Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Just a short blog today

Is that a hurrah I hear?

Today we wanted to work on the puplets who are going through the hideous hounds phase!  Tinkerbelle is currently the whirling, seething, no recalling hissy huff and Rez is the thumping, shouting hauling bowling ball......

As you may know by now we favour the lamppost method so we started with this once we got them out of the van.  Even that needs lots of time and effort.  Door open no coming out.  Hands reach forward no leaping with gay abandonment into those arms. Lifted out no leaping forth into thin air.  be placed on floor without backflipping setting off at nanny breaking speed and keep feet on the floor.  Lordy feel a lie down coming on.

This achieved we stand....lammpost like, one hand gripping tightly whilst being sensitive to any give in tension the other tentatively ready to bring forth magical goodies in the guise of Primula and Chicken.  They really are the most flexible little boogers and I revel in their ability to have at least four legs in the air at anyone time it seems.

Then it happens.

An impatient glance weeeeeeeeeeee clever puppy much fuss and all that and shove some chicken/ cheese into their mouths before their grasshopper minds return to freedom, running and just about anything other than standing by nanny.

We build this up into nigh on constant attention then we start to move or rather we try and move whilst still with their attention or at least some of it.

Rez was frustrated so he huffed puffed and jumped.  He launched, he yarked and he rolled over.  Tinks however was much feistier and she was mad.  It was like watching the crocodile death roll mixed with a freshly born lamb one minute rolling and plunging in temper the next gambolling about like it was the funnest moment in time ever.

We were really quite gobsmacked to progress to free time for good behaviour and in the end they had a great time we even managed a quiet stand together with Sam holding them and soon were ready to get back into a warm van for a snooze whilst thawing out.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Today I was not to be beaten!

A visit to the field is quite often the ultimate for our guys.  It is the one time we allow them to head off a little more, allow the poor recalling dogs time to practise safely and of course a larger group which often creates the most excitement.

So we pulled up and sure enough the squeaking started.  Hah!  I will fox you my little beauties.  With Sam facing the mammoth task of putting coats on the hairy beasties I started to sort who should go out with whom.

We made Murphy, Duke, Lola and Tallulah pooches in charge of pups.  Murphy and Lola shared the duties with Rez.  This was definitely a good move as Rez toned down a currently idiotic Murphy and Lola was perfect for Rez playful but tough, tolerant yet forceful.  The best part was seeing instinct take over and Rez stalked and pointed Lola never quite sure what he was doing just making shapes as his ancestors had done for tens possibly hundred of years.  Once all were tired and relaxed we swapped for Duke, Tallulah and Tinks with Elvis put on the tyre.

Popping an over enthusiastic, ignorant in ya face dog on the tyre may be a little unorthodox but we find it works. Elvis has this awful habit of slamming into dogs sides not aggressively but it is a very dangerous potentially lethal move and he hauls and hauls.  By working on his heel work he has improved immeasurably using a harness when on the tyre means he can pull haul and get some of his pent up frustration out of his system before he is given freedom.  Very like Roly the behaviour on the tyre is a barometer for how  and what he is thinking.  Using a halter muzzle on Roly is his barometer.  If he rubs it calmly we know he is calm but slightly irritated by halter but if he stands on his hind legs scrabbling frantically on his face we know he wants that halter off badly so he has free access to his mouth.  Whilst he rarely used his mouth he wanted to many many times.  So with Elvis when he is barking spinning and hauling the tyre back and forth he would be side slamming the dogs and being argumentative.  Once he pulls only how much you need to move Tug the tyre and greets everyone we know we can trust him off to learn even more about the right way to behave.

Duke is a sweet, opinionated ninny and needed work on shooting off shouting and yelling so after we worked on steadiness even before coming in the field we then got him to sit calmly whilst clicking the lead clip.  Most dogs that come to us run as soon as the lead is unclipped, the mere sound sending them off at high speed the only other sound to be heard is our shoulders plopping back in their sockets after being pulled out!

He did very well and shot off earning his nickname the flying tent as he flapped across the field in his cagool!

Tallulah's turn we were aiming for the impossible that illusive wonderful thing called a quiet excited Border terrier.  All went well her sit was good her stay good and she was quiet right up till the moment( ok for all of two seconds) she was released and she yipped off into the distance, sigh.....

