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.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cat and mouse chase in the snow

We finally got some snow last night, Nice thick powdery snow which I thought Millie and Dexter would love to play around in. But no. After years of loving the snow, Millie put one paw outside, said too cold and came back indoors.

When she finally did come outside, no amount of roughhousing from Dexter could persuade Millie that it would be fun to play in the snow. This picture of Dexter isn't very good but I wanted to get a picture of his pyjama legs! The long fur that he has on his legs, that looks like snazzy seventies flares or a pair of cool boots. I don't clip his fur (he would never stay still that long), it's just the way it grows. But on a snowy day, it  just traps all the snow.

Dexter's amazing furry legs

The snow also told us the story of what happened in the garden last night. See these little mouse prints, (you have to look hard) well looks like they ran into some cat paw prints.

Then the cat had a little stand on the frozen pond, hopefully not trying any ice hole fishing. You can just make out a fish under the middle paw print. Don't worry - I have made a big hole in the pond for the fish.

The birds managed to dig the snow out of the way so they could have some breakfast!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dexter goes training (for the first time)

A few weeks after we adopted Dexter from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, I thought it would be good for him to go to some dog classes. In his previous home, Dexter had never worn a lead or collar, and never been for a walk.  Considering his limited his experience of the outside world, Dexter loved to meet new people and go to new places. At home I had already taught him a sit and wait which he learnt fast, so I thought he would love dog classes.

 If Dexter was human, he would be the type of character Owen Wilson tends to play in films like "You, Me and Dupree". Dexter likes to walk into a room and shout "Hey everyone let's party". He knows all the ladies find him very handsome, doesn't want to take things too seriously, and loves attention.

I had signed Dexter up for a class, and the first time I took him along I quickly realised that the whole dog class idea of sitting nicely, and being calm didn't appeal to Dexter at all.  He barked and barked and... barked, desperate to run round the room and play with the other dogs.  Who knew a dog could bark constantly for an hour.

From super barker to superstar 
Every week it was the same Dexter would bark all lesson.  I am not ashamed to say, some times I cried before I went in to that class dreading another hour of barking. Some of the other dog owners, and (some of the other dogs) did not look kindly on Dexter's behaviour, which made things harder.   But as time went on, with lots of praise and lots of rewards Dexter concentrated for a little bit longer. The first time Dexter sat for 1 whole minute, I was the one running round the room, completely over excited.  Dexter even won a rosette in an obedience test.

 A year later- Dexter will be taking part in his first obedience competition this month. He also does agility classes too now, which actually much better suit Dexter's personality, he can run round and go a little crazy.  For some  dogs like Dexter it can take a little bit of patience to get them used to dog classes, and some weeks are like going back to square one,  but its so rewarding when he does well, and he really loves all the praise (especially from the ladies).