Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Training day

Today I think I can talk for everyone when I say we had a great training day. Nothing dramatic, no major breakthroughs just training.

First we had a coffee, training? Of course if you turn up everyday to a walk jump straight out and walk your dog the time you are held up you can't be upset at them creating a fuss can you. So we made them wait a little while, Sky came out whilst we drank so he could mooch as we watched to see how he was doing today.

Not a peep from everyone so we started opening the doors and said not one word, cage doors open we waited, surely someone would make a mistake. I love to feel the tension, they practically crackle...nothing worse than being ok all the time is there, I think most of us hate stress but a bit tension and excitement is great. We of course had a couple of evacuators Sirus and Harv the usual suspects waiting to sneak or bulldoze out whilst another dog is brought out. We let them get it wrong and put them back in whilst the others got out to play. Both waited, desperate to join in and they did after waiting patiently to be invited out.

Once everyone had the chance to have a run and play we started the steady sit training. Little actions can make so much of a difference and our guys have started to treat sit as a prelude to wild running, this may of course not be the case but hey as gamblers the chance that they might made them excited. So we are working on correcting this( we have needed the correction rather than the dogs it is afterall something we have inadvertently trained). So we each invited a dog in popped them on the lead and did a steady, nothing is going happen sit. I love these kind of sits because it is stroke, tickle love time. The leaders come off and still they sit slow stroked appreciated by both, eyes going soft and their bodies relaxing into the sit.

To see them relaxed, enjoying the attention whilst others play with their friends is just so interesting, the frustration control we do evident. Instead of releasing them with an excited 'GO!' we walk asking them to step in line then with a tickle on the head they go back to what they love most whether that is rough play, sniffing or just running.

The likes of Molly T who is a busy little person, super sensitive and opinionated( not necessarily a bad thing)we don't 'tell her off' when she moves or shuffled we just place her back to where she should have been, whether this is once or twenty times. Roly who is an adrenalin junkie is also treat the same then they don't feel pressured or the need to appease by going all giddy and silly.

Elsie staffie and Stan have really progressed with this.

After all the the guys were done we worked with handling with Charlie and Murphy. Both boys are very similar though they look so different! Charlie despite being a lab is cautious of new people and new situations, despite knowing Alex and Sam well he isn't often physically handled by them so we are working on this. Murphy is just a bigger exaggerated version of Charlie. So I haven't handled either today, Sam worked on Murphy first just long firm strokes, ignoring giddy over the top behaviour and praising staying with her instead of coming to me. Watching for his soft face returning keeping the pressure off as much as possible without backing off he settled and even when released he chose to play next to her.

Charlie knew straight away something was going to happen so he wouldn't hang around until Sam caught him, avoidance is a sensible option but just doesn't help in this situation so Sam just kept at it until she could pop him on the lead. Once settled he was just gently held, arm around him, he wasn't released until all the tension had left then once he got to that stage he was allowed an excited release. That mad go and run was enough motivation for him to be happy to be caught up and worked on again. After a break and a play Alex then repeated.

Willow being the youngest had a watered down version and was no bother at all and is rarely fearful now...

So whilst I am sure it is probably not a very exciting post I have thoroughly enjoyed spending a bit extra time working on little things, sharing time with the guys and communicating with them, there are times where I am sure they think we are merely Chauffeurs delivering them to their fun. Is this what dog walkers do do? Chauffeur?! I like the day long contact, the interaction that that means, the involvement in their lives. So the next time I complain about the little wassicks doing something tell me to get a grip it could be worse I could just be walking them round the block!

I am proud of us and the guys today.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

It has been a long day.

I know I have a fantastic job/ life/ career BUT let me have this one long moan or rant. Ask Sam, we do have an occasional moan and I love nothing better than Sam ranting as long as it isn't about me.

It started off so innocently Tuesday doesn't sound particularly threatening or dramatic does it? Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea nowt terrible really happened it was just one of them days...and continues as I write this blog.

