Friday, 3 March 2017

A world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free

In today's post, we take a look at Whale & Dolphin Conservation, an organisation undertaking some amazing work, helping some amazing animals.

Minke can sometimes be seen off Dorset's Jurassic Coast.
Being situated along Dorset's Jurassic Coast, many H&H staffers are used to seeing dolphins and porpoises … you may even be lucky enough to see Minke and Long-finned pilot whales, around the Lyme Bay area. In the last few years, some of our local harbours have had 'summer residencies,' with a dolphin or two deciding to stay and enjoy the warm seas and watch our antics.

So, in a change to spotlighting a land-based charity, we thought we'd focus on a charity that deals with marine mammals. Dedicated to the protection of cetaceans throughout the world's oceans, Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC) has become a true authority on these animals.

The critically endangered Vaquita.
WDC aims to make the world a place where every dolphin, whale, and porpoise is safe and free. Established in 1987, it has grown to become a leading NGO in this field, operating globally from offices in the UK, North America, Latin America, Australia and Germany.

As with all charities, its work is pretty varied, and, aside from the usual campaigns to engage the public and raise awareness, it carries out vital field work and research, as well as education and outreach programmes to ensure that people are aware of the threats faced by these animals. Public awareness is vital, of course, but so is communicating the science behind its work, and a large part of WDC's work involves advising governments on the latest scientific findings, and fighting attempts to restart commercial whaling, stopping the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity, banning the trade in whale meat, and managing marine environments to create protected areas … enough to keep them pretty busy, as you can imagine.

A Blue Whale – Balaenoptera musculus. Looks pretty musculus to me.
WDC Kidzone. Not just for kids.
Unsurprisingly, WDC's work covers many areas, so there's no better place to explore its work, and see its latest projects in action, than on the WDC website. You can also learn about the 80-plus species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise that make up the cetacean 'family' – from the highly endangered, 1.4m Vaquita, to the mind-blowingly enormous 29m Blue Whale. If you've children, checkout the WDC Kidzone … not only is it a great introduction to the issues confronting our seas and cetaceans, but there are also plenty of fun facts and activities. In fact, it's a pretty good place for adults to learn stuff, too.

Download your own 
colour-and-keep mobile!
For all you teachers out there, you can download resources and activities for your students, too – from the award-winning Dolphin Diploma initiative, to colouring sheets, cutout-and-keep mobiles, and education packs.

Of course, all charities need supporters, and there are plenty of ways you can help the WDC to help these animals. From whale or dolphin adoptions, to sponsored walks, swims (of course), and even an Icelandic trek, to name a few. Or, of course, if you're more of an 'armchair participant,' you can make a donation to help WDC. And no charity would be complete without an online shop.

If you're more of a 'days out' person, then the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay should most definitely be on your bucket list. From land-based dolphin watching, wildlife walks, and other events and activities, to an interactive exhibition that lets you control dolphin and river cams … all without getting your feet wet! There's plenty of gifts, too, and a cafĂ© so you can refuel … or why not check out the recommended places to stay, and make an adventure of it! You can even volunteer and help with the Centre's vital work. In the words of Simon King OBE;
"Scotland is one of the best land-based dolphin-watching hot spots in the world"
… and there's nowhere better placed for a spot of cetacean spotting than the Scottish Dolphin Centre.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and goings-on at Whale & Dolphin Conservation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

Monday, 13 February 2017

Mike & Scrabble in Dogs Monthly

Hot on the heels of February's Your Dog article featuring Mike and Scrabble, comes Dogs Monthly …  and there's something very familiar about the interviewer …

Pick up a copy of March's Dogs Monthly
I'm sure you're all familiar with Mike&Scrabble by now (but head over to the H&H website if not!), and we have some great stuff lined up this year from them both. In the meantime, both Scrabble, and her Human, Mike Dicks, are being interviewed, photographed, quizzed, and queried in the doggy press.

Mike&Scrabble in Feb's Your Dog
Dogs Monthly's March issue features a very interesting, open, and revealing interview with Mike, covering the background to how Mike&Scrabble came to be. It's a great interview: click here to read, or better still, pick up a copy of March's Dogs Monthly.

