Tag Archives: dog training

Wild? It was livid!

What’s going on? First it was months and months of stupidly hot weather. Now it’s storm after storm after storm. It’s so windy! I wondered if I was going to end up under a fallen down tree, it was so windy. Wild? It’s worse than that, it’s livid! Great for drying the washing except that the washing will end up in Somerset!

Last night I had to take Douggie the doggie for a walk. The rain was sweeping down and I wondered if I should put on my waterproof trousers. Nah!! It’s only that fine rain, we’ll only be out ten minutes, it’ll be ok.

Ten minutes, soaked to the skin later I was trudging upstairs for a change of clothes. It’s true you know. That fine rain DOES soak you through!

Tonight we will be braving the wind, but thankfully  not the rain, again when we go out for our nightly stroll and training session on the local leisure centre car park.  Douggie the doggie is competing in a heelwork to music Halloween themed competition and we have got a whole routine to put together in a month.

Night after night we train on the car park, watched we know by the leisure centre staff on the CCTV. We know this because as we leave they are  occasionally outside the side entrance on a break and make comments such as “Britain’s got talent for you is it then, love?” My answer to that is of course no. Douggie the doggie in that situation would just plonk his backside on the floor and start scratching. Even for a massive dog lover like Simon Cowell that isn’t really much of an act, is it?

What I should do is film Douggie in training when he performs brilliantly time after time and show that to our trainer. The reason being that Douggie has very definite diva tendencies when it comes to performing.  If all the elements aren’t exactly right or he feels even slightly ill at ease he just won’t do it.

At a fun charity demonstration a few weeks ago we were all lined up ready to start our routine. Douggie watched me with his eyes shining, ready to do his new dance to music from The Greatest Showman. I gave the cue to start the music. Nothing happened.  I gave the cue again. The man doing the music shrugged. Douggie looked at me as if to say, ‘well get on with it, I’m ready’. The music was clearly not going to play.

While we waited Douggie and I showed off a few moves and tricks just so we weren’t standing there like lemons. He did really well.

Still the music didn’t play so we left the arena.

When the music system had been fixed we were given a new place in the line up. IN BETWEEN TWO CRUFTS PERFORMERS!!!

Douggie, clearly thinking he’d already done his bit he wasn’t about to do it again no matter how many people were watching. He flatly refused to play. I jollied him on and he gave me the dog equivalent of two fingers. Oh, the  shame!

It’s a long walk to get out of the arena when a hundred disappointed eyes are watching you.

Our trainer has suggested on more than one occasion that I get another dog as Douggie hides his dancing light under yet another bushel while I protest, “But he can do this PERFECTLY at home.”  Don’t worry, Douggie. I won’t be trading you in for a collie just yet.

Let me solve all your problems

Bit of a stream of consciousness, this one. It might make sense, it might not…

Of course it’s dead easy to solve everyone else’s problems, isn’t it? I can solve all of your problems standing on my head. My solution will probably start with…”you should”.

Nothing I like better than being, as an old boss of mine used to say, ‘should upon’. To be honest not much will get my back up quicker than someone telling me that I should…

It’s not so bloody easy to solve your problem when it’s right in front of you and you are emotionally attached to the issue though, is it?

I have a well meaning, but somewhat bullying friend who has ALL the answers. At this present moment she is giving three of us the full brunt of her opinion. As we strolled along the beach the other day she told me that she is disappointed with all of her closest friends. Not wanted to engage in another nagging session, I simply replied, “I know.” and left it at that.

It’s not even that her opinion is wrong. Annoyingly, I know she is right.  However, what she doesn’t take into account is that it’s not always black and white. Except that for her it is. ‘Here’s the answer, just do it’, is her attitude.

So. What is it that has become such an issue. Obviously I’m not going to discuss the others, that’s none of my, or your, business. My issue is my big, fluffy, lovely  ball and chain, Douggie the doggie.