My mam's cat Charlie hasn't been well of late and as you can imagine he is a much loved member of the family, he does think he is more than a mere member of the family but hey ho I can live with that. Charlie was booked in at the vets for 9am ready for a scan and a broken tooth removed, soon after I also had to drop the St Bernard's off for their three weekly groom.

I generally start off pretty early as I live where many sheep graze and nowt much else but with what I had booked in I started even earlier. Driving along with my plan ticking away in my mind I couldn't swerve in time to miss the pigeon, luckily he seems to glance off the wing mirror or at least I desperately tried to hope that was the case.

Soon I was picking up bleary eyes dogs ready for their exciting day with the petnans. It wasn't long before I could hear a strange noise .....ripping? Ripping argh! As soon as I could I stopped and smelt that unwelcome acrid smell of pee...great so maimed pigeon, ripped bedding and a weeing session. Little Make me weep Willow was deeply ingrossed in her despatching and 'take that you rotten scoundrel' peeing move she seemed a little taken aback when she was unceremouniously moved to the top cage without her new foe. Poor Izzo was distraight at such wanton distruction and was panting desperatley. I tried to reassure him that it was no biggy and off we set again.

Tips obviousy has a thing about early mornings and roundabouts, put those two things together and you are sure to induce some lovely and not well received womiting moments. So I approached the third roundabout with trepidation. My fears were well founded and I struggled to blank out the sight of my beautiful boy throwing up on my front seat only just missing the gear stick...nice.

The clean up stop went without a hitch with a clean cloth replacing the now messy cloth and off we went....safe in the knowledge he was unlikely to throw up again.

I was still just about on time so I continued on my daily ritual of pick ups, the dogs less bleary eyed and ready for what the day may bring. Soon I was pulling up to my mams house and Charlie was packed and all ready to go ....how did I forget that when Tips gets car sick he also desperatley needs the toilet and I was greeted with the unnerving sight of Tips trying to squat....Arghhhh

I ran cat basket in hand trying not to swing my precious cargo....Out flew Tips relief all over his face and all over mine too only to find he couldn't perform under pressure....what to do? I walked, we stood, I tried to think of noises that might stimulate his bottom into to action but I failed and soon we were back in the van. Tips looking slightly bewildered, me sweating slightly and Charlie yowelling for all he was worth.

Peace resumed for those two long miles and we arrived on time( how on earth?!) to hand the little darling over. Right now for the groomed which was only a mile away, yeh!

Without the yowelling I started to notice Izzo had continued to pant and I started to worry, surely even a sensitive staffie wouldn't still be upset at the pups free for all?

We arrived at the groomers and I quickly let Izzo out trying to jolly him out of his anxiety....as I walked around to take Mila and Belle out of the van I smiled as sweetly as I could at the traffic warden. He stood watching me right next to the van, now I was in a loading bay but I knew they were happy to let me drop the guys off and pick up from here so I continued until I heard a funny noise then it hit me, or rather it hit the traffic warden, the wall and the pavement. Uh oh I turned and looked at Izzo then slowly at the wall my eyes tracking the trail of....destruction only to find the trail continued up a certain persons trousers.....our eys met and still not a word passed between us. I couldn't read his thoughts though I could guess them.

On the plus side Izzo was much brighter! Oh praise be for showers in our vans....how do I do this do I wash the guys trousers down whilst doing the other surfaces or do I blatantly ignore what had happened to him and wash everything else? He barely moved his eyes and many others seemed to be bearing into my skull as I washed the pavement as best I could before sprinkling some lovely flowershop zoflora down, there no harm done eh, ahem.

By this time he was checking his watch albeit from a spot slightly further back. I grabbed the girls and leaky bum to let the groomer know so she could decide what to do. I shouted back that I wouldn't be long and if he gave me a ticket I would use it for a rather unpleasant use...he didn't laugh. As I handed the dogs over the groomer kindly asked me if I had been running, urm no I said I just felt a little underpressure.

