Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Patience

Some days I set myself a task, I plan and work out strategies to cope with the scenarios I am likely to encounter.  Then I introduce the dogs and it is always invariably me who ends up learning the valuable lesson, me who is tested and me who has to review what I am doing!

Today was such a day.

I thought 'Right!  Today would be a great day to work on the usual patience in the van, waiting to be let out and using food to ask them to stay focussed on me.  Then allowed to run and play whilst I repeated the process.  Only the guys who aren't food orientated didn't care one jot for the food reward and bizarrely took it as a choice.  If you want food wait here or you won't get it.  If you don't want food then what the hell run!

Sigh, should have seen that coming.  Did you ever watch that programme with Calista Flockhart ....it'll come to me....ALLY MCBEAL!

If you ever watched that programme she used to see an imaginary dancing baby.  Well I see an imaginary me running after the dogs, flying through the air cartoon style and rugby tackling them before starting again.  Oh to have special powers, not that I need them I just need to be at least half a step in front of these guys.

The field is a wonder as it allows us to iron out any issues or allow them and us some relaxation time.  I see the field and see a field of grass, birds, freedom and space to breath to have time to train without distraction.  They see the field as a heady mix of friends, frolicking and fun.

So Sam and I stopped and we heard it an incessant drone and squeak.  The volume levels are increasing, with Rez chewing the corner of my mat in frustration, a high pitched rarara from Belle desperate to be out playing with her new friends.  Oh Louie, Tallulah and Robbie they were squeaking and whining all at their own particular pitch destined to drive a saint spare.  Maddie was by now barking rhythmically and determinedly with Millypoo making the van rock with her bouncing.  My van was already gently moving to Robbie's frantic spinning.

Sigh.

We waited and they waited.  The frustrated increased their frustration as the good and sweet were let out to free play, sniff and stretch whilst we waited some more.

Soon they were out and a kind of calm descended.  They looked at us looking at them and the calm continued.  Until we brought out the food.  Oh much excitement as the food was shared all able to have some though taking everyones allergies into account made it look much like cardboard.  Despite a frenzied hunt for the food no bickering no complaining so we upped the anti.

We brought out the ball.

Madness descended.

Sigh.

Soon the vans filled up with squealers ( Tallulah, Jasper, Truffle)
Then the vans filled up with grumpers ( Harvey, Harry, Nanci, Poppy, Esther)

All was now a tentative calm.  Slowly Sam raised the throwing arm, mashed up soggy vaguely offensive ball balanced precariously on the throwing stick and they all turned into border collies dashing back and forth rounding us up and we waited.

And Waited

They stopped.  Even Wobbily Robbie.  The ball flew through the air and not a peep.  Not a grump and not a groan.

Ahhhhh this is more like it.

So I have a plan, I am going to have strategies in place to cope with possible scenarios that I will likely encounter.....wish us luck I recon we might just need it.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Fb post

Everyday I write a little bit about the dogs on facebook.  You have a status bar that you can write in and tell people what you have been up to.  Only today I just couldn't seem to do this in a few words( most of you will understand why I rarely use Twitter how on earth do I say what I want to say in a sentence haha) so have written a blog tis not an exciting blog just one that briefly lets you know what the guys and gals have been doing whilst you have been working hard or stuck in traffic.


Well I have thoroughly enjoyed getting the pups out and about today....I do enjoy a change and it is great to see how it affects the dogs.  With having 22 plus miles to come before my main pick up area I used the jeep and I was impressed with how the little uns behaved though they did spent an awful lot of time standing on two legs watching out the windows occasionally navigating have they not heard of back seat drivers?  

My first walk ( well Petnanny walk I had my three out first thing whilst seeing to the horses then saw to the oldies and cats )was on a private estate which is always a treat with its own lake and stream they had a ball.  Charlie does enjoy the fact that Willow has three clingons( stalkers call them what you like they follow her every move loving her erratic movements and dashes here there and everywhere) allowing Charlie to run about snowploughing and rolling in the snow. Belle, Mila and Leyla were enjoying the cold brisk weather.  Watching Wobbily( Robbie) and Tallulah constantly flip themselves over trying to run through the snow caught in the tussocks of dried standing hay at times you couldn't see Tallulah for snow and hair!  Robbie impressed me with his rock steady stay it was so nice to send them home to their mum with a good report card.

