Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Izzy has a new friend

Izzy has a regular visitor at a weekend....

I have named him Richard after Richard Hammond as he/ she is small, cute and obsessed with vehicles.

So what is Richard?

A beautiful little Blue Tit! Now my mission is to get a photo of him sitting on my steering wheel.
My van has the mats pulled out, bedding washed and side door left open over the weekend with gate locked, he pops through the gap and spends much of the weekend in and out. Bruce thought he even spent the night in there, maybe he'd like heater on hehe.

Photo by Jeff Morris and not of Richard

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Well the boys and I had our first go at agility together ( the last time I did agility was when Buck was about five over nine years ago!) and we had a great time.

More importantly it made me realise all the extras that go with teaching your dog a sport.

Outside of jumping jumps etc we:

Met dogs on lead no playing or greeting allowed

Some obedience work on a new surface

One boyo was left in the jeep whilst I worked with the other and vice versa

They had to tie up quietly whilst putting equipment out.

Standing or working whilst other dogs are running, jumping or standing right by them.

Be handled by someone new

Of course there was many many distractions and new scary noises like the seesaw banging.

Then with the agility they learnt to jump, one way then another on one side then another, then one after another, then a combo of a few

Walk on a board on the ground before progressing to a dogwalk, stop at the end and wait

Jump on table, wait on table, do different positions on same table then do all the same with me walking around

Go through a tyre raised off ground( pretty hard when you are as tall as Flute and Tips, go through without help and then change direction and on both sides

Go through the weaves ( oh how I laughed and laughed as Flute went through three weave poles and his back legs were still at the first pole.) work out what was required with lure bend in the middle whilst not tripping over the bar on the ground then move backlegs whilst your front legs going a new direction!

Tunnel, walk on a scary movable surface,duck down and walk to other side remembering to not stand up too fast( Flute couldn't get this and just tried to stand up once his head was out, he did amazing although he wanted to take the tunnel home with him I had visions of him being cut out of tunnel, Tips had more sense and only put his front feet in and NO more!)

Long jump Tips trotted delicately across not even knocking them down but soon learn to jump on both side

So that is a lot for a dog to take in isn't it.......You forget what exactly is involved and it does them so much good. Mind I could do with my guys moving their noses away from the floor for more than two seconds!

Wish us look and why don't you try a dog sport yourself?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I thought it'd be hard

Well I really did prepare myself for a hard time.

Yet all I have done is enjoyed myself. The unexpected advantage of less freedom out walking with your guys is I felt I had to repay them with new sights, great smells and leg tiring hikes. Which meant we went exploring not having the excuse to just get them tired in the usual way. We tried things just to see what would happen.

With heelwork there is more companionship and with new smells it was a mutual moment so rather than just taking things away from the young lads we were enjoying new things. Even just sitting on a rock next to the rabbit warrens gave ME an idea of how hard it was for Tutey to tear his senses away from his quarry. Tips on the other hand didn't take long and loved trying new things to see what would make the sweetie jar open( free offering)! When Tutey did tear himself away he was so pleasantly surprised he got a cuddle and treat he started his giddy dance!

Today was our first real test, out with the guys part heelwork part freedom from a classical training point of view way way too soon to test them but decision made I was so happy with them. Yes they fluffed once each yet they are still learning and learnt they did.

Tomorrow I am going to play at agility. Not as Petnanny just as Caroline, I occasionally want to leave Nanny behind and just enjoy being an owner with two young dogs so that is what I am going to do. I hope they will enjoy it and as I am not competitive I have only the pressure I put on myself which is quite enough thank you!

Well another week of change, the gorgeous Gus has moved on and is soon to move to Scotland, I wish him all the very best as we all loved the little fella loads. We are continuously turning away work so we weren't in any hurry to fill his pug shaped space then I was taken with a lovely lurcher bitch with doe eyes, long elegant legs and long white socks. Now obviously she doesn't quite fit into a puggy shaped hole but we are flexible and she is a very welcome newby to our Petnanny family. Beaubeau ( my almost granddaughter) is also having some time away until after New Year but she often comes to stay with us so I am pleased to say we will see plenty of her.

Our new van Veronica is doing well although we have had the odd blimp, all being well and unless there is some unfortunate money drain we are still on track for new cages then I have to get my head round the livery.

I do worry a little about not organising a Christmas party for us unfortunately I just have too many commitments around that time and I can't bear making it anymore frantic than it already is. I am a simple girl and to have a catch up walk a coffee and chat would suit me better so maybe we should try and have a meet up in the New Year....or even better go to a local dog show and take in the sights, what fun!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I know the problem, I know the solution

Oh I know the problem and even worse I know the solution I just don't wanna do it.

It all started with a catch up with Takoda's mum, surprisingly I was delighted to hear she was no longer working, a job that was just too destructive to be worth any wage packet. Then we got round to me....after a quick yak about gimpy horses and dog talk we started talking about my boys.

She asked me what they were like.

Oh I have no doubts you will love them Julie I replied with a sigh.......Why? Cos they'd make Takoda look like an obedience champion. They are funny, elegant, clumsy and amazingly different. With the check-in distance of a husky.

After a chuckle she said she found it hard to believe and undoubtedly found it funny.

Only it's driving me mad. History repeats itself, I repeat the same old habits and routines that funnily enough didn't produce a spectacularly obedient dog in the past ( excluding Buck who was a treasure).

All I wanna see is a dog doing what dogs are meant to do...run, leap, jump and hunt. Only that isn't really true...I don't want them to hunt everything I only want them to hunt what is allowed. I want them to run, leap and jump when I want them to. See its already getting muddy.

I walk dogs yet I don't want them by my feet unless asked I wanna see them having fun running about playing. Of course they do walk by my side and feet at times and that is ok but not all the time.

So as a pup I revelled in the running, dashing, leaping Flute before me mastering( or not) those long legs. My conscience ( ok Bruce!) told me to tether down that freedom, manage the joy and inhibit that pup. Of course he was right, practising the recall just doesn't cut it. Especially when the recall is actually a pup hurtling in your direction before gooning past you just slow enough for you to leap into his path and invariably stop him in his tracks....

So I know what I want, I know what will likely happen and I know what I have to do to get there.

To watch those expectant faces looking up, them trying so desperately hard to do as I ask just for that taste of freedom and the slow dawning realisation it just isn't going to happen. Heel work. Not heelwork until you are let off but heelwork. Heelwork even when their friends are playing, gooning and having fun. Not even when a bunny provocatively wiggles its white cottonwool tail. Then eventually a moments release and a recall practise until time and relentlessness wins out....I've made it so hard for them.

If I stick it out.

I have to remember them running every day in gay abandonment in the field at the horses...running at Belle and Mila's house running till there legs can't run any more. That is the pay off for my weakness.

The problem is me. The solution is to face the problem, to stop the freedom and work on the response time. The result...depends doesn't it!

Does it make you feel better to hear the truth or do you want something beautiful, I loved that line as soon as I heard it. I often wonder if people only respect those who know it all who never fail. Only in my world no one knows it all and everyone fails at times. Maybe I am a fool for saying it out loud? Who cares I have dogs to walk.....on lead!

Did I mention I love the big eared fools?