Wild Harvest | Rowan Berries

August 29, 2016
Rowan berries can be such a breath taking sight. You can find them in lots of different places, and since Rowan is such an easy seeding tree you can often find rows and rows of them all putting on a fantastic colourful display. But Rowan berries are not just a pretty bunch, no, you can use them in cooking too. Read on to find out more...


So, how do you identify a Rowan Tree? Identification of a Rowan tree is relatively simple. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) is a very common tree found all over the UK and many other places in Europe. Sometimes is called Mountain Ash due to the fact that the leaf shape is very similar to that of the Ash tree (although the two are not related) and it also grows very well at high altitudes.

The Rowan can grow up to 15m tall and can live for almost 150 years. The bark is smooth and silvery grey. The leaves are distinctive. It has 5-8 pairs of leaflets growing on opposite sides up one stem, with one leaflet at the end. Each leaflet can appear to be serrated. Flowers comprise of close clusters of creamy white petals.

The berries are really distinctive. They start off in bright orange clusters and will ripen to a beautiful, vibrant shade of red.

When to Harvest

The berries will start to ripen towards the end of summer, into Autumn. Every year is different so they you have to play it by ear...or sight. They will also differ between various parts of the country i.e. southern counties of the UK will have ripe Rowan berries a lot sooner than up here in Northumberland. 

When should you harvest Rowan Berries? There is so much conflicting advice on when to harvest Rowan berries. I like to harvest them when they are just starting to turn red, and then sweeten them in the freezer for a few days. A lot of people will tell you that they are at their best after the first frost...freezing them will have this same effect. And...to be honest you can freeze them as a storage solution anyway. If you need to get the harvest in but don't need to use them for a while because you're waiting for something else to ripen (e.g. apples) then you can store them in the freezer. If you leave them too long however, the birds will take a fancy to them and you may miss out!
Note: When I returned from this particular foraging trip and put the photos on the computer, I realised that the berries look really orange in the photos. They are actually redder than the photos would have you believe!


There are plenty of things to make with Rowan berries such as jellies, jams, liqueurs and chutneys, The jelly goes really well with roasted meat and cheese on crackers. 

Watch out For...

Rowan berries are extremely bitter to eat raw...I wouldn't recommend it. And apparently eaten raw in great quantities can cause severe digestive distress. Always wash them and use them in something preserved/cooked before eating them. Are Rowan berries poisonous? No. But just be a bit sensible.

Overall, Rowan berries are in such a wonderful abundance everywhere and they are a fantastic resource to preserve. For my tips on how to be a responsible forager, click here.

Do you have any questions or comments about Rowan Berries? Let me know!

Bernard Cornwell | Heretic

August 28, 2016
“It would cause nothing but madness, Thomas thought. Men would fight for it, lie for it, cheat for it, betray for it and die for it. The Church would make money from it. It would cause nothing but evil, he thought, for it stirred horror from men's hearts,”

This Review Contains Spoilers!!

In the last of Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest series, Heretic, Thomas of Hookton finds himself getting closer and closer to the ultimate prize in Christendom...The Holy Grail. Although no longer needed on the front line as there is a temporary truce between England and France, Thomas takes a band of archers and men at arms to capture a castle in Gascony,  the region in the south of france where his ancestors are from.

The minute he arrives, he saves a heretic girl from being burned at the stake and this instantly gets him labelled as a heretic too. He is forced to go on the run with Genevieve and continue his quest for the Holy Grail with only her for company. He feels a bond with Genevieve because she too was tortured at the hands of the church.

Thomas is up against some formidable enemies (I mean...this quest would be pretty boring without a few baddies). His cousin Guy Vexille is also searching for the Holy Grail in order to bring peace to Christendom and end sin. Others want the Grail to bring pilgrims and profit to their pockets.

I liked...

The fact that we get a sense in this book of really just how corrupt the church could be and how much power they had. The fear of being excommunicated meant that people would do just about anything to stay in favour with the church. This is demonstrated when Robbie is tempted to turn Thomas and Genevieve over to the priests to save his own soul. 