Once that was all done I stepped outside and froze.

That familiar hot feeling was creaping up, my face started to go puce and my scalp started to crawl......I was greeted with the sight of a half pigeon wing attached to my wingmirror. Oh no so not only am I a bird murderer I had also just advertised the fact to all and sundry most of whom had also seen the pebbledashing of the local environment and environmental enforcer. Well I guess I could be grateful I didn't have a ticket.

As my real day started things started to improve, the dogs were so funny playing out their little games and dramas to an appreciative crowd. I could feel the calmness descent and this feeling continued once I heard Charlie had come out of the operation jst fine with nothing too bad to deal with for now.

It wasn't until much later that my day followed its previous thread. I arrived ready to drop off Charlie and Willow who had redeemed herself on the walk. I opened the door let Charlie out and went to the back opened the door and looked in horror as there was no Willow. Stop and think I told myself! My mind raced could I have put Lola and Poppy in and thought that was Willow surely not...I checked all the cages she definitely wasn't there and just in case decided to look in the middle from where Charlie had come from...and there she was sitting like a treasure in the cage I don't have in my van. Only I was in Sam's van, Lily which sports an extra upstairs cage. Argh I need a whisky even though I don't drink whisky.

With nerves jangling I headed back to drop off the other guys only to find my slightly earlier drop off had caught out the one and only customer who I don't have a gate key for and they weren't there. I changed my route only to find they still weren't back. My face was starting to burn as the appointment to pick Charlie was fast approaching but luckily as I poppe dmy van into reverse they arrived.

So now I sit listening to the not so gentle yowelling, wailing and scratching of a bewildered old moggy who's whole life has been turned upside down( he is a dramatic cat at the best of times) and the gentle sighing of two lovely petsitting dogs who are being subjected to not only a cat wailing but now Flute. Why is Flute wailing? Now that will be because a certain little womiting wassick doesn't want to share the cage with a big dope of a brother.

So don't tell me tomorrow that you want my job, that I look tired or that I am lucky cos whilst it may all be true I have a feeling I may not be feeling the love.

So now I am heading off to bed for the fourth time in the vain hope that my brain will shut down and the ear plugs will stay in place and then if all else fails I wonder if my mam will notice a big ginger cat mark alongside an indentation of a dog on her beautiful white bed covers?!

Night night

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Circus event

Circus event.

Right guys we are getting closer to organising our next charity event.

The petnans Caroline, Sam and Alex are going to do a normal dog walking pet caring day dressed in circus outfits( dogs too) to raise money for The North Air Ambulance Service then we are going to have a weekend get together for our customers to join in with their guys.

So can people let me know if you are interested in coming along...
Would you like the customer get together to be indoors or at a favourite walk( no ponds/streams or rivers as the dogs are in costume lets be safe!)
Who can help with providing costumes for their dogs for the walking day

I am aiming for the second week in July so either the second weekend (9th 10th) or the third (16th 17th).

If you would like refreshments or to use this get together to also grab a pub lunch or other please let me know, perfect for the Petnanny human children too I hope we can outdo last time and raise more than £600 so any help with raising more money will be very gratefully received.

We are a very friendly bunch for those who are yet to join us on a get together...so please don't worry or feel left out, we not only have Petnanny in common we also have some lovely dogs in common and a common love of dogs.

Please note lease check with me first if any other dogs than Petnanny dogs are wanting to join in.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Mmmm interesting

As we have a couple of interesting issues coming up I want to share.

Flute and Tips are squabbling.

Foxy loxy Willow is struggling with frustration control.

Roly is struggling with his fix!

Non of these issues are straight forward and they take time and understanding and most of all relentlessness! So let us begin.