Once dropped off I then took the two colliewobbles out for a quick toiletting moment and then time wrestling each other in the garden until an afternoon visit.

The next walk I hummed and harred about taking Elvis in the jeep as he is only just getting used to the van he surprised me by being settled and on his best behaviour with his seatbelt attachment.  On the walk however it was I that surprised him as he had no collar on and I couldn't find a collar, without my usual mobile dog supply store I used his own halter.   I never trust halters fully and I know he is a terrible runaway at home so thought it was wise to use a spare lead as a anchor to ensure if all else fails and he slipped the halter he would still be attached.  Oh wasn't that a good move!  A move he has obviously done a hundred times with good effect he lunged back slipped his right ear out of the halter and came to a very very abrupt halt.....flummoxed by the fact I was still very much attached to him.  He was an absolute angel for the rest of the walk and I wouldn't have been surprised if I had seen him shaking his head in shock!

We met a few stalwarts out walking their dogs and the usual professional dog walker vans here and there and I was proud our guys behaved themselves beautifully despite the excitement of the snow and at times the skating they were doing on the hidden ice.  Esther was completely on fire and Truffle and Esther were enjoying a bit sparring Truffle at first was a little reluctant as she was wearing her new onesie but soon forgot about it and off they went swearing and smiling at the same time.  I think the mood Esther was in was rubbing off with Bobby who was rabbit then hunter then rabbit though he decided the pheasant in the wood was a bit feisty looking and pretended he hadn't seen it before heading off at a gallop again chased by his favourite nephew round and round in the snow, Roly's little legs were a blur.

Oooh dogs are terrible tittle tattles and Rez definitely made me both shake my head and laugh at how much of a tearaway he is.  He was on the benches, chairs, me and tried to swipe at the coffee so he was a little miffed at me spoiling his fun.  He soon learnt how to get the cheese out of the kong by flinging it across the room I do love watching pups learn.  His walk was very uneventful and he was no impressed this Viszla may be all terrain he is most definitely not all weather!  I am sure he will be less than impressed at not being out in the nanny van but it is all good training and experience.  He will soon forgive me in a moment or two when I head back there to let him out for a widdle or three.

Sam makes me laugh as she is more set in her ways than I am and I am considerably older than her!  So with a heavy heart dreading the turn of events I think she was pleasantly surprised at how good the dogs were on her first walk with Megan and Belle playing well, Stan, Suzy, Nanci and Elsie having fun as ever.  Seeing two deer walk infront of her in the van made the snow all the more christmassy so off she went to walk the next guys and gals….my last phonecall to Sam was interrupted by her telling Murphy yet again that she did NOT want to go Great Dane Skijorking so could he and Fergal stop being complete muppets and walk nicely please!  I look forward to hearing all about that walk before heading back to see to the pups as Winnie has just been spayed so on restricted exercise and obviously Belle needs more opportunities to toilet.  Suzy often needs more wee's being an older lady.

Alex had a lovely combo of Fluffy, Hunter, Bobby, Breeze and Archie.  Bobby is diabolical near home so he enjoyed a less than wonderful leader walk, such a shame he couldn't wouldn't sit or walk nicely to heel!  Hunter was babysat by Breeze who took it all a little too seriously and insisted on no running or even jogging!  Hunter took it all in their stride and they all partook in a bit of doggy snowploughing a sport that all dogs flat faced or otherwise seem to revel in.  Fluffy and Archie were a delight firmly placing themselves in Alex's heart with their funny little ways.

Well it is time for me to head off again soon oh I have enjoyed my cuppa and I hope Kim has a great weekend with her two louts being very unlout like with a bit of luck!


I would like to thank all who volunteered to do Mammy and daddy day care with their guys that weren't working or working from home.  I really do appreciate you all taking us into consideration.





