Dougal's Den Blog
Every year we love to do a round up of all of the best christmas gifts for you and your dog. This year there is a bumper selection of gorgeous gifts available from a wide range of places.
The best way to see the range of over 100 christmas gifts for you and your dog is to pop over to our PINTEREST board where you will find images of all of the Christmas dog toys we have selected on our annual search of the internet.
You can link through to the site selling the gifts too but a word of warning...the popular ones will sell out fast so if you see something you like then our advice is to snap it up!
It is that time of year again, yes it's time for the biggest dog show in the world. If you are visiting we thought you might like our tips for visiting so here goes.
Wear comfortable shoes, the show takes place over five halls, it's huge, you will do a lot of walking so best to be prepared.
If you arrive early in the morning the halls can be quite cold as the dogs competing will have been arriving from 6am onwards and all the main doors are open...however by about lunchtime they will be very hot so best to wear layers so you can regulate your temperature.
If you are planning on visiting specific retail stands check out their location on the Crufts website using their Search for Retailer Stand page and try to plan your route. Remember the stand numbers have the hall number first then the actual stand number so if you are looking for stand 23 in hall one look for 1-23. Retail stands are located in all of the 5 halls so it is best to try to cover them off one hall at a time.
The halls are arranged in a U shape with Halls 1 and 5 being located on either side of the Main Entrance as shown on the diagram below. So if you are in Hall 1 and want to get to Hall 4 its quicker to walk out of Hall 1 straight across the main Piazza into Hall 5 then up the stairs to Hall 4 instead of walking all the way around the other halls.
In fact it is possible to access all of the halls via the Piazza and sometimes it is easier to walk out and around the Piazza instead of trying to battle your way through the crowds. This Map of the Piazza shows where lots of the food areas are located too.
Consider taking a small trolly style suitcase ( or a larger one of you plan on doing a lot of shopping) you can then take your own supply of water and even a sandwich or snack, although there are lots of outlets selling food, they are expensive and the queues can be off putting.
Most of the retail stands are open from 8.30 until 6.30 but if you want to visit a specific one best to plan your trip early morning or late afternoon, they all get very busy over lunchtime.
If you are mainly going for shopping then the Thursday and Friday are not as busy as the weekend when you will find there are lots more families visiting.
If you are planning to stay over in one of the hotels near the arena then be prepared for hotels full of dogs and doggie people and unfortunately massive queues for everything from the lifts to a drink at the bar. We have found that it is easier to order room service than to wait and wait and wait for service in the restaurants.
It is far better to book into one of the (much cheaper) hotels at the airport, there is a free shuttle link train between the airport and the NEC and there are lots of slightly more reasonably priced eating places at the airport terminal.
At the time of writing there are still some rooms available at the ETAP Hotel which is within walking distance to the airport terminal. But our best advice on this one is to book up for the next year as soon as you get back this year as all the special offers go really really quickly.
Viewing the competitions
If you want to visit the Obedience Competitions then these are held in the Arena in Hall 5
If you are going to see the Young Kennel Club Competitions this is the timetable for 2016.
Watch on TV
If you are not able to attend then you can watch live on the Crufts YouTube Channel.
The highlights from the show will also be available on More 4 and Channel 4 these are the programme times
Thursday 10th March: 18:30-21:00 Friday 11th March: 18:30-19:30
On Channel 4
Friday 11th March: 19:30-21:00 Saturday 12th March: 19:00-21:00 Sunday 13th March: 19:00-21:00
Whatever you do at Crufts we hope you enjoy your visit, we won't be there this year so say hello to all the woofers from us. And if you are not visiting watch out for special offers on our website which will be available from 7th to 13th March.
From 5th October 2015 all major retailers will have to charge 5p ( at least) for each non reusable carrier bag they give to customers. The good news about this is that the money they charge has to be donated to a good cause or charity.
The bad news is if you are like us you will probably forget to take those bulky reusable bags out with you and end up having to pay the 5p or more! So we have found this super cute folding Doggie Shopping Bag which will fit in your handbag and can be used again and again and again.
