• Mikki Clikka

    Clicker is an essential tool when I train new behaviours. I use a marker word too, but I like to start with clicker – the dogs appear ‘sharper’, the message is clearer and the results are quicker.

    I have clickers in the kitchen, in the living room, in various bags, in jacket pockets and in the car – just in case I’m caught clickerless. I have favourites, even with the same brand, because some are just a touch different from others. Of course I had researched various clickers before I settled for mostly iClick, but, as it seems, not all.

    Mikki Clikka has been a well kept secret – I came across it while away training in Holland. The good news is that it’s a UK product, made by Mikki, and it’s available from Amazon, Training Lines etc.

    Mikki Clikka is a favourite for three simple reasons:

    • It has a finger loop – long live ways to secure a cliker into the place where it’s easy and quick to access. The wrist band clicker is good, but often hangs somewhere it’s not as easy to pick up fast. Note: it also comes with a lanyard you can use to hang around your neck, but personally I don’t use that.
    • Its size and shape are user friendly – the big raised ball button is easy to access and easy to press,
    • Last but not least, it looks good. I love the red and black!

    The click is loud and clear, for a sensitive dog you might prefer something quieter, but for my detection training it’s a bonus, as I may need to click from some distance.

    And some great news: Mikki will be supporting our event Detection Masterclass, with Wesley Visscher, and each handler for this workshop will receive their own Mikki Clikka as a gift.

  • The Trainer’s Pouch

    ‘Treat bags… it’s time to renew and I’d like a really good one this time.’ I asked for recommendations on Facebook group with like minded dog-training-mad people like me. I got 63 replies…

    Up to that point I’d been a Terry Ryan loyal, I was on my second one in four years. It was getting seriously smelly, and the hinges had never felt as flexible as on my first one. So I decided to try something new, and having seen so many people with Doggone Good products, I went for one of theirs. It was a similar experience and quite good also. Though again the problem was it not washing properly (and taking forever to dry). I often use raw treats for my dogs and it can get messy.

    So messy that one day late August I discovered that the seams of my beloved treat bag had come to life! I was tempted to drop it in the woods right there and run, but felt sorry for the person who’d think it was a good find. I threw it into the nearest bin and went home to re-start the search. I needed one that was not just easy to use, but also easy to clean.

    I stumbled across my first silicone pouch, a Great & Small ACTIVE pouch. I thought it was neat to use, easy to clean and the magnetic closure was a clever idea to prevent its content from falling out – or slow down dog noses wanting to go in. But it wasn’t perfect. For one, it wasn’t large enough. But its biggest fault was the clip… it didn’t allow it to be fastened securely, so it would keep falling off. This sparked another Facebook conversation where it turned out I wasn’t alone with my dilemma. What I’d just got was similar looking, but better than Dexas Popware Pooch Pouch a few of my friends were disappointed with. But still not right.

    At this point somebody suggested The Trainer’s Pouch… Coincidentally somebody wore one at one of our interactive play workshops, so I could look at it. It seemed a little ‘boxy’ and not as slick looking as the one I’d just bought, but I couldn’t fault its functionality. Fast forward a month or so and I got used to its looks… I’ve been happily using a black one, daily. I’d even like a pink one, although I’m not a pink kind of girl!

    It holds enough treats, and sometimes I sneak in a ball too. It sits securely with a good belt that has a loop so the end of the belt doesn’t dangle. Treats don’t fall out, as one of our tracking workshop participants has found, leaning forward with it repeatedly while laying a track. And most of all, it’s easy to clean, dries faster and doesn’t smell.

    It comes in a few colours. I have a black one and have seen it in all other colours, pink, purple and blue too (the latter not in the photo). They’re nice, strong colours.

    If I’m to be really sensitive, I’m finding the belt slightly clunky when the pouch is on the table – you have to be careful where you put the pouch when you take it off and how you position it on the table, or the weight of the belt could drag it to the floor. But this isn’t at all about the performance or usefulness of the pouch when worn. Yes, this pouch doesn’t have separate compartments for different sort of treats, but you could put a bag inside. And no, it doesn’t have a hook for poo bags etc, but I personally prefer to carry those elesewhere and keep my treat pouch for rewards. The shipping from Australia can get expensive, but if you want one, they are available in the UK from Yell Dog.

    Would I recommend it to a friend? Definitely.

     

  • Trixie Timon Rucksack

    What do you do when you want to show the world to a tiny puppy? One that is not yet fully vaccinated and certainly can’t walk for miles. And you have an adult dog you love to walk for many miles with.

    You look for a method of transport. I’d never used one before. A friend suggested a rucksack, and after some research I got the Trixie Timon.

    Puppy transporter

     

    What’s great

    • Well made and sturdy, you can tell by looks already that it’s good quality.
    • Made with the carrier’s comfort in mind – waist strap and padded shoulder straps, all adjustable, like on a proper hiking rucksack. You’ll appreciate it when the puppy gets heavier, which inevitably s/he will after a while.
    • Has a reinforced flat bottom which made it more comfortable for puppy. It is padded but I also added a piece of vetbed. Puppy could curl up on it in the early days, although she preferred to be up so she could peak out – which is in fact easier on the person carrying the rucksack because of the weight distribution. The head poking out has the added benefit that most people you walk past will meet you with a bright smile, because you carry this incredibly cute freight. And in turn, this has the benefit that your friends, keen to gather some of those smiley looks for themselves, will offer to take turns in carrying said cute freight.
    • Has an opening at the top through which puppy can peak out, and one at the front, for puppy to enter the rucksack by themselves.
    • Has a strap to secure to the dog’s harness, which will catch the pup in case it jumps out (we had that once or twice).
    • Puppy got to like it fast. I took her out in this rucksack the morning after the day I brought her home, we didn’t have much time to get her accustomed to it because Big Dog needed a walk, yet she didn’t worry too much and would always enthusiastically return to it for safety.
    • It doubled as a sort of canvas crate to rest in at the pub or the top of a hill. After all, it’s exhausting to be carried all the way up.

    Hilltop snoozing

     

    What could be better

    • By definition, a backpack means that puppy will be on your back. You cannot watch them all the time. And there’s a risk they might try to give you a new hairdo!
    • It does get heavy once the puppy grows, and at some point it no longer fits. We used it for about three months.
    • The built-in strap is flimsy. While the previous two issues are inevitable, this could have been done differently by the manufacturer. While our rucksack itself still hardly has much wear and tear, I’m not sure whether the strap would have lasted much longer. And you don’t want your puppy to fall from that height.
    • It would be nice if it had a pocket or two, since it’s not ideal to have to carry an extra bag as well. Considering the size of this rucksack, it can be a pain to carry something else – literally. I used a small across-the-body bag and over time it put strain on my shoulder.

    Overall though, in spite of my main two issues, to me it was worth the investment (it’s not the cheapest, make sure you shop around), for what it enabled us to do. It’s still in great condition and could be used again, perhaps with a reinforced strap.

     

    Pub pup