As chance would have it, Mike was interviewed for Dogs Monthly by non other than Catherine Pickles – possibly better-known to Hubble & Hattie readers as Worzel's Mum! Anyone who's read even a small portion of one of Worzel's books will know that being Worzel's 'Momager' is a pretty full-time job, so it's great to see Catherine has been able to squeeze in an interview with Mike, and give us a chance to enjoy some of her fantastic journalism.

As we've mentioned, this year will see some great new projects from Mike&Scrabble … and Worzel, so watch this space.

And keep up the great work, Mike&Scrabble!

And Catherine, too.

And Worzel, of course.  

Mike&Scrabble – A guide to training your new Human is available now in Hardback and eBook formats.

Margaret Green Animal Rescue – 2017 Events

Margaret Green is providing plenty of opportunities to get out and about in 2017 … and give a helping hand at the same time

Founded in 1965, Margaret Green Animal Rescue cares for over 1200 animals each year across its three centres. Very close to Hubble & Hattie's heart (we even made a nice Christmas donation), and very close to H&H HQ, being just a few miles away at Church Knowle, Dorset, where it has a 35 acre rehoming and visitor centre, in the heart of the beautiful Purbeck countryside.

Why not pop along to one of its 2017 events for a fun day out? There's something for every age and animal lover …
  • 9th April  ::  Sponsored Walk  ::  Devon
  • 9th-23rd April  ::  Easter At Church Knowle  ::  Dorset
  • 15th- 20th May  ::  Margaret Green Week Everywhere!  ::  Event to be added very soon for the 20th May
  • 11th June  ::  Wingletang Companion Dog Show  ::  Devon
  • 6th August  ::  Companion Dog Show  ::  Dorset 
  • 3rd September  ::  Tri-4-Rescue  ::  Devon
  • 24th September  ::  Country Fayre  ::  Dorset

Of course, every year is a busy year at Margaret Green Animal Rescue, and planning and running events can be very time consuming … so why not come along and volunteer?!

The help and support of volunteers, at events, and at its centres, is always welcome, and really does make a difference. Tasks include such things as …
  • Helping set up event fields 
  • Manning stalls
  • Serving refreshments and cake 
  • Helping in the car park 
  • Baking for our event 
  • Selling raffle tickets 
  • Face painting
… and a whole lot more, of course!

Get in touch now with Jazmin on 01929 477074, or email, and see how you can help … and have fun and help animals at the same time!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Mike&Scrabble, Your Dog, and a new video …

Your Dog is giving away copies of Mike&Scrabble, and we have a new video interview with Mike Dicks

Mike&Scrabble have been getting much attention on social media, and now the doggy press is getting involved. Your Dog magazine is featuring Mike&Scrabble in its February issue, and is GIVING AWAY TEN COPIES!

You can read the article  hereand you can enter the competition by picking up a copy of February's Your Dog … you can even do it from the Your Dog website!

Click the spread above to read the article, and pick up a copy of February's Your Dog magazine to enter the competition!

When in Dorset …

When Mike brought Scrabble down to deepest Dorsetshire to meet the Hubble & Hattie team, we wasted no time in getting out the camera and microphone.

In this latest video, Mike talks all-things Scrabble … how Mike became Scrabble's human … how Mike's training is coming on … what Mike and Scrabble do when they hang out together, to name just a few questions!

View the full video below, or on our YouTube channel.

We've got some very exciting new stuff coming from the Mike & Scrabble kennel this year, but you can get a copy of this great little book RIGHT NOW, in BookBook and eBook formats, from our website and all good vendors.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Moooovie of the week

Occasionally, a YouTube video comes along that just has to be watched. Over and over. Again.

If you've not come across this recent YouTube video then you're in for a real treat!

Now, I love cows. They're surprisingly intelligent and have quite complex social lives, forming longterm friendships and social hierarchies (they even develop grudges against other cows!). They're also highly curious creatures, and love to investigate things, and people.

Of course, being a cow has its own issues … where to find the best grass … where the best spot in the milking parlour is … and, just as importantly, getting a good back scratch. George Saunders, a photographer who specialises in farm machinery and farm equipment (we like him already!), recently posted a video of cows using a home-made scratching device, and I just can't stop watching. It's so good, I think it's Mooovie of the Week. Sorry.