Once again, Cornwell's fantastic attention to detail with regards to medieval weaponry. I learned so much about the famous english archers' bows, swords, shields, armour and just every weapon conceivable. Seriously, I'm learning at the same time as being entertained!

I didn't like...

I don't understand why the character of Jeanette, our Blackbird, just didn't feature at all in this book. She was a major part of the first novel, and then appeared as a sort of saviour character in the second one...so we were almost lead to believe that she would be his companion on his quest for the grail...but nothing. Did Cornwell just not like this character any more? Did she ever actually get her son back? Was her fortune ever restored?? Hello?!?

I'm sorry...but to me it was really obvious where and what the Holy Grail was, throughout the series. In the first book, Harlequin, we come across it...and throughout the entire series I was just hoping that I was wrong because I thought it was far too obvious. But no...the Holy Grail is a clay bowl. It's a fantastic twist in the tale that the Grail is just a lowly bowl...but the fact that we were introduced to it so early on in the series kind of ruined that surprise element for me.

I don't really feel like the whole issue of the missing Lance (st George's lance that he supposedly killed the dragon with) was wholly resolved. I'm sat here wracking my brains...and despite having read the entire series...I can't actually remember what happened to it. Did Thomas actually ever retrieve it?

Overall, I enjoyed this book as I have done with all Bernard Cornwell's novels so far. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Read my reviews of the previous books in the series, Harlequin and Vagabond.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Discuss!

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The Five-A-Day Challenge | Four Weeks On

August 24, 2016
Hello and Good Morning!

Today marks the end of my four week five-a-day challenge...and it's been an interesting one.
Overall I think I found this challenge a lot more...challenging than I thought it was going to be. The Water Challenge came very easily to me and that turned into a habit. I continue to drink approximately two litres of water a day. So why is eating five portions of fruit and veg a day so difficult?

One possibility is that sometimes I simply forget. I'll make my cheese sandwich (or similar) at lunch and think...oh...I probably have put some tomato or something in that and then hurriedly eat a tomato afterwards to make up for it.

Or sometimes it's about the quantity. What I mean by this is that a portion of fruit or veg is classed as approximately 80g and sometimes it's difficult to incorporate that into what you're already having. Like when I'm making a cheese and tomato sandwich, I only usually would use about 2 slices of tomato which only equates to about 20g, so I have to basically cram an entire large tomato into a sandwich in order to make it count. Maybe I'm just making it way more complicated than it actually needs to be. Meh.

Something I definitely stuck to without fail and have actually really enjoyed is my two portions of fruit with my breakfast. I tend to have granola every day with yoghurt and I now out of habit put some blueberries on top or some raspberries fresh out of the garden and that is really yummy. And I'll also have some juice...so I always have at least 2 portions by 9 oclock every day. Simples.  Also, incase you didn't know...a portion of juice is roughly 150ml and however many glasses of juice you have throughout the day, it still only counts as one portion.

My dinners haven't really changed that much except that I now simply use more of the veg that I'd already be using and cut down the proportion of meat. I try to make it so that a meal is half veg, a quarter meat and a quarter some sort of carb like pasta or potato. I can't remember where I first read that...but it's supposed to be the proper way. It's really simple just to chuck extra carrots into a meal I suppose.

With regards to how I'm feeling and whether or not I've noticed any changes or improvements since I've started getting my five a day regularly...honestly I can't say that I've noticed any. When I did my water challenge, I could honestly say that I noticeably saw my skin condition improving, my mood changed, my motivation improved but I've not noticed anything like that since I've started making sure I get my five-a-day. Maybe it's because when I did my water challenge, I went from drinking very little water each day to suddenly drinking two litres. Whereas it's not like my diet was completely devoid of vegetables before...I just changed how often I was getting them? Meh...who knows.

