Firework Fright and Dogs 3 – Building a Den

If your dogs are anything like mine, and many others, as soon as there is a bang, they will head off for somewhere dark, enclosed, and small! Meg used to go under my chest of drawers until I made her a cosy den with a crate, a duvet and lots of padding.

The following video shows how to create a safe haven during fireworks season.


The things to remember are:

  • set the den up in a quiet corner, in the main room if that is where they like to be;
  • if you are using a crate, cover as much of it as you can with a duvet or blankets, to ensure most of the light is blocked out, and any sounds are well muffled;
  • consider using old pillows to create bumpers around the inside which will give your dog something to push their backs into;
  • pad the bottom well, and use enough bedding that they will be comfortable, without getting too hot or too chilly;
  • give them something to chew whilst in there (like a stuffed Kong, knuckle bone, etc.);
  • keep the entrance accessible, but easy to cover over when the dog is in;
  • if there are lights near the den, switch them off when the dog is in residence;
  • Rules one, two and three are – WHEN YOUR DOG IS IN THEIR DEN – DO NOT DISTURB. No peeking, no poking, no nuffink! Leave them alone! It’s THEIR space. If they want your company, they will find you.
  • Breathe.

If you have no access to a crate or handy chest of drawers as in the video, use your imagination. You can drape a duvet over the back of a sofa and create a tube/tunnel with the bed tucked inside, of kit out a large cardboard box. Go and have fun with it.

Encourage your dog inside their new safe place with treats, or by tossing a toy in. Don’t worry if they show little interest in it to start with -it’s just to let them know it’s there.

Enjoy the process…

Meg in her den

Meg in her den



At the UKRCB Symposium

At the UKRCB Symposium

The Mekuti Stand at this year’s event is focussing on the Balance Harness with Extra Neck Clip for dog who are sensitive around the head.


We are also featuring our new Affiliate Scheme which helps people who are not in a position to stock Mekuti products but would like to join the many trainers and dog clubs who recommend particularly the harness to stop dogs from pulling and our other products which help to reduce anxiety.

This is particularly important at this time of year with fireworks and all the other exciting bits that happen around Christmas.

see how well behaved our ‘dog’ Fido is in front of the table?


Things to help with firework fright

New Year fireworks can be a stressful time for dogs

It isn’t just the sudden noises late at night that cause anxiety, it is also the change in routine and the excitement of the household as New Year approaches.

The Season as a whole takes it’s toll on many things within a household, with irregular people popping in and out and other family members taking extended time off work along with excited children off school throwing boxes and wrapping paper around the place.

Utter chaos!

Well, that’s what it’s like here, I’m sure all readers of this article have perfectly peaceful and meditative home lives where all the people have a wrinkle free, soft outer glow about them just like the Bisto gravy adverts … yeah right, no wonder our companion animals are stressed out!

Anyway, help is possibly at hand with a few of the Mekuti products and techniques that we use with our own animals.


Build a Den

Den for a dog to feel safe

Meg in one of her dens!

Perhaps the most useful thing in a room when there are fireworks or thunder happening is a safe sanctuary. A place where the dog can go and just be with itself, feel safe and comfy. If one isn’t provided, they will probably find one of their own.

Our Meg likes to go under desks, the printer table, tucked away in a corner squashed against a chair and impossible to get to. Often stuck at an odd angle she cannot be reached and any attempt to do so will be me met with snarling or worse. Not pleasant.

So, we have built her a den by using a regular dog crate, made comfy inside with a blanket or two and surrounded on the outside with a duvet and another couple of blankets. The door is left open but the entrance is covered so she can disappear inside to be in the dark whenever she wants to.

OK, she sometimes still whimpers a bit in there but she is at least comfy and has a few personal items of treasure in there secreted away when we haven’t been looking! We don’t go in there only to tidy up occasionally or rescue essential or dangerous items as it is solely her own space.


Mekuti Body Wrap

The Body Wrap

Mutley lying down curled up with his Body Wrap

The Body Wrap brings the dog’s awareness to itself. It is easy to put on and helps to reduce anxiety and bring about a calming effect almost immediately.

Don’t expect your dog to be too active with a Body Wrap on as they are likely to be very chilled out.

Available in three sizes, the Medium size (3″) costs £8.75 and can be purchased on the Mekuti website Body Wrap page.

