Saturday, 30 June 2012

A little light

Rodders recall has always been somewhat iffy but recently there has been a real change in him, it is like a little light has come on in his head and he realises what I want. Now, when I call him, he usually comes bounding towards me, he will also react to hand signals or a whistle.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule and, being a stubborn Schnauzer, Rodders has a few exceptions.

1. He will run all the way to the other side of a field, ignoring me completely, so that he can say hello to another dog and will then come back to me. Eventually! Occasionally I can even stop him in his tracks and get him to come back before he has said hello.

2. The exception to rule number one is when he hears a specific dog whistle. He know it is Dave and his three springer spaniels and he runs off to join in their fun. There is no way he will come back to me then. Luckily Dave knows Rodders very well and his digs are incredibly obedient. Dave Just gets his dogs to sit and wait until I catch up. We sometimes walk a little way together or I put Rodders on his lead and take him away. Dave thinks he wants to be an honorary Springer and has been encouraging Rodders in to the puddles and bushes!

3. If Rodders is in the garden and any of the neighbours are in the garden he likes to bark at them (to let them know he is there of course!) and will not come in. He always has to have the last bark too. I have resorted to bribery on occasions and use a treat or a toy to get him back. As a last resort I have been known to go out there and pick him up.

A professional groom

Although I trim Rodders at home myself I want him to have a professional groom a couple of times a year (so that I have decent lines to follow) and so I booked him in to see Dannie and Linda at Mr Groom in Harlow.

I had to warn them that he REALLY does not like having his ears done and seems frightened by it, so much so that my poor little boy wet himself the last time I tried.

It felt very strange to walk away without him but I took myself off to try out the delights of Harlow for just over 2 hours until I could go and get him back. I have to say that Harlow is not the most exciting town centre I have been too but I had a wander around the shops and got myself a cuppa and a sandwich.

When I got back to pick Rodders up I was gutted to be told that he his mouth had made contact with Dannie's hand and that they had decided to muzzle him for his own safety. He had tolerated them doing his ears with one of them holding him in a towel and the other plucking. He was very pleased to see me and wanted straight up for a snuggle and to cover me in licks. Then he couldn't wait to get the hell out of there!

But what a smart boy I brought home!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

What is in my garden?

Rodders asked to go out quite early this morning and I was watching him from the kitchen window. He was happily sniffing about and as he approached the tree ( a weeping thing that comes right down to the grass) he suddenly got spooked by something and shot back towards the patio sideways. He then started barking, a low deep bark that I haven't heard before.

I went outside to see if I could find out what the matter was and to calm him down. Rodders wasn't having any of it, he just kept barking at the tree from a distance. Eventually a cat shot out from under it and leapt over the fence.

Rodders carried on barking even after the cat had gone so I had to bring him inside.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Daily fun with the 5 o'clock club

Rodders and I still join the gang up on the rugby club at 5 0'clock most evenings, in fact he barks the house down from me getting home from work until I have changed and put my coat on and we are heading out the door. He really loves running about and playing with his friends and he usually comes home starving and exhausted.

He can be a bit of a monkey though and will run off towards any other dog he see's which is not always a good thing as not all dogs are friendly and he has ended up being bowled over and pinned down a couple of times now.

There are some dogs that he just cannot resist running after and I have to work hard to keep him with me, not that I always succeed. He loves Dave and his three Springers, Dave uses a whistle and once Rodders hears it he is usually off and running to wherever they are on the field. I know that the Springers will not harm him in any way but I wish I could get Rodders to come back to me, but this is a work in progress. Usually I end up having to walk the width of the field to collect him while Dave keeps his dogs close to give me a chance to catch him. They are such well behaved dogs, I dream of having that sort of control.

Rodders isn't very happy with the boisterous dogs and when Higgins and Oscar are running about playing he usually stays very close to me one one of the other owners and barks and bounces as they run past. From the very shy puppy he used to be he is friendly and confident with everyone and is quite happy to have a fuss or be picked up for cuddles. Unfortunately this has also led on to another problem. When he is getting treats from them he can get a bit naughty if any of the other dogs are trying to get in on the act. We are now working to stop this, so far he has been put back on his lead and given a time out, as this isn't being very successful we are now trying clipping him on his lead and walking straight of the field. We will see how this goes.

