Saturday, 31 December 2011

My New Welly Friend!

Well it's official!  I've converted 'him indoors' to wearing wellies!  All it took was me buying him a pair of plain green basic wellies for Christmas, together with a comfy pair of welly socks and hey presto! the man's a fan!!  Despite previous protestations of how he didn't need any and he was fine walking the dogs in his biker boots, just one trial of his new footwear has got him hooked!  'They're more comfy than I thought,' he said, beaming after returning from a particularly wet and muddy walk!  No more sliding about in the mud, getting the bottom of his jeans plastered and  no more me, nagging him to check the bottom of his boots for dog-poo before walking through the kitchen to wash them off in the back garden!  Hooray!!  Before you think we're about to become a sad couple who wear matching items of clothing, do not fear - the new wellies I got for Christmas have pictures of little dogs on them!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Piles of Puke!

Don't you just love it when you're in a hurry to go somewhere and your lovely doggy suddenly vomits all over the place!!  Poor girly - out it all came! 3 nice piles! (which nearly became 4, due to my gagging!)  Was the shit-sick variety - rapidly stinking out the house, so even though freezing cold outside, had to open up the doors and scrub it all up quick!!  Now to steam clean the area!  Baby girl kept her lunchtime snacks down, which is more than can be said for me, everytime I remember the smell!! :))  

Monday, 21 November 2011

Kitten Crazy!

Aaawwww - last week we babysat 4 beautiful kittens, rescued from a horrid woman who wanted rid of them.  Now all homed to good loving homes.  Albeit a short time with them - three nights - I miss them sooo much!  My dogs didn't get a look in as I was up to my elbows in soiled cat litter, kitten food and just watching the 4 cheeky little monkeys rampage around our spare room!  House is sooo quiet now but dogs have me all to themselves again!!  Would have had to re-name my blog cat litter and kitten-poo or something like that!!  Oh good luck little ones.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Zombie Dog Trainer!

Why do I always do it?!  Fall asleep on the settee during one of the soaps or Autumnwatch!!  Not because I'm bored, but 8.30-9pm seems to be my sleepy-time!  In the land of nod for a couple of hours and then can't sleep when I eventually do go up to bed!!  Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed I may be right now at 3.30am, but that won't be the case when I take a class in just a few hours!!  Lots of coffee to try and ward off the zombie-look will be the order of the day!!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Don't Panic Girl!

It's offical - I'm losing my marbles!  Whilst cooking dinner tonight, I had a sudden panic that I should be teaching my puppy class!!  But duhh!! It was week 4 last week, I have no class tonight!! - I start my next course next week!!  What a horrible feeling that I should be somewhere, but was instead cooking dinner and drinking red wine at the same time, so even if I should have been there, I was no longer able to drive!  Panic over, once I convinced myself when viewing the diary, that today is the 14th not the 21st!!  Turning 40 is certainly proving to have implications on my once sharp memory!! :))  What's my name again!??

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Wellies, Wet Dogs and Walkies!

I really love this time of year - beautiful Autumn!  Gorgeous colours of leaves, rain and yes - wearing my wellies!  (Now I don't look so out of place by my choice of footwear!!)  I love walking with the dogs in the murky rain and muddy woods and kicking through the leaves on the ground!  Splashing through the puddles (which helps wash off any dog-poo we may have trodden in!) and seeing the squirrels playing and gathering nuts!  Pheasants and muntjac sometimes cross our path and we try not to disturb them as they go about their business.  We trudge carefully round the familiar woodland tracks, which take on a different look with each passing day, as the trees shed more leaves, occasionally quite slippery as a result.  As the light starts to fade, sometimes a mist hangs in the treetops, so we hurry through before I start to imagine spooky things! - especially with Halloween approaching!  Finally we reach home where the dogs get towelled down and settle for a quick nap before their dinner and I have a lovely hot cup of tea!  What could be better than that?  Well maybe a crumpet to go with the tea!! :))    

Friday, 14 October 2011

Barking Like Bonkers with Boredom!