Duke was seriously Grumpy once Tinks earned her right to come into the field ( indeed way faster than I anticipated) with lots of face pulling and cursing so we supervised heavily and soon he huffed and puffed and gave up and accepted his duties with amazingly good grace heading off for a run with Tinks alongside albeit about three foot away.  Harvey joined us not long after and he was told off for joining Archie's club ' Elvis needs to leave the building club'

Soon it was time to swap around again and we brought out a larger group who had earned their freedom together throughout the week.  Nanci was restricted at the gate so she couldn't wind her friends up and this did make her spit the dummy out and soon she was joined by an equally disgruntled Bobby who after failing to do a sit stay wasn't allowed straight in the field.  After Archie proved with Flute he was capable of recall and nice play he was allowed in and we had a lovely walk watching Montanna rough play with her new Beau Archie and Even funnier was Megan playing with Fluffy.  They play constantly together only this time Megan decided she'd had enough until, shock horror, Fluffy decided to play with Esther.  I have yet to see a dog do a turnaround so fast and Megan shot between Fluffy and Esther jealous of them playing haha.

This is already a long blog and so much happened it could be three times as long!  The over whelming thing today was they accepted it was a calm play day rather than full on blasting, considering it is only the first week back for some and second for others is very pleasing.

The last walk was a naughty dog or can't do much walk so Poppy who had been far too full of herself came out with Louie who simply couldn't wait and whined pushed and shoved in the van with truffle who needs a quieter walk despite no longer appearing stiff.  Lastly Sirus who has been completely planetary this week having him on a lead is like having a large spotted helium balloon.  

Sirus and Louie took the longest to actually get in the field but in they did in the end.  Louie shot in giddy with the fun he was soon to have only to find he was faced with a rather irritated Poppy!  Being stopped from pulling Sirus's line was nearly too much and she consoled herself by scoffing her daily allowance of food readily then tootled about hunting field mice.  Truffle was very happy to read her field heading off here and there finding out all she could stuff we can't even start to comprehend.

All in all it was a very productive day and thank goodness we know our guys so well and spend so much time with them!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cinnabar wander and a training session

We headed to the cinnabar walk today hoping to have some mud free time, foolish ever hopeful people that we are!

Needing to put some training into the pups we brought out Tinks and Rez with Truffle joining us as Pooch in charge of Pups. Although she is a great one for play if taken out with the pups she is brilliant at just chilling, sniffing and ignoring bad behaviour.

The training started in the cages and the one receiving most of the training was Jasper BB who was trying to put his case as to why HE should be out first as He was in greatest need.  Once Tinks came out we left an indignant, disgusted Beagle huffing and puffing!  With a halter under the collar and the lead on the collar we stood at the beginning of the walk and waited....We call it The Lamppost.

She rolled around, she leapt up, cried, squealed then stopped "yay what a girl' we said and off she went again with much gusto only to stop again so we waited Sam directed Alex as I watched and she watched me then watched Sam then relaxed 'Yey what a girl lets go' and we set off on the walk.  With Tinks we just need calm, she loves food and is responsive but needs frustration control and to learn to be relaxed and less demanding to do this she needs to be taught as unfortunately it doesn't just happen.

Rez was much calmer though still jumping up at times though his recall and response to his name has really deteriorated so I worked on that sometimes calling him and rewarding him other times just stopping and letting him choose to come to be before calling him and having snuggles.  Truffle enjoyed her mooching loosening up her stiffness and enjoying having some sun on her back glad it was sun and not puppies haha.

Soon the walk was over and they were popped back into their warm vans whilst we unloaded the next guys.  Jasper volunteered his services again though with a look of mild hesitation only to find not only did he not get to go on this walk he was now Pooch in charge of Pups.  Did I see a glint in Sam's eye?

With Flute, Tips, Rossi, Elsie, Robbie and Tallulah amongst others it was going to be an exciting walk. Without doubt the priority is getting control early on( sounds obvious) so we faffed on taking photos with some on, some off and some having to pose oh the trauma how very dare we take up their walking time!

We met a couple of people and one lady took one look at us and scooped her terrier up and we carrie don walking with the dogs to heel.  She soon stopped looked behind to see if she was being hunted down my a pack of rabid dogs only to see them angelically by our sides whilst her little darling barked manically at us.  Made my day that she laughed and waved whilst I thought well at least she got her vocal little gobmonster up out of the way of our good guys hehe.

