Top 5 Tips for a Calmer Dog on New Year’s Eve

It is safe to say that 2021 has been a bit of a roller coaster year, culminating in a quieter Christmas and New Year for many.

The huge firework display in London, England will be cancelled this year, to prevent the spread of any Covid 19 variants; and this is likely to be the case for many organised fireworks displays in your home city town or village, which could result in Fireworks being much closer to home and in your gardens or neighbourhoods. 

Fireworks can be very loud and very scary for your dogs and puppies, especially if it is their first New Year’s Eve, so I have put together a few handy hints to keep your doggies comfortable.

  1. Break Your Doggy Before It Gets Dark

Make sure your dog has been out for a walk or at least been able to “take a break” before it gets dark. New Year’s Eve can be dangerous for both of you. Stray fireworks may find their way to you and your dog may be scared by a large bang and try to bolt while out on a walk. If your dog does try and bolt, martingale collars can be very useful at keeping them at the end of the lead. Martingale collars gently close on a dog if they pull, so they cannot slip over the dog’s head. This should not be confused with a choke chain which I do not recommend in situations like this as they may cause harm if used incorrectly.

2. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar WITH A DOG TAG ATTACHED

It is your legal obligation as a dog owner that your dog wears a collar and tag at all times. It is especially important when you have lots of people coming in and out of the house or on nights like New Year’s Even when your dog may be scared of fireworks and bolt. The quickest and easiest way for a dog to be returned to an owner is through a dog tag. Dogs must also be micro chipped by law, but getting a dog to the vet so the chip can be read over the holidays may be tricky. Please make sure as a minimum your dogs tag has your address and phone number on it.

3. Prepare a safe place for your dog to go to

If your dog is crate trained, this may be the best place for your dog to chill out on New Year’s Eve. It will feel very safe in its crate as it will replicate that canine urge to den when it feels uneasy or scared. You can place a heavy blanket over the top of the crate to help it feel more secure, but make sure your dog is not able to pull it in to the kennel and destroy it.

  • Music for dogs – YouTube has lots of music choices for dogs. I have chosen some for you, click here to access them. Play these at quite a high volume to drown out the loud fireworks. They are actually quite relaxing for humans, too!
  • Pheromones to chill out your pupAdaptil have a pheromone spray or diffuser that replicates the smell of a puppy’s mother between 3-5 days old. This also works with adult dogs. When I flew my dogs from the Cayman Islands to the UK, I made sure to spray this in their crates and bedding. The diffuser is useful for keeping a room calm for a dog over a period of time.
  • Soft lighting or a TV – darkness will only illuminate the flashes from fireworks and will create more anxiety.

4. A Thunder Shirt

It would be wrong of me to finish this blog without mentioning the ThunderShirt, especially as the thinking behind it was pioneered by one of my hero’s Temple Grandin. The Thunder Shirt applies a constant even pressure to your dog which is supposed to make them feel secure in times of stress. I have never had to use one of these, but through anecdotes from other dog owners I have not heard that they have helped a great deal. That could be because the most important part of keeping your dog calm during fireworks is ignored (See Step 5 below)


If you have trained your dog with me, you will know we ignore unwanted behaviour and reward desired behaviour. If we hug, coo and try and pacify our dogs when they are exhibiting unwanted behaviour, we are actually promoting it. I know some of you may feel I am cruel when I say this, but if you follow the 4 preceding steps, you will not need to comfort your dog. He or she will be in a safe place where he can feel free to exhibit the behaviour he is feeling, without the risk of bolting out of the door or getting lost. None of my dogs are scared of fireworks, simply because I give them their own space to feel comfortable in.

It should go without saying of course, NO DOG should be left outside when fireworks are expected. It should also NOT be tethered inside or outside. Crates are a great way to allow a dog its own space and to feel safe. I use crates to transport my dogs in the car as well as safe places to stay if we have guests in and out of the house and the door may be left open accidentally. ( I love opposite a Fish and Chip shop and Rosa is just DYING to get in there ha ha.)

Remember, any serious behavioural issues should be discussed with your vet. This article should not be used in place of veterinary advice.

May I take his opportunity to wish you a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve and a happy and prosperous 2022.

If you have any tips you think I have missed about this dog training related topic please feel free to add them below:

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Your Dog Rawhide Dog Treats at Christmas

Or any time of year

Rawhide dog chews are actually made of leather, not meat and can negatively impact your dogs health

We all like to spoil our dogs during the Christmas holidays, but what foods are good for our canine pals and which ones can end up with an unexpected and costly trip to the vets?

