Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Zhu Zhu's Revenge

You may remember when we introduced a new member to our family - a little Zhu Zhu pet.

The Zhu Zhu pet has been harrassed, chased, picked up and chomped on by both Bender, and Barbie. He developed a cunning plan in order to get his revenge, and I caught it all on film!

if you can't view it here, go to youtube and check it out

Monday, September 26, 2011

Barbie and biking....

For the first time in a long time, we managed to go out biking while there was still some daylight. I rigged my little Otek DVS550 video camera to the bar end of my Bike Friday - unfortunately the mount I used doesn't move the way I would like, and it slipped so it ended up pointing at the sky every time we went over a bump. This walk takes something like 27 minutes walking, and only 15 biking it. Barbie doesn't get over a trot, or we'd be going too fast. I bike with her on her collar because she I haven't been able to find a harness that she will tolerate wearing. We don't go much over jogging pace anyway so there have been no ill effects of her running in her collar only, even if she is providing the forward momentum for the bike at least some of the time.

There will be more biking videos to come now that I have sorted my camera problems and the days are getting longer. This one is a bit rough, but it's fun, so I thought it would be great to share :)

There were also three offleash dogs on this lap of the block. I didn't get any on the video. The first one was hanging around near a massive skip bin. He looked like a big block headed Mastiff type, and he was dragging a chain along behind him. He also looked like his right eyeball was almost hanging out of his head. If I didn't have Barbie and the bike I would have probably stopped to find out who his owner was, but there were people working in the nearby house, and he stayed in the general vicinity so I figured he belonged to them. Barbie very much wanted to keep an eye on him and so she slowed down and kept looking over her shoulder.

The second was when we went past a park where doggies are allowed off leash. One of those dogs was not very well controlled by it's owner and came towards us. I stopped quickly, but in hindsight I should have just kept going. It came and tried to jump all over Barbie. She wasn't particularly happy about that as she doesn't have a lot of room to move on the end of the Walkydog. As a result I have decided to make the 'leash' part of the Walkydog a couple of inches longer - this increases the risk of her running the wrong side of a pole, and the Walkydog doesn't have the emergency release feature that the Springer does, but I absolutely do not want an auto-release feature, where we ride there are still cars and people and the last thing I'd want is Barbie barrelling off!

The third dog was a Border Collie looking thing, and it's owner called it back when he spotted us. It obeyed. Good dog!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Like herding cats....(Frou's new trick)

Ok, the inspiration from this post came from Rescued Insanity. I have two kitties, and while I believe one of them is constantly controlling the world with her kitty mind and constantly has an evil look on her face, the other kitty is much more trainable.

Froufrou, who we can also call 'keg cat' loves her food and is also very attention motivated. I have taught her to jump across from the couch to the chair, to the table. As she is a keg she is not particularly athletic but I thought teaching 'hup' might help to make up for the treats she is getting. This time she is being trained with pieces of kangaroo sausage. Kangaroo is low in fat, though the sausages do have a significant amount of salt added to them. I think it's better for her waistline than cheese, and she is just as willing to work for it.

Like Shiva, Barbie likes to interfere with cat-training. She cannot resist the yummy kangaroo sausage smell.

And for those who want more doggie cuteness - here is a short clip of Barbie playing with one of her first squeaky balls - I found it when I was clearing out imovie and thought it was too cute not to share.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bender's Noise Phobia

Our brief stay in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was 100% bad for Bender. We had neighbours with nasty, scrappy dogs who liked to fight him under the fence (hence he became territorial), he was attacked by two offleash dogs while he was walking minding his own business (developed on-leash reactivity), and also developed a phobia of thunder and other loud bangs as the storms were simply louder and more frequent out there.

All of these things have gotten worse as he has gotten older. His phobia of banging noises, and his on leash reactivity have led me to the decision that I can not walk him with Barbie any more. The last thing I want is for her to pick up these behaviours from him as well.

The main event that I can attribute his noise phobia to was a massive, mother-of-all thunderstorms we got caught out in when we were living in Kalgoorlie. We weren't expecting it and we were caught out a long way from home. N was walking him and ended up letting him go - he ran straight home to hide. If he is at home he isn't too bad - he just goes to his 'safe place' which is usually my bed. He doesn't shake or pant, justs tucks his ears back and his tail down. He does cope, as long as he can go to his safe space. We have never mollycoddled him when he has reacted to storms, but I am afraid that very first walk where he was allowed to run home at his own pace has had a lasting effect.

