Friday, October 29, 2010

Sugar High

When N came home last night, I bought out the lolly bowl, it contained the left over lollies from Ikea (crunchy caramel things) and a bunch of Minties (which are pretty much mint flavoured gelatine mixed with sugar). We went out to dinner, left the dogs inside, and forgot about the lolly bowl. Barbie had investigated the lollies a couple of times but for some reason I didn't think about putting them away before we left.

We walked around the corner to our local favorite restruant, and had a leisurely dinner. We left about an hour and a half later because, as is typical for her first night back from work, N was falling asleep.

I walked into the living room and noticed the lolly bowl was empty. There were empty caramel wrappers on the floor, and the Minties had disappeared. I suspect that Barbie was the one who unwrapped the caramels before eating. They had fairly loose wrappers so it wouldn't be that hard. The Minties are harder to unwrap so they got eaten, paper and all.

Barbie and Bender then proceeded to play tug of war, wrestling and chase for over an hour. They were like little kids who had gotten into the red cordial and soft drink at a birthday party. Barbie's new monkey toy was almost torn limb from limb. When Bender eventually (and somewhat inevitably) won the battle, I had to trade him a piece of cooked chicken breast from my leftover dinner the night before so that he didn't proceed to disembowel it. We took them for a little walk around the block, and Barbie was pulling on the lead. By the time we got home though, maybe two hours after they had eaten all those lollies they had both calmed down. They slept well last night.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whispering in the night

While crate training Barbie, we found the only really effective way to stop her whinging her lungs out, was to move her crate to the bedroom.

The problem with this is that Barbie often talks in her sleep.

When I was younger, I had a border collie X blue heeler called Lucy and she used to talk in her sleep too. She always slept in my bedroom because I was living in a shared-house at that point in time. The first time she did it, she barked with her mouth closed. It almost sounded like an evil clown laughing. Lucy sometimes cried in her sleep but most often it was this closed-snout bark. Barbie's vocalisations while asleep are more varied though. She goes from huffing and puffing like she is chasing something, to squeaking, to that muffled closed mouth bark. Sometimes she even growls. Sometimes she kicks her crate or hits it with her wagging tail. She must have quite vivid dreams!

Last night I woke up with a start because it sounded like there was a stranger in the room whispering something. I swear they sounded like English words. Once I was fully awake though I realised that it was Barbie huffing.

She has actually grown to accept her crate finally. On mornings where she gets squeezed off the bed, sometimes she will give up and voluntarily curl up in her crate. I always give her a treat at bedtime when she goes in the crate and she doesn't complain anymore. She does the quietest little squeaks in the morning when she wants to go out. She is a fairly subtle dog. I think it may be all about energy conservation. Why put effort into making a lot of noise when some tiny squeaks will do?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Running at Whiteman

Not sure how much longer Barbie's wire muzzle is going to last, I pulled it out of my bag yesterday and one of the bits of wire (the bit that goes over her snout) had bent and come off the cage. I have fixed it with the help of some needle nosed pliers, but I think I may have to get a plastic one as it may be more durable and better for the beach and river where there is lots of salt water.

The cage is less obtrusive though, and now that it is dirty you can hardly see it from a distance!

Anyway I let them go for a run in the dog park, and they got filthy. It's very dry around Whiteman at the moment and the dust they stir up when they run is epic. They also have an old concrete horse trough in the middle of the park, and both dogs like to lie in the water to cool down. They come out wet and then the dust sticks to them.

I got scratched on the legs - not sure who did it, it was either the Husky puppy who could smell the treats in my pocket, or the pug x jack russell which was pretty hyper and cute.

I then grabbed them and took them to a 'vintage' bike show which was on one of the grassy areas of the park, near the pool and the motor museum. It was mainly just BMX-type bikes and so I just passed through. There were a lot of kids around, and a little girl said, 'look, it's like Santa's Little Helper!'

I said 'do you want to pat her?'

And the little girl said 'oooo can I?'

Barbie stood nicely for pats and closed her eyes when she got scritched on the neck. Bender was impatient and kept dancing around. They asked if they could pat him and I said yes, but he was much wetter and dirtier than Barbie and would not stay still. Barbie was definately the crowd favorite.

