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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

MOB rules!

It’s anything but anarchy with this MOB …


When it comes to animal training, there are many different methods that one can employ. Of course, some have more merit than others, but it's generally accepted that force-free positive reinforcement methods are the best, being both the most effective, and the kindest to the animal.


That's where our MOB comes in. Actually, it’s Liam’s MOB. And isn't an actual mob, of course: MOB is an acronym for 'Men On Board' … and getting more 'men on board' with its way of thinking is the aim. Liam's MOB was founded by Liam Landymore when he was just 15 years old, with the help of Sarah Fisher. At the time, statistics showed that 60% of dog bites happened to men, leading to Liam’s MOB's unique mission: to inspire and encourage male dog owners to be proactive in the use of force-free, positive training, and to educate on dog/child safety.


With the help of Dogs Helping Kids, Liam has been training his own Personal Support Dog, Charlie – that's him in the photo at the top of the post – who is not only the first dog of his kind with the charity, but also helps Liam to overcome PTSD. Liam, it turns out, is a pretty good dog trainer (and not only dogs, actually … chickens … cows … tigers …), and he wanted to share his passion for force-free training, and demonstrate the help, support, and companionship that comes from being with a well-trained, happy dog. In Liam’s own words:
“I am really lucky to have a great team behind me, and we are all committed to showing everyone that building a relationship with your dog through loyalty, friendship, trust, kindness and respect can create a fun, lifelong bond with your dog.”
Here's Liam at WOOF! 2017, talking about Liam's MOB and its aims, in this Dog Log vlog


No man is an island, of course, and Liam has assembled a great MOB team, too, including a few names that H&H readers will no-doubt be familiar with … we've already mentioned Sarah Fisher, but there's also Nando Brown, Anthony Head, and Chirag Patel to name a few!

Take the Liam's MOB Pledge!
Why not show your commitment to force-free training by taking the Liam’s MOB pledge to stand united for force-free training? Find out how you can make the commitment and take the pledge here … and, no, it’s not just for men!

Personally (and as a fellow man) I think Liam is doing an absolutely fantastic job with the MOB, so come on, chaps and chapeses … take the Liam’s MOB pledge!

Liam is currently in the process of updating the MOB's website – head on over to liamsmob.co.uk to find out more … and you can expect to see some very exciting new projects from Liam very soon  …

Follow, support, and keep up with Liam's MOB on Facebook and Twitter …


 







Friday, 31 March 2017

#BringYourDogToWorkDay 2017

Britain’s most memorable day at the office is all set for this year!


Bring Your Dog To Work Day 2017 has been announced for Friday 23rd of June … plenty of time to show the boss!


Last year’s #BringYourDogToWorkDay was a massive success, with businesses across the UK welcoming dogs into the workplace … from vet surgeries and pet product manufacturers, to private jet charters, a regional police force, and … uh … us! And we'll be partaking once again this year, with hounds aplenty to keep us company during the day.

Organised by HOWND®, the cruelty-free pet grooming product company, this year will be the fourth BYDTWD, and it's looking to be bigger and better than ever. BYDTWD is intended to encourage businesses and their employees to bring dogs into the workplace. Why? Well …

As well as raising funds for good causes (last year it was All Dogs Matter), HOWND wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of having dogs within safe working environments. Numerous scientific studies have concluded that having pets around can reduce stress levels in the workplace. Workers who spend the day with their pets report increased job satisfaction, better team co-operation, and higher morale. Now, isn’t that something we’d all like?

Margaret May …
H&H's Dog Resources Administrator!
The great thing about BYDTWD is that ANYONE can join in and share their experience on social media … using #BringYourDogToWorkDay, of course. Now, not all workplaces are fit for dogs, and not all Bosses will say yes to a pooch in the workplace, but you can still get involved, even so. If you’re unable to bring your dog to your workplace, then your business – or any dog-loving employee – can become an official sponsor of the event. Donations can be made online, where businesses can upload a company logo (displayed on a dedicated sponsors page), and individuals can upload a ‘Pooch Selfie’ onto the ‘Dog With A Job Hall of Fame.’ Business sponsorship starts at £50, whilst individual donations – which can be made all year round – are a minimum of just £2!

No dog? No problem, Ziggy. 
What if you haven't got a dog? Well perhaps you can bring another pet into work … take Ziggy here, one of last year's participants … most definitely not a dog!

Head over to the Bring Your Dog To Work Day website to find out more …

https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk

… and to find out more about becoming a business or personal sponsor, follow this link …

https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/sponsors

We'll bring you news and photos from Hubble & Hattie's Bring Your Dog To Work Day in July's Animal Magic.


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Mike&Scrabble's Brighton Book Signing Adventure

Hubble & Hattie’s favourite graphic duo have been book signing. Cue cute pooches … 

Mike Dicks and Scrabble are one busy combo, but that hasn’t stopped them from meeting public and pooches alike whilst book signing at Zorian Artworks gallery, on Brighton beach.


Book signings are great opportunities for authors to meet the public, and a great way to discover first-hand why someone likes a book. Of course, in Mike and Scrabble’s case, it’s not only people who are queueing-up to meet the authors, but also the wise dogs who are training their own humans.

So, with a profusion of pooches expected, provisions were made to ensure that all dogs and their humans would be as comfortable as could be … delicious and refreshing (or so we’re reliably informed) Chicken and Beef flavoured dog beer from Snuffle was on tap, and doggy bags full of goodies, including water bowls and poop bags, courtesy DogBuddy, were handed out. Well-behaved humans were also catered for, of course.

Loki, and owner, Sarah. 
“It’s been glorious today,” says Mike, “meeting dogs from Brighton and meeting people who have followed Scrabble and I on Twitter or Facebook and suddenly figured out we are down here is amazing."

As any fans will know, Mike and Scrabble’s relationship came about during difficult times for Mike, so it’s no surprise that there were plenty of people in attendance who had also been supported through difficult times by their dogs, and found a real connection with Mike&Scrabble.

Mike says, “The stories that people tell are just amazing – it’s been a joy. You sit there on social media or writing in your PJs at your desk, and you do get likes and affirmation from people – but when you meet somebody who's actually touched by your story then it’s a whole different feeling.”

Of course, we all know you want to see the dogs who attended … extra special thanks to Brighton Journal, Alex Finn, and Adam Heppell for letting us use these  …



You can read the full article on the Brighton Journal’s website, here, and its full interview with Mike Dicks, and Scrabble, here.

Expect to see many more exciting projects coming from Mike and Scrabble this year … watch this space!





Click the book covers in the pic above to find out more … and don't forget to keep up-to-date with Mike and Scrabble's latest news and happenings on social media … 

            


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
Event

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 jazmin.house@mgar.org.uk, 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!