Sherleen mentioned that Willow seems to have boundless energy. What do we do when we are faced with boundless energy in a pup? We try to tire them out. Understandably. Yet surely the more you walk them the fitter they get therefore the more they will need walking. With working dogs ( as in breed rather than actual dogs who work for a living) we love to see the tongue lolling, leg wobbling, tail wagging exhaustion where they will only get up for food. I see people every time, year after year using toys to wear their guys out( I am not talking directly about Sherl's guys here) yet all you train them to do is expect high excitement, full throttle exercise and it is a lazy way of walking our guys not to mention unnatural whatever is natural for pet dogs that is!

So what do you do re walking? You walk first, walk and walk if need be, on lead. Yes I actually said on lead. Then you spend some time off lead alternating the dogs if you have two or more. Then time off together and switch. Other times both off, other times non off. Get them thinking, using their sense...don't throw the sodding ball, hide it with a touch of cream cheese at first to help them out. Throw the ball make them wait till they are quivering with frustration and excitement then send them looking for it. Hide cream cheese on trees, large stones anything taht make sthem use their noses and brains.

It is not about legs being tired its about brains being tired. Then we deal with the frustration. If you have a cage use it. One dog in one dog out. Chop and change. Pop into the cage and have a food game with second dog or pop both in cages hide food for them and let them out. Stop feeding your dogs in a bowl.

Don't bring your dog up to be adrenalin junkie...ball throwing full blown play can do that. It takes a very steady dog to have all that excitement and to not strive to have it all the time.

As for Roly Roly isn't straight forward either, like Willow who has had to be tough, to be resourceful and relentless to just survive her puppyhood. Roly was an unusual pup that was inherently arrogant yet fearful of dogs. He is part terrier so is preprogrammed to love aggravation and adrenalin. How to get the balance? You don't first time. You tweak one thing to sort another only to find it causes the first thing to tip the balance and now you urgently have to sort the next thing. So that is bad isn't it? Nope not in my book. Each lesson is hard earned, each time he learns something it might throw up another but you are working through something. I have always said give me a naughty complicated puppy anytime than a straight forward puppy who learns the word no as an adult. An adult dog who has never been questioned or moulded is usually not a happy dog when it finally happens.

Roly has to learn no matter how much he wants to do something even if he feels it is killing him not to do it sometimes he just can't. Is it going to make him unhappy, yes I am afraid it is going to probably make him unhappy for now but make it your business to attend to his needs, accept you have done it then let it go. Sometimes the reason you know how to be happy is because you know what being unhappy is all about.

So with Roly it is about never allowing him to boil over, never to turn play into a adrenalin fix. Set up good adrenalin fixes....a rag toy where you spin him around the floor to get him fired up, just you and him. A box full of paper so he can dive in and rip the hell out of it. Balloons so he can kill them. He gets lots of dog fun so he gets what he needs he just wants more.

No means no but it doesn't have to mean loosing out, failing taking something away. often it is just a step towards yes and more.

As for my two? Tips will ultimately be the boss as he cares, Flute is a steady soul happy to be in the thick of it not needing to be the one. Yet Tips has to realise that his word is not law. I step in when needed sometimes I don't know if it is needed or not. I need them to live together, share things together so they have to work it out between them to a degree but not unsupervised.

Flute has so far to go with recall, with the frustration of not just being able to say hi or to run... Tips is still learning what I want, what is allowed and what isn't its not that he is getting it wrong he just doesn't know what right it yet. I have a lot to do and most of it is just relentlessly working toward the long goal. I don't strive to make them happy, strive to give them all the want, I need to teach them to accept and to be content and then they might start to be happy.

Hurrah for training

I am going to admit to something shameful.

I haven't been bothered to train. Of course I am training our guys yet I had completely ran out of enthusiasm for training the podenco pups. Yes on a day to day basis they are learning and I do train as I go about my daily life with them but I have done no one to one training with them. It has been classic...you all know of vets who's dogs are falling apart at the seams, builders whose houses never get finished....now my guys are definitely walked but blah blah when it came to training.