You all know I adore the boy and he adores me, he is my shadow. Most of the time it’s not an issue. Occasionally it is.  Occasionally, we have to go to places where he can’t go.  She’ll happily step in to dog sit and when I’d been in hospital she walked him almost daily for me. That was brilliant. The problem is that Douggie prefers to be with me and won’t settle terribly well at her house. That means overnight stays or holidays become difficult. Now, if Douggie was an ordinary doggie, he’d just have to toughen up.

But Douggie isn’t an ordinary doggie, is he? Douggie is an epileptic doggie who has fits when he gets stressed. Like I said, big, lovely, fluffy ball and chain. Yes, he takes medication, yes, I know she would know what to do in an emergency.  It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Except that I know any fit could be his last, the strain on his body is horrendous.  His last fit was a humdinger. The sight of a six stone dog thrashing about on the floor having a fit stays with you. He managed to kick me in the face last time as we lifted him off the sofa where his grand mal started. OW!

First, I don’t want to put him in a stressful situation, like being away from home. Second, I would never forgive myself if he had a fit (possibly his last) while I was away. The whole situation makes me feel ill. Even though I know that Boofuls and I desperately need to get some time together and not have a break that revolves round the dog and his needs.

So, my friend’s solution is to stop letting the dog follow me everywhere. Stop taking him up to bed when I go. Stop considering his needs. Basically ignore him so he doesn’t care if I’m there or not so he will then happily stay with her.

Um. No.

I really don’t think I can do that. I like being the centre of his world. I am aware of the strength of that sentence. I know, I know,  I am my own worst enemy in this situation.

We made a commitment to him when we took him on and I take that very seriously.  We are leaving him more often and trying to build up more independence in him but it’s very difficult for both of us. Since we took him in six years ago he has never really been left alone as he used to come to work with us.

It might be a while before we get this one sorted. In the meantime I’ll just have to put up with the sighs, complaints that I treat my dog like a baby, dirty looks and snide comments from Mrs Black and White




It’s just a walk in the Park

I came across this article on Facebook today.

It was a good read.

It’s about how some dog owners think it’s ok to let their dogs just rampage round, running where they like and approaching any and every other dog they see.

It touched a nerve.

Usually said dog owners are a hundred yards away while their little darlings are having fun. My opinion is that if your dog is a hundred yards away then by no definition ever can it be deemed to be ‘under control.’

Now that might be ok if your dog is well mannered enough to leave other dogs alone but all too often they aren’t.

It’s about time we all started to understand that dogs, like people, are not all the same and a little courtesy and understanding can go a long way. The article talks mainly about fearful and reactive dogs but actually, the issues it addresses are relevant to all.

I don’t have a reactive or fearful dog but I have also experienced much of what is said in this article.

If a dog is on a lead I don’t allow Douggie the doggie to go up to them until I check if it’s ok. If it’s on a lead, it’s for a good reason.

If my dog, Douggie is on a lead I don’t allow him to interact with other dogs.

Have I had people be offended when I’ve said so?

Absolutely I have. “snotty bitch’ has been heard muttered more than once.

Why I keep Douggie the doggie away from other dogs when on a lead is my business – but I’ll tell you. After he’s had a fit he can be unpredictable. He’s never turned on another dog or a person but I don’t know what’s going on in his head at that point and I prefer to be safe than sorry. Also, he’s a big, powerful dog. If he decided to drag me across the road because his best mate was on the other side of the road he could. By teaching him that other dogs are off limits when he’s on a lead he knows to keep himself to himself and me safe from being run over by a bus. Common sense. Other dog owners leading their dogs, often on leads, up to him and telling them to ‘say hello’ undermines everything I’ve taught him.

I’ll politely point out that I don’t allow him to socialise when he’s on a lead. At that point they will either give me a dirty look and walk off or ask me in a very surprised voice why. My reply is usually, “for exactly this reason”, as Douggie
pulls me round from pillar to post to get a better sniff at the other dog’s nether regions. Not so much of a problem with a chihuahua, bit more of a problem when you have a six stone golden retriever.