It never ceases to amaze me how some people get a dog but don't provide it with much to do and then wonder why it creates havoc around the home!  Chewing, barking, digging inappropriately etc.  (all natural dog behaviour by the way, but can end up being done to excess or at times the owners find problematic). Or some people don't research the needs of a breed and get a dog totally inappropriate to their lifestyle, home and their ability / availability to provide the dog with adequate mental and physical stimulation etc.  For example getting a Collie and then shutting it in a small flat on its own all day!  Some dogs don't even get regular walks or they spend their waking hours home alone, whilst the owners are out at work all day.  The equivalent of solitary confinement in a prison - why is the dog, a naturally social creature, effectively being punished for just existing, I ask?? Some people admit to only taking the dog for a walk once or twice a week!!  Or the walk they do get, is extremely short and always to the same place.  Boring!!!  I regularly see someone who gives their dog a walk to the playing field, she walks around the middle of the field, waits until the dog has a poo and then takes it back home, well once it eventually catches up with her, as she always seems in a hurry to get the walk over with!!  No interest in interacting with the dog at all!  This all takes place under 10 minutes!  Really not an adequate exercise session for a one year-old labrador!  Then this same owner is heard complaining that the dog chews everything at home, runs off to see other dogs and people in the field while she stands calling it in vain!  Duh!!! Helloo!!!???  I would just like to have some owners experience the boredom and feeling of going 'stir-crazy' that some dogs have to endure - how would they like to be locked up in a house all alone, or outside in a garden all day, where their excrement is also left lying for days on end or just simply ignored by the humans as they are too wrapped up in their own doings?  Wouldn't you go crazy and just try finding something to do, to alleviate your boredom?!  Or would you just become depressed and lethargic and withdrawn?  Or maybe just resign yourself to the boredom but then go completely nuts once you had company again and jump all over everyone, only sadly, to be shouted at for being a pain?!   There are so many toys and activities that owners can provide for their dog in order to keep them sufficiently mentally exercised - Kongs, Nylabones and Buster Cubes - Kong Wobblers and Activity Balls and Busy Buddies - if you don't have the time to spare to attend to their physical and psychological needs, let your dogs have fun at least!!  (or don't get the dog in the first place?!)  Training and playing games, setting dogs puzzles to solve - all can help alleviate some problem behaviours by providing adequate channels for mental and physical needs.  My last little quip on this subject is - why do some owners feed their dogs the equivalent of rocket-fuel and then wonder why the dog is tearing up the house!?  Feeding dogs a working diet when the dog does not work, is a recipe for disaster! As is feeding a diet of cheap, nasty, colourful food and treats!  It's like feeding sugary drinks and e-numbers to small children and then seeing them bouncing off the ceiling and having major temper tantrums!  So for a happy home, make sure you have a happy dog, then it'll be happy days all round!! :)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Job Well Done!

With reference to my previous post - no need to rant, but can breathe a sigh of relief!  Victory has been served!  Due to so many complaints, (mine being one of them), about the amateur 'dog expert' on the TV, the slot has been removed from the programme!  Well done to the BBC One Show for listening to the many knowledgeable people from animal welfare, dog training and behaviour associations and I'm sure, many savvy owners, who lodged complaints and statements - and for at least trying to salvage the situation, by putting in a VERY belated warning about viewers seeking professional advice before attempting to try any behavioural rehabilitation on their own dogs.  Very ironic when they had featured someone who was blatantly not a qualified professional, but never mind!  They made a boob with that one didn't they!?  Also good that they talked about qualifications - now people may realise that this is a proper profession not just some hobby that we do on one night of the week!  Thank goodness the tide has turned for dog training and behaviour and there are enough people on board out there to make sure we stamp out the out-dated, misguided, harsh and down-right dangerous, in some cases, ideology that has for so long been forced onto dogs under the guise of dog-training.  Gone out of business will be the ignorant bullies whose own inferior self-esteem and refusal to educate themselves in the understanding of canine psychology, fuels them to bully and 'dominate' dogs in order to train them.  Gone will be this CRAP about having to be the pack leader!!  Hopefully now people will sit up and realise that dog-training is about working with your dog, not against it and that there are qualified people to turn to.  Strange how dogs are regarded as man's best friend but some people just perpetuate the myth that they need to be shown who's boss!  At last people can question the methods used on their dogs and say 'no' and find a decent trainer / behaviourist.  It just goes to show, if you're passionate about something, just stand up for it and be heard - if enough people shout loud enough then you will be rewarded!!  (There's a pun in there somewhere about Positive Reinforcement!!)  (Especially when this subject has so many welfare and liability issues!)  So all in all, for all the dogs out there - Job well done!! :))

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Take My Food, Feel My Fork!!