I quite like being healthy and getting my five-a-day. Although I don't feel any different physically, I do just feel better about myself in general. I feel proud of myself. I definitely feel like I'm changing and adopting new habits that I'll be happy to pass onto my children as and when the time may come.

Speaking of which...so planning a wedding is stressful yes?! Trying to get all the groomsmen together so that I can get them to try on the shirt I want them to wear to make sure it will fit everyone and look good on everyone is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. I keep thinking that I might just say "fine, everyone just wear what you want!" But then I think how bad the pictures would look and I carry on with the stressful planning. Thank goodness for FMIL who is basically a one-woman decorating committee and has taken a HUGE weight off my shoulders with regards to table decorations and flowers etc. Seriously, huge.

Something that has helped me immensely with my life planning (including tracking my five a day) over the last couple of weeks has been the introduction of a bullet journal. Now if you don't know what a bullet journal is, don't worry. Up until a couple of weeks ago I didn't realise it was a thing either. It's a very efficient, individual way of planning/journalling and you can basically adapt it to include whatever you like. And you must have pretty patterns and colours. Always. Go to Google Images now and search Bullet Journal and you'll see exactly what I'm on about. I will write a post about my bullet journal at a later date once I've perfected my technique.

On another note, The Great British Bake Off is starting!! Who's excited?! I know I am!!!!!

Have any of you folks been joining in the five-a-day challenge? How have you got on? Let me know!

How to Forage Responsibly

August 22, 2016
Hello friends!
Foraging is a fantastic way to get good, healthy, nutritious food into your diet. It's also a great way to bulk up your winter preserve stocks. Everyone has been blackberry picking up and down the late summer hedgerows. But there is a whole world of other things out there that you can add to salads, sauces, cakes, crumbles, juices and it's all free!

However with picking food out of the wild comes risks. If you are a first time forager, there are a few things you should be aware of before you pick up your basket and your walking stick and go out plucking things willy nilly.

Here I have put together my top tips for staying safe and responsible in the countryside when you're searching for wild food!

Only forage where you have permission

Now I don't mean that you need to ask permission to go foraging wherever you go. There are millions of miles of public footpaths, permissive footpaths and rights of way throughout the UK where you can legally forage with no trouble. The law states... 

"A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose."

So this means that if you intend to sell or profit from your foraging then you do have to have gained specific permission from the land-owner. However if it's just for your own use, then you're good. 
Don't trespass onto private land with no footpaths running through it. Always look out for signs that state you're on a proper footpath.
Wherever you may be, it is illegal to uproot a wild plant without the landowners explicit permission. So picking wild garlic leaves is fine, but you can't dig up the whole plant and take it home with you. 
Some organisations have local policies regarding foraging certain species. So for example on some National Trust signs they will have signs up forbidding you from foraging certain species because they are scarce in that area. Always obey these signs so that you don't give all foragers a bad name!

Be sure of what you're picking...

We all know what a blackberry looks like. It would be very difficult to mix up a blackberry with anything else. Like seriously, there is nothing else that looks even remotely like a blackberry. However there are plenty of plants/fruits/mushrooms out there that are delicious and safe to eat but look very similar to something else. 
Use a really good identification guide if it's your first time and triple check everything before you eat it. If you're really not sure then you can join foraging clubs or you can book yourself onto a foraging course which are really quite informative and reasonably priced. And if it stops you from poisoning yourself with a mushroom, then it's worth every penny!
I really don't like mushrooms so I am in no danger of poisoning myself with a random piece of fungus but there is always a danger of mixing up berries and leaves.
As a side note, be sure to wash everything thoroughly before you use it in cooking. Remember that animals may have weed on it, pesticides may have been sprayed, vehicles may have spread exhaust etc so better safe than sorry!

