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Pets Corner: Are muzzles a good idea?

Under certain conditions even the friendliest dog can bite and a muzzle might be necessary. The very first time many dogs will ever wear a muzzle is at the vet for some sort of emergency procedure. Dogs that are frightened or in pain are much more likely to bite. Safety must come first, however sudden muzzling can make a traumatic experience even more difficult and may cause a lasting negative association for the dog, both with the vet clinic and the muzzle.

In my view, each dog should be taught to wear a muzzle as part of everyday life. This means that on the very rare occasion the dog has to be muzzled (travelling abroad or a veterinary procedure are just two examples) the dog is already relaxed about wearing one.

Muzzling can also be an important management tool as part of behaviour modification, especially in aggression cases, and for dogs that might be fearful of children or that are space- sensitive. However, even if a dog is muzzled, care should still be taken to avoid undue stress and exposure to things the dog fears or dislikes. For instance, regular muzzling of a dog that fears grooming should not be viewed as a solution; instead time should be taken to counter-condition the dog. Dogs that aggress with other dogs or humans should not be muzzled and then allowed off lead with other dogs or with humans. Even if your dog is muzzled you should make every effort to protect them from whatever triggers a fear aggressive response. In such cases, muzzling should be viewed as a short to medium term safety tool and an adjunct to behaviour modification with an expert.

The Dangerous Dogs Act, section 3, applies to every dog in the land, in public and private. It says that a dog that presents a risk is only viewed as under control if it is muzzled and on a lead. A dog does not actually have to bite to be viewed as out of control, perception by those on the receiving end of the dog’s behaviour is a factor. Read this article – every dog owner should be aware of their responsibilities in law. 

Choosing a muzzle depends on the face shape of your dog. For most dogs a Baskerville Ultra muzzle is a great option and this can be used with a head collar. Properly fitted it is secure but allows your pet to pant, drink water and take treats (this last bit is vital for effective muzzle training). Dogs with very narrow heads may do better with a greyhound basket muzzle and flat-faced, brachycephalic breeds will require a specialist bull breed muzzle. Seek advice from your vet as the dog must be able to breathe and must not overheat. However, do not consider using a sleeve muzzle of the type sometimes used by vets, this is not suitable for everyday use.

Finally, how do you teach your pet to wear a muzzle? First of all, don’t force the muzzle on. Instead take days and even weeks to slowly build a very positive response to it. Start with the sight of the muzzle and reward, then have your dog retrieve treats from inside the muzzle, then reward the snap sound made by the muzzle fastener, next reward  the strap fastened around the dog’s neck like a collar, then increase the duration the dog has their nose inside the muzzle, before putting it all together. Only progress each stage if the dog is relaxed and happy. Having lots of treats and rewards the dog loves is vital. The aim is to use classical conditioning so the dog has a ‘yipee’ response to the muzzle and is relaxed to wear it anywhere. For more information visit

Leonie St Clair|

Horniman Museum and Gardens – July events!

Exhibitions and Displays 

My Model City
6 July-1 September 2019

My Model City, my dream today, our dreams tomorrow. What might the city of the future look like? And whose ideas, needs and dreams should shape it? My Model Citywill become the testing ground for a new vision of urban life, explored through an installation created by young people from Peckham Platform and the Horniman, in collaboration with muf architecture/art. Free.

Grasslands Garden
Now open

Wander through wild landscapes in the Grasslands Garden, featuring spectacular plants from North American prairie and South African grasslands. Celebrating critically threatened wild landscapes, the garden includes beautiful summer-flowering species such as yellow coneflowers, sword lilies and summer hyacinths.

Linked to the World Gallery, the naturalistic planting scheme was devised by Olympic Park designer James Hitchmough. Free.

Sunken Garden Brick Wonders-themed display
Flowering June to September

The summer bedding display in the Sunken Garden features lobelia, carex, petunias and marigolds in six colours, planted in rectangular and square blocks inspired by the LEGO® bricksin the Brick Wonders exhibition. Free.

Special Events

Plonk Crazy Golf
Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays
Daily during school holidays
Until 27 October, 10am-5pm

Plonk is bringing back buckets of fun to the Horniman with a new exciting 9-hole family-friendly challenge. The course has wheelchair access and adapted putters, as well as putters for kids.
Tickets: Child £4, Adult £6, Group £13.50 (up to 4 people)

South London Music Sessions
Every Thursday, 4 July-8 August, 5.30-9.30pm

Enjoy live music and DJs along with spectacular views across London at these weekly gigs on the Horniman Bandstand. Performances in July are in partnership with Peckham-based radio station Balamii: South London Summer Series. Food and drink will be available from the Horniman Café’s Dutch Barn Bar. Free.

Trinity Laban Dance Festival
Sunday 7 July, 12-5pm

Enjoy a day of dance performances and workshops for all the family. Bring your dancing shoes and join in the fun! Free. 

