Only a few days now before I set off on the High Peak Trail – please spare a few mins to stop by the donation site and donate a £1 or more.
All cash raised helps rescue dogs.
Only a few days now before I set off on the High Peak Trail – please spare a few mins to stop by the donation site and donate a £1 or more.
All cash raised helps rescue dogs.
His first new trick is one he is very pleased with. It is not something I taught him, this is something he has discovered on his own.
When everyone is busy doing something, perhaps answering emails, doing homework or reading a book, Tommy feels a bit neglected. He curls up for his nap but, like all puppies, when he wakes he wants to play.
He often gets Stan to play with him when the family are occupied but at times Stan does not want to rush around if he is having a nap so Tommy came up with a plan!
He has been practicing his plan repeatedly all day yesterday and several times this morning. He will walk over to the door to the dog run area; where he goes out to the loo. He looks around to see if anyone is watching and then using a paw he scratches the door. This always has a immediate response. No matter how busy they are with other things at least one member of the family will immediately go over to him and open the door to let him out. We are all well-trained to help him when he wants to go through this door as, of course, it usually means he wants the loo.
When we open the door he will skip outside and do his business before hopping back inside. Now though that has changed, as his reason for scratching the door is not to nip out and spend a penny – no, he wants to play and the instant he has a family member there opening the door for him he turns his back on outside and greets them excitedly asking for fuss.
The first few times this worked as the family were caught unawares and had not sussed out that he was after their attention! Now though everyone has been briefed not to give him big loves if he asks to go out when he obviously does not need to! We are of course making sure he does get lots of love and fuss.
His other new trick had Stan looking on in amazement – Tommy walks on water!
No apologies for the poor photos as I could not retake any, they all had to be very quick snaps with me holding tight to the dogs leads at all times in case the ice cracked. Immediately after taking the quick snaps I set about teaching both dogs not to do this again just in case they fell through the ice!
Following on from my comment yesterday when I told you about the garden that has a bomb as a feature I also frequently go past a house that has snakes in the window! I don’t like to look too closely so I can’t give too much detail here – I would hate to be caught staring in their living room window! It’s a large picture window and as I walk past with the dogs I can’t help but catch sight of the snakes. There are three of them posed – I think one is on a rock and another is on a branch. I’m not sure if they are models or if they are real (but dead!) They look very real and a bit scary….
The dogs also notice stuff as we are walking around.
They are of course very good at spotting cats in gardens as we pass, Stan just looks at them and walks on by, Tommy gets very excited and jumps about and walks on his back legs so he can get a better view. One of the dogs I walk while his owners work is so very good at cat spotting he will even see them if they are peaking around a curtain in an upstairs window and he gets very excited when he catches a quick look like this and does not calm down for a good couple of mins!
Tommy’s fave thing to look out for is squirrels and he tries to jump up trees after them which is a bit odd – especially as he remembers which tree they were in for days and will rush up and try to jump up the tree for no apparent reason, he and I know that there is a squirrel hiding in there that has been there since our last walk but passersby think he is crazy!
I have just got in from walking Stan and Tommy and we saw lots of other people dog walking while we were out. As we played in the long grass and splashed through the mud I began to think of the many different styles of dog walking we see on a regular basis and to consider how this compares to how I walk my dogs.
Some people we see are clearly only nipping out quick with their dogs to allow them to toilet – on the park this morning one of these “walkers” parked a car near the gate and came into the park with the dog on a lead and walked very slowly around a grassed area until the deed had been done – she then cleared it up and returned with the dog to the car and their trip continued – I hope the dog gets a fun walk later.
Other people walk their dog as part of their own fitness regime – there are a few of these regularly on our park and sometimes they arrive dressed in lycra fitness gear which makes me feel very fat, lumpy and frumpy. They run, or jog, or walk, very fast, usually around the edges of the park and the dog follows, sometimes on a lead and sometimes running freely at their side. I wonder if they ever notice the changing landscape of the park with it’s pretty flowers, trees and bird life as they rush past, on a mission to be super fit.
