our Durasoft we needed to know how well they would keep clean and, if dirty, how easy they would be to wash. One of Anne’s Labradors has mouth cancer and although not suffering from it, there is a big tumour on her lower jaw, which means she SLOBBERS like mad. She is also of the greasy variety of Labradors that leave a greasy shine inside the nest, so there was everything to go for in terms of getting her dog beds super dirty. Her Durasoft Tuffies Nest looked terrible after about six months, so I said I would love to clean it.I have to say that even I had my doubts that I would be able to do that well enough.

 It really was not bad. I timed my efforts and it took two minutes to take the cushion out and put the fleece in the washing machine. Then I turned the surround inside-out and with a bucket of hot water and a washing up sponge I rubbed the nest thoroughly all over. This took seven minutes. I found the hose and hosed it all down, three more minutes.

 I now let the nest hang outside to dry in the wind and sun. With all the seams and nooks and crannies it didn’t feel completely dry even after a few hours, so I took it inside and put it up to dry in a nice, warm place. To be honest, it did take till the following day before I wanted to give it back to Anne because it needed to be 100% dry. She has lots of dog beds for her working dogs and would not be left without anything for the dogs to sleep on.

 As I wasn’t going up in her directions any time soon, I just sent the washed nest on the courier to her address. She called me when it had arrived and she was utterly delighted. She could not believe it was the same nest!!! Looking so good after looking so dirty.

 It’s fair to say that she was quite embarrassed that I had washed her dog beds, but of course I just did it as a part of the research. She will no doubt do it herself next time.

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Waterproof dog beds still keeping water out?

Here at Tuffies we do as much testing as we possibly can to make sure we are selling the highest quality dog beds. We have our fabrics tested for hydrostatic head at an independent laboratory, where we send unused, used and washed fabrics to see the durability to water-resistance in every way.

We also, from time to time, get a bed back from a customer, who has a complaint and we make sure we get to the bottom of the problem and every time it is a misunderstanding, not a fault (except sometimes a manufacturing fault, but never fabric or quality fault). Recently we had a call from a lady, who said she had bought lots of waterproof dog beds from us over the years. She told us that it takes around a year for her dog to dig a hole in them, so she replaces them every year as she said that our dog beds are the strongest there is to stand up to her dog’s sharp and relentless claws. However, she said that the latest one she had bought only lasted four months and was not waterproof anymore. We sent her a new bed and got the “faulty” one back.

The first thing I did when it arrived was of course to open it up in order to see how wet it was inside. It was bone dry. You could see the heavy claw marks across it, but it was still totally waterproof. It would seem that where she lives and where the dog bed sits in her house there is a lot of relative humidity in the air, which will cause the dreaded condensation underneath. It has to be said that with the wet and cold summer, we have had, this problem is probably bigger this year than when we have just moderate and normal summers. Everything is damp even if you don’t feel that it’s clammy. So when you put waterproof dog beds down on a cold tiled floor, they are guaranteed to trap moisture underneath.

If you are not used to deal with these things, you might mistake this from “leaking”. When you lift up the bed, it feels like water has seeped out from the inside, but that is obviously not the case, it is just condensation on the outside. The good thing is, that this is waterproof, and the stuffing will remain nice and dry. If it had been a water-permeable material, all that condensated water would have been absorbed in to the bed, leaving it cold and clammy for the dog.

The problem that can arise when you have the condensation is that mold will follow pretty quickly too. This is unsightly and can cause smell. As we can’t change physics where humidity in air precipitates when it is cooled down (on the tiled floor), we will have to solve this problem in a different way. This is to raise the dog beds off the floor. If you have simply crude pallets, it will work fine, but you may prefer this arrangement to be in the kennel and not in your living room. In the house you could simply put the bed on a little slatted wooden frame to allow airflow. It will look neat like that.

Bottom line is, that you have a dog bed that is DRY INSIDE because the cover is waterproof.

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How Often do you Wash Dog Beds?

