Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The odd couple

For nearly a year now I have had an odd couple visiting my garden, a wood pigeon and a ring dove.  These two always have the same routine. They arrive at around 5.30pm, they sit in on a telegraph pole for about 10 minutes watching what is going on in the garden, then they will fly down and visit the bird table.

I have other wood pigeons visit the garden and they travel in a flock of 6 or 7, I also have a pair of ring doves. I have seen the odd couple fly off together, on many occasions and I am 100% per cent convinced, they are a pair.

I wonder what has happened, did the pigeon take over an abandoned dove nest, and accidentally raise a baby dove, and is now wondering why her baby isn't growing.  Perhaps the pigeon was an orphan and the dove reared him. Or are they a couple and don't realise the other is not a dove/pigeon.

A Google search hasn't raised any evidence of similar couples, in fact people who rescue pigeons and doves recommend not mixing the two.

Weirdly I have seen members of the flock of pigeons, chase the pair of ring doves off the bird table. But my little odd couple seem to get a long just fine.

Perhaps they are two veteran birds, who have seen it all, and are sharing their retirement together. That would be nice.

The odd couple, you can just see the pigeon!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Monday Mischief at the show...

Luna, A Dog's Life 
Millie and I have been very busy at Newark Competitive Obedience show. We do the pre-beginners and beginners class.

 We have to do:
 1 minute sit stay, 2 minute down stay (Millie uses this as extra sleeping time, I pretend to be a very still soldier).
Walking to heel on lead and off lead (boring, we would both rather sniff).
Fetch a dumbell (cool, good game).
Recall present (fun because you get to run to Mum).

Millie did well for a little while, but she got bored after an hour or so, and even did some yoga stretches and poses, when she should have been doing down stay.

I was too excited to do any of it. There were sooo many fun people and dogs to see. I did give the judge a special kiss on the cheek when I went in the ring for my turn.

You can see some pictures here of the clever people and dogs who won rosettes.

In 3rd place was a St Bernard, we loved him. You do not see many giant breeds at competitive obedience shows. Thank you Sheffield GSD for a fun day.

Mum and Millie
Thanks to Alfie's Blog, Snoopy's Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies and Luna, A Dog's Life for hosting this blog hop.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Some words on Wednesday

Woweee. There is a computer under all that dust. How about you use it Mum and update my blog?  Mum has been having a bit of a busy time.

First of all she went to London for one whole week to do a big course about project management, which meant she had to do a lot of studying, and a 3hr exam. Then she had to do a job interview (she got the job YAY).  Then finally she got a cold. Probably too much going to London not enough hugging Dexter.

Everything is back to normal now. Phew. Mum is at home with us, and we are getting ready for Easter. It has rained for 12 hours today. It is very cold rain. So I like to get into Millie's bed with her and keep warm,  Millie really appreciates that I do this! Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bird Watching

It is very hard to get a picture of Dexter. Normally when I point the camera at him, he rushes towards me, "What's that Mum, why are you holding it up in front of your face Mum, let me lick it ."  Dexter also very rarely sits still.

We have lots of birds in our garden building nests at the moment. Dexter is very interested in birds and loves chasing pigeons.  Dexter knows that a good bird watcher has to sit very, very still.  Which meant I could get a couple of cute spring photographs.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Monday Mischief- Hide and Seek

Luna, A Dog's Life 
What a busy weekend. It is finally starting to warm up, and Mum can do our training outside again. One of the things she teaches us is to go fetch a dumbbell.  Dad does not like us to fetch the dumbbell inside, as Mum is not too coordinated, and she will probably throw it through the window!

 It has been some time since I had my dumbbell to play with. I was so pleased, the dumbbell is good an chewy just like my Nyla bone. When Mum comes back from dog school with Millie, I stick my head in her bag, and take out Millie's dumbbell, so I can have a good chew.

When Mum threw the dumbbell for me today. I had two choices bring it back nicely in exchange for a treat or go and hide in the bushes, so I could have a good chew on the dumbbell.  So I hid in the bushes, heh he!
When Mum found me, I ran off and hid in another bush, which was so thick and leafy, she couldn't see me, never mind take a picture.

Sorry Mum you need a dumbbell that does not taste so good!

Thanks to our friends for hosting this hop  Alfie's BlogSnoopy's Dog Blog, and Luna, a Dog's Life, and My Brown Newfies

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Confused by Crufts

I am always left a bit confused by Crufts.  Following all the furore in recent years over pedigree dog breeding, and the boycotting of Crufts by sponsors and the BBC, I feel like I shouldn't watch.  However I also feel for all the reputable breeders, who are having their sport ruined by a small minority.