Leave some for everybody else

If you are in a hot spot for foraging, there may be lots of people who are excited about coming out and gathering a basket of berries. If you are there first, do not be selfish and strip all the trees/bushes/plants of all their fruits. In order to get more and more people into eating wild harvest, it's important that there's always enough for everyone. If you take loads and loads, what can happen is you don't end up using it all and it goes to waste anyway. And there really is nothing worse than wastage.
It's also very important to leave some for the wildlife. Many birds and small mammals depend on berries to survive the winter so always be sure to leave some. 

Follow the Countryside Code

And by this, I mean be sensible. Always leave gates as you find them, don't leave any litter, don't let your dog run riot among livestock etc...It's not okay to go trampling over a patch of really beautiful rare flowers in order to get to the last patch of blackberries. It is not okay to leave gates open and allow livestock to escape. But these are rules that you should always follow in the countryside anyway.
If you need a little reminder on the Countryside Code, click here.

Stay Safe

Be aware of where it is you're foraging. Perhaps a busy main road is not the best place to park your pram and lean into the hedge to grab blackberries. Do not put yourself at unnecessary risk just to pick a few extra garlic leaves. Be aware of livestock in fields, working farm machinery, cliffs and sheer drops etc etc. It all sounds quite silly, but when you're concentrating on something else, it's very easy to forget just basic safety. 

Anyone can forage and it really is very simple if you do a little bit of research. I wish you all the best of luck on your future foraging endeavours and I'd love to see pictures and blog posts.
Link me, tag me etc so I can be nosey!

Book Blogs you NEED to Check Out!

August 21, 2016

Happy Sunday Gang!
As you all know I am a big fan of books. Huge fan. Ever since I was a tiny, little person I have spent hours and hours just getting lost in fantasy worlds. And I do mean books, not stories. I really really hate the idea of these new e-readers. I'm sorry if there are any die-hard kindl fans out there but seriously, I will never EVER be converted to reading books on screen. I like book shelves, paper, book marks and ...books.
But that really isn't the point of this post.
As well as reading books, I like reading ABOUT books. I am here today to share with you some of my favourite book blogs. These blogs have really helped me to decide which books to add onto my to-read list and are just thoroughly entertaining for any bibliophile. I recommend you all take a look.
Click on the buttons to visit the blogs.

First of all, Katie's Book Blog just punches you in the face when you first click onto her page. I love the colour combinations and the bold prints. I seriously really, really love it. I can tell from the design instantly that Katie is the sort of girl I'd love to be friends with. She writes about young adult fiction mostly. While others might adopt a star rating or thumbs up sort of rating system, Katie rates her books with shoes. Genius!
Read This Review: Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt
Follow on Twitter: @katiesbookblog

Cuddlebuggery. Yes this name cracked me up when I first read it. This is a collaborative blog with lots of contributors mainly focusing on the young adult genre. Really easy to navigate layout with a catchy theme and logo. Also, keep up to date with new releases and book tours.
Follow on Twitter: @cuddlebuggery

The Book Geek is a blog dedicated to reviews of Young Adult fiction with a few others thrown in there. I've followed Emily on Goodreads for a while now and the speed with which she reads books just absolutely astounds me. Like...seriously I always thought I was a quick reader...but no! I love the theme on this blog, with an old victorian book shop sort of feel to it. Also...teacup rating system. Yes
Read This Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Follow on Twitter: @thebookgeek01

Cait from Paper Fury has a fantastic blogging voice that I can really relate to. I can genuinely imagine myself having a conversation with her about a book. (Infact, Cait, we should do that sometime). Her photos are seriously imaginative and above all this, she has an etsy shop. And we all know what a fan I am of etsy!!
Follow on Twitter: @paperfury

Well from writing this blog post, I can concur that Young Adult is a really popular genre to read and also that I need to get my blog button up and running. Do you have any book blogs that you'd like to share? 
Leave me a comment!

Bernard Cornwell | Vagabond

August 19, 2016
"The Holy Grail, the most precious of all Christ’s bequests to man, lost these thousand years and more, and he could see it glowing in the sky like shining blood and about it, bright as the glittering crown of a saint, rays of dazzling shimmer filled the heaven."