When I got home they both slept for hours. I thought about going for a ride, but hung up the 5-hook coat rack that I bought for them. I'm not that great with the drill yet, and made a bit of a mess of the wall, but you can't see it behind the rack. Now all of their gear is hanging up neatly and is easy to find!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

CGC class

We had a pretty good CGC class this morning. We identified something Barbie needs to work on - standing still when someone is looking at her teeth. She kept her feet planted for everything else but she walked backwards when Desma looked in her mouth. Desma also said that for the 'calm an excited dog' part of the test I'm going to have to get Barbie excited, otherwise she might not pass. She suggested getting Barbie to jump for a target as I've started target training already. It's going to be interesting as if I put my hand above her head she thinks that's the sit signal. I will have to work on it. We have homework. I need to work on her forward turns for agility too.

We actually let them off leash for a run around. Barbie had Bowi up against the wall of the playpen because she was trying to play chasey but he didn't want to. 5 dogs running around in an enclosed space got Barbie excited. Poppy and Kumo got a bit gruff with each other and Barbie was concerned but she stayed out of it and I got her back OK. All the dogs recalled within 20 seconds the first time, and the second time Desma had to grab Kumo because he was getting a bit too into it with the staffy.

We went to City Farmers on the way home, and someone said, as they were walking past 'what a pretty dog', so I invited them to come and pat her. They did and Barbie enjoyed it. She also went up to a couple of teenagers asking for pats. She is going to become a little social butterfly soon!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Agillity class

When I got home this evening, I couldn't resist little Bender's face, so I decided to take him to agility instead of Barbie and see how he went. He was a handful. He was overstimulated, stirred up dogs, and when I let him off lead he stole another dog's ball and refused to give it back, then he tried to jump on a woman in order to steal a squeaky toy!

I had a cloth rope for him, and I was using it to motivate him to do 'circle work' it worked well, though he didn't want to let go of the rope. T said he should let go of the rope a couple of times and told me he should let go if I put my fingers in his mouth! I don't think he realised that Bender has a very very strong jaw. Then I twigged. If I let go, he would too. That worked a treat. He did bite my hand a few times when he went to grab the rope. It hurt and now my hand is bruised. I need a longer rope! A greyhound would never do that to my hand! :P

After he stole the other dog's ball I had to break out the 'emergency tennis ball' I keep in my glovebox in order to get the other dogs ball back. He destroyed the 'emergency' ball and kept throwing it at random people. They kicked it for him. I managed to get his attention though, and using the mangled ball as a reward we got him to do the full tunnel. I could almost direct him through it. He kept sneaking around the jump, so we had him sit/stay close to the jump and then go over. Barbie was less of a 'cheater'. All in all they did about the same amount of work. I think Bender's noise sensitivities are going to be an obstacle for him, as he started a bit when he heard a dog thunder over the A-frame. It really depends how focussed and confident he becomes.

There is another dog there called Bender as well. What are the odds! The other Bender is more advanced though so at least they don't get too confused.

Barbie is going to week 3 of her CGC tomorrow, and she won't have the 'agility hangover' so hopefully will be a bit more sprightly. It will be Barbie's turn to go next week, then Bender's and then hopefully Nic will be able to come and we can bring both dogs ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Dog-Human bond & Nail Cutting!

I've never cut a dog's nails before, but the nails on Barbie's front two feet don't seem to wear down appropriately (her back ones are always the right length). Anyhow, her front end nails are all black and it's impossible to see the quick, so I was very conservative in my snips. She was lying relaxed on the couch, and I just cosied up to her, took her paw and started cutting! It was amazing. She just laid there and gazed sweetly up at me. I did take a little long and she got a bit impatient towards the end. I think I will need to give them another snip soon because I didn't take enough off but I was being careful.

Took both the dogs out with a friend this evening. I asked her which one she wanted to walk, and she chose Barbie. Bender pulled hard because he knew that we were going to the P-A-R-K. The damn dog has an inbuilt GPS and knows where every park is within a 3k radius of home. I deliberately didn't bring a ball, because without it he will socialise with other dogs, and then he might find some ratty old thing lying around in the park.