However I have been cheering this year as the Kennel club has introduced vet checks for the best of breed winners at all Kennel Club licensed General and Group Championship Dog Shows from Crufts 2012 onwards, in 15 designated high profile breeds. This measure was introduced to ensure that Best of Breed awards are not given to any dogs that show visible 
signs of problems due to conditions that affect their health or welfare. 

So far this competition several best of breed winners have not passed their vet checks, and are therefore not eligible to compete in best of show. This all sounds good, and hopefully this will restore the reputation of the show side of Crufts. 

On a positive note, I am delighted that some black Labs have done really well in competitive obedience.

 My absolute favourite performance of Crufts.  I am trying to convince my dutiful husband to be that a costume like this will improve my dogs training!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Saturday Pet Blogger Hop - Waggy Waggy Tail

 I thought I would try putting a video in my blog to see how it works.  Next time I will have to try some editing!

Millie was playing in her favourite puddles yesterday, and I just couldn't believe how fast her tail wags. It almost looks mechanical. She is so happy because she loves playing with her tennis ball!

I am signing Millie up for a paws to music competition today. You have to choose four songs to perform to, so far I have one Stevie Wonder, "Isn't she Lovely?".  We will be trawling through the i-pod this weekend.

Have a great weekend.

 Thanks go out to our Pet Blog Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Monday Mischief: Rain Rain Go Away

Luna, A Dog's Life
This weekend it has rained a lot. Millie does not like the rain, and she does not like getting her paws wet; unless it is to splash in the sea or a puddle. So Mum never has to worry about muddy paw prints from Millie.

I however love to jump in the mud and explore the flower beds, so I get very muddy paws, and I make lots of mischievous paw prints! Mum always forgets about my fondness for flower beds, until the kitchen floor is properly decorated with mud.

I have done lots of good things this weekend too.  We have this very beautiful new visitor to our garden. I do not bark at him and watch him nicely through the window (he is called a pheasant, not a peasant).

I sat quietly and enjoyed a toy.
I also got an paw mail from Sugar and Honey my foster sisters. Who are very happy in their new home.

Thanks to our friends for hosting this hop  Alfie's BlogSnoopy's Dog Blog, and Luna, a Dog's Life, and My Brown Newfies

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The shredder

 I thought it would be a really cute trick to train Dexter to bring me the mail. At Christmas time I had also shown Dexter how to unwrap the presents, and encouraged him to pull at the paper with his teeth.

 Dexter has now combined the two ideas in his head.  If I don't get to the post quick enough, it looks like this.

Millie thought that because Dexter was having his picture taken, she should have hers taken too.

Happy Saturday! Thanks to Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs, and Baby Patches, for hosting the hop.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday Mischief- Hi judges!

On Sunday morning, Mum woke me up at 6am. Millie and I know that 6am is only for work days, so we both ignored her and I tried to go back sleeping. Mum was pretty persistent and I knew something was going on when she tried to brush my fur.

My Brown Newfies
 Soon we were in the car, which I hate sooo much. After about eight days we arrived in a big field with at least 6 million cars, and in every car was doggies. Lots and lots of doggies, mostly they were the sort we saw on T.V. on a show called "The world sheepdog trials". There was no other dog that looked quite like me.

 After a little time we went into a hall with a big square, and there was a man and lady. The lady had a big clipboard and a badge with her name on and her name was JUDGE and the man had a badge and his name was STEWARD. It was just like our dog class, and Steward told Mum what to do.

We did a few bits of walking on the lead. Then I did a sit, and Mum walked away from me and called me. Then Mum took my lead off, and we did some more walking. But I realised I had not said Hi to Judge and Steward so I ran all the way over to say "HI". Judge and Steward were super pleased to see me.

 We also had to do sit for 1 minute and down for 2 minutes. Which I did very good. Some of the doggies got circles with shiny ribbons coming off them. But Mum said instead of getting a ribbon, I got to say "Hi Judges", which was also very good, and that made me Seventh. So I got a special chewy instead. It was pretty fun. And I hope to see Judge and Steward again soon.
This hop is brought you by  Alfie's BlogSnoopy's Dog Blog, and Luna, a Dog's Life, and My Brown Newfies

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Show time!

Tomorrow is Dexter's big day. He will be entering his first proper obedience competition. We have competed at our club but never in a big show before.

In our training class this week, we were practicing heel work when coach our jumped up and exclaimed "Dexter's bored!". Dexter has never been known to be bored in his life, ever. Lots of dogs learn heel work, with a treat in one hand to get them interested, I don't train Dex with treats in my hand, as he just goes so giddy, walking on back legs, spinning in a circle, eyes full of love for the treats. Normally he gets lots of praise as he works, and a treat at the end of the exercise. But my coach thinks Dexter now needs a bit more motivation, and we need to introduce a treat and a hand target. So anything could happen tomorrow!