We say a marked improvement with the odd ball moment with Elsie not screaming blue murder and earning herself some primula( While we still had some) though needless to say Talullah the torturous was popped on the lead to dampen down her excitement.  Flute was good at staying with us and Tips only just stayed close enough to us though he ended up on the lead for leading Robbie astray( not that it takes much).

With me having a change of routine it was nice to know our guys mix and match so most of my guys were put back into Sam's Veronica and some of Sam's put in Alex's Hueghy without so much as a backward glance!

I left just in time to see Alex gather her pups up with Sam's ready for the next walk looking forward to hearing all about their wasn't long before I received a phonecall from Sam.  That always makes my heart go BUMP, has a dog hurt itself, run away or girls hurt themselves?  Ah no greed yet again struck our pooches and a certain black labrador lived up to their reputation for gluttony and had thieved the primula and scoffed it....amazing how a dog can ask to be helped over a style can hurdle a four foot tall barrier, battle through coats and dog walking paraphernalia and find a tube of cheese....grrrrrr Jasper is going to be joined on the naughty step for ever after he thieved Sam's much needed and longed for sandwich on Monday.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Group walking, breaks and temper temper

Group walking has many disadvantages so in order for us to make use of the advantages we have to always be aware of the disadvantages.

This isn't a blog to list the good the bad and the ugly just a note on todays walking.  Yet again we went to the field working on the dogs that came back from their holijols tweaking their management and getting the excitement levels down a little.  Or at least that was the know what usually happens when I have a plan?!

Our aim was to get some of the excited dogs out and work on fun play without the adrenalin taking over.  I also wanted to keep Flute engages with play rather than heading off round the field hunting.  So armed with a frisbee, a squeaky toy some food and leaders we brought them in waited for calm and let them off.  Apart from Truffle who couldn't do calm and appeared to be teetering on the edge of combustion.  Back in the van she went to calm down.

Once I started walking it only took one dog to notice the frisbee and the excitement levels shot skyward and the squeaking, squawking and spinning.  The worse were put on the lead.....Lola the peagle( code for the puggle going over to the dark side and becoming more beagle like than pug like), Tallulah mc Gob( she is a border terrier with a megaphone) and Truffle who by now had redeemed herself for at least 30seconds.  Then once a resemblance of calm descended the frisbee was thrown.  Esther was told to stop shouting and do more frisbee chasing, Molly Mc Dolly gently asked to not break the sound barrier with her inconceivably high pitched peep and Belle to stop stalking Harry.

Soon we were walking again Frisbee hanging loosely on the dog lead round my waist.  Tallulah Mc Gob was still yip yip yipping, Lola whining and Truffle appeared to be hyperventilating with sound effects.  I sent the loose guys off to play and soon we were able to let the squealers off and I was closely shadowed by a wired Truffle and Lola.  Waiting for calm I then squeaked the toy and like turning a light on their eyes shone bright and back to wired skyward bound hounds.  Obviously I didn't throw it.  It certainly took some time for them to chill but with intermittent squeaks with no throwing they were starting to give up all hope of a raucous romp with the aiming spinning disc.

By now we were at the bottom of our 8acre field and I unclipped the frisbee and needless to say Lola, Truffle and Tallulah Mc Gob were back on the lead faster than I can catch a chocolate.  This time no need for finger wagging at Esther ( she is really quite huffy and if her type of fun is stopped she doesn't want to play humph) Belle or even peep peep Molly.  Some progress then.....Lola surprised us all by earning her right to be off and was soon rewarded with the ultimate treat running as fast as her legs would carry her ears a flapping after the spinning disc!

Off we went again with Tallulah off, Lola off and finally Truffle off.  This time Truffle decided to snatch at the frisbee hanging from my waist then at my hand and i knew from the look on her face she was too far gone to be in charge of her facilities!  Funny when you know an animal very well you can forget or ignore what you see.  Had it been any other dog I know I would have acted differently yet this was Truff so I ignore instinct and leant over her to get her collar to say "Quit'!  So I was reminded that dogs are dogs and she promptly jumped and snapped at my face and as my face has a large projectory on my face she happened to nip me on my nose!  Oooh little hyped up opinionated grot bag....