K had a hard time getting Barbie to listen to her. I gave her treats and encouraged her to use them liberally. I told her she needed to bond with Barbie in order for her to listen. She seemed to get it, when we went to the park and I let them off leash, Bender immediately grabbed another dog's ball. They were playing very close to the gate. It was a hollow rubber 'super bounce' but it must have been brittle because they said 'he broke it as soon as he put it in his mouth, he might as well have it now'. Bender came to me with a tiny bit of ball in his mouth but I didn't realise it was theirs. I kicked it for him a few times, and the woman came over and said 'is that the remains of our ball because I'm trying not to be pissed off but I am'. I was like 'urm, I guess so, do you want it back?' K found the main part of the ball and returned it to them. Their dog was happy to play with it but the woman snivelled about it. Bender found another dead tennis ball somewhere else. I guess we have to bring Bender's own ball and accept that he won't socialise.

Barbie was mostly good. She was running around with the dog whose ball had been stolen though, and it was snapping at her. The owners were telling it off. I told them it was OK, but they didn't want their dog snapping. K tried to call Barbie but it was like she wasn't there. I called Barbie and she finally broke away from the dog, and I shooed her off to another part of the park. She got snapped at by another dog, and got to play with the Border Collie.

I was most happy with Barbie though because while I was looking the other way, someone had left the gate open, and she slipped out of the park. She trotted down the road a little way - to the bowling club. She came back when I called though.

Cheeky puppy.

Walking back we saw a transit guard that I know near the train station. We stopped so that she could meet the dogs. Bender was happy to say hello though Barbie was being a bit aloof. I think she was just stressed about being close to the evil railway crossing that she is scared of. Barbie did allow pats though when I got her attention.

Agility class tomorrow. I will get there a bit earlier and let Barbie have a run. Hopefully then she will stay focussed when she needs to and not have any more zoomies at inappropriate times. Thinking about making her wear her little white cotton t-shirt too, so I can actually see her when it starts getting dark.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Day in the Life of...

Sunday we joined the GAP walk around the Swan River. I borrowed a long line and Barbie went right in to her shoulder and then dunked her head in the water. Bender and Barbie led the pack the whole way and I think they found the pace a little slow. There were two fosters there, a black and white called Solo and a fawn and white called Bandit. Solo was my favorite, I have a thing for the big black and white ones.

This morning, I let Barbie outside for her wee, and then back in, and went back to bed as usual. Then I heard Barbie tearing it up in the living room and letting out a few barks. I got up and she had put my shoe on her bed and was running around like a crazy dog. I guess she didn't get enough exercise on Sunday!

Today we took them to the park, to practice Barbie's restrained recall and have a run. It was a bit warmer today and so Barbie had had it after trotting back and forth 20 metres between us. Nic called her and she went to trot back to her but then laid down in the middle of us! She rested while Bender played, and then when the sun went down, Barbie had a second wind.

A medium sized poodle came into the park and Barbie revved it up until it chased her, teeth a snapping! She is such a stirrer. The owner of the poodle thought it was funny so I let them play for a bit, called Barbie back and then the poodle decided it wanted to go home.

Next a young Border Collie, and a younger Border Collie cross came in the gate. I told Barbie to go say hi, and she went to meet the Border. Her name was Mishka and she was the perfect playmate! Barbie ran past her and she chased! Then Barbie chased back, and ran wide. Barbie then ran wide around a few times. Louie the Golden Retriever puppy arrived after all the sprinting, and Barbie was lying on the grass. Louie jumped on her, but she was very nice to him. She is very tolerant of puppies!