Saturday, 1 December 2012

Petnanny's Ninny Nativity

I still feel slightly shellshocked hehe.

We had a great turnout despite the odd late drop outs which always happens.  Despite the weather a whopping 34 dogs turned up with their respective families and even the rain held off for us.

I have to say I much prefer more time to plan and next time I am going to have a formed and definite plan of how we are going to do something!

The costumes were just magical and so much effort had been put in, though I have to admit naked baby Jesus ( Rez) and Chav Jesus ( leyla) made me laugh as I am pretty sure Jesus didn't turn up in Chanel leather and pearls but then Jesus wasn't a pug!  Our Human Jaysus was not impressed with the lack of warmth for the event and despite Mad Mary( Cait ) feeling a little overwhelmed I am pretty sure that will have been authentic which mother turns up to an event with a well behaved baby at all times?!

We had a great showing of shepherds and a couple of sheep, the black sheep Maddie)should have swapped with the blonde sheep( Duke) as their roles were clearly reversed!  Our oxen( cow Millypoo) was unfortunately stuck in traffic but I feel the donkeys did actually make up for it with Smurf and Izzy doing a great job though darling Izzy was more Eeyore than Little donkey.

The camels( Flute and Tips) did far better than expected as rarely are beasts of burden left to fend for themselves and Tips had bad thoughts about going feral until absconded by a rather fetching king with a tremendous Mo nabbed him.  The random bright king( me) was completely overwhelmed and felt very much like the headmaster trying to placate everyone at the school nativity whilst trying to rein in a bunch of children  after they went awol in a sweet factory.

The angels were indeed angelic with Mick and Minnie being exceptional with a holier than thou look on their face that really becomes them.  Truffle in true staffie fashion was angelic until she got bored and then had a bit wander before begrudgingly playing her role beautifully.  Xena Angelic princess was angelic whether she wanted to or not as she was absconded by the very King Mo that had a hold of Camel number two.

King number two ( Sam) had her girls by her side looking rather lovely though I feel the lamb( Pixie) had a petulant moment as I definitely remember her flailing around on her back at one point.  We had another King on standby and I feel he should wear his crown more often as it really did suit him ( Archie) very regal he looked too.

Our very own star ( Roly)was a little subdued as it was all a bit rushed and he sat in the middle of the madness with the most reluctant sheep ever seen( Poppy) or was that Duke ( he most definitely should have come as the black sheep of the family)looking around looking a little disgruntled at the lack of fun and entertainment.

The inn keeper had a very appropriate look on her face ( Isabelle) I think she could have turned away people with one look whereas Mary Moo could have had any look on her face we simply couldn't see as her little face was swamped by costume!

Mary and Joseph stuck with their plead of innocence ( Willow and Charlie) by sitting like pro's never even giving each other a look.  I think a couple of the shepherds( Tallulah and Wobbily) were more Whirling dervishes than dependable carers of all things woolly.

Our little foreign sheep (Fluffy) deserves a special mention for his impeccable behaviour and also Debbie for her tremendous costume and beard!  Lastly Bobby who is going to be on sitting detention forever as he was diabolical!  I recon he had managed to work his magic on the innkeeper and was worse for wear!

I think the hardest part was trying to manage the humans and I lost Laura PetNanny's official photographer at least most of the time!  In a sea of faces I couldn't even spot her lens so next time I shall have to provide her with a tabard, a lanyard and pass then provide a fence to keep the throngs back haha.  Laura does love a challenge though so next time I think we will see her on her beautiful mule taking full advantage of the better vantage point as long as she can see past those fabulous ears.

The photos can be found here : http://www.onlinepictureproof.com/chamfronphotos/albums/other_events/312134

And as you can see as usual they are brilliant.

I would also like to thank Fluffy's mam for doing my boys wonderful camel costumes and my mam for helping me with my random king costume.  Thank you to Kim Leighton who I blame fully for me holding the mini event!

All in all it made for a very interesting afternoon and I would like to say a heart felt thank you to all who made the effort to come out on a cold November day with their treasures dressed up in order to help animals in need.