With my hand still on her collar a rather disgruntled still frustrated dog was frog marched to the van and had time out whilst I berated myself for taking 'people' for granted she might be Truffle she is still capable of losing her temper.  It was just amazing to see all the guys standing perfectly calm and still with only Tallulah and Lola agitated and wondering if Truffle needed back up or Nanny!  Whilst Sam and Alex loved hugged and cuddled the guys we carried on with the ball squeaking and frisbee combo training.

Frustration control is I believe one of the most vital and most undertrained thing in the dog training tool box and Truffle showed this to be true. With the combination of having a week away from her pals, now being an only dog and therefore non of the attention to share and lack of playmate at home had meant she was already a little frustrated and the excitement of the field( freedom plus fun) her friends( fun fun fun) and the frisbee( without doubt Truffles most favourite thing ever) meant when reacted as dogs do and much like a frustrated child nipping or biting Truffle did the same.  With no change in her diet we know we have to work very hard to ensure little things like manners, expecting calm and if she cant be calm at this level don't move onto the If she can't control herself at the mere sight of the frisbee don't expect her to cope when you throw it or have it in your hand....

Anyhoo we actually managed a calm happy enthusiastic play without backflips, cartwheels or handstands and soon we moved onto the next group....oooh I do love the look on dogs faces when they have had a, tiring time that goony look just melts me.

Kim arrived with Poppy and Roly and soon Poppy was off like a bullet, Roly a bit wired but excellent considering he was placed in a very exciting environment and he coped really well soon accepting food( Roly is currently on a reward based walk and it is a very easy way to judge his mood, not a nasty dog he used to live for adrenalin and we are teaching to enjoy just running and playing without the need for aggro) so was allowed off I was absolutely delighted when he managed to play nicely with Sirus his rival, friend and challenger.  We then swapped dogs and brought out the next guys and gals making sure we had them calm before they were let off.  Tinkerbelle was acting very differently to the shy silly collie we had met before christmas and her terrible twos have arrived.  With headcollar on and a line on her collar she huffed and puffed and made it quite plan she just wanted to run play and have fun.

Once everyone was in we set off walking and then realised the little minx had gone all feral on an enclosed field we not only spot the weaknesses in the dogs but in ourselves we hadn't watched closely enough and she had gone awol with Mick and Minnie happily at the bottom of the field!  One should never presume is the lesson of the day.  Mmmmm.

We shouted her name in the high pitched happy voice and there came a rather delighted Tinks running full tilt towards us and a look flashed across her face......' why should I?'  haha yup definitely a big change in the little madam.  Armed with food and kisses she soon succumbed and decided we weren't so bad and had a great time albeit not as much as she would have liked as we kept her line on her.  I can see our groundwork needs digging out and restarting and much less freedom needed for more than just Truffle!

Now Harvey is a little red firecracker and we wanted to make sure he didn't fly off skyward when we let him off so we made sure we were all calm( Nannies and dogs) then let him off after being told to be calm only once he settled into nice play instead of wildeyed rabid dog run.  We did the same with Murphy and it was lovely to see the great Dane of a dog enthusiastically playing rather than tail whipping us all whilst he spun around us.  Before long these guys had the same tired goofy look on their faces and it was time to leave...I was so delighted that Archie came first time (unlike Lola Bloody Peagle) and bit by bit we got everyone in ...or at least that is how it should have been if I hadn't let go of Archie as he spun round and his stiff collar threatened to dislocate my finger again.  Without hesitation I shouted his name and I watched in frustration( frustration control Nanny we all know how important it is pah!)as his muscle backside disappeared over he ridge delighted at his newfound freedom.  The few guys who were left in the field knew the score and happily trotted into the heated van ready for the afternoon nap whilst I decided I needed to retire from duties haha.

It didn't take long for him to come when asked( not before a few 'chase me chase me' moments where I refused to play his game) and resigned himself to the end of the play session.

Without making a plan I know we will be working on getting things a little more controlled again, getting them to understand frisbee isn't a free for all again and restricting the guys and gals who need to learn manners and rules before the fun begins.

Saying its a new year I think I will give Roly a gold star, same to Harvey who was sore on his back leg and shock horror begrudgingly allowed us to check him, Silver stars to all I haven't mentioned for being good enough to not be on the hall of shame and a sit on the naughty step for Truffle, Lola, Tallulah though she did just about redeemed herself in the end, Archie and Tinks oh and not forgetting me haha!

Oh I do love my job can't say I ever get bored.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


I just can't get the hang of how fast years are passing now.  Does that mean I am getting old?