Been away too long! Did I mention Dovedale?

I can't believe it is almost 2 months since I last updated, where has the time gone?

So many things have happened and Rodders has changed so much and had so many new experiences.

The hi-light has to be our weekend away in the Peak District for the Mother of all Schnauzer Walks. We went up on the saturday morning and came home on Sunday afternoon and spent both days walking with lots of lovely Schnauzers of all shapes and sizes - about 60 over the two days. All the dogs loved it and us owners had a great time too, chatting as we walked. Some people camped, others in caravans, the less hardy of us were in hotels or B&B's and the lucky ones were able to stay home as we were close enough for them to drive one each day. We walked for about 6 miles on the first day and 3 on the second day. One sticky moment was when Rodders spotted some ducks in the stream and went wading in to try and get his own dinner, luckily his recall worked and he came back to me when asked.

We also crossed a stream twice using stepping stones, Rodders was brilliant and crossed by himself, I was a little nervous and wobbly!

Everywhere you looked each day there were Schnauzers!

We had such a great time that we plan on doing it again next year!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

How clever is Rodders!

It was my birthday this week and Rodders managed to buy, write and post a card to me and buy presents. How clever is he?

I suspect he had some help from OH, but still!

I had a lovely day although it was very wet for a lot of it. Rodders and I started with a walk around the rugby field in the rain, then home for me to have a shower.

We then had a bit of a lazy morning until my sister arrived with presses and cards galore. Rodders then got left at home while Kirsty and I went to do a bit of shopping, had a lovely lunch out and a nice afternoon at The Rex Cinema in Berko seeing the Best Ever Marigold Hotel. A really nice, gentle film with a brilliant cast in fantastic surroundings - The Rex is a reclaims art deco cinema and is just stunning inside. It is all very civilised and we chose to sit downstairs around little tables in very comfy red leather seats. There is a bar at the back selling drinks, sweets and chocolates.

Back home and I was pleased to see that Skevi, our lady that does, was here and had let Rodders out. as he had been on his own for quite a while. As soon as he saw me he started barking as he wanted to go up the field. I managed to keep him quiet for a little while but gave in and put on our wet weather gear and headed out. When it was obvious that the rain wasn't stopping and was coming down harder Rodders and I headed for home so he didn't get to play for as long as normal. He wasn't happy and kept stopping and pulling to go back. I stomped on and suddenly found myself with just a lead and collar! Rodders had just stopped and sat down patiently waiting for me to go back and out the collar back around his neck.

An hour or so later we headed to dog training (I will write more about this but it deserves a separate post) where we got very wet and muddy. Luckily OH was one and was waiting for us at the door with towels to dry Rodders off with. This gave me time to get my wet clothes off and have a quick wash before my beautiful nieces arrived for a birthday tea of takeaway pizza's and a few glasses of wine.

They are lovely but can be a little loud and overwhelming, poor Rodders didn't know what to do and bolted for OH in the conservatory where he tried to climb up his leg! OH picked him up and calmed him down until things were quieter.

I was thoroughly spoilt with presents and birthday cake. It really was a lovely day.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Recall - a different tack

While we were up with the 5 o'clock club today Rodders tried to run off a couple of times and I didn't follow him.

Instead I crouched down as I called him and he stopped, looked at me and came bounding back looking very happy with himself. Each time he got lots of fuss and a treat for being such a good boy.

We then saw Kevin, Jane and Polo on the field and wandered down to meet them. Rodders was happy saying hello and trotted back up the field with us all before diverting off for a poo. I bagged it up and then made my way to the poo bin and called for him to come with me which he did.

Once we were at the poo bin he spotted Polo again and wanted to go off to play. As they were walking away from us I crouched down and called him back. He came running back and Kevin and Jane were impressed at how well he was behaving.

And then it all went wrong! We had made our way back to the 5 o'clock club and Rodders was playing happily, especially as his girlfriend Piper had arrived. Then he spotted Polo the other side of the field and he took off. I tried calling him back but he wasn't paying any attention at all so I started to walk towards him, calling him periodically. Once I was within 25 feet of him he suddenly realised what I wanted and came bounding over. I wasn't best pleased and put him on his lead using the choke chain this time.

We walked back across the field with him at heel and he was made to sit at my feet while the others played. We will get the hang of this and I will be able to trust him!