Bender had found a few balls and was getting people to throw them, but he also socialised with the other dogs. Eventually I retrieved Bender (he was off playing with someone else, as usual), and we went home. Barbie flopped down on her cushion, and she hasn't moved since. We were gone for an hour and a half. Hopefully she won't do morning zoomies again tomorrow!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Running of the Dogs

Video of Bender, Barbie and their mates playing at Ellenbrook. I stole the song from one of Sweetheart's videos. :) Bacon is a dog's best friend, after all!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Barbie's first agility class

I took Barbie to an oval in Bassendean, very close to the train line, for her first agility class. The rank beginners were taken by an instructor called T. He was a very cool guy. The very first exercise we did was about calling and turning the dog. The first time I called Barbie and went to turn her, she came to me, but then looked up and saw the wide open spaces and took off. She ran into a very dark adjacent park and I could barely see her shadow moving I followed her over there and then called, she came barrelling back, and past me, and then back to me again. After that T didn't want me to let her offleash much. I think she scared the beejesus out of everyone.

She did the straight tunnel for the first time ever, jumped well, and also did the low dogwalk the first time I asked her to. I think she is going to get confident enough with the obstacles, she spent most of the night sitting well and looking at me expectantly. She did good sit/stays as well. I need to work on restrained recalls in order to get her reliability up. We need some discipline in wide open spaces. Crazy dog's eyes lit up when she saw all that space.

I think we are going to have fun with this. Barbie also coped really well with the trains swishing past every 20 minutes or so.

She also jumped into my SUV tonight unassisted for the first time ever!

At the end of the class I let her off to play with T's border collies. Barbie chased them a little, and then ran into the little storeroom where all the agility stuff is kept. I asked T if there was any food in there, and he seemed surprised, 'there is, actually!'

There as a big knob of polony on the sink. T came in and snatched it up. He gave Barbie a bit and then she kept sniffing around the sink. She didn't really want to play with the Borders, which is interesting, so I took them home.

T said he would really love to see Barbie run a course, and so would I. We are going to work with directional stuff and restrained recalls in the park.

Go Barbie!

She has another CGC class tomorrow. I think agility is going to help her with her CGC as well.

It's funny because all the things that are challenges for the other dogs in the class are challenges for Barbie, but for the opposite reason. The dog has to stay calmly in the car, have it's leash clipped on, and wait to be told to jump out, without a lure. I think Barbie is getting there with that.

They need to stand calmly by the handler while we talk to a 'friendly stranger' - most dogs have the problem of being overstimulated and hyper, but Barbie had to build the confidence to let normal people pat her.

I need to train her to not react when someone loudly drops a package on the floor nearby as well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I will spare you the photo...

My Significant Other has been at a training course this week, and she has been arriving home fairly early, at about 1630 or so. The dogs have had to endure being shut inside all day while we are at work because of the previously mentioned failure of our fence (it just occurred to me I should post pics of the fence for posterity! I will attend to this and edit the previous entry, post haste, when I get home).

Anyway, I left them outside to do their business for half an hour this morning, but because we don't usually shut them inside, I'm not sure both dogs understood what they were meant to be doing out there.

When I bought them back inside and got ready to leave, Bender was standing at the back door with a pitiful look on his face. I thought he was saying 'not again! I'll be so BORED'

Turns out he was saying, 'hold on a minute, there's something I forgot to do while I was outside'.

So Nic sent me a photo of the resultant deposit on the tiles. It is far too huge to be Barbie's poop. I feel a bit bad. He did try to tell me. I just hope he 'gets' that he's going to be shut inside all day tomorrow and uses his morning garden time accordingly.

At least he pooped on the tiles and not on the long-suffering carpet which is just recovering from Barbie's previous overnight assaults on it. Assaults which could only be stopped by crate training!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There's that woman again!

I ride my bike to work every day. Well one of my bikes. Mostly I switch between my Giant CRX2 flat bar roadie and my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Sometimes I ride the xtracycle and that gets a lot of attention.

Anyway, I was at the lights yesterday morning waiting for my turn, and noticed a guy rock up on a CRX with nice looking mudguards on it. I was checking them out, and the rider said to me...

"Wow, how many bikes have you got?"

I said "four, but only 3 I ride in to work regularly".

He said 'thought so', and we turned our attention back to the lights.

On to the dogs....