It is important to remember however, that your dog should not be left unattended with the Body Wrap on as it can get caught or snagged on something which would be far from ideal so an ideal alternative for extended use is …


A Dog T-Shirt

Dog T-Shirt

Grieving Meg feeling happier and calmer in her T-Shirt

A Dog T-Shirt is really such an invaluable piece of equipment for an unhappy dog. It always pains me to see this picture as she was grieving for her recently lost friend and companion Heidi and really wasn’t into doing very much. On this occasion her T-Shirt helped her to get out and do a bit of roaming around engaging with the outside world again, building up her confidence once more.

T-Shirts work by giving the dog a sort or ‘portable hug’ and help them feel secure. They are perfect for when there are fireworks and thunder around and can help to stop whining, excessive barking, shaking and many other anxiety/stress related symptoms.

At New Year and Bonfire Night we have over the years found the T-Shirt to be part of our essential kit and can be used for extensive periods in the house, on walks and when travelling. We always have a spare T-Shirt and Body Wrap in the car.

Made by Equafleece from 95% Cotton and 5% Spandex, they are stretchy, comfortable and washable. Available in various sizes, the Medium costs £16 and is available to buy on the Mekuti website T-Shirt page.

An alternative to the T-Shirt is …


A HotterDog Jumper

HotterDog Jumpers

Two staffys sporting their new jumpers.

When it comes to calming and reducing anxiety because of things like fireworks and thunder, these HotterDog Jumpers work in the same way that the T-Shirts do.

Obviously, they are a bit better at helping to keep the dog warm and dry on cold, damp days and snow just brushes off.

Again, we find these really useful especially around Christmas and New Year. They can be worn for extended periods of time both inside and outside. Though they stop our dogs from getting too cold by protecting their core body temperature they don’t get overheated. You might be able to spot that in the top picture of Meg in her den that she is wearing a jumper too.

Also made by Equafleece from a hard wearing man made fleece material, they are easily washed, keep their shape and colour well. Available in four different colours, the Medium costs just £19.75 and can be bought on the Mekuti website dog jumper page.


… and finally

When it’s all going off outside and our dog are being wary they are always looking to us for cues on how to behave. They are very tuned in to our own feelings and anxieties and possibly the most important thing to remember is to avoid eye contact if at all possible. Stay relaxed and as calm as possible whilst enjoying all the things that the Season brings us.

Happy New Year!


Microchips and Muzzles – Scotland to decide

The Scottish Government is having a Consultation to decide what sort of action could be considered around the issue of public safety and dogs.

Some of the proposals include compulsory microchipping and compulsory muzzling in public places, and so on.

There is a link through the BBC website to a more in depth story and discussion, which as usual turns into a bit of a slagging match, but there are also links there to the Consultation Document and a Survey where you can actually take part in the consultation itself.

We have lots of customers in Scotland who like us agree with force-free training methods and it is an opportunity to let your feelings and opinions known to the ‘authorities’.

I suppose the other question is, should we also have a similar consultation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Why just is Scotland?

BBC website story:
Consultation Letter:
The actual Survey:

The Mekuti Calming Band


The  Calming Band is for outdoor and indoor use but is particularly useful on holiday when we are in strange and unfamiliar surroundings.

With our Mutley, it helps to reduce excessive barking and stress by making gentle contact around the muzzle without actually restricting any movement, which means he is still able to drink, eat and pant.

It has a noticeable calming effect and is perfect for journeys, on walks or just sitting outside a pub especially when other dogs are around.

It’s most noticeable and really useful effect is stopping him from going ‘into the zone’ where nothing at all gets in and we can’t get his attention.

We also use it with Meg when we get visitors to the house, again it helps her to avoid getting into the zone and helps her calm down much easier with a lot less barking on the way.

Got to be honest, it’s not their most favourite thing in the world and they sometimes try and rub it off so sometimes loosening it a slight amount, a few warm encouraging words and a gentle stroke helps.

The Mekuti Balance Harness


Mekuti Balance Harness

The Mekuti Balance Harness with double-ended lead gently and effectively helps your dog to stop pulling so you can enjoy your walks!

The harness is suitable for all breeds and fully adjustable, ensuring a comfortable fit.

You use the lead to alternate and release any tension between the side and back of the harness adjusting the dog’s balance so there is nothing to pull against and the ‘opposition reflex’ is not triggered.

These two points of connection allow effective influence, communication and control of your dog without pressure on the neck, the face or the spine.