Monday, January 31, 2011

That awkward moment when the Cyclone doesn't come...

This weekend I spent all of my time battening down for Tropical Cyclone Bianca which was predicted to hit the coast somewhere between Perth and Bunbury as a Category 1 storm with 120kmh winds.

I trimmed more branches off the lemon tree, stashed everything that was outside away so that it wouldn't become a projectile, and then settled in to watch TV and wait. It never came, though there were a couple of thunder storms.

Bender is scared of thunder and went and curled up on my bed when the storms passed over. Barbie just stared in wonder out the front window at the rain cascading out of the gutters (oops, didn't clean them... again).

On Saturday morning before the storm, I took Barbie to her Canine Good Citizen refresher class. There is something about the building now that Barbie associates with training. She did an offlead loose heel the whole time. I practiced some down/stays with her and she was fine on the hard floor! She only started breaking after we'd practiced it too many times, then she progressed to the rolling onto her side and laying like that in her 'stay'. I am pretty sure they will pass her for that as long as she doesn't get up and move from the spot. I hope that since we will only do it once she will do it perfectly anyway.

On Thursday night the dogs had a challenge which they haven't come across often in their lives - toddlers! N's brother, his wife and their twin girls came to stay overnight as they live down South and needed to be in Perth on Friday. The girls are three I think(?) and are quite hyper. They like to just bounce around. They love cats but had much more limited exposure to dogs. Bender's reaction to toddlers has always been to lick them until they scream, and he hasn't changed his approach despite us discouraging him. He is such a pushy boof-headed dog that adults have to tell him to back off, otherwise he just stays way too close to the toddlers. Anyway after Bender had been put outside a couple of times for being too hyper, he settled down. Barbie is good with kids though because she will stand nice and still to accept pats and will back off if they say 'no' and wave their little arms at her. The problem with Barbie is she's a bit too 'soft' with the kids and ran away from them when they chased her. She then plopped down on her bed because her bed is supposed to be her safe space, and one of the twins jumped on her. Barbie jumped up and ran away and I put her in her crate where she was safe (it was almost bed time anyway).

They may all be moving up to Perth soon so the dogs will probably see more of them. I think once they are confident with dogs, Bender is going to be more of a playmate for them as they can climb all over him and he will love it. Barbie prefers quiet, kind kiddies who will give her cuddles and pats but not try to climb on her. Soon they will be old enough to understand boundaries properly I guess.

Frou cat is definately torn about children that little. She loves attention in any form but she doesn't like how they move around unpredictably and how they bounce. It makes her jumpy. A compromise for Frou was being under the coffee table where she felt safe, she laid down and let them pat her then.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back from Adelaide!

We got home from Adelaide at around 9pm on Saturday night. The kitties were a little surprised, and jumpy. Mittens gave us evil looks while sniffing all of our stuff. Frou meowed a lot but didnt' really want to be patted. Frou then looked at Bender's squeaky ball and meowed a question at us. I think she was missing her best buddy.

Monday morning we went down to the Paw House to pick up the dogs. The guy at the kennels really liked Bender. He was surprised, pleasantly, by Bender because at first he thought he would take ages to settle in. He found quite a few playmates for Bender which was really encouraging for us. Apparently he likes entire males to play with the most.

Nic asked how Barbie was. He said 'she is not like a greyhound at all! There are some dogs she ignores, but if she likes you, watch out! She plays like a staffy, really full on!' She is a funny dog, on the leash or at home she is usually quite reserved but if she is in a space where she knows she can let loose... then boy o boy she does!

She especially likes to do high-speed close passes, and appears to be trying to 'dance' on other dogs heads. She needs confident dogs to play with, any dogs that are fearful are likely to react, and she thinks this is fun and takes it as encouragement and continues to close pass, with the other dog trying to snap at her! She doesn't mean any harm, has proper bite inhibition (not that anyone knows that because she has to be muzzled in public!), but has a twisted sense of humour. She is picky about who she will play with but I think he found her a few playmates.

It's funny because people think she is such a princess when they see her prancing along on the leash with me, or see her refusing to jump down a retaining wall or into a car. She pretends to be a prissy princess but she is sooooooooo not.

The dogs slept pretty solidly yesterday and last night, so I guess they had a good time. I think they are enjoying having soft carpets/rugs/cushions and couches to sleep on. Barbie has lost all the hair that she regrew on her thighs and belly in 10 days in the kennel - it took her 12 months to grow that back. Oh well, less hairs to end up in our carpets!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nibbling on forbidden objects

Barbie has a thing for electrical wires. Not the normal thick ones, but the thin ones that are found on mobile phone chargers, headphones and my Macbook charger. She nibbles gently on them and strips the insulation off. She bites through half the wire, but she doesn't usually snip the whole thing off.

She also has a thing for hairbrushes, shoes, and as we found out a few days ago, sunglasses. She doesn't usually damage hairbrushes or shoes, but other things aren't quite as robust.

Barbie's list of things she has destroyed continues to grow. Last week she stole Nic's sunglasses off the table in the lounge room. She did her little happy dance but N did not think to investigate why she was dancing about. Then when I got home from work and was putting my bike away, I heard a loud crunch. Barbie had bitten clean through one of the plastic arms of the sunnies. N rushed over and scooped up her broken sunnies, and Barbie did the prettiest sit in an attempt to get them back to chew on some more!

On the weekend N caught Barbie nibbling on my Macbook charger. I was a bit pissed about this because N had unplugged my Macbook for some unknown reason and left the skinny end on the floor. She has damaged the outer wire but I'm not too sure about the internal wires. I am going to have to get a new one now.

Good thing she is so cute.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Inadvertent teachings...

After our first run together on Wed night, N and I took the pooches for a quiet stroll last night. Problem was that when Barbie stopped to sniff, and I told her 'let's go' she thought it meant 'run!' so she took off. She had a lot of energy last night and was porpoising down the road.

I have to make sure I say 'run run' or 'quick quick' and reserve 'lets go' for it's original purpose!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My 5k Dog

Sorry about the stereo silence, I had assignments to finish, but now they are all done and I have been informed that I passed, so on with the free time!

Now that my right ankle has healed up pretty well, I've decided that I'm going to start from scratch with the Couch to 5k running program. The problem that I have is that I tend to push myself too hard. With my history of ankle injury and soft tissue injuries, I think that this time around I need to pace myself.

How to do that?

Run with a greyhound!

Last time I did the C2-5k I was taking both the dogs out for some of the runs, but Bender has a tendency to stop dead (usually for a potty break), and to run too fast downhill (which leads to me being pulled through the air when my feet are off the ground, which is bad for my ankle). Barbie on the other hand is the perfect lady on a run, keeping pace pretty well (until she is buggered) and never applying any pressure on the lead, changing direction etc. Her endurance level isn't the greatest at the moment, but neither is mine, and I find that running with her forces me to keep a slower pace.

When I was running with the dogs before I got them up to 3k before I hurt my ankle. It remains to be seen whether Barbie will get up there to 5ks.

Oh and the latest update on the Canine Good Citizen, looks like the test will be pushed back to February!
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