When I got home yesterday, Nic told me that the fence had broken. We live on a strata titled block, and the fence between us and our strata neighbours has cracked along the bottom. Their soil level is probably 2 inches below ours, so the constant pressure of the soil against the fence, along with naughty Bender, jumping on the fence, has lead it to break. It's an old asbestos type fence, so it is pretty brittle. It is also covered by the strata insurance. I'm hoping we get a nice new colorbond steel fence to replace it, otherwise it's likely to crack along the bottom again. We are thinking about adding some obstacle to stop Bender from getting down the side, as he's jumping on the fence more than we realised, and it's annoying the neighbours a little. They have a gorgeous rottie called Jaeger (yeah he's a young 20-something dude and typically named his dog after alcohol). Jaeger doesn't bark or retaliate at all. He is only 18 months old but he is the most placid, lovely beast. He barked a bit when he first moved in but has settled down a lot. He does howl when he is left home alone at night though. Nic thinks we should introduce the dogs in a neutral environment but I'm not sure it's going to stop Bender being an idiot.

While the fence is broken, the dogs are going to be in the house while we are at work. The fence is likely to be fixed on Friday, so that means they have four days of 8 hours being shut inside. This suits Barbie just fine, as she will sleep alternately on a cushion, on the couch, and perhaps on our bed. Bender, I expect, will go a little stir crazy without being able to sniff the air and bark and jump on fences!

I think we are going to install a gate there so that we can shut Bender out of that part of the yard. We never actually go down there anyway so it might be a good place for an outdoor cat enclosure. The cats would definately appreciate that. There is a piece of garden fence type wire strung across the gap at the moment so we can let Bender outside without having to supervise him the whole time. Jaeger hasn't shown the slightest interest in getting into our yard.

He is such a cool dog. I hope they all get along. I think Bender might be a bit of a beast and try to hump him though. I'm not sure that they are compatible as Bender finds larger male dogs difficult to cope with. I guess we have to try.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Canine Good Citizen and Separate River Visits

This morning Barbie went to her first Canine Good Citizen class. She is so good sometimes it feels like we are cheating some how. She is quite subdued in class. I am going to have to get her to be a bit more 'up' at agility classes. After coming away from that class, I think I'm going to have to work on getting her jumping out of the car more willingly. We have to open the door, not body block the dog at all (which is going to be a bit hard with the Civic), put the leash on, then the dog is supposed to jump out on command. No treats as lures. It's going to be interesting. I need to use the Civic I think because my car requires a treat bribe to jump out of.

We went to the river after class, and Barbie met a greyhound friend. I let her off the leash and she went for a run. I recalled her, and she was heading back at usual velocity when the other greyhound decided to chase. They ran together quite a way and they were pretty equally matched. Barbie wanted to go again but the other grey had had enough after one chase. Barbie then tried to get a teeny dog to chase her by running past it, and sort of running while playbowing at the same time, dancing around like the clown that she can be.

She wasn't paying me enough heed when I called her so I leashed her and we went for a stroll. We met a Whippet. The Whippet's mother was very interested in Barbie and asked a lot of questions. Barbie really wasn't much bigger than the Whippet!

I bought Barbie home, we rested a little, and then I took Bender down to the river for a doggie date with two mini Schnauzer puppies, Sonny and Tacoma.

Who said the greyhounds get to hog all the 'action shots'?

Tacoma and Sonny were a bit scared of Bender at first.

but then they realised that he was a big softie and wasn't going to eat them.

They were a little confused that they couldn't fit the ball into their little mouths.

They were a little cheeky but I think they enjoyed their first outing to the river!

Friday, October 8, 2010

One Collar For Life - A Generational Perspective

As a kid there were always animals in our family home. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, a chook, a rat...

The first dog I remember was a rough collie cross called Basil Brush (we called him Barry mostly). He had a flea allergy and always had a bald patch near his tail. He was pretty old when I was a kid and I don't remember interacting with him a lot. My dad used to put his shirts on him. He was a pretty cool dog. His flea allergy could have been dealt with pretty easily nowadays with regular application of Frontline or one of the other very effective flea spot ons.

Then there was a border collie cross called 'Rags'. Rags jumped the very short fence and got hit by a car. She was a bit of a manic dog. Again I was too young to really handle her or appreciate how smart she was. She didn't make it past 9 months.