Sometimes a break helps to see things, every day things, with fresh eyes.  You get used to the daly routines and ways of doing things and do you miss those special moments or it is just you get used to seeing them.

2nd January 2013......this is the fifteenth year of Petnanny.

Today was a great day to go to the field, let off some steam yet also still be able to work on issues if there were any.  Oh the greetings we got from the guys, just a delight I can tell you!  I had also arranged to have Kath come with some of her guys she runs the company JustfourPaws and I trust her judgement with her dogs which means mixing our guys a much easier affair.

This ended up being just what was needed, the distraction of new guys and gals whilst exciting didn't boil them over it seemed to dissipate the energy.  Their greetings were polite and friendly though we did laugh when they first came in Kath looked like she had turned into a maypole but very soon she had them settled and aware of more than just a field full of delight!

We mixed them according to temperaments and physical needs though Jess the Springer was overwhelmed she soon settled with more help Molly her house mate also a springer was enjoying he field to the full though she was less impressed with Hunter who couldn't believe he was surrounded by dogs very like his house brother.  She learnt very quickly to no run if he came near then head for Kath or the Nannies and after a quick stroke off she went again.

Jasper as ever dumped his usual friends for the excitement of newbies and soon had Lucy naughty lurcher running back and forth....oh lordy she is a smart one that one.  She is a run away and you could see it wasn't fear it was all about control and after ignoring her and leaving her be she soon joined the group and was easily caught up....the field can be a godsend for off lead work though it still takes a touch of bravery to do it.

A firm favourite with all our guys were Bobby the border, Rufus the cairn and Bonnie the labrador I don't think Bobby and Rufus's little legs ever stopped.

As for our guys Truffle and Esther were so excited to see each other and had a ball thrashing each other in their usual manner Winifred joined in for a short while but she was struggling to juggle watching her house sister and brother( a very important job you never know what THEY can get up to)and playing with Truff and Es so gave up and went back to watching the other two of the Wilkie Posse.

Bobby and Louie spent a lot of family time with each other with Bobby uncharacteristically managed to  outsmart, outrun and outdo Louie hilarious.  Poppy, Elsie, Stan and Rufus belted back and forth legs working like pistons and we did laugh when Rufus chose, of all dogs to be over the top with Poppy the feral one and she very quickly explained the rules of engagement, the field and play.....thank you oh feral one.

Izzy was given complete an undivided attention from the flying squirrel once he lost sight of Lucy lurcher that is...( she had run down the field somewhat bemused by a fast moving blonde blimp following her but she lost him in the long grass) Mind that boy has some impressive moves, she loved the neck nuzzling and when he started to lick her neck and ears she was putty.  He does love a long legged dog!  After being adored by him for one full lap I could see her interest in him was waining and she did look like she politely asked Bobby spaniel to remove him well whatever happened Darcy moved on and she felt she could breath again there is only so much love a girl can stand you know.

One our steadier walk Kath brought her spaniel Rosie and the lovely though shy Daisy, not wanting Belle to be over stimulated we brought her out with a less ( potentially) rowdy crowd.  Though a little wild she did very well and her and Winnie had a good blast though we have to supervise them heavily as pups often use their paws a lot and pugs have such delicate eyes and rarely a sense of self preservation.

I could see a difference in Rosie since she is now totally blind as opposed to partially sighted but it is impressive to see her out and about in a new situation with new dogs....oh I bet she is a wild one on familiar territory.  Nell stayed out on both full walks and it was lovely to see Daisy quite taken with her and yet in the same breath Nell teaches Belle manners with a sharp reprimand, not teeth just a impressive swear word.

Roly is continuing to improve and I was delighted to see how calm he was in very exciting circumstances hurrah for Roly.

Mick and Minnie were.....independent one day I will shock them and lend them my mams bus pass and I bet they would head off on a trip I can just imagine it, wonder where they would go!  Mick soon resigned himself to his fate as a trained dog despite Minnies best efforts.

Well we have a couple of dogs dropping days and potentially a dog coming on board after waiting to hear how we are fixed, once our guys are back into the routine I am looking forward to getting some work done on the pups before a newbie arrives.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year, I am sure many of us won't so lets hope we have the fortitude and strategies to cope and come out the other side intact!  Here's hoping we will share lots of fun and continue to reap the rewards of a system that works for all.....