After watching a so-called 'dog behaviour expert' on prime-time TV last week, I feel I have to let off steam!  I tried to let it pass, like water off a duck's back, but the subject is so 'charged', that I'm afraid I have to rant!  The dog on the TV was resource guarding - food bowl and owner's bed - using extreme aggression and the 'expert' in question was called in to provide behavioural help.  For a start, this 'expert' had NO qualifications - so who would employ the services of a psychologist or doctor, who had no qualifications and just did their job based on watching a few other people??!!  The TV channel in question often screens programmes about cowboy builders and other cowboy trades people - they have inadvertently promoted a cowboy behaviourist, as the methods he used were extremely dangerous, he demonstrated a lack of understanding of canine psychology and body language and put not only himself, but anyone who mimics his approach, at a high risk of getting very badly bitten by their dog - there was not even a sniff of a Disclaimer at the time this went out on air.  How dare the TV channel and this 'expert' de-value and undermine the good trainers and behaviour specialists who have studied hard to attain the relevant qualifications to practise behaviour work!  Why had the TV channel not consulted one of the many good behaviour and training associations, whose members are appropriately qualified and trained and who do NOT employ the ridiculous methods shown on that TV slot - the stress the little dog was under was hideous to watch, let alone the idiotic behaviour of the 'expert', who I wonder if he would employ a similar method with a much bigger breed of dog who really meant business?!  The actions of this dog were not surprising - we were shown outrageous behaviour from the owners who would kick the dog's bowl out from underneath her whilst she was trying to eat - what is this obsession people have, with having to take the food away from the dog??  Just what are you trying to prove??  People who do this, create their own monster.  If you were eating in a restaurant and the waiter constantly hovered around and kept trying to take your plate before you'd finished, wouldn't you get cross?  If they forcibly tried to take it away, wouldn't you then escalate your displeasure?  Perhaps the waiter would get a fork plunged in his hand by someone who totally disinhibits at this point!?  Are you at this point trying to get a higher status over the waiter?  No, you just don't want him to take your plate!! DUHHH!!  Why can people not understand that this dog was NOT trying to gain some sort of status, but was acting as a direct result of its owners actions??!!  Thankfully there have been hundreds of complaints against this 'expert' - hope HE slinks off somewhere with his tail between his legs!  I shall calm myself down enough for now, but then more fool me, I'm curious to watch the next instalment.  Be prepared - I may return with another rant!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

If You've Got 8 Legs, You Ain't Coming In!

I wish that were true, but those pesky creatures just sneak in when I'm not looking!  Yes it's dreaded SPIDER!! season  and they're just coming into the house in droves - like gatecrashers to a party!  How dare they just come in uninvited?!  What do they want here?!  So often, for the past few weeks they run across the floor or climb up the curtains, causing chaos actually, because I usually scream, jump about and if 'him indoors' won't help me or if he's asleep, I have to tackle the fearsome spiders myself, but only with the aid of the bug-catcher - a brilliant contraption that has helped me move many a spider on to 'pastures new'.  I'm sure they are getting bigger - Friday night's intruder was so big, I didn't think it would fit in said bug-catcher.  This creature that wasn't far off the size of a tarantula, managed to fold itself in eventually and was swiftly moved into the garage, where I deposit all eight-legged visitors -  the down-side of that being that very soon, the garage will be a no-go-area for me as there will be too many spiders in there!  I didn't know spiders went on the rampage at night - are they nocturnal?  They have certainly caused domestic strife as one particular night 'him indoors' was already asleep in bed and I just couldn't bring myself to go near the spider of that night, even with the bug-catcher!  So frozen in fear and fixated on said spider, I called out softly to 'him indoors' a couple of times to "PLEASE!!! help, there's a MASSIVE spider down here!" (my poor dogs meanwhile, were looking very disconcerted at my strange behaviour and body language!) - well, from the tirade of anger emanating from the bedroom at having been woken up for that, it was obvious I was going to have to brave it alone!  But I failed and the spider escaped, to my horror, which meant it was lurking about somewhere in the house - but where!!!???  You guessed it - after that I was on 'high-alert', watching out for said spider until I caught one a few days later which looked like it(!!) and hoped that would be it, but oh no, they keep on coming, sitting on the hand towel waiting to run up my arm when I dry my hands, or creep slowly down the wall behind where I'm sitting on the sofa trying to ambush me!  It was one of my dogs that saved me from that one, as she was looking very intently in my direction, cocking her head to the side every now and then, until curiosity got the better of me when I realised it wasn't me she was focussing on and I turned around to be met with something the size of a saucer making it's way towards my head!  One thing I should be glad of - at least they can't fly!  but wait..........oh no!! it's Daddy-Long Legs season too!!! aarrghhh!!    

