Review: Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog food

Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog foodWe adopted Tilley from the Dog’s Trust in September 2013 and got a free 2kg bag of Arden Grange Puppy/Junior (chicken and rice) as part of the welcome pack. As she’d already been fed this brand while being cared for by the Dog’s Trust, it made sense to continue using it. She clearly does well on this food: her coat is extremely shiny, her eyes bright and (forgive us for giving too much information here – dog owners will understand!) her “deposits” of a good consistency.

We did some research into Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog food – which we’d never heard of before getting Tilley – and realised that it is a high-quality brand, which scores a better-than-average 3.4 out of 5 on (It’s good to know that a lot of rescue dogs are benefiting from a high quality food while in kennels!) We also approve of the ethics of this family company, particularly that the food is made using traceable, sustainable food stocks, with support for local farmers and no GM ingredients.

2013-10-06--10.09.41_IMG_0434It’s not the cheapest food available, but we think it is worth the extra cash. We pay £34.90 for 12kg (a discounted rate) from which works out at about 60-80 pence per day.

For the first two months of her time with us, Tilley adored her Arden Grange kibble. It’s small-sized and she clearly found it very palatable. We’d feed her twice a day in toys such as the Kong Wobbler and milk bottles with holes cut out, and she had great fun at mealtimes. Feeding her in toys was a great way of putting her collie-cross mind to work, and tiring her out! She found the kibble so appealing and tasty that we were even able to use it on the odd occasion as a training treat when out and about.

Recently, however, she started to turn her nose up at kibble at mealtimes. She wouldn’t touch it dry, so we started moistening it with a little warm water, and feeding small portions, rather than serving it in toys. We decided to contact Arden Grange’s nutritional adviser, Ness Bird, for advice on two issues: Tilley going off her kibble, and her tendency to hyperactivity.

We were very impressed with Ness Bird’s response: personalised, friendly and comprehensive. She firstly provided an interesting fact sheet which dispels the commonly-held belief that high-protein food leads to hyperactivity. And she reassured us that it’s not unusual for adolescent dogs to go off their food when their growth rate slows down, and she gave us a number of ways to approach this, which may also help with Tilley’s high energy levels.

2013-09-08--12.02.34_IMG_7301We’re to review Tilley’s feeding amounts, including treats and extras – it seems that we were feeding too much; moisten her kibble with water or a tiny taste of dissolved Marmite if she isn’t keen on it; and consider feeding an adult variety with a different meat source. Ness offered to send us samples of a couple of adult food varieties, plus a liver training treat, and also gave us a couple of recipes for healthy treats to make at home: liver cake and fish cake.

Tilley has since wolfed down her smaller portions of kibble, moistened with a little warm water, and is certainly thriving on the food. She gets many compliments from people we meet on her shiny, soft and silky coat (especially from small children, who she loves to lick!). And our vet agreed that she is in really great condition.

Thank you, Ness and Arden Grange. We will follow your advice carefully. Tilley looks forward to receiving the free samples and in the meantime, we’ll get creative with the treat recipes and continue her training!

How many beds?

dog in a boxWith two Aldi dog fleeces, a very large fleece blanket, a smaller fleece blanket, a plumply (aka single duvet), a cardboard box (is our dog a cat?), the laundry wicker basket, our legs when we sit on the floor and a few big pillows you would think that Tilley has it covered with a place to sleep.

Well no… Peli still went out and got a luxury ‘doughnut-shaped’ dog bed for her.

Here are a few pictures of a dog sleeping …

And yet she often just dumps herself on the floor.

Pampered pooch or what?!

Day 28 in the doggy house …

… and Tilley has had her ups and downs. (And we love her to bits.)

We truly enjoy having her around, she is keeping Peli on her toes since she is spending all day at home with Tilley. She is cheekier, testing her boundaries like a true teenager should. We leave the room and up checking the table tops she goes and as we come back she is down on her mat looking like nothing happened (Peli even got this on video!).

One trip to the vet and her spay scar is much better. She loved it at the vet, though the journey to and from, less so. Her phobia of the car is growing, so we’re only doing essential trips now and we’re slowly working on habituating her. Softly does it. Though she does enjoy laying in the bicycle trailer, which we are hoping to use to explore the Dales with her.