It has been great fun to ask around among our customers about how often they clean their dog beds. Some will say that they simply can’t remember as the dog beds are in the kennels and so far they have not seen any need to clean them. I would say, that this is also the case for me as the beds that my dogs have outside are amazing. Despite my dogs dragging bones and tripe in there to chew on, their beds don’t seem to pick up that smell. My dogs are served the odd deer head, which they love to demolish from the very start as they first eat the eyes and the tongue and then proceed with hair, skin and any bit of muscle they can gnaw off.

Tippex, GWP, eats a deer head

Tippex, GWP, eats a deer head

They are finally left with a gruesome cranium without the bottom jaw as that has been pulled off and the last thing they need to get to is the brain. They will keep gnawing at it and at some point they break through to devour the fatty, yummy brain. All this, ladies and gentlemen, happens on the waterproof dog beds in the kennels and there is no smell. OK, if you stick your nose right down to the bed, they will smell a bit “earthy”, but not revolting.

What remains after two days

What remains after two days

Other people, who have the waterproof dog beds in the house will tell us that they give it a wipe-over every week or they might vacuum it daily or weekly, but only take it out to wash it deeply every month or two or six month.

If you have one of our dog beds with a machine washable cover on, you may need to wash this cover weekly or so, but that’s ok because it is soooo easy to do. You just pop it in the machine at 40 degrees and it comes out like new. As the machine wash spin gets rid of most of the water, it only takes a short time to dry completely.

Spaniel on waterproof dog bed in car

Spaniel on waterproof dog bed in car

Perhaps the dog beds you have in the car are more likely to need frequent washing for two reasons: the car is often used to take the dogs to the woods or beach for walks and inevitably they will jump back in the car covered in salt and sand or good old mud from the irresistible puddles, so the car dog beds will get well dirty. The other reason is the enclosed nature of the car as it doesn’t take much dampness before your car smells. Many times I have got in my car and wondered what on earth the smell was all about and it turns out to be the walking boots or even the dog lead!! A simple dog lead, smelling a little bit of dog can whiff out an enclosed car environment.

Little terrier on bespoke bed

Little terrier on bespoke bed

So for your car dog beds it is extra great to have a Wipe Clean Tuffie bed with a quick drying removable cover like the Wicking Cover. It will allow good grip for the dog, good ventilation under him and is super easy to clean.

 

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Best Dog Beds for Crates

Many people find it very odd, almost cruel, to keep a puppy in a cage/crate. In fact “crate” sounds better than “cage”. Coming from Denmark, where nobody used crates, I have to admit that I found it super wrong to put a dog in a cage like a parrot. However, I have totally changed my mind. It is ideal for a young dog that needs to learn to be happy in its own company and it will keep the puppy protected from getting up to bad behaviour that could result in harm to the house or the puppy himself.

We can make any size of beds to fit crates

We can make any size of beds to fit crates

Here at Tuffies we produce practical dog beds in any size for fitting your particular crate. With our waterproof dog beds that have a firm futon mattress filling, you will need just the right size so that it will sit beautifully fitting within the walls. This gives the puppy a flat and supportive base to lie on and even with a lot of digging around, the puppy is unlikely to dig the bed up and hence not lie on a warm place. Also, well fitting dog beds in crates are less likely to be chewed because they fit in to the corners and because the firmness means that the dog can’t scrunch it up between his front paws and get a good chew at it.

Most people will take the crate away when puppy grows up and then give the young dog one of our large dog beds to live in for the rest of his life.

The funny thing is that long after adult dogs have got used to sleeping in their big dog beds, they still remember their crate fondly. The classic example is if you get a new puppy while you still have your first dog and if you then get the old crate out from the loft and put it up with a nice dog bed inside. You can guarantee that your old dog will be delighted by the sight of the crate and promptly go and occupy it. They simply love it because it reminds them of a natural den. It completely appeals to their wolf instincts.