Please be very careful what toys and treats you buy your dogs at Christmas this year.  Rawhide can cause very serious issues for dogs. Rawhide dog chews are made from LEATHER not meat and while many believe it is a good choice for improving dental hygiene, this isn’t the case. Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog chews and it gets softer, it turns in to something like bubble gum. This can make it a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard, offering no benefits for your dog. Rawhide dog treats are also treated with nasty chemicals, glue and colouring agents to make them look more appealing to us humans.

There are plenty of rawhide free treats available at pet stores such as Pets at Home, or you can make your own safe dog treats. Click here to check out a wonderful page by Rodney Habib.

When buying dog and puppy toys, ensure that the toy is of good quality and is suitable for the age and size of your dog. Puppies may play with a toy in a much different way to a full grown dog and remember,  never leave your dog unsupervised with chews and toys. 

The PDSA have put together a handy list of Christmas dog food do’s and donts here. This list is also useful for other holidays such as birthdays and Easter.

What can we give our dogs

  • Lean parts of the white turkey meat (plain and boneless) – the dark meat can be too rich for them
  • Carrot and/or swede mash (with no added extras like butter, salt or onion)
  • Plain boiled or raw carrots (without any glaze or oil)
  • Plain boiled parsnips (without any glaze or oil)
  • Plain boiled or steamed green beans
  • Plain boiled or steamed Brussel sprouts (no sauce)
  • Plain boiled or steamed broccoli
  • Plain boiled, steamed or mashed peas
  • Plain cooked cauliflower (no sauce).

But what should we NOT give our dogs?

  • Turkey Bones
  • Sweets
  • Alcohol
  • Fatty foods

Do you have a favourite dog toy or chew for your canine pal? Share it with me in the comments section below|:

Christmas Dog Training and Walking Hours

December is upon us which has turned my mind to Christmas and what hours I will be walking and training your lovely doggies

Please see the days I will be open and closed for business over the festive period.

Hot Dog Trainer walking and training hours over Christmas
See when the Hot Dog Trainer is available to walk and train your dog over the holidays.

Safe Thanksgiving Treats for your Dog

Thanksgiving can be fun for dogs
Be careful what you feed your dog during the holidays

I would like to take this opportunity to wish our friends a Happy American Thanksgiving!

We all like too spoil our dogs during the holidays. But what foods are good for our canine pals and which ones can end up with an unexpected and costly trip to the vets?

The American Kennel Club have put together a handy list of do’s and dont’s here. This list is also useful for other Holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

  • Turkey meat, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all safe, healthy foods to share with your dog.
  • Bones, sweets, alcohol, and fatty foods are all things that should be avoided by dogs.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day and remember to give thanks for your wonderful dogs and puppies and of course your dog trainer

Get Your FREE 2022 Calendar Here

To celebrate the first year of my dog training business I have created a FREE calendar for 2022. The calendar features just some of my canine students over the last 12 months and how they progressed through their dog training classes.

In line with the global effort to reduce our carbon emissions, I have not printed the calendars but they will are available electronically here for you to download and print off at home. If you would like one printed professionally, please let me know.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2022.

Take a peek to see if your canine is featured here.

Represent Maerdy in these FAB T-shirts!

Get ’em while they’re hot!

Maerdy T-Shirts in stock NOW! £9.99 Limited numbers!!!

Ladies (Navy) fitted t-shirts (S-XL)

Mens (Gray) 100% cotton t-shirts (S-XXL)

A portion of the sales will be donated to the Friends of maerdy pool and park

Those of us that live in Maerdy know it is a special place in the Rhondda Cynon Taf region. Celebrate our friendly little jewel in the heart of the Rhondda Valleys with these high quality cotton t-shirts. The ladies t-shirts are fitted with low necks that provide a flattering fit. The male t-shirts are 100% cotton. Either wear it yourself with pride or buy a t-shirt for a loved one as a birthday present. Got a Maerdy native living outside of Wales? Why not send them one so they can represent Maerdy with pride in a high quality cotton t-shirt.


Maerdy T-Shirt

Please advise if you woud like a Man or Womens t-shirt and what size when you order 🙂


5 Things That happen in Our First Dog Training Session

Congratulations, you have taken your first step in realising your dog or puppy needs training. I am sure you are thinking,what happens next? So I have decided to break down what happens on the first dog training session and open up all the possibilities that lie ahead of you and your canine pal in the dog training world.

