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!!?