The Studio 2019 Workshops
Every Wednesday, 24 July-28 August, see the website for times

Take part in activities and making sessions where you can explore thread, fabric and recycled materials to unravel, loop, twist and knot. These workshops are led by the Horniman’s Studio Collective 2019. Everyone welcome. Free.

Family Day Rave with Big Fish Little Fish
Sunday 28 July, 2-6pm

Award-winning family favourites Big Fish Little Fish are back and taking over the Horniman Gardens for an afternoon of outdoor festival style raving fun. Dance outside with your family under bubbles and balloons to acid house, techno and drum and bass. With iconic DJ Alex Paterson (The Orb) and drum and bass legend Aphrodite on the decks plus Big Fish Little Fish residents Baker and Beale. Come dance, laugh, craft and be daft – see you on the dancefloor family ravers! Tickets: Child £12.50, Adult £15, pre-walking infant free.

Summer Holidays

24 July – 30 August

Pond Dipping
Every Monday, 29 July-19 August
11am (Members only), 12pm, 2pm, 3pm (45 mins sessions)

Join us for pond dipping sessions exploring nature and wildlife in our Nature Trail pond. Suitable for children aged 5+. Tickets: Child £2.50. 

Hands on Base: Horniman Explorers
Every Monday and Friday
26 July–30 August (except 26 August), 11am-12.30pm, 2-3.30pm

Discover the collections that make the Horniman special! Explore and touch things from puppets to sharks jaws in our Hands on Base. Free, drop in.

Family Art Fun
Every Tuesday, 30 July–27 August, 11am; 11.45am; 12.30pm; 1.15pm; 2pm; 2.45pm

Enjoy making some fabulous art and craft inspired by our collections and Gardens. Tickets: £2.50.

Wonderful Wednesdays
Every Wednesday, 24 July to 28 August, 10.30am-3.30pm

Join us for a day of free family activities every Wednesday. There will be different themes and activities each week including storytelling, trails, family games and creative workshops. Free.

24 July: Celebrating London National Park City Week, explore our Gardens with bug and tree experts, enjoy a sensory trail and find out about the importance of London’s green spaces for wildlife. Supported by the Mayor of London.

31 July: Come and play with us at the Horniman as part of National Play Day. Enjoy free storytelling and family games in our gardens. 

Nature Notebooks
Every Thursday, 25 July – 29 August
11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.15pm, 2pm, 2.45pm

Create your own Nature Notebook to help you to explore the Horniman Gardens in a fun way. Free.

Minibeast Safari
Every Friday, 45 minute sessions
26 July and 30 August: 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm

Join us to hunt for creepy crawlies and bugs on the Horniman Nature Trail and discover the variety of insect life to be found in London in spring. Suitable for children aged 3+.  All children must be accompanied by an adult. These activities are not suitable for prams or pushchairs. Tickets: Child £2.50. 

Please check the website updates and for information on regular activities and events.

Holiday-proof your garden

It’s depressing coming home to a neglected garden. But a few simple jobs before you go away will help your garden survive for a few weeks without you. Here are 10 things to do before you head off on your travels.

  1. Move your pots to semi-shade, grouping them together to increase shade and humidity. Put them on saucers to catch rainwater or on soaked capillary matting. (But check the forecast, as plants don’t like to be in standing water.) Or consider installing an irrigation system. Any favourite plants that easily dry out can be sunk into soil to keep them cool, drenching the surrounding earth and giving it a mulch.
  2. As well as deadheading repeat flowering plants like cosmos, think ahead by removing the flowers as well – or pick a bunch of flowers to give to friends and neighbours.
  3. To avoid coming back to a weedy mess, it’s really worth removing as many weeds as you can before you go away, digging out the whole root of perennial weeds such as thistle and bindweed.
  4. Mulching your borders with bulky organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure or bark will keep weeds down and moisture in – make sure you drench the soil first. Or just concentrate on newly planted or thirsty shrubs and perennials and don’t worry so much about drought tolerant ones like iris, lavender and rosemary.
  5. If you go away at lot think about growing more drought tolerant plants. As a rule grey/silver plants like Stachys byzantina, small leaved herbs or fleshy leaved plants such as sedum will survive without much water once they’re established.
  6. If the forecast is for lots of rain, remember to protect plants like hostas from slugs – try organic wool slug pellets or try making beer traps by sinking a jar of beer into the soil.Clearing dead foliage will also help remove places for slugs and snails to hide.
  7. Check that the stakes on tall perennials are secure – wind and rain can easily knock them over and damage surrounding plants too.
  8. Pick as many peas and beans as you can, blanching and freezing anything you can’t eat. Raspberries and currants can also be frozen. And pick all courgettes even very small ones, which are particularly tasty, to avoid coming back to marrows. Remove weed seedlings with a hoe or by hand, especially anything close to plants. Water thoroughly before you go but ideally persuade a friend to come and help.
  9. Edge your lawn to neaten it up and clear areas where slugs might lurk. Mow the lawn a few days before you leave but don’t cut it too short if the weather is going to be hot and dry – long grass copes much better with drought than short grass.
  10. As with outdoor containers, it’s worth moving houseplants to a shady spot while you’re away, watering them thoroughly first. Anything particularly thirsty or in smaller pots will benefit from sitting on a damp cloth or in a sink or bath.