While I’m in mid rant, may I also point out that my dog is not public property. He might look like a great big, soppy teddy bear but that does not mean he’s there to be petted, have his ears pulled or generally act as entertainment for your kids. At least have the manners to ask before parading your kid up to him telling them to stroke the nice doggie. Although I suppose that’s better than when your child runs up to him, arms outstretched and screaming, “Doggie!” in his face.

Please be aware that when I tell your child to keep away I’m protecting the dog from your child not vice versa. Shouting at me “Well it should be f*ckin’ muzzled then” is just aggressive nonsense. Actually, I think you should be muzzled as your mouth is much nastier and far more dangerous than my dog’s.

Now I don’t want to come over as holier than thou in this post. It took a lot of training and a lot of training mistakes on my part before we ended up with a well mannered dog. I vividly remember when Douggie was just a few months old that if he saw another dog ten miles away he would run like the wind to get to it. On day I stupidly took him to a local playing field.

There was a person with a leashed dog at the other end of the field. Douggie took off, I took off after him, frantically calling his name as the irate owner of the other dog swore and cursed me and my dog while fighting to keep his leashed dog under control, “GET YOUR DOG AWAY YOU STUPID BITCH MY DOG’LL KILL IT! I was running as fast as I could to get to Douggie before he got killed.

I was mortified that I had so little control over my dog that he, and by that I mean, I, could have caused a really nasty incident. It certainly taught me the value of training and respecting the needs of other dogs and their owners.

After that I never took Douggie anywhere where he had a clear line of sight. For months we only ever walked in the woods where he could only see a few feet in front. That way he learned to stay near to me. Eventually, once I knew I could trust him we braved the open spaces again.

Training and mutual respect. It’s not that hard is it?

Oooh, this article got me all fired up, didn’t it? Rant over.

It’s here!

After all our months of training it’s finally here! Douggie and I will be doing our first heel work to music competition tomorrow. EEEEEK!!!

Earlier this week I was on the point of backing out after Douggie seemed to forget even the basic moves never mind the fancy ones. I had visions of us standing in the middle of the arena like a couple of dopes while I tried to entice him to move.

So. As long as I don’t forget the routine and as long as he doesn’t come  over like he’d prefer to be having a kip we should be ok. I’ll post the video if it’s not too embarrassing.

Wish us luck!

The cold season

Hey! Welcome to my 1234th post!

How come when Boofuls says he’s feeling a bit chesty everyone’s all sympathetic and suggesting various remedies and when I say I’m feeling a bit chesty everyone sniggers and goes all Benny Hill?

Ok, I was blessed with larger than average chesticles but puh-lease, let’s have a little bit of decorum.

The sniffles, snuffles, coughs, colds and lurgy’s have been out in force over the last few weeks. Even the dog kindly sneezed in my face while he was on the settee giving me a cuddle the other night. Even worse than that he released an absolute barrage of sneezes while we were training last night – all over the sausages I was using as treats. Ew. Dog snot sausages. How lovely.  Bluergh.

Still on the subject of poochie. During our recent jaunt to Devon poor old Douggie the doggie missed us so much he had another fit. We are now 100% certain that his seizures are brought on purely by stress. He loves me so much he just can’t bear to be parted from me.  I’m just so lovable!

Hhhmmmm but what to do about it?  The poor pooch can’t go through life velcro’d to my side, nor I his. There are going to be times when it’s just unavoidable that I have to be away. I’m open to ideas and advice so don’t be shy with your comments, folks.

Funnily enough, I saw an article today by Victoria Stillwell in which she talks about America’s top five favourite dog breeds. In the article she talks about  golden retrievers and anxiety based issues.


I thought I’d done loads of research and found out everything I needed to know before we got Douggie.Obviously I didn’t do enough research or I’d have known about this little nugget. To be honest, I would still have got him but I’d have worked hard to help him over his anxiety issues instead of teaching him a few flashy tricks. Still, it’s never too late to start, is it?

Here’s Victoria’s article.


It’s a dog’s life

Boofuls is away tonight. Well you know what they say, while the cats away the mice will play.