Thankfully my enthusiasm is back. A couple things have made it happen. One was being at a loose end before a trip to do unmentionables to parts of my body that shall remain anonymous. Then the second was tormenting baggages. Tips hurt himself on Monday trying to shoulder barge his way into a game only the shoulder he chose was Izzo's and he crumpled instead with Izzo continuing on with his fun game with Flute. So restricted to lead exercise Tips is completely manic.

When Tips is manic Flute is more so. So we had flying legs, leaping sofas, baby gates rugby tackles and slightly demented play. Separating helped with Flute who preceded to persuade Tumble to play fight. That left Tips all fired up and no where to go. Oh goodie. There was nothing for it I was going to have to wear the little pointy nosed muppets out.

Out came the primula, the target stick, a cushion that is too small to be of any use and two willing pupils.

Flute has done some clicker training so we had a bit play...established what was happening and he was off. Walk backwards, down, sit, paws, bark, stare at me, prey and touch...no cues just letting him free offer and play. We established a sit and down on cue...a short back on cue and a stay cue is in the pipeline. We started our mat training with the cushion and he loved having to work out the touch command, moving away from the prize in order to get it. We finished on a really happy productive note and before Tips self combusted with frustration on the other side of the baby gate. Flute went off with his jackpot and watched quietly whilst I started with Tipsy.

Tips hadn't done any clicker so we started with something he already liked doing. When he wants something you have he lies his head on you arm or leg, looks up longingly and sighs. So everytime he did this for the magical primula I clucked at him ( I don't use a mechanical clicker I just cluck my tongue twice). Bingo with an intense look on his face he practically threw his head onto my leg stared and leapt on the offered primula as soon as that magical cluck came.

Soon I was able to cluck when he looked straight at me. In seconds he was still, unnaturally still...then he would look straight into my eyes and his tail starts slow wagging...knowing what was coming next! It is interesting to see him thinking and what he does in the lead up to the behaviour. Clicking ( cluck cluck hehe) teaches you to be patient and most of all to observe all that is around you something I have learnt few people have the ability to do.

After some targetting where he had to touch the end of a stick where ever it was places we moved on to sit. Soon he was sitting consistently though I have yet to attach a cue until he is reliable.

So why hurrah for training? Well instead of a good walk, a play and some tormenting they got ten minutes of training and both are completely out for the count, in true sighthound fashion, on the settee and dog bed. Listen...can you hear that wonderful thing? Silence or rather gentle snoring ( cat) the odd groan ( Shy) and slow rhythmical breathing ( the lads). Hurrah!

Guess that means I need to get sorted for the dreaded appointment...just so you know guys ( canine guys) I can genuinely sympathise with you for once it isn't me wearing the rubber gloves arghhhh.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

What on earth is going on this week!

It started with a text from Sam....Takoda obviously disapproved of Sam stopping to say hi to Debbie, Sky's mum. She showed her disapproval by cocking her leg on Sam's leg!

Then we have Willow, I have a sneaky suspicion I will be doing lots of blogs on Willow in the future....

Willow has taken to doing protest pee's if I dare to walk her second or without Charlie. We aren't talking a ' oh my gosh don't leave me behind I just can't bare it' widdle where she is so upset she widdles. No no we are talking about a ' hold on a pigging minute where do you think you are going, don't do it or I will wee, I am warning you I will. See I told you so!' wee. Then after her walk she gets back into the van up in the top cage she turns around after announcing she is back and whoosh the little 'fox red sodding labrador' showers the middle cage dogs with her wee..."I am back!'. Cheers Willow so not only is there your cage but now the middle cage and a bog free beastie to wash...again.

Any other bitches feeling the urge to do a protest pee please do so now while I have my marigolds at the ready, hose in hand and zoflora poised.

I'll shock the boogers and do it back!

We laughed, laughed and stood aghast

I am stuck nannies....

Chubby is never going to win a membership to mensa and we definitely had a few head scratching moments with him today...he is a huge St Bernard and seems to be enthusiastic, entertaining but I wouldn't call him a natural athlete!

I will mostly rely on the photos and videos to fill you in on the walk but one photo only hints at the hilarity that ensued.