Dulwich Picture Gallery – July events

Exhibitions & Displays

Pisarro in Dulwich
Until 4 August
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Dulwich College, Dulwich Picture Gallery is hosting a special display focusing on Camille Pissarro’s view of the school’s main building, painted in 1871. A special loan from the Fondation Bemberg, Toulouse, the work returns to Dulwich for the first time since it was painted.

Dulwich Pavilion 2019: The Colour Palace

The Colour Palace has been unveiled as the second edition of the Dulwich Pavilion. The outcome of an open design competition organised by the Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture, The Colour Palace is a vibrant new addition for summer 2019 at Dulwich Picture Gallery, with a full programme of events planned.

Pavilion Supper Club: The Gathered Table by Ollie Dabbous
3 July & 18 September, arrival 7pm, dinner served at 8pm
£80; includes 5 courses tasting menu and drinks (see menu)

Pavilion Art Tasters
5 July – 16 August, Fridays, 6-10pm, £5
Bring friends and soak up the atmosphere with drop-in art-making and drinks in The Colour Palace.

Pavilion Late: The Art of Identity
19 July, 6-10pm, Free but ticketed (booking essential). Age 18+.
Tickets released one month prior to the event.
Experience the kaleidoscopic Colour Palace after hours in this special Late exploring art, heritage and identity. This Late invites you to question our relationship to art and architecture through the lens of cultural heritage and identity.

Lectures & Talks

Stories from the Collection: Painting for Profit
20 July, 11am-12pm
Free, but ticketed

Contextual Lecture: Secularism: Politics, Religion and Freedom
23 July, 10.30am, Linbury Room
£12 Adults, £10 Friends & Concessions

Adult Courses & Workshops

Make your own Transport Tote
13 July, 10am-3pm
£55 – Price includes a visit to Cutting Edge: Modernist British Printmaking exhibition

Early Years

Mini Masterpieces
Thursday 18 July, 10-11am & 11.30am-12.30pm
£12 per adult and child

Art Adventurers
19 July, 10-11am
£12 per adult and child

Family Events

Seasonal Specials

Pavilion Yoga + Cutting Edge
7 July – 1 September; Sunday 7 July, 8.30am registration, 8.45–9.45am yoga session (followed by exhibition view).
£25; £12 Friends. Book all three sessions for £60.

Much Ado About Nothing with the HandleBards
17 & 18 July, Doors open at 6pm, performance from 7pm
Earlybird £12 (limited availability; then £16 standard in advance, £18 on the door), Friends £15, Under 18s £10, Under 10s free

Education news: Adventures in the Great Outdoors

Richard Alldrick, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Co-ordinator at Alleyn’s, tells us how to help our children get the benefits of being outdoors.

Having seen countless children through their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards over the last 20 years, Richard is a keen advocate of the scheme. Apart from its focus on volunteering and skills, it also gets young people into the great outdoors, which is especially valuable and healthy for our London-based children.

We all know that getting active and being outside is good for our physical and mental health and many parents are keen to reduce screen time and encourage socialising – away from social media. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is run by many schools and youth groups but there are plenty of other ways to get your child active outdoors – and the great news is that many of them are low-cost orfree.

Get them while they are young

Young children generally gravitate to all things natural. You can nurture this innate interest from a young age, with a garden or local park as great starting points. Encourage your child to interact with nature in their play – be it jumping off tree stumps, collecting insects or stirring mud with a stick – and tell them it is fine to get wet and dirty… because it all comes out in the wash! Here are some more ideas:

  • Have a picnic dinner at a playground or park.
  • Use some rope and an old sheet to build a den.
  • Create a simple treasure hunt for your child and some friends.
  • Get them along to an outdoor obstacle course such as Mini Mudders.
  • Look into the Girlguiding and/or Scout Associations; their sections for different age groups offer outdoor activities such as camping and abseiling.

The older child

As your child gets older you can encourage outdoor time by doing homework outdoors, planning a walk or camping overnight in your garden. With more planning there are some great activities that might take you further afield:

  • Create an outdoor scavenger hunt for them and some of their friends. Dulwich or Sydenham woods would be a good start.
  • Get them involved in Junior Park Runs or triathlons.
  • Consider doing an orienteering course together – it is a great way to teach map reading and you can do it in an afternoon.
  • Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game that combines technology with adventure and can be enjoyed by the whole family. (See the link below for how to get started).


If your child is not keen on the outdoors you could try giving them a few options so that they can decide which activity they would prefer, and if you join in too it will not only give you some quality time with them but your enthusiasm will be infectious. If all else fails, hide the remote control and switch off the Wi-Fi!

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