Then there are the people with balls. They arrive, sometimes walking and sometimes by car, and remove the dogs lead as soon as they enter the park. They walk to the open grassed area and produce a ball, which is thrown repeatedly out onto the grassed area for the dog to fetch, the owner usually stands still and waits for the dog to bring the ball back. This goes on for a while and then the dog gets put back on a lead and is walked out of the park. Both dogs and owners seem to enjoy this activity and I know Stan and Tommy do enjoy chasing a ball as part of the many activities we do when out on a walk.
We also see a few professional dog walkers. These people often walk more than one dog at a time, I have seen four or five and on one occasion six walked at the same time and some of them barely seem to interact with the dog or dogs at all – they just walk for the required time and then they take the dog/s back home. I often think their owners would be better off buying a dog running machine instead of hiring a dog walker.
I think that the dog walk should be the high point of a dog’s day. It should be a time for companionship and bond building with the person walking the dog. It should involve the chance to sniff and investigate things. It should be fun, lots and lots of fun! If I am out with my dogs or if I am walking a client’s dog then all my energy is focused on the dog and on making sure he or she gets the maximum benefit from the walk. This is why I frequently walk Stan or Tommy on their own, by frequently I mean daily, even if it is only for a very short walk, this time is our quality time and time for us to reinforce our bond. Clients dogs are generally walked alone and we usually drive to a local beauty spot for their walks as it is much more fun for the dogs to be out in the country than road walking near home. The location of walks is also variedon a daily basis as Ithink it is more fun for me and the dogs to visit many varuied places rather than nthe same daily route. We do like the park but we also visit the ponds, woodlands, open fields etc
I love to walk with a dog and I know they have a good time walking with me – that’s why I do it. A walk to me is much more than going round a circuit to get some exercise it is a bonding, learning, growing, experience of life.
We have spent this weekend celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday and have had a fun party that started mid day on Saturday and went on until Sunday afternoon! This made for a potentially stressful weekend for Stan and Tommy but we planned carefully to try to make it as good as we could for our dogs as well as the humans.
Tommy loves people coming to the house so as long as he got chance to have a good rest he was going to be fine but as Stan is so nervous we needed to make sure he got his own space -
I’ll be putting more photos on fb and may do another blog with ideas on how to keep noisy teens and nervous dogs happy in the same house but for now me and Stan need to go snuggle now the house is all peaceful – happy birthday Cathy – we love you xxx
Regular readers will know that I was going to do a post about Virgil last week but it was meant to be mainly pictures and his photos were trapped in my new phone as I couldn’t work out how to get them onto the lap top! I have now resolved this in a very low tech way – I took a camera out with me and took some new photos!
So who is Virgil?…. Virgil is a springer spaniel and he is around 5 years old. He is one of the dogs that I walk while his family are out at work. He is actually one of the best behaved dogs I have had the pleasure of taking out. He loves the car, is calm when I arrive at his house and has a really good recall which we practice with him on the extender lead just in case he ever does accidentally get away from me – I never let dogs I walk off lead but need to know they would come back to me if the need arose.
I have a couple of spaces at the moment if you need your dog to be walked. I don’t do weekends – sorry. Prices start at £8 per hour for regular customers.* Get in touch if you want full details and live in the Swadlincote area. Walks are planned, structured and fun for your dog and each walk is tailored to suit his or her needs.
*occasionally the hourly charge may be reduced to £5 per hour if I have built a good relationship with your dog and I am able to introduce him to Tommy and then begin to walk them together. In all other cases dogs are walked alone as this means I can focus on their needs and the introduction to Tommy is the only exception to this.
Other people’s dogs and the way they are treated can have a massive impact on our walk!