Or in my case they’ll spend all night at the computer working. With a list as long as my arm of things I needed/wanted to get done tonight I don’t seem to have got much off the list even though I’ve been busy all night. 

When did life get so very busy? Roll on Christmas for a rest for a few days.

So. Let’s catch up on the gossip, we haven’t spoken for days.

Well, Last Tuesday, me and Douggie took our Kennel Club good citizen test – and passed!! yay!  Clever Douggie! Here we are getting our certificate. Those trainers are brilliant. Funny, friendly and very switched on. I’m going to miss them but our work at that club is done.

Copyright: Dog news source: internet
Copyright: Dog news source: internet


Instead we are concentrating on our dancing.

Did I tell you I spent most of last weekend dog training? The HTM club had drafted in a trainer to do a weekend workshop of which I could attend Friday and Sunday. It was brilliant!!

Even more brilliant after having been told on Thursday that my dog was rubbish and would never achieve anything so I should get another dog.

WOT? *shocked face*

Trade in my Douggie?  Steady on there Mrs, that’s a bit harsh!

There were tears on the way home that night. I’m not interested in another dog, I just want to dance with my Douggie.

It was with a heavy heart that we trapped up for the super duper workshop training on Friday. I sat there feeling like I didn’t have the right to be there and a complete fraud. Keeping a very low profile I watched, listened and learned. I learned that some of these dogs are actually BITING their handlers in the ring. Some are completely out of control and some, like Douggie are so laid back they are almost horizontal. The more I heard, the more I thought; Douggie’s not so bad after all.

The trainer tackled issue after issue with a variety of  dogs and I took it all in. On Sunday we had a chance to put it all practice and get feedback from him as well. Both Douggie and I loved it.

Over the next few days I put his advice ( the trainer’s, not Douggie’s)  into action. We trained in the railway stain, the town centre ( you don’t half feel a fool), the car park,  in the woods, you name it, we trained there. Thirty seconds to a minute of high intensity ‘play’.  Douggie loves it.

Thursday night came round again and we turned up at the dog club.

“Come on then, show us what you’ve got,” they said, really not expecting much except to see me flapping around and trying to entice Douggie to join in, as usual.

Well, we showed ’em what we had.

We wowed them. Mouths dropped open and chins hit the floor. Heheeeeeeeeee!!

I believe I heard the words “Hundreds percent better.”

That’ll do for me, dog.   I was so proud of him. The new training regimen has worked wonders.

Now I’ve got three days to get a dance routine together for the Christmas party and rather than dreading it, I’m actually looking forward to it.

Wish us luck.




Easy like Sunday morning.

As Sunday mornings go it’s quite nice. A little dusting of snow, not windy, not too cold. Perfect for a nice stroll over the moors and through the woods with Velcrodog.

At the moment I’m in the process of trying to cure Velcro of his need to be 100 yards in front of me on our walks.  Which if you think about it kind of makes the name ‘Velcro’ a bit redundant. Something more like ‘Buggeroffanddoyourownthing’ would be more apt on these walks.

Anyway, the new training regime entails me totally shattering the peace of the morning every minute or so by hollering out, “Not too far” or “Wait there” or I SAID WAIT!” when he decides not so much to wait as so just slow down a bit for a couple of seconds.

The temptation of course is to just let him suit himself and amble along behind him but as someone who considers herself a responsible dog owner I don’t want him so far away from me that I’m not in control of any situation that might rear it’s ugly head. He is getting the idea though. Slowly. I never knew I had the patience of Job.

Does it still count as being patient if you are really cursing and making ample use of Anglo Saxon under your breath every time you shout, while praising the dog in a bright and breezy voice when he does it right?

The denizens of this town must be so fed up of hearing me.

When we get home from our walks I give the Velcro a good rub down with a towel and a quick spritz of leave in shampoo, after which he flops down on his bed and have a kip for an hour. I think I should do the same thing. It’s exhausting.

Aint evolution marvellous?

Ir would appear that the dogs around our local area have evolved to the level where their poo comes out of their body ready bagged!