The right splodge is Doris, she was walking happily along without a care in the world.
The left splodge is Chubby.
Chubby ran to catch up only to find the happily tootling Doris on the track so he left through the air to avoid her...only he didn't check to see where he would be landing. He did indeed land, head first in a bog.

Whilst his head was connecting with bog his back end hovered in the air back legs still running. Once the huge bulk of his body had caught up with the momentum he then proceeded to roll onto his side in the bog. Not put off by the predicament he continued deeper and deeper into the bog. By this time Justine, Doris and I were incapable. Oh how we laughed, poor Sam missed it all and was met by us with tears streaming down our faces and a very very dirty Chubby.

We also found out that when faced with something that flummoxes the big lad he walks backwards...not particularly anywhere just backwards. We are no closer to knowing who the real Chubby is as there appears to be so many facets to his personality but boy are we going to have fun on the way to knowing him.

Chubby after using one full barrel of water on his face alone! It took me thirty minutes to remove all traces of bog beast....

Then we have Bobajob...who favours the cowpat body mask. Swine!

Circus themed charity event

This is Flutes outfit with more trimmings
Elephant anyone?
Sam this may be a bit risque for dog walking
Zebra anyone?
Eek pug monkey
I know plenty who would qualify for this outfit
Murphy would be ideal as elephant
Ideal for Roly?
Who is a tiger at heart?

Will wellies go with my kind of outfit?
Perfect for Mila belle or Chubby

We need your help to decide what kind of money raising event we are having this year. The theme is Circus and now we have to decide if it is the nannies only walking the guys as normal in our and their outfits or if we also want a customer day too....let me know and we will aim to set a date.

I have decided on Flutes costume, Tips is going to be transformed into a zebra and as for me I think I'll be a ring mistress!

Sam suggested she might be a trapeze artist and what will Alex be?!

We will be needing help with costumes etc so if anyone is willing to help please shout!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The last of the easter bonnets

Miss Suli
Lloyd look at that face

Priscilla The easter bunny eek

Easter bonnets the results

My favourite Animal Easter bonnet: Roly.
My favourite elegant chic bonnets: Mick and Minnie
My favourite Horse Bonnet: Pretty pink horse Maggie
My favourite Camp dog easter bonnet: Stan
My favourite random theme: Elsie and Doris
My favourite best effort under the circumstances: Bobby
My favourite Flower bonnet: Poppy
My favourite kitty bonnet: Tigger
My Favourite puppy bonnet: Willow
My Favourite bonnet that was original: Charlie
My favourite dog edible bonnet: Ted
My favourite disgruntled dog bonnet: Demi
My favourite edible bonnet: Max cat
My favourite colourful ensemble: Suli
My favourite scary bonnet: Priscilla
My favourite Master of engineering bonnet: Roly
My favourite don't you dare move have you any idea how long it took me to make bonnet: Xena
My favourite ornament instead of a bonnet: Pixie
My favourite pose in a bonnet: Ruby
My favourite bonnet for pure Karma: Poor Jasper!
My favourite sweet girlie bonnets: Molly Mc D and Elsie
My favourite old girl bonnet: Meg
My favourite bonnet for everyday wear and looks like he does: Flynn
The most random non bonnet but made me laugh: Ernie
The photo that should be used to promote a lovely dog breed: Lloyd though I mostly gazed into his eyes
The dog that managed to do Easter bonnet al la minimalistic: Reg
The cat who managed to look like she was waiting for her time for revenge despite her fetching themed Bonnet: Jess
I would like to thank everyone for taking part.....I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

The winner?
The ones I will truly remember are Mick and Minnies beautifully made hats, Doris in her specs, Roly in his egg hat and sheep outfit, Teds biscuit hat, Charlie's hot cross bun.....now you see how hard it is?!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Beadnell Beach

We had a trip to the beach yesterday and a good time was had by all, yawn!

Hope you enjoy the photos of them all having so much fun. Beadnell was well worth the travelling.