  1. One on One Canine Training

The first thing to know is that all training is one on one. I come to your home and simply sit and talk to you about your doggie and the things you would like to work on. 

  1. I will ignore your dog

On the first visit, I will ignore your dog. This is not me being rude or uncaring, I am simply doing this to understand how you interact with your doggie and what he or she is used to doing in your home. 

  1. We will train as long as you need to 

There is no need to book a set amount of lessons at a time. We will work week by week until you think you are at a point where your dog needs to be.

  1. You will need to do your homework

Each week we will discuss what you would like to work on; it might be to stop jumping up on visitors for example. I will show you how to fix the problem using positive dog training methods and then I will ask you to carry out the dog training exercises for about five minutes per day until our next lesson.

  1. We train in your home, your garden and your neighbourhood

I want the training we carry out to be relevant to you and your family. I have no doubt I will be able to successfully train your dog, but my goal is to develop a partnership between you and your dog or puppy so you can enjoy your life together in your home, garden, neighbourhood etc. 

Help Me Help The Dogs Trust

Have you heard of the Dog’s Trust? Depending on how old you are, you may remember the yellow car stickers that bore the message A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas. That was back when the Dogs Trust was known as the National Canine Defence League. Since then, the Dogs Trust has evolved to be a charity that helps dogs and people by:

Rehoming Dogs, training Dogs and looking after dogs that need help when an owner has a terminal illness.

Even though the Dog’s Trust has had a name change, sadly they have had to keep the first part of their well known slogan. This time though the slogan is highly relevant to Covid 19 and says, A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Lock down.

Last night I saw an appeal from the Dogs Trust to help dogs and owners by walking 100K for Caninies in the month of May. Well I jumped at the chance to help such a wonderful charity and I would love it if you can help me. All I ask is that you donate £1 to the link below, to help Rosa, Hobo and me raise £100 by walking 99K in the month of May. Please feel free to share with your friends. I will of course be posting updates here and on my Instagram page.

To donate, please click here

On behalf of me, the doggies and the Dog’s Trust. Thank you.

You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

It is never too late to train your dog. It is true that puppies learn their social and behavioral cues in the first three months of their lives. This is when they are learning how a house works, what happens on a walk, how to interact with older dogs and how to jump in and out of the car. (Please remember to get your puppies vaccinated and spayed or neutered.)

So where do we start?

Basic obedience is fun to train with your dog or puppy and will help you in the everyday tasks of interacting with your dog. Any training you do with your dog should always be fun for you and your canine pal. Keep sessions short, maybe just 5 minutes to begin with and always finish when the dog has done something you have asked them to do. 

You will see I have used the word ASKED. I don’t like to tell dogs to do anything, we work together as a team and we enjoy our communications with each other. 

Dogs and horses are the only two animals that are able to communicate effectively with humans (I know I am going to get slammed by cat owners here, hahah, I love cats too. )

Reward is key when training your dog. You need to figure out what makes your dog tick. Does he go crazy for a tennis ball? Is she obsessed with treats? Understanding what DRIVES your dog is the secret to your success in your training partnership. See my article What Drives Your Dog? to learn more. 

Have a basic training plan of what you would like to train your senior dog. Is it basic obedience commands? Such as Sit, Down, Stay ? Or do you need to work on your recall? (i.e your dog coming back to you when you call it.) Whatever you want to do with your dog, patience and fun are the two things you will need.

Would you like to know more? Please feel free to reach out to me on the contact me page or leave a comment below.

Why NO is Not a Training Command

We’ve all done it, shouted NO at our dogs and they carry on doing what they were doing. But why?

It is important to understand how hard dogs work to understand us. They watch every little move we make and pick up on words we use frequently and remember them.

So why don’t they understand NO?

  • We have used specific commands in our obedience training such as Sit, Down, Stay or Here
  • No is not a word that relates to one specific action, it can be applied to anything

So when we shout NO at a dog it doesn’t allow us to communicate what we would like the dog to do..

Much better ways to stop an unwanted behaviour are:

  • Fido, Here – when your dog is chasing a squirrel
  • Princess, Leave – when your puppy is chewing your favourite shoes
  • Luna, place – to stop your dog jumping on visitors

All of this takes help and practice to change out of your bad habits to new positive ones and I am here to help you. Dog training is fun and when done right can be so rewarding, I can’t wait to help you get started. |Reach out to me below to find out more.