Now if only we could get the owners to pick it up and throw it in one of the gazillions of poo bins we have around then that would almost be perfection. Absolute perfection would be of the dogs did it themselves.

What? It doesn’t come out of the dogs ready bagged? The owners bag it and then leave it lying around? Who would do such a disgusting thing? That doesn’t make any sense at all!

Quite honestly I prefer the evolution theory to the thought that dog owners are so lazy, irresponsible and dirty that they’d do that.

That though, sadly is exactly what is happening. It seems almost to be the norm to bag the poo and then leave it bagged wherever they happen to be, or even worse, fling it over a wall. Out of sight out of mind I suppose. Dirty bar stewards!


Turning the subject away from poo and onto Velcrodog…..my not so little pooch seems to finally be developing some survival instinct.

Velcrodog, Winklepop and me were meandering round a popular  dog walking  spot. It’s all fenced and secure an ideal place for letting them burn off some energy.  Suddenly  Velcrodog stopped in his tracks. Normally when he does that it means he’s seen another dog and a nanosecond later he runs off to say hello and share a good nether region sniffing session.

Then I saw what he was looking at.

My friend and her dog – affectionately known as Snot as he’s so ‘orrible.

My friend was hanging onto his  lead and bracing herself for the melee she thought was about to ensue. bizarrely,  my brain decided at that exact moment to lodge one line of a song in my head “There may be trouble ahead.”  That one line went round and round in my head for what seemed like hours but was actually about a second before I gathered my faculties.

Managing not to burst into song, I called out,” Velcro. Come!”  and he did, first time!

Cue: happy dance and a fistful of dog treats.

This week

Sunday: We started the week by going for a lovely walk in the fog. Cold, calm and serene it was so peaceful and I was just thinking that life doesn’t get any better than this when out of the mist came 1…2…3..4 deer!

Velcrodog and me stopped in our tracks and gazed in wonder at these four majestic creatures gazing back at us. We all stood gazing at each other for a good couple of minutes until a car came up the lane and all the deer disappeared into the mist like they’d never been there. What a Sunday treat, how could it possible get better?

I’ll tell you how.

By going home to another Sunday treat; a large cup of steaming coffee and a giant bacon butty. Perfect! Ok, not healthy but who cared? It was  Sunday morning and all was well in the world. Later in the day the Clingons and me had a ride out in the car to deliver my white twig tree to my friend who’s getting married on Saturday. Somehow I managed to leave with more trees than I arrived with and instructions to find another large branch to paint white so she’d have a pair.

Monday: Dangerous D, Munki and me all spent the day together. I don’t get to spend enough time with Dangerous D so it was a lovely treat. We spent a fair amount of the time painting another tree ( scrounged from our neighbour) white for my friends wedding this Saturday. Well, I say painting a teee. What I really mean is painting the floor, each other, our clothes, our hair and anything else within reach. Somehow I managed to get more paint on me than the kids got on themsleves. I’m really not safe with a paintbrush. Still, it all got done and picked up by a beaming and very grateful groom last night. That’s my good deed for this week.

Tuesday: Terrific Tuesday. I love Tuesday! Paso doble lesson in the morning followed by dog training in the evening. I LOVE HTM!! That’s heelwork to music, or doggie dancing, for the uninitiated. Velcrodog is getting so good – if only I could get it right we’d be brilliant. I was a bit gutted to discover that there’s a show on the 11th May we could have performed in but I’m booked for a wedding that day so we won’t be making our competition debut just yet.

Wednesday: Starting to get hyped up about our impending BIG ADVENTURE. Too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Why does lots of urgent work drop into your in tray just as you want to get everything nicely up to date? I think I’ve caught up again now but shhhh… don’t let Sod hear me or he’ll invoke Sod’s Law and loads more work will magically appear.

Thursday: Haircut and colour and I feel like a new woman. It’s dog training tonight followed by more preparations for the BIG ADVENTURE which, I must admit, is starting to dominate our lives.

So there you are; a potted version of this week. I’ll try and make next week more exciting – and somehow I don’t think that will be a problem.