After Rags my mother swore not to get another dog, but probably a week later we came home with a little brown pup from the pet shop. He cost $10. This was Rusty. He was a Kelpie cross. He turned out to be a bit foul tempered. He used to snap at my brother and I but we did like to test his boundaries by lying on him and pushing him around, or standing over him and pretending he was a 'horsie'. Rusty had the same collar for almost his entire life. It was a red studded buckle collar which came from the pet section at Kmart. His vaccinations were always up to date but he ate cheap dog food from the supermarket, and again, hardly any flea prevention. He was very territorial and liked to terrify the postman or anyone else who came near his boundary fence. When I was 14 he became my best mate, and I used to walk him every day. He liked to swim in the river and he always came back when I called him. I was always watchful and made sure he didn't eat any toxic blowfish. He had a couple of close calls but never actually ate one. He was never really taught anything the way my dogs are trained he just picked things up as we went along. He definately had dominance issues, he used to push through doorways to get out first, and he didn't like anyone interfering with him when he was asleep on the couch. When I left home, I think my dad walked him occasionally but I don't think my mum liked to because he would pull on the lead. When I went back to visit he would spend the whole time glued to my legs, and would cry for hours when I left.

Compare his life to the live Bender and Barbie have now.... they eat top quality kibble, are on very effective flea prevention. I remember when I was a kid I thought that all dogs had fleas and that was a given. There are no fleas on my dogs. If they scratch or bite themselves I always check them and check the calendar to make sure I haven't missed their flea prevention. Barbie already has her second collar, and will probably get more as fashion accessories. She also has a sleeping coat and a t-shirt. I will get her a cooling coat for summer. Bender is also on his second but I think I may have to replace it because the plastic buckle is starting to be less secure. They both have harnesses, and Bender has been through a few leashes (one which fell apart on the way to doggie daycare one day). There is no way one collar would last a lifetime on one of my dogs. They go out too much. Their leashes are used every day, sometimes in rough conditions (at the beach or river). Bender is particularly hard on collars and ID tags because he is always on the move. I have paid for training courses for Barbie (Canine Good Citizen starts tomorrow! yay!) and I spend time almost every night training them. They are both microchipped so if they get lost we don't have to rely on their collars staying on or their tags being readable when they are found.

The difference in how the dogs are looked after is striking. I definately have more disposable income than my folks did, back then. That is definately part of it. And the dog doesn't care if it has a $10 collar or a $30 collar, as long as it has one. I think the awareness around positive reinforcement training for me started when I got my first dog, and realised that I didn't want my dogs to be like grumpy old Rust. Bender in particular is a model citizen in this regard. When we were lying at the river watching the Avon Descent on the big screen, a random 13 year old girl just leapt on him for a cuddle. He wagged his tail and licked her. Not sure what Rusty would have done in the same situation.... putting more effort into recall and obedience happened after my first dog, Lucy, got hit by a car because she decided that she was going to take herself for a walk after escaping out of the front door. Both dogs have health insurance. When I was a kid private health insurance for humans was even a bit of a strange concept.

So how has the way you care for your animals differed from your parents? Do you treat the dogs you have now differently from the first dogs you ever had?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - New Collar, and Couch Monster

Mr BodySlam

Sure, Bender can look sweet and cuddly. If you are a Golden Retriever or a Labrador though, he will be intent on wrestling with you!

We took the dogs to the local fenced park last night, and the golden retriever puppy that Barbie met some weeks ago was there. I almost didn't recognise him because the little fella has had a great growth spurt. He is now almost as tall as Bender at the shoulder but very skinny. The retriever's parents saw Barbie streaking through the park first, then they saw me. I introduced Nic and Bender. Bender immediately started wrestling with the pup. The pup didn't seem to mind playing rough but we separated them a few times just because the pup was so lanky, and Bender is so adept at wrestling.

I sent Barbie off for a run, and she ran all the way to the other side of the park, up to the BBQ she loves to sniff and is hesitant to recall from. Bender chased after her but was already lagging behind. I called and she came back straight away, Bender arriving well after her.