This is the second book in Cornwell's The Grail Quest series. You can read my review of Harlequin, the first in the series here.

Having survived the battle of Crecy, Thomas of Hookton is now sent on a mission by the King to learn more about what his father claims to be the Holy Grail. Accompanied by Father Hobbe and his pregnant soon-to-be wife Eleanor, he sets off to find the Monk Brother Collimore who will hopefully be able to tell him more about this father and the grail. However he is thwarted by another party who is hot on the trail of the grail too. Collimore is questioned and murdered before Thomas can speak to him and alas, Eleanor and Father Hobbe are murdered too. Thomas carries on the mission with a new friend (technically a hostage) scottish Robbie Douglas. They travel to Thomas' home village where he is given a book of notes on the grail that his father had written and instructed not to give to Thomas until he was a grown man. More trials and tribulations await Thomas in this book as he furthers his quest for the grail, continuously questioning its existence. Expect more gore, drama, raping, pillage and swearing but so much entertainment!

I liked...

Thomas' character gets really gritty in this book. He goes into a dark place through a mixture of wanting revenge for Eleanor's death but also guilt because he couldn't protect her and his unborn child from being killed. He's lost the pony tail, made a name for himself and is on a mission. 

We come across Jeanette again and she still hasn't lost her fierce nature. After having been raped in the first book and losing her son because of his inheritance, she was in a very precarious position. She manages to claw her way out of destitution and although she's no longer rich, she at least has a house and a couple of servants. She also is being ravaged by vengeful thoughts and practises with her crossbow to be able to kill everyone that's wronged her. Her ultimate aim, is to get her son back.

I didn't like...

Trying to keep up with some of the characters. I don't know whether this was just me being incredibly special, but I really struggled in some of the faster paced sections with keeping up with which characters were which. Obviously you have the main characters and that was simple enough, But when it came to the many, many villains and their allies, I had to keep referring back to previous parts to remember who was who and which side they were on. 

Some of the fighting scenes did drag on just a teensy weensy bit...I know. I understand that this is Cornwell's thing. Describing these gory battle scenes in great detail. But I found eyes just skimming over these paragraphs and thinking "fighting...fighting...yep...fighting...fighting....yep, more fighting" until it got to a significant part of the story, Don't get me wrong, I love reading the detailed descriptions of the weapons and the battle tactics...but I didn't need to read paragraph after paragraph of people being stabbed and some one else being stabbed and someone else having their head cut off etc etc. But hey, everyone is different and I'm sure many a person will have enjoyed those segments.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and am eager to get stuck into the last installment, Heretic. 

Have you read this book? Discuss!

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100th Blog Post

August 17, 2016
Good Morning Friends!
 Can you believe that this is my 100th Blog post?! I have been blogging for nearly eight months and in that time I have managed to produce 99 blog posts (plus this one makes 100).

To celebrate my 100th blog post I am going to do a re-cap of some of my favourite posts. The ones that I have had the most fun writing, or photographing or like to look back on with pride.

Why I Feed Raw

This was a post all about the journey we took toward feeding Bosun his raw diet. I do not regret a single minute of it and...he loves him some raw meat!

Exciting News!!

Back in February, Rick proposed to me! In this post I describe how he proposed and say lots of mushy stuff! 

Your Dog and You in the Countryside

This was a very important post for me to write because increasingly I am witnessing awful examples of irresponsible dog ownership in the countryside. I'm hoping that at least one person will learn something from this post and the countryside will become a nicer place for it.

Delicious Banana Bread Recipe

I am very VERY proud of this because this is the first recipe that I ever wrote down. As I say in the post, I'm not sure where I got the original recipe from but it was from some book from which I took some notes...and over the years I've perfected it. 