Many years ago, before Tippex was spayed, she had a terrible false pregnancy. She had plenty of milk and she obviously looked for a “puppy” to take care of. She found a little plastic fish in the bath room, which belonged to the kids for blowing bubbles and she simply adopted this little silly fish because it looked perfectly suited for suckling. She moved in to a cupboard, but it was not very practical for various household reasons, so I put her old cage up and she took to it immediately. She was happy just to have a piece of pet bedding in there and she waited in there till the fish was “old enough” to come out. Here she is, nursing her Puppy-fish in her beloved crate.

Tippex, my GWP with her plastic fish puppy

Tippex, my GWP with her plastic fish puppy

Our bespoke dog beds can be made to any size you want, except the nests that only come in the standard sizes.

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Soft or firm dog beds?

People, who have owned dogs for many, many years have probably developed a sense of what sort of bed is nicest for dogs and there is also an element of habit and tradition involved in the choice of dog beds. Obviously economics also come in to play with this, even though cheap dog beds are often false economy.

 Dog that cannot get comfortable in cheap, thin bed

The main concerns for dog owners are :

1)      Will my dog be comfortable?

2)      Will the bed be easy to keep clean?

3)      Will it be durable and lasting?

When it comes to the question of what is the most comfortable dog bed, we should really think about what we sleep on our selves. You often see bean bags for dogs, but would you sleep on/in a bean bag? I can’t imagine it would be comfortable to sink deep in to polystyrene beads in a bag. They must be too hot and sweaty. If I was sleeping in a bean bag I would go mad thinking of the unease of turning. You would be constrained in the claustrophobic depth of the bed.

 Dog getting really annoyed with bad, cheap dog bed

Think of your own mattress and how firm it is. Even the softest make of mattresses are far firmer than a bean bag. You almost float on top of it. The conclusion has to be that firm dog beds have to be the best thing for supporting your dog in his sleep. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have one with a soft top surface for a bit of comfort and warmth, but to get totally buried can not be good.

 Firm dog bed with soft, springy cover

The next question is how easy the bed is to keep clean. Lots of commercial dog beds on the market are light enough to be advertised as “Quick and easy to chuck in the washing machine”. This clearly means that it is a very unsubstantial dog bed if you can put the whole thing in the wash. The waterproof  dog beds that we produce are never to go in the washing machine, they can simply be hosed down from the outside. No matter HOW large a washing machine you may have, it will never be able to take Labrador size bed, but the cover that you can get to put on the waterproof beds can be taken off and washed very easily in any domestic washing machine. Hence the fantastic combination of a THICK dog bed that can be hosed down and a simple, little light cover that you can wash frequently to keep everything nice and clean at all times.

 Yellow Labrador in nest with nest cover. Easy washing.

Then there is the question of durability and here Tuffies Dog Beds also come in extremely strong. We test all our fabrics before committing to buy and we can confidently say that we sell the strongest and most durable dog beds you can possibly produce. The base product is a super tough cordura or acrylic coated fabric and our covers are the best and toughest you can get. All fantastic quality.

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Raffling Dog Beds in the Rain

Today I entered an All Age Stake field trial. We had all watched the weather forecast and were prepared for a little bit of rain, which would only amount to drizzle. As often, at these events, I am asked to bring a selection of dog beds as there are a few people coming from a long way away and they can save the delivery costs if I bring them along. So loaded with several dog beds in my truck I set off at 7.30 this morning. I was picking up one of the guns, who lives not too far away, so he got a lift. I had tied dog beds up against the back of the load so that Gaia didn’t get knocked over by them nor were able to punch holes in the wrapping plastic when sitting on them. My back seat was filled with guns and dog beds. So off we went on the 40 minutes journey to the grounds, but soon the drips started to appear on the wind screen and we dismissed it as just the edge of the rain cloud that was possible according to the forecast. However, we then hit massive puddles on the road indicating that there had already been a lot of rain in the area.