The bag folds up into a cute doggie shape, and when the bag is in use the doggie sits at the bottom of the bag on the outside, looking like he is keeping an eye on your shopping. Made from Polyester the shopping bag is sturdy and can be used again and again.
We thought that the doggie shape would appeal to our customers and they are selling like hot cakes in our shop at the moment, as an extra little incentive we will have them on sale at a reduced price of £3.99 until the 31st October. After that they will be at the normal price of £4.49.
You can buy them on our website too now so why not stock up for friends and family, they would make a great little stocking filler present.
The rule on charging does not apply to small businesses but as an extra little incentive to our customers we will be donating 5p to Moorlands Dog rescue for every customer who does not require one of our paper carrier bags when they shop at Dougal's Den between the 5th and the 31st October.
Oh and just think of how many more dog treats you can buy with all those pennies you save!
As part of the First Leek Food and Drink Festival which tool place this weekend, we decided to try some Liver Muffins as special doggie treats in our shop.
We had so many comments about them and how much the doggies loved them that we though we better publish the recipe. We have to say though that if you decide to make these at home you will have a very attentive dog watching your every move. From the moment I opened the liver to the second they were cool enough to eat the boys watched my every move.
You will need some muffin tins ( we did two versions with paper cases and without), we think the without worked better as they do tend to stick to the paper cases, but if you have non stick muffin tins they just pop out like a dream, you will need to grease the muffin tins if they are not non stick.
500g Liver ( we used lambs liver, which was very cheap!)
500g Wholemeal Flour ( you could use rice flour if your dog needs to have gluten free)
1. Pulse the liver in a food processor until it is smooth ( you can leave it chunky if you prefer but they will take a little longer to cook if you do this). Have to warn you if you hate liver you will detest it by the time you have watched it wiz around and turn into a sticky pink gloop, but your dogs will love you for life.
2. Mix in the eggs, still in the processor.
3. Put the flour in a big bowl, and mix in the liver and egg mixture.
4. You will need to add water to make the mixture such that you can easily spoon it out, but not too thin that it is like a pouring batter
5. Spoon into your muffin tin the mixture will not rise so its up to you how big you pile them up
Cook in a 170˚C for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
I left them in the muffin tins for about 10 minutes and then cooled them on a wire rack.
You can pop them in the fridge where they will last for about 5 days or you can freeze them and defrost when required.
I decided to decorate some with a little cream cheese on the top and I confess I did but some coloured ready made icing and cut out some small orange bones as an added touch, but you can leave this step out if you are a stickler for no sugar.
You could also put this mixture into a shallow tin and use it cut up small as training treats.
Oh and special thanks to all the people who bought a wuff muffin, we were selling them in aid of Mo0rlands Dog Rescue, we announce the amount we raised later this week.
barking dog, complete with his lovely antlers. He actually sings, or rather barks Jingle Bells. He really is adorable. What's even better about him is that his little voice box is easily removable so you can take it out and let your pooch have the toy to play with, safe in the knowledge that no trips to the vet with inappropriate bits of electronics in tummies will be required. You can also take it out if you get sick of hearing Jingle Bells, not that we would ever suggest anything like that! If you want the chance to win one of these gorgeous christmas doggies for your furry friend all you have to do tell us on our our Facebook Page what is the best novelty gift your dog has ever received at christmas..it may or may not have been designed with the dog in mind! ( you have to like our facebook page as well so we can get in touch with you if you are the winner! ) then just post your comment on our page and we will select the winner from the entries received. We will contact the winner via facebook and request contact details so we can post out the prize. The rules You can post more than comment one ( that's more chances to win). The competition runs from 00.01am on the 9th December to Midnight on the 9th December. Competition open to anyone worldwide. No alternative prize is available, but we have daily competitions in the run up to christmas so keep checking our blog and our facebook page where we will be posting details of each of the daily competitions.Christmas is a time for novelty gifts, and we have already started to look at what the top novelty items will be for dogs NEXT christmas, yep that is how early we have to start. We like to lead the way with new and innovative products, ideas and events so we are always at least one step ahead of the rest of the pack. But back to this year and a lovely little gift that your dog, family and friends will love is our