There's something deeply satisfying about watching these bovines checking-out the scratching device, and having a good ol' back and head scratch.

WARNING! It's very, very hypnotic. Hubble & Hattie cannot be held responsible for any time (hours…) spent watching this video. You have been warned.

And – just in case you're in the frame of mind to recreate your own back scratcher with your own menagerie (hey… I'd make one of these for me), then check out George's video – Building the Cow Scratcher 2000 – and see how the device that brings so much hypnotic back-scratching pleasure was made!

Right … I'm off to the hardware store … I got me a project!

How to talk to your dog …

We all talk to our dogs … but do they understand us?

Even though we tell our dogs stuff, ask them questions, and speak to them like a human, they don't really know what we're saying … do they?

Dogs are pretty unique in the animal kingdom, in that their association with humans goes waaaay back … so far, in fact, that their behaviour and cognition has developed in remarkable ways just by being around us for so long (let's face it, it must be pretty frustrating for them!). Whilst they've yet to learn to speak to us in our language, it appears that they have a better comprehension of us than we may have thought.

This fascinating article from The Conversation reveals some interesting stuff about how the way we talk to our dogs affects their cognition, and how dogs may have evolved communications skills akin to those of human children.

We all know our dogs understand every word we say (*ahem*) … but do we understand them? We've plenty of books that help us understand our dogs better: Dog Speak by Christiane Blenski is a great place to start. This pocket-sized, jargon-free guide to the language of dogs is useful in all life situations. In fact, it's so good, it's part of the Kennel Club Accredited Instructors' Course Reading List!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Turn your dog’s favourite pastime into your favourite hobby

Detector dog – A Talking Dogs Scentwork® Manual

Next spring sees the release of a great new book that just might turn your pooch into a genuine sniffer hound …

Dogs love to sniff and smell their way through the day, and Detector dog – A Talking Dogs Scentwork® Manual will guide you through the steps that will help you teach your dog how to detect a particular scent, no matter where it's located. Hidden in a bag, under a sofa, on a car, or up a tree, searching for this scent will turn your dog's favourite pastime into your favourite hobby. 

Author Pam Mackinnon has been a professional dog trainer for almost 30 years. An ex-dog handler for HM Customs, a trainer for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and now the behaviourist for Wood Green Animal Shelters (not to mention puppy trainer for Dr Ian Dunbar), Pam now focusses exclusively on scentwork.

Combining her practical and behavioural skills, Pam founded Talking Dogs Scentwork®, the UK's most successful scentwork training programme that teaches all dogs to become detector dogs.

In Detector dog, Pam takes you through each stage of scentwork, beginning with introducing your dog to a specific scent, starter searches, and on to advanced work, both indoors and out.

Brain training beats boring walks every time, and aided by illustrations and full-colour photographs of many different breeds at work, Detector dog opens up a whole new world of activities for you and your dog to enjoy together … an endlessly rewarding process for dog and owner: positively addictive!

Detector dog is due in April 2017, and features …

  • Training techniques suitable for all dogs – not just working dogs 
  • An emphasis on working in co-operation with your dog: true teamwork!
  • Clear, coherent and comprehensive breakdown of how to teach scentwork
  • Dedicated to searching for specific scents, rather than confusing a dog with tracking
  • Scent teams are taken on a journey, from starter to advanced searches
  • Addresses handling skills front and centre as keys to success
  • Includes a great variety of ideas for searches, indoors and out
  • Technical and practical explanations for searching in specific ways 
  • Reveals how safe searching is integral to good scentwork practice
  • Based on operational skills combined with training and behavioural knowledge

Detector dog – A Talking Dogs Scentwork® Manual

Detector dog guides you through the steps that will help you teach your dog how to detect a particular scent, no matter where it's found. Hidden in a bag, under a sofa, on a car, or up a tree,  searching for this scent will turn your dog's favourite pastime into your favourite hobby. 

HH4963 • Paperback • 22x17cm • £12.99 • 112 pages • 79 colour and b&w pictures • ISBN: 978-1-845849-63-4 • UPC: 6-36847-04963-8

Visit the Hubble & Hattie website for further details