First there is the tiny shitzu we often meet early in the morning. It is walked along the busy road part of our walk on a fairly long lead which means it gets to invade the space of most of the dogs it passes. Stan always barks at it to warn it to back off and this barking is usually followed by some pretty impressive growling to keep the tiny creature out of his space. We always moan at him for overreacting. The other day this little bundle of fluff came nose to nose with Tommy who wanted to play. As Tommy drew near it jumped up and bit him on the nose! This had him backing off yelping and as Stan approached with loud growls the tiny thing launched at the retreating Tommy again to laughter from its owner at the noise our puppy was making when attacked by such a tiny dog. We now accept Stan was right and will be giving this wolf in sheep’s clothing a wide berth!
Then there is the young lab that gets tied up outside the corner shop. He is positioned so that you don’t know he is there until you get close and then he lunges, barks and tries to jump about and get to our dogs. Tommy is very excited by this and wants to go say hi but Stan is worried by it and wants to give him a good bite to make him shut up! I eventually get past but with very wound up dogs!
We also have the off lead but under control dog. I know he is under control as his owner tells me. He tells me how good the dog is off lead repeatedly as he tries to detach him from our Tommy, who he likes to mount, or tries to drag him away from Stan when both dogs are having a growl contest! As this “under control” dog leaves the field of play, often being dragged by his owner, all three dogs are very excited and Stan is often upset!
There is the fast walker with the big dog. He strides along with his dog at his side at a speed that is usually reserved for a race. His dog barks as they approach but he never deviates from his course, just keeps coming and expects everyone to move out of his way – we do as when they get level with us his dog will lunge at ours but even this does not break the focus of Mr Fast walker and he carries on his course leaving devastation in his wake – oh and dog poo, very big dog poo which is never picked up presumably as this would then slow his progress.
There are others but it’s time for walkies here now so they will have to wait for another day.
This is a long story cut short…
Once upon a time I was very much the person in control but it meant living a life I did not like, living away from home, driving a foolish number of miles a week, putting pressure on people to always be the best. I was a control freak. I earnt lots. I had an enviable life style BUT I didn’t like it. I’d had enough so I walked. I went home. I got a dog and Stan and I settled down to a happily ever after life. One where I woke up next to my husband everyday and saw my kids everyday and I didn’t work 16 hours a day to put zeros on the balance sheet.
I had a lot of fixed ideas about how to look after my dog, how to be his pack leader, how to carry on being a control freak in many ways. Then I began to read books. Look at web sites. Take courses on dog behaviour and training. Talk to trainers, especially Lisa (she knows who she is,) the impact Lisa had was life changing for my dogs and ultimately me. I resisted her thoughts as I have to admit I like to be a control freak but I kept thinking back to things she said. Eventually I began to think differently and began to be less controlling of my dogs (by now two had become one.)
I’m not going to detail the changes in how I think now – that will happen gradually over coming weeks and months and there are still areas where I am making up my mind and learning how to make sure my dogs get the best life possible. There will be people who have very strong views on how to train and relate to dogs who won’t agree and they wont understand my changes in thinking. However there will also be people who will look at the photo below of Tommy in his new harness who will totally get where I am coming from – Tommy will never wear a half check collar like Stans. In the photo we had just come back from out first walk with the harness in place and his posture on the walk was so much improved that it was worth buying even if that were the only reason!
More on my changed ideas soon but for now here is my baby in his new harness……
So it was raining this morning and I am recovering from a cold and still feeling pretty rubbish so I decided that instead of a walkies we would have a kitchen dog training session which then spread to most of the house with the tunnel out and going under the dining room table and a hoop being set up for Stan to jump through and Tommy to step through – Tommy is still too young for jumps. We also had a very fast game of ball that involved running up and down stairs. We had great fun but half an hour after we stopped the boys let me know they were still hoping for their walkies!
I relented as the rain had become just dampness rather than downpour so we set off for the woodlands. We had a great walk before turning for home and it was just as we were leaving that Tommy spotted his chance!
Fresh fox poo – his favourite eau de cologne!
Head down he dipped in a fluffy ear.
Bliss and best of all I had not realised what was happening so he was not stopped – too good to be true.
He dipped the other ear!
Just as I looked around to see what he was up to he went for it – head right down and pressed into the soft mess and then a quick slide to spread it down his back! Lovely!
