Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Mouser turns 3 (or 21 in dog years)

Mouse turned three years old and I decided that I needed to throw a little celebration. N rightly pointed out that I had never made a cake for any of the other dogs, but I was determined to be more organised this time. 

The night before her birthday I threw together a carrot and peanut butter cake. The recipe is as follows.


1 egg, 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used unsalted), 1/4 cup cooking oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, creamed cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degs F (175 degs C)
  2. Combine egg, peanut butter, oil and vanilla in a large bowl; mix well
  3. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly
  4. Sift the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture
  5. Spoon batter into greased cake tin
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto serving plate
  7. Spread the cream cheese over the cake while it is still warm for 'icing' and add whatever decoration you see fit
Final Result

I kinda spooned the batter in the cake tin into this rough shape and then cut the head out to be a bit more round. It was supposed to look like a duck but I think it was more like a chicken by the end of it, not that Mouse minded one bit! 

I tried some of the cake myself and it was actually pretty nice. You could add some honey if humans were going to join in on the celebrations.

She waited nicely for the photos to be taken without trying to chow down on the cake. I attribute this partly to my 'leave it' training, and partly to those strange little fires on top of the cake that she wasn't quite sure about. She seemed quite relieved when I blew them out.

She was a bit perturbed that I made her sit in front of the yummy cake for photos, then picked it up and took it into the kitchen.

I cut the cake up, and of course Mouse got the biggest piece. She was very excited about it. Barbie and Bender appreciated their pieces also. 

It's OK her eyes didn't actually pop out of her head....

The blur effect makes Bender's teeth look huuuuuuge.

Of course Bender finished off all the crumbs on the plate to save me from doing much cleaning up! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Too much fun and not enough time!!

It's been a while since our last post. We have been having too much fun! This weekend we went on a doggy date with Indi and Daisy. Mouse did a lot of running, and Barbie did a lot of laying down. There was a concrete tunnel at the park which was supposed to be agility equipment but the dogs just used it as a refuge from the sun!

I made a video of the crazy kids ripping it up. The Husky in the video is only a young one as well and made a great playmate for all of the houndies. 

I also got a new kayak, which meant swimming lessons and perhaps a bit of kayaking for Mouse.

We started off practicing in the back yard, before we set out on the river. I wasn't sure if Mouse could even swim so we thought it would be better to introduce the kayak first. 

She was quite happy to sit in the boat, especially if I was in there as well and she could cuddle in to my legs. Here's a video of some of our practice.

When we took her to the river though, there was a factor I had not quite considered properly. The ducks. They were useful in a way, because she wanted to get to them, so she was willing to come out in to the water with me. At first she had no clue that she had to move her legs to stay afloat and keep moving in the water. With her float coat on she had a tendency to just float, and then lean over into a capsize.

I took the float coat off and she started to figure out the swimming thing.

After a few half-convincing swims she decided she had enough and decided to plop down in a sit in the water. This was her way of asking me to stop making her swim, I think! 

Unfortunately it was very difficult to keep her in the boat as she was too busy staring at the ducks. I may have overloaded her a bit by attempting kayaking and swimming lessons on the same day. We need to spend a lot more time around the river and waterfowl to get work on her focus. 

Here's a brief moment where she did what I asked....

As you can see in the pic, I made a Gopro video of our kayaking attempt. Looking back on it she was no worse than Bender on his first go. I will probably take Bender out in this boat next weekend and I predict that he will be much less likely to jump off this one. 

I am determined for someone to actually enjoy kayaking with me!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When Barbie met Charlie

Last weekend we decided introduce Barbie to my friends' little Cavalier King Charles x Mini Dachshund, Charlie. Charlie has some other doggie friends, but expanding his social circle has to be good for him. Charlie has more of a Dachshund temperament and tends to boss other dogs around, I figured Barbie would just ignore him and sprint away if she had to. After all he is all bark and attitude and no bite.

 When I pulled up in the driveway I waited a little while Charlie was put into the yard so that Barbie could explore the house in peace initially. Barbie seemed really enamoured with the house as it is huge compared to ours and there are a lot of rooms to explore. Charlie barked at the back door when he saw another dog in his house, so we snuck outside through the laundry door. Charlie was so busy barking at the back door he didn't realise that Barbie had wandered up behind him!

 He spent a bit of time barking at her, and then rounding her up. When we went inside Charlie laid down on his favorite 'perch', which made him closer to Barbie's head height, whilst Barbie walked around for a while looking for somewhere to lie down. I thought she would enjoy the tiles as it was a warm day, but she didn't really settle until a blankie was provided for her Highness to rest upon. When Charlie got up, Barbie got up, and then Charlie rounded Barbie up. She had to be rescued when he trapped her in a corner. She had her head down and was showing all kinds of appeasement behaviours, and Charlie was satisfied with them it seems as he left her alone after a little while.