On walks, he has degenerated to the point that a car backfiring some distance away makes him into a pulling freight train. He gets down low and exudes all his force (which is quite considerable) to pull me home as quickly as possible. He refuses treats but does obey the 'sit' command. Last night he reacted to something I did not even hear and did not recover from it at all for half of our walk. My quads are killing me from resisting him pulling me along the road. It was a real struggle to hold on to him and to also keep an eye on Barbie, who was for the most part, walking at a loose heel next to me. It was OK when it was just thunderstorms and fireworks (though there are so many fireworks displays within hearing distance from our house that we were caught out by them a few times), but it is impossible to predict and avoid a car backfiring within 10kms of the house.

Leash reactivity I can work on, but this extreme sensitivity to percussive noises is something I find hard. We have worked a bit on conditioning at home and he has improved a bit - but he has only degenerated on leash walks. If he is off leash his only focus is his ball and being near a shooting range doesn't even register with him. I guess we will have to consider medicating him. I am also considering trying out 'mutt muffs' for him - they are sound blocking earphones for dogs, which I have seen on Never Say Never Greyhounds, though they didn't work for Reagan.

We shall see how we go, I guess.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stuffie Hunting - Barbie catches a Snake!

Australia has a reputation for it's dangerous wildlife. We have snakes that are not only venomous, but will fight to the death if they are attacked. It is not difficult to tell if a snake is venomous or not - odds are that it is, there are not many harmless snakes in Australia.

Usually snakes are shy and avoid humans at all costs. People are only usually bitten if they try to catch or kill the snake. The same goes for dogs.

It is very rare to find a snake just hanging out in your house, that is for sure.

Barbie the Fierce captured her prey in the living room after an intense battle. It was not easy, but with her lightning-fast Greyhound reflexes, she finally bagged herself a green-ringed-snake.

Turns out that this is one of the rare non-venomous snakes in Australia. Good thing too, because Barbie decided she would like to keep it as a pet, and carried it gently back to her bed.

Where was Bender when all this was happening? He was ripping apart his newest stuffie, of course.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Barbie vs ZhuZhu pet

I posted a video a while ago of Mittens eyeing off my remote control car, and some of my readers suggested I get her a hamster to play with.

I found one in one of those cheap reject stores, and Mittens wasn't interested in playing with it at all. In fact when it headed towards her she leapt out of the way like she was scared of it.

Barbie liked it though. This is Barbie's first introduction to the Zhu Zhu pet.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stop the Stuffie Massacre!

A lot of my regular readers will remember this post, where you were all introduced to this charming pink monkey. The monkey came to an agonising death last night - torn limb from limb.

Of course, Barbie was not the culprit. It was in fact N & Bender whose spirited game of tug of war resulted in monkey's grisly end.

Unfortunately Bender refused to pose with the pieces - instead he grabbed the monkey's head and threw it at me like a ball - somewhat macabre, I think.

So this leads me to a question - does anyone know of a 'tougher' stuffie which I can order online? I have heard of a tough dragon stuffie, but I cannot seem to get it into Australia. The problem is that Barbie will only play with stuffies, but if Bender gets hold of them, well, you can see what happens.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bender and Froufrou - when there were only two!

I haven't always been surrounded by a menagerie. Bender and Froufrou came first, within weeks of each other, though Froufrou was close to fully grown, when Bender was a rather small pup. Bender initially thought that cats were for eating, but then they became very good friends. Bender is about 18 months old in this photo, and Froufrou would be 2 and a half years.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Barbie as a Puppy

One of the assistants at Greyhounds as Pets was involved with Barbie from the time she was a pup. She emailed me this photo. I felt very lucky because very few Greyhound owners get to see what their dogs looked like as puppies.

She had big paws!

Another point of view...

If you have enjoyed my posts about the animals I met on my recent trip to Europe, but want to read about the trip from a different perspective, and see some more photos, head on over to my other blog....

And back to normal programming - sharing is caring, and the Bender, Froufrou and Barbie like to put it into practice by all sitting on the same couch, even though they have three to choose from. Mittens is conspicuous in her absence - she doesn't share the philosophy, at all.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Beach Trip!

There was some stormy weather rolling in, but after going on a bike ride in the morning, we decided to take the dogs to the beach. Barbie took the opportunity to cut loose with a few hot laps. She doesn't  go very far away from us these days but she has got high speed turns down pat. 

Banking turn at high speed - only one foot on the sand.
Of course, Bender is only interested in one thing. Fetching his ball. He plays very hard. So hard that he managed to break a nail on his back foot today. 

Bender playing his favorite game. 
Barbie was a perfect angel. There was one other dog on the beach, and I knew she wanted to go and say hello. I have trained her to not go too far away when she is off leash, so she headed towards the dog, but stopped when she knew she was going too far. She waited for us to catch up, went to see the dog, but he wasn't interested in her, so she continued on with us.

Barbie showing off her off leash heel.
After her laps, Barbie decided she would have a little rest on the sand. Her ears were flapping slightly in the wind.

Barbie having a rest.

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