In the car I was very glad of my blocked nose! When we got home I can only blame the cold for slowing my reactions as he was able to get into the office where there is a new white carpet – there he tried to remove some of the evidence!
The result will not go down well with the family when they return tonight. It was time to implement my disaster recovery plan….
5. Then into the bath to wash off the fox poop and the topping of tomato!
6. Out and dry you now sweet-smelling puppy!
7. Now bath your terrier as you “might as well while the bathroom is so messy!”
8. Take both dogs down stairs to be dried off….
9. Sit the dogs down and explain how we don’t behave like that
10. Hoover washing powder off new white carpet to leave clean fox poo free space….. oh it didn’t work!!!!
11. Order Hire station carpet cleaner – a good thing as BCTGB get a donation and plan to shampoo new white carpet and then….
GIVE UP and pour medicine into glass – put feet up first and chill out!
If you need to clean a carpet and want to get a cut price and know that Border Collie Trust will get a donation have a read here-
My boys love to chase each other – sometimes Tommy gets chased and sometimes Stan allows Tommy to chase him. They run very fast and sometimes get very excited which often results in Stan doing some high-pitched terrier barking – something he seldom does except when he thinks I am about to leave and go dog walking without him and he thinks he should remind me he is there!
The best place for a good chase as far as they are concerned is around my car when it is parked on the grass at Caulk Abbey. This area is a popular place to park at weekends as you are surrounded by great views and it is a nice open green space that is lovely for a picnic or as the starting point for a hike around the estate parkland. I visit during the week and often we are the only car parked in this huge space. There is a good view of the road which is very quiet on weekdays and this makes it a great place to play for excited dogs as there is ample time to recall them if any cars do appear in the distance and there is lots of space to run meaning they can get up to great speeds.
The game starts with them in their large crate in the back of my car….
As you can see there is a lot of space for a good run…
A few days ago they began their run and after several circuits they were running at great speed when Tommy, who on this occasion was the one being chased decided he had been chased enough. This is often a problem for him as it is hard for a little man to stop a game when a keen terrier like Stan still wants to play. Usually, luckily for Tommy, it happens the other way around and Stan no longer wants to play and has to let the puppy know this. Stan does this by stopping dead in his tracks and turning to face Tommy with a stern look. Tommy knows this means playtime is over and he skips off to chase butterflies. Occasionally Tommy tries to carry on playing which results in either Stan giving in and playing again or he will growl at Tommy, who then backs off and leaves him in peace.
This is not so simple if it is Tommy who needs to rest first and that is where I step in if need be as the puppy sometimes just can’t run as far and as fast as Stan even though he is now bigger than his older brother. When they play chase around the car Tommy had developed a way to end the game that I was not keen on! For a few weeks he has run at full tilt towards my car and then ducked down and slid under to be out of Stan’s reach – perfect place for hiding a puppy he seemed to think! I disagreed and we had stern words. He had not done this move for about two weeks when they played the game on a wet morning a few days ago. Stan was chasing and Tommy was finding it hard to stay in front as Stan is a really fast runner, after several circuits the pup decided suddenly to change direction and head straight for the car. I was stood watching but didn’t realise what he intended until it was too late.
Tommy headed for the car at a rapid rate. I tried to shout but I was too late with my recall to interrupt his high-speed dash. Stan veered off avoiding the car and stopped. Tommy ran on until he was only about 4′ away from the car. Then he tried to change direction. I don’t know if my recall command had sunk in or if he had suddenly realised he had grown and he was too tall to complete his slide under the car move! Either way he was too late as the grass was soaked and slippy and he skidded sideways in the car with a bang and a yelp! No longer a tiny puppy he can’t just duck and get under a space that small! I think he won’t be doing that again – it hurt. He was ok and so was the car but we ended the game and set off for a walkies as the sun began to dry the grass!
For another funny chase related story visit our friends across the water with their collies in the Meadow – http://colliesofthemeadow.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/wipe-out/#comment-4927