We went for a walk together to Charlie's local park. They were very civil walking together, giving each other a glance every now and then. We tried to take some photos just to emphasise the size difference. I think Barbie and Charlie will get along quite well once they are used to each other.  Overall we were quite pleased with how the introduction went.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

GreyhoundAngels Pack Walk -PUPPIEZZZZ!

Yesterday I met the youngest Greyhound pup yet, little 3 month old blue girl, April. She broke her leg so instead of trying to race her, her owners decided to find her a nice home. She was a little bit taken aback by all the big dogs.... for about five minutes, then she was right in there amongst it.

For scale, Mouse is now the same size as 6 month old puppy Indi (that is her, the black with white on her face, bouncing around in the video).

We organised to meet at a nice spot by the river, which meant a nice ride for Mouse in her Greyhound-Chariot. It was 20 kilometres round trip which is the furtherest I have ever towed her, and my legs were a bit stiff this morning but it wasn't too bad.

Anyway, here is the video!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mouse's 'Bolt' Experience

Have you seen the cute Pixar animated film about a little white dog called Bolt? There's a cat called Mittens in it, which is where our Mittens got her name. As Bolt was a movie star dog he didn't learn how to do real doggy things. They made him believe he actually had superpowers, and never let him do doggy stuff. Mittens teaches him to stick his head out the window of a moving vehicle. Bolt LOVES it, though Mittens says 'meh, it's a dog thing.'

Mouse has always loved the car, but mainly for the motion and the soft cushy seats. She likes to sprawl across the back seat and sleep, reserving energy for her exciting destination. She has been in the car with Barbie quite a bit lately, and it seems that she had her own 'Bolt' moment on the way back from the beach today.

It went on long enough for me to get a good shot, then we put the window up a bit higher before she blew her eyelids off.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

NoSharkCull protest - Mouse meets horses, and people, and dogs, and more people...

I tend not to get political on this blog, and well, this post isn't that political for people who live elsewhere.... or is it?

Skip this if you are not interested and just want to see Mouse....
In Western Australia, the government has deployed drum lines to catch sharks over 3 metres that come near popular swimming beaches. This is due to a few people being attacked by sharks in recent years. Statistically, your odds of getting chomped by a shark are very very low, especially if you are swimming at a popular beach with plenty of other people. The people who have the most encounters are those who paddle surfskis, surf isolated breaks or dive off shore. People have many reasons for objecting to this, but mine is pretty simple. The 'target sharks' are all 'vulnerable' and 'endangered'. Likely bycatch species are also vulnerable and endangered. So far the hooks are catching small sharks, and a very small tiger shark was caught last night that died on the hook, because sharks need to swim to breathe.
There were 6,000 people on the beach. I was a little bit worried about how Mouse would deal with all the people, the amplified speeches and the police horses. It turns out I didn't need to worry at all.

We stayed on the outside of the crowd, mainly because I didn't want to have to squeeze around people. Mouse was really well behaved, not poking anyone uninvited, and whilst she stared hard at the seagulls she exercised a high level of self-control and did not lunge or bark at them. 

There were a few other dogs in the crowd. Mouse is leash reactive in some environments, especially on walks around the suburbs near our house, but she is improving slowly. I figured that there would be so many people around she wouldn't bother about the other dogs, and I was right. 

This little guy with the shark fin on his back was sitting quite close to us, and whilst she looked at him, she didn't stare. She forgot about him pretty much immediately.

Mouse was far too busy making friends and influencing people. She would lie near me until she spotted people who she thought looked friendly, and then she would wander over and wait to be acknowledged. These ladies said hello to her and started patting her, so she offered her paw to them. 

This little girl came over and patted Mouse for ages. She asked a lot of questions about her, like what was her number when she raced. I had to tell her they got different numbers every time they raced, but I thought Mouse was number 6 most often. She told Mouse she was going to kidnap her and grabbed her leash. When they left for the day, she dragged her mother over to say goodbye. 

Mouse also had her first horse encounter, with these rather large Police horses. They don't like dogs much and baulked a bit when they saw her. Mouse was good though and continued walking with me without making a big fuss. 

She was very much focussed on me which I was very pleased with. There were so many people, and a lot of speeches. There was even a live music performance. The only things that scared her were the helicopters when they came close, and a group of SCUBA divers who we encountered on the beach dressed up in all their gear with tanks, goggles and flippers on their feet. 

From our position on the beach we got a good view of all the people with their banners and placards.
I think Mouse really enjoyed meeting new people, and after a couple of hours it was time to head back to the car. 

When we got back into the suburbs, Mouse decided to stop for a poo right in front of a house with a little yappy dog. For some reason this dog's owner decided to let him out of his yard, and he came rushing up to Mouse barking in her face. Mouse of course returned fire. N came and took Mouse maybe 6 or 7 metres away so that I could pick up the mess without having to worry about the dogs yelling at each other. The little dog then jumped up on me for attention! Mouse was very good standing and watching, but quiet. 

It was a great outing for Mouse and I'm glad she coped as well as she did. I think I am still learning about this plucky little greyhound. 

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