On Being a Puppy Mummy | Bosun's First Birthday

I had so much fun looking back over the pictures of Bosun when he was tiny to create this post. He was such a beautiful little puppy and sometimes I do feel sad that he's not a dependent little bundle of fluff any more. But I also look at him nowadays and think what a handsome grown-up labrador he has turned into...and I still love him.

Thank you to those of you who have stuck with me and supported me through my blogging journey so far! I hope to see many more blog posts in the future!

Mint Jelly | Recipe

August 15, 2016
Hello Friends!

I LOVE preserving things in as many different ways as possible as you may have gathered. From drying herbs to making chutneys, I love it! Rick and I have a huge garden and usually produce more than we can eat fresh, so preserving is a great alternative.

Today I have for you a recipe for Mint Jelly, but this can also work with a number of different herbs. I really, really love the smell that fills the kitchen when I'm chopping mint.

It's a really simple recipe that doesn't take much preparation at all.

Equipment Needed

  • Preserve Pan
  • Preserve straining net
  • Jars
  • Wax seals
  • Food processor
  • Saucepan


  • The shells from 4 lemons
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 good handfuls finely chopped fresh mint


  • Whizz up the lemon shells finely in the food processor. Put them in a heavy saucepan with 750ml water and boil for 15 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture through your straining net for 2 hours.
  • Make the mixture up to 500ml using water and put in the preserve pan. Add the sugar and stir until it's dissolved. Add the vinegar and bring to a full rolling boil for 3-5 minutes. 
  • Do a set test, if it's not quite set properly then boil for a bit longer.
  • Stir in the mint and then spoon the mixture into hot, sterilised jars. Seal and label.

As you can see from the above picture, our mint patch is huge...bordering out of control!

Jams, jellies and chutneys make fantastic thoughtful, homemade gifts for people. Particularly when they're put in these cute little Kilner Jars

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think! Do you have any questions? Leave a comment.

*This post contains affiliate links

This Country Girl's Outfit

August 14, 2016
I absolutely love a weekend where I have absolutely nothing planned. You know what I mean, an entire weekend all to yourself to do whatever you want. I might do some baking, I might do a bit of gardening, I might maybe do a load of laundry or read a book. Who knows?
I just love a lazy weekend, and what better outfit for a lazy weekend than jeans, a hoodie and some pumps? (I mean, ideally I would just stay in my pyjamas all weekend. Unfortunately as I live where I work, it is entirely possible that I could have my boss knock on the front door or a delivery person with some stationary so I should at least have some proper clothes on...as such)

Being an outdoor girl, Underarmour is one of the staples of my wardrobe. Great for sportswear, general outdoor clothes and...slobbing clothes (you know you all have those!) This hoodie is comfortable, a great fit washes well. Ideal.

These green, laceless pumps are RIDICULOUSLY comfortable and pretty much go with any outfit. Especially skinny jeans...which is basically all I wear. I do like to prise my feet out of wellies at the weekend and wear a pair of pumps or flip-flops.

What's your favourite outfit for lolling around at the weekend?

How to Toilet Train Your Puppy

August 12, 2016
Hello friends!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post regarding Bosun's first birthday. Yes I know, he's gorgeous and he's grown so big...and he's still growing. I wrote about our first year together, including all the ups and downs and I said that I would write a blog post on toilet training and how that went.
So here goes...

When we brought Bosun home last October, he was 11 weeks old. He'd been brought up outside in kennels so he hadn't started toilet training yet. This is how most people bring their puppies home...and so we started from the beginning.

When we first arrived with him at our house, we put him on the ground in the garden and let him have a sniff around and a wee  after a long 3 hour journey. That's when toilet training started, right then and there. We gave Bo a big fuss and made a big deal out of the fact that he's gone for a wee outside. You have to treat it as though it's the most amazing thing in the world. And that is what happened every single time he went for a wee or poo outside. Every single time is a big celebration and song and dance.