The Tuffie truck with rain on its windscreen

The Tuffie Truck with rain on its windscreen

The problem is that if you go out on the moor to shoot even after the rain has stopped, you are very unfair to the birds because they are wet and heavy (many will quite rightly say that as long as none of the birds are also equipped with shotguns, it is always unfair). Dry birds and windy conditions makes it very difficult to shoot the birds, so by far the most get away.

Gaia flushes a bird on a dry, sunny day.

Gaia flushes a bird on a dry, sunny day.

 Today there was a further complication because of course this was not just a day’s shooting, it was a competition among the dogs. There are 12 dogs running in a trial and my Gaia was going to run as number 12. If we were to go out on the moor in the rain, she would be walking to heel getting soaked to the skin without getting warm from running. She would become more and more miserable, only wishing she was back on one of her warm kennel dog beds back home. It would be unfair on her to get to number 12 after a couple of hours slow walking and then suddenly take the lead off her and ask her perform at her best, right out of the blue. The first dogs would have a clear advantage over the last dog.

Gollum on point in the heather on a wet day

Gollum on point in the heather on a wet day

So every one was at the hut at 9am looking at the grim weather. It was so misty that it would have been dangerous to go out and shoot. You would also easily lose a dog if it went on point in the mist. We spent a jolly morning, a bit like a cocktail party, waiting. In the end we got as far as lunch time, so we ate all the food that was meant to be for after the trial and decided to draw the raffle. I always provide dog beds for the raffles and they do make people cough up with some money that is well needed for the club’s coffers. Today I donated a waterproof dog bed with a lovely Luxury fleece cover on it.

Leila on Autumn Check Apr 14 copy

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Dirt on your Dog Beds

When it comes to keeping dog beds clean, there are many kinds of dirt to consider before you decide what to buy or how to get it clean. You can have the wet, dirty paws, that, if you have a lovely cream coloured cover on your bed, will go all dirty in no time. It is a matter of being sensible with the colour when you choose your dog beds. If you know that, in the winter you will be letting your dogs straight in from the garden, where they have churned just small areas up into mud (or been digging holes, hahaha…. grrrrr…..), then you know that you will have those nice, clean dog beds transformed into rather unsightly ones very quickly. Let’s face it, there is no magic here and there are no SELF CLEANING DOG BEDS in this world. We all simply have to manage dirt and make sure we can clean stuff when it gets dirty. So although we sell waterproof dog beds and very practical and easy to wash covers, I always put a towel inside the door so that all three dogs walk across it when they come in, which nicely absorbs 90% of the mud. When they proceed to their sleeping places, they are now not making the floor dirty, but of course there is a little bit of mud in-between their toes. When they settle down and scratch and go round and round, more of this dirt comes off and goes on the beds. With practical covers this is ok because every two to four weeks I take the covers off and each time I am astonished how much dust there is on the bed. Looking at the dust I am effectively looking at dried up muddy paw-prints. I simply put the covers in the washing machine and take the waterproof dog beds out side for a good soaping down and a rinse. Once everything is dry, there is a lovely smell in the house, back to dog free house. It is so easy because the thick dog beds don’t have to go in the washing machine in their entirety, they simply hose down.

 Lady hosing the soapy water off a dog bed

Dog hairs on the beds?  Yes, well that is another thing that you can’t prevent, but you can manage. Some dogs never shed hairs while others are constantly shedding piles of it. You will see the hairs on the floor where you easily vacuum them up and if you choose the right brand, you will also easily vacuum them off the dog bedsBrown dog sleeping in a brown bed. So on a day to day basis it is easy to keep the beds looking nice if you go over them with the hoover when you do the floor anyway. Again, be sensible and get a colour or a pattern so that the colour of your dogs’ hairs don’t stand out too much from the bed.

Greasy treats on the dog beds? If you give your dogs greasy treats to enjoy on their beds, you will see the marks there. We sell a light grey waterproof Durasoft bed and it has to be said that if you give a lot of greasy treats to the dogs, you will find the covers looking tatty. Best colour for that would be black or navy. Really messy treats are best kept outside!!!!!

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