Did you know that at Dougal's Den we have a wide range of hand made products? ( some of them are even made in Leek!) We stock some gorgeous handmade collars and leads as well as doggie bandanas, beds and mats, and some super hand made dog treats.We also have some lovely key chains which are made by our very own Molly...she really is such a talented young lady! They keychains are perfect for that last minute stocking filler for your dog or cat loving friends. You can have one two or three names on a keychain which looks great attached to your key ring or hanging from your handbag. So if you are looking for a last minute pressie then you can order them up to the 15th December and we will make sure you get them in time for christmas. If you want the chance to win a keychain with up to 3 names then all you have to do tell us on our our Facebook Page what is the most unusual name you have ever had for a pet ( you have to like our facebook page as well so we can get in touch with you if you are the winner! ) then just post your comment on our page and we will select the winner from the entries received. We will contact the winner via facebook and request contact details so we can post out the prize. The rules You can post more than comment ( that's more chances to win). The competition runs from 00.01am on the 7th December to Midnight on the 7th December. Competition open to anyone worldwide. No alternative prize is available, but we have daily competitions in the run up to christmas so keep checking our blog and our facebook page where we will be posting details of each of the daily competitions.
Friday's always feel like they should be treat days...so to celebrate the fact that it is almost the weekend we are giving away 3 packs of Pet Munchies Duck Doggie Treats. We stock a wide range of dog treats at Dougal's Den including Pet Munchies, Lily's Kitchen, Hungry Hector, Alpha and Ruby and PupCakes and we are always on the look out for new products which we think our doggie customers will like. Pet Munchies have a great range of doggie treats and they do not contain any artificial additives or preservatives , they are simply dehydrated duck strips. They are available on our website and in our lovely little shop. Every weekend we have free doggie treat tasting and if you do not manage to get into the shop with your pooch then just ask us for a doggie bag and you can take some treats home to tempt your pooch. If they are anything like our dogs they stick their noses into any shopping bags we return home with to see what they can find!If you have a pooch who would like to sample these yummy treats all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is tell us on our our Facebook Page what your dogs favourite treats are ( you have to like our facebook page as well so we can get in touch with you if you are the winner! ) then just post your comment on our page and we will select the winner from the entries received. We will contact the winner via facebook and request contact details so we can post out the prize. The rules You can post more than comment ( that's more chances to win). The competition runs from 00.01am on the 6th December to Midnight on the 6th December. Competition open to UK residents only. No alternative prize is available, but we have daily competitions in the run up to christmas so keep checking our blog and our facebook page where we will be posting details of each of the daily competitions.
Wow the 1st week of December is almost over, where on earth has the time gone? Today was rather a wet and windy day all over the UK we spent most of the day catching up with some admin jobs paying bills, ordering new stock and catching up with some friends. The final thing on the list for us today was a bath for the two boys, I really do not know how they get so dirty, but I guess three very long walks with the wonderful dog walker must have something to do with it. They just love it when Jacqui knocks on the door to take them for a walk, they get to go walkies with some of our lovely customers from the shop as well so I am always hearing stories of how they have made new friends.Our Alfie is a terror for rolling in fox poo, cow poo, sheep poo well actually any type of poo so a weekly bath is a must for this smelly boy and today we are giving away a bottle of his favourite shampoo, some Animology Fox Poo. It really is the only thing that removes the lovely Eau de Poo smell. If you have a smelly pooch and want a chance to win this great shampoo all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is post a picture of your smelly pooches on our Facebook Page ( you have to like our facebook page as well so we can get in touch with you if you are the winner! ) then just post your pic on our page and we will select the winner from the entries received. We will contact the winner via facebook and request contact details so we can post out the prize. The rules You can post more than one picture ( that's more chances to win). The competition runs from 00.01am on the 5th December to Midnight on the 6th December. Competition open to UK residents only. No alternative prize is available, but we have daily competitions in the run up to christmas so keep checking our blog and our facebook page where we will be posting details of each of the daily competitions.