We don't take Bender's ball to this park because we want him to socialise with other dogs, rather than just obsessively fetching. It usually works until he spots someone with a ball, who he will then harrass and stare at until they throw it for him. After their run though, Bender spotted a ball. The pup's dad had been hiding it very well until that moment. He just stared and stared at the guy's hand. He didn't know what Bender wanted until we pointed out it was the ball. He threw it for Bender and Bender duly destroyed it, but I think he enjoyed watching Bender fetch. A couple of times the pup took the ball and Bender waited patiently for an opportunity to snatch it back. Once Barbie started chasing the pup as well as Bender for the ball - I told her off and she stopped. Two on one is definately not fair!

We got fish n chips on the way home and the pups waited with me outside. They were very well mannered and did not try to sniff passing strangers. They both seemed very satisfied with their outing!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miss Whingy Pants

(yes I have been playing with photoshop and cafepress again - made this into a coffee mug so that Nic and I can both stare at our mutts when we are at work)

Nic was at home today, and apparently Barbie was whinging at the window when she thought it was time for me to be home. She was only 10 minutes off. She is certainly a creature of routine/habit.

At around 6 she starts following us around, looking at us hopefully, flapping her tail, and squeaking. This is Barbie asking for dinner. She gets fed at 6.30.

If she doesn't get a walk by 7.30 she starts squeaking again. She will sometimes come up to you, look you in the eye, whack her tail against the furniture and sing. If you don't respond she will go and lie down somewhere, but will continue her vocal encouragement. She usually gets her way in the end, and she will only give up if it gets past 8.30 and you haven't gotten up from the couch.

I was impressed with her last night though. Nic stayed up to watch the Commonwealth games, and I went to bed. I put Barbie in her crate and she settled down to sleep despite the fact that the tv was still on as were the lights.

We were accosted by another uncontrolled off leash dog near the park tonight. Barbie was well mannered, though he did have some dominant body language going on. Bender was beside himself. He didn't know whether he wanted to play or fight. The owner came and leashed his dog. Definitely better than the fox terrier's owner!

Barbie is asleep next to me at the moment. I have been tinkering with the computer for a while... I guess I should go interact... ;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just a normal dog

(head out the window - proof that Barbie is a just a dog)

I think sometimes people don't treat greyhounds as dogs at all. They are a little different to the average mutt, in that they can run very, very fast. However, I would argue, that if a dog has unreliable recall, it doesn't matter what their top speed is. Case in point, the tiny fox terrier that harassed us a few nights ago. All dogs are still faster than (most) humans can run. If they can't be recalled they can get themselves into an awful lot of trouble. I was really worried I would see that dog get hit by a car that night.

I believe that there are people that think greyhounds are just expensive couch decorations and foot warmers. I have high hopes for Barbie blazing some new trails for greyhounds in WA. I can't wait to let her loose on the agility obstacles, and am looking forward to the day she gets her Canine Good Citizen certificate. I will be sharing her achievements with everyone involved in Greyhounds As Pets here in WA, hopefully inspiring other greyhound people to give everything a go.

I took Barbie to the beach again today, but I didn't get any photos because there were a lot of other dogs and people around. Nic is still not confident that Barbie will return when she is called. It is scary how much ground she can cover, but she comes back at the same speed!

We ran into a friend at the beach, with her dog. She recognised Bender before she saw us. She hadn't met Barbie and was pretty impressed with her speed. Barbie was running around, splashing in the water and generally playing like a puppy. There were 3 kids who had buried themselves in the sand close to us, and she kept running past them. Their father liked her, though he did think she was a Whippet. She is small, but not that small! Then Barbie noticed they were digging to put sand onto themselves, so she started digging next to them. I don't think the kids appreciated her flicking sand and water all over their faces, so I called her back. I let her run again, and she ran right past them at top speed. Then she did a wide circle and headed up towards the beach track. Nic stressed but she came when she was called. She was limping though. I put her back on the lead as a precaution but she was walking OK. She is a sensitive petal.

Bender destroyed 3 cheap tennis balls and so he had to go back on the lead as well. I think it was a good day for everyone, and I hope that Nic is getting more confident with handling Barbie off leash.
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