We went to doggy school with her and, as this post explains, it was an utter disaster, she was not herself for a day or two after. We are still very careful not to make sharp noises or fast movements around her, following the unfortunate use of the rattle can by the trainer, and are carefully working on associating that type of action with good stuff, rather than bad.

Happily, we had a one-to-one training session with a different local trainer, who uses positive methods only, which went brilliantly. How we wish we’d heard about her in the first place! She and Tilley bonded right away and we’ve got loads of advice and tips to work on.

We took TIlley on a longish walk yesterday and today. As soon as we were on new ground and there were shops, people, cats (especially cats), Tilley became very keen to explore. Once in the dog exercise area of the park she had a good 20 minute run around off lead, well she had a 6-8 metres long loose lead after her so we had something to step on if she tried to escape the enclosed area. It was fantastic to see the joy on her face as she was able to just run, and run! Today’s walk went past the allotments to get to the same enclosure and there are chickens, ducks, sheep and a rather large horse. She did extremely well with no barking or growling, just loads of wags and curious looks.

She is now about eight months old and is somewhat dyspraxic, because she is forever falling over her legs! OK, she does have four and we all know how hard it is with only two but she does bang into doors, tables and is lacking spatial awareness. Hopefully she will soon learn where she starts and stops!

We got a cat

We have tried with no avail to get Tilley interested in balls so that we can play fetch. But nothing helped even cutting a little hole and filling it with food didn’t get her excited at all.

Today Peli tried to give her a ball of tread and we now know that both the Dogs Trust and our biology teachers have been telling us lies.

Cause Tilley loved the tread and went utterly mad around the house with it.

Day one in the doggy house …

… and Tilley is settling in or is that we are settling in.

She came home and was pretty settled in and was calm, some odd jumping around mostly to see what is going on and to smell all corners.

Things we have noticed:

-She: when sniffing something next to a wall, likes to lean against it, looks comical.
-She: does know what dogs sound like on the telly.
-She: is obsessed with reflective things, went a wee bit nuts when she saw herself in the fireplace’s shiny brass and marble.
-She: just comes and dumps herself on you if you are sitting on the floor and she wants to be cuddled.
-She: is now going into her crate by herself and lays there.
-She: found the corner in the “yarden” where we are sure the previous dog went potty.
-She: found that the stone slab in front of the fire is the most comfortable place to play with her Kong.
-She: when hearing babies cry is not sure what that noise is and does a little bark.
-She: when hearing the alley cats having a fight, did bark, though a quick distraction stopped that.
-She: eats from our hands ever so gently.
-She: sits or lays next to us when we are eating, doesn’t try to take the food off the plate at all, no begging.

We have only had two leaks in the house, which is understandable since the house probably still smells from the last owner’s dog and she had a long stressful day. First one we didn’t see and the second she did so fast that we didn’t had the time to do anything.

Last night we did her evening walk, where she barked – almost the very first time that she bark – at me for standing in the dark and making noises, and set the alarm for six hours later. Only one little whimper from her as we went upstairs and got ready for bed. At 5am we got up to find her looking very tired and slow and went to take her out for a five minute walk where she had a looooong leak. Got home, put her to bed (from now on “Go dodo”), she had a little whimper as we walked upstairs to have few more hours of sleep.

When we got down for a real morning walk she was really full of beans and ready to go. Before we got ready she leaked and made a deposit in the yarden. The morning was spent mostly at the end of the lead since she was very awake and we weren’t. We met one other dog which she did bark and growl at, mostly I think because she wanted to play and couldn’t.

We left her alone today for the first time and left the house to get more treats and toys along with doggy shampoo. There was not a whimper as we left or when we came home 30 minutes later. We let her stay in the crate for a few minutes while we unpacked and then let her out without too much hoo-ha. Though she put her mark on the matter by leaking in the front room, we should have taken her out into the back yarden, just in case – so bad humans.

The only thing we have found wrong with her – she doesn’t like pigs ears! (Discerning pup.)

Dog 1 – Toy 0

First toy down only 20min in the crate with Tilley and the toy had more of its inside on the outside, well at least it wasn’t our shoes.