The next step is learning to anticipate when your puppy is going to need a wee, and they need to wee a lot when they're little. So he'll need to wee after he eats, after he drinks, when he wakes up after a snooze, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after he's been playing and many other times in between. Generally we learnt to take Bosun outside once every hour and this proved really effective. For the first few months, you will need to physically go out into the garden with him. After a while, you'll be able to stand at the back door while he goes for a wee outside, and then eventually you'll be able to open the back door and just let him go.

So now you're taking your puppy outside to wee and giving him a fuss, and that's great. But for now he's just learning that weeing is a good thing, he won't learn to wee outside just from this alone. He will have a few accidents inside. This is inevitable. I will give you some very good advice on this matter right now. Do not shout at your puppy, smack him, tell him off or generally punish him for toileting inside. It will not do any good at all. Puppies wee when they're scared or nervous in a situation and shouting at a 10 week old pup for weeing indoors will just make him wee more. The way you stop him from weeing indoors is through distraction. If he starts to go for a wee indoors, clap your hands really loudly and make a loud noise to distract him and then run towards the back door,  (or pick him up and run with him to the back door if you have to) and get him to follow you outside where you allow him to continue weeing and praise him as normal.

If your puppy has a wee that you didn't manage to catch in time and you just come across a mess on the floor, there is no point in trying to do anything about it at this point. Literally no point whatsoever, they have a very short attention span and won't have the foggiest idea what you're telling them off for. Much better just to ignore it and carry on with the rest of the training as normal.

If your puppy does have an accident on the carpet, give it a bloody good scrub with some vanish carpet cleaner (or similar). If he can smell urine on the carpet, he'll associate it with going to the toilet and think it's okay to do it on that spot again and again.

Night time is a big obstacle to over come. You can't expect an 11 week old pup to go 8 hours overnight without a wee. It just won't happen. So we did it in stages. The first few weeks we went to bed late, say, 11pm. We'd then get up around 2am, 4am and 6am to let him out for wees and this was also really effective. We slowly phased out the 4am toilet break, and then the other ones in between over a few months. By 6 months we could go from 11pm to 7am with out middle of the night toilet breaks,

The thing that helped us the most with toilet training I think was his crate. Whenever we weren't in the house and also overnight, Bo was in his crate. I will write a blog post about crate training at a later date because there are so many other benefits to crate training aside from toilet training. But in general, one of the instincts that your puppy will already have is not to go to the toilet in his bed. So you make the crate cosy with a bowl of water, a safe bed and a few hard toys (not soft ones because he'll chew them up and choke on them) and he will come to think of it as his own place, and he won't want to toilet in it. Remember when he's young not to leave him so long in his crate that he's forced to toilet in there, otherwise you will undo all of that natural instinct that is very very helpful at this stage.

So I will summarise all of these points for you in an easy list...

  • Going to the toilet outside is the most amazing thing in the world, praise your puppy every time he gets it right and make a big deal!
  • If you catch him having an accident inside, make a loud noise to distract him, make him go outside and praise him for going for a wee outside! Big deal!
  • Don't shout at your puppy, tell him off or smack him for weeing inside. It doesn't do you or your puppy any favours.
  • Take your puppy outside regularly for toileting including after he's eaten, after he's had a drink, after he's woken up and in generally once every hour.
  • Get up a few times in the night to take your puppy out for a wee and slowly reduce the amount of times you get up.
  • Give him a crate which is his own space, and put him in there over night. He won't want to toilet in his own space.
  • If he does have an accident inside, be sure to give the carpet a good scrub to get rid of the smell so that he doesn't associate that spot with toileting.

Over all, I can quite honestly say that Bosun had a total of 6 accidents inside the house. We are so proud of him for that...and I think toilet training is really the only thing that's gone 100% well!
Don't be disheartened if your puppy doesn't pick it up straight away. Bosun is a really smart dog and picked it up very quickly, but every dog is different. Although I considered Bo to be fully toilet trained by 6 months, some aren't until about a year. Just keep persevering and it will all be good in the end!

Do you have any stories or questions regarding puppy toilet training?

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