Thursday, 22 January 2015


Great news this month was MSP's in Hollyrood were talking again about banning shock collars in Scotland
Check out the debate here, it is really good with lots of surprisingly great information

A load of Scottish, UK and worldwide Behaviourists, Trainings, owners and dog lovers are getting together behind the idea of banning these devices in Scotland and then hopefully all over the world
Search for them all under #BanTheShock. Share, like, comment and make your own videos, tweets and blog posts

HERE is the video that started all of this off

and here is my submission

Here is a link to the Defra study on shock collars and some discussion about it. There are lots of evidence to show that training with punishments, especially E collars causes dogs stress and is no more effective than other positive ways to train. Many people do not know this and think the shock collars are the only way to help their dogs with some issues, the only way to save their lives

This is simply not true, punishments (which is what e collar training is) is just the other side of behaviour modification from reinforcement - if a dog (or any other living thinking being) can learn with punishments then they can also learn with rewards/reinforcment - and punishing can have negative side effects

If you have issues with your dog please consider seeing a good positive, force free trainer or behaviourist - or even look at some of the wonderful support out there on youtube channels like Kikopup

Please join in and support #bantheshock

Monday, 19 January 2015

War horse

Over Christmas me and mum watched the film 'War horse'

I have to admit I really enjoyed it, I thought it was going to be more of a tear jerker - but really it was just a nice film with some stunning horses :)

So I decided to make my own horse inspired by the film

and this little girl was born, A bay horse with 4 white socks and a diamond on her head.

We have had a bit of snow over the past few days and I think she really enjoyed her wee play in the snow

Check her out for sale in my Etsy Shop - or contact me there if you would like your very own horse sculpted for you

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

An introduction to needle felting part 2 - how to felt a ball

Sadly the TV show didnt work out (it was a con) but I have a few tutorials on my camera so decided to edit them up
Here is number 2 - the first project, How to felt a ball
I hope this will be help to some people, it explains about how to use the needle and how to start shaping including some basic troubleshooting

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Horror Kokeshi - needle felted

I had the idea for this little guy a long long time ago. I made a whole selection of Horror Kokeshi but I never really promod them a whole lot - so today I took them for a little photoshoot in the lovely Autumn sun and I am planning to spend my day off editing and listing as many of these wee guys as I can, the first is Jack. He has strong magnets in his head and neck which means he has interchangeable heads 

I hope you like him - he is listed here at a sale price 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Playing with Pro Markers

I had a wee go at turning some of me wee fuzzies into sketches with Pro Markers

My first was Molly, she has become my shop logo so I thought she would be good for my first try.  Also quite a challange in terms of figuring out how to shade all them wrinkles and blend the colouts

What do you think??
I think she looks a little too 'lumpy; looking and the eyes are not quite right but overall I was really happy how great the pens actually are, the colours blend into each other so well

(I was advised to watermark them)

Next was my Jacobs Sheep, these were made for a display in the Gallery with loads of sheep and Highland cows

Again shading was so much fun, the horn on the bottom right is way way to thick but I loved the pale cream colours shading in the white

Next my Shetland Pony

This is my fave by far :) I was very worried about shading the mane as hair is so difficult - but overall not bad at all, the colour is not exactly the same but I do love it :)

High on my hair success I decided to really challange myself on the hair front - my Sky Terrier

while drawing this wee guy I hated him all the way, thought it was looking clumsy and childish

Stepping away from the image I actually do like him a bit :)

Finally a Japanese Chin

 This was a lot more challenging with black eyes on black fur and trying to do the shading on the white

I have some cunning plans for the sketches of my fuzzies, cross your fingers for me that it works out OK - you guys will be one of the first to hear

Monday, 21 July 2014

An introduction to needle felting

So to practise for a possible online TV show (nothing written in stone, dont get too excited) I decided to make a series of needle felting tutorials. Here is the first one, an introduction to the equipment needed to needle felt
I hope you all like it, if you are interested in trying felting I also included some links to some of the shops I use for my felting supplies

and of course please have a look at my Etsy Shop if you are interested in your own felted sculpture or my bookmark tutorial

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Etsy and Google SEO's - trying to improve the Shetland Pony Sculptures ranking

So for the past year in my Etsy shop I have been working really hard to learn Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
And I really feel that I have got quite a good grip on that, I can take an item, think of the important tag and get that item to the front page of the search every time I have tried it. I have tested my methods on my shop many times and on family and friends shops (If anyone would be interested I can do a tutorial on this, just request it in the comments)

That has been really great, my views are 5 times what they were a year ago and sales are way way better

But I was thinking
This is only really bringing in people who are already on Etsy
What we REALLY want is to hit that massive market of people searching for things on Google, that would help everyone with a shop as it gets Etsy known.

So I decided to focus on one easy tag and see if I could get it to the front page on google

My first thought was to try and optimise this item
Needle felted Shetland pony 
And to use the tag 'Needle Felted Shetland Pony'
So I went onto Google to see where my starting position was there and I hit a bit of an unexpected problem (in a good way) For that search that image comes up 2nd in google images and in the first 3 hits my horses in my shop are in two of them :D 
A fab problem, without trying on a specific term like that my wee pony is doing great :) 

So it seems SOME Etsy SEO does help a whole lot with Google SEO

Great start

OK so lets pick a wider search

So searching that I am quite amazed to see this listing is 2nd down on page two and it is on the first page of the images

So far so good :) It seems that Etsy SEO isnt quite so horrible for Google SEO - but still I am getting no clicks from Google so lets see if we can improve that position and get some traffic.