Friday, 16 September 2011

Domestic Dangers of Discarded Dog Items!

Previously I have talked about the dog-poo minefield that I encounter on a daily basis when out with my dogs.  Now to the minefield at home!  I'm sure many parents of human children have experienced that near-death episode of the toys left on the stairs, just waiting to be tripped on, or the Lego pieces embedded in the soles of their bare feet!  Well just because my house is child-free doesn't make it any less perilous!  Anyone ever trodden on a fairly well-chewed Nylabone?  ****!! does that hurt!!  Ever trodden on a discarded ball or a Kong and nearly done the splits as a result!?  What about getting your foot caught up in the dog blanket left in a heap where it fell, as the dog jumped out of bed and trailed it across the living room?  (I suppose if one of us ever gets taken to casualty, the story behind our injury might make it quite interesting for the nurses!)  Have you ever skidded barefoot through dog-sick on the kitchen floor?  Or stepped (accidentally) on the odd paw or tail as the dog quite literally gets under your feet!?  I don't know about the world out there being a dangerous place - it's at home where I'm in mortal danger it would seem! 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Wellies aren't just for Winter!

That's right!  If you have a dog-poo phobia like me and go into complete meltdown if you tread in some, then I'd recommend wearing wellingtons all year round to walk your dogs!  I always clean up after my dogs - what I cannot stand is the fact that some people do not.  Sometimes it's like a minefield out there!  So walking the dogs in summery shoes, trainers or worse still, flip-flops!! in hot and sunny conditions is absolutely out of the question for me!  If I trod in any, the shoes would just be automatically binned and I would be left traumatised for days (not by the loss of my shoes, but by the poo of a dog on my foot!)  So wellies are my choice of footwear even when it's scorching out there!  The other dog walkers have got used to seeing me in a summery dress or skirt, with wellies to boot!!  Some often remark that they can't understand how I can don such heavy footwear on such a hot day - when I explain I fear treading in dog-poo, their answer is usually a question, as to why I can't look where I'm going!  Well I do! But there's always a pile just sitting there waiting to be trodden on by me!  I rest my case, as recently on one of the last few hot days we've had before the wind and rain has taken over (I love the rain by the way as I can just clean any poo straight off my boots in wet grass or a puddle!), a friend of mine had a nasty experience in her flip-flops whilst dogwalking!  I'm so glad I don't bow to the pressure of seeing everyone else in normal shoes walking the fields and woods to then ditch my wellies!!  I'm proud to stand out from the crowd! (in my wellies!)  My steadfast quasi-neurotic fear of dog-poo has saved me from many ruined shoes and the trauma that would ensue and has kept the wellington boots industry going, I'm sure of it!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Dog Frump!

Having dogs hasn't changed me THAT much - apart from the fact that I mostly wear wellies and clothes that don't matter if they get a bit muddy.  I go out in all weathers but  I do however, make sure I look as presentable as I can - so I do brush my hair and put on some makeup, even to walk the dogs - yes I do!! - I can't go turning into a dog frump now can I!!  I was reminded of the perils of having my life taken over by dogs, both for work and pleasure, when still in my old office job, I decided to buy some new clothes!  (something I used to enjoy doing on a regular basis!)  Whilst modelling my new purchases for 'him indoors', I got to the skirt I had fallen in love with in the shop - it was about just before the knee in length - "Well", said 'him indoors' exclaiming rather disappointedly that it was a bit too long, "why didn't you get a shorter one!?" I promptly replied that being as I was in my mid thirties, ok so it's not quite the age to be wearing tweed knee-length skirts but also not exactly appropriate an age to have the hemline so high that it leaves little to the imagination! 
To this he retorted, "you're becoming such a dog-frump!" - he was however joking, but to this day despite my year-round welly-wearing, I do try to make sure I don't become that stereotypical dog-trainer type!  In fact 'him indoors' even bought me a funky red pair of  wellies last Christmas, so there's no chance of that now is there!!?