So far we have raised over £500 with Kim's Tuna cakes, Sue's dog biscuits and Sharon's delicious human cakes not only being gratefully consumed and contributing handsomely to our monies raised.  Thank you to Elliot who made our great crib, Mini Pony Hire for yet again raising money and turning up in costume with Smurf to keep the kiddies happy and Edward heslop for allowing us to borrow some straw in the vain hope of keeping at least some of the doggy bottoms dry and comfortable.

I now have a mission!  That mission will come clear...I hope most of you are up for it and I promise it will involve no dressing up, lots of cake for us and treats for the dogs.

We are aiming to hold a Nursery Rhyme themed event August/ september time with a great walk and fun and frolic so we need everyone to get their thinking caps on to choose a charity to support and for costumes and if you would like any games throughout the day.


The expert at home


When did it all get so complicated?

I think ( maybe that is where I go wrong) dog ownership is so much harder than it used to be.  First of all there are soooo many types/ breeds/ crosses of dogs to choose from.  

Then there is the correct responsible way of doing things.  Or maybe the fashionable way of doing things.  Maybe you have dogs for a reason like obedience or showing so you need to get a dog appropriate for that job.

What if dogs are an extension of your persona and need to reflect ho you want to be seen?

To be responsible you need to put your dog first, do the training right at the appropriate time in order to take full advantage or the optimum learning time.  Don't forget feeding the best food and to be seen to prevent all manner of nasty things that will happen if you just don't take enough notice.  Where to start with health care, you have to be willing to sell your soul in order to protect your dog, treat your dog and save your dog.

Why did it get so terribly complicated.  

Dogs are one of the most malleable creatures on this earth, they morph and change to take advantage of any given situation to survive and even thrive.  Arguably they evolved to live on our waste and I mean OUR waste not just what we throw away.  They learnt who and what to avoid and what to do to get more than the dog beside them.  We inevitably changed them and they changed themselves too.

I am increasingly seeing people, with both horses and dogs, constantly going to courses for training with masters or experts, different techniques or styles.  Maybe a famous person who will show you the magic key so that you will end up with a dog that practically glows it is so perfect.

There are courses for feeding, training, behavioural, tricks you name it everyone attentive to what they might learn.

Over the years I have been subjected to people telling me how to feed my horses after a seminar or two they have taken and yet looking at their own horses what they desperately needed was basic nutrition just to have some slices of hay put in front of them instead of them standing hungry in bare fields or so fat I feel a little faint when I see them with a bucket of feed for them. 

Instead of all those lessons or seminars, those organised events and training session just spend time with the expert at home.  Use that time and get to know your dog/ horse. Exercise them until you are both too tired to exercise anymore.  Listen to what they have to say but don't read into it. 

Feed your dog a good food that makes them fit not fat, exercise them when and as much as you and them can stand, show them what you expect them to do and what not to do and enjoy them.  If it's not broken don't fix it or even try and look for a problem.  

Pick some rules I believe all dogs need to have a few basic rules 

Don't eat people
Don't eat other dogs
Don't eat other animals that belong to someone or shouldn't be eaten
Don't poop pee where we live


Then you start to polish what you want and don't want

I can tell you what I want my guys to do but I can't tell you what you expect your guys to do and what you can live with.

Then relax.  They don't have to be precious and always on your mind, they don't need constant attention or reassurance.  It isn't the end of the world if they miss a walk or aren't allowed to sleep on the settee.  

Don't look for the magic key or the enlightened moment that that trainer/ book or method will surely give you.  

I had to get it out of my system…how many times have I wanted to say to people….
instead of reading what to do why don't you actually ride your horse and the same with dogs.   There is no harm learning all you can learn as long as it doesn't impinge on your time and enjoyment of your dog.  My boys loved showing yet I found showing for me meant having to look for faults and to constantly have to show them in their best light…with such a subjective opinion of that judge on that day I am happier enjoying the parts ( pretty much all of them) that make me happy than trying to hide the parts that aren't quite perfect.

I have fallen foul to all of the above apart from the feeding.  My motto is enjoy my animals and make sure they are enjoying it too.  As long as we all play by the rules hehe