So here are my stats for this week
71 Favourites (I was involved in a hearts game) 
All views came from Etsy with the tags 'horse' or 'horse sculpture'

So lets see if we can improve that focusing on the tag 'Shetland Pony Sculpture'

First thing I have done you can see ^^ up there the line 'Shetland Pony Sculpture' is a click-able link

Horse Sculpture
Shetland Pony Sculpture
And on this image the Title and caption is 'Shetland Pony Sculpture' and its clickable back to my shop. I am just about to pop over to my shop and try and focus my tags for that search too.

This is where everyone else comes in, can you share my tag and link? and let me know where in the comments below and I will share what you want and try and help each other

The more we help each other to drive traffic to our shops the more traffic we drive to Etsy itself and that is good for all of us :)

Im off to share this everywhere I can :) I will let you know the results and what else I learn about Google SEO

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Why dosent the dog just move away?
In a group I am in people are chatting about this video (sorry Im not sure how to put it up here so just click the link)

It is a confusing video, to start with it looks like the dog is really enjoying licking the baby, when the baby moves there are loads of signs from the dog that he is not wanting the baby there, leaning away, ears back, whale eye etc
But the argument most people use is that the dog must be happy because there is nothing stopping him moving away

This really got me thinking
I often say to Ben 'you can just move away' when a male dog gets a little over friendly with him, even if the other dog is on the lead Ben will not just move away, instead he will start giving out warnings. I try and step in before this point but sometimes Im not quick enough and he starts freezing, whale eye, lip wrinkles, growls and sometimes even a air snap

I actually dont think dogs see an option to move away - all their signs is to tell the other dog/animal to move away
The only time I can think of I have seen a dog move away is actually in fear (and even then only some dogs move away due to fear, many more try and make the other thing go away)
Its almost like moving away is an apology so the dog being 'wronged' is not going to say sorry, he is going to make the other dog (baby) do that

So please do not assume your dog is OK with something because they havent chose to move away - perhaps they dont see the option of actually moving away

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Why I am pledging to try and stop supporting abusive dog training methods

Hopefully the title should be a little shocking to those of you who have been following me for a while as I am loud and proud about my stance as a force free trainer.

But sadly I have just realised that I also support abusive training methods without meaning to.

Today on a facebook page someone asked why there are no videos or advice out there to help people in a force free way to deal with real world problems like aggression, food guarding, jumping up etc.

I think most of us to start with were thinking 'of course there are, there are thousands of videos out there'

and there are

But if you dont know to search for 'force free' ' positive' or even 'clicker' then when you search the vast majority of things that you will find will be fairly abusive methods.

This is because of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Something I have been looking at lots to try and improve my Etsy Shop
There are thousands and thousands of dog training articles and videos online, so when you search for one the search engine has to decide which are the most important and most relevant  to show you first.

Every search engine is different and they change their algorithms all the time but there are a several common things that are likely to make something rank higher.

(in no particular order)
1. How close the title matches the exact terms you searched for
2. How close the tags (metatags, labels) match the exact terms you searched for
3. How active the site is/how recently it was updated
4. How many people have viewed the page
5. How many inbound links are there to that page
6. How relevant to the subject is the website the inbound links come from
7. What terms are used on the inbound link
8. How many people 'liked' the page

1. - exact terms
If you just search for 'dog training' then there will be thousands of pages with that term in the title, most search engines will rate more highly a page that has the exact words in that order 'Dog Training' above another page that had them in a different order - for example 'Learn all about dog training' would rate way higher than 'Training for your dog'.  The position of where the words appear in the title can also make a difference 'Dog training advice' will rate differently than 'advice for dog training' not always higher tho

2. Tags
Very similar to the titles, the person making the page can add in tags for SEO, phrases tend to be better than single words - so 'Dog' and 'training' will be less effective than 'Dog training'

3. Activity - makes sense - you are less likely to want a site from 10 years ago that has not been updated since

4. People viewed - again this suggests an active popular place

5. Inbound links - this is you and me linking our friends to pages we like

6. Relevant inbound links - this means on some search engines they will rate more highly a dog trainers linking to a dog training page than a hairdresser

7. Terms on the inbound link. For me to link to my shop I can add the link to any word or group of words. Linking to the word Link would be less relevant than linking to a phrase like Needle Felted Custom Dog Sculptures   (yup shameless plugs)

8. In places like youtube and etsy things are rated higher the more people like them

We are all helping increase the SEO of abusive dog trainers every time we link to a video and go 'ewww this is so cruel and horrible'
and the more we have built up our profile and followers the 'better' our help will be in actually pushing that horrible page more to the top of a search

And very sadly it appears that every time we post something 'horrible' thousands of people click on it, comment on it and share it
But when something nice and positive is posted far far less people click on it or interact with it at all.

So we are giving extra help to the cruel training methods SEO.

I used to believe it was important to comment and share all these videos so the public could see it wasnt the only way to train.
Now I see by doing that I am making these things MORE into the public eye and pushing out all the wonderful positive things out there.

We need to stop giving these people free publicity.
Reward the positive videos and articles, share them, comment on them and create them ourselves
That way when someone looks for something on a particular problem they are more likely to find the positive solutions
Then if they try them they are less likely to have a problem dog and less likely to be tempted by the more abusive methods.

Lets be positive in getting rid of abusive training methods
Reward good articles and videos by helping peoples SEO, Watch, like, comment and share
Show alternatives to the abusive methods and ignore them, dont click on them, then slowly they will start to go away

Friday, 2 May 2014

Fuzzies on holiday

Some of my fuzzies escaped for a wee holiday. A lovely lady did a photoshoot of them. You can see more of them on my facebook page (feel free to like it and to share any of these amazing photographs) and some of these are on my Etsy shop. Please contact me if you would like a fuzzy made just for you


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