Tag Archives: dog training

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.

Eh?

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.

http://positively.com/2014/02/03/americas-most-popular-breeds-are-they-right-for-you/

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.

Deer, deer, deer!


Just for a change from walking in the woods, which have turned into a disgusting quagmire recently with all the rain, I thought I’d take Douggie the doggie to the local playing field. That was a mistake on it’s own. Thought the woods were muddy? The playing field was more like a paddy field. Welcome to Floods R Us.

We walked onto the field, with me doing my usual scanning to ensure no other dogs were within a half mile radius so Douggie didn’t make like lightning and bolt. Other dogs aren’t an issue, I love to see him playing with other dogs, the trouble is that no matter how far away they are when he spots them he just takes off at a rate of knots leaving me hollering helplessly in his wake. I prefer to keep him close by me till they are near enough that I can keep control over him and keep him out of trouble.

So, with my head oscillating from left to right scanning the area like a submarine’s periscope (and I was almost under as much water, damn rain!) I noticed three shapes in the distance. It was three deer sauntering slowly across the grass with not a care in the world. How lovely. I kept the dog distracted with a scooby snack while I watched these magnificent creatures continue their stroll.

That’s a good way to start the day.

Tesco had a bad day recently. They discovered that they only made £1.7  billion profit last year. How will they cope? My heart bleeds for them.

I did a little photo shoot the other day. Lashes has got a new kitten. It seemed like a good idea to take a few photos. I was a bit worried about it all in case the dog ate the cat or the cat took the dog’s face off or there was a mad chase around the studio sending lights crashing to the ground, the possibilities for disaster seemed endless. Still, we gave it a go. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoops!


Thursday is one of my favourite days of the week. Thursday, while it no longer starts with an early morning dance lesson, is the day I enjoy most as I treat it as my day off ( along with  Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday Tuesday and Wednesday). Computer work is kept to a minimum and invitations for walks/coffee/lunch are more likely to be accepted with a clear conscience on Thursday.

This Thursday started off as normal with my weekly weigh in at the fat farm. Sigh. Must try harder. That last half a stone is proving to be a stubborn little bugger. Never mind. Don’t give up.

After a quick trip to Mr Sainsbury’s to stock up on healthy,  fat free and sinless goodies for the week it was time to go and view a house. At the moment I’m not going to say much about this as I don’t want to jinx anything so just hold your breath and keep your fingers crossed for us as we might actually, after 4 years have (whisper it) sold the house.

WHAAAAAAAAAT???!!???  NEVER!!

SSSSHHHHHH!! Don’t shout it!  I told you – I don’t want to jinx anything.

So….quickly changing the subject.

Thursday evening is doggie boot camp. A motley collection of pooches all turn up to show how well behaved and clever they are by retrieving toys, going to where they are directed, sitting, standing and lying down to order – or by barking incessantly and trying to eat the  dog next to them. Douggie the doggie seems to have progressed past the barking incessantly stage, thank God. Neither my ears nor my nerves could have stood much more of that. A few well aimed squirts with a water spray in the schnoz cured him of that in no time at all. He does try to eat the dog next to him but in a friendly, ‘I love you, Man, kind of way not in a ‘I’m gonna rip your face off’ kind of way. His bezzie mate at the moment is a Jack Russell puppy. A cute little girl called Millie. Douggie can fit all of her into his mouth at once. One of the trainers walked past just as only her tail was protruding out of Douggie’s mouth ( the Jack Russell’s tail, not the trainer’s) and asked him if he’d like some salt on his snack.  I’m so happy my dog is placid, he could  snap Millie in half in an instant if he chose to.

Before training I like to take him for a longish walk to burn off the worst of his energy and bounciness otherwise he’s careering off the walls like a balloon that has been let go. He seems to think the obedience class is a doggie youth club. I keep telling him it’s a boot camp but I’m not sure he’s getting the message. Every dog in the class, as it enters the room, has to be bounded up to  (with me being dragged along behind, helplessly hanging onto  the lead, bracing my feet and trying to slow my rate of propulsion by grabbing hold of furniture and other dog owners as I go flailing past them shouting “STOP! WAIT! SIT! BAD DOGGIE!” )When he finally notices I’m there he turns round, gives me a huge grin as if to say, But look who’s here!’ and carries on regardless.

Believe it or not he’s as good as gold away from the class – as long as there are no other dogs to entice him away from me.

Anyway, back to the plot – Due to his propensity for bolting after other dogs I keep him on a long lead when we’re in wide open spaces. Towards the end of the walk we met a nice labrador who wanted to play so I let Douggie off his lead for a minute. Then another labrador turned up, closely followed by a dalmation called Bonzo. The four of them had a whale of a time running round and playing. When it was time to go I called Douggie to me and set off at a run hoping he’d follow me, which he did.

I ran over the field as fast as my little legs would take me  – until I realised in horror that my trousers had slid over my hips and were rapidly making their way to the ground! I looked a bit like a slightly (ok very) mad menopausal rapper with my trousers hanging off my arse while I firmly held on to the fabric tugging them up discreetly as continued to walk at a brisk pace hoping none of the other walkers had seen my dilemma, well as discreetly as you can when they’re so far down it’s a two handed task and taking a lot of bum wiggling to pull them back up.

So. Maybe I’m getting on better at the fat farm than I thought. Last time I wore those trousers there was no danger at all of them falling down, in fact my problem that time was trying to contain the muffinness, oh, and breathing.

Who’s training who?


We’ve developed a nice little routine, me and Douggie the doggie. I roll out of bed in the morning, drag on whatever clothes are lying on the floor and then we set off for a nice walk to get the day off to a good a start. There are advantages to living where there are few other humans to be seen.

Once we’re back home I carry out the normal daily ablutions before settling myself at my computer to get on with some work  – facebooking, blogging, reading the news, you know, just generally  procrastinating for as long as possible before actually getting on with some real work .

After a couple of hours Douggie comes to see me to remind me that I need to take a break and give him some attention.

Friday morning was a bit different. Instead of going straight out of the house I’d decided a nice cup of hot water and a read of the news was the way to start the day. I heard a sigh next to me and as I looked down I saw Douggie standing there with his lead in his mouth and a look in his eye that implied he was more than ready for his morning walk.”Ok, ok, give me a minute.” Off we went for our walk.

Later that afternoon, still at my desk working (no really- I’ve a pile of albums to design)  I heard a familiar sigh. This time Douggie is sitting there with the shreds of his favourite allegedly indestructible Kong toy in his mouth. “No. I’m sorry, I can’t play with you now, I’m too busy.” The dog sighed and spat the toy out at my feet. Then he gave me a doleful look that would have melted an iceberg. ” Right! Five minutes, no more!”

I’m really not sure who’s doing the training around here.

The dog obedience classes we attend seem to be no more than a canine youth club. Douggie’s best friend is a miniature jack Russell called Millie. Her owner and I were chatting the other evening as we waited for the class to start. It was only when the trainer walked past and made the comment, “Would you like some salt with that?” that we realised Douggie had Millie’s whole head and shoulders in his mouth!

Oh my God! Poor thing!  He could have choked!