 Will Dexter think this is a giant dog class, and be on his best behaviour! Will he think it is just all too boring, or will he think it's the biggest dog walk ever, and go crazy. 

 Hopefully we will meet some new doggy friends, and we will get to watch some of the dogs competing in the top classes. If he doesn't win any prizes for obedience, I bet he will give the judge the best hug of the day! Today's picture is of Dexter in training at Christmas. The exercise was to go in between the chairs. Dexter preferred to do things his own way.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Monday Mischief- sofa abuse

Luna, A Dog's Life

Sofas are really great.  You can use them as a look out post.

You can sleep up high.

You can bask in the sun...

Or you can create some real sofa mischief like my cat cousin Syke!

Happy Monday!
This is a Blog Hop. Thanks to Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Luna, a Dog’s Life,and My Brown Newfies for setting up this hop.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Day One Tellington Touch/ Harness Trial

Dexter didn't have his first walk until we adopted him; he was 7 months old. The first few times he went for a walk he walked nicely. What I did not realise was that he was nervous, and once he got his confidence the pulling began. Dexter pulls really bad, to the extent he will often be walking along on his hind legs.

Every time I walk him at least three people will stop and  say "Who is walking who?", I have to smile like I haven't heard that one before. I see people in their cars smiling and pointing at the crazy spaniel, I guess he looks kind of cute on his back legs. In reality it's not good for Dexter to be walking in such unbalanced way and it's not good for my arms!

 In obedience class he does beautiful loose lead walking, but in the real world there are just too many people, interesting smells, and other dogs for him to want to walk calmly. I have consulted two different trainers to try to help; we have tried:

  • Using a clicker and food rewarding him when he walks to heel. I have been doing this for nearly a year.  I try to build up the distance between treats, but if the treats aren't constant he is back to the end of the lead.
  • Stopping and walking in the opposite direction when he pulls. He jumps to my heel as soon as I stop, walks nicely for a few steps, then he is off again.
  • One trainer suggested checking him, I just can't do it. Same goes for any kind of a control collar.
I saw an advert in a magazine for a harness, which is designed for kind reward based training and uses a method called Tellington Touch. I ordered one and it arrived today. It has two rings to connect to the lead, at two points, and is padded and lined with fleece.  I am armed with a book and I am going to have a go and see if we can figure this out ourselves, to improve his loose lead walking. If not I will contact a Tellington Touch practitioner. 

Dexter gets lots of exercise, and has lots of fun with his dog sports; but I would just like for him to be able to go for a nice calm walk through town now and again.  Training starts tomorrow!
Dexter modeling his new harness

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Poor George

On Thursday it snowed for hours and now the snow is a few inches deep.  Last night it was -15; we had to take to the pond with a saw to get through the thick layer of ice. Boiling water and hot saucepans literally weren't cutting it!

All this crazy weather seems to have driven my dogs a bit crazy too. Millie who normally gives affection sparingly, has been super friendly. Even coming to sit with me on the couch this morning. Dexter appears to have been hit by a dose of puppy hyper-activeness.

Dexter's worst puppy habit was chewing and destroying stuff, especially clothes. He hasn't done this for a year or so now. But this week the chewer was back. "Do you think he is stressed out?" I asked David. "Does he look stressed?" David replied as Dexter ran and bounced round the room, jubilantly carrying one of my socks.  The chewer even progressed to my handbag, and fetched out my gloves and took them off to chew under a duvet.

However the biggest crime was the destruction of George. George is Millie's well loved teddy. Millie takes excellent care of her soft toys, they can last her years.  Only their flattened, blackened faces where Millie has regularly groomed them give a clue that their owner is a dog.

George sadly had his stuffing removed this morning, and spread around the house. Here is Millie taking a few moments to remember her very special bear (not closing her eyes, because Mum tried to take a picture  where she had to look into the sun!).

Monday, 6 February 2012

(No) Monday Mischief Millie

Luna, A Dog's Life
My sister Millie thinks that because all the other dogs have had a turn at Monday Mischief, she should have a turn. But I say no way. If I let Millie write on my blog you would all be at snooze town after two sentences. Millie is such a big sister. She loves rules, order and being good (apart from the brie stealing incident at Christmas, but I am not allowed to talk about that).

Here she is being good, not on the lead. BORING.... She should have run off, jumped in the stream, and then put her wet muddy paws on some people walking by. That's what I would do.

When Mum was doing some tidying she stacked our dog beds on top of each other. I sat in her bed for 2 minutes, just while Mum sorted things out, but because it was not my bed Millie actually sat on top of me. She said the rules are dogs stay in their own beds.

But when Millie's sleeping, I cuddle up to her, because even though she is very grown up my sister is very special.
This is a Blog Hop. Thanks to Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Luna, a Dog’s Life,and My Brown Newfies for setting up this hop.